March 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Coke, Delta tell Supreme Court to back gay marriage
Leon Stafford reports that a handful of Georgia businesses signed on Thursday a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of gay marriage. Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and Cox Enterprises were among 379 companies and organizations around the country urging the court to strike down bans restricting same-sex unions. AT&T, whose mobility unit is based in Atlanta, also signed the brief.
March 6, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Georgia grown, Georgia served
Karen Kirkpatrick reports, think the chef at your favorite restaurant sits around dreaming up exotic dishes that will land her a spot on Hell's Kitchen or Top Chef? Think again. These days, many restaurant chefs are saying no to the exotic and focusing on Georgia Grown fresh ingredients instead. The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) recently named four 2015 Georgia Grown Executive Chefs to its growing roster of chefs who are committed to using local ingredients and products and helping educate consumers on the importance of eating locally sourced food.
March 6, 2015 Georgia Health News
Computer technology with a storied history joins fight against cancer
Judi Kanne reports that IBM’s Watson computer technology made headlines with a victory over human contestants on the game show “Jeopardy!” in 2011.
Now the artificial intelligence computer system is winning over scientists with its other potential applications, including health care.
March 6, 2015 GeorgiaCEO
Southeast Manufacturing Sees Highest Levels in Nearly a Year
Staff reports that Southeast manufacturing activity continued its upward climb for the second consecutive month in February, seeing its biggest numbers since April 2014, according to the Southeast’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report released today by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. The Southeast PMI increased 4.9 points to 60.5, powered by new orders, production and employment.
March 6, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Source: Cisco looks to expand Atlanta workforce with up to 150 jobs
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. is hiring in Metro Atlanta, potentially adding as many as 150 jobs, Atlanta Business Chronicle has learned.
The jobs include a mix of finance, operations and advanced network services positions, including networking engineers, iOS engineers, and software developers, according to a source briefed on Cisco's plans. A second source confirmed Cisco is hiring in Atlanta.
March 6, 2015 WABE
Georgia Senate Approves Controversial 'Religious Liberty' Measure
Michelle Wirth reports that a controversial bill supporters say is needed to protect the religious rights of Georgians gained the approval of the state Senate. But the "religious freedom" bill passed over the objection of Senate Democrats. Democrats argued the measure could lead to unjust treatment of gays and lesbians. Senator Curt Thompson, D-Tucker, worries it could be used to deny marriage licenses to gay couples if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage bans.
March 6, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
More Georgia voters oppose than favor plan to fund transportation with gasoline excise tax
Walter C. Jones reports that Georgia voters oppose the House’s transportation-funding plan than favor it, according to a poll released Thursday. In the survey for Morris News Service and Fox5 by InsiderAdvantage and Opinion Savvy, 45 percent of those questioned said they were against the plan while just 26 percent favored it. Another 29 percent couldn’t make up their minds.
March 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A last word from Grover Norquist’s group — and many, many others
Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy reports that as the House prepares to vote today on the $1 billion transportation bill today, Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform is steaming from the attacks leveled at it from the bill’s Republican supporters.ATR state affairs manager Paul Blair takes to the Daily Caller to compare the group’s GOP accusers to — gasp! — liberals.
March 5, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal
WellStar CEO talks future, Emory merger
Ricky Leroux reports that WellStar Health System’s CEO updated state lawmakers on the possible merger between his company and Emory Healthcare Wednesday, saying it was brought on by changes in the health care industry. The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and an aging population require a redesign in how health care is delivered, said Reynold Jennings, CEO of WellStar.
March 5, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Neely Young: Immigration reform a must
Neely Young writes, immigration reform is on the table in the U.S. Congress. Now that Republicans have control of Congress, they may actually try to fix the repressive rules that have for years plagued the undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. In past congressional races, we have elected people to Congress who have more interest in partisan bickering and derailing the legislative process. In the recent election, voters elected those who have promised they would be more interested in governing and solving our nation’s problems.
March 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia's unemployment rate drops to 6.4 percent
Staff reports that state labor officials say Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.4 percent, its lowest level since July 2008. The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the new seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January.
March 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta bike-sharing program to launch with 500 bikes
Carla Caldwell reports that Mayor Kasim Reed has signed a contract to start the city's bike-sharing program with 500 bicycles and 50 rental stations throughout the city. The contract is with CycleHop, the bike share operator, and its partners Social Bicycles and local firms Center Forward and Iconologic, according to a press release issued by the city's Department of Planning & Community Development.
March 5, 2015 Georgia CEO
SunTrust CMO Named Among Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America
Staff reports that Susan Somersille Johnson, corporate executive vice president and chief marketing officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc., was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America by Black Enterprise Magazine. Johnson will be honored at the Black Enterprise "Women of Power Conference" on March 4. Honorees are female African-American C-Suite executives selected from the top 1,000 publicly traded US corporations. These executives manage significant lines of business or serve as a representative on the executive leadership team.
March 5, 2015 Emory News
$25 million donation to target Alzheimer's early detection at Emory
Staff reports that Emory University's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center will receive a transformational donation to support advanced research into early detection of Alzheimer's disease. The Goizueta Foundation is committing $25 million toward research aimed at fundamentally changing the way Alzheimer's disease is detected and treated.
March 5, 2015 Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech joins hunt for gravitational waves as a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration
Staff reports, with ith the arrival of associate professor Laura Cadonati, the Georgia Institute of Technology is now part of another major international scientific research project: the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). LIGO will for the first time directly detect gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted a century ago by Einstein with his theory of general relativity. Detecting and characterizing gravitational waves will unveil a new perspective of the cosmos, complementing the view provided by electromagnetic waves such as visible light, X-rays, radio, infrared and gamma rays.
March 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta Technology Angels funding, syndication tops $13.3 million in 2014
Phil W. Hudson reports that Atlanta Technology Angels ended the year with a total of $13.3 million in funding and formal syndication, up 66 percent over last year. The member-led investment network said the success was a result of ten new deal investments and five follow-on funding rounds, spurring the organization's growth in the Southeastern United States. The group also witnessed the exit of two of its portfolio investment companies—Silverpop, a digital marketing software company, and Verdeeco, a smart grid data analytics provider.
March 5, 2015 Cartersville Daily Tribune
Plans revealed for futuristic theme park in Emerson
Staff reports that a California-based company has plans to build a digital-age theme park near Paga Mine Road in Emerson.
The city of Emerson submitted a Development of Regional Impact form to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs on Monday that included details about a plan by Avatron USA Development LLC to construct the Avatron Smart Park. The park, according to a business plan provided by the city of Emerson, will reportedly be similar to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando.
March 5, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
More recent office-holders couldn't remove monuments they disagree with, House bill says
Walter C. Jones reports that new generations of politicians would be prohibited from removing monuments they disagree with under legislation approved by a House committee Wednesday. Local-government groups complained that it would prevent their officials from representing the wishes of the people who elect them.
March 5, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Changes to teacher retirement system might reduce benefits, teachers say
Lee Shearer reports that a proposed bill that intends to overhaul the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia is drawing fire from teachers but praise from a Georgia conservative think tank. "Overall, this bill represents a significant reduction in benefits for anyone participating in the new plan," according to a post on the Professional Association of Georgia Educators web page.
March 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Horse racing in Georgia? All bets are off
Greg Bluestein reports that a new strategy to legalize horse racing in Georgia is gaining traction. But it still faces long odds to overcome opposition from Gov. Nathan Deal and other Republican leaders. A Senate committee Wednesday narrowly approved a proposal to legalize pari-mutuel wagering after about an hour of debate. Senate Resolution 135, sponsored by state Sen. Brandon Beach, takes a different tack than previous attempts to allow betting on horse racing.
March 4, 2015 Georgia CEO
Georgia-Pacific Receives Incentive to Support Muskogee Mill Improvements
Staff reports that Georgia-Pacific is upgrading its Muskogee bath tissue and towel manufacturing operations, and The Muskogee City-County Port Authority is supporting that effort through the Strategic Investment Program. The Port Authority approved a SIP incentive application connected to the mill’s planned investments across its operations.
March 4, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Valdosta/Lowndes County: Keeping the home fires burning
David Shivers reports that when Myrna Ballard and her husband first came to Valdosta, they expected they would probably stay four or five years, then move on. That was in 1985. This year Ballard begins her 20th year as president of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. “We just fell in love with the place,” Ballard says while showing a visitor around the city’s bustling downtown, a mixture of renovated historic buildings, modern government structures, residential lofts, retail and restaurants fronting tree-shaded streets.
March 4, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Delta adding seats to planes to boost margins
Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines continues to replace many of its smaller planes with larger ones and add seats to aircraft, which it says boosts its profit margins. Delta has been retiring 50-seat regional jets and replacing them with larger, more efficient planes. It has also added more seats on planes by using slimline seats and re-engineered galleys that had been used for food service.
March 4, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Home Depot gets $200 million from Cobb County
Carla Caldwell reports that the Home Depot Inc. on Tuesday landed $200 million in bond money - plus tax breaks for the next 10 years - after a 6-0 vote by The Cobb County Development Authority. Michael LaFerle, vice president of real estate and construction for The Home Depot, said the home improvement giant wants to stay in Cobb County, but that the tax breaks were key to staying put, the Marietta Daily Journal reports.
March 4, 2015 Georgia CEO
Worldpay Makes $1 Million Gift and Mentorship Pledge to Accelerate FinTech Innovation in Georgia
Staff reports that Worldpay will expand its commitment to accelerating payments technology innovation with a $1 million gift and mentorship commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center, company and university officials announced today. Worldpay will fully fund a new Financial Technology accelerator at the ATDC for the next three years, which will include hiring a FinTech expert to serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor start-ups. Worldpay executives are also mentoring entrepreneurs at the center, providing both payments expertise and Worldpay’s global resources to support companies within the new program.
March 4, 2015 Brunswick News
Pipeline an environmental threat to some, a reasonable idea to others
Michael Hall reports that Altamaha Riverkeeper Jen Hilburn has already marked the March 12 public hearing on the public benefit and necessity of a proposed pipeline to carry refined petroleum products from South Carolina to Jacksonville on her calendar. Hilburn will be there to state her organization’s opposition to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners’ Palmetto Pipeline Project that she said is a threat to the sensitive coastal environment and the property rights of area residents.
March 4, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Feds want Gwinnett to repay Georgia some funds from assistance grant
Curt Yeomans reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants Gwinnett County to repay Georgia nearly $1 million to account for recovery funds the state overpaid after major floods struck the county in September 2009. An audit released by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General Monday shows the Georgia Emergency Management Agency overpaid Gwinnett by $871,129 for 50 projects undertaken after the flood.
March 4, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
California company plans Avatron Smart Park in Bartow
Staff reports that Avatron USA Development LLC wants to build a technology-focused theme park on about 713 acres in Bartow County, Ga. Avatron USA is led by Dave Garrett, the former CEO of Atlanta-based Airis Corp., which invested heavily in U.S. airports, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Newark, N.J. Avatron USA executives are primarily from the West Coast, Garrett said.
March 4, 2015 WABE
Georgia House OKs Bill To Add Transparency At Parole Board
Jonathan Shapiro reports that state parole board has always decided cases largely in secret, but that would change under a bill approved Tuesday by the Georgia House. Before the vote, Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, urged House members to support his bill. “Send a message that the days of operating behind closed doors and behind a veil of secrecy is over in Georgia," said Tanner.
March 4, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Georgia House passes bill to regulate car hailing firms such as Uber
Staff reports that the first of a slew of bills that would regulate popular car hailing services such as Uber has passed the Georgia House, and several more are under discussion. Officials of the high-tech car service, which requires apps to be used both by drivers and passengers, say they aren’t happy with the measure.
March 4, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Supporters of ‘religious liberty’ bills claim persecution
Jim Galloway reports that scores of supporters came to the state Capitol this afternoon for an hour-long rally in support of S.B. 129 and H.B. 218, the two religious liberty bills before the Legislature. Kevin Cochran, the sacked Atlanta fire chief, and state Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, author of H.B. 218, were in attendance. State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, sponsor of S.B. 129, was out with the flu.
March 3, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
WorldPay to announce innovation center at Midtown Atlanta's ATDC
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that WorldPay US CEO Tony Catalfano is expected to make an "economic development announcement" Tuesday morning with Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other state leaders. That announcement will be about WorldPay's plans to open an innovation center at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) in Midtown Atlanta, according to a source. Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the innovation center plans on Feb. 10.
March 3, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Dutch automaker to expand again, create 300 more jobs
Phil Bolton reports that Dutch maker of car sunroof systems is set to expand once again in Cherokee County, adding 300 additional jobs over the next four years to become one of the county's largest employers just a year after opening its $17.1 million plant. The announcement by Inalfa Roof Systems comes on top of a 100-job expansion announced last year just a month after the initial 165,000-square-foot facility had been in operation, promising 300 jobs at the outset.The company is now on its way to creating a full-fledged manufacturing campus in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park, where it is the anchor tenant.
March 3, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fayette movie complex adding big mixed-use project
Russell Grantham reports that Pinewood Atlanta Studios plans to add nearly 2 million square feet of new movie studios and 1,345 residential units, the large movie production studio in Fayette County said Friday in a filing to the state.
March 3, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Braves complex to cost $1.1 billion
Mark Meltzer reports that Atlanta Braves will spend $452 million to develop their new mixed-use project adjacent to SunTrust Park, team owner Liberty Media said, putting the total cost of the ballpark and mixed-use project at $1.124 billion. "The expected cost for mixed-use development will be $452 million of which affiliated entities will be responsible for approximately $363 million of development cost," Liberty said in a regulatory filing.
March 3, 2015 Macon Telegraph
State Bank launches insurance division
Staff reports that State Bank & Trust Co. has launched an insurance division, the company announced Monday. The new personal and commercial insurance offerings were made possible following State Bank’s acquisition of “substantially all of the assets” of Boyett Agency LLC, a privately owned independent insurance agency based in Dalton, according to a news release. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
March 3, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Carmike Cinemas posts $2.2 million quarterly loss; concession revenue continues to climb
Tony Adams reports that Carmike Cinemas pointed with pride Monday at the money it earned by charging more for soft drinks, popcorn and candy during the fourth quarter of 2014. But the increase in concession and admissions revenue wasn’t able to offset rising expenses, with the movie-theater chain continuing to grow its 41-state footprint with new locations and upgrades of existing complexes.
March 3, 2015 Saporta Report
Freedman's Bank finds life 150 years later in Operation Hope
Maria Saporta reports that listening to John Hope Bryant, one word comes to mind – destiny. The myriad of coincidences and serendipitous encounters in Bryant’s life have led to this moment – the 150th anniversary of Freedman’s Bank. For many, Freedman’s Bank is a footnote in history. But for Bryant, Freedman’s Bank is the biggest unfinished business left over from the presidential administration of Abraham Lincoln, who he calls the greatest president in America’s history.
March 3, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Herty Center selected to national research institute
Mary Carr Mayle reports that Savannah’s Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, an applied research center of Georgia Southern University, has been named by the U.S. Department of Energy to be a founding member of the newly created Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. The institute will work to develop better composite materials and technologies for rapid deployment within the automotive, wind turbine and compressed gas storage industries.
March 3, 2015 UGA
Link identified between virus recognition, destruction in bacterial immune system
Alan Flurry reports that an immune system that helps bacteria combat viruses is yielding unlikely results such as the ability to edit genome sequences and potentially correct mutations that cause human disease. University of Georgia researchers Michael and Rebecca Terns were among the first to begin to study the bacterial immune system. They now have identified a key link in how bacteria respond and adapt to foreign invaders.
March 3, 2015 WABE
Committee Once Again Approves Transportation Bill
Jonathan Shapiro reports that Georgia’s House Transportation Committee Monday voted once again for a billion dollar plan to fix the state’s road and bridges. The bill, which has been revised several times, was sent back to the committee after opponents said it would hurt local governments. Supporters of the plan had hoped for a full House vote last week, but protests from fiscal conservatives within the Republican caucus, as well as city and county leaders, forced more concessions.
March 3, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
A sudden, state Capitol fight over plastic bags
Greg Bluestein reports that the ubiquitous plastic bag used by retailers across the country may be the surprise issue of the 2015 session of the Legislature. Our AJC colleague Kristina Torres noted the first shot fired last week: The Georgia Senate on Thursday voted to prohibit cities and towns from banning plastic bags, saying it would be too expensive and “confusing” for local retailers to worry about. Savannah appears to be ground zero in the battle. The Morning News has taken exception to the whims of “Atlanta bullies.”
March 2, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Data breach affects 3.7M Georgia Blue Cross members
Christopher Seward reports that more than 3.7 million members of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia may have had personal information exposed in a recent data breach, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens disclosed Friday. The breach occurred at Anthem Inc., the parent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, sometime after Dec. 10 and before Jan. 27. Anthem said hackers evaded several security layers to reach a database containing information on about 80 million people, including current and former policyholders in Georgia.
March 2, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Moving the world
Randy Southerland reports that most people never give a thought to how all those products – from hairdryers to lawn mowers – get to their local Walmart or Home Depot. Yet to travel from factories that may be thousands of miles and dozens of countries away to a hometown store requires a vast and complicated network of warehouses, ships, trucks and trains.
March 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
SunTrust buys DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus
Staff reports that DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has sold its campus in Glendale to an investment arm of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI). The studio behind the movies "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon"said in a regulatory filing that SunTrust Equity Funding LLC had signed an agreement to buy the DreamWorks' headquarters facility for $185 million.
March 2, 2015 Brunswick News
Company planning to build gas pipeline through coastal Georgia
Michael Hall reports that a 360-mile pipeline carrying gasoline, diesel and ethanol could stretch across the length of Coastal Georgia by 2017, connecting an existing pipeline running through South Carolina to Jacksonville. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, the third largest energy company in North America, has been sending notices to property owners along the proposed path for its Palmetto Pipeline Project telling them to familiarize themselves with Georgia’s laws on eminent domain.
March 2, 2015 UGA
UGA receives $1.7 million USDA grant to improve nutrition in Georgia
Cal Powell reports that a team of University of Georgia researchers, led by a faculty member in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve the nutritional habits of low-income Georgians. The researchers' goal is to help Georgians eligible for SNAP benefits—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—establish healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle through evidence-based, behaviorally focused and culturally appropriate nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions.
March 2, 2015 Cherokee Tribune
Inalfa expansion to bring 300 jobs to county
Jessicah Peters reports that one company in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park brought in several new jobs last year, and now promises to generate 300 more jobs in Cherokee County by 2019. Inalfa Roof Systems Inc. is expanding its industry base and the first phase is set to start in 2016, with the promise of adding at least 50 jobs ranging from management to workers.
March 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Power submits Plant Vogtle delays to PSC
Dave Williams reports that Georgia Power Co. asked state energy regulators Friday to approve delays in completion of the planned nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle the Atlanta-based utility announced last month. In its latest semi-annual construction update on the $14.5 billion project, Georgia Power officials reported to the state Public Service Commission (PSC) spending $169 million during the last half of 2014 building two additional nuclear reactors at the plant south of Augusta.
March 2, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Selma Hero Honored in Atlanta
Staff reports that on the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma, and in the middle of Black History Month, a local hero has been honored whose activism helped change the nation. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta honored Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian with its 2015 Crystal Customer Award for his decades of work championing equality. Dr. Vivian, a hero of the Civil Rights era, participated in the march on Selma, Ala., with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in 1965, which led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a breakthrough in Civil Rights, months later.
March 2, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
GOP proposal would reduce income tax rate, but raise sales tax rate
Walter C. Jones reports that Republican legislative leaders feel they have a surefire way to stimulate job creation: tax reform. They’ve introduced a bill that will lower the rate on income taxes for individuals and businesses that their economists estimate will result in 14,000 or so jobs. To keep paying for government services, they are raising the sales tax and expanding it to groceries and digital downloads like songs, video games and movies while also closing some business tax breaks and hiking the cigarette tax.
March 2, 2015 WABE
Bond Referendum’s Fate Likely To Hang In A Few Voters’ Hands
Michell Eloy reports that Atlantans don’t have to look very hard for signs of the city’s infrastructure problems, like big potholes, crumbling sidewalks or bridges in disrepair. That’s because the city is nearly a billion dollars short on funding these kinds of projects, according to the mayor’s office.
March 2, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
How to save health care in rural Georgia — without Obamacare
Jim Galloway reports that unless the U.S. Supreme Court decides to upend the entire apple cart this summer, America will soon find itself divided into two separate health care systems. One will be a place where the Affordable Care Act is embraced with all its cost and complexity. The other America wants no truck with Obamacare, and so must find another way to provide health care for those who can’t afford it.
Feb. 27, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia exports total $39.4 billion in 2014
Staff reports that Federal officials say Georgia exported a record amount of goods last year, which factored into the U.S. exporting roughly $2.35 trillion in merchandise total. U.S. Department of Commerce officials said in a statement Thursday that Georgia exports totaled about $39.4 billion in 2014. The announcement came as the Obama administration released data promoting the role of exports in the economic recovery.
Feb. 27, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Artificial turf manufacturer to hire 90 workers in Calhoun
Staff reports that the Georgia Department of Labor will help artificial-turf manufacturer Field Turf hire about 90 workers for its facility in Gordon County, according to a press release. The company manufactures synthetic turf for athletic fields, such as football, baseball and soccer fields. The recruitment is set for Friday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Gordon County Agricultural Service Center, 1282 Ga. Highway 53 Spur SW in Calhoun.
Feb. 27, 2015 Georgia CEO
Georgia Chamber CEO Chris Clark on Transportation Funding: We Can’t Afford to Wait
Chris Clark writes, there are few things more important to any community than transportation, and the same goes for any business. No matter what size or location our communities need safe, efficient connectivity for both residents and businesses. This is why improving Georgia’s transportation infrastructure has long been a focus of the Georgia Chamber and why it is our highest priority for the 2015 legislative session. The problem is simple. While Georgia has continued to grow, our investments in transportation have not kept pace.
Feb. 27, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Coca-Cola details plans to mark 100th birthday of its famous bottle
Staff reports that The Coca-Cola Co. has big plans to celebrate the 100th birthday of its iconic bottle. "In 1915, Coca-Cola attempted to fend off a host of copycat brands by strengthening its trademark," the Atlanta beverage giant said. "The company and its bottling partners issued a creative challenge to a handful of U.S. glass companies: To develop a 'bottle so distinct that you would recognize if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.' The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Ind., developed the winning design, mimicking the elongated contour shape and distinct ribs of a cocoa bean. The bottle was patented on Nov. 16, 1915 and has since inspired a century's worth of signature moments in film, social history, design and fine arts."
