Oct 3, 201112:00 AMBlog

October 2011

10/31/11

Containerized imports fall

U.S. containerized import volume fell 6 percent in September compared to the month before as surging shipping of auto parts was not enough to offset growing pessimism among retailers about consumer demand heading into the holidays, according to figures from The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.The September volume of 1,464,193 20-foot-equivalent units coming into the country was up a modest 1 percent from the same month a year ago, the first year-over-year gain after three straight months of decline. A 25 percent surge in parts to support the recovering automobile industry offset steep declines in consumer goods compared to September 2010, said Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.

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10/31/11

Join us on Twitter for #BEchat

Be part of the conversation! Join us for #BEchat at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.The topic for tomorrow's discussion is "open chat," so bring any and all ideas that might be on your mind. http://www.businessexaminer.com/social

Posted at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/31/11

Agreement advances salmon conservation in Kent

The City of Kent has reached agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a plan to improve habitat for threatened salmon, while also assuring the city's ability to utilize water from its Clark Springs water supply.The agreement, also known as a Habitat Conservation Plan, features projects that increase stream flows when fish are spawning, replaces culverts and improves salmon habitat. Also included are water conservation programs and the establishment of a habitat fund for future restoration projects or land acquisitions.

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10/31/11

Around the Sound

Thurston County Chamber is hosting Morning MIXXer at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 1 at Schmidt House, 330 Schmidt Place, SW, Tumwater. The cost is $5 for members and $10 general admission. Call (360) 357-3362 for more information.Thurston Economic Development Council is hosting South Sound Success Small Business Conference from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at SPSCC's Hawks Prairie Center, 1404 Marvin Road NE, Lacey. Click here or call (360) 754-6320 for more information.

Posted at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/31/11

Online labor demand dips in October

Online advertised vacancies fell by 13,600 in October to 3,933,400, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine Data Series. The October drop follows a decline of 44,000 in September and a decrease of 164,000 in August.The supply/demand rate stands at 3.54, indicating there were 3.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy in September, the latest monthly data available for unemployment.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/31/11

Free Microsoft courses extended for another year

Despite large budget cuts, the Employment Security Department has extended its contract with Microsoft to make the company's entire suite of online courses available for free to Washington residents for another year. The contract originally was scheduled to end today but will be continued through October 2012.Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said the extension reflects his decision to make cost-effective customer services a priority as tough budget choices are made.

Posted at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/31/11

Employment index reveals soft market

Small businesses created 30,000 new jobs in October, but employees are working fewer hours and making less money, according to the latest Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment Index.The monthly report found that small business employment nationwide grew by 0.14 percent during October, equating to an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent. Hours worked and compensation both decreased by 0.2 percent and 0.06 percent, respectively. Employment in Washington grew by 0.3 percent.

Posted at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/31/11

Wells Fargo nixes pilot of monthly fee for debit cards

Wells Fargo & Co. is canceling its planned five-state pilot of a monthly $3 fee for users of its debit cards. The bank said the decision was made in response to customer feedback it has received.Washington was one of the states scheduled to be included in the program.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

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.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Around the Sound

Thurston Economic Development Council his hosting South Sound Success Small Business Conference from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at SPSCC's Hawks Prairie Center, 1404 Marvin Road NE, Lacey. Click here or call (360) 754-6320 for more information.South Sound Regional Business Incubator is hosting an alternative financing seminar from noon to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at 402 S. 333rd St., Federal Way. The cost is free for SSRBI members. Federal Way Chamber members can purchase a punch card for four classes for $40. Non-members may purchase a punch card for four classes for $80. Visit www.ssrbi.com for more information.

Posted at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Federal grant for UW students on cybercrime prevention

The University of Washington has won a $2.1 million federal grant to train graduate students in the burgeoning field of information assurance and cybersecurity.The four-year Scholarship for Service grant will eventually provide full-ride scholarships and stipends to 18 graduate students at the UW Tacoma Institute of Technology and UW Seattle campus, said Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, director of the UW Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, which received the grant.

Posted at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Weyerhaeuser reports Q3 earnings

Weyerhaeuser Co. reported net earnings of $157 million for the third quarter, or 29 cents per diluted share, on net sales from continuing operations of $1.6 billion. This compares with net earnings of $1.116 billion on net sales of $1.5 billion for the same period last year. That 2010 number included $1.035 billion, which was the  primarily an income tax adjustment related to the conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT).Earnings for the third quarter of 2011 include after-tax gains of $91 million from special items. Excluding these items, the company reported net earnings of $66 million, or 12 cents per diluted share. This compares with net earnings before special items of $81 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Posted at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Dedication today for new UPS building

Bill and Gail Weyerhaeuser will cut the ceremonial ribbon at the official Grand Opening and Dedication of The William T. and Gail T. Weyerhaeuser Center for Health Sciences at a ceremony today beginning at 5 p.m.The $21 million center provides light-filled workspaces and high-technology resources for students and faculty members in five health and behavioral sciences, including occupational and physical therapy, exercise science, psychology, and neuroscience.

