Community News

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

U of M Law School Building Ranked Among World's Most Impressive

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 4:45 PM


The University of Memphis' (U of M) Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is one of 50 legal institutions across the globe that have been recognized for boasting exceptional buildings. ranked the U of M's School of Law school 24th on its "50 Most Impressive Law School Buildings in the World" list. Law schools were selected “for their ingenuity, aesthetic beauty, and commitment to creating an environment that honors the history and study of law,” according to the website.

“This honor confirms what all of us in Memphis have long known,” said Dean Peter Letsou in a press release. “We have an absolutely spectacular facility that instills a great sense of pride among our students, alumni, faculty, staff and the greater Memphis community.”

The U of M's School of Law moved from the university's main campus in East Memphis to a downtown facility in 2010. The building, which formerly stationed a post office and customs house before undergoing renovations, overlooks the Mississippi River.

“Architect Bill Nixon took care to preserve many of the building’s original details including the decorative ceiling and an old federal courtroom,” the website reads. “Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building houses a number of small study spaces and offices, and though updated for efficiency, retains much of its original Southern charm.”

Other law school buildings highlighted on's list include Yale, Harvard, Duke, Stanford, and schools in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

The U of M's School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Drumma Boy, Mentoring Organization Collab For Back-to-School Charity Event

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 4:50 PM

When the 2014-15 school year began for Shelby County Schools earlier this month, more than 10,000 kids were reportedly missing in attendance. This was largely attributed to many students lacking school uniforms and supplies.

Building Blocks Mentoring Program (BBMP), a local organization dedicated to empowering inner-city youth, will be providing underprivileged youth with new uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies, during its upcoming “Back-to-School Charity Event."

  • BBMP

In collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer Drumma Boy's Drum Squad Foundation, BBMP seeks to not only supply Memphis youth with school necessities through its charity event, but also to lessen the burden parents have to make ends meet and provide for their kids.

“We usually have this weekend event two weeks after school starts, so that we can really help those families that have to make a choice [of either] buying a backpack or paying a phone bill or putting food on the table,” said BBMP Chairman Stephon Smallwood. “We want to be a true blessing to those families.”

BBMP’s sixth annual back-to-school event will be a three-day affair. It begins with a school supplies giveaway at Airways Middle School (2601 Ketchum) on Saturday, August 23rd. The giveaway will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A community day and charity basketball game will take place later that day at Street Ministries (1304 N. Graham) from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday, August 24th, there will be a "Building Lives Fashion Show" that will feature models strutting in brands from local boutiques. Ampro Gel Industries will present the event, which will take place at Street Ministries from 3 to 5 p.m.

That evening, Drumma Boy will host a tasting of Moreno BHLV Luxury Sparkling Wine at Prive’ Restaurant (6980 Winchester) from 5 to 7 p.m.

On the culminating day of BBMP's charity event, Monday, August 25th, kids will be able to receive free haircuts from 1 to 3 p.m. at Airways Middle.

The organization will present its annual awards ceremony and silent auction at Street Ministries from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday evening. Drumma Boy is slated to be presented with BBMP’s "Entrepreneur of the Year" award. Attendees are encouraged to dress in business casual attire.

“We want the city to know that you have small organizations that do their part, and really want to see the city grow as a whole," Smallwood said. "We also [want to] let kids know that, ‘Hey, we love you. We’re here.' We’re going to play our part in seeing the betterment of them in their futures in the community.”

To learn more about the charity event, click here 
or here.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UTHSC Professor Receives $1.6 Million Grant For Obesity Research

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Dr. Kristen O’Connell
  • Dr. Kristen O’Connell

There's nothing wrong with enjoying a cheeseburger and fries or cold milkshake on a hot summer day, but over-indulging in delights like these can lead to an undesirable outcome: obesity. And unfortunately, this medical condition affects one in three adults in America.

A University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) professor has been awarded a million dollar grant to research the causes of obesity.

Kristen O’Connell, assistant professor for UTHSC’s Department of Physiology, along with her research team, received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health.

O’Connell will use the grant, which will be distributed over a five-year period, to support a project titled, “Modulation of AgRP Neuronal Excitability: Role of Diet and Body Weight.” The goal of the project is to identify the changes that high-calorie diets have on the neural circuits that control appetite and food intake.

