Tuesday, June 11, 2019

DA: No Charges Filed in Officer-Involved Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:31 PM

A screen grab from the officer's body-worn camera footage shows the moment Carlton said, "I'm going to kill you, (expletive)," according to the DA's office. - SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE/YOUTUBE
  • Shelby County District Attorney's office/YouTube
  • A screen grab from the officer's body-worn camera footage shows the moment Carlton said, "I'm going to kill you, (expletive)," according to the DA's office.

(Videos of the incident below)

No criminal charges will be filed against a Memphis police officer who shot and killed a shooting suspect last year, according to Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Memphis Police Department officers were on the hunt for a suspect sought for robbing and shooting two people last April near Summer and Berclair. A police lieutenant in a squad car saw Terrance Deshun Carlton, 25, at around 3 a.m. The man matched the description of the shooting suspect.

”The officer pulled up and ordered him to stop, but Carlton began running and then stumbled and fell,” according to a news release form Weirich’s office Tuesday. “As the officer exited his squad car, he drew his weapon and ordered Carlton to show his hands.

“Instead, the officer reported, Carlton had something dark in his hand and quickly rolled over while shouting, ’I’m going to kill you, (expletive).’ The officer fired twice, striking Carlton in the abdomen.”

Carlton died later in the hospital.

Detectives later found a pistol and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) “lab showed the firearm matched the cartridge casings recovered from the separate-but-related shootings of the two victims on Berclair. Carlton’s DNA also was found on the weapon’s magazine.” One of the victims knew Carlton by name and another identified him from a photo spread.

“(The officer) was in uniform and in the act of lawfully apprehending a suspect wanted in two nearby shootings that occurred a short time earlier,” Weirich said in a letter to MPD Chief Michael Rallings. “The suspect’s threats and actions gave the lieutenant abundant reason to fear for his life and to act with lethal force in self-defense.”

Carlton's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the incident, according to a story in The Commercial Appeal.

View the TBI’s Carlton investigation files here.

View files of officer-involved shootings in Shelby County here.

Surveillance cameras caught the incident. To see the incident, go to the 30:17 mark.

To see the incident in this one, go to the 7:51 mark.

WARNING: This video is graphic. This is the footage from the body-worn police camera. To see the incident, go to the 1:21 mark.

This video shows the police investigation of the scene after the incident.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Parks Partnership Answers the Internet's Most Burning Questions

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 1:44 PM

Trees, hills, & more in the - Tom Lee Park redesign. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • Trees, hills, & more in the Tom Lee Park redesign.

The internet asked (and poked, prodded, and roasted) the Mississippi River Parks Partnership (MRPP) about Tom Lee Park. On Friday, MRPP answered.

For weeks, Facebookers, especially those belonging to a group page called “Save Tom Lee Park and The Festivals” have accused the MRPP from benefiting financially from the new park design and of allowing Mud Island to fall into disrepair, pointed out that they’ve not received permit for the new park design from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and much more.


MRPP spokesman George Abbott (who was not allowed to join the Save Tom Lee Park Facebook group) answered these questions and concerns with a Friday blog post on Medium.

”In early February as the programmatic design phase came to a close, the model for the new Tom Lee Park was unveiled,” Abbott wrote. “Thousands have visited the model, read the history, reviewed the test fits for Memphis in May, experienced the new park in virtual reality, and left us their feedback at the engagement center.

Thousands more have only seen parts of the plan online. We’ve heard a lot of good feedback  —  as well as some (more) good questions.”
With that, Abbott launched into answers from some the most frequently asked questions.

We’ll save you some time here with the short answers. But if you’re curious about the park plan at all, Abbott’s Medium piece is required reading. (And, if you can, join the Save Tom Lee Park group on Facebook. Tons of interesting discussions going on there.)

Q: Does the design have the required permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?

A: Can’t yet. Need a more-final plan.

Q: Why not invest in Mud Island Park first?

