Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prescott tapped to promote talent pool in metro Memphis - Memphis Commercial Appeal

Barbara Prescott

Barbara Prescott

Barbara Prescott, longtime champion of public education in Memphis, will now lead city and county efforts to strengthen the metro talent pool.

As the first full-time director of PeopleFirst, Prescott will be responsible for promoting prekindergarten, improving high school and college graduation rates and launching strategies to retain workforce talent.

She begins Oct. 15.

"The work of PeopleFirst is central to economic growth plans for our community, because its goals are to improve educational outcomes and to expand the pool of talent in Memphis and Shelby County," said Gary Shorb, chairman of the PeopleFirst Partnership and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

As chairwoman of the Transition Planning Commission, Prescott, 62, has been widely praised for leadership that resulted in detailed recommendations for how the merged school district would operate.

"We will look at the development of the people," Prescott said. "It's really a cradle-to-career approach. We are developing people and pushing the education agenda for Memphis and Shelby County."

While the TPC has completed is statutory task, Prescott is still its chairman and "still very much interested in what happens," she said.

She will remain a partner in Allie Prescott & Partners, the consulting business she founded with husband Allie.

PeopleFirst is one of five streams of work under the umbrella of Memphis Fast Forward, a public-private partnership that formed in 2005 between city and county government and Memphis Tomorrow, an association of the area's largest employers.

Together, they work for causes that improve health, safety, efficiency of government and strengthen the industries that drive most job production here.

"It's about culling and identifying a very high-impact education and talent agenda for this community," said Blair Taylor, Memphis Tomorrow president.

Fast Forward has been a strong advocate for improving prekindergarten access.

It also endorsed the TPC plan, including recommendations to compensate teachers based on performance instead of years of service.

"Economic development is at the top of our agenda in Memphis and Shelby County, but we can't have successful economic development without successful talent strategies ...", said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. "We have the ability to transform our educational landscape and to do so much more with Dr. Prescott's help."

Prescott served on the Memphis City Schools board of education 1992-2003 and was president of the Tennessee Schools Boards Association in 2002. She is a licensed counselor.

Her office will be in the Urban Child Institute, 600 Jefferson. She will report to Shorb and the Fast Forward board.

School board will be led by Orgel - Memphis Commercial Appeal

Memphis businessman Billy Orgel was re-elected chairman of the unified Memphis and Shelby County school board at a special called meeting of the board Tuesday night after the conclusion of a work session.

Orgel, who has won praise for his steady leadership of the 23-member board, defeated attorney Teresa Jones on a 12-11 vote.

Jones was easily elected vice chairman of the board over Diane George. She replaces Jeff Warren, who didn't campaign for re-election to the post.

Orgel, nominated to the chairmanship by suburban Commissioner David Reaves, edged Jones on the strength of strong suburban support, with some help from urban commissioners.

Voting to enlist his leadership for a one-year term were Reaves, Snowden Carruthers, Chris Caldwell, Kevin Woods, Warren, Orgel, David Pickler, Betty Mallott, Mary Anne Gibson, Joe Clayton, Mike Wissman and Ernest Chism.

Supporting Jones were Oscar Love, Stephanie Gatewood, Sara Lewis, Tomeka Hart, George, Patrice Robinson, Martavius Jones, Teresa Jones, Freda Williams, Reginald Porter and Kenneth Whalum Jr.

The election followed a work session in which the board advanced a number of issues related to the merger of Memphis and Shelby County schools, a task that must be completed by next August and an issue that is being approached with a rapidly escalating sense of urgency.

Anxiety about the deadline was evident as a consultant for the districts reported that there was a "high probability" that the APECS computer system employed by Shelby County Schools will be able to handle the demands of the unified district but that his firm, KPMG International, was not quite prepared to pronounce its assessment of the system complete.

KPMG partner Barry Brunsman said APECS appears to be capable of handling the additional volume of transactions and the migration to the system could be completed at a cost of some $13.9 million â€" close to the original estimate.

Some disappointment was expressed by board members that the system's core functionality could be in place by the merger date, but additional functions would probably have to be added later.

Adoption of the system in use at Shelby County Schools to handle human resources records, payroll and the like was a recommendation of the Transition Planning Commission.

