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VOL. 133 | NO. 115 | Friday, June 8, 2018

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Firestone's Legacy, Malco In Lakeland and Alexander on Cell Phones

By Bill Dries

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What about Firestone? That’s the quick way of getting into the latest turn in our ongoing civic discussion about whether there should be changes to how Memphis approaches economic development and the growth it brings. Eric Robertson, the president of Community LIFT, which works with community development corporations across the city, says the definition of economic development should be broader and the approach to it should go beyond answering the questions of site consultants to keep them from walking away to the next city on their list.

ERIC ROBERTSON

Robertson tells us other cities are doing much more through their EDGE-like organizations that have the power to grant incentives for such development. They are assembling land around those sites for commercial uses and residential development as well. He also says many of those cities have a lot more people to put into the effort than we do because they have a broader definition.

And that broader definition could, for instance, finally get something started on the 40 acres or so once occupied by Firestone in North Memphis until about 35 years ago. Lots of talk in the interim about new industrial uses, even a golf course, but nothing coming out of the ground. Much more to come on this.

Alice Marie Johnson’s first day out of prison from Associated Press along with President Donald Trump’s record so far on commutations.

Groundbreaking was this week for a two-year $60 million reocnfiguration of the Bartlett High School campus.

The Lake District development in Lakeland  adds a Malco movie theater to its tenants Thursday via a letter of intent joining The Stock Market grocery store.

Tiger coaches Mike Norvell and Penny Hardaway meet at the FedEx St. Jude Golf Classic InnerWorkings Pro-Am.

School’s out and construction is on at Bartlett High School which is about to get a major reconfiguration that will still be underway during the school year that starts in August.

Meanwhile a $20-million building permit coming across our desk for the Bakery Development, specifically for apartments in the mixed use $73 million development.

Two-time FedEx St. Jude Golf Classic champion Daniel Berger on going for a third tournament win at Southwind and the change coming to the event next year. And some scenes from the pro-am.

Don Wade’s “Press Box” column is about the tournament before the tournament at Southwind -- the Drive, Chip & Putt event which is another indication of the local youth golf movement with players – boys and girls – who are starting really young.

Members of Congress – U.S. Representatives and Senators – are probably the most vocal critics of airlines because they are frequent flyers and they have the power to make regulations for the airlines. If you want to know anything about an airline ask your representative in Washington.

With that in mind, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander sent out a press release Thursday morning calling for a complete ban on cell phone calls on flights. And it includes the following subhead: “Suggests that any senator who opposes banning cell phone conversations on flights should be sentenced to sit next to a loud businessman talking to his girlfriend on a six-hour flight between New York and California.”

The part about the loud businessman and his girlfriend is a direct quote from Alexander. Elsewhere in the release, he says a cell phone ban on flights “may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but surely it is enshrined in common sense.”

The specific cause of the press release was Senate Appropriations Committee approval of a bill that directs the Department of Transportation to finalize the regulations that will ban cell phone calls on commercial airplanes – a move Alexander called for in legislation he introduced a year ago. The bill also include funding for Millington as part of a contract tower program to improve air safety at several flight centers and airports.

Efforts to improve financial literacy are an ongoing endeavor in Memphis. The latest is a coalition of local banks that are normally fierce competitors working to help improve credit scores along with financial literacy. And the Memphis Area Community Reinvestment Act group is also working with CDCs on making the move from renting to home ownership.

We know we have a really good and deep conversation going on “Behind The Headlines” when our guests on the weekly television show stay in the studio for a while afterwards to talk over things with one another. That’s just what happened with this week’s guests Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and County Commission budget committee chairman Eddie Jones. Most of the conversation was about the county’s budget season which is still underway. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV. As for the discussion after the show, we couldn’t hear much of what looked to be a budget discussion but there might have been some common ground. We’ll see what future budget votes bring. Meanwhile, see if you can tell what comment during the on-air discussion prompted the talk after the show.

The county’s budget season runs a bit later than the season at City Hall which wrapped up on Tuesday. The proposed and adjusted county property tax rate of $4.05 cleared the first of three readings by the commission on Monday.

Chalkbeat on Tennessee eliminating two end-of-course high school exams.

Deadline Hollywood on Craig Brewer’s next gig, directing a film bio of Rudy Ray Moore, star of the 70s Dolemite films with Eddie Murphy playing Moore.

Ministry booked for a Dec. 11 date at the New Daisy on Beale per HardRadio.com

The cover story by Michael Waddell in our weekly, The Memphis News, is about St. Jude’s global research push and goals that include the physical expansion of its campus but aren’t limited to just that.

The PDF of the new issue can be found on this very website. The hard copies hit the streets Friday morning. And the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 86 2,922
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486
BUSINESS LICENSES 35 108 6,374
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 21 123 7,395
MARRIAGE LICENSES 20 92 4,453