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VOL. 124 | NO. 21 | Monday, February 2, 2009

Daily Digest

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Oliver Creek Church Files $1.8 Million Permit

Oliver Creek Church of Christ has filed a $1.8 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a church at 8313 U.S. 70 in unincorporated Shelby County.

The 5-acre parcel is on the south side of U.S. 70, east of the Summer Avenue and North Germantown Road intersection near Lakeland. The property has a home on it, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property, which has appraised the residence at $110,600 and the land at $87,200.

Church representatives were not available by press time for comment about the project.

The church bought the property in March from David Bomprezzi, trustee, for $250,000.

Oliver Creek was formerly known as Brownsville Road Church of Christ until it merged with Twin Oaks Church of Christ and relocated to 7715 U.S. 70 (Summer Avenue), Suite 112, in Bartlett’s Twin Oaks Plaza, according to The Daily News archives. The combined church was renamed Oliver Creek Church of Christ.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Recession Keeps Lid On Employment Costs

Employment costs edged up in the final three months of the year at the smallest pace in nearly a decade while the gain for the entire year was the weakest showing in more than a quarter century.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that its employment cost index was up 0.5 percent for the three months ending in December, weaker than the 0.7 percent rise that economists had expected.

For the whole year, employment costs, including wages and benefits, showed an increase of 2.6 percent, an all-time low for this data series, which goes back to 1982.

The previous low had been a 2.8 percent gain in 1996. Employment costs had risen by 3.3 percent in both 2007 and 2006.

The slowdown in wages and benefits paid to workers is a reflection of the country’s economic hard times. The economy has been in a recession since December 2007, a downturn marked by plunging home prices, the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression and 2.6 million job cuts last year, the worst showing in six decades.

The 0.5 percent rise in compensation costs for civilian workers in the October-December period was the weakest showing since employment costs edged up by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 1999.

Wages and salaries, the biggest component of compensation, rose by 0.5 percent for the fourth quarter, compared to a 0.7 percent gain in the third quarter, while benefit costs were up by 0.4 percent, compared to a 0.6 percent rise in the first quarter.

With layoffs intensifying, employees have even less bargaining power to get higher salaries or increased benefits.

Tenn. Unemployment Rate Grows to 7.9 Percent

Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate worsened slightly in December, growing almost one percentage point from the November rate of 7.0 percent to 7.9 percent for December 2008.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has reported that about 241,200 Tennesseans were unemployed in December. That number included almost 33,000 people in Shelby County.

The December numbers show that all the counties in the state recorded unemployment rate increases. Shelby County’s unemployment rate stood at 7.5 percent in December, up from 6.9 percent in November.

The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 7.2 percent.

Secretary of State Hires Own Elections Chief

New Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a former Bartlett resident, said he is interviewing candidates to replace State Elections Coordinator Brook Thompson.

The new combined Republican majority in the Tennessee House and Senate earlier last month elected Hargett to replace Democrat Riley Darnell as secretary of state.

The secretary of state’s responsibilities include overseeing businesses, charities and elections.

Thompson has agreed to stay on as elections coordinator until his replacement is hired.

The Republican majority in the General Assembly is also causing a restructuring of the state’s 95 county elections commissions. Under state law, the majority party in the Legislature gets three representatives on those panels, while the minority party gets two.

MATA Partners With Google For Trip Planner Feature

The Memphis Area Transit Authority has partnered with Google to integrate MATA’s schedule information into Google Maps.

Users of Google’s trip planner feature will receive an itinerary by entering a starting point, destination and time of travel. The itinerary will include step-by-step instructions, including walking directions when necessary.

Users may visit www.matatransit.com or www.google.com/transit to get a transit travel plan.

UTHSC’s Miller Honored For Medicinal Chemistry Work

Dr. Duane D. Miller has been inducted into the American Chemistry Society’s Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.

Miller, a professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and an executive with GTx, co-discovered and first described in medical literature a new class of drugs, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS), which have the potential to treat muscle wasting and other musculoskeletal conditions.

GTx and Merck & Co. Inc. have formed a global strategic collaboration on the discovery, development and commercialization of SARMs for the treatment of muscle wasting from cancer and other conditions.

Liver Transplant Record Set At Methodist University

Surgeons at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute experienced a 14 percent increase in the number of liver transplants from 2007 to 2008.

They performed 120 liver transplants last year compared to 106 in 2007. The hospital’s Transplant Institute focuses on liver, kidney, pancreas and kidney/pancreas transplants and is one of the 12 largest liver transplant programs in the country.

Crime Commission Hires Franklin for Marketing

The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission has hired former Chandler Ehrlich advertising agency account executive Shalishah Franklin as the group’s marketing and communications manager.

Among her professional career accomplishments are the creation of brand development, marketing plans and public awareness campaigns for groups and companies such as the National Foundation for Transplants as well as International Paper and Renasant Bank.

The crime commission was founded by Guardsmark Inc. and the Plough Foundation in 1997 as essentially a research and advocacy nonprofit group. It has a slate of board members, full-time president and a small full-time staff.

PROPERTY SALES 61 262 16,169
MORTGAGES 28 132 10,054
BUILDING PERMITS 88 424 38,360
BANKRUPTCIES 36 92 7,564