Nov 1, 201112:00 AMBlog

November 2011

11/30/11

Blog watch: Wins, expo, reform, ideas and questions

The Live Wire looks at the "wins" from the Tacoma Shoreline Master Program Update.Find out more about Fungal Expo at OlyBlog.

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

State approves funds to improve safety at Mason County railroad crossing

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has approved $5,870 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund for Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad to upgrade the active warning signals and cross-buck signs at a railroad-highway grade crossing on Highway 108 near Kamilche in Mason County.The railroad company will replace the cross-bucks and upgrade to incandescent flashing lights with energy-efficient, long-lasting light-emitting diodes on the cantilever (overhead flashing light structure). These upgrades should improve the visibility of the warning devices and improve safety at the crossing.

Posted at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Professional-level hiring expected to increase in Q1

Employers expect to increase hiring for professional-level positions during the first quarter, but they have concerns about finding qualified candidates for these roles, according to a Robert Half survey. A net 10 percent of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report plan to add full-time staff during the first three months of the year, up three points from the fourth-quarter forecast. However, the number of respondents who report recruiting challenges also is on the rise: 67 percent of executives said it is at least somewhat challenging to find skilled employees today, up from 59 percent last quarter and 42 percent in the third quarter.

Posted at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Planned job cuts through November top total for 2010

The number of planned layoffs announced in November remained virtually unchanged from the previous month, as U.S.-based employers reported job cuts totaling 42,474, down 0.7 percent from 42,759 in October, according to the latest report on downsizing activity from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.November job cuts were down 13 percent from the same month a year ago when employers announced plans to cut 48,711 jobs from their payrolls. November marks the second consecutive month of lower job cuts after surging to a 28-month high of 115,730 in September.

Posted at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Online labor demand dips

Online advertised vacancies were down 76,200 in November to 3,857,200, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine Data Series released today. The November drop follows a dip of 14,000 in October and 44,000 in September. The supply/demand rate stands at 3.53, indicating there were 3.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy in October, the latest monthly data available forunemployment.

Posted at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

'Best practices' improve outcomes for injured workers

A new study of occupational health care in Washington state shows that improving medical care for injured workers can dramatically reduce lost work time.The study is published in the December 2011 issue of the American Public Health Association journal, Medical Care. Dr. Gary Franklin, medical director for the Department of Labor & Industries, was one of the researchers involved in the study. Dr. Thomas Wickizer, Ohio State University, College of Public Health, was the lead investigator.

Posted at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

U.S. Commerce Association strikes again

Business owners should not be too flattered when notices arrive claiming that they have won "Best of" awards from the U.S. Commerce Association, or USCA. Like other vanity award providers, USCA preys on local businesses by promoting ego-boosting accolades in order to sell worthless award certificates or plaques.Businesses in Oregon and Washington have reported receiving award e-mails from USCA, which is allegedly located at "5042 Wilshire Blvd., No. 13854," in Los Angeles.

Posted at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Revenue Department launches new listserv

The Department of Revenue has created a general information listserv to make it easier for taxpayers to stay informed. The listserv will alert subscribers to new legislation, revisions to tax law, rate changes and any department programs that might impact their businesses.The department also maintains listservs on specialized topics, but this is the first time they've created one to cover a variety of issues.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Survey finds wide employee discontent

Workers continue to feel trapped in their jobs and want to find new employment elsewhere, according to a poll of more than 1,000 employees in North America by Right Management, a division of ManpowerGroup.Eighty-four percent of respondents said they plan to look for a new position in 2012, reflecting the same level of discontent in the workplace as reported a year ago. Like last year, only 5 percent said they intend to remain in their current position.

Posted at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Machinists to vote on deal to land Boeing's 737 MAX

Machinists Union members will vote next week on a four-year contract extension that includes a commitment by the Boeing Co. to build its 737 MAX passenger jet in Washington.Leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the tentative agreement also would ensure continuation of wide-body aircraft work in Puget Sound. In addition to the job security language, terms of the four-year proposal include:

Posted at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Hotels expecting moderate growth in 2012

All travel segments - business travel, leisure travel and group business - are expected to experience moderate gains in demand and room rates during the next 12 months, according to TravelClick's November 2011 North American Hospitality Review, The review is based on actual hotel bookings from Q4 2011 through Q3 2012.

Posted at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

National urgent care franchise launching in Kent


Doctors Express has awarded a territory to Glen Fauntleroy, formerly of Caterpillar Inc., and his business partner, along with their medical director, Dr. Marilyn Gibbs. The team plans to establish a walk-in medical center.   
 
"Urgent care fills a void in the medical system, treating those cases which do not require the resources and expense of a hospital emergency room or when a patient may not be able to get in to see their primary care physician," Gibbs said.


