A little bit more on June’s jobless numbers for Shelby County

Shelby County’s jobless rate in June was 9.7 percent, according to new figures out from the state today.

That’s a full percentage point below what the jobless rate was in June of 2011, when the rate was 10.7 percent. However, June’s 9.7 percent jobless rate is almost a full percentage point above what it was in May of this year. More on that in a second.

The way last month’s jobless rate breaks down:

Shelby County had a labor force for June totaling 447,710 people. A little more than 404,000 of those were employed, while 43,470 were recorded as unemployed.

Regarding the jump in the jobless rate from May to June: Almost 9,000 additional people show up as part of the county’s total labor force in June who weren’t part of the total in May.

4,290 of those people were recorded as employed in June, and 4,660 were recorded as jobless.

400 N. Front is in Good Company

In honor of 400 N. Front St.’s 100th birthday this year, as discussed in Thursday’s cover story, here are some other big things that happened in Memphis in 1912:

  • University of Memphis began its first regular term
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital opened its doors
  • Elvis’ favorite roller coaster, the Zippin Pippin, was built
  • W.C. Handy published “The Memphis Blues,” the first blues song ever recorded

Nationally, 1912 was a busy year as well:

  • Arizona became the 48th state
  • Girl Scouts held its first meeting
  • The Dixie Cup was invented
  • The RMS Titanic sunk
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes
  • L.L. Bean, Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios were founded

Aldo’s Pizza Pies to Open Thursday

Aldo’s Pizza Pie’s, the third restaurant concept by Aldo Dean of Bardog Tavern and The Slider Inn, is slated to open to the public Thursday, July 26, at 5 p.m.

The new 3,900-square-foot eatery on the ground floor of Henry Turley Co.’s Barboro Flats at 100 S. Main St. will seat 92 inside, including a 20-seat bar area, and approximately 70 outside once both patios are finished.

The full-service restaurant will serve 12-inch and 18-inch New York-style pizza pies and slices, deli-style sandwiches, calzones, salads and homemade desserts made from family-recipes. Aldo’s will also offer 29 draft beer selections, a variety of Italian and domestic wines, Italian-fashioned cocktails and liqueurs, and a limited liquor menu. Read more here.

Aldo’s will just be open for dinner for the first two weeks in business. Once fully operational, the hours will be 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. until midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Aldo’s will also offer delivery to the greater Downtown area in the coming weeks.

The Politics of Yesterday

 

Follow enough elections and you tend to forget how much things have changed.

You would think you would have a better perspective precisely on how much things have changed. But I’m here to tell you that after 35-plus years of election nights, absentee voting, early voting, ballot fall-off, drop-outs, write-ins and of course, endorsements – the numbers of votes and numbers of candidates here and now overwhelm the horizon unless you take forceful action to look beyond.

That’s what we did several weeks ago when early voting started. Our story looked at the August election cycle for the years 1992 and 1976 when turnout was the highest it has been in the last 44 years.

The common political personality in those two sets of August elections was Harold Ford Sr., in 1976 seeking his second term and in 1992 seeking his next to last term in Congress.

Ford’s name surfaced recently as well in our recent editorial board interview with Cong. Steve Cohen who described Ford as a “godfather” of local politics with his election to Congress in 1974. But Cohen argues that with many other black elected officials holding office since then there is little need for the godfather position in Memphis politics – at least in the Congressional seat.

(Coming soon: A story that compares the responses we got from Cohen as well as his Democratic primary challenger Tomeka Hart and links to both of the transcripts.)

All these years later, it’s difficult to describe the reach and power of the Ford machine and how exciting it was in those first years. The difficulty is the contrast to today’s methods. And Ford didn’t delegate a whole lot of the essential duties. He was clearly the engine in the Ford machine and there were few details that were too small at that time for him to notice. There were no robocalls, no Facebook groups. There were phone trees but Republicans used them more as part of their organization. The Ford machine drove through neighborhoods with loud speakers on trucks and Ford himself knocked on many a door asking those inside to come with him and vote on election day. No early voting then either, although there was absentee voting.

The election scene 36 years ago had some general similarities to the current political landscape.

There were some concerns about the mechanics of the election.

Election officials were wondering how voters would respond to something new at polling places. Punch card voting machines were being tried at 30 of the county’s 218 precincts. Election officials said they had fielded some calls (non cell phone or iPhone, of course) from voters who said they would be asking for paper ballots instead of using the new devices.

Punch cards didn’t work out and local elections would be conducted on the lever machines for another nine years when the electronic Shouptronic machines would replace them. The punch card issue was also the backdrop for the rise of Democrats as the majority on the election commission. Republicans on the commission favored punch cards. Democrats on the commission had deep reservations about them and some of the Democrats with those reservations weren’t shy about saying they felt vindicated after the punch card issues in Florida in the 2000 Presidential general election.

There are some long memories in politics. It’s either that or some of the players write these things down and keep them in a handy place.

Among the offices on the 1976 ballot were two races for constable – a ceremonial position with no powers that would be eliminated in the next year’s state constitutional convention.

The two constable races combined drew 20 candidates.

The offices were eliminated a year later during the Tennessee Constitutional Convention that was also an entry point of sorts for yet another group of new politicians seeking their way in the world.

 

New Gallery Open in Cooper-Young

A funky new art gallery and shop is now open in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

Allie Cat Arts at 961 S. Cooper St. offers fine art, jewelry, pottery, sculpture and handmade clothing. Visit their Facebook page for pictures of artwork, which is often locally-made.

The gallery will be participating in First Thursday Night Out in Cooper Young Aug. 2, as well as other galleries Me & Mrs. Jones, Painted Planet and David Perry Smith Gallery.

Dansette

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