Archive for November, 2011

Ban on sale of plastic water bottles in Grand Canyon blocked after Coca-Cola questions it

Grand Canyon National Park officials were all set to ban the sale of disposable water bottles in the Grand Canyon late last year, but the nation’s parks chief blocked the plan after having conversations with Coca-Cola, a major donor to the National Park Foundation, The New York Times reported today.

The top parks official at the Grand Canyon said his superiors told him Coca-Cola, distributor of Dasani and donor of more than $13 million to the parks,  registered its concerns about the ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled. Park, foundation and company officials confirmed the story.

Stephen P. Martin, the Grand Canyon official said he was upset, “because of what I felt were ethical issues surrounding the idea of being influenced unduly by business.”

Neil J. Mulholland, president of the National Park Foundation, said Coke had asked about the reasons for the water bottle ban and how it would work.

“There was not an overt statement made to me that …

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Would you buy stock in the Falcons?

So the undefeated Green Bay Packers are about to let fans have a piece of their action, literally, by selling shares in the team.

For a tidy sum, at least $200 for each share, according to CNN Money, fans can own part of the team, which will use the approximately $130 million it hopes to raise to upgrade Lambeau Field with more seating and other improvements.

Investors, however, won’t be paid a dividend, the stock won’t appreciate in value, holders can’t sell the shares, and  they won’t ever own enough stock to have any meaningful say in how the Packer organization is run. Shareholders can, however, vote on directors.

One observer called it “a great vanity purchase” for loyal fans.  The stock sale is expected to occur around  Nov. 15, according to company attorneys.

Assuming owner Arthur Blank is generous enough to extend the invitation,  would you buy stock in the Atlanta Falcons? What about the Hawks or the Braves? The Atlanta Dream?

Christopher …

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$19 a month for unlimited calling, texting and mobile data? And no contract? What’s the catch?

Republic Wireless, a mobile provider, is offering $19 a month no-contract plan for unlimited calling,  texting and  mobile data, according to this dispatch from Tecca.

Too good to be true, you say?

Maybe not. It might not work if you’re an avid mobile user, but if not, this could be the ticket.

Continue reading $19 a month for unlimited calling, texting and mobile data? And no contract? What’s the catch? »

College majors for those who want a job when they get out: Try actuarial science

Want a guaranteed job when you get out of college?

At pretty good wages?

Try studying to be an astrophysicist.

Or an actuarial scientist.

Students majoring in those areas of study have a zero percent unemployment rate, according to a  ranking by The Wall Street Journal.

Architecture and clinical psychology majors don’t do so well, with unemployment rates in double digits.

Interestingly, actuarial science and astrophysics are among the least popular majors.

Continue reading College majors for those who want a job when they get out: Try actuarial science »

Keep job for 5 years, get $50,000

You don’t see this too often.

A Charleston, S.C.-based company is offering its workers a $50,000 bonus if they stay with the company for five years – and $250,000 if they stay for 25.

CNN Money reports that SIB Development and Consulting’s offer is extended to its 30 full-time employees, no strings attached. They stay, they  get paid.

The so-called “retention incentive” was extended because company loyalty appears to be a thing of the past, SIB founder Dan Schneider told CNN. The company specializes in helping corporate clients reduce monthly fixed costs and hopes to bring in $6 million in revenue this year.

“Most people think I am nuts, and I am fine with that,” Schneider told CNN.

By the way, the check isn’t cut until after the fifth  (or 25th) year.

Christopher Seward

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Four competing for every job opening

Businesses and governments say they posted 3.35 million job openings in September, a 7 percent increase over August, according to the Labor Department.

Tell that to someone who’s been out of a job for a year or two and has stood patiently in line after line at job fairs, and the reaction might be, “Oh yea, where are they?”

Competition remains stiff and, as previously reported, part of the disconnect lies in the types of openings (many are in technology) and the lack of qualified applicants.

According to the Associated Press’s report on the openings, “nearly 14 million people were out of work in September, which means an average 4.2 unemployed workers were competing for each opening.”

The good news is that the numbers could signal a hiring upswing in the months ahead since companies typically take up to three months to fill a position, according to the AP report.

Are you confident one of those millions of jobs has your name on it?

Christopher Seward

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Late mortgage payments increased in 3rd quarter, first rise in two years

The rate that mortgage holders were late with their payments by 60 days or more rose in the third quarter for the first time since the last quarter of 2009, the Associated  Press reported.

A credit reporting agency said 5.88 percent of homeowners missed two or more payments, an early sign of possible foreclosure. That was up from 5.82 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

The problems were widespread. Between the second and third quarters, all but 10 states and the District of Columbia saw delinquency rates increase.

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Bargain bonanza: Retailers to slash TV prices for holidays

Retailers looking to move inventory plan to slash prices on televisions this Christmas to get reluctant customers through the door and to the checkout aisle.

That could mean up to 40 percent off on big-screen TVs, plus free shipping and  36-month financing. It will be part of the the run-up to “Black Friday” on November 25, Reuters reports.

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Ex-Delta CEO Allen heading Aaron’s for interim

Aaron’s Inc. announced Friday that Robert C. Loudermilk, Jr., president and chief executive officer, is resigning from those posts and his position on the Atlanta-based rent-to-own company’s board of directors.

Aaron’s cited health reasons for Loudermilk’s departure.

The company said longtime board member Ronald W. Allen, former chairman of Delta Air Lines, will serve as interim president and chief executive officer while a committee searches Loudermilk’s permanent replacement.

Allen was chairman and CEO of Delta from 1987 to 1997.

Chairman R. Charles Loudermilk Sr. called Allen “a vital member of the board” for 14 years.

The Aaron’s release did not disclose the health concerns that prompted Loudermilk, known by his nickname “Robin,”  to step down. The statement said he will “concentrate his time and attention on his health and on personal and family real estate interests.”

The announcement was made after the stock market closed Friday.  Aaron’s …

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Apple: Fix for iPhone battery life coming

Apple has heard your cry and promises a software fix is coming in a few weeks to rectify a problem with the iPhone 4s’ battery life.

According to a CNN report, Apple’s support forums have received at least 217 pages of complaints about the battery in its latest iPhone since Oct. 15, a day after the phone was released.

“We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks,” Apple said in a statement.

The maker of the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac computer, however, didn’t elaborate on the “bugs” it found and said in its statement that only “a  small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life.”

The company’s announcement suggests the problem might be connected to its latest operating system, iOS 5. Users have noticed increased battery drain after location-based apps are activated and other services that rely on GPS features.

Forbes notes that “unlike the iPhone 4 …

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