Entries in Memphis (9)


Businesses Struggle with Impact of NBA Lockout

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- With the entire NBA season now in jeopardy, restaurants and bars around basketball arenas that are already struggling through the basketball lockout are looking at the potential of a very long winter.

It has been estimated that just the first 30 cancelled games have cost Los Angeles businesses $40 million.  Without the Lakers or Clippers playing at the Staples Center the large crowds have disappeared.

It’s not all bad news though.  At the Bottle Rock Wine Bar and Restaurant down the street from the Staples Center, General Manager Corwyn Anthony tells ABC News Radio they are getting creative.

“People are now able to book little parties, bridal showers, and business meetings,” explains Anthony.  He says locals who have typically stayed away from the neighborhood during the NBA season are now spending money and they usually spend much more than NBA fans who are often from out of town. 

The Staples Center has been making up for lost basketball by adding concerts like Katy Perry when there would have been games.  Parking attendants say they have not noticed a huge decline in business because of the ongoing concerts.  Taxi drivers say they are still getting business from high end hotels like a J.W. Marriott and a Ritz Carton next door to the Staples Center.

But in Memphis, Tennessee, it’s a different story.  The restaurants around FedEx Forum haven’t been able to turn things around quite as well.  Ty Agee owns a bar and he says when the Grizzlies are playing it means cash in his pocket.  “It’s worth, you know, 30 to 40 percent sales of the day,” Agee tells us.  Now that money is gone.  The Grizzles have also laid off seven employees.

Other arenas around the country say they too are hurting.  Some arenas are now being rented out for special events like weddings to make up for lost cash. 

But back in Los Angeles, Staples Center owner AEG, which is also a concert promoter, has been able to fill lost basketball dates with performances.  And restaurant executives like Corwyn Anthony actually like the local business they’re getting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Say Memphis Teen Plotted for Months to Kill School Principal

Comstock/Thinkstock(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A Memphis teenager who police say told investigators he had been planning the murder of his school principal for months was held without bond Thursday and ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

Eduardo Marmolejo, 17, was arrested Wednesday after a teacher discovered Principal Suzette York's bloody body about 11:20 a.m. at Memphis Junior Academy. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Marmolejo told police that he had been planning for months to kill the 49-year-old York, Memphis police said.

"He advised investigators that he did not like her and that she had made him angry. Marmolejo further advised that he knew that he was going to be alone with York which would give him the opportunity to kill her," Memphis police said in a statement.

York is a native of Canada and had taught at the school before becoming principal. The school is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

She had recently expanded the school to include 11th grade. Marmolejo was the school's sole 11th grader, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The teen told authorities that he'd begun plotting the murder of York when he found out in May that he'd be returning to the school for the 11th grade, according to ABC affiliate WPTY.

In a press release, the spokesman for the Kentucky-Tennessee Seventh-Day Adventist Conference said that classes at the school are cancelled until further notice.

A memorial for the teacher was held Wednesday afternoon at a nearby Methodist Church that shares a parking lot and some facilities with the school.

"She was a delightful, absolutely delightful person...very dedicated to the school and to the students. Everyone is absolutely shocked. We're stunned," said Brad Gabriel of Mullins United Methodist Church.

York is survived by her husband, Leslie. Attempts to reach him were not successful.

Marmolejo's next court appearance will be Aug. 24.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Memphis, Obama Meets with Flood Victims, Speaks at Graduation

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- President Obama traveled to Memphis on Monday for a private meeting with families and local officials impacted by Mississippi River flooding and for a commencement address at Booker T. Washington High School, the winner of the White House "Race to the Top Commencement Challenge."

In the morning, President Obama spent approximately 35 minutes meeting with flood victims, first responders and local officials, hearing stories about people having to evacuate their homes, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. The president thanked the people he met with and said, "We're there for you, and we're grateful for your resilience," according to Carney.

The president did not observe any flooding visible from outside his window aboard Air Force One, and there were no signs of flooding along the route his motorcade took driving to the school.

Obama made mention of those affected by natural disasters during commencement address. He said "The success of our economy will depend on your skills, but the success of our community will depend on your ability to follow the Golden Rule -- to treat others as you would like to be treated.  We've seen how important this is even in the past few weeks, as communities in Memphis and all across the South have banded together to deal with flood waters and to help each other in the aftermath of terrible tornadoes."

Obama used a portion of his remarks to argue that his education programs have inspired communities to make change. He told the graduates that Booker T. Washington's commencement was especially hopeful because the graduates -- who come from tough neighborhoods in Memphis -- weren't handed anything on a silver platter. "You had to work for it. You had to earn it," the president said.

Booker T. Washington High School is in an impoverished part of Memphis, and Obama said some people think schools in rough communities aren't supposed to succeed. "Well, we are here today because every single one of you stood tall and said, "Yes we can," Obama said, evoking his former campaign slogan. "Yes we can learn.  Yes we can succeed."

