The Early Word: Local judge catches flak; Little Rock is in High Cotton

Bianca Phillips By , Daily Memphian
Updated: February 21, 2024 7:58 AM CT | Published: February 21, 2024 6:30 AM CT Premium

How’s it going, Shelby County? Today is Wednesday, Feb. 21, and the Shelby County Commission holds its biweekly committee sessions today. They’ll discuss a previously delayed item that would change the Shelby County Land Bank into a county real estate department.

The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County will consider a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal for Blue Suede Networks, the Memphis company involved in a plan to expand fiber internet service across the city. And the struggling Memphis Tigers will take on Charlotte.

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Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan was issued a public reprimand this month for overturning the 163-year sentence of Courtney Anderson in December 2022. Anderson received that sentence in 2000 for theft, forgery and gun possession, and Skahan’s decision allowed him to temporarily walk free. The reprimand came over comments Skahan made about the judge in Anderson’s case and the former Shelby County district attorney, as well as a conversation she had during proceedings in her effort to overturn Anderson’s sentence.

Little Rock-based microbrewery Flyway Brewing Company is taking over High Cotton Brewing Co. and the Edge Alley space in the Edge District. But never fear, High Cotton fans: The brewery plans to retain a few High Cotton staples, while introducing their own Flyway beers. Flyway Brewing co-founder Matt Foster and the ownership group behind City Silo Table + Pantry are leading the expansion, and plan to bring a full food menu as well. (This native Arkansan is a huge fan of Flyway’s Bluewing berry wheat, so as long as I can still get High Cotton Scottish Ale, I’m here for the takeover.)

Plus, the Memphis City Council votes down health benefits, a bill goes after Memphis’ bridge protests and somebody is wrong about the murder-solve rate.


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Bianca Phillips

Bianca Phillips

Bianca Phillips is a Northeast Arkansas native and longtime Memphian with two decades of experience in local journalism and public relations. She’s a diehard morning person who spends her free time training for marathons and ultras. And she’s the author of “Cookin Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South.”


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