Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vega to Open Office in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- VEGA PROMOTIONAL SYSTEMS, INC. (Pink Sheets: VGPR) today announced it is opening an office in Georgia as part of the Company's plan to manufacture energy efficient pellet fuel from organic waste bi-products in the State.

Located in Tifton, Georgia, the 20,000 square foot facility will be a part of the Company's alternative/green energy manufacturing facility that when completed, will capitalize on the abundance of biomass in Georgia's Bioenergy Corridor and will have the capacity to produce several hundred thousand metric tons of biomass fuel pellets annually.

The State of Georgia ranks third in the nation as a potential source of renewable energy. The amount of privately owned forests in Georgia, more than any other state in the country, is the reason for the State's ranking.

Vega is seeking financial assistance from the State to build its manufacturing plant. When complete, the facility will create nearly 200 direct or indirect green jobs and address state energy priorities to adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced July 7, 2009 that Georgia will receive $32.9 million in federal money to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state. The money is part of a total of nearly $82.5 million the department will award Georgia as part of the federal State Energy Program.

The Company will announce additional details about the Georgia manufacturing plant as the project moves forward.

Certain statements in this release constitute forward-looking statements or statements which may be deemed or construed to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "forecast," "project," "intend," "expect" "should," "would," and similar expressions and all statements, which are not historical facts, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the Company's actual results, performance (finance or operating) or achievements to differ from future results, performance (financing and operating) or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Postal Service Continues Cost-Cutting Actions

/PRNewswire/ -- In a decision to save hundreds of millions of dollars in labor-related costs, the U.S. Postal Service negotiated an agreement with two of its employee unions to offer select employees a financial incentive to retire or resign before the end of the fiscal year.

The one-time offer is a strategic move to accelerate targeted staffing reductions for employees represented by either the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) or the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU).

Advances in mail processing technology and the continuing recession have led the Postal Service to more aggressively match work hours with work load. The majority of employees eligible for the incentive work in mail processing facilities.

Because the number of addresses grows by 1.5 million each year, letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association were not extended this offer.

The incentive provides eligible employees $10,000 to be paid during the first three months of Fiscal Year 2010, creating salary and benefit savings for the next nine months. The same employees will receive a second payment of $5,000 in Fiscal Year 2011. Fiscal Year 2010 starts Oct. 1, 2009.

As many as 30,000 employees could take advantage of the incentive offer. Savings to the Postal Service could be as much as $500 million next year.

The employee incentive offer is the latest in a series of cost reductions the Postal Service has made this year. Cost savings during 2009 are expected to total more than $6 billion, including the following actions:

-- Cutting more than 100 million work hours, the equivalent of 57,000
-- Halting construction of new postal facilities;
-- Closing six district offices;
-- Negotiating an agreement with the National Association of Letter
Carriers that adjusts letter carrier routes to reflect diminished
-- Instituting a nationwide hiring freeze;
-- Reducing authorized staffing levels at postal headquarters and area
offices by at least 15 percent;
-- Selling unused and under-utilized postal facilities;
-- Adjusting Post Office hours to better reflect customer use;
Consolidating mail processing operations; and
-- Freezing salaries of all Postal Service officers and executives.

"This decision reflects our desire to provide a fair and equitable opportunity for some of our longest-serving employees," said Anthony Vegliante, chief human resources officer and executive vice president. "It is important to the Postal Service that we take appropriate measures to address our current financial situation."

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama Administration Announces Efforts to Increase Access to Contracting Opportunities for Minority-Owned, Small Businesses

Secretary Locke, Administrator Mills will lead government-wide initiative; federal officials to participate in more than 200 procurement events across the country

Yesterday the Obama Administration reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that minority-owned and small businesses, including women- and veteran-owned businesses, have greater access to federal government contracting opportunities.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Small Business Administrator Karen Mills announced a government-wide plan that includes federal agency procurement officials holding or participating in more than 200 events over the next 90 days to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Small and minority-owned businesses must play a significant role in our efforts to restore economic growth. Small businesses employ half of the nation’s private sector workforce; create a large share of the Nation’s new jobs; and introduce many groundbreaking ideas into the marketplace,” President Barack Obama said. “It is essential that we provide our Nation’s small businesses with maximum practicable opportunity to participate in Federal Government contracting.

“In order for the Federal Government to better meet or exceed the goal of 23 percent of prime contracts for small businesses, Vice President Biden and I have tasked Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke with leading a federal government-wide initiative to increase outreach,” Obama continued. “Over the course of the next ninety days agency officials will take an important step forward by holding or participating in more than two-hundred events focused on sharing information on government contracting opportunities.”

