$3.8M Permit Filed For Millington Solar Farm

A $3.8 million utility permit application was filed Friday, Aug. 10, for the largest solar power plant in Tennessee.

The application was filed by Nashville-based renewable energy company Silicon Ranch Corp., whose principals include former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen; former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber; and former commissioner of the Tennessee State Department of Revenue, Reagan Fair.

The Millington solar farm is a $100 million project that will result in 580,000 solar panels across 72 acres at Naval Support Activity Mid-South and 330 acres adjacent from the U.S. Navy facility, as previously reported by The Memphis Daily News.

The project is a partnership between Silicon Ranch, the U.S. Navy, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and the Millington Industrial Development Board.

The solar farm is estimated to produce 53 megawatts of solar power to help the Navy meet an initiative to utilize one gigawatt of renewable energy to support its bases across the nation.

The solar farm will also power 7,500 homes, with TVA agreeing to a long-term power-purchase agreement.

Stakeholders broke ground on the project on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. The project is anticipated to be fully operational by the second or third quarter of 2018.

– Special to The Daily News

UTHSC Researcher Receives Department of Defense Grant

University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s division of epidemiology chief, Jay Fowke, has been awarded an $843,694 grant from the Department of Defense for his research on the link between racial disparities and prostate cancer.

“We know that black men, for some reason, are more likely to develop and die from prostate cancer than other groups of men and we have almost no idea why that is the case,” Fowke said. “We don’t think it’s entirely genetic, although there could be some sort of inherited component to that, but there could also be a cultural, lifestyle component to that, and the two could interact in ways we don’t understand right now.”

Fowke’s work examines the environmental, non-genetic components of prostate cancer risk and then combines it with established genetic components.

“We think that one part of what drives prostate cancer is what we generally refer to as inflammation,” he said. “Sometimes, the immune system should turn on and it then should turn off. When it does not turn off, or does not turn off in the right way, it sometimes creates an inflammatory event that is not curtailed and can cause tissue damage on its own. The immune system could be sending cells into the prostate tissue to address something, but it doesn’t turn off. It stays and persists at a low-level state, which can cause damage and advance cancer development.”

From the collected circumstantial data, Fowke believes those events happen more readily in African-American men than other groups, as they are more likely to develop other inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Fowke and his research team will observe the expression of genes in prostate tissue that they believe are important in developing prostate cancer, see if the pattern of gene expression is linked with levels of inflammation in the tissue and whether these patterns of gene expression differ with race.

Fowke also serves as professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC.

– Special to The Daily News

Churches to Help MIFA Celebrate 50th Birthday

The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) is celebrating 50 years this year and Epiphany Lutheran Church and Collierville’s St. Andrews Episcopal Church are a part of the organization’s celebration.

On MIFA’s actual birthday, Sept. 15, volunteers from MIFA, Epiphany and St. Andrews will gather at 8:30 a.m. at Epiphany Community Garden to work in the garden, which provides fresh produce weekly to the Collierville Food Pantry and other area feeding ministries.

Ephipany pastor Monica Weber will open will with a prayer, which will be followed by a brief garden tour. Volunteers will then begin work, including harvesting fresh vegetables, weeding and watering, and planting new crops for the fall. Attendees will also have to opportunity to build a mason bee house to take home, along with instructions on where to place the bee house in their home and garden.

The two-hour event is family-friendly and open to the public. Ephipany will provide bottled water and snacks, birthday cake and a free MIFA50 T-shirt to volunteers.

The garden is located at the corner of Wolf River Boulevard and Bray Station Road in Collierville.

During MIFA’s CommUNITY Days, which take place over five days in September, people from more than 60 faith groups across Shelby County will gather to partner on more than 25 projects to benefit Memphis-area communities.

– Special to The Daily News

Restaurant Plans Submitted For Old Windjammer Space

Plans have been filed for a new restaurant building to rise on the now-empty, East Memphis lot where the old Windjammer Restaurant stood for decades.

Building documents were submitted to the Construction Code Enforcement office as part of construction-permit application for 786 E. Brookhaven Circle.

The blueprints do not include proposed signage with the name of the restaurant, but the plans were submitted under the heading “Wide Eyed Owl.’’

Plans show the restaurant will have two dining areas: A main, front space with tables for 56 people and a front patio with 24 seats under a sloping roof and surrounded by an ornamental iron fence.

The documents also show a bar with six seats, a drink-fountain area and kitchen, and bathrooms toward the back.

The exterior would be clad in fiber-cement siding and the roof would be metal, documents show.

The application estimates construction to cost $400,000.

– Special to The Daily News

Judd Grisanti Opening Restaurant Inspired by Father

Judd Grisanti is just a few short weeks away from opening a restaurant that moves him to tears almost every time he talks about it.

In early September, Ronnie Grisanti’s will open at Regalia. It’s been home to Mikasa, Circa by John Bragg, Southward and most recently, Heritage Tavern & Kitchen. As the three-month remodel nears the end, it’s a new place.

“We wanted something cozy, a place where you come and you might want to stay all night,” Grisanti said. “We definitely want everyone to feel at home.”

Home, in this case, is most like the former Ronnie Grisanti’s at Poplar and Humes, the space where the late Grisanti operated for about 30 years. Like the new place, it was clubby and comfortable.

Judd Grisanti and his brother Alex worked with their father on Poplar for many years before setting out on their own, each in different directions. When the elder Grisanti left the Poplar spot, he eventually landed in the restaurant at Sheffield Antiques Mall in Collierville. As his health declined, Judd Grisanti joined his father and eventually took over that operation, which closed early this summer.

The new restaurant will seat 24 at a double-L shaped bar, which is also where oysters will be served. The dining room seats 136 in its current configurations. There are more than a dozen roomy booths and a large table in an alcove that can be made private. A half wall is home to booths on one side and tables on another, and the center of the dining room holds tables. An upstairs dining room looks down over all the hubbub.

The front glass doors are coming down; in their place arched mahogany doors with leaded glass are going in.

“You’ll know you’re coming into an old-world place when you see the doors,” Grisanti said. “And the first thing people will see is my father’s signature on the wall. He had a perfect signature. It looked like he used a stamp every time he signed his name.”

Other Grisanti’s memorabilia will be in the entry, from old menus to family photos. And the menu will include many of the favorites from the old places, from classic to the family such as Elfo Special to freshly made pasta, and numerous fish and meat dishes.

“I call it antico and nuovo,” Grisanti said. “It’s old food but with a new twist.”

He’ll open for dinner and within a few weeks add lunch service. Eventually he’ll have Sunday brunch and plans for a valet take-out service so diners on the go can have meals delivered to their car

“This is such an emotional journey for me,” he said. “I cannot tell you how honored I am to be doing this for my family’s name, but you can’t imagine how much I wish my father were here to see it.”

– Special to The Daily News