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Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region January 2013

Business Expansions and Openings

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Retailers should be on guard-it's looking like they may get jilted by consumers this Valentine's Day. On average, shoppers will spend $130.97 on gifts for the year's most romantic holiday, up only slightly from last year's $126.03, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Retail Federation. Total spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion.  Stores are already marketing special promotions and deals in order to entice fickle consumers to open their wallets.  The survey found that 51% of gift givers will buy candy, 36.6% will buy flowers, and 19.7% will spend on jewelry, a gem of a category where sales are expected to reach $4.4 billion.  (Crains NY - January 31, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130131/RETAIL_APPAREL/130139971

When Warner Brothers decided to shoot some tricky scenes for "A Winter's Tale" on the Brooklyn Bridge, the firm did what any self-respecting movie maker would: it built the bridge from scratch at East Hampton Studio (Suffolk) as part of the set for the blockbuster starring Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Will Smith and Jessica Brown Finlay.  250 extras, plus a horse, worked on the scene.  When it's time to break down the set, it won't simply be destroyed and discarded.  Habitat for Humanity will use the materials to build homes.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/31/brooklyn-bridge-rebuilt-on-long-island/

Islandia (Suffolk)- based Empire National Bank will be opening a branch at 170 Old Country Road in Mineola (Nassau) this spring.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/31/empire-national-bank-earnings-fall-in-4q/

Advertising mail spending slumped 5.5 percent in 2008, then another 15.6 percent in 2009, before posting a slight 2.1 percent rebound the following year and a 2.9 percent increase in 2011, according to the latest statistics available from the Magna Advertising Group.  Measured by pieces, the business dipped from 84 billion in 2011 to 80 billion last year, but with a 2.7 percent year-end uptick industry experts predict will continue in 2013.the biggest driver of the direct-mail rebound is the very thing that was supposed to have killed it: the digital revolution. Though the web is a great place to do business, it's a tough marketing space, thanks to fire walls and spam laws. "To buy a really good email list is very difficult," said Claudia Pilato, spokeswoman for Bridgehampton-based Bridge Bancorp, which relies heavily on direct mail to market branch openings. "But plenty of organizations provide well-vetted direct mail lists."  As a result, digital-only firms are turning to old-fashion direct mail to boost online business.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)http://libn.com/2013/01/31/economy-e-users-help-direct-mail-rebound/

New height allowances inside Hauppauge Industrial Park could one day turn Motor Parkway into Long Island's next Route 110.  The Town of Smithtown (Suffolk) is close to implementing an overlay district that would allow companies in the 1,400-acre business park to grow their local presences - straight up, to as high as 100 feet. The overlay district is part of a planning study that requires, and already has, Town Board support.  In the short term, the change will allow warehouses to be built out to levels that accommodate the larger equipment that many require to operate most efficiently. Longer term, the reduced zoning restrictions could radically change the footprint of the industrial park, already the second-largest industrial park in the Northeast by area.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/31/hauppauge-in-line-for-zoning-redo/

Queens-based Jesco Lighting Group is asking the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks to assist in relocating the company to Port Washington.  Jesco, currently headquartered in about 50,000 square feet in Glendale, is considering buying a 66,526-square-foot building at 15 Harbor Park Drive and bring about 60 jobs. The Port Washington building is now occupied by Dri Mark Products, which is looking to consolidate its operations somewhere in the New York metropolitan area.  The IDA benefits, including exemptions on property, mortgage recording and sales taxes, would help offset Jesco's costs for acquiring and renovating the Port Washington property, according to Nassau IDA documents. The IDA is slated to vote on the company's application on January 31.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/31/jesco-lighting-seeks-nassau-ida-benefits/

A new polio vaccine developed at Stony Brook University (Suffolk) has gained the backing of New Jersey-based Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.  The research collaboration with Janssen is for two years with the option to extend. The project is currently in the development/preclinical stage.  The agreement includes an option for an exclusive license under patents owned by Stony Brook.  (LI Business News - January 31, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/31/nj-firm-to-commercialize-sbu-polio-vaccine/

Carle Place (Nassau)-based florist and gift retailer, 1-800-Flowers.com said its second quarter revenues rose despite superstorm Sandy and "fiscal cliff" worries, but the company's profits fell from the same period last year.  (Newsday - January 31, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/1-800-flowers-com-says-2q-revenues-are-up-1.4540560

Four local financial institutions finished 2012 on a high note, reporting strong fourth-quarter financial results, reaping profits due to surges in mortgages and fees despite low interest rate margins.  Banks also benefited from one-time gains due to lower loan loss provisions, although some took a hit from loans that became delinquent following the one-two punch of Sandy and a nor'easter.  Westbury (Nassau)-based New York Community Bancorp's net income shot up to $122.8 million from $117.7 million a year ago, while smaller banks also reported good earnings.  Lake Success (Nassau)-based Flushing Financial reported income for the quarter jumped 12.6 percent to $9.2 million. Riverhead (Suffolk)-based Suffolk Bancorp reported net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012 jumped to $2 million from $1.2 million.  And Wayne, N.J.-based Valley National Bancorp‘s earnings also jumped to $36.8 million from $24.5 million a year ago. (LI Business News - January 30, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/30/4-local-banks-post-strong-end-of-2012-earnings/

The Estee Lauder Cos. has notified state officials it is moving its operation from northern New Jersey, resulting in 85 layoffs.  Instead of the 148,000-square-foot plant in Oakland, the company says it will fill and bottle fragrances at existing facilities in Melville (Suffolk) or Bristol, Pa.  Thirty-one employees in New Jersey will be offered jobs at the other plants.  (LI Business News - January 30, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/30/estee-lauder-leaving-nj-for-long-island-pa/

After years of trying to lure new regional carriers to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma (Suffolk), officials are cautiously optimistic following a series of "very encouraging meetings in the last week" with potential airlines.  (LI Business News - January 30, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/30/lima-near-deal-to-land-new-carrier/

PM Pediatrics, a provider of after-hours pediatric urgent care, is gearing up to open its second New York City location and first in Brooklyn.  The Lake Success (Nassau)-based firm this summer plans to open a 6,055-square-foot practice at 240 Atlantic Ave. in the heart of the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. That will mark PM Pediatrics' seventh location with others in Westchester, New Jersey, Syosset (Nassau) and Selden (Suffolk). The firm, which recently opened in Livingston, N.J., already announced plans to open in North Babylon (Suffolk) this spring.  Established in 2005, PM Pediatrics made it onto Inc. magazine's list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies in both 2011 and 2012.  (LI Business News - January 30, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/30/pm-pediatrics-expanding-to-brooklyn/

(Update) Legislative leaders say they aren't sold on Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s proposal to restrict new casinos to three upstate locations and could push for New York City and Long Island venues.  (LI Business News - January 30, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/30/skelos-silver-not-sold-cuomo-upstate-casino-plan/

Bridge Bancorp, the parent company of Bridgehampton National Bank, reported fourth-quarter net income shot up 14 percent to $3.4 million and income for the year rose 23 percent to $12.8 million.  The Bridgehampton (Suffolk)-based bank ended the year with assets up 21 percent to $1.62 billion and deposits up 19 percent to $1.4 billion.  (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/bridge-bancorp-earnings-jump-14-percent-in-4q/

(Update) Melville (Suffolk)-based Chyron, a provider of digital graphics, has regained compliance with Nasdaq requirements, allowing it to continue to remain listed on the exchange. (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/chyron-meets-nasdaq-listing-rules/

Stony Brook (Suffolk)-based Applied DNA Sciences' SigNature DNA, a botanical DNA tracer technology used to authenticate products and materials while preventing counterfeiting, has been required for use by suppliers of certain electronic parts for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. As of Jan. 24, the federal agency has announced it will be subsidizing suppliers for the cost of the DNA markers. (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/feds-to-subsidize-applied-dna-markings/

(Update) Hostess Brands is close to announcing that it has picked two investment firms - C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management - as the lead bidders for its Twinkies and other snack cakes, according to a source close to the situation.  (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/hostess-set-to-announce-bidder-for-twinkies/

Farmingdale (Suffolk)-based Robocom Systems International has completed its acquisition of Munics Information Systems, a New Jersey-based supply chain execution software company.  The deal represents Robocom's fourth acquisition in the past two years.  While Robocom also focuses on supply chain execution software solutions, primarily for warehouse and transportation management operations, Munics Information Systems specializes in software for the wholesale distribution industry.  (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/robocom-acquires-munics-information-systems/

Lake Success (Nassau)-based Flushing Financial Corp., the parent company of Flushing Savings Bank, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose as customers' credit improved.  (Newsday - January 29, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/flushing-financial-4q-earnings-rise-1.4531787

More than 30,000 Long Islanders who used the services of state-sponsored career centers got jobs in 2012, the state Labor Department announced Tuesday.  In Suffolk, 16,646 job seekers who used the six centers on Long Island later obtained a job. In Nassau, 13,435 found work. Most of the sites are One-Stop Career Centers.  The news comes amid a stubbornly high unemployment rate on Long Island. The rate rose to 7.1 percent in December, from 6.8 percent the same month in 2011, the Labor Department said last week. The Island had 104,900 unemployed workers in December, up from 99,400 a year earlier.  Statewide, 250,000 job hunters who frequented government-run employment-service centers found work last year, accounting for a quarter of the one million nationwide who found work after visiting similar sites, the announcement said.  (Newsday - January 29, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/30-000-on-li-find-jobs-after-visiting-state-run-career-centers-1.4530516

January 30 is the first day New York State residents can file their 2012 income tax returns.  It's also the day the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting 2012 tax filings, eight days later than originally planned.  State tax officials said Tuesday they expect to process about 10 million forms, most of them filed online.  The deadline is April 15, to avoid penalties and interest charges. Extensions are available to those who cannot meet the deadline, officials said.  (Newsday - January 29, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/state-federal-tax-filing-season-begins-1.4531184

