Friday, June 29, 2007

Violent Crime Down in Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

With daily reports of shootings and robberies, Memphis seems as dangerous as ever. But according to the latest statistics, the city has gotten a teensy bit safer since last year (and we do mean, teensy).

From January through the end of May this year, 4,528 violent incidents have been reported in Memphis, while 4,847 were reported to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. Violent crimes include homicide, aggravated robbery, assault, and the like.

At this same time last year, the city had experienced 4,760 violent crimes, while the county recorded 5,064. That reflects a drop of 4.29 percent this year.

Those numbers are still nothing to be proud of, but hey, baby steps, right?

For more on the latest stats and city/county crime-fighting initiatives, go to www.operationsafecommunity.org.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Carol Johnson Makes History in Boston

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Outgoing Memphis City Schools superintendent Carol Johnson will be paid $275,000 in Boston, making her the highest paid school superindendent in that city's history.

Johnson, who was offered a five-year contract, will be eligible for a $20,000 yearly bonus if she meets education goals, according to the Boston Globe.

And there are other benefits. From the story: "Johnson will also receive a $7,200 annual car allowance, annual contributions toward her retirement, and a housing allowance of up to $18,000 while she sells her house in Memphis. Her contract, excluding the one-time housing allowance and retirement contributions that have yet to be calculated, could be worth up to $302,200 a year.

"She will also receive a 2.5 percent raise each year, provided she has satisfactory performance. By June 30, 2012, when her contract expires, Johnson will be paid a $303,548 base salary."

Johnson's salary in Memphis was $204,516.

Crossword Puzzles, Memphis-style

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the Daily News: Mark Blakeburn has published Memphis in Puzzles, a book of 54 crosswords revolving around the city's history, events, music, sports, and more.

Of course, this begs the question of what the clue might be for "You ain't hitting on nothing with me."

According to the story, Blackburn has contributed puzzles in The New York Times, Simon & Schuster, and Dell Magazines. He says in terms of the difficulty, his Memphis puzzles are easier than the ones in the Times and harder than the ones in The Commercial Appeal.

Memphis in Puzzles, $10, is available at Burke's Book Store, Davis-Kidd, Booksellers, Xanadu Music and Books, and Tater Red's.

Lantana Artist Unveiling on Saturday

Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

If you're near North Main and Jefferson this Saturday, June 30, around 7 p.m., you just might think you’re seeing double.

That's because Lantana Projects, a visiting artist program started in 2004, will unveil an outdoor art installation featuring a collection of mirror "flowers" by Amsterdam mixed-media artist Eric Knoote.

You’ll see not only the flowers but reflections of landmarks and people in the area, including, perhaps, an image of yourself. It’s all part of Lantana Project's "From the Underground Up" program. Beverages will be provided and a suggested donation of $5 benefits Lantana and this project.

On July 6, at Marshall Arts, an open studio visit will showcase works completed by Knoote during his Memphis visit.

For more information go to www.lantanaprojects.org.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Steve Cohen on Elvis Radio

Posted on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 4:00 AM

We all know Congressman Steve Cohen loves Elvis. After his election, he made his first floor speech to Congress with these remarks:

" . . . .I'm here to tell you that Elvis is still alive today in spirit and as relevant as ever. To quote the King as we proceed through the 100 hours, 'it's now or never' that we make the changes America needs. . . ."

On July 1st, at 1 p.m., Cohen will help celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Elvis Radio — launched exclusively on SIRIUS in July 2004 as the world's only "all Elvis all the time" radio station -- with a special broadcast. Tune in to hear Steve's take on the icon’s impact on popular culture, as well as his influence closer to home. Cohen will wrap up the hour with Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden, as they present a Congressional Proclamation declaring July 1st "Elvis Radio Day" to Elvis friend and SIRIUS' "Live from Graceland" host, George Klein.

Wait! There's more. At 2 p.m., Elvis Radio DJs will host a special edition of the "Elvis Radio Quiz Show" broadcast live from Graceland Plaza in front of SIRIUS studios. Be there . . . and get the latest in the series of Elvis 30th Anniversary collector buttons, "The ’68 Comeback."

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Lawsuit Filed Against Driver in Selmer Crash

Posted on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 4:00 AM

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) -- The father of a teenager who was among six people killed this month when a drag-racing car spun into a crowd sued the driver and organizers of the charity event Tuesday.

Bruce Replogle, the father of 15-year-old Scarlett Replogle, seeks $10 million in damages.

Authorities say pro drag racer Troy Critchley lost control of his dragster while performing an exhibition burnout - spinning the car's back tires to send up clouds of smoke - during a parade at the annual Cars for Kids charity event June 16. Besides the six killed, 23 were hospitalized.

