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LOCAL



Published: Tue, February 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LOCAL

Imaging center accredited

AUSTINTOWN -- Austintown Imaging Center at Forum Health Austintown Medical Park has received a three-year accreditation for MRI services by the American College of Radiology, Forum Health announced.

The ACR awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards. The national organization serves more that 32,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists. The ACR focuses on programs in the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

Chamber adds 5 to board

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Regional Chamber Board of Directors has named five new board members for 2005.

They are Pete Asimakopoulos, regional president/CEO of First National Bank; Anthony Cafaro Jr., vice president of Cafaro Co.; Debra D'Alesio, president of Valley Industrial Trucks; Jeffrey Elser, vice president of external affairs at First Energy; and Garry Mrozek, executive vice president of corporate banking for National City Bank.

Board members serving on this year's executive committee are Thomas Fleming, president of AIM Nationalease, chairman; Frank Hierro, president/COO of Sky Bank; and Timothy Rupert, president/CEO at RTI International Metals, vice chairmen; Walter Pishkur, president of Aqua Ohio Inc., vice chairman treasurer; Steve Lewis, president/CEO at First Place Bank, immediate past chairman; and Thomas Humphries, chamber president, secretary.

Directors reappointed to new terms are Michael Guerra, president/owner of Guerra-Richards Insurance Agency; Frank Hierro, president/COO at Sky Bank; and David Lodge, president/COO at Home Savings.

REGIONAL

Hotel executive to speak

KENT -- Valerie C. Ferguson, regional vice president of Loews Hotel Corp., will be the Schwebel Lecture Series guest speaker at 4 p.m. Feb. 9 at Kent State University.

Ferguson will speak on "Lodging as a Vital Force in the Economy." The lecture will be at the Eastway Center, 1st Floor Lounge on Eastway Drive.

A dinner with Ferguson will follow at 6:30 p.m. in the Schwebel Garden Room on the third floor of the Kent State Student Center.

For reservations or more information, call (330) 672-2197, Ext. 0.

NATION

Home sales set record

WASHINGTON -- Sales of new homes rose to an all-time high in 2004, the fourth straight annual record. But activity in December barely budged after a big drop the previous month, suggesting the nation's red-hot housing market may finally be cooling.

The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes climbed 8.9 percent for all of 2004 to a record high of 1.18 million, up from 1.09 million in 2003.

But sales rose a lower-than-expected 0.1 percent in December after having fallen by 13.1 percent in November.

Sales of both new homes and previously owned homes have set records for the past four years as home buyers have enjoyed the lowest mortgage rates in their working lifetimes, making housing one of the standout performers for the economy.

AT & amp;T, SBC to merge

NEW YORK -- The purchase of AT & amp;T Corp. by SBC Communications Inc. saves "Ma Bell" from a nosedive into irrelevance in the industry it created more than a century ago. It also gives SBC the name and the network to fulfill its goal of being viewed as a truly national player rather than just a local telephone company.

The $16 billion marriage of long-bitter rivals, which may take until mid-2006 to clear intense regulatory scrutiny, would add long distance and business services to the list of markets where SBC holds a dominant role. It is already one of the largest U.S. providers of local calling, wireless and Internet services.

The deal announced Monday also sparks immediate speculation as to whether two other largely regional powers, Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., will need to keep pace by purchasing MCI Corp. for its national network infrastructure and roster of corporate clients.

Airline contracts ratified

CHICAGO -- United Airlines' flight attendants and pilots ratified new contracts Monday, agreeing to additional givebacks as the struggling carrier tries to emerge from more than two years of bankruptcy.

Also Monday, United sought to impose short-term wage and benefit cuts on its mechanics' union, which rejected the airline's latest contract offer Friday.

The Air Line Pilots Association contract ratified Monday includes an 11.8 percent pay cut, which would save the airline $180 million in annual costs. The Association of Flight Attendants agreed to have their wages reduced 9.5 percent, which United has said would save the company $131 million a year.

A federal bankruptcy judge was expected to approve both contracts later Monday.

Vindicator staff/wire reports




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