Feb. 27, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Clarke County's Lanoue named the nation's top superintendent
Lee Shearer reports that Clarke County School Superintendent Philip Lanoue’s string of accolades continued Thursday as he was named National Superintendent of the Year. Lanoue learned Thursday he’d won the honor over three other high-flying superintendents who had also been named finalists from around the country.
Feb. 27, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Lawyers debate when life begins in $2 million wrongful death case
Amy Leigh Womack reports that a lawyer defending a couple in a $2 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by an alleged pregnant woman argued Thursday that there’s no evidence the woman was pregnant at the time of a traffic crash that she alleges caused the death of her 3-week-old fetus. Lawyers also argued in a pre-trial hearing Thursday about whether state law has changed regarding how old an unborn child must be to qualify in a wrongful death claim.
Feb. 27, 2015 Newnan Times-Herald
New Developments Put Spotlight On Local Film Industry
Clay Neely reports that the 13th annual South Metro Development Outlook (SMDO) drew its largest audience ever as hundreds filled the Georgia International Convention Center to discover what is making the southside such an attractive place for new and continued economic growth. The SMDO serves as a platform to showcase the individuals who are playing major roles in fostering growth in Atlanta’s southern crescent region – Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Henry, South Fulton and Spalding counties.
Feb. 27, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Senate approves bill prohibiting local governments from banning plastic bags
Walter C. Jones reports that the Senate voted Thursday to prohibit cities like Athens and Tybee Island from imposing their own local bans on plastic grocery bags. Five Republicans joined Democrats in opposition, but the vote of 32-19 sent Senate Bill 139 to the House for consideration where a similar bill was introduced by the chairman of the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee.
Feb. 27, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia Senate bill would let employees pay workers through debit cards unless they opt out
Walter C. Jones reports that workers could be required to get their pay from debit cards unless they opt out under legislation approved by the Senate Wednesday. Critics note that federal law that caps fees on credit cards doesn't apply to debit cards. State and federal law already allow payment to debit cards, but the state legislation is designed to make it automatic if that's what the employer prefers.
Feb. 27, 2015 Gainesville Times
Georgia House passes $44.6B budget for Senate review
Joshua Silavent reports that a $44.6 billion 2016 fiscal year state budget approved Thursday by the Georgia House would close previous cuts to public education spending, slash funding for low-interest student loans and ask local school districts to make $103 million more in employer contributions to keep state insurance coverage for some part-time school employees.
Feb. 27, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
A high-toned effort to debunk the debunkers of a ‘religious liberty’ bill
Greg Bluestein, Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy report that we’ve already heard the opening arguments. Now the fight over “religious liberty” bills has veered into the expert-witness stage. Former attorney general Mike Bowers, who declared the proposals an unconstitutional and unnecessary mess, served as the star counsel for the opponents earlier this week.
Feb. 26, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Job growth pushes Atlanta’s housing closer to full recovery
Phil W. Hudson reports that Atlanta region is showing strong job growth and strong levels of single-family home permits, according to a new report from Metrostudy Corp. The residential real estate research firm's fourth quarter Atlanta Housing Report found net jobs in Atlanta through December 2014 increased by 67,400 positions, up 2.6 percent year-over-year. Atlanta ended the year as the No. 8 most populous MSA in the country, No. 7 for job growth and No. 3 for single family building permits. Foreclosure activity has hit a twelve year low and resale inventory remains low.
Feb. 26, 2015 Georgia Trend -Exclusive!
High tech jobs moving into Augusta
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that when the U.S. Army announced that its Cyber Command headquarters would relocate from the Washington, D.C., area to Fort Gordon in Augusta, it was assumed that related companies and businesses that wanted to provide services to the Army would follow. Though Cyber Command's relocation will not be complete until 2019, defense contractors and IT firms are already beginning to move into the area.
Feb. 26, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Clarke's Lanoue learns today if he's National Superintendent of the Year
Lee Shearer reports that Clarke County School Superintendent Philip Lanoue will learn today if he’s been tapped as National Superintendent of the Year. Lanoue was named Georgia Superintendent of the Year in December by the two groups that sponsor the award — the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association. Later in December he learned that he was one of four finalists for the national title.
Feb. 26, 2015 WABE
Stephanie Blank: Taking A Closer Look At Child Welfare
Lauren Waits reports that Stephanie Blank was appointed last year to chair Governor Nathan Deal's Child Welfare Reform Council. Modeled on the Criminal Justice Reform Council, the group is conducting a comprehensive overview of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), and they released their first report this past January. Blank joined Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on "A Closer Look" to discuss progress made by the Council, early recommendations, and to talk about the importance of keeping all of Georgia's children healthy and safe.
Feb. 26, 2015 Albany Herald
Southwest Georgia Regional Airport losing two flights a week
Brad McEwan reports that traffic will be slower at Albany’s Southwest Georgia Regional Airport this summer following Delta Airlines’ announcement this week that it will be cutting two weekday flights from the airport. The news comes as a disappointment to airport and city officials who had hoped to see increased air traffic with the completion of the airport’s new terminal 18 months ago.
Feb. 26, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Fort Valley’s Blue Bird bus company now a publicly traded company
Linda S. Morris reports that it's now official. Everyone can own a piece of Fort Valley’s Blue Bird bus company as of Wednesday. Blue Bird Corp. officially became a publicly traded company, according to a release. Its stock is trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol BLBD.
Feb. 26, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia House passes medical marijuana bill
Dave Williams reports that Georgia House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to decriminalize the possession of a form of medical marijuana.
Under legislation House lawmakers passed 158-2 and sent on to the state Senate, Georgians who bring the marijuana derivative cannabidiol obtained outside of Georgia into the state for treatment of certain illnesses would not be subject to prosecution.
Feb. 26, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia House approves bill to restore ability to sue the government
Walter C. Jones reports that the House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to restore the ability to sue the government for incorrectly administering laws, a tool used by activists and businesses. One day after the anniversary of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to end the lawsuits, the House voted 154-9 in favor of House Bill 59, sending it to the Senate for consideration. The measure by House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, provides a waiver of sovereign immunity.
Feb. 26, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Black lawmakers wonder who will share in $1 billion-a-year road package
Jim Galloway reports that when – or at this point, if – our Legislature passes a bill that would put an extra $1 billion or so each year into the maintenance of Georgia roads and bridges, certain paving companies would profit accordingly. If the current pattern holds, 96 percent of those firms will be white-owned. Less than 3 percent of taxpayer dollars spent will make it into the hands of companies owned by African-Americans.
Feb. 25, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Ireland mourns death of former Coca-Cola President
Trevor Williams reports that Irish leaders are mourning the loss of Donald Keough, the former Coca-Cola Co. president and chief operating officer who helped make the Atlanta-based beverage giant into a more global brand but never forgot his roots, even those that stretched back into the 19th century. Mr. Keough died Tuesday with his wife, Marilyn “Mickie” Keough, and his family by his side in Atlanta. He was 88.
Feb. 25, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Metro Atlanta home prices rise again
J. Scott Trubey reports that home prices increased at an accelerated rate in metro Atlanta in December, according to a closely watched index, but signs were mixed nationwide. December prices in metro Atlanta were up 5.1 percent over December 2013, the second-strongest price appreciation on the East Coast behind Miami, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Compared to the prior month, home prices were up 0.2 percent in metro Atlanta.
Feb. 25, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
For Atlanta homebuyers, ITP vs. OTP boundary wars have ended
Charlotte Sears reports that Atlanta was once a city divided. Those who lived inside the Perimeter – or ITP – believed their location was the best. Intown neighborhoods offered a unique live/work/play lifestyle with shops, restaurants and cultural activities all within a short drive or even walking distance. Residents were young, they were hip, and they would never, ever trade the amenities and atmosphere of city life for a house in the 'burbs.
Feb. 25, 2015 Georgia CEO
Georgia Banks Post Highest Yearly Income Since 2007
Staff reports that Georgia’s 210 state-based FDIC insured banks earned $2.57 billion during 2014, the highest amount since 2007 and the fourth consecutive positive year for earnings since the worst of the economic downturn. Total loans of $203.3 billion were at their highest level since 2008, total deposits of $226.1 billion hit a record level and total assets reached their highest level since 2008. “Improved family finances and better business conditions go hand-in-hand with better bank performance, and Georgia’s economy was markedly better in 2014 than just a few years ago,” said Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association. “We’re encouraged by the steady growth in loans, deposits and total assets at our state’s banks.”
Feb. 25, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Reckitt Benckiser LLC to occupy new 715,000-square foot building in Jackson County
Douglas Sams and Phil W. Hudson reports that onsumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser LLC will occupy a new build-to-suit distribution and warehouse building in Jackson County, Ga. Reckitt Benckiser reached an agreement for a 715,000-square-foot lease in the new building northeast of Atlanta along Interstate 85. Prologis Inc. is the developer.
Feb. 25, 2015 WABE
Package For Pickup? Waffle House Has You Covered (And Smothered)
Michell Eloy reports, what do a side of fried eggs and a package delivery have in common? Starting today, you can pick up both at your nearest Waffle House. The 24-hour breakfast chain announced Tuesday a partnership with the recently launched mobile app Roadie, an Atlanta-based startup that describes itself as a “neighbor to neighbor shipping company.”
Feb. 25, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Key Senate committee approves bill establishing 25-foot buffer along Georgia marshes
Walter C. Jones reports that legislation to require a 25-foot buffer around saltwater marshes won unanimous approval Tuesday in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, the product of lengthy discussions between business and environmental groups. The bill was prompted by Chatham County’s refusal to pay the expenses to mitigate a disturbance of the buffer to install a 4-inch sewer pipe to the Turtle Creek Boat Ramp. When the Environmental Protection Division ordered the mitigation, County Attorney Jonathan Hart questioned the legal basis, and Attorney General Sam Olens agreed last year that there was none.
Feb. 25, 2015 WABE
$1B Transportation Bill Faces Setback In House
Jonathan Shapiro reports that Republican infighting over a major transportation plan is spilling out into the open. The plan, which seeks to raise $1 billion, was sent back to the House Transportation Committee Tuesday, representing a setback for Republicans leaders. Many rank and file Republicans argue the bill, which already has gone through several revisions, amounts to a major tax hike.
Feb 25, 2015 GPB
Several Ga. House Republicans React To Bowers Analysis Of Religious Freedom Bills
Rosemary Jean-Louis and Ellen Reinhardt report that eight house republicans say former Attorney General Mike Bowers’ analysis of proposed religious freedom bills is “not a credible legal document.” Bowers called the proposed legislation ‘mean-spirited’ and said it could be used to discriminate in his review. In response, Republican lawmakers say Bowers is regurgitating ‘scare tactics’ recited by opponents.
Feb. 24, 2015 WABE
Southern Company Funds Scientist Who Questions Climate Change
Molly Samuel reports that Southern Company has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a scientist who questions whether human activity causes climate change. He’s been cited by conservative politicians, but hasn’t always disclosed his financial backing. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, has published theories that are considered a minority position in the scientific community. Atlanta-based Southern Company is one of his biggest donors.
Feb. 24, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Forging Alliances to Grow Our Economy
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) has been at the eye of the development storm in Georgia for 25 years. In its unique position as facilitator and sponsor of cutting-edge high-tech and bio-tech research, the GRA brings together academia, business and government to create high-paying, high-value jobs in the state.
Feb. 24, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
AFL-CIO pushes ‘Raising Wages’ campaign in Atlanta
J. Scott Trubey reports that AFL-CIO opened its annual three-day winter conference Monday in Atlanta, which will focus on raising wages, income and racial inequality and boosting union membership nationally, but particularly in the South, where right-to-work laws and other policies have limited efforts to organize labor.
Feb. 24, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Delta Air Lines amps up battle vs Alaska Airlines, in Hawaii and Alaska
Steve Wilhelm reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is upping its game against Alaska Airlines by adding new flights in two of Alaska Air's key markets: one warm, one cold. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, which has been muscling into Alaska territory, on Monday announced new flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport into Hawaii and Alaska.
Feb. 24, 2015 Columbus State University
University Forges Rare Partnership to Ignite Interest in STEM
Staff reports that Columbus State University and the Muscogee County School District are serious about getting students interested in STEM and proving it in a big way — with a district-wide contract that will give every elementary student in every school a chance to interact annually with the university’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.
Feb. 24, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Georgia Tech strengthens ties to Liberia as Ebola crisis winds down
Phil Bolton reports that Liberia’s honorary consul general based in Atlanta, Cynthia Blandford, and Michael L. Best, who teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the College of Computing, are to visit Washington this week to meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Ms. Blandford told Global Atlanta that they will be attending a reception at the residence of Liberia’s ambassador to the U.S, Jeremiah Sulunteh, where Ms. Sirleaf is expected to give a briefing about the current extent of the Ebola crisis in Liberia.
Feb. 24, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Solvay invests in Augusta facility, will build new unit
Jenna Martin reports that Solvay Specialty Polymers has chosen Augusta over a sister facility in India to build a new high-performance polymer unit. The Belgium-based company picked the south Augusta plastics plant over its sister facility in India, which already makes the polymer used in aeronautics, healthcare and electronic devices said Alan DeGreef, Solvay's plant manager in Augusta.
Feb. 24, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Rocket IT named one of nation’s top small businesses by U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Curt Yeomans reports that Rocket IT employees are feeling anything but blue over a belated 20th birthday present from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Gwinnett County technology company began in January 1995 as a one-man outfit operating out of Matt Hyatt’s home and has grown steadily over the years. In 2003, it moved out of Hyatt’s home and into an executive suites building in Lawrenceville. It continued to grow and, in 2008, it moved to Duluth.
Feb. 24, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal releases Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee report
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today released the final report of recommendations from his Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, which was created last April to identify and provide solutions for the needs of Georgia’s rural hospital community.
Feb. 24, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Georgia medical cannabis takes baby step in process
Maggie Lee reports that by a unanimous voice vote, a medical marijuana bill makes its first legislative step, a much smaller one than its Macon sponsor first expected. The House Judiciary Committee approved legalizing Georgia possession of up to 20 fluid ounces -- the size of a plastic bottle from a soda machine -- of a certain type of liquid medical marijuana bought in another state. But that possession comes with a lot more conditions than envisioned by bill sponsor state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, just a few months ago.
Feb. 24, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia legislative committee asks Congress to fund training for more new physicians
Walter C. Jones reports that state legislative committee voted unanimously Monday to urge Congress to fund more training slots for new physicians. The federal government funds the bulk of the $140,000 or so for the post-graduate residency training that new doctors undergo. But in 1997, it capped the number of slots at existing hospitals to save money and prevent a physician glut.
Feb. 24, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
A public retreat by a sponsor of Georgia’s push for more transportation cash
Greg Bluestein reports that even as House Republican leaders scour their caucus for votes for H.B. 170, at least one of their number has drifted into the “no” column. As our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin reported last week, the revised transportation bill didn’t land on Friday’s House calendar. That may have given opponents more time to regroup. Today we got word from state Rep. David Stover, R-Palmetto, that he’s taking his name off the list of sponsors because it amounts to a “$500 million tax increase.”
Feb. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
$80M ‘City Center’ could transform Alpharetta
Douglas Sams reports that Atlanta development team wants to launch the next phase of the Alpharetta City Center project, an attempt to create a more walkable downtown filled with restaurants, boutiques, apartments and single-family homes. The $80 million development could break ground as early as this fall, depending on the speed of the zoning process. The first restaurants could open in 2016, with the remainder of the project targeted for completion the following year.
Feb. 23, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Sustainable Georgia: Fixing a leaky faucet
Ben Young writes, water and the environment are perennial hot topics in Georgia’s General Assembly, and 2015 is shaping up to be no different. Georgia’s water issues show no signs of abating, and while some legislators and environmental groups are trying to find long-term solutions, there’s still a disconnect between interested parties. I applaud the accomplishments from last year’s legislative session, which included a preamble for creating a Legacy Fund in Georgia to guide land conservation and reupping the Flint River Drought Protection Act to give farmers more flexibility as well as help the state craft a water plan that may include underground water.
Feb. 23, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Metro Atlanta renters paying more for apartments
Christopher Seward reports that enters in metro Atlanta paid an average $77 more in January than a year earlier, feeling the sting of higher prices regardless of whether they stayed put or ventured into buying a home. The $962 average rent reflected an annual effective rent growth rate of 8 percent, compared with 7.4 percent in December, according to the apartment market research firm Axiometrics. The effective rent takes into consideration promotions such as one month free rent or other concessions that cost the landlord money.
Feb. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
$100M hotel, conference center planned for Avalon
Amy Wenk reports that a more-than-$100 million hotel and conference center could anchor the second phase of Alpharetta's Avalon development, providing a needed amenity for the more than 600 tech companies clustered in the affluent city. Atlanta-based Stormont Hospitality Group LLC has teamed up with Avalon developer North American Properties to propose the Alpharetta Conference Center and Hotel Avalon.
Feb. 23, 2015 Georgia State University
Georgia State Scientists Get $2.7 Million CDC Grant To Improve Blood Transfusion Outcomes
Staff reports that Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at Georgia State University has received a five-year, $2,669,903 award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will allow the GHPC and partnering organizations to look at transfusion-related complications in patients with hemoglobin disorders (sickle cell disease and thalassemia) and improve their outcomes.
Feb. 23, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Château Élan Winery awarded Double Gold
Staff reports that Château Élan Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was awarded Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in January. The Braselton winery has received more than 72 awards since executive winemaker Simone Bergese joined in 2012, including multiple best‐of‐class, double gold and gold medals.
Feb. 23, 2015 Georgia CEO
Southern Power Buys Two Georgia Solar Projects
Staff reports that Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power today announced the acquisition of two photovoltaic (PV) solar projects totaling 99 megawatts (MW) in Georgia – the 80-MW Decatur Parkway Solar Project and the 19-MW Decatur County Solar Project – from Tradewind Energy, Inc. The projects were proposed by Tradewind Energy, Inc. and selected by Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power in a competitive process through the nationally recognized Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative.
Feb. 23, 2015 Saporta Report
Local opposition to state transportation bill illustrated by Fayette County proposal
David Pendered reports that Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown has introduced a resolution that essentially opposes House Bill 170, the current transportation funding measure. The next scheduled commission meeting is Thursday at 7 p.m. Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown has introduced a resolution that essentially opposes House Bill 170, the current transportation funding measure. The next scheduled commission meeting is Thursday at 7 p.m.
Feb. 23, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
House bill would give Georgia boat owners option to get titles
Walter C. Jones reports that boat owners could have an easier time getting financing, selling and straightening out their taxes, according to the sponsor of legislation to allow them the option of a title like those for cars and homes. Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, is the sponsor of House Bill 356 and an avid boater. When asked Friday about the reason for the measure, he pulled a copy of his county tax bill from his wallet to show that he's still being charged for boats he's disposed of years ago. All are lumped together with the vessels he still owns, with nothing itemized, leaving a total that's hard to unscramble.
Feb. 23, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
A one-time foe takes on ‘religious liberty’ bills for gay-rights group
Jim Galloway reports that a prominent Republican whose name will be forever associated with an unhappy milestone in the gay rights movement is about to jump into Georgia’s “religious liberty” fray – but on the side of those who say two bills now under consideration are intended to permit discrimination against gay couples. Michael Bowers served 16 years as Georgia’s attorney general, resigning to make an unsuccessful run for governor in 1998. He remains a prominent GOP fixer. Bowers was tapped by Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the investigation into test-cheating by teachers and administrators in the Atlanta public school system. Until 2010, he headed up the nominating commission that helps fill judicial vacancies in courtrooms across the state.
Feb. 20, 2015 WABE
Georgia Asks US Supreme Court To Dismiss Water Wars Case
Molly Samuels reports that Georgia is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss the water wars case against it. The case is the latest in the decades-long battle between Florida and Georgia. (Alabama, too, but that state isn’t involved in this fight.) Florida is suing Georgia, claiming not enough water flows from Georgia’s Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers down to the Apalachicola Bay.
Feb. 20, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Economy: "A" grades all around
Jeffery Humphries reports that it's a new year, and things are looking up for Georgia’s A-Team: Atlanta, Albany, Athens and Augusta. A revival of population growth and the housing recovery will strongly underpin Atlanta’s ongoing economic recovery.
Feb. 20, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pike Nurseries looking to hire 300 for spring, summer
Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Pike Nurseries wants to hire 300 seasonal workers in the coming weeks, joining a growing number of local companies staffing up for the spring and summer months. Pikes will hold career fairs on Feb. 25 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at its 14 metro Atlanta locations and at its Lake Oconee location.
Feb. 20, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia energy regulators approve latest spending on Plant Vogtle
Dave Williams reports that the Georgia Public Service Commission signed off Thursday on the latest spending by Georgia Power Co. on the planned nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle. Following the recommendations of two independent construction monitors keeping an eye on the $14.5 billion project, commissioners voted 5-0 to approve $198 million the Atlanta-based utility reported spending during the first six months of last year.
Feb. 20, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Presidential historian to speak at Berry College
Staff reports that presidential historian and Pulitzer prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin is scheduled to speak March 19 at Berry College as part of the Gloria Shatto Lecture Series. Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” was adapted into the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” The film grossed $275 million at the box office and earned 12 Academy Award nominations.
Feb. 20, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal: WebstaurantStore to create 150 jobs in Dougherty County
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that WebstaurantStore, an e-commerce brand that sells restaurant equipment and supplies, will create 150 jobs and invest $10 million into a distribution and fulfillment center in Albany over the next three years. “E-commerce companies such as WebstaurantStore choose Georgia because they can trust that here they will find opportunities for innovation and growth,” said Deal.
Feb. 20, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
New Atlanta construction industry index raises concern over labor shortage
Douglas Sams reports that he cranes have returned to the Atlanta skyline, but construction companies are closely watching the effects of a labor shortage, according to a new industry survey. Adequate staffing remains the No. 1 uncertainty facing the local construction industry, according to a newly released sentiment index by Atlanta-based Sterling Risk Advisors, a risk management and insurance firm.
Feb 20, 2015 Georgia Time-Union, Morris News Service
Conservative group calls for end to Georgia's death penalty
Walter C. Jones reports that a week before the scheduled execution of a Winder woman charged with arranging her husband's murder, a representative of a national conservative group was at the Capitol Thursday calling for the end of the death penalty. However, Republican leaders discounted any possibility of capital punishment's repeal in Georgia soon. Kelly Gissendaner is slated for lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson for the 1997 murder of her husband Douglas.
