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VOL. 133 | NO. 10 | Friday, January 12, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: A New Majority, A Plan After Kroger and Cold Cases

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County elections administrator Linda Phillips has been watching the ebb and flow of petitions for the 2018 elections and has found what she believes is a link to the weather. “Apparently when the dreaded ‘snow’ word is mentioned in the forecast, not only do people go out and clear the shelves of milk, bread and eggs. They also decide to pick up a petition,” she wrote in an email with the list of who has pulled and who has filed in the last two days.

The list shows that the Shelby County commission will have at least seven new members – a new majority – once all of the votes are counted in the August county general election. That comes with word that commissioner George Chism is running for trustee instead of re-election.

Shelby County commissioner Terry Roland made it official Thursday, pulling his qualifying petition to run in the May Republican primary for Shelby County Mayor. More on Roland’s candidacy in our Tuesday edition.

Allan Creasy opened his campaign Thursday evening in the Democratic primary for state House District 97. That is the seat currently held by Republican Jim Coley, who is seeking re-election. Creasy told supporters he intends to take his campaign to Republican areas of the district with a Democratic message. It’s the same strategy Dwayne Thompson used two years ago to flip a suburban state House seat from Republican to Democrat. Thompson was among those in attendance at the campaign opening and points out District 96 also went for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the same November general election.

Speaking of the Legislature, a move to a work requirement for TennCare coverage following a move by President Donald Trump to allow states to set such conditions.

The Tennessee Legislature’s committee on cold cases – murders and other racially-based violence during the civil rights era – takes another step toward a list of such cases and an investigation of those cases where no one was ever brought to justice.

In three weeks the Kroger stores in Southgate and Orange Mound will close. And the sudden announcement last week by Kroger’s Delta Division has galvanized the issue of food deserts and development in the inner city. The resulting anger expressed over the decision is one part of the conversation. The other part is a nuts and bolt business brass tacks discussion about what comes next. And there is a high level of detail in the latter along with an example of how this could work short term in another part of south Memphis.

Since the story went to press, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has indicated to us that he feels like the incentives local government could offer for a grocer or supermarket in Orange Mound and Southgate are already in place.

“Our rules already allow significant incentives to retail developers in distressed neighborhoods and that includes grocery stores,” he told us by email. “Working with our city council, we’ll use all the tools at our disposal to get new grocers into those areas.”

This could come up as part of a more general discussion later this month as the Urban Land Institute brings a trio of developers and planners to town to talk about urban design and revitalization.

A statement Thursday evening from former Cong. Harold Ford Jr. on his firing by Morgan Stanley in December following a sexual misconduct complaint by a reporter. The statement was apparently a response to a story earlier in the day in The New York Times. And here it is.

Back here, Playhouse on the Square has hired a law firm to investigate an allegation of sexual harassment against Playhouse founder Jackie Nichols that he has denied. And Michael Detroit is the interim leader of the theater as that investigation is underway.

At its opening week back in Nashville, the Tennessee Legislature has sexual harrassment training. What could go wrong?

A warehouse lease on Raines RoadPrimacy III in East Memphis is bought by the same Nashville company that bought Primacy II in April.

By the court calendar, the city of Memphis was to be before an administrative law judge next week – Tuesday – to argue that the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest was not a war memorial under a 2013 state law – one of two making it difficult to remove Confederate monuments and memorials. But the judge, Phillip Hilliard, dismissed the lawsuit Thursday saying in order for a judge to make a decision there has to be a controversy and with the Dec. 20 removal of the Forrest monument as well as the Jefferson Davis monument there is no longer a controversy for him to settle. Still pending is a Chancery Court lawsuit also filed well before the monument removals.

A new OB/GYN practice in East Memphis shows growth in the field.

The East Memphis Rotary looking for nominations for the annual Dunavant Awards, which The Daily News cosponsors. The award ceremony set for Feb. 28 with Greater Memphis Chamber Chairman’s Circle leader Carolyn Hardy as the keynote speaker.

In many ways this long holiday weekend is the beginning of local observances of the 50th anniversary of the sanitation workers strike and Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in our city. That starts with Monday’s MLK Day Game between the Grizz and the Lakers that is the centerpiece of NBA coverage for the holiday including being nationally televised. The forum around the game is always a lively and relevant discussion on the intersection of race and sports in America.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County Health Department director Alisa Haushalter are our guests on “Behind The Headlines.” We will be talking about the county’s problem with opioid addiction. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV and then afterward snow angels.

The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, is an examination of the grade-changing scandal at Trezevant High School and the use of grade floors in Shelby County Schools. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this very website. Hard copies of the new issue go in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up Friday afternoon here.

New appointments to the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289