Monday, May 30, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward; GoodBiz113 Ramping Up to Showcase Increased Number of Win-Win Small-Business Partnerships, Democratic Policies

As Memorial Day weekend winds down and today's hot Minnesota breezes beckon summer, we're making time to reflect on GoodBiz113's just-shy-of-five-years history.

Looking Back...
In September 2006, we launched GoodBiz113 with three objectives in mind:

1] To provide well-deserved attention to otherwise-unsung small businesses that forge innovative and socially conscious partnerships with nonprofits and/or public agencies to benefit the greater good -- and, hopefully, inspire *other* businesses both large and small to take positive social action in their corners of the Universe;

2] To cast a light on Democrats who are committed to advancing policies that genuinely promote entrepreneurship, job creation and economic recovery -- e.g., Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], then-Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn.]; and

3] To present practices and tips to help small-business owners maximize their resources -- e.g., time, energy, people, money.

Since our September 2006 launch, GoodBiz113 has showcased several socially responsible small-business partnerships, policies and practices.

We've featured businesses from coast to coast, and each enterprise has benefited from the far-reaching PR and Internet exposure -- when their profile initially posted, and in assorted follow-ups; e.g., announcing new products, services, synergies, special events.

Among the win-win partnerships we've featured thus far on a pro bono basis:

* "Minnesota Artisans Mobilize Community to Create 9/11 Stained-Glass Memorial Window: Part 1"
* "Minnesota Artisans Mobilize Community to Create 9/11 Stained-Glass Memorial Window: Part 2"
* "Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"
* "Recycline-Stonyfield Farm Partnership Milks Resources to Benefit the Environment, Consumers and Each Other" [NOTE: We scooped Inc. Magazine on this one!]
* "Alexis Bailly Vineyard Helps U of M Cultivate Wine Industry in Minnesota, 'Where the Grapes Can Suffer'"
* "Life is good® Festivals Unite Communities, Help Kids Face Unfair Challenges"
* "Cuisine Concepts at Heart of Taste of the NFL -- AKA 'Super Bowl Party...With a Purpose' -- to Tackle Hunger in America"
* "South Cone's Sustainable Furniture-Making Serves Growing Consumer Demand; Activism at Seat of New Global Council"
* "Kessler's Helps Feed Storybook Land's Win-Win-Win Growth in Aberdeen, S.D."
* "Verve Inc. Puts Sustainable Bite on All-Natural Chewing Gum and Educational Candy-Making Kits for Kids"
* "Fairview Southdale Hospital Library Invites Employees, Patients and Community to Meet Local Authors; Suspense Writer Brian Freeman Presents on Jan. 22"

We've also shed a positive light on what President Barack Obama, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu [D-La.], U.S. Sen. Al Franken [D-Minn.] and other Democrats are doing to promote entrepreneurship and job creation; e.g., Startup America.

Occasionally, we've also mentioned what a too-small handful of exemplary Republicans -- e.g., Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] -- are doing to serve the best interests of small businesses. [Use the handy-dandy Google Search box, above, to research and track our posts.]

Looking Forward...
Now, as both the weather and, yes, the critical 2012 political season begin to heat up, we're preparing to ramp up our reporting about small-business synergies, as well as about the current and would-be Democratic elected officials who purport to be friendly to the diverse small-business community; e.g., artists, consultants, "solopreneurs," Main Street Mom-and-Pop retailers.

Heretofore, our parent company, YAWP! Media, has bootstrapped GoodBiz113's publishing endeavors entirely in-house. Now, we aim to fuel our enhanced reporting via crowd funding, defined by Wikipedia as "the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations."

We have other seasoned writers and social media experts at the ready to begin tackling our backlog of small-biz synergy profiles, as well as ongoing developments in the policy arena. These professionals deserve to do good work, and they deserve decent compensation to exercise their wealth of talents and insights.

Ramping Up GoodBiz113
We need $20,000 in order to make that happen for far-reaching, win-win good.

If you'd like to support socially responsible small-business partnerships, as well as the policies and practices that fuel entrepreneurial growth, make your pledge today at our Kapipal page -- -- by choosing one of the following categories...**

Small-Business Friend: If you pledge $25, you'll be kept apprised of GoodBiz113-related developments; e.g, new profiles.

Small-Business Ally: If you pledge $100, you get the above -- plus name recognition on GoodBiz113.

Small-Business Fan: If you pledge $500, you get all of the above -- plus, we'll post a live link from GoodBiz113 to your website AND we'll distribute an SEO'd press release announcing your support of GoodBiz113’s ramp-up.

PLEDGE $1,000
Small-Business Cheerleader: If you pledge $1,000, you get all of the above -- plus, we'll feature ONE small-biz partnership of your choice; e.g., your own, one of your current or would-be clients/customers. This original SEO-optimized profile will be in a reader-friendly Q&A format *and* include a live link to your website, as well as to the websites of the small business and its partner[s].

PLEDGE $2,000
Small-Business Champion: If you pledge $2,000, you get all of the above -- plus, through 2012, we'll place a 220x110 banner ad in the right column of GoodBiz113 for you to display your logo; you supply the HTML code. We'll also feature TWO small-biz synergies of your choice.

Sponsorship Packages & Offline Pledge Options Available, Too
Besides doing crowd funding via Kapipal, GoodBiz113 is also offering win-win sponsorship packages to individuals and organizations that would like to showcase *several* small-business partnerships on GoodBiz113 through 2012. [NOTE: This is another great opportunity for professionals, prime contractors, VCs and other small-biz stakeholders to provide value-added PR to their clients, vendors, suppliers, etc.]

