Kyle Kordsmeier of the Workers Interfaith Network was present at today's committee meeting to stand in support of the ordinance; Herbi-Systems owner Kenny Crenshaw of "Lemme Kill Your Weeds" fame showed up to say, "lemme kill your ordinance."
The county ordinance is scheduled to go up for its second reading next Monday. But the real test will be next Tuesday, when an identical ordinance, sponsored by Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery, goes up for its first reading at city council. Because the Shelby County ordinance would only cover unincorporated Shelby County, the same ordinance must also pass in the city council for it to have an effect on wage theft in Memphis.
Just in time for Pit Bull Awareness Day (which was October 27th), the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County released a series of photographs of local families with their pit bull pets.
“Our community is overrun with pit bull-type dogs who desperately need homes, and the truly upsetting fact is that many adopters will not even consider these dogs because of the many myths and discriminatory propaganda surrounding them,” said Alexis Amorose, executive director of the Humane Society. “What we wanted to do here is show potential adopters, not to mention other parties like landlords and lawmakers, that pit bull-type dogs make excellent, loving additions to countless upstanding, responsible families.”
The Flyer picked our favorite three photos from the series to share with readers.
A historic Midtown trolley stand located along Poplar in Overton Park was struck by a car Friday night, causing the entire structure to collapse.
Preservation Memphis, a nonprofit group that focuses on low-cost preservation projects, repaired and moved the East End Trolley Stop to the north side of Poplar Avenue last December in an effort to make it into a working bus stop. The stand, which has been around since the 1930s, was previously located on the south side of Poplar, and it had fallen into disrepair and was tagged with graffitti.
Last winter, Preservation Memphis members Kenny Jabbour and Alex Turley raised money to replace rotted wood in the frame, replace the roof, and paint the structure.
Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) now manages the bus stop, and Jabbour said MATA is working to contact the driver of the car that crashed into the stand to determine whether her insurance will cover its repair. Preservation Memphis has the original blueprints for the stand, and Jabbour hopes it can be rebuilt to look like it did before.
"It went from being a piece of Memphis history to just being in pieces," Jabbour said.
A Teamsters picket line demonstration is planned for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24th at 3840 Homewood to protest issues sanitation workers are having with Republic/Allied Waste over retirement security and respect on the job.
Workers are most concerned with Republic/Allied's proposal to replace their defined-benefit pension with a 401K plan. Republic/Allied services all of Germantown and Collierville, as well as Memphis-area businesses.
Teamsters Local 984 says Republic/Allied has been flying in dozens of supervisors and non-union drivers from across the country to show Memphis workers that garbage pickup will continue even if the company locks out workers. The company has promised there will be no interruption in service for its customers.
According to one worker, who wished to remain anonymous, "The company is making us train them, but they don't know our routes. ... From where I sit, it looks like the company is more interested in throwing us to the curb than they are in taking care of customers and the community."
Eighty Republic/Allied workers were locked out for six weeks in a similar situation in Evansville, Indiana in May.
Memphis Police Officer Marcus Fayne lost control of his vehicle while traveling eastbound on South Parkway East near Kerr early Wednesday morning. Fayne struck a curb, a yield sign, and a utility pole, and he was transported to Methodist Central in non-critical condition.
Fayne reported the accident to a police dispatcher at 1:35 a.m. on Wednesday. He was cited for "striking a parked vehicle or fixed object" and for not following the seatbelt law.
Mrs. Sullivan's pie company, based in Jackson, Tennessee, is running ads on its pie boxes featuring a picture of missing Darden, Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo. The ad reads "Help!!! Please bring me home!," offers an $80,000 reward for tips, and displays the tip line (1-800-TBI-FIND).
Bobo went missing from her West Tennessee home on April 13th of last year. Her 25-year-old brother was in the home at the time of her disappearance. He told police he saw a man wearing camouflage clothing drag her from their home's carport into a wooded area behind their house. The brother called 911, as did a neighbor who reported hearing a woman scream. To date, searches for Bobo have been unsuccessful.
Members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union lined the intersection of Poplar and Cleveland on Monday afternoon, encouraging motorists to vote "yes" on the gas tax referendum approved by the Memphis City Council in August. If passed, the tax would increase the price of each gallon of gas sold in the city by one cent. That revenue — estimated to be somewhere between $3 million and $6 million — would be given to the Memphis Area Transit Authority to improve public transportation.
Last year, the city launched 25 Square, a program of the Division of Community Enhancement that targets weed overgrowth and blight one neighborhood at a time. Rather than responding only to blight complaint calls, workers now focus on an area of roughly 25 square blocks, mitigating each lot that needs work.
Since the fiscal year began on July 1st, 14,000 lots have being cleaned up under 25 Square. That's double the city's previous record of 7,891 lots in a year, and this fiscal year isn't even halfway over.
"Budgets are being cut, yet we're doing more with less," said Memphis mayor A C Wharton.
The numbers were announced today at a press conference outside a decaying property at 746 Bullington in South Memphis. A backhoe was parked in the front lawn, awaiting the house's scheduled demolition. Although 25 Square focuses mostly on overgrowth, all blight problems within a target area are addressed. Sometimes, that means sidewalks are repaired. Other times, that can mean houses are demolished.
The Bullington property is located in 25 Square's 200th target area since the program began.
Although Occupy Memphis was evicted from its encampment at Civic Center Plaza in early August, the group still plans to celebrate it's one-year anniversary on October 15th.
The three-day celebration will begin at Audubon Park in East Memphis on Saturday, October 13th and Sunday, October 14th from 8 a.m. until midnight. There will be live music, protests, committee meetings, and a general assembly meeting. Speakers will include county commissioner Steve Mulroy and representatives from the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, AFSCME, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Memphis Education Association, and the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Guests are encouraged to bring food, friends, and instruments.
On Monday, October 15th, from noon to 6 p.m., the group will move to Overton Park on the East Parkway Pavilion side, where the members first gathered one year ago.
"The Occupy Memphis camp was always an action and a statement by citizens of Memphis about unfairness, imbalance, injustice, homelessness, public transportation issues, and a hundred other issues that plague our city. The focus was always on informing our neighbors about what our government is doing and is not doing. You can't evict an idea. We are still here," reads a statement from the group.
Wells Fargo invested $7.5 million in Shelby County and the city of Memphis after the May dismissal of the city and county's race-discrimination lawsuit against the bank. While part of that money ($4.5 million) will go toward a mortgage down payment and home renovation assistance program, county mayor Mark Luttrell is setting aside $600,000 of the sum to address blight in Northaven and Waverly Farms.
The money will be used to cut grass, clean up trash, and tear down abandoned structures. A portion of the money will also go toward funding $5,000 to $8,000 grants to qualified homeowners for energy efficient repairs and handicap accessibility features.
"We want to maximize our efforts with this one-time allotment of money," said Luttrell. "Our plan is to improve the appearance of neighborhoods in the unincorporated areas affected by the foreclosure crisis. Also, some of the money will be used to help homeowners make needed repairs in those areas."
The Memphis Police Department announced today that officer Adrian Brown was charged with a DUI, DUI refusal, and driving on the wrong side of the road while off-duty in Madison, Mississippi on Thursday, September 27th.
The 46-year-old officer, who has been employed with the MPD since 1998, was stopped by a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer when Brown was seen driving northbound in the southbound lane of I-55 near mile marker 122 around 11 p.m that night. Brown refused a DUI test.
Brown has been relieved of duty, with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation. He is currently assigned to