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VOL. 130 | NO. 144 | Monday, July 27, 2015

Daily Digest

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Work Begins on Next Phase Of Saddle Creek Redevelopment

Trademark Property Co. has broken ground on the second phase of redevelopment at Saddle Creek.

That next phase focuses on enhancements to the north side of the property, and combined with the initial phase now nearing completion, the redevelopment efforts will add about 25,000 square feet of new retail space.

In related news, new retail tenants on the way to Saddle Creek include Soft Surroundings, a clothing retailer focused on stylish, casual offerings and beauty, skincare, jewelry, accessories and home furnishings to women of all ages. It’s opening a 4,000-square-foot store this fall at Saddle Creek North.

Other tenants coming include Kendra Scott and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, both of which will open their first Memphis-area locations later this year. In addition,

Michael Kors also recently opened a store at Saddle Creek South, adjacent to Talbot’s.

The second phase of Saddle Creek renovations will include about 5,000 square feet of new retail space and additional parking at Saddle Creek North, which is set for completion this winter. Also, new signage, wayfinding, landscaping, public space transformation and facade renovations will visually tie the northeast corner to Saddle Creek South and are set for completion in 2016.

– Andy Meek

Collierville Police Training On Translator Devices

Collierville Police officers are training on new devices that will assist in translating when officers and those they come into contact with don’t speak the same language.

The Enabling Language Service Anywhere – or ELSA – device is a wireless device that connects officers to a network of people who can translate 180 different languages and dialects. The translators, available at the push of a button with the device, are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The device and system of translators is the product of RTT Mobile Interpretation of Minneapolis. The company designed it specifically for law enforcement. But other first responders, including those in health care, also are using it.

Collierville Police chief Larry Goodwin says police officers should begin using the devices soon, once they complete training.

– Bill Dries

Unistar-Sparco Wins SBA Award

The U.S. Small Business Administration has picked Unistar-Sparco Computers, a charter member that serves on the board of the Greater Memphis IT Council, as the its 8a Business of the Year Award winner for the state of Tennessee.

The SBA’s 8a business development program is intended to help small businesses that may be at a disadvantage to better compete in the marketplace.

Founded in 1992, Unistar-Sparco started as an e-commerce company whose early days began via a two-person venture operated out of a college dorm room.

Today, the business has grown into a comprehensive solution provider satisfying the information technology hardware, software, office supply and professional service requirements for federal, state and local government agencies, educational institutions, and large and small businesses worldwide.

– Andy Meek

Keeney Is Newest Airport Authority Board Member

Attorney Michael Keeney is the newest member of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board.

The Memphis City Council approved Keeney’s nomination, by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, July 21. Keeney is a managing shareholder of the Memphis office of the Lewis Thomason law firm.

He fills the rest of the term of Jack Sammons, who left as chairman of the airport authority board to become the city of Memphis’ chief administrative officer. The term runs through the end of 2016.

With Sammons’ resignation, the board in May elected Pace Cooper as its new chairman.

– Bill Dries

U of M Student Success Programs Win $2.2M Grant

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of Memphis Student Success Programs a $2.2 million grant to provide services targeted toward improving retention and graduation rates of first-generation, low-income and disabled students through its TRIO programs.

TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. In addition to helping under-resourced students stay in college until they earn their bachelor’s degrees and minimizing student loan debt, the U of M Student Success Programs provide academic monitoring, financial aid assistance, literacy programs, cultural enrichment, help with graduate school enrollment and remedial instruction through a summer bridge program.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Unemployment Up to 7 Percent in June

Unemployment in the Memphis metro area ticked up in June.

The MSA recorded unemployment of 7 percent last month, compared to a 6.6 percent revised rate in May. Unemployment in the Memphis MSA was 8.1 percent in June 2014.

Memphis’ rate remains higher than both the state and national rates. Tennessee registered 5.7 percent unemployment in June, down from 5.8 percent in May. Across the U.S., unemployment was 5.3 percent in June, down from 5.5 percent in May.

In Shelby County’s borders, unemployment was 7.3 percent in June, up from 6.7 percent in May but down from 8.3 percent in June 2014. Within the Memphis city limits, the jobless rate was 7.9 percent last month compared to 7.3 percent in May and 9.1 percent in June 2014.

From May to June, the jobless rate decreased in only one Tennessee county while increasing in 94.

– Daily News staff

Study Says West Tennessee Economy Has Lagged

West Tennessee’s economy has been lagging behind other regions in the state but is starting to make inroads in employment growth and technology-related hirings, a new report says.

The region’s mayors and economic development officials met Thursday at Jackson State Community College to review the report, The Jackson Sun reported. The study was financed by a $50,000 grant given by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The study shows that from 2004 to 2014, West Tennessee was behind Middle and East Tennessee in average annual growth in employment. But the study projects West Tennessee to do better than East Tennessee over the next 10 years.

The study also shows West Tennessee was behind in science, technology, engineering and math jobs. But the report shows the region is currently growing faster and will continue to grow faster than East Tennessee in those jobs in the next decade.

Mike Smith, executive director of the Southwest Human Resource Agency, said the information in the report was helpful.

“We’ve been behind for 10 years, so it hasn’t just started,” Smith said. “I think to understand how to get better I think you have to understand why and what you can do to impact change.”

One of the major points of the report was the region’s lack of economic diversity.

The jobs in West Tennessee are outdated and the area should look toward finance and technology jobs in the future, said Brian Points, who presented findings from the study completed by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a company out of Idaho.

Another major point was getting people to realize the importance and possibilities of “middle-skill categories,” but also getting those people educated to be able to accept those jobs.

“I think that hopefully we’re able to dispel this concept that the workforce is the problem in West Tennessee,” Points said. “I think there’s an information gap about which jobs are available and I think the workforce that is available is more skilled than many people think.”

– The Associated Press

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 28 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 25 98 716
BUSINESS LICENSES 4 26 302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0