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Thursday 07/03/2014
GNTC and the City of Cedartown host Cedartown Business Builders program
Posted: July 03, 2014

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) and the City of Cedartown are working together on a new initiative that prepares small business owners and local entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s economy.

Tuesday 07/01/2014
New recalls and questions about auto parts safety
Posted: July 01, 2014

DETROIT (AP) — The ignition switch recalls now engulfing General Motors and Chrysler are raising new questions about the safety of the parts across the American auto industry.

GM's safety crisis deepened dramatically Monday when the automaker added 8.2 million vehicles in North America to its ballooning list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches. GM has now issued five recalls for 17.1 million cars with defective switches, spanning every model year since 1997.

On the same day, Chrysler recalled almost 700,000 vehicles in North America because its ignition switches — like GM's — can slip from the "run" to the "accessory" position while driving. The Chrysler action expands an earlier recall of 2010 Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers. Models from 2007 to 2009 are now included.

GM's debacle caused other manufacturers to investigate their own switches and other potential defects. A recent spate of air bag recalls is probably tied to those internal investigations, said Karl Brauer, a senior industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

The government is also reviewing the switches.

Brauer said he does not think the ignition switch recalls will expand across the industry. Manufacturers all have their own switch designs and use different suppliers.

But the possibility is there, and buyers should be aware of the potential for cars to slip into the wrong mode. If a car comes out of the "run" position, the power steering and brakes can stop working, which can cause drivers to lose control. The air bags also won't function. GM has urged drivers to remove excess items from their key chains that could weigh down the keys.

"I think the ignition switch thing is fairly specific to GM, but it will be interesting to see. Were other companies letting their standards fall?" Brauer said.

GM's latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring its total recalls in North America to 29 million this year, surpassing the 22 million recalled by all automakers last year.

The new GM recalls cover seven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Malibu from 1997 to 2005, the Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008, and the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS.

The company is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles, although it says there's no clear evidence that faulty switches caused the accidents. Air bags did not deploy in the three fatal accidents, which is a sign that the ignition was out of position. But air bags may not deploy for other reasons as well.

A GM spokesman could not say Monday if more recalls are imminent. But this may be the end of the recalls associated with a 60-day review of all of the company's ignition switches. At the company's annual meeting earlier in June, CEO Mary Barra said she hoped most recalls related to that review would be completed by the end of the month.

Brauer said the number of recalls — while huge — may be a good thing for the company in the long run.

"I think there's a new standard for what GM considers a potential safety defect, and Mary Barra has no tolerance or patience for potential safety defects that are unresolved," he said.

In a statement Monday, Barra said the company "will act appropriately and without hesitation" if any new issues come to light.

Lance Cooper, a Marietta, Georgia, attorney who is suing GM, said he expects even more recalls. A company funded investigation of the ignition switch problems by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas found that GM had a dysfunctional corporate culture in which people failed to take responsibility to fix the problems, Cooper said.

"Cars got made that were defective. The buck kept getting passed, and this is what happened as a result," Cooper said.

The announcement of more recalls extends a crisis for GM that began in February with small-car ignition switch problems. GM recalled 2.6 million older small cars worldwide because of the switches.

The problem has drawn the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's road safety agency. On June 18, the agency opened two investigations into ignition switches in Chrysler minivans and SUVs, and acknowledged that it's looking at the whole industry.

The agency is looking into how long air bags remain active after the switches are moved out of the run position. In many cases, the answer is less than a second.

GM's recalls on Monday bring this year's total so far to more than 40 million for the U.S. industry, far surpassing the old full-year record of 30.8 million from 2004.

The latest recalls came the same day the company's compensation consultant, Kenneth Feinberg, announced plans to pay victims of crashes caused by the defective small-car switches. Attorneys and lawmakers say about 100 people have died and hundreds were injured in crashes, although Feinberg said he didn't have a total.

Feinberg said the company has placed no limit on how much he can spend in total to compensate victims. But victims of the new set of recalls announced Monday can't file claims to the fund, which deals only with the small cars.

In the original recall, the ignition switches did not meet GM's specifications but were used anyway, and they slipped too easily out of the "run" position.

The vehicles recalled Monday have switches that do conform to GM's specifications. In these cases, the keys can move the ignition out of position because of jarring, bumps from the driver's knee or the weight of a heavy key chain, GM says. The cars recalled Monday will get replacement keys. The small cars recalled in February are getting new ignitions.

The Detroit company said it plans to take a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter for recall-related expenses. Added to a $1.3 billion charge in the first quarter, that brings total recall expenses for the year to $2.5 billion.

GM also announced four other recalls Monday covering more than 200,000 additional vehicles. Most are to fix an electrical short in the driver's door that could disable the power locks and windows and even cause overheating.

