IiiU)\iLY\i:\\s Page 9-B Call Heber Taylor at 744-3611 or 986-7711, Ext. 245 Business Notes The Galveston County Daily News welcomes items of business interest for this section. Current information about remodeling, expansion or relocation of an existing business; changes in top management personnel with photos; mergers, sales and annual meetings; retirement of top level employees; charitable donations in excess of $700; training and education of employees; recognitions earned by employees or the business; and announcements of new businesses, including commercial housing developments, are welcome. Please type or legibly print the information and send it to The Daily News, P.O. Box 628, Galveston 77553, by Wednesday for publication in the following Sunday edition Port announces 2 appointments GALVESTON —R. Wayne Byrd has been appointed director of finance of the Port of Galveston, and James V. Howell has been promoted to Captain of Port Police. Byrd, a certified public accountant, will direct all accounting, financial and treasury functions of the port. He will operate as the port's budget officer and a member of the port's senior staff. Howell will oversee all activities related to the safety and security of personnel and properties associated, with the port. Crescent names new president LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Crescent Airways Corp. has announced the appointments of Thomas M. Ramirez to the positions of Ramirez LaFleur president and chief operating officer of the company, and Ronald L. LaFleur to the position of vice president-marketing. Ramirez, a longtime helicopter business veteran, will be responsible for the overall organization and operation of Crescent's activities. LaFleur, a seasoned helicopter marketing specialist, will be responsible for the overall organization and operation of Crescent's marketing activities. Crescent Airways Corp., located in Lawrenceville, Ga., is the largest helicopter See BUSINESS NOTES, 10-B Convention Watch Conventions or groups coming to Galveston through April as reported by the Galveston Convention and Visitor's Bureau. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Economic impact is calculated as $135per delegate, multiplied by the number of days the group is in town.) March • East Texas Baptist Bible Fellowship, today through Tuesday, Howard Johnson, $6,750 estimated economic impact. • Sigma Gamma Rho Sor Inc., Thursday through March 20, Hotel Galvez, $243,000. • Gulf Coast Center, March 24-25, San Luis, $47,250. • American National Insurance, March 24-26, Holiday Inn, $40,500. April • Southwest Regional Ballet Festival, April 6-9, Moody Gardens, $405,000. • South Texas District Co. of the Assm. of God, April 12-14, Inn at San Luis, $405,000. • Le Mars Bank and Trust, April 13-14, Holiday Inn, $6,750. • Vocational Nurses, April 13-14, Moody Gardens. • Rotary District No. 5910, April 14-17, San Luis, $202,500. • Texas Food Processors Association, April 20-22, San Luis, $27,000. • Texas College of Emergency Physicians, April 20-23, San Luis, $48,600. • Lions International, April 22-24, Flagship Hotel, $81,000. • Texas Alcohol Traffic Safety Education, April 27-29, Hotel Galvez, $54,000. • Texas A&M College of Agriculture Development Council, April 27-29, Tremont House, $27,000. • Regional Council, System Users Group, April 28-30, San Luis, $207,900. Indicators Most recent national data for the week ending March 4: Unemployment 6.5% Gross domestic product up 5.9% Trade deficit $9.68 billion Leading indicators up 0.3% Consumer price index up 0.2% Housing starts down 17.6% New home sates up 11.4% Existing home sales up 3.4% Construction spending up 1.8% Factory orders up 2.1% Business inventories down 0.5% Industrial production up 0.5% Capacity utilization 83.1% Producer price index up 0.2% Durable goods up 3.7% Personal income down 0.3% Personal spending up 0.5% Retail sales up 1.5% Productivity up 4.2% Wholesale prices up 0.2% Money Rates Prime rate 6% Discount rate 3% Fed funds 3.25% T-bi!ls (3-month) 3.55% Precious Metals (per ounce) Gold $385.75 Silver $5.43 Quotes supplied courtesy of A.G. Edvnnit & Son* Inc. For more Information, on 765-9991. UT TC'TTVTT'Or' JDUSINESS Sunday March 13,1994 Restaurant testing new look, menu The Associated Press HOUSTON — The Denny's restaurants chain is trying on a new look as it attempts to shed its past problems. The chain, struggling with tough competition, financial losses and allegations of unfair treatment of black diners, is test- marketing the new approach at its Houston restaurants. The logo, uniforms and dark color schemes are being dumped, and a lighter menu is being served up. After nearly four years of financial losses, Flagstar Cos. — the parent of Denny's and other restaurant chains — said in January that it would sell or close 270 locations and spruce up others. Many of the restaurants haven't been remodeled in 20 years. Customers "told us that our decor was old and tired," said Ronald Petty, Denny's chief operating officer. "It was dark and pretty dingy in terms of color schemes." So Denny's is spending between $125,000 and $250,000 apiece to remodel each of its 1,500 locations. Houston is the test market for Denny's makeover, and remodeling work on the 21 area Denny's restaurants already has begun. Denny's is testing lighter colors and a brighter environment. The dining rooms will seat more customers, Petty said. Workers will wear button-down shirts and snappy ties instead of their green polyester uniforms. Denny's also is altering portions of its food lineup. The company has worked out a deal with Baskin-Robbins to install ice cream shops that will serve ice cream and cakes inside every Denny's. Denny's also redesigned its menu to add more low-calorie, low-fat meals — called