Jan 11, 201212:00 AMBlog

January 2012

04/12/12

Steel imports down in December

Steel imports totaled $2.2 billion (1.8 million metric tons) during December, a decrease of 100,000 metric tons from the preliminary November totals of $2.4 billion (1.9 million metric tons), according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Census Bureau.The change reflected decreases primarily in plates in coils and oil country goods and an increase primarily in line pipe greater than 16 inches in diameter.

Posted at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Jan. 31, 2012. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: Shift Happens event. Join us Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.

Posted at 05:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Department of Revenue publishes tax exemptions for 2012

The state Department of Revenue's 2012 edition of its compilation of tax exemptions, credits and preferential tax rates is now available online.The report presents a detailed listing of tax exemptions for state and local taxes. It lists 640 exemptions but focuses on 452 that would likely increase state revenue if eliminated. The remaining exemptions are not likely to increase revenue because of constitutional prohibitions against taxing certain activities, property tax rate limitations or possible changes in taxpayer reporting behavior.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Airport Advisory Commission has vacancy

The Thun Field Advisory Commission is seeking applicants to fill one position to represent South Hill residents. The commission meets bi-monthly to review issues related to the Pierce County Thun Field airport and other properties within 1,000 feet of the airport.The unpaid positions require applicants to be current South Hill residents. The term expires April 12, 2016.

Posted at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

People on the Move

Tom Caniglia has joined the Windermere Professional Partners office in DuPont. He is a military veteran and operated several businesses before becoming a Realtor seven years ago.Marti Reeder has been named a Five Star Professional Real Estate Agent by Seattle magazine. She is a Realtor at John L. Scott in Kent. Reeder has more than 25 years of industry experience and has earned the following professional designations: Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer's Representative and Accredited Seller's Representative. She also is an Accredited Staging Professional and a Certified Pre-Foreclosure Specialist.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

UWT's Joy Building receives highest green certification

The Green Building Certification Institute has awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Platinum certification -- the highest possible, most rigorous certification in the LEED system -- to the University of Washington Tacoma's Russell T. Joy Building. The Joy Building is the first in Tacoma and first in the University of Washington to achieve a Platinum rating in the "new construction/major remodel" LEED system. It is the second state-funded building to receive the recognition.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

McGovern among Harlequin award recipients

Once upon a time, in the land of books and publishing, Harlequin asked readers, authors and fans to help choose the recipients for the 2012 Harlequin More Than Words award - a program that recognizes and rewards women making extraordinary contributions to their community.The story continues when the winning recipients, including Helen McGovern, who oversees Emergency Food Network are paired up with Harlequin authors and the recipients' journeys become the inspiration for three fictional short stories, which will be available in 2013 in ebook format to download at no cost.

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Homeownership rate falls

The homeownership rate in the United States fell from 66.9 percent during the third quarter of 2010 to 66.3 percent in Q3 2011, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3 percent during the fourth quarter 2011, 4 points lower than Q4 2010. The rental vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 9.4 percent, unchanged from a year earlier.

Posted at 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Free tax help on tap on Super Refund Saturday

KeyBank, United Way of King County and Highline Community College are coming together to help tax payers breathe easier by hosting "Super Refund Saturday" on Feb. 4.The event will provide free income tax preparation to low- and moderate-income wage earners, especially those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Free tax return assistance also will be available for small businesses that report on a Schedule C.

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Scorecard shows hiring down, optimism up

2012 began with month-over-month hiring down 0.2 percent and paycheck size remaining flat, according to Surepayroll's Small Business Scorecard for January.The report also showed small business optimism increasing to 65 percent, compared to 63 percent during December. The all-time low was 33 percent recorded during September.

Posted at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Executives say humor a key part of cultural fit

Is it good to LOL at work? A new survey from Accountemps suggests it could be.Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) chief financial officers interviewed said an employee's sense of humor is important for fitting into the company's corporate culture.

Posted at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Study shows third-party debt collection impact on economy

Third-party debt collectors recovered $55 billion nationwide and $1.3 billion in Washington during 2010, according to a study conducted by The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals International and Ernst and Young.The study also showed that third-party collection agencies directly employed 148,272 people in the United States with a payroll of $5 billion. Indirectly, they influenced the creation of 300,000 jobs with a payroll of $10 billion. Washington collection agencies directly employed 3,213 people with a payroll of $100 million.  Indirectly, they influenced a total of 6,438 jobs in Washington with a payroll of $200 million.

Posted at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/31/12

Compensation costs rise

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) also increased 0.4 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.6 percent.Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2 percent for 2011, the same as the increase a year earlier. Wages and salaries increased 1.4 percent last year and benefit costs increased 3.2 percent.