“In these tough economic times, the Recovery Act is providing billions of dollars in opportunity and incentives to help businesses grow – and the President and I are committed to ensuring that small and minority-owned businesses are part of our economic recovery every step of the way,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “By taking advantage of the expertise of an array of companies, we are going to be able to build a stronger, more secure foundation for long-term economic growth.”

“It has been a priority from day one of this administration to ensure that small and minority-owned businesses are aware of and have access to federal contracts and funding opportunities,” Locke said. “Over the past 40 years, minority-owned businesses have grown from 300,000 to nearly 4 million today. Their success and the success of small American businesses are vital to our economic recovery.”

“Government contracts can play a key role in helping small businesses turn the corner in terms of expansion and job creation,” Mills said. “But make no mistake, the benefits the government receives are equally as impressive – working with small businesses allows the federal government to work with some of the most innovative companies in America – with direct line to CEO”

As part of the Commerce-SBA initiative, over the next 90 days:

· Federal agency procurement officials will hold or participate in more than 200 events to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
· SBA and Commerce will expand their outreach to fellow contracting officials across the federal government, passing along best practices for outreach and education to every agency to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their annual contracting goals.
· Locke and Mills will promote small business contracting opportunities in remarks, events and discussions with small business groups across the country, including minority, women and veteran groups.

Beyond the next 90 days, Commerce and SBA will support, monitor and track the impact of these efforts going forward to help ensure the Administration is maximizing opportunities for small businesses.

Small business owners can find out about federal contracting opportunities by visiting Local Commerce and SBA officials are also available in local offices across the country to assist small businesses interested in contracting opportunities. Contact information for local offices can be found and
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Deluxe Corporation Foundation Donates Funding to SCORE to Boost Small Business and Job Creation

Grant Supports Development of New Counseling Methodology for SCORE Mentors

SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” The SCORE Foundation and the Deluxe Corporation Foundation announce the development of a new program, the Deluxe/SCORE Counseling Methodology. The Deluxe Corporation Foundation will underwrite funding for the creation and implementation of this initiative. A Deluxe site manager will present a check at the SCORE National Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City on August 19, 2009.

Each year, about 6 million people attempt to start a business in the United States. Of those, about 25 percent fail in the first year, while about 50 percent fail after five years. Studies show that a person with five or more hours of business mentoring is more likely to start a business with greater economic impact in areas such as revenue and job creation.

SCORE and The SCORE Foundation will work with the Deluxe Corporation Foundation to develop a standard mentoring methodology that can significantly increase business survival rates and create new jobs. The program will provide specific training, templates and processes that SCORE mentors can use to help aspiring entrepreneurs start new businesses.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Lee Schram, president of the Deluxe Corporation Foundation. “Deluxe is committed to helping small business owners prosper so we are honored to partner with SCORE to provide their volunteers the latest in effective counseling tools and industry insight.”

All SCORE volunteers will be trained in the new methodology, which will feature homework for clients, follow-up guidelines and mentoring techniques. The methodology can be used for face-to-face mentoring, plus chat and video-based mentoring through services like Skype. In addition, SCORE will research and track client data, including:

Social groups
Geographic area

Entrepreneurial resources used to support business creation and development
"SCORE is dedicated to helping more small businesses get started and stay in business,” says SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. “Through the generous contribution by the Deluxe Corporation Foundation, SCORE will prepare its volunteer experts to give entrepreneurs an excellent mentoring experience that leads to a path for success."
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kia Announces Name for All-New CUV to be Built at U.S. Plant

/PRNewswire/ -- Introduced in 2002, the original Kia Sorento midsize SUV marked a huge step forward for Kia Motors, challenging established brands and beginning the process of changing perceptions of Kia Motors as solely a maker of small cars. That process will continue with the arrival of the all-new 2011 model year Sorento CUV, which is scheduled to begin rolling off the assembly line at Kia's first U.S. plant - Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) in West Point, Georgia - later this year, and offers improved fuel economy and more passenger room and seating capacity than the previous model.

As Kia Motors America (KMA) continues to make dramatic market share gains in the U.S., the new 2011 Sorento will continue the brand's design-led evolution, following the recent introduction of several dynamically styled vehicles including the Soul urban passenger vehicle, the Forte compact sedan, and Kia's first-ever two-door coupe, the Forte Koup.