A: Tom Lee Park will give the most bang for the buck.

Q: Why narrow Riverside Drive to two lanes?

A: People drive too fast there today (47 miles per hours average), and there are too many wrecks.

Q: But, isn’t Riverside Drive a key connection to Downtown?

A: Not as much as you think.

Q: Will I still be able to see the river?

A: Yes.

Q: Even while driving down Riverside Drive?

A: Yes.

Q: Does the new design really have enough space for major festivals and events, like Memphis in May?

A: Yes.

Q: Is this new design going to add concrete and remove green space from the park?

A: No. It’ll add more.

Q: Why is the project so costly?

A: It’s cheaper than most projects like this.

Q: Do board members benefit financially from the work of the Partnership?

A: No.

Soon after the piece published Friday, Facebooker JDe DeHart posted the article to the Save Tom Lee Park Facebook group.

“Don’t know if this has been posted but their PR machine is fast at work daily,” DeHart wrote. “All vague and Mud Island is easier to get to than [Tom Lee Park].

“And why is [Mud Island] stuck in 1982? Because MRPP managed it for 20 years without driving revenue, putting back into infrastructure, and basically failing on our partnership for them to manage it. Tell us why it failed the last 20 years. Did Benny cut [the] wrong deal with Beaver? Did Trey not operate it well?

“But here they are wanting to manage [Tom Lee Park] for us and that 100 million. Absolutely it’s a money grab for them to get that TDZ 40 million. Unbelievable. #focusonmudislandfirst”

Another group member, Anthony Howell, suggested staging a “peaceful protest” to block the planned renovations.

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Lanes Close on Poplar, as City Adds Crosswalk Near Central Library

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 12:36 PM

Construction begins on an enhanced crosswalk on Poplar near the Central Library - BIKE/PED MEMPHIS
  • Bike/Ped Memphis
  • Construction begins on an enhanced crosswalk on Poplar near the Central Library

As the city begins constructing an enhanced crosswalk near the Central Library, Poplar will see lane closures for the next three to four weeks.

The $98,107 project will be the first in recent years specifically geared toward pedestrian safety.

The crosswalk will sit on Poplar, south of the Central Library, a spot officials say is a “known high-risk spot.” The risk is compounded, as two of the Memphis Area Transit Authority’s most-used bus stops are near the library, but not in close proximity to a crosswalk.

“Many Memphians access the vital resources and information available at the Central Library by bus, and currently must either walk nearly a quarter-mile out of their way to use the nearest signalized crossing or risk an unprotected mid-block crossing,” officials said. “Over the years, multiple serious crashes have occurred as a people attempted the latter. As recently as March 2018, a driver struck and killed a gentleman attempting to cross the street at this location.”

Rendering of new crosswalk
  • Rendering of new crosswalk

The new crosswalk will be highly visible and include a median refuge island and a pedestrian-activated crossing light. The island is meant to narrow the crossing distance, reducing the chances of incident.

Officials said throughout the construction, there will be multiple lane closures on Poplar between Tillman and Lafayette. The closures will primarily take place on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. with limited closures on weekday nights.

At least two lanes of traffic will be open in each direction at all times. Depending on the weather, construction is expected to take no longer than four weeks.

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MAS Offers $19 Dog Adoptions After Cruelty Case Yields 40 Intakes

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 10:32 AM

  • MAS

Officials with Memphis Animal Services (MAS) say the shelter is in “crisis mode” after 40 dogs that were subject to cruelty were brought to the shelter Thursday.

MAS removed the dogs from a cruelty case Thursday night. The dogs were living in “horrific conditions,” said Katie Pemberton, community engagement specialist for MAS.

“Even though we were full, we could not in good conscience leave them there despite the fact that we only have four open kennels,” Pemberton said. “As you hear us say all the time, we are always full in our adult dog kennels. Every day is a scramble for space in those areas, doing everything we can not to euthanize for space.”

