Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 2, 2014

Business in Brief: 03/02/2014

From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Elk Rapids Chamber meeting scheduled

ELK RAPIDS — The Elk Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will host their annual business meeting on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at the Government Center.

Chamber President Mike Husby will share information about the state of the Chamber and plans for the upcoming year. There is no charge, but attendees must be a member in good-standing.

Train gets stuck in snow in Michigan

HOLLAND — Amtrak says one of its passenger trains traveling from Chicago to Grand Rapids was delayed nearly three hours after getting stuck in a snow drift in Michigan.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm tells The Associated Press the Pere Marquette line train was about 8 miles west of Holland on Thursday night when CSX railroad directed the train into a side track for a freight train to pass. The Amtrak train got stuck on the side track.

Kulm says a CSX locomotive pulled out the Amtrak train. He says the Amtrak train and its 64 passengers arrived in Grand Rapids around midnight.

No one was injured and Kulm says the train had power for lights and heat at all times.

Bitcoin exchange files for bankruptcy

TOKYO — The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday and its chief executive said 850,000 bitcoins, worth several hundred million dollars, are unaccounted for.

The exchange’s CEO Mark Karpeles appeared before Japanese TV news cameras, bowing deeply. He said a weakness in the exchange’s systems was behind a massive loss of the virtual currency involving 750,000 bitcoins from users and 100,000 of the company’s own bitcoins. That would amount to about $425 million at recent prices.

The online exchange’s unplugging earlier this week and accusations it had suffered a catastrophic theft have drawn renewed regulatory attention to a currency created in 2009 as a way to make transactions across borders without third parties such as banks.

It remains unclear if the missing bitcoins were stolen, voided by technological flaws or both.

Karpeles had not made a public appearance since rumors of the exchange’s insolvency surfaced last month. He said in a web post Wednesday that he was working to resolve Mt. Gox’s problems.

The loss is a giant setback to the currency’s image because its boosters have promoted bitcoin’s cryptography as protecting it from counterfeiting and theft.

Expansion planned at Kentucky distillery

LORETTO, Ky. — The producers of Maker’s Mark bourbon announced a distillery expansion Thursday to pump up production and keep pace with growing demand for the Kentucky whiskey, known by its distinctive bottles sealed in red wax.

The $67 million expansion comes barely a year after the brand created a backlash by saying it was cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch its whiskey supplies. Producers quickly scrapped the idea.

The expansion — in the works well before the watered-down whiskey flap — comes amid strong sales across the whiskey sector. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenues rose a projected 10.2 percent last year in the U.S., and exports surpassed $1 billion for the first time, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Maker’s shipped 1.4 million cases in 2013, up 10.7 percent from the prior year. It forecasts shipments to reach 2 million cases later this decade.