“We hope to better understand the molecular basis of these changes, as well as how quickly they occur and whether they are reversible,” said Dr. O’Connell in a statement. “Our results will hopefully lead to better, safer therapies for obesity and appetite control. In addition, we would like to learn how environmental factors, such as diet, influence flexibility in these key areas of the brain that control appetite, and ultimately identify ways to restore appropriate control of hunger and food intake.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third (or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. And 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years old are obese.

Obesity is associated with dramatic changes in the parts of the brain that control appetite, according to the UTHSC. These changes may compound the difficulty that many people have in losing weight and keeping it off, since the brain is effectively telling them they are hungry, even if there is no reason to be.

Obesity-related conditions (also the leading causes of preventable death) include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, according to the CDC. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008. The medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stats Show Violent Crime In Memphis, Shelby County Is Up

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 3:23 PM


New data shows murders, forcible rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies across Shelby County are on the rise compared to 2013.

The Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission disclosed countywide crime statistics for January through July 2014 in the latest Operation: Safe Community monthly crime trends report.

According to the report, violent crime has increased by 5.7 percent in Memphis and 5.8 percent countywide this year thus far compared to last year.

From January to July 2014, there were 80 murders, 233 forcible rapes, 4,880 aggravated assaults, and 1,987 robberies in Shelby County. Over the same period in 2013, there were 73 murders, 218 forcible rapes, 4,622 aggravated assaults, and 1,872 robberies.

“We are concerned about the increase in reported major violent crimes,” said Bill Gibbons, chair of Operation: Safe Community and commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in a statement. “It points out the importance of continuing to focus on those parts of the Operation: Safe Community plan designed to curb violent street crime, in particular, data-driven deployment of police resources to areas of high rates of youth crime.”

On the contrary, major property crime decreased by 5.4 percent in Memphis and 5.5 percent countywide from January through July 2014, compared to the same time period in 2013.

In 2014, there were 6,845 burglaries, 16,630 theft offenses, and 1,792 motor vehicle thefts. However, in 2013, there were 7,513 burglaries, 17,446 theft offenses, and 1,781 motor vehicle thefts.

“We are encouraged by the continued decline in reported major property crimes, both in Memphis and countywide,” Gibbons said. “We hope the decline in reported domestic violence offenses is a sign that state and local efforts to address this problem are paying off.”

The Operation: Safe Community monthly crime trends report utilizes data reported by local enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System.

Operation: Safe Community was launched in 2007 and is an initiative to reduce crime in Memphis and Shelby County. Spearheaded by the Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission, the initiative involves an organized network of more than 100 partner organizations.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Man Found Not Guilty of Killing Father By Reason Of Insanity

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Alexander Shelton
  • Alexander Shelton

A man charged with fatally shooting his father in the head two years ago was declared not guilty by reason of insanity Monday.

On June 16, 2012, Alexander Shelton, 26, shot and killed his father, Lauren, inside of their home, according to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office. The body of the 55-year-old accountant was discovered on the couch with a gunshot wound to the head.

Shelton was arrested later that day on I-40 near Jackson, Tennessee. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Monday, August 18th, it was declared that Shelton did not understand the wrongfulness of his actions at the time he killed his father, due to suffering from a mental disorder.

In court, a state psychologist who performed a forensic evaluation on Shelton detailed his long history of treatment for mental issues since he was 11 years old, according to the D.A.’s office. After hearing the information, Criminal Court Judge Bobby Carter concurred that Shelton did not understand that he was committing a crime when he shot his father.

Shelton was referred to a state mental facility for further evaluation to determine whether he is committable and poses a danger to himself or others. He will remain in custody until further order of the court.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Former MPD Officer Charged With Sexual Battery, Son Indicted For Mother's Murder

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Meekose Evans
  • Meekose Evans

A former Memphis Police officer is facing felony charges and years in prison for sexual battery.

Meekose Evans, 30, was indicted on sexual battery this week stemming from an incident in which a motorist said she was groped during a traffic stop in Whitehaven, according to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office.

A woman said Evans stopped her on February 11th in Whitehaven because her tag lights were out. He later discovered her driver’s license was suspended.

