Greater Metro

‘DeBerry presence’ evident at legislators’ national conference

winan 600Former Tennessee house Speaker Pro Tempore Lois M. DeBerry lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in late July of this year, but she was "there" Wednesday morning when National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) President Joe Armstrong opened the group's 37th legislative conference at The Peabody.

"Rep. DeBerry helped to shape this year's conference by adding two important elements," said Armstrong, a Knoxville Democrat. "Youth Day and the prayer breakfast were both her doing. She felt very passionately that we should be grooming young leaders to take up the mantle when we have moved off the scene. ...Her presence is strongly felt as we gather in the city she loved so well."

This year's prayer breakfast will be Friday morning. It has been named The Lois DeBerry Prayer Breakfast and Memorial Service.


Is an unseen hand at work in the Juvenile Court Clerk race?

juve 600When former municipal employee Kenneth Moody announced he would challenge Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks for Juvenile Court Clerk in next year's Democratic Primary, some watchers of local politics quickly pointed to the influence of Brooks' commission colleague, Sidney Chism.

Brooks, who was questioning the operation of Juvenile Court long before the U.S. Department of Justice determined there was much seriously amiss, announced her candidacy many months ago. When The New Tri-State Defender asked Chism to comment on whether he had a hand in Moody's planned challenge of Brooks, he chose to remain mum for now.

Candidate Moody said those who see his bid as some type of mini-machine manipulation need to think again.


‘Early Advantage’ brain exhibit debuts at Pink Palace Museum

pink 600Advancing their commitment to provide resources to help Memphis and Shelby County children reach their full potential, The Urban Child Institute recently opened the first module of the Early Advantage Brain Awareness Exhibit at the Pink Palace Museum.

The interactive exhibition aims to equip parents and caregivers with information and tools that can be used and applied in daily life to encourage healthy brain development for babies ages zero to three.

Understanding how a child's brain receives and processes information is important to promote optimal growth and development, but learning about best practices to ensure that an infant reaches key milestones like crawling, walking, and talking can sometimes be a daunting task for new and expecting parents.


BRIDGES hires Staci Franklin as vice president of Communications

Staci-Franklin-Headshot 600Staci Franklin has recently joined BRIDGES as the vice president of communications. Franklin will provide leadership in managing the internal and external communications strategy for the organization with a particular emphasis on the Bridge Builders® program.

Prior to joining BRIDGES, Franklin served as the executive director of communications and broadcast services for Memphis City Schools for more than five years. She also served as the manager and director of community investment for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001 to 2007.

Franklin's career in communications began with International Paper (IP) in 1994, where she worked in variety of roles at IP locations in Memphis, Erie, Penn., Washington, D.C., and Laurel, Miss.



Ice warning leads to states of emergency

aaMemphis, Shelby County and Tennessee states of emergency overlapped Friday afternoon as the prospect of an ice storm forced weather-related adjustments.

Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., declared a state of emergency due to icing conditions throughout the county.

"Personnel from many emergency response and support agencies are working around the clock due to the ice storm. Besides overtime expenses, additional resources could be needed," said Luttrell. His declaration followed one issued Thursday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.



Mourning Nelson Mandela

453923389.jpg.CROP.rtstory-largeA state burial for former South African President Nelson Mandela will be held on Dec. 15, with a memorial service set for Tuesday (Dec. 10) in a Johannesburg stadium.

The anti-apartheid activist and hero to many around the globe died Thursday afternoon at age 95. His passing has triggered an outpouring of emotion that is ladened with iconic-level respect.

Here are some local reflections:



Indictment confirmed, Thaddeus Matthews points finger at D.A.

matthews 600Talk show host and blogger Thaddeus Matthews walked into the Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk's Office on Monday (Dec. 2) looking for confirmation that a grand jury had indicted him on three accounts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

He left just as confused as he had been when Memphis police arrested him a year ago for a criminal offense that Matthews said actually was a case of him trying to help an unidentified woman help a child.

"They have no record of an indictment against me," Matthews said after making the trek downtown.



Dec. 15 set for 2013 Downtown Holiday Parade

parade 600The New Tri-State Defender (TSD) will host its 2nd Annual Holiday Parade in Downtown Memphis on Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 2 p.m.

The organization and lining up is set for 1 p.m. at the corner of Fourth and Beale streets. The parade will be sponsored by Olympic Tax Service.

"Many in the community have reached out to us to continue this tradition and of course we had to oblige," said Bernal E. Smith II, TSD president and publisher.


Health Department launches first mobile APP

ph 600The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) on Wednesday launched a new campaign aimed at reducing the infant mortality rate utilizing mobile devices and social media.

"As we continue our work to reduce the infant mortality rate in Shelby County, we realize being innovative in our use of social media is necessary to increase our public outreach," said Yvonne Madlock, director of the SCHD.

B4BabyLife, now available for Android and iPhone users, is the department's first mobile application encouraging healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. B4BabyLife is designed to help prevent infant mortality and provide families with information and resources before, during and after pregnancy.


Annual ACT-SO talent search takes flight

NAACPACT 600The search for Memphis-area talent to participate in the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is underway propelled by a student orientation program held recently at First Baptist Church-Broad.

The ACT-SO program is a nationally recognized youth and achievement initiative sponsored by the NAACP, with high school students from the tri-state area encouraged to take part.

"The focus of a viable and effective local ACT-SO program is enrichment and mentorship," said Madeleine Taylor, executive director of the Memphis Branch NAACP.


A board’s certification and a teacher’s joy

30flowershaley 600Keisha Flowers Haley is a career educator who recently completed a task that "drove the joy of teaching deeper into me." And that's good news for her third-grade students at Newberry Elementary School and their circle of support.

Haley now is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, marking her among a dedicated group advancing through the organization's enhanced standards program.

Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher is an important and rigorous accolade for career educators. Even with her 14 years of experience, Haley said she found the process daunting.


One child at a time focus at Red Robin’s Academy

daycare 600The daycare business can be rewarding in so many ways. By providing a much-needed service to the community, many entrepreneurs can also gain financially. But according to Robin Mayweather, owner of, financial gain should not be the motivating factor to enter the childcare business. You must be passionate about childcare and providing a quality environment for learning.

Carlee McCullough: Tell me about yourself?

Robin Mayweather: My name is Robin Mayweather. I am a native Memphian who graduated from Hamilton High School. After high school, I attended and graduated from Florida A&M University. I have one daughter. I am a member of Greater Middle Baptist Church, where I serve in several capacities. I am a member of the Memphis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. I am the owner/operator of Red Robin's Academy.


Briefs & Things

29myronbookclubDSC 600Code RED: DST Spends2Win

The members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Memphis Alumnae & Shelby County (TN) Alumnae Chapters putting their collective and economic power behind an economic development effort that unfolds on Friday (Nov. 29) – the largest shopping day of the year.

The Deltas are supporting an initiative dubbed "Code RED (Revitalizing Economic Development): DST Spends2Win" on Friday, November 29, 2013 – the largest shopping day of the year. The local effort is part of the Southern Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated "African American Economic Empowerment Initiative" and it addresses the sorority's tenth component of its Financial Fortitude program – Entrepreneurship.The Sorority encourages entrepreneurship as an option to achieve self-sufficiency and economic survival.