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Editorial Results (free)

1. Events -

Ballet Memphis will present “Peter Pan,” a world premiere from the choreographer of “Cinderella” and “Wizard of Oz,” Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, at The Orpheum, 203 S. Main St. Buy tickets at balletmemphis.org.

2. Health Law Cited as US Uninsured Rate Drops -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics – a big pool of potential beneficiaries.

3. Graceland Exhibit Gives Glimpse Into Young Elvis -

MEMPHIS (AP) – The telegram sent by Elvis Presley to his parents in November 1954 gives a glimpse into the young singer's priorities and his optimism, as he begins what will become a career as a rock 'n' roll icon and cultural phenomenon.

4. Pouring It On -

The Cash Saver store on Madison Avenue in Midtown had begun to show its age, its weather-beaten exterior presenting a less-than-inviting entrance and its dated and worn interior lacking the displays and amenities found in most modern grocery stores.

5. Yellen to Investors: Expect Continuity at the Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.

6. New Horizons -

When The Marston Group PLC, a Memphis-based certified public accounting and financial consulting firm, held an open house in recent weeks at its new digs, the evening portion of the event lasted from 7 till later in the night, with the last person leaving around 10.

7. New Magazine theGRIND Celebrates Memphis -

Rhodes College student Kendra Lyons is originally from Alexandria, Va., grew up in New Jersey and came to Memphis to start classes at Rhodes.

8. Poll: Uninsured Rate Drops as Health Law Rolls Out -

WASHINGTON (AP) – It may just be the start of a new trend. The uninsured rate dropped modestly this month as expanded coverage rolled out under President Barack Obama's health care law, a major survey released Thursday has found.

9. Higher-Income Americans Hit Hardest by Tax Changes -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Higher-income Americans and some legally married same-sex couples are likely to feel the biggest hits from tax law changes when they file their federal returns in the next few months. Taxpayers also will have a harder time taking medical deductions.

10. 'Wicked' Return -

The Broadway smash “Wicked” has packed the house at the Orpheum Theatre Memphis each time the musical has enjoyed a run here, with fans of the whimsical story about the witches from Oz ensuring the production is well attended.

11. Youth Villages Honored With National Award -

The Youth Villages Transitional Living Program was one of 15 winners announced Wednesday, Jan. 15, in the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s national search to identify initiatives making a critical difference in the lives of youth in foster care or involved with the child welfare system.

12. Muddy’s Founder Shares Story at Cowork Memphis -

Muddy’s Bake Shop founder Kat Gordon next week will tell the story of starting her business and the development of its second location in Cooper-Young as the inaugural guest for the Startup Grind series at Cowork Memphis.

13. Muddy’s Founder Shares Story at Cowork Memphis -

Muddy’s Bake Shop founder Kat Gordon will tell the story of starting her business and the development of its second location in Cooper-Young as the inaugural guest for the Startup Grind series at Cowork Memphis. The event happens Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

14. Be the Dream Weekend to Help Youth Honor King -

From a youth symposium at the Memphis Cook Convention Center to street sweeps near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is hoping the Be the Dream Weekend helps young people to link past, present and future.

15. City, County Differ on Fairgrounds Zone -

The city of Memphis and Shelby County governments have a difference of opinion about tax revenue and education funding.

It is over where the sales tax revenue would go within a tourism development zone the city wants to use to finance the redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

16. Events -

Hattiloo Theatre will present “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” Thursday, Jan. 9, to Jan. 26 at the theater, 656 Marshall Ave. Visit hattiloo.org.

17. Events -

Playhouse on the Square will present “Almost, Maine” as part of the POTS@TheWorks series Friday, Jan. 3, through Jan. 26 at TheatreWorks, 2085 Monroe Ave. Buy tickets at playhouseonthesquare.com.

18. Events -

T.O. Fuller State Park will host its first hike of the year Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 9:30 a.m., starting at the visitors center, 1500 Mitchell Road. The 4-mile hike along the Discovery Trail will include a birds of prey program during the break. Cost is free; bring hiking shoes and water. Call 543-7581 or email michael.champagne@tn.gov.

19. Events -

The 55th AutoZone Liberty Bowl, featuring the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Rice University Owls, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 31, at 3 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, 335 S. Hollywood St. Country vocal group Diamond Rio will perform at halftime. Visit autozonelibertybowl.org.

20. That Health Care Law, By the Numbers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The government churns out tons of numbers, but here's one you won't see: 0.0002. That's the percentage of estimated online visitors to healthcare.gov who actually signed up for coverage the first day.

21. Events -

Beale Street will host the AutoZone Liberty Bowl parade Monday, Dec. 30, at 3 p.m. on Beale, followed by the Bash on Beale pep rally at 5 p.m. in Handy Park. The parade will include floats, and high school and university marching bands. Both events are free. Visit autozonelibertybowl.org.

