|May 22, 2012||Silver Airways picked to provide air service||no comments|
|May 09, 2012||Regal Inn renovation starts; another hotel coming||no comments|
|May 03, 2012||Construction begins on ATC Fitness space||no comments|
|May 03, 2012||Cooper Tire, Furniture Brands post first-quarter profits||no comments|
|May 02, 2012||Jesco wins bid to finish MDOT building||no comments|
|April 27, 2012||Haven't seen these gas prices in a while....||1 comments|
|April 27, 2012||Enerkem nixes IPO, but says Pontotoc plant still on||1 comments|
|April 26, 2012||Clearing the air: Bar-B-Q by Jim HAS NOT FAILED an inspection||4 comments|
|April 26, 2012||Magnolia BBQ & Fish opens second location||no comments|
|April 25, 2012||Toyota Mississippi has built 30,000-plus Corollas||4 comments|
It will take 90 to 120 days, but Silver Airways will begin providing commercial air service for Tupelo, Greenville and Hattiesburg/Laurel in Mississippi; Muscle Shoals, Ala.; and Greenbrier/White Sulphur Springs (also referred to as Lewisburg) W. Va.
The U.S. Department of Transportation selected the airline over Air Choice One, citing several reasons, including the communities' unanimous support for Silver.
Also, DOT said,"Atlanta is not only the communities preferred hub airport but also provides more connecting options to the national air transportation system than Air Choice One’s service to Memphis. Silver’s interline and baggage agreements with all major airlines, including an enhanced interline agreement with Delta, will enable the communities to reach their final destination with ease."
The DOT also chose Option 3 under Silver's plan, which for Tupelo means 18 round-trip flights each week to Atlanta.
For the total package to provide service to all the cities, DOT will pay Silver nearly $16.1 million in Essential Air Service subsidies for a two-year deal.
DOT did note it was "very concerned" about Silver's much-higher subsidy requirement than that offered by Air Choice One.
However, Silver was selected by the agency because:
1) the demonstrated reliability in providing scheduled air service;
2) the contractual and marketing arrangements with a larger carrier to ensure service beyond a hub airport;
3) interline agreements with a larger carrier; and
4) support by the community’s elected officials for the applicants proposal. Silver’s proposal meets, and has a comparative advantage over Air Choice One in all four of these statutory criteria.
Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson said Silver's selection was good and the Tupelo-to-Atlanta connection was ideal, especially compared to Memphis, where a quarter of its flights have been eliminated.
The cost of flying between TUP and ATL will be around $200 round-trip - on top of what it would cost to fly to a passenger's ultimate destination, Abramson said.
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said he was pleased with the choice and said it was "good news for Tupelo and the region. It's a win, win, win."
Read more in Wednesday's Daily Journal
More news on the hotel front in Tupelo:
First, the Regal Inn and Suites is getting an extreme makeover hotel edition, and second, there'a another hotel/motel coming to town.
• We'll begin with the Regal Inn and Suites on McCullough Boulevard, formerly the Microtel Inn. It is currently closed for renovation.
You'll remember hotelier Bruce Patel said a few months back when he took over ownership and management of the Microtel that he would renovate the entire property and give it a new look and new name (previous coverage). The hotel was renamed Regal earlier this year, but it will get another new brand.
And that new name will be Comfort Inn, and it's expected to open sometime this fall. As for the current Comfort Inn, the city planning department said it would remain a Choice Hotels property and become a Quality Inn.
And you'll also recall the former Quality Inn at the McCullough/North Gloster intersection closed a couple years back and never reopened. The owner of that hotel, David Graham, also owned the Microtel.
And now, that new hotel.
Patel tells us that he is submitting plans to build a two-story Howard Johnson near the Love's Travel Stop on McCullough.
The old HoJo on North Gloster/McCullough was torn down a few weeks back, making way for a planned Candlewood Suites and a Holiday Inn & Suites (previous coverage). And yes, Patel is involved with this project as well.
He said it took a little longer than expected to get the permits and will have to get new bids on construction. But he hopes to have both new hotels ready in about 16 months.
As for the new Howard Johnson, he'll have to go through the necessary permitting process there and isn't sure of a opening date yet.
We noticed the signage was up for ATC Fitness – the ATC stands for "Around the Clock" – at its location in the Barnes Crossing Plaza, which is home to Toys R Us, OfficeMax, Oreck, TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby.
ATC is located between Weight Watchers and Wet Paint.
The contractor said work just began in the space, and indeed, there's nothing but concrete and columns inside for now. Any walls that might have been there are gone.
He wasn't sure when ATC Fitness might open, but he expected construction to finish in 90 to 120 days.
We called ATC's Bartlett, Tenn., main facility and were told that's indeed the case.
ATC has 11 locations, with nine of them in Tennessee: Arlington, Bartlett, Brighton, Collierville, Cordova, East Memphis, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington. The other two are in Mississippi: Olive Branch and Senatobia.
Two companies with Northeast Mississippi ties reported first-quarter earnings.
• First, there's Cooper Tire & Rubber, which has a manufacturing plant in Tupelo, employing about 1,200 workers:
Cooper said its first-quarter profit rose 38 percent as sales rose nearly 10 percent.
