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VOL. 37 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 31, 2013

Take it outside

Homeowners spend money, time to expand their living spaces

Growing up in Nashville, Steve Sirls had always been a bit fascinated by the old Craighead house in the Richland-West End neighborhood.

Southern Living Idea House spotlights classic regionalism

When local landscape architects partners Ben Page and Gavin Duke were tapped to design the gardens and courtyard at the soon-to-open Southern Living Idea House at Fontanel, they knew right away what they wanted to do.

How to keep mosquitoes from spoiling your outdoor fun

If it isn’t the buzzing in your ear, it’s the incessant scratching that lasts for days. Mosquitoes are no joke in Middle Tennessee, and homeowners who have committed outdoor space as part of their home layout pay the price in bug bites, pest control bills and a never-ending rotation of home remedies offering varying degrees of success.

Tech firms find new home in Germantown

Julie May has come a long way from teaching people how to use the internet back in 1995, working out of Joe Dougherty’s Bean Central cyber-coffee shop.

Nashville man strikes gold with a diamond

David Hall found a good fit in life. Since 1987, and with some heartaches and headaches along the way, Hall has remained true to his innovation, a jean with a gusset, a diamond-shaped panel of fabric sewn into the crotch to eliminate stress and add durability and comfort.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
A Few Clouds
Wind: Northwest at 8.1 mph
Humidity: 44%


Christian Scholars Conference. John Dean, former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon and key witness for the prosecution before the Senate Watergate Committee and the Watergate trials, will be one of three keynote speakers at the 33rd annual Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference (CSC), to be held through Saturday. Dean will speak on “The Ethical Legacy of Watergate” at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, June 8, in Collins Alumni Auditorium. A book-signing will follow at 12:15 p.m.

more events »

Conexión Américas’expands mission, user base

Conexión Américas has a Spanish name, primarily serves Middle Tennessee’s Latino community, and helped lead a coalition to defeat an English-only referendum in Nashville in 2009.


3K in May? Best sales month since ’07 looms

The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors sales information for April shows there were 2,780 home closings, up 27 percent from 2012, which was up 28 percent from 2011. In addition, 2010 was up 6 percent from 2009.


FirstBank names Franklin president

Williamson County native Jeff Smith has joined FirstBank as Franklin president, responsible for overseeing the bank’s branch office in the historic Post Office building at Five Points in Franklin, which is scheduled to open in early 2014.


The secret of instant rapport: Confidence

People buy from those they like and trust, often regardless of the strength of the sales pitch or quality of the products and services. That’s reality.


Reacting to Fed dread

In an otherwise exceptionally dull trading week, markets worldwide reacted violently last Wednesday to Ben Bernanke’s mixed congressional testimony and the Fed meeting minutes released later in the day. Why so skittish?


We must stop meeting like this

I’m going to get all literary on you today and make the statement that business meetings remind me of the classic opening sentence of Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”


Graduates: Never give up, don’t be a butthead

(Continuing my apologies to Schmick, Wheelan, Rowling, Lamott, Wallace, Sedaris, and others, I offer Part 2 of the graduation speech I’ve never given. Part 1 ended On Election Day, 1996. Executing a plan to visit 25 polling places, I got caught in traffic, went down a road I’d no intention of traveling, and wound up at a polling place I’d not intended of visiting. It was 5:30 p.m., and the volunteers at this place expected only a dozen or so voters in the next two hours.)


Ice cream diet? Slow down and enjoy

It’s the time of year when just about everyone you know is racing the clock to get in shape before they have to don that cellulite-bulging, fat-roll showing bathing suit. Eventually, the opportunity will pop-up (if not already), and – if you’re like me – you won’t be any closer to looking svelte and debonair than you were last year at this time.


Carrie Underwood takes video of year at CMT Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) - Carrie Underwood's awesome week got off to a roaring start at the CMT Music Awards.


Nashville's WKRN part of media merger

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Broadcast companies Media General Inc. and New Young Broadcasting Holding Co. said Thursday that they are combining to create a company that will operate 30 TV stations in 27 markets including Nashville (WKRN, Channel 2), San Francisco and Richmond, Va.

Nashville and Tamworth, Australia, becoming sister cities

NASHVILLE (AP) — Mayor Karl Dean will join Mayor Col Murray of Tamworth, Australia, on Friday to sign a treaty that joins Nashville and Tamworth as sister cities.