22. Events -

T.O. Fuller State Park will host its first hike of the year Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 9:30 a.m., starting at the visitors center, 1500 Mitchell Road. The 4-mile hike along the Discovery Trail will include a birds of prey program during the break. Cost is free; bring hiking shoes and water. Call 543-7581 or email michael.champagne@tn.gov.

23. Overhaul Website Problems May Trigger Price Hikes -

Problems with the government's main health care overhaul website carry a bigger risk than frequent crashes: Higher prices could follow for many Americans if technical troubles scare off young people.

24. Events -

Germantown Performing Arts Center will host a visual arts exhibition by Ron Olson and Saj Crone Tuesday, Dec. 3, to Jan. 3 in the GPAC lobby, 1801 Exeter Road. Cost is free. Visit gpacweb.com.

25. Events -

Small Business Saturday will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, at participating small businesses across Memphis. The nationwide event includes retailers, restaurants, museums, entertainment venues and more. Visit shopsmall.com for a list of participating businesses.

26. Evolve Bank & Trust Honored for Creating Jobs -

Memphis-based Evolve Bank & Trust generated 203 jobs from Jan. 1, 2012, through June 30 of this year, a feat that was honored in Inc. Magazine’s second annual Hire Power Awards.

27. Smaller Manufacturers Feel Device Tax -

Controversy continues to swirl around the new medical device excise tax that went into effect on Jan. 1.

The flat 2.3 percent tax is applied to every dollar of sales for medical device manufacturers, and for many small- to mid-sized companies the tax is crippling their ability to grow and invest much needed funds into other areas like research and development, sales and marketing, and hiring additional staff.

28. Under Fire, 'Obamacare' Going Live – With Glitches -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Contentious from its conception, President Barack Obama's health care law has survived the Supreme Court, a battle for the White House and rounds of budget brinkmanship. Now comes the ultimate test: the verdict of the American people.

29. House GOP Presses Delay in Health Care Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans pressed ahead Wednesday on delaying key components of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, emboldened by the administration's concession that requiring companies to provide coverage for their workers next year may be too complicated.

30. Fisher Named Director Of Economic Development -

Gwyn Fisher has been named the greater Memphis regional director of economic and community development by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. In her new role, Fisher will work with companies, municipalities and stakeholders in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties to create jobs, attract new businesses and expand existing businesses.

31. Another Round for the House on 'Obamacare' -

WASHINGTON (AP) – There they go again: The House is moving toward a vote on yet another Republican bill to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.

Only months away from the rollout of coverage for uninsured Americans, Republicans on Thursday were making their 37th attempt in a little more than two years to eliminate, defund or partly scale back the Affordable Care Act.

32. Emergency Preparation – Part 1 -

A bombing and citywide lockdown in Boston, a chemical explosion in West, Texas; threats of flooding along the Mississippi River; tornadoes; earthquakes; and the all-too-frequent house fire.

These are a few of the disasters we all need to prepare for. We need to get ready at home with our families, at work, at our places of worship and at the nonprofits where we spend our time. Most emergencies come with little warning. Many are unthinkable. Some are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Others – such as fires – occur every day. How will you get ready?

33. ‘All is Not Lost’ -

Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. has been nationally recognized for its work providing health care services for the homeless population of the Mid-South, helping people like Grace Hilton-Young transform their lives.

34. Breaking the Mold -

When Rosemarie Fair was named Broker of the Year in investment sales at last year’s Pinnacle Awards, she became the first woman ever to do so.

Before Fair founded One Source Commercial Inc. in 1993, she worked with Carlisle Corp. in the early 1980s on Beale Street Landing Downtown. She remembers often what her mentor Gene Carlisle taught her – “Somebody will take care of the big stuff, it’s the nickels and dimes that make the difference.”

35. Loeb: City Should Increase Investment in Urban Core -

The relevance of Overton Square is that it’s one of many initiatives the city has in place to make Memphis a better place and a city of choice for the millennial generation.

Seventy-seven percent of those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s want to live in the urban core and to drive less.

36. Dunavant Awards Honor, Discuss Good Government -

An award for elected and non-elected public officials marking its 10th anniversary this year began as a way to honor the late Probate Court Clerk Bobby Dunavant and to counter the damage done 10 years ago by the Tennessee Waltz federal public corruption investigation.

37. Countdown to Reform -

The Obama administration recently took the next step in implementing the new health care reform by laying out more specific guidelines regarding the health insurance market reforms. The Department of Health and Human Services published the new regulations on Nov. 20.

38. Local Students Give Back With Literacy Program -

A lot of people have good ideas that could change the world, or at a little piece of it. But often those ideas never quite turn into action.

Two Memphis University School seniors – basketball player Jonathan Wilfong and football player and wrestler Andrew Renshaw – had just such a good idea. Inspired by “Caddy for a Cure,” in which an individual makes a donation to a charity and in turn gets to caddy for a PGA golfer, they created “Coaching for Literacy – The Assistant Coach Program for Promoting Literacy.”

