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Online Presence, New Technology Usage Up: NSBA Technology Survey

WASHINGTON — Maintaining an online presence and utilizing new technologies for business operations is becoming the norm for many small-business owners, according to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) 2013 Small Business Technology Survey.

The survey aims to provide “detailed insight on how small business is faring in today’s ever-changing technology landscape” and “clarity on how small-business owners utilize technology,” according to the NSBA.

Apartment Markets Dip in Third-Quarter NMHC Survey

WASHINGTON — All four indexes of the National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC) October Survey of Apartment Market conditions fell below 50 for the first time since July 2009, the NMHC reports.

“After four years of almost continuous improvement across all indicators, apartment markets have taken a small step back,” says Mark Obrinsky, NMHC vice president of research and chief economist. “Conditions cannot continue to improve indefinitely and new development is at least somewhat constrained by available capital—though more on the equity than the debt side.”

FTC Warns of Growing Utility Bill Scam

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a utility bill scam, which involves a “new twist” scammers are using to get money.

“Imagine receiving a phone call from your utility company saying they’re about to cut off your electricity. The caller ID looks like it might be a legitimate phone number, but you know you’ve paid your bill,” says the FTC. “The caller says, ‘I can stop this, but only if you pay me.’”

CSC ServiceWorks to Acquire Mac-Gray for $524 Million

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. — CSC ServiceWorks Inc. (CSC) and Mac-Gray Corp. have entered into a “definitive agreement” and plan of merger, with the aggregate value of the transaction worth $524 million, CSC reports.

CSC will acquire all of outstanding Mac-Gray common stock for $21.25 per share, payable in cash, representing a premium of 42% over the company’s closing stock price Oct. 14, CSC adds. The transaction’s aggregate value takes into account Mac-Gray’s outstanding stock options, restricted stock units and net debt as of June 30.

EIA Forecasts Higher Natural Gas Prices This Winter

WASHINGTON — Homeowners are expected to face higher prices to heat their homes this winter, according to projections in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook.

Compared to last winter, the EIA projects that residential expenditures for natural gas will increase by 13%, or an average of $80 more this winter heating season (Oct. 1 through March 31).

California Minimum Wage Going Up to $10 Per Hour by 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. — California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. has recently signed a bill raising the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $10 per hour over the next three years, the governor’s office reports.

Assembly Bill 10 (AB 10), authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), will raise California’s minimum wage in two one-dollar increments, from $8 per hour to $9 per hour, effective July 1, 2014, and then to $10 per hour effective January 1, 2016.

“I’m proud to author this measure on behalf of hardworking families in California,” says Alejo.

Speed Queen Goes Pink in Partnership with BCRF

RIPON, Wis. — Speed Queen, a leading manufacturer of vended laundry equipment, is partnering with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) to support the search for a breast cancer cure by donating a portion of proceeds from sales of a limited-edition home-style washer and dryer pair.

“Speed Queen supports breast cancer research because the disease personally affects many of our lives,” says Reid Meisner, national sales manager for Speed Queen Home.

BDS Laundry Systems Welcomes Louwagie to Executive Team

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Commercial laundry distributor BDS Laundry Systems has appointed Jim Louwagie its chief operating officer.

In his newly created position, Louwagie will be responsible for overall sales and logistics functions across all BDS business units, and will report to BDS President David DeMarsh, the company says.

Prior to joining BDS Laundry Systems, Louwagie served as president of the Burnsville, Minn., branch of Anchor Bank, a family-owned bank holding company with 15 locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, according to BDS.

Laundrylux Appoints Roth CFO

INWOOD, N.Y. — Laundry equipment distributor Laundrylux has appointed Joanne T. Roth its new chief financial officer, the company reports.

Roth joins the Laundrylux team as a CPA with a financial background spanning three decades, including work in financial management, budgeting, human resources and risk management, the company says.

“[Roth’s] vast private sector financial experience and outstanding leadership skills make her a brilliant addition to our executive team,” says John Sabino, Laundrylux chief operating officer.

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