THIS IS AN ARCHIVED SITE
This site contains information from January 2009-December 2014. Click HERE to go the CURRENT commerce.gov website.

Blog Category: State

NOAA: Above-Normal Temperatures and Below-Normal Precipitation in April

Graphic of temperature mapNOAA's State of the Climate report shows the April 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 54.3 degress F, which is 2.3 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average (14th-warmest April on record). April's average precipitation was 2.18 inches, 0.25 inch below the 1901-2000 average, based on a 116-year record since 1895, this monthly analysis is prepared by scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (Release) (Temperature graphic) (Precipitation graphic)

Secretary Locke Joins HHS Secretary Sebelius for Web Chat on New Benefits in Affordable Care Act

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathlee

Image: HHS Web chat

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for a live Web chat today on a new reinsurance program that will help U.S. firms cover the health care costs of their early retirees. The program makes available $5 billion of financial assistance to businesses, state and local governments and unions to help them cover health care costs for those 55 and older not yet eligible for Medicare. The Web chat is available on-demand here. For more information, visit http://www.healthreform.gov/. (healthreform.gov en español) (White House health care Web site) (Fact sheet) (DOC May 4 release) (Secretary Sebelius May 4 release)

NOAA: Deepwater Incident, Gulf of Mexico Effort

Trajectory map--PDF.

The Deepwater Horizon incident declared a Spill of National Significance (SONS). A SONS is defined as "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge," and allows greater federal involvement. Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is assisting the Unified Command in evaluating a new technique to apply dispersants to oil at the source—5000’ below the surface. If successful, this would keep plumes and sheens from forming. (More) (NOAA-Deepwater) (Trajectory map 1—PDF) (IncidentNews: Deepwater Horizon)

Secretary Locke Highlights the Importance of Entrepreneurship at Opening of Presidential Summit

Secretary Locke on Panel at Opening of Presidential Summit. Click here for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center addressing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and stakeholders from over 50 countries on five continents. Together with President Obama, the Commerce and State Departments hosted the summit, highlighting the work and talents of entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities around the world. Following his remarks, Locke moderated the opening panel discussion on successful entrepreneurship. (Remarks) (Fact sheet)

NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month Hottest March on Record

Temperature anomolies map. Click for larger image.

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January-March period on record. The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880. (More) (Temperature anomalies graphic). (State of the Climate report)

NOAA: U.S. Averaged Warmer-than Normal, Drier-than-Normal in March

Map of March temperature. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the March 2010 average temperature for the entire contiguous United States was warmer-than-average with several New England states experiencing one of the warmest March’s on record. Average precipitation for the U.S. was below normal, but heavy rainfall set March records in parts of the Northeast. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. (More) (Temperatures) (Precipitation levels)

Secretary Locke Encourages Census Participation at New York Rally with Congressman Crowley

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Congressman Joseph Crowley for a 2010 Census meeting with New York community leaders. Locke and others rallied community leaders from the Bronx and Queens to make a “last call” for New Yorkers to participate in the 2010 Census. Although heavily populated, New York City is traditionally undercounted in the census, which causes the city and state to lose important federal funding. In 2000, only 57 percent of New York City households returned their census forms. Communities around the nation are focusing on getting residents to mail back their forms in a “March to the Mailbox” effort. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke, Senator Brown Highlight Effort to Boost Exports and U.S. Jobs in Ohio

Secretary Locke at microphone. Click for larger image.

