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April 18, 2014

Vidalia Onions Headed to Stores Ahead of State's Mandated Shipping Date

Lisa George reports that whether you fry them, sauté them, or grill them, the battle over the Vidalia onions is heating up. One of Georgia’s largest Vidalia onion growers is shipping his product despite an order from the state agriculture commissioner to wait until next week. Delbert Bland farms some 3,000 acres of Vidalias in the southern part of the growing region. He says his crop is ready to go.


April 18, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Axiologix acquiring Michigan telco products firm

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Axiologix, a provider of IP voice, data and cloud-based products and services to small and medium-size companies, has signed a deal to purchase a majority of iTeknik Holding Corp.’s outstanding shares.


April 18, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Vintage drops $2.3B bid for Aaron’s Inc.

Staff reports that Vintage Capital Management LLC has pulled its unsolicited $2.3 billion bid to take over Aaron’s Inc. The move comes just days after the Atlanta-based furniture, electronics and appliances rentals retailer sued Vintage claiming the company and its leaders “are trying to obtain control of Aaron’s through an illusory proposal to acquire the company in a transaction that they cannot finance, and which they have not properly disclosed in order to garner support for the election of their slate of director candidates at the company’s 2014 annual meeting.”


April 18, 2014

Georgia Chamber CEO encourages consulates to take activist role

Phil Bolton reports that citing the success of He Beom Kim, Korea’s consul general, in lobbying on behalf of reciprocal driver’s licenses, Chris Clark, the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, encouraged the Atlanta-based consular corps to become equally involved in local issues they consider important. “It took seven years and couldn’t get passed until Mr. Kim became involved,” Mr. Clark said during a “Distinguished Speakers Series” of Georgia State University’s Korean-American Business Center of the consul’s efforts to get the legislation approved.    


April 18, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coca-Cola, InterContinental sign exclusive deal

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has signed an exclusive, multi-year agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group to provide its soft drink and juice brands to IHG’s 3,200 hotels around the world. The hotels include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.


April 18, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Data management firm Liaison Technologies raises $15 million

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Liaison Technologies has raised $15 million in funding, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The Alpharetta-based company, which provides business integration and data management services, declined comment. In late 2011, Liaison raised up to $30 million to accelerate its growth in the life sciences, healthcare and health information exchange (HIE) markets.


April 18, 2014

Georgia's New Teacher Evaluation System Seen As 'Sea Change'

Jeanne Bonner reports that education will continue to be on the front lines this fall in Georgia. And not only because it’s at the center of the gubernatorial race. Georgia will be implementing a new mandatory statewide teacher evaluation system for the first time once the new school year begins.


April 18, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, UGA Health News

UGA researchers find new method to combat common childhood illness: RSV

Staff reports that almost all children are infected with respiratory syncytial virus by the time they are two. Most recover quickly from cold-like symptoms. But for others, RSV can cause serious lung infections, such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia, which lands an estimated 75,000 to 125,000 children in the hospital each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


April 18, 2014 Rome News-Tribune, Georgia Health News

Georgia exchange applications hit 220,000

Andy Miller reports that Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday. Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.


April 18, 2014

Sam Nunn talks daughter's Senate run

Staff reports that former Sen. Sam Nunn has accomplished just about everything in public life. He's one of Georgia's most famous and accomplished sons, 24 years in the US Senate, King & Spalding, Emory, Eagle Scout, star basketball player, Augusta National member, thinker, CEO for the Nuclear Threat Initiative and now something new: father of the candidate.


April 18, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constition - Political Insider

U.S. Chamber backs Jack Kingston in Senate race

Daniel Malloy reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today endorsed Rep. Jack Kingston in the Georgia U.S. Senate race, solidifying his position as the choice of the business establishment and representing a blow to businessman David Perdue, who is fighting in the same space of the Republican primary electorate.



April 17, 2014

Atlanta Awarded Major League Soccer Franchise; Games To Begin In 2017

Robert Aaron reports that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced today that he will be the owner of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise team being awarded to Atlanta.  The new team, yet to be given a name and a logo, will play in the new Atlanta Falcons stadium beginning in 2017. Blank made the announcement Wednesday afternoon flanked by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, and Georgia World Congress Center Authority executive director Frank Poe.


April 17, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive

Sustainable Georgia: Building on the arts

Ben Young writes, Atlanta has had a lot of artistic activity recently, both indoors and out. The city has finally invested in enough murals, sculptures and public installations to generate the traction it needs to remain a cultural player. Even better, two local institutions cherished by artists for the support they provide are expanding: the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC), known better by its nickname, The Contemporary.


April 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sprouts Farmers Market to open 4 metro locations, hire 500

Christopher Seward reports that Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market plans to enter metro Atlanta with four locations and hire 500 full- and part-time employees. The stores will be in Snellville, Dunwoody, Norcross and Johns Creek. In the battle for shoppers looking for ample organic food choices, Sprouts will compete with major retailers such as Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and, increasingly, Wal-Mart, which recently announced plans to offer a wider variety of organic foods at competitive prices.


April 17, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta's Verizon Telematics to add 250 jobs as "connected-car" tech accelerates

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Verizon will add up to 250 jobs as the wireless carrier accelerates its Atlanta-based automotive business. Verizon Telematics provides automakers such as Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz with emergency services, navigation, and remote vehicle diagnostics. The company is developing new services such as driving data collection for insurers and aftermarket telematics for the 200 million vehicles not connected to the Internet.


April 17, 2014

Ag Commish talks 'onions' after Awards Breakfast in Gainesville

Marc Eggers reports that State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black quietly mingled among the guests at the annual Hall County Agribusiness Awards Breakfast Wednesday morning at the North Hall Community Center. He was not listed as one of the speakers, but wanted to show his support by attending.


April 17, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Geico to add about 520 workers in Macon this year

Linda S. Morris reports that one of the largest private employers in Middle Georgia is adding hundreds of new jobs. Automobile insurance company Geico is planning to add about 520 positions to its Macon operations by the end of the year, the company said Wednesday. With the new jobs, Geico will employ more than 5,700 people in its offices on Ocmulgee East Boulevard in east Bibb County.


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April 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 7.0 percent in March

Henry Unger reports that Georgia’s unemployment rate declined to 7.0 percent in March from 7.1 percent in February to hit the lowest level since September 2008, the state labor department said Thursday. “This is the ninth month in a row that Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “It’s down because we continue to see employers creating more jobs and laying off fewer workers. We added 27,400 jobs, which is the most February-to-March job growth we’ve seen in 10 years.”


April 17, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Augusta realtor adds 20 agents in time for Fort Gordon growth

Wesley Brown reports that one  of Metro Augusta's largest real estate firms announced Wednesday that it has doubled the number of agents it has in the field, amid expectations that significant growth at Fort Gordon over the next five years will result in an explosion of home sales and new construction. Larry Miller, owner of the area’s largest Century 21 Real Estate franchise, said that he has increased his staff from 17 to 40 agents in the past year as part of a goal the firm set in the months before the Army announced it will relocate its Cyber Command to Fort Gordon by 2019.


April 17, 2014 Albany Herald

Gov. Nathan Deal signs SB 349 into law at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport

Terry Lewis reports that Gov. Nathan Deal flew into Albany Wednesday afternoon to sign into law Senate Bill 349, which revised the functions of the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).


April 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A ‘major’ campaign announcement becomes must-see political theater

Greg Bluestein reports that former Dalton Mayor David Pennington’s “major announcement” turned into one of the most bizarre events of the campaign season. It featured a hand-lettered sign, a few rather confused reporters, snickering Gov. Nathan Deal staffers and a made-for-TV interruption from the governor’s attorney.


April 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Ending a drought of successful black candidates in Georgia

Jim Galloway report that a dozen years have passed since an African-American won a statewide, partisan election in Georgia. And truth be told, the real drought has lasted much longer. The first and only time a black candidate has won statewide office in Georgia without first being appointed to it — and thus having the advantage of incumbency – was in 1998, when Democrat Michael Thurmond claimed the open seat for state labor commissioner.



April 16, 2014

Federal Government Warns Georgia Food Stamp Program, Also Notes Progress

Michelle Wirth reports that Georgia continues to remain at risk for losing millions of dollars in federal funding due to an application backlog and other issues with its food stamp program. The federal government issued a formal warning letter to the state yesterday but is also recognizing the state’s progress. After recently processing all but 45 of the more than 30,000 overdue applications that were supposed to be completed by the end of March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Georgia has made “meaningful gains.” But the Department says the state didn’t meet the March deadline. In the meantime, thousands of additional cases became overdue.


April 16, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Contemporary Color

Ben Young writes, Coloring,” a group show at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center features Bill Adams, Paul Stephen Benjamin, Rutherford Chang, Kate Shepherd and Anne Lindberg, whose work “taut green” is pictured. Read more about the ACAC's new redesign in this month's Sustainable Georgia.


April 16, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Gulfstream announces 60-aircraft deal

Mary Carr Mayle reports that Savannah-based business jet manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on Tuesday announced a deal to sell 60 aircraft to a Chinese leasing company, one of the largest orders in Gulfstream’s history. The agreement, finalized in the fourth quarter of 2013 with Minsheng Financial Leasing Co., includes firm orders for 40 airplanes and options for 20 more. Financial details were not disclosed, although a conservative estimate puts the deal in the billions of dollars.


April 16, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia corporate tax rates vary widely

Christopher Seward reports that while many Georgians may owe Uncle Sam and state government more taxes this year and others will be getting back what they overpaid, the debts and refunds will pale in comparison to the billions U.S. corporations pay out or get back annually. WalletHub, a personal-finance social network providing financial tools and information, recently released its S&P 100 Tax Rate Report showing the state, federal and international tax rates paid by the largest companies on the S&P 500 for the 2012 tax year.


April 16, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Rollins buys Down Under pest control company

Jacques Couret reports that Rollins Inc. will grow its global pest control empire with the purchase of Australia’s Statewide Pest Management. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal should close by the end of April.


April 16, 2014 Saporta Report

Aaron’s acquiring Progressive Finance Holdings, urges shareholders to reject Vintage bid

Leon Maria Saporta reports that Atlanta-based Aaron’s Inc., a leading lease-to-own retailer, announced Tuesday morning that it has acquired Progressive Finance Holdings, LLC, a leading virtual lease-to-own company, from Summit Partners in an all-cash transaction valued at about $700 million. Aaron’s will operate Progressive as a wholly-owned subsidiary. John Robinson, Progressive’s CEO, will join the Aaron’s executive leadership team as executive vice president and CEO of Progressive, reporting directly to Ronald W. Allen, Aaron’s CEO.


April 16, 2014, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia regents approve tuition increases

Janel Davis reports that Georgia’s public college students will pay more to attend school in the fall following a tuition increase approved Tuesday by the state’s Board of Regents. The board approved a 2.5 percent undergraduate tuition increase for 27 of the 31 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia. The rate change means most students will pay between $32 and $85 more in tuition each semester, depending on the where they are enrolled.


April 16, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

SunTrust taps Manley to oversee Columbus, Macon, Albany region

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Tony Adams reports that the third-largest bank in the Columbus metro area has a new top executive — in a newly created position that oversees a three-city region. James A. Manley III has been chosen to lead the Columbus and Macon region for Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, the company said Tuesday. His area of responsibility also includes Albany, Ga.


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April 16, 2014

Wait 6 Days To Harvest Onions? Not If This Vidalia Farmer Can Help It

Sarah McCammon reports that the state’s largest Vidalia onion grower is awaiting word Tuesday on whether he can harvest and ship onions without facing state fines. Delbert Bland of Bland Farms in Glennville says much of his crop is ready and he’s packing this week. That’s contrary to a ruling from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. He’s told growers to wait until Monday, April 21 to pack. Black says immature onions are damaging the Vidalia brand.


April 16, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, UGA News Service

UGA researchers develop new drug formulation for cancer treatment

Staff reports that health forums were abuzz in 2007 with news that a simple, inexpensive chemical may serve as a viable treatment to many forms of cancer. The drug dichloroacetate, or DCA, was touted as a cure-all, but after years of work, scientists are still searching for ways to make the unique treatment as effective as possible. Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a new way to deliver this drug that may one day make it a viable treatment for numerous forms of cancer.


April 16, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

First Quarter fundraising roundup for U.S. Senate, Congress

Daniel Malloy reports that today is the deadline for federal candidates to file their first quarter fundraising reports. We’ll update this post throughout the day on the key races throughout Georgia tate to tell you how the candidates stack up in the money race as of the end of March. On the Republican side, Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah sets the pace again, as most of the candidates saw their fundraising jump as the election year dawned. Kingston raised $1.1 million, spent about $2.4 million — much of which was to reserve TV time in the coming weeks — and finished the quarter with $2.1 million on hand.



April 15, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia nuclear plant has a second round of problems in a week

Matt Kempner reports that for the second time in a week, Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle near Augusta had problems that knocked a nuclear unit offline. A Georgia Power spokesman said there were no radiological releases or injuries associated with the incidents. On Saturday, the plant’s Unit 1 had mechanical problems tied to a turbine as the unit was being brought on line after scheduled refueling, according to the company. 


April 15, 2014 USA Today

Coke aims for cool with new 146-flavor dispenser

Bruce Horovitz reports that one machine can't fix all that's wrong with the soft drink industry. But Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine — which can dispense 146 different flavors — is giving Coke the one thing it needs most of all: buzz. Freestyle is not a beverage formula, but a formula for survival in the $76 billion soft-drink industry awash in competition and growing consumer rejection.


April 15, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NCR signs deal with Qatar Islamic Bank

Christopher Seward reports that a week after announcing a technology partnership with a company in China, Duluth-based NCR has signed another software and hardware deal that will expand its services in Qatar, in the Middle East. Qatar Islamic Bank said the partnership will expand ATM services in the country as part of a range of technology projects this year. Financial terms were not disclosed.


April 15, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Popeyes CFO Mel Hope leaving

Staff reports that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. Chief Financial Officer H. Melville Hope III will leave the company May 23 to “pursue other opportunities,” the Atlanta-based fast-food chain reported Monday. The company said it started a search for Hope’s successor and will review internal and external candidates.


April 15, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Job spotlight: Teresa White, Chief operations officer at Aflac

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Tony Adams reports that as is the case with so many other residents of the Columbus-Phenix City area, if not for Fort Benning, Teresa White easily could have landed anywhere else in America and pursued a successful career. Instead, her now-retired Army sergeant husband, James, was transferred here from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in the mid-1990s. Teresa took a job with AT&T Universal Card Services, a credit-card statement fulfillment firm.


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April 15, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald

Georgia passes law offering $25 million in video game tax breaks

Staff reports that Georgia state governor Nathan Deal signed a bill into law this morning that will provide $25 million in tax credits for video game developers in the region, according to a report published to the website of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It's part of a legislation package known as House Bill 958, which includes similar tax relief efforts for food banks and energy-efficient item vendors in Georgia.


April 15, 2014

Capitol Confusion: When Does Georgia’s Gun Expansion Begin?

Claire Simms reports that some call it the “guns everywhere” bill, but it does not quite cover everything. Legislators passed “The Safe Carry Protection Act” in the final hours of this year’s legislative session. They did not, however, include an effective date anywhere in the nearly 30 page document that cleared the House and Senate.


April 15, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

Georgia governor signs bills limiting development on Jekyll Island to 1,675 acres

Terry Dickson reports that Gov. Nathan Deal signed two legislative bills Monday that ended decades of wrangling over development on the state-owned barrier island. House Bill 715 and Senate Bill 296 did the same thing, they capped development on the island at 1,675 acres superseding an old state law that limited development to 35 percent of the high ground but set off 40 years of arguments on where the marsh ended and the uplands began.



April 15, 2014

Deal Signs Final Wave Of Criminal Justice Reforms Into Law

Michell Eloy reports that Gov. Nathan Deal Sunday signed into a law a bill to help ex-offenders re-enter society after prison, the third and final leg of sweeping criminal justice reforms that have defined his first term. Backed by the Lee Arrendale State Prison Women’s Choir, Deal signed the bill during services at Antioch Baptist Church in his hometown of Gainesville.


April 15, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Bob Barr tones down his talk of impeachment

Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway report that former congressman Bob Barr, now seeking a comeback in the race for Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, raised eyebrows in January when he told a well-known conspiracy theorist that if he were to win the election, he would attempt to impeach President Barack Obama. A former federal prosecutor who helped lead impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Barr said the Obama administration had acted illegally both in postponing mandates in the federal health care law, and through softening enforcement of federal immigration laws.



April 14, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Wall Street Journal story trashes Coca-Cola

David Allison reports that the Coca-Cola Co. has gotten off course, continuing to push sodas as industry trends point to other non-carbonated beverages, a new Wall Street Journal story suggests. "Diet Coke sales are falling off a cliff," begins the story titled "Sales drop, but Coke sticks to formula." The rest of the story is hardly more favorable.


April 14, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Ready to go: 2014 Economic Yearbook

Staff reports that everywhere you turn in Georgia, stories abound of new industries bubbling up, new jobs heading to the state and a newfound sense of optimism about the coming years. It seems the Great Recession is finally in our rearview mirror, and Georgia is ready to hit the gas pedal.


April 14, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta high on list of Energy Star buildings

Christopher Seward reports that Metro Atlanta is near the top of a list of cities with the most energy efficient buildings certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Among the 25 largest U.S. metro areas, Atlanta ranked 3rd for most “Energy Star”-designated buildings last year, the EPA said.


April 14, 2014 Macon Telegraph

New hurdle for Plant Washington

Maggie Lee reports that the backers of a plan for a coal plant in Sandersville are negotiating with state environmental regulators again in a permit wrangle that’s stretched for years and reaches from Sandersville to Atlanta and Washington, D.C. This month, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s Air Protection Branch in Atlanta opened a public comment period on a request from Power4Georgians.


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April 14, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

EZ-GO, Club Car meet challenges with innovation

Tim Rausch reports that the hum of small engines as golfers drive down cart paths is the sound big business in Augusta. About 10 percent of the area’s manufacturing workforce is invested in making golf cars and other electric vehicles. Augusta is the corporate headquarters and primary manufacturing home for E-Z-GO and Club Car, the two leaders in golf car production.


April 14, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald

New programs in land conservation

Sarah Fay Campbell reports that the recently approved U.S. farm bill included renewed funding for agricultural easement programs, which pay landowners for improving and conserving their land. The Georgia Conservancy is trying to get the word out to landowners about these programs, as well as other programs that can provide tax benefits for conservation or financial assistance for certain conservation projects.


April 14, 2014 Georgia Health News

Report: Developmentally disabled need better care in Georgia

Andy Miller reports that an independent reviewer reports that Georgia is failing to provide adequate supervision of individuals with developmental disabilities who are moved from state hospitals to community group homes. The reviewer, in a report dated March 23, says there is an “urgent need to ensure competent and sufficient health practitioner oversight of individuals who are medically fragile and require assistance with most aspects of their daily lives.”


April 14, 2014 Gainesville Times

Deal signs criminal justice reform bill into law

Carly Sharec reports that one in three Georgia inmates will return to prison within three years of being placed on parole, but a new state law aims to reduce those numbers and help nonviolent offenders get back to work.


April 14, 2014

Ahead Of The Governor’s Race, Georgia Democrats Court Youth Vote

Jeanne Bonner reports that the Young Democrats of Georgia will be holding their annual conference this April 11-13 in Columbus, and notably one of the key speakers is a young Democrat himself. Jason Carter is the 38-year-old Democratic gubernatorial campaign, and he will be headlining a special awards dinner at the conference. Organizers say the weekend events are geared toward whipping up excitement among the party’s youth, in the hopes they will campaign for the candidates and come out and vote in November.


April 14, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A second chance for a food bank tax break

Greg Bluestein reports that Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto last year of a bill that would have reinstated sales tax exemptions for food banks was one of the most surprising decisions he’s made in the governor’s office. He’s set to revisit that debate this morning. Deal plans to head to the Atlanta Food Bank on Monday to sign House Bill 958, a package of tax bills that revives the incentives for food banks along with a range of other breaks that are estimated to cost more than $200 million.



April 11, 2014

Georgia's rate of uninsured children drops

Marcy Williams reports that fewer children lack health insurance coverage in Georgia. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the number of kids in Georgia without health insurance is down from 11.5 percent in 2008 to 9.4 percent in 2012.  More children are covered by Medicaid or PeachCare. Still, Georgia has the tenth-highest rate of uninsured children in the nation.


April 11, 2014

Governor Deal Announces Two Paths For Medical Marijuana Research In Georgia

Shauna Stuart and Claire Simms report that Georgia's medical marijuana bill failed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, but children with seizure disorders may now have a glimmer of hope. Thursday afternoon, Governor Nathan Deal announced two potential pathways for medical marijuana in Georgia. 


April 11, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Family Dollar closing 370 stores, cutting jobs, prices

Christopher Seward reports that Family Dollar, a discount retailer with multiple locations in metro Atlanta and rural Georgia, said it will close 370 underperforming stores in the coming months after reporting lower profit and sales in the second quarter. The Matthews, N.C.-based chain, which has located many of its stores in rural and low-income urban areas, said it will also cut prices on about 1,000 basic items in hopes of increasing store traffic.