A visit this week from a new regional patent official and the recent opening of a Patent and Trademark Resource Center at the Smithtown (Suffolk) Library are encouraging local inventors that they will get more support in their endeavors.  Sue A. Purvis, the new Greater New York region innovation and outreach coordinator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, spoke to more than 100 inventors Monday night at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola (Nassau).  It was her first foray to Long Island since taking office in October.  The visit was seen by local inventors as a sign of greater outreach to the Island from the Patent Office. It comes on top of the opening earlier this month of the patent center at the Smithtown Library in an effort to better serve the intellectual property needs of local inventors.  (Newsday - January 29, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/new-patent-support-for-li-inventors-1.4530858

(Update) The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a website and blog dedicated to the Affordable Care Act.  The new Web page at www.sba.gov/healthcare outlines provisions of the act based on businesses including the self-employed, those with fewer than 25 employees, fewer than 50 employees and more than 50 employees.  The agency also launched a blog entitled Health Care Business Pulse at www.sba.gov/blog with updates on the implementation of the act.  The agency said the information is meant to provide general background, but not intended as tax or legal advice.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/sba-launches-affordable-care-act-website/

As health care providers seek special certifications to distinguish themselves from competitors, South Nassau Communities Hospital has become the first hospital in New York State to earn wound care certification from the Joint Commission.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/south-nassau-earns-wound-care-certification/

The housing, banking and auto industries are surging back to health and that has helped push the stock market to a five-year peak. Higher prices for homes and stocks tend to make people feel wealthier and spend more.  Yet unemployment remains high and hiring modest. The end of a Social Security tax cut is shrinking already flat pay. Federal budget fights have put businesses and consumers on edge.  Balanced between those tailwinds and headwinds, the economy is struggling to accelerate. By the end of this year, though, many analysts think the tailwinds will succeed in boosting growth and fueling a more robust economy in 2014. (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/us-economy-gets-lift-from-housing-other-tailwinds/

Amneal Pharmaceuticals Llc., a fast-growing drugmaker with factories in Hauppauge and South Yaphank (both Suffolk), announced plans on January 28 to sell an acid-reflux drug that would challenge the popular Nexium in the United States. (Newsday - January 28, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/amneal-unveils-plans-for-acid-reflux-drug-1.4525537

Struggling department store chain JC Penney this week will begin adding back some of the sales it ditched last year in hopes of luring shoppers who were turned off when the discounts disappeared, CEO Ron Johnson told The Associated Press. (Newsday - January 28, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/j-c-penney-bringing-back-store-sales-1.4523719

Economists are increasingly, but still cautiously, optimistic about growth in the year ahead with the hiring expected to pick up in coming months.  A quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released January 28 shows half of the economists polled now expect real gross domestic product - the value of all goods and services produced in the United States - to grow between 2 and 4 percent in 2013. That's up from 36 percent of respondents who felt the same way three months earlier.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)http://libn.com/2013/01/28/economists-growing-more-upbeat-about-year-ahead/

(Update) The U.S. Senate will vote on the final bill today to provide $51 billion in aid for Hurricane Sandy-ravaged areas.  The Senate bill will require 60 votes to be approved, at which time it can be sent to President Barack Obama for a final signature.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/senate-to-vote-on-hurricane-sandy-aid-bill-today/

Toyota is once again the world's top automaker.  Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year Monday at a record 9.748 million vehicles - a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month of about 9.7 million vehicles.  Toyota dethroned General Motors Co. as the Detroit-based automaker fell short, selling 9.29 million vehicles.  GM had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008.  GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota's production was hurt by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/toyota-sold-nearly-9-75m-vehicles-last-year/

U.S. companies placed more orders for long-lasting goods in December than in November, helped by large increase in aircraft demand.  But businesses pulled back on orders that indicate investment plans.  The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent. The increase was driven by a 10 percent gain in aircraft orders.  A core category that measures business investment plans rose just 0.2 percent, after two strong months of gains.  Orders for durable goods, which are expected to last three years, can be volatile from month to month.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/us-durable-goods-orders-rise-4-6-pct-in-december/

New York Senator Charles Schumer says the Sandy federal aid bill provides for more than $1 billion for projects to shield the coast in the future.  A Senate vote on the aid package is set for January 28. The bill already passed the House.  It includes $5.4 billion in appropriations for emergency and long-term projects.  On the coast that stretches from New York City to Long Island, projects would fortify roads, rebuild beaches and raise houses.  (Crains NY - January 28, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130128/REAL_ESTATE/130129910

Brooklyn's new Barclays Center has been a boon to the Long Island Rail Road.  LIRR ridership has surged an average of 334 percent on event nights at Barclays, pushing the transit system's 2012 ridership numbers slightly ahead of the previous year's, according to railroad officials.  The increase comes despite more than a month of service interruptions and reductions as a result of superstorm Sandy.  (Newsday - January 28, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/transportation/lirr-ridership-boost-from-barclays-events-1.4520171

Since Hurricane Sandy, area home-furnishing centers have enjoyed a flood of new business as homeowners refurnish or replace goods damaged in the Oct. 29 storm.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/25/furniture-stores-weather-post-sandy-sales-surge/

Pinched by gasoline prices and lured by federal tax incentives and environmental benefits, local businesses, school districts and not-for-profit organizations have, with little fanfare, made Long Island the top New York market for vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/25/long-island-pumps-up-on-natural-gas/

Farmingdale (Suffolk)-based Telephonics Corp. has signed a second deal with Russian manufacturer Kazan Helicopters for new radar systems.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)            http://libn.com/2013/01/25/telephonics-inks-2nd-deal-for-radar-systems/

Bethpage (Nassau) Federal Credit Union cited stronger consumer borrowing in reporting a 38 percent rise in earnings last year from 2011.  The year-end results, in an announcement and a report filed with its regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, included record net income of $57 million, a 13 percent growth in deposits, to $536 million, and a 14 percent increase in total assets, to a record $5.1 billion at year end.  (Newsday - January 24, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/bethpage-federal-earnings-rise-38-1.4506183

Banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase has bought nearly four million shares of MSC Industrial Direct Co., Long Island's seventh-largest company by revenue.  MSC, based in Melville (Suffolk) distributes industrial tools and supplies.  (Newsday - January 24, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/chase-buys-4-million-of-li-company-s-shares-1.4504939

Two MIT economists in 2011 wrote "Race Against the Machine," a book that renewed the debate about the relationship between the pace of automation and job growth. They argue that the pace of automation is accelerating and that robotics is pushing into new areas of the work force like white-collar jobs that were previously believed to be beyond the scope of computers.  Dr. Henrik Christensen, Chair of Robotics at Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Computing, said that the evidence indicated that the opposite was true. While automation may transform the work force and eliminate certain jobs, it also creates new kinds of jobs that are generally better paying and that require higher-skilled workers.  (Crains NY - January 24, 2013)  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/technology/robot-makers-spread-global-gospel-of-automation.html

Sales of homes in the Hamptons (Suffolk) jumped 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 2011, and home prices climbed at the same rate, according to the latest reports from two East End real estate brokerage firms.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/hamptons-housing-market-improves-in-4q/

While sparkling wines aren't new to Long Island - they've been produced here since at least the 1980s - America's expanding thirst for bubbly, and the rising sophistication of the local wine industry, is growing the market.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/sparkling-wine-shines-on-li/

Swirls and Twirls, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, is opening its seventh Long Island location next week, this time in Oceanside (Nassau).  The newest store is located in the Nathan's Shopping Center at 3185 Long Beach Road.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/swirls-and-twirls-opens-7th-long-island-shop/

A $1 million endowment will help bridge the gap between the Touro Law Center and New York Medical College, also part of the Touro College and University System.  Beginning in 2014, a visiting professor combining medical and legal knowledge will spend one semester each academic year teaching, lecturing and interacting with Touro Law students. The visiting chair will "enhance the expertise of our students and faculty and create many opportunities for collaboration.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/touro-law-center-receives-1m-donation/

The Land Tek Group, makers of athletic turf fields, has paid about $1.3 million for 10 acres of vacant land on Sweeneydale Avenue in Bay Shore (Suffolk) to build a new and larger headquarters.  Land Tek is looking to sell its 12,000-square-foot building on 1.5 acres in Amityville (Suffolk ) and eventually build a 20,000-square-foot headquarters at the Bay Shore site it purchased from Sharper Property Enterprises.  LandTek has installed synthetic grass at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey and at many area schools, including Stony Brook University, Farmingdale State College and Dowling College. The company also installed the real grass field at Citi Field.  (LI Business News - January 23, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/23/land-tek-group-to-expand-in-bay-shore/

A mixed-use building with 39 apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space may rise this year in central Farmingdale (Nassau), and a planning board member predicted it would lure tenants.  The project would replace an 85-room Hilton hotel once envisioned as the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown.  It would complement a larger, already-approved mixed-use building, creating a $35 million complex along Secatogue Avenue by the Long Island Rail Road station, developers said. Construction on that building, which has 115 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space, is set to begin in May. (Newsday - January 23, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/proposed-mixed-use-building-in-farmingdale-praised-1.4499495

Avoiding an economic showdown with President Obama, the House on Wednesday passed legislation to suspend the nation's statutory borrowing limit for three months, without including the dollar-for-dollar spending cuts that Republicans once insisted would have to be part of any debt limit bill.  The measure, however, did include a provision that docks the pay of lawmakers if one of the chambers of Congress fails to pass a budget blueprint by April 15. That provision provided House Republicans with a rationale for giving in on the debt ceiling, at least temporarily.  (NY Times - January 23, 2013)  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/us/politics/house-passes-3-month-extension-of-debt-limit.html

Astra Products, a supplier of plastic sheet and optical components for flat panel displays, has bought a 6,000-square-foot building in Copiague (Suffolk) from former owner Irving's Recyclables. The price was $580,000.  Astra will be relocating from the 1,500 square feet it leases at 83 Hampton Place in Freeport (Nassau).  (LI Business News - January 23, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/23/astra-products-expands-in-copiague/

A new ranking of the states by the number of square feet in each that won LEED certification last year put the Empire State in seventh place, up three places from 2011, according to results released Wednesday by the U.S. Green Building Council.  The Top 10 list ranks states, and the District of Columbia, by the number of newly certified LEED square feet per capita.  (Crains NY - January 23, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130123/REAL_ESTATE/130129977