Fit Fare — for health conscious diners. If the changes are a hit in Houston, Denny's plans to roll them out nationwide. '1 like this a lot more because you can see outside better and it seems more light," said Irene Almaraz, as she sat in the newly renovated Denny's in Houston. She eats at Denny's a couple of times each week. Kaichelle Bonner scoops some Baskin-Rob- Denny's chose Houston as its test market bins ice cream at a redesigned Denny's restau- because all its restaurants there are com- rant in Houston. The ice cream shop is a new pany-owned rather than franchised. addition to the restaurant chain. (AP) Foley's on track for fall opening By WANDA GARNER CASH The Daily News TEXAS CITY — Towering steel framework signals progress at the new Foley's site at Mall of the Mainland. Construction is right on target, according to Linda Sease, public relations representative at Foley's corporate office in Houston. TEXAS cmr The two-level, 150,000- square-foot store is going up on the west side of the mall. When it opens sometime in the fall, the new store should employ about 150 people, Sease said. Though no definite date has been set, plans for the grand opening celebration are already under way, Sease said. "Foley's mission is always to open as far in front of the season as possible. Well definitely be open in the fall," she said. "Actually, our track record is that we usually open up a bit ahead of schedule." Sease said Foley's already is working with vendors for giveaways and personal appearances for the grand opening. A store at The Woodlands Steel framework is going up at Mall of the Mainland in Texas Ciiy for a new Foley's depart- ment store. The store will employ 150 people. (Photo by Jim Stotts) should open about the same time as the Mall of the Mainland location. While Sease could not reveal the extent of Foley's credit card customer base in the Galveston County area, she said there were "many, many" charge account customers in this area. "Obviously the selection of the Texas City site was based on consumer interest and access," she said. Jimmy Hayley, executive vice president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Com- merce, said the new Foley's should be attractive to customers from surrounding communities such as Alvin, Angleton and the Brazosport area who don't want to drive all the way to the Foley's at Alameda Mall. Hayley also predicted more stores will move into the mall because of Foley's lead. That prediction has already come true. Since Foley's announced its plans last October, three new retail outlets have opened at Mall of the Mainland, according to Lynn Eustace, public relations spokesman at the mall. Ice Cream on the Corner opened before Christmas, and Carlton Cards opened right before Valentine's Day, Eustace said. The card shop, a division of American Greetings, occupies 2,137 square feet. Margo's, a popular women's specialty store, opens March 19 in the space formerly occupied by Brooks. Margo's is finishing remodeling the 3,184-square-foot site, Eustace said. Money saved refinancing may be lost to taxes The average cash price per gallon for self service regular unleaded in Galveston. Prices are averaged from a survey of tocal gasoline retailers. A re the tax consequences of refinancing your home mortgage going to affect your 1993 Federal Income Tax return? Many taxpayers may discover that this is so. The extra deduction that is allowed for most points paid on closing, coupled with the reduced interest expense, could complicate your return. Many taxpayers who refinanced during the year and who enjoyed significant savings due to reduced monthly mortgage payments will now find that their tax bill is increasing. Each dollar that was saved in reduced mortgage interest is one less deduction at year end. Many taxpayers also paid "points" for interest charges when their home was initially purchased or refinanced. Depending on the circumstances, these points are either deductible in full in the year paid, deductible over the life of the loan or not deductible at all. Purchase of Principal Residence. Points paid by a homeowner, related to the borrowing of funds to purchase a principal residence, are generally deductible, in full, for the year they are paid. This Ed Walsh Tax Matters rule also applies when a homeowner refinances a home-construction loan. Home Improvements. Monies borrowed to finance home improvements may also have points charged by the lending institution. The tax treatment of these points differs from the way initial purchase points are treated. Points paid on home improvements are deductible in full in the year paid only when they are paid directly by the borrower. A separate check must be issued to the mortgage company by the borrower in order to currently deduct the home improvement loan points. Refinancing. The third area where points are generally charged is when a homeowner refinances his home to take advantage of lower interest rates. Points paid upon refinancing are not fully deductible in the year paid. They must be deducted evenly over the life of the loan. If you have refinanced two times or more, as many have done to take advantage of continually falling interest rates, you may have points that you have not deducted in full from a previous refinancing. These points from a prior financing are fully deductible in the year when the borne is refinanced again. The one major area of contention concerning the deductibility of points is when a home is refinanced with the same lender and points are paid. The IRS has traditionally taken the view that these points are not deductible, yet there is some indication that they may be changing their position. Ed Walsh is a certified public accountant in Galveston.
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