By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
Freeze Fusion in the lower level of the Maine Center, 535 Maine, launched a weight-loss challenge last week.
Carrie and Cindy Freesmeyer own the business, which is an offshoot of a venture they launched in Pittsfield about five years ago.
"We've had people who have lost anywhere from 10 pounds to 100 pounds," Carrie Freesmeyer said.
She added that the Herbalife products they sell also are used for weight gain and weight maintenance. The shakes and other products have been around for 33 years and focus on good nutrition.
"I didn't need to lose weight, but my thing was all the ailments that I had," Carrie Freesmeyer said.
Those problems were solved when she began getting good nutrition. Freeze Fusion focuses on nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.
The owners are sisters who married first cousins. Both women are marathon runners.
Health insurer Humana Inc. expects a worse-than-expected flu season to cost it $75 million for added hospitalizations and physician visits. The company still beat analyst expectations for the fourth quarter and saw a bump in share prices last week. ... U.S. Labor Department figures indicate that there were 5.5 million more jobs in January than there were in January 2010. ... Missouri budget officials say the economic recovery has triggered higher tax receipts. General revenue collections are up about $390 million, or 9.5 percent, so far in fiscal 2013. ... AR-15 semiautomatic rifles are selling for more than $2,000 each in many areas of the United States, up from price tags of about $1,100 before the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. Many buyers say they fear the government will eliminate some gun and ammunition sales, creating high demand for the firearms. ... The U.S. Energy Information Administration has projected that the average household paid $2,912 in 2012 for gasoline. The EIA reported last week that $3.52-a-gallon gasoline was a record high price for the beginning of February. ... A survey by the National Academy of Social Insurance found that nearly 80 percent of Americans would be willing to pay higher Social Security taxes to keep the safety net in place for future generations. Sixty-six percent of the 2,000 respondents were willing to see high-income wage earners pay more taxes. Fifty-five percent support reduced benefits for high-income retirees.
Mutual fund managers say small investors are back after $65 billion came into long-term investments in the first three weeks of 2013. Strong Dow Jones index results helped boost optimism among investors who felt burned by the stock market's fall during the recession.
Consumer Reports learned that about $1 billion in unclaimed life insurance benefits have not been claimed by beneficiaries in the United States. The average unclaimed benefit is $2,000, but some payouts have been as high as $300,000.
Some portions of the United States face a shortage of experienced construction workers. CNNMoney reports that when the housing bubble burst, many home construction workers left for jobs in other sectors, leading to fewer skilled workers.
"We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound. All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery."
-- CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi, speaking about the 8.3 percent increase in national home prices in December