The Early Word: How Mongo changed Memphis; plus, an election preview

Bianca Phillips By , Daily Memphian
Updated: July 08, 2024 6:24 AM CT | Published: July 08, 2024 6:24 AM CT Premium

Welcome back to the work week. It’s Monday, July 8, and Memphis Grizzlies basketball is back! The NBA Summer League starts today in Salt Lake City, and the Grizz play the Utah Jazz. This will be our first chance to see new big man Zach Edey in action.

In Germantown, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are talking signs — specifically, new rules for permanent curbside pick-up signs at shops and restaurants. And in Collierville, the BMA will consider some town requests to buy heavy-equipment trucks, including a one-ton dump truck.

Who is Prince Mongo? If you’ve lived in Memphis for awhile, that question needs no answer. We already know. But the former Memphis mayoral candidate and native of Planet Zambodia wasn’t in the headlines for years until a local nonprofit announced its plans to turn some of Mongo’s properties into arts hubs. So, Memphis transplants might need a Mongo refresh. Guest writer Jody Callahan shares wild tales of the man who’s shown up to court wearing a loincloth and no shoes, once decorated his East Memphis yard with commodes and coffins, and may have altered Memphis history with his 1991 run for Memphis mayor.

Speaking of elections, early voting opens in Shelby County for the August ballot this Friday. This is not the U.S. presidential election; that’s in November. But this election is still important with 82 candidates in 43 races. Five of the nine seats on the Memphis-Shelby County Schools board are up for grabs, and the only countywide contest is for a new General Sessions Court Clerk. The ballot includes primary elections for all 13 of the state House districts covering Shelby County and two of the five state Senate seats, along with the primaries for U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats. The Daily Memphian’s Bill Dries offers an overview. Ten of the 43 races are unopposed, so we’ve also got a look at who’s already won

Plus, Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cadillac comes home, and Baptist uses AI for lung scans.


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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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