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VOL. 128 | NO. 251 | Friday, December 27, 2013

Daily Digest

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Highland Street Family Dollar Sells for $1.6 Million

The Family Dollar retail store at 656 S. Highland St. near the University of Memphis has sold for $1.6 million.

Escondido, Calif.-based Amicorp Enterprises Inc. bought the 8,505-square-foot store in a Dec. 2 special warranty deed from DCTN3 328 Highland Memphis TN LLC. The deed incorrectly lists the buyer on first reference as Americorp Enterprises Inc.

Built in 2011, the Class B retail building is on 0.6 acres at the northeast corner of South Highland Street and Spottswood Avenue. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal of the property is $730,600.

In conjunction with the purchase, Amicorp Enterprises filed a $600,000 loan through The Bank of Hemet. Daniel V. Titcomb signed the trust deed as president of the borrower.

Texas-based DCTN3 328 Highland Memphis TN LLC had purchased the store, which is leased to Family Dollar Stores of Tennessee Inc., in January 2012 for $1.3 million from Marketplace Development LLC.

Marketplace Development bought the property in October 2010 from Circle K Stores Inc. At the time of purchase, a 1,012-square-foot vacant Circle K store was on the fenced-in lot.

A build-to-suit Family Dollar store was planned for the site when Marketplace bought it.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Newman Talk Planned at Crosstown Arts Dec. 28

A photography-related gallery talk will be held Saturday, Dec. 28, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Crosstown Arts Gallery at 422 N. Cleveland St.

Local photographer Gary Walpole will talk about techniques used by Don Newman, whose photographs are on display at Crosstown Arts in the Newman 2 Collection.

Four generations of the Newman family will be on hand to visit with gallery guests. Newman’s widow, daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter, as well as Newman’s sister, will be on hand.

– Andy Meek

Tenn. Supreme Court Rules on Defamation Claims

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that cabinet-level state commissioners have absolute immunity from defamation claims for what they say when they are performing their official duties.

The court ruled Monday, Dec. 23, in the case of Zoyle Jones, a state Department of Corrections employee demoted for allegedly double-billing the state and a private organization for travel expenses.

Jones sued the Corrections Commissioner at the time, George Little, for statements Little made to the media about the demotion. Little specifically talked about two letters he had sent to Jones about the allegations and Jones’ demotion.

Little has since become chief administrative officer for the city of Memphis.

Jones made other legal claims involving his demotion that were dismissed by the Tennessee Claims Commission. But the claims commission kept in place the defamation claim for the high court to make a ruling. The state appealed to the Supreme Court.

The court ruled unanimously that absolute immunity applied to cabinet members in defamation claims that arise from things those state officials say when performing their duties.

“An absolute privilege also furthers important free-expression principles, by allowing these state officials to inform the public about the functioning of government and other significant issues,” Justice Sharon G. Lee wrote in the ruling.

– Bill Dries

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to 338,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012. But economists say the figures from late November and December are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.

Claims had jumped 75,000 over the two weeks that ended Dec. 14 before plunging last week. The Labor Department struggles to account for seasonal hiring by retailers and other businesses and for temporary layoffs of cafeteria workers and other employees at schools that close for the holidays.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs and the recent declines are consistent with a solid job market.

The economy has shown signs of improvement recently, so much so that the Federal Reserve announced Dec. 18 that it would reduce its stimulus spending on bonds by $10 billion — to $75 billion a month. The economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual pace from July through September, the fastest rate since late 2011 and much greater than previously thought.

Hiring has been healthy the past four months. The economy added an average of 204,000 jobs every month from August through November, an improvement from earlier this year.

– The Associated Press

30-Year Mortgage Rate Rises to 4.48 Percent

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages crept higher this week but remained low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.48 percent from 4.47 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.52 percent from 3.51 percent.

Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August on expectations that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases. Those purchases push mortgage and other long-term rates lower and encourage borrowing and spending. On Dec. 18, the Fed finally decided the economy was strong enough to allow it to reduce the monthly purchases by $10 billion.

Mortgage rates are sharply higher than they were a year ago when the 30-year fixed rate was 3.35 percent and the 15-year was 2.65 percent.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new-home sales dipped 2.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted 464,000. But stronger figures for the previous three months suggested that housing may be regaining strength after a summer lull.

The National Association of Realtors said last week that the number of people who bought existing homes in November fell for a third straight month. Higher rates and the lingering effects of the partial government shutdown in October may have deterred some sales.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 307 5,073
MORTGAGES 101 483 6,709
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 77 1,556
BUILDING PERMITS 0 720 11,979
BANKRUPTCIES 84 341 5,300
BUSINESS LICENSES 36 125 2,061
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 152 594 7,058
MARRIAGE LICENSES 36 117 1,458

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