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VOL. 132 | NO. 204 | Friday, October 13, 2017

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Athens Bound, The Amazon Campaign and All Things Grizz

By Bill Dries

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This may be the most covered meeting of the Tennessee Historical Commission ever – the meeting Friday in Athens, Tennessee where Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will attempt to make the case for the commission granting him permission to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Health Sciences Park. The chairman of the commission has already told Strickland in writing that the commission will not take up the matter – not even discuss it. Strickland hopes he will at least be heard. And he says the city should have a decision by mid-November and is adamant that this cannot be put off into the new year.

Meanwhile, some of the religious leaders who signed a letter Strickland is certain to bring up -- supporting his administration’s approach to the controversy – showed up for a Take Them Down 901 rally this week at the Forrest statue. And Take Them Down founder Tami Sawyer called on Strickland to stop playing “political games” and do something. Strickland said he has several legal options if nothing happens Friday in Athens. No specifics just yet but he did say one of those options is not covering up Forrest’s likeness.

Memphis has to be among the first if not the first major city to put a formal set of incentives out there in resolution form in the bidding to get the $5 billion Amazon HQ2 project. And that is being followed by a social media push that is probably aimed more at Memphians than it is Amazon’s front office in Seattle. Local companies have signed on to the effort being coordinated by the Greater Memphis Chamber, complete with a logo and bathing Big River Crossing in Amazon orange LED light at night. All of this has a pretty short timeline. The deadline for cities to make their bid is Oct. 19, less than a week away. So look for more of these efforts in the next week.

The best discussion of the city’s decision to end new sewer connections outside the Memphis city limits is on Behind The Headlines. Our guests are Shelby County Commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer, Alan Crone, special policy advisor to Mayor Jim Strickland and Kelly Rayne, senior VP of the Greater Memphis Chamber. The program airs at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

In our Friday Sports Section:

The Grizz “Core Two” – Marc Gasol and Mike Conley – is already sorted out. What is happening in the pre-season games are battles for the other roster spots including at power forward where Chandler Parsons is still tentative.

Don Wade in his “Press Box” column talks about shaking up the NBA at the outset of a season in which most of the general managers think Golden State will repeat as champ.

More on the Grizz season to come in the new edition of our weekly, The Memphis News. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies are on the street Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

The Houston Nutt lawsuit against Ole Miss is back on, as expected, this time not in federal court but in a Mississippi state court.

Dave Link in Knoxville on Saturday’s UT-South Carolina match up at Neyland. And after lots of speculation about the future of Butch Jones being in doubt as coach, this could be the game that decides that question.

Terry McCormick on the Titans moving toward a possible playoff berth that is really nothing to cheer about.

Design review completed for three Downtown projects – The Tap Room of the Tennessee Brewery project, the Oden & Associates HQ on Vance and a mixed use development in the 600 block of Marshall.

There can be a tendency to blame the weather for a lot of things including business numbers. It’s not uncommon for a couple of days of bad weather in one part of the country to take the heat for quarterly revenue numbers of a national corporation. That is also the tendency when it comes to measuring the confidence level of small business owners. The NFIB index on that in Tennessee showed a decline in September and the federation is avoiding the temptation to pin it on hurricane season. They say it is inaction by Congress on health care reform and tax reform and an expectation by business owners that their sales make take a tumble – and not just in the states affected by the hurricanes.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 46 229 20,995
MORTGAGES 74 248 24,609
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 27 8,637
BUILDING PERMITS 282 641 42,978
BANKRUPTCIES 61 177 14,079
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 58 6,459
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 29 114 13,625
MARRIAGE LICENSES 20 67 5,136

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