2010-Jun-13
Stolen bike is worth Pounds 2,

A MOTORBIKE, worth Pounds 2,200, was stolen from its owner's garage in St Blazey.

The 23-year-old man noticed the black Aprilia 125 was missing fromhis home onChyandor Close, on Tuesday, May 25. It could have been taken the night before while stored in his garage.

Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the theft or has information about this crime. Contact the police with information on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference GW/10/411.


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2010-Jun-13
STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE

TRADERS in Southgate Street say they are struggling for survival, and are blaming the linkages scheme for their plummeting profits.

Clothing shop Cross Colour, at no 57, is to close. And other shops are reporting low takings.

Azam Choudhry, of Cross Colour, which is holding a closing down sale, said: "There's not much business. I can't pay the rent now. I've been there since 1999 and I'm about to close."

Cellphones Direct, at no 35, reported around an 80 per cent profit loss since the start of the linkages scheme work, which will connect the Docks to the city centre. Manager Hussain Vorajee said: "The roadworks have had a massive impact on business. "I'm struggling for survival. Retail sales have gone down. We used to get around Pounds 2,500 a week, now it's more like Pounds 500 a week. "We're a service centre and we used to have a lot of disabled customers, but they can't get to us now."

Helen Webb, of The Cottage, at no 55, said: "The roadworks have made an awful lot of difference to trade. I feel I've lost 50 per cent of trade. "I'm not making a profit, I'm just surviving." Nigel Bee, of London Camera Exchange, at no 12, said: "Business is definitely slower than normal. A lot of money has been put into the Docks area, but I believe a proportion of that money could have been spent on promoting the centre." Paul Soden, who owns Cafe Rene, at no 31, and The Old Bell & Tiger's Eye, at no 9a, said: "It's one of the biggest projects around. It's bound to be disruptive, but it's going on for a long time and in that time we're working really hard to continue with the trade we've got. "I'm not criticising the planners, but most people think Southgate Street is closed and it's not." Dennis Mardle, who runs Collector's Choice, at no 45, with Sophie Mardle., said: "It's like we're forgotten. I want to try and be positive but it's so difficult because we feel we've been neglected for so long."

Traders were hoping to benefit from a Pounds 200,000 cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gloucester City Council to revamp Southgate Street. But the bid was unsuccessful. Mr Mardle added: "Southgate Street does need some help. Owners at the moment don't have the spare money to pay for it themselves." Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "It is disappointing that the bid hasn't been successful but we will resubmit it. "The whole face of Southgate will change over the coming months, and it will be more attractive." Nigel Edgeworth, Gloucestershire County Council's linkages project manager, said: "My predecessor visited traders regularly and made every effort to accommodate their needs. "I have recently taken over this project and I am more than happy to discuss any issues that have arisen." Traders in Southgate Street are running a fun and pamper day based at Cafe Rene to raise their profile. It will run from 3pm-9pm on Sunday, June 5, offering activities including face painting, and colouring competitions, free beauty treatments, stalls and music. Funds will be given to charity.


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2010-Jun-12
New school chums

CONEY Hill Community Primary School is busy forging links with a school from Cheltenham.

The school has announced that it is going to work closely with Andoversford Primary School, in Old Gloucester Road, Cheltenham.

The School Council has already visited Andoversford and are developing good links with the school.

Meanwhile, the school is planning to increase the number of places available on its Breakfast Club.

This is due to the request of some parents on the back of its success so far.

The school will also be offering courses in ICT, art, gardening, dance, homework, and football in June and July.


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2010-Jun-12
Nitro Circus Live may come to

Just days after it was revealed Hamilton had lost the Super X motorcycle event and a potential income of $3 million it brought in, another event is lined up to take its place.

Waikato Stadium bosses and Australia's Global Action Sports - the group that present Super X - are in talks about bringing Nitro Circus Live to Waikato Stadium with a possible February 2011 date being discussed.