Posted at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

Tacoma is 'shifting' now

01/30/12

Tacoma is 'shifting' now

Tacoma Shift Happens 2012 kicked off today at 1 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. The goal of the "Go Local" event is to celebrate local, independent business and shift attendees' priorities to putting local living first."We tend to focus on one big company that has a thousand employees," said Patricia Levy-Davis, president and co-founder of Go Local. "But what we are unaware of is there are over 6,000 independent businesses in Tacoma and that makes a huge impact on our tax base, our community involvement and jobs in general."This year's event began with Sustainability Smart Labs on Entrepreneurship. Participants not only listened to speakers, but also were asked to participate in several exercises, including at one point throwing paper airplanes that had ideas on them.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/30/12

Around the Sound

Fife Milton Edgewood Chamber is hosting a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, 5700 Pacific Highway East. The cost is $20 for members in advance and $30 at the door for everyone. E-mail aaron@fifechamber.org for more information.Kent Chamber of Commerce is hosting a membership luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St. The speaker is Joni Earl, chief executive officer of Sound Transit. The cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Click here or call (253) 854-1770 for more information.

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/30/12

National truck driving organization recertifies Bates program

The Professional Truck Driver Institute has granted Bates Technical College's Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level program recertification.PTDI certification, valid for five years, means the career education program meets or exceeds industry standards. The certification also helps ensure graduates are adequately qualified to safely handle the demands of the truck driving profession.

Posted at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/30/12

Index shows continued yet slow job growth

U.S. small businesses created 50,000 new jobs during January but paid employees less and gave them fewer hours, according to the latest Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment Index.The monthly report found that small business employment nationwide grew by 0.2 percent, equating to an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent. Hiring in Washington grew by 0.7 percent. Average monthly hours worked nationwide decreased by 0.05 percent, or six minutes, while average monthly compensation also decreased by 0.1 percent, or $3.

Posted at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/12

Evergreen among top 10 on Peace Corps college rankings

The Evergreen State College ranks 10th in the nation on Peace Corps' 2012 rankings of colleges and universities in the small category (less than 5,000 undergraduates). This ranking is up from 11th in 2011.There are currently 20 Evergreen undergraduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Since 1961, more than 200 Evergreen alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers.

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/12

Nonresidential fixed investment up 1.7%

Nonresidential fixed investment increased 1.7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, following a revised 15.7 percent increase in the previous quarter, according to the latest gross domestic product report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.Nonresidential fixed investment in structures fell 7.2 percent for the quarter after increasing 14.4 percent during the third quarter and 22.6 percent in the second quarter of last year. Nonresidential fixed investment in equipment and software was up 5.2 percent during the fourth quarter, following a 16.2 percent increase in the third quarter.

Posted at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/12

Around the Sound

Thurston Economic Development Council his hosting a local energy convergence forum from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia. The cost is $30. Click here for more information or to register.Fife Milton Edgewood Chamber is hosting a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, 5700 Pacific Highway East. The cost is $20 for members in advance and $30 at the door for everyone. E-mail aaron@fifechamber.org for more information.

Posted at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/12

Sprinker's new ice rink opens Saturday

After an eight-month renovation, Pierce County will open the new ice rink at Sprinker Recreation Center on Saturday. The $6.5 million project included a new roof, a new rink and refrigeration equipment for the 35-year-old facility in Spanaway. The ice rink portion of the building had been threatened with closure in 2010 because of structural concerns, but county officials found a way to address critical needs with existing funding.

Posted at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Washington business leaders say state on wrong track

More than three-quarters of respondents in a survey of Association of Washington Business members believe the state is generally going in the wrong direction - and more than half don't see things improving in the next 12 months.Employers surveyed said the biggest issue facing their businesses is complying with government regulations (25 percent), a lack of customers or clients (24 percent) and the cost of health care (21 percent).

Posted at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Cornerstone Financial Strategies relocates to downtown Tacoma

Cornerstone Financial Strategies LLC has moved from University Place to downtown Tacoma. The firm's new offices are at 505 Broadway, Suite 400.Bill Pickles RFC and Brad Berger CFP, CLF, are Cornerstone's owners and managing partners.

Posted at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

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.Lewis CountyIn December, the Nursing Assistant Program denied the application of registered nursing assistant applicant Lisa J. Sipe. She was convicted of child molestation.

Posted at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

People on the Move

Bill Ecker has joined Pease Construction Inc. as director of business development. He has more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, and also has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental accreditation and is a Designated Design Build Professional.Robin Corak has been named chief executive officer for Multi-Service Center, a Federal Way-based human services agency. She has held management positions with Multi-Service Center since 2005, the past two years as the agency's chief operations officer.

