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VOL. 132 | NO. 194 | Friday, September 29, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Haslam Talks, Harding Consolidates and Lenoir Launches

By Bill Dries

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam had a bit more to say Thursday about a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat Bob Corker is leaving than the “I love my job” quote we chronicled earlier in the week that Corker quickened the pace of with his decision on re-election. Haslam says he is giving a run for the Senate serious consideration. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is not.

This monopolized much but not all of our time on “Behind The Headlines” this week with a reporter’s roundtable that includes Toby Sells from The Memphis Flyer. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

A big logistics-distribution deal on the Memphis side of the Tennessee-Mississippi state line. DHL supply chain is looking to build 580,000 square feet of distribution space on Belz land east of Tchulahoma near Meltech in an area where on a clear day you can see distribution centers forever.

It looks like it will soon be moving day at The Commercial Appeal building with a company meeting at 495 Union indicating the goal is to have a deal on the sale of the current building by year’s end and new offices for the staff as well. The staff also got smaller with word that packaging and the mailroom – the folks who do direct mail pieces like the supermarket coupons etc. – will move to Nashville by year’s end as well. The printing of those pieces goes to Jackson, Tennessee. 55 jobs.

Remember our story in the Thursday edition about how complex and utterly off the issue the process of trying to get state permission to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue is? Let me refresh your memory. City Council attorney Allan Wade has said it easier to carry out a state execution by lethal injection than it is to remove a Confederate statue in Tennessee. City Attorney Bruce McMullen had to go over the hoops to jump through and the specific order of them several times this week with an assistant close by as he outlined it for us. Well, it got even more complicated Thursday.

The historical commission’s chairman and legal counsel say the commission has no rules for hearing the city’s waiver and thus won’t consider the city’s request for a waiver allowing it to remove the statue at its Oct. 13 meeting. And that is exactly the point the city made just about a year ago when the historical commission dismissed the city’s request without a vote. No criteria or rules for making the decision. There is a draft of the rules but they aren’t ready after a year, the letter to the city says. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says the full commission should vote on this decision not to hear the city’s request and he will be at the October meeting to make that point even though the item isn’t on the agenda.

Lots of after-hours stuff in this old newsroom at night:

Harding Academy is consolidating into one location and raising money for the one campus approach in part by selling its Cordova campus and land it bought in Lakeland right at the onset of the recession but never built on.

As noted, County Trustee David Lenoir made it official Thursday afternoon with a formal entry into the county mayor’s race with an interesting mix of his record and a call for more than maintaining the county’s recent success in economic development.

In our Friday Sports Section:

Don Wade’s Press Box column goes deeper on the non-basketball talk at Grizz Media Day this week. These are interesting times in professional sports that make some of us older heads re-read things like “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton and “The Way It Is” by Curt Flood as well as “Seeing It Through” by Tony Conigliaro. Have I mentioned I like baseball. The stories of these athletes in the era of Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali are a reminder that the men and women who play sports for our entertainment don’t live their lives within the same well-defined boundaries that they work in.

Also from Media Days, Chandler Parsons channels his inner Grant Hill.

David Climer reading the tea leaves from Rocky Top’s athletic director bringing back the name Lady Vols for women’s sports there and he thinks it is an indicator that more changes are possible and not just where Butch Jones is involved.

Dave Link in Knoxville recaps the stormy week in Vols football ahead of Saturday’s game at Neyland against Georgia.

The Fourth Bluff effort is about a year old at this point and for the fall some of the effort moves inside with some renovations on the Cossitt Library as well as to Mississippi River Park and in some less experimental directions in developing this often overlooked section of the bluff.

How does Narcan work and a roundup of where the state of Tennessee is in the lawsuit against pharma over opioid addiction. Meanwhile, the Memphis City Council will at least discuss Tuesday a resolution that would move the city a step closer to supporting such a lawsuit.

The fall line-up for Indie Memphis marks the 20th anniversary for the film festival. And the director of “Bad Lieutenant” – a 25-year old cop thriller with an enduring reputation – gets a tribute at the November gathering and his band gets a gig at the Hi-Tone.

The impact of Crosstown Concourse on the surrounding neighborhoods is the cover story by Patrick Lantrip in our weekly, The Memphis News. The PDF of the new issue is up already on this website. The hard copies of the issue hit the streets Friday morning. The online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

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