Crime, I-240, & #ThanksgivingInJail 

New crime figures are out, the flyover is open, and many spent the holiday behind bars.

Cohen against TVA plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) should not use fresh water from the Memphis Sand Aquifer to cool its proposed, natural-gas-powered energy plant here, said Rep. Steve Cohen last week.

Cohen said the TVA should stick to its original plan to use wastewater from Memphis Light Gas & Water to cool its plant instead of pulling 3.5 million gallons of Memphis drinking water per day from the aquifer. Cohen called TVA's new proposal "unprecedented."

"The potential for increased pollution in the aquifer brought on by an increase in well-drilling and water-pumping has also been a matter of concern for residents and for leaders in the Tennessee environmental community," Cohen said.

The Shelby County Groundwater Control Board was to give an up or down vote on two of the wells the TVA wants to drill into the aquifer. The power authority has permits for three wells already in hand.

SURJ protests Black Friday

The local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) protested at the corner of Germantown Parkway and Giacosa Place (close to Wolfchase Mall) during the Black Friday shopping event, joining a national movement to boycott businesses affiliated with Donald Trump and to re-direct those dollars to local, black-owned businesses.

"Join us as we call for an end to white supremacy and the destruction of black and brown lives," SURJ said in a Facebook message. "We are showing up to end white silence on racism."

SURJ aims to mobilize white people who want to contribute to national issues that disproportionately affect people of color.

click to enlarge Many “checked in” at 201 on Thanksgiving. - GOOGLE MAPS
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  • Many “checked in” at 201 on Thanksgiving.

#ThanksgivingInJail

Several Memphians checked into 201 Poplar on Thanksgiving Day.

Well, they checked in there on Facebook, anyway. They were hoping to draw attention to the fact that hundreds of inmates spent the holiday at the Shelby County Jail — not home — this year and not because they ought to be locked up, necessarily. Many spent Thanksgiving in jail because of the mass confusion caused as county officials continue to install a new computer system for the jail and the court system.

"There are hundreds of individuals in the jail who should be free but aren't," said Kerry Hayes, a consultant for Just City.

Crime numbers a mixed bag

New numbers from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission show that the major violent crime rate continued to be slightly above those recorded during the same time last year but lower than a decade ago.

From January 2016 to October 2016, there were 1,530.7 major violent crimes (murders, robberies, rapes, and aggravated assaults) per 100,000 people in Memphis. For Shelby County during the same time, there were 1,162.2 crimes. The figures are up slightly from the same time period last year (4.2 percent down in the county, 3 percent down in the city). However, both figures are down from 2006 (14.4 percent down in the county, 11.1 down in the city).

The area's murder rate (the amount of murders per 100,000 people) was up around 25 percent in both the county and the city, the report said.

COPS are listening

The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was set to begin its first listening sessions here this week, part of a lengthy review of the Memphis Police Department's (MPD) community policing policies regarding the use of deadly force.

The review was announced last month, touted as a partnership between DOJ and the MPD and one sought by Memphis leaders.

I-240 (finally!) open

All 13 lanes of I-40 close to the I-240 flyover were opened last week, freeing a stretch of road bogged with construction delays since 2013.

The $109.3 million flyover project is the largest contract ever awarded by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

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