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VOL. 125 | NO. 108 | Friday, June 4, 2010

Daily Digest

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Aluma-Form Files Loan, Prepares for New Facility

Memphis-based Aluma-Form Inc., whose headquarters are at 3625 Old Getwell Road in Oakhaven, has filed a $2.1 million loan through Regions Bank.

A manufacturer of special structures and hardware from “apitong” (structural) wood and aluminum for the utility industry, Aluma-Form in March announced plans to expand.

The company that month filed a $1.5 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to bring a roughly 20,000-square-foot warehouse to its campus.

Chief Operating Officer Fred Newman told The Daily News for an article earlier this year that the expansion is based on the economy.

The new facility will bring added capacity, allowing Aluma-Form to increase manufacturing of its newly developed “fiberglass equipment mounts” and “fiberglass guy strain insulators,” products that are used to stabilize utility poles, Newman said.

Aluma-Form was founded in 1961 by John Salmon. The company’s first product, an aluminum platform, also was the origin of its name.

Aluma-Form’s products include “cross-arm braces” and “dead-end arms,” where a line of utility poles turn a corner.

The company, which manufactures all of its products at its Memphis location, sells its line of products throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in parts of the Caribbean, with Jamaica being a big customer.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Sutherland Clinic Joins Up With Methodist

Sutherland Cardiology Clinic will become part of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare beginning July 1.

The regional practice has 17 board-certified physicians and offices in Memphis, Dyersburg and Munford, Tenn., West Memphis and Oxford, Miss.

In Memphis, Sutherland will continue to serve patients from its current location at 7460 Wolf River Blvd. The clinic’s name will not change.

J. Charles Lock, executive director of Sutherland Clinic, said for providers to be successful in the changing world of health care, they have to be innovative, create greater efficiency and improve service and quality. The partnership with Methodist will allow the practice to pursue those goals, he said.

Gary S. Shorb, the chief executive officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, said Sutherland is an ideal partner because of its reputation for quality and service.

Tom Wilemon

Fred’s May Sales Increase by 5 Percent

Fred’s Inc. has reported its total sales of $141.5 million for the four-week period ending May 29 increased 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

However, when measured by comparable stores, sales increased 3.5 percent.

Bruce A. Efird, chief executive officer of the Memphis-based chain, said sales were boosted by a strong finish before the Memorial Day holiday, good results from advertising circulars and growth in pharmacy sales.

Fred’s operates 670 discount general merchandise stores in the Southeast.

— Tom Wilemon

Hospital Contractor Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Venetia Smith has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling money from the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

The hospital contacted federal authorities after internal auditors discovered potential malfeasance by VS Payroll and Tax Service. The activity occurred from 2004 to 2006.

Officials with The MED cooperated fully with the investigation, which was under seal by the federal government until this week, when Smith pleaded guilty.

In a statement, the hospital said it has responsibility to report fraud and abuse and was pleased with the investigation’s outcome.

— Tom Wilemon

Hess Named Head of Memphis FBI

Amy S. Hess is the new head of the FBI’s Memphis office.

Hess was named this week by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. She succeeds My Harrison, who is now deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Security Division in Washington.

Hess comes to Memphis after serving as section chief of the International Operations Division in Washington.

She began her career with the FBI in 1991 as a special agent assigned to Kansas City, Mo. While serving as assistant special agent in charge of the Phoenix division in 2007, Hess was an on-scene commander in Afghanistan for counterterrorism.

— Bill Dries

Attorney Cobb Dies From Stroke Complications

Charles Pittman Cobb, 87, died June 1 of complications following a stroke.

Cobb most recently worked at Evans & Petree PC. He joined the firm in 1949, became a senior partner and retired from the firm in 1984.

Cobb was a 1940 graduate of Whitehaven High School and attended Southwestern-At-Memphis, now Rhodes College. He graduated in 1943 from Duke University with an A.B. in accounting, and in 1948 graduated from the University of Virginia Law School. He was licensed to practice law in Tennessee in 1948.

He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, earning the rank of lieutenant, and was commanding officer of his ship.

A memorial will be held at Lindenwood Christian Church at 2400 Union Ave. at noon Saturday, with visitation and a reception following at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Lindenwood Christian Church, Rhodes College or Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Rebekah Hearn

Argent Trust Moves to East Memphis

Only weeks after opening an office in Memphis, Argent Trust Co. of Tennessee has scooted up Poplar Avenue to a new 4,912-square-foot space on the seventh floor of The Crescent Center.

Brent Westbrook, vice president and business development officer in Argent’s Memphis office, said the move added approximately 1,500 square feet of space, which gives the company room to grow.

Argent recently acquired Memphis-based Investment Counsel and Trust Co.

Andy Meek

AMA Survey Shows Doctors Curtailing Medicare

A survey by the American Medical Association indicates doctors have begun cutting back on the acceptance of Medicare patients because Congress has repeatedly failed to address a 21 percent physician payment cut. Congress has delayed the cut instead of fixing the problem.

The AMA’s online survey of 9,000 physicians indicated 31 percent of primary care physicians say they have already been forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they treat at their practices.

— Tom Wilemon

US Education Secretary to Speak in Memphis

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will speak at the National PTA Convention in Memphis June 11 at 5:30 p.m.

The 114th Annual National PTA Convention will be held June 10-13 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Also scheduled to speak are former NFL coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, June 11 at 9:45 a.m.; speaker and consultant Mark Levin, June 11 at 3:30 p.m.; “Everybody Hates Chris” actress Tichina Arnold, June 12 at 4:45 p.m.; and Vicki Phillips, director of Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, June 13 at 10:30 a.m.

The convention also will include workshops, exhibits and networking opportunities.

Onsite registration will begin June 10 at 8 a.m. For more information, visit www.pta.org.

— Taylor Shoptaw

Driver’s License Fee Bill Fails This Session

A proposal to use increased driver’s license fees in Tennessee to help plug a budget shortfall has failed this session. It was removed from consideration in the House Finance Committee Wednesday.

It would have increased the renewal cycle for a driver’s license or photo identification from five to eight years, and increase the annual fee by $2. Gov. Phil Bredesen had hoped to use the hike to generate about $21 million.

— The Associated Press

MORTGAGES 110 170 916
BUILDING PERMITS 133 290 1,948