Posted at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Washington AG, Facebook target 'clickjackers'

If you use Facebook, the world's top social networking site, you may have "liked" an Internet scheme without even knowing it - and unwittingly helped spread the scam to your Facebook friends.But today, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Facebook announced the latest step in an ongoing fight against spammers and scammers: a lawsuit against the co-owners of Adscend Media, LLC, an ad network that is alleged to develop and encourage others to spread spam through misleading and deceptive tactics, including the one known as "clickjacking."
 Facebook also has filed a lawsuit against Adscend and its owners.

Posted at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

ODA honors Snyder, Corso and ROXY

Olympia Downtown Association honored the following individuals and businesses during its annual meeting.Ruth Snyder, a downtown code enforcement officer for the City of Olympia, was named ODA Person of the Year.Volunteer of the Year recognition went to Mary Corso, owner of Courtyard Antiques and 945 ROXY Radio was named Business of the Year.

Posted at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Demand for durable goods increases

New orders for manufactured durable goods during December increased $6.2 billion, or 3 percent, to $214.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. The boost in demand, up five of the last six months, followed a 4.3 percent November increase.Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.1 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.5 percent.

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Work/life balance, learning opportunities key for job satisfaction

Want to know the way to an employee's heart? Professionals interviewed by OfficeTeam identified work/life balance (28 percent) and opportunities to learn and grow (27 percent) as the top contributors to their job satisfaction. The results are in line with those from a similar survey in which managers were asked about the factors most tied to employee morale.The survey of workers also revealed differences by age: Respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 were most concerned with work/life balance (46 percent), and those between the ages of 18 and 34 indicated the greatest interest in opportunities to learn and grow (37 percent).

Posted at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Agriculture products help boost Tacoma's 2011 container exports

Increased exports of agriculture products helped boost the Port of Tacoma's full containerized export volumes by 11 percent last year.Agriculture products account for more than half of the port's full containerized exports. Leading agriculture exports through Tacoma include potatoes, hops and hay.

Posted at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Job relocation falls to near record low

After rising to its highest level in nearly two years during the first half of 2011, the percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions dropped to a near record low to finish the year, according to global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.The latest data provides further evidence that one of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery could be the lack of mobility among the nation's unemployed.

Posted at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Homes sales end year lower

Sales of new single-family houses fell during December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.The total was 2.2 percent below the revised November rate of 314,000 and 7.3 percent lower than the December 2010 estimate of 331,000. The median sales price of new houses sold last month was $210,300 and the average sales price was $266,000.

Posted at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Washington businesses get record tax break in 2011

Washington employers will collect a record $56 million in 2011 federal tax credits because they hired certain hard-to-place job seekers. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,400 in tax savings per worker to businesses that hire military veterans, the disabled, ex-inmates, food-stamp recipients and individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income.  Additionally, businesses that hire long-term welfare recipients can save as much as $9,000 per person over two years.

Posted at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Preliminary economic forecast shows revised growth

Washington's economy is expected to outperform the nation, according to the preliminary February report issued by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.Washington is benefiting from strong export growth and hiring at both Boeing and Microsoft, the report said. The council has raised its job growth forecast for 2012 and 2013 to 1.6 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent. It also has raised the forecast for personal income growth to 3 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, from 2.8 percent and 4.7 percent.

Posted at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Lakewood seeking storm damage info

Economic development officials at the City of Lakewood are in the process of determining the extent of damages to local businesses that resulted from last week's snow and ice storm. If the amount of damages reaches a certain dollar threshold, assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration may be available to help businesses recover from the damages.The city is currently working to determine how many and to what extent businesses in Lakewood incurred "economic injury" as a result of the severe weather. Economic injury is defined as either a loss of revenue because of an interruption in business activity or physical damage to the business's property.

Posted at 09:18 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

L&I extends filing deadline due to storm slowdown

The state Department of Labor & Industries is extending its quarterly filing deadline for State Fund employers to submit their workers' compensation premiums from midnight Jan. 31 to midnight Feb. 3. Employers will be allowed this extra time because of the recent snow storm that shut down businesses in much of the state."So many businesses were hard hit by loss of power and access to computers during last week's ice storm," said Beth Dupre, Assistant Director for Insurance Services. "Many lost several days of productive work. It's our hope that this extension will help our customers as they recover from this disruption."

Posted at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/26/12

Columbia Banking System profits up for Q4, year

Columbia Banking System, Inc. reported net income applicable to common shareholders of $14.8 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, an increase of 17 percent compared to net income of $12.6 million for the same quarter of 2010.  On a diluted earnings per common share basis, net income rose 16 percent to 37 cents for the fourth quarter, compared with net income of 32 cents per share a year earlier.Net income applicable to common shareholders for the year ended Dec. 31 was $48 million, an increase of 86 percent from net income of $25.8 million for 2010.  On a diluted per common share basis, net income for 2011 was $1.21 compared with 72 cents a year earlier.

