Read in browser
The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Virus hits U of M, Ray Jay, landlords, and we’re ‘taco-ing’ about it

Hey, there, Memphis. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 16, and student athletes and their families plan to protest at the Shelby County Schools Board of Education this morning. More on that in a minute. 

We’ve also got Novel hosting its virtual book club tonight for “The House on Mango Street” and Central Gardens annual fall home tour taking a “Detour” this year. This latest incarnation of the event includes an interactive map, information on 100 homes that have been included in the past 20 years and a date that spans until Sept. 27.



Several eviction notices were posted to a Northaven home last year. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian file)

The rent is due? Ten Memphis companies are suing the federal government over the nationwide eviction moratorium. Two attorneys from Glankler Brown filed the lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs who own and/or manage more than 7,000 apartment units or single-family home rentals in or near Memphis; one of the attorneys said, “Since the CDC order’s issuance on Sept. 1, there has been great debate amongst lawyers, industry professionals and legal scholars about the authority, constitutionality and enforceability” of the federal order. The suit may be the first legal challenge nationwide of its kind, and that kind of makes sense, given the area’s amount of investor-owned properties

You are no longer logged in: As of May, Raymond James had more than 930 employees in Memphis. But yesterday the company announced layoffs for 4% of its workforce, including an untold number in Memphis. The reductions were part of overall cost controls stemming from the pandemic, and since employees were already working remotely, the layoffs had some disconcerting, virtual side effects. 


Students walk by the fountain at the University of Memphis Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (Daily Memphian file)

Clusters delay more in-person classes: The Health Department revealed yesterday it was investigating two coronavirus clusters at the University of Memphis, one, predictably, centered around the football team and another centered around a group of students who share activities and training (hmmm ....) but not a residence hall. Altogether, the cases represent 36 students and staff members, but the deputy director of the Health Department could not say how many cases were connected to each cluster. That information, however, has ostensibly led the U of M to postpone bringing more students back for in-person classes. 

Athletes upset: After Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray announced Tuesday that fall sports will be postponed in the district “until further notice,” student athletes and their parents are upset — especially those who were looking for one last season to attract offers from colleges. And many took to social media to make their feelings known.



“Jail officials in Shelby County have had copious time to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, but have failed to do so.” — Andrea Woods, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project

A group of attorneys representing medically vulnerable and disabled detainees have amended their original lawsuit seeking the release of those at high-risk for the virus, noting yesterday both a lack of social distancing at the jail and the flawed implementation of the jail’s quarantine-based, non-testing approach to containing the virus.




Jose Garcia hands out a plate of pork tacos from the window of his Carnitas Gri's food truck. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Let’s taco bout it: Ready for a “Summer” time taco truck tour? Chris Herrington introduces us to TacoNGanas and owner Greg Diaz today. TacoNGanas launched its first truck in January, with two more now open, another opening this week and one more potentially on the way. Herrington says the trucks’ tacos stand out, but it’s the spiced tortillas and consomé that make the fare pop. And he’s also got details on Summer Avenue’s other taco trucks, such as Carnitas Gri’s, Palenke Express and El Colibre. 

Bars are watching this closely, too: With Labor Day more than a week behind us, Dr. Bruce Randolph said yesterday the Health Department will likely revise the local Health Directive at the end of this week or the beginning of next’s. But right now, officials are still watching the data closely for any upticks in the numbers.


The birthday song: Perhaps you’ve heard that Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. is also a rapper. But now you can hear more of Trip J’s music. Jackson posted two songs yesterday — his birthday — on music streaming service Soundcloud. One was even entitled “Birthday!” His teammates also had a good day yesterday: Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke were named to the NBA’s All-Rookie first team.

Soccer club makes a change: 901 FC head coach Tim Mulqueen is no longer with the team, which had 11 wins, 11 ties and 24 losses under his leadership. The 901’s principal owner said, “Our goal from day one has been to build a winning culture and compete for the USL championship and so far we have fallen short.” The team has selected an interim coach for the last four games of the season but is beginning an international search for a permanent replacement.



There’s always been that joke about Memphis being the capital of Mississippi, but I guess it’s Birmingham now?


And then this happened. 


Thanks for getting up with us; see you tomorrow, Mississippi!