Apr 1, 201112:00 AMBlog

April 2011

04/29/11

Around the Sound

The Lewis County Chapter of Olympia Master Builders is hosting the 2011 Lewis County Home Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1 at Yard Birds Mall, 2100 N. National Ave., Chehalis. Click here or call (360) 754-0912 for more information.Kent Chamber of Commerce is hosting its President's Gala & Business Leadership Awards at 5 p.m. April 30 at ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St. The cost is $65 for individuals and $550 for a table. Click here or call (253) 854-1770 for more information.

Posted at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

BE names 2011 Health Care Champions

Business Examiner in partnership with the Pierce County Medical Society will honor six organizations and individuals June 22 at its third annual Pierce and South King County Health Care Champions event.

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

Tasker to lead DNR's South Puget Sound region

Art Tasker has been appointed to manage the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' South Puget Sound Region. Tasker, who had been the region's acting manager, will manage 73 permanent employees and 24 seasonal staff while overseeing operations across a geographically diverse area that includes more than 250,000 acres of state trust lands managed for forestry, habitat, and clean water. The region also provides wildfire protection and regulation of forest practices on 1.5 million acres of nonfederal lands.

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

Governor to sign bill authorizing doctorate programs

Later this afternoon, Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign into law HB 1586, which clears the way for branch campuses of the state's research universities -- the University of Washington and Washington State University -- to offer doctoral degree programs with the approval of the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board.The governor is scheduled to start signing bills at 2:30 p.m. Beth Luce, University of Washington Tacoma spokesperson, said HB 1586 will likely not be signed until later in the day since it is 31st in line to be signed.

Posted at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

Study: Employees are improving cash management skills

Employees are improving their cash management skills, according to a report released today.Financial Finesse's first quarter 2011 research report on employee financial issues found that 72 percent of employees report having a handle on cash flow, 54 percent report having an emergency fund and 88 percent report paying bills on time. All of these numbers are up when compared to 2010 results.

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

Weyerhaeuser's earnings dip, still ahead of last year

Weyerhaeuser Company reported today net earnings of $99 million for the first quarter, or 18 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.6 billion. This is a decrease when compared to the net earnings of $171 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2010.However, first quarter's numbers are up when compared to a year earlier when the company announced it had a net loss of $20 million on net sales of $1.4 billion.

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/29/11

Tumwater seeks public input on brewery properties

The City of Tumwater, together with the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC), announced today plans for a Community Visioning Project for the former Olympia Brewery properties.While the City doesn't own these properties, through the land use plan and zoning, it can influence appropriate redevelopment for the entire site. "This project is a very important step in defining Tumwater's future," said Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet. "We are looking forward to hearing from the public so we can make sure to develop a vision that reflects all of the City's hopes and aspirations for the property."

Posted at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/28/11

People on the move

Krystal Kyer has been promoted to executive director of Tahoma Audubon Society. She has been the conservation coordinator for the organization since 2006. Kyer spent four years in the Navy before earning bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental studies from The Evergreen State College in Olympia.Francois Viens has joined LKA International Inc. as a technical adviser for the company's Golden Wonder exploration program. He currently is president and chief executive officer of Bear Lake Gold Ltd.

Posted at 02:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/28/11

Local restaurants allow patrons to 'dine out, fight AIDS'

About 70 local restaurants are serving their communities, while serving their customers today. Restaurants participating in "South Sound's Dining out for life" have agreed to donate 25 percent of their food revenue from meals sold during the day-long event to organizations focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as care and advocacy services in Pierce and Thurston counties."I continue to do it because I believe in it," said Brett Armstrong, owner of Alfred's Cafe.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/28/11

Social Security payments will all be electronic by 2013

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is making a move to have all recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits use electronic payment methods.The department announced a new rule that will extend electronic payments to millions of Americans and phase out paper checks for federal benefit and non-tax payments by March 1, 2013.

Posted at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/28/11

U.S. GDP growth slows in Q1

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, which is a drop from the fourth quarter where real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

Posted at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/28/11

AARP reports 401(k) participants are unaware of fees

An AARP survey found that many 401(k) plan participants are largely unaware of the fees they pay to their plan providers.When asked, more than seven in ten (71 percent) 401(k) plan participants incorrectly reported that they did not pay any fees and six percent said that they did not know whether or not they pay fees.

Posted at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Blog Watch: Design, gaming, Boeing and bikes

Learn more about the Pacific Avenue streetscape design project open house by visiting Tacoma Downtown Business Improvement Area's blog. OlyBlog has information about Olympia's first ever story gaming convention running June 3-5 at The Procession of the Species Studio.

