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VOL. 35 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 7, 2011

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Surge in bankruptcies

shows signs of slowing

Growth in bankruptcies across the country slowed significantly in 2010 from its breakneck pace in recent years, with about a dozen states – including Tennessee -- recording a decline in filings from consumers and businesses, according to an Associated Press tally.

Filings collected from the nation’s 90 bankruptcy districts showed 113,000 bankruptcies in December, down 3 percent nationwide from the same month a year ago. That followed a similar year-over-year decline for the month of October. It had been four years since an individual month showed such an improvement.

In total, the nation recorded 1.55 million filings in 2010, an increase of 8 percent from 2009 and a far slower growth rate than the 32 percent jump recorded in the year before and the 33 percent jump the year before that.

Numbers indicated stark regional differences. Thirteen states recorded an annual decline, mainly in the South, with West Virginia leading the way with a 10 percent drop in cases. Tennessee was second (8 percent drop), followed by South Carolina (5 percent), North Carolina (4 percent) and Iowa (3 percent).

The West, however, indicated ongoing growth in filings, with numbers rising in places like Hawaii (22 percent), Utah (19 percent), California (19 percent) and Arizona (18 percent).

– Associated Press

4 new members named

to lawyer ethics board

The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed four new members to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, which is responsible for overseeing the ethical conduct of attorneys.

They are Michael E. Callaway of Cleveland, Wade V. Davies of Knoxville, Michael U. King of Huntingdon and J. Russell Parkes of Columbia.

The court has also reappointed Kate Gooch and Clarence Halmon, both of Memphis, to the nine-member board.

Additionally, the court named Lela M. Hollabaugh of Nashville as chairwoman of the board and Halmon as vice chairman.

– Associated Press

Predators’ owners

get new credit facility

The owners of the Nashville Predators have established a new $75 million senior credit facility in a move to improve the organization’s financial stability.

The transaction was led by Regions Bank, but also included investments from other financial institutions either headquartered in the Nashville area or with significant presence in the city.

Predators Holdings LLC Chairman Tom Cigarran said the refinancing of the loan acquired by the ownership group in 2007 will allow the team to recruit additional local investors and begin negotiations with the city over the lease with Bridgestone Arena.

Financial troubles have plagued the local ownership group, but last year they bought a 26 percent stake in the team held by the bankrupt estate of a California financier jailed for fraud.

– Associated Press

Dollar General will hire

6,000 for new stores

Discount-store operator Dollar General Corp. said Monday it plans to open 625 new stores and hire more than 6,000 workers in 2011.

The company said Monday the store openings will be in 35 states it currently operates in as well as in three new states: Connecticut, Nevada and New Hampshire. It also plans to remodel or relocate 550 stores.

Dollar General, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., currently operates 9,200 stores and employs 88,000 staffers.

Its stores have gained market share from competitors such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as consumers count pennies because of high unemployment and the uncertain economy.

In December Dollar General said its third-quarter net income rose 69 percent, helped by cost cuts and higher revenue, and the company raised its full-year guidance. Its revenue rose 10 percent to $3.22 billion.

Its shares rose 12 cents to $30.78 in morning trading.

– Associated Press

Franklin mayor named

TDOT commissioner

Republican Gov.-elect Bill Haslam has named Franklin Mayor John Schroer as his transportation commissioner.

Haslam said in a news release Tuesday that Schroer’s experience as mayor gives him “knowledge of transportation issues at the ground level.”

Fifty-nine-year-old Schroer has been mayor of Franklin since 2007. He previously worked in commercial real estate and was a member of the Franklin Special School Board for 13 years.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has an annual budget of about $1.76 billion.

The Haslam administration takes office Jan. 15.

– Associated Press

Council considers bill

to demolish racetrack

Metro Council is weighing a bill that will determine whether the Nashville Speedway remains standing or is cleared for a new park.

The council has a Jan. 18 public hearing and second vote set on the issue. Mayor Karl Dean says he supports tearing down the racetrack in favor of a public park.

Demolishing the racetrack is the next step in Dean’s plans to redevelop the 117-acre fairgrounds property. But, racing fans started a petition drive to save the track last and gathered more than 40,000 signatures.

Current operator Tony Formosa, whose four decades at the Nashville Speedway include time as a driver, pit crew manager and promoter, said he believes the troubled track is viable if an operator were to be given at least a 10-year lease.

– Associated Press

Bond-McKissack named director

of CLE Commission

Judy Bond-McKissack will head the agency responsible for overseeing the continuing legal education of the state’s more than 20,000 attorneys.

Bond-McKissack has been appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to direct the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education. She has worked for the state for 17 years, most recently as a Board of Review hearing officer with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

She replaces David Shearon, who is stepping down after 23 years in the post.

The commission, established by the state high court in 1987, oversees 14 certification programs for nearly 300 certified attorney specialists.

– Associated Press

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