Feb. 20, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Second poll paints an even rosier picture for Atlanta bond referendum and Kasim Reed
Jim Galloway reports that this morning, we pointed you to a modest, 400-respondent poll by Democratic strategist Cabral Franklin, which showed Atlanta voters already well-inclined (63 percent) to support a $250 million infrastructure bond referendum. The vote is March 17, but the campaign hasn’t even begun. The same poll placed Mayor Kasim Reed’s favorability rating at a respectable 58 percent.
Feb. 19, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Around the world with only one stop
Mary Carr Mayle reports that a Gulfstream G650ER — the ultra-long-range version of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.’s flagship business jet — recently went around the world, flying more than 13,500 nautical miles with only one stop, the company announced Wednesday. The aircraft, which is built in Savannah, set two city-to-city speed records in a flight that took 25 hours, 20 minutes.
Feb. 19, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Political Notes: February 2015
Susan Percy reports that Georgia’s new junior U.S. Senator, Republican David Perdue, hit the ground running as the new Congress convened and the Senate majority leader, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, established a busy schedule and longer work week for senators. Missing from Capitol Hill for the first January in more than 20 years was former Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who retired at the end of the last session.
Feb. 19, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Hartsfield-Jackson advances airline lease talks
Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is launching an intensive round of airline lease talks, with plans to wrap up negotiations in November. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Hartsfield-Jackson started informal talks months ago, and Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell said there is already “high-level agreement” on some issues. The negotiations focus on rates and charges, he said.
Feb. 19, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Veteran telecom exec to become Fulton County manager
Dave Williams reports that longtime Atlanta business executive is the Fulton County Commission's choice to become county manager. Commissioners designated Richard "Dick" Anderson this week as the single finalist for the county's top administrative position.
Feb. 19, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Conservationists rally against pumping treated surface water into Floridan aquifer, for coastal marsh buffers
Walter C. Jones reports that dozens of nature lovers from across the state converged on the Capitol Wednesday to urge legislators to pass two bills designed to protect the environment of the coast. Despite the fact they were from places like Gainesville. Albany and Atlanta, they put their collective support behind the two coastal initiatives that were the top priorities of the organizations hosting Capitol Conservation Day.
Feb. 19, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Walking the Walk in Midtown Atlanta
Ben Young writes, is Atlanta ready for new urbanism? Jeff Speck, author of the book Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At a Time, seems to think so. "I used to give Atlanta a hard time, but the fact is that you've come a long way in the last decade," he says. "People now move here with no intention of having a car."
Feb. 19, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
ARRR … New hotel to come up where pirate museum sank
Amy Wenk reports that a site in downtown Atlanta that once was envisioned as a pirate-themed museum now is planned to become a hotel. Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Vision Hospitality Group on Feb. 17 submitted plans in Atlanta for a 9-story hotel next to the Georgia Aquarium.
Feb. 19, 2015 Piedmont College
PERC teacher conference to examine creative instruction
Staff reports that educators and education students in northeast Georgia are invited to attend a one-day conference Saturday, March 14, at Piedmont College in Demorest that will focus on timely issues and trends in education. The Piedmont Educator Renewal Conference (PERC) is titled “Creative Instruction in the Age of Accountability,” and will allow educators to share information on innovative and effective practices and recent research in education, said Dr. Don Gnecco, Dean of the Piedmont College School of Education.
Feb. 19, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Gov. Deal announces initiative to teach children about manufacturing
Joshua Sharpe reports thatGov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday that Georgia is implementing the National Educational Initiative, a program which is promoted locally in large part by a prominent Gwinnett couple and aims to educate students on the importance of manufacturing. Georgia becomes the first state to adopt the initiative, which will reach more than 500,000 students a year in each of the 932 middle and high schools in the state, starting with the 2015-2016 school year, according to a news release.
Feb. 19, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
What happens when gay marriage comes to Georgia
Jim Galloway reports that when gay marriage comes to Georgia, we probably won’t be Alabama – where Roy Moore, that state’s chief justice, encouraged county court officials to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and withhold marriage licenses from same-sex couples. But don’t think the fight is over. Not here, and not in Washington.
Feb. 18, 2015 Gainesville Times
Left in the dark: Storm's icy grip cripples Northeast Ga.
Staff reports that the cleanup is underway from a North Georgia ice storm that began Monday as a mild threat but by Tuesday morning had turned into a tree-snapping, power-sapping, road-blocking mess. The thick coating of ice on trees and power lines left tens of thousands in the area without power and sent trees and limbs crashing into roadways, homes and yards.
Feb. 18, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Engineered for Success
Anna Bentley reports that when most people play “Rock Band” – the video game that lets friends live out their dreams of worldwide rock ‘n’ roll domination right from their living rooms – they see a string of notes to hit to achieve rock stardom. But when Jennifer Hunter and her fellow researchers at Georgia Tech play, they see a way to help improve the lives of people living with cerebral palsy or the aftermath of a stroke.
Feb. 18, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal: Comcast to create 300 jobs in Fulton, Gwinnett counties
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Comcast will expand its business in greater Atlanta, creating 300 new jobs in Fulton and Gwinnett counties and relocating to a new, more modern regional headquarters in Peachtree Corners as part of the company’s overall effort to enhance the customer experience.
Feb. 18, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bill and Melinda Gates’ trust sheds Coca-Cola, adds UPS to holdings
Christopher Seward reports that the Gates Foundation Asset Trust, which manages the assets of the $42.3 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has sold its holdings of Coca-Cola stock and added UPS to its portfolio, according to a Bloomberg report, citing filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The report said the trust, formed by the Microsoft co-founder and his wife, sold 21.4 million shares of Coke stock valued at $912.2 million in the fourth quarter. The trust purchased 4.5 million shares of UPS valued at $503.1 million.
Feb. 18, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Southwest fights order to share Dallas airport gates with Delta
Carla Caldwell reports that Southwest Airlines does not want to be forced to share its Dallas Love Field gate space with rival Delta Air Lines, Inc. and has asked a federal court to block a U.S. Department of Transportation directive that says it has to. In a filing Friday in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., Southwest called the DOT's order "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with law, in excess of statutory authority, and without observance of procedure required by law," reports The Dallas Morning News.
Feb. 18, 2015 Valdosta Daily Times
Perdue Farms donates 28,000 pounds of chicken to Second Harvest
Staff reports that Perdue Farms has donated more than 28,000 pounds of chicken to Second Harvest of South Georgia. According to Second Harvest, in South Georgia 1 in 4 people, including 1 in 3 children, do not have access to a stable source of food. Georgia ranks 4th in childhood hunger in the United States, and Second Harvest’s 30-county service area has the highest rates of any region in the state. Experts have said complicating the issue is the fact that generally at-risk individuals and family can only afford food that is of little nutritional value.
Feb. 18, 2015 Georgia Health News
Blue Cross offers help after customers hacked
Andy Miller reports that current and former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia members are being offered free identity repair assistance and credit monitoring services in the wake of a massive data breach involving the insurer’s parent company, Anthem. Blue Cross members dating back to 2004 can start accessing these services before receiving a mailed notification from Anthem that will be sent in the coming weeks.
Feb. 18, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Hallmark closing Litho-Krome plant in Columbus, 50 jobs lost
Tony Adams reports that Hallmark will close its Litho-Krome printing plant in Columbus this year, eliminating 50 jobs and ending its more than eight-decade run in the city, the Kansas City, Mo.-based company said Tuesday. The Columbus facility, located in Muscogee Technology Park off Macon Road in the Midland area of the city, printed Hallmark greeting cards and packaging for Crayola products. Hallmark said that work is being shifted to its "existing supply chain" by the third quarter of this year. That would be in the July-September timeframe.
Feb. 18, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Caesarstone adding 130 jobs in Georgia
Staff reports that Engineered quartz surfaces maker Caesarstone will expand in Richmond Hill, Ga., creating 130 jobs.
Caesarstone announced its first U.S.-based manufacturing plant in the Belfast Commerce Centre in November 2013. Due to a steady increase in sales in the United States and Canada, the company is further expanding its U.S. manufacturing operations.
Feb. 18, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tip sheet: Perhaps a big day for transportation, beer brewers
Jim Galloway reports thatHouse and Senate convene at 10 a.m. The House calendar has five bills, including H.B.162, which allows insurance companies to do self-audits and to keep those private. H.B.119 would allow medical professionals to be told if a patient has AIDS — if the patient is legally determined to be mentally ill.
Feb. 17, 2015 Gainesville Times
Thousands still without power from ice storm
Staff reports that an ice storm has knocked down trees in North Georgia, blocking roadways and knocking out power for tens of thousands while making travel conditions hazardous. Gainesville officials report many trees and limbs down and power out in several areas of the city. City crews are responding at first light to remove trees that are not on power lines.
Feb. 17, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Only Two Weeks Left: Best Places to Work Nominations
Do you work at the best company in Georgia? Tell us about it before Monday, March 2! That's when nominations close for the Best Places to Work in Georgia. Between now and then, fill out the online nomination form with info about why your company is among the best in Georgia.
Feb. 17, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Report: Home prices up, sales down in metro Atlanta
J. Scott Trubey reports that Metro Atlanta home sales dipped nearly 10 percent in January compared to the same month in 2014, but median sale prices continued their upward march, according to a report released Monday by the Atlanta Board of Realtors. Board President Ennis Antoine said investors bought fewer homes in the month of January, which accounted for the decline in sales, but that meant traditional sales made up a larger proportion of the market. Traditional sales tend to come at higher prices.
Feb. 17, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Gov. Deal to announce Comcast's Southeast HQ expansion in metro Atlanta
Uraksh Karkaria reports that Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to make an economic development announcement Tuesday morning. The announcement is related to Comcast's plans to expand its Southeast headquarters in Gwinnett County.
Feb. 17, 2015 GeorgiaCEO.com
Birch announces technology donation to the Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless
Staff reports that Birch Communications, Inc., ("Birch") a leading technology service provider of IP-based communications, broadband, cloud and IT-services to small, mid-sized, enterprise and wholesale businesses, today announced that it has donated more than 50 laptop and desktop computers to the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.
Feb. 17, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Chatham County courts to get $2.9 million system
Jan Skutch reports that anew case management system that eventually will link Chatham County’s courts in a seamless system will kick off Tuesday, the next step to an almost two-year implementation period.“It will take us into the 21st century for business practices,” said Chatham County Superior Court Clerk Dan Massey, who has chaired the project from the start.
Feb. 17, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tip Sheet: The black-ice edition
Jim Galloway reports that the dreaded specter of black ice will delay the start of state government and the Legislature Tuesday. The House and Senate will start at 11 a.m., an hour later than usual. State government offices will open at 10 a.m. The House will take up one bill: H.B. 172, which exempts from boating under the influence laws the use of homemade or inflatable rafts. The Senate will consider two bills: S.B. 18, regarding the Technical College System of Georgia, and S.B. 62, which would remand game and fish violation cases to probate court.
Feb. 16, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Estimate: Higher tobacco tax in Georgia could raise $585M
Staff reports that Georgia could raise an extra $585 million by increasing its tobacco taxes, according an analysis by Georgia State University that comes as state leaders seek ways to pay for transportation projects. Researchers at Georgia State University predict that raising Georgia's cigarette tax to $1.60 per pack would still generate an extra $554 million by 2020, even though some people would likely quit smoking because of the increased cost.
Feb. 16, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Worth the visit
Ellen Berman, Lori Johnston and Karen Rosen report, when travel is as easy as jumping in a car and driving a few hours to try someplace new, how do you get people to put your town on their must-see list? How do you draw the tourists who will invest money into your businesses and help contribute to a good quality of life for residents and visitors alike?
Feb. 16, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Dan Cathy’s plea: We must help 30314
Maria Saporta reports that Dan Cathey has a recurring nightmare. Looking to the future when the Atlanta Falcons are playing in their new state-of-the-art $1.4 billion retractable roof stadium, the CEO of Chick-fil-A Inc. fears Atlanta will be exposed as a true tale of two cities. "The horror that I think of is when the Goodyear blimp is flying over the new stadium with Atlanta's beautiful skyline in the background," Cathy said. "And then the blimp shows the area on the other side of the stadium and it looks like a scene out of Baghdad."
Feb. 16, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Brazilian Brands continue franchise talks in Atlanta
Trevor Williams reports that Brazilian brands representing a variety of sectors, from restaurant chains to fiberglass pools and fashion accessories, are in Atlanta this week to learn about the U.S. market, following up on a franchising push by members of Mayor Kasim Reed’s business delegation to the country last April.
Feb. 16, 2015 Georgia CEO
AT&T Georgia: Connectivity and the Internet of Things
Lucy Adams reports that fast, smart and reliable broadband networks have led to tremendous innovation in the communications industry. Citizens in four Georgia cities will soon encounter connectivity like never before. AT&T is bringing its GigaPower fiber-optic network to Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Decatur and Newnan, with the possibility of expansion to other parts of the state. GigaPower for Augusta is in the exploratory stage.
Feb. 16, 2015 Georgia Health News
Merger would create a giant in Atlanta health care
Andy Miller reports that it's a long way from being a done deal, but if it happens it will shake up metro Atlanta health care. Emory University and WellStar Health System announced last week that they are discussing a merger of their medical assets, a fusion that would face regulatory and logistical challenges. Completion of a deal is at least a year away.
Feb. 16, 2015 WABE
Southwest Airlines Offers Atlanta Unprecedented Perk
Jim Burress reports that Southwest Airlines, the No. 2 carrier by passenger volume at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is offering the Atlanta market a perk normally reserved for the most elite travelers – a companion pass.
Feb. 16, 2015 Georgia CEO
U.S Regulators Shutdown Atlanta's Capitol City Bank
Staff reports that Capitol City Bank & Trust Company, Atlanta, Georgia, was closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Raleigh, North Carolina, to assume all of the deposits of Capitol City Bank & Trust Company.
Feb. 16, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Deal’s ‘failing schools’ proposal drawing mixed reviews
David Schick reports that Gov. Nathan Deal’s recent proposal that could target midstate schools for state intervention is drawing mixed reviews from education officials. Failing schools in Bibb and Twiggs counties are being targeted under Deal’s Opportunity School District plan, which would allow the state to temporarily step in “to assist chronically failing schools.”
Feb. 16, 2015 Saporta Report
Tobacco tax hike could raise half the $1 billion needed for transportation: Health care advocates
David Pendered reports that Six health care organizations are calling for an increase in the tobacco tax to help pay for statewide transportation improvements. - Raising the tax to the national average would bring in about $500 million a year, one lobbyist said. That represents about half of the $1 billion Georgia lawmakers intend to raise through the current proposal to raise money to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Feb. 16, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Wintry blast tests Nathan Deal’s new weather strategy
Greg Bluestein reports that snow, sleet and freezing rain that falls upon north Georgia today will test Gov. Nathan Deal’s new weather response strategy. There will be no shortage of mentions of last year’s January storm that left thousands of commuters stranded on roads and students trapped in schools. And with the wintry mix looming, Deal seemed willing to take no chances. He declared 15 counties in north Georgia emergency zones and urged non-essential state workers to stay home.
Feb. 13, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Economists, businesses optimistic about 2015 in Georgia, midstate
Linda S. Morris reports that business owners and economists had a positive feeling about 2014 for the most part and are upbeat about 2015. This was the overall message Thursday for Middle Georgia and the state from the speakers at the Georgia Economic Outlook luncheon held at the Wilson Convention Center.
Feb. 13, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful celebrates 35 years
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that the environmental nonprofit Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful celebrated its 35th anniversary last month at the Gwinnett Center with an awards dinner to honor individuals, organizations and corporations in Gwinnett County for environmental stewardship. Nearly 400 people attended the event, where awards, including Green Business Leader of the Decade were among those presented.
Feb. 13, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sale of Fort McPherson land to Tyler Perry to be delayed
J. Scott Trubey reports that a tentative sales date of Fort McPherson land to filmmaker Tyler Perry is likely to be delayed over minor environmental issues involving a portion of the site. Brian Hooker, who leads the authority overseeing the redevelopment of the former Army post, said at a community briefing Wednesday night that the Army has raised some concerns about four parcels that make up about 36 acres of the near 500-acre site.
Feb. 13, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
P&G, Constellation to build $200M biomass plant in Georgia
Phil W. Hudson reports that Procter & Gamble Co. and Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. (NYSE:EXC) Feb. 12 announced the development of an up to 50-megawatt biomass plant that will help run one of P&G's largest U.S. facilities. The Cincinnati-based multinational consumer goods company (NYSE: PG) said Baltimore-based Constellation will build, own and operate the $200 million cogeneration plant, which will supply steam to P&G's Albany, Ga., paper manufacturing facility and generate electricity for Georgia Power Co.
Feb. 13, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Synovus denies report it's relocating headquarters to Atlanta
Tony Adams reports that Synovus Financial Corp. emphatically said Thursday it is not relocating its corporate headquarters to Atlanta, as reported incorrectly earlier in the day by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The Atlanta publication, citing unnamed sources, posted the original story on its website around lunchtime Thursday. It later changed the relocation story to one of the Columbus-based regional bank consolidating its Atlanta operations to a new building being constructed near the future Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County.
Feb. 13, 2015 Augusta Chronicle, Morris News Service
Georgia solar business booming
Walter C. Jones reports that the various aspects of Georgia’s solar industry created jobs six times faster than the overall state economy, according to a report released Thursday by the National Solar Foundation. The report ranks the state as having the 14th largest solar-power workforce with 2,900 employees split between manufacturing, installation of solar panels and administration and sales. That represents a 13 percent increase over the past year.
Feb. 13, 2015 Savannah Morning News
PortSide: JCB shipment showcases demand, growth
Mary Carr Mayle reports, if you recently noticed a sea of bright yellow and green construction equipment crowding the dock at Ocean Terminal, you probably thought it was just one of many regular shipments that British heavy equipment giant JCB sends overseas from its North American headquarters and manufacturing plant in Pooler. But this shipment was different. It was, in fact, the largest ever single-vessel shipment of machines to the United States from JCB’s global headquarters in England.
Feb. 13, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Unterman’s anti-sex trafficking legislation clears Senate
Joshua Sharpe reports thatState Sen. Renee Unterman’s efforts against Georgia’s sex-traffickers saw success in the Senate on Thursday. The “Safe Harbor/Rachel’s Law Act” legislation now heads to the House for approval. Senate Bill 8 and its accompanying resolution intend to sharply strengthen penalties and fines for those who prey on innocent victims across the state.
Feb. 13, 2015 WABE
Bipartisan Bill Aims To Strengthen Protections For LGBT Workers
Jonathan Shapiro reports that a pair of Democrat and Republican lawmakers will once again try to pass a bill aimed at strengthening protections for state employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, is sponsoring House Bill 323, which would ban the state from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. Drenner, a lesbian, has sponsored similar legislation in the past but each time those efforts have failed.
Feb. 13, 2015 Georgia Health News
Bill on 'biosimilar' drugs easily clears panel
Andy Miller reports, $1,300. That’s how much Kerry Tucker spends for the “biologic” medication to treat her arthritis. “And I have health insurance,’’ she told lawmakers Thursday. Biologic drugs are specially engineered drugs that have made a major difference in people’s ability to handle their symptoms from arthritis and other diseases. But they also carry a high price tag.
Feb. 13, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
President Obama signs veterans’ suicide bill as Johnny Isakson looks on
Daniel Malloy reports that the second bill signed into law of the 114th Congress aims to boost the Department of Veterans Affairs’ treatment of mental health, with the hopes of bringing down the number of veterans suicides. President Barack Obama held a White House ceremony Thursday to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. If you squint hard at the above photo, in the back row above Obama’s right shoulder is a sliver of Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who helped push the bill through this year.
Feb. 12, 2015 WABE
Bill Cutting Early Voting Days Clears House Committee
Jonathan Shapiro reports that a bill that would cut down early voting in Georgia cleared a House committee on Wednesday. The bill would reduce the number of early voting days from 21 to 12. Initially, the bill mandated Sunday voting. A revised version of the bill keeps it optional. The vote fell along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
Feb. 12, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Business Casual: In sadness and solidarity
Susan Percy writes, it seems cruelly ironic when people come to harm in the course of going about their everyday lives – whether it’s an accident caused by a drunk driver, a weather emergency or a senseless act of violence and terrorism that makes your heart stop – like the massacre at the Paris office of the magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Feb. 12, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Equifax 2014 profit up 10 percent
Russell Grantham reports that Equifax said it notched record profit and revenue in 2014 from overseas growth and recovering demand from mortgage lenders who needed the Atlanta company’s credit reports and employment verification for potential borrowers. Equifax, which is one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, said Wednesday that net income for the year was $367 million, up 10 percent from the previous year.
Feb. 12, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Delta edges out Hawaiian Airlines in on-time performance in December
Jason Ubay reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) had 88.9 percent of its flights on time in December, edging out Hawaiian Airlines at 87.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, Hawaiian Airlines won the year for 2014. The subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: HA) completed its 11th consecutive year as the nation's most punctual carrier.
Feb. 12, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Rome-based Hydro Dynamics among 44 businesses recognized for entering new international markets
Staff reports that Georgia Department of Economic Development today announced that Rome-based Hydro Dynamics was among 44 winners of the Georgia Launching Opportunities By Exporting Awards, a state-led awards program which highlights companies that have entered into a new international market in 2014.
Feb. 12, 2015 UGA
Judges choose 30 finalists for UGA’s 2015 Flavor of Georgia contest
J. Merritt Melancon reports that judges have selected 30 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia's 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest March 9-10 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta. The Flavor of Georgia contest is a chance for food businesses to highlight innovative and time-tested products and receive feedback from a panel of food industry professionals.
Feb. 12, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta digital marking firm BrightWhistle acquired by private equity firm Silver Lake
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta-based digital marketer BrightWhistle has been acquired by private equity firm Silver Lake. While financial details were not disclosed, a source put the acquisition price at more than $20 million. BrightWhistle, which declined comment, has developed software that helps health insurers, physicians and hospitals acquire new patients through search and social media.
Feb. 12, 2015 Savannah Morning News
CAT legislation nearing introduction in Georgia Senate
Kelly Quimby reports that Georgia Sen. Lester Jackson expects to have many conversations about Chatham Area Transit in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, Jackson, D-Savannah, filed two bills related to the transit organization: One would provide for an expansion of CAT's services.
Feb. 12, 2015 Albany Herald
Gov. Nathan Deal unveils Opportunity School District legislation
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal’s Senate floor leader, Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, introduced legislation on Wednesday to create an Opportunity School District that will allow the state to temporarily step in to assist chronically failing schools, giving students and parents hope for a better future.
