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All roads lead to Buffalo ...

   OK, follow this bouncing ball: Two guys [pictured] who grew up and received most of their education in Russia, started working together in the Netherlands and now live in England will be traveling to Norway to pick up the Nobel Prize in physics they won Tuesday.
   In Buffalo, a scientist from India and an attorney who Nobelwinners just returned home from a stint in Canada have already launched a company to commercialize the stuff that the Russian-Dutch-British scientists get credit for isolating.

   Yep. Gotta secure those borders.

- Nobel news encourages UB spinoff - George yle/The Buffalo News
   A University at Buffalo spinoff company that already has won more than $600,000 in state and federal grants to develop an ultra-thin carbon material for industrial uses might find even more interest now that the scientists who first isolated the substance have won the Nobel Prize in physics.
   "It's great news," said Sarbajit Banerjee, the UB chemist who leads a team that has been developing means to commercialize a substance called graphene. "It's almost like hitting the lottery."
   Related:
- Nobel Worthy: Best Graphene Close-Ups - Wired
- Thinnest Material Bags the Thickest Prize - Huffington Post
- The Nobel Prize that was made in Manchester - The Independent [U.K.]
- Graphene: Thin stuff is a big fat deal - MSNBC
- Nobel Prize winner was rejected by Russian university - The Moscow News
- Nobel prize for physics goes to Manchester University scientists - The Guardian
   Britain's latest Nobel prizewinner has warned that cuts to research budgets could force good scientists abroad and damage universities' efforts to recruit from other countries.
   Konstantin Novoselov, a professor of physics at Manchester University, said the country risks losing senior figures and rising stars in science if funding cuts materialise in the government's spending review.

   John Simpson couldn't have said it better.

   But Tom Lehrer can:

 

Perry's promotion. Dell deal. Fuel feud.

   Business Today, and related news, in Friday's Buffalo News:

- Perry's gets hired for ice cream contest on 'Apprentice' - Samantha Maziarz Christmann/The Buffalo News
   Akron-based Perry's Ice Cream made its national television debut Thursday night with a starring appearance on NBC's "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump.
   The show's contestants competed to see who could sell the most Perry's ice cream on the streets of Thedonald New York City. ...
   "The Apprentice" has been a product integration success story, as television shows seek alternative revenue streams.
   Money from traditional television commercial viewership is down dramatically as viewers use digital video recorders to skip ad pitches. To stem the loss, producers have begun weaving product placement and advertisements into TV show story lines.
   Related:
- "The Apprentice:" Men Take a Lickin' in Ice Cream Sales - CBS.com
- Chinese Communist Party film sponsored by Cadillac - Motor Trend

- Medical records initiative gets a big boost from Dell - Henry L. Davis/The Buffalo News
   Dell Inc. announced Thursday that it will provide computer equipment and services to support a major University at Buffalo initiative to start an institute here devoted to advancing electronic medical records.
   Work at the Institute for Healthcare Informatics will focus on such areas as standardizing the way health care personnel share electronic medical records and using computers to improve the management of patients with chronic illnesses.
   Dell’s investment — valued at $15 million over the life of a five-year deal — comes in addition to a $20 million state grant; a $10 million investment by UBMD, the UB group that represents its 450 affiliated doctors; and the support of Buffalo-based Computer Task Group.
   The project will add about 100 jobs downtown with the potential for adding more than 100 jobs in the future, officials said.
   It also gives UB and Buffalo a foothold in the growing medical information technology field at a time when President Obama has made electronic medical records a priority for federal funding because of their potential for improving quality and controlling costs.
   For Dell, which established a relationship with UB with the 2002 installation of high-performance computing clusters in the university’s Center for Computational Research, the institute investment is part of a larger effort to diversify beyond its core hardware business.
    Related:
-
Electronic medical record sales doubled in 2008 - Med City News
- Doctors and hospitals quickly moving to electronic health records - Newark Star-Ledger
- Medical records to go digital, but slowly - Chattanooga Times Free Press 
Robots, not roads - Eliot Spitzer/Slate 

- PUSH faces court order obtained by utility - Mark Sommer/The Buffalo News
   National Fuel obtained a temporary restraining order this week in State Supreme Court against People United for Sustainable Housing, charging the West Side community organization with “escalating illegal, unprofessional and harassing tactics” to further its goals.
   National Fuel’s legal action followed a protest last Friday at its Amherst and Buffalo offices when 60 PUSH members tried to arrange a meeting with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David F. Smith, who has refused to meet with the group.
   PUSH has mounted a campaign for several months to get Smith to reform a consumer-funded program administered by the utility, the Conservation Incentive Program, that it claims could do more to conserve energy and reduce gas bills for low-income people.

