Friday, October 31, 2008

Fullilove Formally Charged

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From the D.A.'s office: Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced Friday that the D.A.'s Office approved charging Memphis City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove-Chalmers for allegedly submitting false information to receive a duplicate Tennessee driver license.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol on October 28 filed the charges of offense for a person to issue, sell or cause to be sold a driver license (TCA 55-50-602) and possessing a duplicate driver license not authorized by this chapter (TCA 55-60-601[7]) against Fullilove.

The charges are class A misdemeanors. Fullilove turned herself in for booking Thursday and has been released on $100 bond. An arraignment date has not been set.

Under Tennessee law, a driver's license must be lost or destroyed before a duplicate can be issued. According to the affidavit of complaint, when Fullilove applied for a duplicate license she stated to the driver license examiner that "she had lost her license." The affidavit goes on to say, "she did not explain that on March 21, 2008 her license had been seized by (a) DeSoto County Deputy…under the Mississippi Implied Consent Law."

"The Tennessee Highway Patrol worked closely with us as it conducted its investigation. Based on the investigation, we believe these are the proper charges," District Attorney Gibbons said.

"The most important thing is that Ms. Fullilove gets effective treatment for any underlying problems she may have. We are certainly going to take that into account in how we handle this case," Gibbons added.

Divine Mafa Moves On

Posted on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:00 AM

South Main's Divine Rags plans to move to a new location in Saddle Creek early next week. They'll be taking over the former Sharper Image space.

Owner Divine Mafa plans to keep renting the South Main space (COGIC owns the building), but may open a lounge there instead.

"We need to make sure businesses stay alive and the community stays alive," he says of the South Main area. "It cannot be a ghost town."

To read more, visit the In the Bluff blog.

Mafa participated in the Flyer's Bright Ideas issue this year. To read what he had to say, click here.

A Japanese Garden in Downtown Memphis?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Most Memphians know about the lovely Japanese Garden in Audubon Park, and the arched red bridge there may be one of the most photographed attractions in Memphis (especially popular with yearbook photographers). Those of us of a certain age may remember the older Japanese Garden in Overton Park, a lavish construction that was destroyed because of anti-Japanese sentiment following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor ...

Vance Lauderdale writes about yet another Japanese garden in Memphis at his blog.

Get Your Ghoul On This Weekend

Posted on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Several years ago, a Flyer reporter (who shall remain nameless) got all dressed up for a Halloween party, and when that party got canceled, she and a friend sat at home and sulked about being all dressed up with nowhere to go. At one point, they got so bored that they walked outside and posed, in costume, on Madison Avenue for the passing cars. That was the highlight of the evening. Lame, yes. But it's a true story.

Don't let that happen to you. With all the parties, haunted houses, and spooky weekend events going on this weekend, there’s really no excuse. Kick off the night by taking the little ones trick-or-treating on Mud Island. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the island will feature a haunted river walk, hayrides, and a kid's costume contest.

Ditch the kids and head to the Memphis Zoo for the Black Cat Bash, an adults-only costume party with live music, wine, and a beer bar. The party begins at 7:30 p.m.

For something completely different, check out the Memphis Belles Halloween Burlesque Show. The belles will be performing, along with fire performers, El Dorado and the Ruckus, Jason and the Punknecks, and Snake Eyes. The show begins at 9 p.m.

History buffs should head over to Elmwood Cemetery for their annual Halloween flashlight tour. Costumed docents will recount the stories of folks buried in the city's oldest cemetery. The tour begins at 10 p.m.

The festivities continue throughout the weekend thanks to All Saint's Day on November 1st and All Soul's Day on November 2nd. On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the "Night at the Village" All Saints Day Celebration begins at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral with a choral evensong. Then the group will march in a bagpipe procession to the Woodruff-Fontaine House in Victorian Village. There guests will watch a mock funeral and dine on Irish stew and beer.

On Sunday, the celebrations take a more serious tone with the "Requiem Eucharist: Remember the Victims" performance by the Memphis Boychoir at St. John's Episcopal Church at 5:30 p.m. The choir will honor those who have lost their lives to senseless violence over the past year.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amnesty International Convention Plans Giant MLK Salute in Tom Lee Park

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Amnesty International will hold its Southern Regional Conference in Memphis Oct. 31-Nov. 2, and plans a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Tom Lee Park. The MLK salute will consist of a giant human mosaic depicting King, which will be photographed from an airplane. Amnesty International hopes to get 2,000 participants to help create the artwork.

AI Southern region field organizer Aadiyah Ali says the group is concentrating its efforts on several fronts: abolishing the death penalty, curtailing violence against women, making sure human rights are preserved in the fight against terrorism, bringing international pressure to fight the genocide in Darfur, and protecting individuals at risk.

Memphis, she says, will become the central point in a campaign for economic rights, which she says is defined by the health-care gap between the rich and the poor.

"Memphis fits our goals perfectly." she adds. "We would like to see more people get involved in the push for economic rights for workers."

The conference events and workshops will be at the First Congregational Church and the National Civil Rights Museum. Among the featured speakers will be William Lucy, national head of AFSCME, and Carol Anderson, author of Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights.

A hip hop show at the High Point Pinch called "Displaced in America" will feature artists left homeless by Hurricane Katrina, as well as several local acts.

An Unsung Heroes awards program, concerts, and more will highlight the Keep The Dream Alive event at Tom Lee Park.

"All this is being planned to show citizens and other organizations that we are planning on being in Memphis for the long run and that we are here to support those committed to fighting for human rights," Ali says. For more info, see the Amnesty International website.

-- Tony Jones

More Layoffs at the Commercial Appeal

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The Flyer obtained the following memo to Commercial Appeal employees from Reggie Sudduth, president of the Memphis Newspaper Guild.

Dear staff of The Commercial Appeal:

We met with management Monday afternoon. Here's what we know. The company proposes cutting a total of 27 jobs. Please note that this is not a final number. We're trying to find ways to reduce it.

The breakdown:

Accounting: One position

Production: Five (Two in warehouse, one in makeup, two in dispatch).

Retail advertising: Three assistant account representatives.

Marketing: Two writers.

Editorial: Eight (Four news assistants, two copy desk workers, two reporters).

Online: Three online content producers

Classified advertising: Five (Two on the contract desk, three voluntary -- the term "voluntary" here refers to a job function within the classified department.)

There could be other layoffs of workers not covered by the guild contract, such as managers, said Warren Funk, who represented the company at a meeting Monday along with human resources director Eunice Johnson. Funk wouldn't say how many other jobs the company plans to eliminate.

He said the company would consider voluntary departures instead of terminations. So if any of you in the areas targeted for cuts has considered retiring or leaving the company, your willingness to be part of this reduction in force could save someone else's job.

If you wish to volunteer to leave the company, please contact The Memphis Newspaper Guild's Daniel Connolly. Please don't delay. We want the names by our next meeting with the company, which is Thursday morning.

But we do plan to make sure that workers' rights are respected in this process and we will negotiate with the company so the former employees can receive severance packages.

The company has not provided the names of the workers it plans to cut, but has said Nov. 5 will be their last day on the job. We expect the workers’ names on Thursday, and we will also discuss with management how to notify these workers.

We will update you as soon as you (sic) know more.


Reggie Sudduth


The Memphis Newspaper Guild

White Power Summit Planned for Olive Branch

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM

David Duke, the Neo-Nazi, Klansman, and one time presidential candidate, is joining forces for a confence with other White Power groups in Olive Branch, Mississippi November 7-9. The conference is currently scheduled to be held at the Whispering Woods Conference and Retreat Center, located at the intersection of Hacks Cross and Goodman Roads.

