Jul 1, 201112:00 AMBlog

July 2011

07/29/11

Employees improve day-to-day money management skills

Employees are sustaining, and in some cases building upon, improvements in their finances, according to the most recent Financial Finesse quarterly report.The report, which tracks patterns in employees' financial questions and self-reported priorities and challenges, underscored some key economic and financial trends that employees and their employers should be aware of as they navigate what continues to be a difficult economy.

Posted at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Copper, cable connectors stolen from PUD No. 3

A break-in Wednesday at a Mason County PUD No. 3 substation on the Tahuya Peninsula west of Belfair resulted in the theft of copper and cable connectors from the high-voltage transformer and distribution equipment.Besides safety concerns, the cost to replace the cable can be expensive. In this incident alone, PUD officials estimate that the response to the theft and the cable replacement may cost PUD customers nearly $10,000. The cost of material stolen has been estimated at $200. Nationally, the US Department of Energy estimates that copper thefts result in nearly $1 billion of losses to businesses each year.

Posted at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Westwood Shipping Lines moving to Puyallup

Westwood Shipping Lines will relocate its corporate headquarters from the Weyerhaeuser complex in Federal Way to Benaroya's 92-Acre South Hill Business and Technology Center in Puyallup.Westwood Shipping will occupy approximately 20,000 square feet on the second floor of the West Office Building joining engineering firm Parametrix that occupies space on the first floor. The move is scheduled for September, 2011 and will move more than 70 Westwood Shipping employees.

Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Nonresidential fixed investment rises

While the nation's economy is still showing signs of weakness, nonresidential fixed investment increased 6.3 percent in the second quarter of this year following a revised 2.1 percent increase in the first quarter, according to today's Gross Domestic Product report by the U.S. Commerce Department.Nonresidential fixed investment in structures jumped 8.1 percent in the second quarter following a 14.3 percent drop in the previous quarter. Fixed investment in equipment and software rose 5.7 percent in the second quarter following an 8.7 percent gain in the first quarter.

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Around the Sound

South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting "Talk Like You Talk - Delivery Makes a Difference When You Present Your Business" from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at 402 S. 333rd St., Federal Way. The presenter is Morgan Griffith. The cost is free for members. Federal Way Chamber members can purchase a punch card for four classes for $40. Non-members can purchases a punch card for $80. Visit www.ssrbi.com for more information.Thurston County Chamber of Commerce is hosting Morning MIXXer at 7 a.m. Aug. 2 at Wee Love Learning! Early Learning Center, 1835 Cooper Point Road SW. The cost is $5 for members and $10 general admission. Click here for more information.

Posted at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Weyerhaeuser earnings fall in Q2

Weyerhaeuser Co. reported net earnings of $10 million for the second quarter, or 2 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.8 billion. This compares with net earnings of $14 million on net sales of $1.8 billion for the same period last year.Earnings for the second quarter of 2011 include after-tax charges of $22 million for special items. Excluding these items, the company reported net earnings of $32 million, or 6 cents per diluted share. This compares with net earnings before special items of $42 million in the second quarter of 2010.

Posted at 11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

Employment Cost Index rises

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the three-month period ending June 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.4 percent and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 1.3 percent.Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.2 percent for the 12-month period ending June 2011. A year earlier, the increase was 1.9 percent. Wages and salaries increased 1.6 percent for the current 12-month period; the same as the June 2010 increase. Benefit costs accelerated to 3.6 percent, up from a 2.5-percent increase for the 12-month period ending June 2010.

Posted at 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/29/11

AmericanWest Bank completes two acquisitions

AmericanWest Bank has completed its previously announced acquisitions of Bank of the Northwest and Sunrise Bank.The acquisitions were consummated in separate merger transactions but closed simultaneously late yesterday afternoon, bringing Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank's total assets to $2 billion.

Posted at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Rail deal expected to generate jobs, lead to improved service

An agreement signed today by the Washington State Department of Transportation and BNSF Railway clears the way for work to begin on rail improvements that ultimately will generate hundreds of jobs and improve Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Portland.The agreement means the state can begin initial work this fall using some of the $781 million in federal grants awarded to Washington in the past two years. This money is part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and high-speed-rail grants administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Posted at 02:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

People on the Move

Mason General Hospital Foundation has chosen Barbara Dunbar, Deb Nielsen and Gretchen Schodde to receive its 2011 American Business Women's Award. Dunbar has been the administrative, public affairs and human resources assistant at Green Diamond Resource Co. since 2002. Nielsen has served as the executive director of Mason County Homeless Shelter since 2005. Schodde is the founder and executive director of Harmony Hill Retreat Center.Michael M. Nelson M.D. has joined Cascade Eye & Skin Centers' dermatology team. He specializes in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology care. Nelson previously worked at Skagit Regional Clinics in Mount Vernon. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His research fellowship and dermatology residency were completed at Washington University in St. Louis. Nelson is board certified in dermatology and also is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the Washington State Medical Association.

