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Master pastry chef Jacques Torres is betting Americans can’t kick their chocolate habit even after the price of cocoa surged to the highest in three years: He spent more than $3 million on a Brooklyn plant in 2013 and doubled his eponymous shops in New York to eight from four. Torres is shown making chocolates in February in Brooklyn. Illustrates CHOCOLATE (category f) by Marvin G. Perez and Luzi Ann Javier © 2014, Bloomberg News. Moved Thursday, October 23, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg News photo by Ron Antonelli).

Cost of Cocoa No Concern in U.S.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New York — Jacques Torres is betting Americans simply can’t kick their chocolate habit, even after the price of cocoa surged to the highest in three years. Torres, a former pastry chef at New York’s swanky Le Cirque restaurant who dubbed himself Mr. Chocolate, spent more than $3 million on a Brooklyn confection-making plant last year and doubled his eponymous shops in New York to eight from four. He said 2014 sales will top last year’s record of $10 million. “People love chocolate,” Torres said from his Hudson Street store, where a 12-piece box of popular treats sells for $19.20 and three monthly deliveries of …

Small Increase for Social Security

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Washington — Come January, nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will get benefit increases averaging $20 a month, the third straight year of historically small pay hikes. The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will also boost government benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people drawing disability payments for the poor. Year after year of tiny increases are weighing on …

Commuter Race

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vital Communities held a bike vs. bus vs. car race from Dan and Whit’s in Norwich to the Hopkins Center in Hanover to compare commute times on different modes of transport during morning rush hour on Tuesday. Bikers Hilde Ojibway, of White River Junction, left, Sharon Racusin, of Norwich, middle, and Scot Drysdale, …

Nor’easter Could Test FairPoint

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A nor’easter that arrived Tuesday could deliver the first major test for replacement workers hired by FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, with driving rain and strong wind gusts possibly causing service disruptions as more than 1,700 workers remain on strike. The company, meanwhile, accused striking …

Arts Program Aims to Grow

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The founders of Vermont Independent School of the Arts at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon may be on the brink of realizing their dream. If all goes as planned, the 14-year-old nonprofit center and school, which has …

Study: Malpractice Reform Won’t Result in Health Care Savings

Monday, October 20, 2014

There’s been a long-running theory that one reason medical costs are bloated is that doctors are scared of medical malpractice suits, so they order expensive and unnecessary tests to protect themselves from liability. But in three states over the past decade that enacted laws to put stricter limits …

That’s More Like It: Region’s Fall Foliage Tourism Seen Returning to Pre-Irene Levels

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quechee — At the Route 4 Country Store in Quechee, owner Margie Battaglia says the roadside deli, known for its maple-smoked pork and beef barbecue and hand-made chocolates, is seeing “thousands” of customers each weekend. Across the road, …

Tech Devices Changing the Game for Restaurants, Diners

Sunday, October 19, 2014

From taco stands to sit-down restaurants, technology is changing the way we order, pay and even dine while eating out. Want to peruse the news or occupy your fidgety kids at the table? There’s a tablet for that. …

Social Security Q&A: What Defines ‘Disabled’ for Children Getting SSI?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Question: What is the definition of disability for children filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? Answer: Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children under the SSI program. A child who is under age 18 is considered disabled if he or she: ∎ Has a physical …

Wheels: Cadillac ATS Coupe Exemplifies ‘New Mobility’

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Paris — If you want to see where the global automobile industry is going, book a flight to this always beautiful city and attend one of the world’s oldest and largest automotive displays, the Paris Motor Show, more …

Nuts & Bolts: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bottom line: The Paris Motor Show is well worth the visit. Get there if you can. The 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is well worth a look, easily one of the best-made, best-equipped entry-level luxury coupes ($37,995 to $60,870 in this case) available. Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks …

Guidance for Young People On Saving for Retirement

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How much do you need to save for retirement? It’s the million-dollar question that never has a precise answer, especially for young people who have decades to go before retiring. But plenty of researchers and financial advisers try to provide some guidance, even for those just starting out. …

Consumer Confidential: Phone Carriers Have Big Incentive to Allow Cramming

Sunday, October 19, 2014

AT&T agreed last week to shell out $105 million in penalties and refunds for what regulators said were “hundreds of millions of dollars” in unauthorized charges billed to wireless customers, a practice known as “cramming.” But what makes this settlement — the largest ever for bogus phone charges …