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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Worst Neighborhoods in America, 2010

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Last year, when Annesdale-Snowden was chosen as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America, neighbors did not take the designation kindly.

Now two new Memphis neighborhoods have that opportunity.

WalletPop recently named the area around Florida Street as the country's 12th most dangerous neighborhood and choose N. Danny Thomas Boulevard as the 19th.

WalletPop's data suggested that in the Florida Street area, almost 40 percent of the population is under 17. It seems fitting, then, that the area is less educated than in most U.S. neighborhoods, but it's also among the 15 percent lowest income neighborhoods in the country.

The Danny Thomas area fares better. Though the Uptown area doesn't seem to be within Walletpop's borders, the site's data characterizes the neighborhood as trendy, walkable, and suburban. (Ed. note: !?!)

As for the rest of the list ... Four of the neighborhoods were in the Atlanta area, one — number 10 — was in Chattanooga, and three were in Las Vegas.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Talk Show

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Ignite, "a fast-paced geek event," is coming to Memphis.

Started by Brady Forrest, Technology Evangelist for O'Reilly Media, and Bre Pettis of Makerbot.com, formerly of MAKE Magazine, Ignite is a collection of short talks given by chosen applicants.

Using five minutes and 20 slides, each one will get to talk about, well, whatever they want. But only for five minutes.

From the event's application form:

"What will you teach, show, share, or explain? Make it exciting! Any topic is fair game, as long as it’s PG-13 and isn’t a sales pitch."

Deadlines for submission is Friday, October 1st, and Ignite Night Memphis is Tuesday, October 12th, at Playhouse on the Square. Tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Library Tech

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 3:48 PM

The last time I went to the Poplar-White Station branch library, I was surprised to realize I couldn't connect to the internet with my laptop. No wireless.

But that's not the case any more.

As part of the its 2010 strategic plan, the Memphis Public Library and Information Center has put a renewed emphasis on bridging the digital divide, starting with wireless internet access at every location.

The library system, which currently has about 600 internet-accessible public computers, also plans to add about 60 more computers in the next two years.

"We always have a line [for the computers]," library director Keenon McCloy said at a meeting of the Friends of Poplar-White Station Branch Library this morning. "At most branches, we even have a line when we open each morning."

Library Director Keenon McCloy (right) with Memphis magazines own Joy Bateman at a June event.
  • Don Perry
  • Library Director Keenon McCloy (right) with Memphis magazine's own Joy Bateman at a June event.

The library's website will be getting an overhaul and, though you can download audiobooks now (who knew?), will include steaming video and podcasts from WYPL, the library's radio and television station.

The library is also planning to take a page from national retailers, with a pilot project for self-checkout at the Ben Hooks central library.

"People are used to doing things themselves," McCloy said. "It's an efficient way for people to check books out."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kroc Pot

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I don't know if y'all have gotten by the fairgrounds lately, but things over there have really started to take shape.

Tiger Lane looks nice and you can see the beginnings of the more than 100,000 square foot Kroc Center from East Parkway.

With a $25 million from the Salvation Army, as well as $25 million raised locally, the Kroc Center will offer a variety of arts, education, recreation, and worship opportunities.

And now you can visit them — virtually, at least — on the web.

The site, which offers information on the Kroc Center, as well as program partners and the history of the Mid-South Fairgrounds, lets anyone interested in being a member or a volunteer sign up now before the center opens next fall.

It also has a clock — currently at 405 days and 11 hours — counting down to opening day.

"Our programming is dependent on a large pool of volunteers," said program director Ty Cobb in a statement. "By asking folks now to let us know they are interested in volunteering opportunities, we will be able to build a solid database of people to train as volunteers to be ready for the opening of the Center."

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Friday, September 17, 2010

This is Curious ...

Posted By on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Curious Pictures started last Friday and I didn't get to go to it, but it sounds cool, I have to say.

Every Friday until October 8th, digital artwork by local artists will be projected on downtown buildings.

It's a flat surface; why not?

From the UrbanArt blog:

These video vignettes will be projected onto various buildings in Downtown Memphis to bring life to our cityscape and demonstrate the possibilities and potential of new media art within the public realm.

This week Erik Jambor of Indie Memphis will transform Gayoso Avenue into a walk-up theater by showing Godfrey Reggio's KOYAANISQATSI on the north wall of the Jolly Royal Furniture Store.