The woman said Evans told her to follow him to an isolated area at the nearby Hillcrest Apartments. She said he then put her in the back of his squad car and asked what she would do for him to avoid getting a ticket.

Evans allegedly requested the woman to expose her breasts and began fondling them. The woman reported the incident to the MPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and identified Evans in a photo spread.

Evans has also been indicted on charges of official misconduct and official oppression. The charges are felonies that carry one to six years in prison.

Evans was terminated in June from the MPD. He’s scheduled to be in Criminal Court on August 21st. He is presently free on $20,000 bond.

Son Indicted For Mother's Murder

Alexandre Kim, a 24-year-old Cordova man, was indicted this week on first-degree murder charges in the death of his mother.

On October 7th, 2012, Estelle Carron Kim, was found beaten and strangled inside her burned-out home at 9019 Higden Cove, according to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office. The 51-year-old woman was a former French teacher at Hutchison School.

Following officers’ arrival to the house, her son, Alexandre, walked up to the scene and told officers he left his mother at the home earlier and had left to get something to eat.

However, officers noticed blood on his clothing and noted that Kim became nervous, according to reports. In addition to that, a witness informed investigators Kim had walked to the house before the fire, left a short time later wearing different clothes, and that the house caught fire about 10 minutes after he left.

Kim is being held without bond. A court date has not been set.

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Obama Opens Disaster Aid After Tennessee Storms

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Federal disaster aid is now available for the state of Tennessee to help in the recovery efforts following the storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that lashed the state from June 5-10.


President Barrack Oabama made the funds available Wednesday through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funding is available to state and local governments and some non-profit agencies for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms.

Direct assistance is available to counties in a band that stretches across the state: Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton.

The funds will help local governments remove debris, fix roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and other publicly owned properties.

Shelby County is not qualified for direct assistance. However, all Tennessee counties qualify for some federal assistance in mitigating hazards caused by the storms. W. Michael Moore, the Federal Coordinating Officer for the recovery effort, said more areas can later be designated for assistance.

June was the eighth wettest month on record for Memphis, according to the Memphis Weather Net blog. It was the second-wettest June on record for the city. Storms here produced some wind damage and some flash flooding. For the first half of the year, the blog says, Memphis was nearly one foot above normal precipitation.

Monday, August 11, 2014

MPD Director Armstrong, Mayor Wharton Comment On Bloody Beale Street Video

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 4:25 PM


Footage of a man, unconscious and lying in a pool of blood on Memphis’ world-renowned Beale Street, has gone viral.

Around 2 a.m. Sunday, August 10th, Johnathan Parker was discovered with blood flowing from his head and his pants pulled down past his knees. A video posted online displays several people standing around Parker as they record him with their cell phones. But what’s not shown in the video is anyone contacting 911 or alerting law enforcement.

So far, the video has been shared more than 1,800 times on Facebook.

According to the Memphis Police Department (MPD) report taken at the scene, Parker was discovered by law enforcement around 2:25 a.m., unconscious and bleeding from the head.

After he gained consciousness, an officer spoke to Parker, who was reportedly inebriated. The victim provided his name and replied “I’m straight” when asked what happened. He wouldn’t tell officers what happened or who hurt him. Due to Parker’s intoxication, officers were unable to gather enough information to produce a full report.

Following the interview, Parker was transported to the Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He was later upgraded to non-critical condition.

“At this time, it is not clear if this individual was in a fight or if he passed out or fell,” read a statement provided by MPD’s Sgt. Karen Rudolph. “According to the report on file, this individual was intoxicated and was unable to provide any information pertaining to a fight. I spoke with the South Main Station supervisor who advised that investigators followed up with the victim, who is currently in non-critical condition at Regional One, who advised that he doesn’t remember what happened.

“I checked with Communications regarding possible calls for help in connection with this incident and was advised that no calls were received from citizens on the scene. Officers who were in the area conducted a self-initiated call to Communications advising that they located one male down and additional officers were needed. Officers were not neglectful in responding to this call due to the fact that they never received a call."

