VOL. 7 | NO. 24 | Saturday, June 7, 2014
Moman in Memphis for Elvis Week
Legendary music producer Chips Moman will be in Memphis for Elvis Week events at Graceland in August, marking the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death in 1977.
Elvis Presley Enterprises announced this week that Moman, who produced Presley’s Memphis sessions at Moman’s American Sound studios in North Memphis, will be part of the Elvis Insiders panel discussion Aug. 14 at 9 a.m. at Graceland’s main stage in Graceland Plaza.
Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman and Reggie Young, who were part of the American Sound studio band that played on the Elvis sessions, will also be part of the discussion.
The American Sound recordings included some of Presley’s biggest hits of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Kentucky Rain.”
During Moman’s tenure, American Sound turned out more than 120 hit records for various record labels.
Moman returned to Memphis for a brief time in the 1980s at the helm of Three Alarm Studios, a recording studio in an old city firehouse at Third Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, but he has rarely returned to the city or commented on his role in Memphis music history since the studio closed.
Former Union Planters CEO Joins Metropolitan Bank Board
Metropolitan Bank has added former Union Planters Bank CEO E. Jackson Garner to its board.
Garner currently lives in Jackson, Miss., and retired from his 30-year banking career to join The Ramey Agency, a brand strategy and marketing communications firm, as its president in 2001.
Metropolitan Bank is a $915 million financial institution that currently operates eight full-service banking offices in Mississippi and Tennessee.
Tennessee Targeting Construction Fraud
State officials say the Department of Labor has been expanding efforts to uncover employer fraud within the construction industry.
The efforts will help identify employers who are paying workers under the table, intentionally misclassifying workers as independent contractors and who are failing to report all wages paid.
The state Department of Labor & Workforce Development said a Nashville drywall firm accused of lying to an insurance company about how many employees were on its payroll was first to pay $300,000 in a settlement.
Officials say the fraud is typically used to avoid paying workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance tax premiums. It also gives deceptive employers an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding firms.
Part of the effort includes the hiring of additional investigators to detect the fraud.
Florida Firm Buys Former Elvis Ranch
Elvis Presley’s old Circle G Ranch in Mississippi, where the singer and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon in 1967, has been bought by Florida real estate brokerage.
Terms were not disclosed. The deal was announced Tuesday.
Plans for the sale of the property or development of it have been discussed off-and-on for more than 10 years.
Elvis Presley owned the 155-acre ranch, just across the Tennessee-Mississippi state line in Horn Lake, Mississippi, from 1966 to 1971. He and Priscilla honeymooned there, and the building known as the “honeymoon cottage” still stands today. It includes a 14-acre lake.
Presley sold the property in 1972.
Applications Up for US Jobless Aid
Slightly more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but claims for jobless aid continue to be anchored near seven-year lows.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 310,250. That’s the lowest average since June 2007.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the running average suggests employers are letting go of fewer workers. When businesses are confident enough to hold onto staff, they may also step up hiring. That is a positive sign ahead of May’s jobs report to be released Friday and indicates steady hiring in the months ahead.
“The claims data suggest sustained better payrolls are in the pipeline,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Shepherdson added that the pace of hiring would quicken “sooner or later,” though he cautioned that a “blockbuster” increase in jobs last month was unlikely.
Fewer Americans are also receiving benefits. The number of recipients declined to 2.6 million, the lowest level since October 2007.
The decline in applications since the start of the year has been accompanied by solid job growth, despite an economy that struggled to grow during the winter.
GM Launches Fund for Crash Victims
General Motors said Thursday that it will launch a program to compensate crash victims or families affected by faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths that prompted a recall of 2.6 million cars.
The company said it expects the program will start accepting claims Aug. 1 but hasn’t said how much money will be involved. Guidelines and other details will be developed in the coming weeks, GM said.
The fund will be administered by compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg. GM announced in April the hiring of Feinberg, who handled the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund as well as funds for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and the BP oil spill.
