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Waco newspaper becomes another Buffett asset

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is expanding its newsprint division, buying the Waco Tribune-Herald, its second newspaper in Texas, the company announced Friday.

For Buffett, acquiring the Waco Tribune-Herald fits his stated interest in buying small and medium-sized newspapers in places with a strong sense of community.

The Tribune-Herald is being sold by Robinson Media LLC, a Waco family business that bought it in 2009 from Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. The newspaper has 124 employees.

The purchase, for an undisclosed price, is expected to close July 31.

The Tribune-Herald, with its daily circulation of 34,000 and 39,000 on Sundays, is one of many newspapers in which Buffett now has a stake.

Berkshire Hathaway has owned The Buffalo News for decades and bought its hometown paper, the Omaha World-Herald, in December. The company is also the largest shareholder of Washington Post Co., with a 23 percent stake. Earlier this month, Omaha-based Berkshire announced that it is buying the Bryan-College Station Eagle, another Texas newspaper.

Berkshire also disclosed this month that it owned 3.2 percent of newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises' stock at the end of March.

In May, Berkshire announced a deal to buy 63 newspapers from Media General Inc. for $142 million. Berkshire also is lending $445 million to Media General.

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Marcellus Shale case settled

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Three northeastern Pennsylvania families have reached a $1.6 million settlement with a gas drilling company over contaminated water wells.

Attorneys say they believe it is the first Marcellus Shale pollution case to be openly settled.

Jared McMicken of Wyalusing says the agreement reached Thursday is more bitter than sweet since his drinking water was ruined by nearby drilling and his family must move.

The dispute with Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy began in 2010. The town is about 160 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Chesapeake says in a statement that it believes there is no permanent damage to the properties and that other water wells in the area showed natural contamination before drilling began.

Attorney John Romano says he's representing about 30 other families in the region with similar claims.

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Roof repair funds available

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo is offering a limited-time grant and loan fund for roof repairs.

The short-term roofing assistance program will be available this summer and fall, and will cover repairs or installation of a new roof, using a mixture of grants and loans.

New roofs are among the most expensive repairs, with prices that can reach $12,000 or more for complex jobs.

NHS will hold an orientation workshop from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 1937 South Park Ave. to provide details about the program and eligibility for it, and to help homeowners start the application process. Loan counselors will also be available to meet with homeowners.

For more information, call 823-3630.

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Phone scheme banned

ALBANY (AP) -- New York's Legislature is trying to ban schemes involving consumers being told via a recorded telephone message that they've won a prize, then find fees have been run up on their phone bills that often exceed the value of the prize.

The Legislature gave final approval to the ban on Thursday. Now it goes to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who could sign it into law.

Consumers are typically charged a rate of $9.95 a minute without knowing it as they're put on hold or listen to a long recorded message.