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VOL. 126 | NO. 143 | Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Digest

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American Snuff Files 2nd Permit in 2 Weeks

Memphis-based American Snuff LLC, owned by Reynolds American, has filed a second permit in two weeks for its facility at 5106 Tradeport Ave. in Hickory Hill. The latest permit application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement is $1.4 million and covers tank pumps and pipeline control systems, among other things.

The previous permit, filed earlier this month, was for $2 million and is listed as “installation of new equipment.”

American Snuff, formerly known as Conwood Co. LLC, bought the 787,500-square-foot facility in November 2009 for $19.3 million, and since has filed several permits to upgrade the facility.

No architect or contractor was listed on the recent permits.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Mayor Wharton to Speak At Commercial Council Breakfast

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors Commercial Council will serve as host for a breakfast on Wednesday, July 27, with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. at Downtown’s One Commerce Square Annex, 40 S. Main St.

Ron Riley, president of the Commercial Council, said the meeting affords commercial real estate brokers and others involved in the commercial real estate industry an excellent opportunity to hear directly from the city’s CEO.

“It’s impossible to separate a healthy Memphis business climate and a robust commercial real estate market,” Riley said. “The two go together, so it is always valuable to hear what the mayor has to say about our city’s commerce.”

The breakfast begins at 8:15 a.m. and the cost is $5. Reservations and advance payment are required. Reservations may be made by calling 818-2400.

With more than 300 members, the MAAR Commercial Council is a self-governed, freestanding division of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. Members include commercial developers, commercial brokers and affiliate brokers, property managers and other commercial real estate-related professionals.

– Sarah Baker

Cohen Introduces 'Livability' Bill

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, has reintroduced a bill that would create an Office of Livability within the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Cohen’s office says the Enhancing Livability for All Americans Act would help communities develop and maintain safe, reliable, integrated and accessible transportation networks. The Office of Livability would work with urban and rural areas around the country.

It would manage a grant system for communities to create growth plans and for project implementation; provide funds for and oversee research studies that pertain to livability; coordinate the related work of various agencies; administer or provide oversight to existing and newly created livability programs; and develop national policies that promote livability.

Cohen said the legislation would help Memphis “develop a 21st century transportation network that fosters economic development and mobility for its residents.”

– Andy Meek

West Clinic Accredited in Ambulatory Health Care

The West Clinic, which has provided cancer care in the Mid-South for more than 30 years, has achieved accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which recognizes organizations that provide a safe work environment and high-quality patient care on an outpatient basis.

As an accredited organization, The West Clinic met nationally recognized standards for the provision of quality health care set by AAAHC. Ambulatory health care organizations seeking accreditation undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors, who include volunteer physicians, nurses and administrators actively involved in ambulatory health care.

“Going through the AAAHC accreditation process was an important milestone in our continued commitment to provide the highest level of care for our patients,” said Dr. Scott L. Baum, diagnostic and interventional radiologist with the West Clinic.

The West Clinic, which has six centers in West Tennessee and North Mississippi, features a multi-disciplinary physician group comprised of 27 specialists in medical oncology, hematology, gynecologic oncology, endocrinology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, and pain and palliative care.

– Aisling Maki

Memphis Habitat Names New Board Members

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis has announced board members for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

They are Kofi Appah, managing director of FedEx Express; Ed Clark, retired president and chief executive officer of FedEx Trade Networks; Tom Faller, IT manager at FedEx Corp.; Andre Gibson, systems integration administrator at Buckman USA; and Debra Owings, president of Retail Management Service.

Faller previously served two consecutive terms and is beginning a new term. The five new members will join 11 returning board members.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Haslam's Cabinet Makes Fewer Out-of-State Trips

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Cabinet members have taken fewer out-of-state trips this year than their predecessors did in their last six months of Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration.

Haslam’s Cabinet members have made 18 trips outside the state between Jan. 20 and July 1, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, which compared reports posted on the Department of Finance and Administration’s website. The reporting of reimbursements for the trips online was a practice begun under the Bredesen administration that has been continued by Haslam.

Haslam spokesman David Smith said they have made a concerted effort to limit out-of-state travel and Deputy Gov. Claude Ramsey must approve any out-of-state travel.

“There is certainly necessary travel, but there is a lot of work to be done here in Nashville such as conducting top-to-bottom reviews of each department and taking a look at boards and commissions throughout state government,” Smith told the newspaper in an email.

Bredesen’s department heads made 42 trips outside Tennessee from July 1 through the end of 2010 and some of the department heads traveled just weeks before leaving office.

The most frequent traveler who has served under both administrations has been Greg Gonzales, commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions. He made five trips in the closing months of 2010 and has made six trips under Haslam’s administration.

The cost to taxpayers for these trips varies widely. In some cases, officials attend events for which the sponsoring organization covers major costs such as lodging and airplane tickets.

A trip to Georgia by Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Robert Martineau cost $69 for incidental expenses, but the state paid more than $1,500 for a trip that he took to Salt Lake City.

– The Associated Press

SunTrust Returns to Profit in Q2 as Loans Improve

SunTrust Banks Inc. said Friday that it returned to a profit in the second quarter as its loan portfolio improved and it set aside less money to cover charge-offs.

The Southern regional bank reported net income of $174 million, or 33 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, compared with a net loss of $56 million, or 11 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Analysts on average expected earnings of 31 cents per share, according to FactSet.

SunTrust said its net charge-offs were $505 million in the quarter, down 30 percent from $722 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline came from across all loan segments, but particularly in the residential loans, the company said.

The improvement allowed SunTrust to set aside less money for souring loans. The company said provisions for credit losses eased considerably to $392 million, down from $662 million a year ago.

Total revenue for the quarter meanwhile rose to $2.2 billion, from $2.16 billion a year ago. Net interest income was $1.29 billion, up from $1.21 billion a year ago. Noninterest income fell to $912 million, down from $952 million.

As of June 30, the company had total assets of $172.3 billion.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115