There was overwhelming approval of Warren's "aspirational" resolution to recognize early childhood education as a budget priority. The establishment of universal prekindergarten for the new district was the top recommendation of the TPC.

In other business, Whalum suggested and won approval for addition to the agenda at next week's business meeting a resolution setting a start date for the review of the TPC's 172 recommendations.

That meeting was moved from next Tuesday to Thursday, Sept. 27, in deference to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The board also heard a report by Henry Evans of The Centre Group summarizing the board's evaluation of SCS Supt. John Aitken, who was judged to have exceeded expectations virtually across the board among the 21 board members who participated.

Memphis may close Whitehaven golf course - Memphis Commercial Appeal

Whitehaven golf course may close

The city is moving forward with plans to close the Links at Whitehaven golf course.

City officials recently said they were considering closing the Links at Davy Crockett golf course instead of the Whitehaven course.

The budget the City Council approved earlier this year included permanently closing the Whitehaven course, except for its clubhouse, and closing three other courses â€" Pine Hill, Riverside and Davy Crockett â€" during the winter months to save $42,099.

Council members were unhappy that city administrators appeared to be making budget changes that were not council approved.

"This is disturbing to me in a lot of ways, process-wise," said Councilman Lee Harris .

Parks and Neighborhoods Division Director Janet Hooks said she thought the city would save more money by permanently closing Davy Crockett than Whitehaven.

"I'm merely looking at the data and where we get the most bang for the buck," said Hooks.

Several golfers attended a Parks Committee meeting to ask city officials to keep Crockett open.

"I play it twice a week," said Margaret Beaver, 81. "It's in the best shape it's been in for 10 years or more."

Hooks said she would abide by the council's decision to close the Whitehaven course permanently.

Tire redemption plan resurfaces

A City Council committee on Tuesday approved creating a $50,000 tire redemption program.

If approved by the full council in two weeks, it will be the fourth tire redemption program in four years.

The program is an effort to clean up illegal tire dump sites that mar inner-city neighborhoods.

"There are waste tires all over this city," said Councilman Harold Collins, who sponsored the program. "We believe to expedite the pickup of these waste tires the redemption system should come back."

Previous programs were joint city and Shelby County initiatives with $100,000 to buy abandoned tires from the citizens who retrieve them. City officials said Tuesday they did not know yet if the county would be able to find funding for the program.

The city will pay individuals 50 cents per tire, up to 150 tires per day. Participants must sign an affidavit saying they are residents of Shelby County and have Shelby County license tags.

City officials estimated last year that the first two years the program operated, it brought in about 92,000 tires.

Grocery beer tastings get 1st OK

The City Council on Tuesday took the first step in allowing grocery stores and other businesses that have a license to sell beer to host promotional tastings.

The council approved the first of three readings of the ordinance sponsored by Councilman Shea Flinn.

Fullilove hears citizen's criticism

A Memphis resident took the public microphone at Tuesday's council meeting to chastise Councilwoman Janis Fullilove about her recent legal offenses.

Fullilove and her husband, Vernon Chalmers, were arrested last month for domestic assault. Both appeared in court Monday but a hearing was delayed until Oct. 11.

Chalmers told police that Fullilove had been drinking and accused him of having an affair. A police report stated that Fullilove began throwing dishes at Chalmers, and that he pushed her to the floor.

"I am embarrassed by her actions," said Kelly Johnson, describing herself as a former drug and alcohol addict who has been sober for 16 years. "Your actions reflect on the entire council and the city."

Since 2008, Fullilove has faced a series of legal troubles, including driving under the influence and driving with a fraudulent Tennessee driver's license. Fullilove apologized to the president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for inappropriate dancing and behavior at a meeting held in Memphis.

Fullilove did not respond to Johnson and left the council's chamber before Johnson finished speaking.

New revenue office to collect fees, fines

The City Council approved Tuesday the creation of a Central Revenue Office. As part of the Legal Division, the office will collect fees and fines from sources including special security for events, the library and the City Court Clerk's Office.

