Jan 4, 201012:00 AMBlog

January 2010

01/29/10

Around the Sound

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. is hosting a health care reform town hall meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 30 on the Tacoma Campus of Evergreen State College, 1210 6th Ave. David Flentge, president and CEO of Community Health Care in Tacoma, and other health care professionals from in and around the Tacoma and Seattle areas will lead the discussion, which is free and open to the public. For more information, or to RSVP, e-mail etamuzeta@gmail.com.Artists Pierce Elaine Davis, Jenny Fillius and Leo Schmidt will display their works Jan. 30 through April 25 at the City of Tacoma EnviroHouse, where artwork made from recycled and salvaged material is showcased. The EnviroHouse art exhibit rotates three times a year and continually seeks applications from artists with recycled-content artwork. For more information, click here or call (253) 573-2426.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/29/10

Murray Morgan Bridge scheduled to close Feb. 1

Re-cabling work on the Murray Morgan Bridge will begin Feb. 1 and the bridge will be closed to pedestrians. While closed, the bridge will be braced in the upright position for the cables to be removed and replaced. The stairs to Dock Street will remain open.


Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/29/10

Port of Tacoma hosting free bus tour

Ever wonder how clothes, electronics and toys get from a ship to store shelves? Find out during the Port of Tacoma's first free bus tour of the year on Feb. 11. The guided tour will highlight how containers of consumer goods are unloaded from ships and put onto rail cars or trucks to head to market, creating some of the 43,000 local jobs related to Port activity.

Posted at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/29/10

Columbia Banking System ends '09 with loss

Columbia Banking System Inc. reported a net loss of $8.4 million for 2009, compared to earnings of $5.5 million for 2008. The change was attributed to a $63.5 million provision for loan losses during 2009.On a diluted per common share basis, the net loss for 2009 was 38 cents, compared with income of 30 cents a year earlier.For the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31, the bank reported net income of $447,000, compared to $1.3 million for the same quarter of 2008. Earnings per share were 2 cents, compared with 7 cents a year earlier.

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/29/10

Lacey Historical Commission needs volunteer

The Lacey Historical Commission is recruiting to fill a vacant position. The commission provides leadership in raising awareness of Lacey's history and preservation of local historic resources. The commission guides creation of public education and interpretive programs, encourages conservation of items and properties that are of historic significance and reviews nominations to the Lacey Register of Historic Places.

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Toray wins safety honors

Toray Composites America Inc., a Boeing composites supplier at Frederickson Industrial Park, is the 2009 recipient of the John D. Spellman Safety Award from Evergreen Safety Council.In 2009, Toray refocused its efforts on safety by establishing an emphasis on associate involvement, hazard identification, and the tracking and completion of corrective actions. The result was a huge reduction in OSHA reportable safety incidents.

Posted at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Registration open for apprenticeship conference

Early registration has begun for the first Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference on May 19-20 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.The conference is intended for apprenticeship program leaders, policymakers, trade groups, nonprofit leaders, and educators. K-12 teachers are eligible to receive clock hours for their attendance.

Posted at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

HCC offering free tax help to small businesses

Highline Community College's StartZone is offering free tax preparation workshops and filing assistance to self-employed individuals in south King County with total household income of less than $50,000.Eligible individuals will receive assistance from a trained and professionally supervised volunteer who will help complete and file 1040, Schedule C, applications for the Making Work Pay and Earned Income tax credits and other forms.

Posted at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Tacoma mayor calls for B&O review

In the first formal visit by the city's top elected for eight years, Mayor Marilyn Strickland told directors of Tacoma Pierce County Chamber this morning that she wants their help to study the local Business & Occupation tax."We don't have a reputation as a good place to do business," said Strickland, "and it's time for us to sit down and look at how we can change that." She also stressed the importance of improving the perception of Tacoma's public school system because that tends to send homebuyers to surrounding communities, instead of locating within the city limits.

Posted at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Tax break for employers

Selected Washington employers are expected to reap $35 million in federal tax credits for 2009 because they hired more than 13,000 hard-to-place job seekers.The Work Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,400 in tax savings for each eligible worker who is hired. These workers include people who are military veterans, disabled, ex-inmates, high-risk teens, food-stamp and welfare recipients, and others.

Posted at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

E-Cycle program posts successful first year

More than 38.5 million pounds of TVs, computers and monitors were recycled during the first year of the E-Cycle Washington program, indicating that Washington really is the ever-"green" state.When E-Cycle Washington began operations on Jan. 1, 2009, it was one of the first in the nation to collect unwanted electronic devices for free recycling. The program is paid for by the manufacturers of these products and regulated by the Department of Ecology.