And then next week Sarah Fleming and Christopher Reyes will light up Center Lane near the Madison Hotel with their unique interpretation of video art today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Babyland

Posted By on Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 8:45 AM

[Posting will probably be light this week ... My apologies in advance.]

Along with Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, both Memphis mayor A C Wharton and newly elected Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell will be at a summit on infant mortality today at 1 p.m. at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

I don't know if it still holds true, but two years ago, Memphis had a higher infant mortality rate than any other major U.S. city: one death roughly every two days.

The infant mortality "Stay the Course" summit will highlight the continued work in combating infant mortality in Tennessee.

Here's a link to a piece I wrote two years ago about a ministry at Hope Presbyterian called Oasis of Hope. Under the program, young mothers get prenatal care and help after their babies are born.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Midnight Ride Hit and Run

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I've heard two accounts this morning of a hit-and-run during the middle of Saturday night's popular Midnight Classic Bike Tour.

Apparently, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, a male cyclist was approaching the intersection of Madison and Cooper and was waved on by the police officer directing traffic.

The cyclist was then hit by a dark-colored vehicle traveling on Madison at about 30 to 40 mph. The driver did not stop.

Eyewitnesses say the west-bound lane of Madison was blocked off by police, but no one was in charge of the east-bound lane. (UPDATE: From other reports I've gotten, it seems the officer had east-bound traffic stopped, but no one was directing west-bound traffic and the light at the intersection was green.)

The cyclist was taken to the Med, but that's about all I know right now. Check back for more details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Art Scene

Posted By on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 3:55 PM

(Sorry posting has been so light thus far in the week. It's been crazy busy around here. ... To pique your interest for tomorrow's paper, we've got stories on the city's withdrawn non-discrimination clause and proposed bike lanes in Cooper-Young, and an interview with MCS consultant Jeffrey Hernandez.)

Last night, I stopped in at Playhouse on the Square for "The Art Seen," a cocktail party with the city's arts organizations.

With 37 arts organizations involved, including Ballet Memphis, the Orpheum, the Memphis Music Foundation, and the UrbanArt Commission, more than 400 people rsvped.

"Our goal was to have 200 people rsvp and sell 50 memberships to Tennesseans for the Arts," said Playhouse managing director Whitney Jo.

Both of which they met handily.

Jo encouraged attendees to buy Tennessee Arts Commission specialty license plates to raise money, noting how supportive the arts groups are of each other.

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"That was proved by tonight," she said. "When we found out how many people were coming, we realized we needed more food. Everyone ran home and made brownies."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Silent Part of Rock for Love

Posted By on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM

The Church Health Center's Rock for Love 4 kicks off this Friday — and I'm sure you can get more about that in our music section — but the event's silent auction is going on now.

Since its founding in 2007, Rock for Love has been produced in partnership with Makeshift Music as a way to raise money for the Center and celebrate the diversity of Memphis music with performances by some of the city’s best bands and artists.

The silent auction has generally been held at the event, but this year organizers have changed it up, putting it online from August 1st to the 21st.

The offerings include:

A specialized Rockhopper Pro from Revolutions

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Eight individually autographed Grizzlies posters

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and lunch with Church Health Center founder Scott Morris.

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To bid, go here.

For more info on Rock for Love, go here. (I know, this post is totally linkalicious.)

At the event, the Memphis Roller Derby will be hosting a merchandise table with a variety of CDs, T-shirts, records and other merchandise available for purchase, all to benefit the Center.

Monday, August 9, 2010

South Memphis Farmers Market Already Expanding

Posted By on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM

The South Memphis Farmers Market, which opened in July at the corner of Mississippi Boulevard and South Parkway East, is already expanding.

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Starting this Thursday, August 12th, the market will be open from noon to 6 p.m. "to better accommodate the large number of customers who have been attending the Market."

Currently, nine area farmers offer a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, as well as jams and jellies.

For more information, check out the market on the White House's faith-based initiatives blog or call (901) 946-9675.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Peace & Justice's Take on Foreclosures

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 10:46 AM

If you couldn't make the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center's forum on foreclosures and blight several weeks ago, they've been gracious enough to post a five-minute presentation on the subject to YouTube.

You can also read some of my more recent pieces on foreclosures and its effect on the local community here and here.

Thanks, PD!

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