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VOL. 36 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 24, 2012

A business' best friend

'Dog's life' redefined by Midstate entrepreneurs, free-spending pet owners

Eva Wood spent $15,000 on her three dogs last year, and it wasn’t on diamond-studded collars. The biggest chunk of Wood’s pet-related expenditures was for boarding her dogs at My Second Home Pet Resort in Franklin.

Solar deal means more meals for Second Harvest

When Nashville-based Silicon Ranch approached the Second Harvest Food Bank about a partnership that would cost them no money but save plenty, it seemed like too good a deal to pass up.

Top commercial real estate transactions for January 2012

Top commercial sales for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties as compiled by Chandler Reports.

REALTY CHECK

Cooper: Vital that Congress work together

The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors releases home sales information each month, and for the past several months the number of units sold has been up 25 percent over the same months for the prior year.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
39.0°F
A Few Clouds
Wind: Calm mph
Humidity: 76%

EVENTS

Nashville Lawn & Garden Show. The 23rd annual Nashville Lawn & Garden Show celebrates through Sunday the timeless appeal, importance and fun of gardening. Gardens Past, Present & Future is the theme in 2012 for Tennessee’s largest and most popular annual gardening event, staged at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. More than 250 exhibit booths will offer horticultural products and services, outdoor living décor, gardening equipment, plants, flowers and more. Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Information: nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

more events »

THE WORLDLY INVESTOR

Consumer confidence should propel markets

Good news continues to exceed bad news, and the markets stand at multi-year highs. Political tensions that whipped the markets about last year have taken a secondary role, as stronger economic data and low market valuations have taken a primary role. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average kissing 13,000, a level unseen since May 2008, let’s compare the fundamentals now and then.

GUERILLA MARKETING

Try guerilla research for keen insight

Guerilla marketing: unconventional marketing techniques designed to generate a significant return with a limited financial investment. It’s every business owner’s dream.

NEWSMAKERS

Seckman new president of Diversified Trust

Diversified Trust, a wealth management firm with more than $4 billion in assets under management, has named current chief operating officer John P. Seckman as its new president. Seckman will lead company operations from Nashville, a geographic center for the firm with additional offices in Atlanta, Greensboro and Memphis.

BUSINESS BOOK REVIEW

Can we live without cash?

It was hardly worth picking up. Yep, there was once a time when that penny you spotted on the pavement was worth something more than just one cent. You could buy lots of things for a penny back then, and saving them was rewarding on many levels.

I SWEAR

‘Praise the Lord, I’m a 3-legged dog’

DAVIDSON, N.C. – This community of 11,000 residents, site of my alma mater, is also home to my favorite place to spend the night on the road: the Davidson Village Inn, half a block down Depot Street from the campus.

KAY'S COOKING CORNER

Short month full of tasty honorees

Other than being the “sweetest” month of the year, February holds many other surprises. Here are some sweet facts and some really sweet recipes!

STATE LEGISLATURE

Groups oppose parking lot gun bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - A coalition of business and law enforcement groups is urging lawmakers to abandon a bill that would allow employees to store guns in their vehicles at work.

Bill OKs school prayer participation of personnel

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would allow school personnel to participate in student-initiated religious activities on school grounds has passed the House.

STATEWIDE

Tennessee swaps 'stage' for 'song' as tourism slogan

NASHVILLE (AP) - The stage may be set for travelers in Tennessee, but state tourism officials have abandoned it for a song.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Average rate on 30-year mortgage down to 3.90 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year mortgage edged down this week to hover again above record lows. Cheaper rates have spurred modest improvements in the battered housing market, but not enough to signal a recovery.

Banks lead stock rally; Nasdaq nears 3,000

NEW YORK (AP) — Banks dodged a big hit from the Greek debt crisis and rallied Thursday to lead the stock market higher. Strong retail sales and more encouraging news about the U.S. job market also helped stocks rise.

Kroger posts 4Q loss on pension costs

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kroger Co. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter net loss due to pension costs even though its focus on offering shoppers low prices and personalized deals led to higher sales.

US unemployment applications dip to a 4-year low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to the lowest point in four years, a further sign that the U.S. job market is steadily improving.

Strong retail sales another sign of improving economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Many retailers reported strong sales gains for February in the latest sign that Americans are feeling more confident in the economy.

Big sales for small cars in February

DETROIT (AP) — Many automakers reported strong sales for February as Americans snapped up smaller cars to offset high gas prices.

Consumers spend more after incomes rise again

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers earned a little more in January and spent most of the extra money.

Construction spending slips 0.1 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharp drop in commercial building projects caused a slight decline in construction spending in January. But the dip comes after previous figures were revised much higher.

