Friday, October 12, 2007

Ornamental Metal Museum "Repair Days" is This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Have these things ever happened to you? The kids have put a dent in your Nobel Prize trophy. That suit of armor you wear on weekends has a squeaky kink in the elbow joint. Or the special bondage cuffs have snapped a link.

Well, don't just put up with these irritations. Take all your broken gold, silver, brass, bronze, tin -- anything made of metal, really -- to the National Ornamental Metal Museum this weekend, October 12-14, for their annual Repair Days.

Blacksmiths and artisans will look at whatever you've broken, give you a free estimate on the spot, and repair it -- sometimes while you wait, though bigger projects may take a few days. As the museum says, "We repair everything but cats, cars, and broken hearts."

For more information, visit the museum's website.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

C'mon Memphis: Say It Loud, You're Gay and You're Proud

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Come out, come out, wherever you are! Out of the closet, that is. Thursday, October 11th is National Coming Out Day, and gay rights groups and community centers around the country are celebrating with film screenings, music festivals, and rallies.

The Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center is hosting a three-day celebration beginning tonight with a screening of Tell: Coming Out in the Military. On Friday, the center will host an art show with works by Debbie Crawford and music by Kim Richardson and Tracy Rice.

The celebration culminates on Saturday at Crossroads with OUToberfest Music Festival featuring Valerie June, Murlpervis, Madelyn Hatter, Cowboi Mindy, Skinny White Chick, Amy Steinberg, and Chris Pureka.

For more info, go here.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Flyer Writer Saves a Woman's Life -- Sort of

Posted on Tue, Oct 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Former Memphian’s book saves woman's life. Well, sort of.

Paul Gerald recently saved a woman's life with his travel book. And no, she didn't eat it to survive, or burn it to keep warm. The story is actually a bit stranger than that.

Last week, Carolyn Golden visited the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon because she had just read about it in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland, written by Gerald. Hiking across a bridge that morning, she glanced down into the deep gorge and spotted 52-year-old Chris Kimball clinging to a rock. Kimball had tumbled into the river more than 18 hours before, and had pulled herself onto the rock, just 75 feet upstream of a high waterfall. Unable to climb down into the river herself, Golden ran back to her car and called 911, and when rescuers arrived, she used one of the detailed maps in Gerald's book to show them precisely where the injured woman could be found.

Gerald, a graduate of Memphis University School, previously worked in Memphis as a reporter for the Flyer before moving to Portland more than 10 years ago. 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles was published in 2001. Gerald continues to write food and travel columns for the Flyer.

For the whole story, go here.

To read Gerald's Flyer stories, go here.

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Tunica Queen Offers Evening Jazz Cruise

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

If an early fall evening on the Mississippi River floats your boat -- especially one filled with the music of Mercer, Gershwin, Porter, and Ellington -- check out the Tunica Queen's first jazz dinner cruise scheduled for this Thursday, October 11th.

The cruise, which will leave the dock at 7 p.m., features an acclaimed trio of Mid-South musicians, including alto saxophonist Carl Wolfe, pianist Renee Koopman, and bassist Tim Goodman. Vocalist Jane Malton, of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra, will also perform.

Wolfe, a Grammy nominee for his composition "Yesterday I Loved," has played with Doc Severinson's band and has backed the likes of Ray Charles and Nancy Wilson.

The Tunica Queen is a three-deck riverboat that can seat 250 people and operates daily sightseeing cruises and dinner cruises. For more information and to make a reservation for the jazz cruise, call 1-866-805-3535 or visit their website.

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Timberlake Joins Exclusive LA Golf Club

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Big news! Justin Timberlake has managed to land a membership at the exclusive Mountain Gate Country Club in Los Angeles.

The Millingon-bred pop superstar has been accepted as a member of Mountain Gate after biding his time and waiting for a hard-to-come-by vacancy.

The club only allows 895 members to play its 27 holes and the roster is nearly always full, but when officials alerted Timberlake to a vacancy recently, the star didn't hesitate to pay the $50,000 initiation fee, according to In Touch Weekly magazine.

A club source says, "Justin loves golf, and they (Mountain Gate) have the best course. He was so excited to get in." To keep his membership up, Timberlake must now pay $600 a month.

