The Buzz On Business

SEMINARS, WEBINARS HELP GET DUCKS IN ROW: The new year can be a time for starting over, including getting those personal finances in order. In an effort to do just that, ByDesign Financial Solutions' Stockton office will offer a number of seminars, in person and online. On Feb. 20 and March 20, the office will offer "Alternatives to Foreclosure," free workshops with tips on how to keep your home and get into better financial shape. The sessions are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Webinars also are offered on this topic, which means you can attend the session through a Web site and over the phone simultaneously. Webinars will be held Feb. 25, March 4, March 11 and March 26. All Webinars are free and are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A workshop for first-time homebuyers will take place March 8 in Stockton. The free workshop will cover budgeting, credit, real estate terms and will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Consumers who want to improve their financial knowledge can attend either one of the two-session workshops at the Stockton office, Feb. 26 and 27, or March 18 and 19. Each workshop is $20, with the first session from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the second from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The first-time home-buying workshop will be held at the West Lane Oaks Resource Center, 7908 N. West Lane, Suite 201 in Stockton, while all other in-person programs will be at ByDesign Financial Solutions' office at 2291 W. March Lane, Suite A-110, Stockton. Preregistration is required: Go to or call 800-750-2227.

DISNEY BRINGS A LITTLE 'IDOL' TO ITS WORLD: Disney World is about to get a little pitchy, dawg. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans Thursday to create a live performance attraction based on "American Idol" at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park -- formerly called Disney-MGM Studios -- in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. "Our goal is to try to re-create the excitement of those 24 people who show up on that 'American Idol' stage," Disney Parks Chairman Jay Rasulo said. "We believe many, many viewers want to know exactly how that feels, and we're going to try to reproduce that feeling for them." Much like the hugely popular Fox singing competition, the as-yet-unnamed attraction -- scheduled to open late this year -- will allow theme park guests to audition, then perform before a live studio audience inside the Hollywood Studios' theater space. Disney licensed the rights to create the attraction from "Idol" co-producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia.

TV TRANSITION PUTS COUPONS IN DEMAND: Americans worried about losing their television signals because of the approaching transition to digital broadcasting have requested more than 4.4 million government coupons to help pay for special converter boxes. The Department of Commerce will begin distributing them Feb. 17. The same day, three major retailers are expected to begin selling the boxes, the agency said Thursday. Full-power television stations will stop broadcasting an analog signal Feb. 18, 2009. Anyone who does not own a digital television set and gets programming over the air will need to buy a box. Viewers who have satellite or cable service will not need one. Last month, the government began accepting orders for the $40 coupons. Each household is entitled to two coupons, which look more like credit cards. The coupons expire 90 days after they have been mailed. The three chains that will begin stocking the converter boxes are Best Buy, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart. Those stores and many other retailers "should be able" to accept the coupons, according to a department news release.


Figuratively Speaking

22: Percentage of U.S. workers who said they "live to work" rather than "work to live," according to a survey conducted by

1: Rank of the United States among the four countries surveyed in terms of having the most respondents who selected "live to work."

16: Percentage of French workers who said they "live to work."

15 (tie): Percentage of German and United Kingdom workers who said the same.

58: Percentage of Americans who say they trust "business," according to Edelman's 2008 Trust Barometer survey.

39: Percentage who say they trust government.