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The Backup files; A look back at the week in business.

Byline: Bob Kievra

COLUMN: THE BACKUP FILES

Shifting into gear

We shop online for drugs, books, and groceries. Now, courtesy of the state Division of Insurance, we have a new favorite to add to our Web browser. No one will confuse www.mass.gov/autorates with www.tmz.com but the state's Web site does have a splash of color and some interesting drop-down menus. State regulators now permit consumers to surf the Web and compare car insurance rates. Shoppers need to know their ZIP codes, miles driven and driving record. On a test drive last week, we didn't find any surveys, pop-up ads or promises of free shipping. Alas, the coolest link involved finding an agent.

No red carpet stroll

Oscar crowns its winners tonight, but it remains to be seen whether anyone comes out with a prize in the ongoing struggle over Marlboro-based 3Com Corp. The long-running saga involving the networking-equipment company has more plot twists than "Michael Clayton", featuring international intrigue, high finance and inside-the-beltway politics. 3Com's $2.2 billion deal to Bain Capital and Huawei Technologies may yet cross the finish line, but a major roadblock popped up last week. 3Com yanked its application from the spooky-sounding CFIUS, a group of top government security folks who probe any deals involving foreigners. 3Com said it still might rework the deal to gain approval, but most believe that's as unlikely as Casey Affleck winning an Academy Award tonight.

Get me makeup

We can be sure Cate Blanchett and George Clooney will be spruced up and looking fine for tonight's Oscars bash. We're less certain what will happen to the mountaintop land behind the famed Hollywood sign, which has been put up for sale by a Chicago investment group

Closer to home, another iconic landmark was in the news last week. Fitchburg Savings Bank shed its 162-year-old name in favor of Rollstone Bank & Trust, a nod to a downtown Fitchburg boulder which has become a city landmark. The boulder was taken from nearby Rollstone Hill, which, unlike the parcel behind the Hollywood sign, is owned by a municipality.

Pulling it together

Another Sunday night television show was in New England last week, and a local company made its own casting call. The folks at Oldcastle Precast in North Brookfield donated more than 120,000 pounds of precast concrete for a finished basement in Warwick, R.I. The panels of concrete were bolted together for a home under construction by the ABC television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The Providence Journal reported Doreen and Kenny Silva and their five children were sent to Florida Monday while about 200 volunteers began tearing down their old house and putting up a new one.

ART: PHOTOS
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 24, 2008
Words:453
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