Posted at 03:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Insurance company barred from writing new policies

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Wednesday barred Ability Insurance Company, of Omaha, Neb., from writing new policies for the next six months.The order stems from the company's failure to honor long-term care coverage that lapsed after a senior citizen with dementia failed to make her payments. In such situations, state law allows the consumers to reinstate coverage within five months of the policy's lapse.

Posted at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Leadership Thurston County seeks applicants

Leadership Thurston County (LTC) is currently accepting applications for the Class of 2012. About 30 people participate in the program that runs from September through June. Participants meet monthly to learn about community issues, get to know decision-makers and explore opportunities for leadership.

Posted at 03:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

TrueBlue revenue up during Q1

TrueBlue, Inc. reported today revenue for the first quarter of 2011 of $274 million, an increase of 14 percent compared to revenue of $240 million for the first quarter of 2010. Net income for the quarter was $0.8 million or $0.02 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.3 million or $0.05 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2010.

Posted at 03:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Evergreen taps Zimmerman as next provost

Michael Zimmerman will be the next Academic Vice President and Provost at The Evergreen State College.Zimmerman has more than 30 years of experience in public and private institutions, most recently at Butler University and the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, including positions as dean of the colleges of arts and sciences at those institutions.

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Individual health plan enrollment for kids ends April 30

Want to buy an individual health plan for your child? Don't wait. You must enroll by April 30 or wait for the next enrollment period, Sept. 15-Oct. 31.The open enrollment periods apply to all health plans in the individual market, according to the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner. People buying individual coverage don't have access to employer-sponsored health plans or their employer doesn't cover dependents.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

ALA report underscores need to increase clean-air efforts

The Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia metropolitan area is the 18th most-polluted area in the country for fine particle pollution (soot), according to the "State of the Air 2011" report released today by the American Lung Association. Medical research shows that these tiny particles cause lung disease, increased heart attacks and premature deaths. This ranking, based on air monitoring data collected during 2007-09, underscores the importance of a continued regional commitment to pollution-reduction programs, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

Employers unlikely to help with rising gas prices this time around

As gas prices surpass $4 per gallon in many cities across the country, employers who, in the past, helped workers cope with higher commuting costs through shorter work weeks, increased telecommuting and transportation subsidies, may not be as willing or able to offer much assistance this time around, according to one workplace expert."Circumstances have changed significantly from early 2008, which was the last time we experienced such a dramatic spike in fuel prices," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. "Companies are focused primarily on rebuilding efforts as they struggle out of the worst recession in decades and, right now in this job market, they have the upper hand and do not have to offer extra incentives to attract or retain workers."

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/27/11

March jobless numbers mixed

Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 317 of 372 U.S. metropolitan areas, including Olympia and Tacoma, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.Year over year, the jobless rate in Olympia fell from 9.2 percent to 8.9 percent. In Tacoma, unemployment was down from 11.2 percent to 10.7 percent.

Posted at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

AG, scareware purveyors reach settlement

The Washington Attorney General's Office has reached an agreement with a collection of scareware companies which were accused of using deceptive warnings and "free scans" to sell anti-spyware programs and registry cleaners.The companies are owned and operated by Mississippi resident Bruce Christopher Cope. They include e-Next Media Inc.; c-Net Media Inc.; 2Squared Software LLC; Antispyware LLC; PC Utility Inc. and C&C Networks Inc.

Posted at 02:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

People on the Move

Capital Medical Center has selected members of its board of trustees for 2011. They include: Kevin Ekar, Heritage Bank, chair; Stephen Daniels-Brown, Daniels-Brown Communications, vice chair; David Deitz M.D., South Sound Surgical Associates; Janie Easter, Easter Financial Services; Thomas O'Meara M.D., Olympia Multi-Specialty Clinic; Wendy Holden; Robert Hipp M.D., South Sound Surgical Associates; Angela Bowen M.D., Western Institutional Review Board; Joseph Sharp, former CEO of Capital Medical Center; Jim Morris, MPH Holdings LLC; Clyde Carpenter M.D., Olympia Orthopaedic Associates; Debra Johnson M.D., South Sound Women's Center; and Jim Geist, CEO of Capital Medical Center.Daryl Fourtner has joined Heritage Bank in downtown Olympia as senior vice president, commercial lender. He has more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry, most recently as a vice president, commercial banker, and is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

PCFS ranked among top community colleges

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has included Pierce College Fort Steilacoom on its list of the nation's 120 best community colleges.PCFS was cited for its high standards for learning, college completion without delay and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages.Inclusion on the list makes PCFS eligible for the $700,000 Aspen Prize, which will be awarded during December.

