Huntsville grew faster than any other large Alabama city over the past three years

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Huntsville has grown faster than any other large Alabama city since 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released today.

The Rocket City’s population grew from 180,105 in April 2010 to 186,254, as of July 2013, a more than 3 percent increase.

Huntsville has a diverse economy driven by engineering, defense, aerospace, technology and biotech and it attracts newcomers. The U.S. Army and NASA have a strong local presence and Huntsville’s tradition of innovation has long been spurred by government contractors who branched out to start their own companies.  

Huntsville is also routinely recognized by national publications as a desirable place to live, work and start a business.

Mayor Tommy Battle isn’t surprised by the city’s growth pattern.

“People realize that Huntsville is a great place to live, work, learn and play,” Battle said. “We see employers wanting to locate and expand here, more young professionals moving into our area, and a wonderful community that is open and welcoming to newcomers.”

The population growth here compares favorably with Alabama’s other largest cities, the Census figures show.

Birmingham saw its population rise by 672 people from 2012 to 2013, but its overall population fell slightly from 2010 to 2013, from 212,237 to 212,113. Mobile saw its population also fall slightly over the past three years, from 195,111 to 194,899. The population count showed a slight uptick for Mobile in 2013, up 11 people from 2012.

Montgomery finds itself moving in the opposite direction. The state’s capital saw its population decline 2 percent over the past three years, from 205,764 to 201,332. Montgomery’s population declined by more than 3,000 people in 2013, according to the Census figures.

Madison saw strong growth over the past three years, with a nearly 7 percent gain, from 42,938 in 2010 to 45,799 in 2013. The city grew by just over 800 people in 2013, figures show.

Athens also saw strong growth, up nearly 10 percent in the past three years, from a population of 21,897 to 24,000. Athens added about 500 people in 2013.  Decatur’s population grew slightly from 2010 to 2013, falling from 55,683 to 55,816. Decatur’s population fell by 185 residents in 2013, the figures show.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/05/huntsville_grew_faster_than_an.html

Video showing damaged Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant will be shown to Browns Ferry workers

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A film showing the severely damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan and vacant towns around it will be shown to workers at the Browns Ferry Nuclear plant in the coming weeks to serve as a reminder of the importance of nuclear safety.

The short film by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission follows a group of NRC staffers who visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant in February and met with Japanese regulators and power company officials to discuss the devastating March 11, 2011 accident and its aftermath.

The reactor design at Fukushima is the same GE boiling water reactor model used at the three-reactor Browns Ferry plant near Athens.

Roger Hannah, an Atlanta-based spokesman for the NRC, wrote, produced, shot and narrated the film. Hannah,  who has 29 years of experience working with nuclear energy,  said NRC officials visited three nuclear plants, including the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was hit by an earthquake and tsunami and melted down. The area around Fukushima, including towns, fishing villages and farms, has been largely abandoned. The evacuation, fueled by fear of radiation exposure, happened very quickly.

“We spent most of a day at the Daiichi site,” Hannah said. “We saw stores that still had things on the shelves, we passed by a little diner, that still had dishes sitting on the counter, like somebody had just abandoned their meal.”

Hannah said along with the concerns about public health, was a newfound appreciation for how such a disaster affects the lives of people, both those plant workers whose livelihoods are taken away and for the surrounding community.

“We tend to look almost  strictly at the health risks, and not thin about  all that other stuff, homes abandoned,  people whose entire lifestyles were changed overnight,” Hannah said. “I don’t think we can fully appreciate it, we haven’t had something on that scale in this country. Even with Hurricane Katrina, people could go back to their neighborhoods and rebuild.”

Victor McCree, the NRC’s Region 2 supervisor, whose job includes oversight of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Plant near Athens, said last week that he and Browns Ferry’s site vice president Keith Polson discussed the possibility of showing the NRC’s Fukushima video to plant workers.

Polson agreed to show the film, McCree said.

Jim Hopson, a TVA spokesman, said TVA is working with the NRC to obtain a video in a format so they can make it available to Browns Ferry’s employees. Hopson said they hope to have the video within the next week.

