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Editorial Results (free)

1. Rape Kit Controversy Continues After Report -

This week’s report by former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis on the city’s backlog of more than 12,000 untested rape kits is unlikely to be the last word on the controversy.

Coleman-Davis concluded that no one involved in the 30-year backlog “willfully or maliciously conspired to deny due process.”

2. Ongoing Rape Kit Backlog Fallout Expands -

The ongoing fallout from the backlog of untested rape kits is beginning to develop some boundaries and dividing lines as it moves into federal court and expands outside court to include a backlog of 300 rape kits by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

3. Open Gun Carry Bill Defeated in Tennessee House Panel -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A bill seeking to allow Tennesseans to openly carry firearms in public without permits was overwhelmingly defeated a House subcommittee on Monday night.

The House Finance Subcommittee voted 10-1 against the measure sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss. The Jonesborough Republican later told reporters that he will abandon an effort to bypass committees and call the bill for a full floor vote.

4. Rape Survivors Go Public in Backlog Lawsuit -

The three rape victims who filed a federal lawsuit March 26 against city and county governments over the backlog of 12,000 untested rape kits deliberately wanted their real names used in the lawsuit, their attorney said Wednesday, April 2, as two of the three women talked with reporters about the case.

5. Second Rape Kit Lawsuit Names More Officials -

The second federal lawsuit since December over the Memphis Police Department’s backlog of 12,000 untested rape kits casts a wider net of defendants than the first lawsuit, including the current and former Memphis police directors and the current and former district attorneys general.

6. Second Lawsuit Filed Over Rape Kit Backlog -

Three women allegedly raped by Anthony Alliano during a string of rapes in the Cordova area covering a decade have filed suit in Memphis Federal Court over the delay in testing their rape kits.

It is the second federal lawsuit filed against the city of Memphis since December over the backlog of more than 12,000 untested rape kits police acknowledged in November after initially putting the backlog of rape kits at 2,000 in August.

7. Criminal Justice Issues Likely to Dominate Races -

Expect to hear a lot between now and August about how the local criminal justice system does or does not work.

With Thursday’s filing deadline for candidates in the May 6 county primaries, two races for offices that are part of the system advanced to the August ballot.

8. Hats in the Ring -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be seeking a second term as governor, and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will be running for re-election – both starting with the Aug. 7 statewide primaries that open for filing Friday, Jan. 3.

9. Frustration for Fox Meadows Residents -

When the owner of Knight Arnold Food and Fuel gas station and convenience store was allowed to reopen his business last month, homeowners and community groups in the Fox Meadows area were furious.

The store opened a week after General Sessions Environmental Court shut it as a public nuisance.

10. Weirich Opens Re-Election Campaign -

There were lots of judges on hand as Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich opened her re-election campaign Sunday, Nov. 10.

11. Wait Times Still Long in Driver Service Centers -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Although state officials have made improvements in how driver service centers operate, motorists still have long wait times for service.

The Tennessean reports attempts to cut wait times over the last two years have been hampered by computer issues and an increase in handgun permit applications.

12. Lipman Nominated for Federal Bench -

Sheri Lipman, University of Memphis general counsel and chief of staff to interim university president Brad Martin, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as the newest federal court judge for the Western District of Tennessee.

13. Tennessee Drivers Centers Reduce Wait Times in 2013 -

The wait time at driver service centers in Tennessee decreased slightly for the first six months of this year over the same period last year.

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the average wait time from Jan. 1 to June 30 was 31 1/2 minutes. That is down 2 1/2 minutes from the same period in 2012.

14. Beefed-Up Gang Law Gets Start in Memphis -

A 16-year-old Tennessee law aimed at the crimes of street gangs comes back to life effective July 1 after being largely unused since its passage.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed an overhaul of the statute in Memphis Wednesday, July 26, that keeps enhanced penalties and upgraded felony charges for violent crimes involving gang members.

