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Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Briefcase

July 28, 2004

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Area residents to serve on state wine council

Before Prohibition, Kansas was the home of a thriving wine industry. State Agriculture Secretary Adrian Polansky wants to bring it back.

On Tuesday, he announced the formation of a Kansas Grape and Wine Industry Advisory Council to advise him on marketing, regulatory, research and legislative issues of interest to the industry.

A 1994 statute authorized the formation of such a council, but Polansky is the first agriculture secretary to actually appoint one, said Lisa Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Its members include area residents Greg Shipe, owner of Davenport Winery in Eudora; Dan Ward, owner of Slough Creek Vineyard in Oskaloosa; and Kim Heck, of the Lawrence-based Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Economy

Job market boosts consumer confidence

Consumer confidence reached a two-year high in July, the fourth straight month of improvement, as the job market continued to recover. The jump was higher than analysts were expecting and helped push stocks higher on Wall Street.

The Conference Board, a private research group based in New York, reported Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence in U.S. business conditions jumped to 106.1 in July, up from 102.8 in June and ahead of the 102 figure that investors had been expecting. It was the highest level for the indicator since June 2002.

The group attributed the sharp increase to continued improvement in the labor market, with more consumers reporting that they believed jobs were plentiful.

Topeka

CapFed declares dividend

Topeka-based Capitol Federal Financial announced Tuesday that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per share on outstanding CFFN common stock.

The dividend is payable on Aug. 20 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Aug. 6.

Capitol Federal Financial is the holding company for Capitol Federal Savings Bank which operates 36 branch offices in Kansas, including four in Lawrence.

Shares of Capitol Federal rose 72 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $31.85 in trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday. The company's shares gained 6 percent on Monday after it announced it had refinanced $2.4 billion in debt to take advantage of lower interest rates.


Technology

Serologicals purchases firm to boost research

Serologicals Corp. announced Tuesday that it had completed its previously announced acquisition of AltaGen Biosciences.

The purchase of the California-based technology company is expected to allow Serologicals to broaden its research and development efforts in the growing cell culture industry.

Serologicals is finishing construction of a new manufacturing plant in Lawrence's East Hills Business Park.

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