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VOL. 7 | NO. 21 | Saturday, May 17, 2014

Daily Digest

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Fairway Manor Development Opens

City of Memphis and Memphis Land Bank officials formally opened Fairway Manor Thursday, May 15, in southwest Memphis.

The three-story, 68-unit development is public housing and subsidized housing for the elderly and is built where the Graves Manor public housing development stood until it was demolished in 2007.

The next phase of the development, the 28-unit Fairway Manor Townhomes, will be built west of the complex on Fairway at South Third Street.

Fairway Manor is the last of Memphis’ six public housing sites to be redeveloped into mixed-use, mixed-income properties that include some public housing tenants as well as tenants paying market rate.

Chamber Event to Focus On Hiring Veterans

The Greater Memphis Chamber is hosting the second installment of its Workforce Leadership Series.

Called “From the Front Lines to the Front Offices: Leveraging Veteran Hires to Grow Your Business,” the program launches in conjunction with the 2014 Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair.

Workshop participants can learn important information on attracting and hiring veterans and the impact veterans can have on leadership, accountability and revenue. Information about tax credits and other incentives available to companies that hire veterans will be available.

Cliff Yager, founder and managing partner of The Straight Skinny, is the featured speaker, and panelists include Roger Littlejohn from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Ernie Lombardi of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. Contact the chamber at 543-3500 for registration details.

Amro Music Picks Up Industry Distinction

The National Association of Music Merchants is presenting Amro Music Stores Inc. with a Top 100 Dealer Award at the organization’s annual summer music trade show in Nashville in July.

This marks the fourth year in a row that Amro has been given the award. The company also is in the running to get NAMM’s Dealer of the Year Award at the presentation.

NAMM is a not-for-profit association that focuses on strengthening the $17 billion global musical instruments and products industry.

Madonna Learning Center Kicks Off Campaign

The Madonna Learning Center, a school for children and young adults with special

needs, held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, May 14, celebrating the start to construction and renovation of buildings and facilities on its campus. The ceremony officially launched the public phase of the school’s $10 million capital campaign, called “Transforming Lives. Building a Brighter Future. The Campaign for Madonna Learning Center.”

Board Chairman John Haase also announced the center had secured two challenge grants for the campaign.

The school expects to begin construction in late May, and will wrap up in summer of 2015, in time for the new academic year.

The project will allow the school to double its student population, add a new preschool, and construct both a new Adult Program building and new gymnasium/performing arts building.

Bright Joins Evolve Bank Board of Directors

Memphis attorney Al Bright Jr. has joined the board of Evolve Bank & Trust.

Bright is a law partner in the Memphis office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP, where he practices business law. He’s also the chairman of the board for the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County, and its related entities.

In a statement about the addition, Evolve Bank Chairman Scot Lenoir said Bright will bring a strong legal mind and fresh ideas to the bank’s board.

Board to Review Historic Properties

The State Review Board will meet later this month to review Tennessee’s proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Picardy Place Historic District in Shelby County.

The meeting will be held at the Clover Bottom Mansion in Nashville on May 28 and is open to the public.

In addition to Picardy Place, the nominations include: the Norris Dam State Park Rustic Cabins Historic District in Anderson County; the Miller Farmstead in Carter County; and the College Hill Historic District and North Washington Historic District in Haywood County.

Memphis Startups Invited To Southland Conference

Three Memphis-based startups have been invited to participate in the Southland conference in Nashville next month.

The trio that heads to Nashville for the conference June 9-11 includes AgSmarts, Influsense and Screwpulp. They were chosen by a panel of investors, entrepreneurs and tech writers from around the country and will have exhibition space in Southland Village.

The entities behind Southland are Launch Tennessee and PandoDaily, a digital news outlet offering tech news, analysis and commentary.

Crossroads Hospice Needs Summer Volunteers

Crossroads Hospice is seeking volunteers to join its team of Ultimate Givers who strive to provide comfort to terminally ill patients and their families throughout the greater Memphis area.

Ultimate Givers visit with patients in their homes, assisted living facilities and nursing facilities, and help with clerical duties at the Crossroads office. They provide emotional support and companionship to patients and family members, assist with errands, and provide respite for those caring for terminally ill loved ones.