39. Grace St. Luke’s Adds ‘Little Lukers’ Program -

Next year, Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School will welcome a new group of students onto its Midtown Memphis campus: 2-year-olds.

Officials at the private school for students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade recently announced the addition of a new program for 2-year-olds and young 3s at its Miss Lee’s Preschool. The Little Lukers program will open in 2013, and applications are being accepted through Jan. 15.

40. Surprise: New Insurance Fee in Health Overhaul Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It's a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

41. Events -

LightWave Solar will host a lunch & learn titled “How Solar Can Work for Your Home or Business” Friday, Dec. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. in the River Tower at South Bluffs clubhouse, 655 Riverside Drive. R.S.V.P. to Grace Robertson at grobertson@lightwavesolar.com or 615-641-4050, ext. 104.

42. Events -

The DeSoto County Economic Development Council will hold its annual membership luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 11:45 a.m. at Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will present the keynote. Cost is $25. R.S.V.P. to dmorgan@desotocounty.com by Friday, Dec. 7.

43. Grizzlies Ramp Up Charitable Efforts as Holidays Begin -

On the court, the Grizzlies have given away next to nothing. They reeled off an eight-game winning streak. Night after night, 48 minutes at a time, they have been stingy – selfish, even.

But off the court, the Grizzlies have embraced this holiday season of giving as though it, too, were a competition. This month, they haven’t just been making baskets but giving them away hundreds at a time: Zach Randolph distributing food baskets to families from Carver and Booker T. Washington high schools; Rudy Gay passing out foodstuffs at The Pursuit of God Power Center; and Quincy Pondexter’s food basket give-away at New Direction Christian Church/Power Center Academy as part of his ongoing “Random Acts of Q-Ness.”

44. Obama Carries Shelby, Cohen Over Flinn and Two Tax Hikes Defeated -

President Barack Obama carried Shelby County in unofficial Nov. 6 election returns as his Republican challenger Mitt Romney took the state’s 11 electoral votes.

Voter turnout in the most popular election cycle among Shelby County voters was 61.9 percent, about the same percentage as four years ago. But the 371,256 voters is fewer than 2008 when more than 400,000 Shelby County voters cast ballots. The percentage is about the same because there are fewer registered voters in Shelby County than there were four years ago after a purge by election officials.

45. Excise Tax Looms for Local Device Companies -

A new excise tax will be levied on medical devices beginning Jan. 1, and the impact will be significant for medical device companies with a Memphis presence.

Large players like Wright Medical Technology Inc. and fledgling outfits like Arrowhead Medical Device Technologies Inc. are preparing for the 2.3 percent pinch on each device sold in the U.S., including pacemakers and stents, defibrillators, artificial joints, chemotherapy delivery systems, surgical tools and X-ray machines.

46. AP-GfK Poll: Most See Health Law Being Implemented -

WASHINGTON (AP) – It still divides us, but most Americans think President Barack Obama's health care law is here to stay.

More than 7 in 10 say the law will fully go into effect with some changes, ranging from minor to major alterations, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

47. Suburban School Board Races Almost Set -

Races on the Nov. 6 ballot for six sets of suburban school boards took shape Thursday, Aug. 16, at the noon filing deadline for candidate qualifying petitions.

The candidates that made the deadline have another week to withdraw from the races if they wish.

48. Graceland Marks 30th Year as Tourist Attraction -

MEMPHIS (AP) – When Graceland opened to the public 30 years ago this month, nobody knew if it would be a success. Nearly 18 million visitors later, the house where Elvis Presley once lived is a money-making business that's helped transform the city of Memphis into a top destination for music lovers.

49. Center Promotes Russian, Southern Link -

Anna Terry, president of The Russian Cultural Center of Memphis, will travel to Washington Tuesday, June 12, for a reception with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

50. Events -

The Greater Memphis Chamber: International Business Council will hold a seminar on business in the Philippines Thursday, May 10, at 8:30 a.m. at Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Cost is free. The IBC will also hold a luncheon at noon at the Hilton. Cost is $25, or $15 for attendees of the breakfast seminar. Call Brenda Montgomery at 543-3541.

51. Bynum, Bryant Help Lakers Beat Grizzlies in 2 OTs -

MEMPHIS (AP) – It took two overtime periods, but the Los Angeles Lakers eventually made sure the Memphis Grizzlies stayed behind them in the Western Conference standings.

Andrew Bynum had a season-high 37 points and 16 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 22 of his 34 points after halftime, and the Lakers beat Memphis 116-111 in double overtime on Tuesday night.

52. Cynthia Ham Named BRIDGES President -

The youth-development organization BRIDGES has a new president.

Cynthia Ham, archer-malmo principal and chief public relations officer, will leave the firm she’s been with for 15 years to start work Feb. 15 as BRIDGES’ new head. She succeeds Jim Boyd, who stepped down late last year after 16 years with the organization, which works to build a community of leaders to advance racial, economic, educational and environmental justice in Memphis and Shelby County.

