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Concord and Allegiant do it again

The airline announced yesterday that it is starting twice-a-week service from Concord to St. Petersburg, FL beginning in November. But that’s only part of the story. Recall that last year the city filed a request for a federal Small Community Air Service Development to help promote possible Allegiant service from Concord to Orlando Sanford International Airport. Soon thereafter and before the U.S. Department of Transportation had handed out SCASD grant money for the year, Allegiant announced it was starting service on the route. Unsurprising, the DOT turned down Concord’s grant request.

The same thing happen this year — Concord filed a SCASD grant request a few weeks ago, this time seeing $250,000 in federal money to help promote Allegiant service on possible new routes to Florida like, well, St. Petersburg and then Allegiant announces the route before the feds can act. The SCASD application also mentions Ft. Lauderdale and Punta Gorda (somewhat near Ft. Myers) as destinations in Florida the airport is targeting for additional Allegiant service. Allegiant provided a letter supporting the grant request and specifically references the possibility of service to St. Patersburg and Ft. Lauderdale. Punta Gorda isn’t mentioned. The odds of Concord now getting its grant approved are infinitesimal.

(I’ll post the Charlotte Douglas International Airport-related SCASD grant requests later today.)

Bonus observation: Cabarrus County absolutely should not have a representative on the board that oversees (depending upon what the courts decide) Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The county is part of the public-private partnership backing the grant requests, creating an inherent conflict of interests.


Creative Loafing sold again

Corrected: With the buyer this time being Womack Newspapers, which puts out Greensboro’s Yes! Weekly. Womack Newspaper is buying the paper from SouthComm Inc. with Charles Womack to become CL’s publisher. Will the sale have any impact on the content of Creative Loafing? Time will tell…

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Remembering the Rocky Mountain locust

No, I’m most certain not saying that I personally recall plagues of Rocky Mountain locust or that Rocky Mountain locusts should be remembered fondly. In the 19th century, the Rocky Mountain locust was a major agricultural pest, with vast swarms inflicting tremendous damage to farms on the Great Plains in the 1870s in particular. And then, suddenly, the locust was no more, with the last known observation being in 1902, leaving North America as one of only two continents — the other is Antarctica — that is entirely free of locusts (i.e. grasshoppers gone bad). While doing some other research, I came across a fascinating article on the Rocky Mountain locust which includes the latest research on its disappearance in the Bozeman Magpie. A highlight:

Over the past century, this disappearance has baffled entomologists and ecologists. The collapse came, after all, before the advent of synthetic insecticides, such as DDT, or even modern farming techniques. Consequently, the leading theory for the crash seems vaguely unsatisfactory to many in the broader community of insect study. That theory holds the species was wiped out by a series of developments that played out between 1875 and 1900 in the valleys of the upper river basins along the Northern Rockies—the natural home range of the locusts between irruptions out onto the prairies.

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Countrywide, the acquisition that keeps on taking

From Bank of America shareholders. As the UPoR reports, the bank’s mortgage lending losses have topped $52 billion since the deal went through and is expected to grow by another $16 billion or so from a pending settlement of a federal lawsuit. To be fair, only most of the losses are related to Countrywide as Bank of America had its own, smaller mortgage lending operation before the acquisition. And some quotes:

“Clearly, it’s the worst acquisition in history,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “No one really appreciated the liability that was going to be associated with large lenders from the past. Bank of America paid for it.”


Since the Countrywide purchase was announced in January 2008, Bank of America’s shares are down more than 60 percent, compared with a 37 percent rise in the S&P 500 index, a broad measure of stocks. Regulators this month allowed the bank to bump its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share, far short of the 64 cents the bank paid in 2008.

You can read Jeff Taylor’s reaction to the UPoR article here.

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Suburban SWAT teams

Jesse Walker of Reason’s Hit & Run blog offers up an example of how a suburban SWAT team sees itself. Think heavily militarized and complete with an APC. As Walker notes: “This isn’t unusual. It’s part of the culture of policing in much of America. The consequences are on display in Ferguson right now.”


‘Thom Tillis killed my pet fish’

Because, you know, he’s just that kind of guy. You can read the Carolina Journal article explaining what this is all about here (note article headline).

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American Airlines/US Airways Atlantic numbers looking weak

Very weak actually. Revenue passenger miles — the total miles flown by paying passengers — in July for the two carriers over the Atlantic was down 2.3 percent compared to July of last year. The two airlines meanwhile actually increased capacity over the Atlantic by 5.8 percent this July compared to last year. Put that together, and load factor — the percentage of seats filed — fell by 6.6 percentage points, to 80.4 percent this year from 87.0 percent last July. And those sorts of number cause airlines to drop flights…

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Clodfelter running for mayor next year?

Well, Dan Clodfelter certainly sounds like he’s very open for running. And we can expect that certain Democrats currently serving on City Council say he shouldn’t because they want his job.

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RIP Jeff Lowery

The well-known local club owner best known for running 13-13 and the Pterodactyl Club. Courtney Devores of the Charlotte Observer offers up a nice look back at his legacy here.

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Sometimes news headlines just kind of write themselves

Like this example from the Greensboro News & Record: 3 strippers, $20,000. What could go wrong?

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September 2014
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