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Greater Metro

At Ford Road, ‘No Excuses’ powers academic gains

FordRdelementary-600Afternoon dismissal at Ford Road Elementary School, located in Westwood Westwood, is remarkably quiet and orderly.

"I'm a detail-oriented, step-by-step person, and with that I like to think of all possible scenarios and put systems and operations in place to eliminate any potential problems," said principal Antonio Burt, who's now in his second year leading the school.

Before Burt took the helm in 2012, Ford Road Elementary was plagued by academic issues that had caused the school to fall into the bottom five percent of all elementary schools in the state of Tennessee, becoming one of 69 underperforming schools.


A nutritious breakfast recipe for busy families

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY Amid back-to-school excitement and the day-to-day rush don't overlook the importance of having a nutritious breakfast. A healthy breakfast provides great benefits for children in their early childhood development. This should be their biggest meal of the day, helping to keep their young minds sharp and alert.

The United Negro College Fund slogan – embedded in the national consciousness over four decades ago – declares that, "The mind is a terrible thing to waste." Well, an undernourished mind leads to a hungry and uncontrollable child.

A healthy breakfast recipe to blend into a child's morning features a simple waffle with some fruit on top and a glass of cold almond milk.


Tennessee Cop Busted Looking At Child Porn In Patrol Car

Greenville, Tennessee police officer Herbert Eugene Miller, 44 (pictured above), faces child pornography charges after investigators discovered that he used the computer in his patrol car to look at pictures of young girls, reports the Smoking Gun.

According to a forensic review broadly outlined in a criminal complaint filed on August 15, Miller knowingly received and possessed at least 80 images of child pornography, and his searches include ‘fifth grade girls,’ ‘naked middle school girls,’ ‘young puffy nipples,’ and ‘hot high school girls naked.’

According to FBI Agent Bianca Pearson, Miller worked July 27, 2013, 7:00 p.m. to July 28, 2013, 3:00 a.m. At approximately 1:48 a.m., a call came in and Miller joined other officers (who were driving separate cars) in responding. From the initial time of the call to it’s conclusion at 2:18 a.m., there was no internet activity in Miller’s car.

Miller was arrested and charged with two felony counts of receiving and possessing of child pornography. He made his first appearance in magistrate court on Thursday, and is expected in federal court next Wednesday.

His employment with the Greenville Police Department has reportedly been terminated.

Mother files suit; Skeptical about claim that her handcuffed son shot himself

teresa carter-400The mother of a young, black man fatally shot while handcuffed in the back seat of a police cruiser has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against two Jonesboro, Ark. police officers, their chief, and the city.

Attorneys for Teresa Carter filed the action one year after officers Ronald Marsh and Keith Baggett claimed while they were not looking, Chavis Carter shot himself with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Police Chief Michael Yates stands by claims that Carter committed suicide.


New District 4 School Board election ordered

district4-400A new election has been ordered in the School Board District 4 race, upholding a challenge to the Aug. 2, 2012 contest by longtime School board Commissioner Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.

Kevin Woods was declared the winner in the race by virtue of a 106-vote margin of victory. Whalum challenged the results. Whalum based his challenge on the assertion that the Election Commission erroneously assigned voters who lived in District 4 to other district races and also assigned voters to District 4 who did not live in the district.

Chancellor Kenny Armstrong ruled that no fraud had been committed, but said fraud was not a necessary element to invalidate the election.


‘Rest in love’ Tina Birchett

Tina-Birchett-600Tina L. Birchett – CEO and publisher of Birchett & Associates, comprised of the Sisterhood Outreach Summit & Showcase and GRACE® Magazine – has passed away.

News of Birchett's passing was a stunner. "What...Say it ain't so...," Carla Stotts Hills posted on Facebook soon after getting the word.

Many others shared the sentiment.

"Praying for Tina Birchett's family," Deidre Malone of the Carter-Malone Group, wrote in her post. "We were in Leadership Memphis together. She was an astute businesswoman and she will be missed."


J.U.G.S. - 60 years of good works

JUGS-1-600The year was 1953 and two Memphis teachers – Josephine Bridges and Dr. Sarah Chandler – were in their twenties when they founded a group called Just Us Girls.

Now the women's organization is known as Justice, Unity, Generosity, Service International - J.U.G.S. And this year, Memphis was the host site for "A Diamond Celebration" – the group's 60th anniversary.

