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R.I.D.D. poised to rid streets of distracted, texting drivers

RIDD 600"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.

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Outstanding Boy Scout gives back to the church

goodscout 600Thomas 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.

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Don’t knock V. Stiviano’s gold-digging hustle

sterlingwoman 600Like every other adult with Internet access, I've been following the Donald Sterling saga since TMZ released the hidden recording of his racist rants on Friday night. Over the past many days, it's all anyone seems to talk about. Surely, recently departed "Scandal" co-star Columbus Short is somewhere thanking the gods for taking the attention off him.

I've taken to calling this whole affair As the Plantation Turns (which I can't take credit for). The unique cast of characters – the geriatric billionaire racist sugar daddy, his not-so-estranged wife and the biracial mastermind mistress; the guest appearance by basketball legend, businessman and HIV activist Magic Johnson (who was unfairly dragged into all this mess); and the setting of professional basketball during the high-stakes playoffs are better than anything a novelist could create. This all lends credence to the popular joke that sports are reality TV for men.

At the heart of this drama is V. Stiviano – a mysterious woman who apparently has gone by several different names – whose voice is heard on the TMZ tapes that started this whole debacle. So the story seems to go like this: Sterling's billionaire wife was angry that her husband spent around $2 million on gifts for his lady "friend" of four years, a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. The Los Angeles Times reports that over four years, Sterling bought Stiviano four luxury cars and a $1.8 million duplex home in Stiviano's name and gave her $240,000 in "living expenses."

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Barnes & Noble: Gone by New Year’s?

BandN 600If anyone gives you a Barnes & Noble gift card, be sure to cash it in by the end of the year.

This may be the last year that Barnes & Noble bookstores remain open.

It's bad news for people who love books. It's worse news for the next generation of readers, who may never experience buying a book in a bookstore.

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Do corporate leaders buy or earn diversity awards?

dsterling 600The NBA's decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million for his racist comments is big news.

But the story behind the story is that Sterling, who had a long record of discriminatory conduct, donated money to the Los Angeles NAACP and was even honored by the organization with awards on two separate occasions.

In May, the Clippers owner and real estate billionaire was set to receive a lifetime achievement award — his second from the civil rights organization. But then things unraveled right before his eyes.

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