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VOL. 36 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 23, 2012

Big disasters equal big business

Winds of climate shift bring opportunity for entrepreneurs

A freakishly early 2012 tornado season in Middle Tennessee began with a deadly tornado outbreak on Feb. 29. Less than a week later the area was hammered with a series of storms, tornadoes and golf ball-sized hail.

More bad storms predicted

Blame La Nina. The surface cooling of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean has shifted traditional weather patterns that produce deadly tornadoes farther east into Tennessee.

Hard times bump demand for pro bono legal work

The continuing economic slump and stagnant unemployment rate have meant a multi-year uptick in the number of people needing help with foreclosure, bankruptcy and other legal issues. And usually the lack of income that created the crisis means there’s no money to pay an attorney to help find a solution.


Conflicting statistics confusing for buyers

There has been great hubbub in the real estate industry concerning the syndication of the listings found in local multiple listing services. In this area, Realtracs provides the multiple listing service (MLS).

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: Southeast at 3.5 mph
Humidity: 63%


Business After Hours. Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce event today at the Nashville City Club, located on the 20th floor of the Fourth and Church Building in downtown Nashville. Make new business contacts while enjoying a panoramic view of the city. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Information: nashvillechamber.com.

more events »


Top commercial real estate transactions for February 2012

A monthly record of commercial real estate transactions valued at $200,000 and higher, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Davidson County’s top lenders for February 2012

A statistical look at Davidson County’s top lenders – ranked by number of loans – for both commercial and residential transactions, as compiled by Chandler Reports.


Wilkins named to direct Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Consuelo H. Wilkins, M.D., associate professor of Medicine, Psychiatry and Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named the new executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance. She will assume the role on June 1.


Open Eyes, Ears To Avoid Overselling

Salespeople have two ears and one mouth for a reason. The formula for sales success is 80 percent listening and 20 percent talking. Good listeners “hear” more than just the words their prospects speak. They also pick up on nonverbal cues.


Tech stocks, banks emerge

Last week provided another powerful advance in both equity and fixed income markets. On the equity side, the three major domestic stock indices accomplished impressive feats. After briefly falling back below 13,000 at the end of February, the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) crept above that level at Tuesday’s close.


If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit …

For many years, I paid little attention to the shoes I bought. I typically purchased name-brand shoes – assuming that within reason, shoes were shoes and that I didn’t need to spend much time and effort on shoe selection.


Should ‘illegal’ be out of bounds?

If the clue were “hardly licit,” my first answer would be ILLEGAL. But what if the clue were, as it was in the Thursday Times puzzle a few weeks ago, “One caught by border patrol”? Would you think of ILLEGAL? If not, as it crept into the grid while you solved the crossers, would you be offended?


Eggs have benefits, though too many still not a good idea

There is so much controversy about eggs. Should you eat them? Should you not eat them? Maybe just eat the egg whites? What is the most nutritional way to eat eggs?


Scruggs funeral Sunday at Ryman Auditorium

NASHVILLE (AP) - It may be impossible to overstate the importance of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs to American music. A pioneering banjo player who helped create modern country music, his sound is instantly recognizable and as intrinsically wrapped in the tapestry of the genre as Johnny Cash's baritone or Hank Williams' heartbreak.

Country's new young stars on display at ACM Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) — Young male country music stars are as rare as pink pickups these days.


Opry Mills reopens after shutdown

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Opry Mills shopping mall in Nashville formally reopened Thursday after being shuttered for almost two years because of flooding from the nearby Cumberland River.

Southern lit conference to examine 'The Help'

NASHVILLE (AP) - Books and movies including "The Help" and "Deliverance" will be topics at the three-day biannual conference of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature in Nashville.


House OKs new restrictions on abortion doctors

NASHVILLE (AP) - A bill that puts new restrictions on doctors who perform abortions is intended to make it more difficult for women to get the procedure in Tennessee, opponents of the legislation said Thursday.

House OKs remote school board meeting attendance

NASHVILLE (AP) - The House on Thursday passed a bill to allow school board members to participate in meetings remotely, despite concerns that the practice could spread to other elected bodies in the future.

