Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLGW "Water Police" Go Door-to-Door

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM


More than 800 Memphis Light, Gas, & Water (MLGW) customers in five zip codes will get a little schooling on water usage on Friday, April 1st. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., representatives from the utility company will begin visiting homes of people who demonstrated overly-high water consumption in the month of March.

(Disclaimer: There are no actual police involved in this effort. These are just friendly visits by MLGW field reps. "Water Police" certainly grabbed your attention though, right?)

The customers in zip codes 38104, 38108, 38106, 38111, and 38114 showed an average of 39 CCF of water usage during March. The average usage for most MLGW customers is 10 CCF, which is still higher than the national average. MLGW representatives will consult customers with the highest water usage on what factors may be contributing to their use.

For comparison, 39 CCF is the equivalent of drinking 234,000 16-ounce water bottles or flushing a 15-year-old toilet 7,293 times during the month. Part of the problem for the zip codes in question may be attributed to plumbing fixture leaks, fixtures that pre-date the 1990 low-flow toilet, facet, and shower regulations, or heavy laundry or showering habits.

Field service representatives will be wearing a uniform and badge. They'll also be going door-to-door on April 21st.

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Douglass High School Goes Green

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM


On Tuesday, March 29th, Douglass High School was officially granted partner status in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's TP3 Green School program.

The TP3 program promotes environmental education of students and staff through hands-on projects in clean air, energy conservation, hazardous materials, education, land and water conservation, and waste reduction.

Douglass has been working toward this goal for some time. Many students are involved in the school's Recycling Club and the Watt Busters Club, which encourages kids to practice energy efficiency at home and school. Douglass saved more than $7,000 on its energy bill after a year-long effort to unplug idle computers and other electrical equipment. In 2010, Douglass students launched the Eleanor Roosevelt Green Garden in the vacant lot across from campus.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Memphis Police "Crime of the Week"

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM


Every week, the Memphis Police Department alerts the media of a major unsolved crime that requires assistance from the public to solve. People are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH, submit an online tip here, or text tips by sending "AWARD" to 274637. If the tip leads to an arrest, the tipster may be eligible to receive up to $1,000.

On Thursday, December 16th at 9:54 p.m., Airways Station officers responded to a shooting on East Person in South Memphis. They found 26-year-old Jerome Brent lying in the street, suffering from muliple gunshot wounds. Brent was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. His case remains unsolved, and the MPD is turning to the public for help.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

YWCA Links With Wendi Thomas' Common Ground Group

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM


The YWCA of Greater Memphis announced a merger with Commercial Appeal columnist Wendi Thomas' Common Ground race relations group.

"Common Ground: Conversations on Race, Communities in Action" was founded in 2008 by Thomas to bring together diverse Memphis residents for discussion on how to bridge the city's racial divide. More than 1,500 Memphis residents have participated in Common Ground over the last three years. After the merger, Common Ground will become part of the YWCA's existing Racial Justice program.

Common Ground meetings occur every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kingsbury High School through April 26th.

Tags: , ,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Third Bridge Public Meetings Announced

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 1:14 PM


Last year, a national report predicted overall freight demand will double over the next 40 years, from 15 billion tons today to 30 billion tons by 2050.

How do Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi plan to deal with the projected Interstate traffic increase? They want to build a third bridge over the Mississippi River. The bridge's exact location has yet to be determined, but it would either lead from Memphis into eastern Arkansas (like the other two bridges) or from North Mississippi into Arkansas.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation are jointly hosting a series of public meetings to discuss what's being dubbed as the "Southern Gateway" project.

The first meeting was held March 21st at the NSA Mid-South Conference Center in Millington (5722 Integrity Dr.). Other meetings locations include Impact Baptist Church (3759 N. Watkins) tonight (March 22nd); M.R. Dye Public Library (2885 Goodman Rd., Horn Lake) on March 28th; Eugene Woods Civic Center (212 W. Polk Ave.) on March 29th; the MATA board room (545 S. Main) on April 4th; and Bishop Byrne High School (1475 E. Shelby Dr.) on April 5th.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ARV Issue Bumped Again

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Quick note for anyone who's been following Memphis Fire Services' alternative response vehicles (ARV) saga: It won't be discussed again until April 15.

The issue was supposed to be revisited during today's Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee meeting at City Hall but the committee didn't meet.

The group's chair, city councilman Jim Strickland, said through an aide that the item was tabled because Memphis Fire Association members had to go out of town. (They're in Nashville protesting recent anti-union legislation.)

As last week's Flyer cover story noted, the ARV issue first came up on Jan. 4th. The fire department wants to buy eight of the vehicles, which handle medical emergencies, to save fuel and other costs, but union members have raised safety and job concerns.

