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TN Politics: A Week for Melting and Meltdowns

As Memphians bundled up and stayed indoors last week during the winter storms, two other storms were a-brewing, as they say, in the public sphere. More than 2,000 unused COVID vaccine doses went into the garbage -- a major waste blamed on weather and miscommunication. In addition, the Shelby County Health Department ended up with a massive stockpile of more than 30,000 doses, that ran afoul of state policy. Details are still being uncovered, but political analyst Otis Sanford says calls for resignationsare understandable. 

MLGW also faced a crisis last week as wells and pumping stations broke down in the cold and more than a hundred water mains burst, along with thousands more pipes in homes and businesses. A mandated boil water advisory went into effect when water pressure dropped below a certain level. In the week it took to restore the system, MLGW worked to stave off rumors and misinformation on social media and offered daily press briefings. Sanford believes MLGW and the City of Memphis Public Works did a commendable job given the severity of the winter weather event. 

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.