Posted at 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Small business owner optimism holds steady

Small business owners' optimism holding steady at zero - neither optimistic nor pessimistic - as confidence expressed about the present financial situation wasn't enough to offset lower expectations for future revenue and capital spending allocation, according to third quarter results from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index."Business owners are demonstrating a reluctance to invest in their businesses and are holding onto cash," said Doug Case, Wells Fargo small business segment manager. "In recent months, we've seen strong growth in deposit balances as business owners prepare for potential business challenges and save for future opportunities."

Posted at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Job relocation surges to nearly two-year high

The percentage of unemployed managers and executives relocating for new positions jumped to its highest level in nearly two years, possibly signaling increased willingness by job seekers to take a loss on the sale of their home. Similarly, the increase may indicate willingness by employers to help the newly hired relocate.During the first two quarters of 2011, an average of 9.4 percent of job seekers finding employment relocated for their new positions. That is up from an average relocation rate of 7.6 percent during the same period a year ago, according to the latest Challenger Job Market Index, a quarterly survey by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Posted at 02:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Report: Thousands out of benefits, still out of work

A survey of Washington workers who failed to find work before running out of unemployment benefits reveals that three of every four are still out of work.In April, the state's Employment Security Department e-mailed a survey to individuals who had run out of unemployment benefits since November 2009, and 5,065 responded. The claimants had access to as many as 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Posted at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Targeted tax rebate more effective than payroll tax cut

A targeted, partially refundable tax rebate would be more effective than the current payroll tax cut that President Barack Obama has endorsed extending, according to an Economic Policy Institute/The Century Foundation Issue Brief. In "A bigger and better economic boost," federal budget policy analyst Andrew Fieldhouse says that a modified version of the lump-sum tax rebates that were part of the 2008 Economic Stimulus Act would cost the government roughly the same amount as the payroll tax cut but would generate more economic activity while doing more to alleviate poverty and help working families.

Posted at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

U.W. tree canopy study shows Tacoma closer to 30 percent goal

The City of Tacoma's goal of 30 percent tree coverage isn't as far away as originally thought, according to a University of Washington study released this month that shows Tacoma has a 19 percent tree canopy.A previous study by the U.S. Forest Service using 2001 data had Tacoma's tree coverage at 12.9 percent. The U.W. study used 2009 data. The study was funded by a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

WSDOT projects receive national recognition

The Washington State Department of Transportation has been recognized for its successes in sustainable transportation and environmental protection by the U.S Department of Transportation. In October 2009, a landslide massive enough to fill more than 1 million Olympic-sized swimming pools buried State Route 410 and dammed the Naches River. The slide cut off access for local residents and travelers, and the redirected river flooded the Nile Valley.

Posted at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Heritage Financial posts large gain in Q2 net income

Heritage Financial Corp. reported net income for the quarter ended June 30 of $1.69 million, compared to net income of $855,000 for same period last year and $764,000 for the linked-quarter ended March 31.Net income applicable to common shareholders for the quarter ended June 30 was 11 cents per diluted common share, compared to 5 cents per diluted common share for the quarter ended June 30, 2010, and 5 cents per diluted common share for the linked-quarter ended March 31.

Posted at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Columbia Banking System's income rises substantially during Q2

Columbia Banking System Inc.'s  net income applicable to common shareholders increased to $8.6 million, or 119 percent, for the second quarter of 2011, compared to $3.9 million for the same quarter of 2010. On a diluted per common share basis, net income for the quarter rose to 22 cents, compared with net income of 11 cents for the second quarter of 2010.Net income applicable to common shareholders for the six months ended June 30 increased to $14.4 million, compared to $10.8 million for the first six months of 2010. On a diluted per common share basis, net income for the first six months of 2011 was 36 cents, compared to 34 cents a year earlier.

Posted at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Lakewood business, civic leader passes

Dave Sclair, a long-time Lakewood business and civic leader, died Tuesday evening of complications from brain tumors first discovered in late February.Publisher emeritus of the nationwide publication, General Aviation News, he was also a director of Northwest Commercial Bank and past owner-publisher of The Suburban Times, a community weekly newspaper that was delivered to homes in Lakewood for many years.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/28/11

Finalists named for Lacey city manager

The Lacey City Council has announced a list of finalists for the city manager position. The selection follows a nationwide search to succeed Greg Cuoio, who retired last month after 24 years of service.The finalists are Earl Mathers, county administrator for Gallatin County, Mont.; James Payne, a partner at Precision Organizing & Records Management, Rio Rancho, N.M.; Scott Spence, assistant city manager of Lacey; and Steve Worthington, former city manager of Fife.

Posted at 08:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

TCC offering bachelor's degree program

A new program at Tacoma Community College will give students a bachelor's degree of business administration option on the Tacoma campus.The Brandman University degree program is an extension of the partners Early Advantage Program signed by both institutions in fall 2009. The BBA offering will begin Aug. 29 with an operations management course. The bachelor-level classes that are offered require a minimum of 15 students in order to be held on the TCC campus. Students must meet Brandman's standard admission requirements.