Meiwa Industry to build auto parts plant in Lewisburg

NASHVILLE (AP) — Japanese auto parts maker Meiwa Industry will build a plant in Marshall County to supply carmakers in the Southeast.

Chrysler to recall 630,000 SUVs worldwide

DETROIT (AP) — Just two days after refusing a government request to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeeps, Chrysler has decided to do two other recalls totaling 630,000 vehicles worldwide.


US regains wealth from recession, but not equally

WASHINGTON (AP) — America as a whole has regained all the household wealth it lost to the Great Recession and then some, thanks to higher stock and home prices.

AP survey: Economists see no stock market bubble

WASHINGTON (AP) — A debate is raging among investors and analysts: Has the Federal Reserve inflated a stock market bubble by driving interest rates to record lows?

Retailers report modest gains for May

NEW YORK (AP) — In the latest sign that Americans are feeling better about the overall economy, stores across the country had a pickup in sales in May.

Average rate on 15-year US mortgage above 3 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average U.S. rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose above 3 percent this week for the first time in a year, while the rate on the 30-year fixed loan approached 4 percent.

US unemployment benefit applications fall to 346K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 11,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, a level consistent with steady job growth.

US stocks turn lower in afternoon trading

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market fell in afternoon trading Thursday, putting it in line for its first three-day loss this year.

Oil rises on positive reading on US job market

The price of oil rose to a high for the week after a positive reading on the U.S. job market.


US gov't collecting huge number of phone records

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is secretly collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order, according to the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Obama administration is defending the National Security Agency's need to collect such records, but critics are calling it a huge over-reach.

IRS official: Lavish conference followed IRS rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the agency's latest scandal told lawmakers Thursday that an expensive conference held in 2010 conformed to existing rules, though he acknowledged it was not the best use of taxpayer money.

Horse slaughterhouse accuses USDA of IRS tactics

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico company's plans to convert a cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse has hit another roadblock, this time over an environmental dispute that the company's attorney blames on the Obama administration putting politics over policy.


Tennessee colleges to see lowest tuition hike in years

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee college students will see a lower increase in tuition thanks to improved state funding.


Expect the unexpected at CMT Music Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) - Country music has been good to the rapper Nelly, and he's back in Music City because of it.


Brown-Forman posts 8 percent rise in 4Q net income

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Liquor producer Brown-Forman Corp. says its fourth-quarter net income rose 8 percent with broad sales growth in its spirits lineup, led by its flagship Jack Daniel's brand.


UT study: VW's economic impact in Tennessee is $643M

KNOXVILLE (AP) — A research study by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville shows Volkswagen's assembly plant in Chattanooga is responsible for more than $643 million in annual income.

Treasury to sell 30 million shares of GM stock

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government plans to sell another 30 million shares of General Motors stock in a public offering on Thursday as it speeds up efforts to divest itself from a stake in the auto giant that it got in a bailout four years ago.

Toyota recalls 242,000 Prius, Lexus hybrid cars

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling about 242,000 of its Prius and Lexus hybrid vehicles due to problems with their braking systems.


Dow drops 217 points to lowest level in a month

NEW YORK (AP) — A series of weak reports on the U.S. economy is sending the stock market sharply lower.

Fed survey: Growth improves modestly throughout US

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey says economic growth increased throughout the United States from April through mid-May, fueled by home construction, consumer spending and steady hiring.

US factory orders up 1 percent in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories rose modestly in April as manufacturers rebounded from a weak March performance.

US productivity grew at modest annual rate in 1Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses added just 135,000 jobs in May, the second straight month of weak gains.

Survey: US private employers add 135K jobs in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses added just 135,000 jobs in May, the second straight month of weak gains.

Oil price rises on drop in US supplies

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose Wednesday as a government report showed the nation's supplies of oil and gasoline declined last week.

SEC to consider tougher rules for money funds

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investors could lose principal from money market investment funds that underperform under rules being proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. But the change would affect mainly institutional rather than individual investors.

ITC rules for Samsung, bans iPhone 4 imports

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. trade agency on Tuesday issued a ban on imports of Apple's iPhone 4 and a variant of the iPad 2 after finding the devices violate a patent held by South Korean rival Samsung Electronics.

Prestigious forum draws decision-makers to Myanmar

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar is preparing to show off what two years of reform-minded elected government has accomplished as it welcomes hundreds of business titans and decision-makers from around the world to the Asian edition of the prestigious World Economic Forum.


Underwood, Christ Church choir lend voices to tornado relief

NASHVILLE (AP) - Carrie Underwood will pay tribute to the victims of the recent deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma when she appears at the CMT Music Awards.


Ryman Hospitality lowers full-year forecast

NASHVILLE (AP) - Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., owner of Gaylord Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry, is lowering a key full-year forecast partly because of slowing hotel bookings.

Dollar General profit up, revises 2013 guidance

GOODLETTSVILLE (AP) - Dollar General's fiscal first-quarter net income increased 3 percent as more customers visited its stores and shoppers spent more per transaction.


Memphis losing Delta hub

Memphis is losing its status as a passenger hub for Delta Air Lines.

Anglers get day of free fishing this weekend

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's annual free fishing day is coming up this weekend.

New technology aids impaired moviegoers

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Regal Entertainment Group is installing new equipment in its theaters that will help people with vision or hearing impairments enjoy the movies.


Chrysler refuses US request to recall vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — A defiant Chrysler is refusing to recall about 2.7 million Jeeps the government says are at risk of a fuel tank fire in a rear-end collision.

US safety agency may expand GM air bag recall

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are checking to see if up to 400,000 General Motors cars should be added to two recalls for defective air bags.

US auto sales roar back in May, led by pickups

DETROIT (AP) — Full-size pickups once again dominated U.S. auto sales in May, as small businesses — increasingly confident in the economy — raced to replace the aging pickups they held on to during the recession.

Top-selling autos for May; Altima No. 5

Automakers said Monday that U.S. new car and truck sales rose 8.2 percent to 1.44 million vehicles in May. Here are the top-selling cars and trucks for the month and the percent change in sales from May of 2012.


New BlackBerry with keyboard to hit US stores

NEW YORK (AP) — The first keyboard-equipped BlackBerry sporting the company's radically new operating system is hitting U.S. stores this week.

US home prices jumped in April by most in 7 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices soared 12.1 percent in April from a year earlier, the biggest gain since February 2006, as more buyers competed for fewer homes.

Stocks close lower on Fed stimulus worries

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Reserve guessing game threw the markets for another loop Tuesday.

Oil falls slightly, supply data eyed

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell slightly Tuesday as traders awaited the latest report on oil supplies and gasoline demand.

US trade deficit up 8.5 percent to $40.3 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in April, as demand for foreign cars, cell phones and other imported goods outpaced growth in U.S. exports.

US blames Apple for 2010 e-book price hike

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. government lawyer opened a civil trial by portraying Apple Inc. as a corporate bully that swaggered into the market for electronic books in 2010, forcing an end to price competition and costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Silicon Valley at front line of global cyber war

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and American counterpart Barack Obama will talk cyber-security this week in California, but experts say the state's Silicon Valley and its signature high-tech firms should provide the front lines in the increasingly aggressive fight against overseas hackers.

US proposes labeling some nonbanks threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have proposed that a group of firms that aren't banks be deemed potential threats to the financial system that need stricter government oversight.


White House tries to encourage high tech patents

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is taking steps to encourage innovation in high tech patents that it calls "a key driver of economic growth."

Top political appointees use secret email accounts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of President Barack Obama's political appointees, including the secretary for Health and Human Services, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press.


Obama signs bill to preserve dam tailwater fishing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Anglers won their fight Monday to preserve access to prime fishing spots below dams along the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee, catching the attention of Congress and now President Barack Obama.


Lenny Kravitz, Nelly to appear on CMT Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) — The CMT Music Awards are known for cross-genre mashups and this year will be no different as Lenny Kravitz and Nelly prepare to perform.

Family celebrates release of new Johnny Cash stamp

NASHVILLE (AP) — A yearlong celebration of Johnny Cash's legacy will come to an end this week with the issue of a new postal stamp and free public concert.


US auto sales see big gains in May

DETROIT (AP) — Price cuts at Nissan and strong demand for pickup trucks helped U.S. auto sales rebound in May after a slight dip in April.


