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VOL. 132 | NO. 242 | Thursday, December 7, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Bredesen Runs, Germantown Moratorium, Monsanto Fights Dicamba Ban

By Bill Dries

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The big reveal at the Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual luncheon Wednesday, at least for me – Dale Watson lives in Memphis now. The Americana musician, producer and author was among the performers at the Peabody and he had a bit of trouble getting the group of 700 business and political leaders to sing along with the refrain of one of his most popular tunes – “I Lie When I Drink and I Drink A Lot" -- with at least a dozen video cameras panning the room. But he continued on without audience participation. Other entertainment highlights featured Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland as the voice of Amazon’s Alexa.

New chamber board chairman Richard Smith called for a reform of the city’s economic development model including less stick and more carrot in incentives. “We play great defense,” he said. “But it’s time to play better offense.” He also urged those pushing for economic growth in Memphis to take the issue to those running for Governor in next year’s elections.

He probably won’t make the announcement for another week and closer to Christmas. But former Tennessee Gov. and Nashville mayor Phil Bredesen is about to get into the Democratic primary next year for U.S. Senate. Here is the Associated Press story – one of several that began circulating Wednesday afternoon as Bredesen started calling major donors. Bredesen had said previously that he probably wouldn’t announce his intentions until the Alabama Senate race was decided later this month.

Lots going on around this place Tuesday evening as we chronicled when last we meet. Among the items, a multi-family moratorium proposed at the end of the city's planning commission meeting by Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo in Germantown’s Smart Code zoning districts.

As promised, a deeper dive into the SCS report on grade changing at Trezevant High School, including some quotes from transcripts of interviews SCS investigators did about a year ago at the start of this controversy and specifics on how this allegedly worked – the mechanics of it.

And a closer look at the sometimes loud debate the Memphis City Council and notably its attorney had Tuesday evening with supporters of keeping ranked-choice voting. Meanwhile, here is a basic nuts and bolts version of the MLGW rate hikes the council will vote on in two weeks.

Fred Spikner, the owner of Spikner Inc., talks about his move into development and his plan to build an apartment complex out of shipping containers in the Medical District. “We’re trying to make it where you can have somewhere to live and still survive.”

Fred’s, the discount retailer, reported a $51.8 million loss for the quarter Wednesday and that means the stock dividend is cancelled. Probably more, but that’s the immediate reaction.

Sedgwick went public Wednesday with the acquisition of a London-based loss adjuster and claims management firm. No terms announced yet but Cunningham Lindsay has 600 offices in 60 countries with 6,000 employees. SIX.

An f-bomb in a live post-game interview costs Marc Gasol $15,000 after the Grizz break the losing streak earlier this week.

There are more than a few ways of looking at a home game AutoZone Liberty Bowl for the University of Memphis. And one of the views you may have heard a lot in recent days is that there will be less of the spending local businesses see when the game is two teams from outside the region. The other thought on this is that there probably will be less spending. But on the other hand, fans of the other team, Iowa State, haven’t been to a bowl game in five years and the last time it was the Liberty Bowl.

Last month, we told you about the combination of Tito Jackson with the late B.B. King’s band and Jackson’s long desire to play the blues. Word this week that the combo will be doing a New Year’s Eve set on Beale Street in a free performance at Fourth and Beale. And they have the 11 p.m. slot that goes right up to the countdown from 2017 to 2018.

In Arkansas: Monsanto wants a judge to stop a move in the Legislature there to ban the use of its dicamba herbicide. Monsanto was already challenging a ban by the Arkansas Plant Board last month.

Olive Branch is one of three Mississippi cities where Milwaukee Tool will expand production and distribution facilities to the tune of $33.4 million and 660 jobs.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047