Posted at 01:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Despite the economy, employees continue to save

Financial Finesse today released findings from its 2011 third quarter research report on employee financial issues.The report reinforced a trend seen early in 2010 with employees continuing to put more emphasis on retirement and long-term planning as they continue to weather a tough economy and sluggish job and real estate markets.Some of the most significant findings from the report were:

Posted at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Many more will celebrate Halloween

Consumer research done for National Retail Federation predicts 161 million Americans plan to party hearty in the next four days. Seven in 10 plan to celebrate Halloween, a five percentage point gain from last year. This is also the most in NRF's nine-year survey history.Those celebrating are expected to spend slightly more too; the average person will shell out $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion.

Posted at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

Heritage reports income, earnings boost

Heritage Financial Corp. reports net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2011 of $1.84 million compared to net income of $1.71 million for the same quarter last year and $1.69 million for the linked-quarter ended June 30, 2011.The net income applicable to common shareholders for the quarter was 12 cents per diluted common share, compared to 15 cents per share in 2010 through Sept. 30. Year-to-date net income to shareholders was $4.3 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to $2.6 million one year ago.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/28/11

New health care facility to South Hill

Construction will begin by next Tuesday on Group Health Cooperative's new Puyallup Medical Center at its South Hill Business and Technology Center.The Benaroya Company, developer of that business park at a former semiconductor manufacturing campus, said the facility is being designed and built by Seattle-based CollinsWoerman and GLY Construction in close collaboration with Group Health.

Posted at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

Nalley Valley construction, phase 2

State and local officials will break ground on the $115 million Eastbound Nalley Valley Project tomorrow, Oct. 28, marking the official start of construction to replace and improve connections from eastbound SR 16 to I-5 and complete the SR 16/Sprague Avenue interchange.The first portion of the three-phase interchange overhaul, the westbound Nalley Valley viaduct, opened to drivers in June and set the stage for future HOV lanes that will be built through the area in 2020.

Posted at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

People on the move

Tenzin Gyaltsen has joined Tacoma Power as general manager of Click! Network. He has more than 15 years of experience in the public and private telecommunications industry, and previously worked in California as  general manager for San Bruno Municipal Cable TV. Dr. Elizabeth "Lisa" Friesema has joined Community Health Care's Tanbara Children's Clinic. She is a pediatrician who received her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Friesema completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Posted at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

PSE natural gas customers get a rate break

Customers of Puget Sound Energy (PSE) can expect their heating bills to drop this winter due to lower natural gas costs.The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved PSE's request to reduce the average residential natural gas utility bill by 4 percent, or $3.39 for customers using 68 therms a month. New rates take effect Nov. 1.

Posted at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

Governor unveils budget cut alternatives

Gov. Chris Gregoire presented today a list of budget reduction alternatives that her office says can be used as a starting point to the conversation lawmakers must engage in to resolve the state's budget deficit.In August, Gregoire directed state agencies to submit to the Office of Financial Management a list of options to reduce agency budgets by up to 10 percent. Since then, the governor has worked with her Cabinet and budget advisers, and continued to solicit ideas from state employees and citizens, to identify additional expenditure reductions to achieve $2 billion in savings.Reductions that will likely be included in Gregoire's November budget proposal would:

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

Employee loyalty drops around the world

Employee loyalty is dropping around the world, according to new global analysis of Mercer's What's Working survey.The research, conducted among nearly 30,000 employees in 17 geographic markets between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, shows that the percentage of workers seriously considering leaving their organization has risen since the last time the survey was conducted in each market (between 2003 and 2006). In the US, the increase was 9 points, from 23 percent in 2005 to 32 percent in 2010.

Posted at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/11

Columbia Bank earnings up

Strength in loan growth and branch growth drove Tacoma-based Columbia Banking System to sharply higher earnings in the third quarter. Net income of $18.9 million was more than seven times higher than in 2010 for the same three months.The company said the increase is primarily due to the financial benefits derived from recent FDIC-assisted transactions, including a net bargain purchase gain of $1.8 million on the Bank of Whitman transaction.The corporation's board of directors also announced an increased quarterly dividend of 8 cents, plus a special one-time cash dividend of 5 cents per share. It also decided to open another round of shares re-purchase for up to 5 percent of all those outstanding.

Posted at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

State regulators allege PSE violations

State regulators today issued a complaint against Puget Sound Energy alleging violations of an order directing the utility to correctly apply "refusal of service" requirements. Those rules are designed to protect consumers who are unable to pay their energy bills, need to be reconnected and need to set up payment arrangements on the prior balance without a further threat of disconnection.