The conference's organizers apparently may have misled the conference center's management, leaving the impression that the gathering in question was related to environmental issues. Whispering Woods general manager Travis Murray would neither confirm nor deny that his organization had been misled in any way when he was contacted by phone earlier this afternoon.

"I'm about to go into a meeting and get some legal advice," Murray said. "What I can tell you at 2:30 may be completely different than what I might tell you now."

Murray says that since the location of the conference leaked, he's received numerous phone calls at work and at home. He hopes to be able to explain the situation soon.

Jacob Flowers of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center says that although his organization was interested in learning the location of the White Power rally, they do not plan to stage a formal protest.

"That would be giving them exactly what they want," said Flowers, who says he has been encouraging people to contact Whispering Woods to let management know that "racists and bigots are not welcome in our community."

-- Chris Davis

Memphis Skatepark Planned

Posted on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Skatelife Memphis reports that the city's new skatepark will be at Tobey Fields.

Because it has outdoor lighting, the Avery Avenue park will allow for night skating.

In a recent survey, many respondents cited Overton Park as the preferred location for the skatepark, but it would not have provided enough skate space or night skating.

From Skatelife's blog: "In the winter, night skating becomes the only option with the lack of daylight and in the summer it's the only time that's cool enough to skate without getting heat stroke."

Skatelife Memphis says the park should be complete in 2010.

To visit Skatelife Memphis, click here.

To read a previous Flyer story about the proposed skatepark, click here.

To read about a demonstration the city held to determine how many people would use a skatepark, click here.

Smuggling Pot is Very Glamorous

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From the Memphis Police Department: On Tuesday, October 29, 2008 at approximately 12:30 pm, MPD Officer Chris Collins initiated a traffic stop on a 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup truck on Interstate 40 near Airline Road. Officer Collins was assisted by Sgt. Chuck Mayes with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

Stephen Grear, 63, was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. Subsequently Officer Collin's canine partner "Dante" gave a positive indication on Grear's vehicle for the presence of narcotics.

Two hundred and seventy-five (275) pounds of marijuana was recovered from Grear's vehicle. Grear, a resident of Boise, Idaho, has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with intent to manufacture/deliver/sell marijuana and traffic charges.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christian Science Monitor on Life Support

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Soon, the only way you'll be able to read The Christian Science Monitor is on your monitor. From

The Christian Science Monitor, which turns 100 years old this year, is announcing on Tuesday, Oct. 28, that it will cease daily publication next April. The newspaper will shift to a weekly print format while increasing its emphasis on its Web site, says its editor, John Yemma.

In doing so, the Monitor will become by far the most prominent newspaper to scale back its print edition substantially.

The Monitor, an independent publication funded by the Christian Science Church, is currently posting net losses of $18.9 million a year on $12.5 million in revenue, say Monitor executives. Cutting print frequency from its current five times a week to once a week is expected to slice those losses to $10.5 million within five years, said a spokesman. The Monitor's current circulation is 56,000. The high-water mark for Monitor circulation was 223,000, a figure the paper hit in 1970 ...

Read the rest of the story.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Search of Memphis' Great Pyramid

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 4:00 AM

In a city whose name conjures young Elvis but evokes ancient Egypt, an expedition set out with a road map and some trail mix to find the world's sixth-largest pyramid, said to have been all but abandoned by the civilization that built it. Legend or fact?

With only bottled water and a rental car's coolness to ward against temperatures in the oppressive low 70s, the team soon despaired. It found houses and churches and rib joints, but no polyhedral structures of note ...

New York Times columnist Dan Barry goes in search of Memphis' great pyramid. Read all about it here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Isaac Hayes Gives Scientology the Shaft in His Will

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From's Roger Friedman: The last will and testament of the late superstar Isaac Hayes’s is being probated right now. And guess what? Hayes left nothing to the Church of Scientology.

