Thursday, July 30, 2009

AGL Resources and Piedmont Natural Gas Reach Agreement to Restructure Ownership Interests in SouthStar Energy Services

/PRNewswire/ -- AGL Resources Inc. (NYSE:AGL) subsidiary Georgia Natural Gas Company (GNGC) and Piedmont Energy Company, a subsidiary of Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE:PNY) , today announced an agreement to restructure the two firms' ownership interests in SouthStar Energy Services (SouthStar). Under the terms of the agreement, effective January 1, 2010, AGL Resources will purchase an additional 15 percent ownership share in SouthStar from Piedmont for $57.5 million. As a result, AGL Resources will have an 85 percent ownership in the business and will be entitled to 85 percent of its annual earnings, while Piedmont will retain a 15 percent earnings and ownership share in SouthStar after the sale.

The agreement, which has been approved by both companies' boards of directors, also resolves issues concerning AGL Resources' option to purchase Piedmont's ownership interest in SouthStar. As part of the agreement, the pending lawsuit in the Delaware courts will be dismissed and AGL Resources will not have any further option rights to Piedmont's remaining 15 percent ownership interest.

The agreement is subject to the approval and consent of the Georgia Public Service Commission.

"Piedmont has always been a very good partner, and we look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with them," said John W. Somerhalder II, AGL Resources' Chairman, President and CEO. "We reached an agreement that works well for both companies in terms of providing certainty around the partnership structure and creating value for our respective shareholders."

Commenting on the agreement, Piedmont's Chairman, President and CEO, Thomas E. Skains said, "We are happy to conclude this agreement with AGL and believe our strategic interests in SouthStar will be more closely aligned as a result. This has been a good partnership for both of our companies and we value the relationship we have with AGL. The nature of this agreement, which will simplify and strengthen our joint venture involvement in SouthStar, also reaffirms the core focus of our business as the safe and efficient distribution of natural gas to our growing utility markets in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee."

About AGL Resources

AGL Resources (NYSE:AGL) , 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 currently, 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.

About Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 61,000 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate natural gas transportation.

Additional information about Piedmont is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain expectations and projections regarding our future performance referenced in this press release are forward-looking statements. Forward- looking statements involve matters that are not historical facts and because these statements involve anticipated events or conditions, forward-looking statements often include words such as "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "can," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "future," "goal," "indicate," "intend," "may," "outlook," "plan," "predict," "project," "seek," "should," "target," "will," "would," or similar expressions. Our expectations are not guarantees and are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data along with our operating plans. While we believe our expectations are reasonable in view of the currently available information, our expectations are subject to future events, risks and uncertainties, and there are several factors - many beyond our control - that could cause results to differ significantly from our expectations.

Such events, risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the impact of changes in state and federal legislation and regulation; actions taken by government agencies on rates and other matters; and other factors which are provided in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which we incorporate by reference in this press release. Forward-looking statements are only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to update these statements to reflect subsequent changes.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Delta Calls on International Association of Machinists to Resolve Representation

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) yesterday sent the following letter from Mike Campbell - executive vice president of Human Resources and Labor Relations, to Robert Roach, Jr., general vice president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. In the letter, Delta accepts Roach's meeting request and calls for a resolution of the status of the various Northwest Airlines crafts or classes represented by the IAM pre-merger.

Dear Mr. Roach:


This letter is in response to your letter of July 27, 2009, to Richard Anderson, as well as a follow up to our several telephone calls of today and Friday, July 24.

We have agreed to meet next week in Washington, D.C., and I am awaiting confirmation from your office of either Monday, August 3, Tuesday, August 4, or Wednesday, August 5. As I stated, the National Mediation Board has agreed to make offices available for our meeting starting at 9:00 a.m. on whatever day we agree upon.

In your letter, you state that the purpose of our meeting will be to discuss various issues which will help facilitate your determination of single carrier status. As you know, we have taken the position since November 5, 2008, that we constitute a single transportation system. All other pre-merger unions at both DL and NWA have agreed with that position. As recently as yesterday, the AFA filed with the NMB stating "it is AFA's belief that based upon the standards governing the establishment of a single transportation system. . ., Northwest and Delta are now a single transportation system." Of course, in January of this year, the NMB agreed with each pre-merger union that requested a finding of single carrier status.

In view of this history, the IAM is now the only union that has not filed to resolve its post-merger representation status. We are available to discuss whatever subjects you want to raise, but in the end, we want to make clear that the continued post-merger status of the various NWA crafts or classes represented by the IAM pre-merger needs to be resolved.

Finally, with respect to your statement that the IAM has attempted to schedule meetings with Mr. Anderson in the past, we have no record that any IAM official has attempted to contact him or the undersigned to schedule a meeting for the purpose set forth in your letter.

I look forward to a productive meeting next week that starts the process of resolving post-merger representation.

Sincerely,

Mike Campbell

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Lockheed Martin Awarded Customs and Border Protection P-3 Orion Fleet Maintenance Contract

/PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has been awarded an $821 million maintenance, repair, and overhaul contract for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) P-3 Orion fleet. The contract is for a base period of one year, with nine additional one-year options. CBP currently operates 16 P-3s, updated with a suite of modern surveillance sensors oriented towards conducting homeland security missions.

"We are extremely proud to support Customs and Border Protection's homeland security missions, and honored by the trust and confidence that CBP has placed with Lockheed Martin to maintain this critical capability," said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin vice president of P-3 programs. "The Customs P-3s have a mission that is unique within the P-3 community. It is our privilege to lend our efforts to support that mission."

Work on the contract will be performed at multiple facilities. The operational portion - aircraft launch and recovery, daily maintenance, short-term phase maintenance, and minor modifications - will be performed by Lockheed Martin personnel at CBP operational sites. Depot maintenance will be performed primarily at Lockheed Martin's Greenville, S.C., facility.

"The Customs and Border Protection program is a great example of the benefits of effective government/industry partnerships," said Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin executive vice president for Global Sustainment. "Our priority is to provide all of our customers with integrated life-cycle solutions that ensure operational effectiveness and readiness at best value."

In April 2008, CBP contracted with Lockheed Martin under the P-3 Aircraft Service Life Extension Program (ASLEP), ordering up to 14 all-new production wing life extension kits. To date, CBP has placed firm orders for six life extension kits. ASLEP is the only P-3 life extension program validated by the OEM to extend P-3 service life 20-25 years, equating to 15,000 additional flight hours. A total of 47 ASLEP kits have been ordered from five P-3 operators which include Norway, CBP, the U.S. Navy, Canada and Taiwan.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Agriculture Expert Tapped as Executive Director of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness

Donnie Smith brings 40 years of agribusiness experience to position

Georgia’s Centers of Innovation program has named Donnie Smith, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s Liaison for Agriculture, as Executive Director of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness headquartered in Tifton.