Posted at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

State's long-term care partnership wins federal approval

The Washington State Health Care Authority, the legislature, Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the federal government have completed 
changes in law, administrative rules and State Plan Amendments that will provide 
some additional long-term care insurance options for individuals planning for their future care needs. Similar forms of the Washington State Long-Term Care Partnership, which was approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Dec. 27, 
have already been adopted by a number of other states as authorized in 2005 federal Deficit Reduction legislation. The partnership applies to services provided at home, 
in a community setting or in an institution.

Posted at 03:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Goodwill offering free tax help, filing

Goodwill's VITA program is kicking off another tax season by offering free tax assistance during the annual KeyBank Super Refund Saturday and every Tuesday and Thursday through the federal tax deadline on April 17. The Super Refund Saturday event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4 at Milgard Work Opportunity Center, 714 27th Ave., Tacoma. RSVP to Kim Houg at (253) 573-6698.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Blog watch: Business savvy, parking, billboards and 'Buy American'

The Live Wire talks about "being business basic savvy."BIA Blog looks at proposed changes to Tacoma's downtown off-street parking requirements.

Posted at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

DuPont OKs watershed restoration, mining permit application deal

DuPont City Council has approved a settlement agreement allowing development of a plan to restore the Sequalitchew Creek watershed, including Edmond Marsh.  The agreement also allows CalPortland Co. to apply for gravel mining and reclamation permits in areas adjacent to its existing mine. CalPortland will provide funding for developing, reviewing, permitting and implementing the restoration plan.

Posted at 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Private sector bias charges hit all-time high

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received a record 99,947 charges of employment discrimination and obtained $455.6 million in relief through its administrative program and litigation during Fiscal Year 2011.For the second year in a row, despite a record number of receipts, the commission resolved more charges than it took in with 112,499 resolutions (7,500 more resolutions than FY 2010 - an increase of 7 percent) - leaving 78,136 pending charges, a 10 percent decrease in its inventory, the first year the agency has seen a reduction since 2002.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Walmart Foundation gives $375K to state nonprofits

Walmart's Washington State Giving Council has awarded 10 grants totaling $375,000 to nonprofit organizations across the state. The grantees are all focused on addressing basic needs, including hunger and job training. Organizations receiving grants include:

Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Governor asks DOR to grant filing extensions to businesses affected by storm

Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked the Washington State Department of Revenue to grant tax return filing extensions to businesses affected by last week's winter storm."The heavy snowfall and freezing rain resulted in road conditions and power outages that clearly affected the ability of some businesses to file their state excise tax returns on time," Gregoire said. "I have asked DOR to grant filing extensions to these businesses, and to waive penalties for those unable to meet the deadline. This request won't impact the state's tax collections. It merely pushes it back a bit to give our business owners who need it a much needed break."

Posted at 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/25/12

Identity crisis targets businesses

Identity theft crimes are not limited to individuals. Businesses also can become victims and Better Business Bureau is warning of a recent surge in business identity theft."Impostors hijack and exploit information from legitimate organizations to swindle unsuspecting consumers," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

Posted at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Jan. 24, 2012. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: Google privacy changes, State of the Union Address and more! Join us Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.

Posted at 04:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

People on the Move

Joyce McDonald has been elected chair of the Pierce County Council. She represents District 2. Rick Talbert, who represents District 5 was named vice chair and Dick Muri, who represents District 6, was chose to serve as executive pro teem for a fourth consecutive year.Mike Davis CSI, CDT, AACE, has joined Rush Commercial as business development manager/chief estimator. He has 26 years of design-build construction experience and has taught construction management at the post-secondary level.

Posted at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

December jobless figures rise throughout South Sound

Unemployment was higher throughout the South Sound during December, according to the latest data from the state Employment Security Department.The jobless rate in Pierce County rose from 8.8 percent during November to 9.1 percent last month.

Posted at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

Survey finds executives more open to salary negotiation

Job seekers who want potential employers to "show them the money" may be in luck, a new Robert Half survey suggests. More than one-third (38 percent) of executives interviewed said they are more willing to negotiate salary with top candidates than they were a year ago. Just 5 percent of respondents said they are less willing to negotiate."Job seekers, especially those with skills in high demand, are gaining leverage in salary discussions today," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Still, there are many things that can go wrong when negotiating pay and candidates should approach these discussions with a clear understanding of how far they should take the conversation."

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

Sportsmen's Show opens tomorrow

Action-packed "DockDogs" events, an indoor "Steelhead River," "Head & Horns" competition, camp cooking, around-the-clock seminars, a Kid's Free Trout Pond and other crowd-pleasers are on tap at this year's Washington Sportsmen's Show.The event is scheduled for Jan. 25-29 at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.Click here or call (503) 246-8291 for more information.