Feb. 12, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia truckers appeal to legislators for enhanced job protections
Walter C. Jones reports that truck driver’s tearful plea and other personal stories from Savannah truckers and Atlanta stagehands prompted a Senate committee to vote unanimously Wednesday to study whether some companies are taking advantage of workers by illegally classifying them as independent contractors. “Our generation is going to suffer if we don’t get this fixed very soon,” said trucker Carol Cauley, choking back sobs.
Feb. 12, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitition - Political Insider
David Perdue to oppose attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch
Daniel Malloy reports that Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue will vote against Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, he said today in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in the coming weeks. Perdue praised her resume and acumen after two days of hearings last month, but ended up siding with conservatives who opposed Lynch because she backed Obama’s actions on immigration.
Feb. 11, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Coke profit plunges 55 percent in fourth quarter
Leon Stafford reports that Coca-Cola’s profit plunged 55 percent in the fourth quarter, rounding out what has been a tough year for the world’s largest beverage company. Net income fell to $771 million in the quarter, down from $1.71 billion in the same period last year, the Atlanta-based company reported Tuesday. Earnings per share dropped 54 percent from 38 cents a share a year ago to 17 cents a share in the fourth quarter.
Feb. 11, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Cherokee County: Building a following
Randy Southerland reports that Cherokee County businesses can find their location is sometimes a hard sell when seeking young college grads to fill out their workforce. It seems too far outside Atlanta’s perimeter – until the 20-somethings get here and begin to see all that this fast-growing region has to offer. “They think we are much farther away than we really are,” says Russ Sanders, founder and president of FactoryMation, a national supplier of industrial control products. “Once we get them to visit and they realize it’s not that far up 575 to get here, then it becomes a non-issue.”
Feb. 11, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Grady Memorial Hospital plans to expand women's center
Ellie Hensley reports that Grady Memorial Hospital filed a letter of intent with Georgia's Department of Community Health for renovations to its women's and infants' center that would cost $21 million. A spokesperson for the hospital said Grady would not comment on the specifics until it submits its Certificate of Need (CON) request, which is the next step in the process.
Feb. 11, 2015 UGA
UGA to dedicate new Veterinary Medical Center
Cindy Rice reports that the University of Georgia will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. to dedicate the College of Veterinary Medicine's new Veterinary Medical Center, which includes an education building and a state-of-the-art teaching hospital for large and small animals. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
Feb. 11, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Home Depot to fill 80,000 positions for spring
Leon Stafford reports that Home Depot said Tuesday it is looking to fill nationwide more than 80,000 positions for spring, including 1,200 spots in metro Atlanta. Spring is the busiest season for the Atlanta-based home improvement giant as consumers focus on sprucing up their homes and lawns as temperatures turn warm.
Feb. 11, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Developer Scott Leventhal's 25-story Midtown tower breaks ground
Douglas Sams and Amy Wenk report that Atlanta developer Scott Leventhal has broken ground on a 25-story apartment tower on Piedmont Park, an area of Midtown he calls the city's emerging Upper East Side. That comparison could be a stretch, but the residential area between 10th and 14th streets near the park that today is a hodgepodge of aging apartments and mid-rise buildings seems to be primed for more high-rise luxury towers. Consider two other developers in recent months, Wood Partners and Atlantic Realty, have pitched new high-rises.
Feb. 11, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Parental rights bill sponsored by Unterman passes Senate
Staff reports that State Sen. Renee Unterman’s Supporting and Strengthening Families Act is heading to the House for approval after passing the Senate on Tuesday. The Buford legislator’s bill, which passed 43-to-10, would provide an alternative to foster care for parents who must temporarily waive parental rights due to some circumstances including military service or substance abuse treatment, according to a news release.
Feb. 11, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tip sheet: We’re outta here by April 2
Jim Galloway reports that lawmakers on Monday approved a fairly ambitious schedule that will put Crossover Day (the deadline for most bills to pass a chamber in order to have a shot this year) on Friday, March 13.We’re not sure if the timing was intentional, but it is sure to be a lucky day for some and not so lucky for others. If all goes as planned (and it might not) the last day of the session will be Thursday, April 2.
Feb. 10, 2015 WABE
Anthem: Don’t Touch That E-mail, Phone
Lisa Hagen reports that Anthem, which includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, is warning its customers to ignore any e-mails and phone calls claiming to offer free identity protection. The warning comes in the wake of last week’s data breach affecting over 80 million Americans.
Feb. 10, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Lighting the Way
Susan Percy reports that Alana Shepherd comes every day to volunteer at the Shepherd Center, the private, not-for-profit hospital she and her husband Harold and son James founded 40 years ago in Atlanta to specialize in treatment and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries. She raises money, serves as the board secretary, greets patients and families and makes sure the center stays true to its mission.
Feb. 10, 2015 Emory University
Emory University and WellStar Health System announce discussions for new, unified health system
Staff reports that Emory University and WellStar Health System announced today that they are engaged in formal discussions regarding their vision to create a new, unified health system to provide excellence in patient care and advance world-class healthcare throughout Metro Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond. The new health system would be formed by combining Emory Healthcare, an entity owned by Emory University, and WellStar Health System into a new system.
Feb. 10, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Loudermilk Cos. plans to develop Buckhead Village office building
Douglas Sams reports that for the first time in six years, interest in spec office development has returned to Atlanta's affluent Buckhead neighborhood. Tishman Speyer broke ground last fall on the 30-story Three Alliance Center overlooking Georgia 400. Now, another Buckhead spec project — development that begins without tenants signed to leases — has entered the pipeline, albeit a much smaller building in the rapidly changing Buckhead Village.
Feb. 10, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal: Fifth record year for international trade in Georgia
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that the state experienced a record increase in both exports and imports for the fifth consecutive year, with a 4.9 percent increase in exports and 11.5 percent increase in imports over last fiscal year's numbers.
Feb. 10, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
2015 Savannah Book Festival
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that his year's Savannah Book Festival features an exciting lineup of authors including headliners best-selling mystery writer Janet Evanovich, humorist and satirist P.J. O’Rourke and the ‘Grand Dame of Gothic Fiction’ Anne Rice with her son, award-winning novelist Christopher Rice. In addition, a number of writers with connections to Georgia will be among the 35 authors at the festival, including at least one member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, Mary Hood. Learn more about Mary Hood and the hall of fame in Georgia Trend's story, “Creative State.”
Feb. 10, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Georgia researches remedies for rural health woes
Maggie Lee reports thatDr. Jean Sumner knows about the weaknesses in Georgia’s rural health care, including the lack of physicians and the closing of hospitals. But she and others say there are solutions on the horizon. In the county of about 10,000 people, she was the only doctor for a few years. Now she has a partner.
Feb. 10, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
House panel votes to change allowable age for kindergarten
Walter C. Jones reports that despite pleas from parents, a subcommittee voted Monday to recommend passage of legislation to the House Education Committee that would phase in an age change for kindergarten students. Under the amended House Bill 100, students cannot enroll if they haven’t turned age 5 by Aug. 1 in 2017 and by July 1 in 2018 and later. Current law permits enrollment if a child has reached that age by Sept. 1.
Feb. 10, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Kasim Reed on punching back: It’s all about ‘lunch’
Jim Galloway reports that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spent a large chunk of time this afternoon with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer, co-hosts of WABE (90.1FM)’s new afternoon issues show, “A Closer Look.” But we caught one self-revealing snippet, during Reed’s discussion of his current contest with Atlanta Public Schools over Atlanta Beltway funding. It goes to his post-riposte style of combat.
Feb. 9, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Pipeline to bring Savannah gas, diesel and ethanol from Gulf
Mary Landers reports that the parent company of Elba Island’s liquefied natural gas facility is planning a new 360-mile pipeline that will parallel the Savannah River and bring gas, diesel and ethanol from Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina to Savannah and Jacksonville, among other destinations.
Feb. 9, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Georgia's New Trustees: Not for self but for others
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that two accomplished women who have spent their lives making the lives of Georgians - and people from around the world - better will be inducted into the Georgia Trustees at the Georgia History Festival Trustees Gala in Savannah on Saturday, Feb. 14.
Feb. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Aaron’s Inc. profit falls 35% to $78.2 million in 2014
Staff reports that Aaron's Inc. reported its profit dropped 35 percent in 2014, hurt by a variety charges related to restructuring, the acquisition of Progressive Leasing and a regulatory investigation. The Atlanta-based furniture, electronics and appliances rentals retailer said its annual revenue jumped 22 percent to $2.7 billion, but its annual profit fell 35 percent to $78.2 million, or $1.08 a share.
Feb. 9, 2015 WABE
How Will A Rewrite Of No Child Left Behind Affect Georgia?
Martha Dalton reports that the federal No Child Left Behind education law is up for reauthorization. Republican congressional leaders in the House and Senate have introduced bills revising the law. Georgia has a waiver from the accountability piece of No Child Left Behind. That let the state come up with its own way of grading schools.
Feb. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Delta Air Lines donates $1 million to Zoo Atlanta
Phil W. Hudson reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. will contribute $1 million to Zoo Atlanta through the Delta Air Lines Foundation.
The Atlanta-based airline's (NYSE: DAL) donation will go to the Cyclorama revitalization campaign "A Grand New View for Zoo Atlanta: Elephants, Events and Expansion." The gift is Delta's largest contribution ever to the Zoo.
Feb. 9, 2015 Gainesville Times
Distractions, demands echo through legislature in session at the state Capitol
Joshua Silavent reports that the steps to the entrance of the state Capitol in Atlanta aren’t quite as inspiring as those Rocky triumphantly ascends, arms raised when he reaches the top, ready for the fight of his life. But they do stir a sense of anticipation about what could be. A city on its own hill, the gold-domed Capitol — its lawns lush with blooming flower beds in the dead of winter, and statues of past leaders serving as ornaments to democracy — has the necessary air of authority to it.
Feb. 9, 2015 Cherokee Tribune
Rep. Turner defends House Bill 97
Jessicah Peters reports that apiece of legislation supported by three Cherokee County representatives is receiving strong criticism from Cherokee County leaders and the Office of Economic Development. The proposed House Bill 97 introduced by Reps. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) and Wes Cantrell (R-Macedonia) would create an Open Meetings Act and amend the law so no “public bodies” could enter into a non-disclosed agreement.
Feb. 9, 2015 WABE
Republican Bill Would Cut Early Voting Days, Mandate Sunday Voting
Jonathan Shapiro reports that a Republican-sponsored bill in the Georgia House would shorten the number of early voting days from 21 to 12. Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, said his bill is about creating a more uniform voting system. “Cities and counties all over the state have different days, different times … The purpose of this was really uniformity,” said Hamilton.
Feb. 9, 2015 GPB
Revisions To Transportation Bill Better For County And Cities
Staff reports that the sponsor of a transportation bill in the Georgia House says he'll make changes, after concerns from local governments. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports Rep. Jay Roberts says the bill as written picks winners and losers. The original proposal phased out gas taxes collected by city and county governments. In the new version, local governments could collect a six cent excise tax on gasoline.
Feb. 9, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tip sheet: Day 12 brings talk of religious liberty, new wrinkles on transportation funding
Jim Galloway reports that day 12 promises to be action-packed. The House and Senate will convene at 10 a.m.David Cooke, the Macon district attorney, this morning speaks to the House Democratic caucus on H.B. 218, the new iteration of the religious liberty bill filed by state Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta.
Feb. 6, 2015 Albany Herald
UGA economics team predicts 2015 improvement for Georgia
Brad McEwan reports that while experts predict an improved economy for Georgia in 2015, factors including demographic shifts and decreased agricultural profits could potentially hamper economic growth for Albany and southwest Georgia. Economists discussed those predictions and more Thursday at the Albany stop of the annual Georgia Economic Outlook Series presented by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
Feb. 6, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Showtime at the Buckhead Coalition
Susan Percy reports, if Ted Turner and Sam Massell had the time or inclination, they could take their hit show on the road. The two brought the house down at the Jan. 28, 2015, annual meeting of the Buckhead Coalition, the high-powered organization of business and civic leaders. In what was billed as a “Keynote Conversation,” Massell, founder and president of the coalition and a former Atlanta mayor, played the straight man as he asked questions of Turner – business innovator, philanthropist and chairman of Turner Enterprises Inc.
Feb. 6, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Savannah-grown ginger finding trade routes abroad
Mary Welch reports that following the ancient Spice Trade route, Australian Ross Harding says one can see the evolution of the British Empire. Now, with Verdant Kitchen, he and Savannah businessman Howard Morrison are creating their own spice route — but in reverse. They are growing and selling ginger and other exotic spices from Savannah, venturing out not only across the country but into Canada and the United Kingdom.
Feb. 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ICE’s books $1 billion profit in 2014
Russell Grantham reports that Intercontinental Exchange's stock jumped Thursday after swinging to a $1 billion profit last year with the help of a surge in initial public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange and heavy volume on its fast-growing oil trading business. Shares of the Atlanta company, which operates nearly a dozen securities and commodity exchanges around the globe, closed at $225.85 Thursday, a 5-percent gain that was about four times higher than the Dow Jones Industrial’s percentage gain for the day.
Feb. 6, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta tech firm N3 to add 350 jobs, will seek 90,000 square feet of office space
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that technology firm N3 LLC plans to add 150 jobs, as it rushes to meet demand for cloud-based software. The new jobs are in addition to 200 jobs planned over the next few years. Founded in 2004, N3 serves as an outsourced sales force for enterprise software companies, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, General Electric and SAP. N3 also does digital sales and marketing, and designs and customizes marketing automation software for Fortune 500 clients.
Feb. 6, 2015 Georgia Times-Union
Glynn County Commission imposes 90-day moratorium on new residential subdivisions on St. Simons Island
Mike Morrison reports that the move came after a spate of citizen complaints about current projects, but it does not apply to projects that already have been approved. “This is something we feel very definitely needs to be done,” Commission Chairman Dale Provenzano said before a packed house during the commission’s regular meeting. “I’ve used the word ‘time-out.’ We’re very concerned that development as we go forward is appropriate and fits in with the big picture on the island.”
Feb. 6, 2015 WSBRadio.com
Gov. Deal has concerns over medical marijuana bill
Sandra Parrish reports that days after prosecutors and law enforcement came out against a medical marijuana bill that’s now before the state House; Gov. Nathan Deal is echoing some of their concerns. The bill would grant immunity from prosecution not only to families of child with seizure disorders who bring cannabis oil in from other states where it’s legal, but those suffering from 16 other ailments including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autism.
Feb. 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Nathan Deal on dead and damaged kids: It’s time for ‘able-bodied’ grandparents to step up
Jim Galloway reports that Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday appeared before a Capitol campus gathering of the Georgia chapter of the Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. (Reed wasn’t there.)In a 28-minute address, the governor reviewed his accomplishments in the realms of criminal justice, job creation and education. Deal spoke not a word about the religious liberty bills that were a primary focus of the gathering.
Feb. 5, 2015 New York Times
Hackers Breached Data of Millions, Insurer Says
Reed Abelson and Matthew Goldstein report that Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said late Wednesday that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a “very sophisticated external cyberattack.”
Feb. 5, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Neely Young: Arkansas Bound
Neely Young writes, “Back when I first started in healthcare, in the 1970s, costs were out of control, insurance companies had major cost increases every year, and our emergency rooms were packed with people without insurance who could not afford to pay,” says Warren Gordon, a retired human resources executive with a major not-for-profit hospital in Metro Atlanta. “It was a mess. Now today in 2015, nothing has changed.”
Feb. 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Starbucks is now Delta’s in-flight coffee
Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Starbucks drinkers can now get their coffee fix in one more place: at 35,000 feet on any Delta Air Lines flight. Delta as of this month is serving Starbucks Pike Place Roast on all of its flights worldwide, replacing Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Feb. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta once again tops list as America’s No. 1 moving destination
Phil W. Hudson reports that for the fifth year in a row, Atlanta topped the list of the country's top 10 moving destinations on Reading, Pa.-based Penske Truck Leasing Co. L.P.'s annual compilation. The company created its list based on requests for one-way moves in 2014.
Feb. 5, 2015 Albany Herald
Phoebe Putney Health System restructures, reduces administrative positions
Jennifer Parks reports that a handful of positions within Phoebe Putney Health System has been eliminated in the hospital group’s most recent restructuring. Jessica Castle, vice president of marketing for the health system, said that four administrative positions were impacted by the restructuring announced to employees Tuesday.
Feb. 5, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Kia supplier PowerTech looks to hire 40 in LaGrange
Tony Adams reports that PowerTech America, an auto parts supplier to Kia Motors, is looking to fill 40 jobs at its plant in West Point, Ga. The Georgia Department of Labor said Wednesday it will help the South Korean company find workers during a “recruiting event” Feb. 12 at West Georgia Technical College’s Callaway Center, 220 Fort Drive, LaGrange, Ga. The job fair is 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Feb. 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Renderings released of proposed Roswell mixed-use project
J. Scott Trubey reports that a metro Atlanta development team that plans a $500 million mixed-use community in Roswell has unveiled renderings of the project. Duke Land Group has proposed a 104-acre development near Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 called Riverwalk Village, a blend of more than 1,500 residences, shops and mid-rise office buildings.
Feb. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta's Intellinet acquires Connecticut consulting firm
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Intellinet, an Atlanta-based management consulting and IT services firm, has acquired Connecticut-based Innovative Computer Systems Inc. (ICS) for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition gives Intellinet geographic and product expansion. ICS has offices in Farmington, Conn. and Waltham, Mass.
Feb. 5, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Nearly 10 million enrolled in Affordable Care Act
Tom Corwin reports that of Jan. 30, nearly 7.5 million had enrolled in the 37 states using the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, which includes Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Another 2.4 million enrolled in the state-run health exchanges, Burwell said.
Feb 5, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Counties to lose millions in proposed gas tax shift; locals plan resolutions in opposition
Doug Walker reports that state House transportation funding plan would siphon more than $3 million a year in revenue from Rome, Floyd County and the two school systems — and neighboring counties also would take major hits, according to a report by the Georgia Municipal Association. GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton spoke Wednesday to Rome business and industry leaders about House Bill 170, which was formally introduced Monday.
Feb. 5, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Parents could use funds appropriated for public schools to pay private school tuition, bill says
Walter C. Jones reports that parents could use taxpayer funds already appropriated for their child as a way to pay toward private-school tuition under legislation introduced Wednesday. Teacher groups condemned the proposal immediately, but conservative groups hailed it as a way to give parents more choice about the education of their children.
Feb. 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Behind some educational theater, something big is brewing
Jim Galloway reports that an old Capitol hand once said of doings in the Legislature, “If you can see it, you’ve missed it.”In other words, much of the day-to-day business of the General Assembly amounts to a menu of theatrical distractions, whether intended as such or not. The quiet, unseen issues are the ones that beg for scrutiny. For instance, in the Senate, we are about to have a loud discussion about what’s being taught in the best U.S. history classes in Georgia’s high schools. Senate Resolution 80, sponsored by William Ligon, R-Brunswick, targets a new College Board “framework” for advance placement courses in American history.
Feb. 4, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Mercedes-Benz opens HR office to prepare for US Headquarters move
Phil Bolton reports that Georgia officials beamed Southern hospitality during a formal welcoming ceremony at the state Capitol Tuesday for Mercedes-Benz USA LLC including Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul whose city has been chosen as the site for the company’s U.S. headquarters. “Sandy Springs has thought of itself as the Mercedes of cities,” the mayor quipped. “Now we are really going from the metaphorical to the literal.”
Feb. 4, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Cherokee County: Building a following
Randy Southerland reports that Cherokee County businesses can find their location is sometimes a hard sell when seeking young college grads to fill out their workforce. It seems too far outside Atlanta’s perimeter – until the 20-somethings get here and begin to see all that this fast-growing region has to offer.
Feb. 4, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia making push for Land Rover factory
Greg Bluestein and J. Scott Trubey report that Gov. Nathan Deal visited with executives of British auto giant Jaguar Land Rover to discuss a possible U.S. factory during a secretive economic development mission to the United Kingdom last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. Four people with knowledge of the situation said Deal and state economic development commissioner Chris Carr met with representatives of the luxury auto firm, which is scouting North America — and in particular the Southeastern U.S.
Feb. 4, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Mercedes-Benz looks to fill up to 600 HQ jobs in Atlanta
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Mercedes-Benz USA will fill as many as 600 corporate jobs in Atlanta as part of its headquarters relocation from New Jersey. Mercedes will bring a contingent of a "couple-hundred" people from New Jersey this summer, CEO Stephen Cannon told Atlanta Business Chronicle Tuesday.
Feb. 4, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Aflac reports $703 million profit in fourth quarter, up 4.2 percent
Tony Adams reports that it were a football season, Aflac’s performance in 2014 would have been one of grinding it out during a few tough games mid-season, then finishing with a late-year flourish. It was such a scenario that saw the supplemental health and life insurer, headquartered in Columbus, report on Tuesday a $2.95 billion profit, or net earnings, in 2014, a decline of 6.5 percent from the year before.
Feb. 4, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Elanco's Augusta site expansion in full swing, now hiring
Jenna Martin reports that the foundation has been laid for an expansion at Elanco’s manufacturing facility in Augusta. Elanco is actively hiring as the Augusta production facility on Lovers Lane undergoes a major expansion.
Feb. 4, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
AGCO shares gain nearly 10% after beating profit estimates
Christopher Seward reports that shares of Duluth-based AGCO were up sharply Tuesday, gaining 9.5 percent, after the global farm equipment maker reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates. AGCO’s sales have been hit hard as farmers reduce their spending on tractors and other equipment because record grain harvests have softened prices farmers can get for their inventories.
Feb. 4, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Legal teams take shape for court battle over Home Depot data breach
David Allison reports that the legal teams are taking shape that will fight out the court battle over The Home Depot Inc.'s massive data breach.The litigation, which got under way in federal court in Atlanta on Jan. 16, has been split into two separate tracks, one representing the consumers and another representing the financial institutions that are suing Home Depot (NYSE: HD).
Feb. 4, 2015 Georgia Health News
Proposed agency for for seniors clears House panel
Andy Miller reports that more than a million Georgians — or roughly 1 out of 10 people in the state — are 65 or older.And over the next 30 years, Georgia is facing an estimated 143% increase in its senior population. With this aging trend looming, the General Assembly will consider a bill that would move the current Division of Aging Services out of the Department of Human Services and create a new state agency.
Feb 4, 2015 WABE
Solar Bill Would Allow Georgia Power To Lend Directly To Homeowners
Jonathan Shapiro reports that a bill aimed at making it easier for homeowners to install solar panels is making its way through the Georgia House. It would allow third parties, including utilities like Georgia Power, to provide financing for solar installation. Georgia Power as a direct lender is a new concept, but one that bill supporters say will benefit consumers.
