Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tightened credit, Reduced Demand Push SBA Loan Volume Down in FY 2008; Agency Works with Banks To Jumpstart Small Business Lending

A “perfect storm” of tightened credit by commercial lenders, declining creditworthiness, and reduced demand for loans from small business borrowers uncertain about the future has led to a substantial decline in the number of small business loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration during FY 2008, SBA Acting Administrator Sandy K. Baruah said today.

Although SBA posted a record year in 2007 with nearly 100,000 loans approved, that number dropped by nearly 30 percent in 2008. The dollar value of those loans declined by 13 percent, from a combined $20.6 billion in 2007, to $17.96 billion in 2008. Average loan size increased from $142,000 in FY 2007 to $183,000 in FY 2008, demonstrating that by increasing the average amount, these loans may in fact contribute to expanding more sustainable and successful small businesses.

Georgia experienced the same downward trend in loans. The total number of SBA guaranteed loans dropped by nearly 29 percent in FY 2008 while the dollar amount for these loans decline by nearly 15 percent. During the past fiscal year 2,218 SBA loans were approved in Georgia for approximately $671 million. In FY 2007, the agency approved 3,111 small business loans for approximately $789 million.

These program declines began not long after the fiscal year started in October 2007, and accelerated throughout the fiscal year.

The volume numbers represent loans made under SBA’s two primary loan programs, the 7(a) guaranteed loan program and the Certified Development Company, or 504, loan program. Loans approved under 7(a) declined by 30 percent, from 99,606 in 2007 to 69,434 in 2008, with loan dollars falling 11 percent, from $14.3 billion in 2007 to $12.7 billion in 2008. In the 504 program, loan approvals fell by 17 percent, from 10,669 in 2007 to 8,883 in 2008, and loan dollars declined by 16 percent, from $6.3 billion in 2007 to $5.3 billion 2008.

Loan volume in both programs had set records in each of the previous five years.

Baruah said he feels strongly that the steps taken by the Administration and Congress will have a positive effect on the credit situation and the economy. The SBA is holding meetings across the country to better understand how the agency can work with both lenders and small businesses to help them during these difficult economic times.

“I am very hopeful,” said Baruah. “I am hopeful because I have seen this great nation tackle and overcome all sorts of challenges in just the last few years. From the Y2K scare, to the bursting of the dot-com bubble, to the 9-11 terror attacks, to corporate scandals, and large natural disasters, we’ve proven that we can take a hit and keep on growing – it’s one of our unique strengths as Americans.

“President Bush and his economic team have been doing everything possible to resolve the financial crisis and restore stability to the markets, aggressively using every tool available on every front to unclog the pipes of our credit system, increase liquidity, and restore confidence in all facets of our economy,” he said.

“The recently signed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 does this by giving the government new tools to unclog the arteries of our financial system, allowing credit and capital to flow once again,” Baruah said. “And that objective should be important to all of us because capital is the lifeblood not only of our economic system but also small business.”

The rescue plan also authorizes FDIC to expand insurance to cover all non-interest bearing accounts, which are commonly used by small businesses to cover day-to-day operations including payroll and inventory purchases.

Also, the Federal Reserve will soon become the buyer of last resort for commercial paper. By unfreezing the market for commercial paper, which provides short-term financing for banks and businesses, this action will help businesses of all sizes meet payroll, purchase inventory, and invest to create new jobs.

“All these efforts will need time to fully work their way through the economic system,” Baruah said. “But when they do, we will see results. We will see money and credit and capital flowing once again, making a big difference for small business, whose lifeblood depends upon access to capital.”

Baruah also said SBA is taking steps to encourage the flow of credit to small businesses.

Among the steps taken by the agency are:
· Working to improve the liquidity of SBA loans on the secondary market and exploring strategies to increase access to capital by small businesses.

· The accelerated launch of Small Rural Lender Advantage ahead of schedule, which targets smaller financial institutions – like community banks – and institutions with low SBA volume.

· Encouraging SBA’s lending partners to use their authority to work with qualified borrowers on a case-by-case basis and defer SBA guaranteed loan payments by up to three months.

· Reminding lenders and borrowers that interest rates have fallen with the prime rate, and are now about 40 percent less than a year ago.

For more information on how to get an SBA loan, visit www.sba.gov.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delta and Northwest Merge, Creating Premier Global Airline

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and Northwest Airlines, Inc. today merged, creating a premier global airline with service to nearly all of the world’s major travel markets.

The new airline, called Delta and headquartered in Atlanta, will begin its first day as a combined company with a commitment to delivering excellent service to customers in 66 countries and more than 375 worldwide cities – more than any other airline; with a dedicated base of approximately 75,000 worldwide employees; and with a best-in-class cost structure and strong liquidity balance that better positions the company to adapt to the weakening global economy.

“The airline industry faces a very difficult economic environment around the world and this merger gives Delta increased flexibility to adapt to the economic challenges ahead,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “With much of the work to bring our airlines together well under way, the new Delta will be at the front of the pack in achieving the benefits of consolidation and is well positioned to navigate the tough waters ahead in a difficult economy.”

With the completion of the merger, Northwest Airlines is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta. Customers should continue to check-in and do business directly with the airline operating their flight just as they did before the merger. Delta will continue operation of the airlines’ separate Web sites, www.delta.com and www.nwa.com, as well as the two airlines’ reservations systems and loyalty programs.

The companies will be integrated through a thoughtful process with customer benefits rolled out over the next 12-24 months, including:

The addition of Delta’s code to nearly all of the Northwest system by the end of 2008, creating thousands of additional connecting opportunities.

Immediate complimentary upgrade reciprocity for elite members of both airlines’ loyalty programs, with airport lounge reciprocity continuing as usual.

The launch of a fully consolidated worldwide flight schedule in advance of summer 2009;
The introduction of elements of Delta’s brand throughout the Northwest system beginning in spring 2009, including Delta’s popular Richard Tyler designer uniforms, Delta’s livery, “signature cocktails,” enhanced in-flight entertainment and other onboard amenities.
The consolidation of the Delta and Northwest loyalty programs, ultimately including the ability to combine miles from SkyMiles and WorldPerks accounts at a one-to-one ratio.

The full integration of Delta and Northwest Web sites, kiosks, and customer-facing technology to ensure a consistent worldwide travel experience.

Delta has already invested significant resources to ensure a seamless transition for customers, including receiving clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the airline’s plan to achieve a Single Operating Certificate over the next 14-16 months; adding extra staffing and technology at check-in counters and kiosks to provide added customer assistance beginning today; and posting complete merger information at www.delta.com and www.nwa.com to provide customers added assistance.

Employees share in success of combined company with equity stake, platform for future growth
As a result of the merger, employees will share in the success of the new company through an expanded ownership share in the combined company. In the coming days, Delta will distribute an equity stake to substantially all U.S.-based employees with international employees participating through cash payments in lieu of stock.

"Ensuring our employees are able to share in the benefits of the merger from the beginning is a prime example of the Delta Difference," Anderson said. "By sharing ownership with Delta’s people, we are not only recognizing the critical role employees will play in successfully integrating two customer-focused companies, we are also making good on a longstanding commitment that our employees will share in the success of the company."

Delta also has completed other key steps to ensure that employees benefit from the merger and are protected as the two companies’ workforces are combined. Specifically, Delta:

Completed an unprecedented agreement with the Delta and Northwest units of the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. (ALPA) on a joint contract that unifies both pilot groups under one pilot working agreement effective tomorrow. Additionally, the two pilot groups have agreed to a collaborative process that will achieve a combined seniority list;
Committed that no frontline employees will be involuntarily furloughed as a result of the merger and that no hubs will be closed; and
Implemented a seniority protection policy that ensures that frontline employees of both airlines will be provided seniority protection through a fair-and-equitable process.

Financial footing strengthened, providing increased flexibility to adapt to challenging global economic conditions

The closing of the Delta-Northwest merger brings together two of the industry’s most financially secure airlines to produce a best-in-class cost structure and an industry-leading balance sheet. The transaction is expected to generate $2 billion or more in annual revenue and cost synergies from more effective aircraft utilization, a more comprehensive and diversified route system, and cost synergies from reduced overhead and improved operational efficiency. The company expects to incur one-time cash costs not exceeding $600 million to integrate the two airlines. As approved by both companies’ stockholders earlier this year, Northwest stockholders will receive 1.25 Delta shares for each Northwest share they own. Based on Delta’s closing stock price on Oct. 29, 2008, this exchange ratio is the equivalent of $9.99 per Northwest common share.

