www.charlestondailymail.com Business http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Jared Hunt column: Welcome back, winter blend http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140921/DM05/140929890 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140921/DM05/140929890 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:40:24 -0400 Last week featured a key event that could make drivers a little happier when they fill up at the pump.

Sept. 16 was the first day retailers could begin selling the so-called winter blend of gasoline.

Starting May 1 of each year, retailers can only sell what's called the summer blend of gasoline. The special blend is designed to cut smog and other harmful emissions during the summer driving season.

"Due to EPA regulations in warmer months to limit ozone and pollution, there are stricter requirements for gasoline everywhere, and requirements in bigger cities where tens of thousands of vehicles drive everyday are even more stringent," GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan explained in a blog post last week. "Even smaller communities switch to summer gasoline, but a version that isn't quite the same as what's used in larger cities."

The spring switch to this fuel requires refineries to shut down production temporarily as they retool to produce the summer blend. That can sometimes lead to supply shortages and often causes prices to spike between March and May.

The gasoline itself is also slightly more expensive.

"Summer gasoline contains blending components that cost more," DeHaan said.

But with the switch back to winter blend, gas prices are expected to drop somewhat in the coming weeks.

"With the switch back to winter gasoline, cheaper butane is again blended in to reduce the price of gasoline," DeHaan said.

The national price for regular unleaded was $3.39 a gallon at the start of last week, according to AAA. (West Virginia's average was $3.49 going into last week.)

With the switch to winter gasoline and a recent drop in crude oil prices, AAA experts expect the national average price to drop between 10 to 20 cents by the end of October. We should expect that trend to flow through to West Virginia.

When can you expect those cheaper prices to hit? Well, that's harder to predict.

Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, said it will depend on how much summer blend retailers still have in inventory and how quickly drivers use up that supply.

While the prices may drop, DeHaan pointed out that there is a trade-off. While winter gasoline is cheaper, it doesn't provide the same miles-per-gallon that the summer blend delivers.

"You may soon also notice a small drop in fuel economy," DeHaan said. "Winter gasoline contains more butane, which costs less, but also evaporates at a quicker rate and is more volatile."

Though the switch is still filtering through the gasoline supply chain, West Virginians are already benefiting from cheaper gas prices.

Friday's average price for regular unleaded was $3.453, down nearly 4 cents from where it was a week earlier and 11 cents from where it was a year ago ($3.563).

Last fall, prices bottomed around $3.36 a gallon in November and December, before rising to $3.38 in January. After that, prices began their annual spike, increasing significantly in February, March, April and May before topping out around $3.78 in June.

Japan Burger Kings boast black burger http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140921/ARTICLE/140929867 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140921/ARTICLE/140929867 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:56:38 -0400 TOKYO - The first Kuro, or black, burger had a black bun and sauce. Last year's edition, the Kuro Ninja, added a slice of (non-black) bacon to the signature black components. Now Burger King Japan is going black on black.

The fast-food chain added black cheese and darkened the other ingredients in the special burger duo added to menus Friday. Marketing Manager Kana Ienega said Burger King Japan wants people to try the burger and find it tasty even though it may look unappetizing at first.

The Kuro Pearl is simple with a black pepper beef patty covered with Chaliapin (onion and soy) sauce infused with squid ink. Its black cheese and buns are colored with bamboo charcoal. The Kuro Diamond is the same burger, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and mayonnaise.

The burgers are available in Japan until November. It's not clear why black burgers are a hit in Japan, but quirky food and drink products such as square watermelons, green tea candy bars and ice cucumber Pepsi are commonly sold.

The Alibaba IPO and your Top 10 things to know http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140920/ARTICLE/140929930 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140920/ARTICLE/140929930 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:21:27 -0400

By KEN SWEET<\n>AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - China's e-commerce giant Alibaba began trading its shares Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Here are ten things to know about Alibaba, and why its initial public offering made history:

THE BIGGEST: Alibaba raised $21.8 billion in its debut, making it the biggest U.S.-listed IPO in history after the IPO of credit card processing company Visa in 2008. If Alibaba's investment banks were to exercise their option to sell an additional 48 million shares, it could make Alibaba's IPO the biggest in the world, beating out the $22 billion IPO of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010.
DON'T FORGET YAHOO: It may have been a big day for Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma, but Yahoo's investors are feeling pretty good after Alibaba's IPO. Yahoo was an early investor in Alibaba, paying $1 billion for a stake in the company in 2005. Yahoo likely made $8.3 billion to $9.5 billion in Alibaba's IPO, and will still own a 16 percent stake in the company worth $37.7 billion.
ALIBABA ECLIPISES SILICON VALLEY: Alibaba now has a market capitalization of roughly $219.8 billion, according to FactSet. That makes the company bigger than some of the U.S. technology industry's most successful names, such as Facebook, eBay, and even Amazon.com.
ALL IN ONE: Investors are interested in Alibaba because the company dominates many businesses in China that, here in the U.S., are run by individual companies. Alibaba owns the websites Tmall and Taobao, which are similar to Amazon.com and eBay, respectively. The company also earns money from transaction fees related to its various businesses through Alipay, which is like PayPal. That's just three of Alibaba's many subsidiaries.
BIG PROFITS: Unlike the U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon, Alibaba has been consistently profitable. The company had $8.5 billion in sales in its latest fiscal year ending in March, with net income of $3.8 billion. The year prior, Alibaba had $5.4 billion in sales and $1.4 billion in profits. In comparison, Amazon sold $74.4 billion in goods in 2013, but made only $274 million in profits that year. In 2012, Amazon reported a net loss of $39 million.
RISKS: If Alibaba does well for investors, it will be the exception to what has been the trend for Chinese companies. When Chinese companies have listed stocks on American markets, their shares have lost an average 1 percent a year for the next three years, compared with an average 7 percent annual gain for other U.S. IPOs, according to research by Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida.
SECOND TIME AROUND: This isn't Alibaba's first time going public. Alibaba took its online shopping portal Alibaba.com public in 2007 in Hong Kong. Alibaba.com was a publicly traded company only for a few years. Alibaba took Alibaba.com private in 2012.
SOLID GOLD: Jack Ma, who started Alibaba in 1999 in his apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, is now among the richest people in the world. Ma's ownership in the company is worth roughly $18.2 billion, based on Alibaba's closing share price Friday. That doesn't include the shares he sold in the IPO, which are worth another $867 million, and his other investments. Bloomberg put his entire net worth at $21.9 billion, making him the 34th richest person in the world.
BIG WIN FOR NYSE: Alibaba chose to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the second A-list technology company to go public on the Big Board in less than a year. The NYSE handled Twitter's IPO last year. NYSE's competitor, the Nasdaq Stock Market, has struggled to win the business of big tech companies since Facebook's IPO in 2012, which was plagued with technical problems.
LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF...: Jack Ma biggest hero is the fictional character Forrest Gump. "I really like that guy," Ma said, in an interview with business channel CNBC on Friday. "Every time I'm frustrated, I watch the movie. (The movie tells) me that no matter whatever changed, you are you."

