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VOL. 7 | NO. 22 | Saturday, May 24, 2014

Daily Digest

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ABF Freight Wins PILOT for Memphis Expansion

ABF Freight System Inc. has received a tax break for the proposed expansion of its Memphis facility.

The company was awarded a $4 million, 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County to make the Memphis expansion, which could include the relocation of some operations from Little Rock, Ark., possible.

Founded in 1923, ABF Freight, which operates from 247 service centers in all 50 states, has become a leading third-party logistics and transportation-services provider, with total revenue of around $1 billion in 2013.

The proposed project is centered on ABF’s existing facility at 2080 Dunn Ave. and would create a minimum of 283 jobs. The average annual compensation, including benefits, is $107,298.

ABF said it intends to buy two properties on Frisco Avenue north of its Dunn Avenue property and to demolish a building to make way for new construction. ABF’s total capital investment in the project is expected to reach $20.6 million.

ABF did not say the PILOT sealed the deal but that it was crucial for Memphis’ chances.

“The PILOT incentive sought by ABF for the project is an important consideration in ABF’s decision whether to expand its operations in Memphis,” the company said in a statement. “As is usual for any company considering such a project, ABF is considering alternate locations for the expansion of its operating capacity in this part of the country, including possible new locations in northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas, and at the locations of some of its other existing operations.”

West Clinic Portfolio Sells for $12.1 Million

Core Real Estate Capital has completed the sale of three West Clinic Cancer Centers to 2014 Acquisitions 11 LLC, an affiliate of Net Lease Capital Advisors.

Net Lease Capital Advisors, a national real estate investment company based in Nashua, N.H., purchased the portfolio of three single-tenant medical facilities for approximately $12.1 million from Core Real Estate Capital, which acquired the properties in 2011. The deal closed Tuesday, May 20.

Johnny Lamberson and Terry Radford of CB Richard Ellis Memphis represented the seller in the transaction.

Occupied by West Clinic and subleased by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the three clinics are on Union Avenue in Memphis; in Brighton, Tenn.; and in Southaven.

West Clinic specializes in oncology, hematology, radiology and other advanced medical care. It joined forces with Methodist Healthcare and University of Tennessee Health Science Center in January 2012 to create West Cancer Center, a comprehensive, fully integrated cancer service center for Mid-South residents.

Phoenix Unequaled Makes Industry List

Phoenix Unequaled Home Entertainment, which specializes in providing solutions for home theater, home automation, systems integration, security solutions and distributed audio and video, has been named for the 16th straight year to the 2014 “CE Pro 100” list of leading companies.

Phoenix was founded in 1994 by Scott Fuelling, and the company also recently was named to the Control4 Million Dollar Club, a select group of dealers who’ve achieved more than $1 million in product sales.

In addition to award-winning solutions and service, Phoenix is also frequently sought out for manufacturer product testing and consultations, among other things.

City Council Awaits Final Actuary Report

The Memphis City Council is expected to get a final report June 10 from Segal Consulting of Atlanta, the actuary firm it hired to review pension liability and annual required contribution estimates by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration and municipal unions.

The city council will meet in committee June 10 to hear the report and is scheduled to take final overall votes on the city operating budget, capital budget and city property tax rate at its June 17 meeting, marking the end of the city budget season.

Those votes will include council action on steps to pay more toward the liability and increase the annual contribution, although the amount of the increase is still being debated.

The Greater Memphis Chamber’s incoming president, Phil Trenary, urged the council Tuesday, May 20, to quickly switch new hires and unvested city employees with fewer than 10 years of service to a 401(k)-type defined contributions plan.

Trenary made the comments during a brief introduction at the council executive session. The former Pinnacle Airlines CEO told the council the chamber intends to become engaged on such public policy and political issues on a sustained basis.

Trenary said the switch to a sustained contributions plan is fair and puts the finances of city government on a more stable footing.

