Fri04182014

Greater Metro

Memphis NAACP is fighting mad about Voter ID ruling

naacplogo-300The Tennessee Supreme Court has spoken on the state's Voter ID Act and the Memphis Branch NAACP is – in a word – appalled.

Memphis Branch NAACP Executive Director Madeleine C. Taylor on Wednesday let it be known that she and the entire organization is determined "to get the word out about the unfair and deliberately unequal acceptances of hunting licenses and gun permits without the acceptance of government issued library cards. The library cards played a key role in the case that Supreme Court ruled on last week.

Ruling on constitutional challenges to the state's Voter Identification Act by the City of Memphis and two Shelby County voters, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously declined to overturn the Act.

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Reconfigured I-40/I-240 Interchange on the way

trafficsignunderconstruction-400Phase II of substantial improvements are about to begin on the I-40/I-240 interchange in east Memphis that will address the expected traffic increase in this area for decades to come.

The average daily traffic (ADT) on I-40 has grown from 49,000 vehicles in 1985 to about 200,000 vehicles a day in 2013. By 2035 projections show the interchange could be handling well over 350,000 vehicles.

The interchange is formed by I-40 on the north and east legs, I-240 on the south, and Sam Cooper Boulevard on the west. The existing interchange is unique in its current configuration as I-40 is reduced to one lane in each direction. Adding to this problem are the low speed exit ramp movements, which are not conducive for good interstate flow. Phase II improvements to the I-40/I-240 interchange will improve the flow of traffic.

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Mayor Wharton addresses backlog of sexual assault test kits

Ac-Wharton-500Mayor A C Wharton Jr. issued an executive order Monday (Oct. 21) requiring the Memphis Police Department to develop a plan to deal with the backlog of sexual assault test kits, collaboration with various public and community stakeholders to assure appropriate notification and interaction with victims, and establishing clear policies and procedures for prompt processing of new kits.

Wharton commended Police Director Toney Armstrong, District Attorney General Amy Weirich, Memphis City Council and others involved for their efforts to address the backlog issue. He laid out a plan for dealing with the kits in the future.

Within 90 days of issuance of the order, the Memphis Police Department is expected to begin providing monthly reports to the mayor and the Council's Public Safety Committee. The report is to address the status of the remedial plan and any new developments involving the processing of sexual assault test kits. The executive order calls for the development of "key performance indicators" to measure effectiveness and consistency.

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New Methodist North CEO focused on growth

Gysai-Chisley-400tGyasi Chisley was recently named chief executive officer at Methodist North Hospital.

"Gyasi is a great fit for North due to his focus on growth, clinical quality and physician relationships," said Gary Shorb, CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. "His experience in varied healthcare executive positions will make him a valued addition to the MLH leadership team."

Prior to joining Methodist North, Chisley was the president and site administrator at Mercy Health, Anderson Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. In that role he was responsible for all business, financial, HR, nursing and operations transactions. He also was the corporate service line executive for orthopedics, facilities and food & dietary.

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ASD to hold 2nd neighbor-hood fair

ASDimage-200Hanley Aspire Elementary School, located at 680 Hanley Street in Orange Mound, will be the venue on Saturday (Oct. 19) for the Achievement School District's second annual Neighborhood Schools Fair.

The event will be from until 3 p.m., with ASD leadership promising an afternoon filled with opportunities to speak directly with charter operators. Also on the menu is "food, fun and activities for everyone, including free massages for teachers and cupcakes for kids."

The Neighborhood Schools Fair will also be another chance for each community being considered in next year's matching process to follow-up and ask questions after the school meetings held last month across the city.

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Changing the complexion of the physician workforce

Gary-Shorb-with-four-600By self-description, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare are committed to changing the complexion of the physician workforce in the Mid-South. One of the first steps toward accomplishing that goal has translated into $10,000 scholarships for each of five African-American, UTHSC medical students.

Started this fall, the Dr. Ed Reed Scholarship Fund is named in special memory of the late Ed Reed, MD, who passed away at the age of 92 earlier this year.

