Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Troops Help Southern Baghdad Poultry Industry

TBB Note: This is a little off the beaten track, but we thought you might find it interesting how they're rebuilding the industry to help rebuild the economy!

To some, it might be laughable that the economic welfare of an entire community relies on thousands of flightless birds, but in the farming communities of southern Baghdad, chickens represent a significant way ahead.

A member of the State Department's Baghdad 7 embedded provincial reconstruction team is helping these communities establish themselves as centers of poultry production.

"Some of these farmers had over 100,000 chickens at one time," said Mike Stevens, the team's agricultural advisor. Stevens, a native of Park Rapids, Minn., said farmers from Adwaniyah, Arab Jabour and Hawr Rajab lost their chickens to al Qaeda operatives who took them when they moved into the area.

In many cases, chicken coops were used to hide weapons caches, and insurgents often used the large spaces inside the coops to make homemade explosives, Stevens said. Local farmers also reported that insurgents would seize farmers' equipment and strip generators for parts.

By starting farmers unions for each of the communities, Stevens learned of the plight befalling the region's chicken farmers.

With help from soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Stevens began assessing the various agricultural industries that once thrived in the area. As part of his project, the 15-year State Department veteran also assessed chicken farms in the three tribal areas.

With information he learned about the communities, Stevens set in motion a three-pronged approach to rebuild the region's economic infrastructure.

To boost farm operations, micro-grants of up to $2,500 will be used to rebuild dilapidated chicken coops and other farm buildings. Quick response funds -- grants of up to $25,000 -- will be used to restock vacant local farms. In addition, disarming, demobilizing and reconstruction funds in amounts of up to $100,000 will be used to begin large-scale training and employment programs for people near factories such as the Al Raad slaughterhouse.

Stevens identified a local businessman who owns the poultry processing plant, which can support a work force of up to 200 employees and bring chickens to markets in the capital. Before insurgent activities, the plant owner contracted with many Hawr Rajab farmers to raise chickens for his slaughterhouse. The owner told Stevens he would trade chicken feed and a monthly stipend with farmers who guaranteed him a portion of their chickens for processing.

The plant has the potential to jumpstart the region's chicken industry, but before any profit is earned, both the factory and surrounding farms require funds to get going.

In coming weeks, live chickens will be delivered and farms in the region will begin to rebuild their coops, signaling another step toward progress for the citizens of Iraq.

Author Army Sgt. Luis Delgadillo serves with the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Secretary of State Handel Warns Georgia Corporations: New Firm May Be Pulling Old Tricks

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel warned corporations today that her office received complaints about solicitations sent from a firm called “Georgia Corporate Headquarters.” The firm offers to complete corporate meeting minutes on behalf of Georgia corporations for a fee. The “Annual Minutes Disclosure Statement” included in the offer is very similar to solicitations mailed throughout the past year from a firm called “Georgia Corporate Compliance.”

Despite the implications contained in the solicitation, Georgia corporations are not required by law to file corporate minutes with the Secretary of State.

“Georgia’s corporate entities should be on the lookout for this misleading mailing,” Handel said. “Additionally, Georgia Corporate Headquarters is not registered with our Corporations Division to do business in our state.”

Based upon phone calls the Secretary of State’s Office has received, it is apparent that Georgia citizens are understandably confused by Georgia Corporate Headquarters’ solicitation.

First, the solicitations are presented in a manner similar to annual registration forms sent out by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Second, the solicitations contain a limited response time. Although the solicitation contains a disclaimer stating that Georgia Corporate Headquarters is not affiliated with the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State or endorsed or made by the federal government or an agency of the federal government, some corporate officers have been understandably confused by the official-looking documents.

Georgia’s Corporate Entities do not have to do business with Georgia Corporate Headquarters. The forms provided by Georgia Corporate Headquarters are not required by the Office of the Secretary of State. Whether corporations choose to do business with Georgia Corporate Headquarters will in no way affect their corporate filing with the Secretary of State, either positively or negatively. There is no need for corporations to use Georgia Corporate Headquarters or any other business offering similar services for any reason, unless they choose to do so. The Office of the Secretary of State does not require the use of any businesses offering services like those offered by Georgia Corporate Headquarters.

It is important to remember that any official statement or request from the Office of the Secretary of State will clearly indicate its origin by displaying the State Seal and the name of Secretary of State Karen Handel.

If corporate customers have any other questions, please call the Corporations Division Call Center at 404-656-2817.

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

Georgia corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships are formed by filing with the Corporations Division. Some foreign (out-of-state) entities that do business in the state of Georgia are required to file with the Corporations Division. The Division serves as custodian of the filings and provides copies and certifications of the documents. As an administrative filing agency, the Division does not have authority to intervene in disputes between consumers and businesses, disputes between businesses, or disputes between shareholders, members, officers or other persons involved in an enterprise. Currently, over 720,000 domestic and foreign corporate entities are on file with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Army Reserve Chief Seeks Private Industry Partners

The general in charge of the Army Reserve has a deal for U.S. employers: If you agree to hire qualified employees, he'll help you recruit them.

Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz said the "Partnership for a Shared Workforce" initiative emerged as a way to help the reserves and the private sector attract young talent. Stultz said the concept was born of similar challenges facing the entities -- namely, that only about three in 10 young men ages 17-24 are fit to join the ranks of military or industry.

The reasons people are precluded from service -- from failure to meet educational or physical requirements, to a criminal background -- often are grounds for non-employment in the private sector too, the general said.

"Employers of America are having the same problem (as the Army)," Stultz said. "They're looking at that same work force out there and saying, 'How many of those kids can pass a drug test who don't already have some kind of conviction in their records? And how many have the aptitude to do the task we're needing in a much more technological age?'"

Among other enterprises, Stultz said, the partnership has received particular interest from America's trucking industry, where the average long-haul truck driver is more than 50 years old. Couple this aging work force with a shortage of qualified drivers, the general said, and young, employable talent is hard to pass up.

"I've got soldiers in my ranks that are truck drivers," Stultz said he tells employers at trucking companies. "They've already passed a drug test; they've already passed a background check; they've already passed a physical; they've already scored high enough on an aptitude test; and I've trained them how to drive a truck. All you've got to do is hire him."

Stultz said similar pitches to place reservists in civilian positions are gaining traction with industry employers around the country. He plugs the reserve's cadre of X-ray technicians to health care providers looking for help; he sells signal soldiers -- trained and experienced in using fiber optics -- to communications companies; he suggests military police troops for jobs in civilian law enforcement.

