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FairPoint phone company files for bankruptcy

AP | CLARKE CANFIELD | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

PORTLAND, Maine — FairPoint Communications Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday barely 18 months after becoming northern New England's dominant telecommunications company, fulfilling critics' predictions that the company wasn't up to the task.

The company said it voluntarily filed for bankruptcy after agreeing on a deal with key lenders that would lower its debt by about 62 percent.

FairPoint, based in Charlotte, N.C., owns and operates phone companies in 18 states with a total of 1.65 million lines. Its largest holdings are in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, where it bought Verizon Communications Inc.'s land lines and Internet network for $2.3 billion in 2008.

FairPoint has been struggling under a large debt and falling revenues, as well as customer-service, billing and other problems since switching over to its own computer systems in northern New England nine months ago.

The bankruptcy filing was widely anticipated as the company has negotiated with banks and bondholders to restructure its debt.

Police: Bengals WR Chris Henry dies one day after falling out of pickup in domestic dispute

Fox 31 | Fox 31 | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has died, one day after suffering serious injuries upon falling out of the back o...

Bank Of America Contemplates New Yorker CEO, Headquarters

Crain's New York Business | Aaron Elstein | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York

Bank of America's leaders have long been drawn from the crew who transformed a once-modest North Carolina-based lender into a nationwide institution. ...

Health care company to bring 300 jobs in Charlotte

AP | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

RALEIGH, N.C. — Premier Inc., a health care purchasing and data company, announced Wednesday it's moving its headquarters from California to Charlotte while increasing its work in North Carolina's largest city by 300 jobs.

A state economic incentives panel approved an agreement with Premier that could pay the company $4.1 million over the next nine years if it creates the jobs over the next five, keeps them through 2018 and meets investment targets.

Premier, with 750 of its 1,250 workers already based out of Charlotte, will shift its headquarters from San Diego to Charlotte in part because many executive team members and its three divisions already are there, company spokesman Alven Weil said.

The new jobs will be created due to the company's growth and aren't being transferred to Charlotte from San Diego, Weil said.

Premier is owned by more than 200 not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems that share clinical information and leverage purchasing on everything from syringes to imaging equipment to reduce costs. The alliance works with more than 2,200 hospitals and 63,000 health care providers.

BofA CEO Search: Bob Kelly, Bank Of New York CEO, Won't Take Job

charlotteobserver.com | Rick Rothacker and Christina Rexrode | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business

Add Bob Kelly to the list of financial services executives who aren't clamoring for the top job at Bank of America Corp. The Bank of New York Mellon ...

Police: Bengals WR Chris Henry dies 1 day after falling out of pickup in domestic dispute

Fox 31 | Fox 31 | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has died, one day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck in what authori...

BofA to charge annual fees on some credit cards

AP | CANDICE CHOI | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. is sending notices to a limited number of customers that it will start charging an annual fee for some of its rewards credit cards starting next year.

The $29 fee will be applied every February, according to a letter sent to a customer and obtained by the Associated Press.

"We're testing this to see what the feedback is. In terms of any plans going forward, we haven't made any decisions," said Betty Riess, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. She said the fee is being "tested" on 1 percent of its credit card accounts globally, but declined to give specific numbers.

Hudson 'Miracle' pilots to reunite for NY flight

AP | KAREN MATTHEWS | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

NEW YORK — The pilots who landed a US Airways jet safely in the Hudson River are reuniting in a cockpit for the first time for a flight out of New York.

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and 1st Officer Jeffrey Skiles are slated to fly from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday.

US Airways announced earlier that Sullenberger would return to the cockpit. He will make regular flights and supervise other pilots as part of the airline's safety management team.

Sullenberger ditched his Airbus A320 in the Hudson on Jan. 15 after a collision with geese killed power in both engines minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia for Charlotte. All 155 people on the plane survived.

Bank of America CEO Lewis leaving by year's end

AP | STEVENSON JACOBS | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. says its embattled CEO Ken Lewis will retire from the bank by the end of the year.

The bank has issued a statement Wednesday saying Lewis would also leave the board of the bank.

Lewis and Bank of America have been the targets of intense criticism since the bank agreed to buy Merrill Lynch & Co. at the height of the financial crisis last year. Since the deal closed Jan. 1, it was learned that Merrill, with the knowledge of Bank of America executives, gave billions of dollars in bonuses to employees even as it asked for more bailout money from the government.

Bank of America CEO Lewis leaving by year's end

AP | STEVENSON JACOBS | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. says its embattled CEO Ken Lewis will retire from the bank by the end of the year.

