Daily News Archives

Iowa Gov Wants to End Film, TV Tax Credit

Iowa Gov Wants to End Film, TV Tax Credit

Governor Chet Culver says once the existing state commitments are met, the state tax credit program for film and TV productions in Iowa should be shut down, according to a report on radioiowa.com “We’re not going to be taken for suckers,” Culver told reporters late this morning during a statehouse news conference. “People, unfortunately, exploited that program.” Culver ordered the program suspended nearly a year ago when problems were publicly disclosed. Last week, the Iowa Department of Economic Development issued state tax credits to two Iowa-based productions that had received initial approval from state officials before Culver suspended the program in mid-September of 2009. A handful of state officials connected to the film office have been fired or have resigned and charges have been filed against the former film office manager and against filmmakers who sought tax credits for questionable expenditures. The tax credits were created during former Governor Tom Vilsack’s tenure; earlier this year, the Iowa legislature voted to suspend the program until July 1, 2013. Culver today suggested the jobs created by the film and TV productions weren’t the kind of “permanent” jobs Iowa needs. “Unfortunately, with respect to the film program, people exploited it. They took advantage of it. I’ve had enough of that,” Culver said. “And we need to target our state resources in a way that helps create long-term jobs and we have all sorts of opportunities to do that in the biofuels industry, in the wind energy industry, solar. And that’s where I’m going to make sure we target those investments.” The  Iowa Motion Picture Association has said the state tax credits for movie and TV productions in Iowa had a “positive economic impact” on the state and the group has called for the program to continue.


SAATI Brings Composites Operation to Upstate SC

SAATI Brings Composites Operation to Upstate SC

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and Greenville Area Development Corporation have announced that SAATI Americas Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italy’s SAATI Group S.p.A., will establish its new U.S. Composites and Protection division operations and certain distribution operations in Greenville County.  SAATI’s investment is expected to generate more than 80 new jobs within the next few years. The company has purchased and plans to immediately begin renovations to a formerly vacant 260,000-square-foot facility, located at 201 Fairview Street Ext. in Fountain Inn, which was formerly owned by KEMET Electronics.  Renovations will include extensive facility modifications and installation of new production and R&D equipment. “This expansion is a critical component of SAATI’s global corporate strategy and symbolizes our commitment to bring SAATI’s world-class engineered materials and technical support to structural composite and protective armor product manufacturers in the Americas,” said Alberto Novarese, president of SAATI Group S.p.A.  “Greenville County offers us a robust business environment and talented workforce to draw on, and Fountain Inn is a receptive community with a readily available building that is well suited to our needs. We look forward to beginning operations in the Upstate, and thank Greenville County, the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC), the city of Fountain Inn, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.  Their support helped make this important SAATI expansion in North America possible.” “SAATI Americas is a global leader in the advanced materials sector specializing in producing materials used in a wide range of applications from medical to ballistic protection.  This announcement strengthens our state’s reputation as a leader in attracting advanced manufacturing and serves as a testament that our skilled workforce and business-friendly climate are working to attract new investment and jobs for South Carolinians. We congratulate SAATI on its investment in South Carolina and wish the company much success in its endeavors here,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.