They insist full-fledged fire trucks are the answer most of the Bluff City's emergencies. Fire administrators, however, contend that about 75 percent of the department's cases are medical calls and not fires.

Stay tuned for the next installment in what has become the quintessential ongoing issue.

Smith & Nephew Sues Fired Engineers for Breach of Contract, Other Alleged Offenses

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 2:43 PM

By Lindsay Jones

Orthopedics giant Smith & Nephew is suing nine former employees for $56 million or more over breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, civil conspiracy, and other allegations related to a knee replacement instrument. The company also has filed a temporary restraining order against them.

In its 29-page complaint, S&N accuses David T. Mehl, Luke Gibson, Megan Rumery, Andrew J. Wald, Ashley M. Deken, Carey L. Bryant, Kaleigh Ross, Patrick Conway, and Bonnie Walker of trying to use their insider knowledge to form their own entity. All nine were fired last week.

“The recently uncovered conspiracy involves several engineers, their managers, the department supervisor, and a director who committed overt acts with the collective intent to use S&N’s trade secrets and confidential information to start a competing business and intentionally and maliciously interfere with and disrupt S&N’s ongoing business,” according to the court documents.

Most of the defendants are Memphians and two have Mississippi addresses. Attempts to reach them were unsuccessful, and an attorney for Smith & Nephew referred all inquiries to the company, which issued a statement.

“Smith & Nephew takes intellectual property rights seriously and always seeks to protect it for the benefit of our patients and customers,” the statement reads.

At issue in the case is Smith & Nephew’s patient matched instrumentation program for knee replacement surgeries. Marketed under the name Visionaire, it allows surgeons to fit knee replacements more accurately using a customized molded guide, or template, that shows them how much bone to remove.

This increases surgical efficiency and shortens the amount of time patients are under anesthesia. Smith & Nephew engineers customize the guides based on preoperative images of patients’ bones.

Smith & Nephew contends that Mehl and his colleagues, who were in charge of working on patient cases at the company’s Brooks Road facility, felt it was trying to gain their knowledge and eliminate their jobs.

“Mehl stated that S&N wanted to keep the Visionaire group as a case processing group, learn what the group knew, and then outsource all of the Visionaire processing, essentially leaving the group without a purpose,” court documents say.

To circumvent this, Mehl and the others planned a “mass resignation” to start their own business using the technology they helped develop and improve since around 2008. Their idea was to act as consultants for Smith & Nephew at first and later sell the bootleg technology to the London-based company's competitors.

“We can now communicate in ways other than whispering or texting,” says an e-mail from Walker dated March 8.

The e-mail goes on to request that recipients update their resumes and create resignation letters so they could follow through on their plans to leave the company.

Andrew Burns, S&N's media relations manager in Memphis, said he could not disclose how much revenue Visionaire generated since it began being marketed in 2009. But the court documents say harm from the proprietary information getting out would be “immediate and irreparable.”

It’s also not clear how quickly patient cases are being fulfilled with nine team members off the job. The average product development engineer is expected to work about five cases a day, according to the court documents.

“Despite [the former employees’] attempts, there has been no disruption in service to our physician customers or the patients they serve,” the company statement says.

Smith & Nephew recently made news when rumors spread of its possible acquisition by an American equity consortium, and when it made known its intention to create 100 new jobs in Memphis during the first quarter.

Smith & Nephew already employs more than 2,000 people in Memphis.

Strip Club Meeting in Cordova

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM


When the compound-esque building at 7955 Fischer Steel Road in Cordova was erected in early 2009, neighborhood leaders warned Cordovans that building owner Steve Cooper was possibly planning to open a strip club in the space.

But concerned residents backed off when Cooper, who also owns the Gold Club, opened Stella Marris as a steak and seafood joint rather than a strip joint. Stella Marris operated as such until earlier this year when Cooper closed the restaurant. In February, Cooper applied for a compensated dance permit from the city, but his efforts were halted when the Memphis City Council imposed a 60-day moratorium on issuing such permits.

Tonight (March 15th), the Cordova Leadership Council — the same group who held anti-strip club meetings in 2009 — is hosting a community forum to inform residents about what a compensated dance permit would allow Cooper to do at Stella Marris. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Advent Presbyterian Church at 1875 North Germantown Parkway.

Tags: , ,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Memphis Police "Crime of the Week"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM


Every week, the Memphis Police Department alerts the media of a major unsolved crime that requires assistance from the public to solve. People are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH, submit an online tip here, or text tips by sending "AWARD" to 274637. If the tip leads to an arrest, the tipster may be eligible to receive up to $1,000.

