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VOL. 133 | NO. 60 | Friday, March 23, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Pre-K's Longer Reach, Penny's Contract and Thad Cochran's Farewell

By Bill Dries

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The Arkansas gate of Big River Crossing will reopen Friday morning at 6 a.m. The gate to the West Memphis side of the crossing leading to the Big River Trail on the flood plain below has been closed since the Mississippi River at Memphis reached flood stage several weeks ago. The river level has been falling for about a week. The Big River Trail floodway portions remain closed for now as some of the debris from the river is removed in those areas. While the trails are closed this is a good time to get a look from the crossing at the flood plain’s transition when the river rises and then starts to go down.

The plan to expand prekindergarten access over several years to a goal of 8,500 seats across the county is attached to a privately funded early childhood drive that would go from prenatal services to the third grade.

About a week into the prekindergarten plan that is still surfacing, there are still a lot of details to sort out including a privately-funded part of this that extends to students in the third grade. The city is also putting up $3 million in one-time money as the revenue streams from a penny of the current tax rate and the increase in property taxes as PILOTs expire grow over several fiscal years. And as a result of the use of tax revenue from PILOTs that expire, there will probably be some changes in these tax abatements – specifically new thinking around requests by companies for extensions of the property tax breaks.

A big week for Tigers basketball is ending in a wave of 90s nostalgia. Don Wade’s Press Box column recaps the week that Penny Hardaway was named coach of the Tigers. Meanwhile, Hardaway’s contract is a three-year deal with the average annual salary of $1.5 million. Still awaiting the release of the full contract – which, again, is a public record

Dave Link on the basketball off-season at Rocky Top and different outlooks for the men’s and women’s programs there.

As state officials are taking the finalists for the job of leading the state-run Achievement School District around here and elsewhere to meet with parents and educators, a Memphis legislator known as a vocal critic of the ASD, Antonio Parkinson, talks with our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard about his move to phase out the ASD at a critical transition in its eight-year existence.

The Wonder Bread factory is almost gone in preparation for the mixed-use Bakery Development.

Maciel’s Bodega is the Broad Avenue Arts District extension of the two Maciel’s restaurants – Downtown and U of M area. Look for it April 2 where French Truck Coffee was on Tillman. Also word on some changes to the Highland location.

Wonder Bread is coming down to make way for the Bakery Development.

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s farewell speech in the Capitol.

The Hollywood Reporter’s review of "Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” And the director of the HBO documentary has a Johnny Cash bio documentary in the works.

Retired Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter on “Behind The Headlines” talking about being the court’s founding judge and 100 North Main. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO-TV.

The cover story by Don Wade in our weekly, The Memphis News, steps away from the policy considerations of the opioid crisis for a few pages to look at the human toll in our community of drugs that can be prescribed for legitimate and necessary uses, used properly and still lead quickly to addiction and death. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies of the new issue are on the streets Friday morning. And the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593