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Year in Review 2013: January-June

January 2013
* The third annual gathering of St. James CME Church and First United Methodist Church to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marked the first for new FUMC Minister Ed. White. The annual started in 2011 under the direction of St. James Minister W. Otis Higgs Jr. and then FUMC Minister Dr. Ken Uselton. Uselton retired from his post after nearly two decades the previous summer. White was one of many representatives from First United Methodist on hand at St. James CME Church on King Day 2013. The two churches alternate the site each year bringing together the ministers, choirs and members in the sanctuary for a day of worship, reflection and celebration in honor of the late Civil Rights leader. King was assassinated 45 years ago in Memphis assisting the sanitation workers in gaining better working conditions. King, an Atlanta native, traveled across the United States speaking, marching and organizing for equality for all.

* Millington Winery was honored at the prestigious Wines of the South Competition in Knoxville.  Their 2011 Blackberry Wine was chosen as Best in Show in the Dessert/Fruit category.  Judges were impressed by this refreshing wine, which is both sweet and tart at the same time, much like a blackberry pie. Wines of the South is a nationally recognized competition, and this year’s contest was no exception with more than 400 entries from ten states.  The judges’ panel was comprised of wine experts from all across the country. Old Millington’s award winning 2011 Blackberry Wine was featured at the Annual Winemakers dinner at the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance meeting in Nashville. Old Millington Winery is a family-owned winery located 14 miles north of Downtown Memphis.

*For several years the warm, loving face greeting students, faculty and staff at Woodstock Middle School in the cafeteria belonged to Delilah Barbee McVay. On Jan. 12, the woman known as Ms. Woodstock passed away.  The family invited those who grew to love her to the Baker Community Center to say farewell and pay tribute to her memory.
“She was just one of a kind, I never knew of Ms. McVay having a bad day,” WMS Principal Eric Linsy said. “She comes in and she always has something positive for everybody. The children, teachers and including myself, we all looked up to her.
“And we could depend on her for a good strong positive word,” he added. “She was always willing to help anyone and anybody where she knew there was a need. Again she was just a consistent at Woodstock at all our basketball games and functions she could attend. For support, she was always there. She was a face you could depend on and she’s going to be missed tremendously.”
Her duties as cafeteria montior gave McVay a chance to have an encounter with also everybody in the school. And most evenings during basketball season she would make the trip up to Millington Central High School to take her familiar seat to watch the girls’ and boys’ game.

*Millington was embarking on new territory with its government transforming over to a city manager form. But for the man the Board of Aldermen hired earlier in January, he’s seen all in his 20 years of experience. On Jan. 7 the city of Millington offered the job of city manager to Thomas Christie, making him the first person to hold the position in the city’s history.
“I feel it’s going to be a challenge,” Christie said. “But I knew that coming in. I had been Talladega, Ala.’s first City Manager as well. This is not my first experience of being a first-time manager for a city.
“However, although I know it’s a challenge, I look forward to it,” he continued. “I think it’s something I’m well equipped to do being through the process before. I think I can make Millington’s transition smooth because of my past experience and also because of my maturity.”
Christie and his wife of more than 40 years, Betty, are making the transition to Millington after his previous stop in Salem, Ill. The couple met in their hometown of Shelbyville where Thomas began his career in government. Christie has 17 and half years of service experience in Shelbyville, Collinsville, Ill., Wood River, Ill., Talladega and Salem. Now Millington is Christie’s sixth job as a city manager.

*With her escort Vernon King by her side, Millington Central High School student Nicole Neely got the shock of her senior year standing near half court of the William Osteen Gymnasium. Her name was called over the public address system Friday night between the girls’ and boys’ game between Cordova and Millington as part of Winterfest 2013.
“I’m very excited,” Neely said moments after being named Queen. “I was on Homecoming Court last year. This is way better winning my senior year.
“It does make my senior year sweeter winning even though my best friend was on the court with me,” she added. “If either one of us would have won, it would have been great to me.”

*For weeks a Nashville couple and their dog have enjoyed the songs and music created by their neigbors Cyrena Wages, Gabe Rabben and Houston Wages. The three musicians with different backgrounds formed a band this past summer. And with their biggest fans’ support, the trio decided to take the opportunity to use their band’s name to pay tribute to the couple.
“I realized how strong of a musician Gabe was,” Houston recalled. “We worked out a song in about 10 minutes. I was like, ‘This is a pretty good situation. I’m going to plan a trip to Nashville so that we can do some writing.’ I go to Nashville over the summer. This lady heard us and said, ‘You guys should be a group.’
“She has mutual friends, this couple,” he continued. “This couple has a Boston Terrier named Lola. We ended up living next door to them. They’re our neighbors now. So we decided to name our band Friends of Lola.”
Friends of Lola returned to the hometown of siblings Cyrena and Houston Jan. 17 for a concert in Midtown Memphis at the Hi-Tone Cafe’. Cyrena, 21, has been gracing stages for years in beauty pagents even making a run at Miss Tennessee last year. Her trademark in the talent portions of the events has been singing. She even returned to her old elementary school E.A. Harrold last year to perform for the students. Her boyfriend Gabe, 25, has a resume’ from all over the United States which includes playing the drums for music legend Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. Cyrena’s big brother Houston, 30, has traveled the country working as a song writer. While growing up in Millington, Houston developed a love of Hip-Hop music. Then when he moved up North to attend college to study acting, he found a passion for a form of music prominent in the South.