“In today’s economic climate, this merger makes even more sense because we can capture $2 billion in annual synergies and build the foundation for profitable growth through improved revenues, a best-in-class cost structure and a strong liquidity position,” said Edward Bastian, Delta’s president and chief financial officer, and the new CEO and president of NWA. “As we have proven, this is a different type of merger for the industry thanks to the complementary nature of the two airlines and the caliber of the people who will make this the most successful merger in airline history,” Bastian continued.

Delta closed the merger after receiving notice from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that it would not challenge the merger after reviewing its competitive impact. Earlier this year, the merger also received clearance from the European Commission.

Delta today also announced the members of its new Board of Directors, effective immediately. Delta Chairman of the Board Daniel Carp remains chairman while Northwest Chairman Roy Bostock becomes vice chairman. Other directors will include seven from Delta’s Board – Richard Anderson, John S. Brinzo, Eugene I. Davis, David R. Goode, Paula Rosput Reynolds, Kenneth C. Rogers, and Kenneth B. Woodrow, and four from Northwest’s Board – John M. Engler, Mickey P. Foret, Rodney E. Slater and former Northwest CEO Douglas Steenland. Delta had previously announced the structure of its new Board during the merger announcement last spring.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ING Receives EPA Green Power Leadership Award

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ING announced today that it has received a 2008 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The annual awards recognize the country's leading green power purchasers for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation's voluntary green power market. EPA presented ING with the award at an event held in conjunction with the 2008 National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in Denver, Colorado.

ING was one of only nine organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for its green power purchase. The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy certificate (REC) supplier. ING is currently purchasing more than 75 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization's purchased electricity use. ING is buying renewable energy certificates from Community Energy.

"We are proud to receive this prestigious award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING's Office of Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility. "Purchasing green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to other companies across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk."

ING currently ranks No. 42 on EPA's National Top 50 list. Each list highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary purchases through October 8, 2008. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while offering a superior environmental profile compared to traditional power generation sources. Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.

"Our nation is shifting to a 'green culture,' with more and more Americans understanding that environmental responsibility is everyone's responsibility," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "EPA commends ING for making a long-term commitment to protecting the environment by purchasing green power."

According to the U.S. EPA, ING's current green power purchase of more than 75 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 10,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 7,000 average American homes annually.

In addition to its green power purchase, ING is also focusing on ways to reduce its environmental impact through waste reduction and energy efficiency initiatives, the addition of new recycled paper options for all offices, more robust recycling programs and eco-friendly procurement practices. A grass- roots, employee-led team called Orange Goes Green is also helping to build awareness among employees about how they can live "greener" at work and home, including supporting environmental volunteer opportunities.

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Hospice Advantage Celebrates November as National Hospice Month

BB Note: Hospice Advantage has been active in Fayette County for the last two years.

Millions of people received care from hospice professionals this year. In honor of all those individuals that work so hard to ensure that people have a choice to receive care at home, Hospice Advantage is celebrating November as National Hospice Month by honoring their employees and community partners and reaching out to educate people in the communities they serve.

“Our patients often tell us that they wish they knew about us sooner. We are dedicating this year’s National Hospice Month celebrations to education in our communities.” says Jeanne Pete, Director of Business Development at Hospice Advantage. “There are many benefits to hospice, including financial benefits. Many people do not know that the Medicare hospice benefit includes payment of medications, equipment and supplies related to the hospice diagnosis.

Many people also don’t know that hospice can promote longer life.” A recent study published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Symptom Management indicates that patients suffering from Chronic Heart Failure that choose hospice care, lived an average of 81 days longer than patients with CHF that did not choose hospice care. Mrs. Pete adds, “We want people to know that they should not wait until the final days or weeks of life to choose the help of hospice.”

To celebrate National Hospice Month, Hospice Advantage will recognize employees at their annual awards banquet held in Miami, FL. Caregivers of the year will be rewarded for exemplifying the company’s tag line of Care, Comfort and Compassion. The events at participating facilities in their communities will include free health screenings, education about advanced directives and educational videos on Hospice.

In Michigan and Wisconsin, HOME & HOSPICE ADVANTAGE provides Home Health and Hospice services. Additionally, the company provides Hospice services throughout Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri. In FL, the company operates a home health care agency d.b.a. ALL CARE MEDICAL SERVICES.

For Information, call Hospice Advantage Fayetteville Ga 678-817-4180.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Theragenics Corporation Establishes New Product Development Team

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Theragenics Corporation (NYSE: TGX), a medical device company serving the surgical products and prostate cancer treatment markets, today announced the hiring of Mr. Yem Chin as its Lead Product Development Engineer. Mr. Chin and his team will spearhead Theragenics’ new R&D “pipeline project.” The R&D team also includes Mr. Tom Johnson and Mr. Paul Scopton. Mr. Chin and the R&D team are charged with creating a pipeline of medical devices and sophisticated development services to support customers of the Company’s surgical products business segment. Mr. Chin has 40 years experience in medical device product development, including 28 years with Boston Scientific Corporation. He has been responsible for and supported developing products in the fields of interventional radiology, urology, gastro interventional, and cardiology. Mr. Chin holds over 50 patents related to medical devices.

The new R&D team will be supported by the entire asset base of Theragenics Corporation. Included in this asset base are the diverse processes and capabilities of Galt Medical, NeedleTech Products and CP Medical. These companies, which were acquired by Theragenics beginning in May 2005, comprise Theragenics’ surgical products business segment. This segment offers vascular access devices, specialty needle devices and wound closure products with applications in, among other areas, interventional cardiology, interventional radiology, vascular surgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, dental, urology, veterinary, pain management, endoscopy, and spine. The team began operations October 1, 2008 in space leased near Boston, Massachusetts and is already working on, and is available to work on, products for all of the Company’s customers.

Ms. M. Christine Jacobs, Chairman and CEO commented, “We are fortunate to be able to attract product development engineers the caliber of Mr. Chin and his colleagues. We look forward to providing the customers of our surgical products business with an increased level of product development and speed to market.”

Tom Johnson has 35 years experience in the medical device industry. He has recently worked for Creganna Medical and has expertise in extrusion, mold design, process development and project management. Mr. Johnson holds over 20 patents to his credit.

Paul Scopton has 28 years experience in the medical device industry developing disposable interventional devices for use in interventional radiology, urology, endoscopy, and cardiology. Mr. Scopton has over 20 product launches and holds 5 patents to his credit.

Ms. Jacobs continued her comments, “Our recent acquisition of NeedleTech expanded our product offerings and our customer base of top tier medical device manufacturers. The addition of NeedleTech further accentuated an opportunity to more fully address the unmet needs of our customers. With a combined 103 years of medical device product and process development, we feel our new group is up to this task.”

Ms. Jacobs concluded, “With a focus on vascular access, specialty needles and wound closure markets, our new team provides significant development expertise that can offer our customers access to services they may lack, helping them to expedite line expansion. This R&D group will support our entire asset base and our dedication to high quality, U.S-based, medical device manufacturing. It is not our intent to compete with our customers. Instead, we intend to feed our manufacturing base with new product opportunities and growth. Mr. Chin and his colleagues, together with NeedleTech, Galt Medical, and CP Medical, give us this capability, supporting sustainable long-term growth in our surgical products segment.”

Theragenics Corporation (NYSE: TGX) operates two business segments: its surgical products business and its brachytherapy seed business. Its surgical products business (www.cpmedical.com, www.galtmedical.com, www.needletech.com) manufactures and distributes wound closure, vascular access, and specialty needle products. Wound closure products include sutures, needles and other surgical products. Vascular access includes introducers, guidewires and related products. Specialty needles include coaxial, biopsy, spinal and disposable veress needles, access trocars, and other needle based products. The Company’s surgical products segment serves a number of markets and applications, including, among other areas, interventional cardiology, interventional radiology, vascular surgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, dental, urology, veterinary, pain management, endoscopy, and spine. The Company’s brachytherapy business manufactures and markets its premier product, the palladium-103 TheraSeed® device (www.theraseed.com) and I-Seed, an iodine-125 based device, which are used primarily in the minimally invasive treatment of localized prostate cancer. For additional information, call Theragenics’ Investor Relations Department at (800) 998-8479 or visit www.theragenics.com.