The bank has issued a statement Wednesday saying Lewis would also leave the board of the bank.

Lewis and Bank of America have been the targets of intense criticism since the bank agreed to buy Merrill Lynch & Co. at the height of the financial crisis last year. Since the deal closed Jan. 1, it was learned that Merrill, with the knowledge of Bank of America executives, gave billions of dollars in bonuses to employees even as it asked for more bailout money from the government.

Feds probe US Census worker hanging in Kentucky

AP | JEFFREY McMURRAY and ALLEN G. BREED | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

"Even though he was with the Census Bureau, sometimes people can view someone with any government agency as 'the government.' I just was afraid that he might meet the wrong character along the way up there," said Acciardo, who directs an after-school program at an elementary school where Sparkman was a frequent substitute teacher.

The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, until the investigation is complete, an official said.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Sparkman, who was supplementing his income doing Census field work. He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of Daniel Boone National Forest and an autopsy report is pending.

Area where census worker died has troubled history

AP | JEFFREY McMURRAY and ALLEN G. BREED | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

"Even though he was with the Census Bureau, sometimes people can view someone with any government agency as 'the government.' I just was afraid that he might meet the wrong character along the way up there," said Acciardo, who directs an after-school program at an elementary school where Sparkman was a frequent substitute teacher.

The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, until the investigation is complete, an official said.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Sparkman, who was supplementing his income doing Census field work. He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of Daniel Boone National Forest and an autopsy report is pending.

Where will banks make up lost overdraft fees?

AP | CANDICE CHOI | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

Banks are backing off harsh overdraft fees and policies. That's the good news. The bad news is they'll probably look to make up that lost profit elsewhere.

It's a worrisome prospect for the vast majority of customers who never overdraw their funds and have grown accustomed to perks like free checking accounts.

"Banks are going to have to get creative. Rather than generic free checking accounts, you're going to see lots of different flavors of products," said Bob Meara, a senior analyst with Celent, a Boston-based consulting firm for the banking industry.

That might mean the return of monthly fees or minimum balances for checking accounts, or the bundling of accounts with other services for a fee.

Customers could also be steered toward lower-cost services like online banking, Meara said. Use of debit cards, which bring banks revenue from store interchange fees, may be encouraged. And the network of bank branches across the country could shrink too.

Area where census worker died has troubled history

AP | JEFFREY McMURRAY and ALLEN G. BREED | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drawing on years of experience warned: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery and had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

"Even though he was with the Census Bureau, sometimes people can view someone with any government agency as 'the government.' I just was afraid that he might meet the wrong character along the way up there," said Acciardo, who directs an after-school program at an elementary school where Sparkman was a frequent substitute teacher.

The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, until the investigation is complete, an official said.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Sparkman, who was supplementing his income doing Census field work. He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of Daniel Boone National Forest and an autopsy report is pending.

Duke reaches second Chinese deal

AP | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

Power company Duke Energy Corp. said Wednesday that it has struck its second deal in just over a month with a large Chinese power company to develop sources of low-carbon energy.

Duke and ENN Group say ideas for potential development between the two include commercial solar projects, coal-based clean energy, biofuels, natural gas, smart grid, energy efficiency and carbon-capturing algae.

The two made the announcement in New York while at the annual meeting of President Bill Clinton's global initiative to address global problems.

The companies have signed agreements to share information and also are evaluating a partnership to pursue commercial development of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in the U.S.

Duke signed a similar deal in August in Beijing with China Huaneng Group, China's largest electric utility.

EASA issues warning for Airbus instrument

AP | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a safety warning for an instrument to measure air speed that is used on Airbus A330 and A340 jets.

The directive in effect from Wednesday says malfunctions have been reported in the instruments, known as pitot probes.

The Cologne-based agency says the problem may originate with manufacturer Goodrich and could cause an in-flight air leak that would cause incorrect pressure and airspeed readings. Goodrich is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The agency is calling on operators to test the devices.

Experts have suggested that pitot tubes may have contributed to the June crash of an Air France flight, killing 228 people.

Pregnant North Carolina Teen Gets Shot

Essence | Essence | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

A pregnant 15-year old girl from Charlotte, North Carolina was shot and killed on September 14 while she waited for the school bus to pick her up, acc...

Mark Reed: Makes History As HeadMaster at Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina

Essence | Essence | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

Mark Reed has only been at his new job for a little over a month and he's already making headlines. The 44-year old veteran educator just started on J...

Transit ridership up, highway travel down

Dygest.net | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

Americans hopped on buses, subways and commuter rails more last year amid record-high gas prices and drove less on the nation's highways, according to...