LOCAL BUSINESS

Cleanup plans to be discussed

Three local organizations are holding a public meeting Tuesday to discuss plans for spending a $600,000 federal grant to clean up brownfields or contaminated sites in Summit County.

The meeting will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tallmadge Community Center, 80 Community Road.

The session is being organized by the Mayors Association of Portage, Stark & Summit, the Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization and the Development Finance Authority of Summit County.

The grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can be used to help determine environmental issues on properties and plan cleanups.

Community leaders, business owners and landowners can find out at the meeting how to qualify for the federal funds.

In addition, petroleum funds are available for the removal of underground fuel storage tanks.

RECYCLING

Hunt for oldest refrigerator

Have an old refrigerator? Ohio utilities are on the hunt for the stateís oldest working refrigerator.

To participate, Ohio Edison customers can call 877-545-4112 or go to www.energy≠saveOhio.com to schedule a home pickup of their old running fridge for recycling between May 1 and July 31. Refrigerators and freezers to be recycled must be in working order and between 10 and 30 cubic feet, using inside measurements. Households are limited to two recycled units per year.

Customers who recycle a refrigerator or freezer will earn a $50 incentive, which is available year round through the program. The oldest refrigerator Ohio Edison recycles will win a $250 gift card and be eligible to win a $1,000 gift card if it is the oldest in Ohio. The winner will be named in August.

ECONOMY

Consumer confidence surges

Americansí confidence in the economy jumped in April, helped by a better outlook for the job market and expectations for higher pay. The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, says its consumer confidence index rose to 68.1 in April. Thatís up from a reading of 61.9 in March, which was revised slightly higher.

Home sale prices rise 9.3%

U.S. home sale prices rose 9.3 percent in February compared with a year ago, the most in nearly seven years. The gains were driven by a growing number of buyers who bid on a limited supply of homes. The Standard & Poorís/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased from an 8.1 percent year-over-year gain in January. And annual prices rose in February in all 20 cities for the second month in a row. Comparing prices from a year ago, the survey showed the Cleveland metropolitan area had increases of 5.3 percent.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Insurerís earnings decrease

Specialty insurer National Interstate reported earning $8 million, or 41 cents per share on $151.9 million in premiums written for its first quarter ending March 31.

Earnings were down 13 percent from $9.7 million, or 50 cents per share, on $130.2 million in premiums written a year ago. The company released its results after the stock market closed Tuesday.

National Interstate executives will discuss first quarter earnings in a conference call with industry analysts at 10 a.m. today. To listen in via telephone, dial 877-837-3911 five to 10 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time. To listen to the call via the Internet, go to http://invest.natl.com.

ENERGY

Verizon to upgrade facilities

Verizon Communications Inc. plans to spend $100 million on solar systems and fuel cells to power 19 U.S. facilities. The company will install the gear at office buildings, call centers, data centers and other sites in seven states, it said. The project is expected to be complete next year. SunPower Corp. will provide the solar panels and ClearEdge Power Inc. will install the fuel cells.

TRANSACTIONS

Windshield unit could be sold

Saint-Gobain SA, Europeís biggest supplier of building materials with a variety of operations in Northeast Ohio, is considering a sale of its aircraft windshields business, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

Several industrial firms and private-equity funds told the company they would be interested in buying the Saint-Gobain Sully unit, which could fetch about $130 million. The talks arenít public. France-based Saint-Gobain hasnít decided yet whether it will sell the business, said one individual.

Compiled from staff and wire reports