A source close to Global Action Sports yesterday said the organisation was excited about returning to Hamilton after the Super X event attracted nearly 13,000 fans in November last year and was deemed a huge success by the promoters.

Hamilton City Council's acting events facilities manager, Olly Te Ua, this morning said negotiations were "looking promising, but are still ongoing".

"At this stage, I'm reluctant to talk about a timeframe until it has been finalised," he said.

Mr Te Ua said any event where the turf at Waikato Stadium had to be altered - 6000 tonnes of earth were carted in for Super X - had to be done between the provincial rugby championships in late winter and the new Super 15 competition early next year.

Nitro Circus Live moves away from the racing-style entertainment of the Super X and is more of a show with seemingly dangerous tricks and stunts performed on a range of machines.

The Nitro Circus brand was founded by, among others, X-Games gold medallist Travis Pastrana and rapidly rose to popularity because of the DVD series featuring Pastrana and friends performing outrageous stunts.

After last year's Super X, Global Action Sports chief executive Mike Porra was hopeful Nitro Circus Live would come to New Zealand and said it would be a "huge drawcard for Hamilton".

"It's unbelievable mate, it's like nothing you've ever seen," he said.

It is unclear whether Pastrana would come to New Zealand. The Times understands the Hamilton stop could be part of a larger New Zealand tour.

--------------------


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2010-Jun-11
Going around in circles can ge

&%(''%& %#''&$(!

&%(''%& %#''&$(!

SOUTH East Cornwall fundraisers spent 24 hours continuously walking around a Liskeard sports field to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.

More than 300 participants gathered at Liskeard School and Community College on Saturday to take part in the annuS al Relay for Life event.

Organisers have hailed this year's event as a massive success, helping to raise more than Pounds 34,355.

The event began with 53 registered cancer survivors walking a lap of honour with the teams following close behind.

The survivors, including four-year-old William Palmer, retired for a champagne reception and cake.

At 10pm, competitors gathered for a Candle of Hope ceremony where speeches were read and candles were lit around the track.

Event chairman Vicky Parker said: "We turned off all the lights and the generator and for a moment the place felt still. It was lovely to take the moment to see all the candles and messages.

"We then had live music throughout the evening to keep the participants going.

"The whole point to the 24-hour relay and going through the night was to show that cancer never sleeps, we are not allowed to sleep or give up - we have to keep going for all those who have to suffer with cancer.

"To keep the teams going we had a variety of laps throughout the night with a fancy dress theme including a black tie and ball gown lap and a decorated underwear lap - it's all very good fun and the fancy dress was amazing.

"We were lucky with the weather, too.

"Although we did have some rain during Saturday afternoon it did clear and stayed off until the event finished on Sunday lunch time.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part and supported the event."

The relay came to a finish at midday on Sunday with the closing ceremony. Certificates were presented to the 18 team captains.


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2010-Jun-11
Helios Total Return Fund, Inc.

Helios Total Return Fund, Inc. (the "Fund") (NYSE: HTR) today announced that its Board of Directors declared a monthly dividend of $0.0475 per share, payable on June 24, 2010 to stockholders of record on June 18, 2010. Based on the NYSE closing price of $5.58 on June 3, 2010, the Fund's yield was 10.22%. As of May 31, 2010, the Fund's average duration, as measured on a net asset basis, was 4.9 years.

Dividends may include net investment income, capital gains and/or return of capital. The dividend yield referenced above is calculated as the annualized amount of the most recent monthly dividend declared divided by the stated stock price.

