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VOL. 131 | NO. 40 | Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily Digest

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Shelby County Early Voting Turnout Tops 43,000

Shelby County early voting in advance of the March 1 presidential primaries election day topped 43,000 ballot, according to the Shelby County Election Commission.

The 43,543 early votes cast between Feb. 10 and Feb. 23 was more than in 2008 when more than 30,000 early votes were cast locally in the Tennessee primary.

The 2016 primary voter turnout showed most of the turnout, 26,397 ballots, was in the Democratic primary with 17,146 early votes in the Republican primary.

Meanwhile, state election officials reported a statewide early voter turnout of 383,259 which breaks the Tennessee early voting record set in the 2008 Tennessee primary elections.

The Shelby County turnout included a large turnout on the last two days of the early voting period which were the two largest daily turnouts of the period.

Turnout for those two days was 23,956 which was more than half of the total turnout.

Polls at election day precincts across Shelby County are open Tuesday March 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

– Bill Dries

Reward Posted for Info On Agricenter Sign Vandalism

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information about the second vandalism of the Agricenter International digital sign on Walnut Grove Road.

The sign was targeted by vandals this week with what appeared to be gunshots evident in the sign.

Last May, the sign was peppered with as many as 15 shots overnight by someone who was driving east on Walnut Grove.

Agricenter president John Charles Wilson said his concern is that the gunfire could easily hit a runner or someone else standing nearby.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the latest incident of felony vandalism.

– Bill Dries

3T Cycling, Victory Bike CEO To Open Service Center

3T Cycling, an international manufacturer of bicycle components and equipment, has chosen Memphis for its first North American customer service and repair center for 3T wheels.

Clark Butcher, owner and CEO of Victory Bicycle Studio, will lead the venture, creating a new alliance between 3T and Victory.

Butcher is focusing his efforts on Binghampton – where Victory is already located – for the new 3T center, and plans to staff it with neighborhood youth.

“My main goal for the repair and customer service center is for it to be located within walking distance to Binghampton,” Butcher said in a statement. “I want to give young men and women in the community the opportunity to learn a skill that leads to a full-time career and clear path to prosperity.”

He plans to finalize the location over the next few months. During that time, 3T Cycling’s CEO and COO will come from Milan, Italy, to tour Memphis.

3T’s products include components and equipment for every kind of bike racing, from handlebars and seat posts to wheels and aerobars. In 2015, they added five new service centers across Canada and Europe.

– Kate Simone

Former Memphis QB Lynch To Participate in NFL Combine

Paxton Lynch, the former University of Memphis quarterback who set school records for single season passing yards and passing touchdowns and who helped lead Memphis to 19 wins over the past two seasons, will participate in the NFL Combine that begins this week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The quarterback portion of the combine will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, beginning at 8 a.m. CST and will be carried live on the NFL Network. 

In 2015, Lynch passed for 3,775 yards and 28 touchdowns and completed 66.8 percent (296-of-443) of his pass attempts with just four interceptions. 

He started at quarterback for Memphis for three seasons, wrapping up his career with 8,865 passing yards and 59 passing touchdowns. One of 12 finalists for the Manning Award, Lynch was also a first-team, all-American Athletic Conference honoree last season. 

In his final game in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, he was 9-for-14 for 222 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns while playing in just the opening half. He completed scoring strikes to seven different receivers and his seven first-half TD passes tied an NCAA FBS record.

The Deltona, Fla., native decided to declare for the NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, after guiding Memphis to a second straight bowl appearance. He is attempting to become the third Tiger drafted in two seasons and the fourth since 2014. Memphis had two players drafted last year (Bobby McCain, fifth round, Dolphins, and Martin Ifedi, seventh round, Rams).  

Defensive lineman Dontari Poe who, like Lynch, decided to bypass his senior season, was the last Memphis player drafted in the first round when he was drafted 11th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. 

– Don Wade

Tennessee Business Filings Up 7.2 Percent in Q4

New business filings in Tennessee rose 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to 2014, a sign the state’s economy is continuing to grow.

The Division of Business Services recorded more than 30,000 new entity filings in 2015, including 7,712 in the fourth quarter, according to the Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report. 

The report covers a variety of business data, including new business figures from the Division of Business Services. It is published through a partnership with Secretary of State Tre Hargett and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

“Our state economy continues to have a positive outlook every time we pull this data,” Hargett said. “It’s obvious more and more businesses are choosing Tennessee.”

Davidson County recorded 1,692 new business filings, followed by Shelby County with 1,299 filings.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in December, down from 6.6 percent in December 2014. The national unemployment rate in December was 4.9 percent.

– Terry Hollahan

First Tennessee Continued Strong Giving Efforts in 2015

2015 was another banner year for First Tennessee’s volunteer efforts.

In addition to hundreds of employees volunteering thousands of service hours to area nonprofit organizations, the First Tennessee Foundation donated almost $6 million to nonprofits in the bank’s communities.

Almost 650 First Tennessee employees recorded 17,997 volunteer service hours at 3,142 events over the course of the year, with those volunteer hours translating into a community impact value of $415,190. Employee efforts are supported through leadership grants and matching gifts programs.

First Tennessee had 329 employees in West Tennessee who recorded 4,893 volunteer hours for more than 175 organizations.

In 2015, total foundation giving reached nearly $6 million through grants to 525 nonprofit organizations. More than 100 nonprofits received leadership grants totaling $80,000, while more than $450,000 in matching grants was distributed to 340 nonprofits.

Since its inception in 1993, the First Tennessee Foundation has donated more than $65 million.

– Andy Meek

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115