Gary Shorb, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, and David M. Stern, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, recently met with four of the UTHSC African-American medical students to recognize them as the first recipients of the Dr. Ed Reed Scholarship Fund at the UTHSC College of Medicine. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has committed $250,000 to the scholarship fund over the next five years.

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Block Party and Picnic For Peace

BlockParty-200According to State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (District 98), the Block Party and Picnic For Peace had four anchoring purposes, including helping people improve their quality of life through education, employment and health.

"The other three purposes were to showcase the businesses in the community, create an economic impact in the community where the event is, and create an event that would increase the pride in the community," said Parkinson.

Now in its seventh year, the Block Party and Picnic For Peace has grown tremendously in length and attendance. What started off as a three-hour event with an attendance of 300 has grown into a three-day event with an attendance of about 13,000.

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Local teachers’ group at odds with Education Commissioner.

kevin huffman-400"Enough is enough."

With Memphis-Shelby County Education Association President Keith Williams supplying that catchphrase, the M-SCEA this week issued a unanimous vote of no confidence in Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.

The action came at Tuesday's monthly meeting of the association's Representative Assembly, and served as another nail in the coffin that Huffman critics are trying to bury him in.

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Memphian is West Tenn. Teacher of the Year

Melissa-Collins-150Melissa Collins, Ph.D., a second grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School, was recently named 2014 West Tennessee Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education.

The state's Teacher of the Year Awards honor teachers for their commitment to students and classroom gains in achievement.

Collins was among the nine finalists recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education during a banquet held earlier this month in Nashville.

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New CEO for Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts

Richard-Fisher-scout-600Long-time Boy Scout Executive Richard L. Fisher has joined the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as its new chief executive officer in Memphis.

"Our program here in the Mid-South is strong and the commitment from the communities we serve is outstanding," said Fisher. "I'm very excited to be here and for the opportunity to share my heartfelt belief in the life-changing impact of Scouting."

Fisher joined the Memphis-based Chickasaw Council as chief executive officer last month after 24 years of service with Scout councils primarily in the Midwest, and most recently in Detroit. The Chickasaw Council operates on a $3.8 million annual budget and with a staff of 33 who coordinate the activities of nearly 4,000 volunteer Scout leaders across 17 Mid-South counties.

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Flu shot time is now!

needleinarm-500Influenza vaccine is now available at all of the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) clinics. It is not too early to receive the vaccination.

Annual vaccination against influenza is recommended for everyone six months and older, including school-aged children, who want to reduce the risk of becoming ill or transmitting it to others. The vaccine is especially recommended for the following persons who are at increased risk for severe complications associated with influenza:

• Pregnant women

• People 50 years of age and older

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Memphis Urban League looks within for new president, CEO

UrbanleagueSesley-275The Board of Directors of the Memphis Urban League has appointed Tonja Sesley-Baymon president and chief executive officer of the 70-year-old Memphis Urban League.

Sesley-Baymon, who has worked with MUL for 8 years, took the helm Oct. 2, succeeding Tomeka Hart. She previously served as the Urban League's program director,

"Her proven dedication, leadership and expertise are what's needed to build upon the Memphis Urban League's ultimate mission of assisting African Americans, the underserved and economically disadvantaged to expand economic opportunities, and secure parity, power and civil rights," said Marsh R. Campbell, chair of the Memphis Urban League Board of Directors.

The Board, said Campbell, anticipates "great leadership during her tenure."

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SOUTH MEMFix!

sMemphix-1-600Have you ever walked past a building or a street or a neighborhood that has seen better days and imagined what it could be like if someone were to infuse it with some new life?

That is exactly what is going to happen at the iconic intersection of Mississippi Boulevard and Walker Street, home to the famous Fourway Restaurant, on Saturday (Oct. 12th) when SOUTH MEMFix puts a new face on it from noon until 6 p.m.

A project of the Bloomberg Foundation-funded Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team, SOUTH MEMFix is a short-term, community driven effort that will allow residents and visitors to experience how small, well-coordinated investments in the area can lead to big changes for the community. Developed by local businesses, residents, and community stakeholders, the free event will temporarily activate a one-block area around the intersection and showcase opportunities for the historic neighborhood.

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