Posted at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

Lemons to lemonade

Empty car lots sit by the waysides of the back roads in Western Washington. 

Tattered flags hang loosely, colors long faded, along the edges of small, shuttered dealerships around the South Sound's suburban hills.Large, lonely showrooms loom vacant at the corners of former city Auto Mall boulevards.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

Tacoma honoring volunteer efforts

Tacoma's top volunteers - six individuals and four groups - will be recognized during the 25th annual City of Destiny Awards at 7 p.m. on May 10 at the Stadium High School Auditorium, 111 North E St.

Posted at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

New tool provides help with appealing health claim denials

When your health insurer denies your claim, what can you do? Try the new online Appeals Guide, developed by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner."Washington is the first state in the country to provide a detailed online guide for consumers on how to appeal a health insurance denial," said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Posted at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/26/11

Small business owner optimism declines

After two consecutive quarters of increased optimism, the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey reveals a decline in small business owner optimism from Q1 2011 levels.Conducted April 4-8, the index score dropped 12 points and now sits at a score of zero, indicating that small business owners are neutral - neither optimistic nor pessimistic - about their companies' situations.

Posted at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/25/11

Around the Sound

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Beyond Facebook" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at Great American Casino. Ken Swarner will discuss how his company, The Weekly Volcano/Ranger/Northwest Airlifter, uses Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Insider Pages, blogs, YouTube, I Contact, online magazines, Flickr, Foursquare and more to network with its clients. Lunch will be available to purchase. RSVP to (253) 582-9400.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 27 at Carlson & Associates, 8811 N. Harborview Drive. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/25/11

United Way inches closer to getting more parking spaces

After 10 years, United Way of Pierce County is close to finalizing its purchase of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway property located behind the nonprofit's building on Pacific Avenue. United Way is planning to use the downtown Tacoma property to create 50 to 75 parking spots.Pete Grignon, UWPC's CFO, said he should have results from environmental testing on the site within the week. If the tests come back clean, both UWPC and BNSF will conduct surveys of the property."If that's good, all lights are green and we'll probably be buying it in June," he said. "It will provide much needed parking for our building tenants, which right now are 100 percent nonprofits."

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/25/11

Maple Valley high school receives national award for 'greening' operations

Tahoma Senior High School is in the national spotlight for its extraordinary student-led effort to implement green operations at its Maple Valley campus. The school's Green Team received the President's Environmental Youth Award from an EPA official today.When Cort Hammond started at Tahoma Senior High School, he was surprised that the school did not have an environmental club. He approached school administrators about starting a club and was given the go ahead to form a Green Team in 2008. By the end of the year, the school's garbage output had been decreased from 100 to 60 cubic yards per week. The group has saved the school $24,000 in landfill expenses.

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/25/11

Consumer confidence at lowest level since September

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell three points today to 70.6 - the lowest level of confidence measured since last September and just one point above the lowest level measured during the past two years.The Consumer Index is down 12 points from a week ago, down 12 points from a month ago and down 20 points from three months ago.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

Children's Museum construction under way

04/25/11

Children's Museum construction under way

Construction at the new Children's Museum of Tacoma kicked off this morning with a free community celebration.The 8,000-square-foot interactive play space will undergo a $5 million renovation, including installation of all new exhibits, over the course of the next nine months.Speakers at today's event focused on the museum's implementation of a "pay as you will" model of admission. Executive director Tanya Andrews said this system will knock down one of the biggest barriers families face when wanting to visit a museum - cost.

Posted at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Waste Connections receives chamber environmental honor

Waste Connections received the 2011 Tahoma Business Environmental Award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber during a luncheon today at Hotel Murano.Waste Connections provides solid waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to more than 2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in 27 western and southern states.

Posted at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care seeking public input

Residents of Pierce County can help shape the future of services for older adults and people with disabilities by completing an online survey to identify the biggest needs and recommend how limited funds should be prioritized.Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care is conducting the survey, which will help determine what the next four years should look like for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Posted at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Thurston property tax payment deadline approaching

The deadline for Thurston County residents to pay the first half of their property taxes is April 30, but because that is a Saturday the law allows the payment to be made on the next business day, May 2, without interest.Property taxes can be paid through the Thurston County Treasurer's website. There is no additional charge for the electronic check payment option online, but there is a 2.75 percent fee for the credit/debit card payment option.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Around the Sound

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Beyond Facebook" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at Great American Casino. Ken Swarner will discuss how his company, The Weekly Volcano/Ranger/Northwest Airlifter, uses Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Insider Pages, blogs, YouTube, I Contact, online magazines, Flickr, Foursquare and more to network with its clients. Lunch will be available to purchase. RSVP to (253) 582-9400.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hoisting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 27 at Carlson & Associates, 8811 N. Harborview Drive. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Coming Up program earns Evergreen Award

A south King County initiative to place homeless people ages 18 to 25 into housing and provide support services to the developmental needs of young adults has received the 2011 Evergreen Award from the Alliance of Nonprofits.Coming Up is a collaboration of Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation, Kent Youth and Family Services and Auburn Youth Resources.

