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Here is Friday's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 


in this issue:
Wells Fargo report: Alabama likely in recession - AP
UAB officials say Congress should protect funding for science, medical research - Birmingham News
Gov. Robert Bentley, in search of ideas, tours a Bayou La Batre shipyard - Press Register
Steel Warehouse eyes $16 million, 60-job plant on ThyssenKrupp site - Press Register
Sen. Jeff Sessions hosts workshop on grants at Jacksonville State - Anniston Star
Dale corporation names new director - Dothan Daily Eagle

Wells Fargo report: Alabama likely in recession

Associated Press


Published: Friday, August 26, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.Last Modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.

A Wells Fargo report says Alabama is one of 12 states that have seen its economy likely slip into a recession, but two economic experts in the state have a different outlook.


The report released this week by the San Francisco-based bank said Alabama experienced an economic contraction in July. Written by the bank's senior economist Mark Vitner and economist Michael A Brown, the report said more states are "likely to fall into negative territory within the next six months" because of a persistent decline in manufacturing jobs.


Sam Addy, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama, said Friday the state could be headed into recessionary territory if it has a couple more bad months.


"But we are not there yet," Addy said.


Keivan Deravi, an economist at Auburn University Montgomery, said the national economy is dragging down a lot of states' economies, including Alabama's, "but we are not in worse shape than most other states."


 Gadsden Times 



UAB officials say Congress should protect funding for science, medical research
Published: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 10:32 PM     Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 10:32 PM


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Federal cuts to scientific funding would hurt health worldwide and hinder the state's economic development, UAB officials, scientists and others told staffers for Alabama's congressional delegation today.


"We appreciate how hard things are in Washington right now. We appreciate that business as usual can't go on," said Richard Marchase, vice president of research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who said he was also speaking as past president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, a bioscience lobbying group. "As these hard cuts are made, please try to do your best to see that medical research -- and even the next generation of medical researchers -- are not decimated by the moves that have to take place."


The event, which was organized by the American Cancer Society and held at UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center, was designed to persuade national and state lawmakers to stave off potential cuts to funding for the National Institutes of Health. The agency's fiscal 2013 budget is already expected to drop, and the panel of lawmakers in Congress called the supercommittee is looking for $1.2 trillion in additional cuts by Nov. 23.


 Birmingham News 



Gov. Robert Bentley, in search of ideas, tours a Bayou La Batre shipyard
Published: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 6:05 PM     Updated: Friday, August 26, 2011, 6:43 AM
By George Talbot Press-Register

BAYOU LA BATRE - Gov. Robert Bentley visited Horizon Shipbuilding today as part of his "Road to Economic Recovery" tour, saying the fast-growing shipyard is an Alabama success story in hard economic times.


"To see a small business grow and expand the way they have is really inspiring," Bentley said after an hourlong tour of the shipyard. "They're doing something right, and I came here to listen and learn from them."


Horizon, founded in 1997, has grown to employ more than 200 workers, building barges, tugboats and other vessels for commercial and military customers. Company president Travis Short said Horizon's annual revenue exceeded $22 million last year, and the shipyard has a backlog of $7 million in new orders.


"We've got good products and great people. That's our formula," Short said.


The company last week delivered the third in a series of 120-foot towboats to Florida Marine Transporters of Mandeville, La. The four-deck workhorse was named the M/V Brees in honor of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Bentley's visit Thursday was the fourth stop of a tour that he said is designed to help him find ways to stimulate Alabama's slumping economy. He said he's trying to visit one town each week in search of ideas, with prior stops in Athens, Gadsden and Enterprise.


"I get my best ideas from people who are actually doing the work," he said, while trudging through the dusty shipyard under a broiling Alabama sun. "My entire administration is focused on creating jobs, and that's why we started this tour."


 Press Register 



Steel Warehouse eyes $16 million, 60-job plant on ThyssenKrupp site
Published: Friday, August 26, 2011, 6:00 AM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register

An Indiana company is considering opening a steel processing plant on the ThyssenKrupp AG property in Calvert, the potential first tenant in an industrial park of steel users that was part of ThyssenKrupp's vision for the complex.


Steel Warehouse, based in South Bend, Ind., is considering a 60-job, $16 million facility that would process hot-rolled carbon steel from ThyssenKrupp Steel USA. A pickling line would remove corrosion from the steel, making it suitable for makers of heavy equipment.


The Mobile County Industrial Development Authority voted 3-0 Thursday to grant $1.17 million in sales and non-school property tax abatements to Steel Warehouse. That includes $400,000 in county and state sales taxes that the company wouldn't have to pay on equipment and building materials, as well as $768,000 in non-educational property taxes that would be forgiven over 10 years.


The company had originally pegged average annual pay at $35,000, leading Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce officials to recommend only five years of property tax breaks.


But Chief Executive Officer Dave Lerman, whose family owns the firm, told authority members that average annual pay would be $46,000. Since that's above the chamber's pay target of $38,500 for industrial projects, the authority extended property tax breaks to the full 10 years, worth almost $400,000 more in tax relief.  



 Press Register 




Sen. Jeff Sessions hosts workshop on grants at Jacksonville State
by Brian Anderson
Star staff writer
Anniston Star
Aug 26, 2011 | Just because an Alabama senator is against more spending on a federal level doesn't mean he's against using grant money already in place to help out rural Alabama.


U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions hosted a workshop at Jacksonville State University on Thursday on federal government grant programs available to local governments.



The workshop, titled "Preserving Rural Alabama," came one day after Sessions spoke in Birmingham to members of the Downtown and Sunrise Rotary Clubs about the debt crisis, calling it the nation's "greatest threat," according to The Birmingham News. Talking to The Star before addressing the attendees of the workshop at JSU, Sessions said he wouldn't "talk too much about that today," before spending large portions of his speech talking exclusively about the nation's debt crisis.



"As you know, and I know as a Republican senator, Washington is spending too much money," he said. "I have my doubts that we are at the highest level of efficiency on spending money. We can be higher."



Acknowledging the irony of speaking out on spending at a workshop for government grants, Sessions paraphrased a statement from former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm on making sure the state got its share of government programs, even if he didn't support them.



"Every one of these programs is our money," Sessions said. "We want to make sure we get our share."



 Anniston Star 




Dale corporation names new director

By: Ebony Horton
Published: August 23, 2011  

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation has approved hiring Eric Basinger of Bradenton, Fla., as its first executive director.


According to a press release from the City of Ozark, Basinger is currently executive director of the Manatee Economic Development Council and has more than 11 years experience in economic development.


He received the designation of certified economic developer from the International Economic Development Council, and holds a Master's degree in public administration specializing in planning and economic development from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of West Alabama.


Basinger was successful starting up and establishing a successful countywide economic development organization in Elmore County, according to the press release. He is originally from Fultondale.


Ozark -Dale County EDC Chairman John Ferguson said in a statement that Basinger is well respected for his efforts in closing deals with both domestic and international companies.


Basinger's office will be located in the Alabama Aviation Center on U.S. Highway 231.


The corporation was formed earlier this year to provide an economic development department on a regional level for Ozark and Dale County.


Basinger is expected to begin work in September.


 Dothan Eagle 




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