“Donnie’s decades of experience in the agriculture industry combined with his service to the state of Georgia will help the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness connect the industry with cutting-edge research,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness is Georgia's central resource for accelerating growth in the agribusiness industry.”

Smith brings extensive industry and government experience to his new position. He has served for six years as the Governor’s Liaison for Agriculture and manages the Governor’s Agricultural Advisory Commission. Smith is a fifth-generation farmer, owner of Smith Farms located in Coffee and Atkinson Counties, and has over 40 years of experience in agribusiness.

Smith will retain several of his duties as Special Advisor to the Governor on Agriculture Affairs and will continue to lead the Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Commission. He is a past Georgia Lancaster Sunbelt Expo Farmer of the Year as well as a past Georgia Flue Cured Tobacco Farmer of the Year. Smith serves on the Georgia Rural Development Council and many local, state and national agriculture organizations.

“Donnie Smith is well positioned to continue to increase the momentum of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness,” said Sterling Wharton, director of the Centers of Innovation. “His depth of industry experience and connections across the state will enable the Center to continue to advance the economic impact of agribusiness through innovation and technology.”

Smith takes the helm of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness effective July 27.

The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness is housed at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Tifton Campus and provides statewide strategic industry expertise while accelerating growth among Georgia’s agribusiness industry across the state. For more information about the center, please visit agribusiness.georgiainnovation.org.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stites & Harbison Welcomes David Janet

Stites & Harbison welcomed attorney David M. Janet to the Atlanta office recently. Mr. Janet joined the firm as counsel.

He is a member of both the Business & Finance and the Intellectual Property & Technology Service Groups. His practice focuses on licensing and transactional matters in the technology, telecommunications, software, life sciences, financial services and entertainment business sectors.

Prior to joining Stites & Harbison (www.stites.com), Mr. Janet’s practice included work for law firms in Virginia, D.C., California and Georgia. He also worked as general counsel for an established technology services and data mining company in Virginia.

Mr. Janet received his J.D., with High Honors, from Duke University Law School, Durham, N.C., in 1992, and his B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude, from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va., in 1989. He is admitted to practice in Georgia, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

About Stites & Harbison
Stites & Harbison, PLLC, is a regional business and litigation firm with attorneys in Atlanta; Alexandria, Va.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; Louisville, Frankfort and Lexington, Ky.; and Nashville and Franklin, Tenn. Tracing its origins to 1832, Stites & Harbison is one of the oldest law practices in the nation and among the largest law firms in the Southeast. Our attorneys are consistently recognized by their peers in the following leading legal directories: Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory®, The Best Lawyers in America®, Chambers USA and Super Lawyers magazine. Recent firm honors include being named: one of the 50 Best Overall Law Firms in America (Global Research), one of the Leading Law Firms in America (The American Lawyer), a Go-To Law Firm® (Corporate Counsel), one of the Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity (MultiCultural Law Magazine) and a Top 10 Growth Firm (National Law Journal).
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SBA Offers $10 Million Surety Bond Guarantee

Aids Recovery in Construction and Service Sectors

Building on Recovery Act provisions implemented earlier this year, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today it can now provide surety bond guarantees on federal contracts valued at up to $10 million, if the contracting officer certifies that the guarantee is in the best interests of the government. An Interim Final Rule is available for public inspection at The Federal Register.

Currently, under a related provision of the Recovery Act that was implemented in March, SBA can provide bond guarantees up to $5 million through September 2010 on all public and private contracts and subcontracts. SBA partners with the surety industry to help small businesses that would otherwise be unable to obtain bonding in the traditional commercial marketplace. Under the partnership, SBA provides a guarantee to the participating surety company of between 70 and 90 percent of the bond amount.

“Raising the surety bond limit is a critical step in making sure small businesses in the construction and service sector have access to federal contracting opportunities that will help drive economic recovery,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “These changes support small and emerging businesses nationwide, particularly construction contractors who have seen their markets hurt by a poor economy and lagging construction.”

Additional program enhancements published in the rule include:

· a new small business size standard for this program;
· authorization for SBA to exercise discretion in deciding bond liability issues; and,
· a definition of “Order” issued under an Indefinite Delivery Contract.

The new size standard (which will be in effect until Sept. 30, 2010) temporarily replaces the current size standard for the surety bond guarantee program. It states that a business is small if the business, combined with its affiliates, does not exceed the size standard designated for the primary industry of the business combined with its affiliates. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes contained in 13 CFR Part 121 establishes size standards for all industries http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/owners/basics/GC_SMALL_BUSINESS.html.

Through its Bond Guarantee program, SBA will also help by guaranteeing bid, payment and performance bonds to protect the project owner against financial loss if a contractor defaults or fails to perform.

Finally, the rule adds a definition for an “Order” issued under an Indefinite Delivery Contract to clarify that SBA bond guarantees apply to individual orders, as well as contracts.

SBA assistance in locating a participating surety company or agent, and completing application forms, is available online. For more information on SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program, including Surety Office contacts, go online to http://www.sba.gov/osg/ , or call 1-800-U ASK SBA.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland Hosts Small Business Workshop Aug 11

Aug. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Callaway Conference Center at West Georgia Technical College in LaGrange

Presentations and information provided by:

· Small Business Administration
· United States Department of Agriculture
· University of Georgia Small Business Development Center
· Participating lending institutions
· Georgia Tech’s Procurement Assistance Program

This is event is free and open to all interested small business owners. Please RSVP by calling Rep. Westmoreland’s District Office at 770-683-2033 or toll free at 866-775-5359 or emailing hanjun.zhu@mail.house.gov.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

“Myths and Realities of Small Minority Business Financing” from Clayton State SBDC

The Clayton State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will host “Myths and Realities of Small Minority Business Financing,” a workshop that will explain the realities of entrepreneurship, on Thursday, Aug. 6, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Clayton County Headquarters Library, 865 Battle Creek Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. Admission is free.

Topics discussed will include reasons for starting a business, financing sources and business expectations.