Opening the door: University of Memphis honors Memphis State Eight - Memphis Commercial Appeal

September 18, 2012 - Eleanor Gandy, right, joins other members of the Memphis State Eight and University of Memphis President Shirley Raines to view the newly unveiled historic marker to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Photo by Jim Weber

September 18, 2012 - Eleanor Gandy, right, joins other members of the Memphis State Eight and University of Memphis President Shirley Raines to view the newly unveiled historic marker to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

September 18, 2012 - Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Rosie Bingham calls for a Tiger cheer for members of the Memphis State Eight as Bertha Rogers Looney, center chuckles at the attention during a ceremony to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Photo by Jim Weber

September 18, 2012 - Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Rosie Bingham calls for a Tiger cheer for members of the Memphis State Eight as Bertha Rogers Looney, center chuckles at the attention during a ceremony to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

The University of Memphis was a different institution in the fall of 1959, and not just in name.

When eight African-American students began their studies on the campus, it marked the end of an all-white Memphis State University.

On Tuesday, more than 400 students, faculty, staff and guests met at the southeast corner of the administration building for the unveiling of a plaque honoring the group now known as the Memphis State Eight â€" Rose Blakney, Sammie Burnett, Eleanor Gandy, Marvis LaVerne Kneeland, Luther McClellan, Ralph Prater, Bertha Rogers and John Simpson..

Speakers included U of M President Shirley Raines, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and McClellan, who asked for a moment of silence in memory of Sammie Burnett Johnson, who died in 2011.

McClellan told the gathering that the desegregation order came down from the court in 1958, but university administrators asked for a year to prepare.

"So I thought it was going to be great since they were preparing for a whole year," said McClellan, who 50 yeas ago was the first African-American to graduate from the university. The black alumni association is named in his honor.

On that first day at Memphis State, there was no screaming mob, as there was in Little Rock at Central High School or at the University of Mississippi, nor was a governor attempting to block their entrance as there was at the University of Alabama, he said.

"Nor did we have National Guard troops. But we did have Dean (R.M.) Robison," McClellan said. "He called the Eight into his office about a week before registration and he laid down some rules."

Physical education and ROTC requirements were waived for the Eight.

They were only allowed to use the classrooms, the library and two lounges.

And they had to be off campus by noon.

The restrictions were waived the next year as the number of African-American students grew.

Although he has been away from Memphis since graduating, McClellan still thinks of himself as a Memphian.

"You hear a lot of people saying they worry about the future of America," McClellan said. "I don't worry at all. Look at these students. Our future is secure."

The surviving seven were presented individual plaques during a reception at the University Center and viewed a portion of a documentary being made by the city of Memphis.

The accolades on Tuesday would have been unimaginable for the Eight in 1959, who knew at that time that they were not wanted.

"At that time, all I could feel was the frustration, the anxiety of trying to make it through," said Bertha Rogers Looney. "I feel excited and so elated to see this great celebration."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mid-South Memories: Sept. 19 - Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Commercial Appeal files Lead bygone item headline hereyyyyyyyy These Shelby County belles are among contestants for Miss Traffic Safety, who will be selected for the annual Traffic Safety Week in September 1958. The girls and their sponsors are (from left) Miss Glenda Lynch, East Memphis Exchange Club; Miss Harriet Hudson, Memphis Association of Transportation Clubs; Miss Beverly Morton, Junior chamber of Commerce, Miss Lillian Schingle, Memphis Sales Club and Miss Patricia Hunter, Pilots Club. Police Capt. O.T. Rhodes is the man with the pleasant task of showing off police equipment.

The Commercial Appeal files Lead bygone item headline hereyyyyyyyy These Shelby County belles are among contestants for Miss Traffic Safety, who will be selected for the annual Traffic Safety Week in September 1958. The girls and their sponsors are (from left) Miss Glenda Lynch, East Memphis Exchange Club; Miss Harriet Hudson, Memphis Association of Transportation Clubs; Miss Beverly Morton, Junior chamber of Commerce, Miss Lillian Schingle, Memphis Sales Club and Miss Patricia Hunter, Pilots Club. Police Capt. O.T. Rhodes is the man with the pleasant task of showing off police equipment.

Sept. 19

25 years ago: 1987

A tired Bishop Daniel M. Buechlein last night expressed amazement at the stamina of Pope John Paul II during his U.S. tour. "We kept saying how does he do it," said Bishop Buechlein. "We had a lot of fun and in some ways it was like a party." The head of the 21-county Catholic Diocese of Memphis for the past six months left last Friday to meet the Pope in New Orleans. He traveled with him in Phoenix and Los Angeles. Bishop Buechlein flew back to Memphis last night and held a press conference at the Memphis International Airport, where he expressed satisfaction with the Pope's visit. He described the Pope as concerned about people and very conscious of poverty, health care and education.