Posted at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/30/11

Private sector employment up 206K

U.S. nonfarm private business sector employment increased by 206,000 from October to November on a seasonally adjusted basis, accordion to ADP's latest  national employment report. The estimated advance in employment from September to October was revised up to 130,000 from the initially reported 110,000.Employment in the private, service-providing sector rose 178,000 during November, which is up from an increase of 130,000 in October. Employment in the private, goods-producing sector increased 28,000 in November, while manufacturing employment increased 7,000.

Posted at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Nov. 29, 2011. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: How Small Business Saturday went, benefits of connecting with customers and more!

Posted at 05:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

People on the Move

Curtis Costner has taken on the role of CEO and owner of Sands Costner & Associates, a full-service advertising and design agency in downtown Tacoma.  The company has relocated its offices to 1117 Broadway, Suite 401. Rachael Costner will continue to serve on the board.John W. Hulbert Jr. has joined TwinStar Credit Union as business operations manager. He has more than 20 years of experience as a commercial lender and team leader with various commercial banks throughout the Northwest. Hulbert graduated from St. Martin's High School in Lacey and attended St. Martin's College before graduating from Central Washington State in 1970. He has completed Northwest Intermediate Banking School and Northwest Commercial Lending School at the University of Portland.  He also is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.

Posted at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

Area food banks receive grants

Quadrant Homes, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., and the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund have awarded grants totaling $24,000 to four nonprofit organizations serving King, Pierce and Skagit counties.South Sound recipients include Emergency Food Network of Tacoma, Maple Valley Food Bank and Air Force Reserve Care and Share Society at McChord Air Force Base.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

Ecology approves Federal Way's shoreline master program update

The Washington Department of Ecology has approved Federal Way's updated shoreline master program.  The program will promote significant improvements to the protection, use, water quality, development and restoration along the city's nearly 17 miles of marine and freshwater shoreline.The city's program affects shoreline areas along 4.8 miles of Puget Sound and 12 miles along Killarney, North and Steel lakes.

Posted at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

CMIT Solutions expands to Tacoma

CMIT Solutions has opened an information technology services franchise in Tacoma.Alan Bush, the franchisee, has more than 26 years of experience in professional services, IT and managed services with Fortune 500 companies. Before he concentrated exclusively on IT, Bush held engineering and management positions atWeyerhaeuser, Hewlett-Packard and Electronic Data Systems. He has also worked as a Realtor and is a Army veteran.

Posted at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

Kent hazardous waste company fined for fire

A Kent hazardous waste management facility has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $275,000 penalty for violating state and federal hazardous waste management laws.According to EPA, workers at Burlington Environmental caused two fires by mishandling hazardous waste and failing to comply with basic facility safety rules.

Posted at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/29/11

Small business employment inches up in November

Small businesses created 55,000 new jobs in November, but employees continued to work fewer hours and make less money, according to the latest Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment Index. Hiring in Washington grew by 0.3 percent.The monthly report found that small business employment nationwide also grew by 0.3 percent in November, equating to an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. Hours worked and compensation fell by 0.3 percent and 0.18 percent respectively.

Posted at 10:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

Around the Sound

World Trade Center Tacoma is hosting "The World in 20/20 Foresight: China, India and Brazil" from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Nov. 29 at Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. Visit www.wtcta.org for more information.Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting "Energy Conservation for Your Business" from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 at 25 W. Main St. Information will be available about Puget Sound Energy "plug and play" services, custom grant applications, renewable energy systems and connections to the grid. For more information, call (253) 288-3142 or e-mail bthomas@auburnwa.gov.

Posted at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

Broadway Center requesting proposals for 
IT services

The Broadway Center for Performing Arts is opening its information technology department to proposals from service providers."As we've grown and become more complex, it's time to look at a new model," said Gabe Garcia, who currently manages IT service with the assistance of a third-party contractor.  "Our needs have increased beyond the capacity of a single internal staff member."

Posted at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

During the season of giving, cons are on the take

As scammers seek to exploit holiday generosity, Better Business Bureau urges consumers to protect well-intentioned donations.According to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative's November 2010 Fundraising Survey, the majority of all charitable contributions are made in the last quarter of the year - October to December. Not surprisingly, scammers ramp up efforts during this time in hopes of snagging funds for themselves.

Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

Home sales up during October

Sales of new single-family houses in October 2011 were at 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.This is 1.3 percent above the revised September rate of 303,000 and is 8.9 percent above the October 2010 estimate of 282,000.

Posted at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

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. The  topic is open chat. Click here for more information.

Posted at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

Consumers plan to take advantage of today's online deals

Online shopping continues to win over millions of Americans this holiday season, with a record number planning to hit retailers' websites today - Cyber Monday - to take advantage of one-day only deals, percentages off websites and free shipping offers.According to a survey conducted for Shop.org by BIGresearch, 122.9 million Americans plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year, up from the 106.9 million who shopped on Cyber Monday in 2010. Eager to meet consumers' demands, nearly eight in ten (78.4 percent) retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, according to a survey released last week.

