Business Briefs: 5/30/14

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Alcoa launches efforts on Ind. parts plant

Alcoa broke ground on a $100 million La Porte, Ind., plant that will make nickel-based jet engine parts. Construction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015. The aluminum producer expects the factory will create 329 jobs by 2019. Indiana and La Porte have offered the company up to $11.1 million in tax credits and incentives for the project.

Allegheny Health Network shuffles hospital positions

Michael Harlovic has been named president and CEO of Allegheny General Hospital and Jane Sarra has been appointed president and CEO of Canonsburg Hospital. Both had been serving in those positions on an interim basis. The hospitals are part of the Allegheny Health Network.

UpTo providing marketing services in McKees Rocks

Pop-up creative firm UpTo Mainstreeet will offer creative services to McKees Rocks small business owners in exchange for a suggested donation June 2-6 at the Father Ryan Arts Center on Chartiers Avenue. For more information, visit

Calif.-based auto lender pays $5.5M settlement

A national subprime auto lender — Consumer Portfolio Services Inc. — will pay some $5.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the Irvine, Calif.-based company used illegal tactics to service and collect consumers’ loans. According to the agency, the company collected money consumers did not owe, harassed consumers and third parties, and disclosed debts to friends, family and employers.

Economy fell at annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter

The U.S. economy was battered even more than first suspected by the harsh winter, actually shrinking from January through March. But economists are confident the contraction was temporary. The Commerce Department says that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter, worse than the government’s initial estimate a month ago that the economy grew by a barely discernible 0.1 percent in the first quarter. It was the economy’s first quarterly decline since a 1.3 percent drop in the first three months of 2011.

Southwest fined $200,000 fine for deceptive TV ads

Southwest Airlines is being fined $200,000 for advertising a fare sale too good to be true. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that in TV ads last October the airline promised flights from Atlanta to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for just $59 — but didn’t make any seats available at that price.

Dish to become largest company to accept bitcoin

Dish Network Corp. says it will become the largest company yet to accept payment in bitcoin. The satellite TV company says it will begin accepting the digital coins through payment processor Coinbase by September. Coinbase will instantly convert the bitcoins into cash, eliminating the risk of price fluctuations to Dish.

Italian police seize falsely labeled premium wine bottles

Italian investigators said Thursday they seized 30,000 bottles of falsely labeled premium wine from central Italy, after savvy consumers who realized that the Brunello di Montalcino they were sipping turned out to be “normal table wine” alerted authorities of the fraud.

Also in business ...

Mylan Inc. said it launched the generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Malarone tablets used to treat malaria. 

From staff and wire reports

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