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Editorial Results (free)

1. 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.

2. Centennial on Tap for Traffic Club of Memphis -

The Traffic Club of Memphis is kick-starting its 100-year celebration with the introduction of its 2013 officers, led for the second straight year by president Mason Wilson.

The club’s activities this year will feature a series of local events, including the Traffic Club International annual conference in September.

3. Muni Schools Questions Pass, Cohen Wins Big -

Voters in each of the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County approved establishing municipal school districts in the unofficial results of the Thursday, Aug. 2, county general and state and federal primary elections.

4. Schools Planning Commission Begins Work -

The 21-member schools consolidation planning commission goes to work Thursday, Sept. 29, in a conference room at the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement in Shelby Farms.

5. Drug Case Gets Stranger With Plea Revelation -

It is not unusual in Memphis federal court for a grand jury indictment to be sealed by a judge. And there are times when a guilty plea may be sealed.

But the revelation this week that alleged drug kingpin Craig Petties pleaded guilty over a year ago to 19 counts including murder for hire charges in Memphis federal court is unusual.

6. ATTN: Mayor Wharton -

Memphians sound off on city’s most pressing needs.

Aaron Shafer
Founder of Skatelife Memphis; scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hosp.

Develop and promote a citywide mentoring campaign. We must heavily invest in the positive development of our children. Many of our Memphis children suffer not from a material poverty, but a poverty of healthy relationships and ultimately a poverty of possibility – of reaching their full potential. Each of us has had supportive network of mentors (“the village”) in our lives, be they our parents, teachers or friends, that have come along side of us to build our self-esteem and to help us navigate a path that moves us closer to realizing our potential.

7. Petties Indicted on Prison Weapons Charges -

The alleged leader of the largest and most violent drug organization ever tried in Memphis federal court is accused of getting a weapon twice while in the Memphis Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) last fall.

8. Petties Faces New Charges In Prison -

Craig Petties, the alleged leader of the largest and most violent drug organization ever tried in Memphis federal court, faces new federal charges.

9. 2010 -

Is it over yet? That may be the most frequently asked question in the New Year. “It” is the worst national economic recession since the Great Depression.

Accurately reading the indicators will not be easy. Some will predict the recession is about to end, just as new indicators point to continuing economic agony for thousands of Memphians.

10. Petties Drug Case Reaches Pivotal Juncture -

The largest drug case ever presented in Memphis federal court reaches a critical phase today when U.S. Attorney Larry Laurenzi begins a series of meetings with attorneys for five of the nine defendants.

11. UPDATE: Lowery Appoints Coleman-Davis Deputy City Attorney -  

Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery has appointed his choice to be city attorney to be deputy city attorney until the City Council can act on her nomination.

The naming of Veronica Coleman-Davis to the number two spot is the latest twist in a controvery that began minutes after Lowery took the oath of office Friday and fired City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

Jefferson then filed suit in Chancery Court against Lowery contesting Lowery's decision to fire him. Chancellor Walter Evans issued a preliminary injunction preventing Jefferson's dismissal at least until a hearing before Evans Wednesday afternoon.

On the Drake & Zeke Show on radio station 98.1 The Max, Lowery said until the council acts, Coleman-Davis, a former U.S. Attorney, will be deputy director. Her appointment to that position is immediate and does not require council approval.

Meanwhile, Jefferson's attorney, Ricky E. Wilkins, told The Daily News her confirmation Tuesday as City Attorney would have to come after a council vote to back Jefferson's firing.

"We will ask the court to continue to keep that injunction in place throughout the tenure of Myron Lowery as mayor pro tempore," Wilkins said. "If Myron is able to get the necessary votes to terminate Mr. Jefferson and to get the votes to replace him with a substitute city attorney ... then that's what the process calls for and I think Mr. Jefferson understands that. But Myron Lowery cannot ignore and violate the city charter to satisfy his own political means."

Jefferson was at City Hall over the weekend, escorted by City Council attorney Allan Wade, according to Lowery.