Posted at 02:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

TrueBlue posts revenue, income increases

TrueBlue Inc. reported revenue for the second quarter of 2011 of $320 million, an increase of 12 percent, compared to revenue of $285 million for the second quarter of 2010. Net income for the quarter was $8.5 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $7.9 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2010.From the beginning of the second quarter through July 27, the company purchased 1.16 million shares of its outstanding common stock for about $16 million, resulting in about $5 million remaining under its existing share purchase program. On July 25, TrueBlue's board of directors approved a new program to purchase an additional $75 million of its outstanding common stock.

Posted at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Blog watch: Trade, politics, housing, initiatives and insurance

Get the latest news on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement at The Live Wire.OlyBlog has an interview with Dick Pust, candidate for Olympia mayor.

Posted at 01:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Consumer confidence at two-year low

Consumer confidence has fallen to a new two-year low, while investor confidence continues to hover just above the lowest levels of 2011.The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell four points today to 63.7. That's down eight points from a week ago, down nine from a month ago and down 10 from three months ago. Confidence is now just nine points above the post-9/11 low reached in March 2009.

Posted at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Thurston commissioners to hold hearing on mineral lands ordinance

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing Aug. 9 about proposed changes to the county's mineral lands extraction regulations. The hearing willstart at 5:30 p.m. in Room 280, Building One of the Thurston County Courthouse Complex, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia. The board may take action at the conclusion of the hearing.

Posted at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Laid-off Birds Eye workers will get free retraining

The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that all 236 employees who lost jobs when the Birds Eye canning operation in Tacoma closed last month are eligible for the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.  Through Washington's WorkSource centers, TAA helps retrain and re-employ workers whose positions were eliminated because of international trade.  The federally funded program also assists with job searches and relocation.

Posted at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Olympia Fire Station 4 receives LEED gold certification

The newest City of Olympia Fire Department station, Station 4 at 3525 Stoll Road, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.  LEED is a program administered by the United States Green Building Council. It emphasizes sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality. Gold is the second highest certification granted.

Posted at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

HCA opens application process 
for electronic record program

The state's Medicaid have begun the application process for the Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, a state-federal initiative designed to promote the use of electronic records to improve care, reduce costs and increase provider-to-provider communication across the health care industry.Medicaid anticipates distributing more than $50 million in federal funds to qualified health care professionals and hospitals in Washington State over the life of the program.

Posted at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

Middle-class workers looking for new jobs

A growing number of middle-class Americans are unhappy in their work and looking to make a change, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index. Recent findings of the monthly survey reveal that 24 percent of consumers are dissatisfied with their current job, up from 21 percent last year and 11 percent in 2009. This groundswell of unhappiness is also reflected in the rising number of people looking for new employment. Two of five workers (39 percent) report that they are job hunting, up from 29 percent a year ago.

Posted at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/27/11

TRCVB filming destination video for Pierce County

The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau, in conjunction with Hand Crank Films and JayRay, is producing a video to show visitors why they should make Pierce County a travel destination.The TRCVB team will film in several locations and local businesses today and tomorrow, including Museum of Glass, Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Pacific Avenue, Terry's Berries, Hotel Murano and Bite Restaurant, Proctor District, University of Puget Sound, Chambers Bay Golf Course, Chambers Creek Properties, Lakewold Gardens, and Fife's rare train engine and Dacca Barn.

Posted at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Shuffle among BBB's most complaints

While "Cellular Phone Service & Supply" remained Western Washington's most complained about industry, "Coupon Book Promotions" breached the top five--its highest position ever, according to Better Business Bureau.Coupon Book Promotions' jump from 11th to fifth is due to a surge in complaints against Star Rebates Inc. The company's BBB Business Review shows 274 complaints in the last 36 months and a business alert stating, "Complaints ... allege that despite sending in receipts as promised by the promotion, no gift cards or reimbursement are provided."

Posted at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Judge rules mining OK at Maytown site

A Lewis County judge sided with the Port of Tacoma and Maytown Sand & Gravel LLC about the finality of a gravel mining permit on a Thurston County site formerly owned by the Port.Superior Court Judge Richard L. Brosey granted a summary judgment Wednesday, reversing the decision by Thurston County Board of Commissioners to require new habitat surveys. The judge's ruling reinstates Hearing Examiner Sharon Rice's Dec. 30 decision that confirmed the property holds a valid and final special use permit for gravel mining.

Posted at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

People on the Move

Dakota Chamberlain has joined the Port of Tacoma as engineering director. He previously was director of seaport management at the Port of Seattle and also has worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. Chamberlain has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Hawaii and is a registered professional engineer in Colorado and Washington.Brett Bryant has joined Heritage Bank as market executive for southwest Washington. He has 25 years of banking experience. Bryant also is vice-chair of the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical System Board, a member of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington Board and served as chair of the New Heights Foundation Board.

