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VOL. 133 | NO. 155 | Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Cops Stay Put, Day One at SCS and Barry Gibb Comes To Town

By Bill Dries

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Memphis Police are staying put in their recent move to 170 North Main from the CJC. There has been some question about the former state office building the city bought possibly becoming the site of a second convention center hotel. And that’s where this gets complex.

The companies that want to undertake the hotel would still renovate and reopen the city’s tallest building, 100 North Main, which is a block away from the police building – just not as the hotel part of their plan. But that’s been ruled out now. However, during a wide-ranging discussion of this project and residential PILOTs on “Behind The Headlines” we discovered there may be some talks underway between these developers and developers of another hotel in the old police building. No, not the CJC which at this point would qualify as an old police building but the circa 1910 police HQ that cops have been talking about moving back into since soon after they left it in the late 1970s to move into the CJC. See what I mean about complex?

The first day of the school year at Charjean Elementary School came with a variety of reactions and emotions to be found in a line of kindergarten students.

Day one of the new school year is in the books for Shelby County Schools with a still tentative head count of about 90,000 students, the vast majority of students registered before Monday and the smoothest opening in recent years.

The first day is also a chance in recent years to measure the path of historic changes in public education countywide that began eight years ago with the one and only school year of the merger of public education into a single school system now five school years behind us.

And our thanks to Charjean principal Tameka Allen for making possible the images by our photographer Jim Weber of what is a moment all of us can relate to – the first day of school.

Days after losing a race for Circuit Court Clerk, Tom Leatherwood, the outgoing County Register, is the Republican nominee for state House District 99.

Our story mentions the work by a group of summer interns at Looney Ricks Kiss on ideas for an East High Sportsplex. Those interns are Sydney Matsumoto, Elizabeth Bateman, Amanda McGilvery, Madeline Ray, Jaemie Guieb and Nicole de Smidt.

In Cordova Monday evening, outgoing County Register Tom Leatherwood became the Republican nominee on the November general election ballot for state House District 99 – the seat held by veteran Republican state Rep. Ron Lollar who died suddenly in July. Lollar’s death invoked a seldom used state law where local party leaders – specifically those who live in the district in question – fill the vacancy on the ballot when there isn’t time for another primary election. Leatherwood got the nod less than a week after losing a bid for Circuit Court Clerk in the blue wave of the August county general elections. And he is no stranger in Nashville, having served two terms as a state Senator. Leatherwood will face Democratic nominee Dave Cambron in November. And Cambron was on hand for Monday night’s meeting of Republicans. Some knew who he was and said little to him. Others didn’t know until after he had left.

Some important Midtown real estate is changing hands – the apartments, single-family homes, office and studio space and dorms owned by the Memphis College of Art. By documents in the Register’s office, three sales have closed with offers on as many as nine others. Still up in the air is what happens to the iconic Rust Hall building in Overton Park itself, which is more complex because while the college owns the building, the city owns the ground beneath it. MCA president Laura Hine says the National Ornamental Metal Museum is among those who have expressed an interest in that building. A move by the metal museum from its current river bluff location by French Fort would renew discussions about new development and long held plans there.

Speaking of moves – a look at Alabama’s quarterback controversy.

Sir Barry Gibb is coming to town for Elvis Week, Graceland announced Monday. Gibb, the last surviving of the Gibb brothers who were the Bee Gees, will be here to talk Elvis during the Conversations of Graceland series Aug. 17 at the Graceland Soundstage. The Bee Gees 1960s hit “Words” was a cover Elvis performed when he first resumed live performing toward toward the end of the 60s. Gibb has another Memphis connection. He and his brother Robin Gibb co-wrote another of their biggest hits from the pre disco part of their career -- “To Love Somebody” – with the idea that Otis Redding would cover it. The Bee Gees put their version out just months before the plane crash that killed Redding. And Al Green’s cover of the Bee Gees’ song “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is a soul classic. The Bee Gees played the Mid-South Coliseum in 1971, per “Memphis Rocks” by Ron Hall.

PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593