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VOL. 128 | NO. 31 | Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daily Digest

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Owner Files $1.4 Million Loan on U.S. 64 Retail Center

FairCo 64 LLC has filed a $1.4 million deed of trust through INSOUTH Bank for its strip retail center at 7601 U.S. 64 in Northeast Memphis.

The company filed the loan Jan. 29, with Cato Ellis Jr. and John S. Bomar signing the trust deed as members and Rosemarie Fair signing the trust deed as managing member of FairCo 64.

The owner bought the 15,900-square-foot strip shopping center in August 2007 from William A. Crum and Joan R. Crum for $1.4 million.

Built in 1996, the center sits on 1.38 acres on the south side of U.S. 64 east of Appling Way. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal was $1.2 million.

At the time of the 2007 purchase, the center housed Bridal Collection, a tuxedo store and a temporary store called Spirit of Halloween, according to Fair, president of One Source Commercial Inc. and manager of FairCo 64.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

J.M. Smucker Co. Applies for Tax Break for Expansion

The J.M. Smucker Co. will reverse the decision it announced in 2010 to close its Memphis plant and lay off employees by this year if the company, which makes fruit spreads here, gets a tax break for a $55 million expansion it’s planning here.

The company is applying for a 12-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes benefit, under which almost $5.5 million in taxes would be foregone. In return, the company would keep 125 jobs in Memphis.

The company’s PILOT application explains the project will retrain the company’s current remaining workforce to produce products using new machinery and technologies. Its PILOT request will be heard Monday, Feb. 18, by the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine Board.

“The packaged consumer food industry is highly competitive, and profitability is dependent on volatile agricultural commodity prices and other difficult-to-predict variables,” Smucker’s application reads. “As such, the certainty of tax abatements for a specified number of years influences the company’s choice of location for long-term capital investments.”

Smucker announced in 2010 it would close its Memphis plant and lay off 161 employees by 2013. The intention was to consolidate its operation to “improve its supply chain as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the long-term strength and profitability of its leading brands,” a release stated.

The company’s Memphis operation dates back to 1969.

– Andy Meek

Calvary Kicks Off Annual Lenten Series, Waffle Shop

Calvary Episcopal Church is busy preparing this week for its 90th Lenten Preaching Series and Waffle Shop – an annual institution that many Memphians have chosen as an annual culinary rite of passage.

From Thursday, Feb. 14, through Friday, March 22, Calvary’s famous Waffle Shop at 102 N. Second St. will be open every weekday from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., serving traditional favorites like homemade waffles, salads and daily specials. Calvary will also offer take-out orders and pre-ordered “Lunches to Go.”

This year’s Preaching Series, held each weekday from 12:05 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., will feature national and local spiritual leaders from a variety of denominations and religions including Rabbi Sandy Sasso, Bishop Spong, the Rev. Dr. John Philip Newell and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, among others.

A new concept Calvary has created this year for those with time-sensitive lunch hours is a separate meditation room where people can eat their meals in quiet and watch the preaching series via simulcast.

Additionally, Calvary will have a “Waffle Shop After Dark” for those who may not be able to make it during lunch or who want to bring their families for an evening meal. This series will be every Wednesday during Lent, with the Waffle Shop open from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and the speaker beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Founded in 1832, Calvary Episcopal Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee and The Episcopal Church, a province of the Anglican Communion. Calvary’s parish today comprises more than 1,000 baptized members.

– Sarah Baker

Bill Shielding Commenters Passes State Senate

A measure to block courts from granting subpoenas for identities of anonymous commenters on news websites has passed the Senate.

The proposal sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown was unanimously approved 32-0 on Wednesday. The companion bill was also scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Currently, a person who gathers information for publication or broadcast isn’t required by a court, a grand jury, the General Assembly or any administrative body to disclose information or the source of any information “procured for publication or broadcast.”

Kelsey’s proposal adds to the current law. It does not apply, however, in cases in which defamatory comments were made.

– The Associated Press

Meritan Veteran Tapped as New President

Meritan Inc. has a new president.

Melanie Keller is the new president of the organization, following the recent retirement of Deborah Cotney, who led the nonprofit social services agency for 30 years.

Keller joined Meritan in 2006 and served as Meritan’s executive vice president before assuming the role of president. She also has served Meritan as the senior director of the agency’s Home Health Services division.

In her role as president, Keller is responsible for the executive oversight of more than 500 employees and Meritan’s $21 million annual budget, as well as managing Meritan’s quality improvement and strategic planning efforts.

Meritan was created in 1961 and has grown into a nationally accredited, nonprofit health and social service agency now serving a four-state area focusing on the needs of seniors, visually and developmentally disabled individuals and special-needs foster children.

– Andy Meek

Retail Sales Rise 0.1 Percent

Americans barely spent more last month at retail businesses and restaurants after higher taxes cut their paychecks.

The small increase suggests consumer spending may be weak in the January-March quarter, which could hold back economic growth.

Retail sales ticked up 0.1 percent in January from December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

That follows a 0.5 percent increase in December and is the smallest in three months.

Sales fell at auto dealerships, clothing stores and furniture stores. The declines came after big gains in each of those categories in December.

Sales rose last month at home-improvement stores, gas stations and online retailers.

So-called core retail sales, which exclude autos, building materials, and gas stations, ticked up 0.2 percent. That’s down from 0.6 percent in December. Economists pay close attention to core sales because they strip out the most volatile categories.

The retail sales report is the government’s first look at consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of economic activity.

Nearly all working Americans are taking home less pay this year. Congress and the White House allowed a temporary 2 percentage point cut in Social Security taxes to expire last month.

That means a person earning $50,000 a year will have about $1,000 less to spend in 2013. A household with two high-paid workers will have up to $4,500 less.

Economists were mildly encouraged that spending rose at all after the tax increases took effect. Many expect that spending may pick up later this year as hiring improves.

The Social Security tax increase was a key reason the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence plummeted last month to its lowest level in 14 months. That survey was taken early in the month, when most Americans were discovering their smaller paychecks.

And some retail store chains reported healthy sales gains last month, suggesting that at least some consumers kept shopping even after the tax cut kicked in. Some of the gains likely reflected healthy holiday discounts.

– The Associated Press

MORTGAGES 80 320 1,066
BUILDING PERMITS 120 590 2,248