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VOL. 133 | NO. 178 | Friday, September 7, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Keeping Kirby Together, Out of State Tuition and Memphis at Navy

By Bill Dries

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I’ve seen school officials have some pretty interesting conversations with parents and students over the last few decades – explaining the school merger comes to mind immediately, of course the demerger too, along with the always charged conversations surrounding busing and even the kidnapping of a child from a school building. But when SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson met parents and students from Kirby High School Thursday evening in Hickory Hill, it was new ground. The subject was rats – lots of rats.

So many – alive and dead and moving around – that it will take an estimated six to eight weeks to clean up the mess. That means a school of 1,100 students will be relocated for some time. Hopson has some options and will make recommendations Tuesday to the SCS board. Whatever the options are, Hopson was clear that Kirby High will reopen and probably with some renovations above and beyond the rat infestation.

For years, leaders at the University of Memphis have talked about out-of-state tuition rates and questioned the need for those rates. This week, the U of M board of trustees decided to drop out-of-state tuition and instead go to a nonresident fee for those students who don’t live in Tennessee. The argument for this will be familiar if you’ve been watching our coverage this week of the race for Tennessee Governor – Tennessee’s border status with Mississippi and Arkansas.

Meanwhile, University of Memphis president David Rudd announced Thursday the campus currently under a considerable amount of scenery changes will have a Larry Finch Memorial Park along with a statue of the student-athlete and coach who made basketball the city's dominant sport and a call to unity in the city outside the lines of the basketball court. Rudd has appointed a committee to get the job done that includes those close to Finch as both a player and as a coach.

Microsoft executives in town to talk up the inclusion of more women and more minorities in the tech industry. The Thursday session Downtown is also part of a discussion about college or career training underway across the city. While the tech industry comes with images of degreed visionaries, one of those who got degrees and more in tech talked with us about having high school students who have some tech certifications she doesn’t have and they haven’t graduated high school yet.

More on the Memphis-Navy game this weekend in Annapolis.

Here are the details of the Wright Medical expansion in Arlington we told you about at our last get together. It’s 37,500 square feet and could mean 80 new jobs.

New Aldi for Berclair.

On the way to the Land Use Control Board next month, apartments on Madison, west of Belvedere, and the Graceland campus plan.

Meanwhile, another Downtown warehouse bites the dust with plans for two dozen apartment units in South Main seeking a PILOT from EDGE.

Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Tennessee, the state’s largest health insurer, will stop paying for OxyContin prescriptions next year.

Our guests on “Behind The Headlines” are Bartlett Schools superintendent David Stephens, Collierville Schools superintendent John Aitken and Germantown Municipal School District superintendent Jason Manuel. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597