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VOL. 127 | NO. 162 | Monday, August 20, 2012

Daily Digest

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FedEx Plans to Add Flight Crew Quarters

FedEx Corp. is planning to add sleeping quarters at its World Service Center on Democrat Road to serve flight crews, according to a $2 million building permit application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The project scope listed on the application includes demolishing the interior of building C to add 128 sleeping rooms and toilets for FedEx crews.

The addition comes in the midst of other construction projects at the FedEx hub. In June, the company opened its new hub screening facility, a 30,500-square-foot facility where employees and others enter the hub on Democrat Road. The project also included a 220-foot pedestrian bridge over Democrat to connect the screening facility and a parking lot.

FedEx plans to complete a large piece of its expansion project – a two-story, 125,102-square-foot sorting building – this fall.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

United Housing Reaches 2,500th Homeowner

United Housing Inc., a nonprofit housing agency, recently assisted its 2,500th homeowner when Joyce Taylor closed on her first home in the Scenic Hills area of Raleigh.

Taylor, a Memphis City Schools teacher, enrolled in UHI’s Homebuyer Education class in May, where she learned the budgeting techniques to prepare her for homeownership.

Community Mortgage financed the home at a 3.75 percent interest rate. With funding from the city of Memphis Neighborhood Stabilization grant, UHI completed a $78,000 rehab to the home.

Now in its 18th year of operation, UHI targets its services to families that are underserved by the traditional homeownership industry. UHI also contributes to area redevelopment, offers homebuyer education, credit counseling and affordable lending products to low to moderate first-time homebuyers.

UHI’s programs have counseled more than 6,500 families that have resulted in the sale of more than 2,500 homes. The organization has loaned families more than $6 million in down payment assistance and rehabilitation loans, for a total impact of more than $208 million in the Memphis community.

With Wolf River Bluffs – an upcoming UHI subdivision in partnership with Shelby Residential Vocational Services preparing for construction in addition to four other homes for sale in the area – the 3,000th homeowner could be approaching soon.

– Sarah Baker

Collins is Wharton's Pick for Finance Director

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has picked Brian Collins, the interim president and CEO of the Postal Employees Credit Union, to be the city’s new director of finance and administration.

A City Council committee will consider Collins’ nomination at a Tuesday, Aug. 21, committee session with a vote by the full council at its first meeting in September.

Collins would replace Roland McElrath, who left to become controller of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

Collins was hired by the board of the credit union last year after state and federal regulators found problems in the management of the institution. Under his leadership a merger partner was found and the merger deal closed with no loss to the credit union’s insurance fund.

Before that, Collins was a senior vice president and general manager of bank card services for First Horizon National Corp. And he was chairman of the board of Memphis Consumer Credit Association.

Collins’ career has included time as vice president of national direct marketing at Citigroup and vice president of bank card operations and marketing segment manager for JP Morgan Chase.

– Bill Dries

Stanley Named to Economic Council on Women

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has announced the appointment of Kristi Pruitt Stanley to the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.

The TECW is a state agency created to assess the economic status of Tennessee women. It focuses on developing and advocating for solutions to help women achieve financial independence and economic autonomy.

A longtime director of government affairs for the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, Stanley has worked for two congressmen from Tennessee, U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher, as well as the Shelby County trustee. Stanley is currently a government affairs specialist for Caissa Public Strategy in Memphis.

– Andy Meek

Tenn. Shakespeare Co. Expands Outreach

The nonprofit Tennessee Shakespeare Co. announced it will perform “Hamlet” for its fifth performance season.

The company will expand its educational programming this season, returning to Germantown Performing Arts Centre with a Broadway headliner for its fourth annual Valentine’s Gala, partnering with Dixon Gallery & Gardens and the Poplar Pike Playhouse; and launching its second phase of amphitheater design with Shelby Farms Park.

The company last season partnered with Shelby Farms Park to provide initial renovations to its Wooden O Amphitheatre, bringing in nearly 12,000 patrons to its performances and generating a cumulative economic impact of more than $3 million.

Since 2007, Tennessee Shakespeare Co. has brought theater education to 100,000 students representing 70 schools in three states. Last season, the company engaged 46 Memphis-area schools and nearly 8,000 students in its professional, classical education programming. Students younger than 19 also made up more than one-half of TSC’s patrons this past year.

– Aisling Maki

Measure of US Economy Rose 0.4 Percent in July

A measure of future U.S. economic activity recovered in July following a sharp drop in June, providing further evidence of an economy that is regaining some momentum.

The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading economic indicators increased 0.4 percent in July after falling 0.4 percent in June.

The July strength came from an improvement in a number of components with the largest contributions coming from a big jump in applications for housing permits and declines in applications for unemployment benefits.

The rebound last month put the index at 95.8, matching its May level, which had been the highest reading in four years.

Economists viewed the July result as evidence that the economy has regained its footing after a sluggish spring that had raised concerns that the country could be in danger of slipping into another recession.

“The expansion continues, no double-dip recession, just continued moderate, sub-par growth,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

He said he was looking for economic growth of around 1 percent to 2 percent at an annual rate in the current July-September quarter. The economy slowed to growth at a rate of just 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter after growing at a 2 percent pace in the first three months of this year.

The index of leading indicators is a compilation of 10 forward pointing indicators.

For the six months ending in July, the index has been rising at an annual rate of 2.3 percent, which is an improvement over the 0.6 percent annual rate of growth turned in during the previous six months.

– The Associated Press

US Considers Release of Oil From Reserves

A senior Obama administration official says the White House is considering a potential release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The U.S. is monitoring gas prices to see whether they fall before making a decision, said the official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Gas prices in the U.S. have risen an average of 39 cents since early July, because of an increase in oil prices and refinery problems in some regions.

Benchmark crude was up 22 cents to $95.82 in midday trading on Friday in New York. It gained 3 percent last week on positive economic data and a drop in U.S. oil supplies. It’s up 23 percent since late June.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties, fell almost 2 percent.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 106 318 6,336
MORTGAGES 131 363 7,084
BUILDING PERMITS 178 482 13,795
BANKRUPTCIES 40 208 4,301