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VOL. 125 | NO. 38 | Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daily Digest

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Shelby Farms Set To Begin Two Projects

The Shelby Farms Park Conservancy has filed a pair of building permits with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a new playground and pedestrian bridge.

The nonprofit organization that oversees two-thirds of the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park filed a $3.5 million permit for the playground and a $1.8 million permit for the bridge. Both permits list the park’s formal address of 500 Pine Lake Drive.

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC completed the permit applications as the “owner’s representative,” or the local contractor that is overseeing construction of the projects.

Montgomery Martin project manager Scott Taylor said the company would recommend contractors to the Conservancy board for the projects this week. Both should be completed by October.

The playground and the bridge fall under the first phase of the Shelby Farms Park master plan, a 20-year plan created and administered by New York-based Field Operations.

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy communications manager Jen Andrews said a groundbreaking ceremony for the playground will be held Tuesday. Field Operations principal James Corner will be on site to lead the festivities, including the unveiling of the playground’s design.

Andrews called the new playground an innovative “outdoor play space that is very unique.” “This is our first big master plan launch project, the first time that we’re breaking ground on a construction project,” Andrews said. “We think this design really turns on its head the modern concept of play.”

The event also signals the start of a Shelby Farms Park project called “Rebirth of an Urban Forest,” which calls for the removal of privet and the revitalization of the park’s pine forest area that was planted 100 years ago for harvest.

As for the pedestrian bridge, it will span the Wolf River and connect the Lucius E. Burch Natural Area with the Wolf River Greenway. The bridge will be on the south side of the park, linking into the natural area’s blue, yellow and white walking/biking trails.

The bridge groundbreaking will be held in March or April, Andrews said. It is a chief component of the master plan’s ideal for connecting each of the park’s designated areas.

Andrews said these two initial projects, coupled with the Shelby Farms Greenline, are critical to keep the park moving in the right direction.

“We wanted to come out of the gate and show people that this is not a plan that sits on a shelf,” Andrews said. “Even in hard economic times, we’re out there raising money, being successful and breaking ground.”

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

Financial Federal Honored For Lender Quality

Wells Fargo has honored one of the local financial institutions with which it does business.

Financial Federal has received a Lender Quality Award, the first Wells Fargo has given out in the Memphis area.

The award was based on a broad array of metrics that make up Financial Federal’s lending activity, such as the quality of its loans, and was happily embraced by the bank, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Chief information officer Madeline McDonald said, “It rewards our strong volume of business and reflects the quality of our processing, closing, and loan performance post closing.”

Andy Meek

Thomas & Betts To Acquire PMA AG

Memphis-based Thomas & Betts Corp. has agreed to acquire PMA AG for about $120 million.

PMA AG is a privately held European manufacturer of technologically advanced cable protection systems.

The acquisition is expected to close within 60 days. PMA reported sales of about $45 million in 2009.

Dominic J. Pileggi, chief executive officer at Thomas & Betts, said the acquisition will allow the company to extend its reach into markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Tom Wilemon

Immigration Court Overburdened, Cases Stalled

Memphis’ immigration court has such a heavy caseload that immigrants requesting hearings now are being scheduled to appear in 2011.

The Tennessean reports the court – which handles most immigration matters in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and the northern half of Mississippi – had only two judges to handle about 3,500 cases in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.

Things went from bad to worse about four weeks ago when the court lost one of those judges. Now it is forced to rely on a rotating cast of judges from around the country who hear cases by videoconference.

Republican U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper have all asked the U.S. Justice Department to create a new immigration court in Nashville to help alleviate the problem.

– The Associated Press

Black Business Assn. Names Benny Award Winners

The Black Business Association has announced the recipients of the 2010 Benny Awards.

Taylor Brown Apothecary received the Business of the Year award. Total Control Logistics received the New Business of the Year award. Charles Whitsy, an accountant, was honored with the Business Professional award.

McDonald Plumbing received the Service Provider award. Pete Mitchell & Associates won the Professional Service award, and Renaissance Business Center earned the Business Facility award.

Chism-Hardy Bottling received the Woman-Owned Business award. Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division received the Business Development award.

Methodist Healthcare was honored with the Business Purchasing award, and FedEx Corp. received the Corporate Involvement award.

Olivet Baptist Church/BAMM received the Community Involvement award.

Tom Wilemon

Reddy Appointed Admin Of GSA Southeast Region

Shyam Reddy has been appointed regional administrator of GSA’s Southeast Region by the U.S. General Services Administration, effective March 29.

Reddy will oversee all of GSA’s operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including management of federal real estate and information technology.

Reddy most recently worked as a partner at the Atlanta law firm Kilpatrick Stockton LLP in its Corporate Group, where he led negotiations involving financial, employment, tax and structuring issues.

While at Kilpatrick, Reddy held positions on the University of Georgia College of Public Health Board of Advisers, the Common Cause of Georgia board of directors and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Reddy also received the 2007 Marshall Memorial Fellowship.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Tennessee Prosecutors Target Teen Pregnancy

Schoolchildren throughout Tennessee this spring will hear about the consequences of teen pregnancy from an unlikely group: the state’s prosecutors.

Posters and videos will avoid controversial issues like sex, birth control and abstinence.

Instead, the campaign will focus on pointing out hardships, such as having to pay child support as a teenager, that often come with being a teen parent.

– The Associated Press

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