Posted at 01:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

USPS will study local offices for value

Three post office retail locations within Pierce County made the list released today by U.S. Postal Service as being studied for possible closure at the end of this current fiscal year.The Martin Luther King Jr. Way branch in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood is again a target after community and political interest saved it from an earlier extinction.

Posted at 01:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Most South Sound counties posting double-digit jobless rates

With the exception of Thurston County, jobless rates were in the double digits during June across the South Sound, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.Thurston's unemployment rate last month, not seasonally adjusted, was 8.5 percent. In Pierce County the jobless rate was 10 percent. Mason County recorded a rate of 11 percent and Lewis County posted unemployment of 13 percent.Both the national and Washington unemployment rate for June was 9.2 percent.

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Franciscan Foundation awards $64,400 in scholarships to health system staff

The Franciscan Foundation recently awarded scholarships to 33 Franciscan Health System employees who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees or certificates in health care and other career-related subjects. The scholarships totaled $64,400.Since 1996, the Foundation has approved 314 scholarships totaling $497,300 for Franciscan employees. All scholarships are funded through charitable gifts to the Foundation from Franciscan employees, Franciscan patients and their families, and other friends of the nonprofit.

Posted at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Click! Cable TV receives national customer service award

Click! Cable TV has earned the 2011 Independent Customer Service Award from CableFAX, a national telecommunications industry publication.Tacoma Power's Click! Network is one of the nation's largest municipally owned telecommunications systems. Click! provides residential and business services, including cable television, high-speed data, Internet and broadband services, in Tacoma, University Place, Fircrest, Lakewood, Fife and portions of unincorporated Pierce County.

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Double-dip recession appears to be a reality for middle-class

At a time when economists continue to debate the likelihood of a double-dip recession, the majority of middle-class Americans think the nation is already in one, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.Recent findings of the monthly survey reveal that 63 percent of middle-class consumers believe the United States is in a double-dip recession, up sharply from 50 percent last summer. Among those who say a double-dip recession is already under way, three quarters think it will be more than a year before the economy begins to show signs of recovery. And one in five consumers say it will be more than three years before the nation begins to emerge from the downturn.

Posted at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

PEB Board OKs health plans for state employees, retirees

The state's Public Employees Benefits Board has approved health plan options that some 340,000 state employees, dependents and retirees will be able to choose during open enrollment this fall.For the first time, those options include several consumer-directed health plans linked to health savings accounts. Group Health, Kaiser Permanente and the Uniform Medical Plan will all offer this new plan design, with some benefit, premium and cost-sharing differences.

Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Mason County PUD 3 project partner among top smart grid startups

A Kirkland company working on a groundbreaking project with Mason County PUD No. 3 has been highlighted by digital media company GigaOM as one of five smart grid startups to watch in a national technology competition.GridMobility is collaborating with PUD 3 and the Bonneville Power Administration on a pilot program to measure the ability to match renewable energy generation with customer energy use. The company's Renewable Demand Response software is testing the time-shift of electricity use based on renewable electricity delivery.

Posted at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/26/11

Port of Tacoma earns national award for 2011 budget document

The Government Finance Officers Association has awarded the Port of Tacoma its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the port's 2011 budget document.To qualify for the award, the port "had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation," according to the association's award announcement. "It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting."

Posted at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

Around the Sound

Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 27 at Alaska USA Mortgage & Insurance Center, 11010 Harbor Hill Drive NW, Suite B. Click here to RSVP.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting a public affairs forum at 7:30 a.m. July 28 at 2909 14th Ave. NW. The speaker is Shelly Maluo, Juvenile Court director. Visit www.gigharborchamber.com for more information.

Posted at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

Majority oppose hiring preferences

Support for affirmative action in regard to hiring decisions appears to be waning, according to polling conducted by Rasmussen Reports.Sixty-three percent of respondents to a recent survey said they oppose government programs that give hiring preference to women and minorities, an increase of eight points compared to a year ago. Only 22 percent of respondents supported special treatment.

Posted at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

Knapp leaving Tumwater chamber

Karin Knapp will leave her position as operations director of Tumwater Area Chamber of Comerce at the end of July to join the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.She has worked for the chamber for just more than a year.Joe Gross, 2011 president of the chamber said Knapp was a very valuable part of the organization. "We owe a lot to Karin."

Posted at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

Saint Martin's hosting Karelian student delegation

Every other summer since 1990, students from Karelian State Pedagogical University have traveled to Duluth, Minn., to study English language and culture at the College of St. Scholastica. This year, the students also will spend a week at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, a fellow Benedictine institution, where they will study American Indian life and culture. Many at Saint Martin's hope the students' inaugural visit, July 28-Aug. 3, will forge the beginning of a rich relationship with the Karelian school, a teacher-training institution in the Russian Federation.

Posted at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Lewis CountyIn June, the Nursing Assistant Program denied the application of certified nursing assistant applicant Debbi Marie Thompson. While working as a registered nursing assistant, she left several residents unattended in raised beds, resulting in one patient suffering injuries after falling out of the bed.