After taking the oath of office Friday afternoon from U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays, Lowery told reporters he had offered Jefferson a severance and a chance to resign the appointed post. Jefferson refused which apparently surprised Lowery since Jefferson had tendered his resignation to outgoing Mayor Willie Herenton earlier in the month and Herenton refused to accept it.

Lowery met with Jefferson in a City Hall stairwell after the swearing in ceremony. Lowery emerged without Jefferson and told reporters he had fired the attorney. Several sources said later that Jefferson was escorted from the building and his parking pass and other identification taken as he was walked to his car and out of City Hall.

Wilkins termed the forcible exit a "low blow" and a "fairly drastic action."

“The legal department has almost been a black hole for dollars,” Lowery said Friday, minutes after the stairwell meeting. “I think that we spend too much money on attorney fees. I think that our city attorney has allowed this to happen without adequate controls on this. And I’m looking for stronger controls in the city attorney’s office.”

“If the mayor pro tempore doesn’t have the power, who does?” Lowery said. “Of course I do.”

Power play

In addition to Coleman-Davis, Lowery will also take the nomination of former council member Jack Sammons as his Chief Administrative Officer to the council Tuesday.

Herenton CAO Keith McGee had retired effective July 4. But when Herenton moved back his resignation date to July 30, McGee extended his stay on a voluntary basis. McGee is working with Lowery on a transitional basis. Lowery said he had hoped Jefferson would work under the same arrangement.

“He wanted to keep the title and the salary that comes with it. So I had to make a decision,” Lowery said. “I wish he had accepted it. … He’s forced me to take this action.”

Lowery said he wants Coleman Davis to examine past city legal bills and expenses.

“I have heard that several individuals have been hired … in the legal department to fill vacancies who were scheduled to start work Monday. I just found this out,” Lowery told reporters. “I want to make sure that we don’t have cronies of our former legal division director who have been hired.”

Those appointments will be examined.

“I don’t want any friends of the division director receiving dollars or any backroom deals outside the scope of the City Council. You know what I’m talking about,” he told reporters. “That is not going to occur under my administration.”

‘Hard work and enthusiasm’

As Lowery moved into the seventh floor mayor’s office Friday at City Hall, council member Harold Collins moved into the council chairman’s office on the fifth floor as part of the transition in power following Herenton’s resignation. Collins indicated his displeasure with the firing of Jefferson and said he wants Lowery and Jefferson to be at Tuesday's council committee sessions to tell their sides of the story.

“It’s a new day at City Hall,” Lowery told a crowd in the Hall of Mayors the day after Herenton’s farewell address in the same hall. Lowery’s guests at the ceremony were Herenton, former Mayor Dick Hackett and J.O. Patterson Jr., the city’s first African-American mayor who served in the top post for 20 days after the resignation of Mayor Wyeth Chandler in 1982. Patterson was City Council chairman at the time. Like Lowery, Patterson also ran in the special election that followed and lost to Hackett, who lost to Herenton nine years later by 142 votes.

“With new life, new individuals, comes hope and promise,” Lowery said. “As mayor, I will promote a moral philosophy of customer service – customer-driven government. … I’m here also to say that I’m going to promote ethical leadership in government.”

One priority will be a new crime fighting strategy, although Lowery was quick to say he likes the direction the police department and those efforts have taken under current Police Director Larry Godwin. The other immediate priority is a more aggressive city cleanup campaign.

Lowery didn’t refer to Herenton directly in any of his comments, but the contrasts were apparent.

“We will be energetic in city government – more productive There’s a phrase, ‘We need to be workhorses, not showhorses.’” Lowery said. “You will not get a lot of catchy phrases from me. But you will get a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.”

The remark came the day after Herenton’s farewell address and press conference in which Herenton repeatedly invoked what looks to be the campaign slogan “Keep It Real” in his bid for the Democratic congressional nomination in 2010.

“As everyone knows, we’ve lost many people during the past several years. I’m going to say come home to Memphis,” Lowery said.

The remark is in contrast to one of Herenton’s most cited quotes from his 18-year tenure. When asked about citizens moving out of Memphis for the suburbs, Herenton responded by saying he had no problem with that and adding “goodbye.”