15. Judge Rules in Favor of Occupy Nashville Members -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A federal judge has ruled in favor of members of the Occupy Nashville movement who claimed their free speech rights were violated when they were arrested while protesting in 2011 on War Memorial Plaza.

16. Beale Club Reopening About Timing -

The negotiations to reopen one of Beale Street’s busiest and most profitable nightspots were about not missing one of the busiest Downtown weekends of the year and how to handle the allegation that some employees of Club 152 either sold drugs or were complicit in drug sales in the club.

17. Highway Patrol Assigns Helicopter to West Tennessee -

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is assigning a helicopter and pilot to support law enforcement efforts in West Tennessee.

Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and THP Col. Tracy Trott said Friday that the helicopter will enhance public safety by increasing response time to incidents in the western areas of the state.

18. Drivers Can Renew Tennessee Licenses at Kiosks -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The state is opening self-service kiosks that will allow drivers to renew or replace their driver licenses and state identification cards that will hopefully reduce lines and wait times.

19. Commissioner Not Surprised at More Traffic Deaths -

State safety officials say they aren’t surprised that traffic fatalities were up statewide in 2012.

Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons noted that 2011 had the lowest number of Tennessee traffic deaths in nearly a half-century and officials knew it would be difficult to replicate.

20. Club Crave Nuisance Case Moves Slowly -

The Shelby County District Attorney General’s office and attorneys for the owners of Club Crave have been talking privately since prosecutors got the court order that closed the Beale Street nightspot during the Christmas holidays as a public nuisance.

21. Council Tackles Blue CRUSH, Wage Theft -

Memphis City Council members take up third and final reading Tuesday, Jan. 8, of an ordinance that sets up a local General Sessions Court-based process for settling “wage theft” complaints.

22. Events -

Memphis Child Advocacy Center will hold its 20th anniversary and honors day celebration breakfast Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden Hardin Hall, 750 Cherry Road. Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children’s Alliance, will deliver the keynote. Email doglesby@memphiscac.org or call 888-4342.

23. County Sees 21.6 Pct. Voter Turnout -

Slightly less than 127,000 Shelby County residents – or 21.6 percent of 584,443 registered voters – cast ballots in the Aug. 2 elections.

The turnout in early voting and election day combined was a higher percentage than the 15 percent turnout four years ago in the same election cycle, but it was well below the 44-year high of 39.4 percent set in the August 1992 elections.

24. Hargett: Shelby Election Problems Erode Public Confidence -

The election driven by ballot questions and one-time-only races looks to become an election that goes into overtime as well.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett formally asked State Comptroller Justin Wilson Friday, July 27, to audit the administration of the Shelby County Election Commission and investigate election procedures and returns.

25. State Confirms Shelby Election Investigation -

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett has called for the Tennessee Comptroller to investigate the Shelby County elections and state officials are moving toward the probe as early voting comes to an end Saturday, July 27.

26. District Attorney Contenders Discuss Court Review -

The two contenders for Shelby County District Attorney General on the Aug. 2 ballot offered different takes on Juvenile Court reforms Monday, June 18, at a League of Women Voters forum.

Republican incumbent Amy Weirich and Democratic challenger Carol Chumney were asked about the recent review of Memphis Shelby County Juvenile Court by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.

27. Haslam Signs Trio of Anti-Crime Bills -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a trio of anti-crime measures into law during a Wednesday, June 6, visit to Bartlett.

The laws include an increase in mandatory jail time for repeat domestic violence offenders and a second law upping sentences for convicted felons with guns that include some specific circumstances for longer sentences.

28. ‘Serious, Systemic Failures’ Mar Juvenile Court System -

When U.S. Justice Department attorneys came to Memphis in 2010 and 2011 with a team of juvenile justice experts, they had good news and bad news for leaders of Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court.

29. Time for Court To Get it Right -

You have probably heard the phrase “going forward” used a lot. And the temptation is great to use it again in the case of the recent report on Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.

30. DOJ: ‘Fundamental Misunderstanding’ Exists In Local Juvenile Court -

The U.S. Justice Department report critical of Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court released last week is the fourth since May 2007 on court operations.