Posted at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Port sets deadline for executive search proposals

The Port of Tacoma has issued a request for proposals from executive search firms to help find a new port staff leader. Electronic proposals from qualified firms are due by 4 p.m. Feb. 10. A full description of proposal requirements is available on the port Web site.

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

Contractor begins construction on expanded wharf

Manson Construction of Seattle will drive the first of 361 concrete piling today as work begins on the Blair Waterway to expand a Washington United Terminals wharf at the Port of Tacoma. The $31 million project will extend an existing berth by 600 feet to support two large new cranes the Hyundai Merchant Marine-owned terminal added during January 2009. The larger wharf and "super post-Panamax" cranes will be able to serve the world's largest ships.

Posted at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

People on the Move

AGC of Washington has elected its 2010 slate of officers and board members, including a number of Pierce County contractors. Joining the board of trustees are Cedric "Butch" Brooks, Woodworth and Co. (Tacoma) and Jeff Stroud, Mountain Construction Inc. (Tacoma).   Scot McQueen has joined GeoEngineers as applied technology manager. He has 14 years of leadership experience designing and developing GIS and IT applications for government agencies, large private firms and publicly funded research institutes around the world.Tacoma Water's current deputy superintendent, Linda McCrea, will take over as superintendent, starting Feb. 1. She replaces John Kirner, who has served as the Water superintendent since 2004, and has worked for Tacoma Public Utilities for 27 years.

Posted at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/28/10

NPN team headed to Haiti

A group of 18 South Sound physicians, nurses and logistical support staff from the Northwest Physicians Network will leave for Haiti on Friday to treat neglected wounds and rising disease outside the island nation's capital.The team plans to be in Port au Prince for three days, then divide and head north to Cap-Haitien and Plaine du Nord. While less structural damage occurred in these cities, many of the wounded taken there have been neglected while medical teams focus in Port au Prince.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

State Parks hanging on by a thread

A state parks donation program tied to vehicle license tab renewals is bringing in less than projected but enough to keep state parks open, provided no General Fund reductions are made beyond those identified in the governor's 2010 supplemental budget.That's the conclusion of a report made by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to the state Office of Financial Management and legislature.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

Federal Way sets salary schedule for mayor

The City of Federal Way Independent Salary Commission has established the 2010 salary schedule for the mayor.The base monthly salary is $9,400. Benefits are the same as those for non-representative employees, except that the vacation schedule is equivalent to department directors.

Posted at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

Blog Watch: Haiti, awards, outdoors and legislation

Relief efforts for Haiti continue. Exit 133 has a listing of restaurants where you can dine and drink while still contributing to the cause.Know a business that deserves recognition for helping to revitalize downtown Tacoma? Visit the BIA blog and submit a nomination for the 2010 New Tacoma Awards.

Posted at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

Russell opens forum for innovation discussion

Russell Investments has launched a campaign to encourage and facilitate a global discussion about investment innovation grounded in real-life financial issues.The Conversation Yields Innovation microsite hosts starting points for that conversation, including video from financial professionals and end investors, viewpoints from Russell thought leaders and a blog from Russell President and CEO Andrew Doman.

Posted at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

Shelton Mason chamber names award winners

The Shelton Mason County Chamber of Commerce has selected winners of its annual awards for Business, Citizen and Chamber Volunteer of the Year.Forrest and Amy Cooper of Cooper Studios were awarded 2009 Business of the Year. Citizen of the Year honors went to two people, Bob Buhl and Duane Wilson.

Posted at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/10

Weyerhaeuser launches new type of Kraft pulp

Weyerhaeuser Co.'s Cellulose Fibers business segment has successfully introduced a new grade of Kraft pulp for specific segments of the cellulose derivatives market. Cellulose derivatives are used in various products, including lacquers, paints, inks and thickening agents.Known as Pearl429, the new pulp offers tailored reactivity and viscosity compared with traditional Kraft pulps. As a result, Pearl429 can be blended with other pulps and has the potential to partially replace traditional chemical grade dissolving pulps for many chemical applications. Specifically, Pearl429 pulp's characteristics allow it to be used in a variety of applications using cellulose esters and ethers.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

12 Tacoma businesses pass overservice checks

No overservice violations were found during a Jan, 22 citywide joint undercover investigation conducted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board and the Tacoma Police Department.Two teams of officers checked 12 Tacoma liquor licensed businesses to determine if any were selling alcohol to apparently intoxicated customers, or allowing apparently intoxicated customers to continue to consume alcohol.

Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

Once Upon A Child achieves 'Gold Standard'

Once Upon A Child in Tacoma, located at 3815H S Steele St., has been recognized for achieving "Gold Standard" status for customer experience, store operations and consistent brand identity in 2009.The store, which is owned by Jamie Williams and buys and sells gently used children's items, is one of more than 230 franchise locations in North America.