As of May 31, 2010Sector Allocation as a Percentage of Total Assets------------------------------------------------------- -----Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities ("MBS")            43%---------------------------------------------------------- --Agency MBS                                               17%---------------------------------------------------------- --Non-Agency Residential MBS                               12%---------------------------------------------------------- --High Yield Corporates                                    12%---------------------------------------------------------- --Asset-Backed Securities                                  11%---------------------------------------------------------- --Cash                                                      5%----------------------------------------------------------- -Credit Allocation as a Percentage of Total Assets------------------------------------------------------- -----U.S. Government / Agency and AAA Rated                   59%---------------------------------------------------------- --AA Rated                                                 10%---------------------------------------------------------- --A Rated                                                   2%----------------------------------------------------------- -BBB Rated                                                  New York, the firm had approximately $24 billion of assets under management(i) as of March 31, 2010. Brookfield Investment Management Inc. is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management Inc., a global asset manager focused on property, power and other infrastructure assets with approximately $100 billion of assets under management as of March 31, 2010.

(i) Includes assets managed through AMP Capital Brookfield Pty Limited.

Contacts: Helios Total Return Fund, Inc. Three World Financial Center 200 Vesey Street, 10th Floor New York, NY 10281-1010 (800) 497-3746


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2010-Jun-10
Great Lakes Dredge

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ:GLDD) - announced today that its Board of Directors (??he Board?? has declared a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The Board approved a $0.017 per share cash dividend, to be paid on June 18, 2010 to the holders of record of common stock of the Company at the close of business on June 11, 2010.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and the only U.S. dredging company with significant international operations, averaging 30% of its dredging revenues over the last three years. The Company is also one of the largest U.S. providers of commercial and industrial demolition services. Additionally, the Company owns a 50% interest in a marine sand mining operation in New Jersey which supplies sand and aggregate used for road and building construction. Great Lakes has a 120-year history of never failing to complete a marine project and owns the largest and most diverse fleet in the U.S. industry, comprised of over 180 specialized vessels.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking" statements as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities Act"), Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA") or in releases made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (??EC??, all as may be amended from time to time. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Great Lakes and its subsidiaries, or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by, among other things, the use of forward-looking language, such as the words "plan," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "project," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "seeks," or "scheduled to," or other similar words or comparable language, or by discussion of strategy or intentions. These cautionary statements are being made pursuant to the Securities Act, the Exchange Act and the PSLRA with the intention of obtaining the benefits of the "safe harbor" provisions of such laws. Great Lakes cautions that actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements herein, including, but?not limited to, as a result of the factors, risks and uncertainties described in?other securities filings of Great Lakes with the SEC,?such as its?most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should not place undue reliance on these forward looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made only as of the date hereof and Great Lakes does not have or undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by law. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their?entirety by this cautionary statement.



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2010-Jun-10
Great day for city's great ind

Severe thunderstorms didn't close Doors Open Winnipeg Saturday.

The seventh annual weekend-long event carried on with just a few weather-related glitches.

A planned walking tour of the Upper Fort Garry site was cancelled because of the rain. It was to include a visit to the architectural dig -- but there was just too much water at the site on 130 Main St.

But the rain didn't stop walking-tour guide Danny Schur. He said his route exploring the events of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike had "plenty of places to hide" from the inclement weather.

Indoors, a few blocks away, Mariaggi's Theme Suite Hotel and Spa was packed with people planning to stay dry.

"It's amazing," said engineer Andrew Oliver, who was taking pictures during the tour. He and engineering student Ashley Keep marvelled at the architecture of Winnipeg's older buildings.

"They brought in materials from all over the world," said Oliver. "You don't see that anymore."

Keep was impressed at the extravagance and attention to detail from back in the day. The Bank of Montreal Building at the corner of Portage and Main has millions of dollars worth of gold leaf in the ceiling, said Keep.

"Everything today is 'cheaper, cheaper' and 'faster, faster,' " said Oliver.

Built in 1901 by Sir James Tupper and originally called the Albert Block, Mariaggi's was converted into one of Canada's most luxurious hotels in the early 20th century by Frank Mariaggi from Corsica, Italy.

The hotel was taken over by Don Laluk and his family. They've converted it again into theme suites from around the world.