"We're getting a lot of synergy there now, being able to tell a potential soldier, 'How would you like to come work for us in the Army Reserve and go to work for this company in your local community at the same time?" he said.

The initiative hearkens back to Stultz's experience as a young man transitioning out of the active-duty Army in 1979 into a "dual-hatted" role as a reservist and a civilian employee at Proctor and Gamble.

Placing high value on the training and principles instilled in young officers, Proctor and Gamble and other companies eager to employ managers heavily recruited junior military officers, Stultz recalled.

"There were a lot of headhunter companies that would go around the military installations saying, 'If you're thinking about leaving active duty, let us talk to you,'" he said.

At the first national Proctor and Gamble meeting he attended, Stultz said, it was virtually a military homecoming. "Everybody there was like, 'Who were you with? What unit were you in? Where were you stationed?" he recalled. "Nowadays you really don't see that."

The general said he would like the two forces -- military and civilian -- to work together again as they did when he started at Proctor and Gamble, where Stultz, an operations manager, has worked for nearly three decades.

"Just like in 1979 when Proctor and Gamble was looking for new potential managers and they saw the military as a great source, I'm telling the employers of America that hasn't changed," Stultz said. "We produce some of the finest quality individuals in America.

"If we can get that partnership together, it's the way we're going to sustain this all-volunteer reserve force for the future," he said. "It's going to be us and the employers together succeeding."

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Ryan Mahoney Joins Government Affairs Team at Georgia Chamber

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the state's oldest and largest business advocacy group, has named Ryan M. Mahoney as its new Director of Government Affairs.

Mahoney is an experienced business journalist, having spent three years working at the Birmingham Business Journal and the last four years as a reporter covering state and local politics and government for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. A prolific writer, Mahoney has filed hundreds of stories during his time in Georgia on a variety of topics, ranging from taxation, transportation and economic development to in-depth articles on government waste and reform. He has appeared as a regular guest on the "Georgia Gang" TV program.

His new duties at the Georgia Chamber will include lobbying for business issues at the state capitol, assisting in the formation of public policy issues and supporting government affairs communications.

Ryan, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, is a graduate of The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a degree in English, and was managing editor of his school newspaper, The Sewanee Purple.

The Georgia Chamber is the grassroots voice of business, vigorously representing its diverse membership in the public policy arena. As it constantly works to protect Georgia’s enviable pro-business environment, the Georgia Chamber remains mindful of its mission to keep the state economically prosperous, educationally competitive and environmentally responsible.
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Verizon Wireless Gives Georgians Something to Talk About: Company Proves 'It's The Network' With Extensive Statewide Expansions In 2007

PRNewswire/ -- In its ongoing effort to provide the best wireless service, Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, announced today it invested more than $160 million in 2007 to enhance its digital network in Georgia. The enhancements included building 80 new cell sites across the state, upgrading existing cell sites, increasing coverage area and expanding its high-speed wireless broadband network to new markets.

The company Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision (Rev.) A, third generation (3G) wide-area network expanded to include Banks, Brooks, Burke, Camden, Carroll, Chattooga, Clay, Cook, Dawson, Early, Elbert, Floyd, Franklin, Gilmer, Glynn, Gordon, Greene, Habersham, Hancock, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Jefferson, Lincoln, Long, Lowndes, Lumpkin, McIntosh, Meriwether, Miller, Morgan, Pickens, Pierce, Polk, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Stephens, Taliaferro, Troup, Walker, Warren, Wayne, Webster, White, and Wilkes counties. In addition, all existing EV-DO markets including Atlanta, Athens, Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Warner Robins were enhanced to Revision (Rev.) A technology which provides customers with access to e-mail, everyday corporate data, the Internet and Web-based applications, entertainment content and the ability to upload files nine times faster than before. Verizon Wireless customers can download files at speeds as much as ten times faster than customers of other wireless service providers that use different network technologies.

"Network reliability is the number one reason customers choose Verizon Wireless. Our investment in 2007 continues to demonstrate our commitment to delivering on that expectation," said Jeff Mango, president - Georgia/Alabama Region, Verizon Wireless. "In 2008, we will continue to perfect our network so that our customers know they can depend on us every time they pick up their wireless device."

With the enhanced network, Georgians have even more ubiquitous access to Verizon Wireless' two prime services: BroadbandAccess and V CAST. BroadbandAccess customers with Rev. A-compatible devices can now expect average download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits per second and average upload speeds of 500-800 kbps, which means customers can download a 1 Megabyte e-mail attachment -- the equivalent of a small PowerPoint(R) presentation or a large PDF file -- in about eight seconds and upload the same-sized file in less than 13 seconds. V CAST is a consumer- oriented multimedia service that gives customers access to the most comprehensive selection of downloadable music, high-quality videos and the coolest 3D games found anywhere.

The company's continued investment in Georgia is part of Verizon Wireless' ongoing effort to expand coverage, improve capacity and enhance the quality of its wireless voice and data network throughout the country. Verizon Wireless has invested more than $40 billion -- $5 billion on average every year -- since the company was formed to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services.

---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Georgia Chamber Applauds Progress on Transportation Funding

State lawmakers on Wednesday took a major step toward bridging a multibillion-dollar gap in transportation funding that threatens Georgia’s economy and quality of life.

The funding crisis is largely the product of Georgia’s phenomenal growth over the past few years; the amount of money available to build and maintain transportation infrastructure simply has not kept up. Hundreds of projects have been delayed or cancelled, and road congestion has reached record levels.

As a member of Get Georgia Moving -- a broad coalition of more than 50 groups -- the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is working closely with lawmakers to address the shortfall this year.
Legislation that would give voters the power to approve new funding for local transportation projects is now moving through both chambers. On Wednesday, the full Senate overwhelmingly approved SR 845, and a key House committee is scheduled to consider HR 1226 later in the day.
George Israel, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, praised lawmakers for their work.
“I believe we will look back on this day, this week, as an historic moment,” Israel said. “We are finally moving to address our transportation infrastructure needs and plan for our future transportation needs across the state.”

The Georgia Chamber is the grassroots voice of business, vigorously representing its diverse membership in the public policy arena. As it constantly works to protect Georgia’s enviable pro-business environment, the Georgia Chamber remains mindful of its mission to keep the state economically prosperous, educationally competitive and environmentally responsible.
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone
---

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

LOCAL EXECUTIVE ACCREDITED TO SERVE BUSINESSES IN OUR COMMUNITY

Phil Jafflin has been accredited by the Institute for Independent Business (IIB). Phil Jafflin’s recent accreditation will expand access to the Institute’s network of Associates in Fayette and Coweta counties.