Crossroads Hospice welcomes students 16 years or older for volunteer work that may include reading to patients, playing cards, participating in arts and crafts, and providing office help.

Crossroads Hospice is also seeking volunteers, including students, to support its programs inspired by Jim Stovall’s novel “The Ultimate Gift.” The Gift of a Day program asks patients what their perfect day is and staff and volunteers work to make it a reality.

For more information, visit crossroadshospice.com/volunteering or contact Angela White at 382-9292 or angela.white@crossroadshospice.com.

Women Attorneys Group To Hold Judicial Forum

The Memphis Chapter of the Association of Women Attorneys will hold a forum for candidates running in all judicial races on the August ballot. The forum is June 26 at 5 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.

The forum highlights the set of judicial races that come once every eight years. The nonpartisan races includes races for civil and criminal court judges.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 7 election day begins July 18.

Book on Experiencing Memphis Released

Whether it’s watching workers at

St. Blues Guitar Workshop handcraft instruments, strolling along the Mississippi River or touring the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis has plenty to do that makes the city one of a kind. With that in mind, Memphis writer Samantha Crespo has published her first book, “100 Things to Do in Memphis Before You Die,” which she says is as much for visitors to the city as it is for locals.

Special features in the book include “inside tips” on how to experience some of the city’s favorite festivals and events, freebies and themed itineraries.

It’s available at samanthacrespo.com/buy-online.html, and according to her site, she also can be emailed at samanthacrespo@gmail.com for orders within Memphis for personal delivery or pick-up.

Sweet Noshings Adds Ice Cream

Sweet Noshings, the candy store in Overton Square, continues to diversify its offerings.

Equipment was scheduled to be installed this week at the store that would allow it to begin offering ice cream.

Other recent additions include Sweet Noshings-branded T-shirts with phrases such as “Memphis is Sweet.”

Sweet Noshings is at 2113 Madison Ave.

Haslam’s Free Tuition Plan Viewed as Incentive

Education experts say they believe Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s program to cover a full ride at two-year colleges for any high school graduate will be an incentive for students to better prepare for a higher education. Results released Wednesday on the National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, show slightly fewer than four out of 10 students nationwide have the math and reading skills needed for entry-level college courses.

David Driscoll is chairman of the governing board that sets policy for NAEP. He told The Associated Press that students aren’t always as focused as they should be and that programs like Haslam’s provide incentive for them to perform better.

Haslam signed the measure into law on Monday.

Pew: Student Loans Often Mean More Overall Debt

Young adults who took out loans for college have significantly more overall debt than those who didn’t have to borrow for their education, researchers report.

A Pew Research Center study released Wednesday examined households headed by people under 40 and found those with student loans tend to typically have about $137,010 in overall debt, including mortgages, car loans, and credit cards.

That compares with $73,250 for similar households without student loans to repay.

“Young adults with student loans are behind in building their nest eggs,” said the lead author, Pew senior economic Richard Fry.

About 4 in 10 households headed by an adult under 40 currently have some student debt.

The report was based on an analysis of government data from the Survey of Consumer Finances as well as Pew Research survey data.

Rock’n Dough to Open In University Center

Rock’n Dough Pizza Co. is opening a new restaurant near the University of Memphis.

The Memphis-based pizzeria has signed a 1,225-square-foot lease on first-floor space at Loeb Properties’ University Center, 3445 Poplar Ave.

This will be the third storefront location for Rock’n Dough owner Jeremy Denno, who also sells pizza out of his food truck at the Memphis Farmers Market. Denno opened his first Rock’n Dough at 1243 Ridgeway Road in Loeb’s Park Place Centre, and the second location recently opened in the Jackson Walk development in Jackson, Tenn.

Rock’n Dough offers whole and by-the-slice hand-tossed pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, along with salads and sandwiches. The University Center location will offer extended hours and a drive-thru.

County Commission Delays Development Vote

The Shelby County Commission did not vote Monday, May 12, on a planned development by First Citizens Bank at Austin Peay Highway and Millington-Arlington Road because the commission was forced to adjourn for lack of a quorum before it could vote on the item.

It will be back on the agenda for a vote at the commission’s June 2 meeting.