Business people, September 19 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140919/DM05/140919219 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140919/DM05/140919219 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 EDUCATION

n William Hutchens, West Virginia University's vice president for legal affairs, corporate, state and local relations and a counselor to the university president, has announced he will retire effective Oct. 17.

Hutchens came to WVU in March 2010 to head the University's legal affairs team under then-President Jim Clements, but has had growing responsibilities and duties during his tenure, which were reflected in two title changes. In April of 2012, Clements recognized Hutchens' expanding role when he changed his title to vice president for corporate and legal affairs and general counsel. Hutchens' current title was created recently under President Gordon Gee to better reflect his multiple roles.


n Karl Shanholtzer, chief financial officer for the state Board of Treasury Investments, has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, one of only 25 such designees in West Virginia.

Shanholtzer, a certified public accountant, is an 18-year veteran of the Treasurer's Office. He worked as the bureau's internal auditor before assuming CFO duties in 2012. A native of Greenbrier County, he lives in Charleston with his wife and daughter.


n Dr. Nariman Halabi, a specialist in pulmonology and critical care, has joined the Thomas Health System and is now accepting new patients.

Halabi focuses on treating and alleviating the symptoms of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, black lung, infections and lung masses. Her office is located at Saint Francis Hospital Medical Office Building South 331 Laidley St., Suite 208 in Charleston.


n Bailey & Wyant associate Suleiman Oko-ogua has been named to the Lawyers of Color's second Hot List. The list recognizes early- to mid-career attorneys excelling in the legal profession.

The Lawyers of Color accepted nominations from mentors, peers and colleagues. They made editorial picks based on the candidates with noteworthy accomplishments, especially those who work with legal pipeline initiatives.


n Rod Siler has been named manager of the new ABC Supply Co. Inc. branch in Charleston, located at 1430 Pennsylvania Ave.

Siler comes to the new Charleston store from the ABC Supply location in Huntington, which he managed for the last eight years. A veteran manager and member of the President's Club, Siler earned managing partner status during his tenure at the Huntington branch. He joined ABC Supply in 2006 and is a resident of Charleston.

Compiled by Jared Hunt

Email announcements regarding new hires, promotions, or awards at your business to business@dailymailwv.com. Attach headshots in JPEG format.

State may dissolve small business loan organization http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919212 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919212 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:24:26 -0400 By Jared Hunt State officials may vote next month to dissolve the state Certified Development Corp., which oversees a federal small business loan program, rather than comply with more stringent regulations regarding how the organization operates.

The CDC administers the U.S. Small Business Administration's CDC/504 loan program in the state. The small business loan program covers the cost of land and building purchases, facilities improvements and construction.

The SBA provides 40 percent of the loan amount, while a bank provides up to 50 percent. The borrower is required to provide at least 10 percent of the cost of the project.

The state Economic Development Authority operates the CDC as a public, nonprofit corporation to help small businesses access the program. Authority executive director David Warner on Thursday told the corporation's board members - who also sit on the Economic Development Authority's board - that the SBA has issued new regulations regarding how the certified development corporations (CDCs) across the country can operate.

He said the new rules, which take effect in April, would require the corporations to pay for independent, third-party audits of its finances and loan portfolios. They would also have to employ at least one full-time staff member and corporation board members would not be allowed to serve on other boards and could be held personally liable in court for the corporation's transactions.

There are only six West Virginia businesses currently in the program. They owe about $3 million on their loans. No businesses have applied for a loan through the program in more than a year, Warner said.

Warner said authority staff currently handle the program's administration. He said he did not think the corporation could afford to hire its own staff or pay for the audits.

Authority staff member recommended the board consider dissolving the corporation at its next monthly meeting.

"I don't know if we could generate enough activity that would pay for the program to operate," Warner said. "So it's one of those rare situations in government where we do away with one of the programs we operate."

Warner said one of the reasons the program isn't popular is that the Economic Development Authority itself is able to offer loan financing at better rates and terms than the federal program.

He said one of the distinctions between the state authority and federal program is the types of business that apply for financing. He said the authority staff focus mainly on manufacturing loans while the CDC/504 program assists companies like hotels or convenience stores that look to expand.

Warner said dissolving the state corporation would not cut off the program to state businesses, the program's administration would simply fall to another regional economic development corporation.