Posted at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

China truly the land of opportunity for Thurston County businesses

Last month, Thurston County leaders weren't just working in the South Sound. For 10 days they were upping the ante -- and seeking opportunities in China. The fourth annual China Business to Business Trip, hosted by Thurston County Economic Development Council in partnership with Saint Martin's University, took a group of Olympia-area community leaders across the Pacific.Their goal: Outreach, in various capacities, in order to explore opportunities for business investment and expansion between China and Thurston County.

Posted at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/25/11

Puyallup Fair looking for 3,000 workers

The success of having Puyallup Fair workers apply for jobs online last year has prompted a return of the online signup process. Starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 1, applicants can apply online for fair jobs at www.go2worksource.com. Applications will not be accepted in person at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center. The Puyallup Fair has hired about 3,000 workers during previous years and plans to hire a similar number for the Sept. 9-25 fair.

Posted at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Billboard amendments, Point Ruston lead study session agenda

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to discuss the public comments and written testimony gathered from the public hearing last Tuesday regarding the Planning Commission's recommended sign code amendments to prohibit digital billboards during its study session on July 26.City staff also will provide an update on the Point Ruston development project and the proposed third amendment to the agreement for improvements.

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

CCM selects Frederickson as site for polyiso plant

Carlisle Construction Materials has selected Randles Business Park in Frederickson as the site of its new Polyisocyanurate insulation plant.Scheduled to open during the third quarter of 2012, the facility will be CCM's seventh polyiso plant, joining existing facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, Texas and Utah.

Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Port of Tacoma volume up for year, down during June

The Port of Tacoma handled 720,178 20-foot equivalent units in June, up 2 percent year-to-date compared to 2010.Full export container volumes remained strong - up 14 percent year-to-date - but full import containers were down 4 percent.

Posted at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Rotarians work to fight hunger

Their motto is "Service Above Self," and Pierce County Rotarians are applying this philosophy toward feeding food-insecure families and individuals.Three area clubs have donated $8,000 this summer to support Emergency Food Network and its mission "to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry."

Posted at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Around the Sound

Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 27 at Alaska USA Mortgage & Insurance Center, 11010 Harbor Hill Drive NW, Suite B. Click here to RSVP.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting a public affairs forum at 7:30 a.m. July 28 at 2909 14th Ave. NW. The speaker is Shelly Maluo, Juvenile Court director. Click here for more information.

Posted at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

SBDC launches online export assistance portal

The Washington SBDC has launched an online export assistance portal for small business owners who want to explore and expand their international trade.The free portal includes an export readiness assessment, export resources, an interactive tool defining the trade process and online training.

Posted at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Pacific Avenue Streetscape initial plans complete

AHBL, Inc., selected by City of Tacoma in January 2010 as the prime consultant on the Pacific Avenue Streetscape, has completed the project's preliminary design.The plans reflect the project's ultimate goal of creating a comprehensive downtown streetscape that will promote public events, revitalize businesses and create a more inviting street for all users.

Posted at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/22/11

Rebuilding Together, veterans, home builders join forces to build ramps

This summer, Rebuilding Together South Sound will help disabled homeowners get in and out of their homes safely with the first Pierce County Ramp-A-Thon.Lead by home builders from the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, veterans will be giving back to their communities once again by constructing three wheelchair ramps on this one-day blitz, partially funded by the City of Lakewood.

Posted at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

JBLM hosts screening for Air Mobility Command members

07/22/11

JBLM hosts screening for Air Mobility Command members

Eight members of the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, the state's only Air Force Reserve flying unit, were honored during a red-carpet screening of the 3-D IMAX film "Rescue" at the Tacoma Galaxy Theaters last night. The movie, which features on-the-job training and rescue scenes for each of these squadron members and others, traces the their emergency preparation routines in air, land and sea drills - and how they came into play to serve and save victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Posted at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/21/11

People on the Move

Angela Wolle has joined Providence Health & Services Southwest Washington Region as vice president of mission. She most recently served as the system director of organization development and culture at PeaceHealth in Bellevue. Wolle is an ordained United Methodist pastor and has a master's degree in organizational psychology from Antioch University; a master's degree in divinity, theology and pastoral care from the Fuller Seminary; and a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from Wittenberg University.Scott Thompson has joined Sound Credit Union as a CUSO Financial Services adviser. He has worked in the financial services industry since 1998.

Posted at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/21/11

Public input sought for proposal to increase water quality permit fees

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking the public to weigh in on its proposal to increase annual wastewater and stormwater discharge permit fees for some types of activities that are not currently paying the full cost of their permitsThe fees - paid by businesses, industries and local governments - help offset the state's expenses to issue and administer wastewater and stormwater discharge permits. The permits are the state's primary tool to prevent water pollution.

