GOOD BLUE Chief Larry Hill was well groomed, had a strong hand and the inviting demeanor of a favorite uncle. He was in full Shelby County Sheriff's Department gear – his money-green pants clashing with the blue collar badge shirt. To citizens, these colors have always meant that someone has arrived to handle some business.
I noticed that Chief Hill had enough stars and stripes on his uniform to create a flag. Yes, Larry Hill has been on the job and doing it well. He's not a Dallas Cowboys fan, so how else would he have collected so many stars?
Kelvin Cowans: Chief Hill, I see someone left all of this Pittsburgh Steeler stuff lying around your office, and you don't have to put up with that. People ought to treat you better than that, sir.
Daria Letcher, a high school student at Hutchison School, has been chosen as a global ambassador for People to People. On Sunday, June 30th, she will be traveling with a select group of students to Australia, where they will be visiting and getting hands-on experiences at the Zoo and community services.
The daughter of Sherrye Letcher, Daria will be spending a day with a Marine Biologist studying live organism in the ocean. She is 15 and a certified Diver.
Daria will be gone for 15 days. She had to do a lot of fund-raising and studying to prepare for the trip because all site visits are hands-on training. She is the only traveler from Tennessee going to Australia.
Our Children. Our Success., a new campaign created to bolster community support for public school children, kicked off across Memphis and Shelby County this week.
Led by a coalition of community partners, the campaign was launched to encourage the entire community to participate and invest in the lives, education and general wellbeing of our children.
"RISE, through its programs, has always served as a connector between parents, the community and the schools," says Linda Williams, president/CEO of the RISE Foundation, a campaign community partner. "The Our Children. Our Success. campaign is another way that we can support families with real time-information that's critical to the academic success of children this coming school year."
The Memphis City Council picks up on the challenging task of reaching agreement on an acceptable budget on Tuesday, with Councilman Harold Collins ready to offer an option.
Collins says he will propose in committee a budget measure that "has no layoffs, we invest in libraries, community centers and increase funding to pave streets. We also pay on the debt and add 10 million to the reserves."
GOOD BLUE: Kelvin Cowans takes readers inside the lives of Memphis and Shelby County Law Enforcement officers. 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 and its "Good Blue" column are here to share in-depth and inspiring commentary on a weekly basis with the community. Our goal is for the community to see that the only difference between them and good police officers is the Law. This week's focus is on Deputy Directory Anthony Berryhill.
Memphis Police Department Deputy Director Anthony Berryhill has 29 years of experience as a police officer. A graduate of Carver High School Class of 1977, this former three sport athlete had a future of college sports on his radar. Yes, long before he thought anything about someone breaking a speed limit, he was traveling at a pretty fast pace himself. "Basketball, football and track," he proudly said while raring back in his chair and piercing his eye's across the City of Memphis skyline. From that point on I forgot that I was in his 12th floor office because his conversation, equivalent to a glass of water, made me feel like we were on a park bench down in Handy Park on Beale Street.
Memphian Shaneka "Duke" Graham has overcome the formidable odds stacked against her to graduate from Lane College with her bachelor's degree in business in just three years instead of the standard four. On Sunday, June 23, Graham, who was salutatorian of Northside High School's Class of 2010, will receive her degree in the gymnasium of her college in Jackson, Tennessee.
It has been a long road for the young mother, who was raised in Memphis' Dixie Homes public housing project, where she shared a two-bedroom apartment with her seven siblings and their disabled parents. "Where I come from has always been my stepping stone to do better in life," Graham said. "The circumstances back then have made me value the way I live today."
Graham's roadmap out of poverty included consistent encouragement from her parents, as well as guidance and mentoring from the Memphis-based RISE Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers low-income Memphians to transform their financial wellbeing.
The City of Memphis is launching a mobility solution to help increase the safety of city workers and reduce numerous man-hours of redundant paperwork as it enacts programs to restructure neglected areas of the city and manage code violations more efficiently.
After the death of an employee on the job and reports of citizens violating ordinances, the city sought to improve zoning regulation enforcement, neighborhood clean-ups and visibility into the location of city workers. Xora's StreetSmart application, which operates on the AT&T network, is expected to help the City of Memphis eliminate man-hours lost to redundant, formerly paper-based processes that typically accompany its urban restoration programs while also providing features that allow the city to keep better tabs on worker movement.