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VOL. 124 | NO. 117 | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Digest

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City of Germantown To Demolish Fire Station

The city of Germantown has filed a $2 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to demolish its fire station at 3031 Forest Hill-Irene Road. The 4-acre property where the old station sits will house the new facility.

Until the new building is finished, fire department officials will store their equipment in a temporary shelter. The city earlier this year approved $39,000 to buy a pre-fabricated metal building from Simpson Construction LLC.

Germantown operates three fire stations in addition to the one on Forest Hill-Irene Road: 2700 Cross Country, 8925 Dogwood Road and 7766 Farmington Road.

A call to Germantown fire chief Dennis Wolf for more details about the project, such as total cost and timeline, was not immediately returned.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

IDB to Hear Request For New Blue Earth Facility

On tap for today’s Memphis-Shelby County Industrial Development Board meeting is a request by Blue Earth Solutions Inc. to close on its application for an Industrial Revenue Bond.

The city-county agency in the fall gave preliminary approval to the issuance of a $9 million bond that would finance a new Blue Earth manufacturing facility in Memphis. Blue Earth is a provider of recycling products.

The IDB meets today at 3 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

Cargill Sues Memphis Biofuels

Cargill Inc., a privately held conglomerate that had sales of $120 billion during its 2008 fiscal year, is suing Memphis Biofuels LLC for breach of contract to collect on a debt.

Memphis Biofuels, which recently laid off 16 employees, owes Cargill $127,000 for deliveries of a grease product made for the startup company this year, according t0 a court complaint filed this month in Shelby County Chancery Court.

Memphis Biofuels was established in 2005 to produce biodiesel, but the company has been hurt by the economic recession and the subsequent lowering of energy prices.

Last month, Memphis Biofuels laid off the 16 employees, leaving it with a work force of 13.

Ken Arnold, the president of Memphis Biofuels, declined to comment on the lawsuit filed by Cargill.

Senate to Vote On Closing Handgun Records

The head of the Tennessee Firearms Association said several organizations now say they don’t want to completely close access to the names of people who hold state-issued permits to carry loaded handguns in public.

The measure sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville was scheduled for a full Senate vote Tuesday. The proposal, which passed the House last month, would make the names secret.

However, John Harris, a driving force behind a slew of gun bills in the Legislature this year, said on the association’s online forum that several organizations “want the database to remain available ... for purposes of contacting permit holders directly.”

Harris made the comments during an online exchange on Sunday. He did not immediately return a call Tuesday.

Industrial Activity Dips More Than Expected in May

Industrial production tumbled a larger-than-expected 1.1 percent in May as the recession crimped demand for a wide range of manufactured goods including cars, machinery and household appliances.

The Federal Reserve’s report Tuesday showed production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities has fallen for seven straight months. Output also turned out to be a bit weaker – a 0.7 percent decline – in April than the Fed initially reported.

The 1.1 percent drop registered in May was the deepest since a 1.8 percent plunge in March. Economists expected a decline of 0.9 percent last month.

The recession has crimped demand in the U.S. for all kinds of manufactured goods, especially those related to the housing sector.

Factories also are coping with less demand from foreign buyers struggling with their own economic problems.

The overall operating rate fell to 68.3 percent in May, a record low dating to 1967. The previous low was set in April, when operating capacity dropped to a revised reading of 69, slightly weaker than first reported.

The pullbacks factored into a drop in the operating rate at factories, which fell to 65 percent in May, the lowest on records dating to 1948. The previous low was set in April.

Production of appliances, furniture and carpeting fell 1.1 percent, partly reversing a 1.5 percent increase in April. Production of home electronics declined 1.9 percent, following a 1.4 percent decline in the previous month.

Wholesale Inflation Up Less Than Expected

Wholesale prices rose less than expected in May as a drop in food costs helped keep overall prices down.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday that the Producer Price Index increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent from April. That’s below analysts’ expectations of a 0.6 percent rise.

Despite the increase, wholesale prices fell 5 percent in the past 12 months. That’s the largest annual drop in almost 60 years.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core PPI dropped 0.1 percent in May, also below analysts’ forecasts of a 0.1 percent rise.

Falling prices can raise fears about deflation, a destabilizing period of extended declines. But most economists believe that efforts by the Federal Reserve to combat the recession will prevent that from happening.

A 2.9 percent rise in energy prices, including a 13.9 percent jump in the cost of gas, drove the May increase. Pump prices reached about $2.50 a gallon by the end of last month.

Food prices, meanwhile, fell 1.6 percent, reversing a similar rise in April. Egg prices plummeted 27 percent, after jumping 43.7 percent in April.

The government is scheduled to release consumer price data Wednesday. The consumer price index is expected to increase 0.3 percent in May after a flat reading in April. The core CPI is forecast to rise 0.1 percent.

Wholesale and consumer prices have fallen from a year ago, which has led some economists to worry about deflation. The U.S. has not seen a bout of deflation since the Great Depression.

But the Fed has cut a key interest rate to a record low near zero and taken a number of other extraordinary measures to flood the banking system with cash.

Many economists don’t expect the Fed to raise interest rates until the unemployment rate stops rising. It shot up to a 25-year high of 9.4 percent in May and many forecasters believe the jobless rate will top 10 percent by year’s end.

Father’s Day Show to Display Variety of Italian Cars

A collection of classic and modern Italian cars will be on display this Sunday, Father’s Day, at the 2009 Exotic Italian Car Show from noon to 5 p.m. at Germantown Municipal Park.

The car show, organized by Memphis Cars Italia and sponsored by the City of Germantown, will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. In its eighth year, the show has raised more than $80,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

Cars scheduled to be on display include the Ferrari F430 Spyder, the Lamborghini LP560 Spyder, Alfa Romeos, Fiats, and the Maserati Gran Turismo S, as well as non-Italian cars such as Porsches, Aston Martins and the Bentley Continental GT Convertible.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call 761-4771.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 86 182 13,079
MORTGAGES 135 267 17,025
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 21 3,322
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 30,564
BANKRUPTCIES 67 133 12,476
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 43 4,532
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 182 328 19,221
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 35 3,944

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