It was the company’s 11th consecutive profitable quarter.
Cooper is the fourth-largest tire maker in the U.S.
Net income increased to $22 million, or 34 cents a share, compared to $16 million, or 25 cents a share a year earlier.
Revenue grew 9.9 percent to $984 million despite Cooper selling fewer tires. Higher pricing contributed to the gain.
Also reporting earnings this morning was Furniture Brands International, the parent of Lane Furniture, which has operations in Verona, Saltillo, Belden and Wren, employing about 2,000 workers.
FBI eked out a $379,000 profit, or 1 cent a share, compared to a $3.06 million loss, or 6 cents a share for the year-ago quarter.
Sales dropped 3.6 percent to $287.3 million, down from $297.9 million.
Jesco has won the bid to complete the Mississippi Department of Transportation's District 1 headquarters in Tupelo.
Construction of the 34,000-square foot building was halted in January after the previous contractor, DC&M of Bay St. Louis, filed for bankruptcy.
That left the building only 20 percent complete, with an original completion date of July.
District 1 Engineer Bill Jamieson said MDOT and the bonding company still have some details to hash over, but hopes construction can resume in the next few weeks.
Indeed, Jerry Maxcy, senior vice president of Jesco – which has offices in Tupelo and Fulton – said work could begin by the end of the month or the first of June.
"Then we're looking at 11 months to finish construction," he said.
MDOT's original estimate for the new building was $7.2 million, but DC&M won with a low bid of $5.1 million.
The bonding company was responsible for finding a new contractor, and is responsible for paying the difference between the original bid and what it takes to finish the project.
Maxcy said the structure looks to be in pretty good shape, and working with some of the existing subcontractors will expedite the startup of construction.
Read more in Thursday's Daily Journal.
OK, let's make it clear that gas prices still are relatively high. But they are falling.
And in Northeast Mississippi, you could pay as 41 cents more ( or 41 cents less, depending on how you look at it) for a gallon of gas.
This week's low-price leaders: Booneville, at $3.38 a gallon, followed by Sherman at $3.49.
The highest price can be found in Starkville at $3.79, followed by Tupelo at $3.77. But at least at Sam's in Tupelo you can get it at $3.69 if you're a member.
Other prices in the region:
Montreal-based Enerkem Corp. says it still plans to begin building an ethanol plant in Pontotoc despite having abandoned an initial public offering in which it had hoped to raise $125 million.
Enerkem, an a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it was abandoning its proposed Nasdaq IPO “in light of current market conditions.”
Marie-Helene Labrie, Enerkem’s vice president of government affairs and communication, said in an email, “due to unfavorable market conditions despite the interest we received from key potential investors. At this point in time, we believe there are better options for us to finance our growth plan as a private company.”
She said the company raised more than $100 million last year via corporate and government financing.
Despite the setback, the company says it still plans to build the $100 million solid-waste-to-ethanol plant in Pontotoc County at the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority landfill.
The company has said the plant will produce up to 10 million gallons of ethanol a year. Enerkem also has said more than 70 jobs will be created at the plant, which would be its first in the U.S.
In August 2010, it began construction of a similar plant in Edmonton, Alberta, but it has yet to complete it or produce any ethanol.
According to biofuelsdigest, Enerkem lost $19.1 million in the last three quarters of last year.
Labrie said Enerkem has “the support from our current investors and strategic partners, and together with our employees, we will continue focusing our efforts on the development of our waste-to-biofuels commercial projects including our Mississippi project. We are making good progress on the development of our project in Mississippi.
“We are currently focusing our efforts on several key activities including the final commercial agreements with our local partner, the state permits and the final plant design. The construction start date will follow the completion of these activities and it will most likely be at the end of 2012.”
The company said it could take about 18 months to complete the facility.
OK, it seems we may have made things worse by our post the other day in an attempt to clarify a March restaurant inspection at Bar-B-Q by Jim.
We apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding.
To make it absolutely clear: Bar-B-Q by Jim DID NOT FAIL and NEVER HAS failed a food inspection by the health department.
In fact, the restaurant has made mostly A's in previous inspections, and any issues pointed out by inspectors in any inspection have been immediately addressed by the restaurant.
A little more than a year after it opened its first location at Briar Ridge Road, Magnolia BBQ & Fish has opened a second location in East Tupelo.
The newest spot is at 1500 E. Main St., next to the Nolan Brothers automobile dealership.
Like the first location, the newest one is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
For more info, give owner Daniel Rogers a call at (662) 213-0354.
Moving closer to full capacity, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi has cranked up the volume.
The plant, which rolled out its first car in October, has produced more than 30,000 Corolla sedans since Jan. 1, according to Automotive News.
Now employing some 2,000 employees, TMMMS is expected to reach full capacity sometime this year, which means it will be able to build up to 150,000 cars annually.
The plant is in production mode 244 days a year, which means it will be assembling more than 600 vehicles a day at full capacity.
Through the end of March, Toyota has sold 68,428 Corollas in the U.S., down about 11 percent compared to a year ago. But the current Corolla is set for a model change next year to better compete against a very competitive segment that includes the Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze and Honda Civic.