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Strip Clubs, High Airfare, and Overton Square

News highlights of 2012 from the Flyer’s print issue and



— Strippers are forced to cover their lady bits — essentially converting strip clubs into bikini bars — when rules regulating adult businesses finally go into effect on January 1st.

— Memphis City Council members gripe about a new social media policy that prevents city employees from posting disparaging statements about Memphis. "This isn't Iraq or Iran. The First Amendment says we have the right to free speech," Janis Fullilove said.

— Several months after the resignation of former Memphis Animal Services director Matthew Pepper, former U.S. Postal Service manager James Rogers is appointed to oversee the animal shelter on an interim basis. Rogers remains in charge of the shelter today.

— The National Civil Rights Museum holds a widely attended prayer vigil for Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood-watch leader George Zimmerman.

— The Great American Steamboat Company's American Queen sets sail for its inaugural cruise up the Mississippi River to Cincinnati. Earlier this month, some 300 new employees were hired to work aboard the Queen at a job fair at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

— Local Gastropub signs a lease for the old Yosemite Sam's spot in Overton Square. The restaurant officially opens in November.

— Homeless people and their advocates hold a protest on May Day to voice their concern over a new state law that makes it a crime to sleep on public property.

— The fight against high airfares at Memphis International Airport heats up with the Delta Does Memphis Facebook page and a Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce-sponsored public forum on why flights cost so much here. The excuses? High jet fuel prices and a lack of competition.

— The Overton Bark dog park, a fenced-in park with shade trees, benches, and a doggie water fountain, holds its grand opening in Overton Park.

— The Shelby County Veterans' Court, which gives vets who get in trouble with the law a chance to attend treatment programs in exchange for dropped charges, launches.

— Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region gets $395,000 in Title X funding directly from a federal grant after a state law requiring Title X funds be appropriated directly to county health departments stripped the organization of its Title X funding in 2011.

— Occupy Memphis, the longest-running public Occupy camp in the country, is evicted from its home at Civic Center Plaza. The mayor's office claims that altercations and assaults at the camp led to their eviction, but Occupiers say the incidences in question did not involve any of their campers.

— Former state senator John Ford of Memphis was released from prison to a halfway house after serving four years for his role in the Tennessee Waltz bribery scandal. Ford tells reporters, "You watch what I do. I am not down. I am not out. I am way out front."

— After a months-long battle with the Historic Broad Business Association, tattoo artist Babak Tabatabai is granted the city's first-ever conditional-use permit allowing him to open in an area on Broad that is not zoned for tattoo shops. Today, Tabatabai is still preparing his shop for its opening.

— The Memphis City Council passes workplace protections for city employees on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity.

— The Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team holds the MEMFix: Cleveland Street festival in the Crosstown neighborhood to attract people to the burgeoning arts district, following news earlier in the year that the Church Health Center, Methodist, the West Clinic, St. Jude, and others will move into the old Sears Crosstown building in a few years.

— Bernard Lansky, "clothier to the King" and founder of Lansky Brothers, passes away at age 85.

— Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays rules that a state law allowing municipalities to start their own school districts violates the state constitution because the law only applies to one county.

— One Memphis police officer, Martoiya Lang, is killed and another, William Vrooman, is wounded in a shooting on Mendenhall Cove in East Memphis while serving a drug search warrant. The 21-year-old shooter, Treveno Campbell, was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. Police arrested 26-year-old Willie Braddock for possession of a controlled substance when they found marijuana in the home.

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