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FREE TO VETS: Veterans and active duty military personnel have a fresh, free Veterans Day meal coming their way, thanks to Bob Evans Restaurants. This year the restaurant will honor veterans with a choice of select free menu items on Nov. 11 at all Bob Evans restaurants.

Along with serving a free meal on Veterans Day, Bob Evans also is offering a 10 percent discount to all veterans and active duty military from Nov. 12-31 for dine-in and carryout purchases.

“Bob Evans was a veteran, so we know that America is home of the free because of the brave,” said John Fisher, president of Bob Evans Restaurants. “Veterans Day gives us the chance to thank those servicemen and women for all they are doing and have done for this country.”

New this year, veterans and active duty military personnel will have the choice of lunch and dinner menu items, in addition to the following breakfast entrees (available all day):

— Stack of hotcakes (buttermilk or multigrain).

— Baked brioche french toast.

— Country biscuit breakfast.

— Mini sampler breakfast.

— Farmboy sandwich.

— Country fried steak.

Guests wishing to enjoy a free meal on Veterans Day, or use the 10 percent discount throughout the end of the calendar year, must provide proof of service. Eligible identification includes a U.S. Uniformed Services (current or retired) identification card, a current Leave and Earnings Statement or a veterans’ organization card (American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars, for example). Guests wearing a military uniform on Veterans Day also are eligible.

FAKE APPLES: Apple says it has been buying Apple products labeled as genuine on Amazon.com and has found nearly 90 percent of them to be counterfeit.

The revelation comes in a federal lawsuit filed by Apple against a New Jersey company last week over what Apple says are counterfeit chargers and cables for its products that were sold on Amazon.

In the lawsuit, Apple says Mobile Star imprinted Apple logos on products that “pose a significant risk of overheating, fire, and electrical shock.” It says the chargers and cables were being sold on Amazon as genuine Apple products.

Apple says it purchased the products on Amazon and later told the online retailer that they were fake. Amazon then identified Mobile Star as the source.

Amazon isn’t named in the suit. Mobile Star didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

REBOUND: More Americans bought homes in September, many for the first time, despite a persistent shortage of properties for sale.

The National Association of Realtors said last week that sales of existing homes rose 3.2 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million, the strongest pace since June. Sales rose across the country: 5.7 percent in the Northeast, 5 percent in the West, 3.9 percent in the Midwest and 0.9 percent in the South.

Demand for homes is solid but supplies are weak. A solid job market and low mortgage rates are bringing buyers into the market, but they’re not finding many homes for sale.

The supply of available homes stood at 2.04 million units, down 6.8 percent from a year ago. Tight inventories drove the median price of existing homes up 5.6 percent from a year ago to $234,200.

The institutional investors who bought up homes in recent years have continued to rent them out rather than putting them on the market. Moreover, homebuilders have not aggressively stepped up construction. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that home construction fell 9 percent in September to the slowest pace in 18 months.

But buyers have been lured into the market by mortgage rates that remain near historic lows. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.52 percent, still close to the record low 3.31 percent from November 2012.

The association said first-time home buyers accounted for 34 percent of the purchases, the most since July 2012.

From staff and wire reports

On Tuesday, the real estate firm Zillow released a report showing a surprise increase in first-time home buyers over the past year — good news for the housing market because home ownership rates for adults under 34 have been at record lows.

Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, notes that first-timers account for 40 percent to 45 percent of sales in a healthy market, “so more improvement is needed.”

The strong demand for homes combined with tight inventory suggests that would-be home owners could wind up in bidding wars when the home buying season heats up in the spring.

“What is lacking is inventory,” said the association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun. “If we had more, we would sell more … Home builders need to ramp up construction.”

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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