Most of next week for the first week of September should remain hot and humid. Daily highs in the low to even mid 90s with muggy mornings in the low 70s. A ... More...
Bridgeport, Ala. Becomes Ground Zero for Major Yamaha Announcement
by Richard Simms
The small town of Bridgeport, Ala. became Ground Zero for some of the biggest writers in the outboard and boating business Tuesday.
Bridgeport has long been home of a semi-secret Yamaha Marine Division testing facility. Every year Yamaha big wigs come to Chattanooga and Bridgeport to show off the next season's latest and greatest Yamaha innovations to writers and editors.
This year the biggest news out of Bridgeport is what Yamaha calls Helm Master™.
You won't be using Helm Master on your run-of-the-mill fishing boat. It's designed for larger vessels at least 30 feet in length with either twin or triple-engines. But if you own a boat like that, you'll definitely want to learn about Helm Master, an amazing new boat control system.
Let me sum it up this way... you arrive at Chattanooga's Riverfront and there is only one "parking spot" left at the Marine Max dock, and it is just barely longer than your boat. Even for the most experienced Captain, parallel parking in the Tennessee River current just doesn't work very well.
However with Helm Master, you can literally move your boat sideways in the water, easing point-blank into your assigned spot.
At the touch of a button, the joystick-driven system integrates all boat control devices while eliminating the need for bow thrusters in most boats. It is based on steering from the boat's center axis, rather than on a stern axis... what Yamaha engineers call the "Ring of Motion." In tight quarters it allows movement of the boat in any direction with the simply touch of a joystick, not only fore and aft and port and starboard, but the joystick can be rotated for turning and positioning the boat.
That's just one of many innovations Yamaha says Helm Master brings to the plate.
Don't ask how much it costs. Yamaha hasn't decided yet. The company is still working with 15 or 20 boat manufacturers to determine who they'll give it to and who they won't.
The announcements Yamaha made this week won't be available on showroom floors until at least March 2013. Company officials say they'll be ready to release more detailed information at one of the country's largest boat shows in Miami, Fla. beginning Feb. 14, 2013.
But whatever folks hear about out of Miami, remember you heard it first out of Bridgeport, Ala.
More Business News
Last Update on August 29, 2014 17:14 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer spending fell in July, with a drop in auto purchases accounting for most of the weakness. Income growth also slowed in July.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending edged down 0.1 percent last month after a 0.4 percent increase in June. It was the first decline in spending since January. Income growth slowed to a 0.2 percent rise in July, the weakest showing in seven months.
The fall in spending came primarily from a decline in auto sales, which took a breather in July after posting big gains in recent months, although spending in other areas was also weak.
Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, so it needs to recover for the economy to keep its momentum in the second half of the year.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer sentiment ticked up in August, driven by greater optimism about jobs, rising incomes, and increasing wealth. The increase largely occurred among higher-income groups.
The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 from 81.8 in July. Still, it has barely risen in the past year.
Consumers have sent mixed signals in recent months. The Michigan index has fluctuated between 80 and 82.5 since December. A measure of consumer confidence by the Conference Board rose this month to nearly a seven-year high. And yet Americans cut back their spending in July.
Nearly 60 percent of households in the top third of income earners say they are financially better off this month, the Michigan survey found, compared with only 36 percent in the bottom two-thirds.
DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. investors should soon be able to buy stock in Chrysler for the first time in seven years.
Italy's Fiat and Chrysler are merging to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat says Friday that an ongoing tally of investors suggests there is not enough opposition to derail the deal.
Earlier this month, Fiat shareholders approved combining the companies. But Italian law gives dissenters the right to cash out. Fiat has said that if investors offered more than 500 million euros ($650 million) in shares, the merger would be off.
Fiat SpA will announce the final tally by Sept. 4. So far the maximum number of shares to be cashed is below the cap.
Shares of Chrysler haven't been publicly traded since 2007 when it was still combined with German automaker Daimler.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Federal regulators are putting Reynolds American Inc.'s planned $25 billion takeover of rival cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. under the microscope.
The nation's second-biggest tobacco company said Friday that the Federal Trade Commission has asked for additional information as part of an antitrust review of the deal.
In July, Reynolds announced the deal to combine two of the nation's oldest and biggest tobacco companies, creating a formidable No. 2 to rival Altria Group Inc., owner of Philip Morris USA.
Reynolds markets Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit cigarettes. Lorillard sells Newport, Maverick and Kent cigarettes.
The companies plan to sell the Kool, Salem, Winston, Maverick and blu eCig brands to Imperial Tobacco Group for $7.1 billion to ease regulatory concerns about competition.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-TAX FORMS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal agency that brought you the glitchy HealthCare.gov website has a massive new project.
If the Health and Human Services department has trouble this time, that could delay tax refunds for many people.
Complicated connections between the new health care law and income taxes will start to surface in 2015.
HHS has to send millions of people who got health insurance tax credits this year a new tax form that's like a W-2 for health care. It's called a 1095-A.
If they're delayed beyond Jan. 31, people who got coverage through the new insurance exchanges may have to wait to file their taxes -- and collect their refunds.
Some tax preparation companies are worried.
The Obama administration says it's on task, but won't provide much detail.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Inflation has fallen to an annual 0.3 percent in August for the 18 countries that use the euro, underlining the shakiness of the continent's economic recovery.
Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, says the figure is down from 0.4 percent in July, as expected by market analysts.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, sent a modestly brighter signal as it rose to 0.9 percent from 0.8 percent.
The eurozone economy showed no growth in the second quarter as fears about the Ukrainian crisis weighed on consumers and investment decisions.
The European Central Bank has warned that inflation expectations are worsening and says it will add more stimulus if needed. Many analysts are predicting the bank will launch large-scale purchases of financial assets to pump more money into the economy.
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil's government says the country's gross domestic product contracted 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, sending the country's economy into a recession.
The government's IBGE statistics bureau said Friday it was the second consecutive quarterly contraction of the economy.
In the first quarter of the year, GDP was reported as having grown 0.2 percent. But that figure was revised downward to minus 0.2 percent.
The IBGE says the country's GDP stands at 1.27 trillion reals ($567 billion).
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