Posted at 03:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Capital Medical Center expands services

Capital Medical Center has opened a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging center at 601 McPhee Road SW in Olympia.The property is divided into two buildings, each totaling 15,552 square feet.  One houses an 8,477-square-foot diagnostic imaging center, which has a GE 64 slice CT, Optima 450 wide bore MRI, Precision 500D Fluoroscopy imaging unit and ultrasound services.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Blog watch: Voting, drawings, warning and crashing

How are you planning to vote on some of the key issues in the upcoming election? The Live Wire wants to know.Don't miss BIA Blog for a link to the current technical drawings for Pacific Avenue Streetscape.

Posted at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

TrueBlue revenue, income up during Q3

TrueBlue reported revenue for the third quarter of 2011 of $371 million, an increase of 19 percent compared to revenue of $313 million for the third quarter of 2010. Net income for the quarter was $13.9 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $10.2 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2010.During the quarter and through Oct. 21, Tacoma-based TrueBlue purchased about 3.4 million shares of its outstanding common stock for $42 million. This brings the total for the year to 4.3 million shares for $55 million. Forty-two million dollars remains available to purchase shares under the current program approved by the Board of Directors on July 25.

Posted at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

TransAlta opens U.S. headquarters in Olympia

Canada's largest generator of electric and renewable power, TransAlta Corp., opened its U.S. headquarters in Olympia today."Olympia really hits that sweet spot for business in the Pacific Northwest," said TransAlta USA president Paul Taylor. "We want to invest in the (region's) businesses community. It's our intention to grow here."

Posted at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Ports sign pact on environment, disaster preparedness

During the Tacoma-Kitakyushu 10th Sister Ports Conference on Oct. 24 in Tacoma, officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding that calls for the ports to exchange information about disaster prevention and preparedness, and environmental issues."Over the years, our two ports have learned a tremendous amount through meetings and exchanges of this type," said Connie Bacon, president of the Port of Tacoma Commission. "This MOU sets up the framework for continued cooperation on two key areas that are very important to our respective ports and port communities."

Posted at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Council expects state to fare better economically than nation

The state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council says it continues to believe the Washington economy will outperform the U.S. economy, according to the preliminary November report. Washington is benefitting from strong export growth and hiring at both Boeing and Microsoft. However, the national outlook has weakened, and this is reflected in a weaker state forecast as well, the council said.

Posted at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

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 September, the Office of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems Program charged emergency medical technician Michael S. Christen with unprofessional conduct. He allegedly falsified information on his initial application. He was also convicted of driving under the influence.

Posted at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Boss of the Year Nominations sought

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its second annual Boss of the Year award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership in the workplace through innovation, communication, vision and performance."With the challenging economy impacting organizations everywhere, leaders are making the difference between whether an organization barely survives or actually thrives," said Reid Bates, chair-elect of the chamber and owner of Express Employment Professionals.  "This award is a great way for bosses to be recognized by their staff and the Chamber and for their examples to be shared across the community."

Posted at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Phishing scams spike

The American Bankers Association is warning consumers not to fall victim to a sudden increase in phishing scams that have been reported in states around the country.  According to reports, perpetrators are using automated dialers, text messages or e-mails to misinform consumers that their accounts have been closed due to fraud.  Consumers are then prompted to enter in their card information, including its expiration number and three-digit CV code on the back of the card, in order to reactivate their accounts.

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/26/11

Tacoma faces at least a $26M general fund budget gap

During study session Tuesday, Tacoma City Council members received an update on the 2011-12 budget. The update acknowledged that due to falling revenue and unexpected but necessary expenses, the city now projects at least a $26 million general fund budget gap.The general fund budget, which pays for basic services such as police, fire, libraries and residential street repairs, will require a new budget strategy to address the shortfall. With a stagnant local economy and rising costs, the city cannot work to close this gap without impacting all general fund service areas, and the solution to the budget challenge will likely require staff reductions.

Posted at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Tuesday 10/25/11. Topic: Small Business Optimism What worries you most: government regulations/taxes, consumer confidence, depressed consumer spending? Recent report says that small business optimism has dropped: How does that make you feel?

Posted at 05:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

DOL says beware of online look-alikes

A website claiming to be the "official provider of Washington driver license forms" has gotten the attention of the state Department of Licensing. The website asks customers to pay $24.95. It's not clear what that payment will get them, but it won't renew a driver license."The only 'official provider' of Department of Licensing forms is the Department of Licensing, and they are free," said Alan Haight, the agency's director. "Our agency website is safe, secure and offers a lot of time-saving services."

Posted at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

Repairs close lanes on westbound Narrows Bridge

Drivers can expect lane closures tonight on the westbound State Route 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge during maintenance operations on the road.The two right lanes close from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. as Washington State Department of Transportation crews install steel shims to reinforce the roadway and repair a section of concrete. The two left lanes will remain open to traffic during the repairs.

