Dec 1, 201112:00 AMBlog

December 2011

12/30/11

Around the Sound

Thurston County Chamber is hosting Morning MIXXer from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Jan. 3 at H&R Block, 222 Capitol Way North, No. 108, Olympia. The cost is $5 for members and $10 general admission. Click here for more information.Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Connecting for Success" from 8 to 9 a.m. Jan. 4 at 108 S. Division, Suite B. Dr. Morris Chang will discuss sleep disorders. Call (253) 833-0700 for more information.

Posted at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/30/11

State earns $17 million CMS performance bonus

Washington has been awarded nearly $17 million by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as a bonus for the state's efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid coverage. Washington State Health Care Authority applied for the CMS performance bonus, which is awarded based on having in place at least five Medicaid program features known to promote enrollment and retention in health coverage for children and demonstrating a significant increase in Medicaid enrollment among children during the course of the fiscal year.

Posted at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/30/11

Retail moratorium on Planning Commission agenda

The Tacoma Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the city's large scale retail moratorium during its meeting next Wednesday.A draft of the commission's recommendation letter to City Council states:" ... our primary recommendation is to institute a Conditional Use Permit requirement for large scale retail uses in most of the areas of the city where they are allowed. This approach will better align the Land Use Regulatory Code with existing Comprehensive Plan policies that specifically support a discretionary land use permit requirement for large scale retail development, particularly within the Mixed-Use Centers.

Posted at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

People on the Move

Karli Jorgensen has been confirmed to serve as a Kent Municipal Court judge. She has served as Kent's primary Pro Tem Judge since 1996. Jorgensen has a juris doctorate degree from the University of Washington. Since 1985, she has worked in both government and private practice engaging in criminal and civil law. Jorgensen is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, as well as the United States District Court of Western Washington and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.Andy Bird has been named aerospace liaison for Clover Park Technical College. He is instructional dean for technology, transportation and science/engineering. Bird's new area of responsibility includes directing the more than $2.2 million in federal and state aerospace grants recently awarded to the college. Since 2008, Bird has led the college's efforts to form a strong partnership with its aerospace industry partners, including Boeing. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and a master's degree in education from Western Washington University, and has worked for CPTC since 2007.

Posted at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

New claim filed in Boeing, union battle

Three Charleston, S.C.-area Boeing Co. employees have filed a federal retaliation charge against the union behind the National Labor Relations Board's high-profile case against Boeing for building a new facility in South Carolina.The Charleston-area Boeing employees filed the unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB on Wednesday with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

Retail registers still ringing

Retailers got a last minute holiday gift this year. Late holiday shoppers -- both in the week leading up to Christmas and on the day after -- boosted sales and made clear this year's holiday season will likely outpace the same period last year.According to ShopperTrak -- the world's largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services -- consumers spent about $44 billion during the week ending Dec. 24, a 37.8 percent increase compared to the previous week and a 14.8 percent gain over the same week last year. Foot traffic also was high, increasing 32.4 percent from the previous week.

Posted at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

Lincoln Avenue Bridge back in business

The Lincoln Avenue Bridge in the Tacoma Tideflats is now open for traffic. Minor work still needs to be completed; however, in an effort to minimize traffic impacts, temporary lane closures will be utilized.
The Lincoln Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project included replacement of two sections of the bridge deck and an overlay of the entire bridge deck. The rehabilitation also included bearing, sidewalk and guardrail repair, and the bridge was completely re-painted.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Pierce CountyIn November, the Medical Commission ended a probation order against physician assistant Kristie M. Mattern. Her license is now unrestricted.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

Job seekers frustrated, uncertain about work prospects

While accelerated job creation failed to materialize during 2011, callers to global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.'s annual job-search advice hotline were more optimistic than a year ago, as nearly 30 percent estimated they would find a new job within three months, up from 18 percent who said the same last year.However, even as the percentage of optimistic callers surged from 2010, so did the percent of those predicting it would take more than a year to find employment. Ten percent of the job seekers felt the job search would last more than 12 months, compared to 4 percent who anticipated a prolonged job search last year.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

Busiest days for online giving on tap

Folk are likely to be very busy Friday and Saturday with year-end online charitable giving. According to a seven-year study by Network for Good, 22 percent of all online gifts to charities are made in the last two days of the year, capping a month during which charities receive one-third of all their online donations.

Posted at 09:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/29/11

Capital Medical Center launching Advanced Wound Care Center

Capital Medical Center is scheduled to open its Advanced Wound Care Centeron Jan. 11 at 601 McPhee Road SW, Olympia, as a part of the Capital Imaging Center and Outpatient Clinic.  The center, an outpatient program that focuses on chronic and non-healing wounds using multiple medical disciplines that incorporate the use of debridement, bioengineered tissue, therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is equipped with two Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chambers. HBOT is a medical treatment that enhances natural healing by providing additional oxygen to the body's tissues.

