Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rickey Peete, Edmund Ford, and Joe Cooper Charged

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2006 at 4:00 AM

City Council members Rickey Peete and Edmund Ford were charged with bribery in a federal criminal complaint Thursday.

In a separate complaint, former Shelby County Commission candidate Joe Cooper was charged with helping drug dealers acquire cars.

A complaint is not an indictment but is an alternative way for the government to proceed in a criminal case. An indictment could come later following presentation of the complaint to a grand jury.

The complaint filed by an FBI agent came as a surprise and was handled with secrecy to prevent Peete and Ford from learning about it. Peete was at a party on Beale Street Wednesday night in preparation for Thursday's charity boxing match between Mayor Willie Herenton and Joe Frazier.

Peete and Ford allegedly sold their influence to help a developer win approval for a planned development and a billboard near Interstate 240. A confidential informant who is facing indictment cooperated with the FBI and taped both Ford and Peete. Peete allegedly got $12,000 while Ford got $6,900.

The payments occurred in September and October. Ford allegedly got his payment at his funeral home while Peete got his at his office on Beale Street, where he is head of the Beale Street Merchants Association. The affidavit says both councilmen were wary of being busted. The informant put Peete's "papers" in the bathroom of his office after Peete allegedly wrote a note inquiring about possible cooperation with the FBI.

The planned development, which was not identified, passed the council 9-2 in October over the objections of the Land Use Control Board and Office of Planning and Development.

National Meth Awareness Day is Here!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Don't you just love the holiday season? Turkey with all the trimmings, stockings hung by the chimney with care, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and of course, crystal meth.

That's right folks! To help you through the long wait between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah, today we celebrate NATIONAL METH AWARENESS DAY, where, presumably, we are to celebrate all things amphetamine.

Even if Memphis doesn't get the "wintry mix" local meteorologist and grocers are praying for, we can still have a white holiday, thanks to the U.S. Department of Justice. Stimulating, isn't it?

Learn all about meth on its very special day here. And remember, read slowly.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jerry Lee Lewis on the Today Show

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Jerry Lee Lewis rocked NBC's Today Show this morning, looking a bit worse for wear but sounding like a million bucks. Unfortunately, most of us working stiffs missed it, since it didn't air until well after 9 a.m. Thanks to the wonders of the Web, you can watch the Killer's performance here.

Sadly, what you won't get to see is Meredith Veira's version of dancing, which she inflicted on viewers all morning whenever the "Great Balls of Fire" teaser music played. It's hard to describe, but the term "Crazy Arms" comes to mind.

Click the second photo to see what Jerry Lee thought about Meredith's dancing chops.

David Gest to Leave Memphis, Move to London

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Dear God, say it's not true. Just when David Gest, one of Memphis' few breathing celebs, hits the bigtime with the British megahit show, "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here," he says he's leaving us. For London, of course, where the Brits now love him in ways we can't even imagine. It's a case of life imitating, well, stupid tabloid television: Gest is a celebrity, and he's getting out of here, at least he is if this report is true.

Sigh. We may have seen the last of David at his usual lunch at Gus' Fried Chicken, or sucking down a cocktail at The Peabody. Alas, Davey, we hardly knew ye.

The big question, of course, is whether he'll take his Memphis maid, Vaginica Semen, with him.

West Tennessee Terrorist Gets 30 Years

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Terrorist threats and a dalliance with an undercover FBI agent can cost you big time.

Demetrius Van Crocker (subject of this Flyer cover story earlier this year), a McKenzie, Tennessee laborer and farm hand, was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison plus what amounts to supervised probation for life if he outlives his prison sentence.

Crocker was convicted by a jury in federal court in Jackson, Tennessee, in April. Prosecutors likened him to Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Crocker plotted with an undercover agent posing as a rogue security employee for an arsenal in Arkansas to buy Sarin nerve gas. During the trial, prosecutors played tapes of Crocker spouting racial hatred and his desire to strike a blow against the government.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

HIV Positive Photojournalist To Host Lecture

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Disheartened by negative images of black men in the media, Greg McNeal taught himself photography in 1994 in the hopes of capturing a more uplifting, somewhat sexy representation of the black man.

Since then, he’s shot for numerous publications in African, Spain, and Thailand. Locally, his work has appeared in the Tri-State Defender. He also happens to be HIV positive, and he’ll be speaking at Friends for Life tomorrow night in conjunction with World AIDS Day (December 1st).

McNeal will discuss his life with HIV and give tips for managing day-to-day with the disease. Afterward, he’ll be available to shoot professional photos of lecture attendees for their personal use.

For more, check out the Flyer’s searchable listings.

Borat Strikes Again; Kills Pamela Anderson's Marriage

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Flyer reported last month about the Jackson, Mississippi, news producer who sued Borat star Sasha Baron Cohen for ruining her career. Now she has something in common with Pamela Anderson.

Yep, Borat killed the producer's career, but he also apparently killed Pamela's marriage to Kid Rock. Sound insane? Well, of course it does. But here's the scoop, straight from the unimpeachable Idontlikeyouinthatway.com: "The hugely popular film shows Sasha Baron Cohen - in character as Borat Sagdiyev - falling in love with Anderson after seeing her in a Baywatch rerun, then driving across America in order to propose marriage to her. [Pamela's] friend tells Page Six, "Bob started screaming at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, 'You're nothing but a whore! You're a slut!"