For details about sponsorship packages and/or making pledges offline, e-mail GoodBiz113 [at]

Thanks, in advance, for supporting GoodBiz113's [near] tireless efforts to promote entrepreneurship, job creation, economic recovery, and the dedicated politicos working on behalf of our dynamic small-biz community -- truly the backbone of our economy.

**Businesses, take note: Come tax time, you should be able to deduct your pledge as an advertising expense. Ask your accountant.

SOURCES: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House, Wikipedia

Be Part of GoodBiz113's Ramp-Up Phase -- for Win-Win Good! Pledge Today:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sens. Landrieu, Snowe Honor Entrepreneurial Spirit in America

Late yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senators Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured] and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine], chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, respectively, highlighting the critical role that small businesses play in our nation’s economy.

The President signed a proclamation declaring the week of May 15, 2011, as National Small Business Week, honoring our country’s 27.2 million small businesses, and the owners and employees of these firms.

"During National Small Business Week, we honor the nation’s small businesses and entrepreneurs who take risks and start their own businesses," said Landrieu. "It has been a challenging, exciting and, in some ways, promising two years for small businesses, but our work in Congress cannot stop.

"America’s entrepreneurs deserve the recognition of our nation and need the support of Congress to boost job creation and economic growth. As we reflect on the contribution small businesses have made to our economy, I encourage all Americans to celebrate entrepreneurs across America and take a moment to visit your town’s small businesses.”

"National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the extraordinary contributions that small businesses make to the health and vitality of our economy," Snowe noted. "With nearly 30 million small businesses nationwide -- and 150,000 in Maine alone -- these firms are the engines of our economy, and our lifeline to emerge from this economic downturn.

"I hope my colleagues in Congress will join me in celebrating small businesses every week of the year, by reflecting on the countless contributions these firms make to our nation, and focusing on initiatives that enhance -- not inhibit -- their ability to prosper, innovate and create well-paying jobs for Americans."

National Small Business Week Marks 48 Years
Every year since 1963, the President has recognized entrepreneurs by proclaiming National Small Business Week. This resolution expresses the Senate’s appreciation of the efforts and achievements on the part of small-business owners and employees, whose hard work and commitment to excellence have made these firms a key part of the economic vitality of the United States.

According to the Small Business Administration, small firms constitute 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers, and account for roughly half of the nation’s private-sector jobs.

To see the complete resolution, please click here.

SOURCES: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SBA Introduces New Mobile Application for Small-Business Owners, Entrepreneurs

Smartphone users interested in starting or growing a small business can now find helpful resources at their fingertips via a new SBA mobile application from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

"Increasingly, smartphones are the vehicle through which Americans access information," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "This is certainly true of many entrepreneurs and small-business owners, and this new application ensures they will have access to SBA’s resources and programs -- literally, at their fingertips.

"Greater mobility fits with the new user-focused launched recently, and is another example of the steps we are taking to do a better job of connecting entrepreneurs and small-business owners with the tools to help them start or grow their businesses and create jobs."

Developed and donated as a gift by Palo Alto Software Inc., the SBA mobile app will make the search for extensive resources more efficient -- whether users are starting a new business, or taking an existing business to a new level. The app will first be available for the Apple iPhone®, with future versions for other smartphone platforms.

"Palo Alto Software’s mission is to help small businesses succeed," said Sabrina Parsons [pictured], CEO of Palo Alto Software. "We’ve developed this mobile application for the SBA because we understand the importance of having the right tools and resources when starting or growing a business.

"Ideas can strike entrepreneurs at any moment, and having useful resources available through mobile devices could be the impetus that begins the next big company."

The mobile app will help users connect with SBA district office staff and SBA-affiliated counselors and mentors who can provide free, personalized small-business assistance. The user-friendly format of the app will help answer questions such as: How do I start a business? Where can I go in my area to get free help with writing a business plan? And where do I begin finding funding for my business?

The SBA mobile app also features a built-in startup cost calculator to help estimate the costs associated with getting a business off the ground, plus an SBA partner locator to help users find SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE.

Users will also have mobile access to SBA video content and social media alerts to provide them with tips on the go. This will include live updates from the SBA’s YouTube channel and from SBA’s Twitter feeds.

SBA's free mobile app can be downloaded from the agency’s website at

SOURCES: Palo Alto Software Inc. [photo], U.S. Small Business Administration


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Monday, May 23, 2011

FEMA: Throwing Away an SBA Application Is Like Throwing Away Money

One of the most important messages that state and federal officials would like to share with homeowners, renters and business owners in the Mississippi counties that are recovering from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of April, as well as the flooding of the Mississippi River and its tributaries in May, is fill out and return your U.S. Small Business Administration application. Don't throw it away!

After an applicant registers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they may receive a loan application package from the SBA. Typically, people may think that the loans are only for businesses, or they simply do not want to take out a low-interest disaster loan. So, they may push the SBA documents to the side or, possibly, discard them.

"This is where people tend to take themselves out of the process," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack [pictured]. "If they don't complete the SBA paperwork, they could miss out on all the FEMA aid they may qualify for."

