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VOL. 132 | NO. 209 | Friday, October 20, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Alexander on Trump, Gibson Sells and Chandler Home Sales Numbers

By Bill Dries

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If you tuned out at half-time in Houston Thursday evening, you may need to examine your committment and give me five sets of wind sprints from East Parkway to the fountain at the other end of Tiger Lane. And no drinking the blue water.

Then again, a somewhat different Tigers team did come out for the second half. After being shut out -- as in scoreless -- in the first half, the Tigers came to life in the second half to beat Houston 42-38. And kudos to the ESPN team for continuing to portray Houston as the inevitable winner way past the winning touchdown by the Tigers. Homers.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander counts 60 Democratic and Republican votes for the proposal he and Washington Democrat Patty Murray have authored and revised this week to provide a temporary measure that would keep cost-sharing health insurance payments flowing and give flexibility to states to create insurance policies. Per Slate. And for the first time Alexander is talking publicly about and to President Donald Trump – whose position on the bill has changed several times this week. He’s also starting to talk about different standards of conservatism.

From a statement out of Alexander’s office Thursday evening:

“The president says there should be no bailout of insurance companies. I agree 100 percent. So does Senator Murray. We have a page and a half to make it clear that insurance companies cannot ‘double dip,’ so the benefits go to consumers not insurance companies.

“Some conservatives object to the idea of paying them at all, but I would ask what's conservative about unaffordable premiums? What's conservative about $194 billion of new federal debt? What's conservative about creating chaos so millions can't buy insurance? What's conservative about a four-lane highway that would be the chaos that leads to a single-payer solution for insurance in this country?”

“The people still objecting are listening to the groups around Washington, D.C. I would suggest they listen to some other people. Listen to the waitress, listen to the songwriter, listen to the brick layer, listen to the small businesswoman. The people of America, there are 350,000 in Tennessee, who may be terrified by the prospect of increasing premiums or even the prospect of not being able to buy insurance at all.”

We will see what Friday in Washington brings.

Lots of pieces of the real estate puzzle shaking loose Downtown right about now. The Gibson Guitar Factory south of Beale Street is up for sale with Gibson looking to move elsewhere in the city after 18 years here. This is six acres across from FedExForum with a 330-space parking lot. And yes, we had it first.

Speaking of changes, more on the retirement of Riverfront Development Corp. president Benny Lendermon that we broke Wednesday as the city’s riverfront plan is developing some momentum and prepares to begin some much more aggressive private fundraising – either through philanthropy or through private investment.

New numbers from Chandler Reports on local home sales in September shows the average home sale price here of $171,929 up 8 percent compared to a year ago. And the 38139 ZIP of Germantown East had the highest average price for the month at $445,117. The countywide volume of home sales for the month was $290 million, which is 19 percent higher than a year ago. Meanwhile some homebuilders are facing a possible shortage of labor and materials as the rebuild of Texas and Florida from the recent hurricanes begins. Chandler Reports is the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Co. Inc.

Also by the Chandler numbers, mortgages made in Shelby County in the third quarter were at the same level they were a year ago. But they are higher-dollar mortgages on average, contributing to a 6 percent gain in purchase mortgage volume in September compared to a year ago. And those on the look for a house to own are settling in for the holidays to return to the market on the other side.

In our Friday Sports Section:

Don Wade’s Press Box column on those boos that Chandler Parsons got at the Grizz season opener Wednesday.

And a stunning debut for Dillon Brooks on opening night at the forum.

David Climer on Butch Jones’ blind spots as Rocky Top plays Alabama this weekend.

Dave Link in Knoxville on what is at stake in the UT-Alabama game.

Terry McCormick on the Titans’ kicker.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland on Behind The Headlines Friday to cover a variety of topics including Confederate monuments and riverfront development – specifically Mud Island and aquariums on Mud Island. The show airs at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story in our weekly, The Memphis News, is Big River Crossing and the surrounding environs one year after the opening of the boardwalk across the Mississippi River. 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. That also includes an online version only of our travels on the Big River Crossing and other points from there on both sides of the river.

Little Rock leaders took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post to announce they are dropping their bid for the $5-billion Amazon HQ2 project. The deadline for cities to submit what amount to offers for the project was Thursday. Amazon executives say they will make a decision early next year.

Associated Press on whether the pursuit of HQ2 is worth it for Memphis and other cities.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047