GM has announced 54 separate recalls this year. The company's stock fell 32 cents, or just under 1 percent, to close Monday at $36.30.

GDOL to co-sponsor career expo in Ringgold July 23
Posted: July 01, 2014

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) and two local organizations will co-sponsor a career expo Wednesday, July 23, in Ringgold. The expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the gymnasium at Ringgold High School, 29 Tiger Train. Other sponsors include the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Ringgold’s Downtown Development Authority.

Brant Oberg named mill manager at International Paper’s Rome Containerboard Mill
Posted: July 01, 2014

ROME, Ga. – International Paper announced Brant Oberg has been named mill manager of its Industrial Packaging Group’s Rome, Georgia Containerboard Mill and has assumed overall leadership responsibility for the facility.

More insurers seek to join 2015 Georgia exchange
Posted: July 01, 2014

UnitedHealthcare, Coventry, Cigna and Time Insurance Company have each submitted plans with the state to offer health insurance in the federally run exchange in Georgia next year.

Monday 06/30/2014
Justices rule in favor of Hobby Lobby: Can't make employers cover contraception
Updated: June 30, 2014 - 10:57 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

Court: Public union can't make nonmembers pay fees
Posted: June 30, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says public sector unions can't collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

The justices on Monday said collecting the fees violates the First Amendment rights of workers who are not union members.

The ruling is a financial blow to labor unions that have bolstered their ranks in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of home health care workers.

The case was brought by a group of Illinois in-home care workers who said they didn't want to pay fees related to collective bargaining. They claimed the "fair share fees" violate their constitutional rights by compelling them to associate with the union.

Lower courts had thrown out the lawsuit.

Friday 06/27/2014
Northwest Georgia’s unemployment rate rises to 7.4 percent in May
Updated: June 27, 2014 - 1:05 am

The jobless rate in Floyd County went up almost a full percentage point between April and May, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.0 percent.

Thursday 06/26/2014
CNH Industrial announces closure of plant in Calhoun
Posted: June 26, 2014

CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI) today announced that it will close its assembly plant in Calhoun, Ga., in the third quarter of 2015. The facility produces construction equipment for CNH Industrial’s brands.

Wednesday 06/25/2014
Kroger to anchor development for East Main Street in Cartersville
Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:09 pm

A new large shopping center is in the works for East Main Street in Cartersville.

Georgia is CNBC’s Top State for Business in 2014
Posted: June 25, 2014

Georgia—the Peach State—slices up the competition in the 2014 America's Top States for Business rankings by CNBC, signaling an apparent shift back to the Sun Belt from the energy-rich Northern Plains.

Shaw beginning work on Adairsville plant
Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:54 pm

Shaw Industries, already the leading employer in Bartow County has begun work on a massive new carpet tile plant at the intersection of Georgia Hwy 140 and Hall Station Road in Adairsville.

Justices rule for broadcasters in fight with Aereo
Posted: June 25, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a startup Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices.

Tuesday 06/24/2014
Vogtle monitor gives PSC positive report
Posted: June 24, 2014

ATLANTA -- Construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle progressed on schedule last year and more smoothly than originally, according to a report made public Monday of an independent observer.

Monday 06/23/2014
Building Georgia’s primary care workforce
Posted: June 23, 2014

DULUTH, Ga. -- The state’s pipeline for new physicians is getting wider.

Deal: Shaw to create 70 jobs, invest $17 million in Ringgold
Posted: June 23, 2014

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Shaw Industries Group, Inc. will expand its reclamation and recycling program to include a new Evergreen facility in Ringgold, creating at least 70 new jobs and investing more than $17 million into the facility.

Friday 06/20/2014
Report: Ga. tech jobs outpace US
Posted: June 20, 2014

ATLANTA -- High-technology jobs are growing in Georgia at a faster rate than the U.S. average, according to a report released Thursday by the Technology Association of Georgia.

Friday 06/13/2014
Government seeks to spur employers to install charging stations for electric cars
Updated: June 13, 2014 - 6:00 pm

ATLANTA -- Georgia employers are being encouraged to install charging stations to remove a major hurdle preventing their workers from buying electric cars.

Tuesday 06/10/2014
Catoosa County public schools to hold surplus sale online auction
Updated: June 10, 2014 - 5:10 pm

Potts Brothers Land and Auction will sell Catoosa County public school surplus through an online auction. The auction will include buses, kitchen equipment, shop equipment and a mobile classroom. Bidding begins June 19, and ends June 26, at pottsbrothers.com.

Mohawk Industries rises in the ranks of Newsweek's top 500 green companies
Updated: June 10, 2014 - 1:59 pm

Mohawk Industries’ commitment to sustainability once again has been recognized by Newsweek in the magazine’s fifth ranking of the 500 “greenest” U.S. companies. The company has been the highest ranked flooring manufacturer during each year the rankings have been released.