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

People on the Move

Roger L. Knutson of Sumner has been elected president of the Western Washington Fair Association, Puyallup. Other elected officers include: Jerome M. Korum, vice president; Jerry D. Larson, secretary; Michael D. Nelson, treasurer; and Kent R. Hojem, CEO. Dan McClung of Sumner was elected to join the board of directors. He is taking the position that had been filled by Thomas Tebb, who is going off the board and moving to emeritus status.Raymond Zukowski has joined the Aldebaran Hypnotherapy School of Milton. He has been a hypnotherapist since 2001, and is the owner of Body Mind Mentoring and an award winning teacher from a post secondary school. He will teach the 150-hour basic, intermediate and advanced hypnotherapy courses leading to state certification as a registered hypnotherapist.

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

Retail sales projected to increase in 2010

The National Retail Federation released its 2010 economic forecast today, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 2.5 percent compared to last year.According to its bi-monthly Retail Sales Outlook, influential economic indicators such as the housing market and employment are beginning to show positive signs, which will bolster consumer confidence throughout the year. Total industry retail sales for 2009 declined 2.5 percent.

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

Blasting scheduled on former Kaiser Tideflats site

People in northeast Tacoma, Fife and on the Tideflats might hear a boom this afternoon as Port of Tacoma contractors use light explosives on the former Kaiser Aluminum site on the east side of the Blair Waterway.This is the first of a series of detonations -- about one or two a day -- planned this week and possibly into next to decommission deep wells that once provided water to the former aluminum plant.

Posted at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

Consumer confidence increases

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in December, improved further during January. The Index now stands at 55.9 (1985=100), up from 53.6 in December. The Present Situation Index increased from 20.2 to 25. The Expectations Index increased from 75.9 to 76.5.

Posted at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

VNF opening second thrift shop in Chehalis

The Visiting Nurses Foundation is opening a second thrift shop in Lewis County, in the former Smith Pharmacy at 749 S. Market in Chehalis.The store is scheduled to open Feb. 15.

Posted at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

2 Kent drivers among UPS best

Eleven elite drivers from Washington, including two from Kent, are among 928 worldwide who were inducted into UPS's Circle of Honor, an honorary organization for drivers who have achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving.Timothy Phinney works in the Pacific office and Glenn Starkenburg works in the Seattle office.

Posted at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/10

Project Share contributions set record

Customers of Mason County PUD No. 3 donated more than $66,000 during 2009 to help their less fortunate friends and neighbors pay their electricity bills through the Project Share fund.The total was the highest in the program's 26 year history. Since the program began during 1983, customers have provided nearly $708,000 in donations.

Posted at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

Lassen Foundation helps fund Bookends Literacy

The Thurston County division of Mason County Literacy has received a $2,500 grant from The Irving A. Lassen Foundation for its Bookends Literacy program.The program is operated jointly by Mason County Literacy and South Puget Sound Community College and provides volunteer literacy services for adults in ThurstonCounty.

Posted at 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

Around the Sound

The Thurston County Chamber is hosting a member orientation seminar at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Click here for more information.The Lacey Chamber of Commerce is hosting 5:01 Surge! Business After Hours on from 5:01 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Cabinets by Trivonna, 4444 Lacey Blvd SE, Suite G. RSVP to agraham@laceychamber.com or call (360) 491-4141.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

MultiCare top West Coast system for efficiency

MultiCare Health System has earned the highest ranking on the West Coast for its efficiency and integrated health care network.MultiCare is ranked No. 4 nationally on the 2010 Top 100 IHN list, compiled by independent researcher SDI and reported in the Jan. 25 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine. The list ranks local and regional health care networks on service, financial stability and other factors.

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

Columbia stock up after acquisition

Columbia Banking System Inc.'s stock reached a 52-week high this morning of $19.68. The increase followed the acquisition of Columbia River Bank by CBS's wholly owned subsidiary, Columbia State Bank, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last Friday.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

Layoff-avoidance program saved 20,000 jobs

More than 20,000 Washington workers got paychecks instead of pink slips during 2009 by participating in the state Employment Security Department's Shared-Work Program.The program allows employers to cut their payroll costs by reducing the hours of their full-time employees, and the workers collect partial unemployment benefits to make up for some of the lost wages. The estimate of jobs saved last year through Shared Work comes from information on the employers' original applications combined with their actual use of the program.

Posted at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/10

Franciscan among top 100 health systems

The Franciscan Health System has been ranked as one of the best-performing, most-efficient health systems in the nation for the seventh consecutive year.Modern Healthcare magazine reports in its Jan. 25 edition that the Tacoma-based Franciscan organization is No. 12 on the annual list of the 100 most integrated health systems in the United States as determined by the independent information, research and analytics company SDI.