Posted at 01:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra music director stepping down

Harvey Felder will relinquish his position as music director of Tacoma Symphony Orchestra at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, his 20th with the organization. Felder, who joined the 85-member symphony in 1993 after a national search, is leaving the symphony to dedicate more time to a number of musical projects he began while conducting the orchestra.

Posted at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

THA receives $450,000 grant to support Education Project

Tacoma Housing Authority has received $450,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support THA's Education Project.The purpose of Education Project is to find out how a public housing authority can help the children it houses succeed in school and help improve schools that serve its communities.

Posted at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Army opening first of two South Sound clinics in Puyallup

Active duty family members stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will have expanded access to health care with the opening of an Army community-based, primary care clinic in Puyallup on April 25.The Madigan-Puyallup Community Medical Home is one of two the Army is opening in the South Sound. A second clinic will open in Olympia in October.

Posted at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

South Sound Bank doubles Q1 net income

South Sound Bank reported this week that net income for first quarter 2011 more than doubled first quarter 2010."Our first quarter net income of $689,100 exceeded our expectations," said Dan Yerrington, president and CEO.  He attributed most of the growth to the increase in the volume of Small Business Administration loans.

Posted at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Providence St. Peter Hospital among top rehab programs in U.S.

Providence St. Peter Hospital has been ranked in the top 10 percent of nearly 800 inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States by The Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation.
The program at the Olympia-based hospital has helped 84 percent of its patients return to independent or community living after receiving rehabilitative care.Click here for more information.

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/22/11

Rush Commercial completes EDS 113 renovation project

Rush Commercial has completed renovation of a vintage 52,000-square-foot industrial warehouse that will now offer a state-of-the-art office and conference facility for use by Educational Services District 113. The warehouse was originally occupied by Albany International, a manufacturing company that makes conveyor belts for the newspaper industry.Located at 6005 Tyee Drive SW in Tumwater,  ESD 113 is scheduled to open next month. It serves 44 school districts in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties. The facility includes offices, task areas, conference rooms, storage, a loading dock and material lift, and a commercial serving kitchen.

Posted at 08:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

Private-public Tacoma partnership created new spur track

04/21/11

Private-public Tacoma partnership created new spur track

Sound Refining Inc., Tacoma Rail and Washington State Department of Transportation this morning celebrated the completion of a spur track that adds capacity and increases efficiency at Sound Refining's Tacoma terminal facility.Rather than having the event's speakers -- Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Troy Goodman, president of Sound Refining; Bill Gaines, Tacoma Public Utilities director and CEO; and Scott Witt of WSDOT -- cut a traditional ribbon, a train was used to break a large ribbon set up on the track.

Posted at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

More help wanted: Job openings up 31 percent

Washington's recession-ravaged job market is on the road to recovery, according to the Employment Security Department's fall 2010 job-vacancy survey released today.Job openings were up 31 percent last fall compared to a year earlier, growing to an estimated 41,889 vacant positions.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

Sustainability report shows Pierce County leaner and greener

Pierce County saved more than $565,000 in 2010 by reducing its use of energy, water, fuel and office supplies, according to its inaugural sustainability report. The report, issued today by the Pierce County Office of Sustainability, shows the county made significant progress during the first year of its five-year effort to meet ambitious goals in its Sustainability Plan.

Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

People on the Move

Thorsten Reim has been promoted to revenue manager for eight Hilton branded hotels for InnVentures IVI LLC. Reim has 19 years of hotel experience and has worked for InnVentures for almost five years.Melanie J. Dressel has been appointed to the board of directors for the American Bankers Association. She is president and chief executive officer of Tacoma-based Columbia Banking System Inc.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

HCC contributes $248.4 million annually to local economy

Highline Community College's alumni and operations contribute $248.4 million to King County's economy every year, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the college.The report shows that the Des Moines-based school supports King County's economy through college operations, additional revenue from skilled alumni and spending by international students while living in the region.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

Umpqua Holdings reports Q1 profit

Umpqua Holdings Corp., the parent company of Umpqua Bank and Umpqua Investments Inc., reported first quarter 2011 net earnings of $13.4 million, or 12 cents per diluted common share, compared to a net loss of $3.7 million, or 4 cents per diluted common share, for the same period year ago.Operating income was $13.8 million, or 12 cents per diluted common share for the first quarter of 2011, compared to an operating loss of $10.1 million, or 11 cents per diluted common share, for the same period last year.

