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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Third graders are behind; Charlie’s is triangulated

Morning, Memphis! It’s Thursday, May 25, and we’re smack in the middle of National Public Works Week. And Germantown Public Works director Bo Mills was just named one of the top 10 in his field.

It’s also National Wine Day. If you’re looking for a way to “wine down” this evening, you might try this New York Sour cocktail — made with red wine — from Bounty on Broad. Or just pour a glass of wine; that’s much easier. 

You might even be drinking that wine in the airport tonight. The busy Memorial Day weekend travel period begins today, and Memphis International Airport is anticipating 52,000 people will pass through. Here are a few travel tips if you’re flying.


Memphis-Shelby County Schools third graders improved this year in the English Language Arts portion of the TCAP, but most are still not at the level the state says they should be. (The Daily Memphian file)

Most MSCS third graders are behind: Just over 76% of Memphis-Shelby County Schools third graders scored low enough on the English Language Arts portion of the TCAP test to be held back a year under a new state law. The scores are not final though, because the district has a retake window for those students. Following the announcement of low TCAP scores, MSCS board member (and Memphis mayoral hopeful) Michelle McKissack sent an email from her district address, promising to fight for students “as a candidate for Mayor of Memphis.” That could run afoul of district ethics rules, and she later called the email a “complete screw-up.” In the suburbs, more third-grade students performed quite a bit better on the ELA portion. In fact, Germantown Municipal School District had the highest percentage of third graders with proficient scores in the state.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant advised the deputies that he is taking a break from social media when they arrived at his home for a wellness check. (Brandon Dill/AP file)

Morant’s posts lead to wellness check: The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office conducted a wellness check on Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant on Wednesday, following a string of concerning social media posts that were later deleted. Morant told deputies that he’s just taking a break from social media. The Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins saw those posts, and he said “it didn’t sound like a farewell to social media. It sounded like someone in pain.” 

Tina Turner performed in a concert in Cologne, Germany, on Jan. 14, 2009. Turner died Tuesday, after a long illness at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. (Hermann J. Knippertz/AP file)

She was simply the best: Brownsville native-turned-pop-superstar Tina Turner has died at the age of 83 after a long illness. Tina Turner rose to fame in the 1960s and ’70s when she teamed up with her then-husband Ike Turner for a run of hit records and live shows. She finally left her 20-year abusive marriage in the late 1970s and became a superstar in her own right. Turner, a Swiss citizen for the past decade, died in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.

Alleged Huey’s shooter back in jail: Chase Harris, the man accused of shooting at an off-duty police officer at Huey’s in East Memphis on April 30, is back in jail following an indictment over unrelated theft charges from January. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office sought pretrial detention for Harris because of his recent record of repeated offenses. Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland have recently had some public disagreement over how Harris’ bond was originally handled.



Stillman College valedictorian Hannah Fields is also part of Harte Honors College and the Sigma Tau Delta English honors society. (Courtesy David Miller)

Hannah Fields has done it again. The valedictorian of Douglass High School’s class of 2019 just graduated as the valedictorian of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The 22-year-old was a double major in English and journalism, who entered college on a full scholarship and graduated with a 4.0 GPA and the most college credits in her senior class. Back in Memphis, Fields is in the process of launching a digital media department for her family’s church, Fields of Joy Ministries.



Charlie’s Meat Market, at 4790 Summer Ave., has changed its name to Triangle Meat Market. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

Charlie’s gets triangulated: Charlie’s Meat Market is now Triangle Meat Market. But no worries for longtime customers: It’s still run by the same family. “One thing that won’t change here is ‘Charlie’s’ painted on the brick. We’re not painting over that; that’s been our name for more than 50 years,” said co-owner Charlie Hogan. The Daily Memphian’s Jennifer Biggs has more on the rebrand in Table Talk, as well as some news about a big win for Blue Note bourbon.

Antonio Anderson addressed attendees at a fundraising event for The Antonio Anderson Foundation in April in Lynn, Massachusetts. (Courtesy Kayla Murkison)

Game on: Former Memphis Tigers basketball guard Antonio Anderson, who played a key role in the team’s 2008 NCAA title run, is helping low-income kids afford to play sports. In March, he launched The Antonio Anderson Foundation to help underprivileged youth in Memphis and Lynn, Massachusetts (his hometown), by providing athletic equipment and gear, as well as basic school supplies. And he’s hosting the foundation’s first Memphis-area fundraising event tonight at Let It Fly Sports Bar in Germantown. “[Memphis] means the world to me. … And I wanted to be able to give back to the kids in the city,” Anderson said.

Hundreds of FedEx pilots gathered outside of the Air Operations center to picket on June 28, 2022. FedEx pilots picketed again on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in a push for an updated contract. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian file)

Picketing pilots: FedEx pilots picketed outside the FedEx Express Air Operations Center on Airways Boulevard Wednesday in a push for an updated contract. The pilots are working under a contract from 2015, and FedEx Corp. and the Air Line Pilots Association have been in negotiations for a new one since May 2021. The ALPA is pushing for an increase in hourly pay and retirement benefits, as well as more consideration for “quality of life” issues. Earlier this month, ALPA announced its pilots had voted to strike if necessary.

Bartlett to unclog sewer probs: Two new sewer projects in Bartlett should cure a bottleneck that has stifled new development in the suburb. The Bartlett Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the Moss Valley sewer extension design and Fletcher Creek sewer system modeling at its meeting this week. The board also approved the suburb’s $206 million fiscal year budget.

University of Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch spoke to the media before the Memphis Tigers' Friday Night Lights spring game on April 21. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian file)

Football food drive: The Memphis Tigers football team will kick off the 2023 season with a home opener against Bethune-Cookman on Sept 2. But if you buy tickets for the game now, you can get them for just $10 and do some good at the same time. Kroger will provide three meals for a family in need through the Mid-South Food Bank for each ticket sold. Memphis Tigers athletic director Laird Veatch announced the partnership on Wednesday, and during the event, he offered minimal updates on a few hot topics, like conference realignment and overall ticket sales.



The Twittersphere was filled with love for the late Tina Turner on Wednesday. She was better than all the rest.

Let’s raise our wine glass to Tina Turner tonight!