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Changes to The Daily News Online

If you’ve looked at our Web site today, you’ve hopefully noticed a series of changes to the look and feel of the site. We’ve cleaned up the articles and presentation of news, as well as moved the data-driven utilities on the site into a more visible and accessible location.

This is the first step in a series of changes. Changes you’ll see in the next couple of months will include:

  • Redesigned Email Edition.
  • More help on the services pages (such as the Name & Property Search).
  • Streamlined sign up pages for paid services such as the Watch Service.
  • A simplified Subscribe page (god knows it couldn’t be more complicated…).
  • Better tools to manage your account and services.

If you have thoughts or comments about changes to the site, let me know at info@memphisdailynews.com.

Thanks to Taylor Wood, lead programmer for www.memphisdailynews.com, and Brad Wilkerson, of 68Comeback, for their work on this update to the site.

Eric Barnes, Publisher

New ethics code established for doctors

The reputations of doctors have suffered because of financial arrangements with medical device companies and drug companies that have been the subject of government investigations and media scrutiny.
The Council of Medical Specialty Societies addressed the problem this week. It adopted the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies to provide guidance to doctors.
For more information about the code, visit www.cmss.org

Earth Day at Sharp

Sharp Manufacturing brought in Earth Day with the flip of a switch on the roof of its Memphis plant.

Memphis Light Gas and Water Division president Jerry Collins threw the ceremonial switch on a rooftop solar array Sharp is using to provide a small part of its power.

The solar panels are made beneath the roof in the Memphis plant and are a booming business.

With 400 employees, the Sharp plant runs 24/7 making 60,000 panels a month. That’s up from 20,000 a month last June.

Sharp already had a solar array at ground level. The rooftop array is much bigger with over 700 panels. It’s not quite the size of a football field. The roof also has a white surface that keeps temperatures in the plant cooler and makes for better conditions for the panels to turn sunlight into energy.

T.C. Jones Jr., general manager of the Memphis plant and vice president of human resources and general affairs, said the rooftop array will provide only a “very small amount” of the energy used by the plant. The array is big enough to power 15-20 houses.

Jones and other Sharp executives say the rooftop array is a way of building public awareness as Sharp and other solar energy manufacturers work on ways to make the panels more effective in harnessing power from the sun. As the technology now stands, it would be impossible to make a regular sized home completely solar powered because of the number of panels required and the small roof space, Jones said.

The Memphis plant is also expanding its work to include designing and fabricating the mounting structure for the solar panels that have been made there since 2003.

The ceremonial switch lit up several Sharp LED lights on a tote board. The solar energy converted by the panels goes directly into the plants power system.

Collins was chosen to do the honors because of the utility’s work to get the plant back on line following a storm in February 2008 in the area that spawned a tornado. The plant was one of several in the area heavily damaged by the storm.

One of the only two certainties in life

Of course Shelby County can produce a budget that includes major spending increases without hiking the tax rate.

Shelby County – and Memphis – set their tax rates too high in 2009, as The Daily News reported here.

And both governments are still benefitting from that excess.

The Rent vs. Buy Calculation

The New York Times did an interesting story on the question of whether it’s better to rent or buy a home now, given the beating that house prices have gone through in the last 18+ months.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/business/economy/21leonhardt.html

The article includes extensive analysis, it seems, including a city-by-city rating of those markets in which you’re better off buying, those you’re better off renting. Memphis is included, and is scored as what I’d call a 50/50 market — neither renting nor buying is high risk. Which would seem like a good thing to me, reflecting the fact that home prices are neither too high or too low.

There’s also a nifty rent vs. buy calculator. I love online calculators.

Dansette

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