Posted at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

Smartphone website makes Sound Transit trip planning easier

On-the-go access to the information riders need to take advantage of bus and train service throughout the region just got easier with the launch of a new Sound Transit website for smartphones.When users of devices that feature HTML5- compliant smartphone technology visit the agency's website they are automatically directed to the new site offering more convenient access to service information. Riders can:

Posted at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

Office Depot opens in Puyallup

Office Depot opened its newest store today in Puyallup at 3715 S. Meridian. As part of the grand opening, Office Depot Foundation will make contributions - including 200 children's sackpacks - to Communities In Schools of Puyallup, Helping Hand House and Mel Korum Family YMCA.

Posted at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

South Sound jobless numbers mostly lower during September

Unemployment rates were lower throughout much of the South Sound during September compared to a month earlier, according to the latest data from the state Employment Security Department.Lewis County posted the largest decline, falling from 12.6 percent to 12.1 percent. The jobless rate in Pierce County fell from 9.6 percent to 9.3 percent and Thurston County's rate ticked down from 8.1 percent to 8 percent.In Mason County, the unemployment rate rose month-over-month, from 10.2 percent to 10.4 percent.

Posted at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

State, Pfizer settle drug marketing allegations

Washington has reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Inc., concluding a government investigation into allegations that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing schemes to promote the sales of its urology drug Detrol for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Detrol was FDA approved in 1998 for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency.  The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer's promotional activities were designed to increase the prescribing of Detrol for unapproved uses, including treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia, bladder outlet obstruction and lower urinary tract symptoms. The investigation began with a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former Pfizer employees in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Posted at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

People on the Move

Richard Wohns M.D., J.D., MBA has been named to Becker's ASC Review list of "150 Physician Leaders in the Ambulatory Surgery Center Industry." He is a neurosurgeon at South Sound Neurosurgery PLLC.David Tinsley has received the annual Certificate of Merit Award from the American Association of Teachers of German and the Goethe-Institut New York. He is distinguished professor of German at University of Puget Sound. He also was among 20 recipients of a Fulbright grant that took a group of U.S. educators to Baden-Württemberg, Germany, for two weeks in late June.

Posted at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/25/11

I-1125, security contracts top port agenda

At their Thursday meeting, Port of Tacoma commissioners are expected to discuss a ballot initiative that would limit the uses of toll revenue by Washington. The state treasurer has said I-1125 would remove $500 million from SR 520, and tolling would not be an option to kick-start SR 167 - the port's highest transportation priority - or other projects in the pipeline.

Posted at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Join us on Twitter for #BEchat

Be part of the conversation! Join us for #BEchat at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25. Topic: Small Business Optimism. http://www.businessexaminer.com/social

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Around the Sound

Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at The Morris Foundation, 11515 Burnham Drive NW, Suite B. Click here to RSVP.Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a new membership orientation from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Oct. 28 at 635 C Street SW. Call Pegi Moll at (253) 833-0700 for more information.

Posted at 02:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Businesses run risk by not registering with Secretary of State

An estimated 50,000 corporations and limited liability companies are running legal risks by doing business in Washington without first registering with the Corporations Division of the Office of Secretary of State. Under state law, it's not enough for such businesses to obtain a state business license. They also must register as a legal entity with the Secretary of State.Corporations Division Director Pam Floyd said her agency became aware that some businesses, many of them out-of-state companies, were failing to properly register, so it compared the Corporations Division list of active corporations and LLCs against Department of Revenue records.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Small business optimism drops to lowest point in 2011

In the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, business owner responses generated an optimism index score of minus 3, a slight change from the previous two readings of zero (neither optimistic nor pessimistic). The future expectations component of the index has been dropping since the first quarter of 2011 and now sits at eight (down from 10 in Q3 2011).The future expectations component of the index has fallen 14 points since the first quarter of 2011, when it peaked during the current economic recovery. The decline this quarter was primarily driven by a decline in expectations for increased revenue (37 percent, down from 42 percent in Q3) and an increase in the percentage of business owners saying it will be difficult to obtain credit during the next 12 months (43 percent, up from 37 percent in Q3).

Posted at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Recyclers to gather at 'recyclers heaven'

It's something that most green-blooded recyclers could only dream of - a recycled product made in a recycled factory in the heart of a recycled business park.That's one big reason the Washington State Recycling Association is hosting a Washington Recycles Every Day event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at NewWood Manufacturing inside Satsop Business Park.

Posted at 09:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Anchor Bancorp posts $1.7 million loss

Anchor Bancorp, the holding company for Anchor Bank, reported a net loss of $1.7 million, or 70 cents per diluted share, for the fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 compared to a net loss of $648,000 for the same period last year.The Lacey-based company completed its initial public offering on Jan. 25 the issuance of 2.55 million shares of common stock, which generated net proceeds of $23.2 million. Therefore, operating results before that date pertain to the bank only.

Posted at 09:27 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/24/11

Retail moratorium, budget update on council agenda

During its Oct. 25 study session, Tacoma City Council is scheduled to hear the recommendations of the Planning Commission regarding the Large Scale Retail Moratorium adopted on Aug. 30.As a second item on the agenda, members will be provided an update on the 2011-12 budget, including the third quarter financial report. A third topic under other items of interest includes discussion of a timeframe for considering the Asia Pacific Cultural Center proposal presented at last week's study session.