"It will be a historic milestone when the first Sorento rolls off the assembly line at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia later this year," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing, KMA. "Our first domestically built vehicle, the all-new Sorento will be built by team members who have undergone rigorous training and who have great pride in their newly learned skills."

Styled by a global team headed by Kia Motors' Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the longer and lower 2011 Sorento brings sleek styling and a futuristic touch to the world of the urban CUV. Following Kia Motors' core philosophies of providing value, safety, warranty and fun to the driving experience, Sorento will offer an all-new design inside and out, a host of standard safety features, two- and four-wheel drive options and a variety of upscale appointments to appeal to a wide range of consumers.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

MED Week 2009 to Showcase Minority Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, Government Contracting Workshops

NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson to be Keynote Speaker for Opening Session

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency will celebrate the achievements of minority entrepreneurs and business leaders during the 27th annual National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week conference on Aug. 26-28 in Washington, D.C.

NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be the keynote speaker for the opening session of a panel discussion on Aug. 27 to discuss minority entrepreneurship. The conference, under the theme “Energizing the American Economy with Minority Business Enterprises” will focus on helping minority small businesses navigate the current economic climate and tap into the financial resources and contracting opportunities that are available as a result of the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The event will also feature two workshops hosted by SBA: “Win Government Contracts for Your Small Business,” conducted by authors John DiGiacomo and James Kleckner on Aug. 26 and “Strategic Alliances for Winning Business,” to educate small businesses on how to develop strategic alliances and successful mentor-protégé relationships with graduates of SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program on Aug. 27.

Small businesses must register to attend these workshops at Registration is free. MED Week 2009 will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, and is co-hosted by the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SBA.
The conference also will feature a MED Week Welcome Reception, a Business Expo and Trade Show, networking breakfasts, a Business-to-Business Linkage forum where small businesses are paired with government agencies and private sector companies to discuss potential contracting opportunities (pre-registration required and invitation only) and several award ceremonies honoring minority entrepreneurs, minority business advocates and leaders in the corporate community, including a MED Week awards gala to close out the week.

The MED Week conference schedule is listed below:

Wednesday, August 25

· 1:00-5:30pm-“Win Government Contracts for Your Small Business” with Authors-John DiGiacomo and James Kleckner.
· 6:00-8:00 pm - MED Week Welcome Reception at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Thursday, August 27

· 7:30-8:30a.m. – Networking breakfast.
· 8:30-9:00am- A Look Ahead: New Directions from MBDA National Director, David Hinson.
· 9:00-12p.m. - Opening Session: “Energizing the American Economy with Minority Businesses”

Keynote: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Magic Johnson Enterprises. There will be a Panel Discussion following the keynote with panelists Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation White House Council for Environmental Quality; Michael Heintzman, Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager of Sam’s Club/Walmart; Joseph James, President of Agri-Tech Producers, LLC; Aubyn Thomas, Senior Vice President, Marketing Service of Corporate Services at Macy’s, Inc. Derek Dingle, Senior Vice President & Editor-in-Chief of Black Enterprise will serve as moderator.

· 12:30-1:45p.m. – State of Commerce luncheon with keynote address by Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke.
· 2:00-3:30—Financing Solutions for MBE’s in the Current Economic Environment (MBDA Policy Roundtable)
· 2:15-6:00-SBA’s Strategic Alliance and Mentor Protegé workshops.
· 3:30-5:00p.m.—MBDA Summit’s Preliminary Findings for Future MBE Programs

Friday, August 28

· 12:00-2:00p.m.—SBA Administrator’s Luncheon with an award ceremony announcing SBA’s National Minority Small Business Person of the Year, 8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year and the Administrator’s Leadership Award. SBA Administrator Karen Gordon Mills will be the keynote speaker.
· 2:00pm-5:00p.m.—Business Expo.
· 2:00-5:00 pm - Business to Business Linkage to provide networking opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to market their goods and services to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies (pre-registration required and invitation only).
· 7:00-10:00 pm - MED Week 26th Anniversary Awards Gala

WHO: Karen Gordon Mills, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
David Hinson, National Director of MBDA under the Department of Commerce
Gary Locke, Secretary of the Department of Commerce
Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator of Government Contracting and Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration

WHEN: August 26-28, 2009

WHERE: Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert St., N.W.
Washington, DC

Governor Announces First Data to Relocate Headquarters to Atlanta

Global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing will create up to 1,000 jobs over the next three years

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Fortune 500 electronic commerce and payment processing firm First Data Corp. plans to relocate its global headquarters to Atlanta. First Data plans to hire new positions to support the business and product development that they anticipate will be needed in the coming years. They expect to hire up to 1,000 employees in Atlanta over the next three years.