Manufacturing grows at slower pace in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing activity grew more slowly in February as U.S. factories received fewer new orders and paid higher prices for raw materials.

Telecom groups fight back against free messaging

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Just past the security gate for the world's largest cell phone trade show in Barcelona, executives of big mobile carriers can't avoid walking past a booth they would probably rather not see: It's for "Pinger," a small California company that offers free texting in the United States and Germany and has global expansion plans.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Senate defeats bill to reverse birth control rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican effort to roll back President Barack Obama's policy on contraception insurance coverage in the first vote on an issue that raised questions of religious and women's rights and riled Americans in this volatile election year.

Democrats find new optimism in Senate battle

WASHINGTON (AP) — Back-to-back surprises — Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe is retiring and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey is running again — have given Democrats a burst of optimism that they can hold on to control of the Senate, a goal that seemed to be slipping from reach just weeks ago.

GOP race on pace for summer delegate fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney got two important wins in the Arizona and Michigan primaries, but he better pick up the pace if he wants to lock up the Republican nomination for president before the party's national convention in late August.


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 29
STATE LEGISLATURE

Lawmakers question need to half scholarships

NASHVILLE (AP) - A report from state lottery officials showing record sales is reason to table legislation that would cut some students' lottery scholarships in half, Democratic leaders said Wednesday

Governor's civil service bill advancing

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislation to change Tennessee's civil service law would make sure that military veterans get more than just an interview.

STATEWIDE

Travel booking sites prevail in Tenn. tax suit

NASHVILLE (AP) - Hotel booking websites including Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz have prevailed against more than a hundred Tennessee counties and municipalities in a legal fight over hotel tax collections.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

All areas of the country show growth, Fed reports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy started the year off well with busier factories, higher retail sales, more jobs and growth in home sales.

Nasdaq cracks 3,000, but stocks fall

The Nasdaq composite index briefly broke through 3,000 on Wednesday for the first time since the collapse in dot-com stocks more than a decade ago. Stocks ended lower, but it was still the best February on Wall Street in 14 years.

Facebook to unveil new ad offerings

NEW YORK (AP) — New, potentially lucrative advertising opportunities are coming to Facebook as a prelude to its initial public offering of stock. The idea is to lure big brands with the promise of effective, precisely targeted ads that reach the social network's 845 million users.

Bernanke notes economy better than expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers Wednesday that the economy has performed better in recent months than the Federal Reserve had expected. If the trend continues, he said the Fed might have to reassess its outlook for a slow recovery.

Apple market value hits $500B, where few have gone

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple's market capitalization topped $500 billion Wednesday, climbing to a mountain peak where few companies have ventured — and none have stayed for long.

Economy grew at a faster pace at end of 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy grew at a slightly faster pace in the final three months of last year, and Americans earned more income than previously reported. That could set the stage for stronger growth this year.

Path to an all-time high for Dow will be bumpy

Now that the Dow Jones industrial average has closed above 13,000, an all-time high is in sight — just 1,160 points away. But the coast is not quite clear for the markets or the economy.

Fannie asks gov't for almost $4.6B after 4Q loss

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Fannie Mae said Wednesday that it lost money in its fourth quarter and is asking the federal government for $4.57 billion in aid to cover its deficit.

Costco 2Q net income rises, revenue climbs

ISSAQUAH, Wash. (AP) — Costco Wholesale Corp.'s fiscal second-quarter profit rose 13 percent as sales improved and it made more money from membership fees. The wholesale club operator's performance topped Wall Street's expectations. Its shares rose 2 percent in premarket trading.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Analysis: Mitt Romney wins by 'enough' in Michigan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Given to awkward utterances, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sized up his Michigan primary victory with memorable precision.

Clinton says US moving on Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton insists the Obama administration is moving swiftly to impose tough new sanctions on Iran amid concerns in Congress that the White House won't be aggressive enough in cracking down on financial institutions that do business with Tehran's Central Bank.

Rules to prevent car back-over deaths delayed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rules aimed at helping drivers avoid unintentionally backing over children, already overdue, are being delayed again following complaints from automakers that requiring rearview video cameras systems on new cars and trucks would be too expensive.

GOP promotes plan to help small businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a package of largely uncontroversial measures they said will help small businesses raise capital and create jobs while showing that Congress can put aside its partisan differences and act in the country's economic interests.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
NASHVILLE AREA

Bank moves to oust Dippin' Dots CEO

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Novelty ice cream maker Dippin' Dots is running out of cash and needs a $2 million credit line to be able to pay its bills, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

STATEWIDE

Early voting ends Tuesday, ballots down 10 pct

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tuesday is the last day for early voting for Tennessee's March 6 presidential primary.

