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VOL. 133 | NO. 97 | Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Bus to Shelby Farms, Sports Gaming In Tunica and Tom Lee's Story

By Bill Dries

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It hasn’t been this hot in 30 years … to the day. The high Monday of 93 degrees eclipsed the old record for the day of 91 degree in 1988. I’m not much of a thermometer watcher. But this did get my attention because I was imagining all of the big hair emergencies 30 years ago. Guys going to their closets to break out the Miami Vice pastel t-shirts and linen blazers. And of course California Raisins hysteria. And I do find it not entirely coincidental that we break a record from 1988 as there is talk of a remake of the movie “Willow.” We could break another record for all of this Tuesday and we’ll see what my mind does with the year of the old record if that’s the case.

A really busy Monday session for the Shelby County Commission including a redo of the commission resolution vetoed by county mayor Mark Luttrell last month. It turns out the commission has its own debate about whether Julian Bolton is its attorney or its advisor or both. And commissioner Terry Roland is still making an issue of attorneys hired by trustee David Lenoir and juvenile court clerk Joy Touliatos the same week he is expected to endorse in the race for county mayor in which Lenoir won the Republican primary – defeating Roland and Touliatos.

Also drama at the commission Monday over county funding for a MATA bus line to and from Shelby Farms Park that started this past weekend and runs through Nov. 3. Plus the commission approved a ballot question for August that would automatically raise the pay of six countywide elected officials anytime the state gives pay raise to its employees. Told you they were busy.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes talks about the countywide pre-K expansion took a detour this past week because the county’s commitment to the first step – replacing an $8 million federal grant that funds 1,000 pre-K seats in Shelby County – is about $1 million short. And there are some different numbers resulting in different math about this. Also in play is the coming transition in county government with the winners of the August elections including a new mayor and at least eight new commissioners taking office Sept. 1.


Republican state Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown says he is ready to file the bill to allow sports betting in Tennessee “with the tax proceeds to go to k-12 education,” he tweeted Monday. “It appears this will not require a constitutional amendment, but the legislative attorneys are still researching it.”

Kelsey’s tweet was among the reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that tossed a federal law that barred sports betting in most states. Here is AP’s explanation of and background on the SCOTUS ruling.

Other reaction, Mississippi’s casinos, including those in Tunica, could get a huge windfall from the ruling and the casinos were already working out how to fit sports gaming into their casinos. The legislature changed a law last year in a way that allows such betting. The Monday court ruling means those casinos could be the only place in the SEC ready to take bets at the end of the summer when college football season begins.

Tennessee state legislators announce Tuesday morning $250,000 in state funding for the ongoing restoration and redevelopment of Clayborn Temple at the historic church south of FedExForum.

The petitions for the super district Memphis City Council seat vacated earlier this month by Philip Spinosa are in circulation and available in two places. The petitions for at least 25 signatures of qualified voters in Super District 9 are part of the council’s process for considering citizens for the interim appointment to the seat. And the Shelby County Election Commission is distributing petitions for the special election that will be added to the Aug. 2 election ballot.

So whoever gets the appointment – probably at the May 22 council meeting will serve until the winner of the special election on the Aug. 2 ballot is certified – about three months which will include voting on the city budget and property tax rate. Whoever wins the August race serves through to the end of 2019, which was the rest of Spinosa’s term of office.

The deadline to file the applications with the council office is Thursday at noon. No filing deadline just yet for the council race on the August ballot but the period probably won’t be very long given the short time frame to get this on the ballot for voters.

Genard Avery in action.

The same person could get the appointment and win the election. But before council members make a decision on who to appoint they will first have to make a decision on whether most of them want an interim appointee who will not run in August or someone who will run in August. That will depend on which path has seven votes.

Former Tiger linebacker Genard Avery has come to terms with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for a four-year contract that pays $2.7 million.

Iron & Wine booked for Nov. 17 at the Orpheum.

Chicago – the band – becomes part of the Orpheum Sidewalk Walk of Fame Tuesday, before their evening show.

The $15 an hour bar for all full time Shelby County Schools employees takes effect this week with paychecks, SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson announced Monday. This is a change for about 1,200 of the school system’s 12,000 employees. And it has brought some momentum to a movement that has had a hard time gaining traction.

Reaction to the U.S. formally opening a new embassy Monday in Jerusalem:

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker: “I applaud the Trump administration for following through on the bipartisan will of Congress to relocate the U.S. embassy, which is a long overdue acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s seat of government.”

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff: “Today on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Jerusalem--the unequivocal capital, is finally home to our U.S. Embassy. I am pleased to see that we are once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and maintain our commitment to the nation. I support President Trump’s decision to make this long overdue move to the holy city, a reality.”

Tom Lee Park is alive with the sound of nail guns and saws as the dawn of the barbecue contest approaches later this week. In that spirit, citylab tells the story of Tom Lee, who came to local and then national attention in May 1925 when he rescued more than 30 people pitched into the river when their excursion boat capsized south of Memphis.

The Willow Lake Business Center in Hickory Hill is getting a remake that takes it from office space back to a distribution center.

In Hickory Hill, the building in Willow Lake Business Center that was once a distribution center for Disney and then in the 90s a back office for an expanding International Paper is being remodeled as a distribution center.

The National Poor People’s Campaign began “40 days of action” Monday and among the protests was a demonstration at the state capitol in Nashville – blocking a street. No Memphis actions at last report but lots of Memphis activists in the street outside the capitol. While there were an estimated 1,000 arrests at other protests connected to the campaign, there were no arrests in Nashville as of late Monday.

The new Crosstown High School to open in August hosts Lausanne’s annual teacher conference in July. In the 15 years of the conference a lot has happened in local education – public, private and inbetween. And this year the conference will include public school teachers as well as those from charters and private schools.

PROPERTY SALES 50 226 2,557
MORTGAGES 44 145 1,731
BUILDING PERMITS 204 569 5,701