Study: Memphis pays 2nd-lowest utilities cost

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Utility customers in the Memphis metropolitan area pay some of the lowest bills of any metro area in the country, according to a study by online bill payment company doxo.

Memphis ranked just behind Austin, Texas as the second-most affordable metro area for utilities. The average monthly bill in Memphis was $197, versus $170 for Austin, doxo said in the report. Orlando was the third-most affordable.

On an annual basis, Memphis area households spend an average of $2,359 on utilities each year.

Mid-South states as a whole paid less than most other parts of the country. Tennessee was ranked No. 47 among states, with an average monthly bill of $254, Arkansas was No. 48 with an average monthly bill of $252 and Mississippi was the lowest in the country with an average bill of $233.

Milwaukee was named the most expensive metro area for utilities, with an average monthly bill of $440. Vineland, New Jersey and two cities in Hawaii were ranked as the most expensive individual cities. Blacksburg, Virginia was the least expensive city.

Memphis Light, Gas & Water, which services most customers in Shelby County, Tennessee, also conducts its own audit of utility costs across the country. MLGW’s study also places the company as second-most affordable, behind Reno, Nevada, based on the typical average winter bill.

“We are dedicated to providing superior service at the most affordable prices possible,” MLGW spokesperson Gale Jones Carson said by email. “For 28 years, Memphis customers have spent less for their winter utility bills than their counterparts in many metro areas, capturing the top ranking 16 times since 1992.”

Electricity service in much of Northwest Mississippi and eastern Arkansas is provided by Entergy Mississippi. Water and some other utilities are often handled by various municipalities.

Memphis man indicted in Raleigh murder

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday that a man has been indicted for a murder that happened July 8 in Raleigh as a man was taking out the trash.

The District Attorney’s Office said that Metavious Bishop is being held on $250,000 bond as charged were announced in the murder of Ray C. Taylor.

According to the DA’s Office, the shooting occurred on the 5200 block of Yellowood Cove near Covington Pike and Stage Road. Witnesses told the DA that they heard two shots outside after Taylor went to take out the trash.

Taylor was pronounced dead on the scene. Witnesses identified Bishop as the man standing over Taylor’s body.

The DA’s Office said Bishop’s girlfriend told them he had called her earlier and he said he was heading by the house on Yellowood.

Bishop’s girlfriend said that she was inside the house at the time of the shooting, but she later identified his phone and preferred brand of cigars that were left on his car, next to the victim’s body.

The DA said that after investigators obtained consent to search her phone, they found an unopened Snapchat message where Bishop described a previous incident where the victim removed his shirt and came after him and possibly others.

Bishop’s next court appearance has not been posted at this time.

Rev. H.O. Kneeland, longtime pastor in South Memphis, dies at 90

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Dr. H.O. Kneeland Jr.,the longtime pastor at Union Valley Baptist Church, died Sunday. He was 90.

“He truly will be missed,” Renee Kneeland-Wells, his daughter, said. “From family members to church members.”

Kneeland was the son of a Baptist minister and grew up near Bartlett. He was Union Valley’s pastor for 59 years and retired in 2019.

“It’s been a blessing from God that we are still here,” Kneeland said in a 2015 interview with The CA about his impending retirement. “And it’s time for me to retire, but I have other aspirations. There are other mission fields. There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Kneeland started at Union Valley in 1960 following five years as pastor at two smaller Baptist churches. His start coincided with the growth of Union Valley’s congregation.

“Everybody was excited to know him, a man of his power of voice.” said Hazel Moore, a Whitehaven community advocate and a longtime member of Kneeland’s church. “He had a powerful voice and was a wonderful singer. He could sing so well, everybody wanted to hear him preach and sing.”

Kneeland “meant so much to South Memphis,” Moore said. He lived there as well as preached there and the overpass that carries East McLemore over I-240 is named after him.

“He was a caring person,” Moore said. “If a person was sick, (if) they needed support, I really admhim for being that kind of person. It didn’t have to be a member of the church, he was just a caring person.”

As a minister, Kneeland acted as a father figure to many in his congregation and gave many people their start as ministers.

“He fathered a lot of other people, in the way of mentoring them, counseling them,” his grandson, Major Sims, said. “He was a pillar to the community.”

One of the men he mentored, Dewayne Benton, was later ordained: as a minister by him.

“Everywhere I go, whoever I fellowship with, I tell them, look listen, ‘Reverend Kneeland always taught us this: ‘You’ve got to get out there and get the people,'” Benton said. “You can’t expect people to hear the music from the street.”

Kneeland was one of three longtime, influential South Memphis pastors who have died in recent years. Dr. James Netters, pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Westwood, and the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, pastor of Monumental Baptist Church, died in 2020 and 2016, respectively.

“He was looked up to as a high standard,” Sims said.

Kneeland had eight children and “a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Sims said. In addition to his biological children, he also took in and raised two of his nieces.

“He’s been a great man,” Sims said. “A lot of people know him, a lot of people admire him, and a lot of people look up to him, love him and respect him and looked up to him as a father figure, as a counselor, a mentor and a man of the cloth.”

This story will be updated with services for Rev. Kneeland.

Gina Butkovich covers DeSoto County, storytelling and general news. She can be reached at 901-232-6714.

2 injured in South Memphis shooting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Memphis Police were on the scene Friday night of a shooting in South Memphis.

Police said the shooting happened at 800 E.H. Crump. Two male victims were shot and both were transported to Regional One in non-critical condition.

There is no suspect information at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at (901)-528-CASH.

Drunk man breaks into Memphis apartment, gets stabbed by man inside, police say

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man got more than he was hoping for when he broke into a Memphis apartment, according to the Memphis Police Department.

MPD said that they were called to an apartment on East Cabana Circle where they found 25-year-old Jimmie Lewis suffering from multiple stab wounds.

According to police, Lewis became intoxicated and started trying to force his way into one of the apartments.

Even though several people tried to stop Lewis from breaking into the apartment, he kept on while making threats to the man inside, according to police. That man’s girlfriend and mother were also inside the apartment as Lewis continued forcing his way inside, police said.

Lewis finally broke in and started attacking the man inside, according to police.

Eventually, the man inside turned the tables and stabbed Lewis, police reported.

Police arrested Lewis at the scene and charged him with aggravated burglary and assault.

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