03/24/2005: Memphis News: reading the Memphis papers so you don't have to
Apologies for stealing Mike's tagline, but he doesn't appear to be using it right now. As always, I note that the Commercial Appeal website requires free registration; you can get around that by using BugMeNot.
March 17: In an interesting juxtaposition, the Tennessee State Senate Ethics Committee is investigating alleged improprieties by Sen. John Ford, while Ford's nephew, U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Jr., is issuing a press release touting his support for stronger ethics for elected officials. In addition to the State Senate Ethics Committee proceedings, information surfaced that linked Senator Ford to an attempt to induce Tennessee State University to enter into a no-bid contract with a Milwaukee company for which Ford had done consulting work.
The statues outside the entrance to the University of Memphis's Egyptian Gallery will probably not be there for too much longer. The statues are loaners from the British Museum, and the Museum has asked for them back (on the way back, they'll spend some time at a Santa Ana, California museum).
In what may be a first for both chambers of the Tennessee legislature, the sound systems of both chambers played "The Theme from Shaft" as Memphian Isaac Hayes made an appearance before both houses of the legislature. Tennessee native Hayes was being honored as a "Tennessee Treasure".
March 18: On the never-ending John Ford beat, the state Registry of Election Finance issued a show cause order to Ford. The state board, which oversees legally mandated disclosures in campaign funding, is investigating allegations that Ford improperly diverted over $15,000 in campaign funds to pay for his daughter's wedding reception. Meanwhile, back in Memphis, Ford is asking the Juvenile Court to reduce his court ordered child support, on the grounds that his income is now lower since he's lost his controversial, TennCare related consulting contract.
March 19: Memphis isn't the only city in Shelby County that is facing financial difficulties. The mayor of Bartlett, a Memphis suburb, has ordered department heads to come up with plans to shave $5 million from the city budget, in lieu of tax increases, cutting services and/or city layoffs.
Shelby County Government is refusing to disclose details of three pending proposals by private prison management companies; the County is looking at proposals to outsource operation of the County's correctional center and downtown jail to a private company, and alleges that releasing details of the pending proposals might jeopardize ongoing negotiations.
And meanwhile, Sen. John Ford continues to provide the best return for your entertainment dollar; this time the Senator sent a letter to 5 members of the State Senate Ethics Committee which contained a postscript saying, "Those of us who live in glass houses should not be the first to throw stones." In response, Sen. Ron Ramsey, chair of the Ethics Committee, has stated that he'll ask the Committee to broaden its probe into allegations of improprieties by Ford. Ford, of course denies that the postscript was a threat, while also denying wrongdoing in the various other controversies he's involved in (such as the TSU contract and wedding reception allegations).
March 22: On the lighter side, Tina Palmer, an administrative secretary with the Germantown Fire Department, may be the Memphis area's biggest Volkswagen Beetle enthusiast. She has an impressive collection of Beetles of all sizes, from actual cars she restores, down to various toy and model Beetles.
March 24: Never one to miss jumping on a bandwagon when they see one, the Commerical Appeal takes advantage of the Terri Schiavo media circus to run an article about Memphis area residents who've faced similar decisions.
The Shelby County Commission, examining allegations that the "no-compete" clause which allows the Memphis Grizzlies to veto events from playing at the Pyramid or the Mid South Coliseum has cost Memphis a number of concerts and other events, is looking into getting the Grizzlies to relax the no-compete clause. The clause has been blamed for a number of events being booked into the nearby DeSoto Civic Center instead of venues within Memphis; the most noteworthy example being the September 18 concert by Motley Crue.
Len on 03.24.05 @ 08:35 PM CST