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VOL. 127 | NO. 60 | Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daily Digest

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Democrat Road Hotel Financed for $6.6M

Alpha Hospitality Ventures LLC has filed two loans totaling $6.6 million through Cecil Bank for Memphis Airport Hotel & Conference Center in Nonconnah Corporate Center.

The company bought the property, 2240 Democrat Road, for $4.4 million at a July foreclosure sale, financing it at the time with a $4 million open-end mortgage through Cecil Bank.

The 270,000-square-foot, five-story hotel was built in 1974 and includes 374 rooms, more than 30,000 square feet of conference space and an on-site restaurant. It is on 7.6 acres at the northeast corner of Nonconnah Boulevard and Democrat Road, about three miles from Memphis International Airport. The hotel has frontage on Airways Boulevard to the east, and the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2011 appraisal is $5.5 million.

Of the two loans, $5 million is through a federal Small Business Administration program that uses tax dollars to assist small business owners.

The hotel and conference center went into foreclosure last year after its former owner, which bought the property for $8.3 million in 2008, defaulted on a $12.8 million loan.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

U.S. Airways Begins More Memphis Flights

U.S. Airways over the weekend opened more flights between Memphis International Airport and Reagan National Airport in Washington.

The three daily nonstops to Washington began Sunday. But airport and U.S. Airways officials marked the occasion Monday, March 26, at the airport.

As a result of a slot swap between U.S. Airways and Delta Air Lines, U.S. Airways has focused on more service to Reagan National, which it has made a hub of its operations. To get 43 more slots at Reagan National, U.S. Airways gave Delta 132 takeoff and landing slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

– Bill Dries

'Memphis Stories' Named Symphony’s 2012 Theme

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s theme for the year – its 60th anniversary – is “Memphis Stories.”

That theme will be launched by an Artistic Engagement Forum paid for by a grant from The Assisi Foundation of Memphis Inc. and held in conjunction with a concert in October by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The concert featuring Ma will be open only to season subscription holders until August, when single tickets will then go on sale.

The forum’s goals are to help community groups explore partnership opportunities with the orchestra and to launch a professional development plan for MSO musicians.

– Andy Meek

Petties Sentencing Delayed to June

The sentencing hearing for Memphis drug kingpin Craig Petties has been delayed again – this time to June 13.

Petties had been scheduled for sentencing Friday, March 30, before Memphis Federal Court Judge Hardy Mays, but that was delayed last week.

Petties faces the possibility of life in prison from his 2009 guilty plea to drug conspiracy, racketeering and murder-for-hire charges.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Researchers Find 'Twisted Neck' Mutation

A team of researchers led by Dr. Mark S. LeDoux, professor in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s neurology department, has made a discovery that may lead to a cure for primary cervical dystonia.

Also known as spasmodic torticollis and twisted neck syndrome, the disorder affects more than a million patients worldwide. Causes are unknown but most patients first experience symptoms between ages 40 and 60.

Dystonia manifests as sustained muscle contractions and spasms that result in repetitive twisting movements and abnormal postures. The chronic neurological disorder causes the neck to involuntarily turn or tilt to the left, right, upwards or downwards. Botox injections are the most common treatment.

LeDoux and three scientists in his lab – Dr. Satya R. Vemula, Dr. Jianfeng Xiao and Dr. Yu Zhao – collaborated with Dr. Ryan J. Uitti, chair of the Department of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Dr. Demetrius M. Maraganore, chair of the Department of Neurology at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill. Together they identified a protein expressed in the brain that’s involved in DNA synthesis and cell-cycle control.

– Aisling Maki

Memphis Habitat to Hold Community Clean-Up Day

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis and community partners will hold a Community Clean-Up Day April 14 from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Uptown.

Tasks will include general street and green space cleanup, trash pickup and light landscaping.

To register, contact Erica Gorman at egorman@memphishabitat.com or 322-3517 by April 2. All ages are welcome, but minors must have a parent or guardian present.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Lifeblood in Need of Platelet Donors

Lifeblood is in need of platelet donors after a dip in the local supply.

The need is partly because while whole blood has a 42-day shelf life, platelets last only five days from the collection date.

The platelets are important for treating burn patients, chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients and victims of trauma.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Contracts for US Homes Dipped in February

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy U.S. homes dipped in February from nearly a two-year high.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday its index of sales agreements declined 0.5 percent last month to a reading of 96.5. January’s reading of 97 was the highest since April 2010, the last month buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.

A reading of 100 or higher is considered healthy. April 2010 was also the last time it was that high.

More signings in recent months are among the signs of a slight pick-up in the housing market. Still, analysts said the decline in February report was disappointing after the three best months of hiring in two years.

Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There’s a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal. A sale isn’t final until a mortgage is closed.

January and February made up the best winter for completed sales in five years, when the housing crisis began.

– The Associated Press

Christian Brothers Univ to Help Evaluate Flooding

Christian Brothers University is helping the city of Memphis evaluate flood conditions.

CBU students will monitor a stormwater drainage basin at the school soccer field. A flood control system was installed under the field in 2010.

As part of the project, civil engineering students will set up a real-time monitoring system and study water quantity in the runoff. Data collected will help the city with future drainage system improvements in the Lenox Drainage District.

Dr. L. Yu Lin, civil and environmental engineering professor at the university, said the civic project will give students experience in the field and supplement classroom learning.

– The Associated Press

Miss. River Inspection in Memphis Tuesday

The Mississippi River Commission’s annual high-water inspection of Mississippi River levees is taking place this week, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Mud Island Tuesday, March 28, to hear local residents’ concerns.

The Memphis meeting – as well as others this week – will be held on the motor vessel Mississippi.

Meetings are scheduled for Wednesday at City Front in Vicksburg, Miss., and Friday at New Orleans’ Thalia Street Wharf. The first meeting was held Monday in Tiptonville, Tenn.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 70 224 13,880
MORTGAGES 105 298 18,124
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 39 3,544
BUILDING PERMITS 0 430 32,733
BANKRUPTCIES 75 205 13,208
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 68 4,773
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 103 307 20,206
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 33 4,230

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