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VOL. 127 | NO. 175 | Friday, September 7, 2012

Daily Digest

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St. Jude Files Permit for Tower Construction

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has filed a $92.7 million building permit application for an addition to the Chili’s Care Center, 315 Danny Thomas Place on the hospital’s campus.

The application, filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement, lists the scope of work as a nine-story addition to the center, with Flintco LLC as the general contractor.

The state Health Services and Development Agency in August 2011 approved a $190 million tower next to the Chili’s Care Center. The tower, which is currently under construction, includes patient rooms, research facilities and a proton-beam therapy center used to treat inpatient and outpatient pediatric cancer patients.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Monogram Foods Buys Hinsdale Farms

Memphis-based Monogram Food Solutions LLC has acquired Hinsdale Farms of Bristol, Ind.

Hinsdale becomes the fourth processed-meat manufacturing plant owned by Monogram. That includes plants in Muncie, Ind., Martinsville, Va., and Chandler, Minn.

Hinsdale bills itself as one of the largest corn dog manufacturers in the world. It also does co-packing for other manufacturers and manufacturing for retail private label customers.

Monogram owns the King Cotton, Circle B and Trail’s Best brands of meat products.

The company was founded in 2004.

– Bill Dries

Delta Looking Into North Dakota Crude

Delta Air Lines is looking into buying cheaper North Dakota crude oil to feed its new refinery near Philadelphia, instead of the more expensive overseas crude that has fed the refinery in the past.

Delta bought the idled refinery at Trainer, Pa., in June. Like most East Coast refineries, it has previously been fed mostly with North Sea oil that arrived by ship and is priced in London. That Brent crude has been consistently more expensive than the West Texas Intermediate crude that governs pricing for oil from North Dakota.

North Dakota oil would come by train to Delta’s refinery, Delta President Ed Bastian said at an analyst conference on Thursday. Delta is already in discussions with railroads about getting oil to the Trainer refinery.

Delta is working “24-7” to get the refinery running by the end of this month, Bastian said.

The airline spent $11.8 million on jet fuel last year. It’s hoping to slice that bill by $300 million – and Bastian said the savings would be higher with North Dakota crude.

North Dakota oil production has more than tripled in the last three years, according to the Energy Information Administration, and it is now the country’s second-biggest oil-producing state, behind Texas.

Much of the North Dakota crude is already moving by rail because of limited access to pipelines. The number of rail cars hauling crude oil and petroleum products jumped more than 38 percent during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

– The Associated Press

ArtsMemphis Launches User-Friendly Website

ArtsMemphis has launched its new website, ArtsMemphis.org, where hundreds of arts organizations will be able to post events, making ArtsMemphis.org the go-to source for engaging with the arts.

With a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the ArtsMemphis.org redesign includes detailed information about ArtsMemphis’ grant programs and services. It provides more visibility for local videos and the ArtsMemphis TV Web series, as well as providing an updated version of the Artsopolis arts calendar for finding cultural events.

The calendar can be customized for personal preferences and has social media plug-ins. The website is also mobile-device friendly.

ArtsMemphis.org’s website was redesigned following an email survey of frequent users. Since January 2008, ArtsMemphis’ arts events calendar has featured thousands of arts events and hundreds of arts organizations across Memphis and has attracted more than a million visitors.

– Sarah Baker

Capital Campaign Launched for Mobile Spay/Neuter Unit

The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County has announced the start of a $1 million capital campaign to raise funds for what the organization says will be Memphis’ first mobile spay/neuter unit.

The $1 million in funding includes the purchase and customization of a trailer with two surgical bays, and the coverage of the unit’s operating budget, including personnel costs for five years.

Humane Society executive director Alexis Amorose says 16,000 to 17,000 animals are euthanized in Shelby County each year, and that the housing and euthanizing of thousands of animals in local municipal shelters is far more expensive than proactively spaying and neutering.

The mobile spay/neuter unit’s goal will be to make spaying and neutering extremely accessible to members of the community. It will target low-income neighborhoods, staying in the same area for several days and completing as many spay/neuter surgeries as possible during that timeframe.

The privately funded organization hopes to spay or neuter around 20 to 30 pets per day, operating the unit four days per week, with the ultimate goal of completing 4,000 to 6,000 spay/neuter surgeries annually. Organization leadership estimates the daily cost to operate the unit will be about $1,000 per day.

The society is accepting donations for the mobile spay/neuter unit at www.memphishumane.org.

– Aisling Maki

Olive Garden, LongHorn Workers Sue Company

Darden Restaurants violated federal labor laws by underpaying thousands of servers across the country at Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and other eateries, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of the workers.

The lawsuit filed in Miami federal court seeks to collectively represent current and past employees who worked for Darden from August 2009 to the present. It seeks potentially tens of millions of dollars in back pay and other compensation, plus interest and attorney fees, said lead lawyer David Lichter.

“Darden has a companywide pattern and practice of paying its employees below minimum wage and less than what the law requires,” Lichter said. “We’re seeking not only to correct the wrongs that have occurred at Darden, but hopefully this will stimulate change across the country.”

A spokesman at Darden, the nation’s largest full-service restaurant owner and operator, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Orlando-based company’s website said it has more than 2,000 restaurants in North America that employ about 180,000 people. Darden does not franchise its restaurants.

The Department of Labor has found violations similar to those claimed in the lawsuit in several individual investigations, including a 2011 probe in which the company agreed to pay more than $25,000 in back wages to Olive Garden workers in Mesquite, Texas. Darden was also assessed a $30,800 fine in that case.

There are similar lawsuits pending in Illinois and New York, but the one filed in Florida is the first seeking to represent all Darden workers at its four major brands: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille. Its named plaintiffs are two Darden workers in Florida and Virginia.

The lawsuit was filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

– The Associated Press

Isaac's Downpours Ease Drought in Arkansas

Drought conditions are improving in Arkansas, thanks to last week’s downpour of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that 12 percent of Arkansas is in exceptional drought. That’s down from 45 percent a week ago. Almost half the state is still in extreme drought.

The map shows that the worst conditions are in northern Arkansas counties, while the drought is beginning to recede in southern and eastern Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says Isaac dropped more than 10 inches of rain in places as it moved through Arkansas last week.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 124 481 17,865
MORTGAGES 127 530 20,565
BUILDING PERMITS 195 891 36,836
BANKRUPTCIES 52 262 11,426