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May 18, 2014 

Consumer credit

Are millennials behind the credit curve?

Adults 18-34 are more confused about credit reports and scores than are older age groups, even though younger Americans have the greatest need to understand these critical financial measures, according to a just-released report from the Consumer Federation of America.

Specifically, millennials — who are more likely to be applying for credit for the first time — know less about the range of businesses that use credit scores, such as electric utilities, cell phone providers, home insurers and landlords, the survey found.

Millennials also are more likely to mistakenly think that credit repair companies are usually helpful in correcting errors on credit reports and improving scores. In reality, credit repair firms help only occasionally, tend to be costly and perform services that consumers could do themselves, according to the federation.

On the upside, the survey showed that overall, a large majority of consumers know many important facts about credit scores. For example, 88 percent know that credit card issuers and mortgage lenders use credit scores, while roughly 90 percent know that missed payments, personal bankruptcy and high credit card balances negatively affect their scores.

Aerospace

Saucers on the runway

Science fiction could soon become reality at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Aircraft maintenance company Corporate Jet Solutions has signed a joint venture agreement with California-based Aerobat Aviation Inc. to begin constructing two-person flying saucers at the airport early next year.

The plan is to bring a mock-up model of the saucer craft to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure show in Oshkosh, Wis., later this summer and then begin production.

The details of the two-seater are listed on the Aerobat website: The carbon fiber and fiberglass aircraft would have a maximum takeoff weight of 1,320 pounds, a fuel capacity of 20 gallons, a range of 300 nautical miles and a wingspan of 7.6 meters. Aerobat’s CEO Travis Shannon said advantages to the round craft, as opposed to a traditional small airplane, include more stability, better handling in crosswinds and the ability to carry a larger payload.

The price tag for the standard version: $198,000.

Advertising

Smokey Bear still a fiery presence

Smokey Bear turns 70 this summer. But instead of kicking back in retirement – whacking golf balls or sniffing around for early-bird dinner specials – the bear in bluejeans is returning to work to educate people about wildfires.

Last year, there were 47,579 wildfires nationwide, according to the federal government. Typically, nine out of 10 are caused by humans. Fire danger is expected to be high this summer, particularly in the parched Western states.

So, with the help of several ad agencies, Smokey Bear has been enlisted for a new marketing campaign to remind humans to be more careful. And he’s doing it with a younger, fresher look to appeal to millennials and teenagers.

Smokey Bear — who doesn’t growl as much as he used to and now gives out bearhugs — now has a Facebook page as well as Instagram and Twitter accounts. He has 22,000 followers on Twitter.

Food and beverage

Domino’s eyes Italy

Italy may not seem like the ideal place for a Domino’s Pizza shop, but the man who heads the American chain remains optimistic about the possibility.

Despite the skepticism Domino’s might initially encounter, CEO Patrick Doyle says that the chain’s delivery model may give it an advantage in Italy.

“There’s a lot of pizza, but there’s not a lot of delivered pizza,” Doyle explained. “So there may still be an opportunity.”

Italy aside, Domino’s, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been enjoying strong sales growth overseas and boasts nearly 6,000 international locations. Back at home, where it has 5,000 locations, Domino’s has been trying to improve the image of its pizza, which has long been plagued by a reputation for tasting generic and manufactured.

Bon appetit.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tampa Bay Times, Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press contributed.

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