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/24/12

Businesses asked to report storm damage

Pierce County's Economic Development Division is assessing how the damage has affected businesses.  If a specific threshold is reached, certain federal programs may be made available to help the region recover. If you experienced damage, fill out the "Economic Injury Worksheet" and e-mail it to Hans Kueck. This is not an application for funds or a loan.  It is meant only to determine how much damage the county's business community suffered.For more information, call (253) 798-2335.

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

NWMLS says housing sales up during 2011

Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service tallied 56,290 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums during 2011, improving on 2010's volume by 4,290 transactions for a 7.4 percent increase.Last year's completed sales included 48,952 single-family homes (up 7 percent from 2010) and 7,338 condominiums (an increase of more than 10 percent from 2009). Together, these sales were valued at more than $16.7 billion, about $900 million less than the previous year (a decline of 5.1 percent).

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Join us on Twitter for #BEchat

Every Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., the Twitter search tag #BEchat is flowing with messages from local business people discussing various topics.

You never know who you will "meet" or what you will learn. Join us tomorrow for an open chat. Click here for more information.

Posted at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Anchor Bancorp posts Q2 profit

Anchor Bancorp, the holding company for Anchor Bank, reported net income of $93,000, or 4 cents per diluted share, for its fiscal second quarter, which ended Dec. 31.That compares to a net loss of $126,000 which the Lacey-based company reported for the same period a year earlier.

Posted at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Alaska USA opens Olympia branch

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has opened its first branch in Olympia inside Top Food & Drug at 1313 Cooper Point Road SW. The credit union now operates 19 branches in Washington, including a new branch in Port Orchard.Both new branches offer a full range of credit union services, including ATMs and Self-Service Centers, and are open seven days a week.

Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

U.S. HealthWorks expands in Lacey

U.S. HealthWorks has acquired Pacific Walk-In Clinic at 3928 Pacific Ave. SW, Lacey.The acquisition brings the number of U.S. HealthWorks operated medical centers in Washington to 18 and increases the number of centers and worksite locations to 174 nationwide. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Posted at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Around the Sound

Business Examiner is hosting Who's Who - South King County from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at Cafe Pacific Catering, 4402 Auburn Way North. The cost is $30 and includes a complimentary digital copy of the 2012 Book of Lists (a $35 value). Click here or call (253) 404-0891 for more information.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan 25 at Heritage Bank, 5119 Olympic Drive NW. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Poll: No state bank, no mandatory paid sick days


On the eve of a big regulatory press conference tomorrow at the State Capitol, Washington's leading small-business association has released the results of its annual member poll.
NFIB will be a participant in tomorrow's press conference, organized by the Washington Policy Center, at 2:30 p.m. in the John A. Cherberg Building conference room at the state Capitol campus. WPC will present its suggested reforms of the state's regulatory climate that it gathered from its biennial statewide Small Business Conference.


Posted at 01:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

MultiCare, Franciscan among top U.S. health organizations

Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System and Franciscan Health System are among of the best-performing and most efficient health organizations in the United States, according to IMS Health.MultiCare is No. 10 and Franciscan is No. 18 on the Top 100 Integrated Health Networks list.

Posted at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Ethics Commission needs volunteer

The Pierce County Executive's Office is accepting applications to fill an expired Ethics Commission position. The citizen commission is responsible for promoting and upholding ethical conduct in Pierce County government. Applicants must be registered to vote in Washington, reside in Pierce County and licensed to practice law in Washington. Ethics commissioners also may not hold or campaign for elective office, be an officer of any political party or political committee, be a lobbyist, assist a lobbyist or employ a lobbyist.

Posted at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Pierce still accepting damage reports

The Pierce County Emergency Operations Center will continue collecting damage information from homeowners and business owners affected by last week's ice and snow storms.Residents and business owners that suffered damage should call the Pierce County Damage Assessment Center at (866) 798-6363 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Posted at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

15 seconds long enough for online ads

Less is better when it comes to viewing online ads.A Poll Position national scientific telephone survey asked, "When you go online to view free content, what do you think is the acceptable duration of an online advertisement you must view before seeing free content?"

Posted at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/12

Providence gains national recognition

The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: Health System Benchmarks has named Providence Health & Services among the top 20 percent of best-performing systems in the country.Providence was recognized for saving more lives, better long-term outcomes, better adherence to accepted care protocols and patient-safety standards, shorter hospital stays, higher patient-satisfaction scores and fewer patient complications.

Posted at 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

Around the Sound

Business Examiner is hosting Who's Who - South King County from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at Cafe Pacific Catering, 4402 Auburn Way North. The cost is $30 and includes a complimentary digital copy of the 2012 Book of Lists (a $35 value). Click here or call (253) 404-0891 for more information.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Heritage Bank, 5119 Olympic Drive NW. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

Washington's unemployment rate, job numbers down in December

December's labor statistics from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics once again produced conflicting data about what's happening in Washington's economy. According to the bureau's monthly survey of Washington households, the estimated unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in November to 8.5 percent during December. This was the lowest since February 2009, when the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.At the same time, a survey of Washington businesses showed an estimated job loss of 10,700 from November to December.