This press release contains forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the accuracy of which is necessarily subject to risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, statements regarding future growth, opportunities and investments, and anticipated positive results in general. Actual results may differ materially due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, uncertainties related to the integration of acquired companies into the Theragenics organization, capitalization on opportunities for growth within the Surgical Products business, ability to recognize value from areas of shared expertise, risks and uncertainties related to competition within the medical device industry, development and growth of new applications within the markets for wound closure, vascular access, specialty needles and, more broadly, medical devices, competition from other companies within the wound closure, vascular access, specialty needle and medical device markets, competition from other methods of treatment, new product development cycles, effectiveness and execution of marketing and sales programs, changes in product pricing, changes in costs of materials used in production processes, continued acceptance and demand of the Company’s products by the markets in which it operates, introduction and/or availability of competitive products by others, potential changes in third-party reimbursement, including Medicare reimbursement as administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), implementation of the new legislation by CMS, physician training, third-party distribution agreements, ability to execute on acquisition opportunities on favorable terms and successfully integrate any acquisitions, and other factors set forth from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

All forward looking statements and cautionary statements included in this document are made as of the date hereof based on information available to the Company as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any forward looking statement or cautionary statement.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In an Effort to Help Small Businesses, SBA Encourages Lenders to Offer Loan Deferment Relief

In response to the financial crisis, the U.S. Small Business Administration today announced it is strongly encouraging its participating 7(a) lenders and Certified Development companies to work with business borrowers to provide them with the flexibility they need to keep their businesses running during these difficult economic times.

As access to credit and capital has tightened, many businesses face increased challenges in meeting their financial obligations. This is especially true of small businesses hit hard by the recent economic slowdown that are now unable to make payroll, or purchase essential inventory.

SBA is reminding participating lenders they have the authority on a case-by-case basis to extend temporary payment relief for qualifying borrowers with 7(a) and 504 loans who are struggling to make their payments.

“The SBA is here to help small businesses during these difficult economic times. We are encouraging our lending partners to follow suit by extending three-month payment deferments on their SBA guaranteed loans to qualified borrowers who need relief,” said SBA Acting Administrator Sandy K. Baruah. “We recognize that small business owners are faced with challenging decisions right now. By providing three-month deferments to qualifying borrowers who are struggling, our lending partners can help small business owners free up the capital they need to maintain their businesses.”

If a deferment longer than three consecutive monthly payments is needed for a loan, borrowers can work directly with their lenders who in turn will work closely with the SBA to identify the best solution.

At the same time, the SBA is asking its lenders not to broadly call borrower loans due to changing financial variables, such as fluctuations in personal credit scores, declining collateral values, and reduced home equity, which are currently affected by the disruption in the financial markets. The SBA has issued a notice that will be distributed widely to its lenders and 120 field offices encouraging them to look at these cases individually and to work with individual borrowers in order to facilitate the longer term success of these small businesses.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nurses Report Quality Health Benefits Key to Choosing an Employer

/PRNewswire/ -- As more hospitals ramp up efforts to attract and retain quality nursing staffs, a new survey(i) by insurance provider Aflac finds that 86 percent of nurses say a hospital's benefit package is one of the most important factors when determining where they choose to work, and more than half report they would switch jobs solely based on an employer's benefits.

In fact, three-quarters of the registered nurses surveyed say they would prefer to work for an employer that provides voluntary insurance policies, including insurance for short-term disability. Additionally, the vast majority of the randomly polled nurses (87 percent) believe that voluntary insurance is an important factor when evaluating a current or potential employer.

The survey findings come at a time when American hospitals are facing critical nursing shortages: The Journal of the American Medical Association(ii) has forecasted that by 2020, the number of registered nurses will fall short of demand by 20 percent.

"These findings underscore the positive response we've seen among employees with access to voluntary insurance," said Paul S. Amos II, president, Aflac; COO, U.S. Operations. "Not only can voluntary insurance help nurses manage their health care expenses, but it can also have a positive impact on hospitals' recruitment and retention efforts."

Other survey highlights include:

-- 66 percent of nurses say a voluntary insurance package would positively impact their decision to remain with an employer

-- 64 percent of nurses who currently have voluntary insurance policies are unwilling to go without them

-- 54 percent of nurses say that voluntary insurance would improve their benefits package

-- 89 percent of nurses believe that as health care costs rise in the coming years, voluntary insurance will become even more important

-- 47 percent would consider switching jobs if their new employer made voluntary insurance plans available

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Georgia's Forest Industry Contributions Recognized

Governor Sonny Perdue has proclaimed October 19-25 National Forest Products Week,
highlighting the Georgia Forestry industry’s $28.5 billion impact on the state in 2007. According to statistics released by The Georgia Institute of Technology, the Forestry industry also provided
employment for more than 141,000 Georgians and compensation of $6.7 billion to employees and proprietors.

“Our state is one of the nation’s leading pulp and paper producers,” said Nathan McClure, Forest
Marketing Director for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “While the building products industry is being affected by downturns in real estate, the outlook is for positive future growth in relation to bioenergy.”

According to the report, the “Manufactured housing” economic impact sector posted the greatest
loss between 2006 and 2007 at 14.7%. “Pulp and Paper” and “Packaging” were two sectors that
experienced gains during 2007, reflecting increases in wood products exports.

Georgia ships more than $16 billion of forest products, such as lumber, paper, paperboard and
allied products every year. The report shows local economies of 37 Georgia counties are “very” or
“critically” dependant on the forest manufacturing industry. The Forest Industry ranks second in Georgia behind food processing when considering compensation to employees and proprietors. Forestry ranks third behind textiles and food processing when considering number of employees.

“Construction is continuing on the state’s first commercial scale pine-to-ethanol production plant in Soperton,” said McClure. “Plans have also been announced to build five pine-to-electricity plants in the state. Our rural forestry economy can be expected to improve as more investments are made in Georgia’s Bioenergy Corridor.”

The complete 2007 Economic Impact of Forest Products Manufacturing in Georgia report can be
viewed at GaTrees.org/Forest Marketing/Doing Business in Georgia.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Southern Company Announces Quarterly Dividend

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southern Company today announced a regular quarterly dividend of 42 cents per share on the company's common stock, payable Dec. 6, 2008, to shareholders of record Nov. 3, 2008.

This marks the 244th consecutive quarter -- dating back to 1948 -- that Southern Company will have paid a dividend to its shareholders.

With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for nine consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at www.southerncompany.com.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

UPS Sets 2009 Rates

(BUSINESS WIRE)--UPS (NYSE:UPS) today (October 17, 2008) released new list rates for 2009, including an average increase of 5.9 percent for UPS Ground packages and an average net increase of 4.9 percent on all air express and U.S. origin International shipments.

UPS Freight announced a general rate increase of 5.9% for 2009.

The rate increase for air express and international shipments is based on a 6.9 percent increase in the base rate, less a 2 percent reduction in the air and international fuel surcharge index.

The new rates will take effect on Jan. 5, 2009.

Updated rate and service information will be posted on ups.com/rates beginning Oct. 24, 2008. On Dec. 18, customers can download the 2009 Rate and Service Guide on the site.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Board Of Directors Of The Coca-Cola Company Declares Quarterly Dividend; Elects Tuggle As Officer

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of The Coca-Cola Company today declared a regular quarterly dividend of 38 cents per common share. The dividend is payable Dec. 15, 2008, to shareowners of record as of Dec. 1, 2008.

The Board also elected Clyde Tuggle as a senior vice president of the Company. Mr. Tuggle leads the Company's productivity efforts and oversees the Company’s Public Affairs and Communications and Strategic Security and Aviation functions. Prior to this newly created role, Mr. Tuggle served as president of the Russia, Ukraine and Belarus Business Unit.

A 19-year veteran of the Company, Mr. Tuggle has twice held the role of executive assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. From 1998 to 2000, he worked in the Central European Division, first as director of operations development and deputy to the division president, and then as region manager for Austria. Mr. Tuggle was named Worldwide Communications director in 2001 and served as director of Worldwide Public Affairs and Communications from 2002 to 2005.

Mr. Tuggle has a bachelor’s degree in German and economics from Hamilton College, a master’s degree from Yale University and has completed the executive program at the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 450 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERade, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.5 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Media General Completes Sale of Television Station to University of Georgia Research Foundation

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Media General, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) and the University of Georgia announced today the completion of the University of Georgia Research Foundation's purchase of Media General's television station WNEG in Toccoa, Ga. Terms were not disclosed.

Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer of Media General, said, "We have now completed the sale of the fourth of the five stations we are divesting and will use the proceeds immediately for debt reduction. The sale of the fifth station, WCWJ in Jacksonville, is progressing. We thank the employees of WNEG for their many fine contributions to Media General and wish them well in the future."

Media General sold WMBB in Panama City, Fla., and KALB/NALB, in Alexandria, La., on July 16, and WTVQ in Lexington, Ky., on May 13. The results of all five stations will be included in discontinued operations in Media General's third quarter 2008 results, which will be announced on October 16.

When the sales of all five stations are completed, Media General expects to realize total proceeds of $100 million to $105 million, which will be used to reduce debt by $60 million to $65 million after considering estimated taxes to be paid.

"The University of Georgia intends to provide quality local programming to Northeast Georgia, strengthening the local market by emphasizing local interests," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "In doing so, we will offer a real-world opportunity for faculty and students to work in research, development and teaching in media."

WNEG, which has approximately 30 employees, was acquired by Media General in 2000 as part of the acquisition of a group of television stations from the former Spartan Communications.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties and should be understood in the context of the company's publicly available reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Media General's future performance could differ materially from its current expectations.

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U.S. Hotels To Bottom Out In 2009

A new study released today by PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) reveals that demand for U.S. hotel rooms will contract for the next two years. Compounding the negative impact of declining demand is a projected concurrent increase in supply. PKF-HR is forecasting a combined net increase in 2008 and 2009 of nearly 275,000 new hotel rooms compared to year-end 2007. This represents a 6.2 percent jump in accommodations over this two-year period.

With supply and demand levels moving in opposite directions, occupancy rates are projected to decline in both 2008 and 2009. Considering the 0.3 percent occupancy decline reported by Smith Travel Research in 2007, the result is three consecutive years of fewer accommodated roomnights for the average U.S. hotel.

These findings are based on the recently released third quarter 2008 edition of Hotel HorizonsSM, PKF-HR’s quarterly forecast report for six U.S. chain-scales and 50 major markets. The forecast was released at The Lodging Conference 2008 in Phoenix this morning.

“Because of the extended slowdown of the U.S. economy, compounded by the negative consequences stemming from airline capacity cutbacks, we are now forecasting a 0.2 percent decline in lodging demand in 2008, followed by another loss of 1.1 percent in 2009,” said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. “According to data from Smith Travel Research, this is the first time since 1988 that the U.S. lodging industry will experience two consecutive years of decline in lodging demand.”

Slow ADR

Through the first half of 2008, the one saving measure for hotel owners and operators was the ability to maintain rate integrity. Despite a 2.5 percent decline in occupancy during the first six months of the year, managers were able to raise their average daily room rates (ADR) by 4.2 percent. Persistent yield management plus contractual rate agreements helped to buoy room rate levels.

“With supply and demand moving in opposite directions, the typical hotel manager will not be able to maintain their aggressive approach to raising room rates,” Woodworth commented. “Accordingly, we are forecasting ADR growth for the entirety of 2008 to be 3.6 percent, followed by a minimal 1.3 percent gain in 2009.” Looking forward, PKF-HR does not foresee ADR growth to exceed the pace of inflation until 2012, according to Woodworth.

Declining occupancy, plus slow ADR growth, combines for a dismal near-term outlook for revenue increases. PKF-HR projects RevPAR to increase a mere 0.8 percent in 2008, followed by a 3.2 percent decline in 2009. Given the strong contribution of rooms revenue, PKF-HR is forecasting total hotel revenues to remain virtually flat in 2008 (0.2 percent increase) and then decline in 2009 (negative 2.5 percent).

Expense Controls

“Historically, U.S. hotel managers have answered reductions in revenue with more vigilant cost containment. Fewer rooms occupied do lessen the need for staffing, plus inspire management to find expense reductions throughout the operation. Unfortunately, less controllable costs, such as utilities, property taxes and insurance, are on the rise,” Woodworth noted.

PKF-HR believes that average operating expenditures will drop 1.0 percent in 2008, thus allowing unit-level net operating income (NOI) to increase 3.1 percent. However, the forecasted 2.5 percent decline in revenue for 2009 will be too much to overcome. Despite another 2.3 percent reduction in operating costs, the average U.S. hotel is projected to suffer a 3.0 percent decline in NOI during 2009. For the purposes of this analysis, NOI is defined as income before deductions for capital reserve, rent, interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization.

“Fortunately, the U.S. lodging industry was in good financial shape entering the current trough in the business cycle. Unlike other forms of real estate, lodging was not experiencing any material amounts of foreclosures,” Woodworth said. “A sample of 1,500 hotels that participated in our annual Trends in the Hotel Industry survey generated sufficient cash from their operations to cover their reported interest payment by a ratio of 1.86. This implies that most U.S. hotels can withstand a fairly substantial decline in NOI and still have the ability to meet their debt service obligations.”

On The Horizon

“The current credit crisis may be unfairly punishing developers with sound market and financially justified projects. However, the lodging industry will eventually benefit from the near-term development difficulties,” Woodworth noted. “PKF-HR believes the existing restrictive financing environment will linger into 2009, thus delaying or preventing the start of hotel projects currently in the pipeline. Given the 12 to 24 month time needed to construct most hotels, PKF-HR projects a window of one to two years when the amount of hotel openings will be very limited. The pace of new supply growth is forecast to drop to 1.4 and 1.8 percent, respectively, in 2010 and 2011.

“By 2010, we will start to see a reversal of current trends. While the pace of supply growth will be waning, we will start to see a return in the demand for lodging accommodations,” Woodworth said. PKF-HR is forecasting a 2.2 percent increase in demand for 2010, followed by another 3.1 percent gain in 2011. With growth in demand exceeding supply, national occupancy levels will begin to rise again in 2010 and continue to increase through 2012.

Despite the forecast of growth in occupancy from 2010 through 2012, the outlook for increases in ADR is somewhat constrained. “As we have observed during the initial years of historical periods of recovery, occupancy gains precede ADR growth. Given the depth of the projected lodging industry slowdown in 2009, the newly built competitive properties added to most markets, and forecasts of below average CPI growth, we are forecasting average daily room rates to increase at a compound average annual rate of 2.7 percent, just equal to the long-term rate of growth for ADR,” said Woodworth.

A Trough In 2009

“Seven years since the terrorist acts of 2001 - the primary event that led to the last low point in the U.S. lodging performance - a new, but familiar, set of circumstances is propelling the industry towards the next trough. Capital market turmoil is undermining asset values, a situation last seen in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The projected industry slowdown won’t be as deep as the ones observed in 1981 or 1991, but it may take a little longer to fully recover,” Woodworth concluded.

To purchase a third quarter 2008 Hotel HorizonsSM report for the United States, or one of 50 individual markets, please visit the firm’s online store at www.pkfc.com/hotelhorizons, or call (866) 842-8754.
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Cruise Industry Spending Tops $676 Million, Generates 9,147 Jobs in Georgia in 2007

PRNewswire/ -- The North American cruise industry contributed $676 million in direct spending to the state of Georgia's economy in 2007, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year according to a recently released study commissioned for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

This spending, in turn, generated 9,147 jobs paying $437 million in wage income. This represents 3.6 percent of the industry's total U.S. direct expenditures, ranking the state seventh in the nation in terms of cruise industry spending. State business sectors most impacted by the industry's direct spending included: business services and government, $327 million; manufacturing, $177 million; and information services, $63 million.

With no direct cruise operations, Georgia is a major source market for cruise passengers. Resident cruise passengers totaled 337,000, 3.7 percent of U.S. resident passengers. The state also supports the cruise industry with a wide range of goods and services.

"The cruise industry continues to make an impressive contribution to the economic well-being of the country and Georgia plays a significant role as one of the leading beneficiaries of industry spending and job creation," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA.

The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2007 study was conducted by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) in Exton, Pa., and analyzes the economic benefits to the U.S. economy from five principal sources: spending by cruise passengers and crew; shoreside staffing by cruise lines in U.S. cities; expenditures by cruise lines for goods and services; U.S. port services; and vessel maintenance and repair.

Among other key Georgia findings:
-- Tourism-related businesses such as tour operators, airlines, hotels,
restaurants and providers of ground transportation were the
beneficiaries of 20 percent of the cruise industry spending, receiving
$134 million.
-- Another $166 million was spent with businesses in the following
sectors: food processors, computer and electronic equipment
manufacturers, advertising agencies, insurance companies and
management and technical consultants in the non-manufacturing sector.
-- Direct expenditures in Georgia also impacted such industries as
telecommunications, financial services, software publishers and
textile and apparel manufacturers.