Posted at 09:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

Port, salmon groups working to restore estuary

12/28/11

Port, salmon groups working to restore estuary

Port of Olympia and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group are partnering on a habitat restoration project at Mission Creek in Priest Point Park. The port is paying $120,000 toward the project and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board will provide the remaining $60,000. "This habitat restoration project will remove an earthen road and culvert built early in the 20th century, open the creek to fish passage and return the area to estuarine functioning," said Alexandra Smith, the port's senior environmental program manager and environmental legal counsel.

Posted at 03:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

Pierce County opens 2 public EV charging stations

Pierce County has installed electric vehicle charging stations at its downtown Tacoma campus and the Public Services Annex. The stations are available for public use at a cost of $3 per charge.The stations operate by self-serve kiosks and accept major credit and debit cards.

Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

Steel imports hold steady

Steel imports during November totaled $2.4 billion (1.9 million metric tons), slightly lower than the October totals of $2.4 billion and 2 million metric tons, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.The November change reflects a decrease primarily in hot-rolled sheets and line pipe greater than 16 inches in diameter. The decrease occurred primarily with Canada.

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

Blog watch: lawsuit, Walmart, goodbye, recreation and stop that

The Live Wire reports on a lawsuit that is threatening flood insurance.The topic of Exit 133's "Continuing Conversations": Walmart.

Posted at 01:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

People on the Move

Jenny Duffy has been selected as Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics' December Employee of the Month. She is a registered nurse  and works in the Emergency Department at Mason General Hospital. Duffy has bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix.Tula Mollas has been selected to receive the 2012 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence in Teaching award. She is a developmental education instructor in English and math at Clover Park Technical College.

Posted at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

New minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1

Washington's minimum wage increases 37 cents to $9.04 an hour beginning Jan. 1.Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 an hour.

Posted at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/28/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Dec. 27, 2011. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: What to focus on in 2012, how to market on a budget and more! Join us Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.

Posted at 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/27/11

Around the Sound

Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting a public affairs forum at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 29 at Cottesmore of Life Care, 2909 14th Ave. NW. Marvin Pitts will discuss the School of Mechanical Engineering at Olympic Community College. Click here or call (253) 851-6865 for more information. Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Wake Up! - University Place/Fircrest from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Dec. 30 at University Place Presbyterian Church, 8101 27th St. West. Call Savannah Kimball at (253) 683-4881 for more information.

Posted at 03:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/27/11

Retirement cutbacks lead financial concerns of military families

A proposed overhaul of the military retirement system has emerged as the No. 1 financial worry of  military families, easily surpassing the economy and related issues in a ranking of top money concerns, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.Seventy-one percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) said government cuts to military retirement benefits concerned them the most. The economy came in second at 54 percent, followed closely by the cost of gas at 51 percent.

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/27/11

SBA accepting nominations for innovation research awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking nominations for awards honoring the role small businesses play in federally funded research and development through SBA's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Three awards will be given: one for companies that have participated in the SBIR/STTR programs, one for individuals who advocate on behalf of the programs and one "Hall of Fame" award that recognizes companies that have an extended period of extraordinary success of research, innovation, and product commercialization within the SBIR or STTR program.

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Mason CountyIn November, the Nursing Assistant Program reinstated the certification of certified nursing assistant Crystal K. Medina. She is also known as Crystal K. Hardie.

Posted at 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

BE offices closed Dec. 26

Business Examiner will be closed Monday in observance of the Christmas holiday. BE Daily will not be published Monday but will return Tuesday afternoon.

Posted at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

Durable goods orders increase

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased $7.5 billion, or 3.8 percent, to $207 billion during November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.7 percent.Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, had the largest increase, $7 billion, or 14.7 percent, to $54.4 billion.

Posted at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

Sales of new homes up last month

Sales of new single-family houses in November totaled 315,000, seasonally adjusted, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The total is 1.6 percent higher than the revised October number of 310,000 and 9.8 percent above the November 2010 estimate of 287,000.The median sales price of new houses sold last month was $214,100. The average sales price was $242,900. 

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

State halts phase-out of emergency unemployment benefits

Today's congressional approval of a two-month extension of long-term jobless benefits provides a reprieve to about 40,000 unemployed workers in Washington who would have lost their unemployment benefits by the end of January - and another 20,000 who would lose them by the end of February. With today's action, the state Employment Security Department has halted its phase-out of the "emergency unemployment compensation" program. Without a change in federal law, the program could have admitted no additional participants after Dec. 31.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

Around the Sound

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Wake Up! - University Place/Fircrest from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Dec. 30 at University Place Presbyterian Church, 8101 27th St. West. Call Savannah Kimball at (253) 683-4881 for more information.Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Connecting for Success" from 8 to 9 a.m. Jan. 4 at 108 S. Division, Suite B. Dr. Morris Chang will discuss sleep disorders. Call (253) 833-0700 for more information.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/23/11

Most employees didn't use all their vacation this year

Most workers did not take all their vacation in 2011, according to a survey by work force consulting firm Right Management. As many as 70 percent of employees indicated they would not take all of their vacation time. The findings are consistent with the 2009 survey, when two-thirds of employees said they did not take all vacation time due them.