Posted at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/28/11

Black Friday weekend sets record

People were out hunting for deals this weekend and it appears many found what they were looking for as both traffic and spending were up online and in stores.According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGresearch over the weekend, a record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected sales for Sunday - up from 212 million last year.

Posted at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/25/11

Around the Sound

South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting Facebook for Business from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at 402 333rd St. Federal Way. Carla Conrad is the presenter. The cost is free for members. Federal Way Chamber members can purchase a punch card for four classes for $80. Non-members can purchases a punch card for four classes for $160. Visit www.ssrbi.com for more information. World Trade Center Tacoma is hosting "The World in 20/20 Foresight: China, India and Brazil" from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Nov. 29 at Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. Visit www.wtcta.org for more information.

Posted at 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/25/11

Local shops hope for Small Business Saturday success

Today was about door-busters and department store sales, but many local retail establishments are hoping tomorrow will be about the discounts and sales shoppers can receive at small businesses.The second annual Small Business Saturday is designed to encourage consumers to support local stores during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. And unlike Black Friday, which usually draws people into a few select "big" business stores, tomorrow's event is targeted to small retailers, restaurants, service providers and other business.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Community Health Care workers ratify new contract

Workers at Community Health Care have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract agreement that lowers health care premiums and provides an across-the-board wage increase.Workers and management at Community Health Care reached agreement during recent negotiations to avert an open-ended strike that was scheduled to begin Nov. 14.

Posted at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Planning Commission to tackle large-scale retail zoning

The Tacoma Planning Commission is holding a public hearing regarding proposed changes to the city's zoning code relative to large-scale retail uses at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 in the City Council Chambers on the 1st Floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St.The proposed code changes were developed in response to the emergency moratorium adopted by City Council on Aug. 30, which was retained and modified Nov. 1. The revised moratorium ordinance called for the commission to focus its short review on a citywide approach to addressing the size of large retail establishments and doing so within the six-month time frame of the moratorium, which will expire on Feb. 29.

Posted at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

AG's shopper survival tips

"Black Friday" seems to arrive earlier every year, with turkey-and-stuffing-stuffed shoppers lining up on Thanksgiving eve. "Cyber Monday" follows, as Internet sales ramp up on Nov. 28. With this in mind, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna shared the following consumer tips for holiday shoppers, with a nod to Arizona AG Tom Horne:• Bring ads for sales and "deals" with you to the store: Advertising a set of sales or "deals" and refusing to honor them is deceptive, illegal advertising in Washington. Shoppers should be careful that the specials advertised match what's on shelves. Read the fine print or disclosures before making your purchase. At the cash register, make sure the scanned price matches the advertised or posted price. Check your receipt for accuracy before you leave. If you have questions, ask to see the store's pricing error policy.

Posted at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Jobs Act - a free money buzzer for small businesses?


Small business owners should be planning now for how best to invest their windfall if Congress passes all the American Jobs Act incentives, otherwise they may quickly find themselves overextended.

"The jobs act rightfully emphasizes freeing up money so small business owners can hire new workers," said Richard B. Sanford, author of "Success by Design," a guide to simplified strategic business planning. "One of the provisions is a payroll tax holiday on up to $50 million in wages for new workers or raises for existing ones."

Posted at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Lakewood Computer Clubhouse named a Promise Place

For its commitment to helping young people succeed and thrive, Pierce College's Lakewood Computer Clubhouse has been named a Promise Place by America's Promise Alliance.The designation recognizes the clubhouse's commitment to the alliance's Five Promises: providing caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others.

Posted at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Foundation grant boosts Pierce College scholarships

The Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation has awarded $55,000 to Pierce College Foundation to support scholarships for students. Of that, $45,000 will be used for the 2012-13 school year and an additional one-time-only grant of $10,000 will be awarded now.The Fuchs Foundation has given $730,000 to the school during the past 17 years. Click here for more information.

Posted at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Blog watch: Free trade, tickets, sales, trees and flooding

The Live Wire reports on Korea ratifying a free trade agreement with the United States.OlyBlog says Olympia is again ticketing at the Food Bank.

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Phony BBB complaint e-mail hits businesses nationwide

Locally and nationally, businesses are reporting questionable complaint notices disguised as official Better Business Bureau correspondence.Phishing e-mails - which prominently feature BBB's name and logo - indicate that businesses have received BBB complaints and must respond by clicking on enclosed links or attachments.

Posted at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Durable goods orders fall; inventories rise

New orders for manufactured durable goods in October decreased $1.4 billion, or 0.7 percent, to $197.7 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The decrease followed a 1.5 percent September decline.Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.7 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.2 percent. Transportation equipment, also down two consecutive months, had the largest decrease, $2.4 billion or 4.8 percent to $47.2 billion.

