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Editorial Results (free)

1. Commission Confirms Luttrell Appointees -

In the first voting meeting of the new four-year term of office, the Shelby County Commission approved Monday, Sept. 8, County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s reappointment of Harvey Kennedy as chief administrative officer, Mike Swift as finance director, Yvonne Matlock as health services director, John Halbert as chief information officer, Tom Needham as public works director and Richard Copeland as director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development. The commission also approved William Gupton as the new director of the county’s corrections division.

2. County Commission Confirms Luttrell Appointees -

In the first voting meeting of the new four-year term of office, the Shelby County Commission approved Monday, Sept. 8, County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s reappointment of Harvey Kennedy as chief administrative officer, Mike Swift as finance director, Yvonne Matlock as health services director, John Halbert as chief information officer, Tom Needham as public works director and Richard Copeland as director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development. The commission also approved William Gupton as the new director of the county’s corrections division.

3. Lee Joins MOGA’s DeSoto Office -

Dr. Daniel Lee has joined the DeSoto office of Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association PC. Lee provides comprehensive women’s health services, including office gynecology, obstetrics and surgical management, to women of all ages.

4. Ford Is New County Commission Chairman In Latest Crossover Trend -

Shelby County Commissioners elected a Democratic chairman Monday, Sept. 8, but for a second consecutive year, that chairman was elected with the support of a majority of the Republicans on the body.

5. County Commission Begins New Term -

Shelby County Commissioners elect a new chairman Monday, Sept. 8, for the next year at the first voting meeting of their four-year term of office.

And their agenda includes votes on appointments by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell to his second-term team of division directors and administrators.

6. High-Flying Vols Can’t Overlook Arkansas State -

KNOXVILLE – You had to be hiding under a rock not to hear the buzz this week about the University of Tennessee’s football team.

One person not reveling in the Vols’ 38-7 season opening victory over Utah State on Sunday night was UT coach Butch Jones.

7. Supreme Court: Religious Rights Trump Birth Control Rule -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.

8. Orgill Honored By Commerce Secretary -

Memphis-based Orgill, Inc. has been honored with a 2014 “E” Award for Export excellence by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Orgill was among 47 companies this year to receive the award, which is given to companies demonstrating a sustained increase in export sales over the course of several years. President John F. Kennedy created the President’s “E” Award in 1961 to recognize people, firms and organizations that contribute to expanding U.S. exports.

9. Orgill Honored By US Commerce Secretary -

Memphis-based Orgill, Inc. has been honored with a 2014 “E” Award for Export excellence by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

10. Baseball Gives Rebels Realistic Championship Shot -

OXFORD, Miss. – With breakthrough success comes the luxury of laughter, and the breathing room that allows Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco to say that reaching the College World Series took longer than he imagined.

11. Career Banker to Take Over Veterans Department -

WASHINGTON (AP) – After less than four months at the Veterans Affairs Department, Sloan D. Gibson suddenly finds himself in charge of fixing the problems that led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

12. Supreme Court Revives 'Raging Bull' Lawsuit -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a copyright lawsuit over the 1980 Oscar-winning movie "Raging Bull" can go forward, a decision that could open Hollywood studios to more claims from people seeking a share of profits from classic films, TV shows and other creative works.

13. Consumers Losing Doctors With New Insurance Plans -

MIAMI (AP) – Some consumers who bought insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law are experiencing buyer's remorse after realizing that their longtime doctors aren't accepting the new plans.

14. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

15. Deadline Brings High Interest for Health Insurance -

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy initiative.

16. High Court Seems Divided Over Birth Control Rule -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday over whether employers' religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge.

17. American Athletic Conference Honors Three Tigers -

Senior guard Joe Jackson and sophomore forward Shaq Goodwin made the American Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team and freshman forward Austin Nichols made the All-Rookie Team.

