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VOL. 132 | NO. 239 | Monday, December 4, 2017

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Grizz Ownership Moves, Confederate Deadline and Medical Family Tree

By Bill Dries

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As many of us were focused on Tigers football and the journey to Orlando last week, there was word that either both or one of the two minority owners of the Grizz had exercised a buy-sell provision in the NBA team’s unique ownership agreement. And what could be a fight for control of the team’s ownership is underway. The sports website The Athletic broke the story last Thursday. Here it is. It also talks about the timing of this coming with the controversial sacking of David Fizdale, an interim coach at the helm of a changing team and lead owner Robert Pera’s lack of visibility in all things Grizz around the city.

The University of Memphis Tigers have one more game in their historic football season. And it is a home game. They will be playing Iowa State in the Dec. 30 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. This is the first time the Tigers have played in the bowl game. Here is Don Wade’s account of the up and down weekend in Tigerville.

The Memphis Area Transit Authority has something to say Monday morning at 10:30. When we know, you will know right where you are reading this.

And here is The Week Ahead which includes “The State of the World.” It’s a tour now.

The federal tax reform bill is not a done deal. As the week begins there is the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions. Tennessee’s two Republican Senators split on the late Friday-early Saturday vote with Bob Corker being the only Republican in the upper chamber to vote against the measure. 

So after two years of restoration work and raising several million dollars of private money – that effort is still ongoing – when the restored Memphis Grand Carousel opened to the public Saturday at the Children’s Museum of Memphis much of the attention was on the reaction with the ornate carvings and style from another time a close second. But it was interesting to see how 21st century children reacted to a nuts and bolts decidedly un-virtual and un-digital experience. The answer is just about like past generations of Memphians. Some were okay until the carousel began moving. For others, the fun factor only went up once the carousel began moving. And still others were a mixture. Every single adult or group of adults with a child had an iPhone camera out and on to record the experience. The carousel isn’t all early 20th century throwback. One of the two carriages on the otherwise all-horse carousel has been replaced with an ADA compliant carriage. The original is to the side where it can be used for photos, which always go better when the young ones are in control of all things moving instead of someone else.

About an hour later, in Raleigh, groundbreaking for the Raleigh Town Center on the site of the old Raleigh Springs Mall. RALEIGH. This is the city-funded project that will include a new Raleigh branch library, a new police precinct to replace Old Allen station, which is the oldest police precinct building still in use in Memphis, and the MPD traffic precinct as well. Lots of park features are in the plans for this project that has changed quite a bit over several years and three mayoral administrations.

The Memphis Zoo has a baby boom underway. The latest evidence is a baby Nyala.

First Horizon has completed its merger with Capital Bank Financial Corp. of Charlotte in a $2.2 billion deal.

As the weekend began, the city administration drew a line with state officials over the Confederate monuments controversy. The mediation process the state requested of the city, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Forrest family hasn’t started and as a result the attorney for the city has set a Dec. 19 deadline for mediation efforts and then the Memphis City Council will act.

Before the letter from attorney Allan Wade to the state, the monuments were one of several topics we discussed with council chairman Berlin Boyd and council members Kemp Conrad and Martavius Jones on “Behind The Headlines.” For some reason, the show didn’t air in the Friday evening slot on WKNO TV, which is the time many of you watch it. It will go up on this website on the video section Monday afternoon for your viewing and reviewing pleasure. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Across the Main Street Mall at the county building, the controversy over an opioid lawsuit continues over what is a task force and what is a working group as well as the terms of intervening in the lawsuit in Circuit Court.

If you look at the resumes of who works for which of the medical device companies that are a significant sector in the local economy, you can easily find former competitors working for the competition – sometimes with time spent at all of the medical device companies. That speaks, to some degree, to the need for a better pipeline of skilled workers at these companies. Our cover story by Michael Waddell in our weekly, The Memphis News, is about how the competitors are working together through a medical device council to meet the demand. And one of the first tasks was what amounts to a family tree of the various firms. That goes from Richards in 1934 to Crossroads in 2014. The council also shows the medical device industry locally employs 6,500 people directly at 30 contract and original equipment manufacturers – add another 10,000 indirectly.

An update on last week’s AP story about problems with ACT scores that prompted Lt. Gov. Randy McNally to talk about switching the state to the SATs. UT says it will accept the ACT scores that were a problem in October in Knoxville schools. But ACT still won't release scores it considers invalid.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin who is running for Governor in next year’s Republican primary got a phone call from Gov. Bill Haslam’s brother following her Tweet about the UT coaching controversy. Meanwhile, Black is among those calling for disclosure of sexual harassment claims and settlements involving members of Congress in Washington and she also favors similar disclosure for the Tennessee Legislature where rival contender Beth Harwell is speaker of the House.

Circling back around on this one in Politico just after Thanksgiving but before December. A group of several dozen Chinese citizens have filed a lawsuit over the GreenTech Automotive electric car plant in Tunica County. And the defendants are Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe and Rodham were backers of the Greentech Venture, whose ceremonial opening of a plant in Horn Lake in 2012 drew an appearance by former President Bill Clinton. The Chinese citizens say they invested in the project with the promise of at least a long stay in America and now face deportation because the plant didn’t do what its owners said it would. The plant apparently closed in January and it is not clear if any electric cars were actually made at the Tunica plant and sold. The state of Mississippi filed suit in November seeking $3 million in damages and the land the Tunica plant is on. The FBI is also investigating.

An opinion piece in Politico  suggests a Clinton candidacy for the Arkansas Senate seat now held by Tom Cotton should Cotton become President Donald Trump’s next CIA director. The question is which Clinton? This isn’t so much about the Clintons as it is about the pitiful state of the Democratic party on the other side of the river.

On our side of the river, the Shelby County Democratic Party has come out in favor of keeping ranked-choice voting in the upcoming 2019 city elections. If you are keeping track, that’s 1-1 with the Memphis Branch NAACP coming out against RCV earlier.

The Memphis News Almanac: The Ice Run, de Tocqueville in Memphis and Last Session At Stax.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 87 1,429
MORTGAGES 39 60 1,107
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 14 204
BUILDING PERMITS 92 209 3,265
BANKRUPTCIES 42 84 837
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 23 352
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0