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VOL. 128 | NO. 112 | Monday, June 10, 2013

Daily Digest

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Owner of Arlington Shell Station Files Loan

The owner of the Shell gas station at 6115 Airline Road in Arlington has filed a $1.4 million loan on the property.

Hall-Mutt LLC filed the deed of trust June 4 through Fidelity Bank. The company bought the then-vacant land in 2002 for $423,653 from Herrick Petroleum LLC.

Built in 2002, the 4,890-square-foot convenience store and gas station sits on 1.4 acres at the southwest corner of Airline Road and U.S. 70.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is slightly less than $1 million.

William D. Causie signed the trust deed as chief manager of Hall-Mutt.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Paragon National Bank Expands Slate of Services

Paragon National Bank has expanded its slate of service offerings.

Paragon recently enhanced its services to include new partnerships with Clay & Land Insurance and Ovation Payroll. The bank also has launched Paragon BusinessManager Solutions, which helps small-business owners better manage their cash flow.

The bank’s new partnership with Clay & Land will offer customers access to a variety of insurance options. Clay & Land also provides a range of personal insurance options, including auto and home. Paragon’s relationship with Ovation Payroll provides customers with access to services including management of payroll checks, direct deposit, laser check signing and 401(k) reporting, as well as optional services ranging from time and attendance solutions to employee handbooks.

Paragon’s new BusinessManager platform helps small businesses manage and maintain a reliable cash flow, as well as supplement new business efforts, improve payment habits to vendors, buy equipment and hire staff.

– Andy Meek

Highers Retires From State Appeals Court

Alan Highers, the state’s longest-serving appellate court judge, will not be seeking re-election to a new eight-year term in the August 2014 elections.

Highers, a graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, was appointed to the Appeals Court in 1982 by then-Gov. Lamar Alexander.

He is the third appellate judge to announce he won’t stand for re-election.

Fellow Appeals Court Judge Patricia Cottrell is also out as of Aug. 31, 2014, and so is Criminal Appeals Court Judge Joseph M. Tipton.

The timing of the announcements comes as the state statute creating the Judicial Nominating Commission runs out. The law expires at the end of this month. And the Tennessee legislature won’t go back into session until January.

The gap means there will be no method in place in the law for filling a vacancy.

So commission members will meet June 29, to send a slate of nominees to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam for consideration should Highers step down prior to the winner of the August 2014 election taking office. Highers has indicated he intends to serve until Sept. 1, 2014, when the winner of the election takes office. But the elections for appellate judges are retention elections with an incumbent up for a yes or no vote.

Like Highers, Cottrell and Tipton has said they intend to serve until the end of their terms.

The deadline for applications to the nominating commission for Highers’ position is noon June 19. The commission will interview the applicants June 29 in Jackson, Tenn., and that same day make its decision on whose names go to Haslam.

– Bill Dries

Children's Services Would Charge $35,000 for Public Records

The state agency that oversees the welfare of Tennessee children is again at financial odds with news organizations seeking more information.

The Tennessean reported the Department of Children’s Services said this week that it would charge $34,952 to produce public records of children who died or nearly died during the past 11 months after having some contact with DCS.

The new fee emerged Wednesday as the newspaper asked for files from July 2012 to May 2013. The two sides were scheduled to go back to court Friday.

Attorney Robb Harvey, who represents a coalition of news organizations, which also includes The Associated Press, said the group would continue to object to “excessive fees that the state is attempting to impose.”

A judge earlier struck down DCS’ intent to charge more than $55,000 for records – later reduced to $32,000 – and ordered the department to produce them for no more than 50 cents per page.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper, whose legal team is defending DCS in the public records lawsuit, did not directly respond to a request for comment.

Gov. Bill Haslam also declined comment.

– The Associated Press

Retail, Professional Services Drive May US Hiring

The U.S. economy created 175,000 jobs in May, a solid month of hiring that was spread across a number of industries directly tied to the consumer.

Retail hiring jumped by nearly 28,000 after a gain of 20,000 jobs in April. General merchandise stores, which include Target and Walmart, added nearly 10,000 of those jobs, while clothing stores provided roughly 6,000.

Restaurants also staffed up, creating 38,000 jobs last month. And a category that includes casinos and amusement parks added 12,500 positions.

Many of these are likely low-paying jobs, some without benefits. Still, the growth in those fields suggests businesses expect consumers will keep spending this year, despite paying higher Social Security taxes.

The greatest job growth in May came from business and professional services: 57,000 jobs. While nearly half of those were temporary positions, many were in higher-paying fields like architecture, accounting and management consulting.

The weakest area of the economy continued to be manufacturing and government.

– The Associated Press

Report Highlights Importance of Public Programs

A recent report on the welfare of children in Tennessee highlights the importance of public programs.

State health and child welfare experts on Friday released the latest Kids Count report, which this year examined challenges to raising children in Tennessee, and whether state programs are doing enough to help them.

Among the report’s findings was that nearly half of the state’s pregnant women don’t receive adequate prenatal care, and less than a third of teens from poor families are finding work.

Linda O’Neal is executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and was among those discussing the report.

– The Associated Press

GOP Senator Introduces Bill on NSA Surveillance

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has introduced legislation that would require a warrant before any government agency could search the phone records of Americans.

Responding to the furor over the disclosure of the National Security Agency program, Paul says the bill introduced Friday is intended to stop the NSA from spying on U.S. citizens.

The bill says the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution cannot be misconstrued to allow an unreasonable search and seizure by any agency without a warrant based on probable cause.

The Kentucky Republican calls the latest revelation of a secret program to collect phone records of millions of Verizon customers “an astounding assault on the Constitution.”

– The Associated Press

Initiative Warns About Deceptive Travel Promoters

Tennessee is participating in a national law enforcement initiative to warn consumers about deceptive travel promoters and timeshare resellers.

The initiative is coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Among the allegations are that some timeshare and vacation club companies are using misleading sales tactics to induce consumers into purchasing programs that have high maintenance fees, poor travel date and destination selection, and hidden costs.

Other abuses include cancellation issues, difficulty contacting customer service, and misleading or deceptive high-pressure sales presentations.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 92 480 7,835
MORTGAGES 115 551 8,785
BUILDING PERMITS 325 1,167 17,068
BANKRUPTCIES 39 311 5,159