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VOL. 133 | NO. 71 | Monday, April 9, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: MLK50s Surprise Ending, Senate Race Shake Up and EDGE Insights

By Bill Dries

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Does the NBA need a version of the mercy rule for this meaningless part of the season for teams that have already made the second season – I mean, the playoffs – and those who are looking to lose their way to the top draft pick? The Grizz played their last home game of the season Sunday at the Forum. Grizz over the Pistons 130 – 117.

The MLK50 event that featured a march from St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral to City Hall offered a surprise at the end of the march.

The events of 1968 gave way Saturday to the controversies of the present – namely the Memphis Police arrest of a journalist last week that ended with federal immigration agents taking custody of him after the misdemeanor local charges were dropped. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was jeered and ultimately walked away from a commemoration outside City Hall Saturday. The commemoration was to mark the march 150 religious leaders made to City Hall in 1968 to demand that then-Mayor Henry Loeb settle the sanitation workers strike. Later, Strickland’s staff said the city had no role in Manuel Duran’s arrest by federal ICE agents in what is a critical chain of events in the controversy. A protester arrested with Duran said Sunday he saw Duran’s arrest papers and they included a note to hold Duran for ICE agents.

Plenty of links in our Around Memphis reading list about MLK50 from other perspectives and other publications for your consideration.

This is the week that early voting starts in the county primaries – in advance of the May 1 election day. That is included in The Week Ahead.

Meanwhile the August state and federal primary ballot is shaping up along with some nonpartisan county races with last week’s deadline. And the Tennessee Republican Party’s executive committee pared down the field of contenders in its primaries in the two statewide races at the top of the ballot – for Governor and U.S. Senate. Seven contenders who filed in the Republican Senate primary were dropped from the primary because of their recent voting records, leaving three contenders there. One of the Republican contenders for Governor was dropped for the same reason.


And Willie Herenton, the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, is ready for the 2019 campaign for mayor. Herenton is acknowledging things have changed politically but views a new generation as needing leadership.

A closer look at the discussion from last week before EDGE approved both of Graceland’s plans to expand – its convention center facility and its more controversial arena plans – both on its Whitehaven campus. The discussion revealed a lot of questions about what Graceland’s true intent is. There is also more detail on the city’s position. The administration had hoped that Graceland and the Grizz could work out something without a court having to decide if Graceland’s plan violates the Grizz noncompete for running FedExForum. The EDGE decision to greenlight both Graceland plans seems to mean a court will have to decide this.

The mobile desk in the emergency department at Methodist South is among the recent changes to health care locally.

One of the speakers at our Thursday Daily News Seminar on health care at The Brooks says the individual mandate for insurance isn’t necessary for health care coverage to work. The comment by Timothy J. Finnell, the managing partner of Group Benefits LLC, is in the cover story by Andy Meek of our weekly, The Memphis News. It also includes some figures on participation in marketplace health care plans statewide. The number of participants in those plans has been dropping in recent years. The current number is 228,646 compared to 268,867 in 2016. The story sets the stage for Thursday’s discussion which includes Methodist Le Bonheur president and CEO Michael Ugwueke and attorney Katy Laster.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has a separate Clinical Trials Network after two years of work on coordinating the step forward for UTHSC. The network is a statewide one that helps to grow research efforts there and in the city’s medical community in general. It helps to keep the research that originates here within that community even as it goes broader.

60 Minutes on the National Memorial for Peace and Justice – a memorial to more than 4,000 victims of lynching. The Memphis City Council was considering something very much like this for the plaza around the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Health Science Park before the statue and other Confederate monuments were removed this past December.

The Memphis News Almanac: Tigers go to the NCAA finals against Kansas, words from the diary of Ida B. Wells and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220