Posted at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

Around the Sound

The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting Extreme Networking - "Pages" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at 4650 Steilacoom Blvd. SW. Attendees will learn how to use Facebook fan pages to promote their businesses. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information.The Thurston County Chamber is hosting a member orientation seminar at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Click here for more information.

Posted at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

Realtors urge lawmakers to support real estate recovery

More than 600 representatives of the state's largest professional organization, the Washington Association of Realtors, met today with legislators to urge their support of the real estate market recovery that is critical to the overall economic well-being of the state. The visits followed a morning agenda that included a presentation by Dr. Arun Raha, Washington state's chief forecaster who talked about "When will the real estate market recover in Washington." Raha's comments acknowledged that the economic recovery had begun, but a self-sustaining housing market recovery will not happen until early 2011. The state economist also explained that the commercial market is facing considerable headwinds.

Posted at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

Shipbuilder's stormwater problems warrant penalty

A shipbuilding company with problems keeping pollutants out of its stormwater discharges in Tacoma is being fined $50,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology.Between August 2008 and August 2009, the department found that J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding discharged higher levels of copper, zinc, and oils and greases than the company's stormwater permit allows. In some cases, the monthly monitoring reports show the water's pH balance (acid/alkaline) outside the acceptable range for legal discharge or no samples taken at all.

Posted at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

Grants will expand access to health care

The Washington State Health Care Authority today awarded Community Health Care Collaborative grants totaling $450,000 to six non-profit, community-based health care organizations.The grants range from $50,000 to $100,000 for a two-year cycle that runs through June 30, 2011. Successful recipients are required to leverage state dollars by spending $2 in matching funds for every grant dollar received.

Posted at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

SiteCrafting to honor technology innovation

SiteCrafting has created the SHIFT Awards to recognize and honor technology application and innovation in the South Sound. The awards ceremony is scheduled for March 10 at Theater on the Square in Tacoma. The event will be open to the public, although attendees must pre-register.

Posted at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

REI selects top vendor partners

Recreational Equipment Inc., a national retail co-op providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced its 2009 vendor partner award winners.Smith Optics Inc. of Sun Valley Idaho, best known for its diverse line of sunglasses, snow and motorsports goggles, snow helmets and ophthalmic eyewear, received top honors as REI's Vendor Partner of the Year.

Posted at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

2010 Tax Reference Manual available online

The state Department of Revenue has published Tax Reference Manual 2010 on its Web site.Last revised during 2007, the 225-page report provides an overview of Washington's tax system and summarizes state and local taxes. It cites their purpose, history, rate changes and revenue produced from each tax during the past decade.

Posted at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/22/10

Thurston County osteopath's license suspended

Witness accounts of behavior by a Thurston County osteopathic physician have led to an immediate suspension of his license. The action by the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery and the state Department of Health means Eric D. Thomas (DO.OP.00001758) cannot practice as an osteopathic physician in Washington pending further action by the board.

Posted at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

People on the Move

Juanita Duncan has joined Real Estate Investment Services Gig Harbor as property manager. She previously worked in the Tacoma office.Patricia Connors Jalbert Esq. has joined Wolf Haven International as director of development. Since 1996, she has been sole-proprietor of Connors Jalbert Consulting in Tacoma, which specializes in services for state-wide non-profit organizations. She has bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Washington and earned a juris doctor at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Industrial market ends year with wimper

Industrial vacancies increased during the fourth quarter of 2009, rising 90 basis points to 10.2 percent across the Puget Sound. The primary driver was the nearly 1.5 million square feet of negative net absorption.That's the word from Grubb and Ellis' industrial trend report, which also says that while significant speculative development likely won't return until 2011, investment sales volume should increase as prices finished their downward adjustment.

Posted at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Conference Board's economic index points to recovery

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the United States increased 1.1 percent during December, following a 1 percent gain during November and a 0.3 percent rise during October."The indicators point to an economy in early recovery," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board. "The coincident economic index shows slow expansion of economic activity through December. The Leading Economic Index suggests that the pace of improvement could pick up this spring."

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Port's executive search process takes shape

Port of Tacoma commissioners are expected to review a draft scope for a search firm to help find a new port leader during a special work session at 2 p.m. next Tuesday.The previous two session discussions this month helped shape a schedule for requesting proposals from search firms, how far afield the port should recruit firms and the criteria the commissioners will use to evaluate submitted proposals.

Posted at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Vadium Technology inks agreement with Grupo Colvista

Vadium Technology Inc. is entering into a sales agent and reseller agreement with Grupo Colvista.Grupo Colvista is the largest government systems integrator in Colombia and a leader in providing advanced technology, complex solutions to the information technology, military and law enforcement markets.