Posted at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Ecology issues penalties for Q3

The Washington Department of Ecology issued $47,880 in penalties of $1,000 or more during the third quarter. The money owed from penalties may be reduced from the issued amount due to a ruling by the Pollution Control Hearings Board or a negotiated settlement.Fines issued to South Sound businesses included:Lewis County• M&M Transport Inc., $1,500 - On June 22, a semi-truck owned by M&M Transport spilled an estimated 40 gallons of diesel and oil into a ditch emptying to a wetland as a result of an accident at the intersection of Forest Napavine Road and SB Exit 71 on Interstate 5.

Posted at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

Merck to pay state $6.7M to settle Vioxx claims

Washington has joined with 42 other states and the federal government in reaching an agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. to settle civil and criminal allegations that Merck marketed Vioxx for unapproved uses. As a result of the settlement, $1.2 million will go to the state's Medicaid program and $2.3 million will be deposited in the general fund.The rest of the state's share will be returned to the federal government to cover its share of Medicaid spending on Vioxx during the time in question. Payment amounts to states are based on how much was spent on the drug in each state during the time in question.

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

BE offices closed Thanksgiving Day

Business Examiner will be closed Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. BE Daily will not be published Thursday but will return Friday afternoon.

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/23/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Lewis CountyIn November, the Nursing Assistant Program terminated the probation order against registered nursing assistant Kayley Marie Arlt.

Posted at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Nov. 22, 2011. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: Marketing, Black Friday and shopping local.

Posted at 05:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Turkey Challenge brings in more than $10,000, 1,200 pounds of food

The inaugural Kent Turkey Challenge inspired about 50 businesses and groups to donate more than $10,000 and 1,200 pounds of food to the Kent Food Bank. The donations will help feed more than 1,000 families for Thanksgiving this year.Torklift Central hosted the Turkey Challenge. The business recruited other Kent businesses to gather canned goods and sell paper turkeys for $10. The paper turkeys represented money used to purchase actual turkeys for the food bank.

Posted at 03:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Jobless numbers higher during October

Unemployment rates were higher throughout the South Sound during October, according to the latest numbers released by the state Employment Security Department.Pierce County posted a jobless rate of 9.1 percent, up from 9 percent during September and 8.8 percent during October 2010.

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Valley Cities receives $1.1M grant

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded a $1.1 million grant over two years to Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation to develop, implement and evaluate a Forensic Mental Health Peer Support program targeted at helping released criminals with serious mental illness.The program is designed to reduce recidivism for people with SMI who are leaving South Correctional Entity, a municipal jail in Des Moines jointly operated by seven cities in south King County.

Posted at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

More organizations hiring to replace workers than in 2010

Almost three-quarters of organizations are hiring full-time permanent staff and more than half of those (58 percent) are mainly hiring to replace employees lost to layoffs or attrition - a substantial increase compared to 47 percent during 2010, according to the latest survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.However, the survey also shows that fewer organizations (30 percent) are hiring for completely new positions than during 2010 (47 percent).

Posted at 01:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Comments sought on rule requiring hazards be fixed during appeal

The Department of Labor & Industries is seeking public input about a draft rule requiring employers to correct serious safety hazards when they receive L&I citations, even if they appeal the citation, unless a stay is granted.In Washington, if a business is cited by L&I for a violation of workplace safety law, the business has 15 days to appeal that citation. Under existing rules, if the employer appeals the citation, there is no obligation to correct the serious hazards they are cited for until the appeal is resolved, which can take months or even years.

Posted at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Help plan for growth and development in south downtown on Dec. 1

The City of Tacoma will host a community meeting at 4 p.m. Dec. 1 to gather ideas from the community about the future of south downtown. The meeting will kick off the South Downtown Subarea Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, which covers an area including the Dome District, Brewery District, Thea Foss Waterway and University of Washington-Tacoma.The city is looking to residents and property owners to help develop an inclusive plan that complements the needs of current residents and property owners, while integrating these planning decisions to promote a healthy environment and a healthy economy in the decades to come. The meeting will be at UWT's Carwein Auditorium, 1900 Commerce St., Room 102.

Posted at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Majority of companies planning holiday parties

While the economic recovery failed to make great strides in 2011 and, in fact, appeared to stall in the second half of the year, nearly 70 percent of companies still plan to hold holiday parties during the coming weeks, according to an annual survey of human resources executives conducted by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.The percentage of companies hosting parties is about the same as a year ago, but remains well short of a pre-recession 2007, when about 90 percent of companies surveyed held holiday festivities.

Posted at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Aerospace grant funds short-term CNC Operator program at Bates

Those interested in a career in manufacturing and aerospace now have another opportunity for training. Armed with $91,229 from the Governor's Investment in Aerospace grant, Bates Technical College is offering a Computer Numerical Control Operator course that prepares students for entry-level employment in the state's manufacturing and aerospace industries."The goal of this program is to provide short-term training that will lead to entry-level employment in the manufacturing and aerospace industries," said Lynn Strickland, Bates' Dean of Instruction. "Graduates also receive a stackable educational career path, where they can earn more certificates and degrees through the machinist or apprenticeship program at the college, on a part-time or full-time basis."