Posted at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/21/11

Medicaid fraud charges land one man behind bars, another in court

Robert Miller was sentenced Wednesday to four months in jail for fraudulently taking nearly $30,000 from the state's Medicaid program, according to the Washington State Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Miller, formerly of Chehalis, was charged last year with first degree theft and Medicaid false statement because he allegedly submitted forged documents and bills for services that weren't being provided. Miller has fully repaid Medicaid.

Posted at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/21/11

Free purchasing performance assessment tool available for hospitals

Sound Physicians is making its Value-Based Purchasing Performance Assessment Tool available to all hospitals at no cost.The tool provides hospitals with a snapshot of their performance on the value-based purchasing clinical process of care and patient experience of care measures, including each hospital's overall performance score using the scoring methodology from the Hospital Inpatient Value-Based Purchasing Program issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on April 29.

Posted at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Travelers choosing Amtrak Cascades in record numbers

With chronic mudslides and disruptions in the rearview mirror, Amtrak Cascades rebounded in the second quarter of 2011, surpassing both monthly and quarterly ridership records reached in 2010.After an unusually rough start in the first three months of this year, ridership for April, May and June between Vancouver and Eugene soared to 231,194 passengers - the highest second-quarter totals since the service started in 1994. Second-quarter ridership numbers increased 8 percent, compared with the second quarter of 2010, with 16,550 new passengers. June had the highest ridership increase of the three months with 78,839 passengers, up 10 percent over the previous June.

Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Blog watch: Feedback, walk, vacancies, interests and needs

The Association of Washington Business wants your feedback about the 2011 legislative sessions. Find out more on The Live Wire.Learn more about Walk Tacoma/Walk Poetic at BIA Blog.

Posted at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Tacoma awarded $300,000 to train workers for 'greener' future

The City of Tacoma will receive $300,000 in EPA Brownfields grant funding to provide job training to assess, manage and clean up solid and hazardous waste sites.Celebrating their fifth EPA financed job training program, the city and its partners boast a 75 percent placement rate for its graduates at an average wage of $13.74.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Shipping scam leaves businesses with bill

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has issued a warning about con artists perpetuating a prepayment shipping scheme through fake orders, distant destinations and non-existent shipping companies.Scammers, disguised as buyers, convince businesses to pay transport costs upfront to designated shipping companies. Businesses are then told to charge buyers' credit cards for the total cost of shipping.

Posted at 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Lewis CountyIn June, the Surgical Technologist Program terminated the order of probation against Wendy R. Justus. She is also known as Wendy Phillips, Wendy Whitlow and Joyce R. Coleman.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Technology sector job cuts plunge

In past years, the 6,500 job cuts announced this week by Cisco Systems probably would not have stood out, particularly in a sector that at one time commonly saw job-cut events numbering in the tens of thousands. This year, however, the Cisco announcement stands out as the largest job cut of the year in a sector that is experiencing record low downsizing.Technology firms announced just 14,308 job cuts in the first half of 2011, a 60 percent drop from the 35,375 cuts announced during the same period a year ago, according to a special report on technology-sector job cuts released today by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Posted at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Mason County Forest Products settles sex discrimination lawsuit

Mason County Forest Products has agreed to pay $900,000 to two female workers to settle a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity commission.The EEOC's investigation showed that the women faced widespread hostility and that upper management at the saw and wood planing mill in Shelton chose to ignore the harassment.

Posted at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Washington adds jobs for 10th straight month

Washington's economy has posted net job gains for 10 months in a row, including an estimated increase of 3,600 jobs in June.The job-growth streak was extended after economists revised May's preliminary report to reflect a gain of 2,500 jobs, rather than the initial estimate showing job losses.

Posted at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/20/11

Fire safety loan program available

In an effort to assist with fire and life safety requirements, City Council and the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority have established a Fire Safety Loan Program.
The FSLP loan is available to any business owner or property owner within Tacoma city limits to upgrade an existing retail, office or mixed-use building to adhere to current fire safety codes. Residential units are not eligible under this program.

Posted at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Electronics recycling tops 100 million pounds

In the two and a half years since the electronics recycling program called E-Cycle Washington began, consumers have recycled more than 100 million pounds of unwanted TVs, computers and monitors. That's equal to the weight of five Space Needles or a fleet of 181 fully loaded Boeing 787 Dreamliners.Larger and bulkier TVs make up 62 percent of the 3.3 million pounds of electronics coming into the program on a monthly average. Consumers upgrading to flat-screen technology is most likely the major contributor to the high volume of TVs compared to other devices being recycled.

Posted at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

People on the Move

Laurie Leno has been named chief financial officer of Harborstone Credit Union. She has 25 years of credit union experience, most recently as CFO of Prevail Credit Union.Dawne Widener-Burrows and Kercedric Holley-Bell have been elected to the board of directors of Washington Women's Employment & Education. Widener-Burrows is president of Widener Research Inc., a qualitative research and marketing consulting firm. Holley-Bell is a vice president and division manager at U.S. Bank in Seattle.