The class will also offer information about SBA programs, the realities of entrepreneurship, reasons for starting a small business and business expectations. Also covered will be debt and equity financing, nontraditional sources of capital, and preparing a loan or financing proposal will be covered. Options for financing will be reviewed with specific recommendations for next steps in the financing process.

Register online at www.business.clayton.edu/sbdc.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

World Airways Extends Contract With Allied Air for MD-11 Freighter Service

/PRNewswire/ -- World Airways has extended a contract with Allied Air to operate one MD-11F on a full-time basis for service through December 2011 between Ostend, Belgium and Lagos, Nigeria, continuing on to Nairobi, Kenya, and returning to Ostend. World Airways, a subsidiary of Global Aviation Holdings, Inc., began operating the aircraft for Allied Air in October 2008.

Allied Air is a Nigerian-based airline that operates four Boeing 727 freighters and works closely in conjunction with its worldwide sales agent, ANA Aviation Services, to provide scheduled flights and ad hoc charter services.

"ANA Aviation Services is a specialist airline management provider that designs and delivers innovative airline solutions to customers around the globe," said Jeff Sanborn, chief marketing officer for Global Aviation Holdings, Inc. "World Airways is pleased to continue to meet the needs of Allied Air and its business partner, ANA Aviation Services, with our wide-body cargo fleet."

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Census Bureau Reports Increase of Nearly 1 Million Nonemployer Businesses

The United States added nearly 1 million nonemployer businesses between 2006 and 2007, bringing the total to 21.7 million, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This 4.5 percent growth rate is detailed in Nonemployer Statistics: 2007, an annual data series on businesses without paid employees.

"These statistics allow users to track annual trends in nonemployer businesses down to the local level," said C. Harvey Monk Jr., Associate Director for Economic Programs at the U.S. Census Bureau. "Businesses can use this data to help analyze market potential, to measure the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs and to develop their budgets."

Total receipts for nonemployer businesses were $992 billion in 2007, up from $970 billion in 2006, a 2.2 percent increase. Of the total nonemployer businesses, 19.1 million were sole proprietorships, 1.4 million were corporations and 1.2 million were partnerships.

Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses, which may or may not be the owner's principal source of income. Classified in nearly 300 industries, data is available for the nation, states, counties and metropolitan areas.

By Geography


California (2.8 million), Texas (1.8 million) and Florida (1.6 million) had the most nonemployer businesses in the country, making up nearly 29 percent of all nonemployer businesses. Receipts of nonemployer firms in these same states totaled nearly $308 billion -- 31 percent of all receipts from nonemployer businesses nationwide.

Among all states, Georgia led the nation in the growth rate of nonemployer businesses with a 6.9 percent increase between 2006 and 2007, followed by Alabama at 6.8 percent and North Carolina with a 6.7 percent increase.

Among larger counties, Bronx, N.Y., and Philadelphia led the growth rate of nonemployer business establishments, each showing a 10.2 percent increase in 2007. Mecklenburg, N.C., had the third largest growth rate in the number of such establishments at 9.3 percent, followed by Miami-Dade, Fla., at 8.7 percent and Kings, N.Y., at 8.6 percent.

By Sector and Industry


Three economic sectors made up more than 40 percent of the total receipts -- real estate services ($177 billion); professional, technical and scientific services ($130 billion); and specialty trade contractors ($97 billion). These three sectors were comprised of 7.2 million businesses and represented more than 33 percent of all nonemployer businesses.

The plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors industry reported a 9 percent increase in nonemployer businesses in 2007, representing 11,000 additional businesses nationwide. The 137,990 businesses that made up this industry reported more than $8.1 billion in receipts, an average of nearly $59,000 per location. Among counties, Los Angeles, Calif. (4,596), Harris, Texas (2,898) and Miami-Dade, Fla. (2,480), had the most nonemployer plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractor locations.

The florists industry reported an increase of nearly 1,400 nonemployer businesses in 2007, to 25,609, with national receipts totaling $992 million. California led all other states in revenue in the industry with nearly $175 million in receipts. Among larger counties, Palm Beach, Fla. ($65,993), Honolulu ($63,735) and Multnomah, Ore. ($63,100), generated the highest average receipts.

The child day care services industry reported 691,289 nonemployer businesses in 2007, with receipts totaling $8.9 billion. Los Angeles County, Calif. (33,716), Cook County, Ill. (23,760) and Bronx County, N.Y. (18,449), had the most nonemployer child day care businesses, accounting for 11 percent of the businesses and 10 percent of the receipts in this industry. Among larger counties, Washington, Minn. ($24,371), King, Wash. ($21,798) and Anne Arundel, Md. ($20,185), generated the highest receipts per establishment.

Nonemployer Statistics excludes businesses with paid employees; these data are covered in the County Business Patterns report. Published 6/25/09
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Allan Vigil Ford to Host Clayton State SBDC Entrepreneur Success Series

What better venue is there for the next installment of Clayton State University’s Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) popular Entrepreneur Success Series (ESS) than one of the Southern Crescent’s most notable business establishments?

SBDC Director Kyle Hensel has announced that the next seven-week ESS, running from Aug. 11 through Sept. 22, will beheld in the Conference Room of Allan Vigil Ford, 6790 Mt. Zion Blvd., Morrow, Ga. Each of the seven Tuesday night sessions will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Planning and knowledge provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and this popular series of programs has helped launch hundreds of businesses,” says Hensel. “The seven-part ESS series includes valuable recommendations, research ideas, and an overview of the important areas of business operation from a practical perspective. The ESS series focuses on the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs and owners of new businesses.

Classes may be taken separately for $69 each, or individuals may take the complete series for the discounted price of $349. A certificate of completion is awarded after attending all seven classes. Contact the SDBC office at (678) 466-5100 for more details, or to register.

The class schedule is as follows…

Aug. 11 -- Starting a Business

If you are considering starting a small business, this workshop is a crucial first step. Topics for discussion include: traits of successful entrepreneurs, market research, legal structures for your business, estimating start-up costs & cash flow projection, financing alternatives, failure factors, and business planning. A detailed business start-up workbook and other handouts are provided.

Aug. 18 -- Small Business Legal Issues

This class presents information regarding the different legal structures, advantages and disadvantages of each structure, formation and ongoing requirements, liability issues and tax implications, and other statutory requirements including licensing, trade name registration, service marks and trademarks.

Aug. 25 -- Setting Up Business Records

Launching a business requires the setup of records and systems in the areas of accounting, personnel and organizational documents. Participants receive templates and guidelines that list various accounting tasks and essential policies to safeguard business assets, as well as checklists to insure that personnel and company files include regulatory documents.