A vote on the change is not yet on the council’s agenda for action.

After the session, Trenary talked with Memphis Fire Fighters Association leaders who vehemently disagree with the change.

Terminix Acquires Eight Companies

Memphis-based Terminix announced Thursday, May 22, that it has bought the assets of eight pest- and wildlife-control companies so far this year.

The companies operate in 10 states and include six pest-control businesses: Rove Pest Control, which has locations in Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Nashville; Home Front Pest Control of Corona, Calif.; R.P. Streiff Exterminating Inc. of Tucson, Ariz.; Generations Pest Control of Crestline, Calif.; Algee Termite & Pest Control Inc. of Senatobia, Miss.; and Ernie’s Pest Control Inc. of Northwood, Ohio.

The list also includes two companies that work in residential and commercial animal control: Pioneer Wildlife Services Inc. of Brooklyn, Conn., and Wild Animal Control of Plymouth, Mass.

Terminix president Bill Derwin said the acquisitions are part of an ongoing “aggressive growth strategy … with a focus on both domestic and international acquisitions.”

Terminix is the termite- and pest-control business unit of Memphis-based The ServiceMaster Co. LLC.

5 Arkansas Airports Win $2.9M in Grants

Three members of the Arkansas congressional delegation say five airports in the state, including West Memphis Municipal Airport, will share in $2.9 million in federal grants.

Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Rep. Tim Griffin announced Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration is awarding the grants for airport facility upgrades and improvements.

Blytheville Municipal Airport will receive $227,673 to install perimeter fencing; J Lynn Helms Sevier County Airport in De Queen will receive $44,370 for the engineering design phase of a new parallel taxiway project; Morrilton Municipal Airport will receive $380,500 to install perimeter fencing; Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock will receive $1,815,289 for drainage improvements; and West Memphis Municipal Airport will receive $446,534 to rehabilitate its apron.

Bike Ride to Raise Funds for Cancer Research

West Cancer Center, a partnership of The West Clinic, Methodist Healthcare, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, will launch the “Bluff City Blues 100 Ride to Fight On” on Oct. 11.

The goal of the Ride to Fight On is to raise funds for West Cancer Center, which will support research and education, and assistance for patients and family members in their personal battles with cancer. West Cancer Center has partnered with The Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club – the largest cycling club in Memphis, with about 1,200 riders – for the event. Registration is now open.

The ride will begin and end at FedExForum. Participants will travel a well-marked course up the banks of the Mississippi River and north through the hills of Shelby Forest State Park. There will be routes for cyclists of all skill levels and distances of 20, 40, 62, 100 and 124 miles. An after-party will be held at FedExForum with food, drinks and entertainment.

Visit ridetofighton.com for more information on riding, volunteering, fundraising or sponsoring the event. Upon registration, participants have the option of creating a personal fundraising page where personal stories can be shared of how the participant or a loved one has been touched by cancer.

Haslam Names Krause to Head College Initiatives

Mike Krause, an assistant executive director at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, has been appointed to head up Gov. Bill Haslam’s initiatives to improve college graduation rates in the state.

Krause will manage the launch of the newly enacted Tennessee Promise program, which will cover community college tuition for any high school graduate in the state.

The free tuition offer is part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” plan to improve the state’s graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by the year 2025 in order to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

Krause is an Army veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a legislative analyst before going to work in higher education policy.

Economic Gauge Posts April Gain

A gauge designed to predict the economy’s future health posted a solid gain in April, further evidence of stronger growth after a severe winter dampened activity.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.4 percent in April following an upwardly revised 1 percent gain in March. The strength in April was led by improving housing and financial market conditions.

“Despite a brutal winter which brought the economy to a halt, the overall trend in the leading economic index has remained positive,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. He said stronger spending by consumers and higher business investment should bolster growth in coming months.

