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VOL. 132 | NO. 115 | Friday, June 9, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Mackin Letter, A County Property Tax Cut and UrbanArts Responds

By Bill Dries

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The Overton Gateway multi-family development on the eastern side of Overton Park looks to be the next development controversy heading for City Hall. The Land Use Control Board voted down the amended MRG plans Thursday that have drawn neighborhood opposition in both versions. The LUCB rejection doesn’t stop the project. It goes to the Memphis City Council at a date to be determined with a negative recommendation that certainly doesn’t do the project any favors.

Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson made his first in-depth comments on new allegations of grade tampering at Thursday evening’s special school board meeting. And he basically told the board, the investigation of the first allegations in late 2016 found evidence of grade changes at Trezevant High School, which were investigated and acted on. There was a second allegation about a month later that the school system also told state officials about prompting an audit of high schools with a high number of grade changes as SCS set new standards for principals in this regard and trained attendance secretaries at schools in better methods. That audit has been underway since then including when Trezevant principal Ronnie Mackin sent his June 1 resignation letter with new allegations. The school system has also named three attorneys to conduct an independent investigation of the broader allegations in Mackin’s letter. The attorneys all have experience with corruption investigations including former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton who is now at Butler-Snow. Here is our comprehensive review of where things stand.

A timely “Behind The Headlines” in which County Commissioners Steve Basar and Heidi Shafer as well as Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell say there will probably be a cut in the county property tax rate of around three cents in the new fiscal year new fiscal year next month.

We, of course, had a few other topics to talk about, and you can see that part of the conversation as well when the show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

The UrbanArts Commission reacts to this week’s decision by the Memphis City Council to cut a lot but not all of its funding for public art projects.

Republican contender for governor Bill Lee in Collierville the night after he raised $1.3 million in Nashville at his first major fundraiser. We talked with Lee about this early but important stage of the race to the summer 2018 primary ballot.

901 Comics in Cooper-Young has made it a year in business and the owners are celebrating this weekend with the artists who draw Green Lantern and Firestorm.

Meanwhile, the Orpheum raising money to restore the reason many of us come early for the summer movie series – The Mighty Wurlitzer. The goal is to raise the money to restore the pipe organ in time for the Orpheum’s 90th birthday next year.

In the Friday Sports Section:

Running the new Grizz D-League team in Southaven.

When your home baseball team is a Triple A team, you hear a lot about seeing players on their way to the big leagues and sometimes you see players from the big leagues who get sent down for something like rehab for an injury or a career restart. For Chad Huffman, who is now spending some time with the Redbirds, Memphis and St. Louis are part of a longer road that included Japan.

Dave Link in Knoxville on the low moments for UT sports this athletic year.

David Climer uses the phrase “SEC politburo” in a piece about making the names of athletic conferences like the Southeastern Conference actually include college teams that are in the southeast U.S… you know, like Memphis? Or even Southaven if they just won’t use Memphis in their name.

Rural health care and Medicaid – there’s a pairing that is more than timely. It’s been a pressing issue for so long you could call it an evergreen. Nevertheless, much of the discussion at a Jackson, Tn. forum we covered on rural Tennessee hospitals was all about President Donald Trump’s Medicaid proposal. And the experts in Jackson say what’s at stake is more than the hospitals in those areas but the communities themselves.

The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, by Andy Meek, is about consumerism and its practice at Baptist Memorial Healthcare in a discussion with the Baptist CEO about its move to broaden its footprint in ways away from the once prevalent concept of hospital beds.

The PDF of the new issue is on this very website now. Hard copies go in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486