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Home sales sag, dentists gone in the night, no break for the non-profits, and ridding Main Street of a blight...

From Business Today:

Home sales in Western New York dipped in November as the slow recovery form the recession and a hangover from the government stimulus program lingers.FOR SALE  But on the upside, pending sales - those expected to close in the next few months - rose 29 percent. Regardless of the monthly number, all homeowners in the region can take a little relief in knowing the real estate bubble that has wrecked some families finances elsewhere, missed us. We rarely make a killing on our homes, but we rarely get killed, either.

Allcare Dental, a national chain based in Amherst, suddenly and with little notice, shut its doors and closed. Patients are advised to get another dentist. The company has been part of a probe int he summer by the state Attorney General into predatory lending by medical businesses. That - and the ferocious competition among dentists - couldn't have helped.

Erie County lawmakers couldn't bring themselves to extend a law that exempts non-profits that get tax-favored financing from paying prevailing wages on the construction jobs. Several area schools have used the financing and the break in paying wages to build about $122 million in projects. The legislature balked after hearing from area unions. The matter was tabled. County Executive Chris Collins wants to continue to push for its passage.

An eyesore on Main Street is finally getting what it deserves: the wrecking ball. The Buffalo Tourist Touristlodge Lodge, between Dodge and Best streets, has been a blight for decades. The owner plans to raze it and build a new Sleep Inn. It's aimed at serving the growing medical campus a few blocks away. And it could help with the turnaround of a tough stretch of Main Street.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

For all our houses...


Pitt Petri closing, non-profit wages, HealthNow cuts, and manufacturing slowing...

From Business Today:

Another sign of the changing demographics and shopping patterns in Buffalo: Pitt Petri, the high-end store selling china, silver, crystal and other elegant items is closing it's store on Delaware Avenue. The days when shops catering to the wealthy lined Petri Delaware are long gone. The street is changing into an attractive office location. Pitt Petri catered to the city's "carriage trade" for 87 years, but changing shopping patterns finally forced the closing. The building, beside the Buffalo Club, will become office space and home to Plaza Group, a commercial real estate developer.

Should non-profit groups be exempted from paying prevailing wages (union wages) on projects that they receive tax favored financing for? A county law that allowed that was not renewed, and County Executive Chris Collins wants to have it approved again. Non-profits - including schools - have used the reduced costs to help with $122 million in building projects around the region.

HealthNow, the parent company of the local BlueCross BlueShield health insurer, is cutting 45 jobs in Healthnow claims and billing as it uses more technology. The company said it is not a cost-cutting move, and it has about 60 job openings. 

Manufacturing in the region slowed in December, after a small increase in November. A drop in hiring and new orders hurt the sector. 

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Of bonds and mortgages, electric cars, flight attendant stress and for-profit college debt

From Business Today:

2010 is now in the rear-view mirror, and let the record show that it was a dramatic ride for bonds and the mortgage market. Yields dropped to levels not seen since the 1950s, due to the European economic crisis and the concept known as quantative easing.

The arrival of electric cars -- the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf -- drew a lot of attention, but not many are on the road yet, due to limited supply. General Motors sold between 250 and 350 Volts and Nissan sold less than 10 Leaf sedans in the past two weeks. Production of both is slowly ramping up, and thousands of people are on waiting lists. GM predicts it will sell some 10,000 Volts this year.

Flight attendant Steven Slater's outburst at the end of a JetBlue flight last year became a media sensation, but the incident also put a spotlight on the stressful job conditions flight attendants now face. Just as one example, American Airlines flight attedant Kristen Heller worked nine flights hop-scotching six cities over 48 hours. People in the industry say the glamour days of the job are gone, n the wake of givebacks in pay and benefits and increased duties.

Some students are turning to for-profit colleges in hopes of earning degrees that will lead to jobs. But the debt from student loans comes with a risk: their loan obligations can rarely be discharged in bankruptcy, which can prevent them from getting future access to student loans or housing.

Now, on to the home sales.









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