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VOL. 36 | NO. 19 | Friday, May 11, 2012

Driving home a ‘statement’

Whether it’s electric, public or cost $360,000, we send a message with our rides

When gas prices hit $4 a gallon earlier this year, the local reaction was swift – and varied.

Mass transit holding rider gains, expanding

When gas goes up, bus ridership goes up. And when prices go down, bus ridership declines. At least that’s how the math used to work.

GREEN BUSINESS

Oak Hill gets first citywide compost collection

Oak Hill will this week become the first city in Tennessee to implement a city-wide residential composting collection program. This is an expansion of “Recycle First, Trash Last,” the city’s recycling program launched last year.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
42.0°F
Overcast
Wind: Northwest at 10.4 mph
Humidity: 76%

EVENTS

Social Media in the Workplace – OMG! This session, part of Baker Donelson’s Labor & Employment Law Third Thursday Breakfast Briefing series, will explore how social media is impacting organizations and what employers need to know in order to minimize legal risks, institute an effective social media policy and harness the benefits of employees’ social media participation. The briefing, which includes a networking period and breakfast, is complimentary, but advance registration is requested. The event starts at 8 a.m. and is at the Baker Donelson Special Event Center, 211 Commerce Street, First Floor. Reservations and information: rsvp@bakerdonelson.com, 726-5714.

more events »

REALTY CHECK

Kitchen must sparkle, even in seller’s market

Here are the opening salvos to most of the descriptions found in the Multiple Listing Service:

REAL ESTATE

Real Estate trends for April 2012

April 2012 trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Top mortgage lenders for Davidson County, April 2011

April 2012 top lenders trends for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

NEWSMAKERS

Holmes named Firstbank president

Veteran banker and Lexington native Chris Holmes will become the third president of FirstBank since it was purchased by businessman Jim Ayers in 1984. Doug Cruickshanks, who has served as FirstBank president since 2002, will become vice chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

GUERRILLA MARKETING

Utilize storytelling to sway customers

There is perhaps no greater weapon in a sales rep’s arsenal than a well-told story. There are fundamental selling skills salespeople must have to find success – the ability to uncover a prospect’s needs, formulate customized solutions, overcome objections, and ask for and close the business. You would assume those skills, coupled with proper selling tools, would equate to success.

Guerrilla Marketing column earns RedRover top international award

RedRover Company was among the winners of The 2012 Communicator Awards presented by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA).

THE WORLDLY INVESTOR

Up and down economy a sign of indecision

The consequence of living in an economic and political environment that can’t seem to make up its mind is a market that also can’t make up its mind, both surging and sinking last week. Signs of indecision abound. In November, the U.S. must decide between the Romney and Obama policy portfolios. Polls approximate a tie. Our economic growth rate of 2-2.5 percent also amounts to a tie, as it’s the mid-point between recession and true expansion.

SMART STUFF 4 WORK

How to avoid getting whacked

I recently read something interesting in a book titled The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. In the chapter Growth and Protection, Dr. Lipton discusses how the human body generates and uses energy. Lipton is a cell biologist and for some reason, his comments about allocating energy to the various growth and protection systems of the body reminded me of the game Whac-A-Mole. Whac-A-Mole is a simple game. Moles constantly pop up through holes and you whack them with a mallet. Unfortunately, there are several holes, many moles and only one mallet.

I SWEAR

What not to wear to next court date

Asked to participate with other judges at a program, I was told my topic would be dress codes in court. Word must have gotten out that I once found a guy in contempt for appearing in front of me wearing a shirt with the words “m----- f-----” across the front. During an hour in lock-up, the guy purged himself of contempt by turning the shirt inside out.

KAY'S COOKING CORNER

Give your tummy a ‘Buzz’ with grilled pizza

We are having part of our house remodeled so that the MIL (as my husband calls her) can move in with us. If you don’t understand MIL, it is mother-in-law. It’s all good, though; she calls him SIL.

MUSIC INDUSTRY

Swift gives $4M to Country Hall of Fame expansion

NASHVILLE (AP) — Taylor Swift has taught a generation of kids to appreciate country music over the last five years. Now, she's donating $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to make sure that education continues.

