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Georgia Conservancy names former Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard permanent president

The Georgia Conservancy has shed the word “interim” and named former Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard as its new president.

Howard has served as interim president of the environmental organization since January, following the departure of Jim Stokes, a former partner with Alston & Bird.

In an email to Georgia Conservancy members sent out late Tuesday, Howard stated that the organization “plays a vital role in the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources, and I look forward to the challenge of building a greater network of environmental

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Democrat DuBose Porter receives support from unlikely Republican

It appears that newspaper ink is more potent than partisan politics.

Dining at the Commerce Club today were two newspaper men — one Republican and one Democrat. And one of those newspapermen is running for governor.

DuBose Porter, House minority leader (Democrat) who also is editor Dublin Courier-Herald, was having lunch with John Mellott, the former publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mellott, a longtime Republican, told me that he is supporting Porter’s run for governor.

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Frankie’s a favorite spot along the Silver Comet Trail

Nearly four years ago, I told Frankie Pence I would come meet her in person at her Italian restaurant in Rockmart.

Never did I think it would take me this long to make good on my promise. But I’m so glad I finally made it.

On Saturday, my son, David, and I loaded up our bicycles and headed for Rockmart. We parked near Frankie’s Italian Restaurant, and then headed out for a 16-mile ride — eight miles east and back — along the Silver Comet Trail.

When it comes to cycling in Atlanta, there are few places as delightful as the Silver Comet Trail. There are sections of the trail that are totally surrounded

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Local leaders “ecstatic” about BIO convention

Now that BIO International is winding down from its week in Atlanta, local leaders are feeling good about how it went.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “This BIO convention has exceeded our expectations. It was a very wise use of the state’s money.”

The state of Georgia invested a total of $1.79 million on the BIO conference. Of that, $500,000 went towards bidding on the event with other partners. That number also included the Georgia Pavilion exhibit space, promotional materials, marketing, the welcome

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What NYT’s Joe Nocera sees emerging from recession

When we emerge out of this recession, this nation will be a changed place, according to Joe Nocera, a business columnist for the New York Times

Nocera spoke Thursday evening as part of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series, exploring issues important in today’s society.

Nocera provided his views on the current economic downturn as well as his thoughts on where we’ll succeed and where we’ll fall short.

“The crisis will change behavior,” Nocera said. “If it doesn’t, we are all in trouble.”

A whole new generation that has

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Business groups seek consensus on transportation

The top business groups in the state have started to work more closely together to figure out if there can be consensus on a possible transportation funding bill.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce reached out to the Metro Atlanta Chamber saying it wanted to work on a transportation funding bill that would fit inside the new transportation governance structure for both metro and statewide projects, according to Michael Garrett, chairman of the Georgia Chamber and president/CEO of Georgia Power.

“We feel that it is imperative for the chambers to find a proposal that we can

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Metro Atlanta Chamber zeroing in on job prospects

The Metro Atlanta Chamber is making progress on its “New Economy” initiative, according to Rick Smith, the CEO of Equifax who is the current chair of the organization.

Smith shared that information in a brief interview after today’s Metro Atlanta Chamber’s board meeting.

The New Economy Task Force was established at the beginning to the year to identify the top strategic industries for metro Atlanta’s future economic development. The task force is co-chaired by Southern Co. CEO David Ratcliffe and Regions Bank executive Bill Linginfelter.

The consulting firm of Bain & Co. is

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Smaller BIO attracts folks from all over the world

BIO International is not just a big deal for Atlanta and Georgia.

The annual convention of biomedical scientists, researchers and business leaders is critically important for countries around the world that want to be recognized as leaders in the field.

The French ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, held a press conference on Tuesday to spread the message that France is embracing the biomedical industry with tax credits and incentives.

“Forty percent of the drugs produced in Europe are produced in France,” Ambassador Vimont said.

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At BIO, “steady” Georgia doesn’t make a big splash

Officials from the state of Georgia held its first press conference today at the all-important BIO International Convention meeting in town this week.

The press conference was held in the crowed Georgia Pavillion on the exhibit floor where Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that Emory University and the Queensland Institute for Medical Research in Australia are teaming up to create the Queensland-U.S. Vaccine Technology Alliance.

The goal is to establish an international research program leading to the development of new human vaccines for infectuous diseases and cancers.

In all the hub-bub of BIO, it is

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Coldplay gives Atlantans an extra-special concert

When it comes to live concerts, it doesn’t get any better than Coldplay.

I’m still energized from Coldplay’s concert at the Lakewood Ampitheater Sunday night — my second Coldplay concert in six months — with its combination of fabulous music, wonderfully artistic touches throughout the show and, of course, the magnetism of lead singer, songwriter, performer Chris Martin.

