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VOL. 123 | NO. 139 | Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daily Digest

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Memphis Islamic Center Buys Rural Acreage

The Memphis Islamic Center has bought a 31.24-acre parcel on Humphreys Road in unincorporated Shelby County where it will build a new facility. The property is on the south side of Humphreys, northeast of Walnut Grove Road and Hall Road.

The center bought the land for $700,000 from Margaret Gillis and Carol Ruby, personal representatives of the Estate of Charlotte H. Humphreys. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 appraisal is $653,000.

The sellers also quitclaimed, or transferred, the property to the Memphis Islamic Center, a nonprofit, multipurpose Islamic organization that serves the “needs of Muslims in eastern Shelby County and beyond,” according to its Web site.

A statement on the organization’s site said the land was bought with donations and a small amount of an interest-free personal loan. It also said, “This is only the first step towards the fulfillment of our common dream to establish a comprehensive Islamic Center for all.”

Attempts to reach an Islamic Center spokesperson by press time were unsuccessful.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Dillard Door Named Top 100 Security Integrator

Memphis-based Dillard Door & Security Inc. has been named one of the Top 100 Security System Integrators in the United States, according to Security Distribution and Marketing Magazine.

This is the third time the company, which was ranked 80 out of 100, has been named to the list.

The report ranks by revenue security firms that contract electronic security projects for commercial, industrial, institutional, government and other non-residential markets.

Dillard Door, a diversified industrial door and security systems company, has progressed in recent years for a door controls business with a focused line of offerings into an expanded one, which offers camera and alarm systems, biometric access controls and sensing devices, said Dillard CEO Chris W. Bird. With the added offerings, Dillard has been able to substantially broaden its client base and has grown about 200 percent over the past seven years.

Dillard’s clients include AutoZone Park, FedExForum, Nike, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, UPS, The Hershey’s Co. and Valero Energy Corp.

Industrial Output Rises 0.5 Percent

Industrial output rose in June at the fastest pace in 11 months.

The strength came from the end to an automotive production strike rather than any underlying boost to the economy.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that industrial production increased by 0.5 percent last month, the best showing since a 0.6 percent increase in July of last year.

The increase followed two months of declines and was better than had been expected. The rebound reflected a resumption of auto production following the end of a strike at parts supplier American Axle, however.

SCS Education Foundation Awards $10K to 13 Schools

The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation has awarded $10,000 in Community Enhancement Pass-Thru funds allocated by state Rep. Ron Lollar for Shelby County Schools.

Thirty-seven Mini-Grant Applications were submitted for projects supporting science and mathematics, educational instruction for children with special education needs and equipment for the arts and physical education.

Thirteen schools were selected: Appling Middle School, Arlington Elementary School, Arlington Middle School, Bartlett Elementary School, Bartlett High School, Bon Lin Elementary School, Dexter Elementary School, E.A. Harrold Elementary School, Highland Oaks Elementary School, Lakeland Elementary School, Riverdale Elementary School, Southwind Elementary School and Southwind High School.

The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization promoting community support for the enhancement of education for students and staff in the Shelby County school system.

All schools will begin implementation of their funded projects in the 2008-2009 academic year.

Cash Makes Appearance Before City Council

Newly minted Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash made his first appearance before the Memphis City Council Tuesday, attending an informal meeting on the council’s education committee.

Council members quizzed the new superintendent on some of the most high priority plans he’s looking to implement in his first days and weeks on the job.

“There’s work going on now I could talk about for three hours,” Kriner told committee members. “I have 35 initiatives in the first 100 days that cut across the spectrum. We’ve been doing a CT scan – we’ve been doing an MRI of the school system for the last few weeks.”

Cohen Corrects Quote Brought up in Debate

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is correcting a quote from an election night 12 years ago attributed to him in last week’s televised congressional debate.

During the debate between Cohen and Democratic primary challengers Nikki Tinker and Joe Towns, Towns brought up the moment when Cohen expressed his frustration over the lack of black support for his successful bid for re-election to the state senate.

Towns quoted Cohen as beginning his remarks “After all I’ve done for you people.”

In his immediate response to Towns, Cohen didn’t challenge the quote, apologized and said he since had been proven wrong on his claim that a white candidate in Memphis could not get a majority of the black vote.

Cohen on Tuesday denied using the phrase “you people” citing press accounts from 1996 on the election night remarks.

Workers Raid Retirement Funds During Tight Times

In an effort to weather financial hardships such as unemployment and medical emergencies, Americans are raiding their already fragile retirement piggy banks.

And they’re doing it even though borrowing a modest $5,000 can dramatically erode their savings over time, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress.

The study found workers in 2004 had $31 billion in outstanding 401(k) loans, a fivefold increase from the $6 billion in 1989. Between 1998 and 2004, an average of 12 percent of families with 401(k) plans borrowed from them.

“They don’t necessarily pay penalties,” said Christian Weller, an author of the study. “But the penalty is that they have fewer retirement savings.”

As economic conditions grow bleaker, the number of people dipping into retirement money will only rise, he added.

One reason people are increasingly using 401(k) retirement plans as a crutch is because they’re so easy to access compared to pensions and individual retirement accounts, or IRAs.

Though borrowers typically can repay loans within five years without penalty, Weller stressed that people aren’t raiding their savings to go on shopping sprees. Instead, the study found, middle-class families, in particular, are turning to their retirement money to get through financial crises.

And, dipping into retirement wouldn’t be a problem if other sources of retirement income – such as Social Security and pensions – weren’t drying up, Weller said. More people are counting on 401(k) accounts to be their primary income source in retirement.

PROPERTY SALES 38 38 20,670
MORTGAGES 45 45 23,790
BUILDING PERMITS 187 187 42,781
BANKRUPTCIES 57 57 13,237