Sunday, December 28, 2008

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2008: Unforgettable

It was, at best, two steps forward and two steps back for the Charleston economy in 2008, an eventful, tumultuous and unforgettable year by any measure. Gasoline prices, which shattered the $4-a-gallon ceiling at midyear and put a serious crimp on the expense side of the accounting ledger ...

Pumped-up dollar deflates sales overseas

The weak greenback had made all kinds of U.S. exports more affordable. But a strengthening in the currency is suddenly rendering those same American goods much more expensive abroad.

Lower fuel and home prices stall green building

One analyst thinks most major builders will continue to invest in green developments. But they’ll likely need to find cheaper ways of doing it next year.

Retiree havens eye younger buyers to combat housing bust

"Active adult” developments across the U.S., residents are debating whether to scrap the age restrictions that have helped define their way of life for almost five decades. Proponents of “age desegregation,” as it’s known in the industry, say opening the doors to people under 55 is the only way their once-idyllic enclaves can stay afloat. But it is a hard sell among some residents.

Car Talk

Q. I have a four-wheel-drive 2005 Dodge Dakota with 32,000 miles on it. Since I had the front brake pads replaced four months ago, I have noticed a faint burning smell coming from the wheels after I drive to work. I took it back to the repair shop, and they could not find anything wrong. This weekend, I took it down a winding canyon road, and when I got to the bottom, there was smoke coming from the wheels, along with a strong burning smell. I took it to the Dodge dealer, and they can’t find anything wrong with the brakes â€" nothing charred, no pulsation and plenty of pad left. Do you have any idea why my brakes are smoking? TOM: Well, usually brakes smoke for one of two reasons. Either they’re being applied continually, or someone has offered them a good Cuban stogie.

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