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VOL. 132 | NO. 54 | Thursday, March 16, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Lakeland Date Set, Silos in South Main and Trespassing in Apartments

By Bill Dries

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Here comes the Governor’s race with Randy Boyd doing the honors here in Memphis Wednesday at the top of the second day of his fly-around. Boyd’s opening sounds very much like he is running as the heir apparent to Gov. Bill Haslam – although there are no heirs in politics, at least not without an election. He talked a lot about hitting workforce development and job goals of the Haslam administration if he is elected Governor in 2018.

President Donald Trump in Nashville Wednesday for a visit to the Hermitage on the 250th anniversary of Andrew Jackson’s birth. And then Trump addresses a rally in the capitol city. Trump seemed to embrace his inner Jackson during a tour of the Hermitage that included time with Tennessee legislators.

The rally was billed as Trump possibly advancing the movement toward an Obamacare replacement that has enough votes in Congress – a consensus. Very few specifics on that point other than that Trump said the Affordable Care Act is already effectively dead even without a formal repeal. And during the day on the road, a federal judge in Hawaii barred enforcement of Trump’s second executive order on immigration the day before the new travel ban was supposed to take effect. That made immigration a more prominent part of his remarks.

One other note, as Trump was making his way from Detroit to Nashville, rumors that he is considering state Senator Mark Green of Clarksville for Secretary of the Army. If that pans out, it would mean one less contender in the Republican primary for Governor next year. Green is already a declared contender in the race making a very early campaign appearance in Millington last year.

Lakeland goes to the polls May 25 for the latest in a set of three special elections so far this year in Shelby County.

The Shelby County election commission set the special nonpartisan election date Wednesday for the election of a replacement to Lakeland Commissioner Michele Dial who resigned March 7.

Early voting is March 5-20.

Potential candidates can begin pulling qualifying petitions Thursday with a noon April 13 filing deadline and a noon April 17 deadline to withdraw if they wish.

Meanwhile, noon Thursday is the filing deadline in the special primary and general elections to fill the vacant state House District 95 seat that Mark Lovell quit in February.

At the close of business Wednesday, here is what the field looks like:

Julie Byrd Ashworth appears to be on the way to effectively winning the special April 27 Democratic primary with no opposition at the deadline. We’ll see what happens before noon Thursday.

Independent candidate Robert Schutt and Libertarian candidate Jim Tomasik automatically advance to the June 15 special general election.

The real scrap is the Republican primary in April among Collierville school board member Kevin Vaughan, Collierville alderman Billy Patton, homebuilder and former Germantown alderman Frank Uhlhorn and Melissa Marshall of Collierville.

Follow us @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for updates on who is in after the noon deadline Thursday.

New local crime stats for January and February show violent crime down in Memphis and countywide. But there’s been a spike in property crimes – notably auto theft, which increased by more than 50 percent over the two months in the city and countywide compared to a year ago.

How important is a theme when you go out to eat? And have we just about reached a saturation point on that in a city that is all about the food? We may find the limits for some of this with plans for a silo-themed restaurant in South Main near Loflin Yard. The developers of this, on a vacant lot, say they want to focus on the commercial kitchen and delivery in an area that is thick with new apartments. They liken what they want to do to the Young Avenue Deli in Cooper-Young. There is a vacant building on Carolina that is part of this plan that would be converted to an event center of some kind.

The University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center is seeking proposals from residential developers on housing and retail on two square blocks between Jefferson and Madison, west of Manassas with Court running between the two blocks. Several UT buildings now standing there are scheduled for demolition. Health Science Park is southeast of the southern border of this area.

Makowsky Ringel Greenberg is making moves toward specific plans for apartments on the eight acres of state land it bought at Sam Cooper Boulevard on the eastern border of Overton Park. We first reported on this in December 2015 when MRG had the winning bid in what amounted to a competition with Loeb. MRG plans to meet with neighbors Tuesday and probably votes on a specific locked-in plan in May by the Land Use Control Board and the City Council.

Building nonprofit capacity has taken some time in a world that can be overwhelmed by grant writing and small pieces of turf. The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence now has a good start toward growth with a purpose and a goal that includes not trying to reinvent the wheel.

Grizz over the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday evening 98 – 91.

A rough fourth quarter for GTx. Fred’s adds some new board members. And Verso’s fourth quarter before big changes.

And Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis is laying off 215 workers at the nursing home as of early April. Signature lost its federal reimbursement and is appealing. But with the layoffs, Signature is working on a transition to other facilities for 95 patients.

The Memphis Real Estate Recap: The Hickory Hill Home Depot site sells, So do the Deerfield Apartments on Sycamore View.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

Haslam signs off on Senate changes to the gas tax bill.

Our Nashville correspondent, Sam Stockard, reports there are some concerns about an expansion of the state criminal trespass law being proposed by Memphis Democrats Joe Towns and Lee Harris. Harris in the Senate and Towns in the House want to expand the statute to give police more authority to clear crowds in apartment complexes who can be a real problem for emergency responders called to shootings and other violence in the complexes. It’s a real danger for fire department ambulance crews who can find themselves being ordered around by mobs or gang members when several people are wounded and emotions are running high.

In his “View From The Hill” column, Stockard puts the Legislature to music – The Beatles in most cases.

The Fed raises rates Wednesday. And here is the text of the statement following the decision.

What does the rise in the benchmark interest rate mean for mortgage rates?

An Associated Press Q&A on what changes to automobile fuel economy standards could mean for consumers.

PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593