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Greater Metro

New leaders for NAACP youth

naacp-600The Memphis NAACP Youth Council has welcomed in new leadership for the coming year.

Officers and committee chairs were installed at the recent meeting of the Youth Council in their traditional candlelight ceremony. Madeleine Taylor, executive director of the Memphis Branch NAACP, conducted the installation service, which was followed by an address on leadership by D. John Jackson, vice president Global Customer Services/Customer Identity at FedEx.

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Malone says she’s in and that Luttrell should be out

DeidreMalone-200Going on now for more than a decade, County Commissioner Sidney Chism's annual political picnic is where the local Democratic Party's big players announce their big news, try to solidify connections and do the sideline pushing to forward agendas.

This year's event was held this past Sunday (June 9) at his urban mini ranch in Whitehaven and it did not disappoint.

At the top of the list was the announcement by former county commissioner Deidre Malone that she will be filing to run for Shelby County Mayor in the Democratic Party primary scheduled for May 6th, 2014.

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Can the Shelby County Democratic Party come off the ropes?

Sidney-Chism-200Longtime Democratic Party power Sidney Chism says he will be leaving public office and front line politics when his term as a county commissioner is completed in 2014.

Now 73 and looking forward to enjoying time at home with his wife and grandchildren, Chism laments that, "Our younger people have lost interest in politics. The fight is not there as it should be because us older guys did not provide an avenue for them to become involved."

In short, Chism said he and his generational peers dropped the ball by not making sure that every segment of the community was fairly included to advance its needs and dreams.

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37 Pre-K classrooms reopened for 2013-14; space still limited

ShelbyCountySchools-250Thirty-seven prekindergarten (Pre-K) classrooms have been reinstated for the 2013-14 school year to boost the number of 4 year olds the unified district can accommodate this fall.

The district reopened 12 classrooms at school sites and 25 at community partner centers, allowing it to now serve a capacity of 3380 Pre-K children.

Since space is limited and the timeframe to enroll is brief, parents across Memphis and Shelby County are strongly urged to apply now during Phase II of the enrollment process, June 11 – 27.

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Healthy Church Challenge winners reach the ‘Summit’

Obesity-Summit-1-600Tears welled up in Tonya Thomas' eyes at The Obesity Summit after an official at BlueCross® BlueShield® of Tennessee announced that she'd won first place in the individual category for the most weight lost – 42.6 pounds – during the Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition.

Thomas began her weight loss journey in January, when she tipped the scale at 274 lbs. On Feb. 2, she signed up for the Challenge and weighed in at 233.6 lbs., having already lost 40.4 lbs. in one month. She lost an additional 42.6 lbs. during the Challenge for a total weight loss of 83 lbs.

BlueCross® BlueShield® of Tennessee presented the Healthy Church Challenge and The Obesity Summit to educate participants and encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and live a healthy lifestyle, both spiritually and physically.

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Juneteenth festival rolling along 20 years later

Juneteenth-600Anchored in historic Douglass Park in North Memphis, the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival will mark its 20th anniversary June 14-16.

The three-day festival – always jam-packed with activities for the entire family – will be preceded on June 13 by the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Gala at First Baptist Church-Broad Event Center, 2835 Broad Ave.

Former Mayor and City Schools Supt. Dr. Willie W. Herenton – now a major player in the charter school movement – will keynote the gala, which will honor several Memphians for their contribution and commitment to the African-American community. The gala is set for 7 p.m.

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2013 Sisterhood Showcase

SS-1-600The highly-anticipated event of the year where women gather for health status checks, a little retail therapy, to see the latest fashions, get tips about hair, makeup and more, the 2013 Sisterhood Showcase did not disappoint.

Annually, the Sisterhood Showcase gives women a chance to convene at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in celebration of what we truly are – women.

Traditionally geared towards African-American women, this year's showcase featured many other ethnicities and cultures. Although the majority of last weekend's visitors were African-American women, there were many attendees who were not "of color," which indicates the increasing awareness of the impact of the Sisterhood Showcase on the community.

