Business notes


AK Steel recalls some workers to inspect idled furnace

AK Steel Holding Corp. has called back a few dozen workers at its northeastern Kentucky mill to inspect the idled furnace as a possible precursor to resuming operations. About 650 workers at the Ashland plant were laid off in November when the Ohio-based company temporarily idled the furnace and some other operations amid sharply lower demand for its steel products. The president of United Steelworkers of America Local 1865, Mike Hewlett, said Monday that about 46 workers have been called back to evaluate the furnace and determine what repairs would be needed to resume operations. AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy says no final decision has been made about resuming operations at Ashland. McCoy says there's a chance the Ashland plant furnace could be fired back up while the company's furnace at its Middletown, Ohio, plant could be idled to allow for maintenance work.

Realtors elect Gale Fulton

The Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors members have elected Gale Fulton as their 2009 president. Gale and her husband Mark are realtors with Re/Max Creative Realty East in Lexington. Other newly elected officers and directors are president-elect Anthony de Movellan with Prudential A.S. de Movellan; treasurer Mike Wheatley with Milestone Realty Consultants; treasurer-elect Larry Freels with Re/Max Creative Realty; Don Hudson with Rector-Hayden Realtors and Brenda Stewart with Keller Williams Bluegrass Realty. LBAR represents more than 2,000 Realtors in Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties.

Fazoli's launches giveaway campaign

Lexington-based Fazoli's restaurants has launched a national campaign to give away more than 2 million pounds of spaghetti — although buying a small drink is required to get in on the deal. Coupons for a free small spaghetti entree can be downloaded at, that also includes a “send a splat” e-mail tomato tossing function. “Fazoli's decided it's high time somebody gave consumers a way to protest,” said Carl Howard, Fazoli's president and chief executive, in an e-mail. “So we created an Italian revolution that is fun and gives guests what they really need right now — a break from all the anxiety, and free spaghetti.”

Laura's Lean Beef gets seal of quality

Laura's Lean Beef Co. announced Monday that it has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for all of its food products. The Good Housekeeping Seal was introduced in 1909 by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute as a symbol of quality. Seal-backed products are covered by Good Housekeeping's two-year money-back or replacement warranty. Lexington- based Laura's Lean Beef has distribution in more than 6,500 grocery stores. Products include fresh beef, frozen patties and fully-cooked entrees.


Non-residential projects offset slump

Construction spending fell less than expected in November as record activity on non-residential projects helped offset another steep decline in housing. But the outlook remains bleak as credit is tight for builders trying to stay afloat amid a recession entering its second year. Construction spending fell 0.6 percent in November, the Commerce Department reported Monday, less than half of the 1.3 percent decline economists had expected. While housing took another sharp tumble, dropping 4.2 percent, this was partially offset by a surprisingly strong 0.7 percent rise in non-residential activity. But the pickup in non-residential construction, which includes office buildings, shopping centers and hotels, was seen as a temporary blip.

Bookseller gets new chief, top managers

Borders Group Inc., which has struggled along with other booksellers as people buy more books online and from discounters, announced a new CEO and other top managers Monday as it also reported weak holiday sales. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company also warned that its stock is in danger of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have lost nearly all of their value in recent months amid larger-than-expected losses and financing trouble. Borders named Ron Marshall, 54, the founder of private equity firm Wildridge Capital Management, to replace George Jones as chief executive and also serve as president and a director. The company noted that Marshall had been involved in other turnaround projects as CEO of food distributor and retailer Nash Finch Co. during its financial difficulties and as chief financial officer of Pathmark Stores Inc., now a unit of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.

Tyson Foods chief to step down

Tyson Foods Inc. said Monday that its president and chief executive, Dick Bond, will step down immediately and be replaced by a former CEO as the world's largest meat processor continues to weather a downturn in the industry. Bond, who had been CEO since 2006, will be replaced on an interim basis by former chairman and chief executive Leland Tollett, the Springdale, Ark.-based company said in a news release. Tollett was CEO from 1995 until he retired in 1998 after nearly 40 years with the company.

Netflix will stream movies to TV

Netflix Inc. has come up with another way to get movies to people without sending DVDs in the mail. In a partnership announced Monday, LG Electronics will start selling high-definition TV sets that stream Netflix videos directly from the Internet, without an additional device. The deal marks the first time Netflix's streaming service will be embedded in a television. Netflix offers movies and TV shows for instant streaming over the Internet, for no additional cost to subscribers who pay at least $9 per month for a DVD rental plan.

Staff, wire reports