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Archive for October 2011

Walmart announces it will finally break ground on new E. Sprague store

We asked recently when Walmart would get around to breaking ground on a new store in Spokane Valley.

In March 2010 the company first announced it had plans for the store, west of the Costco at 5200 E. Sprague.  Our first story said: 

Walmart says it will square off with Costco Wholesale Corp. in the Spokane Valley.
The Bentonville, Ark., retail behemoth announced Thursday it will build a 151,000-square-foot retail center on a parcel of land due west of Costco’s store at 5601 E. Sprague Ave.
Jennifer Spall, the Bentonville company's director of public affairs and government relations, said: “Walmart plans to break ground this November on its new full-service store in Spokane Valley. A specific ground-breaking date has not yet been set.  Construction will be completed approximately 12 to 14 months after ground-breaking.”

Former GU law school dean will provide overview of Dodd-Frank reform act

Are you ready to talk Dodd-Frank? Do you want to?

Former Gonzaga Law School Dean, current GU Professor Daniel Morrissey will deliver the keynote speech for “The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act Symposium,” a daylong event starting at 8 a.m., Friday at Barbieri Courtroom at the Gonzaga University School of Law.

Sponsors are the GU Law School and the Gonzaga Society for Law & Business.

Morrissey's overview of the Dodd-Frank legislation will run from 12:30-1:30 p.m. He'll examine the litigation issues of the act, passed in July 2010 as a way to shore up the oversight of the financial services industry.

Among the areas covered are the “Say on Pay” provision of Dodd-Frank, which deals deals with executive pay, and several other issues, including the broker fiduciary duties, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, whhistleblower provisions and derivatives regulation.

The symposium provides 5.5 CLE (continuing legal education) credits. The cost is $200 per person , or $25 for non-GU law students.

For information, go to http://www.law.gonzaga.edu/Career-Services/cle_calendar.asp.

Spokane opens new, improved Business Center in downtown City Hall

The City of Spokane  this week launched a new Spokane Business Center on the main floor of City Hall. It came about after a survey of area small businesses learned many wanted a simpler system for interaction with city staff and city agencies.

The main goal will be easier access to resources to help startups get information and to help growing businesses stay focused on reducing red tape.

The center's main thrusts are:

  • To provide  self-help information including a current listing of business workshops and networking events.
  • To connect businesses with partner organizations that can help with business planning, marketing, counseling, and capital.
  • To provide a resource guide on startup information and business development assistance. This information also will be attached to every business license mailed and each on-line license application

Anyone who's used the center so far, let us know how you rate the level of service.

Spokane’s Trader Joe’s opens, while the popular chain considers going upscale

Friday was Day One of Life with Trader Joe's, in Spokane. The word from those at Lincoln Heights Shopping Center was that the first few hours were busy and ebullient. People actually seemed happy to be spending money, was the word we heard.

Here's an update from the LA Times on the California trendy-market's new plunge into larger and more stylish stores. The Spokane store is just over 10,000 square feet, which is the typical small but not overpacked design for a TJ's.

The newest store plopped into the California community of Montrose is nearly 15,000 square feet and, as the story notes, boasts more spacious aisles, higher ceilings and a trim brick-and-glass exterior. 

No one from the SR business desk went to Trader Joe's opening day. We took advantage, however, of an early option to visit the store before it opened.  

Congratulations to Spokane, you've gotten what you wanted.

(Photo credit: Gary Friedman/LA Times)

Redbox raises its video movie rental by 20 cents, effective now

Netflix recently raised its video rental prices. And now, so has Redbox, the Washington-based rental kiosk entertainment provider.

The company said it's raising the basic rental fee for most videos from $1 to $1.20.

The price increase goes into effect now.

Blu-Ray disks will remain priced at $1.50 a day; videogames remain at $2 per day, the company said in a blog entry.

Spokane’s V-Indicator Analytics launches smart fund-tracking tool

Today's' Spokesman Review business story of note was the one (by Tom Sowa) on the newly developed software tool called the Anomalator which is being used to analyze complex financial market data.

Spokane-based V-Indicator Analytics LLC licensed advanced visualization and sorting software developed by Battelle labs down in the TriCities to produce the tool. Here is a slide that shows how the software is able to track performance and returns produced by any number of fund managers.

In part because it was developed by a national/private lab, the tool has to be promoted as having a wide public benefit. In this case, it's described in PR as helping regulators ferret out nasty anomalies in the markets.