Replogle alleges event organizer Larry Price failed to obtain a permit for the parade and failed to take precautions to ensure the safety of spectators. The father also accuses him of encouraging drivers to do unsafe burnouts to attract crowds, despite warnings that they were not safe.

Critchley is accused of being negligent by failing to maintain control of his vehicle and performing dangerous tricks without making sure spectators were protected.

Replogle accuses the vehicle's owner, AMS Staff Leasing Inc., of negligence by failing to make sure the car was in proper working order and allowing it to be driven by Critchley, who had an "unsafe driving record," the suit claims.

Critchley, who has not spoken publicly since the accident, was convicted of drunken driving in Virginia in 2000.

A call to Price's home in Selmer went unanswered Tuesday night. He has retained Memphis attorney Steve Farese Sr., who did not immediately return a message left at his office after hours.

A message left at the Dallas office of AMS Staff Leasing was not immediately returned.

Replogle's attorney, Lewis L. Cobb, did not immediately return a message left after business hours.

Besides damages, Replogle seeks to stop Price and Cars for Kids from holding another event in Selmer without a detailed safety plan.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NAACP Branch Celebrates 90 Years

Posted on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will begin a series of events celebrating its 90th anniversary Tuesday, June 26th at 7 p.m. at the Greater Middle Baptist Church at 4982 Knight Arnold Road.

Former NAACP executive director Julian Bond will deliver the evening’s keynote address. Local NAACP leader Johnnie Turner says that past presidents of the local chapter will be recognized.

Turners adds that Tuesday’s ceremony begins a series of events that will culminate in January of next year.

The NAACP was founded in 1909. Robert Church Jr. helped begin the Memphis chapter in response to the lynching of black laborer Ell Persons in May 1917.

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Gritty Memphis News

Posted on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis has a new biweekly online magazine. Actually: Memphis has its first and to our knowledge only biweekly online magazine. It's called CultureGrits.com, and it promises a "mouthful of Memphis" with each issue.

The first issue has a personal essay by a home-invasion victim from Humes Heights, a spotlight on Memphis Teen Volunteers, the back story of Memphis Farmers Market, and the introduction to a multipart story on the "Evolution of Memphis Soul." Future issues will follow suit, with essays, nonprofit profiles, and the stories behind the story of successful businesses and individuals.

The site is founded and edited by Mary K. Levie, a former writer for the University of Memphis' Daily Helmsman (ain't Google grand?). CultureGrits.com says they're hoping to add sections on local fiction and photography.

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Megan Fox Is Foxy -- And From Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Move over, Ginnifer Goodwin; you have some competition. The title of hottest Memphian celeb — subclass: Still Living; subclass: But Not in Memphis; subclass: Female — has become a two-way race.

Bluff City native Megan Fox is smoking hot. She's set to take the nation's movie screens by storm with her costarring turn in Transformers (alongside Shia LeBeouf and lots of CGI-pixilated alien robots), due to be released July 3rd.

The Australian Herald Sun reports, "When Fox was brought into the hospital room in Memphis on May 16, 1986, her mother was watching the Elvis movie Blue Hawaii." (Hopefully, it wasn't during the part where Elvis is singing "Do the Clam.")

Earlier this month, at the MTV Movie Awards, Fox talked about another Mid-South homeboy, Justin Timberlake: "I'm going to get myself in trouble for saying this, but I will pee in my pants if I see Justin or smell him or get anywhere near him."

Hmmm. So we’re not the only ones?

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Where's the Best Place for an Office in Memphis?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 4:00 AM

What's the preferred part of town for an office? In a recent survey by the Memphis Business Journal, which received 273 responses, one-third of voters chose Downtown and a little less than a third gave nods to East Memphis.

Other preferences were scattered outside the city limits, with a scant 6 percent voting for Midtown.

Downtown got votes for its energy, amenities, and "bright young talent." Hey, that's us, right here on Tennessee Street. For more, go here.

Scripps Buys Knoxville Alt-Weekly Metro Pulse

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 4:00 AM

E.W. Scripps, the media conglomerate that owns the Knoxville News-Sentinel (and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, among many other newspapers), has purchased Knoxville's alternative weekly, Metro Pulse.

Here is the full text of the note to News-Sentinal employees from publisher Bruce Hartmann:

"I am pleased to announce that the Scripps BC Development Company (the same division of Scripps that bought the Shopper-News and started Skirt! magazine) is now acquiring Metro Pulse and Knoxville Magazine. This is effective July 1, 2007.