Rudolph's statement acknowledged that this is an ongoing investigation; investigators are checking for any additional video that may have been captured. It stated that MPD are following up with several postings that have been placed on Facebook. Anyone with footage that shows an actual fight or any additional footage that may assist with this investigation are encouraged to forward it to the MPD's PIO Office (

MPD director Toney Armstrong provided his take on the incident: “It is disheartening to see an injured person laying on the ground with spectators capturing photos and video; but not calling for assistance,” stated Director Armstrong. “MPD Communications did not receive a call concerning this wounded individual; however, officers who were assigned to Beale Street responded immediately once they witnessed a large crowd and a man down. This is an ongoing investigation and we are trying to put the pieces together to determine what actually occurred.”

Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. has also released a statement in response to the incident, labeling it “a truly regrettable situation all the way around.”

“I guess I’m not so shocked by the fact that even in a city known for helping people in need that a person in obvious distress would not be immediately assisted by those who saw the situation,” Wharton said. “I’m reminded that even in the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, two people passed by the man on the roadside bleeding before the Samaritan stopped to help. What is, however, more upsetting to so many of us is that instead of ignoring this individual’s need for help, some people actually stopped and took the time to use their phones to record the incident. These are the same phones that people could have used to call for help given that the initial team of Memphis Police Officers arrived on the scene despite having not received a report of the incident.”

The police report taken at the scene can be read below. And click here to view footage of the incident.

On 08/10/2014 at 02:25 hours, Officer N Payne (12593) reported a 'Precinct GIB' memo at 877 Jefferson Ave where victim Johnathan Parker was transported by MFD #11 from Beale St in critical condition. Officers on Beale St. found a male unconscious bleeding from the head. Officer Payne spoke to the victim, that smelled strongly of intoxicants. The victim only provided his name. Officers had to research the victim’s name in Shelby County wasp system to identify him. Officers asked the victim Johnathan Parker what happened he only replied, “I'm straight.” The victim would not tell officers what happened, or who hurt him. The victim Johnathan Parker was under a state of intoxication that prevented officers from gathering enough information to produce a full report. Officer captured photos of the victim’s injuries. The nurse Kerry Lyons, PACE RN advised his condition was non critical. A supervisor, Lt. Tucker (5605) was advised. There was no crime scene. There is video on Beale St, but it was not immediately available.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Appeal to Save Nineteenth Century Club Withdrawn

Posted By on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Nineteenth Century Club
  • Nineteenth Century Club

Standing on the sidewalk outside the crumbling and boarded-up Nineteenth Century Club, attorneys Steve Mulroy and Webb Brewer announced that the plaintiff in an appeal to save the stately historic home at 1433 Union has decided to withdraw. That means the building's owners, the Lin family, may go forward with any plans they have for the property.

"We continue to believe we had a strong case legally, but without a buyer to purchase and preserve the property, any legal victory would be a hollow victory," Mulroy said.

The plaintiff in the case is a former member of the Nineteenth Century Club who believes the club's vote to auction the property violated its bylaws because the entire membership wasn't notified about the planned sale. The property was sold at auction after a vote was held by some members of the Nineteenth Century Club. The club's president Lynn Heathcott donated the money from the sale to the Children's Museum of Memphis. Heathcott has contended that the club could not afford the repairs on the property, which was in violation of Memphis Fire Department code, leaving no other option than to sell it at auction.

Chancery Court Judge Walter Evans declared the sale of the property had been properly conducted, but the plaintiff appealed. Memphis Heritage had been helping promote public awareness around the plight of the building, which they believe the Lins intend to demolish to make way for a strip mall with a Chinese restaurant. The Lins currently own New Hunan Restaurant on Park, Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry on Airways, and Red Fish Sushi Asian Bistro in Lakeland. The Nineteenth Century Club is one of the few historic properties left on shopping center-heavy Union Avenue.

When the plaintiff appealed, there were two potential buyers who had offered to purchase the property from the Lins. One was from Nashville, and the other was from California. But both deals have since fallen through. Memphis Heritage members had raised $100,000 to pay a bond for the appeal.

"We didn't want to put our donor money at risk when there wasn't a clear-cut idea for a buyer," said Memphis Heritage president Joey Hagen.

