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Impact of events put at $5.3 million

The ESi Ironman 70.3 and other area events are expected to generate more than $5.3 million in direct visitor spending in Sep­tem­ber, according to the Au­gusta Sports Council and the Au­gusta Convention and Vis­i­tors Bureau.

The Ironman is expected to bring 6,000 visitors and $4 million in spending to Augusta on Sept. 28-30.

Other notable events in Sep­tember include the United House of Prayer for All People convention, bringing 3,000 people and $778,316 to Augusta on Sept. 23-30, and Arts in the Heart of Augusta, set for Sept. 14-16, which will bring 100 vendors from out of town that will generate $80,864 in direct visitor spending.

Factory orders up; investment is worry

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. companies rose in July, reflecting a surge in demand for autos and commercial aircraft. In a troubling sign of manufacturing weakness, though, a key orders category that tracks business investment plans fell by the largest amount in eight months.

Factory orders rose 2.8 percent, the biggest overall advance in a year, reflecting sizable gains in demand for motor vehicles and airplanes, the Commerce De­part­ment said Friday. But core capital goods orders, viewed as a good proxy for investment spending, plunged 4 percent, the fourth setback in the past five months.

The worry is that businesses have begun to scale back plans to expand and modernize.

– Staff and wire reports

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Grad rates show improvement by local school systems

Graduation rates in both Richmond and Columbia counties followed the statewide trend of slow and steady increases in 2014, although progress in individual schools varied greatly.
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