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haslam 600City Councilman Wanda Halbert sat on the front row Wednesday morning as Gov. Bill Haslam, Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. took the lead in welcoming Conduit Global to the Memphis area. Like most others gathered in the FedExForum lobby, she had been told little more than there would be a "big announcement."

By all accounts, a new call center, 1000 new jobs and an $8 million investment in building and infrastructure improvements to Goodlett Farms Office Park property in Shelby County adds up to a "big announcement."

Halbert was among numerous public officials who meshed with economic development proponents, business types and others on hand for the first public details about Conduit's move to Greater Memphis. She was among the few who openly placed the "exciting" news – which she immediately shared via her Facebook page – within the context of an ongoing local struggle with unemployment and underemployment.



Conduit Global taps Memphis for new call center operations

haslam 600Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Conduit Global officials today (Jan. 22nd) announced that the company will locate a new, 1,000-seat call center at the Goodlett Farms Office Park in Shelby County.

Conduit Global, one of the world's largest independent, fully-integrated business process outsourcing companies, will invest $8 million in building and infrastructure improvements and create more than 1,000 new jobs in Memphis.

The announcement was made at the FedExForum lobby, with numerous city and county officials on hand.


NAACP Board Chair Brock to speak at Alpha Kappa Alpha Event

brock 600Roslyn Brock, who made history in February 2010 when she was unanimously elected as the 14th Chairman of the NAACP, will deliver the keynote address at the Founders' Day celebration of the Beta Epsilon Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

The event takes place at 3 p.m. Feb. 9th at First Baptist Church-Broad, where the pastor is the Rev. Keith Norman, president of the Memphis Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Brock is the youngest person and fourth woman to hold the position of NAACP chairman.


Memphians to unite for MLK Weekend of reflection and service

mlkjohnsonMemphis residents will join together in the spirit of reflection and service for the city's first-ever "Be the Dream" MLK Weekend, a series of events to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"His message was broader than one for minorities alone," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. says. "He belonged to all of us, and for this weekend we will celebrate this universal, enduring legacy."

Be the Dream festivities will kick off Saturday (Jan. 18th), with a youth symposium at the Cook Convention Center. The event will offer resources to help guide youth ages 15-19 in their search for summer employment and post-secondary educational opportunities.



At 32, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center builds on ‘Legacy of Nonviolence’

justic 600Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 53 on Jan. 15, 1982. It was a Friday and on that day the founders of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center (MSPJC) opened its doors.

This Saturday, a gala event at First Congregational Church in the Cooper-Younger community will mark the organization's 32nd anniversary.

"'Living the Legacy of Nonviolence' is our celebration of resistance," said Jacob Flowers, MSPJC executive director. "We stand on the shoulders of great men and women that we honor and appreciate. The broad canon of work we've accomplished is because of the lessons we learned from those who went before us: nonviolent social change is permanent change."


Battle-tested Lady Rams reflect new life at Southside Middle

southside 600Southside's Lady Rams basketball team is no stranger to tough battles. After an 0-4 start, this year's season had the look of a battle royal.

At the same time, Southside Middle School as a whole was fighting for something more important than a basketball game – keeping the school from being absorbed by the Achievement School District (ASD). While many sing the praises of the ASD for its commitment to help turn around low-performing schools, that wasn't the tune resonating at Southside from its faculty, student body and community supporters.

The fight to keep Southside from being taken over by the ASD went public, airing on various local news outlets. Armed with a level-five "passing" grade from the state, Southside avoided the ASD net. That seemed to breathe fresh air into the entire school, including the Southside girls basketball team.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

kingevents 600Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday – what would have been his 85th – was Wednesday (Jan. 15th), with the federal holiday set to be observed on Monday (Jan. 20th).

Myriad observances and events are planned throughout Greater Memphis. Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is calling on Memphians to "Be the Dream" during a weekend of reflection and service honoring Dr. King's legacy.

Here is a partial list of scheduled events:


A ‘Sigma-sational’ celebration as Phi Beta Sigma turns 100

sigmas 600On Beale St., near what used to be the Bumpus Beale Avenue Grocery, is a historical marker that served as the destination of a march from the DoubleTree Hotel on Union Ave. in Downtown Memphis last Saturday (June 11). The good-spirited marchers shared a fraternal bond with the man the marker honored, Abram Langston Taylor.

A century ago – January 9th, 1914 – at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Taylor became the principal founder of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., along with Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown. Four years earlier, he had conceived the idea at the grocery while talking to a recent Howard graduate about Greek letter fraternities.

That story was briefly recounted as the early Saturday morning marchers respectfully assembled for a wreath-laying ceremony. Theodore J. Lewis Jr. helped put things in context. He's the Southwestern Region Director, Tau Iota Sigma ~ Memphis Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.


Update: Pending litigation has Dist. 4 election in limbo

updated4 600Seventeen months after newcomer Kevin Woods defeated the Rev. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. for the Shelby County School Board District 4 position, and five months after a new election was ordered, uncertainty still rules.

On Aug. 2, 2012, Woods was declared the winner by 106 votes. Whalum, the incumbent, wasted no time filing a complaint to contest the election results. He named the Shelby County Election Commission and other parties. His Aug. 22, 2012 complaint alleged that the election was "fraught with error as thousands of voters were disenfranchised".

Whalum and his attorney contend that there is only one solution and that is to "discard the election results and hold a vote." On Aug. 13, 2013, Chancellor Kenny Armstrong reached a decision.


Wilkins says ‘I am’ to 9th District run

wilkins 600With little more than an enthusiastic "Yes," attorney Ricky E. Wilkins confirmed this week that he has picked up a qualifying petition and is planning a campaign to unseat 9th District incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen.

Whispered for several months now, Wilkins' filing is seen by some as the kickoff point for the race.

Deep in a think-tank session when The New Tri-State Defender reached out for comment, Wilkins would only say, "You can report that I have officially picked up my petition and you can be assured that I am planning a full and complete run for the office."



Family tragedy puts spotlight on depression

tragedy 600Family and friends of Joshua Benjamin Nelson "Malekebu" Parks gathered last Saturday (Jan. 4) at First Baptist Church-Broad Street for a memorial service. It was part of the healing process unfolding after a triple shooting that left Parks and the mother of his children dead.

Police ruled the tragedy as a murder-suicide.

Parks, along with the 39-year-old mother of his two youngest children, were found inside a Binghampton apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Parks, 34, died later at a local hospital. The 54-year-old grandmother of Parks' children was found just outside the apartment door in critical condition.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

kingevents 600Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday – what would have been his 85th – is next Wednesday (Jan. 15th), with the federal holiday observed on Jan. 20th.

Myriad observances and events are planned throughout Greater Memphis. Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is calling on Memphians to "Be the Dream" during a weekend of reflection and service honoring Dr. King's legacy.

"His work was bigger than civil rights; his mission field was wider than America," Wharton said. "His message was broader than one for minorities alone. He belonged to all of us, and for this weekend we will celebrate this universal, enduring legacy."


Help keep kids warm!

coats 600Extreme cold and school cancellations exposed a major need in the Memphis community: coats for schoolchildren.

Action News 5 is partnering with the YWCA Greater Memphis and its Common Ground program to collect new coats for Memphis schoolchildren.

New coats can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the YWCA's main office at 766 South Highland Avenue on Thursday and Friday this week. (The drive began Wednesday.)