   Maybe they just need to get together over some ice cream? Here's the song for the weekend.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Backwards on TV [on purpose] ...

   In Business Today, a new owner for a TV station that runs old shows. And a panel of experts lament how far behind the U.S. is in exploiting solar energy.

- WNGS-TV bought by local man; to air films - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   WNGS-TV has a new owner and, in a matter of days, will switch from religious programming to showing movies and vintage TV shows as an affiliate of This TV network.
   The purchase of the long-dormant Springville television station by ITV of Buffalo and two other entities, all controlled by Western New York broadcasting industry veteran Philip A. Arno, was approved earlier this week by the Federal Communications Commission. ...
   The switch to This TV is expected to occur within a day or two, Arno said Wednesday. This TV is a network from MGM and Weigel Broadcasting that features movies from the film libraries of MGM, United Artists, Orion Pictures and others. It also carries classic television shows such as “Mister Ed,” “The Patty Duke Show,” “Sea Hunt” and “The Outer Limits.”

   [Whatever you do, don't start following these links. You won't get any work done for the rest of the day. We will control your monitor.]

Au jus vs. Aw, jeez!

   From Business Today, one entrepreneur shows us where the beef is, while an allegedly nasty bill collector pays up. Or, put another way, Au jus vs. Aw, jeez!

- Former engineer opens roast beef stand - Samantha Maziarz Christmann /The Buffalo News
   Working as a software engineer downtown, Merl Rabb wondered why the only food cart choices outside Roastbeef his office building were hot dogs, hot dogs and more hot dogs.
   He planned that, when he retired, he would hit the streets with something different. But after being laid off twice -- first in 2008 and again in 2009 -- then working a series of short-term consulting gigs, he decided there was no time like the present to make the plunge.
   Enter Riley's Roast Beef, the gleaming silver food cart he mans himself at the corner of Main and Court streets.
   Wearing an immaculate white coat, he serves freshly made roast beef sandwiches on kimmelweck or hard roll with au jus and a pickle for $5.50 apiece. It's a higher price point than the $1.50 hot dog mainstays, but it's also a different product aimed at a different clientele.
   Rabb partnered with well-loved companies to offer fresh, local ingredients -- rolls from DiCamillo Bakery in Niagara Falls, Red Osier beef from Rochester and fresh ground Famous horseradish from the Broadway Market.

- Hamburg debt collector fined $125,000 by Cuomo - Jonathan D. Epstein /The Buffalo News
   A Hamburg-based debt collector agreed to pay $125,000 in fines and costs, and to reform its business practices, in a settlement announced Tuesday by state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.
   In a press release and court documents, Cuomo accused Lewis Hastie Receivables, of 56 Main St. in Hamburg, of violating state and federal debt collection laws.
   Cuomo said the firm, known as LHR, "repeatedly harassed and intimidated consumers, including some who did not even owe the debt in question." ...
   "It is unacceptable for debt collection companies to use illegal tactics for their own profit and we will continue to put a stop to the practice," he said.
   LHR president Wayne Lewis said in an emailed statement that the firm has been "fully cooperating" with Cuomo's office during the state investigation over the past year, and reached a settlement to "resolve this matter" but "does not admit to any wrongdoing."
   He also noted that the "locally owned and operated company" provides "good-paying jobs to hundreds of individuals throughout Western New York" and is "a good corporate citizen that gives back to the community." The firm was named as 2007 Business of the Year by the Town of Hamburg, according to its website.
   Related: A.G.'s website NY Dept Help.

   At least we've found the answer to this question:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

Buying and selling

   More from Business Today:

- Carubba is among commercial property buyers - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Sam Carubba [right], owner of Carubba Collision, paid $485,000 through Carubba & Sons LLC to buy 9180 Transit Road Carubba East Amherst, next door to his facility. ...
   The property currently has a small 1,500-square-foot stand-alone brick block building that is home to Becker’s Towing & Recovery, which Carubba also owns. That building will be demolished to make room for a 12,000-square-foot automotive retail plaza, enabling three businesses to add 10 to 15 jobs....
   Besides towing and mechanical repairs, Becker’s will help the state Department of Transportation and local law enforcement to investigate accidents involving deaths or heavy damage. For example, the company would assist in testing brakes and other systems on the vehicle to see if they were working properly.