Applicants Should Know:
* Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair/replace real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. Most interest rates for residents are below three percent, with terms as long as 30 years. Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size can borrow up to $2 million -- at an interest rate as low as four percent -- to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets, as well as to cover economic injury.

* Filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. Applicants may be eligible for more aid.

* If SBA is unable to approve a home loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other disaster aid. Applicants may be awarded assistance for personal items, repair or replacement of a vehicle, etc.

Residents of 40 Counties Eligible to Register for Assistance
A major disaster declaration was approved by President Obama on May 11 for the Mississippi flooding that began May 3. Under this declaration, the following 14 counties are authorized to receive aid under FEMA's Individual Assistance Program: Adams, Bolivar, Claiborne, Coahoma, DeSoto, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Sharkey, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson and Yazoo.

Under a previous disaster declaration, federal funding is also available to eligible individuals impacted by the April tornadoes and storms in these 29 counties: Alcorn, Attala, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Coahoma, DeSoto, Greene, Grenada, Hinds, Holmes, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Panola, Quitman, Smith, Sunflower, Tishomingo, Tunica, Webster, and Winston.

As a result of the two declarations, residents in 40 Mississippi counties are eligible for Individual Assistance. Coahoma, DeSoto, and Tunica counties are eligible for Individual Assistance under both declarations.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the newly authorized counties, as well as those in counties previously authorized for Individual Assistance, can register by calling 800-621-FEMA [3362]; or, for those with speech or hearing impairment, TTY 800-462-7585. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. seven days a week. Disaster survivors also can register by going online at, or on the Smartphone mobile website

SBA representatives at each DRC will assist in completing loan applications, accept loan applications, and answer questions about the application process.

Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, or 800-877-8339 TTY for people with speech or hearing disabilities. The lines will operate Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m CDT.

Help also is available by sending an email to, or online at

Those affected by these disasters also can fill out a loan application by visiting SBA's secure website at

SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency [file photo], U.S. Small Business Administration

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Stonyfield Farm Welcomes New Spring Life on Its Family Farms

This just in from GoodBiz113 profilee Stonyfield Farm ["Recycline-Stonyfield Farm Partnership Milks Resources to Benefit the Environment, Consumers and Each Other"]...

While the pastures are turning greener every day, new life is springing up all over the certified Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative family farms that supply milk for the company's yogurts and smoothies.

Check out Winona, pictured above, a new heifer calf born to Willa on the Howmars Farm nearly 10 months ago. Both have joined Stonyfield Farm's Have-a-Cow herd.

Learn about Winona here:

To read about Willa, Winona's mom, go here:

Howmars Farm has been in the family for three generations, since 1943. To learn more, go to:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artist George Rodrigue's Foundation Offices Move to New Orleans Art District

We just learned that GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has relocated the offices for his namesake foundation from Metairie, La., to New Orleans.

The above photo shows Rodrigue in front of the new George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts [GRFA] space, located at 747 Magazine Street -- right in the heart of the New Orleans Arts District [NOAD].

Now, with more than 3,000 sq. ft., GRFA will be able to host student field trips, summer camps, teacher workforce development workshops, fundraisers, plus many other events. The space features some of Rodrigue's most famous original paintings -- including several pieces from his world-famous Blue Dog collection. A ribbon-cutting/grand opening ceremony will happen in July.

About GRFA
The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts advocates the importance of including the visual arts in youth development. GRFA encourages the use of art within all curricula, and generously supports a variety of art education programs.

For more information about the nonprofit GRFA, visit:

SOURCES: George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, Rodrigue Studio

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SBA Office of Advocacy Releases Study, 'Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship Among Veterans'

Are veterans more likely to become entrepreneurs than otherwise demographically similar individuals?

Using one measure of entrepreneurship -- self-employment -- both past research sponsored by SBA’s Office of Advocacy, plus current data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicate that veterans have had, and do have, a higher rate of self-employment than do non-veterans.

Overall Findings
What could account for this finding?

SBA-contracted SAG Corporation researchers investigated whether military service has a statistically significant impact on veteran entrepreneurship, using three complementary data sources. Their analysis tests the hypothesis that military service imparts some unique training or acculturation that makes veterans more likely to become self-employed than otherwise similar individuals.

Report Highlights
* In the private-sector workforce, veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.

* Although veterans are more likely to be self-employed than the general population, analysis of veterans-only data shows that self-employment is negatively correlated with the length of military service. Veterans with four or fewer years of service were most likely to be self-employed.

* Among all veterans, those who chose the military as a career path [five or more years of service] were about 33 percent less likely to be self-employed than those who left after one enlistment. This result suggests that higher rates of self-employment among veterans may be due to individual characteristics, rather than training, education or other qualities imparted by military service.

* An exception to the negative correlation of self-employment with length of service among veterans occurs with the subgroup of veterans who are career military retirees with service of 20 years or more. In this group, additional years of service are correlated with a higher probability of self-employment. The authors suggest that this relationship may result from a wealth effect; i.e., military retirees with longer careers receive larger military pensions, and may be financially better able to pursue self-employment opportunities.

* Career military retirees have higher rates of self-employment than the general population, but they are also predominantly older, male, married, and have at least a high-school education. In addition, self-employed military retirees have a higher average income from pensions than those not self-employed.

* Older military retirees are more likely to be self-employed; an additional year in age increases the probability of self-employment by about 7.5 percent.