Obama told the school that he made it out for their ceremony because the community had created a culture of caring and learning; more than four out of five students earned a diploma this year -- a great turnaround from four years ago when only about half of the students were graduating.

"If success can happen here at Booker T. Washington, it can happen anywhere in Memphis," he said.  "And it can happen throughout Tennessee.  And it can happen all across America."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Surprises Tennessee High School Seniors at Graduation

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- Amid tears and shrieks, President Obama on Monday surprised a roomful of high school graduates in Memphis, Tennessee. The president was to speak later at the Booker T. Washington High School Commencement ceremony but the unknowing high school seniors, moments before attending their graduation ceremony, were surprised to have some extra face time with the president.

"I just want to say how inspired we were," Obama said to the surprised students waiting to go into their graduation ceremony. "We were inspired by the video you sent, inspired by the stories you told. We were inspired by how you turned this school around. Obviously a lot of that has to do with your outstanding principal."

The school had won the second annual "Commencement Challenge" this year issued by the White House, awarding the school with a winning entry video demonstrating the school's commitment to preparing students for college and a career.

The high school is in an impoverished area close to the site of Martin Luther King's assassination and where Benjamin Hooks, the late head of the NAACP, attended high school. Memphis has been hit hard by recent flooding as well.

Many among the 155 graduates, dressed in green and yellow caps and gowns, were crying, and President Obama at one point consoled a girl in the front row with her head down sobbing.

"This is just the beginning, this is not the end," Obama said noting that he has "big expectation" for them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What's in the Mississippi Floodwaters?

Creatas/Thinkstock(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- The great Mississippi River flood of 2011, cresting south of Memphis Wednesday, carries a mix of fertilizer, oil, pesticides, trash and farm runoff as it flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, say public health officials.

Some of it is nasty stuff, and officials say people are wise to be careful. They urge people not to touch the water unless they're wearing rubber boots and gloves, and wash thoroughly if they get wet.

"There could be a lot of untreated sewage coming downstream," said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist and activist in Louisiana who has tangled with oil and chemical companies. "People need to be aware."

ABC News arranged some testing of its own, taking water samples from two places along the river to a laboratory near Memphis. E. coli and coliform -- commonly found in untreated waste water -- were 2,000 times acceptable limits. The lab did not find gasoline, oil or chemical toxins. There were trace levels of heavy metals, but no more than would be found ordinarily, the lab reported.

Subra said she would be concerned if the giant Morganza Spillway were opened upriver from New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It would protect the cities, but flood the wetlands of southern Louisiana. And it could be a health issue as people return to flooded homes to clean up.

"When in doubt, throw it out," said the Tennessee Department of Health in an advisory to people trying to clear out their homes when the water goes down. "Flood water picks up numerous contaminants from roads, farms, factories and storage buildings, including sewage and chemicals."

The state also warned that standing water provides a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Perhaps the largest effect: the overflow of nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico is likely to create an unusually large "dead zone" -- a giant patch of water off the Texas-Louisiana coast where fish and other marine creatures lack enough oxygen to survive. A dead zone forms there almost every July and August, but scientists said it will be bigger this year because algae, feeding on the excess fertilizer, will bloom and then die, choking off the oxygen supply.

Cities and towns in 31 states use water that flows into the Mississippi River Basin, many of them releasing treated wastewater into tributaries of the Mississippi. Engineers worried that sewage treatment plants could be overwhelmed by floodwaters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mississippi Flooding: River Cresting, Louisiana Preps for Rising Waters

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- As the swollen Mississippi River continues to rush downstream, flood-level water is heading directly for some Louisiana communities still recovering from last year's devastating oil spill and possibly forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate. Many neighborhoods of Memphis, Tenn., remain submerged in dirty, debris-strewn and reptile-infested water.

The National Weather Service said the Mississippi River has reached 47.85 feet.

The river will continue to press against Memphis levees for at least the next few days, officials said. The Mississippi there has swollen to six times its average width.

Further south, residents of Vidalia, La., have been warned to start working on an evacuation plan. City officials have already evacuated the local hospital. Vidalia is directly located across the river from Natchez, Miss.

Officials said the river is expected to crest at a record level there on May 21. Businesses owners and residents have been preparing for the worst by filling sandbags.

Record flooding is also expected in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

In Memphis, though the river has crested, the danger of flooding has not disappeared. While the river's maximum elevation may have been reached, officials said they will continue to monitor the levees. Authorities expected the levees will protect the city's landmarks, Graceland and Beale Street.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mississippi River Crests in Tennessee; Most of Memphis Spared

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- By early Tuesday morning, it appeared that most of Memphis, Tennessee was spared from the flooding of the mighty Mississippi River.

Since the bulk of the city is located on a bluff, only low-lying areas have so far been affected by the nearly 48-foot crest, the highest the nation’s largest river system has reached in Memphis since the Great Flood of 1937.  It is expected to reach 48 feet later on Tuesday.