U. S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Dublin, Ohio to talk to Americans about the administration’s plan to increase the sales of exports and support the creation of high-paying jobs through President Obama’s recently announced National Export Initiative (NEI). Locke was joined by Senator Sherrod Brown. Officials from the State and Agriculture Departments, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, also met with business leaders across the country to discuss the steps the Administration is taking to help businesses sell more U.S.-made goods and services abroad. (Remarks) (Release) (Export Promotion Cabinet release)

Secretary Locke Appears on "The Daily Show," Discusses 2010 Census

Locke and Stewart shown during interview. Click for larger image of screenshot.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and discussed the 2010 Census now underway. In the interview, Locke noted that the census is completely confidential. Information provided to the Census Bureau is protected by law from being shared with other federal, state and local agencies. Even the provisions of the Patriot Act do not override census privacy protections. He also noted that for every one percent increase in the number of people who mail back their census forms, taxpayers save about $85 million. (Video clip part 1, part 2)

NOAA: U.S. Winter and February Cooler Than Average

U.S. map graphic with temperature ranges. Click for full-size graphic.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that temperatures were below normal for the contiguous U.S. for the winter season (December through February). The winter season was wetter than normal; however precipitation in February alone was slightly below average. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (More) (Temperature map) (Precipitation map) (State of the Climate Report)

Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank Promotes Census in Schools in Hawaii

Blank joined by Hawaii Department of Education Secretary Ronn Nozoe (far left), Clifford (the Big Red Dog) and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona (far right). Click for larger image

Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank urged Hawaiians to participate in the 2010 Census at a Census in Schools event at the Linapuni Elementary School on Tuesday. “As you know, Hawaii was an undercounted state in the 2000 Census, and we don’t want that to happen in 2010,” Blank said. “The complete count of our children nationwide is critical to their health, education and the future strength of our communities and labor force. That’s why it’s so important parents list their children on the 2010 Census form and mail it back.” (More)

Secretary Locke Promotes National Export Initiative During Tour of Local Manufacturing Facility

Locke talking to facility works while touring. Click for larger image.

Following on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Ellicott Dredges in Baltimore, Md., to discuss export strategy and toured the company’s manufacturing facility. During his visit, Locke, joined by Congressman John Sarbanes, met with local businesses and discussed the National Export Initiative (NEI) and highlighted the role the Commerce Department continues to play in supporting U.S. businesses like Ellicott Dredges. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces Expanded Commerce-UPS Partnership to Boost U.S. Exports, Support Job Creation

Secretary Locke with UPS vehicles. Click for larger image.

On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and UPS CEO and Chairman Scott Davis announced new steps in an expanded partnership between UPS and the Department of Commerce that is designed to increase U.S. exports among small- and medium-sized businesses. Locke and Davis also met with local business leaders to discuss the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it will help American companies become more competitive while supporting job creation here at home. (More) (Remarks)

2010 Census 'Portrait of America' Road Tour at Daytona Beach Speedway

No. 16 Ford Fusion with onlookers. Click for larger image.

The 2010 Census is right around the corner, with forms to be mailed in mid-March. Thirteen vehicles are traveling across the country, engaging audiences at events from the Super Bowl to state and county fairs, church functions and community events. From Feb. 11-14, 2010 Census-sponsored No. 16 Ford Fusion, was on display at Daytona International Speedway and will be driven in three upcoming NASCAR races in Atlanta, Ga., Bristol, Tenn. and Martinsville, W.Va. by Greg Biffle. (More) (Road Tour) (Vehicles) (2010 Census Web site)

Secretary Locke Unveils Details of the National Export Initiative

Locke gesturing with hands from podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke unveiled details of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) today. During last week’s State of the Union speech, the president announced a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to support two million jobs in America. Locke detailed how the Export Initiative will help the country reach that goal—providing more funding, more focus and more cabinet-level coordination to grow U.S. exports. The NEI represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet. (More) (Remarks) (C-SPAN video, 1:00 p.m. EST)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Plans for Forum on R&D Commercialization at Universities

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Photo: National Press Club

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to host a forum with university leaders and key stakeholders on the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation, and commercialization of federally funded research next month in Washington, D.C. “It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo,” Locke said at the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship event. (More) (Remarks)

Census: Texas Gains Most in Population, Last Estimates Before 2010 Census Counts

Map of USA (Department of Commerce). Click for larger map.

