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VOL. 132 | NO. 56 | Monday, March 20, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Calipari Madness, Wolfchase 20 Years On and The Path Beyond Chemo

By Bill Dries

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John Calipari returns to Memphis at week’s end after Kentucky advanced Sunday to the NCAA South semifinals at FedExForum Friday. But based on the way his team played Sunday after a close game with Northwestern Saturday he might not be here long.

Arkansas won’t be coming to town after losing to North Carolina Sunday and North Carolina will play Butler at the Forum

Meanwhile, Tigers basketball guard Craig Randall announced by Instagram that he is leaving the U of M program after two seasons.

Gasol wins. Marc that is -- as the Grizz beat the Spurs Saturday at the Forum 104-96. Chandler Parsons reporting for knee surgery Monday. Deyonta Davis is back with the Grizz at center, the team announced just before the Spurs tipoff. And the Grizz signed guard-forward Wayne Selden Jr. to a multi-year contract, also from the Iowa D-League team over the weekend as they waived Toney Douglas.

Some related questions for the beginning of the work week: How many of you saw the death of your bracket with Villanova’s upset Saturday by Wisconsin? But you will be back next March, won’t you?

Is the kid with the red spiked hair in the Northwestern jersey from Saturday okay? I’m really worried.

So your bracket is either a pile of ashes or ripped to shreds. All the better to focus your attention on the NCAA South coming to town at week’s end – among the rundown of items of importance for the week ahead.

Another question: If there are no more new shopping malls, what will be do if big hair and vinyl come back? Vinyl enthusiasts: I mean if vinyl comes back in a big, sustained way. Not in the current manner of craft beer – more than national record day.

That last question is prompted by the cover story from Andy Meek in our weekly, The Memphis News, about the now 20-year old Wolfchase Galleria – the city’s biggest shopping mall. It’s likely to be the city’s last at least for a while in this age of life style centers and mixed use developments. But there is no denying its financial impact well beyond its footprint, on the surrounding area of Germantown Parkway. And if you doubt the vitality, keep in mind that Ikea just opened near it in the last year.

Shelby County Commissioners have a decision to make Monday: whether to appoint someone to the state House District 95 seat vacated suddenly in February by Republican Mark Lovell before he even got settled into his office in Nashville. This would be an appointment just until the special general election in June is decided. Some commissioners see no need to appoint someone in that short a span of time. Other commissioners want someone in the seat to add another no vote on state Senator Brian Kelsey’s school voucher bill.

Also on today’s agenda, commissioner Steve Basar is going to push for the commission to call for an end to the city’s moratorium on new development in the Pinch.

Here is where the forming field in the special elections for the seat stand as the week begins.

Lee Mills remains the chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party. He was chosen to remain chairman at a Sunday convention of the local party at Houston High School. Mills became chairman last year as Mary Wagner resigned to become a Circuit Court Judge. Mills is at the helm of a county Republican party in a county that was carried by the Democratic nominee for president last year. But Republicans have owned every countywide office except Assessor and General Sessions Court Clerk since 2010 and most of those Republican office holders can’t run in the 2018 county elections because of term limits.

And Mills doesn’t want the Republican base in Shelby County – in the suburban areas outside the Memphis city limits and on its fringes – to get complacent even though there is no Shelby County Democratic Party at present. The Tennessee Democratic Party abolished a dysfunctional executive committee last year. The fact that Hillary Clinton carried the county by a wide margin without a local Democratic party in existence goes to his point.

St. Jude dedicated one of its existing research towers as the weekend began to a doctor and researcher – Dr. Donald Pinkel. Pinkel put St. Jude on the path of “total therapy” – the concept is a combination of drugs and other elements with radiation that sounds much simpler than finding the right combination has been. Total therapy under Pinkel’s leadership has paved the way for the institution’s push for treatments beyond chemotherapy.

An addition to the grounds of Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Midtown – Milla’s House. It is one of several new grief centers by Baptist Memorial Health Care opening this year.

Crosstown Concourse will be complete in its structural renovation by mid-May. But the tenants in the 1.5 million square foot structure are still building out their spaces. So with that, the formal reopening date is now in August – the same month that the original Sears Crosstown opened 90 years ago.

A house on Vinton Avenue drew the highest bid in the most recent online tax sale auction, according to the Shelby County Trustee’s office.

The Memphis News Almanac: 16.1 inches of snow, Lou Rawls and the Fifth Dimension, King Kastle and Rainbow Cream, the Claridge gets ready to open and 100 stills destroyed in three months.

Since the Million Dollar Quartet of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash is so in vogue these days, I’ll close with a reminder that at the actual gathering, much of which was recorded and can be bought in whole or cut by cut – the group of four spend a considerable amount of time talking about Chuck Berry and their admiration of his work. At the time, Berry was at his peak as an artist and innovator.

Here is Peter Guralnick in a Rolling Stone piece written before Berry’s death Saturday in St. Louis.

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