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VOL. 6 | NO. 38 | Saturday, September 14, 2013

Daily Digest

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Memphis Botanic Garden to Build Entertainment Facility

The Memphis Botanic Garden plans on building an entertainment center for its popular Live at the Garden Summer Concert Series.

According to a permit filed with the Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement, the Botanic Garden plans on building a $2.2 million entertainment center for Live at the Garden.

The Live at the Garden series started in 2001 with a performance by the late Isaac Hayes, and quickly developed into one of the city’s most unique live music experiences.

Main to Main Connector Meeting Scheduled

Looking for the latest news on the ambitious Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Connector Project?

You can get an update on the project Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m. in the fifth floor conference room at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

The Main Street to Main Street Project coordinating committee will give an update on bid recommendations, bid status and bid schedule.

The $37 million project includes major infrastructure improvements to Main Street Downtown and a pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk across the Harahan Bridge.

County Trustee Lenoir Runs for Re-Election

Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir’s campaign website and Facebook page went up Thursday, Sept. 12, signaling his intent to seek a second four-year term in the 2014 county elections, starting with the May 6 Republican primaries.

Lenoir will formally kick off his campaign with a Sept. 26 fundraiser.

Lenoir was part of a slate of Republican contenders that took every countywide office on the 2010 county general election ballot.

University of Memphis Starts Dorm Construction

The University of Memphis broke ground Wednesday on a new residence hall at the corner of Patterson Street and Norriswood Avenue.

The new building, which will face Central Avenue, will replace Richardson Towers and is expected to be completed for the fall 2015 semester. The university will continue to operate Richardson Towers until the new building is complete, then will remove it to create additional green space.

The $53 million, 780-bed building will feature double- and single-occupancy rooms on wings with shared private bathrooms. The facility also will have 24 apartments, each with six single-occupant bedrooms. It will also include classrooms, study and project space, and room for student programs.

Memphis Companies to Present at Nashville Conference

Memphis-area companies Mobilizer and View Medical are presenting next month at the LifeSciTN Conference and Venture Forum in Nashville.

The event brings together industry experts, investors and innovators and is designed to create an atmosphere in which entrepreneurs can create partnerships and raise capital.

Top presenters will be offered start-up business services from LifeSciTN Venture Forum supporters.

Obsidian to Brainstorm With Small Businesses

Obsidian Public Relations is playing host to seven small businesses for its first Memphis Idea Fest next month.

The firm is hosting the event at its office, 493 S. Main St., on Oct. 29. During Idea Fest’s one-hour lightning rounds, Obsidian’s entire Memphis staff will meet with each chosen organization’s management team for a brainstorming session to address a public relations issue currently facing each business.

Businesses must have fewer than 50 employees to qualify for participation. Other application requirements and event information can be found at www.obsidianpr.com, and applications for the free event are due by Oct. 10.

Lipscomb & Pitts Chosen for 'Best Practices' Study

Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance has been tapped to be part of a group of independent insurance agencies around the U.S. participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s Best Practices study group.

More than 1,100 agencies out of the more than 35,000 in the U.S. were nominated this year. But only 216 independent agencies qualified for inclusion in the 2013 Best Practices study.

The IIABA started the study in 1993. It documents practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.

Southeastern Asset Management Buys Stake in News Corp.

Memphis-based Southeastern Asset Management Inc., the investment firm that along with activist investor Carl Icahn opposed the proposed buyout of Dell Inc., disclosed that it has taken a nearly 12 percent stake in News Corp.

According to the Tuesday Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Southeastern now owns 23.8 million News Corp. Class B shares for an 11.9 percent stake in the company, making it the largest institutional shareholder of the company, according to FactSet.

Earlier this week, Southeastern and Icahn dropped their opposition to Dell’s plan to sell itself to its company founder Michael Dell in a $24.8 billion deal.

The investment firm and Icahn had vehemently opposed the deal, saying that it significantly undervalued the company, but dropped their bid after realizing that they wouldn’t be able to defeat a vote on the offer set for Thursday.

New York-based News Corp. owns both The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, along with Dow Jones Newswires and a book publishing arm. Last week, it announced a deal to sell off 33 smaller publications, including eight dailies. The publisher split off its movie studio and cable television business, now called 21st Century Fox, in June.

