Anna Maria picked as top retirement spot

October 5, 2012 

ANNA MARIA -- Anna Maria Island has been selected by Where to Retire magazine as a top retirement destination.

The island will be profiled in "4 Florida Beach Hideaways" in the November/December issue available on newsstands Oct. 16.

The magazine said Anna Maria possesses qualities important to today's retirees -- a beachfront town with an old Florida feel but within reach of urban amenities.

SAMA dinner meeting on healthcare act

MANATEE -- The Affordable Healthcare Act will be discussed at the Oct. 17 dinner meeting of the Sarasota Area Manufacturers Association at the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch.

The event will be held from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Advance reservations required before Oct. 10.

Cost is SAMA members $25, non-members $40.

Slow Food Greater Sarasota to hold food day

SARASOTA -- Slow Food Greater Sarasota is holding its second annual Bradenton/Sarasota Food Day on Oct. 28.

The event will be from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at King Farm, 4630 60th St. E.

There will be family farm activities, including a hayride, farm tour, corn harvesting, gardening workshops, flower harvesting, cooking demos and more. Local farmers and food producers will be offering samples and selling their products.

A Farm-to-Fork lunch of fresh local ingredients will be served at 1 p.m. The lunch is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children younger than 10 are $10 and younger than 5 are free.

Proceeds will benefit Slow Food of Greater Sarasota and its Edible School Garden Fund.

Retailers report slower sales growth in September

NEW YORK -- Americans may have slowed their spending in September after splurging during the start of the busy back-to-school shopping season in the month before. But most importantly, they were still spending.

September sales rose 3.9 percent -- a slowdown from the 6-percent rise in August -- as 22 retailers, like Macy's and Costco, reported mixed results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Still, given the economic and political uncertainty that weighs on many Americans right now, analysts say the results are an encouraging sign for stores as they head into what's traditionally the busiest shopping period of the year in November and December.

Retailers' monthly sales figures are based on revenue at stores opened at least a year. That measure is considered to be an indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Defective generic pill revives quality concerns

WASHINGTON -- More Americans than ever are taking generic drugs, as blockbuster medicines like Plavix and Lipitor become available in low-cost versions. But the government's revelation this week that it mistakenly approved a defective generic antidepressant could stoke

ongoing concerns about the safety and quality of knockoff drugs.

Generic drugmakers already are under public scrutiny for an unprecedented shortage of generic injectable drugs, driven in part by manufacturing problems. The spate of bad news could undermine years of outreach by the government and drugmakers to assure patients that cheaper generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday asked Teva Pharmaceuticals to withdraw its drug Budeprion XL 300 after testing showed the drug did not properly release its key ingredient. The drug is supposed to be equivalent to GlaxoSmithKline's popular antidepressant Wellbutrin XL, which is prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and nicotine withdrawal.

Rate on 30-year mortgage hits record 3.36 percent

WASHINGTON -- Average rates on fixed mortgages fell to record lows for the second straight week. The declines have led more homeowners to refinance, a trend that could help boost the economy.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.36 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.40 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.69 percent, down from last week's record low of 2.73 percent.

Fed open to linking rate hike to economic gauge

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve wants to find a clearer way to signal to the public when it might start raising interest rates.

The Fed has told investors that it plans to keep short-term rates low for at least another three years. But it appears to be leaning toward setting a more specific target, according to minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting.

Most members agreed at the Sept. 12-13 meeting that linking a future rate increase to a level of unemployment or some other numeric target could be useful. The minutes show members have yet to agree on what the economic target should be. The discussion signals another option the Fed might pursue if its latest stimulus efforts don't do enough to boost the still-weak economy.

U.S. factory orders fall on decline in aircraft

WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories fell in August from July, mostly because of a sharp drop in volatile aircraft orders. The decline offset an increase in orders that reflect corporate investment plans.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that factory orders dropped 5.2 percent in August, the biggest decline in more than three years. The loss was largely because demand for commercial aircraft plunged 102 percent. That pulled down orders for long-lasting manufactured goods by 13.2 percent.

In one positive sign, orders for business equipment and software, often considered a proxy for investment plans, rose 1.1 percent, after two steep declines. Still, orders for steel, electrical equipment, and industrial machinery all fell.

Draghi nudges Spain to take up bond plan

FRANKFURT, Germany -- European Central Bank President Mario Draghi nudged Spain and its European partners to take up the bank's offer to help with the country's high debt costs, reassuring Madrid that the conditions for getting the assistance "don't need to be punitive."

The ECB chief said at a news conference in Brdo Pri Kranju, Slovenia, that Spain had made "significant progress" toward getting its finances under control, adding that a number of measures had been "announced, legislated, and implemented" in only a short period of time.

Draghi, however, said it was up to Spain to decide whether to seek help.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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