Sept. 1 -- Marketing Your Small Business

Successful, high-impact marketing relies less on money and more on knowing how to use time, energy and imagination. This seminar tells what’s hot, how to position yourself in the marketplace and write an effective marketing plan, what gets customers in the door, how to make the sale, and keep them coming back – without spending a small fortune!

Sept. 8 -- Writing an Effective Business Plan

A business plan helps you start, manage and build your business. The course covers the general business plan format and the information required for each section.

Sept. 15 -- Tax Tips for the Small Business

All aspects of federal/state taxes will be covered in this class, including registration requirements for each legal form of business, tax obligations for employees and independent contractors, computation of employee payroll taxes and filing periodic returns and issues relating to specific deductible business expenses such as entertainment, the use of a personal automobile and the home.

Sept. 22 -- Financing the Business

See step-by-step how to finance a start-up or growing business and how to prepare a winning package for any type of financial assistance. Topics include different financing options such as bank loans, SBA guaranteed loans, non-bank lenders, private investors, and myths and realities of grant funding.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Federal Minimum Wage will Increase to $7.25 on July 24

Millions of workers across 30 states will see more money in their paychecks

The U.S. Department of Labor reminds employers and employees that the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on Friday, July 24. With this change, employees who are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be entitled to pay no less than $7.25 per hour.

“This administration is committed to improving the lives of working families across the nation, and the increase in the minimum wage is another important step in the right direction,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This well-deserved increase will help workers better provide for their families in the face of today’s economic challenges. I am especially pleased that the change will benefit working women, who make up two-thirds of minimum wage earners.”

This increase is the last of three provided by the enactment of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which amended the FLSA to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps: to $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and now to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The latest change will directly benefit workers in 30 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming) where the state minimum wage is currently at or below the federal minimum wage or there is no state minimum wage. It will also benefit workers in the District of Columbia, where the minimum wage is required to be $1 more than the federal minimum wage.

A family with a full-time minimum wage earner would see its monthly income increase by about $120. That is more than a week’s worth of groceries for an average family of four or more than one week’s utility bills. The $120 buys three tanks of gas for a small car. The $120 would easily cover the cost of replacing all the light bulbs in a typical home with compact fluorescent light bulbs — which would save the family money in the long term and be an important step toward a greener country. The benefits are not just for full-time workers. About half of minimum wage workers are part-timers, and they, too, are going to see a very welcome boost to their incomes.

Every employer of workers subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted in each of its establishments, a notice explaining this act. The notice must be posted in conspicuous places to permit employees to readily read them. Posters and other compliance assistance materials concerning the minimum wage increase are available free of charge from the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division and may also be obtained from the agency’s Web site at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov.

Many states have minimum wage laws with provisions that differ from the federal law. When an employer is subject to both, the employer must pay the higher of the two rates.

Employers and employees seeking more compliance information on the increased minimum wage may call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Facebook and Your Business? SBDC Workshop Shows How to Reach 200 Million

At the moment there are more than 200 million people on the best-known of the social networking websites – Facebook. However, Facebook’s phenomenal growth isn’t just a social phenomenon. It’s a business tool as well.

The fact is that Facebook is becoming an important tool for business owners looking to market to clients. On Monday, Aug. 3, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Clayton State University will be holding an interactive session for individuals who want to take advantage of Facebook for something more than social reasons. “Utilizing Facebook for Your Business” shows how to develop a company Face page as well as how to create events and groups, and how to conduct other business on Facebook.

“Utilizing Facebook for Your Business” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in room T-152 of the Clayton State School of Business Building. The cost is $69 per person, and users are encouraged to bring their laptop computers so they can learn how to navigate the application as it is being shown in class.

For further information, or to register, please call the SBDC office at (678) 466-5100.
A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Gingrey Successfully Defends Funding for University of West Georgia’s Small Business Assistance Program

As Georgia’s unemployment numbers climbed to double digits for the first time in recorded history, Rep. Gingrey went to the floor of the House of Representatives to successfully fight an attempt to eliminate funding for the University of West Georgia’s Small Business Assistance Program. Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona offered an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act to strike out funding for the University of West Georgia. The Amendment was defeated with 342 in opposition and only 89 in support.

This program is a collaboration between the University of West Georgia’s Small Business Development Center and the Carroll County Economic Development Foundation’s Burson Center. Through this program, new and emerging small businesses can access office space, equipment, on-site services, and one-on-one business counseling in Carroll and its neighboring counties – including Paulding, Bartow, Floyd, Polk, and Haralson. The funding secured by Rep. Gingrey would specifically be used to assist veterans returning from overseas who face added challenges during the current economic climate. Congressman Gingrey has a history of opposing wasteful spending while supporting well-vetted, community sponsored requests.

The text, audio, and video of Congressman Gingrey’s defense of this critical small business support program in included below. Click on the link below to view the video of Rep. Gingrey’s remarks.

http://tiny.cc/P4Gk5

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by my friend and colleague from Arizona. I first want to express my thanks to Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Emerson for their support of my request.

But, I also want to express my gratitude to the gentleman from Arizona for his vigilance and his conviction on reducing the size of government. I share that conviction even as I continue to believe in the importance of ensuring that some portion of the Federal dollars that my constituents send to Washington is returned back to them and our district, preferably through tax relief, but when necessary through direct support of responsible and well-vetted local initiatives.

Like the gentleman from Arizona, I am also frustrated by this process. There is no doubt that Washington spends too much money, and that we need to trim down the size of the Federal government and root out the practices that lead to quid pro quos and unethical expenditures of Federal taxpayer dollars.

As the gentleman from Arizona knows, I have always believed that sunlight is the best disinfectant. In fact, I have been a proponent of earmark reform and have introduced legislation that would not only reduce and equalize the amount of earmarks but also allow Members to return their district’s fair share back to the Treasury.

Now, I recognize that there may be some members who might shudder at the thought of having to come to the floor and defend a request that they have made. Mr. Chairman, I would not have made the request, and I would not be standing here right now if I did not believe in its merit, so I welcome the opportunity to defend it.

Very simply, this $100,000 would go to the University of West Georgia’s Small Business Development Center and their partnership with the Carroll County Economic Development Foundation’s Burson Center to fund the expansion of their small business support center or incubator. This center—which already exists—provides resources ranging from business counseling, to temporary office space, to technical support, and access to an on-line database of Angle Investors Networks looking to start a potentially successful small business.