Posted at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Warehouse construction to add 100 jobs

A new cold storage warehouse at the Port of Tacoma could add up to 100 new jobs when it opens this summer. Until then, construction of the $30 million VersaCold Logistics Services facility at the Port of Tacoma employs about 35 construction workers.

Posted at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/21/10

Quick Quotes moving to Port of Centralia

Quick Quotes Inc. has signed a long-term lease agreement at the Port of Centralia's Industrial Park I.The scrapbooking company, which was started during 2001 in a Glenoma garage, has 10 employees and plans to hire additional workers after it moves into the larger facility.

Posted at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

Contractors foresee dismal 2010

Nearly nine-in-10 contractors say there will be no recovery during 2010 as part of a new national construction hiring and business outlook forecast released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.  As a result, fewer contractors plan to purchase construction equipment and after a year of near-record industry layoffs, many doubt they'll be able to hire new staff this year."Unfortunately for the industry and for our economy this year's construction outlook is far from positive," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.  "As long as the construction industry remains mired in its own depression, broader economic and employment growth will continue to lag."

Posted at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

Blog Watch: Taxes, photos, lottery and legislation

Richard Davis offers his thoughts about tax transparency, spending cuts and tax increases at WashAce Blog.Check out some interesting photos and learn more about the Washington State Patrol evaluation and accreditation process at OlyBlog.

Posted at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

Thurston County Distinguished Leaders selected

Leadership Thurston County and the Thurston County Chamber Foundation have chosen Capitol City Press, Mud Bay and Steve Boone to receive this year's Distinguished Leader Awards.They will be recognized for their contributions to the community at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Saint Martin's University Norman Worthington Center.

Posted at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

State's unemployment rate rises to 9.5%

Washington's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to an estimated 9.5 percent during December, up from a revised rate of 9 percent during November. Employment shrank by an estimated 3,800 jobs, compared to a revised loss of about 1,100 the previous month.Despite the jump in the unemployment rate, monthly job losses are continuing to decline, according to the Employment Security Department's chief economist, Dave Wallace.  Washington lost an estimated 23,700 jobs during the last six months of 2009 - compared to more than 80,000 job losses during the first six months of the year.

Posted at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

Chamber announces award winners

Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting this morning and awarded special recognition half a dozen local businesses and individuals.Rock Creek Gardens, an events venue that opened in mid-2008, was named Small Business of the Year. The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse of Sumner earned honors in the Medium-sized Business category.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

Producer Price Index inches up

The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods moved up 0.2 percent during December, seasonally adjusted.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the rise followed a 1.8 percent advance during November and a 0.3 percent increase during October. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by producers of intermediate goods rose 0.5 percent and the crude goods index moved up 1 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods advanced 4.4 percent during 2009, after falling 0.9 percent in 2008.

Posted at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/10

30-year mortgage rate remains below 5%

The weekly average rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace for 30-year fixed mortgages decreased five basis points last week to 4.94 percent, down from 4.99 percent the week prior, according to the Zillow Mortgage Rate Monitor.In Washington, the rate fell six basis points, from 5 percent to 4.94 percent.

Posted at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

People on the Move

Dr. Jon Geffen has joined Puget Sound Orthopaedics. He is a board-certified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and is fellowship trained in interventional pain management. After medical school at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo., he completed his residency at the Howard A. Rusk Rehabilitation Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia, followed by an interventional pain fellowship at the Alabama Orthopedic and Spine Center in Birmingham. He will be practicing at the Lakewood office.Mark J. Burns, a financial adviser for Waddell & Reed in Kent has earned the nationally recognized Chartered Mutual fund Counselor designation. He joined the firm during 2007 and has a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington.

Posted at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

Kreidler seeks ban on insurers' use of credit information

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is calling for a ban on the insurance industry's controversial practice of credit scoring. A hearing on the legislation, HB 2513, is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow in Olympia.Despite strong consumer protections enacted eight years ago by the Washington state legislature, insurers are relying more and more on credit scores. Today, some even consider your level of education. They take certain information in a person's credit history and other factors to create an "insurance score." The factors they consider and how much weight they assign them vary, making it extremely difficult--if not impossible--for you to understand what steps you can take to improve your score and get a better rate.

Posted at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

Destiny awards deadline extended

The deadline to nominate volunteers for the City of Tacoma's 24th annual City of Destiny Awards has been extended. Nominations will now be accepted through Jan. 29.