18. Court Weighs Securities Fraud Case Changes -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed open to the possibility of making it harder for investors to join together to sue corporations for securities fraud – but maybe not as hard as companies that have to defend such lawsuits would like.

19. Supreme Court Seems Divided in Climate Case -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court appeared divided on Monday over the sole Obama administration program already in place to limit power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

20. Tennessee Democrats Struggle With New, Old Factions -

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron realizes the party faithful in Memphis see some challenges in keeping the faith these days.

21. Location is Key for Success of Downtown’s New York Pizza -

As businesses expand and contract, corporations find homes in faraway cities and new technology means that law offices don’t have to adhere to the convenience of proximity the courthouse affords, so goes the Downtown workforce.

22. Kennedy’s Memphis Presence Felt 50 Years Later -

There once was a monument in a Memphis park that marked the spot where President John F. Kennedy had stood during a visit to the city in 1960 as he campaigned for the presidency.

By the marker were two distinct shoeprints that Memphians took their children to for them to stand in the slain president’s footsteps on Memphis soil.

23. Obama, Clinton Families Pay Tribute to JFK -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama paid tribute Wednesday to former President John F. Kennedy's legacy, joining former President Bill Clinton to lay a wreath at Kennedy's grave and presenting a freedom medal that Kennedy conceived before his assassination 50 years ago this week.

24. Government Reaches Agreement to Allow Airline Merger -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department says it has reached an agreement to allow American Airlines and US Airways to merge, creating the world's biggest airline.

The agreement requires the airlines to scale back the size of the merger at Washington's Reagan National Airport and in other big cities.

25. Plan Your Legacy -

Ray’s Take Webster defines legacy as “something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Our personal legacy is what we are remembered for; the contributions we have made to our family, our community, and our world.

26. Cleveland Brings Legal Skills to PeopleCap -

Howard Cleveland has brought a unique set of skills and perspective to his role as principal of PeopleCap, the boutique human resources firm he co-founded in 2012.

27. Supreme Court Term Begins Amid Government Shutdown -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court began its new term Monday by turning away hundreds of appeals, including Virginia's bid to revive its anti-sodomy law.

The justices took the bench just past 10 o'clock on the first Monday in October, even as much of the rest of the government was coping with a partial shutdown.

28. Reunion Brings Back Tigers’ Great Unbeaten Team of ’63 -

It’s ironic, really. When they were young and strong they were literally protected by body armor – helmet and pads. When they had all the time in the world, they were always measuring it in 15-minute quarters.

29. Supreme Court Strikes Federal Marriage Provision -

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a historic victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

30. Supreme Court Makes it Harder to Sue Businesses -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday decided to make it harder for Americans to sue businesses for retaliation and discrimination, leading a justice to call for Congress to overturn the court's actions.

31. Favors Began Activism Early With Kennedy -

State Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, has one word to describe the state’s proposed school voucher system: rip-off.

The vouchers, as proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam, would allow lower-income students from poorly performing schools to go to any school of their choice.

32. Government: Budget Cuts Already Causing Airport Delays -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. airports, including Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago, are already experiencing delays in customs waiting lines as a result of automatic federal spending cuts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.

33. Justices Voice Skepticism of Voting Rights Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court's conservative justices voiced deep skepticism Wednesday about a section of a landmark civil rights law that has helped millions of Americans exercise their right to vote.

34. Strickland, Carson Given Dunavant Honors -

Memphis City Council member Jim Strickland remembers putting on his tie in front of a mirror this month after learning he won the Bobby Dunavant Public Service Award.

35. State Budget Will Include Local Medical Community -

The two biggest capital spending items in Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s state budget proposal are a $62 million renovation of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis and a new $60 million Community Health Building at the University of Memphis.

36. Airports and Stock Exchange Reopen After Superstorm Sandy -

NEW YORK (AP) – Two major airports reopened and the New York Stock Exchange got back to business Wednesday, while across the river in New Jersey, National Guardsmen rushed to feed and rescue flood victims two days after Superstorm Sandy struck.

