2017 Year in Review: Look back at July to December

Review Bridge removal Review Millington History Review Morton Crowning 2017 Year in Review Part 2July 2017
*The centerpiece of the Shoppes of Millington Farms opened in mid July.
Ross celebrated its grand opening at 8518 Highway 51 North in Millington on a Saturday with FM 100 coming to town for the event. Ross Dress for Less is the located in the center of the shopping center. Ross is a retail chain selling brand-name clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares at discount prices. Ross has more than 1,200 stores in 33 states and has come locations in District of Columbia and Guam. The department store first opened in San Bruno, Calif. in 1950 by Morris “Morrie” Ross.
*The last time Gabby Crawford was seen wearing a Munford Lady Cougar uniform was in May at the Class 3A Track Sectionals.
Yes, that Gabby Crawford. The one known as a highly-recruited basketball standout on the campus. Despite having a college future on the hardwood, Crawford relishes in the time spent on the track as part of Bernard Ivie’s program.
It was her commitment to both sports that made her eligible for The Millington Star’s 2017 Female Athlete of the Year presented by Dagen’s Trophies and Awards.  And with her selection for the honor, Crawford became the second junior to win the award, joining fellow Lady Cougar Crystal Williams.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “I’ve been doubted all my life. I think I’ve worked really hard to get to where I’m at. So I think I deserve this.”
*After years of attending schools like Lighthouse Christian and Faith Heritage, Collierville transplant Tyler Denson was about to step into the “Big League.”
After his parents Chris and Diane decided to make the move to Flag City, Tyler adjustment to Millington was a steady process. Then it was time for his freshman year and for him to walk the halls of Millington Central High School.
When it was all done, Tyler left MCHS with a 3.8 grade point average, Hall of Fame selection, several awards, captain of three sports and now the latest achieve of being the 2017 Millington Star Male Athlete of the Year  presented by Dagen’s Trophies and Awards.
“Very  honored to get this,” he said. “But first of all I have thank everybody who helped get me here. Especially my Dad who has pushed me through all of this. I came from this private school in eighth grade to the ninth grade year I was at Millington.
“It was a fresh start,” Tyler added. “I had never played football or wrestled before. I played soccer and baseball. Freshman year I actually played baseball and then moved over to soccer to play with my brothers Carlos and Dalton. Carlos actually set the school record for goals his senior year.”

*The hoax heard around the world… well at least Memphis has shined a spotlight on a few issues.
The one that jumps out to me personally is the need for good journalists, journalism and trustworthy outlets. On the morning of July 8 word spread quickly via social media that former Memphis Grizzlies player Zach “ZBo” Randolph was once again displaying  his generosity by giving $1 million to MLG&W to pay various electric bills of residents.
In the past ZBo has donated $20,000 annually to the power company to help assist those in need during the winter months. So we were to believe this time Randolph ponied up a $1 million to help. Maybe it was a farewell gift to the city he spent nearly a decade before he heads off to Sacramento to join the Kings.
With social media running a realistic looking story, the trap was set for those who were seeking a blessing, some assistance or even a break. The next domino to fall in this event was done by people spreading the news.
If it was a tweet, post and share, social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram gave this rumor strength and legitimacy.
And thousands came out and stood in long lines waiting on kiosks to get Randolph’s gift of paying their Memphis Light, Gas and Water bills. Gas stations transformed into parking lots. If you needed gas that Saturday morning… too bad.
The early morning heat didn’t matter to those who wanted to just pay one percent of their bill to eliminate the entire cost. Now when I heard you had to pay any portion, my alarms went off.
If you have to pay, it’s time to go the other way.

*The Millington Police Department found the body of a  25-year-old man deceased outside a the Millington Walmart in late July.
The incident happened around 5:45 p.m. that Saturday at the 8445 Highway 51 North location. Later the body was identified as Alexx Loutzenhiser. At the time of the discovery, investigators were still trying to figure out how this man died.
Police said the man was dead when they arrived. They broke the window of his truck to get the man out. Currently, this is an ongoing death investigation.