Posted at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

Entry-level job market best in three years

With the nation's employers finally beginning to ramp up hiring, this year's crop of nearly 1.7 million college graduates should enjoy the most welcoming entry-level job market in the last three years.However, finding a position will by no means be easy and many spring graduates may have to settle for less money or for a job outside of their preferred career path, according to a report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Posted at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

New regulations for precious metals dealers put in place

Precious metal and jewelry buyers in Federal Way will be required to hold items 30 days, obtain a business license, and record identification and fingerprints of sellers.The new law approved by City Council also requires items be entered into the national Leads Online database, which is used by law enforcement to identify and recover stolen goods.

Posted at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

Federal Way enacts moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries

The Federal Way City Council has placed a six-month emergency moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries within the city. The measure directs the city clerk not to accept applications for business licenses or other documents from dispensaries.The council action was prompted by a bill being considered in the state legislature that seeks to legalize dispensaries, but in so doing conflicts with federal drug laws and leaves cities vulnerable on several fronts.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

JT eDesigns honored for Web design

JT eDesigns won Platinum and Silver REMI awards for excellence in website design at the 44th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. JT eDesigns is an Olympia-based company that provides graphic and web design services and a digital fine art print gallery. It has designed websites for authors, politicians,  actors, films, consultants, home-based businesses and high-end home design firms.

Posted at 09:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/21/11

Quadrant Homes developing two new communities in Kent

Quadrant Homes is building two new communities in Kent. Elliot Landing opened April 15 and Elliot Crossing will open on June 13.Elliot Landing is an enclave of 13 homesites located in the heart of the plateau on East Hill. Elliot Crossing offers 21 homesites nestled on the crest of the East Hill overlooking the Kent Valley.

Posted at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/20/11

UW Tacoma taps Friedman as next chancellor

Pending approval by the University of Washington Board of Regents, Debra Friedman will take over as chancellor for UW Tacoma effective July 1.Friedman has been dean of the College of Public Programs and professor of public affairs at Arizona State University since 2005. Since 2008, she also has served as university vice president at ASU, responsible for its downtown Phoenix campus.

Posted at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/20/11

Blog watch: Teachers, apps, buses and mobile homes

WashACE Blog says the answer to the question of whether to keep our best teachers is a "no-brainer."Looking for a new way to promote your business? There's an app for that. Get more information on The Live Wire.

Posted at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/20/11

LOTT Service Center receives national green building award

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Services Center in Olympia has been awarded grand prize from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council's Beyond Green High-Performance Building program. This national program recognizes the initiatives that influence the high-performance building market and the application of design and construction that are required.

Posted at 01:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/20/11

LeMay grand opening scheduled for May 19, 2012

Construction of LeMay - America's Car Museum has moved forward on-time and on-budget and a grand opening date has been set for May 19, 2012."We've managed to build a museum (which began construction in June 2010) during difficult economic times when nearly everybody said it couldn't be done," said ACM President and CEO David Madeira, who has been at the museum's helm since 2002.

Posted at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/20/11

Sprinker ice arena closing May 17 for renovation

Sprinker Recreation Center's ice arena is scheduled to close May 17 for a $6.1 million renovation project which includes replacing the 35-year-old ice rink, refrigeration system and the roof over the rink.The closure is expected to last until the end of the year.

Posted at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

State files complaint against railroad company

The state has filed a complaint against a short-line railroad company operating in Pierce County alleging violations that jeopardized the public's safety.Staff members of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission filed a complaint alleging 50 violations of an order against Meeker Southern Railroad. The company began using a newly installed spur track at 134th Avenue East in Pierce County before the required safety upgrades were made to the crossing.

Posted at 05:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Wendt named Citizen-Soldier of the Year

Lt. Col. Diego Wendt has been selected to receive Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's 2011 Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award.Wendt, a member of the Air Force Reserve, took leave from his job as an instructor pilot for the 737 and 777 at Boeing Co. and has flown for the past 18 months with the 97th Airlift Squadron, 446th Airlift Wing at JBLM-McChord Field.

Posted at 04:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

People on the Move

Alexander S. Kleinberg has been named a member in Eisenhower & Carlson PLCC. His law practice focuses on the representation of business and banking clients in bankruptcy proceedings, litigation, and foreclosure proceedings. Chris Strow has been named executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Northwest regional office, which includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska. He previously served as a principal economic policy analyst for the Puget Sound Regional Council and was a member of the state House of Representatives from 2005-08.

