Business & Economy
Ribbon Cutting, Grand Opening, and Spirit Award for Zimmerman Honda October 4, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Carol Slaughter   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:13
(Moline) – Zimmerman Honda will be having the ribbon cutting and Grand Opening Celebration at the new Honda facility at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, there is an invitation only grand opening VIP celebration. Mark Zimmerman of Zimmerman Honda will present a $5,000 check that evening to an area school that has won the Zimmerman Honda Spirit Award. A contest, where students and friends were encouraged to vote for their school was held online and the winner will be announced Thursday evening.

This year is also the 60th anniversary for Zimmerman Honda.

Honda has allocated additional inventory just for the grand opening celebration of the new dealership.

Zimmerman Honda moved into their new $10 million building completed at the end of August. It is a state of the art building for today’s car buying and service needs.

The newly annexed property by the City of Moline is at 70th Street and John Deere Road in Moline. The building is 43,000 square feet that includes: Environmentally-friendly heating provided by waste-oil, Heated outside sidewalks, Modern waiting lounges with a computer center that has wifi access, 27 Service Bays, Three-lane “Express Lube” oil change stations, expanded hours in all departments and expanded shuttle services.

 
Grassley, Kirk Question Treasury Secretary Inaction on LIBOR, Impact on U.S. Borrowers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 15:07
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois today asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to explain his apparent inaction to stem the dominance and inform the public of a rigged interest rate that affects interest rates on mortgages, student loans, credit cards and other loans.
“Taxpayers need to know there’s a cop on the beat at the Treasury Department, making sure the interest rates they pay on everything from home loans to retirement investments aren’t rigged,” Grassley said.  “If the attitude of the Treasury Secretary is that it isn’t his responsibility to take action or to tell the public, that’s going to harm confidence in our financial system and create a lack of certainty.”
“We need the Treasury Department to take swift action to inform consumers, homeowners, students and other borrowers about potential impacts of faulty interest rates," said Kirk, a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  “We cannot expect confidence in our financial system to last without this crucial information, and the Treasury should consider alternative solutions to boost confidence in the marketplace.”
The London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, is the average interest rate that banks use to borrow from each other.  Set in London, the rate is one of the main rates that determine the cost of interest for trillions of dollars of loans on a variety of everyday consumer loans such as mortgages and more complicated financial instruments such as derivatives.
In recent testimony before Congress, Geithner said that when as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he became aware of concerns that the LIBOR rate was being rigged, he deferred to the British central bankers to fix the problem.  Despite those concerns, Geithner appears not to have taken action “to diminish use of this flawed index in U.S. financial markets; to the contrary, Treasury’s use of LIBOR has increased,” Grassley and Kirk wrote in a letter to Geithner.
Grassley and Kirk asked Geithner to answer questions including whether the Treasury Department considered the risk to U.S. borrowers, including state, municipal, and local governments facing higher debt burdens as a result of the LIBOR scandal; whether U.S. officials considered the litigation risks to U.S. borrowers in deciding to raise the LIBOR scandal only to the attention of British central banks rather than U.S. lenders and borrowers; and whether the Treasury Department’s continued reliance on LIBOR is affecting borrower access to Small Business Administration loans.
Grassley and Kirk concluded, “In the wake of this scandal, we believe that it is essential to undertake steps to consider the creation of an American-based interest rate index. If U.S. investors and borrowers have suffered financial harm from our dependence on an index set in London, they have the right to expect the country’s leaders to support better alternatives. Complacency in the wake of losses and lawsuits will diminish both investor and borrower confidence regarding debt securities issued in U.S. financial markets.”
The text of the Grassley-Kirk letter to Geithner is available here.
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‘A Beach Less Traveled’ is a Slice of Paradise…and Ambition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 13:28

Dreams come true, but not through wishful thinking, says John Berglund, author of the new memoir, A Beach Less Traveled: From Corporate Chaos to Flip-Flop Perfumer (www.abeachlesstraveled.com).

After successful careers as an attorney, lobbyist, trade-association executive and bowling industry magnate, Berglund tired of the corporate rat race.  He was also tired of winters bundled in layers of long johns, shoveling snow.

“Everybody has their own version of paradise,” he says. “Whether it’s New York City, the Great Smokey Mountains or my personal favorite, the French-Caribbean island of St. Martin, paradise is within reach – with a little planning.”

An essential part of planning was deciding what to do for a living once he got there. Berglund would embark on his new career path as a perfumer with his wife of more than 30 years, Cyndi. In “A Beach Less Traveled,” he shares the steps – and the missteps – he took as he and his wife crafted an idyllic new life for themselves.

His candid, humorous tale has won glowing reviews.

“My wife and I met the Berglunds when we visited their perfumery on Saint Martin and we were amazed by their adventurous energy and passion,” writes Amazon.com reviewer Tito Francona, a Major League Baseball Player from 1956 to 1970. “ ‘A Beach Less Traveled’ sizzles with the same enthusiasm – the driving force behind their incredible business venture in the tropics.”

Lisa Burnett of Saint Martin’s The Daily Herald enjoyed Berglund’s stories about meeting and interacting with the other residents of the 37-square-mile island.