*It has been a long wait for Terry Jones to be sworn in again as mayor of Millington. The last time Jones participated in the ceremony to be the leader of Flag City was back on New Year’s Day of 2005. Since then Millington has had two mayors, elected five new aldermen and is currently changing the charter for a new form of government. But among all the proposed and coming changes, Jones was elected by the residents to take the office of mayor again beating Dr. Ken Uselton in a runoff election on Nov. 6.
“I’m honored and humbled that the people did come back and decided to vote me in for another term after being out for four years,” Jones said. “They understand we need to get the city going back in the right direction. I’m looking forward to working with the new board of aldermen.
“I think we made history today in Millington,” he added. “We have five new board members. I would say we do have the most diverse board that Millington has ever had.”
Jones sat on the Harvell Civic Center stage with the newly elected board to be sworn in by City Judge Wilson Wages. Position 6 and 7 aldermen Chris Ford and Mike Caruthers were reelected. Among the newly elected aldermen sworn in with Ford and Caruthers were Bethany Huffman, Hank Hawkins, Frankie Dakin, Larry Dagen and Thomas McGhee.

February 2013
*Late in the month, the Munford Lady Cougars made history once again by winning the first Region championship in the program’s history. A close first half quickly transformed into a Munford runaway against Jackson North Side in the Brighton Gymnasium. The Lady Cougars captured the Region 7-3A Girls Tournament title with a 67-51 victory. Munford hosted the Central Lady Warriors on a Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Munford Gymnasium for the Lady Cougars’ first Sub-State. The Overton Lady Wolverines beat Central 54-51 in the Region 8-3A final. Lady Warrior standout and Baylor signee Nina Davis scored 24 in the losing effort.

*Twin post players, a wide receiver, gimpy star and freshman guard led by a coach who walked the sidelines during the Ronald Reagan administration were good enough to upset the Dyer County Choctaws. The defending District 13-3A champions entered the Munford Gymnasium Feb. 19 for the 2013 District Boys Tournament as the favorites to beat the Munford Cougars. But all the pieces of Butch Hopkins’ team were good enough to outlast the Choctaws 65-63 in overtime to claim the title.
“Dyer County ain’t 28-2 for no reason,” Hopkins said. “They’re good. It took a good basketball game to beat them. I felt like going into the game if they pressed us, we had a real good shot of beating them because Reggie plays really, really good when you press. He can get to the basket and he can dish it.”
Reggie Holmes was the freshman guard Hopkins plugged into the lineup because of the suspension of senior guard Kameron Foster because of technical fouls. Holmes was in charge of an offense featuring power forwards Sedric Pryor and Andre Bell. The duo joined football standout Antonio Moore on the front line to give the Cougars more size for rebounding.
“The other thing we had to do was play extremely good half-court defense and not get killed on the boards,” Hopkins noted. “We held our own on the boards for the first time against them.”

*Walking off the Cordova Gymnasium court Feb. 19 with her MVP award in hand, Millington Lady Trojan Basketball standout Tiara Caldwell felt like a Baltimore Raven. With her team triumph over the Arlington Lady Tigers 53-39, the senior center compared the Lady Trojans winning the 2013 District 14-3A Girls Basketball Tournament to a certain game played on the first Sunday in February every year.
“I don’t even play football and I feel like we just won the Super Bowl,” she said. “It was a great experience. I mean we haven’t been here in three years. It means a lot to us. We feel like we have accomplished something. We feel like we can go further.”
The championship gave Millington a No. 1 seed in the Region 7-3A Tournament and a home game in the first round against Jackson North Side of District 13-3A. The title was also the first for the program since 2010 when current UT-Martin star Jasmine Newsome led the Lady Trojans.

*Judge W. Otis Higgs Jr., 75, of Memphis, passed away Feb. 15, 2013 at Baptist East. Service was held Feb. 22, at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. Burial was held Feb. 23 at Calvary Cemetery. He leaves his loving wife, Diane Bradley Higgs; daughter, Stephanie (Larry) Redd; son, Chris Higgs; stepsons, Jesse (Shundra) Bradley, James (Keisha) Bradley; siblings, Dora Smith, Tony (Teresa) James, Betty Hughes, William James. He also leaves grandchildren, Calon Gibbs, LaRynz, Kathryn and Jaydon Redd and Ariana Bradley. Many affectionate nieces, nephews and other relatives will remember him fondly also.

*The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously in February to appoint Charles R. Perkins to be the new city attorney. Board members took the action Monday night during a special called meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Hank Hawkins. Perkins was one of three men interviewed and nominated by the board for the position. The others were Lang Wiseman of the Wiseman Bray law firm in Cordova and Will Wyatt of the Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh firm in Memphis.