(Update) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a $142.6 billion budget proposal on January 22 that includes about $4 billion in federal aid for superstorm Sandy recovery. The governor proposed hiking school aid by 3 percent while keeping overall state spending growth under 2 percent. A $1.35 billion deficit would be addressed by freezing spending on state operations, closing two state prisons, reducing the projected growth in aid to localities by one-fourth and refinancing debt.  He also proposed a smattering of tax extensions, tax credits and fee hikes, raises for some nursing-home workers and a minimum-wage hike from $7.25 per hour to $8.75.  (Newsday - January 22, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/news/region-state/142b-cuomo-budget-4b-sandy-aid-3-school-spending-hike-1.4490726

 

Previously Reported

Citing a 2013-2014 budget gap of $1.3 billion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a $137 billion budget today that increases spending by 1.9 percent but doesn't raise taxes.  While the budget included several perks for upstate - Buffalo is receiving $60 million for a new stadium for the Bills, on top of the $1 billion over 10 years Cuomo promised last year - Long Island will get plenty of love in the form of Hurricane Sandy aid. (LI Business News - January 22, 2013) http://libn.com/2013/01/22/137b-ny-budget-includes-3-4b-in-sandy-aid/

A 300-seat Olive Garden restaurant opened January 21 in Valley Stream (Nassau). The restaurant replaces the former 6-screen Green Acres Cinema adjacent to the Green Acres Mall.  It's the fourth Olive Garden on Long Island and will employ about 180 people.  (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/olive-garden-opens-4th-long-island-restaurant/

U.S. sales of previously occupied homes dipped in December from November, in part because of a limited supply of available homes. But for all of 2012, sales rose to their highest level in five years.  (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/us-home-sales-dip-in-dec-2012-best-in-5-years/

More than three months after Wells Fargo closed its Oceanside (Nassau) location after flooding due to Hurricane Sandy, the bank has repaired and reopened the branch.  (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/wells-fargo-reopens-oceanside-branch/

Business sales nationwide accelerated at the end of the year amid concerns over taxes related to the fiscal cliff, according to a study released by the nation's biggest online marketplace for the sale of companies.  San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com found transactions spiked 43.4 percent in the final three weeks of 2012, which the site attributed to efforts to close deals before tax increases.  (LI Business News - January 21, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/21/business-sales-spike-at-end-of-2012/

Soon after starting Summit Remodeling in Wantagh (Nassau), co-owner Lorraine Schulz discovered that it was worth the effort to help people navigate so-called 203(k) loans -- a mortgage insurance program that lets people use one mortgage to both buy and remodel homes. The loans are administered by the Federal Housing Authority, a unit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Despite the red tape involved in the projects, Summit has developed a niche doing 203(k) renovations, making a marketing advantage out of its expertise in working with the complex program. Schulz says the company does about a dozen 203(k) projects a year, ranging from about $60,000 to $250,000 each.  (Newsday - January 20, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/li-firm-takes-advantage-of-203-k-loan-boom-1.4464576

Catastrophe adjusters came to Long Island by the hundreds, arriving from across America in motor homes, pickup trucks and customized sport utility vehicles to calculate the toll of superstorm Sandy. They are men and women who migrate from disaster to disaster, sleeping in cars, motels and campgrounds as they estimate claims for insurance companies. (Newsday - January 20, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/real-estate/catastrophe-adjusters-chase-disasters-1.4473388  

This year's statewide economic development council competition will have a larger focus on promoting tourism and marketing for each region, Ken Adams, head of Empire State Development, said today.  Adams said Long Island would likely be well represented in the state's "Taste New York" marketing campaign, which will highlight beer, wine and yogurt produced in the Empire State.  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/adams-expect-big-push-for-tourism-in-2013/

Cuomo announced the creation of "innovation hot spots" during last week's State of the State address. The initiative, designed to boost business incubation and offer tax breaks to startup firms, is one of an array of jobs initiatives the governor unveiled in his annual speech.  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/biz-groups-seek-innovation-hot-spot-honor/

Two recent rulings by the state court's appellate division have opened the door for New York companies to purchase transportation equipment, such as trucks and rail cars, tax-free through industrial development agencies.  The rulings essentially eliminate use of a 1973 law state tax officials had been citing to prevent the tax breaks, while giving local IDAs another tool to use when attempting to attract or retain businesses with their own transportation operations.  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/court-lets-idas-offer-truck-rail-benefits/

Lamborghini has returned to Long Island after a three-year hiatus, re-entering a luxury car market that is still shaking off the rust of the recession.  Bespoke Motor Group, the Jericho (Nassau) firm that also owns the local Rolls-Royce and Bentley franchises, is now operating from 11,500 well-appointed feet, making it the brand's largest dealership in the United States, the company's most lucrative market.  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/lamborghini-revs-up-li-luxury-auto-market/

A Tropical Smoothie Café has opened a 1,600-square-foot store in the 87,000-square-foot Village Commons Shopping Center in Smithtown (Suffolk).  It's the chain's 10th location on Long Island.  Tropical Smoothie is actively seeking additional sites here.  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/tropical-smoothie-cafe-opens-10th-li-store/

Long Island's rail system has created a vast, but underused network of transit lines and stations, according to the Long Island Index's10th annual report, unveiled today at Molloy College.  Prepared by the Regional Plan Association, the report focuses on the Long Island Rail Road and its past and potential impacts on the local economy.  Previous annual reports by the Long Island Index, which provides maps with multiple demographics and figures, have chronicled the brain drain, the economy's shift to health care and education, and Long Island's many special districts.  (LI Business News - January 15, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/15/annual-li-index-report-promotes-rail-growth/

PM Pediatrics, a provider of after-hours pediatric urgent care, is gearing up to open its sixth location and its third on Long Island, in North Babylon (Suffolk).  The Lake Success (Nassau)-based firm plans to open the 7,200-square-foot practice at 1130 Deer Park Ave.  (LI Business News - January 15, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/15/pm-pediatrics-to-open-in-north-babylon/

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer and the nation's largest private employer, is making a pledge to hire every veteran who wants a job.  Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., says it projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years.  The hiring pledge, which will begin on Memorial Day, covers veterans within 12 months of leaving active duty. Most of the jobs will be in Wal-Mart's stores or its Sam's club locations. Some will be in the company's distribution centers.  (LI Business News - January 15, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/15/wal-mart-pledges-to-hire-100000-plus-veterans/

Manhattan-based Delmonico Restaurant Group has bought a Southampton (Suffolk) building that formerly housed Savanna's restaurant, and plans to open Delmonico's of Southampton there, according to the New York Post.  The new 5,000-square-foot location at 268 Elm St. in Southampton is scheduled for an April opening.  (LI Business News - January 14, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/14/delmonicos-opening-in-southampton/

Interactive marketing firm Loewy Design has moved into a 2,500-square-foot office at 125 Baylis Road in Melville (Suffolk) from another, smaller Melville location.  Loewy, which provides online marketing, branding, design, and strategic services, has done work for a wide range of well-known clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Century 21 Department Stores, Verizon, Motorola, Princeton Review, The Franklin Mint and John Wiley & Sons.  (LI Business News - January 14, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/14/loewy-design-relocates-expands-in-melville/

Port Washington (Nassau)-based high-tech filter manufacturer Pall Corp. has nearly doubled the size of its Menlo Park., Calif., facility to 42,000 square feet.  The firm expanded the roughly 26,000-suare-foot site of its ForteBio operations, which Pall acquired last year, to create a center for excellence for instrumentation.  (LI Business News - January 14, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/14/pall-corp-expands-silicon-valley-facility/

Nassau County officials and the developers of a new $15 million ice skating rink will break ground Thursday at Eisenhower Park.  Called Twin Rinks at Eisenhower Park, the complex will include Ferraro Brothers Ice Center, an 85,000-square-foot world-class facility with two NHL regulation-sized rinks and one outdoor recreational hockey rink run by former NHL players Chris and Peter Ferraro.  Twin Rinks is expected to have a $35 million impact on restaurants, hotels and other area businesses in its first five years of operation.  (LI Business News - January 17, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/17/groundbreaking-for-15m-eisenhower-park-ice-rink/

The fast-growing Havana Central restaurant chain expanded into Roosevelt Field in Garden City (Nassau) last week.  The eatery joins a handful of small Cuban spots on the Island.  The Garden City eatery features 9,000 square feet of dining, drinking and dancing and seats 300. In good weather, there's room for another 85 at an outdoor café. The staff tops 200. (LI Business News - January 17, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/17/havana-central-brings-cuban-to-li/

The Long Island Association and Long Island Builders Institute announced today they have agreed to form a strategic partnership to advocate for local economic development projects.  Chief among the issues the groups will tackle will be affordable housing - a topic, along with land use, the Long Island Association has shied away from in previous years.  Affordable housing is only one area the two organizations will deal with together. Law said other priorities include supporting regionally significant development projects, advancing efforts to expand sewer capacity and seeking improvements to the state environmental review process.  (LI Business News - January 17, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/17/lia-libi-form-affordable-housing-alliance/

U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 ½ years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.  The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 percent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009.  Steady hiring, record-low mortgage rates and a tight supply of new and previously occupied homes available for sale have helped boost sales and prices in most markets. That has persuaded builders to start more homes, which adds to economic growth and hiring.  (LI Business News - January 17, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/17/us-home-construction-in-2012-highest-in-4-years/

The Long Island Rail Road will open the first of two information centers today for its upcoming Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale double track project.  The project, which had been stalled due to lack of funding, will add a second track to the 18-mile stretch of railroad. Having two tracks between the Ronkonkoma (Suffolk) and Farmingdale (Nassau) stations will greatly improve service from Ronkonkoma, LIRR officials said, as trains will now be able to travel in two directions. This is the first major upgrade for the line since it was electrified in 1988.  As part of the state's environmental review process, information sessions must be held with the public to discuss the project.  Double track is a vital part of several other initiatives in Suffolk County, including the Ronkonkoma Hub and Wyandanch Rising. It's slated for completion by 2018.  (LI Business News - January 16, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/16/lirr-opening-double-track-info-centers/

