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VOL. 132 | NO. 17 | Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Grizz Farm Club Moves, Changing the NAACP and $15 An Hour

By Bill Dries

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How many of you knew the Iowa Energy was what amounts to a minor league team connected to the Grizz? How many of you knew that before Wade Baldwin and Troy Williams got sent there last month?

Well, the D-League team with a name that sounds like one of the more woebegotten names we have bestowed on our various sports franchises over the years is getting cut loose Tuesday by the Grizz.

Instead the Grizz will start what is an expansion team in the NBA Development League and that team will play at Landers Center in Southaven.

FedEx moves up the elevation of Dave Bronczek to the roles of president and chief operating officer at the Orange and Purple. Bronczek was supposed to step into two of the four roles held by company founder Fred Smith at the end of 2017. Instead that has been moved up to Feb. 1. Smith retains his role as chairman of the FedEx board and chief executive officer. Smith said in a written statement the change is because the integration of TNT into FedEx Express has gone faster than expected.

Yet more changes as former Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone takes the helm of the Memphis Branch NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization and the city’s dominant civil rights organization of the post World War II era and the group that defined the city’s political establishment on the other side of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Malone acknowledged at a Sunday meeting that the local organization faces some perception problems as it marks its centennial this year and she wants to re-establish contact with black-owned businesses and black churches.

She’s also brought into the organization some younger voices from the city’s Black Lives Matter protests of the last two years as well as those brought into the political experience with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The NAACP’s image as an establishment organization is a long-held perception that Benjamin Hooks was fielding questions about in the 1980s when he was the group’s national director.

Five people, two of them 15 years old, died over the weekend in Memphis as the new year appears to have started with the same spike in violence we saw at this time last year. And Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland reacted to it first thing Monday morning.

When the new edition of our weekly, The Memphis News, hits Friday, it will include the latest edition of The Memphis News Economic Overview – our survey of economic indicators and reaction from a cross section of the local business community to what they’ve seen in their businesses. In a preview of the overview, we find some optimism for 2017 from the local business community.

The Roland and Robinson deannexation discussion from Behind the Headlines.

Democratic state Representative G.A. Hardaway is proposing a $15 an hour minimum wage for Tennessee in the Legislature, according to our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard.

Elsewhere in the capitol, there is a new head of the state Department of Human Services.

In our Memphis Newsmakers Sports Emphasis:

The legacy of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl game now that another edition of the annual college football showcase is in the books. And the leader of the organization looks ahead to the ever-complicated world of the bowl schedule.

There is another kind of sports scene that is probably under-reported in these parts and it even has its own arena. We’re talking about the various competitions that call the Pyramid home base these days under the Bass Pro Shops banner. And with the clay target competitions, the fishing rodeo and summer camps, there is also a hub of wildlife conservation and management strategy centered at the Pyramid. The CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation talks about that group’s bid to keep channelization out of the Hatchie River.

While the Grizz and the Tigers are playing at FedExForum this is also a busy time of year for youth sports leagues and their indoor season. And that is an industry of its own in the city and the surrounding area.

MORTGAGES 80 320 1,066
BUILDING PERMITS 120 590 2,248