Guess this means he won't be hanging around Overton Park waiting for a tee-time any more. Go to CelebrityHack.com for more analysis of JT's game.

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Oxford American's Music Issue is a Winner

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Around here, we always look forward to the Oxford American's annual Music Issue. And this year, as usual, it's worth the wait.

The free CD with tunes from Dwight Yoakam, Thelonious Monk, Percy Mayfield, Iris DeMent, Fred Neil, and Memphis' own Amy LaVere, and 18 others is worth the issue cover price. But as usual with OA, the writing and photography is also stellar.

It's the perfect read for Southern music junkies. Pick it up at your favorite bookstore or newsstand, or check it out online at the OA website.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

'Call Me, Harold,' Chapter Two: Harold Ford Jr.'s in Love Again

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Is love truly lovelier the second time around, as vintage songwriters Cahn and Van Heusen insisted? Ask former congressman Harold Ford Jr., whose engagement in the 1990s to one Jennifer Baltimore was canceled. But here is a new report from The New York Post's gossip scribe Cindy Adams.:

"GENTS in love brings me to New York businessman Harold Ford, former congressman from Tennessee who is also a maybe senator from Tennessee. He is also, as of Friday, the fiance of fashionista Emily Threlkeld. After their three-year relationship, bachelor Harold was to surprise her in Paris and propose and phone me right afterward at 3 p.m. New York time. He called 7:30."

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Three Arrested in Shooting Death of University of Memphis Football Player

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis Police announced Monday afternoon that three people have been arrested in connection with the September 30th murder of University of Memphis athlete Taylor Bradford. DaeShawn Tate (21), Victor Trezevant (21), and Courtney Washington (22) were charged with murder in perpetration of an attempted robbery. Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin wouldn't release many details due to the ongoing investigation, but he did say police believe the men were trying to rob Bradford at the time of his death.

"They believed he had something they wanted," says Godwin. The police director said the robbery attempt was unsuccessful.

Earlier this week, Tunica County Sheriff Larry Liddell reported that Bradford may have won several thousand dollars at a Tunica casino the weekend of his murder. Memphis Police will not discuss details of the casino trip due to the ongoing investigation.

Though the three men in custody are not U of M students, Godwin says possible future arrests in the case may involve students.

Bianca Phillips

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

'Half-Bakered" Blogger Hollihan to Write for Mediaverse:Memphis

Posted By on Sun, Oct 7, 2007 at 4:00 AM

For Memphis media hounds and fans of good blogging, former CA writer Richard Thompson's Mediaverse:Memphis blog has been a must-read for the past year or so.

Now Thompson has taken a job with MLGW and has conferred "lead writer" status to "Half-Bakered" blog founder and writer Michael Hollihan.

Congrats to both and good luck to Hollihan. He has some big shoes to fill.

Check out Mediaverse here.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

DA Gibbons Announces No Charges in "Nappi By Nature" Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced Friday that the criminal charges against five individuals involved in a May incident with three Memphis police officers outside a south Memphis business (Nappi By Nature) have been dismissed.

Additionally, the District Attorney announced there would be no state charges filed against police officers on the basis of an investigation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation requested by the D.A.

"Simply put, we are dismissing the cases because we do not believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the defendants committed the offenses in question," D.A. Gibbons said.

The TBI's investigation into the actions of the police officers on the scene of the incident is now closed. There will be no state prosecution of any police officers based upon the TBI's investigation," Gibbons added.

In August, Gibbons had asked the TBI to conduct an official investigation into whether three officers, Michael McCord, Billy Gray, and Steven Grigsby, violated any state laws when they arrested the five defendants on May 30 outside Nappi by Nature, located at 1391 Elvis Presley Boulevard. Under Tennessee law, investigations conducted by the TBI are sealed and not public records.

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Memphis NetWorx: Confusion Still Reigns

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Tuesday morning, Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen-Ware offered a resolution (unanimously passed) asking the Tennessee Regulatory Authority not to approve the sale of Memphis Networx, MLGW’s $28-million telecom disaster. The sale is, "premature and not in the public's interest," she said.

On Thursday afternoon, as she solicited votes in front of the Greenlaw Community Center, Ware admitted that she didn't fully understand everything that has transpired regarding Networx' $11.5-million sale to Communication Infrastructure Investments (CII), a heavily financed holding company based in Boulder, Colorado.

