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VOL. 129 | NO. 236 | Thursday, December 4, 2014

Daily Digest

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Renovation Planned for Mason Temple

The Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple Downtown is about to get a makeover.

The Memphis-based church has applied for a $1.4 million building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for the “renovation” of an existing two-story structure at 930 Mason St.

Mason Temple is named after COGIC founder Charles Harrison Mason and is the spiritual home of the denomination.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki

Malco Pulls Permit to Build Cordova Cinema

Malco Theatres appears poised to build a new cinema and entertainment center in Cordova.

Memphis-based Malco applied for a $600,000 building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for “foundation and underground” work at 9561 U.S. 64.

The application lists Linkous Construction Co. as the contractor and TK Architects as the engineer and architect.

– Amos Maki

Council Confirms Putt as New Fire Director

Memphis City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 2, approved veteran firefighter Michael Putt as the city’s new fire director.

Putt had been deputy director of fire services. He succeeds Alvin Benson, who is the new Shelby County Fire Chief.

The council also approved Tuesday two actions that add nearly $2 million to the city’s effort to clear the Memphis Police Department backlog of rape kits. The council accepted $450,000 in state funding for the processing of rape kits by Memphis police. And the council approved an additional $1.5 million in funding from the city’s mixed drink tax revenue toward the effort to clear the backlog.

Council members also approved $1 million in funding toward another police recruit class to augment $2 million Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration had already allocated toward the class in the current fiscal year.

And the council approved the city’s first residential parking zone in the Overton Square area after residents on Monroe Avenue between North Cooper and Cox streets petitioned for such a zone.

Residents can buy parking permits at $50 a year to park on the north side of Monroe between Cox and Cooper, with 60 percent of the south side of Monroe allocated for free public parking under a compromise authored by council member Kemp Conrad. As part of the agreement, Kelly English, owner of Restaurant Iris, which is also on that stretch of Monroe, agreed to pay half of the permit cost for the residents for the first year.

– Bill Dries

Cafe Pontotoc Adding Weekend Brunch

Café Pontotoc, a new wine bar, tapas bar and restaurant in South Main, will soon start offering brunch.

It will serve brunch Saturdays and Sundays beginning Dec. 6. In the future, brunch on Fridays may be added.

Café Pontotoc opened this summer. Owners Milton and Cherie Lamb said they wanted to establish a comfortable neighborhood bar that serves wine, local beers and small plates in a setting where patrons get used to coming in to unwind.

– Andy Meek

Doug Carpenter Adds Workflow Manager

Doug Carpenter & Associates has added Sara Studdard as workflow manager.

She’ll be responsible for the internal trafficking of work throughout the agency and will help the director of account management in the day-to-day management of accounts.

Before joining the firm, Studdard served as coordinator of the Creative Placemaking Project for the Broad Avenue Arts District.

– Andy Meek

Teachers' Union Seeks 6 Percent Pay Increase

The state's largest teachers' union is calling on Gov. Bill Haslam to increase teachers' pay by 6 percent this year.

The Tennessee Education Association issued a news release on Tuesday, three days before the governor is to hear a budget presentation from the state Education Department.

Haslam is holding budget hearings with state agencies this week.

The TEA said it would ultimately like to see a salary increase of 11.3 percent for teachers: 6 percent this year and the rest phased in over two to three years.

The group said the increase could be built into the state's school funding formula, or BEP.

In 2013, Haslam vowed to make Tennessee the fastest-improving state in the nation in terms of teacher pay. He told reporters on Tuesday that he's still committed to that, even though he didn't say how and or when he'd do it.

– The Associated Press

Poll: Tennesseans Approve of Haslam, Legislature

Tennesseans approve of their elected officials but want them to work with members of the other party, even if it means compromising on some of their values and priorities, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University.

The survey of about 950 registered Tennessee voters was taken just after the November election. Seventy percent of respondents said they approved of Gov. Bill Haslam and 55 percent approved of the Tennessee Legislature.

But voters' priorities for the Legislature differed somewhat from those that lawmakers have put forward.

Forty percent of respondents said the economy should be the top priority, followed by education and health care. Only 2 percent said guns were the top priority.

A full 77 percent said they wanted their legislators to compromise with members of the other party.

– The Associated Press

Latest Fed Survey Finds Economic Improvement

The U.S. economy kept expanding in October and November, helped by solid gains in consumer spending, manufacturing and overall employment, according to the Federal Reserve's latest survey of business conditions around the country.

The Fed survey found many areas of strength and for the first time this year, the report did not see a need to qualify growth by using words like "modest" and "moderate."

The Fed said that business executives remain optimistic about the prospects for growth in 2015. The gains in economic activity were coming as overall inflation remained subdued although the report did find upward wage pressures for some skilled workers.

The report, known as the Beige Book for the color of its cover, will form the basis for discussion at the Fed's final policy-making meeting of the year on Dec. 16-17.

The comments in the report suggest the Fed will leave a key short-term interest rate at a record low for the time being. The rate has been near zero since December 2008. Many private economists believe that the economy will be growing strongly enough and unemployment will be low enough that the central bank will begin raising rates in the middle of 2015.

– The Associated Press

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 16 35 186
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0