It is also the fourth to note the need for change in the court that has only had two judges since the merger of the city and county juvenile courts in the 1960s.

31. New Rules Announced to Quickly Clear Crashes -

State safety and transportation officials have unveiled new protocols aimed at getting major highways reopened more quickly after crashes.

Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Tennessee Safety Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced the new rules on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Nashville.

32. Weirich Exemplifies Hands-On Approach -

Editor’s Note: A Daily News series features past winners of the Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards, which annually honor one elected and one non-elected government official. The 2012 awards will be presented Feb. 22.

33. Dunavant Awards Nomination Deadline Nears -

The choices are already being made in this election year. There are lots of nominees. Some already hold elected office. Others are the non-elected officials that are the day-to- day face of local government.

34. Weirich Addresses Complexity of Sex Abuse Laws -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich knew the questions were coming when Memphis Police Department brass said Monday, Dec. 12, they are investigating child sexual abuse allegations passed on to them by leaders of the Amateur Athletic Union Friday, Dec. 9.

35. Events -

The Memphis Rotary Club will meet Tuesday, Dec. 6, at noon at the University Club of Memphis, 1346 Central Ave. Bill Gibbons, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, will speak. Cost is $18 per person. For reservations, email Taylor Hughes at taylor@memphisrotary.org.

36. Events -

Kyle Durrie will bring her Moveable Type Truck to Memphis for a print workshop and presentation with Crosstown Arts Monday, Dec. 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the Sears Crosstown building, at Cleveland Avenue and North Watkins Street. Visitors can tour the truck and print their own letterpress art to take away. For more information, visit www.powerandlightpress.com or www.type-truck.com.

37. Weirich Files Petition to Run for DA -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich filed her qualifying petition Tuesday, Nov. 22, to run in the March 6 Republican primary for the post she has held since January.

38. Shelby County DA Race Taking Shape -

With a month to the Dec. 8 filing deadline for the March 6 presidential and Shelby County primary elections, the coming race for Shelby County district attorney general is beginning to show signs of life. That is as voters in one part of Memphis prepare to decide the last election of 2011 this week.

39. 3 State Agencies Offer Budget Proposals -

MEMPHIS (AP) – The heads of three state agencies on Wednesday began giving Gov. Bill Haslam their proposals for how they would cut 5 percent from their spending plans in next year's budget.

40. Martin to Keynote Dunavant Awards -

A business leader with roots in the city’s political and nonprofit communities will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards.

41. Tenn. Issues 2,400 Photo IDs Needed to Vote -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The state Safety Department has issued photo IDs to nearly 2,400 people who will need them to vote under a new state law.

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in a release Monday that there has been a "significant" increase in the number of people seeking photo IDs in recent weeks. He urged voters without photo identification to obtain one from the department without charge.

42. State Official: Police Can't ‘Baby-Sit’ Protesters -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee state troopers cleared out Wall Street protesters from the state Capitol grounds early Friday because they didn't have the resources to "babysit" the overnight encampment, the state's safety commissioner said.

43. Weirich Pulls Petition for March GOP Primary -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich pulled an election petition Monday, Oct. 24, to run for the office in the 2012 countywide elections.

44. Haslam to Campaign for Weirich -

With the March Shelby County primaries on the way, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be lending his support to a fundraiser for Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.

45. Tennessee Gov. Refuses to Disclose Personal Income -

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam, who drew sharp criticism from his gubernatorial campaign opponents by releasing only limited information on the amount of his personal income, has decided to release no information whatsoever now that he is in office.

46. Long Wait at Tenn. License Centers Grows Longer -

NASHVILLE (AP) – As thousands of older Tennessee residents prepare to visit driver service centers to get the photo IDs required by a new state voting law, they should be ready to stand in line a long time.

47. Feds Seize Flea Market -

After they shut it down in June, law enforcement agents seized 153,634 counterfeit items from the now-defunct flea market that operated at 4233 S. Third St.

