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VOL. 126 | NO. 139 | Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daily Digest

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U of M-Area Apts. Sell for $1.6M in Foreclosure

Sycamore Bank has bought three apartment complexes near the University of Memphis at a substitute trustee’s sale, or foreclosure sale, for $1.6 million. The complexes were foreclosed after the borrower, Little Rock-based Polk Rental Properties of Memphis LLC, defaulted on loans taken out through Sycamore Bank.

The original loan for $2.4 million was taken out in September 2009. Three loan modifications were filed in 2010, according to the substitute trustee’s deed. The sale was presided over by Eric L. Sappenfield as substitute trustee.

The loan was secured by three properties: 3251 Southern Ave. (built in 1964), 3341 Southern Ave. (built in 1968) and 3427 Southern Ave. (built in 1964). Together, the properties have 113 units totaling 127,253 square feet.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Wharton Files for Re-Election

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. filed his qualifying petition for re-election Monday, July 18 at noon.

Wharton is seeking a full four-year term in the office he won in October 2009 in a special election following the resignation of Willie Herenton.

Wharton will open his campaign headquarters Saturday in Midtown.

Thursday, July 21, at noon is the deadline for candidates to file in the mayor’s race and contests for 13 Memphis City Council seats, City Court clerk and races for three City Court judges.

As the week began, Wharton had nine prospective challengers among those who had already filed and those who had pulled petitions but not filed yet.

In the 2009 special election, Wharton emerged with the top vote totals in a record-setting field of 25 candidates.

The most recognizable names weighing a challenge of Wharton are Memphis City Schools board member Kenneth Whalum Jr., Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey and former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr.

– Bill Dries

The Dive Shop Celebrates 50 Years in Business

The Dive Shop in East Memphis will celebrate its 50th year in business Saturday, July 23. The event, an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature food and music as well as seminars on a variety of diving topics and photography from local photographers’ trips around the world.

The Dive Shop Memphis was recently recognized at the Scuba Schools of America National Dealer Conference in Loveland, Colo., for 50 years of superior training, travel and equipment in the Mid-South.

Doug McNeese opened the store across from East High School in 1961, and by 1981, after his son had taken over the business, The Dive Shop had grown to three locations: one in Little Rock, one in Atlanta and the original Memphis store.

The shop has moved to a new location in East Memphis on Yates Road, and the facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art pool and multimedia classrooms for dive training. The Dive Shop Memphis is the only facility of its kind in the region, featuring all levels of training and equipment for SCUBA, snorkeling and swimming.

Today, The Dive Shop has four locations: Memphis, Little Rock, Marietta, Ga., and Joplin, Mo. The stores also sponsor trips locally and worldwide for divers of all levels, with locations including the Cayman Islands, Honduras, Belize, Micronesia, Indonesia and Australia.

– Estes Gould

State Systems Inc. Acquires Communications Tech Group

Memphis-based total protection company State Systems Inc. has acquired Communications Technology Group Inc., a firm specializing in communications systems and low-voltage services.

With the acquisition, State Systems will be able to enhance its technology division focused on structured cabling. The move also gives State Systems the ability to offer customers a variety of telephone sales and services options.

Communications Technology Group’s digital signage division also will broaden the range of services State Systems can offer clients.

Communications Technology Group was founded in 2003 by Bartlett-area residents Larry Brown and Doug Wylie. It has a certified team of engineers and technicians and a variety of services that range from structured cabling systems and fiber-optic cable services to voice over internet protocol, or VOIP, and business telephone systems and services.

State Systems is a privately owned company with services housed in five divisions: fire protection, cleaning services, technology, low voltage and first aid.

– Andy Meek

Methodist Foundation Honors Health Care Leaders

The Methodist Healthcare Foundation will honor five recipients during its 2011 Living Awards Benefit, Thursday, Aug. 11. at The Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave.

The awards recognize individuals or organizations that have demonstrated their leadership and commitment to the mission of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, as well as those whose faith-based initiatives have had a profound impact on local, national and global health care.

This year’s honorees are the Rev. Jerry Corlew, Dr. Bill C. Weber, Dr. S. Terry Canale and the Church Health Center.

Dr. Bob Waller will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award. The award is given on special occasions to recognize those who have shown extraordinary commitment and leadership in the health care profession, as well as notable humanitarian efforts, dedicated service and bold achievements that have contributed to the quality of health care nationwide.

Waller, a former CEO and president of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is a trustee at Rhodes College, serves on the board of directors for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and the Howard Baker School of Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, and is active with the Church Health Center.

The festivities will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. in the Continental Ballroom followed by dinner and the awards presentation at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.

Tickets for the Living Awards are $100 an individual or $1,000 for a table for 10, and can be purchased by calling 516-0500.

– Aisling Maki

Orion Credit Union Names First Home Run Recipient

Orion Federal Credit Union has named the first recipient of one of its “Home Run” houses.

