Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Memphis Pets of the Week (March 21-27)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 11:43 AM

Each week, the Flyer will feature adoptable dogs and cats from Memphis Animal Services. All photos are credited to Memphis Pets Alive. More pictures can be found on the Memphis Pets Alive Facebook page.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Memphis Minute: Wolf River Harbor Clean Up, Internet Points

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 1:09 PM

Here's the link to the clean-up page.  

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Earnestine & Hazel's Seeks Information on Vandal, Promises Burger

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 11:04 AM

A vandal punched three holes in the wall Saturday night. - EARNESTINE & HAZEL'S/FACEBOOK
  • Earnestine & Hazel's/Facebook
  • A vandal punched three holes in the wall Saturday night.

Earnestine & Hazel's needs your help.

Someone punched three holes in a wall in the upstairs hallway Saturday night, "causing significant damage." The vandal has not yet been identified but the E&H staff want to solve this whodunnit.

The venerated South Main watering hole bills itself as "ragged but right." But, in a way that maybe only Memphians can understand, E&H staffers believe that raggedness should be preserved.

"We are operating in a very delicate and historically significant building that was constructed in 1906," reads the bar's Facebook post on Monday. "Preserving Earnestine's integrity is at the top of our priorities, but we cannot do it without your help."

If you saw it go down or have any information about it, the E&H staff "would love to buy you a burger and a drink and talk about it."
The vandalism happened during a celebration of Nate Barnes' 27th anniversary of working at E&H. You probably know Moore as the broad-smiled, good-natured upstairs bartender, Mr. Nate.

Read the post yourself here:

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Monday, March 18, 2019

OUTMemphis Starts Building New Youth Center

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 11:34 AM

After years of behind-the-scenes work, OUTMemphis will begin building its Youth Emergency Center this week and it will serve as the area’s only LGBTQ-specific shelter and drop-in center.

Work began on the center in 2016. OUTMemphis closed on a piece of Shelby County Land Bank property at 2059 Southern that spans three parcels. But work to clearly identify the problem with homeless youth who identified as LGBTQ here began in 2015, with the city’s first ever survey/count of that population.

Last year, the Community Alliance for the Homeless 2018 Point-in-Time/Youth Count found that 57 percent of homeless youth utilize emergency shelters and 43 percent use transitional housing. In Shelby County, 51 percent of unaccompanied youth are 18-24. LGBTQ young people aged 18-24 make up 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness.

OUTMemphis piloted several possible solutions to the problem, including host families and hotel vouchers. Ultimately, the group founded The Metamorphosis Project, a long-term approach to LGBTQ-specific emergency shelter for youth.

A site map shows how the group would use shipping containers to build its shelter. - MEMPHIS AND SHELBY COUNTY OFFICE OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
  • Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development
  • A site map shows how the group would use shipping containers to build its shelter.

“One night, I received three calls in an hour from youths across the state looking for housing services,” said Stephanie Reyes, who launched OUTMemphis’ Youth Services programs and spearheads The Metamorphosis Project. “That very night, we decided enough was enough. We needed to do something drastic to serve our kids.

“For years, LGBTQ youth in Memphis have had to endure shelters that were not safe, free, or welcoming. Now we will have a space of our own, so our youth can not only survive but thrive.”

OUTMemphis has said the center would house 20 clients at full capacity. The Metamorphosis building will start with four beds, a classroom, meeting and office space, a kitchen, laundry, storage, and parking.

The Youth Emergency Center is one part of the overall, three-pronged effort by the Metamorphosis Project. It also includes Youth Emergency Services (YES), which supplies hygiene products, food, clothes, bus passes, case management, and more. The overall project also includes Rapid Re-Housing, which began in 2017. It helps participants with one year of rental assistance and guidance on renting a first home.

When finished, the center will be one of about 20 like it across the country.

This map shows where the OUTMemphis youth homeless shelter will be located.
  • This map shows where the OUTMemphis youth homeless shelter will be located.