* Among military retirees, officers are 55.6 percent more likely to be self-employed than enlisted personnel. The study suggests that this is attributable to differences in education, as most officers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, and most enlisted veterans are high-school graduates. The measured differential between officers and the enlisted is similar to the differential between high-school graduates and college graduates in the broader general population.

* The cohort of veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War eras were more likely to be self-employed, relative to veterans serving since 2001, or Gulf War veterans [10.9 percent vs. 3.6 percent].

* Age and home ownership show consistent positive and significant effects on self-employment, and are highly correlated to stability and maturity -- as well as providing a potential supply of risk capital.

* In the general population, age, marital status, gender, occupation, home ownership, military service, and some regional and race variables have a significant effect on self-employment, while education and children do not.

* Among veterans, career military service, age, male gender, and children are positive indicators of self-employment, while employment in service occupations and manufacturing occupations are negative indicators.

A full copy of the report is available at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Artist George Rodrigue Creates Wine Label for Prêt à Boire Rosé Napa Valley 2010

This just in: GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has created "A Bouquet of Rosé" for the wine label of Amuse Bouche's soon-to-be-shipped Prêt à Boire Rosé Napa Valley 2010. Skol!

For details, read the latest post on "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's blog:

Oh, and to catch up on the latest developments about the dynamic George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

Friday, May 13, 2011

President Obama Proclaims May 15-21 National Small Business Week 2011; Small Businesses Help Put Country Back on Track

President Barack Obama [pictured] hailed small-business owners as the backbone of the nation’s economy in his proclamation of the week of May 15-21 as National Small Business Week. The President declared those men and women to be the embodiment of America’s promise: "The idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed in our country."

The President’s proclamation was issued before the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 48th annual observance of National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. [May 18-20]. The event honors outstanding entrepreneurs from across the country, and features announcement of the 2011 National Small Business Person of the Year, who is selected from among 54 small-business award winners from 50 states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The President’s proclamation states: "Our country started as an idea, and it took hard-working, dedicated, and visionary patriots to make it a reality. A successful business starts much the same way -- ideas realized by entrepreneurs who dream of a better world and work until they see it through. From the family businesses that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of America’s promise.

"Throughout our economic recovery, persevering small businesses have helped put our country back on track. Countless new and saved jobs have come from small businesses who took advantage of tax relief, access to capital, and other tools in the Recovery Act, the Small Business Jobs Act, and other initiatives launched by my Administration to put Americans back to work.

"To ensure the stability of our recovery, we must continue to provide new opportunities for small-business owners and the next generation of entrepreneurs, who will help us out-innovate and out-build our global competitors to win the future.

"To support high-growth businesses, my Administration has launched Startup America, an initiative that will strengthen access to capital and mentoring, while reducing barriers to growth for small businesses. Entrepreneurship is essential to the strength and resilience of our economy and our way of life. Startup America will give entrepreneurs the tools they need to build their business into the next great American company.

"To encourage innovation, we released the Strategy for American Innovation, a report outlining my Administration’s plan to harness ingenuity. This means investing in the building blocks of innovation -- like education and infrastructure -- while promoting market-based growth through tax credits and effective intellectual property laws.

"The National Export Initiative is working to open markets to American businesses and support small exporters, who increase American competitiveness abroad and create good jobs here at home. We continue to create opportunity for businesses in underserved communities through new lending initiatives, expanded access to counseling, and technical assistance.

"We are also working to provide small businesses more opportunities to compete for federal contracts. This gives federal agencies access to some of our country’s best products and services while helping these businesses grow and employ community members.

"Through these and other initiatives, we are supporting the entrepreneurs and small businesses that provide work for half of American workers, and create two out of every three new jobs.

"Small businesses embody the promise of America: that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed in our country. This week, we honor and celebrate the individuals whose inspiration and efforts keep America strong."

The full text of the President’s National Small Business Week proclamation can be found at:

National Small Business Week 2011 will be highlighted with two-and-a-half days of events in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where more than 100 outstanding business owners from across the country will be recognized. In addition to the State Small Business Persons of the Year, men and women involved in disaster recovery, government contracting, small-business champions, as well as SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development, will be honored.

Under the National Small Business Week 2011 theme of "Empowering Entrepreneurs," featured speakers include Sen. Jack Reed [D-R.I.]; Sen. Mary Landrieu [D-La.]; Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama; Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chair of Startup America Partnership; Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One, and chair of SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities; SBA Administrator Karen Mills and SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.

A complete agenda for the event is posted at Also featured are a series of executive panel forums on Strategies for High Growth, Exporting and Social Media. The public can "attend" Small Business Week events virtually, via the SBA’s streaming video on the Web at

Small Business Week 2011 co-sponsors include: Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, AVAYA, CareerBuilder, Dun & Bradstreet, Google, International Franchise Association, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association of Small Business Investment Companies, National Association for the Self-Employed, National Small Business Association, Nomadic Display, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Raytheon, Sam's Club, SCORE, The Neat Company, Verio, Visa, the Wall Street Journal, and Women Impacting Public Policy.

SOURCES: U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

SBA Announces 15 Appointments to Advisory Council on Underserved Communities

Fifteen individuals from across the country have been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s [SBA] Council on Underserved Communities [CUC].

Building on SBA’s core programs and Recovery initiatives, the CUC will provide input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities. These strategies will be focused on increasing entrepreneurship and technical assistance; creating new, and strengthening existing, outreach and training; and raising awareness in underserved communities of SBA programs and services.