Nationwide, the North American cruise industry continued to have a significant and growing impact on the U.S. economy in 2007, positively affecting every state in the country. Cruise line and passenger spending generated a total of $38 billion in gross economic output, a 6.4 percent increase over 2006, and generated 354,700 American jobs paying $15.4 billion in wages and salaries. Direct spending by cruise lines, their employees and passengers totaled $18.7 billion.

The full economic study and summary can be downloaded from CLIA's Web site, www.cruising.org .

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Georgia Power Announces Wireless Co-location on Select Transmission Towers

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Georgia Power and Southern Telecom, both subsidiaries of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), unveiled Georgia’s first wireless co-location program. The program allows wireless providers to co-locate communications infrastructure, such as antennas, on select Georgia Power electric transmission facilities.

“Rather than build costly new towers in congested areas, the co-location program allows wireless companies to take advantage of the hundreds of existing structures throughout Georgia Power’s footprint,” said W. Scott Hall, Georgia Power project manager. “Not only does this save time and improve coverage but it also avoids cluttering the skyline with additional wireless towers, thereby maximizing the available green space for our environment.”

In December 2006, Commissioner Stan Wise asked Georgia Power to investigate the feasibility of allowing wireless co-locations on Transmission towers. In February, Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission reached an agreement to launch the state’s first wireless co-location program. As part of the agreement, Southern Telecom will manage the requests from wireless carriers that choose to participate in the co-location program.

“With more than 260 million wireless subscribers in the United States today, wireless usage is at an all-time high,” said Ben H. Easterling, business development manager, Southern Telecom. “Thanks to the new co-location program, Georgia Power and Southern Telecom will be able to provide cellular carriers in Georgia with a viable and alternative way to improve coverage so that wireless customers can stay even more connected to friends, family members and business associates.”

Outside of Georgia, there are wireless co-location programs in 11 other states including California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Using their robust network of facilities and fiber infrastructure, utilities are in the unique position to provide reliable support for commercial wireless carriers in the areas of antenna siting, backhaul and construction,” said Ron Bilodeau, Nevada Power Company and chairman of Utilisite Council (www.utilisite.org).

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Southeast Venture Conference Announces Call for Presenting Companies

PRNewswire/ -- The 2009 Southeast Venture Conference announced it is actively seeking showcase companies for its third annual event set for March 11-12, 2009 at Atlanta's Intercontinental Buckhead Hotel.

The conference selection committee, made up of top venture capitalists from around the region, is seeking high growth, innovative companies from a multitude of industries and stages. Southeast Venture Conference presenting companies will have proven management teams and unique market and/or technology positions.

The conference will feature a combination of both early and later stage firms, with previous presenting companies ranging from pre-revenue to firms with over $30 million in revenue.

Over 40 presenting companies will showcase their technologies before a regional and national audience of venture capitalists, private equity investors, angel investors, investment bankers and the technology service community. Presenting companies must be headquartered in one of the following: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or Washington DC.

The application deadline for presenting companies is set for November 14th, 2008. Additional details on presenting or registration information can be found at www.seventure.org .

The sold-out 2007 and 2008 SEVC's held in Research Triangle Park, NC and Tysons Corner, VA respectively featured over $80 billion in private equity investment capital represented in attendance.

In addition to presenting companies, the conference will feature exclusive networking opportunities, featured speakers and a number of investor/executive oriented panels.

Tim Draper, founder and managing director of venture capital heavyweight Draper Fisher Jurvetson, has been announced as one of the conference's keynotes.

About the Southeast Venture Conference

The mission of the Southeast Venture Conference (SEVC) is to help support the innovation and entrepreneurial activity of emerging high growth technology companies from the Southeast region (the world's 5th largest economy) and the resulting economic growth in the region. As part of that goal, the SEVC understands the importance of investment capital to this equation and provides a key forum to facilitate the infusion of growth to the Southeast high growth technology community. The SEVC highlights both early stage and later stage investment opportunities from: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington DC. For more information visit www.seventure.org .

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New U.S. Company Turns Liquid Waste into Fuel

(BUSINESS WIRE)--MagneGas Corporation, approved to be quoted on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board on September 30, 2008, symbol “MNGA” (OTCBB:MNGA), announces that it has signed an exclusive and all-encompassing license with HyFuels, Inc. for the MagneGas Technology for North, South, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. This intellectual property consists of all relevant present and future patents, patent applications, trademarks and domain names. The license also includes an exclusive option for the purchase of all related patents, patent applications and intellectual property.

MagneGas is a cost competitive, clean-burning natural gas alternative made from liquid waste. The patented Plasma Arc Flow™ system gasifies liquid waste such as sewage, sludge, manure and certain industrial and oil-based liquid wastes. The development of this cost competitive fuel is the result of the hard work of former Harvard scientist Ruggero Santilli.

“We are extremely excited about this technology. We can now create our own fuel while we recycle liquid waste,” Dr. Santilli says. “Today’s gas prices are a clear sign why we need to start looking seriously at alternative fuel sources like MagneGas.”

The Plasma Arc Flow refinery uses a patented electrical process to decompose the liquid waste molecules into atoms, and the atoms are then recombined into MagneGas. The system creates this hydrogen-based natural gas alternative, which can power bi-fuel cars running on natural gas, cooking grills, industrial equipment, and homes. It is also an ideal metal cutting and welding fuel that independent users rate as more precise and effective than other metal cutting fuels on the market today. MagneGas exhaust has been independently certified to surpass all E.P.A. requirements without a catalytic converter, making it dramatically cleaner then fossil fuel.

Certain statements in this press release that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may be identified by the use of words such as “anticipate, “believe,” “expect,” “future,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “plan,” “projected,” “intend,” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of MagneGas Corporation (the “Company”) to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company’s future operating results are dependent upon many factors, including but not limited to: (i) the Company’s ability to obtain sufficient capital or a strategic business arrangement to fund its current operational or expansion plans; (ii) the Company’s ability to build and maintain the management and human resources and infrastructure necessary to support the anticipated growth of its business; (iii) competitive factors and developments beyond the Company’s control; and (iv) other risk factors discussed in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available for review at www.sec.gov under “Search for Company Filings.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

AGL Resources to Host Third-Quarter 2008 Earnings Conference Call and Webcast

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AGL Resources Inc. (NYSE:ATG) will release its third-quarter 2008 earnings results before the market opens on Thursday, October 30, 2008. The company will hold a conference call to discuss its results on the same day at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

The conference call will be webcast, and can be accessed via the investor relations section of the company's Web site (www.aglresources.com), or by dialing 866/825-1692 in the United States or 617/213-8059 outside the United States. The confirmation code is 45859355. A replay of the conference call will be available by dialing 888/286-8010 in the United States or 617/801-6888 outside the United States, with a confirmation code of 78383201. A replay of the call also will be available on the investor relations section of the company's Web site for seven days following the call.

About AGL Resources

AGL Resources (NYSE:ATG) , an Atlanta-based energy services company, serves approximately 2.3 million customers in six states. The company also owns Houston-based Sequent Energy Management, an asset manager serving natural gas wholesale customers throughout North America. As a 70 percent owner in the SouthStar partnership, AGL Resources markets natural gas to consumers in Georgia under the Georgia Natural Gas brand. The company also owns and operates Jefferson Island Storage & Hub, a high-deliverability natural gas storage facility near the Henry Hub in Louisiana. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Major Auto Assembly Equipment for Kia Arrives in Georgia

The first major machinery destined for Kia Motors’ West Point manufacturing plant arrived in the United States this week when the ship M/V Leopold Stuffs coasted into the Port of Savannah carrying more than 3,500 tons of automobile-making equipment.

Over the next few weeks, the equipment will be transported from Savannah to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.’s $1.2 billion facility, which is under construction in West Point. There it will be assembled into two large presses that will be used to form various panels for Kia vehicles. Some of the larger pieces weigh up to 125 tons and require special arrangements for its transportation across Georgia.

“This is a great example of how Georgia’s strengths enable our successes in economic development,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “From our ports to our highways to QuickStart’s workforce training, Georgia has all the advantages that global companies look for in a place to create new jobs and new investment.”

