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VOL. 127 | NO. 1 | Monday, January 2, 2012

Daily Digest

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Memphis Pentecostal Bldg. Sells in Foreclosure

Greater Memphis Pentecostal Assembly Inc. has bought a 2,823-square-foot residence on East Shelby Drive at a foreclosure sale for $1.9 million. The seller was David A. Kirkscey, substitute trustee appointed by First Alliance Bank.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property classifies the one-story, three-bedroom, three-bath residence, which was built in 1998, as an apartment complex. It sits on 9.9 acres on the south side of Shelby Drive west of Forest Hill-Irene Road.

The building is at 8963 E. Shelby Drive, according to the assessor’s office; sale documents, however, list it at 8951 and 8963 E. Shelby. The assessor’s 2011 appraisal is $492,100.

The foreclosure occurred after Memphis Pentecostal Assembly defaulted on a $1.4 million construction loan through First Alliance Bank dated July 2006. The loan was modified in February 2007 to add $250,000 to the principal. It was modified again in June 2008 to add about $288,000, raising the total principal to $1.9 million.

The new owner, Greater Memphis Pentecostal Assembly, filed papers with the secretary of state’s office Dec. 15 to incorporate as a nonprofit organization.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Sen. Kelsey Introduces Pension Reform Plan

State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, has introduced legislation to reform the way pensions are calculated for new state employees.

Kelsey’s proposal would set up a privately managed cash-balance plan to eventually replace the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System defined benefits plan. Participation in that existing plan would remain available for current employees.

Kelsey’s plan also would be offered only for new state employees – not local government or education workers.

New state workers would receive 6 percent to 15 percent of their salary in a personalized account guaranteed to be there when they retire, according to information from Kelsey’s office.

– Andy Meek

Housing Conference Slated for Jan. 7

The “Home For The Holidays: Housing and Economic Development Conference” will be held on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Southwest Tennessee Community College Union Campus Building E/Gym, 737 Union Ave.

Designed to help those facing foreclosure and in need of mortgage counseling and assistance, the free conference will include opportunities for mortgage counseling, a job fair and exhibitors, as well as workshops on financial literacy, first-time homebuyer education, refinancing a home in today’s economy, first aid for troubled homeowners, assistance for veterans and eviction relief.

Guest speakers include Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Karla Davis, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and Ted Fellman, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

For more information, call 827-0836 or 615-741-5625.

– Sarah Baker

Schools Planning Comm. to Meet in Collierville

The schools consolidation planning commission will hold a public hearing Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at Collierville United Methodist Church, 454 W. Poplar Ave.

It’s the first public hearing for the 21-member commission as it begins drawing up a plan for the consolidation of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

Commission chairwoman Barbara Prescott says the group wants to hear concerns and hopes from all citizens at the meeting. Other sessions across Shelby County are being planned.

The commission has a goal of drafting a blueprint for the consolidated school system by August and taking it to Tennessee education officials and the countywide school board for their approval.

The merger plan is to take effect with the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

– Bill Dries

SBA Honors Graduates of e200 Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently honored new graduates of its Emerging 200 Initiative, or e200, at a ceremony at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

SBA identified 14 inner-city businesses from Memphis that demonstrated a high potential for growth. The agency then provided the small businesses with a free, six-month course of in-depth business education focused on organization management, growth strategies and management, market development and strategic planning.

The 14 graduates and their businesses selected from Memphis and Shelby County are: Samuel Hines, ASTAPP Inc.; Sandeep Pednekar, Advent Enterprises Inc.; Jack Steele, Center for Orthotics and Prosthetics Inc.; Gregory Woods, Corporate IQ Inc.; Alfred Dyson, Dyson Engineering and Technical Services; Rita Snelling, Expression Embroidery LLC; Kelly Walker, Furniture Depot Inc.; Tony Okhiria, Lab Four Technology Learning Place; Aserlean Dotson, Lynn’s Got It Going On; Michael Steven Moore, Moorementum LLC; Tom T. Trentlage, Neighborhood Pro Builders Inc.; Debbie Jamison, Private First Class Driving Academy; Barbara Knight, Right Resource Management Group; and Mary Smith, Sam’s Video Production.

Memphis is one of 27 cities participating in e200.

– Taylor Shoptaw

AMR to be Dropped from NYSE Trading

American Airlines’ parent company, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, said Thursday, Dec. 29, that its stock will be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange.

The shares will stop trading on the NYSE before the opening bell Thursday, Jan. 5. The delisting includes AMR common stock and some company-issued notes.

AMR Corp. said that the NYSE notified the Fort Worth, Texas, company of the move after the average closing price of AMR shares fell below $1 for 30 straight trading days.

The shares closed at $1.62 the day before the Nov. 29 bankruptcy filing and fell to 26 cents that day.

The company said that because of its Chapter 11 filing, it could not try to “cure” the weakness in its share price, and would not oppose the delisting.

AMR expects that the shares will trade on the over-the-counter bulletin board and pink-sheets electronic trading as soon as next Thursday under a new ticker symbol, not the familiar “AMR.”

AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after posting about $11 billion in losses since 2001. AMR shares had fallen 79 percent this year before the bankruptcy filing.

American hopes to reduce debt and cut labor costs in the bankruptcy process.

AMR also owns the American Eagle regional airline, which it had planned to spin off or sell.

Those plans are on hold.

– The Associated Press

Job Market Ends Year on Better Note

The long-suffering job market is ending the year better off than it began.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits each week has dropped by 10 percent since January. The unemployment rate, 8.6 percent in November, is at its lowest level in nearly three years.

Factory output is rising, business owners say they’re more optimistic about hiring and consumer confidence has jumped to its highest level since April. Even the beleaguered housing market is looking slightly better.

“We are ending the year on an up note,” says Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

Still, 25 million Americans remain out of work or unable to find full-time jobs. Most analysts forecast a stronger economy and job growth in 2012 – and rule out a second recession – but they caution that could change if Europe’s debt crisis worsens or consumers pull back on spending.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the Labor Department said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week rose 15,000 to 381,000. But the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 375,000 – the lowest level since June 2008.

When applications for unemployment benefits consistently fall below 375,000, economists consider it a reasonable sign that hiring is rising enough to push the unemployment rate lower. The four-week average has remained below 400,000 for seven weeks, the longest stretch since April.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396