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VOL. 9 | NO. 9 | Saturday, February 27, 2016

Daily Digest

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Mueller Buys Interest In South Korean Manufacturer

Memphis-based Mueller Industries Inc. has bought a 60 percent equity interest in a South Korean manufacturer of copper-based pipe joining products.

Mueller manufactures copper and copper alloy tubing, fittings, valves and other items used in plumbing and HVAC systems. It also makes the goods from aluminum, steel and plastics.

Mueller announced the purchase Friday, Feb. 19, of the interest in Jungwoo Metal Ind. Co. Ltd. Jungwoo’s headquarters is in Seoul and the company has a global reach with its products.

Mueller, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, said it expected to close the deal in the first quarter of 2016 pending regulatory approval in South Korea.

– Bill Dries

U of M Athletics Reaches New Five-Year Radio Deal

University of Memphis Athletics and Learfield’s Tiger Sports Network have agreed to a new five-year partnership with Rock 103 (WEGR-FM 102.7) and WREC-AM 600.

The two stations, which are owned by iHeartMedia, will provide coverage of Tiger sports in the greater Memphis area. Through the 2020-21 athletic season the stations will carry football and men’s basketball game broadcasts, as well as football and basketball coaches’ shows.

“iHeartMedia Memphis is proud to continue working with and broadcasting Memphis Athletics,” said Morgan D. Bohannon, area president. “We enjoy working with Learfield and Memphis Athletics and look forward to broadcasting Tiger athletics for many years to come.”

The partnerships between Memphis Athletics and iHeartMedia are managed by Tiger Sports Properties, a property of Learfield, which oversees all aspects related to Memphis Athletics’ rights, including Memphis Tiger Sports Network.

– Don Wade

Memphis Cheddar’s Settles Sexual Harassment Claim

The owner of a Memphis Cheddar’s Casual Cafe restaurant has agreed to pay 15 workers at the restaurant at 7684 Winchester Road a total of $450,000 to resolve a sexual harassment complaint against the owner of the business.

The terms of the settlement are in a consent decree approved Friday, Feb. 19, by U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes. The consent decree resolves a lawsuit filed in September by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Mint Julep Restaurant Operations LLC.

The lawsuit claimed sexual harassment by managers of the restaurant that continued and persisted despite complaints by those being harassed to leaders of the company.

“Having and disseminating an anti-harassment policy does not satisfy federal prohibitions against sexual harassment,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Faye Williams in a written statement. “Employers must also enforce it. … An unenforced policy is tantamount to having no policy at all.”

The lawsuit alleged a hostile work environment by the general manager and a bar manager.

The consent decree includes sexual harassment training, installation of workplace cameras, other monitoring of the workplace and a notice of the settlement to be posted in the Winchester Road restaurant.

– Bill Dries

Lauderdale County Gets New Car Parts Factory

FAIST Light Metals will open a new $3.1 million plant in Ripley, Tenn., that will create 30 new jobs in Lauderdale County.

Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced the new plant Monday, Feb. 22.

FAIST, which has its headquarters in Italy, makes automotive components and has two other North American locations.

The company also bought a 65,000-square-foot facility in Ripley for future growth.

Lauderdale County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2015 was 9.2 percent compared to a 5.3 percent for the state.

– Bill Dries

Study: Smarter to Buy Than Rent in Shelby County

It’s a good time to buy in Shelby County, according to a recent study from SmartAsset. In looking at Tennessee’s major counties, Shelby County came in at No. 6 as one of the best markets to own a home.

The average monthly rent is $1,219 while the average monthly mortgage payments are $488. With an average home price of $120,388, a Shelby County homeowner would break even, or recuperate the upfront costs of buying a home, within 2.5 years.

– Madeline Faber

TransLoc Needs Beta Testers For Memphis Rider App

Transportation technology firm TransLoc is recruiting beta testers the TransLoc Rider with Uber app that’s being piloted by Memphis Area Transit Authority.

MATA is one of two agencies to pilot the updated app, which lets users plot the optimal route to their destination, including a combination of public transit, Uber and walking. If a trip includes Uber, users can hail and book the ride with one click.

By helping riders get to and from transit, the app aims to remove one of the biggest barriers to public transit: the distance to and from the stop.

“This beta program is an opportunity for us to learn how we can improve the experience of transit for riders,” said Alex Gibson, TransLoc product manager. “Community feedback will play a crucial role in helping us reach this goal.”

The Rider app is available for the iOS and Android platforms. Beta testers – who can sign up at hub.transloc.com/uber – will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the development team in exchange for swag and promos from TransLoc and Uber.

– Kate Simone

Haslam Endorses Rubio In Tennessee Primary

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio in advance of the Tuesday, March 1, Tennessee primaries.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Feb. 25, by the Rubio campaign, Haslam talked about the need for a Republican presidential nominee who can win in the November general election.

“To win in November, conservatives need a candidate who inspires Americans from all backgrounds,” Haslam said. “With Marco standing next to Hillary Clinton on a debate stage, the choice between the future and the past will be clear to every American.”

Haslam’s endorsement comes at the start of a crucial week for such endorsements.