“ ‘A Beach Less Traveled’ takes the reader through every challenge, every victory, and every touching encounter with the people,” she writes. “(It’s) a must-read for anyone seeking to make a Caribbean island their home, but also instructive from a business point of view."

About John Berglund

John Berglund began his career as a chief county prosecutor at age 24 and then transitioned into a lobbyist and trade-association executive. Another career shift led him to being voted the bowling industry’s most influential person for a decade. He followed his passion for chemistry, which he’d studied in college, and left the “rat race” for his Caribbean perfumery in St. Martin. Berglund lives with his wife of more than 30 years, Cyndi, who has significantly contributed to his dream job in paradise. The couple has two grown children.

 
Open House This Saturday, The Book Rack Moves to Larger, High-Traffic Location PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 13:27
Just a Reminder on this Local Event:

The Book Rack has moved from Duck Creek Plaza in Bettendorf, Iowa, to a larger store in Davenport, and on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., The Book Rack will host an Open House with refreshments at their new location, 4764 Elmore Ave., Davenport, to thank the community for all the support it has shown The Book Rack over the years.
Customers visit The Book Rack’s two Quad-Cities locations (Davenport and Moline) from as far away as Clinton, Fulton, Aledo, Dubuque, Muscatine, Geneseo and beyond.

 
Illinois mayors join Mayor Emanuel in calling for pension overhaul PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Lars Weborg   
Monday, 01 October 2012 13:26

Rising pension costs threaten budgets; lead to cuts, layoffs and higher local taxes

 

With the skyrocketing costs of pensions putting an unsustainable financial burden on local governments, mayors across Illinois are urging state lawmakers to reform local pension systems heading into the fall veto session.

At a meeting of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus on Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Wilmette President Christopher Canning both addressed the need for comprehensive pension reform and to protect future retirement benefits of municipal employees.

Just as the State of Illinois and City of Chicago face challenges when it comes to reducing pension costs, the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities Coalition, made up of Illinois municipalities and business interests, seeks to curb increases in police and fire pension obligations that local communities must cover through property taxes.

“We support Mayor Emanuel’s efforts for meaningful and comprehensive pension that includes cities, villages, towns and counties throughout the state,” said Canning, Past President of the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC). “Police and fire pension costs are choking municipal budgets. Despite paying more and more each year, the unfunded liability continues to climb sharply. Time is not on our side.”

Canning noted that the PFICC is committed to working with Mayor Emanuel on lobbying state lawmakers to approve reforms in the upcoming fall veto session, especially as many municipalities are crafting their 2013 budgets, which may include property tax increases or additional service cuts to cover pension shortfalls.

Failing to address these widening unfunded liabilities will inevitably cost local residents throughout the state in the form of higher local property taxes, cuts in essential services or layoffs of police officers and firefighters. Furthermore, the rising costs have created staggering structural deficits that will eventually put local police and fire retirement benefit systems on the verge of financial insolvency and future benefits at risk.

Hoffman Estates taxpayers paid nearly $5 million in 2011, compared to just $1.7 million in 2001 to fund its public safety pensions but the unfunded liability gap for both its public safety pension funds has widened.

“Without reforms, matters will only get worse for revenue starved municipalities that have cut to the bone in recent years during the recession,” said NWMC President and Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod. “Illinois has a looming pension crisis the impacts all levels of government from the state level down to Main Street and future generations to come.”

In Danville, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, who also serves as First Vice President of the Illinois Municipal League, said half of his city’s property tax collections went toward paying down police and fire pensions this year.

“Our pension system is broken and we cannot force municipalities to continue to shoulder this unsustainable burden any longer,” said Eisenhauer, noting that cities and towns have delivered on passing balanced budgets through cost-saving measures, cuts and reduced services during challenging economic times. “The Legislature needs to deliver meaningful pension reform now because our taxpayers cannot continue to pay more and get less.”

Municipalities have been struggling for years with the structural deficits and unfunded liabilities created by the pension systems, resulting from years of overly generous benefit enhancements approved by the General Assembly, which provides no funding mechanism or calculates taxpayers’ ability to pay. This created a severe imbalance between employee contributions and what was required from local taxpayers.

“Taking comprehensive steps will enable local governments to narrow budget gaps, maintain essential services for their residents and preserve the solvency of retirement plans for our police officers and fighters for generations to come,” said Tinley Park Mayor and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Chairman Ed Zabrocki. “Short-term fixes and Band-Aid solutions won’t solve this problem.”

The PFICC has put forth some common-sense solutions aimed at reforming the public safety systems and protecting future benefits. They include:

1)      Requiring public safety employees to contribute more toward the cost of their pensions. Currently, employees only contribute about one-third while taxpayers and investments fund the remainder.

2)      Adjusting cost-of-living-increases from the current 3 percent so they are “right sized” and not compounded annually. Currently, a police officer or firefighter who works for 28 years and retires at the age of 53 with a salary of $90,000 would begin receiving a pension exceeding that amount at the age of 67.

3)      Increasing the retirement age for public safety employees, who can now retire with full benefits at the age of 50, and – in many cases – receive benefits for longer than they worked for the municipality.

4)      Consolidating the 638 individual public safety pension funds into a multiple employer pension system similar to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to expand investment opportunities and lower overall operational expenses.

 
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