*Renegade Dance, formerly Millington School of Dance, took home two National Championships earlier this month in Ames, Iowa at the Bravo Dance Competition. Mandy Hedstrom was named Director of the Year. Renegade Dance is located at 7911 C Street in Millington. For more information, call 590-9334.
Renegade Dance champions are Abby Carlisle, Abigail Fields, Adelyn Barton, Audrey Horton, Elliott Michael, Emily Landis, Emily Langford, Emily Moschitta, Emily Saigeon, Emma Buchanan, Hanna Cooper, Hannah Taylor, Lauren Horton, Lauren Martin, Lexi Hood, Lily Copeland, Lily Johnson, Mackenzie Minton, Maggie Fields, Mckenzie Ham, Noelle Minton, Rachel Hightower, Sami Taylor, Sara Cooper, Sarah Bosworth, Sarah Moschitta, Taylor Bryson, Trinity Smith and Dance Director Mandy Hedstrom.

August 2017
*MEMPHIS — Some of the names mentioned were Huffman, Wages, Roland, Harvell, Howard, Osteen and Baker.
Businesses like the DuPont, Millington Telephone and The Millington Star were referenced. And establishments from Millington Central High School to USA Stadium to the NSA Mid-South to Jones Orchard were part of the historic display of the City of Millington.
Behind the gathering and research of University of Memphis History professor Rita Hall, it was Millington’s turn for the Historic Display at the Vasco A. Smith Jr. County Administration Building in Downtown Memphis.
Several special guests attended the program and reception welcomed by Shelby County Commissioner and Millington native Terry Roland. Also part of the official welcome was Millington Mayor Terry Jones and Shelby County Mayor Mark L. Luttrell.
“First thing I’m going to tell you is I’m from Millington, Tennessee,” Roland said. “I was born and breaded right across from the Strand Theater and Dr. King’s Clinic. I actually have the table I was born on and the scales they weigh me.”

*Millington Alderman Al Bell is no stranger to big-time baseball in Flag City.
During his days as a police officer, he stood guard outside of the Cuban National Team’s locker room at USA Stadium during the 10-year stretch of the USA Olympic Team calling Millington home.
Now a National Urban Professional Baseball League team will call USA Stadium home in the spring of 2018. Thursday afternoon the NUPBL joined forces with the city of Millington, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses like Patriot Bank, Splash Plumbing and the Holiday Inn Express to celebrate the arrival of the league to Flag City.
Bell said Millington pulled out a huge welcome mat from 1986 to 1996 to baseball teams and guests. Now the Alderman said the grand weekend to celebrate the NUPBL will leave a similar impression.
“If they keep their eyes open and look around, they can’t do anything but speak highly of Millington when they go back home,” Bell said. “It reminds me of the days when the Olympic teams where here and the teams from the foreign countries. That’s how Millington got on the map. They went back home and talked about Millington, Tennessee.”

*For years Dr. Leroy Boatwright has called 7899 C Street home.
Opening his pharmacy in Millington almost 60 years ago, Dr. Boatwright has lived up to the The Hippocratic Oath taking care of residence from across the Mid-South and Millington.
On Nov. 1, Boatwright Drugs and Pharmacy will turn 60. But it won’t be at 7899 C Street. Instead the special anniversary will be celebrated at 7899 Leroy Boatwright Street.
An effort started by members of the Millington Senior Citizen Group earlier this year came to fruition today when Millington Mayor Terry Jones announced the renaming of the portion of road in honor of Dr. Boatwright.
With his family and friends by his side, Boatwright was genuinely surprised by the ceremony and dedication.
“I want to tell everybody I’m very grateful,” Boatwright said. “This was quite a shock to me. If my wife was still living she might change all your minds. I’m very grateful for all your friendships.”
Leroy and his late wife Peggy opened their business with a purpose to serve the community and make it a better place. Along with their children Steven, Laura and Emily, many residents, customers and patients would confirm the Boatwrights lived up to that decree.

