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VOL. 133 | NO. 141 | Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Early Voting Goes Bigger, Worst Kept Secret and Christmas on Carr

By Bill Dries

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By 9:30 p.m. Monday, 599 people were still without power from weekend storms, according to MLGW with crews working into Tuesday. Meanwhile, 4,324 citizens had voted early through Monday at five sites with early voting expanded to all 27 sites Tuesday. There has to be some kind of connection there but at the moment it eludes me. Meanwhile, here is the grid of early voting sites and their hours from the Shelby County Election Commission… grid, get it?

Our publisher, Eric Barnes, described it as “the worst kept secret in Memphis media.” At FedExForum Monday, he unveiled The Daily Memphian, the online daily news outlet -- app on the way -- that goes to work this fall with a staff of 27 so far, built on a nonprofit charter and a business plan that includes a paywall as well as ads and sponsorships in addition to $6.5 million in donor money. This is a bid to become the city’s dominant news source of, by and for Memphians. You will read more about this in a publisher’s letter to come, but this also means changes for The Daily News and our weekly, The Memphis News.

New numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Co. Inc., show an 8 percent jump in the average home sale price -- $192,514 -- in Shelby County during June. Home sales by volume were $363 million in June compared to $331 million a year ago. The Germantown East ZIP 38139 had the highest average price at $483,034. And developer Griffin Elkington says rising lumber prices are becoming a concern and one of several factors in what he views as a seller’s market because of inventory.

We’ve all probably heard the success story of someone who maxed out credit cards and tapped their home equity to fund their business when no other options were available. Andre Fowlkes of Start Co. on “Behind The Headlines” talks about why that’s a symptom of the barriers minority and women-owned businesses face, a wealth gap and why there is another way.

Reaction to the Monday Helsinki meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin:


U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen: “Today, the President of the United States stood next to the President of Russia and criticized American intelligence agencies, attacked Democrats, and said the U.S. has been ‘foolish.’ Such words have never before been heard from a U.S. President. For Trump to stand beside Putin, who has killed journalists and political opponents, while discounting the findings of his own Department of Justice about Russian interference in our elections, is reprehensible. Our President declined to say whether he believed the findings of his own intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice or Putin’s denial of interference in our elections by saying ‘I don’t see any reason why’ Russia would have interfered in our elections. All of this comes on the heels of Trump’s saying about the European Union, our allies, ‘I think the European Union is a foe.’ Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said on Friday that ‘the warning lights are blinking red again,’ adding that ‘the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.’ Trump’s submissive posturing to Putin is an insult to every American and especially the men and women of the Armed Services and the FBI whose job is to preserve our American values. It is unprecedented. It is appalling. It is incomprehensible. Former CIA Director John Brennan called the Helsinki performance ‘nothing short of treasonous.’ Trump did not put America first.”


U.S. Sen. Bob Corker: “I do want to have good relations with Russia. I think everybody would like to see that happen. But I was disappointed, especially by the comments made after the formal presentation. I felt like that everyone who’s dealt with Putin understands fully that the best way to deal with him is through strength. And I just felt like the president’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover. And I was disappointed in that. When he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies, who work for him, I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency that he gave between them and what Putin was saying. I was very disappointed in that. Congress has voted on this. There are very few bills around here that pass 98-2, but we led on pushing back against Russia for many of the things they’ve done which have been counter to U.S. interests and I just felt like the president should have been more forceful in talking about those grievances. Again Putin only understands strength and I did not think this was a good moment for our country.”


U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander: “There is no doubt that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election. On July 3, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a bipartisan report that agreed with the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election. Last week, the Trump administration’s Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence agents for interfering in our 2016 presidential election. This makes it even more important that the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigation and the Mueller investigation continue until they are complete. Congress can then decide what to do about both.”

Meanwhile, a quick look at some fundraising numbers in the coming U.S. Senate race for Corker’s seat.

Don Wade at SEC Media Days in Atlanta where the coming of legalized sports betting is a topic of much interest.


The developers of The Lake District in Lakeland have hired Colliers International to handle the lease up going forward at the 160-acre mixed use development.

Inside the new business diversiFIT that offers a “Gym du Jour” approach to fitness and training with an app on the way.

Snow in Central Gardens Monday. Hallmark is now encamped in the city, specifically on Carr Avenue, filming “Christmas at Graceland” and trying not to sweat.

In my Twitter travels earlier this week I came across a link from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to part of the text of a speech by Ida B. Wells at Tremont Temple in Boston from February 1893 that is appropriate in light of Monday’s anniversary of her birth. The speech was among the early speeches on lynching Wells made following the 1892 lynchings in Memphis of Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart – the incident that prompted Wells to never return to Memphis and go around the world telling the story of lynching in America.

“We had nice homes, representatives in almost every branch of business and profession and refined society. We had learned that helping each other helped all and every well-conducted business by Afro-Americans prospered,” she said of Memphis. “With all our proscription in theatres, hotels and on railroads, we had never had a lynching and did not believe we could have one. There had been lynchings and brutal outrages of all sorts in our own state and those adjoining us, but we had confidence and pride in our city and the majesty of its laws. So far in advance of other Southern cities was ours, we were content to endure the evils we had, to labor and to wait. But there was a rude awakening.”

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751