*Although the memories will live with them forever, the chances for mom and daughter Barbara McGoff and Kim Bobbitt to reminisce in the shop they called home since Halloween 1991 is running out. On Dec. 17, 1987, McGoff opened the Hair Jungle at 4645 Navy Road offering hair cuts and cosmetology. A few years later the  business moved to its second and final location 7816 Highway 51 providing customers chances to enteract with McGoff and staff over birthday parites, weddings and of course Halloween events. Being semi-retired for the last three years, McGoff decided to officially close her shop Feb. 2.
“I retired three years ago when I was 65 and I couldn’t cut hair anymore,” McGoff said. “I have serious back problems. I can’t have that one-on-one relationship with my customers anymore. That’s the part I like. So I wanted to totally retire. Running a business is not what I wanted to do.”
From day one of the Hair Jungle, McGoff and family had a simple mission.
“What I said from the very beginning, lets have a whole lot of fun, make a whole lot of memories and a little bit of money,” Bobbitt said. “The bottom line is we did that. We watched people grow up and we became their friends.”

*Validation, redemption and perseverance took the mat numerous times one Saturday night in February in the Collierville High School Gymnasium for the championship round of the Region 8 Wrestling Individual Tournament. Seven area wrestlers reached the State Tournament in their weight classes including Millington’s Jamario Erving. Erving’s heart was set on proving himself in his senior year. Entering the year, Erving was low on the radar behind teammates like Luke Walker and Devante Robinson. Walker and Robinson were two of six Trojans who earned trips to State. But he was only Millington grappler to bring a Regional championship back to Flag City.

*Linda Harris has been a trailblazer under the radar for years. With a professional career spanding from the Memphis Police Department to some of the highest courts in Tennessee, Harris has earned degrees, awards, recognition and respect along the way. Her latest honor was a historic appointment by the Tennessee Supreme Court to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. When lawyer Harold D. Archibald passed away, Harris was selected by the Supreme Court to finish out his term until January 2015. The Woodstock resident’s journey to becoming the first black woman appointed to the ADR Commission started in the streets of Memphis after she graduated from Hamilton High School. In 1979, Harris became a police officer working in Crime Stoppers, auto theft and child sex abuse divisions. Those five year shaped Harris into the lawyer she would become and shaped the mindset she needed to succeed in the professional world.
“I remember being a police woman riding in the squad car and the policeman not even speaking to me,” she recalled. “I had to ride in the squad car for eight hours and nobody would even talk to me. So I’ve seen a lot of changes.
“But I’ve watched us change,” Harris continued. “I’ve watched the opportunities change. If you are an African-American woman, you have to work hard. You have to work harder. You have to be committed to that job. If you are committed and you do a good job, you will ultimately be accepted by your colleagues.”

*Most athletes who reach National Signing Day have two things in common, hard work and dedication. And Millington Trojan George Odum is no different. The Trojan Football Program gathered in the Millington Central High School Library to celebrate Odum’s signing to The University of Central Arkansas.
“He’s a very responsible and driven young man,” Odum’s aunt Lisa Harrell noted. “You don’t see that very often in teenagers these days. He’s worked hard and he’s had to overcome a lot to get to where he’s at. I’m very proud of him.”
Odum entered Harrell’s life and home the spring of 2010 after the May Day Flood damaged several homes throughout Millington. Trojans Head Coach Chris Michael remembers that citywide tragedy and how it affected his latest signee.
“A little skinny 10th grader that got put out of his home when the flood hit three years ago and had to move in with family members, didn’t show up to fall practice because he didn’t have a ride,” he said. “He was living with an aunt. It was, ‘Where is he? We remember him.’ Then we got to finding out he got displaced because of the flood. We started going to pick him up and giving him rides everyday.”
Investing gas mileage and time into the future of Odum, Michael said he would see quickly his potential to be a college football player.
“He was just a lanky kid who would hustle everyday in practice,” he recalled. “He would hit you but he only weighed about a dollar and 50. He caught our eye from the get-go. Through his work as a youngster, a 10th grader, he was able to move into the starting lineup in game five. Not only that, he moved in as a linebacker, 150-pound 10th grade linebacker. He ended up being the second leading tackler on our team behind Alan Cross that year. It just took off from there.”

*Millington’s all-time leading scorer in soccer officially signed her national letter of intent in February in the Millington Central High School Library. Katlyn Dupree verbally committed to play for her dream school Union University previously. With her signing, Dupree took her talents to Jackson to play for Lady Bulldogs Head Coach Isaac Brooks. While playing for the Millington Lady Trojans, Dupree tallied more than 90 goals including a school single-season record of 31. In her five-year varsity career including a season with the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels, Dupree scored more than 100 goals.

*Millington Central High School teacher Amy Lange was informed via balloons she’s the 2013 Shelby County School Teacher of the Year (high school division). Lange was then nominated for Regional Teacher of the Year. Lange has been at MCHS for 8 years teaching Art II, Art III, Art IV, AP Art and Graphic Media.
“I was really surprised,” Lange said. “I knew Mr. Neal had nominated me for the school level. When he came in today and said you’re Teacher of the Year, I was like, ‘I won for Shelby County?’”

