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Success secrets of local businesses will be among the topics in a series of five morning programs Nov. 21 through June 3, sponsored by the Greater Buffalo Partnership.

The programs are:

"From Chicory to Chippewa: The Business Plan That Got Us There," featuring owners of Spot Coffee, Nov. 12.

"Show me the Money: Financing a Business," Jan. 21.

"How to Make Friends with a Billion Dollar Gorilla: Co-Op Marketing & Strategic Alliances," March 11.

"Do You Know What Your Customers Want? Don't Derail Your Business -- Stay on Track with Information Technology," April 22.

"Never Let Them See You Sweat -- How to Keep the Best Employees," June 3.

Each of the programs will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Buffalo Hilton. For information and registration, call 852-7100, Ext. 459.

Duke Energy, UAE buy stake in Ref-Fuel

A partnership between Duke Energy Power Services of Charlotte and United American Energy Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., is buying a 50 percent interest in American Ref-Fuel, a waste-to-energy company with a plant in Niagara Falls.

The two are buying the stake held by Air Products and Chemicals Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The other 50 percent of Ref-Fuel is held by Browning-Ferris Industries.

Duke Energy and UAE will acquire Air Products' ownership interest in five waste-to-energy plants in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, including the Niagara Falls facility. The plants process more than four million tons of municipal solid waste a year and have a combined generating capacity of 286 megawatts.

E&E wins contract at Monroe County site

Ecology & Environment Inc. of Lancaster has been awarded the remedial design work at a site in the Town of Sweden in Monroe County by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The site contains construction and demolition debris, as well as hazardous and industrial wastes.

The initial design will be completed by March 1998 at an estimated cost of $296,000.

E&E will treat the contaminated soils with low-temperature thermal desorption technology, a process in which contaminated materials are taken out and heated to appropriate temperatures to vaporize the organic contamination. The resulting vapors are either destroyed at high temperature or captured on an adsorbent, like a carbon filter. The cleaned soil is then returned to the site.

Contractors self-insure for workers comp

A group of contractors has formed a self-insurance fund to cut their costs for workers compensation premiums.

The Contractors Self Insurance Trust Fund is administered by Rochester insurance agency LRMP Inc. and Neuman Claims Administrators Inc. in Buffalo, which provides claim services, loss control and financial administration.

Trust rates are 44 percent below standard Workers Compensation Board premiums, the group said. Dividends of up to 40 percent are also paid back to members, based on loss experience.

A.O.P. Solutions wins contract with county

A.O.P. Solutions in Buffalo has won a $2.2 million, five-year contract to supply the Erie County Department of Social Services for an optical character recognition system.

The system will allow case workers to scan, file and retrieve documents electronically. The job will bring four additional jobs for A.O.P., the company said.

Alfred investors rank high

The students who comprise the Alfred University Chapter of the Financial Management Association International have won a "superior" from the investment professionals who heard their recent presentation in Chicago. The Alfred FMA students meet weekly to manage the investments that have doubled since they were donated. The chapter adviser is Professor Abderranman Robana.

First Empire State dividend

The board of directors of First Empire State Corp. has authorized a quarterly cash dividend of 80 cents per common share be paid on Dec. 31 to stockholders of record on Dec. 1.

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