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Blog Entries from March 2009

Secretary Locke Kicks Off 2010 Census 'One Year Out' Activities in First Public Event

Commer Secretary Locke gesturing on podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined 250 national partners from around the country today in launching outreach efforts for Census 2010 in his first public event. Locke stressed the importance of the national partners in the 2010 Census. “Today is my first day on the job, my first day at Commerce, and it’s a measure of the priority the Census is for me and my department, not to mention my appreciation of the work you do, that I’m here this morning,” Locke said. “I’m going to make sure the Census Bureau has the independent leadership it deserves and the professional oversight the American people demand.” (Remarks)

USPTO Seeks Nominees to Public Advisory Committees

USPTO seal.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. The committees advise the agency on a wide variety of policy and budgetary issues. Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Commerce. Member’s terms run for three years. Those appointed must have “substantial backgrounds and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, and technology and office automation.” (More)

U.S. Senate Confirms Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

The United States Senate confirmed Gary Locke as the nation’s 36th Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent. Secretary Locke will be a key member of President Obama’s economic team and will work to foster and promote American economic development at home, and will be an influential ambassador for American business and industry abroad. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. “I’m honored to take on this challenge and will work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and creating jobs,” Locke said. (More)

TV Converter Box Program Now Accepting Requests to Replace Expired Coupons for Transition to Digital TV

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

As the June 12 deadline for the nationwide conversion to digital TV approaches, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program has begun to accept replacement requests from eligible households whose coupons expired without being redeemed. Meanwhile, money allocated to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allowed NTIA to clear the digital converter box coupon waiting list. (More)

NIST Improves Microscope's Stability for Nanomanufacturing Biology

Ian an atomic force microscope (AFM), force is measured by a laser beam, yellow in this artist's rendition. AFM photo.

Photo: G. Kuebler/JILA/CU

A research team from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has improved by 100 times the stability of a workhorse tool in nanotechnology, known as the atomic force microscope, potentially improving a wide range of areas from nanomanufacturing to biology, where sensitive, atom-scale measurements must be made at room temperature in liquids. (More)

NOAA Seeks Proposals That Will Restore Coastal Habitat, Create Jobs, Stimulate Economy

ARRA 2009 logo.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA has begun accepting proposals for coastal habitat restoration projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The effort will foster healthy and resilient American communities while generating and protecting jobs for the thousands of people whose task it will be to restore valuable coastal and marine habitat. NOAA anticipates that up to $170 million may be available for coastal and marine habitat restoration; typical awards are expected to range between $1.5 million and $10 million. (More)

Census Bureau Releases Population Estimates for Nation's Metro Areas

Census Bureau logo.

Raleigh-Cary, N.C., and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, were the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008, according to July 1, 2008, population estimates for the nation’s metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and counties released by the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau. Raleigh-Cary saw its population climb 4.3 percent between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, to 1.1 million. Similarly, Austin-Round Rock experienced a 3.8 percent increase, to 1.7 million. These two large metro areas were among 47 of the 50 fastest-growing areas located entirely in the South or West. (More)

NOAA's National Weather Service and FEMA Offer Flood Safety Tips for Flood Safety Awareness Week

Image of rescuers in boat on flooded city street. Click for larger image.

Floodwaters can be swift, powerful and, at times, deadly. However, advanced planning can help protect lives and minimize property losses due to flooding. With the spring thaw approaching, NOAA's National Weather Service and FEMA are partnering to observe the fifth annual Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16-20, 2009. The National Weather Service, along with FEMA’s FloodSmart program, has launched a new Web page that shows the effects and cost of flooding to millions of people in the United States. (More)

Commerce's EDA Announces $150 Million in Recovery Funds to Create Jobs and Boost Development in Areas Hit Hard by Recession

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act logo.

As part of the U.S. Commerce Department’s appropriation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 recently signed by President Obama, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the availability of $150 million to create jobs and boost development in parts of the country hit hard by the recession. The Federal Funding Opportunity notice, published in the Federal Register, may be viewed at: www.eda.gov/InvestmentsGrants/FFON.xml. (More)

Commerce, USDA and FCC Announce Public Meetings on Recovery Act's Broadband Initiatives

Seen on stage are Agriculture Secretary Vilsack at podium, and seated are Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Acting Administrator Anna Gomez. Click for larger image.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade kicked off the joint broadband initiative under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and announced a series of public meetings that will give Americans an opportunity to help shape the program. “President Obama believes in the power of broadband. Broadband deployment throughout the country will help drive the nation's economic recovery and growth," Wade said. (More)