It’s not everyday that a 62-year-old runs across the country.
But that won't stop Jack Fussell. On January 12th, he began his journey in Savannah, Georgia and will run through the Mid-South and on to Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico, ending his journey in Monterey, California.
He's running the journey to raise awareness for Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, which currently affects more than five million Americans. Every 68 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death with no cure or treatment to slow its progression.
During his 3,500-mile trek, which is estimated to take between six and eight months to complete, he will run through Memphis. On Tuesday, March 19th, Fussell will arrive in Collierville by car and do interviews and tours to Assisted Living facilities within the town. On Wednesday, March 20th, he will be driven back to Walnut, Mississippi, the last place he stopped on his run, to resume his journey. He will run 23 miles from there to Collierville. This will be followed by a 24-mile stretch on Thursday morning from Collierville to downtown Memphis.
Susan Graham, senior director of the city's Alzheimer's Association, said he needs food and transportation during his stay in Collierville and Memphis. Local restaurants are encouraged to donate meals, and people are encouraged to help provide transportation, gift cards, and donations.
"It’s not an easy task that he’s doing," Graham said. "And it’s just him and his jogging stroller, but when you think about the folks who struggle with this disease, it’s a 24-hour a day job, and so, it’s definitely a need to raise awareness to the struggles that they go through."
Fussell's main objective with the journey is to celebrate the memory of his father, whom he lost to Alzheimer’s disease in 2000, and also raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. He’s set a personal fundraising goal of $250,000 that will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
Anyone who has questions can contact Susan Graham at (901) 565-0011
Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services was awarded a $71,630 grant from PetSmart Charities to cover the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for 1,085 pets living in the 38105 zip code area. That encompasses the some of central downtown and all of north downtown.
People living in that area are encouraged to pay what they can for surgery, but 95 percent of total surgery costs are being covered by the grant. The offer stands through December 14th.
It is illegal to own a cat or dog that is older than six months in the city of Memphis that has not been spayed or neutered, unless the pet owner has a special exception from the city.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling (901) 324-3202. Clients must show proof of residency in the targeted ZIP code (38105) upon time of appointment, including one of the following: a driver’s license, utility bill, property rental lease, landline telephone bill, property tax bill, or bank statement.
Last week, Mayor A C Wharton called for Club Crave on Beale Street to be demolished after it was shuttered for being a public nuisance. The closure came after a Christmas Eve shooting at the club, in which one man was killed.
Now an online petition, being pushed in an email newsletter from former Memphis City Schools board member Dr. Kenneth Whalum, is calling for saving the club's building at 380 Beale from the wrecking ball. The petition, which you can find here, isn't asking to save the club's business, however. They're only asking to save the building, which served as a movie theater long before it became the site of dance clubs with dangerous reputations (Before it was Club Crave, the building housed the Plush Club, which had its own share of gun violence issues).
The petition mentions that the building could be turned back into a movie theater that only shows local and independent films. As of press time, the petition had 64 signatures.
In 2012, more than 175 people were arrested at Club Crave for violations ranging from drug offenses to assault and robbery.
This evening, a procession of police squad cars with flashing lights will honor Memphis Police officer Martoiya Lang, who was killed in the line of duty last Friday morning.
The staging will begin at 2641 North Hollywood behind Burger King at 5 p.m., and the procession will travel southbound on Hollywood to I-40 at 5:30 p.m. From there, the cars will travel along the Interstate to Hope Presbyterian Church on Walnut Grove, where a visitation for Lang will begin.
The Memphis Fire Department will station a ladder truck flying an American flag on the Interstate near 1062 Mendenhall Cove, where Lang was shot on Friday while serving a drug search warrant. The 21-year-old shooter has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for shooting officer William Vrooman, who recovered and was released from the hospital on Friday.
Police are urging motorists to find alternate routes between 5:30 and 7 p.m. because the procession will cause significant delays.
Registry books have been set up at all three locations of Forest Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park for those wishing to send thoughts and condolences to the families affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut on Friday.