48. Tennesseans Urged to be Prepared for Bad Weather -

NASHVILLE (AP) – State officials marked National Preparedness Month on Tuesday by stressing the need for readiness for natural disasters, mindful of the Memphis flooding last May and the April tornadoes that claimed 37 lives in Tennessee.

49. Officials Increase Crime Prevention Programs -

Just as statistics have driven the Blue CRUSH anti-crime strategy, U.S. Justice Department officials in Memphis this week said they are confident other statistics can point to strategies that will prevent crime.

50. TN Driver's License Offices Seek to Cut Wait Times -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A new requirement that Tennessee voters must have photo identification is putting more pressure on driver's license examining stations to cut wait times.

The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam is moving to improve the efficiency of the Driver Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Safety. A pilot program is under way in Davidson County and the aim is to reduce the time people wait to receive service from an average of 50 minutes to 30 minutes.

51. Weirich Raises $45K for District Attorney General Run -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has raised $45,000 in six months for her 2012 bid to remain the county’s chief prosecutor.

52. Luttrell, Weirich Win Dunavant Awards -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich are the winners of the eighth annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards.

53. Haslam 'Won't Apologize' for Cabinet Pay Hikes -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday said he won't apologize for his decision to give many of his department heads big raises while proposing only a 1.6 percent increase for other state workers.

54. Turner Stays on To Lead Local Democrats -

Van Turner Jr. remains the Shelby County Democratic Party chairman after a weekend local party convention.

And Turner, who ran unopposed for the chairmanship, is hoping for a reversal of party fortunes in the next two years.

55. Haslam Boosts Commissioners' Salaries -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is paying his department heads significantly more than their counterparts made in the administration of the former Democratic governor.

An Associated Press analysis of public salary records shows that Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman is making $200,000 per year, up $20,000 from the previous administration. Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is making $43,000 more than his predecessor.

56. Council Could Vote On Police Director -

Memphis City Council members have their first one-on-one meeting Tuesday with Memphis police director designate Toney Armstrong.

Armstrong makes his appearance before the council’s personnel committee at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 250 N. Main St.

57. New Tenn. Driver License Harder to Fake -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee will begin issuing driver licenses with a new design, aimed at making them harder to counterfeit.

Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said the design will help combat document fraud and protect against identity theft.

58. Higgins Named District AG’s Communications Director -

Vince Higgins is the new communications director for the district attorney general’s office. Higgins was named by Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, who took office in January.

59. City Kicked Into ‘Overdrive’ to Lure MEPPI -

In February 2010, Memphis showed up in the No. 3 spot on that year’s ranking of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” by Forbes magazine.

It wasn’t publicly discussed at the time, but that undesirable attention also nearly spoiled Memphis’ effort to convince Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. to build a transformer manufacturing plant here. Ultimately, Memphis won the plant. MEPPI announced in mid-February it would build the facility at Belz Enterprises Inc.-owned Rivergate Industrial Park.

60. Godwin Named State Deputy Safety Commissioner -

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin looked closely last week at a newly decorated wall at the police training academy in Frayser.

61. Godwin to be State Deputy Safety Commissioner -

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin will go to work for the Haslam administration when he retires next month.

62. Godwin May Have State Posting -

Outgoing Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin may be going to work for the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Gibbons has called a 3 p.m. press conference at the Criminal Justice Center to make an announcement about Godwin.

63. Tenn. Agency Head Likens Budget Cuts to Amputation -

NASHVILLE – Commissioner Doug Varney of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health on Wednesday likened pending budget cuts to amputating fingers.

Varney in a budget hearing before Republican Gov. Bill Haslam laid out $15 million in potential spending cuts at the state's public mental health and alcohol and drug abuse authority, including $11 million for programs paid for in the current year with state savings and federal stimulus money.

64. Safety Department Proposes Cutting 29 Troopers -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is proposing cutting 29 highway patrol troopers and 36 driver's license workers across the state.

