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VOL. 128 | NO. 32 | Friday, February 15, 2013

Daily Digest

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Arlington Sonic Owner Files Loan on Property

The owner of the recently built Sonic drive-in restaurant at 6101 Airline Road in Arlington has filed a $1.2 million loan on the property.

Pasture Investment Properties LLC filed the real estate deed of trust Jan. 22 through BancorpSouth Bank. Patricia A. Solberg signed the deed as partner of Solberg Properties, a member of the borrowing entity.

Completed last year, the 2,044-square-foot restaurant sits on slightly less than an acre on the west side of Airline Road at its intersection with U.S. 70.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal was $527,600.

Pasture Investment Properties received the property in a June 2011 quitclaim deed from Solberg Properties, a family-owned business that operates Sonic restaurants throughout the area.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Pickler Cleared of Conflict Allegations

A countywide school board ethics committee recommended no board action Wednesday, Feb. 13, against board member David Pickler on conflict of interest allegations made by fellow board member Martavius Jones.

The committee also recommended the board revise its conflict of interest policy.

The specific complaint was that Pickler voted for a school board budget last June that included a $12 million contribution for investment into a Tennessee School Boards Association trust for which Pickler’s financial services firm was the financial adviser.

Jones also called on Pickler to resign from the school board.

Pickler denied any conflict and any wrongdoing.

Memphis City Schools attorney Dorsey Hopson, before he was recently appointed interim superintendent of the district, said his preliminary inquiries showed the Memphis City Schools board decided in 2009 to set aside money for such an account.

In June, the city schools superintendent and the school system’s chief financial officer decided to put the money into the Tennessee School Boards Association account.

“In my review of the records, there was no vote by the board to put the money into the TSBA account and there was no requirement,” Hopson said last month. “The board had a vote early on to set the money aside but not the actual decision where to place it.”

The 2009 decision was made by the Memphis City Schools board at a time when there were still separate city and county boards of education and Pickler was a member of the county school board, not the city school board. The 2012 decision was after the creation of the current 23-member board structure in which Pickler became a member because of his position on the old Shelby County Schools board.

Between the two dates is the 2010 decision by the city school board to move toward a consolidation of the two school systems.

– Bill Dries

Senate Votes to Place Income Tax Ban on Ballot

The Senate voted Thursday to place a proposed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax before Tennessee voters.

The chamber approved the measure on a 26-4 vote, and if the House concurs, it would be placed on the ballot in next year’s general election.

The political fallout from failed efforts to impose a state income tax more than a decade ago has already made renewed efforts exceedingly unlikely. But Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown said his proposal is aimed at eliminating any uncertainty about the measure in the future.

Sen. Douglas Henry of Nashville, one of the four Democrats to vote against the measure, likened himself to “the skunk at the garden party” for raising concerns that the proposal would also eliminate the possibility of payroll taxes on employers.

“If you’re going to rule out an income tax, you should not rule out the payroll tax, because we may very well need it some time,” Henry said.

He stressed that he has long opposed the income tax, including during his time as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, when three governors unsuccessfully sought his support for changing Tennessee’s sales tax-based system.

But the state’s fiscal situation could become difficult with the payroll tax option off the table, he said.

Kelsey is also the sponsor of a constitutional amendment to give the lawmakers the power to confirm or deny the governor’s appointments to the state Supreme Court.

A scheduled vote was put off for a week on the request of Sen. Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis.

– The Associated Press

New Technology Center to Open at Southwest College

Southwest Tennessee Community College will hold a grand opening of the Inventory Locator Service Technology Center Feb. 26 at 10 a.m.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by remarks from Dr. Nathan Essex, president of Southwest, and Eric Anderson, president of Inventory Locator Service LLC, the local firm sponsoring the new technology center.

Located in the Butler Building on the Southwest campus, the center will function as a testing facility for the college’s Information Technology Services Department as well as for students taking information technology classes.

– Sarah Baker

Crye-Leike Offers Free Home Buying, Selling Class

Several agents with Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. will host a free-to-the-public home buying and selling class on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Crye-Leike’s Hickory Ridge branch office, 3565 Ridge Meadow Parkway.

Crye-Leike Realtors Bertha Pitts, Brenda Hampton, Tina Black, Alice Payne, Joyce Miller and Carolyn Randolph will help potential buyers with getting pre-qualified to buy a home, obtaining a credit report, credit repair counseling, the type of mortgages available, and the importance of house inspection and homeowners insurance.

Potential sellers will learn how housing is performing in their area, home staging tips, and ways to market to get the most money in the least amount of time.

Free food and door prizes will be provided. For questions about the class, contact Black at 859-1322 or Crye-Leike’s Hickory Ridge branch office at 794-9925.

– Sarah Baker

Paragon Bank Employees Make Big Community Impact

Employees of Paragon National Bank spent more than 500 hours volunteering in the community in 2012.

Each Paragon employee is granted one week of paid time to support local, regional and national nonprofit groups of their choosing through the bank’s Assisting the Community Through Service program.

The bank began tracking employees’ use of time through the program in 2008, and since then the team has contributed more than 2,000 hours to dozens of community organizations around the Memphis area.

– Andy Meek

Unemployment Aid Applications Fall to 341,000

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell by 27,000 last week, an indication that hiring could improve.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped to a seasonally adjusted 341,000, the lowest level in three weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up to 352,500 from a five-year low of 351,000 the previous week.

Applications have declined slowly but steadily in recent months. The four-week average has fallen 5 percent since November. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. As they fall, net hiring typically rises.

The snowstorm that hit the Northeast last weekend had limited impact on the latest figures. The report covers the week ended Feb. 9, before the storm hit. The Labor Department said it estimated figures for two states, including Connecticut where the storm closed state offices. Illinois also didn’t provide data.

Job gains have picked up in the past three months, although companies remain cautious about adding workers.

Employers added an average of 200,000 jobs a month from November through January. That’s up from about 150,000 in the previous three months.

The economy added 157,000 jobs in January, the government said earlier this month. And revisions showed employers added 181,000 jobs per month last year, up from an earlier estimate of 153,000.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 51 334 9,936
MORTGAGES 41 330 10,946
BUILDING PERMITS 348 1,216 22,173
BANKRUPTCIES 43 348 6,311