Business In Brief - September 19, 2007

Chester dialysis clinic a 'Center of Excellence'

CHESTER -- The Fresenius Medical Care Chester Dialysis Clinic at 501 Healthway Drive has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by Fresenius Medical Care for its accomplishments during 2006.

Dr. William Bixenman is medical director, and Harriet Jones is the clinical manager.

This is the eighth year that Fresenius Medical Care has recognized local dialysis clinics as Centers of Excellence. The awards are given only to those clinics that meet the company's quality of care standards based on objective measurements of the patients' status.

Fresenius Medical Care has a network of 1,500 dialysis clinics that provide dialysis treatment to approximately 115,000 patients. For more information, visit

Career information symposium Saturday

Jay Rinehart will conduct a career information symposium and breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at 1348 Ebenezer Road, Suite 102, in Rock Hill.

The symposium is free. For more information, call 329-3333.

Chamber after hours in Fort Mill on Thursday

FORT MILL -- Founders Federal Credit Union and Staffmark will host the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce's business after hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Springfield Golf Club, 639 Hambly House Lane.

For more information, contact Aimee Pertuset at 324-7500 or apertuset@yorkcountychamber. com.

Florist accredited in floral design

Madeline Presler-McDonald, owner/president of Plant Peddler Shoppe in Rock Hill, recently passed the American Institute of Floral Designer's Accreditation Evaluation Session and will be inducted as a member of AIFD during ceremonies at the institute's annual symposium in July in Chicago.

Presler-McDonald was one of 43 candidates from 13 states and five countries to pass the evaluation session. In all, 111 floral professionals participated.

A native of Rock Hill, Presler-McDonald attended Winthrop University and graduated from York Technical College with a degree in business management. She has been in the flower business for 35 years and opened the Plant Peddler in November 1980.

A nonprofit education association dedicated to the advancement of professionalism and the art of floral design, AIFD Accredited membership is regarded as a high honor in the floral industry. Candidates become accredited by demonstrating advanced abilities before an international panel of evaluators.

Linda Hall selected to Century 21 council

FORT MILL -- Century 21 First Choice agent Linda Hall has been selected to serve on the Century 21 President's Advisory Council.

Hall is one of 15 Century 21 agents nationwide selected to provide advice to Century 21 president and CEO Thomas Kuntz on strategy and budget decisions for 2008.

Hall has 30 years of experience in real estate. She is the lead agent of the Linda Hall team, which was recognized with the Double Centurion award for sales productivity in 2006. She is an accredited buyer representative and certified residential specialist.

Century 21 First Choice has locations in Fort Mill and Indian Land. Information is available at

Foreclosure filings more than double from last year

LOS ANGELES -- The number of foreclosure filings reported in the U.S. last month more than doubled versus August 2006 and jumped 36 percent from July, a trend that signals many homeowners are increasingly unable to make timely payments on their mortgages or sell their homes amid a national housing slump.

A total of 243,947 foreclosure filings were reported in August, up 115 percent from 113,300 in the same month a year ago, Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac said Tuesday.

In July, 179,599 foreclosure filings were reported.

The filings include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. Some properties might have received more than one notice if the owners have multiple mortgages.

August's total represents the highest number of foreclosure filings reported in a single month since the company began tracking monthly filings two years ago.

Sprint, Microsoft unveil cell phone search service

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sprint and Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a service that uses a mobile phone's navigation power to find nearby businesses or restaurants.

The service is one of several enhancements for the Microsoft Live Search application already on Sprint and Nextel phones.

Other new services include a voice recognition search and improvements to Microsoft's search interface that allow users to search for and see photos and text more easily on mobile phones.

The services are free for Sprint customers paying for Internet service on their phones.

The navigation service uses Sprint's cell towers to pinpoint a phone's location to find nearby requested businesses or facilities.

Keying in the word "pizza" while at 17th Street and Grand Boulevard in downtown Kansas City, for instance, turns up a list of several restaurants within a few blocks.

A link for each business leads to a map with the restaurant's location and an on-screen button to call the business.

Sprint also will be the first wireless company to use new Microsoft technology that allows users to bypass the phone's keypad and speak into the phone to begin a search.

Say the word "pizza" into a phone enabled for the service -- currently it works on only five models of Sprint phones -- and the same list of restaurants pops up.

"The location-based and voice technologies we're delivering today with Sprint are a first in the U.S. mobile industry bringing customers a smart and easy search experience on the phone," said Brian Arbogast, vice president of mobile services for Microsoft.

A third enhancement opens up more of the Web to Sprint mobile searchers. Live Search uses a new rendering technology to redraw Web pages to make them readable on Sprint phones.

Microsoft and Sprint cut a deal in November to make the software company's search engine the default search on Sprint mobile phones.

Microsoft plans to cash in on the service with the link allowing searchers to automatically call businesses, and through other advertising planned in the future.

Spokesmen for Microsoft and Sprint declined to reveal financial terms of the deal.

Shares of Sprint on Tuesday closed up 25 cents at 17.90.

To reach David Hayes, send e-mail to


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