The week that was: Fed to downsize stimulus

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Fed to downsize stimulus

The Federal Reserve announced it will cut back its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January. The Fed decision to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy is seen as a sign that the central bank is encouraged by the steady improvement of the job market. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed expects to make similar moderate cuts in its future bond purchases as long as the economic progress continues.

Papermart shutting down

The party is over for the Papermart store chain. The owners announced they will shut down the four party supplies stores they operate in the Pittsburgh region early next year. The leases are expiring at the various sites in Lower Burrell, Monroeville, Ross and Scott, and with no one in the family interested in taking over the family business, its founders -- Michael and Alix Paul -- have decided to call it quits. The company employeed 20 full-time and 30 part-time staff, some of whom had worked at Papermart more than 15 years.

August Wilson Center

The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, which is currently in foreclosure, could end up being used by Pittsburgh public school students for arts education and performances if a proposal by Pittsburgh school director Mark Brentley works out. The school board voted 8-1 in favor of Mr. Brentley's resolution for Pittsburgh Public Schools to form an ad hoc committee to brainstorm the possibility of acquiring the Downtown center.

Tips on tipping

Don't forget to show your appreciation for service providers who may be expecting a holiday tip. The Emily Post Institute, named after etiquette author Emily Post, offered a few guidelines on how much of a holiday tip to provide those people who make our lives a little bit easier throughout the year. For instance, give your barber the cost of one haircut or a gift. While mail carriers can't accept cash, you could offer them a gift less than $20 in value.

Lottery winners split prize

The owners of two winning tickets for the Mega Millions lottery -- one in San Jose, Calif., and one in Atlanta, Ga. -- have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. They will share a $648 million jackpot, the second largest lottery ever held in the U.S. The kitty was only $8 million short of the record $656 million prize that Mega Million set last year. But that drawing had three winning tickets instead of two.

Tim Grant: or 412-263-1591.

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