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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Tee time for Topgolf and goodbye to iconic ice cream plant

Hey, boo! Today is Tuesday, Aug. 16, and Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” opens at the Orpheum Theatre (hence my greeting; remember Scout’s pivotal “Hey, Boo” line from Harper Lee’s novel?).

Sorkin’s new-ish stage adaptation holds the record as the highest-grossing American play in Broadway history, and The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington takes a look at how it differs from the classic Lee novel and the 1962 film adaptation.


Yvonne Nelson (right) hugs fellow Whitehaven advocate Pearl Walker at a ceremony honoring Nelson earlier this year. “I never did what I was doing for self-gratification. It’s been all about my community and people coming in my community trying to destroy it,” Nelson said at the ceremony. (Courtesy Pearl Walker)

Whitehaven advocate killed: Community advocate and former journalist Yvonne Nelson was shot and killed on Saturday night in Raleigh in what some believe to be a carjacking. The Memphis Police Department has not yet named the crime a carjacking, but it shared photos of a person of interest and said the suspect fled in a black Infiniti sedan, the same make and model of car that Nelson had recently purchased. Nelson, a former editor of the Whitehaven Appeal and president of the Whitehaven Community Development Corp., was known for her social and environmental justice advocacy.

Wanda Halbert

Another backlog at the clerk’s office: The Shelby County Clerk’s Office will close for two weeks, from Aug. 22-26 and Sept. 19-23, to make up a backlog of work, but Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert said the backlog is not related to mailing license plates and renewal tags. The license plate backlog has been cleared, according to Halbert, but in a letter to county commissioners before the election, Halbert said the office would need to close at some point to make up for the work not done while catching up on mailing plates and tags. Shelby County Commissioners voted last week to call for state oversight of the clerk’s office.

Parents and family members picked up Cummings Elementary School students at Metropolitan Baptist Church after a ceiling collapsed at the school on Monday. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Cummings Elementary ceiling collapse: The ceiling collapsed over Cummings Elementary School’s library on Monday, and three faculty members were transported to the hospital in non-critical condition. School maintenance employees were cleaning one of the school’s library rooms when part of the ceiling began to crumble. Students were moved to a nearby church, and Memphis-Shelby County Schools’ nutrition services fed them lunch at the church before they were dismissed to their parents.

Eduard Rodriguez Tabora (middle) appeared in General Sessions Criminal Court Division 11 on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian file)

Evaluation ordered for Eason-Williams slaying suspect: In a court appearance on Monday, a mental health evaluation was ordered for 20-year-old Eduard Rodriguez Tabora, one of three first-degree murder suspects in the carjacking that led to Rev. Autura Eason-Williams’ death on July 18. Attorneys for the other two suspects, Miguel Andrade and Brayan Carrillo (both juveniles), have also ordered mental health evaluations. Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich was pushing to have the two teens tried as adults, but DA-elect Steve Mulroy may handle the case differently.

According to a new report, 1,900 jobs were added in June, bringing the Memphis region’s total to an all-time market high of 661,700 jobs. The construction industry saw the highest increase. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Off to work we go: Local employment hit an all-time high in June, moving the local job market above pre-pandemic levels. The construction industry saw the highest increase, followed by trade and transportation, business and government sectors. Several other industries, including hospitality, remain below pre-pandemic levels.



Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield heads into his third year with conference realignment at the forefront of Division I athletics. The ever-changing college football landscape is “crazy,” he said. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian file)

University of Memphis head football coach Ryan Silverfield took on the top job just three months before the world changed in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Suddenly, he was forced to create his team’s culture virtually, without a spring camp. Now as Silverfield heads into his third year, he’s under pressure to bring the team back from last season’s underwhelming 6-6 record during a time when conference realignment is at the forefront of Division I athletics. The season opener is less than three weeks away, and Silverfield is currently focused on sorting out potential running backs. 



The Klinke Brothers Ice Cream Co. is selling the plant it has used since 1967 to produce hundreds of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Melted dreams: Anyone in the market for an ice cream factory? Klinke Brothers Ice Cream Co., which has produced hundreds of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream since 1967, has closed, and its 36,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is for sale. Klinke Brothers dates back to the 1890s when dairy farmer William Bernard Klinke began delivering milk and ice cream to his neighbors in Bartlett, and for years, the Klinke family owned the largest Baskin-Robbins territory in a seven-state area. I just hope whoever buys that building keeps the iconic ice cream sign that can be seen from Interstate 240.

In this Tuesday, May 17, 2016, photo, Allie Romer makes a shot from the third level of Topgolf Las Vegas. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP file)

Countdown to tee time: Topgolf Memphis is expected to open in November 2023, according to multiple sources, with a groundbreaking planned for early September. The local location is expected to be a bit smaller than locations opening in St. Louis and St. Petersburg, Florida, next year. But there will be a full-service kitchen, so get ready for Topgolf’s signature injectable doughnut holes. 

Ben Cory Jones arrives at the premiere of “Hand of God” held at the Ace Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Rob Latour/Invision/AP file photo)

Memphian to direct football drama: Memphis native Ben Cory Jones will direct a new film about America’s first fully integrated college football team. “Black Spartans,” a drama co-written by Jones and centered around Michigan State University’s Spartans, will begin production this fall. 

One of the treatment pools at the Short Fork Wastewater Treatment Facility in DeSoto County on July 21, 2022. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Wastewater war: Memphis is tired of DeSoto County’s crap — literally. Memphis treats wastewater (yes, the water and other stuff that’s flushed down toilets) from Southaven and parts of Horn Lake at local treatment facilities. But Memphis doesn’t want to treat DeSoto County’s wastewater after Sept. 22, 2023, and a court case will determine where that waste will go. There are two wastewater treatment plants in DeSoto County, but neither is prepared to take in any more, um, number two, so there’s much ado about doo-doo.

Damian and Beth Gonzalez share a bite to eat while stopping by Side Street Burgers in Olive Branch while traveling from Florida to Colorado with their baby Bently on Nov. 17, 2021. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian file)

If it’s not number two, it’s number fun: DeSoto County may want Memphis to treat its waste, but they’d rather not drive here to have fun. Young professionals in DeSoto County want more entertainment options in their own communities. That was one takeaway from the Mississippi Economic Council’s tour stop in Southaven on Monday. The MEC is touring the state to share its five-point initiative on building a better business climate in Mississippi. 



Here’s something you might be talking about the next time you fly out of the Memphis International Airport. New TSA screening technology was implemented on Monday, and travelers are now advised to arrive two hours ahead of their flight. 

And don’t try taking any oversized luggage through the updated TSA checkpoints, or you might risk being late for your flight. 

On that note, I’ll make my departure. But I’ll be landing back here at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.