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21 posts from August 2011


Home prices down in CoreLogic index

Fort Worth-Arlington home prices, which includes the sale of distressed properties, dropped 4.8 percent in July when compared to a year-ago, according to the latest CoreLogic numbers released Wednesday.

That's a slight improvement from June, when year-ago figures show home prices dropped 5.8 percent in June.

Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 3.2 percent in July, and 1.4 percent in June, CoreLogic said.

Nationally, CoreLogic's July home price index show that prices increased for the fourth consecutive month, inching up 0.8 percent on a month-over-month basis.

On a year-over-year basis, national home prices, including distressed sales, declined by 5.2 percent in July.

"The slowdown in economic growth and increased uncertainty caused by the recent stock market volatility will continue to exert downward pressure on prices," said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic's chief economist. 

-Sandra Baker

Arlington Mellow Mushroom to open Monday

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers will open its downtown Arlington location, 200 N. Center St., on Monday, Sept. 5.

The restaurant, owned by Kim and Montie Slawson, is next to the Arlington Music Hall, off Division and Center streets.

"We could have not asked for a better location and community to be a part of," the Slawson's said.

Mellow Mushroom offers an assortment of stone-baked pizzas, hoagies, salads, calzones, appetizers, vegetarian and vegan options. Gluten-free crust is also available.

The Arlington store will also have a Beer Club, with select, member-only rewards, and a weekly trivia night.

Mellow Mushroom is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

-Sandra Baker


Texas Leg’s less-easy homestead exemption law takes effect today

Starting Thursday, new Texas homeowners applying for a homestead exemption must provide proof that they actually live in the house they’re claiming as their principal residence.

House Bill 252 requires a copy of the homeowner’s Texas driver’s license or state identification card and the homeowner’s vehicle registration receipt be sent with the homestead exemption application.

Don’t own a vehicle? You can send a copy of your current utility bill showing name and address, along with an affidavit provided in the application indicating non-ownership of a vehicle.

The address on the documents must match the address for which the homestead exemption is requested. The bill is designed to stop abuses of the homestead exemption law, including ensuring that out-of-state property owners can't claim the exemption for vacation properties here.

The new requirement does not apply to homeowners who already have homestead exemptions. It affects only new applications for exemptions sent to appraisal districts.

“As Comptroller, we implement laws passed by the legislature” the Texas comptroller, Susan Combs, says in a release. “The homestead exemption is intended to help relieve the tax burden of Texas full-time residents. This new legislation ensures that the system is working fairly and legally.”

The new law affects new applications for the general homestead exemption available to every homeowner as well as the over-65 exemption, the disability exemption, the disabled veterans exemption, the extended exemption for a homeowner’s surviving spouse and the manufactured home exemption.

In addition to proof of residency, beginning Thursday, homeowners applying for a homestead exemption on a manufactured home must also provide proof of purchase of the home and a statement of ownership and location issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The homestead exemption application form is available here.

Scott Nishimura

Arlington Life Shelter links with Groupon for pledge campaign this week

The Arlington Life Shelter is being featured by Groupon’s philanthropic arm, G-Team, with a campaign running today through Thursday.

The campaign urges Groupon subscribers to donate $10 to the shelter, for the purchase of fresh milk for residents. To donate, click here.

The Arlington Life Shelter supports homeless families and individuals with services including employment and educational aid, health care, nutrition, and transitional housing.

“In order to avoid holding a load of donated milk that spoils, Arlington Life Shelter hopes to establish a milk budget to buy milk on an as-needed basis,” the shelter said. “With this fund, it can gradually acquire milk during the course of 10 weeks without ever storing up more than it can use,”

The campaign is free to the shelter, which receives all proceeds from pledges, Liesl Gray, spokeswoman for the shelter, said.

