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OSHA stadium fine

(AP) -- California safety officials have issued more than $50,000 in fines against an elevator company whose employee was killed while working at the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.

The state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) cited Schindler Elevator Corporation on Tuesday for three serious violations, including its alleged failure to enclose counterweights in freight elevators with required guards.

Mechanic Don White, 63, was killed on June 11 by an elevator counterweight.

State officials also said Schindler Elevator failed to ensure that the elevator would not activate while a worker was in the danger zone.

A call to the company was not immediately returned.

White was the first of two workers to die while working on the new $1.2 billion stadium. The stadium is slated to open next year.
Santa Clara prices

SAN JOSE -- The average price of single-family homes in Santa Clara County was up 20.7 percent and the average condo price was up 12.7 percent year-over-year in November, according to MLSListings statistics.

In November, the average sale price average sale price for single-family homes was $1,066,241, up from $883,185 in November 2012.

Meanwhile, the average sale price for condos was $528,530, up from $468,654 a year before.

"The housing market in Santa Clara County is beginning to recover," said Carl San Miguel, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.

Single family-homes were on the market for an average of 31 days in November, down from 39 days for the same month in 2012. Condos were on the market for an average of 32 days, up from 29 days in November 2012.

Sellers of single-family homes in November received 102.79 percent of their asking prices while sellers of condos received 102.3 percent.

New listings in November for single-family homes stood at 692, down from 764 in November 2012, while new listings for condos was 265, up from 252 in November 2012.

Inventory for single-family homes was 1,425, down from 1,617 in November 2012. Meanwhile, inventory for condos was 559, up slightly from 554 in November 2012.
Vegas prices dip

(AP) -- A survey finds that Las Vegas-area home sales prices dipped 1.1 percent in November.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors pointed in a report Tuesday to 19 months of steady increases before a bumpy September-October-November pattern put the median price for a single-family home at $183,000.

That's down from $185,000 in October.

Association chief Dave Tina says he expected a slow-down of the increases seen since existing local home prices bottomed out at a median price of $118,000 in January 2012.

Tina says local home prices have returned to where they were five years ago, but are still well below a June 2006 peak of $315,000.

Tina also noted a Dec. 31 deadline is approaching for owners considering a short sale under the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.
Rocky Mississippi

(AP) -- The up-and-down Mississippi River is down again, and the Army Corps of Engineers began rock removal efforts Tuesday in an attempt to ensure the river remains open to barge traffic through the winter.

The corps said Tuesday that contractors will remove about 2,800 cubic yards of rock over the next several months from the bottom of river.

It is an extension of work that began last winter near the southern Illinois towns of Thebes and Grand Tower, roughly 100 miles south of St. Louis, when the middle Mississippi River reached to near-record low levels after months of drought.

A wet spring led to significant flooding, but a dry fall has the river low again.

At Thebes, the river was at 7 feet on Tuesday -- 26 feet below flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

At Cape Girardeau, Mo., it was at 8.2 feet -- flood stage there is 32 feet -- and expected to fall nearly another foot over the next week.

Last winter, the water level of the middle Mississippi was so low that barges were ordered to carry less weight, helping them to ride higher and above the jagged rocks on the river bottom.
UConn water

(AP) -- The University of Connecticut is getting out of the municipal water business.

The school's Board of Trustees approved a deal Wednesday with the Connecticut Water Co. for the company to supplement UConn's water supply.

The agreement also calls for Connecticut Water to supply parts of Mansfield, including Storrs, that currently rely on the university for their water. A separate deal is being worked out with the town.

“The university does a lot of things, but running a water supply system is not essentially a core competency of the University of Connecticut,” said Thomas Callahan, UConn associate vice president for infrastructure planning and strategic project management.

Under the agreement, Connecticut Water will absorb the estimated $21 million it will cost to build a 5-mile pipeline from Tolland to the campus.

The school is expected to spend about $2 million to hook the line up to its existing system.

The agreement calls for the company to sell the school up to 1.5 million gallons of water daily as needed over the next 46 years.

Callahan said UConn began looking for a water partner in 2010 as a way to ensure it could meet demands on the expanding campus for the next 50 years.

He said the agreement will allow the school and town to go forward with planned development projects, such as the UConn Technology Park, without having to worry about a dwindling water supply.
No bail in Philly

(AP) -- A judge has ruled that two men facing charges in a Philadelphia building collapse that killed six people will remain behind bars until their next court date in February.

Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan on Tuesday denied bail requests from lawyers for Griffin Campbell and Sean Benschop, the demolition contractor and equipment operator charged in the June 5 collapse.

An unsupported brick wall of a four-story building being demolished crashed down onto a smaller Salvation Army store, trapping shoppers and workers in rubble. Fourteen people were also injured.

Campbell faces six counts including third-degree murder and Benschop is accused of involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

They will remain in prison until their preliminary hearings on Feb. 18.
Danish mortgage bonds

(Bloomberg) -- The Danish government's plan to extend maturities on one-year mortgage bonds if refinancing auctions fail will prevent a potential scenario resembling a run on banks, central bank Governor Lars Rohde said.

The government last month presented its latest draft proposal that will extend maturities on one-year bonds by 12 months at a time if refinancing auctions fail or if rates rise more than 5 percentage points between auctions.

The government plans to extend the feature to other short-term covered bonds to protect an economy that's dwarfed by the nation’s $530 billion mortgage market.

“The immense popularity of mortgage-credit loans that have not been pre-financed has led to a potential refinancing risk for the mortgage banks,” Rohde said. “Mortgage banks have a continuous need for refinancing in the market, and they might experience a situation resembling a 'run' on a bank. It's very unlikely that this will happen, but the consequences could be enormous.”

Danish house prices are rising and “should be monitored closely to ensure that the expected upswing is sustainable and that imbalances do not build up in the economy,” Rohde said.
Home demolition protest

(AP) -- A dozen central Chinese city residents protesting the demolition of their homes have drunk pesticide in Beijing in a desperate bid for attention that underscores the failures of a decades-old petitioning system.

Wang Yuping said he's among the residents from Hubei province who survived but required treatment for poisoning after drinking pesticide Tuesday near a historic watchtower in the heart of China's capital.

Forty-year-old Wang said Wednesday that the petitioners have been unsuccessfully seeking redress since 2010 for the razing of their homes by local authorities who provided little or no compensation.

Wang said they felt they had no other options available to them.

Petitioners sometimes resort to extreme measures when their grievances are unsolved for years, and they routinely suffer beatings and illegal detentions.

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