Archive for October, 2010

New survey: Georgia ranks No. 8 in ‘best states for business’

Utah is the best state for business, according to a new survey by Forbes.

Utah topped Virginia, which had led the pack for the preceding four years, Forbes said.

North Carolina was No. 3, followed by Colorado and Washington.

Georgia came in No. 8. Maine placed last.

Forbes’ Best States ranking measures six categories — costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

While No. 8 overall, Georgia placed first in regulatory environment. It’s lowest ranking was in quality of life, where the state placed 35th.

Utah’s strong economy helped push the state to the top spot. Its economy has expanded 3.5% annually over the past five years, faster than any other state except North Dakota, Forbes said. This was three-and-a-half times faster than the U.S. as a whole.

Total employment in the U.S. has shrunk over the past five years, but in Utah it increased 1.5% annually, Forbes said. Household incomes have surged 5% annually, …

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New survey: One in five get sticker shock from cell phone bill

Get sticker shock from your cell phone bill? You’re not alone.

One in five consumers report getting unexpectedly high monthly bills when they exceed limits on voice, text or data, according to a new Consumer Reports survey of the magazine’s online subscribers.

That figure is higher than a recent Federal Communications Commission survey finding that one in six cell phone users had experienced a sudden increase in a monthly bill, Associated Press reports.

But both percentages are at odds with the very low figures acknowledged by the major cell carriers, Consumers Reports said.

As a potential remedy,  federal regulators want to require the wireless companies to alert subscribers before they run out of minutes, hit data usage or text messaging caps or start racking up international roaming charges, AP reports.

The FCC is expected to vote Thursday to seek public comment on such rules, which are on the table after a flood of consumer complaints, AP said.

The proposed …

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Power Breakfast: Temportary stores popping up more, immigration, NCR, Delta, mine rescue, AOL, weak dollar

It’s another sign of the times — more pop-up stores.

Retailers are dipping their toes in the uncertain economic waters by opening stores for weeks or months — trying to get the benefits of what they hope will be a busy holiday season without the risk of what will happen the rest of the year, AJC staffer Arielle Kass reports.

Used as a test for potential expansion, to generate excitement about a new product or simply to expand the reach of a retailer during a peak season, pop-up establishments have for years been used by Halloween stores and other retailers with very specific sales windows.

But recently, the temporary stores have become more prevalent in Atlanta and elsewhere as retailers like Toys R Us, Borders and Harry and David jump in, Kass reports.

For example, Borders, which last year opened five pop-up stores around the country, has 25 this year, Kass writes.

Also in the AJC:

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What’s your take on big foreclosure investigation?

First, there were record foreclosures.

Next, there was flawed paperwork.

Now, there’s a big investigation.

Georgia is one of many states that will launch an inquiry into the foreclosure practices in the mortgage industry, AJC staffer Michelle Shaw reports.

A detailed announcement is expected Wednesday by the Iowa attorney general’s office, which is heading up the massive effort, according to a spokesman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

“For some individuals, this will be a short-term reprieve, but in other situations, we will hopefully prevent foreclosures from occurring that never should have occurred in the first place,” Emory University law professor Frank Alexander told Shaw.

What do you think? Good public policy for the AGs to get involved?

Do you think this will put more pressure on lenders to negotiate more before pulling the foreclosure trigger? Have you been involved in this process?

Or do you think this will just end up delaying the inevitable?

For …

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Power Breakfast: Chilean miners rescued one by one, foreclosure investigation, governor’s race, ASA, Delta, Sony

The big story today is clearly the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners.

To hugs, cheers and tears, rescuers using a missile-like escape capsule began pulling the men one by one to fresh air and freedom at last early Wednesday, 69 days after they were trapped in a collapsed mine a half-mile underground, Associated Press writes.

Six men were pulled out in the first six hours of the apparently problem-free operation in the Chile’s Atacama desert — a drama that saw the world captivated by the miners’ endurance and unity as officials meticulously prepared their rescue, AP reports.

First out was Florencio Avalos, who wore sunglasses to protect him from the glare of bright lights, AP writes. He smiled broadly as he emerged and hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son, Bairon, and wife, then got a bearhug from Chilean President Sebastian Pinera shortly after midnight local time.

After the first capsule came out of the manhole-sized opening, Avalos emerged as bystanders cheered, …

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What’s your take on the new ownership at Sea Island?

The two competing investor groups looking to buy Georgia’s iconic Sea Island resort spent most of Monday battling each other in a bankruptcy auction before coming together on a joint bid to buy the tony coastal retreat, AJC staffer Scott Trubey reports.

Many metro Atlantans have connections to Sea Island and the surrounding tourist areas.

What do you think of this latest development?

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Atlanta Dream owner going after new investors in team

Atlanta Dream owner Kathy Betty shows off her basketball skills. (Photo by Chris Hamilton)

Atlanta Dream owner Kathy Betty shows off her basketball skills. (Photo by Chris Hamilton)

Can winning on the court change the Atlanta Dream’s fortunes off the court?

Owner Kathy Betty is about to find out. And she’s not leaving it to chance.

Betty, 54, is starting to reach out to potential investors — one of the key moves she postponed during her whirlwind rookie season that ended just short of a WNBA title. She plans to stay as majority owner, but hopes to tap into several investors willing to help shoulder the financial load, as she attempts to turn red ink into black.

“I have a year of experience and I understand the numbers inside and out,” Betty said when we talked about her plans recently. “I can look eye-to-eye with investors.”

To briefly recap for those who don’t follow women’s basketball — and that’s most of Atlanta — Betty was looking for a new challenge following the death of her husband, former Earthlink CEO Garry Betty. A trained accountant and basketball lover, …

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Power Breakfast returns on Wednesday

There will not be a Power Breakfast on Tuesday, but it will return Wednesday.

Please take a look at today’s column about Atlanta Dream owner Kathy Betty. Thanks.

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Investment fees can affect your returns

I thought you’d be interested in today’s Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog, which deals with seven investments fees that can affect your financial returns.

They include mutual fund fees and brokerage commissions.

Here is the link to Rana Cash’s blog.

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Power Breakfast: Perimeter residents in heart of metro action, foreclosures, Deal taxes, Sea Island, Gwinnett, Coke bottlers

Perimeter residents think they have it all, according to an interesting story by AJC reporter April Hunt.

“Any direction you can go in — the Fox Theatre downtown, the Tara [cinema], Marietta Square — it’s just 20 minutes,” said Judy Alembik of Sandy Springs. “If you use this as the center, it’s extremely convenient to get to anything in Atlanta.”

That sort of lifestyle has blurred the region’s demarcation, Hunt writes. Two new and growing cities north of Atlanta have quietly changed the mindset of what it means to live in the urban core or in the suburbs.

Live in Sandy Springs or Dunwoody and you are now ATP: At The Perimeter.

The once-outlying areas have morphed into burgeoning metro communities, Hunt writes. Between them, there are 130,000 residents — a figure expected to grow when new Census numbers are released next year.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Perimeter residents in heart of metro action, foreclosures, Deal taxes, Sea Island, Gwinnett, Coke bottlers »