Thursday, September 13, 2007

Delay Requested in County Schools Case

Posted on Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

As expected, the Shelby County school system board of education and other parties have asked for a delay in the appointment of a "special master" to oversee compliance with a federal desegregation order.

A joint motion was filed this week to extend the 30-day deadline set by U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald in her order of July 26th, 2007. The special master is supposed to be someone who is a neutral expert in school desegregation. Donald said county schools should not be racially identifiable and should strive to reflect the overall racial makeup of the district, plus or minus 15 percent.

The county school board has appealed Donald's order to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The motion asks that the special master appointment be delayed until 10 days following the board's motion for a stay -- or in other words, a delay while the appeals court decides whether to take the case.

Joining in the motion were attorneys representing the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Two Memphis Killers Denied Parole

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Two Memphis convicts were denied parole today at a hearing in Henning, Tennessee.

Alfred Turner was convicted of facilitation to commit felony murder in the Emily Fisher trial in January 2007. With parole denied, he will not be up for another hearing until 2013. Fisher's daughter, Rebecca Fisher, said, "I cannot tell you how relieved I am."

William Groseclose was also denied parole. He is serving a life sentence for hiring two men to kill his wife, Deborah Groseclose, in July 1977. She was raped, stabbed, choked, and left to die in the trunk of a car.

Groseclose was originally sentenced to death and had been on Death Row for nearly 20 years, but had his conviction and sentence overturned in 1995. He, like Fisher, will not be up for parole again for six years.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lisa Marie Gets Snarked at Fashion Week

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It's Fashion Week in New York and that means skulking models, star designers, and celebutantes.

New York magazine's fashion blog reports that at the Anna Sui show, the "last-second arrival of the afternoon was awarded to Elvis spawn Lisa Marie Presley, her eclectically dressed husband, daughter Riley Keough, and Riley's tiresome boyfriend Ryan Cabrera. ... Lisa Marie is blonde enough now that at first we thought it might be Jessica Simpson."

Okay, first: Elvis' granddaughter is dating Ashlee Simpson's ex? Ugh. And second, Lisa Marie was mistaken for Jessica Simpson? How much plastic surgery has that woman had?

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Ingram Hill in Wreck

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis-based rock band Ingram Hill had a wreck Sunday en route from a show at the Brick Bar in Oxford, Ohio, to a show at Schuba's in Chicago.

The band lost control of its tour van after a blowout, dodged a semi, and plowed into a ditch somewhere in Indiana. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured and the band was able to get back on tour in support of their recently released album "Cold in California."

The band returns to Memphis to play the Mid-South Fair Saturday, September 29th.

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Starkville, Mississippi, Pardons Johnny Cash

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Johnny Cash spent a night incarcerated in the Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, jail in 1965. That event inspired his song "Starkville City Jail."

In Starkville to perform at Mississippi State University, Cash was picked up for being drunk in public, though the song claims he was only pickin' flowers. He later performed the song for long-term inmates of a correctional facility at his famous concert at San Quentin prison in California.

Robbie Ward circulated a petition among his fellow Starkville residents, and collected 500 signatures endorsing a pardon for Cash. (If your publicity stunt-o-meter is going off, you'll feel vindicated when you learn that Ward is the executive director of the Flower Pickin' Festival, scheduled November 2-4 in Starkville.)

Mississippian, and occasional wearer of black Marty Stuart has agreed to headline the festival.

Read more about the festival.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Plan to Save Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Unveiled

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

U.S. wildlife officials have unveiled a draft recovery plan aimed at preventing the extinction of the Ivory-billed woodpecker. The plan outlines habitat needs and future conservation efforts with a recommended budget of $27 million. The newly ambitious drafted plan was made available for public comments last week.

"Interested citizens, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies and others, will have 60 days to provide comments on the 185-page blueprint put together by one of the most talented recovery teams ever assembled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," the federal agency said.

It is the first recovery plan crafted for this species and comments on the plan will be accepted by the Service until October 22, 2007.

Evidence supporting the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's rediscovery with the presence of at least one bird in the Bayou de View area of Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas was announced in 2004 and 2005.

The woodpecker's rediscovery led to the need to develop a recovery plan. While the woodpecker's existence has not been confirmed since, tantalizing evidence continues to be gathered in Arkansas, Florida's panhandle, South Carolina, and other locations across its historic range.