Posted at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/21/11

Around the Sound

Better Business Bureau is partnering with America's Credit Union and Cintas Document Management to bring free bulk shredding services to South Sound residents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 22 at 1495 Wilmington Drive, DuPont. Up to three bags or boxes of unwanted documents per person will be securely shredded on-the-spot by Cintas for free. Click here or call (206) 431-2222 for more information.Woodstone Credit Union is hosting a free Shred Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 22 at 1825 S. 316th St., Federal Way. Participants may bring up to two 10-ream paper boxes or their equivalent. For more information, call (253) 925-6800.

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/21/11

Rebuilding Together cited for community impact

Rebuilding Together South Sound has received the Community Impact Award from The Tacoma Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium.During the past 10 years, RTSS has helped 1,200 people and made $4.4 million in repairs in more than 370 homes. The organization works with community partners to provide free home repairs and modification for low-income homeowners who are elderly or disabled, or are families with children.

Posted at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/21/11

Thurston property tax payments due Oct. 31

Thurston County residents have until Oct. 31 to pay their second half property taxes.Payments can be made through the Thurston County Treasurer's website. There is no additional charge for the electronic check payment option online, but there is a 2.75 percent fee for the credit/debit card payment option.

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/21/11

Workplace injury rates show continued improvement

Washington's job sites were safer in 2010, continuing a trend that began nearly a decade ago, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries.The Occupational Injury and Illness Survey for Washington State showed that five of every 100 full-time workers in Washington in both the private and public sectors suffered a job-related injury or illness during 2010, down from the 5.3 rate in 2009.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/11

People on the Move

Ryan Betz has joined Olympia School District as director of communications and community relations.Kevy Wijaya,MSN, CPNP, ARNP, has joined Healthy Future Pediatrics in Olympia. He received a master's degree in Nursing from Yale University, where he worked in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale Health Center.

Posted at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/11

Poll shows Initiatives 1125, 1183 enjoying huge small biz support

Breaking from big business and metropolitan chambers of commerce which oppose the measure, NFIB-member small business owners are highly supportive of the fiscal restraints and accountability called for in Initiative 1125.The National Federation of Independent Business, America's leading small-business association, polled just about half of its 8,000 Washington members this month and found 76 percent support Initiative 1125 and an almost equal amount support (75 percent) Initiative 1183 from a 7 percent response to the special survey.

Posted at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/11

IID receives Online Trust award

Internet Identity has received the Online Trust Alliance's online trust leadership award. Tacoma-based IID was recognized in the "excellence in business solutions" category for its ActiveTrust Resolver product. OTA received more than 200 nominations for the online trust leadership awards this year. Past winners include Bank of America, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Cisco, Microsoft, PayPal and VeriSign.

Posted at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/11

Consumers increasingly turning to mobile retail websites

Mobile retail websites have emerged as an indispensible in-store tool for consumers as they shop. The fourth annual Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey revealed that consumers - particularly smartphone owners - are turning to mobile retail sites as a critical tool for locating the products they want, searching for coupons and special discounts and comparing prices at competitors' stores.

Posted at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/11

Korsmo Construction receives state civics award

A Tacoma construction company and a Spokane-based bank have been chosen as the latest recipients of the state's most prestigious civics award.  Korsmo Construction and Sterling Savings Bank will receive the 2011 Corporations for Communities award, which honors exceptional Washington businesses that make community a priority. Sterling is the winner of the large-company category and Korsmo took the small-company honor.

Posted at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

TPSC management repurchasing company

Trusted Plans Service Corp.'s management team has entered into an agreement to repurchase the company from PacificSource Health Plans of Springfield, Ore.  PacificSource Health Plans purchased Tacoma-based TPSC during 2010. Both Robert A. Ewan and Peter D. Hamilton, former president and executive vice president of TPSC, continued working for the company.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

WSDA issues fines for pesticide-use violations

Washington State Department of Agriculture issued fines totaling $13,325 and imposed license suspensions during the third quarter of 2011 for violations of state pesticide laws and rules. Fines ranged from $200 to $3,575 for incidents that occurred in Adams, Benton, Douglas, Franklin, Pierce and Skagit counties.

Posted at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Federal  Way  Chamber  receives Community  Award

The Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development has selected Federal Way Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of its Community Award for 2011. The chamber was recognized for its Advancing Leadership and Advancing Leadership Youth programs. Since 1998, the programs have helped hundreds of residents build relationships, develop personal strengths and make commitments to supporting their communities.