"We expect the other CDCs to take over the loan program from us," Warner said. "The program's still going to be available, it's just going to be administered outside of West Virginia."

The corporation's board members, including state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, seemed to agree with Warner's recommendation to dissolve the corporation, though they did not vote on the matter Thursday. The topic will likely come up at the authority's October board meeting.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

Frontier creates new Mid-Atlantic division http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919230 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919230 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:52:13 -0400 Frontier Communications Corp. announced Thursday it has reorganized its Ohio and West Virginia operations into its new Mid-Atlantic Region.

The company said Michael Flynn, current president of the company's Illinois operations, will become president of the new region, which will be headquartered in Charleston.

Flynn will oversee all operations, residential and commercial sales and customer service functions for the region. With roughly 2,800 employees, the new Mid-Atlantic region will be among the largest in Frontier's 27-state service territory.

"Mike's operational background, senior leadership positions and distinguished military career position him perfectly to lead the Mid-Atlantic Region," said Dan McCarthy, Frontier's president and chief operating officer. "He will provide strong and value-based leadership to our employees and put our customers first."

Flynn earned a bachelor's degree in applied science and engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Prior to joining Frontier in 1989, he served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy and later in the Naval Reserves, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. His service included missions in the Persian Gulf and 13 countries.

He and his wife, Mary, will move from Bloomington, Ill., to the Charleston area as part of the transition.

Flynn succeeds Ken Arndt, who has been named president of the company's new East Region, which covers New York and Pennsylvania and will include Connecticut, once Frontier completes its acquisition of AT&T's wireline business and statewide fiber network in that state.

The company also said Dana Waldo, the senior vice president and general manager for Frontier West Virginia, and Dave Davidson, senior vice president and general manager for Frontier Ohio, will continue in their respective roles.

South Charleston to study costs of expanding south along Corridor G http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919197 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919197 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:50:30 -0400



South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens gave City Council members an update on his vision of eventually extending the city south on Corridor G to the Lincoln County line.

The city is contemplating building a new sewage treatment plant near Alum Creek and eventually extending the city's sewer service from the Holiday Inn Express at Southridge, where it now ends, south to the Lincoln County line.

At first the idea was to extend the sewer line from Southridge in stages. But it has been determined that it would be cheaper for the sewer system to build a treatment plant at Alum Creek and then extend the lines from both the south and the north until they are connected.

Mullens told council on Thursday that up until now the city has annexed areas and added services without adding staff or increasing its budget. "If we go any further we're talking about adding another fire station, more fire trucks, more sanitation trucks," he said.

"I've asked each department head to come back to me with a financial report on what the cost will be for each department so we can plan ahead.

"Obviously we'll have to have some revenue to offset the expense," Mullens said. "We can't do it out of our current budget. So we need to get our hands around how much it is going to cost."

Mullens said he has asked Finance Director Hannah Pettitt to prepare a report showing how much revenue the city could expect if the areas along Corridor G were annexed. Mullens said he has asked other department heads to report back to him within the next few months.

"Once I get all of that data we'll bring it to the Finance Committee and figure out how we'll strategically move forward," he said. "I think our vision today will have a lot to do with what the city looks like in 30 years. It's like when the interstate came through."

Also at the meeting, Mullens said Sheetz is planning to start construction of a new gasoline station and convenience store next spring or summer.

Mullens said many people have asked whether the previously announced project is still going to happen.

"Last winter put them behind," he said. "They are still coming. It's just an issue of where we are in the pecking order. I think they're building a store in Beckley now."

Sheetz has acquired property on MacCorkle Avenue near Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Also at the meeting, council:

Agreed to buy 2,500 cases of compost bags for $22,375 and 6,000 cases of recycle bags for $30,780 from All American Poly of New Jersey, the low bidder. Other bidders were Central Poly Corp., Unipak Corp. and Calico.

Approved closing the alley behind the Nazarene Church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 27, for the Spring Hill Autumn Fest.

Proclaimed Sept. 17 to Sept. 23 "Constitution Week." The proclamation urges citizens "to study the Constitution and to express gratitude for the privilege of American citizenship."

During reports, City Attorney Michael Moore said participants in the city's urban deer hunt have already harvested five deer. The hunt began earlier this month. Moore also said the state Municipal Home Rule Board is expected to announce on Oct. 6 which cities will be accepted into the state's Home Rule Pilot Project. South Charleston is one of the applicants.

W.Va. gender pay gap near top of list http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919205 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919205 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:35:31 -0400


THE Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana has the nation's largest gender pay gap, with women paid about two thirds of what men are paid, according to new census data.

Figures from 2013 also show that Mississippi's gap was 77 percent, about average nationally, but average pay for both men and women in Mississippi was the nation's lowest: $39,956 and $30,667 respectively.

"There's still a $10,000 or thereabouts difference," said former state Sen. Gloria Williamson, a member of the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women.

In Louisiana, by contrast, men's pay was in the top half nationally, averaging $48,318, while women's pay ranked 44th among the states and Washington, D.C., at $31,865.

That indicates high gender segregation in Louisiana jobs, "possibly in the oil and gas area, which pays well but doesn't have a lot of women," said Lisa Maatz, vice president of governmental relations for the American Association of University Women, which used census data for men's and women's average pay to calculate the pay gap for all 51 jurisdictions.

The District of Columbia had both the narrowest gender gap - women's pay averaged 91 percent of men's - and the highest average pay at $67,610 for men and $61,760 for women.

It was followed by New York state at 86 percent, Maryland at 85 percent, and Florida, California and Arizona at 84 percent.

The widest gaps, after Louisiana's, were 69 percent for Wyoming and West Virginia and 70 percent for Utah and North Dakota.