This news must sting something awful, as numerous well-known Scientologists attended not one but maybe four different funerals and memorial services for Hayes in August after he died ...

Read the rest of the snark here.

Gourding Barack Obama

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said, "Yes, we can." A locally launched website is saying, "Yes, we carve.", a website started, in part, by Memphian Josh Horton and his wife Bethany, mixes politics and pumpkins.

"My wife and I were sitting in bed a few weeks ago and she said, 'I think I'm going to carve a pumpkin with Barack Obama's face on it,'" he says. "I said, 'you want to do an Obumpkin?' She said, 'No, I want to do a Barack O'Lantern.'"

Horton, a 29-year-old with a habit of buying domain names, called a friend in New York and another in Chicago to help him take the idea to the web.

Launched earlier this month, YesWeCarve has pictures of Barack O'Lanterns from across the country, as well as easy-to-use Obama-themed carving stencils. A YesWeCarve video slideshow has garnered more than 67,000 hits on YouTube, and the site has been featured on the Huffington Post and DailyKos.

"I never realized the impact of this when we set out to do it," says Horton, a church communications director. "We've posted more than 200 pumpkins and our inbox is filled every day. After this weekend, we got about 85 pumpkins."

The five best pumpkins will be selected by the YesWeCarve team and posted to the site November 3rd. The pumpkin voted the best by the site's visitors will win its carver an orange iPod nano.

Though the iPod was meant to give participants a little incentive, Horton says that most of the submissions never mention the contest. He doesn't think the site's popularity has much to do with pumpkin carving contest.

"I think there's an optimism there that people haven't had with many candidates," he says. "I think it's the man and the platform, what he's bringing to the table."

The site has generated some negative comments -- more political than anti-pumpkin -- but most of the response has been favorable. has a "No Attack Pumpkin" policy and even offers a Republicans for Obama stencil.

For locals wanting to get into the action, will host a BYOP -- bring your own pumpkin -- carving party Thursday, October 30th, at the local Obama campaign headquarters in the Eastgate shopping center.

And with compliments to the site, just remember: Every pumpkin counts.

To read more from Mary Cashiola, visit the In the Bluff blog.

Celebrate Health Food and Native American Culture This Weekend

Posted on Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The giant fruit that once adorned the old Wild Oats Marketplace is gone for good, and the East Memphis health food store is finally transitioning into a Whole Foods. Celebrate the store’s grand re-opening tonight at the Whole Foods Pumpkin-Palooza, an Oktoberfest celebration with live music, a performance by New Ballet Ensemble, and plenty of grilled bratwurst (which isn’t exactly health food, but hey, it’s a party).

On Sunday, the Whole Foods festivities continue as they host an eco-fair with live reggae music and a recycled art and fashion show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This year marks the Orpheum’s 80th anniversary, and since the theatre has already held its fancy birthday gala, they’re throwing down Memphis-style with “Rock ‘n’ Roll, Brews, and Q” at the Warehouse. Needless to say, there will be plenty of live music, beer, and barbecue. Festivities begin at 7 p.m.

Walk down Front Street today and you’ll see restaurants, a bakery, and plenty of empty storefronts. But the area was once home to the booming cotton industry. Get an idea of what the street used to look like during the Cottow Row Walking Tour led by the folks at the Cotton Museum. The walk begins on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Whether or not you voted for her during the fourth season of American Idol, you’ve got to agree that Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood has some real talent. The past Idol winner will perform at the DeSoto Civic Center on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Play a Native American game called stickball, learn traditional dances, and get a taste of what the early bluff settlers liked to eat during the annual Southeastern Indian Heritage Festival. It runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more weekend fun, check out the Flyer’s online calendar.

Strap-On Luggage?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Don't ask us why, but's Julian Sancton was perusing the Birmingham, Alabama, airport's annual report when he saw the accompanying illustration. (Um, you might want to "enlarge" it.)

Then go to his blog and read the comments.

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