50 years ago: 1962

Dress Circle, the newly-created women's supporting arm of the Front St. Theatre, had an organizational meeting yesterday at the home of Mrs. Tiffany Bingham at 471 Yates Road. Mrs. Bingham was elected president. Officers serving with her will be Mrs. Roy E. Bell Jr., vice president; Mrs. Buck Boshwit, secretary, and Mrs. Robertson G. Morrow Jr., treasurer. Dress Circle is a group of about 50 women who are interested in promoting Front St., the Mid-South's only professional theatre, which is located at 1819 Madison. A few of the circle's activities include providing the manpower to assist the theater in promotional work, providing house managers on Saturdays and planning theater benefit parties.

75 years ago: 1937

Apparently anticipating a drive by CIO organizers, Mayor Overton yesterday warned that the full power of the city government â€" including the Police Department â€" will be used to keep the organizers out of the city, regardless of their tactics. He said that CIO organizers' "tools are violence, threats, sit down strikes, destruction. They seek strife and conflict. They care nothing for Memphis."

100 years ago: 1912

After the arresting officer testified that she stood at Gayoso and Third smoking a cigaret, a 19-year-old girl was fined $10 by Judge Bacon yesterday on a charge of disorderly conduct.

125 years ago: 1887

It only took a little while after a two-week-old baby had been left on their door step for Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Riggs, LaRosa Street, to decide to adopt the infant.

University of Memphis honors Memphis State Eight with plaque - Memphis Commercial Appeal

September 18, 2012 - Eleanor Gandy, right, joins other members of the Memphis State Eight and University of Memphis President Shirley Raines to view the newly unveiled historic marker to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Photo by Jim Weber

September 18, 2012 - Eleanor Gandy, right, joins other members of the Memphis State Eight and University of Memphis President Shirley Raines to view the newly unveiled historic marker to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

September 18, 2012 - Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Rosie Bingham calls for a Tiger cheer for members of the Memphis State Eight as Bertha Rogers Looney, center chuckles at the attention during a ceremony to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Photo by Jim Weber

September 18, 2012 - Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Rosie Bingham calls for a Tiger cheer for members of the Memphis State Eight as Bertha Rogers Looney, center chuckles at the attention during a ceremony to honor the first group of black students to enroll at the school after it became integrated over fifty years ago. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

The University of Memphis was a different institution in the fall of 1959, and not just in name.

When eight African-American students began their studies on the campus, it marked the end of an all-white Memphis State University.

On Tuesday, more than 400 students, faculty, staff and guests met at the southeast corner of the administration building for the unveiling of a plaque honoring the group now known as the Memphis State Eight â€" Rose Blakney, Sammie Burnett, Eleanor Gandy, Marvis LaVerne Kneeland, Luther McClellan, Ralph Prater, Bertha Rogers and John Simpson..

Speakers included U of M President Shirley Raines, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and McClellan, who asked for a moment of silence in memory of Sammie Burnett Johnson, who died in 2011.

McClellan told the gathering that the desegregation order came down from the court in 1958, but university administrators asked for a year to prepare.

"So I thought it was going to be great since they were preparing for a whole year," said McClellan, who 50 yeas ago was the first African-American to graduate from the university. The black alumni association is named in his honor.

On that first day at Memphis State, there was no screaming mob, as there was in Little Rock at Central High School or at the University of Mississippi, nor was a governor attempting to block their entrance as there was at the University of Alabama, he said.

"Nor did we have National Guard troops. But we did have Dean (R.M.) Robison," McClellan said. "He called the Eight into his office about a week before registration and he laid down some rules."

Physical education and ROTC requirements were waived for the Eight.

They were only allowed to use the classrooms, the library and two lounges.

And they had to be off campus by noon.

The restrictions were waived the next year as the number of African-American students grew.

Although he has been away from Memphis since graduating, McClellan still thinks of himself as a Memphian.

"You hear a lot of people saying they worry about the future of America," McClellan said. "I don't worry at all. Look at these students. Our future is secure."

The surviving seven were presented individual plaques during a reception at the University Center and viewed a portion of a documentary being made by the city of Memphis.

