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VOL. 123 | NO. 39 | Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily Digest

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Interest in Bellevue Apts. Sells for $545,000

     A 50 percent interest in a 36-unit apartment complex at 406, 408 and 412 N. Bellevue Blvd. has sold for $545,000. 400 Bellevue LLC bought the interest from Dave Dermon Co. and Joan Dermon, trustee under the revocable trust agreement dated Jan. 16, 2003.
     400 Bellevue already owned one-half interest in the site, so the purchase brings its ownership to 100 percent.
     Built in 1935, the complex sits on 1.05 acres at the northeast corner of North Bellevue Boulevard and Overton Park Avenue. It has one- and two-bedroom units in two-story buildings.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2007 appraisal was $287,100.
     In mid-January, 400 Bellevue LLC filed articles of organization as a limited liability company with the Tennessee Secretary of State's office. Its registered office is that of Bass Berry & Sims PLC.
     More information about the purchase and the ownership group was not available by press time.

Foreclosures Total 728 for January

     Shelby County had 728 foreclosures in January, according to the most recent data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Residential foreclosures led the way with 680, while there were just six commercial foreclosures for the month.
     Another 42 were unknown or other property types.
     On the residential side, 622 foreclosures were on single-family homes. Rounding out the top residential property types were 26 planned unit developments, 15 zero-lot lines, 11 condominiums, two vacant land types and two duplex foreclosures.
     Not surprisingly, the most common mortgage type among the county's residential foreclosures was the adjustable-rate mortgage, which totaled 194 residential and one commercial.
     ARMs have been a powder keg for the housing industry in the past year. The rampant subprime lending practices of 2004-2005 meant numerous homebuyers were placed into ARM products, which featured a low teaser interest rate and corresponding low monthly payment.
     But, after two years, the loans reset to a much higher rate and the borrowers could no longer afford the monthly payments. Many homeowners had no choice but to default and go into foreclosure.
     Memphis was among the nation's cities to be hit hard by foreclosures, consistently ranking near the top of metro areas for foreclosures per capita, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc.
     But what might be surprising is how many foreclosures in January came from conventional fixed-rate mortgages. There were 117 foreclosures of this variety, of which 116 were residential and one was commercial.
     Federal Housing Administration fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages combined to provide 82 foreclosures during the month, while the rest of the county's foreclosures came from a smattering of mortgage products, including construction and Veterans Administration loans.

County Commission Seeks Input For Amending County Charter

     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners is holding a public hearing today about amending the Shelby County Charter.
     Commission members are seeking the public's input on whether certain county offices should remain elected positions or if they should be appointed. A proposed referendum will be developed based on public input as well as other information the commission gathers.
     The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Bert Ferguson Community Center, 8505 Trinity Road.

Center City Approves Main Street Patrols

     Two security guards will begin patrolling the Main Street area between Poplar Avenue and Beale Street some time in April. They will be patrolling for aggressive panhandlers who have been the focus of complaints from tourists and Downtown residents in the last year or so.
     The Center City Commission voted Friday to hire the guards from CDA Inc. for a three-month period. The cost is $53,340 and the vote by 17 board members was unanimous. The comments from the public before the vote were not, however.
     About 20 protestors from the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center attended the meeting to voice opposition to the plan. Peace & Justice Center director Jacob Flowers said the patrols will target the homeless despite distinctions made by those favoring the patrols.
     He also said the money could be better spent toward a free shelter for the homeless, which the Downtown area does not have.
     CCC President Jeff Sanford insisted there is a difference between the homeless and panhandlers who beg and intimidate people for money as a way to make a living. He agreed with Flowers that there is a need for a free homeless shelter and more counseling for the homeless.

Rhodes Receives Higher Education Distinction

     Rhodes College has made the 2007 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.
     The honor recognizes Rhodes' leadership in helping to build a culture of service and civic engagement on its campus and around the community. There are 528 schools listed on the Honor Roll for their community service activities and programs.
     The Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its service, volunteer programs and civic engagement.
     The program is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, the USA Freedom Corps and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.
     Recently, Rhodes also was recognized for its off-campus service work in a publication by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Educator, Author To Speak at Crichton

     Erin Gruwell, the California teacher who turned around a high school class of low- performing students and about whose efforts a Hollywood movie was made, will be in Memphis this week to share her message and tell part of her story at Crichton College.
     Gruwell wrote a book in 1999 about her experiences called "The Freedom Writers Diary," the title of which comes from the diaries she made her students keep and then use to foster tolerance and respect among their peers.
     The movie based on the book, "Freedom Writers," came out in 2007.
     Gruwell and one of her student writers, Maria Reyes, will speak at Crichton at 7 p.m. Thursday in an event that is free and open to the public.

AT&T, Tennessee Create Electronic Medical Exchange

     AT&T Inc. is partnering with Tennessee to provide the country's first statewide system to electronically exchange patient medical information, the telecommunications company said Monday.
     The system is designed to securely transmit detailed patient information between medical professionals. It will allow doctors to access medical histories, prescribe medicines over the Internet and transfer images such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.
     Tennessee's program is seen as a model for other states and may be a springboard for interstate information-sharing networks in the future, said Diane Turcan, director of health care marketing for AT&T in Atlanta.
     Doctors can use the system to remotely evaluate patients in rural areas who have less access to medical facilities. It also will link to the state Department of Health for access to the immunization and disease registry, death certificate processing and medical license renewals.
     Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who ran HealthAmerica Corp. before becoming a politician, has championed electronic records because of the inefficiency of the current paper-based system.
     AT&T is developing a private portal within the secure network it already provides for state agencies in Tennessee. Turcan said AT&T's investment in the portal has been "significant" but declined to elaborate.
PROPERTY SALES 85 205 21,165
MORTGAGES 76 206 24,338
BUILDING PERMITS 183 321 43,755
BANKRUPTCIES 48 92 13,560