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VOL. 132 | NO. 207 | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Daily Digest

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Memphis Faith Leaders Win Freedom of Worship Medal

Two local faith leaders are being honored for their work to foster unity between the Christian and Islamic communities in Memphis.

Rev. Steve Stone, executive director of the Memphis Friendship Foundation and former lead pastor of Heartsong Church, and Bashar Shala of the Memphis Islamic Center were jointly presented with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal from the Roosevelt Institute in recent days.

The Freedom of Worship Medal is one of the annual Four Freedoms Awards the New York City-based institute awards to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the principles President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed as essential to democracy in his historic speech to Congress in 1941: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

The friendship between Stone and Shala began in 2008 when MIC opened across the street from Heartsong in Cordova. The pair made it a priority to foster friendship and solidarity among their congregations that today manifests in the planning of the Friendship Park of Memphis, a concept imagined by the two faith communities under the collaborative nonprofit, Memphis Friendship Foundation.

“At a time when individuals in positions of influence seek to divide America’s religious communities by sowing distrust, Pastor Stone and Dr. Shala are leading by example,” Felicia Wong, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, said in a written statement. “They understand that faith is not a wedge but a force that can bring meaning to our lives and bring communities together. Their efforts in Memphis are an inspiration and reminder of what freedom of worship can achieve when it deliberately works to build a better society and a better America.”

– Daily News staff

Rodney Baber Park To Be Expanded

The city of Memphis is preparing to expand and raise part of flood-prone Rodney Baber Park in Frayser.

The city hasn’t done any maintenance on the park, which has eight softball fields, since it was heavily damaged in 2011 flooding when the Mississippi River at Memphis reached its highest level since 1937. The park is north of the Wolf River, one of the local tributaries that also flooded that spring, and the park has seen high water periodically since then.

The city administration unveiled a tentative plan in city council committee sessions Tuesday, Oct. 17, to expand the park by buying adjacent private property. The additional land would include two lakes and dirt from the lakes would be used to raise the center of the park, where the ballfields are located, by 11 to 12 feet.

The council was to vote Tuesday on $120,000 to buy acreage on the eastern border of the park as a start toward what the administration estimates is a $5.3 million project that probably wouldn’t start moving dirt for another year.

The park is a part of the Wolf River Greenway system and one of four projects to receive part of a $60 million federal resiliency grant, funding specifically for flood-prone areas in Shelby County.

– Bill Dries

Tigers’ Hall Named AAC Defensive Player of Week

University of Memphis safety Austin Hall was chosen the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, marking the second career weekly award for Hall.

In a 30-27 win over No. 24/25-ranked Navy, Hall finished with 10 tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one pass break-up. The two interceptions were a career high, and one of those clinched the win for Memphis as Navy was driving with less than two minutes to play. His pass break-up was on an attempted pass in the end zone.

Oct. 14 has been a career day for Hall in his two years as a Tiger. Last year on Oct. 14, as a redshirt freshman, he recovered a fumble and had 12 tackles, including three for a loss, in a road win at Tulane. After that effort, he earned his first American Player of the Week award.

Hall and his teammates are on a short week of preparation for another West Division match-up. Memphis will travel to Houston for a Thursday, Oct. 19, clash with the Cougars. That game will air on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.

– Don Wade

Ameripolitan Music Awards To be Held in Memphis

Grammy-winning rockabilly bandleader Brian Setzer will receive the Ameripolitan Master Award at the 2018 Ameripolitan Music Awards, held for the first time in Memphis at The Guest House at Graceland on Feb. 13.

The awards, now in their fifth year, previously were held in Austin, Texas.

The Ameripolitan Awards show, the culminating night of four days of festivities celebrating rockabilly, western swing, outlaw and honky-tonk music, will be hosted by Ameripolitan founder Dale Watson alongside Danielle Colby, an Ameripolitan music fan and television personality from History Channel’s “American Pickers.”

Along with Setzer, the show will feature performances by Unknown Hinson, Reverend Horton Heat, James Hand, Asleep at the Wheel and Nikki Lane.

The slate of award nominees will be announced soon, and as usual, the winners will be selected by vote by the Ameripolitan community. More performers and details for all Ameripolitan events will be released in the coming weeks.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee Lottery Reports Record-Breaking Quarter

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. continues to break its own records, announcing the highest first quarter since it began in January 2004.

The lottery transferred $103 million to the Lottery for Education Account for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 14.1 percent higher than the previous record set during the same period last year. Total sales were $423.7 million, up 11.8 percent over the prior year.

Drawing-style game sales reached a record $92.8 million, driven by a Powerball jackpot that grew to $758.7 million (won Aug. 23), and the launch of KENO To Go. Instant game sales hit a record $330.9 million, helped by sales of the lottery’s “Mighty Jumbo Bucks” game.

“These results are great news for education. Our ongoing success is a testament to the hard work of a dedicated team of professionals, our board of directors, retailer network, and so many others,” Rebecca Hargrove, president and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp., said in a release.

Since its founding, the lottery has raised more than $4.3 billion to fund designated education programs, including after-school programs, college grants and scholarships and the Governor’s Drive to 55 initiatives. In addition, players have won more than $11.8 billion in prizes and lottery retailers have earned more than $1.1 billion in commissions.

– Daily News staff

EPA, Herbicide Makers Agree To New Dicamba Usage Rules

The Trump administration has reached a deal with three major agribusiness companies for new voluntary labeling requirements for a controversial herbicide blamed for damaging crops.

The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont regarding the application of dicamba, which is used to control weeds in fields of genetically modified cotton and soybeans. Farmers who don’t buy the resistant seeds sold by the herbicide makers have complained that dicamba sprayed on neighboring properties drifts over and harms their crops, resulting in temporary bans issued last summer by state officials in Arkansas and Missouri.

“EPA carefully reviewed the available information and developed tangible changes to be implemented during the 2018 growing season,” the agency said in a media release. “This is an example of cooperative federalism that leads to workable national-level solutions.”

Under the deal, dicamba products will be labeled as “restricted use” beginning with the 2018 growing season, requiring additional training and certifications for workers applying the product to crops. The new rules will also limit when and how the herbicide can be sprayed, such as time of day and when maximum winds are blowing below 10 mph. Farmers will be required to maintain records showing their compliance with the new restrictions.

The EPA said the labels could be revised again in two years, when the current federal registration allowing dicamba to be sold in the U.S. is up for review.

Dicamba has been on the market for decades, but problems arose in recent years as farmers began to plant new seeds engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. Because it can easily evaporate after being applied, dicamba can drift by wind into neighboring fields.

– The Associated Press

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