The books will remain open until December 22nd, and then they'll be sent to Newtown. Locations for Forest Hill are 2440 Whitten Road, 2545 East Holmes Road, and 1661 S. Elvis Presley Blvd.
Twenty-seven people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, including 20 children, six adults who worked at the school, and gunman 20-year-old Adam Lanza. His mother, Nancy Lanza, was shot at her home as well. The shooting was the second-deadliest school shooting in American history, following the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead.
The Overton Park Conservancy has released an artist's rendering by DaKoda Davis of plans for the Rainbow Lake playground at Overton Park. Renovations to the playground will begin soon, and the playground is expected to reopen in spring 2013. The playground is being designed by Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects.
New equipment will include something called an "Up & Down & All Around" (an ADA-accessible climbing structure with multi-level ramps), a hollowed-out oak tree for kids to play inside, a National Ornamental Metal Museum-designed sculpture that allows kids to make music with pebbles, a spiderweb-like climbing structure made from cargo nets, and a mound with tunnels, slides, and a sand pit. They playground will also get new fencing and new walkways. The conservancy is taking up donations for the new equipment on its website.
A MATA bus route to Southland Park for gaming and racing is now dumping riders on the side of Interstate 40, according to a video secretly recorded by members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union.
In the video, the bus driver says that as of about a month ago, Southland Park no longer allows MATA buses to drop off on Southland property. Instead, bus riders are dropped on the frontage road of I-40. With no sidewalks and cars and trucks speeding by, the group then walks or in the case of one wheel-chaired passenger, rolls over an uneven gravel road along the interstate and up an exit ramp to get to the racing park.
Check out the full video:
We spoke with Troy Keeping, manager at Southland Park Gaming and Racing, about why MATA was asked to stay off of Southland Park's property.
"We didn't ban MATA. What we did is ask them to relocate the bus stop because we were having safety issues in our parking lot," says Keeping. "We used to have the bus stop in our parking lot and after the Tunica flood and the substantial increase in business we had a couple of potential almost accidents and there were too many people waiting for the bus in high traffic lanes where the bus stop was located so we asked them to relocate it off of our property because of safety issues."
Keeping says they contacted the city of West Memphis to relocate the bus stop, though MATA resisted the move. According to Keeping, West Memphis asked Southland Park five or six years ago to put the stop on the park's property.
"It was fine because we didn't really have the volume of business that we have now," says Keeping.
"I feel bad that they relocated it in what I would consider a poor area," he says. "There's a bus station next to Ford of West Memphis, that's where we thought they were relocating it, but they're just dropping them there at the service road in front of Ford. Frankly, in my opinion, MATA has not done the best job."
When asked how moving the bus stop further away from Southland would be safer for bus riders, Keeping responded, "There's not a good location on the property so it's really up to MATA and the city to find a place that's appropriate for them to stop. Whether or not the MATA bus came directly to Southland or not was not our concern. We don't want the liability or the risk."
As for how many customers come to Southland Park via the MATA bus, Keeping says it was enough to create a safety hazard, but in relation to their total customer base it's not a lot of customers.
"When I saw the video, my first thought was, 'While it may not be appropriate, people should exercise common sense before they get off of a bus in the middle of the frontage road. The people themselves should be responsible for their own behavior," Keeping says. "If the bus isn't taking them where they need to go, then I wouldn't ride the bus. I don't know what person would think they should get off on a frontage road in a wheelchair and ride in traffic. I look at a customer that does something like that and I think, really? I wouldn't do that. I frankly wouldn't ride the bus and get off there."
But Brad Watkins of the Memphis Bus Riders Union and the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center says MATA hasn't posted any information about the changed route at any of their terminals.
"[Keeping] completely misses the point. If you're already on the bus and that's your stop and you're trying to get there — perhaps you work there or perhaps you're there as a customer — how else are you supposed to get where you're going?"
For now, Watkins says he has received reports that the MATA route to Southland Park now drops riders off at an abandoned gas station close to the Southland property so that people can go from the gas station to the parking lot of Southland Park.
A representative from MATA has not yet returned our phone calls.
A new way to find jobs has rolled into the city — literally.
