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Editorial Results (free)

1. Gulch Approaching 50 Percent Buildout -

Nashville’s storied Gulch, originally the home of the downtown railway terminal, is approaching another milestone in its long history.

Revitalization of the area began in the early 2000s, and The Gulch Improvement District was formed in 2006. Since that time, developers have found great success in luring in upscale residential, commercial and mixed-use tenants.

2. Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Health Care Law Subsidies -

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

3. Airport Leaders Talk Post-Delta Era -

Two years ago this month, Delta Air Lines executives told officials at Memphis International Airport that Memphis would no longer be a Delta hub, an announcement that came after a series of cuts in the number of daily flights.

4. House Votes to Kill Health Care Law's Medical Device Tax -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House defied a White House veto threat and voted Thursday to abolish a tax on medical device makers as a group of Democrats uncharacteristically joined Republicans in moving to kill part of President Barack Obama's health care law.

5. Global Ministries Appeals Failing HUD Scores at Memphis Properties -

A month after 40 units at the Goodwill Village and Warren Apartments were declared unfit by federal housing officials, the units have been repaired and the residents moved back in.

6. Report: Insurers Skirt Health Law's Protections for Women -

CHICAGO (AP) – Some insurance plans offered on the health overhaul law's new marketplaces violate the law's requirements for women's health, according to a new report from a women's legal advocacy group.

7. Pending US Home Sales Increase in March -

WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, the third straight month of gains as housing heats up with the start of the spring buying season.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.1 percent to 108.6 last month. The index has climbed 11.1 percent over the past 12 months after having dipped in 2014. The number of signed contracts are at their highest level since June 2013.

8. US Home Sales Bounced Back in March, But Can the Gain Last? -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home sales bloomed in March after a brutal winter, a sign of possible newfound momentum for housing.

Sales of existing homes jumped 6.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The gains were solid enough to suggest that housing might be returning to stable footing after enduring a boom, a bust and a stubbornly tepid recovery over the past dozen years.

9. ‘Pioneering is a Bitch’ -

Christy Shuff was robbed on the night she moved some equipment into her soon-to-open new business, Rumours Gallery, on 12South Avenue.

That was 12 years ago, and Shuff, now 40, and her then-husband Will Shuff were aspiring urban pioneers, ready to take a chance on the downtrodden, but affordable 12South area, then home to a few businesses and mostly older houses.

10. US Home Prices Rise Modestly, Weigh on Affordability -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose at a steady pace in January, pushing prices up at a faster pace than wages and putting more homes financially out of reach for would-be buyers.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.6 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier, S&P said Tuesday. That is up from growth of 4.4 percent in December.

11. US Home Sales Rebound Slightly in February -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Slightly more Americans bought homes in February, but tight inventories, affordability problems and nasty winter weather point to sluggish sales in the coming few months.

12. Affordability? It’s All in the Eye of the Buyer -

The new construction at 2314 Castleman sold last week for $1,365,000 after Brent Morris of Parks listed the home for $1,395,000. Morris has developed a niche in locating infill lots and teardowns – to use the plural of the now-popular noun created by adding verb to adverb – in the Green Hills area.

13. Mortgage Market Up 8 Percent in February -

Regions Bank saw a 14 percent gain in its mortgage volume year-over-year last month, a fact that Regions’ Memphis-area mortgage production manager Dean Puryear attributes to resurgent confidence in market conditions among consumers, as well as optimism in their own circumstances.

14. Affordable Housing Gets Foot in the Door in Mayoral Election -

In recent weeks, the mayor’s race has taken a new focus: Affordable housing.

Some in the community feel this is unwarranted and take issue with organizations such as NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope), which are forcing the candidates to spend more time on social issues, which I support.

15. Ryan: Be Flexible On Location For More Office Space Options -

After 22 years heading up the Metro Housing and Development Authority for Nashville, Phil Ryan certainly knows the Middle Tennessee housing market.

He left MDHA in 2013, and in his current role as an affiliate broker with Cherry & Associates, he’s taking a look at the local real-estate mix from the corporate side.

16. US Home Sales Plunge 4.9 Percent in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home sales struck a snow drift in January, plunging to the slowest pace in nine months.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes tumbled 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million. That brings sales down to their lowest level since April 2014.