Posted at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

Pierce County accepting damage reports

The Pierce County Emergency Operations Center today will begin collecting damage information from homeowners and business owners affected by this week's winter storm.Residents and business owners in Pierce County that suffered damage should call the Pierce County Damage Assessment Center at (866) 798-6363 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Posted at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

BLRB gets nod for historic remodel design

Tacoma-based BLRB Architects will design the remodel for the historic Washington Elementary School building, if the Tacoma School Board approves the administration's recommendation at its Jan. 26 meeting.A staff team selected BLRB as the top firm from among three finalists interviewed Jan. 11.

Posted at 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

WGU Washington doubles enrollment in first six months

In its first six months, online university WGU Washington has more than doubled its enrollment, underlining the demand for non-traditional, affordable higher education options for the state's adult learners.WGU Washington was established by the legislature in April 2011 in partnership with Western Governors University. WGU Washington enrolled its first students on July 1, 2011, which included existing WGU students living in the Evergreen State - a total of 983 students.

Posted at 09:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

WSDOT, WSP face challenges to keep roadways open, passable

Two Washington State Department of Transportation workers injured yesterday while helping keep state roadways open during the winter storm are expected to make full recoveries.But Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said these incidents, plus other situations faced by WSDOT employees and State Patrol troopers, highlight the dangers emergency responders face as they work to keep the state's transportation system functional against difficult weather odds.

Posted at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

Tacoma Power creates new tool for reporting outages and downed lines

Tacoma Power has created an online outage reporting tool for customers having trouble reporting their outages using the (253) 502-8602 outage reporting line. Customers can now visit  www.mytpu.org/outagereport to report an outage.The utility has received many reports of downed or damaged power lines. Many of those lines are ones that run from the pole to the customer's home. To determine if the problem is isolated to a single home, customers should see if their neighbors have power. If they do, customers should report the outage to Tacoma Power either through the phone (253) 502-8602 or website and should note that the problem is at their home only.

Posted at 09:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/20/12

Flooding possible as temperatures rise and snow melts

Warmer temperatures are expected to move in to the region over the next few days, diminishing the hazards from snow and frozen roadways. However, the thawing brings with it the chance of scattered flooding in low-lying areas and the potential for river flooding by next week.National Weather Service officials say all areas could see excessive surface runoff with ponding of water around clogged drains or culverts. Some streams may go over their banks particularly in the areas of deep lowland snow and heavier rain like the southwest interior. Motorists are reminded not to drive through standing water.

Posted at 09:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

Governor proclaims winter storm emergency

Gov. Chris Gregoire today issued a proclamation that ensures the delivery of valuable dairy products across Washington state. The proclamation would also - if needed - allow the activation of the Washington National Guard and free up state agencies to take extraordinary steps to help local jurisdictions during the current winter storm.Gregoire signed the proclamation into effect on Jan. 18. The proclamation:

Posted at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

People on the Move

Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics has named its medical officers and appointed its chiefs of service for 2012. Officers include: Kevin  J. Roscoe M.D., board-certified in radiology, chief of staff; Dean E. Gushee M.D., board-certified in emergency medicine, assistant chief of staff; Albert Michael Keep M.D., board-certified in family medicine, secretary;  and Timothy J. Weber M.D., board-certified in family medicine, past chief of staff. Clinical chief of service department heads include: Anesthesia - Deborah A. Hartley CRNA;  Intensive Care Unit - Mark L. Schlauderaff M.D.;  Emergency Services - Dean E. Gushee M.D.;  Infant and Children's Services - Maria Rowena Carreon Ramirez M.D.;  Laboratory Services - J. Michael Odell M.D.;  Medical/Surgical - Christopher W. Penoyar D.O.;  Nutritional Services - Douglas F. Lindahl D.O.;  Obstetrics - Nkemdilium Nwosa M.D.;  Physical Therapy - Frederick J. Davis M.D.;  Respiratory Therapy - Douglas F. Lindahl D.O.;  Surgery - Eldie L. Cruz M.D.;  and Radiology - Kevin  J. Roscoe M.D.Public Hospital District No. 1, the governing body of Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics - MGH Ankle & Foot, MGH Eye Clinic, MGH Family Health, MGH Shelton Orthopedics, MGH Surgery Clinic, Mountain View Women's Health Clinic, Oakland Bay Pediatrics and Shelton Family Medicine has elected officers for its 2012 Board of Hospital Commissioners. Nancy Trucksess of Shelton was selected as president. Scott Hilburn of Shelton is secretary and Don Wilson of Potlatch is a trustee.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

Washington Society of CPAs offering free 'finder' service

If 2011 was a year of big changes for you - marriage, divorce, new job, small business start-up or retirement - or you don't feel confident that you're taking advantage of all the tax credits and deductions available to you, maybe this is the tax season you should start working with a Certified Professional Accountant.The Washington Society of CPAs has an easy-to-use online feature, "Find a CPA," which allows individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations to do a simple search through a directory of member CPAs.