Feb. 3, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Obama's proposed tax on overseas profits could cost Coca-Cola $4.3 billion
David Allison reports that a new tax on the foreign earnings of U.S. companies that's expected to be proposed Monday by President Barack Obama could cost The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) nearly $4.3 billion.As part of his 2016 budget proposal, President Obama will reportedly propose a one-time 14 percent tax on the profits earned by U.S. companies overseas to pay for a $478 billion in transportation projects. Future foreign earnings would be taxed a minimum of 19 percent, and the companies would be allowed to bring the money back to the United States without paying additional tax.
Feb. 3, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Georgia Trend's Georgian of the Year Event
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that the Georgian of the Year Luncheon is an annual event where we recognize the movers and shakers from across our state. This year's event, held Jan. 27 at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta, honored our Georgian of the Year, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby; our Influential Hall of Fame inductees, Atlanta Community Food Bank Founder and Executive Director Bill Bolling and former Sen. Saxby Chambliss; the 100 Most Influential Georgians; and Notable Georgians.
Feb. 3, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Police Department looking to hire 300 officers
Christopher Seward reports that the Atlanta Police Department is looking to hire 300 officers by the end of the year and will hold more than a dozen career fairs to attract candidates. The new recruits will join just under 2,000 officers currently on the force, the largest police force in the state.
Feb. 3, 2015 WABE
A Water Wars Update with Gil Rogers of the Southern Environmental Law Center
Denis O'Hayer reports that state of Georgia has fired the latest round in the decades-long water war with Florida (and somtimes, Alabama). In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Florida's lawsuit, challenging what it says is Georgia's over-consumption of water flowing through the state into Florida. Now, Georgia has filed its answer to Florida, in preparation for what could be a long process before the case goes to the high court.
Feb. 3, 2015 GPB
Displaced Gullah Geechee Descendants Make Efforts To Return Home
Gabrielle Ware reports that in 1942, the federal government condemned the Gullah lands known as Harris Neck in Townsend, Ga to build an army airfield. The land was never returned. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now maintains Harris Neck. Monday a proposal was submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Interior that starts the process for helping the Gullah Geechee people return home.
Feb. 3, 2015 Albany Herald
Dougherty County Commission approves Regional Commission transportation grant request
Carlton Fletcher reports that the Dougherty County Commission approved a resolution Monday morning authorizing the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission to apply for a public transportation assistance grant on behalf of the county. The grant, funded through the 5311 Regional Transit Program, utilizes state and U.S. departments of transportation funding to provide rural transportation in 13 regional counties.
Feb. 3, 2015 Newnan Times-Herald
Stephens named CEO of Coweta-Fayette EMC
Clay Neely reports that last Friday, the Coweta-Fayette EMC board of directors announced the permanent appointment of Chris Stephens as president and CEO of Coweta-Fayette EMC.Stephens had been serving as interim manager since late October following the resignation of Tony Sinclair.
Feb. 3, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Mercedes-Benz to build 12-acre campus
Urvaksh Karkaria and Douglas Sams report that Gov. Nathan Deal and Mercedes-Benz CEO Steve Cannon are scheduled to reveal the site at a press conference on Feb. 3 at 2:15 p.m. Gov. Nathan Deal and Mercedes-Benz CEO Steve Cannon are scheduled to reveal the site at a press conference on Feb. 3 at 2:15 p.m.
Feb. 3, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Savannah Port expansion gets a $42 million federal pledge
Daniel Malloy reports that the Obama administration has requested $42 million for the Savannah Harbor expansion project, a milestone commitment to deepening the river but a long way from the $440 million in federal money Georgia seeks. The Army Corps of Engineers budget request for the 2016 fiscal year — a vital marker because Congress no longer can add earmarks — includes $21.05 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion. The money finally is dedicated to “construction” after years of study.
Feb. 2, 2015 WABE
South DeKalb's "Greenhaven" Would Be Second Largest City In Georgia
Elly Yu reports that South DeKalb is one of the latest groups joining the cityhood movement. The new name? Greenhaven. If incorporation does happens, Greenhaven would become the second largest city in Georgia, with nearly 300,000 people living in unincorporated South DeKalb.
Feb. 2, 2015 Georgia Trend
Georgia's New Trustees
Susan Percy and Karen Kirkpatrick report that making the lives of Georgians better – that’s what the 2015 Georgia Trustees have in common and what they continue to do at the institutions that have long been synonymous with their visions.
Feb. 2, 2015 Piedmont College
Piedmont to hold Lillian Smith symposium on Social Change
Staff reports that during the 1940s, the late Lillian E. Smith was one of the first Georgia writers to shine a light on the South’s ingrained system of segregation. To promote the values and convictions that shaped Smith’s life and work, Piedmont College is conducting a one-day conference, the “Lillian E. Smith Symposium on Arts and Social Change,” at its Athens campus.
Feb. 2, 2015 Savannah Morning News
The state of Savannah's shareconomy
Julia Ritchey reports that the not-so-distant past, traveling on the cheap meant staying at a seedy roadside motel and deciphering cryptic bus schedules in whatever metropolis you happened to be visiting. Not anymore. Welcome to 2015, where sharing is caring and smartphone apps allow the average Joe or Jolene to lend or borrow everything from cars to spare bedrooms to clothes to toilets — more on that later.
Feb. 2, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Court to hear challenge to Braves stadium financing
Staff reports that the Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Tuesday in an appeal of a lower court ruling on financing for the new Braves baseball stadium in Cobb County. Three Cobb County residents opposed the authorization of the bonds, arguing the bonds required taxpayer approval. A Cobb County Superior Court judge in July validated the bonds, ruling that no public referendum was necessary.
Feb. 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Tech renames sustainable business center after Ray Anderson
Staff reports that the Ray C. Anderson Foundation pledged $5 million over the next 10 years to Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business to rename the Center for Business Strategies for Sustainability. The center will now be known as the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.
Feb. 2, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
From state superintendent down, educators say Georgia school testing out of control
Lee Shearer reports that from State School Superintendent Richard Woods on down, it’s hard to find a Georgia educator these days who doesn’t believe standardized testing is out of control in Georgia.
Feb. 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
AT&T offers $18.2B to reportedly become top bidder in federal spectrum auction
Danielle Abril reports that AT&T reportedly was the top bidder for the record-setting U.S. sale of spectrum.
Auction results from the Federal Communications Commission's sale of AWS-3 show that AT&T, whose AT&T Mobility unit is based in Atlanta, spent a total of $18.2 billion at Auction 97.
Feb. 2, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Ominous signs from Democrats on GOP’s education, transportation proposals
Greg Bluestein reports that State Republican leaders are sorely in need of support for Democrats for their top two legislative priorities. And judging by Saturday’s annual Democratic convention, it will be tough to come by. Gov. Nathan Deal is pushing a constitutional amendment to give the state new powers to take over struggling schools or convert them to charters. And the Big Three – Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston – all want to raise significant new revenue this year for transportation projects.
Jan. 30, 2015 Savannah Morning News
It's official: Savannah harbor deepening underway
Mary Carr Mayle reports that with a symbolic, echoing boom from the 1824 cannon atop Old Fort Jackson on Thursday morning, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially kicked off the long-awaited construction phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
Jan. 30, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fort McPherson sale to Perry draws closer
Katie Leslie reports that the civilian authority overseeing the redevelopment of Fort McPherson says it’s closer to finalizing the post’s sale to filmmaker Tyler Perry.
Jan. 30, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Germany's RIB Software to relocate North American HQ to Midtown's Tech Square
Douglas Sams and Urvaksh Karkaria report that RIB Software AG will relocate its North American headquarters to a proposed 700,000-square-foot mixed-use tower in Midtown's Technology Square.Stuttgart, Germany-based RIB develops project management software for the construction industry, including project conception, planning, and budgeting. RIB, which employs about 700 and trades on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has an Atlanta office in Northpark Town Center.
Jan. 30, 2015 Georgia Times-Union
Hospital authority votes to lease St. Marys, Brunswick hospitals to new private nonprofit
Terry Dickson reports that come May 1, the Brunswick and St. Marys hospitals will be operated under a new private nonprofit under a lease agreement signed Thursday by the Glynn-Brunswick Memorial Hospital Authority.
Jan. 30, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
AGCO CEO to head German Chambers in the U.S.
Phil Bolton reports that Martin Richenhagen, chairman, president and CEO of Duluth-based AGCO Corp., has been named chairman of the German American Chambers of Commerce of the U.S., for a two-year term that is to coincide with his chairmanship of the Atlanta-based GACC South.
Jan. 30, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Plant Vogtle expansion delayed another 18 months
Dave Williams reports that completion of the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion will be delayed by 18 months, Georgia Power Co. and Atlanta-based parent Southern Co. announced Thursday.The utilities said they have been informed by the $14.5 billion project's prime contractors, Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and CB&I/Stone & Webster, that the first of two new nuclear reactors at the plant south of Augusta, Ga., won't be finished until the second quarter of 2019, a year and a half behind the current schedule.
Jan. 30, 2015 WABE
House Speaker Open To Vote On Autism Therapy Coverage Bill
Michelle Wirth reports that a proposal to provide autism treatment coverage for young children was overwhelmingly approved by the Georgia Senate Thursday. Lawmakers voted 54 to zero for a bill that would require private insurers to give coverage to children with Autism who are six and younger. The legislation could face a tougher road in the House. But Georgia’s House Speaker David Ralston says he’s open to a vote on the bill.
Jan 30, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Cobb chairman bashes House transportation plan, as the local resistance begins
Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy report that last night, Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee may have become the first metro Atlanta leader to trash the new state House proposal to raise $1 billion for transportation by absorbing a significant proportion of the taxing powers of local governments.
Jan. 29, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
United Community Banks acquiring First National Bank in Tennessee
Christopher Seward reports that shares of United Community Banks Inc. traded higher Wednesday a day after the company announced it was acquiring the Tennessee bank holding company MoneyTree and its First National Bank subsidiary in a stock and cash deal valued at $52 million.The deal will allow United Community Banks, which is based in Blairsville in Union County, to expand its presence in east Tennessee in Lenoir City, Knoxville and Cleveland.
Jan. 29, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Coca-Cola Enterprises to put innovation center at Georgia Tech
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. will open a nearly 5,000-square-foot innovation and development center at Tech Square.Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE: CCE) is The Coca-Cola Co.'s (NYSE: KO) marketer and distributor in Western Europe and one of the largest independent bottler globally. The company declined comment.
Jan. 29, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Augusta Regional commercial passenger numbers remain flat
Meg Mirshak reports that Augusta Regional Airport recorded another flat year of growth for commercial airline passengers, a result airline officials attribute to a fixed number of seats that won’t change unless airlines add flights.More than 530,000 passengers traveled through Augusta Regional in 2014, just 851 more than the previous year, according to statistics provided by the airport. Passenger growth grew double digits for several years until growth fell to 9 percent in 2011 and 2 percent the following year.
Jan. 29, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Judge approves sale of Rome News-Tribune; transfer effective Sunday
Alan Riquelmy reports that News Publishing Co., the owner of the Rome News-Tribune, will be sold to Times-Journal Inc. after the Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, approval of the deal by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge. The approval of the $3.05 million sale by Judge Mary Grace Diehl sets the stage for a formal transfer effective Sunday — the first day the Rome News-Tribune will be published by a different family since 1928.
Jan. 29, 2015 Savannah Morning News
General Dynamics profit rises on jet sales
Mary Carr Mayle reports that General Dynamics Corp. — corporate parent of Gulfstream Aerospace — reported a rise in fourth-quarter profits of nearly 42 percent over the same quarter in 2013, with orders for Gulfstream business jets the highest in more than three years. “Today we reported fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $2.19 per fully diluted share, on revenue of $8.36 billion, and earnings from continuing operations of $737 million, up 18 percent over the fourth quarter 2013,” General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic told analysts in a conference call Wednesday morning.
Jan. 29, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Metro Atlanta jobless rate remains unchanged at 6.4 percent
Staff reports that state labor officials say metro Atlanta's unemployment rate stands at 6.4 percent.The Georgia Department of Labor early Thursday announced the new rate for December, which is unchanged from the previous month. It's down from 6.8 percent from December 2013.
Jan. 29, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Power brands $12M EV charging program "Get Current"
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Georgia Power Co. has launched a $12 million program to drive electric vehicle sales in Georgia. The campaign will be called "Get Current," according to trademarks filed by the state's largest electric utility.Atlanta is the No. 2 market nationwide for electric and plug-in hybrids and the No. 1 market for the Nissan Leaf.
Jan. 29, 2015 WABE
Atlanta Women's Foundation Gets $500k Grant For Mental Health Programs
Lisa Hagen reports that mental health programs for low-income women are about to get a big boost. Kaiser Permanente has awarded $500,000 to the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. Ending generational poverty for women and girls is no small task, but the Atlanta Women’s Foundation just got a half million dollar grant to try. The group’s executive director, Kelly Dolan says mental health is a big piece of that puzzle.
Jan. 29, 2015 Brunswick News
Bill introduced again to stop aquifer storage
Michael Hall reports that an effort to permanently prevent the injection of surface water into the Floridan Aquifer in several counties in Southeast Georgia is picking up steam.State Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, on Wednesday introduced the Underground Water Supply Protection Act of 2015 in Georgia’s House of Representatives.
Jan. 29, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
House leaders look to boost transportation funding in Georgia -- without raising taxes
Walter C. Jones reports that House leaders released the outline Wednesday of a plan they say will boost funding for transportation by $1 billion without raising taxes, although legislators and lobbyists who heard it were scratching their heads. The complicated proposal includes cutting undisclosed non-transportation expenditures now funded with part of the state’s sales tax on gasoline, converting that sales tax to an excise tax, indexing the new excise tax for inflation and improving mileage, imposing a fee on electric vehicles and borrowing lots of money with bonds.
Jan. 29, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitutition
Dear school bus driver: Don’t panic over health insurance loss. Not yet.
Jim Galloway reports, if you’re a bus driver, cafeteria worker or other part-time worker in a public school system, it may not be time to panic. But it is time to pay attention.The state will probably subsidize your health insurance for another year, rather than cut you off cold next Jan. 1, as Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed.
Jan. 28, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Plan opens Ga. coast to offshore drilling
Mary Landers reports that the Obama administration on Tuesday proposed a plan that would open waters off the Atlantic coast, including Georgia, to oil exploration and drilling. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s five-year plan includes 14 potential lease sales in eight planning areas — 10 in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and one in a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic that includes Georgia.
Jan. 28, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive
Economy: The future looks bright
Jeffrey Humphries writes, after years of slow going, look for 2015 to be the year of job growth. Georgia’s GDP should grow by 3.2 percent in 2015. That’s higher than the state’s long-term trend rate of 2.9 percent, and it exceeds the 2.8 percent GDP growth expected for the U.S. as a whole. Georgia’s job growth rate is expected to exceed the U.S.’s as well.
Jan. 28, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal: Tyson Foods to create 500 jobs in Dooly County
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Tyson Foods, Inc., one of the world's largest producers of chicken, beef, pork and prepared foods, will expand in Vienna, creating 500 jobs and investing $110 million over the next year.“Tyson Foods’ decision to expand in Georgia underscores how our No. 1 business climate and highly skilled workforce keeps leading companies competitive in today’s fast-paced market,” said Deal.
Jan. 28, 2015 WABE
Google Fiber Coming To Metro Atlanta
Michell Eloy reports that Google today confirmed plans to bring its high-speed internet service Fiber to the metro Atlanta area. The announcement came as no surprise, as the tech giant had announced back in February that Atlanta was one of nine metro areas it was eyeing for its gigabit web service. Other area cities included in the Fiber network expansion will be Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs and Smyrna.
Jan. 28, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Norfolk Southern expects more workers in Atlanta
Christopher Seward reports that Norfolk Southern, a national railroad company with a major presence in Atlanta, plans to move more employees to the city as it closes an office building in Roanoke, Va. The company on Tuesday said about 500 people currently in marketing, accounting, information technology and other departments will either move to Atlanta or Norfolk, Va.
Jan. 28, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Microsoft to put "innovation center" in downtown's iconic Flatiron building
Urvaksh Karkaria and Amy Wenk report that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) will put an "innovation center" in downtown's Flatiron building which is being transformed into an entrepreneurship hub.The Microsoft centers provide resources and support for students, entrepreneurs and startups, accelerating the creation of new companies, jobs and growth of the local software ecosystem. The Atlanta location will be the second such center in the United States after Miami, and one of more than 100 worldwide.
Jan. 28, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Record holiday season propels TSYS to $79.8 million profit in fourth quarter
Tony Adams reports that closing out the 2014 holiday shopping season with record transaction volume, credit-card processor TSYS on Tuesday reported a profit of $79.8 million in the fourth quarter, up 21.6 percent from the year prior.TSYS, headquartered in downtown Columbus, posted the profit, or net income, on total revenues of $635.1 million.
Jan. 28, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Engineering firm picks Gwinnett for U.S. operations
Staff reports that Validation & Engineering Group, an engineering firm that works with companies regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, announced Monday that it is establishing its U.S. operations in Gwinnett County. The international company plans to bring 20 new jobs to the Duluth area in the next two years and is making a $3 million capital investment, according to a news release from the Gwinnett Chamber.
Jan. 28, 2015 Georgia Health News
Shipping proposal outlined on medical cannabis
Andy Miller reports that the legislator championing medical marijuana in Georgia said Monday that he hopes to announce an agreement soon with a manufacturer that aims to ship cannabis oil to residents in the state. That process would be facilitated if Georgia passes a bill to offer immunity from prosecution to those families using cannabis oil for medical purposes, said state Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon).
Jan. 28, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
House leaders signal they want school bus drivers to keep health insurance
Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy report that our AJC colleague James Salzer has found the first evidence that the state’s school bus drivers and cafeteria workers may not have to worry about losing their health insurance coverage, as Gov. Nathan Deal recommended in his $21.7 billion state budget last week: While rewriting the mid-year budget, House leaders inserted language in a section on a State Health Benefits Plan cost study saying, “The General Assembly also finds that non-certificated school employees are an essential part of the education delivery system and directs that any such report include an examination of options to provide health benefits to these workers.”
Jan. 27, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Report: Google expected to pick Atlanta for fast Internet service
Matt Kempner reports that nearly a year after saying it might bring super-fast home Internet connections to the city of Atlanta, Google is expected to announce Tuesday that it has decided it really will do so. Such a move could give some metro Atlantans more choices for Internet and TV connections. Three months ago AT&T announced a similar effort, saying it would add fiber residential Internet connections within the cities of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Decatur and Newnan.
Jan. 27, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Bryan County: Port Proximity
Randy Southerland reports that Bryan County May not be nearly as well-known as its eastern neighbor Chatham County, home to tourist-friendly Savannah, but these days people and businesses are finding this community near the coast a great place to be. Driven by two big economic engines – the Port of Savannah and the U.S. Army’s Fort Stewart – the county is capitalizing on its location.
Jan. 27, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta to see high demand for manufacturing and office jobs in 2015
Phil W. Hudson reports that following a positive trend in 2014, many economists and reports suggest the U.S. economy and job market are positioned to yield steady growth in 2015. According to Atlanta-based Randstad US' Hot Jobs report, jobs within the manufacturing and logistics and office and administration industries will be in high demand in Atlanta for 2015.
Jan. 27, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Rome-based Big Time Products rises to No. 37 on Forbes list
Staff reports that as the leading supplier of work, garden, high-performance and cleaning gloves in the world, Rome-based Big Time Products was recently named one of America’s Most Promising Companies by Forbes for the second consecutive year. The company headquartered at 2 Wilbanks Road has 104 employees, according to the Forbes report. It debuted on the list at No. 87 in 2014 and jumped nearly 50 spots to No. 37 this year.
Jan. 27, 2015 GPB
Georgia Ports Set New Records, Thanks In Part To West Coast Labor Fights
Sarah McCammon and Robert Tucker report that Georgia Ports Authority officials are predicting steady, but slightly slower, growth for the ports in 2015. The GPA reports that 2014 set new records, with 7.4 percent growth in the number of tons of cargo moved during the calendar year. Executive Director Curtis Foltz says he expects much of that trend to continue.
Jan. 27, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Twitter plans Atlanta expansion, picks Ponce City Market
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Twitter is taking flight in Atlanta, with expansion plans that include new offices in a high-profile technology hub. The San Francisco-based social networking company (NYSE: TWTR) will lease about 8,000 square foot at Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward.
Jan. 27, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Local homeless officials get more than $4 million in federal grants
Jan Skutch reports that Chatham County’s homeless programs got a shot in the arm Monday when federal housing officials announced the award of more than $4 million in local grants to fight homelessness. Those were among $37 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants issued to support 185 homeless housing and service programs in Georgia.
Jan. 27, 2015 WABE
Autism Treatment Coverage Bill Heads Before Full Senate
Michelle Wirth reports that controversial state Senate bill cleared its first hurdle Monday. The legislation would require private insurers to provide autism treatment coverage for children who are six and under. Judith Ursitti has two children with autism. She’s also an advocate with Autism Speaks. Ursitti told a state senate committee it’s heartbreaking to hear a pediatrician prescribe things like speech and behavioral therapy for your toddler only to find out they’re not covered by your insurance.
Jan. 27, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Medical cannabis may be headed to Georgia
Maggie Lee reports that Georgia residents may be able to order a no-buzz form of cannabis medicine for delivery to their doors by next month, state Rep. Allen Peake said Monday. “We are within a couple of weeks of making an announcement with a manufacturer in another state who will be able to ship” to Georgia, said Peake, a proponent of medical marijuana.
Jan. 27, 2015 Saporta Report
Waiting for our state to deliver transit funds to our region
Maria Saporta writes, every very year we wonder whether this will be the year when Georgia will finally become a state with a multi-dimensional view towards transportation. We wonder whether members of our General Assembly will figure out a permanent way to pay for all modes of transportation – transit, trains, buses, sidewalks, bicycle paths and multi-purpose trails – instead of primarily highways and roads.
Jan. 27, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
GOP leaders to Georgia mayors: Brace yourself for road revenue pain
Greg Bluestein reports that once again, the state’s top Republicans repeated their vow to raise new revenue for transportation projects this year. And once again, they offered little detail on what that solution might be. That may not be for long. Gov. Nathan Deal said an initial draft of legislation is expected soon. But in the meantime, he and others warned hundreds of mayors at a Georgia Municipal Association meeting that they may not like what they come up with.