53. Cynthia Ham is New BRIDGES President -

The youth-development organization BRIDGES has a new president.

Cynthia Ham, principal and chief public relations officer for archer-malmo, will leave the firm she’s been with for 15 years to start work Feb. 15 as BRIDGES’ new head. She succeeds Jim Boyd, who stepped down late last year after 16 years with the organization, which works to build a community of leaders to advance racial, economic, educational and environmental justice in Memphis and Shelby County.

54. Opera Memphis Dons Comic Mask -

Opera Memphis, which opened its 2011-2012 season with the torrid romance and drama of “Tosca” now invites audiences to sit back and laugh.

“The rest of the year it’s all happy endings,” said Ned Canty, Opera Memphis’ general director and stage director for Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” which will be staged at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre Jan. 21 and 24.

55. Music Festival Returns for Second Year -

The Fareveller Music Festival is returning to Memphis after its kickoff in 2011 that brought more than 1,200 people to the three-day event.

For three nights – March 22 to 24 – Young Avenue Deli, Newby’s and Otherlands will showcase local and national music talent. The initial lineup will be released Monday, Jan. 16, at www.fareveller.com.

56. Loeb Tells Rotary About Overton Square Plans -

Among the first of Bob Loeb’s comments when he addressed the Memphis Rotary Club Tuesday, Jan. 10, was that when his firm finishes the redevelopment of Overton Square, the hope is to pass the Rotarian Four-Way Test.

57. Crossing Boundaries -

Philanthropy takes a lot of planning and a lot of caution – so much so that young adults might give it a wide berth when it comes to ongoing involvement in the fundraising that is a central function of philanthropy.

58. Tenn. Photo ID Law Could Face Challenge -

A requirement that Tennessee voters show photographic identification could be challenged in a lawsuit.

Unless or until there is legislative or court action to change the statute that took effect Sunday, Jan. 1, it remains the law. Tennessee Election Coordinator Mark Goins said his office anticipates voters will be required to show a photo ID when they go to the polls for the March primary elections, according to The Tennessean.

59. Abortion, Immigration Changes Among New 2012 Laws -

Girls seeking abortions in New Hampshire must first tell their parents or a judge, employers in Alabama must verify new workers' U.S. residency, and California students will be the first in the country to receive mandatory lessons about the contributions of gays and lesbians under state laws set to take effect at the start of 2012.

60. Events -

The Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will present “Legal Ethics in the Movies” with speaker Mike McLaren of Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee PC and special guest U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Vescovo Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the auditorium at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 Dudley St. For more information or to register, visit www.memphisbar.org.

61. Events -

The Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will present “Legal Ethics in the Movies” with speaker Mike McLaren of Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee PC and special guest U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Vescovo Dec. 28 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the auditorium at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 Dudley St. For more information or to register, visit www.memphisbar.org.

62. Kids Take Center Stage with Circus -

If the kids are pinging off the walls after a long winter holiday school vacation, Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center would like to put their excess energy to good use.

Starfish Circus, a pre-programmed artistic residency for high schoolers, will introduce kids to the many techniques of physical theater and stage acrobatics in a crash course culminating in a live performance.

63. Events -

Chez Philippe will host a Christmas Eve dinner Saturday, Dec. 24, at the restaurant in The Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave. Cost is $80 per person and includes a four-course meal. For reservations, call 529-4188. Christmas Day Brunch will be held Sunday, Dec. 25, on The Peabody’s mezzanine from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $55 per person and $20 for children. For reservations, call 529-3668. The Capriccio Grill will have a Christmas Day dinner Sunday, Dec. 25, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cost is $45 per person and $15 for children. For reservations, call 529-4199.

64. 2 Centuries After New Madrid Quakes, What's Next? -

MEMPHIS (AP) – The United States was still a young nation when three major earthquakes rocked the central Mississippi River valley in the winter of 1811-1812.

Chimneys fell, the earth heaved and church bells rang hundreds of miles away, set off by the powerful vibrations from what is now called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. As farmland rolled and shuddered, the shock waves spread as far as New York and the Carolinas.

65. Obama Admin: 2.5M Young Adults Gain Coverage -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Young adults trying to get traction in a tough economy are getting a welcome assist: the new federal health care law has markedly improved their access to health insurance.

66. Ark. Organ Donor to be Honored at Rose Parade -

Verna Harris is able to work 40 hours a week. She goes to church on Sundays and enjoys taking in a movie now and then.

67. AP Source: Freeze Agrees to Take Ole Miss Job -

Arkansas State's Hugh Freeze has agreed to take the Mississippi job, according to a person familiar to the coaching search.

68. AP-GfK Poll: 37 Percent of Public Back Protests -

WASHINGTON (AP) – More than one-third of the country supports the Wall Street protests, and even more – 58 percent – say they are furious about America's politics.

The number of angry people is growing as deep reservoirs of resentment grip the country, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

69. Steve Jobs and Shades of Yellow -

Editor’s Note: “From the Blog” is a new weekly feature that highlights some of the enterprising work our staff posts on The Daily News blog, blog.memphisdailynews.com.

