Daily News Archives
“Oh what joy for every girl and boy Knowing they’re happy and they’re safe.” – Ringo Starr Paul the Octopus is in great demand these days. Following his uncanny star turn picking the winner of soccer’s World Cup, it seems that everyone wants a piece of the eight-tentacled sea creature. This week, a Russian “bookmaking company” offered the Sea Life Center in Oberhausen, Germany – Paul’s current home – 100,000 euros to assume ownership of Paul and his clairvoyant powers. Oleg Zhuravsky, co-owner of Liga Stavok (“Bet League” in Russian), said the offer was only an opening bid and he is willing to up the ante, if necessary. “We are bookmakers, after all,” Oleg said, adding that his outfit already has reserved a tank for Paul at the Moscow Aquarium. Paul presumably is amenable to a quick change of venue, especially since he correctly predicted Germany would lose its World Cup semi-final (and Spain would win the tournament). Immediately after Germany’s exit from the World Cup competition, Angela Merkel reportedly put seafood salad at the top of the menu for state dinners. For those who have not been following the exploits of Paul the Octopus (what, you’ve been transfixed by boring footage of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico?), here’s a brief synopsis of his modus operandi: Paul’s handlers fill two glass boxes with his favorite lunch of raw mussels. The boxes are identified with labels indicating competing choices (during the World Cup, they were affixed with flags of national teams squaring off against each other in matches). Paul scampers down his tank and makes his “prediction” by prying the lid off one of the boxes. Then again, perhaps “scampers” is not the right word. More like oozes, in a that creepy, undulating way preferred by multi-legged creatures of the deep in some of our favorite science-fiction B-movies. We assume it’s only a matter of time before the boys in Vegas make Paul an offer he can’t refuse (“you wanna keep all of them legs, Paulie?) and he goes into witness protection as a temporary employee at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena – a.k.a. Hockeytown U.S.A. – where the locals like to celebrate goals by throwing octopi on the ice. Before that happens, we thought we’d weigh in with a better idea. President Obama recently appointed a blue-ribbon panel to recommend humongous federal budget cuts to slash the long-term U.S. debt, which at last count was exceeding $10 trillion and heading for the outer reaches of Pluto. This panel […]
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has announced that Hyundai Heavy Industries will locate its first U.S. plant in Montgomery, bringing 500 jobs. The $90 million Hyundai Electrical Systems Alabama Inc. plant, which will be 220,000-square-feet on 100 acres in Montgomery’s Interstate Industrial Park, is one of two economic development announcements state officials are making this month. Hyundai Electrical System’s Alabama plant will make large power transformers. A ground breaking is expected to take place later this month, with construction complete by the end of 2011 and production beginning in early 2012, Riley’s office said in a news release. Hyundai Heavy Industries was founded in 1972 and is a global business network operating in six business divisions: shipbuilding, offshore and engineering, industrial plant and engineering, engine and machinery, construction equipment and electro electric systems. Montgomery was a finalist for the plant among several cities in four Southern states. The state came up with “a competitive incentive package” to lure the firm to Alabama, but did not release details. Neal Wade, director of Alabama Development Office, also told the Birmingham Business Journal in a phone interview from France that a deal is being worked out to recruit an aerospace company to Huntsville, which would bring 300 more jobs to north Alabama. Gov. Bob Riley joined Wade at the Farnborough International Airshow outside of London on Sunday to meet for two days with the aerospace company to negotiate a deal, Wade said. Wade is currently in France meeting with EADS officials to discuss training programs for workers in Mobile if EADS secures the long-sought-after U.S. Air Force tanker contract. EADS is battling Boeing and an investor group for a $40 billion contract to build the KC-45 tanker at a Mobile industrial park.
