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VOL. 124 | NO. 198 | Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daily Digest

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MCA Files Loan For Residence Hall

Memphis College of Art has filed a $3.1 million construction loan through First Tennessee Bank NA to build a 24,000-square-foot, four-story residence hall at 139 N. Barksdale St. south of the college’s Overton Park campus in Midtown. The loan closed Oct. 1.

The building, which will mirror the college’s Metz Hall at 149 N. Barksdale St., was designed to house 47 students. Its first three levels will contain four-bedroom, two-bath suites with full kitchen and laundry amenities. And the “striking fourth floor will feature unparalleled, panoramic studio space available to student residents, a characteristic unique to MCA on-campus housing,” according to a college release.

Metz Hall, built in 2004, and the college’s new facility each were designed by Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects and built by Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC.

The college will seek approval for the building at today’s Memphis-Shelby County Land Use Control Board meeting. That meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

The college in June filed a $3.3 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build the facility.

The college is a “professional center of art and design education, dedicated to preparing individuals for lives of creating, problem solving and critical thinking,” according to its Web site.

MCA over the past year has bought a handful of Midtown homes and renovated them in response to increased enrollment and higher demand for student housing.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Oil Prices Fall Despite Drop in Supply

Oil prices fell Wednesday as traders shrugged off an unexpected drop in crude supplies and focused instead on government data that showed Americans still have little appetite for more petroleum.

Benchmark crude for November delivery lost $1.15 to trade at $69.73 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude gave up 68 cents to $67.88 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Prices dropped immediately after the Energy Information Administration reported the nation’s oil supply dropped by 1 million barrels last week. The drop was unexpected – analysts thought stockpiles would grow by 1.9 million barrels – but investors found little else to like in the report.

Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, said crude demand continues to be unimpressive, noting the U.S. still has more oil in storage than last year.

American petroleum consumption has cooled so much that Sunoco Inc. announced Tuesday it would idle its Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J. As part of the decision, Sunoco said it would furlough 400 workers and cut its dividend.

“Most people look at Sunoco and wonder, who else is going to shut down until things improve?” Kloza said.

Regulators Seek Tighter Derivatives Oversight

As two federal regulators asked a House panel to tighten proposed legislation imposing new oversight on derivatives, Republican lawmakers contended the measure already could eliminate jobs and stifle companies’ ability to manage risks.

A potent new coalition of about 170 companies that use derivatives – including Boeing Co., Caterpillar Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co. and Shell Oil Co. – is lobbying Congress to make the case that legislative proposals to regulate the complex financial instruments could severely increase costs for corporate America.

“The end-user community has been constantly knocking on my door,” Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said Wednesday at a Financial Services Committee hearing.

Companies of all kinds use derivatives to hedge against risks – airlines ensuring against spikes in fuel prices, for example. At the same time, the complex products have become a growing vehicle for financial speculation and ballooned into a $600 trillion global trade. Regulators say they pose a threat to the stability of the financial system.

An increasingly splintered committee, and muscular lobbying efforts, heighten prospects for a tough fight toward final legislation. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the committee’s chairman, stressed the proposal he put forward is “a work in progress.” He acknowledged there may be “gaps” in some areas in the draft as written.

The proposals are designed to bring transparency to, and prevent manipulation in the sprawling derivatives market. Credit default swaps, a form of insurance against loan defaults, account for an estimated $60 trillion of that market. The collapse of the swaps brought the downfall of Wall Street banking house Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and nearly toppled American International Group Inc. last fall, prompting the government to support the insurance conglomerate with about $180 billion in aid.

The value of derivatives hinges on an underlying investment or commodity – such as currency rates, oil futures or interest rates. The derivative is designed to reduce the risk of loss from the underlying asset.

Belmont to Open Law School in 2011

Belmont University in Nashville has announced plans to launch a law school by 2011.

The Tennessean reported Wednesday that the Belmont College of Law would be the state’s sixth law school and the third in Nashville. Although the school has spent five years laying the plans, the news of the school had been kept secret until Tuesday night.

Belmont President Bob Fisher said because Belmont would be competing with Vanderbilt University Law School and the Nashville School of Law, he’s looking at the possibility of capitalizing on the school’s strong music business program to promote degrees in intellectual property law.

Fisher also said the university plans to spend $25 million to build a 75,000-square-foot school and law library on campus.

The Salvation Army Seeks Participants in Angel Tree

The Salvation Army is seeking organizations interested in participating in its Angel Tree program this Christmas season.

The Angel Tree program will benefit more than 7,000 underprivileged children and senior citizens.

Last year The Salvation Army had a 33 percent drop in the number of organizations that adopted Angels.

Typically each Angel receives three to four gifts and The Salvation Army will pick up the gifts from organizations that adopt more than 15 Angels.

Organizations adopting multiple Angels have until Oct. 22 to submit an adoption form. Individual adoptions can be made Nov. 20 through Dec. 12 at Carrefour at Kirby Woods, Oak Court Mall and Wolfchase Galleria. The gifts will be distributed Dec. 19.

For more information or adoption forms, call Lynn Shettles at 260-9118 or visit www.salvationarmymemphis.org.

Company Launches Oxford Sunday Paper

A company has launched a new Sunday-only newspaper in Oxford, Miss.

The Oxford Enterprise hit the streets this past Sunday.

The paper is published by Scott Coopwood’s family of businesses, which also publishes Delta Magazine, Delta Business Journal and another Sunday-only newspaper, the Cleveland Courant.

Oxford already has two newspapers published Monday through Friday, the locally owned The Oxford Eagle and The Daily Mississippian, the University of Mississippi’s newspaper.

“I did not go into Oxford thinking that I’m going to go head to head with The Oxford Eagle,” Coopwood said. “I think a weekend paper is a little more featury. We’re pretty good at that, coming from the magazine business.”

Coopwood’s plan is to distribute some 10,000 copies free for several weeks before it transitions to paid circulation, according to a report in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

“We have a small publishing company, and we want to expand,” Coopwood said. “Oxford seemed like a logical place to go. It didn’t have a Sunday paper, I’m an Ole Miss graduate, and one of our best salesmen for Delta Magazine lives in Oxford.”

PROPERTY SALES 56 437 16,061
MORTGAGES 76 508 18,556
BUILDING PERMITS 241 876 33,390
BANKRUPTCIES 64 301 10,314