65. Long-Sought Family Safety Center Moves Forward -

After years of talk and false starts, much of the local response to domestic violence will now be under one roof in Midtown.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced Monday the opening of the long-planned Family Safety Center in the Madison Professional Building at 1750 Madison Ave.

66. Violent, Property Crimes Drop in 2010 -

Year-end crime statistics for Memphis in 2010 show one-year double-digit percentage drops in reported violent crimes, excluding domestic violence, as well as a decline in property crimes. Domestic violence reports increased.

67. New DA Weirich Ready to ‘Roll Up Sleeves’ -

Newly sworn-in Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has spent 20 years in courtrooms trying all manner of cases.

68. 2010 Court Filings Show Mixed Bag -

Court filings were a mixed bag in terms of their volume for 2010.

The three civil courts tracked by The Daily News Online (www.memphisdailynews.com) reported more filings in Circuit Court compared to 2009 and fewer filings in Chancery and Probate courts than in 2009.

69. McGriff Goes To Nashville on Interim Basis -

David McGriff, the director of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force, is the new interim deputy commissioner of the State Safety and Homeland Security Commission.

Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Haslam and Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner designate Bill Gibbons announced the appointment before the New Year’s holiday weekend.

70. What Happens Next -

Take a good look around you, Memphis.

The next 12 months have so much in store, almost anywhere a person looks – from the neighborhood school to the family doctor to office buildings Downtown to industrial space in South Memphis – the pace of change is likely to make 2011 one for the record books.

71. Local School Issue on Verge of Going Statewide -

Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Haslam knew the question was coming.

Haslam was in Memphis earlier this month to announce he was tapping District Attorney General Bill Gibbons for his cabinet.

72. Weirich Preps for Role as County’s Top Prosecutor -

Amy Weirich wasted no time and used few words the day her appointment as District Attorney General was announced.

73. Bredesen Ponders Future as Term Winds Down -

Phil Bredesen has about a month left in his eight-year tenure as governor.

And during a trip to Memphis last week, he sounded like a political figure who won’t run again for elected office.

“I don’t think so,” he said when asked, and then specifically addressed speculation he might be a future candidate for the U.S. Senate. “I don’t think I’d be any good at that. I don’t think I’d be happy. I don’t they’d be happy with me. I just think my inclinations are much more toward the executive branch.”

74. Gibbons Tapped for Haslam’s Cabinet -

Bill Gibbons began his political journey as an aide to Lamar Alexander when Alexander was governor.

Thirty years later, Gibbons is returning to Nashville again to work for another Republican governor – Bill Haslam.

75. Haslam Names Gibbons to Cabinet Safety Position -

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons is leaving the job as the county’s chief prosecutor to join the cabinet of Gov.-Elect Bill Haslam.

76. Haslam Names Gibbons Commissioner of Public Safety, Homeland Security -

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons is leaving the job as the county’s chief prosecutor to join the cabinet of Gov.-Elect Bill Haslam.

Gibbons will be commissioner of public safety and homeland security. What were once two separate cabinet positions were combined under the administration of outgoing Gov. Phil Bredesen.

77. Rotary Seeks Nominations for Dunavant Award -

The Rotary Club of Memphis East is seeking nominees for its 8th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service Award, an event that honors distinguished work by public officials.

78. Blue CRUSH Boots Midtown ‘Problem Renter’ -

The house on the corner of South Cox Street and Southern Avenue didn’t look bad, as alleged drug houses go.

There was fresh blue-gray paint with neat borders, the distinct lines of a well-built house and a substantial red door with heavy glass.

79. Ware’s Political Future in Balance -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. opened the city’s newest auto inspection station Monday.

As he did, the political career of one of the Memphis City Council’s most influential members hangs in the balance because of allegations she used her office to avoid the required annual car inspection ritual for city residents.

80. Ware Turns Self In On Misconduct Charge -

Memphis City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware turned herself in to authorities Friday afternoon on an official misconduct charge.

