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Summit set for minority businesses

The Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce is planning an Entrepreneurial and Innovation Summit on Sept. 13 with Sweetwater Sound founder Chuck Surack as the keynote speaker.

The event will include sessions on social media, the importance of having business insurance, payroll and tax issues, and how the Small Business Administration can help local minority-owned businesses.

John Dortch, the chamber’s president, said the summit reflects the chamber’s new emphasis on business workshops and services. He expects similar summits will be an annual event for the local nonprofit, one of more than 200 black chambers in 40 states.

“The intent is not to be separate,” he said Thursday. “We want to help people pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

To do that, Dortch said, people need education and information. The chamber will provide information to its almost 100 members by offering them access to chamber board members, who will each volunteer at least one hour a month to consult on issues related to human resources, insurance, law and other areas.

Lawyers: GM seeks shield from lawsuit

Lawyers for a Georgia family that is trying to reopen a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors say the company is trying to move the case to federal court so it can use bankruptcy as a shield from the claim.

The lawyers say GM’s move runs counter to a promise made by GM CEO Mary Barra to fairly compensate families of people killed or those injured in crashes caused by defective ignition switches.

GM spokesman Greg Martin called the company’s filings procedural.

GM has hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to come up with a method of compensating victims.

The family of Brooke Melton sued GM in Georgia after she was killed when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashed. They settled but are trying to reopen the case, alleging that GM concealed evidence.

Consumer comfort at highest level in weeks

Consumer confidence climbed to the highest level in five weeks as Americans’ views of the economy improved, reflecting a strengthening U.S. labor market.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to 35.5 in the period that ended Sunday from 35.1 the previous week. A measure of the state of the economy increased to a six-week high, while gauges of personal finances and whether it’s a good time to spend also advanced.

Full-time workers were the most upbeat since early May, and those employed part time experienced the biggest gain in confidence since February. Lasting growth in hiring that lifts wages, along with rising wealth from the stock and housing markets, would provide further impetus for household spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

Fed allocates millions for citrus research

Federal agriculture officials are allocating millions of dollars toward research to solve problems caused by the devastating citrus greening bacteria.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that $25 million in funding comes from the 2014 Farm Bill. Another $6.5 million will be sent to projects through a group formed to combat greening.

The disease affects Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry.