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VOL. 124 | NO. 13 | Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Daily Digest

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Centennial Gardens Files $11.5M Loan for Phase II

Lightman Centennial Gardens Co., a division of Michael Lightman Realty Co., on Jan. 15 closed an $11.5 million construction loan with SunTrust Bank for the second phase of the Centennial Gardens apartment complex in Southeast Memphis. The address is 7751 Centennial Drive, west of Hacks Cross Road and south of Winchester Road.

The company in October had filed a $10.6 million permit application with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement for the second phase.

This next phase of apartments includes 12 buildings and 176 units, with 72 one-, 88 two- and 16 three-bedroom apartments, said company principal Michael Lightman Sr. The phase follows the original 256-unit phase, which now is open on an adjacent parcel.

Site work on the second phase has been completed, and construction set to begin this week with Patton & Taylor Construction Co. serving as general contractor as it did for the original phase.

Lightman said units should be able to be rented by fall, which should coincide with the completed occupancy of the original 256 units.

“We’re trying to time phase two where we’ll have units ready about the same time that we are leased up in phase one,” Lightman said.

Centennial Gardens is near the Centennial Commons retail center, both of which are part of Lightman’s overall commercial development in the area, a 300-acre project called Centennial Park.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Tenn. House Leaders Begin Talks Over Assignments

House leaders are meeting to negotiate key committee assignments with new Speaker Kent Williams.

Williams, an Elizabethton Republican, was the surprise winner of the speakership last week when he banded together with all 49 Democrats to beat House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower of Bristol by one vote.

Williams has pledged to run a bipartisan House by splitting up the committee assignments and powerful chairmanships equally among members of both parties.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Old Hickory said the committee assignments weren’t likely to be completed until today.

Republicans hold a 50-49 advantage in the chamber.

Williams has indicated that abortion restrictions and gun rights issues will be at the top of his agenda this legislative session. He has said he wanted to quickly pass a long-stalled measure to restrict access to abortions and to expand the areas where people with handgun permits can carry weapons.

Those measures previously had been killed in House subcommittees controlled by Democrats.

With only one term behind him, there are few clues what other issues might drive his agenda.

Meanwhile, in the state Senate, workers Tuesday tore up carpets, stacked boxes and put furniture on carts.

The move was set into motion by Republicans building out their majority in the upper chamber to 19-14 in November’s elections.

Most of the Senate’s Republicans are relocating to the main level of the Legislative Plaza office complex, near to where Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville has had his office since being elected to the chamber’s top post in 2007.

Democrats, meanwhile, are preparing to move to the third floor of the War Memorial Building.

The Legislature is scheduled to get down to business Feb. 9.

US Trustee Chooses Examiner In Lehman Bankruptcy Case

The federal government’s bankruptcy overseer on Tuesday chose Anton Valukas, a former federal prosecutor and a specialist in white-collar crime, as the examiner in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case.

Valukas’ investigation could be used to determine whether Lehman executives lied, committed fraud or mismanaged the company. He will need to conduct his investigation simultaneously with several pending criminal investigations.

Lehman and its former executives face investigations by U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York and the District of New Jersey, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lehman – once the fourth-biggest U.S. investment bank – filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history Sept. 15. Many key assets since have been sold.

Valukas’ appointment still needs final approval from a judge. U.S. Trustee Diana Adams, who named Valukas in a court filing, runs the government agency that oversees bankruptcies.

The appointment was required because of the size of the case and stakeholders – led by The Walt Disney Co. – had asked for it. Disney has been joined by Bank of America, a group of Harbinger hedge funds, New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and plaintiffs in class action lawsuit against Lehman.

Valukas is chairman of the Chicago-based Jenner & Block law firm, specializing in white collar criminal litigation. He was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1965 to 1989 and has worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in a variety of positions, according to the law firm’s Web site. He also has experience in Securities and Exchange Commission investigations and civil securities fraud lawsuits.

Local Law Community Pays Respects to Loring

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at St. Patrick Catholic Church at 277 S. Fourth St. for Frances Grant Loring, a local attorney who has left an indelible mark on the local law community. Loring died last Thursday at age 85.

Loring was born in 1923, and was the valedictorian of her Humes High School class. She attended Vanderbilt University and earned her law degree from the Vanderbilt School of Law at age 21. Loring tied for the highest grade in Tennessee on the bar exam.

After her law school graduation, Loring worked for five years at the law firm of Snowden, Davis, Brown and McCloy. She was a member of the League of Women Voters and remained active in various civil issues throughout her life. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1968 sanitation strike.

In 1949, Loring left Memphis to become a Religious of the Cenacle. The Cenacle Sisters (their full title is Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle) are a Roman Catholic congregation that was founded in 1826 in the French village of La Louvesc.

But in 1965, she was granted permission to leave the order so that she could pursue a doctorate in theology. She subsequently taught theology at Christian Brothers College (now Christian Brothers University).

After her teaching tenure, Loring returned to private law practice in Memphis. She was a founding member of the Association for Women Attorneys in 1979, and served as an at-large member on its executive committee.

She was the first recipient of the AWA’s annual award, the Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award, which was named in honor of the first woman attorney licensed to practice in Tennessee and Loring herself. The award honors and recognizes outstanding contributions to the community by female attorneys.

Calipari Named ‘Communicator of Year’

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has named University of Memphis mens’ basketball coach John Calipari “Communicator of the Year.”

Calipari will receive the award at a luncheon today. The award was established in 1975 with Bud Dudley, founder of the Liberty Bowl, as its first recipient.

Smith & Nephew Launches Rotator Cuff Surgery Device

Smith & Nephew’s Endoscopy Division on Tuesday announced the launch of the Dyonics 5.5 mm Bonecutter Electroblade Resector, an all-in-one device for treating one of the most common sources of shoulder pain, subacromial impingement.

Subacromial impingement occurs when part of the rotator cuff becomes pinched between the upper arm bone and one of the bones of the shoulder joint. In 2007, surgeons worldwide performed an estimated 750,000 procedures to treat the impingement.

Hilton Hotels Donates $10,000 to Agape

Hilton Hotels Corp. has donated $10,000 to Agape Child & Family Services’ Families in Transition program, which serves pregnant, homeless women and their children.

With offices in Memphis and Jackson, Tenn., Agape is a Christian-based organization that provides children and families with healthy homes through foster care, adoption, maternity and family counseling. Agape will serve at least 20,000 adults and families this year.

Regents Names Sims Interim Vice Chancellor

The Tennessee Board of Regents, which oversees state universities and colleges including the University of Memphis, has named Dale Sims to serve as interim vice chancellor for business and finance.

Sims is the former state treasurer for Tennessee, a position he has held since 2003.

In the appointment announced Tuesday, Chancellor Charles Manning said they are excited to have someone with extensive knowledge of budgeting during a time when state funding for higher education is expected to drop 10 to 15 percent next year.

The position came open after Bob Adams left Jan. 14 to accept a new position in Arkansas.

The 180,000-student Tennessee Board of Regents system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers.

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