81. Swearengen Ware Faces Council Suspension -

For the fifth time in the Memphis City Council’s 42-year history, one of its sitting members has been charged with felony misconduct.

And the charge against council member Barbara Swearengen Ware raises the same questions the other cases did about whether an indicted council member should remain in elected office.

82. Ware Indicted For Official Misconduct -

Memphis City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware faces official misconduct charges in a two-year long criminal probe of the Shelby County Clerk’s office.

83. Election Fracas Nearing End -

There is still a report from the state election coordinator to come on the Aug. 5 Shelby County elections, but this week’s findings from District Attorney General Bill Gibbons on the problems at the polls across the county that day confirm the controversy and criticism cuts across party lines.

84. No Charges in Aug. 5 Election Ruckus -

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons says there will be no criminal charges filed involving problems with the Aug. 5 election results in Shelby County.

85. Longtime Prosecutor Weirich Embraces New Role as Deputy DA -

In August, veteran prosecutor Amy Weirich made history when she was appointed Shelby County’s first female deputy district attorney.

86. Alabama Avenue Could Become Residential Corridor -

For years, the stretch of Alabama Avenue between Danny Thomas Boulevard and Poplar Avenue has been both a traffic shortcut and a hotspot for illegal drug sales and violent crime.

For the last year, there has been some very different activity.

87. AP Interview: Lottery Scholarships May be Tweaked -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter would consider annually tweaking the state's lottery scholarships to ensure there is enough money to pay for the popular program.

88. MSARC Move Up for New Commissioners -

Shelby County Commissioners elected in the Aug. 5 elections hold their first meeting Monday of their four-year term of office.

Topping the agenda is confirmation of six top officials and division directors of County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s administration as well as a resolution to move control of the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center (MSARC) from the health department to the county division of Community Services.

89. ‘Vertical Prosecution’ To Enhance DA’s Casework -

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons’ creation this week of a new special victims unit is part of a paradigm shift for his office that involves new prosecutors and new ways of trying cases.

90. Gibbons Creates Special Victims Unit -

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons is creating a new special victims unit effective Wednesday that will prosecute all cases of rape, aggravated rape, child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse. The unit expands the office’s child protection investigative team and will also handle other cases such as nursing home abuse.

91. Gov. Contender McWherter Tours MED -

For candidates running for Tennessee governor, their frequent trips to Memphis this summer have resembled pilgrimages at times.

No one has made the most obvious Memphis pilgrimage stop yet – Graceland – but two other points in the city have been popular.

92. Weirich Appointed Deputy District Atty. General -

Amy Weirich is the new deputy district attorney general.

Weirich was appointed to the No. 2 spot by Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons this week following the retirement of deputy district attorney James Challen.

93. State Division of Elections Investigates Vote Counts -

Add another investigation into the Shelby County vote count. The state Division of Elections is looking into problems during the Aug. 5 election.

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into problems with an old early voting list finding its way into electronic poll books. Gibbons acted on a request from Shelby County Election Commission chairman Bill Giannini.

94. Dem Leaders Prepare for Legal Challenge -

Local Democratic Party leaders are collecting affidavits as a start toward formally challenging the Aug. 5 Shelby County election results.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall in Midtown this week.

95. Luttrell Appoints CAO, Transition Team -

Shelby County Mayor-elect Mark Luttrell has begun preparing to take office in just a few weeks.

Luttrell, who won last week’s election for Shelby County mayor, takes office Sept. 1.

96. Candidates Wait on Certified Results Before Legal Challenge -

Before there can be a challenge of the Aug. 5 election results, there has to be a set of certified election results.

That’s the bottom line of a possible legal challenge of the recent county general election results that materialized this week.

97. GOP Carries Countywide Offices -

The only thing Republican candidates in Shelby County were denied in the Aug. 5 elections was a majority on the Shelby County Commission. The local GOP slate swept every countywide partisan race on the ballot with Thursday’s election results.