STATEWIDE

Haslam signs cash grants plan

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a measure to increase the amount of cash grants available to companies looking to invest in Tennessee.

Haslam signs state's $31B spending plan

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed the state's more than $31 billion annual spending plan.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Buffett's Berkshire to buy Media General papers

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett's company is making another foray into newspapers, agreeing to buy 63 newspapers from Media General Inc. for $142 million.

US 30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.79 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to record lows for the third straight week. The steady decline has made home-buying and refinancing more affordable than ever for those who can qualify.

Stocks fall on Europe, worrisome economic reports

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slipped Thursday after a couple of downbeat economic reports from the U.S. and unease over Europe overshadowed positive earnings from the largest American retailer and an encouraging jobs report.

US unemployment aid applications stay at 370,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, suggesting modest but steady gains in the job market.

Oil rises to above $93 as traders mull Europe

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices rose slightly to above $93 a barrel Thursday in Asia as traders mulled whether concern over Europe's debt crisis justifies extending a sharp two-week sell-off.

Report: Fewer US home foreclosures in April

LOS ANGELES (AP) — National foreclosure trends took a positive turn in April, as the number of homes seized by banks declined and fewer properties entered into the foreclosure process.

More doctors are ditching the old prescription pad

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors increasingly are ditching the prescription pad: More than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic, according to the latest count.

Companies ask: Does advertising on Facebook pay?

NEW YORK (AP) — Responding to extraordinary demand, Facebook said Wednesday that it would sell more stock in the company's initial public offering. But ahead of the IPO, a debate emerged between two of the nation's largest automakers: Does it pay to advertise on the social network?

Wal-Mart's 1Q profit up 10.1 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 10.1 percent increase in first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates as its re-emphasis on low prices drove bargain-hungry U.S. shoppers into its stores. The world's largest retailer also offered an upbeat profit outlook for the current quarter.

Sears Holdings returns to a profit in 1st quarter

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Sears Holdings Corp. returned to a first-quarter profit, benefiting from a gain on the sale of some stores.

NATIONAL POLITICS

House GOP defense bill challenges Obama policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an election-year challenge to President Barack Obama, House Republicans are pressing ahead with a defense budget that adds billions of dollars, boosts nuclear weapons programs and slows cost-cutting reductions in the force as the military emerges from two long wars.


WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
NASHVILLE AREA

Japan to honor Alexander, Vanderbilt professor

NASHVILLE (AP) — Japan is bestowing national decorations on Sen. Lamar Alexander and a Vanderbilt University professor.

STATEWIDE

$4M grant to help state build insurance exchange

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee is one of six states that will share in more than $181 million in federal health care grants.

Governor signs tattoo legislation

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that seeks to crack down on the tattooing of minors has been signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Haslam signs measure to allow students to opt out of activities

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a measure that allows parents to opt their children out of extracurricular school activities.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

US factory output rose in April on stronger autos

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output increased in April, helped by a gain in auto production. Busier factories have driven stronger hiring this year and helped the economy grow.

US housing starts rose to 717,000 in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders started work on more homes and apartments last month and requested more permits to build single-family homes. The increases suggest the battered housing market is healing.

Greek turmoil leads to losses on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — More turmoil in Greece caused fallout across the financial markets.

Price of oil still falling as supplies grow

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil continues to decline on the expectation that world markets will be flush with extra supplies this year.

Target's 1Q profits up 1.2 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. reported a 1.2 percent increase in first-quarter profit and raised its earnings forecast for the full year due to strong sales of its food and cheap chic fashions.

Facebook boosts size of IPO by 25 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says 25 percent more shares will be sold as investors clamor for shares in the year's hottest stock offering.

Lack of trust in Facebook may hold back ad sales

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's reach is wide but not deep. Few users surveyed in an Associated Press-CNBC poll say they click on the site's ads or buy the virtual goods that make money for it.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Lawmakers gather to talk deficit, answers elusive

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government leaders past and present gathered in Washington to do what they do best about the nation's deficit woes: talk.

