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VOL. 123 | NO. 215 | Monday, November 3, 2008

Daily Digest

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Church Closes On Hickory Ridge Mall

World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church Inc. has bought the Hickory Ridge Mall for $1.4 million from Carlyle Rock Ridge LLC. The sale closed Oct. 23, with the church filing a $1.2 million loan from Tri-State Bank of Memphis.

The roughly 500,000-square-foot Hickory Ridge Mall sits on 44 acres at 6075 Winchester Road in Hickory Hill. It was damaged by a tornado during the Feb. 5 storms that ripped through the southern and southeastern areas of town.

World Overcomers will retain its congregational home at the former Central Church at 6655 Winchester Road, down the road from the mall. The church bought that property in 2001 for $10 million.

Church pastor Alton Williams didn’t immediately return a call Friday, but he has announced plans to turn the mall into a Christian community center, replete with a restaurant, banquet hall, theater and other services for the neighborhood.

The Hickory Ridge Mall opened in 1981 to much fanfare, but it steadily declined over the years as newer malls opened in other parts of town and tenants departed. The February storm proved to be a death knell for the mall.

Although the city of Memphis considered buying it and turning it into a satellite office for city services, the renovation cost proved too much.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Commission to Discuss Fringe Financial Industry

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss on first reading today a zoning ordinance amendment that is intended to curb the growth of the fringe financial industry in Memphis and Shelby County.

The zoning changes, which are the brainchild of Memphis City Council member Bill Morrison, would add new definitions for financial institutions, including title loan and check cashing businesses. It would put new requirements into local codes that set new limits on where those businesses can open, for example, and how far apart they have to be from one another.

Commissioner Mike Carpenter is the sponsor of the amendment.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Shelby County Administration Building, 125 N. Main St.

State Report Paints Bleak Forecast

All the news is bad in the latest state economic forecast from University of Tennessee researchers Friday, with unemployment expected to rise through this time next year.

UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research described the path forward for the national and state economies as “downright ugly” in a fall update to last February’s annual economic report to the governor.

According to the report, job losses have been recorded each month so far this year and housing starts for 2008 will fall below 1 million for the first time since 1945.

“My mother often told me that if I did not have anything good to say, I should say nothing at all,” said Matt Murray, associate director of CBER who prepared the report. “If I followed my mother’s advice, this would be a very brief narrative. Unfortunately, all the news is bad news.”

Tennessee’s unemployment rate spiked to 7.2 percent in

September, compared to 6.1 percent for the nation, the report said. The state’s biggest job losses were seen in transportation and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality services.

The unemployment rate in Tennessee is expected to reach 8.3 percent by the third quarter of 2009, which would be the highest since the recession in 1982, the report said.

“The current cycle will displace large numbers of workers who will find it difficult to secure employment in the slow expansion,” according to the report.

The state’s automobile sector is almost as bad as the housing sector in part because fewer people are able to get car loans.

The report cites Automotive News’ prediction that more than 700 dealerships will close this year. Layoffs are expected to increase, and the global auto market likely will see huge declines in 2009. Another problem for consumers is at the grocery store, with food prices seeing no relief.

However, the report said there could be some growth toward the end of next year if housing starts improve. But home values are expected to remain down next year and even into 2012.

WM Barr Acquires Goof Off Brand

Memphis-based WM Barr has acquired Goof Off from the Valspar Corp.

The Goof Off brand family of products includes a wide assortment of removers, cleaners and specialty products for use in homes, workshops and garages.

This is the third large acquisition by WM Barr this year. On July 31, the company acquired the Jasco and Bix product lines. On Aug. 19, the company acquired Trask Research Mold Division from its private owner.

WM Barr manufactures products under the Armor All, Bulldog, Citristrip, Damp Rid, Klean-Strip and Mold Amour brands.

Health Dept. to Offer Flu Shots at 3 Poll Sites

The Memphis and Shelby County Health Department will offer free flu shots for adults at three polling places on Election Day, Tuesday.

The three polling places are Glenview Community Center at 1141 S. Barksdale St., Hickory Hill Community Center at 3910 Ridgeway Road and Raleigh Community Center at 3678 Powers Road.

The flu shot clinics are part of a nationwide pilot program called “Vote & Vax,” which is designed to make flu shots more accessible to adults who might not otherwise be vaccinated.

The flu shots will be free to adults covered under Medicare or TennCare and participants do not need to vote or be registered to vote to receive the flu shot.

Court Sides With Smith & Nephew

A U.S. District Court in Oregon has issued an injunction against privately held Anthrex Inc. of Naples, Fla., from manufacturing or selling devices that infringe on a patent exclusively licensed to Smith & Nephew.

The court also awarded Smith & Nephew Endoscopy $14.7 million for past infringement dating back to 2005. The patent is for a suture device used in various minimally invasive soft tissue repair surgeries.

Smith & Nephew sued to protect the patent for the Bioraptor, Tag, Wedge and Tag Rod suture anchors, which are designed to help repair instability in the shoulder as well as other soft tissue tears.

Smith & Nephew Inc.’s orthopaedics division is based in Memphis.

Memphis Councilwoman Faces Driving Violations

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove faces two driver’s license charges after surrendering to police.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol brought charges of fraudulent use of a license and making or selling a counterfeit license.

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said in a statement on Friday that Fullilove was charged because she reported her license lost and received a duplicate, not mentioning it had been seized by Mississippi authorities. It was confiscated in March after she refused a breath alcohol test.

Fullilove was arrested again in North Mississippi on Oct. 17 and charged with reckless driving and failing to take a DUI test.

Fullilove was booked in Memphis on Thursday and released on $100 bail after turning herself in on the Tennessee misdemeanor charge.

Schering-Plough To Appeal Jury Decision

Schering-Plough has said it will appeal a decision by a Missouri jury regarding reimbursement by that state’s Medicaid program to Warrick Pharmaceuticals, the drug company’s former generics subsidiary.

The jury ruled that Schering-Plough over-charged Medicaid and should pay back the state $7.3 million. The jury was also deliberating punitive damages late last week.

The company noted that it has prevailed in two other reimbursement cases, one in Massachusetts last November and another in West Virginia in December 2005.

Schering-Plough HealthCare Products operations office is in Memphis.

CBU Opens Life Sciences Center

Christian Brothers University celebrated the opening of the new Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences last week.

The new building is a freestanding addition to the existing and renovated Assisi Hall Science Learning Center. The total project cost $14 million, including a $1 million endowment for annual operation and maintenance.

Space in the center is dedicated for pre-health students pursuing medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing and other graduate professional degrees. Major benefactors for the project included Bob and Susan Wilson, the Plough Foundation, the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and an anonymous donor.

UTHSC Receives Nearly $200K Grant

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has received a $184,271 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to fund biological research on the interaction between genetics and the nervous system.

Dr. Kristin Hamre, an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, is leading the research. The grant was awarded through the federal agency’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

PROPERTY SALES 110 110 3,508
MORTGAGES 42 42 2,321
BANKRUPTCIES 24 24 1,928