Graceland, Beale Street and other familiar sites in Memphis were largely untouched by the flooding.  And even while city officials visited about 1,300 residences in the past few days to urge evacuations, many residents stayed home.

Still, Cory Williams of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday night, “We're going to wait until the water goes down a whole lot more and then we'll celebrate success."

It was clear Memphis officials had faith that the city's levees, flood walls and pumps would do their job.  The network has come at a cost of over $13 billion throughout the years but the Corps of Engineers says it's been well worth it by preventing an estimated $370 billion in flood damage.

Yet the danger from the Mississippi River is not over for communities and refineries downstream from Memphis.  The crest isn’t expected to occur there for another two weeks, which is when the flood waters are due to finally empty into the Gulf of Mexico.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Memphis Flooding: How to Help Flood Victims

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MEMPHIS) -- Thousands of people from Arkansas to Tennessee are fleeing their homes ahead of recording-breaking flooding. The Mississippi River's record crest was 48.7 feet in 1937 and the Army Corps of Engineers expects the river to rise to 48 feet by early Tuesday morning. More than 1,300 homes are under an evacuation order and another 240 have been warned that they might need to leave. Nearly 400 people are staying in shelters. The damage has been extensive in places like Memphis where entire neighborhoods have been swallowed by the water and vehicles completely submerged.

Find out below how to help and donate to the flood relief effort:

American Red Cross: The Red Cross is providing shelter and supplies to those who have been hardest hit. They have more than 400 volunteers on the ground. To make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, visit its online donation page. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

United Way: The United Way is collecting donations to support local nonprofit programs that are working to provide immediate and long-term recovery in the Memphis and Mid-South area. To donate to the United Way, visit its online donation page.

The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services is responding to the floods and has opened three response stations in the Memphis area. The response stations provide hot food, snacks, drinks, hygiene, and baby supplies as well as emotional and spiritual support. To donate to the Salvation Army's flood relief efforts, visit, click on their donation page and designate "May Floods." You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donors can text "GIVE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Checks can be made out to the Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, Ga., 30384-0339.

Hope Presbyterian Church: Hope Presbyterian Church will serve as a donation and distribution hub, collecting donations to supply the shelters. Donations are accepted daily 7 a.m.-10 p.m. If you have any questions, please call (901) 755-7721. To make a donation to Hope Presbyterian Church, visit its online donation section located at the bottom of this page. All donated items must be new and in original packaging. At the request of the shelters, please only bring items from the list below:

Towels and washcloths BIG NEED FOR WASHCLOTHS
Batteries - sizes: C,D, AA, AAA BIG NEED
Ear Plugs BIG NEED
Socks for kids and adults BIG NEED
Flip Flops (for the showers) BIG NEED
Shaving cream/gel BIG NEED
Wal-Mart or Target gift cards BIG NEED
Deodorant Men's/Women's BIG NEED
Shampoo/conditioner (unopened hotel bottles work great) BIG NEED
Hair Brushes
Combs (Wide & Regular Tooth)
Pony tail holders/Hair clips
Body lotion
Hand Sanitizer
Toothbrushes (individually packaged)
Training/Toddler Toothpaste BIG NEED
Children's toothbrushes BIG NEED
General first-aid (band-aids, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, TUMS, rubbing alcohol) BIG NEED FOR RUBBING ALCOHOL & PEROXIDE
Diapers & Pull-Ups (all sizes) 0-3, 6, 2t, 3t, 4t, 5t
Baby/Child Medicine BIG NEED
Teething Medicine BIG NEED
Diaper Rash Cream BIG NEED
Travel size baby lotion & wash BIG NEED
Baby blankets
Baby food
Baby spoons
Baby bottles
Baby pacifiers
Baby Shampoo/Lotion/Wash
Baby bottle brushes
Baby formula (No generics please: Carnation or Gerber "Good Start Gentle Plus")
Vaseline (generic welcome) BIG NEED
Sanitary Pads/Tampons
Depends (NOT Adult Diapers) BIG NEED

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mississippi River Expected to Crest in Memphis Early Tuesday

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects[dot]net/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- The Mississippi River continues to rise in Memphis, Tennessee, with forecasts predicting that the river will crest sometime early Tuesday morning.

Officials predict that the river will get up to 48 feet, just seven inches shy of its all-time flood high set back in 1937.

Tennessee’s governor Bill Haslam has asked President Obama to declare 15 counties as federal disaster areas as the river continues to rise. Should the president grant Haslam’s request, those areas designated as disaster areas would have access to federal assistance programs. Haslam declared a state of emergency on April 26, in light of the forecast of the Mississippi River flooding.

On Saturday the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management Agency issued a flood warning, advising area residents to wrap up precautionary actions in the coming days and be prepared to evacuate.

The Mississippi River is expected to remain above flood stage Memphis until May 25.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio