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VOL. 133 | NO. 57 | Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Hardaway Day, 'Our Turn' and Elvis Documentary Takes on Col. Parker

By Bill Dries

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By the time Penny Hardaway is formally announced as the new Tigers basketball coach Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. the reaction could make you wonder what is going to be left by the time the first Tigers team led by Hardaway takes the court next season. Among those reacting Monday to the word of a contract agreement between Hardaway and the University was none other than LeBron James tweeting about the Tigers possible choices of footwear.

Look for at least some early indications of Hardaway’s staff and the next big question is probably what the role of head coach means for Hardaway in terms of what he does and what others on his staff do.

Shea Flinn leaving the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairmen’s Circle in early May. This is the politically active arm of the chamber. Flinn came to the job three years ago and left a seat on the Memphis City Council to take the job. No specifics on Flinn’s future plans at this point. He has been considering a run for Shelby County Mayor as an independent. And he didn’t rule out a return to politics at the elected official level. As for the mayor’s race, the filing deadline for independent candidates in the August county general election is April 5.

The Tennessee Legislature’s federal lawsuit against the federal government over refugee resettlement programs is rejected by U.S. District Judge Thomas Anderson. And the legislature could appeal the ruling on a lawsuit that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery did not back.

In Mississippi Monday, Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a state abortion statute considered the most restrictive in the nation – barring abortions in most cases after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And within hours, the state’s only abortion practice had filed suit to stop enforcement of the law.

Democratic contender for Governor Karl Dean in South Memphis last week talked about it being "our turn" to be governor -- referring to Democrats.

Democratic contender for Tennessee Gov. Karl Dean tells a group of Memphis preachers that “it’s kind of our turn” – referring to the state’s nearly 50-year pattern of voters electing a Republican governor followed by a Democratic governor. He also talked more about economic development in Memphis as opposed to the rest of the state.

The Memphis City Council talks Tuesday about the city’s plan to fund prekindergarten to the tune of $6 million of the $16 million needed to create a system of space for 8,500 children.

At the County Commission Monday, setting some dates for choosing an interim Environmental Court Judge.

The state will not seek the death penalty in the first degree murder trial of Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner – accused in the 2010 murder of Wright’s ex-husband, Lorenzen Wright.

The team that produced the new HBO documentary "Elvis Presley: The Searcher" has made a different kind of Elvis bio that takes aim at Presley's long-time manager Col. Tom Parker. 

Several hundred Memphians got their first look at the new HBO Elvis documentary over the weekend in Whitehaven. And the makers of the documentary say they wanted to depart from the traditional overview of the entertainer’s life and death. They did and the documentary turns out to have a lot to say about Presley’s long time manager, Colonel Tom Parker, as well as some rare audio of Presley himself talking about key moments and dilemmas in his life.

Graceland is back at the EDGE board Wednesday with its latest proposal to build an 80,000 square foot $22-million exhibit and convention space on its campus that it insists will not run afoul of the noncompete the city and county have with the part of the Grizz that runs FedExForum. No more than 1,700 seats and nonfixed seats at that – well below the 5,000 seat threshold at which the noncompete kicks in. But still seeking city and county incentives through EDGE in the form of up to $20 million in bond financing – direct note obligations.

This follows plans for a 6,000 seat venue whose exact specs changed but which still drew the objections of the Grizz and City Hall as well. Graceland sued the Grizz in Chancery Court. The lawsuit was dismissed. When this project came to EDGE last month, the EDGE board delayed a vote to see where all involved stand.

Also on the EDGE agenda Wednesday, PILOTs for a distribution center on East Holmes Road listing 74 new jobs with an average salary of $44,217 without benefits and a medical device maker on Shelby Oaks Drive that keeps 116 existing jobs and create 30 new jobs over that in an $11 million expansion.

The Plant the Parkways effort finished up its work planting trees on South Parkway this past weekend and goes to North Parkway in May.

Plant The Parkways finishes up on South Parkway this past weekend and the tree-planting effort on the parkways moves next to North Parkway in May.

U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant talks about his office’s anti-gang strategy in an era of gang members crossing longtime rivalries in loose criminal associations on “Behind The Headlines”

A new food delivery search engine and app coming to town soon called Bootler that focuses on what is cheapest and fastest in the Memphis market.

A school for preachers in Hickory Hill has a direct connection to the preacher who influenced Rev. Billy Graham. The Olford Center of Biblical Preaching is about to mark its 20th anniversary at that location.

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028