Whirlpool Investing $120 Million in New TN Plant

Whirlpool Investing $120 Million in New TN Plant

Whirlpool Corp. has decided to invest $120 million in a new premium cooking appliances factory in Cleveland, TN, according to a report in the Cleveland Daily Banner. Al Holaday, vice president, manufacturing operations and quality for Whirlpool Corporation North America, told the Banner the Benton Harbor, MI-based home appliance manufacturer needs a modern facility as it continues to roll out new cooking products and decided to expand its existing operations in Cleveland, TN. An additional 130 workers who are expected to be hired during the period leading up to the start-up of production in the new facility in Cleveland, TN expected to be sometime in first quarter 2012, he added. Holaday, a longtime Whirlpool manufacturing and operations leader, addressed a huge crowd of Chamber of Commerce and community economic leaders, Cleveland city and Bradley County government representatives, state legislators and local Whirlpool officials during a gathering in the renovated facilities at the old Hardwick Woolen Mill building. Whirlpool leaders were in town to announce the company’s decision to construct the new facility which will be a LEED-certified (pertaining to a commitment to adhere to sustainable green principles), world-class factory located on a 120-acre site on Benton Pike near the Michigan Avenue Road intersection. The new site is only a few miles from the existing plant at 740 King Edward Ave. S.E. Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said Whirlpool made the conscientious commitment to remain—and to heavily invest—in the Cleveland community. “They could have built anywhere in the world, but they chose to stay here in Cleveland and Bradley County,” Mayor Davis said.


U.S. EDA Funds Business Innovation Center in Pennsylvania

U.S. EDA Funds Business Innovation Center in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded more than $2.2 million to build a second small business innovation center in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The announcement was made by Willie Taylor, regional director of the Economic Development Administration’s Philadelphia office. Taylor was joined at the downtown Wilkes-Barre site by U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla and officials from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corporation, an affiliate of the chamber, will undertake the project, which involves constructing a 30,000-square-foot building at 27-29 S. Main St. at an estimated cost of about $5 million. In addition to the award of $2,263,500 in federal funds, the project already received $2 million from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Industrial Development Program and Local Share Account grant funds. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corp. will pay the remaining debt through equity financing, said John Augustine, senior director of economic and entrepreneurial development for the chamber. Construction of the new innovation center should begin in the first quarter of next year and will take about one year to construct, according to the chamber. Since its opening in 2004, the current Innovation Center on South Main Street has housed 15 start-up companies, which have created more than 115 jobs paying average annual wages of $62,000, according to the chamber. Twelve remain today in the entrepreneurial resource center. which provides service to start-up and early stage firms. The site for the second center is located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, excluding it from specific state and local taxes.


CGS Tyre Plans New Facility in Iowa

CGS Tyre Plans New Facility in Iowa

Gov. Chet Culver and CGS Tyre have announced that the company will invest $43 million in a new agricultural tire plant in Charles City, IA. The announcement was made at the Farm Progress Show. CGS Tyre said it would create 159 jobs at the new plant, which is expected to open in 2012. Gov. Culver said the Iowa Department of Economic Development has been talking about bringing the company to Iowa for the past six years. CGS Tyre and the Iowa DED signed an agreement at the news conference this week.


Paging Mr. Kong

For almost 80 years, the Empire State Building has reigned supreme over the New York skyline. Although it was supplanted as the world’s tallest building in the 1970s, the Empire State Building never lost its unsurpassed majesty. The awesome spire that rose from the depths of the Great Depression in less than 14 months and soared into the imagination of everyone who wanted to touch the sky remains an iconic symbol of power, determination and achievement. The Empire State Building towered alone and apart from all the pretenders, a reassuring sentinel connecting our past with our future. Until now. A real estate outfit called Vornado Realty Trust has convinced New York City’s Planning Commission that it would be a great idea to build a hulking 1,216-foot-tall monstrosity on 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, two blocks west and directly in line with King Kong’s favorite roost on 34th and Fifth. If Vornado’s block of granite and glass goes ahead as planned, only the top 34 feet of the Empire State Building’s antenna will be visible to everyone west of the Hudson River. From the north, the two towers will look like a poorly planned replica of the World Trade Center, or perhaps the South Tower and the box it came in. Vornado is a large, faceless conglomerate that buys and sells properties. One of its first ventures in the late 1950s was a shabby department store in New Jersey called Two Guys From Harrison. After selling a few truckloads of discount lampshades, a second store was opened in another Jersey town and the name was reduced to Two Guys. From this inspiring vision, a real estate dynasty was born. The ingenious planners of New York decided to permit Vornado to exceed the height limit for its tower at 15 Penn Plaza by a whopping 56 percent because the site is across the street from Pennsylvania Station, gotham’s busiest transit hub. The site of Vornado’s proposed atrocity adds irony to insult. New York City natives painfully recall the City Planning Commission’s 1967 approval of the demolition of the original Penn Station to make way for a third and depressingly round iteration of Madison Square Garden. The original Penn Station was a Victorian masterpiece. Its wanton destruction has long been considered the vilest desecration of New York’s architecture in the city’s storied history. The current Penn Station is a cramped and underground rat warren that is so bad the city has been trying without success for two decades to convert the mammoth U.S. Post […]