Nomination forms, which also detail eligibility requirements, are available by calling Maria Lee in the City's Community Relations Office at (253) 591-2054, or stopping by the office, 733 Market St., Room 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Posted at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

Dock Street named Marina of the Year

Tacoma's Dock Street Marina has been recognized as Marina of the Year by Marina Dock Age magazine. Each year, the magazine honors two marinas for their facilities and dedication to customer service, as well as a commitment to areas such as environmental responsibility, advertising and marketing, industry and community involvement, and facility improvements.

Posted at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

South Sound Bank reports 'successful' year       

South Sound Bank reported in its year-end letter to stockholders that 2009 was a success, considering the current economic climate, and quickly added that the outlook for 2010 is optimistic. The bank finished the year with $154.9 million in total assets, an increase from $152.7 million at the end of 2008. Total deposits were $126.6 million, down slightly from $126.8 million a year earlier.

Posted at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

Providence Centralia adds digital mammography

The Providence Centralia Imaging Center is the first health care provider in Lewis County to offer digital mammography, using a system called Selenia.Conventional and digital mammography both use X-ray radiation to produce an image of the breast. But unlike conventional mammography, in which the image is stored on film, digital mammography produces an electronic image of the breast that is stored in a computer. A radiologist can then magnify and perform an in depth evaluation of the images.

Posted at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

SBA loan volume up 37 percent

U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle District Office lending in Washington and northern Idaho increased significantly during the first quarter of the federal government's 2010 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31. Compared to the first quarter of 2009, the number of SBA loans increased 37 percent, from 332 to 455, and the dollar volume of lending increased 85 percent, from $79.1 million to $146.4 million.  The increase in the number of loans offers no conclusive evidence of a fundamental shift in the lending environment, but is not unique to the Seattle District Office's geographic area and might be reflective of the impact economic stimulus efforts are having in the marketplace.

Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/10

RNs to picket Tacoma General

Washington State Nurses Association, representing more than 750 registered nurses at Tacoma General Hospital, has planned informational picketing today to highlight issues critical to patient safety and nurse retention.The labor organization wants the hospital to do more to protect nurse and patient safety, and keep wages and benefits competitive with other hospitals in the area.

Posted at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/10

Signs By Tomorrow posts new Web site

Signs By Tomorrow, which provides signage and graphics services, has a new Web site.The site offers various ways to find signage solutions, and information about the company's new corporate accounts program.The Tacoma franchise is at 3838 S. Warner St.

Posted at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/10

Vulnerable adult bills to be heard this week

Two state legislative committees are scheduled this week to hear bipartisan bills that would provide new protections for vulnerable adults. Both bills were requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna, based on the recommendations of participants in his 2007 Vulnerable Adults Summit.

Posted at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/10

Around the Sound

The City of Lacey is seeking public comment about updates to its Comprehensive Plan for Outdoor Recreation and the Shoreline Master Program at an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 City Hall, 420 College St. SE. If you are unable to attend the open house but would like to provide comments or receive additional information, contact parks director Lori Flemm at lflemm@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 491-0857, or principal planner David Burns at dburns@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 483-2637.

Posted at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/10

Furloughs for state offices mulled

A state senator has proposed closing state agencies one day a month for the next 16 months to help close Washington's $2.6 billion budget gap.Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, introduced Senate Bill 6503 on Friday. The closures would begin March 12 and last through June 10, 2011. Most of the closures would be on Fridays.

Posted at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

Around the Sound

The City of Lacey will accept public comment about updates to its Comprehensive Plan for Outdoor Recreation and the Shoreline Master Program during an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at City Hall, 420 College St. SE. If you are unable to attend the open house but would like to provide comments or receive additional information, contact parks director Lori Flemm at lflemm@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 491-0857, or principal planner David Burns at dburns@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 483-2637.

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

Tacoma receives $700K for economic development

Tacoma will receive $700,000 from the state's Strategic Reserve Fund to help retain and boost business within the city."We can rebuild our economic future by all working together," said Gov. Chris Gregoire. "With the infusion of these funds, Tacoma will be able to make investments that will help it keep and attract businesses."

Posted at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

Frito Lay earns Federal Way recycling award

The Frito Lay Distribution Center in Federal Way has earned the City of Federal Way's inaugural Leadership in Recycling Award for its commitment to sustainability. The award will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 33325 8th Ave S.

Posted at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

Trade show will have $3.6 million impact on Tacoma

01/15/10

Trade show will have $3.6 million impact on Tacoma

The Association of Pacific West Quilters signed a contract this morning making The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center the new home of the Pacific West Quilt Show through 2013. The event is moving from Seattle and is expected to bring about $3.6 million in economic revenue during its three-year contract, including abut 700 room nights  annually and 10,000 attendees. The group's leaders said they expect a larger turnout in Tacoma because many members will be more comfortable driving into Tacoma for the the weekend than fighting Seattle traffic.