The slide here shows a line graph for several fund managers, including Bernard Madoff, king of the supersized Ponzi Scheme. Said V-Indicator President Bud Sheppard: Anyone looking at how Madoff's fund returns were “doing” in that time frame would instantly conclude something was very odd. There would be no way Madoff's asset funds would have performed like that during that period of market volatility.

So that's the public benefit of the Anomalator. Sheppard and his colleagues hope to go well beyond that, adding applications so that the tool can be used in health care montoring, federal education grant management, and assorted other possible uses.  

As the story noted, the tool can display performances of funds or thousands of fund managers in line graphs, or, in other configurations, as dots spread over time. …. All of this is a happy marriage of smart PNNL-inspired tech wizardry with Sheppard's ability to gather up the right layers of data.

Keep on eye on that company. It has some potential.

Itron regains investor confidence by announcing major layoffs, factory closures worldwide

Itron Inc.'s board brought back retired CEO LeRoy Nosbaum this year  in part to help correct the company's plunging stock price over the past 14 months.

Despite kinda scary 3Q earnings (see below for details), Nosbaum has begun to fix that issue.

The publicly traded stock gained more than $3 on Wednesday after Itron officials announced tghey will undertake a massive restructuring. It will close six production sites, most of them in Europe and Latin America. One unidentified US site will also be closed and one in Asia as well.

It will also lay off 7.5 percent of its global workforce, about 750 jobs.  

Also relevant to the stock uptick: Itron also announced on Wednesday it will repurchase  up to $100 million of Itron common stock during the next 12 months.

“This program reaffirms our commitment to increasing shareholder value and underscores our confidence in the long-term prospects of the company,” said Nosbaum in a press release.

The good local news: Liberty Lake, with about 500 workers, is not affected by the layoffs, Nosbaum said in an interview.

Itron is considered the leading manufacturer of metering systems and software services for the utility industry.

Layoffs will be either in the closed production sites or seven other facilities that will downsize.

At the same time, the goal is to increase overall production capacity by consolidating work and investing money in new technology at other key production sites, said Barbara Doyle, vice president of investor relations for Itron.

“We will move work to other sites and actually be adding workers to provide more production capacity” than Itron now has, Doyle said. She said the increased production will come online in 2013.

The sites to be shut down in Europe include some acquired by Itron in 2007 when it bought Brussels-based Actaris Metering Systems.

The Aubles take over as new owners of Spokane Valley’s The Quilting Bee


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Jackie and Jamie Wolff, owners of popular quilting shop, The Quiliting Bee, have sold the business to Spokane residents Treasure and Scot Auble.

The Wolffs founded The Quilting Bee 27 years ago and made it one of the area's primary providers of fabrics and training.
 
Jackie Wolff  will continue to work, teach and mentor at the Quilting Bee, according to the Aubles.
 
The business carries more than 4,000 bolts of the quality first-run fabric and is a Bernina machine dealer in the region. Bernina is considered the BMW of sewing, quilting and embroidery machines.
 
The Quilting Bee also offers sewing, quilting and embroidery classes. 
 
One goal for the new owners, they said, is expanding the firm's ecommerce options. They also plan to redesign interior space to include a seating area, to promote more customer interaction. Also on the drawing board is a “spouse lounge” for visiting spouses of customers.
 
The Bee is at 12117 E. Mission Ave., in the Spokane Valley. 

Wanted: Fit, educated and duty-bound

Do you have a strong sense of duty, honor and service?

Are you physically fit and educated? Looking for a career?

It's not the Army or Marines asking this time. It's the Washington State Patrol, which is recruiting for trooper positions.

Candidates are invited to fill out an application and join the WSP at its next physical fitness and written test, Nov. 5, 7:30 a.m., at the Washington State Patrol Academy, 631 W Dayton Airport Rd, Shelton, Wash.

To obtain an application for a testing date, or for more information about the process, go here.

Or contact Trooper Tina Wallman, Eastern Washington recruiter, at tina.wallman@wsp.wa.gov.

Designers don’t like request by Obama for donated jobs posters

obama poster companyWe found this curious, ironic story at Rollingstone.com, describing some harsh reactions by designers to the suggestion by President Obama that they design a free poster for his jobs campaign.

The president has asked graphic artists to donate their work for nothing. That's set off a few people to attack the idea, saying that the program has plenty of cash and that no one should be asked to work for free. Especially in this economy.