*The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously adopted a resolution this week to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for wastewater treatment system improvements.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Don Lowry.
The resolution states that Tennessee amended its approved Action Plan for the disaster recovery funds from the storms that affected the state in 2011 and 2012. It notes that these funds were only available to communities that were declared disaster areas because of the flooding.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development requested a full grant application from Millington for improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will include replacement of sand filters and an emergency generator.
The resolution authorizes City Engineer Jason Dixon to prepare and submit an application to the TDECD for $1,032,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.
Shortly before the vote, City Finance Director John Trusty said a public hearing was conducted at 5 p.m. Monday in the Board Chamber at City Hall to obtain input from residents.
“This is part of the procedure to go through in order to receive these funds,” he noted. “The state has already earmarked them for us.”
Because the grant is funded 100 percent, Trusty said no local matching funds are required.

*Millington Alderman Albert “Al” Bell has been a decorated public servant for many years from Memphis to Millington.
He has seen many wonderful moments helping the public as a EMT, firefighter and police officer. And Bell has endured his share of moments of sorrow during his career.
One day that will stick with him and many throughout the world will be August 16, 1977 — the Day Elvis Dead. This week marked the 40th anniversary of the legendary entertainer’s passing at Graceland in Memphis.
Many flocked to the Whitehaven area in the Bluff City this past week to remember the King of Rock N Roll Elvis Presley. Some took to social media to mark the anniversary.
It was through social media and one Memphis Fire Department firefighter’s recollection that the name Al Bell popped up. The post was called “Inside the Memphis Fire Department Fire Alarm Office Dispatch.”
One passage read, “The recording goes on and has several conversations. One conversation is shortly after Unit 6 arrived at Baptist Hospital Central and Memphis Fire Department EMS Lieutenant Albert Bell calls up the Watch Commander in the Fire Alarm Office. Senior Operator Gerald White. EMS Lieutenant Albert Bell asks him if he knew we had dispatched to Elvis’ house and he advises yes he did and Albert Bell goes on to tell him it was “him” and he is DOA.”
Bell remembers that day as a normal warm August day in Memphis. After that call came through his radio, Bell knew that day 40 years ago would be remembered forever.
“I was working a two-car motor vehicle accident out in Frayser,” Bell recalled. “One of my units made it and I as backing them up supervising what they were doing. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon. I heard a dispatch to Graceland.
“That particular time I knew that they were going there,” he continued. “It wasn’t unusual for us to go there because we have made his Daddy before. People go down there to the gate and pass out. So I didn’t think anything about it. But shortly after that, the EMT on the ambulance called to give me the information about Elvis passing.”

*On Sunday, Aug. 20 Walter Hale Sr. and Water Hale, Jr set up their camera to get pictures of the upcoming solar eclipse. The duo went to B&H Photo on the internet to get the right settings. Walter Jr. took the camera up to Gallatin, and spent the day taking more than 1,100 pictures. Meanwhile most Millington residents tried to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse from their homes, schools or places of work had limited success.
This was the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since 1979. Millington and West Tennessee was able to see a partial eclipse. The cloudy day did prevent most people in the Memphis area from seeing the eclipse at the peak around 1:20 p.m.

September 2017
*MEMPHIS — A former bank employee has pled guilty to embezzlement. Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the plea Aug. 29.
Lauren Melissa McDivitt, 46, of Covington, appeared before United States District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman and entered a guilty plea to a one-count information alleging she embezzled $888,470 between 2006 and 2016, from InSouth Bank where she was employed as the Branch Administrator at the Atoka branch.
According to information presented in court at the time of her plea, McDivitt accomplished the theft by creating false and fraudulent withdrawal tickets to make it appear that bank customers with IRA and CD accounts were withdrawing funds.

*The closure of Navy Road began Sept. 6 for the removal of the old pedestrian bridge that crosses Navy Road at Hornet Avenue. A detour has been provided via Attu Street. Motorist were asked to plan accordingly as the detour would be put into use until October. The longtime bridge was gone by the first of October.