Posted at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

Kent, Bellevue papers reducing print schedule

The Bellevue Reporter and Kent Reporter will be changing their publishing frequency from twice weekly to once per week on Friday beginning March 5.Josh O'Connor, vice president of East Sound Newspaper Operations for Sound Publishing Inc. said that both papers are purposefully reducing their frequency of distribution in favor of focusing more resources to publishing an online edition with breaking news content and regular community features.

Posted at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

Sumner taps Supler as interim administrator

Diane Supler will serve as Sumner's interim city administrator.  The process to select the next city administrator is expected to take a couple of months and involve input from council members, city employees and members of the community.

Posted at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

CPI inches up

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the December Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the last 12 months, the index increased 2.7 percent before seasonal adjustment. For the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton reporting area, the CPI-U increased 1.4 percent. The local Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased 2.1 percent compared to December 2008.

Posted at 09:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/10

REI to open store in Bozeman, Mont.

Recreational Equipment Inc.plans to open a 25,000-square-foot store this spring in Bozeman, Mont., at Stone Ridge Square.REI, which is based in Sumner, is a national outdoor retail co-op.

Posted at 09:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

People on the Move

Monica Brummer has been named adviser for the blue@gold, the student newspaper at Centralia College. She has a bachelor's degree in technical journalism/wildlife science from Oregon State University. Brummer is in her fourth year of teaching yoga and cardio physical education classes at the college. She also works for the Centralia Police Department organizing volunteers. She replaces T.R. Gratz who accepted a position within the college as dean of academic transfer programs.


Posted at 03:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

Parametrix chosen for biomass project

Parametrix is one of four companies selected to work with the state Department of Natural Resources on renewable energy projects using biomass from state forestlands.The pilot projects will use woody biomass - or residual waste - that the companies purchase in part from state trust lands managed by DNR.

Posted at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

Foundation awards $200K+ in nonprofit grants

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has awarded $213,497 to 35 nonprofit organizations serving Pierce County.The recipients were selected from an application process that began last July.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

Taxable retail sales decline

Taxable retail sales declined 11.4 percent to $2.7 billion in Pierce County during the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period during 2008, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported today.In Tacoma, sales were off 11.5 percent, falling to $965 million.

Posted at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

Council selects Boe, Mello

Members of the Tacoma City Council appointed David Boe to At-Large position No. 7 and Ryan Mello to At-Large position No. 8 at the special meeting this morning.The candidates were selected from 44 applicants.

Posted at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/14/10

Judge named 'Mentoring Champion'

The Pierce County Mentoring Partnership this morning recognized Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson as 2010 Champion of Mentoring. The jurist's efforts professionally, as presiding judge for Juvenile Court, and personally, as a parent, community member and mentor, were cited at the event marking January as National Mentoring Month.

Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Vangard among top firms

Vangard Inc. has been nominated for one of the international event industry's most prestigious awards.The Tacoma-based firm beat out some of the top international event design, décor and production firms for its nomination by Special Events Magazine for the Gala Award.

Posted at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

NW Sinfonietta adds Puyallup dates

In 2010, Northwest Sinfonietta will add Puyallup to its list of residencies that includes Tacoma's Rialto Theater and Seattle's Benaroya Hall. Pioneer Park Pavilion in downtown Puyallup will be home to the city's new professional resident orchestra, a partnership announced by Puyallup City Manager Gary McLean and NWS Board President James Sorensen.

Posted at 03:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Thurston County: State of the Community

Thurston County and its municipalities haven't been immune to the challenges presented by the longest economic recession since the Great Depression - but they are optimistic about the coming year.During the Thurston County Chamber Forum today, representatives of the county, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Yelm discussed "The State of the Community," and the difficulties they faced during 2009 from declining sales tax revenue, falling property values and continued demand for services.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Convention center lands major contract

The Association of Pacific West Quilters has announced that The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center will be the new home of the Pacific West Quilt Show starting next year.Previously held in Seattle, the weekend show is expected to draw 2,500 quilters daily from across the western United States to Tacoma every August.

Posted at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Small rise in consumer debt stress

Consumers - especially women - felt slightly more stress concerning their debt during December, but the increase was relatively small considering their holiday shopping spree.The Consumer Debt Stress Index was up less than 2 percent during December, to 119.8 from its November value of 118.

Posted at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Blog Watch: politics and tax revenue

With legislators assembled in Olympia to solve the state's budget deficit, business and labor interests are joining the discussions about where to find new tax revenue. Venerable observer Richard Davis has an opening blog with many links.Washington State Labor Council has this "Blood in the Water" blog viewpoint going into the session. It argues strongly for new revenues (i.e., taxes) from business.Tacoma Pierce County Chamber's blog offers some useful links to help businesspersons and all citizens keep track of what the legislature is considering, to encourage the sharing of citizens' opinions with lawmakers.