Nassau County is teaming up with its partners in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to use federal funds to rehabilitate foreclosed houses to be purchased by first-time home buyers.  Eligible homes are in specific target areas of Elmont, Valley Stream/North Valley Stream, Freeport, Uniondale and Roosevelt.  The funding for rehabilitation of four homes has been authorized by the county Legislature.  Under the first round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the county's program partners purchased 30 foreclosed homes in eligible areas.  So far, 17 homes have been sold to eligible first-time home buyers while another 13 are in various stages of development and being readied for contracts.  (LI Business News - January 16, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/16/nassau-county-rehabilitating-more-foreclosures

The New York State Comptroller's office has approved 111 contracts for $167 million in rebuilding and repairs following Superstorm Sandy.  The contracts were approved from November to December, primarily for work requested by the state Department of Transportation and Office of General Services.  (LI Business News - January 16, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/16/ny-oks-167m-in-sandy-recovery-contracts/

Long Island car dealers sold 71 percent more new cars and trucks in November than a year earlier as buyers replaced vehicles destroyed by superstorm Sandy.  (Newsday - January 15, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/cars/november-vehicle-sales-surge-on-li-1.4452260

A proposed change to Islip's town (Suffolk) code would allow for higher density in a residential zoning district as an incentive for developers who build affordable, environmentally friendly housing.  The town board is expected to vote Tuesday to set a Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposed amendments and the draft generic environmental impact statement that addresses the possible changes.  (Newsday - January 14, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/islip-considering-higher-density-zoning-1.4442472

LaunchPad Long Island, a project of local investors Andrew Hazen and Rich Foster, is a "co-working" office where the inhabitants -- start-up companies at different stages of growth -- share work space with the aim of fostering creativity and collaboration.  Such office spaces, which are popping up across the United States, work to promote the expansion of entrepreneurial communities through a social work environment.  (Newsday - January 13, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/mineola-business-incubator-readies-for-feb-launch-1.4437140

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency has approved economic incentives to two New York City companies that will relocate to Nassau and ultimately provide $115 million in new economic benefits to the county.  "R" Best Produce, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler now in the Bronx, has agreed to relocate to Port Washington and bring with it 51 new jobs, according to a statement.  "R" Best is also expected to add 12 new positions within three years of its move. It is anticipated that the project will create 25 full-time construction jobs.  Display Technologies will move from College Point, Queens, to Lake Success, bringing with it 61 jobs and a promise to create four additional jobs within three years. The move also will create 25 full-time construction jobs.  The company manufactures beverage displays used in supermarkets and convenience stores.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/2-nyc-firms-relocating-to-nassau-county/

The Town of Brookhaven (Suffolk) has adopted sweeping zoning changes for the business districts in six of its North Shore hamlets to encourage redevelopment and keep big-box stores out of certain areas.  The town has created three new overlay districts as per the recommendations of the Route 25A Mount Sinai to Wading River Land Use Plan, changing current zoning from J2 (neighborhood business) to J6 (Main Street business).  The new districts allow building frontages to be closer to the street to enhance pedestrian access and "walkability".  They also will permit increased floor-to-area ratios as compared with the previous zoning.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/brookhaven-rezones-north-shore-hamlets/

Nassau and Suffolk's chief executives urged business leaders to contact federal officials today to demand relief for Hurricane Sandy-damaged areas.  The pleas came as part of an hour-long summary by county executives Ed Mangano and Steve Bellone at a Long Island Association breakfast Friday morning.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/mangano-bellone-make-push-for-federal-storm-aid/

Wells Fargo, the country's biggest mortgage lender, reported record earnings for the fourth quarter on Friday, beating analysts' expectations for both profit and revenue. The bank made more loans, gained deposits and enjoyed above-average returns from the investments made by its private equity business.  In a call with analysts, bank officials also sounded a positive note on their crucial mortgage unit. The housing market, said CEO John Stumpf, began "a steady rebound" in 2012. "There is no doubt," he added, "that a corner was turned."  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/wells-fargo-nets-record-profit-but-mortgages-slow/

Educators who favor lengthening the time students spend in school welcomed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's support in his State of the State address this week but lamented a plan to fund it through competitive grants that would limit the number of students who'd benefit.  "These are important programs, and we really should look to find a way to develop a stable, sustainable revenue stream ... so that all districts can participate in those important programs and not just a select few," said David Albert, spokesman for the New York State School Boards Association.  Mr. Cuomo on Wednesday proposed picking up the costs for districts that extend learning time by at least 25% with longer school days or years. He also backed the expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten programs beginning in higher needs districts.  (Crains NY - January 11, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130111/EDUCATION/130119970

With few exceptions, the 56 vineyards clustered mainly on the Island's North Fork had their grapes harvested before superstorm Sandy bore down on the region. That's partly because the growing season started earlier this year.  But while winemakers were lucky in the harvest, they didn't escape Sandy's effects unscathed.  The weeks and months following the storm saw a sharp drop-off in traffic to the wine region as gas became scarce initially and Long Islanders were concerned with bigger issues than the nose of the latest Riesling.  (Newsday - January 11, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/vintage-winery-year-tempered-by-tourism-drop-1.4432716 

There's a new proposal to develop the 77-acre Nassau Coliseum site on Long Island into a 5 million-square-foot biotech campus.  The biotech campus would be linked to a 92-acre residential, retail and commercial development by light rail or a special bus route.  Developer Don Monti estimates it would cost between $2 billion to $3 billion. His proposal could change following community feedback.  Monti still needs to negotiate a deal with Nassau, find an anchor tenant and secure financing.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/biotech-campus-proposed-for-nassau-coliseum-site/

Residential brokers and real estate attorneys are looking to new federal rules on short sales to help speed closings in a still-stagnant Long Island home market.  Short sales, in which homes are sold for less than the amount of their mortgage, have surged in popularity over the past six years as recession-hit homeowners have sought to get out from underneath loans they can no longer afford and houses no longer worth what is owed on them.  A new Treasury Department program, approved as part of the fiscal cliff tax package and set to go into effect next month, is designed to encourage lenders to respond to short-sale requests within 30 days. The rules are aimed at loans from traditional lenders, but government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to voluntarily follow suit.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/federal-regulations-targeting-short-sales/

New Hyde Park (Nassau)-based Kimco Realty is part of a consortium led by Cerberus Capital Management that has purchased five large grocery chains from Supervalu.  Kimco will hold a 15 percent stake in the investment group that bought Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Star Market for $100 million in cash plus more than $3 billion in debt. The group had originally acquired a portion of the Albertsons chain in 2006.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/kimco-investing-76-5m-in-albertsons/

While the decision to move the New York Islanders to Brooklyn will mean a loss for Long Island, it also could open the door to a wider range of development at Nassau Hub, according to a local economist.  Pearl Kamer, chief economist for the Long Island Association and a former adviser to Charles Wang on his now defunct development project for the Hub, said the Islanders' move could create new options for that 77-acre site.  Kamer said the Hub could provide a home for a combination of office, retail and recreation, possibly linked with housing related for scientists and researchers at the new Hofstra North Shore-LIJ Medical School.  (LI Business News - January 10, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/10/islanders-exit-could-expand-nassau-hub-options/

(Update) While little is still known about Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plans to privatize the Long Island Power Authority, those plans apparently do not include the New York Power Authority.  Speaking at Dowling College today, NYPA President and CEO Gil Quinones told LIBN the state agency's position would be to help during any potential transition, but would not be involved more than that.  (LI Business News - January 10, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/10/quinones-nypa-will-not-take-over-lipa/

U.S. employers advertised about the same number of jobs in November as in October, suggesting hiring will stay modest over the next few months.  Job openings ticked up 11,000 last month to 3.67 million, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's about 12 percent more than were advertised in the same month a year ago.  The number of available jobs is slowly climbing back to the roughly 4 million that were advertised each month before the recession began in December 2007.  (LI Business News - January 10, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/10/us-job-openings-barely-grew-in-november/

Consumer confidence on Long Island rose slightly in the October-December period compared with the summer, despite the devastation wrought by superstorm Sandy.  The Siena College Research Institute today reported its confidence index for Nassau and Suffolk counties in the final three months of 2012 was 73.6 points, up 3.4 from the July-September period.  (Newsday - January 10, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/li-consumer-confidence-up-at-end-of-2012-1.4429847

Town of Hempstead officials and real estate developers cut the ribbon Monday on a new 13,000-square-foot Walgreens drug store in Uniondale.  (LI Business News - January 9, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/09/walgreens-opens-in-uniondale/

CA Technologies of Hauppuage (Suffolk) announced today it will be providing $1 million to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit, educational organization behind Sesame Street, to promote science, technology, engineering and math learning in preschool children.  The donation will be used by Sesame Workshop to create a free STEM hub as part of the Sesamestreet.org website. Children, parents and educators will be presented with learning concepts associated with STEM education in fun, creative and engaging ways, and short promotional videos will encourage families to stress the importance of STEM education.  (LI Business News - January 9, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/09/ca-technologies-headed-to-sesame-street/

(Update) Superstorm Sandy has delayed the construction to make Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County safer for pedestrians.  State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer Post told Newsday that the work along the 16-mile corridor was supposed to be done last fall. It involved the addition of median fencing and construction of 13 raised pedestrian medians. She said crews had to shift their focus to clear roadways from downed trees and wires after Sandy struck in late October. The DOT says work on the raised median islands is now scheduled to begin Wednesday. The fencing work is set to start on Monday.  The advocacy group Tri-State Transportation Campaign has named Hempstead Turnpike the most dangerous road for pedestrians in the New York region.  (LI Business News - January 9, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/09/sandy-delayed-work-on-hempstead-turnpike/

Wal-Rich Plumbing Supply has purchased a 50,500-square-foot industrial building in Port Washington (Nassau) for $4.62 million.  Founded in 1950, Wal-Rich is currently in Corona, Queens, but will be moving its operation to its new Port Washington building at 13 Harbor Park Drive and bringing about 35 jobs with it.  (LI Business News - January 8, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/08/plumbing-supplier-expands-in-port-washington/

