Daily Briefs

By Updated: March 11, 2019 5:16 PM CT | Published: March 11, 2019 9:17 AM CT
  • Shelby County Opioid Summit comes to Memphis Thursday 
  • Former U of M professor returns to Memphis to debut first novel
  • Steve Mulroy to hold book signing at Novel
  • Governor's Inn & Suites motel allowed to reopen
  • Civil Rights Museum among 2019 National Medal finalists 
  • Indigo Agriculture to partner with Anheuser-Busch
  • Bill Morris to announce autobiography
  • Harris appoints new executive director of Pretrial Services 

Shelby County Opioid Summit comes to Memphis Thursday 

Someone dies every three days in Shelby County due to an opioid-related incident.

To help educate the public about the drug epidemic that is devastating Mid-South families, a group of stakeholders is hosting the “Shelby County Opioid Summit: Prevention & Interventions” March 14-15 at the University of Memphis.

The free, two-day summit begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Rose Theatre with a series of experts speaking about root causes, prevention and intervention strategies and long-term solutions.

Nashville-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment program Addiction Campuses is providing lunch for the first 200 to register. Local American Idol contestant Chris Johnson will perform during lunch on both days of the summit.

The summit is funded through a grant contract with the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The summit is hosted by the University of Memphis School of Social Work, Memphis Area Prevention Coalition, Church Health and TN School Counselor Association.

Organizations or vendors interested in setting up a table to disseminate information about resources available in Shelby County can call 901-249-2828.

Parking for the event is located in the Zach Curlin parking garage. Overflow parking is in the lot next to the Student Recreational Center off of Southern Avenue.   

Interested attendees need to register for Day 1 and Day 2 of the summit.  

-Michelle Corbet 

Former U of M professor returns to Memphis to debut first novel 

Bob Levey, a journalist whose career includes nearly four decades at The Washington Post and an extensive career in electronic media as a commentator and talk show host, will be in Memphis March 22 to debut his first novel, “Larry Felder, Candidate.”

Levey will discuss his time at The Post, Watergate, writing and the current state of journalism and sign copies of his novel on March 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Spain Auditorium in Buckman Hall at Christian Brothers University, 650 East Parkway South, according to a release.

“I spent a couple of very happy years in Memphis, teaching journalism and getting to know the city,” Levey said in a release. “I’m delighted to be able to come back and discuss my career and novel.”

Levey held the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism at the University of Memphis from 2006-09 and has taught journalism at five major research universities.

In his book, “Larry Felder, Candidate,” the main character is an award-winning journalist who quits his Washington, D.C., newspaper job to run for Congress. The part about quitting his newspaper job is where the similarity between Felder and Levey ends. Felder’s idealistic campaign is disrupted by various forces, including an overly enthusiastic campaign donor, a neighborhood robbery gone awry and a lovestruck campaign aide.

Levey did quit his newspaper job and took a buyout from The Post in 2004, after writing a metro column, “Bob Levey’s Washington,” since 1981.

Levey’s appearance is in partnership with Memphis Reads and Christian Brothers University.

For more information, contact Leanne Kleinmann, (901) 483-0559 or

-Natalie Martin

Steve Mulroy to hold book signing at Novel

University of Memphis law professor and former County Commissioner Steve Mulroy will present his new election reform book, “Rethinking U.S. Election Law: Unskewing The System,” at a book signing March 19 at 6 p.m. at Novel bookstore, 387 Perkins Road Extended. 

The event will be about 45 minutes long, and wine and cheese will be provided as the author speaks briefly on some proposed election reforms and takes questions. 

Samples of Mulroy's book are available for review, along with order forms to get a copy with a special author’s discount, according to a release.

The book, published by Edward Elgar Publishing, is a scholarly work “written for the layman,” and has received positive reviews both locally and nationally.

Mulroy’s book proposes innovative reforms like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, proportional representation, the Fair Representation Act and ranked-choice voting, none of which require a constitutional amendment.

“Interest in election reform is high right now,” Mulroy said in a release. “Nationally, people are concerned about gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and potential ‘spoiler’ candidates like Howard Schultz. Locally, November’s referenda have sparked debate on ranked-choice voting and term limits. My book tackles these issues and more.”

There is no obligation to buy the book, but the public is invited to attend the discussion about election reform.

-Natalie Martin

Governor’s Inn & Suites motel allowed to reopen 

The Governor’s Inn & Suites has been allowed to reopen after agreeing to address security issues and other safety issues, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a release Monday.