Pemberton said MAS had to do “a lot of shifting around” to temporarily make space for the 40 dogs.

In order to make more room for those dogs, MAS is offering $19 dog adoptions through Sunday. A number of dogs will also be available to foster. Those interested in fostering or adopting can stop by MAS any day between noon and 4 p.m.

“If people can foster for a few days or a few weeks, it would save lives,” Pemberton said.

The dogs that were removed from the cruelty case are not yet available for fostering because they are on a forensic hold. Pemberton said all of the dogs will receive forensic exams by the shelter’s veterinary medical director to assess their injuries and illnesses, ahead of starting the necessary treatment for each.

MAS is also accepting supplies donations. Some of the items the shelter is in need of are pet toothbrushes, dogs toys, and dog food. See the full list here.

As Memphis’ only open-admission animal shelter in the city, MAS never turns away any pet due to age, injury, or sickness. The shelter reports taking in more than 8,000 pets each year.

In May alone, MAS took in 808 dogs and 274 cats. The total save rate for that month was 89.5 percent, compared to 90.1 percent during the same time period last year. Last year, MAS achieved an all-time high save rate of 88.2 percent.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Bovell Takes Baton as MSO Assistant Conductor

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 3:55 PM

Kalena Bovell - RR JONES
  • RR Jones
  • Kalena Bovell

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has recently appointed a new assistant conductor, Kalena Bovell. Her first appearance in that role will be conducting the orchestra for the Leslie Odom Jr. concert at The Orpheum June 28th.

Her duties include working with youth musicians for the Orff Side by Side concerts throughout the upcoming school year in partnership with Shelby County Schools.

Bovell worked with former MSO music director Mei-Ann Chen for Chen's final masterworks concert in 2016. She has held conducting fellowships with the Allentown Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Bovell became assistant conductor for the Chicago Sinfonietta for the 2016-17 season and made her professional debut as part of the MLK Tribute concerts in Chicago’s Symphony Center. She has also worked with the Hartford and New Britain Symphonies in Connecticut. Most recently she’s been music director of the Civic Orchestra in New Haven, Connecticut.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bovell is a graduate of Chapman University’s College of the Performing Arts where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She received a Master of Music Degree and Graduate Professional Diploma in instrumental conducting from The Hartt School.

Bovell replaces Andrew Crust, who has taken a position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

For more information, go to kalenabovell.com

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Appeals Court Sides With City in Confederate Statue Suit

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 12:15 PM

Minutes before Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue was removed from Health Sciences Park
  • Minutes before Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue was removed from Health Sciences Park

The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a decision made by Davidson County Chancery Court denying the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) a temporary injunction against the city of Memphis for removing Confederate statues from formerly city-owned parks.

The SCV sought a temporary injunction in 2018 to preserve two Memphis parks that were the home of three Confederate monuments, until they were removed in 2017.

Last year, the Davidson County Chancery Court determined that the monuments were no longer on public property and therefore were not covered under the Tennessee Historical Protection Act (THPA) of 2013.

In a decision filed Tuesday, Judge Frank Clement Jr. upheld that ruling, saying that SCV cannot seek an injunction because the Forrest statue is no longer on public property and “thus was no longer a memorial whose status could be preserved.”

“Thus, our purpose is not to address the merits of SCV’s underlying claim or whether, in an enforcement action, the trial court might have jurisdiction under the THPA to enjoin a private entity from further disposing of memorials or issue a mandatory injunction to restore memorials already removed,” Clement wrote. “Rather, we are called upon to decide whether the trial court erred in denying SCV’s request for a preliminary injunction.

“We affirm the trial court’s judgment and dissolve the trial court’s stay of its decision pending this appeal.”

The THPA prohibits removing any monuments or memorials in public spaces without being granted a waiver from the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC).

The city sought a waiver in 2017, but the THC denied it. The THPA doesn’t prohibit the city from selling the parks to a private entity, which the city did in December 2017.

