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Bristol, Va. learns Johnny Mandel was wrong

By Scott Robertson It was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. Bristol, Va., is raising taxes and considering cutting services, and a populace that had been generally quiet while the local government plowed ahead on an ill-advised shopping center development is now lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks. It began when Northeast Tennessee developer Stuart Taylor got together with some Ki ...

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TPI: The local manufacturer you’ve seen but probably haven’t heard about

By Scott Robertson The odds are you have driven by the business many times. You may have seen its sign next to Interstate 26’s Gray exit so many times you don’t notice it anymore. But the odds are also good you know very little about the company or its rich history in the region. Yet TPI has been a Tri-Cities-based manufacturer for the last two-thirds of a century, employing more than 500 people and maintai ...

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Washington, Carter, Unicoi counties join economic development efforts

By Scott Robertson The Washington County Economic Development Council Board voted unanimously May 19 to approve the recommended organizational structure for an economic development partnership with Carter and Unicoi counties. The WCEDC has been working for several months with public and private sector representatives from both counties as well as a private consulting firm, Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, to ...

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Alpha’s natural gas assets set to bring $339 million

By Scott Robertson It appears Alpha Natural Resources will garner a $325 million credit bid and a $339.5 million cash bid in the sale of its core assets. The sale is part of Alpha’s Chapter 11 reorganization. As this issue of The Business Journal went to press, U.S. Bankruptcy Court was in the process of determining whether to approve the cash sale of certain assets to Vantage Energy Appalachia II, LLC. Van ...

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Organizers hope SWVA Economic Forum just a first step

Photos by Tim Cox By Jeff Keeling “Don’t be cynical. Be an optimist with concerns,” U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine told more than 300 people gathered at the University of Virginia at Wise May 12. Erskine was among several speakers at the 2016 SWVA Economic Forum, and like his counterparts from business and industry, he emphasized the importance of seve ...

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Hospital merger deliberations detailed, slow

By Jeff Keeling Groups vetting the area's proposed hospital system merger are expressing it loudly and clearly: If Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance combine, the new entity must not just maintain access to health care in the rural parts of its geographic service area (GSA), it must enhance it. Other messages to the systems also are coalescing as the “COPA Index Advisory Group” in Te ...

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Good thing it’s not first and goal for hospital merger

By Jeff Keeling If you thought – for good or for ill – that Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System were looking at a first and goal on the five-yard-line after announcing in April 2015 they would seek approval to merge, you almost certainly weren’t alone. Proponents of Wellmont opting for a local partner as it sought “strategic options” had begun in August 2014 fighting what seemed very ...

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The Domtar Century: And why it’s the next 100 years, not the last

By Scott Robertson Domtar is celebrating 100 years of operation at its Kingsport paper mill in 2016. The year-long commemoration features monthly events designed to highlight the successful partnership between the company and the city in which it has thrived. Yet while the public is enjoying the celebration of a stable past – a celebration that to date has included the donation and planting of 100 trees by ...

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Lee County, Va. hospital talks progressing, ‘entangled with merger’

By Jeff Keeling May could be a critical month for long-running efforts to reopen Lee County, Va.’s hospital, which Wellmont Health System closed in September 2013. Those efforts, a source said, have become “entangled with” the proposed merger between Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance. The source, who is close to the effort by the Lee County Hospital Authority (LCHA) told The Business Journal Apri ...

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Despite growth, soon-to-close CrestPoint Health was losing millions per year

By Jeff Keeling Despite strong growth in premium revenues, Mountain States Health Alliance’s foray into offering its own Medicare advantage insurance plan, CrestPoint Health, was far from profitable, MSHA Senior Vice President Tony Keck said after CrestPoint’s pending wind-down was announced. “We were losing money, which is not unusual for a startup plan in insurance in any business,” Keck said April 15. “T ...

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