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VOL. 127 | NO. 247 | Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Digest

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Roberts Benchmark Hotel on Union Sells for $3.2 Million

A Nashville investor has paid $3.2 million for the 120-room Roberts Benchmark Hotel at 164 Union Ave. in Downtown.

MNR Hospitality LLC bought the 103,152-square-foot hotel in a Dec. 5 warranty deed from RHG Memphis Hotel Inc. No financing was affiliated with the transaction.

Built in 1958, the hotel sits on roughly half an acre at the northwest corner of Third Street and Union, across from The Peabody hotel and AutoZone Park. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $1.7 million.

The sellers of the Benchmark Hotel, formerly the Best Western Benchmark Hotel, dropped their affiliation with a brand name a couple years ago and put the property up for sale in 2011.

Operating under the name Metro Hotels Inc, RHG Memphis Hotel bought the hotel in 1994 for $1.5 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Pinnacle Airlines, Pilots Association Reach Tentative Agreement

Pinnacle Airlines Inc. has reached a tentative labor contract agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association as part of the ongoing bankruptcy reorganization of its parent company, Pinnacle Airlines Corp.

Word of the agreement, still to be ratified by the union came Monday, Dec. 17. It was just hours after the Memphis-based regional air carrier and Delta Air Lines announced an extension of the deadline for a final order approving Pinnacle’s bankruptcy settlement in federal bankruptcy court including new contract agreements with Pinnacle employees.

The previous deadline was Dec. 13.

Delta, which is Pinnacle’s major customer post-bankruptcy, agreed with Pinnacle executives to extend the date to Jan. 17.

The union pilots are scheduled to vote on the new contract in January.

Pinnacle filed for bankruptcy reorganization in April. Its original reorganization plan was scrapped after Delta reached a new contract with the Air Line Pilots Association in June that allowed Delta to drop flights using smaller 50-seat jets sooner than expected. Those smaller jets make up a sizeable part of Pinnacle’s fleet. As a result, Pinnacle went back to its employee groups seeking further wage and benefit concessions.

– Bill Dries

Obsidian Public Relations Selects 180-Degree Winners

Obsidian Public Relations selected The Blues Foundation and the Fire Museum of Memphis as the 2013 recipients of its annual PR 180 Degree Project, a pro bono public relations initiative that provides two Mid-South nonprofits with six months of free PR to help the organizations achieve a 180-degree turn in publicity success.

Both organization will receive about 180 days worth of marketing services based on each groups’ particular needs, from foundation building to event promotion to social media expertise.

“Sometimes, not-for-profits see PR as an expense they cannot handle,” said Obsidian founder Courtney Liebenrood Ellett. “When we’re able to offer pro bono services throughout the year, it’s almost like a luxury they wouldn’t have been able to afford, and so I see great need in that.”

Leaders at Memphis-area nonprofits submitted 25 e-mailed nominations. The public then voted on nominated organizations through Obsidian’s Facebook page. After tallying initial votes, the five organizations with the most votes moved on to a two-day runoff vote to determine the two winners.

More than 6,000 people voted. The Blues Foundation received 1,111 likes and the Fire Museum of Memphis received 764 likes in the Facebook voting.

– Sarah Baker

Brentwood Funeral Services Buys Clarksdale Cemetery

Brentwood Funeral Services LLC has acquired Memorial Gardens Cemetery of Clarksdale, Miss., the second acquisition by Brentwood this year in North Mississippi.

Memorial Gardens is the only perpetual care cemetery in Coahoma County.

Last month, Brentwood bought Kimbro Funeral Home of Marks, Miss.

Kimbro had been family owned and operated since the 1930s.

Brentwood is owned by former Shelby County Commissioner and Memphis City Council member Brent Taylor and his wife, Kimberly.

Brentwood owns six funeral homes and two cemeteries in West Tennessee and North Mississippi.

– Bill Dries

Paragon National Bank Hosts Student Artwork

Paragon National Bank’s Saddle Creek branch at 7600 Poplar Ave. is showing art pieces from Dogwood Elementary School students through January.

The display marks the fourth student exhibit hosted this year by Paragon, which also featured monthly art installations from Houston Middle School, Bodine School and St. Louis Catholic School.

Paragon partnered with Dogwood Elementary art teachers Dotty Coulson, Aimee Jones and Norma Powell to select and display artwork created by 27 students. The inspired artwork was created using various mediums including chalk pastels, oil pastels, watercolor and tempera paint.

In addition, students used printmaking techniques to create the fall leaf projects and the collaged compositions were constructed with cut or torn paper.

– Andy Meek

State Offers Free Mortgage Assistance Hotline

Tennessee homeowners facing possible foreclosure can call a free hotline for help.

According to the state attorney general’s office, Tennessee’s Mortgage Assistance Hotline offers reliable information and referrals to free foreclosure prevention counseling.

The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Callers can get free counseling or get a referral for in-person counseling at a local nonprofit.

The hotline is a partnership between the state of Tennessee and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation – a nonprofit that has been operating a national hotline for the past five years.

The number for the Mortgage Assistance Hotline is (855) 876-7283.

– The Associated Press

New Technology Needed for Online Student Testing

Tennessee schools need to upgrade technology in time for new online student assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, there’s no clear indication yet where the money is coming from.

The state committed to students taking a new, more universal exam when it applied to get federal funding through the Race to the Top education initiative. State officials then joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career consortium. There are 23 states working together to create a common assessment in reading and math skills.

State officials say it’s too early to talk about possible technology funding in the new fiscal year budget. Cash-strapped local school systems would be hard pressed to bear the expense.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 56 94 12,852
MORTGAGES 23 50 8,053
BUILDING PERMITS 285 422 30,356
BANKRUPTCIES 23 67 6,131