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Greater Metro

MLGW, Neighborhood Christian Center to donate space heaters, blankets

MLGW, Neighborhood Christian Center to donate space heaters, blankets

MLGW is teaming up with the Neighborhood Christian Center to assist qualified low-income seniors and physically challenged residents of Shelby County through the Power of Warmth Program. The program provides space heaters and electric blankets to eligible MLGW customers.

The Neighborhood Christian Center will be accepting applications and screening eligible households for heaters or blankets at 785 Jackson Ave. on Tuesday (Jan. 7) through Wednesday (Jan. 8) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To qualify for the Power of Warmth Program, applicants must be a resident of Shelby County as well as disabled and/or a low-income senior, age 60 or older.

 

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Memphis Black Arts Alliance suspends operations

Memphis Black Arts Alliance suspends operations

The headline read, "NOTICE To Students, Supporters Partners & General Public" and it was dated Jan. 1, 2014. In the brief electronic message that followed, one could sense the pain being experienced by the sender, Bennetta "Bennie" Nelson West, executive director/founder of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. – FireHouse Community Arts Center and Academy

"Due to personal and organizational issues, the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. – FireHouse Community Arts Center and Academy will suspend operations, effective today until March 31, 2014," the message read. "In the interim, with guidance from key stakeholders, we will assess the future of MBAA."

West's reference to personal issues relates to a chilling Facebook entry posted to her site on Dec. 22. In part, the post read, "Dear Facebook Friends – I sadly report that my son, Joshua Benjamin Malekbu Parks[,] was responsible for his death, the death of the mother of two of his five children and critical injuries to the children's grandmother on Wednesday, Decemb...er 18th."

 

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Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest," is celebrated from Dec. 26th to Jan., 1st annually, with the purpose of honoring, acknowledging and saluting African-American heritage.

Created by Dr. Ron Karenga, the holiday was first observed from Dec. 26, 1966 to Jan. 1, 1967. An emphasis is put on the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) – Umoja (oo-MOE-jah), Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah), Ujima (oo-JEE-mah), Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah), Nia (nee-AH), Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) and Imani (ee-MAH-nee).

As Kwanzaa has aged, the celebration has grown, with a number of ceremonies and events now offered throughout Greater Memphis. Two groups – Memphis Kwanzaa International and Mid-South Kwanzaa Incorporated – provide seven days of events.

 

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Community in Photos

With the holidays as the back drop, life in the Bluff City alternately sped up and slowed down as people moved about serving each other, completing tasks big, small and in between, giving thanks and having fun.

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LEGACY: Curtis Lee Braxton, aka Captain Curtis Lee

LEGACY: Curtis Lee Braxton, aka Captain Curtis Lee

On Saturday (Dec. 21st), an array of government officials, industry officials and local and national recording artists are expected to help the family of Curtis Lee Braxton say farewell to the man many knew as an accomplished performer, recording artist, band director, voice-over artist and radio personality.

Known as Captain Curtis Lee, Mr. Braxton died Dec. 11 after a brief illness. He was 69.

Services for Mr. Lee will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Greater Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church located at 1072 South Wellington. The wake will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at Superior Funeral Home's south location at 460 E. McLemore.

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Officer April Colbert

Officer April Colbert

(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 Officer April Colbert of the Memphis Police Department.)

Officer April Colbert, a member of the Memphis Police Department Airways Station since 2011, is soft-spoken yet fiercely determined to bring people together. Born on Chicago's Southside, she moved to Memphis at age 13 with her mother, brother and sister. Hers is not a story of a youngster who grew up wanting to become a police officer.

An East High School graduate (1998), Colbert said her journey to the police force was inspired by a strange exchange between her and a Memphis police officer who had just given her a $200-plus speeding ticket. I recently caught up with Officer Colbert at a coffee shop off Walnut Grove and Tillman for this "Good Blue" conversation.

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