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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: U of M stadium question could come back, but Gateway grocery isn’t

Hey, Memphis. Good to see you. Today is Tuesday, Sept. 14, and authors and memoirists Elizabeth Gilbert and Kiese Laymon will be discussing the world as part of MIFA’s “Our City, Our Story” event at 11:45 a.m.

The Bartlett Board of Mayor and Aldermen are expected to take up a proposal that allows homeowners to stay on their property, in an RV, after their primary residence has been flooded or caught fire. Downtown Memphis’ Center City Revenue Finance Corp. also plans to talk about PILOTs at its meeting at 9 a.m. And today is also the last day for elementary students to enroll in Germantown’s expanded virtual school



Memphis Tigers mascot Pouncer danced in front of the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium before a 2018 game. (Houston Cofield/The Daily Memphian file)

Is the Bowl over? In the wake of another Big 12 expansion and subsequent disappointment, outgoing University of Memphis president M. David Rudd says the school has made “very significant progress” over the past decade, including its academic rankings, but that the State of Tennessee needs to recognize it has two flagship universities — and one is the U of M. In a completely voluntary, non-scientific poll, almost 62% of Daily Memphian respondents said Memphis won’t ever join the Big 12. Still, beating a Power Five opponent this weekend would “be a good look for the Tigers,” according to Frank Bonner II. And, in the long term, as the U of M continues to try and elevate its stature both athletically and academically, Rudd says we could soon be having a conversation about building a new, on-campus stadium.

State senator on trial: Jury selection began yesterday in state Sen. Katrina Robinson’s federal trial, with the public and the media listening from a third-floor conference room to reserve space in the courtroom for potential jurors. About 10 of Robinson’s nursing students were there to support her, and the following court proceedings are expected to last about three weeks.


The Gateway Shopping Center at the intersection of Sam Cooper Boulevard and Tillman Street is getting a new tenant. (Daily Memphian file)

Gateway goes forward without grocery: A new anchor tenant is moving into the Binghampton Gateway Center after a search for another grocer has proved fruitless. Save A Lot closed at the center more than a year ago, and the Binghampton Development Corp. had hoped to find another food store to replace it. Now, a local nonprofit plans to lease the space instead. And while that’s good news, the sticky bit is that it solidifies the neighborhood, again, as something of a food desert and also means a change to the center’s PILOT. One of the requirements of the tax incentive was to maintain a grocery store in the shopping center.




Glanris CEO Bryan Eagle grabs a handful of soon-to-be processed rice hulls while touring his North Mississippi plant Aug. 18, 2021. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

The world’s leading agricultural waste product is rice hulls, derived from the process that creates the fluffy rice Americans favor. Worse, as those hulls are burned or rot, they release carbon into the air. But a new startup in Olive Branch has an idea to transform the hulls, first, into stable carbon and second, into a material that can be used to filter water. The company — Glanris — is already getting noticed, especially internationally. “Europe and Asia produce a lot of rice,” says CEO Bryan Eagle, “and they are a lot more interested in green water filtration products.”




Germantown’s Thornwood, shown here in a 2018 photo, has been completed in several different phases. The mixed-use development has one phase remaining. (Daily Memphian file)

Thornwood’s next phase is high-end: Germantown’s Thornwood development is growing, but it’s not going to include as many apartments as initially planned. The mixed-use development was approved for 456 apartments back in 2020; with the approval of about 50 high-end units yesterday evening, it’s now slated for about 330 apartments and one remaining phase left. At around 1,700 square feet each, this latest group of approved units will be larger and more spacious than the ones already built in the development, with an average rent of about $6,000 per month.

Jail, bail and fails: Those interested in a complete overhaul of the state’s bail system may be disappointed. During an almost six-hour committee meeting yesterday in Nashville (that is continuing today), lawmakers heard from 13 speakers about the effect of money bail on our criminal justice system, but none of those experts suggested abolishing the practice. However, many of the speakers did say that pretrial detention should be used far less than it is and that taxpayers are footing the bill to incarcerate people still presumed innocent.


A socially distanced groundbreaking at Morris Park yesterday morning. (Rob Moore/The Daily Memphian)

Makeover for Morris: A “keystone” of Memphis’ Medical District is getting a series of upgrades. Morris Park, located near Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, will get new playground equipment as well as an open gathering space as part of the Strickland administration’s “Accelerate Memphis” plan. 

Rhodes investigating racist action, messages: Rhodes College is responding to several recent on-campus incidents “that have contributed to [the] campus community feeling unsafe, particularly for Black and Jewish students.” The situations are under investigation, but some students feel the college administration did not respond quickly enough. 



This seems cool. And it starts today. 


Also, I have to give a huge shoutout this morning to Pierre Landaiche, who won a Daily Memphian T-shirt last week by knowing that reporter Omer Yusuf wrote about Herman Strickland Random Act of Kindness Day

Thanks to everyone who participated in that contest and thanks to everyone who made it down to the end of this newsletter. Hope you have a wonderful day!