The overall economy grew at a barely discernible 0.1 percent rate in the January-March quarter but many analysts expect growth will bounce back to an annual rate over 3.5 percent in the current April-June quarter and will remain above 3 percent in the second half of this year.

For April, five of the 10 forward-pointing indicators made positive contributions. The largest contribution came from the spread in interest rates followed by a big jump in building permits.

Speak Creative Opens Nashville Office

Website design, development and digital strategy firm Speak Creative has opened a new office in Nashville.

The development comes amid the 15th anniversary for Speak, which grew revenue 18 percent last year over the previous year. Since January 2013, Speak also has grown its staff size by 37 percent.

The firm works with clients in more than 40 states. Its new Nashville office is located on the city’s historic Music Row.

Paragon Bank Reports Positive Q1 Earnings

Paragon Bank recently reported earnings for the first quarter, a period in which the bank saw pre-tax earnings increase 119 percent over the first quarter of 2013.

Among the results for the quarter, Paragon’s net income was 30 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2013. Paragon also saw an increase of $12.2 million in loans, equating to growth of 6.2 percent.

In unrelated news, Paragon has appointed Wes Minton as a mortgage loan consultant. He’ll primarily work in Paragon’s Saddle Creek and Grove Park banking centers.

PRIZM Music Festival Accepting Applications

PRIZM Ensemble, one of Memphis’ few professional classical chamber ensembles, is accepting applications for the PRIZM Chamber Music Festival, running June 9 to June 14 at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church, 5530 Shady Grove Road.

The festival – which is open to musicians 12 years or older with a minimum of two years of experience playing string, woodwind or brass instruments – offers Mid-South chamber music students the opportunity to learn from and play alongside local and national professional musicians. Students will receive daily chamber music coaching and participate in master classes, team-building workshops and other activities.

During the festival, all string players and selected wind participants will play together in an orchestra without a conductor, based on the model made popular by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York. Select students will also have the opportunity to perform in concerts alongside the instructors during the weeklong event.

Tuition is $325, and registration will be open until June 2 or when the festival reaches capacity. Registration and scholarship assistance forms are available at prizmensemble.com.

City Council Approves Shady Grove Development

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, May 20, a 22-lot residential planned development at the southeast corner of Shady Grove Road and Interstate 240 by Greenbrier Partners LLC.

And the council voted down a special-use permit sought by Shelby County government for a cemetery at the northeast corner of Raleigh-Millington and Duncan roads. The cemetery goes to the Shelby County Commission for approval Monday, June 2.

County officials say the current cemetery for indigent citizens on Ellis Road will run out of space in two years.

The council approved on the first of three readings a proposed ordinance by council Chairman Jim Strickland that would eliminate incentives for employees to schedule their retirement several years in advance under the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan and get paid for working for the city as well as a pension.

Also passing on first reading Tuesday was a pilot program for residential parking permits in the Overton Square area.

Tennessee Scores Low for Senior Health

America’s Health Rankings has released its second annual report on senior population health at the state and national levels, and the news isn’t good for Tennessee.

The data from America’s Health Rankings 2014 Senior Report shows Tennessee ranks 43rd in the country for the health of its seniors, down one spot from 2013 after accounting for an update in the study’s methodology.

The analysis reflects the health of Tennessee seniors on 34 measures, including prevalence of obesity, chronic health conditions, level of physical activity, food insecurity and poverty.

Tennessee’s problems areas included the second-highest rate of smoking in the country, at 12.5 percent, or 110,000 seniors who smoke; ranking 46th for preventable hospitalizations, 47th for hip fractures and 45th for teeth extractions; and a bottom-10 ranking for food insecurity among seniors for the second year in a row.

On the positive side: The state ranked well for its low prevalence of chronic drinking among seniors (5th), a high percentage of social support (4th) and high flu vaccination coverage (2nd). The study also shows that physical inactivity among seniors decreased by 22 percent in the past year. The percentage of hospital deaths among seniors also decreased by 22 percent, boosting the state’s ranking on that measure to 35th from 45th.

