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Business Pulse: 7/7/13
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With Americans engaged in a celebration of our freedom and independence the past few days, it’s been a joyous time in our country.
For the criminals in our nation, it’s also been a time for them to exercise their freedom to break the law. I noticed this the past few days as I’ve been doing what I enjoy as an American and that’s scanning the wire.
In Michigan, the big news surrounds a story of a man who called the cops on his own mother. Truth be told, I’d rather him call the cops on his own mother than on my mother.
It turns out, the man received quite a surprise when watching the news and seeing a story about police searching for a female bank robber. The man got more of a jolt when a surveillance photo was shown and he recognized the picture as his mother.
He called authorities and said he recognized the photo and that his mother could be picked up at his home. Police arrived and arrested 53-year-old Dee Ann Sanders, who netted $1,092 in the Bank of America heist. The FBI says she confessed.
I realize the man did a good deed and all that, but I’d hate to be known as the guy who rolled on his mom.
In other news, police in Pennsylvania had an easy time finding a burglar who ran out the door of a convenience store with $142. It seems before the crook stole the money, he asked to use the store’s phone.
When police arrived, they had the difficult job of hitting redial and then asking the woman on the other end of the phone who had just called. Jason Comer, 32, of Pittsburgh was arrested about 30 minutes later.
Last but not least, an Albuquerque, N.M., man has been charged with burglary in what can only be described as a bizarre story.
The man, Ronald Daniels Jr., walked into a home that had been left unlocked and decided to take a bath. When the residents returned home, they found Daniels in the tub.
He later told police he felt comfortable in the home and wanted to take a bath there. If that’s the worst thing this guy is going to do, let him take his bath.

Canadian officials
tour WastAway

Four Canadian officials were in Warren County on Wednesday to take a tour of the WastAway facility at Mt. View Industrial Park. The officials were from the town of Drayton Valley, which is located in Alberta.
The reason for their visit is Drayton Valley was recently awarded a $10 million grant to reduce its greenhouse gases and is looking to construct a WastAway plant as a means to achieve that goal. The end result, should this project come to fruition, is it will mean more jobs for Warren County. WastAway CEO Mark Brown estimates it could be as many as 30 new jobs.
The last we heard of WastAway, the company was busy transforming common household garage into a product called fluff. The fluff could then be used as a type of potting soil or converted into a building material.
WastAway has changed its focus when it comes to uses for its fluff and is now concentrating on converting the fluff into fuel pellets. WastAway has invested nearly $2 million in technology and machinery to produce these fuel pellets. In the case of the Canadian officials, they are interested in using the fuel pellets as a coal supplement to reduce greenhouse emissions at one of their power plants.
“We have received a grant, but we still have to do our due diligence,” said Drayton Valley town manager Manny Deol. “We are in the final stages now. We will know a lot more in the next 180 days.”
Everyone seems optimistic this deal will be finalized, which will be a win-win situation for both WastAway and Drayton Valley. WastAway is in the process of adding 10 new jobs in the coming weeks as the company works to produce enough of its fuel pellets to allow Drayton Valley to perform a test run to see how they burn.
If everything works as planned, WastAway would construct a plant in Drayton Valley. The pellets produced there would be co-fired with coal at one of the area’s existing power plants. It would be a mixture of 90 percent coal and 10 percent fuel pellets, sort of the same way ethanol is mixed with gasoline. The fuel pellets are now WastAway’s emphasis.
“When I took over as CEO in 2007, WastAway was doing a number of different things,” said Brown. “I thought we should concentrate our efforts and work on doing one thing well so we decided to focus on green energy. Since 2008, that’s where we’ve been going.”
From my perspective, turning household garbage into an energy source is the best possible scenario. We’re always going to need energy and we’re always going to have garbage.
According to WastAway, the average household produces 2.5 tons of garbage each year. Brown said the amount of garbage produced fluctuates based on income.
“We’ve watched waste around the world and really waste is determined by per capita income,” said Brown. “What that boils down to is if you have more money, you buy more stuff and therefore you throw away more stuff. If you don’t have money, you don’t buy a lot of things.”
The Drayton Valley town mayor says that’s true in Canada too.
“Even water use is determined by income,” Deol said. “If you earn more, you use more water.”
For those who may not be familiar with WastAway, it’s been processing unsorted household garbage since 2003. From 2003 to 2008 it processed all of Warren County’s garbage and made our county government eligible for several grants because of its high percentage of recycled waste.
The fuel pellets are also called process engineered fuel, or PEF. Every ton of PEF that’s used is said to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.75 tons.
“Many eyes in the U.S. and around the world will be following this project,” said Brown, who sees this as the first of many PEF plants to be installed worldwide. “We are already in talks with interested prospects for additional sites in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Russia, and the Far East. I want to thank the forward-thinking leaders of Drayton Valley and Warren County for helping realize our goal of improving our planet.”
I hope to provide an update to this project in the coming months that includes good news.

