ALA Executive Briefing
July 9, 2010

Gates tightens rules for military and the media
The New York Times
Days after a four-star general was relieved of command for comments made to Rolling Stone magazine, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued orders recently tightening the reins on officials dealing with the news media. More

House passes $80 billion war spending bill
The New York Times
The House approved a war spending bill recently with a provision that would include $10 billion to help school districts avoid educator layoffs, paying for the effort, in part, with $800 million in cuts to several of President Obama's key education initiatives.More

Brand-name exemption at military commissaries could be at risk
Herald Net
One great strength of military commissaries is that patrons can buy brand-name items at deep discounts, comfortable in the knowledge they are quality products, food safety isn't an issue and most goods are identical to those sold commercially off base and back home.More

Growing number of Seattle-area residents growing their own groceries
The Seattle Times
Annette Cottrell of Seattle is one of a growing number of urban residents weaning themselves off the traditional food system, some driven by economics, distrust of big food companies, environmental concerns or fears about the future. She realized: The only way to know what she was feeding her kids was to make it herself.More

A super shift in grocery habits
Star Tribune
The expansion of the discounted megastores, like Target and Wal-mart, has made an already tough business that much more competitive, putting downward pressure on prices at all grocery stores — a plus for consumers. The grim economy of the past 18 months has only given the discounters more leverage.More

Shell fuel rewards program expands
Shell and Kroger launched the next phase of its fuel reward program recently. The program offers customers the option to redeem their fuel rewards points through a price rollback at the pump using the Shell Rewards proprietary software platform. Winn-Dixie will kick off its second wave of the Excentus Fuelperks! rewards program with Shell in the greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La. areas.More

Cattle rise on signs of tightening US beef supply; Hogs gain
Bloomberg Newsweek
Cattle futures rose for a second straight day on speculation that U.S. grocers are paying more for beef, as a jump in exports reduces supplies available for domestic use. Hogs also gained. "Beef exports have been running 20 to 30 percent over last year, combined with a sharp drop in imports," said Rich Nelson, the director of research at Allendale Inc. in McHenry, Illinois. "We've got tight supplies, more than the trade had expected."More

Consumers must demand more from the FDA
The Daily Caller
A new report by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn't able to deal with the nation's food supply problems. Scientists from the two groups called on Congress to grant the FDA more authority to prevent food-borne illnesses rather than simply react to them.More

Reusable bag health risk stems from meat juice
Wallet Pop
Those reusable grocery bags may be an environmentally friendly replacement for the plastic store bags, but they could be a breeding ground for bacteria including E. coli when juice from raw meat seeps out of packaging and on to the bag. The next time something is put in the bag, it could get contaminated, a study says.More

Amazon opens online grocer in UK
The Wall Street Journal Inc. started selling groceries online in the U.K. recently, entering one of the world's most cut-throat supermarket sectors, where major players such as Tesco PLC and J Sainsbury PLC have been competing fiercely to win online shoppers for years. Amazon already sells a similar array of supermarket items across the U.S.More

7-Eleven to celebrate birthday with free Slurpees and music
Convenience Store News
To celebrate its 83rd birthday, convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc., will give away roughly 5 million 7.11-ounce Slurpee frozen carbonated drinks to customers at its more than 8,200 convenience stores in America and Canada. The drinks will be accompanied by "Slurpee-brations" and 7-Eleven birthday parties including music, entertainment, prizes and food sampling, according to the company.More

Burger King wins Energy Efficiency Excellence Award
Chain Store Age
Burger King Corp. was awarded the 2010 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award in the "Restaurant Chain" category by Southern California Gas Co. The award recognized BKC as an industry leader for its innovation and commitment to develop energy-efficient kitchen equipment. Among the company's innovations is the Duke Flexible Batch Broiler, which reduces energy costs.More

Shaping customer experience a critical strategy as retail recovers
Retail Customer Experience
As fragile as it may be, there's a retail recovery underway as consumers gain more financial confidence. Now that retail acquisitions have calmed down and the economy is stabilizing, there's a fight for consumable dollars. One of the most potent pieces in the retail arsenal is ensuring a consistent and differentiated consumer experience.More

Gas station storage tanks threaten groundwater
Throughout the state of California, dozens of abandoned and closed gas stations have been leaking contaminants into the soil and threatening groundwater for years. Three of those hazardous sites are in the Bay Area. The State Water Resource Control Board authorized more than $3 million to kick-start the cleanup.More

Try online restaurant coupons for great bargains
The next time you go out to dinner, why not eat more, for less? Thanks to a proliferation of group-buying Web sites such as, Groupon and LivingSocial, dining out in many of the region's most popular restaurants comes with a side of deep discount. Tapping into multiple zeitgeists, from social-media use to foodie fever, these bargains give us the ultimate means to justify our hunger for dining out.More

How the electric car will save us: Getting charged up about a gasoline-free future
Independent Weekly
The first automobiles ran on batteries. But when the modern gas-fueled internal combustion engine debuted in the 20th century, even Edison understood that petroleum trumped electricity when it came to powering a car that wasn't attached to a wire. A century later, though, that advantage is poised to flip. More

New ground chicken options offer merchandising flexibility
Perishable News
Gold'n Plump Poultry, the Midwest's largest fully integrated chicken producer, is following up the launch of its Recipe Ready™ Ground Chicken in 2008 with an encore of six ground chicken line extensions, due to start shipping nationally after Labor Day this Fall. The new products offer both merchandising flexibility for the retailer and alternatives to ground beef for health conscious consumers looking for lean products.More

GSA unveils overhaul of, featuring mobile apps
Government Executive
The General Services Administration unveiled a refurbished, the official home page for federal services and resources. It now features mobile applications, a more sophisticated search engine and other enhanced navigation aides.More

New program honors military kids, friends with fun
Department of Defense
When Defense Department and USO officials created the "Me and a Friend" program, Kelsie Vick was who they had in mind. After moving 10 times with her father, Army Master Sgt. John Vick, Kelsie knows as well as anyone the sacrifices military children make. And, like many military kids, she takes it in stride. "I liked it," she said, of the military lifestyle.More