April 11, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gwinnett Medical Center to open electrophysiology labs

Staff reports that Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) is now offering electrophysiology, which diagnoses and treats heart arrhythmias. The center has two labs dedicated to the process at Strickland Heart Center on its Lawrenceville, Ga.-based campus will become operational April 16. Before now, GMC patients had to travel to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sandy Springs for electrophysiology.


April 11, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Macon women swim with 'sharks' and strike deal

Staff reports that Hold Your Haunches business owners Erin Bickley and Jenny Greer celebrated with family members and friends Thursday night at a viewing party for the ABC TV series “Shark Tank” at Idle Hour Country Club. Greer and Bickley shot their episode in Los Angeles in September. They successfully pitched Hold Your Haunches -- women’s pants that help the wearer maintain their form -- to millionaire investors Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran.


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April 11, 2014 Albany Herald

ADICA dreams big on downtown Albany development plan

Carlton Fletcher reports that for City Attorney Nathan Davis, the choice put before the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority Board Wednesday afternoon was a simple one. “The question you face is, do you want to spend over $300,000 for a dream?” Davis said after the board was asked to consider approval of a pre-development planning and consulting agreement with Shandon Development Properties of Charlotte, N.C., to devise a master plan for some $49 million in downtown development.


April 11, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, UGA News Service

Georgia BioBusiness Center to showcase UGA startup companies

Staff reports that the Georgia BioBusiness Center, the University of Georgia's startup incubator, will hold its annual Startup Showcase on Tuesday, April 15, from 5:30-7 p.m. The event will be held at the UGA Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, located at 111 Riverbend Road. All UGA faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to attend.


April 11, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

GRU had 'productive' year, Azziz says

Tom Corwin reports that the year since Masters Tournament visitors were last here has been “tremendously productive” for Georgia Regents University, President Ricardo Azziz said. He can point to a number of deals done and multimillion-dollar gifts received, of buildings being completed and another just getting funded.


April 11, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

David Perdue calls Karen Handel to apologize

Daniel Malloy reports that eight days after we told you about businessman David Perdue’s remarks on the credentials of “the high school graduate in this race” he called former Secretary of State Karen Handel to apologize. But Handel is in no mood to let it go. Earlier today she released a radio ad using the Perdue audio to make the case that Perdue has “lost touch with our values.” Shortly after the call was over, Handel sent out a press release saying she accepted the apology. 




April 10, 2014

In Georgia, Women Make More Than The National Average- Unless They Are Latino Or Black 

Ellen Reinhardt reports that a bill making it harder for employers to pay women less than men in comparable jobs died in the U.S. Senate Wednesday when Senate Republicans derailed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a Democratic bill curbing paycheck discrimination against women. A new study finds that nationally, women in full-time jobs earn 77 cents on average for every dollar men make. 


April 10, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive

Business Casual: Shaggy hair, big changes

Susan Percy writes, it wasn’t the most significant event of 1964 – there’s a lot of competition for that title – but the arrival of The Beatles in the U.S. and their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show rank pretty high on my personal highlight list because the impact was solid, pervasive and immediate.


April 10, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NCR signs China reseller deal

Christopher Seward reports that NCR Corp. announced a major partnership with a Chinese company to expand the Duluth-based company’s point of sale technologies to supermarkets, conveniences stores, gas stations and other retailers in the Asian country. NCR already operates a manufacturing plant in Beijing, and is a major provider of ATMs and self-check-in kiosks at airports. The company also provides solutions to financial, hospitality and travel industries in China.


April 10, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

PETA asks Chick-fil-A to serve faux chicken sandwich

Carla Caldwell reports that PETA says it's time that Chick-fil-A offerd customers a faux chicken sandwich. In a letter to Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals refers to the restaurant chain’s plans to add healthier options to its menu and says the best way to be healthy is a non-chicken chicken sandwich.


April 10, 2014 Augusta Chronicle, Morris News Service

Augusta interested as Georgia looks at rail expansion

Walter C. Jones reports that the last time the Department of Transportation produced the State Rail Plan in 2009, it acknowledged there were more local efforts going on than it could include. Now the department is preparing an update, and it’s looking for public input. And various groups are already prepared to offer their vision of what the new plan should include.


April 10, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia workforce agency moving under economic development

J. Scott Trubey reports that the state’s workforce development agency is moving under the banner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development in a move state leaders said Wednesday will more closely align job-readiness programs with Georgia’s business recruitment and retention efforts. The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development will become the workforce division of the state economic development agency. 


April 10, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Nationwide outages plague AT&T services

Korris Kazar reports that reports have flowed in since Monday regarding a nationwide outage of AT&T U-verse phone, cable and Internet services, a situation that continued to plague the company's customer's Wednesday morning. Consumers around the United States have taken to Twitter and other online forums to express frustration over losing channels and data. 


April 10, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Forsyth-Monroe chamber president tapped for Perry  job

Jenna Mink reporta that there is an old air traffic control tower at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins where Darlene McLendon started her career. Now, the president of the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce is returning to the “area that is so special,” she said. McLendon, 50, has been named the new president and CEO of the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce.


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April 10, 2014 Albany Herald

Georgia Mom and pop businesses are not buying ACA

Hyacinth Empanado reports that the health insurance marketplace for small businesses is now open. But Mom and Pop aren’t buying. Many small employers do not even appear interested in checking out this feature of the Affordable Care Act, which is different from the better-known individual exchange where people buy coverage for themselves.


April 10, 2014

Gubernatorial Candidates Report Finances as Primary Nears

Michelle Wirth reports that Georgia’s incumbent governor continues to have the most cash on hand in the upcoming gubernatorial contest, but Democratic candidate and state Senator Jason Carter has raised a significant amount of money. On Monday, Governor Deal reported having $3.9 million dollars on hand for his reelection campaign. Since the legislative session ended, Deal has raised more than $84,000. Jen Talaber is a spokesperson for Governor Deal’s campaign.


April 10, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Medical marijuana changes could be on tap today

Greg Bluestein reports that Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff has quietly worked on a plan to allow the limited use of medical marijuana since lawmakers scuttled a legislative push to do so last month. He could be ready to unveil that proposal later today. The governor’s office isn’t talking, but we hear Deal could outline his plan to allow some families to use a form of cannabis oil to treat debilitating seizures at an early afternoon press conference. He could also discuss a separate idea to start privatizing the foster care system.



April 9, 2014

Deal: March revenues up 12.3 percent

Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Georgia’s net tax collections for the month of March totaled $1.32 billion for an increase of nearly $144.5 million, or 12.3 percent, compared to the month-ended March 2013. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $13.05 billion for an increase of nearly $705 million, or 5.7 percent, compared to the same point last year.


April 9, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia Shrimp Under Siege

Ben Young reports that black gill is a fairly common disorder in the shrimp that live in the shoreline waters from Savannah to St. Marys. It is not a disease, but rather is caused by an organism entering the shrimp’s body. It tarnishes the look of the food, though it isn’t harmful to the humans who eat it.


April 9, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Chick-fil-A launches new grilled menu items 

Jacques Couret and Phil W. Hudson reports that Chick-fil-A Inc. took seven years and spent $50 million to develop new three new grilled chicken menu items, which begin selling April 14. Each breast gets a marinade of sea salt, lemon, garlic and herbs before being cooked on a proprietary grill developed by the Atlanta-based fast-food chain. 


April 9, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Weather Channel cuts reality shows in DirecTV deal

Rodney Ho reports that DirecTV will return the Weather Channel to 20 million of its viewers after a caustic three-month dispute and blackout. The Atlanta-based network agreed to some concessions, including returning to more weather broadcasts while reducing some programs such as “Coast Guard Alaska.”


April 9 2014  Savannah Morning News

Nordic announces expansion

Mary Carr Mayle reports that Nordic Cold Storage, which opened the first phase of its state-of-the-art storage and blast facility in Pooler last year, announced Tuesday the beginning of Phase Two, which will double capacity and add 135 new jobs to the 135 now in place. Work is already underway, with completion expected in the first quarter of 2015, said Ross Maple, director of business strategy for Atlanta-based Nordic, the second largest cold-storage operator in the Southeast and the eighth largest in North America.


April 9, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Liberty Media makes $46.7M in Barnes & Noble stock sale

Mark Meltzer reports that the Atlanta Braves' opening day went well, financially, for the company that owns the team. Hours before the first pitch of the Braves' home opener, Liberty Media reported it made nearly $50 million in a stock sale. Liberty (Nasdaq: LMCA) sold 185,000, or nearly 91 percent, of the preferred shares it held in Barnes & Noble for $250.7 million, the company reported Tuesday in a regulatory filing.


April 9, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

First Data hires AOL exec as chief technology officer

Christopher Seward reports that a former AOL executive has joined First Data, the Sandy Springs-based payment technology and services company, as chief technology officer. Michael Manos had been CTO for AOL Brand, leading teams for AOL Instant Messenger, the AOL home page and the company’s entertainment, autos, commerce and lifestyle sites.


April 9, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

GSMST ranked most-challenging high school in Georgia

Keith Farner reports that Gwinnett is home to one of the most challenging high schools in the country, and five of the most challenging high schools in Georgia, according to the latest ranking of top schools by a national newspaper. The Washington Post recently ranked 1,900 high schools in its latest listing of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” which began in 1998. 


April 9, 2014

Georgia Ranks 32nd in Election Performance, According to New Pew Study

Denis O'Hayer reports that on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, The Pew Charitable Trusts released its latest Election Performance Index, which looked at whether all 50 states improved their administration of elections between 2008 and 2012.  Georgia, which ranked 32nd, showed the biggest decline in the nation.  But state officials point to new initiatives, like the online voter registration program which was launched just days before the Pew report was released.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with David Becker, the director of election initiatives for the Pew Charitable Trusts.


April 9, 2014

Moral Mondays Georgia: Same Battles, New Protests 

Claire Simms reports that dozens of protesters met outside Governor Nathan Deal’s office Tuesday morning to present a petition calling for Deal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  The group is part of a movement called “Moral Mondays,” which started in North Carolina with a similar goal. The Georgia group organized several events during this the legislative session, but this protest was the first one since lawmakers adjourned.  


April 9, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Conservative Super PAC’s new target is Phil Gingrey

Daniel Malloy reports that Ending Spending PAC has been on the air in Georgia hitting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, but the group does not limit its antipathy to Democrats: It’s now attacking Rep. Phil Gingrey. The group, funded by Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, has bought $1.3 million in ad time between now and the May 20 primary. We assumed this was all to bash Nunn, but that is not the case.



April 8, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

HuffPo lauds ATL as ‘Big American City You’ve Been Missing Out On’

Staff reports that you know Atlanta is awesome. Now Huffington Post wants the rest of the world to know. The site put together a list headlined “Why Atlanta Is The Big American City You’ve Been Missing Out On.”


April 8, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Delta holds strong in airline ranking, AirTran falls

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Delta Air Lines ranked fourth among U.S. airlines in an annual airline study, while AirTran Airways fell to 10th place out of 15 airlines. Atlanta-based Delta was also the top-ranked major network carrier in the Airline Quality Rating study of airline performance in 2013, released Monday. The top three spots were filled by smaller carriers, with Virgin America taking the top spot, followed by JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines.


April 8, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Monitoring to keep tabs on Savannah harbor deepening's impact

Mary Landers reports that squishing with every step and crackling with each arm’s sweep of giant cut grass, the Clemson ecologists slogged to their destination, an area of freshwater marsh on the Savannah River expected to be threatened by harbor deepening. Guided by GPS, research assistant professor Jamie Duberstein and research technician Ryan Marsh found their site Wednesday morning and got to work assembling a monitoring station. 


April 8, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NorthSide Bank names new CEO

J. Scott Trubey reports that Adairsville-based NorthSide Bank has named longtime community banking veteran Larry Flowers its new president and CEO, the company said Monday. Flowers, who started his career with Citibank, is a former executive First Liberty Bank of Georgia and banks in Minnesota and Florida.


April 8, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Home Depot Chairman Blake’s total comp steady at $11M

Staff reports that Home Depot Inc. Chairman and CEO Frank Blake’s total compensation was virtually flat in 2013, according to a proxy filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Blake got about $11 million last year, including a $1.06 million salary (basically flat), about $4.9 million in stock awards (up 6 percent), about $2.4 million in option awards (down 9.5 percent) and $2.6 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation (up 4.7 percent).


April 8, 2014 Gainesville Times

King’s Hawaiian to add 450 jobs

Joshua Silavent reports that the smell of dinner rolls wafting over Oakwood is about to grow stronger as King’s Hawaiian plans to expand its production facilities and hire 450 new employees over the next two years.


April 8, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Georgia Senate campaigns unleash more than $5M in ads ahead of primary

Greg Bluestein reports that a tipster sent us over this recently prepared research that outlines the media buys for the Georgia Senate candidates. The screaming headline is that more than $5 million has already been spent by the candidates and outside forces ahead of the May 20 primary. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll find some other interesting tidbits. One is that Ending Spending, the conservative Super PAC going after Democrat Michelle Nunn is spending a lot more than the $150,000 initially reported


April 8, 2014 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service 

Georgia Democratic ballot to cover 'issues we're hearing from our folks'

Walter C. Jones reports that voters choosing a Democratic ballot for the Georgia primary will also get to weigh in on a handful of issues. Monday, the Secretary of State’s Office released the list of non-binding questions that will appear on Democratic ballots. The Democratic Party of Georgia submitted them during last month’s candidate qualifying period, but the Republican Party did not offer any, according to Jared Thomas, the agency’s spokesman.


April 8, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Nathan Deal proposes a ‘comprehensive’ ethics overhaul in wake of jury verdict

Greg Bluestein reports that the jury verdict siding with a former ethics commission head who claimed she was forced out because she was too aggressively investigating Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign has already sent ripple waves through his office. Today we see one of the results.



April 7, 2014 Saporta Report

Arthur Blank on the verge of announcing soccer team for Atlanta 

Maria Saporta reports that the website reported Sunday that Atlanta will receive the next franchise of the of Major League Soccer. It is not secret that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been involved in detailed discussions with MLS to get an expansion team to Atlanta in time to play in the $1.2 billion stadium in 2017.’s Jonathan Tannenwald quoted multiple sources saying that Atlanta would become the 22nd MLS franchise (not Miami which is still trying to put together a stadium deal). 


It is not secret that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been involved in detailed discussions with MLS to get an expansion team to Atlanta in time to play in the $1.2 billion stadium in 2017.’s Jonathan Tannenwald quoted multiple sources saying that Atlanta would become the 22nd MLS franchise (not Miami which is still trying to put together a stadium deal).

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April 7, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Help and hope

Mary Anne Dunkin reports that when Davidson College senior David Johnston was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a virulent form of the blood cancer, at age 3, statistically speaking he was not expected to live. Today, David’s story of survival is one his father shares often as director of pediatric hematology/oncology at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

AOL Brand Group’s CTO jumps ship for Atlanta company

Phil W. Hudson reports that a former AOL executive has jumped ship and will join First Data Corp. First Data Corp. today announced the appointment of Michael Manos as chief technology officer. According to a company spokesperson, Manos is the first CTO under the leadership of Frank Bisignano as its chairman and CEO.


April 4, 2014 Gainesville Times

Group moves forward on water study, albeit in secret

Jeff Gill reports that the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders soldiers on, but behind closed doors. The group, which is paying for a data-driven study of the river basin that includes Lake Lanier, plans to follow through on a December vote by members to keep findings secret when it meets again Wednesday and Thursday in Apalachicola, Fla.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Smart meter maker Sensus to acquire Atlanta data startup Verdeeco

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that one of the world's largest smart meter manufacturers will acquire Atlanta-based smart grid data analytics startup Verdeeco. Raleigh-based Sensus, which is expected to announce the deal next week, paid nearly $5 million for the two-year-old startup, according to sources. Sensus is expected to invest in, and expand, Verdeeco’s Midtown Atlanta operations.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Braves development finalist bows out

J. Scott Trubey and Tim Tucker report that one of two groups named as finalists to develop a $400 million mixed-use project next to the new Braves stadium in Cobb County has bowed out, two people with knowledge of the situation said Thursday. But it wasn’t clear — and the Braves wouldn’t say — if that means the other group will get the job or if the search for a lead developer will have to start over.


April 4, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

Study: Georgia has 14th worst drivers in the nation

Nikki Wiley reports that one Common complaints about aggressive and inept drivers on metro Atlanta’s roads may have been validated by a study that has named Georgia the state with the 14th worst drivers. In the study completed by, the Peach State landed its ranking in the bottom-third of the nation based on statistics such as fatality rates, failure to obey traffic signals and seat belt laws, drunk driving, tickets and incidents of careless driving provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Motorists Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


April 4, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Mall owner, others discuss Gwinnett Place's future

Cami Young reports that two days before Christmas, Nick Masino pulled into Gwinnett Place Mall to get a gift for his daughter from a specialty Asian mart. “It’s not what I thought,” said Masino, one of Gwinnett’s business experts as the leader of the Partnership Gwinnett economic development effort. “The fact is the mall is vibrant. The reality is, it’s very strong.” With a new owner for the mall and projects like a recently opened diverging-diamond interchange nearby, the area known as Gwinnett’s central business district is experiencing a revival 30 years after it opened as the county’s first mall on what had been a mobile home park.


April 4, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Mitsubishi moving full steam ahead

Mary Carr Mayle reports that it's only three months old, but 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year, both for Mitsubishi’s Savannah Machinery Works and its parent company half a world away. After delivering its first 300-ton commercial gas turbine just 18 months ago, the Savannah plant — Mitsubishi’s first turbine production facility in North America — has cranked out seven more from its 500-square-foot factory set on a 120-acre campus on the Pooler megasite.


April 4, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

Brazile: Georgia might become first purple state

Lee Shearer reports that Georgia could be the first southern state to move out of firm Republican control to become a so-called “purple” state, where neither the GOP nor Democrats dominate voter rolls, said to political analyst and strategist Donna Brazile on Thursday. “I think if any state in the South can turn from red to blue, it’s Georgia,” said Brazile, who became the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign when she became Al Gore’s campaign manager in 2000.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nathan Deal tries to keep ethics decision at arm’s length

Greg Bluestein reports that even before the verdict was in Friday, Gov. Nathan Deal was already distancing himself from the ethics trial going on just down the block from the statehouse. He told us that “they try to drag me into it; I have no involvement whatsoever.” Speaking in Macon for the first time since the jury’s decision, he stuck to that line. GPB’s Adam Ragusea reports that Deal declined to comment on the verdict, which sided in favor of former ethics agency head Stacey Kalberman, who claimed she was forced from her job for too aggressively investigating a complaint from Deal’s 2010 campaign.



April 4, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

'Bet' is on Cobb Firm: Pope & Land likely to be part of $400M new Braves project

Jon Gillooly reports that Cobb Chairman Tim Lee said Thursday if he were a betting man, he’d bet the Braves franchise would select a consortium that includes Cumberland-based Pope & Land to build the $400 million mixed-used development next to the planned Cobb County Braves stadium. “Based on my conversations, it’s likely that the project will go to the Pope & Land and Fuqua consortium,” Lee said. “Based on my conversations with the Braves organization, although the requests for proposal haven’t come in, the conversations to date would indicate that.”


April 4, 2014

Mayor Reed: 'We've got to go big' in global engagement

Trevor Williams reports that with the city’s fiscal house in order and its international affairs department fully staffed, Mayor Kasim Reed see his second term as the time for a concerted effort to assert Atlanta’s presence on the global stage.  “We’ve got to go big. The bottom line is that we’re going to go at this in a patient, sustained fashion over four years,” he told Global Atlanta in a wide-ranging interview on the city’s international engagement. "This is not a fad. It’s something that I enjoy, it’s something that I believe in, and it’s something that is central to my strategy.”    


  April 4, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Aflac, Synovus, TSYS poised for earnings season     

Tony Adams reports that it's a season unlike any other of the year. It’s primed for both casual investors and those truly passionate about the shares of stocks they own of local publicly traded companies. And, like the pre-summer heat, it’s fast approaching. Aflac, Synovus and TSYS — all headquartered in or near downtown Columbus — are now preparing to put the finishing touches on their first-quarter earnings reports. The information will detail the revenue and expected profits of the firms from the January-March timeframe.


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April 4, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Company’s first U.S. presence will be in Gwinnett 

Staff reports thatl ocal officials, business leaders and industry experts will join Shini Plastics Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of plastics manufacturing equipment, to celebrate the opening of its Americas Headquarters and Technical & Logistics Center in Suwanee on Friday. A ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. at 4189 Capital View Drive in Suwanee.


