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Readers Respond: Tempest in a two-by-four

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A story on homechannelnews.com about potential design value changes for Southern Pine lumber products generated comments, including one from the Southern Forest Products Association, explaining its role. 

The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) does not test lumber or establish design values. SFPA is not a lumber rules-writing agency. The SFPA’s primary function is to market lumber products and to help users understand Southern Pine grading rules and design values developed by the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) and approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC). 

“We communicate information provided to us, but we do not have a primary role in the decisions made by SPIB or ALSC,” said SFPA president Adrian Blocker. “SFPA is not responsible for the timing of decisions made with regard to proposed new design values for visually graded dimension lumber; our objective is to make this information available to our customers as quickly as possible, and to try to be of assistance to explain what we know,” he added.

“Yesterday, the ALSC Board of Review issued a notice stating it will review all information it has received or is furnished involving design values for all species at its Oct. 20, 2011, meeting. SPIB was the first rules-writing agency to submit proposed new design values to ALSC. The National Lumber Grading Authority has submitted its monitoring data to ALSC. All other agencies are immediately undertaking evaluation of their resources and have submitted sampling and testing plans for their species to ALSC. The ALSC board has asked the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory to conduct a technical review of all species’ submittals. The ALSC Board of Review wants to hear from all parties that may be affected by these proposed changes at its upcoming meeting.

“SFPA supports an orderly transition to new design values,” Blocker said. “We understand the deep concerns expressed by end users due to the current lack of a clear and reasonable transition plan with implementation timing guidance. Although SFPA has no control over that process, we will continue to communicate concerns and new information as it becomes available.”
— Southern Forest Products Association
Kenner, La.

“In our market (New Hampshire), Southern Yellow Pine is used primarily as pressure treated, and mostly in exterior decks. The result of decreased design value changes would most likely cause us to increase member size and reduce spans. It’s hard to say what impact that might have on the market. It will make the finished price of a deck project higher for sure. But, will it be enough to stop people from building these decks? Probably not!”
— Eric Murphy
East Coast Lumber

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Lowe’s announces 20 store closings

BY Ken Clark

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s said today it is closing 20 underperforming stores in 15 states and slowing down its rate of new-store development. Ten locations have already shuttered, while the remaining 10 will be closed in about a month, after closing sales.

"Closing stores is never easy, given the impact on hard-working employees and local communities,” said Robert Niblock, chairman, president and CEO. “However, we have an obligation to make tough decisions when necessary to improve profitability and strengthen our financial position."

The stores are affected by the closing are in Los Banos, Calif.; Westminster, Calif.; Denver; Aurora, Ill.; Oswego, Ill.; Chalmette, La.; Haverhill, Mass.; Biddeford, Maine; Ellsworth, Maine; Ionia, Mich.; Rogers, Minn.; Claremont, N.H.; Hooksett, N.H.; Manchester, N.H.; Old Bridge, N.J.; Batavia, N.Y.; N. Kingstown, R.I.; Emporia, Va.; S. Tacoma, Wash.; and Brown Deer, Wis. 

Meanwhile, the company said it is slowing down its rate of new store openings and canceling some projects that were in the pipeline. Instead of a new store-opening rate of about 30 per year, Lowe’s expects to open 10 to 15 new stores per year in North America starting in 2012. 

The company expects to recognize total exit costs related to the store closings and discontinued projects of $100 million to $130 million. About 1,950 jobs will be lost.

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Operation Homefront gets infusion from Home Depot

BY Ken Clark

San Antonio, Texas-based Operation Homefront, a national non-profit organization providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors, has received a $750,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation.

The gift will help wounded veterans with home projects and to help repair, rehabilitate and retrofit homes of veterans around the country. 

In addition to funding, Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, will lend a hand with the projects.  

The grant also will help provide transitional family housing for Wounded Warriors leaving the military due to their injuries through the Operation Homefront Village programs near Washington, D.C., San Antonio and San Diego.



“We are committed to ensuring that every veteran has a safe place to call home,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “Operation Homefront is one of the key organizations working to address the needs of injured service members and their families, and we are honored to help them increase their capacity to serve those who have served us all.” 

The gift is part of Home Depot’s "Celebration of Service" campaign to honor U.S. military veterans.

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