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VOL. 122 | NO. 180 | Monday, September 24, 2007

Daily Digest

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China Manufacturers Alliance Buys Distriplex Facility

A California-based tire company has bought the former ADVO Inc. production facility on Distriplex Cove for $4.1 million.
China Manufacturers Alliance LLC bought the 169,272-square-foot manufacturing/processing facility at 4481 Distriplex Cove from Stephen C. Murphy, Thomas W. Holley and Joseph A. Kelley III. Built in 1994, the facility sits on 10.4 acres on the south side of Arnold Road west of Getwell Road.
The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $4.7 million.
Based near Los Angeles in Monrovia, Calif., CMA is the wholly owned U.S. sales and marketing unit of Shanghai Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd. of Shanghai, China, according to information published earlier this year in Rubber & Plastics News. Products include bias, industrial, radial and over-the-road, or OTR, tires.
The Distriplex property formerly housed a production facility for Connecticut-based direct-mail company ADVO Inc., which announced in April 2006 plans to close the Memphis plant as a cost-cutting measure. The plant closed last year.
ADVO was acquired by Valassis, a Michigan-based direct-mail company, in March.

County Commission Meets Today

     The Shelby County Commission meets today at 2:30 p.m. in the lobby chambers at the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.
               
     

Tenn. Unemployment Rate For August Down to 4%

Tennessee's unemployment rate for August was 4 percent, the lowest monthly rate since July 2000, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday.

There was a slight drop from July's rate of 4.1 percent.

"Over the past year alone, the state's jobless rate has fallen from 5.2 percent to 4 percent," said department commissioner James Neeley. "We have seen continued growth in employment, with the growth in the number of people finding jobs exceeding the growth in the number of people looking for jobs."

There were major monthly employment increases in local government educational services, up 10,000 jobs due to schools starting. Administrative support and waste services also were up 5,000 from the seasonal downturn in July.

Month-to-month decreases took place in machinery manufacturing, which is down 900 jobs. There also was a seasonal decline of 600 jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation.

From August 2006 to August 2007, construction led in job increases with 8,200 or almost 6 percent. Leisure and hospitality jobs were up by 8,100 and health care and social assistance employment increased by 5,800.

The biggest job decreases over the year have been in manufacturing, down 10,600. Jobs in clothing and clothing accessories stores decreased by 1,600.

The national unemployment rate for August was 4.6 percent, the same as in July.

Chili's Donates Profits To St. Jude

Chili's Grill & Bar will donate 100 percent of today's profits to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as part of its month-long Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign through which Chili's hopes to raise more than $5 million for the hospital.

During the month of September, Chili's also is offering the opportunity to participate in Create-A-Pepper by making a donation to St. Jude, for which guests will receive a Create-A-Pepper coloring sheet. Guests' coloring sheets will be displayed in restaurants during the month.

In addition, guests can purchase Create-A-Pepper T-shirts that can be customized with permanent marker as well as Create-A-Pepper Gift Cards and dog tags. Chili's will donate $1 to St. Jude for every $25 purchased in commemorative Create-A-Pepper Gift Cards.

Since the inception of its relationship with St. Jude, Chili's has raised more than $10.5 million for the hospital. The funds contribute to Chili's 10-year plan to raise $50 million for the construction of a new state-of-the-art research and clinical care building named the Chili's Care Center.

Scheduled to open in November, the Chili's Care Center will house St. Jude's Department of Radiological Sciences, the National Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, inpatient beds, activity areas and new research laboratories.

Rates on 30-Year Mortgages Edge Up After 4-Month Low

Rates on 30-year mortgages, after dropping to their lowest point in four months, edged up this week.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.34 percent last week, up slightly from 6.31 percent the week before, which had been the lowest level since May 17. Last week's 6.34 percent rate is the second-lowest since mid-May.

All mortgage products surveyed by Freddie Mac showed slight increases this week even though the Federal Reserve on Tuesday announced a bigger-than-expected half-point cut in the federal funds rate, the first reduction in this key interest rate in more than four years.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, said the tiny increases still left rates at levels not seen since May.

"The recent retreat in mortgage rates has brought in an increased volume of mortgage applications ... and pushed the share of applications for refinancing to the highest rate since April," Nothaft said.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 5.98 percent this week, basically unchanged from 5.97 percent last week.

Rates on five-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 6.21 percent, up from 6.17 percent, while one-year ARMs averaged 5.65 percent, essentially unchanged from 5.66 percent last week.

The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year, 15-year and five-year mortgages all carried a nationwide average fee of 0.5 point while one-year adjustable rate mortgages had an average fee of 0.6 point.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages stood at 6.40 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 6.06 percent, five-year ARMs averaged 6.08 percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.54 percent.

Wharton Praises SCHIP Work By Congressional Delegation

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. released a letter Thursday expressing his appreciation to members of the U.S. congressional delegation representing Shelby County for support given to the reauthorization and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known by the acronym SCHIP.

Some components of the reauthorization and expansion of the program were designed to benefit regional medical facilities such as Memphis' own Regional Medical Center (The MED), something Wharton particularly praised.

"Their work in Washington is part of our concerted efforts to help The MED," Wharton said. "And as they work from one side of the issue, we are working regionally with the Blue Ribbon Panel in its important work to accomplish the same goal of making The MED stronger."

New SCHIP legislation appears set to come up for a vote in Congress in a matter of days.

William Parks Joins Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs

William "Bill" Parks has joined the Memphis office of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP. He concentrates his practice in the area of intellectual property.

Parks is a former patent examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Division Patent Counsel for Milliken & Co.

Parks received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Rhodes College in 1990 and his law degree from The John Marshall Law School in 1997.

System Aids Students In Career Planning

EdSouth, a Knoxville-based nonprofit organization that provides programs to encourage postsecondary education, announced Thursday the continued availability of the Tennessee College and Career Planning System for students, parents/guardians and educators across the state.

The Tennessee College and Career Planning System is an Internet-based educational and career planning program designed to provide access to research-based assessments that help students understand what they like to do and what sort of career options they prefer.

The system offers different resources for students to plan and prepare for their future, encouraging students to continue on to postsecondary education. The program also offers the ability to communicate directly with their teachers and guidance counselors and to research options for financial aid from a single Web site.

Kuder Inc., a provider of Internet-based education and career planning tools, is partnering with EdSouth to make the program available.

The Tennessee College and Career Planning System is available free throughout the state. For information on how a student or a school can participate, contact Kuder Customer Support at 877-999-6227 or support@kuder.com.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 87 1,429
MORTGAGES 39 60 1,107
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 92 209 3,265
BANKRUPTCIES 42 84 837
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 23 352
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0