37. Events -

Cannon Wright Blount will present “Getting Started With QuickBooks: Learn From the Experts” Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at its office 756 Ridge Lake Blvd., suite 100. Cost is $75. Visit cannonwrightblount.com or email quickbooks@cannonwrightblount.com.

38. Holder Marks Meredith Anniversary in Oxford -

Civil rights cases pursued by the U.S. Justice Department are defined differently than they were 50 years ago when department attorneys were literally by James Meredith’s side during the integration of the University of Mississippi.

39. Holder Evokes Memories of 1962 At Ole Miss -

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder marked the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi Thursday, Sept. 27, during a visit to the Oxford campus.

40. Kennedy to Discuss Latest Book on Memphis Visit -

She came to Memphis 35 years ago as a young would-be reporter, an intern for the New York Daily News and looking to cover the death of Elvis Presley.

Caroline Kennedy returns to Memphis next month in the capacity for which she’s more widely known – as the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and a keeper of the storied Kennedy legacy on the national stage.

41. First and Ten, First Ever -

MOVING THE CHAINS. Georgia scored again while I was throwing up. Georgia and I had already done these things several times in the preceding three hours. Like Tennessee, I didn’t think I had anything left. Very late in the fourth quarter, our offense had gone ice cold and we were down by eight – and my temperature was red hot, up by two. Millions were watching on TV and even ABC’s super-saccharine Chris Schenkel thought Uga had this one all wrapped up.

42. Court Upholds Health Care Reform -

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual insurance mandate that’s the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul.

Chief Justice John Roberts Thursday, June 28, announced the court’s judgment, which will allow the law to move forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million currently uninsured Americans.

43. High Court Rejects Part of Arizona Immigration Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion could go forward – that police must check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally.

44. High Court Says No OT Pay for Drug Sales Reps -

The Supreme Court has ruled that sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies do not qualify for overtime pay under federal law, a big victory for the drug industry.

In a 5-4 decision Monday, June 18, the court’s conservative majority concluded that the roughly 90,000 people who try to persuade doctors to prescribe certain drugs to their patients are not covered by the federal law governing overtime pay.

45. Bell Ringer -

Bricks are not normally seen as a sign of age. But walk past Downtown’s Calvary Episcopal Church and the weathered bricks on the church’s north side begin to tell the story of the oldest public building in Memphis still in continuous use.

46. Court Takes Health Care Case Behind Closed Doors -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The survival of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul rests with a Supreme Court seemingly split over ideology and, more particularly, in the hands of two Republican-appointed justices.

47. Court Rules on Sick Leave -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states cannot be sued under the Family and Medical Leave Act for refusing to give an employee time off to recover from an illness. One justice said the decision "dilutes the force" of the law that allows millions of working Americans time off to care for sick family members or to have children.

48. Seasonal Focus at Root of Flight Reduction -

Delta Air Lines Inc. executives quoted discount airline pioneer Freddie Laker last April when they talked about the market that was causing them the most problems as fuel prices soared.

49. Delta Reduces Memphis to Amsterdam Flight -

Delta Air Lines Inc. will end regular daily service between Memphis International Airport and Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol starting in September.

50. Delta Makes Amsterdam Flight Seasonal -

Delta Air Lines Inc. will end regular daily service between Memphis International Airport and Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol starting in September.

51. High Court: Warrant Needed for GPS Tracking -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects.

The decision was a defeat for the government and police agencies, and it raises the possibility of serious complications for law enforcement nationwide, which increasingly relies on high tech surveillance of suspects, including the use of various types of GPS technology.

52. Smith Has Full Plate as 2012 MBA Prez -

The new president of the Memphis Bar Association said a hot topic in the coming year will be how appellate judges are selected.

Some of the debate about changing the process from one of appointment by the governor followed by the next scheduled retention election will come from Nashville, where the Tennessee Legislature will consider bills to change that.