"The opportunity to recover this icon of the ornithological world cannot and should not be passed over," said Sam Hamilton, regional director for the Service's Southeast Region and leader of the recovery team.

"Given the evidence pointing to its survival, we believe it would be irresponsible not to act. That's why we established this recovery team with some of the nation’s best biologists to help us chart a reasonable, well founded path to save this species." Hamilton explained.

Read more on this story.

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All Aboard!

Posted on Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Two groups known for their obsessive attention to detail -- history buffs and railroad buffs -- can meet at the crossroads at the Memphis Historical Railroad Pages website maintained by Christian Brothers University.

The site has a fine collection of vintage photos and postcards showing old trains, stations, depots, switchyards, and bridges. Old maps help Memphians today trace the routes of this city's best-known lines -- the Frisco, Missouri-Pacific, and others.

There's even a page devoted to "Memphis Railroad Mysteries," but it's not quite as mysterious as one might hope. Mainly it's a group of photos, and viewers are asked to held identify the location.

All in all, though, it's a great resource, and a look back at the days when the best way to travel was by train. Meanwhile, for one of our Flyer reports on the recent state of Amtrak service in Memphis, go here.

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UPDATE: Mary Winkler's Oprah Appearance Scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The now infamous "Preacher Murderer," Mary Winkler, was scheduled to appear on tomorrow's episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, but if the Winkler family has its way, her appearance will be cancelled ...

UPDATE: WMC, Channel 5 has issued a press release stating the Mary Winkler will appear to tomorrow on Oprah at 4 p.m.

Dan and Diane Winkler, the parents of the late Matthew Winkler, filed a petition in Carroll County's Chancery Court to stop Mary's appearance on the popular daytime talk show, citing the event might further hurt the couple's children, who are currently at the center of a custody battle.

To read more about the murder of the Selmer, Tennessee preacher and the bitter battle still playing out, go here.

For more background on the trial, Mary, and case details, see Memphis magazine's October 2006 feature story, "The Great Defender."

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Memphis Woman Starts Solar Power Company

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

After experiencing a number of pricey utility bills, Rose Marie Holsing considered switching to solar power. But the Memphis real estate investor was unable to find a local company to help her make the switch.

So she started one.

The new Burning Daylight Energy Consultants, LLC helps clients using solar power tie into the grid to augment peak power periods, zero-net electric meters, and sell any excess power generated back to Memphis Light, Gas, & Water.

The company is also forming neighborhood co-ops, through which concerned communities can meet and set goals for reducing energy consumption. Once a co-ops forms, Burning Daylight will begin hosting regular meetings to teach neighbors how solar power can help.

"Our goal with each group is to reduce fossil fuel consumption an average of 30 percent by simple, low-cost energy conservation methods," says Holsing.

To learn more, go here.

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Former Tiger Shawne Williams Busted for Pot in Indiana

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Indiana Pacers forward and former University of Memphis star Shawne Williams was arrested today on charges of marijuana possession and driving without a license. Williams, who was driving an SUV, was pulled over for making an illegal lane change.

The police report states Williams was being held at the Marion County Jail on charges of possession of marijuana, driving without a license, driving with an expired license plate, and failure to signal a lane change.

At 12:45 a.m., police pulled over a 2007 black Cadillac with an expired Tennessee license plate after it committed a traffic infraction on Martin Luther King Drive.

Williams was accompanied by two other individuals. One of them, 32-year-old Roderick Helton of Memphis, was carrying a Smith & Wesson 9-mm handgun that had been reported stolen in Collierville. He was also arrested for illegal possession of a handgun.

The third passenger was Roosevelt Rollins, 21, also of Memphis, who was detained on charges of marijuana possession after he admitted that the "blunt" found in the vehicle's ashtray was his. "The guy in the front passenger seat, Mr. Rollins, said the marijuana was his and Mr. Williams denied knowledge of the marijuana even being in his car even though you could obviously smell the odor of burnt marijuana," Sgt. Matthew Mount, a city police spokesman, said.

The 6-foot-9 Williams, was drafted in the first round in 2006. He averaged 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 46 games last season for the Pacers.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Conservative with a Conscience?

Posted on Mon, Sep 10, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The New York Times magazine has the never-before-told story about the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel and his resignation over the so-called "terror memos."