Council Hears Tentative Plans for Office Building
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration would move the Memphis Police Department, information technology services and six city agencies renting offices on Union Avenue Extended into the Donnelley J. Hill office building if the city goes through with a plan to swap the office building with state government in exchange for parking spaces in the Peabody Place garage.
Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb outlined the general plan to Memphis City Council members Tuesday, June 3. Lipscomb said the divisions and agencies likely to move into the office building, which is just a few yards from City Hall in the Civic Center Plaza, are those whose leases elsewhere are up or about to be up.
Wharton and police brass have several times proposed renovating the old Memphis Police Building on the northwest corner of Adams Avenue and Second Street to once again become the police headquarters.
In other action Tuesday, council Chairman Jim Strickland delayed for two weeks a vote on the second reading of his ordinance to establish residential-permit parking in the Overton Square area on a trial basis.
And the council affirmed its rejection of plans for a new county cemetery at Raleigh-Millington and Duncan roads. Council member Janis Fullilove moved for reconsideration of the May 20 vote against the cemetery, but the move for reconsideration was voted down.
The Shelby County Commission approved the cemetery plans Monday, June 2.
UTHSC College of Medicine Reaccredited
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine has been reaccredited for the maximum eight-year term by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
The LCME accredits medical schools in the United States and Canada. Accreditation signifies that national standards for structure, function and performance are met by a medical school’s education program. Only LCME-accredited institutions may receive federal grants for education and participate in federal loan programs. Medical students in the United States must be enrolled in or have graduated from an LCME-accredited program in order to take national board exams or enter residency programs.
Preparations for the accreditation process took nearly two years and included an extensive self-study involving more than 100 faculty members, administrators and students. A five-member survey team of faculty and administrators from other medical schools spent three days on campus in November reviewing the documentation and meeting with roughly 150 faculty members and students. The survey team’s report was reviewed by the LCME, and the College of Medicine’s excellent relationship with partner hospitals was cited as an institutional strength.
Memphis Health Center Gets $3.3 Million Grant
The Memphis Health Center Inc., which provides high-quality, affordable health care services to Shelby County citizens, has received $3.3 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
The Memphis Health Center, a nonprofit community health center, provides a comprehensive array of primary and preventive health and dental services to the uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations of Shelby and Fayette counties. It was founded 45 years ago to address concerns over health care access disparities for underserved populations in the Mid-South.
Lifeblood Holding Six-Week Donor Fest
Temperatures may rise in the summer and so may the need for blood, but donations tend to go down.
To counteract this, Lifeblood is holding a six-week Donor Fest through July 3 at its donor centers and mobile drives in hopes of encouraging new, regular and lapsed donors to give blood.
In celebration of fifth anniversary of Donor Fest, Lifeblood is inviting donors, blood recipients and volunteers to form a “human blood drop” on Saturday, June 14, at 9:30 a.m. on Saint Benedict at Auburndale High School’s soccer field. Participants are asked to wear a red shirt. The event will include food, music, balloon animals, face painting, donor recognition and more.
The June 14 event coincides with World Blood Donor Day, which serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products. The day is also a chance to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors.
For information about Donor Fest, donor center locations and a listing of public blood drives this summer, visit lifeblood.org or call 888-LIFEBLOOD.
Shelby Farms Adds Summer Water Activities
Shelby Farms Park soon will be a water park – at least, a temporary one.
Every Saturday and Sunday starting this weekend, Shelby Farms will be transformed into a “water play festival,” featuring six 50-foot-long slippery slides, a splash pond, sand volleyball court, sandcastle sculpting, a food truck rodeo and a shaded stage with a place to get out of the sun and dance with help from local DJs.
Admission is $10 per person and $5 for park members. Children 12 and younger get in for $5, and all proceeds go toward helping keep the park and Shelby Farms Greenline clean and safe.
