How do you commemorate a storm that is not a hurricane or a tornado, but a derecho?
It turns out with a lot of rain.
It was 10 years ago today that the storm we all came to call “Hurricane Elvis” dropped in on Memphis suddenly with the straight line winds and heavy rains that define a derecho.
Here are some numbers from the safety of a decade later and the Shelby County Office of Preparedness that reflect what happened.
More than 300,000 homes were damaged and power out to 750,000 households in Memphis. Seven people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm and property damage was estimated at more than $500 million. Approximately 1,000 utility poles were snapped in the storm that clocked a top wind speed of 102 miles an hour Downtown. Three-fourths of the traffic signals in Shelby County were out or malfunctioning and the Northwest Airlines hub at Memphis International Airport closed.
Northwest Airlines? There’s another sign of the passage of time.
Another twist in the story of Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis and Victoria Brink, whom he believed for several years was his daughter. Turns out she is not per a CNN story that Cohen cooperated in.
Here is the link to the story that aired today and which involved DNA testing in which Cohen, Brink and Brink’s father at the time of her birth each contributed to.
The CNN story traces the chain of events that began with a Google search by Cohen and a bit of math that yielded a conclusion later proven wrong. The story went public when Cohen was Tweeting Brink during President Obama’s State of the Union address.
More on our story about the idea of moving the statue of Christopher Columbus to Marquette Park in East Memphis from the Downtown pocket park by the Shelby County Courthouse.
And it is about the name Marquette Park which as it turns out is not in honor of another famous explorer – French Jesuit explorer Jacques Marquette.
The park is named for longtime Memphis Park Commission employee Pep Marquette, says John Malmo, former chairman of the park commission board, who adds she is one of the very few women honored by the park commission in such a way.
With the passing of blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland over the weekend, another link to the Beale Street of long ago is lost.
Bland parked cars at the foot of Beale Street as he worked on making it in the clubs as a black man singing country or “hillbilly” music, he told Margaret McKee and Fred Chisenhall in their 1981 book “Beale Black & Blue.”
“When I moved to Memphis it was very, very tough,” he said of his move to the city after World War II from nearby Rosemark. “Not many places blacks could venture into. It was the wrong time and the wrong place for a black singer to make it singing white country blues.”
But he got some help from another earlier arrival on Beale Street, B.B. King, who had Bland on his WDIA radio program. Bland caught on with a song he wrote called “Army Blues.”
King was a fellow competitor at amateur night contests at the old Palace Theater on Beale Street. Decades later, King talked of being able to recognize Bland’s car in Beale Street traffic by the sound its glass packs made.
“Army Blues” was Bland’s first recording for Memphis-based Duke Records and it was followed shortly by a draft notice.
Read more »
Just a word or two here to help with some of the confusion that may be present if budget deliberations in this unique budget season are new to you as a reader.
Much of what is happening is new to even veterans of the process on the city council and county commission and the mayor’s offices on both sides of the Main Street Mall.
Much of the discussion so far and to come in the next two weeks on the city government side of this is about when to take certain measures.
Should they be for the fiscal year that starts July 1 or a later fiscal year.
If you are among those listening on line to the council or commission budget deliberations you will hear lots of references to fiscal year ’14 or fiscal year ’15 when the ideas being discussed start to move in that direction.
Fiscal year ’14 is the one that begins this July 1. A handy rule of reference is that the fiscal year in city and county government always takes the year number that it ends in.
Whenever possible, however, we talk about the fiscal year that begins July 1 and if it is a later year we will refer to it as the fiscal year that begins July 1 with the appropriate year.
No sense making this harder to follow than it already is.
On the other hand, you have probably noticed that we are making a distinction between proposed increases in the city and county property tax rates and proposed tax increases.
Read more »