53. O’Brien’s Lens is ‘Passport to the World’ -

Michael O’Brien regards his camera as more than just the tool of his profession. O’Brien, a former Memphian who now lives in Austin, Texas, considers it his “passport to the world.”

54. Stone Joins Metropolitan Bank As Mortgage Specialist -

Kent Stone has joined Metropolitan Bank as a mortgage specialist.

55. Pinnacle Reports $2.4M Q2 Loss -

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. will begin moving into its new headquarters at One Commerce Square Downtown next week and complete the move from the airport area in December, the regional air carrier’s new CEO told analysts this week.

56. Pinnacle Reports Q2 Loss -

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. will begin moving into its new headquarters at One Commerce Square Downtown next week and complete the move from the airport area in December, the regional air carrier’s new CEO told analysts this week.

57. House and Senate Panels Take Up 3 Trade Bills -

WASHINGTON (AP) – House and Senate trade leaders said Thursday they were looking at a compromise solution to extend a worker assistance program that has become the primary obstacle to congressional approval of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

58. Turn Weaknesses To Strengths -

I was reading in Psychology Today about a new book, “A First-Rate Madness,” whose author, Nassir Ghaemi, describes historical figures who exhibited symptoms of mental illness. Among them were Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, who, according to the Tufts psychiatrist, had “an eye for assessing tough situations because of their ‘depressive realism.’”

59. Court: Generic Drug Makers Not Liable for Warnings -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that makers of generic drugs cannot be sued for failing to warn consumers of the possible side effects of their products if they copy the exact warnings on the brand-name equivalents of the medicines.

60. Court Imposes Limits on Class Actions -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday limited the ability of people to combine forces and fight corporations together when they want to dispute contracts for cell phones, cable television and other services, a move consumer advocates called a crushing blow.

61. For Real Estate, a Giant Spring Clearance Sale -

In suburban Chicago, it's paradise to be a homebuyer.

At the Millbrook Pointe development in quaint and pristine Wheeling, a $269,000, brick-and-stone townhouse comes with $25,000 in free upgrades, including wood-burning fireplaces, all-stainless steel kitchens and marbled bathrooms tricked out with double-bowl vanities and whirlpool soaker tubs.

62. Inspiring City From Stage -

Last week we discussed Shelby Residential and Vocational Services, which is helping adults with disabilities enjoy productive lives and pursue their dreams. Now let us turn the spotlight on an organization that is dancing their way across sold-out stages from the famous John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington to Paris and New York, all while pushing our own city to greater heights – Ballet Memphis.

63. Obama Says White House, CEOs Must Work Together -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama prodded American businesses to do their share to help the economy, calling on executives to “get in the game” and begin investing nearly $2 trillion accumulating on their balance sheets.

64. PR Crisis: The Intersection of Danger and Opportunity -

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series.

You’ve heard the myth that “any PR is good PR.” Considering the many crises U.S. companies faced in 2010, we know this isn’t always the case.

65. Bright Future -

The Memphis Sharp Manufacturing plant is maxing out its production capabilities as it rides the growth wave of the solar power industry over the last several years. Sharp Manufacturing Co. of America, one of the nation’s leaders in solar panel production, is seeing increased demand for residential, commercial, governmental and utility-scale applications.

66. Even in Liberal Bastions, GOP Sees Election Chance -

HYANNIS PORT, Mass. (AP) — In the congressional district that's home to the Kennedy family compound, a Kennedy public skating rink and a Kennedy museum, the heart of liberalism is beating uneasily.

67. Plans Unveiled for Expanded Civil Rights Museum -

The bare bones of an expanded National Civil Rights Museum include three times more space for the Memphis chapter in the story of the civil rights movement, updated technology for exhibits and a more detailed story of how connected the events are over three centuries.

