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VOL. 132 | NO. 147 | Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Alexander and Corker Differ, Instant Runoff React and Kroger On Hold

By Bill Dries

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Tennessee’s two U.S. Senators split their votes Tuesday in Washington on the vote that followed the vote to open debate on a repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both voted yes on the debate motion. But then Corker was one of the nine Republican Senate votes that killed the Obamacare replacement plan known as BCRA, while Alexander voted for it.

BCRA = Better Care Reconciliation Act. This sets the stage for a vote on a “skinny repeal.” Just to make this yet more complex, this wasn’t a vote on BCRA itself. It was a procedural vote on the way to a vote on BCRA.

Reports from a couple of places Tuesday that Teli White, the former football coach at Trezevant High School, is now suspended at Melrose before he could begin as that school’s football coach. White was suspended by Shelby County Schools in 2016 as the school system investigated grades changed on transcripts of Trezevant students. That as Ronnie Mackin began his tenure as principal at Trezevant and undertook a routine audit of transcripts.

The school system confirmed earlier this year that grades were changed and they were able to track it to an attendance office staffer who was allowed to resign. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson also said there were probably others involved but there wasn’t enough proof to act against them. The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association also investigated and Trezevant’s team forfeited several games as a result. But White returned to the team and the TSSAA found no wrongdoing where its policies were involved.

Apparently unrelated to the grade-changing at Trezevant, the school system was told of grade-changing at another school which prompted a system-wide grade audit by the school system working with the Tennessee Education Department that is still underway. White was reassigned to Melrose and was to begin this week. In June, Mackin resigned after he was replaced at the helm of Trezevant after one school year. In his resignation letter, he made numerous other allegations that are the subject of an independent investigation begin led by former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton.

The Overton Gateway compromise in Midtown was approved by the City Council Tuesday on an eventful council day on several fronts. Here’s the rundown.

A bit of on overlap at the bottom of this story that leads with council members reacting to the plan to move ahead with Instant Runoff Voting or Ranked Choice Voting in the 2019 Memphis election cycle. One council member saying she likes the general idea. Another saying he doesn’t and using the word “collusion” in a non-Russian context numerous times. More opinions to come from City Hall on this.

As promised here when last we met, a deeper dive on Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael’s interview with us earlier this week on Justice Department supervision of the court and his reaction to former Mayor Willie Herenton’s idea of having his New Path organization buy the city’s old auto inspection station Downtown and build a new school/detention center there for juvenile offenders. This can be a pretty nuanced discussion beyond the questions of control and power. For instance, Michael is all for the idea of New Path or anyone else who is qualified building a new detention facility. But he doesn’t think it should be a privately-run facility. That, he says, should be the job of the Sheriff.

Kellogg in Rossville is letting go at its Eggo operation to the tune of 117 jobs. Still not clear if this is part of the 172 jobs Kellogg’s said about two months ago it would cut in closing its Shelby Oaks Drive facility or in addition to that. The layoffs start in late September.

The Kroger store in Arlington is on hold. Kroger broke ground for the overhaul of its anchor store at the Shops at Arlington Village last year at Milton Wilson Boulevard and Airline Road. What is being called Kroger Marketplace was planned as a 123,000 square foot store with more than groceries for sale. Kroger said late Tuesday this is part of a national pull back in new store development. Kroger has been in an acquisition mode lately, closing on Marsh Marketplace stores in the Indianapolis area just this month after Marsh filed for bankruptcy. Also this month, Kroger hired a former Aldi executive to run its “Ruler Foods” – Kroger’s deep discount chain.

The Carpenter Art Garden turns five years old and the garden has been growing in that time.

Basketball in Beirut … former Tiger Geron Johnson brings his “Overseas Elite Camp” to Streets Ministries in South City next month. Don Wade talks with him about summer league, the pros and overseas.

TruGreen has a new CFO.

A bit of a change in who wants to be the next chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party. The party’s new “Grassroots Council”, chosen at last weekend’s county party convention, elects the new chairman at an Aug. 5 meeting. Grace Weil has withdrawn from the field of five and Anthony Anderson, the CEO of Memphis Business Academy charter schools and a 2015 candidate for Memphis City Council, joins Thurston Smith, Ken Taylor, Corey Strong and Larry Pivnick in the pack.

No warrants on Ismael Lopez, the man in Southaven shot to death Sunday by Southaven Police as they were serving warrants and apparently got the wrong house. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating. “There’s no way it was a simple mistake. Someone didn’t take time to analyze the property address,” Murray Wells, the attorney for the family said Tuesday. “The bullet holes suggest they shot through the door.”

Among the 12,000 or so rape kits that Memphis Police put on a shelf over several decades and never processed was a rape kit with a pair of dentures in it. The dentures were made for a prisoner in Washington State serving time for the murder of a six-year old girl in the late 1980s there. Even if they couldn’t be traced that way, Thomas Maupin’s name was imprinted on the dentures. Last year, investigators took the dentures from the kit from a 2001 rape in Frayser and the TBI got a partial DNA profile from them as a result. Maupin pleaded guilty to rape charges Monday in Shelby County Criminal Court and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

MORTGAGES 110 170 916
BUILDING PERMITS 133 290 1,948