Although developers are still awaiting a $15 million commitment from the city toward the $175 million project cost for revitalizing the abandoned Sears Crosstown building into a medical, arts, and residential hub, $300,000 has recently been awarded to improve the surrounding Crosstown neighborhood and parts of the building.
The Crosstown Development Project was awarded a $50,000 regional planning award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to extend the V&E Greenline across North Parkway and through the Crosstown site.
A $250,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority will be used to implement a plan to equip and program a "theater stair" in the main atrium of the Crosstown building. The theater stair is a wide staircase that will be equipped with audio-video equipment for public lectures and performances. It will be wide enough to both serve as a functional staircase between the first and third floors and seating for performances and spillover seating for the building's planned cafe.
The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is hosting an organizer training seminar this Friday, November 8th. Core Organizer Training will begin at 6 p.m. and teach participants the foundational skills to be effective community organizers on a number of important issues specific to the attendee.
The event takes place at Mid South Peace and Justice Center's office (3573 Southern Avenue) and will cover the step by step actions needed to make a change in one's community through non-violent, direct action.
A maximum of 20 people will be able to receive training at Friday's session. Admission to the Core Organizer Training will be determined on a sliding scale based on annual income. The fee includes 15 hours of training and lunch on Saturday.
To register for the event or for more information go here.
Attention all complainers, curmudgeons, haters, know-it-all-suburbanites, too-cool Midtowners, worry-wart East Siders, defensive Dowtowners and anyone else with a my-way-or-the-highway opinion about Memphis: there's a new place to ply your trade online.
Dearcity.org launched an expanded site for many major metro cities earlier this month. The first Dear City site launched four years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark by two friends, Mikael Staer and Philip Battin. They then opened sites for New York, London, and Berlin.
Dear City site users search for their city and leave an anonymous message or read messages left by others. The site is billed as a tool for change, a "social cluster of opinions that express the thoughts of the man on the street."
"Dear City becomes a documentation of contemporary life and its ups and downs," the site says. "We believe change is achieved through all levels of communication."
So far, only two messages have been on the Dear City Memphis page. One pleads for (someone?) to clean up Elvis Presley Boulevard and save historic buildings. Another says the current public transportation system makes it tough to visit the city's neighborhoods.
Comments don't have to be negative, of course. But a quick look at the comments sections of Memphis media outlets, Topix, or local social media predicts the Dear City Memphis site won't likely tout the city's rainbows and sunshine.
"Don't start none. Won't be none."
That was South Memphis native and biologist Danielle Lee's response as to why she took to the internet last week to make public an email response from Biology-Online.org that called Lee an "urban whore" for turning down a guest blogger opportunity at that website.
A representative from Biology-Online, simply known as Ofek, sent Lee an email about guest-blogging. Lee already runs a popular blog on the Scientific American website called The Urban Scientist, which is billed as "a hip hop maven" blogging on "urban ecology, evolutionary biology, and diversity in the sciences."
Lee responded to the email from Biology-Online asking what would be required and if there was any compensation for blog posts. In a follow-up email, Ofek told her that there was no compensation. Lee politely declined the offer, and Ofek's response blew her away.
"Because we don't pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?" read the email. Lee posted screenshots of the email exchange on the Scientific American website. The blog was taken down by Scientific American, but it was later re-posted after the site owners verified Lee's story. The story went viral over the weekend with posts on Jezebel and the Huffington Post.
Lee grew up in South Memphis and earned her master's degree at the University of Memphis before pursuing a career as a biologist at Oklahoma State University, where she now serves as a post-doctoral associate.
ABC News reported that Ofek has been terminated from Biology-Online, and the site owner has apologized to Lee. The Flyer will run a full Q&A with Lee in next Wednesday's edition. But here's a sneak peek quote from Lee about the importance of diversity in the field of science.