70. Be Prepared -

In remarks to the National Press Club in Washington earlier this month, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani singled out two people in his administration as being largely responsible for helping him make it through a day that started like any other day in 2001 but changed the course of the nation’s history before it was over.

71. Business Plan Basics, Part Three -

Part three of a three-part series about the role of the business plan: an interview with Dr. Jan Young In our last two columns, we’ve shared with you the wisdom of Dr. Jan Young, executive director of the Assisi Foundation of Memphis, about the development of business plans for nonprofits. Here, we asked her to provide examples of how a business plan can impact an organization’s success.

72. Business Plan Basics, Part Two -

Part two of a three-part series about the role of the business plan: an interview with Dr. Jan Young: Last week, Dr. Jan Young explained how creating a business plan can help nonprofit organizations assess their capacity, strategy and potential funding sources. This week, she discusses the basics of creating a plan.

73. Business Plan Basics, Part One -

Part one of a three-part series about the role of the business plan: an interview with Dr. Jan Young: One of the prerequisites for fundraising success is a fund development or fundraising plan that is tied to an organization’s strategic plan. While strategic planning has a long history within the nonprofit sector, some organizations are now choosing to work from a business plan.

74. Major Local Impact Expected From ‘Memphis’ Tour -

The official word is that “Memphis” is coming to Memphis.

Starting Oct. 15, Memphians will finally get to see the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical as it begins its nationwide tour in the city that bears its name.

75. Reader’s Digest Makes Difference-Making Memphis Stop -

Call it the marriage of economic stimulus and National Lampoon’s Vacation, or maybe just “Three Dudes in an RV.” The Reader’s Digest We Hear You America Tour made a stop in Memphis with cash in hand.

76. U of M to Host Biomaterials Day -

Biomedical industry professionals, students and faculty will have the opportunity to pick the brains of industry professionals at next week’s Biomaterials Day at the University of Memphis.

The Jan. 28 event, to be held at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will include presentations by both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as industry professionals. Experts from Wright Medical Technology Inc., Smith & Nephew and Medtronic Inc. will speak about challenges in biomaterials and offer their expertise in the biomedical field through panel discussions.

77. Smith & Nephew Rumors Continue to Swirl -

Despite Smith & Nephew’s attempts to quash rampant rumors that it’s being targeted for takeover, Wall Street seems to be sticking with the maxim that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

78. Second Phase of Bike Plan Kicks Off -

The second phase of the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)’s Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan begins Wednesday with opportunities for public input.

Organizers and participants hope to ride the current wave of public interest in bicycling and walking, which began with the opening of the Shelby Farms Greenline last summer.

79. ‘Sun Studio Sessions’ TV Show Embarks on Second Season -

Tim Jones studied Memphis music at Indiana University.

“I had taken a lot of rock ‘n’ roll history classes at Indiana University and became obsessed with the early Sun recordings of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis,

80. When One Door Closes, Another Opens for Vaughn -

“By Jan. 2, there will no vestige of Grace,” said Ben Vaughn.

When Vaughn announced two weeks ago that Grace, his restaurant in Cooper-Young, was closing, it seemed like a throwback to the bad economy days of 2009, especially combined with other recent closings.

81. GPAC Stages Russian ‘Ballet Blanc’ -

It may or may not be a white Christmas this year, but Germantown Performing Arts Centre promises a return of “white” ballet in January.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre’s production of “Les Sylphides” and “Romeo and Juliet” takes the stage Jan. 2 offering romantic reverie on two different levels.

82. Italian Eatery to Take Over Dish’s Cooper-Young Site -

Italian is coming to the intersection of Cooper and Young.

Chef David Cleveland, in Memphis since 1997, and veteran front-of-the-house manager Leslie Billman will open Cortona – they hope by the beginning of 2011 – in the space where Dish closed Jan. 31.

83. Exhibition Delves into American Ethos -

Rural Southern landscapes, poetically charged illustrations and re-created battle scenes compose an extensive perspective on life in the South and American art in the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art’s current exhibition.

84. Don’t Let Open Enrollment Pass You By -

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – It’s time for workers around the country to think – really think – about health insurance.

Open enrollment has started for many employer-sponsored benefits plans that renew their coverage Jan. 1. Next year’s plans may include free preventive care and other changes thanks to the health care law Congress passed earlier this year. They also are likely to come with a higher premium.

85. FedEx Focused on Future -

FedEx Corp. announced its goal to increase earnings per share by 10 to 15 percent yearly over the long-term and achieve 10 percent plus operating margins at this week’s annual stockholders meeting.

86. Events -

The Memphis Rotary Club will meet Friday at noon at the Chickasaw Country Club, 3395 Galloway Ave. Dr. Jan Young, executive director of the Assisi Foundation, will be the featured speaker. Cost is $25 for guests. Reservations are not needed.