“Georgia is continuing to attract headquarters relocations of innovative technology companies such as First Data,” said Governor Perdue. “Our state’s educated workforce, business-friendly environment and ease of access to key markets make it an ideal choice for growing technology companies.”

With this investment, First Data plans to consolidate its Atlanta activities, operations and technology support, sales and marketing, and product development. The company plans to expand its 180,000 square foot facility on the Glenridge Connector in Fulton County. Salaries at First Data are above the average wage for the metro Atlanta area.

“Atlanta is well-known for being a major hub for the payments industry and First Data already had a significant presence here,” said Michael Capellas, chairman and CEO of First Data. “Atlanta allowed us to consolidate operations, be closer to our customers, and continue to recruit from great talent pool.”

“On behalf of the mayor and city council members of Sandy Springs, I am delighted and excited the global headquarters for First Data consolidated to Glenridge Highlands Two. It is encouraging in these economic times that a major corporation in the payments processing industry would make such a move,” said Sandy Springs City Councilman Rusty Paul. “We appreciate the work that was expended on behalf of Sandy Springs, and we thank the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Development Authority of Fulton County for their efforts.”

“First Data Corporation’s decision to move to Atlanta demonstrates that our metropolitan region and Georgia continue to provide the business assets that corporate headquarters and financial service companies need to succeed in a global business environment -- including the best international airport in the world; a young, diverse and educated workforce; a competitive cost of doing business environment and an excellent quality of life,” said Hans Gant, senior vice president of economic development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “We welcome Fortune 500 company First Data to Atlanta”.

Blair Lewis, project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, assisted the company in its location.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Fayette Chamber Presents Speed Networking Aug 25

The Fayette County Chamber is hosting a Speed Networking event on Tuesday, August 25, 7:30 am – 9:00 am at the Chamber.

Speed Networking is a fun, effective way to make a lot of business connections in a short, structured period of time Networking guru, Wendy Kinney of Ready Set Go Make Money will facilitate the event and provide tips and feedback. Chamber members and non-members are welcome to attend at no cost – registration is required. Online registration is available at

The Fayette Chamber is comprised of diverse member businesses and organizations working together to strengthen our local economy. Their mission is to provide businesses with tools, resources and visionary leadership which will positively impact community sustainability. Through Chamber networking events like Business After Hours, Business to Business Luncheons, and the new Speed Networking opportunity, valuable relationships can be built that will help businesses grow and prosper.

For information on other Chamber programs, contact the office at 770.461.9983. The Chamber is located on the 1st floor of the old courthouse building at 200 Courthouse Square, Fayetteville.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

PKF Hospitality Research: More Guests in 2010 --- With a Catch...

PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) today announced that, according to an advance release of the September 2009 edition of Hotel Horizons®, nine consecutive quarters of declining lodging demand will come to an end in the second quarter of 2010.

“With the budgeting process underway at hotels around the U.S., the recovery of lodging demand is an important milestone that will be reached in the year ahead,” said R. Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. “The catch; however, is that the practice of price discounting has firmly taken hold, and, as a result, room rates are expected to decline once again in 2010.”

Hotels that operate in the luxury, upscale, and midscale without Food & Beverage segments are expected to more customers beginning to re-appear in the fourth quarter of 2009. “While the price paid for the room will remain the most important criteria for most travelers in 2010, the value received will once again factor into the buying decision” Woodworth noted. “Higher-priced hotels have suffered the greatest erosion in pricing power during this protracted contraction and, as a result, offer an abnormally strong value proposition as the industry begins to turn the corner mid-way through 2010. We also believe that those property types that were the best performers before the recession are going to be those leading us out.” The two chain scales lagging the U.S. demand recovery will be midscale with Food & Beverage and economy, which will not see improved performance until the third quarter of 2010.