“We are delighted to have an executive of Phil’s caliber become accredited. For years he has been working as a senior executive at some of the world’s most successful manufacturing and services companies,” said Ed Dolan, Fellow and trustee of the Institute.

Phil Jafflin added, “The Institute’s accreditation means a lot to my clients”. “Besides the prestige, my relationship with the IIB enables me to provide my clients with a depth of resources that other business advisors simply cannot offer. I am now part of a worldwide network of senior executives from every type of business imaginable. With resources like that I can assist my clients with any issue or challenge they may be facing.”

The Institute for Independent Business (www.iib.org.ws) is a global not-for-profit, research, training and accreditation organization established in 1984 to provide “practical advice that works”. It is the largest organization of its type with over 4,500 executives having been accredited. Accredited Associates are dedicated to delivering practical advice and support to entrepreneurs and business owners.

Business owners may take advantage of a free meeting by contacting Phil Jafflin at (770) 371-5048, or via email at philjafflin@iib.ws
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page: Community News You Can Use
---

MONKEY JOE’S FAYETTEVILLE LOCATION LETS KIDS GO BANANAS

Monkey business may get a bad rap, but Fayetteville will learn how much fun monkeying around can be with the recent opening of Monkey Joe’s located at 182 Banks Crossing, in the JC Penney Shopping Center, in Fayetteville on Saturday, February 16. More than just a children’s party center, Monkey Joe’s is an inflatables-filled indoor play and party center that provides families with engaging activity and entertainment - all day, every day (no special occasion necessary – walk-in any time!). With more than 12,000 square feet of space where kids can ‘go bananas,’ Monkey Joe’s is more fun than a barrel of…well, you know.

Franchisees Eric and LaToya Kyle are bringing Monkey Joe’s to the Fayetteville area. “This will be the first Monkey Joe’s indoor inflatables-filled play center for children in the area. In a family-oriented city like Fayetteville, Monkey Joe’s is the perfect fit,” explains LaToya. “Monkey Joe’s brings families an entertainment option that incorporates physical fitness with playtime.”

In celebration of the opening, Monkey Joe’s will donate $1,000 of grand opening sales from Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17 to the Fayette Samaritans organization. “Fayetteville has embraced us and we want to show our excitement and appreciation,” explains Kyle.

Monkey Joe’s caters to children ages 2-12 with an array of giant, air-filled play structures, jumps, slides, obstacle courses, and developmental games; a separate toddler area provides age-appropriate play for children who might not be so steady on their feet. Monkey Joe’s also features multiple private party rooms and party themes, with on-site party planning and concession items, including pizza, snacks, beverages and gifts.

Safety comes first at Monkey Joe’s as it has integrated the Code Adam program into its safety training for all employees. Code Adam is a six-point procedure for employees to quickly and effectively respond to a missing or lost child on-premises. This simple, turnkey program has been proven successful throughout 55,000 retail outlets nationwide.

In addition to the Code Adam program, all Monkey Joe’s locations have committed to full-facility sanitizing from Swisher, the country’s leading provider of commercial hygiene services. The service is intended to reduce exposure to germs and cross-contamination for all who visit and play at Monkey Joe’s, making it a cleaner environment than public playgrounds, schools, daycares and amusement parks.

“Safety for the families who enjoy our facilities is a top priority. From the time our guests enter and are processed through the Safety Access Child Control System to when they play on the first inflatable, we strive to offer peace of mind to parents by offering the highest standards of cleanliness,” explains Shonna Domitrovich director of marketing of Raving Brands, the parent company of Monkey Joe’s.

Monkey Joe's provides an unmatched and long-overdue component for parents: a parent lounge with comfortable seating, high-definition, big-screen TVs and free high-speed Internet access. In fact, the entire facility is wireless.

“We’re excited that the Monkey Joe’s concept is catching on so quickly with both kids and their parents,” says Domitrovich. “We want Monkey Joe’s to be a destination for the whole family, and open to them at anytime. The value of Monkey Joe’s is that it provides a safe and clean environment for children to engage in physical activity, no matter what the weather is like outside, and in a non-competitive setting where kids can simply enjoy themselves and get lost in the fun of it all.”

Monkey Joe’s is located at 182 Banks Crossing in Fayetteville. Operating hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The store phone number is 770-461-7529.

For more information including franchise opportunities, please visit www.monkeyjoes.com.
---
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Fayette Front Page: Community News You Can Use
---

Monday, February 18, 2008

Noble Investment Group Adds Depth to Operations Team With Plans of Expanding Resort Portfolio

2/5/08 Privately held Noble Investment Group (“Noble”), a leading sponsor of private equity real estate funds and an integrated lodging and hospitality operating and development organization, today announced that it has added additional leadership depth to its operations team with the naming of Gary Rosenberg as vice president of resort operations. The company has current developments underway that will double its resort portfolio within the next three years.

Rosenberg has extensive domestic and international expertise in large scale resort operations. In his new role, Rosenberg will oversee operational aspects for Noble’s resort and destination properties, and will have an active role during the development phase of new resort investments. Noble is currently developing two new resort hotels with spa, golf and marina operations and has additional opportunities in the pipeline. Rosenberg brings a specialized focus to Noble, with an established background in superior product delivery, service standards and expertise in club and resort integration.

“As we grow our portfolio of resort properties, it is becoming increasingly important to have club and resort core competencies integrated into our operations team,” said Bob Morse, Noble’s chief operating officer and a managing principal. “Gary brings a specialized expertise, which will give our team an added competitive edge in the resort arena.”

Prior to joining Noble, Rosenberg was president of GKR Hospitality Group in Virginia, where he provided organizational resort and club management consulting. Previously, he was the executive vice president and chief operating officer for ClubCorp Resorts, where he developed a portfolio of strategically aligned resort properties in the United States and abroad. He also implemented a $120 million capital investment plan to completely restore the Homestead Resort in Virginia. In addition, he managed the asset’s financial performance, which resulted in a $23 million improvement in operating profits. While also with ClubCorp, he directed the opening and operating strategies of prominent resort properties around the world, including the Homestead, Pinehurst, Barton Creek, Palmilla, Palmas Del Mar, Ocean Reef, Daufuskie Island, Firestone and several others.