Seems to us the Kid's a little late to that dance.

More?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Memphis and Norah Jones' Face

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

In a recent New York Times article about My Blueberry Nights, an upcoming movie by Wong Kar-wai starring Jude Law, Norah Jones, and Rachel Weisz, Wong says the setting plays prominently on Jones' face.

"In Memphis," he says, "there's something very classic about her presence. In New York it's very contemporary."

We don't know what that means, but we're going to take it as a compliment.

Memphis Police Make Major Pot Arrest

Posted on Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Eight Mexican nationals are in custody after Memphis Police discovered 1,300 pounds of marijuana, one kilo of cocaine, and over a half million dollars in a southwest Memphis home this morning.

The arrest came after a nine-month federal and local investigation of the drug ring. The drugs were imported from Mexico and distributed here. Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin says the men were receiving thousands of pounds of marijuana every three weeks.

“We’ve been trying to build a case and get [the drugs] when [they] were delivered. This morning was the time,” said Godwin at a press conference earlier today.

Also seized were 10 vehicles, two semi trucks, and one semi-trailer all used for drug distribution and an assortment of automatic weapons and pistols.

The case remains under investigation, and Godwin says more arrests are possible.

by Bianca Phillips

Hooks Jr. Wants More Time to Review Evidence in Waltz Case

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Scarcely a week before his father, former county commissioner Michael Hooks Sr., is due to be sentenced for his role in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, former school board member Michael Hooks Jr. has asked for, and been granted, additional time to review the government's evidence against him.

At Hooks' request during a Monday-morning hearing, U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen set a new report date of February 26. Acceding to the request was assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza, who told Breen, however, that he anticipated a trial of only "two or three days."

Hooks' attorney Glen Reid disagreed, saying that he might need "at least a week" just to present a response to the government's evidence, including surveillance audio- and video-tapes of his client dealing with FBI agents posing as representatives of the fictitious E-Cycle company.

In August, the senior Hooks pleaded guilty to one count of taking bribes from the agents.

Elvis' Reese's Peanut Butter and Creme?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Is it real or just an Internet hoax? People have been sending us images of this Elvis candy wrapper, but we can't find out anything about it.

There's nothing on the Reese's products Web site and no sign of the product in local stores. Could it be the ghost of Elvis has struck again? Who knows? But if you find a package of this stuff, we'd sure like to see it. And eat it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Missing the Manatee

Posted on Sun, Nov 26, 2006 at 4:00 AM

We found this farewell to the Memphis manatee on the local blog site, See Sip Taste Hear. We miss you, Manny.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wonderful Life at Playhouse

Posted on Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The holidays are here, and for the next month there will be no escaping It's a Wonderful Life. Of course, there are some people who just can't get enough of Frank Capra's classic film about George Bailey, a restless spirit who, unable to leave the American heartland (which he hates), enlists the aid of powerful supernatural forces to viciously destroy the patriotic plans of pro-capitalist/bank-owner Henry F. Potter, an elderly gentleman who merely wishes to lead a hostile takeover of the Bedford Falls Savings and Loan in order to further enrich himself at everyone else's expense. For those people, Playhouse on the Square has mounted It's a Wonderful Life, A Radio Play with five actors taking on the story's 50-plus characters.

Using the imaginative aural techniques of radio storytelling, the tiny troupe of award-winning actors, including Irene Crist, Kim Justis, Michael Gravois, and John Rone, join relative newcomer Cory Cunningham to put a nostalgic spin on this familiar tale of angst, angels, and finding the hidden riches buried in our own backyard. Directed by Pamela Poletti, who recently staged a revelatory production of Waiting for Godot at Rhodes College, It's a Wonderful Life promises to be an excellent alternative for theatergoers who like to see one set of good old-fashioned American values utterly smashed by another set of good old-fashioned American values.

For more information, go to the Flyer's online calendar.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Elvis, Vernon Presley Homes for Sale

Posted on Fri, Nov 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Another home that Elvis lived in is up auction on eBay. The four-bedroom/two-and-half bath house is in Killeen, Texas. Elvis lived in the home in 1958 when he was stationed at Fort Hood.

Reserve is under $175,000, and the auction ends December 16th.

Also up for sale is a Memphis home owned by Elvis' father, Vernon, from 1961 to 1965. The four bedroom/three bath home is located at 3650 Hermitage Drive, approximately one mile behind Graceland. Priscilla Presley lived in the house before she married Elvis.

The house has been appraised at $146,000.

Santa Outsources Job To Memphis

Posted on Fri, Nov 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Staff members of the Children's Museum of Memphis are helping Santa answer letters this year. All letters sent to the museum by December 20th will receive a reply and a free pass to the museum.

Letters can be sent to the Children's Museum at:

Santa Claus

c/o The Children’s Museum of Memphis

2525 Central Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

Now, just for giggles, check out this gallery of photos capturing kids scared out of their wits by Santa.

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