Texas gained more people than any other state between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009 (478,000), followed by California (381,000), North Carolina (134,000), Georgia (131,000) and Florida (114,000), according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. “This is the final set of Census Bureau state population estimates that will be published before the official 2010 Census population counts to be released next December," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010." (More) (2010 Census)

Deputy Secretary Hightower Announces $39.7 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access in New York

Hightower, Arcuri and SUNY Cortland president Dr. Erik J. Bitterbaum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower and New York Congressman Michael Arcuri traveled to The State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland to spotlight a $39.7 million Recovery Act grant that will bring broadband Internet service to communities across the state that lack the technology. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic development, create jobs and improve education and health care. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces $25.4 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access to Maine, Vice President Announces $183 Million in 17 States

Recovery Act logo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the University of Maine announcing a $25.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to help bring high-speed Internet access to underserved communities across the state. The project, and the private investments it will enable, has the potential to connect one-fifth of all Maine households to a high-speed, 21st century Internet backbone. Earlier in the day in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden also announced an initial $183 million to expand broadband access in 17 states. (More) (Remarks) (VP Biden release)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Copenhagen to Discuss Administration's Commitment to Spur Clean Energy Technology, Reinvigorate the Economy

U.S. COP-15 logo. Click to go to State Department Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Copenhagen on Friday to discuss the Obama administration’s commitment to meet clean energy and climate change challenges and the promise clean energy development holds for spurring innovation, reinvigorating the economy and creating jobs. Secretary Locke has been a leading voice in the administration promoting innovation and investment in the clean energy economy. (More) (Commerce COP-15 Web site) (U.S. Center Web site)

Commerce Department Launches Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Web Site

U.S. COP-15 logo. Click to go to Web site.

The Department of Commerce has launched a Web site devoted to the participation of the United States in the 15th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 7-18. In cooperation with the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Center, the Web site, www.commerce.gov/cop15/, will include daily schedules, links to related content and live Webcasts from the U.S. Center. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco will participate as major speakers at the conference. The Web site link will be available on the right navigation bar of the Commerce homepage for the duration of the conference. (Web site) (NOAA at Copenhagen)

Secretary Locke Kicks Off Visit to China with Discussions on Intellectual Property and Innovation

U.S. State Department map of China.

Map: U.S. State Department

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property today at the Pearl River Delta International Forum on Innovation and Intellectual Property. At the forum, Locke spoke to government officials and business leaders and acknowledged that while China has made some progress protecting the intellectual property of foreign companies operating within its borders, more must be done. Later, at Jinan University, Locke joined a conversation with students about the significance of intellectual property rights for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. (IPR Forum remarks) (Jinan University remarks)

NOAA: September Temperatures Above-Average for the U.S

Map showing average temperatures. Click for larger image.

September 2009 average temperature for the contiguous United States was above the long-term average, according to NOAA’s monthly State of the Climate report issued today. Based on records going back to 1895, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. The average September temperature of 66.4 degrees F was 1.0 degree F above the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in September averaged 2.48 inches, exactly the 1901-2000 average. (More)

NTIA Announces First State Broadband Mapping Grants

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has awarded the first four grants under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program to fund activities in California, Indiana, North Carolina, and Vermont. The program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. The data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers' efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them. (More)

Secretary Locke, Mayor Franklin Announce 2010 ACF to be Held in Atlanta

Americas Competitiveness Forum 2009 logo. Click to visit ACF Web site.