Most of the top states and Washington, D.C., have highly educated workforces, Maatz said. "The average educational attainment for women in this area is much higher than the national average. We do know that getting an education can help women close the pay gap. It doesn't completely close it but it is one of the best tools women have to help boost themselves," she said.

The bottom five, like Louisiana, tend to rely heavily on "kind of traditional male jobs," she said. "In West Virginia you have coal mining; in Wyoming you have ranching and farming. In North Dakota, there's a booming energy and gas industry."

Some of the gap may just reflect the way income is reported, Maatz said. "We know, and ranchers talk about it, that when you're running a ranch it's a family operation. But when you report the income you report it for the head of household."

Williamson said seven equal-pay bills were introduced in the Mississippi Legislature last year. "They all died. They never even got before the chairman of the committee." Mississippi's U.S. senators, both Republicans, both voted against a national bill.

Williamson said women nationwide should all stage a one-day strike. "Don't go to work. Don't go to the office. Don't go to schools. Don't go if you work for the state of Mississippi. Just stay home. One day. And see what happens."

Authority approves $10 million American Woodmark equipment purchase http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919220 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM05/140919220 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:56:38 -0400 By Jared Hunt The state Economic Development Authority's board of directors approved the purchase and lease of $10 million worth of machinery and equipment that will be used in the expansion of American Woodmark Corp.'s Moorefield plant.

The company announced last month it would invest $30 million to expand its South Branch manufacturing center in Moorefield. The company planned to add 100,000 square feet to the existing plant and create 80 new full-time jobs.

To help the expansion, the Economic Development Authority plans to buy $10 million worth of equipment the company plans to add at the Moorefield facility.

American Woodmark will buy the equipment, and then the authority will buy it from the company. The authority will then lease the equipment back to the company for the next 10 years.

The setup will allow the company to avoid paying the cost of property taxes on the new equipment. Authority executive director David Warner said the company had arranged a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with Hardy County officials to provide the county with some revenue. A representative from the Hardy County Rural Development Authority did not immediately respond to a request for details regarding the arrangement.

The authority plans to apply for a 10-year, $750,000 loan from the state Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council to help finance the purchase.

In separate action, the authority's board gave final approval to a $1 million loan package to Italian oil and gas parts manufacturer Pietro Fiorentini.

The company announced last March it planned to spend $9 million to build a manufacturing plant in Weirton. At first the company plans to start operations in the former Blaw Knox building near Wheeling.

The $1 million loan package will help finance the cost of equipment for that Wheeling site. The authority will lend the company $800,000 to be repaid over the next 10 years at an interest rate of 2 percent. A second $200,000 10-year loan will have an interest rate of .75 percentage points greater than the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield.

Warner said the authority can only lend up to $800,000 at the flat 2 percent rate, which is why there were two loans made.

The board also gave final approval to a $305,325 10-year, 2 percent loan for Inter-State Hardwoods Company Inc., located in Bartow in Pocahontas County.

The manufacturer of hardwood lumber products is currently expanding its operations in the Greenbrier Valley. The loan will cover 45 percent of the cost of purchasing new equipment. Through the expansion, the company hopes to grow from 129 employees to 150 employees over the next three years.

The authority also approved two loan insurance applications. One provided $500,000 in loan insurance to WesBanco Inc. to benefit a loan to Touchstone Research Laboratory LTD, a materials development firm in Wheeling. The second provided $179,100 in loan insurance to United Bank to benefit Three Square, a real estate holding company in Martinsburg.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

Greenbrier railroad project dies at auction http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919221 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140918/DM01/140919221 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:54:07 -0400



POTTSTOWN - The dream of establishing luxury rail service between the nation's capital and the storied Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia - and of building that train in Pottstown - died on the auction block Thursday.

Ross Rowland, president and CEO of the Greenbrier Express, said the auction of the nine passenger cars, equipment, tools and railroad ephemera marked "the end of the Greenbrier project."

The project was bankrolled by Appalachian coal billionaire Jim Justice, the owner of the resort, as a way to attract more high-profile visitors to the resort and restore some glamour to rail travel.

"The essence of the project is to move the front door of the Greenbrier 253 miles from White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia to Washington, D.C.s Union Station," Rowland told The Mercury in February, 2011 when he brought the project to Pottstown.

The work, which at its peak employed 48 people here, was undertaken in one of the buildings of the former Bethlehem Steel plant, now named the Pottstown Industrial Complex.

And that's where its assets were sold.

Bidders, cell phones glued to their ears as they consulted with buyers, prowled the cement floor Thursday morning while a small crowd followed the bid call of the Blackmon Auction Co. auctioneer as he made his way down the row of equipment, ranging from a pallet of fire extinguishers, to metal cabinets, to massive wheel trucks and suspension springs.

"That's less than a Honda Civic," the auctioneer joked as he tried to goose the bidding upward on the auction's main event, the nine passenger cars.

With names like "Istanbul," "Monterey" and "Grand Canyon," the cars sold for as much as $135,000 a piece to as little as $10,500.

That was what Chuck Jensen - Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the M & E. Railroad in Morristown, N.J. - paid for the last car, named "Paris."

Some of the cars had been gutted, "tunneled" in train lingo, down to the aluminum and steel floors and arched roof, while others still had elements of dining cars and sleepers.

Audubon resident Richard Stewart, retired from Lockheed-Martin after 46 years as a principal systems engineer, sat in one of the booths Thursday morning and decided not to bid.

"It's not what I'm looking for," said Stewart, who wants to tour the nation by rail in a private rail car with his wife Kathy. "I'm looking for a car that's finished."

Roger Lehmann was also on hand, to see if there was anything of value for the Colebrookdale Railroad.

