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Local shrink-wrap maker sold to Connecticut firm

Packstar Group, a 14-year-old Amherst-based maker of shrink wrap packaging, has been sold to a Connecticut company, and plans call for expanding local operations. Terms of the sale were not released.

Local owners Andrew Sharp and Frank Clesse will stay on with the company after the sale to Brook & Whittle.

"We're looking to add 50 to 60 people in the next two to three years," Sharp said. "Our goal is to double our revenue."

Packstar makes the tight plastic wrapping used on various personal products such as beverage bottles, softsoap dispensers and deodorant sticks.

Brook & Whittle CEO Stephen Stewart said "shrink sleeves" are the fastest growing type of label.

Brook & Whittle is a 15-year-old printing and packaging company based in North Branford, Conn.


Billboards boost safe driving

Tuxedo Junction, Lamar Advertising and the Martin Group are teaming up on a billboard campaign to promote safe driving during prom season.

Forty new billboards are going up around the region, aimed at preventing teenagers from drinking and driving.

Each billboard features a photo of a couple going to the prom, with the message, "Don't let this be your last photo. Don't drink and drive this prom."

The Buffalo-based Martin Group designed the billboards. Tuxedo Junction is donating the billboards' printing costs, and Lamar Advertising is donating placement for all 40 billboards.

"These teenagers come into our stores so excited about the prom -- we just want them to have a good time and be safe," said Joe Terranova, vice president of sales and marketing for Tuxedo Junction. The formalwear provider was founded in Buffalo in 1969 and now has stores in 14 states and more than 50 cities.


Judge OKs Borders bonuses

NEW YORK (AP) -- A lawyer for bookseller Borders Group Inc. says a judge has approved paying executives up to $6.6 million in bonuses as the company works to reorganize under bankruptcy court protection.

The Office of the U.S. Trustee objected to an earlier request to pay about $8 million in bonuses.

Lawyer Andrew Glenn confirmed that a judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the lower amount on Friday.

Borders says the bonuses are necessary to retain executives in key posts. Forty-seven executives have left the company since Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in February.


Harman widow joins Beast

NEW YORK (AP) -- Former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., will take a board seat at the Newsweek Daily Beast Co. to represent her family's 50 percent interest in the website and magazine company, which her late husband, Sidney Harman, helped form.

Jane Harman, 65, represented the congressional district of beach communities in the Los Angeles area until she resigned in February to become chief executive of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Audio equipment magnate Sidney Harman bought Newsweek from the Washington Post Co. last year for $1 and oversaw its merger with the Daily Beast website. He named veteran magazine editor Tina Brown as editor-in-chief. Sidney Harman died of complications from leukemia last week at age 92.


AP, workers agree on pact

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Associated Press has reached a tentative labor agreement covering about 1,200 newsroom and technology workers.

The contract announced Friday would freeze a long-standing pension plan, in which monthly retirement payments are defined. Future retirement contributions would be at least 6 percent of salary a year and go into an account that employees control. The pension plan's fate had been a major sticking point in the talks.

In exchange for the freeze, the AP agreed not to increase employees' health insurance payments until the contract expires in August 2013. The contract also includes three raises of 1.5 percent each.

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