From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 10:27pm - Add new comment

Interested in chartering a scenic flight over the Augusta National Golf Club during this week's Masters Tournament? Good luck. Charter flight services throughout the city are telling people they simply are not flying this week. At all. No exceptions. Period.

This may sound crazy, but it's almost as if someone is paying these flight companies to keep their planes on the ground during the week. I mean, who could do that? Who would want to? Yeah, I know, sounds crazy.

By: Damon Cline on March 28, 2007 - 8:51pm - Add new comment

Nobody makes a fuss when their plane is on time, their flight attendant is polite and -- most importantly -- they avoid getting the dreaded BCS (body cavity search) at the security gate.

But maybe we should make a fuss...especially in Augusta, where air travel has a certain reputation (certain meaning bad) among even those who never or rarely use the city's airport.

I tend to think the preponderance of negative comments about service at Augusta Regional Airport makes people more likely to avoid the airport, which, in turn, lowers passenger counts and makes airlines want to provide less s

By: Damon Cline on March 25, 2007 - 6:34pm - Add new comment

I've had a few people ask me about the palatial "home" under construction on Magnolia Drive.

These people, not being idiots, already realize that this monster house -- like the other palatial houses that have been built near Augusta National Golf Club in recent years -- is really a corporate hospitality venue designed (on the outside, anyway) to look like a home.

By: Damon Cline on March 23, 2007 - 11:04am - Add new comment

I don't watch a lot of TV anymore because, well, it mostly sucks. But I recently discovered what might possibly be the best channel out there: The Tube Music Network.

The Tube (Comcast Channel 241; Knology Channel 179) is what MTV stopped being 15 years ago: a music video channel. There's no reality shows, no "news" programs and no bikini-straining spring break specials (sorry, frat boys).

By: Damon Cline on March 20, 2007 - 2:02pm - Add new comment

Most people seem to like it when Augusta places high on those national “best places” type of lists that come out every once in a while.
Me, I get a twinge in the gut.
It happened a couple of weeks ago when Augusta was named the nation’s most affordable housing market by a national publisher of business journals that had analyzed income and housing price data for 95 metro areas larger than 500,000 people.

By: Damon Cline on March 10, 2007 - 3:15pm - Add new comment

If you listen carefully, you can still hear the echoes from Richmond County officials and business leaders slapping each other's backs.

And why shouldn't they celebrate?

Within a span of six months, they have lured call center facilities from not one, but two Fortune 500 companies: T-Mobile (you know who they are) and Automatic Data Processing, a business services outsourcing firm (ask your company CFO; he's heard of them).

They certainly deserve attaboys, not just for attracting tens of millions of dollars to the county, but for creating at least 1,750 jobs for residents of the Augus

By: Damon Cline on March 6, 2007 - 12:45am - Add new comment

The irony of Olin Corp.'s chlorine plant in Augusta is that it pollutes our water to manufacture a product to clean our water.

The chemical plant in south Richmond County makes chlorine, caustic soda and bleach - the stuff municipalities use to treat their sewage and purify their drinking water.

In doing so, the facility releases a toxic byproduct, mercury, into the air and into the Savannah River.

This has made the company (which also makes Winchester-brand ammunition of all things) a target for environmentalists such as Oceana.

By: Damon Cline on March 2, 2007 - 1:02pm - Add new comment

In the epic battle for the hearts and minds of Augusta-area shoppers, it appears that Augusta Mall is winning the war.

Sources say the mall's outdoor "lifestyle center" addition under construction at the site of the former Macy's store is sucking most of the high-end retailers away from a rival lifestyle center project at River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20.

Face it, there's only so many upscale retailers to go around.

By: Damon Cline on March 2, 2007 - 1:01pm - Add new comment

Word going around town is that there's more out at the James Brown estate than possibly just his body.

Cash. Lots of it.

Local folks with inside knowledge say the Godfather of Soul, who toured relentlessly, received much of his pay for bookings in the form of cash and foreign currencies. Aside from being easily transported back into the country on his private planes, the money would be unknown to the guv'ment.

Whether there is money stashed around the home or buried in Folger's cans in the yard has not been determined.

By: Damon Cline on March 2, 2007 - 1:00pm - Add new comment

Andy Pye, who owns Firehouse Subs franchises in Augusta, Evans, North Augusta and Aiken, recently won the Jacksonville, Fla. company's top franchisee award for 2006.

But here's the part you'll really care about: His fifth store is expected to open this year and, during the next few years, he said he plans to open "four to five" more in the market.

Why not? If they can shoehorn a Subway and Blimpie on nearly every corner, they can do the same for the home of the New York Steamer (my personal favorite).

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