“This space will be the first and only drop-in center and shelter for youth in Memphis,” said Stephanie Bell, Youth Services Manager at OUTMemphis. “This will be the city’s first chance to change the lives of those most vulnerable.”

Reyes has said in the past that many Memphis-area shelters don’t advertise that they are LGTBQ-friendly. Others are either not free, safe, or welcoming.

Funds for the new building and the Metamorphosis Project came from the Assisi Foundation, Plough Foundation, the Mystic Krewe of Pagasus, Friends of George’s and Manna House.

“It showed us that we were not the only people in this city to see this need and want to help,” said Reyes. “People rallied together to make this happen, and we expect to see that significant support continue as the emergency shelter begins operations and, hopefully, expands.”

In 2016, boarded-up houses stood on the site where OUTMemphis wants to build a homeless shelter for LGBT youths. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • In 2016, boarded-up houses stood on the site where OUTMemphis wants to build a homeless shelter for LGBT youths.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Do You Want to Be Jimmy Smits?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 12:14 PM

The production company that's filming the Bluff City Law series pilot in Memphis is looking for Jimmy Smits. Well, not the real Jimmy Smits. They already have him. He's the star. What they're looking for is a stand-in for Smits.

Here's the deal, direct from On Location Casting:

NBC will be in Memphis to film the pilot “ BLUFF CITY LAW”. We are looking for a “Stand In” for actor Jimmy Smits. He is 6’3”, 240lbs, with olive skin and dark hair. We would like to find someone who is a close match to these physical characteristics as possible. They will work 3/16-3/20 and 3/23-3/27. They will need to be available all days. Should you have someone who would like to apply please have them send their, Name, Photo, age, height & weight to .

Is this guy your doppelganger?


Then, you know what to do. 

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

‘Damaging Winds’ Forecast for Memphis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 1:49 PM


Severe weather is expected to hit Memphis this evening, lasting through the night and into tomorrow.

The primary risk is damaging winds, according to the Memphis National Weather Service (NWS). Other concerns are large hail and flooding.

The greatest risk is along the Mississippi River today, with the risk moving further east on Thursday, Jim Branda, forecaster for the Memphis NWS, said.

There is a wind advisory in place for Memphis and surrounding areas until midnight Wednesday, but Branda anticipates damaging winds throughout Wednesday. Branda said wind gusts could reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. The winds will be strong enough to bring down trees and power lines, resulting in power outages, Branda adds.

The NWS encourages residents to secure loose items, as well as watch for fallen trees and power lines. It also warns that high-profile vehicles might be difficult to drive in strong winds.

The NWS puts storms into five categories based on the severity of risks. Most of Memphis is in the Slight risk — or second lowest — as of Wednesday at 10:28 a.m.

This means Memphians can expect “short-lived and/or not widespread isolated intense storms.” This is down from the Enhanced risk category Memphis was in early this morning. Enhanced risk, the third level, would have meant “more persistent and/or widespread intense storms.”

Memphis Light, Gas and Water said Wednesday that the utility is on standby to handle any power outages that may occur.

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Memphis Pets of the Week (March 14-20)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:52 AM

Each week, the Flyer will feature adoptable dogs and cats from Memphis Animal Services. All photos are credited to Memphis Pets Alive. More pictures can be found on the Memphis Pets Alive Facebook page.


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John Kilzer Dies

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 8:34 AM

"Some say time's a riddle/I say time's a freight train, shimmering in the rain." — John Kilzer

John Kilzer, the former University of Memphis basketball player who went on to create a decades-long music career and, later, a beloved ministry at St. John's United Methodist Church, died Tuesday night. 

His death was announced by the church: "It is with tremendous sadness that we (St John's UMC) announce the sudden death of John Kilzer, our associate pastor of recovery ministries and our friend. May love and peace be poured over John's loved ones and this community as we grieve the incredible loss of this beloved member of the St. John's Family."