Governor Bob McDonnell has announced that R/gitex USA LLC, a manufacturer of made-to-order ring spun and open end yarns, will invest $1.5 million to open a manufacturing operation in Mecklenburg County. The company will acquire and upgrade an existing textile plant, creating 60 new jobs. Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell commented, “Southern Virginia has a history rich in textile manufacturing companies. Despite the fact that in recent years the general industry has taken a hit, companies like R/gitex have brought textiles to a new level of quality and innovation. The company will be able to upgrade an existing textile plant in Mecklenburg County to produce leading-edge yarns for the industrial, apparel, high-performance and home furnishing markets. I welcome this international company to Virginia and look forward to R/gitex USA’s success.” R/gitex USA LLC is a subsidiary of R/gitex Inc., a family owned business headquartered in Qu/bec, Canada since 1976. R/gitex Inc. produces leading-edge yarns in an assortment of colors and natural blends, using a wide variety of natural and synthetic fibers for end-users in the industrial, protective apparel, high-performance and home furnishing markets. New product development is based on customer needs and a comprehensive understanding of the market, inspiring R/gitex to focus development on new and distinctive high-quality custom yarns with properties unique to client needs. “We are very pleased and excited to make Virginia our home base in the United States,” said Rick Martignetti, President, R/gitex USA LLC. “Virginia continues to prove that it is the place for business. Virginia offers manufacturers an unparalleled advantage of a highly skilled and motivated workforce, central location, excellent transportation facilities and low-energy costs. R/gitex Inc. and R/gitex USA are committed to continue providing quality, service and innovative yarns to our customers. We thank all of our valued customers and suppliers for their continued support.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $150,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. “Mecklenburg County’s Board of Supervisors is very pleased to have R/gitex coming to our community,” said Glenn Barbour, Chairman, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. “It’s always exciting to upgrade an existing facility and even more so to provide jobs to the citizens of this county. The Board welcomes R/gitex and looks forward to working with them. We commend our economic development team of Angie Kellett and Gina Mull […]
ECOtality, Inc. a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, has announced its second expansion of The EV Project, culminating in a robust charging infrastructure network in sixteen cities located in six states—Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia. Overall, The EV Project will include the manufacture and installation of more than 15,000 chargers in residential and public locations throughout the United States. Purchasers of a Chevrolet Volt who qualify for EV Project participation in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas will receive a free home charger and credit toward the installation of the charger. The EV Project will gather and analyze data defining how these Volt purchasers utilize their vehicles and interface with their home charging infrastructure. “Data from Volt drivers in Texas will add another facet to The EV Project’s understanding of the interaction between electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” said Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America and Project Manager of The EV Project. “Texas has already been strategically engaged in preparing for the wide acceptance of electric vehicles,” said ECOtality President & CEO Jonathan Read. “We believe our presence in the state will accelerate that process.” “Texas is a leader in alternative energy sources, making it an ideal market for electric vehicles,” said Tony DiSalle, Product and Marketing Director for the Chevrolet Volt. “As such, we recently announced Texas would be one of the first markets in the national launch for the Chevrolet Volt. The EV Project expansion to Texas markets will help make electric vehicles, like the Volt, a success in Texas and across the nation.” The EV Project began last year, with grant funding through the U.S. Department of Energy from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A $30 million extension of the grant funding was announced earlier this month. That Federal grant extension includes $15 million of ARRA funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, to reach the total extension amount of $30 million. The total overall value of the project now stands at approximately $230 million.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has announced that Vogelsang Corporation will relocate its manufacturing operations from Lakewood, NJ to Georgetown, KY. The new 97,500 square-foot operation, which will be located in the former Johnson Controls facility on Main Street Extended, will create 43 new full-time jobs and represents a capital investment of nearly $3.5 million in the Commonwealth. “Kentucky is delighted to welcome Vogelsang as its newest corporate citizen,” said Gov. Beshear. “Vogelsang’s new Georgetown manufacturing operation represents 43 new full-time jobs for Kentuckians and a multi-million investment. We are pleased to partner with Vogelsang and the Scott County community to make this project possible.” Vogelsang, a major supplier to a variety of diverse markets, manufactures steel-based products such as RollPins, Coil Pins, hydro-bushings, weld-eye rings, agricultural bushings and more. The company’s customers, which are primarily located in the mid-south region of the United States, include more than 2,000 distributors and select original equipment manufacturers. “Vogelsang has been operating for the past 38 years in one of the most expensive states in America. The opportunity to relocate to Kentucky gives us two extremely strong advantages, one—to be more competitive in the automotive sector, and two—a wealth of potential employees with automotive-based training,” said Dale Stuban, Vogelsang’s managing director. “We are extremely pleased with the cooperation the state of Kentucky has shown, along with the tremendous incentive package provided. For the past two years we have been working toward world-class stature and the new facility will simply get us there quicker.” The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Vogelsang for tax incentives up to $900,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments. “Scott County has always been known as the location of Toyota, and thus, manufacturing,” said George Lusby, Scott County Judge Executive. “Vogelsang continues that great tradition and we are most happy and pleased with their announcement to locate in Georgetown, Scott County. We trust that they will grow and prosper here.” “The City of Georgetown is pleased to have Vogelsang Corporation join our strong manufacturing business community,” said Georgetown Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames. “Georgetown has proven its ability to create business-friendly relationships and we are looking forward to supporting Vogelsang and creating a long-lasting partnership.