BUSINESS CLASS GEARED TO LATINO FIRM OWNERS: For Spanish-speakers, starting your own business and getting it off the ground is one hurdle. But taking that business to a bigger, better level is another one. How to get to that next level is the topic of a two-month class in Spanish presented by the Alliance Small Business Development Center, starting April 1. The class, which has free orientation Tuesday at 6 p.m., covers how to create and manage a business, develop business and marketing plans, get startup money and prepare to expand in the future. The cost is $99. Classes will be every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. through June 3 at the Alliance Free Enterprise Center, 1020 12th St., Suite 102, in Modesto. To reserve a seat, call 567-4910.
FEDS TO START SELLING T-BILLS FOR $100: The Treasury Department deals in millions and billions and even trillions of dollars, but it can think small, too. Officials announced Friday that starting next month, individuals will be able to buy Treasury securities in amounts as small as $100, down from the current minimum of $1,000. The change will take effect for the weekly auction of three-month and six-month Treasury bills that will be held April 7. Treasury said the reduction in minimum bid amounts is being made possible by an improved processing system for government debt auctions. The hope is that the reduction will attract smaller investors. The reduction in the minimum sales amount is the first to occur since 1998, when the purchase amount was cut to $1,000. Before that time, the minimum purchase amount had been $10,000 for Treasury bills, which are securities with a maturity of one year or less, and $5,000 for Treasury notes with a maturity of up to four years. Individuals can purchase Treasury securities directly from the Treasury Department by going to www.treasurydirect.gov to open an online account.
VERMONT'S 'MAPLE COP' STICKS TO HIS BEAT: Henry Marckres is a cop with no gun or gold badge. The tools of his trade are his eyes, his taste buds and a hydrometer. His beat: Vermont maple syrup. Marckres is technically a "maple specialist," but some in the business call him a "maple cop." He helps enforce Vermont's maple regulations for the state Agency of Agriculture, which strictly regulates how Vermont's most famous export is made, marketed and sold. He tastes it and fields consumer complaints about it. And when a new pancake syrup or ice cream hits the market advertising "Vermont maple" as an ingredient, Marckres makes sure its flavors are straight out of the woods. If not, the sticky arm of the law soon is reaching out to them. Violators can be imprisoned, although a simple warning letter usually does the trick. In Vermont, which produces about 500,000 gallons a year, protecting the brand is job No. 1.
EX-BEACH BOYS SETTLE FLAP OVER BAND NAME: Two former members of the Beach Boys settled a five-year legal dispute over use of the band's name, a lawyer said. Al Jardine and Mike Love reached an agreement after a two-day conference in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorney Lawrence Noble, who represents Jardine, said Thursday. Details of the settlement were not disclosed. "Mr. Jardine feels very happy and feels that this is a friendly settlement that allows them to focus on the talent and future of this American iconic band," Noble said. Love sued Jardine in 2003, claiming he fronted a group that used various versions of the Beach Boys name. The lawsuit said Love was the sole licensee to perform under the name, and that Jardine was denied use because he did not agree to abide by terms of a proposed license. Love was seeking $2 million in court costs and $1 million he said Jardine collected from using the name. A judge ruled in January that the case could go to trial. It was set to begin April 14. The Beach Boys were founded in 1961 by brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, their cousin Love and Brian Wilson's friend Jardine. Dennis Wilson died in 1983 and Carl Wilson died in 1998.
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48: Percentage of Americans who would pay off debt if they won a million dollars, according to a nationwide survey of consumers conducted by Compass Bank
41: Percentage who said they would continue to work until they reached retirement age
20: Percentage who would call in sick the next day and never return to work
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