April 4, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Macon manufactures featured in made-in-Macon campaign

Linda S. Morris reports that twenty-two Macon manufacturers will be featured this month in a social media campaign by the Macon Economic Development Commission and the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. Manufacturer’s Appreciation Week is April 14-18, but the MEDC and the chamber are recognizing a different manufacturer each workday of the month in a “It’s Made in Macon” social media campaign. One manufacturer, along with a description of what it makes, will be highlighted each day.


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April 4, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

Athens aerospace company acquired by New York private equity firm 

Staff reports that an Athens-based aerospace parts-suppliers has been acquired by a New York-based private equity firm for an undisclosed amount, according to a Wednesday announcement from the firm. Liberty Hall Capital Partners reports in a news release that the Athens company, McCann Aerospace Machining, will be integrated into another aerospace equipment supplier, Accurus Aerospace.


April 4, 2014

State Board of Education Approves New Teacher Evaluations

Martha Dalton reports that the state board of education approved a new evaluation system for teachers and principals Thursday. The system will be fully implemented next year. However, most Georgia schools have been piloting the new evaluations already. The system has been somewhat controversial. Students’ test scores comprise at least half of teachers’ evaluations. The system was created through Georgia’s federal Race to the Top grant. State education officials fell behind federal deadlines while developing the program.


April 4, 2014, Georgia Health News

Cagle: Don't Prosecute Families With Marijuana Derivative

Charles Craig reports that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday that parents in Georgia should not have to fear prosecution if they use medical marijuana derivatives to treat their children who suffer from intractable seizures. He told reporters, “I’m calling upon every prosecutor in the state not to prosecute families” that possess cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a non-smokable, non-psychoactive derivative of marijuana, for use with their children.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Gov. Deal orders changes to food stamp program as feds threaten to cut funding

Greg Bluestein reports that Gov. Nathan Deal is ordering changes aimed at clearing the backlog jamming the state’s food stamp program as federal officials threaten to cut up to $76 million in administrative funding if the problems aren’t fixed. Deal’s office said Department of Human Services Commissioner Keith Horton was instructed to seek a federal waiver on Thursday that would allow the state to immediately approve food stamp applications from some of the neediest Georgians.


April 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Sarah Palin boosts Handel and knocks Perdue with visit

Greg Bluestein reports that Sarah Palin swept into Atlanta Thursday to boost the fortunes of the only female Republican in the race for the open Senate seat – and knock a rival who snubbed her lack of a college education. The former vice presidential candidate pronounced herself “disappointed” by the David Perdue comments that came to light yesterday, and declared it a “sad day” for Republican politics. She said Ronald Reagan faced the same sort of pushback that Karen Handel now faces when he left his acting career to enter politics.




April 3, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Supreme Court rules for Delta over complaining frequent flier

Daniel Malloy reports that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sided with Northwest Airlines, now owned by Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, in the case of a complaining rabbi who was booted from the company’s frequent flier program. The Court said state contract law does not trump the Airline Deregulation Act, which gives airlines broad leeway in how they conduct their affairs, including frequent flier programs. Northwest’s said it could terminate a flier’s account at its own discretion.


April 3, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Neely Young: Larger than life

Neely Young writes,   Ed Lightsey was larger than life. That is a well-worn phrase, but in this case the saying is very much true. Ed was Georgia Trend’s senior correspondent for more than two decades, and our readers have enjoyed the 500-plus stories he wrote for us over the years. When Ed walked into a room, he filled up the space with his giant personality. 


April 3, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

New York firm buys McCann Aerospace Machining

Phil W. Hudson reports that a New York based private equity firm announced today the acquisition of Athens, Ga.-based McCann Aerospace Machining for an undisclosed amount. McCann is a Tier II supplier of large, complex monolithic machined structural parts and assemblies for the global aerospace industry. The Georgia company will be integrated into Accurus Aerospace Corporation, a Tier II supplier of highly engineered machined parts, kits and assemblies and processing services, focused on the highest value aircraft platforms, the company said.


April 3, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Alpharetta-based Hi-Rez Studios to expand

J. Scott Trubey reports that an Alpharetta gaming company plans to expand its headquarters and add 30 jobs, state and company officials said Wednesday. Hi-Rez Studios, makers of online game “Global Agenda” and “Tribes: Ascend,” plans to invest $10 million into the project and grow its total headcount to more than 100 by 2015.


April 3, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Recent study names Columbus the 7th most miserable city in U.S.

Stephanie Pederson reports, do you feel miserable? According to a recent study, if you live in Columbus, you should. A recent Gallup well-being poll published on Yahoo! ranked the Columbus area as the seventh-most miserable. The (umm) honor of the most miserable area to live in goes to the Tri-State region of Huntington-Ashland, comprising parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. It scored a 59.5 on the well-being index score.


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April 3, 2014 Saporta Report

Home Depot Foundation changes leaders from Caffarelli to Gregory 

Maria Saporta reports that   long-time president of the Home Depot Foundation — Kelly Caffarelli — has decided to leave the company, according to an internal announcement that was made earlier this week. The company already has named a successor. Gaven Gregory has been picked to be executive director of the Home Depot Foundation and the Homer Fund. Gavin, a decorated Iraq war veteran, is considered to be a good fit for the foundation, which in the last couple of years has made a significant commitment to help the nation’s veterans.


April 3, 2014 Gainesville Times

“Rain tax:” Gainesville looking at creating stormwater utility

Joshua Silavent reports that the city of Gainesville is considering how to pay for upgrades and replacements to aging stormwater infrastructure, which has resulted in flooding and sinkholes. In recent years, floods and sinkholes have closed streets and cost millions of dollars countywide. The idea of a “rain tax” was first presented to City Council at its Public Utilities Department retreat last weekend, and was met with mixed reactions.


April 3, 2014

Animal Fight Gets New Teeth With Federal Farm Bill

Leah Fleming reports that animal welfare advocates in Georgia are frustrated after new state laws against animal cruelty went nowhere during this year’s legislative session. One bill would have made it a crime in Georgia to torture an animal, even if the torture didn’t result in any injuries. But there’s hope that a new federal law will help break up animal fighting rings, many of which bring in thousands of dollars in cash from spectators. 


April 3, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Autism, medical cannabis bills to reappear in January

Maggie Lee reports that State Senate leaders marked Autism Awareness Day at the Capitol on Wednesday with a pledge to renew failed pediatric autism legislation and regrets about the related failure of a medical cannabis measure. “We remain committed to joining the 35 other states that offer treatment options for children” who have autism spectrum disorders, Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said.


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April 3, 2014

Atlanta's Sprawl Tops the List for Major U.S. Cities

John Lorinc and Robert Aaron reports that Atlanta is the ninth largest metropolitan area in the country by population, but it tops the list for sprawl. "It means that jobs and housing are spread out and not pulled together," says Ilana Preuss, the vice president and chief of staff of Smart Growth America. The "Measuring Sprawl 2014" report is based on four major factors: development densities, land use mix, activity centering and street accessibility.


April 3, 2014

Governor has new idea to help families caught in food stamp backlog

Rebecca Lindstrom reports that a spokesperson from the governor's office announced that on Thursday, DHS Commissioner Keith Horton would ask the federal government for temporary permission to immediately approve food stamp applications for expedited cases, essentially the poorest of the poor, as it worked through the backlog. If granted, applicants would still have their eligibility checked as employees were able to work through the cases. If the beneficiary was ruled ineligible, benefits would be cut.


April 3, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

‘Photo finish’ predicted in Georgia governor’s race

Camie Young reports that a week after a poll predicted that Gov. Nathan Deal would survive the GOP primary this May, another poll shows a challenge in the November general election against Democratic Sen. Jason Carter, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter. The poll of 575 active Georgia voters conducted Sunday shows that Deal leads Carter 43 percent to 39 percent, but the margin of the lead matches the margin of error in the race. About 18 percent of voters remain undecided in the poll, conducted by Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone Communications.



April 2, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

Georgia manufacturing records strong increase

Staff reports that Georgia manufacturing activity continued to improve in March as the lingering effects of a harsh winter dissipated and new orders and production experienced significant jumps, according to the Purchasing Managers Index released Tuesday by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. “It’s apparent this upswing was weather-related, but what is not clear is how much of this catch-up is sustainable at this level,” said Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center and professor of economics at KSU. 


April 2, 2014

Army Corps' New Civil Works Chief: Savannah Harbor Dredging In 2014 Still Feasible, But Up To Congress

Sarah McCammon reports that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hiring a new civil works chief at a critical time for the Savannah harbor expansion. Margarett “Mackie” McIntosh says her primary responsibility at first will be managing the harbor deepening project. She says the Corps is waiting on Congress to finalize the Water Resources Development Act.


April 2, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgian Terrace hotel sold for $61 million

J. Scott Trubey reports that Virginia real estate firm has acquired Atlanta’s venerable Georgian Terrace Hotel and surrounding property for $61 million, the company said Tuesday. Sotherly Hotels said it acquired the 326-room hotel, a parking deck and an adjacent parcel for future development. The property will be managed by hotel company Chesapeake Hospitality.


April 2, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia companies report 1,100 layoffs coming

David Allison reports that Georgia companies are reporting they plan to lay off more than 1,100 workers in coming months. The Georgia Department of Economic Development, Workforce Division, reported today that during March, 10 companies notified it that they plan layoffs in coming months ranging in size from as large as 550 workers to as few as nine.


April 2, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

St. Francis Hospital partners with Columbus Clinic

Tony Adams reports that as St. Francis Hospital and physicians group, Columbus Clinic, unveiled a long-negotiated “partnership” Monday, Dr. Butch Wolff expressed amazement at the “progress” he has been witnessing of late. "It is truly a collaborative experience, which is something that’s been unusual in my 40 years of practice in health care,” Wolff, a surgeon, said of the relationship between the hospital, its board of trustees and the more than 100 doctors with which it is associated.


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April 2, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Carter Center picks Mary Ann Peters for CEO

Staff reports that Carter Center Board of Trustees on Tuesday named former Ambassador Mary Ann Peters CEO of The Carter Center. She starts Sept. 2 and will replace John Hardman, who held the post since 1992. Peters has been provost of the U.S. Naval War College since September 2008. Previously, she was dean of academics of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch – Partenkirchen, Germany.


April 2, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Pennington campaign to pay fine over filing lapse

Greg Bluestein reports that former Dalton Mayor David Pennington’s campaign said it would pay a $125 fine for missing a filing deadline after he qualified to challenge Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican primary. James Stein of St. Marys lodged a complaint last week claiming that Pennington failed to file his financial disclosure as required by state ethics rules within seven days of qualifying. 


April 2, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Petruzielo, aide facing ethics law complaints

Michelle Babcock reports that two Cherokee County School District officials face allegations they violated state ethics regulations during the special election to fill the seat of late Rep. Calvin Hill (R- Canton) in January. Woodstock resident Tim Adderholdt filed complaints against Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo and school district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby, alleging the two violated state law by sending emails mentioning one of the candidates during the special election in January.


April 2, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It begins: Super PAC attacks Michelle Nunn on Obamacare

Greg Bluestein reports that a Republican-allied Super PAC is airing television ads starting today attacking Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn over Obamacare. Ending Spending is the group, and it was founded by Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts to be a conservative-backed group in the spirit of the Koch brothers’ empire. Its donors include Newt Gingrich patron and casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson.



April 1, 2014 Rockdale Citizen

Georgia BioScience Training Center to create skilled workforce

Jessicah Peters reports that with shovel in hand, Gov. Nathan Deal along with Baxter International executives “broke ground” in preparation for the facility where Baxter and other life sciences industries will be able to train future employees. “This will be a resource like no other, offering customized training,” said Commissioner Ron Jackson, Technical College System of Georgia. “It will be part of a bigger vision to serve the life sciences industry and build a successful workforce.”


April 1, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Back from the Brink

Susan Percy reports that veteran banker Kessel Stelling joined Columbus-based Synovus in 2006, when the financial services corporation acquired his Riverside Bank and merged with the Bank of North Georgia (BNG), just in time to present Stelling with the toughest challenge of his 37-year career. The financial crisis hit Synovus especially hard; its loan portfolio was heavily concentrated in real estate, and the bank posted 12 consecutive quarterly losses. Many questioned whether it would survive.


April 1, 2014 Savannah Morning News, Morris News Service

Sen. Chambliss: Politics not responsible for Savannah port-funding delay 

Walter C. Jones reports that politics isn’t the reason for the delay in federal funding to deepen the Savannah River ship channel, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Monday. When President Barack Obama released his spending recommendations for the coming fiscal year, they did not include the federal portion of the $652 million project that Georgia officials are eager to begin. Instead, the Obama budget contained just a token amount for some preliminary engineering work.


April 1, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Georgia ranks low in national index on opportunity for all children

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Andres David Lopez reports that the Boys & Girls Club of Central Georgia at the Buck Melton Community Center in Macon served about 139 young people on spring break Monday, most of them black. The Bibb County students, all black, rejected the idea that they were less likely to succeed than their white peers. They were unaware that a new report ranks Georgia 36th in the nation in terms of how children across races are doing based on 12 different indicators of success.


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April 1, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Yahoo said to acquire Atlanta's NDN for $300M-$400M

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Yahoo is expected to acquire News Distribution Network Inc. (NDN), as the Internet giant struggles to kickstart its online ad business. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo is reportedly offering between $300 million and $400 million for the Atlanta-based online video technology company, according to a source. Yahoo expects to expand its operations in Atlanta following the deal. 


April 1, 2014

Porsche Exec chosen to lead new airport alliance

Jerri Mann reports that a Porsche executive has been selected to lead the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance, officials announced at the launch of the economic development organization Friday.  Joe Folz, general counsel and secretary at Porsche Cars North America, will chair a 20-member board that serves as a wide cross-section of public and private-sector stakeholders from the airport area.    


April 1, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Report: Delta’s SkyTeam drops to No. 3 behind Oneworld, Star Alliance        

Carla Caldwell reports that US Airways on Sunday officially departed Star Alliance and on Monday joins competing alliance Oneworld, reports Dallas Morning News. The move has significance for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. Star Alliance is the coalition of global carriers headed by United Airlines Inc. (NYSE: UAL) and Lufthansa German Airlines. Oneworld, the competing alliance, is headed by American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) and British Airways Plc.


April 1, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

Greenwald, who wrote about NSA abuses, wins UGA award for journalistic courage

Staff reports that Glenn Greenwald, the journalist most-associated with coverage of U.S. government surveillance records leaked by Edward Snowden, is this year’s recipient of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. Greenwald, formerly a columnist for The Guardian and now a founder of First Look Media’s “The Intercept,” will receive the medal from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and its McGill Program during a ceremony next fall.


April 1, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

New organization picked for Georgia pro-life affiliate

Camie Young reports that the state has a new leader in pro-life issues, with the decision this weekend to name the Georgia Life Alliance as the state’s new National Right to Life Committee affiliate. The organization replaces Georgia Right to Life, based in Norcross, which has sent a director to the national board since 1971. The split stems from a push last year from Georgia Right to Life, demanding that members of Congress vote against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a top priority of National Right to Life’s legislative agenda.


April 1, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

Sen. Saxby Chambliss vows hands off Cumberland Island ferry contract, expects fair process

Walter C. Jones reports that Sen. Saxby Chambliss is taking a hands-off approach to the National Park Service’s decision on ferry service to Cumberland Island, he said Monday. He also predicted that getting federal funds to dredge the Intracoastal Waterway is tougher now because of restrictions on how Congress writes its budget. Asked about the ferry contract, which expires in mid-August, the Republican senator said he hopes it will continue to originate in St. Marys rather than Fernandina Beach.


April 1, 2014

Deal Expected To Veto Few Bills

Jeanne Bonner reports that Gov. Nathan Deal has until April 29 to sign or veto bills passed this year by the state legislature. But some experts say he may not veto anything. That’s partly because Gov. Deal works extensively behind the scenes to signal to lawmakers what he will and won’t sign. “He communicates constantly with legislators during session so that the final products are something he can sign,” said his spokesman Brian Robinson. “There are exceptions, certainly, but we try to avoid vetoes on the front end.”


April 1, 2014 Saporta Report

Political alienation bubbles up in Senate race, to Perdue’s advantage 

Tom Baxter reports that ast week a century or so of political experience sat around a lunch table in Cobb County and pondered this question: Has there ever been a U.S. Senate race in which neither the Democratic nor the Republican candidate had previously held elected office? We’re pols, not political scientists, so there may have been some race we don’t know about or overlooked. But all agreed that we’d never covered or worked on a race of that description. It may be time for a little more rigorous research into that question, because just such a race has appeared on the horizon, shimmering like a pundit’s mirage. 


April 1, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Gov. Deal etches a path toward legalizing medical marijuana

Greg Bluestein reports that infighting between lawmakers scuttled the legislative push to allow the limited use of medical marijuana, but a path ahead is now becoming clearer. We told you last week how Deal is exploring administrative action to allow families to use a form of cannabis oil to treat debilitating seizures, part of a strategy to take executive action where lawmakers failed. He elaborated on just what he’s considering at a campaign stop in Athens over the weekend.



March 31, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, McClatchy News Service

Is Georgia's US Senate race a coal mine canary for GOP?

David Lightman reports that Georgia’s next Republican Senate nominee is likely to triumph on style and strategy, and as a result, national eyes are watching this race as a harbinger of things to come for party hopefuls around the country this year. The candidates in the May 20 primary vary little on issues, but each vows to shake up Washington in their own unique way. The winning tactics are being watched closely as a template for Republicans in other states, Republicans scrambling to find the formula that will hold the conservative base without alienating crucial swing voters in November.


March 31, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Paulding County: Driving Growth

Randy Southerland reports that a stretch of Bill Carruth Parkway just might be called the road to Paulding County’s prosperity. Along this Northwest Georgia byway, you can find the industries now shaping the future of this heavily residential and suburban bedroom community.


March 31, 2014

CDC Report: Autism Rates on the Rise

Michelle Wirth reports that the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is on the rise both in Georgia and nationally. A new report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 30% increase from a study released two years ago.


March 31, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald

GA Power preps for Plant Yates conversion

Srah Fay Campbell reports that the decommissioning and conversion of Plant Yates is still a year away, but work to prepare for the change has already begun. Plant Yates, located on Hwy. 15 West, will stop burning coal by April 2015.


March 31, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Novelis decries UK ruling, fears aluminum backlog, higher prices

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Novelis Inc., an aluminum products manufacturer and recycler, on Friday blasted a High Court ruling in the United Kingdom that the company said will lead to backlogs of aluminum for delivery and inflated prices, ultimately leading to higher costs for consumers.


March 31, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Metro Atlanta's fastest growing zip codes

Phil W. Hudson reports that Brookhaven has metro Atlanta’s fastest growing zip code, according to the Atlanta-based marketing strategies and technology company Welcomemat Services, Inc. Last month, 190,839 residential properties sold in the Peach State, according to housing data provider RealtyTrac’s February 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report.


March 31, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Employers seek employees with skills

Tim Rausch reports that staffing agencies that serve the Augusta area report seeing an increase in demand for labor. But the real demand is for those who have skills. But the real demand is for those who have skills. “The day where they are looking for that strong back, that brawn-type person, is fading out,” said Preston Sizemore, the president and CEO of Augusta-based regional staffing firm Sizemore Inc. “Employers are looking for more skilled employees.”    


March 31, 2014 Macon Telegraph 

Report: Georgia is a leader in Common Core

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Staff reports that Georgia is a leader among several states in implementation of the Common Core, according to a recent report by the Southern Regional Education Board. The report, which tracks progress in 15 states, benchmarked five areas of implementation, identifying leading states and strong states, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Education.


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March 31, 2014

Federal Heathcare Signup Period Ends Today

Jeanne Bonner reports that today is the last day to sign up for healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act this year. Anyone who wants coverage under the ACA will have until tonight at midnight to begin an application. Open enrollment for policies through the federal healthcare reform act won’t begin again until November.


March 31, 2014 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Advocate for poor urges Georgia governor to veto two bills

Walter C. Jones reports that requiring drug tests of welfare applicants who appear suspicious and ending unemployment benefits for employees of school contractors will prevent poor people from leaving poverty, a policy analyst argued Friday. Melissa Johnson, an attorney and former corporate consultant who provides policy analysis for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, urged Gov. Nathan Deal to veto both bills rather than signing them into law. The governor has until April 29 to decide.


March 31, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

What we learned from the Senate debate

Daniel Malloy reports that we predicted fireworks for tonight’s debate, based on a trio of polls showing David Perdue in the lead in the Senate race. The Perdue campaign went so far as to pre-but attacks by handing reporters an info sheet on the poll results and predicting the others in the race “will get desperate and resort to their typical negative attacks.” Perdue in his opening statement foreshadowed “pandering, desperate attacks and political doublespeak.”



March 28, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Southern Co. to report renewable energy spending

Dave Williams reports that Atlanta-based Southern Co. has agreed to produce a comprehensive report on its current renewable energy projects and plans for future development of renewables, an environmental organization reported Thursday. The company’s decision prompted Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit As You Sow to withdraw a shareholder resolution asking Southern to consider President Barack Obama’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the group said in a news release.


