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VOL. 122 | NO. 37 | Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Daily Digest

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Prom-Themed Tradeshow Harbors Empowerment Agenda

     Prom season will be kicking off soon and Telisa Franklin is taking advantage of it to get a message of empowerment out to teenagers.
     Franklin is launching what she calls a prom, graduation and career-planning tradeshow for students, parents and educators this weekend.
     Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., Franklin, who owns That's Love Florist, is launching the first annual Prom Show Expo at the Holiday Inn, 2490 Mt. Moriah Road.
     The day-long event will feature fashion shows, a step show, talent show and dance competitions, as well as booths set up by teenage entrepreneurs.

Legent Buys, Finances 26 lots in Fountain Brook

     Legent Homes LLC has bought 26 lots in Cordova's Fountain Brook Planned Development in two transactions.
     The company on Feb. 16 bought six lots in phase one for $294,000 from Fountain Brook LLC, financing the purchase with a $1.4 million construction loan through Regions Bank. On Feb. 22, Legent bought 20 lots from Fountain Brook for $980,000, filing a $954,000 loan through Regions.
     Northeast of Berryhill Road and on either side of North Forest Hill-Irene Road in Cordova, Fountain Brook phase one was approved in October for 147 lots and seven common open spaces on 47.39 acres. The outline plan for all phases of Fountain Brook was approved in March 2005 and shows a maximum of 334 lots and seven common open spaces on 106.07 acres.

InMotion Musculoskeletal Opens First Laboratory

     The InMotion Musculoskeletal Institute has opened its first laboratory space at 20 S. Dudley St., Ste 700. InMotion will celebrate the event Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m.
     The site houses office and meeting space and two laboratories. The first lab is named the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. Laboratory, and will be used as a wet lab, meaning the work there will include analysis of cells and biological compounds to induce musculoskeletal tissue regeneration and repair.
     The laboratory also will serve as a central location for InMotion's clinical studies, including several phases of clinical trials for pharmaceutical and implant treatments of orthopedic injury and disease.
     The second lab is named the Medtronic Laboratory.
     Among other positions, InMotion currently is looking to staff both laboratories with researchers and clinician scientists, the latter through a joint appointment with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Campbell Clinic. InMotion also is looking for laboratory managers, research coordinators and a biostatistician.

State Farm Grant Helps Schools Address Student Driver Safety

     Memphis City Schools (MCS) will be better able to address the issue of student driver safety thanks to a nearly $100,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.
     MCS officials said Monday morning they planned to use the $95,000 National Driver Safety Grant to develop new school-based, student-led initiatives designed to increase driver safety awareness and to decrease statistics associated with traffic-related accidents.
     Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 15-19, according to a report issued by Memphis University School in February 2006. And a 2003 survey of 400 parents conducted by Daimler-Chrysler said 39 percent of the parents listed their children's driving safety as one of their top worries.
      Memphis City Schools was chosen from a pool of more than 350 school districts across the nation to apply for a portion of State Farm's service-learning grant fund. The grant money will allow high school students to study intensively about every aspect of driver and pedestrian safety and teach younger students at the elementary and middle school level, according to school officials.

Chemical-Detecting Equipment Making Way to Shelby County

     The Shelby County Sheriff's Office Homeland Security Bureau announced Friday the county soon will have monitoring equipment that will detect dangerous chemicals should they be released by a terrorist attack or accidentally by a local industry.
     The equipment will cost $369,000 and is funded by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Buffer Zone Protection Grant.
     A Regional Technology Study held in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicated Memphis and Shelby County are especially in need of the monitoring equipment because of the large number of chemical industries in the area and the abundance of music festivals and sporting events.
     If chemicals should be released into the air, the sensors will detect the type and be able to give the speed and direction of the wind it is traveling on. The equipment also will provide an evacuation plan.
     Steve Shular, public information officer for the Sheriff's office, said that while county officials are uncertain as to the specific number of sensors that will be in place, they are portable and can be moved to wherever they are most needed.
     "If we have an event at the Liberty Bowl, we can take them there, or if it was at (Memphis Motorsports Park) we could move them there," Shular said. "So we would have the ability to move around the sensing equipment to the particular places where we know there are going to be big events, like Memphis in May."
     Officers with the Homeland Security Division will be trained to use the sensors, specifically SWAT team and bomb squad members, Shular said.
     "In this growing age of terror threats and as tech continues to move along at an incredibly fast pace, within a matter of minutes something catastrophic can occur," Shular said. "This is simply an effort for us to be aware of it as soon as possible and to take immediate action."

Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats Markets Merge

     Whole Foods Market Inc. and Wild Oats Markets last week announced they have signed a definitive merger agreement.
     Whole Foods Market will acquire Wild Oats Markets' outstanding common stock in a cash tender offer of $18.50 per share, or about $565 million based on fully diluted shares. Whole Foods Market also will assume Wild Oats Markets' existing net debt totaling about $106 million as reported Sept. 30.
     With annual sales of about $1.2 billion, Wild Oats Markets is one of the largest natural and organic foods retailers in North America. Wild Oats was founded in Boulder, Colo., in 1987 and currently operates 110 stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada, under four banners: Wild Oats Marketplace (nationwide), Henry's Farmers Market (Southern California), Sun Harvest (Texas), and Capers Community Market (British Columbia).
     The company operates a Wild Oats Natural Marketplace in Memphis at 5022 Poplar Ave. Store director Gene Cone couldn't comment Monday on how the merger would affect the Memphis location or its employees. He instead directed queries to the two companies' Web sites for merger details (www.wildoats.com and www.wholefoods.com).
     "Wild Oats Markets and Whole Foods Market have both had a large and positive impact on the natural and organic foods movement throughout the United States, helping lead the industry to nationwide acceptance and to becoming one of the fastest-growing segments in food retailing today. Our companies have similar missions and core values, and we believe the synergies gained from this combination will create long-term value for our customers, vendors and shareholders as well as exciting opportunities for our new and existing team members," said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market chairman, CEO and co-founder, in a statement.
     Whole Foods Market will be evaluating each banner as well as each store to see how it fits into its overall brand and real estate strategy. Wild Oats Markets has been rationalizing its store base over the last several years to shed underperforming stores, but some additional store closures are expected as well as the relocation of some stores that overlap with stores Whole Foods Market currently has in development. Whole Foods Market expects to make significant investments in remodeling stores before eventually re-branding them as Whole Foods Market stores.
     Whole Foods currently does not have stores in Tennessee.
     Whole Foods Market has agreed in the merger to commence a tender offer today for all of Wild Oats Markets' outstanding common stock.

Performa to Help With Birmingham Project

     The Memphis entertainment and real estate development company that helped forge Beale Street into one of Memphis' premier tourist spots has been tapped to do the same for Birmingham, Ala.'s, convention center entertainment district.
     Performa Entertainment Group, which has a lease to manage Beale Street, has been hired by the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex board to build a convention complex there.
     John Elkington, Performa's CEO, told board members recently that building the venue would carry a price tag of $55 million and that it would include a cluster of restaurant, entertainment and new retail users in the surrounding area.
     Board members at that recent meeting also heard plans to add a 300-room hotel that would be adjacent to the entertainment district Performa is now charged with ramping up.
PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225