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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Tyre Nichols update; Cop says there’s no serial killer in Westwood

Well, hello, gorgeous! You’re looking fantastic this morning. It’s Tuesday, Jan. 24, which happens to be National Compliment Day. But really, I mean it. You look great.

Beginning today through Feb. 3, Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert is closing the Downtown clerk’s office for all motor vehicle registrations and car titles. And speaking of closing, Gray Canary announced that this is its last week in business, so you might want to make plans to eat there ASAP.

It’s election day for those living in state House District 86. And the Memphis City Council will consider a new name for Audubon Park at its meeting today. (Want to know why? Read this.)

The Memphis Area Transit Authority board will vote on a new fare policy today, and the Bartlett Board of Mayor and Aldermen will consider approval of the city’s Christmas parade committee (too soon?). 


RowVaughn Wells, mother of Trye Nichols, attended a press conference on Monday, Jan. 23, after watching the video of her son’s encounter with Memphis Police. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Tyre Nichols update: Notable civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the family of Tyre Nichols held a media briefing on Monday after the family watched police body camera footage of the alleged incident that left Nichols hospitalized following a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Nichols died from his injuries on Jan. 10. “What we can tell you about this video is it is appalling,” said Crump. The footage may not be released to the public until later this week or next. The Memphis Police Department has since fired five officers for their alleged role in the incident. Two Memphis Fire Department personnel involved in the “initial patient care” of Nichols have also been relieved of duty pending an internal investigation. Demetrius Haley — one of the MPD officers fired— has been accused of brutality before. He was named in a federal lawsuit in 2016 over the alleged beating of an inmate at the Shelby County Correctional Center, where he worked as a guard. 

Memphis Police South Precinct Colonel Carlos Davis led a town hall meeting at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Westwood on Monday, Jan. 23. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Is there a serial killer in Westwood? Memphis Police say “no.” On Sunday, Jan. 15, TikTok user “Lez favorite auntie” posted a now-viral video drawing attention to six murders that took place within the Westwood area. At a community forum on Monday night at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Colonel Carlos Davis of the Memphis Police Department outlined a series of homicides in the area (including four that are unsolved) and assured residents that they are unrelated. 

Land Bank sales temporarily halted (maybe): On Monday, the Shelby County Commission approved a three-month moratorium on Shelby County Land Bank sales of county-owned, tax-delinquent properties. Commissioner Britney Thornton proposed the temporary stop so that a committee could look into how the Land Bank decides who to sell to and at what price. The county attorney warned that the moratorium’s wording might violate state law, which could void the resolution. In other county commission news, the group decided it will meet in a special session on Wednesday to appoint the winner of today’s state House District 86 election to the vacant seat (that’s a week earlier than originally planned).

Orgill’s proposed showroom and conference center was awarded a 15-year PILOT. (Submitted)

Collierville leaders approve Orgill PILOT: Collierville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) deal for hardware distributor Orgill’s proposed showroom and conference center. Orgill representatives say the new space, which will be located near its existing headquarters in Collierville, could bring in between 700 and 1,000 visitors to Collierville each year. 



Kristen R. Lee

Memphis native Kristen R. Lee’s latest book, “Sun Keep Rising,” tells the story of B’onca, a young mother living in Memphis after her best friend Savannah leaves her behind for college. Lee says B’onca’s story was inspired by her mother, grandmother and aunt, who were all teen mothers. The Young Adult book also deals with other hard-hitting themes, like poverty and drug addiction. “These are things that [teens] deal with on a daily basis. Maybe this novel will open that line of dialogue about these heavy topics,” said Lee. The book drops today, and there’s a launch party at Novel tonight.



Jennifer Biggs says the Sichaun pepper jelly chicken sandwich at Loaf is her favorite — for now. (Courtesy Loaf)

All you knead is Loaf: The Daily Memphian’s Jennifer Biggs isn’t a fan of hunting down food trucks, so she was thrilled when food truck Loaf opened a cafe inside the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Biggs stopped in for lunch last week and left with a new favorite sandwich — the Sichuan pepper jelly chicken. She also tried the huitlacoche with cheese, and while eating a gray-blue fungus might sound off-putting, she has a tip for enjoying this delicacy without being grossed out.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s new Family Commons will open on Feb. 7. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

St. Jude’s new safe space: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital unveiled its new $50 million haven for patients and their families on Monday. The Family Commons is designed to offer respite between appointments, and it’s the hospital’s first-ever floor free of treatment and clinical staff. It includes resting nooks, a maker space, an art room, play areas and a cafe, among other features. “A commons is a gathering place, a place where a community happens,” said Marlo Thomas, St. Jude’s national outreach director, at Monday’s unveiling. 

Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) shoots over Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox on Monday, Jan. 23. (Randall Benton/AP)

Kings of 3-pointers: The Memphis Grizzlies lost their third straight game to the Sacramento Kings, 133-100, on Monday night, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Kings were just really good. The Kings scored 12 3-pointers in the first quarter, tying the NBA record for the most 3-pointers made in a quarter. And in the end, Sacramento finished with 22 3-pointers, outscoring Memphis by 30 from beyond the arc. “They were hot,” said Grizzlies Coach Taylor Jenkins. 

The Lobbyist’s charred okra and cauliflower romesco (Courtesy Jay Adkins for The Lobbyist)

Meet you in The Lobbyist? Chef Jimmy Gentry’s new restaurant, The Lobbyist, officially opened on Monday in the lobby of the Chisca Hotel, but Jennifer Biggs got a sneak peek. Some of the old P.O. Press favorites, like the corn mash, are on the menu (Biggs calls it a “warm hug in a bowl”), and she also enjoyed the sweetbreads (a nicer way of saying “organ meats”) and the charred okra and cauliflower romesco (yes, please!). Gentry had his sights set on the Chisca spot for years before it became available. In fact, he tried to open his restaurant in a lot of different spots with no luck.

Smoked out: Smoke, vape and CBD shops in Lakeland are getting the adult-oriented business treatment. The city’s Board of Commissioners recently approved an ordinance change relegating the businesses to manufacturing districts. Previously, the shops were permitted in general business districts. “We’re taking a similar approach that was taken to sexually oriented businesses,” said Lakeland’s planning director Paul Luker.



The Memphis Redbirds finally replaced its old video scoreboard, which was missing pixels. Movie night, anyone?

Or better yet ...

Have a beautiful day, you lovely people!