March 28, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitition

Study: Georgia leads nation in growth of women-owned firms

Christopher Seward reports that financial adviser Ellecia Douglas of Powder Springs didn’t let the fear of competition or any other challenges stop her from starting two businesses over the last five years. Douglas is among scores of women who have started businesses since 1997 in metro Atlanta and Georgia, which leads the nation in the growth of women-owned companies, according to a new report by American Express OPEN, a payment card issuer for small businesses. The state also leads in share of businesses owned by African-Americans.


March 28, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

CatchMark selling 3,000 acres in Georgia

Staff reports that an unnamed buyer will pay CatchMark Timber Trust Inc. (NYSE: CTT) $9 million for 3,000 acres of CatchMark land holdings in Georgia. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014. “This pending transaction is in keeping with our previous guidance for completing $8 million to $10 million in land sales during 2014,” said Jerry Barag, president and CEO of Atlanta-based CatchMark, in a statement.


March 28, 2014 Macon Telegraph 

Self-taxing plan for Eisenhower improvements draws interest, not opposition

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Jim Gaines reports that within three weeks, Macon Mall’s owners hope to get the necessary majority of property owners along Eisenhower Parkway to support a self-taxing district that would improve the commercial corridor. Doug Cates, a principal in Hull Storey Gibson, the company that owns the mall, told about 50 people gathered at the mall Thursday afternoon that he knows it’s an ambitious schedule. If a simple majority of the designated corridor’s 110 commercial property owners approve, along with owners of 75 percent of the $225 million assessed value of the corridor’s properties, Macon-Bibb County commissioners could authorize creation of the “community improvement district” in time to add a requested 5 mills to this year’s property tax bills.


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March 28, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

SweetWater to sell on Atlanta-to-NYC Delta flights

Jacques Couret reports that Atlanta’s hometown airline is about to serve one of Atlanta’s hometown brews. On April 1, Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) will begin selling SweetWater Brewing Co.’s flagship 420 Extra Pale Ale on 34 daily flights between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.


March 28, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

WUGA-TV to cease local program production

Staff reports that as a result of a recently completed review of the University of Georgia's public television station WUGA-TV, programming revisions and a reduction in staff were announced today. The station will cease local program production effective July 1, and will carry the World Channel from the national Public Broadcasting System around the clock.


March 28, 2014

What's An 'NRA Democrat'?

Jeanne Bonner reports that ast month, 119 state legislators in the House voted for a sweeping gun bill that, if Gov. Nathan Deal signs it into law, would loosen restrictions on taking firearms into churches, government buildings and other places previously off-limits. Republicans pushed the measure, after failing to pass a similar bill in the waning moments of the 2013 legislative session.


March 28, 2014 Savannah Morning News, Morris News Service 

Perdue, Kingston lead Georgia GOP Senate poll

Walter C. Jones reports that political newcomer David Perdue is topping a poll of likely voters in the Republican Senate primary, according to a poll released Thursday by InsiderAdvantage on behalf of Morris News and FOX5 in Atlanta. When surveyed Sunday and Monday, 17 percent said they support Perdue, the former chief executive of Reebok and Dollar General and the cousin of Georgia’s last governor.


March 28, 2014 

Legal Expert Weighs in on Possible Medical Marijuana Fix

Michelle Wirth reports that after a medical marijuana bill failed to reach his desk, Governor Deal said he would explore whether anything can be done before the next legislative session to allow Georgians with seizure disorders to legally use an oil based form of marijuana. Former Georgia Supreme Court justice Leah Ward Sears says she thinks it would be difficult for the governor to accomplish that through an executive order. But she says there might be something that can be done administratively.


March 28, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., to receive JFK ‘Profile in Courage’ award

Jim Galloway reports that the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced the two recipients of its annual Profile in Courage awards this afternoon. One is well known – former President George H.W. Bush, who will be honored for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge to cement a bipartisan budget deal in 1990 and put his re-election chances in jeopardy. President Bill Clinton was the result. But the bigger surprise is Paul Bridges, the former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., population 592 – give or take a few souls.




March 27, 2014

Deal: Bainbridge Manufacturing creates 240 jobs in Decatur County

Staff reports that Gov. Deal announced today that Bainbridge Manufacturing LLC, a privately held automotive manufacturer, will invest $10 million into a new headquarters in Decatur County. The project will create 100 jobs in the first year, with a total of 240 jobs and $100 million investment over the next 10 years.


March 27, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Turning The Corner

Ed Lightsey reports, commercial real estate is finally coming back – just not at full speed, and with market changes on the horizon.


March 27, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Report: People are moving away from Middle Georgia

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Mike Stucka reports that new population estimates suggest Middle Georgia residents are leaving the region as a whole. The number of newcomers to Houston County has dramatically slowed, while more than 2,100 people moved out of Bibb County in a single year, U.S. Census population estimates released Thursday suggest.

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March 27, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Census estimates: Richmond County population shrinking

Wesley Brown reports that census estimates released today show that Richmond County’s population decreased by nearly 670 residents in 2013, again raising suspicion that Augusta’s status as Georgia’s second-largest city could be lost to Columbus by the end of the decade. Buffered by a high birth rate in the past, Richmond County’s population decreased from 202,672 residents in 2012 to 202,003 in 2013, with much of the decline coming from a negative migration rate.


March 27, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate falls to 6.9 percent in February

Henry Unger reports that Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in February from 7.1 percent in January as employers laid off considerably fewer workers, the state labor department said Thursday.


March 27, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

'He's not a suburban kind of guy' - Ted Turner on the Brave move

Jon Gillooly reports that ormer Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner revealed his opposition to the franchise’s move to Cobb County during a talk to the Technology Association of Georgia on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t have moved the Braves to Cobb County,” the 75-year-old “mouth of the South” said during a “fireside chat” with Tino Mantella, association president


March 27, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

NCR eyes Midtown Atlanta for HQ; may add 1,200 jobs

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Duluth, Ga.-based financial technology giant NCR Corp. is eying Midtown as a site for its new headquarters.  The move would not only bring hundreds of  jobs from Gwinnett County, it is also expected to create 1,200 new jobs, according to a source. NCR also looked at sites in Gwinnett, Alpharetta and Central Perimeter.


March 27, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Mixed feelings follow Deal’s statements on medical cannabis oil

Joshua Sharpe reports that parents in Cherokee County have mixed feelings about Gov. Nathan Deal’s statements that he wants to find a way to help after the General Assembly failed to pass legislation allowing medical marijuana for their children.Deal told the media this week he had been touched by families who fought unsuccessfully to legalize an oil form of the drug during the 2014 legislative session, and he planned to work with agency heads in the state to search for a solution.


March 27, 2014

The little session that couldn’t

Tom Baxter writes, want to hear a good Georgia joke? Last week the Alabama legislature passed a medical marijuana bill and ours couldn’t. Couldn’t, not wouldn’t. In both states, Republicans sponsored the bill, there was a lot of citizen support and a broad consensus over the issue. But in Georgia an unrelated measure requiring insurers to cover autism therapy for children was amended into the bill, and both causes went down in flames.


March 27, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A surprise bid to reduce the clout of Georgia Right to Life

Jim Galloway reports that on Friday, behind a closed door in Washington, an upstart group with substantial but unstated political backing back home will ask the National Right to Life organization to discard Georgia Right to Life — the most powerful anti-abortion force in the state Capitol — as one of its 50 state affiliates.

Couldn’t, not wouldn’t. In both states, Republicans sponsored the bill, there was a lot of citizen support and a broad consensus over the issue.

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March 26, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Synovus settles $24 million overdraft fee lawsuit

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Tony Adams reports that Synovus Financial Corp. has agreed to a $24 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit concerning overdraft fees it charged customers for nearly a decade at its Georgia banks. The settlement, which includes Columbus Bank and Trust and more than a dozen other Synovus divisions, could cost the bank up to $16 million in returned fees to customers, the company said in a notice mailed to potentially impacted account holders.


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March 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta airport to offer incentives for new international routes

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plans to offer up to $2 million in incentives to airlines that start new international routes from Atlanta, marking the first time the Atlanta airport has made such offers. It’s part of an effort to better link Atlanta to the world’s fastest growing economies and developing a major cargo hub at Hartsfield-Jackson.


March 26, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Trade Center board OKs new management contract

Mary Carr Mayle reports that the Georgia World Congress Center Authority will take over management of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on April 1. In a unanimous decision, the trade center board on Tuesday approved a three-year management contract with the Atlanta-based authority, effectively transferring those duties from SMG, the nation’s largest venue management company, which has operated the convention center since it opened its doors in 2000.


March 26, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

IBM in acquisition talks with Atlanta's Silverpop

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that IBM Corp. is in acquisition talks with Atlanta marketing automation firm Silverpop, according to multiple sources. Big Blue is said to be offering about three-times Silverpop’s annual revenues, which are estimated to be $80 million-$90 million. That would translate into an acquisition price of up to $270 million. 


March 26, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Company expansion to make room for 50 jobs in Suwanee

Camie Young reports that a Suwanee company plans to move down the street to expand its operations, adding 50 jobs at its headquarters. Millennium Matt Company, the second largest manufacturer of industrial mats, announced the $95 million capital investment in the community Tuesday.


March 26, 2014 Saporta Report

John Portman donates $2.5 million to Georgia Tech; agrees reluctantly to have dean’s chair named after him

Maria Saporta reports that Atlanta architect John Portman has always had a soft spot in his heart for Georgia Tech — the institution where he received his architectural degree in 1950. Going back several years, Portman let it be known that he would be interested in supporting Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture in a significant way financially. 


Going back several years, Portman let it be known that he would be interested in supporting Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture in a significant way financially.

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March 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bobby Jones golf brand relocating to Atlanta

J. Scott Trubey reports that Bobby Jones is coming home to Atlanta. Jones Global Sports, parent company of the Bobby Jones apparel brand, said Tuesday it is moving its corporate offices to Atlanta. It’s a move that won’t mean many jobs — about five to start — but it reconnects a boutique brand of golf sportswear and equipment with its namesake’s hometown. The brand is sold in country clubs, Nordstrom and specialty retailers including H. Stockton.


March 26, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Augusta area fares poorly in health review

Tom Corwin reports that healthier counties in Georgia continue to thrive, poorer rural counties such as those in the Augusta area struggle to overcome problems related to systemic ills including poverty and single-parent families, a new review of county health reveals. Richmond County was last among counties in a category called Family and Social Support, which looked at the percent of adults without social or emotional support and the percentage of children living in single-parent households. 


March 26, 2014

A Talk with the Sponsor of the Bill Requiring Drug Tests for Some Food Stamp Recipients

Denis O'Hayer reports that on March 20, 2014, in the final hours of the legislative session, Georgia lawmakers passed HB 772, a bill which would require some food stamp recipients to submit to drug tests--if state officials have a reasonable suspicion that the recipients are using drugs. The measure is a response to a recent Federal court ruling that threw out a Florida law requiring drug tests for welfare recipients. 


March 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Gun law specifics: Cops can’t stop suspects for unlawful carrying

Jim Galloway reports that the content of HB 60, the omnibus gun bill passed by the Legislature last Thursday, is finally available online and in hard copy at the state Capitol. Two areas are likely to spark some controversy. First, there’s a requirement that holders of concealed weapons permits must have that license on their persons when they carry. Which is immediately followed by the caveat that cops aren’t allowed to stop anyone solely to check for that permit.



March 25, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Port fire price tag close to $20 million

Mary Carr Mayle reports that the Georgia Ports Authority board, meeting Monday on Jekyll Island, voted to authorize ports executive director Curtis Foltz to issue purchase orders and contracts totaling up to $20 million for the clean-up, site remediation and reconstruction associated with a massive fire at GPA’s Ocean Terminal last month. The fire destroyed the northern half of Warehouse No. 3 and its contents, approximately 1,800 tons of palletized rubber valued at just under $2 million.


March 25, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

South Korea chooses Lockheed’s F-35

Jacques Couret reports that South Korea picked Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Lightning II for its F-X fighter acquisition program. The aircraft is built partially at Lockheed’s (NYSE: LMT) Marietta, Ga., facility. South Korea is third foreign country to procure the F-35, joining Israel and Japan, Lockheed noted.


March 25, 2014

Verizon plans to add 430 new jobs across the state

Greg Bluestein reports that Verizon Wireless plans to add 430 new jobs across the state, including more than 200 in north Fulton County, the company said Monday. The brunt of the jobs will be at new call centers in Alpharetta and Milton, said Jonathan LeCompte, the company’s regional president. The firm also plans to add retail, network and IT jobs in offices around the state.


March 25, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sylvan Learning seeking to triple metro locations

Christopher Seward reports that Sylvan Learning, a provider of supplemental education services to students in grades K-12, plans to more than triple its presence in metro Atlanta, the company said Monday. The company has eight centers in the metro area but is seeking franchisees to increase the number to 28 over the next five years, and expand locations to 17 counties.


March 25, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Report: Chick-fil-A tops KFC again in annual sales

Carla Caldwell reports that Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A logged sales of $5.1 billion in 2013 - a 9.3 percent jump over 2012 – and surpassed KFC again as the top chicken chain, according to Technomic Inc.’s annual report on the top U.S. restaurant organizations. The report also said the 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a 3.5-percent annual sales increase in 2013, a decline from 4.9 percent the prior year.


March 25, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

UGA will start over, again, on business dean search

Lee Shearer reports that the University of Georgia will start over  - for the second time - in its search for a new dean for the Terry College of Business. Four finalists for the job visited the UGA campus last month, but none will get it, UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten told faculty members in the business college last week. In the meantime, former UGA President Charles Knapp will stay on as interim dean.


March 25, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Officials take first step toward Atlanta rail to Columbus

Mike Owen reports that Columbus has taken the first small step toward realizing the return of rail service between here and Atlanta, according to a consulting firm that performed a feasibility study of high-speed rail. The study, which was presented in its final form this week in Columbus Council chambers, says that a high-speed electric train, capable of speeds up to 220 mph, could be in place in about 20 years and could be profitable immediately, said Kirsten Berry, project manager for HNTB Corp.


March 25, 2014

Gov. Deal Could Use Executive Powers for Child Welfare Privatization Pilot

Michelle Wirth reports that now that the 2014 legislative session is over, Governor Deal has numerous bills to consider signing including one that would expand gun rights in churches, bars and some government buildings. Deal did not definitively say whether he would sign that bill, but he alluded to the possibility by making positive comments about final language contained in the legislation. Deal also said he could use his executive powers on at least one issue that failed to gain passage.


March 25, 2014 Albany Herald

Gov. Nathan Deal says rural hospitals a critical need

Andy Miller reports that Nathan Deal has been involved in many high-profile decisions on health care while serving as Georgia’s governor. Deal, who is running for re-election this year, has staked out his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) and to expanding the state’s Medicaid program. He has also supported changes to the health plan covering state employees and educators, following a wave of criticism that occurred after a new benefits framework debuted Jan. 1.


March 25, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Georgia Right to Life affiliation challenged

Camie Young reports that Norcross pro-life organization may lose its position as Georgia’s representative to the National Right to Life Board. Georgia Right to Life President Dan Becker said the organization was disappointed to learn that a group called “Georgia Life Alliance” planned to seek to replace GRTL during the national board’s meeting this weekend.


March 25, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nathan Deal: Georgia ‘needs to address’ medical marijuana fix

Greg Bluestein reports that the effort to legalize limited use of medical marijuana petered out in the legislative session’s final hours last week amid infighting between Republicans over an unrelated bill to mandate autism coverage for children. Now Gov. Nathan Deal says he’s exploring an executive order or other steps that could allow Georgia families to use cannabis oil to treat certain seizure disorders until legislators return to Atlanta next year.



March 24, 2014

Soviet Redux: The potential impact on Georgia

Phil Boltron reports that according to figures from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia exported to Russia in 2012 $436 million worth of goods, a 26 percent increase over the preceding year making Russia the state’s 22nd largest export market. Georgia imported $183 million from Russia in 2012 and ranks 41st among the state’s top importer nations.


March 24, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Digging through Georgia's past

Ed Lightsey reports that each day, Paul Van Wicklen shows up for work in an underground vault at the Richard B. Russell Library on the campus of the University of Georgia (UGA), where he stands guard over a cavernous collection of items so rare their value cannot be estimated. The vault’s environment is carefully maintained at a temperature of 50 degrees, and humidity is set at 30 percent. Other numbers are even more impressive in the 30,000-square-foot room, with 50 miles of shelving under a ceiling 30 feet above. 


March 24, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

Two Northeast Georgia companies named Top 40 in innovation

Staff reports that two companies in northeast Georgia have been named to a list of the Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia by The Technology Association of Georgia. IS3D LLC of Athens and Invisipon of Gainesville were both selected to be on this list. More than 120 companies in Georgia submitted applications and 40 were chosen.


March 24, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Judge: Ag chief overstepped on Vidalia onions

Christopher Seward reports that State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black overstepped his authority when he changed rules last year to give himself the authority to determine when the state’s prized Vidalia Sweet Onion crop can be harvested and shipped, a judge ruled this week. Judge Cynthia Wright, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, ruled state law gives Black the authority to determine packing rules, such as the materials or containers that can be used in packaging, but not decide when the onions can be shipped.


March 24, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Fintech Bridge2Solutions expands HQ in Alpharetta; boosts workforce

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta financial software company Bridge2Solutions is in expansion mode. The company plans to expand its workforce by a third and recently signed a 23,000 square foot lease in Alpharetta. Bridge2Solutions develops and runs loyalty and rewards program websites for banks, credit card processors and employee incentive companies.


March 24, 2014 Rome News-Tribune

Parker FiberNet evolving with technology

Doug Walker reports that the late Washington Redskins football coach George Allen is widely credited with coining the phrase, “The future is now.” Dave Parker, founder of Parker FiberNet saw his future when he was still in high school. Parker started his own alarm systems company before he graduated from high school in 1985. He went off to college at Georgia Tech and has been at the forefront of communications technology ever since.


March 24, 2014 Bloomberg Business Week

Atlanta Airport Saves Cash in $706 Million Debt Sale: Muni Deals

Romy Varghese reports that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest, plans for even more passengers to throng its terminals, which may benefit bondholders. Atlanta, which owns the airport, will sell about $706 million of mostly tax-exempt debt this week backed by revenue from the operations, deal documents show. 


March 24, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

'All-for-one' spirit lands VPR at top of large company list, again

Mike Tierney reports that the captains for each team took turns at the meeting announcing the scores compiled by their members. In this friendly competition among groups of agents at Virtual Properties Realty, points were awarded for various check-the-box achievements: showing a home, obtaining a new listing, securing pre-approval for a loan, selling a warranty, signing an exclusive buyer agreement or — ka-ching! — closing the deal.


March 24, 2014

Bill Easing Gun Restrictions Heads to Governor Deal

Michelle Wirth reports that unlike last year, House and Senate lawmakers this year reached a deal on legislation to expand gun rights in places like bars, churches, and some government buildings.  The bill now goes to Governor Deal’s desk. The Georgia House agreed with the Senate Version of the bill during the last hour of legislative session. That led to this announcement by Senator Bill Heath: “Mr. President I believe that the House has finally come along in representing Georgia’s gun owners and protecting themselves.”


March 24, 2014 Albany Herald

Sen. Saxby Chambliss looking to next stage of life

Jim Hendricks reports that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss doesn’t show any appearances of second-guessing his decision to bring his long career as an elected official — 20 years in Congress with the last dozen of those served in the Senate — to close when his term expires in early January. “Twenty years is long enough for me,” Chambliss, 70, said Monday during an interview with The Albany Herald Editorial Board. “I’ve seen some of my colleagues stay in D.C. too long.


March 24, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A new GOP force in the wide-open Senate race

Greg Bluestein reports that no Republican front-runner has yet emerged in the crowded race for the open U.S. Senate seat. But Georgia Republicans clearly have their eye on November. A new group called the Senate Battleground Fund held its first fundraiser Sunday evening, and it was a big one. The event featured ex-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus at the Buckhead home of Jeff Sprecher and Kelly Loeffler, the power couple behind the takeover of the New York Stock Exchange.




March 21, 2014

Georgia Expands Gun Rights, Defers Medical Marijuana

Jeanne Bonner reports that Georgia lawmakers have made it through one of the quickest legislative sessions in recent memory. Along the way, they passed bills limiting healthcare coverage for abortion, expanding where you can bring a gun and barring a Governor from expanding Medicaid. Lawmakers gaveled out of the 2014 session at midnight Thursday, per their custom, but not before battling most of the day over a firearms bill dubbed “the guns everywhere bill” and a medical marijuana measure.


March 21, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Economy - Telecom outlook

Jeffrey Humphries writes, advances in Internet protocol technology, overlapping networks, the rollout of 4G technologies, cloud computing and regulatory changes have erased the lines between providers of Internet, phone and television services. Convergence of previously separate communications industries has transformed many voice, video and data services into pure commodities, which has brought more intense price competition, innovation and proliferation of service offerings.