Posted at 09:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

HCC initiative targets supply chain management

A U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to Highline Community College's Center of Excellence for International Trade, Transportation and Logistics is targeting one of Washington's strongest - and relatively unknown - sectors."As an industry, supply chain management involves many different types of business processes," said Allison Clark, economic development manager for the college. "Because of that, I think many people don't realize it exists, or know about how many great job opportunities there are in this area."

Posted at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

State Supreme Court upholds stock-watering law

The Washington Supreme Court today upheld a challenge to state water law, affirming the state's position that groundwater used for stock-watering purposes is exempt from the requirement to apply for a water permit.The case stemmed from a dispute over whether Easterday Ranches in Franklin County was required to obtain a permit to withdraw water from a well to operate a cattle feedlot serving about 30,000 head of cattle.

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

World changers have Olympia ties

What's the connection between Olympia and the construction of the 1776-foot tall One World Trade Center building at Ground Zero in New York? You might be surprised. "We all have our perspective on what's not working, whether the topic is politics, media, the environment or the economy," said Michael Zimmerman, academic dean and provost for The Evergreen State College. "The newest Evergreen Magazine offers a different focus. It highlights what is working and tells the stories of people with ties to Olympia - Greeners with inspiring stories, who simply make the world better."

Posted at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

People on the Move

David Sinding has joined Windermere Professional Partners' 19th Street office in Tacoma. He has worked in the real estate industry since 1999.Fran Hunter has received Master Reviewer certification. Hunter is an online instructor for the Dental Administrative Specialist program at Clover Park Technical College.

Posted at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

MBA of Pierce County names 2011 award winners

The Master Builders Association of Pierce County has selected its 2011 Awards of Excellence recipients.                                                                                                             Honorees include:             • Builder of the Year:  Rick Hjelm, Phase II General Contractor Inc.• Remodeler of the Year: Matt Rock, M.R. Construction Inc.• Company of the Year: ServiceMaster of Tacoma, Milgard Windows & Doors• Associate of the Year: Cathi Mahan, Mahan & Co.• John Slott Recruiter of the Year: Kent Arola, Wind River Homes• The Robert Camp Award: Kurt Wilson, SoundBuilt Northwest

Posted at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

Major road construction on tap in Gig Harbor

The City of Gig Harbor will be undertaking a major road construction project to replace a section of Point Fosdick Drive from Olympic to 56th Street, and 56th Street from Point Fosdick to Olympic Drive.  The project is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2012 and continue into summer 2013.The current two-lane roadway will be reconstructed to two through lanes with a designated center turn lane.  It will also include new sidewalks on each side with curb and gutter, planter strips, underground storm drainage and decorative street lighting. Overhead utilities (power, telephone and cable) will be relocated underground.

Posted at 09:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

U.S. homes set to lose nearly $700B in value

U.S. homes are expected to lose more than $681 billion in value during 2011, which is 35 percent less than the $1.1 trillion lost in 2010, according to analysis of Zillow Real Estate Market Reports.The bulk of the total value lost during 2011 was during the first half of the year. From January to June, the U.S. housing market lost $454 billion. From July to December, Zillow projects residential home value losses will total a significantly lower $227 billion.

Posted at 09:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

Fairfield Inn in Puyallup opening at end of month

Marriott International Inc.  is scheduled to open a 120-room Fairfield Inn & Suites in Puyallup on Dec. 30.  The franchise hotel, which is owned and managed by Hollander Investments of Bellingham, is at 202 15th Ave. SW.   Amenities include an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool spa, exercise room, valet laundry service, free high-speed Internet and business center.  The hotel also offers 795 square feet of meeting space to accommodate small meetings and functions of up to 50 people.

Posted at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

Capital Medical Center tops in orthopedic care, neuro-surgery

Capital Medical Center has been ranked No. 1 in Washington and in the top 10 percent nationwide for orthopedic care and major neuro-surgery according to the latest national scorecard compiled by The Delta Group's CareChex Medical Quality Rating System. In addition, the hospital ranked in top 10 percent nationwide and received a Medical Excellence Award for hip fracture repair.In the area of patient safety, Capital Medical Center has been nationally recognized with Patient Safety Awards for being in the top 10 percent in Washington for cardiac care, overall surgical care and gastrointestinal care.

Posted at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/22/11

Holiday retail sales on a roll

Holiday shoppers continued to make the retail cash registers ring last week, boosting sales 21.7 percent over the previous week and 1.3 percent over the same week last year.According to ShopperTrak, sales increases during the week ending Dec. 17 made this December on pace to have higher retail sales than last year. Month-to-date figures are up 0.5 percent compared to December 2010.

Posted at 09:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Blog watch: Woes, ideals, scraps, convoys and refunds

Log onto The Live Wire for the latest on Tacoma's budget woes.OlyBlog wants to know what your ideal community looks/feels/tastes/smells/sounds like.

