Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted January 12, 2012 08:42 am - Updated January 12, 2012 01:53 pm

Augusta area foreclosures drop in 2011

One in every 81 homes in Augusta was in foreclosure in 2011.
In all, 2,867 homes went into foreclosure in the six-county metro area, the second highest year since we’ve been getting statistical tracking on the market from RealtyTrac.
With 3,431 homes in foreclosure in 2010, that was the worst year.
Optimist view: The flood is receding. Pessimist view: There’s still a big flood.
A healthy number, if you can call it that, might be along the lines of the 2006 results. That’s a good economy and the height of the housing bubble and 1,875 homes that year went back to the banks.
Atlanta has is worse. That city has a rate of 1 in 27 homes going into foreclosure – placing it 12th in the nation.
Augusta is ranked 91st in the nation among metro areas for foreclosures.

WHY RENAME IT: Does Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University really need a new combined name? There are examples of mergers in the business world that don’t involve a renaming process. Take the recent buyout of Winn-Dixie by Bi-Lo. All the Winn-Dixie stores are going to stay Winn-Dixie and the Bi-Lo stores are going to stay Bi-Lo.
Just because there is a new controlling entity, doesn’t require a campgaign of figuring out a new – and potentially awkward – name for the combined universities, and then changing all the signs and stationary.


LISTERIA HYSTERIA: About 11 months ago, Kellogg in Augusta mysteriously shut down for a few days. And then in June came the warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration outlining why – the presence of listeria on conveyor belts, significant violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for food manufacturers.

Even though the listeria can’t grow on the cookies, it was symbolic of an insanitary plant.

The update from the FDA public relations department: “As this is still an open investigation, we won’t be able to provide any additional information at this time.”

However, Kellogg officials were much more detailed in providing information about what happened in the aftermath of the listeria incident.

Kris Charles said the issues were addressed shortly after the FDA’s February inspection, “we voluntarily shut down the facility and completed a comprehensive cleaning and maintenance work.”

Inspectors came back in October, Charles said, to observe the progress.

“The agencies noted that all previous observations had been corrected and identified a few additional minor opportunities that we addressed immediately. Both agencies reported being very pleased with the significant improvements made, as well as the ongoing proactive steps we are taking.”

The warning letter can still be viewed here.