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Letters to the Editor

Saving Denali

To the Editor:

Thanks for the article on Denali National Park and Preserve (Environment, August 6th issue). The more publicity we get for it, heightening public awareness, the better.

One thing that should be pointed out is that the $1.5 million congressional allocation is not for a new road, but rather for a study on whether the road could actually be built through the varying landscape of the area around Denali (there has already been at least one study done, but it showed the road was not feasible). Since big business is wanting to access the Kantishna area, which is no longer a mining district but more of a lodge area, there has been pressure on legislators to put forth more money for another study on whether the road could actually be built. …

Until a few months ago, I was the lead ranger at the Wonder Lake Ranger Station, a position I held for five years. I really have strong feelings for the area, and hope and pray additional roads, lodges, etc. will be discouraged. On a weekly basis I keep up with the politics of the area, as I have many friends who are active in the effort to save Denali.

The issue of Denali is extremely complex and has been around for years. Thanks again for helping heighten public awareness with your fine article.

Greg Russell
e-mail (Memphis)

Love It or Leave It

To the Editor:

For the second time the Flyer has let Mark Bialek write a negative, non-objective article about the Redbirds, while touting the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (Sports, July 30th issue).

I’m sure the readers, as well as the Flyer staff, don’t realize Bialek has an ax to grind, as well as an agenda. He was beat out by Bob Brame for the PA job for the Redbirds. This left him bitter enough to complain about the Redbirds during his University of Memphis baseball radio broadcasts. It was so bad a couple of times, I turned off the game. Let’s also not forget Bialek worked for David Hersh as his PA announcer.

As for Hersh, he insulted both our mayors and the fans, he didn’t maintain Tim McCarver Stadium, and gave us $3 parking. That’s hardly the way to win fan support. …

A question for Bialek: Would you have written this article if you were the PA announcer for the ’Birds? You wrote you can’t wait for the next Diamond Jaxx homestand. Please pack your bags and go. We’ve got enough negative journalists (term used very loosely) around here without you.

Mark Mitchell

Public Art

To the Editor:

It is heartening to see in your publication that works of art still elicit such strong reactions from the public. I refer to the discussion over Greg Shelnutt’s sculpture at Rhodes College titled, “A Garden of Manual Text.” We have read the high praise from your reviewer, Cory Dugan, as well as the exceptions to his review voiced by Karen Winterton, secretary to the Art Department at Rhodes. These responses continue a welcome dialogue concerning the merits of art (both public and private) in Memphis. As part of its sesquicentennial celebration, Rhodes commissioned a challenging temporary installation to be placed in the heart of campus. Both the artist and Rhodes must be commended for making the first such experiment with campus art, and notwithstanding criticism I think Mr. Dugan, Ms. Winterton, and I are all in agreement that it should not be the last.

Victor Coonin
Chair, Art Department
Rhodes College
Meristem Made Difference

To the Editor:

Thanks to Leonard Gill and The Memphis Flyer for the enlightening, though disheartening, interview with Audrey May (“End of an Independent’s Day,” July 30th issue). The Memphis community and the bookselling community at large are losing an articulate and worthy voice, and a true believer in what is good and right and lasting in this sad old world. I, for one, will be saddened to know she is no longer there. Meristem has made a difference and few businesses, large or small, can make that claim. Bookselling is losing one of its most significant lights on the path.

Corey Mesler
e-mail (Memphis)

Clarification: Part of a paragraph was omitted in a letter from James Pizzirusso last week. Here is the paragraph as it should have read: “I have been an avid reader of The Memphis Flyer and have enjoyed following Jackson Baker’s political commentaries for his unique wit and insight. However, I was very disappointed by some of his comments concerning the judicial races (“Election Watch,” July 30th issue). Specifically, I was offended by his remarks in regards to the most contested race: General Sessions Division 5. Baker resorts to childish name-calling and demeans the most experienced candidate in that race – Michael Belz. …” We apologize to Mr. Pizzirusso for the mistake.

Corrections: Mayor Willie Herenton hired four attorneys – Richard Fields, Earl Schwarz, Jennifer Sammons, and Saul Belz – to represent him in a lawsuit filed by police Lt. Mike Wagner in 1997. Each of the attorneys was ultimately reimbursed by the city at a rate of $150 per hour. The number of attorneys and their rate of pay was incorrectly reported in a story in the August 6th issue.

The phone number for Poconut Pie Factory is 761-0743. An incorrect number was published in our July 30th issue.

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 687, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

Editor’s Note

I am happy to announce that Carrie Badgett has been promoted to art director of The Memphis Flyer. Carrie succeeds Cory Dugan, who served in that role for seven years. Carrie has worked in our art department for the past two years. Before that, she was an art assistant at the newsweekly in Knoxville.

Mubarak Dahir, the former Memphian who is a frequent contributor to our Viewpoint column, lost his mother recently after a prolonged illness. Dahir had written about his mother’s illness in the Flyer. Our deepest sympathy goes to Mubarak.

Our loyal pen pal, Arthur Prince, wrote last week to gently remind us that Dr. Jess H. Parrish served as the first president of Shelby State Community College (we got the first name wrong in an editorial last week). By the way, Dr. Prince is in Boston this week to present a paper to the human-rights section of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy.

We have entered into an unprecedented collaboration with The Commercial Appeal to sponsor the new Memphis Area Music Awards (see Music Notes on page 44). Now if we could just get the daily to comment on its contract settlement with the Memphis Newspaper Guild (see Media on page 22).

When we first met staff writer Phil Campbell back in 1995, he had just organized a gathering of people named Phil Campbell in the tiny burg of Phil Campbell, Alabama. He later wrote a story about the event which appeared in the late magazine Might. We’re proud to report that a recently published collection of the best of Might leads off with Phil’s story. The book is currently available at local bookstores.

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