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VOL. 129 | NO. 23 | Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Daily Digest

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TruGreen Buys Office on Forest Hill-Irene

TruGreen LP, the lawn-care services business formerly under the umbrella of the Memphis-based ServiceMaster Co., has purchased a 73,144-square-foot mixed-use office building at 3839 Forest Hill-Irene Road from ServiceMaster Acceptance Corp. for $2.1 million.

TruGreen bought the property in a limited warranty deed signed on Dec. 23, though the document wasn’t recorded by the Shelby County Register of Deeds until last week.

Built in 1997, the Class B office facility is on 9.5 acres on the southwest corner of Forest Hill-Irene and Crestwyn Hills Drive. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $6.2 million.

ServiceMaster in November announced plans to spin off TruGreen after several years of struggling to find a successful business model for the brand. The plan had been to complete the transaction by the end of 2013, but a Dec. 31 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated the spin-off had been “temporarily delayed.”

An SEC filing a couple of weeks later stated the separation was completed Jan. 14. As of Monday, TruGreen’s website still listed its corporate headquarters at 860 Ridge Lake Blvd., also the site of ServiceMaster’s headquarters.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Gibson Guitar Launches ‘Government’ Brand

Gibson Guitar Corp. has launched a “Government Series” Les Paul guitar commemorating federal agents raiding the Gibson factories in Nashville and Memphis.

The guitar – which is available in a “Government Tan” color – is made from wood confiscated during the raids in Nashville.

“Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville – only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended – it was an event worth celebrating,” Gibson said in a statement.

The Nashville-based guitar maker was raided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents on allegations it violated the Lacey Act, which requires U.S. companies to comply with other countries’ environmental export restrictions. While denying wrongdoing, Gibson agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty and other fines.

The Government Series II Les Paul, which will sell for around $1,099, features a pickguard that is “hot-stamped in gold with the Government Series graphic – a bald eagle hoisting a Gibson guitar neck.”

– Amos Maki

Bike Arch Construction Moves to Overton Park

Construction of the bicycle gateway connecting trails in Overton Park to the Broad Avenue connector, and from there to the Memphis Greenline, moved Monday, Feb. 3, to the park itself.

The bicycle sculpture where Sam Cooper Parkway dead ends at East Parkway is an arch consisting of more than 300 bicycles donated to the cause. Sculptor Tylur French had a large part of the arch ready to move to the park Monday morning using a 20-ton crane. During the week, French will add 85 more bicycles to the piece from a staging area in the park.

Plans are to raise the sculpture Saturday, Feb. 8.

– Bill Dries

Victorian Village to Host Fundraiser Feb. 23

Victorian Village Inc. on Feb. 23 will host a fundraiser dinner called A Taste of Elegance, a farm-to-table period dinner benefiting Victorian Village Inc. Community Development Corp.

The event will be held inside three of the Victorian homes on Adams Avenue. The Mallory-Neely House will provide the backdrop for the charcuterie course, the 1871 Woodruff-Fontaine House will host a dinner and the newly renovated James Lee House will offer desserts.

The menu will be period-inspired, and Victorian dress is welcomed. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased at victorianvillageinc.org.

All three homes will be open for tours during the event.

– Andy Meek

Grizzlies Add Guard to Roster

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Darius Morris to a 10-day contract, the team announced Monday.

Grizzlies starting point guard Mike Conley suffered an ankle sprain in the Friday, Jan. 31, game at Minnesota. Rookie Nick Calathes started in the Feb. 1 game vs. Milwaukee and scored a career-high 22 points.

Morris (6’4”, 190) will offer more experience. He has averaged 4.2 points and 1.6 assists on .413 shooting in 11.2 minutes in 22 games with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers this season.

The three-year veteran holds career averages of 3.7 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 12.3 minutes in 89 games (17 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers, 76ers and Clippers.

Morris, 23, was drafted by the Lakers in the second round (41st overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft. He earned All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore at the University of Michigan and averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in two seasons with the Wolverines.

– Don Wade

Board Changes Stance on Teacher Licensing

The Tennessee Board of Education has changed its stance on rules effecting the licensing of teachers.

In August, the board voted for the policy brought by the state Education Department to use student growth measured through standardized test scores, or value-added data, to determine renewing teaching licenses.

The board voted at the time to delay implementation of the new rules until 2015.

But The Tennessean reports the board voted last week to step away from the new policy. The vote was on first reading and the board is scheduled to take up the issue again in April.

Many teachers opposed the changes because they were concerned that flawed scores could cause qualified teachers to mistakenly lose their licenses.

Despite the board’s new position, the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, says it will still push a measure this legislative session that would prevent the state from taking teachers’ licenses based on “any statistical estimate utilizing standardized test scores.”

– The Associated Press

Tennessee VW Workers to Hold Union Vote

The United Auto Workers says employees at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant will vote Feb. 12-14 on whether they want the union to represent them.

The Detroit-based UAW said Monday that the National Labor Relations Board set the election.

The vote follows an agreement between the UAW and the Germany-based automaker, which decided not to challenge a unionization vote.

UAW President Bob King says a statement that Volkswagen “is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils.” The UAW says the Chattanooga plant is VW’s only major U.S. facility without a union.

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board determined that the UAW and Volkswagen didn’t violate federal labor laws last year during the process of moving toward a union representation vote.

– The Associated Press

Yellen Sworn In as Fed Chair

Janet Yellen was sworn in Monday to succeed Ben Bernanke, becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history.

Yellen, who was confirmed by the Senate last month, was sworn in by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, the senior member of the Fed’s seven-member board.

She took the oath in a brief ceremony in front of a fireplace in the Fed’s massive board room. Her husband, Nobel-winning economist George Akerloff, was present, as were other Fed board members and Fed staff.

Yellen, 67, made no remarks at her swearing in but did smile to acknowledge the applause of the assembled group.

Nominated by President Barack Obama on Oct. 9, her four-year term as chairman will end on Feb. 3, 2018.

Meanwhile, the Brookings Institution announced Monday that Bernanke was joining the Washington think tank as a distinguished fellow in residence.

Bernanke stepped down on Friday after eight years as Fed chairman. He had said he planned to stay in Washington and was looking forward to writing and giving speeches on economic policy.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 89 242 14,959
MORTGAGES 111 255 19,585
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 21 43 3,838
BUILDING PERMITS 153 512 35,842
BANKRUPTCIES 61 182 14,216
BUSINESS LICENSES 18 104 5,095
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 76 246 21,679
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 75 4,632

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