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That's The Randle Report for Thursday, February 7, 2013
Join us again tomorrow morning for all of the American South's business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window above to find your favorite stories from yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Also, click on the Sports tab above for all of the South's sports news in real time. Click on the headline to access Southern Business & Development magazine.
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Sailors, families in Norfolk, Va., react to canceled Truman deployment
NORFOLK--Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman were making final preparations for deployment Wednesday when a breaking news alert spread through the ship. Local news outlets were reporting that defense officials had canceled their deployment, set to begin in less than 48 hours. Master Chief Petty Officer Ed Van Vleet, the combat systems maintenance manager aboard the Truman, called his wife and asked whether she had heard anything. The official word came a few minutes later. “At first, my honest reaction was, ‘Yeah, they’re kidding,’ ” Melissa Van Vleet said. “And once I realized it was for real, of course I was excited that my husband would be staying. But at the same time, you’ve already prepared yourself mentally to get ready for this. It’s just a lot to take in.” The Truman returned Sunday from a three-week training exercise and was to leave Friday for a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf. The sudden change, one result of the budget squeeze in Washington, directly affects some 5,000 sailors and their families. Virginian-Pilot
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Florida Is Swamped with Foreclosures – And Deals on Distressed Homes
Ah, Florida. It’s celebrated as the land of sunshine, snow birds, theme parks, and beaches. This year, it’s also considered the hottest state for snatching up foreclosed homes on the cheap. For deals on distressed homes, look south. According to a new study from the foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac, Florida was home to 8 of the country’s top 20 metropolitan areas for highest foreclosure rates last year. By no small coincidence, 5 of the top 10 “Best Places to Buy Foreclosures in 2013″ also just so happen to be in Florida. Time
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Use of rail to move crude oil surged in 2012
Rail transit of coal dropped by almost 11 percent in 2012, reflecting a decline in the use of coal for domestic electricity generation. But the record increase in U.S. crude oil production prompted a dramatic rise in the use of rail to move oil and other petroleum products, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The report found crude oil and other petroleum products accounted for the biggest increase in railcar loadings among commodities in 2012, up 46.3 percent from the previous year, to 171,000 carloads. Coal remained the dominant category, however, making up 41 percent of all commodity carloads shipped by rail. Houston Chronicle
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Texas' Eagle Ford Shale going full speed ahead
AUSTIN — The Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas boom is showing no signs of letting up, lawmakers and officials heard Wednesday at the Capitol. And West Texas could be next, one representative has said. Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus presentation participants noted that, along with the boom come continued challenges such as road maintenance, living quarters for the swell in population and environmental safety. “We recognize the benefits, we applaud the benefits, we’re enthusiastic, but we must address the problems,” said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who organized the caucus meeting. The state has received $2.48 billion in direct taxes from the oil-and-gas industry in more than 30 counties from 2010-12, said James LeBas, a fiscal consultant for the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Texas sales tax revenue up 6.1%
Texas saw its sales tax collections rise in January, with revenue of $2.12 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent over the same month last year, the state comptroller’s office said Wednesday. It was the 34th consecutive month in which sales tax revenue has increased, according to data from the comptroller’s office. Sales tax is an important source of revenue, paying for a number of state services, from schools to prisons. The sales tax figures represent mostly sales made in December. “Growth in sales tax receipts was led by the construction, retail trade and restaurant sectors,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a written statement. Austin American-Statesman
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Memphis-based FedEx preps employees for buyout rollout
FedEx employees began to get a picture Wednesday of who's going and who's staying as the company moves toward a round of voluntary buyouts starting this spring. The Memphis-based company's FedEx Express and FedEx Services units began internally communicating details of a new organizational chart that will be put in place over the next several months. A FedEx spokesman said the voluntary departures would include more than 10 percent of jobs at the officer and director levels. Memphis Commercial Appeal
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Moonbot Studios of Shreveport announces plans for its next step: a video game, titled 'Golem'
Almost exactly a year ago, Moonbot Studios of Shreveport was celebrating its Oscar win for best animated short subject for its "Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." Now, it would appear, the little indie studio that could is ready to take the next step. Company officials this morning (Feb. 4) launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund what will be the studio's first independent video game. A Gothic-tinged adventure titled "Golem," it will be inspired by the ancient character from Jewish folklore and is expected to be complete by mid-2015. Through the crowd-sourced fund-raising campaign, the studio hopes to raise $750,000 over the next 49 days to finance development of the game, which will be made entirely in Louisiana. "Golem" initially will be made for the Steam gaming platform for PCs, with an eye toward eventually landing it on other platforms, including Xbox and PlayStation. Times-Picayune
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Entergy, Superdome to hire outside experts to review Super Bowl power outage
The city's utility company, the public agency that owns the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the company that manages the stadium will hire an outside consultant to determine what caused the 34-minute power outage during Sunday's Super Bowl, an Entergy New Orleans spokesman said Tuesday. "We want to leave no stone unturned," said the spokesman, Chanel Lagarde. Lagarde said that decision was made jointly with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, the state entity that owns the Dome. A consultant had not yet been hired, Lagarde said. Entergy is conducting its own review, which is expected to be completed in the coming days. Times-Picayune
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

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Notes From Arkansas House Meeting on Big River Steel Project
Wednesday's Arkansas House "committee as a whole" meeting on the proposed Big River Steel project in Mississippi County took on a Groundhog Day vibe. Just two days earlier, Arkansas Economic Development Commission director Grant Tennille and state officials appeared before the full Senate to answer questions about the state's announced deal with Big River Steel to build a $1 billion steel mill in Osceola. And just like two days earlier, Gov. Mike Beebe appeared in person but after an introduction handed off podium duties to Tennille. The House meeting perhaps wasn't a complete carbon copy of the Senate meeting, but Tennille and his band of merry investors and recruiters found themselves answering many of the same questions and offering many of the same explanations. And that's exactly how they wanted it. Arkansas Business
Submitted 2 years 147 days ago

 

 

 

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Urban areas have all kinds of assets that are easy to spot. They have the population, so the labor shed is not usually an issue. Urban areas are also connected by better roads, rail and air service and many have river and deep water ports. Usually Internet access and other forms of communication are more efficient in urban areas. And you have a larger array of quality of life options to choose from, such as the cultural assets found in metropolitan areas.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Stacy Randle
Demographer Wendell Cox recently analyzed the largest gains in holders of bachelor's and post-graduate degrees between 2007 and 2012 in the 51 metro regions in the U.S. of 1 million residents or more. The results were published in Forbes magazine and the South dominated the ranking.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
After I finished the cover story for this issue, I read an interesting article by economist Paul Krugman, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times, titled, "Partying like it’s 1995." Generally I side with Krugman, even though I am a journalist, not an economist. Occasionally, though, I read some of his stuff and ask myself, "What planet did Krugman come from?" Like when he predicted a shift of automotive assembly to Canada after Toyota announced a new plant in Woodstock, Ontario in 2005 because of "free healthcare," among other benefits. That Toyota deal was the last major automotive assembly plant announced in Canada and I predict it will be the very last one for the Canadians.
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean
If you have ever seen one of my presentations, then you know about the word "reshoring" and how that phenomenon has lifted the spirits of even the most skeptical Southerners regarding the future of the region's economy. After all, in the last four decades, manufacturing has suffered a bloodletting never before seen in U.S. history. The biggest factor behind the slow and long meltdown that began in the 1990s was the herd mentality to offshore manufacturing capacity to cheaper locales, primarily by U.S.-owned companies.
 


 

 

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