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VOL. 132 | NO. 64 | Thursday, March 30, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Watching the Masthead, Dunavant Award Winners and Gin Blossoms

By Bill Dries

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Jones Lang LaSalle says it can save the University of Memphis and by extension the state 12.5 percent of the cost of running its facilities. That’s included in a statewide higher education facilities contract the Haslam administration appears poised to award in a fast-moving return to privatization proposals. But the administration is encountering resistance from legislators who cite a letter from the Tennessee Comptroller that calls into question the cost savings estimates.

Lots of masthead watching the day after The Commercial Appeal newsroom took some major job cuts. Managing Editor Mark Warren is now running a centralized editorial page that is coordinated elsewhere in the state with long-time opinion editor Jerome Wright leaving the paper voluntarily at week’s end. Gannett folks spelled out the statewide method and focus for the group of Tennessee papers Wednesday and that was followed by letters from the editors of those papers explaining it to readers in letters that in places used very similar phrasing.

The last week has seen a trio of openings at Crosstown Concourse with more certain to be on the way. The Memphis area’s newest YMCA opened Wednesday.

Spring break is over and thoughts are now turning to summer jobs programs in a city that has a double digit youth unemployment rate. These used to be programs that were about one thing and one thing only – making money for three months. In recent years this has evolved to more job training and less of a rush to get paychecks for any job to be had. It is that approach that is central to the Memphis Black Expo event this weekend at Hamilton High School. It includes a job fair Sunday and a workforce seminar the day before. Lots of summer employers will be at the job fair.

With spring’s arrival, this is prime river watching time and this week, the largest diesel towboat on the Mississippi River was at Beale Street Landing for a day on relatively light duty for a tow that has a crew of 34 and can handle 16 barges at a time. The Motor Vessel Mississippi will be back on the riverfront Tuesday for meetings by the Mississippi River Commission that are held twice a year.

Doughnuts at Schilling Farms in Collierville.

The decision is made and the recipients named for the annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards sponsored by The Daily News and the Rotary Club of Memphis East. They are Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner and Memphis Public Libraries director Keenon McCloy.

Checking in at the Memphis Animal Shelter, where you now need an appointment to surrender a pet.

Back to Nashville: In his “View From The Hill” column, Sam Stockard sorts out the various marijuana bills in the Legislature starting with the medical marijuana bill and a resolution urging the Legislature to effectively wait on the Feds before acting on the proposition.

25 years ago a lot of bands were coming to Memphis and specifically Ardent Studios to make records, especially if they had a record deal and the follow through on recording a first album was not working somewhere else.

One of those bands was Gin Blossoms whose album “New Miserable Experience” has now reached the ripe old age of 25 this year. The band has put out an anniversary edition on vinyl.

And Rolling Stone has a piece about the making of the album in Memphis, which reads like it was no picnic. It also sounds like the album is on its way to becoming another entry in the cannon of made in Memphis classics like the Replacements album.

Netflix offering a documentary on politico Roger Stone with a May premiere. The documentary, per The Hill, is a look at the controversial political strategist that traces his path to the Trump campaign across almost 50 years of political involvement. Shortly after Stone was a teenage Watergate dirty tricks operative, he came to Memphis as one of two contenders for the leadership of the National Young Republicans organization. The national group’s 1977 convention, hosted by a group of local Young Republicans that included Don Sundquist and John Ryder, was held in Memphis at the old Holiday Inn Rivermont. Stone won a hotly contested race despite the then considerable shadow of Watergate with tactics that have come to define him. Perhaps there is some reference to the Memphis gathering? We shall see.

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