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VOL. 126 | NO. 25 | Monday, February 07, 2011

Daily Digest

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Motorsports Park Deeds Filed With Register

The deed representing the sale of Memphis Motorsports Park to a limited liability company affiliated with investor Joe Lubeck has now been filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

Moroso Investment Partners IV LLC bought the park from Memphis International Motorsports Corp. for $2.1 million. The deal closed Jan. 31.

In conjunction with the purchase, Moroso Investment Partners IV has filed a $1 million loan through Independent Bank.

The multi-track park, at 5500 Victory Lane in Millington, includes a 0.75-mile asphalt oval, a 0.25-mile championship drag strip and a 1.77-mile road course.

Moroso Investment Partners will re-launch the Memphis facility later this year under the new name of Memphis International Raceway.

The group – led by Team Dezer Racing’s president and CEO Jason Rittenberry, along with Michael and Gil Dezer – hopes to have the facility reopen for the racing season in April.

“We wanted to re-brand the facility more closely with our current Palm Beach International Raceway property,” Rittenberry said in a statement. “The Memphis Motorsports Park was a Dover Motorsports brand and we wanted our own identity.”

Memphis International Raceway will reopen sanctioned as an IHRA facility, with Summit Super Series bracket racing and weekly test and tune sessions. The staff is already in place and plans are in the works to book national and regional events for the 2011 season. A Nitro Jam event has been secured and a date will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to the drag racing events, the facility will host an Outlaw Monster Truck Spectacular event in September.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Delta's Traffic Rises In January

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s system traffic increased 2.3 percent in January 2011 compared to January 2010 on a 4.2 percent increase in capacity.

Load factor decreased 1.4 points to 75.2 percent.

Domestic traffic decreased 1.7 percent year over year on a 0.5 percent decrease in capacity.

Domestic load factor decreased 0.9 points to 74.9 percent.

International traffic increased 8.3 percent year over year on an 11.4 percent increase in capacity, and load factor decreased 2.2 points to 75.8 percent.

Atlanta-based Delta operates one of its seven U.S. hubs at Memphis International Airport, where it is the dominant passenger carrier.

– Sarah Baker

Construction Unemployment Jumps to 22.5 Pct. in January

Despite a slight decrease in the national unemployment rate, job losses continue to mount in the construction industry as the unemployment rate rose to 22.5 percent in January, according to the Feb. 4 employment report by the U.S. Department of Labor.

January’s numbers – up from 20.7 percent in December, but down from 24.7 percent last year – are likely a reflection of the winter weather, analysts say.

Nonresidential building construction lost 6,700 jobs in January, the largest monthly loss since February 2010. Over the last 12 months, nonresidential building construction employment is down by 8,800 jobs, or 1.3 percent.

Heavy and civil engineering construction employment fell by 7,000 jobs in January and has lost 22,400 jobs in the last two months.

But employment in that sector is up by 12,900, or 1.6 percent, compared to January 2010 levels.

“Engineering employment often serves as a leading indicator of future construction employment, and the recent two-month downturn in this segment is not particularly promising,” said Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu.

The specialty trade contractor sector lost jobs for the third straight month, down 14,900 in January, and has lost 102,000 jobs or 2.9 percent over the last 12 months.

Residential building construction lost 3,200 jobs in January and 32,300 jobs, or 5.5 percent, from the same period last year.

Overall, the nation gained 36,000 jobs in January as private sector employment grew by 50,000 jobs and the public sector lost 14,000 jobs.

– Sarah Baker

Local Engineering Firms Compete Statewide Contest

Three Memphis engineering firms have entered projects completed in Memphis, Missouri and Florida in the statewide 2011 Engineering Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Cos. of Tennessee.

The three recognized firms and their projects are Askew Hargraves Harcourt & Associates Inc., rebuilding Caruthersville High School, completed for J.J. Bullington in Caruthersville, Mo.; EnSafe Inc., Pilot Test – Extreme Degradation Conditions, completed for Helena Chemical Co. in Tampa, Fla.; and Tetra Tech Inc., Shelby County Greenline, completed for Ritchie Smith & Associates and Shelby County, Tenn.

The three Memphis firms and 21 other entries are vying for the competition’s top prize, The Grand Iris Award, determined by an independent panel of judges.

The winners will be announced March 8 during an awards banquet in Nashville at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Wells Fargo Gives Grant to Memphis Nonprofit

The Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Housing Foundation has presented a $12,000 grant to the Memphis Consumer Credit Education Association, a nonprofit group that helps families and individuals by providing them education on home buying, credit, budget development and money management.

Wells Fargo presented a check Thursday to the association’s executive director Angie Bramlitt, who said the funds will help the group continue offering its education and counseling programs to the community at the lowest cost possible.

The group has a staff of two full-time and two part-time employees and has served more than 1,200 Memphians since its inception in 2004.

“Wells Fargo is committed to the Memphis community, and we know that MCCEA will use these funds to make a lasting impact on local families,” said Olin Chamberlain, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage regional program manager.

– Andy Meek

Minglewood Oscar Party Benefits RMH Memphis

Minglewood Hall will be the site of the Memphis Oscar Night America Party on Feb. 27 to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis, a free home-away-from-home for the families of children receiving treatment for cancer and other catastrophic illnesses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The black-tie gala at Minglewood Hall, located at 1555 Madison Ave., will include champagne upon arrival, gourmet food from more than a dozen of Memphis’ finest restaurants, silent and live auctions and live music by Party Planet.

Guests will watch the Academy Awards telecast on large screens and receive the same official program distributed to guests at the Oscar presentation at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

RMH of Memphis joins charities in 50 cities across the country organizing official viewing parties during the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

Official Oscar Night parties last year raised more than $3 million in 52 cities and more than $70,000 for RMH of Memphis.

“Oscar Night generates excitement all over the world,” said Caron Byrd, executive director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis.

“With the Academy’s help, our guests will feel like they are on the A-list. We had an incredibly enthusiastic turnout last year and hope to raise even more money for the children and families of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis this year.”

Tickets are available for $125 each through www.rmhmemphis.org.

– Aisling Maki

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 296 16,341
MORTGAGES 89 356 21,366
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 61 4,251
BUILDING PERMITS 199 701 39,202
BANKRUPTCIES 50 234 15,482
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 78 5,471
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 54 354 23,505
MARRIAGE LICENSES 8 78 5,018

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