He did not bid on the cars. "They're the wrong era," he said, noting they are from the 1950s and 1960s and the Secret Valley Line excursion railroad being established between Boyertown and Pottstown, is shooting for a turn of the century feel.

Lehmann, who did buy some tools for his work crews, was amazed at how little some of the cars were selling for.

"Just the steel in these cars is worth more than $10,000," he said after the "Paris" was sold. But hopefully, they will not be cut up for scrap, he said. "That would be a crime."

The auctioneer agreed.

"If you sheer and cut these cars, the ghosts of railroads past will haunt you and kill you in your sleep," he joked.

What killed the Greenbrier Express was economics, said Rowland.

When the recession combined with the fall in the price of coal - due to Chinese competition, environmental regulations that closed older coal-burning power plants and competition from cheaper natural gas - the cash Justice had available to continue the project dried up, said Rowland.

"This was strictly a cash flow issue," said Rowland.

It was too soon to tell Thursday, he said, just how much cash flowed from the auction.

Follow Evan Brandt on Twitter @PottstownNews

W.Va. unemployment rate spikes in August http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919294 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919294 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:31:04 -0400 By Jared Hunt Economic official are perplexed over a sharp increase in the state's unemployment rate, which shot up to 6.6 percent in August.

Workforce West Virginia reported the unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percent last month, up from 6.3 percent in July and much higher than the 6.1 percent national rate for August.

The rate started the year at 5.9 percent - its lowest level since January 2009. It bumped up to 6.3 percent in May, but fell back a tenth the following month. The August level is the highest the state's unemployment benchmark has been since March of last year.

The number of employed West Virginians fell by 5,200 last month. However, the number of people who said they were unemployed increased by 1,900. Another 3,300 people gave up looking for work and left the labor force altogether.

The drop in the number of employed workers and those in the labor force went against trends that had been in place since last fall. More than 15,000 people had entered the state's labor force between January and June, and total employment increased from 743,200 to 755,500 over the same time. The numbers dropped some in July, and then steepened their decline last month.

"It's a pretty big change and it was certainly unexpected," said John Deskins, director of West Virginia University's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

What makes the decline more confusing is that a separate survey of employers found the state's total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 100 in August. No jobs category reported a significant loss during the month. Mining and logging companies reported a gain of 200 jobs, while manufacturing saw a decline of 300 and the government sector saw only 700 jobs lost.

Jeff Green, director of research, information and analysis at Workforce West Virginia, said that given the payroll data, he's unsure what caused the unemployment rate spike.

"It's quite possible there's something going on a little different here," Green said.

Green said part of the problem in interpreting the data might have to do with the way it's compiled.

The unemployment rate is compiled as part of the current population survey conducted by the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. It asks residents whether they're employed, unemployed or looking for work. If a person isn't actively looking for a job, they aren't counted as part of the labor force.

The payrolls data is compiled using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' establishment survey, which regularly surveys businesses about their employment levels.

Green said the state nonfarm payrolls data comes from only West Virginia businesses, while the population survey covers those who live in the state. He said the distinction could be playing a role in the divergence in the data.

"What's possibly happening here . . . it could be that there are some people that are living in West Virginia and are working in other states that have become unemployed," Green said.

He said his division has reached out to labor officials in neighboring states to see if they had any significant layoffs that might have affected West Virginia residents.

Joe Jarvis, assistant director of the research division at Workforce West Virginia, also said seasonal factors could be at play in the data.

"August is a month when many people who were out of school for the summer returned to school and therefore gave up a summer job," Jarvis said. "These are people who were working or employed for summer and then for college fell out of the workforce."

Workforce West Virginia includes seasonal adjustments in its data designed to filter out these types of regular employment shifts. But Jarvis said if the number of workers returning to college was larger than anticipated, it could skew the data.

Deskins suggested waiting a few months to see if a trend develops or the data is revised before making any judgments on the state's economy.

"You always have to be careful in interpreting one month's worth of data, especially at the state level, because you see a lot more volatility," Deskins said. "August is a volatile month because of the end of summer and loss of summer jobs, so the seasonal adjustment for August is going to be more significant for that month than other months.

"I'd be careful before I really hang my hat on that 5,000 jobs reportedly lost for the month," he said.

Deskins said the Bureau of Business and Economic Research forecasts the state will see an increase in jobs in the later months of the year and continuing into next year. But he said the new jobs will likely not be enough to significantly offset the number of people who enter the labor force looking for work in the coming months.

"We forecast unemployment to be pretty stubborn around the 6 percent level," he said. "We see job gains . . . but the people coming into the labor force will drive up the unemployment rate, whereas the new jobs will drive it down."

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

Jared Hunt column: Hedge fund pushes for DuPont breakup http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919295 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919295 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:30:22 -0400 Trian Fund Management, the hedge fund run by activist investor Nelson Peltz, is pushing for a breakup of DuPont Co., arguing the conglomerate's individual parts might be worth more than the whole.

Trian went public on Wednesday with its plan to break up the 212-year-old company, which got its start when E.I. du Pont built gunpowder mills in Delaware in 1802.

"Trian argues that an overly complex and bloated corporate structure overburdens DuPont's seven business lines, some of which the activist firm argues bear little relation to one another, making it difficult for both investors and the company itself to gauge its prospects," the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Trian believes the reason for DuPont's persistent underperformance is very simple: DuPont's conglomerate structure is destroying value," the hedge fund said in a letter to the DuPont board of directors published on its website.

The hedge fund argued the company could eliminate $2 billion to $4 billion in excess corporate costs by splitting up its units.

The Trian plan would call for breaking up the company into two separate units, which it said would present better value to shareholders.

One unit would contain the company's faster-growing segments, including agriculture, nutrition and health and industrial biosciences. The second unit would be composed of its more cyclical units that have stronger cash flows, including performance materials, safety and protection (including its Kevlar body armor) and electronics and communications.