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

People on the Move

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has added three members to its board of directors. They include: Maro Imirzian, Sheri Tonn and Cindy Thompson. Imirzian serves as vice president of finance at Catchlight Energy LLC, a Chevron/Weyerhaeuser joint venture formed in 2008. She joined Catchlight Energy after serving in manufacturing and finance roles at Weyerhaeuser Co. Tonn is vice president of finance and operations at Pacific Lutheran University. She joined PLU in 1979 as an assistant professor of chemistry and has served in several administrative positions, including Dean of Natural Sciences and Dean of Information Resources. Thompson is former president of Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory. She retired in 2009.Steve Shaw and Sierra Mott have joined Landau Associates Inc.'s Tacoma office. Shaw will serve as a staff geologist. He recently received a master's degree in geology from Western Washington University. Mott will serve as receptionist and staff support. She has a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from the University of Washington-Tacoma.

Posted at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Economic, political uncertainty 
top impediments to small business growth

Nearly three-quarters of small-business owners would like to expand by adding employees within the next five years, but various impediments are currently standing in their way.According to Growth - External Factors, a report prepared by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, uncertainty and weak sales are the two primary impediments to small-business growth.

Posted at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

Charities expecting big online giving on Cyber Monday

This Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year is not only expected to top $1 billion in online spending for the second year in a row, but World Vision says virtual shoppers could make a significant contribution toward helping those in need. Cyber Monday is Nov. 28.According to the 2011 World Vision Gift Giving study, the charitable giving trend is expected to continue despite another holiday season faced with a struggling economy.

Posted at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

FDIC-insured institutions earned $35.3B in Q3

Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported an aggregate profit of $35.3 billion during the third quarter of 2011, an $11.5 billion improvement from the $23.8 billion in net income the industry reported in the third quarter of 2010. This is the ninth consecutive quarter that earnings registered a year-over-year increase."We continue to see income growth that reflects improving asset quality and lower loss provisions," said FDIC Acting Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg. "U.S. banks have come a long way from the depths of the financial crisis. Bank balance sheets are stronger in a number of ways and the industry is generally profitable, but the recovery is by no means complete. Ongoing distress in real estate markets and slow growth in jobs and incomes continue to pose risks to credit quality."

Posted at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/22/11

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 in our state.Pierce CountyIn October, the Nursing Commission entered into an agreed order with registered nurse Deborah M. Asrari and placed conditions against her license. She withdrew medications for patients and failed to chart the administration or wastage of the medications.

Posted at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/21/11

Governor lays out budget plan

Gov. Chris Gregoire today presented a supplemental budget that calls for more than $2 billion in spending cuts, reductions to local government revenue sharing and fund transfers to leave a $600 million reserve.The governor also recommended several revenue options.
 Gregoire's budget proposal includes significant cuts and reductions:

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/21/11

Around the Sound

U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert and Adam Smith are hosting a free job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St., Kent. Contact Kelley Goetz at (206) 275-3438 or Roel van deer Lugt at (253) 593-6602 for more information.South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting Facebook for Business from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at 402 333rd St. Federal Way. Carla Conrad is the presenter. The cost is free for members. Federal Way Chamber members can purchase a punch card for four classes for $80. Non-members can purchases a punch card for four classes for $160. Visit www.ssrbi.com for more information.

Posted at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/21/11

Make a big difference on Small Business Saturday

The U.S. Small Business Administration is encouraging every American to support small businesses by doing some of their holiday shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at small businesses."Small businesses are the foundation of our economy - half of America's workers either own or work for a small business," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show our support for our friends and neighbors who throughout the year are growing our local economy, as well as supporting many local initiative(s) and organizations."

Posted at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

Thurston B&G Clubs, CSDL launch program to protect children

11/21/11

Thurston B&G Clubs, CSDL launch program to protect children

Free Enhanced Identification Document cards will be available for Thurston County children through the Washington Department of Licensing in January. The effort is part of the regional Keeping I.D.s Safe (KIDS) program launched last week between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County and the national Coalition for a Secure Driver's License.

Posted at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

Bulk mail meetings raise questions in Tacoma, Olympia

11/21/11

Bulk mail meetings raise questions in Tacoma, Olympia

With the announcement of feasibility studies for possible closure of the Tacoma and Olympia mail processing and distribution centers, area meetings were held between the U.S. Postal Service and regional businesses last week in both cities.The possible closures - upon which services from Tacoma and Olympia would be transferred to Seattle, causing delays for second-class mail in particular - are part of the USPS's study of 252 sites where costs could be cut nationwide.

Posted at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/21/11

Applus Technologies named 2011 Green Business of the Year

Applus Technologies has been named Kent's Green Business of the Year for 2011. The company develops solutions to address environmental challenges.Applus assists the Washington State Department of Ecology in meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines on air quality control and oversees 16 vehicle emissions testing centers throughout the state.

