The “Mastodon”  features several different faux leathers (ostrich and standard) with real leather used on the front of the arms. The trim is embossed leather (to look like alligator). There are approximately 1100 nailheads. Staff photo.

The “Mastodon” features several different faux leathers (ostrich and standard) with real leather used on the front of the arms. The trim is embossed leather (to look like alligator). There are approximately 1100 nailheads. Staff photo.

When you talk to Jeremy Elkins, you realize that he is a man of many interests—artist, musician, animal lover, Civil War reinactor, photographer.

“I’m always learning,” Elkins said. With 18 years of  experience as a professional upholsterer, Elkins continually tries add to his skills. “It’s fun to be challenged, and it’s even more rewarding to succeed.”


In March, Arlington (#1) and Lakeland (#9) were named to’s list of “Best Places for Homeownership in Tennessee” (click to read article) and now they are featured again on a Top Ten list, this time’s “Most Affordable Places in Tennessee.”


The Mid-South Better Business Bureau is issuing a scam alert urging consumers to check their credit card and bank statements for unexplained charges.  In this case, scammers are banking on the fact that many consumers don’t check their credit card statements at all and those that do only give them a cursory glance.

Scammers are charging stolen credit and debit card numbers for $9.84, although that amount may change as word gets out about the scam. The expectation is that many cardholders won’t notice the relatively small charge, and the financial institutions won’t go after such a minor sum.

Typically, the source listed on the statement is an unfamiliar website with a phone number to call for “Customer Support” and a 100% refund.  Some victims have called the “customer support” center for the promised refund and have been asked to provide their credit card information in order to receive their money back.  Instead, the BBB encourages customers to contest unexplained charges directly with their banks or credit card issuers by calling the number on the back of their cards.

BBB offers the following tips to reduce your risk of credit or debit card fraud:

  • Report lost cards and incorrect charges promptly.
  • Request a new card if you notice unauthorized charges. Fraudulent charges mean your card information has been compromised. Always be safe and request a replacement card.
  • Never lend your card. According to a Javelin Research study, “friendly fraud”, perpetrated by someone the victim knows, accounted for 12% of identity theft related fraud in 2012.
  • Don’t leave your cards, statements and receipts lying around your home, car or office where others can see them.
  • Never sign a blank charge slip. Draw lines through blank spaces on charge slips above the total so the amount can’t be changed.
  • Use caution when ordering online or over the phone. Always be cautious about disclosing your account number on the telephone or online unless you know the person you’re dealing with represents a reputable company and you initiated the contact.

Some of our favorite photos from December 2013 —

Got a great photo? Tweet it to us @theview38002 or share on facebook with name of photographer and a brief description. Files should be high-resolution.


By Mark Louderback, Edward Jones Investments

About 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, according to a survey from the University of Scranton. But the same survey shows that only 8% of us actually keep our resolutions. Perhaps this low success rate isn’t such a tragedy when our resolutions involve things like losing a little weight or learning a foreign language. But when we make financial resolutions — resolutions that, if achieved, could significantly help us in our pursuit of our important long-term goals — it’s clearly worthwhile to make every effort to follow through.

So, what sorts of financial resolutions might you consider? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Boost your contributions to your retirement plans. Each year, try to put in a little more to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plans. These tax-advantaged accounts are good options for your retirement savings strategy.
  • Reduce your debts. It’s not always easy to reduce your debts, but make it a goal to finish 2014 with a smaller debt load than you had going into the new year. The lower your monthly debt payments, the more money you’ll have to invest for retirement, college for your children (or grandchildren) and other important objectives.
  • Build your emergency fund. Work on building an “emergency fund” containing six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses, with the money held in a liquid account that offers a high degree of preservation of principal. Without such a fund, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments to pay for emergencies, such as a new furnace, a major car repair, and so on. You might not be able to finish creating your emergency fund in one year, but contribute as much as you can afford.
  • Plan for your protection needs. If you don’t already have the proper amounts of life and disability insurance in place, put it on your “To Do” list for 2014. Also, if you haven’t taken steps to protect yourself from the considerable costs of long-term care, such as an extended nursing home stay, consult with your financial professional, who can suggest the appropriate protection or investment vehicles. You may never need such care, but that’s a chance you may not want to take — and the longer you wait, the more expensive your protection options may become.
  • Don’t overreact to market volatility. Too many people head to the investment “sidelines” during market downturns. But if you’re not invested, then you miss any potential market gains— and the biggest gains are often realized at the early stages of the rally.
  • Focus on the long term. You can probably check your investment balance online, which means you can do it every day, or even several times a day — but should you? If you’re following a strategy that’s appropriate for your needs, goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, you’re already doing what you should be doing in the long run. So there’s no need to stress yourself over the short-term movements that show up in your investment statements.

Do whatever you can to turn these New Year’s resolutions into realities. Your efforts could pay off well beyond 2014.

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