Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cardio Barre Signs Lease for Overton Square

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Cardio Barre fitness class
  • Cardio Barre fitness class

Yet another fitness-related business has signed a lease with Loeb Properties for space in Overton Square.

Loeb Properties announced that Cardio Barre, which offers high-energy, no-impact exercise classes that combine dance-based barre work with light weights, will be moving into a 2,310-square-foot space on the second floor above the old Palm Court.

Cardio Barre is the third fitness-focused business to sign a lease for the Square since Loeb Properties took over management of most of the Square's empty buildings. Others have included Delta Groove Yoga Studio, which is currently up and running, and Breakaway Running, which should move into a downstairs bay soon.

Additionally, Loeb Properties has leased space to restaurant's Bar Louie and Local Gastropub.

Cardio Barre has franchises across the country. The Overton Square Cardio Barre will be run by native Memphian Allison Steward, a dancer and former model for Shape Magazine.

For more on Overton Square's revitalization, check out this week's Flyer cover story.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fourteen Memphis Smoke Shops Shut Down

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Spice (synthetic marijuana)

Wizards, Whatever, the Highland Smoke Shop, and numerous other local smoke shops were shut down as public nuisances this morning, and arrest warrants were issued for employees and owners of multiple shops on various charges relating to the possession and distribution of illegal synthetic drugs, most commonly known as "spice" and "bath salts."

The raids and resulting arrest warrants were part of a nationwide Drug Enforcement Agency crackdown — dubbed "Project Synergy" — on businesses that sell synthetic drugs. The synthetic drugs mimic pot ("spice") and amphetamines ("bath salts").

"The indictments allege an international web of distribution of synthetic drugs," said U.S. Attorney General Edward Stanton.

The two-year investigation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement led to hundreds of purchases and seizures from 34 different stores in West Tennessee, from Memphis to Jackson. The West Tennessee crackdown involved 76 search warrants and 35 arrest warrants. Most of those arrested are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute, and some were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Most face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million for each conspiracy count.

The Shelby County District Attorney's Office handled the nuisance closures. Owners of those businesses must appear in Environmental Court on July 1st.

Before "spice" was made illegal in Tennessee, Flyer reporter Bianca Phillips gave it a try. Read about that experience here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tennessee Shakespeare Company Loses Grant From Germantown

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Tennessee Shakespeare Company performs The Tempest
  • Joey Miller
  • Tennessee Shakespeare Company performs The Tempest

The Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to fully eliminate Tennessee Shakespeare Company's annual grant at their meeting on Monday night.

In early May, the theatre company was told of the possible $70,000 grant elimination and quickly took to the public for support. Letters were sent out and phone calls were made to the Germantown board to emphasize the importance of the theatre company.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company's grant was the only education/arts program funding to be fully eliminated after five successful years. Dan McCleary, founder and artistic director of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, believes the consequences of this decision will be devastating to the communities they have actively served over the years. However, despite the final decision, McCleary said he'd still like to thank the public for their overwhelming support and looks forward to bringing Tennessee Shakespeare Company onto more stages in Memphis.

You can find the the Flyer's previous coverage of this story here.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

SOS Memphis Protests Dropped Charges for Demetria Hogan

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Demetria Hogan
  • Demetria Hogan

Shelter reform group S.O.S. Memphis, which stands for "Save Our Shelter," will hold a demonstration on Sunday, June 23rd at 1 p.m. to protest District Attorney Amy Weirich's decision to drop animal cruelty charges against former shelter employee Demetria Hogan.

Hogan had been charged with cruelty after a couple of incidents in 2011 that resulted in a Cordova family's pit bull Kapone going missing for months after he was picked up and another dog dying in her care.

A Memphis Police Department investigation in 2011 revealed that Hogan failed to perform her duties, abused her authority, and made false entries on official records when she stole a dog from the shelter. She was indicted on charges of cruelty, forgery, and misconduct.

But Weirich dropped the charges because new evidence led her to believe that Hogan would not be convicted. She apparently has some witnesses who say she did deliver Kapone to the shelter rather than losing or kidnapping the dog while out on her route. There is also some evidence that the dog who died in her care may have suffered a heat stroke.

