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VOL. 126 | NO. 33 | Thursday, February 17, 2011

Daily Digest

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Mt. Zion Baptist Buys Frayser Church

Mt. Zion Baptist Church has bought a church building at 1621 Dellwood Ave. in Frayser for $500,000. The seller was Schoolfield United Methodist Church Inc.

The building is on 2.2 acres at the southeast corner of Dellwood Avenue and Mensi Street. Vista Grande Street is to the east.

In conjunction with the purchase, Mt. Zion Baptist Church took out a $395,575 loan through Regions Bank with a maturity date of Feb. 23, 2016.

The seller, Schoolfield United Methodist Church Inc., received the property via quitclaim deed from Trustees of Schoolfield Memorial Methodist Church Inc. in October 1992.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Cartus Named to List for Org. Development

Cartus Corp., a provider of global relocation management with an office in Memphis, has been ranked among the Top 125 companies for organizational development and training by Training magazine.

Cartus was ranked No. 54, the highest of any relocation services company.

“Training” magazine’s annual competition evaluates organizational learning programs and judges companies on elements such as internal best practices, demonstrable results, innovation and evaluation procedures.

Cartus was recognized for its lunch and learn sessions and its Emerging Leader Development Program, designed to help employees in higher professional ranks develop their leadership skills.

This is the tenth consecutive year Cartus has been named to the list.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Parkway Announces Q1 Dividend

Parkway Properties Inc. has announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.075 per share payable on March 30, 2011, to shareholders of record of Common Stock on March 16, 2011.

This dividend is the 98th consecutive quarterly distribution to Parkway’s shareholders of Common Stock and represents an annualized dividend rate of $0.30 per share.

The board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share payable on April 15, 2011, to shareholders of record of Series D Preferred Stock on March 31, 2011.

Parkway Realty Services is a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) affiliated with Jackson, Miss.-based Parkway Properties Inc. – a self-administered REIT that specializes in the operation, leasing, acquisition and ownership of office properties.

Parkway Realty owns and manages 1.6 million square feet of office property in the Memphis metropolitan area, including the Renaissance Center, Forum, Morgan Keegan Tower, Falls Building and Toyota Center.

– Sarah Baker

Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday and will be closing about 200 stores, but no Memphis stores will be affected for now. Borders has the option of closing 75 more of its 622 currently operating stores, though those locations have not yet been announced.

Borders Group operates a Borders bookstore at 6685 Poplar Ave. and a Waldenbooks in Wolfchase Galleria, 2760 N. Germantown Parkway.

The 40-year-old company filed $1.28 billion in assets and $1.29 billion in debts, as of Dec. 25, and will be receiving $505 million in debtor-in-possession financing from GE Capital, among others, to help successfully reorganize.

“They are going to have to be an entirely different company than the one that went into bankruptcy protection if they want to emerge successfully,” Jim McTevia, managing partner of turnaround firm McTevia & Associates, told The Associated Press.

Borders operates smaller stores such as Waldenbooks and Borders Express. The stores expected to close are losing an estimated $2 million a day. The company also owes millions of dollars to publishers, including $41.1 million to Penguin Putnam, $36.9 million to Hachette Book Group, $33.8 million to Simon & Schuster and $33.5 million to Random House, according to The Associated Press.

Borders operates barely half of the 1,249 stores is operated at its peak in 2003, and its annual revenue has fallen by about $1 billion since 2006.

– Allison Buckley

Cargo Thefts Down, Target Electronics, Food

Electronics and food and drink remain the favored items in cargo thefts nationally, according to a survey by FreightWatch International.

From February 2010 to January 2011, electronics thefts accounted for 21 percent of all cargo thefts. Food and drinks were 20 percent.

Most of the thefts were at truck stops or on secured lots.

Thefts tracked in the month of January include $200,000 worth of electronics in a trailer stolen on a public access lot in West Memphis.

There were 47 theft incidents for the month nationally, with Texas having the most incidents – 10 – and New Jersey recording nine reports.

The West Memphis theft was the only one in the Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi Mid-South region.

For the period between February 2010 and January 2011, Tennessee ranked sixth for thefts among the 21 states for which FreightWatch had information. California was first with over 200 incidents reported. New Jersey was a distant second, peaking at more than 100.

Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas each had fewer than 50 incidents.

The monthly totals showed a decrease in incidents from December 2010. But the value of the average monthly losses increased from $351,616 in December to $671,336.

The average jumped dramatically because of a $10 million electronics warehouse burglary in Orlando.

– Bill Dries

Feds Concerned About Employment Issue

Federal officials say they’re concerned about reports that some companies are trying to exclude the unemployed from applying for job openings.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is examining how prevalent the practice might be and whether it could violate federal job discrimination laws.

There’s no specific legal protection for unemployed workers. But commissioners are investigating whether excluding jobless applicants may be extra hard on blacks, Latinos or other ethnic minorities that tend to have higher unemployment rates.

The Labor Department says it’s hard to measure the problem because most job openings are not posted publicly.

The concerns are based on anecdotal reports of advertisements or recruiting firms that discouraged the unemployed from applying.

– The Associated Press

Tenn. Bill Targets Teacher Bargaining Rights

Tennessee school districts would no longer have to engage in negotiations with teachers’ unions under a bill advancing in the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jack Johnson of Brentwood is headed for a full Senate vote after passing the Senate Education Committee 6-3 along party lines on Wednesday.

Johnson says collective bargaining actually stifles teacher input. He says with education reforms proposed across the state and nation, “it is more important than ever that all teachers have a seat at the table” and not be filtered by a union.

Hundreds of teachers came to the Legislative Plaza across the street from the Capitol to oppose the legislation.

Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters testified before the committee that the legislation would create “chaos.” He says “people need a collective voice to express their concern.”

– The Associated Press

Fed Reserve Officials More Upbeat on Economy

Federal Reserve officials are slightly more optimistic about economic growth this year than they were in November, reflecting an expected boost to consumer and business spending from tax cuts.

Fed officials say in an updated forecast that they think the economy will grow between 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent this year. That’s an upward revision from their November forecast, which predicted that gross domestic product will grow 3 percent to 3.6 percent.

The Fed’s latest outlook foresees little improvement in the unemployment rate. The central bank predicts that the rate, now at 9 percent, will end the year at that level or possibly dip to 8.8 percent.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 103 137 4,008
MORTGAGES 84 131 4,521
BUILDING PERMITS 178 368 9,636
BANKRUPTCIES 50 110 2,995