Roundup: Dividend payments down $77 billion in first quarter … Local FedEx driver going to ‘Super Bowl of Safety’

Smaller checks for shareholders: Companies reduced dividend payments by $77 billion in the first quarter, according to a new report from Standard & Poor’s. A record 367 publicly owned companies reduced dividend payments in the first quarter, compared with 83 reductions in the first quarter of 2008, while 283 increased dividend payments. That’s compared with the 598 firms that boosted payments in the first quarter of 2008.

Good drivers: Kyle Mitchell Sr., a FedEx Freight driver based in Baton Rouge, is going to the American Trucking Association’s 2009 National Truck Driving Competition in Pittsburgh. The event, dubbed the “Super Bowl of Safety” will be Aug. 18-22. Mitchell qualified for the championships by winning the tank truck class in the Louisiana State Truck Driving Championship last weekend in Baton Rouge. Kenny Benoit, a FedEx driver from Lafayette, is also going to the competition, after he won the 5-axle class.

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