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VOL. 133 | NO. 134 | Friday, July 6, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: River Museum Review, Tigers' Blended Family and Oxford Crackdown

By Bill Dries

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It’s not the Gulf. It’s Lake Pontchartrain that draws the crowds on Mud Island. The Riverwalk replica of the Gulf of Mexico’s neighbor that is. A few adjustments is all it took to return authorized wading to the area at the end of the scale model of the Mississippi River. The river park is changing as it continues to make its way through the annual season from the summer and into the fall.

After a few minor changes, Lake Pontchartrain on the Mud Island Riverwalk is now the place to beat the heat and wade into the waters of summer.

And part of the annual journey of the park – now 36 years old and counting – has as much to do with memory as it does with the present. It’s hard not to be sentimental about this place where so many very personal and individual memories have been made. These aren’t the kind of memories that translate to broad groups of people all at once through one event. They are as simple as a leaf boat making its way down the Riverwalk or a ride on the monorail or a concert in the amphitheater.

The Mississippi River Museum closed once the last of the fireworks displays for the Fourth of July and related festivities on the island were done. This was the plan when the park opened for the season this spring. And what the Memphis River Parks Partnership is discovering is that it’s very hard to focus exclusively on a remake for the museum without that taking in a lot of the park if not the entire park.

Two experts are coming in later this month to bounce around some ideas and hear some ideas as well for the city-owned park and at least one of them will probably sound familiar.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to collect sales tax on online purchases likely won’t produce a windfall for the state of Tennessee, says our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard in his “View From The Hill” column. But there probably is a discussion coming in the Legislature about how sales tax revenue in general is split with local governments by the state.

GPAC – Germantown Performing Arts Center – pulls a $3.5 million building permit for its outdoor performance area called the Grove on Exeter.

Kayla Duerstock has started here own online mattress company,

It looks like the planned Palace nightclub at Fourth and Beale isn’t going to happen. Instead what began in the 1970s as the Muhammad Ali Towne 2 Cinema would be demolished for a five-story hotel on the eastern border of Beale Street proper.

Republican contender for Governor Diane Black with American Conservative Union leader Matt Schlapp ealrier this week in Memphis. 

A new mattress company is among the local startups making waves around town and its part of a bigger wave of online mattress sales in the industry.

The Memphis Bar Association’s poll on who attorneys feel is the best qualified in the special judicial elections on the Aug. 2 ballot as well as the races for the four elected court clerks.

Catching up to Republican contender for Governor Diane Black in town before the holiday to accept the endorsement of the American Conservative Union. And the leader of the ACU says he doesn’t look for the country’s partisan divide to be bridged by what happens at the polls in August and November.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen on HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s push for higher rents in public housing that Carson renewed at the ACU Memphis gathering:


“Ben Carson’s call for low-income Americans to have ‘more skin in the game’ by paying higher rents, despite their eligibility for subsidized housing under the 50-year old Fair Housing Act, shows just how out of touch the Trump Administration is about the needs of hardworking citizens trying to make ends meet. Low-income families can’t just swallow a 25 percent rent hike. … Having already rebuked Secretary Carson once by reversing the Administration’s proposed budget cuts to various HUD programs, it is unlikely that Financial Service Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling will move legislation to accomplish the Secretary’s harmful proposals to hike subsidized rent rates.”

On other Washington topics, Cohen termed Scott Pruitt, who resigned Thursday as EPA administrator – “the most transparently corrupt cabinet official in living memory” who should have been fired by President Donald Trump months ago. “I’m glad Pruitt is out but the damage he has done the Environmental Protection Agency, to the environment, to science- and evidence-based policy making, to high ethical standards for public officials and for the rule of law cannot be overestimated. I hope but am not confident that President Trump will choose a new EPA Administrator who will protect our environment and won’t violate the ethics we should expect from a public official.”

Kareem Brewton is part of Tigers basketball's "blended family."

Don Wade on the “blended family” that is the Tigers basketball team. And the “Press Box” column leads with NBA commissioner Adam Silver photo-shopped in a Golden State uniform.

The Hospitality Hub cleanup program – work cleaning up around Downtown for five hours for $50 and a meal for the homeless is expanding to the University District.

In Oxford, some second thoughts about an ordinance there requiring more security after a gun was fired outside The Lyric this past April.

We talk about Bird and Explore Bike Share and other things “shared mobility” and “shared services” on “Behind The Headlines” with our guests city council member Kemp Conrad and city chief operating officer Doug McGowen. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story by Michael Waddell in our weekly, The Memphis News, looks at access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses in the city through a small business loan program. 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.

The 1989 Jim Jarmusch film “Mystery Train” is one of the rare films made in Memphis that gets Memphis. There is a familiarity aside from the story line that resonates when you are a Memphian watching the story line set around the old Arcade Hotel and South Main at the end of the 80s. The Memphis of that time is the atmosphere in which the story takes place – even the most mundane parts of the story. “Mystery Train” is also considered by critics to be one of Jarmusch’s best films. Robby Muller, the cinematographer who came to Memphis with Jarmusch to make “Mystery Train and other films in many other places with him as well as Wim Wenders and Lars von Trier, has died at his home in Amsterdam. Here is the Guardian’s piece on Muller.

In the city the day before he and his band play FedExForum with Journey Friday, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard on Elvis Radio Sirius/XM requesting “The Wonder of You” saying he lipsynced to it once upon a time in a school play.

Our trivia question from before the holiday: Who was the first 18-21 year old to register to vote in Shelby County in 1971 when the constitutional amendment took effect. It was Jim Coley, then a student at Memphis State University who went on to teach history and civics locally and is currently a Republican state Representative. DEMOCRACY

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