"Metro Pulse will keep their editorial and advertising independence. At some point in the future, we will be printing our new weekly product.

"Brian Conley will remain as the Publisher of Metro Pulse but will only be involved in the editorial direction of the paper. Lisa Duncan will work with Paul Abraham and me to help manage the transition as we move forward.

"Metro Pulse is a great product with an established readership and advertiser base. We are glad to welcome them into the Scripps fold. Our relationship with Metro Pulse will be similar to the one we have with the Shopper-News and Blount Today. We will still compete with them for eyeballs and dollars, but we will add their brand to the growing list of products in the News Sentinel Media Group."

Hmmm. Scripps now owns Knoxville's shopper, its city magazine, its woman's magazine, its alternative weekly, a county-wide newspaper, and its daily newspaper. Yep, sounds like "competition" for dollars will really start to boom now in Knoxville. (That is, if by "competition," you mean every print entity in town competes to see how much money it can make for Scripps.) Sigh.

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Art Poster Show at Delta Axis Opens Friday

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 4:00 AM

If you dig "gig posters" for rock-and-roll bands -- the kind you see hanging in cafe windows, on telephone poles, at record shops -- "The Agents of Timbre: A Group Print Show" is for you.

Featuring 20 artists from across the nation and some 100 posters to view or buy, the show opens Friday, June 29, at 6 p.m., at Delta Axis@Marshall Arts gallery. The show runs through August 17.

The show sprung from a conversation between freelance illustrator and graphic designer Sasha Barr and arts patron and promoter John Weeden. The goal, explains Weeden, is to "expose this type work to a larger audience that might not usually encounter it, [and] to offer an opportunity for individuals not generally accustomed to viewing art in a gallery to see themselves as potential patrons of the arts."

Costs of the prints range from $40 to $100. Delta Axis takes 20 percent of sales and the artists get the remainder For more information, call 578-5545 or go to the Delta Axis website or Weeden Arts.

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Pink Palace Will Rock Thursday Night

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The second of four "Rock the Palace: Summer Tour 2007" events will take place Thursday, June 28, at the Pink Palace Museum.

Also presented by 93X radio's Traveling Twisted Thursdays, each after-hour music party provides live entertainment, an exhibit tour, food, a cash bar, and a live remote appearance by 93X.

This Thursday, featured local bands will include Chemical Zoo, Organ Thief, Roger Mexico, and Arma Secreta.

The museum exhibit throughout the summer is "Access All Areas: Your Backstage Pass to the Music Industry."

Rock the Palace is for adults, 21 and up. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, call 320-6320 or visit the museum's website.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Carol Johnson Faces Challenges in Boston

Posted By on Sun, Jun 24, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The Boston Globe published an analysis Sunday of the problems that will face recently departed Memphis Public Schools superintendent Carol Johnson, Boston's next school superintendent.

From the Globe: Johnson ... will confront far different obstacles here than the ones she'll leave behind in Memphis -- including a powerful teachers union that could block her reforms, standardized tests that are tougher to pass, and thousands more students who speak English as a second language.

Johnson, who is expected to start in late August, won praise for raising test scores in Memphis schools, a district more than twice the size of Boston's 57,000-student system. But it is unclear how her achievements will help her tackle Boston's paradox: It is one of the best urban school systems in the country, yet home to some of the worst schools in the state.

Read it all here.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wrestler Jerry Lawler Accused of Assault in Mississippi

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Back in his glory days , Jerry "The King" Lawler came up with a lot of moves that were, shall we say, less than legal. He used to hide brass knuckles in his tights and surprise his opponents, causing the audience to boo or cheer, given the circumstances. Sometimes, he'd even throw fire. Such is wrestling.

Now, he's in in trouble for throwing punches. An affidavit was filed late last week claiming that Lawler punched wrestling manager Sal "The Big Cheese" Corrente three times on June 15th.

Keep in mind though that this alleged assault happened at a wrestling event in Tunica. According to the complainant, Lawler (who was not scheduled to make an appearance) punched Corrente when he was on his way to the locker room. There was another fracas later in the parking lot afterwards.

According to Rasslin' Riot News (and if you can't believe them, then something's just wrong in this world), Lawler was under the impression that Corrente had hit a fan. During the alleged assault, he yelled, "You stupid mother f***er, don’t you ever hit a fan!"

Now the legal s**t may be hitting the fan, but Lawler isn't concerned about the charges, saying that being punched is a part of the business.

Lawler cannot be served until he makes another appearance in Mississippi. The trial is scheduled for August 1, but only if Lawler gets served on time.

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