The Other Elvis Anniversary

 

How do you commemorate a storm that is not a hurricane or a tornado, but a derecho?

It turns out with a lot of rain.

It was 10 years ago today that the storm we all came to call “Hurricane Elvis” dropped in on Memphis suddenly with the straight line winds and heavy rains that define a derecho.

Here are some numbers from the safety of a decade later and the Shelby County Office of Preparedness that reflect what happened.

More than 300,000 homes were damaged and power out to 750,000 households in Memphis. Seven people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm and property damage was estimated at more than $500 million. Approximately 1,000 utility poles were snapped in the storm that clocked a top wind speed of 102 miles an hour Downtown. Three-fourths of the traffic signals in Shelby County were out or malfunctioning and the Northwest Airlines hub at Memphis International Airport closed.

Northwest Airlines? There’s another sign of the passage of time.

 

The Cohen Story Takes Another Turn

Another twist in the story of Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis and Victoria Brink, whom he believed for several years was his daughter. Turns out she is not per a CNN story that Cohen cooperated in.

Here is the link to the story that aired today and which involved DNA testing in which Cohen, Brink and Brink’s father at the time of her birth each contributed to.

The CNN story traces the chain of events that began with a Google search by Cohen and a bit of math that yielded a conclusion later proven wrong.  The story went public when Cohen was Tweeting Brink during President Obama’s State of the Union address.

 

 

 

Day 3 SEC Media Days: Alabama dominates and Les Miles says goofy things

HOOVER, Ala. – The third, and final, quarter of SEC Media Days began with LSU coach Les Miles speaking of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and concussions – no one saw that coming – and also included Miles talking about the language barrier with his Australian punter.

“You can’t just speak to those guys,” Miles said. “You have to know how to speak Australian.”

No, you could never script Les Miles. Nor tame him. He finished his opening remarks by saying, in so many words, they had as good a chance to win the SEC championship – and perhaps the one over the next horizon – as anybody else.

“Our culture, bring it on,” the Mad Hatter said. “It’s what we do … I like us in any game.”

So, well, game on.

But the featured attraction on Thursday was two-time defending national champion Alabama, coach Nick Saban, and quarterback A.J. McCarron. Hours before the Crimson Tide’s scheduled appearance at the Hyatt Regency Winfrey Hotel, Bama fans packed out the lobby. Held back a black stretch rope – that’s about the only thing that apparently can hold back Bama – they were hoping for autographs, high-fives, or maybe just a little eye contact with their heroes.

Shannon Villa, 23, was there decked out in a Bama jersey and a gold foam replica of the 2009 national championship ring perched atop his head, an item for which he said he paid $300 on eBay. He wore a Big Al elephant necklace and buttons that read “Roll Tide” and “Beat LSU” and carried a football he was hoping to get signed. But autographs or no, Villa said the day would be worthwhile.

“Just hoping for anything,” he said. “Just enjoying the experience.”

Saint Nick, that jolly old elf, does not suffer these experiences well. Dressed in suit and tie, he marched past his throng of admirers and accepted a young boy’s high-five. Once on the stage in the main ballroom before hundreds of credentialed media members, Saban said he had a great summer vacation but that he was happy to be here to see “1,200 of my very closest friends.”

Who says the man doesn’t have a sense of humor?

More seriously, looking toward to this season and seven returning defensive starters, he said, “One of the concerns is who will step up on the defensive side of the field and provide the leadership? That’s going to be very critical how players respond and come together on defense.”

Given that Alabama has won three of the last four national titles, the “D” word – Dynasty – is being thrown around. The quarterback threw it back.

“Coach Saban doesn’t say it’s a dynasty so I’m not going to say it’s a dynasty,” McCarron said.

Asked about scheduling and Miles’ comment that not every team has an equal path to the championship, Saban said he believed it important that a player have an opportunity to play every SEC team at least once in his career. He also said rivalries with teams in the East are important, noting, “Our Tennessee game is a big game for our fans.” Also a game Tennessee hasn’t won since 2006.

Saban deflected a question about comparisons to Bear Bryant now that Saban has won three national titles at Alabama (plus one at LSU), saying Bryant is the greatest coach in college football history. Georgia defensive end Garrison Smith might disagree, considering his answer to a question about the difference between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide in the SEC title game boiled down to two words: “Nick Saban.”

Oh yeah, Saban also reminded media of their record in correctly picking the winner of the SEC championship over the last two decades.

“Now, if I was 4-17 as a coach I’d be back in West Virginia pumping my gas at my daddy’s gas station, which we don’t really want to go there,” Saban said, a rare smile following his words.

 

Young Memphians

The Greater Memphis Chamber has chosen ten young professionals who will be featured in the Memphis Crossroads Magazine “2013 Young Memphis” annual issue.

Qualifications included being a Chamber member and under 40. Each professional will get a full-page profile in the magazine, to be published in early August.

The 2013 Young Memphians are:

  • Nicole Harris, digital media coordinator, The Westin Memphis Beale Street
  • Angie Ware, director of corporate relocation and business development, Prudential Collins-Maury
  • Lisa Middlebrook, training & development coordinator, Electrolux Major Appliances
  • Catherine Harris, senior attorney of legal technology transactions, FedEx Corp.
  • Carrie Rundhaug, president, Mississippi River Office Solutions
  • McLean T. Wilson, vice president, Kemmons Wilson, Inc.
  • Patrick “Trey” Carter, president, Olympic Career Training Institute
  • Danny Mincey, division recruiter, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.
  • Kelly English, chef-owner, Restaurant Iris
  • Randy Spicer, plant controller, Nucor Steel

Day 2 SEC Media Days: Johnny Football, Vols, Bulldogs and John Calipari

Scatter shooting from Day 2 of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama:

Texas A & M quarterback and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel was the day’s focal point because of his widely reported dismissal from the Manning Passing Academy last weekend for missing meetings and his growing list of off-the-field issues. He said he was “absolutely not” hung over and that he missed the meetings because he “overslept.” I’ll dig into the Johnny Football saga in more detail in my column that will be posted on Thursday afternoon. Meantime, coach Kevin Sumlin said: “Is he perfect? No. I think he has done some things that he is not very proud of, has made some poor decisions. Unfortunately, the poor decisions are the ones that are publicized.”

First-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones took football metrics a different direction when he tossed out this stat in his opening remarks: “Our football team has lost over 260 pounds of fat and regained about 230 pounds of muscle mass. That led me to believe right away these players are hungry and that they want to win.”

The Vols have lost eight straight to Florida. “I hear it all the time (from fans),” Jones said. “Obviously, being at Tennessee, we have a lot of rivalry games. I’ve heard that about Florida. I’ve heard that about Alabama. In order for us to make those rivalry games, we have to get back to being relevant and winning those football games.”

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell on the urgency from coach Dan Mullen for the Bulldogs to go higher and farther: “Going 8-5, going to a bowl game isn’t good enough anymore. A few years ago, you win five games and that was a pretty good year. Now, we’ve changed everything, we continually get better. Our goal is to go 7-0, to continue the season undefeated and ultimately make it to the championship. If you don’t have those goals, you shouldn’t be playing football.”

Mullen said Russell is maturing, but added, “He’s a little goofy at times, does some funny, goofy things, tells a lot of jokes. Most of his jokes are bad jokes too, which makes him even goofier. But he comes in and understands what has to get accomplished.”

First-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, when asked about life at a “basketball school,” said: “It’s been great so far. Coach (John) Calipari could not be any better … he takes time. We bring recruits in, he visits with them. He’s really embracing myself and the staff so I love it.”

 

Dansette

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