The full hullabaloo is over at Rolling Stone, and the story notes those designers whose work is chosen will not get paid but receive a framed copy of their poster, signed by the president. (Approximate retail value: $195.)

The effort to generate the posters came out of Obama's relection campaign, not from the White House. The goal was to cite the president's jobs campaign as a reason why graphic artists support his election.

A “creative brief” that explains how to submit work is right here.

The “sample” poster on the right is by Ryan Roche and was reprinted at RollingStone.com.

Anti-coal campaign coming to Spokane

The Sierra Club is bringing its anti-coal campaign to Spokane Thursday, urging local residents to oppose terminals at Washington seaports that would ship coal to Asia.

Coal producers are seeking permits to build terminals near Bellingham and Longview to ship up to 130 million tons of coal mined in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to China, India, Korea and Japan. The terminals would turn the state into a major coal exporter at a time when Washington is trying to curb its own greenhouse gas emissions by requiring utilities to expand their use of renewable energy, Sierra Club members say.

In addition, the coal would reach Washington’s coast by rail cars. Communities along the rail route, including Spokane, could see dozens more coal trains rolling through their towns if the terminals are built, said Robin Everett, part of the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.

She’s one of the speakers at Thursday’s forum on the proposed ports. It runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St., Spokane. Two Spokane City Council members, Bob Apple and Amber Waldref, are also on the panel.

Northwest produce now tariff-free

Tariffs on Northwest fruit crops and potatoes vanished Friday, completing an agreement that allows Mexican trucking firms to deliver inside the United States.

The Mexican government announced elimination of the final 10 percent tariffs on 90 U.S. products, including apples, pears, cherries and apricots.

Mexico is Washington state’s largest export market for apples, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

Mexico imposed 20 percent tariffs in 2009 in retaliation for the end of a pilot program under the North American Free Trade Agreement that allowed domestic deliveries by Mexican carriers. Congress declined to fund the pilot program.

The tariffs were cut in half when the two countries reached a tentative agreement earlier this year to relaunch the program. Inspections and a review of driver records are now required for driver compliance. Drivers will be tracked along their delivery routes.

The tariffs cost the region’s fruit growers millions of dollars.

Regents asked to approve $80 million stadium plans

Washington State University regents will be asked next month to approve the plans for $80 million worth of improvements to Martin Stadium, with a portion of the money to come from the Pacific-12’s new television contract that dramatically increased revenues to each team.

The regents will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to review plans for the privately-funded stadium project, which includes a larger press box structure filled with luxury seating. Regents will be asked at their Nov. 18 meeting to give final approval to the project.

Construction would begin on Nov. 21, with the project scheduled for completion next season, reports The Associated Press.

Facebook ‘boost’ for business owners and managers is Tuesday morning

UPDATED:  

Part of tomorrow's Facebook Small Business Boost is a summary of how Facebook, starting in January, will award small businesses up to $10 million worth of free Facebook advertising. The goal of these these ad credits is  to give 200,000 businesses across  the country a $50 boost.

 
More on the Facebook “boost” taking place Tuesday in Spokane, as part of the ongoing National Federation of Independent Business summit at the Davenport Hotel, in downtown. 

Four reps from Facebook will kick off the “boost” at 8:45 a.m. in the hotel. They are: Matt Baker, Bess Siegfried, Carlos Tejuco and Maxine Schlein. All have the title of “small business growth specialist.” I have a feeling you can find their profiles on Facebook.

The event is open to the public.

The goal is to help more businesses find ways to leverage the reach and range of Facebook.

The agenda for the rest of the summit is here.

Boeing employment in Washington passes 80,000

SEATTLE — Boeing employment in Washington has exceeded 80,000 workers for the first time in nearly a dozen years, The Associated Press reports.

The company reports it had 80,666 workers in the state at the end of September. That’s the most since December 1999 when it had 80,900.

The News Tribune reports Boeing has added more than 7,000 employees to its Washington workforce since last December as it upped production of the 737 in Renton and pushed the 787 and 747-8 to delivery at the widebody factory in Everett.

Boeing’s all-time high employment in Washington was 104,000 in June 1998.

Small business summit will offer some Facebook chops for business owners

You say you're a business that's cool with Facebook, but you don't think it will help your bottom line.

You might rethink that idea, especially during the coming National Federation of Independent Business meeting to take place in Spokane from Sunday through Tuesday, at the Davenport Hotel.

On Tuesday specifically, the summit includes a “Facebook Boost” meant to show and tell how social media can impact business practices.

