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VOL. 36 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 23, 2012

Big deals in small packages

Shop Small Saturday boosts independents

Hundreds of merchants throughout Middle Tennessee have embraced the second annual Small Business Saturday, adding their own incentives and putting their faith in predictions that sales will be up 80 percent compared to last year.

Bringing town squares back to the dance

Franklin’s downtown brick-and-mortar storefronts buzz with the sounds of local families, international visitors and curious shoppers checking out the shops, restaurants and a richness in character they might not find in their own downtown.

Gus’s knows Jack about re-using space

When Dennis Hollimon and Frank Cole were scouting Nashville locations for an outpost of Memphis-staple Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, they must have looked at nearly 60 spots, none quite right for their needs.


Nashville’s success is great for Music City

So Nashville has been picked up for a full season. While I leave entertainment reporting to my pal Brad Schmitt, the show, along with a number of other developments, must have Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Schulz, Mayor Karl Dean, his director of Economic and Community Development, Matt Wiltshire, along with Butch Spyridon, overcome with giddiness.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Partly Cloudy
Wind: North at 9.2 mph
Humidity: 43%


Real Estate Investors of Nashville Rehab Homes Tour. Tours of properties that REIN members are currently renovating for rental or re-sale. An information sheet is available for each property that outlines the scope of the project, actual or anticipated costs, projected profits, suppliers and contractors utilized, and other relevant information. At each property, the Presenting Investor will make introductory comments about the property and then be available to answer follow-up questions. Registration begins Saturday at 8 a.m. at the REIN Educational Center, 2416 Music Valley Drive, # 151. Information: reintn.org, 885-5454. Additional upcoming events for REIN include:

more events »


This Titan stretch run more about 2013

When the Tennessee Titans reported back to Baptist Sports Park on Monday, they probably couldn’t help but take a glance at the AFC standings.


Rooker honored as state’s top court clerk

Nashville-Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker has received the Outstanding State Court Clerk Award at a recent conference of the County Officials Association.


Social media blunders of the year

With social media networks flying past some once unthinkable records, including surpassing 1 billion users across all major platforms, it’s not surprising that we’ve witnessed some significant brand blunders as users figure out how to properly utilize these tools.


Lessons of the popcorn experiment

“For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.” I ran across that statement a couple of years ago in a book titled “Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. I love such simple, clarifying statements.


A belated apology for chewing gum in courtroom

For whatever reason, the other day I found myself reviewing some missives that are pretty old. And, as usually happens, one really jumped out at me.


Thankful for cookbooks, Williams-Sonoma

Question: Why do jack-o-lanterns have stupid looks on their faces?


2 Nashville-area Powerball tickets worth $1 million each

NASHVILLE (AP) - Some Tennessee players of the Powerball lottery won't come away empty-handed, including two who can claim prizes of $1 million apiece.


Kyle, Finney re-elected to Senate leadership posts

NASHVILLE (AP) — Senate Democrats have re-elected Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis as minority leader and Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson as caucus chairman.


Expert warns tax break end would hit Tennessee hard

NASHVILLE (AP) - A tax expert is warning state officials that Tennessee would be among the hardest-hit states if federal officials don't resolve the so-called fiscal cliff.

Tennessee awards grants to green development projects

NASHVILLE (AP) — Five projects across the state have been awarded grants totaling $127,500 to fund green infrastructure and low-impact development projects.


Cracker Barrel fiscal 1Q net income falls on costs

LEBANON (AP) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Thursday its fiscal first-quarter net income fell 3 percent, pulled down by severance costs and expenses related to a proxy fight with one of its largest shareholders.

Sierra Club files FOIA lawsuit against TVA

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority over a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the utility's plan to spend nearly $1 billion to reduce emissions at its coal-fired plant in Gallatin.


'Green' program set for western NY GM plant

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (AP) — General Motors executives will give the media a tour of one of the company's western New York plants to unveil a new environmental program.


Rate on US 30-year mortgage ticks up to 3.32%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages stayed close to record lows this week, a trend that has made home buying more affordable and helped the housing market recover.