Kilzer was 62 and had just released a new album, Scars, in January. Here is Alex Greene's interview with Kilzer on that occasion.

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Mighty Lights Doubles Up

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM


Need more Mighty Lights in your life? You got it.

Light shows on the Harrahan and Hernando de Soto Bridges now run every half hour after sundown until 10 p.m., according to Mighty Lights, the group behind the privately-funded, state-of-the-art LED light installations.

  • Mighty Lights

The new schedule doubles the frequency of the shows. Community demand drove the new schedule, according to Mighty Lights.


Mighty Lights debuted in October 2016. Since then to 10-minute light shows have honored holidays, civic celebrations, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the St. Jude Marathon, Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, Mardi Gras, and the announcement of FedEx Logistics’ global headquarters moving to Downtown Memphis.


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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Fourth Bluff to Fund Memphians’ ‘Fresh Ideas and Programs’

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 11:01 AM


The Fourth Bluff collaborative is looking to grant residents up to $20,000 to fund community programs Downtown near the river.

The “Fuel the Fourth Bluff” Community Fund is meant for project or programs “that can activate public space to make them places that bring people of diverse backgrounds together, that foster civic engagement and environmental stewardship, and that add value to community,” according to the Fourth Bluff website.

The local Fourth Bluff collaborative is a piece of the national Reimagining Civic Common initiative. Memphis is one of five cities that received a total of $4 million to invest in shared public assets. To date, those funds have helped create the River Garden and River Line, as well as other activations and programs like RiverPlay and the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink.

Now, the Fourth Bluff wants to give Memphians a share of $100,000 in order to fund “fresh ideas and programs.” Grants will be distributed in $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000 amounts.

Anyone from artists and activists, to students and entrepreneurs, to organizations and corporations, is encouraged to apply. However, the proposed programs must take place within the Civic Commons footprint — an approximate six-block area, roughly bordered by Main, Mud Island, Jefferson, and Monroe. Projects can also take place on the River Line between the Beale Street Landing and the A.W. Willis Bridge.

Map of the Fourth Bluff - THE FOURTH BLUFF
  • The Fourth Bluff
  • Map of the Fourth Bluff

The projects also have to meet one of the Civic Commons’ four goals: civic engagement, value creation, socioeconomic mixing, and environmental sustainability.

Applicants will be chosen by a group of community reviewers who will select proposals for “imaginative programs that advance one or more of the goals of the civic commons. We’ll also be looking for innovation and ensuring the applicant has the capacity to produce the requested program.”

Selected programs, including one-time events and series, could kick off as soon as April and wrap up in October.

Applicants can apply here before Monday, March 18th. There will also be a public Q&A session about the opportunity Tuesday (today) at 6 p.m. at 409 South Main.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

AGs Urge End of Robocalls

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM

  • Ronnie Wu |
More than 48 billion robocalls were made last year and Attorneys General from across the country urged the U.S. Senate last week to help stop them.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery joined 54 other Attorneys General in a letter urging lawmakers to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The legislation would curb illegal robocalls and phone spoofing, in which consumers are tricked into answering calls because the incoming number appears to be local.

“The state AGs are on the front lines of enforcing do-not-call laws and helping consumers who are harassed and scammed by unwanted telemarketing calls and robocalls,” reads the letter. “Robocalls and telemarketing calls are currently the number one source of consumer complaints at many of our offices, as well as at both the (Federal Communications Commission) and the (Federal Trade Commission).”

Consumers reported losses of more than $290 million thank to fraudulent telemarketers, according to the letter. Consumers Union reported telemarketing scams have been a $9.5 billion out to the U.S. economy.

Robocalls were expected to rise 33 percent in 2018. The actual number — almost 48 billion calls — was up 36 percent over 2017.

The TRACED Act would allow states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat robocalls. The legislation would require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Do Unto Others: Mary Latham

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 5:03 PM

  • Michael Donahue
  • Mary Latham

Mary Latham is in Memphis looking for random acts of kindness.