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

MultiCare Regional Cancer Center gets $1M donation

12/21/11

MultiCare Regional Cancer Center gets $1M donation

A $1 million donation from Norman and Barbara Simon will improve access to holistic care as part of cancer treatment at MultiCare Regional Cancer Center locations  in Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn, Covington and Gig Harbor."This endowment will provide improved access for people who would like to have complementary holistic services such as acupuncture, massage, or naturopathic consultations as part of their cancer care," said David Nicewonger, oncology administrator for MultiCare Health System. "By bringing together these services, all the practitioners will have an opportunity to coordinate in a way that serves the best overall interests of the patient."

Posted at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

CG&C offering free job advice

As the job market continues to recover at a snail's pace and millions of Americans struggle to overcome long-term unemployment, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. will suspend normal business operations for two days so that its staff of professional counselors can provide free job-search advice to callers from across the country.The firm's 26th annual two-day national job-search call-in takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST Dec. 27 and 28. The telephone number is (312) 422-5010 and job seekers can get more information about the call-in at the firm's website.

Posted at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

U.S. containerized exports fall during October

U.S. containerized exports dropped 3 percent year-over-year in October after a strong third quarter, an abrupt brake that included the first decline in motor vehicle exports in more than a year, according to The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.Year-to-date export volume was still up 7.1 percent, however, JOC/PIERS Economist Mario O. Moreno forecasts a 5.8 percent growth for 2011 slowing to 3.8 percent for full year 2012.

Posted at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Port posts strong exports, growing auto imports

Full containerized exports through the Port of Tacoma remain strong, with year-to-date November volumes up 14 percent. However, full import containers are up only 1 percent, reflecting U.S. consumers' continued reluctance to open their wallets.Auto imports (units) are up 36 percent year to date, reflecting the continued strength of auto sales in the United States and breakbulk tonnage is up 71 percent, driven by agricultural, industrial and construction machinery exports.

Posted at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Nearly half of consumers say economy getting worse

The Rasmussen Consumer Index dipped a point on Wednesday to 81.6, up four points from a week ago, 21 points from a month ago and 13 points from three months ago. However, only 23 percent of consumers say the U.S. economy is getting better these days, while 49 percent of consumers say economic conditions in the country are getting worse.From a longer-term perspective, consumer confidence has been rising a bit during the past two months but is still not back to the highs reached at the beginning of this year.

Posted at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Unemployment recipients, payments fall

After two record-setting years, the number of people in Washington receiving unemployment benefits - and the amount they received - shrank during 2011, according to the state Employment Security Department.An estimated 440,000 people received benefits in 2011, a 12 percent drop from the all-time record of 503,000 in 2010. In 2009, 470,231 individuals collected jobless benefits.

Posted at 09:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Franciscan opening fourth outpatient dialysis unit

Franciscan Health System plans to open a dialysis unit at 72nd Street and Portland Avenue in east Tacoma next month. Franciscan Dialysis Center Eastside will include 12 dialysis stations with heated recliners for patients and amenities such as free wireless Internet, flat screen televisions and a spa-like ambiance. Additionally, there will be plenty of free parking and transportation shuttles can drop off or pick up individuals at the facility's front door.

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/21/11

Broadnax selected as Tacoma's next city manager

Tacoma City Council members voted 9-0 last night to begin contract negotiations with T.C. Broadnax to become Tacoma's next city manager.  He has served as an assistant city manager in San Antonio, Texas, since 2006. Prior to 2006, he was assistant city manager for Pompano Beach, Fla. Broadnax was selected from a list of three finalists, including current interim city manager Rey Arellano and Lakewood city manager Andrew Neiditz.

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

BECU taps Porter as new president, CEO

Benson Porter has been named president and CEO of BECU. He will take over in April from retiring CEO Gary Oakland, who served in the role for 25 years.Porter has spent the last five years as president and CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union in Palo Alto, Calif.  He also has experience working for the Washington State Senate Banking Committee and the state's Division of Banking. Porter is a graduate of Whitman College and received a law degree from Seattle University.

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Columbia Bank on Forbes 'best' list

Columbia Bank has been ranked as the best bank headquartered in Washington by the Forbes list of America's Best and Worst Banks. Listed at No. 34, Columbia ranks ahead of Key Bank, Chase, U.S. Bank and Bank of America.  The list, ranking 100 of the largest publicly traded banks in the country, also placed Tacoma-based Columbia Bank as the second best headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.

Posted at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Don't let penny auctions cost a chunk of change

This holiday season, some shoppers are logging on penny or pay-to-bid auction sites for low prices on merchandise like cameras, golf clubs and even gift cards. But Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington says there are things consumers should know to avoid the perils of pay-to-bid auctions.Shoppers should research auction sites diligently, vet potential "auctioneers" at bbb.org and utilize search engines for peer reviews before signing up.

Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

IID names top Internet security threats

Online voting, the London Summer Olympics and exploits of enterprise top the list of Internet Identity's security concerns for 2012. "Cyber criminals have gotten much smarter about capitalizing on current events to swindle victims. In this sense, cyber criminals are acting just as much like psychologists and pollsters as thieves," said IID President and CTO Rod Rasmussen. "In 2012, there are several events that cybercriminals have had years to prepare for."

Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Housing forecast indicates further declines

U.S. home prices are expected to decline 1.57 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011 after falling 0.4 percent through September, according to the December Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. Prices are expected to decline until the market's bottom is reached in late 2012 or early 2013.After 2013, the survey panelists expect a relatively steady annual appreciation rate of about 3 percent through 2016, which is slightly below appreciation rates experienced during the pre-bubble years.

Posted at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Jobless numbers fall throughout South Sound

Unemployment rates were mostly lower throughout the South Sound during November, according to the latest numbers released by the state Employment Security Department.

Pierce County posted a jobless rate of 8.8 percent, down from 9.1 percent during October.

Posted at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

People on the Move

Jeff Kraft has joined Kidder Mathews' Tacoma brokerage division as a vice president. He will specialize in retail leasing, development and acquisitions. Kraft previously worked for Neil Walter Co.Frederick Mendoza has been appointed to the Highline Community College Board of Trustees. After 30 years of public and private law practice, Mendoza founded Mendoza Law Center, PLLC in 2007. Prior to entering the private law sector, Mendoza served as King County deputy prosecuting attorney in the criminal and fraud divisions. He is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law.

Posted at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Numbers crunchers facing busy Tuesday

Dec. 20 is the busiest day for submitting expense claims in the United States, according to Concur,  a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management services.Based on an analysis of its clients' expense transaction volume, the number of claims made nationwide today is 167 percent above the daily average. And as staff rush to recoup costs ahead of the holiday season, it adds to the pressure faced by accounting teams expected to process all the last-minute submissions.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

LOTT purchases site in Tumwater Valley

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance has completed the purchase of 36 acres at the former brewery site in the Tumwater Valley. The net purchase price was $3.7 million. Transferring the property to public ownership provides opportunities for multiple community benefits, such as future wastewater and/or reclaimed water treatment facilities, riparian corridor restoration along the Deschutes River and improved public access to the riverfront.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

New residential construction up in November

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits during November totaled 681,000, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 5.7 percent above the revised October total of 644,000 and 20.7 percent above the November 2010 estimate of 564,000.

Posted at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

SBA info? There are new apps for that

An electronic application that quickly and efficiently finds loans, grants, and other useful small business resources, and its developer, Somesh Kumar of Freemont, Calif., won first prize and $5,000 in a nationwide competition sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The competition and resulting seven "apps" are meant to put new and useful Web tools at the fingertips of growing entrepreneurs.As a result of SBA's "Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge," a competition for tech-savvy developers to build new and useful web tools for small businesses, entrepreneurs can reach for their smartphone or tablet and search federal, state and local databases for vital information by using one of seven award-winning apps.

Posted at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

More sales on small businesses' wish lists

If small business owners could receive one gift this holiday season, a majority say it would be more sales for their business. Dedicating more time to sales and marketing efforts is also the top New Year's resolution for the small businesses, according to a survey from TD Bank.The survey asked for respondents for items on this year's holiday wish list, and 61 percent of small business owners said that increased sales would be the highest item.

Posted at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/20/11

Businesses increasing investment in learning, development

Organizations substantially increased spending on learning and development, according to the findings of ASTD's 2011 State of the Industry Report. Organizations in the United States spent $171.5 billion on employee learning during 2010, up from $125.8 billion in 2009.The report demonstrates that despite current economic challenges, senior executives understand that a highly skilled work force is a strategic differentiator, and they are investing in the development of their employees.

Posted at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/19/11

Around the Sound

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Military Affairs meeting from 8 to 9 a.m. Dec. 20 at Burs Restaurant. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information.Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Forum & Awards Ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at River's Edge Restaurant in Tumwater. The cost is $8 and lunch is available for purchase. RSVP by Dec. 19 by clicking here or calling (360) 357-5153.

Posted at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/19/11

Avaunt Technologies acquires REI Creative

Avaunt Technologies has acquired REI Creative Inc."We are significantly expanding our overall business technology solutions especially through website design and Web optimization by adding REI Creative Principal Jeff Allen to our Avaunt team," Avaunt President Steve Seroshek said. "Jeff and REI Creative have extensive experience and client relationships in central and eastern Washington as well as Pierce County."

Posted at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/19/11

Private equity, VC salaries, bonuses up

Private equity and venture capital markets are continuing to enjoy increases in compensation and that the trend will extend to 2012, according to a report by PrivateEquityCompensation.com.For the second year in a row, private equity professionals reported a solid increase in total earnings over the previous year, with the cash earnings averaging $248,000, which came in the form of both increased base salaries and bonuses.