JPMorgan loss could dominate bank overhaul debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase should feature prominently Wednesday when lawmakers debate how best to regulate banks big enough to bring down the broader financial system.

Panel calls for steep cuts in US nukes

WASHINGTON (AP) — An influential panel is calling for an 80 percent reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons and an elimination of all nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.


TUESDAY, MAY 15
NASHVILLE AREA

Newest Altima rolls off Tenn. production line

SMYRNA (AP) - The first redesigned Nissan Altima is rolling off the production line in Smyrna, where the best-selling mid-size sedan has been produced for the last 20 years.

Jostens moving Topeka production work to Tenn.

CLARKSVILLE (AP) — Memorabilia maker Jostens says 372 jobs will be affected when it moves all production work from its Topeka plant to Clarksville beginning in July.

Federal jury convicts Brentwood developer

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Brentwood developer has been found guilty of making false statements to a bank and forging the signatures of two investment partners in relation to a $337,000 loan.

State reprimands Davidson County election official

NASHVILLE (AP) - State election officials have reprimanded the Davidson County election coordinator for failing to open polls on one day during early voting.

STATEWIDE

Tennessee students make slight gains in science

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Nation's Report Card shows Tennessee students making slight gains in science.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Oil drops to lowest level in 6 months

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil dropped to a six-month low Tuesday on renewed concern that Greece would be forced to leave the European common currency and trigger shockwaves across Europe.

US builder confidence at highest level in 5 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Confidence among U.S. builders rose to the highest level in five years in May, a hopeful sign that modest improvement in the housing market will pick up.

Cheaper gas not enough to boost summer driving

NEW YORK (AP) — Cheaper gas won't be enough to get many more Americans on the road this summer. They're still too worried about their jobs and the economy.

Dimon survives votes on pay, chairmanship

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The CEO of JPMorgan Chase survived a shareholder push Tuesday to strip him of the title of chairman of the board, five days after he disclosed a $2 billion trading loss by the bank.

Dow Jones average continues a two-week slide

Europe's latest political impasse cast a gloom over financial markets Tuesday. The euro plunged, and the Dow Jones industrial average extended a slide that has wiped out nearly 5 percent of its value in two weeks.

US consumer prices flat as gas costs fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices were flat last month as cheaper gas offset modest increases for food, clothing and housing. The data indicate that inflation remains in check.

US consumers hold back, even as gas prices fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lower gas prices in April weren't enough to embolden U.S. consumers to spend more elsewhere.

Facebook raises IPO price as offering nears

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook on Tuesday increased the price range at which it plans to sell stock to the public, as investor enthusiasm in the offering continued to mount and boost the potential value of the world's most popular social network.

Poll: Half of Americans call Facebook a fad

Half of Americans think Facebook is a passing fad, according to the results of a new Associated Press-CNBC poll. And, in the run-up to the social network's initial public offering of stock, half of Americans also say the social network's expected asking price is too high.

Warmer weather pushes Home Depot 1Q profit up

ATLANTA (AP) — Home Depot says its fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 27.5 percent as warmer weather brought consumers out for spring gardening and lawn products.


MONDAY, MAY 14
STATEWIDE

Businesses urged to prepare for new food tax rate

NASHVILLE (AP) - State officials are encouraging businesses that sell food to begin preparing for a reduced rate of sales and use tax.

NASHVILLE AREA

GM reported to be hiring team leaders at plant

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — A union official says about 60 team leaders will be hired in about two weeks for the General Motors plant in Spring Hill.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks, euro drop as deadlock continues in Greece

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are closing lower as worries about Greece rattle financial markets.

Next up for Dimon: Facing the shareholders

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon came clean to stock analysts and accepted blame in a TV interview for a $2 billion trading mistake. Next he faces the shareholders, who have taken a big hit from the bank's blunder.

White House says bank loss shows need for rules

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — The White House says a $2 billion trading blunder by JPMorgan Chase shows the continued need for rules that protect the taxpayer when Wall Street makes mistakes.

