Thursday, July 6, 2017

City to Provide Financial Assistance to 1968 Sanitation Workers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 11:45 AM


Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced today that the City will provide financial support to 1968 sanitation workers.

Fourteen living 1968 sanitation workers— four of which still working in the field today

will each be awarded $50,000 grants.

Mayor Strickland says the plan to provide more financial security to these 14 men is a “nearly $1 million commitment to do the right thing.”

Also announced today, pending City Council approval, the City will create a new retirement plan for sanitation workers starting after 1968.

In 1968, these workers upon retiring were given the choice of social security or the City's pension plan, and chose social security, which has proved to not provide enough funds for the workers to support themselves.

Now, the City will supplement social security and deferred compensation plans based on length of employment, matching up to a 4.5 percent of the employee's contributions.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Memphis Group to Host Panel on Pedestrian Safety

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:13 PM

  • Innovate Memphis
One group in Memphis wants to address the increasing danger of being a pedestrian in the city, as last year Memphis was named the ninth most dangerous metropolitan area in the country for pedestrians, according to a report done by Smart Growth America.

With over 350 pedestrians struck by cars each year in Memphis, Innovate Memphis will assist the public in understanding and addressing pedestrian safety in the city at a panel discussion on Thursday, July 6.

The "How to Share the Road" panel discussion will touch on topics such as, how to reduce traffic violence, the city's need for $1.1 billion in sidewalk repairs, as well as ways to ensure that roads are safe for all modes of transportation.

The panel will include representatives from the City of Memphis, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC), and the Memphis Center for Independent Living, as well as the founder of the Collegiate Life Investment Foundation— an organization that strives to prevent distracted driving. 

The panel discussion is an installment in the larger series by Innovate Memphis, "How to Leave Your Car at Home," which previously included discussions on commuting patterns, being more multi-modal, improving public transportation, and other commute-related topics.  

The installment, planned for 6:00 p.m. at Emerge Memphis, is open to the public, but requires registration due to limited space.

This discussion comes just a week after the MMDC launched its "vision zero" campaign, which aims to eliminate all pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the Medical District by 2020.

Flyer Podcast: OAM Network Founder Gil Worth

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 2:49 PM

Here is the first episode of the newly re-launched Memphis Flyer podcast. This time around we are going to bring you interviews with interesting people who are making their marks on Memphis.

In our first episode back, staff writer Toby Sells sat down with Gil Worth on the side patio of Cooper-Young's Celtic Crossing. Worth is the founder of the Memphis-based podcast network, the OAM Network.

The conversation coincides with this week's cover story, "Radio You," which is all about Memphis podcasts. In the conversation with Worth, we learn how to say OAM Network (and where the name came from), we talk about podcasts, of course, and we hear cicadas ring through the whole thing.

$3.2M Awarded to U of M for Disaster Mitigation Work in West Tennessee

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 12:08 PM

A multidisciplinary team led by the University of Memphis received a $3.2 million grant to map and assess damage from future floods and earthquakes in four West Tennessee counties, the university announced today.

The grant, awarded by the 2015 HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition will also fund public education and community outreach in the four counties: Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale, and Madison.

he U of M team, which includes scientists and engineers from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium will help the
four counties with infrastructure upgrades, like rehabilitating outdated waste water treatment plants.

Additionally the team will assist the communities in preparing and responding to future disasters, as well as submitting data-based funding requests for disaster relief.

"This important work will assist the state in increasing disaster resilience in some of West Tennessee's most vulnerable rural communities through applied research and education," U of M president David Rudd said.

The $3.2 million awarded to the U of M is a part of a larger $44 million Rural by Nature award that the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) received to address areas of Tennessee that were impacted by the flood in 2011 and that are also in the New Madrid Seismic Zone—placing the areas at risk for earthquake damage.

“We look forward to working with the University and various state agencies to understand the magnitude and distribution of potential losses from extreme weather events and damaging earthquakes, especially for vulnerable rural communities along the Mississippi River,” said Ted Townsend, chief operating officer for the TNECD.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Famed Local Restaurateur Ronnie Grisanti Dies

Posted By on Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 12:49 AM

Ronnie Grisanti - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Ronnie Grisanti

Restaurateur Ronnie Grisanti, 79, died Friday June 30.

