Bright Outlook

Health & Fitness cover story for The Commercial Appeal.

December 22, 2008

Lynette Herman stares into the middle distance while listening to a conversation, occasionally offering up information, correcting her husband’s memory or erupting with a sharp burst of laughter.

There is levity in those steel grey eyes, and something else: a malfunction that reaches to the cells lining the back inside wall of the eyes. The mutation of a gene reaching back to at least the turn of the last century … (read more)


Bikes for books: SMG gives a push to get school students into the cycle of reading

The Commercial Appeal Business news centerpiece

December 18, 2008

A banner in the lunchroom of Carnes Elementary School offers simple advice: Be the Best You Can Be.

SMG, the company that manages such local venues as Memphis Cook Convention Center and Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, hopes it’s providing students an incentive to do that.

For the second year in a row, SMG sponsored the Bikes for Books program at Carnes. Sixty bikes were provided last year, and this year 75 students in kindergarten through the fifth grade were given new bicycles, helmets and locks for reading the most books and scoring consistently high in the school’s Accelerated Reader curriculum … (read more)


Volunteering: Duane Klink

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal.

December 12, 2008

Duane Klink’s volunteer work with the American Red Cross Mid-South Chapter dovetails nicely with his job as process project adviser in disaster recovery planning at FedEx.

While his employer is working to deliver the barrage of holiday packages, as a volunteer, Klink may be called on to deliver help to a family that has just faced a tragedy.

Klink is a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. Part of his duty is to go out as part of a two- or three-person team after a house fire to assess damage and needs, to ensure the family has a place to stay for the night and to line up talks for the following day to help the family get back on their feet … (read more)


Some good intentions are left out in the cold

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

December 11, 2008

Of all the things I didn’t do last weekend, at the top of the list was run the St. Jude Marathon. Again.

I had every intention of doing so, just as I intend to every year, though I never have. I’ve never really trained for a marathon, which is probably mistake No. 1. Every book you read about marathons mentions training within the first few chapters.

I do enjoy running; the accumulation of miles as I push myself to go that extra block this time, the sun on my face, the 30 minutes or so of peace with no kids asking me for anything … (read more)


Author writes book about Memphis’ past with help from a few young friends

Lifestyle story for The Commercial Appeal

December 6, 2008

Perre Magness has been writing about Memphis history for 25 years. That’s more than twice as long as her editors on her latest book, “Memphis: A Children’s History,” have been alive.

For this project, her first book for children, Magness recruited three 10-year-olds to help fashion the book for her core audience … (read more)


Local support earns Volunteer Memphis award

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal.

December 5, 2008

At the telecommunications company PAETEC, support and encouragement to give back to the community may come from the top down, but the ideas and choice of recipients grow from the bottom up.

The $1.6 billion enterprise, founded in 1998 and headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., has made it a company maxim to foster a caring culture. This means giving locally, in the communities where PAETEC has offices. It is this commitment that helped the company win the Corporate Neighbor of the Year award from Volunteer Memphis … (read more)


‘Blissfully unaware’ kids give thanks

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.

November 27, 2008

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve asked my kids what it is they’re thankful for. They’ve offered up thanks for their favorite toys and cartoons, summer vacation, and sprinkled cupcakes, which is just how I’d expect a group of 2- to 10-year-olds to answer the question.

I had a notion that they would tell me they are thankful for the truly important things: For family and friends, for the health and peace that envelops their everyday, closely guarded lives. In so many words, of course … (read more)


International Paper vice president lauded for efforts

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal.

November 21, 2008.

For an avid volunteer, there may be no better work environment than International Paper.

Peter Heist, 49, vice president and general manager in the coated paperboard business, has moved to 10 different locations in his 28 years with the company, including England and Ireland. He was surprised to find that the commitment to giving wasn’t at all the same overseas as it is here. “Americans, in general, give of themselves fantastically,” he says … (read more)


Donate-a-Shoe program fills key need for homeless

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal.

November 14, 2008.

Jake Lawhead, president and owner of Breakaway Running, likes to keep it local, whether it’s his training for the next St. Jude Marathon or his company’s charitable contributions.

Since January 2007, the specialty running store has been accepting donated running shoes and distributing them to such charities as Idlewild Presbyterian’s “More Than a Meal” program, First Presbyterian Church’s Clothes Closet and Memphis Leadership Foundation’s “Refugee Empowerment” program … (read more)


Tot’s togs a learning experience for Dad

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.

November 13, 2008.

As a student at St. Louis Catholic School in East Memphis, I woke up every day for eight years and dressed in navy blue pants, a white dress shirt and tie.

The uniform made life uncomplicated, with no sartorial decisions to be made each morning.

Three of my kids go to public school and wear khaki or blue pants and a white or red shirt. Simple. No guesswork there, other than clean or not … (read more)