The week that was: 04/13/14

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Coke, and a smile? 

Ar­ce­lorMit­tal, the world's larg­est steel pro­ducer, is re­start­ing its Mo­nessen, West­more­land County, coke plant five years af­ter the fa­cil­ity was idled, ac­cord­ing to a com­pany se­cu­ri­ties fil­ing. The PG's Len Bose­lovic re­ports the Lux­em­bourg steel­maker plans to re­sume pro­duc­tion at the plant this month. Ar­ce­lorMit­tal, which pur­chased the plant from Kop­pers in Oc­to­ber 2008 for about $160 mil­lion and then idled the plant seven months later, an­nounced two years ago that it planned to in­vest $50 mil­lion in the plant and re­open it, cre­at­ing 113 jobs.

Data-sharing, the good kind

UPMC and sev­eral other re­gional hos­pi­tals could soon be swap­ping pa­tient records with the U.S. Depart­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs, part of an on­go­ing VA ef­fort to share med­i­cal charts with com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals. They would do so by link­ing the pa­tient da­ta­base op­er­ated by the VA with a lo­cal health in­for­ma­tion ex­change called Clini­calCon­nect, which is led by UPMC and will soon in­clude pa­tient records from nine other health net­works and clin­ics. The point of the ar­range­ment, VA and Clin­i­calCon­nect of­fi­cials say, is to im­prove care for the thou­sands of vet­er­ans in the re­gion who see doc­tors both in­side and out­side of the VA net­work.

Data-sharing, the bad kind

Revealed just last week, the so-called “heartbleed bug” is a flaw in the standard data encryption service than many websites and service providers use to transmit and scramble your username and password, keeping them safe from would-be thieves. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier, on his personal blog, said the bug represented a “catastrophic” weakness that could theoretically allow hackers to steal passwords and usernames across a variety of email hosts, shopping sites and other platforms. “On a scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11,” he wrote.

Websites are updating their encryption software presently, but change your passwords frequently, just to be safe.   

Quote of the week

“They told me the food court is too 1980s and it hasn't been profitable for them in 10 years.”

— Dennis Scott, owner of Asiago Express and the Market Street restaurant in Two PPG Place, relaying what he says he was told when his landlord, Highwood Properties, did not renew his lease. Soon, the once-bustling food court at Two PPG Place will have only two restaurants left. 

And speaking of food ... 

Is Zoe's Kitchen the next Noodles & Co. or Chipotle? Investors like what they see so far: the small Texas-based chain — serving Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staples like hummus, Greek salads, pita sandwiches and kabobs — raised $87.5 million last week, selling 5.8 million shares at $15 apiece. By midday Friday, the stocks were selling for $25.90. The investors' IPO hunger isn't just tied to restaurants: About $16 billion has been raised in U.S. IPOs so far this year, making it the best start to a year in more than a decade, Reuters says. The chain has three Pennsylvania locations, all in Philadelphia. 

In case you missed it ...

… visit post-gazette.com/business for Mark Belko's report on new office space construction in the city and its suburbs. Short version: 1.4 million square feet of office space is now under construction, the most in nearly a decade. Hot spots include Washington County's Southpointe (thanks to new energy company offices), the Parkway West and airport corridor, and in the East End (Oakland's Schenley Place and Bakery Square 2.0 in Larimer). 

Building bigger nest eggs

“Retirement assets at the end of 2013 were the highest on record, a strong indication that many savers have seen their investment accounts bounce back from the financial crisis of 2008 when the stock market fell so hard it lost nearly half its value,” says the PG's Tim Grant. U.S. retirement assets were at $19 trillion Jan. 1, up from $16.3 trillion at the end of 2012, according to the Chicago-based Spectrem Group. As of Dec. 2, 2008, retirement accounts had lost $2.8 trillion — or 32 percent of their value — thanks to the recession. 

Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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