For the past two and half years during her More Good mission, Latham traveled to 35 states in her 50-state goal to find the good in people.

Traveling in her mom’s old Subaru, Latham, 32, gets people she meets on her travels to tell her stories about kindnesses done to them or to others. Or kindnesses they’ve done. She hopes to compile the stories in a book.

“It’s amazing how the large majority of people, complete strangers, open their doors and connect you with people in the community doing good,” Latham says. “I don’t have a sponsor. I’m literally sponsored by the kindness of strangers. They donate gas to the gas tank, buy dinner, coffee along the way.”

She has stickers from the places she’s been plastered on the car. “I look like this total hippie.”

Latham, who is based in Long Island, New York, said the seed for her quest was planted when she was at work. It was December 14th. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was all over the news. “I was pretty horrified — as we all were that day.”

A co-worker, who stopped by her desk, told her he’d just gotten a free cup of coffee at Starbucks. A customer buying gift cards for his employees put $100 on the counter and said he wanted to buy coffee for everyone in line.

Her co-worker was going through a lot of problems. “He was 30 at the time and going through a divorce. His mom had passed away and he was having back surgery. He was so excited about this $3 cup of coffee.”

Latham called her mom and told her about the incident. Her mother said, “Think about that man who just made so many people’s day by buying them a coffee. There is always going to be horrible and tragic things that happen, but there will always be more good out there. You just have to look for it.”

Latham and a friend began compiling similar stories for “The GrAttitude Project,” which they began on Facebook.

Her mother, who was battling cancer, “ends up in the hospital for surgery. There was a small chance of anything going wrong. And it did. She passed away at the end of the week.”

Latham still was in shock when she opened up her email and found a “beautiful story about a girl who lost both her parents.”

As a way to honor her mother’s memory, Latham decided to begin looking for good in every state and compile the stories into an inspirational book for hospital reading rooms. “Highlight all the good that was going on and record it and kind of figure it out.”

Latham began traveling from city to city. People knew about her from news articles done in various places she’d visited. They fed her and let her sleep on their couches.

A professional photographer, Latham sometimes takes a two-week break and shoots weddings and visits her family. Then it’s back on the road.

The well of stories of kindness never runs dry. “Of course, everyone has a story because everyone has a story.”

On the fourth day of staying with a couple in Nashville, the man, a pharmacist, told her about an old woman who used to visit his drugstore to get her pills. He began taking them to her so she wouldn’t have to make the trip. He discovered the woman was alone and didn’t have any family. “They started having lunch with her every Monday. This is the story. It doesn’t have to be a kidney donation.”

Her hosts have been diverse. “I’ve had Trump supporters, Hillary supporters, Bernie supporters.”

Kindness transgresses politics. “I realized in this mission people never talk about politics. Entering these homes, they never ask me these kinds of questions. It’s a breath of fresh air not to have to talk about it for a minute.

“Not to say things aren’t so great right now, but look around and you notice the good.”

In Memphis, she discovered the “Wow” budget at Pinnacle Bank. An employee discovered one of their customers was sick, but couldn’t afford to pick up her pills at Walgreens. “They used some of the Wow budget, paid for the medicine, picked it up, drove it to her house. That’s a cool thing. There are so many cool things up my alley.”

She heard the story of a third grade teacher who gave special attention to one of her students who was struggling. The child was one of four children being raised by a single mother. This teacher sat down with the young woman and said, “Look at me. I believe in you. You can do this.”

The child progressed to the seventh grade and ended up getting all A’s on her report card. She sent the report card to her teacher, who framed it and now has it framed in her classroom. “Everyone has a great teacher. You never remember to thank them.”

People have done many acts of kindness for her, Latham says. A woman, who really couldn’t afford it, bought her lunch and gave her $20 to get her flat tire fixed. The man who fixed the tire told her it would be good for a month or two, but that she needed new tires.