"We've been doing this for 20 years," said Laluk's son and general manager Lowell Laluk. The latest theme suite is the Chinese emperor's suite, he said.

The top-floor Jakarta suite is outfitted with Indonesian decor including batik wallpaper, elephant statues, a giant hot tub, a waterfall, a billiard table and a grand piano.

One of the hallways is filled with pictures of celebrities who have stayed there over the years, including Joan Rivers, Mr. Dressup (Ernie Coombs) and Dan Aykroyd.

Laluk said he's trying to confirm one of the biggest names to have visited the hotel.

He's heard King George V -- the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II -- stood on the hotel balcony -- which still has its original wrought-iron railing -- to observe the parade in his honour passing by on McDermot Avenue, said Laluk.

Doors Open Winnipeg continues today.

Doors Open: Sunday

A few of the historic buildings taking part today in Doors Open:

" J.W. Harris House (built in 1902), 26 Edmonton

" Kildonan Presbyterian Church & Cemetery (1852), 2373 Main

" The Chocolate Shop Restaurant (1900), 268 Portage

" Silpit Building (1899), 265 McDermot

" The Belgian Club (1908), 407 Provencher

" Seven Oaks House Museum (1851-1853), 115 Rupertsland



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2010-Jun-9
What they said

THE event ended with a question and answer session.

Thirteen year-old Luke Butler said: "I thought the talk was very interesting.

"It made it all seem so much more real.

"I particularly enjoyed hearing about how Joanna became very close to the other orphans and how they have all stayed in touch."

Will Flockett, 12, added: "The talk was really interesting.

Hearing all about the terrible horrors of the death camps and the torture people suffered.

"It brings it to life hearing it first hand and I will definitely remember it when we learn more in class."


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2010-Jun-9
What to WATCH

Eurovision Song Contest (BBC1, 8pm) We head to Norway tonight where Graham Norton is hosting this years musical extravaganza. Performers from 25 countries will take to the stage of one of Europe's largest indoor stadium's, the Telenor Arena in Oslo, knowing their nations are relying on them to bag the coveted top prize. The UK's hopes rest with 19-year-old Josh Dubovie, who will be hoping to impress with his performance of That Sounds Good to Me, which was written by veteran hitmakers-Waterman, Crosby and Stock. For the first time in history the telephone lines will be open from the start of the first song and close 15 minutes after the final performance.

Britain's Got Talent (ITV1, 8pm) It's the final round of the auditions and tonight we get to know which 40 acts the judges have chosen to go through to the live semi-finals. Over the past six weeks we've sat through the good, the bad and the downright weird, but if past series are anything to go by there will probably be a couple of last-minute gems ready to wow us this evening.

The Last Samurai (ITV1, 10.45pm) This epic period action drama is well worth watching, for Tom Cruise is in his element playing cavalry officer, Captain Nathan Algren, who after witnessing the US military brutality against native Americans turned to drink. He reluctantly agrees to take on a commission to travel to Imperial Japan and help train the government troops to do battle with renegade samurai warriors.


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2010-Jun-8
Swans set to agree teen deal

SWANSEA City are set to bank a six-figure sum as compensation for teenage starlet Emyr Huws.

Protracted negotiations over the 16-year-old midfielder's move from Swansea to Manchester City are finally close to reaching a conclusion.

And Swansea are due to receive a significant sum for a youngster who has been dubbed the next Aaron Ramsey in the past.

Huws, who hails from Llanelli, is a current Wales Under-17 international.

The former under-16 captain had been with Swansea since the age of nine but left last year to join megarich City.

Agreement The dispute over the move meant Huws could not play for the Manchester side at one stage, but an agreement is now close.

"We are close to finalising a deal," said Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins.

"There will be a small financial agreement involved, but we are never happy to lose one of our better young players."

There have been suggestions that City's senior side would face Swansea in a friendly as part of the Huws deal, but Jenkins says that will not happen.