Creating the two new autonomous business units would happen on top of the company's previously announced plan to spin off its performance chemicals unit, which makes pigments and Teflon non-stick coatings. That plan should be complete sometime next year.

Responding to the hedge fund, DuPont released a statement Wednesday morning saying the company "welcomes open communications with shareholders and values input toward our common goal of enhancing shareholder value," and has had a "constructive dialogue" with Trian.

"Our board of directors and management team have taken firm action over several years that has delivered 220 percent total shareholder return since year-end 2008, compared to 144 percent for the S&P 500 during the same period, by aggressively deploying our leading science across the company, strengthening and fine-tuning our portfolio, and through disciplined capital allocation," the company said.

Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman has already announced plans to cut bureaucracy and buy back $5 billion of company stock to boost shareholder value. Trian, however, said those efforts aren't enough.

Trian owns a $1.6 billion stake in the company. The Wall Street Journal reported the hedge fund has also received support from the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which owns a $250 million stake in the company, for its reform efforts.

DuPont is currently the state's 15th largest private employer, with operations in Belle and Washington that employ roughly 2,000 people. The spinoff of the performance chemicals unit already stands to affect those plants and a company breakup could further affect the operations.

The Washington plant produces DuPont's Teflon and Tefzel fluoropolymers for the performance chemicals segment. It also produces several other polymer products for other DuPont business units.

The Belle plant in Kanawha County also produces materials for the performance chemicals unit, as well as some materials for DuPont's agricultural products unit.

Panera Bread to open in Teays Valley http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919316 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919316 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:50:27 -0400 By Jared Hunt Panera Bread will open a new restaurant in Teays Valley's Liberty Square Shopping Center next year.

T.J. Summers of Four-S Development said the restaurant chain has signed a lease to open the new eatery on an outparcel location in the shopping plaza, which is located off exit 39 on Interstate 64.

"Panera Bread will add a much-needed restaurant choice to the market and we are very excited to have Panera Bread join Liberty Square's roster of tenants," Summers said.

The new Panera will be housed in a 4,800 square foot building and will include a patio and drive-thru.

Summers said construction will begin later this fall and be complete by late spring or early summer 2015.

The Panera Bread negotiations had been held up for some time after a dispute with the company that manages the Applebee's located in Liberty Square.

Executives with Kentucky-based Neighborhood Hospitality had argued that opening the Panera Bread would violate a 1996 contract that prohibits Four-S from allowing restaurants similar to Applebee's into the plaza.

In 1996, the companies negotiated what's known as a restrictive covenant governing what other businesses could open around the Applebee's location. That covenant barred Four-S from allowing restaurants similar to Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill that serve food and wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages - specifically Bennigan's, Fuddrucker's, TGI Friday's, Chili's, Max & Erma's, Houston's, Ruby Tuesday and O'Charley's - to open in and around the shopping center.

The restriction does not apply to other full-service, sit-down restaurants, so long as 51-percent of the restaurant's menu is tied to a single food item, like beef, chicken or seafood, or a single cuisine, such as Italian, Mexican or Chinese.

Four-S executives argued Panera does not serve alcoholic beverages and its bakery and cafe concept is not covered by the restrictions in the covenant. Four-S also pointed out Panera does not provide other restaurant amenities like tableside waiter service, cloth tabletops and napkins and does not serve items like hamburgers, ribs or steak.

Neighborhood Hospitality attorneys, in a December letter to Four-S counsel, said Panera has experimented with table and drive-thru services and would incorporate them into their new, prototype stores.

In January, Four-S filed a lawsuit in Putnam Circuit Court asking a judge to settle the matter and allow the company to negotiate a lease with Panera executives. Neighborhood Hospitality eventually agreed to drop its opposition to the case in May.

Contact business editor Jared Hunt at 304-348-4836 or jared.hunt@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at twitter.com/jaredwv.

Ribbon-cutting held for Edible Arrangements in South Charleston http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919315 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM05/140919315 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:52:30 -0400 By Matt Murphy Four couples who met through Generation Charleston celebrated their business venture Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Edible Arrangements in South Charleston.

The couples bought the existing franchise in July after they had been looking to operate a business locally, part-owner T.J. Meadows said.

"We've all been interested in investing in a local business in the community," he said.

Meadows co-owns the franchise with his wife, Amanda, along with Tessa and Shannon Carr, Katie and Clifton Clark and Kate and Ryan White. Ryan White is also a member of the Kanawha County Board of Education.

All met about seven years ago through Generation Charleston, a young professionals group operated by the Charleston Area Alliance.

Meadows said it was important for the foursome to run a business that employed people in the Kanawha Valley.

"We have a great local staff we've retained," he said.

The group plans to expand the franchise, particularly into the business market.

"We hope to grow it over time," Meadows said.

Charleston Area Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Ballard said the group's business venture represents the success of current and former members of Generation Charleston. He said one of the goals of Generation Charleston is to prepare young professionals to reinvest in the Kanawha Valley.

"When you invest, you get a bright future," he said.

Generation Charleston was created in 2006 and has grown to about 1,100 members, according to a press release from the Charleston Area Alliance.

Edible Arrangements is located at 11 River Walk Plaza in South Charleston near the South Charleston Kroger. It can be reached at 304-746-4444.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at 304-348-4817 or matt.murphy@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at twitter.com/DMLocalGov.

Face of Florida orange juice bulks up http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/ARTICLE/140919362 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/ARTICLE/140919362 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:05:26 -0400


The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Captain Citrus was born in 2011 as a big, fat talking orange wearing a green cape. Now he's being transformed into a buff Marvel Comics superhero who will fight evil alongside the likes of Captain America.

