Georgia-Pacific to build $135 million softwood lumber mill in Georgia

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ATLANTA – Georgia-Pacific announced it will build a 340,000-square-foot softwood lumber mill in Warrenton, Georgia. Construction of the $135 million technologically advanced facility is scheduled to begin this summer, with an anticipated startup in spring 2019.

The new lumber production facility will replace an older plant and create 30 to 40 additonal jobs when operational, bringing the company’s workforce in Warren County to approximately 150 people. It will be built on land adjacent to the existing mill, which has been in operation since the early 1970s.

“We have enough property next to our existing mill in Warren County to build a larger facility equipped with the latest in lumber manufacturing technology,” said Fritz Mason, vice president and general manager, Georgia-Pacific Lumber. “We have a great team at Warrenton and building a new state-of-the-art facility on this site will make it competitive for years to come. The team has earned it.”

The new facility will be capable of over three times the output of the current facility, which will remain operational until the new plant is built. Once in production, the new facility will receive approximately 185 truckloads of pine logs a day and produce approximately 350 million board-feet of lumber per year, according to Georgia-Pacific in a Feb. 20 statement.

Georgia-Pacific employs more than 7,200 people at 18 locations in Georgia. Those jobs create an additional 21,440 indirect jobs. Since 2006 the company said it has invested approximately $1.9 billion in additional capital and acquisitions in Georgia.

“Georgia-Pacific has found an abundance of success in Georgia, and this new softwood lumber production facility in Warren County allows them to continue to tap into the wealth of resources in Warrenton,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with this leading company as they not only drive innovation in this sector, but in the state.”

According to Dr. Wes Clarke at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the project will support 454 direct fulltime construction jobs in Warren County, another 41 fulltime indirect jobs supporting the project, and 42 induced jobs in the community during the construction period. This construction activity will have a positive economic impact of more than $28 million added to Warren County during construction.

“Last year we announced a similar project in Talladega, Alabama that will begin production this summer. This new facility at Warrenton is the second of several we have in our current plan,” Mason said. “The demand for lumber continues to improve as the housing market recovers, so we continue to evaluate similar investments in several states across the country to serve our customers’ needs for lumber.”

At full operation, the 300,000-square-foot state-of-the-art plant will employ more than 100 full-time employees. The $100 million lumber production facility in Talladega, Alabama, is scheduled for startup in late 2018.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of lumber and composite panel products for use in cabinetry, furniture, casegoods, closet systems and other wood products. The company also produces related chemicals, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, and consumer-related items, including bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging and office papers, with consumer brands including Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, Dixie®, enMotion®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras®, Vanity Fair®, and STAINMASTER™ household cleaning products. The company operates approximately 200 facilities and employs approximately 35,000 people directly, and creates nearly 92,000 jobs indirectly.

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Atlanta Traffic Among Worst In US And Worldwide: Report

Atlanta Traffic Among Worst In US And Worldwide: Report | Atlanta ...

ATLANTA, GA — Every driver in the Atlanta metro knows that the commutes are a nightmare, but you may not know that the traffic is among the worst not only in this country, but in the world. If you’re a driver in the United States, you’re probably intimately familiar with what traffic jams look like, or at least more so than the rest of the developed world. That’s because American drivers spend on average about 41 hours — roughly a whole work week — staring at someone else’s bumper because they’re stuck in traffic, according to a new report by the analytics company INRIX.

That horrid shared experience of inching along on the roadway and braking every few feet cost the United States more than $300 billion last year — an amount roughly the size of Singapore’s whole economy. Atlanta ranked fourth in the United States and tenth in the world for traffic congestion, with each driver spending on average 27 hours a week at peak periods tied up in traffic last year.

Atlanta drivers spent 10 percent of their time sitting in traffic; 17 percent of their time on the road is stuck, on average, on roads within the city. During the morning and evening commutes, area drivers spend 70 hours stuck in congestion on roads into and out of the city.

Massive congestion hurts the economy, too, INRIX said, because it leads to direct costs — wasted time and fuel — and indirect costs, meaning freight and business fees from idling vehicles that are later passed on to households through higher prices.

The average American driver lost more than $1,400 last year due to congestion, the analysis found.

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Three of the top five most congested cities on Earth are in America, the company found. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles — where drivers spent on average 100 hours last year in traffic — ranked No. 1 in the world.
New York City ranked No. 2 with 91 hours and San Francisco ranked fifth worldwide with 79.

One note about Southern drivers. The study says drivers moved more quickly in the South. The top five fastest non-congested speeds during the peak period on highways were all in the South, with Florida having the highest uncongested average speeds in 2017. Drivers in Fort Myers moved the fastest at an average of 68 mph.

INRIX evaluated more than 1,300 cities in 38 countries to come up with its rankings.

Thailand had the highest average amount of time spent in peak congestion at 56 hours, followed by Indonesia at 51 hours, Columbia at 49 hours, and Venezuela at 42.