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

ERI earns R2 certification

Electronic Recyclers International's facility in Auburn has achieved Responsible Recycling Practices for Electronics Recyclers certification.R2 Certification is a set of guidelines for accredited programs to assess electronics recyclers' environmental, worker health and safety, and security practices.

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Washington Export Initiative launches export success stories

The Washington Export Initiative is launching a new outreach effort targeted to small and medium sized businesses to encourage companies to develop new international markets and customer bases. The goal is to increase the number of companies exporting, as well as to increase the total export sales from Washington.

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Pierce County budget receives national award

Pierce County Budget and Finance has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2011 budget from the Government Finance Officers Association."This year, we did not receive a single 'does not satisfy' rating on any of the 27 criteria evaluated," said Budget Manager Aaron BeMiller. "Our small staff produces exceptional work that amazes me each day."The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving about 17,600 government finance professionals.

Posted at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Evergreen State receives $3 million grant to support student retention, scholarships

The Evergreen State College has been awarded a grant of $3 million to support retention of students, build capacity for fund raising to support student scholarships and other critical needs, and create an endowed scholarship fund for low-income students at risk of failing to complete their degrees.

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Q1 GDP revised upward

Real gross domestic product increased 1.9 percent during the first quarter of 2011, according to the third estimates of the national income and product accounts released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase in real GDP was revised up 0.1 percentage point from the second estimate. In the fourth quarter of 2010, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter pri­marily reflected a sharp upturn in imports, a deceleration in consumer spending, a larger decrease in federal government spending and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a sharp upturn in inventory investment.

Posted at 01:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Sound Physicians, Kenwood Hospitalists combine forces

Sound Physicians is expanding its hospitalist practices in Ohio to include Kenwood Hospitalists. With the merger of the Cincinnati hospitalist group, 26 full-time Kenwood Hospitalists' team members are joining the Sound Physicians organization.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/19/11

Hospital Association files lawsuit over health care cuts

The Washington State Hospital Association has filed a lawsuit against the state to overturn legislation that diverts money to the state general fund from an account set up to pay for hospital services to the poor and vulnerable. The account is 100 percent funded by a state tax on hospitals. As a result, the state will lose $110 million in federal funding available to pay for Medicaid hospital services.

Posted at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Around the Sound

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Small Business Start-Up: 101 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 19 at the Simpson Community Room, 950 Pacific Ave., Suite 300. Seating is limited. Click here to RSVP.Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Notorious Network Night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 19 at Umpqua Bank, 4949 Borgen Blvd, Suite 101. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Sound Business Brokers receives BBB accreditation

Olympia-based Sound Business Brokers Inc. has earned accreditation with Better Business Bureau. The program recognizes businesses that meet BBB's Code of Business Practices and demonstrate a good business track record and maintain proper licensing.Accredited businesses also must make a public pledge to be transparent, responsive to customers, advertise honestly, honor promises and act with integrity.

Posted at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Health insurance rate requests now public

Health insurance rate requests filed for individual and small employer (1-50 employees) health plans are now public. The complete filings received since July 1, as well as a summary for each request are available at www.insurance.wa.gov.Several health insurers filed rate requests prior to July 1, but have voluntarily made their filings public. They include: Asuris Northwest Health, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Regence BlueShield.

Posted at 01:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Teen summer job market rebounds

The summer job market for teenagers is proving to be better than expected, as 714,000 16-to 19-year-olds joined the ranks of the employed in June.According to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., that is the biggest June job gain among teens since 2007 and a 44 percent improvement over 2010, when only 497,000 teenagers found jobs.

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

New copyright deal could nail firms providing free Internet access

America's leading small-business association has issued a warning to Main Street entrepreneurs who offer Internet access to their customers: Take steps now to avoid allegations of online piracy.Record labels, movie studios and other industry groups recently struck a deal where participating Internet providers will issue warnings to customers whose accounts are allegedly used to steal content. The National Federation of Independent Business, which issued today's warning, is not a party to the agreement.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Thurston County Fair needs vendors, volunteers

The Thurston County Fair is still accepting applications for vendors. "Ten Gallons of Fun at the Thurston County Fair" is scheduled for Aug. 3-7.Applications are available online at the fair's website.

Posted at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/18/11

Seniors sought for 'Better Choices, Better Health' program

From now until December, senior citizens with chronic illnesses have the opportunity to participate in an online program developed by Stanford University called Better Choices, Better Health.Better Choices, Better Health is a free online program designed to support those with chronic health conditions and to assist them in finding practical ways to deal with the pain, fatigue and stress. The program also exposes participants to better nutrition and exercise choices, treatment options, and suggests better ways to communicate with doctors and families about their health.

Posted at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Around the Sound

United Way of Mason County has scheduled its annual meeting for noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 18, at Alpine Way Retirement Apartments in Shelton. Lunch will be served and the meeting is open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, click here or call (360) 426-4999.Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Small Business Start-Up: 101 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, at the Simpson Community Room, 950 Pacific Ave., Suite 300. Seating is limited. Click here to RSVP.

