Obama 2012 Campaign To Go Beyond Email, Text

You might call President Barack Obama the Digital Candidate.

Obama has asked supporters to use Facebook to declare “I’m In” for his re-election campaign and is using Twitter to blast out messages to his millions of followers.

Campaign emails to supporters seek small donations in exchange for campaign coffee mugs or a chance to win dinner with the president. The campaign’s website helps supporters find local events and raise money while its digital team works on the next big thing.

Obama broke new ground using email, text messages and the Web to reach voters in 2008, and now his re-election campaign hopes to harness the Internet and social media to strengthen the campaign.

– The Associated Press

Craig Brewer to Speak At ‘Hustle & Flow’ Screening

Craig Brewer to Speak At ‘Hustle & Flow’ Screening

The critically acclaimed indie drama film “Hustle & Flow” will be the opening film to launch The Orpheum Theatre’s first ever Memphis Film Fest on Friday evening, July 1. Memphian Craig Brewer, writer and director of the film, will open the night with a special guest appearance and a brief discussion before the film begins.

Brewer spent his childhood in Memphis where he wrote and directed plays in school. He ultimately landed at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Along with “Hustle & Flow,” Brewer’s credits include “Black Snake Moan” and his newest film, a remake of the 1984 classic “Footloose,” which hits theaters Oct. 14.

“Hustle & Flow” is a made-in-Memphis drama that won the 2005 Sundance Audience Award as well as an Oscar for Best Original Song (“It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”).

Tickets for the showing are $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and may be purchased at The Orpheum Theatre box office, Ticketmaster or the ticket counter at The Booksellers at Laurelwood. Doors open at 6 p.m.

For more information, call 525-3000 or visit www.orpheum-memphis.com.

– Houston Cofield

Principal Buys G’Town Collection for $7.3 Million

The 60,724-square-foot Germantown Collection shopping center that includes tenants such as Chili’s and Panera Bread at the corner of Poplar Avenue and Exeter Road has been bought out of foreclosure.

GA Poplar Avenue Germantown LLC, a local affiliate of Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Real Estate Investors (a member of the Principal Financial Group), paid $7.3 million for the center, 7810-7850 Poplar Ave., from substitute trustee Jason A. Strain of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.

The sale occurred June 23, about three weeks after a first-run foreclosure notice for the 6.1 acre, Class A retail property appeared in The Daily News and at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

Principal Life Insurance Co. had initiated the foreclosure against the previous owner, CH Realty III/Germantown LLC, a local affiliate of New York real estate investment trust Kimco Realty Corp. Kimco owns and operates shopping centers throughout North America.

The local entity had defaulted on an $8.7 million loan through Principal Life dated Oct. 12, 2004.

The property took a hit recently when the local franchisee of the Blockbuster video chain closed all of the brick-and-mortar video stores in Memphis, including one in the Germantown Collection.

The center, listed by the Shelby County Assessor of Property as 7850 Poplar Ave., was built in 1988 and has an appraised value of $10.6 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– The Daily News staff

EVS to Provide Data Backups for First Tennessee

Memphis-based data backup firm Electronic Vaulting Services has announced that it will provide enterprise-wide data backups for First Tennessee Bank.

The company will deploy EVS Intelligent Backup, its flagship product, to desktops across First Tennessee’s 180 branches statewide this summer. And EVS will back up the company’s desktops daily.

EVS certified engineers will manage all desktop backups remotely from the company’s headquarters.

Founded in 2005, EVS calls itself a “futuristic cloud backup and recovery company.”

Bruce Livesay, chief information officer for First Horizon National Corp., the parent company of First Tennessee, said the EVS technology is as good as any he’s ever seen and that the company “made it very easy for us to deliver a much higher-quality service at a much lower cost.”