Voter turnout – early and Election Day – was almost 30 percent of Shelby County’s 600,000 voters. All election returns will be audited and must be certified by the Shelby County Election Commission.

Republican Bill Oldham, the former chief deputy of the Sheriff’s Department under outgoing Sheriff Mark Luttrell, beat Democrat Randy Wade in the race for sheriff.

The unofficial returns with all precincts reporting were:

Oldham: 89,613 (52%)

Wade: 82,981 (48%)

Wade, who was the Democratic nominee for sheriff in 2002, linked his 2010 campaign to the re-election bid of Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. Wade, a former sheriff’s deputy, is Cohen’s district director.

Oldham campaigned on continuing the policies of Luttrell. But his campaign faltered when Oldham was forced to resign his job as chief deputy – the No. 2 position in the department – following a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department that his candidacy violated the Federal Hatch Act.

The civil complaint investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel left Oldham with the choice of either quitting the job or quitting the race. To keep both could have jeopardized federal funding the department receives.

The complaint was unique because deputies and high-ranking officers running for sheriff has been a regular feature of the sheriff’s race for decades. It wasn’t until 2002 that those in the department were required to take a leave of absence if they ran.

In other general election races, challenger Ken Hoover lost to Shelby County School Board Chairman David Pickler in the race for the District 5 seat on the seven-member board.

Pickler has been chairman for 11 of the 12 years the school board has been an elected body. Pickler ran on his record as chairman. Hoover also ran on Pickler’s record, saying his leadership style was too autocratic and not transparent enough.

The unofficial results were:

Pickler: 5,123 (51%)

Hoover: 4,956 (49%)

In the two other contested school board races, former Bolton High School principal Snowden “Butch” Carruthers beat Millington parent Charlene White in District 1. And political newcomer David Reaves beat fellow newcomer Lara A. McIntyre, both of Bartlett, for the District 3 seat.

White and McIntyre both called for change in school board methods during their campaigns.

District 7 school board member Ernest Chism ran unopposed.

The even-numbered district school board seats are on the 2012 county ballot.

After running for Probate Court clerk three other times, Democratic nominee Sondra Becton could not claim the office on her fourth try – even with the incumbent she campaigned against the three other times out of the race. Republican contender Paul Boyd easily beat Becton in the race for the office Chris Thomas gave up to run for and win a seat on the Shelby County Commission.

Becton lost to Thomas by 604 votes four years ago and was among the four Democratic challengers who unsuccessfully challenged the results in Chancery Court. This time she lost by more than 6,500 votes.

The vote totals were:

Boyd: 82,259 (52%)

Becton: 75,702 (48%)

Republican Tom Leatherwood easily defeated Democratic challenger Coleman Thompson to remain Shelby County register. The two faced each other in 2006, with Leatherwood winning.

The results Thursday were:

Leatherwood: 96,531 (58%)

Thompson: 68,784 (42%)

As early voting began, Thompson’s Pyramid Recovery Center was evicted from its longtime South Memphis space that was also an early voting site and an election day polling place. The landlord agreed to leave the voting sites up and running. But the possibility of a change in polling places served to highlight Thompson’s financial problems.

Late publicity about financial problems took a toll on another Democratic contender.

Newcomer Corey Maclin began campaigning early for Shelby County clerk, with incumbent Republican Debbie Stamson not seeking re-election. Maclin lost to Republican nominee Wayne Mashburn, the son of late county clerk Sonny Mashburn.

The unofficial returns were:

Mashburn: 88,619 (55%)

Maclin: 72,651 (45%)

Stamson’s husband, Steve Stamson, retired as Juvenile Court clerk, setting up the race that was won by Republican nominee Joy Touliatos, the chief administrative officer of the clerk’s office. She beat Democratic nominee Shep Wilbun, who won appointment to the clerk’s office in 2000 but lost to Stamson in the 2002 election and was beaten by Stamson again in 2006.