The CUC is chaired by Catherine Hughes [pictured], founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, and will have 20 members who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic areas.

"One of SBA’s core missions is to support small businesses in traditionally underserved communities -- including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and in rural areas," said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns. "The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure that small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future."

The CUC’s first meeting will be held in July, in Washington, DC. Before the first meeting, members of the CUC will hold listening sessions in their regions to hear from small-business owners and members of the community about what they need from the SBA.

"Thirty years ago, I grew my business with the help of an SBA loan," said Hughes. "Now, I’m so pleased to be chairing the Council on Underserved Communities, and help entrepreneurs in communities across the country take advantage of those same opportunities for success."

The CUC is part of the SBA’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach into underserved communities. While the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, that recovery has been uneven --particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small-business owners. To help SBA better address the challenges facing small-business owners, the CUC will meet regularly and advise SBA on ways to increase access to capital, and promote sustainability, growth, and job creation.

The 15 Newly Appointed Members of the SBA's New Council on Underserved Communities:
* Dr. Hassell McClellan is an associate professor and former associate dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. He has previously worked in corporate banking with Harris Trust in Chicago and as a faculty member at the Harvard Business School. McClellan’s specialties include strategic management and global competitiveness. He is the author of several case studies, as well as a book on the banking industry, "Managing One-Bank Holding Companies."

* Dasil "Das" Elius Velez is currently serving as a senior executive in New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration with the Empire State Development Corporation, as the executive director of Minority and Women Business Development. Prior to Velez’s appointment, he served as senior advisor to Gov. David A. Paterson. He has also held a number of executive positions in public service sector and was a founding partner of Carro, Velez, Carro and Mitchell LLP, which became New York City's largest Latino law firm.

* B. Doyle Mitchell Jr. serves as president and CEO of Industrial Bank in Washington, D.C. Mitchell is chairman of the National Bankers Association and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He serves as a board member for the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable, the Council for Court Excellence, the Minbanc Foundation and the Sewell Music Conservatory.

* Eric Collins, COO of Mobile Posse in McLean, Va., is a veteran of the mobile software industry. Prior to his work at Mobile Posse, Collins led the Tegic business unit for Nuance Communications. Eric also headed marketing for Nuance’s Mobile Division. Following law school, Eric worked as a strategy consultant for technology and entertainment companies before launching a career in mobile technology at AOL.

* Derek S. Hyra is an associate professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on inner-city economic development, with an emphasis on national housing policy, urban politics, affordable housing and small-business finance, poverty, and race. Hyra previously worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, assessing affordable housing and small-business lending programs; and at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, examining the community-level impact of national urban legislation. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of commissioners for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

* Ron Busby Sr. is president of the United States Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., he was the president of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce, and served as the president of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area [Oakland, Cal.]. Recognized as one of the country’s best CEOs, Busby grew his first business, USA Super Clean, from $150,000 annual revenue to over $15 million per year. He has served as co-chair of the XLII Super Bowl Host Committee and on the board of directors of the Arizona Governor’s African American Leadership Council.

* Dr. Randy Blass is a faculty member of The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, and the program director for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities [EBV] Program -- all within the College of Business at Florida State University. Before joining the faculty at Florida State, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Blass specializes in power and influence in organizations, organizational socialization, and human resource management, and has more than 25 years of practical experience in designing and implementing training and development programs.

* Ned Fawaz, the founder and CEO of Energy International Corporation, is responsible for the expansion in worldwide business, including tactical and strategic sales. Beginning his career over 32 years ago, Dr. Fawaz has an extensive background in international business, and in the mechanical and electrical engineering and equipment industry. He studied mechanical engineering at York Institute in York, Penn., and worked for 10 years for York International. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree [LLD] from Davenport University of Michigan, served in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Germany for two years.

* Eddie Reyes serves as the historically underutilized business coordinator for the University of North Texas. Reyes was selected by the SBA as the 2010 National Minority Small Business Champion the Year. Reyes also serves as the chairman of the board of directors, Greater Grand Prairie Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

* LeeAnn Marker is a business advisor for Hutchinson Credit Union and a small-business owner. As a commercial lender in a Kansas community with a population of approximately 45,000, Hutchinson has experienced first-hand the challenges facing America’s small businesses in today’s uncertain economic environment.

* Roni K. Wisdom is CFO for the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group, a nonprofit regional economic development organization that provides funding and counseling to small businesses, nonprofits and local governments. Wisdom previously worked as a manager and owner of small businesses, a business banker, and a small-business counselor. She spent much of her past 30 years in the banking field, with most of those years in "nontraditional" financing in the rural counties of Colorado.

* Hilda Kennedy serves as founder/executive director, AmPac Tri State Certified Development Company in Grand Terrace, Cal. -- a certified lender for the SBA’s 504 loan program and the first faith-based CDC in the country. Kennedy previously worked in local government in the city of Inglewood for more than 12 years as chief of staff to the mayor and city administrator, public information officer, and economic development director.

* Rod Hsiao is director of strategic operations for BUILD, a nationally recognized nonprofit that uses entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. He worked in economic development research at Harvard and Yale, then served as a senior legislative advisor in the U.S. Congress on international development and domestic policies. He led two statewide studies for Maine and Massachusetts to assess the needs of their manufacturers, and recommended ways to spur innovation and economic competitiveness. Subsequently he worked in management consulting for SRI Consulting and A.T. Kearney before returning to the nonprofit sector as a COO to help lead nonprofits involved in teaching business and management skills.