– Andy Meek

Local Musician Prepares for a Media Blitz

Christian musician Jill Dyson is preparing for a media blitz to promote the original song she recorded as the winner of the Memphis Star talent competition in 2010. As the 2010 winner of the contest – sponsored by Trustmark Bank, WGKX Kix 106 and Ardent Studios – Dyson has completed recording her song “Wears the Love.”

To promote the song, which will be available on iTunes, she’ll be interviewed by a variety of media outlets including Kix 106 and News Channel 3’s “Live at 9” program.

– Andy Meek

St. Mary’s Senior Helps Library Build Flood Archive

St. Mary’s Episcopal School student Ellery Ammons is devoting her summer break to helping the Memphis Public Library & Information Center build an archive documenting the Mid-South floods of 2011.

Ammons, an employee of the Shelby Forest General Store owned by her parents, is also a Girl Scout, working toward her Gold Award.

Recognizing the need to document this year’s historic deluge, the high school senior decided to take on the tasks of soliciting, cataloging and archiving community photos to create the 2011 Flood Collection.

She plans to create a digital archive of flood photographs to provide future generations with an accurate record of the floods that ensued when the Mississippi and its tributaries overflowed in Memphis and the surrounding areas this past spring.

Library digital projects manager Sarah Frierson said she’s delighted to have the extra hands in the history department, saying the collection “will be a wonderful complement to the library’s existing Mid-South Flood Collection, which documents the floods of 1927 and 1937.”

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., is seeking photo donations to add to the 2011 Flood Collection. Donations, which will become part of the library’s permanent collection, can be brought to the history department on the main library’s fourth floor or e-mailed to Flood2011.Photography@gmail.com.

– Aisling Maki

Spring Buying Boosts Prices in 13 US Cities

Home prices in most major U.S. cities are rising for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual wave of spring buying. Analysts cautioned that the increases may be temporary and don’t signal a rebound for the depressed home market.

Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index, according to the April report released Tuesday. The sharpest increases were in Washington, D.C. The next-largest were in San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle.

The index covers metro areas that together make up about 50 percent of U.S. households. It measures sale prices of select homes in those cities compared with prices in January 2000. It then provides a three-month average. The April data is the latest available.

Last year, a tax credit for first-time buyers helped boost prices. They rose nearly 4 percent from April through July before falling more than 7 percent this winter to record lows. Prices in big metro areas sank in March to their lowest level since 2002.

The 0.7 percent increase in April was the first rise since July. The positive data came with a caveat: The figures weren’t adjusted for seasonal factors, such as the buying that normally picks up in spring. Once the numbers are adjusted, prices actually fell in April.

Housing remains the weakest part of the economy. Sales of previously occupied homes sank in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million. That’s far below the roughly 6 million sold in healthy markets. Since the boom went bust in 2006, sales have fallen in four of the past five years.

– The Associated Press

State’s Green Economy Small, But Ready to Grow

A pair of recent studies on environmentally friendly green jobs in Tennessee shows the state’s green economy is small, but poised for rapid expansion.

A Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce survey of more than 6,000 businesses found more than 43,000 green jobs statewide last year. That accounts for roughly 1.5 percent of the total public/private employment of 2.7 million people in Tennessee.

A Middle Tennessee State University study said six major green businesses and initiatives, such as a the Hemlock Semiconductor plant in Clarksville, will directly or indirectly create an estimated 16,500-plus permanent jobs.

Karla Davis, the state’s labor commissioner, told The Tennessean this kind of labor market information gives educational institutions and job seekers guidance on training that can lead to jobs.

– The Associated Press

Obama, Biden Plan Debt Session with Dems

President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday to continue discussions over debt negotiations.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sens. Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer. The meeting comes two days after Obama met with Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The White House announced no new meetings with Republicans.

The debt negotiations are at an impasse over Democratic demands that long-term deficit reductions should include tax increases on the rich and corporations. Republicans insist on no tax hikes.

The White House and Congress are trying to identify more than $2 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years as part of an effort to increase the government’s borrowing authority, currently capped at $14.3 trillion.

– The Associated Press