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Strawberry Pepsi? New fountain machine in test

May. 11, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

NEW YORK -- PepsiCo says it plans to start testing a new fountain machine at restaurants that lets people create a variety of flavor combinations, such as strawberry Mountain Dew.

The test follows Coca-Cola's introduction in 2009 of its Freestyle machine, which also lets customers touch a screen to pick from a wide array of flavor combinations. PepsiCo's test is set to begin at five restaurants in Denver next week.

Fountain sodas at restaurants, movie theaters and other outlets are an important part of the broader industry, representing about a quarter of overall sales volume, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. Coca-Cola Co., which is served in chains including McDonald's and Wendy's, has about 70 percent of the fountain business.

PepsiCo Inc. has about 30 percent and is served at chains including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, which it previously owned.

Fireside Grille to host chamber event

TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va. -- The Fireside Grille will host the May Business After Hours for the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

The networking event will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the restaurant at 4170 State Route 34, just off the Teays Valley Exit of Interstate 64. The event is open to chamber members and their guests, and a cash drawing sponsored by BB&T is planned.

RSVPs are required to (304) 757-6510 or chamber@putnamcounty.org.

Constellium workers file complaint against union

RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. -- Four workers at a Ravenswood aluminum plant have filed unfair labor practice charges against a union stemming from a strike last summer.

The National Right to Work Foundation said Friday the Constellium workers filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

The four workers resigned their membership in the United Steelworkers Local 5668 before they continued to work during the strike. The foundation said the workers received letters from local union officials in March threatening fines and stripping them of seniority, in violation of federal law.

Control towers at 149 small airports to stay open

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration will keep open for now the 149 control towers at small airports that were slated to close as the result of governmentwide automatic spending cuts imposed by Congress, the Transportation Department said Friday.

The towers, which are operated by contractors for the FAA at low-traffic airports, had been scheduled to close June 15.

They will now remain open at least through Sept. 30, the end of the federal budget year, the department said in a statement.

A bill hastily passed by Congress last month to end air traffic controller furloughs also makes enough money available to keep the towers open, the statement said. The bill gave the FAA authority to shift $253 million from accounts with unspent funds to keep controllers on the job. The furloughs at all FAA-operated airport towers and air traffic control facilities caused widespread flight delays across the country for nearly a week before Congress stepped in.