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VOL. 128 | NO. 148 | Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Daily Digest

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Schaefer Files Loan on Collierville Warehouse

The owner of the 160,180-square-foot warehouse at 870 Keough Road in Collierville has filed a $3.1 million loan on the property, which houses Nashville-based millwork manufacturing and distribution company Central Woodwork.

Schaefer LLC filed the deed of trust, assignment of leases and rents, security agreement and fixture filing July 23 through Kansas City Life Insurance Co. Patrick E. Schafer signed the deed as chief manager of Schaefer LLC.

Built in 2003, the Class A industrial property sits on 12.8 acres on the north side of Keough Road between Tenn. 385 and Progress Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $5 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Memphis Startup Venture Heads to San Francisco

Memphis-based startup Mentor Me has been accepted into the San Francisco-based NewMe accelerator.

NewMe is an invitation-only 12-week accelerator for technology startups led by underrepresented minorities. Mentor Me CEO Brit Fitzpatrick and co-founder Sean Lissner recently graduated from the Seed Hatchery accelerator, which is run by Memphis-based organization Start Co.

Fitzpatrick said she’s hoping to increase her network and acquire resources while in San Francisco that she can bring back to Memphis. The NewMe accelerator starts Aug. 5 and wraps with a Demo Day on Oct. 18.

Mentor Me will launch in beta in mid-August and launch the full version in early 2014.

– Andy Meek

Election Commission Certifies Suburban Referendum

Shelby County Election Commissioners meet Wednesday, July 31, at 4 p.m. to certify the results of the July 16 suburban referendums on forming municipal school districts.

Voters in each of the six suburban towns and cities approved the ballot questions overwhelmingly setting the stage for November elections in each for positions on six separate school boards to govern the suburban school systems.

Once the referendum results are certified, boards of aldermen and commissioners in each of the towns and cities will then consider resolutions to put the school board elections on the ballot. Suburban leaders have talked tentatively of a Nov. 7 election date for all six communities.

– Bill Dries

Tennessee Students to Get Fresh Fruit, Vegetables

Tennessee is getting $3.3 million in federal funds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to public school children.

According to the Education Department, students at participating schools will receive a fresh fruit or vegetable during the school day at some point other than a regular meal.

The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture to combat childhood obesity by helping children learn healthy eating habits. The program allows students to sample fresh produce to which they might otherwise not have access.

The funds will go to schools with the highest rate of students receiving free and reduced-cost lunches.

Shelby County has the highest concentration of participating schools with 69. A total of 159 schools in 29 districts are participating.

– The Associated Press

US Home Prices Rise 12.2 Percent

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May compared with a year ago, the biggest annual gain since March 2006. The increase shows the housing recovery is strengthening.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday, July 30, also surged 2.4 percent in May from April. The month-over-month gain nearly matched the 2.6 percent increase in April from March – the highest on record.

The price increases were widespread. All 20 cities showed gains in May from April and compared with a year ago.

Prices in Dallas and Denver reached the highest level on records dating back to 2000.

That marks the first time since the housing bust that any city has reached an all-time high.

Home values are rising as more people are bidding on a scarce supply of houses for sale.

Steady price increases, along with stable job gains and historically low mortgage rates, have in turn encouraged more Americans to buy homes.

One concern is that higher mortgage rates could slow home sales.

But many economists say rates remain low by historical standards and would need to rise much faster to halt the momentum.

The index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The May figures are the latest available. They are not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly gains reflect more buying activity over the summer.

Despite the recent gains, home prices are still about 25 percent below the peaks they reached in July 2006.

That’s a key reason the supply of homes for sale remains low, as many homeowners are waiting to recoup their losses before putting their houses on the market.

– The Associated Press

US Consumer Confidence Dips From 5-Year High

Americans’ confidence in the economy fell only slightly in July but stayed close to a 5 1/2-year high, a sign that consumers should continue to help drive growth in the coming months.

The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index dipped to 80.3 in July. That’s down from a reading of 82.1 in June, which was revised slightly higher and the best reading since January 2008.

Despite the slight drop in July, confidence remains well above year-ago levels. And consumers are more optimistic about the current job market.

Amna Asaf, an economist at Capital Economics, blamed the July drop in confidence on rising gasoline prices.

But she said the confidence index remains at a level that is consistent with stronger growth in consumer spending in the July-September quarter.

Consumers’ confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The index surged in June, coinciding with a stronger job market.

Employers added 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than initially reported. That brought the monthly job growth up to an average of 202,000 in the first six months of 2013, up from 180,000 a month in the final six months of last year.

Despite recent gains, consumer confidence remains below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy.

That level hasn’t been reached since the Great Recession began in December 2007.

– The Associated Press

Unemployment Rates Rise in 90 Percent of US Cities

Unemployment rates rose in nearly all large U.S. cities in June as college graduates and many of those still in school began searching for jobs.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 347 large metro areas in June compared with the previous month. They fell in 12 and were unchanged in 13. In May, rates fell in 109 cities and rose in 243.

Unlike the national figures, the metro unemployment data are not adjusted for such seasonal changes. Many of the cities with significant rate increases have large universities where students graduated in June and began looking for work. And many university workers are temporarily unemployed in the summer when the academic year ends.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June, down from 8.2 percent a year ago. Employers added 195,000 jobs last month. That's close to average monthly gain in the first half of this year of 202,000. Hiring averaged only 180,000 a month in the previous six months.

The city with the nation's lowest unemployment rate was Bismarck, N.D, where the rate was 2.8 percent.

Yuma, Ariz., reported the highest rate at 31.8 percent. Yuma has a heavy population of migrant farm workers.

Among the 49 cities with more than 1 million in population, Detroit had the highest unemployment rate at 10.3 percent. That's up from 9 percent in May.

The unemployment rate in Minneapolis was 5.1 percent, the lowest among the large cities.

– The Associated Press

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