- Dormant Springville TV station purchased - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Two veterans of Western New York television broadcasting are buying a dormant Springville television station from a national religious broadcaster with plans to bring it to life.
   Philip A. Arno and Donald M. Angelo, through ITV of Buffalo LLC, agreed to pay more than $2.75 million to acquire WNGS-TV from Texas-based Daystar Television Network. The deal is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval.
   WNGS, founded in 1996 and formerly found on Channel 67, has been “dark” since last June 12, when all U. S. television stations were mandated to switch from analog to digital signals.

The worst tax breaks in the world??

   This is one of those days when the Business Today section is just too far away from Page One.

   By the time most readers got to:
- Paladino project gets tax breaks - David Robinson/The Buffalo News [Page B6]
   Developer Carl P. Paladino’s plans to turn the long-vacant Baker Shoe building on the 400 block of Main Street into commercial space and loft-style apartments got a boost Monday from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
   The agency approved $218,000 in sales and mortgage tax breaks for the $4.3 million project to turn the Carlpaladino former shoe store into office and retail space on the bottom floor and 16 apartments on the upper floors.

   They had already seen:
- Paladino under fire for e-mails - Robert J. McCarthy/The Buffalo News [Page A1]
   Buffalo's Carl P. Paladino was scrambling to save his Republican candidacy for governor Monday after a local Web site released a string of pornographic and racially degrading e-mails that he acknowledged forwarding to a large group of friends.

   In fact, even before the paper hit their front porch, many people had already seen, and were buzzing about, the events described in:
- Olbermann, tea party leaders target Paladino - BuffaloNews.com
   Carl P. Paladino is finally gaining national headlines in his Republican campaign for governor — but hardly the kind he was seeking.
   Keith Olbermann bestowed his dubious "Worst Person in the World" award on Paladino during his "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" show on MSNBC Monday night after revelations that Paladino forwarded emails containing pornography, bestiality and racist material.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

   Maybe Paladino can hope we will all follow the next shiny object to enter our field of vision:
- Staffers' accounts paint more detailed, troubling picture of Massa's office - The Washington Post
   Just three months after Eric Massa was elected to Congress, his young male employees on Capitol Hill began complaining to supervisors that the lawmaker was making aggressive, sexual overtures toward them, according to new interviews and internal documents.
   Even though Massa has already resigned and isn't running for anything.

   While the candidate himself can take some comfort in:
- Why Intelligent People Do Weird Things  - Big Think

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Up against the wall, corporate bums

   From Washington:
- Toyota CEO apologizes for recall, accidents - AP/The Buffalo NewsStupak
   Akio Toyoda, scion of the beleaguered Toyota empire, is apologizing Wednesday before a House committee investigating deadly flaws that sparked the recall of 8.5 million cars.
   Toyoda, the automaker's 53-year-old chief executive, says the company grew too fast to keep up with safety controls
. [Live video available]
- Trio of Lawmakers Drove Quest to Probe Auto Recall - The Wall Street Journal
   A former Michigan cop, a Baptist minister and the wealthy founder of a car-alarm company are the trio of lawmakers putting Japanese auto giant Toyota Moror Corp. on the congressional hot seat formerly occupied by Detroit's Big Three.

   To Sacramento:
- Anthem Blue Cross executives grilled at state Capitol - The Sacramento Bee
   Anthem Blue Cross executives, under intense questioning by the state Assembly's Health Committee on Tuesday, defended the company's decision to raise premiums by as much as 39 percent on hundreds of thousands of Californians. [Includes video]
- Anthem Blue Cross plans to go ahead with rate hikes in California - The Los Angeles Times
   ...The testimony came as members of the committee lashed out at Anthem for its proposed rate hikes and its corporate profit a day before the rate controversy moves to Washington, where a congressional subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday.

   And back to Washington:
- Insurer blames health costs for Calif. rate hikes - AP/The Buffalo News
  In prepared testimony for a House investigative subcommittee, Angela Braly, president of WellPoint Inc., blamed the increases on the growing price tags for hospital care and pharmaceuticals. She also cited the ailing economy, which has caused many younger, healthier people to save money by dropping coverage, leaving her company covering an older, sicker population. [Live video available]
  WellPoint owns Anthem Blue Cross, whose plan to boost rates in California has made it a poster child for Democrats arguing that the nation's health system must be overhauled. Wednesday's hearing comes a day before President Barack Obama hosts bipartisan congressional leaders for a daylong, televised discussion of health care, a session he hopes will provide new momentum to Democrats' stalled legislation.

   Maybe this will make you feel better:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

The Makeover ripple effect

   The Extreme Makeover team's recent visit to Buffalo seems to be a gift that keeps on giving.

- 'Extreme Makeover' leaves big imprint on area economy - George Pyle/The Buffalo NewsExtreme-makeover-home-addition3
   The crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" packed up and left Buffalo weeks ago. In its wake, it left one rebuilt-from-the-ground-up home for a hard-pressed family, home and landscaping improvements for a disadvantaged neighborhood, a publicity boost to the community and, according to the person whose job it is to calculate such things, upwards of $1.5 million in economic impact to the community.
   "Actually it was probably something well north of that," said Tim Clark, head of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. "These guys tend to spend a ton of money in a short amount of time."
   And, because "reality shows" don't qualify for state incentives for filmmakers, which can include sales tax exemptions, the economic benefits came with little public outlay beyond traffic control.

   That last paragraph sounds good, especially if you've read anything about this:
-  Filmmakers charged in tax scandal - Lee Rood/The Des Moines Register
   The Iowa attorney general's office on Monday charged the former manager of the Iowa Film Office with misconduct in office and filed first-degree theft charges against principals in the making of a 2008 film in Council Bluffs.

   Meanwhile, back at the Statler:
- Nonprofit agency wants to buy mothballed Statler - Tom Buckham/The Buffalo News
   Three months ago, Western New York AmeriCorps workers pitched in to help finish the reconstruction of Delores Powell's dilapidated Massachusetts Avenue home for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." [The organization created its own impact report.]
   Now the volunteer service organization wants to put some financial muscle behind another Buffalo structure in dire need: Statler Towers.

   And the local ABC station reports that Makeover producers liked Buffalo so much they're looking to come back.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

Trying irony on for size

   In the last few months, Western New York lost the contract to make NBA jerseys but kept New Era Cap.
  Folks in Indiana are still making NFL gear. But, today, the job is a little bitter.
- Indy plant cranking out Saints NFL title shirts - Dana Hunsinger/The Indianopolis Star 
   A mad rush was on Monday to churn out New Orleans Saints Super Bowl champs shirts in an ironic place: Indianapolis.
   But even as employees at the Adidas Group plant on the Eastside mourned their home team's loss, general manager Blake Lundberg couldn't help but smile -- just a bit.
   "From a business standpoint, the Saints' win is tremendous for us," he said. "It will be a very nice long week for us."Amen

 The Super Bowl bin berry, berry good for the newspaper biz, too:
- Picayune printing up more of Super paper - New Orleans Times-Picayune
   Monday's Times-Picayune has already set the record for best-selling newspaper in our 173-year history, and thanks to your love of the Saints we're keeping the presses rolling.

   And, yes, there were a lot of commercials:
- Super Bowl full of ads - AP/Buffalo News
   Think Sunday night’s Super Bowl seemed like it had a lot of ads? You’re right. Commercials took up nearly 48 minutes of the game —the most for any Super Bowl.

   None of them touched this:

- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

A little earthquake for the banks, too.

   The Rev. [sic] Pat Robertson says the earthquake in Haiti is the latest evidence of a curse that resulted from the "pact with the devil" that nation made when it threw off French rule more than 200 years ago. [Jon Stewart nailed this one.][So did Christopher Hitchens.] 
   Wonder who made a deal with whom for the news about U.S. bankers -- called on the carpet one day, Wsjbanks threatened with mondo taxes the next, reporting huge profits in between -- to be pushed below the fold or off the front pages altogether, by appropriate coverage of said earthquake.
   Except of course, in The Wall Street Journal, bless its little capitalist heart.
   Good on the home team, then, for at least getting this one somewhere on P.1 today:
- Obama would tax banks to cover bailout loss - Jim Puzzanghera/The Los Angeles Times
   Vowing to recover “every single dime the American people are owed,” President Obama on Thursday proposed a new tax on the nation’s largest financial institutions to recover projected losses from the government’s bailouts.
   “We want our money back, and we’re going to get it,” Obama said in a short but sharply worded
White House speech. “If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they surely are in good enough shape to afford to pay back every penny to taxpayers.” [Video below]
   Informed takes from The New York Times [Tax the banks], NYT's Paul Krugman [No Perry Mason moments here], MarketWatch [J.P. Morgan has good news, bad timing], The Chicago Tribune [Populism peters out],  The Economist [Taxes may hurt borrowers], Reuters [Taxes may hurt customers] and Reuters [Nobody gets hurt if they take their business to small-enough-to-fail banks].  

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News