Long Island charities exhaled a sigh of relief last week when Congress and the White House left the deduction for charitable donations largely intact.  But even if charities' worst fears didn't come to pass, some changes could still hurt, and some people worry that Congress could revisit the idea of limiting charitable deductions as a way of reducing the deficit. (Newsday - January 7, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/li-charities-relieved-by-fiscal-cliff-deal-1.4417890

Bank of America has reached a settlement with Fannie Mae on residential mortgage loans sold by the bank and its Countrywide unit to the agency ahead of the nation's 2008 financial crisis.  The settlement includes a $3.6 billion payment to Fannie Mae. Bank of America will also buy back some of the loans sold to Fannie Mae for $6.75 billion.  Its stock gained more than 2 percent in premarket trading.  (LI Business News - January 7, 2013)http://libn.com/2013/01/07/bank-of-america-reaches-settlement-with-fannie-mae/

The National Hockey League and its players finally achieved a deal on January 6, finding a way to restart a sport desperate to regain momentum and boost its prominence.  Ending a bitter dispute that wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than two decades, the league and its union agreed to the framework of a 10-year labor contract that will allow a delayed schedule to start later this month.  (LI Business News - January 7, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/07/drop-the-puck-nhl-players-settle-labor-dispute/

The U.S. Census Bureau's latest workforce data show that teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade in Nassau and Suffolk counties outnumber workers in any other occupation on Long Island, and more than 88 percent of them are white.  Among the top 10 jobs with the most workers, the only grouping in which minorities comprise the majority Islandwide is the nursing, psychiatric and home health aide category, the census statistics show. In that category, 52.9 percent of the workers were black and 15.7 percent were Hispanic.  Overall, the "worksite" employment data for Nassau and Suffolk show that whites are predominant in higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs, sometimes in percentages exceeding their share of the population and the labor force. Minorities are found in greater percentages than their share of the population and workforce in some lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.  (Newsday - January 6, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/data-teachers-form-li-s-largest-workforce-more-than-88-percent-are-white-1.4411100

Before setting up a Long Island location, manufacturers often ask Empire State Development if the region has the skilled workers they'll need. If there are skills gaps, John Lombardo, 64, vice president of workforce and economic development for Suffolk County Community College, develops training programs to help fill them.  The programs lure industry, create jobs and advancement opportunities, and keep 90 percent of those skilled workers on Long Island, he says.  (Newsday - January 6, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/executive-suite-john-lombardo-1.4399922

Two months after superstorm Sandy lifted the Long Beach (Suffolk) boardwalk like a roller coaster, nearly 3,000 people came out early Saturday to bid a sentimental goodbye to the iconic city landmark.  The actual demolition of the boardwalk -- stretching from New York Avenue to Neptune Boulevard -- began January 2.  City officials said they would look to build a stronger structure that would be better protected from natural disasters.  (Newsday - January 5, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/thousands-bid-farewell-to-beloved-long-beach-boardwalk-1.4409887

A 2,520-square-foot Great Neck store that housed the former Bruce's Bakery & Restaurant has sold for $1.05 million.  Bruce's closed suddenly last year, after being a fixture on Middle Neck Road for three decades.  The buyers, Manhattan-based private investors, may lease the space or open their own restaurant, since the property comes complete with tables, chairs, restaurant equipment and a full basement.  (LI Business News - January 4, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/04/bruces-bakery-in-great-neck-sold-for-1-05m/

Farmingdale (Suffolk)-based defense contractor Telephonics Corp. has received a $33.2-million U.S. Army contract to supply encrypted intercommunications systems through 2017.  The systems give Army aviators "the ability to safely communicate and convey critical commands.  Telephonics is a subsidiary of Manhattan-based Griffon Corp.  (Newsday - January 4, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/telephonics-land-33m-army-contract-other-business-briefs-1.4408279

(Update) In a move to consolidate its back-office operations, New York Community Bancorp has closed on the sale of a 160,000-square-foot office building at 102 Duffy Ave. in Hicksville, the former home of JPMorgan Chase.  The vacant building at 102 Duffy Ave. was part of a 440,000-square-foot, two-building complex purchased by Montvale, N.J.-based Ivy Equities for $18.5 million in September 2012. The other building at 100 Duffy Ave., retained by Ivy, is at least one-third vacant.  Before that, the properties had been in special servicing for nearly two years after former owners Syosset-based BDG Group and Apollo Real Estate Advisors defaulted on the mortgage and the buildings were foreclosed on in 2010.  (LI Business News - January 3, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/03/new-york-community-bancorp-buys-102-duffy-ave-in-hicksville/

A steadily improving economy and strong December sales lifted the American auto industry to its best performance in five years in 2012, especially for Volkswagen and Japanese-brand vehicles, and experts say the next year should be even better.  Manufacturers Thursday announced their final figures, which were expected to total 14.5 million -- 13 percent better than 2011.  More than three years after the federal government's $62- billion auto-industry bailout, Americans had plenty of incentive to buy new cars and trucks in the year just ended. Unemployment eased. And the average age of a car topped 11 years in the United States, a record that spurred people to trade in old vehicles.  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/2012-best-year-for-u-s-automakers-in-5-years-1.4403682

A group of residents in the barrier island hamlet of Point Lookout (Nassau) -- who say they have displayed more than a little patience and fortitude since superstorm Sandy -- contend that reopening the weather-beaten library would be a boon to the hard-hit community.  The residents -- who have filled two public meetings of the Long Beach Public Library board of trustees, which runs the Point Lookout location -- say the little branch was ready to reopen weeks ago and accuse the library of stalling.  Reopening the Point Lookout library would give storm-weary seniors a place to socialize and children a place to study, the residents said.  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/residents-reopen-library-at-point-lookout-1.4403752

Cups Frozen Yogurt, a "beach-themed, self-serve, fro-yo concept", opened its first Long Island location at 55 Old Country Road in Carle Place (Nassau) on January 2.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/03/first-long-island-cups-opens-in-carle-place/

The federal government has approved giving NuHealth, parent of East Meadow-based Nassau University Medical Center, $3.3 million to improve primary care training and better coordinate care for Medicaid patients.  The system plans to use the funds to hire more faculty with an expertise in ambulatory care, wellness care and preventive care, expand its quality department and otherwise improve primary care physician training and care.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/03/nuhealth-to-get-3-3m-for-primary-care-training/

Several companies in Nassau and Suffolk continued to operate as economic engines, adding employees by the tens, and even hundreds, in 2012.  Here's a look at some of the stars of 2012.

  • - Arrow Security: +120 jobs. While Arrow provides security across the country, for everything from hotels and banks to private events, the company has seen a large uptick in business from schools and used-car dealerships.
  • - Community Care Partners: +120 jobs. Bohemia (Suffolk)-based Community Care Partners doubled its staff in 2012, adding 120 home health aides to its operation, along with a handful of such positions as registered nurses, field supervisors and clerical members.
  • - DealerTrack Technologies: +75 jobs. For Lake Success (Nassau)-based DealerTrack Technologies, the addition of 75 Long Island jobs can be directly tied to the growth in the automobile industry. The software company for auto dealers and lenders pointed to strong auto sales across the country as the impetus for its growth.
  • - Whitsons Culinary Group: +30 jobs. Whitsons Culinary Group, a food preparation company, brought on an additional 30 employees at its Islandia (Suffolk) headquarters. Whitsons staffed up to serve a growing client base, which includes organizations like Meals on Wheels and others that serve individuals with specific diets. Most of the new employees added were for food preparation positions.

(LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/03/top-long-island-job-creators/

An upscale restaurant chain with two locations on Long Island and one in Westchester County has agreed to pay just over $1 million to settle federal charges that it failed to pay 255 workers minimum wage and overtime, and falsified records to hide the alleged violations, the U.S. Labor Department said on January 2.  The restaurants are Asian Moon in Garden City and Massapequa Park (both Nassau), and Golden Rod in New Rochelle (Westchester). Most of the alleged violations occurred on Long Island, the department said.  The chain's president, Vickie Sue Li, was also a party to the settlement.  Under the agreement, which a judge approved Friday, the Long Island restaurants and Li will pay $772,480 in back wages and damages to 193 employees, plus about $77,000 in civil penalties to the Department of Labor. Li and the New Rochelle restaurant have agreed to pay $313,273 to 62 workers and about $21,000 in civil penalties.  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/2-li-restaurants-to-settle-labor-suit-1.4399966

A private survey shows U.S. businesses sharply increased hiring in December, helped by a surge of new construction jobs created to help rebuild from Superstorm Sandy.  Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that employers added 215,000 jobs in December. That's more than November's total of 148,000, which was revised higher.  The survey showed companies added 39,000 construction jobs last month. That was partly in response to the storm but also an indication of the housing recovery under way.  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/private-survey-shows-sandy-boosted-hiring-1.4401505

Stony Brook (Suffolk)-based Applied DNA Sciences will be providing The United Kingdom Metropolitan Police Service with its DNANet technology, which will be used in thousands of homes where homeowners will be encouraged to mark and register their valuables. In the event of a theft DNANet markers will enable police to identify and trace the stolen goods. (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/applied-dna-inks-deal-with-london-police/

Stamford, Conn.-based Cenveo's Long Island sales office will move from its current space in Hauppauge (Suffolk) to new digs at 532 Broadhollow Road in Melville (Suffolk) in February. (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/cenveo-moving-li-sales-office-to-melville/

A commission has proposed overhauling New York's public schools with longer teaching days and academic years, teacher competency exams, more pre-kindergarten and by recruiting top college graduates as educators.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/cuomo-commission-pushes-longer-school-day-year/

Many more "lean startups" are appearing on Long Island.  Before investing a great deal of time and money creating something customers may not want or need, the lean startup concept encourages entrepreneurs to build a minimally viable product, seeking feedback early in the process and again, periodically, throughout its development.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/lean-startups-on-the-rise/

Local governments that find innovative and efficient new ways to do business could receive up to $200,000 as part of a new round of state grants.  The New York State Department of State has released a request for applications to municipalities to apply for the 2012-2013 round of Local Government Efficiency grants.  Municipalities that can successfully document how their initiatives have improved efficiencies and saved taxpayers money will be eligible for a piece of $4 million in funding through the program.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/new-round-of-govt-efficiency-grants-available/

