Local & State
Businessmen make hall of fame
Two Columbia businessmen will be named to the 31st South Carolina Business Hall of Fame this spring, the committee announced Monday, along with Junior Achievement of Central South Carolina. Joseph Blanchard is president and CEO of Blanchard Machinery Co. the Caterpillar dealership serving South Carolina. The company has doubled its number of employees since he became president in 1996. Hugh C. Lane Jr. served as president and CEO of Bank of South Carolina Corp. until April 2012. He remains chairman of the board of directors. Awards will be presented in April.
Wood waste burning facility
A company that recovers and burns old utility poles is planning a wood waste burning facility in Orangeburg County, investing $2 million and creating as many as 60 jobs. The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat reported that Cox Industries plans to build the waste wood burning facility in Eutawville. Cox Industries CEO Mikee Johnson tells the newspaper the project should create at least 35 jobs and perhaps as many as 60 within four years. The burned wood waste will be used mainly to generate steam for the company’s dry kilns.
Nation & World
Sony lawyer issues warning
A lawyer representing Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers. The Sony material includes studio financial records, employment files and what already has been revealed as salacious gossip by Hollywood executives about President Barack Obama and some of the industry’s big stars and upcoming films.
42 have died in GM defective ignition crashes
At least 42 people have died and 58 have been injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. Feinberg says he has received 251 death claims and 2,075 injury claims since August. Feinberg will accept claims until Jan. 31.
U.S. stocks extend losing streak
U.S. stocks closed lower Monday, extending losses from last week. The price of crude oil continued to drop Monday, and Russia’s ruble plunged to a record low against the dollar. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 100 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,180. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,989. The Nasdaq composite lost 48 points, or 1 percent, to 4,605.
Homebuilders less confident
U.S. home builders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects heading into next year, even as their overall sales outlook remains favorable. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped this month to 57, down one point from 58 in November. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.