Specifically, this expansion will target the more than 12,000 veterans that the VA estimates will be returning to Western Georgia over the coming year. Given the tight job market, 30% or more of these returning veterans will attempt to start their own business and will likely require some type of support in beginning that effort.
Further, allow me to provide a little more context for this request and the needs that this Center is seeking to meet. Here are the six counties that this Center services, as well as the unemployment rate in each county: Carroll—11.0% unemployment; Bartow—11.5% unemployment; Floyd—10.4% unemployment; Paulding—9.8% unemployment; Haralson—12.2%; and Polk—10.5% unemployment.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I would much prefer to spend $100,000 to aid the creation of a small business and foster productivity and job growth, rather than allow that $100,000 to fund another welfare or entitlement program. I reference the old adage of giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day—but give him a fishing pole and feed him for life. Well, I believe that this request is clearly an example of the latter.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and reserve the balance of my time.

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Vega's Biomass Plans for Georgia Fit Federal State Energy Program

/PRNewswire/ -- VEGA PROMOTIONAL SYSTEMS, INC. (Pink Sheets: VGPR) announced today that the Company's plan to manufacture energy efficient pellet fuel from organic waste bi-products in the State of Georgia meets the qualifying criteria to apply for a grant from the State under the federal State Energy Program.

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. Georgia's proposal outlined plans for increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The state will get more than $41 million in additional funding upon demonstrating successful implementation of that plan, according to the department.

The program is part of President Barack Obama's national strategy to support job growth. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $3.1 billion to the State Energy Program to help states create green jobs, address state energy priorities and adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Vega recently announced its plan to build a manufacturing plant in the State of Georgia to produce biomass products and bio-diesel products for power generation units. When completed, the fuel pellet manufacturing facility will capitalize on the abundance of biomass in Georgia's Bioenergy Corridor. The State 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. When completed, the Georgia plant would have the capacity to produce several hundred thousand metric tons of biomass fuel pellets annually.

The Company will seek 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.

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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Winn-Dixie Rebrands All 51 North Florida/South Georgia Winn-Dixie Stores

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., (NASDAQ:WINN) announced today that it has completed remodels and upgrades on 51 of its Winn-Dixie stores in the Jacksonville area, comprising locations in North Florida and South Georgia. To mark this achievement, the Jacksonville-based grocer is launching a new brand position: “Fresh Checked Every Day.”

“We’ve spent the last several years improving our stores, our merchandising and our service,” said Winn-Dixie Chairman, CEO and President Peter Lynch. “Now, Winn-Dixie customers in the Jacksonville area, no matter where they shop, will find a fresh and local shopping experience, with enhanced customer service, every time they visit us.”

The Remodel Program

Winn-Dixie began Phase I of its company-wide remodeling initiative – a key component of its long-term business plan – more than two years ago when it announced plans to upgrade 75 stores each year throughout its operating area in the Southeast. During Phase I, the Company remodeled select locations in key markets across its footprint.

The Company commenced Phase II of the remodel initiative earlier this year. In Phase II, the Company is remodeling and upgrading stores using a market-by-market strategy.

Redesign and upgrade elements vary based on the specific needs of each neighborhood, but all stores showcase fresh and local merchandise complemented by a new color palette and signing package. Other enhancements and additions may include:

* expanded produce departments with wood flooring
* wider variety of organic and natural products
* well-stocked wine departments
* custom sandwich and sub shops
* wood-burning rotisseries
* wing and hot food bars
* expanded floral departments
* expanded meat and seafood departments
* expanded wine selections
* expanded pharmacies
* expanded bakeries with fresh-baked muffins, specialty desserts and loaves of warm bread

“With an enhanced product selection and expanded departments, shoppers will enjoy a fresh and local shopping experience every time they visit any of our stores,” said Cheryl Forehand, regional vice president, Jacksonville. “We encourage our neighbors who haven’t been in a Winn-Dixie in a while to come in and see our upgraded stores as we think they will enjoy the improvements that have been made.”

“Fresh Checked Every Day.”

The multi-media marketing campaign that accompanies the new brand positioning features television, radio, outdoor advertising and a specially created micro site. Visitors to the website (www.freshcheckedeveryday.com) will be able to take a virtual store tour and find updates on events, promotions and special offers.

Events and Promotions

Winn-Dixie invites the entire community to come out to enjoy its new neighborhood grocery store by participating in the following events and promotions:

* Free Gift Cards – The first 51 customers at each of the 51 Winn-Dixie stores on July 15 will receive a $5 Winn-Dixie gift card;
* Free Cake – A piece of celebratory cake will be offered to customers at each store every day July 15-21 while supplies last;
* Jacksonville Suns Winn-Dixie Night, July 19 – The first 3,000 fans will receive a free Winn-Dixie mini-bat;
* Individual Store Celebration events – Special family-friendly “Grand Opening” events will be held each weekend at various stores and schedules will be available at www.freshcheckedeveryday.com;
* Free Steaks for a Year – One person from each of the 51 stores will win free steaks for a year. One additional name from all entries will be drawn for the chance to win a $100,000 grand prize.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Senate Passes Small Business Innovation Bill

/PRNewswire/ -- The United States Senate last night unanimously passed legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, set to expire on July 31, 2009, and September 30, 2009, respectively. SBIR and STTR stimulate technological innovation, allow small businesses to meet federal research and development needs and provide seed capital for small businesses to develop ideas until they attract outside investment. The bill, introduced by Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, passed unanimously out of Committee on June 18, 2009.

"SBIR and STTR have been instrumental in fostering breakthrough technological innovation and creating new jobs among America's more than 27 million small businesses," Chair Landrieu said. "Recipients of SBIR and STTR awards have produced more than 85,000 patents and have generated millions of well-paying jobs across all 50 states. Now that the Senate has passed SBIR and STTR reauthorization, we are one step closer to strengthening these essential programs and increasing federal opportunities for small businesses. I look forward to working with the House to get a bill to President Obama's desk before SBIR expires on July 31st."

"Reauthorizing the SBIR and STTR programs will unleash the ground-breaking innovation potential of our nation's small businesses, particularly given that these critical initiatives direct more than $2 billion in Federal research and development funding annually to small-tech firms across the nation," said Ranking Member Snowe. "At a time when the nation is struggling to dig out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, we must ensure that our country once again brings to bear the kind of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation that made America and our free-market economy the greatest and most powerful on earth. By assisting thousands of pioneering small businesses with the development and promotion of scientific breakthroughs, the SBIR and STTR programs keep America ahead of the curve. I pledge to work expeditiously to ensure that we resolve differences with the House legislation so that President Obama may sign a bill as quickly as possible."