“Of the 50 markets monitored by PKF-HR, 45 will experience stronger demand in 2010 than in 2009,” Woodworth added. “It is important to note, however that supply increases are still an issue for hoteliers across the U.S., as 25 of our 50 markets will report further declines in occupancy, even with 20 of those 25 experiencing demand increases.” The five lagging markets are Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Miami, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

Budgeting Accuracy – What We Learned In 2002 & 2003

“During the two budgeting seasons following the post-9/11 period, every forecast and prediction had the business environment improving in the ‘next’ quarter, regardless of whether that next quarter was the second quarter of 2002, third quarter of 2002, or the fourth quarter of 2003. This optimism led to budget shortfalls, which continued until 2005,” Woodworth recounted. “Like times in our recent past, successful hotel owners and operators must be prepared to anticipate additional declines in certain metrics for 2010, which can be extremely difficult without guidance. Hotel Horizons® can help by bringing some clarity to the future outlook.”

Hotel Horizons® is a series of econometrically derived forecast reports developed by PKF Hospitality Research. The reports cover 50 of the largest U.S. hotel markets as well as the nation as a whole, and six chain scales. Economic forecasts by Moody’s and historic hotel performance data and future supply pipeline information from Smith Travel Research are used to construct the industry’s most comprehensive forecasts of U.S. lodging market behavior.

Introducing: myShareSM

Since it is budget season, owners and operators are thinking about how their hotel will perform in 2010. Historically, the movement in a hotel’s occupancy and average daily rate from year to year can be largely explained by the movement of the overall market in which the property sits. “Our research over the past 10 years reveals that seventy-five to eighty percent of a hotel’s performance is systematically a function of changes in the larger market in which the property is located,” notes John B. (Jack) Corgel Ph.D., Senior Advisor to PKF Hospitality Research and the Robert C. Baker Professor of Real Estate, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. “And who is better at knowing that remaining twenty to twenty-five percent than the local property owner or operator? The person in charge of the hotel knows when rooms will come in and out of service, when renovations occur, and when competitors open across the street.”

PKF Hospitality Research is introducing a new tool called myShareSM which helps managers incorporate the current PKF-HR forecast for their market into an estimate of the future performance of any submarket, competitive set, or their hotel. Included as a complimentary addition to all single market Hotel Horizons® reports, the myShareSM tool is an Excel-based application that comes pre-loaded with the respective Hotel Horizons® forecasts for all hotels, upper priced, and lower priced properties within a defined geographic market, as well as historic
submarket data from which to assist the user in calibrating penetrations. For more information, as well as a video demonstration of myShareSM, go to

To purchase Hotel Horizons® forecast reports for the United States, or one of 50 individual markets, please visit the firm’s online store at, or call (866) 842-8754.

* * *

PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR), headquartered in Atlanta, is the research affiliate of PKF Consulting, a consulting and real estate firm specializing in the hospitality industry. PKF Consulting has offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Indianapolis, Houston, Dallas, Bozeman, Sacramento, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Forecast Change in Key Metrics, U.S. Lodging Industry

Year Occupancy ADR RevPAR Supply Demand
2009 -9.0% -10.4% -18.5% 3.0% -6.3%
2010 0.4% -3.1% -2.7% 1.2% 1.6%

Source: PKF Hospitality Research, September-November 2009 Edition of Hotel Horizons®
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Governor Announces Dendreon Corporation Signs Lease for Biotech Manufacturing Facility in Union City

Cancer therapeutics company plans $70 million investment in South Fulton

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Dendreon Corporation, a Seattle-based biotechnology company, will locate a new $70 million manufacturing facility in Union City. The company expects to manufacture PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) for patients with advanced prostate cancer. PROVENGE is currently under review by the FDA, and should the product receive approval, the manufacturing plant could generate several hundred new biotechnology jobs in the Atlanta region.

“Hosting the 2009 BIO International Convention in May introduced biotechnology companies like Dendreon Corporation to Georgia’s business assets,” said Governor Perdue. “Our state’s world-class healthcare institutions and hospitals enable companies like Dendreon to conduct clinical research and engage in product development while benefiting from the vast scientific resources that Georgia has to offer.”

Dendreon plans to locate in a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at the Majestic Airport Center in South Fulton County. Pending FDA approval, the company will produce PROVENGE, a new treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer, at the facility. Dendreon plans to launch PROVENGE from its existing facility in Morris Plains, N.J. and ramp up manufacturing capacity at its facilities in Union City and in California.

“We are pleased to announce that we are expanding our manufacturing capacity with the addition of two new facilities in Atlanta and Los Angeles,” said Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Dendreon. “We have particularly enjoyed partnering with the state of Georgia, Fulton County officials and the local community during this process and are grateful for their partnership and support as we prepare to commercialize PROVENGE to help the many patients with advanced prostate cancer who currently have few appealing treatment options.”