US construction spending up 0.4 percent in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects rose in April despite weakness in residential projects and government spending.

US manufacturing gauge sinks to June 2009 level

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of U.S. manufacturing fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009 as slumping overseas economies and weak business spending reduced new orders and production.

Stocks indexes end higher on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are ending higher on Wall Street as traders hope that the Federal Reserve won't move quickly to pull back on its economic stimulus.

Oil rises above $93 in European trade

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose above $93 a barrel on Monday at the start of a week that is jam-packed with economic data, culminating in Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for May.

Airlines group raises industry profit estimate

Packed planes should help the world's airlines earn $12.7 billion this year, as travel demand accelerates faster than the airlines add seats, according to a new prediction from a trade group.

Apple antitrust suit over e-books set for NY trial

NEW YORK (AP) — In a civil case where the words of Steve Jobs play prominently, the government and Apple Inc. are set to square off over allegations that Apple Inc. conspired with the country's largest book publishers to make consumers pay more for electronic books.


IRS woes grow with report of conference spending

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service, already under fire after officials disclosed that the agency targeted conservative groups, faces increased scrutiny because of an inspector general's report that it spent about $50 million to hold at least 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012.


Private firm to benefit from state leases

NASHVILLE (AP) - A real estate services firm that recommended Tennessee government unload some state-owned office buildings will benefit financially as the state leases space in the private market.

Kyle files bill for Grizzlies specialty license plate

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle has filed legislation to create a Memphis Grizzlies specialty license plate.

More charges may come in case involving Haslams

NASHVILLE (AP) — Sudden guilty pleas by a pair of mid-level executives show the investigation into the truck stop chain controlled by the family of Tennessee's governor and the Cleveland Browns' owner is picking up steam, with prosecutors likely setting their sights on higher-ups at the company, experts say.


GM to show off reworked Chevy Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu, an also-ran in the popular midsize car segment, shows off a quick makeover Friday that is expected to address criticism of its bland styling and so-so performance.

Cheap leases offered to spur electric car sales

DETROIT (AP) — Auto companies are lowering lease prices for electric cars as they try to jump-start slow sales in a competitive market.


Measure of US consumer confidence at six-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of U.S. consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in almost six years in May, lifted by rising home prices and record stock market gains. Greater confidence could help revive spending in coming months.

US consumers cut spending 0.2 pct. in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans cut back on spending in April after their income failed to grow, a sign that economic growth may be slowing.

Dell board recommends Michael Dell buyout offer

The board at Dell said that a takeover bid led by the company's founder and CEO is in the best interest of the slumping PC maker's shareholders and asked them to approve the deal when it's put to a vote in July.

Stocks on track to close out May with gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are on track to close out the month with a strong gain, confounding the Wall Street adage of "Sell in May and go away."

Oil falls below $93 on high supplies, OPEC output

The price of oil fell below $93 a barrel Friday after OPEC stuck to its current production target despite ample supplies of crude.

OPEC keeps oil output target at 30 million barrels

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC oil ministers reached quick agreement Friday on keeping output targets steady but deferred solutions on how to deal with surging U.S. shale oil production and internal rivalries denting the organization's image of unity.

Iran says sanctions not affecting oil production

VIENNA (AP) — Iran's oil minister shrugged off the effects of sanctions on its oil industry on Friday, claiming that a drop in crude exports was being made up for by international sales of gasoline and other refined products.

Average US household far from regaining its wealth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average U.S. household has a long way to go to recover the wealth it lost to the recession, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis concludes.

Study: Helmet law weakened, motorcycle injuries up

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets, according to an insurance industry study. Across the nation, motorcyclists opposed to mandatory helmet use have been chipping away at state helmet laws for years while crash deaths have been on the rise.

Signed contracts to buy US homes at 3-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three years. The increase points to growth in home sales in the coming months.


Social Security, Medicare still face big challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. recovery slowly gathers steam, federal deficits are finally coming down from their nosebleed $1 trillion-plus heights. That will postpone until fall a new budget showdown between Congress and the White House — and also will probably delay the days of reckoning, feared by millions of aging Americans, when Social Security and Medicare could become insolvent.

Obama to launch fresh push on student loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — College students are joining President Barack Obama at the White House as he calls on Congress to keep federally subsidized student loan rates from doubling on July 1.

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