The Memphis Public Library & Information Center unveiled the new and improved version of its JobLINC Bus, a converted school bus, in late October.
The new bus is an improvement from its predecessor, which served the city for two decades. It boasts ten computer workstations with Internet access and printers. It also features solar panels, LED lighting, a fuel engine, and is ADA compliant.
Five days a week, the bus will travel to various community centers, library branches, grocery stores, and other public areas to help Memphians find employment.
The JobLINC bus will serve an estimated 12,000 people a year, providing one-on-one assistance with job searches, training opportunities, resume preparation, and online applications.
In 2011, the Memphis Library Foundation received a $314,000 grant from the Plough Foundation to purchase the JobLINC bus. The previous one served the city from 1990 to 2010. It was retired due to repeated mechanical problems.
This Saturday, the Sierra Club will recognize South Memphis Alliance (SMA) founder Reginald Milton for his continued service to the South Memphis community.
Both the founder and executive director of the South Memphis Alliance, Milton has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Dick Mochow Environmental Justice Award. The SMA recently began turning the old Reed’s Dairy complex on Bellevue into an affordable laundromat and has also secured funding for a recreation and resource center to be constructed at the corner of Walker Avenue and South Bellevue.
Started in 2000, the SMA has tried to make South Memphis a better place to live by setting up and supporting neighborhood associations, civic clubs, and other forces for good in the community. In addition to their work in the historic Soulsville community, the SMA also has programs that deal directly with the safety and well-being of foster children, dealing with everything from drug abstinence to proper financial planning.
Milton will receive the award at the 11th Annual Sierra Club Environmental Justice Conference this Saturday at Lindenwood Christian Church. Author and NAACP member Jacqui Patterson is the keynote speaker.
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.
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.
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.
Neighborland, a national social network for civic activism, has launched a Memphis page where locals talk about what positive changes they'd like to see in the city. Other users can then click a "Me Too" button to show their support.
Ideas that have been posted on the site for Memphis so far range from the likely implementable, such as extending the Shelby Farms Greenline downtown and improving city sidewalks, to the probably never going to happen, such as the re-opening of Libertyland. Others, such as a post demanding a Trader Joe's in Memphis, reflect the wants Memphians have been talking about for years.
The site launched in New Orleans last year, and it's since launched pages for other major cities across the country. Neighborland is holding its Memphis kick-off at the Crosstown Arts office (427 N. Watkins) on Sunday, Sepetmber 23rd. Besides cold beer and refreshments, attendees will also be treated to a talk from the folks at ioby, a crowdfunding tool for neighborhood entrepreneurs and community leaders. They'll be discussing how residents can fund some of the ideas mentioned on Neighborland. The event begins at 2 p.m.
The event is free, but registration on Eventbrite is encouraged.
Turn in a gun and get free gas: That's the premise for the city's "Gas for Guns" event scheduled for Saturday, September 15th at Bloomfield Baptist Church (123 S. Parkway West) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
No questions will be asked of those who surrender their weapons. But participants will be given a $50 Mapco gas card for each gun turned in, as well as two Memphis Grizzlies tickets. There's a limit of three gas cards per person.
“Crime, especially violent crime, is often fueled by relatively easy access to firearms,” said Mayor A C Wharton. “Last year, 1,600 guns were reported stolen here in Memphis. Those guns didn’t just evaporate and disappear. They ended up on the street."
The giant, rusted replica of a glass milk bottle on top of an old dairy plant at 1039 S. Bellevue will be coming down soon as the building is demolished under the city's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Also included in the project, which is intended to fight blight in selected neighborhoods, is the renovation of the South Memphis Alliance Laundromat. The currently-inoperable laundromat will become the South Memphis Alliance Center for Children and Families and the South Memphis Alliance Community Laundromat and Resource Center.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program targeted six Memphis neighborhoods for blight demolition: Frayser, Binghampton, the Vance Avenue area, Glenview, Orange Mound, and Soulsville. These areas were chosen based on their high number of foreclosures, high cost of mortgages, and heavily blighted properties.