March 21, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

Zero-tolerance law changing

Jon Gillooly reports that the General Assembly passed a bill that gives school boards discretion in how to respond when such items as pocket knives or baseball bats are brought to school. Authored by state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), House Bill 826 was carried in the Senate by Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb). The bill now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal to be signed into law or vetoed.


March 21, 2014

State Lawmakers Try Again: Testing Welfare Recipients for Drug Use

Lisa George reports that the Georgia General Assembly has revised a law on drug-testing welfare recipients. A law passed two years ago allowed drug testing for anyone in Georgia who applied for welfare or food stamps. State officials never implemented the law, and a federal court struck down a similar measure in Florida, ruling it unconstitutional. The new, Republican-backed bill allows state officials to test recipients if they have what is called in the measure “a reasonable suspicion” the person is using drugs.


March 21, 2014 Athens Banner Herald, Morris News Service

Georgia House makes permanent tax exemptions for airplane repairs

Staff reports that companies that repair airplanes won't have to worry about their out-of-state customers paying sales tax on the if Gov. Nathan Deal signs into law a bill that passed the legislature Thursday. The Georgia House gave final passage to House Bill 933 when it agreed to changes the Senate had made on Wednesday. The bill, according to sponsor Rep. Alex Atwood, R-Brunswick, makes the tax exemption permanent.


March 21, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Lawmakers OK HOPE for technical college students

Dave Williams reports that Georgia technical-college students with a 3.5 grade point average or better would receive full tuition coverage under legislation the General Assembly passed Thursday. The state Senate voted unanimously for a bill creating a grant program for technical college students named in honor of former Gov. Zell Miller, the father of the Georgia Lottery, which funds the HOPE Scholarship. The House of Representatives then OKed the measure 169-2.


March 21, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Deal: 'We've done our part' 

Mary Carr Mayle reports that with another $35 million in port deepening funds awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal's signature, Georgia will have allocated $266 million, fulfilling the state's portion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project widely referred to as SHEP. “Lawmakers across Georgia recognize that improving the Savannah Harbor is critically important to the continued economic health of this state and region,” Deal said. “That unified vision is also evident among our delegation to Washington, which has worked tirelessly to secure the federal portion of the project costs.


March 21, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Georgia Legislature passes private probation bill

Sandy Hodson reports that both houses of the Geor­gia General Assembly have now voted in favor of a bill that empowers for-profit private probation companies and conceals from the public information on how much probationers pay local governments and the companies and even the number of people on probation. Efforts by some legislators to institute what they saw as safeguards and accountability provisions were stripped from the bill once it moved to the Senate’s non-civil judiciary committee, led by Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro. The lawyer is one candidate on a short list to fill the State Court judgeship in Burke County – a court that contracts with a private probation company.


March 21, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Retiring Aflac exec appointed juvenile judge

Tim Chitwood reports that a panel of Superior Court judges has chosen retiring Aflac General Counsel Joey Loudermilk as the juvenile court judge who will serve the five outlying counties of the Columbus-based Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Loudermilk, 60, will handle cases in the counties of Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Talbot, and Taylor. He replaces retired Judge Wayne Jernigan Sr., who had served since July 2002.


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March 21, 2014 Rome News-Tribune

Rome company instals ShockWave Power Cavitation Reactor in Italian plant

Staff reports that Hydro Dynamics, Inc. of Rome, Georgia announced today that a ShockWave Power Reactor has been purchased and installed in a commercial cellulosic pilot plant in Italy. The SPR was purchased after successful lab testing on extraction of cellulose from corn fiber and straw. “We have felt for years that cellulosic ethanol is a logical fit for the SPR technology", said Doug Mancosky, VP of R&D for HDI. “We plan to release more information about the install in the coming months as well as performance data.


March 21, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Interfor chooses Georgia for Southeast HQ

Douglas Sams reports that International Forest Products Limited has chosen metro Atlanta for its Southeast headquarters. Interfor, as the company is known, will occupy the 700 Westpark Drive building in Peachtree city, where it plans to grow over the next several years to almost 70 employees.


March 21, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Orkin expands pest control brand in China

Christopher Seward reports that Orkin has expanded its pest control brand in China with its third franchise agreement, according to parent company Atlanta-based Rollins Inc. The agreement will allow Orkin to offer commercial and residential services, and termite treatment in the city of Chengdu.


March 21, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Medtown Ventures scouts for lifesciences deals with $500M investor pool

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that backed by investors with up to $500 million in capital, Atlanta-based Medtown Ventures LLC aims to grow the next generation of life sciences companies. Lifesciences is a strategic industry for Atlanta’s economic developers because it promises fast growing, well-paying knowledge economy jobs. It’s also an industry in which Atlanta has company creating infrastructure — research universities, hospitals and research centers like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.




March 20, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 7.1 percent in February

Henry Unger reports that Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent in February from 7.3 percent in January, as employers hired more workers and reduced layoffs, the state labor department said Thursday. “This is the eighth month in a row that Georgia’s unemployment rate has declined,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.


March 20, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Sustainable Georgia - Inspiring Leadership

Ben Young writes, as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia in this month’s issue, I have to throw a spotlight on one of their best programs – the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL). IGEL possesses a sustainability slant that has helped position Georgia as a forward-thinking state since its inception in 2001.


March 20, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Report: Synovus settles Sea Island lawsuit for $11.8 million

Tony Adams reports that Synovus Financial Corp. has settled a lawsuit connected to its business dealings with Sea Island Co., a luxury resort on the coast of Georgia. The settlement of $11.8 million, reported Wednesday by business publication Bloomberg, appears to put to an end a case dating to July 2009.


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March 20, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

TAG names Top 10 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia

Staff reports that the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) on Wednesday revealed its Top 10 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia. “The Top 10 awards are given to an elite group of companies whose products and solutions are not only changing their respective industries, they are also putting Georgia on the map as a state where technology innovation can thrive,” said Tino Mantella, president and CEO of TAG, in a statement. 


March 20, 2014 AccessNorthGeorgia

Hitachi Power Tools plans move to Braselton

Marc Eggers reports another big corporate "get" for Braselton. The second Asian manufacturer in just one week has announced plans to move their U.S headquarters to Braselton from Norcross. Hitachi Koki USA, Ltd. (D.B.A. as Hitachi Power Tools) joins Mizuno, USA, in relocating to Barrow County.


March 20, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Horizon Pharma acquiring Roswell-based Vidara for $660M

Christopher Seward reports that Vidara Therapeutics International Ltd., a Roswell-based specialty pharmacy company, will be acquired by Horizon Pharma Inc. in a deal valued at about $660 million, the companies announced Wednesday. Vidara produces the drug Actimmune, a bioengineered protein used in the treatment of chronic granulomatous disease, which is an immune disorder, and malignant osteopetrosis, a rare congenital disorder in which the bones become overly dense.


March 20, 2014 Cartersville Daily Tribune

JDA approves solar rights agreement with area firm

Jason Lowrey reports that Creative Solar USA, a Woodstock company specializing in renewable solar energy, has been granted exclusive rights to solar use on 5 to 7 acres of land in Bartow County. Under the agreement, the rights will last 12 months and allow the company to submit an application to the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative.


March 20, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Alternative fuel vehicles tax credit clears legislature

Dave Williams reports that the eneral Assembly is encouraging Georgia businesses to buy alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets. Lawmakers gave final passage late Tuesday to legislation offering tax credits to purchasers of commercial vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas or hydrogen and sent the bill to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk.


March 20, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Georgia lawmakers ready for Thursday night fights

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Maggie Lee reports that this year’s state legislative session ends Thursday night, with several contentious bills in the balance: medical marijuana, foster care privatization, drug tests for welfare recipients and a possible shortening of early voting periods. Anything that doesn’t get agreement goes in the trash can. Supporters of a bill that would decriminalize possession of a single type of liquid medicine derived from cannabis waited all day Tuesday for a Senate vote that never came. With the Legislature in recess Wednesday, Thursday is the last chance for approval this year.


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March 20, 2014

Final Legislative Day Still Fraught With Surprises

Jeanne Bonner reports that a far-reaching tax measure approved by Georgia legislators is now on its way to Georgia ballots. It’s actually not a bill; it’s a constitutional amendment. And it would bar the General Assembly from increasing the state income tax. Currently Georgia's top rate is six percent, and that’s likely where it will stay after Nov. 4 if voters approve the cap.


March 20, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

Georgia Senate adopts bill to curb Obamacare implementation with 5 minutes to spare

Walter C. Jones reports that in the final moments of the 40-day legislative session’s 39th day, the Senate gave final passage to a watered-down version of a bill to block state employees from helping Georgians sign up for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.


March 20, 2014

Guns and medical marijuana highlight Legislature’s final day

Sandra Parrish reports that it's day 40 under the Gold Dome, and just like last year, a bill to expand where licensed gun owners can carry their weapons is expected to come down to the final hours. Under the version passed by the Senate late Tuesday, guns would still be prohibited in churches unless congregations decide to allow carry permit holders to bring them. But licensed gun owners who disobey the law would only face a $100 fine, not jail time. 


March 20, 2014 Georgia Health News

Deal plan would allow rural hospitals

Andy Miller reports thata in the wake of some recent closures of rural Georgia hospitals, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday an initiative to help such facilities survive tough financial times. Deal, speaking to the Rural Caucus of the General Assembly, said he is proposing a change in licensure rules that would allow a struggling rural hospital — or one that has recently closed — to offer downsized services that would include an emergency department. 


March 20, 2014

Political Analyst Charlie Cook Changes His Outlook For Georgia Senate Race

Robert Aaron reports that widely-respected political analyst Charlie Cook has decided to move the upcoming Georgia Senate race from his "Leans Republican" column to "Toss Up." He expresses several concerns about the eventual GOP nominee and describes likely Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn as "proving to be perhaps the best Democratic challenger of the cycle." 

Deal, speaking to the Rural Caucus of the General Assembly, said he is proposing a change in licensure rules that would allow a struggling rural hospital — or one that has recently closed — to offer downsized services that would include an emergency department.

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March 20, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Gov. Nathan Deal on a tea party favorite’s ‘inappropriate’ Obamacare rhetoric

Greg Bluestein reports that State Rep. Jason Spencer’s blistering rebuke of “Republican Benedict Arnolds” who threatened his anti-Obamacare legislation didn’t sit well with his party’s leader. But it also didn’t stop Gov. Nathan Deal from endorsing Spencer’s proposal in a behind-the-scenes rewrite. The governor said Wednesday that his staff added a sentence to the legislation “to make clear that nothing in that bill would interfere with the state being a part of a Medicaid program.” 



March 19, 2014

Flavor Of Georgia Winners Aim To Take Foods To The National Level 

Joshua Stewart reports that a cheddar cheese from east Georgia is the grand prize winner in this year’s Flavor of Georgia contest. The annual Flavor of Georgia competition brings together culinary entrepreneurs from all over the state for a food judging and public tasting. This year’s contest boasted a number of unique foods and flavors from across the state, but some of these finalists don’t want to stop at just state-wide recognition- they want national fame. 


March 19, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Macon/Bibb County: Working Together

Ed Lightsey reports that after a bouncing ride over the choppy seas of the recession and into a welcoming calm, economic developers in Macon-Bibb County can look back over the recent past to enjoy what 2013 brought them, and then peek ahead to a promising future forecast by the crystal ball gazers. According to Georgia’s Office of Planning and Budget, the Macon-Bibb consolidated government’s five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) will grow by 70,000 people by 2025, with Macon-Bibb and Houston County leading the population growth by adding 56,000 new citizens to their communities – good news for Macon-Bibb retailers and the economic developers who recruit them.


March 19, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Shipping company to bring 160 jobs to Gwinnett

Camie Young reports that a shipping company will relocate its North American headquarters to Peachtree Corners, creating 160 new jobs in Gwinnett County, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday. United Arab Shipping Company will move into a 50,000-square-foot Spalding Drive facility, housing its shipping, logistics, accounting, finance and customer service activities as well as executive management for the North American operations.


March 19, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Coca-Cola accused of cocaine reference in Diet Coke ads

Carla Caldwell reports that the Coca-Cola Co. is accused of making a tongue-in-cheek reference to drug use in a new ad campaign. New billboards have popped up in Atlanta and other cities that say, “You’re on” followed by the words “Diet Coke.” In its earliest days, Coca-Cola actually contained cocaine. The Huffington Post notes that the new ads, created by Manhattan-based agency Droga5, have gained enough media attention that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) has released a statement.


March 19, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Roark acquires Northeast waste, recycling company

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm, said an affiliate company has acquired a major provider of waste and recycling services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The affiliate, Synergy Environmental Corp., acquired Ewing, N.J.-based Central Jersey Waste and Recycling Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.


March 19, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Legislature OKs downtown investment bill

Dave Williams reports that the General Assembly gave final passage Tuesday to scaled-back legislation encouraging private investment in downtown redevelopment projects across Georgia. The state Senate voted 46-6 to create a revolving, low-interest loan fund to be distributed by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to local governments or development authorities to help finance downtown improvement projects. 


March 19, 2014

Governor gets Anti-Obamacare bill

Sandra Parrish reports that in a surprise move, a bill to limit the state resources in implementing the Affordable Care Act receives final passage and is now headed for the governor's desk. In the final hours of Day 39, the bill was tacked onto another measure dealing with reducing insurance deductibles for oral cancer chemotherapy.


March 19, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A down-sizing of rural hospitals seen as a solution for struggling healthcare facilities

Greg Bluestein reports that when state Rep. Sharon Cooper publicly mused in January about closing some rural hospitals because their communities are too small to support them, she may have unwittingly revived a discussion among state leaders about what to do with the facilities. Gov. Nathan Deal is set to speak at a rural caucus meeting at 12:30 p.m. today on the topic of healthcare. His office won’t comment on what he’ll say, but a meeting Department of Community Health meeting last week offers a hint.




March 18, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia in top 10 for U.S. brands

Jacques Couret reports that Georgia is the No. 6 most valuable state in America by brand value, with a total of $106 billion, according to the 2014 Brand Finance U.S. 500. The Peach State’s most valuable brand is The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), which has brand value of $34 billion and is the No. 10 U.S. brand.


March 18, 2014 The Brunswick News

Jekyll hotel to add suites

Martin Rand III reports that the Jekyll Island Authority gave an initial OK Monday to a design for construction of 39 beachfront suites as an extension of the Jekyll Island Club hotel. The authority, which operates the island state park, approved the initial concept and design of the hotel.


March 18, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Exide battery plant in Columbus lands 3-year federal contract

Tony Adams reports that battery manufacturer Exide Technologies said Monday it has landed a three-year federal contract that will bring work to its plant on Joy Road in Columbus. Atlanta-based Exide said the local facility will make batteries to be used in the military’s fleet of “rolling stock vehicles.” Rolling stock can include Humvees, trucks, tanks and armored personnel carriers.


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March 18, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UPS plans general freight rate increase

Christopher Seward reports that Sandy Springs-based UPS has announced a general freight rate increase, following a rate increase by package delivery competitor FedEx. Effective March 31, the UPS rate will rise by 4.4 percent and apply to noncontractual less-than-truckload shipments, or shipments don’t require the exclusive use of a truck, but can be delivered with other customers’ packages. The increase applies to certain shipments, and UPS said customers will be able to view and download the new rates at beginning March 31.


March 18, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Middle Georgia economic impact of River Edge more than $104 million in 2013

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Linda S. Morris reports that River Edge Behavioral Health Center in Macon created a positive economic impact of more than $104 million on Middle Georgia last year. The impact was determined by the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, according to a news release. River Edge has provided comprehensive mental health, addictive disease, and developmental disabilities services and supports in Central Georgia since 1950.


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March 18, 2014

Atlanta Chosen For Bike Lane Project

Michell Eloy reports that a pro-bicycle group has selected the City of Atlanta for a project to help build safer bike lanes. The group People for Bikes picked Atlanta and five other cites as part of its Green Lane Project. The goal is to help the city build protected bike lanes, meaning lanes that are separated from traffic by curbs, parked cars or plastic posts.


March 18, 2014 Athens Banner Herald

Athens companies finalists in Flavor of Georgia contest

Andre Gallant reports that four Athens-area food businesses are headed to Atlanta today as finalists in the last stages of the University of Georgia's 2014 Flavor of Georgia contest. Dirt Road Barbecue Sauce, Fire and Flavor, Terrapin Beer Company and Nature's Harmony Farm all had a product survive the first round of judging in the eighth annual contest.


March 18, 2014 Albany Herald

Gov. Nathan Deal proclaims Wednesday Howard Bo Callaway Day in Georgia

Jim Hendricks reports that flags will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of the late Howard “Bo” Callaway. Gov. Nathan Deal issued the order Monday declaring Wednesday as Howard “Bo” Callaway Day in Georgia. He has ordered that flag throughout the state be flown at half-staff throughout the day.


March 18, 2014

House, Senate Gridlocked Over Foster Care Privatization

Michell Eloy reports that plans to privatize the state’s child welfare system are gridlocked in the Georgia General Assembly, with both the House and Senate set to take up different versions of the bill in the waning days of this year’s legislative session. Under the Senate version, the state dives into privatizing services like foster care, adoption and case management through a competitive bidding process, with statewide rollout beginning as early as July of next year.


March 18, 2014

Legislature Heads Into A Short Week With Long Days

Jeanne Bonner reports that state lawmakers are embarking on the final two days of the 2014 legislative session this week. And the two chambers will vote on more than 100 bills between them before adjourning Thursday night. True to their word, lawmakers have presided over an easier, breezier session this year. There are simply fewer bills to debate, and fewer controversial measures causing camps to square off.


March 18, 2014 Washington Post - Editorial

Gun-happy Ga. lawmakers put public safety at risk

The editorial board writes, the National Rifle Association calls it “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation in recent state history.” That’s true, sad to say. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, gun-control advocates thought reasonable firearm restrictions might have a chance at enactment. They scored a notable victory in Colorado but mostly failed elsewhere and on the national level. Now the old political calculus seems to be back at work: The momentum is with those attempting to weaken the nation’s already-lax gun laws.


March 18, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade turns into backdrop for clash over port’s future

Greg Bluestein reports that Savannah is the backdrop of one of the nation’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades. It’s also the setting for the latest political clash in the Georgia governor’s race. Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter both attended Monday’s festival in downtown Savannah, not far from the sprawling port that poses political challenges to both campaigns.



March 17, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Design revealed for $650 million trio of towers

Amy Wenk and Douglas Sams report that for the first time, a New York development group  has revealed plans publicly for one of Midtown Atlanta’s most stunning projects. The team — Olympia Heights Management LLC, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and Acquitectonica — presented the project March 11 to Midtown planners. It would develop nearly 2 million square feet of high-rise residential towers, stores, restaurants, and a hotel on about 4 acres.


March 17, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive

Visitors welcome

Jerry Grillo reports that last April, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 318 into law, amending the Georgia Tourism Development Act, a state tax incentive program to expand and encourage more tourism attractions. The project must cost a minimum of $1 million, attract at least 25 percent of its visitors from out of state by its third year, and not directly compete with existing Georgia businesses. “Most people don’t realize that tourism-related employment accounts for 10.4 percent of the payroll workforce in Georgia, one in 10 jobs,” says Kevin Langston, who runs the tourism division at the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) as deputy commissioner. “We’re a major factor in the state’s economy, and the opportunities for growth have only gotten better.”


March 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AGL mum on possible interest in acquiring Alabama Gas

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based AGL Resources declined to comment Friday on a Bloomberg report that it is interested in acquiring Alabama Gas Corp. from Energen Corp. Energen reportedly could get more than $1 billion for the company, which is known as Alagasco and is Alabama’s largest gas distributor with more than 400,000 customers.


March 17, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Italian company plans major Georgia expansion

Phil W. Hudson reports that a Cartersville manufacturing plant is planning a major expansion. Aquafil, a maker of yarns, polymers and plastics, will announce a $25 million expansion with 50-65 new jobs this afternoon at an event at the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce.


March 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta REIT CatchMark acquiring timberland in southeast Georgia

Christopher Seward reports that CatchMark Timber Trust Inc., an Atlanta-based real estate investment trust, said it is acquiring 36,340 acres of timberland in southeast Georgia and east Texas from Hancock Timber Resource Group for about $74 million. The announcement sent the newly publicly traded company’s stock higher in trading Friday. CatchMark President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Barag said the deal is in line with the company’s strategy “to make selective and accretive acquisitions of prime forest land with substantial harvest inventory.”


March 17, 2014

Georgia-Japan ties to be celebrated at Atlanta Station on March 28

Phil Bolton reports that in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Consulate General of Japan, a ceremony honoring the ties binding Japan and Georgia is to be held at the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlantic Station on March 28 at 3 p.m. The ceremony will feature the planting of 40 Somei-Yoshino cherry trees around the three-acre lake on the edge of the museum’s park at 395 17th St..


March 17, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Funeral Mass for Bo Callaway set for Wednesday in Pine Mountain

Larry Gierer reports that a funeral Mass will be held for Wednesday at noon for Howard "Bo" Callaway at Christ the King Catholic Church in Pine  Mountain, Ga. The former Republican congressman and Secretary of the Army died Saturday at age 86 at Spring Harbor Assisted Living in Columbus, nearly two years after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. 