But members of S.O.S. feel like there was plenty of evidence to show that Hogan was negligent in her care of the two dogs. In a release about their planned protest, they had this to say: "It is apparent that Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich and the city are “picking and choosing” what they prosecute and that they do not care about animal cruelty, and it continues to be apparent that Mayor Wharton does not care about animal cruelty or the accountability of his employees."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tim Tebow Coming to FedExForum This Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM


Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow will speak at the 15th annual HeartLight event this Saturday in the FedExForum.

Christian-based, non-profit organization Agape Child & Family Services is presenting the event, which will start at 7 p.m. The organization seeks to raise awareness of and support for homelessness, orphan care and under-resourced communities in the city through the event.

Brian Hoover, developmental director for Agape, said Tebow, who recently signed a contract with the New England Patriots, was chosen to be the featured speaker because of his various philanthropic efforts through his Tim Tebow Foundation.

“He directly connects with our mission around serving children and families,” Hoover said. “He’s going to talk a little about his life journey, what’s he been through and then really rally the city around taking care of children and families in Memphis.”

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will both be in attendance as well.

“We hope [attendees] learn more about us as an organization and decide to get involved with us as a volunteer, mentor [or] teacher,” he said. “We hope they decide to make Agape a part of their philanthropic process.”

In 2011, Hoover said there were nearly 6,000 homeless women in Memphis. He said there are currently around 1,100 orphan children in Shelby County.

Agape has been combating these type of community issues since 1970 through community restoration, homeless services, mentoring, adoption, foster care, maternity services and counseling.

Tickets for the 15th Annual HeartLight event can be purchased at or

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Garage Sale at the Former Sky Grille

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 1:30 PM


If you've been thinking about opening a disco, now is the time.

With the space at 668 Union — most recently home to Sky Grille and Quetzel coffeehouse before that — currently empty, the building's owner is selling some of the furnishings and speakers.

Fred Charron, who ran Quetzel in the spacious Edge District building, will be in Memphis this weekend selling subwoofers, club speakers, amps, LED dance lights, and a variety of furniture.

According to the Quetzel newsletter, which still circulates occasionally, the items are in "great shape but no longer needed." To inquire about buying an item, email Fred Charron here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hollins Out as Grizzlies Coach

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 7:27 PM

After leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the most successful season in team history, Lionel Hollins has been let go by team management. The official Grizzlies press release is below. Chris Herrington will post on the coaching situation on Tuesday.
Lionel Hollins
  • Lionel Hollins



Memphis, Tennessee – The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that the team will not offer Head Coach Lionel Hollins a new contract when it expires on Sunday, June 30 and effectively immediately, he is no longer with the organization.

“After a thorough internal process, which included conversations with Lionel and his representatives, we decided as an organization to move in a different direction,” said Jason Levien, CEO & Managing Partner of the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum.

“On behalf of the Grizzlies organization I would like to thank Lionel for his service and hard work in helping this organization throughout his years in Vancouver and Memphis,” Levien continued. “Lionel, the coaching staff, the players and the organization achieved new heights this season with our run to the Western Conference Finals and for that, we are grateful. The entire Grizzlies family wishes Lionel all the best and great success as he moves forward in his career.”

The 22-year NBA coaching veteran was an original member of the Vancouver franchise and was a staple on the coaching sidelines for 10 of its first 12 seasons (1995-00, 2002-07). Hollins also served as the club’s interim head coach on two separate occasions. Hollins guided Vancouver to an 18-42 finish (.300) in 1999-00, replacing Brian Hill after the team started the season 4-18 (.182), and again took over for four games in 2004-05 following the resignation of Hall of Famer Hubie Brown. Hollins owns an overall career head coaching record of 214-201 (.516), including two stints as Grizzlies interim head coach. In 35 career playoff games, he holds an overall record of 18-17 (.514).

“We have begun to identify our next head coach, who we feel can best move us forward,” Levien further said.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

StoryWalk Project in Overton Park

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 3:55 PM

  • Overton Park Conservancy

If Overton Park could speak, the hundred-plus-year-old park would likely have plenty of stories to tell. But while it's doubtful the park will ever gain the power of speech, a new collaboration is allowing Midtown's largest park to share stories in a different way.

