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VOL. 133 | NO. 59 | Thursday, March 22, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: EDGE In The Middle, More Voices in Nichols Matter and Opioid Tension

By Bill Dries

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The battle between Graceland and the Grizz over Graceland expansion plans involving some kind of venue in Whitehaven isn’t over. In fact, it seems to have intensified with the latest plan by Elvis Presley Enterprises that went before the EDGE board Wednesday. The EDGE board delayed it again with one EDGE board member saying each side in the dispute has threatened to sue depending on the decision EDGE makes.

The report on an allegation of sexual misconduct by Playhouse on the Square founder Jackie Nichols won’t be made public, but it may trigger a state law that requires it to be reported to the authorities. So says Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich in response to our inquiry.

This came up about 13 years ago when the Catholic Diocese of Memphis contended it was not required by the same state law to report allegations of child sexual abuse it had received from adults decades after the alleged incidents. Church leaders contended they didn’t have to report it because at the time of the incidents the children were ages 13 and over. Then-District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said the Diocese was required to report the allegations and the Diocese turned over its information with an investigation that ultimately did not yield any charges.

Meanwhile, The Memphis Flyer talks on the record with five women who have come forward since the initial allegation to say they were harassed by Nichols when they were teenagers. Nichols has denied the allegations.

For some time there has been a tension between the opioid litigation state governments have been considering and the same considerations by local governments. Even some tension within local governments that we’ve seen playout between the county mayor and county commission.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery ramped that up in the last week or so by telling 14 district attorneys general in different parts of the state that their efforts on the civil litigation side of this is getting in his way as he considers, along with 39 other states, litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. This week Slatery filed a motion to intervene in those civil lawsuits in what looks to be another iteration of the dispute within Shelby County government over this.

AP’s Jonathan Mattise maps out the familiar legal terrain.

Meanwhile, look for Don Wade’s cover story coming up Friday in the new edition of our weekly, The Memphis News, on the human toll of the opioid crisis in our community.

Stephanie Butler is the new executive director of the Children's Museum of Memphis.

The new executive director of the Children’s Museum of Memphis says the recent addition of the Grand Carousel as part of the museum’s expansion at the Fairgrounds is an opportunity for broader community involvement. And Stephanie Butler says she likes what she has seen happen recently at the National Civil Rights Museum in that regard.

The coming move of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art from Overton Park to the riverfront is meeting with some high expectations judging by comments from a public input session this week Downtown.

High hopes and ambitions for the relocation of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art from Overton Park to the riverfront at the last in a set of public input sessions this week.

In his “View From The Hill” column, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard examines the recent special election for a state Senate seat in another part of the state that Democrats and Republicans are each viewing as a harbinger of what is to come later this year in the midterm elections but viewing very differently.

As is mentioned in Sam’s piece, the state Democratic Party has a new executive director in the wake of that special election.

As expected, Mississippi Ag commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith becomes that state’s new U.S. Senator in April when Thad Cochran steps down.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289