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Editorial Results (free)

1. Midtown Utopia -

Of Memphis’ tales of humble beginnings, of which there are many, the fluctuating renaissance of the Cooper-Young neighborhood is certainly compelling throughout.

The area has cycled from its 19th century roots to 1970s crime and neglect to its present-day status as one of the largest historic districts in the Southeast, a magnet of all ages and walks of life. All thanks to individuals and organizations that wouldn’t settle for sub-par quality in their tiny town within the bustling Bluff City.

2. Some Corn Farmers Mow Fields as Drought Worsens -

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some cornstalks in fields around the farm where David Kellerman works stand tall, but appearances can be deceiving. When the husks are pulled back, the cobs are empty. No kernels developed as the plants struggled with heat and drought.

3. New Dishes -

Memphis’ eyes were bigger than its stomach in 2011, but in a good way.

Some local restaurateurs launched completely new concepts; others entered new submarkets with additional stores. Even a handful of national retailers entered the Memphis market after having locations elsewhere in Tennessee for years.

4. Skunx Chef’s Pub Latest C-Y Eatery -

Duncan Aiken has loved pizza his whole life, though pizza, as he has found out, can be a harsh mistress. It took years to develop a recipe for the kind of crust he favors, years of studying, traveling, working and, of course, eating.

5. Economy Has Little Effect on Fine Dining -

In the wake of 9/11, Estée Lauder Cos. chairman Leonard Lauder noticed his company was selling more lipstick than usual.

A 2008 New York Times article explained Lauder proposed lipstick purchases were a way to gauge the economy. When it’s shaky, he said in the article, women are more apt to boost their mood by buying inexpensive lipstick than pricey shoes.

6. Darkened Doors Speak To Industry Challenges -

“We couldn’t make the space work. We tried, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get the numbers.”

Those sad words could have been pronounced by many chefs, managers and owners back in 2008 and 2009, when restaurants were closing right and left at the height of the recession, but no, that was Richard Saviori speaking last week after he decided to close Thyme Bistro. The restaurant served its last meals on June 25, having been open just over a year.

7. Darkened Doors Speak To Industry Challenges -

“We couldn’t make the space work. We tried, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get the numbers.”

Those sad words could have been pronounced by many chefs, managers and owners back in 2008 and 2009, when restaurants were closing right and left at the height of the recession, but no, that was Richard Saviori speaking last week after he decided to close Thyme Bistro. The restaurant served its last meals on June 25, having been open just over a year.

8. ‘Off Night’ No Excuse For Bad Dining Experience -

The mantra seems to be: “Every restaurant has an off night.”

So that excuses everything?

You drop a hundred or two hundred bucks on a meal that never cohered and the service was lackadaisical and the atmosphere sort of not on point and you’re supposed to walk out and say to your companion, “Well, I guess every restaurant has an off night,” and you both shake your heads wisely and ruefully?

9. As Calendar Turns to New Year, Recipe for Success Unchanged -

It takes a particular poverty of the imagination to quote the opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” every time one writes a story summing up a year, and yet 2010 truly does seem as if it were “the best of times and the worst of times” in the local restaurant business.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Experienced Chef Tries Hand In Former Jarrett's Space -

Within every chef beats the heart of a restaurant owner, and Rick Saviori is no different. A well-traveled and experienced cook with a business background and most recently kitchen manager at Ciao Bella, Saviori is now the executive chef and owner of Thyme Bistro, which just opened in the old Jarrett’s space in Yorkshire Square on Quince Road.

13. Stokes Finds Success In Commercial Real Estate -

Commercial real estate is generally considered a man’s world, but CB Richard Ellis’ Leah Fyfe Stokes is undaunted.

14. Couple Opens Up About Restaurant Closure -

Richard and Barbara Farmer opened Jarrett’s in 1994.

The restaurant on Quince Road in the Yorkshire Square shopping center served its last meal on New Year’s Eve, a victim of the economic downturn.

15. Ripley Hitches Its Wagon To Surrounding Counties’ Growth Efforts -

RIPLEY, Tenn. – If this city in Northwest Tennessee wilted away on a vine, its demise would not be difficult to understand.

Few small cities and towns can survive the population stagnancy and jobs erosion that have beset Ripley. Fifty miles north of Memphis off U.S. 51 and the seat of Lauderdale County, Ripley has the state’s highest unemployment rate – 18.6 percent.

16. Crisis Center Relocates to UTHSC -

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is the new home for The Crisis Center, a 24-hour telephone hotline for people in distress. The university is providing the space to the nonprofit organization at no charge.

17. Mental Health Advocate To Accept National Honor -

Marian Bacon is the person on the other end of the phone line who saves people’s lives.

She does it by listening compassionately and giving soothing advice.

Today, the local Crisis Center volunteer is in Los Angeles for the 2009 Voice Awards for her work as a mental health advocate. She and four other individuals from throughout the United States will receive Consumer Leadership Awards from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Bacon credits some tough love from a senior citizen volunteer for helping her rise above victimhood. Bacon lives with bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome and is haunted by the memories of having been a sexually abused child. She draws on that experience to help others.

