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VOL. 128 | NO. 180 | Monday, September 16, 2013

Daily Digest

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Bass Pro Shops Files $40 Million Permit

Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops has filed a $40 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for work at The Pyramid.

The permit signals the beginning of work by Bass Pro Shops on its store and the other attractions it will have in the Downtown arena, whose address is listed as 1 A.W. Willis Ave.

Up to this point, the construction work on The Pyramid has been the city of Memphis setting the stage for the retail space and other attractions that are the second part of the project and the responsibility of Bass Pro Shops in its lease agreement with the city.

The city’s responsibility included taking out the seating bowl in what was once a 20,000-seat arena and performing seismic measures within and outside the structure.

Earlier this month, the Memphis City Council approved the final $12 million appropriation of the city’s share of the constructions costs.

In August the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board approved the signage for The Pyramid that will be part of the Bass Pro Shops part of the project.

Memphis-based O.T. Marshall Architects is architect for the project, and Chicago-based Graycor Construction Co. Inc. is general contractor.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Daily News staff

Achievement School District Meets With Parents

Leaders of the Achievement School District meet Monday, Sept. 16, at three locations with parents of children attending four of the 13 schools the state-run district will add to its system in the 2014-2015 school year.

The meetings are the start of a process to match the low-performing schools with charter school operators. The district will announce that decision in December based on the discussion at the meetings.

The three meetings are from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Carver High School, 1591 Pennsylvania St., South Side Middle School, 1880 Prospect St., and Coleman Elementary Schools, 3210 Raleigh-Millington Road.

The meeting at Coleman is for parents of that school as well as Springhill Elementary School.

The Achievement School District is adding two high schools, chosen among Carver, Fairley and Frayser high schools. They are expected to choose either Carver or Fairley, but not both.

The meetings then shift to three other schools Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the same time as the Monday meetings.

The meeting at Denver Elementary School, 1940 Frayser Blvd., is for parents of children who attend there or Frayser High.

The session at Westwood Elementary School, 778 Parkrose Road, is for parents of children at Westwood or Fairley.

And parents at Wooddale Middle School, 3467 Castleman St., will meet as well on Tuesday.

– Bill Dries

Landmark Bank Expands in Middle Tennessee

Landmark Community Bank has reached a deal with Cadence Bank to buy certain branch loans and assume all deposits in Cadence’s Middle Tennessee operations.

As part of the deal, Landmark will also enter into a sublease with Cadence to operate its branch facilities at 198 Main St. in Franklin and 93 Seaboard Lane in Brentwood. The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is scheduled to close on March 31.

Sandler O’Neill and Partners LP acted as the financial adviser to Cadence for the transaction, which will increase Landmark’s presence in Middle Tennessee to three locations.

Landmark is headquartered in Collierville, with two branches in Germantown and one branch in East Memphis.

– Andy Meek

International Paper Board Expands to 11 Members

International Paper is increasing the size of its board to 11 members with the addition of Jay Johnson, former chairman and CEO of defense contractor General Dynamics Corp.

The 67-year-old Johnson's appointment is effective Oct. 1.

Johnson retired as chairman and CEO of General Dynamics in December. Before that, he was CEO of Dominion Virginia Power. He had risen to the rank of admiral in a career of more than 30 years in military service. Johnson served as the Chief of Naval Operations and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1996 until 2000.

On Wednesday International Paper announced that it is laying off 1,100 people who work at an Alabama paper mill that it plans to permanently close because of waning demand for the paper the facility makes. The company's total employee headcount is about 70,000.

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Education Commissioner Responds to Petition

Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman didn't offer any apologies in his first comments about a petition signed by more than 60 school superintendents that is critical of his leadership at the department.

Media reported that Huffman disputed many assertions in the letter, which says his office "has no interest in a dialogue" with local school leaders, and adds that superintendents' efforts to improve their schools are being thwarted by low teacher morale because of policy changes on the state level.

"It has become obvious to the signees that our efforts to acquire a voice within this administration is futile," according to the petition.

The petition is being circulated among the state's 137 school districts and has signatures from at least 63 superintendents.

Although Huffman initially told reporters he hadn't seen the letter, he later said he'd seen an unofficial copy of it.

"It's not a question of who knows more about what children need. It's a question of, in my perch, I'm responsible for ensuring that the educational outcomes of 970,000 students in Tennessee get better. So we can either decide that we're going to stay in the bottom 10 states in the country in education outcomes, or we can decide that we're going to do the things that will make Tennessee be a competitive state when it comes to education results.”

Gov. Bill Haslam's press spokesman, David Smith, said his office hasn't received the petition.

"The governor supports the commissioner, and the data shows the state is making real progress."

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Education Groups Support Common Core Standards

Education leaders from a dozen state organizations have sent a letter to the governor supporting a new set of benchmarks for math and reading.

The letter sent this week says the common core standards provide students with critical thinking, problem solving and strong writing skills they need to help prepare them for global competition.

One group supporting the new standards is the State Collaborative on Reforming Education.

Jamie Woodson heads the organization and says she believes students will achieve more if they are challenged.

The ACT's yearly report showed Tennessee's high school graduates fell short of national results for ACT college readiness benchmarks this year.

The biggest gap was in math, with 29 percent of Tennessee students being deemed college ready, compared with the U.S. rate of 44 percent.

– The Associated Press

Energy Costs Push Wholesale Prices Up

Higher energy costs pushed U.S. wholesale prices up 0.3 percent last month. Prices rose a modest 1.4 percent over the past year, the lowest one-year gain since April.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs wholesale prices were unchanged in August, the Labor Department said Friday. They were up 1.1 percent over the past year, the smallest gain since June 2010 and another sign that inflation remains under control.

Energy prices climbed in late August as tensions rose over Syria, accounting for two-thirds of the monthly increase in wholesale prices. More expensive vegetables and chicken lifted food prices 0.6 percent in August from July.

The Federal Reserve, which meets next week, closely monitors wholesale and consumer prices, determined to keep inflation running at around 2 percent.

Consumer prices in July were up just 2 percent over the previous year. Core consumer prices have increased 1.7 percent in the past 12 months.

– The Associated Press

MORTGAGES 54 374 1,120
BUILDING PERMITS 177 767 2,425