Posted at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Rebuilding Japan will spur exports

A maritime-focused economist told a Tacoma audience this morning that exports from the Pacific Northwest will be needed later this summer to help residents of Japan rebuild after their earthquake and tsunami devastation.Short-term, that country -- the second largest trading partner for Port of Tacoma -- is seeing significant reductions in trade activity as its economy recovers. But by third quarter, Walter Kemmsies predicts Japan will be importing timber products for reconstruction, as well as lots of steel.

Posted at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Tech support staffing levels short of ideal

Employees looking for help with a frozen computer screen or a mobile application glitch may be in for a long wait. Chief information officers interviewed in a recent survey said their companies' technical support teams are, on average, 42 percent smaller than they would ideally be.The results are similar to a 2007 survey in which CIOs said their support teams were an average of 40 percent smaller than their ideal. The surveys were developed by Robert Half Technology.

Posted at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

La Petite Maison bringing French cuisine back to Olympia

After several iterations of restaurants in the space at 101 Division St. NW, the La Petite Maison name is returning to Olympia on May 3.The original restaurant opened during 1977 and the new owners have restored the 1903 building's interiors to complement the French country-style cuisine.

Posted at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Thurston posts lowest jobless rate in South Sound

Thurston County continued to lead the South Sound with the lowest unemployment rate during March at 8.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the state Employment Security Department.Pierce County's unemployment rate was 10.7 percent and in Mason County the jobless rate was 11.9 percent. Lewis County had the highest employment rate in the South Sound at 14.9 percent.

Posted at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Pierce Emergency Management gains accreditation

The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management has reached a milestone shared by only five counties across the nation - achieving accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program.The accreditation program is part of the National Emergency Manager's Association and the International Association of Emergency Manager's.

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Mason Habitat for Humanity executive director resigns

Tammey Newton has resigned as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Mason County to pursue an executive management position with an expanding information technology firm in Bothell."Leaving Habitat is certainly bittersweet for me," Newton said. "Although excited for my new opportunity, I have such a passion for the mission of Habitat and for Mason County."

Posted at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/19/11

Consumers getting overwhelmed by volume of local deals

The desire to save money and the dramatic rise in the number of providers has driven a 47 percent surge in the use of local deals compared with last year, according to a Bing/Impulse Research survey.Coupons and deals offering discounts on local products and services are going gangbusters, with retailers and service providers now collectively offering hundreds of thousands of deals daily -- making it challenging and time consuming for people to track and pinpoint the relevant deals.

Posted at 09:23 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Around the Sound

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a military affairs meeting at 8 a.m. April 19 at Burs Restaurant, 6151 Steilacoom Blvd. The agenda includes a discussion about marketing to the Air Force. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information.Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Small Business Start-Up: 101 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Simpson Community Room, 950 Pacific Ave., Suite 300. Seating is limited. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Fantastic Sams CEO tours South Sound for future sites

Fantastic Sams Hair Salons is eyeing the South Sound and sent its president and CEO, Scott Colabuono, to scout out potential salon sites."When the rain stops and the sun comes out it's one of the more beautiful places in the country," said Colabuono, who has been in the area since Thursday and leaves tomorrow. "Most of this is to visit locations and see where we should be targeting the opening ... We'd love to get a great operator here for Pierce and King counties."Fantastic Sams wants one franchisee for seven locations in Pierce and King counties. Once the deal is finalized, Colabuono said it should take about six months until the first Fantastic Sams would appear and then another would open every 12 to 18 months. To entice an operator the company has cut its licensing fee in half to $50,000 for the seven locations.

Posted at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Kent P.D. receives international reaccreditation

Kent Police Department has successfully achieved international reaccreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.The department was first accredited in 1996 and has received reaccreditation five times since. Reaccreditation occurs every three years.

Posted at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Container volume continues to increase at Port of Tacoma

Container volume at Port of Tacoma continued to improve during March, marking their sixth straight month of year-over-year growth. Year-to-date, the port's container volumes are up 9 percent.A total of 352,190 twenty-foot equivalent units have been handled year-to-date and full export containers are up 18 percent, due largely to the strong market demand for commodities such as lumber.

Posted at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

AG warns against paying to join lawsuits promising mortgage relief

The Washington Attorney General's Office cautions homeowners about paying to participate in a "mass joinder" lawsuit promising mortgage relief.The lawyers and marketers pushing these suits charge upfront fees and frequently promise results. In reality, litigation is time-consuming and even a qualified attorney can't guarantee the outcome of a case. Moreover, representatives of a legitimate class-action suit would not ask for money to join.