March 2013
*The Fourth Annual Bunny Hop 5K took place at Aycock Park benefiting the Millington Relay for Life. Several ran in the event with Millington resident Jeremy Tincher completing the course first in a time of 22 minutes and 22 seconds. The top woman finisher was Laura Swain in a time of 25 minutes and 35 seconds.

*The fourth annual Jackson Culley Mito-What? 5K was held in Millington, at USA Stadium on March 23. This year’s event raised more than $17,000 for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF). Over the past four years, the event has raised more than $77,000.

*The cold and damp conditions outside of the George Harvell Civic Center couldn’t stop the warmth and love expressed inside Sunday evening for The Millington Chorale. Part sendoff for its April 2 trip to New York City and a way to show gratitude, the Chorale joined forces with The Memphis Brass & Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Conductor Jeff Murdock for a concert. More than a year ago Murdock and his Music Department embarked on a journey to give Millington Central High School students a chance to perform in the historic Carnegie Hall. The Millington Chorale satisfied all the qualifications in the application process but stood $60,000 away from reaching its dream.
“We stand here today because you all met the financial goal,” MCHS Principal Mark Neal told the audience. “We made it because of you and your generosity. We were able to met that through our network, so hats off to you.”
Throughout fund-raising and outreach efforts, the Millington Chorale met its financial goal and will be heading to Carnegie Hall as one of six international groups invited. The group from MCHS was one of two from the United States.

*The Broadcasting Department of Millington Central High School was represented on the night of March 28 at the 2013 NAACP ACT-SO Memphis Competiton.
In the Filmmaking/Video category Millington had a clean sweep led by senior Rubin Seymore. Broadcasting teacher Marshonn Calvin said Seymore was destined to take home the first prize.
“We’re very appreciative to win first, second and third place,” he said. “It was so sweet. The kids worked really hard and this means so much for Rubin. Seeing his growth over the years and to win this means so much for his future in this industry.”
Seymore edged out classmates Quametra Wilborn and Aquito Coleman with his project More Than Journalism. In the video, Seymore conducted an interview with WMC-TV Channel 5’s lead anchor Joe Birch.

*Longtime E.A. Harrold Principal Tanya Mabry announced in March she is retiring from her post and Shelby County Schools after a 35-year career in education. The Millington Central High School graduate has been the leaders of the Hornets for 15 years. She came to E.A. Harrold after stops at Millington Central Elementary and six years of working at the SCS Board. Mabry said growing up in Millington was always loved the community. She found her passion for teaching and working with elementary aged children her sophomore year at then Memphis State University.

*The Federal Aviation Administration released a list of control towers set to close across the country due to the sequester in March. Several of those are in the Mid-South including the tower at the Millington Regional Jetport. There will be 149 air traffic control towers closing due to budget cuts.
Towers in Olive Branch, Miss., Tupelo, Miss., Jackson, and Millington are slated to shut down, stripping off a layer of airport security. This raises serious safety, efficiency, and economic concerns that the agency has failed to consider, according to the U.S. Contract Tower Association. The FAA announced Friday that in an attempt to deal with sequestration the agency will close 149 control towers nationwide over a four week period beginning on April 7.

*Already an accomplished mother and business woman, Janice Murial Owen McGovern Moore’s legacy started to be defined in 1993. That was the year her granddaughter Melissa was born with Wilms tumor. Moore made it her life’s mission to see her grandbaby get well and raise money for the people who helped her to survive, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. When Moore passed away March 3, people from Millington and across the world wanted to pay tribute to her. Her charity work, ownership of Morrie’s Tavern and being a supportive mother and grandmother touched so many people that this past Saturday a tribute was held all day at the business she ran for years.
“She was a very awesome lady,” her son Jerry McGovern said. “She did everything she could do for St. Jude because of my daughter. She had hundreds and hundreds of friends. Anyone who went through her path was a better person. Morrie’s Tavern meant a lot to her, it was her life. She ran it for more than 40 years.”
The iconic bar on Easley made Moore a part of the Millington fabric. Morrie’s Tavern became even more famous when it was used in 2005 for scenes in the motion picture Black Snake Moan.
“She said she loved it and she would never do it again,” McGovern recalled. “She had the opportunity to do it again but she turned it down. It was a very stressful day for her.”
The Lady known as “Boss Jan” had many stressful moments when it came to Melissa. Her little granddaughter faced a battle with nephroblastoma also known as Wilms tumor that affects the kidneys. Doctors believe that the tumor begins to grow as a fetus develops in the womb, with some cells that are destined to form into the kidneys malfunctioning and forming a tumor.

*After two unsuccessful attempts to nominate one of its new members, the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has elected Alderman Chris Ford to be the city’s first vice mayor. Board members took the action during their Feb. 4 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Larry Dagen. The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Ford abstaining. Shortly before the vote, when Mayor Terry Jones opened the floor for nominations, several seconds passed before anyone spoke. Then, Dagen nominated Alderman Frankie Dakin, who is a student at Rhodes College in Memphis. When the nomination died for lack of a second, Dakin nominated Alderman Hank Hawkins. But after that nomination also failed to receive a second, Millington resident Louise Kennon, who was seated in the audience, suggested that the board consider Ford or Alderman Mike Caruthers, who have the most seniority.