"I've never heard of them," Ware said, when asked what she knew about Zayo Bandwith, a Denver/Louisville-based commercial bandwith company founded by a group of telecom executives including CII founders Dan Caruso and John Scarano. Zayo has recently issued a series of press releases touting its recent acquisition of Memphis Networx.

Earlier this summer, Scarano appeared bewildered when councilwoman Carol Chumney asked if his company was willing to discuss forming a partnership with the city of Memphis. After a few one-liners about never having conducted business in public, he allowed that, if Memphis was ready to take on the financial risks of a venture-capital firm, maybe they could talk.

Chumney looked silly, and a portion of the audience -- the middle-aged white guys in suits portion -- chuckled at the blond crusader's naivete. Didn't she know the city had dragged the private investors into the partnership then bailed when Networx needed more dough? Couldn't she understand that business is business no matter who the partners are? And it's not like CII -- a company created to manage risk -- was a commercial bandwith company like the newly minted Zayo.

Ware says she's "offended" that CII refuses to cooperate with the City Council by answering questions pertaining to the management and private ownership of Memphis Networx prior to the company's sale.

Unquestionably, the sale of Networx to CII was a deliberate and successful end-run around the City Council, but the council couldn't enforce transparency even when MLGW was the majority investor in Networx, so it's unlikely to gin up any leverage at this late date. And it's hard to know if Ware's resolution was anything more than political theatrics on an election eve. At best, it's an idea that has arrived years late and millions of dollars short.

Zayo is heavily capitalized, with a quarter-billion in venture capital and the full attention of industry analysts, who are beginning to cite Zayo's immense capitalization as further proof that the great telecom revival has arrived. And Zayo's "we-got-it-come-and-get-it" attitude suggests that attorneys will be unleashed if any roadblocks are thrown up by the council or the TRA. The company's press materials state that while some of the company's fiber acquisitions are still pending regulatory approval, Networx is owned outright by Zayo.

It's a big pill to swallow, but Networx is probably gone. And all suggestions of a public fleecing aside, if there wasn't a question of partial public ownership, the company's sale would have been covered in its entirety in a two-inch column on page three of The Commercial Appeal's business section. It would be over and forgotten by now because, all value judgments aside, in business these things happen every day.

When asked if a bidding process that even MLGW's board of governors described as "flawed" could be considered relative to approving the sale of Memphis Networx, a TRA spokesperson was vague to the point of being unquotable.

And what would happen if Networx' sale to CII/Zayo was somehow reversed? Even in the midst of what appears to be a telecom comeback, its unlikely that the city will find a buyer actually willing to fork out more money for some holding company's sloppy seconds.

And if Memphis decided to go it alone in the telecom biz, ratepayers and/or taxpayers would be called on once again to pony up millions (if not tens of millions) to effectively reboot the entire system and get new and necessary building projects underway.

Two weeks prior to his third-place finish in Memphis' mayoral race, former MLGW president Herman Morris admitted he was too ambitious in his decision to create Memphis Networx as a public/private partnership.

"It's not that it can't work," he said. "But it didn't work here."

Even with a new City Council on the horizon, there's still no reason to believe that it can work here. If Networx executives and private investors have been secretive, our civic leaders have shown a bizarre and counterproductive unwillingness to understand the telecom industry they waded into. Now, like an orphaned baby, they curl up next to the sock monkey of their resolutions, unable to understand that they are alone and adrift, with no easy excuses or answers.

Should the council continue to seek closure and gain a better understanding of what went wrong with Memphis Networx? Absolutely. And an investigation into MLGW might be a good place to start. But its probably delusional to think that reclaiming Memphis Networx would be anything short of disastrous. The only thing dumber than starting the telecom was selling it. Taking it back would be a trifecta of what the insane Captain Queeg called geometric logic.

On Tuesday, City Council attorney Allan Wade pointed out that Networx owes the City nearly $500,000 in unpaid fees. That bill should probably be sent, not to Networx or CII but to Zayo, along with a note asking about leveraging the old debt against a tiny piece of the action.

-- Chris Davis

Read more about Networx.

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Finger, Rooker, Winn Honored by U of M

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the University of Memphis: The University of Memphis Journalism Alumni Club will honor three distinguished alumni at its annual awards banquet Thursday, October 18, at The Racquet Club of Memphis.