Posted at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

Washington's tribal economic contribution grows

Washington's 29 tribal governments are having a significant and growing beneficial impact to the state.Tribal governments are reinvesting their enterprise revenue in new ventures that are creating jobs and business opportunities across numerous sectors of the economy and in every geographic area, according to an analysis by Jonathan B. Taylor, a nationally-known economist who presented his findings to a state legislative committee.

Posted at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

Consumer Price Index holds steady

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was unchanged during December 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 percent before seasonal adjustment.Similar to the previous month, the energy index declined during December and offset increases in other indexes. The gasoline index declined for the third month in a row and the household energy index declined as well. The food index rose in December, with the index for food at home turning up after declining during November.

Posted at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/19/12

Real average hourly earnings tick up

Real average hourly earnings for all employees rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent from November to December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The change stems from a 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings, while the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers remained unchanged.Real average weekly earnings rose 0.5 percent over the month as a result of the increase in real average hourly earnings and a 0.3 percent rise in the average workweek.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Blog watch: Attainment, opening, dragon and fix

The Live Wire looks at "attainment plan."BIA Blog looks at the Children's Museum grand opening.

Posted at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Port of Tacoma open; Terminal 7 closed

Port of Tacoma is operating with reduced staff, but port-operated Terminal 7 is closed today because of snowfall.Rail service is operating as normal at the North Intermodal Yard and Union Pacific's domestic service in the South Intermodal Yard. Port maintenance crews are plowing rail yards and terminals, and spreading sand and de-icer as necessary.

Posted at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Construction materials prices fall during December

In a reflection of slumping, worldwide demand for construction, materials prices fell 0.2 percent during December, according the U.S. Department of Labor. Construction materials prices were down 0.9 percent during the fourth quarter but were 5.3 percent higher than a year earlier.Steel mill prices fell 0.6 percent during December and were down 1.3 percent for the quarter. However, steel mill prices were still up 11.3 percent year over year. Softwood lumber prices decreased 0.4 percent for the month and were 2 percent higher for the quarter, but were down 0.4 percent for the year. Prices for nonferrous wire and cable slipped 0.1 percent for the month, were down 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter and were down 1.5 percent for the year.

Posted at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

AWB manufacturing report highlights industry concerns

A report issued by the Association of Washington Business and its nonprofit AWB Institute underscores the value of the manufacturing industry to the state's economy while highlighting several key competitiveness concerns."Challenges & Opportunities for Manufacturers in Washington State," features the findings from a three-month, six-city tour conducted by the business group, talking with manufacturers about key issues affecting employment and the general business climate.

Posted at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

AWOB seeks top women business leaders

Women owned businesses are playing an ever larger role in our community. The Alliance of Women Owned Businesses wants to recognize the tremendous difference these leaders can make.The organization is accepting nomination applications for its 2012 Crystal Star awards. The alliance intends to recognize Kitsap, Pierce and Mason county women business owners who inspire, open doors, and make a difference today and tomorrow.

Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

WGU a top military-friendly school - again

For the fifth consecutive year, nonprofit, online Western Governors University has been named to Military Advanced Education's 2012 Guide to Top Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities.WGU Washington is a state-endorsed university established by the legislature last year. WGU Washington is one of three state partnerships with Western Governors University and shares the same educational model.

Posted at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Weyerhaeuser announces tax treatment of 2011 dividends

For shareholders of Weyerhaeuser Co., the total dividend distributions made in 2011 per share of Common Stock Cusip 96216610 traded under the symbol WY are to be classified for income tax purposes as capital gain distribution.The dividends, totaling 60 cents per share, were paid quarterly.

Posted at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Producer Price Index falls during December, up for 2011

The Producer Price Index for finished goods declined at a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for finished goods moved up 0.3 percent during November and fell 0.3 percent in October.At the earlier stages of processing, the index for intermediate goods decreased 0.5 percent during December and crude goods prices moved down 1.1 percent.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/12

Storm causes closures, but Tacoma, Olympia city offices remain open

City of Tacoma offices will remain open today, but will have reduced staffing. All non-essential staff who feel that they cannot make it to work safely are allowed to use leave time and stay home today.For more information about any additional closures throughout the day, follow the City of Tacoma on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cityoftacoma or search for CityofTacoma on Facebook.City Hall in Olympia also will be open with limited staffing depending on who is able to make it to work.