Memphis-born Jack L. Goldsmith was hired in October 2003 to head the division of the Justice Department that advises the president on the limits of executive power, but resigned nine months later "fed up and exhausted."

To read the story, click here.

Goldsmith's book, The Terror Presidency, will be published later this month.

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Memphis Gets Pretty -- Finally!

Posted on Mon, Sep 10, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Local fashionistas have something to cheer about: Super-hip beauty mecca Sephora now has store in Memphis. The news has us wandering down memory lane.

A few years ago, we were working on a section called "Fabulous Finds" for our sister publication Memphis magazine. One day, a PR lady called to tell us about a new fragrance that was sure to set our readers' hearts all aflutter.

We listened to her spiel and, with an eye toward our looming deadlines and the difficulty of finding six truly "fab" things a month, asked her where we could get this wonderful scent.

"Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's, Saks," she replied.

"You know you're calling Memphis, right?"

She paused a moment and said, "It will also be available at Sephora."

"We don't have a Sephora, either," we told her, sadly.

"YOU DON'T HAVE A SEPHORA?!?" she screeched and we heard a clunk, possibly her falling off her chair.

Sephora has finally arrived in Memphis, at the Wolfchase Galleria. We'll never feel ugly again.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Memphis Makes "Beautiful, Haunted Sense" to Visiting Journalist

Posted By on Sun, Sep 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Memphis- It's 3 a.m. in what many call the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, and I'm walking out of a former brothel with two women. I just met them inside. Well, met them six hours ago. It's been a long night.

My new pals, from Tampa, have traveled to this river city to commune with the spirit of Jeff Buckley, an indie-rock icon who drowned in the Mississippi River 10 years ago. The women took a picture of his old shotgun-shack house. In the photo, red eyes glow in a window. It's either Buckley's ghost or a golden retriever; they can't decide.

I've come to Memphis for Elvis Presley and Otis Redding, for whom major anniversaries also are being celebrated. The King died 30 years ago and the town is in full-on hunka-hunka mode. Redding was the heart of Stax Records, the Memphis label that turns 50 this year. Redding died 40 years ago. There's always a major music anniversary here. But 2007 has some doozies.

The women and I have just spent the better part of the night at Earnestine & Hazel's, a brothel-turned-juke joint built in the early 1900s. Some say the bar is haunted by ghosts of bluesmen; they might be right. It is, without a doubt, the perfect place to hold a rock 'n' roll seance.

While we're there, bartender Karen Brownlee dishes about how B.B. King used to hang out upstairs, and just like that, King starts wailing on the bar's jukebox, trusty guitar Lucille cutting through the cigarette smoke. Paranormal investigators visit all the time, says bar owner Russell George. "They're always looking for ghosts," he says, chuckling.

In Earnestine & Hazel's, Memphis makes beautiful, haunted sense.

Read the rest of Sean Daly's story.

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Timberlake and Samberg's "D--k" In A Box Wins Emmy

Posted By on Sun, Sep 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The off-color Saturday Night Live video featuring Justin Timberlake and strategically placed gift boxes was honored at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

"Dick in a Box," last December's fake music video performed by Timberlake and Saturday Night Live cast member Andy Samberg, is about wrapping a part of the male anatomy and presenting it to a loved one as a holiday present.

"I think it's safe to say that when we first set out to make this song, we were all thinking 'Emmy!'" Samberg said in accepting the award Saturday for best original music and lyrics.

"The other thing we were thinking was, 'Hey! Here's this young up and comer, Justin Timberlake, who is clearly very talented and could clearly use a break,'" Samberg said. "So, Justin, if you're out there, congrats to you, kid.'"

The video, which beat out competition that included two songs from a musical edition of Scrubs, became an Internet sensation. It garnered millions of views on YouTube and NBC's website, which posted an un-bleeped version.

The Creative Arts Emmys, which recognize technical and other achievements for the 2006-07 season, will air Sept. 15 on E!, the night before the Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox.

Read more here.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tailgating? Keep an Eye on Your Catalytic Converter.

Posted By on Sat, Sep 8, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The latest crime craze is sweeping Memphis (including twice in the Flyer parking lot in the last week). It's catalytic converter theft and it only takes a thief a minute to render your car useless for driving.

Read the Flyer's news story.

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