The Memphis Police are seeking a suspect in the murder of 60-year-old Adam Clayton. Clayton's body was discovered around 8:20 p.m. on Saturday, March 5th wrapped in a blanket near the area of Plant and Boxtown Roads near T.O. Fuller State Park. Clayton had a wound on his head. Police were alerted to come to the area through a 911 call. The MPD's Homicide Unit is seeking tips on a possible suspect.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tourist Rapist Pleads Guilty

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Stanley Pearson, 26, recently pleaded guilty to aggravated rape stemming from an assault on a downtown Memphis tourist in October 2009, announced the Shelby County District Attorney's office Tuesday morning.

A grand jury returned the indictment on Pearson on March 3rd, and Pearson agreed to an 18-year sentence. Pearson is required to serve all 18 years of his sentence.

On October 3, 2009, Pearson encountered a British female tourist at the corner of Second and Vance downtown. He offered to help the woman find the nearest library, but instead led her to a vacant building at Second and Butler. That's when Pearson forcibly raped and robbed the woman.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bike Lane Buy-In Rescheduled

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Only a handful of diehard cyclists braved the rain and cold weather this past Saturday for the Madison Avenue Bike Lane Buy-In ride. So organizers have rescheduled the event for Saturday, March 12th at noon. As of Monday, the forecast for Saturday is sunny with a high of 66 degrees.

For more on the event, check out our last post below or the event's Facebook page.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bike Lane Buy-In Ride This Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Madison Avenue is scheduled for re-paving this spring, and the city of Memphis is considering adding bike lanes in both directions at that time. Adding bike lanes would mean taking away two lanes of car traffic, and some Madison business owners are worried that such a move would result in a loss of business.

Bike-friendly businesses will receive these stickers.
  • Bike-friendly businesses will receive these stickers.

However, plenty of bike-friendly businesses fully support the addition of bike lanes along Madison. On Saturday, cycling advocates will take to the streets to show their support for bike lanes and pass out "bike-friendly business" window stickers to supportive companies.

The ride begins at noon, leaving from Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop at First Congo Church (1000 S. Cooper) with a plan to arrive at bike-friendly Boscos Squared by 12:45 p.m. Next, the group will ride down Madison to Fino's on the Hill, another supportive business, by 1:30 p.m. From there, riders will make stops at bike-friendly businesses along Madison to pass out window stickers.

So far, over 200 people have signed up to ride on Facebook.

For more on the Madison bike lane issue, check out this story that ran in the Flyer a couple weeks back. For more on the Bike Lane Buy-In event, check out the Facebook page.

Here's a list of bike-friendly business along Madison scheduled to receive stickers:

Bosco's (2120 Madison)

Fino's from the Hill (1853 Madison)

Fuel Cafe (1761 Madison)

Garden Path Studios (587 Madison)

Hi Gorgeous! Salon (1475 Madison)

Madison Pharmacy (1750 Madison)

Maggie's Pharm (13 Florence)

Memphis Center for Independent Living (1633 Madison)

Memphis Pizza Cafe (2087 Madison)

No Regrets (1928 Madison)

P&H Cafe (1532 Madison)

Pho Hoa Binh (1615 Madison)

The Salon (1867 Madison Ave)

Sekisui Midtown (Belvedere at Madison)

Shangri-La Records (1916 Madison)

Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison)

Tucker's Pizza Wings & Subs (1607 Madison)

Tags: ,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

City Launches Employee Suggestion Program

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Got a suggestion to save the city money or increase revenue? If you happen to be a city of Memphis employee, you could win a cash prize for offering your advice to Mayor A C Wharton's office.


The city launched its new Employee Suggestion program on Wednesday morning. The program allows city employees an opportunity to share their ideas on how city operations could run more smoothly, improve safety, or save taxpayer dollars. If a suggestion is implemented, the responsible employee could win cash awards ranging from $250 to $1,000.

City councilman Kemp Conrad sponsored a council resolution for the program, and it was approved by the full council earlier this year.

“The best ideas to improve city government live with the people closest to the work being done,” Conrad said. “I hope this plan inspires employees and provides them with meaningful rewards for making creative suggestions.”

The program only applies to full-time or temporary city employees. Elected officials, division directors, and deputy division directors are not eligible.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Overton Square Plans Unveiled

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 6:52 PM

There's still no word on which major grocery store chain will construct a 53,000-foot facility along Cooper Avenue in Overton Square.

Bob Loeb, president of Loeb Properties, told the crowd gathered in the standing-room-only public meeting at Memphis Heritage Tuesday night that the city must first commit to building a two-level parking garage in part of the massive parking lot between Cooper and Florence.


Once the city commits, Loeb believes the mysterious grocery will follow suit. Loeb said he needs a commitment from the city by June 30th. He estimates the parking structure will cost $5 million, and it also includes a detention basin to curtail problems with the flooding of Lick Creek. The parking structure would accommodate patrons of all businesses in the area.