“TVA’s overriding commitment is protecting the health and safety of the public while ensuring they can still take advantage of the low-cost, carbon-free electricity provided by Browns Ferry,” Hopson said. “As part of an industry that actively seeks to learn everything we can from nuclear events around the world, sharing information from the Fukushima event with our employees helps strengthen both our preparation and our resolve to prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.”

The NRC has developed a list of “lessons learned” from Fukushima and has issued a series of required steps for U.S. plants to take in the wake of the disaster.

The NRC officials quoted in the film talk about the value of being vigilant and note that Fukushima officials encountered problems they never expected.

Eric Leeds, with the NRC’s office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, speaks at the end of the film about the task regulators face.

  ”Safety is not a stagnant end point.  You always have to keep looking . Stay active. Don’t ever think that it can’t happen. It can happen. It has happened, don’t allow it to happen again.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/05/video_showing_damaged_japanese.html

High-caliber address: Huntsville names street for gun maker Remington

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Remington won’t start making firearms in Huntsville until 2015, but the city has already named a street for the company.

At its meeting Thursday night, the Huntsville City Council voted to change the name of Pentastar Drive to Remington Trail. Located off Wall-Triana Highway, the four-lane road loops behind the sprawling former Chrysler electronics plant that Remington is leasing from the city.

The address of the future firearms plant is 100 Electronics Blvd.

Daniel Wilson, who represented Remington at a city subdivision committee meeting last month, said the company hopes to change the address to 1816 Remington Trail. Eliphalet Remington II founded the company in 1816 in upstate New York.

Remington announced in February that it plans to spend $110 million converting the vacant Chrysler plant near the airport into its third U.S. firearms factory. The company has promised to create a minimum of 1,868 advanced manufacturing jobs by 2021. At full production, Remington would be Madison County’s third-largest private employer.

Under a development agreement with the city, Remington will rent the plant for $1.25 million per year. However, the annual mortgage payment will be waived each year the company meets employment and salary targets.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/05/high-caliber_address_huntsvill.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


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Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


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The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

Mobile business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


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Read the latest Mobile business news at al.com/business/mobile, or read all our business news at al.com/business.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/mobile_business_news.html

Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


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The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.


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Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

Birmingham business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


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 To get the latest Birmingham-area business news, please visit al.com/business/birmingham. For more business news, visit al.com/business.

If you’re an RSS subscriber, you can find the new feed here.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/birmingham_business_news_has_m.html

Huntsville grew faster than any other large Alabama city over the past three years

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Huntsville has grown faster than any other large Alabama city since 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released today.

The Rocket City’s population grew from 180,105 in April 2010 to 186,254, as of July 2013, a more than 3 percent increase.

Huntsville has a diverse economy driven by engineering, defense, aerospace, technology and biotech and it attracts newcomers. The U.S. Army and NASA have a strong local presence and Huntsville’s tradition of innovation has long been spurred by government contractors who branched out to start their own companies.  

Huntsville is also routinely recognized by national publications as a desirable place to live, work and start a business.

Mayor Tommy Battle isn’t surprised by the city’s growth pattern.

“People realize that Huntsville is a great place to live, work, learn and play,” Battle said. “We see employers wanting to locate and expand here, more young professionals moving into our area, and a wonderful community that is open and welcoming to newcomers.”

The population growth here compares favorably with Alabama’s other largest cities, the Census figures show.

Birmingham saw its population rise by 672 people from 2012 to 2013, but its overall population fell slightly from 2010 to 2013, from 212,237 to 212,113. Mobile saw its population also fall slightly over the past three years, from 195,111 to 194,899. The population count showed a slight uptick for Mobile in 2013, up 11 people from 2012.

Montgomery finds itself moving in the opposite direction. The state’s capital saw its population decline 2 percent over the past three years, from 205,764 to 201,332. Montgomery’s population declined by more than 3,000 people in 2013, according to the Census figures.

Madison saw strong growth over the past three years, with a nearly 7 percent gain, from 42,938 in 2010 to 45,799 in 2013. The city grew by just over 800 people in 2013, figures show.

Athens also saw strong growth, up nearly 10 percent in the past three years, from a population of 21,897 to 24,000. Athens added about 500 people in 2013.  Decatur’s population grew slightly from 2010 to 2013, falling from 55,683 to 55,816. Decatur’s population fell by 185 residents in 2013, the figures show.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/05/huntsville_grew_faster_than_an.html