The Week that Was: For Bethel Park couple, home was not how they left it

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Home sweet mess

A Bethel Park couple who returned from an extended absence to find windows nailed shut and locks changed at their home have joined a bandwagon of litigants against Brooklyn Heights, Ohio-based Safeguard Properties. According to the PG's Tim Grant, Anthony and Alexandra Hlista said a dispute with their mortgage company was pending in federal court when Safeguard entered their property to "secure" it. Safeguard, which says it confirms homes are vacant before entering and is not liable for losses or damages, has faced 40 federal lawsuits since 2011. Among the highlights of four suits filed out of Pittsburgh was one family's claim that Safeguard removed a coin collection and a pet cat from their home.

Cut cakes

Anyone crossing off days on the calendar until the Twinkies they knew and loved returned to store shelves should probably save their ink. According to the Associated Press, the beloved cakes have shrunk in size and weight, from 42.5 grams and 150 calories per cake to 38.5 grams and 135 calories. A Hostess spokeswoman said the changes were made before new owners purchased the company. On the plus side, she said the snacks now have a little more staying power, since their shelf life has improved from 26 to 45 days.

Highmark's Alliance

A move by Highmark Inc. to attach physician's pay to the quality of care that patients receive could set a new course for health care payment practices. Highmark's new Accountable Care Alliance -- a network of doctors and hospitals designed to collaborate for patient treatment -- could pay doctors up to 30 percent more through bonuses if patients meet certain health outcomes and their methods drive down costs. Highmark hopes to minimize costs by 3 to 5 percent per patient.

Quote of the Week:

"They were like little kids on a holiday morning."

-- Allegheny County Airport Authority president Bradley D. Penrod describing the reaction of airlines that were informed the authority had cut their cost per enplanement by 55 cents.

Empty desks

An economy that has evolved beyond the desktop is largely responsible for second-quarter job cuts in the tech sector, according to a study by Chicago-based global workforce firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The study showed companies announced 20,491 job cuts between April and June, a 144 percent increase from the previous quarter. In Pennsylvania, 200 of the 228 tech jobs cuts came with the May closing of two Pittsburgh AT&T call centers.


Deborah M. Todd: or 412-263-1652.


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