Posted at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Nearly one in five filers pushing tax deadline

Today is Tax Day, and although the deadline was pushed back three days, 17 percent of Americans still have not filed their income taxes.A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 77 percent of adults have filed their taxes. That's up 22 points from three weeks ago. Just before Tax Day last year, 22 percent of Americans still had not filed their income taxes, while 71 percent had already met the deadline.

Posted at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/18/11

Businesses fighting L&I citation must now fix hazards during an appeal

Each year, hundreds of workplace hazards across the state are left uncorrected, exposing many workers to potential dangers while a business owner appeals a citation issued by the Department of Labor & Industries.Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a bill into law that changes this. Senate Bill 5068, approved by state legislators last week, amends the 1973 Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act. The bill requires businesses to correct serious safety violations - and the hazards they pose - during the appeal of any safety and health citation.

Posted at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

TRCVB secures four major conventions

Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau announced today it has secured the conventions of Joint Affordable Housing Management Association of Washington and Washington State Council for Affordable + Rural Housing, National Railway Historical Society and Meeting Professionals International Cascadia.TRCVVB previously released it had secured the convention of Washington State Republican Party. The organization estimates that all combined the four conventions will bring 4,350 attendees and more than $722,000 to the Pierce County economy between now and 2012. "These major convention bookings bring important revenues and tax dollars to our community at a time we need it most," said Tammy Blount, TRCVB president and CEO.

Posted at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

Umpqua holds volunteer fairs inside its stores

04/15/11

Umpqua holds volunteer fairs inside its stores

Umpqua Bank has launched the first phase of a three-part Community Action Campaign to spur volunteer efforts throughout the Puget Sound."It's really to inspire the community about volunteerism in partnership with Umpqua," said Susan Clearman, area manager. "This is what we do and what we believe in."Five regional Umpqua banks, including those on Pearl Street and Proctor Street in Tacoma, held volunteer fairs today in an effort to match community members with local nonprofits. Participating nonprofits had tables set up inside the banks and could sign up volunteers on the spot.

Posted at 03:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Lakewood retailer charged with filing false tax returns

Two cash registers were not better than one for a Lakewood business charged today with filing false tax returns to cover up the theft of sales tax collected on cash sales.Smoke and Beer and More was charged in Pierce County Superior Court with reporting only 27 percent of the retail sales tax it collected from customers from 2006 through early 2009, defrauding the state of at least $92,543 in sales tax.

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Washington residents among last to celebrate Tax Freedom Day

Tax Freedom Day - the date on which Americans will have worked long enough to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels - will fall on April 16 for residents of Washington state. This is the fifth latest Tax Freedom Day to arrive out of all 50 states. The average date for all Americans, as announced recently by the Tax Foundation, was April 12.

Posted at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Around the Sound

South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting evening training from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 18 at 402 S. 333rd St., Federal Way. Donna Snell will teach participants about using QuickBooks software. The training is free for SSRBI members. The cost for chamber members is $20 and the cost for non-members is $40. Click here for more information.Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a military affairs meeting at 8 a.m. April 19 at Burs Restaurant, 6151 Steilacoom Blvd. The agenda includes a discussion about marketing to the Air Force. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information.

Posted at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Grants available for stormwater pollution prevention projects

Make a Splash environmental grants of up to $4,000 are available from City of Tacoma Environmental Services to any school, business, organization or individual considering a project to help protect surface water resources within the city limits by preventing stormwater pollution. The grants are meant to prevent pollution and protect clean water through community collaborations focusing on education, protection and restoration efforts. Projects funded by a Make a Splash grant need to meet at least one of these goals. Projects focusing on water conservation or clean drinking water will not be considered.

Posted at 12:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Consultant identifies 69 potential historic properties in Lacey

JBR Environmental Consultants Inc. has identified 69 properties for potential inclusion in the City of Lacey's Inventory of Historic Properties.The historic properties survey (reconnaissance level) of post-WWII residential properties that are at least 45 years old was made possible by an $8,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/15/11

Real average hour earnings slip

Real average hourly earnings for all employees declined by 0.6 percent from February to March, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decrease stemmed from the 0.5 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, while average hourly earnings remained unchanged. Real average weekly earnings declined by 0.5 percent over the month, as a result of the decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average work week.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Construction materials prices jump 2 percent in March

Construction materials prices increased 2 percent in March, which is the largest monthly increase since July 2008, according to the April 14 Department of Labor Producer Price Index. Over the past three months, construction materials prices rose 4 percent and are 6.9 percent above March 2010 levels.Steel mill product prices also saw their largest monthly increase since July 2008, climbing 5.3 percent in March. For the quarter, steel mill product prices are up 12.4 percent, and year over year they are 15.3 percent higher.