"It is exciting news for Atlanta that Dendreon is locating its manufacturing facility here as it will help to attract other cancer research and production facilities to Georgia," said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer, American Cancer Society.

“We are pleased to welcome Dendreon to Union City, and we have done a lot to prepare our community for economic development,” said Union City Mayor Ralph Moore. “Union City is poised, with its Opportunity Zone and strategic location on Interstate 85, to be a key player in the Southeast as well as the United States. “

“Dendreon is the type of innovative company that is increasingly finding a home in Fulton County,” said Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves. “In today’s knowledge-based economy, it’s important to cultivate high-paying jobs for our citizens and we have the perfect environment for growth in South Fulton.”

Carol Henderson and Annie Marie Baxter, project managers with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, assisted the company in its location.

About the company

Dendreon Corporation is a biotechnology company whose mission is to target cancer and transform lives through the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics. The Company applies its expertise in antigen identification, engineering and cell processing to produce active cellular immunotherapy product candidates designed to stimulate an immune response. Dendreon is also developing an orally-available small molecule that targets TRPM8 that could be applicable to multiple types of cancer as well as benign prostatic hyperplasia. The Company has its headquarters in Seattle, Washington and is traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol DNDN. For more information about the Company and its programs, visit
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brock Clay Joins The RAP Index Team

Government and Public Affairs Firm to Serve As RAP Advisor

Brock Clay Government and Public Affairs, led by Charles Clay, Brian Noyes, Seth Millican and Joshua Mackey, has teamed with The RAP Index®, the proprietary public affairs software solution created by The Felkel Group, Inc. Collectively, Brock Clay’s leadership team will serve in a business development role as part of the group’s RAP Advisors team and will assist the firm in marketing The RAP Index®, which identifies stakeholders’ relationships with over 28,000 policy makers at the local, state and federal level.

“Brock Clay is thrilled to join the RAP Advisors team,” said Brian Noyes, CEO. “The RAP Index® is absolutely unique. Nothing else supports personal advocacy like this. Nothing even comes close."

Brock Clay, located in Marietta, Georgia, provides comprehensive solutions to public policy challenges. Their approach integrates lobbying, grassroots and community affairs and is tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Their professionals have a proven record of success dealing with the challenges and opportunities that arise at the intersection of business and government.

Brock Clay's professionals have the personal knowledge of legislative and government processes that can only be gained from public service. Their team has been involved in elected and appointed positions at the county, state and federal levels. Through their experiences in these positions, they have not only developed an expert knowledge of government, but also personal relationships, and trust, with leaders throughout the state. They have the strategic capabilities and relationships that can help steer clients through the complicated processes of the General Assembly and state agencies; or work with them to initiate changes in the cities or counties across Georgia.

“We are very eager to work with the Brock Clay team,” said Hollis “Chip” Felkel, CEO. “With their personal knowledge and expertise, we hope to bring more awareness to this dynamic tool.” Earlier this year, TFG released The RAP Index® 2.0, a unique approach that mines and identifies key stakeholder relationships in the public policy arena, while also objectively assessing the stakeholder’s willingness, ability, interest and aptitude for leveraging their relationships or engaging on issues. “The RAP Index® makes it possible for an organization to use its best possible assets, its own people, as it deals with public policy,” says Felkel. “It’s about finding the right messengers, and those are the people who have the relationships to begin with.” To learn more, visit or
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Top U.S. Dealers Create Auto Stimulus Plan to Help Consumers Left Behind by Government's Cash For Clunkers Program:

/PRNewswire/ -- Some of the largest U.S. Automotive Retailers in the country created a privately funded stimulus program to provide up to $4500 in incentives for consumers to make it easier for them to get a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. The dealer funded Automotive Stimulus Plan was designed to complement the government's program and to compensate for some of the gaps that don't allow consumers to purchase pre-owned vehicles or choose a short term lease. "The government program has been fantastic for business but some of our customers have been disappointed because the programs rules left them behind," said Scott Gruwell from Courtesy Chevrolet, one of GM's largest dealers and one of the retailers participating in the Auto Stimulus Plan. "Letting consumers lease a new vehicle or buy a pre-owned vehicle makes it affordable for a lot of people who could not participate otherwise."

"The government's program helps approximately 10% of the market who qualify but the majority of the consumers who want to upgrade into a more fuel efficient vehicle are not eligible for the governments program," said Brian Benstock from Paragon Auto Group, one of the participating dealers in New York City. "Now we have a program that makes it easy for nearly all consumers with a vehicle that is older than a 2007 to get into a newer more fuel efficient vehicle."