Hot Air

The Pentagon is not backing down on its claim that clusters of huge wind turbines springing up across the land are a threat to military operations and national security in general. To the contrary, the Department of Defense has made itself the biggest obstacle to the development of wind energy in the United States. A report in today’s New York Times includes this mind-boggling statistic: last year, DOD succeeded in blocking projects that would have generated an estimated 9000 MW of wind power—nearly as much as the total amount of wind-energy capacity that actually was built in 2009. Faced with the prospect of taking on the military-industrial complex, many developers either abandoned or delayed their wind-farm plans. Projects that came under fire from the big five-sided building in Washington have included wind farms in the Columbia River Gorge and turbines planned for the Great Lakes Region. More recently, the Pentagon has turned its guns on plans to erect the nation’s largest wind-energy combine in the Mojave Desert in California. The military says the largest wind turbines, which can be as high as 400 feet, are indistinguishable from airplanes on radar and can even cause “blackout” zones in which aircraft disappear from radar entirely. Clusters of wind turbines can look like storm activity on weather radar, the generals say, making it harder for air traffic controllers to give accurate weather information to pilots. DOD maintains that wind turbines pose an “unacceptable” risk to training, testing and even national security in certain regions. In an interview with the Times, Gary Siefert, who has been studying the radar-wind energy clash at the Idaho National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy facility), called the argument between the military and the emerging wind-energy industry “the train wreck” of the new century. “The train wreck is the competing resources for two national needs: energy security and national security,” he said. Before things get out of hand—and a 2010 version of Gen. Ripper orders Air Force pilots to start using U.S. wind turbines for target practice—we have a few questions for the Joint Chiefs: — Regarding the alleged threat to national security, are you really going to wait until enemy jets reach the Great Lakes before you shoot them down? — You say wind turbines will cause our aircraft to “disappear” from radar. Haven’t we spent billions on stealth technology to make our aircraft disappear from radar? — If wind turbines look like aircraft on radar, won’t this help prevent our pilots from flying into them? — […]


Blade Maker Chooses Fall River, MA Site

Blade Maker Chooses Fall River, MA Site

TPI Composites, Inc., a leading global supplier of wind turbine blades, has announced plans to open a wind blade innovation center in Fall River, Massachusetts that will support TPI’s manufacturing facilities around the world. The Fall River plant will serve as a center for development of advanced blade manufacturing technology and a launching pad for new wind blade products.  The facility will also offer limited production capacity for land based as well as offshore wind turbine blades.  Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Representative Barney Frank and Fall River Mayor William Flanagan took part in the announcement. The 69,000 square foot Fall River development center will initially allow TPI to manufacture blades as long as 62 meters with even larger blades possible with further expansion.  Prototype blades produced at this location will be delivered by barge to the new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Massachusetts for testing and optimization. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our wind blade development and prototype capabilities through this new innovation center,” said Steve Lockard, president and CEO of TPI. “The efficient access to the water, proximity to an outstanding work force and support received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city made Fall River the ideal place for TPI’s expansion. The addition of this facility will position TPI well for the future as the demand for larger, higher-performance wind turbine blades continues to grow.” “I welcome TPI Composites to Massachusetts, where they become part of our growing wind energy industry,” said Governor Patrick. “With facilities like the Wind Technology Testing Center and companies like TPI, Massachusetts will lead the nation in the next generation of wind energy technology.” To support this facility, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has awarded TPI a $250,000 grant, contingent upon creating and maintaining 30 jobs. The facility, located at the Tillotson Complex at 63 Water Street, is expected to open in early 2011 and will initially employ 30 to 50 associates. Neil Tillotson, who the complex is named for, was one of TPI’s initial investors in 1968. TPI built recreational boats in the building during the 1970s and 1980s. “Bringing a major wind blade manufacturer to the state to carry out development, testing and training for the advanced manufacturing of wind blades will help build the wind blade cluster in Massachusetts, and provide a local customer for our Wind Technology Testing Center,” said MassCEC’s Executive Director Patrick Cloney. The innovation center will operate as a sister facility to TPI’s Warren, Rhode Island plant located […]


