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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

NYSEG to inspect wooden utility poles

New York State Electric & Gas Corp. is giving its wooden poles a closer look.

The utility said Monday that workers this week will begin an inspection tour of its 4,600 miles of transmission lines across its upstate New York service territory to check more than 17,000 wood poles for decay and other damage.

Locally, work will begin this week on NYSEG's transmission rights of way in the Lancaster and Lockport areas.

NYSEG's contractor on the project, Utility Pole Technologies, will identify poles that need repair or replacing. Workers also will treat some poles with preservatives to help them last longer. Poles that are infested with carpenter ants also may be treated with insecticide.

NYSEG executives said decaying or insect-infested poles that are treated can last 1.5 times longer than untreated poles.

"Since it costs between 50 and 100 times less to treat a pole than to replace it, this work helps us control energy costs in the long run," said Mark S. Lynch, NYSEG president, in a statement.

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5,288 visit GM open house

A total of 5,288 people visited General Motors' Town of Tonawanda engine plant for tours during an open house held last Friday, according to GM.

The public was welcomed for tours over an eight-hour period. GM is conducting open houses at 54 facilities around the country this year.

A date for an open house at GM's plant in Lockport has not yet been announced.

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Electric Tower to go dark

The Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo will temporarily go dark at night while the building's owner, Iskalo Development, completes the final phase of renovating its upper exterior, including the lantern section.

The tower's upper levels, including parts of the lantern section, are now encased in scaffolding to enable workers to safely access the 295-foot building's highest points. Workers are trying to reinforce the tower's structural integrity and restore its "original luster," including by repairing the terra cotta, re-pointing mortar, applying sealants, fixing flashing and re-roofing as necessary.

Iskalo said Monday that the tower's nightly lightings will resume normal schedule once the renovations are completed, expected in the fall, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation's conference will be held in Buffalo and just before the tower's 100th anniversary in 2012.

The tower is normally lit up in white, but features custom colors for community occasions and special events.

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New branch in Warsaw

Steuben Trust Co. has received approval from state banking regulators to open an office in the Town of Warsaw in Wyoming County.

The Hornell-based community bank, which currently operates 13 branches, will open an office at 2490 Route 19N, just north of the village of Warsaw, the Wyoming County Community Hospital and a Tops Plaza. The property was formerly home to Mucher Grand Rental, an equipment rental and sales business.

This is the bank's first office in Wyoming County, but Steuben Trust, which has $375 million in assets and $315 million in deposits, already has seven offices in Allegany County.

Free fitness franchise

Snap Fitness, a Minnesota-based fitness center chain with six Buffalo-area locations and a seventh one opening soon, is giving away a franchise as part of a national contest.

Entrants must submit a brief essay explaining why they should be chosen. The prize package will include all costs associated with launching a franchise, including franchise fee, build out, equipment, site selection and initial rent and working capital, estimated at a value of up to $250,000.

The winner will be announced in early October. Details are available at www.petertaunton.com.