Daily News Archives

U.S. Economy Grows, Unemployment Down

U.S. Economy Grows, Unemployment Down Posted on:

Strong business hiring last month brought the unemployment rate down to its lowest level in two years, the U.S. government has reported. The economy gained 216,000 jobs in the month. That’s better than the gain of 180,000 predicted by economists surveyed by CNNMoney, and also a significant improvement over the 194,000 jobs added in February. “Almost two years after the recession officially ended, the labor market appears to finally be picking up,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for The Conference Board. The unemployment rate continued to edge down, dropping to 8.8%, the lowest level since March 2009. The unemployment rate has shed a full percentage point in the last four months, the largest four-month drop since 1984.

Fire and Water

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In an age of bottled water, it is refreshing to remember that the best-tasting water in America still can be found flowing out of the taps of every kitchen sink in New York City. The water system for the nation’s largest city is an immense natural bounty that has been harvested for nearly a century by one of the greatest feats in the history of human engineering. Originating in pristine upstate reservoirs, the City’s water is naturally filtered by granite outcroppings left by glaciers eons ago, enhancing its purity with a sweet, mineral aftertaste. As any kid who ever interrupted a stickball game to race inside for a cool drink on a hot summer day can tell you, there is no better thirst-quencher on Earth. In 1677, a few years after the Dutch outpost on the tip of lower Manhattan was established, drinking water was distributed to the settlers through hollow logs from a handful of shallow, privately owned wells. In 1776, when the population of New York City reached 22,000, the city’s first reservoir was built on the east side of Broadway between Pearl and White Streets, serviced by wooden mains. In 1830, the system’s water arteries were replaced with 12-inch cast iron pipes. As the City’s population approached its first million, the water became polluted and the supply was inadequate. The City decided to augment the system by impounding water from the Croton River, in what is now Westchester County. In 1842, the Old Croton Aqueduct was placed in service with a capacity of 90 million gallons per day; in the 1870s, several storage reservoirs were built in the City; in 1890, a second aqueduct (New Croton Aqueduct) came on line and the water facilities of the five boroughs were consolidated into the New York City Water System. In 1905, its population still exploding, the City decided to develop the Catskill region as an additional water source. The Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct were completed in 1915, joined by the Schoharie Reservoir and Shandaken Tunnel in 1928.  Also in 1928, approval was granted to develop the upper portion of the Rondout watershed and upstate tributaries of the Delaware River. Construction of the Delaware System began in 1937, after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out an attempt by New Jersey to block the project. The Delaware Aqueduct was completed in 1944, Rondout Reservior in 1950, Neversink Reservoir in 1954, Pepacton Reservior in 1955 and Cannonsville Reservoir in 1964. Today, the New York City Water System is served by 19… …Read More…

CCAM Breaks Ground in Virginia

CCAM Breaks Ground in Virginia Posted on:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the presidents of the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University today joined with executives from some of the world’s biggest names in manufacturing to officially break ground for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), a unique collaborative research facility in Prince George County, VA that promises to accelerate the transfer of laboratory innovations to manufacturing production lines where they can improve efficiencies, products and profits. “With a turn of the dirt today, Virginia is preparing a new foundation for manufacturing in the Commonwealth and in the nation,” Gov. McDonnell said. “Global dynamics will always influence where products are made, and CCAM’s collaborative, creative approach to advanced manufacturing techniques gives the Commonwealth a leadership role in determining how the world’s most advanced products are made.” The groundbreaking puts in motion construction of a 50,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Under its roof, best-in-class manufacturers will collaborate with accomplished faculty and students from Virginia’s top research and teaching institutions to perform advanced manufacturing research in two priority areas: surface engineering and manufacturing systems. When complete next year, the facility will house computational and large-scale production labs, as well as open production space for heavy equipment and surface coating processes, including a thermal spraying machine, a directed vapor deposition machine, integrated data acquisition systems and a thermal conductivity measurements system. “CCAM is a game changer for manufacturing operations in this country and around the world,” said David Lohr, the newly appointed president and executive director of CCAM. “Its collaborative model joins academic research with manufacturing’s drive for competitive advantage and it promises new, valuable innovations faster than ever before.” CCAM is the only collaboration of its kind in North America and it promises its member companies significant benefits. By pooling resources to pursue university research authorized by member companies, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar. R&D risks and costs are shared by members – away from live production floors – and research results are shared with all members, allowing them to capitalize on new, breakthrough developments that emerge from CCAM research. In addition to breaking ground for the research facility, CCAM also announced today the founding companies that will anchor the CCAM facility and its initial research operations. They are: ·         Canon Virginia Inc. – Located in Newport News, Canon Virginia Inc. produces new products using advanced manufacturing methodologies while also serving as a factory service center for repair and refurbishment of Canon cameras, video recorders and office products. (www.cvi.canon.com <http://www.cvi.canon.com> ) ·         Chromalloy… …Read More…

