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VOL. 133 | NO. 20 | Friday, January 26, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Eureka Education, Confederate Monuments in Court and Dillon Brooks

By Bill Dries

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Supermarkets are hard. That is the tag line in every discussion about getting a supermarket or grocery store for a given part of town that doesn’t have one. And once a new supermarket goes up somewhere else, there is inevitably word that a competitor or two is going to build nearby. The discussion always includes the mandatory recitation of the 3 to 4 percent profit margin stores operate on, which even knowledgeable critics of the decisions about where to locate and not to locate stores acknowledge is accurate.

But what in the name of Clarence Saunders is the deal with Trader Joe’s in Germantown – change of developers, renovate the existing building, build new, discussions about a search for an unnamed tenant with fewer deliveries, listings on the Trader Joe’s website that disappear from the website. This is right up there with our tortured pursuit of an NFL team.

Rant over and with that (trumpet fanfare) -- Trader Joe’s in Germantown is back on, it appears, with a $750,000 building permit application that came across our desk Thursday. To be clear, the permit application lists Trader Joe’s as the tenant for the buildout at 2130 Exeter Road … as the world turns on this supermarket soap opera.

If you are a parent of a school-aged child the chances are pretty good that the word eureka is not an expression of “triumph on a discovery” by the Merriam-Webster definition. Not at all. For that reason, Shelby County Schools has been holding classes for parents since December on the Eureka math curriculum and the Expeditionary Learning reading curriculum. EL, as it is known, gets the attention of parents with a lot of homework toward the front end of a “module” or project students work on for 9 weeks. We sat in on the session for parents of third graders at Macon Hall Elementary School Wednesday evening.

On the other side of this harsh winter – by Memphis standards – there are spring plans emerging for the two parks at the center of the Confederate monuments controversy – Health Sciences and Memphis Parks. Memphis Greenspace, the private nonprofit that bought the parks from the city for $1,000 each including the monuments that it had removed in December, is talking about what it plans to do starting off as spring approaches. Among the items 60 days of yoga returns to Memphis Park and comes to Health Sciences Park. This is probably something happening in lots of cities. But I still believe yoga on the greensward at the height of the Overton Park protests by the metal barriers is owed some debt of gratitude for making this a thing in our fair city.

Meanwhile, the city and Sons of Confederate Veterans were in Chancery Court in Nashville Thursday over the statues. SCV wants an immediate restraining order to keep the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis from being damaged or destroyed. The city’s point is that it has sold the parks and the monuments to Memphis Greenspace and what is done is done with the removal of the statues. The two sides also clashed over where the monument ends and where the graves of Forrest and his wife begin. Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle said she will release her decision Monday dealing with some or all of those points.

A good two-page overview of the local economy in The Daily News; Q4 Economic Overview which is topped by real estate numbers from our own Chandler Reports, the top five business deals of the quarter, Wall Street graphs on publicly traded companies based here or with a significant presence in Memphis, the purchasing managers index and the freight transportation services index – even MEM numbers of enplaned and deplaned.

The keynote speaker for the February Dunavant Awards we cosponsor with the Rotary Club of Memphis East -- Carolyn Hardy -- talks about her role in pushing for growth in minority and women-owned businesses locally.

All things Megasite in Patrick Lantrip’s cover story in the new issue of our weekly, The Memphis News, including the most recent change in the wastewater line. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this very website. The hard copies go in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up Friday afternoon.

In our Friday Sports Section:

Don Wade’s discussion with interim Grizz coach J. B. Bickerstaff and the perils of being an NBA coach making progress over time and hoping time doesn’t run out. And Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talks about surviving under such pressures.

“The Press Box” is about the Grizz presence at the NBA All Star weekend next month – specifically the World vs. U.S. matchup highlighting NBA rookies and sophomores including Dillon Brooks of the Grizz who will be on the World team by virtue of his Canadian-ness.

Terry McCormick on how Mike Vrabel came to be the Titans new coach.

Dave Link on the journey of the Lady Vols after Pat Summitt.

Sherra Wright’s arraignment Thursday on charges of conspiracy, first degree murder and attempted murder in the 2010 death of her ex-husband Lorenzen Wright delayed a month. She is in the process of hiring attorneys Blake Ballin and Steve Farese Jr. The state has not announced a decision yet on whether it will seek the death penalty.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam follows up on his $30 million state plan to battle opioid addiction with a panel specifically on guidelines for doctors and other health care professionals on how they prescribe the painkillers. Dr. David Stern, vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is among those appointed to the panel. We’ve written about Stern’s work at UTHSC and in particular the Center for Addiction Science he formed.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County Health Department director Alisa Haushalter are our guests on “Behind The Headlines” to talk about the effort to combat opioid addiction. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove has pulled a qualifying petition to run in the Democratic primary for Juvenile Court Clerk in the May primaries. In other Election Commission action, outgoing county commissioner George Chism filed to run for Trustee in the Republican county primaries becoming the first but almost certainly not the last person to file for the office Republican David Lenoir is leaving because of term limits and a bid for Shelby County Mayor. Circuit Court Judge David Rudolph and attorney Yolanda Kight are set for a matchup in the special nonpartisan election for the Circuit Court position Rudolph was appointed to by Haslam. John Edward Lackey Jr. made the Republican primary pack for Circuit Court Clerk a trio with his filing – alongside Michael Finney and Tom Leatherwood. And Temika Gipson became the first Democrat to file in the contest for the position Republican incumbent Jimmy Moore will leave at the end of his current term.

Special primary elections Thursday evening in state Senate District 14, the district represented by Republican Jim Tracy of Shelbyville. Tracy resigned his Senate seat after his appointment by president Donald Trump to be state director of the USDA’s rural development office. The results are going to be parsed probably until the regularly scheduled August state primaries to prove or disprove that what happened represents a larger change in the state.

Shane Reeves, the owner of a Murfreesboro pharmaceutical company, beat former state Rep. Joe Carr – arguably the most visible Tea Party figure in terms of running for office in the state – in the primary. Carr conceded the race. Reeves had the backing of Lt. Gov. and Senate Speaker Randy McNally. Reeves meets Democrat Gayle Jordan in the special general election there in March. Just for some perspective, there were 7,276 voters participating in the Republican primary. Some of the puns among Republicans on social media Thursday evening called the outcome a “Carr-wreck” and “Carr-nage.”

Millington’s school system breaks ground on a new performing arts center at Millington Central High School that will also be a home for the Playhouse 51 community theater company.

Bite Squad takes a bigger bite of the local restaurant take out industry.

Speaking of food, Strano moving from Cooper and Young next month to Poplar and Perkins in what was Jim’s Place.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597