Thu04172014

Greater Metro

Cohen-Wade rift gets fresh airing

wade 600The rift between U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Randy Wade, the congressman's former district director, had been relatively quiet until it was reported in a story last week in The New Tri-State Defender that the congressman had filed an ethics complaint against Wade for using his congressional title to endorse a Tennessee state representative in his re-election bid.

The congressman did not file an ethics complaint, said Marilyn Dillihay, the congressman's chief of staff. In fact, Dillihay wants to set the record straight that she communicated with the House Committee on Ethics when she learned of Wade's endorsement of State Rep. G. A. Hardaway.

"I'm responsible for the ethics of this office," said Dillihay, noting that she drafted a letter to the ethics committee regarding a possible ethics violation on Wade's part and that the congressman only affixed his signature to it.

"If Steve didn't report on what Randy was doing, it would have been an ethics violation against the congressman. He has to report on activities in his office. So it had to be reported."

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Does Brown’s arrest put the Juvenile Court system ‘on blast?’

joebrown 600With ABC's "Good Morning America" among the flood of media outlets wanting him to give a fuller version of his reaction to being charged and arrested at Shelby County Juvenile Court Monday, Judge Joe Brown called The New Tri State Defender Tuesday morning just a bit after midnight to give his first full explanation of what he charges really spurred the incident.

Brown is running for Shelby County District Attorney in the upcoming Democratic Party Primary, with a one-on-one against incumbent Republican Amy Weirich a likely possibility. Soon after his arrest, the feedback included assertions that a stunt had been orchestrated to boost Brown's campaign.

"This was not a publicity stunt. This was the real Joe Brown in real time and in person," said Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman Bryan Carson. "What this incident has really done has put Juvenile Court on blast to show people how the courts around here operate and how crucial it is for them to step forth and support these candidates. Just watch the facts."

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‘We have to heal ourselves from the inside out’

SampsonDavis 600A 2014 call to action reverberated through the Cook Convention during the 38th annual Freedom Fund Gala hosted by the Memphis Branch NAACP.

"We all have an obligation to give back. There is more that can be done. Get involved," said keynote speaker Dr. Sampson Davis. "We have to heal ourselves from the inside out."

A physician, author and founder of The Three Doctors Foundation, Dr. Davis' notoriety rocketed after a visit to the "Oprah Winfrey Show" with his two childhood friends, who made a pact to become doctors.

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Briefs & Things

briefthing 600Multicultural Job Fair accepting registration

Mid-South area job seekers will have the chance to connect with local businesses at the inaugural Multicultural Job Fair on April 13 from noon until 6 p.m. at the Hilton Memphis at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd.

The event is hosted by ContigoCreative, a Memphis-based Multicultural marketing and public relations firm. Independent Bank, Copeland Coaching and the Workforce Investment will conduct career development workshops offering assistance with resume development, interview skills, proper attire, branding yourself, social media and financial responsibility.

The Memphis Public Library will offer access to its JobLINC Bus for all attendees to use computers and job boards.

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With the community’s youth in mind, April 4th Foundation ‘steps’ forward

April4 600The April 4th Foundation will hold its 14th annual fundraising banquet on Friday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel.

The banquet supports the foundation's youth component of the "Footsteps" Program, which teaches students about the civil rights era through direct interaction with civil rights icons and visitation of historic places. The mission of the foundation is to "Tell the story...pass it on" and in the process detail the sacrifices and successes.

The Rev. Johnson Saulsberry Jr., founder of the April 4th Foundation, said the banquet has become "everything we wanted it to be, but there's always room for growth. We look for that growth through the young people that we have in our youth program to help us grow into a bigger and better organization in the future."

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Is Wilkins the man to unseat Cohen?

wilkins 600A first floor suite in the historic 14-story Shrine Building at the corner of Front Street and Monroe Avenue is ground zero for The Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. The architecture is exquisite and furnished with the trappings of success. But Wilkins is willing to trade much of it for a fulltime seat in Congress.

"I'm a lifelong Memphian who was raised in South Memphis. I want to give back to the community any way I can," he said. "I've been practicing law for 23 years and volunteered my time, talent and resources because I care about the community. So running for Congress is a natural extension of giving back."

Wilkins is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for the right to represent Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, an area entirely contained in Shelby County and includes the city of Memphis and portions of Collierville and Germantown.

 

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More is better as Civil Rights Museum flashes peek of future

museum 600The National Civil Rights Museum gets much more than a facelift with its $28 million renovation.

That certainty was on display Wednesday as The New Tri-State Defender took advantage of a preview tour. Care has been taken to maintain the integrity of the museum, which opened in 1991. And while 100 percent of the original content still is there, technology has moved in, with multiple, virtually interactive and touch-screen displays.

The changeover has been underway since last November and the sounds of continued work spoke to the museum's evolution as members of the media got a sneak-peek tour. The doors of the unique museum are set to reopen at 11 a.m. on April 5th. The wish list for the reopening scenario includes a visit by President Barack Obama, who has not yet said whether he will accept the extended invitation.

 

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‘Teens 4 Pink’ join fight against breast cancer

teens 600Teen girls won't be pretty in pink this year just for the fun of it. Many have signed up to duke it out with breast cancer as "Pink Ambassadors" for the Sisters Network, a national organization of African-American breast cancer survivors.

"We are just so excited about launching this new initiative with teen girls," said Carolyn Whitney, president of the Memphis chapter. "Out of the 40 national affiliates of the Sisters Network, Memphis was chosen as one of two pilot cities to kick off this new program with teens. The other pilot project is in Houston."

From Whitney's vantage point, "Teens 4 Pink" couldn't have begun in any other American city but Memphis for one simple but tragic reason. 

 

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Memphis uses music in push for Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment

healthcare 600Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has teamed with several local hospitals and community partners to launch a musical message encouraging citizens to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace by the March 31st deadline.

"Music resonates with the people of our city in a way that is difficult to explain. That's why this idea of slipping a critical message into the melody of a song was a pretty safe bet from our perspective," said Wharton.

The song at the center of the campaign is "The Marketplace," a rewrite of the 1979 soul classic "Come Go with Me" made famous by Teddy Pendergrass. It showcases Memphis vocalist and keyboardist, Will Graves. T. O. Crivens, who is featured as the lead guitarist, produced the regarding.

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‘Go Phigga’ comes from the heart

gophigga 600Fresh off a trip down south to Austin, Texas, 29-year-old rapper George Purnell, aka Go Phigga, of Bottom Coast Ent/Numb3rs Committee, was still in rare form as we began our interview. Turned up and passionate about music and the mark he plans to make on it, he left no stones unturned when speaking about his experiences, influences and perceptions of the music business.

"I've dropped 3 albums already – "4ever Motivated," "M.S.O.M.1" and "M.S.O.M.1.5" – but most recently I just finished performing this past weekend at the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music, Art and Film Festival in Austin, Texas," said Go Phigga, clearly excited about the annual Spring Break festival that he recognizes as one of the biggest in the music game.

"I have performed at this event for like the last three or four years and I truly enjoy it and the fans because every year is different. The fans really get a chance to see you up close and personal and take pictures with you and ask you about your music. Then also there are countless mega-artists there. Like this year you had artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Slim Thugg, Bun B., Face Mobb, Big Sean, Future, Tech 9, Nas, etc. So yes, it was really nice."

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Special ‘Institute’ session asks, ‘What is a black man?’

institute 600African-American young men – several of them – took home a few life lessons after attending The Black Man Can Institute at the Juvenile Intervention & Faith-based Followup (JIFF) last Saturday (March 15th).

The Institute was a one-day series of workshops that focused on different ways to uplift, empower and inspire young men of color.

"We have a vision to bring the Institute to every city in America and be a catalyst for change in the life of a young man," said Brandon Frame, the Institute's founder. "In partnering with R.L. Thompson and Community Service, Inc., we had the amazing opportunity to complete that purpose."

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Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center to open Saturdays

reinstatement 600The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will open its Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center for five Saturdays starting this week due to the high volume of customers seeking to reinstate driving privileges this time of year.

The Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center, located inside the Hickory Ridge Mall, 6075 Winchester Rd., will serve customers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 22 and 29, April 4, 11, and 26. (The special Saturday hours will not take place on Easter weekend.)

The extra hours of service are for reinstatement services only.

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Hamburgled?

wagetheft 600Days after class-action lawsuits claimed McDonald's is deliberately and systematically stealing employees' pay, workers and community and faith leaders protested Tuesday in Memphis – part of a nationwide series of actions calling on the fast-food giant to stop its illegal wage theft.

Holding signs that read, "Have you had your break today? I haven't but it was taken out of my check anyway," Memphis fast-food workers and supporters demanded McDonald's stop what they called illegal theft of workers' pay. Workers spoke of the company forcing them to work off the clock, work through breaks, etc.

"We want to take care of our families, but it's hard for us to do that when we don't make enough and McDonald's is stealing our wages," said McDonald's worker, Ashley Cathey. "I rarely receive a break, yet those hours are always taken out of my check. We need to get paid for the hours we work and that's why we're fighting for $15 and a union."

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