U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis Asks Joe Biden to Review Gas Pipeline Permits Nationwide

U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this week said he wants more federal oversight of the oil industry and asked that U.S. President Joe Biden review the use of gas pipeline permits nationwide. Cohen announced the news via email to his constituents this week. He said Memphis residents who recently stopped the construction of the Byhalia Pipeline through southwest Memphis have forced people to think more about environmental justice issues.

Read More

Tennessee Lawmakers Applaud FedEx Expansion in Humboldt

FedEx in Humboldt is constructing a new distribution facility that will be eight times larger than its existing plant. Announced by the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce, the purchase of just over 59 acres in the Gibson County Industrial Park greatly expands the distribution center’s footprint.

Read More

This Fall and Winter, Redistricting Will Occupy Minds of Tennessee Politicians and Activists on the State and Local Levels

Tennessee State Capitol at night in winter

After the finalization of the U.S. Census every ten years, state and local governments set about redrawing their lawmakers’ and school directors’ district lines.

Throughout this fall and winter, legislators across the state will toil over this process sure to directly impact many of their futures. Although political considerations inevitably loom large in redistricting, the proceedings are theoretically intended to make districts as compact and contiguous as possible—i.e. to ensure that they don’t look like irregular puzzle pieces.

Read More

Nashville Has Three of Tennessee’s Top Five Private Schools, According to a National Ranking

aerial view of Lausanne Collegiate School

This week, Niche rolled out its “2022 Best Private Schools in America” list and revealed which Tennessee private schools ranked highest out of the national pool. Niche is a website that gathers data on schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces in order to help people decide the best places to go to school, live, or even work.

Read More

Jury Finds Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson Guilty of Multiple Wire Fraud Counts

On Thursday, a 12-person federal jury found Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) guilty of four of five counts of wire fraud. Robinson was facing federal wire fraud charges after she was accused of using federal grant money awarded to a health care school – The Healthcare Institute – in which she operates.

Read More

New Documentary Chronicles How Memphis’s Corporate Welfare Scheme with IKEA Backfired

A new documentary profiles examples of corporate welfare that shortchanged taxpayers and business owners, including in Memphis, where city officials bestowed a generous tax break upon IKEA. This documentary, Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?, debuted on public television and YouTube late last month. Free To Choose Media Executive Editor and Cato Senior Fellow Johan Norberg hosted the documentary.

Read More

Jury Selected in Tennessee State Senator’s Trial on Theft Charges

On Monday, a jury was selected in the trial of Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) who was charged with stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds.

According to AP News, a 12-person jury was chosen for the trial which could last three weeks. The trial is taking place at the Odell Horton Federal Building in Downtown Memphis.

Read More

Mayors of Tennessee’s Largest Cities Refuse to Say Whether They Support Critical Race Theory in K-12 Public Schools

The mayors of Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville declined to say Monday whether they support public schools teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT). This, even though those four mayors — Jim Cooper, Jim Strickland, Tim Kelly, and Indya Kincannon — belong to the United States Conference of Mayors, which recently adopted a resolution supporting CRT in K-12 public schools.

Read More

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Announces More Taxpayer-Funded Goodies for Memphis

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this week voted for a seven-bill “minibus” that he said increases spending for several government social programs. The bill increases spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and other school nutrition programs. Cohen said in a press release that the money also increases spending on the Small Business Administration, consumer protection agencies, veterans affairs and veterans medical services.

Read More

Former Memphis Day Care Director Sentenced for Falsifying Food Program Documents

Lowndes County School Buses

A former Memphis day care director was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for submitting false documents to the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Fifty-five-year-old Ollie Stephenson of Germantown pleaded guilty to a criminal information charge after being accused of submitting a false Regions Bank statement and food invoice to the department in an audit during April and May 2020. Stephenson also was ordered to pay $375,158.80 in restitution.

Stephenson was the director of Louise’s Learning Tree Daycare Center in Memphis. It was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Feeding Program.

Read More

Controversial Byphalia Pipeline Project Shut Down After Protests

After a flurry of protests featuring high-profile activists, politicians and a public relations campaign against the project, the company that was planning to build the Byphalia Pipeline through Memphis abruptly canceled the project Friday.

The pipeline, which left-wingers deemed “racist” because it would have run through mostly black South Memphis neighborhoods, would have transmitted crude oil from a Valero refinery in Memphis all the way to Mississippi.

Read More

Manhunt on for Teens Who Escaped Somerville Detention Facility

A manhunt is on for two teens who remain at large, after three detainees from the Wilder Youth Development Center outside of Memphis escaped last Wednesday.

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was notified this morning June 23, 2021 at approximately 6:45 am of (3) youth detainees that had escaped from the Wilder Youth Development Center in Somerville between 12:45 am and 1:00 am overnight,” the Fayette County Sheriff’s office said in a press release. “They left in an unknown direction of travel and by unknown means of travel after escape from the facility. Two of the escapees are from Memphis, TN and one is from Chattanooga, TN. One of the escapees has previously escaped from the facility in one of the earlier incidents.”

