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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Hydration, vaccination, and a slacker’s vacation

Good morning, friends. Today is Tuesday, Feb. 23, and we’ve got a busy day at Memphis City Council, delayed from a busy agenda last week.

The government body will hear about a plan for the city to buy 100 N. Main and turn it over to a developer for an as-yet undeveloped plan. The council is also looking at a resolution in which it would formally voice its opposition to the Byhalia Connection pipeline — something U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has come out against, as well — and Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods is presenting its first master plan in more than 22 years

The State of Tennessee is also expected to release information this afternoon on how 1,300 vaccine doses in Shelby County were wasted last week.



Volunteers distributed free water at Hollywood Community Center Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

Water advisory still in effect: The City of Memphis will remain under a boil water notice for the foreseeable future. Memphis Light, Gas & Water said yesterday it doesn’t have a firm timeline for when we can all stop boiling our water. What we do know is that after a multitude of leaks are repaired and after the system’s water pressure is restored, it will then take about two days before the order can be lifted.

Make-up appointments: To help get vaccinations back on track, the Shelby County Health Department is offering make-up appointments this week: everyone who had an appointment canceled at Appling City Cove, the Pipkin Building, Germantown Baptist Church or SWTCC Whitehaven Center has been automatically rescheduled for the same location, same day and same time as they had before. In addition, vaccinations will begin at two new sites this week, on Riverdale Road and Elvis Presley Boulevard. As we said above, the State of Tennessee is investigating how vaccine doses were allowed to expire during the area’s winter weather, and the Shelby County Commission is pretty interested in that topic, as well.


Arlington High School anatomy teacher Janey Pennington holds a human skull  during a tour of the school’s new STEM Hub in January. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Teachers get their shot: Just before children are scheduled to begin returning to Shelby County Schools classrooms, more than 6,000 employees of the district are expected to receive their first coronavirus vaccination shot. The district is doing vaccinations three days this week at its Board of Education building and its Teaching & Learning Academy. On Friday, some suburban school employees will be able to get their first dose at Arlington High School while students are learning remotely. Others will have to wait until Friday, March 5. And as teachers begin this week to get vaccinations en masse, the Tennessee Senate approved a bill that would give the governor the power to reopen schools by executive order during a state of emergency.

Worldwide travelers: In addition to having the original strain and the U.K. variant and the Brazilian one, too, the area now has a confirmed case of the South African mutation of the coronavirus. The trick with this latest variant is that it is not as contagious as the U.K. strain but it does seem to be “less susceptible to the vaccine.”




Moussa Cisse, during the University of Memphis Tigers’ game against East Carolina in January. (Houston McCullough/ECU Athletics)

Moussa Cisse is something of a natural on the basketball court. He hadn’t even been playing for a year when his brother and his cousin — both of whom had left their native Guinea to play basketball — sat down with him to talk over similar plans. Cisse was 14-years-old when he came to this country, learning English and taking classes as an eighth-grader in New Jersey alongside Precious Achiuwa. But when Cisse’s host in the U.S. moved, his brother reached out to LeMoyne-Owen College coach Marvis Davis. The rest, as they say, is history. 




St. Jude cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will be the Inspiration4 Hope Seat crew member. (Submitted photo)

The final frontier: For those thinking Richard Shadyac or Dr. James Downing were perhaps headed into space later on this year, think again. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant and a former patient, will be the hospital employee aboard the Inspiration4, the first all-civilian mission to space.

But do you still get to name them? The City of Memphis’ pothole hotline has been reactivated. As snow and ice have melted from city streets, they’ve left ... well, other conditions in their wake. Citizens who notice potholes can report them at (901) 636-6500.


Bobby Ellis, who died Feb. 22, made a career at the Rendezvous restaurant Downtown. (Houston Cofield/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Leaving a legacy: Nelson “Bobby” Ellis began working at the Rendezvous when he was 13 and became integral to the Downtown restaurant. “He did everything,” says John Vergos. “If there was a problem, my first call was never to an electrician, a plumber or MLGW. It was to Bobby.” Ellis passed away yesterday, at the age of 66.

Over the lines: Amid all the other commotion over MLGW, the public utility has filed a motion in a federal lawsuit that hopes to force the Tennessee Valley Authority to “provide unbundled transmission services.” For MLGW, the hope would be to continue using TVA transmission lines should MLGW decide to buy its electricity from someone other than TVA.



The upsides of our current situation ... if you’re a slacker, at least. 


Also, MLGW is asking that we not wash ours car at this time, so if you see me driving by and think mine looks dirty, that’s why. Because MLGW asked me to keep it that way. 

That’s all for us today. Try to stay hydrated and have a great Tuesday!