Jan. 26, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
UPS stock falls after projected annual earnings down 29%
Jacques Couret reports that United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) delivered some bad financial news Friday morning, and its stock took a beating. The Atlanta-based package delivery and logistics giant said its 2014 diluted earnings are expected to drop nearly 30 percent to about $3.28 a share due mostly to the underperformance of its U.S. Domestic segment. While package volume and revenue results were in line with expectations, operating profit was hurt by higher than expected peak-related expenses.
Jan. 26, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Building Opportunity in Metro Atlanta
Ben Young reports that the Atlanta Regional Commission hosted a packed house Wednesday, Jan. 21, for Building Opportunity: A Conversation on Poverty and Transportation in Metro Atlanta. The program title is a mouthful and so is the subject, which revealed that sprawl has acccelerated the region's poverty problem by pushing the poor into inaccessible areas.
Jan. 26, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Savannah sees record convention bookings
Staff reports that from historic preservationists to county commissioners to multi-colored sneaker-wearing marathon runners, the halls and conference rooms of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center overflowed with activity last year. That trend will likely continue, according to a new report.
Jan. 26, 2015 Georgia Health News
HHS chief hails exchange success in Georgia
Andy Miller reports that Benjamin Wills’ dream is to open a private Christian school in a downtrodden area of west Atlanta. One hurdle he has faced, though, was finding a less expensive source of health insurance for himself, his wife and their daughter.Wills, 28, found an answer in the Affordable Care Act exchange.
Benjamin Wills’ dream is to open a private Christian school in a downtrodden area of west Atlanta.
One hurdle he has faced, though, was finding a less expensive source of health insurance for himself, his wife and their daughter.- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2015/01/hhs-chief-hails-exchange-success-georgia/#sthash.9hALNjiq.dpuf
Jan. 26, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Metro Atlanta apartment market hits post-recession high
Jacques Couret reports that metro Atlanta apartment market had its strongest post-Great Recession year in 2014, as rent grew 7.4 percent, according to Axiometrics. That rent growth rate was 183 basis points higher than the 5.5 percent in 2013.
Jan. 26, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Columbia County 225th birthday an extension of recent growth
Wesley Brown reports that as Columbia County celebrates its 225th anniversary, community leaders praise their ancestors for laying the groundwork for the strong educational system and vast infrastructure network that have attracted people since 1790.
Jan. 26, 2015 Saporta Report
Forsyth County: Top credit, $260 million in new road, water projects
David Pendered reports that Forsyth County is quietly going about its business of building $200 million of road projects, and on Thursday commissioners discussed plans for new interchange at Ga. 400. o keep this sum in perspective, Atlanta voters on March 15 will have a chance to cast their ballots on a proposed $252 million bond issue to improve transportation and city buildings.
Jan. 26, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Legislative tip sheet: Press the restart button
Jim Galloway reports that, after after a week of uncharacteristically upbeat budget hearings, the full House and Senate will be back in formal session on Monday, and the machinery of the Legislature will begin the real process of cranking into gear. The House and Senate will convene at 10 a.m. No bills are far along enough to debate in either chamber, but lawmakers will pray, recognize guests, and introduce bills so they can be assigned to committees.
Jan. 23, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Milford McGuirt named as KPMG’s Atlanta managing partner
Christopher Seward reports that KPMG LLP, a global audit, tax and advisory firm, has named Milford McGuirt, a 29-year company veteran, as its managing partner of the firm’s Atlanta office. McGuirt, who succeeds William Kimble, will oversee 1,400 partners and professionals in Atlanta and also oversee KMPG’s offices in Birmingham, Ala., Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville in Tenn.
Jan. 23, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
This month in Georgia history
Christy Simo and Karen Kirkpatrick report, as we at Georgia Trend celebrate 30 years covering business, politics and economic development across this great state, we’re taking a look back at some of the events that brought us to where we are today. With the holidays behind us, it always feels like January’s a little slower. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some big news in Januarys past.
Jan. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta’s Yik Yak ready to take on Twitter
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that fueled by $73.5 million in venture capital, Atlanta consumer tech poster child Yik Yak is bulking up to headbutt Twitter.The year-old anonymous mobile messaging app, reportedly valued at $400 million, is quadrupling its office footprint and relocating to Buckhead's Piedmont Center.
Jan. 23, 2015 Georgia Health News
Hospitals get financial rewards...Or do they?
Andy Miller reports that a majority of Georgia hospitals will get performance bonuses from Medicare for their quality of care, federal data show. The 59 percent of Georgia hospitals getting the financial reward exceeds the national average of 55 percent, according to a Kaiser Health News article. The bonuses come from measurements that include patient satisfaction, lower death rates and how much patients cost Medicare.
Jan. 23, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Synovus 'enhances' mobile-banking app it launched in 2007
Tony Miller reports that if you’re a customer of Synovus and locally, Columbus Bank and Trust, you now have more options while “on the go.” The Columbus-based regional bank said Thursday it has come up with an enhancement to the mobile banking application, or app, that it launched in 2007. Its goal is to allow customers to conduct even more business with their smartphones.
Jan. 23, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Von Maur to open in Nordstrom location at Mall of Georgia
Joshua Sharpe reports that the Nordstrom space at Mall of Georgia has a new tenant. Von Maur Deaprtment Stores announced Thursday that it will oepn its third Georgia location in the two-story, 165,000 square-foo tspace occupied since 2000 by Nordstrom, which is closing at the end of February. Von Maur says it expects to "eventually employ 200 mostly full-time associates.
Jan. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Mohawk Industries to hire 90 in Gordon County
Carla Caldwell reports that carpet and flooring giant Mohawk Industries Inc. (NYSE: MHK) plans to hire 90 workers for the company's manufacturing facilities in Gordon County. Mohawk is recruiting experienced tufting machine operators, mechanics, electronic technicians, sergers and sewing machine operators.
Jan. 23, 2015 Gainesville Times
Savannah port officials watching transportation debate in legislature
Jeff Gill reports that Port of Savannah officials have their hands full with an ambitious deepening project, but they’re also watching how the transportation funding debate plays out in the Georgia General Assembly.
Jan. 23, 2015 WABE
Deal Spotlights Criminal Justice Reform In Budget Briefing
Jonathan Shapiro reports that Gov. Nathan Deal wants to give more prisoners a shot at getting a high school diploma or GED. Deal made that case Thursday to state lawmakers who are reviewing his nearly $22 billion spending plan for next year. “We are conveying to our fellow Georgians that the mistakes of their past have not sentenced them to a life of despair, that if they work hard and pay their dues then upon release they’ll have a chance to move on from what they’ve done,” said Deal.
Jan. 23, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Nathan Deal hints at purpose of his secretive U.K. trip
Scott Trubey reports that Gov. Nathan Deal made a clandestine trade mission to the United Kingdom in recent days, a trip so secret his office wouldn’t confirm where he went. It was out of character for a governor who’s never been shy about touting jobs deals and overseas economic development trips to places such as South Korea, China, Israel and to see the Panama Canal.
Jan. 22, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Osmose Utilities brings 100 jobs to Peachtree City
Staff reports that Osmose Utilities Services Inc. will open a new headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga., creating up to 100 new jobs over the next year. Osmose will build a facility for its new headquarters at 635 Highway 74 South. New jobs from the project will include executive, administrative, IT/technology and supervisory positions.
Jan. 22, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Sustainable Georgia: Protecting our wildlife
Ben Young writes, I got my first vanity license plate this year. No, it doesn't spell out “Ben Jammin,” but there’s a bobwhite quail on it, the first change in the way my license plate has looked since they took the peach horizon away a few years back.There are a gazillion ways you can customize your tag to contribute to organizations and help them brand their cause.
Jan. 22, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
AT&T Georgia sues Atlanta, MARTA over Streetcar costs
Katie Leslie reports that AT&T Georgia is suing Atlanta and MARTA for millions of dollars it says it’s owed for relocating utilities to make way for the city’s new Streetcar. In a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court last month, the telecommunications company said it spent $5.8 million when it was ordered to relocate its equipment, such as cables, wires and conduits, ahead of streetcar construction.
Jan. 22, 2015 Georgia Health News
With a month to go, exchange enrollment high
Andy Miller reports that Federal officials announced Wednesday that Georgia’s signup total for the insurance exchange reached 425,927 as of Jan. 16. That’s an increase of more than 25,000 from the week before. The state’s current enrollment greatly surpasses last year’s total of 316,543. It also indicates that the final number of Georgia enrollees may be near the half-million mark at the end of the open enrollment period Feb. 15.
That’s an increase of more than 25,000 from the week before.
The state’s current enrollment greatly surpasses last year’s total of 316,543. It also indicates that the final number of Georgia enrollees may be near the half-million mark at the end of the open enrollment period Feb. 15.- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2015/01/month-go-exchange-enrollment-high/#sthash.i8fDOYeE.dpuf
Jan. 22, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
UGA stronger than ever, but president wants to increase diversity
Lee Shearer reports that the University of Georgia is "stronger now than at any point in our 230-year history," said UGA President Jere Morehead, Wednesday. For the second year in a row, the Freshman class was the most academically qualified in the university's history, faculty are earning national and international accolades, and close to $200 million in construction projects are underway or beginning soon.
Jan. 22, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia’s unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent
Henry Unger reports that Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in December from 7.2 percent in November, as holiday hiring kicked into overdrive, the state labor department said Thursday. “This was the first time in eight years that we’ve had job growth in December,” state labor commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. Holiday hiring is usually done by then.
Jan. 22, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia's hidden national treasure: The National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
Phil W. Hudson reports that Fort Benning, known as the Home of the Infantry, is also the home of one of America's hidden national treasures -- the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center. And the National Infantry Foundation in Columbus, Ga., is raising money to expand it.
Jan. 22, 2015 Saporta Report
George Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and dean of Atlanta’s PR industry, passes away
Maria Saporta reports that George Goodwin, one of Atlanta’s leading journalists and public relations executives, passed away peacefully Wednesday morning at his home with his family by his side. Goodwin, 97, had many claims to fame. He was the first Atlanta journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished local reporting. And he was the undisputed dean of public relations in Atlanta – serving as the city’s top advocate for decades.
Jan. 22, 2015 New York Times
Where is the governor of Georgia? His office won't say
Alan Rappeport reports that when a governor goes missing, people notice. And people in Georgia are starting to wonder where Gov. Nathan Deal, who is on a secret economic development mission, has disappeared to. Mr. Deal’s office would not even confirm whether the governor is overseas, or even if he is out of state. UPDATE: Mr. Deal’s office has revealed that the governor was traveling in Britain.
Jan. 22, 2015 WABE
DA: Religious Freedom Bill Could Give Cover To Child Abusers
Michell Eloy reports that one of Georgia’s district attorneys has voiced major concerns about the so-called “Religious Freedom Bill,” which lawmakers are set to take up this legislative session. Macon Circuit District Attorney David Cook says in its current form, the already controversial bill could give legal cover to those who’ve been accused of child abuse.
Jan. 22, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Baptists take both sides of the religious liberty fight
Jim Galloway reports that this fight over religious liberty bills in the state Capitol has become a particularly Baptist affair. On both sides of the issue. Last week, the Rev. Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, gave the invocation that’s part of the daily tradition of the House – a short sermon aimed at lawmakers who choose not to flee into the hallways.
Jan. 21, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Equifax: Auto sales going through the sunroof
Christopher Seward reports that if you’ve purchased a vehicle in recent months you’re among thousands of metro Atlantans and millions of other consumers who are driving U.S. auto sales through the sunroof. Atlanta-based Equifax, the consumer credit reporting service, reports that the total balance of auto loans hit an all-time high of $975 million in December, which was 9.3 percent higher than results in December 2013.
Jan. 21, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Economic Development - January 2015
Christy Simo reports about economic development, including Live Oak Homes expanding in Broxton and Unisys opening a call center in Augusta. Site Selection magazine, one of the U.S.’s top economic development trade publications, has named Georgia as the No. 1 state in the nation for business for the second year in a row.
Jan. 21, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Coca-Cola adds new product to Dasani water line
Phil W. Hudson reports that the Coca-Cola Co. added two new water infusers to its Dasani Drops line Jan. 20.The Atlanta-based beverage giant (NYSE: KO) said the new product, Dasani Drops Infusions, are unsweetened, have a touch of flavor and no color added. The initial flavors of Dasani Drops Infusions are Strawberry Basil and Lime, which are available in a 1.9 oz bottle.
Jan. 21, 2015 WABE
Atlanta Suburbs Craft Small-Town Identities
Tasnim Shamma reports that the city of Lilburn – in Gwinnett County – is getting ready to build a brand new city hall. The mood it’s going for? Nostalgic. It’s one of a growing list of suburban cities that are trying to reinvent themselves as competitive, small towns.
Jan. 21, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia State to allow co-ed dorm rooms
Janel Davis reports that Georgia State University students will have the option of selecting roommates of a different gender in the fall. The school plans to begin offering that housing option in all of its residence halls. Students wanting this type of housing arrangement have to notify housing officials of their preference when applying for housing assignments. Student not wanting to opt-in to gender-inclusive housing will be assigned dorms the traditional way, based on sex.
Jan. 21, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
GuardTop buys Rockmart manufacturing facility
Phil W. Hudson reports that GuardTop LLC bought the regional asphalt sealcoat manufacturing facility in Rockmart, Ga. from Gulfport, Miss.-based Blacklidge Emulsions Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Monarch Beach, Calif.-based GuardTop said it will now directly market its brand of products in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Jan. 21, 2015 WABE
State Of Georgia Asks To Put Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit On Hold
Lisa George reports that lawyers for the state of Georgia want a federal judge to stop any legal action on gay marriage here until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on the issue. The nation’s highest court is scheduled hear arguments in April on whether same-sex couples have the right to marry in every state with a ruling expected by late June.
Jan. 21, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Georgia has a new transportation commissioner
Greg Bluestein reports that if you want some proof that certain figures in the state Capitol are still serious about an increase in transportation spending, consider this quick move to tap a new road-and-bridge leader:The State Transportation Board today tapped Russell McMurry, a veteran engineer who has worked at the Georgia Department of Transportation for 25 years, to take the reins of the agency. It comes just days after Keith Golden, the current commissioner, announced he would retire at the end of the month.
Jan. 20, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Report: Delta disputes FAA claim plane dumped fuel over Fulton Co.
Carla Caldwell reports that a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight from Atlanta to Japan returned to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday after smoke was seen coming from the plane's landing gear. The Federal Aviation Administration told WSB-TV Delta Flight 95, a Boeing 777 carrying 291 people, flew at 7,000 feet before landing to release fuel.
Jan. 20, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Cobb County: The Power Alley
Karen Kirkpatrick reports that in baseball, power alleys are the areas of the field just to the left and right of center field, so named because it’s where balls launched by power hitters go when hit the hardest. In the Metro Atlanta area, many have taken to calling the I-75 corridor through Cobb County the Power Alley.
Jan. 20, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Strong home sales, prices mark metro Atlanta housing market
Christopher Seward reports that Metro Atlanta’s housing market ended last year with strong gains in sales and price appreciation, and while this year may not be as robust, housing experts expect the market to continue to strengthen. Home sales rose 19 percent in December and the median price was up 3 percent, compared with the previous month, according to the Atlanta Board of Realtor’s latest report released Friday.
Jan. 20, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Partridge Inn approved for Hilton brand affiliation
Jenna Martin reports that the Partridge Inn, in the midst of a major renovation, is on the fast-track for affiliation with a new Hilton boutique-style brand.
Jan. 20, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal
By golly, a new trolley? Mayor Tumlin envisions route from Square to new Braves stadium
Jan. 20, 2015 Newnan Times-Herald
Georgia moving forward with Common Core
Celia Shortt reports that Mike Royal, the vice chair for Georgia’s State Board of Education, said Georgia needs to move forward with the Common Core standards for schools. The Common Core State Standards are a national initiative with the goal of providing national standards for students. Currently, there are only Common Core standards implemented in English/language arts, and math.
Jan. 20, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Business investors watch Georgia’s cannabis debate
Maggie Lee reports that next year, Georgia may legalize its own home-grown medical marijuana industry if a Macon lawmaker has his way. Meanwhile, some companies and nonprofits are lined up, waiting for the door to open. A demand exists in Georgia for at least some types of medical cannabis, said Jake Bergmann, CEO of Surterra, an “innovative agriculture” company in Atlanta that was incorporated last year and is looking into opportunities to supply that demand.
Jan. 20, 2015 Gainesville Times
Georgia denies Florida's allegations in water wars lawsuit
Jeff Gill reports that Georgia denies that Florida’s Apalachicola region is “suffering serious harm” because of Georgia’s increasing storage and consumption of water from the Chattahoochee and Flint river basins, according to a document filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Georgia has filed its response to Florida’s petition to equally divide waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, which includes Lake Lanier and also straddles part of Alabama.
Jan. 20, 2015 Saporta Report
As auto sales rebound in Ga., new cars pay fewer taxes to build roads
David Pendered reports that an uptick in the sale of new vehicles that’s been linked to lower gas prices spells more trouble for state road funding. Georgia’s collection of motor fuel taxes fell by 2 percent in the last three months of 2014. Revenues from tag, title, and fees rose by 2.7 percent during that period, according to a tabulation of monthly reports from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Jan. 20, 2015 WABE
Privatization Advocate Crafts New Bill Aimed At Foster Care System
Michell Eloy reports that one of the state’s biggest advocates of privatizing foster care has filed a new bill aimed at the state’s child welfare system. State Sen. Renee Unterman’s bill would allow a struggling parent to give temporary custody to a friend or acquaintance for up to one year. Active members of the military could do the same for more than a year.
Jan. 20, 2015 Georgia Health News
Much at stake for Georgia in upcoming high court ruling
Erin C. Fuse Brown writes that this spring, the Supreme Court will hear the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, in King v. Burwell. The case is about whether the federal government can give subsidies to people who obtain health insurance on an exchange operated by the federal government in a state that has declined to set up its own exchange. Georgia does not operate its own exchange, and an estimated 784,000 people in Georgia would lose their subsidies if the Supreme Court rules for the challengers.
Jan. 19, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Tech-focused company eyes Midtown Atlanta for 100K square feet
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Midtown Atlanta, which recently landed the headquarters of fintech giant NCR Corp., is drawing looks from another large technology-focused enterprise. An unidentified company has expressed interest in taking up to 100,000 square feet to co-anchor a more than 600,000 square foot mixed-used development planned in the heart of Georgia Tech.
Jan. 19, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Eggs & Issues update
Ben Young reports that Gov. Nathan Deal laid out his vision for ensuring our state stays No. 1 in the nation for business at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues Breakfast held at the Georgia World Congress Center Jan. 13.
Jan. 19, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caterpillar plants closing in Franklin, Toccoa
Staff reports that a factory that makes seals for heavy equipment in Franklin is closing by the end of next year, leaving 150 people without jobs. Caterpillar is also closing a foundry in Toccoa, Georgia, with 125 workers. The work will be consolidated to the company's Mapleton, Illinois, foundry.
Jan. 19, 2015 WABE
Uber drivers shut down Friday night
Lisa Hagen reports that their phones are logged out, and the cars are in park. Uber drivers in Atlanta are responding to a 20 percent fare cut by the company. Prices for a ride dropped last week in nearly 50 cities. Protest organizers want drivers to stop taking clients from 5 tonight until 3 a.m.
Jan. 19, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal
HD Supply expands in Boston, LA, Texas
Staff reports that Cumberland-based HD Supply Construction & Industrial White Cap, a leading distributor of specialty hardware, tools and concrete accessories for professional contractors, announced Friday it has opened new locations in the Boston Waterfront District, Downtown Los Angeles and Killeen, Texas. The new facilities increase the presence of the company in three key geographic regions. The new locations will provide industrial, commercial and residential contractors with an extensive inventory, combined with will-call, site delivery and direct ship options.
Jan. 19, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Daimler eyes Georgia site for van plant
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Daimler AG is said to be scouting Georgia for a manufacturing plant that would bring more than 1,000 jobs. The German automaker is interested in a 1,558-acre industrial site in Pooler, Ga., to build the Sprinter commercial van, economic development and commercial real estate sources said.
Jan. 19, 2015 GlobalAtlanta.com
Mohawk continues 'Aggressive' ways with $1.2 billion Belgian acquisition
Phil Bolton reports that with manufacturing facilities near each other both in Georgia and Belgium, and new plants about to open, Calhoun-based Mohawk Industries Inc. has announced that it is continuing its “aggressive growth strategy” by acquiring the Belgian IVC Group.
Jan. 19, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
Sports tourism creates local economic activity; brought estimated $5.2 million to Floyd county
Doug Walker reports that when people think about visiting Rome and Floyd County, the beauty of the sprawling Berry College campus is one of the first things that comes to mind. Fishing opportunities in the local rivers, particularly at Lock & Dam Park, are another. Camping at The Pocket in the northern neck of Floyd County and over into Walker County is yet another. Pure sports tourism, however, is probably the biggest draw to Rome and Floyd County.
Jan. 19, 2015 Georgia Health News
Bill would tighten state's elder abuse law
Andy Miller reports that Georgia legislators hope to close some loopholes in the state’s elder abuse law with a bill that would boost law enforcement tools in fighting these crimes. State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) told reporters Friday that House Bill 72 aims to build on legislation passed in 2013 to protect the state’s elderly and disabled adults from abuse and financial exploitation.
Jan. 19, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Gov. Deal's proposed budget includes $5 million for new Jekyll Center
Walter C. Jones reports that Gov. Nathan Deal's recommendation to lawmakers on how to fund state government for the next fiscal year includes $5 million for the Youth and Learning Center on Jekyll Island.
Jan. 19, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Nathan Deal’s budget would eliminate health insurance for 11,500 school workers
Jim Galloway reports that talk on social media is pointing to this portion of Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed budget, which apparently foresees eliminating health insurance coverage for school cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week.
Jan. 16, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta forming committee to try to save Hartsfield-Jackson's 'world's busiest airport' title
David Allison reports that Atlanta is forming a committee of top business executives to study how Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can hold onto its title of being the world's busiest airport. The Atlanta airport is at risk of losing that title to Beijing Capital International Airport.
Jan. 16, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Business Casual: Fear and loathing
Susan Percy writes, last summer, when the first two Ebola patients arrived in Atlanta from West Africa, I was proud that my hometown was offering them care and surprised when there were rumbles about whether public safety was in jeopardy. Three months later, when the check-in procedure at my doctor’s office included a question about recent travel abroad, it seemed as routine as showing an insurance card.
