From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Damon Cline on June 10, 2007 - 7:21pm - Add new comment

It’s easy for area residents to forget just how huge an impact Fort Gordon has on the regional economy. That’s mainly because the Army post, which employs about one in five local residents, is in the defense business, not the self-promotion business.

By: Damon Cline on June 3, 2007 - 5:33pm - Add new comment

One thing the past week taught me is that the “word on the street” – which we all know contains a smidgen of truth – is sometimes right on the money.

On Day 1, we hear that Clay Boardman is planning to purchase the old Sibley Mill property. On Day 2, we make contact, and he says the equivalent of, “Well, I can’t talk about that right now.” On Day 3, he puts out a news release through Historic Augusta that says (drum­ roll, please) he is planning to purchase the old Sibley Mill.

By: Damon Cline on May 27, 2007 - 9:39pm - Add new comment

It was about seven years ago when I first met Steve Fishman, the subject of this week's cover story. I was at his gun shop, aka Sidney's Department Store, to interview him for a "firearms in the workplace" type of story.

The subject of carrying concealed weapons came up during the course of our talk. I made a comment to the effect that it would not be illegal to "walk down the street with a rifle" so long as it was not concealed.

By: Damon Cline on May 20, 2007 - 5:36pm - Add new comment

Last week I, got a voice mail from a reader who was curious about why the “vitamin plant” in Augusta has never opened.

What the caller was referring to is the 400,000-square-foot production facility that New York vitamin company NBTY Inc. said it would open near Augusta Regional Airport.

Two years after the announcement, the building off Tobacco Road that the company paid nearly $11 million for still sits unused.

Local economic development officials in contact with the company said late last year that the facility could be open by this spring.

By: Damon Cline on May 13, 2007 - 7:20pm - Add new comment

Our love affair with Savannah River Site is on the rocks.

Area officials and business leaders have long grumbled to the Department of Energy about the lack of future economic development opportunities at the installation, as they did about two weeks ago with Energy Department officials in Washington, D.C.

Sources say there also was grousing over recently announced DOE plans to outsource many SRS jobs to Chickasaw Nation Industries, a company owned by the Chickasaw Indians, without a competitive bidding process.

By: Damon Cline on May 8, 2007 - 10:05am - Add new comment

The local banking market seems to get more interesting every day, what with all the start up activity and the holding companies deciding to venture outside their established markets into new territory.

By: Damon Cline on April 21, 2007 - 12:21pm - Add new comment

They said there would be a construction delay, and they weren’t kidding.

he MGHerring Group, of Dallas, the developers of the massive Villages at Riverwatch shopping center project at the southeast corner of River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, said last month that they would delay the project six to nine months to study ways to “enhance” the 800,000-square-foot shopping center to a mixed-use ( less retail) concept.

True to their word, the gates to the 170-acre site have been closed for weeks.

By: Damon Cline on April 12, 2007 - 11:44pm - Add new comment

I know residents (including me) are ready to put this year’s Masters Tournament behind them, but I have to get this off my chest: The Red Carpet Tour and the Augusta Showcase just gets better every year.

I can cite many reasons why this is the case, but really, the best indicator is the quality of the coffee.

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 10:35pm - Add new comment

Remember the big national security brouhaha that happened last year when a United Arab Emerates-owned company wanted to buy several U.S. ports operations? Well, the Middle East-meets-West scenario is unfolding again, only this time the proposed acquisition target is a little closer to home.

The state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is negotiating with the Carlyle Group to buy Landmark Aviation, the company that operates the 200-employee jet repair facility at Augusta Regional Airport.

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 10:29pm - Add new comment

Chickasaw Nation Industries Inc., the government contracting arm of the Chickasaw Nation, is in negotiations to run information technology operations at Savannah River Site.

You heard me correctly, the Department of Energy is planning to outsource its 200-employee IT department at SRS to the Chickasaw Indians. I say hats off to 'em for moving beyond tobacco outlets and casinos.

Top brass at Washington Savanah River Co., SRS's main contractor, notified employees last week that the Energy Department that talks are in progress.

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