MUSIC INDUSTRY

Stars to celebrate Johnny Cash's 80th with concert

NASHVILLE (AP) - A diverse all-star lineup will celebrate the 80th birthday of Johnny Cash with an April concert.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Latest effort to end Tenn. helmet law fails

NASHVILLE (AP) - Motorcyclists will have to wait another year to renew their efforts to do away with Tennessee's helmet law.

House sponsor stands by 'Don't Say Gay' bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Republican sponsor of a proposal to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students said Tuesday that he's not backing off the legislation despite concerns from GOP leaders.

Sen. Andy Berke becomes 7th Democrat to retire

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Sen. Andy Berke says he won't seek re-election to the General Assembly, becoming the seventh Democratic lawmaker to give up his seat this year.

Occupy Nashville bill headed to governor

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to evict Occupy Nashville protesters is headed to the governor for his consideration, despite concerns that it could adversely affect the homeless.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Dow closes above 13,000, first time since crisis

The Dow Jones industrial average on Tuesday reclaimed the last of the ground it held before the carnage of the Great Recession — bailouts, bank failures, layoffs by the million and a stock market plunge that cut retirement savings in half.

Microsoft's future riding on Windows 8

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is scrambling to preserve what's left of its kingdom.

Apple announces event, iPad 3 launch expected

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is inviting reporters to an event next Wednesday in San Francisco. An image on the invite showing part of an iPad screen suggests it's to announce a new model.

Consumer confidence up in February

NEW YORK (AP) — A private research group says that consumer confidence in February rose dramatically from last month to the highest level since a year ago when the U.S. economy's outlook started to look brighter before souring again.

FDIC: Bank earnings hit five-year high in 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge in bank earnings at the end of last year made 2011 the most profitable time for the industry in five years. More earnings and fewer troubled banks suggest the industry has healed since the 2008 financial crisis.

Home prices fell in December in most US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices fell in December for a fourth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales gains in the depressed housing market have yet to lift prices.

Durable goods orders drop by most in 3 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses slashed spending on machinery and equipment in January after a tax break expired, pushing orders for long-lasting manufacturing goods down by the largest amount in three years.

AP source: Obama sets up trade crackdown office

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to announce Tuesday the creation of a new enforcement office to challenge what the White House calls unfair trade practices worldwide.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Lawmakers to open new window into own transactions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is about to open a new, real-time window into its members' stock trades, real estate deals and other financial transactions, allowing anyone to view the information online within weeks of the investments.

FAA wants to boost airline pilot qualifications

WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline co-pilots would have to meet the same experience threshold required of captains — the first boost in four decades — under regulations proposed Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Obama welcomes TransCanada plan for new pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Monday welcomed a Canadian company's plan to build an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas after President Barack Obama blocked the larger Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27
STATE LEGISLATURE

Bill targeting Occupy Nashville will hit homeless

NASHVILLE (AP) - The House will take up a bill on Monday that is designed to evict Occupy Nashville but could also be used to jail homeless people around the state.

New iPhone app connects to state Legislature

NASHVILLE (AP) - A new iPhone app billed as the first of its kind in Tennessee allows users to connect with members of the current Legislature.

Bill to transfer parole services advancing

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee correction officials say a proposal to transfer certain services from the Board of Probation and Parole to the Department of Correction will save thousands of dollars and improve public safety.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Close but not quite for the Dow in push for 13,000

A burst of selling at the closing bell drove the Dow lower after it hovered around the milestone for most of the afternoon. The average finished the day about 19 points shy of the mark.

Buffett says stocks, homes are fairly cheap now

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett said Monday that stocks remain relatively cheap compared to other investments as the economy continues to improve. He also said that the company he heads is prepared to replace him whenever the need arises.

Oil prices fall after 7-day surge

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices took a breather on Monday, falling slightly as investors booked some profits after a seven-day surge. Retail gasoline prices continued to climb, adding five cents over the weekend for a national average of $3.70 per gallon.

Sales contracts for homes rose 2 pct. in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January to the highest level in nearly two years, supporting the view that the housing market is gradually coming back.

Economists see more reasons for optimism this year

NEW YORK (AP) — Economists are increasingly confident that some pillars of the U.S. economy will improve this year, but they still remain cautious in their expectations on the overall pace of economic growth.

Lowe's 4Q net income climbs, revenue increases

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's Cos.' fiscal fourth-quarter net income rose 13 percent on an 11 percent rise in revenue, helped by an extra week in the period compared with a year ago.

EW Scripps 4Q profits fall as political ads dry up

CINCINNATI (AP) — The E.W. Scripps Co. said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income fell, even as declines in the media company's newspaper business moderated.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Obama urges governors to boost education funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama Monday urged the nation's governors to invest more state resources in education, saying a highly skilled workforce is crucial for the U.S. to remain competitive with other countries.

