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VOL. 122 | NO. 154 | Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daily Digest

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Lightman Co. Buys Land For Centennial Commons

     Michael A. Lightman has bought about 13 acres near the planned Centennial Commons shopping center in two transactions. The purchases included 12.05 acres from Diversified Trust Co., trustee, for $2.6 million and .88 acres from Melanie S. Taylor, co-trustee, for $190,940.
     The vacant land is north of Winchester Road east of Bill Morris Parkway and south of Callis Cutoff Road.
     The property is part of a land acquisition surrounding the Centennial Commons site, said Michael Lightman Jr., associate with Michael Lightman Realty Co., the company behind the project. Lightman said the shopping center is on about 30 acres, some of which the realty company already owns.
     "This is adjacent land I needed to make it work," he said.
     Groundbreaking for the center was held in early August.
     Confirmed tenants of the 250,000-square-foot center include JCPenney, which will occupy about 100,000 square feet, and Dick's Sporting Goods. In addition, Michael Lightman Realty Co. has letters of intent from four other potential tenants, Lightman said, adding the company does not release the names of tenants until leases are signed.
     Centennial Commons is part of the 300-acre Centennial Park project, which Michael Lightman Realty Co. has been developing for a decade. Centennial Park includes retail stores, medical offices, restaurants, a hotel and more.
     The company filed a $15.3 million permit in late July for another piece of Centennial Park: the $18 million, 256-unit Centennial Gardens apartment complex. Work is expected to begin there in the next few weeks with construction slated to last about 18 months, Lightman said.
     For details on that project, see The Daily News' July 24 Daily Digest at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Former Smith & Nephew Exec Named Luminetx Officer

     The company behind the VeinViewer medical device has hired a former Smith & Nephew executive as the company's chief operating officer.
     Rodney Schutt recently began work as Memphis-based Luminetx's COO. The hiring of Schutt represents the creation of a new position at the company, which in recent months has revamped its strategy to focus more on sales of the VeinViewer device.
     VeinViewer is a medical device that shines a light on patients' vascular systems, projecting an image onto the skin. Among its uses is the ability to draw blood easily without repeated needle sticks.
     "The company has grown so fast," Schutt said. "And we really need to make sure we have a sound strategy on how to go to market."
     Schutt said part of the company's strategy to build a larger national sales network will mean focusing on big academic centers and getting the VeinViewer into the hands of clinicians and physicians.
     Last month the company announced it hired former General Electric executive Jim DelMauro as its new managing director. DelMauro, who retired in 1999 after 30 years at GE, came out of retirement to accept the position.
     The new positions follow the departure of Luminetx chief executive officer Jim Phillips, who has taken a consulting role with the company as vice-chairman of the board.
     Al Gossett, owner of Gossett Motor Cars, now serves as the company's interim CEO.

Bredesen Approves Funding For Tenn. Adult Education

     Tennessee will be spending $2.5 million in new funding on the state's adult education program, Gov. Phil Bredesen has announced.
     The money will be used to increase teacher pay, allow additional testing and instruction and pay for the General Education Development test fee, which Bredesen said individuals without a high school diploma are sometimes unable to pay.
     "In 2005, a federal incentive grant paid for the test fee and increased the number of GED diplomas by 33 percent," he said. "With 1.2 million citizens in Tennessee without a high school diploma, it's important that we do everything we can to support Tennessee's adult learners."
     Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley said the additional funding will help the state be more competitive economically.
     "More GED diplomas raise the education level of the state, which makes Tennessee more attractive to businesses looking to relocate," Neeley said.
     Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and Rep. Les Winningham, D-Huntsville, sponsored legislation for additional funding.
     "I know this increased funding will help thousands of Tennesseans to better their lives and provide better pay to the educators dedicated to helping these individuals," Winningham said in a statement.

Tenn. Lobbies U.S. Gov For Northwest Flights to China

     Tennessee has joined the lobbying efforts of several other states to secure nonstop flights from the U.S. to China via Northwest Airlines, which operates a hub in Memphis.
     Michigan lawmakers are trying to persuade the U.S. Transportation Department to award Northwest Airlines with nonstop flights from Detroit to China, citing the region's manufacturing base and the potential benefits to the state's struggling economy.
     Besides Tennessee, Michigan has been joined in the lobbying effort by lawmakers from Minnesota and several other states where Northwest has a large presence.
     Northwest Airlines Corp. wants to offer nonstop service to Shanghai in 2007 and Beijing in 2009 through its hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Several airlines are competing for the six new routes to China that are expected to be announced shortly by the federal agency.
     The Eagan, Minn.-based carrier has stressed it could offer direct service to Shanghai within two months of the government's decision this year. Northwest also said it can offer the shortest travel time and provide competition to United Airlines, ensuring lower fares.
     In March, United launched nonstop service to Beijing from Washington's Dulles International Airport.
     Northwest currently offers three daily flights to China through Tokyo, said spokesman Dean Breest. In addition to United, American Airlines and Continental Airlines currently fly directly to China.
     Dozens of members of Congress have been pressing DOT officials on the China flights for airlines that serve their home states. In addition to Northwest, Delta Air Lines Inc., Continental Airlines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, U.S. Airways Group Inc. and MAXjet Airways have applied for the flights.
     Under a trade agreement solidified earlier this year between China and the U.S., the United States can grant a new airline the right to fly to China and approve a new route this year. The department can award another new flight in 2008, four new flights in 2009, three in 2010 and two each in 2011 and 2012.

International Paper Updates Financial Statements

     International Paper announced it has updated the historical financial statements included in its 2006 annual report to reflect first-quarter 2007 changes in segment reporting and the adoption of the direct method of accounting for planned major maintenance expenses.
     The company conducted a review of its operating business segments during Q1 in connection with sales of businesses
     under International Paper's transformation plan and the resulting changes in its business portfolio.
     Though the review resulted in no changes in reportable segments, a decision was made to include the company's European coated-paperboard operations with other similar operations in the Consumer Packaging segment. It previously was reported in the Printing Papers segment.

CNN's Larry King Makes Peabody Appearance

     Larry King, the venerable host of the CNN talk show program "Larry King Live," served as an honorary duckmaster Wednesday at The Peabody Hotel, leading a special "marching of the ducks" down the red carpet at the hotel.
     King was in town to interview Elvis Presley's widow Priscilla for an Elvis Week special episode on his CNN show.
     Among the festivities Wednesday, the broadcaster was presented with a brass duck-head Duckmaster cane, Peabody rubber ducky and a certificate commemorating the occasion.
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047