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Bankruptcies down first time since 2000

| Saturday, Aug. 28, 2004

Bankruptcies, dominated by personal filings, fell by about 1 percent in the year ended June 30, with business bankruptcies falling almost 4 percent, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said. The drop, to 1.63 million from 1.65 million, is the first since 2000 for the 12-month period ending in June, the office said in a statement. Four years ago, in the same period, there were 1.27 million filings. "Consumer bankruptcy filings appear to have turned a corner," said Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the Alexandria, Va.-based American Bankruptcy Institute. "Improving economic conditions and low interest rates are permitting more families to clean up their household balance sheets," he said.

Apangea gets $100,000

Hybrid tutoring provider Apangea Learning has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Center and Northern Pennsylvania seed fund, to be used in the development of the Indiana County-based company's newest online tutoring system. Apangea's hybrid system combines computer software with a human tutor. Its newest system will allow students to receive help from human tutors in an online chat-style format during tutoring sessions.

Golf complex sold for $6.1M

Indiana County restaurant/golf course complex Chestnut Ridge Inn and Chestnut Ridge Golf Course, along with a residential development, were sold to a partnership that includes U.S. Steel Corp. CEO Thomas Usher for more than $6.1 million. Chestnut Ridge Golf L.P. is the owner of Chestnut Ridge Inn and two golf courses composing Chestnut Ridge Golf Course, while Golfland LLC purchased The Colony, a residential complex that includes 10 condominiums, single-family lots and roughly 80 acres of undeveloped land. The general partner for the entire 419-acre complex is CRM Management LLC. headed by New Alexandria real estate developer Eugene Bartolini. Negotiations were ongoing with the estate of former owner-developer Martin Bearer. Partners in the deal include Bartolini, Matt de Rose, the owner of Heritage Hills Resort and Conference Center in York, York County, along with Thomas and James Usher.

Steel imports rising

Specialty steel producers lost 27 percent of domestic market to foreign imports for the first half of this year, said the Specialty Steel Industry of North America. The trade group said imports of stainless steel, alloy tool steel and electrical steel increased 13 percent to 379,081 tons -- and a 9 percent hike in U.S. consumption was not enough to offset the import increase. Allegheny Technologies Inc. spokesman Dan L. Greenfield said the numbers weren't that bad for stainless sheet/strip, and stainless plate, two of the company's main product lines. Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Technologies is the largest U.S. specialty metals maker. Greenfield said stainless sheet/strip consumption totaled 889,936 tons, up 11 percent, and stainless plate consumption totaled 151,688 tons, a 15 percent increase.

Park House purchased

After 53 years as owner of Buff's Bar on Penn Avenue in East Liberty, Isadore Valen has purchased the original Park House on East Ohio Street, North Side. Valen said his son-in-law, Zamir Zahavi, is operating the Park House, whose owner, Matt Hoss, sold the restaurant last Monday. Valen said the restaurant will continue to operate as in the past, with the same menu and service. Hoss also owns Park House restaurants in the Strip District and the former Temperanceville Tavern in the West End, which he renamed Park House.

Microsoft delays Longhorn

Microsoft Corp., whose software runs almost 95 percent of personal computers, delayed the next version of its Windows operating system until late 2006 after engineers had to improve the security of the current program. Microsoft plans to finish work on "Longhorn" by the middle of the year and have the program available for sale on PCs by the 2006 holiday season, said Tom Button, a Windows vice president. The company said in May it planned to have Longhorn on sale in the first half of the year.

Other business news

  • US Airways said Friday that Thomas R. Harter, a senior vice president and consultant at the Segal Co. in Washington, D.C., had been named to the board of directors. Harter will serve as board representative for US Airways' Association of Flight Attendants and Transportation Workers Union members. He succeeds Perry Hayes, an AFA union officer.

  • Pittsburgh-area stocks rose on Friday. The Bloomberg Pittsburgh Index of 62 stocks rose 1.42 to 224.02.

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