68. Cohen: Love Of Government Started Early -

With fervor for politics at a young age, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, explained his lifelong journey into Congress at the Society of Industrial Office Realtors (SIOR) luncheon Monday.

69. Kennedy Gives Back to U of M School of Law -

When it comes to his inspiration for entering the legal profession, David S. Kennedy, chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee, gives a nod to his father and to Atticus Finch, Harper Lee’s stalwart symbol of fairness for a generation in her novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

70. Luttrell’s Staff Filled With Familiar Faces -

Shelby County Mayor-elect Mark Luttrell is taking some of his team from the sheriff’s department with him when he switches offices Sept. 1

71. Luttrell Assembles Team - As interim Shelby County mayor Joe Ford attended his last County Commission meeting, county mayor elect Mark Luttrell began naming the team he will go into office with on Sept. 1.

72. High Court Reins in Prosecutors' Use of Fraud Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply curtailed prosecutors' use of an anti-fraud law that was central in convicting politicians and corporate executives in many of the nation's most prominent corruption cases. The ex-CEO of disgraced energy giant Enron and a Canadian media mogul, both in prison, are among the figures who could benefit from the ruling.

73. 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.”

...

74. Obama Walk in Sand is Prelude to Primetime Speech -

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Laying the groundwork for an evening speech to the nation, President Barack Obama walked a pristine stretch of sand on Florida's shoreline Tuesday and pledged to "fight back with everything we've got" against the spreading oil lurking offshore.

75. High Court Rules Out Life Sentences For Juveniles -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone.

By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court said the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release.

76. Obama Promises Quick Court Replacement for Stevens -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The retirement of John Paul Stevens, the U.S. Supreme Court's leading liberal but a justice who also could find conservative allies, will set off an election-year political battle over President Barack Obama's second high court pick.

77. High Court Looks at Reach of Second Amendment -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court appeared willing Tuesday to say that the Constitution's right to possess guns limits state and local regulation of firearms. But the justices also suggested that some gun control measures might not be affected.

78. Outsider Image So Hot Even Ex-Insiders Want It -

NEW YORK (AP) - Ask national Republicans to name a model 2010 congressional candidate, and they're likely to mention Stephen Fincher. A 37-year-old farmer and gospel singer from Frog Jump, Tenn., Fincher has raised more than $675,000 in his bid to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. John Tanner.

79. State Lawmakers Bash Congress to Gain Voter Favor -

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - With tax collections tanking and jobless rates at record highs, state legislators hundreds of miles from Washington have found an easy way to appeal to conservative voters: Bash the federal government.

80. Bayh Cites Strident Partisanship in Leaving Senate -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two-term Sen. Evan Bayh says ever-shriller partisanship and the frustrations of gridlock made it time for him to leave Congress. Republicans aren't buying it, saying he and fellow Democrats sense that voters will be after their heads this fall.

81. Obama Meets With GOP -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Appealing for bipartisanship in a town where it's hard to find, President Barack Obama sat down with Democrats and Republicans Tuesday to spur cooperation on job creation, deficit reduction and health care overhaul. He promised to do his part – but warned he would take Republicans to task if they don't do the same.

82. Brown's Independence Could Face Senate Test -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scott Brown says he's a different kind of Republican, a centrist willing to work with Senate Democrats to fix health care and the ailing economy.

83. Court Eases Business, Union Election Spending Rule -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A major ruling Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court could change how presidential and congressional campaigns are funded, possibly opening the floodgates of money from corporations, labor unions and other groups.

84. 3 Democrats – 2 Senators, 1 Governor – to Retire -

WASHINGTON (AP) - With the 2010 election year barely under way, two senators and one governor – all Democrats – ditched plans to run for re-election in the latest signs of trouble for President Barack Obama's party.

85. Ashby Brings Immigration Knowledge To Donati Firm -

Bryce W. Ashby recently rejoined the Donati Law Firm LLP after clerking for Judge Bernice Donald in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Ashby, who is fluent in Spanish and has worked extensively as an advocate and organizer in Latino and immigrant communities, practices in labor and employment law and civil rights law.