Posted at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Budget cuts may benefit litter bugs

Beginning today, callers to the state Department of Ecology's "Litter and It Will Hurt" campaign hotline will hear a recorded message telling them "Thanks, but no thanks." Due to state budget cuts, reports of witnessed littering events will no longer be accepted.Ecology is suspending this service, which took litter violation reports from citizens and followed up by sending educational letters to the owners of vehicles from which the alleged littering took place. Operating the toll-free reporting line has cost Ecology about $50,000 each year.

Posted at 03:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

Pierson steps to the podium

07/15/11

Pierson steps to the podium

Tom Pierson has been leading Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce since June 27, but today marked his first time speaking publicly since taking the position.He was one of many speakers at the City Center Luncheon on local transportation issues."Transportation is obviously key to our revitalization and continued growth into our downtown," Pierson said.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Businesses honored for being Transportation Innovators

Downtown On the Go honored four businesses with Transportation Innovators Awards today at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's City Center LuncheonThe recognition is for creative employer-endorsed alternatives to single-occupant driving to work practices.

Posted at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Vern Fonk adds Lacey location

Vern Fonk Insurance, a well-known brand in western Washington, has added a new location in Lacey, along with five more sites in other communities. Of its new additions, three were acquired in its purchase of American Insurance Services in Port Angeles and Specialty Auto Insurance in Lynnwood.Additionally, Fonk spread its name to Oregon for the first time with the acquisition of Beaverton Tigard Insurance.

Posted at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Haub writes off A&P stake to zero

Prominent downtown Tacoma landowner Karl-Erivan Haub, CEO of German retail giant Tengelmann, told Reuters news service yesterday that conglomerate expects it will not have any significant ownership of the American grocer known as A&P.Once a giant of U.S. food aisles, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea (A&P) filed for bankruptcy protection in December after running short of cash under intensive competition from Costco, Walmart and Target, the European news organization reported.

Posted at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Health Care Authority delays contract release

Washington State Health Care Authority has reset the probable release date for a 2012 contract that will combine the Medicaid managed care program called Healthy Options with the state's Basic Health Plan, which provides coverage for the working poor.The Authority originally planned to distribute the Request for Proposals to possible bidders as early as this month. However, agency director Doug Porter said that the analysis and review would take longer and that the release date would be extended to as late as September 15, 2011.

Posted at 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Real average hourly earnings rise slightly

Real average hourly earnings for all employees rose 0.2 percent from May to June, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This change stemmed from a 0.2 percent drop in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), while average hourly earnings remained unchanged.Weekly real average earnings fell 0.1 percent over the month, as a result of the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3 percent decrease in average weekly hours. Since reaching a recent peak in October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 1.4 percent.

Posted at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/15/11

Consumer Price Index drops 0.2 percent

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, this index has increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.Excluding food and energy, the edged up to 1.6 percent, its highest level since January 2010. The food index has increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months while the energy index rose 20.1 percent. In June, the gasoline index declined sharply, falling 6.8 percent.

Posted at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/14/11

Survey seeks responses from local businesses

The Pierce County Economic Development Division, in partnership with local governments and economic development agencies, launched the first-ever comprehensive survey of businesses across the four-county Puget Sound region today.The "Job Sector Survey" builds on a 2010 survey that captured responses from nearly 1,200 King County businesses in 15 unique industry sectors. Along with benchmarking against the 2010 results, the 2011 Job Sector Survey will provide a richer illustration of the challenges, aspirations and opportunities for employers of all types and sizes.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/14/11

TAPCO taps Roy as next CEO

With over 25 years of credit union experience, Carlyn Roy has been selected as TAPCO Credit Union's Chief Executive Officer. Roy has led teams responsible for branch operations, lending, information services, marketing and public relations, research and development, and compliance.

Posted at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

07/14/11

People on the Move

Aaron Marth has joined the design team at SiteCrafting. He studied arts and Web design at Highline Community College and the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. Marth has worked as a freelancer and has owned a design company since 2006.Teressa Russell has been named president of WPC Solutions. She has worked for the company for more than 25 years and has served as chairman of the board since 2006.

Posted at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/14/11

Nominations being taken for state's highest civics award

It's time for the public to nominate its favorite community-centric corporations for Washington's highest civics award.Secretary of State Sam Reed's office will start accepting nominations Friday for the Corporations for Communities 2011 Award. Aug. 31 is the nomination deadline.

Posted at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

07/14/11

Construction materials prices slip 0.1% in June

In a small sign of good news for the nation's builders, prices for construction materials slipped 0.1 percent in June, according to the July 14 Producer Price Index report by the U.S. Labor Department. However, construction materials prices increased 2.3 percent over the last quarter, and jumped 8.3 percent over the last 12 months.Also trending lower, iron and steel prices fell for the first time since last October, down 0.5 percent in June. For the quarter, iron and steel prices increased 1 percent and are 9.5 percent higher than the same time last year.

Posted at 09:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

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