The same night that the city sold the two parks containing statues of Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as a bust of James Harvey Mathes, to the nonprofit Memphis Greenspace for $1,000 each, the city removed the statues.

Members of the SCV could now take the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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'Bluff City Law' Will Shoot in Memphis with $4.25M Incentive Package

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 9:46 AM

  • NBC

NBC will shoot “Bluff City Law” in Memphis and Shelby County, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, after winning a multi-million-incentive package from local agencies.

After shooting a pilot here earlier this year, it wasn’t immediately clear whether or not the show would be filmed in Memphis. But NBC was given a $4.25-million incentive package to secure Memphis as its location. The network got $2.5 million from the state, $1.4 million from both the city of Memphis and Shelby County and $350,000 from Memphis Tourism.

Here’s what Strickland had to say about the news:

“Welcome home, ‘Bluff City Law!’ This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our city every week on the national stage starting this fall. I’m very excited about having the show filmed here and am even more thrilled about the economic implications it will have. Many thanks to all those involved to make this happen.”

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris:

“More great news for Memphis and Shelby County with ‘Bluff City Law’ shooting right here in the Bluff City. This is a great opportunity to show off the talented men and women in the local film scene and our famous hospitality. I look forward to the partnership and shots of our one-of-a-kind skyline.”

Kevin Kane, president and CEO of Memphis Tourism:

“Memphis can’t be duplicated and authenticity is the heart of this city that moves to its own beat. Viewers will get to see that with ‘Bluff City Law’ shooting on location in our vibrant city, which was visited by nearly 12 million travelers last year. Memphis Tourism views this as an opportunity to leverage this visibility to grow new visitor demand and the visitor economy while creating unique awareness for our travel destination to millions of viewers on a weekly basis.”

Reid Dulberger, president and CEO, Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE):

“'Bluff City’ Law has found its rightful home in Memphis. The show will mean hundreds of jobs for Memphis film production crews and increased revenues for local business. It will also be a greater advertising tool for the community.”

Here’s a description of "Bluff City Law" from NBC:

Coming from a famous Memphis family known for taking on injustice, brilliant lawyer Sydney Strait used to work at her father Elijah’s celebrated law firm until their tumultuous relationship got in the way.

After barely speaking to him for years, Sydney is suddenly thrust back into the family fold when her philanthropist mother passes away unexpectedly. In the wake of her loss, hoping to reconnect with the daughter he loves, Elijah asks Sydney to rejoin his firm.

She agrees because despite her lingering resentment and distrust, she knows that working alongside her father is her best hope at changing the world ... if they can ever get along.

The cast includes Jimmy Smits, Caitlin McGee, Scott Shepherd, Barry Sloane, Michael Luwoye, MaameYaa Boafo, Stony Blyden and Jayne Atkinson.

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Council Recap: Budget Passes Without Delay, Beale Street Cover Stays

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 9:27 AM


The Memphis City Council passed the 2020 fiscal budget Tuesday after little discussion.

A large portion of the budget is dedicated to public safety, as the council voted to give both Memphis Police Department officers and Memphis Fire Department personnel a 4 percent pay increase — up 1 percent from what Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland proposed in April.

The 4 percent raise will cost an additional $2 million, according to the city’s chief operating officer, Doug McGowen.

Before the vote, representatives with the Memphis Police Association (MPA) urged the council to pass a budget including a 5 percent raise, which the council had agreed upon during an impasse hearing late last month.

Deborah Godwin with the MPA told the council she was there to make sure the council included that 5 percent raise in the budget it passed Tuesday.

According to Godwin, the city’s impasse ordinance requires the council to pass a budget with the amount agreed upon during the impasse.

However, council attorney Allan Wade said the council’s role is to solve the dispute between the unions and the administration. But, any decision the council makes during an impasse, isn’t binding.