Kick in the ‘bootstraps’

For most of her life, the 41-year-old woman couldn’t even help herself.

“I met a lady named Helen Adamo,” Bacon said. “My mental illness was really bad and I was feeling sorry for myself. One day, she just told me that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. She basically kicked me in the bootstraps and told me I needed to get a grip on myself.

“From then on, I learned how to manage my mental illness. Don’t get me wrong; I have days that my mental illness is not perfect, but I have good days.”

Adamo, who is 81 and moved from Memphis eight years ago to the Bolivar, Tenn., area, did not know about Bacon’s achievements until contacted by The Daily News. She said she always knew Bacon had great potential because she was “such a nice person.”

Adamo was one of the first volunteers for the Memphis office of the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) when it opened in the early 1980s.

Adamo said she gave Bacon pep talks when driving her home after NAMI meetings.

“I’ve raised five children, and I’ve found out that was the best way to talk to teenagers, was in a car,” she said. “That’s where you are a lot of the time. You can’t get their attention anywhere else. Marion was trying to take classes on her own and had been through a trying childhood and growing-up process. But hey, she was a young woman and it was time to get with it.”

We overcome

Five years ago, Bacon became a volunteer like Adamo. Two years ago, she got her first job. Now, she’s pursuing an associate’s degree in social work from Southwest Tennessee Community College.

“Before I volunteered, I never worked or did anything,” she said.

Bacon has done so much in such a short time that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

which is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is honoring her.

Besides working full time for the Memphis Center for Independent Living, Bacon volunteers as a crisis counselor for people who are dealing with suicidal impulses, emotional issues, mental illness, domestic violence, sexual abuse, homelessness and grief.

Bacon also devotes time to NAMI and the Tennessee Mental Heath Consumers Association. She opens up about the private demons of having been raped repeatedly by foster brothers and finding recovery with NAMI’s “In Our Own Voice,” a public education program.

“I just inform people that you can get better, but I was told I would never be able to work,” she said. “Now I do work.”

Grace, redemption

Someone who witnessed Bacon telling her story offered her a job at the Tennessee Mental Health Consumers Association. That job led to her current employment as a counselor at the Memphis Center for Independent Living. The organization is devoted to helping people with disabilities be independent.

However, Bacon admits it was a struggle to step outside to begin helping others.

“It was hard actually getting myself motivated,” she said. “Helen Adamo was still in the office every day encouraging me. She was like a mother figure.”

The volunteer work that is the most difficult for Bacon is dealing with suicidal people on the telephone.

“I used to be in that boat,” she said. “I’m a suicide survivor.”

Bacon attempted suicide the first time at age 10 by cutting herself. That background is crucial to understanding and having empathy for people who call the Richard G. Farmer and Allen O. Battle Crisis Center.

The nonprofit entity, which is funded by the United Way of the Mid-South, was spun off from Family Services of the Mid-South, which closed Oct. 1.

“I like volunteering at the Crisis Center because I’m able to help others by sharing my story and telling them there’s a way out because I’ve been there, done that,” Bacon said.

“There is help down the road. They usually listen. I’ve had a couple of close calls on the phone, where I’ve had to use two telephones, where I’ve had to call the police on one phone and talk to the person on the other phone – when they don’t know I’m calling the police, which is sort of hard to do. It’s hard to try to help somebody who don’t want to be helped, but I still do it.”

...

18. Restaurant Tax Hike Sought by County -

First comes the tax proposal. Then comes the tidal wave of opposition and a crushing defeat either by popular vote or by political will.

And then the tax proposals that are an alternative to a property tax hike usually are memorialized with a pledge to try to reach a civic consensus on tax reform.

19. When the Helpers Need Help -

A local nonprofit organization that was founded 37 years ago to be a resource for people who feel they are at their weakest point in life is experiencing a crisis of its own.

The Crisis Center, a program of Family Services of the Mid-South, has experienced a 79 percent increase in call volume over the past year while at the same time reeling from a chronic shortage of volunteers and an almost 40 percent decrease in the money it receives from United Way of the Mid-South.

20. Donelson featured in 'Memphis Innovations' For a Lifetime of Visionary Work -

Lewis R. Donelson III, shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, has been an innovator all his life.

No wonder Donelson recently became the only attorney featured in the book "Memphis Innovations: People, Ideas, and Innovations That Changed Our World" by Richard Raichelson. The book, which was published Feb. 1 by Power House LLC, is a collection of stories of 50 Memphians who have made an impact on the city and the world.

21. Memphis Theological Seminary Installs New Dean -

The board of trustees of Memphis Theological Seminary installed Dr. Barbara A. Holmes as vice president of academic affairs/dean of the seminary. Holmes joined MTS as a faculty member in the ethics and African-American religious studies programs in 1998. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and a master's degree from Southern Connecticut University.

22. Archived Article: Comm Focus - Chefs in the gardens cook up feast for good cause Chefs cook up garden feast for good cause By MARY DANDO The Daily News The Memphis Botanic Gardens provide the setting for a culinary experience even the most demanding gourmand would appreciate. Whi...