Kansas City, KS Wins Google’s 1 Gig Network

Kansas City, KS Wins Google’s 1 Gig Network Posted on:

Internet giant Google has selected Kansas City, KS as the location for which it will build a fiber-optic network that will provide Internet access speeds as fast as 1 gigabit of data per second, more than 100 times faster than the U.S. average. Google officials joined KC Mayor Joe Reardon at Wyandotte High School today to announce the selection. Kansas City, KS vied with more than a 1,000 other locations across the nation in a yearlong competition that saw another city in Kansas—Topeka—briefly change its name to “Google, Kansas” in order to get a leg up in the contest (read BF blog post). Google announced early last year that it wanted to build a fiber-optic, high-speed Internet network for a community of up to 500,000 residents that would provide as much as 1 gigabit of data per second, far exceeding the 10 megabit-per-second speeds available on the best cable modem or DSL lines. Nearly 1,100 communities throughout the country—including Kansas City, MO, Topeka and Overland Park, KS—responded to the announcement. Google issued the following statement in making the announcement: “As part of our overall goal to make the web better for users, last year we announced a new project: to provide a community with Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today. The response was overwhelming—nearly 1,100 cities felt the need for speed—and we were thrilled by the enthusiasm we saw across the country for better and faster web connections. Thank you to every community and individual that submitted a response, joined a rally, starred in a YouTube video or otherwise participated. After a careful review, today we’re very happy to announce that we will build our ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community. Later this morning we’ll join Mayor Reardon at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical to help develop the gigabit applications of the future. Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to… …Read More…

U.S. DOT Calls for National Freight System

U.S. DOT Calls for National Freight System Posted on:

In a major step forward for U.S. transportation policy and the nation’s goods movement industry, the Obama Administration, in its 2012 U.S. Department of Transportation Budget Recommendations, calls for the creation of a new national freight plan and policy. The document recommends that Congress instruct the Secretary to “establish a National Freight Transportation Policy and designate a National Freight Transportation System, which would include the designation of multimodal national freight corridors…and issue a triennial National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan.” Members of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) commend the Administration for its proposal, long a tenet of CAGTC policy, which the organization believes is vital to fully addressing the needs of the nation’s multimodal goods movement network. “A truly strategic freight mobility program would serve the economic needs of our country in the near term and for generations to come by investment decisions that optimize freight mobility and support economic expansion and continually improving standards of living,” stated Mortimer L. Downey, III, CAGTC Chairman, Senior Advisor at Parsons Brinckerhoff, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation. Downey’s remarks appear today in testimony before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mr. Downey reiterated the call for federal leadership and guidance on freight policy and stressed the importance for Congress to make a functioning, efficient, multimodal freight system a high priority in the next surface transportation authorization bill. As part of its Freight 21 proposal, CAGTC recommends that Congress consider including the following elements in legislation addressing America’s freight needs: • Establishment of a new USDOT Office of Multimodal Freight to develop a national freight plan and achieve greater efficiency and coherence among surface transportation programs and other federal agencies • Creation of a dedicated freight program that would provide an adequate, stable funding stream – most likely from a new freight user fee • Partnership with the private sector to find ways to leverage public funds and encourage private participation in project financing and development. “Federal investment in freight infrastructure is firmly supported in the mandates of own Constitution,” Mr. Downey added. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides to Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, as well as the authority over that which is “necessary and proper” to carry out these obligations.”