US pending home sales jump to nearly a 6-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — An index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have made home buying more attractive.

2 winning Powerball tickets sold in Arizona, Missouri

DEARBORN, Mo. (AP) — The search is on for the country's newest multimillionaires, the holders of two tickets that matched all six numbers to claim a record $588 million Powerball jackpot.

Applications for US jobless aid fall to 393,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 last week. It was the second straight drop after Superstorm Sandy had driven applications much higher earlier this month.

Stocks rise and fall with twists in budget talks

NEW YORK (AP) — Optimism that a budget deal will be reached in Washington helped lift the stock market in early Thursday trading. A pair of economic reports also brightened the mood.

Oil rises on hopes of avoiding 'fiscal cliff'

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil is up by more than $2 a barrel on optimism that a deal to avert a so-called fiscal cliff will be reached before year's end.

US economy grew at 2.7 percent rate in summer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate from July through September, much faster than first thought. The strength is expected to fade in the final months of the year because of uncertainty about looming tax increases and government spending cuts.

Twinkies maker Hostess has plenty of suitors

NEW YORK (AP) — The future of Twinkies is virtually assured.

Hostess to seek approval for executive bonuses

NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess Brands Inc. plans to ask for a judge's approval Thursday to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million as part of its wind-down plans.

Retailers report weak sales gains for November

NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday was no match for Sandy.

Bangladesh factory owner: I didn't know fire exits needed

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The owner of a Bangladesh clothing factory where a fire killed 112 people says he was never informed the facility was required to have an emergency exit, a sign of how far removed the leaders of the nation's garment industry are from issues of worker safety.


'Cliff': Boehner, White House chide each other

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner met with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday and accused Democrats afterward of failing to outline specific cuts to avert the "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the economy into recession.

Greater email privacy won't hinder law enforcement

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate bill to protect the privacy of electronic communications won't keep federal agents from combing through your inbox if they believe a crime has been committed, legal experts say. Federal and state authorities still will have a robust set of tools to track down lawbreakers even as these officials oppose changes supported by a broad coalition of technology companies and public interest groups.


Federal judge dismisses Catholic nonprofits' suit

NASHVILLE (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of Catholic nonprofits in Nashville that challenged a provision of the new federal health care law.

New TSU president and alum seeks improvements

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee State University's new president said troubles at her alma mater, including accusations of grade fixing, can be resolved by creating a sense of unity along with better communication.


Middle Tennessee joining Conference USA

Middle Tennessee has accepted an offer to join Conference USA and is leaving the Sun Belt, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Professional hunter pleads to hunting violation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Tennessee hunter featured in cable television shows admits he illegally killed a trophy deer in Kansas.


Fiat 500 adds electric and big versions to lineup

DETROIT (AP) — The Fiat 500 is getting bigger and going electric.


Dow closes up 107 points on hopes for deal on "cliff"

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gained on signs that lawmakers are edging toward a deal that would help the U.S. avoid the "fiscal cliff."

'Fiscal cliff' worries pressure oil prices

The price of oil fell Wednesday as traders looked for signs of progress in negotiations over U.S. budget issues.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar dies at age 86

DALLAS (AP) — Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, who wrote more than 30 books on living a balanced life, has died in Texas. He was 86.

Fed survey: US economy growing at steady pace

WASHINGTON (AP) — A pickup in consumer spending and steady home sales helped lift economic growth in October and early November in most parts of the United States, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday. The one exception was the Northeast, which was slowed by Superstorm Sandy.

Unemployment rates fall in half of large US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates declined last month in more than half of the 372 largest U.S. cities, further evidence of steady improvement in the job market.

US sales of new homes dip 0.3 percent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes fell slightly in October and September sales were slower than initially thought. The October sales pace was dragged lower by steep declines on the East Coast, partly related to Superstorm Sandy.

BP suspended from new US gov't contracts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

Powerball jackpot climbs to $550M on ticket sales

CHICAGO (AP) — As Americans went on a ticket-buying spree, the Powerball jackpot rose to $550 million Wednesday, enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.

Big winners share lessons, risks of Powerball win

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — So you just won the $500 million Powerball jackpot, the second highest in lottery history. Now what?

Reports: Hedge fund warns clients of SEC probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Published reports say a hedge fund company is warning its investors that regulators may bring civil charges against the company in an insider trading case.

Walmart, Disney, Sears used factory where 300 have died

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Amid the ash, broken glass and melted sewing machines at what is left of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, there are piles of blue, red and off-white children's shorts bearing Wal-Mart's Faded Glory brand. Shorts from hip-hop star Sean Combs' ENYCE label lay on the floor and are stacked in cartons.

Costco plans special cash dividend of $7 per share

Costco plans a special dividend of $7 per share next month in addition to the regular quarterly dividend the wholesale club operator pays shareholders.


Geithner, lawmakers ready for 'fiscal cliff' talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of President Barack Obama's chief negotiators will meet on Thursday with congressional leaders to gauge prospects for a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

Obama, Romney to meet at White House Thursday

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will host his former political rival Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House Thursday, their first meeting since the election.

Postal chief lays out plan for agency survival

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says the agency must be allowed to ease the terms of prepayments into a retiree health care fund and eliminate general mail delivery on Saturday.

Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a plan to slow the government's mushrooming debt pose a big obstacle to a deal for avoiding a potentially economy-crushing "fiscal cliff," even if Republicans agree to raise taxes.


Black Keys settle cases over music in commercials

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Black Keys told a federal judge the band has settled copyright infringement lawsuits against Pizza Hut and The Home Depot claiming misuse of their music in commercials.


Group files ethics complaint against DesJarlais

NASHVILLE (AP) - The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Tuesday filed a congressional ethics complaint against Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, accusing the Jasper physician of lying when confronted about an affair with a patient.


Appeals court again takes up CCA records case

NASHVILLE (AP) - Attorneys for the Corrections Corporation of America on Tuesday told members of the state Court of Appeals that the company should not have to turn over copies of its legal settlements to the public.

Board of Regents approves new TSU president

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Board of Regents has voted unanimously to approve alumna Glenda Baskin Glover as the next president of Tennessee State University in Nashville.


GM rolls out new electric mini-car at LA Auto Show

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is giving its Chevrolet Spark a jolt of electricity.

Porsche breaks ground on new Georgia headquarters

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join Gov. Nathan Deal and representatives from the Porsche company to break ground on the company's new North American headquarters in Hapeville.


Stocks slide on 'fiscal cliff' warning

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slumped on Wall Street Tuesday after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was frustrated by the lack of progress in talks over the U.S. budget impasse in Washington.

US consumer confidence at highest in 4½ years

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers are growing more confident about the job market, companies are ordering more equipment and home prices are rising in most major cities.

Record Powerball result of changes to boost sales

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The historic Powerball jackpot boosted to $500 million on Tuesday was all part of a plan lottery officials put in place early this year to build jackpots faster, drive sales and generate more money for states that run the game.

Home prices increase in most major US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices increased in September in most major U.S. cities, more evidence of a housing recovery that is providing a lift to the fragile economy.

US orders for core capital goods up 1.7 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies in October increased their orders of machinery and equipment that signal investment plans by the largest amount in five months, a hopeful sign for future economic growth.

Oil slips after holiday sales data, Greece deal

Oil prices fell Tuesday as traders remained unsure whether positive U.S. economic news signals an increase in fuel demand.

Google launches campaign against possible fees in Germany

BERLIN (AP) — Google is launching a new campaign in Germany to protest against possible copyright restrictions being discussed in the country's Parliament.

ConAgra buying Ralcorp for about $5 billion

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra Foods is buying the private-label food maker Ralcorp for about $5 billion, which will make it North America's biggest manufacturer of cereals, crackers and other packaged foods sold under store brands.


Obama to appeal to public on fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to make a public case this week for his strategy for dealing with the looming fiscal cliff, traveling to the Philadelphia suburbs Friday as he pressures Republicans to allow tax increases on the wealthy while extending tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or less.