The Automotive Stimulus Plan gives consumers up to $4500 in incentives towards the purchase or lease of a new or pre-owned vehicle with a minimum of 2 mpg of improved fuel economy. The program promises fewer requirements, easier paperwork and no minimum MPG requirements. "The government program is fantastic but there are still consumers who can't afford to buy new or who aren't eligible and the Auto Stimulus Plan is designed to help them," said Rick Case, owner of Rick Case Automotive Group in Florida, Georgia and Ohio. "Consumers will pay less a year to drive a newer car because the payments are so low and the gas and repair savings are so high."

The Automotive Stimulus Plan is a private sector program funded by retailers to provide incentives to consumers that will help the economy and the environment at the same time. To qualify for an incentive a consumer must select a new or pre-owned vehicle with a 2 mpg improvement over their current vehicle, which is the same requirement the government program has for SUVs, but this applies to all vehicles under the dealers plan. "The MPG requirements are lower because our primary goal is to help consumers that don't qualify for the governments program and to stimulate the economy through improved sales, jobs and spending," said Gruwell. "As a result, the environmental benefits will not be as big as the government program but it will help more customers get into more fuel efficient vehicles."

If a consumer does not have a trade, they can participate if they select a vehicle with 2 mpg better than the government's mpg requirement of 17 mpg.

"We have customers who measure their vehicles mpg weekly and they get 12 mpg but the government's calculator says they get 19 mpg so they don't qualify. Our program makes it easier for them get into a more fuel efficient vehicle by not having a minimum mpg requirement for their current vehicle," said Benstock.

The Automotive Stimulus Plan incentives vary by state and the make and model of the vehicle they select. Consumers can learn more about the program and begin connecting with participating retailers by visiting:

Automotive Stimulus Program Requirements:
1. Current vehicle is a 2006 or older
2. Current vehicle is operable
3. Current vehicle has been owned for a minimum of 6 months
4. Current vehicle has been registered for a minimum of 6 months
5. The replacement vehicle has to be more fuel efficient by a minimum of 2

6. Incentives vary based on the consumers current vehicle and desired
vehicle (visit for details)

Incentives vary in some states due to state laws that regulate to automotive advertising and promotion.

The Auto Stimulus Plan will end on November 1st and will continue if the governments program expires before that date.

"We are very happy the $2 billion dollars of additional funding was approved and expect it to last through Labor day," said Vince Sheehy from Sheehy Automotive Group in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland and Baltimore, one of the participating dealers. "We also want to help consumers that don't qualify for the governments program with our Stimulus plan. To help consumers and the economy it takes a partnership between the public and private sectors and that is what is happening here."

"We have a lot of consumers who want to upgrade into a more fuel efficient vehicle but don't qualify for the governments program, so the Auto Stimulus Plan helps them, the economy and the environment at the same time," said John Malishenko, Director of Operations for the Germain Automotive Group who owns dealerships in Ohio, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas. "We don't mind giving consumers these extraordinary incentives because our goal is to take care of them so well that they will come back for service and buy all their future vehicles from our dealership."

The organization informs consumers that they should be patient if they cannot get through to the website this week, as the program is being launched and traffic levels may be high. When the governments program went live they experienced difficulties with high traffic volumes that affected their servers and the website may experience similar issues. Consumers are advised to visit at a later time if the site is not functioning properly.

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Federal Grant Workshop August 7 in Carrollton

A Federal Grants Supermarket will be hosted by the University of West Georgia in the Education Center on Friday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for organizations and businesses interested in applying for federal grants.

Congressmen Phil Gingrey and Lynn Westmoreland provide this free opportunity for individuals to meet representatives from state and federal agencies and participate in seminars.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute will kick-off the day with a seminar on “Federal Grant Writing Basics” with specific information on how to navigate the web site

Following the lunch break, three seminars will be conducted on the following topics: How the Congressional Office Can Help You During the Grant Process; What Small Businesses Need to Know About Obtaining Government Contracts; and Federal Bulk Purchasing/Surplus Property Program (GSA).

Representatives from the following agencies will be present: Health & Human Services, The Department of Community Affairs, OneGeorgia, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Appalachian Regional Commission, UWG Small Business Development Center, National Endowment for the Arts, Department of Energy, General Services Administration, Small Business Administration and Homeland Security.
This event is free but advance registration is required by e-mailing A box lunch is available for the cost of $8 and must be ordered at the time of registration. Participation will be limited to the first 300 registrants.