Posted at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/21/11

Tacoma's export container volumes remain strong

Full export container volumes through the Port of Tacoma are up 15 percent year to date through October. Strong performing containerized export sectors include wood and waste products, paper and paperboard, and grain.About 70 percent of the port's containerized export cargoes originate in Washington, with about half being agricultural products.The port's year-to-date container volumes through October are up 2 percent, with the port handling 1,230,723 20-foot equivalent units. Full import container volumes are down 2 percent for the same time period. Slowing imports continue to reflect tightened consumer spending as the economy lags.

Posted at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

PUD 3 partner wins 'Smart Power' prize

A Kirkland company working on a groundbreaking project with Mason County PUD No. 3 has received the "Smart Power" award in the 2011 Cleantech Open competition. GridMobility won the award for its signal technology, which enables business, industry and consumers to choose electricity sources based on their personal preferences.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 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

Around the Sound

South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting Facebook for Business from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at 402 333rd St. Federal Way. Amy Wallsmith is the presenter. The cost is free for members. Federal Way Chamber members can purchase a punch card for four classes for $80. Non-members can purchases a punch card for four classes for $160. Visit www.ssrbi.com for more information.U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert and Adam Smith are hosting a free job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St., Kent. Contact Kelley Goetz at (206) 275-3438 or Roel van deer Lugt at (253) 593-6602 for more information.

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

State economist sees hopeful signs

Washington state's official forecaster had some good news in remarks to an economic symposium in Tumwater today."Non-residential construction contracts  in October were higher year-over-year (2011 versus 2010) for the first time in four years," said Arun Raha, Ph.D., chief economist and executive director of Washington Economic and Revenue Council. "And I expect momentum here to grow by mid-2012. There is also some clear upward trend in multi-family permits" - which is the first step toward a housing recovery.

Posted at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

Input sought on new L&I rule protecting health care workers

The state Department of Labor & Industries is seeking public comment on a draft rule setting requirements for the handling of chemotherapy drugs and other hazardous drugs.The 2011 legislature passed a bill requiring L&I to enact protections using recommendations included in a 2004 report by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and a 2010 update of the report.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

U.S. Attorney's Office recovers more than $74M in FY 2011

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington collected more than $74 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2011, which ran Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011.In conjunction with these numbers, the Department of Justice announced that nationwide it collected more than $6.5 billion in debts owed to taxpayers during the same period.

Posted at 08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/18/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Pierce CountyIn October, the Chiropractic Commission charged chiropractor Danny D. Baldwin with unprofessional conduct. He allegedly advertised laser fat removal services and provided laser treatment to a patient which is outside the scope of practice for a chiropractor. He also failed to refund patients for services not provided.

Posted at 08:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Containerized exports climb for 8th consecutive quarter

Led by strong demand for agricultural products in Asia, U.S. containerized exports expanded 6.7 percent during the third quarter, according to figures released today by The Journal of Commerce/PIERS, leaving export volume from the United States up 8.3 percent through the first nine months of 2011.Westbound trans-Pacific trade for the third quarter rose 10.4 percent year-over-year to 1,653,158 20-foot-equivalent units, pushed by a surge in exports to China. The top market for U.S. exports, China followed its second quarter increase of 6 percent with a 13 percent jump in the third quarter to 652,069 TEUs.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

People on the Move

Mark Cholvin has joined Market Engenuity, the underwriting team representing KPLU, as underwriting representative. He has more than 14 years of sales experience in newspaper and radio in the Puget Sound area. Most recently, he was an underwriting account manager at KUOW. Cholvin also worked in sales and marketing at Enterprise Newspapers and The Seattle Times.Tad Doviak has joined KPLU as a computer support specialist. He has spent more than 14 years in the IT field and has experience working with large and small organizations with diverse needs.

Posted at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

MGH honored for emergency department excellence

Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics was chosen from more than 1,700 hospitals nationwide to receive the 2011 T-System Client Excellence Award.T-System, Inc., which provides clinical, business and IT solutions for emergency medicine, annually recognizes hospitals that have most effectively used its solutions to improve the quality of patient care, operational processes and financial results in the emergency department.

Posted at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Tacoma trust promoter sentenced to 7 years in prison

Sharon D. Kukhahn, 62, of Tacoma was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to seven years in prison, three years of supervised release and $856,681 in restitution for conspiracy, four counts of tax evasion and corrupt interference with Internal Revenue Service laws.Kukhahn, also known as Sharon Stephenson, was convicted in May. She was remanded to custody immediately following the verdict.

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Jobs and unemployment both improved in October

Washington's employment picture bounced back in October, adding an estimated 4,600 jobs and lowering the unemployment rate to 9 percent. This is the lowest the state's unemployment rate has been since March 2009."The October numbers showing slow, steady improvement are more consistent with what we've seen for more than a year," said Dave Wallace, an economist for Employment Security. "It looks more likely that the September numbers were an anomaly."

