The 901: Rhodes College mourns loss of student killed in home invasion; Grizzlies kick off preseason

Dann Miller
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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Good morning Memphis where the Memphis Grizzlies are back inside FedExForum tonight as they open up their preseason against the champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Rhodes College is almost empty during spring break on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The college announced that it is asking students not to return to campus following spring break .

But, first, Rhodes College confirmed Monday that Andrew "Drew" Rainer, a senior, was the student shot and killed early Sunday near the school, our Laura Testino reports

"Drew’s death is a deeply felt loss to the Rhodes College family, especially his classmates, friends, fraternity brothers, faculty, staff, and the Memphis community, where he grew up and his family still lives," Rhodes College Interim President Carroll D. Stevens wrote in a letter to campus Monday. "We have been in touch with Drew’s parents and have extended our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies."

Rainer came to Rhodes from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. He was studying an English major and music minor, Stevens said. 

Middle Claiborne Aquifer area of interest in Mississippi vs Tennessee Supreme Court case. (source: U.S. Geological Survey)

Is Memphis stealing Mississippi water?

In the first case of a new annual session, U.S. Supreme Court justices heard allegations that the City of Memphis is essentially stealing groundwater from under the state of Mississippi, our Sam Hardiman reports.

That argument from Mississippi faced skepticism from members of the Supreme Court Monday in the state's effort to get millions in damages for what it believes is Tennessee's trampling over its sovereignty when it comes to water. 

At issue is whether Memphis city government, city-owned utility Memphis Light, Gas and Water, and the state of Tennessee, have been pumping water in a way that has harmed Mississippi and siphoned off the water that was underneath Mississippi. The water in question is in the Claiborne Aquifer — the Memphis Sand aquifer is a region in that aquifer. 

Scenes from outside the Kroger on New Byhalia Road in Collierville where a shooting took place Thursday afternoon, Sept. 23, 2021.

Remembering Kroger shooting victims

The National Compassion Fund, in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and Kroger Delta Division, announced Monday it will establish the Collierville Survivors Fund, to aid people affected by the mass shooting Sept. 23, at the Kroger on New Byhalia Road, our Dima Amro reports.

To start it off, Kroger will donate $1 million, said Kroger representative Teresa Dickerson.

"We know that nothing can change that day," Dickerson said. "That day has passed but how can we be light after darkness, and we want to help our community heal."

William Richmond got a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination injected into his left arm Tuesday, Aug.18, 2021.

Measuring COVID-19 vaccination success

COVID-19 vaccines may have saved the lives of 1,300 Tennessee seniors and prevented 3,900 hospitalizations among seniors, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, our Corinne Kennedy reports.

The HHS study also estimated there had been 8,600 fewer COVID-19 infections among Tennessee Medicare beneficiaries due to vaccinations. 

Nationally, HHS researchers found vaccinations were linked to a reduction of 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May 2021.

Bulgaria-born Memphis-rased filmmaker Tzvetana "Sissy" Denkova, who in October will film in Memphis for her Bulgarian actor cast, "The Scent of Linden," about an immigrant navigating between his new American experiences and the traditional  Bulgarian community.

From Bulgaria with love

The next feature film shot in Memphis will bring attention to one of the city's more overlooked populations — the Bulgarian community — while also demonstrating the Mid-South's potential as a base for filmmaking with an international flair, our John Beifuss reports.

Conceived and directed by Bulgaria-born Tzvetana Denkova — who has been known as "Sissy" since her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1997, when she was 10 — "The Scent of Linden" begins shooting here Oct. 6.

Described by Denkova as "an ensemble black comedy," the movie will be one of the more unique projects ever undertaken here. Says Denkova: "The film would be the first Bulgarian feature ever produced entirely in the U.S."

Fans sit next to the water fountain outside the entrance of the Southern Heritage Classic between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

Changes coming to the stadium formerly known as the Liberty Bowl

The city of Memphis has commissioned a proposal from a major architectural firm as part of its plans to create a revamped Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in the coming years, our Mark Gianotto writes.

Nick Walker, the director of the city’s division of parks and neighborhoods, said in an interview that architects and certain stadium stakeholders did a walkthrough of the facility ahead of the Memphis-UTSA football game less than two weeks ago. 

The city expects to receive a quote on a new master plan for a reimagined Liberty Bowl next week. 

“And then,” Walker said, “we figure out what we can afford to do.”

Memphis guard Lester Quinones works out during a private training session in New York in August.

One-on-one with Lester Quinones

When Lester Quinones arrived in Memphis more than two years ago, he was billed as the 3-point shooting specialist in a landmark seven-member recruiting class.

But as our Jason Muzn reports in this story for subscribers, a lot has changed.

The 6-foot-5 guard, still as effective as ever beyond the arc (48.5% from over the final month of his sophomore season), contributes much more to the cause. In the final eight games of his sophomore season, Quinones averaged 10.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists a game, shooting 47% from the floor. He is also one of two players — the other is Memphis native Malcolm Dandridge — from that ballyhooed group still on the roster.

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Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) addresses members of the media during a press conference at FedExForum on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

The Grizzlies are back

Dillon Brooks will not play in the Memphis Grizzlies' preseason home opener Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks (7 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast) due to right thigh soreness, our Evan Barnes reports.

Brooks sat out the Grizzlies' open practice on Sunday and was not seen by media Monday after practice. The fifth-year guard also recovered from a hand injury this summer during an offseason workout.

Carla Thomas was honored Sept. 22 during the Americana Awards at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Carla Thomas receives another recognition

The honors keep coming from Carla Thomas, the Stax recording artist recognized as the "Queen of Memphis Soul," our John Beifuss reports

Less than two weeks after she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Nashville during the 20th annual Americana Awards, Thomas was named Monday as one of the recipients of this year's Governor's Arts Awards.

Also among this year's honorees are Frank Bluestein, a highly influential fine arts teacher for many years at Germantown High School, and Debbie Litch, the longtime arts advocate who is executive director of Theatre Memphis, the stage organization this year celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Dann Miller is the senior consumer experience director at The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @dannmiller.

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