John Covington, chief negotiator for MPA told the council that 5 percent is an important number.

“Any kind of raise is welcomed,” Covington said. “Police officers can never be paid enough. That 5 percent number was important, though, because it sends a message about recruitment, as well as morale.”

Covington said police pay is an important part of creating a “safe and prosperous community.”

Michael Williams, president of MPA echoed those sentiments, adding that he wants to “trust the system to actually work.”

“We still want to trust the council to do what’s right,” Williams said. “You always ask us to trust the system, trust the process. You guys heard our proposal, heard the city’s proposal, and adopted our proposal.”

Without discussion, the council voted unanimously in favor of the amended budget.

The newly passed budget also includes a 1 percent pay raise for all city employees and no property tax rate increase, which remains at $3.19.

The council also voted Tuesday to keep the $5 cover charge to enter Beale Street in place until the end of September.

The fee was put in place after a pair of shootings and stampedes took place one weekend in May. Now it will be in place on Friday and Saturday nights, except on nights when conditions aren’t conducive to large crowds.

Conrad said the $5 fees will go toward implementing security measures on the street, such as installing more SkyCops. About $600,000 is needed.

Before the vote, Councilman Martavious Jones said he will not support the cover charge without seeing data showing that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between having a fee in place and the number of incidents that occur on the street.

Jones maintained that having the fee in place over Memorial Day weekend did not deter crowds from rushing the street and causing disturbances.

But, Jennifer Oswalt, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission, said the fee has “proven effective” and that there is evidence that the $5 fee is substantial enough to decrease the crowd just enough to reduce the likelihood of a stampede that results in a serious injury.

“It doesn’t reduce it such that no one comes to Beale Street,” Oswalt said. “It’s not as effective as a $10 fee at reducing crowds, but it’s enough to keep the number of exits slightly below that dangerous level.”

Oswalt said that if there continue to be incidents while the fee is in place, then “we can discuss it again.”

Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings said the fee is a “reasonable response” to recent incidents occurring over Memorial Day weekend, and that his “obligation is to keep people safe.”

“If that helps keep people safe, then I think we should support that,” Rallings said. “We know there is no 100-percent solution that works anywhere, but if we see something that works, we should do it. … But I’m going to defer to the wisdom of the council to make a decision that helps to ensure the safety of our visitors, our officers, and business individuals.”

Rallings said Beale Street is an “open bar." “If you run an open bar for 17,000 to 20,000 people, there are some issues you may run into. And I think the Beale Street security fee helps that.”

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson said she is “really struggling with paying a fee to participate on a city street in Memphis.

“But I do understand that we have a lot of people on the street and our police officers need additional support,” Robinson said, garnering applause from members of the audience.

Robinson said she believes the fee is not needed for safety, but as a way to raise money for additional security infrastructure on the street.

“If we don’t have $600,000 in our budget, I think this is a way to garner those dollars, but I would not go around saying that this is a way to keep down anything on Beale Street.”

Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen agreed, saying it’s a “big cop out” not to say the fee is needed to fund the tools required to keep Beale Street safe.

Swearengen also said when the fee has been in place, there were no checks and balances in place to keep the program consistent: “We haven’t heard of how the money will be collected, who’s going to house the money, how the money will be transferred to the Memphis City Council.”

Wrapping up the discussion, Council Chair Kemp Conrad, supporting the fee, said he trusts Rallings “implicitly, when it comes to public safety.”

“If you haven’t been down there to see it and talk to the police officers and ask them what they need to do their jobs to keep themselves safe, to keep Memphians safe, and to keep visitors to Beale Street safe, then I’d say you haven’t done your due diligence to vote on this item and certainly not to vote ‘no’ on an emotional basis when people’s lives and safety are included.”