Rosenberg has a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the Brandywine College in Wilmington, Del. He is a member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the D.S. Lancaster Community College and Virginia Tech Board of Directors and has received the Virginia Hospitality Executive of the Year award.

About Noble
Noble Investment Group sponsors a series of private equity real estate funds and is an integrated operating and development organization that specializes in making value-added investments in hotels and resorts throughout North America. An award winning operator of more than 8,000 hotel and resort guest rooms, convention and conference centers with approximately 1,000,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as championship golf, day and resort spa’s, upscale restaurants, and branded retail coffee stores, Noble and its predecessors have realized superior risk-adjusted returns while acquiring and developing nearly $2 billion in lodging and hospitality assets. Noble’s current discretionary private equity fund represents $310 million of equity commitments and the organization expects to invest more than $1 billion in assets during the next two years. www.nobleinvestment.com
---

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Toshiba says it may end HD DVD

TOKYO - Toshiba may pull the plug on its high-definition DVD format but no decision has been made, the Japanese electronics maker said in a statement Monday.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080218/ap_on_hi_te/toshiba_dvd

---

Military training device supplier to expand in Eastanollee

Combat Training Solutions, which manufactures simulated explosives for the military, announced today that it plans to add more than 30 jobs and invest $1 million to expand in Stephens County.

“Helping entrepreneurial companies expand is an important part of our mission,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We are especially proud that Combat Training Solutions is not only growing our economy, but also supporting our troops.”

Combat Training Solutions, founded in 2005 in Stephens County, evolved from a recreational paintball company into a full-fledged defense contractor. With an extensive line of military and law enforcement training products, CTS’s proprietary systems allow the trainee to be in direct contact with the explosion effect without injury. This unique feature is the driving reason for its extensive usage by U.S. and allied militaries around the world.

CTS has purchased a 6,000-square-foot building on close to seven acres at the Meadowbrook Industrial Park in Stephens County. The company expects rapid growth as it continues to add to its product line and service offerings.

“This move meets an immediate need in our manufacturing and engineering operations while the additional acreage permits rapid expansion as new contracts materialize,” said Nathan Brock, president and CEO of Combat Training Solutions.

“We appreciate Combat Training Solution’s additional investment in our community and the additional jobs they will provide for our people,” said Bob Defenbaugh, chairman of the Stephens County Development Authority. “We’re proud of their accomplishments and will continue to support them and assist their growth. Combat Training Solutions is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit of our people and the talent that we have right in our own back yard.”

Suzanne Browne was project manager for GDEcD.

Combat Training Solutions, Inc. (CTS) is the leading provider of innovative non-pyrotechnic Improvised Explosive Device (IED) simulation products and integrated solutions for education, training and operations. Based upon a legacy of non-pyrotechnic design achievements, CTS has successfully adapted its technologies to national security, defense and law enforcement organizations across the U.S. and abroad. CTS continues to deliver on its mission to design, manufacture and integrate the most advanced simulators and training devices available today to better prepare war fighters for battle and help win the war on terror.
---

GM Posts Largest-Ever $38.7B Annual Loss, Offers Buyouts to 74,000 Workers

2/12/08 DETROIT — General Motors Corp. reported a $38.7 billion loss for 2007 on Tuesday, the largest annual loss ever for an automotive company, and said it is making a new round of buyout offers to U.S. hourly workers in hopes of replacing some of them with lower-paid help.
The earnings report and buyout offer came as GM struggles to turn around its North American business as the economy weakens.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330393,00.html

---

Saturday, February 16, 2008

BIAS Corporation Acquires Quality One, Inc.

PRNewswire/ -- BIAS Corporation, an Oracle System Integrator, announced today it has acquired Quality One, Inc., an Atlanta based quality assurance and performance testing consulting company. Quality One has a proven track record of leading and motivating QA teams and has helped companies in a variety of industries utilize world-class software. They have established successful Testing Centers of Excellence utilizing industry- recognized software processes that reduce software risk through reusable test automation frameworks and test methodologies. Quality One has supported software development disciplines such as CMM, RUP and Agile Development.

"The addition of an established QA & Testing program, led by Brad Purcell, is the perfect compliment to our existing consulting offering including: Oracle Applications, Custom Applications, SOA & Integration, Architecture Services, and Business Intelligence. The majority of our customers have ongoing or major development initiatives and will appreciate the value of automated testing, reduced time to trouble shoot, and accelerated redevelopment efforts," said BIAS President Jeff Harvey.

John Moffett, Director of Technology for BIAS, stated, "We have many clients planning major new software deployments and upgrades. In the past we have offered configuration and change management services, but with the acquisition of Quality One, we now have strong QA testing and program management services. BIAS is even better positioned to leverage the best tools, methods, and practices so our customers have full control over their IT infrastructure while optimizing their Service Delivery Model."
---

Ruby Tuesday Announces a New Franchisee for the Development of Restaurants in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ruby Tuesday, Inc., a leading casual dining restaurant company, announced its international franchisee, Daliya Al-Wataniya for General Trading and Contracting W.L.L., will open nine Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, and Oman over four years and a tenth Ruby Tuesday in the Avenues Mall in Kuwait City. Daliya Al-Wataniya is a subsidiary of Sultan Food Products Company of Kuwait City.

“We are extremely proud to welcome Sultan Food Products to our expanding global franchise community,” said Mark Ingram, President of Franchise for Ruby Tuesday. “National Arabic Company for Restaurant Management (NAC), our development and operating partner in the Middle East, has been instrumental in our growth in this area. We are excited another terrific franchisee has joined us.”

NAC operates three Ruby Tuesdays in Kuwait and will open its fourth restaurant on the Nile River in Cairo. Emad Bu Khamseen, Chairman of NAC, said, “We will soon begin construction of our fifth Ruby Tuesday, to be located on the Gulf Road in Kuwait City. We are also developing our first restaurant training center in Kuwait, which will be named 'The Center for Leadership Excellence' after Ruby Tuesday’s corporate training facility in Maryville, Tennessee. This new training center will support the anticipated growth of Ruby Tuesday in the Middle East.”

Ayman Sultan, Chairman of Sultan Food Products, said, “We are pleased to add Ruby Tuesday to Sultan’s menu of successful enterprises. Our varied businesses in the region, including retail, restaurants, trading, fashion, telecom, security systems, and investments, uniquely position us to undertake this exciting opportunity.”