17. Growth is Great, But Where Will Workers Live? -

For the past two years, developers, property owners and Realtors alike have been treated to what some call the best real estate market in the country. Sellers are realizing astronomical returns on their investments as they shed properties that they have been strapped with for years.

18. US New Home Sales Jump 11.6 Percent in December -

Sales of new U.S. homes accelerated strongly in December, a sign that home-buying may improve this year after a lackluster 2014.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales climbed 11.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000. The gains were not enough to offset essentially flat home-buying over the course of 2014. Just 435,000 new homes were bought last year, a modest 1.2 percent improvement from 2013.

19. Average US Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Rises to 3.66 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week after four straight weeks of declines, while remaining near historically low levels.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage edged up to 3.66 percent from 3.63 percent last week. The new average rate is still at its lowest level since May 2013.

20. US New Home Sales Jump 11.6 Percent in December -

Sales of new U.S. homes accelerated strongly in December, a sign that home-buying may improve this year after a lackluster 2014.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales climbed 11.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000. The gains were not enough to offset essentially flat home-buying over the course of 2014. Just 435,000 new homes were bought last year, a modest 1.2 percent improvement from 2013.

21. Lot Shortage Leads to Fewer New Homes -

Shelby County homebuilding activity slowed in 2014 as builders filed fewer permits and sold fewer homes than in 2013.

Homebuilders filed 850 permits in 2014, down 8.6 percent from 930 permits filed in 2013 and down 7 percent from 914 permits filed in 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

22. Art Work -

It’s easy to appreciate the art in painter Jared Small’s depictions of dilapidated shacks, shotgun-style homes and other aging structures that appear to be fading away right there on his canvas, images that suggest the creaks of doors and the groans of floorboards to accompany the lonely scenes.

23. US Home Price Growth Slows for 11th Consecutive Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose in October at a slightly slower pace, as real estate sales have fallen and affordability has increasingly become a challenge for potential buyers.

24. Memphis Brand Enjoys Banner 2014 -

That thing that might best be described as the Memphis brand has enjoyed something of a banner year in 2014.

Businesses and entrepreneurs like Paper & Clay, Muddy’s Bake Shop and chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix found themselves in the spotlight at various times in the past 12 months thanks to national media attention. The National Association of Food Journalists held its annual conference in Memphis. The city won plaudits for its bike lanes and its affordability.

25. Rhodes Among Top Values in Liberal Arts Education -

Rhodes College has been named to the “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” list of the 100 best values in liberal arts for 2015.

To make the list, schools are evaluated on a set of criteria that include both academic quality and affordability.

26. US New-Home Sales Fall 1.6 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sales of new U.S. homes fell in November, evidence that recent job gains have yet to boost the housing sector.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales slid 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 438,000, the second straight monthly decline. October sales fell 2.2 percent to a downwardly revised rate of 445,000.

27. US Home Sales Hit Slowest Pace in 6 Months in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans bought homes in November as buying slid to its slowest pace in six months.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes fell 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million. That was down from a revised annual pace of 5.26 million in October. Over the past 12 months, sales have risen 2.1 percent.

28. Rhodes Among Top Values In Liberal Arts Education -

Rhodes College has been named to the “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” list of the 100 best values in liberal arts for 2015.

To make the list, schools are evaluated on a set of criteria that include both academic quality and affordability.

29. Short stay? Travel Site Also Lauds Knoxville Area -

People with an eye for inexpensive yet great vacation or short getaway destinations are likely to land in Knoxville.

Knoxville ranks ninth in the nation on hotel search trivago.com for Best Value City with a ranking of 91.59, coming in between Springfield, Mo., and Little Rock, Ark.

30. Knoxville Area a Magnet for Retirees -

Retired air traffic controller Sterling King moved to Knoxville when his brother needed him. Five years later, he has fallen in love with the area and everything it has to offer.

Moderate weather, without the bone-chilling Northern winters or the searing heat of Florida summers, is a big draw, along with its location in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, says King, 58, who migrated from Dayton, Ohio, to Raleigh, North Carolina, and then to Knoxville.

31. US Pending Home Sales Slip in October -

The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell slightly in October as tight credit and lagging wages remained financial hurdles for would-be homebuyers.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 1.1 percent in the past month to 104.1. The index remains below its 2013 average but is 2.2 percent higher than last October.