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Career-changer finds joy as ‘Irreplaceable Teacher’

teacher-600It's not how much you make, but how well you live that indicates happiness. That's according to Dale Mays, a 1st and 2nd grade teacher at Double Tree Elementary School.

Mays is categorized as "Irreplaceable" based on her student achievement scores and other measures under Memphis City Schools' Teacher Effectiveness Measurement. According to research, the "Irreplaceable" teaching status means it would take 11 teacher hires to obtain the same level of effectiveness of such a teacher if she or he had to be replaced.

Mays joined Memphis City Schools in 2003 when she moved to the Bluff City from Brooklyn, New York. While in Brooklyn, Mays opted for a major career change – from serving as a buyer and marketing analyst for Macy's Department Stores for 15 years to becoming a teacher in Brooklyn's public school system in 1990.

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‘Hurt people, help people’

hurtcamp-1-600If it is our desire to change the mindset of people, then I believe that we should start by at least throwing out or rephrasing some of our most potent adages. In particular, let's tackle a phrase so easily spoken but never challenged.

'Hurt people hurt people" was a phrase I first heard used by Oprah Winfrey and I found it to be true. I recently heard this phrase used in another way by Patrice Davis. And if anyone has a right to rework – and redefine – the phrase, it would be Davis.

"My oldest daughter, Tamara Davis, was murdered by her best friend on their way home from a party," Davis recalled Wednesday. "They got into an argument and one thing led to another and her friend pulled out a gun and shot her dead right there in the car."

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City’s outdoor pools set to open June 8th

pool-400The City of Memphis will open its outdoor pools for the summer swimming season this Saturday, June 8th.

The pools will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday, July 27th.

Toni Holmon-Turner, public affairs manager for the Division of Parks and Neighborhoods, says taking a dip in a City of Memphis pool has gotten easier this year. City Access Cards, which can be obtained at any public library, are now being used in lieu of Pool Cards.

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Memphian wins $1 million in casinos’ Millionaire Maker drawing

million-600"I still cannot believe I won. I am just shocked."

Those where the words of Memphian Karen Christian, who won $1 million in the Tunica Millionaire Maker – One Winner – One Million Dollars – Every Week giveaway. One name is drawn from entries at Harrah's, Horseshoe and Tunica Roadhouse casinos in Tunica, Miss. to win $1 million.

On Saturday, June 1, Christian became the ninth person to win.

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Creative Aging Senior Variety Show is a real ‘howling’ success

senior-1-600In preparation for Creative Aging's 4th Annual Senior Variety Show, I had the pleasure of judging a talent contest at the Josephine K. Lewis Senior Center on May 22. There were 11 acts and 65 seniors in the audience. It was a wonderful morning showcasing talented, vibrant seniors.

The show opened with Stan McCarver singing "Crazy for You," in a beautifully mellow voice. He was quite confident, and his performance was a joy to hear. Bob Koonce tap-danced to "Rocky Top" with great energy and vitality. Evelyn Taylor Stamps, the winner of the talent showcase, performed a reading of the poem "Little Orphan Annie."

Among several other singers, Eddie Murphy sang "By Your Love" in a magnificent baritone voice that was reminiscent of the late James Hyter. Elnora Buchanan entertained with a lovely piano solo.

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City crafts F.U.N. program to fill summer-hunger gap

For many children who receive free and reduced meals at school, summer – which can be an exciting time – can also mean hunger.

To address this need and support wellness among city youth, the City of Memphis created the program F.U.N. (Fitness, Unity, Nutrition) as part of the USDA Summer Food Service Program. The initiative is locally supported by over $125,000 in funding from Cigna and Cigna Foundation.

"Hunger does not take a break, and just as learning does not end with the dismissal of school, neither does a child's need for nutrition," said Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. "With summer right around the corner, it's time to think about keeping Memphis children eating healthy during these months."

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