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VOL. 133 | NO. 18 | Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Megasite Changes, Jubilee Schools to End and The Day at City Hall

By Bill Dries

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Back to the drawing board for the megasite in Haywood County. State officials have decided the wastewater flow they had planned from the site along Interstate 40 won’t empty into the Mississippi River near Randolph in Tipton County after all. It’s the latest attempt by the state to make the decade-old site set aside for industrial or manufacturing development shovel ready.

Catholic schools officials cited a changing education scene locally in announcing the decision Tuesday to walk away from the set of Jubilee schools effective in the 2018-2019 school year. But the exodus in a transition of the schools to a network of charter schools is a big change in the local schools landscape itself. When Bishop Terry Steib opened the first Jubilee schools in 1999, it was controversial among local Catholics. The first Jubilee schools were restarts of parish schools in the inner city that had been dormant for a couple of decades or more in some cases. No word on who the charter company is that wants to make the schools a network. And the Catholic Diocese still has other schools in its system as well as the three independent Catholic schools.

A busy afternoon at City Hall but not as long as it could have been. As expected the city council backtracked on its rejection of gas and electricity rate hikes proposed by MLGW. So it’s back on the burner again. But then the council put off a vote until the first council session in February. And there is a second ballot question for city voters in November. First came the question on repealing ranked-choice voting. Now comes a proposed extension of the city term limits of two consecutive terms to three consecutive terms for the mayor and council. And the six council members now serving their second term would be eligible to run for a third term if voters approve this in November.

TVA president Bill Johnson was at City Hall on Tuesday as well to talk things over with the council. The council members were curious about future TVA electricity price hikes, which are separate from MLGW rate hikes. Johnson says possibly 12 percent. And the council pushed for more weatherization programs as well as pushing for more solar programs. More on Johnson’s visit when next we meet.

Final call for our Newsmakers Sports forum Thursday afternoon at the Brooks with a story about the role social media is playing in sports promotion. You already know the scores, the trades and everything else in real time. Lots of front offices are now using social media in the off season.

The “heartbeat” anti-abortion bill is back, reports our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard. And it is drawing opposition from anti-abortion groups who say it’s “not good for the cause.”

A net neutrality bill filed in Nashville with Memphis Democrat Lee Harris as the Senate sponsor.

Unpacking Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s $30 million state plan to fight opioid addiction. AP’s Jonathan Mattise outlines an approach that would limit opioid amounts on initial prescriptions. Some of this is from what the state learned early on trying to shut down pill mills that are dispensing lots more than the populations of the towns they are in could ever legitimately use.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, who has had some stark differences with Haslam in the past on other issues, backed Haslam’s plan Tuesday calling it “a smart move” that “focuses on the right priorities – prevention and treatment rather than punishment.”

MemPops Collierville is open.

Church Health’s push for the Memphis plan.

Atop our Memphis Newsmakers segment, Ted Davis, the new Humane Society president talks about Lulu, his silky terrier, and Sea Biscuit.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0