*The 2017 Millington Central High School Homecoming Court was presented Sept. 29 on Mooney Bosewell Field with senior Lily Morton receiving the honor as Queen.
Queen Morton was crowned by MCHS Principal Dr. Clint Durley Friday night in front of the crowd during halftime of the Fayette-Ware/Millington game.
“It feels great,” Morton said. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m holding it all in.”
The cool, calm Morton held back her smile and excitement. She almost had the presence her teammates have grown to know over the years on the volleyball court.
Morton is the captain of the 2017 District 15-2A regular-season champs and was a key part of the team’s success the past 3 seasons. Morton, the daughter of Earl and Abby, is also on the MCHS Trojan Council, Student Government as the Senior Class president. She is also involved with FCCLA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Special Friends, Trojan PEP Club, HOSA and the Lady Trojan Softball team.
Morton is also a member of MCHS BETA Club and is a Trojan Yearbook photo editor. She was escorted by her father Earl on the night.

October 2017
*A Millington man who pled guilty last week to murdering two neighbors last year pled guilty Friday in Covington to killing a father and daughter a month later in Drummonds, said Shelby County District Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Michael Cullum, 47, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murders of Robert Bailey, 66, and his 41-year-old daughter Tammie Bailey. They were found shot to death on July 28, 2016, in their home on Glenn Springs Road.
Another man pled guilty to lesser charges in August.
On Wednesday of this week, Cullum was in Criminal Court in Memphis where he pled guilty to the first-degree murders of Rhonda Bishop Dukes, 49, and Brenda Dukes, 47, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The two women were found shot in the head on June 6, 2016, in the home they shared in the 9400 block of Matthews Road in Millington.

*JD’s Wings 2 Go original location at 5066 Navy Road in Millington announced its closing in mid October. Owners Diana and Jesse Jones opened the wing eatery back in the fall of 2012 at the corner of then C Street.
Jones released a statement via Facebook informing the public the first JD’s is closing.
“Diana and myself thank you for 5 great years of allowing us to serve you,” he said. “The Bible tells us that there is a season for everything. Sadly the season for JD’s Wings 2 Go — Millington has come to an end. Thank you to all the great customers, who help make JD’s Wings 2 Go, what it is today. We love you and may Christ continue to shine his glorious light upon you.”

*In her years of service for the City of Millington Kate Armitage wore many different hats, participated in multiple departments and made an impact on dozens.
So it was only fitting with her upcoming departure to join her family in Texas, the leaders of Millington would throw a going-away party for her. And when Armitage arrived to the Holiday Inn Express in Millington last Thursday night with her husband Danny, she was caught off guard once she opened the doors to the ballroom.
“I had no earthly idea — none,” a smiling Armitage declared.
With several on hand to say thank you and goodbye, Armitage was overwhelmed at first. But she quickly turned on her grace, charm, elegance and intelligence that became part of her trademark service.
Armitage made the rounds in the ballroom hugging and reminiscing with several of the special invited guest by Millington City Manager Ed Haley. It was tough for Haley to bid farewell to the director CPRP, Millington Arts, Recreation and Parks and for the city.
Haley used a passaged from The Millington Star’s Focus on Faith section written by Ken Uselton. In Uselton’s Along the Journey, he wrote about a man who denied his purpose in life and who rejected God’s mission for him. Haley noted Armitage lived up to her purpose while in Millington.

*The Millington School Board has accepted a new bid of $5,709,295 submitted for construction of a proposed Performing Arts Center, based on revised architectural plans.
Board members took the action during an Oct. 17 special called meeting on a motion offered by Vice Chairman C. J. Haley and seconded by Larry Jackson.
The motion was passed by a 4-2 vote, with Mark Coulter and Ronnie Mackin dissenting and Chris Denson absent.
The successful bidder was Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss.
At an April 20 special called meeting, a majority of the board members rejected the lowest/best bid of $6,368,876 originally submitted by Fulwood.
A motion offered by Haley and seconded by Chairman Cody Childress to accept that bid was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Coulter, Denson, Jackson and Mackin dissenting.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, told the board at a June 29 meeting that he had asked the architectural/engineering firm TLM Associates of Jackson to submit new designs for construction of the proposed building on the Millington Central High School campus.