The southeast Memphis motel on 2490 Mount Moriah near American Way closed last month as a “public nuisance,” and has been the site of criminal activity including drug trafficking, assaults, robberies, thefts and domestic violence. The Memphis Fire Department last month also found multiple fire code violations and life-safety hazards, according to a release.

In a memorandum of understanding with the city and state, motel owners Jianping Zhu and Tianlai Hu agreed to address:

  • All fire and health code violations
  • Give police access to all common areas of the inn at all times
  • Install operable surveillance cameras to monitor the entire premises and allow police access
  • Require photo ID of any guest
  • Maintain detailed records of all rentals
  • Repair worn fencing on premises
  • Not knowingly rent rooms to anyone previously convicted of crimes arising out of arrests at the Governor’s Inn 

If any condition of the agreement is violated, an immediate application to close the inn can be filed with the court by authority of the current nuisance petition. Zhu and Hu will meet in 45 days with members of DA’s office and the city attorney’s office to evaluate compliance and negotiate dismissal of the matter.

The motel was also the subject of a previous nuisance action in 2014 for similar problems, but the matter was disposed of in court a short time later after owners made court-ordered safety improvements.

-Natalie Martin

Civil Rights Museum among 2019 National Medal finalists 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced Monday the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is among 30 finalists for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities, and for 25 years has celebrated institutions that demonstrate “extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service” and make a difference for individuals, families and communities, according to a release.

“The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources,” IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said in a release. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions.”

Winners will be announced later this spring, and representatives from the winning institutions will be honored at the National Medal Ceremony at the US Botanic Garden on June 12 in Washington, D.C.

IMLS encourages community members who have visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel to share their story on social media on Facebook or on Twitter using #IMLSmedals.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.

-Natalie Martin

Indigo Agriculture to partner with Anheuser-Busch 

Boston-based Indigo Agriculture announced Monday it will partner with brewing company Anheuser-Busch to provide 2.2 million bushels of sustainably-grown rice for beer production.

The rice grown for the partnership will demonstrate a 10 percent reduction in water and nitrogen use, and achieve at least 10 percent savings in greenhouse gas emissions compared to state benchmarks, ultimately contributing to Anheuser-Busch’s 2025 sustainability goals, according to a release.

The partnership is the first of its kind that demonstrates Indigo’s ability to transform the agricultural supply chain by “incentivizing growers to produce specialty crops,” and “connecting them with buyers who will pay a premium for transparent and traceable growing practices."

“Anheuser-Busch is leading the food and beverage industry in meeting consumer demand for sustainably-grown ingredients,” David Perry, Indigo’s CEO, said in a release. “Indigo is leveraging its end-to-end, integrated approach to agriculture to grow, capture, and preserve the value of sustainably-produced ingredients. We are thrilled to partner with Anheuser-Busch, a company that shares our vision for beneficial agriculture, to create meaningful value for the growing community and higher quality options for consumers.”

Indigo Agriculture works with plant microbes, aiming to improve yields of cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans and rice, and has office locations in Memphis, North Carolina, Australia, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Brazil.

-Natalie Martin

Bill Morris to announce autobiography

Former Shelby County Mayor and Sheriff Bill Morris will announce and present his autobiography, “Bill Morris: A Legendary Life” at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, at Morris Marketing Group at 456 Tennessee St.

On-sale and book-signing dates will be announced that day.

Morris’ co-author, Darrell Uselton, will attend the autobiography announcement along with Morris.

-Natalie Martin

Harris appoints new executive director of Pretrial Services 

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris has appointed Llana Greer as executive director of Pretrial Services for Shelby County.

Greer has spent more than 25 years in Pretrial Services, and has worked with the MacArthur Foundation, the Justice Management Institute, and the Sheriff’s Office on best practices for individuals introduced to the justice system.

In her new role as executive director of Pretrial Services, she will work on reforms that will lead to a more "equitable, safe and cost-saving operation," according to a release.

“Our goal is really nothing less than to be a pioneer in pretrial services. We plan to expand the use of efficient, accurate and unbiased tools,” Harris said. “We want to make an impact on lives and expand fairness in our criminal justice system. In order to be effective at this kind of work, you need someone with deep understanding and capacity to lead. We have found that in Ms. Greer.”

Greer said she is “very passionate" about working in Pretrial Services and looks forward to leading the department as Shelby County government “embarks on innovative reforms,” according to a release. 

-Natalie Martin


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