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VOL. 129 | NO. 27 | Monday, February 10, 2014

Daily Digest

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Varangon Property Sells for $2.5 Million

Omni Visions Inc., a Nashville-based agency that provides support and placement services to children and teens as well as adults with special needs, has bought the Varangon Academy property at 3030 E. Brunswick Road in Bartlett for $2.5 million.

The property includes a 10,147-square-foot Class A facility built in 2008 on 5.4 acres on the east side of Brunswick Road north of Interstate 40. The Shelby County Assessor of Property, which classifies the property as a correctional facility, appraised it at $1.4 million in 2013.

The sale also includes 5.3 acres of vacant land north of the facility and appraised at $519,400 this year.

No financing was associated with the transaction. In conjunction with the sale, Varangon assigned Omni Visions its rights as lessor/landlord, effective Feb. 1.

Omni Visions was formed in 1991 to provide “individualized, community-based wrap-around support service through therapeutic foster care services to children in state custody,” according to the organization’s website. It has since expanded to provide services in North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia, and to include services for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Tennessee.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Occupational Medicine Facilities to Open

Nova Medical Centers, which describes itself as the nation’s largest 100 percent pure occupational health services company, will be opening its first locations in Memphis this month.

Nova currently has 45 occupational medicine facilities across Texas, Georgia and Tennessee. The Memphis facilities will be located at 3965 S. Mendenhall Road and 2781 Airways Blvd.

Both Memphis centers will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Though opening dates are tentative, the Airways facility is anticipated to open Feb. 12 and the South Mendenhall facility is anticipated to open Feb. 19.

– Don Wade

Davis Headlines Fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis presents an evening with former Memphis City Council member and business leader Fred Davis Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the organization’s technical training center at 903 Walker Ave.

The $100-a-person event starts at 6 p.m. with cocktails and tours, and the dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Davis was elected in 1967 to the first Memphis City Council under the mayor-council form of government. The charter members of the council are best known for being the council that presided during the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike that brought civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis.

Davis founded an insurance company in Whitehaven prior to his election to the council, and after his council service, he served on the Memphis Parks Commission.

– Bill Dries

St. Jude Study Offers New ALS Research

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists led a study showing that mutations in a gene responsible for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disrupt the RNA transport system in nerve cells. The findings, which appear in the current issue of the scientific journal Neuron, offer a new focus for efforts to develop effective treatments for ALS, a disorder that kills most patients within five years of diagnosis.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is diagnosed in about 5,600 individuals nationwide each year and is associated with muscle weakness and paralysis.

The research adds to growing evidence that various problems in RNA functioning play a central role in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS.

– Don Wade

Southeastern Freight Lines Taps New Account Manager

Southeastern Freight Lines, a regional less-than-truckload transportation company, has named Austin Miller as national account manager.

Miller began his career with Southeastern in 2009 as an account manager at the Memphis service center. He has been recognized with the company’s W.T. Cassels Award as Account Manager of the Year in 2011 and was a President’s Club Member in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Prior to joining Southeastern, Miller gained five years of industry experience at FedEx Freight, holding positions as a dock assistant, human resources associate, customer satisfaction representative and account executive.

– Amos Maki

Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Adds Health Care Attorneys

With the addition of two veteran health care attorneys, Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP is expanding its health care practice to accommodate the growing legal needs of physicians, hospitals and health care systems.

Elizabeth O’Keeffe concentrates her practice in the areas of eHealth, social media, corporate compliance and regulatory issues, corporate transactions and governance, clinical research, privacy and security, and oversight of all matters associated with the regulation of the health care clinical enterprise.

Charles M. Key concentrates his practice on a variety of health care issues, including regulation provider conduct, Medicare reimbursement, antitrust, insurance, privacy of health information, medical peer review, managed care, licensing and general health law.

– Andy Meek

TPA Awards 2 Lawmakers Open Government Award

Two lawmakers from eastern Tennessee have received the 2014 Open Government Award from state newspapers for opposing efforts to weaken the state's open records and public meetings law.

The Tennessee Press Association presented the awards on Thursday to Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, and Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, during the organization's annual winter meeting.

The two lawmakers sponsored legislation that requires public notices to be published in the local newspaper, posted on the newspaper's website and on an aggregate statewide website operated by TPA. They opposed proposals to move public notices from newspapers to the government websites exclusively.

TPA President Lynn Richardson, publisher of the Herald & Tribune of Jonesborough, cited the two lawmakers' "broad commitment to the values of government transparency and press freedom."

– The Associated Press

Hall Tax Proposal Would Affect City Budgets

Tennessee municipalities are keeping a close watch on proposed legislation to eliminate or reduce the Hall tax.

The Tennessean reports that's because cities use funding from the tax in their budgets and losing it would cause a large dent.

The state currently imposes a 6 percent levy on income from dividends and investments. Lawmakers are discussing whether to reduce the tax or eliminate it gradually.

Gov. Bill Haslam recommended in his budget proposal earlier this week that no changes be made to it.

Metro Nashville Finance Director Rich Riebeling said losing revenue from the Hall tax would leave a big hole in the city's budget. He said the amount from the tax fluctuates, ranging from $7.4 million in 2010 to nearly $14 million in 2013.

Cities have recently begun putting together budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

– The Associated Press

Retail Sales Expected to Improve in 2014

The nation's largest retail trade group expects retail sales will increase at a slightly faster pace this year than last as continued improvements in jobs and housing should help shoppers feel more confident about spending.

The Washington-based National Retail Federation said that it expects retail sales will rise 4.1 percent to $3.24 trillion in 2014. That's higher than the preliminary 3.7 percent growth seen in 2013 and above the average growth rate of 3.6 percent over the previous 10 years.

The trade group's retail sales forecast for the year includes online sales but excludes business from autos, gas stations and restaurants. Online sales are expected to be up anywhere from 9 percent to 12 percent this year, the trade group said.

The group's cautiously optimistic outlook comes as stores are still reeling from a difficult holiday season where they had to discount heavily to get shoppers to spend. The slow economic recovery, a stubbornly high unemployment rate and fierce competition from online retailers like Amazon.com forced traditional retailers to discount heavily just to get people through the door.

That weakness continued through January as heavy winter storms raking the United States cut into store traffic and weighed on post-holiday sales. Chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, reduced their profit outlooks.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115