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McDonald's struggles to connect with youth

McDonald's Corp. appears to be losing its connection with a key group of Americans: millennials.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday used data to show the changing tastes of some younger Americans. Data compiled for that newspaper by Technomic Inc., a restaurant consultancy, showed that the percentage of people in the United States aged 19 to 21 who visited McDonald's monthly has plunged in recent years. And monthly visits to U.S. McDonald's by those aged 22 to 37 have been flat, according to the story.

Sales at longstanding McDonald's U.S. locations have fallen in eight of the last nine months. Meanwhile, sales have been soaring at Chipotle Mexican Grill (which McDonald's used to invest in) and pricier burger joints such as Five Guys continue to expand. Have you been in one lately? They're often packed with millennials.

Financing securedfor local company

Solstice Medical LLC announced Monday that it has secured $2.5 million in financing. Of that, $1 million was made through Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

The 21st Century Fund is a direct investment program that targets high potential, high growth businesses in the state. Elevate Ventures and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. jointly manage the fund.

Solstice Medical is a health care industry supplier in Columbia City and has received U.S. and international patents for its radio frequency identification tags designed to track surgical supplies in hospitals.

Amazon gets gamewith Twitch deal

Jeff Bezos is ramping up Amazon.com's entertainment ambitions, buying video service Twitch Interactive Inc. for about $1 billion in its biggest acquisition ever.

Amazon moved in to buy the online gathering place for video gamers after the startup's deal with Google fell through, people with knowledge of the matter said. Amazon is paying $970 million in cash. Including retention-related payouts, the transaction is worth about $1.1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified. The deal, the largest in Amazon's 20-year history, gives the Web retailer an online forum of more than 55 million monthly active users, where people discuss games or watch other gamers as they play. Amazon CEO Bezos has made video games a focus.

Low crude costshaves gas prices

The cheapest crude oil since January has refiners producing fuel at record rates, helping lower the cost of gasoline at pumps nationwide.

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps dropped 4.21 cents in the two weeks ended Aug. 22 to $3.4785 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey. The average is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the company in Camarillo, California. Prices are 8.01 cents lower than a year ago, the survey showed.

Retail prices dropped as West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell below $94 a barrel. U.S. refiners are processing the most petroleum for this time of year in records dating back to 1989.

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