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VOL. 132 | NO. 32 | Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: MATA and the TBI, Fieldstone Gets Bigger and Wedge Bills

By Bill Dries

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Since Gannett bought The Commercial Appeal there has been a lot of speculation about what would remain of the Memphis operation in a newspaper chain known for consolidating not just in-house parts of the publishing process but the reporting side too. The biggest question in the air was the fate of the large printing presses at the CA. And Monday evening, there was an answer.

Before the word late Tuesday that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had resigned: U.S. Sen. Bob Corker on Trump and foreign policy in The Global Politico, including sound and a transcript.

A follow-up to the sudden resignation of MATA president Ron Garrison last month a day before the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation went public with its largest human trafficking undercover operation ever that included Garrison being charged with misdemeanor attempting to patronize a prostitute. There was a more than fair amount of secrecy surrounding this in the less than 24-hour period between the MATA board meeting privately and then going into public session to accept Garrison’s resignation for “health reasons” and the TBI press conference where we got the real reason that Garrison resigned. And what we found after a bit of digging was that the TBI never asked anyone to keep this a secret for any amount of time. They had no concerns about this compromising a basic sting operation despite that being the reason given by MATA.

Fieldstone Apartments, a gated community in southeast Memphis, is expanding to the tune of $17 million, seven new apartment buildings and 139 units. This is just about a mile from TPC Southwind and it will bring the total units at Fieldstone to 1,399. Fieldstone is currently the largest apartment community in the city followed by Atrium Shelby Farms.

Tiger Sports notes from Don Wade starting with the basketball loss to Temple Sunday followed by Tigers football and softball.

Aggressive actions by those at the levers of the nation’s immigration policies and rules used every day is nothing new, many immigration attorneys have been saying for years and in recent weeks. Some of that is the record number of deportations during the Obama administration. With that in mind, Memphis attorney David Jones tells us that’s very likely to be what defines the interim between now and the resolution of the federal court case over President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban order. Jones says the administration could also in effect do over the order to make it more specific. His advice to anyone who thinks they may be affected is to stay in the U.S. or get back to the U.S. And Jones says the reaction he fielded in the immediate aftermath of the travel ban order was concern and confusion from callers who were mostly non-Muslim.

Our discussion on “Behind The Headlines” of those water wells TVA is drilling in southwest Memphis indicates the concerns here are not about whether there will be enough water – the TVA plant will use less than Cargill was using before it moved its operations out of the same area. The concern is contaminated groundwater including the nearby Mississippi River coming into contact with the aquifer. There are also big questions about what is below the surface. The controversy is about to move to a new county ordinance that would set new standards for such wells. And as we reported in this space last week there are also several bills in the Tennessee Legislature on this front as well.

In the Legislature, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard, reviews so-called “wedge bills” filed before last Thursday’s deadline to put bills in the hopper. These are bills that critics in the Legislature say are intended to drive people apart. That would include a new bathroom bill similar to the one dropped last year that requires students to use restrooms and locker rooms by the gender on their birth certificates. There is also a Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.

Associated Press with more on parental rights of same sex couples.

The existing recreation center at the University of Memphis is going to be around a bit longer. U of M President David Rudd announced Monday that the new rec center planned is on hold because student fees to pay for it didn’t generate the revenue he anticipated. This is an 18-month delay for the $60 million project that is being down-sized to coexist with the existing rec center instead of replacing it. Onward with the other parts of the overall project – the land bridge and the parking garage.

The weekly FUNdraising column by Mel and Pearl Shaw is about Mary McLeod Bethune coming to Memphis in the 1950s before the age of development directors in fundraising.

A recycling plant on Downtown’s south end is bought in foreclosure for $1.8 million.

A lesson in bank branch design in the Poplar Corridor from the new Triumph Bank office.

Sunday beer sales in Collierville starting next Sunday after Monday evening’s vote by the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

More on the Edge Alley mixed-use concept that is scheduled to open in May between the Medical Center and Downtown. Warehouses look like a lot of adaptable open space from a distance. They are more of a challenge up close.

You’ve heard about this for years in the Memphis efforts around workforce development – more jobs than workers to fill them. We talk with a head-hunter for corporate jobs. She and national numbers confirm the trend and the more complex hiring environment where a resume – if it makes it past a search for keywords -- is just a beginning.

The New York Times on one of the Ole Miss student leaders involved in the effort to take down the Confederate-themed state flag from the campus’s main flagpole.

Marty Lacker, part of Elvis Presley’s inner circle, has died at the age of 80. Lacker, of Memphis, first met Presley in junior high school. Like most in what was known as the “Memphis Mafia,” Lacker’s job description varied depending on the situation. But he was most frequently described as a kind of sounding board for Presley. As such he came in for some criticism about helping to create the isolation that was a role in the entertainer’s later life and his death at the age of 42.

Lacker was a voice noticeably absent from most of the Elvis events sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises after others in the inner circle had made their peace with the estate. After Presley’s death in 1977, Lacker emerged as a vocal critic of others in the inner circle as well as the estate and toward the end of his life he was also critical of Graceland for its handling of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protest at the annual candlelight vigil.

If you are like me, when Valentine’s Day arrives your mind probably goes right to bonobos. And at long last the chimpanzees are getting the formal recognition that the public long ago demanded. The very first World Bonobo Day is Tuesday and the Memphis Zoo is marking the occasion with the first Bonobo Valentine’s Day Party at 11 a.m. at the zoo’s bonobo exhibit. The zoo’s three juvenile bonobos – Macumba, Mobali and Mpingo – will be getting plenty of attention at the festivities including a ball pit to play around in.

And the answer to your question is yes, there will be a cell phone recycling booth.

Bonobos are an endangered great ape and excavations for the mineral Coltan, which is used in cellphone batteries, is endangering the habitat of the bonobo in central Africa.

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