March 17, 2014

Autism Coverage Supporters Fight to Keep Bill Alive

Michelle Wirth reports that a Senate bill stalled in the Georgia House would require private insurance companies to provide autism treatment coverage for those six and under. With only two legislative days left, bill sponsors have combined it with several other pieces of legislation. On Thursday, Senator Renee Unterman combined Senate bill 397 with a House bill that would cap the amount insurers can charge per prescription for oral chemotherapy drugs.


March 17, 2014 Albany Herald

Compromise passed concerning Flint River

Staff reports that whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting over, the old saying goes. It’s certainly true for Flint River water. Sides in the yearlong Flint River Drought Protection Act battle say it will continue, even after compromising on one item. The entire state House groaned when House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, called for debate on Senate Bill 213 about 11:45 p.m. on the last day of last year’s legislative session. It had been lobbied so much that they were tired of hearing about it.


March 17, 2014

House, Senate Gridlocked Over Foster Care Privatization

Michell Eloy reports that plans to privatize the state’s child welfare system are gridlocked in the Georgia General Assembly, with both the House and Senate set to take up different versions of the bill in the waning days of this year’s legislative session. Under the Senate version, the state dives into privatizing services like foster care, adoption and case management through a competitive bidding process, with statewide rollout beginning as early as July of next year.


March 17, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Lawmakers quietly push job creation measures

Walter C. Jones reports that many of the headlines coming out of the legislative session this year about Obamacare, Common Core, guns and “medical marijuana” might give a false impression that job-creation bills are nonexistent. Part of the reason is because, unlike the last three years, there was no blue-ribbon commission holding meetings across the state to make recommendations beforehand. Those resulted in tax-cutting packages that sparked highly publicized debates.


March 17, 2014

Questions Persist Over Welfare & Food Stamp Drug Test Bill

Jonathan Shapiro reports that the state Senate is considering a bill that would allow drug testing for welfare and food stamps, despite persistent concerns over its legality and cost. Under House Bill 772, state social workers would be empowered to test an applicant or recipient if there’s “reasonable suspicion” to do so. Red flags could be an arrest record or a person’s "demeanor."


March 17, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Stewing over Obamacare in the final days of the 2014 session

Jim Galloway reports that the next four days at the state Capitol will determine how we talk about the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, for the rest of the year in Georgia. The only question is whether, on the cusp of a highly competitive election season, our GOP-controlled Legislature will let Democrats like Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter continue to simmer in voter suspicion of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.




March 14, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Vonage rings up Atlanta expansion with 200+ jobs

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Vonage Holdings Corp. is mapping an Atlanta expansion that will initially create 200 jobs and significantly boost its office footprint. Vonage (NYSE: VG) made Atlanta its business solutions headquarters following last year’s acquisition of Vocalocity for  $130 million. Now, Vonage is doubling down on the Peach State, lured by the labor pool and cost advantage.


March 14, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Business Casual: And the boot goes on

Susan Percy writes, nothing says “Hope you had a nice evening, sucker, because everything’s about to change” quite as eloquently as a bright orange “Immobilization Notice” under your windshield wiper and a metal boot on your wheel. When it happened to me, at an unattended private lot on Peachtree in Midtown, I was indignant, incredulous. I had paid the $5 fee to the lot’s machine, via bankcard, and still got booted.


March 14, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Fuqua about to break ground on Morningside project

Amy Wenk reports that a new natural foods grocer is coming to the Morningside neighborhood. Fuqua Development LLC, headed by former The Sembler Co. executives Jeff Fuqua and Heather Correa, is about to break ground on a mixed-use project at Piedmont Avenue and Cheshire Bridge Road. The anchor tenant will be Sprouts Farmers Market, sources say.


March 14, 2014 Marietta Daily Journal

Bracing for BRAC

Leo Hohman reports that some say Congress is due for a new cycle of BRAC hearings that reassess the efficiency and placement of military bases. Cobb business leaders say they are not taking anything for granted. A snapshot picture of Cobb County without Dobbins Air Reserve Base would not be pretty. It would show a community ravaged by the loss of 2,500 jobs and $182 million in annual economic impact. If Dobbins were to become a casualty of BRAC, or “base realignment and closure,” it could also place another 6,300 jobs at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in jeopardy because the defense contractor considers the Air Force tower and runway at Dobbins to be critical testing grounds for its aircraft.


March 14, 2014

House And Senate At Odds Over Key Bills

Jeanne Bonner reports that Thursday afternoon, the House was about to vote on a bill to expand services to Alzheimer’s patients. Then all of a sudden, the Majority Whip, Atlanta Republican Rep. Ed Lindsey, arrived with an amendment that would block state agencies from carrying out any of the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. A similar measure had passed committee Thursday morning but its sponsor, Rep. Jason Spencer, a Republican, told reporters the maneuver was “an insurance policy.” That is, to insure Georgia opposes the federal healthcare reform bill every way it can.


March 14, 2014 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Georgia Congress prospect funds bill that would benefit his industry

Walter C. Jones reports that the frontrunner in the race for the open congressional seat along the coast is under attack for sponsoring a bill as a legislator that could benefit his industry. An Atlanta television station aired a story Wednesday night addressing Sen. Buddy Carter's Senate Bill 408 that would add requiredments on insurance companies that could make mail-order pharmacies lose some of their price advantage. Carter, a Pooler republican who owns three drug stores, is the top fundraiser and the leader in polls for the First District's six-man GOP primary to replace U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston. 


March 14, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Georgia Senate Panel greenlights bill that would restrict state Obamacare help

Walter C. Jones reports that the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee voted unanimously Thursday in support of House Bill 707 that seeks to block state entities from helping to implement the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. Also on Thursday, the House added that bill to a separate bill already passed by the Senate to double the chances the Senate would pass the provisions of HB 707.


March 14, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Bill Clears Senate Committee Without Attachment

Jonathan Shapiro reports that a state Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would transfer the authority to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to the state Legislature. Currently, Gov. Nathan Deal - through the state Board of Community Health - has sole authority to expand Medicaid. Before House Bill 990 was approved, Senate Health and Human Services Committee chair Renee Unterman attempted to attach separate legislation calling for a partial privatization of the state’s foster care system. But Senate President Pro Tem David Schafer requested the bills be kept separate.


March 14, 2014

Medical amnesty bill now includes underage drinkers

Sandra Parrish reports that the state Senate passes a bill that would provide amnesty to anyone who seeks medical help for a drug overdose victim.  But changes made on the Senate floor to now include underage drinkers could put the legislation in jeopardy as it heads back to the House. Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), whose district includes the University of Georgia, says many times students under age 21 are afraid to seek help for themselves or others who may have had too much to drink. 


March 14, 2014 Rome News Tribune, Morris News Service

New Poll: Carter leads Deal in Georgia governor's race

Walter C. Jones reports that the Democratic challenger to Gov. Nathan Deal has pulled into the lead, according to a public-opinion survey released Thursday. Jason Carter, a Democratic state senator from Atlanta and grandson of Georgia's only president, is slightly ahead of Deal, 41 percent to 38 percent.




March 13, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate rises to 7.2 percent in January

Henry Unger reports that Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in January from 6.8 percent in December, as employers laid off workers after the holiday season, the state labor department said Thursday. The local jobless rate, which is not seasonally adjusted, typically increases in January. A year ago, for example, metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points. Two years ago, it ticked up 0.2 percentage points.


March 13, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Moving Ahead

Jerry Grillo reports that all of that traffic in, through, around and above Atlanta – it was meant to be. The big rigs circling the city on I-285, the car conga line shuffling down Georgia 400, the airliners circling over Hartsfield-Jackson waiting for permission to land, the trains roaring in and out of town: destiny, all of it. Movement is the reason Atlanta was invented, the movement of stuff to and from the port of Savannah, and then across the known continent, or across the sea.


March 13, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Cleantech Open Southeast launches

Phil W. Hudson reports that the Cleantech Open Southeast on March 13 will launch and partner with Atlanta. Cleantech Open Southeast hopes to serve as a hub for the region’s business accelerator and national cleantech program, which provides entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company.


March 13, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Mizuno USA to open distribution center in Braselton

Staff reports that Mizuno USA, a global manufacturer of sports apparel, footwear and equipment, has announce the relocation of all its distribution facilities and manufacturing operations to a 520,000-square-foot facility in Braselton. “Mizuno USA is excited to make the move to Braselton in 2015,” said Bob Puccini, president of Mizuno USA Inc. and director of Mizuno Corporation. “This investment is a critical next step for our business to be able to service the dynamic, omni-channel supply needs of our customers and consumers. The location, supportive infrastructure as well as the facility space options made Barrow County the optimal solution to support our expected growth.”


March 13, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Augusta-based Bell Ranger Outdoor Apparel strikes new deals

Tim Rausch reports that a nearly 60-year-old Augusta apparel company that cut its teeth on supplying Army-Navy surplus stores acquired the license to three brands that could boost its business to the point that it needs a larger facility. Bell Ranger Outdoor Apparel, headquartered on Crescent Drive, acquired the license for U.S. Angler, Outdoor Legends and HillBilly – seen on the TV show Shark Tank in 2011 with Jeff Foxworthy as an investor – and will begin manufacturing and distributing clothing with those brand names.


March 13, 2014

Pace Of Business At State Capitol Quickening

Jeanne Bonner reports that important bills are beginning to come to the floors of both chambers at the state Capitol, and the pace of business is picking up. Of course, there are only three legislative days left in this year’s session so it’s about time. Votes were taken Wednesday on three key bills, including one that would place a monument to the Ten Commandments at the state Capitol, despite a warning that it could bring a legal challenge. 


March 13, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Watered-down Flint River bill clears Georgia House

Dave Williams reports that Georgia lawmakers overwhelmingly passed an embattled water policy bill Wednesday but with a far narrower scope than what supporters originally envisioned. The legislation, which won approval in the state House of Representatives 164-3, would set the stage for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to pump water stored in underground aquifers into streams along the lower Flint River in times of drought using a process called augmentation.


March 13, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Senate panel approves latest version of medical cannabis proposal

Maggie Lee reports that a State Senate panel unanimously approved possession in Georgia of a single type of medicine derived from cannabis, with the state’s prosecutors signed onto a plan that violates federal law. The measure offers “protection from prosecution for possession of cannabidiol oil” used for seizure treatment, said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, who made the edit on his own House Bill 885 in front of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday afternoon.


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March 13, 2014

Georgia Senate Approves MLK Statue 

Michelle Wirth reports that placing a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Georgia Capitol grounds is one step closer to reality. That’s after the Georgia Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday allowing for the statue to be put somewhere on the grounds or in another prominent place. Senators approved a statue for the late civil rights icon with a vote of 49 to 1. Under the bill, the statue would be funded with private money and would go up as soon as is practical. Democratic State Senator Gail Davenport sponsored the bill in the Senate.


March 13, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

Common Core not dead in Georgia, after all

Walter C. Jones reports that one of the most controversial bills of the two-year legislative term suddenly hit a brick wall Wednesday when the House Education Committee voted down legislation designed to pull Georgia out of the Common Core school standards. The legislation would have ended Georgia’s three-year use of the multistate education standards. When the committee, which includes several former teachers and administrators, voted on Senate Bill 167, five hands were raised in support, but 13 went up against it, effectively killing it. 


March 13, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An autism bill swims against the tide

Jim Galloway reports that if SB 397 were an animal, you would have to classify it as a salmon, making its implausible way upstream against a preposterous current. The state Capitol has gushed anti-Obamacare legislation this session. Republicans have damned the Affordable Care Act and government intervention in health care with an intensity that has been stunning in its breadth and imagination.


March 13, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Lifting some of the fog surrounding an anti-abortion bill

Aaron Gould Sheinin reports that late Tuesday afternoon, the House Insurance Committee pushed through changes to Senate Bill 98. The bill was designed to memorialize in state law a vote last summer by the governing board of the Department of Community Health to ban coverage of abortions under the State Health Benefits Plan — except in the case of a medical emergency. The version of the bill that passed the Senate on March 3 said, “No (state) health insurance plan shall offer coverage for abortion services except in the case of medical emergency.”




March 12, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ameris Bank parent acquiring Coastal Bank

Christopher Seward reports that Ameris Bancorp, a Moultrie – based banking company, said it will buy Savannah-based Coastal Bankshares for $36.7 million. The deal comes as the industry continues to strengthen with higher profits and fewer problem assets.


March 12, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Metro Atlanta hiring to rise in Q2

Jacques Couret reports that Metro Atlanta’s job market in the second quarter of 2014 will improve slightly from the first quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey published Tuesday. In the second quarter, 22 percent of metro Atlanta companies Manpower interviewed said they plan to hire more employees, while 2 percent expect to cut jobs. Another 70 percent expect to maintain current workforce levels and 6 percent are unsure of their hiring plans. 


March 12, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Hallmark subsidiary Litho-Krome restructures in Columbus, cutting staffing to 50

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Tony Adams reports that an upcoming auction of printing equipment is a sign of necessary change at the Litho-Krome plant in Columbus, not the beginning of the end, the company’s parent company, Hallmark Cards, said Tuesday. “Litho-Krome (a Hallmark subsidiary) announced to employees back in October that they would be restructuring operations to focus on lithography for Hallmark greeting cards and Crayola products,” Hallmark media relations manager Linda Odell said via email.


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March 12, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Metro Atlanta home sales fall while prices continue to rise

Arielle Kass reports that home sales in metro Atlanta fell in February — the result of bad weather and a low supply of available houses — as prices continued to rise. February sales in an 11-county metro Atlanta region dropped 4.6 percent from 2013, the Atlanta Board of Realtors said. Ennis Antoine, the organization’s president-elect, said in a statement that the dip was not surprising considering a February storm and inventory levels that remain low. February sales fell 8.5 percent from January.


March 12, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Legislative Notebook: Rush for local laws

Maggie Lee reports that state lawmakers who want to make changes and tweaks to the city and county governments at home need to file papers by Thursday or they lose their chance for another year. Midstate lawmakers are joining the rush. Macon-Bibb County’s commissioners would be eligible for the same health care benefits as government employees, under House Bill 1133 by state Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon.


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March 12, 2014, Georgia Health News 

Drug Testing Bill Moves Toward Full Senate Vote

Charles Craig reports that a bill requiring food stamp and welfare recipients to submit to drug testing if suspected of illegal drug use has taken another step forward in the General Assembly. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee narrowly approved HB 772 on Monday. With four Republicans in favor of the bill and four Democrats opposed, Committee Chairwoman Renee Unterman (R-Buford) broke the tie, siding with her GOP colleagues in moving the legislation out of committee toward a vote by the full Senate.


March 12, 2014 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Georgia bill designed to stop 'ambulance chasers'

Walter C. Jones reports that a proposal designed to halt insurance scams passed a Senate subcommittee Tuesday without a provision that would have prevented news coverage of accidents. House Bill 828 restricts the release of information about accident victims and increases the penalties for buying it for the purpose of snagging clients for attorneys and doctors eager for the insurance claims. The first offense is punishable as a misdemeanor with at least 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. A second offense brings a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.


March 12, 2014

Ligon Withdraws Support for Common Core Bill He Championed

Martha Dalton reports that the House Education Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill aimed at pulling Georgia away from the Common Core standards. The committee amended the bill after a hearing last week. But now, the bill’s sponsor has withdrawn his support for the legislation. At last week's hearing, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) explained why his bill created an advisory council to review the Common Core.


March 12, 2014

Campus carry stripped from gun bill

Sandra Parrish reports that with time running out this legislative session, the state House has stripped campus carry from a controversial gun bill in an effort to ensure its passage. As it originally passed the House, HB 875 would have decriminalized bringing guns onto college campuses by carry permit holders.  Everyone else would have still been subject to a misdemeanor. 


March 12, 2014

Committee votes on abortion bill

Staff reports that with a last second change, and a quick vote, the abortion bill cleared another hurdle today in the state legislature. The vote today essentially combines the House and Senate abortion bills. The Senate bill has been more controversial. It says tax-payer money cannot be used in insurance policies to pay for an abortion.


March 12, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Sens. back bill to fight ACA in Georgia

Joshua Sharpe reports that as the end of the 2014 legislative session looms days away, all of Cherokee’s state senators are supportive of a bill that two of their local counterparts in the House helped draft to fight the Affordable Care Act in Georgia. Sens. Bruce Thompson (R-White), Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and John Albers (R-Alpharetta) each expressed their support of House Bill 707, which would bar state resources from being used to aid in implementation of the health care law.


March 12, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Obama nominates Leslie Abrams — Stacey’s sister — for federal judgeship

Daniel Malloy reports that President Barack Obama today nominated Leslie Joyce Abrams, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Atlanta and the sister of House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, for a federal District Court judge post in Middle Georgia. Abrams arrives at a tricky political time for Georgia judicial nominees, as a package of six nominees is being challenged from the left by Georgia Democrats, civil rights leaders and liberal groups. Her nomination was not pre-negotiated with Republican U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, who would need to give the go-ahead for her to be considered in committee under the “blue slip” custom for home-state senators.




March 11, 2014 Cartersville Daily Tribune

No major drops expected in agriculture business

Mark Andrews reports that planning on steady growth or maintaining stability while also preparing for world market changes were of the myriad of topics discussed Friday at the Clarence Brown Conference Center during the 2014 Georgia Ag Forecast, presented by the University of Georgia and sponsored by the Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Department of Agriculture.


March 11, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald

Deal: Medical devices company to create 120 jobs in Fayette

Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Gerresheimer Peachtree City, LP, a manufacturer of complex drug delivery systems, will expand in Fayette County, creating 120 jobs and investing double-digit millions into the expansion.  “Georgia’s healthcare industry is uniquely poised to help Gerresheimer grow,” said Deal. “This leading global company is taking advantage of an eager, skilled workforce and an advanced life science and healthcare ecosystem. Our state is the ideal location to support Gerresheimer’s newest expansion.” 


March 11, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia schools rank high on U.S. News’ 2015 ‘Best Grad Schools’ list

Carla Caldwell reports that several Georgia school’s scored well on U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 list of “Best Graduate Schools.” U.S. News says it analyzed more than 1,300 graduate programs to determine this year's rankings. University of Georgia’s public affairs program is ranked No. 4 among the nation's top public affairs schools. Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies is ranked No. 23. Georgia Institute of Technology's program is ranked No. 53.


March 11, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

iVantage: Atlanta among best health-care cities

Ellie Hensley reports that IVantage Health Analytics Inc. named Atlanta one of the best health-care cities in the United States, based upon hospital and market performance for populations. Other cities on the list included Washington, D.C.; Boston; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; Charlotte; Philadelphia; New York; and St. Louis. Combined, these markets serve 19 percent of the U.S. population, or 60 million people.


March 11, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SunTrust CEO’s pay down 38 percent last year

Russell Grantham reports that SunTrust Banks said Monday that Chief Executive William H. Rogers Jr.’s compensation declined nearly 38 percent last year, to $5.9 million, making it the second big Atlanta company in a few days to report big pay cuts for top executives in 2013. Executive pay raises have been shrinking at many public companies across the nation in the wake of “say-on-pay” votes that are now a feature at most annual shareholder meetings. The non-binding votes, encouraged under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, allow investors to weigh in on how executives are paid.


March 11, 2014

Lots of Bills, Not A Lot of Time At State Capitol 

Jeanne Bonner reports that state lawmakers are in session four days this week and two days next week before they adjourn for the year. Ever since Crossover Day last Monday, lawmakers in each chamber have been reviewing the work of their colleagues in the other chamber. But so far, few of the session’s most controversial bills have come up for a final vote. The House voted Monday on a Senate bill that will allow Savannah bars to open on Sundays on St. Patrick’s Day measure. Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign it Tuesday just in time for this weekend's festivities. And Tuesday the Senate will vote on a so-called slow poke measure that will force Sunday drivers to move out of the left-hand, higher speed lanes.


March 11, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia House panel OKs controversial water bill

Dave Williams reports that a new version of a water policy bill aimed at answering the legislation’s critics cleared a committee in the Georgia House of Representatives Monday. The legislation would amend the Flint River Drought Protection Act of 2000 by clarifying the state’s power to prohibit irrigation permit holders in the Flint basin from tapping into certain streams during times of drought.


March 11, 2014 Albany Herald

Judson H. Turner: Unfounded concerns, rumors surround revision of Flint River Drought Protection Act

Judson H. Turner reports that as the debate over Senate Bill 213 continues, the facts are being replaced with unfounded concerns and rumors. Here are the facts: The legislation clarifies the EPD director’s authority to suspend surface water withdrawals below a state-funded augmentation project during an extreme drought. Such suspension would occur where the state augments flow in streams that would otherwise risk losing all surface water flow. In a very practical sense, without augmented water in those stream stretches, there would not be any water for those surface water withdrawals anyway.


