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Wilbar faces OSHA fines

A Hauppauge swimming pool manufacturer faces $106,200 in fines after an employee's fingers were crushed in a power press machine that lacked proper safeguards, a federal agency said Tuesday. Wilbar International was cited for 20 alleged violations, 19 of them "serious," following an investigation prompted by the March accident, said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The violations include the lack of safety guards on machines; inadequate procedures to prevent the start-up of presses during maintenance and a lack of safety training for press operators, OSHA said. The agency's Westbury office conducted the probe. Repeated attempts to reach Wilbar executives were unsuccessful. The company has 15 business days after it receives the OSHA citations to comply with them or to contest them. OSHA last fined Wilbar in January 2002 for 17 violations that also included machine safeguards. The case was closed the following month after Wilbar paid the $7,980 fine and corrected the hazards, the agency said. -- CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN

Angel Network gets grant

The Long Island Angel Network, which matches entrepreneurs with investors, will get a $5,000 grant, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency said Tuesday. Marc Alessi, the network's co-executive director, was thrilled: "The Angel Network and the new Long Island seed fund that a handful of our board members are starting are essential components for helping to build the innovation economy on Long Island." He said funds will go for mailings to venture capitalists and marketing of the network. The nonprofit started a few years ago but rebooted last year with new leadership. During the summer it sent out about 50 letters each month to foundations, companies and other agencies, including the Suffolk IDA, in search of funds. So far there are commitments for $50,000, Alessi said. Next target: the Nassau Industrial Development Agency. -- ELLEN YAN

Independent board nominees

An activist shareholder has nominated two independent candidates for the board of Comtech Telecommunications Corp., a Melville-based defense electronics contractor that has had a series of recent setbacks. It closed Tuesday at $27.87, up 83 cents. The shareholder, MMI Investments Lp, said Monday that it nominated two candidates for the company's board of directors because of concerns about Comtech's declining revenue and earnings. MMI owns 3.3 percent of Comtech's outstanding shares. Comtech responded by saying it met with MMI representatives and was evaluating the proposal. Comtech, with about 1,500 employees and a $700-million market capitalization, has been forced to diversify by seeking acquisitions in recent months, after it disclosed that its profits and sales were down sharply and said it expects to do "significantly" less business with one of its mainstay customers, the U.S. Army. For the three-month period ended April 30, net income was $14.3 million on sales of $131.1 million. That compared to $21.8-million income on sales of $216.3 million for the same quarter last year. -- JOSEPH MALLIA


Home prices in key cities rise

The depressed housing market flashed a positive signal in July, with home prices in most major U.S. cities rising for the fourth straight month. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday showed that prices rose from June to July in 17 of the 20 cities the index tracks. Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis posted the biggest percentage gains. Prices fell in two cities among those hit hardest by the housing crisis: Las Vegas and Phoenix. Analysts cautioned that the price increases are likely temporary, buoyed by seasonal buying, and not evidence of a housing recovery. Home sales have declined in each of the months in which prices rose. Prices in New York City rose 1.1 percent from June to July, the report said. -- AP

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