Jan. 16, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Consitituton
Timbervest sells timberland in 3 states for $14.2M plus
Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Timbervest LLC said it has sold more than 10,000 acres of timberland in Florida, South Carolina and Vermont for more than $14.2 million. The company, which manages timber-related assets and investments, sold about 6,710 acres in Lafayette County, Fla.; 2,416 acres in Kershaw County, S.C.; and 1,243 acres in Washington County, Vt.
Jan. 16, 2015 WABE
The Mall Of The Future…On Buford Highway?
Kate Sweeney reports that a lot of stories these days tell us the American shopping mall is in trouble. But Buford Highway's Plaza Fiesta might set an example for an entirely new model of mall. Or maybe it’s not so new after all. The story of a new kind of shopping mall starts with the story of some of the very oldest shopping malls. These were conceived of by a man with a vision.
Jan. 16, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Georgia port no. 1 in exports to Cuba
Staff reports that President Barack Obama’s recent decision to begin thawing relations with Cuba leads to the inevitable PortSide question: Will trade with the island nation resume or increase, and will it affect our ports? Turns out, according to a story posted by the Miami Herald earlier this month, the Port of Brunswick is the United States’ top exporter to Cuba.
Jan. 16, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
MDJ parent has successful bid for Rome News Publishing Company
Carla Caldwell reports that Marietta Daily Journal's parent company Times-Journal Inc., had the successful bid Thursday in a bankruptcy auction for the Rome News Publishing Company. Otis Brumby III, publisher of Times-Journal Inc., offered the high bid of $3.05 million in the open auction, the MDJ reported Friday.
Jan. 16, 2015 Saporta Report
Chick-fil-A’s executive moves show ongoing focus on internal succession
Maria Saporta reports that by forming an expanded executive team at Chick-fil-A – a move announced Thursday, CEO Dan T. Cathy has completed a leadership transition that began in earnest 14 months ago.It was in November 2013 when he took over as the CEO – succeeding his late father, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, who had served as the company’s top executive for more than 50 years.
Jan. 16, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Coastal legislator agree to require 25-foot buffers along salt water marshes in Georgia
Walter C. Jones reports that the legislators making up the Coastal Caucus in the General Assembly agreed Thursday to add legal requirements for a 25-foot buffer of undisturbed land around saltwater marshes, putting longstanding state policy into the law. since 1994, the Environmental Protection Division has required the buffers or insisted on a variance with other safeguards, even though the wording in the law only deals with freshwater marshes.
Jan. 16, 2015 WABE
Businesses To Georgia Lawmakers: Fix Transportation, And Fix It Soon.
Jim Burress reports that, be it spruce, noble fir or pine -- if it’s fake, and it’s a Christmas tree, Caroline Tuan is waiting for it at the Port of Savannah. "Most of our product is imported," says Tuan, COO of California-based Balsam Brands. The company imports artificial Christmas trees through the Port of Savannah.
Jan. 16, 2015 Georgia Health News
Legislator: Medicaid expansion may get a look
Andy Miller reports that a Republican state senator said Thursday that he believes the General Assembly will hold hearings this year on the idea of Medicaid expansion in Georgia. “I think there’s a number of Republican [legislators] who are looking for a solution,’’ said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), after speaking on a legislative panel at an event sponsored by the consumer group Georgians for a Healthy Future.
Jan. 16, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tom Graves scores spot on defense spending panel
Daniel Malloy reports that U.S. Rep. Tom Graves will join the House appropriations subcommittee on defense spending, a win for Georgia after losing huge influence on military issues in last year’s wave of departures. Graves, of Ranger, will serve on the defense and financial services appropriations subcommittees, in addition to chairing the subcommittee overseeing the legislative branch — which makes him the most junior “cardinal” in the House.
Jan. 15, 2015 Georgia Health News
Georgia Exchange enrollment nears 400,000
Andy Miller reports that almost 400,000 Georgians are signed up for coverage in the 2015 health insurance exchange, federal officials announced Wednesday. The Georgia signup total as of Jan. 9 greatly exceeds the state’s 316,543 enrollees during the first open enrollment last year. The enrollment period this year ends Feb. 15.
Jan. 15, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
From Good to Great
Susan Percy reports that despite the chill in the air, MARTA officials and supporters were warmed by the good news at last week’s (Wed., Jan. 7) State of MARTA breakfast. General Manager Keith Parker talked about the ongoing process of transforming the system from good to great and called 2014 a banner year. “This is like a shareholders’ meeting,” he said. “This is your system.”
Jan. 15, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
GRU's Azziz expected to resign Thursday at called meeting
Tom Corwin reports that Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz is expected to announce his resignation Thursday morning, according to a highly placed official at the university. Azziz is expected to make the announcement during a called meeting of his cabinet at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
Jan. 15, 2015 Georgia State University
Georgia State Researchers Find New Way To Suppress Inflammation Without Steroids’ Harmful Side Effects
Staff reports that a new “trick” steroids use to suppress inflammation, which could be used to make new anti-inflammatory drugs without the harmful side effects of steroids, has been discovered by researchers at Georgia State University. Their findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Jan. 15, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Microsoft sues Gwinnett company over software
Christopher Seward reports that Microsoft Corp., the multibillion-dollar company behind the Windows operating system and other software products, is suing a Gwinnett County company, claiming infringement of its copyrights and trademarks. In the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, the company claims Capital Remarketing Services Inc. in Duluth and its owner, Jean Paul Divirgilio, advertised, installed and distributed unauthorized copies of Microsoft software without its permission.
Jan. 15, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Mohawk Industries buying IVC Group for $1.2 billion
Jacques Couret reports that carpet and flooring giant Mohawk Industries Inc. (NYSE: MHK) is expanding in the luxury vinyl tile industry. The Calhoun, Ga.-based manufacturer plans to buy Belgian sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and laminate maker IVC Group for $1.2 billion.IVC makes a sheet vinyl with a fiberglass core that provides a cushioned product that does not crack, curl or expand, making it durable and easy to install. It generates $700 million in annual revenue.
Jan. 15, 2015 Gainesville Times
Frank Norton Jr. urges North Georgia to push being 2nd-home market
Jeff Gill reports that North Georgia should strive to become a “second-home mecca” for affluent Atlantans seeking weekend escape, real estate executive Frank Norton Jr. said during his annual Native Intelligence report Wednesday night at the Gainesville Civic Center. “Our geography is too compelling for us not to capitalize on positioning,” he said. “North Georgia ... sits directly on top of 6 million people, projected to grow to 12 million by 2050.”
Jan. 15, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Savannah's outlook: Above average growth
Mary Carr Mayle reports that Savannah metro-area economy should experience “well above average” growth this year, economist Michael Toma told more than 500 people Wednesday at the Savannah Chamber’s annual economic luncheon at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. "The past 18 months have seen substantial growth in the regional economy that is expected to continue through 2015," he said.
Jan. 15, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
NCR's Midtown Atlanta HQ relo underscores a corporate culture shift
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that NCR Corp.'s decision to bail from buttoned-down Duluth, Ga., to entrepreneurial Midtown underscores a cultural shift in the 130-year-old company. It is also a nod to the Fortune 500 fintech's pivot from hardware to software and services. NCR (NYSE: NCR) will relocate to Technology Square, a destination for innovation-driven enterprises lured by the talent and research emerging from engineering hub Georgia Tech.
Jan. 15, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia governor: Let state intervene in failing schools
Walter C. Jones reports that schools, probation and child-welfare protections would all undergo procedural changes under a plan Gov. Nathan Deal outlined Wednesday for legislators. The Republican governor used the first State of the State Address of his second term to propose a handful of procedural changes among state agencies and renew his support for decriminalizing the possession of medicine derived from marijuana. He also laid out reasons for increased funding for transportation, without recommending any recipe for getting the added money.
Jan. 15, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
The delicate footwork surrounding an MLK statue at the state Capitol
Jim Galloway reports that at 11 a.m. Friday, the traditional ceremony honoring Martin Luther King Jr. will be held at the state Capitol. Gov. Nathan Deal will speak.Before and after the event, a small, empty patch of grass on the Capitol’s east side, overlooked by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s second-floor office, will become a highly scrutinized bit of real estate. Until a short while ago, the tract was home to a monument to Korean War veterans, complete with a gas-fired eternal flame. That edifice has been shifted – grouped nearby with other memorials to veterans.
Jan. 14, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
RE/MAX: Home price increases to continue in 2015
Phil W. Hudson reports that Georgia housing market's upswing will continue climb in 2015, according to Alpharetta, Ga.-based RE/MAX of Georgia. Based on current market trends and conditions, the company remains optimistic about 2015.
Jan. 14, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Organizations: Rural library project
Candice Dyer reports that Dan White grew up in Yatesville, Ga., a tiny town without a library. “Building a beautiful library is actually very affordable,” says White. Two years after he approached the city council with a challenge gift in 1999, the town, which lies just west of Macon, unveiled a library that now serves 1,500 households.
Jan. 14, 2015 Georgia State University
GSU School Of Public Health Receives Contract To Provide Mental Health First Aid Training For State’s Youth
Staff reports that Georgia State University’s School of Public Health has received a five-year, $800,000 contract from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to coordinate Youth Mental Health First Aid Training (YMHFA ) and other professional development efforts designed to improve services for Georgia’s youth.
Jan. 14, 2015 University of Georgia
Gates grant supports UGA’s continued fight against infectious disease
James Hataway reports that the University of Georgia Research Foundation has received an additional $710,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its research into the elimination of schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting millions of people throughout most of Africa and some of Asia, the Middle East and the Americas to include studies on control and elimination of intestinal worms that infect almost 2 billion people globally.
Jan. 14, 2015 Georgia Health News
Cigarette tax, med cannabis, autism grab attention
Andy Miller reports that Raymond and Rebecca Spinelli came to the state Capitol on Tuesday looking for relief for their daughter, McKenzie. The 4-year-old has a mitochondrial disease. That’s a condition in which the mitochondria – tiny parts of almost every cell – cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into energy, so the cells do not work correctly.
Raymond and Rebecca Spinelli came to the state Capitol on Tuesday looking for relief for their daughter, McKenzie.
The 4-year-old has a mitochondrial disease. That’s a condition in which the mitochondria – tiny parts of almost every cell – cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into energy, so the cells do not work correctly.- See more at: http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2015/01/medical-cannabis-autism-bill-cigarette-tax-spotlight/#sthash.YcsvWgX9.dpuf
Jan. 14, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
NCR moving to Midtown
Leon Stafford and J. Scott Trubey report that NCR Corp. announced Tuesday it is moving its corporate headquarters to Midtown, ending months of speculation that it was leaving Gwinnett County for more fertile ground near Georgia Tech. The new campus will be on Spring Street at Centergy North at Technology Square, which had rumored to be the lure for the company because of its tech savvy-population. The move would happen sometime late in 2017 or early in 2018.
Jan. 14, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Meggitt Training Systems enters $31.7 million contact with USMC
Phil W. Hudson reports that Meggitt Training Systems Inc. won a $31.7 million contract from the US Marine Corps Systems Command Program Manager for Training Systems. The contract allows the Suwanee, Ga.-based supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems, unmanned land and sea vehicles, aerial targets and electronic scoring systems to develop and deliver the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainers (ISMT) system for the US Marine Corps.
Jan. 14, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
January tourism impact expected to be $2 million
Staff reports that Augusta tourism officials expect $2 million in visitor spending in January. The big driver of visitor cash will be the Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity, starting Friday. Augusta tourism officials expect $2 million in visitor spending in January. The big driver of visitor cash will be the Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity, starting Friday.
Jan. 14, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Solar access for residences, churches, small businesses could become easier under agreement
Walter C. Jones reports that omeowners, churches and small businesses would soon have access to the financing available in two-dozen states for the installation of solar panels with little upfront costs based on an agreement announced Tuesday during a legislative hearing. Coming up with $18,000 or more in cash to install photovoltaic panels on the average home is difficult for most homeowners. But if the agreement becomes law, they could lease their roof to companies that pay them back with free electricity, selling the rest to the utilities.
Jan. 14, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Tip sheet: A pitch on transportion and schools, but no numbers
Jim Galloway reports that Wednesday will focus on policy. The numbers will have to wait. Oftimes, the third day of the January session of the General Assembly has featured both the governor’s State of the State address and the unveiling of his proposed budget.
Jan. 13, 2015 WABE
In Inaugural Speech, Deal Stresses Education and Jobs; Transportation Not Mentioned
Jonathan Shapiro reports that with clouds and fog blanketing the Gold Dome, state lawmakers Monday convened the 153rd General Assembly, and Gov. Nathan Deal was officially sworn in for a second term. House Speaker David Ralston didn’t let the weather get anyone down. "Good morning, I don’t care if it is raining and cloudy," he said. "It’s a great day to be a Georgian."
Jan. 13, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
A penny saved
Kevin Hogancamp reports that it's a tale of 12 Georgia regions: Three have a solid funding source for road improvements; the other nine – including those in the Atlanta metropolitan area – do not. The imbalance is attributable to one penny: the sales tax that pays for a voter-approved list of transportation projects in the Columbus and Augusta areas, and in a rural central Georgia district including Dublin, Jesup and Vidalia.
Jan. 13, 2015 GPB
Vidalia Onions Lawsuit Heads Back To Court
Emily Jones reports that the dispute between Vidalia onion growers and the state Department of Agriculture is heading back to court this week. The state is challenging a ruling striking down restrictions on when farmers can pack and ship the onions. A Fulton County judge sided with Vidalia grower Delbert Bland last year. Bland took state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black to court after Black threatened heavy fines for growers who harvest the onions ahead of the state's official pack date.
Jan. 13, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Sitel to cut 675 Augusta jobs
Jenna Martin reports that Tennessee-based Sitel announced Monday that about 675 jobs will be eliminated from the Augusta call center this spring. The positions will be shed from the facility at 2115 Windsor Spring Road between March 9 and 31 at the end of an undisclosed client project, according to a corporate news release.
Jan. 13, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
State discloses part of Mercedes incentives deal
J. Scott Trubey reports that Georgia officials unveiled at least part of the incentives package the state used to lure Mercedes-Benz to relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey. On Monday, state officials disclosed that Mercedes-Benz USA will receive assistance from a grant totaling $6 million through one of Georgia’s so-called “deal closing” funds. The Regional Economic Business Assistance Program (REBA) grant will be administered by the Development Authority of Fulton County.
Jan. 13, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta's Ionic Security raises $40M; will add 100 jobs
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Ionic Security has raised $40 million from Silicon Valley and will add about 100 jobs.Atlanta-based Ionic's software helps businesses protect financial and other sensitive information stored on employees' devices and in data centers. Instead of securing individual devices, Ionic's technology secures the data itself.
Jan. 13, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Getting ready to compete
Mary Carr Mayle reports that as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project moves closer to becoming a reality, economic development authorities in Bulloch, Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties have come together to work on potential projects the deepening could bring. The Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Joint Development Authority will focus on combining resources to attract and facilitate regionally significant projects, said Trip Tollison, president of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.
Jan. 13, 2015 WABE
Ga. General Assembly Speaker David Ralston Talks Voter Issues For New Session
Denis O'Hayer and Lauren Waits report that on day one of the new legislative session in Georgia. Representatives from across the state have convened under the Gold Dome to take on the issues that voters are concerned about. In the first part of an interview with WABE's Denis O'Hayer, House Speaker David Ralston acknowledges that transportation may top the list. During the long conversation, he told O'Hayer about the upcoming transportation proposals facing the Georgia General Assembly.
Jan. 13, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Middle schooler's idea to lower minimum age for Georgia Senate from 25 to 21 introduced as bill
Walter C. Jones reports that a grassroots movement launched by an Augusta-area middle-schooler is bearing fruit as lawmakers announced on the first day of the General Assembly that they are introducing his proposal to change the state constitution to lower the minimum age for serving in the legislature. Twelve-year-old C.J. Pearson of Columbia Middle School in Grovetown couldn’t get an excuse from class for the press conference the morning of the gubernatorial inauguration, but his impact was felt there and possibly statewide one day.
Jan. 13, 2015 Gainesville Times
Georgia Senate panel: Threatening or harming health workers should be felony
Jeff Gill reports that harming or threatening violence against on-duty health care workers should be declared a felony, a Georgia legislative panel recommends in a nine-page report. Such behavior “is a pervasive problem that threatens the safety of staff, patients and visitors in hospitals and other health care facilities,” states the joint study committee report.
Jan. 13, 2015 Saporta Report
A disconnect: Climate change and the environment at the state legislature
Maria Saporta reports that a state where many of the top elected officials don’t believe in climate change and question whether humans play a role in pollution, Georgia environmental leaders actually hope the 2015 General Assembly will be a good one. Whether it be reinstituting a buffer for development on marshes along the state’s coastal areas, or whether it be exploring a permanent source of state funding for transit, or whether it be allowing for the third-party financing of solar panels on people’s homes, the 2015 legislative session could leave the environmental community happier than it has been in a long time.
Jan. 13, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Casey Cagle hints at support for transportation funding
Jim Galloway reports that 2018 race for governor began a few minutes after 2 p.m. today, with an inaugural speech by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that veered closer to the issue of transportation funding than the one that Gov. Nathan Deal would deliver minutes later. The Cagle speech was the broadening of an address the lieutenant governor gave to a transportation summit in Athens last month. Again, he didn’t endorse a gasoline tax increase, or any other tax hike – nor will he have to vote for one unless there is a Senate tie.
Jan. 12, 2015 New York Times
Death by robot
Robin Marantz Henig reports that Ronald Arkin, a roboticist at Georgia Tech, has received grants from the military to study how to equip robots with a set of moral rules. “My main goal is to reduce the number of noncombatant casualties in warfare,” he says.
Jan. 12, 2015 Georgia Trend -Exclusive!
Join State Leaders for Eggs & Issues
Staff reports that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast is an opportunity to get a preview of the 2015 legislative agenda. Join state leaders, including Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston, in this traditional kickoff to the General Assembly session at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.
Jan. 12, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Delta Air Lines battling to hold onto its Seattle-to-Tokyo flights
David Allison reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. is battling two other airlines to hold onto its flights between Seattle and Tokyo, which Delta says are key to its hub strategy. American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) and Hawaiian Airlines (Nasdaq: HA) are each asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to give them the routes that Delta (NYSE: DAL) now uses to fly between Seattle and Tokyo International Airport Haneda.
Jan. 12, 2015 Georgia Health News
Will Ga. hospital group go to bat for expansion?
Andy Miller reports that unlike its counterparts in other states, the Georgia Hospital Association has not been seen as actively advocating for Medicaid expansion. A number of states have expanded their Medicaid programs, making more low-income people eligible for benefits and thus helping hospitals financially by reducing their numbers of uninsured patients.
Jan. 12, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Senior-living developments likely to boom, including in Augusta
Jenna Martin reports that when it comes to retiree-based development, the idea that "if you build it, they will come" might not be too far from reality. Ranging from a 134-apartment retirement resort in Evans to a 42,000-square-foot memory-loss facility in Augusta, the metro area will gain several new senior-focused developments this year.
Jan. 12, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Putting down healthy roots
Mary Carr Mayle reports that two out-of-the-box thinkers like Savannah businessman Howard Morrison and global energy consultant Ross Harding put their heads together, the results are often extraordinary. Verdant Kitchen is the duo’s latest brainchild. The gourmet health and wellness company — which features products made of ginger and other organic foods grown at Morrison’s historic Lebanon Plantation in West Chatham County — exploded onto the scene last year to rave reviews and is now quickly earning a national reputation.
Jan. 12, 2015 Georgia Times-Union
Brunswick, St. Marys hospital management structure vote could come Jan. 28
Terry Dickson reports that the governing board of the Brunswick and St. Marys hospitals are likely to vote this month on a proposal to place management under a newly formed private nonprofit called Southeast Georgia Health System Inc., officials said. The nine-member board may also vote on a proposal to form a three-way affiliation with Baptist Health in Jacksonville and Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine.
Jan. 12, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Pittsburgh advertising agency Chemistry Communications expands in Atlanta
Patty Tascarella reports that Pittsburgh's 10th-largest advertising agency has expanded in Atlanta. Chemistry Communications on Friday announced the acquisition of TG Madison. Chemistry CEO Ned Show will additionally serve as CEO of its affiliate office in the Georgia city called Chemistry Atlanta.
Jan. 12, 2015 WABE
Foster Care Privatization Put On Legislative Back Burner
Michell Eloy reports that despite a strong push from state lawmakers last year, an effort to privatize parts of Georgia’s foster care has likely been tabled. That’s the takeaway from a much-anticipated report released Friday by the governor’s Child Welfare Reform Council, which had been tasked with finding ways to improve the state’s beleaguered child welfare system.
Jan. 12, 2015 Albany Herald
As General Assembly session begins, transportation, education top the list of priorties
Terry Lewis reports that the General Assembly opens its 2015 legislative session this morning, the gathered senators and representatives know that this session has the potential to be one of the liveliest in recent memory. As usual, the state budget will dominate the discussion. After all, it is the fount from which all else flows.
Jan. 12, 2015 Gainesville Times
Miller’s star rising in state politics, but just how far?
Joshua Silavent reports that widely seen as charismatic, a motivator and high-energy, state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville has essentially become Gov. Nathan Deal’s legislative spokesman for 2015. Though he narrowly lost a bid to become the Senate president pro tem, the No. 2 spot behind Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Miller was handpicked by Deal to be a floor leader. That appointment gives Miller an inside track to the governor’s office, and positions him as a prominent force behind any legislation poised to pass or doomed to fail in 2015.
Jan. 12, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
About that MLK statue at the state Capitol
Jim Galloway reports that last January, from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Gov. Nathan Deal declared it time to give Martin Luther King Jr. a larger presence on the state Capitol campus. House Bill 1080, signed by the governor last April, codified his intention.
We haven’t heard much about the topic since then, but we’re picking up rumblings of a building consensus that we’re likely to hear more of before next week’s King holiday
Jan. 9, 2015 GPB
Legislator Looks To Leave Grand Juries Out Of Killings By Police
Grant Blankenship reports that a bill ready for the upcoming Georgia legislative session would change the way killings by police officers are investigated in Georgia. State Representative Nikki Randall, a Macon democrat, says the effort is inspired in part by the lack of prosecution in Missouri of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown.
Jan. 9, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Political Notes - 2015
Susan Percy reports on changes to the state government lineup as Gov. Nathan Deal begins his second term mean new leadership for some key agencies. Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard since 2011, is the new head of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), replacing Charley English, who will become deputy director. Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard, assistant adjutant general, takes over as adjutant general.