At the closing of the 2009 Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Chile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin announced that the United States will host the next ACF in Atlanta in the fall of 2010. “I look forward to working with the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the local business community and other stakeholders to convene the 2010 ACF in the Peach State,” Locke said. “The ACF is a unique opportunity for the Americas to work together on issues critical to the economic prosperity of the region.” (More) (ACF 2009 Web site)

Secretary Locke meets with France's Minister of State for Foreign Trade

Ildrac and Locke seated. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with France’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Anne-Marie Idrac, at the Commerce Department. This was their first meeting. Secretary Locke and Minister of State Idrac shared views on the importance of increasing trade and economic growth. Locke affirmed, “The U.S. government is committed to expanding trade and avoiding protectionist policies.” The Secretary suggested that the Doha Round must be balanced and ambitious. “The United States and France would benefit from increasing trade with developing nations,” he said. (More)

Secretary Locke Breaks Ground on Major San Diego-Area Recovery Act Project

Shown with shovels in their hands: NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Directo Director Tony Haymet, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, NOAA Chief of Staff Margaret Spring. Click for larger image.

Photo: Robert Monroe/Scripps

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Mayor Jerry Sanders led a groundbreaking ceremony in La Jolla, Calif., for two new buildings dedicated to ocean science on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The project is a major groundbreaking in California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The buildings are supported by two federal agencies—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—and will feature state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces Over $11.9 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Seven States

EDA seal.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced over $11.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help seven states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will make water treatment facility upgrades in Kentucky; help build an access road to serve an industrial park in Minnesota; help make roadway updates to improve access to an industrial park in Illinois; help build water and sewer infrastructure needed to spur business development in Georgia; convert an existing building for use as a regional vocational training facility in Idaho; expand an existing dock and install a crane to boost the commercial fishing sector in Alaska, and extend an avenue and provide water infrastructure in Washington state.

NOAA Joins Other U.S. Agencies and Canada to Survey Arctic Continental Shelf

Image of U.S. and Canada Coast Guard icebreakers side by side. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join a multi-agency joint expedition that will bring together icebreakers from the U.S. and Canada to collect and share data useful to both countries in defining the full extent of the Arctic continental shelf. The Arctic survey is part of the multi-year, multi-agency effort undertaken by the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project, led by the Department of State, with vice co-chairs from the Department of the Interior and NOAA. NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research provided key funding for the U.S. mission. (More)

Census Bureau: U.S. Business Employers Add 100,000 Establishments in 2007

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

United States businesses with employees added more than 100,000 establishments in 2007, bringing the total number to 7.7 million and adding more than 650,000 employees to their payrolls. Overall, employees of businesses in the United States earned more than $5 trillion in annual payroll in 2007, up from $4.8 trillion in 2006. These economic numbers come from County Business Patterns: 2007, an annual report that contains data covering establishments with paid employees at the national and state levels, and in more than 3,100 counties. (More)

NIST: 'Microfluidic Palette' May Paint Clearer Picture of Biological Processes

Image of microfluidic palette. Click for larger image.

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created an innovative device called the “microfluidic palette” to produce multiple, steady-state chemical gradients—gradual changes in concentration across an area—in a miniature chamber about the diameter of a pinhead. The tool can be used to study the complex biological mechanisms in cells responsible for cancer metastasis, wound healing, biofilm formation and other fluid-related processes. (More)

NIST Awards $55.5 Million in Grants for New University Research Facilities

NIST logo.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it was awarding a total of over $55 million in grants to four universities for the construction of new scientific research facilities. The grants, which were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are contributing to four major construction projects to build state-of-the-art laboratory facilities devoted to a broad range of research topics, including the study of improved construction techniques to reduce losses from hurricanes, improved technologies for aquaculture, better methods and information to help preserve and maintain marine ecosystems, and advanced physics research in areas such as biophysics and nanoengineering. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Chinese Leaders in Beijing

Pictured seated are Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and State Councilor Liu Yangdong at the Great Hall of the People. Click for larger picture.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming in Beijing today. It was the second meeting between Minister Chen and Secretary Locke. They had a productive dialogue about shared priorities and issues of mutual concern, agreeing on the importance of building a positive and cooperative relationship that strengthens trade and creates jobs in the United States and China. Pictured here are Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and State Councilor Liu Yangdong at the Great Hall of the People. Locke also addressed the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S. China Business Council in Beijing. (More) (Remarks)

NTIA Unveils Program to Help States Map Internet Infrastructure

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced details of a grant program to fund collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning, which will assist NTIA in creating a national broadband map. This initiative will provide consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide. “This program satisfies Congress’ mandate that we collect comprehensive information on broadband in America,” said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. (More)

NOAA Forecasts Predicts large "Dead Zone" for Gulf of Mexico this Summer

Image of mouth of Mississippi River showing nutrient run-off. Click for data visualization.