Schapiro's SEC successor likely to follow her lead

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission will change next month. Its approach to regulation probably won't.

Corker offers 'fiscal cliff' solution

WASHINGTON (AP) — A freshman GOP senator is jumping into the debate on how to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts, advocating a mix of tax increases with curbs on Social Security and Medicare benefits.


House GOP renominates Harwell for speaker

NASHVILLE (AP) - Members of the House Republican caucus have nominated Speaker Beth Harwell for another term in charge of the chamber but ousted Rep. Judd Matheny from the No. 2 slot.


Late rains, cooler weather save most crops

NASHVILLE (AP) — With most of the harvest completed in Tennessee, farmers lament the loss of corn, but say timely rains that began in midsummer saved most other crops.


Haslam to host lighting of Capitol Christmas tree

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam are preparing to light the Christmas tree at the Tennessee Capitol.


SEC official Elisse Walter chosen to lead agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has chosen Elisse Walter, one of five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to become chairman of the agency. Chairman Mary Schapiro will leave next month after a tumultuous tenure in which she helped lead the government's regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Stocks end lower after a strong week

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street came back to work after the Thanksgiving weekend and faced leftover worries about the "fiscal cliff" and the European debt crisis. Stocks retreated after one of their best weeks of the year.

Facebook stock climbs after upgrade

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's stock is climbing after an upgrade from an analyst who believes Wall Street is underestimating the company's potential to grow revenue.

Oil prices fall as Israel-Hamas truce holds

Oil fell below $88 per barrel on Monday after a slow day of trading.

Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales day

NEW YORK (AP) — Bye-bye Black Friday. So long Small Business Saturday. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.

White House: Tax hike threat could hurt retailers

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House economists warned Monday that the uncertainty of a potential hike in taxes next year for middle class taxpayers under the looming fiscal cliff could hurt consumer confidence during the crucial holiday shopping season.

Fiscal cliff: Tax them, not us, groups say

WASHINGTON (AP) — A big coalition of business groups says there must be give-and-take in the negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of massive tax increases and spending cuts. But raising tax rates — a White House priority — is out of the question, the group adds.

McGraw-Hill sells education division to Apollo

NEW YORK (AP) — McGraw-Hill is selling its education business to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $2.5 billion.

NY court date today in massive insider trading case

NEW YORK (AP) — A former hedge fund portfolio manager charged in one of the biggest insider trading cases in history was due in a New York federal court after an investigation that touched on the activities of one of the nation's wealthiest financiers.


Report: Obama health law a good deal for states

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report says states can receive more than $9 in federal money for every dollar they spend to cover low-income residents under President Barack Obama's health care law.


Hungarian woman pleads guilty to fraud scheme

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Hungarian woman has pleaded guilty for her role in an international fraud scheme in Tennessee.


Tennessee health officials warn of local infection

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee health officials will start contacting hundreds of people who received steroid injections for back pain from a pharmacy linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak to warn them about another infection.


US consumer confidence rises to 5-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers are optimistic the unemployment rate will drop over the next 12 months, boosting their confidence to the highest level in five years.

Stocks soar on Black Friday; tech leads the way

The stock market enjoyed some Black Friday cheer, rising sharply as shoppers braved the annual post-Thanksgiving rush. Major stock indexes closed one of their best weeks of the year.

Oil prices climb on new Gaza-Israel fears

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices climbed Friday after Israeli troops fired on crowds in Gaza surging toward the border fence, killing one Palestinian.

More Thanksgiving travelers driving to save money

CHICAGO (AP) — Feeling the pinch of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the nation's annual Thanksgiving migration sacrificed summer vacations, relied on relatives for airfare or scoured the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home.

Measure of future US economic activity up 0.2 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of the U.S. economy intended to signal future activity rose only slightly last month, suggesting growth could stay weak.

Rate on US 30-year mortgage hits record 3.31 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week, a trend that is boosting home sales and aiding the housing recovery.

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