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VOL. 132 | NO. 23 | Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Borders of Violence, Guilty Verdict and Blue Suede Security

By Bill Dries

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Whenever there is a shooting of or near school children, one of the first things that happens once the police have investigated is detailing exactly where the incident happened – specifically whether it was actually on school property or near school property.

That determines who was responsible at what point of a child’s journey into a violence that seems to know no boundary.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Shelby County Schools board, superintendent Dorsey Hopson talked about less adherence to those boundaries when it comes to battling the violence that recently took the lives of two students in one weekend.

Meanwhile, Hopson withdrew his recommendation to close Dunbar Elementary come August and the school board approved closing Carnes Elementary. This is the second time in recent years that Dunbar has been on the list for possible closing and has gotten a reprieve. Lots of Orange Mound residents showed up again to oppose the move.

"We in Orange Mound don't live in mediocrity," the board and Hopson were told by one of the citizens who spoke. Hopson says the school system is willing to work with the community but ultimately the school's academic performance has to improve.

Also on that front, Frayser Community Schools, the charter group running MLK Prep in Frayser, will run Humes Prep in North Memphis next school year per a decision by the state-run Achievement School District.

And take Johnson Road Park off the list of possible sites for a new elementary school in Germantown.

Treveno Campbell was convicted Tuesday of second degree murder in the 2012 death of Memphis Police Officer Martoiya Lang. The verdict, which included convictions on two counts of attempted murder, three counts of reckless endangerment and gun and drug charges, came at the end of a trial before Criminal Court Judge James Beasley in which Bill Massey, Campbell’s attorney, questioned whether police announced they were police when they raided Campbell’s home.

Prosecutors charged Campbell with first degree murder but the jury chose second degree murder. The suspect the Organized Crime Unit team came to arrest wasn't in the house at the time of the raid. But police found what were described as "buckets" of pot in the house.

The trial also saw one of the police officers involved in the raid take the Fifth Amendment when Massey called him as a defense witness to testify about what happened after Lang was shot. Campbell claimed he was shot by police after he had surrendered. Campbell also testified that police didn’t identify themselves and that he thought the raid was a home invasion robbery. The bullets that killed Lang came from Campbell’s gun even though Campbell testified that he didn’t remember shooting her and Campbell’s roommate surrendered to police at the outset of the raid without any resistance.

Organizers of Wednesday’s Downtown march to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban order on those from five majority-Muslim countries had said they would march with or without a permit from the city. In the technical world of city ordinances, the group still doesn’t have a permit. But instead the city granted what amounted to an appeal and the march is now considered lawful by City Hall. This involved the city ordinance’s requirement that organizers of such a march or protest must give the city 14 days notice in order to get a permit. There are exceptions and one of them is an event that triggers a protest or similar action specifically in response to that event.

We’ve written a lot of stories over several years about the move to workforce development in Memphis. That includes talk of a blue-collar high school as well as a “Memphis Works” app unveiled at the end of last year. The leader of those efforts and of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, Glen Fenter, has left the organization to become superintendent of the Marion School District in Arkansas. Before he began drawing attention with his workforce efforts at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Fenter had been principal at West Memphis High School. And much of what Fenter talked about at GMACW was about education. So while he is changing jobs, it’s pretty likely that you will see Marion schools go further in this direction.

Our Nashville correspondent, Sam Stockard, with more reaction to Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address and the emerging line items in his budget proposal. As noted in this space 24 hours ago, there was a noisy protest in the corridors of the Capitol, just outside the House chamber where Haslam delivered his address. And several legislators say there are few places including the Capitol that will or should be immune from that reaction to President Trump.

Here is text of Haslam’s speech in its entirety. And here are the highlights of the budget proposal that is the reason for the season, so to speak.

The nonprofit crowd-funding platform ioby has raised $610,000 to fund 203 individual neighborhood projects in 2 ½ years. That’s with an average donation of $35 and projects with an average budget of $2,897. Leaders of the group met over the weekend at Clayborn Temple to take stock of those projects as a whole and look for a strategy going forward.

One of those ioby projects is what used to be the old West Police Precinct and then the offices of the police vice squad once upon a time before 201 Poplar. The city building is about to get a set of plywood panels with art work created by local high school students to replace unadorned plywood over the windows.

While we are Downtown, the Blue Suede Brigade is getting an overhaul. The greeters and offerers of directions and other information are going to go full time in the retooling by the Downtown Memphis Commission. And they will also provide some security services as well.

If you’ve been on a college campus this week, you’ve probably noticed either a baseball diamond being re-lined or teams getting in shape. There is just something about the sound of a bat making solid contact with a ball on a day like Tuesday that is hard to put into words – other than I am not talking about the sound of an aluminum bat. Wood or go home says the baseball traditionalist.

Tigers baseball among the stops Don Wade makes as he touches on all things blue, leading with the basketball Tigers.

This is a big week for Lori Turner-Wilson. Her Guerilla Sales & Marketing column offers an annual post-game review of the Super Bowl commercials. In advance of the Super Bowl, she looks at some of the buzz surrounding the ads.

Interesting event coming up Feb. 15 at the Brooks especially for those interested in the work of Andy Warhol and LGBTQ culture. Joe Dallesandro is coming for “A conversation with…” program. His film resume includes working with Warhol, John Waters, Louis Malle and Paul Morrissey. If you remember the movie “Cotton Club” – probably better known for its soundtrack and how the movie got made – then Dallesandro played the mobster Lucky Luciano in the Francis Ford Coppola film. He’s come up in the lyrics to a Lou Reed song and he’s been on albums covers by The Rolling Stones and The Smiths. Among those who have photographed Dallesandro, Jack Robinson – the 1960 and 1970s photographer who settled in Memphis and whose works are now the core of the Jack Robinson Gallery in South Main.

The Fed considered likely to leave rates where they are at the end of a policy meeting Wednesday.

Wal-Mart has dumped what many considered its version of Amazon Prime but has a new goal of reducing shipping time to two days from three to five days and you don’t have to spend as much to get free shipping.

PROPERTY SALES 68 162 2,781
MORTGAGES 60 97 1,880
BUILDING PERMITS 148 769 6,470
BANKRUPTCIES 61 172 1,149