Read More

Tennessee U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Wants Byhalia Connection Pipeline Through Memphis Put on Hold

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants the nationwide permit for the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline rescinded, and this week he took the matter up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Cohen told the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that the pipeline endangers his constituents in Memphis.

Read More

Feds Bust More Tennessee Felons Possessing Firearms

Federal officials in Tennessee reported that two more convicted felons in the state have run afoul of the law for owning firearms even though the law forbids it. After a two-day trial, a federal jury in Memphis convicted Carl Clarke, 31, already a convicted felon, for possessing a firearm. This, according to a press release that Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr., published this week.

Read More

Unvaccinated Rhodes College Students Will Get Charged Extra

Rhodes College officials in Memphis have notified students that they must vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 — or else pay a per semester mandatory testing fee of $1,500. This, according to a letter that Vice President for Student Life Meghan Harte Weyant recently distributed to students about the upcoming school year.   

Read More

City of Memphis Gives Away Car in COVID Vaccine Sweepstakes

The City of Memphis, in partnership with a nonprofit, gave away a car as part of a COVID-19 vaccination sweepstakes. The winner was announced on Thursday.

According to the sweepstakes page, the maximum value of the car could’ve totaled $30,000. The winner had a choice between a Chevy Camaro, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Altima, or any similar vehicle of equal or lesser value.

Read More

Illegal Alien and Convicted Felon in Memphis Sentenced for Unlawful Reentry and Possessing a Firearm

Federal officials in Memphis have sentenced an illegal alien to 30 months in prison for unlawful reentry into the United States and for illegally possessing a firearm. This, according to a press release that Joseph C. Murphy Jr. the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, published this week.

Read More

Pete Buttigieg Scheduled to Visit Memphis Thursday

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced he will travel to Memphis on Thursday, June 3, to assess the disruption to traffic that the closure of the Hernando DeSoto-Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River has caused. Inspectors said they found a large crack in one of the bridge’s structural beams on May 12.

Read More

I-40 Bridge Closed Indefinitely for Repair

Both the East and West bound lanes of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge of Interstate 40 in Memphis will be closed indefinitely, according to a statement released by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) and confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). 

A routine inspection conducted by a contractor with the Arkansas Department of Transportation found structural damage in one of the beams in the bridge

Read More

Shipment of Avian Eggs Linked to Chinese Epidemic Seized in Memphis

Today, Agricultural Specialists from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a shipment of 750 unfertilized Avian Eggs at the port of Memphis, Tennessee, according to a statement released by CBP. 

China is currently embroiled in an epidemic involving Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Newcastle Disease. 

Read More

Memphis Mass Shooter Dead from Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound After Being Located by Police

A man wanted in the mass shooting five people, three of them fatally, in Memphis on March 26 took his own life after being located by police in Nashville Thursday.

“Authorities on scene say the U.S. Marshals tracked a wanted fugitive out of Memphis to the [La Quinta] motel,” according to WKRN. 

Read More

Memphis Prioritizes Community Demographics of African Americans, People of Color for COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland assured his residents in a weekly update that they are prioritizing equity for minorities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. Strickland noted that their goal is to increase African American and people of color vaccinations from 20 percent to 30 percent of total population.

A supplementary press release explained a map of their five vaccination sites. According to city officials, they coordinated the sites around matching the demographics of Shelby County at large. Some of the areas outside each site’s five mile radius include: Arlington, Lakeland, a majority of Millington, and the rural outliers of the county. The demographic makeup of these areas is overwhelmingly White.

Read More

Memphis Has Another Violent Weekend, with Six Shooting Deaths

Memphis Police reported that six people died this past weekend in various shooting incidents. A Memphis Police spokesman, who did not identify himself, told The Tennessee Star Tuesday that seven people died. That same spokesman did not provide additional details, but he did refer us to the Memphis Police Department’s Twitter page, which reported six shooting deaths.

Read More

Memphis IRS Employee Indicted for Allegedly Abusing Position to Help Friends and Family

Federal authorities have indicted an Internal Revenue Service tax examiner for allegedly defrauding her employer by filing false tax returns for various taxpayers in the Memphis area. A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee identified the woman as Linda Williams, 52, of Memphis.

Read More

Full Tennessee Senate to Consider Bill to Allow First Responders to Choose Where They Live

Members of the Tennessee Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday voted to advance Senate Bill 29 to allow first responders to live where they choose, allowing the bill to be placed on the calendar Thursday for the Senate.

Sponsored by State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), the legislation would ban residency requirements statewide for police officers and firefighters, the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement. Kelsey said the bill is a matter of public safety and will allow police and fire departments to recruit top-tier first responder candidates, regardless of where they live. The lawmaker said, in particular, it will help Tennessee address a deficit of police officers occurring throughout the country.

Read More

Former State Rep. and Sr. Advisor to Governor Lee, John DeBerry Talks About His New Role and a Very Different Democratic Party

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed advisor to Governor Lee and former Tenessee State Representative John DeBerry to the newsmakers line to talk about being ousted from the new left-wing Democratic Party and where the party is headed today.

