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Patriot Coal retirees writing bankruptcy judge

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- A federal judge in New York City is hearing from retired coal miners who are fretting about their pensions and health care benefits.

The letters are being sent to a judge overseeing the Patriot Coal bankruptcy case. The Charleston Gazette reports that more than 100 letters have been added to the court record of the case in recent days.

One letter states that Patriot miners gave their best years to coal companies only to see their benefits threatened in retirement.

Patriot is responsible for more than 10,000 retirees and 10,000 dependents, most of them in West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

A judge has approved an $802 million financing package so the St. Louis company can continue operating while it restructures.

Best Buy CFO to leave, latest executive departure

MINNEAPOLIS -- Best Buy said Tuesday that its chief financial officer is leaving, the latest executive departure for the struggling electronics chain.

The news comes as Best Buy's founder and former chairman Richard Schulze mulls an offer for the company, which is attempting to improve results amid tough competition.

Best Buy says it is seeking a new chief financial officer to replace James Muehlbauer. Muehlbauer, who joined Best Buy in 2002, became interim CFO in 2007 and was named to the post permanently the following year.

He will continue to advise the company until the end of the 2013 fiscal year, which ends Feb. 3.

W.Va. seeks ideas for broadband funds

CHARLESTON -- West Virginia has $9 million left over from a federal broadband grant and is looking for ideas on how to spend the money.

The state received a $126.3 million stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet access to rural areas. Any money that isn't spent by Jan. 31, 2013, will be returned to the federal government.

The state is asking companies to submit proposals for projects. The deadline for proposals is Tuesday.

Office of Technology spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown tells the Charleston Gazette that the state wants input from a wide range of vendors on possible uses for the money.

Companies submitting proposals must provide a 20 percent funding match.

The winning proposals will be submitted to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration for approval.

Walmart, American Express team up on card

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and American Express are rolling out a prepaid card that they say offers unique services designed to help shoppers manage and control their everyday finances.

The two companies said Monday that Bluebird, begun during a pilot program late last year, acts like a checking account but without the fees that have increasingly frustrated shoppers. It will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. They say the only fees that will be associated with the card will be transparent and within the user's control, such as out of network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don't use direct deposit.

Instead, what Bluebird will be loaded with is a number of features, including the ability to deposit a check to one's Bluebird account by simply taking a picture with a smart phone. It will also offer the same fraud protections if the card is stolen or lost as other standard cards.

The move comes as American Express is looking for new ways to expand its customer base beyond its traditional wealthy clientele. For Wal-Mart, the Bluebird service is the latest financial product offering to be pushed by the world's largest retailer, but it's also the most comprehensive.