The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982, and the STTR program in 1992, to, among other things, help meet the government's research and development needs through small businesses. Federal agencies with an annual extramural R&D budget of more than $100 million must currently allocate 2.5 percent of their extramural R&D dollars to the SBIR program. Agencies with an annual extramural R&D budget of more than $1 billion must currently allocate an additional 0.3 percent to the STTR program. The bill provides for an important increase to the SBIR program allocation, raising it to 3.5 percent, spread out over eleven years. The SBIR allocation increase includes all agencies, including the NIH. The bill also increases the STTR program allocation from .3 percent to .6 percent over six years.

The last comprehensive reauthorization of the SBIR program occurred in 2000, when the program was reauthorized for eight years, scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2008. The program has since received two temporary extensions - first to March 20, 2009 and now to July 31, 2009. The STTR was last reauthorized in 2001, also for eight years.

The legislation will reauthorize the programs for eight years, giving small businesses and the government the stability they need to plan for and transition important technologies for our country. It amends the eligibility requirements to allow businesses owned and controlled by multiple venture capital firms to compete for a certain percentage of SBIR projects while making sure that there's a fair playing field for the small businesses that are independently owned and operated. It also adjusts the amount of SBIR and STTR awards to reflect inflation costs while taking a measured approach to increasing the allocation dedicated to these important small business research and development programs. To improve the diversity of the programs, geographically and otherwise, so that more states and individuals can participate in federal research and development for our country, the bill reauthorizes the Federal and State Technology (FAST) program and Rural Outreach Program for five years.

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The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Latest Kessler Collection Property, Set to Open in Savannah, Ga. on July 24

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, the latest luxury boutique hotel by The Kessler Collection, will officially open in Savannah, Ga. on Friday, July 24, 2009.

This exquisite new property, which is the first new hotel overlooking the Savannah River to open in 17 years, complements The Kessler Collection's AAA Four-Diamond Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah. Defined by majestic brick and glass architecture and inspiring interior design, The Bohemian Hotel features nine stories of luxury including 75 spacious, impeccably-appointed guest rooms and suites, concierge service, valet parking, an on-site fitness center and more.

Located at 102 West Bay Street, the hotel is the latest property by acclaimed hotelier and real estate developer Richard C. Kessler, Chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise, Inc. With a premier location overlooking the Savannah River, The Bohemian embodies classic Southern hospitality. The hotel's new construction and brick façade echo River Street's historic riverwalk, where shipping and the cotton trade once dominated.

The Bohemian Hotel's contemporary design, which was approved by Savannah's historic review board, features a vintage allure that recalls the era when British settlers first landed on the bluff above the Savannah River in 1733. This premier location, coupled with the service and luxurious quality standards synonymous with The Kessler Collection, make this hotel the perfect getaway for leisure and business travelers alike. Each guest room features luxury bedding and linens, high-definition television with Roomlinx® interactive media and entertainment system, high-speed wireless Internet connection and spectacular city and river views.

Savannah's newest hotel will also be one of the city's most exceptional destinations for dining and entertainment. Rocks on the River, a full-service restaurant on River Street serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, serves fresh seafood and casual American fare, while Rocks on the Roof, a rooftop lounge providing spectacular views of the Savannah River, will be the city's most talked about nightlife destinations.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Recovery Act Changes To SBIC Program Mean Increased Funding Available For Small Businesses

Effective last week, small businesses that would otherwise have difficulty securing private equity or venture capital may find funding easier to get as a result of changes made as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program.

“The Recovery Act expands SBA’s venture capital program to increase the pool of investment funding available to the Small Business Investment Companies licensed by SBA,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “We believe those companies will be better equipped by these changes to help sustain and grow small businesses for their next important growth steps.”

SBICs are privately owned and managed venture capital firms which are licensed and regulated by SBA. SBICs use a combination of funds raised from private sources and money raised through the use of SBA guarantees to make equity and mezzanine capital investments in small businesses. There are approximately 338 SBICs with $17.4 billion in capital under management.

The changes made as part of the Recovery Act are:

· The Recovery Act makes SBICs eligible for greater SBA guaranteed funding and requires SBICs to invest 25 percent of their investment dollars into “smaller” businesses. Also, the amount of funding an SBIC may invest in a single small business is set at 10 percent of an SBIC’s total capital rather than the previous limit of 20 percent of an SBIC’s private capital only. This translates to an effective 50 percent increase in funding available to a single business by an SBIC.

· Maximum SBA funding levels to SBICs will increase up to three times the private capital raised by the SBIC, up to a maximum of $150 million for single SBICs, or up to $225 million for multiple SBICs that are under common control. The cap for all licensees was set at $137.1 million before the Recovery Act.

· These limits are even higher for SBICs that are licensed after October 1, 2009, that certify that at least 50 percent of their investments will be made in small businesses located in low-income areas, up to $175 million for single licensees and up to $250 million for jointly controlled multiple licensees.

· Changes made to the SBIC program under the Recovery Act are permanent.

Industry associations have commended SBA for these changes and SBA continues to encourage new SBICs to apply for licensing and actively participate in the program.

The SBIC program was created to stimulate the growth of America’s small businesses by supplementing the long-term debt and private-equity capital available to them. Since the SBIC program’s formation in 1958 through April 2009, it has invested approximately $56 billion in more than 106,000 small businesses in the United States. For more information about the SBA’s Investment Division and SBIC program, go to www.sba.gov/INV or call 1-800-U ASK SBA.

Rep. Ramsey to Speak to Young Professionals of Fayette County

Professionals ages 21-39 are invited to join join Young Professionals of Fayette County for their next Business to Business Breakfast to be held on Wednesday July 29th, 8:30am at the Four Season's Café in PTC on Huddleston Rd.

All attendees pay $10/pp, which includes the breakfast buffet and your seat to hear guest speaker Matt Ramsey, Georgia State Representative. He will update us on the Current Issues before the Georgia General Assembly. Please be sure to RSVP by Wednesday, July 22 to Diva Thomas at dthomas@bbandt.com to reserve your seat!

