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VOL. 133 | NO. 107 | Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: After The Tom Lee Storm, Tiger Lane Changes and Crosstown Growth

By Bill Dries

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A year ago many of you were without power in the wake of a sudden and violent storm that has come to be known as the Tom Lee Storm. It is the third most powerful storm, according to Memphis Light Gas and Water Division, in terms of those without power and the damage done. It’s called the Tom Lee storm because the 1950s-era Tom Lee memorial in Tom Lee Park – the obelisk – was toppled and shattered as the obelisk fell from the base. A year later, the base that proclaims Tom Lee “a worthy Negro” remains and the obelisk is in storage.

Between the storm and its anniversary came the removal of Confederate monuments in two parks including Memphis Park, just a few blocks north and up the bluff from Tom Lee Park. Also between the storm and its anniversary, there has been a reformation of the Riverfront Development Corp. to the Memphis River Parks Partnership with a new look at this stretch of the riverfront. In this case, it has been 12 years since another Tom Lee monument was unveiled in the same park just a few yards to the south – one that depicts Tom Lee rescuing someone from the river current. It tells the story.

Porcellino's closed Monday on Brookhaven Circle in East Memphis. 

The Tigers football season that begins in September will see some changes in the tailgaiting experience on Tiger Lane.

The Memorial Day weekend was without Porcellino’s on Brookhaven Circle in East Memphis. The almost four-year old café and coffee shop closed as of Monday. The owners say they are preparing to move to another location but no word yet on where that could be.

Tailgating on Tiger Lane is going to be different when Tigers football begins Sept. 1. The university has a three-year contract with a Dallas company that is adding some extras to the sold-out spaces along Tiger Lane including televisions, live music as well as food and drink. While they can’t create any more spaces, they also have the ability to do big tent parties on the lawn itself for larger corporate or sponsor parties.

In college athletics there are sports teams and then there are sports clubs. Together they are both part of a sports scene that goes far beyond the basics of football, basketball, baseball, track and golf. The University of Memphis Equestrian Club is three years old and the sport has a “home barn advantage” with the home barn being in Lakeland.

New speed limit signs going up in parts of Old Germantown. The 10-mile-an-hour speed limit signs for horses are a tribute to the Germantown Charity Horse Show that is 70 years old this year. It’s also a fundraiser for the foundation supporting the Germantown Municipal School District.

As the holiday weekend began, a clerk at a store on Springdale was indicted by a Shelby County grand jury on a first degree murder charge for following a suspected shoplifter out of the store, allegedly shooting him and then returning to the story and not calling police. The body of 17-year old Dorian Harris was found two days later not far from the store. Since then there have been protests outside the store.

Here is The Week Ahead for this short work week for many of us. And the Around Memphis reading list includes details of Dave Grohl’s time at the barbecue contest ala Esquire, the best poetry team in the state is from Memphis and Memphis midwives.

The Metro nightclub at Autumn and Cleveland is one of several vacant storefronts awaitng a comeback that has reached other retail areas around Crosstown Concourse.

One of the owners of a retail strip south of Crosstown Concourse says he had an idea that the comeback of the area around the 1.5 million square foot landmark would be something like Overton Square’s comeback – faster than it has been. The comeback around the concourse is underway, as chronicled in the cover story by Patrick Lantrip for our weekly, The Memphis News. The commercial elements include Atomic Tiki – which is already open – and Black Lodge which is about to begin work on its space. The residential elements include the Speedway Terrace neighborhood recently designated as a historic overlay district by the city.

Memphis-based MedixSafe is expected to top $1 million in sales this year. It’s part of the larger Electronic Security Specialists and Cabling that is a different part of the security business than guards. ESSC has worked a lot with banks and in the process began developing safes for hospitals and other companies that handle drugs. The MedixSafe technology includes safes to be used in ambulances. And all of them feature technology that identifies who is opening the safes and how much they are putting into or taking out of the box.

In our Public Companies Emphasis:

The bid by International Paper to acquire Europe’s largest cardboard box producer. Technically this is not a hostile takeover attempt of Smurfit Kappa of Ireland. But there is resistance.

The FedEx Purple Runway program is offering a path for FedEx feeder pilots to become FedEx pilots.

FedEx’s Purple Runway program is a way of addressing the shortage of pilots. The program would create a path to being a FedEx pilot for those who are currently feeder pilots in the FedEx system on smaller routes.

The biopharmaceutical company GTx Inc. has been around for more than 20 years at this point. For much of that time, the company has been working with a compound called enobosarm around the idea that it would help relieve or eliminate muscle wasting as a side effect of some cancer treatments. GTx continues its work, including trials, on the possibility that enobosarm may have applications to treat stress urinary incontinence in women.

A Q&A with Abby Miller, the new vice president of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative about expanding the Uptown TIF, the Bakery project and its impact on the Edge district and hiring local.

This fall the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association will mark its 50th anniversary in the wake of the 1968 sanitation workers strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And the timing of MIFA’s founding is no accident. We talked with MIFA CEO Sally Jones Heinz and Jeanne Danziger, a staffer at the start of MIFA as well as a current volunteer, on “Behind The Headlines” about then and now and what is next for the pioneering organization.

The Memphis News Almanac: Storm damage, Cutting city funding to Memphis City Schools and Tennessee Brewing Co. opens for business.

PROPERTY SALES 69 163 12,921
MORTGAGES 35 85 8,088
BUILDING PERMITS 109 531 30,465
BANKRUPTCIES 18 85 6,149