*Every induction ceremony of the Millington Central High School Chapter of the National Honor Soceity is special to sponsor John Price. The math instructor helped conduct his 40th such event Feb. 26 in the MCHS Autotorium inducting 76 new members featuring 13 seniors.
“We try to always make it special so that the students who qualify, since it is such a big honor, get recognition that they deserve,” Price said. “We try to do it in the evenings so that parents and other family members can be there.
“So that everybody in the family share in the success of the student,” he added. “It’s just always been a real wonderful evening. It’s one of the special evenings of the year when we can take in new members into the Honor Society.”

*For weeks the administration of Munford High School have searched for the next leader of the football program. Several candidates inquired, applied and interviewed to be the successor of Matt Saunders. With the input of the returning Cougar players the Munford decision makers were ready to announce today who would be the next head coach of the Munford Football program.
“We wanted to put in front of you somebody who knows the route from a place like Munford High to a place like the University of Alabama,” MHS Assistant Principal Courtney Fee said, “that knows the route from a place like Munford High to the NFL.”
As Ahmaad Galloway was led in by MHS Athletic Director Mike Huffman into the weight room, Fee announced his name to the players gathered as the new coach.
“It’s a tremendous honor when you consider what we’re doing here academically,” Galloway said. “I just think this is a coach’s dream job as far as the support system.
“It feels good at the heart,” he added. “I really felt like this is a situation God has led me. Often time as coaches, we go searching. I felt like I was led here.”

*UT Martin Lady Skyhawk Jasmine Newsome was named the 2012-13 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in voting by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Newsome, a graduated of Millington Central High School, becomes the first player in league history to earn both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honor in the same season. It’s Newsome’s second-straight Player of the Year honor and her second overall Defensive Player of the Year award after winning it in 2010-11. The first team All-OVC selection leads the league and ranks seventh in the nation with 21.9 points per game while putting up a conference-best 24.3 points each time out in OVC play. Newsome tops the Conference with 3.13 steals per outing and 94 total swipes which also ranks 18th in the nation. She is second in the conference with 5.6 assists each time out so far this season. Newsome has reached double-digits in scoring in all but one game and has hit the 30-plus point mark three times this season, including back-to-back 31-point efforts versus Tennessee State and Murray State. The junior guard is second among OVC active players in career points (1,845), steals (231) and assists (491). Newsome was named the OVC Player of the Week seven times this year, including three straight to close-out the regular-season. She is the second different Skyhawk to earn Player of the Year honors.

*Leigh Millican-Hubbard is all smiles outside of the legendary Shelby Forest General Store last month. In a unique way to say thank you to his fans in the Mid-South, pop star Justin Timberlake sent fans on a scavenger hunt March 29. Through his Twitter account, Timberlake said he placed five personally signed vinyl albums of his latest release “The 20/20 Experience” in five locations across the United States. One of the locations he placed his exclusive vinyl record was in metro Memphis at the Shelby Forest General Store in Millington.
Millican-Hubbard found the copy. It was a short trip for Millican-Hubbard, she lives just down the road from Shelby Forest General Store.
“The 20/20 Experience” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 and has sold almost 1 million in its first week – Timberlake’s best sales week ever.

April 2013
*Professional sports like the NFL and NBA hold their annual drafts in New York City.
And the one common question for the athletes who attend is, ‘Are you ready for the big stage?’ New York City is known at the site were athletes, actors, performers and singers go to “make it.” On April 2 the Millington Central High School Chorale took the big stage of Carnegie Hall performing five songs under the direction of conductor Jeff Murdock.
“It was a lot of pressure at first but once we got up there and started singing, it was pretty much like home,” MCHS singer and senior Shelby Swift recalled. “It was pretty much simple after that.”
Simple was the last word the MCHS students would use to describe New York. Once the group of 25 students landed, they saw a different pace of life.
“It was real busy,” MCHS singer and senior Cazzie Foster said. “A lot quicker than the South. I came back and it felt so slow.”
Foster acknowledge his heart rate matched or surpassed the fast-pace of New York City with the challenge of taking the Carnegie Hall stage ahead of the Chorale.
But before the Chorale performed its concert, the members got a chance to warm up their voices around “The City That Never Sleeps.”
“We performed at a restaurant,” Swift said. “All of sudden we did an impromptu. We did some singing on the sidewalk of Time Square.”
“Even in the subway we drew a crowd,” Foster added. “We sang Happy Birthday to somebody.”

*For those who knew the late Dana Payne, his smile had a lasting impact.
It’s that image that gives his mother Tameka Smith the strength to proceed with her life. Everyday in her Northaven home, she pops into Dana’s bedroom for a reminder of the grin that would light up a room.
“I go in his room everyday and he’s right there smiling on all his pictures,” she said. “I can’t do anything but smile right back at him.”
Smith also smiled Friday afternoon in the Millington Central High School Library seeing her son’s No. 87 jersey framed and embowered with Payne across the shoulder blade.
The MCHS administration and football coaching staff came together to celebrate the memory of Payne and retire the No. 87. On hand to dedicate the framed jersey were Principal Mark Neal, Assistant Principal Beth Hale and Head Football Coach Chris Michael.
“We’re going to retire that number from any further use,” Michael said. “We’re going to let it hang in the halls of the high school for all the  future generations to remember him by.”
Payne’s No. 87 will be the second number retired at Millington, joining Mario Reed’s No. 29. No other Millington Trojan football player will ever wear 87. Payne passed away last August after suffering internal injuries from a tackle during practice. The sophomore was 15 years old at the time of his passing. Payne’s 16th birthday was later in the month.