Prater Farms ready
for special events

When it comes to weddings, the hot trend sweeping Tennessee is to go rustic. It seems couples today are eager to tie the knot in charming, country settings complete with barns and hay bales.
That being the case, Prater Farms at 530 Acres Road in the Centertown area is available to reserve for the next wedding or special event in your life. The facility is operated by Tom and Gary Prater and held its first wedding last weekend when Brittany Patterson and Tyler Herriman exchanged their vows in a beautiful ceremony.
“Brittany wanted to get married there so we started fixing the place up for her wedding,” said Gary. “It just went from there. Everybody who came out seemed to really enjoy themselves.”
Prater Farms isn’t exclusively for weddings. In fact there was a rather big fundraiser out there around six years ago when Harold Ford was running for U.S. Senate. Gary says the facility is capable of holding up to 750 guests and is perfect for reunions and other gatherings.
“We have two big barns, a pond that’s great for pictures and plenty of parking,” said Gary. “There were around 350 people at the wedding.”
For the wedding, the larger of the two barns was decorated with lights and chandeliers. There was enough room for 40 round tables with eight seats per table. Gary says guests can do their own decorating or have it included in their package.
Guests can also bring their own cake, but Gary has all rights to the other food. That’s not a bad thing because it will be catered by Prater’s BBQ so I doubt there will be complaints.
There’s also ample room for a DJ and dance floor, which was a big hit last weekend. The DJ played well into the night and folks weren’t shy about getting up to dance.
I think people will be well satisfied with the Prater Farms facility. If you’re looking for an old-fashioned atmosphere for your next event, it’s worth checking out. I heard several people say they really liked the barn aspect because they didn’t have to worry about getting all dressed up to attend a wedding.
For more information about Prater Farms, call Tom at 224-8944 or Gary at 205-7866.

joins Intrepid

The fine folks at Intrepid, a home health provider, are welcoming Christi Davenport on board as their new clinical supervisor. Intrepid is located on Sparta Street.
Christi is a registered nurse with seven years of home health experience. She is psych certified and wound care certified.
As clinical supervisor, Christi will coordinate referrals and handle scheduling. She gets the phone calls from patients and physicians and is key to determining the type of care provided. Intrepid offers speech, physical and occupational therapies among its services. The level of care is based on the needs of each individual patient.
Christi lives in Rock Island and says she’s excited to join the Intrepid staff. The company serves 70 to 75 patients from its local office. Anyone who would like more information on Intrepid can call 473-9561.

Corey Barnes
gets promotion

Business Pulse is all about publicizing individual accomplishments and is proud to recognize 1998 WCHS graduate Corey Barnes.
Barnes, a certified public accountant, now lives and works in the Brentwood area. He was recently promoted to shareholder, director and vice president at CRG Waddill CPA. Previously, he was senior manager.
Corey and his wife, Jennifer, have a 1-year-old. Corey is the son of Coleman Barnes and Rhonda Southard.

That’s all folks

Now that everyone is rested from an extended Fourth of July weekend, it’s time to get back to work. Phone in business tips by calling 473-2191 or email