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Globalstar Inc. CEO Peter Dalton, Globalstar Inc. Chairman Jay Monroe, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret, St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis and Greater New Orleans Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht to announce Globalstar will relocate its corporate headquarters to Covington, LA from Milpitas, CA. Additionally, Globalstar will relocate a variety of other global business functions to Covington, including product development, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, corporate communications and customer care. Under a cooperative endeavor agreement with LED, Globalstar has committed to relocate or create more than 150 new jobs by the end of 2011, increasing to more than 200 new jobs by 2013. Additionally, the agreement calls for Globalstar’s total Louisiana employment to increase by more than 500 by the end of 2019. LED estimates the direct new jobs will result in the creation of approximately 800 new indirect jobs, for a total of roughly 1,300 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana. LED further estimates the Globalstar project will result in $26.1 million in new, state tax revenue and $8.3 million in new, local tax revenue over the next 10 years. “Today’s announcement is a big win for Covington, the North Shore and our whole state,” said Gov. Jindal. “This is exactly the kind of company that we positioned Louisiana to secure when we created Louisiana FastStartTM in 2008 and enhanced our digital media incentive program in 2009. Since early 2008, leading companies have announced moves of their headquarters or other significant operations to Louisiana from a wide variety of states, including California, Georgia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon and Texas. And we’re not stopping there. With our nation still enduring tough economic times and our state facing thousands of job losses associated with the federal deepwater drilling moratorium, our efforts to retain and attract jobs are more important than ever.” LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group began discussions with Globalstar several months ago after the company purchased Louisiana-based Axonn. Prior to selecting Louisiana for its new headquarters location, Globalstar executives considered a variety of locations in other U.S. states and Canada. “Relocating to Covington will help dramatically reduce our operating costs as we execute our next-generation strategic initiatives,” said Monroe. “We are positioning Globalstar for long-term success by lowering our cost of operations, improving revenue growth and speed to market for new products through vertical integration and through the introduction of new and innovative products developed in Louisiana. Thanks to LED’s progressive digital interactive media incentives and tax credits, Globalstar can expect […]
Windstream is making Little Rock, AR its permanent headquarters and adding more than 200 jobs in Arkansas over the next two years, the company said Tuesday. Officials with the communications company joined Gov. Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola in making the announcement at the State Capitol in front of a packed-room of supporters. Most of the 210 new jobs will be in Little Rock and each of them will pay at least $40,000 annually. “I am extremely pleased to announce that Windstream has chosen to make Little Rock its permanent home,” company CEO Jeff Gardner said in a statement. “This is due in large part to the fact that the state of Arkansas and the city of Little Rock have created a climate where technology companies like Windstream can grow and achieve long-term success… “ Windstream was created in July 2006 when Alltel spun off its landline division and merged it with Texas-based VALOR Communications. The new company set up in west Little Rock and quickly grew, acquiring five communications companies in the next several years. When it came time to renew the lease this year, the company investigated options around the country. “But in the end, after careful analysis, we decided the best course of action was to remain in Little Rock and in Arkansas,” Gardner said, adding later that financial incentives provided by the state and the regional placement relative to the company’s customers in the southeast played into the decision. “At the end of the day, our comprehensive conclusion was Little Rock was the right place for Windstream to be.” Beebe said the incentives included about $1 million in Quick Action Closing Funds for building and training and additional benefits tied to performance. He called it a wise investment. “I don’t know that you can spend taxpayers dollars in any better way than to create or maintain good jobs,” Beebe said. Keeping a large headquarters in Arkansas for the long-term will cause a “ripple effect” felt across the local and state economy, Beebe said, citing the example of employees frequently flying in and out of Little Rock for meetings or other work at the headquarters facility. Windstream has grown from doing business in 16 states when it was created in 2006 to working in 23 states currently. “The entire idea of having a headquarters of a company that touches so many different areas of our country is big deal for Little Rock and a big deal for Arkansas,” Beebe said. Windstream currently employs about […]
Cummins Inc. is expanding its High-Horsepower Technical Center and high-horsepower engine product line at its manufacturing plant in Seymour, IN. The $100 million investment in the plant’s expansion will open the door for Cummins to produce high-horsepower clean diesel and natural gas engines in the future. With the new investment, Cummins expects to add about 200 engineering and manufacturing jobs over the next five years. The plant currently employs nearly 450 people. Cummins has also changed the name of the facility to the Seymour Engine Plant from the Cummins Industrial Center, to reflect the company’s practice at many of its other engine manufacturing locations. The company is working on a new, larger-displacement engine. The product investment will increase the plant’s capacity and manufacturing capability, including a new assembly line, paint area and production test cells. The expansion will almost double the current engineering footprint in the facility and increase Cummins high-horsepower mechanical development capability. Other capital expenditures will include additional equipment, test cells and other facility upgrades. Preparations for the technical center expansion are scheduled to start immediately, and construction is expected to be complete by mid-2011. “This is an exciting expansion and announcement,” said Mark Levett, vice president and general manager of the high-horsepower business. “Cummins was first to market with our EPA Tier 2 high-horsepower engines, meeting both emissions requirements and our customers’ needs for reliability, durability and performance.” The Seymour Engine Plant opened in 1976 and is currently manufacturing V903, K19, QSK19 and QST30 diesel and natural gas engines.