87. Springdale Fights Back -

In the mile of Springdale Street between Chelsea and Jackson avenues there are five churches. That’s not counting the churches on side streets.

On Eldridge Avenue, one of those side streets, between two tiny churches is a pair of identical small houses – both boarded up.

The one closest to the corner has faded blue spray paint stenciled across the plywood.

In inner-city Memphis, the stenciling is as familiar as gang graffiti. It’s the mark of the Memphis Police Department’s Blue CRUSH campaign.

Five years into the crackdown guided by a devotion to crime statistics, crime is down in Memphis.

But the statistical drop in crime has come with lingering questions and concerns in Springdale and other neighborhoods with Blue CRUSH houses.

“Once we board them up, we really have to depend on the community to let us know if drug dealers have broken back into them,” Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said. “If we don’t know about it, sometimes drug dealers can get right back in there.”

In the neighborhoods, homeowners lament that street level dealers are easily replaced and soon released from jail to resume their place in the neighborhoods – now with a criminal record that makes a move away from drug dealing even more unlikely.

Last year, a team from Memphis that included a police officer, a state prosecutor, a federal prosecutor, a University of Memphis researcher, the head of the Memphis Leadership Foundation and the pastor of one of those five churches along Springdale went to several cities to get training in a new anti-drug strategy.

“We were really interested in changing people’s lives, not locking them up,” Springdale Baptist Pastor Derrick Hughes told The Memphis News. Hughes wasn’t sure at first if he would be part of the Drug Market Intervention (DMI) program.

“It sounded as if possibly it was just another program that was going to possibly just put criminals in jail without rehabilitation,” he said. “And I wanted to make sure that if we were going to be a part of something that it was going to look at rehabilitating the person, changing lives, changing them from a holistic point of view as well as a spiritual point of view.”

Gibbons said some of his prosecutors and some police brass also had their doubts as they looked for an area to test out DMI Memphis style.

“It was based primarily on looking at crime patterns and in particular drug activity in that area,” he told The Memphis News. There was plenty of open drug dealing in the Springdale area.

Drug Market Intervention is picking several street level drug dealers in a community, confronting them with the evidence against them and telling them they have one more chance to get out of the business. The police are involved in making a decision not to prosecute a few as they target dozens of others in an area.

Others on the team are community leaders from the neighborhood. And some are with proven programs to provide job training and other help in getting a legitimate job.

High Point, N.C., was the first stop for the Memphis group because it is the birthplace of DMI. It seems an unlikely example for Memphis with a population of fewer than 100,000. But in 2003, High Point had several open air drug markets. The city’s new police chief, James Fealy, attacked them using what became the DMI strategy.

David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Control and Prevention at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, replicated DMI in other cities with money from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. The BJA funded the training of the Memphis team and came here.

Kennedy’s philosophy is specific to open air drug markets. It doesn’t pretend to eliminate all drug dealing.

“Open air drug markets are found primarily in our cities and in African-American neighborhoods,” Kennedy wrote in a 2008 article for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Journal. “Although we are loathe to admit it, this issue is soaked in race.”

Kennedy said police complained to him that the families of the drug dealers and others in the surrounding communities knew they were selling drugs, did nothing to stop it and profited from it.

But Kennedy said those living in the communities countered that police were only interested in locking up as many people as they could as part of a conspiracy to destroy the community.

Kennedy said each side had a point and each side was wrong.

“The crime is real and overwhelmingly the arrests are legitimate. But we are destroying the village in order to save it,” he wrote. “And none of this gets rid of the crime. The drug markets and violence continue to exist.”

Kennedy didn’t try to tackle the long-standing racial issues and their lengthy back story. The conversations that formed the basis for the DMI strategy were about drug markets.

It was hard for some on the Memphis team to believe that hardened drug dealers would respond when the threat of arrest, prison time, drive-by shootings and gang turf tripwires hadn’t discouraged them from the life.

Nevertheless, when they returned to Memphis, the planning began for several months of undercover drug buys in the Springdale area by the police Organized Crime Unit. For months, the officers bought repeatedly from dozens of street dealers in a two-mile radius of Springdale. And they recorded the drug buys on video – not just one buy but multiple buys.

Prosecutors reviewed the cases against more than 60 men and women and prosecuted 51 of them. Five were indicted on federal drug charges. Six others – five men and a woman – were the first candidates for the Memphis DMI program.

“It was taking a look at individuals who obviously were involved in drug trafficking, but a little more on the periphery – not an extensive drug record,” Gibbons said.

A few days after New Year’s Day, police descended on the Springdale area serving the arrest warrants and putting up a fresh crop of plywood with blue stenciling on the drug houses in the area. The neighborhood grapevine buzzed anew about the heavy police presence.

It was still buzzing when on the coldest day of the year – Jan. 8 – the Memphis group knocked on six doors in the Springdale area. The temperature never got near freezing and was in single digits part of the day.