With all precincts reporting, the numbers were:

Touliatos: 85,849 (51%)

Wilbun: 73,345 (44%)

The remaining votes went to independent candidate Julia R. Wiseman.

Also seeking a return to countywide office was Minerva Johnican. Johnican, the Democratic nominee for Criminal Court clerk, lost to Republican nominee Kevin Key, the son of outgoing Criminal Court Clerk Bill Key and an administrator with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

The results were:

Key: 79,755 (49%)

Johnican: 74,831 (46%)

Independent candidate Jerry Stamson: 8,581 (5%)

Johnican, also a former Memphis City Council member and Shelby County Commissioner lost the clerk’s job in 1994 when she was upset by the elder Key.

Incumbent Republican Circuit Court Clerk Jimmy Moore easily defeated Democratic challenger Ricky Dixon. Although Dixon was part of the effort by Democratic party leaders to get voters to vote the entire party slate, Moore continued to show up at Democratic functions and make his case for crossover votes.

Regina Morrison Newman, the third Shelby County tustee in four years, lost her bid for a full term in the office to Republican challenger David Lenoir. It was an impressive political debut for Lenoir, who had heavy backing from the local GOP.

The results were:

Lenoir: 77,166 (49%)

Newman: 72,618 (46%)

Independent candidate Derrick Bennett: 6,353 (4%)

Newman was appointed to the office by the Shelby County Commission following the 2009 death of Trustee Paul Mattila. Mattila was appointed to the office and won a special election for the position following the 2008 death of Bob Patterson. Patterson was re-elected to a four-year term in 2006.

In the judicial races:

Attorney Bill Anderson Jr. emerged atop a field of 20 candidates for General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 7 with 15 percent of the vote. Assistant County Attorney Janet Lansky Shipman was second and the only other contender to go into double digit percentages. The 20 candidates were the largest field in any race – primary or general – on the Shelby County ballot.

Prosecutor Bobby Carter, who had the backing of District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and former District Attorney General John Pierotti, was elected judge of Criminal Court Div. 3 in a close race with attorneys Glenn Wright and Latonya Sue Burrow.

Carter got 26 percent of the vote to Wright’s 25 percent and Burrow’s 24.7 percent.

The results in the three other special judicial races saw the three appointed judges rejected by voters.

  • Lee Wilson, the appointee to General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 10, lost to former General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner by more than 64,000 votes. Turner’s victory was the strongest proof of the strong Republican turnout for races across the general election ballot. Turner had been the General Sessions Court clerk until 2006, when he was upset by Democratic challenger Otis Jackson. He is also a former Republican state legislator.
  • Lorrie Ridder, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 4, lost to attorney Gina Higgins by about 5,000 votes.
  • Rhynette Northcross Hurd, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 8, lost to attorney Bob Weiss by more than 12,000 votes.

Ridder and Hurd had been appointed to the Circuit Court vacancies by Gov. Phil Bredesen, who picked them each from a list of three finalists from the Judicial Nominating Commission. Bredesen even taped a robo-call on behalf of Hurd, his first robo-call for any candidate in the state.

Wilson was appointed to the General Sessions vacancy by the Shelby County Commission and adopted a domestic violence case docket for the court.

...

98. DA Indicts More in Voter Fraud Case -

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons said Friday the state grand jury for the county has returned additional indictments following an investigation into allegations of voter fraud related to elections held in 2006 in Shelby County.

99. Former Register's Office Employee Charged With Theft, Misconduct -

A former employee of the Shelby County Register’s office is charged two counts of theft and official misconduct for twice taking money from the office in late 2008 and early 2009.

Regina Daniel, 50, a cashier in the register’s office, was indicted by the Shelby County grand jury July 22 on the three charges.

100. Former Register's Office Employee Charged With Theft, Misconduct -

A former employee of the Shelby County Register’s office is charged two counts of theft and official misconduct for twice taking money from the office in late 2008 and early 2009.

Regina Daniel, 50, a cashier in the register’s office, was indicted by the Shelby County grand jury July 22 on the three charges.