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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Concerts back in the Coliseum and Memphis in the Big 12?

Welcome to the (almost) weekend, Memphis. It’s Friday, June 9, and we’re expecting a plea deal today from one of the men accused in the killing of Memphis rapper Young Dolph. And the Memphis-Shelby County Schools board will hold yet another board retreat to discuss the stalled superintendent search. Tonight, the I-55 bridge will close at 8 p.m. for construction and remain closed through Monday morning.

On Saturday, there’s a free cookout in the newly reopened Morris Park, and the Memphis Showboats will play a mid-day home game against the New Orleans Breakers. In the evening, Hi-Tone owner Brian “Skinny” McCabe and muralist Michael “Birdcap” Roy are having a “Birds Aren’t Real”-inspired art show at the Hi-Tone, and 901 FC plays Louisville City FC. For more weekend fun, check out The To-Do List.


A proposed conservancy has a plan to reopen the Mid-South Coliseum as a multi-use facility. (The Daily Memphian file)

Conserve the Coliseum? There’s a new push to save the Mid-South Coliseum, which has been mothballed since 2007, as the city plans to demolish most of the structure to make room for a new soccer stadium. Ken May (former CEO of Topgolf and FedEx Office) and former Shelby County Democratic Party chair Corey Strong outline a plan for a new Coliseum Conservancy in an op-ed for The Daily Memphian, where they envision the Coliseum hosting concerts again and possibly sporting events. The new effort is separate from the Coliseum Coalition, which has been leading the call for reusing the Coliseum since 2015. The Daily Memphian’s Bill Dries talked with Strong about the conservancy’s plans to make the building viable again.

Plans to sink significant money into the renovation of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium could bolster the Memphis Tigers’ case for a move to the Big 12. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian file)

Big dreams about Big 12: The commissioner of the Big 12 reportedly made a recent site visit to Memphis, according to unidentified “sources” in a piece on the national college athletics website The College AD. With Oklahoma and Texas leaving the league to join the SEC in 2024, the Big 12 is considering new members, and the Memphis Tigers are among the candidates. However, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told our own Tim Buckley that he’s heard “nothing of a site visit.” Buckley takes a deep look at Memphis’ Big 12 chances.

More than 100 people showed up to watch Memphis mayoral candidates at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on Thursday, June 8. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Mayoral hopefuls talk crime: Nine Memphis mayoral candidates spoke — mostly about crime and what to do about it — at a mayoral forum at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on Thursday night. The event marked the first forum attended by mayoral candidate Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr., who touted his law-enforcement experience and pledged to make crime his “No. 1 priority.” Former county commissioner and candidate Van Turner blamed the state’s permitless carry law as the “real culprit” behind the city’s crime problem. Another candidate, Brandy Price, called for a return to public housing projects.

Brandi Jenkins of the Environmental Protection Agency gave updates on the EPA’s plans to regulate ethylene oxide emissions at Bloomfield Baptist Church on June 8. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian)

EPA versus EtO: The Environmental Protection Agency was in Memphis on Thursday to discuss possible changes to federal laws that could reduce ethylene oxide, or EtO, emissions by up to 80%. Sterilization Services of Tennessee on Florida Street, near South Memphis’ Mallory Heights neighborhood, has been polluting that area with EtO for years, and the EPA estimates that people living near the facility have a lifetime cancer risk of up to 2,000 in a million, which is about 20 times the EPA’s acceptable risk level. The EPA is inviting Memphians to share input on the proposed changes by June 27.



I want to find a way where [Ja Morant’s] not kicked to the curb, but basketball will take a backseat. 

— NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Silver is waiting until after the NBA Finals are over to announce a possible suspension for Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant over his second gun-flashing social media video. But Silver has had no shortage of words over Morant’s situation in the past few days, including his most recent comments on the Dan Patrick Show Thursday.



Memphis Tigers forward DeAndre Williams (middle) drove the lane against the LeMoyne-Owen College defense on Oct. 24, 2021. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian file)

No rush: Former Memphis Tigers forward DeAndre Williams’ attorney says he plans to take his time on Williams’ eligibility case with the NCAA. Williams announced on May 31 that he’d attempt to prove he was wrongly stripped of a season of eligibility in hopes of making a Tigers comeback. And attorney Don Jackson said he’d send evidence to support Williams’ claim to the University of Memphis and NCAA by June 6. But after a deeper look, Jackson said he’s confident enough in the evidence to spend “possibly weeks” combing through all documentation, rather than rush his submission.

“The Chamber strives to model the way for Memphis businesses in every facet of our operation because we don’t settle for great,” Greater Memphis Chamber CEO Ted Townsend said. “We want greater.” (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian)

Chamber’s plan to prosper: By 2030, Memphis could be home to more than 700 advanced industry companies, with 50,000 high-quality jobs and 20,000 STEM degree holders. Those are the new “Prosper Memphis 2030” goals laid out by Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Townsend on Thursday at the chamber’s Mid-Year Chairman’s Forum. Townsend also laid out some ways to get there, and he touted six projects already in the works, including a $220 million plan to upgrade the Wesson Oil plant in Midtown.

Summer school for teachers: Local high school teachers will get some real-world business experience this summer through externships at 19 Memphis companies. Now in its second year, the Greater Memphis Chamber Teacher Externship program pairs teachers with businesses, like Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Juice Plus or Nike, and lets them shadow workers, take facility tours and get hands-on experience. “A relationship with a high school teacher that sees over a hundred students a day in various roles makes a lot of sense to an employer,” said the Chamber’s Amity Schuyler.

Taco Antrax is located in AB Latino Services at 4556 Summer Ave. (Joshua Carlucci/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Fungus among us: In this week’s $10 deal, Daily Memphian guest writer Josh Carlucci takes us to a tucked-away taco truck called Taco Antrax. And if you think that sounds like “anthrax,” it’s because it’s supposed to. The truck is named after a notorious cartel hit squad that’s named after the bacterial illness. That may be a strange name for a restaurant, but Carlucci says it’s worth a trip for the quesadilla de huitlacoche (aka corn fungus quesadilla). That also may sound strange, but Carlucci says it’s “sweet and earthy with a delicate but notable umami.”



Downtown’s Cossitt Library recently reopened after a major renovation. It’s just the latest chapter in the life of the city’s first library, which opened in this castle-like building in 1887. You can read all about the Cossitt’s rich history here. And see more Memphis then/now photos in this post from @this_is_memphis

Have a good weekend. And we’ll do it again Monday.