Posted at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Boeing gets $22M option from Air Force

Boeing has received a $22 million option to continue supporting the B-52 bomber under the Engineering Sustainment Program contract the company received from the U.S. Air Force during June. Under the $750 million, 10-year ESP contract, Boeing will continue to perform engineering assignments that maintain the B-52 as a ready, reliable and viable asset to the Air Force.

Posted at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

TGC to delist, deregister stock

Targeted Genetics Corp. has determined that the expense and management attention required for NASDAQ Capital Market and Securities and Exchange Commission compliance outweigh the benefits for the company and its shareholders at this time.TGC informed The NASDAQ Stock Market today of its decision not to pursue a reverse stock split as a means to regain compliance with the NASDAQ's $1 per share minimum bid price requirement. As a result, the company anticipates that the NASDAQ Hearings Panel will issue a final determination to delist its common stock and NASDAQ will suspend trading of TGC stock Jan. 15.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Wii not just for games anymore

Nintendo of America Inc. and Netflix Inc. have signed an agreement that will allow Netflix members who also own a Nintendo Wii home console to instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix directly to their televisions.Netflix is scheduled to go live on the Wii console this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection.

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/13/10

Thurston County going offline

A planned network outage will shut down Thurston County's Web site and also interrupt some other services this weekend.Thurston County Central Services Information Technology is reconfiguring the main network room. The first part of this major project is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday and continue through Monday.

Posted at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/12/10

People on the Move

Former Seattle City Light Strategic Advisor Lisa Rennie is now Tacoma Public Utilities' new sustainability policy manager. Rennie will work toward continuing Tacoma Public Utilities' sustainability efforts while it efficiently and effectively provides utility services to customers. She will help set sustainability goals and work to ensure that the organization meets them. Rennie also will participate in policy and legislative discussions related to climate change and other environmental impact areas. She will serve as the liaison to the City of Tacoma General Government's Sustainability Office.Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. announced that Bob Jirsa has been named vice president, government relations; he will continue to oversee the company's government relations program. John Hobbs has been named vice president, investor relations and will continue to lead the company's investor relations function. Dan Tucker has been named vice president, tax and will continue to lead the company's tax department. Jirsa joined Plum Creek during 1994 as director, corporate affairs. Prior to that, he was with Alaska Airlines, serving as vice president of public affairs, and with ARCO as director of government affairs. Hobbs joined Plum Creek during 2001 as director of investor relations. He previously was the director of investor relations with Georgia Pacific in Atlanta. Tucker joined Plum Creek during 1998 as director of tax. Prior to that, he was a senior tax manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young.

Posted at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/12/10

Boeing delivers 4th KC-767 tanker to Japan

The Boeing Co. has delivered the last of four KC-767 aerial refueling tankers to the Japan Ministry of Defense.Boeing's partner on the Japan Tanker program, Itochu Corp., handed over the KC-767 advanced tanker to Japan Ministry of Defense officials. Assigned to the 1st Airlift Wing of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force at Komaki Air Base, it is the third consecutive KC-767 tanker to be delivered to Boeing's Japan customer within the contracted schedule and budget.

Posted at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/12/10

Smaller raises, fewer freezes

Having struggled with cost-containment challenges during the past 18 months, which resulted in work force reductions and salary freezes, more organizations are planning to grant pay increases during 2010 as the economy begins to show signs of improvement.According to Mercer's 2009/2010 US Compensation Planning Survey Update, the number of organizations freezing salaries has declined compared to last year. While challenging economic conditions drove 30 percent of employers to freeze salaries across the board during 2009, just 14 percent are planning across-the-board freezes this year.

Posted at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/12/10

Boeing to provide IBCS support to Army

The Boeing Co. has been chosen to provide systems design, development and testing services for the U.S. Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.IBCS is part of the Army's modernization effort; it will integrate current and future air and missile defense systems into a common battle command system.

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/12/10

Trade deficit widens

The U.S. trade deficit increased $3.2 billion during November when compared to the previous month.The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said today that total November exports of $138.2 billion and imports of $174.6 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $36.4 billion, up from $33.2 billion during October.

Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/11/10

WWEE gets $55,500 for REACH program

Washington Women's Employment & Education, with offices in Tacoma and Kent, was awarded four grants during December for its flagship program,  Reaching Employability and Achieving Career Habits, or REACH Plus. The 175-hour, five-week program teaches the skills and behaviors people need to obtain living-wage jobs or get further education for long-term careers.

Posted at 02:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

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