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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Camping in a park is a felony, and the TVA wants you to turn down the A/C

The sun is shining, Shelby County! Today is Wednesday, June 22, and it’s supposed to be 100 degrees today. It’s so hot, in fact, that the Tennessee Valley Authority is asking us to cut back on power usage (more on that below).

In non-weather-related news, the Shelby County Commission will hold its bi-monthly committee meetings today. And 901 FC, which happens to be kicking butt this season, will play Tulsa at AutoZone Park.



“It’s just going to make things harder. I’m homeless. I’m just going to be in there taking up space,” said Jeffrey Moore, who has been homeless since 2018. (Ben Wheeler/The Daily Memphian)

Felon-izing homelessness: Beginning July 1, camping on public property statewide, including parks, overpasses and right-of-ways on state highways, will be a felony punishable by up to six years in prison as part of an expansion of an existing state law. “I can’t believe that any government would be so heartless, not just to criminalize, but felonize homelessness,” said Representative G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, a critic of the law. To make matters more complicated, many shelters have barriers to entry, and transitional housing is limited. But this should help a bit: The Community Alliance for the Homeless was recently granted $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help house homeless youth in Memphis.


Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones chose to table the ordinance he sponsored that would put the question of partisan primaries on the ballot. (Daily Memphian file)

Primaries tabled: On Tuesday, Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones tabled the final vote on a November ballot question that would allow for city primary elections. The parliamentary move means there is no date set for the item, but Jones could bring it back at a later date. In other council news, the body approved a final vote to provide the city’s share of recurring property-tax funding for the Memphis Area Transit Authority. MATA will use the funds toward its $35 million “Transit Vision” plan, which calls for more frequent bus service. They also rejected plans for a used-car lot on Elvis Presley Boulevard, among other actions.


An enthusiastic Jeremy Bernal cools off in the spray at Shelby Farms' splash park in 2018. (Daily Memphian file)

How about this heat? The Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies electricity for Memphis Light, Gas & Water, reported record demand region-wide for the month of June. And now they’re encouraging customers to cut back on power usage (including a call to keep the thermostat set higher than many people would be willing to do) to conserve energy and reduce costs. 


Memphis 901 FC defender Niall Logue (50) goes for a header on March 12 in a home match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian file)

You’ll get a kick out of this: 901 FC is one of the United Soccer League’s top teams this season, and their success is attracting attention from as far away as Europe (where, thanks to Ted Lasso, we know they take soccer very seriously). Following its 1-1 draw in Hartford last week, the team is second in the Eastern Conference with nine victories and two draws through 14 matches. “We know now we’re in a really good position to show that Memphis is the real deal … I think now people see us as a playoff team, and that’s where we want to be,” said 901 FC assistant coach Caleb Patterson-Sewell.



We started back in April, and right now we’re doing site-preparation work. Despite some challenges with the rain in May, we are on target with our construction progress.

— Dave Green, assistant vice president for Walbridge
Green and others involved with Ford Motor Co.’s BlueOval City provided updates on the $5.6 billion campus and its plans for the workforce that will staff it at a panel discussion in Brownsville on Tuesday.




The Memphis Railroad & Trolley museum will be closing its Central Station location at the end of the month. (Neil Strebig/The Daily Memphian)

Train (museum) is leaving the Station: The Memphis Railroad & Trolley Museum, which has been located at Central Station since 2008, announced they’ll be closing at the end of the month. In a social media post, the museum said Central Station needed their space for other purposes. The museum was, however, offered another space in the building (inside a 700-foot freight tunnel!), but museum board president Mike Fleming said that space needed about a $1 million worth of HVAC and safety upgrades. 

Former Tiger to coach Craigmont: Craigmont High School has a new basketball coach who might be familiar to long-time Memphis Tigers fans. Chris Garner, who played for the Tigers in the mid-1990s and helped the team to a Sweet 16 run in 1995, will coach the boy’s basketball team. “I have a great rapport with the kids, and they know I hold them to higher standards. The same thing they should do to me,” Garner said.


University of Memphis football head coach Ryan Silverfield claps for a speaker at the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Tuesday, June 21. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian)

Football tickets for vets: Over the past few years, local ticket-distribution program Seats for Service has given more than 3,000 tickets to University of Memphis football and basketball games to participants in the Veterans Administration Medical Center’s substance abuse program. “I’ve been to lots of Memphis State games when I was younger. But I didn’t know how to do it without getting drunk,” said veteran Larry Wright. The Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins writes about how something as simple as a football game has helped these veterans on their journey to recovery. 


Rumors surround possible Grizzlies interest in Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, right, an explosive guard. (Matt Rourke/AP file)

Draft up: We’re just one day away from the NBA draft, and The Daily Memphian’s Drew Hill has even more thoughts on what might happen for the Grizzlies tomorrow. Yesterday, Hill and Chris Herrington speculated on some possible draft picks. Now, Hill tackles the big rumor that Memphis may move up as high as No. 4, and he looks at what positions, such as a backup point guard, might make the most sense for the Grizzlies.


Plans call for transforming the former Dixie Greyhound Lines Complex and Schlitz Brewery into a mixed-use development with apartments and retail. (Daily Memphian file)

Greyhound project update: Plans for a mixed-used complex at the former Dixie Greyhound Lines Complex and Schlitz Brewery at 525 N. Main St. in Uptown have been filed with the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development. The proposed plan would transform the site into “an eclectic mixed-use development with apartments and specific retail uses.” The Daily Memphian’s Neil Strebig has more on that project, plus some good news on the Memphis real estate market, in his Inked column.



When people ask me where I’m from, I never say Tennessee. It’s just Memphis, the beautiful land in the world.


On that note, fellow Memphians, I’ll see you tomorrow.