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Sales tax/Pre-K debate goes down to the wire

PREK 600Voters packed a conference room at The Benjamin L. Hooks Library on Poplar Ave. on Monday evening to receive two sides to the story of the upcoming (Nov. 21) vote concerning the half-cent sales tax increase for Pre-K funding.

By a show of hands, some voters – about a dozen – indicated they had already voted, which had me wondering if they really had understood the proposed Ordinance No. 5495 Local Option Sales Tax. The other 100 or so undecided voters focused in on the educational fruit provided by Barbara U. Prescott, Ph. D. and Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., both former Memphis School Board Commissioners and still champions for the Memphis community.

Dr. Prescott argued for the increase; Dr. Whalum was against it. Prescott's "yes" position was anchored in her belief that the City of Memphis needs this money to make sure our precious babies don't end up ignorant by the 3rd grade.

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans
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Colleague conference rewards top-performing SCS Teachers

15teachers 600A teacher-inspired, teacher-led conference drew about 100 of Shelby County Schools' top-performing teachers to the Mid-South Convention Center in Robinsonville, Miss. last week.

The Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) conference was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It offered workshops and tools designed to inspire and motivate teachers and support their continued excellence in the classroom.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson addressed the attendees – all high-performing teachers selected for their passion for education and desire to elevate their profession. He commended them for commitment to their transformative-yet-rarely celebrated work.

Chism family in support mode as businesses are raided

chismstory20132 600A number of businesses owned by various members of the Chism family were the target of raids involving federal law enforcement officers and Memphis police on Thursday.

The Chisms are well known throughout the Memphis community for their entrepreneurship going back to the days of Chism Trail convenience and grocery stores. Over the years, the family's string of businesses have included a number day-cares, the Eo'j Restaurant and Lounge in East Memphis, Chism Express Car Wash in Whitehaven, Best Wings of Memphis, and Onix Restaurant and Lounge downtown.

"Those family members involved are cooperating with the investigation," a family spokesperson told The New Tri-State Defender Thursday afternoon. "At this point it is just that, an investigation and we are learning more information as we go."

chismstory2013 600Amongst the Chisms, sticking together and supporting one another is a way of life that extends to challenging situations, the family spokesman said.

"We are a strong, close-knit family. In over 50 years of entrepreneurship we have never experienced anything like this. So we are prayerful, supportive and vigilant that justice will be done."

NOTE: Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism, also a day-care operator, is of no direct relation to this group of Chisms.

G ☺ ☺ D BLUE: Sergeant John Garcia

Goodblue20131108 110129_600(Just as a neighborhood should not be judged by the actions of a few bad apples, neither should law enforcement agencies. In partnership with the new Community Police Relations Project, The New Tri-State Defender's "Good Blue" column spotlights law enforcement officers who do it right. This week's focus is on Sgt. John Garcia of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.)

Sergeant John Garcia of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) has been serving the Memphis community for sixteen years. He is the first Latin American to achieve the rank of sergeant in the 150-year history of the SCSO and that makes him proud.

When you add Garcia's 21 years of service in the U.S. Navy, the fact that he is the Spanish training instructor for the SCSO, part-time criminal justice instructor at Remington College, Nonconnah Blvd, a certified hostage negotiator and has been a Little League baseball coach in the Bartlett-Ellendale community, well, then the entire community becomes proud.


  • Written by Kelvin Cowans
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Lessons abound at 2013 Freedom Award Forum

7FreedomSingers 600Three Keeper of the Dream winners – all students – plus three Freedom Award honorees – seasoned champions of growth and development – equal six more stalwarts the National Civil Rights Museum has saluted in its twenty-two-year journey to build upon the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Wednesday, the Temple of Deliverance COGIC sanctuary was the perfect positive-energy chamber for the vibes generated by the 2013 National Civil Rights Museum's Freedom Award Public Forum.

Students roared their excitement as emcee Lamman Rucker of Tyler Perry's series "Meet The Browns" took the stage. He masterly worked the crowd, demonstrating that acting and looks are not the only assets of this education advocate and son of an educator, entrepreneur and athlete.


  • Written by Dorothy Bracy Alston
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With diabetes on the rise, November is focus time

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and November is National Diabetes Month. One reason they are back to back could be because the two diseases correlate with each other. It is estimated that American women with diabetes have a great possibility of developing breast cancer, especially in the African-American community.

Diabetes is an epidemic that is rapidly increasing each year. Even though we think of diabetes as a controllable disease, The Wall Street Journal reports that it appears to be growing out-of-control. The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes is moving closer to heart disease and cancer. If it continues to run rampant, in the near future it could be the number one killer disease.

According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one third of the American population will be living with diabetes by the year 2050. The CDC also reports that one third of all children born in the United States since the year 2000 are at risk for developing this disease. Hispanic children have the greatest risk. The reason for this is poor diet, economic conditions, and not getting enough exercise, which improves the circulation and blood flow in the body.

Hudson to retire as MATA chief

Hudson-PHOTO--200tA career that spans four decades and began with him as a bus operator ends in January for William Hudson Jr., president and general manager of the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA).

Hudson, who has served as the chief of MATA since 1993, came aboard as a bus operator 49 years ago. His decision to retire was announced at MATA's regularly scheduled quarterly board meeting last week.

The first African American to hold the position of president and general manager of MATA, Hudson has worked in nearly every aspect of transit and has held numerous senior level positions including director of transit operations, customer service and marketing, and labor relations and field operations.

Briefs & Things: African American Male Image Awards set for Nov. 16

The Hobson-Goodlow Education Foundation and the Memphis Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will present their 19th Annual African American Male Image Awards Banquet on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at The Hotel Memphis, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Edward Stanton III, U.S. Atty. for the Western District of Tennessee, will be the keynote speaker. Radio personality Bev Johnson of WDIA will serve as our Mistress of Ceremonies.