It takes seven of the 13 commissioners to constitute a quorum for a voting meeting. The commission, which had 12 of its 13 members present at the beginning of the session, lost its quorum after a lengthy debate about approving the tax sale of an apartment complex at 2238 Howell Ave. in North Memphis for $150,000.

The leader of the nonprofit that lost the property in the tax sale had wanted to speak to the commission before the vote, but Chairman James Harvey said he lost the card she filled out to speak.

She spoke in tears after Commissioner Justin Ford unsuccessfully moved to reconsider the decision. That’s when the commission lost its quorum.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer, who left for a conference call with leaders of the local firefighters union just before Ford’s reconsideration motion, said she is exploring a possible reconsideration of the item at the next commission meeting.

Democratic Leader Urges Meth Bill Veto

The Democratic leader of the state Senate is urging Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to veto his own legislation to limit the purchase of cold and allergy medicines used to make illegal methamphetamine.

Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis on Monday said the bill passed by the Legislature did not go far enough to put a dent in makeshift meth labs around the state.

The bill awaiting the governor’s signature would require a prescription to obtain more than 28.8 grams of pseudoephedrine per year, which is the equivalent of about five months’ worth of the maximum dosage of medicines like Sudafed.

Haslam and the Senate had earlier supported a version of the bill that would have set a 14.4-gram annual limit but ultimately agreed to the House plan featuring the looser restrictions.

US Businesses Boost Stockpiles in March

U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in March, and sales increased by the largest amount in 10 months.

Stockpiles rose 0.4 percent after a 0.5 percent rise in February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Sales in March jumped 1 percent, the largest advance since May, after a 0.9 percent increase in February.

Both months represented a solid rebound after a 0.9 percent sales decline in January that was blamed in part on the harsh winter weather.

The two months of sizable gains in sales should encourage businesses to keep restocking to meet rising demand. That would mean increased orders to factories and rising production, which would lead to stronger economic growth.

Many economists expect growth to rebound significantly in the second quarter after slowing sharply in the first.

Inventories held by wholesalers increased 1.1 percent in March, while those held by manufacturers edged up a tiny 0.1 percent. Inventories at the retail level were unchanged.

Avenue Coffee Opens Near University of Memphis

Avenue Coffee is a new nonprofit coffee shop now open at 786 Echles St., near the University of Memphis.

As part of the business’s desire to give back, it’s teamed up with local micro roaster Reverb Coffee Co. to supply its beans, and Avenue also is in the process of connecting with different charities.

The business plans to encourage the arts by showcasing local musicians, visual artists and filmmakers.

The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Maker’s Market To Launch in June

The Maker’s Market at Overton Square is launching in June.

Modern Handmade Memphis is presenting the inaugural season of the market, which will take place monthly and feature the handmade work of local designers and artisans.

The event will happen one Saturday each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Father’s Day Market is June 7, the Summer Market is July 19, the Labor Day Weekend Market is Aug. 30 and the Fall Festival Market is Sept. 20.

The event will take place in the Tower Courtyard at Overton Square, north of the parking garage on Trimble Place.

CBRE Memphis Joins Energy Star Program

CB Richard Ellis Memphis has joined a national energy-saving program that could help the environment and benefit the company’s bottom line.

CBRE Memphis joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program as an Energy Star partner. Through the voluntary partnership, CBRE Memphis aims to help the environment and boost financial performance by improving the energy efficiency of properties it manages.

CBRE Memphis partnered with the University of Memphis’ Green Internship program, a student-sponsored initiative designed to promote sustainability and relationships with partner organizations, on the energy-saving program.

In partnership with Energy Star, CBRE Memphis will continue to track the energy performance of its office portfolio and will actively work to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings.

According to the EPA, Energy Star, which was introduced in 1992, has helped families and businesses saved nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

EdR Executive Brown Leaving This Summer

A high-ranking executive at Memphis-based EdR is leaving the company this summer.

Randall H. Brown, executive vice president and CFO, has resigned effective June 30 to “pursue other business opportunities,” the company announced.

Brown joined EdR’s predecessor in June 1999 as CFO and treasurer and was later promoted to executive vice president. He will continue to direct EdR’s finance activities as CFO until June 30.