86. Congress Acts to Extend Hate Crimes to Cover Gays -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House voted Thursday to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation, significantly expanding the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968.

87. Mass. Senate Delays Debate on Kennedy Interim Bill -

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Republicans temporarily blocked Senate debate Friday on a bill allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim appointment to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.

88. Airline Trade Group Predicts $11B Loss for ’09 -

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Global airline losses are headed for a worse-than-expected $11 billion this year and it’s not clear when lucrative business travel will rebound to pre-recession levels, a trade group reported Tuesday.

89. Congress Probing SEC's Madoff Failure -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress is reopening its inquiry into the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's failure to detect the multibillion-dollar fraud conducted for more than a decade by Bernard Madoff, this time seeking answers from the agency watchdog and potential lessons for lawmakers in crafting new financial rules.

90. U.S. Supreme Court Receptive to Freer Election Spending -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it may let businesses and unions spend freely to help their favored political candidates in time for next year's elections.

In a case that began with a movie attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton, newly seated Justice Sonia Sotomayor jumped right into the questioning. She appeared skeptical about taking the far-reaching step of lifting the ban, a move urged on the court by a lawyer for a group that made the 90-minute movie that sought to undermine Clinton's presidential ambitions.

91. Reid: No Health Care Vote in Senate Until Fall -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday abandoned plans for a vote on health care before Congress' August recess, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's ambitious timetable to revamp the nation's $2.4 trillion system of medical care.

92. Court: AG Must Go to Court to Probe National Banks -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that state attorneys general can investigate national banks for discrimination and other crimes, but only with a court’s help.

The high court ruled that a state attorney general cannot on his own issue a subpoena against a bank that has branches in that state and others. However, the court said national banks are subject to some state laws under the National Banking Act, and an attorney general can go to court to enforce those laws.

93. Senate Off to a Rocky Start on Health Care -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Wednesday began writing legislation to revamp the nation's health care system, but its historic first step was overshadowed by partisan anger and cost problems that troubled lawmakers on both sides.

94. Dodd's Wife Serves on Health Care Company Boards -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The wife of a senator playing a lead role on a national health care overhaul sits on the boards of four health care companies, one of several examples of lawmakers with ties to the medical industry.

95. Kennedy Health Plan Aids Elders, Young Adults -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Proposals that would help disabled seniors and healthy young adults are among dozens of provisions tucked into sweeping health care legislation that senators will begin considering next week.

96. US Senate Dems to Start Work Next Week on Health Care -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats announced plans Tuesday to begin committee work next week on health care legislation designed to assure coverage for millions of Americans who now lack it, a key objective of the Obama administration.

97. Judges Must Avoid Appearance of Bias, Court Rules -

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that elected judges must step aside from cases when large campaign contributions from interested parties create the appearance of bias.

By a 5-4 vote in a case from West Virginia, the court said that a judge who remained involved in a lawsuit filed against the company of the most generous supporter of his election deprived the other side of the constitutional right to a fair trial.

98. White House Frames Health Care As Economic Problem -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. Senate chairman who has a major role in writing health care legislation said Tuesday he hopes to convince President Barack Obama that taxing some employer-provided benefits will help control escalating costs.

99. White House: Obama Wants to Cut $17B from Budget -

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday to eliminate or trim 121 federal programs for a savings of $17 billion in the coming budget year. Many of the proposed cuts have already been rejected by Obama's allies in Congress, including some programs that his predecessor, President George W. Bush, repeatedly sought to end.

100. House Passes Obama's Economic Stimulus Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Handing the new administration a big win, the House Friday passed President Barack Obama's $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy.

The bill was passed 246-183 with no Republican help. It now goes to the Senate where a vote was possible late Friday to meet a deadline of passing the plan before a recess begins next week.