A team of NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University, and the University of Michigan is forecasting that the “dead zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico this summer could be one of the largest on record. The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in bottom and near-bottom waters. The mouth of the Mississippi River (imaged here) is an example of how nutrient run-off creates plankton blooms. (More) (NOAA Visualization)

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive. This grant is the first awarded by the Commerce Department under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

NOAA Announces New Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites

Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up with experts from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University to form the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. The new institute will use satellite observations to detect, monitor and forecast climate change, and its impact on the environment, including ecosystems. “To help us understand climate change, we have to find ways to best leverage all of our available resources, including the information we get from satellites,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Participates in Port of Seattle Terminal 30 Grand Opening

Photo of ribbon cutting ceremony. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke returned to Washington state for a ceremony marking the rebuilt Terminal 30 at the Port of Seattle. He joined officials from the port, China Shipping–including its president Li Shaode. In his remarks, the Secretary said “I believe this port is another step in bringing our two nations closer together, a step that will ultimately improve the quality of life for both peoples.”

Secretary Locke Statement on National Travel and Tourism Week

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on the observance of National Travel and Tourism Week: “Last year, a record 58 million travelers visited the United States to conduct business, see family and friends, and experience our big cities, small towns and incredible natural wonders. As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, we are reminded that the industry benefits every state and U.S. territory, employing more than eight million workers across the country.” (More)

NOAA Researchers: Blue Whales Re-establishing Former Migration Patterns

Blue whale spouting. Click for larger image.

Scientists have documented the first known migration of blue whales from the coast of California to areas off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska since the end of commercial whaling in 1965. In the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science, researchers from Cascadia Research Collective in Washington state, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California, and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans identified 15 separate cases where blue whales were seen off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. (More)

NOAA Dedicates New Chesapeake Bay Research Vessel

Image of the R/V Bay Hyrdo II speeding through the water. Click for larrger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) christened a new state-of-the-art research vessel, R/V Bay Hydro II, which will collect oceanographic data in the Chesapeake Bay region—data critical to safe navigation and environmental protection in the nation’s largest estuary. The dedication took place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow and a cannon salute from the USS Constellation. (More)

NIST, Brookhaven Researchers Use Tuberculosis Bacteria to End 25-Year Quest

The bacterium behind one of mankind's deadliest scourges, tuberculosis, is helping researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) move closer to answering the decades-old question of what controls the switching on and off of genes that carry out all of life's functions. In a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, the NIST/BNL team reports that it has defined—for the first time—the structure of a "metabolic switch" found inside most types of bacteria. (More)

Census Bureau Opens Local Census Office in Richmond

Richmond, VA Local Census Office opening on January 29, 2009.  Pictured from left to right:  Randall Williams, Richmond Local Census Office Manager. Somonica L. Green, deputy regional director, Charlotte Region. Dwight C. Jones, Mayor of Richmond. Arnold A. Jackson, Associate director for the Decennial Census, US Census Bureau. and lastly the Honorable Henry L. Marsh III, Virginia State Senate, District 16. Click for larger image.

Mayor of Richmond Dwight C. Jones and Virginia State Senator Henry L. Marsh III joined the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau officials in officially opening the local census office in Richmond. This office will employ about 1,000 personnel during peak operations for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau is expected to open about 500 local census offices across the country and hire approximately 1.4 million people for the 2010 Census.