Martin and the band exemplify the best in rock-‘n’-roll artists. Numerous times during the performance, Martin thanked the audience for spending their money in tough economic times by coming to hear them play. And he wanted to make

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Dr. Sullivan says Atlanta at crossroads of public health

Atlanta could be the nexus for a new approach to healthcare — promoting wellness instead of just treating illnesses.

That’s what Dr. Louis Sullivan said during his keynote talk Thursday evening at the 2009 Healthcare Heroes Awards Celebration put on the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Sullivan is a former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and former president of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Currently he is chairman of the National Health Museum, which is planning to build an attraction on a site around Centennial Olympic Park.

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Georgia research leaders hope to stall future bills on stem cell restrictions

Georgia Research Alliance finds itself in a delicate spot when the issue of restricting stem cell research arises at the state legislature.

This past year, a bill restricting research was held in committee, a perfect place for it to stay for those who are responsible for nurturing Georgia’s bioscience industry.

But what if the issue re-emerges next year (as many on the board believe it will)?

Emory University President Jim Wagner brought up that question at

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Cousins names new lead director in tough economy

Cousins Properties named Erskine Bowles as its new lead director today, succeeding Billy Payne, who had served a six-year term.

Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina for more than three years, has served on Cousins’ board since 2003. Bowles also served as White House Chief of Staff from 1996 to 1998 in the Clinton administration.

Cousins CEO Tom Bell made the announcement at Cousins Properties Inc. annual meeting today at the One Ninety One Peachtree building.

Bell said that in today’s environment it’s good to “churn it up.,” and that Payne had served two terms as lead director.

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Isakson talks about the economy, rail and water

When it comes to the economy, it might take five years before the United States finds “the new normal,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson told the Atlanta Press Club Monday.

Isakson said he believes we currently are experiencing the economic “trough” right now, and that will continue until Americans start purchasing homes again.

But Isakson said that when the U.S. economy finds the “new normal,” it’s a “good normal,” one that will be healthier for society. It will hark back to the times when people would save their money, pay off their debts and “always have some skin in the game,” he said.

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Ed Bean takes over as president of press club

Journalism will survive changes in technology, even during these troubled economic times.

That was the message that Ed Bean, editor of the Fulton County Daily Report, shared at the Atlanta Press Club’s Newsmakers luncheon with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Monday upon becoming the new president of the organization.

“Although we are going through some awful downsizing and stresses, this is also a time of reinvention,” Bean said. “This business will survive. Nobody knows what this business

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Technical problems halts updates; Stay tuned….

Dear Readers,

I’ve had technological issues for the past several days. Something about my laptop and a cup of coffee while I was on the LINK trip in Minneapolis.

My tech guy says all my data is safe, but my laptop is going to have to go through reconditioning. So it’s taking me a little time to get my act together.

Please bear with me as I sort through all this. I should have several new items up today and tomorrow.

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Twin Cities metro government pushes transit

Compared to metro Atlanta, the region of Minneapolis-St. Paul virtually works as a metro government.

Back in 1967, the Metropolitan Council was established of seven counties, primarily as a planning organization.

But in 1994, the Council took on the responsibility of planning and operation of the region’s transit agency (Metro Transit), the wastewater treatment system, aviation and parks.

In short, the council brought a regional mindset to what the Minneapolis-St. Paul area believed were metro issues rather than purely local issues.

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak seeks statewide influence

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is running for re-election for a third term as mayor. But he’s setting his sights on another office — that of the governor of Minnesota.

At a LINK reception and dinner Wednesday evening, Rybak acknowledged that he is seriously considering running for governor as a way to better serve the metro region of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

“Regional economies drive states, Georgia and Minnesota included,” Rybak said. “Our governor clearly does not get the value of the cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which is ironic because they pay a disproportionate amount of the budget that he’s trying to balance.”

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Minneapolis-St. Paul: longtime rivals become partners

Minneapolis and St. Paul, two interdependent cities in Minnesota, have a long history of sibling rivalry. Yet the “Twin Cities” have matured and now are finding more opportunities to collaborate.

That was the message that Sharon Sayles Belton, a former mayor of Minneapolis; and George Latimer, a former mayor of St. Paul; shared with the LINK delegation from Atlanta.

“The rivalry between the two cities is older than I am,” Belton said. “In some circles, the rivalry is alive and well. Over the years we have learned how to work together.”

The two cities collaborated in getting the Republican National Convention in 2008. “We had a unified front,” Belton said.

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Twin Cities also face strained ties with state leaders

The Minneapolis-St. Paul region faces a lack of support from the top leadership of the Minnesota state government.

“Our governor doesn’t like St. Paul,” Kathy Lantry, president of the St. Paul City Council, told the LINK delegation from Atlanta. She said the governor vetoed every bill that would have helped St. Paul. “The governor is Republican, and we are all Democratic.”

Lantry spoke to the group in place of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who was unable to speak to the group today.