Amid continuing concerns over financial stability and market demand, employers are expected to cautiously boost hiring in 2013, a nationwide survey of business owners is reporting.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/small-businesses-to-cautiously-boost-hiring/

(Update) The franchisee of a Sonic drive-in restaurant in Nesconset (Suffolk) has sued the Town of Smithtown's Board of Zoning and Appeals over that body's denial of a special exemption needed for a drive-thru on the 2-acre site on Route 25.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/sonice-franchisee-sues-smithtown-over-zoning-board-denial/

Medford (Suffolk)-based Suffolk Federal Credit Union has opened its seventh branch, and its first in five years on Dec. 8 at 5 Eastport Manor Road in Eastport (Suffolk) in a shopping center anchored by King Kullen.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/suffolk-federal-credit-union-opens-in-eastport/

Congress broke a rancorous stalemate Tuesday to pass legislation designed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But the compromise bill, which blocked most impending tax increases and postponed spending cuts largely by raising taxes on upper-income Americans, left a host of issues unresolved and guaranteed continued budget clashes between the parties. (Wall St Journal - January 2, 2013)  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323320404578215373352793876.html

Overall, venture capital deal volume in 2013 is expected to match or surpass that of 2012, when New York saw 251 venture deals through the third quarter, up from 219 in the year-earlier period, according to venture tracking firm CB Insights.  (Crains NY - January 2, 2013) http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130102/FINANCE/121229938

All the major U.S. stock indexes swelled more than 2 percent in early trading and were still up significantly at the close in the wake of the "fiscal cliff" compromise passed by Congress.  The Dow Jones industrial average briefly surged to its biggest gain in six months.  (Newsday - January 2, 2013)http://www.newsday.com/fiscal-cliff-relief-rally-boost-markets-1.4397070

Four local companies have promised to create 170 jobs in return for reductions in their electric bills by the state.  The businesses, all in Suffolk County, are receiving incentives from the NY Power Authority to support expansion projects valued collectively at $127.3 million. The state aid comes through the ReCharge NY program, established in 2011 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature. (Newsday - January 2, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/power-bill-cuts-for-4-suffolk-companies-1.4395645

The federal government runs a multibillion-dollar business in Lower Manhattan with an unusual and diverse revenue stream.  In the last year, the government's prosecutorial branch in Manhattan has taken in about $160 million from an online poker operation and more than $2 billion from a failed Ponzi scheme. Last week, it even secured a Tyrannosaurus skeleton from Mongolia valued at more than $1 million.  (NY Times - January 1, 2013)  http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/crime-forfeiture-pays-for-u-s-attorneys-office-sometimes-in-dinosaur-bones/

 

Business Contractions and Closings

New Items

A group representing New York's restaurant owners says the Cuomo administration sandbagged its members, sticking them with the bill for a huge spike in unemployment claims stemming from Superstorm Sandy.  In the aftermath of the late-October storm, the state Department of Labor launched an aggressive effort to sign up tens of thousands of laid-off workers for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance jobless benefits. It turned out, however, that federal rules require states to see whether unemployed residents are eligible for state unemployment benefits before putting them on federal disaster relief rolls.  According to the business owners, that's not what the Cuomo administration initially led them to believe. Instead, they were told at seminars held by the state Department of Labor that their laid-off employees would simply be able to sign up for the federally funded program, according to a letter sent Jan. 23 from New York State Restaurant Association CEO Rick Sampson to Department of Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera. (Crains NY - January 29, 2013)  http://mycrains.crainsnewyork.com/blogs/insider/2013/01/biz-owners-slam-cuomo-for-sandy-unemployment-bill/

Seventeen families whose homes in the Breezy Point area of the Rockaways burned down during Superstorm Sandy are preparing to sue the Long Island Power Authority over their losses.  The families say LIPA should have known to cut power before Sandy struck on Oct. 29. They say their homes burned when water from the storm surge hit live electrical wires.  The families are seeking $1 million in damages each.  Consolidated Edison Inc. supplies power to most of New York City but LIPA serves the Rockaways.  (Crains NY - January 29, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130129/PROFESSIONAL_SERVICES/130129890

No Long Island companies received investments from venture capital firms in the last three months of 2012, according to the MoneyTree report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.  Some 107 companies in the New York metropolitan area, most in Manhattan, received $784 million in venture investments, representing a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2011.  For the year, three Long Island companies received around $8 million in venture investments -- all in the first half of 2012.  (Newsday - January 31, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/no-venture-capital-funding-for-li-companies-1.4540265

The U.S. economy shrank unexpectedly late last year, a reminder of the biggest threat it faces in 2013: sharp government spending cuts and prolonged political budget fights.  A plunge in defense spending helped push the economy into negative territory for the first time since mid-2009.  The contraction in the October-December quarter came in at an annual rate of 0.1 percent, according to a government estimate released January 30.  The likelihood of another recession appears remote.  The economy is forecast to grow around 2 percent this year as strength in areas like housing and auto sales could partly offset government cutbacks. Investors appear unfazed, too: The stock market has surged more than 6 percent this year and is nearing an all-time high.  But economists warn that further spending cuts would weaken a still-precarious recovery.  (Newsday - January 30, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/u-s-economy-slips-0-1-in-4q-on-lower-military-spending-1.4533795

The Long Island Marriott and Conference Center in Uniondale (Nassau) is facing "imminent default" on a $103.5 million loan, according to a recently released notice from Fitch Ratings.  As a result, the loan has been turned over to C-III Asset Management, a Texas-based debt servicer. A modification of the loan is assumed likely.  The 618-room Long Island Marriott, owned by Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders, has failed to reach favorable debt service coverage ratios in recent years.  The hotel, located next to the Nassau Coliseum, was constructed in 1982, renovated in 2006 and underwent a $22 million improvement project in 2007 and 2008.  (LI Business News - January 29, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/29/long-island-marriott-loan-facing-default/

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble plans to continue to shrink its store base.  The company says it will have 450 to 500 stores in a decade. That's down from about 689 currently.  "We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the past 10 years," said spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating.  Some closings are due to the fact that stores are unprofitable and others are stores moving to better locations. Although Barnes & Noble has for the most part stopped opening new stores in the past several years, Keating said New York-based Barnes & Noble opened two new prototype stores in 2012 and plans to test other prototypes in 2013.  In addition to its traditional bookstores, Barnes & Noble operates 674 college bookstores.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/barnes-noble-exec-plans-more-store-closings/

Local and national gas prices are heading back up after several weeks of decline.  In the past week, the average price of gasoline on Long Island rose 2.5 cents per gallon, averaging $3.70 per gallon as of the morning of January 28.  Similarly, the average price of gas across the nation rose 4.8 cents per gallon in the same time frame, standing at $3.32 per gallon, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.  (LI Business News - January 28, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/28/long-island-gas-prices-back-on-the-rise-3/

With more real estate companies shrinking than expanding, broker activity hasn't moved the needle much on the overall vacancy rate, which was 5.6 percent in the last quarter of 2012, according to a report from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. That was slightly higher than the 5.4 percent vacancy rate recorded in the previous quarter, but unchanged from a year ago.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/25/consolidation-driving-li-industrial-re-market/

Speaking before a meeting of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, Pearl Kamer, chief economist for the Long Island Association, said the Long Island economy was "not growing" and had been sputtering even before Hurricane Sandy hit last October.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/25/kamer-li-economy-worse-than-rest-of-us/

In the early 1980s, at the beginning of the personal computer age, economists thought computers would do what machines had done for two centuries - eliminate jobs that required brawn, not brains. Low-level workers would be forced to seek training to qualify for jobs that required more skills. They'd become more productive and earn more money. The process would be the same as when mechanization replaced manual labor on the farm a century ago; workers moved to the city and got factory jobs that required higher skills but paid more.  But it hasn't quite worked out that way. It turns out that computers most easily target jobs that involve routines, whatever skill level they require. And the most vulnerable of these jobs, economists have found, tend to employ mid-skill workers, even those held by people with college degrees - the very jobs that support a middle-class, consumer economy.  (LI Business News - January 25, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/25/will-smart-machines-create-a-world-without-work/

Suffolk County is considering a plan to sell its Hauppauge headquarters to a murky state agency in a 15-year lease-back deal that could yield as much as $70 million.  The Judicial Facilities Agency was created in 1999 for pretty much the same sort of fiscal sleight of hand: buying and leasing back the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip (Suffolk). That deal brought the county a quick $64 million, which it finished repaying in 2009.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/cash-strapped-suffolk-eyeing-dennison-sale/

Manufacturers have been using technology to cut blue-collar jobs for years. Now, they're targeting their white-collar workers, too.  Factory Automation Systems makes machines that help companies cut, bundle and load products faster and cheaper than humans can. But it didn't realize how much technology could help its own business until the Great Recession hit.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/manufacturers-cutting-white-collar-jobs-now-too/

From giant corporations to university libraries to start-up businesses, employers are using rapidly improving technology to do tasks that humans used to do. That means millions of workers are caught in a competition they can't win against machines that keep getting more powerful, cheaper and easier to use.  To better understand the impact of technology on jobs, The Associated Press analyzed employment data from 20 countries; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, CEOs and workers who are competing with smarter machines.  The AP found that almost all the jobs disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. Jobs that form the backbone of the middle class in developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia.  In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, and the numbers are even more grim in the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency. A total of 7.6 million midpay jobs disappeared in those countries from January 2008 through last June.  Those jobs are being replaced in many cases by machines and software that can do the same work better and cheaper.  (LI Business News - January 24, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/24/practically-human-can-smart-machines-do-your-job/

The long decline in the number of American workers belonging to labor unions accelerated sharply last year, according to data reported on January 23, sending the unionization rate to its lowest level in close to a century.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of union members fell by 400,000 last year, to 14.3 million, even though the nation's overall employment rose by 2.4 million. The percentage of workers in unions fell to 11.3 percent, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, the bureau found in its annual report on union membership. (NY Times - January 24, 2013)  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/business/union-membership-drops-despite-job-growth.htm

Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.  Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market.  What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work.  Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.  They're being obliterated by technology.  Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done.  For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.  (LI Business News - January 23, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/23/recession-tech-kill-middle-class-jobs/

(Update) On January 21, Crain's New York Business published an article about how privatizing the Long Island Power Authority could require the state to assume $4 billion of the company's debt.  At least one prominent utility executive thinks that isn't necessarily so.  Robert Catell, a former chief executive of KeySpan Corp. and its predecessor, Brooklyn Union Gas Co., said LIPA's $7 billion in debt could be paid off without state assistance in two steps. First, he estimates half of it could disappear by selling LIPA's power lines, transmission stations and other infrastructure to a private company for $3.5 billion. The remainder, he said, could be whittled down over time via a dedicated surcharge paid by LIPA's 1.1 million customers.  "The debt is Long Island's debt, and we may not like it, but we own it," said Mr. Catell, referring to customers of the utility. Mr. Catell used to serve as chairman of National Grid, KeySpan's successor, which currently manages LIPA's operations.  (Crains NY - January 23, 2013)  http://mycrains.crainsnewyork.com/blogs/in-the-markets/2013/01/vet-utility-exec-says-lipa-bailout-not-required/

Software maker CA Technologies, Long Island's largest company by stock market value, said Tuesday its third-quarter profits dipped 5 percent as revenue from its mainframe computer programs declined.  The company, which sells mainframe, storage and security software to large corporations, said sales dropped 5 percent, to $1.2 billion, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared to the same period last year.  (Newsday - January 22, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/ca-technologies-profits-dip-5-percent-1.4492886

Local industrial development agencies, which provide tax breaks to expanding businesses, would face new limits under a plan unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.   In his 2013-14 budget proposal, Cuomo said IDAs are in need of "reform" because they "use state resources for economic development purposes without consulting with the state or receiving input from the regional economic development councils," which he established in 2011.  If IDAs want to continue providing companies with an exemption from the state's 4 percent sales tax, the governor said, IDA projects should be endorsed by the councils.  He also suggested limiting the types of businesses that IDAs can help, and confining projects to scientific research and development, computer software development, agriculture, back-office operations, distribution centers, data centers for financial service companies and manufacturing.  (Newsday - January 22, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/cuomo-eyes-new-ida-tax-break-limits-1.4493038

 

Previously Reported

Dish Network Corp. says it plans to close about 300 Blockbuster stores across the country, losing about 3,000 employees.  The closures will leave about 500 Blockbuster locations in the U.S.  Dish Network last year also shuttered about 500 underperforming Blockbuster locations. The stores that will be closed in coming weeks are either underperforming or nearing the end of their leases. The 3,000 employees were informed about the latest closures on Friday. The store locations have not been announced. (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/dish-network-to-close-300-us-blockbuster-stores/

Long Island's unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent in December 2012, up 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, hurt by soaring unemployment in regions hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Nassau County's rate increased by 0.5 percentage points to 7 percent, while Suffolk County's rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 7.3 percent. New York State's rate rose to 8.8 percent from 8 percent a year ago, while the national rate fell to 7.6 percent from 8.3 percent a year ago. (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/long-island-unemployment-rate-up-to-7-1-percent/

Verizon Communications' fourth-quarter loss widened, dragged down by restructuring, pension and Superstorm Sandy costs.  The company activated a record number of new devices on its contract-based plans during the period.  The parent of the country's biggest wireless carrier lost $4.23 billion, or $1.48 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $2.02 billion or 71 cents per share, a year ago. (LI Business News - January 22, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/22/verizon-communications-4q-loss-widens/ 

A large and growing share of American workers are tapping their retirement savings accounts for nonretirement needs, raising broad questions about the effectiveness of one of the most important savings vehicles for old age.  More than one in four American workers with 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts use them to pay current expenses, new data show. The withdrawals, cash-outs and loans drain nearly a quarter of the $293 billion that workers and employers deposit into the accounts each year, undermining already shaky retirement security for millions of Americans.  With federal policymakers eyeing cuts to Social Security benefits and Medicare to rein in soaring federal deficits, and traditional pensions in a long decline, retirement savings experts say the drain from the accounts has dire implications for future retirees.  (Newsday - January 20, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/more-tapping-into-retirement-savings-accounts-1.4467196

(Update) State legislators from Long Island who are skeptical of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's plan to privatize LIPA are urging consideration of turning the authority into a public utility.  In the wake of Cuomo's call for the sale of the Long Island Power Authority electric system during his State of the State address this month, several influential legislators said they remain unconvinced it will solve the utility's problems and lower rates.  Their call for a thorough analysis of the privatization option, and the notion of making LIPA a 100 percent public utility, comes with some leverage: Cuomo has publicly conceded that his plan for LIPA will require state legislation. (Newsday - January 20, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/legislators-skeptical-of-lipa-privatization-plan-1.4480575

(Update) Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this month in his State of the State address that he wanted to "abolish" LIPA, but analysts believe that persuading a private company to buy the much-maligned utility would require the state to assume at least $4 billion of LIPA's $7 billion in debt.  A sale would then trigger nearly $1 billion in additional costs: early-termination fees paid to bondholders, as well as penalties for the derivatives contracts that would suddenly become void, according to people who have studied a privatization.  The financial engineering required to privatize the beleaguered utility figures to generate hefty costs paid for by all taxpayers.  (Crain's NY - January 18, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130118/TECHNOLOGY/130119895

New federal flight-certification rules that will pull pilots from commercial cockpits could ground commuter flights, possibly spelling bad news for regional airports like Islip's Long Island MacArthur in Ronkonkoma (Suffolk).  (LI Business News - January 18, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/18/pilot-shortage-may-hurt-macarthur/

ENT and Allergy Associates is consolidating its East Hampton and Southampton (both Suffolk) offices in a 5,600-square-foot space in the heart of Southampton Village.  The firm said it signed a 12-year lease for the second floor medical office at 57 Hampton Road, which will be equipped with seven ENT exam rooms, two audiology booths, a hearing aid dispensing room and three allergy rooms.  The firm plans to make the move in May.  (LI Business News - January 15, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/15/ent-allergy-associates-consolidating-out-east/

The U.S. House of Representatives has shut Northeast fishermen out of virtually any emergency aid in its pending disaster relief bill.  The Republican-led House began debate on its Superstorm Sandy relief bill Tuesday without voting on amendments that would have inserted between $116 million and $150 million in fishing industry funding.  The Senate version of the bill, passed in the last Congress, included $150 million for fishermen in the Northeast, Gulf Coast and Alaska. The House bill didn't include significant money.  The Senate still has a say after the House bill passes, but prospects for fishing funds are uncertain.  (LI Business News - January 15, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/15/ne-fishermen-shut-out-of-house-disaster-aid-bill/

An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.  The Business Roundtable‘s plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes.  The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.  Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status.  (LI Business News - January 17, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/17/business-ceos-call-for-raising-retirement-age/

Manufacturing conditions in New York State declined in January for the sixth consecutive month, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, a report of state manufacturing activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The general business conditions index for January fell to negative 7.8, a slight drop from December's reading of negative 7.3.  A reading below zero indicates that business activity is contracting.  Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected a negative 0.2 reading for the index. Many had expected manufacturing conditions to strengthen after superstorm Sandy battered the region in late October.  (Newsday - January 15, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/inside-long-island-business-1.811933/ny-manufacturing-activity-continues-to-decline-1.4449636

A new survey published Sunday found Long Island was home to the highest gas prices in the nation.  According to the Lundberg Survey, gas prices on Long Island averaged $3.75 per gallon, roughly 43 cents per gallon above the national average. Conversely, Salt Lake City had the nation's lowest price, coming in at $2.76 per gallon, the survey said.  (LI Business News - January 14, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/14/long-island-gas-prices-highest-in-the-nation/

Holiday season shoppers shunned Windows 8 desktops and notebooks in favor of tablets and smartphones, resulting in a 4.3 percent fall in PC sales in the fourth quarter, research firm Gartner said on Monday.  Worldwide PC shipments declined to 90.3 million units in the last three months of 2012, Gartner said, indicating that the sector was suffering from a shift in consumer habits as much as a weak global economy.  (Newsday - January 14, 2013)  http://newyork.newsday.com/business/technology/report-says-windows-8-holiday-sales-sluggish-1.4444279

Fewer than half of the 95,500 buildings damaged in Nassau and Suffolk counties by superstorm Sandy were covered by flood insurance, federal statistics show, leaving thousands of Long Islanders dependent on government aid and their own resources as they struggle to rebuild.  (Newsday - January 13, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/real-estate/many-sandy-damaged-homes-lacked-flood-insurance-1.4442854

Melville (Suffolk)-based MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. reported a gain in first-quarter profit on stronger sales and lower costs, but the metalworking company said that demand has softened and issued a weak forecast for its second quarter.  Shares were down 4 percent at the close of trading Thursday.  (LI Business News - January 11, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/11/msc-industrial-shares-fall-on-weak-forecast/

The conversion to electronic health records has failed so far to produce the hoped-for savings in health care costs and has had mixed results, at best, in improving efficiency and patient care, according to a new analysis by the influential RAND Corporation.  Optimistic predictions by RAND in 2005 helped drive explosive growth in the electronic records industry and encouraged the federal government to give billions of dollars in financial incentives to hospitals and doctors that put the systems in place.  RAND's 2005 report was paid for by a group of companies, including General Electric and Cerner Corporation, that have profited by developing and selling electronic records systems to hospitals and physician practices. Cerner's revenue has nearly tripled since the report was released, to a projected $3 billion in 2013, from $1 billion in 2005. The report predicted that widespread use of electronic records could save the United States health care system at least $81 billion a year, a figure RAND now says was overstated. The study was widely praised within the technology industry and helped persuade Congress and the Obama administration to authorize billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.  (NY Times - January 11, 2013)  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/business/electronic-records-systems-have-not-reduced-health-costs-report-says.html

