Greater Metro

Contract award raises question of fairness in Shelby County

Will minority- and women-owned firms ever get a fair shake in the awarding of contracts issued by local municipal governments?

While some will argue that the question is loaded and that it brushes away any measure of progress, there is a fresh reason why it is being bandied about in various quarters of Memphis.

In a protest letter recently sent to several county officials, including Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr., three locally owned African-American firms are claiming foul. Their owners and operators say the county sidestepped them to hire a firm that did not meet at least two of the priority minimum qualifications supposedly demanded by the county in a recent contract bid. They note that Caissa Public Strategy – the firm that secured the contract – happened to be white-owned.


Legally tagged a nuisance, Beale Street club shutdown

Club Crave – the controversial Beale St. nightspot – was shutdown permanently on Wednesday by virtue of a Shelby County Environmental Court order.

"This is a major victory for the city, the Downtown Entertainment District, and Beale Street," said Mayor A C Wharton. "Rest assured we will continue in our efforts to identify a more productive use for this property through our ongoing talks and negotiations with the property's owner."


Memphis teachers called to financial literacy summit

Teachers who attend a Jan. 26 financial literacy summit at the University of Memphis will each receive a $50 gift card from Amazon and financial literacy lessons that they can teach to their students and apply to their own lives.

The free summit is being sponsored by the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, which is administered by the Tennessee Treasury Department, and Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir.


A century of service, sisterhood for Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Deltas-1-600In 1913, African-American women marching in support of Women's Suffrage in Washington, D.C. were told to go to the back of the parade. The young college students who founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were among those marchers.

"As college students, our founders wanted to use their collective strengths to promote academic excellence and assist persons in need," said Shirley Payne Page, president of the Shelby County (TN) Alumnae Chapter. "To keep this vision alive, sorors all over the world are coming together to celebrate 100 years of achievements."


Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!

The nation's annual celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy hits full tilt on Monday with the observance of the national holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Myriad events are set here in Memphis, where he was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on the evening of April 4, 1968. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929.


NAACP taps co-chairs for 37th Freedom Fund Gala

Kroger executive Tim Brown and Shannon A. Brown of FedEx Express will co-chair the Memphis Branch NAACP's 37th Annual Freedom Fund Gala scheduled for March 20 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Tim Brown will serve as the corporate fundraising co-chair and Shannon A. Brown will serve as the community co-chair for 2013. The interracial chairs represent an effort to cross racial barriers and work for a common cause within the Memphis community.


Weight loss: Healthy Church Challenge II

The second annual Healthy Church Challenge – 100-day weight loss competition for churches in West Tennessee – kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Mississippi Blvd. Family Life Center, 70 North Bellevue.

BlueCross BlueShield® of Tennessee is presenting the Challenge, which puts the focus on weight loss, healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.


Dr. Cash steps aside as MCS superintendent

Dr-Kriner-Cash-600Come Aug. 1, Dr. Kriner Cash no longer will be associated with Memphis City Schools. Cash, who has served as superintendent since July 1, 2008, resigned Thursday night.

The move by Cash came at a special board meeting. The Shelby County Board of Education accepted his resignation, which has him two-stepping into his final departure. Cash will man an advisory position through July 31. The severance package includes pay equal to six months of his regular salary. Also included is $17,000 for moving expenses.


Violence by gun hits home

11wharton guns-600Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is among more than 750 mayors who have signed onto a letter to President Obama outlining approaches to addressing the issue of gun violence nationally.

The letter to the President came from Mayors Against Illegal Guns of which Wharton is a member. Wharton's decision to stand with the mayors' group comes as he unfolds what his office calls a "comprehensive approach to gun violence."


Headed to Memphis: South Africa’s Dr. Boesak

Allan-Boesak-600Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak, a veteran of the struggle for a free South Africa, will be the guest speaker during the 10:30 a.m. worship service at First Baptist Church – Broad on Sunday.

Dr. Boesak rose to leadership in the African National Congress, where he worked along side the Nobel Peace Prize winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who once called Boesak the most powerful orator ever produced by South Africa.


New Council Chair Ford: The ‘house’ is open all year round

edmundford-300Memphis City Council Chairman Edmund Ford Jr. says the open house held at City Hall Tuesday (Jan 8) will be his way of reaching out to the public as he presides over the council for 2013.

Ford envisions meetings scheduled on a quarterly basis and he hopes large crowds will attend for what he says is a sincere effort to connect more citizens to City Hall.


Post-funeral shooting no match for pastor & congregation

Pastor-Shelton-600The founding scripture for Promise Land Church in Frayser is Psalm 37:5, which reads, "Commit thy way unto the LORD, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass."

Senior Pastor Elliot R. Shelton said the church at 3430 Overton Crossing added an addendum to its mission statement this year, namely that Promise Land Church is dedicated to building people of courage, competence and character.


Turning 10, The Stax Museum takes note

Stax-1-600For more than a decade, a vacant, overgrown lot greeted anyone looking for the original site of Stax Records.

A single State of Tennessee historic marker on the sidewalk delivered a message to visitors from around the world. Yes, this was once home to the label that launched the careers of such soul music luminaries as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers and dozens of other artists who changed music and popular culture forever.