The accolades on Tuesday would have been unimaginable for the Eight in 1959, who knew at that time that they were not wanted.

"At that time, all I could feel was the frustration, the anxiety of trying to make it through," said Bertha Rogers Looney. "I feel excited and so elated to see this great celebration."

Action News 5 - Memphis, TennesseeWhere have all the passing yards gone in ... - WMC-TV

By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Indiana coach Kevin Wilson knows stats can be misleading.

So when he's told that his is the only Big Ten team that ranks inside the top 50 in the nation in passing - and that three conference teams rank in the bottom 25 - he isn't ready to declare Air Wilson has turned the Hoosiers into contenders.

"Right now it's just our style, what we want to do," he said of his team, which stands 12th in the nation in passing through its first three games while playing three different quarterbacks. "The other teams? I haven't watched those other teams, but it's not passing offense (that matters) - it's total offense and it's points scored."

Funny, but this was supposed to be the year the Big Ten went airborne.

Seven of the top 10 quarterbacks in passing yardage from 2011 were back, as were nine of the 12 primary starters under center.

Yet the latest NCAA statistics look like a flashback to when Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes were fighting it out between the tackles with stout running games. The next Big Ten team in the passing stats is Michigan State at 50th. In the Bowl Subdivision, which has 120 teams, the Big Ten is competing for spots in the basement - Illinois is 98th, Iowa 100th, Wisconsin 114th.

Blame it on injuries, on graduation losses, on hybrid signal-callers or parity. But even the coaches who have thrown the ball well so far seem to be almost embarrassed by it.

Minnesota is an admirable seventh in the country in passing efficiency, a contrived bit of math which offers a glimpse of how well a team moves the ball through the air without making mistakes.

"It's early yet, so you get into too many stats early you're not sure on anything right now," coach Jerry Kill said.

The two biggest reasons the Big Ten has been more grounded than a road grader is injuries to veteran quarterbacks and a bunch of versatile athletes at the position.

Indiana's Tre Roberson (broken leg) and Purdue's Robert Marve (ACL) could miss the rest of the season, while Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase (sprained ankle) and Minnesota's MarQueis Gray (high ankle sprain) are currently hobbled.

The Illini plugged Reilly O'Toole in for Scheelhaase, who had started every game the last two seasons, and have done well. O'Toole, a sophomore, stands eighth in the nation in passing efficiency despite fronting an attack that was without its starting quarterback, center, tailback and a top wide receiver last week.

"It's been limited on offense just due to the fact that we've had some players dinged up and we have to get them back healthy so we can move forward," first-year coach Tim Beckman said.

Perhaps the biggest factor in the decline of passing so far in the conference has been the popularity of hybrids - sort of like sprinters who can throw the ball - at quarterback.

The Big Ten, once the dominion of snarling linebackers and huge blockers, has become dominated by track stars in pads.

Michigan's Denard Robinson has scampered all over the field for more than three seasons while turning around the Wolverines' fortunes. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez burst onto the public consciousness by rushing for more than 100 yards in his first three collegiate games two years ago. And new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has hitched his uptempo offense to Braxton Miller, whom he has called the most dynamic college player he has ever seen.

"He delivers punishment, he goes hard, he's a hell of a football player," Meyer said after Miller rushed for 141 yards and passed for 155, running for three scores and passing for another in a Week Two win over Central Florida. "He's better than even everybody in this country thinks right now."

Nebraska's Bo Pelini said it's great to have a quarterback who can throw, but It's even better to have one who can also avoid getting hit.

"You've got to make sure in this day and age that you have versatility on the offensive side of the football and that you have an offense that you're not trying to pound a square peg into a round hole," he said.

The conference doesn't officially open its 117th season until a week from Saturday. Many have already questioned the Big Ten, which doesn't have a team ranked among the top 15 in the Associated Press rankings.

The only two teams still unbeaten who are eligible for the postseason are Minnesota and Northwestern.

Sure, the passing hasn't been there so far. Maybe it won't ever arrive. But the season is still young and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz counsels everyone to just enjoy the ride.

"Everybody wants to know how things are going to turn out, who's going to win the Heisman, who's going to be the NFL MVP, all that stuff," he said. "But the fun of it is playing the season and seeing how things do unravel."

___

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.