“This woman calls up the local Subaru dealership, explained what I was doing and asked if they would help ‘cause I was driving a Subaru. The secretary said, ‘If they don’t, I will buy her four new tires right now on my credit card.’ But they did. I cried that day. Not to say I don’t cry pretty much all the time.”

Latham suffers from Lyme disease, which flares up when she’s under stress, which she’s under quite a bit. She also has arthritis in her legs. “I’m collecting stories knowing what people are going through and people help me: ‘Let me put essential oils on you. Give you a massage.’ It’s really amazing.”

Her More Good mission has been therapeutic for her, Latham says. “I would say it’s been a pretty big punch in the face of perspective getting through my mom’s death. I could not seem to get through it very well. I thought doing this mission would really keep her alive. This is her kindness and spirit of believing in good out there."

If you have a story to share, contact Latham at

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River Mayors Push $7.8B Infrastructure Plan

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 1:44 PM


Mayors from cities up and down the Mississippi River pushed a $7.8 billion infrastructure plan in Washington Thursday as near-record floodwaters rise on those muddy banks.

Twenty mayors with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers working on a massive infrastructure bill. The mayors laid out their plan to reinforce the “essential natural and built infrastructure of the Mississippi River” corridor as the river swelled.

Southern Illinois registered its third-highest flood level and Vidalia, Louisiana, is about to tie for its second-highest water level, according to Lionel Johnson, mayor of St. Gabriel, Louisiana.
“The National Weather Service hydrologic outlook for our entire corridor predicts considerable risk for significant flooding into the spring,” Johnson said. “We must act. We are in D.C. urging serious proposals to address the vulnerabilities we see on the ground.”

The Mississippi River at 38 feet on February 24th. - FACEBOOK- MIKE LAWHEAD
  • Facebook- Mike Lawhead
  • The Mississippi River at 38 feet on February 24th.

To fight those vulnerabilities, the group says it needs $7.8 billion to fix bridges, roads, wetlands, ports, and more along the 2,300-mile river. To fund it, the MRCTI hopes lawmakers will establish a revolving loan fund to “help communities address several hazards including droughts, intense heat, wild fires, and significant storms.”

“We’re not going to solve our problems with grants,” said Frank Klipsch, mayor of Davenport, Iowa. “One of the largest infrastructure grant programs in the federal budget is the BUILD Grant program.

“The entire award history of the BUILD program would not even meet one fourth of the investment needed to bring the nation’s inland waterway system up to a state of good repair let alone all surface transportation needs of roads, rail, transit, and ports.”

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Council Recap: Memphis 3.0, Pre-K, & Cannabis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 8:47 AM


Some Memphis City Council members raised questions Tuesday about the Memphis 3.0 plan, a comprehensive plan that will guide the city’s investments and developments for the next 20 years.

City officials presented the plan to a council committee Tuesday ahead of the first of three votes on an ordinance approving the plan in two weeks.

Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson said she was “impressed” with the plan, but still had several lingering questions.

“What’s in here that might not be fully disclosed because of how people might interpret what’s actually written?” Johnson asked.

Johnson also inquired about the 15,000 Memphis residents said to have participated in creating the 3.0 plan.

“Who were those 15,000 individuals?” she said. “How many of those were developers or builders? What are the classifications of the 15,000 which still represents less than 3 percent of the population?

”Do you think this is an adequate number to set out a plan that will be in place for the next 20 years?”

Ashley Cash, Memphis’ comprehensive planning administrator, said the city “made every effort” to have broad participation from the public, which meant developers, stakeholders, and residents were involved.

Johnson also wanted to know if the plan will guide equitable investments in the city and if the efforts will be balanced across all Memphis neighborhoods.

John Zeenah, who heads the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development said the anchors, or places identified in the plan for further development, are “evenly distributed” around the city.

Councilman Reid Hedgepeth expressed concerns about the unintentional consequences the plan could have.