Michael Finger, senior editor of the Memphis Flyer and Memphis magazine, and Lynne Rooker, president and part-owner of Chandler Ehrlich Advertising, a public relations and advertising firm, will receive the Charles E. Thornton Outstanding Alumni Award.

Bob Winn, associate athletics director for external affairs at the U of M and the Athletic Department's media spokesperson, will be honored with the Herbert Lee Williams Award.

Finger has spent nearly 20 years at Memphis magazine and the Memphis Flyer, where he helped steer Contemporary Media's sister publications with an acute understanding of what constitutes excellent journalism.

He has written many intriguing articles in both publications and has also penned humorous, tongue-in-cheek articles, columns ("Ask Vance") and opinions under the nom de plume Vance Lauderdale. Finger's work has informed and entertained, and his editing skills have helped his colleagues maintain high journalistic standards.

Finger earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the U of M and a master's degree in English from Louisiana State University. He has received more than a dozen journalism awards, including first place honors from the Memphis Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He was presented the Milton Simon Award as writer of the year from the Memphis Advertising Federation.

Lynne Rooker is one of the owners of Chandler Ehrlich Advertising and recently assumed the reins as president of the Memphis-based marketing and communications firm. She has been a partner with the business since 2002 and was senior vice president and director of client services prior to her recent promotion.

Bob Winn is the U of M's associate athletics director for external affairs and the Athletics Department's media relations representative. He has kept the University's athletics programs in the forefront of Memphis' public eye through his work with local, regional and national media outlets. Winn serves as the administrator for several of the Tiger sports teams, including men’s and women’s golf, and is the department’s liaison with the Memphis Park Commission for use of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The Charles E. Thornton Award is named in honor of the former Memphis journalist who was killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in 1985. The Herbert L. Williams Award is named for the University of Memphis Journalism Department’s founding chairman, who died in February 2004.

Tickets for the banquet, which is open to the public, are $45 each. A cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner following at 7 p.m. Proceeds go to the Journalism Alumni Club’s scholarship fund at the University of Memphis.

Ticket information is available from the U of M Alumni Office at 901-678-3119 or from Paul Jewell at 901-529-2219.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Police Seek Two U of M Students in Taylor Slaying

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the U of M Daily Helmsman's Nevin Batiwalla:

Two University of Memphis students are being sought by police for information in connection with the murder of Taylor Bradford, including one woman who Bradford had filed a restraining order against last year.

It is unclear whether they are being sought as witnesses or suspects.

According to Shelby County court records, Bradford petitioned a judge to issue an order of protection to protect him from Erica Bell, a U of M education major. A temporary order of protection was granted. However, at a hearing on Nov. 28, 2006, the petition was denied.

Bell's address on the court documents was listed as "University of Memphis Complex" and her permanent address as Nashville. In the most recent student directory her address is listed as Antioch, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville. Bradford graduated from Antioch High School where he lettered in three sports.

Police were also seeking Devin Jefferson, a psychology major, for information. On June 25, Jefferson was arrested for second-degree murder, according to Shelby County court records. However, he was released without charge later that day.

There's much more on the story at the Helmsman website.

Memphis College of Art Presents Steve Forbert in Concert

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Friday night at 7:30, the Memphis College of Art will present iconic singer-songwriter Steve Forbert in concert at Callicott Auditorium. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for MCA faculty, and free for students. Call 901-272-5103 for more information or check out the MCA website.

"Memphis" Magazine Probes Emily Fisher Murder

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Emily Fisher's murder in 1995 was among the most brutal and high-profile crimes in this city's history. In its October issue, our sister publication, Memphis magazine, gives readers an inside look at this tragedy and the events leading up to it.

Marilyn Sadler's story, "A Murder in Central Gardens, Part I," takes readers through Fisher's struggle as a parent dealing with a drug-addicted son -- who bragged to the wrong people about his family's wealth. It also covers the 1996 trial of two suspects who were ultimately acquitted.

"Part II," coming in November, explores the rest of the saga, offering more insights into Fisher's son Adrian and his best friend -- and what role they played in covering up the crime. The October issue is on newsstands now, or go to Memphismagazine.com to subscribe.

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