"We renamed it Justice, Unity, Generosity, Service after we started having charity balls and needed a more serious name," said the 81-year-old Bridges, who conceived the plan to improve the lives of children using a small group of committed women.


Still relevant says Afro American Police Assoc.

Cliff Dates-600Grounded in the belief that a sound police department is at the core of any municipality, members of the Afro American Police Association (AAPA) are rock-solid sure that the group – now 40 years old – is still vitally relevant for the sake and safety of the City of Memphis.

This weekend, the AAPA will celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

President Chris Price says the AAPA's unity is still fed by its founders' commitment. While racism is less of an overt influence, the current AAPA leans heavily on its history to maintain its commitment and morale.


Mother Appealing Judge’s Baby Name Change From ‘Messiah’ to Martin

A judge in Tennessee has taken it upon herself to change the first name of  7-month-old  Messiah DeShawn Martin to “Martin.”

And just what prompted the judge to do that you ask? Well, the judge in her infinite wisdom is declaring it’s because “the word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

OK, says who? Oh yeah, the judge

Good Lord. How did this even come to be? According to a WBIR TV report, Jaleesa Martin and the father of Messiah could not agree on a last name, which is how they ended up at a child support hearing in Cocke County Chancery Court on Thursday.

That is when the first name came into question.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew serves the 4th Judicial District of Tenn. including the following counties: Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson, and Sevier.

The name change was part of Judge Ballew’s case; however, the parents did not think the first name would be changed.

Judge Ballew ordered the 7-month-old’s name be “Martin DeShawn McCullough.” It includes both parent’s last names but leaves out Messiah.

“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Judge Ballew said.

Martin responded saying, “I was shocked. I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs.”

According to Judge Ballew, it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Judge Ballew said.

Apparently judge Ballew has somehow missed know that the world is populated with numerous people named Jesus. That’s Jesus. In fact, we did a Google search of how many people are named “Jesus” in the and in the USA alone, the tally came to over 242,000!

So, at the very least, Judge Ballew’s reasoning is faulty at best and will no doubt be overturned.

Cato Johnson elected THEC chairman

Cato-Johnson-300The Tennessee Higher Education Commission – the public policy coordinating body for the state's public higher education system – has unanimously elected Cato Johnson as its new chairman.

"I look forward to helping the commission reach its goal of increasing the educational attainment beyond high school so that more Tennesseans with college degrees can make positive contributions to our workforce needs," said Johnson, who served as vice-chairman last year.

"I want to thank Cato for his work on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC)," Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. "I look forward to working with him as chair, and I appreciate his willingness to serve Tennessee in this new capacity."


LeMoyne-Owen College nets $1.7 million grant

LOC-200The LeMoyne-Owen College has won a five-year $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant for its new Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) implementation project. The funded project is the College's "Moving Forward – Steps to Graduate School" program.

Congressman Steve Cohen visited the LOC campus on Friday to help the college announce this major achievement.

"I'm glad that we have made this important investment in our students at LeMoyne-Owen College," said Cohen. "This effort to build on the school's already-proven projects will go a long way towards preparing undergraduates for successful careers in good-paying fields."


Star treatment greets Hanley students

Hanley elem-2-600Aspire Public Schools opened its first school outside of California on Monday (Aug. 5) and for the students at Hanley Elementary School that meant star treatment.

Students filed into Hanley on a red carpet, passing under a balloon-adorned archway. Each registered student received a free uniform shirt.

"This is our inaugural school year in Memphis," said James Willcox, Aspire's chief executive officer. "Our team has been planning for this day for over a year and is excited about bringing our educational model to the students here in Memphis."


Supt. Hopson marks historic start of 2013-14

Super Hopson-600At the end of the first day of school Monday (Aug. 5) in the new Shelby County Schools system, new Supt. Dorsey E. Hopson II Esq. reached out to parents and the community with a special letter.

Here's what he conveyed:

"The first day of our school year is undoubtedly a historic day for our 145,000 Shelby County Schools students and for all of Shelby County. Words cannot express how thankful I am for everyone who has worked so hard over the past several years to ensure we were prepared for this moment.

"As you are well aware, the past several months have been particularly demanding as we have transitioned to a unified school district. Though we have all faced a number of challenges, our students continue to impress me. Despite the merger-related distractions that are ever-present across our community, our students have received numerous national awards, made impressive academic gains, received prestigious scholarships and competed at the highest levels in sports and other extra curricular activities. The families of our students deserve much credit for keeping our students focused, as do our teachers and principals for their continued dedication.