*The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team notched a program first as junior guard Jasmine Newsome has been named by the Associated Press as All-America Honorable Mention as announced on April 3.
“I’m very proud of this recognition, not only for Jasmine, but for our program and university,” UT Martin Head Coach Kevin McMillan said.  “Jasmine is an incredible player, teammate and leader for our program. She puts her team on her back when necessary while making everyone around her better and that’s the characteristics you look for in a player. This is an accomplishment that our university and community should take pride in as we strive to make our mark on the national stage.”

May 2013
*Dollar General celebrated the opening of its new location at 8021 Austin Peay Highway in Millington in May with free prizes and special deals.

*The Munford Cougars were making the plays in an effort to advance to the school’s first Regional championship game.
But the saves of goalie Erik Furseth, the last-second deflection of Troy Moyer before half to prevent a Cordova goal and the aggressive play of the offense wasn’t enough to over the Wolves. The District 14-3A champion Cordova Wolves held on for a 2-1 win on their home field and advance to the Region 7-3A title game.
The best season in the four-year history of the Munford Cougars came to an end. Cougars Head Coach Kyle Selby said the 15-5-2 record by his team doesn’t tell the complete story of how well it played and matured.
“The boys sat here and they’ve never given up in four years,” he said. “And they weren’t going to start now. We’ve done a lot of things this year that we haven’t done in the past. I can honestly tell you when Munford High School stepped on this soccer field today, Munford High School played good, solid soccer.
“We’re not in there for the fouls,” he added. “There are going to be fouls in there, but you saw where everything was going. There is a lot more to soccer than wins and losses. You sit here and watch 21 boys who have heart, integrity and never gave up. They never retaliated. We’ve dealt with this four years. You have kids here who are awesome and that will go out and make a school proud in the real world. They’re going to take this thing to the next level out there too.”

*Area high school seniors graduated in May including Millington Central High School. The 103rd MCHS  Commencement was held in May showcasing the Class of 2013 in the Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis. Principal Mark Neal got things started for those in attendance with the graduates marching in toward their seats. The ceremony marked not only the end of the MCHS tenure for the students but for longtime math teacher John Price after 41 years at the school. MCHS Valedictorian Darrell Warberg addressed his peers, friends and family with his speech (See the speech on Millington Central 2013 Graduation). Then it was time for the Class of 2013 to walk across the stage.

*The Munford High School Girl’s Tennis team won their fourth straight Region 7 -3A Championship in May by defeating Arlington. The team, anchored by Senior Taylor Patterson and Madison Willis, finished the regular season with a 13-0 record, won the District 13-3A Championship in Jackson the previous week, and continued by beating Arlington in the Regional 4-2.
Patterson and Willis have been the anchor to a team that in the past four years has amassed a record of 52-2 regular season wins. Besides the team’s district and regional championships, they have won many individual honors as well.  Taylor Patterson has won two straight district and regional championships and has made two straight state tournament appearances, one as a sophomore and one as a junior, and was a doubles district runner-up her freshman year. She competed for another trip to the State Tournament Monday in Jackson.  Madison Willis has won two district runner-up doubles championships, a singles runner-up championship, and a regional runner up championships.  She will compete in the Regional doubles championship this week.

*Covington Charger standout shooting guard Demetrius Dyson signed his national letter of intent May 10 in the CHS Library. Dyson, who was a three-year letterman at Brighton High School, transferred to Covington this past year and was the leader of Head Coach Dion Real’s Charger squad. Dyson, who was rated a three-star recruit by both Rivals and, averaged 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds a game during his senior season at Covington. He also shot 50 percent from the field and was a 78 percent from the free throw line. He will play for UMass Minutemen Head Coach Derek Kellogg in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The 6’5 Dyson has won several individual basketball honors from AAU and varsity basketball and said he is proud to represent Tipton County at a national power.

*In early May Connie Lawyer was on NBC’s Today Show in New York for a nationwide Kentucky Derby hat contest and her hat was one of the final three chosen. NBC flew Lawyer and the other two finalist to New York City to be on the Today Show. “It was so much fun,” Lawyer said. “My hat was not the winner but the experience was incredible.” Lawyer’s hat was third and she is the Children’s Director at Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington.  The ‘Run for the Roses’ took place on Saturday with the horse Orb winning the race at Church Hill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

*The Millington Public Library announced the hiring of new Director Arlene Griffin, replacing Brian Miller’s post. Griffin comes to Millington’s Library from Jackson. The Library Boosters and the Library Board will host a reception at the Millington Public Library on May 16 from 4-6 p.m. to introduce Griffin to the community. The Library also honored two employees, Judy Koehl and Kenneth Lyles at the reception. Both Koehl and Lyles have been nameds LSSI Employees of the Month for February and March, respectively.