Posted at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

'Majority of businesses doing fine ...' banker says

Members and guests at a noon City Club of Tacoma meeting heard three voices on the Business of Business, including Melanie Dressel, president and CEO of Columbia Bank. She told the audience that her frequent interactions with bank customers and other leaders in the local community finds them upbeat."The majority of businesses are doing just fine right now," Dressel said, though she quickly added that they would like to see an improved economy soon.Interim Tacoma City Manager Ray Arellano, also on the panel, said he sees a more "mixed" view with a 10.3 percent unemployment rate within the city and sales tax collections bouncing around as consumers confidence goes up and down.

Posted at 02:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

September employment stats yield split results

The two surveys that are used to produce the monthly unemployment rate and job numbers for the state of Washington generated widely different results for September. According to last month's survey of Washington business, the state had an estimated net loss of 18,400 jobs in September, mostly due to continued cuts in government jobs. By contrast, a survey of households found that more people in Washington were working. This resulted in a drop in the unemployment rate from 9.3 percent in August to an estimated 9.1 percent in September.

Posted at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Blog watch: Wants, ink, tipping point, fire and storms

Find out what business wants in a new Tacoma city manager at The Live Wire.Stop by Exit 133 for a Tacoma City Council meeting wrap-up and to find out what local attraction is getting more ink in the Yew York Times.

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Port of Chehalis receives permit to develop wetlands properties

Port of Chehalis has been granted a Regional General Permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop property at Chehalis Industrial Park containing wetlands.Under the RGP, nominal low-quality wetlands will be mitigated by exchanging them for high-quality wetlands that have been created at a site several miles away in Pleasant Valley, near Adna.

Posted at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

State award honors lifesaving newborn heart screening program

For their pioneering work in screening newborns for heart defects, MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital's Family Birth Center and the MultiCare Mary Bridge Pediatric Heart Center have been chosen to receive the 2011 Warren Featherstone Reid Award for Excellence in Health Care.Presented by Washington State Department of Health, the award honors health care providers and facilities for exceptional quality and value in the delivery of health services.

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Retailers not bullish on economy

Middle market retail executives are bearish on a short-term U.S. economic recovery, even though many expect their own companies to improve faster than the industry, according to the third annual Retail Finance Outlook study released by CIT Group Inc.. While a majority of retail executives expect business to improve during the coming months, they remain cautious when it comes to increasing staff levels, building inventory, and assessing the availability of credit - especially for their customers.

Posted at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

SSPP selects philanthropy honorees

South Sound Partners for Philanthropy will recognize the recipients of its annual Leadership in Philanthropy Awards during a luncheon Nov. 8 at Saint Martin UniversityHonorees include:• Business of the Year (Large): Nisqually Tribe• Business of the Year (Small): Ramblin' Jacks/Mercato/I.talia• Philanthropic Organization of the Year: Lacey Sunrise Lions Club• Couple of the Year: Ken and Nancy Anderson• Family of the Year:  The Seaman Family• Paul Grudis Inspirational Award: Sylvia Barclift

Posted at 08:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Breakbulk volumes remain strong, containers up slightly

Port of Tacoma's year-to-date breakbulk volumes are up 67 percent, led by strong agricultural and construction machinery exports.The port's year-to-date container volumes through September are up 2 percent, with the port handling 1,107,096 20-foot equivalent units. Full export container volumes are up 16 percent year-to-date through September, reflecting the continued strength of agricultural and lumber exports.

Posted at 08:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Real earnings off 0.1 percent

Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.1 percent from August to September, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 0.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings was more than offset by a 0.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.Real average weekly earnings rose 0.2 percent over the month, as a result of the 0.3 percent increase in the average workweek and the decrease in real average hourly earnings. Since reaching a recent peak in October 2010, real average weekly earnings have fallen 2 percent.

Posted at 08:40 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Consumer Price Index inches higher

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3 percent during September on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.9 percent before seasonal adjustment. Increases in energy and food indexes were the main cause of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The gasoline index continued to rise, and indexes for electricity and natural gas increased as well. Broad increases in food indexes also continued in September, with the food at home index rising 0.6 percent for the third month in a row and no major grocery store food group indexes declining.

Posted at 08:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

SBA's growth capital program sets records

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Investment Company program provided a record $2.59 billion during fiscal year 2011, a 63 percent increase compared to last year's $1.59 billion. High-growth small businesses continue to face difficulty in accessing more specific kinds of patient, long-term capital to grow and create jobs. Since 1958, the SBIC program has helped fill these gaps and has invested about $60 billion in more than 109,000 small businesses in the United States.

Posted at 08:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Skansie buildings receive historic designation

The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation has listed the Andrew & Bertha Skansie Net Shed and House in Gig Harbor on the National Register of Historic Places.  The department said the structures "are historically significant as a direct link to the Gig Harbor's fishing industry, and for its connection to the city's Croatian heritage of many of its earliest settlers."

Posted at 08:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Group Health earns 5-star Medicare plan rating

Group Health Cooperative's Medicare Advantage HMO plans have received five stars for 2012, the highest rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It is the only health plan in western and eastern Washington to earn the ratings for both medical and prescription drug coverage.