Here's a Facebook link to the Facebook boost. 

The weekend starts Sunday with a welcoming reception at 5 p.m.

Speakers scheduled include Wash. State Sens. Michael Baumgartner and Mark Schoesler and Representatives Joe Schmick and Kevin Parker.

Here's the agenda for the session: http://www.nfib.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lZwD4OVwVO8%3d&tabid=1083

For more information, contact Patrick Connor 360-789-3355, (patrick.connor@nfib.org) or Tony Malandra 415-640-5156(anthony.malandra@nfib.org). 

State will lay off 223 Employment Security, WorkSource workers in January

It's no surprise to hear that the state budget mess is continuing to take a toll.

The surprise was the announcement of how many Employment Security Department workers will be laid off in January: 223, and maybe more.

All told, about 60 or so of the layoffs will occur in Eastern Washington.

The state counts those ESD workers as its own employees. But in large part, the layoffs are due to federal budget woes, said communications director Sheryl Hutchison. About 85 percent of the salaries of ESD workers is provided to Washington via Washington, D.C.

The cuts will involve 13 layoffs at the Spokane WorkSource office, plus two layoffs at the ESD district tax office (which addresses unemployment insurance tax issues, primarily).

Those two offices, as of today, have 78 and 11 workers, respectively.

ESD has just under 2,400 workers statewide. The primary mission is to identify programs to offset unemployment, to track job gains and to find resources for businesses and employers.

Sterling wins outstanding Washington state civic business award

Two companies from Spokane and Tacoma have received Secretary of State Sam Reed's  most prestigious civics award for businesses in Washington state.

Reed will present the 2011 Corporations for Communities awards to Spokane-based Sterling Savings Bank and Korsmo Consruction at a ceremony on Nov. 2.
 
The awards are part of an annual recognition hosted by Washington's Secretary of State for companies making outstanding commitments to their communities.
 
Sterling was the winner of the large-company category while Korsmo was honored in the small-company sector.
 
Sterling and Korsmo Construction “stood out thanks to their impressive records of community involvement,” Reed said in announcing the awards. “Both are very deserving of this honor as a result of their dedication to volunteerism and their communities.”
 
Sterling was recognized as the prime sponsor of the Spokane Symphony Labor Day Comstock concert, and for its employees donating more than 27,000 hours to Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, United Way, regional food banks and other community activities.
 
 
Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/business/2011/10/20/korsmo-of-tacoma-sterling-of-spokane-named-as-winners-of-secretary-of-states-community-service-awards/#ixzz1bLg3mZsk

Magner Sanborn watched as months of work for Netflix went down the drain

For six months Spokane ad firm Magner Sanborn developed a logo and an extensive brand and marketing components for Qwikster, a top-secret business plan by Netflix to split its company into a new division.

In September, Netflix jump-started the launch, surprising both its rental-DVD customers and its Spokane-based ad team, which expected the Qwikster announcement to come several weeks later.

Netflix told its millions of customers that those wanting just DVDs would sign up with Qwikster; those wanting streaming video over the Web would continue using Netflix.

But within three weeks of the Qwikster launch, Netflix’s management team changed its mind and scrapped the plan for two companies.

That reversal came after thousands of Netflix customers protested the split by either canceling their subscriptions or publicly lashing the company for raising prices by more than $6 per month for both DVDs and streaming movies.

The impact on Spokane’s Magner Sanborn was company whiplash, said the firm’s president, Dennis Magner. “I was as surprised as anyone to see the launch, based on the timing,” he said.

The full story appears on Spokesman.com at this link: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/oct/20/netflix-reversal-felt-here/

Washington loses 18,400 jobs in September, according to state numbers

Washington's September jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 9.1 percent, said the Employment Security Department on Wednesday.

Even so, the slight drop is accompanied by the loss of 18,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Construction lost the most in the past month, dropping by 1,800 jobs statewide.

The state manufacturing sector enjoyed the largest job gains over August, with an estimated 800 jobs added. Education and health services and professional and business services also reported growth.

Total nonfarm jobs are about 27,000 higher in September 2011 than one year ago, the ESD also reported.

Specific county numbers will be released next Tuesday.

To study the numbers, here's the ESD link.

Exchange Club seeking donations and sponsors for crab feed benefit

The Exchange Club of Downtown Spokane  is seeking donations and contributions for this year's 45th Annual Crab Feed and Auction, set for Dec. 2.