We also need your help collecting items for Gracie's Closet. Gracie's Closet provides clothing, free of charge, to foster children on both the south side as well as Metro Atlanta. The following items are much appreciated:

- New or gently used infant, child and teen clothing
- Pajamas
- Socks and underwear (new)
- Children's shoes
- Diaper wipes and diapers
- Baby powder, lotion, diaper rash ointment and infant shampoo
- Baby gear (diaper bags, infant carriers, baby swings, etc.)
- Baby blankets and linens
- Baby bottles, sippy cups, bibs and pacifiers (new)
- Children's books
- Children's toiletries such as toothpaste and shampoo
- School supplies and bookbags
- Suitcases
- Jackets and Coats

Please visit our website www.ypfayette.com today for more information about YP Fayette!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

USDA Urged To Heed Producer Testimony and Scrap The National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to actually listen to and honor the comments offered by the nation’s livestock producers during the USDA's multi-city listening tour on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and scrap the program.

"A common thread that ran through much of the testimony at the USDA hearings was that existing prevention and tracking programs for animal diseases together with state laws on branding and the existing record-keeping by sales barns and livestock shows provide the mechanisms needed for tracking any disease outbreaks," said Pete Kennedy, acting president of the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

"NAIS is simply not needed," he added. "The USDA continues to confuse industry support for efforts to identify and eliminate animal diseases with support for NAIS, despite the fact that some 80 percent of the people who testified during the hearings testified against USDA's animal identification program," he said.

Kennedy’s comments came as the USDA wrapped up its 14-city listening tour with a session in Omaha last week. During the tour more than 1,600 people attended listening sessions; almost 500 people testified; and more than 400 of those stated their opposition to NAIS.

"Even the U.S. Congress has grown impatient with the NAIS," commented Fund board member Taaron Meikle, "with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro calling continued investment in USDA's NAIS ‘unwarranted.’ "

De Lauro’s comments came in a release explaining the cuts in the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill her subcommittee recommended.

Instead of pouring more money and effort into NAIS, the Fund is urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to re-focus the nation’s animal disease and food safety efforts on several alternatives including:

* Decentralizing the livestock industry and encouraging local, diversified farms, which would increase animal health, food security, and food safety;
* Increasing inspections of imported animals and agricultural products and barring the entry of animals from countries with known disease problems; and
* Improving enforcement of existing laws and inspections of large slaughterhouses and food processing facilities, including unannounced spot inspections at those large facilities.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, along with six of its members from Michigan, last year filed suit in the U.S. District Court – District of Columbia against the USDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) to stop the implementation of NAIS. An amended complaint was filed in January 2009 with the Fund adding a member from Pennsylvania as a Plaintiff.

The MDA has implemented the first two stages of NAIS – property registration and animal identification – for all cattle and farmers across the State under the guise of its bovine tuberculosis disease control program. MDA’s implementation of the first two steps of NAIS was required, in part, in exchange for a grant from the USDA.

The Fund’s suit asks the court to issue an injunction to stop the implementation of NAIS at both the State and Federal levels by any State or Federal agency. If successful, the suit would halt the program nationwide.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters to expand in Dodge County

Metal fabrication company will invest $550,000 to expand facility at Heart of Georgia Regional Airport

Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters announced today that it plans to expand its Dodge County facility, investing $550,000.

“Aerospace is one of Georgia’s strategic industries, and the growth of Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters shows that our work is paying off,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Georgia has the talented workforce and business-friendly environment to help aerospace companies take flight.”

Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters (HGMC), which is headquartered in Eastman, is adding 12,500 square feet onto its facility at Heart of Georgia Regional Airport. The company is adding more office space, equipment and workspace for its metal fabrication business.

HGMC has recently won contracts with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, prompting the expansion. No additional jobs are being created at this time.

“The business environment here in Georgia means we have low overhead, which means our customers get a first-time quality product delivered on time at a competitive price,” said Stephen Pritchett, general manager and CEO of Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters. “The well-trained graduates from Middle Georgia College’s Aviation Campus and Heart of Georgia Technical College enable us to hire kind of talent we need to grow.”
“The Eastman-Dodge County community is very proud of the expansion at Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters,” said Kennon Graham, board chairman of the Eastman-Dodge County Chamber of Commerce. “This expansion demonstrates the commitment of the company and workforce in moving our community forward. Their success will be a vital part of our economy for years to come.”

Ryan Waldrep, project manager for GDEcD, assisted the company in its expansion.

Brightworth Partners Ranked Among Top Wealth Advisors for Client Satisfaction

Brightworth partners Dave Polstra, Chris Dardaman, Alan Gotthardt and Ray Padron have been selected as 2009 FIVE STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Managers SM for metro Atlanta.

More than 147,000 metro Atlanta residents and 14,400 financial service professionals were surveyed to determine the wealth managers who ranked in the top 7 percent for “best in client satisfaction.”

“Exceptional client satisfaction is at the core of who we are,” said Dave Polstra, Founding Partner of Brightworth. “We are greatly honored to be recognized for providing Five Star service.”

Survey recipients were asked to select only wealth managers whom they knew through personal experience, and to evaluate them based upon nine criteria: customer service, integrity, knowledge/expertise, communication, value for fee charged, meeting of financial objectives, post-sale-service, quality of recommendations and overall satisfaction.

Only wealth managers with five years of experience in the financial services industry were considered and each wealth manager was reviewed for regulatory actions, civil judicial actions and customer complaints as reported by FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and other regulatory agencies.

Before finalizing the list, each wealth manager was reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel that was comprised of knowledgeable individuals from within the financial services industry. Although panelist comments were incorporated into the final score, safeguards were built into the review process to reduce the ability of panel members to influence the composition of the final list on the basis of company affiliation.

Brightworth (www.brightworth.com) is an independent, fee-only wealth management firm that serves entrepreneurs and high net worth families and individuals. The firm and its partners have been nationally ranked as one of Robb Report Worth Magazine’s 100 Most Exclusive Wealth Advisors, Mutual Funds magazine’s 100 Top Advisors, Wealth Manager magazine’s Top 150 Wealth Managers and Barron’s Indie 100 list of top independent financial advisors, and are members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
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Georgia Seeks Exhibitors for Top World Air Show

Business opportunities abound for companies, communities at biennial Dubai Airshow

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is seeking Georgia export companies and communities interested in joining its delegation to the Dubai Airshow 2009 November 15 – 19 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). To help Georgia companies capitalize on the event, GDEcD has created affordable event packages targeting those who would not otherwise be able to travel to the Dubai Airshow.

