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VOL. 132 | NO. 21 | Monday, January 30, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Immigration Order React, State of State Preview and The Haven

By Bill Dries

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Lots of reaction from state and local leaders Sunday to President Trump’s Friday executive order on immigration that will likely dominate the action this week on Capitol Hill in Washington after a weekend of action and reaction.

The reaction runs from City Hall to the U.S. Senate as of Sunday evening. We will update as we get more reaction.

At week’s end, Ron Garrison’s resignation from the Memphis Area Transit Authority for health reasons had a day later become a resignation a day ahead of a TBI press conference in which he was one of the people busted in a human trafficking sting operation – the largest one the TBI has done to date.

And in this week there will be questions about whether Garrison told the MATA board and other city leaders the real reason for his abrupt departure.

Meanwhile, the timing of the change in leadership at MATA is another part of a story that has a lot of angles. There has been a lot of change at the transit authority in Garrison’s tenure of two-and-a-half years. The interim general manager, Gary Rosenfelt, talks about what is next – which includes a unified push for a dedicated source of funding for the bus system to the tune of about $30 million a year.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam delivers his State of the State address Monday evening in the state capitol. We will be providing updates during the address @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols.

Our Nashville correspondent, Sam Stockard, sets the stage for that, leading with the gas tax proposal. It’s difficult to overstate just how complex Haslam’s proposal on this is – a package of tax hikes and tax cuts designed to be revenue neutral. And there is another piece of this – the federal funding from the Trump administration. Federal funding is always the biggest part of funding for a road project and Trump campaigned in part on a promise to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Haslam is weighing the details of how that might work and what the state and local match of that federal funding might be in the new arrangement.

Mary Mancini re-elected to another term as chairwoman of the Tennessee Democratic Party at a Saturday meeting of the state party’s leadership in Nashville. Now that that is decided, one of the first orders of business will presumably be a reformation of the Shelby County Democratic Party that Mancini dissolved last year after years of strife on the local executive committee.

The Memphis News cover story by Andy Meek is about the ongoing closing of Booksellers at Laurelwood and larger changes in the world of books. As things stand now, Booksellers is to close in about two weeks. This is not the first time there has been the threat of an institution like this closing. The last time was Burke’s and it is still with us today as result of some moves made then that could serve Booksellers well.

Our Snapshot feature checks in on the progress at Crosstown Concourse. Meanwhile, Temple Israel is the latest tenant to announce a presence in the concourse.

Seven companies are the first graduates of the Propel business accelerator overseen by Start Co. They include a company that makes an interactive video game for k-12 students, a training platform for caretakers, an upholstery shop for customers with small needs, a company for residential properties that offers janitorial and lawn care services among others, a construction company, a corporate event planning firm and a sign company.

We’ve written a lot in the last few years about Whitehaven and Whitehaven High School. The Haven in football country – game night at the school’s football field is akin to what you see in small towns where most of the town comes to the games.

The coach of the Tigers, Rodney Saulsberry, has a state championship, the Titans have selected him as high school coach of the year. And he’s a nominee for a national award from the NFL.

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman whose encounter with Emmett Till in 1955 in the tiny town of Money, Mississippi, 125 miles south of Memphis, marked the start of the modern civil rights movement, has talked.

It was in 2007 for a book by Timothy Tyson about the incident that comes out this week.

Vanity Fair has some advance word on what she said including that Till never made any kind of advance toward her despite her testimony that he did at the murder trial of her husband and her brother in law in which they were acquitted.

Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, lived a long life after the violent death of her only son while on a summer trip from their home in Chicago to see relatives in Mississippi. Like everyone else who encountered her in those years and decades later, I couldn’t help but be moved by how she repeatedly talked about how she tried to prepare her teenage son for that journey into a hostile culture.

A new trailer from “Sun Records,” the show that debuts on CMT next month, is all about why the drama built around the little record label that could in the 1950s couldn’t have been made anywhere else but Memphis.

Tim Raines was a beloved part of this city’s baseball culture before making his mark in Major League Baseball, primarily with the Montreal Expos. Rolling Stone talks with Raines on his path to Cooperstown and the current state of baseball.

The Memphis News Almanac finds 1985 Memphis preparing for the start of the USFL season, groundbreaking for the James Kerwin House, a busy Coliseum this week in 1968, West Model Park in North Memphis and the idea of a curb market.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173