The council voted 8 to 4 vote in favor of the fee. Council members Conrad, Worth Morgan, Ford Canale, Sherman Greer, Frank Colvett Jr., Reid Hedgepeth, Cheyenne Johnson, and Gerrie Currie voted in favor. Council members Joe Brown, Robinson, Swearengen, and Jones voted against the measure.

The entrance fee is one of the 24 recommendations made by the crowd control consultant, Event Risk Management Solutions, last year. Council chair Conrad said all 24 of those recommendations have been implemented.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

City Council to Consider Keeping Beale Street Cover Through Summer

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 3:47 PM

  • Beale Street Merchants Association
  • Beale Street

The Memphis City Council will consider later on Tuesday (today) extending the fee to enter Beale Street on certain nights through the end of the summer.

The council voted in May to instate a temporary $5 entrance fee slated to last through Memorial Day weekend.

The fee was put in place after a pair of shootings and stampedes took place one weekend earlier in May.

Jennifer Oswalt, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) said last month that since 2014, there have been 24 stampedes on a non-charging night and one on a night when there was a charge.

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said then that the fee would help with crowd control and that during his time with the department, the only solution that’s worked consistently to reduce the number of incidents on the street is Beale Street Bucks.

However, police reported that during the time the most recent fee was in place over Memorial Day weekend, despite barricades, crowds rushed the gates and surged the street. Police say this led to disorderly conduct, altercations with officers, and minor injuries.

Rallings said the incidents would have been worse without the fee in place. 

Live footage of the Beale Street crowd on the Friday night before Memorial Day - MPD
  • MPD
  • Live footage of the Beale Street crowd on the Friday night before Memorial Day

Now, the council will vote on a resolution sponsored by Councilman Berlin Boyd, that will keep the fee in place on Friday and Saturday nights through the end of September.

“Beale Street is a tough place, and I don’t want to discriminate against anyone, but I think it's reasonable control,” Rallings said of the fee. “I’m just trying to make it to October without some negative incident that jeopardizes what happens on Beale Street.”

The entrance fee is one of the 24 recommendations made by the crowd control consultant, Event Risk Management Solutions, last year. Council chair Kemp Conrad said 20 of the 24 recommendations are in place or in the process of being implemented.

Conrad said the $5 fees will go toward implementing security measures on the street, such as installing more SkyCops. Since the fee was reinstated in early May, about  $160,000 has been collected. Conrad said about $340,000 more is needed.

The council voted in 2017 to end the Beale Street Bucks program, which charged a $5 fee on Saturday nights during peak season. In 2018, the council voted to implement the fee on a needs basis.

Some of the criticism of the fee in the past has been that it discriminated against certain groups of people. But, Rallings said Tuesday that the data collected through scanning IDs between May 24th and 27th doesn’t support that.

He highlighted a graph showing that the majority of visitors were from 38127, which encompasses Frayser and other parts of North Memphis; 38126 composed of parts of Downtown and South Memphis; and 38109 near the Tennessee/Mississippi border. The data also shows that a significant portion of the visitors that weekend were from Chicago. 

Beale Street visitors by zip code - MPD
  • MPD
  • Beale Street visitors by zip code

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Hans Bermel Still Cuts It

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 3:38 PM

Veteran Memphis hair stylist Hans Bermel in his new digs at Phenix Salon Suites. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Veteran Memphis hair stylist Hans Bermel in his new digs at Phenix Salon Suites.

Hans Bermel still is cutting hair. The popular hair stylist now is at Hans Bermel Salon in the Phenix Salon Suites at 4699 Poplar, Suite 136.

The old Bermel’s Hair Salon at 2885 Poplar Avenue recently closed after 50 years, but Bermel is back in action. Other popular Bermel’s Hair Salon stylists — Anna Marie Bermel Williams, Brian Fairley, and Wendy Bellou — also have their own individual businesses in suites at Phenix.

“Bermel’s is not out of business,” Bermel says. “We just moved further east under a new name.”

And, he says, “Sometimes things are meant to be, and this is one of those things.”