He refused to go into detail on the nature of the agreement, so it is not certain whether Swansea will receive further cash if and when Huws's career progresses.

GARETH VINCENT


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2010-Jun-8
Swansea close to unveiling a c

SWANSEA City are hoping to unveil a new chief scout as they begin rebuilding for another crack at reaching the Premier League.

Swansea are still to confirm officially that Lil Fuccillo has left his role as head of the club's scouting department.

But the Post understands the process of finding a new man to fill the role is well under way and that Swansea expect to make an appointment very soon.

A strong scouting system is essential for a club who openly admit they are unable to compete with many of their Championship rivals in the transfer market.

Financial muscle elsewhere in the second tier means Swansea must look where others don't for recruits -- and that demands a good scouting network.

Despite the current situation, Jenkins insists Swansea are already working towards strengthening their squad.

Crystal Palace's Neil Danns is again being linked with a move to the Liberty after Paulo Sousa failed in a bid to land the midfielder back in March.

Danns, who scored nine goals last season, is the kind of attacking player Swansea would like to add to their squad this summer.

TARGET? Crystal Palace's Neil Danns.

And he is thought likely to be available given the dire financial problems at Palace, who are being run by administrators.

The Eagles are currently managerless and are resigned to losing key players Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and Darren Ambrose.

Ambrose's imminent transfer to Queens Park Rangers gives an indication of Palace's plight -- he is set to move for just Pounds 750,000 even though he is worth much more than that because of the need for an instant cash boost at Selhurst Park.

However, Swansea are likely to face plenty of competition should they bid for Danns.

Swansea are yet to comment on links with the 27-year-old, with Jenkins saying: "There is no definite news on any new signings at the moment.

"There is a lot of talking going on, but a lot of players are away on holiday and agents are hard to get hold at this time of year.

"We are striving to do our best in the transfer market because Paulo is looking at bringing players in all over the pitch."

Swansea's priority is to land at least one striker given their problems in front of goal last season, but a goalscoring midfielder would also be a major asset.

GARETH VINCENT


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1970-Jan-1
Steve left smiling thanks to s

MY Smooth Radio Drivetime Guest this week was excited about a new solo album and a nationwide tour. Legendary 70s singer/songwriter Steve Harley joined me for a chat - and told me the real story behind the lyrics of Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).

The 1975 hit was internationally successful but it's claimed that Harley said earlier the lyrics were directed at the former members of Cockney Rebel, whom he felt had abandoned him. So was he a difficult guy to work with?

Harley said: "There were people who came and went, isn't that true in any business? They can't take the pace."

So why, at the height of their fame, did the members of one of the biggest bands of the 70s launch what was effectively, a mutiny?

Steve recalled that night in Manchester when the cracks began to show. "It was a long 44-date tour and we were young and exhausted. It was a 'sold out' tour and towards the end, three of the band came to me with this ultimatum.

"They kept saying look, we want to write songs, we write songs too, you know, and I said Cockney Rebel's all my plan, I'm writing the songs, I've got this game plan, don't spoil it, we're winning, we're doing well."

DESPITE our guest's reassurances, the bickering continued and when the trio insisted again, "we write songs too," Steve was quick to react.

"I said go away and write them - they threatened me and they walked out on me and six weeks later we were headlining Reading Festival so I was stuck in the lurch. I've got the reputation for sacking people but the truth is, they walked out on me."

Steve wrote about that episode in his biggest chart success. He said: "It's a funny old irony isn't it. It was the worst moment in my life up to that point - silver lining in that cloud - I wrote all about it in Make me Smile and it's still played." The iconic song - which Steve calls his pension - featured in The Full Monty.

Did he have reservations about allowing that song to be played in the movie?

"When people come to my publisher for permission to use the song, I like to see scripts just to make sure it's nothing nasty. It sounded like a great film but it had a low budget so we didn't get much money out."