As a Home Run candidate, Blondell Phillips will rent her home, owned by Orion FCU, for two years, make regular monthly payments and attend a financial education course administered by the credit union. After two years of successful payments, Orion will sell the house to Phillips at a cost below the tax appraisal and apply her 24 months of rent as a mortgage down payment.

Phillips was presented the keys to her new home June 10.

“The goal of this program is to match good people, who for one reason or another have had trouble qualifying for a traditional mortgage, with a nice, affordable home that might otherwise have gone vacant for months in the current housing market,” said Orion CEO Daniel Weickenand.

– Andy Meek

UT Med Group Doctors Recognized as Top Docs

Twenty physicians from UT Medical Group Inc. have been recognized on the Top Doctors 2011 list.

They are Judith E. Soberman and Karl T. Weber, Cardiovascular Disease; Owen P. Phillips, Clinical Genetics; Jaquelyn Fleckenstein, Gastroenterology; Patricia Adams-Graves, Hematology; James E. Bailey and Robert E. Morrison, Internal Medicine; Giancarlo Mari, Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine; Mark S. LeDoux, Neurology; Edwin M. Thorpe Jr., Obstetrics and Gynecology; Barrett Haik, Natalie C. Kerr and Matthew W. Wilson, Ophthalmology; Sandeep Samant, Otolaryngology; Daniel C. Martin, Reproductive Endocrinology; Stephen W. Behrman and James Eason, Surgery; and Anthony Lynn Patterson and Robert W. Wake, Urology.

The national survey of physicians and medical leadership of hospitals was conducted by a physician-led team from the research firm Castle Connolly Medical Limited. The complete list is available at www.castleconnolly.com and the names of all regional and national top doctors will be published on the U.S. News and World Report website www.usnews.com later this month.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Memphis Zoo Help Develop Panda 'Pregnancy Test'

The Memphis Zoo, one of four zoos in the U.S. to house giant pandas, has discovered a breakthrough that could make it easier for zoos worldwide to breed pandas.
Memphis Zoo researcher Dr. Erin Willis will be featured in a scientific publication this month for her research breakthrough on panda pregnancies, which have been difficult to detect in early stages due to a phenomenon known as “pseudo-pregnancy.”
Pseudo-pregnancies happen when female pandas display all the signs of pregnancy but are not pregnant.
“For decades, researchers all over the world have been searching for a ‘magic bullet’ that would provide a pregnancy test for giant pandas and other exotic wildlife that undergo pseudo-pregnancy,” Willis states in her article.
The research included samples from female pandas at the four U.S. zoos with giant pandas: the Memphis Zoo, National Zoo (Washington, D.C.), San Diego Zoo and Zoo Atlanta.
Dr. Andy Kouba, director of Conservation and Research for the Memphis Zoo, said that knowing an animal is definitely pregnant helps managers modify the animal’s dens and diets, remove them from other bears that might injure a newborn, prepare for the possibility of hand-raising the young, or even install cameras to monitor a cub.
“This newfound information can be critical to the success of a captive breeding program,” Kouba said. “The new assay developed by Dr. Willis and the Memphis Zoo will provide the necessary tools to manage pregnancies in giant pandas and has the potential to assist in managing many other bear and canine species.”

– Estes Gould

Tennessee Flea Market Closes

The Tennessee Flea Market, the largest indoor flea market in Tennessee, closed its doors Sunday afternoon, leaving about 300 vendors without a place to market their products. The property managers called a meeting over the weekend and told vendors they must have their products out of the building by 5 p.m. Sunday, July 17, said Tiffany Greenlee, owner of The Candle Bakery and a vendor at the market.
The Small Business Chamber, some of whose members are vendors at the market, posted on its Facebook page Sunday that the initial manager had stolen $200,000 from the business and made other poor business decisions. The SBC also reported investors lost more than $700,000 and cannot continue to operate the business.
The vendors are being forced to leave the market even though some have paid rent through the end of the month.
“We all had paid rent for the month of July, so nobody received any of their money back. And for the ones who hadn’t paid, they were holding their stuff hostage until they paid, even though they were going to vacate,” Greenlee said.
One vendor who preferred to remain nameless said it was a good opportunity for small business owners, but he never wants to be a part of that situation again.
“It was pretty devastating for a lot of us,” Greenlee said. “It was like an incubator for small businesses to have a place to get started, and some vendors had to just pack up their stuff and leave, not know exactly where we were going to go.”
The Tennessee Flea Market opened in April with 600 vendors inside the old Kmart building near Winchester and Riverdale roads. It was Memphis’ first flea market scheduled to be open every weekend of the year.

– Houston Cofield

PROPERTY SALES 51 328 20,960
MORTGAGES 58 387 24,132
BUILDING PERMITS 170 842 43,435
BANKRUPTCIES 50 288 13,468