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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Alabama State Port Authority gets 3 suitors for Bulk Material Handling Plant partnership - Press Register
Google brings high-speed broadband network to Kansas City, Kan. - Huntsville Times
Shelby County ranked healthiest in Alabama - Birmingham News
Alabama lab serves as testing center for radiation from Japan - AP
TechMixer Expo 2011 - EVENT


Alabama State Port Authority gets 3 suitors for Bulk Material Handling Plant partnership 

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 12:49 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 12:49 PM



MOBILE, Ala. -- The Alabama State Port Authority got three bids from companies interested in leasing its Bulk Material Handling Plant, and will pursue negotiations with two of the companies, according to Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons.


Confidentiality agreements prohibited Lyons from identifying the companies are or what they plan to do, he said.



Authority members sought out the private sector for help running the facility earlier this year, after determining that recent capital projects meant the authority couldn't take on the debt needed to make necessary upgrades there.


One of the bids was not good enough to warrant further attention, Lyons said. Lyons said neither of the other two bids would be acceptable in their current forms, but he hopes negotiations could produce an agreement that would work for the port.


He said that he expects to make a decision in 30 to 60 days.


"It's not anything I want to do quickly," he said. "It's a significant commitment to lease a facility long-term. We have to make sure it's in the best interest of us and the users of the port, and that it's in the long-term interest of the state."



Press Register 




Google brings high-speed broadband network to Kansas City, Kan.; Huntsville left out

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 12:05 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 12:31 PM


By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times


KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Search engine giant Google is making Kansas City, Kan., the first place to get its new ultra-fast broadband network, the company announced today.


Google announced on its official blog that the city would be the inaugural site for its "Fiber for Communities" program. The company says the network would be capable of making Internet access more than 100 times faster than the broadband connection in most U.S. homes.


The service will be offered beginning in 2012, while Google looks at other communities across the country.


More than 1,100 cities - including Huntsville - had made bids to become a test site for the company's fiber-optic network, which would provide Internet connections of 1 gigabit per second to as many as 500,000 people.


Huntsville organized a "task force" and launched a Facebook page to help its case.


In fact, the local page posted a congratulatory note today: "Congrats to Kansas City. Huntsville looks forward to the lessons learned from this effort, as we still want a gig in hsv."






Huntsville Times 




Shelby County ranked healthiest in Alabama 



Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 7:30 AM

By Jeff Hansen -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


Shelby County is the healthiest county in Alabama for the second year in a row, and a handful of mostly Black Belt counties -- along with Walker and Chilton counties -- are at the bottom of the list, according to a report released today.


The report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines a variety of health indicators, county by county, in all 50 states.


"The rankings are an opportunity to see how well their counties are doing," said Bridget Booske, a senior scientist at the institute and deputy director of the County Health Rankings report.


"A lot of things influence health," Booske said. "Education, jobs, access to fresh food, safe places to exercise, good air quality."


A wide gap separates Shelby and Bullock, Alabama's top and bottom counties for health.


The rate of premature death in Bullock County is more than twice that in Shelby County, and the rate of sexually transmitted infection in Bullock County is more than four times that in Shelby.


Thirty-eight percent of adults in Bullock County are obese, compared to 28 percent in Shelby; and 38 percent of children in Bullock County live in poverty, compared to 8 percent in Shelby County.





Birmingham News 


Alabama lab serves as testing center for radiation from Japan

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 6:08 AM Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 6:32 AM

By The Associated Press


MONTGOMERY, Alabama - At a government laboratory in Alabama, workers in blue coats unload envelopes packed with small filters that trapped air particles in Hawaii, Alaska and elsewhere. The discs are placed in lead-lined, barrel-like devices for testing to make sure no traces of radioactive materials have wafted across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.


So far, the sea breeze in places like Honolulu is no more dangerous than the pollen-laden air of the Deep South, according to officials. Still, the 60 or so workers in the 72,000-square-foot building will be the first to know if the Japanese disaster spreads harmful amounts of radiation to the U.S. Minute amounts of radiation from Japan's reactor have spread as far as the U.S. East Coast, though officials say it's less harmful than the radiation people are exposed to on a routine basis.



Using super-sensitive equipment and computers linked to West Coast monitors by satellite connections that download new air-quality data each hour, experts hunched over monitors are scouring the atmosphere for any radioactive materials that could pose a threat to U.S. public health. There's always some radiation in the environment - the testers are looking for abnormally high amounts. 






TechMixer Expo 2011

TechMixer Expo 2011 is scheduled for April 12, 2011, at the BJCC Sheraton from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. This exposition event showcases Technology User Groups and Technology Supporting Companies in the Birmingham Region.


TechMixer Expo is a great opportunity for your company to reach out to technology professionals and supporting enthusiasts from multiple demographics and employed by Birmingham companies of every size. Last year we had 69 sponsoring entities and over 1,000 attendees who networked with their peers and learned more about the event sponsors.






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Wendy Wallace Johnson
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