See how your city stacked up against the rest of the world here.

What’s your take on Atlanta’s traffic? Tell us in comments below.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Westside Future Fund acquires 35-unit apartment building to keep area affordable

Westside Future Fund acquires 35-unit apartment building to keep ...

The Westside Future Fund unveiled its first property acquisition on Friday – a 35-unit vacant apartment building at 395 James P. Brawley Dr. NW.

The acquisition marked the beginning of a tangible effort to provide affordable housing to the legacy residents in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods.

“We want to make sure that Atlanta continues to be a place that’s affordable to all,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during a program in front of the apartment complex. “This is a start.”

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at the press conference to unveil acquisition of apartment building (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The 35-unit apartment complex will be renovated for about $2 million, and it should be ready for occupancy in six to eight months, said John Ahmann, executive director of the Westside Future Fund.

Councilmember Ivory Young said there’s a “holistic revolution” underway in the Westside neighborhoods, and he commended the city and the Westside Future Fund for its anti-displacement initiatives.

One of the biggest concerns is that longtime residents in those communities will be forced out due to higher rents and property values. More than 80 percent of the people who live in those communities are renters, which means they are at the mercy of their landlords.

“This neighborhood has always had a tremendous sense of community,” said Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, who grew up nearby. “There’s no better location, no better space than to live here right now on the Westside.”

State Rep. Able Mable Thomas described the English Avenue of her youth when fruit trees were plentiful throughout the neighborhood. She then said there are people living in dilapidated conditions in houses and apartment projects nearby.

Rev. Howard Beckham at press conference (Photo by Maria Saporta)

After the press conference, two residents of the nearby 375 James P. Brawley apartment complex stopped Mayor Bottoms to explain their plight – of living in apartments with no heat and multiple code violations, including mold.

“Find our landlord, and move us ASAP,” Robin Cochran pleaded with the mayor. “Help us financially to move. There are seven to eight families living there. Everything is wrong.”

Tori Putnam, who lives a couple of units over from Cochran, said she has been living at 375 Brawley for two years. She has two children – T’Paris Putnam, 3, and Quantize Chambers Jr., 2, with a third child on the way.

She explained that instead of repairing the property, the former landlord sold the complex to a new owner. “In January, we got an eviction notice from the new owner,” Putnam said. He claimed they were behind on their rent, but the residents had not been informed of the new ownership and the where to send their rents.

Mayor Bottoms promised she would look into their situation and get back to them.

Rev. Howard Beckham, president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association, said he has served in the community for 23 years, and he is seeing improvements in the community.

Robin Cochran appeals to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about her living conditions (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Still, the legacy residents keep asking him: “What is going to happen to us?”

“To date, they have not seen much that has been put in place,” Beckham said. “Here’s a tangible representation that that’s happening.”

Ahmann said that in addition to the 35-unit apartment complex, the Westside Future Fund has acquired another 15 single-family homes, which it intends to rehab and make available to community residents.

“We obviously want to prioritize those that are the most vulnerable, such as single mothers,” Ahmann said.

For Bond, this has been a longtime coming.

“It is really great to see the positive transformation taking place in this community,” Bond said of the revitalization process. “It is one family at a time, one household at a time and one community at a time.”

Robin Cochran takes media folks to her apartment to show that it’s in bad shape (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Tori Putnam with her two children – T’Paris Putnam and Quantize Chambers Jr. (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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As apartment burns, video shows Georgia firefighter catching child ‘like a football’

A massive fire on Jan. 3 at a metro-Atlanta apartment complex had residents fleeing for their lives and parents tossing their children off of upper floors to waiting firefighters below.

The early morning blaze, which consumed the Avondale Forest Apartments on Pine Tree Circle near Memorial Drive in Decatur, Ga., displaced dozens of people and sent several to the hospital, according to WSB-TV.

But the most dramatic moments happened as firefighters worked to evacuate the building. As the flames raged, firefighters told reporters they were catching children and infants left and right as parents dropped them down from the upper floors.

“We were catching babies like a football – literally,” fire Capt. Eric Jackson told reporters, according to CBS News. “There were adults that were on the balcony that were dropping their babies right into our arms. We had a couple firefighters catching babies, so it was just really incredible.”

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One video, captured on a firefighter’s helmet camera and shared by a firefighters’ union on Facebook, shows one of those dramatic rescues. Captain Scott Stroup runs under the balcony and stands ready as a parent is forced to toss him a child from a ladder two stories up the building. Stroup catches the child and sprints over flames on the ground to safety, then collapses on his knees

Other firefighters caught babies too, including Captain Jackie Peckrul, who told Fox 5 she recalled thinking “Lord, let me catch this baby,” as parents tossed a blanket-wrapped infant toward her. She made the catch.

At least 12 people were injured in the fire, including eight children, but no deaths were reported, according to CBS 46. Nearly 8o people were displaced by the fire in the end, and were transported to safety by a MARTA bus, reported WXIA.

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