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VOL. 129 | NO. 140 | Monday, July 21, 2014

Daily Digest

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Lamar Gas Station, Store Sell for $850,000

The Best Corner Express BP gas station and convenience store at 3015 Lamar Ave. in the Defense Depot area has sold for $850,000.

Best Corner Express LLC bought the retail property in a July 11 warranty deed from 3015 Lamar LLC, which had acquired it in 2011 from Circle K Stores Inc. for $500,000.

Built in 1987, the gas station and convenience store sit on 0.8 acres at the corner of Lamar Avenue and Semmes Street. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $313,500.

In conjunction with the purchase, Best Corner Express LLC filed a $498,000 deed of trust through Renasant Bank, also dated July 11. Tsegaye Gashaw Haile signed the deed as chief manager of the borrower.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Baker Donelson Wins Beacon of Justice Award

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association has named Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC a 2014 Beacon of Justice Award winner.

The awards recognize law firms that have devoted significant time and resources to creating and implementing innovative strategies to improve life outcomes for low-income people. Baker Donelson is being recognized for its development of the OnlineTNJustice platform, which provides free legal services via the Internet to low-income Tennessee residents.

A joint project of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association, OnlineTNJustice.org was developed with the financial support and technical expertise of the IT team in Baker Donelson’s Memphis office. It serves as a virtual walk-in clinic where clients can request brief advice and counsel about a specific civil legal issue from a volunteer lawyer.

– Andy Meek

Chamber’s Strickland Awarded Scholarship

The American Chamber of Commerce recently awarded a scholarship to Ernest Strickland, director of economic development of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

As director of economic development, Strickland is responsible for recruiting new companies to Memphis and Shelby County and assisting local companies with expansion plans.

The scholarship is part of the national organization’s Leadership Diversity program, which seeks to encourage leadership diversity among member chambers. The scholarships have three-year terms and will aid in providing information, training and other resources to enhance the leadership skills of women, members of racial/ethnic minorities, those who identify as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender, or those with a disability.

Strickland, a native Memphian, is one of nine chamber professionals from across the country participating in the program.

– Amos Maki

Libertas School to Join Achievement School District

The Libertas School, a charter organization approved this month to operate in Shelby County, will run a school for the state-run Achievement School District in the 2015-2016 school year.

The district is for schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide in terms of student achievement. Some schools are run directly by the district while others are run by charter companies under contract with the Achievement School District.

No location has been determined for the school Libertas would operate. A matching process involving public hearings with different communities begins in the fall.

– Bill Dries

West Memphis Hospital Reopens

A West Memphis hospital says it has opened its doors after it closed down a month ago from a fire.

WMC-TV reports that Crittenden County Regional Hospital opened on Friday morning. The hospital says it expects to reopen its labor and delivery and surgery wards this week.

A fire last month in the hospital’s intensive care unit forced the evacuation of 14 patients. The television station reported last month the cause of the fire was weather-related.

The reopening has been delayed several times to get it back up to speed.

Voters in Crittenden County approved a 1 percent sales tax in June to support the hospital. The tax hike is expected to generate about $30 million over five years for the hospital.

– The Associated Press

Health Department Seeking Input on State Health Plan

The Tennessee Department of Health is seeking public input on the State Health Plan.

The plan is required by state law and acts as the health department’s guide for protecting, promoting and improving the health of people in Tennessee.

It must be reviewed each year to address emerging health concerns and new resources and technologies.

The department will hold nine workshops across the state to allow members of the public to help define objectives for their communities.

The first workshop takes place on Tuesday, July 22, in Memphis, and they continue at locations across the state through Aug. 25. More information and a complete list of workshops can be found online at news.tn.gov/node/12687.

– The Associated Press

Comcast Announces Plans To Carry SEC Network

Comcast Cable has reached a deal with ESPN to carry the SEC Network.

The network, which launches on Aug. 14, was already set to be carried on cable and satellite providers like DISH Network, Cox Communications and AT&T U-Verse.

The addition of the nation’s largest cable provider announced Friday means the SEC Network will be available in a total of 46 million households nationally, with other negotiations continuing.

The SEC Network will carry at least 45 football games this season.

– The Associated Press

Mississippi Jobless Rate Rises to Worst in Nation

Mississippi registered the worst jobless rate in the nation in June, as unemployment rose in the state while improving elsewhere. The jobless rate rose to 7.9 percent in June as the number of jobless Mississippians rose back above 100,000.

A separate survey shows employer payrolls dipped slightly.

Both sets of figures – adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes – were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in May, while it was 8.7 percent in June 2013.

Rhode Island also had a 7.9 percent jobless rate, but its rate was slightly lower than Mississippi when calculations extend past one decimal place. The report found 100,400 Mississippians were unemployed in June, up more than 2,000 from May but down from 112,000 in June 2013.

– The Associated Press

Gauge of US Economy Rises 0.3 Percent in June

A gauge designed to predict the economy’s future health increased in June for a fifth consecutive month, supporting the view that economic growth should accelerate in the second half of this year.

The Conference Board said Friday its index of leading indicators rose 0.3 percent last month. That was slightly lower than forecast but the May increase was revised up to a 0.7 percent gain, a bit stronger than first estimated.

The economy shrank sharply in the first three months of the year, reflecting the effects of a harsh winter, but economists say a rebound began in the April-June quarter and will strengthen in the second half of this year.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said that stronger consumer demand driven by sustained job gains remained “the main source of improvement for the U.S. economy.”

The unemployment rate fell to a nearly six-year low of 6.1 percent in June as employers added 288,000 new jobs, marking the fifth straight monthly gain above 200,000. That is the best stretch of job growth since the tech boom of the late 1990s.

Paul Diggle, U.S. economist at Capital Economics, attributed the small decline to higher gasoline prices, which he said offset the strong gains recorded in the stock market and solid growth in employment.

The leading economic index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators. For June, six of the 10 indicators showed gains with the positive contributions including interest rates, credit availability and stock prices. The biggest drag on the index was a fall in applications for permits to build new homes and apartments.

– The Associated Press

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