32. US Home Sales Rise in October -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans bought homes in October at the briskest pace this year, a sign that the sluggish housing market is turning around.

Sales of existing homes rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million last month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That's up from a revised pace of 5.18 million in September. October marked the first month in 2014 when sales increased compared to a year ago, registering a 2.5 percent gain.

33. US Homebuilder Sentiment Rallies in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. homebuilders' confidence rebounded in November as both sales expectations and buyer traffic improved.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index rose to 58 this month, up from 54 in October. That puts the index just short of September's reading of 59, which was the highest level since November 2005, shortly before the housing bubble burst.

34. Enjoy Low Interest Rates While They Last -

In what has become expected in this post-Recession boom, home sales continue to set records each month with no end in sight, based on October sales figures from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

35. Insurance Costs Might Leave Your Deal All Wet -

If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, is there sound? That’s a question for the ages.

If a tree falls onto a neighbor’s house, whose insurance pays? That one is not debatable. It’s the insurer of the damaged home.

36. Recruiter’s Career Twist -

Ask Janet Miller about her remarkable career at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and she’ll likely attribute it to good timing or pass credit onto others.

37. Health Law Waivers: Too Complicated to Claim? -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans may qualify for waivers from the most unpopular part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. But getting that exemption could be an ordeal.

38. Real Estate Experts Look at Impact of North Mississippi -

Six years after the real estate bubble burst nationally, the recovery of the commercial and residential sectors in Memphis is slower than in other parts of the country. But they are recovering on their own new terms, say the incoming president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, the president of the West Tennessee Home Builders Association and a mortgage lender.

39. NashvilleNext Planners Move to Next Step -

As the city shifts into fall, planners are gearing up for the final phase of NashvilleNext, a three-year long planning process that will have a major impact on growth and development patterns in Davidson County over the next 25 years.

40. US Existing Home Sales Fall in August -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans bought homes in August, as investors retreated from real estate and first-time buyers remained scarce.

Sales of existing homes fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That snaps a four-month streak of gains. August sales are down from a July rate of 5.14 million, a figure that was revised slightly downward.

41. Volatile Apartment Sector Reduces US Home Building -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home construction plunged in August, led by steep decline in the volatile apartment category. But single-family house construction, a larger and more stable portion of the market, fell only modestly.

42. Will More Rentals Slow Rising Home Prices? -

Hardly a day goes by that a residential real estate broker is not asked: “When will it end?”

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., authors Elliot Eisenberg’s Brief Blog and sends it daily to subscribers. Here’s what he had to say on the subject in his August 25 edition:

43. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Holds Steady -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate this week remained at a 52-week low of 4.10 percent for the third straight week.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac also said Thursday the average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, slipped to 3.24 percent from 3.25 percent.

44. US Home Prices Rose at Slower Pace in July -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose in July but at a slower rate compared with earlier this year. The moderating price increases could help support sales.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices rose 7.4 percent in July from July 2013. That was slightly below June's year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent and far below a recent peak of 11.9 percent in February.

45. Vanderbilt Students Find Happiness in Music City -

As the Class of 2018 begins to poke around the Vanderbilt University campus, the newest Commodores will be met with the highest of expectations.

“This class is projected to have the highest academic quality in our history as measured by high school class rank and SAT scores,’’ says Doug Christiansen, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions.

46. US Housing Recovery Appears to be Back on Track -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A fourth straight monthly increase in sales of existing homes provided the latest evidence Thursday that the U.S. housing market is rebounding from a weak start to the year.

47. Reshaping a City, One Lot at a Time -

John G. Brittle Jr. doesn’t have an office. He has a war room. The space, crowded with maps, charts, books, piles of paper and marked-up spreadsheets, is ground zero for InfillNashville, the 10-person team of site selection specialists that Brittle leads at Village Real Estate Services.

48. Report: Health Law Sign-Ups Dogged by Data Flaws -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Many of the 8 million Americans signed up under the new health care law now have to clear up questions about their personal information that could affect their coverage.

49. Poll: Many Still Struggle to Pay Health Premiums -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Most people who signed up under President Barack Obama's health care law rate their new insurance highly, but a substantial number are struggling with the cost, according to a poll released Thursday.