Each stylist works alone in their own suite, Bermel says. “We do the shampooing, [put] the curlers on. We clean the place up. It’s a great concept.”

Bermel and his sister, Anna Marie Bermel Williams, were born in Doornenburg, Holland. “We did our training in Holland under a master hair stylist,” Bermel says. “You start from the bottom to the top while he teaches you to cut hair. It’s an apprenticeship under a salon owner.”

Bermel moved to Memphis in 1966 and opened Bermel Hair Salon with business partners. Other family members, all trained in Holland, later joined him in the business.

Jacob Fountain, co-owner of the Memphis franchise of Phenix Salon Suites, says they  feature 37 individual suites, which are “custom fit for salon professionals. It’s a way for them to own their own business without having to deal with any of the overhead, property maintenance, anything like that.

“Everybody will have their own business license as well as shop license. In line with it being their own individual business, they get to name their business and make it however they want," he says.

“The majority of the people that have signed license agreements with us so far are stylists. It’s more catered toward stylists, but it’s anybody in the salon industry, such as masseuses, nail technicians, estheticians, as well as anybody in the service industry. We can even get a tattoo artist in here.”

Phenix Salon Suites, which is based in Carlsbad, California, has some 250 locations throughout the United States, Fountain says.

The Memphis Phenix location formerly was the site of the old Dixie Cafe. A major renovation was done to the building, Fountain says. “Everything basically had to be redone.”
Hans Bermel and Jacob Fountain - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Hans Bermel and Jacob Fountain
Anna Maria Bermel Williams, Hans Bermel, and Wendy Bellou. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Anna Maria Bermel Williams, Hans Bermel, and Wendy Bellou.

Zombie March 2019!

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 1:07 PM

The dead walked the earth for the 13th time this past weekend. The annual Memphis Zombie March was held May 31st Downtown.

This is a benefit for the Mid-South Food Bank.


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Monday, June 3, 2019

Local Artists Get Free Critiques From Peers

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 12:12 PM

A recent Open Crit night. - CROSSTOWN ARTS
  • Crosstown Arts
  • A recent Open Crit night.

Once a month, Memphis artists can present their work and get constructive criticism from peers.

At Crosstown Arts’ monthly Open Cric events, artists are given the chance to show off their artwork and receive “critical feedback.”

Each month, participants get to see artwork from up to four different artists, discussing each for about 25 minutes. The discussion will be guided by a facilitator with experience in critique settings.

A recent Open Crit night. - CROSSTOWN ARTS
  • Crosstown Arts
  • A recent Open Crit night.

Visual artists of any experience level are welcomed to participate with up to eight new or in progress pieces of any medium. The critiquers don’t have to have any professional art experience. Critiques will “always be done in a supportive, constructive and casual environment, could at the same time be challenging,” Crosstown Arts said.

The next Open Cric is Tuesday, June 11th from 6-8 p.m. at 430 N Cleveland — Crosstown Arts’ gallery and performance space. Participation is free and open to the public.

A recent Open Crit night. - CROSSTOWN ARTS
  • Crosstown Arts
  • A recent Open Crit night.

Artists presenting that night are Cassi Rebman, Eric Painter, Sophia Mason, and Mia Richardson. The discussion will be facilitated by Kimberly Jacobs.

Open Crit night is held every second Tuesday of the month. Interested artists can sign up here.

The events are organized in partnership with ArtsMemphis, an organization that supports visual artists in Shelby County through mentoring, advocacy, and funding.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Overton Park Asks for Donations After $2000 Worth of Plants Stolen

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 2:32 PM


Overton Park officials are asking for donations after they say about $2,000 worth of plants were stolen from the park.

About 150 plants were stolen from the park’s formal gardens, west of the Greensward, according to a Thursday post on Overton Park’s Facebook.