Overton Square Bogie's Closed by State

The Bogie’s Delicatessen at 2098 Lasalle Place in Overton Square has been closed by the state for failure to pay taxes.

The state Department of Revenue posted a notice at the business Tuesday, Sept. 10, saying it was closed for failure to pay taxes.

The 1,450-square-foot restaurant, which features a spacious patio, has been a Midtown staple for years. The building was built in 1920 and is assessed at $49,440.

MAAR Records August Home Sales Increase

Memphis-area home sales posted gains in August when compared to August 2012 but were flat from July, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

MAAR reports 1,702 sales were recorded in the area in August, up 11.7 percent from 1,525 in August 2012. In July, 1,714 sales were recorded in the area.

MAAR records home sales in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, Hardeman, Hardin, McNairy and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; DeSoto County in Mississippi; and Crittenden County in Arkansas.

The average sales price in August was $144,063, up 11.3 percent from $129,380 last August. Total sales volume for August was $245.2 million, up 24.3 percent from $197.3 million last year.

Through August, 11,179 homes have been sold, up 11 percent from 10,072 sales over the same period last year. The year-to-date average sales price was $142,363, up 10.3 percent from $129,083 last year. Sales volume through August weighed in at $1.59 billion, up 22.3 percent from $1.3 billion last year.

Reynolds Bone & Griesbeck Donates to Crews Center

Memphis-based accounting firm Reynolds Bone & Griesbeck PLC has announced a four-year commitment to the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship at The University of Memphis.

The accounting firm has pledged a $40,000 donation – $10,000 per year over four years – to the center, which will be based out of the former’s Mason’s Lodge building that was built in the 1950s and is currently undergoing renovations. Those renovations will transform the space into a top-class venture development lab, complete with flexible office space, lab areas for prototype development, advanced technological systems and a conference room for meetings with potential investors and mentors.

RBG managing partner John Griesbeck said he approached the firm’s partner group about making a funding commitment to support the lab and that he believes the project will enhance entrepreneurial activities of the university and the local business community.

Wunderlich Securities Downgrades First Horizon

Wunderlich Securities Inc. has downgraded shares of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. from buy to hold and lowered the company’s price target from $13 to $11.

The move follows a visit with First Horizon management last week, according to Wunderlich bank analyst Kevin Reynolds. In a note to clients, Reynolds wrote that in the wake of that meeting, “our outlook on FHN shares is incrementally more cautious given a persistently difficult environment with near-term headwinds impacting both FHN’s spread-based banking business as well as its fixed income sales operation.”

He did note as the economic environment strengthens and interest rates normalize at higher levels, First Horizon’s commercially oriented focus could produce “meaningfully higher growth and profitability.” First Horizon is the parent company of First Tennessee Bank.

First Horizon Honored as Adoption-Friendly

First Horizon National Corp. has again earned a spot on the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s list of best adoption-friendly workplaces.

Rankings for the best adoption-friendly workplaces were based on benefits available to employees who adopt, such as financial reimbursement and paid leave.

John Daniel, First Horizon’s head of human resources, said the company works hard to provide the tools and benefits to help employees achieve a balance of being at their best to serve customers when they have the resources to juggle work and family life.

UT Health Science Center Opens Endodontics Clinic

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has opened a new endodontics clinic in the Winfield C. Dunn Building at 875 Union Ave.

School officials said the clinic is a major step forward for the Advanced Specialty Education program in endodontics at the College of Dentistry. The program received initial accreditation in 2011. Prior to that, UT dental graduates had to travel out of state to complete specialty endodontic training.

Endodontics is a specialty focusing on the study and treatment of the dental pulp, usually referred to as root canal treatment.

The new clinic includes a digital operatory with custom endodontic carts, digital radiography and endodontic practice management software.

Patients who want to save their teeth will be offered better alternatives to tooth extraction. The clinic also will attract new patients who cannot afford private practice fees.

