Read in browser
The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: City steps up as Health Dept. told to stand down; plus, save the spray

Correction: An earlier version of this story said new allocations of the vaccine would be distributed by the City of Memphis; as the state takes corrective action with the Shelby County Health Department, the city will be a member of the team in charge of getting doses out. 

Good morning, Memphis, and welcome to The Early Word.

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 24, and it’s a busy day. Several city and county leaders will host a press conference — alongside the face of the area’s gun violence ad campaign — to talk about gun crime. The City of Memphis will also seek several variances from the Board of Adjustment today to allow it to create a mixed-used development in Binghampton where the old Tillman Cove apartments once stood. 

The Memphis Tigers are expected to take on Tulane at the FedExForum tonight, and it will be the team’s first game in 18 days due to multiple COVID-19 cases. And, if you haven’t had enough of seeing Memphians on TV with “Buried by the Bernards,” (note to Netflix: When is season two coming?), HGTV’s “Design Star: Next Gen” begins today with Memphis interior designer Carmeon Hamilton in the cast. 



Health Department head Alisa Haushalter spoke to a host of reporters after the area’s first vaccinations. (Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian file)

Costly mistake: The State Department of Health revealed yesterday that 2,400 doses of the coronavirus vaccine (more than a thousand more than initially reported) were wasted in Shelby County during our recent round of inclement weather. The state also noted a number of other problems and, as a corrective action, said “physical management of the vaccine itself will be transferred from” the Health Department to hospital partners. The City of Memphis, which will manage vaccine distribution efforts at the Pipkin, Greater Imani Cathedral of Faith and the Appling City Cove site, is making plans to give out three or four times the number of doses currently being served each week. 


An employee of a mobile wash company sprays off a truck. (Daily Memphian file)

Say it; don’t spray it: The area’s water pressure is improving as broken mains are repaired, and leaders for Memphis Light, Gas & Water believe the city’s boil water advisory could end by later this week. Until then, we are asked to continue conserving water. And I may have made a joke about washing my car yesterday, but this is serious: The Memphis City Council has now voted to close car wash businesses until the boil water advisory is lifted. The resolution will take effect when signed by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Corporate welfare: A new, proposed state bill would allow business owners in Tennessee to vote where they have business property. The bill would expand “property voting rights,” allowing non-resident property owners to participate in elections, and comes from Knoxville state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey. The bill would give two members of the same LLC both the right to vote but there is at least one caveat: Individuals would still not be allowed to vote more than once in an election. 




Matthew Kersey talks with Sydney Groom, a University of Florida grad student who takes orders remotely and relays them to Baby Jacks BBQ in Bartlett. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

It might be hard to imagine fast-food or restaurant employees working from home, but a new approach from an Arlington entrepreneur will allow them to do just that. Will Clem and his partner Orin Wilson have been pioneering Bite Ninjas at Baby Jacks Bartlett for about a year now; the technology allows restaurant owners a remote drive-thru ordering system in which employees take customer orders and handle payments, right from home. Clem is no stranger to innovation within food service; he’s also a founder and partner in Memphis Meats, a startup behind lab-grown meat.




Hutchison's Carmyn Harrison (33) pokes the ball free from Briarcrest's Kayli Clarkson (23) in a game earlier this month. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Hutchison’s pandemic game plan: In the push and pull over local schools and whether they should be in-person or remote or a hybrid of the two, it’s perhaps overlooked that many area schools have been holding classes since last fall. And that they may have lessons to impart. Don Wade recently talked to educators at East Memphis’ Hutchison to learn what they’ve done to keep students and teachers safe — and how well it’s worked.

An experience not soon forgotten: An Arlington teenager who suffered an incredible injury (and lived) while sledding earlier this month has been sent home from the hospital. Dubbed a miracle, Sam Reid was discharged Monday with a rather large memento of his injury.


A hallway lamp inside the Hyatt Centric at One Beale Downtown is shaped like a treble clef. as seen on Feb. 23, 2021. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian)

A new anchor: Beale Street’s only hotel — for now — plans to open by the end of March, with city views to the east and river views to the west. The new, eight-story Hyatt Centric will include images from the historic Wm. E. Ellis & Sons machine shop, some walls covered in a montage of Memphis names and a new rooftop bar.


Painters paint abstract murals of trees on the Williamsburg Manor apartments last December. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian file)

Off the walls: Is the Medical District’s Blair Tower headed for a … how should we put it? unique paint job? The apartment building, located across the street from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, was recently bought by an equity fund. And maybe that’s not notable in its own right, but that fund is closely connected to another company that has also bought Memphis apartment properties and given them bold new colors and patterns.



What we should and should not do without boiling the water first ...


Bathing seems fine. MLGW has been testing the water and has, so far, found no bacteria issues. And, you’ve got to know there are people out there who are still drinking it. I guess we’ll see soon enough if it gets ’em.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning!