Downtown resident named “A Hero Among Us” plus Saturday news

Every year, at the dinner the night before the marathon, St. Jude names “A Hero Among Us,” to recognize someone who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to raise funds to save children’s lives. This year’s recipient is a name many Downtowners will recognize.


Dennis James is A Hero Among Us for 2016. Dennis and his wife Mary Pat live in Madison, Alabama; however, they own a condo on Main Street and are here many weekends, so they are residents of Downtown too. Dennis is a school administrator and former principal in Madison. He and Mary Pat have run the St. Jude Marathon for years, and have spent years helping the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul society. I first met them at the Flying Saucer in 2008. At the time I was on my crusade against Downtown panhandlers – the career ones who scam people out of money every day, pretending they’re down on their luck, to score money to buy alcohol and drugs. Because of that, at first Dennis and Mary Pat didn’t know what to think of me, but as soon as it became clear I was not targeting those truly in need, we became fast friends. Dennis and Mary Pat joined the Ques Brothers, the predecessor BBQ team to the Moody Ques and Squeal Street, in 2009.

In the summer of 2016, Dennis and Mary Pat took on the extraordinary effort of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for St. Jude. They took in over $15,000. For that achievement, and for their years of service raising money and awareness for the children’s hospital, Dennis was named A Hero Among Us. Congratulations to both of you and the honor is richly deserved.

On to the news… If you want something more intimate and low-key than the big events today (St. Jude Marathon, Stumbling Santa, Grizzlies vs. Lakers), check out this chili cook-off at the Memphis Made taproom from 1 to 5 this afternoon. $10 gets you a tasting of all the teams’ chili and access to a toppings bar. The cook-off benefits UCAN of Memphis, an organization that mentors boys and girls who have affected by bullying, low self-esteem and behavior factors that lead to low academic performance.

If you are going to the Grizzlies-Lakers game tonight and you’re one of the first 5000 there, you will get a free Grizz Girls poster.

Fantasy Shirley, the parody account of former University of Memphis president Shirley Raines, had this to say. Pretty funny tweet and most likely true:

The blog has a look at the rain chances for today that could affect the St. Jude Marathon (especially the 1:30 kids race) and the holiday parade on Beale. They also took weather crap-apps to task for predicting snow showers for middle to late next week. An Arctic front will move through, but there is little evidence that precipitation will still have stuck around by that time.

In honor of Stubby Clapp being named Redbirds manager, the team is rolling out the Clapp Pack. This is a 5-premium game, 2-tickets to each pack that includes the Battle of the Birds (St. Louis Cardinals vs. Memphis Redbirds) in April and the July 3 fireworks show. Buyers of this pack also get invited to a lunch with Stubby!

Information you need if you take I-55 to Arkansas and back regularly: there will be lane closures on the bridge this coming week. The closures are due to routine, planned inspection.

Terence Patterson who runs DMC has been named Innovator of the Week by Urban Innovation Exchange. If you’ve never read Terence’s past accomplishments and his vision for Downtown, this is an article well worth checking out.

Higginbotham Dental wants to give a Grizzlies fan a VIP experience to the Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors game on December 10. A lucky fan will get two courtside seats, an autographed Grizzlies jersey, a piece of Grizzlies swag and the chance to get it signed on Autograph Alley, access to the pre-game shootout, access to the high-five tunnel pre-game and at halftime, and an on-court photo after the game. The winner will also get $3000 worth of dental work from Higginbotham.

Trying to figure out where to lead off this morning… Bardog is the usual but it fills up with runners every year. Might try Blind Bear or Silly Goose instead. I doubt I will be stumbling with the Santas tonight, but for those who do, have fun and stay warm.