Posted at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

Area's biggest community garage sale coming to Lewis County

For sellers and shoppers alike, March 31 could be the biggest garage sale day of this year. Vendors are already claiming booths as the Southwest Washington Fair & Expo Center, located between Chehalis and Centralia, prepares for its annual "Spring Community Garage Sale."What started eight years ago with 30 vendors in one building, has grown into an event which takes over virtually an entire fairgrounds.

Posted at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

HCC board endorses legislative efforts to secure new funds

Highline Community College's Board of Trustees has approved a resolution to support legislative efforts to secure new revenues.The state's budget reductions have left the college with diminished resources necessary to carry out its mission and meet the educational needs of the community. Last year, the state allocation to the Des Moines-based school dropped 20 percent, from $25 million to $20 million. Additional reductions foreseen for the 2011-13 biennium will likely prevent another 1,000 students from attending HCC.

Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

AWB names 2012 Better Workplace Awards recipients

The Association of Washington Business has honored seven private employers for their commitment to workplace excellence, innovation and safety.The recipients of the 2012 Better Workplace Awards include:

Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

5 apparent successful bidders in HCA managed care procurement

The Health Care Authority says five health plans have been evaluated and qualified as 
apparently successful bidders on 2012-13 contracts that will provide managed care for more than 700,000 Medicaid clients 
and Basic Health subscribers in Washington.The health plans, all managed care organizations, are Amerigroup, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care Corp., Molina Healthcare of Washington and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

Posted at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

People on the Move

Teena Williams has joined RE/Max Professionals, Tacoma. She has worked in the real estate industry since 2005 and specializes in real estate law.Lori Tetreault has joined RE/Max Professionals, Tacoma. She specializes in residential real estate and property management and has worked in the real estate industry since 2000.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

Ernst & Young seeking outstanding entrepreneurs

Ernst & Young LLP is calling for nominations for its Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Awards.Awards are given to entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Self-nominations are encouraged and there is no fee. Application forms must be received by March 9.

Posted at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

Sunbird Shopping Center nets chamber honor

The Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce's 2011 Business of they Year is Sunbird Shopping Center."When you think of an iconic Lewis County business, Sunbird's is what comes to my mind," said 2011 chamber board chair Bob Jackins of Home Depot. "They have meant so much to so many different people, both as employers and retailers. If you live in Lewis County, you've shopped at Sunbird's."

Posted at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

City of Destiny Awards nomination deadline extended

The deadline to nominate volunteers for the City of Tacoma's 26th annual City of Destiny Awards has been extended. Nominations will now be accepted through Jan. 27.

Nomination forms, which also detail eligibility requirements, are available by calling Maria Lee at (253) 591-2054 or in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 733 Market St., Room 11.

Posted at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

CFOs reveal 'unusual' expense report items

Costs for a family vacation, wedding anniversary dinner and pet food are items you'd expect to see on personal credit card statements. Unfortunately, they've also appeared on employee expense reports, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey.Chief financial officers were asked to name the most unusual things they've seen employees include in expense reports - and the results are bound to raise the eyebrows of any financial executive. Here are a few of the most questionable items:

Posted at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/17/12

Sound Physicians inks deal with Maine hospitals

Sound Physicians has reached agreements with two Covenant Health Systems hospitals in Maine to provide hospitalist services.The Tacoma-based company will provide 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week inpatient medical coverage in partnership with community providers at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, a 233-bed acute care hospital serving the Androscoggin County area, and St. Joseph Hospital, a 112-bed acute care facility serving Bangor and surrounding communities.

Posted at 09:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/16/12

Who's Who - Pierce County rescheduled to March 1

Business Examiner's Who's Who - Pierce County, which was scheduled for Jan 18, has been postponed because of the expected continuation of the winter storm.The event will now be held March 1. Click here or call (253) 404-0891 for more information.

Posted at 03:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/16/12

Around the Sound

Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a partnership luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 17 at Emerald Downs. The speaker is Brad Worthley, a customer service expert. Call (253) 833-0700 for more information.Tumwater Chamber is hosting its annual Mentor & Learn and Chili Feed Fundraising Forum from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 17 at Tumwater School district Office, 300 Linwood Ave. The cost is $25. Seating is limited. RSVP to (360) 357-5153.

Posted at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/16/12

Join us on Twitter for #BEchat

Every Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., the Twitter search tag #BEchat is flowing with messages from local business people discussing various topics.You never know who you will "meet" or what you will learn. Join us tomorrow for an open chat. Click here for more information.

Posted at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

01/16/12

Holiday season saw more sales, fewer in-store shoppers

Despite continued economic uncertainty, holiday shoppers bought more this year than last, giving retailers two holiday seasons with year-over-year sales increases in a row.According to ShopperTrak, national retail sales, when compared to the same period last year, rose 3.5 percent during November and December, while foot traffic decreased 3.1 percent.

Posted at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments

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