Mulroy said the $100,000 would be distributed back to the Memphis Heritage donors.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Voters Rally Targets Local Millennials

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM


Research shows that “millennials,” typically categorized as people born in the 1980s up to the early 2000s, are the least likely to vote. But many of the decisions made by elected officials will impact them significantly now and in the future.

A group of local millennials are holding a rally Tuesday, July 29th to encourage their peers to register to vote and/or pledge to participate in upcoming local, state, and national elections.

The “Millennial Voters Rally” will take place in front of downtown’s Civic Center Plaza at 5:30 p.m. The event is a part of the WhyVote Initiative, a movement created to inform locals about the importance of voting and how refraining from doing so can adversely impact them.

Brent Hooks, one of the rally’s coordinators, said the goal is to attract at least 100 millennials to register to vote and/or agree to participate in upcoming elections as well as and spread the word about the significance of voting.

“This is going to be the most powerful thing that we can present … it’s power in unity," said Hooks, associate project manager for Allworld Project Management. "If we go out there and show them that we have a mass of people who are down for the cause, we can make a difference.”

WhyVote representatives will conduct a press conference in front of the Civic Center Plaza at 6 p.m. And at 6:15 p.m., the group will march to the Shelby County Election Commission and help participants register to vote or submit ballots for the upcoming county election.

According to WhyVote data, millennials make up nearly a quarter of Shelby County’s population (more than 196,000 people), but only around 460 had cast votes during the early voting period of the current county election as of last week.

“This is an opportunity to show unison amongst the millennials, to send the message that we’re interested in political decisions that are being made and really want to impact the change for the future,” said Ryan Carson, project manager for The Redwing Group and another coordinator of the Millennial Voters Rally.

To find out more information about the WhyVote Initiative, contact Brent Hooks at (901) 292-1873.

Check out this week's issue of The Memphis Flyer to read more about millennial voting.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Buyer Has Contract for Tennessee Brewery Building

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM


The historic Tennessee Brewery, which was threatened to be demolished in less than a week, will be around for at least another 90 days and possibly for years to come.

James Rasberry, the building's listing agent, says he has executed a contract with a "viable buyer." There's a 90-day due diligence period, where the potential buyer will be able to have various inspections done on the 100-plus-year-old structure. Rasberry said that means demolition, which was set for early August, will be postponed at least 90 days. Rasberry said he's not at liberty to say who the potential buyer is.

"I don't have a guarantee, but I think these guys are the genuine article," Rasberry said. "They are certainly capable and desirous of getting the building to closing. I would say this is as good a contract as I've had since the top of the real estate market when we were promoting it more of a residential development than a mixed use."

But Rasberry, who has previously said that he's "kissed a lot of frogs" looking for a buyer over the years, is cautiously optimistic. He said he's continuing to show the building to other potential buyers during the due diligence period.

"It's not like we're going to quit showing the property. I've got one other group that has submitted a letter of intent, and they're quite willing to do the deal themselves. I will continue to show it so that if for whatever reason it doesn't work out, maybe we'll have someone in the wings," he said.

The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.

From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.

U of M Project Aimed at Reducing Marijuana Use

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

A University of Memphis professor has received a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to help reduce marijuana use among college students.

  • Murphy
Dr. James Murphy, associate professor of psychology, will use the funds over two years to increase the awareness of the drug's risks by "correcting the misperception that most or all students use marijuana." Also, the project will try to get students involved in "constructive, academic, social, exercise, creative, and vocational alternatives."

"Although marijuana does not pose the same risk for overdose or severe dependence as many other drugs, it can be habit forming, difficult to quit, and associated with academic, legal and financial problems and difficulties with thinking, memory and learning," Murphy said in a statement.

Few interventions have been tested for excessive use of marijuana, Murphy said, while there are effective interventions to reduce drinking among college students.

The award is a also sponsored by the National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and goes along with an existing grant called “Reducing College Drinking With a Behavioral Economic Supplement.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Last weekend, developer Lauren Crews and architect Chooch Pickard of City South Ventures opened the long-vacant U.S. Marine Hospital for self-guided tours.

Crews purchased the property years ago, and now he's pushing a plan to transform the hospital into apartments before possibly persuing other major development projects in and around the historic French Fort neighborhood.

