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VOL. 132 | NO. 44 | Thursday, March 2, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Arnold's in the Alley, Haslam's Gas Tax Bill Wins A Round and Hershey

By Bill Dries

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A busy day in the City Hall list saga. The list is a lot shorter, but there is a second lawsuit over this in Memphis Federal Court. And the list itself seems to be giving way to a controversy that is all about whether police were unlawfully following and tracking protesters who broke no laws.

The city expects to argue in court that it doesn’t have to disclose the measures it uses to guard public safety. And the second lawsuit has allegations about police actions that go beyond photographing or recording protesters in public places.

Arnold’s Bar-B-Que and Grill to open a second location – this one Downtown in Floyd Alley. Not too many businesses doing that – the Rendezvous being the main exception to that. Although, if you were around when Downtown was struggling mightily to come back from the dead you might remember that Blues Alley, the late Paul Savarin’s pioneering blues showcase on Front Street, was originally in an alley not too far away. Arnold’s is to be on the backside of 320 Monroe Ave. And its signage cleared the Design Review Board Wednesday with a few adjustments.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

A new element in the medical marijuana debate, state Rep. Larry Miller of Memphis wants the state to accept medical marijuana cards – certification that someone meets the medical requirements to legally buy and use pot in others states – in Tennessee.

Lots of reporting here this week on the race for Governor on the 2018 ballot that is about to get on the road right here in 2017. State House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley tells our Nashville correspondent, Sam Stockard, that he has a “gut feeling” he will be in the race. And at least for now, the Democratic nomination is a contest between Fitzhugh and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who named his treasurer this week.

The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam takes private management of Fall Creek Falls State Park off the table in the capitol.

Haslam is here Thursday evening to talk about his gas tax proposal. And he should be pretty optimistic about its chances given what happened Wednesday in committee where a rival measure was crushed as Haslam’s plan survived. Here is the Associated Press account.

While he is here Thursday, Haslam will also get a look around Elvis Presley’s Memphis – the $45 million entertainment complex – across the street from Graceland in Whitehaven. Thursday is opening day there.

In his “View From The Hill” column, Stockard reports there is still some life left in the fall of Shelby County state Rep. Mark Lovell around how the House leadership handled the second scandal involving allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct by a House member in as many years.

St. Jude the basis for a new study that is another milestone on the journey away from the treatment for cancer being just as bad if not worse than the cancer. It shows lower and more targeted radiation doses mean fewer survivors who face a second cancer sooner.

For those of you inclined to really dig in, here is the article in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

A competition aimed at the problems and challenges of the medical district supply chain includes a shared-ride medical service. It’s a software application to better coordinate non-emergency transportation service for patients. It’s also another reminder that as we wait for the city bus system to meet these and other challenges, there are in effect rival networks that businesses and institutions are undertaking to do what MATA isn’t doing.

New homes in Germantown. Regency Homebuilders has bought 70 acres at Goodwin Farms for $2 million and has a 1.3 million mortgage loan from Pinnacle Bank. This is west of the Germantown-Collierville border near Houston Levee and Winchester.

Germantown Community Theatre is 46 seasons old and it has financial challenges. The show, of course, must go on but the theater is undertaking a fundraising campaign with a goal of $300,000. The group has a Saturday fundraiser at Opera Memphis toward that end.

Hershey plans to cut it workforce around the world about 15 percent. The Hershey plant that is just west of French Fort, overlooking the southern turn onto Interstate 55 doesn’t look to be affected at least from the initial comments from Hershey’s executives.

But they say U.S. shopping habits are changing. Hershey has to improve its operating margin in three years and more details are to come toward that time frame. But a JP Morgan analyst thinks Hershey will take many of the job cuts out of Shanghai Golden Monkey, the Chinese candy company Hershey had to have in 2014. It's a really old story of bigger to be bigger followed by smaller suddenly to survive being bigger that throws people out of work.

A moderate pace for economic growth indicated in a new Fed survey.

Exxon, which consistently has the highest prices at the pump around town, looks to increase production.

McDonald’s estimates it has lost 500 million customer transactions since 2012 and has another recovery plan.

New Twitter tools that are supposed to go after abusive users without other users having to report the behavior first.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751