Firestone Expands in Prescott, AZ

Firestone Expands in Prescott, AZ Posted on:

Firestone Building Products Company is celebrating the expansion of its Prescott manufacturing facility, which will result in 100 new jobs, along with 418 jobs retained. The company will invest $20 million in the expansion, which was announced in January 2011. In addition to the expansion celebration, which was held at Prescott Elementary School, Firestone Building Products officials also joined local and state leaders at the event to celebrate the opening of the Firestone Science Center at the school. Firestone donated $100,000.00 toward the development of the center, a state-of-the-art facility that will engage and educate elementary school students in the fields of biology, physics, chemistry and other areas of scientific research. “We have been a proud member of this community for 40 years, and are pleased to be investing in and expanding our plant here in Prescott,” said Ken Weaver, President of Firestone Building Products, and Chairman, CEO and President of Firestone Diversified Products. “We want to be more than a great employer. We want to be an outstanding corporate citizen, and this new Firestone Science Center should be a great enhancement to the school and contribute to the future success of our local students in this community.” Firestone produces ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), a commercial roofing membrane, at the Prescott facility. “Firestone’s commitment to this center shows they know the importance of science education and the value of reaching out to students early,” Governor Mike Beebe said.  “The Firestone Science Center represents the company’s continued dedication to Prescott and Nevada County, both as an employer and as a corporate citizen.” “The Firestone Science Center is an innovative and valuable addition to Prescott’s school system, hopefully inspiring a new generation of young scientists,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Ross.  “But, today’s dedication celebrates much more than the opening of an important education resource.  Today, we celebrate the renewal of a partnership between Firestone and the community of Prescott who have had a long, successful relationship over the past few decades.  Firestone has come to realize firsthand what we’ve known all along – that the people and leaders here in Prescott are some of most dedicated, hardest working people around.  I’m proud of Firestone for recognizing them by choosing to stay in Prescott, creating new jobs and investing in our children’s education by helping build this science center.” “The City of Prescott and Nevada County are thankful that Firestone Building Products will continue to expand its operations in our community,” said Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver.  “This Expansion and Retention project is… …Read More…

You say Qadhafi, I say Gaddafi

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  World leaders are struggling to reach a consensus on how to deal with the upheaval in Libya. Many questions remain unanswered: Will NATO’s no-fly zone be enough to convince Muammar to head for Club Fled? Will Angela Merkel ever speak to Nicholas Sarkozy again? Will Muammar’s wardrobe changes keep pace with Hillary’s hairdos? Will President Obama’s brackets prevail in the White House March Madness pool? But these weighty matters pale in comparison to the quandary now confronting copy editors throughout the world, who have utterly failed to address a central issue in this crisis: Does anybody know how to spell Muammar’s last name? The New York Times prefers the formal Mr. El Qaddafi. The Wall Street Journal opts for the Brooklyn-style Gaddafi. We’ve seen at least six other permutations in leading publications recently. The New York Post chose Khadhafi, which they famously immortalized years ago when they doctored a picture of Muammar, putting a dress on him and running the photo on the front page under the unforgettable headline: KHADHAFI GOES DAFFY! Since Business Facilities is an international publication, we believe we have the standing to settle this matter once and for all. We propose to apply what we are now calling the Lady Gaga Rule, also known as the Saddam Protocol. The premise is simple: when an international figure manages to irritate everybody on the planet at the same time, we always will refer to this person by their first name or a handy nickname. So from now on, it’s Muammar, as in HELLFIRE MISSILE ACCIDENTALLY HITS MUAMMAR or MUAMMAR ACCIDENTALLY FALLS DOWN STAIRWELL WEARING NOOSE. Now that we’ve settled this matter, we can move on to another nagging question provoked by the events in Libya: If Muammar has been running the country for 42 years, why is he still a colonel?

idX Corp. Expands Manufacturing in Texas

idX Corp. Expands Manufacturing in Texas Posted on:

Store fixture firm idX Corp. will receive $360,000 from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) for expansion of its recently acquired manufacturing facility in Cuero. “This investment in idX will create 125 jobs for Texans, and pump $5.1 million in capital investment into the City of Cuero’s local economy,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry. St. Louis-based idX, a privately held store fixtures manufactuing giant, announced in early March it acquired the assets of Lancaster Industries, a maker of retail display fixtures and wood furnishings based in Cuero. idX Corp. specializes in retail fixture manufacturing for leading national brands vendors around the world to develop ideal retail store environments using wood, metal, glass, laminate, veneer and acrylic. The Cuero facility will manufacture custom wood and metal display fixtures for idX sister companies. “idX continues to build its position as the industry’s leading fixture supplier, and our new Texas division expands our geographic footprint in North America, which is important to us and to our customers,” idX CEO Terry Schultz said.

Advanced Materials Development Expands in IN

Advanced Materials Development Expands in IN Posted on:

Advanced Materials Development, LLC, a manufacturer of premium metal alloys and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation, announced today that it will locate a new operation in Columbia City, creating up to 68 new jobs by 2014. Advanced Materials Development, LLC plans to invest $12.9 million to renovate the 115,000 square-foot former Fort Wayne Foundry building and purchase production equipment that will enhance capabilities and increase capacity in support of current operations. The facility will process stainless steel, nickel, cobalt and titanium alloys that are used in the company’s products. “Fort Wayne Metals planted its roots in Northeast Indiana more than 60 years ago and continues to create new opportunities for hundreds of Hoosiers in its home region.  We are happy to see the company continue to make Indiana a central part of its future,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. Established in Fort Wayne in 1946 by founder Ardelle Glaze, Fort Wayne Metals Inc. pioneered many new applications for stainless steel wire. In 1970, Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation began operations and has evolved into one of the nation’s top suppliers of high-quality precision wire, strands and cables and component assemblies. The company’s products are used in various medical device markets including vascular therapy, cardiac rhythm management, endoscopy, orthopedics, dental, neuromodulation and neurostimulation, as well as in other industries where demanding applications are a necessity. “Fort Wayne Metals continues to see growing demand for our products, both domestically and internationally. Our investment is intended to meet the anticipated needs of our customer base. We believe Indiana, more specifically Whitley County, provides us an excellent opportunity to meet those needs,” said Troy Linder, chief financial officer. Fort Wayne Metals currently employs 570 team members throughout its seven Allen County locations. The newly established subsidiary plans to begin hiring production workers in Columbia City in August. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation up to $700,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Whitley County provided additional property tax abatement at the request of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. “Our entire community extends a warm welcome to Advanced Materials Development,” said County Commissioner Tom Rethlake, “We look forward to promoting a business climate that will encourage the company’s success in the years ahead.”

First Solar Plans $300-Million Factory in Mesa, AZ

First Solar Plans $300-Million Factory in Mesa, AZ Posted on:

First Solar Inc., one of the world’s top solar-panel makers, has announced that it plans to begin work next month on a $300-million, 600-employee factory on the former site of the General Motors Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, AZ. First Solar, based in Tempe, AZ, expects annual output of photovoltaic panels at the new plant to have a total generating capacity of more than 250 million watts of electricity. About 400 to 500 people will be employed during construction of the plant, which will rely on solar power for electricity. The factory’s panels, which transform sunlight into electricity, will be produced primarily for power plants. The factory will open next year and employ approximately 600 workers, earning an average annual wage of $48,000. First Solar is buying 135 acres from Scottsdale-based DMB Associates and has an option on an additional 100 acres. According to Mesa City Manager Chris Brady, the company will have the space to add more assembly lines that could create up to 4,800 jobs in the future. The Mesa plant will be First Solar’s second manufacturing facility in the United States. Company officials expect this expansion to continue as the demand for solar power grows. “Solar power still makes up only a tiny fraction of the world’s energy,” company CEO Robert Gillette said during the announcement at company headquarters. “Our goal is to compete with fossil-fuel power on a sustainable basis.”