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VOL. 133 | NO. 160 | Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Bigger Goodlett, Collierville's Dilemma and Ronnie Grisanti's at Regalia

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Schools officials breaking ground Monday evening on the new Goodlett Elementary School to open a year from now on the grounds of the current Goodlett Elementary at 3001 S. Goodlett. The bigger Goodlett will allow for nearby Knight Road Elementary to close and its students to attend the new Goodlett. GOODLETT.

This kind of new school construction with consolidation of other nearby schools is the school system’s first step away from several years of school closings. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson looked at neighborhoods where such schools were within a few miles of each other and where school age populations no longer warrant that many schools at lower capacities.

SCS is about to start construction on a new Alcy Elementary that will mean the consolidation and closing of nearby Charjean and Magnolia Elementary schools along the same lines as the Goodlett project.

It’s been three years since the public act that made annexation by referendum took effect as state law. And plans for a residential development in Collierville’s annexation reserve area, just beyond Collierville’s current limits, has become an entry way into the issue of what becomes of such areas and the development within them when annexation is only possible when residents of the area give their approval for it to happen.

Shelby County commissioners were prepared to hear a lot from both sides – the developer seeking approval of the project and Collierville town leaders who oppose it – but instead they delayed any decision Monday to talk more to all sides in this dispute.

Three of the eight new commissioners that take office on Sept. 1 were at Monday’s commission session watching how things are done. What they found was a commission trying to finish action on several important issues before the new commission and new mayor take office. That includes a resolution that would lessen the control the county mayor has over EDGE – the city-county economic development agency. The provisions would only take effect if the city council approves the joint resolution. And that isn’t likely to happen before Sept. 1.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland sees the possibility of some quick action by county mayor-elect Lee Harris on providing county funding for the Memphis Area Transit Authority. That’s the point he made at a Democratic gathering over the weekend in Overton Park.

And about that gathering, the organizers of the event – not Strickland -- called the police when a group of five protesters showed up – some of them active in the local party. The local party is experiencing what can happen when you start to win elections again and the discussions to come on this point will be interesting. That’s not to say there weren’t discussions along these lines during a spectacularly bad run for candidates with a D by their names in the 2010 and 2014 elections in the same cycle. There were plenty of discussions about activism around causes versus getting Democrats elected and protest as a bridge to electoral politics versus as anathema to electoral politics. But everything changes when you start winning. The stakes get higher.

This is council day at City Hall. And if annexation reserve areas and EDGE rules have only whetted your appetite, you will be rewarded with the details of the historic district overlay ordinance council member Kemp Conrad has been crafting since June. It should be ready for a final council vote at Tuesday’s session. And the council will talk about security and crowd control recommendations for Beale Street at Tuesday’s executive session.

More details on Ronnie Grisanti’s at Regalia.

Most of what grand juries do, they do in secret. It’s the end of the process – an indictment in most cases – that the public sees. The Shelby County Criminal Court Judges – 9 of the 10 signing a court order -- lifted the veil a bit Monday by firing one of the two forepersons of the Shelby County Grand Jury, Mary Thomas, for not following proper procedure at the end of July.

Thomas allowed five alternates as well as the 12 grand jury members to hear testimony and then vote on each indictment. That is not supposed to happen and one of the alternates told the judges who took action.

Then Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich followed that by announcing Monday her office will dismiss all of the indictments returned by the grand jury that last day in July and seek superseding indictments.

The other grand jury foreperson is Pat Vincent who was just about ready to retire once the judges picked his replacement for the Thursday grand jury sessions. Vincent has agreed to take on the Tuesday grand jury sessions as well as his regular Thursday ones until a replacement is found for both positions.


In our Women & Business Emphasis, Dr. Linda Tharp on nearly 30 years in Midtown for her private optometry practice.

Three local elected leaders talk about the work-life balance when work is in the public eye.

The founder of Magnolia Homes, Karen Garner, estimates she has built around 900 homes during 30 years in the industry.

The University of Memphis is ready to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Aviation starting this fall. The U of M is partnering with Crew Training International at the Millington airport to offer the program that got a strong recommendation from FedEx founder Fred Smith when it went to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission last month for approval.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783