- Scott Nishimura

$220 to park an RV for LSU-Oregon game at Cowboys Stadium

Parking vendors around Cowboys Stadium are gearing up for Saturday's LSU-Oregon college football season opener. Parking around the stadium ranges from $15 for one vehicle at the Guadalajara Restaurant, East Division Street and East Collins, to $220 to park an RV at Copeland Tower, according to listings on ParkHub.com. For in between, park at the Bodacious BBQ on Division south of the stadium and pay $38.82 on ParkHub.

- Scott Nishimura

Chesapeake Energy donating 45,000 pounds of water to Tarrant County charities

Chesapeake Energy is donating more than 25,000 bottles of water Thursday to nine local charities.

“The extreme Texas heat has put a strain on the charities who serve the most vulnerable among us – those in crisis and those on the streets,” Chesapeake said.

The charities: Arlington Urban Ministries, Brighter Outlook, Cornerstone Alliance, Grace, Mission Arlington, Presbyterian Night Shelter, Red Cross, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, and Union Gospel Mission.

Each charity will receive 1,700-5,800 bottles of water, Chesapeake said. The total water donation is more than 60,000 pounds, Chesapeake said.

Chesapeake employees will load the 3,000-pound palettes by forklift into the charities’ vehicles, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. Thursday at Chesapeake Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

- Scott Nishimura

Alcon moving jobs to Fort Worth

Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed in Scott Nishimura's story Tuesday on local mortgage activity that one lender reported seeing  "a lot of people" being relocated to Fort Worth by Alcon Labs, which earlier this year was acquired by Novartis. Well, during a presentation to a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce lunch crowd at Colonial Country Club today, Alcon Vice President Franck Leveiller told his audience the company is indeed moving positions here from Atlanta. Leveiller, who in June was named to head Alcon's research and development efforts for vision care, said some commercial operations also are being moved to Fort Worth. See tomorrow's Star-Telegram for more details.

-- Jim Fuquay

Chase Bank hiring 700 at Lewisville center; job fair Thursday

Chase Home Lending reports it's hiring 700 employees at its Lewisville site, in mortgage loan servicing and operations.

The bank is holding a job fair, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center, 785 SH 121 Bypass, Lewisville.

To apply online or get more information, visit www.jpmorganchase.com/careers. Apply to Lewisville requisition 110072633. All candidates should apply online prior to the event, the bank says.

- Scott Nishimura

Texas' service sector increases in August, but at a slower pace, Fed says

Activity in Texas’ service sector increased, but at a slower pace, in August, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reports today.

The revenue index, a key measure in the Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey, fell from 8.8 to 3.2, “indicating slower revenue growth,” the Fed Bank said.

Positive readings generally indicate expansion of service sector activity, while readings below zero generally indicate contractions.

“Most labor market indicators remained positive and suggested continued hiring and slightly longer workweeks,” the Fed Bank said.

Some of the data:

  • The August employment index edged down from 3.7 to 2.1, although two-thirds of respondents noted no change in employment.
  • Perceptions of general business conditions “worsened markedly.” The general business activity index fell sharply to -18.1 percent from -0.2, the lowest level since March 2009.
  • Selling prices and wages rose, but at a slower pace than the previous month.
  • Retail sales increased in August. After falling to zero last month, the volatile sales index rose to 9.2.
  • Employment and hours worked in retail services bounced back in August, with 23 percent of respondents noting employment increased from July.
  • The pace of retail price and wage increases was largely unchanged in August.

- Scott Nishimura



Walgreen's to replace former Minyard grocery site in Arlington

Shuttered for more than two years, workers have cleared away a former Minyard Food Store at a shopping center on the north side of Interstate 20 and Green Oaks Boulevard in Arlington to make room for a Walgreens Drug Store.

Tri-Logic Capital in Dallas owns the 5-acre tract at 4400 SW Green Oaks Blvd. where Walgreen's will have a ground lease. Minyard had operated at the shopping center for more than 20 years.

Arch Pardue, owner of Tri-Logic, said Walgreens is only taking up a portion of the land and that he anticipates two additional retailers.

According to public filings on the project, the Walgreens should be completed by March. Estimated cost of construction is $1.8 million.

-Sandra Baker


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