March 11, 2014

HHS' Sebelius Touts Affordable Care Act In Atlanta

Michell Eloy reports that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Monday raised awareness in Atlanta about the Affordable Care Act, as two controversial bills about the federal law make their way through the Georgia legislature. Speaking at the Center for Black Women’s Wellness on the city’s southwest side, Sebelius stressed March 31 will be the final deadline to enroll this year in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. She said despite previous extensions, this year’s open enrollment period will not continue past that date.


March 11, 2014 Gainesville Times

Suches Republican launches campaign for U.S. House

Joshua Silavent reports that Republican Bernard Fontaine has qualified for the U.S. House of Representatives 9th District race. Fontaine will challenge incumbent Doug Collins in the Republican primary May 20.  “The federal government is an out-of-control freight train,” Fontaine said, explaining his reason for running. “The president is taking over and Congress is inert. Obviously, things have to change.” 


March 11, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Poll shows Paul Broun with double-digit lead in GOP Senate race

Greg Bluestein reports that a poll released Monday conducted by left-leaning Public Policy Polling is showing some separation in the wide-open GOP contest to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The poll, commissioned by the lefty guerrilla group Better Georgia, has Rep. Paul Broun of Athens at 27 percent in the GOP contest. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta is at 14 percent, Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah is at 13 percent and businessman David Perdue is at 12 percent. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel notches 9 percent in the question, which involved only those who identified themselves as GOP primary voters. About a quarter were undecided.




March 10, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coca-Cola cuts CEO’s pay package by a third

Russel Grantham and Leon Stafford report that afte getting push-back from some shareholders and posting mixed 2013 results, Coca-Cola gave most of its top executives substantial pay cuts last year. The beverage giant disclosed Friday that CEO Muhtar Kent’s total compensation dropped 33 percent, to $20.4 million. But the biggest cuts for Kent and other executives primarily came from a change in the discount rate used to estimate pension values.


March 10, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Moving Ahead

Jerry Grillo reports that all of that traffic in, through, around and above Atlanta – it was meant to be. The big rigs circling the city on I-285, the car conga line shuffling down Georgia 400, the airliners circling over Hartsfield-Jackson waiting for permission to land, the trains roaring in and out of town: destiny, all of it. Movement is the reason Atlanta was invented, the movement of stuff to and from the port of Savannah, and then across the known continent, or across the sea.


March 10, 2014 AccessNorthGeorgia

Gainesville among top metro areas in country, according to new study

Ken Stafford reports that has named Gainesville one of the top metropolitan areas in the country.Gainesville comes in at number five for metro areas with a population of 200,000 or less. Sioux City, Iowa, Altoona, Penn., and Dubuque, Iowa, were tied for first and Odessa, Texas, came in fourth just ahead of Gainesville.


March 10, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Arthur Blank and MLS commissioner welcome Atlanta’s appetite for soccer

Maria Saporta reports that as 68,000 soccer fans filled the Georgia Dome with enthusiastic cheers Wednesday night, Arthur Blank was entertaining Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer in his suite during most of the scoreless match between Mexico and Nigeria. It was not a casual sporting event for either of them. Blank, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons; and Garber are closing in on a deal for Blank to become a new franchise owner for a MLS team that would play in the new Falcons stadium that is supposed to open before the 2017 football season.


March 10, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

No doubt: Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Columbus benefiting from health-care law

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Tony Adams reports that home to roughly 1,800 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia employees already, Columbus is well-positioned to add even more as the Affordable Care Act continues to roll out and the insurer's parent firm consolidates operations. That was a key message from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia President Morgan Kendrick during an interview Thursday at the Ledger-Enquirer.


March 10, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald

Economic development nothing new at UGA, but focus shifts

Lee Shearer reports that economic development is nothing new for the University of Georgia, but there's a shift in focus and a new emphasis under new UGA President Jere Morehead. For decades, units such as Cooperative Extension have promoted economic development in the state, broadening from its early roots of simply bringing the most advanced scientific agricultural practices to farmers. Agricultural scientist also have grow some of the state's largest agricultural industries, such as poultry, peanuts, blueberries and turfgrass. 


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March 10, 2014

Congressional Delegation Pens Letter To Federal Budget Office Over Savannah Port Funding

Michell Eloy reports that the state's 16-member congressional delegation penned a letter Thursday to the head of the Federal Office of Management and Budget in response to President Barack Obama leaving out construction funding for the Port of Savannah deepening in his 2015 budget proposal. In a letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell, Georgia’s two Republican senators, nine Republican representatives and five Democratic representatives said they were quote “disappointed” by the office’s construction funding omission for the estimated $650 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).


March 10, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Cherokee to hold Georgia super forum

Michelle Babcock reports that all nine qualified Republican candidates running to replace John Barge as state school superintendent will be in Cherokee County this Wednesday to discuss important issues in education. Each eligible candidate for the statewide school superintendent seat in the upcoming May 20 Republican primary confirmed their participation in the forum hosted by the Cherokee County Republican Party, said Rick Davies, president of the Cherokee County Republican Party.


March 10, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Study groups can keep lawmakers busy long after session ends

Maggie Lee reports that state lawmakers, like students, count down to their last day of work before taking a break. For the folks under the Gold Dome, the session lasts just 40 days and finishes March 20 this year. But some of them have the equivalent of summer school, with study committees that work out key ideas in peace. Others serve on study committees that are more like detention: places to put people who are disruptive and getting out of line.


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March 10, 2014

True Believers Won't Let Religious Freedom Bill Die

Jeanne Bonner reports that you can never truly say a bill has died until lawmakers gavel out of the legislative session and declare “Sine Die” as they do the last night of each year’s legislative session. But two so-called 'religious freedom' bills have little chance of a resurrection in the final weeks of the 2014 session. The bills would have allowed business owners to refuse service to homosexual customers if proprietors claimed it would violate their religious beliefs. Supporters say the measures free Georgians from carrying out activities that would be in conflict with their private personal beliefs. And they say the measures would not authorize or condone discriminating against anyone.


March 10, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

GOP Senate candidates sharpen elbows over Savannah port snub

Greg Bluestein reports that the finger-pointing over the White House’s port of Savannah snub morphed to saber-rattling earlier this week. At Saturday night’s GOP Senate debate, the rhetoric verged on open warfare. Several candidates mused that the Obama administration’s decision to block the dredging of Savannah’s port – the state’s top economic development priority – was a politically motivated ruse aimed at hurting the GOP field.



March 7, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Invesco: Former Emory Chairman Ben Johnson elected as chairman

Christopher Seward reports that Atlanta-based Invesco, a global money management firm, said Ben Johnson III has been elected chairman of its board of directors. Johnson, former board of trustees chairman at Emory University, will succeed Rex Adams, who is retiring after serving as an Invesco board member since 2001 and as chairman since 2006.


March 7, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

State tax revenue rose 5% in February

Jacques Couret reports that Georgia’s revenue from various taxes was up 5.3 percent in February, but sales tax revenue took a dive due to legislation that replaced the traditional automobile sales tax with a one-time title tax and consumer spending tempered by cold weather and snow storms.


March 7, 2014 Newnan Times-Herald

Niagara Bottling to create 40 jobs in Coweta County

Clay Neely reports that the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced today that NIagara Bottling, LLC, the nation’s largest private label bottled water supplier, will establish a new facility in Coweta County. The project, a $52 million investment, will create more than 40 new jobs in the Coweta area.


March 7, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

UPS adding propane trucks to fleet

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Sandy Springs-based shipping giant UPS said it is buying 1,000 propane-powered package delivery trucks to add to its fleet over the next year. After a test of the propane trucks in Gainesville last winter, UPS is making a $70 million investment in the vehicles and related infrastructure.


March 7, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Proposed budget cuts could cost Fort Gordon commissary customers

Wesley Brown reports that Though price comparisons conducted by the Defense Commissary Agency show that customers on average save $2.6 billion, or 30 percent on their grocery bills, military families in the Augusta area could soon see a steady rise in prices if they shop on post. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced major cuts in his department's budget last month that would cut the $1.4 billion taxpayer subsidy military commissaries use to charge their customers less for merchandise.    


March 7, 2014

CEO: Workforce sealed Porsche Headquarters deal for Atlanta

Trevor Williams reports that when Porsche Cars North America decided to move its Sandy Springs headquarters, it wasn’t a given that that German automaker would stay in the metro Atlanta area.  "We were absolutely prepared to move if we had good reason to,” Chief Executive Detlev Von Platen told a German business conference at Emory University last week. 


March 7, 2014

Georgia Senate Passes FY2015 Budget

Michelle Wirth reports that the  Georgia Senate overwhelmingly approved the state budget for the 2015 fiscal year. The $20.8 billion dollar budget includes $770 million new dollars in funding over the current budget. Democratic leaders sparred with Republicans over Medicaid and education funding. Senators approved one percent merit pay increases for state employees, many of whom have not had a pay raise since the start of the great recession. They also voted for a more than $530 million dollar funding boost for K-12 education. 


March 7, 2014

Michelle Nunn Qualifies, Sidesteps Port Funding Finger Pointing

Jeanne Bonner reports that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn qualified Thursday at the state Capitol, and brought a posse of supporters with her. Candidates in both parties have been qualifying to run all week, including fellow Democratic challenger, Jason Carter, who is running for Governor. But few other candidates brought a crowd of supporters, who chanted her name and cheered the impromptu remarks she made after filing the paperwork.


March 7, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Gov. Deal says Georgia's environment and jobs linked

Camie Young reports that Georgia’s economy is linked to the environment, Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday, as he presented an environmental address for Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. “It is important to have an environment that is clean and beautiful because that’s what people and businesses want,” Deal said, adding that companies often consider sustainability and the natural environment when choosing where to locate or expand businesses and that green jobs are helping drop the state’s unemployment rate.


March 7, 2014 Macon Telegraph

New Peake tack is licensed dispensaries for medical cannabis

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Maggie Lee reports that the federal barriers between Georgians and an epilepsy medicine made from cannabis are so insurmountable that the Macon representative who is championing the cause plans to propose licensing nonprofit dispensaries in Georgia. “I’m going to provide that as an option to include in our next draft of the bill,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, if a Senate committee hears his House Bill 885 by a key legislative deadline Wednesday.


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March 7, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A united Georgia delegation “very disappointed” in administration over Port funding

Daniel Malloy reports that all 16 members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation signed a letter today to the director of the White House budget office saying they were “very disappointed” in the lack of funding for the Savannah Port expansion project and demanding immediate approval for it to begin.




March 6, 2014

Gov. Deal Vows to Move Foward with Port Project Despite Obama Funding Proposal Snub

Michelle Wirth reports that Governor Nathan Deal expressed disappointment today with the Obama Administration’s decision not to include any construction funding for the Port of Savannah deepening project in its budget proposal. The state had been hoping for nearly $400 million construction dollars. Instead, just over $1.5 million was designated for pre-construction engineering and design.


March 6, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive

Neely Young: Heart of the Community

Neely Young writes, my association with our state’s county courthouses predates my association with Georgia Trend. I spent nearly 35 years walking up their steps as a reporter, photographer, editor and publisher or owner of newspapers. My job included covering the news that courthouses had to offer our newspaper readers.


March 6, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s jobless rate ticks down to 7.3 percent in January

Henry Unger reports that Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.3 percent in January from 7.4 percent in December as employers laid off fewer workers than they normally do after the holiday season, the state labor department said Thursday. “This is the seventh consecutive month that the unemployment rate has declined,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “The rate fell because 15,928 more Georgians were employed and the number of new layoffs for January fell to the lowest level in eight years.”


March 6, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia’s legal team in water wars stepping down

Dave Williams reports that two lawyers who have represented Georgia for 15 years in the tri-state water wars are withdrawing from the cases. Bruce Brown of Bruce P. Brown Law LLC and Todd Silliman of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP issued a joint news release Wednesday citing the longevity of Georgia’s disputes with Florida and Alabama over water allocation and the heavy demands of the work as reasons for moving to other duties.


March 6, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Carmike Cinemas shares hit 52-week high of $31.81

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Tony Adams reports that a day after reporting a $3.85 million profit on record revenue of nearly $172 million, shares of Carmike Cinemas leaped to a 52-week high Wednesday on the Nasdaq exchange. The Columbus-based movie theater chain’s stock price surged out of the gate, eventually reaching $32.60 per share around the lunch hour, an increase of more than 10 percent from its $29.50 per share close a day earlier.


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March 6, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Equity firm targeting electric utility suppliers acquires Efacec ACS

Christopher Seward reports that Charlotte-based private equity firm has acquired Norcross-based Efacec Advanced Control Systems, a provider of automation technology to electric utilities, the companies announced Wednesday. Falfurrias Capital Partners did not say how much it paid for the company, whose name will be changed to Advanced Control Systems Inc.


March 6, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

VA grants AKESOgen $7.5M for veteran genotyping project

Ellie Hensley reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded AKESOgen a $7.5 million contract to genotype veterans’ samples as part of the Million Veteran Program (MVP). In collaboration with Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, AKESOgen will genotype 105,000 veterans in the first year of a five-year contract for the award.


March 6, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Robins badly trails other depots in on-time delivery

Wayne Crenshaw reports that Robins Air Force Base is badly trailing the Air Force's two other maintenance depots in one of the most indicator's of performance. At the request of the Telegraph, the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City released on-time delivery rates for all three maintenance depots. Each base overhauls aircraft and is supposed to finish at least 95 percent of the planes on time.


March 6, 2014

Georgia Scores An 'A' On Civil Rights Education; Many States 'Woefully Inadequate'

Ellen Reinhardt reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center says education about the civil rights movement remains woefully inadequate in a majority of states. But a study released Wednesday found Georgia is one of only three states to get an “A” in teaching students about the movement.


March 6, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

University students lobby against prohibition of abortion benefits in state health exchange insurance plans

Walter C. Jones reports that the leaders of pro-abortion rights chapters at the state’s universities were at the Capitol Wednesday to lobby against Senate Bill 98 which would prohibit the insurance plans sold to Georgians through a health exchange from covering elective abortion. “That’s ridiculous, absurd,” said Bess Neumeister, a recent psychology graduate of Georgia Southern University who’s returned to her home in Atlanta to find a job. At age 26, she is no longer covered under her parents’ insurance, so she recently purchased a plan from a health exchange, and she wants abortion as a choice.


March 6, 2014

Deal And Carter Spar Over Port Funding

Jeanne Bonner reports that as  we’ve noted throughout this year’s legislative session, lawmakers are eager to avoid controversy, adjourn and start campaigning for re-election. But the outside world keeps intruding at the Gold Dome. Lawmakers are struggling to answer why federal money to expand the Savannah Port that everyone has said is coming, isn’t. Georgia had been waiting for Pres. Obama to request $700 million in matching funds in the federal budget for dredging the harbor. On Tuesday, word came that the money isn’t there.


March 6, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Deal predicts changes coming to Common Core legislation

Greg Bluestein reports that  Common Core legislation that has so infuriated educators? Expect some big changes to it before the session is out. Gov. Nathan Deal, whose staff helped draft the controversial legislation, said it is “not a finished product” and that revisions were on the way. Senate Bill 167 calls for a review of whether the state should stay within Common Core, the national education standards that have ticked off tea party members and other conservatives who fear a takeover of education policy. But educators also fear the language would prevent students from being tested on material tied to the standards, such as the SAT and ACT.




March 5, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Federal budget ignores Savannah Harbor project

Dave Williams reports that there's no construction money for the Savannah Harbor deepening in the federal budget President Barack Obama released Tuesday, prompting Georgia’s two senators to charge the White House with failing to keep its promises. During a tour of the Port of Savannah last September, Vice President Joe Biden called for expediting port improvements at Savannah and other U.S. ports along the Atlantic coast “come hell or high water.”


March 5, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia Municipal Association 2014 Mayor's Day Conference

Ben Young writes, in January, the Georgia Municipal Association hosted the 2014 Mayor's Day Conference in Atlanta. Keynote was Presentor Dr. James Johnson Jr. Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center, Frank Hawkins Kenan Insititute for Private Enterprise; William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a demographics expert. Among the trends he discussed were the vanishing of men from the white collar workplace, the shortage in service industry employees needed to match the growing senior population, and the deficit of social services matching the needs of the working class. 


March 5, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

RockTenn buying Washington mill for $343 million

Christopher Seward reports that RockTenn, the Norcross-based consumer packaging company, said it will acquire Simpson Tacoma Kraft Paper Mill in Washington for about $343 million. RockTenn is buying the West Coast mill from Simpson Lumber Co.. The mill makes various paper grades including containerboard, specialty kraft paper and pulp.


March 5, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Carmike posts $3.8 million profit on record revenue

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Tony Adams reports that an acquisition-fueled year in which Carmike Cinemas continued to gobble up movie theaters helped propel the company’s revenue to a record $171.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. That filtered down to net income of $3.8 million in the October-December period, which was far off the $91.6 million posted in the same quarter a year ago, the Columbus-based firm reported Tuesday. 


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March 5, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

8 Georgians on Forbes 2014 'World's Billionaires' list

Carla Caldwell reports that Georgians claim eight spots on Forbes magazine’s 2014 "The World's Billionaires" list. Anne Cox Chambers, the 94-year-old daughter of James M. Cox, the media mogul who built Cox Enterprises Inc. is No. 58 on the list with an estimated net worth of $15.5 billion.


March 5, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

MOX facility at Savannah River Site placed on standby while alternatives assessed

Meg Mirshak reports that the National Nuclear Security Administration will begin shutting down Savannah River Site's mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility while it assesses alternative ways to dispose of plutonium. In recent years, the Obama administration has slowed funding for the MOX project that has cost taxpayers $3.9 billion on so far, according to the NNSA. Cost estimates for the program’s life cycle had risen to $30 billion.


March 5, 2014

New Coalition Of Old Faces Rallies Against Falcons Stadium Deal

Michell Eloy reports that a newly formed collation Tuesday rallied against the proposed Atlanta Falcons stadium, one day after the city council pushed forward plans for the estimated $1.2 billion project. The group Atlantans for a Fair Deal want the city council to reverse last year’s decision to use at least $200 million in bonds backed by hotel/motel tax revenue to help pay for the planned stadium. 


March 5, 2014

Expert: Georgia Can't Do Much More To Stop Affordable Care Act       

Adam Ragusea reports that Georgia’s state House passed a bill late Monday designed to push back against the federal Affordable Care Act. It now goes to the state Senate. The legislation would prevent state government from helping in the implementation and enforcement of the law also known as "Obamacare." 


March 5, 2014

Military Members Lend Support to Common Core

Martha Dalton reports that a group of retired military members gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday to show support for the Common Core education standards. Georgia has invested plenty of time and money in the standards’ implementation. But a bill that cleared the state Senate puts Georgia’s future participation in the Common Core in question.


March 5, 2014

Here Are The Georgia Bills To Watch In 2014

Jeanne Bonner reports that Georgia lawmakers are sprinting to the end of the 2014 legislative session. The legislature engaged in a bill-passing marathon Monday, and now each chamber is taking a look at the other chamber’s bills. Among the hundreds of measures that have a chance at passage into law this year, one proposal would place a monument to the Ten Commandments in a prominent spot at the Capitol. Another would bar the state from levying ad valorem taxes.


March 5, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A glimpse into David Pennington’s insurgent challenge to Nathan Deal

Greg Bluestein reports that David Pennington made his insurgent challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal official when he qualified on Tuesday, saying he and the incumbent are “polar opposites” in the GOP primary. Pennington, who stepped down as Dalton’s mayor on Monday, pressed Deal to sit down for a debate. (We have been told that won’t happen.)



March 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia factories getting more orders, increasing production

Christopher Seward reports that manufacturing activity in Georgia increased last month, with double-digit gains in new orders, production and supply deliveries, according to a monthly report Monday by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center. The survey of purchasing managers also showed hiring was higher than in previous months.


March 4, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Aaron's Inc.'s head of franchising out

David Allison reports that Aaron's Inc. said its head of franchising is out, a move that comes as the rent-to-own giant seeks to respond to a $2.3 billion buyout bid. Aaron's (NYSE: AAN) said K. Todd Evans, vice president of franchising and a 20-year employee of Aaron's, will be leaving Aaron’s "to pursue other opportunities."


March 4, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus State selected as site for STEM teacher fellowships

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Mark Rice reports that Columbus State University will be among five Georgia institutions of higher learning to participate in a national initiative to increase the number of outstanding teachers in STEM, the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday in Atlanta. CSU, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University and Piedmont College have been selected as sites for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Georgia will be the first state in the South included in the national program.


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March 4, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Bill would help development authorities

Dave Williams reports that the Georgia Senate passed legislation Monday to remove some of the legal requirements governing bond validation hearings that have been used to block development projects from moving forward. The bill, which passed 35-13, would remove a requirement that either the attorney general or a district attorney be present at hearings to validate bonds development authorities are seeking to sell to finance building projects.