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker said last week that they anticipated appeals by several of the Republican contenders this week seeking their endorsements.

Neither had made an endorsement in the primary race at press time.

Rubio is trying to position himself as the consensus party establishment candidate.

The recent history of the Tennessee presidential primary shows a gap between who Republicans select and who is backed by the party establishment.

Mitt Romney was the state party establishment’s candidate in the 2012 primary and the eventual presidential nominee. But rival Rick Santorum carried Shelby County and the state in that year’s Republican presidential primary.

In 2008, John McCain was the nominee and the choice of the state party’s establishment. But Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County and the state in the primary.

Meanwhile, other presidential contenders continue to add Tennessee dates to their campaign calendars.

Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson has added a Sunday, Feb. 28, visit to Alpha Omega Veterans Services Inc. in Memphis after attending services at Highpoint Church in East Memphis.

GOP rivals John Kasich and Donald Trump have already scheduled campaign stops. Trump holds a rally Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Millington Jetport and Kasich holds a town hall meeting Friday evening, Feb. 26, at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton scheduled a Sunday, Feb. 28, event in Nashville.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Among Top Cities For Female-Led Firms

Nashville and Chattanooga have been ranked the two best cities in the country for women-owned businesses, and Memphis comes in at No. 4 in a nationwide analysis released Monday. The rankings come from financial website WalletHub, which looked at the business climate for female-led firms in the 100 most-populated areas in the country.

The Nashville Davidson County Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the cities of Franklin and Murfreesboro, topped the list as the overall best place for a woman to start a business. The survey didn't say why Tennessee's cities fared so well in the analysis. Knoxville and its surrounding area also came in at No. 15.

A recent study by American Express showed there are an estimated 9.4 million female-owned business in the country.

– The Associated Press

Noah’s Event Venue Closes On Memphis Location

Noah’s Event Venue is moving forward with its first Tennessee location.

The national wedding and event venue company closed on a 2.5-acre parcel of land at 3210 Players Club Parkway. In a Feb. 5 warranty deed, Rockwell Memphis LLC sold the land for $1.4 million to Noah’s Event Venue, acting as Four Brothers Plus One, Inc.

Construction on the 8,700-square-foot facility is expected to begin in April with a February 2017 opening.

– Madeline Faber

Diversified Trust Promotes Principals Clark and Davis

Diversified Trust, a Southeast-based comprehensive wealth management firm with over $5 billion in client assets, has promoted two professionals.

Jo Len Clark has been named a principal, and Jay Davis has been named vice president.

Clark has been with Diversified Trust for 15 years and serves as a member of the client service team. Her responsibilities include overseeing client administration and reporting in the Memphis office, and she leads account administration and services firm-wide.

Davis is primarily responsible for day-to-day accounting and treasury functions. He also oversees preparation of monthly financial statements and other reports in accordance with senior management needs.

– Andy Meek

Page Confirmed As Tenn. Supreme Court Justice

The Tennessee General Assembly met in joint session Monday, Feb. 22, to approve Roger Page, of Medina, Tenn., as the newest justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Page’s confirmation was the Legislature’s first approval of a governor’s nominee for the state’s highest court under a newly enacted state law that gives the Legislature confirmation power over all appellate court appointees.

Tennessee voters approved an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution in 2014 establishing the confirmation power. But the Legislature just approved a specific process for confirmation in this year’s session of the General Assembly.

Page comes to the Tennessee Supreme Court from the state Court of Criminal Appeals.

– Bill Dries

EdR Reports 34 Pct. Drop In Fourth-Quarter Earnings

EdR wrapped up the fourth quarter of 2015 with an increase in funds from operations but a sharp drop in net income.

The Memphis-based real estate investment trust on Monday, Feb. 22, reported Q4 net income of $14.8 million, or 27 cents per share. That’s a 34 percent decrease from Q4 2015, when net income was $22.4 million, or 47 cents per share.

Core funds from operations came in at $32.7 million, or 61 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares to core FFO of $28.9 million, or 60 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Net income for full-year 2015 was $19.9 million, or 40 cents per diluted share, compared to $47.1 million, or $1.09 per share, in 2014.

In an earnings release, EdR said its two acquisitions and four ground-up developments delivered in 2015 were offset by higher ground lease expense, corporate general and administrative costs and interest expense.

The new communities total $208 million in development and $58.5 million in acquisitions, growing EdR’s assets by 14 percent.

The coming year will see several more developments, with EdR selected to build student housing for Michigan State University, Texas State University, Cornell University and Shepherd University.

In January, EdR announced plans to sell 5.5 million shares of common stock in an underwritten public offering. EdR, which is one of the nation’s largest owners, developers and managers of collegiate housing, priced the stock at $35.50 per share to the public and granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 825,000 additional shares of common stock.

The sale, which closed Jan. 19, raised more than $215.1 million.

“2015 was a productive and successful year for EdR,” said Randy Churchey, EdR’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Twice near year end, we accessed favorable equity markets to strengthen our capital structure, improving balance sheet metrics and positioning the company to take advantage of the many additional growth opportunities we are seeing that will continue to drive shareholder value."

