Mediation helps some homeowners keep their palaces (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

Cuyahoga County is among the regions of the country seeing relative success with efforts to provide mediation to homeowners in danger of losing their homes, according to this story from Reuters.

The goal of mediation programs, the news service notes, is to “put borrowers, lenders and an impartial third party in the same room to negotiate a way to help owners keep their homes — or get out of them as painlessly as possible.” A program launched in Nevada in 2009 is thought to be particular good, Reuters says, and it has become a model used in more than 20 states.

Mediation isn’t without controversy.

“Some observers say the housing market would heal faster by clearing out pending foreclosure cases as quickly as possible, even if it means evicting millions of families,” Reuters reports. “Others, however, say that kind of pain is avoidable and expect mediation to increase.”

About 14 states and the District of Columbia now have mediation programs, as do cities and counties in other states. “Paying for them are government money, fees from lenders and sometimes borrowers, or a combination of funding and fees,” Reuters notes.

Data on their effectiveness “is patchy, but figures from some programs suggest they help some people to lower their monthly payments, allowing them to keep their homes and avoid defaulting again,” according to the news service.

Reuters cites a report from the Boston Federal Reserve that found success stories included Philadelphia, with 84% of households in mediation avoiding foreclosures; Nevada, 89%; and Cuyahoga County, 61%.

Cuyahoga County also “found that borrowers who participated in its (mediation) program resolved their cases in slightly more than six months on average, compared with nearly a year for others,” the news service reports.

This and that
Deal time: The Buffalo News reports that DDR Corp. of Beachwood has sold another of its Buffalo-area parcels.

DDR MDT Union Road Plaza LLC, a joint venture between DDR and Australian banking giant Macquarie Bank, sold a shopping center called Union Road Plaza to a Wall Street group called BRE DDR Union Road Plaza LLC. The purchase price was $11.1 million.

“The mostly vacant neighborhood plaza has 170,533 square feet of retail and commercial space, with eight units available for lease — half of which range in size from 22,200 square feet to as much as 50,000 square feet,” the newspaper reports.

Portman fever — catch it!: U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a possible Mitt Romney running mate, was mentioned in 202 national radio or TV news stories during the first six months of 2012 — averaging more than one story per day, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer blog post based on this analysis by Smart Politics.

The Cincinnati Republican ranked 7th among all 100 senators in broadcast media coverage, according to the Smart Politics review, which looked at transcripts of seven broadcast media: ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and NPR.

Meanwhile, Roll Call took a look at the finances of the four men thought to be on Mr. Romney’s VP short list and found Sen. Portman is the wealthiest among them.

Sen. Portman had a minimum net worth of $6.72 million at the end of 2011, up $1.4 million from the previous year, Roll Call reported, citing recently filed personal financial disclosure forms.

Unmet demand?: I wouldn’t have guessed that Ohio lands on a list of the states with the lowest number of full-service restaurants per 100,000 residents.

Restaurant Management magazine reports Ohio has 58.1 restaurants per 100,000 people, the sixth-lowest figure nationwide. (Sounds like a good opportunity if you’re looking to open a small business.)

Utah, at 49.6 per 100,000, has the least-developed restaurant market in the country.

Apparently the people of Vermont are big eaters. Restaurant Management reports that state has 111.4 restaurants per 100,000 residents, the nation’s highest figure.

If the shoe fits …: If you have questions about summer footwear, Bryan Caldwell, assistant dean of clinical education at the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine, has answers.

Mr. Caldwell does a Q&A with The Wall Street Journal in which he talks about the causes of summer blisters — it’s usually “a combination of friction, moisture and poorly fitting shoes” — the preferred material for strappy sandals (he recommends moleskin) and more.

Sorry, flip-flop fans — he’s not enamored of the summertime classics.

“Think about it: You are holding that shoe on with just two toes,” Mr. Caldwell tells The Journal. “You can imagine the amount of friction you’re creating. I tell patients that I’d rather see them wear a Croc than a flip-flop. But they tend not to listen. Flip-flops do a better job of showing off their painted toenails.”

Read it from the source.

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