The skyrocketing growth of college tuition is slowing in the face of a weak economy and tough job market, Moody's Investors Service said in a report on January 10.  Nearly half of 292 colleges and universities that responded to Moody's national survey also reported that fewer students enrolled last fall than the previous year.  "The cumulative effects of years of depressed family income and net worth, as well as uncertain job prospects for many recent graduates, are combining to soften student market demand at current tuition prices," the report said.  (Newsday - January 10, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/business/report-weak-economy-slows-tuition-hikes-1.4433351

FalconStor Software Inc., a Melville-based data-storage company, has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a class-action shareholder lawsuit stemming from a federal probe into a bribery scheme involving the company's former chief executive.  (Newsday - January 10, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/falconstor-to-pay-5-million-to-settle-class-action-suit-1.4432410

A Lindenhurst construction company, Lin-Kim Co., and its key officials are permanently barred from taking public work in New York after investigators concluded it had been "systematically overbilling" the state on emergency prison repairs.  (Newsday - January 10, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/ag-lindenhurst-building-firm-overbilled-ny-1.4433258

The investment bank Morgan Stanley plans to cut about 1,600 jobs, nearly 3 percent of its workforce, a person familiar with the bank said Wednesday. The cuts will focus on senior ranks at the bank.  About half of the cuts will be in the U.S. Morgan Stanley's investment banking unit has been asked to cut about 6 percent of its staff. Back-office functions, including human resources and communications, have also been asked to cut staff. The person familiar with the matter wasn't authorized to speak on the record and insisted on remaining anonymous.  Job cuts have become common in the banking industry, which has been shrinking in the years since the financial crisis imploded.  (LI Business News - January 9, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/09/morgan-stanley-to-cut-1600-jobs/

Alliant Insurance Services will consolidate its operations from three offices in Garden City and one in Woodbury (both Nassau) in a new 21,687 square foot office at 333 Earle Ovington Blvd. in Uniondale (Nassau).  The company is slated to move to its new Uniondale digs next month.  (LI Business News - January 9, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/09/alliant-consolidates-offices-in-uniondale/

Long Islanders rated their confidence in the local economy at 4.9 out of 10 - the same rating they gave in 2008, which equals the worst rating since 1995, according to the just-released Long Island Economic Survey and Opinion Poll.  The survey, conducted by AVZ and the Long Island Business News, serves as a pulse of the Long Island business community on a variety of issues. While the confidence rating in the local economy decreased, local confidence rating in the national economy increased slightly from 4.5 to 4.7.  But onlookers, like Stony Brook Small Business Development Center Associate Director Gloria Glowacki, noted that the report was negatively skewed because respondents received the survey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  (LI Business News - January 8, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/08/long-island-confidence-rating-hits-lowest-mark-ever/

Hauppauge Digital Inc., a Suffolk company that makes computer and television parts, received a letter from the Nasdaq stock exchange that it has failed to meet requirements to be listed on the exchange, the company said Monday.  The letter notified Hauppauge Digital that the company had failed to comply with the rule that it must maintain shareholder's equity -- a measure of the company's assets minus its liabilities -- of $2.5 million. As of Sept. 30 this past year, the company had shareholder equity of about $1.9 million.  According to the Nasdaq letter, the company will have 45 days from Jan. 3 -- when the letter was received -- to submit a plan to the exchange on how it will work to become compliant again.  (Newsday - January 8, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/hauppauge-digital-gets-nasdaq-delist-warning-1.4419708

New York State is approaching its legal debt limit, possibly hampering its ability to bankroll large-scale projects and fund storm recovery efforts, according to a report issued Monday by the state comptroller.  Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said state debt averages $3,253 per New Yorker -- almost three times the national median.  New York's state-funded debt totaled $63 billion as of March 31.  By law, New York's debt limit cannot exceed 4 percent of total personal income -- meaning that by March 2014 the state will only have $509 million left under the ceiling, according to recent estimates from the state division of budget.  DiNapoli, a Democrat, said the timing of construction or maintenance of state highways and bridges, education facilities, state-funded projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other capital investments could be slowed or crimped if the state cannot borrow enough money.  (Newsday - January 7, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/elections/debt-limit-may-stall-state-projects-1.4418183

A boisterous crowd of more than 1,000 packed a Half Hollow Hills High School East auditorium in search of answers Monday night after district officials said all options are being considered to save money -- including closing schools and slashing student services.  School district officials have said in order to keep current programs and services, the 2013-2014 budget would need to increase by an estimated 7.1 percent. This year the budget is about $222 million. The increase equates to about an 8.5 percent hike in the property tax levy, well above the state 2 percent tax levy cap.  (Newsday - January 7, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/packed-crowd-at-half-hollow-hills-over-cuts-1.4418404

The Cuomo administration wants to get rid of the Hurricane Sandy-battered Long Island Power Authority and put the state-run utility in private hands. But it will be difficult to persuade a private utility to buy LIPA, according to energy industry analysts.  On Monday, a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended that LIPA be acquired by a private company.  LIPA was created as a successor to the Long Island Lighting Co. 28 years ago and put under state control, but after the utility's dismal post-Sandy recovery efforts, the state has determined the best course now is to put LIPA in private hands.  (Crains NY - January 7, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130107/POLITICS/130109941

Big M, which owns retail chains Mandee, Afaze and Annie Sez, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, citing store closures related to Superstorm Sandy.  It cited liabilities of more than $50 million.  Big M is planning only a handful of store closures as a part of the bankruptcy.  It declined to specify which locations will be shuttered.  (Crains NY - January 7, 2013)  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130107/RETAIL_APPAREL/130109940

Homeowners across Long Island are struggling with the cost of rebuilding from superstorm Sandy as they wait for banks and mortgage companies to release their insurance settlements more than two months after the storm.  Insurers began cutting checks weeks ago, but most people can't simply cash them.  That's because large settlement checks are typically made out to both homeowners and their mortgage lenders. Until banks endorse the checks and release the money, homeowners can't use it to pay repair bills.  (Newsday - January 7, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/sandy-struck-homeowners-face-delay-in-cashing-insurance-checks-1.4412711

Farmingdale State College (Suffolk) is severing ties with a hybrid-auto service training firm amid complaints that the company failed to deliver promised services.  The company, Ronkonkoma (Suffolk)-based Go Green Automotive Centers, signed a two-year contract with the school in 2011 to provide online courses on fixing hybrid vehicles for auto repair shop owners, some of whom paid as much as $10,000 to participate in the company's certification program.  But Farmingdale is ending the program following what officials said were concerns about Go Green's operations. The school plans to offer similar training without a partner, according to Patrick Calabria, Farmingdale State's vice president of institutional advancement.  (LI Business News - January 4, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/04/farmingdale-state-ending-go-green-contract/

Just-unveiled state rules governing how public agencies buy millions of dollars worth of copiers and other office equipment could result in a windfall for a few firms and a store-shuttering drop in business for many independent dealers.  The previous state contract for purchasing copiers - in effect from June 2002 until it expired last month - allowed public agencies to choose from a dozen of the leading copier companies and do business with nearly 300 independent dealers statewide, including 27 on Long Island, at prices discounted from 30 to 50 percent.  But under the new rules, dozens of independent office equipment suppliers and servicers that might not carry the brands awarded stand to be shut out of millions of dollars in sales to public agencies. Those dealers could still get public agency business, but each agency would have to conduct its own competitive bidding process for each purchase of copiers, a costly and time-consuming effort that most industry observers say is too cumbersome.  (LI Business News - January 4, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/04/state-copier-contract-jams-independent-dealers/

The Long Island shopping spirit suffered repeated blows this past holiday season, dashing many small retailers' hopes of robust sales.  While national chain stores reported solid holiday sales growth of 3.1 percent on January 3, the flurry of sales so many small retailers had hoped would rescue a sluggish year never materialized, independent shop owners said.  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/sandy-shooting-cliff-dampen-li-holiday-sales-1.4404082

Brookhaven (Suffolk) Town Supervisor Edward Romaine has proposed canceling all town capital projects from 2009 and earlier that have not been planned or begun construction.  "The town has $667 million of debt," he said at a town board work session Thursday. "Twenty-five cents of every town dollar we spend goes to debt service."  Furthermore, the town has another $76 million in pipeline debt -- money that's been borrowed for proposed projects but not yet spent, he said.  "It does not mean these projects are dead. It means they're canceled," he said, adding that "we are trying to get a better handle on our debt situation."  (Newsday - January 3, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/supervisor-proposes-canceling-unfinished-projects-1.4404317

Housing is rebounding, families are shrinking debts, Europe has avoided a financial crackup, and the fiscal cliff deal has removed the most urgent threat to the U.S. economy, but economists don't foresee stronger growth and hiring in 2013.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/03/fiscal-cliff-deal-no-recipe-for-a-robust-economy/

(Update) Department of Homeland Security officials have signed a land transfer agreement that will allow for the construction of a new federal animal research lab near Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.  The lab would replace an aging facility at Plum Island (Suffolk), where research would be conducted on deadly animal pathogens, including foot and mouth disease.  (LI Business News - January 2, 2013)  http://libn.com/2013/01/02/dhs-signs-land-transfer-for-kansas-biosecurity-lab/

Car rental giant Avis, based in Parsippany, NJ, is buying Cambridge, Mass.-based Zipcar for $491.2 million, expanding its offerings from traditional car rentals to car sharing services.  (Newsday - January 2, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/avis-buying-zipcar-in-deal-worth-nearly-500m-1.4397080

In a stunning reversal, the House of Representatives apparently will not vote on the Senate-passed $60.4 billion superstorm Sandy disaster relief package, House officials said Tuesday night.  (Newsday - January 2, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/house-backs-away-from-vote-on-sandy-relief-1.4396342

Long Island home sales have plummeted 56 percent in nearly eight years, and the number of foreclosures has more than doubled, a Newsday analysis has found.  Foreclosures actually outpaced sales in more than 30 communities during 2012, including areas such as Amity Harbor, Bellport (both Suffolk), Freeport and Inwood (both Nassau) that were battered by superstorm Sandy.  (Newsday - January 1, 2013)  http://www.newsday.com/analysis-li-home-sales-plummet-foreclosures-rise-1.4396022

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