March 4, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Legislative Notebook: Loan pool gets green light

Maggie Lee reports that the House approved a proposal Monday by state Rep. Allen Peake that would provide a revolving, low-interest loan pool for redeveloping intown neighborhoods statewide. The state could put up to $20 million in the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Fund over four years under House Bill 128. Loans would be available to downtown development authorities, nonprofit groups and city governments.


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March 4, 2014 Brunswick News

Crossover Day a success for Atwood

Sarah Lundgren reports that the aviation industry in Glynn County and in the rest of Georgia could be getting some good news in the near future. House Bill 933, sponsored by Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, would make permanent the current tax exemption on airplane parts from aircraft outside Georgia that fly here to be repaired. The current tax exemption on aviation parts has been in effect since 2007 but has always contained a sunset clause, Atwood said.


March 4, 2014

Medical Marijuana And Abortion Bills Move Forward

Jeanne Bonner reports that Georgia lawmakers have made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. The session has been moving quickly because lawmakers want to adjourn so they can raise money for their re-election campaigns. And indeed, the 2014 election was never far from lawmakers' minds. As one lobbyist put it, "It's the slowest Crossover Day in at least a decade."


March 4, 2014

Conservatives Call for Boycott of Companies That Opposed SB 377

Lisa George reports that a conservative group claiming more than two million members says it will call for a boycott of some of Georgia’s largest corporations. The group, made up of several organizations, including the 1.4-million member Georgia Baptist Convention, blames the companies for the failure of Senate Bill 377. Called the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” the measure would have allowed private businesses deny service based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.  


March 4, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Driver’s license ban loses to ‘wisdom, justice and moderation’

Jim Galloway reports that a last-ditch effort to ban driver’s licenses for immigrants who have been granted a humanitarian reprieve from deportation – because they were brought here as children — died on a bipartisan 27-8 vote in the state Senate on Monday. The amendment was offered by Bill Heath, R-Bremen. Opposition was led by another Republican, Tommie Williams of Lyons – the former Senate president pro tem, a former missionary, and a farmer who deals in pine straw and blueberries.




March 3, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia business groups speak out against state legislation

Jeremy Redmon reports that Georgia’s business community is raising concerns about a pair of measures that would restrict who may get state driver’s licenses and how they may get them. This is at least the second time Georgia business groups have spoken out this week about controversial state legislation. Legislation that critics feared would let businesses discriminate against gays — by citing religious beliefs — appeared to founder this week after meeting opposition from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot and the InterContinental Hotels Group.


March 3, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

A century of service

Karen Rosen reports that in a year that saw World War I break out, the Panama Canal open and the first Tarzan of the Apes book published, 135 commissioners of roads and revenues in Georgia laid the groundwork for an organization that is indispensable today. These forward-thinking commissioners met in April 1914 at the Kimball House in Atlanta to discuss a predicament: The state coffers lacked the matching funds required by the federal government to create Georgia’s first highway department. For the good of the state, the commissioners vowed to raise the bond money themselves. 


March 3, 2014 Albany Herald

Row crop farmers face reduced profits

Sharon Dowdy reports that Georgia’s livestock producers may see higher profits in 2014 due to lower feed prices and higher consumer demand. However, those lower feed prices, and flat demand for corn for ethanol, may hold down profit margins for Georgia row crop farmers. University of Georgia experts with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences shared their economic predictions for Georgia’s commodities during Georgia Ag Forecast seminars held across the state, including on Friday in Tifton at the Tifton Campus Conference Center. Otherseminars were held in Macon, Athens, Lyons and Bainbridge. Each forecast event focused mostly on the commodities grown in that region of the state.


March 3, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta's negative equity rate second highest

Phil W. Hudson reports that Atlanta has the second highest negative equity rate but it is expected to improve by the end of the year, according to the fourth quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report. Atlanta’s negative equity rate for the fourth quarter of 2013 was 35 percent but it is forcast to drop to 29.3 percent by the fourth quarter of 2014.


March 3, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

TSYS renews contract with Missouri-based Commerce Bank

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Staff reports that TSYS said it has renewed its payments agreement with Missouri-based Commerce Bank. The multi-year contract includes processing for Commerce's consumer, commercial and retail credit card portfolios, as well as its signature debit portfolio. In addition, the agreement allows Columbus-based TSYS to provide PIN debit services to the bank's customers. TSYS also handles fraud prevention, risk management and full customer support.


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March 3, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Menear to lead Home Depot U.S. retail

Leon Stafford reports that Craig Menear has been named president of Home Depot’s U.S. retail operations, the company said Friday. The new title is a promotion for Menear, who has been the Atlanta home improvement giant’s executive vice president for merchandising. “Craig is a world-class retailer and has done a terrific job in recent years leading some of the most important and successful initiatives in our company,” Frank Blake, Home Depot’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.


March 3, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Rep. Moore faces voters at town hall

Joshua Sharpe reports that new state Rep. Sam Moore welcomed residents to a town hall meeting Saturday morning to hear their thoughts on the drama already whirling around the lawmaker in his first month in office. About 50 residents turned out to Simply Southern Restaurant to pose questions to the representative from District 22 about his wildly controversial House Bill 1033, which could have allowed some sex offenders at schools.


March 3, 2014

It's Do Or Die Day For Bills In Georgia

Jeanne Bonner reports that Monday, so-called Crossover Day, will be one of the longest days of the 2014 legislative session at the Gold Dome. Lawmakers will be debating bills from mid-morning until possibly as late as midnight to decide what measures have a shot at becoming law this year. Day 30 of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session is called Crossover Day because any bill that passes one chamber by this point in the session automatically crosses over to the other chamber for consideration.


March 3, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Hints of turmoil in another GOP effort to oust John Barrow

Jim Galloway reports that for the last several election cycles, Republican attempts to sack John Barrow, the last white Democrat from the Deep South in Congress, have had the feel of a snipe hunt. A scrambling in the dark, accompanied by a great number of stubbed toes, with nothing to show but an empty burlap bag when the lights are turned on.



Feb. 28, 2014 Rome News-Tribune

Georgia Chamber of Commerce President sees a manufacturing renaissance

Doug Walker reports that the state is in the middle of a manufacturing renaissance, said Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark, who spoke Thursday to the Rotary Club of Rome. He pointed to Caterpillar’s decision to move a plant from Japan to Athens as an example of what he called in-shoring.


Feb. 28, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Sustainable Georgia - Surf's Up

Ben Young writes, they have a soft place in my heart, but  it’s time to take a hard look at our coastal communities. Here, climate change is no myth. Many favorite spaces are being inundated under our nose by a 3.2 foot rise in ocean levels that will shift the coastline inward by as much as half a mile – not in a thousand years, but in our lifetime.


Feb. 28, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tennis giant Prince moving headquarters to Atlanta

J. Scott Trubey reports that Prince Global Sports, a giant in tennis and other racquet sports equipment and apparel, plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Atlanta, the company said Thursday. Prince said it is finalizing a lease on office space in Buckhead, but did not identify the location.


Feb. 28, 2014 Macon Telegraph

OSHA says unsafe Nichiha factory should be fined $138,600

Mike Stucka reports that a Macon manufacturing operations of Nichiha USA Inc. have repeatedly put workers in peril and should pay $138,600 in fines, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday. OSHA said the factory on Avondale Mill Road was checked after a complaint was filed. Inspectors found four violations repeated from a 2009 inspection, when the company was sited with $20,790 in penalties.


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Feb. 28, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Coca-Cola boosts untaxed overseas earnings to $30.6B

David Allison reports that  Coca-Cola Co. in 2013 continued to increase its giant and growing pile of untaxed earnings sitting overseas. Coke (NYSE: KO) reported Thursday that at the end of 2013, the "undistributed earnings" of its foreign subsidiaries totaled $30.6 billion. These earnings are considered to be indefinitely reinvested, and no U.S. federal or state taxes are paid on them.


Feb. 28, 2014

Deal: Inalfa Roof Systems creates 100 more jobs in Cherokee County

Staff reports that ov. Nathan Deal today announced that Inalfa Roof Systems, a leading global provider of vehicle roof systems, will expand its recently completed 165,000-square-foot regional headquarters in southwest Cherokee County by an additional 45,000 square feet. The company will invest an additional $6 million and create 100 new jobs in addition to the 300 already announced in June 2013.


Feb. 28, 2014

Israel: Small nation, big job-creation potential

Trevor Williams reports that Georgia’s $100 million factory win from Israel proves that the small country “punches above its weight” in creating American jobs, but even greater impact could come from from solidifying the state’s reputation as a global launch pad for innovative Israeli firms, a well-known investor told Global Atlanta.


Feb. 28, 2014 Gwinnett Daily Post

Local duo opens Geekspace Gwinnett, a place for community thinking and building

Chrine Troyke reports that Ben Ferrell and Brad Newton figured it might take six months to bring their plan for a creative geek haven to Gwinnett. That was two years ago. The co-founders of Geekspace Gwinnett might have been a little overambitious about the time frame, but not about the concept. The grand opening of what’s called a makerspace is Saturday evening at their new digs at 1000 Hurricane Shoals Road (Suite B 1400) in Lawrenceville. For those who have never heard of such a thing, it’s a non-profit sanctuary for a wide range of endeavors. From robotics to engineering to costuming and woodworking, Geekspace Gwinnett aims to inspire collaboration and creativity.


Feb. 28, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

March tourism projected at $3 million in Augusta

Staff reports that visitors to Augusta in March are expected to generate $3 million in direct visitor spending. The top two events projected to bring in the most spending are the Voter Registration Association of Georgia’s annual meeting and a conference for the East Central Georgia Emergency Medical Service. Combined, the events are expected to draw 1,100 people and generate about $1.1 million, according to a monthly report compiled by the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council.


Feb. 28, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most admired: Home Depot rises, Delta arrives

Christopher Seward reports that Home Depot moved up a few notches on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the world’s 50 most admired companies, while Delta Air Lines, which was not on the list last year, landed on it this time around. Two other metro Atlanta-based companies, Coca-Cola and UPS, made the list but lost ground.


Feb. 28, 2014

House Leader’s LGBT Comments Raise Eyebrows

Jonathan Shapiro reports that in states like Arizona, Georgia’s religious freedom bills have stalled and appear dead for the year. However, comments made during the debate are still reverberating in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Though the bill sponsors insist House Bill 1023 and Senate Bill 377 do not target the LGBT community, House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal has been quite direct in stating private business owners should be allowed to deny service to gay customers on religous grounds.


Feb. 28, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Sam Olens: Non-defense of same-sex marriage bans is ‘lawless’

Jim Galloway reports that Gov. Nathan Deal was supposed to be at today’s gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, with leader Ralph Reed in attendance, but he called in sick. But the show went on – and we caught Sam Olens. The state attorney general told the audience that he was part of the audience in Washington this week when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that Olens and his peers were not obligated to defend local laws if they believed the laws violated the U.S. Constitution.




Feb. 27, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia banks’ profit down 8.4% to $2 billion in 2013

Phil W. Hudson reports that Georgia's banks weathered collectively an 8.4 percent decline in profitability in 2013, but saw a third consecutive year in the black, according to new Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. Georgia’s 223 banks generated a collective $2 billion profit last year, compared with $2.2 billion in 2012 and $537 million in 2011, as the economic downturn began to wane. In 2012, the state had 228 banks.


Feb. 27, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia View - Saving our counties

Bill Crane writes, since voters approved the creation of Sandy Springs in north Fulton County in 2005, a near flood of new cities have been created in DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. DeKalb County currently has 11 cities, the newest being Brookhaven, with another four being proposed for voter referendums authorized by the General Assembly during 2014. In adjacent Fulton County, as of this writing, there remain only 80,000 Fulton residents not also served by a municipal government.


Feb. 27, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Perry named Fannie Mae chairman

J. Scott Trubey reports that Atlanta developer Egbert Perry was announced this week as the next chairman of government-backed mortgage giant Fannie Mae, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Perry, the chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based The Integral Group, joined Fannie Mae’s board in December 2008 and has helped guide the organization through its conservatorship. Perry is also a former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and has a 35-year history in real estate investment and development.


Feb. 27, 2014 Moultrie Observer

Winn-Dixie's closing could cost 80 jobs

Alan Mauldin reports that bout 80 or more Winn-Dixie employees will be impacted by the Moultrie store’s closing in June, the company said on Wednesday. Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Winn-Dixie, announced on Tuesday that the Moultrie Winn-Dixie #101 will be one of 13 stores in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that it will be closing, beginning with Sweetbay #1906 in Naples, Fla., on March 22.


Feb. 27, 2014 Augusta Chronicle

Columbia County Commission to examine hospital bids during work session

Tom Corwin reports that the Columbia County Commission will hold a work session at 9 a.m. Friday to review proposals from Doc­tors Hospital, Georgia Regents Health System and University Hospital to build the first hospital in the county, Georgia’s largest without one. The commission had appointed an 11-member committee to review the bidders and recommend one to work with the county on getting the required state permission to build a hospital. But committee members voted not to make a recommendation after they were forced to hold their session in public.


Feb. 27, 2014 Savannah Morning News

Savannah-based Green Badger LEED app gets investment from local seed-capital firm SLAAM

Julia Ritchey reports that Savannah-based Green Badger LLC, maker of a mobile application that makes it easier for architects and builders to manage their LEED documentation, has gotten a major investment from local seed-capital firm SLAAM Ventures. Launched in November 2013 by Tommy Linstroth, principal at local green building consultancy Trident Sustainability Group, the app allows architects, designers, owners, builders and contractors to manage their LEED construction credits from a smartphone or tablet. 


Feb. 27, 2014

City of Lakeside Closer to Reality After Senate Vote

Michelle Wirth reports that the Georgia Senate approved a bill paving the way for the creation of the city of Lakeside. The proposed city currently sits in unincorporated DeKalb County. Currently, the proposed city would border I- 85 on the west, Gwinnett County on the north, Chamblee-Tucker on the East and the Emory area in the South. Republican Senator Fran Millar spoke in favor of Lakeside.


Feb. 27, 2014 Georgia Times-Union

Georgia House bill clarifies state health insurance won't pay for elective abortions

Walter C. Jones reports that state workers and teachers have never been able to get elective abortion coverage, and legislation spelling that out is just to clarify existing rules, the bill’s author said Tuesday. Rep. Darlene Taylor, R-Thomasville, told the House Insurance Committee that Gov. Nathan Deal asked her to introduce House Bill 1066. “It does not change the current plan. This is a clarifying bill,” said Taylor, who is a health benefit manager by occupation. “Some people have said this is an abortion bill. It is not an abortion bill. It is an insurance bill.”


Feb. 27, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Georgia House passes 'slowpoke' bill

Staff reports that drivers who refuse to pull out of the left lane for a faster car – even one that is speeding – could be charged with a misdemeanor under legislation the Georgia House passed 162-9 on Wednesday. The measure, House Bill 459, was sponsored by Rep. Bill Hitchens, a Rincon Republican who is the previous head of the Georgia State Patrol.


Feb. 27, 2014 Macon Telegraph

House panel OKs bill for Georgia-grown medical cannabis

Maggie Lee reports that a bill that would legalize access to a cannabis-derived medicine in Georgia passed its first vote Wednesday, with a new provision for sourcing the illegal plant: in-state cannabis cultivation. It passed via unanimous voice vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday night.


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Feb. 27, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Ten years later, a culture war’s lines of battle are blurring

Jim Galloway reports that it was a day to marvel at how the world of politics can change in a mere 10 years. In 2004, a Republican-controlled Legislature, eager to boost November turnout, won the two-thirds approval necessary to place a constitutional ban on gay marriage before general election voters. On Wednesday, two bills with “religious freedom” in their titles – measures that required only a simple majority – cratered in the face of critics who said the legislation would permit businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.



Feb. 26, 2014 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

TSYS apologizes for credit error involving Fifth Third Bank

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Tony Adams reports that Columbus-based TSYS mistakenly reported to the major credit bureaus that more than 21,000 customers of Fifth Third Bank had filed for bankruptcy, prompting an apology from the card processor’s top executive. The error was disclosed after the stock markets’ close Monday, with TSYS and Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, a longtime client of the Columbus credit-card processor, issuing a joint release. It said the mistake was caused by a “TSYS coding issue” as database software was being changed in mid-October.


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Feb. 26, 2014 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

The Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership 2014 Summit

Ben Green reports that the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership held their 2014 Summit, New Ideas and Old Friends, at Cox Enterprises in Dunwoody last month. Each year some 30 Georgians are selected to attend monthly weekends at different parts of the state examining sustainability issues across Georgia's diverse geographic and economic spectrum.


Feb. 26, 2014

Georgia-made agricultural plane approved in Canada

Trevor Williams reports that in the culmination of a 13-month process, Albany, Ga.-based Thrush Aircraft has received safety certification from Transport Canada for its newest plane model. The approval opens Canada as the newest potential market for the Georgia-made turbo-prop planes, which are powered by GE engines. The 510G has been recently approved in Argentina and Brazil and has sold briskly in places like China, which placed an order for 20 of the planes last July.


Feb. 26, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Haverty annual profit up 116%

Jacques Couret reports that the  Atlanta-based furniture retailer’s profit soared 116 percent in 2013 due to tighter controls on expenses, a focus on higher price point products, pricing discipline, the improving economy and the housing recovery.


Feb. 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Delta changes frequent flier program to award money spent not miles flown

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that in a major change to its frequent flier program, Delta Air Lines will soon begin awarding free flights based on dollars spent, rather than miles flown. The move by Atlanta-based Delta is aimed at rewarding its higher-spending customers, an acknowledgement of how valuable those deep-pocketed travelers are to the company. It’s also a competitive move to attract lucrative business travelers as Delta jockeys against other carriers, including United and American, for those customers.


Feb. 26, 2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle

$98 million Cobb EMC settlement approved

Staff reports that a Cobb County judge on Tuesday gave the final nod to a $98 million settlement to Cobb Electric Membership Corp. customers after a four-year court battle to recover unpaid rebates. The settlement -- the largest ever awarded in Cobb County -- stems from a lawsuit filed in January 2010 by three former customers to make Cobb EMC rotate and retire profits allocated to its customers as required by its charter. 


Feb. 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Virginia company acquiring SocialVest

Christopher Seward reports that SocialVest, an Atlanta-based online retail marketplace that allows customers to make brand name purchases and direct a portion of the payments to non-profit organizations, has been acquired by a Virginia philanthropy-focused online shopping mall. PlanG Holdings Inc., which owns, did not disclose how much it paid for


Feb. 26, 2014 Gainesville Times

DNA bill likely to pass despite concerns

Emma Witman reports that in  a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court last year gave states the authority to collect DNA before suspects are convicted, and Georgia may do so. A bill to authorize that passed the state Senate, and was given court approval to move to a House vote. But when distrust of government is running high across party lines, some find the idea hard to stomach, legal experts said.


Feb. 26, 2014 Cherokee Tribune

Moore asks House for a second chance

Joshua Sharpe reports that State Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) has withdrawn his bill lessening restrictions on sex offenders and is asking for a second chance after the proposal caused a public backlash Friday on the floor of the House of Representatives. Moore, who is entering his third week in office, stood before the House on Monday morning and apologized to his fellow lawmakers, the voters in his District 22 and the entire state of Georgia — though he also criticized those who publicly bashed him.


Feb. 26, 2014 Macon Telegraph

Wednesday is key day for medical marijuana bill

Maggie Lee reports that with just two working days for a Macon lawyer to move a bill on medical marijuana, a key committee has scheduled a hearing, but its not clear if lawmakers will hear the bill. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said he is hopeful and optimistic that his House Bill 885  will appear on the agenda for a Wednesday meeting of the House Health and Human Services Committee.


Feb. 26, 2014 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Sentencing reform already produced $20M savings, says Deal

Walter C. Jones reports that Gov. Nathan Deal told a University of Georgia alumni group this week that savings from his criminal sentencing reforms started almost immediately and now total $20 million per year. He also announced that hiring for most state jobs will no longer automatically eliminate ex-felons. They will at least get a personal interview.


Feb. 26, 2014

Senate Approves Autism Coverage Bill

Michelle Wirth reports that the Georgia Senate approved a bill 51 to 0 that would require private insurance companies to provide coverage for autism treatment. Under the legislation, companies would be required to provide coverage for children with autism who are six and under. For many Senators the legislation was personal. That was the case with Republican Senator Renee Unterman who spoke about her late son, Zak.


Feb. 26, 2014

Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Separating Georgia from Common Core

Martha Dalton reports that the Georgia Senate Wednesday approved a bill aimed at separating the state from the Common Core education standards. The bill establishes an advisory council of community members. The council will help the state board of education carry out its current review the math and English/Language Arts standards. But some critics of the bill have said that creates an extra layer of bureaucracy. Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), the bill’s primary sponsor, refutes that. 


Feb. 26, 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

‘Religious freedom’ bill runs into trouble

Jim Galloway reports that the  Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, which proponents say would draw a line against government encroachment on faith – and opponents say would be a license to discriminate against gays, is running into trouble. This afternoon, as state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, brushed by, I asked the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if HB 1023, sponsored by state Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, would get a vote from his panel.