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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Kelsey pleads guilty, and Ibis is flying into South Main

Hi, there. As we enter the holiday season, we wanted to thank you, our readers, for helping us create a brand new newsroom for Memphis and supporting a new generation of journalists. And we wanted to give something back. So, whether you are a subscriber or not, you are getting the subscriber-only version of this article. We hope you enjoy it. (Want to become a subscriber? Go here.)

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 23, and the countdown to overindulgence has begun. I hope you’ve got your stretchy pants ready for all that dressing (and yes, I said dressing; it’s not stuffing, no matter what Jaren Jackson Jr. says). 

Looking ahead, The Daily Memphian’s Commercial Real Estate Seminar is coming up on Dec. 1, and we’ll have a panel of experts in retail, industrial and office real estate discussing the current commercial markets and their projections for 2023. You can register for that event here.


Former Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey (third from left) arrived for a change of plea hearing at the Fred D. Thompson U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Nashville Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (Ian Round/The Daily Memphian)

Kelsey pleads guilty: State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to accepting excessive campaign contributions on Tuesday. The charges, which each carry a max of five years, were two of five federal campaign finance charges that stemmed from Kelsey’s actions during his 2016 failed Congressional campaign. Kelsey gave up his right to a trial, and in exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed not to try him on the three other charges.

Kelly Loving (a.k.a. Jenna Sno)

Club Q shooting victim from Memphis: Forty-year-old Memphis native Kelly Loving, also known as “Jenna Sno,” was among those killed in the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs on Saturday night. Loving was one of five people killed and 18 injured in the LGBTQ nightclub shooting. OUTMemphis held a candlelight vigil on Monday — the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance — to honor the Club Q victims, as well as all transgender victims lost to violence over the years. 

Jermarcus Johnson, who was arrested last week in connection to Young Dolph’s killing, was arraigned in Judge Lee Coffee’s courtroom on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Young Dolph update: Jermarcus Johnson, the fourth suspect in the killing of Memphis rapper Young Dolph (aka Adolph Thornton Jr.), made his first court appearance on Tuesday in Judge Lee Coffee’s courtroom. Johnson is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. During the court appearance, Coffee also said Justin Johnson, another suspect in Young Dolph’s killing, has been placed on segregation in jail and will be denied privileges. Thornton was shot and killed on Nov. 17, 2021, at Makeda’s Cookies on Airways Boulevard, and a lot has transpired since then.

Jeff Lyash, CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, was paid nearly $9.8 million in salary, performance bonuses and benefits in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, making him the highest-paid federal employee. (Jim Weber/The Daily Memphian file)

Money talk: Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Jeff Lyash made $9.8 million in salary, performance bonuses and benefits this fiscal year, making him the highest-paid federal employee in the country. TVA’s large salaries have drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle; Former President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen have both said Lyash is paid too much. But Lyash’s salary is still 18% below the average of comparable investor-owned utilities.

The Venue apartment building in Midtown was evacuated on Tuesday due to a carbon monoxide leak. (Aarron Fleming/The Daily Memphian)

Carbon monoxide leak kills Midtown pets: A carbon monoxide leak at Midtown’s The Venue apartment complex at Central and Lamar Avenue on Tuesday left four pets dead and four people in non-critical condition. The leak apparently started after work was done on a boiler in the building.



Memphis 901 FC coach announced the hire of new coach Stephen Glass on Tuesday. (Courtesy 901 FC)

I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to come to Memphis and look forward to building on the success that was enjoyed last year.

— Stephen Glass, new 901 FC coach
Glass, who formerly coached Atlanta United in the United Soccer League Championship and Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League, is the new coach of Memphis 901 FC. He’ll replace Ben Pirmann, who left for a new position with Charleston Battery last week after leading 901 FC to its most successful season in club history.



With 901Hospitality, Matthew and Jeremy Thacker-Rhodes plan to focus on redefining the local dining landscape, beginning with Ibis. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

New York meets New Orleans: Memphis power couple Jeremy and Matthew Thacker-Rhodes are opening Ibis, a new restaurant in the old Pontotoc Lounge on South Main Street, in early December. Ibis will serve small plates and cocktails and feature a swanky bar on the bottom floor and a lounge upstairs. The concept is the first dining spot in the Thacker-Rhodes’ new 901Hospitality company. “If New York and New Orleans had a love child, it would be what Ibis has turned out to be,” Thacker-Rhodes said.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) on Nov. 22, 2022. (Brandon Dill/AP)

One shot short: The Memphis Grizzlies fell one free throw short of beating the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, losing 113-109. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies needed three free throws from star point guard Ja Morant to tie the game, and well, he missed. To the Grizzlies’ credit, the Kings have turned into a force to be reckoned with this season, and Tuesday’s win was their seventh in a row. And the Grizzlies are still missing their best 3-point shooter, Desmond Bane, out at least another week with his toe sprain. But there’s plenty for Grizzlies fans to be grateful for, according to The Daily Memphian’s Tim Buckley. By the way, if you’ve been wondering what Kenneth Lofton Jr. is up to, you’ll find him in the G League (and the Grizzlies have a reason).

Memphis Zoo CEO Matt Thompson (left) met with representatives from the Overton Park Conservancy and City of Memphis on Monday, Nov. 21, to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding a new parking plan for the zoo. (Submitted)

It’s official: The Overton Park greensward is saved. Memphis Zoo CEO Matt Thompson met with representatives from the Overton Park Conservancy and City of Memphis on Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding for the zoo’s new parking plan. The plan will create a new parking area for the zoo where the City of Memphis maintenance area currently stands, preventing the need for zoo overflow parking on the greensward. The deal also restores 17 acres of forested parkland that has been inaccessible for decades.

Employees sort packages for delivery at the FedEx regional hub at the Los Angeles International Airport. (Jae C. Hong/AP file)

FedEx ready for Cyber Monday: This holiday shipping season, which starts on Nov. 28 with Cyber Monday, FedEx is expecting a moderate peak in business, compared to the last two years. “We aren’t providing specific volume numbers, but we have said volumes are softening,” said FedEx’s vice president of marketing and communications. The Memphis-based company announced in September that it was cutting nearly $2.7 billion of expenses to offset a low earnings period. If you want to help FedEx out by shipping a gift, here are a few deadlines to get it there by Christmas.



Former University of Memphis President M. David Rudd had the same reaction most Memphians would when he read that Nashville ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for potholes. Um, have y’all been to Memphis, Nashville?

If you’re on the road for Thanksgiving today, watch out for those potholes. And if you need to fly, Memphis International Airport has some travel tips for you. Have an awesome Thanksgiving! The Early Word will be taking the rest of the week off for the holiday. See you bright and early on Monday morning.