*A majority of the Millington School Board members voted the week of Halloween to reject an effort to terminate the contract of the municipal school system’s superintendent.
They took the action Monday night during a special called meeting in the Board Chamber at City Hall.
A motion offered by Chris Denson and seconded by Ronnie Mackin to “unilaterally part ways” with Dr. David Roper was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Roger Christopher, board Chairman Cody Childress, Vice Chairman C. J. Haley and Larry Jackson dissenting.
Under the terms of Roper’s current contract, the board has the power to terminate it “unilaterally, without cause.”
Section 13, subsection D states that, if it does so, the board must pay the superintendent an amount equal to 18 months of his annual salary with benefits or until the end of the contract term, whichever occurs sooner.
Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the superintendent’s salary would continue to be paid on a bi-weekly basis as if he were still employed by the board.
Childress noted that the total amount for 18 months is $235,344.

November 2017
*Five years ago the ribbon was cut by then Millington Interim Mayor Linda Carter for the opening of Veterans Parkway.
That Nov. 13, 2012 day was chilly but sunny. Fast forward to Nov. 3, 2017, the rain clouds and gloomy conditions didn’t dampen the spirits and smiles of those attending the first business groundbreaking for Veterans Parkway.
Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Director Dianne Baker hosted dozens welcoming the announcement ceremony of Inman-Murphy Pest Control Services starting construction next door to the Chamber and Millington Industrial Development Board building.
“We’ve sold property around Veterans Parkway but we hadn’t been able to get one to come in,” Millington Mayor Terry Jones said. “It’s such a great feeling to have a local businessman come back into the community and reinvest in our community. That’s what we’re excited about Inman-Murphy putting up a new facility right here on Veterans Parkway.”
The current location of Inman-Murphy 5087 Easley Street. Owner Chris Murphy said Flag City is home and when it came time for expansion he gravitated back to his roots.
“Millington has been good to us,” he said. “We’ve been looking at different places to move but decided to stay in Millington. Now it is possible for us to move out here. Plus it’s great access and all that type of stuff.
“I’ve been involved in the Chamber and IDB for a number of years,” Murphy added. “I’ve been on the boards and everything. As a business owner in Millington, it lends a lot of help for different folks and that sort of thing in the city. We’ve always been involved since we’ve been here the past 12, 13 years.”

*As the gold and green balloons floated into the Millington sky, motorist riding along Raleigh-Millington Nov. 6 got a glimpse of what’s to come on the 9.96 acres.
The hands releasing the collection of balloons, with individual and collective prayers, were from Dominion Christian Center members. After a nearly two year process, Pastor Lenard J. Hardaway and his wife Ora L. Hardaway took the symbolic shovel and broke ground along side city of Millington leaders.
“We knew God had told us to do this,” Pastor Hardaway said. “We felt like sometimes throwing the towel in. It looked like the finance wasn’t going to come together. The church had all types of ups and downs with members leaving. But we stuck together which has brought us to this very moment today. And we thank God.”
The Hardaways were joined by Millington Aldermen Don Lowry, Larry Dagen and Al Bell Also present for the ceremony were Millington Mayor Terry Jones and City Manager Ed Haley.

*The Millington Police Department has a charged Derecco Allen, 23, with the shooting of the two men from early November.  Allen is charged with the shooting of Bradford and Lewis. Allen is currently being held in the Millington Jail with two counts of Attempted Murder. The Millington Police received a 911 call Nov. 11 around 9:42 p.m. saying a man was suffering from a gunshot wound to the face. Bradford was found in the 4500 block of Babe Howard, which is the Commodore Village Apartments with the gunshot wound. Lewis was found with gunshot wounds to the head and arm in a vehicle parked in front of the 7600 block of Kiowa, which is in the same apartment complex. Both men were transported to Regional One in critical condition. Lewis remains in serious condition at Regional One, and Bradford has been released from the hospital.
*Traffic came to a halt at Church Street, Navy Road and Easley Street after a pedestrian was struck by train Nov. 16.
The man died from his injuries after being hit by the train earlier this morning about 9 a.m. Authorities identified the man as Scott Thorpe, 51 years old. He was walking on the railroad tracks when he struck near Navy Road.
When the train came to rest, the front was near Biloxi Park. A local train engineer said it takes the average train about a mile to stop once applying brakes.
Witnesses said the horn was sounded as the train approached. After Thorpe was hit, all railroad crossings in Millington were temporarily closed. They were reopened by the afternoon.

