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VOL. 123 | NO. 131 | Monday, July 7, 2008

Daily Digest

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Collierville Acreage Sells for $1.4 Million

The Houston Levee Trust has bought two tracts of land totaling 2.48 acres on the Ballard Property Planned Development in Collierville for $1.4 million from the Forest Hill Land Trust, with Douglas R. Beaty as trustee.

The Houston Levee Trust also filed a $1.4 million loan through Evolve Bank and Trust for the purchase. The warranty and trust deeds were filed June 27.

The land – divided into 1.11- and 1.37-acre parcels – is east of Houston Levee Road on a 55-acre site called Ballard Property PD, where Memphis-based Retirement Cos. of America and Life Time Fitness Inc., among others, are building new facilities.

Attempts to reach the buyer were unsuccessful. The Houston Levee Trust lists its business address as being in Parkin, Ark.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

County Commission To Vote on Tax Rate

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners today will hear the third and final reading of the county property tax rate for the fiscal year that began Tuesday.

The rate of $4.09 per $100 of assessed value is the same as the current tax rate. Most of the rate, $3.24, is allocated to county general operations. Another 80 cents of the rate goes to pay down the county’s debt service. The remaining 5 cents pays the debt service on rural school bonds.

If approved, the action effectively brings to an end the budget season for county government. But it won’t end the debate about whether there is a better way to fund Shelby County government.

Commissioners also will consider a resolution today that would create a Funding Needs Advisory Committee. The group could range in size from seven to 21 members. In addition to county elected officials, it would include local business leaders, state legislators from Shelby County, local charity heads and members of the religious community.

The panel is to report findings and recommendations four months after its first meeting.

The commission meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Shelby County Administration building, 160 N. Main St.

MCS Television Station Awarded $10,000 Grant

The Memphis City Schools television station, C19 TV, has received a $10,000 grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and SkillsUSA.

The grant will help fund a new television studio set for MCS students to use as part of their curriculum this fall.

A celebration will take place today at 2 p.m. at the MCS Telecommunications Center, 2485 Union Ave. behind the Teaching and Learning Academy. The new facility will be available for public tours.

MCS students are involved in all aspects of news production and programming creation for C19 TV.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization of students, teachers and industry workers who work to ensure American high school students are skilled and prepared to enter the workforce. The association’s annual membership reaches about 285,000 students and instructors from more than 3,700 schools and colleges in every state, three U.S. territories and Washington.

Lowe’s established the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation to support community and education projects in both the U.S. and Canada.

Service Sector Contracts As Orders Fall

Higher oil prices caused service businesses to shrink in June, as falling new orders and rising costs hit the nation’s coffee shops, paper mills and corner stores.

The Institute for Supply Management reported late last week that the service sector index fell to 48.2 in June from 51.7 in May. It missed economists’ prediction of a reading of 51.0, according to the consensus estimate of Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR. A reading above 50 signals growth.

The sector had been growing modestly, while much of the rest of the economy stalled. June’s decline in the sector, coupled with Thursday’s employment report showing the sixth straight month of job losses, added to the recent streak of bad news about the economy.

Bruce Kane, a Smithtown, N.Y., home accessories manufacturers rep, said

stores he sells to are afraid to place orders for Christmas.

“Come September, with home heating oil prices, they don’t know what the customer is going to do,” he said.

Sharply higher prices paid – led by fuel and food prices – were the largest factor in the service index’s decline.

Randy Wester, who runs auctions of restaurants in Benson, N.C., said the restaurant owners he talks to daily are “barely breaking even.”

“Very few of them are making any money,” he said. “With food costs going up so much, no one is getting rich in the restaurant business.”

Among the businesses reporting contraction in the survey were agriculture, forestry, hotels, restaurants, health care, finance, insurance and retail.

Growing industries included arts and recreation, mining, utilities and wholesale trade.

WKNO Names New Board Members

WKNO Public Broadcasting has named its new board members and officers.

The officers for the 2008-2009 board are William L. Taylor, chairman; Chuck Hughes, vice chairman; Dr. Craig Esrael, secretary; and Michael LaBonia, treasurer.

New board members are Calvin Anderson, vice president of community and federal relations for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; Rick Ascolese, president and chief operating officer of TruGreen LandCare; and Deanie Parker, who retired as president of the Soulsville Foundation in 2007.

PROPERTY SALES 64 87 1,429
MORTGAGES 39 60 1,107