His first mission? Promote the benefits of orange juice in a country where carb-conscious dieters are increasingly turning away from even seemingly healthy beverages that nutritionists have slammed for having too much sugar.

The Florida Department of Citrus revealed its made-over mascot Tuesday at a comic book store. The agency paid $1 million to Marvel Comics to create the new character in hopes of bolstering orange juice's reputation as a healthy and wholesome drink.

Americans are drinking less juice, which could also be a result of the vast number of beverage choices on store shelves. U.S. demand for orange juice peaked in 1998, with annual per capita consumption close to 6 gallons. Now it's closer to 3.5 gallons. Orange juice sales fell to record lows in August.

Most of Florida's oranges are made into juice. The state is second in the world, behind Brazil, in growing juice oranges, producing about 80 percent of juice in the U.S. The $9 billion industry is also facing its biggest threat: citrus greening, a bacterial disease that kills trees. It is spread by a bug and so far is incurable.

While Captain Citrus can't help with greening, officials at the Florida Department of Citrus hope he can sway new, young consumers into drinking juice.

The new Captain Citrus will be fit and promote healthy choices, starring alongside the Avengers in a custom Marvel Comic. The comic will reveal Captain Citrus' background (he is born and raised as John Polk, the son of citrus growers) and his challenge (to fight an evil enemy called the Leader alongside other superheroes, including Captain America).

Bill Rosemann, the creative director of Marvel Comics, said Captain Citrus is given a choice by the Leader: "Join me and we can take over the world," said Rosemann. "Should he betray his family and the Avengers?"

Fear not: Captain Citrus makes the right choice. In the first comic, he fights the Leader's invasion of Orlando with his special superpower: solar pods on the backs of each of his hands that can create weapons and other protections. The pods - like citrus fruits - are nourished by the sun.

Rosemann said his challenge in recreating Captain Citrus was "how we could reinvent him and still stay true to the message of Florida citrus."

Two other digital comics depicting the adventures of Captain Citrus will be released later. The material will be distributed to school children in all 50 states, officials said.

The Department of Citrus worked with Marvel Custom Solutions, which is a division of Marvel that works to create brands for campaigns. Often, Marvel will create new comic books and include a product - for instance, Iron Man starred in a special comic book in 2013 created for the Florida Blue insurance company. Other times the Marvel Custom designers will work with real-life people, such as athletes, to remake them with a "superhero image."

Rosemann said this is the first time Marvel has worked to transform an existing character into a full-fledged comic superhero.

"People don't drink OJ because they have to, people drink OJ because it's fun," said Department of Citrus Spokesman David Steele. "We wanted to reflect that."

Subcommittee hears testimony on children's insurance program http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM0104/140919388 DM0104 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140917/DM0104/140919388 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 By Whitney Burdette Experts told a Senate subcommittee Tuesday that Congress needs to act soon to reauthorize funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Money for the 17-year-old program is set to run out next fall. But four expert witnesses told the Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Health Care that states are starting to plan their 2016 budgets and need to know if they can rely on the program to continue.

"States cannot make adequate plans with the uncertainty of the future of CHIP," Cathy Caldwell, director of the Bureau of Children's Health Insurance with the Alabama Department of Public Health, told the committee. "Families are depending on you to make a decision soon."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is chairman of the subcommittee and was instrumental in helping create the program in 1997. Since the program's inception, the number of uninsured American children has been cut in half, from 14 percent to 7 percent. The program covers about 8 million children, including 22,000 in West Virginia.

In creating the program, Congress gave states flexibility in how to enact the program in ways that meet their populations' needs. States can implement the program one of three ways: through Medicaid expansion, through a separate state plan or a combination of the two. West Virginia is one of 15 states with its own plan. A variety of services are covered under West Virginia's CHIP plan, including doctor's visits, immunizations, tests and x-rays and dental and vision care.

Rockefeller pointed out the Affordable Care Act covers many of these services for children, but does not extend coverage for dental and vision care.

"The wonderful thing about CHIP, unlike the Affordable Care Act, it has both medical and dental covered," said Rockefeller, a vocal supporter of the president's health care reform law. "It's better than the Affordable Care Act, which I don't like to say but I have to in order to be honest."

That's just one reason Congress needs to act, Rockefeller said, to reauthorize funding for the program.

"We cannot afford to take this major step backwards and jeopardize future generations by letting CHIP expire," he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also supports the program. James Perrin, president of the Academy, said not only are states dependent on the program, but so are pediatricians who practice knowing they have a reliable payer in the program.

"CHIP has developed into a critical program that finances health coverage for more than 8 million children across the country," he said.

The Academy developed several recommendations for Congress in regards to the program: to fully fund the program through 2019, to expand awareness of CHIP among eligible families, to facilitate enrollment in CHIP for eligible children, to maximize affordability, to enhance and continue the quality improvement funding in the CHIP act and to ensure adequate payment for physicians who care for CHIP patients.

Bruce Lesley, president of FirstFocus, a children's advocacy group, noted CHIP is popular among the American public, no matter the demographic, and is a "bipartisan success story."

"If this nation is to succeed in protecting children's health, there must be a commitment . . . to meet children's basic health needs and ensure children and pregnant women have access to health care," he said.

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 22,888 children are enrolled in CHIP as of August 2014, and 147,011 West Virginians are enrolled in Medicaid as of Sept. 15.

Contact writer Whitney Burdette at 304-348-7939 or whitney.burdette@dailymailwv.com. Follow her at www.Twitter.com/wburdette_DM.

W.Va. Division of Labor seeks input on prevailing wage rates http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140916/DM05/140919375 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140916/DM05/140919375 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:40:02 -0400 The state Division of Labor is seeking input on the state's prevailing wage rates.