Senate Oks bill to close teacher evaluation data

NASHVILLE (AP) - The sponsor of a proposal to close public access to teacher evaluation data said Thursday that doing so will keep the process honest.

Abstinence-centered bill advancing in Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A measure that would require "family life education" curricula taught in schools to be abstinence-centered is advancing in the Senate.

Saggy pants bill headed to full floor votes

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would prohibit students from dressing indecently in school is headed for floor votes in both chambers of the Legislature.


US jobless claims fall to lowest level in 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, adding to evidence that the job market is strengthening.

US economy grew 3 percent in final quarter of 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the final three months of 2011, the best pace in a year and a half. But that growth has likely slowed in the current quarter.

US stocks fall on worries about Europe's economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell Thursday for the third day in a row as investors were daunted by reminders that Europe has not solved its debt crisis and the U.S. economy is far from healed, despite progress on both fronts.

Chinese firm surpasses Exxon in oil production

NEW YORK (AP) — A big shift is happening in Big Oil: an American giant now ranks behind a Chinese upstart.

Car payments now a priority over home, credit card payoff

NEW YORK (AP) — The recession and its hangover may have turned bill-paying habits upside down. Cash-strapped Americans are paying off their car loans before they pay credit card bills and make mortgage payments, a study finds.


Court takes health care case behind closed doors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The survival of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul rests with a Supreme Court seemingly split over ideology and, more particularly, in the hands of two Republican-appointed justices.

House approves Republican deficit-cutting plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have pushed an election-year $3.5 trillion budget through a divided House that showcases their plans for trimming federal deficits and contrasts sharply with how President Barack Obama and Democrats would tackle the nation's fiscal problems.

Obama wants tax breaks for oil companies stopped

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is renewing his call for Congress to end tax breaks to oil companies.

Small biz contracting leads House committee agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds like a gold mine for small businesses: The more than half a trillion dollars that the federal government pays companies each year for all kinds of equipment and services. But winning a contract with the government can be hard, if not impossible, for a small business.


House panel kills bill to create Tenn stripper tax

NASHVILLE (AP) - A House panel has killed a bill seeking to tax strippers to pay for a reduction in the state tax on gold coins, bullion and investment income.

Tenn. House OKs expansion of business cash grants

NASHVILLE (AP) - House Republicans insist their vote Wednesday for a plan to expand the scope of a state economic development inventive program does not conflict with their mantra that government can't create jobs.

Bill to let students express religious viewpoint

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would prevent students from being discriminated against for expressing their religious beliefs is headed for a House floor vote after passing a key House committee on Tuesday.


Coal company fined $50,000 for January discharge

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state has fined an Anderson County coal company $50,000 for improperly discharging 1 million gallons of untreated water and coal waste into the New River in January.

Black farmers file claims in USDA settlement

MEMPHIS (AP) — When Roy James needed money to buy equipment and dig an irrigation well for his father's Mississippi farm, he applied for a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture — but was turned down.

IRS encourages taxpayers not to wait to file

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service has reminded taxpayers who owe taxes that it's not necessary to wait until the last minute to file.


Catholic group will drop Vanderbilt affiliation

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Roman Catholic student group has voted to sever official ties with Vanderbilt University after a dispute over the school's nondiscrimination policy.

Major disaster drill is today in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) - A multi-county disaster drill Wednesday in Nashville will evaluate the ability to respond to a catastrophic event.

World War I exhibit rolls into Nashville Thursday

NASHVILLE (AP) - A traveling World War I exhibit will be on display in downtown Nashville Thursday for one day only.


Brad Paisley endows scholarship at Belmont

NASHVILLE (AP) - Brad Paisley's country music career started in earnest at Belmont University. He's taking steps to make sure someone else gets the same chance.

Hit song carries Eli Young Band to ACMs, beyond

NASHVILLE (AP) — Count the guys in Rascal Flatts among the fans of "Crazy Girl," the song that took the Eli Young Band to the top of the country songs chart and earned the Texas quartet three nominations at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday.


Bank of America CEO got sixfold raise last year

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America gave its CEO a pay package worth $7.5 million last year, six times as large as the year before. It happened while the company's stock lost more than half its value and the bank lost its claim as the biggest in the country.

More US CEOs plan to hire as outlook brightens

WASHINGTON (AP) — A growing number of chief executives at large U.S. companies say they are more optimistic about the economy and plan to step up hiring. The brighter view from the boardroom comes after the best three months of job growth in two years.

Materials lead US stocks lower as commodities dip

Falling commodity prices punished materials and energy companies Wednesday, pushing Wall Street's major stock indexes to a lower close.

US orders for long-lasting goods rise 2.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies ordered more long-lasting goods last month, showing businesses are willing to buy equipment and machinery even after an investment tax credit was halved.

Bernanke says US unemployment could stay high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that without faster economic growth, it could take "a few more years" for U.S. unemployment to decline to a normal rate.

Magic Johnson group to buy Dodgers for record $2B

NEW YORK (AP) — A group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion.

Rising powers mull bank for developing nations

NEW DELHI (AP) — Developing nations again seem unlikely to propel one of their own citizens to the World Bank presidency. It may not matter. A group of rising powers is mulling its own alternative to Western-dominated lending institutions.


Health care arguments: Can any portion survive?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday that it could throw out other key parts of President Barack Obama's health care law if it first finds the individual insurance requirement unconstitutional.

Tennessee's Cooper, bipartisan group offers alternative to GOP budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan budget plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years with a mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts across the federal budget is headed for a House vote, but it is likely to be rejected by Republicans against higher hikes and Democrats opposed to curbs on Medicare and Social Security benefits.

SPIN METER: President embraces 'Obamacare'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now that President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has lifted an unofficial ban on using the opposition's term for his health care law, Democratic activists have been chanting "We love Obamacare" in front of the Supreme Court.


First lady to salute Swift at Kids' Choice Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) - The first lady is making an appearance at The Kids' Choice Awards to celebrate Taylor Swift for her charity work.


Unemployment benefits end for 10,000 Tennesseans

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is warning more than 10,000 people that their extended unemployment benefits will expire soon.

State workers rally against civil service changes

NASHVILLE (AP) - State employees are speaking out against Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to dial back civil service protections, arguing that the move could result in cronyism.

Tennessee has Stand Your Ground self-defense law

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee is one of at least 20 states that have the "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law that has been at the center of a national debate since a neighborhood watchman killed an unarmed black teenager in Florida last month.


Guns in parking lots measure sent for Senate vote

NASHVILLE (AP) - A measure to eliminate the rights of businesses, schools and universities to bar employees from storing firearms in parked vehicles is headed for a full Senate vote.

Bill to close teacher evaluation data advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal to close public access to teacher evaluation data is advancing in the House.

Lottery scholarship bill headed to Senate floor

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would make cutting some students' lottery scholarships in half contingent on lottery revenues is headed for a floor vote in the Senate after a legislative committee approved the measure 9-2 on Tuesday.

Effort to repeal voter ID law fails in Tenn Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to repeal Tennessee's new voter ID law has stalled in the Legislature after being killed by a Senate panel on Tuesday.

Medical marijuana bill advances in Tenn. House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is advancing in the state House.

Mountaintop removal ban killed in Tenn. House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A House subcommittee Tuesday killed a bill seeking to ban mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee.

House votes to ignore federal regs on farm labor

NASHVILLE (AP) - The House on Monday passed a bill declaring that Tennessee wouldn't enforce federal regulations governing child labor on family farms.

Anti-crime bills headed for governor's signature

NASHVILLE (AP) - The House on Monday approved two key pieces of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's anti-crime package and sent the bills for the governor's signature.

Rep. Johnson announces retirement from House

NASHVILLE (AP) - House Transportation Chairman Philip Johnson says he won't seek a sixth term this year.

Evolution bill headed to governor

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would protect teachers who allow students to criticize scientific theories like evolution is headed to the governor for his consideration.

Ten Commandments bill headed to governor

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would allow public buildings to display such "historically significant documents" as the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence is headed to the governor for his consideration.


US consumer confidence is roughly flat in March

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans' rosy outlook about the U.S. economy remains resilient as they focus on the good in the barrage of conflicting economic news.

Stocks edge lower after consumer confidence report

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing slightly lower, ending a day in which major indexes wavered between small gains and losses.

Natural gas prices fall again on supply concerns

NEW YORK (AP) — Natural gas prices are falling again amid doubts that a huge surplus of the fuel will be depleted anytime soon.

Walgreen fiscal 2Q profit slides nearly 8 percent

Drugstore operator Walgreen Co.'s fiscal second-quarter earnings fell almost 8 percent due in part to its decision to leave the Express Scripts pharmacy network, but the performance still topped analyst expectations.

Home prices fell in January in most US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices fell in January for a fifth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales increases have yet to boost prices.


Justices take up heart of health care overhaul law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up the key question in the challenge to President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul: Can the government force people to carry insurance or pay a penalty?

Santorum looks to deny Romney a win by any means

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rick Santorum, showing signs of fatigue and frustration while grasping for strategies to right his unsteady White House bid, is trying to derail Republican front-runner Mitt Romney using any means available — even contradictory messages.

Tough Republican budget likely to go back on shelf

WASHINGTON (AP) — The most powerful prescriptions of a tough House GOP budget plan, like a dramatic restructuring of Medicare and big cuts to domestic programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and transportation appear destined to go back on the shelf almost as soon as the measure is passed this week.


Country stars stampede to studio to help Richie

NASHVILLE (AP) - Kenny Chesney was so excited about the idea of working with Lionel Richie that he drunk-dialed the pop legend to suggest a song. Darius Rucker tossed aside a lyric sheet in the studio, saying he'd been preparing for the moment his entire life. And so many people were clamoring to get on the project that stars like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley didn't even make the cut - this time.


TEA favors closing teacher evaluation data

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters says he favors a proposal to close public access to teacher evaluation data because of the lack of confidence many educators have in the new evaluation system.

State's urban forest provides $640M in benefits

NASHVILLE (AP) - A study by the U.S. Forestry Service finds that trees in Tennessee's urban areas provide the state with environmental benefits valued at nearly $640 million a year.


Contracts for US homes dipped in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy U.S. homes dipped in February from nearly a two-year high, a mixed signal ahead of the spring home-buying season.

Bernanke says US job market weak despite gains

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. job market remains weak despite three months of strong hiring and that the Federal Reserve's existing policies will help boost economic growth.

Big gain for stocks after Bernanke remarks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks leapt to multi-year highs and recorded one of their biggest gains of the year Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the economy still needs help to produce faster job growth.

Oil falls to near $106 amid Iran nuclear tensions

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices fell to near $106 a barrel Monday in Asia as investors mulled how much the conflict over Iran's nuclear program might disrupt global crude supplies.


High court takes up fight over Obama health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is front and center at the Supreme Court for three days of hearings to determine the fate of a law aimed at extending health insurance to more than 30 million Americans.

How health care case will unfold before the court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on Monday over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derisively labeled "Obamacare" by its opponents. A look at how the case will unfold before the court in question-and-answer form:

Economists see higher taxes as way to cut deficit

NEW YORK (AP) — Economists say a combination of higher taxes and lower spending is the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit.

House GOP budget plan heats up as campaign issue

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new debt-slashing budget plan pushed by House Republicans heated up as a presidential campaign issue Sunday as the proposal's architect, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, sparred with top Democrats over its political fallout and downplayed the possibility he could be tapped as a vice presidential candidate.


Anne Pope to head Tennessee Arts Commission

NASHVILLE (AP) - Anne B. Pope, a state government veteran, has been named executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Nashville woman sues Human Services officials

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Nashville woman is suing six state Human Services officials, claiming they encouraged prosecutors to bring fraud charges against her.

Tennessee jobless rate declines 0.02 percent

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee unemployment rate has fallen 0.02 percent to 8 percent in February, the lowest since November 2008.

Volkswagen adding 800 jobs at Tenn. Passat plant

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Volkswagen will add 800 new jobs at its Tennessee plant to boost production of the popular Passat sedan.


Bill would allow teachers to pray with students

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Senate passed a proposal Thursday that would allow teachers and other school workers to participate in prayer groups and other religious activities on school grounds, so long as they are initiated by students.


Kroger, Stop & Shop join 'pink slime' exodus

NEW YORK (AP) — Supermarket chains Kroger Co. and Stop & Shop said Thursday they will join the growing list of store chains that will no longer sell beef that includes an additive with the unappetizing moniker "pink slime."

