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• The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Publix has opened its first Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified store: “The 28,000-square-foot store in Sarasota opened in April 2009 ... The store was developed as part of the Lakeland-based chain’s green initiatives and supported its commitment ‘to responsibly grow and maintain a successful business without sacrificing its present viability or the planet’s future,’ a release said.

“LEED...has become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED certification criteria is based on many aspects, including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that “ground-beef prices are nearing a record after a sharp rise in recent months, potentially eating into burger-chain profits. Wholesale prices for 90% lean boneless beef were about $1.63 a pound in the week ended April 9, up more than 32% from last year's low in November, according to Agriculture Department data, and near highs hit in 2008. Prices for 50% lean boneless beef, the other main component in most restaurant hamburgers, were up 30.7% from November.

“One concern is that ground beef prices, which typically hit their yearly peak around early June, have already had a significant run-up this year.” The impact could be seen most by fast food chains, which analysts believe will be hard-pressed to raise prices to reflect the higher costs, especially because many consumers are operating with a recession-mindset.

• PCC Natural Markets and Seattle Children's Hospital have joined forces to help local families in need. Starting May 1 and running through June 15, PCC will donate 5% of "Kid Picks" product sales, up to a total of $10,000, to support Seattle Children's as part of the "Families Helping Families" program.

To be a PCC Kid Pick, a product must be approved by two-thirds of the thirty plus child "judges" who test it during tastings on the Kid Picks Mobile conducted at PCC stores, community events and schools. Also in May, PCC will host a series of free family nutrition classes to help parents provide the meals and snacks their children need to be strong and healthy. Participants will try food samples, take part in hands-on activities and leave with information to help make healthy choices to feed the whole family. The PCC Kid Picks Mobile will also be on site in various stores taste testing a variety of foods.
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