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Gas prices rise 14.8 cents a gallon

Chattanooga gas prices rose 14.8 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $1.88 per gallon for regular fuel, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations in the Chattanooga area.

Last week's increase in prices at the pump left the average price of a gallon of regular gas 15.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago in Chattanooga. But local fuel prices are still 31.3 cents per gallon lower than a year ago and 23 cents a gallon below the U.S. average of $2.11 for regular gas, GasBuddy.com reported Monday.

"With oil holding near a pandemic high around $45 per barrel, we may see additional upward pressure in the weeks ahead, but it's unlikely to be earth shattering," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "We're likely to remain in somewhat of a limbo until early 2021 or until vaccines begin to see widespread distribution and Americans slowly start venturing back to their normal lifestyle— if they ever do."

 

Gigi's Cupcakes wins Comcast RISE aid

Mana Sweets LLC, a cupcake bakery founded by former NFL football player Jamar Israel Fletcher and Apison entrepreneur Doney Swafford, has been selected by Comcast as one of 700 small and minority-owned businesses to receive consulting, media and creative production services from Comast's ad sales division known as Effectv.

The business, which operates as Gigi's Cupcakes on Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd, took over the local franchise in East in February and offers cupcakes, cheesecake, brownies and cookies. Mana Sweets was among 17 Tennessee companies selected for the first round of the Comcast RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment) competition launched by by the cable TV giant in October.

"We are thrilled to support Black-owned small businesses here in Tennessee through the Comcast RISE program," said Jason Gumbs, regional senior vice president at Comcast. "This program was created with the intention of helping small businesses impacted by the pandemic navigate this very challenging time."

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this summer. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multiyear plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

In early 2021, Comcast will be awarding grants of up to $10,000 each for U.S.-based small and diverse businesses that have been in operations for three to five years.

 

Weekend air travel highest in pandemic

Nearly 1.2 million people passed through U.S. airports Sunday, the greatest number since the pandemic gripped the country in March, despite pleas from health experts for Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

The Transportation Security Administration screened at least 1 million people on four of the last 10 days through Sunday. That's still half the crowd recorded last year at airports, when more than 2 million people were counted per day.

With new reported cases of coronavirus spiking across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a warning against Thanksgiving travel just a week before the holiday.

Some airlines had reported a pullback in bookings as virus cases grew. On Monday, JetBlue Airways said "booking trends remain volatile," and a recovery in travel demand will be uneven into next year.

JetBlue, the nation's sixth-largest airline, plans to fly only half its normal schedule in the fourth quarter and revenue will fall about 70% from the same period last year.

 

FCC chairman leaves in January

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, says he is leaving the telecommunications regulator on Inauguration Day.

President-elect Joe Biden will choose a new Democratic head for the agency. A new administration typically picks a new chairman.

Pai has presided over a contentious FCC over the last four years. He undid net neutrality rules that barred internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T from favoring some types of online traffic over others in 2017 and championed other deregulatory efforts. He has also worked to free up spectrum for cellphone companies so they can roll out 5G, the next-generation wireless standard that promises faster speeds, and cracked down on Chinese telecom companies as national security threats.

The incoming FCC is likely to try to reinstate net neutrality rules and focus on closing the "digital divide," getting internet service to Americans who don't have it because it's not available or they can't afford it.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

Arcadia Group files bankruptcy

Arcadia Group, the British retail empire that has been run by the billionaire Philip Green for 18 years, was placed into a type of bankruptcy protection on Monday, a decision that effectively puts around 13,000 jobs at risk.

In another blow to the country's retail industry in the run-up to the crucial Christmas trading period, the owner of such brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, said it had called in administrators from Deloitte. The move protects Arcadia from creditors while a buyer is sought for all or parts of the company.

"This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders," said Ian Grabiner, Arcadia's chief executive.

"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands," he added.

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