Ruby Tuesday currently operates in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, with new restaurants expected to open in Dubai, Cairo, the Avenues Mall in Kuwait, and Bahrain in 2008. The company has been expanding its franchise system and continues to seek franchising opportunities.
---

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Incredible and Deliciously Edible

Edible Arrangements opened their doors to Fayette County Chamber of Commerce members as they celebrated their new location in Fayetteville with a ribbon cutting. In addition to beautiful arrangements composed of fruit and chocolate covered fruit, customers can expect great customer service!


1240 Highway 54 W
Building 500
Suite 501
Fayetteville, GA 30215
Phone: 770-716-3550

Store Hours
Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Shipped Goods in U.S. Manufacturing Reaches $5 Trillion in 2006

The value of goods shipped by manufacturers in the United States, such as computers, clothing and pharmaceuticals, was about $5 trillion in 2006, according to estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Manufacturing employed nearly 13 million people at an average annual salary of $46,000.

The 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures contains details at the national and state level for activity in the manufacturing industries for 2006 and 2005. Comprised of Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries, Geographic Area Statistics and Value of Product Shipments, the survey provides sample estimates for all manufacturing establishments with one or more paid employees. The data sets are released exclusively through American FactFinder at www.census.gov.

Businesses use these numbers for analyzing market trends, forecasting demand for new products and ascertaining market share. They can also determine the average salary and the hourly wage of production workers per industry. Federal, state and local governments use the numbers to track changes in the manufacturing industry and to set policy. The survey is conducted by the Census Bureau in each of the four years between the Economic Census, which takes place in years ending in 2 and 7.

Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries looks at manufacturing statistics by industry, showing such details as which industry provides the most jobs and how much is invested in plant and equipment. It contains such primary statistics as employment and payroll numbers, production workers and wages, plant hours, costs of materials, inventories, value added by manufacturers, value of industry shipments and total capital expenditures. Among the top industries by revenue of shipped goods were petroleum refineries, pharmaceuticals, light trucks and utility vehicles, meat processing and printing.

Geographic Area Statistics presents similar data at the national and state levels (including the District of Columbia) for industry groups at the three- and four-digit North American Industry Classification System level. These data include employment and payroll figures, estimates of the value of shipments, cost of materials consumed, supplemental labor costs, fuels and electric energy used and inventories by stage of fabrication. Among the top states by value of shipments were Texas, California, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The Value ofProduct Shipments data set shows the value of shipments by product class. Gasoline and light fuel oils were among the largest valued product classes, as were light trucks, utility vehicles and automobiles.

The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products. Establishments that transform materials or substances into new products by hand or in the worker’s home, such as bakeries, candy stores and custom tailors, may also be included in this sector. Establishments are classified into industries based on their principal product or activity as determined by annual value of shipments.

Capital Spending Reaches All-Time High

Capital spending by U.S. nonfarm businesses reached an all-time high of $1.31 trillion in 2006, topping the $1.16 trillion in 2000 and $1.14 trillion in 2005.

These results come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Capital Expenditures Survey: 2006, which measures business spending for new and used structures and equipment. The survey defines capital goods as business assets that have an expected useful life of more than a year and that are usually depreciated.

Spending on new structures and equipment accounted for almost $1.23 trillion, a 14.8 percent increase over 2005. Nearly 63 percent of this spending ($774.7 billion) went for equipment, with the rest ($450.9 billion) allocated to structures. Spending on used structures and equipment totaled $83.8 billion.

The Annual Capital Expenditures Survey collects data from businesses with and without employees, but only businesses with employees are asked to report by industry. Businesses with employees accounted for $1.22 trillion, or 92.9 percent of all capital investment, in 2006. Businesses without employees accounted for $92.8 billion.

Sector and industry highlights:

-- The manufacturing sector spent $191 billion on capital goods in 2006, a 15.3 percent increase over 2005.

- Durable goods manufacturers accounted for $105 billion in capital spending in 2006. The two durable goods industries with the largest investments were motor vehicle and parts ($24.4 billion), and semiconductor and other electronic components ($14.9 billion).
- Nondurable goods manufacturers accounted for $86.1 billion in spending. The two nondurable goods industries with the highest spending were food manufacturing ($16.6 billion), and petroleum and coal products ($14.7 billion).

-- After manufacturing, the two sectors accounting for the largest capital expenditures were finance and insurance ($169.4 billion), and real estate and rental and leasing ($122.4 billion). These totals represented annual increases of 5 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively.

-- The information sector spent $104.6 billion on capital goods in 2006, an increase of 14.5 percent over 2005. One-third of capital spending in this sector went to structures and two-thirds to equipment.

-- The mining sector spent $98.3 billion on capital goods in 2006, an increase of 47.3 percent over 2005. In 2006, the oil and gas extraction industry accounted for 76.3 percent of the mining sector’s total capital spending. In contrast to the information sector, mining allocated roughly two-thirds (69.1 percent) of its capital spending to structures and roughly one-third (30.8 percent) to equipment.

-- Of the 135 industries covered in the report, 54 had an increase in spending in 2006, 13 had a decrease, and 68 showed no significant change from the prior year.

This report compares business investment in 2006 and 2005. For an assessment of investment spending patterns for a longer period, see 2007 Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns – 1999-2005 < http://www.census.gov/csd/ace/report/capitalspendingreport2007.pdf >.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Investment, trade opportunities the focus of business mission from DeKalb County, Ga.

As Trinidad and Tobago prepares to welcome a group of business and government leaders from DeKalb County, Georgia beginning Sunday, it has an active group of T&T diaspora in that Atlanta-area county and an aggressive investment promotion program in T & T to thank.
The delegation, assembled by the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Georgia (TNTGA) with participation of the Consulate General of T&T in Miami, will meet with local public and private sector leaders to discuss business and trade opportunities.

“As we take the message of opportunity in Trinidad and Tobago to the world, we know that our best messengers are our own people living elsewhere”, said Khalid Hassanali, president of Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company, Ltd. (eTecK)., the implementing agency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for promoting investments and the diversification of the country’s non-energy sector and export base. “We have made great progress as a nation to ready ourselves for investment and stronger ties to other parts of the world. It is time to reap the benefits for our economy and our citizens. Attracting foreign investment while working hand in hand with TT diaspora is a high priority.”