No one inside the six houses knew they were coming. No one approaching the doorsteps knew what the reaction inside would be.

It was the first indication the six people involved and inside those homes had that they had sold drugs to undercover Memphis police officers and had been recorded on video making multiple drug sales to the officers.

The father of one of the six was among those who had been arrested.

When the DMI team knocked on his door, his grandmother answered.

“He did not want his grandmother to know why we were standing at the door,” Peggie Russell, the DMI coordinator and a University of Memphis researcher and community resource specialist, said. “He said, ‘It’s OK grandmother.’”

Howard Eddings, president of the Memphis Leadership Foundation, said the young man didn’t deny he was a drug dealer.

“He wanted to basically shut the door,” Eddings told The Memphis News. “She might not have known exactly what he was doing. She was an older lady. He didn’t like the fact that we were knocking on her door.”

He and the other five got a letter asking them to come to Springdale Baptist Church a few days later. If they came, the letter from Police Director Larry Godwin said they would not be prosecuted this time.

For Hughes the pledge was crucial. He wanted to be able to say, “I give you my word, you will not be arrested,” with certainty and conviction.

Five of the six showed up at Hughes’ church where the congregation and other community leaders were waiting in the sanctuary. On the walls were posters of the 51 defendants who weren’t getting the chance they were about to get. The posters included the possible prison sentences those defendants faced.

The five “guests” sat in a reserved front row with a friend or family member.

Their faces blurred in a video of the event, they listened as Assistant District Attorney Amy Weirich told them, “We’ve had it,” and called their names individually. “The Memphis Police Department is tired of picking up dead bodies in the street.”

Russell remembers some denying they had done anything wrong. Then police showed the video.

They watched video of themselves selling drugs numerous times to undercover police officers.

The woman’s denials stopped.

“She got caught during the first time. I don’t necessarily know that we believed it was the first time,” Eddings remembered. “But she was so embarrassed as a mom who had small kids who was put in the spotlight. … All of her junk is coming to the forefront.”

Russell said some of the others were telling those who came with them that they had no idea why they were summoned to the church.

“You’re sitting there and you’re telling your family member, ‘No, I didn’t do it,’” Russell said. “Then the tape started rolling … and you see yourself. It’s reality. You can’t hide it. I think that was a turning point for most of them.”

Hughes told the group of five that the church cared about them and was willing to help.

Some of his congregants spoke up too.

“Our congregants said, ‘Listen, we’re tired of watching you sell drugs. We’re tired of being afraid of coming in and out of our communities. We want our community back,’” Hughes recalled. “During the call in, some of our residents had an opportunity to look in their faces and say, ‘We are tired of the way you’ve been running down our communities. This used to be a wonderful community where people had pride, where people had hope. … Now a lot of us are afraid.’”

After the tough talk and the confrontation came a commitment to work with the five DMI candidates. Eddings emphasized there are no guarantees.

“We were careful not to promise them that we were going to get them jobs or that even if we could get them a job that it was going to pay them something comparable to what they were making on the street,” he said. ”We said the opposite. We can’t do that at all. But one thing we do know for sure. If you stop doing what you’re doing, you don’t go to jail.”

Russell, who gets much of the credit for pushing to give DMI a try and has become the program’s de facto coordinator, described the response as “something totally new.”

“It’s not about those five,” she said. “They are supposed to stay out of trouble for two years to make the necessary transition in their lives. But it’s really about the Hollywood Springdale community, changing the response of the community to open air drug sales.”

Eddings was surprised by the response.

“Most of these guys’ mamas know what they’re doing. But to know now that other mamas and other grandparents and other church leaders and the community have their eye on you, it has a different motivation,” he said. “Some of these guys are hardened. They’ve been doing it for a while and they’ve been out there on the streets. So, not much embarrasses them. But I could tell by looking at them and even some of the denials.”

The Memphis Leadership Foundation already works with convicted felons trying to make the difficult transition after prison. There are even fewer guarantees for those with a substantial prison record.

Marcus, who didn’t want his last name used, vented about how hard it’s been to find a legitimate job since he did prison time in 2006 for felony drug dealing.

“It’s not like people want to sell drugs,” he began. “On a lot of applications they are saying they don’t discriminate. They’re lying. … They’re ready to end the session right then. They might tear up the application in your face.”

If drug dealers like him bring blight to areas like Springdale and violence and a hard life for law-abiding citizens, Marcus said society has responded with its own brand of hardness.

“They ain’t reaching out anymore,” he said. “They expect for the world to be better because we’re building more jails. We’re putting more cops out. If somebody killed me today – the person who killed me, they want to put him in jail. But why put him in jail when y’all treating this man he killed like he’s a nobody anyway.”

Eddings said with criminal records or without, street level drug dealers have problems as they get older because they have no legitimate work history. He started to say there aren’t transferable skills before thinking about it.

“Actually, some of the skills do transfer. They’ve just got to get access,” he said. “It’s really a reshaping, a little bit more recognition that they need to deal with in terms of how they see themselves and how they can use those skills that they utilize on the streets to do something positive and pursue a legitimate way of life.”

