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VOL. 126 | NO. 41 | Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Daily Digest

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Hilliard Crews Finances Wolf River Ranch Land

Germantown-based Hilliard Crews Partnership has financed 31 acres in Wolf River Ranch in Collierville through Triumph Bank for $1.9 million. The loan matures in February 2014.

The plan for Wolf River Ranch was filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds in 1999. It shows residential, commercial/office and park land on 352.5 acres north and south of Wolf River Boulevard on the east side of Shelton Road in Collierville.

The particular land financed in this transaction is proposed sub-phases B and C of phase VI, which is part of the subdivision’s D and E areas. D and E together total 64.5 acres.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Johnson Named City's Chief Ethics Officer

The city of Memphis now has its first chief ethics officer.

The city’s eight-member board of ethics has appointed attorney Monika Johnson to the position.

Johnson comes to the position from being director of contract services for Memphis City Schools.

A graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Johnson is also a former president of the Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association.

She serves a six-year term as chief ethics officer and investigates ethics complaints and makes recommendations to the ethics board based on her findings.

The chief ethics officer is also in charge of annual training for all city workers on the code of ethics.

– Bill Dries

Sodexo Lays Off 66 Shelby Co. Workers

Sodexo, a food services company that runs on-site food operations for schools, hospitals and other health care institutions, has laid off 66 people in Shelby County.

A notice to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the employees were to be laid off Monday. But the notice didn’t specify whether the layoffs were at the Sodexo facility in Germantown at 8350 Poplar Ave. or in Collierville at 580 Enjelica Cove.

Company officials at corporate headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., could not be reached for comment by press time.

Sodexo is a worldwide company founded in France in 1966.

The company announced just last Thursday that it was the winning bidder on a government contract to provide food service at 31 Marine Corps mess halls in the U.S.

The notice came via the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 – also known as WARN – in which Tennessee employers are required to send written notification to the state’s Dislocated Worker Unit 60 days in advance of a plant closure or layoff of 50 or more workers.

The most recent WARN notice also listed eight layoffs by AUTOZONERS LLC and 15 layoffs by StoneRiver Inc.

The layoffs at AUTOZONERS were to take place on or before Feb. 11. The StoneRiver layoffs were in January.

– Bill Dries

Architecture Billings Dips Slightly in Jan.

After showing positive momentum during the fourth quarter of 2010, the Architecture Billings Index slipped almost four points in January.

The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects reported the January ABI score was 50.0, down from a reading of 53.9 the previous month. Because any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, this score reflects stable demand for design services.

The new projects inquiry index was 56.5, down sharply from a mark of 61.6 in December. The South saw a 51.5 index in January, the second highest region behind the Midwest, at 56.4.

Sector indexes were as follows: commercial/industrial (54.6), multi-family/residential (53.7), institutional (51.3) and mixed practice (48.7).

“This slowdown is indicative of what is likely to be a very gradual improvement in business conditions at architecture firms for the better part of this year,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “We’ve been taking a cautiously optimistic approach for the last several months and there is no reason at this point to change that outlook. There are still too many firms that continue to see weak market conditions to expect a dramatic increase in the demand for services in the design and construction industry. ”

– Sarah Baker

First Horizon Honored for Employee Health Initiatives

Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. has received the CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation, a distinction developed by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.

The Gold Standard calls for companies to evaluate their health benefits and corporate culture and take extensive action in five areas of health and wellness to fight cancer in the workplace. A company must discourage the use of tobacco, encourage physical activity, promote diet and nutrition, promote appropriate cancer-screening behavior and provide access to quality care.

In July, First Horizon established a tobacco-free workplace policy. The company does not require that employees stop smoking or using tobacco, but the use of tobacco products is prohibited on First Horizon property.

All employees have access to coverage for over-the-counter products. Employees also have access at no cost to a tobacco quit kit and coaching sessions with a “quit coach.”

Other company wellness initiatives include Weight Watchers at Work and the Virgin HealthMiles program, which provides incentives to employees for being physically active. The company also made changes to the vending machine selections, adding healthier options labeled as “smart choice made easy.”

First Horizon President and CEO Bryan Jordan is also a charter member and co-chair of the Tennessee chapter of The American Cancer Society CEOs Against Cancer.

– Andy Meek

On Location: MEMPHIS Announces Sponsorships

On Location: MEMPHIS has announced its “Becoming a Fiverr” fundraising campaign.

Businesses, corporations and individuals will have a special opportunity to sponsor On Location: MEMPHIS through the website www.fiverr.com. Donors can contribute $5 and become an official sponsor.

As a sponsor, the individual’s name or the business’s name will be added to a special sponsor page on the On Location: MEMPHIS website for one calendar year.

On Location: MEMPHIS also will add the business’s logo and a link to their website at the donor’s request.

The mission of On Location: MEMPHIS is to advance, educate and inspire filmmakers, students and professionals in the cinema arts. The organization’s efforts culminate each year in its annual international film and music festival which will be held this year April 7 through April 10 at Malco Ridgeway 4.

For more information, call 730-6220 or visit www.onlocationmemphis.org.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Lifeblood to Reduce Work Force

Lifeblood has announced that it will restructure its operations and workforce to better serve its community mission.

The restructuring process will save Lifeblood, the Memphis area’s only local, nonprofit, volunteer blood center, an estimated $1 million in operating expenses and reduce its hospital service fees.

Plans include expanding the Germantown donor center, closing the Blytheville, Ark., center, changing parameters for mobile blood drives and reducing administrative overhead. The organization said it will reduce its overall workforce by 12 percent through a combination of attrition, eliminating unfilled positions and direct reduction. Top management salaries will also be reduced.

Board chairman Pat Carter said that, like many organizations in the current economy, Lifeblood must be lean and cost-effective in serving its mission.

“This restructuring allows Lifeblood to focus on its core business of engaging volunteer donors and providing a safe blood supply for patients in our community,” Carter said.

Lifeblood, at 1040 Madison Ave., was founded more than 40 years ago by local hospitals in an effort to provide blood for patient transfusions. The organization said it’s the area’s leading provider of blood and blood components to area hospitals, supplying more than 100,000 units for local patient transfusions each year.

– Aisling Maki

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PROPERTY SALES 123 545 12,897
MORTGAGES 125 622 16,758
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 36 88 3,301
BUILDING PERMITS 360 1,065 30,564
BANKRUPTCIES 64 368 12,343
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MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 126 3,909

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