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VOL. 127 | NO. 89 | Monday, May 7, 2012

Daily Digest

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Exterior Work Planned at Kruger Expansion

Tissue manufacturer Kruger Inc. is set to begin converting the exterior architecture at its $316 million Memphis expansion north of Downtown, according to a half-million-dollar building permit application filed with the Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The work encompasses roofing, doors, windows and siding at the 400 Mahannah Ave. facility, according to the permit, which lists KTG USA as the owner and tenant and AMEC Kamtech Inc. as the contractor. KTG is Kruger’s parent company.

Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer announced in August plans for major growth – including another building, a new tissue machine and conversion of other equipment – at its 400 Mahannah Ave. facility, south of the Mississippi River between North Second and Thomas streets.

Kruger chose Memphis over several locales in the U.S. and one in Quebec, Canada. The move preserved 294 local jobs and is expected to create 100 more long-term jobs, as well as 500 direct and indirect jobs during construction, the company estimated last year.

The Memphis City Council last month approved the city’s application for $2 million in state Fast Track Infrastructure Development Grant funds for the project. No matching funding by the city is required to get the state money.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MAA Q1 Net Income Reaches $24M

Net income available for common shareholders of Memphis-based MAA for the first quarter was $23.9 million, or $0.60 per diluted common share, as compared to $8.8 million, or $0.24 per diluted common share, for the same quarter in 2011.

The apartment-only REIT announced its Q1 earnings results Thursday, May 3, after market close.

Net income results for the quarter ended March 31 included $9.5 million, or $0.24 per diluted common share, related to the gain on the sale of two apartment communities, including Cedar Mill, a 276-unit community in Memphis.

Funds from operations was $46.4 million, representing $1.12 per diluted share/unit, for the quarter, as compared to $37 million, or $0.98 per share, during the same period last year.

“Leasing conditions remain strong across the portfolio with new leasing traffic running well ahead of last year,” MAA chairman and CEO Eric Bolton said in a statement.

Formerly known as Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc., MAA currently owns or has ownership interest in 48,925 apartment units throughout the Sunbelt region of the U.S.

– Sarah Baker

ArtsMemphis Hosting Info. Mtgs. for Nonprofits

ArtsMemphis is requiring any nonprofit group seeking arts education and outreach funding from the organization to attend at least one of two information meetings this month.

The meetings will be held in the First Tennessee Bank Auditorium at 4385 Poplar Ave. The first will be Tuesday, May 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the second will be Wednesday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Eligibility for funding from ArtsMemphis includes the requirements that nonprofits including museums, performing arts and visual arts organizations must have an active and supporting board of directors, be located in Shelby County and have delivered quality arts education and outreach programs for at least three years.

– Andy Meek

UTHSC Launches Physician Assistant Studies

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis has launched the first physician assistant training program available at a public university in Tennessee.

The Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies at UTHSC College of Allied Health Sciences will begin enrollment at the UTHSC main campus in Memphis in January 2014. The department will enroll a maximum of 25 students in its inaugural class.

Catherine Gemmiti, whose appointment begins May 15, has been named the department’s founding chair and program director. She brings extensive experience in PA education, having most recently served as PA clinical coordinator for Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. Her previous roles include PA director at Rocky Mountain College; program director at Eastern Virginia Medical School; program director at The University of New England; and clinical director at Nova Southeastern University.

PA training at UTHSC is designed as a two-year program. Upon successful completion of all requirements, students will graduate with a diploma and will be qualified for employment in physicians’ offices, hospitals and other health care settings.

– Aisling Maki

Critics Bemoan Contentious Social Legislation

Republican leaders coordinated in the recent legislative session to pass new laws spotlighting Tennessee’s business friendly reputation, while a spurt of social issue measures from lawmakers have critics arguing the state looks so backward it will hurt economic development.

Republicans passed business-focused proposals eliminating the estate tax, restructuring regulatory boards and increasing the amount of cash grants available to companies looking to invest in Tennessee.

At the same time, bills that challenged evolution, required abstinence-focused sex education, prohibited students from wearing saggy pants and capped the number of foreign workers at Tennessee charter schools drew considerable negative notice.

The focus on social issues dismayed some at Capitol Hill. Democratic Rep. Jimmy Naifeh of Covington said it made Tennessee the “laughing stock” in a lot of publications.

– The Associated Press

Hutchison Senior Orr Goes to White House

Hutchison School senior Caroline Orr will be among the 2012 Presidential Scholars at the White House June 16 for the honor.

Orr, along with two other students from other parts of the state, will be honored during the recognition of scholars from across the country.

Orr is already a National Merit semifinalist and she is president of the school’s Cum Laude Honor Society. Orr also founded Hutchison’s Global Ambassadors program, a group in which students discuss global affairs. She has also acted on those discussions. She traveled to Tanzania and raised $15,000 locally to feed a village of school children for two years.

– Bill Dries

Public Shelters Vs. Rebates for Private Ones

Tennessee is building more community tornado shelters while other states are using federal funds to help homeowners build their own.

WZTV-TV in Nashville reported the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spent $46 million over the last 10 years to build public shelters.

Last month, the cities of Dyersburg, Newbern and Halls in West Tennessee were awarded FEMA grants to construct safe rooms capable of withstanding the 250-mph winds of an EF5 tornado.

But in Oklahoma, in the heart of Tornado Alley, officials are reimbursing homeowners 75 percent of the cost of building approved shelters. A private shelter that cost $2,500 to build would cost a homeowner less than $700.

Officials in Oklahoma are closing public shelters, saying it puts people at more risk to try to reach one when a tornado threatens. Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas also offer rebates. Tennessee does not.

The station asked TEMA Director James Bassham about the different approaches.

“Good for Oklahoma,” Bassham said. “If people have the money and want to build a storm shelter, they ought to build them a storm shelter.”

However Bassham indicated Tennessee officials saw the need for community shelters.

Gov. Bill Haslam said he might be persuaded a change was needed, but he would need proof.

“I will say this, I tend to be data driven and if the facts show that other people are having better results, I think we should look at it,” Haslam said.

An increase in Tennessee’s population is also putting more people potentially in harm’s way.

Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., noted Tennessee has nearly 25 percent more residents than it did in 1990.

– 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