Archive for April, 2010

Have an idea to fix problem at Hartsfield?

Sometimes solutions create new problems. Do you have a fix?

AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes that one of the main benefits of the new international terminal being built at Hartsfield is that passengers bound for Atlanta will not have to re-check their baggage after they clear customs. They have to do that now to ride the airport train to the main terminal.

But there’s a key issue yet to be resolved: How passengers arriving at the new terminal will get from there to MARTA and rental cars, which are on the opposite end of the airport, Yamanouchi writes.

One option, airport officials said, is a shuttle service.

For rental cars, one option is a satellite rental car area for the international terminal.

Are you a frequent user of Hartsfield? Got a good idea for the planners?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Have an idea to fix problem at Hartsfield? »

Power Breakfast: Another Toyota problem, Georgia Dome, transit, tax return scam, foreclosures

Like the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.

New problems keep hitting Toyota.

The Japanese automaker is temporarily halting sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after Consumer Reports issued a rare “Don’t Buy” warning amid concerns the large SUV has handling problems that could cause it to roll over during sharp turns, Associated Press reports.

Toyota said it had asked dealers to temporarily suspend sales of the SUV while it conducts its own tests on the GX 460.

The decision to stop selling the SUV is the latest blow to Toyota’s tarnished safety reputation after the recall of millions of cars and trucks over gas pedals that are too slow to retract or that can become stuck under floor mats, AP writes. The GX 460 is not covered by the pedal recalls.

But it reflects Toyota’s attempt to respond more quickly to safety concerns after federal investigators accused the automaker of dragging its feet on recalls to address the faulty gas pedals.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Another Toyota problem, Georgia Dome, transit, tax return scam, foreclosures »

New survey: Homeowners sacrificing to survive

Sacrifice is the key to survival for many stretched homeowners these days.

The Associated Press is reporting that more than two thirds of Americans who’ve been unable to sell their home and buy one that better fits their needs have cut back on household expenses in order to pay their mortgage, a survey released Tuesday shows.

Homeowners who have fallen on hard times, AP writes, have made other lifestyle changes, as well:

– About a third have downsized to a smaller home or delayed expanding their family as they had planned.

– A quarter of homeowners who want to sell their current home and buy another say they need to make the move in order to lower their monthly expenses due to financial problems.

The survey was conducted for Move Inc., which runs the Realtor.com and Move.com Web sites.

Do the results reflect what you’ve experienced or seen?

If so, what was done? Any good ideas to help others?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading New survey: Homeowners sacrificing to survive »

Power Breakfast: Dow over 11,000, school closures, AirTran and Delta, tax credit, Coke, Twitter

Finally.

After 19 months, the Dow has clawed its way back over 11,000.

“Nobody ever thought we’d ever get near this level this fast,” William J. Schultz, chief investment officer for McQueen, Ball & Associates, told the New York Times.  “We’ve come a long way.”

Since March 2009, the Dow has soared 68 percent.

There’s still a long way back to the previous high above 14,000. But many investors, especially those who did not bail out of the market, are getting close to where they were before the fallout.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Dow over 11,000, school closures, AirTran and Delta, tax credit, Coke, Twitter »

Power Breakfast to return Tuesday

Power Breakfast and the rest of the Biz Beat blog will return Tuesday.

There is, however, breaking news on foreclosures in metro Atlanta that I just posted. Here is the link.

Also, since I’ve been covering the Masters, here is a business-related Tiger Woods story that ran in Sunday’s paper.

Continue reading Power Breakfast to return Tuesday »

Metro Atlanta foreclosure notices decline in April

Fewer foreclosure notices were published for metro Atlanta this month, a sign that the problem could be beginning to stabilize.

A total of 9,494 notices were published — a drop of 24 percent from last month, according to Equity Depot data released Monday.

While still very high, foreclosures in the 13-county metro area fell 4 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to Equity Depot.

“We may have topped out and the real question is how long these huge numbers will continue,” Barry Bramlett, president of Alpharetta-based Equity Depot, said in an e-mail.

A decline was expected from the record set in March, when 12,568 notices were published. The notices published this month are for auctions on the courthouse steps that will occur next month. A decline was expected because there was less time to publish notices this month.

Still, this is welcome news, given the pace of foreclosures here.

“We’re tracking about a 10 percent increase over 2009 for the first four …

Continue reading Metro Atlanta foreclosure notices decline in April »

Former Mayor Franklin shaping future leaders

Shirley Franklin

Shirley Franklin

The trademark flower on her lapel has been replaced by a pin. The large City Hall office has given way to a smaller one at Spelman College. And the 18-hour work days are down to 12.

But former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is passionate about what she’s been doing since leaving office three months ago — trying to shape the next generation of women leaders, who’ve surprised her.

“I have found them to be incredibly focused and intent on their work,” Franklin said. “They’re very well-read. … I’m very, very much encouraged by their breadth and intellect.”

While Franklin primarily is encouraging students at Spelman, a historically black women’s college, to make their contribution in the public arena, I reminded her to put in a good word for the business world, too. As far as I know, Atlanta’s major corporations are not teeming with women in their top ranks — far from it.

Franklin, 64, is spending a year at Spelman in an endowed professorship funded by Bill and …

Continue reading Former Mayor Franklin shaping future leaders »

Masters Week

Augusta – I’ve been assigned to cover the Masters this week, along with several other AJC reporters and photographers. So Power Breakfast and the rest of the Biz Beat blog will return next week.

Please, however, come back Tuesday for my column. This week’s will bring you up-to-date on what former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has been doing.

Thanks and see you in a week.

Continue reading Masters Week »

Is jobs picture looking better to you?

Finally, there’s some real good news on the jobs front — 162,000 new ones were created in March.

Still, there’s a tremendous amount of losses to make up. The national rate stands at 9.7 percent, while Georgia’s is at 10.5 percent and metro Atlanta’s is at 10.8 percent.

It used to be that we would be better off than the nation. But the deep dive in metro area’s housing market, which we had been overly dependent on for growth, took care of that.

So, all in all, how do size things up — on the mend or still on the critical list?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Is jobs picture looking better to you? »

Walmart increases charitable giving

Walmart said its charitable giving in the U.S. totaled more than $467 million in cash and in-kind gifts in fiscal year that ended in January. That was an $89 million increase over the previous year’s giving.

In Georgia, Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $14.0 million in cash and in-kind donations to local organizations. Through additional funds donated by customers, and Walmart and Sam’s Club employees throughout the state, the retailer’s contributions in Georgia totaled more than $17.0 million.

“We’ve challenged ourselves to look at ways to make long-lasting impacts in communities around the globe by funding programs that address critical needs, like hunger, education and job training,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Our business is growing and …

Continue reading Walmart increases charitable giving »