The Millington Star Year in Review 2021- July to December

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JULY 2021

NEW GUN LAW

According to figures released by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, during the first quarter of 2021, gun crime in the Memphis community continued a steady upward trend which began with the COVID-19 pandemic last year. 

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) and the U of M Public Safety Institute (PSI) track reported violent crime incidents involving guns. During the first quarter of this year (January-March), there were 1,576 reported violent incidents involving guns – up 30.1% compared to the first quarter of 2020. (The pre-pandemic first quarter of 2020 showed a slight decline compared to 2019.) Just as disturbing is that 69.8% of the reported violent incidents involved use of guns, compared to 58.8% in 2020. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) tracks reported offenses involving guns. One incident can involve multiple offenses. For example, an aggravated assault with three victims is one incident involving three offenses. Also, the TBI gun offense figures include non-violent offenses, such as felons in possession of firearms. So, the TBI figures will always be greater than MPD’s violent incident figures involving guns. 

Based on preliminary TBI figures, there were 3,546 reported offenses involving guns in Memphis during the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2,336 during the first quarter of 2020 – a 51.8% increase. 

BOOK ON FINCH

The nickname “Hoop City” was recently bestowed on Memphis, Tenn. 

The combination of the city’s college team the Memphis Tigers and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies has enjoyed national success 2001. But the rich heritage of basketball in the Bluff City goes back further with memorable names like Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Keith Lee, Elliot Perry, Ronnie Robinson, Andre Turner and many more. 

Being a part of the Memphis Hoops tree since 1996, longtime preps basketball coach and educator Keith Wood had to find the ideal topic for his paper to earn his PhD at The University of Memphis. 

Inspired by University of Memphis professor Aram Goudsouzian’s  article “Back to One City,” looking at the political climate of Memphis back in 1973 and the impact of the 1973 Tigers, Wood  went to one Memphis basketball icon to focus on the “Foundation of Memphis Basketball.” 

Conversations with legendary coach Verties Sails was the starting point of “Memphis Hoops” a deeper look at the basketball life and impact of the late Larry Finch.

CELEBRATE THE FOURTH

The 2021 Flag City Freedom Celebration presented by the City of Millington went on as planned last Thursday at the new location of the Millington Sports Complex located at 4885 Bill Knight Road.

Joining the fireworks in the sky this year were raindrops. Wet conditions plagued event goers throughout the night but dozens of residents still enjoyed food, game, family and fireworks.

The smoky start to the fireworks kicked off at 9 p.m. As the explosive continued, the sky cleared giving viewers a enjoyable show. Some of the major sponsors that made it possible were Ingram Micro, Homer Skelton Chrysler Dodge and Jeep, Homer Skelton Ford, Republic Services and Ritter Communications.

HISTORIC AT FUMC

Millington First United Methodist Church, experienced an historic first on  Sunday, June 27 as Rev. Amanda Hartmann Westmoreland was welcomed as the church’s new pastor. The news hit the community in early July. 

Westmoreland is the first woman to pastor FUMC in its more than 130-year history. However, she is not the first person in her family to serve the church. 

Her grandfather George Comes pastored FUMC from 1963-67.

During her introductory sermon Westmoreland noted she was wearing her grandfather’s robe.

CHANGE OF COMMAND 

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony on July 2 in Millington.

Capt. Alonza “Al” Ross of Ashland, Mississippi, relinquished command to Capt. Michael C. Mosbruger of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, during a traditional Navy ceremony.

The guest speaker and presiding officer for the ceremony was Rear Adm. Christopher “Scotty” Gray, Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa Central.

“I can say, without hesitation, that the leadership of Al Ross helped set the conditions for success here in Millington,” said Gray. “Al has established a culture of excellence which permeates everything his Sailors do here. And for that, he should be proud.”

“Captain Mosbruger, you have an outstanding command team and great installation here,” Gray continued. “I have no doubt that you will keep the success of NSA Mid-South rolling along now and well into the future. Welcome aboard!”

BRIDGE REOPENING PLANS

MEMPHIS – Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Clay Bright announced today the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen under limited traffic while contractors finish the work.

Contractors will have completed all the phase three plating by Friday. They will begin to demobilize, break down platforms, remove equipment and barriers starting with the eastbound direction. They will do this one side at a time as it is the safest scenario for the workers.

Reopening Plan:

Monday, August 2 by 6:00 a.m. CST: All I-40 Eastbound Lanes Open

Friday, August 6 (Time TBA): All I-40 Westbound Lanes Open

*Please note this schedule is barring any complications. We will put out another update on Friday, July 30th.*

RICHARDSON PASSES AT 70

Dennis Richardson, owner of Magic Valley Publishing Co. and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away suddenly and peacefully at his Camden home on Monday, July 26.

Born in Nashville on March 23, 1951, he was the youngest of seven children. His father was a sharecropper who provided well for his family but passed away when Dennis was two years old.

After graduating from Joelton High School, Dennis attended the University of Tennessee at Martin where he studied Engineering. He transferred to UT Knoxville to study Journalism, but returned to finish at UT Martin where he graduated and met his wife, Lisa Hatley.

He began his newspaper career at the Paris Post Intelligencer (PI) as sports editor. After a couple of years at the PI and a short time at the Carroll County News, he was hired as editor of the Weakley County Press (Martin) by Randal Benderman, who became his lifelong mentor in newspaper publishing.

AUGUST 2021

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Millington Police Department Inspector Rita Stanback reviews some of the first day of school happenings Monday with crossing guard Michelle Lorimer outside of Millington Primary School, formerly Millington Elementary. Stanback and Lorimer noted some of the obvious changes with the restructured Millington Municipal School District like the students attending certain schools and parents picking up parking decals. Monday was the first day of full-attendance school in Millington since March 13, 2020. 

The new MMSD breakdown goes like this, Millington Primary School serves grades Pre-K-third; Millington Intermediate School serves grades fourth–sixth, and Millington Central Middle-High School serves grades seventh–12th. 

Millington Primary is located at 6445 William Osteen Drive. Millington Intermediate School is located at 4964 Cuba-Millington Road,.  Millington Central Middle-High School is located at 8050 West Street.

WENDY’S RELOCATED

The new Millington Wendy’s opened on Highway 51 North in early August. The new location will call 7895 Highway 51 North home moving from 4761 Navy Road.  Back on Nov. 16, 2020 the Millington Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved the Site Plan for the new Wendy’s. The commission noted that the building will have slightly less than 2,600 square feet. (Photo By Taliyah Chalmers)

FIELDS’ COMMAND 

Already facing some adversity, a teenager Reginald Anthony Fields was trying to adjust to life without his grandmother.

Going to spend some time with his grandfather, the Rosemark native had his world rocked even more that night. But the moment of tragedy was a  blessing in disguise. The man known in Millington today as Reggie and Officer/Inspector Fields said God exposed him to his destiny by meeting Lt. Clyde Barker.

“He is the one that when I was a kid I was at home living with my parents,” Fields recalled. “I just started high school. I had spent the night with my grandfather because grandmother had passed. He wanted me to spend a night. And that very same night our home was burglarized.”

That very moment sparked an interest for Fields to join law enforcement. Last Thursday dozens of colleagues collaborated with City of Millington leaders to honor Fields on his retirement from the Millington Police Department after 35 years of service.

Flashback to that day at his parent’s home, Fields went from feeling like a victim to being empowered by the presence of Barker.

“So we called the Sheriff’s Department because we were living out in the county,” he recalled. “They did their report and the next day then Lt. Baker was assigned from the detective division. So he followed up on the burglary. When he came out he and dad were just talking, talking and talking.

“So I was nosy little rascal,” Fields continued. “I asked, ‘Dad who is that?’ He told me and I just started admiring his uniform. He was in plain clothes so I just started admiring his coat badge. I was admiring the questions he was asking.”

GRAHAM PASSES AWAY

From being a student/athlete to a college baseball player, the late Noah Graham has been in the headlines of The Millington Star. His untimely departure has shaken the community and The Star is sharing one of the highlights of Graham’s life…

The Millington community, Millington Municipal Schools and Trojan Baseball was rocked by the sudden passing of Noah Graham last week.

Graham was a graduate of Millington Central High School in 2016, All-Star baseball player and came back home after college to be a volunteer assistant baseball coach of Millington Municipal Schools. Graham passed away tragically Thursday, August 19, 2021. Through social media and the schools, thoughts and prayers have been shared with Graham’s family.

TRUSTY GUY

On Aug. 27 the leaders of the City of Millington checked the numbers and crunched the figures to throw a little shindig at the Baker Community Center.

A few special guests like Tennessee Senator Paul Rose, Millington Mayor Terry Jones, Millington City Manager Ed Haley, Industrial Development Board’s Charles Gulotta and aldermen came out to celebrate the career and retirement of City Financial Director John Trusty.

The husband of Debbie and father of Clint and Blair came to Flag City back in November 2010. For nearly 11 years, Trusty brought his financial expertise to Millington helping fund for new private, commercial and government developments.

“My goal later in life for a long time was to be able to retire then go work for either a small government or a non-profit,” Trusty recalled. “Otherwise someone who wouldn’t be able to hire somebody with my experience or pay level. It’s really unique that God puts you in interesting places sometimes and prepares you in interesting ways for things.”

FIRST LADY PASSES

A Celebration of Life for Mary Elizabeth Jones was held Sept. 3, at the Millington First Baptist Church located at 5010 West Union Road in Millington.

Friends, family and those who knew the wife, mother and educator are invited to the memorial service. Jones passed away early morning Aug. 31 after a stroke and battle with lung cancer.

The memorial service will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. this Friday.

SEPTEMBER 2021

GOAT DAYS IS BACK

With parking vendors running out of tickets throughout Saturday, City of Millington employees gladly retrieved more for the 2021 International Goat Days Festival.

In years past the annual showcase bringing thousands to Millington was a two day affair held at the historic USA Stadium. After the cancellation of the 2020 edition because of COVID-19, Goat Days returned on September 11, 2021 at the Millington Sports Complex.

Goat Days was founded and organized by the late W.S. “Babe” Howard. The 2021 event honored his memory and the late Larry Silvey with the tractor show featuring one of his old vehicles.

In July 2020, the City of Millington announced Goat Days was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That gave the city time to make plans for the 2021 Goat Days with the need of a new location The location because of the sale of USA Stadium.

The Millington Sports Complex got a test run back in July of this year with the 2021 Flag City Freedom Celebration. With space for bounce houses, vendors, food trucks and goat grazing areas, city employees were ready to host the event including a concert area and car show display.

REED WINS WEST 10 HONOR

Finally Maiya Reed came to an award presentation with her two biggest fans. 

As the previous winner of two Millington Star Female Athlete of the Year awards (2020, 2021), Reed was joined by her sisters and mother Sonja. Her dad Jesse was miles away on a ship serving in the U.S. Navy. 

Then Reed got the news in early August she was voted the 2021 West 10 Media Female Athlete of the Year representing The Millington Star, The Bartlett Express, The Collierville Herald-Independent and The Germantown News & Shelby Sun Times. 

“Amazing,” Reed said of her feeling of getting the news. “I did get Athlete of the Year from our area. To have both of them in the same year is a big step. I was really focused on getting the other one. But when you texted me and I found out, I ran to my mother. I just got off of work. I drove home and my mom was on the phone. I told her. I called my sisters and told them. It was really amazing.”

OLD STATION GOES DOWN

Throughout August, crews worked on demolishing the old Millington Fire Station located next door to the new Station 2 at 7245 Raleigh-Millington Road. The old MFD Station 2 was built back in 1974 under the leadership of then Mayor Thomas F. Hall. The building designed by architects Mahan and Shappley Architects, Inc., and general contractor Claude Irwin was brick looking like a large family home. For several years the structure was the face of the Millington Fire Department that was founded in 1903. In 1975 the original Millington Fire Station 2 was named in honor of Thomas L. Goin in recognition of faithful service, outstanding civic leadership and devotion to the city of Millington. Some current Millington firefighters came outside throughout the day to witness the destruction of their old work home. The old structure served the firefighters and community for 45 years.

OCTOBER 2021

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QUEEN RUBY

The rainy night sky took a break over Mooney Boswell Field Friday night at Millington Central Middle High School so senior Ruby Russell could have her moment in the sun.

For the first time in the city of Millington’s history, the Homecoming Court was presented as MCMHS. And history will record Russell as the first Queen of the school in that form.

“It’s going to be really cool seeing my name in the spotlight and stuff. It will be the first forever, Russell said. “I get the front page of the newspaper. I feel special.”

Ruby Rose Russell was escorted by her sister Haley Davis during Friday night’s festivities. She received her tara from Peyton Fair, M.Ed. Fair, a chemistry teacher and Trojan Council sponsor, was the main coordinator of the first MCMHS Homecoming Court.

 The court presented middle school students during the high school activities for the first time. Seventh graders as part of the court were Markayla Brown escorted by her mom Santisca and Katie Graves escorted by her dad Tony.

LADY TROJANS SOCCER HISTORY 

A penalty kick gave the Millington Lady Trojans the edge in the regular season matchup. 

Then the Covington Lady Chargers returned to Hornet Field Oct. 7 for the District 15-2A championship game pushing Millington to overtime of a shootout. The Lady Trojans survived that classic with a game-winning goal from goalie Kalia Duckworth. 

The third game of this thrilling trilogy took Thursday evening once again at Hornet Field with the Regional championship on the line. In the past two seasons Millington has only suffered one defeat at its home field, coming in last year’s Regional title game to Fayette-Ware. In 2021, the Lady Trojans were poised to make history.

Winning 1-0 in another shootout against Covington courtesy of a Micaiah Halliburton kick, Millington captured the Regional championship and will host the first Sub-State game for girls’ soccer in school history. 

“We’re really excited about this,” Millington Coach William Carter said. “We’ve worked hard for this and we’re excited about hosting. We definitely wanted to host either Dyersburg or South Gibson here. We didn’t want to go to them like last year. We feel really good about our chances. We know they’re both really good teams. They’ve destroyed some teams this year but I feel we’ve got a pretty good chance.”

MILLINGTON FALL FESTIVAL 

The 2021 City of Millington Fall Festival was held at the Millington’s Farmers Market with a steady flow of traffic. Patrons partook in vendor booths, bounce houses for the children, tractor ride and much more. Families like the McCauley crew with dad Tracy, mom Lynessa, daughter Natalia and son Ethan didn’t wear costumes. 

But in their San Francisco 49ers gear the McCauleys gathered candy and bought a few products from the vendors. Several local businesses were under the Farmers Market roof. Several area children did unofficially compete in the costume contest like Kaelin Britton (baby pumpkin), Valeria Higaveda (Minnie Mouse), Dominc Cdolucciar (nome), trio of sisters Lunaiya, Solia and Astella Kue with funny hats, Conrad Medfored (Thomas the Train), and siblings Camilla Rose (mouse) and Willow Graham (baby cat).

NOVEMBER 2021

PAYNE OFF DEATH ROW

From Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich:

On Saturday afternoon June 27, 1987, a 20-year-old man named Pervis Payne attacked a mother and her two young children in their Millington apartment. Proof would show that Payne killed 28-year-old Charisse Christopher, who had more than 80 knife wounds, and her 2-year-old daughter Lacie, who also was stabbed to death.

Payne’s ball cap was found intertwined on baby Lacie’s arm. Three-year-old Nicholas Christopher survived his numerous stab wounds after undergoing multiple surgeries.

Residents who heard the commotion called police. An officer who was in the area responded within minutes and confronted Payne as he ran down the stairs at the apartment. The officer recalled that Payne “looked like he was sweating blood.” Payne pushed the officer and ran away, but was captured a short time later hiding in an attic.

A year later, a Criminal Court jury convicted Payne on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault to commit first-degree murder. The jury sentenced Payne to death for each murder. He also received 30 years in prison for the assault.

VETERANS’ PARADE

As the temperatures kept rising Saturday morning along Navy Road, more and more spectators kept appearing for the Eighth Annual City of Millington Veterans Parade. 

With more participants than ever, the American Legion Post 252 and VFW Post 7175 were joined by students of Millington Central Middle High School, local businesses, government officials and many more for the parade. The Millington Police Department was the grand marshal of the event and residents of all ages were joined by some of the family members of those who work at NSA Mid-South Base. Ashley Holliday from Murray, Ky., was joined by her daughters Lyla and Corinne to watch her husband and their father Chief Selective Josh march alongside his Navy colleagues. The Base was also represented by MAC Timothy Harrison with his family wife Tiffany and children Abi-gail, Hunter and Hedi. Timothy has been a part of the Navy for 15 years and 10 months. 

MURDER AT MARGARITAS

The first homicide in Millington in three years took place Nov. 10 at Margaritas Restaurant. 

According to the Millington Police Department, 55-year-old Munford resident Timothy Carver stepped in to help a staff member remove 30-year-old Jutson McKnight from the restaurant. 

McKnight allegedly returned to the establishment firing a weapon killing Carver at the patio area. 

“A tragic, senseless, unnecessary shooting occurred at the Margarita restaurant 8507 TN-3 No. 112, Millington around 9 p.m. on the 12th of November,” said a statement from the MPD. “The Millington Police Department responded to a shooting involving an irate customer that had been removed from the premises earlier. Before the incident, the victim intervened in a situation involving the shooter and assisted management in removing him from the premises.”

INVESTING BACK

Dozens of the 318 Millington Municipal Schools District employees were invited to the Millington Performing Arts Central by the Millington Education Foundation last Wednesday afternoon.

The MEF was going to award grant money to the three MMSD of Millington Central Middle High School, Millington Intermediate School and Millington Primary School. Over the past two years fundraising efforts have been limited because of the global pandemic but the MEF with help from the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce came prepared to present three checks totaling $16,287. 

The first presentation of the evening called Millington Mayor Terry Jones to the center of the room. Alongside MEF Board member Cary Vaughn and Chamber Executive Director Terry Roland, Jones was a part of the announcement of a special scholarship in the name of his late wife Mary Jones.

Jones was a longtime employee of Millington schools and was a champion for educating the youth. The $500 check was added to the pot for MEF.

DECEMBER 2021

LIGHTING UP DECEMBER

In 2020, the City of Millington Christmas Tree Lighting event maybe had about 20 residents attending. Fast forward a year to last Thursday night, dozens and dozens of people were on hand at the Millington Fire Station No. 1 located at 4836 Navy Road. Millington Mayor Terry Jones and the staff from the Millington Arts and Recreation Department welcomed the large crowd outside waiting on the tree to illuminate to motorists and those passing by.

Before the official lighting of the tree at 6:30, several area children were in line waiting to visit Santa Claus in the bay of the Fire Station. Millington firefighters provided hot cocoa and treats for the families while they waited to get pictures and a wish-list to the Jolly Man. Holiday music was live with Millington Central Middle High School Band Director Kreston Smith and crew playing jazzy tunes. 

Right on time, Jones and the large crowd counted down to the tree lighting. Among those there to enjoy the moment were Blake Evans with his wife and children. Millington Public Safety Director Gary Graves was there to enjoy the moment as well. 

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CHRISTMAS PARADE IN FULL SWING

Santa and Mrs. Claus concluded their weekend stay in Millington with an appearance at the 2021 City of Millington Christmas Parade. Led by the city’s goats as stand-ins for the reindeers resting at the North Pole, Santa Claus was the closing act to the various floats participating in the parade down Navy Road. Local schools like Millington Central Middle High School and Woodstock Middle School bands played, local businesses, churches and civic groups shared in the festivities. Classic cars to up-to-date hot rods rode down the pavement. Four-legged friends like horses and dogs spread Christmas cheer to the hundreds in attendance.

VAUGHN INTO THE HALL 

On Dec. 7 in the Crosspointe Church, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Roland had the pleasure of inducting his friend and colleague Cary Vaughn into the Chamber Hall of Honor. It is the biggest annual honor bestowed on a person by the Chamber each year. Other awards and moments of recognition took place at the Chamber’s Gala.

CLASS OF 2020-21

This Friday night during the Munford Cougars vs. Millington Trojan basketball games, Millington Central Middle High School will recognize the Athletic Hall of Fame Class for 2020-21. 

Starting back in 2013, the school has inducted Millington sports legends, icons and contributors in the categories of athlete, coach, team and contributors. 

This year’s Class includes Curt Harper, Katelyn Dagen, Katilyn Dupree, Larry Silvey, Mike Stevens and Brett Williams.

HONORING MR. JACK

One of Millington’s pioneers and legendary figures passed away this week.

Jack Huffman passed away Sunday in Millington. Throughout community service, especially through the Public Works Department, Huffman became a leader and essential figure in the development of Millington. 

He was one of the driving forces in helping to develop the city’s infrastructure.

The City of Millington honored Huffman by renaming the road that leads up to the Public Works building Jack Huffman Boulevard.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 22 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Millington Chapel located at 7450 Raleigh Millington Road, in Millington. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, December 22 starting at 2 at the same location.

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