Martin Tate Law Firm Expands to Lawrenceburg

One of the oldest law firms in the Memphis area has opened a new office in Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

The new Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston PC office there will serve the firm’s growing commercial and transportation client base in the Middle Tennessee and Nashville areas. That new office also represents the first time the firm, which was founded in Memphis in 1904, has expanded into Middle Tennessee.

Women Regain Jobs Lost in Recession

U.S. women have recovered all the jobs they lost to the Great Recession. The same can’t be said for men, who remain 2.1 million jobs short.

The biggest factor is that men dominate construction and manufacturing – industries that have not recovered millions of jobs lost during the downturn. By contrast, women have made up a disproportionate share of workers in those that have been hiring – retail, education, health care, restaurants and hotels.

“It’s a segregated labor market, and men and women do work in different industries, and even in different areas within industries,” says Heidi Hartmann, an economist and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The gap was evident in the August unemployment rates: 6.8 percent for women, 7.7 percent for men.

In August, 68 million women said they were employed, passing the more than the 67.97 million who had jobs when the recession began in December 2007.

Peabody Hotel to Hold Fall Rooftop Parties

The Peabody hotel’s Rooftop Parties are back for a four-party encore fall season.

The all-new fall season began Sept. 12 and ends Oct. 31 with a Halloween bash.

Craig Smith, The Peabody’s regional director of sales and marketing, said the addition of parties in September and October was in direct response to demand from guests who wanted parties when the weather cools off.

The fall parties, on Sept. 26, Oct. 17 and Oct. 31, will take place on The Peabody hotel’s roof from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Pay Offset Renewed for Active-Duty State Workers

Gov. Bill Haslam has renewed an expired executive order to cover any loss of salary by state employees called to active duty by the National Guard or the Armed Forces Reserves.

The measure requires government agencies and departments to extend military leave to state employees. It also requires those agencies to provide offsetting pay when the active-duty wages of their employees are less than their normal salary.

Haslam’s order extends a policy first put in place by then-Gov. Don Sundquist in response to state workers being called into active duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The policy was continued by former Gov. Phil Bredesen, and Haslam had renewed the annual order twice before.

Haslam’s order is retroactive to Aug. 26, when the last version expired.

Wholesale Stockpiles Rise 0.1 Percent in July

U.S. wholesalers increased in their stockpiles only slightly in July after three monthly declines, while their sales barely rose. The tepid gains add to worries about slower economic growth in the July-September quarter.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles rose just 0.1 percent in July from June. That followed a 0.3 percent decline in June.

Sales rose just 0.1 percent in July, the smallest gain since December. Still, that’s the fourth straight month that sales have risen.

Some economists had thought that wholesalers would ramp up their stockpiles in July after cutting them from April through July. The smaller increase could weigh on economic growth in the third quarter. More restocking boosts factory production, driving overall growth.

Economists Keep Rosy View for 3 Percent Growth in 2014

Business forecasters maintained their rosy view of the U.S. economy in 2014, predicting 3 percent growth by the second quarter of next year, low inflation and improving employment.

The top economists surveyed by the National Association of Business Economics between Aug. 8 and Aug. 20 also said there’s an 80 percent likelihood that the pickup in growth will prompt the Federal Reserve to trim its monthly $85 billion purchases of mortgage bonds and Treasury bills next year.

The NABE’s 43 respondents said in a report released Monday that there’s a 45 percent chance the Fed will begin its so-called “tapering” as early as this year.

But economists trimmed their expectations for the second half of 2013 since the last survey, in May.

The economists predicted that real gross domestic product would grow at a 2.3 percent annualized rate in the third quarter through September, down from 2.5 percent seen earlier; and 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 2.8 percent seen earlier. They were less optimistic about consumer spending, industrial production and private investment in nonresidential structures, equipment and software.

The economists’ slightly more pessimistic views were likely affected by the government initially reporting in July that second-quarter GDP grew 1.7 percent.

On Aug. 29, the Commerce Department revised the figure sharply higher for the April-June quarter, to 2.5 percent.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 67 156 11,921
MORTGAGES 77 227 15,577
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 57 3,080
BUILDING PERMITS 222 606 28,832
BANKRUPTCIES 82 210 11,517
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 73 4,228
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 87 339 17,522
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 61 3,625

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