Anxious to hear stories behind the other Cockney Rebel 70s chart hits such as Mr Soft and Mr Raffles (Man, It Was Mean), I asked Steve about the quirky top five single Judy Teen from May '74 which included the line, 'Me and Yankee, all hanky panky, seldom she bored me'. Was Judy Teen someone he'd met during those touring days?

"Yes. You don't want to get too far into that at Drivetime to be honest, she had a bit of style and a certain opinion of herself - we had fun for a few months and I got the song out of it."

Steve's 15-date tour will feature old favourites plus new songs from Stranger Comes to Town, his first studio album in five years.

lListen to Dave chatting to Steve Harley at


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1970-Jan-1
Steve Scauzillo Using social n

FACEBOOK for 40- and 50-somethings is like signing a perpetual high school yearbook. Baby boomers use the popular social networking site to poke and post about everything from the mundane to the nostalgic to pet causes.

It functions a lot like the holodeck on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," minus the special effects. It brings "alive" memories from a bygone era. I mean, let's not get all teary-eyed about the routine posts like what kind of coffee you ordered at Starbucks or what funny position you find your cat in. Those should be reserved for Twitter (LOL!!).

The best Facebook holodeck was the page started by Temple City Tribune newspaper columnist Bill Dunn: "San Gabriel Valley residents for a movie theater at Rosemead & Las Tunas." Dunn, who in his weekly columns resonates with many TC residents about the downtown's lack of a there there, may not have A-list members, but in only a week's time, he's attracted 160 Facebookers.

That's not too shabby.

"My wife Stacey said, 'you'll be lucky to get 15 or 20,"' Dunn told me. That was the tally in the first hour. By the time he crawled into bed that night in late April, he had 60. By Thursday he had 160 and counting. "This is less than a week old. That is pretty amazing," he said.

Here's what some wrote about bringing back a movie theater to the same spot where the Temple Theatre once stood:

"My late mother sold tickets in the 1940s at the old Temple Theatre. She said it was a sad day when it turned into a multiplex. Even sadder when my friend observed three rats running up the screen," posted Janet Lee Downer.

"I remember taking empty bottles to Market Basket on Saturday mornings for the deposit and then going to the 50-cent double feature at the Temple Theatre," wrote Tony J. Faught.

"I saw 'A Hard Day's Night' at the original Temple Theatre ... in the summer of '64," posted Steve Smith of San Gabriel.

Others, Dunn points out, are not middle-aged Valley residents scratching a nostalgia itch. There are many teenagers and twenty- somethings who joined the cause. "And as Hollywood knows, those are the ones who go to the movies," Dunn said.

A young-looking Grace Zhang wrote: "Why did they tear it down in the first place? I went there all the time."

Regina Luk posted: "I just feel sad whenever I pass by it."

Can a Facebook page really make a difference? There's no doubt Dunn and company are facing an uphill battle. But the Dunn I know is not a quitter, despite the tough odds. At the very least, City Hall should hear what these folks have to say.

In a previous column, movie industry experts told me how theaters are going to 3-D and IMAX and that has increased building costs. Despite growth in customers, theater chains are struggling after stretching themselves too thin in the mid-2000s.

Facebook page member Joe Walker, a Temple City Unified School District board member, called the effort "a pipe dream." He'd rather see something else go there.

City Councilman Tom Chavez explained that the old "piazza" plan for that corner, which called for mixed-use, is dead. The latest idea is for an office building. That won't sit well with Temple Citians who want to see retail.

Chavez said: "I haven't looked at the Facebook page" but admitted the idea of returning movies t
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1970-Jan-1
business news Columbia Gas ask

By Carolyn Shapiro

The Virginian-Pilot

Columbia Gas of Virginia has asked state regulators to raise its base rates for the first time in 12 years.

The change would average out to an increase of $3.10 a month across a year for customers with average gas usage. Columbia Gas measures usage in 100 cubic feet, or Ccf, and a residential customer uses an average of 700 Ccf annually.