Jan. 9, 2015 WABE
Georgia Regulators Wrestle With New Coal Rules
Molly Samuel reports that Georgia regulators are starting to wrestle with how to cut pollution from coal power plants. They have to in order to comply with controversial federal greenhouse gas rules. But until the final rules are out, the goal is a moving target. “We don’t know what’s going to be in the final rule, or how the proposed rule will change,” said Keith Bentley, the chief of the air branch at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. “We expect it to change because there were over two million comments filed.”
Jan. 9, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
When UGA shuts down coal boiler, Athens air will be cleaner
Lee Shearer reports the University of Georgia's coal-fired steam boiler is running full tilt to keep the campus warm right now, but by the middle of March it will shut down for the final time and works will begin installing a new electric-powered electrode boiler. Once the plant burns the 4,000 tons of coal stockpiled near the plant in the middle of the UGA campus, it will be shut down.
Jan. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Economist: Atlanta could add 140,000 jobs this year
Douglas Sams reports that Metro Atlanta is poised for its strongest year of job growth since the city hosted the 1996 Olympics. Spurred by the fall in gasoline prices, the return of consumer confidence, and low interest rates, the metro region could add up to 140,000 jobs this year, independent economist Marci Rossell told a group of Atlanta commercial real estate professionals Thursday.
Jan. 9, 2015 Georgia Health News
Workers face increased burden on health costs
Andy Miller reports that health care costs are increasingly squeezing American workers, especially those in Georgia and the South, a new report released Thursday finds. Nationally, workers’ out-of-pocket costs for premium contributions and deductibles in 2013 accounted for a higher percentage of median family income in all states compared to 2003.
Jan. 9, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Judge allows challenge to state’s marriage ban to move forward
Aaron Gould Sheinin reports that a federal judge late Thursday dismissed the state of Georgia’s motion to stop a challenge to its ban on gay marriage. The case, Inniss v. Aderhold. will move forward, U.S. District Court Judge William Duffey Jr. ruled. The case was filed on behalf of four same-sex couples and the surviving spouse of a fifth couple.
Jan. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Penney to close about 40 stores, impacting 2,250 employees (List of Georgia stores)
Danielle Abrill reports that J.C. Penney Co. Inc. plans to close about 40 stores, which is expected to impact about 2,250 employees nationwide. The closures represent less than 4 percent of Penney's total store base and most of the stores are expected to close on or about April 4, Penney spokesman Joey Thomas said.
Jan. 9, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Georgia Chamber endorses hike in federal gas tax
Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway report that there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that the Georgia Chamber, the most powerful voice of business in the state Capitol, is ready to endorse a hike in the state’s gasoline tax to address Georgia’s transportation woes.How do we know this? In a Wednesday statement on its congressional priorities, the organization formally placed itself on the side of raising the federal gas tax.
Jan .9, 2015 WABE
Deal Reconsiders Campaign Pledge To Overhaul Ethics Commission
Jonathan Shapiro reports that Gov. Nathan Deal has reconsidered a campaign pledge to overhaul the state ethics commission. Last summer, Deal said the commission was plagued by “confusion, dysfunction and inefficiency.” Now, his spokesman says it's "functioning well."
Jan. 8, 2015 WABE
Georgia Workers, Union Leaders Call For Minimum Wage Increase
Michelle Wirth reports that a coalition of union leaders, workers and workers' rights advocates rallied to raise the state’s minimum wage Wednesday. They support a proposal that calls for Georgia workers to earn a minimum of $15 per hour. Right now, employers have to pay Georgia employees at least $7.25 an hour. At a union hall in downtown Atlanta, dozens of people called for more than twice that amount for workers like Rhonda Levitt. She currently works four part-time jobs to help support her grandchildren and her mother.
Jan. 8, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Picking the 100
Neely Young writes, this year marks the 23rd year since Georgia Trend began offering our readers a list of the 100 most influential Georgia citizens. Our pick for the No. 1 Most Influential Georgian this year is Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, the organization that manages our state’s public colleges and universities. Huckaby earned this honor because of the wide-ranging changes he’s made to the way our colleges are funded and the ways they operate.
Jan. 8, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Giant Studios shuts down, sells tech to James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment
Ellie Hensley reports that Atlanta-based Giant Studios has sold the rights to its proprietary performance capture technology to James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and plans to close after it finishes out its remaining contracts. Giant's R&D arm will continue developing the software under the Lightstorm umbrella, and that arm already has located to Cameron's production company in Santa Monica, Calif.
Jan. 8, 2015 Georgia.gov
Deal: December revenues up 9 percent
Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Georgia’s net tax collections for December totaled nearly $1.91 billion, an increase of $158 million, or 9 percent, compared to December 2013, when net collections totaled $1.75 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $9.61 billion, which was an increase of nearly $517 million, or 5.7 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year, when net tax revenues totaled $9.09 billion after six months.
Jan. 8, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Houston land purchase could fuel economic development
Mike Stucka reports that the Houston County Development Authority will chip in as much as $230,000 toward buying land that could prove critical to attracting more jobs. The authority voted Wednesday morning to help buy the property, which Houston County commissioners approved Tuesday. Commissioners agreed to buy the four parcels, which a survey says consists of about 383 acres, in a deal valued at about $708,000.
Jan. 8, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal
U.S. Rep Loudermilk: Backlash ‘intensity’ unexpected
Hilary Butschek reports that the day after voting to re-elect Speaker John Boehner, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R–Cassville) said he didn’t expect the “intensity” of the backlash against his vote. Loudermilk denied flip-flopping on a campaign promise to elect new leadership, saying he voted against Boehner last November during a vote to determine the Republican nominee for speaker.
Jan. 8, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Craft brewer's bill to be introduced in Senate
Kelsey Cochran reports that a bill that would allow visitors to breweries or brewpubs to buy a pint or to take home a six-pack will be introduced in the state Senate as the legislative session begins Monday. Nancy Palmer, executive director for the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, said the beer jobs bill, which aims to drive economic growth through increasing craft beer sales, has secured five sponsors, including one in the Senate, although she declined to release any names fo sponsors.
Jan. 8, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
NanoLumens gets $13 million in latest funding round
Jacques Couret reprots that NanoLumens landed $13.3 million in new financing from an offering of debt and securities. Euro Pacific Canada Inc. was the exclusive agent for the offering. Wellington Financial LP provided the $5 million debt component of the financing. The Atlanta-based visualization technology firm said Wednesday the new round of funding will be used to accelerate the company's strategic business and technology development programs.
Jan. 8, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Why a sacked fire chief could become the face of ‘religious liberty’ bills
Jim Galloway reports that after reporters had vanished from the anteroom on Tuesday afternoon, Kasim Reed opened the door to his private City Hall office and fired up his email account. The mayor of Atlanta scrolled through the messages he has received over the last 30 days, demanding that he preserve the job of the highly decorated fire chief he had just fired. “Look at this. I’m an anti-Christ, I’m a Muslim,” a clearly angry Reed said. For the record, the mayor is a lifelong Methodist.
Jan. 8, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Johnny Isakson officially becomes the Senate’s only double chairman
Daniel Malloy reports that Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson officially took the reins of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Ethics committees today, making him the upper chamber’s only double chairman. Members of both committees gathered this morning to formally name Isakson as their chairman, in moves that were long-telegraphed. Isakson served as vice chair of the Ethics committee in the previous Democrat-controlled Congress, while his ascent into the top spot on the Veterans panel was enabled by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., taking over the Intelligence Committee chairmanship.
Jan. 7, 2015 Saporta Report
Fixing state’s roads, rails to handle freight could cost up to $20 billion
David Pendered reports that Georgia Legislature’s new report on transportation funding recognizes the need to improve the state’s freight handling roads and rails, but goes into little detail. The report does observe that freight must be accommodated. The report does not note that up to $20 billion is needed to improve roads and rail for the exclusive purpose of moving freight on rails and roads, according to a consultant’s report released in 2011 by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Jan. 7, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Nominate Your Company for Best Places to Work
Do you work at the best company in Georgia? Tell us about it! Georgia Trend is accepting nominations for the Best Places to Work in Georgia. Between now and Monday, March 2, fill out the online nomination form with info about why your company is among the best in Georgia.
Jan. 7, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
2015 Georgia Bio Industry Growth Awards announced
Jacques Couret reports that Georgia Bio will hand out its 2015 Georgia Bio Industry Growth Awards to CryoLife Inc. Executive Chairman and Founder Steven G. Anderson and McDaniel Law Group PC founding partner Frank McDaniel. The annual awards recognize people "who have made extraordinary contributions to the growth of Georgia's life sciences industry." The ceremony is Jan 22.
Jan. 7, 2015 Georgia Health News
Innovative mental health program short on funds
Lee Adcock reports that mental health experts in Georgia say federal spending cuts will weaken a program that trains ordinary citizens to provide “first aid” for a person experiencing a mental health crisis. n 2014’s omnibus budget, Congress also set aside $15 million for a community based awareness program called Mental Health First Aid. But SAMHSA’s total budget in 2015 will be cut by about $40 million, and Georgia will feel it.
Jan. 7, 2015 Athens Banner Herald
School HQ move could turn into bigger redevelopment
Lee Shearer reports that a planned move of the Clarke County School District's offices to an old elementary school on Broad Street has become a wider neighborhood revitalization effort. School officials met Tuesday with planners, Athens Housing Authority head Rick Parker and representatives of other agencies and community groups to begin talking about possibilities, though firm plans are months off.
Jan. 7, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Mercedes USA chief says Atlanta HQ relo will help company stay 'competitive for the next 50 years.' - Exclusive
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Mercedes-Benz USA will relocate its headquarters to Atlanta this summer — a move that will create about 1,000 jobs and cement the Southeast as the auto industry's center of gravity. For the city, which has been on a growth sprint, landing the German luxury automaker is the largest economic development coup since United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) relocated to the area in 1991.
Jan. 7, 2015 Gainesville Times
Sen. Steve Gooch says $200M in state's fund can boost transportation
Jeff Gill reports that State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said he believes there’s about $200 million squirreled away in the state’s general fund that can help boost transportation. Transportation funding is expected to be a top issue when the General Assembly reconvenes Monday, as the federal source for highway funding is expected to dry up again early this year.
Jan. 7, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Car dealers prepare to do battle with Tesla at the state Capitol
Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy report that Uber isn’t the only paradigm-shifting company that will have a presence at the state Capitol next week, when state lawmakers gather in Atlanta. The difference is that electric car maker Tesla will definitely be playing defense. Last month, Georgia auto dealers went before a state administrative judge to lay out their argument that the California company’s business model violates state law, by selling directly to consumers.
Jan. 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Metro Atlanta may land Mercedes-Benz U.S. HQ
J. Scott Trubey and Greg Bluestein report that Metro Atlanta is expected to be picked as the new U.S. headquarters for Mercedes-Benz, three people with knowledge of the situation said Monday, bringing the region the corporate hub of its second high-profile luxury auto brand. A formal announcement could come as soon as Tuesday, the people said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of negotiations. An exact location in the region has not been determined, they said.
Jan. 6, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Hall of Fame - Lasting Influences
Karen Kirkpatrick and Christy Simo report that Bill Bolling and Saxby Chambliss join Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Hall of Fame. Bill Bolling doesn't say he is retiring from the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the powerhouse nonprofit he founded in 1976 and where he has served as executive director ever since. And if you talk to him for any length of time – say 30 seconds or more – you realize that retirement is not even a word in his vocabulary.
Jan. 6, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald
Georgia is national leader in solar power
Jim Thompson reports that Georgia’s abundant sunshine, coupled with the business strategies of Georgia Power and the state’s electric power cooperatives, have combined to make the state a national leader in solar energy, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols told a small gathering on Monday in Oconee County.
Jan. 6, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Salesforce moves forward on Buckhead office expansion; could add 300 jobs
Urvaksh Karkaria reports that San Francisco-based Salesforce is moving forward with a planned Atlanta expansion that would create about 300 jobs, according to a source. In November, Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the enterprise software giant's plans to expand its regional hub in Atlanta, with plans to take an additional 50,000 square feet in a Buckhead office tower.
Jan. 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter merger in the works
Janel Davis reports that University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby plans to recommend consolidation of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College, sources close to the matter have confirmed. The recommendation will come Tuesday during the first meeting of the year for the Board of Regents, the University System’s governing body. System officials confirmed there will be an item on the agenda regarding the future of the two institutions, but declined to comment further.
Jan. 6, 2015 Brunswick News
Marketing the anticipation of a revitalized Jekyll
Donna Stillinger reports that with the November departure of The Jekyll Island Authority marketing director, there is some concern whether efforts to fill — and keep filled — the hundreds of new hotel rooms that will open soon on the island are behind schedule. Jones Hooks, executive director of the Authority, is not worried. He says the authority is in just the right place.
Jan. 6, 2015 Savannah Morning News
New VA Clinic finally on way in Savannah
Mary Carr Mayle reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a contract for its long-promised new medical clinic in Savannah to Johnson Development of Birmingham, Ala., which will build and manage the expanded facility at 11111 Rio Road on property currently owned by Providence Presbyterian Church, the Savannah Morning News has learned.
Jan. 6, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post
Primerica announces new CEO, president
Staff reports that less than two years after Primerica moved into the largest office space in Gwinnett, the company announced on Sunday a change to its top leadership role, and that it will be held by one person. Glenn Williams, the company’s president, was promoted to chief executive officer and elected to the board of directors, effective April 1.
Jan. 6, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service
Georgia high court hears arguments on law establishing buffers along rivers and wetlands
Walter C. Jones reports that Georgia's highest court is pondering what the General Assembly intended when it passed a law protecting swamps from development. Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether to overturn a decision by the Court of Appeals regarding 25-foot buffers along the banks of marshy areas. A 1994 law requires a buffer begin on the banks of lakes and streams at the point where waves or water flow wash away plants, what scientists call wrested vegetation. That's straightforward for most bodies of water but not marshes where the water is calm.
Jan. 6, 2015 Augusta Chronicle
Local tobacco shop owners share mixed feelings on prospect of Cuban cigar sales
Jenna Martin reports that although President Obama’s new orders in easing trade and travel restrictions with Cuba fall short of allowing the resale of Cuban cigars, the thought alone is enough to make Russell Wilder excited. “If the embargo ends, the impact for me is going to be huge because it’s the forbidden fruit,” said Wilder, owner of Top Shelf Cigar & Tobacco Shoppe in Martinez. “The quality has gotten really bad in recent years, but people are just dying to get their hands on them just because they haven’t been able to.”
Jan. 6, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia donors snap up $58M of tax-credit scholarships in hours
Greg Bluestein reports, add another to-do item on the lengthy list of education initiatives up for debate this legislative session: The fate of Georgia’s tuition tax-credit scholarship. Supporters of the scholarship, which allows folks to lower their state income tax by donating to organizations that fund private-school tuition, are hailing two pieces of news that popped this week. The first is that the Department of Revenue reported that the tax credit reached its annual $58 million cap on Jan. 1. That meant that it took just a few hours for donors to reach the limit, which supporters take as evidence that the program is a runaway hit.
Jan. 5, 2015 Georgia Health News
Trends and surprises: What to watch for this year
Andy Miller reports there are no dull, uneventful years in health care. t’s too big an issue for consumers, state government and businesses, and has a huge effect on the economy of a state. This year could see considerable action on a variety of health care issues. Let’s start with the Affordable Care Act. Like it or not – and many people don’t – the health reform law is still the biggest thing going in health care in the state. Its provisions have altered the landscape of the medical system.
Jan. 5, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
New year, new transportation issues
Ben Young reports, there's no doubt that transportation will be a hot topic in 2015, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's Transportation Summit recently held at the Classic Center in Athens revealed a host of items to keep an eye out for in the coming year.
Jan. 5, 2015 Chattanooga Times-Free Press
Greater Chattanooga area's influential Georgians noted
Kendi Anderson reports that Georgia Trend magazine released its list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians, and several local area people made the cut.The annual process of selecting the most influential people is a year-round effort for the editorial staff at Georgia Trend, as the list begins with well over 100 names and is not whittled down and finalized until the end of the year, according to the magazine.
Jan. 5, 2015 Saporta Report
Local owners of Atlanta Hawks aim to play a role in new ownership group
Maria Saporta reports that the Atlanta Hawks may be for sale, but it’s premature to say that current Atlanta owners won’t continue to have a stake the team. One of the Atlanta owners, Rutherford Seydel, said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon that the local group continues to be interested in being part of a future ownership team. “We are interested in retaining an ownership position in the Hawks and partnering with a new leadership team that will take us to a new level with the Hawks,” Seydel said.
Jan. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Report: BeltLine now owes Atlanta Public Schools nearly $14 million
Carla Caldwell reports that once the calendar flipped over to 2015, the amount the Atlanta Beltline owes Atlanta Public Schools is said to have doubled. Atlanta BeltLine owned nearly 7 million last year, but didn't pay, according to the Atlanta school officials and a group of parents fighting for the payment. Now, Atlanta BeltLine owes Atlanta Public Schools approximately $14 million, WSB-TV says.
Jan. 5, 2015 UGA
UGA researchers awarded grant to study impact of painkiller abuse policies
Caroline Paskowski reports that state policies that curb the abuse of opioid prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin may be having some unintended side effects-and hurting those who need the medications the most. Researchers in the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs are using a $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate whether prescription drug monitoring programs in place in most states are keeping patients who need opioids from receiving them.
Jan. 5, 2015 GPB
Six Education Stories To Watch in 2015
Claudio Sanchez reports that the concern about too much testing really took off in 2014 and it's likely to grow, with more organized opposition at the local, state and national levels. The new tests tied to the Common Core, developed by the federally funded consortia, PARCC and Smarter Balanced, will continue to be targets.
Jan. 5, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal
Georgia manufacturing ends 2014 on volatile note
Staff reports that Georgia manufacturing activity has seen ups and downs for the last two months of 2014 and will end on a downward turn. New orders unexpectedly fell in December, leading to a similar drop for production, according to the Purchasing Managers Index released Friday by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business.
Jan. 5, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Report: Georgia developer drops Tennessee riverfront land deal
Christopher Seward reports that Georgia developer reportedly has walked away from plans to acquire 216 acres of undeveloped riverfront property in Chattanooga from insurer BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The Timesfreepress.com said the Lupton City property along the Tennessee River, once planned for a BlueCross BlueShield corporate headquarters, had been under contract to Augusta-based Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial since October.
Jan. 5, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Midstate's middle class sliding down
Mike Stucka reports, picture a series of households lined up, ordered by how much money they bring home. The household in the middle of that pack should be middle class, and all across Georgia, those middle-class incomes have been hit. In Bibb County, the median household income has lost nearly one dollar of every four, part of a decline that’s been underway for the past 25 years.
Jan. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
The Atlantic slams Georgia in report on unemployment
Carla Caldwell reports that the Atlantic reports that as the economy picks up steam and consumer sentiment rises to its highest levels since 2007, one state keeps appearing at the top of the unemployment list – Georgia. With a November unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, Georgia was narrowly edged out by Mississippi's 7.3 percent (December statistics won't come out until mid-January). The nation's unemployment rate in November was 5.8 percent, the magazine adds in its Jan. 2 article with the headline, "What's Wrong with Georgia?"
Jan. 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Report: Chick-fil-A faces credit card breach
Phil W. Hudson reports that Chick-fil-A Inc. may be the latest victim of a major credit card breach. Krebs on Security reported Dec. 30"sources at several U.S. financial institutions say they have traced a pattern of credit card fraud back to accounts that all were used at different Chick-fil-A fast food restaurants around the country."
Jan. 2, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!
Georgian of the Year: Higher education, higher stakes
Susan Percy reports, in 2006, after a long and distinguished career in public service and academia, Hank Huckaby retired. Or so he thought. Retirement didn’t seem to suit him, however, and in 2010, he ran successfully for the Georgia House of Representatives from District 113 in northeast Georgia and was just a few weeks into his first term when he was approached about taking on one of the toughest jobs in the state and perhaps the biggest challenge of his career: chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
Jan. 2, 2015 Rome News-Tribune
State sinks Redmond plans for psychiatric unit
Doug Walker reports that Redmond Regional Medical Center has withdrawn its application for a certificate of a need to allow construction of a 31-bed psychiatric unit at the hospital — but officials haven’t given up the plan.CEO John Quinlivan said state officials notified administrators that the request would be denied and allowed Redmond to withdraw the application prior to a formal decision.
Jan. 2, 2015 Savannah Morning News
Chatham officials plan for replacement of Memorial Stadium
Kelly Quimby reports that for nearly 60 years, Chatham County’s Memorial Stadium has played host to countless football games, competitions and events from its location at Montgomery Crossroad and Skidaway Road. Now the stadium, which was built in 1957, is beginning to show its age.
Jan. 2, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle
Comcast to hire 125 for Alpharetta call center
Carla Caldwell reports that the Georgia Department of Labor will host a recruiting event Jan. 9 to help Comcast fill about 125 positions for telesales associates at a call center in Alpharetta. Recruiting will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the GDoL's Cobb-Cherokee Career Center, 465 Big Shanty Road in Marietta.
Jan. 2, 2015 Macon Telegraph
Engine 509 could roll swiftly to Savannah
Jim Gaines reports that the legal details can be worked out, Steam Locomotive 509 could be on its way to Savannah before mid-March. Last week, Terry Koller, director of operations at the Georgia State Railroad Museum, got a favorable reception from Macon-Bibb County commissioners when he renewed an offer to take the engine and attached tender for protection and restoration at the museum.
Jan. 2, 2015 Saporta Report
A reinvented Sustainable Atlanta joins forces with Center for Civic Innovation
Maria Saporta reports that ever since it was founded in 2009, Sustainable Atlanta has been trying to do what all nonprofits try to do – become sustainable. Its track record over nearly six years has been mixed. And now its reconfigured board hopes it has come up with a winning – and yes – sustainable solution. Sustainable Atlanta is joining forces with the Center for Civic Innovation – a relatively new nonprofit that is seeking to change the equation in the level of public engagement and participation in the community as well as work on creative and entrepreneurial ways to make the city a better place to live and work.
Jan. 2, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider
Kasim Reed wants 45% of transportation funding in metro areas for transit
Greg Bluestein reports that at the debut of Atlanta’s Streetcar, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had a bit of advice for lawmakers readying for a knock-down debate over transportation funding. Our AJC colleague Scott Trubey asked the mayor what proportion of the new funding should go to mass transit, long a priority for Democrats and suddenly an emphasis for some leading Republicans as well.