Rule could leave child-support debtors no income

WASHINGTON (AP) — Old child support debts could cost thousands of poor men their only income next year because of a policy aimed at reducing the cost to the government of mailing paper checks to pay federal benefits.


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24
STATE LEGISLATURE

GOP discuss need for 'Don't Say Gay' ban

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislation that would ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students may be stalled, as Republican lawmakers discuss whether they should proceed with the bill.

Legislator trying again to allow deer farms

NASHVILLE (AP) - An East Tennessee legislator is again trying to get approval for commercial deer farms after a similar effort failed last year.

Haslam administration objects to bill naming trail for Bredesen's wife

NASHVILLE (AP) - The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam has flagged a bill that would name a perimeter trail around the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville in honor of a former governor's wife.

'Occupy Nashville' bill passes Senate 20-10

NASHVILLE (AP) - Occupy Nashville protesters say a proposal passed Thursday by the Senate aimed at stopping them from camping overnight at the Capitol complex will not thwart their efforts.

Ramsey: No grant secrecy without disclosing owners

NASHVILLE (AP) - A full Senate vote was delayed Thursday on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to close records used to make economic development grant decisions, as some lawmakers questioned why ownership details should be sealed.

STATEWIDE

Pilot Flying J buying Western Petroleum

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Retail travel center operator Pilot Flying J is buying Western Petroleum LLC, a fuel transportation company.

IRS says 18,000 Tennesseans could get 2008 refunds

NASHVILLE (AP) - As taxpayers prepare their income tax returns for 2011, the Internal Revenue Service is still holding millions that are owed to Tennessee residents from 2008.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

S&P 500 index hits highest point since June 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — A two-point gain was enough to push the S&P 500 index to its highest level since June 2008, three months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the darkest days of the financial crisis.

Judge awards iPhone user $850 in throttling case

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A judge in Southern California on Friday awarded $850 to an iPhone user because AT&T Inc. reduced his download speeds in an attempt to manage usage on its network.

Study: We're getting less friendly on Facebook

CHICAGO (AP) — A new report finds that Americans are getting more privacy-savvy on social networks — restricting their profile information, pruning friend lists and otherwise curating their online presence.

New-home sales dip after 4 straight monthly gains

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes dipped in January but the final quarter of 2011 was stronger than first estimated.

Oil prices creep up near 2011 highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices rose above $109 a barrel Friday and are approaching last year's highs as tensions increase over Iran's nuclear program.

Volkswagen more than doubles earnings in 2011

BERLIN (AP) — Automaker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its net earnings more than doubled last year as revenues grew by more than a quarter and the company benefited from accounting factors related to its stalled takeover of Porsche.

US college grads get older, shift workplace trends

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans 60 or older are more likely than ever to have college degrees, helping redefine work and retirement as educated baby boomers swell the senior population at rates faster than young adults earn diplomas.

Rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.95 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage jumped after standing pat for three straight weeks at record lows. But the rate stayed below 4 percent for the 12th straight week, keeping home-buying and refinancing attractive for those who can qualify.

Unemployment aid applications stay at 4-year low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment aid was unchanged last week and the four-week average of applications fell to its lowest point in four years. The figures add to evidence that show the job market is improving.

P&G to cut 5,700 jobs in restructuring

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Inc. said Thursday it plans to cut 5,700 jobs over the next year and a half as part of a cost-cutting plan.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Higher gas prices cloud Obama's re-election hopes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Soaring gasoline prices are threatening to undercut President Barack Obama's re-election prospects and offering Republicans an easy target. With prices pushing $4 a gallon and threatening to go even higher, Obama sought Thursday to confront rising public anxiety and strike back at his GOP critics.

Study: Candidates' plans lead to huge deficits

WASHINGTON (AP) — Huge tax cuts in the budget plans of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would produce the kinds of trillion-dollar-plus deficits that the GOP candidates are blaming on President Barack Obama.

Poll: Millionaire tax popular, spending cuts too

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most people like President Barack Obama's proposal to make millionaires pay a significant share of their incomes in taxes. Yet they'd still rather cut spending than boost taxes to balance the federal budget, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows, giving Republicans an edge over Democrats in their core ideological dispute over the nation's fiscal ills.

House GOP leaders weigh scaling back highway bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing a revolt in their ranks, House Republicans leaders are considering significantly downsizing a bill that was supposed to provide a long-term blueprint for federal highway, transit and other transportation programs.

Post office: Expect big cuts starting in mid-May

WASHINGTON (AP) — With no financial relief in sight, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with planned cuts to more than 260 mail processing centers around the nation, part of a billion-dollar cost-cutting effort that will slow delivery of first-class mail.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0