“There’s a lot of things that I have heard from developers, from builders, and from people saying, ‘Wait, I’ve got to do what?’” Hedgepeth said. “These are things that I didn’t know. How can you assure us when we approve these 400 pages it’s not going to be similar to the UDC (Unified Development Code) and we had unintended consequences when we approved it.”

Josh Whitehead with the city/county Office of Planning and Development told Hedgepeth that the plan will be updated and amended frequently to keep it “relevant.”

Council members also asked for the “big bullet points” from the 400-page document, highlighting how things will change once the plan takes effect.

The council will take its first of three votes on an ordinance to adopt the plan in two weeks.

Memphis 3.0 planning meeting
  • Memphis 3.0 planning meeting

The council also passed an ordinance that enables the city and county to appoint a fiscal agent to manage its pre-K fund.

This move comes as an $8 million grant that funds 1,000 pre-K seats in the county is set to run out in June. Now, the city and county are on track to fund those 1,000 seats plus an additional 1,000 beginning this fall.

The city/county joint ordinance paves the way for a fiscal agent to be appointed. The agent would be responsible for managing the fund, bringing in private dollars, and creating a high-quality pre-K program.

The Shelby County Commission will vote on a similar ordinance at its March 25th meeting.


The council also approved a resolution supporting three cannabis-related bills introduced by Tennessee lawmakers. The bills deal with decriminalization of certain amounts, medical marijuana, and taxation of cannabis.

The resolution, sponsored by council members Berlin Boyd and Martavius Jones, passed with a 5-4 vote.

Councilman J. Ford Canale, one of the members voting no, said he supports legalizing medical marijuana, but not decriminalization of the drug for other uses.

Boyd said that decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis would help the number of Memphians who have felony charges because of marijuana possession.


A vote to impose a plastic bag surcharge at certain retail stores was delayed until May, as state legislators are working on a bill to prohibit local governments from putting those types of fees in place.

The fee is meant to curb plastic bag usage to reduce litter, especially in the city’s waterways, Boyd, who is sponsoring the resolution, has said.

Tuesday Boyd said the fee would be 4 cents, instead of the 7 cents he first proposed last year. If approved, it would take effect January 2020.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

City, Elvis Presley Enterprises Announce Agreement on Graceland Expansion

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 5:21 PM


An agreement between the city of Memphis and Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to move forward with a Graceland expansion plan was announced Tuesday during the Memphis City Council executive session.

The agreement would allow EPE to move forward with the Graceland Tourism Development Zone Master Plan, with the exclusion of a controversial 6,200-seat arena.

The arena has been a point of tension between Graceland and both the city and the Memphis Grizziles. City officials expressed concerns when the plans were announced that granting financial incentives to Graceland to build the arena could violate a non-compete clause it holds with the Grizzlies.

The clause prohibits the city from financing any indoor arena with more than 5,000 seats.

The plan does include additions to the Guest House at Graceland Hotel, expansions to retail and exhibition spaces, as well as construction of 80,000 square feet of sound stages, aircraft hangers, and cabins. 

Under the agreement, EPE also agrees to invest a total of $750,000 in the Whitehaven community over a five-year period.

For every ticket sold at a Graceland performance that is booked through Live Nation, EPE will donate $1.50 to the community. This will happen on an annual basis for five years. 

Community groups will be selected to enter a Community Benefits Agreement with EPE, under which the groups will help decide how to disperse funds for the direct benefit of Whitehaven residents.

The allocation of the funds will be decided by the community group, along with EPE and the council members representing districts 6 and 3.

Under the agree, EPE will also form a company called Newco that will develop manufacturing and distribution facilities in Whitehaven. EPE plans to hire 1,000 full-time equivalent employees, who will make no less than $15.50 an hour. Whitehaven residents will get considered first for those jobs, according to the agreement.

This comes as Graceland waits for a final court ruling that would allow it to move forward with its 6,200-seat arena, which was originally introduced as a part of the master plan.

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson specified that the council’s resolution does not approve that development or settle the ongoing litigation.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Robinson said.

The city council will vote on the agreement in two weeks.

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