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GOOD BLUE: Captain Faith Cunningham

goodblue-600"Grande Mocha is a mixture of coffee, hot chocolate and milk. If I had my way I'd definitely go by Starbucks every morning. Unfortunately, there's not one in my area, so I get by here as often as I can," said Captain Faith Cunningham of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Starbucks was a cool enough place for me, so I focused in on the interview. I'd read that she'd been on the force for 16 years, having spent eight years before that in the Reserves.

Kelvin Cowans: Tell me, what have you learned about people in all this time?

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans
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‘Biggest Losers’ a good thing at Methodist Hospital South

biglosers-600Undaunted by uncertainty, Linda Smith – Methodist South Hospital community development manager – took on the task of putting a positive spin on the term biggest loser. Her resolve is paying off.

As part of Methodist Healthcare's myHealthy Life wellness program, Methodist South Hospital recently held a "Biggest Losers" competition. Smith designed the program, which also includes fitness speaker sessions, walks with administrators and exercise classes.

"We weren't sure what kind of participation we would have when we started," said Smith. "But we had 54 to sign-up and most have kept a great deal of interest and motivation in the program."

Fifth Annual Health Fair and Family Fun Day on July 13

The New Tri-State Defender and the Orange Mound Community will be in full-collaboration mode on Saturday – and it's all about good health.

Following two years of taking its annual Let's Move Memphis Summer Health Fair and Family Fun Day to other parts of Greater Memphis, the TSD returns to The Mound. The 2013 event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Orange Mound Community Center, 2572 Park Ave.

Five years old, the TSD Health Fair and Family Fun Day was launched in Orange Mound. Last year, it was held at Douglas High School after being hosted at Manassas High School in 2011. Every year, the common denominator is health information and screenings in a fun interactive environment.

Avoid rush, plan ahead for school immunizations

healthcare-logo-160As the new school year approaches, the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) is reminding parents about immunization requirements before the school year begins.

Individuals falling into any of the following groups are required to receive immunizations: childcare facilities, preschool and pre-kindergarten; kindergarten; entering seventh grade; new students to Tennessee; and higher education.

MAHS scholar earns a prestigious summer journey

MAHSstudent-600Robbie Williams, a rising senior at Memphis Academy of Health Sciences High School, left Memphis Monday for a five-week experience at Phillips Academy Summer Session in Andover, Mass. She is one of only two Memphis-area students accepted to attend the prestigious summer program.

Founded in April 1778, the boarding school is one of the oldest and most competitive in the country. Its alumni list reflects a who's who of American leadership, including William Clarence Mathews (1901), attorney to Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey; Presidents, George H.W. Bush (1942) and George W. Bush (1964); and George Bundy Smith (1955), the African-American judge whose landmark 2004 decision ended the death penalty in New York state.

Last week, Robbie and her mother, Kellie Williams, shared their thoughts on the opportunity and her future.

Rest in peace Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland

Bland-Funeral-600Bobby "Blue" Bland was laid to rest Thursday afternoon after a 2-plus hour celebration of his life and legacy.

The celebration featured reflections by Memphis elected officials, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as well as Al Bell, David Porter and B.B. King. Blues Foundation president Jay Sieleman was one of the featured speakers as well.

Musical selections were performed by Otis Clay and Shirley Brown. The Bland family has asked that all memorials be sent to The Blues Foundation's HART Fund.

Voting Rights Act: The new battle begins

votingright-600In Memphis and various cities throughout the nation, the Voting Rights Act battle has begun anew in the wake of an aggressive ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the High Court branded Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, scrapping the formula used to determine which states and localities need preclearance before changing their voting laws.

Although Tennessee was not among the states required to seek preclearance, don't expect Memphis-based Voting Rights Act supporters – such as the local branch of the NAACP – to sit out the fight to gain a replacement for what many label as the "most effective tool to prevent voter disenfranchisement."

LeMoyne-Owen College nets accreditation through 2023

27LOC-400The LeMoyne-Owen College has the official word administrators, staff, faculty and students had wanted to hear – reaffirmed.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS) sent word June 20 that the college's accreditation is reaffirmed for the next 10 years. SACS is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 Southern states for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.

Accreditation is the education community's version of the "good housekeeping seal." The stamp of approval also is necessary for the college to compete for federally-funded research grants and for its students to receive federally-subsidized financial aid.