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VOL. 126 | NO. 30 | Monday, February 14, 2011

Daily Digest

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Texas Company Buys Vacant Lot on E. Poplar

Houston, Texas-based Christian Brothers Collierville LP has bought 1.05 acres of vacant land on the southwest corner of East Poplar Avenue and Eastley Street in Collierville. The purchase was financed with a $1.6 million loan through Amegy Bank NA that matures in January 2014.

The site is part of property Town Square Partners bought in 2006 for $1.9 million. Its anticipated land use is as a school, according to Chandler Reports.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2010 appraisal is $264,100.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Memphian Chosen Chair of Marketing Alliance

Jack Dewald, president of Memphis-based full-service life and health insurance brokerage firm Agency Services Inc., has been elected board chair for the St. Louis-based Marketing Alliance, one of the largest organizations that supports independent insurance brokerage agencies.

Dewald was the 2010 chair of The LIFE Foundation, a national non-profit life insurance consumer education and awareness group. He also has served as chairman of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, an officer of the NAILBA Charitable Foundation, president of the Memphis Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and president of the Memphis Health Underwriters Association.

“Jack is a rare leader who leads by example and relies on keen business acumen to deliver results for all of the organizations to which he has belonged,” said The Marketing Alliance president Timothy Klusas. “Jack is also a successful business owner who understands that the foremost priority for his business is to serve the needs of his clients.”

– Andy Meek

Highwoods Reports $62M in Fourth Quarter Revenue

Highwoods Properties Inc. saw 2010 profits of $61.8 million – a 19 percent jump year over year – the company announced Thursday in its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings conference call.

Earnings for the year were 86 cents per share, compared with 76 cents for 2009. Highwoods leased 31 percent in additional office space, grew total revenue by $13.2 million and cut same-store operating expenses by 3.2 percent.

Highwoods is a real estate investment trust that provides leasing, management, development, construction and other customer-related services for its properties and for third parties.

As of Dec. 31, the company owned or had an interest in 330 in-service office, industrial and retail properties encompassing approximately 32.4 million square feet.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods also owns about 611 acres of development land in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

– Sarah Baker

Union City Goodyear Plant to Close by End of Year

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. will close its Union City, Tenn., plant at the end of the year, eliminating 1,900 jobs, the company announced Thursday as part of its quarterly earnings report.

Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear – the biggest U.S. tire maker – saw a rise in revenue, 14 percent in the fourth quarter, but the company took a $160 million charge tied to its plans to close the Union City plant, which was left unprotected by a 2009 labor contract.

The plant is among the region’s largest employers, with employees who drive in from Kentucky and as far as 50 miles away.

Displaced workers – with average hourly earnings of $23 and $5,800 a month for those on salary – will be offered lump-sum exit payments or preferential status in applying at other plants.

Tennessee Sen. Roy Herron is working with state and local officials.

“Goodyear has dropped an economic nuclear bomb on Northwest Tennessee, 1,900 working families and our whole region,” Herron said in a statement. “I have talked with Goodyear workers and management, Obion County and Union City officials and other leaders.”

Herron is requesting $7 million in state funds to match $13 million in federal funds to make the port and industrial park at nearby Cates Landing operational in order to attract manufacturing jobs. Herron is also asking Gov. Bill Haslam to make Interstate 69 a priority as a major transportation artery to draw new industry to West Tennessee.

“We must act quickly and boldly to fill the gaping hole that this plant closing will leave in our regional and state economy,” Herron said.

– Sarah Baker

CBU Invites Public to Black History Month Events

Christian Brothers University’s Black History Month celebration continues with a showing of Hotel Rwanda on Feb. 16 followed by “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” on Feb. 23.

Both showings begin at 7 p.m. in the Spain Auditorium.

On Feb. 22, former Circuit Court judge and civil rights activist D’Army Bailey will present “The Story of a Journey” at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre. Bailey is the author of “The Education of a Black Radical: A Southern Civil Rights Activist’s Journey 1959-1964.”

As part of its celebration, CBU earlier this month welcomed Rose Mapendo, the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mapendo and her family were imprisoned because of their ethnicity. She and her children were flown to a refugee camp in northern Cameroon and ultimately settled in the United States, where she’s now a peace activist and sought-after motivational speaker.

CBU’s Black History Month events are free and open to the public. Visit cbu.edu for more information.

– Aisling Maki

TDEC to Hold Greenway Forum

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Greenways and Trails program will hold its annual forum April 14-16 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The three-day networking and skill-building conference is titled “Building Connections” and will be hosted by the department’s Recreation Education Services Division and the Commissioner’s Council on Greenways and Trails.

The forum will feature presenters from across the country and variety of field trips and education sessions, which will highlight the impact greenways and trails have on communities. Charles A. Flink, president of Alta/Greenways, will serve as keynote speaker April 15.

Advanced registration before March 11 is $75. Registration after March 11 is $100.

For more information, including a full list of speakers, or to register, visit www.tn.gov/environment/recreation.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Civil Rights Complaint Against CVS May Go Forward

The Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights is allowing a civil rights complaint over an online job application used by CVS Caremark Corp. to go forward, saying there is probable cause to believe the pharmacy chain violated state anti-discrimination laws.

The finding, which was released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union, allows the ACLU to sue the company.

The complaint, filed in 2009 by the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU, says CVS’ application for customer service jobs at its pharmacies includes a series of about 100 statements that applicants are asked to respond to, including “You change from happy to sad without any reason,” ‘’There’s no use having close friends; they always let you down,” and “Your moods are steady from day to day.”

The ACLU said the application could be used to elicit information about people’s mental health, and discriminate against those who have depression, attention deficit disorder, social anxiety and other mental impairments or disorders. It believes the statements violate state law as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Corbett said he believes CVS uses the application nationwide, although to his knowledge, the only complaint about it has been brought in Rhode Island.

– The Associated Press

Trade Deficit Widens to $40.6B in Dec.

The trade deficit widened in December as rising oil prices pushed the value of imports up faster than U.S. exports.

The deficit increased 5.9 percent in December to $40.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

U.S. exports of goods and services rose to $163 billion, a 1.8 percent gain and the best showing since July 2008. A 2.6 percent gain pushed total U.S. imports to $203.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008. The increase was led by a 16.8 percent rise in imported oil.

– The Associated Press

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