Zelenik prevails in defamation suit

NASHVILLE (AP) — Former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik has prevailed in a lawsuit that accused her of defamation for a campaign advertisement attacking rival Diane Black.

Dollar General 4Q profit up on better traffic

GOODLETTSVILLE (AP) - Dollar General Corp.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 32 percent on a 20 percent revenue increase as more customers showed up in the discounter's stores and spent more. The latest results also benefited from an extra week in the period.


Owens, Haggard are focus of new Nashville exhibit

NASHVILLE (AP) - An exhibit that spotlights Buck Owens and Merle Haggard opens Friday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.


Stocks bounce around on global economic worries

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are bouncing between small gains and losses as investors weigh the prospects of a global economic slowdown even as several U.S. companies report strong earnings.

US new-home sales fell in February for 2nd month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of U.S. new homes fell in February for the second straight month, a reminder that the depressed housing market remains weak despite some improvement.

Oil price jumps on report of lower Iran exports

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices briefly spiked to the highest level in three weeks following a report that Iranian oil exports dropped significantly this month.

Facebook warns employers not to demand passwords

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is warning employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, saying that it's an invasion of privacy that opens companies to legal liabilities.

For long-unemployed, hiring bias rears its head

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Few job seekers who fail to get an interview know the reason, but Michelle Chesney-Offutt said a recruiter told her why she lost the chance to pitch for an information technology position.

Insurers speed health care overhaul preparations

The nation's big insurers are spending millions to carry out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul even though there's a chance the wide-reaching law won't survive Supreme Court scrutiny.

BofA to offer rentals as foreclosure alternative

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America says it has begun a pilot program offering some of its mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure a chance to stay in their homes by becoming renters instead of owners.

Cessna to build business jets in China

BEIJING (AP) — Business jet maker Cessna Aircraft Co. signed agreements Friday with Chinese partners to build business jets in China and explore other aviation opportunities.

Electric cars risk losing green sheen in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Electric car owners who prided themselves on being green now find themselves in a bind as Japan's government maneuvers to restart dozens of nuclear power plants idled after last year's meltdowns.

Home beer brewers seek changes to alcohol laws

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — About the only thing Kevin Flynn enjoys more than drinking his home-brewed beer is sharing it with fellow beer club members at festivals and tasting competitions. So Flynn and his buddies were shocked to discover that Wisconsin law prohibits sharing homemade suds anywhere outside the brewer's home.

Banks lend again, but their customers are wary

NEW YORK (AP) — Since the credit crisis of 2008, everyone has been waiting for the banks to start lending money again. It's finally happening, but there's a catch: Businesses are afraid to spend it.


Highway bill becomes House Republican headache

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill that Republican leaders were promoting as the centerpiece of their job-creation agenda has instead turned into one of their biggest headaches, thanks largely to tea party conservatives who want to get the federal government out of transportation programs and hand them over to the states.

Obama defends handling of Keystone pipeline

CUSHING, Okla. (AP) — President Barack Obama firmly defended his record on oil drilling Thursday, ordering the government to fast-track an Oklahoma pipeline while accusing Congress of playing politics with a larger Canada-to-Gulf Coast project.

Insider trading ban sent to White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday sent President Barack Obama a scaled-down bill to explicitly ban members of Congress, the president and thousands of other federal workers from profiting from nonpublic information learned on the job.

Labor Dept.: Americans hold 3.1 million green jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 3.1 million Americans are employed in green jobs, a sector that now accounts for about 2.4 percent of the nation's total employment, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Audit: Gas lines tied to fracking lack oversight

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Government auditors say federal officials know nothing about thousands of miles of pipelines that carry natural gas released through the drilling method known as fracking, and need to step up oversight to make sure they are running safely.

Senate passes small business investment bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to help startup companies raise capital by reducing some federal regulations won easy passage in the Senate Thursday despite warnings from some Democrats that less government oversight would mean more abuse and scams.

Court: What's left of health law without mandate?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The heart of the Obama administration's health care overhaul hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is turning to whether the rest of the law can survive if the crucial individual insurance requirement is struck down.

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