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Med office set to open in Roanoke

Local health care officials are scheduled to cut the ribbon at 2 p.m. Monday on a new family medical office in Huntington County.

Officials from Lutheran Health Network, Lutheran Medical Group, the town of Roanoke and Huntington County will attend the ceremony at 280 Commercial St. in Roanoke.

Dr. Jeffrey Witt, who practices family medicine full time in Roanoke, will treat patients at the new 7,200-square-foot office. The practice employs four support staff members.

Construction on the $1.2 million project began in June. Sperry Van Ness/Parke Group is the project’s developer. Lutheran will be the building’s tenant.

The office features six exam rooms, an updated lab and a procedure room. It replaces a much smaller office used by the practice.

Rival bidder contests Dempsey firmís offer

A company that teamed up with Starbucks Corp. to bid for the Tully’s Coffee chain filed an objection Wednesday challenging the winning offer made by “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey.

AgriNurture Inc. said it’s still willing to proceed with its combined bid with Starbucks of about $10.6 million. The bid from Dempsey’s company, Global Baristas LLC, was for $9.2 million.

The proposed sale goes before a bankruptcy judge in Seattle today.

Starbucks has said it wants to convert some of Tully’s cafes to its own brand. AgriNurture, based in the Philippines, would run the rest under the Tully’s name.

Ford doubles up on quarterly dividend

Ford may get a longer look from curious investors after rolling out a more muscular, souped-up dividend Thursday.

The nation’s No. 2 automaker is doubling its quarterly payout to 10 cents a share, just nine months after paying its first dividend in more than five years.

The dividend increase marks another milestone in Ford’s comeback. It has strengthened its image with customers along with its balance sheet. Ford is expected to report its fourth consecutive annual profit when it releases earnings in a few weeks.

In 2011, the company posted its largest profit since 1998.

Corn supplies slip at near-record clip

U.S. corn supplies, the world’s biggest, are dropping at the fastest pace in 17 years as drought damage exceeds government forecasts and five months of declining prices spur demand from livestock producers.

Inventories on Dec. 1 were 15 percent lower than a year earlier at 8.22 billion bushels, the smallest post-harvest stockpile since 2003, according to the average of 26 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Group expect prices to rebound at least 17 percent to $8.14 a bushel in 2013.

Jobless claims climb to 371,000

Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The previous week’s total was revised lower.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750. It had fallen to a four-year low the previous week.

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