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VOL. 128 | NO. 121 | Friday, June 21, 2013

Daily Digest

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Bell Property Files Loan on Retail Center

Bell Property Group GP has filed a $3.4 million loan on the Bell Plaza Shopping Center on Summer Avenue in Berclair.

The company filed the deed of trust, security agreement and fixture filing June 11 through Independent Bank.

William M. Bell III signed the trust deed as president of Bell Properties Inc., the managing partner of the borrower.

The main parcel of the shopping center is 4778 Summer Ave. That property includes 38,404 square feet of retail space on 3 acres at the northeast corner of Summer Avenue and Avon Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $1.4 million.

Another parcel in the Bell Plaza Shopping Center is 4862 Summer, which includes 16,800 square feet of retail space on 3 acres to the east of the 4778 Summer property. That parcel has an appraised value of $724,400.

Bell Property Group owns other parcels in the area, including 4818 Summer, 4838 Summer, 661 N. Mendenhall and 670 N. Mendenhall.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

FedEx to Buy Supaswift Operations

FedEx Corp. said Thursday that it has agreed to buy businesses operated by its current service provider in five Southern African countries. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deals cover Supaswift (Pty) Ltd.’s operations in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. FedEx said it’s also in talks to buy Supaswift’s businesses in Botswana and Namibia.

The acquired businesses will operate under the FedEx Express business unit, FedEx said.

The deal will give FedEx Express direct access across the seven markets to 39 facilities. About 1,000 of Supaswift’s workers will join FedEx, the company said.

FedEx said the acquisition will give customers greater access to some of the world’s most rapidly growing economies and strengthen its FedEx Express operations.

Supaswift started operations in South Africa in 1990. In 2005, it combined with MyExpress Pty Ltd., which had been offering FedEx Express international services in Southern Africa since 1991.

The acquisition announcement comes a day after FedEx announced a better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter profit, but issued disappointing guidance for the current year.

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Receives B for Manufacturing

Tennessee is a strong manufacturing state, but limited by the relatively low level of educational achievement, according to a new report from Ball State University.

The 2013 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card, an in-depth analysis from Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), grades all 50 states on factors that lead to success.

“The continuing story in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky are the persistent low levels of educational attainment, which plague the expansion of highly productive firms,” said Michael Hicks, CBER director and an economics professor at Ball State.

Tennessee saw improvement in the tax climate and the expected liability gap – unfunded bond and pension liabilities to help pay for infrastructure and provide pensions and health care for workers, Hicks said. Those two improvements suggest Tennessee could see improved manufacturing prospects, but “quality limitations of the workforce” remains an issue.

Tennessee received B grades in manufacturing, expected liability gap, global reach and sector diversification; B+ in logistics and worker benefit costs; C in tax climate; C- in productivity and innovation; and D- in human capital.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

New Sultana Marker Dedicated on Riverside

A new historical marker noting the 1865 explosion and sinking of the steamboat Sultana has been dedicated in Mississippi River Park Downtown.

The marker, dedicated earlier this month by the Shelby County Historical Commission replaces one stolen several years ago. Like the earlier one in what was then Jefferson Davis Park, the new marker was financed with private money raised by attorney, historian and author Jerry Potter. Andrew Carroll, a historian and author from Washington, joined Potter in the fundraising effort.

The nearby cobblestones on the city’s riverfront were the last port for the Sultana in April 1865 as it made its way from Vicksburg, Miss., severely overcrowded with Union soldiers just released from Confederate prison camps.

Just north of Memphis, one of the Sultana’s boilers that had been repaired in Vicksburg exploded and the wooden boat caught fire. More than 1,500 people died in a maritime disaster rivaling the death toll in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

The disaster filled Memphis hospitals with the wounded. But nationally, the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln that same month obscured the event.

Potter’s 1992 book, “The Sultana Tragedy,” is a definitive account of the disaster and the investigations that followed.

The earlier marker disappeared after it was first removed from its post and fell to the river’s edge.

– Bill Dries

Bigfish Creative Agency Hosts Web-Focused Meet Up

Memphis-based creative agency Bigfish is holding a free meet up later this month to discuss the findings from a recent study it undertook of local medical websites, in which Bigfish found that most were not optimized for the new Web ecosystem of social interactions, personalization and mobility.

The meet up Wednesday, June 26, will offer solutions for how to fix those issues and ideas about how to achieve a social website. The one-hour gathering is open to the public but geared toward medical practices, hospitals, health groups and nonprofit organizations.

Among a variety of other services, Bigfish specializes in consulting on social media strategies for health care providers.

To register for the meet up, visit www.gobigfishgo.com/hcsm.

– Andy Meek

Jobless Aid Applications Rise to 354,000

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job growth.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average increased by 2,500 to 348,250.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Since January, they have fallen 6 percent. That suggests companies are cutting fewer jobs.

At the same time, hiring has been steady, despite an increase in taxes on Jan. 1 and steep federal spending cuts that began in March. Solid consumer spending and a rebound in housing have helped the economy weather the fiscal drag.

Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the increase in applications makes it less likely that hiring will accelerate this month but job growth remains moderate.

Employers added 175,000 jobs in May, nearly matching the average monthly gain for the past year.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent, but for a good reason: More Americans were confident they could find work and began searching for a job.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday offered a brighter outlook for the job market and economy. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed is likely to reduce its bond purchases later this year and end them in the middle of next year if the economy continues to strengthen.

The Fed expects the unemployment rate will fall to between 6.5 percent and 6.8 percent by the end of 2014. That’s lower than their March forecast of 6.7 percent to 7 percent.

About 4.5 million Americans received unemployment benefits in the week ending June 1, the latest data available. That’s 18,000 more than the previous week. But the number of recipients has fallen 28 percent in the past year. Some have likely gotten jobs, but many have used up all the benefits available.

The Labor Department said last week that more Americans quit their jobs in April compared with March. That points to confidence in the job market, since most workers don’t quit until they have another job or are sure they can find one. More quits also opens up jobs for other workers, or the unemployed, to take.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 96 96 12,993
MORTGAGES 132 132 16,890
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 21 21 3,322
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 30,564
BANKRUPTCIES 66 66 12,409
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 20 4,509
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 146 146 19,039
MARRIAGE LICENSES 35 35 3,944

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