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VOL. 133 | NO. 117 | Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Politics of Summer, Perpetual Motion and Nigerian Email Scams

By Bill Dries

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Just about the time it is summer by the calendar next week as well as by the ongoing weather, you will start to see a set of one-on-one debates between the Democratic and Republican contenders for Shelby County Mayor – Lee Harris and David Lenoir, respectively.

The summer political campaigns are on with lots of door to door canvassing, plenty of sunscreen and a blurring of the line between crossover appeal and get-out-the-vote appeals.

The county general election campaigns and the primary campaigns in August and even a race that has jumped the August statewide primaries and gone directly to a November general election campaign fight are already moving. We looked in over the weekend on several campaign gatherings.

There is still a budget season underway at the county building with some key decisions to come this week in committee sessions. We talked with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and County Commission budget committee chairman Eddie Jones on “Behind The Headlines” about dollars and cents and what goes where in the adjusted tax rate that is to come.

The creative manager at City Leadership, the nonprofit best known for Choose901 is now starting up Perpetual Motion – a studio and video production company. Choose901 is one of several organizations that have come to symbolize the vanguard of a millennial pushback against a persistent downing of Memphis. Noah Glenn’s impetus for Perpetual Motion addresses what’s beyond social media and its metrics.

More from Roll Call on U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s crusade to ban in-flight phone calls.

The U.S. Attorney’s office here in Memphis is one of at least 15 district offices involved in a major investigation of Business Email Compromise schemes aka Nigerian email scams that surfaced Monday. The Justice Department announced Monday it has arrested 74 people in a coordinated operation called “Operation Wire Wire.” The six-month investigation led to arrests in the U.S. as well as 29 in Nigeria and three in Canada, Poland and Mauritius. The Justice Department says it has seized nearly $2.4 million and recovered $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers. No word so far on indictments here.

Attorney Kelly Rayne is leaving her post as senior vice president of public policy at the Greater Memphis Chamber to become senior counsel for St. Jude ALSAC, the fundraising arm of the children’s research hospital.

Dr. Muneeza Khan is the new chairwoman of the Department of Family Medicine at UT Health Science Center. Khan had been serving as interim leader of the department and has been at UTHSC for seven years.

The former principal of Middle College High School, Docia Generette-Walker, is taking a position with SCS to develop more advanced courses for students per Chalkbeat.

Shelby County Schools officials noticed the books weren’t balancing for the PTO at Balmoral Ridgeway Elementary School and called in the state comptroller’s office in January to investigate. The result is the indictment of the former president of the PTO on a theft charge by the Shelby County Grand Jury. And the comptroller’s office says this PTO at least needs to take better steps to prevent such theft in the future. The finances of schools individually and school-related organizations is a big deal that school systems watch as closely as they can. And yet there is always room for more vigilance in organizations whose main mission is not financial but which nevertheless involve money. It’s not as a simple as a cash box and a bank account.

Booked at Lafayette’s Music Room June 21, Lee Ritenour whose session work ranges from the Mamas and Papas to Lena Horne and Tony Bennett – all while he was a teenager. He’s perhaps best known for his jazz guitar work and notably starting in the 1990s as part of Fourplay, alongside Bob James, Nathan East and Harvey Mason. There is also his work with Dave Grusin.

PROPERTY SALES 107 331 6,877
MORTGAGES 60 239 4,368
BUILDING PERMITS 190 508 16,423
BANKRUPTCIES 22 136 3,532