With Kia’s planned 2,500 jobs and $1.2 billion investment, the economic impact of the project on West Georgia and the state is continuing to grow. Automotive suppliers who have announced their intent to locate in the region as a result of Kia’s presence will bring the total job creation number to more than 6,000.

“The arrival of these presses inside the state of Georgia is another huge step for Kia as we get closer to going into production in West Point,” said Randy Jackson, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.’s (KMMG) director of human resources and administration. “It takes quite an effort between Kia and various state agencies to coordinate the transport of such a large shipment, but Georgia’s ability to facilitate such an effort is one of the main reasons we’re here.”

Jackson praised the collaboration among the various agencies for making this significant achievement possible. The overall project is spearheaded by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) capabilities for receiving and handling such large pieces of cargo, combined with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) engineering know-how for determining a secure route and monitoring safety requirements enable the equipment to make the final leg of a journey that has already taken it 15,000 miles from its origin in Masan, Korea. Quick Start, Georgia’s workforce training program which is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, closes the loop by helping to prepare Kia’s team members for operation of the assembly equipment.

"Kia is an important customer for the GPA and this recent shipment is another example of that partnership," said Doug J. Marchand, Executive Director of the GPA. "We look forward to working with Kia for many years to come."

The shipment left Masan, Korea, August 12 on the Leopold Staffs and has since navigated across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, across the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and up the coast to the Port of Savannah. Aerocosta Global Systems of New York coordinated the ship’s operations.

Once the equipment is unloaded from the ship, the items will be transported another 300 miles to KMMG in West Point in 128 separate loads. The company Guy M. Turner, Inc. of North Carolina will transport the pieces from the Port of Savannah to West Point, using a fleet of trucks that include dual-lane trailers and a specialized 19-axle truck for the largest pieces of the presses.

The equipment will be assembled by the company Rotem, its manufacturer, into a transfer press and a blanking press. The transfer press will use its capability for 5,400 tons of pressure to stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle panels for the next generation Sorento, including its hood, doors and fenders. The blanking press will use 600 tons of pressure to cut steel “blanks” which will be shaped by the stamping press.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Buffalo Rock Columbus Named Pepsi-Cola's Donald M. Kendall Bottler of the Year

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pepsi-Cola North America (PCNA) has named Buffalo Rock of Columbus, Georgia its Donald M. Kendall Bottler of the Year for 2007. Named for PepsiCo's former chairman and founder, this is the highest honor bestowed upon PCNA's bottling partners.

Accompanied by PCNA President Hugh Johnston, Mr. Kendall presented the award to James C. Lee III, the franchise's president and CEO, at a ceremony during PCNA's national bottler meeting at PCNA's Purchase, N.Y. headquarters last night.

Bottler of the Year finalists are nominated based on key criteria, including customer service, community support, volume and sales growth, quality standards and performance against the company's strategic imperatives.

Together with Division General Manager Barry Hayes, EVP and COO Matthew Dent, Lee has led Buffalo Rock, Columbus to a great record of recent success, with a three-year compound annual growth of 10% between 2004 and 2007. In 2007, Buffalo Rock, Columbus really came to play, growing its non-carbonated beverage volume by 27.5% and increasing its Lipton tea business by triple-digits. Overall per capita consumption in Buffalo Rock Columbus' territory rose by more than 10 percent in 2007.

"When you talk about Buffalo Rock of Columbus, you're talking about a great competitor," Johnston said. "Really, this is a bottler who is truly among the best of the best every year, and they prove it every day in a tough competitive environment. PCNA wouldn't be what it is without its valued bottling partners and we are honored to have a bottler like Buffalo Rock on our side. Nobody embodies the spirit of a champion -- what we call 'that Pepsi spirit' -- quite like Jimmy Lee, Matthew Dent, Barry Hayes and everybody at Buffalo Rock, Columbus. They make the entire Pepsi system very proud."

In recognition of their generous support, Pepsi-Cola North America presents each finalist with a $5,000 Donald M. Kendall Community Grant. With that, Buffalo Rock Columbus has made a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Chattahoochee Valley, a charitable organization whose mission is to gather food and feed the hungry. The organization provides service to 13 countries in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama.

Other finalists for the award included Arctic Beverage Limited of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Lane Affiliated Companies Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Yuma, Arizona; and Pepsi Bottling Group of Texas.

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UPS Joins EPA’s ''Climate Leaders'' Program

(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its continued commitment to sustainable business practices, UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced its participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program.

UPS is the first shipping company to join the program.

Climate Leaders is an industry/government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. Partner companies commit to reducing their impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, setting aggressive reduction goals and annually reporting their progress to the EPA.

“Our decision to join the Climate Leaders program is just the latest demonstration of a long commitment by UPS to operating in an environmentally responsible way,” said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. “UPS has been investing in more efficient technologies for more than 80 years and already leads the industry in fuel and energy conservation.”

Over the past few years, Davis noted, UPS has:

* Operated the largest private fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in the transportation industry and in 2008, purchased 500 additional hybrid electric (HEV) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
* Optimized its delivery routes using technology to minimize left-hand turns, saving the company 3 million gallons of fuels in 2007.
* Minimized fuel use in airline operations by reducing the number of engines used during taxiing and deploying a new flight planning system to calculate the most efficient routes based on weather, terrain, winds and other factors.

“EPA applauds our corporate partners who are reducing their climate footprints in cost-effective ways,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Not only is UPS contributing to this country’s energy independence, UPS is proving that businesses can save green by going green.”

UPS has been a long-time partner of many voluntary programs sponsored by the EPA. These include a charter partner of the SmartWay Transport Partnership program in 2003, the Green Power Partnership, Waste Wise and the Energy Star program. Later this week, UPS will receive the EPA’s SmartWay Environmental Excellence Award for its leadership in conserving energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lockheed Martin Receives Contract for Four C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft for Qatar

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The State of Qatar has signed a $393.6 million contract with Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) for the purchase of four C-130J Super Hercules airlifters plus training and spares with deliveries to begin in 2011. Qatar's new C-130Js will be the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C-130J.

Since this is Qatar's first experience with C-130s, the package being provided by Lockheed Martin is a complete solution. The package includes four aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets, and a team of technical specialists who will be based in Qatar during an initial support period.

"This acquisition of a fleet of C-130Js will provide our country with a highly flexible airlift capability," said Brigadier General Ahmad Ibrahim Al -- Malki, Chairman of the Qatar Emiri Air Force Airlift Evaluation Committee. "No other aircraft can do what a C-130J can do and we are proud to join the many, many countries around the world that operate the world's most successful airlifter."

"We also are extremely proud to be selected to provide the world's most advanced tactical mobility aircraft to meet Qatar's operational airlift needs," said Jim Jamerson, president, Middle East/Africa Region, Lockheed Martin Corporation. "The C-130J Super Hercules will equip the Qatari Emiri Air Force with proven, modern, and effective tactical and strategic airlift to support a wide range of Qatar's national requirements."

Qatar joins the rapidly growing number of nations with C-130J fleets including Australia, Canada, Demark, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The C-130J has become the standard by which all other airlift is measured in terms of availability, flexibility and reliability. C-130Js are currently deployed in two combat theaters and are operating at a very high tempo efficiently and reliably. In non-combat, but equally harsh environments, the C-130Js were first to support relief efforts after hurricane Katrina, Thailand's tsunami, Myanmar's typhoon and several earthquakes. The worldwide fleet of C-130Js has now flown nearly half a million flight hours, with some C-130J operator countries flying as much as 1000 hours per month.

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Smart Fuel Cell Opens U.S. Office in Atlanta to Meet Growing Demand For Mobile, Off-Grid Power Applications

(BUSINESS WIRE)--SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, a leading provider of fuel cell technologies for mobile and off-grid power applications, today announced its expansion into the United States with the opening of a sales and technical service office in Atlanta to meet growing demand for its fuel cell products for the defense and industrial markets.

“The United States is a key and fast-growing market for SFC and our new office is intended to be our first step towards establishing full U.S. operations. Establishing a team of SFC experts on the East Coast will enable us to work even more closely with our defense and commercial partners,” said Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Smart Fuel Cell. “The new headquarters in the U.S. will serve to further enhance our collaboration with our technology partners as well as help us to increase our market penetration into the U.S.”

