Biz bits



Tourism groups get grants for projects

The Augusta Canal Authority was among 11 tourism organizations named Thursday to share $90,000 in grants from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to provide stimulus funding for our communities as they develop new tourism products in Georgia," said Bruce Green, the Tourism Product Development director. "We look forward to these projects coming on line by the end of this year."

The Canal Authority operates the Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill and manages tour boats with educational cruises on the man-made waterway. It also manages the federally designated Canal National Heritage Area, which is funded in part by the National Park Service.

Also announced Thursday were 86 grants -- totaling about $1 million -- to help finance co-operative tourism marketing programs. Augusta-area recipients included the Augusta Museum of History, Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Columbia County Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Officials want shield against firm failure

WASHINGTON --- The nation's top economic officials urged Congress on Thursday to give them new regulatory tools to better protect the country from economic and financial havoc if a major Wall Street firm were to fail.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made the recommendations before the House Financial Services Committee as fresh worries gripped investors about the financial shape of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

In other news

DOW CHEMICAL CO. has agreed to buy rival Rohm and Haas Co. for more than $15 billion in cash in a deal that Dow hopes will fuel its growth in a more lucrative wing of the chemical-making business. The $78 per-share deal includes money from a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.