Government and business leaders in Trinidad and Tobago talk most often about a short list of industries where foreign direct investment is ready to succeed, including: Information Communications Technology; Downstream Energy Food & Beverage; Music and Entertainment; Film; Yachting; Merchant Marine; Printing and Packaging; and Fish & Fish Processing.. Last year, e TecK launched an international branding campaign designed to tell the world “We are Next.” See more at www.investtnt.com

In November 2003, a group of T&T diaspora living in Georgia formed TNTGA. As part of its strategic plan, TNTGA identified the promotion of Trinidad and Tobago in Georgia, with focus on trade and investment opportunities, as a key success factor. In 2004 the then-Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago in Miami ― the Hon. Dr. Harold H. Robertson ― visited metro Atlanta and extended an invitation to Vernon Jones, DeKalb County’s chief elected official, to come to T&T with a trade mission from the county to the islands. In December 2007, Hassanali made a presentation in Atlanta about business opportunities in T&T to a group of business and government leaders, including members of the forthcoming delegation.

"We are delighted to see our strategic vision and efforts finally coming together in this trade and investment mission,” explained Hazel Saigo Valentine, interim public relations officer of TNTGA. “We hope this will be the first of many such business and social exchanges and look forward to definite benefits accruing for both DeKalb County and Trinidad and Tobago from this initial visit".

eTeck, in collaboration with TNTGA has organized the itinerary for the business delegation, an educational overview about T&T’s readiness for non-energy inward investments and meetings with representatives of the Tobago House of Assembly, University of the West Indies, the T&T Manufacturers Association, T&T Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM, the US Embassy, and other business and government organizations. Members of the delegation visiting T&T next week include:

The Hon. Connie Stokes, commissioner, and Michelle Jordan-Menifee, senior project manager, DeKalb Office of Economic Development, DeKalb County Government.

Barry Sample and Virgil Hodges of Instructional Systems Inc., an instructional educational software company.

Bill Hodges of Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble, Inc., one of the premier authorities on landfills, rock quarries and environmental matters in the Southern United States.

Harold Reheis, senior vice president, Joe Tanner and Associates, a government affairs and lobbying firm. Reheis has responsibility for promulgating state policy for waste management, watershed protection, landfill development oversight and air quality management.

Bob Gnuse and David Goershel, MACTEC, which provides engineering, environmental, and construction consulting services to public and private clients worldwide.

Peter Thomas, Jordan Jones & Goulding, an engineering, management and planning services firm.

Kirk Francois, deputy consul general, T&T in Miami.

Ruthven V. Lequay, founder of DevTech Consulting, LLC which provides financial and management consulting services to business, nonprofit organizations and individuals in the United States and Caribbean, and founding member of TNTGA.

Ernie Jones, coordinator, DeKalb County/T&T Trade and Investment mission, and founding member of TNTGA.

eTeck and TNTGA are pleased to link interests in Trinidad and Tobago with those in Georgia and to facilitate business engagements of mutual benefit.

In 2006, DeKalb County population was estimated to be 723,602, with more than 7,000 Trinbagonians among those residents. DeKalb is generally considered among the more highly concentrated areas for T&T diaspora, after New York and South Florida. It is home to Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Philips Consumer Electronics and Stone Mountain Park, and has a culturally diverse population speaking more than 64 languages. For more information about DeKalb County’s economic development efforts, visit https://dklbweb.dekalbga.org/decidedekalb/index.html. For more information about TNTGA, visit www.tntga.org.

Isakson, Chambliss, Kingston Voice Disappointment in Lack of Funds for Savannah Harbor Deepening Project

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, R-Ga., today voiced disappointment that funds to begin construction of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project were not included in President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 federal budget. The President’s budget calls for only $700,000 for preliminary engineering and design work for the project, but no includes no funding for construction.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project was authorized in the Water Resources and Development Act of 1999 and will deepen the channel from 42 to 48 feet in order to accommodate larger cargo carriers and attract new business. Isakson, Chambliss and Kingston pledged to work hard to get the project included in both the House and Senate budget resolutions. They believe the project is critical to the Savannah port and to the entire state of Georgia.

“We are only in the beginning of the budget process and I intend to work with Senator Chambliss and Congressman Kingston to ensure the Port of Savannah receives funding for this crucial project,” Isakson said. “The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is one of the most important projects to our entire state and critical to the state’s economic future. This project is essential to helping the Port of Savannah maintain its position as a gateway for business to Georgia.”

“The Port of Savannah serves the entire U.S. -- not just Georgia -- and its volume has more than doubled in the last 10 years,” said Senator Chambliss. “It is expected to double again in the coming decade so completion of this project is critical for long term strategic development and economic vitality. We have a good team in place and are prepared to work to meet this need during the appropriations process.”

“The failure to fund SHEP is a perfect example of what happens when you leave decisions in the hands of Washington bureaucrats,” Congressman Kingston said. “The lack of funding is a shock and disappointment for a project of regional economic importance. This is the type of investment that would put Georgians back to work at a time when we need to revive the economy. We will work hard but, with the backlash against earmarks, getting funding will be an uphill battle.”

The Port of Savannah has become the fastest growing container port in the United States, and is now the second largest container port on the East Coast. Cargo volume has more than doubled in the past 10 years, Savannah is now responsible for moving more than 16 percent of the East Coast’s overseas container cargo, and both the State of Georgia and private companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in land-side facilities to increase efficiency.

However, the ability of the port to continue to expand and accommodate the economic growth of business activity throughout the East Coast and Midwest will be dramatically weakened if the port cannot be expanded to accommodate the larger vessels that will shortly dominate ocean commerce.

Military training device supplier to expand in Eastanollee

Combat Training Solutions, which manufactures simulated explosives for the military, announced today that it plans to add more than 30 jobs and invest $1 million to expand in Stephens County.

“Helping entrepreneurial companies expand is an important part of our mission,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We are especially proud that Combat Training Solutions is not only growing our economy, but also supporting our troops.”

Combat Training Solutions, founded in 2005 in Stephens County, evolved from a recreational paintball company into a full-fledged defense contractor. With an extensive line of military and law enforcement training products, CTS’s proprietary systems allow the trainee to be in direct contact with the explosion effect without injury. This unique feature is the driving reason for its extensive usage by U.S. and allied militaries around the world.

CTS has purchased a 6,000-square-foot building on close to seven acres at the Meadowbrook Industrial Park in Stephens County. The company expects rapid growth as it continues to add to its product line and service offerings.

“This move meets an immediate need in our manufacturing and engineering operations while the additional acreage permits rapid expansion as new contracts materialize,” said Nathan Brock, president and CEO of Combat Training Solutions.

“We appreciate Combat Training Solution’s additional investment in our community and the additional jobs they will provide for our people,” said Bob Defenbaugh, chairman of the Stephens County Development Authority. “We’re proud of their accomplishments and will continue to support them and assist their growth. Combat Training Solutions is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit of our people and the talent that we have right in our own back yard.”