...

12. UPDATE: Lowery Promises 'New Day' for Memphis -

Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery fired City Attorney Elbert Jefferson on his first day in office, apparently during a meeting in a City Hall stairwell.

After taking the oath of office Friday afternoon from U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays, Lowery told reporters he had offered Jefferson a severance and a chance to resign the appointed post. Jefferson refused and Lowery met with him in a City Hall stairwell after the swearing in ceremony. Lowery emerged without Jefferson and told reporters he had fired the attorney.

13. Petties Drug Case Could Linger Into Autumn -

It could be the fall before prosecutors in the federal drug, racketeering and murder for hire case against Craig Petties and seven others make a decision on seeking the death penalty.

14. ‘Not Guilty’ Eclipses Week of Ford Trial Highlights -

Outside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays Wednesday afternoon, reporters waiting for word of a verdict in the Edmund Ford federal corruption trial reflected on memorable phrases uttered during the court proceedings.

15. While Acquitted Wednesday, Ford Still Awaits Separate Pay-for-Favors Trial -

Former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford wiped his eyes after a jury of seven women and five men acquitted him Wednesday afternoon on three counts of bribery and three counts of extortion.

The tears soon were replaced with vocal outbursts of joy. When reporters approached him for comment outside the courtroom after the verdict had been read, the former councilman threw his arms forward and boomed: “It’s over.” Speaking to reporters in the plaza area outside the federal building, the ex-councilman raised his arms in thanks.

16. Jury Deliberates In Ford Case -

The jury in the corruption trial of former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr. deliberated Tuesday for about two hours before breaking for the night.

The panel of 12 got the case Tuesday afternoon, a week and a day after the trial opened in Memphis federal court before U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays. They return to work this morning.

17. Ford Trial’s Nuances Appear Made for TV -

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Laurenzi told a federal court jury last week that the trial of former City Council member Edmund Ford Sr. would, in part, be about “a corrupt environment” at Memphis City Hall.

18. Cooper Testifying In Ford Trial -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Joe Cooper will continue his testimony Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr.

Cooper, who took the witness stand late Tuesday afternoon, is the key government witness in the trial which is expected to last all of this week. When he met with Ford between August and November 2006, Cooper was cooperating with the FBI, recording the conversations and passing money provided by the FBI to Ford.

19. Opening Statements Get Ford Trial Under Way -

The defense and prosecution in the corruption trial of former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr. have given the jury in the federal case very different explanations for the money Ford is accused of having taken.

20. Jury Pool Expanded, Questions Thorough For Coming Ford Trial -

The corruption trial of former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr. will begin next month with a jury pool of 105 people. There will be lots of questions for the jury about their backgrounds and political views, but the questions won't be as direct as whether they are Republicans or Democrats or whom they have supported in what races.

21. Judge Rules MPA President Can Participate in Contract Talks -

The president of the Memphis Police Association will be allowed to participate in contract talks with the city of Memphis.

U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays this week granted a preliminary injunction in the police union’s lawsuit against the city. The lawsuit claims the city violated the Constitutional rights of Lt. Gene Hulley in a dispute that centers on whether a lieutenant, who is considered a supervisor and part of management, can lead the union or should be forced to take a demotion in rank.

22. Ruling Expected In Police Association Injunction Request -

The Herenton administration and the Memphis Police Association already are in court and contract negotiations between the two are just getting started.

U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays soon could issue a ruling on a request by the union for an injunction permitting its president, Lt. Gene Hulley, to take part in the bargaining. Mays heard Thursday from both sides in the federal lawsuit.

23. Hulley, MPA Sue City Over Union Leadership -

A dispute that began late last year over whether a Memphis police lieutenant can serve as head of the labor union representing rank-and-file officers is going to court.

The Memphis Police Association and Lt. Gene Hulley this week filed suit in federal court against the city of Memphis seeking an injunction that allows Hulley to participate in contract talks between the city and the union that began this month.

24. Lunati Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison -

The owner of the city’s best known strip club owners was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison on a federal conspiracy charge.