Posted at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Housing starts up during Oct. compared to 2010

Privately owned housing starts ticked down 0.3 percent nationwide during October compared to a month earlier, according to the latest numbers from the  U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, compared to a year ago, the 628,000 starts were up 16.5 percent.Single-family housing starts during October came in at 430,000, 3.9 percent above the revised September figure of 414.000.

Posted at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

More consumers planning to shop on Black Friday

Many major retailers are preparing to open their doors at midnight on Black Friday - and for good reason it seems.According to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs, 34 percent of consumers said they plan to shop on that day. That number is up slightly compared to last year, when 31 percent of consumers indicated that they planned to shop, and significantly up over 2009's 26 percent.

Posted at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Tourism Celebrity Award winners announced

The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau revealed the 2011 winners of its Tourism Celebrity Awards today at Cheney Stadium.Honorees included:

Posted at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Thurston County selling surplus computers

Thurston County will be holding an online auction starting at 9 a.m. Nov. 21. Bidding will close at 9 a.m. Dec. 5. Items for sale include five Itronix GoBookIII Rugged Laptops. The 40-GB computers come with power supplies and cradles.Those interested in viewing the items or bidding can visit www.publicsurplus.com to register as a buyer. There is no cost to register. Condition of the items varies and they are sold on an "as-is" basis.

Posted at 08:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Thurston Commission meetings canceled for Nov. 22 and 29

Thurston County commissioners will not be holding their weekly board meetings for Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. The temporary recess in meetings will allow commissioners to concentrate on deliberations regarding year-end issues such as the 2012 budget. It will also allow time for observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.The next regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 in room 280 of Building One of the Thurston County Courthouse.

Posted at 08:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Grant should improve children's mental health services

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has received a one-year, $800,000 grant to improve mental health services for children across the state. The grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration."We will develop a comprehensive strategic plan to improve, implement, expand and sustain the system of care principles and philosophy, with an emphasis on developing an infrastructure for state-level funding, policy and practice changes," said David Dickinson, director of the DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.

Posted at 08:52 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

ABC: 2012 will be slow year for construction

Associated Builders and Contractors is forecasting another challenging year in 2012 for the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industry."ABC's analysis of construction trends indicates 2012 will be a year of gradual progress as advances in private construction are partially offset by ongoing declines in publicly financed construction," said ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. "Nonresidential construction spending is expected to grow 2.4 percent in 2012 following a 2.4 percent decrease in 2011. The pace of recovery in the nation's nonresidential construction industry remains soft and 2012 is positioned to be a year of slow gain."

Posted at 08:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

Executives more optimistic despite unchanged sales, employment

Although sales haven't risen for most and the number of workers they employ is unchanged, Seattle business executives are more optimistic about the future than they were during the second quarter of the year, according to a survey conducted by Washington State University School of Economic Sciences and the Seattle Business Executives Association at the end of the third quarter.Respondents demonstrated a significant upturn in economic optimism, following a significant drop during the second quarter. Andrew Cassey, assistant professor in the WSU School of Economic Sciences, called the change "good and surprising news."

Posted at 08:46 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/17/11

State takes action against health care providers

The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary actions or withdrawn charges against the following South Sound health care providers.Mason CountyIn March, the Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems Program charged emergency medical technician Kevin D. Schultz with unprofessional conduct. He allegedly failed to disclose a guilty plea on two counts of attempted arson and a citation for false reporting on his application for reactivation.

Posted at 07:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

St. Joseph Medical Center honored for stroke care

St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma has received the 2011 Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Sometimes called a "brain attack," a stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. If the flow of blood is interrupted for more than a few seconds, then brain cells can die and cause permanent damage.

Posted at 05:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Blog watch: budget woes, salmon return, health care reform and GIS

Get the latest on Tacoma's budget woes on The Live Wire.Find out how to celebrate the return of chum salmon to McLane Creek at OlyBlog.

Posted at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

GDP up 2.5% during Q3

Real gross domestic product increased 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011, according to the advance estimates of the national income and product accounts. During the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent. The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected accelerations in consumer spending and in nonresidential fixed investment and a smaller decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a larger decrease in inventory investment.

Posted at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Postal Service to discuss consolidation plans

The U.S. Postal Service will hold public meetings to discuss its proposal to move mail processing operations from the Olympia Mail Processing Facility and the Tacoma Mail Processing Center to the Seattle Processing & Distribution Center.The Tacoma meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Tacoma Main Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave. South. The Olympia meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Phoenix Inn, 415 Capitol Way North.

Posted at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Goodwill receives $75K for warehouse/logistics program

The Boeing Co. has awarded Tacoma Goodwill a $75,000 grant to help fund the Career Pipeline Project in Warehouse & Logistics.Launched in 2009 in partnership with Tacoma Community College, the free, seven-week, 30-hour-a-week intensive course provides employer-approved classes in the transportation/warehouse/logistics field to job seekers 18 and older. It also provides case management support to help each person succeed in class, in finding work, in career advancement or in further education.

