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VOL. 133 | NO. 158 | Friday, August 10, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: MIM Numbers, Feeding 700 Teenagers and Elvis Week Arrives

By Bill Dries

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The honored country tradition of the Memphis In May International Festival is one of those things that gets called into question whenever there is some thought about changes to the city’s biggest party. And the keepers of the festival’s flame always defend the tradition against the notion that they should just go straight to the party and not worry about anything profound.

That’s why it was something of a surprise when at the festival annual meeting Thursday evening, it was announced that the honored country at the 2019 festival won’t be a country. It will be us – Memphis – in honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city -- and Shelby County. In “The Founding of Memphis”, author James Roper identifies May 22, 1819 as the date the city was formally founded.

The honored country tradition goes back to MIM’s 1970s roots and the idea that the festival would promote foreign trade and business relationships in the city. Japan was the first honored country because the city was about to land the Sharp Corp. plant.

Some dollar figures from the annual report released Thursday by MIM:

•The festival over its month-long run this year generated $10.9 million in revenue, a record and an increase of 12 percent from 2017.

•The Beale Street Music Festival had $4.5 million in ticket sales, another record for gross revenue.

•And BSMF’s attendance for all three days was 102,507.

Here are the dates:

•BSMF May 3-5

•BBQ May 15-18

•Great American River Run May 25

•Also on May 25, a new event – Celebrate Memphis

Tennessee death row inmate Billy Ray Irick died by lethal injection Thursday evening at Nashville’s Riverbend prison – the first state execution since 2009 as legal cases are pending over the mix of drugs the state uses in the executions. A Knoxville jury convicted Irick in 1986 of the first degree murder and aggravated rape of seven year old Paula Dyer.

A recap of this week’s continuation of the conflict between the county commission and county mayor Mark Luttrell over legal representation as Luttrell and a majority of the commission prepare to leave office at the end of the month.

Collierville Schools superintendent John Aitken says the new Collierville High School represents more than a lot of money spent on a large high school.

How to test a new state of the art high school? Can it feed more than 700 14-year olds? That’s one of the tests the new Collierville High School is undergoing and Collierville Schools superintendent John Aitken is trying to get the discussion past the building specs and the price tag.

Friday in Jackson, Tennessee, a Democratic show of unity in the statewide race for Governor as Ripley state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh campaigns with Democratic nominee Karl Dean a week and a day after the two battled for the nomination. And this week TV ads airing statewide with outgoing Republican governor Bill Haslam endorsing Republican nominee Bill Lee.

A look around the MERI mobile bioskills lab on the streets of the city this summer as the school year begins. There’s a lot of technology in the lab on wheels costing nearly $700,000 and matching the equipment found at MERI’s headquarters.

Tigers football seniors Sam Craft and Jackson Dillon on the road to recovery.

Prepping the Liberty Bowl for the Sept. 1 home opener against Mercer.

Germantown alum Ian Clark talks about his stops with Golden State and now the Pelicans in the NBA.

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees won’t be coming in for Elvis Week next week as scheduled. Graceland says there was “an unanticipated change” in his production schedule.

Meanwhile Elvis Week gets kicked off Friday morning as Lisa Marie Presley and her daughter, Riley Keough, open a new exhibit at Elvis Presley’s Graceland on Lisa Marie Presley’s childhood at Graceland. From there the party rolls into a meet and greet and Guest House with the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contestants and the semifinal round of the competition Friday evening at the soundstage.

Outgoing Shelby County public defender Stephen Bush on “Behind the Headlines” in a sort of exit interview. Although he has announced his departure, Bush will remain head of the public defender’s office until his replacement is appointed by county mayor elect Lee Harris. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

The Washington Post on the amendment to Mississippi’s work requirement for Medicaid that got little attention.

MATA’s quest for a better funded public transportation system is the cover by Toni Lepeska in our weekly, The Memphis News. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies hit the street Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751