Most of Tuesday's public meeting focused on the new design of Overton Square. The proposed grocery store would be pulled up to Cooper Avenue, a decision that falls in line with the recently-passed Midtown Overlay plan. It would most likely feature window displays along Cooper with an entrance facing Trimble.

The plan preserves all of the buildings on the south side of Madison, with the exception of the Palm Court building that once housed an ice skating rink. Loeb said they hope to fill those buildings with restaurants and retailers.

"We want this to be a neighborhood place that's family-friendly," Loeb said. "It'd be good if we had some [businesses with] live music, but we're not trying to compete with Beale Street."

The plan also accounts for streetscape improvements and preservation of the curving alley between buildings. The cut-out area at the intersection where cars make right-hand turns from Madison onto Cooper would be reclaimed to make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

The design, prepared by architectural firm Looney Ricks Kiss, is in stark contrast from the plan proposed last year by Sooner Investments, which called for tearing down the old buildings on the south side of Madison to make way for a grocery store. Memphis Heritage and Midtowners organized against that plan, and Sooner backed out. Memphis Heritage president June West said she's happy with the new Loeb Properties plan.

"We can't tell you how supportive we are of this project," said June West during the meeting.

A man in the audience mumbled: "I've never heard her say, 'supportive.'"

Loeb said the next step will likely be meeting with the Memphis City Council on the future of the proposed garage.

Tags: , ,

Fire Department's Vehicle Request Saga Drags On

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM

By Lindsay Jones

Technical jargon and a mind-numbing array of numbers flustered city council members Tuesday morning, again delaying Memphis Fire Service’s two-month-old request to buy eight alternative response vehicles (ARVs).

At a Memphis City Council committee meeting Tuesday, Robert Kramer, a spokesman for International Firefighters Association Local 1784, presented a counterproposal that would require a $4 million budget allocation to buy eight ladder-less fire trucks instead of $500,000 for the ARVs.

While he acknowledged the much greater front-end cost, Kramer said his counterproposal could save the city millions in maintenance and other expenses over time. He said the city could save about $2.4 million to $3.4 million during every eight years of the trucks’ service, or $7.2 million to $11 million over 15 years.

Under the department’s current model, it forecasts spending $700,000 in maintenance when trucks reach a certain age, usually from 15 to 32 years. Then another truck is bought for about $800,000.

“Why commit $700,000 in maintenance over a 15- or 16-year time frame when you could just buy another [truck]?” he said.

However, fire department director Alvin Benson was far from convinced and said he couldn’t support the counterproposal from an EMS perspective. About 75 to 80 percent of the fire department’s calls involve injuries, not fires.

“It’s totally flawed, what they’re presenting here, and I think we should go with my original plan,” Benson said.

When city councilman Bill Boyd asked Jim Strickland, chair of the council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, if he still had any reservations about approving the fire department’s $500,000 purchase request, Strickland responded in the affirmative.

“I don’t know if I understand it enough to have a question,” Strickland answered.

The item, which went to the full council two weeks ago but was punted back to committee, will be considered again in committee on March 15th. It first came up at a committee session on January 4th.

Meanwhile, Benson remained as tactful as he could muster Tuesday morning, although his usually pleasant demeanor showed a few cracks here and there.

“This has drug on for a long time,” Benson told the council. “The longer we postpone this, the longer it takes to get any solution.”

The two main sticking points since the department first raised its proposal have revolved around money and safety.

Benson’s position, which he reiterated Tuesday, is that buying the smaller, more maneuverable ARVs would save on fuel, maintenance, and other costs.

The union’s position, on the other hand, is that putting 100-foot aerial trucks, or trucks with ladders, out of service in favor of first responses to EMS calls, creates a danger because it limits what firefighters can do during emergencies.

Kramer and others’ arguments from day one has been that trucks can respond to a greater variety of emergencies than ambulances, and any cost savings might not be worth the risk of deaths or injuries to firefighters or the public. Although the eight trucks he proposed Tuesday would not be equipped with ladders, they would have everything else a normal truck would have. That would leave 19 ladder trucks in the fire department’s fleet.

However, with the city budget facing a $70 million shortfall, Benson said there’s no guarantee any money will be available for trucks. And he remains certain that having ARVs instead of trucks will not pose a danger to anyone.

“I would never have brought this to the table if I thought it would jeopardize firefighters and their families, period,” Benson said.

He added: “We don’t have $4 million to invest in a project like this.”

Benson also reminded the council that San Antonio does fine with its 16 ARVs, so why can’t Memphis chug along with eight?

“I think there’s fear of job cuts with the [union] and that drives their position on this,” Benson said after the meeting.


Most Commented On

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation