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Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Nashville picked as ‘resilient city’ by Rockefeller Foundation

Garrison- Mayor Megan Barry is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for an announcement from the Rockefeller Foundation, which will name Nashville one of the newest members of its 100 Resilient Cities Network. Nashville’s selection comes after a competitive grant process. It puts Metro in a global network that consists of 100 city governments worldwide that, according to the Rockefeller Foundation, have demonstrated a willingness to be leaders in “urban resilience.” The goal of the 3-year-old program is to help cities build strategies to respond to unexpected natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes or systemic social challenges like unemployment, public transit, violence and chronic food and water shortages. Three hundred and twenty-five cities applied to be a part of the network as part of the foundation’s Resilient Cities Challenge. Nashville was picked among the final of three yearly cohorts, which will max the network out at 100 members. “In the coming years, we know we must continue to invest in Nashville, but do so intentionally, preparing for both acute shocks, such as a flood, and long-term stresses, such as aging infrastructure and access to affordable housing,” Barry said in a statement. She said that becoming a member of 100 Resilient Cities would allow Nashville to work with other governments, the nonprofit sector and private companies to “plan and respond to the resilience challenges ahead.” Nashville experienced a devastating flood in 2010 that took multiple years to fully recover. Barry has identified transit, affordable housing and public education as her top challenges early on during her administration.


Nashville schools budget has $9 million less in support from Metro

Gonzales- Metro Nashville Public Schools will operate on an $843.3 million budget next school year after the district received about $9 million less than it requested from Mayor Megan Barry. But the district always knew its requested figure of $852 million would be high, with Interim Director of Schools Chris Henson saying early in the process the city might be about $12.5 million short of the asking figure. The reworked budget caused little stir among board members, who voted unanimously and with no discussion to finalize its 2016-17 school year budget during its Tuesday afternoon meeting. The lower-than-requested funding means the district will cut some of its plans for English language learner and reading programs, but leave untouched its plan to remedy the district's teacher pay scale. Even with the cuts, the $843.3 million figure represents about a $33 million increase from 2015-16 —  an almost 4 percent increase. The new 2016-17 fiscal year begins July 1. The bulk of the cuts are slated for new textbooks and science kits, as well as reserve funds for student-based budgeting. It leaves mostly intact increases next year slated for personnel to help teach English language learner students and funds set aside for an expanded district literacy




One of America's biggest research labs to open in Chattanooga

Strickland- One of America's biggest research labs soon will open an office in downtown Chattanooga, a move city leaders hope will spur growth in the city's Innovation District and connect local businesses and universities with Tennessee's largest research and construction projects. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is readying an office at EPB, where researchers from the lab have been studying the city-owned utility's pioneering smart grid and fiber optic system. U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said having the Department of Energy lab here should help local entrepreneurs, businesses and academic institutions take better advantage of the $4 billion-a-year federal facilities 90 miles up the road in Oak Ridge. "This will help unite Chattanooga, with all of its innovation, entrepreneurship and capital, with the great science reservoir that is up in Oak Ridge," Fleischmann told the Times Free Press on Friday. "I think we will look back 10 years from now and see this as a major step forward for our city and its development." ORNL Director Thom Mason said the first staffers will be those already working with EPB on the smart grid, which the utility with the aid of a $111.4 million DOE grant awarded six years ago. Mason said he hopes the initiative will grow over time. Opening a Chattanooga office to help spread and commercialize innovations from ORNL is part of a natural extension of the Oak Ridge facilities, Mason said. "We are proud of our past and the 'secret city' that was built in Oak Ridge during World War II, but today, the Oak Ridge lab is primarily an open science and energy lab," he said. "The work that we do only achieves its full potential when it turns into technology that gets deployed and [is] in products that people buy and services that are sold."