*A tradition that started in 1999 for every 100 wins, the current roster of Lady Cardinals pulled up home plate at the Brighton Softball Field and signed it. The latest plate featured a large red 500 in the middle with the signatures of seniors Lulu Smith, Haley Craig, McCallie Ruffin, Hunter Simpson, Bri McBride, Morgan Shaver, Laura Judy and Hadley Wilkins surrounding it. The Class of 2013 signed the plate back in 2010 with standouts like Emi Kate Smith, Bailey Hansen, Lorin Raines, Kesley Tramel and Laura Gentry. That plate also featured the signatures of All-State players Leanna Coulston and Caroline Jacobs.

*The staff at the Memphis International Raceway are off to a fast start in 2013.
Just before MIR’s second anniversary at the motorsports facility, big names and events have made headlines. MIR’s Vice President and General Manager Pam Kendrick said from the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience ribbon cutting in May to recent Ford Fun Weekend earlier this month, Memphis International Raceway is cementing their place in Millington’s culture.
“We love the pace,” she said. “It’s nothing better than to provide this much entertainment for the community and to provide the variety of events we’re able to provide. And there is also the support from the local community. We love this pace.”
The pace of growth has been evident since August 2011 with events at the drag strip and the introduction of driving experience. The weekly event for local racers like the Bracket Series also increased the interest in Memphis International Raceway during 2012.

*Curtis Mickens, a sophomore at Millington Central High School in Amy  Lange’s Art II class, is seen here with his painting created for the Memphis International Airport Art Show: Memphis, It’s Sights, Sounds and Music. Curtis’ work was selected from among 300 entries to be one of 45 artworks displayed this year in the airport. Curtis also received, during the awards ceremony, a $10,000 renewable scholarship to Memphis College of Art.

*County pride and bragging rights were on the line May 28 on the diamond of USA Stadium.
The issue was settled between 40 of the best players from the area in the 2013 State Farm Shelby County All-Star Baseball Game between the Private School Stars and Public School Stars. Last year the Private School Stars pulled away for victory.
In the second annual edition of the showdown, the Private Team watched a 4-1 lead disappear. Then had to comeback twice before winning 9-6.
The Private School MVP was Briarcrest’s Grayson Ponder. The unsigned hurler was one of the pitchers to keep the Public School scoreless for our innings.
“It feels good to shut them out, get up there and give them nothing to hit,” Ponder said.

June 2013
*Exhausted from more than 12 hours of work Saturday, Blues by the Lake creator Debra Sigee found a sudden pep in her step when headliner Sweet Angel hit the USA Stadium stage.
Sigee wasn’t the only one dancing to the soulful voice of Sweet Angel. Quickly dozens of concert-goers joined her in front of the stage grooving, shaking and stepping. After finishing her dance, Sigee hopped back on her golf cart to continue working behind the scenes making sure the first Blues by the Lake continued to be a success.
“I think the first Blues by the Lake was fantastic,” she said. “It went beyond my expectations. I appreciate the Millington Police and Millington Fire departments and the city leaders who came out to support this event.”
Millington’s presence was felt at the concert making sure the hundreds in attendance were safe and enjoyed the music of Sweet Angel, FADE, Sonny Mack and Millington’s own Lisa G.
While classic Blues songs were performed and some current pop hits echoed over USA Stadium Freedom Lake with a Blues twist, Sigee and her staff continued to take tickets, shuttle patrons and attend to needs for artist and the Beale Street Singers and Musicians.
The event staff was composed of Sigee’s husband Emile, son Emile Jr., daughters Tyra Moss, Tara Nicole Moss, and Ena Cole and sons-in-law Joe Dorsey Jr. and Nick Robinson.

*On June 16, the St. John M.B. Church located in Atoka, on Atoka-Idaville Road, held its Mortgage Burning Ceremony.
Construction of the new church sanctuary was completed in 2006.  The church had their first worship service in the building on Dec. 24, 2006, followed by a public Dedication Ceremony a week later.
Members of the community participated in the Dedication Ceremony as members paraded from the old sanctuary located next door, to the new building.  The church vowed to work together to pay off the building in 7 years, which is less than half the initial loan period of 15 years. With hard work and dedication from about 100 active members (including children), the church made their final payment to In-South Bank in May and received their official payoff notice before June 1.

*Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer announced June 26 a $399,619 grant to the town of Atoka for a new pedestrian and bicycle connection to recreational facilities.Phase I of the Atoka Greenway-Pedestrian Neighborhood Connector Project will provide access to numerous recreation facilities and serve as a focal point for the community. The project is being developed in conjunction with several other park and trail projects that will ultimately connect at several locations. The project includes a 10-foot wide path, native trees and shrubs, wayfinding signs and drainage improvements. New ADA compliant crosswalks will also be installed, along with pedestrian bridge crossings.

