Tuesday, July 5, 2011

First Electric Vehicle Charging Station Unveiled Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 2:48 PM


Drivers of electric cars in Memphis can finally charge their vehicles at a public station. The Peabody Hotel is home to Memphis' first charging station, which will be unveiled on Wednesday afternoon. The charging equipment is compatible with the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

The station was made available through San Francisco-based ECOtality's EV Project, which is overseeing the development of around 14,000 charging stations in 18 major cities. Memphis is set to receive more than 60 stations located in public areas throughout the city.

For more on the EV Project and proposed locations for Memphis charging stations, read Lindsay Jones' Memphis Flyer story.

National Animal Rights Group Targets Memphis Animal Services

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 11:13 AM

In recent months, Memphis Animal Services has been plagued by negative press. In late June, the shelter supposedly lost the pit bull Kapone, a family pet that was picked up by animal control officers when he escaped his backyard. Before that, animal advocates monitoring the shelter's webcams have caught employees improperly handling a dog and placing puppies into a trash can.

Now In Defense of Animals, a national nonprofit aimed at ending animal cruelty and abuse, has turned the spotlight on Memphis Animal Services. The organization issued a action alert on its website outlining the following concerns and asking members to flood the shelter with phone calls.

From the In Defense of Animals alert:

We are concerned about reports indicating that things have gotten worse, not better. These reports include:

* Webcams installed for "transparency" indicate major issues concerning inhumane treatment of animals, including dogs lifted by catch poll to an elevated cage and dogs dragged through shelter hallways by catch poll.
* Multiple animals in the euthanasia room watching euthanasia of other animals, a clear violation of AVMA guidelines and generally-accepted humane procedure.
* Animal Control Officers are not enforcing humane laws — after 5:00 p.m. cruelty calls are answered by an already overburdened and undertrained (in humane laws) Memphis Police Department.
* No pre-euthanasia sedation given to the animals unless they are already agitated.
* Little or no staff accountability — no review process in place or in use.

Last week, the Shoup family, Kapone's owners, offered a $3,000 reward for his return. Memphis Public Services director Janet Hooks issued a statement claiming a review of the shelter's records and video security log leads them to believe that Kapone was never sheltered there. Yet dispatch records indicated that two dogs were picked up in the area near the Shoup's residence. Their other pit bull was processed at the shelter, and the family picked it up.

Kapones (shown on the right) owners are offering a $2,000 reward for his return.
  • Kapone's (shown on the right) owners are offering a $2,000 reward for his return.

Friday, July 1, 2011

City Only Lays Off 52 Employees

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 4:14 PM


Although city officials estimated 125 layoffs in budget-cutting measures, only 52 employees were given the boot today.

Those included one from the executive office, five in finance, 18 in the parks department, 12 from the public works department, one in human resources, eight in the general services division, six in the community enhancement office, and one in the legal department.

The police and fire departments were exempted from the layoffs, but the police department cut 37 positions through attrition. The fire department cut 15 positions through attrition.

Additionally, two employees retired from the legal department, one retired from human resources, and the IT department cut a vacant position.

Although they have no bearing on the general fund, the Workforce Investment Network, a city agency charged with retraining workers in obsolete positions, cut 11 positions today, as part of their overall restructuring.

There may be a few more city layoffs to come. The human resources department has scheduled a time next week to meet with a small number of employees who were on vacation today.

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