The 901: TVA coal ash plans under fire; Grizzlies win preseason opener

Dann Miller
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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Good morning Memphis, where the Grizzlies opened the preseason with an 87-77, fire alarm-shortened, win over the Milwaukee Bucks at FedExForum Tuesday night.

Dr. Jeff Warren listens to fellow staffers as they meet at City Hall downtown on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

But, first, when the Tennessee Valley Authority said it was pausing plans for the remediation of coal ash at the Allen Fossil Plant, it raised hope for some that the ash would not be buried at a Memphis landfill southeast of Memphis International Airport.

The company's actions since then, our Sam Hardiman reports, have likely demonstrated that the pause was not much more than a public relations maneuver, at least according to a few members of the city council.

And, on Tuesday, it essentially told the Memphis City Council that it plans to bury the coal ash at the South Shelby landfill as planned. 

TVA did not offer any alternatives for burial outside of Memphis during the city council meeting Tuesday and the federally owned power provider appeared committed to burying the ash in Memphis. 

70% vaccination rate? 

Bobby Rice, a Memphis Fire Department firefighter paramedic, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to an inmate at the Shelby County Corrections Department in Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

The population of inmates at the Shelby County Division of Corrections has reached a 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate, well surpassing the general rate of vaccination in the county, our Katherine Burgess reports.

Those in leadership say it comes down to education about the vaccines — just taking the time to talk to men and women incarcerated at the penal farm about the nature of the vaccines, why they're important and what the side effects are. 

“I think what it boils down to is that our incarcerated brothers and sisters have set an example for the non-incarcerated: get vaccinated," said Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County health officer. "We set our goal to reach herd immunity, 70% of a population, whether it’s Shelby County population as a whole or in a congregate setting you’ve got 70% of people vaccinated that increases the protection of a group as a whole. I just wish the general population would model after the incarcerated population and get vaccinated.”

It's not a man's world

Yvette Juarez, owner of Rase Tire and Auto Shop in Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

Some customers who walk into Rase Tire and Auto near Whitehaven will invariably view Yvette Juarez as an accessory. 

Fact is, she’s the engine, our Tonyaa Weathersbee writes in this column for subscribers.

“Some come in and say, ‘I need to talk to the man,’” said Juarez, 43, who is the founder and owner of the shop. “I say, ‘You have to talk to me because the man is working.’ 

“Or they’re like: ‘Can I talk to someone who knows?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m the one who knows.’” 

Yet Juarez, who runs the shop with her husband, Oscar Juarez, has come to expect such shortsightedness. She’s not only a rarity in a male-dominated business, but in a field in which women aren't expected to be well-versed. 

Local nonprofits win Gannett grants

South Memphis Farmers Market aims to make quality produce affordable.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the needs in Shelby County multiplied. And groups like the Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis were serving ever more community members.

To meet those needs into the future, the Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, founder and president of the Black Clergy Collaborative, wants to focus on food insecurity in areas of Memphis classified as food deserts. 

With a $10,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation’s A Community Thrives initiative, the Black Clergy Collaborative, a 40-member group of pastors and other church leaders focused on civic engagement, economic empowerment and criminal justice reform, will start working on developing community gardens that can supply neighborhood farmers markets.

The Black Clergy organization is one of three recipients of $10,000 grants in Shelby County. The other two are Hope House Day Care Center and the National Foundation for Transplants. Concord Academy, which specializes in teaching students with disabilities or learning differences, received $2,500. 

Growth in DeSoto

Silo Square development in Southaven, Miss. on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Between 2010 and 2020, DeSoto County was the third-fastest growing county in Mississippi and had a 14.9% population increase. The population boom mirrored a drastic increase in new development, our Gina Butkovich reports.

Brian Hill also grew up in DeSoto County. As a child in Southaven, Hill remembers, to get to Olive Branch, you had to take Goodman Rd. …which was gravel. Getwell Road was nonexistent.

Now, Hill is the man behind Silo Square, a $200 million mixed-use development being built in Southaven off Getwell.

“They come here because of the growth, they come here because of the possibilities and the opportunities and the amount of rooftops that are being developed in this area,” Hill said about the commercial growth in Southaven. “It’s just a prime commercial corridor, where Silo is.”

No cause for alarm as Grizzlies open preseason

The Grizz Girls perform from a suite as the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Milwaukee Bucks during their preseason game.at the FedExForum on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

In a game that ended prematurely, but included a Ja Morant dunk that fired up FedExForum, the Grizzlies were handed an 87-77 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, our Evan Barnes reports.

A fire alarm that sounded before the start of the fourth quarter — which the Grizzlies later announced was inadvertent — resulted in the arena being evacuated.   

The game was eventually suspended by the NBA with the Grizzlies leading 87-77.

Support for new football stadium

Fans watch from the stands as the Memphis Tigers take on the UTSA Roadrunners at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

Everything is on the table as it pertains to the future of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told our Jason Munz.

And whatever the University of Memphis decides, the school has Strickland’s full support.  

“If they want to continue to greatly improve the current stadium, I’m for it,” he said. “If they want us to give them the current stadium, I’m for it. If they want to build an on-campus stadium, I’m for it.”

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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