Suzanne Browne was project manager for GDEcD.

Combat Training Solutions, Inc. (CTS) is the leading provider of innovative non-pyrotechnic Improvised Explosive Device (IED) simulation products and integrated solutions for education, training and operations. Based upon a legacy of non-pyrotechnic design achievements, CTS has successfully adapted its technologies to national security, defense and law enforcement organizations across the U.S. and abroad. CTS continues to deliver on its mission to design, manufacture and integrate the most advanced simulators and training devices available today to better prepare war fighters for battle and help win the war on terror.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Drought forces industry to reduce workforce

Georgia’s urban agriculture industry will continue to lose profits and employees if drought conditions remain over the state this year, according to a University of Georgia survey.

UGA experts with the Center for Urban Agriculture conducted a survey in November and December last year to see how the current drought, which started in March 2006, has affected one of Georgia’s largest industries. Georgia’s Urban Agriculture Council helped develop and implement the survey.

In all, 168 landscapers, turfgrass farmers and retail and wholesale garden business owners responded with a gloomy economic picture.

“The business owners we surveyed reported substantial layoffs in 2007 resulting in the loss of 848 workers,” said Ellen Bauske, the center’s program coordinator. “If the drought continues, the businesses surveyed expect to lose an additional 708 employees.”

The drought is withering profits, too, along with the plants and grasses the industry produces and sells. Survey results show a monthly average loss of $37,516 per company.

“In an industry with a median income of $800,000 per company, many companies won’t be able to sustain losses of that magnitude,” Bauske said. “We can expect more news of bankruptcies, business failures and liquidation of company assets if the situation continues.”

Based on the survey, Bauske and her colleagues project devastating losses in the coming year.

“A calculated loss of $260 million per month can be contributed to the drought and water restrictions imposed on the industry,” she said. “If the current drought conditions continue, the results could grow to an annual loss of $3.15 billion and 30,000 employees.”

In all, it is estimated that 35,000 employees working in the Georgia urban agriculture industry have lost their jobs since the drought started. Business owners appear to be keeping full-time employees and cutting part-time and seasonal workers, she said.

For more detailed information on the survey and the economic impact of the drought, visit the publications section of the center’s Web site www.gaurbanag.org/industry.

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Lodgian Names Peter T. Cyrus Interim President and Chief Executive Officer and Elects W. Blair Allen to Board of Directors

ATLANTA, Ga., February 4, 2008—Lodgian, Inc. (Amex: LGN), one of the nation’s largest independent owners and operators of full-service hotels, today announced that Peter T. Cyrus, who has served as a member of Lodgian’s board of directors since his election in April 2007, has been named interim president and chief executive officer, and W. Blair Allen has been elected to Lodgian’s board of directors. Concurrently, the company announced that Edward J. Rohling had resigned from his positions as president, chief executive officer and a member of the company’s board of directors, effective January 29, 2008.

Peter Cyrus has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He is a managing partner and co-founder of Montclair Hotel Investors, Inc., a hotel investment and management company based in suburban Chicago. Prior to forming Montclair Hotel Investors, Inc. in 1995, he was a senior vice president of Lazard Freres & Company, where he directed the Real Estate Group’s Chicago office and also headed the firm’s Hospitality Group on a world-wide basis.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Ed Rohling for his two-and-a-half years of dedicated service to the company and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Stewart Brown, chairman of the board.

Cyrus studied business administration at the University of Arizona and John Carroll University. He has been a senior member of the Urban Land Institute since 1978. He holds the designation of Certified Review Appraiser (CRA) from the National Association of Review Appraisers.

“Peter’s vast experience in ownership, development and management of hotels, as well as his relationships with most of the major hotels brands, will serve Lodgian well,” Brown said.

Since 2004, W. Blair Allen has been the president of Robert M. Goff & Associates, a real estate development and management company in Little Rock, Ark., with an emphasis on the hospitality industry. Prior to his service as president, he was chief financial officer from 1996 until 2004. Previously, he was a commercial loan officer with Regions Bank from 1995 until joining Robert M. Goff & Associates in 1996, and was a commercial loan officer and credit analyst with Worthen Bank from 1994 until 1995.

“Blair Allen brings significant hotel operating experience to the Lodgian board, and he is a valuable addition,” Cyrus said.

Allen holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Washington & Lee University. He has been the commissioner of the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission, real estate chair, since 2004, and has been a board member of Centennial Bank since 2004.

About Lodgian
Lodgian is one of the largest independent owners and operators of full-service hotels in the United States. The company currently manages a portfolio of 46 hotels with 8,430 rooms located in 24 states and Canada. Of the company’s 46-hotel portfolio, 25 are InterContinental Hotels Group brands (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Select and Holiday Inn Express), 12 are Marriott brands (Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott), three are Hilton brands, and four are affiliated with three other nationally recognized franchisors. Two hotels are independent, unbranded properties. For more information about Lodgian, visit the company's Web site: www.lodgian.com.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Secretary of State Handel Alerts Corporations to Potential Scam

Recently, an entity calling itself “Georgia Corporate Compliance” mailed solicitations entitled “Annual Minutes Disclosure Statement” to numerous Georgia corporations. This solicitation offers to complete corporate meeting minutes on behalf of the Georgia corporation for a fee. Despite the implications contained in the solicitation, Georgia corporations are not required by law to file corporate minutes with the Secretary of State.

Based upon the numerous phone calls the Secretary of State’s Office has received, it is apparent that Georgia citizens are understandably confused by Georgia Corporate Compliance’s solicitation.

First, the solicitations are presented in a form similar to forms sent out by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Second, the solicitation includes an official-looking seal. Third, the solicitations contain a limited response time. Although the solicitation contains a disclaimer stating that Georgia Corporate Compliance is not affiliated or endorsed by any government agency, many customers have been understandably confused by the official-looking documents.

Although the Secretary of State has no legal authority to pursue this matter, we have provided information in our possession to the United States Postal Inspector, the Office of Consumer Affairs, and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. In 2007, the Georgia Secretary of State collected a statutory civil penalty from Georgia Corporate Compliance for transacting business in this State without a certificate of authority. Georgia Corporate Compliance continues to transact business in this State without a certificate of authority, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1501.