River Casino Revenue Drags Down Miss. Totals

While casinos along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast continue to tread water, those along the Mississippi River continue to post steep revenue declines.

Mississippi Department of Revenue figures show casinos statewide won $164 million from gamblers in April, down 6 percent from April 2013.

The 12 coastal casinos won $84.5 million, down less than 1 percent from April 2013. The 18 river casinos won $79.8 million, down 12 percent from a year earlier. The month’s results underline the growing split between Mississippi’s two casino markets. Revenue along the Gulf has been rising a little bit since the end of summer 2013. But declines in the key Tunica market are steep and could intensify when Caesars Entertainment Corp. closes it Harrah’s casino in Tunica on June 2.

Medtronic Spine Revenue Drops

Medtronic Spine’s total revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014 was $786 million, down 2 percent from the same period a year ago on a constant currency basis, which excludes the impact of exchange rate fluctuations.

The year-over-year change “as reported” was down 3 percent.

“The largest segment of our business, core spine and other biologics, saw slight growth for the second quarter in a row,” Doug King, senior vice president of Medtronic and president of Medtronic Spine, said in a statement. “Medtronic Spine is positioned to deliver growth in FY2015 thanks to our new technologies and procedural innovations.”

Tart Cafe Opens in Cooper-Young

The French-inspired café Tart Memphis has opened for business at 820 S. Cooper St.

Owners Heather Bryan-Pike and Abby Jestis will operate the restaurant as part coffeehouse, part patisserie and part art gallery with temporary and permanent installations, working with local artists.

Tart also will offer a seasonally changing breakfast and lunch menu. And starting in late summer, Tart will host global coffee tastings for their “Cup Club” members and evening classes led by community experts on all things food, art and home-related.

CBIZ Memphis Adds Gondan

Karen Gondan has joined the Memphis offices of CBIZ MHM LLC and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC.

Gondan is managing director at CBIZ and shareholder of Mayer Hoffman McCann. She has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting and has worked with a variety of clients in different industries, specializing in the not-for-profit and government sectors.

She is a certified public accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.

UTHSC Professor Receives NIH Grant

Bernd Meibohm, associate dean for research and graduate programs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and a professor in the department of pharmaceutical sciences, has received a $315,651 grant from the office of the director of the National Institutes of Health.

This grant will allow for the purchase of a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer as shared instrumentation that supports 12 NIH-supported research projects in the University of Tennessee Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine that are focused on drug discovery and development.

Targeted indications include the treatments of a variety of cancer types, tuberculosis, radiation injury and other conditions. The instrument will be used to measure concentrations of medications in biological samples in support of those research efforts.

Pilot Flying J President Leaves

The president of a Knoxville, Tennessee-based company owned by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is out amid an ongoing federal investigation into a scheme to defraud customers.

The Knoxville weekly newspaper Metro Pulse obtained an email sent from Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam to staff on Monday announcing Mark Hazelwood’s immediate departure. The email did not say why Hazelwood was leaving.

Pilot attorney Aubrey Harwell said it is company policy not to publicly discuss personnel matters.

Knoxville-based Pilot is the nation’s largest diesel retailer, with annual revenues around $30 billion.

Hazelwood is the highest-ranking official to leave the company since it was raided by federal agents in April 2013.

Nonprofit Grant Info Sessions to be Held

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis will host five pre-application sessions to explain guidelines for its upcoming Nonprofit Capacity Building grant funding round.

Nonprofit Capacity Building grants are allocated to strong, established nonprofit organizations that are working to become more effective by improving operations and increasing efficiency. In 2013-2014, 15 nonprofit groups were awarded a total of $188,500 in the Nonprofit Capacity Building grant round.

Typically, grants range from $5,500 to $40,000 and generally require the recipient to raise matching funds. Grants are decided by a committee of community volunteers.

