Marion hospital remodel begins

St. Luke Hospital in Marion kicked off an 18-month building renovation project Monday that includes remodeling and expanding the hospital.

Hutton Construction of Wichita will be the project manager; Spangenberg Phillips Tice of Wichita was the architect. The companies have worked together on projects in Marion in the past.

The $6.5 million project is being financed by revenue bonds and a capital campaign that already has raised $820,000.

—Karen Shideler

Stocks rise as investors await Fed meeting outcome

Investors are getting optimistic that the Federal Reserve will restart some of its economic stimulus programs.

Stocks closed moderately higher Monday, a sign that many investors expect the Fed to take steps to put some energy back into the recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45 points. Trading was very light as many investors stayed out of the market while they waited for the Fed's decision. Many traders have been avoiding any big investment decisions for much of the summer because they have no sense of where the economy is headed.

—Associated Press

Feds likely to keep big mortgage-market role

Keeping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in business will cost taxpayers billions. But getting the federal government out of the mortgage business would cost home buyers dearly, in the form of higher interest rates.

The Obama administration will begin tackling this dilemma Aug. 17 at a public conference on the future of the mortgage system. Fannie and Freddie lost a combined $9 billion in the April-to-June quarter and have needed more than $148 billion to stay afloat since the government rescued them nearly two years ago.

The administration and Congress are under pressure to address Fannie and Freddie's role that contributed to the mortgage crisis after leaving that out of the broader financial regulatory overhaul.

—Associated Press

Sara Lee CEO steps down permanently

Sara Lee Corp. chairman and CEO Brenda Barnes will step down permanently to focus on improving her health following a stroke, the foodmaker said Monday.

Barnes, 56, had been on temporary medical leave since May 14. She will also leave her position on Sara Lee's board of directors.

Chief financial officer Marcel Smits, who has been handling the CEO duties in her place, will continue to do so until a new CEO is named.

The company, based in Downers Grove, Ill., said its board has started a process to select a new CEO and is looking inside and outside of the company.

—Associated Press

Honda recalls some Accords and Civics

Honda Motor Co. is recalling the popular Accord and Civic passenger cars to address problems with an ignition switch that could allow the key to be removed without the transmission being shifted into park, its third recall over the problem since 2003.

Honda said the most recent recall involved 384,220 vehicles and includes 2003 model year Accord and Civics and 2003-2004 versions of the Honda Element. Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the defect with the automatic transmissions could lead to a vehicle rolling away and increase the risk of a crash.

—Associated Press