The Overton Park Conservatory has teamed up with the Memphis Eagle Scouts and the Memphis Public Library to add The StoryWalk Project to Overton Park. The idea was pushed by 16-year-old Eagle Scout candidate John Robert Leake, as well Mary Seratt from the Memphis Public Library and Information Center.

This new attraction is located on a scenic quarter-mile trail adjacent to East Parkway. Wooden posts line the route, and each post contains one page from the children’s book Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. In order to finish the story, the readers must follow the trail and read the pages placed on each wooden post until the trail, or story, ends.

The trail was opened to the public in April, and so far it has received positive feedback, particularly on the Overton Park Conservancy's Facebook page. Melissa McMasters, director of communications for the Overton Park Conservatory, as well as one of the main figures behind the project, contributes the success of StoryWalk to the originality of the idea of combining outdoor recreation and literacy as a working partnership.

The StoryWalk Project encourages children not only to exercise but also to read, ultimately killing two birds with one stone. Another reason for the trail’s popularity is because it brings an element of surprise for those simply going for a walk in the park.

“If the parents or children don’t know about the trail, it’s something fun to discover," McMasters said.

The books will be switched out at various times to encourage children to keep reading and allow them to read different books. The new Overton Park trail is the first StoryWalk Project installation in Tennessee, but Serratt said she hopes the project's will allow for more StoryWalk trails to be added in various parks of Memphis.

The StoryWalk Project is just one of several recent additions and changes at Overton Park. Last year saw the opening of the Overton Bark dog park. Currently, additions and renovations are underway to make Overton Park a better and more modern family venue, such as remodeling Rainbow Lake Playground, cleaning up the limestone nature trail, and introducing a new bike trail that will connect Overton Park with the Shelby Farms Greenline.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where’s Wendi: There’s a lot to write about in Memphis. Why is Commercial Appeal columnist Wendi Thomas MIA?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Wendi Thomas
  • Wendi Thomas
Has anybody noticed that Wendi Thomas, the Commercial Appeal’s lightning rod columnist, hasn’t written a column since early May? To borrow from the vernacular of stand-up comedy, "What's up with that?"

Had Thomas’ columns finally become too hot to handle? Did she become a casualty of regime change following the departure of publisher Joe Pepe and editor Chris Peck? Could it be that her critics finally convinced management that she was entirely out-of step with Memphis’ loudest 30%, and an enemy of history, liberty, and free enterprise? Or, has she just been busy doing other things?

Turns out, it’s the latter.

“Rumors of the death of my column have been greatly exaggerated,” says Thomas, who, in addition to her duties as a columnist, signed on to pull one night shift a week at the metro desk back in January. Thomas has since agreed — temporarily— to take on additional editing responsibilities, that have precluded the kind of research and dedication required to create a regular column. She plans to return to her regular writing schedule later this summer.

“I’ll be back at my column and some online only commentary in mid-July, when a temporary editing assignment ends,” she says.

Public officials may wish to take note. The CA doesn’t have a staff cartoonist either. If there was ever a time for epic jackassery, this would be it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Memphis Scores Low on Park Accessibility

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Overton Park
  • Overton Park

Memphis ranked 42 out of 50 in the latest ranking of most park-friendly cities by the Trust for Public Land.

The Trust uses a ParkScore system giving each city from one to five "park benches" based on park size, accessibility, the number of playgrounds, and park investment. Memphis earned one-and-a-half park benches.

Memphis actually scored well in the park size category (in the top 10 out of 50 cities) with a median park size of 10 acres. But the city's score was hurt by a lack of accessibility into city parks. It was determined that only 40 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

“The Trust for Public Land will be working with Memphis’ leaders to find the best way to use the park space they have and to develop a stronger park system,” said Rick Wood, area director in Tennessee for The Trust for Public Land. “Memphis is already working to provide greater park access in places like Fletcher Creek Park. Fletcher Creek currently has only one entrance, but soon it will be accessible from multiple locations and will have a walking trail right beside it.”

Memphis ranked at 31 last year, but the Trust for Public Land only ranked 40 cities last year instead of 50. So the ranking actually didn't change much.

Minneapolis was the only city to score a perfect five park benches this year. New York City came in second, and Boston, Sacramento, and San Francisco tied for third place. Nashville came in at number 38.


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