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Business/Economy

  • Santa Fe market highlights potential of artisans

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — For 10 years the International Folk Art Market has brought some of the world's finest artisans from far-flung and often poverty-stricken locales to peddle their wares in the well-heeled, artistic mountain town of Santa Fe.

    The show has brought in millions of dollars for the artists, many of whom have gone home to start businesses that employ other mostly impoverished women from developing countries. But it has also helped draw attention to what officials with a new State Department-backed alliance say is one of the largest but most ignored global industries.

    "The artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world, after agriculture," said Peggy Clark, co-chair of The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise and vice president of the Aspen Institute. "But it's just not thought of as a driver of economic growth."

    To try to change that, the State Department last year launched the alliance in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Members include the folk market, retailers, even giants corporations like Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart.

  • White House delays key element of health care law

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care law, hailed as his most significant legislative achievement, seems to be losing much of its sweep.

    On Tuesday, the administration unexpectedly announced a one-year delay, until after the 2014 elections, in a central requirement of the law that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines.

    Separately, opposition in the states from Republican governors and legislators has steadily undermined a Medicaid expansion that had been expected to provide coverage to some 15 million low-income people.

    Tuesday's move — which caught administration allies and adversaries by surprise — sacrificed timely implementation of Obama's signature legislation but might help Democrats politically by blunting an election-year line of attack Republicans were planning to use. The employer requirements are among the most complex parts of the health care law, designed to expand coverage for uninsured Americans.

    "We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively," Treasury Assistant Secretary Mark Mazur said in a blog post. "We have listened to your feedback and we are taking action."

  • Smith’s to break ground

    It is official. The Trinity Site development, with its 100,000–120,000 square-foot Smith’s Marketplace anchor, is moving forward.

    “We were informed by Smith’s/Kroger that on the 14th of June they had their capital committee meeting–this was kind of the final hurdle internally for them–and the project was approved by that committee,” Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess said.

    The official groundbreaking is set for 2 p.m. July 23. Smith’s originally announced a 1:30 p.m. start time, but has since modified that.

    “It’s very exciting to see this project move from the due diligence phase of our lease agreement into the actual agreement itself,” Burgess said.

    “It’s the next step that actually makes the agreement real, because up and until we’re through the due diligence phase, there was still the opportunity for the developer, Kroger, to withdraw. Once we progress past this phase, it initiates payments, obligations and other things that were all covered within the basic agreement.”

  • Business focuses on pet health and well-being

    In a pet friendly town such as Los Alamos, it is comforting to know pet parents can get quality food and supplies without having to go off “the Hill.”

    Pet Pangaea owner Cyndi Wells has provided natural, healthy food and supplements for a wide range of animals. The store sells food for not only dogs and cats, but horses, chickens, reptiles, fish, birds, alpacas and much more.

    “You name the animal, we got stuff for them,” Wells said.

    Wells opened the business in 2008 when Pete’s Pets closed its doors. Her small staff of employees is required to go through a training program for three to four months prior to being hired. The program teaches employees all about pet nutrition.

    “Pet nutrition is crucial to its health and well-being,” Wells said. “My supplies are based on what the community needs.” Her business motto is “Just do the right thing and the business will follow.”

  • Date set for Smith's groundbreaking

    It’s official.

    Mark your calendars for July 23.

    That is when there will be a groundbreaking at 1:30 p.m. for the Smith’s/Kroger Trinity Site.

    Los Alamos County and Smith's just finalized their plans this afternoon for the Trinity Site.

    More details will be published when they become available.

  • Hostess: Twinkies to return to shelves July 15

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess is betting on a sweet comeback for Twinkies when they return to shelves next month.

    The company that went bankrupt after an acrimonious fight with its unionized workers last year is back up and running under new owners and a leaner structure. It says it plans to have Twinkies and other snack cakes back on shelves starting July 15.

    Based on the outpouring of nostalgia sparked by its demise, Hostess is expecting a blockbuster return next month for Twinkies and other sugary treats, such as CupCakes and Donettes. The company says the cakes will taste the same but that the boxes will now bear the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever."

    "A lot of impostor products have come to the market while Hostess has been off the shelves," says Daren Metropoulos, a principal of the investment firm Metropoulos & Co., which teamed up with Apollo Global Management to buy a variety of Hostess snacks.

  • Stocks Tumble After Fed Signals Changes
  • Business Spotlight: Wildfire burns profits for mountain merchants

    This time of year, business is usually thriving for Jemez retailers, yet, another fire season begins to take its toll.

    The typical crowds of campers, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts have now been replaced with buses and trucks full of personnel working in shifts and sleeping in tents while fighting the Thompson Ridge Fire.

    Although the lands within the Santa Fe National Forest have remained open throughout the course of the fire, recreational visitors are currently staying clear of the area, it seems, mostly due to fear of heavy smoke and misinformation regarding road and forest closures.

    Garth and Robin Bascom, owners of the Elk Mountain Lodge in La Cueva, said that guests booked as far off as July, have called and cancelled their reservations citing the fire as the reason for their decision. Robin said that she has had six cancellations in just the past week alone.

    Many who are not familiar with the Jemez area have a false impression of how close the fire and smoke is to other popular outdoor destinations.

    The fire is currently burning only in the Valles Caldera with smoke actually moving the opposite direction of La Cueva and Jemez Springs.

  • Diner offers slice of 1950s nostalgia

    The Fabulous 50s Diner prides itself on two things as its motto states, “Good food year round,” and keep it affordable.

    General Manager Charlie Bracken strives to build a family oriented business with a reasonably priced menu. It is a “cooked to order” menu that serves breakfast all day long and a special of the week.

    There are a wide variety of items, from traditional burgers and hot dogs to enchiladas and chile rellenos.

    The diner contains a full soda shop that serves milkshakes, floats, smoothies, banana splits, 28 flavors of ice cream — made by Blue Bell and three non-sugar flavors.

    A Build-Your-Own-Burger and Build-Your-Own-Salad bar is loaded with toppings to choose from. Bracken also makes soup from his own personal recipes.

    The diner opened under its current name in 2008. Owners Peter and Loretta Olivas have known Bracken for many years. A few years ago, Bracken was working for the original owner, who wanted to return to Texas and sell the business. Bracken and Olivas “put all the cards on the table to make that happen,” Bracken said.

    “I am trying to build myself up and prove myself to others in the community,” Bracken said, who has many years of experience in the restaurant business.

  • Trustees say Medicare exhausted in 2026

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The government said Friday that Medicare's giant hospital trust will not be exhausted until 2026, two years later than projected last year, while the date that Social Security will exhaust its trust fund remained unchanged at 2033.

    The latest projections were included in the annual report of trustees of the trust funds. The new report warned that despite the small improvement in Medicare, both it and Social Security face significant funding challenges as the giant baby boom generation continues to retire. Currently, 58 million Americans are receiving Social Security benefits.

    The reasons given for the improved financial outlook for Medicare were an overall slowdown in health care spending, particularly on skilled nursing care, as well as lower projected costs for popular insurance plans available within the Medicare program.

    Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, the chairman of the trustees, said President Barack Obama is committed to working with Congress to put both programs on a stronger footing.

    "Protecting Social Security and Medicare is one of the most significant challenges we face today as a nation. And it is a challenge that we can and must meet," Lew told reporters at a news conference.