The 30th annual Economic Development Conference of the National Organization of Black County Officials was woven with a thread that accented the inextricable tie between education, healthcare and economic development.
During the five-day conference (April 23rd-29th) held in Memphis and Tunica County, Mississippi, that link brought Soulsville Academy students in contact with White House officials and representatives of the Obama administration. The essential connection also was amplified by the presence of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, and Dr. Eric Whitaker, a doctor-turned-financial consultant who is used to calling the President and nation's first lady by their first names.
Dr. Whitaker, physician investor and business development consultant for Grosvenor Capital Management, was the keynote speaker during a luncheon at the Rendezvous. Known as a Chicago friend and basketball/golf buddy of the President, Whitaker said he thinks of healthcare holistically, meaning the interplay of health, education and economic development.
Early voters in the Whitehaven area outpaced those in the rest of the city's satellite voting locations by a wide margin as May 1st – the final day for early voting – approached.
Casting their ballots at Abundant Grace Fellowship Church at 1574 East Shelby Drive, 1,059 people voted, according to the Shelby County Election Commission. Next was the polling spot at Riverside Baptist Church (3560 S. Third) with 926 voters, and Bethel Church (5586 Stage Rd.) with 762.
The highest total was the downtown Shelby County Office Building with 1437 votes.
Two of the three candidates in the Democratic race for Shelby County Mayor submitted and completed The New Tri-State Defender candidate questionnaire in time for us to evaluate and consider their answers towards our final endorsement. Those candidates were Deidre Malone and the Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.
Steve Mulroy did not submit the questionnaire. All three candidates were collectively sent the questionnaire via email on April 10th.
In evaluating the questionnaires that were submitted, both candidates provided candid and thorough answers to questions on all areas of responsibility and issues, including economic development, education, crime, youth and administration. Both candidates are well educated, dedicated, family-oriented, of high character and are passionate individuals committed to serving their community.
The eclectic brothers of the Epsilon Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. recently came together to celebrate the chapter's rich and full 89-year history.
The celebration (April 19th) was held at the historic Four Way Grill, which was well suited for the recognition and reverence of an Omega chapter that has meant much to the Mid-South. Filled with fellowship and the sharing of stories (some even true), the outing included special recognition of the Episilon Phi Chapter's Golden Ques (GQ).
The GQ are men of Omega who have attained 65 years of age; have met financial requirements as set forth by the chapter; embrace the cardinal principles of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; and readily fraternize with like-minded brothers of the fraternity.
"I really didn't think it was that big a deal – you know, texting and driving. All my friends text or check their email. We all do it. To me, it seemed like doing them both at the same time wasn't really hard. Actually, it's pretty easy to me. But I don't want to get caught doing it. I know it's against the law. I'm stopping because I'm just scared of getting stopped by the police."
– Jackie, 17
– Southwind High School
"Jackie," who feels that texting and driving is an easy prospect, is not alone. According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, about 55 percent of teens nationwide also feel, "It's easy to text and drive."
Apparently, it is not. The numbers don't lie. Distracted driving, or texting while driving, is the number one killer of teens nationwide, according to the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office, headed up by Director Kendell Poole.
Thomas Y. Norton, a 17-year-old senior patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop #144, netted the highest award any scout can earn – the Eagle Scout Court of Honor Award. It is a sign of his leadership ability, which he drew upon to spearhead the renovation of the children's nursery at his place of worship, Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church.
With the help of Troop #144, friends and church and family members, Norton was able to go beyond the $1,500 budgeted to renovate the nursery. The nursery enhancements feature new paint and upgrades, including the electronics. The result is a more inviting learning space for the children at MBCC.
"This project has inspired me to become a better leader and businessman, which I believe will help me in my future endeavors," said Thomas, a senior at Memphis University School, who plans to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and major in Supply Chain Management.
The smell of mouth-watering food filled the air, vendors selling a variety of products from incense to jewelry to African Shea Butter lined the area and music blared as a healthy flow of people busily bustled about, stopping to browse the merchandise and sample the food.
This was the template scene for the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, which kicked off April 16th and stretched through the following Sunday. On this – day three – the focus at Robert R. Church Park in Downtown Memphis was on children and senior citizens Day.
The 2014 event honored the West African country of Burkina Faso. Africa in April, which is run by Dr. David L. Acey and his wife, Yvonne B. Acey, annually honors different African cultures. And the cultural exposure that it brings to Memphis is important, according to one of the vendors present at the event.