Posted at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/19/11

Two of five air passengers wish for other form of holiday travel

Frustrations remain high this travel season, so high that two out of every five air passengers would rather not fly, according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association.The association says travelers should ask for two gifts from the airlines and TSA. First, TSA should expand its PreCheck trusted traveler program to allow more travelers an efficient and swifter screening process. Second, to remedy the carry-on chaos that's clogging checkpoints, a relatively minor change to airlines' luggage policies should be made to include in the price of a ticket the costs associated with checking one piece of luggage.

Posted at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/19/11

Q3 retail sales, profits up compared to 2010

Third quarter 2011 after-tax profits of U.S. retail corporations with assets of $50 million and more totaled $15.3 billion, down $1.9 billion compared to the after-tax profits of $17.3 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2011, but up $2 billion from  $13.4 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2010.Sales in the third quarter of 2011, at $568.7 billion, were down $7.2 billion from the $575.9 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2011, but up $42.4 billion from the $526.3 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2010.

Posted at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

State rates Bridgeport Place deficiency free

12/19/11

State rates Bridgeport Place deficiency free

Bridgeport Place Retirement and Assisted Living has completed a successful state inspection and was rated deficiency free.  The inspection of operations, from administration to nursing to business and medical recordkeeping, to food service, housekeeping, maintenance and facilities, found no deficiencies. Bridgeport Place is owned by University Place-based Soundcare Inc., which also operates University PlaceCare Center, Messenger House Care Center on Bainbridge Island and Nisqually Valley Care Center in McKenna.

Posted at 08:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has revoked or suspended the licenses, certifications or registrations of the following South Sound health care providers.Pierce CountyIn November, the Board of Hearing and Speech indefinitely suspended the credential of hearing instrument fitter and dispenser Nancy J. Buckner. Buckner failed to refund a client for unsatisfactory hearing aids, provided inaccurate addresses for her home and business, and used Social Security numbers and a name that didn't belong to her. She also failed to respond to Department of Health inquiries regarding the Social Security numbers.

Posted at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

Around the Sound

Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Forum & Awards Ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at River's Edge Restaurant in Tumwater. The cost is $8 and lunch is available for purchase. RSVP by Dec. 19 by clicking here or calling (360) 357-5153.Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting SBA/KeyBank Loans Briefing Series Wrap-up Party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 20 in the Simpson Community Room, 950 Pacific Ave., Suite 300. Click here for more information.

Posted at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

Thurston County commissioners adopt 2012 budget

Thurston County Commissioners today adopted a "no cuts" budget for 2012.Total expenditures in the 2012 budget are down about 7 percent from the 2011 level of $336 million to $313 million. The spending plan is a "maintenance" budget that does not provide for any major new programs, but will not require any major reductions from 2011 levels. The general fund budget for 2012 is $86.5 million.

Posted at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

State's economic climate 'generally' better

While the economic climate in Washington generally improved this year, the state's ranking declined compared to 2010, according to the 2011 Washington Economic Study published by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.Of the 41 indicators covered by the study, 36 were updated. The five indicators which were not updated lacked updated data at the time of publication. The study compares Washington's performance and ranking to other states and itself historically.

Posted at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

Real earnings down slightly

Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.1 percent from October to November, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decrease stems from a 0.1 percent decrease in average hourly earnings, while the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers remained unchanged.Real average weekly earnings fell 0.1 percent over the month, as a result of the decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with the unchanged average workweek. Since reaching a peak in October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 1.7 percent.

Posted at 01:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/16/11

Consumer Price Index holds steady

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was unchanged during November on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.The energy index declined for the second month in a row and offset increases in the indexes for food and all items less food and energy.

Posted at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

Environmental Energy and Engineering receives NSF contract

Environmental Energy and Engineering Co. of Olympia has received a Small Business Innovative Research contract worth up to $180,000 from the National Science Foundation.The scope of work, which is the first phase of a multi-phase project, is to verify a patented and patent pending technology that substantially and economically improves the recovery of liquid or gas fuels from lignocellulosic biomass without the use of chemicals or large energy inputs.

Posted at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

People on the Move

Michael Radzienda M.D., SFHM has joined Sound Physicians as chief medical officer for the Midwest region. He also will serve Sound Physicians' Northeast region practices. Radzienda most recently served as vice president for hospital medicine and clinical effectiveness at Vanguard Health Systems, a 25-facility, for-profit hospital management corporation with more than 20,000 employees. He is a Senior Fellow in the Society of Hospital Medicine and serves on the organization's Practice Management committee. Radzienda also has held faculty appointments at three medical schools. He graduated from Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine.

Posted at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

Construction materials prices slip in November

In a reflection of slow construction activity, construction materials prices slipped 0.1 percent during November, according to the U.S. Labor Department. However, construction materials prices are still 6.2 percent higher compared to the same time last year.Nonresidential construction materials prices were unchanged for the month and are 7 percent higher than November 2010.