*The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed budget, salary and tax ordinances on second reading in June that would eliminate jobs and increase the property tax.
Board members took the action during a June 11 special called meeting.
A motion to pass the budget ordinance as amended was approved by five affirmative votes, with Aldermen Mike Caruthers and Chris Ford dissenting, and Alderman Hank Hawkins absent. The Position Control Budget and Compensation Policy for the 2014 fiscal year was unanimously approved. But the tax ordinance was passed with Caruthers and Ford again dissenting. The ordinances are scheduled for a public hearing and final reading during a special called meeting at 6 p.m. June 27.
Thus far, the board has voted to eliminate 18 employee positions and increase the certified property tax rate by 35.5 cents, which would total approximately $1.70 for each $100 of assessed valuation. The budget ordinance originally proposed the elimination of 19 employee positions. Those included the two inspectors in the police department, as well as three patrol officers and a dispatcher position that are currently vacant.

*On June 13, Brighton High School graduate and former Lady Cardinal Hadley Wilkens poses with her All-Star Game plaque and Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs in Cookeville moments after helping the West Tennessee Stars win a pair of games 4-3 and 10-0. Wilkens was joined by other area stars Mady Kate Gantt of Tipton-Rosemark Academy, Gabby Glenn and Alex Turner representing the Tipton County area. The West Tennessee Stars beat East and Middle Tennessee in the series to finish first. Wilkens, along with teammate Seeley Layne was named to the Coach’s All-State Team. Turner (of Munford) will join Glenn (of Covington) to play in the Tennessee vs. Kentucky All-Star Game later this month. Turner was 1 for 3 in the first game against East Tennessee with a double. In the second game, she had a single and RBI.

*Usually the pink on the cheeks of Munford’s Sami Jo Schulz reflects her happiness or joy from an athletic accomplishment.
Over the past four years, Schulz had many reasons to smile going to four Sub-State appearances in volleyball, reaching State three times in softball and earning a scholarship to The University of Memphis to play on the diamond.
But that trademark joy on the face of Schulz seemed to fade away this past spring as the pink on her face became a symbol of the pain she was enduring battling hip and back pain. And despite only playing two weeks for the Lady Cougar Softball team, Schulz accomplished enough this season to win the 2013 Millington Star Female Athlete of the Year.
“This is so surprising,” she said. “The fact that I only played 8 games in softball this year.”
In those 8 contest, the Lady Cougars were  unbeaten. But before April could conclude, doctors informed Schulz to shut it down ending her senior campaign prematurely.
But helping Munford go 8-0 on the diamond and earning District 13-3A MVP in Volleyball earned Schulz The Star’s top honor for a female athlete.

*Life has humbled Antonio Webber.
Despite trials and tribulations, the 18-year old was able to participate in three sports during his senior season at Millington Central High School. And with more than 1,400 yards rushing, and being a contributor in basketball and soccer, Webber was named the 2013 Millington Star Male Athlete of the Year.
For years people in the community could see Webber’s greatness and potential. And although awards and a scholarship to Bethel College for football have validated his hard work, Webber is surprised when people know who he is.
“One day when I was at work at Chick-Fil-A, the kid pointed at me and said, ‘Hey, that’s Antonio Webber,’” Webber recalled. “He was so excited to meet me. I felt like I became the next Millington Football legend.”
Following in the lines of Ahmaad Galloway, Marlon Barnes, Travis Simpson, Eric Knowlton and his former teammate Roland Genesy, Webber became the face of Millington Football’s running game.
And his rushing totals and touchdowns helped the Trojans win the 2011 District 14-3A title and reach the second round of the playoffs this past season.
As a four-year letterman on the basketball team and taking on the challenge of soccer, Webber stood out from the rest to win The Star’s top male athlete honor.

*It appeared the mission of People for the Advancement of Millington Schools was done when U.S. District Judge Samuel ‘Hardy’ Mays issued a ruling stopping Shelby County’s suburban municipalities from proceeding.
But members of P.A.M.S. knew the battle wasn’t over and now the group is visible once again all over Millington getting the word out about the upcoming vote on the school referendum. P.A.M.S. is encouraging the residents of Millington to vote YES on June 29 and July 16.
“Phase two is necessary because of the decision that was made by the judge basically to make null and void the vote that took place last summer,” P.A.M.S. member Barbara Halliburton said. “Essentially we’re not starting from scratch. We’ve made a lot of headway with letting people know why the issue was so important last summer.
“Having to get the votes done again, so P.A.M.S. is so very needed to people so that the issue is not put to rest,” she added. “First that there is still a need and two, to know that there is a vote. A lot of people don’t realize they need to vote again.”
There will be one day of early voting at the June 29 at the Baker Community Center. And July 16 is Election Day.

*Memphis International Raceway, in cooperation with Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce and Automotive Performance Leader, COMP Cams hosted Hot Rod Magazine’s Flagship Touring Event in early June. The ingredients for the ultimate performance-car fan experience are combined to perfection every first week of June as the legendary Hot Rod Power Tour makes its seven-cities-in-seven- days journey.

 Rusty Wallace & Pam Kendricks

Rusty Wallace & Pam Kendricks

MCHS Retired Teacher John Price

MCHS Retired Teacher John Price

MCHS 2013 Valedictorian Darrell Warberg

MCHS 2013 Valedictorian Darrell Warberg


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