Booming housing market in Knoxville, across US lifts builders, home goods retailers

AP- A new report that showed Americans are snapping up homes at a pace not seen since the housing bust-fueled recession pushed the trading of shares of all companies affiliated with the sector into overdrive Tuesday. The Commerce Department reported that new home sales jumped 16.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, up from a revised total of 531,000 in March. A mix of steady job gains and historically low mortgage rates is bringing more Americans back into a housing market even as rising prices put many properties out of range. Nationwide, sales of existing homes, which make up 90 percent of the housing market, rose in April for a second straight month to an annual pace of 5.45 million, a figure consistent with a solid economy. That's the highest level since January 2008, when the U.S. was teetering into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Growth was also strong in the Knoxville market, with single-family home sales — excluding condos — up 23.6 percent in April, to 1,411, compared with 1,141 in the same month in 2015, according to the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors. For the first quarter, Knoxville home sales totaled 3,088, up 14.8 percent over first quarter 2015. While there has been talk about the possibility of a second housing bubble bursting as it began to do in the U.S. in 2006, at least part of the reason prices are skyrocketing is a lack of supply. So many Americans were financially devastated by the recession, builders focused new construction on rental units in its aftermath.




FedEx closes TNT deal, gains bigger footprint in Europe

Risher- FedEx closed today on a landmark deal to buy TNT Express and its European road delivery network for $4.9 billion. The Memphis-based company's biggest acquisition in 43 years is expected to extend a surge in earnings as the company stakes out a larger market share in Europe. Analysts believe TNT won't immediately boost FedEx's bottom line, because of costs of integrating and upgrading the European operation. But they expect a long-term earnings addition of about $1.50 a share, or more than 10 percent by 2018. The transaction has been likened to FedEx's 1998 purchase of Caliber System/Roadway Package System, the basis for U.S. parcel delivery business FedEx Ground. FedEx Ground competes head to head against United Parcel Service and has consistently been one of FedEx's most profitable operating units in recent years, in large part due to burgeoning e-commerce. “This acquisition is a significant accomplishment and marks the beginning of a new era, filled with promise for our people, customers and shareowners,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of FedEx. “We are proud to celebrate the joining of two iconic companies and the approximately 400,000 team members who are committed to serving customers around the world.” “The timing of this historic event is important, particularly in the current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates,” Smith added. “Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world.” “Over our 43-year history, FedEx has repeatedly reinvented and revolutionized the industry, from the first overnight express service backed by a money-back guarantee to the invention of internet shipping. And just as we revolutionized the U.S. domestic parcel business through the acquisition and development of what is now FedEx Ground, the acquisition of TNT will change the way customers view FedEx around the world,” Smith continued.




Stocks Gain With Emerging Markets as Fed Seen Pulling Off Hike

Soughley and Heron- Don’t fear the Fed is the new mantra for global markets.

Global equities rose to a two-week high amid increasing investor optimism that the world economy can withstand higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve. Gold fell amid a retreat in the dollar, while oil maintained gains after a government report on crude inventories. U.S. shares looked for consecutive climbs after alternating between gains and losses for seven sessions, European equities jumped and emerging-market stocks rose the most in six weeks. South Korea’s won led currencies higher even as China set the yuan’s reference rate at the weakest level since 2011. Crude pared gains after climbing above $49 a barrel as gold slid for a sixth day. Greek bonds increased, pushing the 10-year yield below 7 percent for the first time since November. Improving confidence in financial markets is tempering anxiety over the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise U.S. interest rates, potentially as soon as next month. Recent polls show growing support for the U.K. to remain in the European Union, the rally in commodities is damping the risk of deflation, and a measure of economic surprises in the world’s largest economies hit its highest level this year. Still, faith in global growth prospects has been easily shaken, with global equities failing to make any gains in 2016. “U.S. data is supporting the view that if we don’t see stellar growth, at least we don’t see a recession, and that’s a good thing,” said Michael Woischneck, who oversees about 300 million euros ($335 million) at Lampe Asset Management in Dusseldorf, Germany. “If the Fed has the chance to hike again then it should take this opportunity as the market is very prepared. We also have a deal for Greece that has helped perceptions change in the European market.”

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