*Every student, teacher, coach, faculty, staff and administrative member of Millington Central High School was present in the William Osteen Gymnasium Complex Thursday afternoon for a big announcement.
All sitting in the venue knew it was a important because Millington Mayor Terry Jones, Millington Municipal School Superintendent Dr. David Roper, Chamber of Commerce’s Diane Baker, Millington Aldermen and Millington School Board members were in attendance.
Camera and various media outlets also gave the vibe of major significance. MCHS Jazz Choir under the direction of Calvin Ellis and MCHS Principal Dr. Clint Durley kicked things off before handing the microphone to junior Jacqueline Alaniz to introduce Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen.
She had the honor of presenting Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. Milken addressed the gathering and finally explained the main reason for the assembly.
Milken announced the winner of one of the 2017 Milken Educator Award for excellence in education to MCHS’ Katherine Watkins.
“Overwhelmed, I am very surprised about this award,” Watkins said fighting back tears. “I had no idea. They did a good job of keeping the secret.”
The cameras, cell phones and eyes all went to a shocked Watkins as she made her way up to the podium to receive her award and $25,000 prize from the Milken family.
Watkins teaches 11th grade English at MCHS while also serving as the English department chair and professional learning community coordinator. Her list of teaching includes AP English literature and composition, dual enrollment, and Yearbook.

*The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has postponed a request for approval of a $4.8 million bond issue to finance construction of a Performing Arts Center.
Board members took that action during their Nov. 13 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Frankie Dakin.
The motion was passed by a 6-1 vote, with Alderman Mike Caruthers dissenting.
The board also voted to postpone approval of an Interfund Reimbursement Agreement with the Millington School Board, as well as that board’s Five-Year Master Plan.
The three items will not be reconsidered until the city board’s Feb. 12, 2018 meeting.
During discussion shortly before the votes, Alderman Don Lowry said he could not “in good conscience” vote for the bond issue when the Harvell Civic Center is “a functional facility already standing and in use.”
He said Millington’s No. 1 priority should be construction of a new elementary school to replace E. A. Harrold, because it is “unacceptable” to educate students in “portable buildings.”

December 2017
*The Millington School Board voted Dec. 4 to amend its Capital Projects Budget for the current fiscal year, based on additional revenue received or anticipated.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Cody Childress and seconded by Chris Denson.
The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Ronnie Mackin absent.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, said some of the additional revenue has already been received.
As an example, he noted that $480,206 was received at the “very end” of the previous fiscal year. But the board had not yet been able to “officially add” that to its Capital Projects Budget.
Roper said the Millington school district will receive an additional $1,175,000 from Shelby County as its “prorated share of capital monies.” That is based on the district’s portion of the total student enrollment across the county.
The superintendent also said the district has reduced its request for a $5 million bond issue by $200,000 to $4.8 million. He noted that the board has requested the bond issue to help finance construction of a Performing Arts Center on the Millington Central High School campus.
Bruce Rasmussen, supervisor of Financial Services for the district, said it should receive the entire $1,175,000 from the county before July 1, 2018.

*The 2017 Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Gala was held Dec. 5 in the Millington Civic Center Gymnasium celebrating the year in growth, commerce, business development and future gains. The Chamber staff including director Diane Baker took a moment to shine the spotlight on this year’s honorees.
Rosie Crawford and Teresa Wells
Jack Tickle and Company
Robbie Givhan-Spearman
Larry Dagen

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