AAU Boys' Basketball Championship Coming to Memphis
The Youth of Memphis Competitors Association will host the AAU Boys’ Basketball National Championships for 2nd Grade and 7th Grade Division I and 7th Grade Division II in Memphis June 29 through July 6.
Nearly 5,000 players, coaches, parents and supporters participate in the annual AAU divisional contests, which have been hosted in Memphis more than 20 years.
The opening ceremony for the AAU National Boys Basketball Championship for 7th Grade Division I will be held June 29 at 7 p.m. at Southwind High School, 7900 E. Shelby Drive, and the opening game will follow at 8 p.m.
The opening ceremonies for 2nd Grade Division I and 7th Grade Division II will be held June 30 at 9:30 a.m., also at Southwind High.
The championship teams will compete at more than a dozen Memphis-area sites. For more information and ticket prices, visit aauboysbasketball.org or call YOMCA at 362-9550.
Productivity Falls at 3.2 Percent Rate
U.S. productivity fell even more than previously thought in the January-March period while labor costs rose at a faster pace.
Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, declined at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter, the weakest showing since the beginning months of the recession in 2008, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Unit labor costs rose at a 5.7 percent rate, the fastest pace in more than a year.
Rising labor costs and falling productivity can be a cause for concern if they are an indication that inflation is worsening. But the first-quarter performance was seen as a temporary bump caused by an unusually harsh winter which caused the economy to go into reverse. A strong rebound is expected in the current quarter.
International Paper Names Sutton President and COO
Mark S. Sutton, the senior vice president of industrial packaging for International Paper Co., is the company’s new president and chief operating officer.
CEO John Faraci announced Sutton’s appointment Monday, June 2, as Faraci prepares to retire as president and CEO in March.
Sutton has worked his entire 30-year career with International Paper, starting as an engineer at the company’s Pineville, La., mill.
Commission Discusses School Board Raises
After a five-month delay, Shelby County Commissioners resumed action Monday, June 2, on an ordinance that would raise the pay of Shelby County Schools board members.
Commissioners approved Monday on the second of three readings an amended pay raise for school board members.
The original measure by Commissioner Mike Ritz was to boost the board’s annual pay from the current $4,200 to $25,000, with the chairman’s annual pay increasing from $4,500 to $26,000.
That failed on second reading, and Commissioner Steve Mulroy amended the raise to $15,000 for board members and $16,000 for the chairman.
The measure will need nine votes to pass on third and final reading.
The commission also approved First Citizen’s National Bank’s office and retail planned development at the northwest corner of Austin Peay Highway and Millington-Arlington Road.
And the commission approved a new county cemetery on the northeast corner of Raleigh-Millington and Duncan roads that was rejected last month by the Memphis City Council.
County officials estimate the existing county cemetery on Ellis Road will run out of plots in 18 months. The first phase of the new cemetery would be good for 20 years at a rate of 40 burials a month, according to county public works director Tom Needham.
Redbirds’ Cooney Named Pitcher of Week
Memphis Redbirds starting pitcher Tim Cooney has been named the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Week for the May 26 to June 1 period.
The 23-year-old tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout as Memphis blanked the Iowa Cubs, 4-0, at AutoZone Park during the Thursday, May 29, Minor League Baseball “Game of the Week,” nationally telecast on CBS Sports Network.
Cooney was one out away from recording the first no-hitter in Redbirds franchise history before allowing a single in the top of the ninth inning. The left-hander retired 27 of 30 batters faced on the evening, striking out seven and walking two over a career-high nine innings. Seventy-three of his 101 pitches were thrown for strikes.
Cooper-Young Festival Booths Available Soon
Artist vendor booths for the Cooper-Young festival will be available soon.
The artist vendor booths go on sale Sunday, June 15, at midnight, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
To help artists pick prime spots, maps of the festival site are available at cooperyoungfestival.com.
This year’s main event will be held Saturday, Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The free music, arts and crafts street festival is in its 27th year.