Grisanti, owner of Ronnie Grisanti’s Italian Restaurant in Collierville, grew up in the restaurant business. He worked for his father and grandfather at their restaurant, Grisanti’s on Main, across from Central Station.

The popular, gregarious restaurant owner who seemingly knew every notable in Memphis opened his first restaurant in the early 1980s on Union at Marshall by Sun Studios before moving to Beale Street. He then moved his restaurant to Poplar near the viaduct before opening his Collierville location about four years ago in Sheffield Antiques Mall.

Grisanti leaves three sons, Dino, Judd, and Alex Grisanti; a brother, Frank Grisanti; a sister, Dee Grisanti; and nine grandchildren.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Memphis Group to Host Resistance Cookout

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 2:56 PM

  • MoveOn
Members of Indivisible Memphis, a group that aims to resist President Donald Trump's administration in West Tennessee, organized the Memphis Resistance Summer Community Cookout, which will be held Saturday, July 1.

The cookout is one of 400 across the country mobilized by the online grassroots organizing group MoveOn.

The group's website says the cookouts are designed for the millions of Americans that have been peacefully resisting President Trump's administration since November to come together and celebrate what they have achieved and "recharge for the work ahead."

The cookout in Memphis is planned for 1:00 p.m. at Audubon Park.

The goals for the cookout, according to Indivisible Memphis' Facebook page, is networking, recruiting, and "better coordination to electorialize the resistance."

RSVP is required to attend.

Warrants Issued Weeks After Man's Suicide at Murphy's

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 12:36 PM

  • Facebook
Three arrest warrants were issued for Jared McLemore in the month after he committed suicide by self-immolation outside a Midtown nightclub on May 13.

According information from, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Information System, a warrant was issued for Jared McLemore on the charge of domestic assault-bodily harm on May 12, the day before he publicly killed himself.

McLemore had been harassing his ex-girlfriend, Alyssa Moore, by breaking into her house and assaulting her. He had a long history of violence towards Moore, which led to his arrest on August 16.

The May 12 warrant was issued after several days in which Moore, her friends, and family, had called police reporting McLemore’s threatening behavior. Moore and other people also posted public evidence of McLemore’s threats to kill her and himself on Facebook the week of May 8.

McLemore made good on his threats by dousing himself in kerosene, lighting himself on fire, and attempting to burn down Murphy’s, the club where Moore worked as a sound engineer, by running inside while on fire. The entire incident was broadcast on Facebook Live, where it was viewed by thousands of people.

A second warrant for domestic assault/threat of bodily harm, was issued for McLemore on June 5, 23 days after he died. Then, on June 20, 2017, two more warrants were issued for McLemore on charges of violation of probation.

Paul Garner, who was injured while trying to stop McLemore from lighting himself on fire, said he was first alerted to the new warrants by a friend who subscribes to the Memphis Police Department's (MPD) Cyberwatch program.

“This just adds insult to injury in a lot of different levels,” Garner said, calling the whole incident “an extreme example of what happens when these systems fail victims.”

Garner contacted Sara Moore, Alyssa’s sister who has been acting as her spokesperson.

“We actually knew about the warrant on June 5," Sara Moore said. "Alyssa just happened to be looking at her case details on the portal for people who are in the system in connection with ongoing case. At that time, we kind of just brushed it off for our own mental health. This is bizarre, and we don’t understand it, but we’ll just ignore it for our own healing.”

The June 20 warrants prompted the Moore family to contact the media.
“At that point, it just seemed so ridiculous and disrespectful, not only to our family, but to Jared’s friends and family that warrants could be issued because a dead man can’t check in with his parole officer,” Sara Moore said.

Moore says her last contact with the police was on or around June 8.

“Two officers showed up to an apartment we shared asking for Alyssa’s GPS device back," Sara Moore said. "It was to be returned as it was no longer needed by her to be kept safe from Jared. I had to ask the officers who came to our door if there were any updates. They told me no, there were no updates, the case was closed, it was ruled a suicide.”

MPD spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said in an email that she could not address the two probation violation warrants of June 20, because MPD does not issue probation violation warrants. Of the first domestic assault warrant, she said, “the domestic assault warrant was issued on May 12, 2017, the day before the incident occurred involving Mr. McLemore.”