Posted at 08:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/19/11

Twitter chat

#BEchat transcript for Tuesday 10/18/11. Topic: Social Media What are your favorite tools for monitoring #socialmedia for business? Found Postling.com yesterday. Emails alerts in real time! Fixes lack of notifications from Facebook business pages #BEchat @nowtherearetwo I use the Firefox add-on Yonoo. I'm notified as soon as something is said. I say check at least every 30 min. yonoo.com #BEChat @kaciemckinney

Posted at 08:18 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

State receives grant for environmental education

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $76,000 to Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for education programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The money will be used to implement the state's Environmental and Sustainability Literacy Plan.

Posted at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

Q2 GDP revised upward

Real Gross domestic product increased 1.3 percent during the second quarter of 2011, according to the third estimates of the national income and product accounts from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The estimate was revised up 0.3 percentage points. During the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected a deceleration in imports, an up­turn in federal government spending and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in consumer spending, a downturn in inventory investment and a deceleration in exports.

Posted at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

People on the Move

Erin Dafoe has joined Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce as an administrative assistant. She most recently worked with the chamber on its auction this past May.Tom Hendrix and Tony Vitoff have been promoted to vice president positions at Carlile Transportation Systems. Hendrix has been with the company since 1992. He started in sales and project management but moved into strategic business development with an emphasis on North Slope oilfield operations and logistics in the mid-1990s. He's transitioned from the role of director of strategic business development to vice president of strategic business development. Vitoff joined Carlile in 1993 as a contractor for special projects and soon afterward became Tacoma's operations manager and then terminal manager. In 2002, Vitoff started the Carlile logistics group as the director of logistics. He's transitioned from that role to vice president of logistics.

Posted at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

Construction materials prices unchanged in September

While the nation's wholesale prices increased for the first time in five months, construction materials prices were unchanged in September, according to the Producer Price Index report by the Department of Labor. Construction materials prices decreased 0.2 percent for the quarter, but are 8.1 percent higher than a year ago.Generally, metal prices trended downward for the month. Nonferrous wire and cable prices dropped 3.5 percent during September and were down 0.8 percent for the third quarter. However, prices were still up 9.3 percent year-over-year. Steel mill product prices slipped 0.6 percent last month, 1 percent lower for the quarter, but are still 13.5 percent higher from one year ago. Similarly, iron and steel prices were down 0.1 percent for the month, down 0.2 percent for the quarter, but up 13.8 percent over the past 12 months.

Posted at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

Physicians, hospitals join lawsuit against ER visit limit

The Washington State Medical Association and the Washington State Hospital Association are joining the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians' lawsuit against a state plan to limit emergency room access for some of the state's most vulnerable residents. The two organizations will be named as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 30, and will provide financial resources for the litigation.

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

PPI up nearly 1 percent

The Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.8 percent during September, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finished goods prices were unchanged in August and increased 0.2 percent during July.At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods moved up 0.6 percent during September and the crude goods index advanced 2.8 percent.

Posted at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/18/11

Port will present draft 2012 budget 
Oct. 24

Port of Olympia Finance Director Kevin Ferguson will present the Draft 2012 Operating Budget and Capital Investment Plan and the updated Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements to commissioners at their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Rainier City Hall, 102 Rochester St., Rainier.The documents will be posted the following day on the port's website. 

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

NEXT Move interns available for area businesses

From January 9-26, Tacoma Public Schools hopes to place more than 100 high school juniors and seniors in local businesses for internships.Tacoma Public Schools screens, interviews and places students from the School of the Arts and the Science and Math Institute. Businesses provide learning experience, whether it's in arts, sciences, business, education, law, medicine, animals, or any other field.

Posted at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Two Tacoma hospitals win Consumer Choice Award

MultiCare Tacoma General and Franciscan Health System's St. Joseph Medical Center are co-winners of the 2011-12 Consumer Choice Award, based on a survey of Tacoma-area residents.National Research Corp. surveyed more than 270,000 households from September 2010 to August 2011. Respondents were asked to identify the hospitals they perceived as having the best doctors, nurses, image and reputation, and those which provide quality care.

Posted at 02:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

South Tacoma Lowe's closed

Lowe's Cos. Inc. announced today that it is closing 20 underperforming stores in 15 states, including its location on South Hosmer Street in Tacoma.Ten locations, including the south Tacoma one, closed at the end of business yesterday. The remaining 10 locations will close within a month, following an inventory sell-through.

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Around the Sound

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a military affairs meeting from 8 to 9 a.m. Oct. 18 at Burs Restaurant, 6151 Steilacoom Blvd. SW. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information. Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a partnership luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 18 at Emerald Downs, 2300 Emerald Downs Drive. Call Kathy Schneider at (253) 833-0700 for more information.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Ecology approves Lacey's shoreline program update

The Washington Department of Ecology has approved the City of Lacey's comprehensive update of its shoreline master program. Lacey is one of 40 local governments that have updated their shoreline master program. The revised shoreline program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Posted at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Most workers don't want their boss' job

Just in time for National Boss Day, which is being celebrated today, new research from OfficeTeam indicates few workers are angling for the top spot. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of employees polled said they have no interest in having their manager's position. In addition, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) believe they couldn't do a better job than their boss.

