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VOL. 133 | NO. 17 | Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Shutdown Over?, Glen Farms Plans and Billy Richmond - Wing Guru

By Bill Dries

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The federal government shutdown for many of us outside the Beltway amounted to a message on a website saying the agency we were looking up was closed Monday. And Monday was the third and final day of the most recent shutdown. But the immigration policy known as DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – is the issue to be explored by Congress in the three weeks that the continuing resolution covers. It’s an issue that there has been plenty of local discussion about

There was a bit less of the partisan sniping among our two Congressmen and two Senators who represent Memphis. All four of them voted for the three-week continuing resolution. But color Cong. Steve Cohen skeptical about this being the end of the issue at the core of the shutdown – DACA. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander managed to include a temporary suspension of the medical devices tax he would like to see permanently eliminated.

Morgan Stanley, after several weeks of radio silence so to speak, releases a statement Monday that says the Wall Street giant did not fire former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. for sexual misconduct. Here are the basics. And here is the New York Times story in full that reports this was part of a settlement with Ford to keep this from turning into a lawsuit.

Plans for a new Collierville industrial park that straddles the county line with Fayette County. It’s called Glen Farms Corporate Park and the Collierville side of it includes plans for seven flex buildings of about 50,000 square feet. The Piperton side will be a little different – regional distribution hubs. Look for construction to begin in the spring.

A busy council day at City Hall with the new choice to run Memphis Light Gas and Water Division meeting the council. He is Jarl T. Young and he comes to town from Gulf Power in Pensacola. Bill Johnson, the president of TVA, is also on the fifth floor Tuesday afternoon to talk with council members.

Our discussion with council chairman Berlin Boyd and county commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer on “Behind The Headlines” included a lot of discussion about what could be reprisals in the Tennessee Legislature for the removal of Confederate monuments in two city parks last month. Boyd says the city’s request for an expanded Tourism Development Zone to finance the Downtown Bicentennial Gateway could be a target.

Our rundown of Monday’s Shelby County Commission meeting leads with the second half of the landfill moratorium and includes what could be the county’s first step toward getting into the sewer business – a utility board that commissioner Terry Roland says should be elected by those who live in the utility district to be created.

In our Sports Emphasis in advance of Thursday’s Newsmakers forum at the Brooks:

Pete Wickham drills down deeper on the return of soccer to Memphis in about a year by the USL and what has changed in soccer’s box office appeal. There is no doubt that soccer – youth and prep – is a part of growing up in Memphis. But in the past that has not translated to sustained success for pro soccer undertakings. And by the way, it is good to see Pete’s byline and reporting in our paper.

Former Tigers basketball star Billy Richmond is the Wing Guru these days – the kind of wings that come with honey suicide sauce. And Richmond’s background in wings goes back probably further than his basketball career. He tells us he was shaking wings as a child at the various place his father worked. Wings are a family matter.

The Airbnb concept now includes a company that finds a place to stay for not only traveling sports fans who don’t want the hotel experience or the same day drive but also for touring professional golf players and other athletes on the road for a living. The founders of Rent Like A Champion are finding success here as the FedEx St. Jude Classic looks to let someone else line up places to stay for the players while they focus on the golf.

A review of how the city’s three Fortune 500 publicly traded companies are looking as they close their books on 2017 and what federal tax reform will do for FedEx in particular.

Over seven years, the TennCare program paid $2.7 million to people who were dead. That according to a federal audit and a finding that the state owes the Feds $1.8 million – which is the federal share of that amount. The Haslam administration says it has already recouped much of that through a change in software. It also appears the Feds had one list of who is dead and the state had another.

A Chalkbeat op-ed on grade floors by Natalie McKinney, the former policy director for Shelby County Schools who is executive director of the nonprofit Whole Child Strategies Inc.

Pete & Sam’s on Facebook? And with a video of the rebuilding effort following a fire last year.

Preston Shannon has died. A part of the new Beale Street district’s identity, Shannon was a rhythm and blues showman with musical and vocal chops. Those chops were the perfect companion to a relatively understated stage presence on Beale where the distance between the stage and the crowd is measured in inches. I say understated because there are some who are more stage than ability in any city with this many stages. Shannon learned he had cancer this summer, about the time that I heard him working hard at Rum Boogie while spending a couple of really late Saturday nights on the street for our latest cover story on Beale. Shannon performed largely for tourists but he recorded several albums that included two produced by Hi Records legend Willie Mitchell that told the full story of his musical ability. On the street of the blues Shannon let others worry about what was the blues and what was soul and what was rhythm and blues. When his first album with Mitchell came out, I asked him about doing a “soul” record with a reputation for playing the blues. Without a pause, Shannon told me it was because the blues were a hard sell and he cited B.B. King’s greatest blues hit “The Thrill Is Gone” which was a hit in 1970.

PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270