* Hugh Short serves as president and CEO of Alaska Growth Capital. He is also the current chairman of the Alaska Industrial Development Authority [AIDEA], a one-billion-dollar, state-owned economic development agency based in Anchorage, Alaska. Additionally, Short serves as the current treasurer of the Alaska Humanities Forum and Pacific Northern Academy. Past leadership positions include roles as mayor and member of the city council for the city of Bethel; vice president of support services for Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation; and managing partner of the Subway of Bethel. Active in many community service roles, Short is a founding member of the Alaskan Native Leadership Network, and has served as director of Yuut Elinaurviat [People’s Learning Center], Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus.

* Marilyn Strickland was sworn-in as mayor of Tacoma, Wash., on Jan. 5, 2010, and previously served as a city council member for two years. Born in Seoul, Korea, Strickland grew up in South Tacoma and has been a downtown resident for over a decade. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Clark-Atlanta University. Strickland has professional experience in both the private and public sectors. She served as development officer for the Tacoma Public Library, and has held management positions with the American Cancer Society, Starbucks Coffee Company and JayRay Communications, where she worked with Tacoma Public Utilities to help launch Click!Network. Strickland has been appointed to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Public Education Task Force. Active in the local community, she is a member of the Black Collective and previously served on the boards of KBTC Public TV Association, the Grand Cinema, and Safe Streets.

GoodBiz113's Take
SBA's formation of its CUC marks a significant step forward in sharing the wealth of small-business opportunities across diverse demographics.

Kudos to this highly impressive cadre of advisors for their willingness to serve for the greater entrepreneurial good.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Prevent Shutdown, Sen. Landrieu Files Extension of SBIR and STTR Programs

United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today filed a one-year extension of the Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] and Small Business Technical Transfer [STTR] programs.

After five weeks on the floor, the federal government’s two largest research-and-development programs for small businesses failed to pass a crucial vote last week. Long-term reauthorization is now stuck, and the current extension of these programs is set to expire on May 31, 2011.

"After years of negotiations, and with so much support from my colleagues and the small-business community, it is extremely unfortunate that we are right back where we started," said Landrieu. "To ensure that the SBIR and STTR programs do not end completely, I am filing a one-year, clean extension.

"There are too many businesses across the country with great ideas that are working with our government to develop technologies to improve national security; better the diagnosis, treatment and cure of diseases; and move us closer towards energy independence and efficiency. They would be left in the dark if these programs were to stop. We’d lose so much good technology and important investments.

"To avoid that, it is necessary to make sure the programs don’t shut down or slow down. I hope that we can provide, if only for one year, some sense of certainty for the businesses that partner with the government, and I urge my colleagues to support its continuation."

The SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011, S. 493, passed out of the Committee on March 9, 2011, by a nearly unanimous vote of 18-1. Last week, the Senate held a cloture vote to end debate on S. 493, but the motion failed by a vote of 52-44.

To view the text of the extension, please click here.

SOURCES:, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Monday, May 09, 2011

SBA Disaster Loans Provide a Major Source of Financial Assistance to Homeowners, Renters, Businesses, Nonprofit Groups

For many Georgia residents and business owners recovering from recent severe storms and tornadoes, completing a U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] disaster loan application is a necessity. SBA disaster loans provide funds to homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations for uninsured losses.

While federal grants are one form of disaster assistance available, most of the money for repairs or replacement of storm-damaged real estate, business inventory and personal property comes in the form of low-interest SBA disaster loans. A completed SBA disaster home loan application is an essential component for some disaster-related grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].

Applicants who receive SBA loan applications should complete and return them to be considered for FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. However, no one is obligated to accept a loan.

Those living and working in one of the 25 federally declared Georgia counties -- i.e., Bartow, Catoosa, Cherokee, Coweta, Dade, Greene, Habersham, Harris, Heard, Floyd, Gordon, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Upson, Walker and White -- may be eligible for an SBA loan.

Homeowners, renters, certain private nonprofit organizations, plus businesses of all sizes can apply to SBA for losses not covered by insurance or other sources. Persons with home-based businesses or rental property who have been affected by the storms may also be eligible for SBA loans.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

Businesses may be eligible for up to $2 million in loans to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

SBA also provides small-business owners and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes with Economic Injury Disaster Loans [EIDLs] that provide money for ongoing business expenses needed to recover from the adverse economic impact of a disaster.

These disaster loans are available even if the business didn’t sustain physical damages from the storms.

Loan amounts and terms are determined on a case-by-case basis. Interest rates can be as low as 2.688 percent for homeowners and renters; three percent for nonprofit organizations; and four percent for businesses. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA, and based on each applicant’s financial condition. Payment terms as long as 30 years make the loans more affordable.

To register for assistance, residents should call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA [3362], or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing functional needs, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available to answer calls during this time. Online registration is offered at

SBA representatives are available to assist with loan applications and to answer questions:

* In person at Disaster Recovery Centers [DRCs] operating in 13 of the federally declared counties. Location of the nearest DRC is available when registering by phone or by going online to

* SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, or 800-877-8339 TTY for anyone with speech or hearing functional needs, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and, until further notice, on Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

* Online at

* Queries e-mailed to

Receive up-to-the-minute Georgia disaster recovery information by following FEMA/Region 4 on Twitter at

* * *

PHOTO: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano talking to one of the young residents of Ringgold, Ga., about the tornado. On Saturday, the Secretary visited with members of the community of Ringgold at the First Baptist Church.

SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency [official photo by Alice Carr], U.S. Small Business Administration

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

President Obama: ‘Clean Energy Will Help Us Out-Compete and Out-Innovate the Rest of the World’

Yesterday, while taping his weekly address at Allison Transmission -- a hybrid-vehicle transmission company in Indianapolis, Ind. -- President Barack Obama explained how investments in a clean-energy economy are the only solution to high gas prices over the long term.

"The clean-energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future -- jobs that pay well right here in America," said Obama. "And in the years ahead, it’s clean-energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs, and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world.

"Allison Transmission is also part of the ultimate solution to high gas prices. We know there are no quick fixes to this problem. In the short term, we’re doing everything we can to boost safe and responsible oil production here at home -- in fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003.

"But over the long term, the only way we can avoid being held hostage to the ups and downs of oil prices, is if we reduce our dependence on oil. That means investing in clean, alternative sources of energy -- like advanced biofuels and natural gas. And that means making cars and trucks and buses that use less oil.

"Other countries know this, and they’re going all in to invest in clean-energy technologies and clean-energy jobs. But I don’t want other countries to win the competition for these technologies and these jobs. I want America to win that competition. I want America to win the future..."

To read the full transcript of President Obama's weekly address, go to:

To view the video of the President's weekly address plus a downloadable infographic on his short- and long-term approach to high gas prices, go to:

To learn what the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [EERE] is doing to invest in clean-energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil, visit:

GoodBiz113's Take
We're all about win-win-win-win. President Obama's pragmatic and sustainable clean-energy policy will yield wins for small businesses, consumers, the environment, and the U.S. economy.

His leadership is precisely what America needs to truly win the future. If his actions happen to inspire other countries to follow our lead, all the better.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy, The White House [official photo by Pete Souza]

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

May 17: SBA and Agility Recovery to Host Webinar on Hurricane Season Business Preparedness

The devastating effects of a hurricane extend beyond the coastal areas where the storms land. In recent years, we’ve seen how the impact of storm surge -- which is the indirect damage from water and flying debris -- inflicts collateral damage on small businesses in a surprisingly widespread area.

The 2011 mid-Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. Is your business prepared for a possible shutdown on the heels of the infrastructure collapse that usually follows a major storm?

Get tips on protecting your customers, employees and your investment during a free webinar on May 17, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Hosted by Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration, "Protecting Your Business This Hurricane Season" will feature Weather Services International Senior Meteorologist Ben Papandrea, who will present the 2011 Hurricane Season forecast. Paul Sullivan, a vice president for Agility Recovery Solutions, will share best practices towards preparing your company for disasters. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Space is limited for this event. To register visit

SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs via their “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit to access previous webinars and for more preparedness tips.

Since 1953, the SBA has provided more than $48 billion in disaster recovery funds to 1.9 million homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes in the form of low-interest loans. To learn more about the disaster assistance program, visit

SOURCES: Agility Recovery Solutions, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

George Rodrigue Has Rich History with New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

With just four days left of the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Wendy Rodrigue has provided an historic account of her husband's involvement with the event.

Over the years, GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has painted works for the annual event's promotional poster, and captured telling images of some of the most renowned artists in the world of jazz. Above is his rendition of Louis Armstrong -- along with the iconic Blue Dog -- featured on the festival's 1995 poster.

Read the latest post on "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy's blog:

Oh, and to catch up on the latest developments regarding the dynamic
George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

Sen. Landrieu: Small-Business Innovation Now in Jeopardy

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, made the following statement after this morning’s cloture vote on the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011:

"Today was our last chance to reauthorize these important programs and provide some continuity to the small businesses that depend on them," Sen. Landrieu said. "I have to thank the many groups that went out of their way to support this bill, and who offered concessions during our negotiations to ensure a long-term reauthorization was possible.

"This bill, which reauthorizes the federal government’s largest research-and-development programs for small businesses, passed out of our committee with nearly unanimous support, but wound up hitting a brick wall when it reached the Senate floor.

"Unfortunately, some senators chose to stonewall in a self-serving effort to get their way on unrelated issues instead of letting every U.S. Senate committee do their due diligence with regulatory reform.

"Despite having so much bipartisan support going into this debate, not one Republican voted for this job-creating small-business bill -- even those senators in states like Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida, where almost 23,000 small businesses have gotten billions in SBIR and STTR projects.

"The door may have shut today for reauthorization of programs that have given us companies that are the envy of the world -- like Qualcomm, Sonicare and iRobot. But rest assured, at some point, we will find a way get this done."

SOURCES:, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Cabinet Members Meet with Families, Business Owners, and State and Local Officials in Alabama and Mississippi

Following President Obama's commitment on Friday -- i.e., that the federal government would do everything possible to help families and communities recover from the deadly tornadoes and severe storms that struck the Southeast earlier this week -- several members of his Cabinet are in Alabama and Mississippi today. They are there to meet with families and business owners affected by the storms; meet with state and local officials; and to view damage and assess the initial recovery efforts already underway.

Today’s travel party comprises: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Housing and Urban Development [HUD] Secretary Shaun Donovan; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] Administrator Craig Fugate [pictured]; and Small Business Administration [SBA] Administrator Karen Mills.