On Thursday, Sept. 11, the Art Invitational hosted by the Jay Etkin Gallery, 942 S. Cooper St., will highlight the many artists who live and work in Cooper-Young.
The Cooper-Young Festival Friday 4-Miler will take place Friday, Sept. 12. People who want to take part in the race can register at cooperyoung4miler.racesonline.com.
Dollar General First-Quarter Profit Rises
Dollar General’s fiscal first-quarter net income edged up 1 percent, with sales climbing and some expenses dropping.
Sales were strong in categories such as tobacco products, perishables and candy and snacks.
Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said in a statement on Tuesday that the results were pressured by bad winter weather, increased competition and current economic conditions. Still, trends improved as the quarter progressed, he said.
For the period ended May 2, the company earned $222.4 million, or 72 cents per share. That compares with $220.1 million, or 67 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 73 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.
Revenue increased 7 percent to $4.52 billion from $4.23 billion, but fell short of the $4.56 billion Wall Street forecast.
Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, rose 1.5 percent on improved customer traffic and an increase in the average transaction amount. This metric excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
International Paper CEO Set to Retire in March
International Paper Co. CEO John Faraci will retire effective March 1, the Memphis-based company announced last week.
Faraci turns 65 years old in February, which is the company’s mandatory retirement age for executives.
The company also filed Monday, June 2, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a notice that Faraci had sold 30,000 shares of common stock. Faraci made similar transactions in April and May.
Mid-South Marking Becomes MSM Solutions
Mid-South Marking Systems is changing its company name to MSM Solutions to better reflect its products and offerings in providing barcoding and radio-frequency identification, or RFID, solutions.
The name change will go into effect July 1. MSM’s core focus will remain unchanged, and service to its nearly 2,000 customers will not be interrupted.
“We want our customers to know we that we utilize the latest technology in barcoding and RFID,” said Rick Summers, president and CEO of MSM Solutions. “We place a premium on research and development and providing the best printing and data collection equipment in our
Redbirds Games to Air in St. Louis
Eighteen Memphis Redbirds games will be broadcast on KTRS 550 AM radio in St. Louis during the 2014 regular season. The first game was to have aired Saturday, May 31.
“It allows for us to extend the Redbirds brand in St. Louis,” said Redbirds general manager Craig Unger. “It also lets us get the word out about upcoming events and attract tourists to Memphis.”
Redbirds games are broadcast by Steve Selby, who has been part of the broadcast team since AutoZone Park opened in 2000. The Virginia native is currently in his 29th season in the booth and has been at the microphone for more than 1,800 games as a member of the Redbirds.
KTRS’ broadcasts of Redbirds games are to take place at times when the St. Louis Cardinals are not scheduled to be playing.
Crye-Leike Raises Funds for United Way
Memphis-based Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. agents and employees collected $64,840 for United Way during the 2013 campaign season.
In each of the nine states Crye-Leike serves, the company’s branch offices and Realtors host a variety of fundraisers to help individuals and organizations.
In addition to supporting Crye-Leike’s annual United Way campaign, the offices support charities in their communities through activities such as coat drives for the homeless or chili cook-off fundraisers.
“Since first opening our doors in 1977, Crye-Leike has been a company that cares about the communities we serve proudly supporting many charitable organizations including United Way, Youth Villages, Habitat for Humanity and numerous other local charities,” said Crye-Leike co-founder and CEO Harold Crye. “Crye-Leike is thankful to have so many generous agents and employees who continue to be excited about lending a helping hand to their neighbors in need.”
ISM Corrects May Factory Index
The Institute for Supply Management has twice corrected its May manufacturing index to show that factories grew at a strong pace last month. The original report said that manufacturers had expanded at a weaker pace.
The ISM’s manufacturing index for May now reads 55.4, up from 53.2 in the initial report. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The corrected figures show that measures of production and orders rose, rather than fell. Production surged to 61 from 55.7 in April. Factories added jobs, according to a gauge of employment, but at a slower pace.