“By teaming up with the state, Georgia companies have an outstanding and affordable opportunity to expand their presence and sales to critical world markets,” said Heidi Green, deputy commissioner for global commerce at GDEcD. “We are providing a unique targeted marketing strategy that will give added exposure and value to their efforts at the show.”

The biennial Dubai Airshow is the largest aviation event in the world’s fastest-growing region. In 2007, the show marked its 10th anniversary and attracted more than 850 exhibitors, 45,000 trade visitors, 140 aircraft and record-breaking orders of $155.5 billion. A major trader with the UAE, Georgia was ranked ninth in the U.S in exports to the UAE, totaling $426 million in 2008.

“Aventure has been active in the Middle East aviation arena for eight years now and has established working relationships with the region’s airlines and aviation organizations. Participating in the Dubai Air Show is an absolute must for us," said Zaheer Faruqi, president of Aventure International Aviation of Peachtree City. "Dubai is a perfect location for such an event, as it is not only recognized as the business hub for the Middle East, but also as the premier aerospace industry hub on a global level.”

Aerospace is one of the state’s leading strategic industries. Georgia is home to more than 200 aerospace and aviation businesses, including industry giants like Delta Air Lines, Gulfstream Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Cessna and Northrop Grumman.

GDEcD has developed an affordable participants’ exhibitor package for small- to medium-sized companies and communities that are working with limited marketing budgets. The final deadline for registration is August 15, 2009.

For complete details or to register for the trade mission, contact Kathy Oxford, senior trade manager, at 678-640-4351 or koxford@georgia.org. For more information, visit http://www.georgia.org/Business/International/Trade+News.htm
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Dillard's, Inc. Reports June Sales Results

Little Rock, Arkansas, July 9, 2009 -- Dillard's, Inc. (DDS: NYSE) ("Dillard's" or the "Company") announced today that merchandise sales ("sales") for the five weeks ended July 4, 2009 were $497,165,000 compared to sales for the five weeks ended July 5, 2008 of $593,285,000. Total sales decreased 16%. Sales in comparable stores decreased 14% for the five-week period.

Sales for the 22 weeks ended July 4, 2009 were $2,344,280,000 compared to sales for the 22 weeks ended July 5, 2008 of $2,773,160,000. Total sales decreased 15%. Sales in comparable stores decreased 13% for the 22-week period.

During the five weeks ended July 4, 2009, sales were above the average total Company trend in the Central region, slightly below trend in the Eastern region and below trend in the Western region. The sales performance in the home and furniture category was significantly below trend during the period.

Dillard's, Inc. is one of the nation's largest fashion apparel and home furnishing retailers. The Company's stores operate with one name, Dillard's, and span 29 states. Dillard's stores offer a broad selection of merchandise, including products sourced and marketed under Dillard's exclusive brand names.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cambria and Atlanta Kitchen, Inc. form New Exclusive Partnership

Cambria, the only producer of natural quartz surfaces in the U.S., announced today that Decatur-based Atlanta Kitchen, Inc. is the latest Cambria fabricator business partner to be inducted into their Lexus Partner Program.

The Lexus Partner Program was designed by Cambria to further strengthen the relationships between Cambria and its fabricator partners as well as provide the highest possible service to the consumer. Atlanta Kitchen, Inc. is the ninth fabricator partner to be inducted into the program. Consolidated Kitchens & Fireplaces (Omaha, Neb.), Renaissance Marble & Tile (Urbandale, Iowa), TrendStone, LLC (Lenexa, Kan.), K & D Counter Tops, Inc. (Trenton, IL), StoneTrends, LLC (Chesterfield, MO) Smokey Mountain Tops (Knoxville, TN), Fine Line Pacific (Seattle, WA) and Floform Countertops (Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta; and Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) were inducted in 2008 and 2009.

“The Lexus Partner designation elevates and solidifies our deep partnership with Atlanta Kitchen, Inc.,” said Martin Davis, Cambria President and CEO. “This relationship demonstrates Cambria’s commitment to high-quality, very capable fabricators that set the standard for delivering exceptional products and outstanding customer service.”

Cambria Lexus Partners must meet specific criteria set by Cambria that includes sales success, exceptional quality and customer service and a commitment to marketing the Cambria brand. In return, Lexus Partners enjoy unique benefits from Cambria, including a guaranteed market position through exclusive fabrication and distribution in their marketplace; and dedicated Cambria sales, marketing and training support.

“We are excited about our new Lexus Partner status and look forward to further promoting the Cambria brand,” said Mitch Hires, co-owner of Atlanta Kitchen. “Atlanta Kitchen’s Lexus Partner status will strengthen our relationship with Cambria and create mutual growth and success for both companies.”

Cambria is sold to select fabricators across North America through a partnership model that celebrates a common vision and culture. The pinnacle of that model is the Lexus Partner Program, which formalizes Cambria’s commitment to highly evolved fabricator business partnerships that deliver mutual success. Cambria’s Lexus Partner fabricators are committed to innovation, hard work, are entrepreneurial-minded, and want to grow their businesses in partnership with Cambria.

As a leader in design innovation, Cambria offers more colors with unique design capabilities than any other surfacing material. Complementary colors from the Desert and Quarry collections offer unique opportunities to incorporate multiple colors on a variety of surfaces, creating more depth and character in a home. Cambria is available through builders, designers, architects and kitchen/bath retailers throughout all of North America.

Cambria is a stain resistant, nonporous surface that is harder, stronger and easier to care for than other stone surfaces because it does not require sealing with chemical-based conditioners, polishers or wax. Cambria is also certified by NSF International as safe for use as a food preparation surface—there is no safer surface available to consumers.

Cambria recycles and recovers 100 percent of the water used in its production processes through unique settling and filtering techniques. In addition, Cambria surfaces do not off-gas and contain zero formaldehyde or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Cambria surfaces have been tested for radon emissions by Air Quality Sciences, Inc. (AQS), an International Organization for Standard (ISO) 9001:2000 registered and ISO 17025 accredited Indoor Air Quality Company. Testing confirms Cambria natural quartz surfaces have no harmful emissions of any type.

Cambria surfaces are GREENGUARD for Children and Schools® certified and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®. Cambria may help projects achieve LEED points towards certification under various LEED Green Building Rating Systems.

Primarily made from North American quartz, and as the only producer of natural quartz surfaces in the United States, Cambria has a lower carbon footprint when compared to other quartz products that are largely produced in the Middle East, Asia and Europe and require greater transportation and carbon resources en route to market.
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