Each year, the division is required by law to investigate and determine the prevailing hourly wage rate state agencies must pay various contractors that perform construction or maintenance work.

The agency asks anyone interested in participating in the process to call 304-558-7890, ext. 10474 to request a prevailing wage survey form. Forms are also available and can be submitted electronically at the division's website, www.wvlabor.com.

Survey forms must be submitted no later than Oct. 10.

W.Va. has lowest dental insurance premiums, study says http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140916/DM05/140919376 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140916/DM05/140919376 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:40:01 -0400 West Virginia has the lowest dental insurance premiums in the country, according to a new study from HealthPocket.com.

The health insurance information website compiled prices for stand-alone dental coverage on government insurance exchanges across the country. It found the average premium varied widely among states.

West Virginia had the lowest average monthly premium at $23.70. Alaska had the highest at $63.61. The average premium nationwide was $31.81.

HealthPocket also found that 82 percent of dental plans charged a co-insurance fee for major dental expenses like crowns and root canals. A co-insurance fee is a percentage of the dental expense paid out-of-pocket by the consumer.

Nationally, the average co-insurance fee for major dental services was 63 percent. That means the out-of-pocket cost for a $2,000 crown would be $1,260.

Probability of deer collisions in W.Va. on the rise http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM05/140919479 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM05/140919479 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:04:52 -0400 By Jared Hunt West Virginians are 5 percent more likely to hit a deer while driving this year compared to last year, according to new data from insurer State Farm.

The nation's largest provider of auto insurance on Monday published its 12th-annual study profiling motorists' probability of striking a deer across the country. For the eighth year in a row, West Virginia topped the list with the highest probability of deer-vehicle collisions.

Mountain State motorists have a 1 in 39 chance of striking a deer on state roads. That compares to a 1 in 169 national average.

"Once again, West Virginia is number one," said State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips.

The national odds of hitting a deer increased 3 percent this year, while the odds of hitting one in West Virginia increased nearly 5 percent from 1 in 41 last year.

The average cost of damages is up as well.

State Farm reported the average property damage claim for a deer collision totals $3,888, up nearly 14 percent from the $3,414 average cost in 2013.

The probabilities were calculated using state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration and the number of deer collision claims submitted to State Farm between July 1, 2013, and June 30 of this year.

"Changes in collision rates from year to year are a reflection of changing deer densities or population levels - more deer in a given area increases the potential for collision," said Ron Regan, executive director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. "Deer populations are also affected by conditions such as new or improved roads with higher speeds near deer habitat, changes to hunting seasons to manage wildlife, winter conditions and other related factors."

Pennsylvania had the second-greatest chance of hitting a deer this year, with odds coming in at 1 in 71; Montana was third with odds of 1 in 75.

Roughly one-tenth of the country's deer collisions (123,941 collisions) occurred in Pennsylvania during the last year. However, when taking into account the number of licensed drivers in the state, West Virginia came out on top with the greatest likelihood of hitting a deer.

And drivers should beware: the most likely months for deer collisions - October, November and December - are right around the corner.

"A lot of that has to do with the continuation of deer migration and the mating season that starts around this time of year," Phillips said.

November is the busiest time for collisions, according to State Farm data, with 18 percent of all collisions occurring during that month. October ranks a close second, with December coming in third.

The most active time for deer collisions is near dusk, between 6 and 9 p.m., as well as in the hours around dawn.

Phillips said the best way to avoid a collision is to stay alert and avoid speeding.

"One of the most simple ways is just maintaining awareness and slowing down," he said. "It seems so basic but that really is the best part of prevention."

State Farm recommends avoiding distractions, such as cellphone use and eating while driving. It also recommends drivers use extra caution in known deer zones, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic and continually scan the road for deer and other danger signs while driving.

Phillips said it is important to remember that deer often move in groups, so even if a driver sees one deer well away from the road, they should presume other deer are in the area.

He also said drivers should avoid relying on devices such as deer whistles mounted on the front of their vehicles. He said insurance studies have not shown whistles to be an effective deterrent.

State Farm also recommends drivers avoid swerving when they see a deer.

"If you really don't have that much time to react, it is sometimes better to strike the deer instead of swerve," Phillips said.

"The swerving could cause you to go off an embankment, end up hitting a tree or hit a car in an oncoming lane, and the injury and the damage from that could be worse than striking a deer," he said. "It's hard to digest when you're in the moment, but the possibility of injury for yourself and injury to others is compounded with swerving."

Drivers should be sure to wear their seatbelt as well. In 2012, there were 175 deaths caused by collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck, according to the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Phillips said in the majority of those cases, the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

Fitch rates state water bonds http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM05/140919486 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM05/140919486 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:27:32 -0400 Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A+' rating to more than $76 million of state Water Development Authority excess lottery revenue bonds expected to be sold later this month.

Proceeds from the bond issue will fund local government grants for approved Chesapeake Bay and Greenbrier River watershed compliance projects.

Fitch rates bonds on a scale of 'AAA' for those with the highest quality, to 'BB' and 'D' for bonds considered to have speculative grade or junk status. The 'A+' rating signifies high credit quality, but acknowledges an agency's revenue stream may be vulnerable to adverse business or economic conditions.

Fitch noted that while the Water Development Authority's funding stream and water projects are high priorities for the state, the state's lottery and excess lottery revenues susceptible to swings in consumer discretionary spending threats from current and future casino competition.

In addition to rating the water bonds, Fitch also affirmed its existing 'A+' rating for $307 million in state Economic Development Authority bonds, $71.2 million in Higher Education Policy Commission bonds and $214 million in School Building Authority bonds all tied to lottery funds.