NJ Aims to Lead in Offshore Wind Energy

NJ Aims to Lead in Offshore Wind Energy

New Jersey’s new Offshore Wind Economic Development Act directs the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to establish an offshore renewable energy certificate program that calls for a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from offshore wind energy. The act would support the development of at least 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity. The bill was signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie at a former BP port facility that will be transformed into a regional hub for the offshore wind industry. “Developing New Jersey’s renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state’s manufacturing and technology future,” Christie said. The package will offer incentives including financial aid and tax credits to attract wind energy developers to the state’s waters. Two offshore wind development companies, Fishermen’s Energy and Deepwater Wind, already have plans to develop offshore wind energy off the coast of New Jersey. A report released last year by the Interior Department said shallow-water offshore wind farms could supply as much as 20 percent of the electricity in most coastal states.


Caterpillar Creates 392 Jobs in NC

Caterpillar Creates 392 Jobs in NC

Gov. Beverly Perdue has announced at a press conference at Forsyth Technical Community College that Caterpillar Inc. has chosen Winston-Salem for a significant manufacturing operation. The announcement represents 392 full-time jobs with an average salary of more than $36,000 per year plus benefits. The capital investment in a new building and equipment is expected to reach $426 million. An additional 100-plus jobs are expected to be created by an on-site contractor inside the new facility. Caterpillar plans to construct an 850,000-square-foot facility on 100 acres at the corner of Union Cross Road and Temple School Road. The plant will primarily involve the production of Lower Power Train unit for Caterpillar’s Large Mining Trucks. “We are very excited that Caterpillar has chosen Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for this operation,” said Winston-Salem Business Inc. president Bob Leak, Jr. “We have been working with the company and their consultants for the past six months and applaud the efforts of everyone involved to make it a success today. This is undoubtedly one of the largest economic development announcements in the history of our community.” Other local officials made the following statements regarding the announcement. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines: “Winston-Salem is honored to be selected by Caterpillar as the site of this new manufacturing facility.  Caterpillar is a well respected, international company that will add much to the economic fabric of our community.  The economic impact of over 500 jobs and $426 million of investment is very significant in the rebuilding of our economy, however equally important is the fact that this decision validates Winston-Salem as a strong and attractive location for future economic development projects.” Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chair David Plyler: “Caterpillar’s decision to invest and create jobs in our community affirms my long-time belief that Forsyth County is business friendly in every way. This is truly a ‘wow’ announcement.” Forsyth Technical Community College president Dr. Gary Green: “As a partner with the entire Winston-Salem community, Forsyth Tech is committed to ensuring that Caterpillar will have the highly skilled workforce it needs for success from day one.  The College’s certified programs in industrial technologies have been a key community asset since the Caterpillar’s first visit to Winston-Salem.” The Spartanburg, S.C. development company Johnson Development Associates, Inc. made available the site of the future plant. Caterpillar was represented by CB Richard Ellis Consulting in Atlanta. The announcement was made possible by a number of entities including Winston-Salem Business Inc., the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, Forsyth Technical Community College, the Winston-Salem Alliance, North Carolina […]