In the past year, SFC announced projects involving several innovative applications for its direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) systems used by U.S. defense organizations, including:

* The M-25 portable fuel cell. Developed in collaboration with DuPont, the M-25 combines DuPont’s direct methanol technology with SFC’s commercially proven fuel cell systems, products and integration expertise. It has been deployed for its first limited use in the field by the U.S. Army.
* The FC-250. The FC-250 provides 250 watts up to 100 hours with one 7.4 gallon (28 liter) cartridge, which can be easily replaced by one soldier and significantly reduces logistics costs. Suited for defense and industrial applications this system passed rigorous testing by the U.S. Army’s Operational Test Command.
* Power Manager. SFC’s Power Manager enables efficient battery charging and significant weight reduction in field use. SFC and its U.S. licensing partner, Capitol Connections LLC, received an order for 500 Power Manager modules from the U.S. Air Force.

SFC Smart Fuel Cell, Inc. will be managed by Christian Boehm, President of SFC Smart Fuel Cell, Inc. 10 Piedmont Center, Suite 810, Atlanta GA 30305.

SFC also announced that its complete range of EFOY and EFOY Pro fuel cells is now cNRTLus approved by TUEV Sued Germany, the European product-testing organization. EFOY and EFOY Pro products provide reliable, mobile off-grid power for a range of applications, from recreational vehicles to surveillance cameras.

The cNRTLus approval certifies the products’ compliance with recognized UL safety standards. The cNRTLus approval also certifies SFC’s ability to ensure that each EFOY fuel cell product manufactured complies with appropriate requirements.

This is the second international safety certificate for SFC’s fuel cell products and systems. In August 2006, the company’s EFOY series of fuel cells were the world’s first fuel cells to receive the TUEV SUED,Octagon Quality Seal “Tested Fuel Cell System” by Germany’s TUEV SUED Industry Service GmbH, the EU’s counterpart of Underwriter Laboratories Inc.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Clayton State University's School of Business and The Jim Wood Speakers Series Presents Mr. Frank A. Argenbright, Jr.

Frank A. Argenbright, Jr. is the Chairman of Air Serv Corporation. His illustrious career is highlighted by the $500 investment he made to start Argenbright Security, Inc. which eventually became AHL Services, a multinational company, providing outsourced business services for Fortune 500 clients. AHL grew to become a $1 billion revenue company. Wednesday, October 8, 2008 @ 12 p.m. at University Ctr. Rm 272; Admission is FREE.

Stonebranch Chosen as Finalist for Atlanta Business Chronicle's Best Places to Work

PRNewswire/ -- Stonebranch(R), Inc., www.stonebranch.com , the innovation leader in Enterprise Systems Management, has been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Atlanta's Best Places to Work.

Independent research firm, Quantum Market Research conducted anonymous employee surveys to tabulate the results. Best Places to Work winners rank high based on numerous topics including, manager effectiveness, trust in senior leaders, alignment with goals and team effectiveness, among other criteria.

Wolfgang Bothe, CEO of Stonebranch, Inc., said, "We are very proud to be selected as one of Atlanta's Best Places to Work. Our year-over-year successful growth in the marketplace begins with the skill and hard work of our employees. It is very gratifying to know that our employees are proud of their workplace."

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Gulfstream Introduces the New Gulfstream G250

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) , today (October 5, 2008) announced the introduction of its newest super mid-size business jet: the Gulfstream G250.

The G250 offers the largest cabin and the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. The G250 is capable of traveling 3,400 nautical miles at 0.80 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.85 Mach. With an initial cruise altitude of 41,000 feet, the G250 can climb to a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, where it can avoid air-traffic congestion and adverse weather.

"I'm delighted to announce the newest aircraft in the Gulfstream line," said Joe Lombardo, president, Gulfstream. "Our customers played a definitive role in designing this business jet by participating in our Advanced Technology Customer Advisory Team. As a result, we are confident they'll appreciate the G250's state-of-the-art technology, superior performance and enhanced styling."

Gulfstream projects the G250 will be certified in 2011 and expects to begin customer deliveries of the new aircraft the same year. The first flight of the aircraft is scheduled for the second half of 2009.

"I am very proud of the advanced technology our team has incorporated into the G250. It gives this new member of the Gulfstream family increased speed and range. The all-new, advanced Gulfstream wing, the best-in-class Honeywell engines, and the PlaneView 250 cockpit from Rockwell Collins make the G250 the best-in-class aircraft," said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream . "I do want to give credit to Dan Nale, vice president, Mid-Cabin Programs, and Mark Kohler, G250 program manager at Gulfstream, for all their efforts in bringing this program forward on schedule. Their team's work has resulted in the G250 leading the super mid- size category. I am equally proud of our partner G250 team at Israel Aerospace Industries for the detailed design and manufacturing of this new aircraft."

Performance

The G250 is powered by twin Honeywell HTF7250G engines, each of which provides 7,445 pounds of thrust. These fuel-efficient engines feature reduced emissions, longer maintenance intervals and decreased noise levels. They also offer excellent climb performance, propelling the G250 to FL410 in less than 20 minutes.

The G250 also has an all-new, advanced transonic wing design that has been optimized for high-speed cruise and improved takeoff performance. At maximum takeoff weight, the G250 can take off from a 5,000-foot runway. Its 3,400- nautical-mile range means the G250 can fly nonstop from New York to London or from London to Dubai.

Improved Cabin Comfort

Convenience and comfort are the hallmarks of the G250 cabin. The aircraft has the largest cabin in its class, with 17 percent to 35 percent more floor area than any other super mid-size business jet. This additional space provides for a larger lavatory, an improved galley and increased storage.

The lavatory features two large windows, a contemporary sink with a raised ledge, and a vacuum toilet system. The G250 is the only super mid-size business jet with this system, a standard feature on larger business aircraft. This system is easier to access, service and maintain.

The ergonomically designed G250 galley features an extra-large ice drawer with gasper-cooled storage, a sink with a slide-out work surface, and increased storage capabilities. In addition to the galley, the G250 offers storage in a forward cabin closet, the lavatory closet and the divan end cabinets. The aircraft also provides in-flight access to 120 cubic feet of usable volume in the baggage compartment.

Nineteen windows allow natural light to illuminate the cabin's interior. This reduces jet lag and enhances cabin ambiance. The cabin environment is further improved by 100 percent fresh air and a cabin altitude of 7,000 feet at FL450. Industry-leading sound levels mean the G250 cabin provides a more comfortable environment for conversation or relaxing.

The G250 adheres to Gulfstream's Cabin-Essential(R) design philosophy, which means all of its major cabin systems have been designed with redundancy so a single-point failure will not result in the loss of cabin functionality. That means cabin lighting always illuminates; water is always available; and an entertainment source always works.

The PlaneView(R) 250 Cockpit

The G250 is equipped with the most advanced flight deck in its class: the PlaneView 250 featuring Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. This flight deck features three high-resolution, 15-inch diagonal Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) that are capable of showing multiple formats, including a navigation map with terrain; approach and airport charts; graphical flight planning, and optional synthetic and enhanced vision.

The cockpit also includes two new Standby Multi-function Controllers (SMCs). Installed in the glare shield, these first-of-their-kind SMCs incorporate a variety of features, including Standby Instrument, Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) Display Control, and Remote Information Display on a 5.3-inch LCD.

Working in concert, these elements provide flight crews with enhanced situational awareness and improved safety.

The cockpit also offers dual Flight Management Systems (FMSs), dual Gulfstream signature Cursor Control Devices (CCDs), universal worldwide graphical weather, automatic Emergency Descent Mode, MultiScan(TM) weather radar and a dual auto-throttle system.

Optional features further enhance the capabilities of PlaneView 250. These include the Rockwell Collins HGS-6250 Head-Up Display (HUD II), Gulfstream Enhanced Vision (EVS II) and Gulfstream Synthetic Vision - Primary Flight Display (SV-PFD). A Head-up Guidance System (HGS) designed by Rockwell Collins, HUD II features an all-digital LCD that combines critical flight guidance information with the infrared image from EVS II and presents it in the pilot's forward field of view. This combination of HUD II and EVS II improves touchdown precision, thereby allowing G250 pilots to proceed from Decision Height to a 100-foot altitude when using EVS for low-visibility approaches.

Gulfstream SV-PFD improves situational awareness and safety by generating a synthesized, three-dimensional image of the world outside the cockpit. It integrates data from the Rockwell Collins onboard terrain database with the aircraft's position, altitude and heading to create a synthesized picture that is projected in a perspective view on the Primary Flight Displays. This optional PlaneView 250 feature allows pilots to view major landmarks throughout the world and the aircraft's position relative to them, thereby improving terrain and obstacle awareness.