Columbia Gas has structured the rate increase so that bills for colder months would be lower than they have been, but bills for hotter months would be higher than under current rates.

If approved by the State Corporation Commission, the new rates would take effect Jan. 1 for the company's 65,000 customers in Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Smithfield and Isle of Wight County.

Columbia is effectively seeking to increase its base rates by about 10 percent for the average customer. Base rates cover the company's costs to deliver gas, plus a state-approved return on equity, or profit. Those rates account for about one-third of customers' bills. Gas supply charges make up the remaining two- thirds most months. The gas supply charges reflect the company's wholesale cost to buy the fuel, which it passes to customers with no markup.

Columbia Gas said the increase will give it an additional $13 million a year. The increase would address inflation since its rates were last set in 1998 so it can "support quality customer service and safe, efficient operations," Carl Levander, Columbia Gas president, said in a written statement.

The proposed base rate will increase Columbia's monthly fee or "customer charge" to $21 from $12.25. This charge remains the same regardless of usage.

The rest of the base rate depends on a customer's usage. This actually would decrease by about 10 cents to a flat rate of 19.29 cents per Ccf from the current tiered rates.

The proposal - higher flat rate but lower rate based on usage - means the more gas customers use the less their bills will increase. Customers who use less gas would see more of an increase from their current bills.

Carolyn Shapiro, (757) 446-2270,

$3.10 a month

The change would average out to an increase of $3.10 a month across a year for customers with average gas use.


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1970-Jan-1
Business leaders' worry over p

Byline: Chris Kelsey

THE prospect of prolonged uncertainty about the future shape of the government has received an almost universal thumbs-down from business leaders in Wales.

While some welcomed the possibility of a coalition government bringing in a new era of stability yesterday, most were disappointed about the lack of a clear outcome from the election with many warning about the effect of uncertainty on the markets.

David Rosser, director of CBI Wales, said it was hard to say how the result will affect business until it was clear which party or coalition will form the government and how much of their manifesto commitments they carry through.

"We would like to see an arrangement reached quickly which is strong enough to start to take some of the difficult decisions necessary to address the public finances and satisfy the markets that this will be tackled seriously," he said.

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, the Institute of Directors' regional director inWales, said: "It's vital this political vacuum is filled as quickly as possible. The country simply can't afford an extended period of political horse-trading which delays much needed action to tackle the deficit.

"Politicians have postponed the difficult decisions on public spending cuts for too long already. Further delay will only jeopardise the future of the UK economy."

David Russ, managing director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: "A hung parliament is not good news for Welsh business. Decisions need to be made promptly but with considerable thought.

"We are only just emerging from recession and need a strong government to continue to drive the economic recovery forward.

"The key for the future is stability.

There are a lot of unstable messages in Europe at the moment, particularly in Greece, and we need a strong government to develop continuity and rebuild confidence."

Andrew Diplock, vice-chairman of Caerphilly Business Forum and commercial director of utility and environmental consultancy, UES, said: "This election result is the worst case scenario for small businesses.We were looking for a strong and stable new government to sustain signs of recovery.

"Instead we have further confusion and the prospect of politicians bickering over power, with no progress being made and even the threat of another election."

The Forum of Private Business said it had hoped one party would win an overall majority to secure swift economic recovery.

But after the uncertain outcome, the Forum is calling for MPs to put aside their differences and create a functioning administration as soon as possible.

Forum chief executive, Phil Orford, said: "With the economy still in a very precarious state and a mountain of public debt to be tackled, business owners need our elected representatives to move away from inter-party point scoring and show political responsibility.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of UK Plc. I would urge all the political parties to do everything they can to come to a swift, workable consensus in order to secure the prosperity of Britain's SMEs and the wider economy."

Dan Langford, group marketing director of recruitment business Acorn, said: "What we need right now is strong, clear leadership in go

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