The young man Eddings is working with seems not to have hit the wall that Marcus is at yet.

“He is simply trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other. They go from having some source of income to having no source of income,” Eddings told The Memphis News. “We’re convincing him now that getting his GED ought to be a decision that he ought to make. He’s been a little slow in that.”

Hughes said he would get the occasional dope boy showing up at his church before DMI.

“Very rarely. I did hear one or two stragglers you come across who say, ‘Yes, I do want to change.’ Often times, it’s usually because of a pending trial or they are in trouble,” he said. “Since that time, we’ve had a lot of people coming, wanting to change their lives.”

Gibbons is reviewing some neighborhoods where DMI might go next but he’s not saying where because of the undercover police work involved. He wants to see it replicated based on lessons learned in Memphis and he hopes to get a federal grant to hire a full-time coordinator.

The sixth man given a chance in the DMI program didn’t come to the church and was prosecuted. He pleaded guilty to five counts of selling drugs and was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $10,000. But the sentence was suspended and he was put on a diversion program.

Weirich recalled Criminal Court Judge John Fowlkes asking the man why he didn’t respond. He told Fowlkes, “It sounded too good to be true.”

...

88. State’s Nuisance Law Helps Nab Three Memphis Cops -

Three Memphis police officers could be indicted by a federal grand jury as early as today on conspiracy, bribery and extortion charges.

Timothy Green, Christopher Crawford and Michael Young were arrested Friday and charged in a complaint.

89. The Business of Law -

As many sectors of the economy slowly sputter back to life, the state of the legal industry is often overlooked in economic reports. This trend can be surprising because law firms and corporate legal departments provide the advice and representation necessary for many different kinds of businesses to move forward with their recovery.

90. Cooper Young to Lose Major Tenant -

THING OF THE PAST: Dish, a nightspot in the Cooper-Young district, will close Jan. 31. David Nestler, the general manager, said the business had been operating on a month-to-month lease for about a year, and the economy was a factor in the decision to close. The company that owns Dish also operates the Bluefin Restaurant, which Nestler also manages, and the Sekisui restaurants.

91. Drug Benefit Expanded to 1 Million More Seniors -

WASHINGTON (AP) - In case the prospect of nearly $4,000 in prescription assistance isn't enough to perk up low-income seniors, the government is using '60s singer Chubby Checker to publicize "the twist" in the Medicare drug program.

92. Events -

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens will host “Tours at Two” today at 2 p.m. at the Dixon, 4339 Park Ave. Visitors can take a special tour of the exhibits “Carry Me: Lucite Handbags from the Caryn Scheidt Collection” and “Lichtenstein in Process.” For more information, call 761-5250.

93. Events -

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens will host “Tours at Two” Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Dixon, 4339 Park Ave. Visitors can take a special tour of the exhibits “Carry Me: Lucite Handbags from the Caryn Scheidt Collection” and “Lichtenstein in Process.” For more information, call 761-5250.

94. Events -

Heartsong Church will host a Christmas Eve celebration featuring local singer Alexis Grace today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Heartsong, 800 N. Houston Levee Road. For more information, contact Michelle Worth at 755-6332 or e-mail mworth@heartsongchurch.net.

95. Events -

The Memphis Bar Association will present a continuing legal education seminar titled “Summary Judgment in Tennessee, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” today from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the MBA office, 80 Monroe Ave., Suite 220. To register, visit www.memphisbar.org.

96. Rove to Address Politics With Rhodes Students, Faculty -

Karl Rove, the controversial senior adviser to former president George W. Bush, will speak in Memphis next month.
Rove will give an address Jan. 20 on American politics to Rhodes students. The lecture is being presented by the Rhodes College Lecture Board and Young America’s Foundation. The speech is open to the Rhodes community only and it starts at 8 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom.
Students, faculty and staff will be notified next month about ticket details.

– Andy Meek

...

97. Local Musicians, Artists Soon Will Have Legal Outlet -

Musicians and artists in the Memphis area are now able to seek legal help through a new partnership among the Memphis Music Foundation, ArtsMemphis, Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. and others.

98. Baptist Health Care’s Pounds Elected to Novation Board -

Don Pounds, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., has been elected to serve on the board of Novation LLC, the health care supply contracting company for VHA, University HealthSystem Consortium and Provista LLC.
Since coming to Baptist in 1987, Pounds has served in a variety of roles, starting as chief financial officer at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County. 

99. Mid South Reads, Literacy Council Soon to Merge -

The partnership between Mid South Reads and the Memphis Literacy Council is about to be a marriage.

The two nonprofit organizations will become a single entity Jan. 1 with a new name, Literacy Mid South. No mission or program will be abandoned because of the merger.

100. Little Ready to Join Wharton Team -

George Little has a towering physique and a booming voice. He speaks slowly, intently and with an almost steely gaze.