By the end of July, there will 95 vacancies on city boards and commissions, and Mayor A C Wharton's office is hoping to fill many at a special event Friday night.
The city is hosting "Get On Board," a campaign designed to attract new members for spots on boards, at MPACT Memphis (506 S. Main) on July 29th from 6 to 8 p.m.
“As I have said throughout my time in public service, our government is only as strong, accountable, and progressive as the citizens make it,” said Wharton. “From MATA to the Sports Authority to the Joint Board of Appeals, and all the others, these bodies act in a very important advisory role to my administration, our divisions directors, and the city council."
Available positions include seats on the Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board, the City Beautiful Commission, the Memphis & Shelby County Airport Authority, and the Center City Commission. Click here for a full list of vacancies.
Check out the "Get On Board" Facebook page for more information on Friday night's event.
Detective James Bishof of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery by an authority figure, and official oppression.
The charges stem from an incident on July 11th involving a 22-year-old female who showed up at the SCSO detective unit asking for help with a domestic assault case. Bishof reportedly told the victim he'd helped another female defendant in a similar situation and that he'd be able to help her as well.
Bishof then allegedly took the woman into a bathroom on the ninth floor of 201 Poplar and photographed private areas of her body. He reportedly told the woman that he had a better camera at home and he'd like to come by her house later that day to take more pictures. At the victim's home, Bishof allegedly asked her to take off her clothes, so he could photograph her private areas again. The woman claims Bishof made inappropriate sexual comments while touching her.
After he left, the woman complained to her roommate, and the roommate told her father about the situation. The father contacted the sheriff's office, and Bishof was relieved of duty on July 13th pending an internal investigation. He was taken into custody on July 28th.
The Shelby County District Attorney General's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have executed search warrants in Millington this morning.
The warrants are part of an ongoing criminal investigation in response to complaints of official misconduct in Millington. The investigation began last December.
We'll post more news as it becomes available.
The Memphis Police Department is still searching for four men who robbed the Corner Grocery Store on E.H. Crump Blvd. on Tuesday, July 12th. "Crime of the week" status is assigned when the department needs help from the public in making an arrest.
The robbery happened at 9:20 p.m. and involved three African-American men and one of unknown race who drove the small, white, four-door getaway car. They were armed with a semi-automatic handgun and a shotgun.
The suspects have been described as follows:
#1- Male Black, wearing a black baseball cap, black t-shirt, knee-length blue jean shorts and red bandana around his neck.
#2- Male Black, wearing a black baseball cap with a purple bill, white t-shirt, white shorts and a dark-colored bandana around his neck.
#3- Male Black, black baseball cap, black tank top and black shorts.
#4- No description.
Click here to see video of the robbery. Here's a still shot of the robbery in progress. After this man pointed a gun at the clerk, two other men ran in. One pointed a shotgun while the other two stole money from the cash register and searched the clerk's pockets. The clerk appears unharmed at the end of the video.
Last October, the seven-mile Shelby Farms Greenline opened with great fanfare, and its popularity amongst cyclists, runners, and walkers has yet to wane.
To celebrate its one-year anniversary, the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is hosting a half-marathon on Sunday, October 2nd. Participants can begin signing up today at Races Online. Registration is $45, and the money raised will benefit the greenline's upkeep.
The conservancy is also hosting a Bands, Bikes, and Blocks Party on Saturday, October 1st with multiple block parties along the greenline. A similar party was held at the greenline's grand opening last year.
After August 8th, Hickory Hill residents will have to drive a little further to purchase license plates or apply for marriage licenses. The Shelby County Clerk's Office in the Hickory Ridge Mall is closing due to budget constraints.
The office, which also collects liquor taxes, issues business licenses, and swears in deputy sheriffs, will retains its other seven locations.
Main Location — 150 Washington Avenue, Mon. — Fri, 8:00 a.m. — 4:15 p.m.
Poplar Plaza — 3412 Plaza Drive, Mon. — Fri, 7:00 a.m. — 3:15 p.m.
Whitehaven — 4122 Elvis Presley Blvd., Mon. — Fri, 8:00 a.m. — 4:15 p.m.
Raleigh—Frayser — 3616 Austin Peay Highway, Mon. — Fri, 8:30 a.m. — 4:45 p.m.
Mullins Station —1075 Mullins Station Road, Mon. — Fri, 9:30 a.m. — 5:15 p.m.
Millington — 4836 Navy Road, Mon. — Fri, 8:00 a.m. — 4:15 p.m.
Germantown — 2037 Exeter Road, Mon. — Fri, 7:00 a.m. — 3:15 p.m.
Borders bookstore in Germantown has escaped several rounds of store closures, after parent company Borders Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.
But yesterday, the bookstore giant announced that it had canceled an upcoming bankruptcy auction and will close all remaining 400 stores. An employee at the Germantown Borders confirmed that the local store would be closing, but there's no word yet on when that closure will happen.
In a statement on Monday, Michigan-based Borders Inc. said the company was unable to find a buyer willing to keep it in operation and will sell itself to a group of liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources.
Just last month, Borders closed 226 under-performing locations, including two stores in Nashville. But the Germantown store was allowed to remain open at that time. Now that the company is forced to close all of its locations, nearly 11,000 jobs will be lost.
In a scene that would have been humorous in a film like Bull Durham or Major League, a baseball mascot was attacked Thursday night at AutoZone Park. Rockey, the beloved mascot of the Memphis Redbirds, was performing atop the home team's dugout along the third-base line in the bottom of the seventh inning when an overzealous fan grabbed his leg, pulled him off the dugout directly in front of fans in section 108 of the stadium and put the mascot in a headlock. The attacker had been asking Rockey to take a personal picture with a young girl. (The girl had returned to her seat closer to the concourse before the attack.) Rockey often poses for pictures with fans along the concourse and leftfield bluff. He rarely, though, interrupts performances atop the two dugouts for individual requests.
Another fan (sitting in section 110) calmly approached the attacker and proceeded to subdue him by placing him in a headlock. Rockey left the scene without aid, but didn't return to the game. Great scene for a movie . . . horrifying to witness unscripted.
According to Redbirds management, the attacker was escorted from the stadium immediately, but no arrest was made. There were no injuries, and Rockey will be back in action tonight when Memphis hosts Round Rock in a double-header starting at 5:05 p.m.
The city administration announced today that Memphis will be the recipient of $1.6 million in annual funds over the next three years from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the private family foundation established by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006.
Mayor A C Wharton has decided to use the money to reduce handgun violence on city streets and to revitalize abandoned and vacant commercial properties. The city applied for the funds several weeks ago, and last week, the mayor's office was informed that Memphis would be one of five cities receiving such a grant.
Demetria Hogan, the Memphis Animal Services employee responsible for picking up the missing pit bull Kapone, was arrested today and charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
On June 24th, Hogan picked up two loose pit bulls from the area near Oaken Bucket and Twin Rivers in Cordova. Only one of those dogs actually made it into the Memphis Animal Services shelter. The other pit bull, 11-year-old Kapone, was never checked into the facility. The animal cruelty charges stem from the time that elapsed between the pick-up of the missing dog and the delivery time at the shelter, as well as the fact that Kapone remains missing.
A warrant was issued for Hogan's arrest yesterday, and she turned herself in today. Hogan is employed under the city's Second Chance Program, which offers positions to convicted felons. She has a long record ranging from possession of a controlled substance to forgery and identity theft.
Hogan is scheduled to appear for arraignment in General Sessions court at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The investigation is ongoing.
The Shoup family, Kapone's owners, and several other animal welfare organizations are offering a combined total reward of $6,000 for the dog's return.
The city of Memphis and the Hyde Family Foundation announced today that the city will receive $100,000 to fund affordable live/work space for artists in downtown's South Main Arts District through one of only 51 "Our Town" grants awarded nationwide from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The funds will be used by Minneapolis-based ArtSpace to wrap up its work identifying a South Main property to be redeveloped into housing and studio space for local artists. In May, ArtSpace released a report justifying up to 70 units in a yet-to-be-determined downtown building. That number was determined through an online survey given to artists last fall. The ArtSpace units are tentatively expected to open in 2014.
“Memphis is extremely grateful for the continued support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Hyde Family Foundations,” said Mayor A C Wharton. “Memphis is the creative capital of the south, and investing in affordable live-work space for artists will pay dividends culturally and economically for our entire city. Existing arts organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders in the South Main area have a great deal to look forward to as this project moves forward.”
General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson has been indicted on four counts of official misconduct by a Shelby County Grand Jury.
From the Shelby County District Attorney's office:
According to the indictment, Jackson, 51, committed the offenses while serving in his official capacity as court clerk during the fall of 2010. The six-month investigation found Jackson had violated Shelby County policies and state law when he required or directed employees to contribute or solicit funds for his own political gains.
“Our citizens place a great deal of trust and confidence in our elected and appointed officials," said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich. “When these same officials violate that trust, responsibility rests with our law enforcement community, the District Attorney’s office and our judicial system to identify it, stop it and deter it ... to restore public trust.”
Official misconduct is a Class E felony, and carries up to six years imprisonment, and a fine of not more than $3,000 dollars per count. Upon Jackson’s arraignment on the charges, the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office will prosecute the case in Criminal Court.
On June 24th, Memphis Animal Services officer Demetria Hogan picked up two pit bulls that had escaped Brooke Shoup's backyard while she was at work. Shoup arrived at the shelter first thing the next morning to retrieve her dogs, but only her three-year-old dog Jersey was there.
Although Memphis Animal Services records show the missing dog, 11-year-old Kapone, was picked up, they have no record of Kapone being housed at the shelter. Originally, the Shoup family feared Kapone had been euthanized, but Public Services director Janet Hooks said records show he was never even processed into the facility.
Last week, the Shoup family offered a $1,000 reward for Kapone's return, and a few days later, a private citizen added another $1,000 to the total. That number was tripled yesterday when the No-Kill Advocacy Center added yet another $1,000. The total reward is now $3,000.
The Memphis Police Department is also investigating the shelter's security tapes. Anyone with any information on Kapone's whereabouts should call 901-528-0699.
Cyclists can ride safely from North Watkins to the Douglass community now that the city has quietly opened new bike lanes along Chelsea Avenue.
The dedicated lanes move in each direction and were added during a recent Chelsea repaving project. The center turn lane on Chelsea was removed to accommodate the bike lanes, but the avenue still has two lanes for vehicular traffic in each direction.
The lanes will eventually meet up with the proposed Chelsea Greenline, a rails-to-trails project backed by Greater Memphis Greenline, Inc.
MBQ (our sister publication) reporter Lindsay Jones attended the unveiling of the city's first electric vehicle charging station in the Peabody Hotel's parking garage.
Read more about it on the MBQ Blog.