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VOL. 128 | NO. 72 | Friday, April 12, 2013

Daily Digest

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Harold Ford Sr. Buys Sycamore View Property

Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. of Memphis has paid $1.8 million for a shopping center at 1670 Sycamore View Road in Northeast Memphis.

Operating in the transaction as Harold Ford Sycamore View LLC, Ford bought the 38,487-square-foot retail center April 8 from Belz Investco GP.

Ford, who represented Memphis in Washington for 22 years, has said he intends to open a funeral services business in the shopping center that will include a chapel and the ability to watch funeral services remotely.

It will also offer a variety of options for funeral services.

Built in 1987, the Class B center sits on 6.2 acres near the intersection of Sycamore View Road and Summer Avenue. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $1.7 million.

The transaction also included a 12.3-acre parcel of vacant land adjacent to the center.

Its appraised value is $181,000.

Several generations of the Ford family have worked in the funeral industry including Ford who along with his brothers and sisters worked in his father’s business N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home in South Memphis.

Ford left Congress in 1996 and became a lobbyist.

He lives in Florida.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Fred’s Key Revenue Figure Falls 3 Percent in March

Memphis-based discount retailer Fred’s Inc. said Thursday, April 11, its March revenue at stores open at least a year fell 3 percent, hurt by unseasonably cool weather and a timing shift in the Easter holiday.

The drop was bigger than Wall Street expected. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a decrease of 1.7 percent. The metric is a key measure of a retailer’s health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

Total sales for the five-week period ended April 6, fell 2 percent to $190.4 million from $194 million.

Fred’s said that as expected, cooler-than-usual weather in many parts of the country and the timing of the Easter holiday reduced March sales at its lawn and garden and seasonal departments.

The company’s pharmacy department got a boost from strong prescription growth, but those gains were offset by the continued shift toward generic drugs, which resulted in lower overall pharmacy sales. The company said it expects that trend to continue throughout most of the year.

For the first two months of fiscal 2013, revenue at stores open at least a year fell 2.3 percent, while total sales edged down 1 percent to $349.4 million from $352.9 million.

Fred’s operates 713 stores, including 21 franchised stores, in the southeastern U.S.

– The Associated Press

Luttrell Doesn’t Want Memphis Animal Shelter

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said Wednesday, April 11, he is not interested in making the Memphis Animal Shelter a county government operation.

Luttrell was asked by County Commissioner Chris Thomas about the swap being proposed by several Memphis City Council members.

Luttrell said neither he nor Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. have been consulted in the talks between the council and commission.

“Do I want the animal shelter? No,” Luttrell told commissioners.

City Council member Shea Flinn pitched the idea to commissioners last month in exchange for the city continuing to fund Memphis police officers in Memphis schools after city and county public schools are consolidated.

Luttrell said the animal shelter used by county government is privately operated.

– Bill Dries

Indie Memphis Offers Four Swedish Films

Indie Memphis is offering four Swedish films next month as part of Memphis in May’s salute to Sweden.

The series, named “Sweden @ 24 FPS” in reference to the 24 frames-per-second speed at which 35mm film is projected, will be held over four consecutive Wednesdays in May at Malco’s Studio on the Square.

All films in the series will be presented from 35mm film prints.

The series will open on May 8 with “The Seventh Seal,” followed by “Wild Strawberries” on May 15. After that is “Beyond” on May 22 and “Sound of Noise” on May 29.

Each film will be shown twice, at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

Tickets are $8 each and are available in advance at indiememphis.com/sweden.

Indie Memphis members will have free admission with their Indie Memphis membership card, as seating permits.

All four films will be presented in Swedish with English subtitles.

– Andy Meek

North Shore League, Humane Society Hold Adoption Event

The North Shore Animal League and the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County will partner for a special mobile pet adoption event Sunday, April 14, at Wolfchase Galleria.

The event, Tour for Life, will offer information on the benefits of adopting shelter pets and feature adoptable shelter dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. The mobile pet adoption event will be held from noon to 5 p.m.

Tour for Life is traveling across the U.S. in four shelters on wheels to find homes for adoptable animals in partnership with shelters and rescue operations across the nation. The tour will stop in 52 cities and 28 states to raise awareness.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Kyle Awarded First Wilder Law School Scholarship

Glen Alan Kyle is the 2013 recipient of the first BankTennessee John S. Wilder Law School Scholarship.

The scholarship is named in memory of former Tennessee Lt. Gov. John Wilder, a former vice chairman of BankTennessee’s board of directors and one of the founders of the bank. The endowed scholarship is awarded annually to a University of Memphis third-year law student and Tennessee resident who has demonstrated a commitment to public service and to enhancing the common good.

Kyle is from Murfreesboro, and after he graduates he hopes to clerk for a judge for one year.

After that, he wants to work in elder law, bankruptcy or for a government agency.

– Andy Meek

State Info Technologists Must Apply to Keep Jobs

Information technology employees of state government must re-apply for their jobs.

The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam has told IT workers statewide to submit applications if they want to keep the jobs they currently fill.

State government IT chief Mark Bengel told The Tennessean the aim is be certain that workers’ skills match the state’s needs.

“This is really not about getting rid of people,” Bengel said Wednesday. “It’s about making sure that we do have the skills and we have the ability to develop and retain staff in the future.”

Haslam told the newspaper last year that some state computer systems were “in the ditch.”

The governor has established an office to centralize IT expertise.

Last year, the administration was successful in steering through a legislative bill that rewrote civil service rules, allowing the state to lay off employees based on job performance, instead of straight seniority.

According to a state Office of Information Resources memo obtained by The Tennessean, each state agency with IT operations “will receive a draft, standardized organizational structure that has been aligned with the mission of the agency.

This draft organizational structure will be populated with newly created IT job classifications.”

The memo specifies that state IT workers who meet minimum qualifications are eligible to apply and be interviewed for the new classifications.

“Technology is moving so fast that skills are obsolete in the blink of an eye,” Bengel said.

Robert O’Connell, executive director of the Tennessee State Employees Association, said it is stressful to IT workers who are being forced to re-apply for jobs they already hold.

But Bengel said the state must fiercely compete with private industry and a scarcity of information technologists.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 109 433 13,330
MORTGAGES 114 591 17,349
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 11 93 3,391
BUILDING PERMITS 0 366 30,930
BANKRUPTCIES 76 352 12,695
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 108 4,597
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 77 564 19,457
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 151 4,060

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