The hospital treated U.S. Marine mariners back in the late 1800s. The main hospital building, a nurses' building, and a maintenance structure have sat decaying on the property next to the Metal Museum for decades.

To read more about the project, read this Flyer story.

Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital
Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Last weekend, developer Lauren Crews and architect Chooch Pickard of City South Ventures opened up the U.S. Marine Hospital for self-guided tours. Here are some shots from inside the long-vacant hospital on the bluff.

By Bianca Phillips

Click to View 13 slides

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Demolition Still Set For Tennessee Brewery

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 3:52 PM


The historic Tennessee Brewery building, which housed the "Untapped" beer garden for six weeks this past spring, may be demolished on August 1st. Or maybe it won't.

James Rasberry, the building's listing agent, said he is currently working on a couple of contracts with potential buyers for the building, but he does not have an executed contract. If either of those contracts moves forward with a viable candidate for a future owner, Rasberry said they'd be able to get a two- or three month extension on the demolition, which has long been planned for early August.

"The only goal is to try and save the building, but if we can't, we've given it a great shot. That's where we are right now," Rasberry said.

Rasberry said he should know more in about a week.

The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.

From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

GoFundMe Page Created For Slain Army Vet

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Justin Davis
  • Justin Davis

On Tuesday night, Justin Davis, a 24-year-old Army veteran, sat in his car in the parking lot of Germantown’s Cameron-Brown Park frustrated, depressed, and armed with a rifle.

Davis, who battled post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, had been reportedly having suicidal thoughts and was going through a divorce. To make matters worse, he had been unable to find employment upon his return from the military.

According to reports, the Germantown Police Department (GPD) Communications Center received a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) message stating Davis was “unstable, possibly suicidal, armed and dangerous” on Tuesday, July 15th, around 9 p.m. The GPD Communications Center was notified by the Fayette County Sheriff's Office around 9:45 p.m. that Davis was located at Cameron-Brown Park (8626 Farmington Boulevard).

GPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after and located Davis in a parking lot near a baseball field. After evacuating the area, officers communicated with Davis via phone and through a squad car public address system, according to reports.

What transpired during the conversation up until the seconds before bullets were fired remains unclear. According to reports, Davis “escalated” the situation during his communication with GPD officers. This resulted in three officers firing their weapons, striking Davis. He was pronounced deceased on the scene.

“As officers were continuing their effort to communicate, the situation was escalated by the subject, who was armed with a rifle, resulting in three Germantown police officers discharging their weapons,” stated a police news release regarding the incident.

Justin and his daughter
  • Justin and his daughter

Names of the three officers involved in the shooting have yet to be released, but are on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to reports. Where and how many times Davis was shot has yet to be announced. He leaves behind a young daughter.

Not only are Davis’ family and friends deeply saddened by the occurrence, members and veterans of various branches of the U.S. military have been touched by the situation. Local veteran Jerome Hardaway is among these people.

Hardaway has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Davis’ burial. He was motivated to start the fundraiser after receiving messages from friends and family of Davis’ who were hurt by the situation and concerned with how his burial would be financed.

After discovering the local Veterans Administration would not be able to cover the expenses, he organized a GoFundMe account in the hope that small donations would be made to help Davis' family put him to rest at the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery (4000 Forest Hill Irene). The fundraiser's goal is $2,500.

“Hopefully, the community will come together and help this family,” Hardaway said. “The fundraiser will go on until the family has the resources to put him properly to rest.”

Hardaway is an Air Force vet and fought in the Iraq War, also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said he can relate to Davis’ battle with post-war issues and is disheartened by the fact he was unable to find employment after returning home from the military.

“As an OIF veteran, I do suffer from combat stress, and I've worked hard to learn how to manage it,” Hardaway said. “I’m personally saddened by the situation, because I know how he felt. [To] go to Iraq and manage to survive a war zone, only to come home and be told that you have no skills is demoralizing. The government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars turning young people into more than fighters; [they become] effective learners, thinkers, capable of working harder and being more mentally agile than their civilian counterparts in order to complete missions. It’s horrible that people tend to choose to only see veterans in a certain light, but we are working hard to change that.”

Hardaway is in the beginning stages of creating his company, FRAGO, an entity that will take a proactive approach to helping veterans receive the services they need before it’s too late.

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