Posted at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Ecology, Gig Harbor fire and police responding to oil spill

The state Department of Ecology and Gig Harbor fire and police departments are responding to an oil spill in Gig Harbor in Pierce County. A barge owned by Marine Floats with a 5-ton deck crane sank in the harbor.The sunken barge has leaked an unknown amount of fuel, causing an oil sheen on the water. The fuel has been removed from the barge crane. The barge owner has deployed boom and absorbent materials to help contain the spill.

Posted at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Response to diesel-fuel spill at Hylebos Waterway wraps up

State, federal and local responders have recovered most of the diesel fuel spilled into a boomed area from a fishing tender at the mouth of the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma early this morning.  The area around the vessel will remain boomed and absorbent pads will be left to capture any residual fuel under the dock.

Posted at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

PSE solicits offers for new power supply

Puget Sound Energy has issued a request for proposals that solicits outside power-supply offers for meeting customers' long-range electricity needs. The RFP, approved last week by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, calls for bids capable of starting power delivery to PSE as early as December 2012 but no later than December 2015.PSE will consider various commercial arrangements, including contractual power purchases and ownership participation in new or existing power-production facilities. The utility will give preference to long-term supply proposals, preferably with contract terms of four years or longer.

Posted at 09:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/17/11

Washington honored for I-5 project

The people have spoken, casting more than 100,000 votes in the fourth annual America's Transportation Awards competition. Holding tight onto an early lead, the Washington State Department of Transportation claimed the People's Choice Award for its Operation I-5 Partnership Project.A panel of transportation experts also weighed in on its favorite project in America, selecting the Florida Department of Transportation as the Grand Prize winner for its Interstate 10/Interstate 95 interchange rebuild known as "The Big I" project.

Posted at 09:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/14/11

Long-time chiropractor moves office to Kent

After 35 years in practice, Roger White D.C. has moved his chiropractic and massage office to Kent Station.Kent Station Chiropractic and Massage is a full-service chiropractic office offering a range of chiropractic services, including initial consultations, exams and treatment. 

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/14/11

King County expected to announce aerospace alliance

On Monday, King County Executive Dow Constantine is expected to announce the formation of a new King County Aerospace Alliance. All 39 cities within the county have been invited to participate, according to a BE source, who asked that their name not be printed.The objective of the alliance is to show that King County is one of the world's leading aerospace producers. BE's source said the group hopes to compile and jointly coordinate all of King County's resources for this effort.More information is expected to be released Monday.

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/14/11

Responsibility for advancing medicine spreads

The status quo is rarely satisfactory in the medical industry. To continue that advancement, more South Sound physicians are taking part in medical research -- specifically through clinical trials."There's a lot of exciting things happening," said Cassie Sauer, Washington State Hospital Association's vice president for public relations. "Everyone is putting some work into research at differing levels. We are at a place where a lot of exciting things are happening and things are being found out."

Posted at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/14/11

Around the Sound

Kent's annual Fall Recycling Collection Event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at Russell Road Park, 24400 Russell Road. Residents can dispose of items that are not easily recyclable at the curb, including appliances, mattresses, even toilets and sinks. Tires and petroleum products, as well as concrete, rocks, asphalt and brick will also be accepted at the event. The Shred-It of Washington truck will be on site to offer free shredding of up to three file-sized boxes of documents. Click here for more information. Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a military affairs meeting from 8 to 9 a.m. Oct. 18 at Burs Restaurant, 6151 Steilacoom Blvd. SW. Call (253) 582-9400 for more information.

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/14/11

Study identifies Tacoma Tideflats area transportation improvements

State and local transportation departments have a new tool to prioritize and seek funding for road and rail improvements in the Tacoma Tideflats area.The Tideflats Area Transportation Study came to two conclusions. First, investments in the corridor will not improve without completing State Route 167. Second, the study identifies projects that would augment a completed SR 167 to improve traffic further.

Posted at 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/13/11

Weyerhaeuser declares 15-cent dividend

Weyerhaeuser Company's board of directors declared today a dividend of 15-cents per share on the common stock of the corporation payable Dec. 1, 2011 to shareholders of record at the close of Nov. 11, 2011.

Posted at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/13/11

Tacoma gains state designation for clean water IPZ

Tacoma has created an Urban Clean Water Technology Innovation Partnership Zone to link university research with the business community and lead to the creation of new companies and new jobs for the city and Pierce County.The designation from Washington State Department of Commerce is one of 13 statewide. IPZs are economic development efforts that partner research, work force training and the private sector to promote collaboration that will lead to new technologies, marketable products, company formation and job creation.

Posted at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments

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