50. Many Seek New Homes Near Cities But are Priced Out -

WASHINGTON (AP) – City living has been a blessing for Tim Nelson.

The Phoenix lawyer moved downtown a few months ago into a new $389,000 home with a warehouse-style floor plan, a Jacuzzi tub and kitchen counters made of Caesarstone quartz. His favorite coffee spot is three blocks away. When the Arizona Diamondbacks play on Friday nights, he can watch postgame fireworks from his deck.

51. US New-Home Sales Rose 6.4 Percent in April -

Sales of U.S. new homes recovered in April after slumping in the previous two months. But Americans are still buying new homes at a slower pace than they did a year ago.

The Commerce Department said Friday that sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000. That compares with an upwardly revised annual pace of 407,000 in March, when purchases fell 6.9 percent. Buying had dropped 4.4 percent in February, in part because of winter snowstorms.

52. US New-Home Sales Rose 6.4 Percent in April -

Sales of U.S. new homes recovered in April after slumping in the previous two months. But Americans are still buying new homes at a slower pace than they did a year ago.

The Commerce Department said Friday that sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000. That compares with an upwardly revised annual pace of 407,000 in March, when purchases fell 6.9 percent. Buying had dropped 4.4 percent in February, in part because of winter snowstorms.

53. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Falls to 4.14 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a fourth straight week. The low rates could give a boost to the spring home-buying season, which has started slowly.

54. Darden to Sell Red Lobster, Hold Onto Olive Garden -

NEW YORK (AP) – Darden is setting Red Lobster adrift, but betting that it can still turn around Olive Garden's fortunes.

The company, which is based in Orlando, Florida, said Friday that it would sell its seafood chain and the accompanying real estate to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal. The announcement came despite objections from some shareholders to the plan to separate Red Lobster, which was announced late last year.

55. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Dips to 4.2 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week for a third straight week. The low rates could give a boost to the spring home-buying season, which has gotten off to a slow start.

56. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Falls to 4.21 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a second straight week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

57. Rudd Charts Path at University of Memphis -

The incoming president of the University of Memphis should name his provost or chief academic officer this week as he prepares to take office May 16.

M. David Rudd was appointed president of the city’s largest institution of higher learning last week by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

58. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Eases to 4.29 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined slightly this week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan eased to 4.29 percent from 4.33 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.38 percent from 3.39 percent.

59. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Up to 4.33 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 4.33 percent from 4.27 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.39 percent from 3.33 percent.

60. Affordable Care Act Only Chips Away at a Core Goal -

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Swan Lockett had high hopes that President Barack Obama's health overhaul would lead her family to an affordable insurance plan, but that hasn't happened.

Instead, the 46-year-old mother of four from Texas uses home remedies or pays $75 to see a doctor when she has an asthma attack.

61. Growing Demand for US Apartments Pushing Up Rents -

These are good times for U.S. landlords. For many tenants, not so much.

With demand for apartments surging, rents are projected to rise for a fifth straight year. Even a pickup in apartment construction is unlikely to provide much relief anytime soon.

62. US Home Market: Few Buyers and Not Enough Sellers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Entering the 2014 spring buying season, the U.S. housing market faces an unusual dilemma: Too few people are selling homes. Yet too few buyers can afford the homes that are for sale.

63. White House: 7 Million Signed Up for Health Care -

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a key milestone for the 4-year-old health care law, the Obama administration says more than 7 million people signed up for health care through insurance exchanges, surpassing a threshold once seen as unattainable.

64. University of Memphis Provost Kicks Off President Interviews -

David Rudd began with the obvious this week, as the four finalists to become the next president of the University of Memphis began individual sessions with faculty, students and staff at the city’s largest institution of higher education.

65. US Home Prices Dip for Second Straight Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices fell for the second straight month in December as brutally cold weather, tight supply and higher costs slowed sales.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index declined 0.1 percent from November to December, matching the previous month's decline. The index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the dip partly reflects slower buying as winter weather set in.

66. US Construction Spending Up 1 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending rose in November at the strongest pace in more than four years, driven by solid gains in home construction and commercial projects.

The Commerce Department said construction spending increased 1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $934.4 billion. That's the fastest rate since March 2009 and a slight improvement on the revised 0.9 percent gain in October.

67. US Home Price Gains Slow in October From September -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose in October from the previous year at the fastest pace in almost eight years. But price gains slowed in most U.S. cities from September to October, suggesting the increases are leveling off.

68. Signed Contracts to Buy US Homes Level Off -

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes in November was essentially unchanged from October, suggesting sales are stabilizing after several months of declines.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index ticked up to 101.7 from 101.5 in October. The October figure was revised lower from an initial reading of 102.1.

69. Lawmakers Push to Delay Huge Flood Insurance Hikes -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday unveiled legislation that would delay for about four years several changes to the federal government's flood insurance program that are threatening to sock thousands of people with unaffordable premium hikes.

70. Health Coverage -

The Little Clinic is opening its sixth and seventh limited-care clinics in the Memphis area this month as part of a growth plan that includes 30 new Little Clinics opening in Kroger stores in 2013.

71. Nike Files $4.3 Million Permit for Frayser Facility -

3100 New Frayser Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38128
Permit Cost: $4.3 million

Project Cost: $301 million
Permit Date: Applied September 2013
Completion: TBA
Owner: Nike Inc.
Tenant: Nike Inc.
Architect: N/A
Contractor: Wynright Corp.
Details: Nike Inc. has filed a $4.3 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for work on its North Memphis distribution center at 3100 New Frayser Blvd.

72. Owner Files $16.9 Million Loan on River Trace Apartments -

The owner of the 440-unit River Trace Apartment Homes, at 2165 E. River Trace Drive near Bartlett, has filed a $16.9 million loan on the property.

73. Editorial: Bottom Line: Health System Needs Reform -

Most of us by now have received letters from our employers regarding changes to our health care insurance that affect us now or will affect us in the future.

This is in addition to the yearly ritual so many of us have of the annual change in health insurance at our places of work.

74. Levien Discusses Grizzlies’ Accolades, Offseason Focus -

A day after the news broke that ESPN The Magazine had crowned the Memphis Grizzlies the best franchise in North American pro sports, team CEO Jason Levien sat down for a one-on-one interview with The Daily News.

75. FedEx Cares Week Builds Community Support -

FedEx Corp. wraps up its ninth annual FedEx cares Week on Friday, as more than 900 local FedEx employees have volunteered in the community for a variety of organizations.

76. Back to Negotiations After Student Loan Plan Fails -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The defeat of a student loan bill in the Senate on Wednesday clears the way for fresh negotiations to restore lower rates, but lawmakers are racing the clock before millions of students return to campus next month to find borrowing terms twice as high as when school let out.

77. Shelby County Building Permits Increase 5 Percent -

Editor's Note: The original story that ran in the June 13 issue of The Daily News contained inaccurate building permit data. The story has been corrected and appears below. The Daily News regrets the error.

78. Hopping to It -

Its tagline is Hop On, Tune In and Rock Out. That’s a bite-sized description of what the new Memphis Hop bus service that launched earlier this month, with the goal of whisking Memphians and tourists to several local cultural attractions, is all about.

79. Retail Lab Franchise Sees Business Boom -

As insurance plans transfer more costs of procedures like lab work onto the consumer, entrepreneurs like Andrew Rock are seeing a growing niche.

80. US Medicine Spending Shows Rare Dip in 2012 -

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. fell for the first time in decades last year, slipping as cash-strapped consumers continued to cut back on use of health care services.

81. Riding the Rails -

By some estimates, America’s railroad companies are in the midst of the largest investment boom since the Gilded Age – when America’s railroad track mileage tripled between 1860 and 1880.

This year, North American’s freight railroads plan to invest $24.5 billion in intermodal terminals, new track, bridges and tunnels, safety equipment and rail cars, according to the Association of American Railroads.

82. Health Care Decisions -

In the past four years, the health care premiums Courtney Liebenrood Ellett has paid for her 12 employees have risen about 70 percent.

Liebenrood Ellett, the founder and principal at Obsidian Public Relations in Memphis, has paid 100 percent of her employees’ premiums since 2009.

83. Haslam Announces Higher Ed Goal -

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says he wants to set Tennessee on a path toward boosting college graduation rates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

Haslam said in a release Tuesday that he has appointed Randy Boyd, chairman of wireless pet fence maker Radio Systems Corp., to help further that goal as his top higher education adviser.

