Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bianca Knows Best ...

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 2:08 PM

... and Helps an Atheist Deal With His In-Laws.

"Memphis" Heading to The Orpheum

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:08 AM

The touring production of Broadway hit, Memphis, will kick off in, well, Memphis.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memphis' Tax-base Woes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Mary Cashiola has visuals that demonstrate what the city is up against when it comes to its eroding tax base.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rendezvous Founder Charlie Vergos Dies

Posted on Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Charlie Vergos, founder of the Rendezvous, passed away Saturday morning. He was 84. Funeral services have been set for Tuesday.

Read more at Hungry Memphis.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alex Chilton Memorial Tuesday

Posted on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Alex Chilton, the Memphis-bred leader of classic bands the Box Tops and Big Star who died March 17th, was cremated yesterday in his adopted home of New Orleans. Memphians will get their chance to pay tribute Tuesday, March 30th, when a public memorial organized by family and friends will be held at Minglewood Hall.

Read more at Sing All Kinds

Blame It On Crump?

Posted on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM

In the last month or so, three people that I consider well-informed and responsible types have suggested that I look into the fire department, which has 57 stations and accounts for 25 percent of the operating budget.

So what does that have to do with Edward Hull "Boss" Crump who died in 1954? Find out in City Beat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commercial Appeal Makes "Final Offer" to Newspaper Guild Employees

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 2:10 PM

After more than six years without a contract, negotiations between The Commercial Appeal and the Newspaper Guild of Memphis appear to be winding down, according to Guild representatives. On February 19, the CA's bargaining team put what was described as a “final offer” on the table, an offer that doesn't give the Guild the one thing it's fought for for so long. The Guild's now-expired contract -- which has remained in effect due to an evergreen clause -- allows the newspaper to outsource any job from any department, but it also insures that employees can't be outsourced out of a job. CA reporter and Guild president Daniel Connolly says that the company's final offer gives newspaper management the right to fire any employee and outsource any job.    

The CA has outsourced positions in the past. Currently workers in India design some of the ads that appear in the newspaper. “And workers in Memphis end up fixing their mistakes,” Connolly says.    

The Guild has yet to craft a formal response and, according to Connolly, no date has been set for the next contract bargaining meeting. The organization is now considering its options and is working to educate the public about what’s in the final offer and what it might mean for employees -- and the newspaper's readers and advertisers.    

The CA's most recent offer includes immediate employee raises of 4 percent, 3 percent one year later, and 2 percent a year after that. That should be welcome news, considering the number of years Guild employees have gone without a raise.    

“That might seem like good news, especially in a weak economy,” Connolly says. “But the bad news is that the company wants the right to fire everyone and outsource everything. And a 4 percent raise on a salary of zero is zero.”     

The CA has seen numerous layoffs in recent years. Like many over-leveraged American newspaper companies, the newspaper's parent company, E.W. Scripps Co. has been engaged in a steady process of outsourcing and consolidation.

Some of the company's accounting work has been turned over the Indian company Infosys. Connolly says the Scripps chain is also centralizing its copy editing and design operations. “Those jobs are particularly vulnerable to future outsourcing,” he says, noting that those are some of the areas hardest hit by layoffs. It's the Guild's opinion that the outsourcing of these positions hasn’t happened yet because of the current contract.    

In the past, the Guild has become increasingly concerned with the amount of editorial work being done by freelancers. “Every time you see the phrase “special to The Commercial Appeal” in a reporter’s byline, you’re reading work by someone who doesn’t receive health insurance and other benefits from The Commercial Appeal,” Connolly says, adding that that the company’s use of freelancers is currently pushing “the outer limits” of what the contract allows. "Special to The Commercial Appeal” may also indicate that an article has been submitted by a reader or a publicist, not a professional freelance writer. Those contributors are unpaid.

“I personally believe the company has crossed the line,” he says. “We believe that the outsourcing of news work to freelancers would accelerate if the company receives the unlimited right to do it. Staff reporters like me would likely be laid off, lose our health insurance and other benefits, and be told that we could continue as freelancers.    

“On a personal note, I want to add that I have a wonderful job and I have good bosses, and that I want The Commercial Appeal to succeed,” Connolly says. “And there’s a way to make that happen that doesn’t involve mass layoffs and shipping out jobs to other countries and states.”    

In addition to layoffs, in recent years the CA has scaled back its home delivery operations and shrunk the size of its physical product. Company representatives have repeatedly told employees that in spite of decreased ad revenue it continues to be profitable.    

Connolly suggests that those interested finding about what’s happening at The Commercial Appeal should join the Facebook cause “Save Local News and Local Jobs.”

You Kids Get Off My Lawn!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:30 AM

No, Joe Saino's not really that cranky, but he does have some down-to-earth ideas on how the city can cut its spending.

The Fight Over the Old Forest

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Mary Cashiola reports on the ongoing struggle to determine the legal fate of Overton Park's old forest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Former Memphis Redbirds President Named Commissioner

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Former Memphis Redbirds president Dave Chase has been named commissioner of the Prospect League, a summer loop for college baseball prospects. The league is headquartered in Ohio, but Chase will retain his residence in Memphis. This will continue a career in baseball for Chase that began as assistant general manager for the Double-A Savannah Braves in 1978.

In a statement Monday, Prospect League president Bryan Wickline said, “Dave brings years of experience to the league; we are fortunate to have attracted him. The offseason has shown tremendous growth for the league with new franchises in Nashville, Terre Haute, Beckley, and DeKalb. With today’s announcement, we have completed an ambitious offseason.”

In the same statement, Chase said, “Throughout my career, the game has always been number one. I’m eager to get started as we work to make the 15-member Prospect League one of the premier college summer leagues.” The Prospect League season runs from June 3 to August 7.

Chase left the Redbirds after the 2009 championship season, a casualty of AutoZone Park’s management turnover in which Blues City Baseball was replaced by Global Spectrum, out of Philadelphia.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

City Council Makes Fairgrounds Moves

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM

The City Council approved some changes at the Fairgrounds Tuesday. John Branston was there and has a story.

Vehicle Inspection Reform Moves Forward

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Mary Cashiola reports there is progress in resolving Memphis' inspection-line problems.

Bianca Knows Best ...

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 12:50 PM

... and Helps a Crime Victim.

Style Sessions

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Now that Spring has sprung, you should be checking out Mary Cashiola's "Style Sessions," featuring local fashionistas.

Monday, March 22, 2010

NCAA Turns Down Memphis' Appeal

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

How does 0-40 sound to you, Tiger fans? That's now the official won-loss record for the 2007-2008 season. John Branston has details.
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