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Northwest & Big Bend Business Briefs - Dec. 2007

CRESTVIEW —

» Workers at L-3 Communications Crestview Aerospace voted 446 to 165 against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in October. The union had represented workers under a previous owner, Fairchild Industries, in the mid- to late
1990s.

FREEPORT —

» The “Governor Stone,’’ a 130-year-old wooden schooner acquired in 2003 by a Walton County non-profit organization, is getting a home berth at Freeport Port Authority property after a four-year search. The 63-foot restored vessel, built in Pascagoula and named for Mississippi’s first governor, is the type used for Gulf Coast trade during pioneer days.

GULF BREEZE —

» AppRiver, an e-mail security company, received the 2007 Florida Governor’s Business Diversification Award for entrepreneurship. The 5-year-old company, which employs 70 and has 25,000 customers, recently was ranked Florida’s fastest-growing IT services company by Inc. magazine.

MARIANNA —

» Grants totaling $471,000 are enabling Chipola Regional Workforce Development Board to continue a pilot program that will provide heavy-equipment operator training this fall for 110 prisoners nearing release time at Holmes County Correctional Institute.

MARIANNA/CHIPLEY —

» Opportunity Florida has teamed with Three Rivers Housing Foundation and USDA Rural Development to create an eight-county program offering first-time home buyers a mortgage interest rate subsidy plus down payment and closing cost assistance.

PANAMA CITY —

» The Panama City-Bay County International Airport Authority passed over PCA Development’s high bid of $61 million for the current 700-acre airport site after questions arose over its financing and performance details. Instead, the authority chose the $56.5-million bid of Community Airport Development, a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corp. The site will be turned over when a new airport is completed at West Bay. Groundbreaking was last month.

» The Panama City airport will combine a $575,000 federal grant with $430,000 in local funds to woo a low-cost carrier and help its carriers expand. Only two airlines currently serve the airport — Atlantic Southeast and Northwest airlines.

PANAMA CITY BEACH —

» Sprint Nextel Corp. will hire 225 employees by January for its 5-year-old Beckrich Road call center, boosting employment to 675.

PENSACOLA —

India-based Tata Consultancy Services is reselling Silver Bullet Technology’s Ranger software to Indian banks. The software, popular in the U.S. and gaining usage elsewhere, allows banks to scan checks for deposit rather than deliver paper checks. Ranger’s “check truncation” software is designed to run on most check scanners.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY —

» A multimedia version of “Freedom,’’ an award-winning eighth-grade classroom history book sponsored by Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial Committee, is being published by AV Books Publishers of Pompano Beach for marketing nationwide. Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has awarded the veterans group two gold medals for the book and for a $1.4-million Veterans Memorial Plaza built at Milton.

TALLAHASSEE —

» New maps produced by Leon County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection show the Floridan Aquifer in more than half of Leon and Wakulla counties is vulnerable to contamination. Most susceptible: Groundwater near Wakulla Springs, which recently has become choked with weeds and algae primarily from nitrogen contained in wastewater spray.