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W.Va. ski resort opens tube park Friday

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

DAVIS, W.Va. -- It's grand opening day for the new tube park at Canaan Valley Resort State Park in Davis.

Resort officials will hold a ceremony Friday afternoon to celebrate the debut of a 16-lane hill with a down slope of 1,200 feet.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says the tube park also features a 1,000-square-foot warming station with restrooms, a fireplace, lounges, viewing area and an outside plaza with a fire ring.

Boardwalk conveyers make getting back to the top of the hill an easy ride.

Also new to the resort this year are horse-drawn sleigh rides, which can accommodate five to eight people.

100 will lose jobs as Ohio plant moves out

BREMEN, Ohio -- Around 100 workers will be out of a job when a central Ohio manufacturer moves part of its operations to Mexico.

The Logan Daily News reports that Superior Fibers will shutter its operation in the town of Bremen, near Lancaster, later this year. Superior Fibers manufactures air-filtration systems and composite products.

CEO Doug Spitler said the move comes as the company tries to cut costs in the face of increased competition. He also cited the cost of an ongoing environmental cleanup on the property. The company has been working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to clean up chemical pollution from the 1980s.

Bremen Village Administrator Doug Hockman said the closing of the aging plant is a blow to the community.

Best Buy shares jump on holiday results

NEW YORK -- Shares of Best Buy Co. jumped on Friday after the electronics chain showed signs of starting to reverse declining sales during the critical holiday selling season, a better-than-expected result.

Shares rose 16.4 percent to $14.21.

Best Buy has been facing tough competition from discounters and online retailers, as people browse electronics in stores and then go home to buy them more cheaply online, a practice known as "showrooming." To combat this, it has instituted a cost-cutting program, invested in more employee training and put an online price matching policy in place during the key holiday period of November and December. The holiday quarter accounted for about a third of Best Buy's revenue last year.

The chain said that revenue at stores open at least a year fell 1.4 percent for the nine weeks ended Jan. 5. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

The company's U.S. performance was flat. While this was slightly below the 0.3 percent increase Best Buy reported a year ago, President and CEO Hubert Joly said in a statement that it was an better than the past several quarters.

Businessman's mail fraud case going to trial

SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal plea agreement fell apart Friday for a well known Utah philanthropist accused of running a $350 million scheme that billed hundreds of thousands of consumers for products they never ordered.

Prosecutors allege that Jeremy Johnson's company, iWorks, sent software to consumers for a supposedly risk-free trial but billed them anyway. The company mailed consumers CDs that contained information about government grants for personal, business and education expenses, prosecutors have said.

Johnson, 37, was arrested at a Phoenix airport in 2011, carrying more than $26,000 in cash and a one-way plane ticket to Costa Rica.

Federal prosecutors initially charged him with one count of mail fraud related to his Internet-based business operations. He was set to enter a guilty plea Friday to two additional charges of bank fraud and money laundering.

as part of an agreement with the government.

But Johnson and prosecutors disagreed over the terms and a list of people that Johnson wanted to ensure would not be prosecuted. Johnson instead decided to maintain his not guilty plea and the case is set to go to trial.

After a court hearing in U.S. District Court Friday, Johnson said he wanted a chance to prove his innocence.

Before his arrest, Johnson donated generously to charities and to the political campaigns of former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. He used his personal helicopters to aid search and rescue efforts in southern Utah and made international headlines in January 2010 when he purchased a plane to fly doctors and other critical supplies to Haiti following a devastating earthquake.

Prosecutors on Friday said they plan to file a new indictment in the case within a month, but wouldn't comment on whether other people besides Johnson would be charged.

If convicted, Johnson could face decades in prison. He is currently free on a $2.8 million bond.

The Federal Trade Commission has also filed a civil suit against Johnson and nine business associates in Las Vegas.