Nonprofit organizations in West Tennessee, northwestern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas are eligible to apply. Registration and attendance at a pre-application information session are mandatory for organizations that have not attended a session within the past two years.

The workshops will be at the Community Foundation, 1900 Union Ave., on June 10, June 26 and July 10 at 8:30 a.m.; and on June 25 and July 1 at 3:30 p.m.

Visit cfgm.org to register for a session.

RedRover Picks Up 5 Industry Awards

RedRover Sales and Marketing has picked up five 2014 Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.

The firm won three Awards of Excellence for The Jones Clinic website, the MED Gala invitation design and the MED Gala invitation special event promotion.

The firm also won two Awards of Distinction for DreamCatcher Hotels’ business-to-business brochure and The Jones Clinic integrated rebranding campaign.

The Communicator Awards is the largest program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals, with more than 6,000 entries from across the U.S. and around the world.

Prime Urgent Clinic Rebrands as MedPost

Prime Urgent Medical Clinic, located in Cordova, has a new name: MedPost Urgent Care.

The center becomes part of a new and growing national network of urgent care centers launched by Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of Saint Francis Hospital. The MedPost network currently consists of 23 urgent care centers in eight states.

MedPost Urgent Care walk-in centers are open seven days a week with extended hours. The centers also provide follow-up care and specialty referrals when needed. They are staffed with physician specialists in primary care, internal medicine and emergency medicine, as well as nurse practitioners and other health professionals.

The facilities are equipped with X-ray and laboratory capabilities and provide a comprehensive array of services ranging from flu shots and other immunizations to treatment for such things as upper respiratory infections, sinus problems, allergic reactions, fever, ear aches and orthopedic injuries.

Currently, MedPost Urgent Care centers are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. Most were operating under different names prior to being rebranded as MedPost. The goal is to double the number of MedPost facilities by the end of 2014.

West Memphis Hospital Faces $30 Million Debt

A hospital in West Memphis facing $30 million in debt is asking voters to approve a 1 percent sales tax to prevent the facility from closing.

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, an increase in uninsured patients, cutbacks in federal programs such as Medicaid and doctors relocating or retiring have left Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis facing $30 million in debt.

Hospital administrators are asking for help in the form of a sales tax. Crittenden County voters will cast ballots on a 1 percent sales tax on June 24 that, if approved, would be collected for five years and generate about $30 million before ending in 2019.

Crittenden Regional Hospital Chief Executive Officer Gene Cashman says the medical facility would likely close if the measure fails.

Commercial Bank Given Industry Distinction

Community bank risk management firm Seifried & Brew LLC has named Commercial Bank & Trust Co. in its 2013 top 15th percentile of community banks.

To get that rank, the bank demonstrated “exemplary performance” of balancing risk and reward based on the bank’s S&B Total Risk/Return Composite Ranking.

Seifried & Brew ranks institutions with assets between $100 million and $5 billion.

The index models capital risk, credit risk, earnings at risk, liquidity risk and national/regional economic risk.

Commercial Bank & Trust CEO Mott Ford said the ranking puts the bank in an elite group, among the top 15 percent of banks in the nation.

Magna Bank Hires Three

Magna Bank has made three customer-facing hires, including the addition of a new vice president.

Jodi Scruggs, who has more than 12 years of banking experience, has been tapped as vice president and private banking officer, and as such, she’ll work to build relationships with new and existing Magna clients, among other things.

Jason Hood, meanwhile, has been named as business development officer for Magna Bank’s Wolf River branch. And Magna’s Cordova branch has added Stephen Ellis as a branch sales representative.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 166 10,044
MORTGAGES 105 195 13,070
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 5 40 2,578
BUILDING PERMITS 216 370 23,894
BANKRUPTCIES 82 152 9,685
BUSINESS LICENSES 42 51 3,654
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 103 264 14,227
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 53 3,116

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