Greater Portland nonprofits eligible for SymQuest contest

SymQuest, a Westbrook-based network and document service provider, will open its next annual Extreme Office Makeover contest to Greater Portland nonprofits.

In January, the company awarded $25,000 to New Beginnings, a Lewiston nonprofit that provides services to at-risk youth, and $5,000 to SeniorsPlus, an organization that serves the elderly in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

The funds are typically used for information technology upgrades, according to a release from the company.

2014 was Year of the Recall: Record 63.9 million vehicles

Automakers recalled a record 63.9 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a Thursday report.

The tally was nearly three times the number recalled in 2013 and more than double the previous record set in 2004.

The record tally was largely the result of two large safety scandals that prompted car companies to recall millions of vehicles – one with a faulty General Motors ignition switch now linked to at least 52 deaths, and the other involving exploding air bags in Hondas and other cars that have caused at least six deaths in the U.S. and abroad.

GM alone recalled almost 27 million vehicles last year, more than the entire automotive industry in 2013.

RadioShack’s workers left in line with other creditors

RadioShack employees who were laid off in December and January will likely have to get in line with other creditors to collect their promised severance.

In early December, RadioShack changed its severance policy from giving departing employees a lump sum to providing payments biweekly, according to emails sent to employees by CEO Joe Magnacca. The action was taken about two months before RadioShack filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Now, after last week’s bankruptcy filing by the consumer electronics chain, the court will have to approve continuing those payments.

Sales of Special K, snacks fell in last quarter, Kellogg says

Special K can’t seem to shake its outdated image among weight watchers.

Kellogg said Thursday that its U.S. cereal unit suffered another sales decline in the fourth quarter, hurt by the performance of its top moneymaker, which over the years has branched out into an array of products such as bars, crackers and chips.

During a conference call, Kellogg CEO John Bryant noted weight watchers are no longer as focused on “holding back calories” and instead want foods that make them feel good about themselves, which has hurt Special K. Moving forward, he said the company will change the way it markets Special K.

For the quarter, the company said sales of U.S. breakfast foods declined 7.7 percent and sales of snacks fell 3.1 percent.

— From news service reports