“Yesterday we visited the formal gardens to find that about 150 plants had been stolen, including three topiaries and several large hydrangea bushes,” the post reads. “We anticipate the cost to replace these plants at about $2,000.”

Park officials called the theft an “unexpected challenge.”

“We share this info to let you know how crucial your ongoing support of the park is,” the post continued. “While there are many expenses that remain stable (like lawn mowing and trash pickup), we can always count on some surprises. It's because of you that we're able to respond quickly when these things happen.

Since Thursday morning, $940 of the $2,000 needed to replace the plants has been donated.

This comes as the park prepares to reopen its East Parkway Pavilion, which was damaged in a fire in April. The park was able to raise $16,000 within a four day span for those repairs.

Have you seen these plants?

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TVA Wants to Demolish Allen Fossil Plant

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 1:21 PM

Aerial shots of TVA's Memphis power plants. - SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER
  • Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Aerial shots of TVA's Memphis power plants.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) wants to demolish the coal-fired, now-idled Allen Fossil Plant but wants the public's opinion on a slate of options for the buildings.

The plant was retired last year after the new natural-gas-fired Allen Combined Cycle plant opened. The Fossil Plant’s buildings sit on about 502 acres of land that TVA either owns or leases, “which could be repurposed for future economic development projects,” according to TVA.

The agency has already outlined several options for the buildings. They include decontaminating and demolishing the buildings, removing the stacks, or leaving the plant as is. Though that last option is included as a basis for comparison,TVA said.

“TVA’s preferred alternative of full demolition would remove the powerhouse and associated structures to three feet below final grade, resulting in a brownfield site,” reads a Friday statement from TVA. “Certain buildings would remain for continued use including the switchyard and site security building. The Allen combustion turbine natural gas units would not be affected.”

Visit the TVA website for more information and to leave your comment.

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BASE Jumper Plunges from Sterrick Building

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 11:54 AM

  • Joyce Peterson/Twitter
”Three, two, one. See ya’.”

That’s what a young man in a video that first appeared on Instagram recently said before he plunged from the roof of the Sterrick Building in broad daylight.

The video surfaced Thursday. Though, it appears the original post has been removed.

But WMC reporter Joyce Peterson captured the video and posted it on Twitter. It had been viewed there more than 5,000 times as of Friday morning.

The jumper in the video has a parachute; he’s BASE jumping. This type of skydiving is different than that from a plane. BASE jumps are from fixed locations likes buildings, antennas, spans (like bridges), and Earth (or BASE for short).

The clip switches from the man’s helmet-mounted camera to another camera aimed up at him from the parking lot across the street from the building.

The young man jumps from the building, freefalls for a moment, and throws his parachute. It expands and he sways gently toward a a group of people gathered around a white truck. There’s also a stomach-flopping third angle of the event, shot down from another building across the street.

The clip is cut with a scene of a young man — presumably the same one jumping from the building — talking about the plan for the jump.

  • Joyce Peterson/Twitter

“We’re going to try and land in the parking lot,” the man says. “Johnny seems to think we’ll be landing in the street. But we’ll see how it goes. I’m down for whatever. I don’t think I brought the kneepads. So, I’ll try to stand it up this time.”

The video switches back to the helmet camera and shows the young man landing in the parking lot. He quickly gathers his parachute and yells to his friends, “go!”

BASE jumping isn’t allowed in most places. It’s unclear whether or not the man had permission to jump from the building. Likely not, judging from how quickly the man was racing to leave the site.

Here’s what the How Stuff Works site has to say on the legality of BASE jumping:

“BASE jumping from buildings within cities is almost always illegal. The risk of pedestrian injury and traffic disruption are too great, although the vast majority of building jumps take place at night or at dawn.

Police have promptly arrested jumpers who have leapt from the Eiffel Tower and the St. Louis Arch.”

The video isn’t the first Memphis BASE jump memorialized on the internet. Consider this one from 2011 from what appears to be the top of the AutoZone headquarters on Front Street.

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