Additional options for the PlaneView 250 cockpit include predictive wind shear for weather radar, XM graphical weather, paperless cockpit, en route charts and an intercontinental package with enhanced capability and redundancy for oceanic and remote-area operations.

Reliable Systems

The G250 is the only aircraft in its class with auto braking, which provides improved safety while reducing pilot workload. Additionally, the G250 brake-by-wire system features individual antiskid, completely independent mechanical backup and a brake temperature monitoring system.

The G250's advanced flight control system consists of a fly-by-wire multifunction spoiler system, fly-by-wire rudder control, hydro-mechanical elevator control and manually operated ailerons.

The G250 Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) minimizes surge-control valve operation, making the APU quieter to use. A new starter generator improves reliability on the ground or in-flight, where it can be used at altitudes up to 40,000 feet.

The G250 fuel system stores 14,600 pounds of fuel and has an improved refueling sequence that requires less than 20 minutes for fill-ups.

Manufacturing

Initial phase manufacturing for the G250 will be at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) near the Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. IAI currently builds two other Gulfstream aircraft: the G150 and the G200. Final phase manufacturing for the G250 will take place at the Gulfstream Center of Excellence completion facility for mid-cabin aircraft in Dallas. Gulfstream maintains a fully staffed office at IAI to oversee initial manufacturing. The G250 Program office is located in Savannah, Ga.

"The G250 offers an unrivaled combination of characteristics that will ensure its success in the business-aviation industry," Lombardo said. "We've made a proven product even better by boosting its range, reducing its runway requirements, bolstering its cabin size, increasing its storage and equipping it with state-of-the-art technology.

"I am excited Gulfstream is able to offer this new aircraft to our customers. And, as with all Gulfstream aircraft, the G250 is backed by Gulfstream's award-winning product-support network," he concluded.

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News to Use in Fayetteville, Atlanta, Savannah, Peachtree City and all of Georgia

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jeff Mesquita of Dunwoody Selected Chairman of SCORE Atlanta Chapter

SCORE Georgia Chapter #48 has elected Jeff Mesquita as its new chairman, with his term beginning this week. In his new position, Mesquita will coordinate community outreach, recruiting and the chapter’s small business counseling and workshop programs.

National SCORE CEO Kenneth Yancey said, “Jeff Mesquita selection as chapter chair will have a very positive impact on SCORE Atlanta Chapter #48. “Jeff Mesquita has shown tremendous dedication to the Atlanta/Georgia business community,” added Yancey. “He will ensure the superior level of service that the SCORE Atlanta Chapter offers to area start-up and existing businesses.”

SCORE receives federal operational funds and is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Jeff Mesquita has been with SCORE Atlanta Chapter #48 since 2005. He has a B.S., and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. His management experience is extensive. He has worked for various companies in the Military Aircraft, Health Care, Electronics, and Car Wash industries. Mesquita also owned several small businesses and served on the Faculty of the Keller Graduate School of Management, conducting courses in Sales Management. He also served on the board of the American Lithotripsy Society as the only non-medical member, and helped start the Georgia Society for Ambulatory Surgery Centers as its President.

SCORE Atlanta Chapter #48 provided over 12,000 small business services to area entrepreneurs in 2007, through face-to-face and email counseling, and a series of business workshops. The chapter’s 95 volunteers have an average of 30 years of business experience, with a wide range of expertise.

Since 1964, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has assisted more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 404-331-0121. You can view the SCORE Atlanta Chapter programs on its web site at www.scoreatlanta.org.
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SBA Workshop Being Held on Doing Business

A free workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on November 5th on Doing Business with the Federal Government. The workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce and will explain how to sell to the government as well as gain direct access to key contracting resources.

The workshop will be held at the SBA Georgia Office located on the 19th floor of Harris Tower in Peachtree Center, 233 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303. Pre-registration is required as seating is limited.

General information will be discussed on the following topics:
· How the Government Buys Goods & Services
· Selling to the Government
· Federal Contracting Rules
· Finding Contract Opportunities
· How to Market Directly to Federal Agencies

Representatives from a number of federal agencies will be on hand to explain their contracting systems including General Services Administration (GSA) SBA Government Contracting Office, USDA Forest Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For online registration, go to www.sba.gov/ga and cursor down to “Spotlight.” Click on Public Training and Seminars-Register Now! Select seminar date from this drop down list. Complete name, telephone and email address and click “Register.” A person can also fax registration information to the attention of Dorothy Fletcher at 404/331-0101.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pirelli Tire North America to Expand Rome Plant

Pirelli Tire North America announced today that it will add a new production line to its Rome facility, investing $15 million.

“Pirelli’s announcement is just the latest expansion of international companies here in Georgia,” said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. “Georgia has all the advantages that companies are looking for when considering investment in the American market, and our expectation is that we will continue to see new jobs and investment stream to our state.”

Pirelli’s expansion will provide an approximately 25 percent boost in manufacturing output and is scheduled to become operational during the first quarter of 2009.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue met with senior Pirelli officials in Milan today as part of his economic development mission to Europe. In 2002, Pirelli relocated its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility to Rome, where it manufactures high-end tires for the automotive industry. Approximately 250 employees work at Pirelli Tire North America’s Rome Headquarters.

“Our expansion of the Georgia-based Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS™) facility supports Pirelli’s strategic growth plan for the North American market and demonstrates our strategy of investing in its ongoing partnership with the State of Georgia and its office of Economic Development,” said Hugh Pace, CEO and Chairman of Pirelli Tire North America.

“We’re delighted that Pirelli has continued to invest in Rome and Floyd County,” said Dr. Jerry Jennings, Floyd County Commission Chairman. “We appreciate Pirelli’s confidence in our workforce, business climate and quality of life, and welcome further expansion from this fine corporate citizen.”

Brooks Mathis, project manager with GDEcD, assisted the company in its expansion.
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Home Depot Co-Founder Arthur Blank Joins Golf & Tennis Pro Shop Board of Directors, Appointed Chairman

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, Inc., owner and operator of PGA TOUR Superstores, today announced the appointment of Arthur M. Blank to the company's board of directors. Blank was also named chairman of the board, replacing Golf & Tennis Pro Shop founder Bill Hamlin, who has retired as chairman.

Blank is co-founder of The Home Depot and owner & CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. He has been a significant investor in Golf & Tennis Pro Shop since 2006.

"I am honored to be leading the board of this exciting retail concept," Blank said. "PGA TOUR Superstore has real potential to further solidify its leadership position in the golf and tennis retail segments, by continuing to enhance its business model and through future store growth. I, along with our other board members, look forward to guiding the company in both these areas."

Other members of the board of directors are:
-- Marshall Day, Day Investment Partners, L.P.
-- Mike Elliott, Noro-Moseley Partners
-- Charlie Moseley, Noro-Moseley Partners
-- Ralph Pepper, RCP Management
-- Kim Shreckengost, AMB Group, LLC
-- Dick Sullivan, Golf & Tennis Pro Shop CEO

Golf & Tennis Pro Shop is the PGA TOUR's exclusive partner for off-course/off-airport and online golf retailing. Founded in 2004, the company has grown to 10 superstores across the United States.

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Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land Announce Partnership

PRNewswire/ -- Celebrating the first anniversary of Cox Conserves, its national sustainability program, Cox Enterprises today announced a corporate partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL).

As part of their partnership, Cox and TPL have launched Cox Conserves Heroes, an environmental recognition program. The program recognizes environmental role models who create, preserve and improve the shared outdoor spaces in their communities. Cox Conserves Heroes is currently underway in Seattle with Cox-owned KIRO-TV, a CBS affiliate, and will expand next year into additional Cox markets such as Atlanta, New Orleans and San Diego.

"Partnering with The Trust for Public Land is a great fit for our Cox Conserves program," said Jim Kennedy, chairman and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises. "Our goal has a two-pronged approach: reduce our company's carbon footprint and inspire environmentally friendly behavior among our employees, customers and communities."

To select the Cox Conserves Hero, local communities nominate and vote for individuals who are making a difference for the environment. The Hero with the most votes receives $5,000 to be donated to a non-profit environmental group of his or her choice.

"Cox is a role model for all corporations seeking to adopt sustainable business practices," said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. "And, by recognizing the extraordinary conservation efforts of ordinary people, the Heroes program inspires all of us to preserve and protect the shared outdoor spaces that make our communities more livable."

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