Rudolph did not comment on the June 5 warrant for domestic assault/threat of bodily harm. As of press time, all four warrants were still listed on the portal.

“This is just a more egregious example of too little, too late,” said Sara Moore.

Tennessee AG Adds Signature to Letter Demanding End of DACA

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 12:08 PM

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery joined nine other attorney generals and a governor today in sending a letter to President Donald Trump's administration calling for the end of a program that protects young immigrants from being deported, as well as allows them to work.

The 11 signatories of the letter are demanding that the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be formally rescinded before September 5 of this year or they will challenge the program in court.

In Tennessee, ending DACA would mean the loss of over 8,000 jobs for young immigrants, putting businesses across the state in the position of having to hire and train new employees.

Additionally, according to public policy research organization, the Cato Institute, repealing DACA would result in a $60 billion loss in federal revenue, with a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next 10 years.

Youth Organizer with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and DACA recipient Cesar Bautista, says the group will continue to defend the program.

"It is shameful that Attorney General Slatery would join forces with other extremists attorney generals to launch an attack on DACA recipients like me," Bautista said. "Tennessee is our home, and we will not let our attorney general help deport us. We are here to stay."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Medical District Campaigns to End Pedestrian Fatalities

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 10:57 AM

  • Memphis Medical District Collabortive
The Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) launched a "vision zero" campaign this week that aims to completely eliminate pedestrian fatalities in the Medical District by 2020.

Similar to other vision zero initiatives across the country, the Be Aware campaign, which is the first of its kind in the Mid-South, is built on five core principles: engineering, education, engagement, enforcement, and equity.

Program associate of MMDC Larissa Thompson says of all the core principles, equity is the most important.

“Equity is an overriding principle that informs all of our decisions about this work,” Thompson said. “We know that the pedestrians in Memphis who are at the greatest risk are mostly people of color and particularly young people.”

The Be Aware campaign comes as response to Memphis being named the ninth most dangerous metropolitan area in the county for pedestrians in a report done last year by Smart Growth America.

"Pedestrian safety is integral to creating a walkable and dynamic district,” MMDC program director Abby Miller said. “We want to create a culture here that reminds us that everyone walks at some point in his or her day. Protecting pedestrians is an issue that affects everyone and the solution will need to include everyone.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

MATA Board Approves New Version of 31 Crosstown Route

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 3:49 PM

The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) board of commissioners voted Tuesday to instate four new routes, including the 31 Firestone which will restore service to areas once served by the 31 Crosstown that was discontinued in 2013.

The new Firestone route will serve parts of New Chicago in North Memphis, but will not connect to South Memphis, like its predecessor, 31 Crosstown.

Members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union (MBRU) count this new route as a victory, but are still pushing to have the route return its service to South Memphis.

Justin Davis of the MBRU says residents of the Riverside community in South Memphis have expressed their need for a route that will connect them to major corridors, economic centers, and North Memphis.

"It's not only a big victory for residents of New Chicago, but for bus riders and supporters throughout Memphis who have been fighting for this important route since last year," Davis said. "At the same time, we will continue to push for a fully-funded 31 that has greater frequency, covers more of the service day, and serves South Memphis, especially Riverside."

Because of limited funds, 31 Firestone will be a demonstration route, which to continue must
maintain at least five boards per hour.

MATA's director of planning and scheduling John Lancaster says the route may be adjusted after December based on ridership patterns during the demonstration period.

Other new routes include one Lancaster says will "beef up service" in the area near the Airways Transit Center and allow for more efficient transfers, as well as one that will run from Downtown to the Agricenter International and offer a new "park and ride" service.

All of the new routes, exlcluding the 31 Firestone, are funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

Additionally, the board voted to adjust times and routes for 24 existing routes, including the 50 Poplar, 56 Lamar, and 44 Goodlett Ikea Way.

All of the revised schedules and routes, along with the new routes, which MATA officials say won't go into effect until August 6, are listed here.

Russell Named New Commercial Appeal Editor

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 2:12 PM

  • The Commercial Appeal
  • Russell
Mark Russell has been named the new executive editor of The Commercial Appeal, the newspaper announced Wednesday, becoming the first African American to lead the newsroom in the paper’s 176-year-old history.