For more information, contact Rep. Gingrey’s office at (706) 290-1776 or (770) 429-1776 or Rep. Westmoreland’s office at (770) 683-2033.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Oglethorpe Power To Purchase Hartwell Peak Generating Plant

/PRNewswire/ -- Oglethorpe Power Corporation has notified the partners of the Hartwell Energy Limited Partnership of the Corporation's intent to purchase the 318 megawatt Hartwell plant, an oil and gas-fired peaking facility in northeast Georgia. The purchase price is $148.5 million, including approximately $54.0 million of existing project level debt, plus a working capital and fuel oil adjustment to be determined at closing. Completion of the sale is expected in the third quarter of 2009.

Oglethorpe Power already has a power purchase arrangement with the plant's owners to purchase the output of the plant through May 2019. As part of that arrangement, Oglethorpe Power has the right of first refusal if the plant is sold. In April 2009 International Power announced that it, together with its partner, had reached agreement to sell the Hartwell plant to Southern Power Company, subject to a decision by Oglethorpe Power on whether to purchase the plant itself under its right of first refusal.

In exercising the right to purchase the plant, Oglethorpe Power cited its existing power purchase agreement involving the plant and the need by its Member EMCs for additional peak generating capability following the termination of the existing arrangement.

"Our analysis shows that purchasing the Hartwell plant is a good strategic fit for Oglethorpe Power and our Member Systems," said Elizabeth B. Higgins, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The purchase of the plant by Oglethorpe Power will be subject to applicable regulatory approvals and lender consent.

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Lodgian Provides Further Update on Remaining Maturing Mortgage Debt

Obtains 60-day extension on mortgage pool, continues negotiations for longer-term solution

Lodgian, Inc. (NYSE Alternext US:LGN), one of the nation’s largest independent hotel owners and operators, today announced that the company has obtained a further extension of the maturity date for the Merrill Lynch Fixed Rate Pool #3 (“Pool #3”). As of July 1, 2009, the principal amount of Pool #3 was $45.7 million. The company and the special servicer for Pool #3 have entered into an extension agreement to extend the maturity date of this indebtedness until October 1, 2009. Given the extension of the maturity date, the company is not in default of the original loan. The 60-day extension is intended to provide the parties an opportunity to reach an agreement on a longer-term maturity extension.

The company and the special servicer are currently negotiating a longer-term maturity extension for Pool #3; however, the company can provide no assurances that the parties will reach such an agreement. In the event that the company is unable to achieve a long-term extension of Pool #3, the company expects that anticipated cash flow from the hotels securing
Pool #3 may not be sufficient to meet the related debt service obligations and it may be necessary to transfer the properties securing this indebtedness to the lender in satisfaction of the company’s obligations.

A schedule indicating the principal balance of Pool #3, as of July 1, 2009, as well as a listing of the hotels that serve as collateral under Pool #3, is attached as an exhibit to this press release.

About Lodgian
Lodgian is one of the nation’s largest independent hotel owners and operators. The company currently owns and/or manages a portfolio of 38 hotels with 7,078 rooms located in 22 states. Of the company’s 38-hotel portfolio, 18 are InterContinental Hotels Group brands (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Select and Holiday Inn Express), 12 are Marriott brands (Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott and Fairfield Inn by Marriott), two are Hilton brands, and five are affiliated with other nationally recognized franchisors including Starwood, Wyndham and Carlson. One hotel is an independent, unbranded property, which is currently closed and held for sale. For more information about Lodgian, visit the company's website:
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Fayette Chamber Collaborates with SCORE to Help Small Businesses

Fayette businesses have a new option for help with everything from writing a business plan to locating available resources to face-to-face counseling. The Fayette Chamber is opening its office to a new SCORE chapter to provide mentoring to new and existing small businesses. And the best news is that the SCORE services are FREE!

SCORE is a national organization of almost 11,000 volunteers in 375 chapters serving over 500,000 clients yearly. The Atlanta Chapter alone has over 75 counselors in 15 offices throughout the metro area. The new Fayette chapter is offering services to Fayette and Coweta businesses.

SCORE counselors will schedule appointments on Fridays from 11 am to 1 pm. Appointments can be made by registering online at

The Chamber’s collaboration with SCORE is part of an on-going effort to provide Fayette businesses with the tools and resources they need to succeed. If you would like more information, contact the Chamber at 770.461.9983 or visit
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