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Graceland expansion discussed at Memphis City Council meeting

A possible expansion of Graceland would mean more jobs and economic growth.

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The future of the home of rock ’n’ roll legend Elvis Presley was up for discussion during Tuesday’s Memphis City Council meeting. 

Representatives with Elvis Presley Enterprises told the council that this decision would be a big deal for the city.

The goal is to move forward with possible redevelopment of Graceland – if Memphis city leaders agree on the plan. 

EPE representative Joel Weinshanker said the first step is increasing the amount of money put into the project. 

“Just an increase from 50 to 65 percent, but it will put more money into the city treasury – where guaranteeing that by increasing tax increment financing, the amount that we put into it, doesn’t go down,” Weinshanker said.

EPE sued the city of Memphis after complaints of delaying the approval process for expansion at Graceland recently. 

They wanted an arena, but city leaders said it could violate a non-compete agreement with the FedEx Forum. 

EPE said Graceland will agree not to build the arena for now without court approval or settlement.

Now, they’re asking to move forward with other major projects such as retail, plane hangars, an additional wing to the hotel and cabins. 

“If you look what we’ve done, since we’ve started the hotel and Elvis Presley’s Memphis we’re putting more than $1 million a year more into the city treasury than we did before,” said Weinshanker. 

We asked the city of Memphis’ chief operating officer what he thinks about the presentation presented to council. He said the city stands behind it because aside from the arena, the proposal doesn’t violate a compete agreement. 

“We set that issue aside while we navigate the rest of the development. There’s a clear way to do that, that would be to withdraw the existing application and submit the four new elements and while the other issue is decided, we could be moving forward with an evaluation,” Doug McGowen said.

McGowen said although they want to move forward, they are tied up in the litigation process, which prevents them from moving forward with other projects.

“In addition to the manufacturing jobs, we have not yet seen an application for the incentive there, but we are eager to see that proposal and eager to receive it and evaluate any incentive that might come along with that,” he said.

Graceland’s local impact over the next 30 years is expected to be $9.3 billion dollars.

Some council members said they are in favor of other expansion projects.

'Selena: The Series': Netflix announces new show about Selena Quintanilla

A new series about slain Tejano icon Selena Quintanilla is heading to Netflix in 2020, the streaming service announced Tuesday.

According to a Netflix press release, the scripted drama, produced by Campanario Entertainment, is "a coming-of-age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family and music."

The singer's family is "fully involved in the project and will be executive producers," the release said

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"Selena will always have a lasting place in music history, and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory," the singer's sister, Suzette Quintanilla, said in a statement. "With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives. We are excited to partner with Campanario and Netflix to give fans a never-before-seen glimpse at our story and highlight why Selena will remain a legend for generations to come."

Quintanilla, who was killed in 1995 by her fan club's president, gained international fame before her death at age 23, selling more than 65 million albums, NBC News reported.

Read more here.

Houston museum apologizes for questionable email subject line

A Houston museum issued a public apology for using a subject line that could be construed as racially offensive, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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The Houston Museum of Natural Science used the term “Party with spooks” in the subject line of its bi-weekly electronic newsletter, the newspaper reported.

While the word "spook" is a synonym for "ghost," it is also a derogatory slur for black Americans.

"It's a tie to our annual Halloween party, which we've been doing for 10 years,” museum president Joel Bartsch told the Chronicle. “The word was meant to be a riff on the word spooky. That was the intention."

Bartsch said that when his employees saw the subject line, they addressed it by sending an explanation, the newspaper reported.

"Internal eyes noticed the subject line directly after it was sent,” Bartsch told the newspaper. 

The explanation reads:

"HMNS is committed to diversity and inclusion. We deeply regret that the subject line in this newsletter included a word with an offensive connotation, and sincerely apologize to everyone who received it. We are revisiting our internal policies and editorial review procedures to ensure this does not happen again."

No place like home: Stolen ‘Wizard of Oz’ ruby slippers recovered

For 13 years, one of the most famous pairs of shoes were missing, stolen from a museum that honored actress Judy Garland, but finally the FBI has cracked the case and announced that the ruby slippers Garland wore as she portrayed Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” have been found. 

The red sequin-covered heels from the iconic movie were stolen on Aug. 28, 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, The New York Times reported.

There was no security camera video of the heist and whomever stole the shoes left no fingerprints and few clues. 

The Plexiglass box that held the shoes was smashed and nothing was left except for a single red sequin.

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The FBI made the announcement Tuesday that the shoes were recovered, but did not say who was responsible for taking them, The Times reported.

The shoes were a focus of not only federal law enforcement, but also local police and private investigators. There was a $1 million reward for finding the location of the shoes. The reward expired after 10 years, ABC News reported.

They were on loan to the museum, owned by a collector in North Hollywood, California. Michael Shaw bought the shoes in 1970 for $2,000 from Kent Warner, a costumer who found them at an MGM movie lot, The Times reported

Shaw also owned Dorothy’s dress, the hat worn by the Wicked Witch of the West and a Munchkin outfit. The museum wasn’t the only time the shoes were lent out for display. Shaw would allow other museums display them for a fee of several thousand dollars, which would be donated to children’s charities.

The shoes were insured for $1 million, Newsweek reported in 2015.

An insurance company paid Shaw $800,000 and is the official owner of the shoes, The Times reported

Garland wore several different pairs during the filming of the 1939 movie.

One pair is in the possession of the Smithsonian American History Museum and are on display there. 

Another pair is jointly owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg and is in the collection at the Academy Museum of Motion PicturesABC News reported.

 

More dates announced for Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ tour

Taylor Swift is headed across the world as part of her “Reputation” tour.

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Tickets for the North American leg of the tour go on sale Dec. 13.

Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the public sale date in North America via Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan, according to a news release.

Shows in Australia and New Zealand have been added to previously announced dates.

General ticketing and sale information is currently available at TaylorSwift.com.

Here are the dates and cities that have been announced so far: 

5/8 -- University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

5/12 -- Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

5/19 -- Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

5/22 -- CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington

5/25 -- Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

6/2 -- Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

6/30 -- Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

7/7 -- Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

7/10 -- FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.

7/14 -- Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7/17 -- First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

7/21 -- MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

7/28 -- Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

8/4 -- Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

8/7 -- Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

8/11 -- Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

8/14 -- Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

8/18 -- Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida

8/25 -- Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

8/28 -- Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

9/1 -- U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

9/8 -- Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

9/15 -- Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

9/18 -- The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri

9/22 -- Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

9/29 -- NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

10/6 -- AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

10/19 -- Optus Stadium, Perth, Australia

10/26 -- Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia

11/2 -- ANZ Stadium. Sydney Olympic Park Australia

11/6 --The Gabba, Brisbane, Australia

11/9 -- Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland New Zealand

Country music legend Merle Haggard dies at age 79

Country music legend Merle Haggard has died at age 79.

He died on his birthday.

Haggard had been in ill health recently and had to cancel concert dates while he battled pneumonia.

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The Bakersfield Californian confirmed the news.

>>Willie Nelson reacts to Merle Haggard's death

Fans took to social media to remember Haggard, who was known as the "poet of the common man" because of his dedication to writing songs for and about the working class.

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