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VOL. 127 | NO. 96 | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily Digest

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$17M in Permit Apps Filed for Miller Creek

Miller Creek Residences LLC has filed more than $17 million in building permit applications with the city-county Office of Construction Code for work at Miller Creek Apartments in Germantown.

The applications include more than $16 million for apartment buildings on Skipping Stone Trace, Persimmon Trail, Parkline Drive, Round Rock Lane, Falling Acorn Lane and Red Osier Drive.

All the buildings are listed as being three stories with garages on the first floor.

Other permits totaling more than $360,000 are allocated for two-story duplexes on Round Rock and Parkline; and more than $500,000 is allocated for apartment complex amenities including fitness and yoga rooms and a swimming pool.

Miller Creek Apartments is slated to be built near the corner of Winchester and South Forest Hill-Irene roads.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Davis Named Education Director at Bodine School

Dr. Lyle Davis is the new director of education at The Bodine School effective June 4.

Davis will supervise teachers, monitor student growth and oversee curriculum at the Germantown school for students with learning disabilities.

Davis has worked as an independent consultant in the field and a learning specialist for children and adults.

She earned her master’s in special education from the University of Virginia where she specialized in reading disorders.

She also earned a doctorate of philosophy in learning disabilities from Northwestern University. Davis earned her undergraduate degree in special education and cognitive studies from Vanderbilt University.

– Bill Dries

Wunderlich Named to Conservancy Board

Kent Wunderlich, the chairman, CEO and general counsel for Financial Federal Bank, has been named to the board of directors of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

The conservancy manages and operates Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline in a public-private partnership with Shelby County government.

The conservancy’s board of directors is charged with fundraising, budgetary management, setting the vision for the park’s future and overseeing its natural resources.

Wunderlich has served on the boards of a variety of charitable groups around Memphis, including the Boys Club of Memphis and Neighborhood Housing Opportunities Inc.

– Andy Meek

Local 'Diners' Filmed for Food Network Series

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri was in Memphis last week visiting a handful of the city’s budding eateries for his Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

The show features Fieri traveling the country in his red 1967 Chevy Camaro convertible for classic “greasy spoon” restaurants, bars and roadside shacks based on viewer suggestions.

“Wrappin up a great DDD shoot in Memphis and stayed at the awesome @PeabodyMemphis, wait’ll you guys see these joints!” @GuyFieri tweeted Tuesday, May 8.

Fieri filmed tutorials of how to make best-selling menu items with the chefs of six area restaurants: the Elegant Farmer, Rizzo’s Diner, Three Angels Diner and South of Beale in Memphis, as well as Memphis BBQ Co. and Memphis Street Café in Mississippi.

All six restaurants have opened within the past few years.

The show will air later this summer. Other area restaurants Fieri has spotlighted on his show in the past include The Little Tea Shop, Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken, Alcenia’s and Tom’s BBQ.

– Sarah Baker

Country Stars Announce Memphis Concert for St. Jude

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will present country music star John Rich & Friends: An Evening of Songs, Stories and Hope, on Tuesday, June 5, at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Memphis.

In addition to Rich, a longtime St. Jude supporter, musical guests include Darius Rucker, Kellie Pickler and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

The event – part of FedEx St. Jude Classic Week – will begin with a cocktail reception followed by an acoustic concert hosted by Rich.

All proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its mission of finding cures and saving children.

The Memphis-based hospital that was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas treats children from around the world who are suffering from catastrophic illnesses, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

For tickets, e-mail Lisa Heros, lisa.heros@stjude.org.

– Aisling Maki

US Builder Confidence at Highest Level in 5 Years

Confidence among U.S. builders rose to the highest level in five years in May, a hopeful sign that modest improvement in the housing market will pick up.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 29 in May. That’s the highest reading since May 2007 and up from a downwardly revised reading of 24 in April.

The index rose for six straight months before falling in April.

Still, any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn’t reached hit that level since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

Homebuilders reported improving sales and higher traffic from prospective buyers. A gauge measuring confidence in sales over the next six months also rose, to 34 from 31.

The improved outlook follows other recent signs that the depressed housing market is slowly improving.

In March, builders requested the highest number of permits to build new homes and apartments in 3 ½ years. And the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in March to the highest level in nearly two years.

Mortgage rates have fallen to record lows and hiring has picked up, making it easier for more Americans to buy homes. Still, many would-be buyers are having difficulty qualifying for home loans or can’t afford larger down payments required by banks.

– The Associated Press

US Consumers Hold Back, Even as Gas Prices Fall

Lower gas prices in April weren’t enough to embolden U.S. consumers to spend much more elsewhere.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose only 0.1 percent last month. After excluding gasoline station sales, consumers increased their spending on retail goods by just 0.2 percent.

That followed two stronger months in February and March. Some economists say a mild winter led consumers to make purchases earlier in the year, effectively stealing sales from April.

Still, there were positive signs suggesting that tepid spending in April might prove to be a temporary lull. Americans spent more on autos, furniture and electronics, big purchases that help drive growth. They also spent more at restaurants and bars – generally a sign of confidence in the economy.

Excluding autos, gas station sales and spending on building materials, so-called core retail sales increased 0.4 percent.

One reason for the weakness was gasoline prices have fallen sharply in the past month. The national average dropped to roughly $3.73 per gallon on Monday, roughly 17 cents cheaper than a month ago, according to a survey by AAA. That pulled sales at service stations down 0.3 percent.

But consumers cut spending sharply at department stores and clothing stores. And sales dropped 1.8 percent at hardware stores.

The retail sales report represents the government’s first look at consumer spending for the April-June quarter. Consumer spending is closely watched since it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Dan Greenhaus, an analyst at BTIG in New York, said that weaker April figure likely reflects a temporary slowdown in further solid gains. He expects cheaper gas prices to lift consumer confidence.

The University of Michigan said its Consumer Sentiment index for May rose to its highest level since January 2008.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 70 134 16,547
MORTGAGES 72 144 21,576
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 9 35 4,301
BUILDING PERMITS 209 209 39,587
BANKRUPTCIES 80 149 15,691
BUSINESS LICENSES 15 28 5,519
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 117 201 23,774
MARRIAGE LICENSES 14 51 5,086

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