Read More

Tennessee Reports More Fatalities as Inclement Weather Continues into the Weekend

Tennessee remained at a Level Three State of Emergency Friday night as people in certain counties had no power during extreme winter temperatures, and officials reported more weather-related fatalities. In an emailed press release Friday, officials with the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed two weather-related deaths in Shelby County. TDH officials had previously reported two other fatalities in the county as well one fatality each in Maury, Williamson, Dickson, and Overton counties, bringing the total number of fatalities this week to eight.

Read More

FBI Spokesman Says Nationwide Billboards Targeting January 6 Protestors Likely an Agency First

FBI officials have erected billboards seeking tips on possible suspects who breached the U.S. Capitol January 6 and, according to one agency spokesman, this is likely the first time the FBI has done this nationwide. But Joel Siskovic, speaking for the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, said members of his agency have used billboards before to find suspects — but only in limited regions of the United States.

Read More

Joe Biden Forces Out Donald Trump-Appointed U.S. Attorney in Memphis

U.S. President Joe Biden has requested the resignation of U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant, who oversees the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and who was appointed by former U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Cherri Green told The Tennessee Star in an email Thursday that U.S. Attorneys “serve at the will and pleasure of the President.”

Read More

Governor Lee Refutes Representative Cohen Claims on Shorted Distribution of COVID Vaccines

In a letter to Memphis Mayor Strickland, Governor Bill Lee refuted recent claims that the COVID-19 vaccines weren’t distributed equally to Shelby County.

“[I]t has been reported that Shelby County has not received an equitable share of vaccine doses relative to other counties across the state. However – and I want to be clear and unmistakable about this – any such claims are incorrect,” stated Lee.

Read More

Memphis Launches ‘Group Violence Intervention Program’ to Curb Explosion of Gun Violence

Memphis launched its Group Violence Intervention Program (GVIP) in an effort to reduce violent crimes – namely, gun violence. Officials described it as a “proactive, holistic plan” that adopted models that had purportedly been successful in other cities, though it didn’t specify which ones.

According to the plan, the GVIP will have a czar overseeing three separate branches: a “focused deterrence” coordinator that works with organizations such as the police and social service agencies; a data, policy, community action coordinator that arranges volunteers for various community events; and an intervention coordinator that oversees the outreach workers and violence interrupters. 

Read More

New Charges Filed Against Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson in Fraud and Memphis Money Laundering Case

State Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis), already in legal trouble for embezzlement and wire fraud charges, learned Monday that her legal problems have only intensified. Federal officials have charged Robinson, 40, in a new case, along with two other co-defendants, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Tuesday.

Read More

Tennessee Senate Considers Bill to Allow First Responders to Live Outside the Jurisdictions They Serve

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) on Wednesday filed SB 29 which would allow first responders to live where they choose, the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement.

Kelsey posted on the caucus’ Facebook page, “This is a public safety bill. It will enable us to hire more police officers, which will help us fight our rising crime rates.”

Read More

Federal Operation to Remove Violent Criminals in Memphis Deemed Success

The U.S. Justice Department has announced the results of Operation LeGend, which first launched in Missouri and then expanded to several cities, including Memphis. “Operation Legend removed violent criminals, domestic abusers, carjackers and drug traffickers from nine cities that were experiencing stubbornly high crime and took illegal firearms, illegal narcotics and illicit monies off the streets,” said former Attorney General William Barr, in a press release that the U.S. Justice Department released Wednesday.

Read More

Commentary: The Political Ambush of State Rep. John DeBerry

The year 2020 will go down as being known for COVID-19, social-distancing and the political ambush of State Rep. John DeBerry by the Tennessee Democratic Party.  DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat and respected statesman in the House of Representatives, was ousted by his own party back in May by a 41-18 vote by members of the Tennessee Democrat Executive Committee.

Rather than letting voters take him off the ballot, a committee of Democrats who probably never visited his district cast him out for being conservative on social issues.

Read More

Tennessee Legislators File Bill to Increase Penalties for Drag Racing

Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) on Monday filed Senate Bill 14, which would, if enacted into law, classify drag racing as a Class A misdemeanor. State Rep. John Gillespie (R-Memphis), according to the Tennessee General Assembly’s website, is co-sponsoring the bill in the Tennessee State House, House Bill 0022.

Read More

Donald Trump’s Justice Department Awards More Than $2 Million to Fight Crime in Memphis

U.S. Department of Justice officials announced Monday that they will grant more than $2 million to fight and prevent crime in Memphis and Shelby County.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Monday.

Read More

Convicted Felon in Memphis Used a Firearm to Traffic Drugs, Feds Say

Federal officials in Memphis have sentenced a man, already a felon, to prison for possessing a firearm, possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website this week.

Read More

Federal Officials in West Tennessee Sentence Illegal Alien for Unlawful Reentry and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Federal officials in Memphis this week sentenced an illegal alien to 60 months in federal prison for one count of possessing a firearm as an illegal alien and one count of illegally re-entering the United States.

This, according to a press release that staff at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website.

Read More