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Business Buzzzz, 10/26/2009

Sweet news for Georgia this week. The Coca-Cola Company has announced plans to grow its business presence and invest in Georgia, as the company prepares to open a $100 million-plus expansion to its Atlanta production facilities.

“Coca-Cola is a very important part of Georgia's economy,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said. “I am thrilled that after more than a century of doing business in Georgia, Coca-Cola continues to see this state as a great place for new investment in facilities and jobs.”

The plant expansion will contain production facilities for the concentrated ingredients used in the new Coca-Cola Freestyle™ fountain dispenser. Coca-Cola Freestyle™ is the brand name for the “fountain of the future” from The Coca-Cola Company that uses microdosing technology to dispense more than 100 sparkling and still beverage brands from a single freestanding unit.

“The future looks bright for Coca-Cola Freestyle,” said Sandy Douglas, president Coca-Cola North America. “And that creates the potential for even more growth in our facilities and capabilities in Atlanta.”

The new facility will preserve jobs in the Atlanta syrup plant and could lead to job growth in the future. The Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Development Authority of Fulton County worked together to aid Coca-Cola in the plant expansion.
The Savannah College of Art and Design Architectural History department will present a talk by state historic preservation officer Richard Cloues as part of its lecture series. “The Ordinary Iconic Ranch House,” which will take place Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the SCAD Student Center, 120 Montgomery St. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ranch houses were built by the thousands across the United States during the mid-20th century. Widely perceived today as quite ordinary, these houses are in fact extraordinary – hallmarks of a distinct historic period. Utilizing examples from across the state of Georgia, Cloues will explore how the ranch house represents new ideas about domestic architectural design and family life.

SCAD has been an active partner with the City of Savannah in historic preservation.

Cloues (B.A., art history, Amherst College; M.A. and Ph.D., architectural history and historic preservation, Cornell University) has been with the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for nearly 30 years and has held the position of deputy state historic preservation officer since 1994.
A new restaurant, The Garden of Eden, will hold a formal ribbon cutting event on Wednesday, Nov. 4, hosted by the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, at the restaurant's 714 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. address.

The restaurant owners Joseph and Connie Edwards are native Savannahians, and hope to “bring to the Savannah low country an elegant taste of fine food and lavish dining. Our mission is to provide home cooked fresh food daily at an economical price,” according to the couple.
The Garden of Eden represents a growing number of new businesses that are contributing to the revitalization of the MLK/Montgomery St. corridor, according to Lisa Sundrla, SDRA executive director.

Since 2000, the corridor has experienced a gain of almost 200 new businesses, creating 800 new jobs , with private investment of more than $345 million in acquisitions and improvements.

The restaurant will be open Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Gov. Sonny Perdue announced last week that he is recommending F. Allen Barnes to be the new director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. If approved on Wednesday by the Board of Natural Resources, Barnes will replace Carol Couch, who served as EPD Director for more than six years and recently accepted a faculty position at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design.

Her resignation and departure was “rapid,” as they say. The AJC newspaper in Atlanta ran an e-mail she sent out on Oct. 19, saying her resignation was effective Oct. 26, and opined that she was considered one of Georgia’s best public servants, by those who keep their eye on the Gold Dome.

Couch has been one of the key people in dealing with Georgia’s droughts and floods, and oversees the department that has yet to issue its long-awaited environmental report on an negative impact by deepening the Savannah Harbor.  The South Carolina EPD has made a number of public statements about concerns.

Perdue issued a statement saying that she has… “worked closely with the business community to implement sustainable environmental policies and led our technical team in water negotiations with our neighboring states.”

Barnes served as chief of staff for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region Four from 2002 to 2005, “enabling him to work on the most significant issues in the eight state southeastern region,” according to Perdue.

As chief of staff he worked with state environmental directors and with EPA’s senior staff on regulatory, enforcement, permitting and policy issues. Prior to serving at EPA, Barnes taught natural resource policy and law as an associate professor at Mississippi State from 1996 to 2002. Barnes has also served as a prosecutor in the Florida State Attorney’s Office and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney handling criminal, tort and environmental litigation.

He is currently a partner in King & Spalding’s environmental practice. Makes you wonder what enticed him back to government service.
Repeated attempts to reach Couch were unsuccessful.

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