Posted at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

PSE warns of fraudulent e-mails

Puget Sound Energy has posted an advisory warning its customers and others about a fraudulent e-mail that mimics a bill-payment notification. The bogus email does not affect PSE customer accounts, which are secure.The e-mail looks like the notice PSE sends to online-billing customers when their utility bill is ready to be viewed and paid. The message contains PSE's logo and some legitimate links to the utility's site.

Posted at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

Washington Food Industry Association honors grocery leaders

The Washington Food Industry Association has selected recipients of its 2011 grocery industry awards.Kevin Stormans of Stormans Inc. in Olympia was named Grocer of the Year. Vendor of the Year honors went to Greg Miller of SUPERVALU in Tacoma and state Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Wilcox Farms in Roy received the Keystone Award for excellence in government affairs.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/15/11

Producer Price Index ticks up

The Producer Price Index for finished goods advanced 0.3 percent during November, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Finished goods prices fell 0.3 percent during October and moved up 0.8 percent in September. At the earlier stages of processing, the index for intermediate goods rose 0.2 percent and crude goods prices increased 3.8 percent.

Posted at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

Blog watch: Agenda, protests, plans holiday spirit and milestone

Check out The Live Wire for Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's 2012 legislative agenda.Catch up on the port protests at OlyBlog.

Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

Kent City Council adopts 2012 budget

The Kent City Council approved the city's 2012 budget Tuesday night by a 4-2 margin.The approved net budget projects $160.3 million in revenue and $157.5 million in expenditures in 2012. The city's general fund, which covers daily operations including payroll, projects $60,949,613 in revenue and $60,876,768 in expenditures.

Posted at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

Windermere Professional Partners continues to grow

Windermere Professional Partners has expanded its operations and opened a fourth office in DuPont.The office, the second the company has opened this year, will be managed by Donna Downing. In addition to residential real estate, there will be property management services on site.

Posted at 02:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

State jobless rates falls below 9%

Washington added an estimated 12,100 jobs in November, the largest one-month gain in four years, according to the latest number from the Employment Security Department. The stronger jobs outlook was matched by a substantial plunge in the unemployment rate, from a revised rate of 9.1 percent during October to a preliminary estimate of 8.7 percent in November."This is the kind of job growth we need to make a good dent in the unemployment rate," said Greg Weeks, director of the Employment Security Department's labor-market information office. "The drop in the unemployment rate was unusually large for November and I expect it to be revised to a somewhat smaller decline when we get more data."

Posted at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

GDP up 2% during Q3

REAL GROSS domestic product increased 2 percent in the third quarter, according to the second estimates of the national income and product accounts by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The second estimate of real GDP growth was revised down half a percentage point from the advance estimate, reflecting downward revisions to inventory investment, nonresi­dential fixed investment, and consumer spending that were partly offset by a downward revision to imports.During the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent. Prices of goods and services purchased by U.S. residents increased 1.9 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point less than in the advance estimate. During the second quarter, prices increased 3.3 percent. Energy prices and food prices decelerated in the third quarter. Excluding food and energy, gross domestic purchases prices increased 1.8 percent after increas­ing 2.7 percent.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

State regulators allege violations in PSE investigation

State regulators today issued a complaint against Puget Sound Energy alleging the utility improperly charged a residential-visit disconnect fee to electricity and natural gas customers.Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission staff is alleging PSE committed 1,639 violations of state consumer protection rules. The commission staff also is asking the UTC to require the utility to refund customers charged the $13 fee in error.

Posted at 09:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

More companies skipping year-end bonuses

In an era of tighter cost controls, the tradition of the year-end bonus or gift may be fading, at least beyond the confines of Wall Street. About 43 percent of human resources executives said their companies do not award year-end bonuses, perks or gifts to employees. That is up from 2007, when a similar survey found that 28 percent of companies never award year-end bonuses.The survey by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found that among the 53 percent of companies that do award bonuses, half give employees either a non-monetary gift or a nominal monetary award valued at less than $100.

Posted at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/14/11

State's recycling rate increased in 2010

Washington's recycling rate grew to its highest level ever, reaching 49 percent during 2010, according to data reported by the Washington Department of Ecology. A 1989 state law set a statewide recycling goal of 50 percent. The national average was 34 percent in 2010.Washington residents are recycling more and throwing away less. The total amount of municipal waste recycled by state residents increased by more than 540,000 tons in 2010, up 14 percent from 2009. The total amount of waste disposed from households and businesses has been decreasing through the recession, and in 2010 that trend continued. Disposal dropped by about 65,000 tons or 1 percent in 2010.

Posted at 09:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Dec. 13, 2011. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: Seahawks, holiday shopping, frequency of #BEchat and more! Join us Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.

Posted at 05:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Holiday shopping building momentum

December holiday sales remain flat year-over-year, but are showing signs of growth to come. Double-digit increases in week-over-week sales show shoppers are spending this holiday season.According to ShopperTrak--the world's largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services--the week ending Dec. 10 saw a 10.6 percent increase in retail sales from the previous week. This bodes well as retailers prepare for the next two weeks of holiday shoppers - historically two of the highest GAFO sales weeks of the year for retailers.