Ralph Lunati pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Under terms of the plea deal, Lunati could have withdrawn his guilty plea had U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays sentenced him to more than 18 months.

25. Lunati Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison -

The owner of the city’s best known strip club was sentenced today to 18 months in prison on a federal conspiracy charge.

Ralph Lunati pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Under terms of the plea deal, Lunati could have withdrawn his guilty plea had U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays sentenced him to more than 18 months.

26. Scholl Says Number of Trials 'Onerous' -

The federal corruption cases involving former City Council member Edmund Ford have taken an unusual path through three grand jury reviews in a year's time.

In that time, Ford picked up a second set of corruption charges and a codefendant, former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

27. Ford’s First Trial Set for May -

U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays Friday set a May 12 trial date for former City Council member Edmund Ford on corruption charges. But prosecutors and defense attorneys will try later to agree on a trial date for separate corruption charges involving Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

28. Ford’s First Trial Set for May -

U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays today set a May 12 trial date for former City Council member Edmund Ford on corruption charges. But prosecutors and defense attorneys will try later to agree on a trial date for separate corruption charges involving Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

29. Grand Jury Returns New Indictments Against Ford, Lee -

A federal grand jury has returned new indictments against former Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee. Both men are the subject of pending federal cases involving charges of bribery and public corruption.

30. Grand Jury Returns New Indictments Against Ford, Lee -

A grand jury has returned new indictments against former Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee. Both men are the subject of pending federal cases involving charges of bribery and public corruption.

31. Grand Jury Returns New Indictments Against Ford, Lee -

A grand jury has returned new indictments against former Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee. Both men are the subject of pending federal cases involving charges of bribery and public corruption.

32. Feds ‘Strenuously’ Disagree With Mays’s Ruling About Ford and Lee Trials -

Federal prosecutors plan to ask U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays to reconsider Wednesday’s ruling separating the corruption cases and trials of Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

33. Feds ‘Strenuously’ Disagree With Mays’s Ruling About Ford and Lee Trials -

Federal prosecutors plan to ask U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays to reconsider Wednesday’s ruling separating the corruption cases and trials of Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

34. Ford, Lee to be Tried Separately on Corruption Charges -

U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays ruled late Wednesday that City Council member Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas &Water Division president Joseph Lee will be tried separately on corruption charges.

35. Ford, Lee to be Tried Separately on Corruption Charges -

U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays ruled late today that City Council member Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas &Water Division president Joseph Lee will be tried separately on corruption charges.

36. Peete Sentenced To 51 Months in Prison -

Former Memphis City Council member Rickey Peete was sentenced to four years and three months in prison Wednesday for taking bribes to vote for a zoning matter.

The sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays was the maximum possible under sentencing guidelines that took into account Peete's 1989 conviction for doing the same thing during his first tenure on the council.

37. Peete Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison -

Former Memphis City Council member Rickey Peete was sentenced to four years and three months in prison this morning for taking bribes to vote for a zoning matter.

The sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays was the maximum possible under sentencing guidelines that took into account Peete’s 1989 conviction for doing the same thing during his first tenure on the council.

38. Federal Judge Refuses to Stop Reunion of Anna Mae and Chinese Family -
MEMPHIS (AP) - A federal judge has rejected another attempt by an American couple to block the reunion of their former foster daughter with her Chinese parents.

The reunion was ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court in January following a seven-year custody fight between Jerry and Louise Baker and Chinese nationals Shaoqiang “Jack” and Qin Lou “Casey” He, parents of 8-year-old Anna Mae He.

39. Case Against Judge FieldsKicked Out of District Court -      A case against local Circuit Court Judge Donna Fields has been kicked out of District Court. Fields presides over Division 7 of the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the 30th Judicial District at Memphis.
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40. Archived Article: Tech Focus (india) - By SUZANNE THOMPSON U.S.-India tech conference begins today By SUZANNE THOMPSON The Daily News Imagine having a well-trained information technology staff that went to work every night just as the rest of us were going to sleep. Problems that could n...