Posted at 02:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Highline Community College hit by another round of budget cuts

In a campuswide e-mail sent out today, Highline Community College administrators announced budget cuts for the upcoming academic year. Highline faces a cut of $1.86 million in addition to the already more than $3.5 million in reductions taken since 2009.The current round of cuts will result in the elimination of 22 positions across the campus, bringing the total to 72 positions lost since 2009. These figures do not include reductions made to part-time faculty and staff that have resulted in fewer classes and diminished services for students.

Posted at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

People on the Move

Blake Lindskog has been promoted to senior vice president, regional lending manager for Heritage Bank. He joined the bank in 1990.Chad Maiuri has been promoted to senior vice president, regional branch manager for Heritage Bank's north region. He joined the bank in 2006.

Posted at 01:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

UPS honoring community leaders

University of Puget Sound's School of Business and Leadership will recognize the contributions to its program made by three distinguished community members this Friday as part of its 26th Annual Scholarships and Awards Ceremony.

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Recovery appears to no longer be 'jobless'

The economy and job market have a long way to go before reaching pre-recession health, but an analysis of employment data and the recent surge in large-scale hiring announcements indicate that the so-called jobless recovery may have finally evolved into a job-growth recovery.According to the analysis by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., the job market is stronger than most Americans realize and improved faster than one might reasonably expect, considering the severity of the recession.

Posted at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Thurston County will be focus of State Transportation Commission meeting

Local officials from Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County will share their transportation challenges and priorities with the Washington State Transportation Commission, which is meeting at Olympia City Hall on April 19 as part of its statewide public outreach effort.The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers, 601 4th Ave. East. The meeting is open to the public and anyone wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Posted at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Kona Kai Coffee receives national recognition for community service

Kona Kai Coffee Co. has received the 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award from the National Restaurant Association.The Kent-based company was recognized as the Small Business Category winner for helping the homeless and disenfranchised re-enter society and the work force. The program is the brainchild of Mychal Boiser, Kona Kai's owner-operator.

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Groups hosting massive 1-day free clinic for uninsured

Uninsured Washingtonians can receive many primary medical care services as well as various medical tests and additional services during a one-day free clinic April 30 in Tacoma.The National Association of Free Clinics, in cooperation with the Washington Free Clinic Association, will sponsor the CARE (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St.

Posted at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Pacific Continental Bank expanding into Tacoma

Pacific Continental Bank is planning to open a business-banking center in Tacoma and is negotiating lease terms for office space in the Allenmore district.The Eugene, Ore.-based bank has hired Susan Moblo to lead its expansion activities in the Tacoma market. She has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, having served in a variety of lending-related positions including chief credit officer, senior commercial loan officer, branch manager and commercial lending relationship manager.

Posted at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Producer Price Index rises

The Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.7 percent during March, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.The advance followed a 1.6 percent increase in February and a 0.8 percent gain during January.

Posted at 08:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/14/11

Real GDP up 3.1 percent during Q4

Real gross domestic product increased 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the third estimates of the national income and product accounts issued by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.The fourth-quarter increase was revised up 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

Posted at 08:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/13/11

Governor signs bill giving health care workers more protection

One of the long-standing ironies in the health industry has been that the chemotherapy drugs that cancer patients and others depend upon for treatment can harm the medical providers caring for them.Today, Washington became the first state in the nation to require protection for these health care workers when Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5594, which directs the Department of Labor & Industries to adopt requirements for the handling of chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs.

Posted at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/13/11

Blog watch: Budgets, Earth Day, transformation, voices and street vending

WashAce Blog has all you need to know about the bi-partisan state Senate budget proposal.Find out more about Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's annual Earth Day event on The Live Wire.

Posted at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

04/13/11

State gains jobs in March, but unemployment rate ticks up slightly

Washington added a seasonally adjusted estimate of 1,100 jobs during March, but the unemployment rate edged up from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent.Industries that posted gains were professional and business services, up 2,700; wholesale trade, up 1,900; manufacturing, up 1,600; financial activities, up 1,300; mining and logging, up 200; and leisure and hospitality, up 200.

Posted at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

04/13/11

Providence Medical Group's Chehalis clinic opening April 25

Providence Medical Group is scheduled to open its second medical home clinic, Chehalis Family Medicine, on April 25. The 4,000-square-foot facility at 931 S. Market Blvd. features nine patient exam rooms, classroom space and an onsite laboratory.

Chehalis Family Medicine will care for Lewis County residents of all ages - from newborns to seniors. The first two providers joining the clinic are Lisa Mesaros PA-C and Francisco Chan M.D. There are plans to add a third provider in the fall.


Posted at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

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