– Madeline Faber

Former Louisville Mayor To Keynote RegionSmart

A council of mayors from the Memphis region will hold a summit in Memphis April 28 that will include the White House director of intergovernmental affairs, who also is a five-term mayor of Louisville, Ky.

Jerry Abramson, who is also a deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, will be the keynote speaker at the RegionSmart event convened by the Urban Land Institute at the Halloran Centre, 203 S. Main St.

In the position, Abramson oversees the Obama administration’s relationship and programs with state and local governments.

The daylong session from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. is one of six times during the year that the Mid-South Mayor’s Council will meet to discuss a specific topic.

The April 28 gathering is to discuss regional collaboration.

Abramson is a former lieutenant governor of Kentucky and before that was mayor of Louisville for 21 years. Abramson’s terms as mayor included the consolidation of Louisville government into a metro form of government starting in 2003.

The Daily News is a sponsor of the RegionSmart summit.

– Bill Dries

FedEx St. Jude Classic Tickets Now on Sale

The annual PGA Tour stop, the FedEx St. Jude Classic, returns to Memphis on June 6-12 at TPC Southwind, and tickets are now on sale.

Defending champion Fabian Gomez is expected to return to Memphis. Last year he held off Phil Mickelson to win the title. Since then, Gomez has won the Sony Open and currently is in the Top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 901-748-0534, or by going to stjudeclassic.com.

– Don Wade

Memphis Chamber to Host ‘State of Small Business’

The Greater Memphis Chamber and its Small Business Council are hosting a State of Small Business event next week at the Crescent Club.

The goal of the March 1 event, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., will be to share expert advice on the resources small-business owners can access to succeed, and also to hear from seasoned small-business owners about their experiences.

The speaker lineup includes Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary; Duncan-Williams Inc. president Duncan Williams; Independent Bank co-chairman and president Susan Stephenson; Chism Hardy Investments LLC president and CEO Carolyn Hardy; EPIcenter president Leslie Smith; Clarion Security president Kim Heathcott; and Rory Thomas, executive director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.

The event is $35 for members and $40 for prospective members. To register, contact Lauren Loeb at lloeb@memphischamber.com or visit memphischamber.com.

– Andy Meek

Former Memphis QB Lynch Set for 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.

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 Tiger 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 data 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.

– Terry Hollahan

Shelby Farms Zip Line Returns March 5

Five zip lines, two “Tarzan” swings and 41 treetop obstacles are set to open March 5 in Shelby Farms Park for the second season of the Treetop Adventure Course.

The zip lines, swings and 40-foot-high course offer a two- to three-hour experience in the forest canopy of the park.

The course was developed by the company Go Ape and the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy for a variety of skill levels.

It also offers a view from 40 feet up of the park, including its forest canopy.

The adventure course can be booked with reservations and the physical location is at 500 N. Pine Lake Drive.

– Bill Dries

Bill to End Newspaper Notice Requirement Fails

A proposal to allow legal notices to be published online instead of in printed newspapers has failed in a Senate committee.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, did not receive a motion in the State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Gardenhire said the measure was brought to him by city and county mayors. It would have given the electronic notice the same legal effect as one published in a newspaper.

Open government groups and newspapers have opposed the proposed change in the past because of concerns that the notices would be harder to find and because not everyone has access to the Internet.

– The Associated Press

First Tennessee Continues 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. The bank's 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 area 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

Bring It Food Hub Taking Summer Subscriptions

Memphis-based Bring It Food Hub is taking summer subscriptions for its community-supported agriculture program.

The nonprofit Bring It Food Hub culls together fresh fruits and vegetables from more than a dozen surrounding farms and delivers the boxes to community locations for individual pickup.

The 2016 summer subscription will run 18 weeks – May 3 through Sept. 2 – with the option of signing up for all three months or just one or two. Boxes contain anywhere between five to 10 different fruits and vegetables and come in two sizes – the Classic, for $20 each, and the Deluxe, for $35 each.

Last summer saw more than 310 CSA shares per week.

Individuals also can donate to the organization’s Pay It Forward program, which delivers fresh produce to food-insecure homes. Every $20 donation delivers one week’s worth of produce.

For more information, visit bringitfoodhub.com.

– Madeline Faber

Grizz Holding One-Day Sale For Deals on March Games

The Memphis Grizzlies will have a one-day-only deal that only comes once every four years – Grizz’s Leap Year Deal – where fans can get select tickets to all March home games for up to 29 percent off regular prices.

The offer goes live on Monday, Feb. 29, at 10 a.m. and lasts through midnight (while supplies last). Grizz’s Leap Year Deal tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, visiting Grizzlies.com, at all Ticketmaster locations or the FedExForum Box Office (based on availability).

The Grizzlies’ home slate for March includes eight home games – all against Western Conference opponents – and includes the final home matchups against the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans. Once March tips off, the Grizzlies 2015-16 regular season will close with only 11 more home games, eight of which are in March.

Mount Grizzmore collectibles #3 and #4 are up for grabs to the first 4,000 fans at the March 4 contest vs. Utah (Zach Randolph) and the April 5 contest vs. Chicago (Marc Gasol).

– Don Wade

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