Russell was serving in the role on an interim basis, following the May departure of the CA’s former editor Louis Graham, who left for a position with American Syrian Lebanese Associated Charities (ALSAC). Russell was also serving as the head of opinion/engagement for the USA Today Network of Tennessee.

Russell was hired as managing editor of the CA in 2013, coming from posts as executive editor and managing editor of The Orlando Sentinel. Russell had also held posts as The Boston Globe, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, and the Wall Street Journal, according to the CA.

Memphians Rally for 'Health Care, not Wealth Care'

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 12:28 PM

  • Maya Smith
Although on Tuesday the vote to overhaul Affordable Health Care (AHC) was postponed until after the Independence Day recess, groups from around the city gathered Wednesday morning to rally against the possible repeal.

Dozens of individuals, holding signs reading phrases like, "healthcare not wealthcare" and "healthcare is a human right," crowded in the parking lot of 1870 Madison Ave near N. McLean Boulevard.

Organized by the Coalition for Organizational Protection of People and Equal Rights (COPPER) in collaboration with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU), the rally was meant to grab the attention of Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, says Vee Banks who also helped to organize the gathering.

Banks told the group of ralliers that it is important that they stay focused and continue to put pressure on Tennessee Senators in the upcoming weeks. She encouraged the group to "not go out without a fight."

The fight for affordable healthcare is one that the executive director of COPPER, Rhonnie Brewer says is personal and "not about politics."

"This is something that would impact the daily lives of over 20 million Americans," Brewer said.

Brewer says the new bill would specifically be detrimental to the city of Memphis and its large population of people who depend on Medicaid.

CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, Ashley Coffield was also present at the rally and says the new healthcare bill would be the "worst bill for women's health in a generation," as it would block women on Medicaid from using Planned Parenthood to receive birth control, cancer screenings, and other services.

"We don't want healthcare taken away," Coffield said. "And we don't want to block women from coming to Planned Parenthood. The delay in the vote shows how powerful our voices are, but make no mistake; it's far from over."

Others present were representatives from the Memphis Center for Independent Living, Indivisible Memphis, and United Methodist Church.

Banks says more rallies like this are planned to take place in the next couple of weeks as officials in Washington D.C. prepare to vote on the repeal of AHC.

Memphis Pets of the Week (June 29-July 5)

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 10:42 AM

Each week, the Flyer will feature adoptable dogs and cats from Memphis Animal Services. All photos are credited to Memphis Pets Alive. More pictures can be found on the Memphis Pets Alive Facebook page.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebration Scheduled to Kick off 'Great Streets' Downtown

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Peabody Place - BIKE/PED MEMPHIS
  • Bike/Ped Memphis
  • Peabody Place

The Downtown Memphis Commission is sponsoring a party tonight at 5:00 to celebrate the kick off of the Great Streets Pilot project, which created a new space for bikers and pedestrians Downtown.

Over the past few weeks, a handful of Downtown streets, including parts of Beale and Front Street received a facelift, as Public Works crews repaved and restriped the streets, and volunteers decorated portions with art, plants, and furniture.

The Great Streets Pilot project, an effort of the City's Division of Engineering and the UrbanArt Commission, is a combination of new protected east-west bike lanes, pedestrian spaces, outdoor eating area, and games.

Tonight near the intersection of Main Street and Peabody Place, there will be live music, Sprock n' Roll Party Bike rides, MEMPops, games, and a photo booth.

The project is piloted for one year and is designed to connect with proposed bike lanes to come in the fall on Riverside Drive and Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue.

Lyft: Memphis Home to Generous Tippers

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 12:00 PM

  • Lyft
Lyft said Memphis is home to some of country’s most generous tippers.

Memphis ranked 9th nationally in the percentage of Lyft rides that end with a tip. The ride sharing company operates in more than 350 communities across the country.

Here’s how Memphis stacked up in the nation’s top 10:

Salt Lake City, UT
Lincoln, NE
Portland, OR
Omaha, NE
Colorado Springs, CO
Louisville, KY
Nashville, TN
Denver, CO
Memphis, TN
Minneapolis, MN

So far this year, Lyft drivers have collected more than $250 million in tips. More than $50 million of those tips were generated in the last two and a half months, the company said.

Lyft drivers earned a total of $1.6 billion in 2016, according to the company.

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