Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Here's an Idea: An Online Land Bank

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The city of Indianapolis is taking a lesson from eBay.

The city recently started an online land bank for vacant property and abandoned homes. The site includes a list of available properties, as well as photos and an estimate of the home's value.

The land bank is part of a plan to get residents back into Indianapolis' roughly 8,000 vacant homes and stop crime.

To read more, visit In The Bluff.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Experience Rebirth This Weekend in Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Some folks claim they've been re-born after finding religion. But you don't need a higher power to revive your spirit this weekend. Just check out one of these activities for a resurgence of self.

The Boyz II Men concert at Harlow's Casino in Greenville, Mississippi, will surely revive youthful energy as you're whisked back to the 1990s, when the economy was in good shape, Bill Clinton was in charge, and parachute pants were really cool. The show starts at 8 p.m. tonight.

Soul gets born again at the Rebirth of Soul Concert tomorrow night at The New Daisy. The event features Will Graves, Karen Brown, Shawna P, and Cassie Bonner in a tribute to the ultimate soul master Stevie Wonder. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Give your spirit a lift at The Cotton Club's swing revival at the Cotton Museum Saturday night. The Memphis Knights will perform big band tunes at 7 p.m. and the folks from Red Hot Lindy Hop will provide free swing dancing lessons.

The Memphis Roller Derby will get your blood pumping in their high-energy bout with Birmingham's Tragic City Rollers. Cheer on the home team at the Mid-South Fairgrounds Youth Building on Saturday night. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Wake up your taste buds and your green side at the monthly Taste of the Garden cooking demo at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Local chefs demonstrate how to use locally-grown summer squash to create a tantalizing entree. The demo begins at 10 a.m.

For more weekend ideas, check out the Flyer's searchable online calendar.

--Bianca Phillips

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tinker's Challenge: Can She Pass the Debate Test?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The detractors of 9th District congressional candidate Nikki Tinker say she's nothing but a corporate shill and a pretty face, hiding behind surrogate mudslingers in her race against incumbent congressman Steve Cohen. Can she disprove all that in this weekend's televised debate with Cohen?

See Jackson Baker's take in "Viewpoint" here.

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Hattiloo Theatre to Host Saturday "Block Party"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The innovative Hattiloo Theatre is holding a block party from 4-7 p.m. in its parking lot at 656 Madison this Saturday. Free entertainment will include James Robinson, Carmen, Will Graves, Valerie June, Stephanie Bolton, and Tonya Dyson.

The event will celebrate and kick-off Hattiloo's third season. Plays this year will include, Mahalia, Annie, From the Mississippi Delta, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, and The Colored Museum, among others.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sustainable Shelby Presents Agenda

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Shelby County mayor A C Wharton said that when he was first elected, it became clear to him that we were "creating disposable neighborhoods."

That realization eventually led to his Sustainable Shelby initiative, which included yesterday's call to action at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

"A few years ago, people thought they looked stupid if they rode a bicycle," Wharton said of Germany, a country he just visited and where a gallon of gas costs $8. "Now the only people who look stupid are those driving to work alone in their car."

From the Sustainable Shelby report -- recommendations put together by seven committees and rated by both committee members and a survey of the general public -- Wharton said he drew several conclusions: that there is a strong sentiment for revitalizing existing neighborhoods, that people care about the public realm and want to have parks, streets, and plazas that are special, that people want to protect the natural environment, that they want walkable neighborhoods, and they want the local government to stop talking about sustainability and start leading the charge.

"While there are noble and idealistic reasons for sustainability, in the end, it is in our own enlightened self-interest," Wharton said.

To read more, visit In the Bluff.

Only Walls Remain at Anderton's East

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Like shucking an oyster, wrecking crews with Chandler Demolition have pretty much scraped away the interior of the old Anderton's East restaurant at 1901 Madison. Crye-Leike Realtors, which owns the property, have announced they may convert the building into retail space or use it for their own Midtown offices.

The restaurant closed in late 2005, and the roof collapsed during a storm in February. The demolition crews have preserved the elaborate terra-cotta facade -- at least for now -- with rows of steels beams bolted to the walls and attached to the concrete foundation inside.

For almost half a century, Anderton's was one of our city's most popular restaurants.

In the late 1940s, Herbert Anderton opened an oyster bar downtown at 151 Madison that was a huge success. In fact, when the place celebrated its tenth anniversary, Anderson had his employees bake a 400-pound birthday cake and serve it to all his satisfied customers. In that first decade, he claimed he had served more than six million oysters, and who would argue? The man loved oysters so much that he built a house on East Parkway with an oyster-shaped swimming pool.

In 1956, he decided to expand, purchasing the old Gilmore Seafood Restaurant at 1901 Madison and renaming it Anderton's East. An old Press-Scimitar story said the new establishment had "an air of quiet elegance" but that's not how most people would probably describe it. Instead, patrons remember the bizarre pirate-ship bar (complete with cannons), organic pink ceiling "blobs" that floated over diners in the main dining room, a blue glass panel etched with sea creatures, and -- for a while -- even a waterfall outside the front door. Oh, and all this inside a bright-blue/green terra-cotta facade.

