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VOL. 129 | NO. 141 | Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Daily Digest

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Smucker Files Third $16 Million Permit

The J.M. Smucker Co. has filed a third $16 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement as part of its planned plant expansion at 4789 Cromwell Ave. in Oakhaven.

No contractor or architect was listed on the permit, which is the third in Smucker’s plan to invest $41 million to upgrade its peanut butter production lines. The Orrville, Ohio-based company filed a $16 million permit at the end of January and also one in March.

The Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County in mid-January unanimously granted Smucker an amended payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement for 15 years on personal property and 13 years on real property.

In addition to 42 new positions, which will have an average wage of $52,545, created through the expansion, Smucker will maintain its existing 61 employees.

The approved tax freeze will save Smucker $13 million, but the company will still pay an estimated $16.2 million in taxes to the city and county over the length of the PILOT. The company said 25 percent of its planned $21.5 million in discretionary spending will be with women- and minority-owned businesses.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Robata Ramen Bar Opens at Overton Square

The latest offering from prominent Memphis restaurateur Jimmy Ishii opened Monday, July 21, at the former Griffin House, 2116 Madison Ave. in Overton Square.

Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar, named after the Japanese word for “fireside,” is an izakaya bar and grill serving kushiyaki skewers of grilled meat and vegetables, bite-sized fried chicken, ramen noodle soups and other traditional Japanese items.

The interior features a granite-top yakitori bar with a visible cooking area for customers to experience food preparation. To preserve the charm of the historic Griffin House, the original hardwood floors and windows were restored. Customers waiting for a table can enjoy swings and lounge furniture on the front porch.

A typical Robata-style meal is usually shared by everyone at the table and begins with traditional light appetizers before progressing towards more robustly flavored items like yakitori grilled chicken, shishito Japanese peppers, grilled sardines and savory steamed clams. The meal usually concludes with a hearty noodle dish.

Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar is open seven nights a week from 5 p.m. to midnight. Weekday lunch service is expected to be added in the fall.

– Amos Maki

UTHSC Researcher Gets Neonatal Project Grant

Dr. Adebowale Adebiyi, assistant professor in the physiology department at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health.

The award, which will be distributed over a five-year period, will support a project titled “Regulation of Neonatal Renal Hemodynamics.”

Disruption of blood flow to the kidneys is associated with life-threatening ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. The long-term goal of Adebiyi’s research is to understand mechanisms that control blood flow dynamics in the kidneys and the roles they play in cardiovascular and kidney diseases. His laboratory investigates the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.

This particular study will investigate kidney functions in newborns.

– Don Wade

Amro Adds West Memphis Teacher to Walk of Fame

Amro Music is honoring a longtime school band director in West Memphis as the latest addition to the music shop’s Walk of Fame at the entrance to its Poplar location.

Williams served as band director for West Junior High School in West Memphis for 17 years. She’s spent more than 30 years educating young musicians in Arkansas and currently holds an instrumental music administrative position for the West Memphis School District.

Amro’s Walk of Fame honors local music educators who have made an impact in the Memphis area. Nominations are made by the public, and members are chosen each year by a select committee based on the educator’s impact, years of service and other contributions.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee Supreme Court Rules on Surety Bond

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Monday, July 21, that an unlimited surety bond is not required for an appeal of a civil case from General Sessions Court to Circuit Court.

Ruling in a 2007 Shelby County case in which Wilma Griffin sued Campbell Clinic for substandard medical treatment, the court ruled a cash bond covering the amount of court costs and litigation taxes is enough to permit an appeal.

Griffin posted a bond of $211.50 with her appeal the day after a General Sessions Court ruling in favor of the clinic. Attorneys for Campbell Clinic sought to have the case dismissed in 2012, claiming she posted an inadequate bond under case law on the matter.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling held that courts could request additional security under state law if necessary.

– Bill Dries

US Companies Report Rising Sales, Employment

Rising sales helped boost hiring and wages at U.S. businesses in the second quarter, and companies are optimistic that the trends will continue this fall, according to a new survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

Fifty-seven percent of the 85 respondents to the quarterly survey said sales at their companies rose in the April-June period. That was up from 53 percent in the first quarter and 35 percent in the same period a year ago. Just 5 percent of firms said sales fell during the second quarter.

Respondents also said the outlook for the coming period is strong. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they expect sales to increase during the third quarter, and just 1 percent expects sales to decline. Respondents from the finance, insurance and real estate sector were most optimistic about sales increases, while the service sector lagged.

As sales picked up, so did hiring. Thirty-six percent of firms said they hired more workers during the second quarter, up from 28 percent in the first quarter and 29 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

The employment outlook was steady, with 37 percent of respondents expecting their companies to hire more workers in the coming period. Finance, insurance and real estate companies were most likely to say they expect employment increases, at 48 percent; service companies were the least likely, at 28 percent. Less than 10 percent of respondents expect employment declines in the third quarter.

For the first time since October 2012, no respondents reported falling wages. Forty-three percent said their firms raised wages during the second quarter, which was than double the share that reported raising wages during the same time period a year ago. More than one-third of respondents – 35 percent – expected wages to continue to increase in the third quarter.

– The Associated Press

US Airlines Add Jobs for 6th Straight Month

U.S. airlines have been adding jobs for six straight months, though the gains aren't big ones.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday that the nation's passenger airlines had the equivalent of 385,619 full-time workers in May, up 1.1 percent from May 2013. That's the highest level since September 2012.

Delta, American, US Airways and JetBlue added jobs while United shrunk 2.5 percent and Southwest slipped by 0.3 percent.

Some smaller low-fare airlines are growing faster than bigger airlines in percentage terms. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air increased jobs by nearly 13 percent.

All the major airlines except United made money in the first quarter on strong travel demand. All are expected to post profits for the second quarter, including United.

The government counts two part-time employees as one full-time worker.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 38 349 15,066
MORTGAGES 111 449 19,779
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 33 91 3,886
BUILDING PERMITS 0 512 35,842
BANKRUPTCIES 62 309 14,343
BUSINESS LICENSES 18 138 5,129
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 69 385 21,817
MARRIAGE LICENSES 13 106 4,663

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