Best Buy Chairman steps down after CEO probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy said Monday its founder Richard Schulze is stepping down as chairman after an investigation found that he knew that the CEO was having a relationship with a female employee and failed to alert the audit committee.

Oil down to near $94 on China, Europe concerns

Oil prices dropped to near $94 a barrel Monday due to concerns that China's economy, the world's second-largest, is slowing faster than expected as well as speculation that Greece could abandon the euro currency bloc.

Residential Capital seeks Chapter 11 protection

DETROIT (AP) — Residential Capital LLC, a perpetually troubled mortgage subsidiary of government-owned Ally Financial Inc., has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Facebook CEO turns 28, IPO could be $100B gift

NEW YORK (AP) — He famously wears a hoodie, jeans and sneakers, and he was born the year Apple introduced the Macintosh. But Mark Zuckerberg is no boy-CEO.

Revolving door: Yahoo ushers out another CEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo still has credibility issues, even after casting aside CEO Scott Thompson because his official biography included a college degree that he never received.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Obama seeks to undercut Romney's record on jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival's candidacy: his business credentials.


FRIDAY, MAY 11
NASHVILLE AREA

Nissan profit soars on record sales amid disaster

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co.'s January-March profit more than doubled to 75.3 billion yen ($941 million) as the Japanese automaker achieved record sales despite production disruptions from last year's tsunami.

Mars to break ground on new facility

THOMPSON'S STATION (AP) — Pet food company Mars Petcare will break ground this month on an $87.9 million facility and new corporate headquarters in Williamson County.

Southwest offers Boston-Nashville nonstop service

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. this summer will offer nonstop daily service between Boston and Nashville, Tenn.

Baptist leader apologizes to Obama for comments

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Southern Baptist leader has apologized to President Barack Obama and other black leaders for saying they were exploiting Trayvon Martin's death for political gain.

STATEWIDE

Millions headed to Tennessee schools

NASHVILLE (AP) - More than $38 million in federal money is headed to dozens of Tennessee schools targeted to boost student performance.

State sets July trade mission to Mexico City

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state will make a trade mission to Mexico City in July with the focus on Tennessee's automotive manufacturers.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Stock market decline is muted, despite bank slump

JPMorgan's surprise $2 billion trading loss prompted a sell-off in financial stocks Friday, but just small declines in the broader market as investors decided this was a problem for investment banks and not other industries.

JPMorgan loss sets off call for heavier regulation

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surprise $2 billion trading loss by a division of JPMorgan Chase triggered calls Friday for tougher regulation of banks three years after their near-death experience in the financial crisis.

Kroger CEO got 66 percent pay bump in 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kroger Co. gave CEO David Dillon a 66 percent pay bump last year as a reward for the company's improved performance.

Cheaper gas drives US wholesale price index lower

WASHINGTON (AP) — A big decline in gas and energy costs drove a measure of U.S. wholesale prices lower in April. Outside that drop, prices barely rose.

Poll shows Americans' pessimism on economy growing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama's weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Panasonic loss balloons for record red ink

TOKYO (AP) — Panasonic's January-March losses ballooned 10-fold to 438 billion yen ($5 billion), completing a year of record red ink at the Japanese electronics maker battered by natural disasters and an ailing TV business.

US rate on 30-year mortgage hits record 3.83 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week. Cheap mortgage rates have made home-buying and refinancing more affordable than ever for those who can qualify.

Bernanke: Lending spigots are more open now

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that many businesses and consumers are finding it easier to borrow as banks shore up their balance sheets.

NATIONAL POLITICS

US deficit looms large despite April surplus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government took in more money than it spent in April, the first monthly surplus in nearly four years.

Consumer watchdog weighs limits to mortgage fees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's consumer-finance watchdog is weighing an overhaul of the fees consumers pay to obtain mortgages.

GOP plan cuts social programs to protect Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving to protect the Pentagon, Republicans controlling the House are pressing for cuts to food stamps, health care and pensions for federal workers as an alternative to an automatic 10 percent cut to the military next year.

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