84. Traffic Club Welcomes Witt to Kick Off Centennial Year -

The Traffic Club of Memphis kicked off the new year by welcoming Marshall Witt, senior vice president of finance for FedEx Freight, as the guest speaker at its monthly luncheon, held earlier this week at The Racquet Club of Memphis.

85. Degrees of Difficulty -

Leaders of the city’s five higher education institutions say they are all grappling with the issue of relevance in a changing world and economy as they compete for students with missions that make them different from one another.

86. Olive Garden Owner Shifts Course to Focus on Deals -

NEW YORK (AP) – After new ad campaigns touting the quality of its food failed to spark sales, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster is retooling its strategy to attract diners with more promotional deals.

87. J.D. Byrider Brings First Franchise To Memphis -

The nation’s largest used car franchise company has entered the Memphis market. Carmel, Ind.-based J.D. Byrider has inked 30,900 square feet at 2580 Mount Moriah Road, marking the company’s second Tennessee dealership.

88. Home Sales Highest Since 2010 -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A jump in sales of previously occupied homes and further gains in home construction suggest the U.S. housing recovery is gaining momentum.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose 7.8 percent in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That’s the highest level since May 2010, when sales were aided by a federal home-buying tax credit.

89. Local Mortgage Market Up 22 Percent -

It’s been an old story for several quarters – for a few years now, in fact: Rates are low, and homebuyers keep tiptoeing back into the market.

That’s especially liable to be the case going forward, in light of the Federal Reserve’s steps last week to keep interest rates low for an indefinite period of time. Indeed, the local mortgage market continues to feel the effects of those low rates.

90. Chandler Seminar Pinpoints Real Estate Positives -

Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir went out on a limb Thursday, Aug. 9, at real estate information company Chandler Reports’ “Master Your Market: Second Quarter Update,” claiming that the housing market had bottomed out.

91. Carmakers Report Strong June Sales, Easing Worries -

DETROIT (AP) – From mini cars to monster pickups, sales of vehicles charged higher in June and eased concerns that Americans would be turned off by slower hiring and other scary headlines.

92. Reaction: Coverage for Most, Scramble for States -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court settled the legal argument over health care Thursday. Now people in the United States will find out if President Barack Obama’s overhaul can work as advertised to provide coverage to millions of uninsured while also keeping costs in check.

93. Consider Buying Your First Home -

Ray’s Take I’ve long believed the economic benefits of home ownership are overrated and renting is under-appreciated. However, for some first-time homebuyers the math has started to turn and they may find it less expensive to buy a home than rent!

94. Calif. Firm Finds Niche With ‘Premium Properties’ -

Investment firms nationwide are snatching up single-family real estate-owned (REO) properties, renovating and renting them, and then selling them to other investors.

This “house flipping” is seen as especially opportunistic in Memphis, where median asking prices are dwarfed by national averages and vacancies are widespread.

95. Mortgages Up 10 Pct. in April -

T.S. Eliot described April as “the cruelest month” in his classic poem “The Waste Land” – but for Shelby County’s mortgage market, April turned out to be a bit more positive than that.

96. MAAR to Participate in Open House Weekend -

Memphis Area Association of Realtors has teamed up with Realtor associations across the country for the Nationwide Open House Weekend from Saturday, April 28 through Sunday, April 29.

The purpose of the open house weekend is to encourage prospective homebuyers to discover the quality and affordability of homes in the Memphis market. This is the third year for the event and it has proven popular with consumers and Realtors.

97. Recovery Threatened by Runaway Student Loan Debt -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal student loan program seemed like a great idea back in 1965: Borrow to go to college now, pay it back later when you have a job.

But many borrowers these days are close to flunking out, tripped up by painful real-life lessons in math and economics.

98. Average Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Dips to 3.88 Pct. -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fixed mortgage remain a bargain at the start of the spring-buying season: The average rate on the 30-year mortgage dipped this week, while the 15-year loan fell to a new record low.

99. In a Word -

A WORD ABOUT MEMPHIS. THREE, IN FACT. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but this was the gist of what they were asked:

What matters most to our city’s future?

What do we promote to bring your friends here?

100. Haslam: Patronage Threat Doesn’t Match Realities -

Political patronage is not the threat to state employees that it once was because state government is bigger and has a broader scope of services, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says.

Haslam has been making the point as he tours the state to push priorities launched last month in his State of the State address.