Information for, about, and of interest to the stone trade, including items previously featured in Latest News.

ASLA 2011 Awards Competition Open (Dec. 8)

WASHINGTON – It’s time to start thinking about submitting entries for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2011 awards.

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MIA Advances CEU Reach

CLEVELAND – Four leading interior design associations now recognize CEU (continuing education units) credits being offered by the Marble Institute of America (MIA).

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Letters: Concrete Countertops

It is refreshing to see concrete countertops featured in a trade magazine (“Alternative surfaces: the green option”, April 2009 Stone Business) aimed at the stone professional. As a long-time advocate for and an educator and researcher in concrete countertops, I commend you for raising the awareness of this versatile material. For too long concrete has “flown under-the-radar”, and its current rise in popularity is timed well, because there have been very recent advances in material and sealing technology that make it an attractive countertop material.

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Statement by John Mattke, co-chair, National Stone Council

In recent weeks, the Natural Stone Council (NSC) has sent a number of communications out to members of the stone industry to explain its activities and initiatives. The NSC board has also sought input to evaluate whether or not industry members support the NSC to the degree necessary for these initiatives to continue. We would like to thank those of you who have invested the time to express your thoughts and concerns in a constructive manner.

It has been very helpful and has led us to conclude that an industry unified around common goals is worthwhile, that building a brand preference for stone versus other materials is desirable and that a focus on positioning stone within the green building arena is an imperative. There may be differences of opinion on how to accomplish these things, but the primary initiatives undertaken by the NSC are valued by most industry members.

Funding, on the other hand, has been a contentious issue and has resulted in significantly reducing activity on these other initiatives as well. Throughout the year, the NSC board has reduced spending several times and cut back activity in order to stretch dollars while seeking a permanent funding solution.

Based on industry feedback, the NSC fundraising committee has been expanded to include additional stakeholders, many of whom have expressed strong opinions about the check-off solution being pursued by the NSC. This expanded committee, including 15 members in total, has been charged with further investigating funding alternatives (including check-off) and coming to the NSC annual meeting at StonExpo in October with several alternatives and a recommendation for board consideration. Look for additional communications to be distributed after the NSC board meeting at StonExpo this fall.

Also, if you plan to attend StonExpo this year, join the NSC for a discussion of the NSC and the future of these initiatives on Thursday, October 22 from 12:00pm to 12:30pm in the StonExchange presentation area on the show floor.

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about this or other activities the NSC has undertaken on behalf of the stone industry, please visit the website at or contact us at 800-210-3916.

Haas Leaves Federal Custody

OXNARD, Calif. – Federal authorities today released Gene Haas, president of Haas Automation Inc., ending 16 months of imprisonment on a tax-evasion conviction.

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