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VOL. 132 | NO. 96 | Monday, May 15, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Murphy's, Mount Arlington in Midtown and Surgery Open House

By Bill Dries

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Senses, the nightclub on the eastern side of the Poplar viaduct, is back. Apparently it’s been back for a little while but the top code enforcement official involved says it is news to him and may be a violation that puts this matter in Environmental Court.

As the weekend began, more trouble for Trader Joe’s in Germantown. The developer of the delayed piece of a changing supermarket puzzle locally is out and this raises a lot more questions than answers.

In the last moments of his life Friday, Jared McLemore poured kerosene on himself, ran into Murphy’s on Madison to confront his ex-girlfriend, and then went back outside and set himself on fire, running back into the club – most of which he broadcast live on Facebook. You are going to be hearing a lot more about this event and a lot of debate about what it says about the current system for handling domestic violence cases as well as what it says about the system for providing mental health services when those services are an outgrowth of violent behavior that draws the attention of law enforcement.

Our first check of court records shows the first complaint we could find against McLemore by his ex-girlfriend was this past August and that there was an active warrant for what appears to be another alleged incident of domestic assault-bodily harm on May 12, the day before McLemore showed up at Murphy’s where his ex-girlfriend was running the sound for the live entertainment there that evening.

The affidavit with the August incident says McLemore choked her and was outside his ex-girlfriend’s place yelling “I’m gonna kill you.”

Paul Garner, the organizing director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, was injured with second degree burns he is recovering from in attempting to stop McLemore Friday night.

In a Saturday Facebook post, Garner said the incident would have been “entirely preventable if the Memphis Police Department had done their job.”

At the Whitehaven IHOP Sunday a man was shot and fatally wounded when he and a security guard at the restaurant intervened when they saw a third man first argue with his ex-girlfriend, who worked at the restaurant, and then start choking her, according to Memphis Police. The security guard was also shot and was in noncritical condition at last report.

Scott Brockman, the CEO of Memphis International Airport, talks about the renovation of the airport that is getting underway. And in Patrick Lantrip’s story for our weekly, The Memphis News, Brockman puts the project in perspective. This is part of a larger national move to improve aging infrastructure at airports across the country. Most of those airports are about 40 years old. MEM is more than 50 years old. The guest speaker at its opening was Adlai Stevenson when he was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Some of the airport work here shows up in a national infrastructure study. But some big parts of it don’t because they are not funded by the feds. They are instead funded by fees. And some of the projects go toward the cargo side of operations at the airport, which is considerably more than the passenger side of Memphis International Airport.

On the roads and bridges infrastructure issue, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard, putting in some post-legislative session work in our ongoing series about the local impact of the IMPROVE Act – or the gas tax bill – the Legislature approved as the centerpiece of the 2017 session that ended last week.

And the local projects on the list are, of course, topped by Lamar Avenue but also by Austin Peay Highway in Raleigh. And Memphis Democrat Karen Camper, in the House, says the slow pace of the Lamar improvements to date has cost the Memphis area at least two business prospects.

Stockard also has more with Gov. Bill Haslam on how the session went on several fronts including the IMPROVE Act.

Haslam, meanwhile, has signed into law the bill that puts in place a ban on abortions after 20 weeks when the fetus is judged viable and there is no risk of death or serious physical injury to the woman if she gives birth. Haslam signed the bill even though Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has said it could be unconstitutional. Slatery also said if there is a lawsuit contesting the new law, his office will defend it in court.

The national malware attack involving ransom ware was aimed at FedEx, among others, according to an acknowledgement from FedEx.

To no one’s surprise, Mike Norvell’s contract with the University of Memphis is extended in the football off-season. The extension comes with a $250,000 bump in his salary pool for his staff including assistant coaches.

The latest installment of our Chandler Reports Neighborhood Profile Report features the Mount Arlington section of Cooper-Young where there have been six new-home permits filed in the last year, average dollar figure of $166,500. That’s in a subdivision of 715 homes with an average appraisal value of $146,144. Chandler Reports is the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. The story includes a detailed Chandler Neighborhood Profile Report on the subdivision that gives you a very specific view of what is happening in one part of a hot Midtown market.

In multi-family, another out-of-town investor buys four Memphis apartment complexes for a total of $6 million.

On the retail side of real estate, a new first quarter report from Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors shows a 9.8 percent direct vacancy rate in Memphis retail and some caution over big box bankruptcies nationally.

I have done some rather unique open house events in my time as a reporter including an open house for the renovated trauma center at The Med. I've still got the t-shirt. A campaign opening in a supermarket produce section doesn’t really qualify as an open house by the strictest terms, but you get the idea. So, next Tuesday, Saint Francis Hospital is hosting an open house to showcase its new robotic surgery system. We talk with Dr. Alan Hammond, the chief of general surgery at Saint Francis, about the use of these systems and it turns out Hammond has a bit of a sense of humor about this.

If you are looking for more conventional dates for your calendar this week, we have that covered as well from Memphis In May to grim history to an invitation to a fishing rodeo in which we strongly encourage your best fish stories from the old fishing rodeos at Audubon Park. Dig?

Memphis music at the top of the Billboard blues chart. Robert Cray’s new album with the Hi Rhythm Section and recorded at Royal Studios in South Memphis debuted at #1 on the chart above the Rolling Stones.

The Memphis News Almanac: Tulane and Warren, TennCare begins, Tattoo, First National Bank tops out and “Toast of the Town” in Memphis.

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528