Posted at 05:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Mason County PUD 3 Adopts $57M budget

Mason County PUD No. 3 Commissioners today adopted a $57 million budget for 2012 which reflects the financial impact of the mandated purchase of renewable energy and an increase in price for wholesale electricity supplies purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration. The 2012 budget, which is 6.5 percent higher than 201, anticipates a retail electricity rate increase in 2012, which may include a 3 percent change in the cost for energy consumption and a 10-cent per day increase in the daily customer charge.

Posted at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

People on the Move

Patrick Forza has joined the board of directors of Downtown On the Go. He is a project manager for transportation projects at CH2M Hill's Tacoma office and has worked for the company for for five years. Forza has more than 20 years of experience in the transportation industry.Anthony J. LeMessurier has joined Kidder Mathews' Tacoma valuation advisory division as an appraiser and consultant. He previously was the principal appraiser at Aravis LLC in Gig Harbor.

Posted at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Task force recommends $20B transportation package

The Connecting Washington task force recommended yesterday that  $20 billion be spent over the next 10 years on the state's transportation system, a fraction of the estimated $50 billion in needed improvements. While the task force did not recommend specific projects or tax proposals, the group did provide a menu of possible funding options for the governor and legislature to consider when writing a transportation funding package.

Posted at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

IID identifies top internet security trends of 2011

Internet Identity has released its list of the top security trends from 2011. Some specific trends that Tacoma-based IID saw emerge during the past year include the extended enterprise coming under assault, the emergence of dangerous mobile applications and cybercriminals increasingly harnessing the power of social media. The top Internet security incidents and trends from 2011 include:

Posted at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Unemployment benefit extensions ending soon

Unemployed workers in Washington are learning this week that their extended unemployment benefits will begin phasing out during the next month.Currently, there are two federal programs operating in the state that pay additional weeks of unemployment benefits after eligible workers run out of their "regular" unemployment benefits.

Posted at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Demand for recruiters with social media skills rises

During the past 90 days, employers and staffing firms placed more than 900 job ads for recruiters and employment specialists that require social media skills, according to WANTED Analytics.The volume of job ads for recruiters that include specifications for social media skills and experience has increased 117 percent compared to the same 90-day period in 2010 and more than 350 percent versus 2009. Social media skills now represent 7 percent of all hiring demand for recruiters.

Posted at 09:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

OMB selects year's best

Olympia Master Builders honored members during its annual Awards Banquet and Christmas Party last week. The following individuals and entities were recognized for outstanding performance during 2011:• 2011 President's Awards: Ross Irwin - Cabinets by Trivonna; The Olympian• Builder of the Year: Scott Nolan - MDK Construction Inc.

Posted at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Job-seekers ratio remains above 4-to-1

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of job openings decreased by 110,000 during October to 3.3 million, according to an analysis by Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute. The total number of unemployed workers in October was 13.9 million (unemployment is from the Current Population Survey). Therefore the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings was 4.3-to-1 during October, a deterioration from the revised September ratio of 4.1-to-1.

Posted at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/13/11

Home values continue to fall

Home values in the United States continued their decline during October, falling 0.3 percent compared to September, according to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Reports.In the South Sound, values were down 0.7 percent in Olympia to $208,100 and off 1.3 percent in Tacoma to $154,300.

Posted at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

12/12/11

Nisqually restoration team receives national honor

The Coastal America Partnership has recognized the work of the Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team , which includes Thurston County as a member of the Nisqually River Council, for planning, funding and implementing the restoration of more than 900 acres of tidal habitat, "the largest ongoing estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest."Coastal America also praised the restoration team for reconnecting "hundreds of acres of estuary habitat with the tides of Puget Sound after an absence of more than a century."

Posted at 03:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/12/11

State revenue slightly higher than expected

Major general fund state revenue collections for the Nov. 11 through Dec. 10 collection period were $19.7 million (1.2 percent) higher than the Washington State Economic and Revenue Council's November forecast, but the positive variance was likely because of the timing of property tax payments.The council's November economic forecast predicted a "muddle through" economy characterized by slow growth, high unemployment and weak consumer confidence. Nothing has transpired in the short time since the forecast was adopted to cause the council to change its views on the economic outlook one way or another.

Posted at 03:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

12/12/11

Around the Sound

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting "Lunch & Learn" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at Joseppi's Italian Restaurant, 2207 N. Pearl St. Monica Budzius of Everyday Engagement will discuss "Advancing Leadership Skills." Contact Savannah Kimball at (253) 627-2175, ext. 106 for more information.7-Eleven Inc. will hold a franchise seminar for those interested in finding out more about franchising opportunities from 4 to 5 p.m. Dec. 13 at 20819 72nd Ave. South, Suite 800, Kent. Franchise Sales Manager Tim Bain will explain the company's franchise system, business model and the benefits of franchising. 7-Eleven provides the land, building, equipment and a turn-key operation for its franchisees. Click here for more information.

Posted at 01:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

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