"My ultimate cause is about science communication to underrepresented and underserved audiences. I would like to see more kids who have this natural curiosity who come from the hood, like me, or the barrios or the trailer parks, those places that we so often dismiss," Lee said. "There are a lot of bright people who live in these communities. But we happen to be poor. That doesn’t mean there isn’t promise there or genius or excitement or curiosity. I really want that to come out. I care about amplifying the voices of people who have for far too long been ignored or overlooked or not noticed, particularly when it comes to science."
Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges is apparently looking to give up the keys to his Central Avenue “castle.”
Facebook posts over the last two days from the perennial Memphis mayoral candidate and self-identified native of the planet Zambodia claim he is looking to give up Ashlar Hall, at 1397 Central, to a nonprofit group. Wednesday’s post welcomed “any licensed charitable organization interested in a donation” of the building to leave their intentions in the comments section of the post.
“Will need funding to renovate and operate, the building will not be demolished,” according to the post.
A Tuesday post said he is looking for a charitable organization with funds to renovate and operate already in place. “Business plan and financial statement required,” it said.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 11,500 people “liked” the post and most of the commenters suggested giving the building to Choose901, the group dedicated to attracting talent to Memphis.
The group launched “Operation Ashlar,” a Facebook drive to “help Prince Mongo choose Choose901.”
“We would turn it into a social hub for young adults and a development center for nonprofits and schools,” says the Choose901 website.
The Memphis market now joins the areas affected by Comcast’s data usage allowance plan, after the company announced a 300GB data per month limit on all XFINITY Internet plans and tiers. Other cities included in the plan are Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama; Augusta and Savannah, Georgia; central Kentucky; and Charleston, South Carolina.
The Bluff City is also among neighbors: customers in Knoxville and Jackson, Mississippi, have been limited since September.
Customers are offered a usage monitor on their accounts, while also receiving notifications from Comcast when data usage hits 80 percent, 90 percent, 100 percent, 110 percent, and 125 percent of the limit. An automated phone call will also be made to the customer when he or she reaches 300GB. After the data limit has been reached and usage continues, the customer will be charged $10 automatically for every 50GB used over the limit for that month.
Customers who are “casual or light internet users” on the Economy Plus plan can opt-in to the Flexible-Data Option, which is catered to “users who typically use 5GB of data or less per month,” according to the website detailing the option. If users stay below that threshold, the account will be credited five dollars per month. However, Flexible-Data customers who go over 5GB will be charged one dollar per GB used over the limit.
According to Comcast’s usage calculator on their website, one computer hooked up to the internet would have to stream 64 movies, 150 half-hour TV episodes, and 150 three-to-five minute video clips in one month to get to 250GB.
If you're a federal employee on furlough during the government shutdown, and you have a death in your family while you're off the job, former Memphis City Councilman/funeral director Brent Taylor wants to give you funeral free of charge.
But you must first register your family with Brentwood Funeral Services furloughed employee hotline, just in case. To register, call 901-461-7956. The program ends when the government reopens.
“A federal employee who is without a paycheck could be financially ruined if faced with purchasing a funeral during this government shutdown,” said Taylor. “These public servants should not have to worry about an unforeseen funeral expense while the government is shutdown. They deserve peace of mind."
Taylor has served on the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.
Yesterday, we shared our favorite shots by photographer Don Perry from the Best of Memphis party, which was held at Imperial Lanes last week. Today, we continue the theme of rubbing our fabulous party fun in your faces with this video by Edward Valibus. The music is from the Mighty Souls Brass Band, which closed out the night with a lively dance party inside the bowling alley.
Last Wednesday, we held our annual Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis party at Imperial Lanes. Winners were honored. Alcohol was consumed. Harlan T. Bobo, Mark Edgar Stuart, the Cretin Stompers, and the Mighty Souls Brass Band played some ditties. And a few ladies took off their clothes (okay, technically, they were professional burlesque dancers, but who's counting?).To view all of the party pics, check out the full album on the Memphis Flyer's Facebook page.
Memphis Flyer 2013 Best of Memphis Party
Memphis was one of seven cities recognized for its focus on job creation, economic growth, and crime reduction in a new report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The "Enterprising Cities" report notes that the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team's "clean it, activate it, sustain it" strategy has led to an increase in business activity, redevelopment, and economic vitality in certain core Memphis neighborhoods. Since 2011, the team has focused its efforts on revitalizing three areas — Cleveland/Madison, South Memphis, and Binghampton — through a variety of strategies that include 25 Square (neighborhood blight reduction 25 blocks at a time), MemFIX (community festivals), MemSHOP (pop-up shops), and helping small business owners grow their existing businesses.
"If you look north toward Broad or toward Stax or Overton Square, that used to be nothing but plywood," said Mayor A C Wharton at a press conference on the report today at Splash Creative in the Broad Avenue Arts District.
David Wayne Brown, president of Splash Creative and president of the Historic Broad Business Association, said 25 new businesses had located in the Broad Avenue Arts District since he moved to the area in 2007, several years before the community's revitalization began. Brown said that $4.9 million had been invested in public infrastructure over the last few years, including money devoted to building a two-way cycle track from Overton Park to the Shelby Farms Greenline.
Six other cities were named in the U.S. Chamber's "Enterprising Cities" report — Dayton, Ohio; Irving, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
She gave you 365 things to do in Memphis (eat all the cheese at Bari, frolic in the Main Street Mall fountain) and at least 52 reasons to love the Bluff City (Tony Allen's Twitter account, cheap parking). And she uncovered the secret Target on Colonial.
Now Memphis' number one fan Kerry Crawford is leaving her post as "I Love Memphis" blogger and social media strategist at the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau effective September 30th. Crawford posted her goodbye announcement today. Here's an excerpt:
When the CVB hired me as their social media specialist in August, 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. All I had was this idea for a website that featured all of the great, overlooked parts of Memphis — the parts that make this city so great. Four years later, it’s that, and so much more. This site has taken over my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Running I Love Memphis has been the most rewarding, challenging, intense and inspiring thing I’ve ever done. I had a really great time. The best time.
But it’s time for me to make room for other good things to happen. I have an amazing opportunity to work for myself, which is something I’ve wanted to do forever, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going to be doing freelance digital content strategy, social media strategy, information architecture and user research. It sounds super nerdy, and I can’t wait to get started.
But the "I Love Memphis" blog isn't going anywhere. After Crawford leaves, posting will be taken over by Holly Whitfield, former editorial director for Scripps Memphis Niche publications.
30 Photos of Elvis Fans and Their Elvis Week Shrines
Memphis-based duck, Buttercup, has become an internet sensation and has made national headlines, thanks to a prosthetic foot developed for him by a local rescue group, Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary. Today, Buttercup was named "Honorary Duck" in the Peabody's Hotel's daily duck march.
Born with an inverted foot, a painful deformity that prevented him from walking, Buttercup's adopters Mike and Jennifer Garey invented a prosthetic foot with the help of the local 3D printers at NovaCopy. See next week's print version of the Memphis Flyer for a Q&A with Mike Garey.
Here's his shining moment on the red carpet. And yes, he has a little trouble getting up the stairs.
Buttercup, the Pekin duck who made national headlines for his prosthetic foot, will join the Peabody Hotel ducks for a waddle down the hotel's red carpet on Wednesday. There, in front of some of the most famous fowl in the world, Buttercup will be named "Honorary Duck."
Born with an inverted foot, a painful deformity that prevented him from walking, Buttercup was adopted by a Memphis-based rescue group, Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary. With the help of the local 3D printers at NovaCopy, Feathered Angels was able to customize and print (!) a prosthetic foot for Buttercup.
Watch Buttercup's first steps on his new foot, and then join the Peabody Duckmaster in honoring Buttercup this Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Peabody Hotel.
The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Ave., 529-4000, peabodymemphis.com