The financial affairs of the student housing development and management firm will be managed by the existing executive management team until Brown’s successor is appointed.

“(Brown) helped marshal the company through its initial public offering and has been a steady hand throughout his tenure with the company,” said EdR President and CEO Randy Churchey in a statement

EdR said it will conduct a “thorough and prudent” search for Brown’s replacement and has engaged Spencer Stuart, an executive search consulting firm, to evaluate internal and external candidates for the CFO position.

FAA OKs $4.8 Million For Mississippi Airports

The Federal Aviation Administration is giving 14 Mississippi airports a total of more than $4.8 million to improve safety and operations.

Airports at Bay St. Louis, Belzoni, Belmont, Clarksdale, Columbia, Columbus, Corinth, the Golden Triangle, Grenada, Houston, Lexington, Madison, Okolona and Starkville are getting the Airport Improvement Program grants.

The largest is $1 million to Golden Triangle Regional Airport, which serves Columbus, West Point, Starkville and Lowndes County. The money will be used to improve the terminal building and repair the runway and taxiway.

The George M. Bryan Airport in Starkville is getting $540,000 for runway safety area improvements

And Fletcher Field Airport, serving Clarksdale and Coahoma County is getting $531,750 for taxiway construction.

Frozen Food Group Goes on Offense

Frozen food makers plan to launch their first national TV ad in defense of their products on Tuesday as the category fights to boost slipping sales.

The ad will include the tag line “Frozen: How Fresh Stays Fresh” and is intended to address negative misconceptions people have about frozen foods.

It’s part of a marketing campaign being funded by the American Frozen Food Institute, an industry group that represents companies including Nestle, which makes Hot Pockets and Lean Cuisine, and ConAgra, which makes Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s.

The push comes as frozen food sales have been hurt by a move toward food people feel are fresh or natural. Although frozen vegetables are often touted as being just as wholesome as their fresh counterparts, frozen meals and snacks are widely seen as being full of sodium and preservatives, or lacking in the taste department.

Between 2009 and last year, U.S. sales of frozen meals are down 3 percent at $8.92 billion, according to Euromonitor International. And this year, the market researcher is forecasting a decline of an additional 2 percent. In a phone interview on Monday, Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, disclosed that the group plans to invest as much as $90 million in the campaign over three years.

Memphis Nonprofits Compete for $5,000

Digital lifestyle publication StyleBlueprint Memphis is giving $5,000 to a Memphis charity and is calling on Memphians to vote online at styleblueprint.com/memphis to help them decide which agency receives the funds.

StyleBlueprint Memphis is in its third week of a four-week online voting competition. The final six contenders are The Arc Mid-South, Birthright of Memphis, Cancer Card Xchange, Forrest Spence Fund, Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, and the Memphis Library Foundation. The winner will be announced May 19. In addition to the $5,000 prize, a leader from the not-for-profits will be featured in StyleBlueprint’s FACES of Memphis.

Tuition Increases Mulled in Tennessee

Tuition increases could be in store for many college students in Tennessee.

The Tennessean reports that some public universities could see increases of between 4 and 8 percent to offset reduced state funding. Community college students could see an increase of between 2.6 and 10.6 percent.

Officials at a Tennessee Board of Regents Finance Committee meeting on Thursday reviewed estimated increases at each school. The University of Memphis submitted a plan to avoid an increase. Projected increases at other schools varied.

Officials say the numbers are preliminary. Formal tuition proposals will be ready on May 27. Tuition recommendations for the University of Tennessee system will be ready on June 19, but UT officials have discussed an increase of 4 to 6 percent.

US Job Openings Slip in March

U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs and slowed hiring a bit in March, though the declines came after healthy gains the previous month. The figures suggest the job market is improving in fits and starts.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers posted 4 million jobs in March, down 2.7 percent from February. But February’s total nearly matched November’s for the highest level of openings since January 2008, when the Great Recession was just beginning.

The report also showed that February’s data for hiring and quits was revised much higher, indicating that the job market was in better shape that month than initially estimated. It’s a good sign when more people quit their jobs, because most people do so to take a new position, frequently at higher pay.

PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270