It seemed like it might last forever, but all the Anderton's restaurants (there was a third one in Whitehaven) closed. When the Madison location shut its doors in 2005, everyone thought they had seen the last of the most unusual restaurant interiors in town.

But much of Anderton's funky interior has been moved across town, to a new bar on Broad called The Cove. Owner Jim Marshall had spent most of his life in the design business when he decided he wanted to open a bar. He found the location on Broad, and then went to an auction of Anderton’s furnishings. "I had no intention of buying anything," he told Memphis magazine a few months ago. "I just popped in out of curiosity."

Well, he popped back out as the owner of Anderton's distinctive bar, as well as lighting fixtures, murals, and other pieces of the old place. He moved everything to The Cove, and says, "When I got the bar in, it looked as though it had been made for this place."

And yes, they serve plenty of oysters there.

Meanwhile, the Anderton's site has been declared a "derelict and dangerous building" by the city's Division of Fire Services. Will the Madison Avenue landmark remain standing much longer? Stay tuned.

-- Michael Finger

Monday, July 7, 2008

England's "Black Cabs" to Advertise Mississippi Tourism

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From the state of Mississippi: Tourism partners and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the Tourism Division of the Mississippi Development Authority have recently launched a one month promotional campaign involving the famous black cabs of London, England. The campaign consists of 120 taxis, with 90 in London and 15 each in Manchester and Glasgow.

Each taxi carries seat panels in the taxi which display various images of Mississippi along with the web address.

Craig Ray, director Tourism Development, Mississippi Development Authority said, "We are excited about this different approach to traditional advertising and promotion. This is literally a moving billboard that constantly is delivering a message to a huge international audience."

International visitors from the United Kingdom constitute the third largest number of travelers to Mississippi. United Kingdom visitors represent 15.8 percent of the top 10 registrants at Mississippi's highway Welcome Centers.

"We anticipate a significant increase in our international visitors. The weakness of the dollar presents a great value for them. Their vacations usually consist of several weeks. We know they have visited the major metropolitan cities and when they return to the United States they are looking for the authentic Southern experience, Mississippi offers just that," added Ray.

Katrina Funds Misused in Mississippi

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From CNN.com: Prisons in Mississippi got coffee makers, pillowcases and dinnerware -- all intended for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The state's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks took more coffee makers, cleaning supplies and other items.

Plastic containers ended up with the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.

Colleges, volunteer fire departments and other agencies received even more.

But the Mississippi hurricane victims who originally were intended to receive the supplies got nothing ...

Read the scandalous details at CNN.com.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy $th of July. The Flyer Sells Out!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 4:00 AM

It's the Fourth of July, so why are you vegging out on the Internet? Shouldn't you be playing frisbee or eating a hot dog? Or shopping?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Celebrate Independence This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Barack Obama doesn't have to wear a flag pin on his lapel to show his patriotism. And neither do you. In fact, we hope you're not even wearing a lapel tomorrow because it's a freakin' holiday. So trade that suit for flips-flops and cut-off shorts, and get to one of these local Fourth of July celebrations.

Every year, boozing, obnoxious Memphians and reserved, sober families come together in Tom Lee Park for downtown's Star Spangled Celebration. It may be the only time the two factions can come together in harmony, so head downtown Friday at 3 p.m. for the phenomenal fireworks show over the Mississippi River. The event will also feature music by C-Note, The Soul Shockers, and Tom, Dick, and & Harry.

Before heading to the festival, join the Sierra Club for their annual Fourth of July Picnic. They'll be grilling out in Overton Park, but the party is potluck, so bring a pack of hot dogs or wow the crowd your family recipe potato salad. The picnic lasts from 1 to 6 p.m. on Friday.

If downtown is out of your way, save gas and hit up one of the celebrations on the eastern edge the county. The Cordova Fourth of July Parade kicks off at the Cordova Community Center at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and Germantown's Family Fourth Celebration begins at 5 p.m. at the Germantown Municipal Center,

For more Fourth of July fun, check out the Flyer's searchable online calendar.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Council Mulls Charter Changes

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 4:00 AM

During its executive session today, the City Council discussed putting two charter changes on the November 4th ballot.

The first would give the council approval over mayoral appointments to deputy director positions. The second would give the council approval of all contracts over $100,000 or spanning more than 24 months. Both were presented by longtime council member Barbara Swearengen Ware.

"There has been discussion back and forth whether or not the council should approve deputy directors the same way it does directors," Ware said. "Because there will be significant changes made to the charter, I thought that this would be an ideal time to add this item."

The administration is not in favor of the change and said the council was attempting to manage the day-to-day workings of the city.

"Since there's no problem, we don't think [the change] is necessary," said CAO Keith McGee.

The average salary of a division deputy director is about $100,000. McGee said that the people directly under the deputy directors often make around $100,000, as well.

After Mayor Willie Herenton began his last term, he appointed former bodyguards and a former City Council member to deputy directorships, but Ware said her proposal wasn't in response to any specific issue.

"I don't think everything should be reactive," Ware said.

The administration was also not in favor of the contract oversight proposal.

To read more, visit In the Bluff.

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