2009-12-25 / Business

Briefs

by John Temple Ligon

Houses

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a credit rating of Aaa to the $120 revenue bonds S.C. State Housing expects to issue in January. The Aaa rating is Moody’s highest investment grade. Moody’s has a 40 percent share in the world credit rating market. The bonds will be sold to investors, raising capital for the state agency’s home buyer program, which specializes in low–interest and fixed–rate mortgages with down payment assistance for eligible home buyers.

More houses

Across the state homes sales jumped up 62.9 percent in November 2009 compared to the same month in 2008. During the more recent November, almost 4,000 homes were sold.

Home Depot

The Home Depot advertised recently it is accepting applicants for more than 100 positions for its new 500,000 sq. ft. distribution facility that should open later this spring on Foster Brothers Drive in West Columbia. For job applications, visit http://careers.homedepot/.com beginning December 30.

Fast rail

Last week, the Florida Senate joined the Florida House in passing a major passenger rail bill. The bill enhances prospects for a Tampa–to–Orlando highspeed (110–150 mph) rail route by 2014, taking advantage of $2.6 billion in federal stimulus money and creating about 15,000 construction jobs. Florida is one of 24 states competing for the high–speed rail stimulus funds.

Where to money goes, apparently

S.C.’s road system is ranked fourth overall in the country for cost–effectiveness when combined highway spending and system performance are considered and compared with other states. S.C. ranks No. 1 for capital and bridge spending per mile, No. 2 in total spending per mile, and again No. 2 in maintenance spending per mile. Also, according to the Reason Foundation, S. C. carries the country’s 47th best rate for its fatalities, an almost rock bottom score, and the 36th placement for its urban interstate congestion.

Fuel cells here

A manufacturer of fuel cell generators and hydrogen fuel cannisters for commercial adaptation, Trulite, is moving its manufacturing and administrative headquarters to Columbia. The move could possibly bring 1,000 new high–tech and high–paying jobs in the next few years. The company visited the National Hydrogen Association forum at the convention center on Lincoln Street in 2007.

Unemployment

S.C.’s unemployment rate hit a high of 12.3 percent in November, which means 266,330 South Carolinians are out of work and still looking. In Richland County the rate is 10.1 percent, and in Lexington County, 8.8 percent.

Hubbard challenged

Columbia attorney William Hubbard is asking to continue serving on USC’s board of directors, where he has served since 1986. His challenger is former USC spokesman Russ McKinney, who worked in communications at USC for about 20 years until leaving last year. McKinney is not downgrading Hubbard’s performance on the board, far from it, but he is promoting himself as new blood. Meanwhile, Hubbard recalls his emphasis on academic gains over the past 23 years.

Citadel Broadcasting filed...

...for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection recently while it reorganizes to meet its obligations. Citadel owns four Columbia stations: WISW News Talk 1320 AM, WLXC Kiss 103.1 FM, WNKT The Game 107.5 FM, WOMG Magic 98.5 FM. And Citadel owns another four radio stations in Charleston. All told, Citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations. Citadel is the country’s third–largest radio broadcasting company.

Walvius in a new wrinkle

Former USC women’s basketball coach Susan Walvius and her former assistant coach Michelle Marciniak have pooled their talents and funds to form Sheex, a new company dedicated to new bedsheets made with performance–fabric technology. They got R&D and early administrative assistance from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business, and they raised $1 million in start–up venture capital, and now their sheets are manufactured in California and sold in the NBA’s flagship store in Manhattan. Go to Sheex.com.

Gantt irons out the wrinkles

Steve Gantt, former assistant city manager and most recently the city’s interim city manager, has been named city manager by Columbia’s city council.

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