Since the immediate impact of the storms, the President, Secretary Napolitano, and Administrator Fugate have been in constant contact with the governors of all the impacted states to ensure they have the support they need.

On April 29, the President signed major disaster declarations for Mississippi and Georgia -- in addition to the Alabama major disaster declaration signed on April 28 -- which make federal assistance available to individuals who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure; e.g., schools, fire stations and libraries.

Damage assessments are ongoing, and counties continue to be designated to receive assistance as damage assessments are completed. Additionally, FEMA has received disaster declaration requests from the governors of the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and those requests are under review. Preliminary damage assessments are also being conducted today in Virginia.

"FEMA is part of a team that continues to work with communities to help them rebuild and recover," said Fugate. "This team includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal officials; the faith-based and non-profit communities; the private sector; and, most importantly, the public.

"This Administration will bring the full support of the federal government and its partners to bear to support the states, families and communities devastated by these deadly tornadoes, for as long as it takes."

A housing mission planning team is on the ground in Alabama to support the state in meeting its objectives. This team -- comprised of housing and technical experts from FEMA, HUD, Army Corps of Engineers, SBA and voluntary agencies -- will assist the state-led housing task force in establishing housing priorities; seeking ways to maximize housing resources, such as apartments and rental units; and other resources, if needed.

As work continues to restore power and remove debris -- so that homes can begin to be repaired or replaced -- FEMA is working with HUD to identify available rental resources to help survivors find long-term housing solutions.

FEMA is also working with the Army Corps of Engineers to provide temporary home repairs -- such as covering broken windows or holes in roofs -- and getting survivors back home more quickly; and working with SBA to help individuals and businesses apply for low-interest loans, so that they can more quickly rebuild or repair their damaged homes and replace lost property.

Additionally, FEMA is actively taking registration information through its call centers; has inspectors on the ground assessing the damages of those who have registered; and is approving financial assistance for housing [such as rental assistance and home repair money] and financial assistance for other essential needs [such as disaster-related medical needs, and replacing lost clothing, furniture and other necessary items].

Additional information on the coordination efforts of FEMA and its federal partners, updated as of 12 PM EDT today, can be found below:

Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]
* At the request of the respective states, FEMA currently has personnel on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee, and commodities strategically pre-positioned in the region -- including personnel in North Carolina as a result of the April 16th storms.
* FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are currently located in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee to assist in coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.
* An Incident Support Base has been established at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama to move supplies such as water, infant-toddler kits and tarps closer to the affected areas should they be needed, and additional resources continue to arrive.
* Mobile Emergency Response Support teams and equipment have been deployed to Alabama and Mississippi to provide voice, video and data capabilities in support of communication requirements identified by the Federal Coordinating Officer.
* FEMA Community Relations [CR] teams are on the ground in Alabama and Georgia, and additional CR teams have been deployed to meet with disaster survivors and explain the assistance available, and to help survivors register for assistance.
* FEMA partnered with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to create a joint Facebook page as an additional way to reach Alabama residents during the response and recovery efforts after the severe storms and tornadoes.

U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance
* SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance's provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. For information, go to:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC]
* Staff are monitoring the situation at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant after the site lost offsite power early Wednesday evening due to severe storms that damaged power lines in the area. The plant is operated by Tennessee Valley Authority near Athens, about 32 miles west of Huntsville, Ala. The reactor units were automatically and safely shut down on April 27th.

American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Other Voluntary and Faith-Based Agencies
* Voluntary and faith-based organizations continue to locally offer and coordinate housing, food and other services as needed to support disaster survivors in the affected states.
* Open Red Cross shelters can be found on
* The Red Cross Safe and Well secure website provides a way for people to find information on people affected by the storms. To register, visit

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
* HHS has activated a Disaster Medical Assistance Team and a Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Assessment Team, which are ready to deploy as needed by the states.
* HHS is also providing information on post-storm health messages -- such as how to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning, tips on generator safety, and safety around downed power lines.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]
* NOAA has deployed survey teams to many affected states to begin assessing damage and conduct analysis in the coming days that will be utilized to assign Enhanced Fujita [EF] ratings.

Department of Defense/USNORTHCOM
* The Department of Defense [DoD] has activated a Defense Coordinating Officer to assist in the coordination of DoD resources needed to support state response and recovery efforts.

Air Force Auxiliary
* Civil Air Patrol pilots from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia are flying over areas with major devastation, to assist first responders and state and local officials as they assess the damage to the region. The Civil Air Patrol, in its role as the Air Force Auxiliary, performs its missions for DoD and other federal agencies, as well as state and local authorities when assistance is requested.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development [HUD]
* HUD continues to provide federal disaster assistance supporting homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding this week. Read more about the services provided by HUD.

U.S. Postal Service [USPS]
* USPS is providing details on the status of open USPS offices -- including hours of operation and services provided to disaster survivors affected by the recent storms.

Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA]
* The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued tips for workers and members of the public, to protect themselves from hazards that individuals may encounter during clean-up and recovery efforts.

U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA]
* USDA's Farm Service Agency [FSA] continues to issue information on the FSA programs that may be available to crop and livestock producers in affected states, to assist with recovery. Information on the services provided by FSA can be found at

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
* The IRS has activated its disaster tax relief program, which includes providing tax filing and tax payment relief for individuals and businesses covering the period of April 15, 2011, to June 30, 2011. To learn more about the IRS disaster tax relief program, click here.

SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency, The White House

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