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Baker Donelson enters Texas

Memphis-based law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has entered Texas with the merger announced today between Baker Donelson and the Houston firm Spain Chambers.

The merger means Baker Donelson now has nearly 620 attorneys and advisors across 17 offices in six states and Washington D.C.

Spain Chambers is a full-service law firm representing businesses throughout Texas. Those businesses include Fortune 500 clients, entrepreneurs, privately-held companies and multinational corporations. The firm serves clients in industries including energy and oil field services, manufacturing, engineering, real estate, construction, health care and information.

Bio: Steve Jobs was a details man, even in his Memphis hospital bed

In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs that went on sale Monday, there’s some fascinating detail about Jobs’ stay in Memphis during 2009, when he got a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital’s transplant institute.

Jobs, who died earlier this month at age 56, was ever the details man, even in his hospital bed.

There’s a moment in the book’s recounting of Jobs’ transplant when Jobs pulled off an oxygen mask, grumbled about the design and ordered someone to bring him five different choices of masks. He said he’d pick the one he liked.

Same for the oxygen monitor on his finger.

“He told them it was ugly and too complex,” Isaacson writes of the monitor. “He suggested ways it could be designed more simply.”

Jobs also got visitors in Memphis from Apple – including Tim Cook, the man who took his place as CEO.

“You could see him brighten every time the talk turned to Apple,” Cook told Isaacson. “It was like the light turned on.”

The two men in Memphis discussed a new model of the iPhone, including what to call it – the iPhone 3GS – and the size and font of the letters in the name.

Jobs friend George Riley, who did some of the work associated with preparing the Memphis visit, is described as a San Francisco lawyer who sometimes worked as outside counsel for Apple. According to the bio, Riley’s parents had been doctors at Methodist,

Riley was born there and he was a friend of James Eason, the director there who performed Jobs’ transplant.

Zoo Boo Draws New Crowds, Generates Interest

Tonight is opening night of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Zoo Boo, the Memphis Zoo’s annual Halloween-themed fundraiser.

The event, which runs Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, as well as Friday, Oct. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 30, features treat stations, a costume parade, Dracula’s Disco, a haunted hayride, a straw maze and much more.

Abbey Dane, director of marketing and communications for the zoo, told The Daily News in August that events like Zoo Brew allow the nonprofit the chance to reach out to a new audience. And because the zoo serves 950,000 visitors and spends $14 million on goods and services each year, expanding its base is critical.

“Visiting the Zoo during the day and visiting with your family while you’re each dressed in your best Zoo Boo costume can be two completely different experiences and bring completely different crowds,” Dane said. “When we reach new demographics, we create the opportunity to make these new visitors aware of our product and hopefully convert them from one-time visitors to more frequent guests, hopefully even new members.”

Tennessee Unemployment Rate Rose (barely) for Sept.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point in September, according to an announcement by state Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate rose from a revised 9.7 percent in August to 9.8 percent in September. September’s rate in Tennessee was higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent for September.

“The unemployment rate rose slightly due to a small decline in employment,” Davis said in a statement released about the numbers. “There were seasonal gains in employment in areas like education, along with losses in leisure and hospitality. The net result was little change in the state’s employment picture.”

From the department:

“Month-to-month increases occurred in government, up 19,500 jobs; educational and health services was up 3,400; and durable goods manufacturing increased by 1,400. From August to September leisure and hospitality decreased by 5,500; administrative, support, and waste services was down 1,000; and merchant wholesalers of nondurable goods declined by 700 jobs.

Year-over-year increases took place in professional and business services, up 7,900 jobs; local government educational services was up 6,400; and educational and health services increased by 6,000. Employment decreases took place in retail trade, which decreased by 4,400; nondurable goods manufacturing was down 1,800; and federal government declined by 1,200.”

Fed Report: Mixed-picture for Memphis area

The Federal Reserve has just released its so-called Beige Book, which offers an informal review of economic conditions in each of the fed’s regional districts.

The latest beige book covers Aug. 27 through Oct. 7. It can be accessed here: www.federalreserve.gov/fomc/beigebook/2011/.

The report says the economic picture in the Fed’s St. Louis district – which encompasses Memphis – is decidedly mixed at the moment.

From the report:

“Manufacturing activity has continued to increase, while reports of activity in the services sector have been mixed. Residential real estate market activity has continued to decline, while commercial real estate market conditions varied across the District. Lending at a sample of small and mid-sized District banks declined slightly during the three-month period from mid-June to mid-September.”

Dansette

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