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Consumer confidence heads in the right direction

BY Ken Clark

The Conference Board reported Tuesday morning that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 56.0 in November, up from 40.9 in October.

That’s not the only metric improving. The Expectations Index rose to 67.8 from 50.0, and the Present Situation Index increased to 38.3 from 27.1. 

It’s certainly not partying like 1985 — when the Index was set at 100. But it’s an improvement welcomed by Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. 

"Confidence has bounced back to levels last seen during the summer (July 2011, 59.2)," Franco said. "Consumers’ assessment of current conditions finally improved, after six months of steady declines. Consumers’ apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably. Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak."

The November confidence metric of 56.0 was also ahead of November 2010, when the index stood at 54.3.

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CertainTeed and Saint-Gobain offer green grant

BY HBSDealer Staff

As part of the kickoff event of a home renovation and youth education project, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed presented YouthBuild Schenectady with a $100,000 grant in support of the organization’s green building education and job-training program for low-income youth.

The project is part of a three-year national partnership between Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed and YouthBuild USA in support of the organization’s national green building and job training program for out-of-work, out-of-school youth. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young adults ages 16 to 24 work full time for six to 12 months toward their GEDs, high school diplomas or professional credentials while learning green construction skills by building affordable housing in their communities. 

“We are proud to partner with YouthBuild USA and stand behind the organization because of its focus on sustainability and commitment to shaping young adults to be stewards of the environment,” said John Crowe, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. “With over 1,000 employees in New York, we believe it is important to invest in the future work force and contribute to helping prepare young adults with the necessary skills they will need to be successful.”

The partnership also supports green home renovation projects in three other communities where Saint-Gobain has business concentrations: YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School (Philadelphia, Pa.), YouthBuild Akron Summit (Akron, Ohio) and YouthBuild Worcester (Worcester, Mass.).

Upon completion, the sustainable single-family home designed by Re4orm Architecture will seek LEED certification. It will then be sold to a family of low or moderate income that has fulfilled eligibility requirements and completed a HUD-approved homeownership counseling program.

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Judge upholds death sentence in HD slaying

BY Brae Canlen

A San Diego-area man convicted of killing a Home Depot manager during a robbery attempt will face lethal injection after a judge upheld a jury’s death sentence recommendation, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The Nov. 28 hearing in a Santa Ana, Calif. courtroom was attended by the widow of Thomas Egan, who was shot to death in February 2007 by Jason Russell Richardson, age 41. Egan, the father of twin 3-year-old girls at the time, tried to persuade the armed Richardson not to hurt any of the Tustin store employees during the robbery.

Richardson, who entered the store dressed in white coveralls and a painter’s mask, shot the store manager, took $500 from a cashier, but left behind a sock full of ammunition that police traced to him through DNA evidence. Richardson had previous convictions for kidnapping and rape.

Previous juries had twice failed to reach a verdict regarding the death penalty in earlier hearings. Senior deputy district attorney Cameron Talley, who prosecuted the case, was quoted as saying: “He’s just a bad, evil man. If he could die twice, I’d try him again.”

 

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