You do not have to do business with Georgia Corporate Compliance. The forms provided by Georgia Corporate Compliance are not required by the Office of the Secretary of State. Whether you choose to do business with Georgia Corporate Compliance will in no way affect your corporate filing with the Secretary of State, either positively or negatively. There is no need for you to use Georgia Corporate Compliance or any other business offering similar services for any reason, unless you choose to do so. The Office of the Secretary of State does not require the use of any businesses offering services like those offered by Georgia Corporate Compliance.

It is important to remember that any official statement or request from the Office of the Secretary of State will clearly indicate its origin by displaying the State Seal and the name of Secretary of State Karen Handel.

If corporate customers have any other questions, please call the Corporations Division Call Center at 404-656-2817.

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

Georgia corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships are formed by filing with the Corporations Division. Some foreign (out of state) entities that do business in the state of Georgia are required to file with the Corporations Division. The Division serves as custodian of the filings and provides copies and/or certifications of the documents. As an administrative filing agency, the Division does not have authority to intervene in disputes between consumers and businesses, disputes between businesses, or disputes between shareholders, members, officers or other persons involved in an enterprise. Currently, over 713,000 domestic and foreign corporate entities are on file with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.

Georgia Chamber Supports Coalition to “Get Georgia Moving”

The very real possibility that 2008 may be the year that Georgia takes a giant step forward toward finding solutions to its transportation woes has energized a statewide group of organizations committed to improvements.

The “Get Georgia Moving Coalition,” with more than fifty members representing general business associations, state and local elected officials, transit advocates, road builders and environmentalists, applauded the joint House-Senate Study Committee for its report stressing the need for new funding solutions for transportation.

According to Charles K. Tarbutton, Asst. Vice President of Sandersville Railroad Co. and
2008 Chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the report is encouraging. “The recommendations from the committee are the result of a lot of hard work and intensive study and the conclusion is that Georgia needs new and innovative funding solutions for transportation.” The state chamber is a member of the coalition and has made improving transportation statewide one of its top agenda items for 2008.

Georgia is the third fastest-growing state in the nation, yet it spends less than any other state on transportation infrastructure. This has resulted in a crisis in transportation, a multi-million dollar shortfall that threatens to cripple both new road construction and needed improvements.

Following the release of the study, George Israel, President & CEO of the Georgia Chamber congratulated the lawmakers on their work. “This clearly demonstrates that our elected officials understand the gravity of the situation we are facing, not just in Atlanta, but throughout the state. They have acknowledged that action is needed this year to both bridge the funding gap and invest in different modes of transportation,” Israel said.

The “Get Georgia Moving Coalition” is working with members of the state legislature to
Identify the best ways to capture new funding. Tarbutton believes that two existing options can be utilized to shape a solution. “We should look at both last year’s statewide transportation sales tax bill and the regional transportation sales tax legislation and take the best ideas from each one,” Tarbutton said. “Whatever we come up with,” he added, “it’s essential that reform and funding not be delayed and that both proceed simultaneously. Even though it will take 18-24 months to make the Georgia Department of Transportation fully funded, there is much we can before than to improve the situation.”

The coalition emphasized that the voters must approve all decisions on new taxes and that any tax legislation have sunset provisions.

The Georgia Chamber is the grassroots voice of business, vigorously representing its diverse membership in the public policy arena. As it constantly works to protect Georgia’s enviable pro-business environment, the Georgia Chamber remains mindful of its mission to keep the state economically prosperous, educationally competitive and environmentally responsible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ruby Tuesday Announces Plans for Restaurants in U.S. Airports

BusinessWire: Ruby Tuesday, Inc., one of the nation’s leading casual dining restaurant companies, today announced plans for the opening of five franchised Ruby Tuesdays in U.S. airports over the next several years. The restaurants will be developed and operated by Areas USA, Inc.

The franchisee is a subsidiary of the Spanish company, Areas, S.A., which has 40 years of experience in high-volume service industries. Areas (pronounced “air ee us”), S.A. owns and operates restaurants, retail stores and hotels in nine countries including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile, with an emphasis on airport locations.

"Areas has a proven record of operating success in a number of global markets,” said Mark Ingram, President-Franchising for Ruby Tuesday. "We are excited about partnering with a world-class operator to bring our simple, fresh American dining and gracious hospitality to a new market segment for our company.”

The first two airport locations to be developed are in Orlando and Detroit, with both restaurants scheduled to open by early 2009.

About Ruby Tuesday
The Ruby Tuesday concept was born 35 years ago, when current Chairman and CEO Sandy Beall opened the first restaurant near the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Since then, the company has grown to over 900 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 45 states and 12 countries around the world. Ruby Tuesday is aggressively franchising territories in the western United States and in international locations. Ruby Tuesday, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RT). More information about the company can be found at www.rubytuesday.com.

Goody’s Announces Reduction in Workforce

BusinessWire: Goody’s Family Clothing, Inc. announced today that in conjunction with its recently announced $65 million investor funding (January 16, 2008), the Company has reduced its home office workforce by five percent and realigned its field support staff to achieve improved operating efficiencies.

According to Chuck Turlinski, chief executive officer of Goody’s, “The reorganization and realignment of our field and home office support functions are consistent with our priorities to create a more responsive and cost-effective organization that will help us achieve our 2008 financial goals. We regret that the reduction in workforce is a necessary step toward achieving our objectives, and we are assisting those individuals who have been affected by today’s events.”
Turlinski further stated, “Every effort in this realignment process has been made to ensure that we continue to maintain the same high standard of service levels to our customers.”

With headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, Goody’s is a retailer of moderately priced family apparel operating 378 stores in the 21 states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Payrolls drop for 1st time since 2003

WASHINGTON - Nervous employers cut 17,000 jobs in January — the first such reduction in more than four years and a fresh trouble sign that the economy is in danger of stalling.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080201/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy


Payrolls shrink, first drop in 4-1/2 years
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers unexpectedly cut 17,000 non-farm jobs in January, the first time in nearly 4-1/2 years that U.S. payrolls shrank as fading construction and manufacturing sectors reflected the economy's waning momentum.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080201/bs_nm/usa_economy_jobs_dc

Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for 44.6 bln dlrs

REDMOND, Washington (AFP) - Microsoft said Friday it had offered to buy struggling Internet firm Yahoo for 44.6 billion dollars (30.0 billion euros) in cash and stock.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080201/bs_afp/uscompanymicrosoftyahootakeover


Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Technology giant Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Friday that it had offered to acquire Internet media company Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) for $44.6 billion in cash and stock.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080201/bs_nm/microsoft_dc