When we last checked with Curt Schilling, the beloved Boston Red Sox pitching icon was considering parlaying his status as Beantown’s baseball Moses into a run for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. Now, Schilling is considering trading the Massachusetts venue of his video game business for a site in neighboring Rhode Island and a $75 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. What a difference a year makes. Schilling became a Bosox legend when he won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series while blood from an injured ankle seeped through his sock. Largely because of Schilling’s red sock, the Red Sox were able to overcome the hated New York Yankees, who at one point led the ACLS 3-0. The famous “bloody sock” episode—and some long-ball from the vitamin-enhanced bats of Manny Ramirez and David “Big Papi” Ortiz—enabled the Red Sox to finally lift the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino,” so named because New England’s star-crossed major league team had failed to win a World Series since its owner traded Babe Ruth to New York in 1918. Boston swept the 2004 World Series and Schilling was hailed in Beantown as the greatest thing since clam chowder. In addition to speculation about a potential political career, Schilling became a fixture on talk radio, generated a ton of web traffic with his blog, and started a video game business called 38 Studios LLC, named after his uniform number. Now comes news that Schilling is in active discussions with Rhode Island’s EDC to move the Maynard, MA-based company, which employs 180 (it also has an outlet in Maryland), to Providence. Apparently, Schilling is looking for bigger digs because he just landed a deal with Electronic Arts Inc. to market one of his video games and expects to expand to up to 500 employees. If baseball history is a guide, Red Sox loyalists should not consider this a LeBron James-scale defection. Before he was a World Series hero in Boston, Schilling was a World Series hero in Phoenix when he led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the crown in 2001. And before he was a World Series hero in Phoenix, Schilling led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993. However, the Phillies lost the ’93 series, so presumably that rules out a Schilling candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania.
The below-the-belt punch delivered last night to the solar plexus of the city of Cleveland by its wayward native son (by way of Akron), LeBron James, soon may be magnified by an equally devastating blow to the city’s pocketbook. The emotional toll of LeBron’s nationally televised announcement that he is “taking his talents” and moving them to Miami was obvious even before the self-styled Chosen One finished explaining the rationale behind his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and cement himself into a trio of NBA superstars on the Miami Heat. In the middle of King James’ self-centered proclamation (“this was about making me happy”), ESPN cut to a shot of some Cavaliers fans reacting to LeBron’s announcement: They were setting fire to his Cavaliers jersey in the parking lot of a local tavern. Later, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert issue a scathing open letter in which he denounced Clevelend’s “narcissistic former hero” for his “cowardly act of betrayal.” To maintain the suspense in the run-up to his television spectacular on ESPN, LeBron didn’t bother to make a courtesy call to his hometown franchise to clue them in regarding the pain he was about to inflict on them. He gave long-suffering Cleveland sports fans even less notice than their previous most-hated pariah, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who years ago abruptly moved the city’s beloved NFL franchise to Baltimore. According to economic analysts, the pain from LeBron’s defection will be financial as well as physical. Analysts estimate downtown businesses in Cleveland will lose at least $48 million per year in the wake of LeBron’s departure; the region will lose an additional $150 million in revenue derived from the Cavaliers perennial appearances in NBA playoffs; and the value of the Cavaliers franchise may be downgraded by more than $100 million. And last, but not least, James pays more than $1 million per year in taxes to local governments. LeBron insists he has no intention of moving out of his Ohio residence, but we can safely assume he may have second thoughts about this when the smell of burning Cavaliers jerseys (and season tickets) reaches his mansion. Those are just the tangible figures. Intangibles, like the value of the LeBron “brand” being synonymous with Cleveland are harder to estimate. But hundreds of millions of dollars does not seem like an exaggeration. The monetary side is only one part of James’ value, said economist LeRoy Brooks of John Carroll University in University Heights. The other part, in economist’s terms, is utility. That’s a bureaucratic […]