Allegiant Bringing Back Summer Seasonal Flights

Memphis travelers looking for a summer getaway can add three new destinations to their list.

Allegiant Air recently announced the return of seasonal flights from Memphis International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Arizona’s Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) and Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).

“We are excited to see the return of two more options to the western U.S., as well as a popular vacation destination in Destin-Fort Walton,” Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority board of commissioners, said in a release. “All three of these routes were popular among our passengers last year, so this is great news for summer travelers.”

The Destin-Fort Walton flights will be the first to return on May 18, followed by the Phoenix flights on May 19 and the Los Angeles flights on June 1.

Additionally, Allegiant will suspend their Jacksonville, Florida, flights for the season starting in January.

Allegiant, which began operations in Memphis last year, now offers nonstop service to eight destinations from MEM. In addition to the returning seasonal routes, destinations include Austin, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

The addition of the summer flights now brings Memphis International’s total number of destinations to 37.

Tickets for the biweekly flights are now on sale at

– Patrick Lantrip

St. Jude Appoints Clinical Director

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has tapped Dr. Ellis Neufeld as clinical director, physician-in-chief and executive vice president.

His appointment will begin in March. In his role, Neufeld will oversee the organization’s academic clinical departments and all clinical operations. The appointment comes as St. Jude launches an effort to increase the number of cancer patients treated at its campus and on protocols around the world.

An internationally respected leader in pediatric hematology, Neufeld comes to St. Jude from Boston, where he served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for the past 26 years. He was most recently associate chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Neufeld also served as medical director at the Boston Hemophilia Center and held the Egan Family Foundation Chair in Transitional Medicine at Harvard Medical School as a professor of pediatrics.

– Andy Meek

Tigers Fall 82-79 To Monmouth

All five University of Memphis starters scored in double-figures, but it wasn’t enough as Monmouth University defeated the Tigers 82-79 at FedExForum on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Dedric Lawson led the Tigers with 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Point guard Jeremiah Martin had 14 points and four assists.

Memphis (7-3) was hurt by a couple of late turnovers, including on their last possession when they needed a three to tie the game.

“We looked confused there and probably should have called timeout and set something else up,” Memphis coach Tubby Smith said.

Monmouth (9-2) knocked down 11 threes compared to just four for the Tigers. Memphis again had foul line struggles, connecting on 21 of 32 free throws for 65.6 percent.

Memphis next plays at Oklahoma (6-3) on Saturday, Dec. 17. The game will be broadcast on CBS starting at 11:30 Central.

– Don Wade

Frayser Store Closed As Nuisance Will Reopen

A Frayser convenience store closed last week as a public nuisance because of ongoing drug trafficking and other criminal activity will be allowed to reopen after taking steps to improve security, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The owner of the J & R Food Mart at 1473 Corning St. agreed to install surveillance cameras, improve lighting, hire an armed security guard, paint over graffiti, add fencing around an out-of-use car wash, terminate any employees complicit in criminal activity and pay $300 toward the investigation by the Memphis Police Department Organized Crime Unit.

The agreement, according to a memorandum of understanding between prosecutors and store representative Senan Alzandani, is not an admission of guilt or liability, but is “an attempt to work together and ultimately resolve this litigation.”

The remedies outlined in the agreement were the result of joint consultation with Safeways Inc., a data-driven nonprofit partnership agency that specializes in crime prevention and quality-of-life initiatives.

Police had been called to the store 69 times in the past year. Police memos document numerous instances of drug trafficking, robberies, armed individuals, aggravated assaults, vandalism and other criminal activity.

The store’s closure was based on a nuisance petition filed by Weirich and city attorney/chief legal officer Bruce McMullen.

The store is in a residential area less than a mile from Corning Elementary School and less than a half mile from the Georgian Hills Church of God. Three apartment complexes are also nearby, including Corning Village, Pershing Park and Timber Pines.

– Daily News staff

Elvis Birthday Observance Expands to Guest House

The traditional proclamation of Elvis Presley’s birthday will still take place Jan. 8 on the front lawn of Graceland. But other events around what would have been the entertainer’s 82nd birthday next month will be held at the recently opened Guest House at Graceland.

That includes birthday cake and coffee after the proclamation, which traditionally is read by the Memphis and Shelby County mayors.

The events begin Jan. 5 with the start of a trivia contest and a screening of the 1972 television special “Aloha From Hawaii” at the Guest House.

Other events include The Auction at Graceland, an auction of 164 third-party items authenticated by Graceland, on Jan. 7. The same day, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual Elvis concert at the Cannon Center.

– Bill Dries