Posted at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Consumer Price Index ticks lower

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers decreased 0.1 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.5 percent before seasonal adjustment. A decline in the energy index more than offset small increases in the indexes for food and all items less food and energy to create the all items decline. The energy index turned down in October after increasing in each of the three previous months as the gasoline and household energy indexes declined after a series of seasonally adjusted increases.

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Real earnings inch higher

Real average hourly earnings for all employees rose 0.3 percent from September to October, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase stems from a 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings and a 0.1 percent decline in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.Real average weekly earnings rose 0.3 percent over the month as a result of the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with the unchanged average workweek.

Posted at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Travelers remain frustrated with aviation security process

New survey data shows four of the top five air traveler frustrations relate to the checkpoint process, though a majority of travelers are supportive of recent initiatives to improve traveler facilitation by the Transportation Security Administration.Commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association to mark the 10th anniversary of TSA, the survey results show travelers are generally satisfied with TSA's overall performance as it relates to security. A full two-thirds, 66 percent, of air travelers are satisfied with the job TSA is doing on security and only 13 percent said they were dissatisfied.

Posted at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

EEOC posts record numbers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finished fiscal year 2011 with a 10 percent decrease in its pending charge inventory - the first such reduction since 2002, achieved the highest ever monetary amounts through administrative enforcement and received a record number of charges of discrimination, the agency reported in its annual Performance and Accountability Report.The EEOC received a record 99,947 charges of discrimination during fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, the highest number of charges in the agency's 46-year history. EEOC staff also delivered historic relief through administrative enforcement - more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of workplace discrimination. This is also the highest level obtained in the commission's history.

Posted at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

Construction activity stagnates in Q3

11/16/11

Construction activity stagnates in Q3

At 8.1 months, the third quarter Construction Backlog Indicator remained unchanged from the previous quarter, but was up 16.3 percent compared to a year ago, according to Associated Builders and Contractors. CBI is a forward-looking economic indicator that measures the amount of construction work under contract to be completed in the future.In the West, the backlog increased about half a month compared to 2010, rising from 6.85 to 7.4.

Posted at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Construction materials prices fall

As evidence of a downward trend, construction materials prices fell 0.6 percent in October, according to the Producer Price Index report by the U.S. Department of Labor. However, construction materials prices are still 6.9 percent higher than in October 2010.Nonferrous wire and cable prices dropped 5.8 percent in October, but are still up 0.6 percent compared to the same time last year. Iron and steel prices slipped 0.1 percent for the month, but were 14.4 percent higher during the past twelve months.

Posted at 09:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Heritage Financial declares special cash dividend

The Board of Directors of Heritage Financial Corp. has declared a special one-time cash dividend of 25 cents per share payable on Dec. 9 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 28."As our economy slowly emerges from the difficulties of the past couple of years, Heritage finds itself in the enviable position of having a very strong capital base that continues to grow as we grow in profitability," said Brian Vance, president and CEO. "This special dividend is one facet of managing capital as well as rewarding our shareholders."

Posted at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Habitat for Humanity seeking applicants for 2012 projects

Habitat for Humanity of Mason County is accepting applications for partner families for homes being built in 2012.Qualified families must show a housing need, be a resident of Mason County for at least one year, are willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity and have the ability to make a low monthly mortgage payment. Habitat for Humanity builds homes using volunteer labor and sells them to partner families at no profit.

Posted at 09:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

SBA proposes size standard increases

Proposed rules published for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses ranging from real estate and property management to colleges, junior colleges and universities.The proposed adjustments to size standards in 20 industries and one sub-industry in Sector 53 of the North American Industry Classification System, "Real Estate and Rental and Leasing," and in nine industries in Sector 61, "Educational Services," reflect changes in marketplace conditions in those sectors.

Posted at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/16/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Tuesday 11/15/2011. Topic: Open chat. What we talked about: Employment. Do job fairs help? Are online job search options lacking? and more... Join us next week!

Posted at 07:47 AM | Permalink | Comments

11/15/11

Local agencies target harmful smoke

Several clean air agencies in Washington state received a combined $3 million in Department of Ecology grants to protect residents from harmful smoke in their communities.The grants are aimed at replacing wood stoves and other heating devices with cleaner, more efficient equipment. Three of North America's five largest manufacturers of gas, wood and pellet stoves are located in Washington.

Posted at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

11/15/11

Budget adoption tops Port of Tacoma's agenda

At their Nov. 17 meeting, Port of Tacoma commissioners will hold a special public hearing to formally adopt the Port's 2012 statutory budget and tax levy.Commissioners are also expected to consider contracts for the purchase of replacement container crane parts and the installation of an emergency warning system, as well as authorize maintenance dredging along Port piers and approve international commission travel for the first six months of 2012.

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

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