With less than eight weeks to go, the event sponsors are seeking donations and support for the benefit event, which raises money for three area child abuse prevention agencies.  

Additional corporate sponsors are also being sought.

The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Children’s Home Society of Washington and SCAN share the proceeds.

This year's auction and dinner will start at  5:30 p.m. at CenterPlace, at 2426 N. Discovery Place in Spokane Valley. 

Sponsors this year include Universal Funding, SCAFCO, Itron Inc., D.A. Davidson & Co., Allprint,  and Luigi’s. 

Corporate tables and individual tickets can be purchased from www.dsxc.org. Additional info at this link.

For information on donations, call  Meri Berberet at 509-226-2448 or Dianne LaValley at 509-747-2058. Or email crabfeed@dsxc.org.

Spokane’s Tango featured on cover of TechBriefs magazine

Spokane's best-known, homegrown electric car, the Tango, is the featured photo on the cover of TechBriefs magazine's October issue.

Developed by Rick Woodbury of Commuter Cars Corp., the Tango is a two-seat electric car that has wowed green consumers worldwide. Woodbury has sold Tangos to actor George Clooney, and to Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

The article at TechBriefs focuses on how design is driven by consumer demand, and how design software plays a key part in developing sustainable vehicles.

The Tango's design was enhanced by Dassault Systems, a Concord, Mass., company that has developed CAD tools under the brand name of SolidWorks Sustainability.

If you care to see Clooney next to the Tango that he bought back several years ago, here's the link.

First class postage will go up by a penny in January

First class postage stamp prices are going up by 1 cent starting in January, the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday.

The cost of a first-class stamp — also known as a Forever Stamp — will climb to 45 cents on Jan. 22, the first price increase in more than 2 1years, USPS said.

Other costs, including the price of mailing magazines, standard mail and some package services, will also go up.  Express Mail and Priority Mail prices will not change.

The goal is generating an additional $888 million in revenue, postal officials said Tuesday.

West Corp. will hire at least 250 workers for its Spokane call center

Omaha-based West Corp. will hire at least 250 call center workers for its downtown Spokane building, the company announced Tuesday.

Hiring will begin this week, with paid training starting on Nov. 2, said David Pleiss, vice president of investor and public relations. 
 
Jobs will start at $10 per hour and include benefits such as tuition compensation. All new jobs will be full-time, said Pleiss.
 
West Corp. employs roughly 950 area workers at two locations, in Spokane Valley and downtown. The new positions will be based in the downtown Holley Mason Building, 157 S. Howard.
 
Driving the growth has been continued expansion by three major clients, Pleiss said. Those are a wireless carrier, a major grocery company and a financial services company. West Corp. hired about 190 workers in September 2010.
 
West will conduct on-the-spot job interviews at two job fairs on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., both at the Holley Mason Building.
 

Spokane Apple retail store to close for two hours Wednesday to honor Jobs

Apple retail stores, including the one in downtown Spokane, will close for part of Wednesday to allow staff workers to celebrate Steve Jobs. The celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

During that time, employees company-wide are invited to view a live broadcast of a Jobs celebration occurring at  an outdoor amphitheater at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino

 

Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, died recently after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.

Two Spokane manufacturers honored by AWB

Two Spokane-based manufacturing companies were among seven honored Wednesday night by the Association of Washington Business (AWB).  

Hotstart Inc., a 60-year-old company that makes engine block heaters for diesel locomotives, was honored for innovation.

Sonderen Packaging Inc., which makes paperboard and cardboard cartons, was named “green manufacturer” of the year because of practices such as buying materials certified by sustainable forestry organizations and using soy-based printing inks.

Spokane technology innovation: the 2011 rundown

Area companies and their successes through innovation will be highlighted Oct. 20 in a public event hosted Oct. 20 by LaunchPad Inland Northwest.

The sponsored event will start at 3 p.m. at the Meadowwood Technology Campus in Liberty Lake. The event will include a speaker’s panel and breakout sessions afterword, said Bill Kalivas, co-founder of LaunchPad INW.

The evening winds down with a trade show and networking from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

 Rebecca Lovell, chief business officer for GeekWire, will discuss Seattle’s globally competitive technology community.

 The event is free for LaunchPad paid members, $25 for others ($5 for college students). Registration can be made at Launchpadinw.com.

Ground Force leasing Plummer plant

Ground Force Manufacturing LLC has leased a 55,000-square-foot building in Plummer, Idaho, from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the two parties announced today.

The Post Falls manufacturer makes trucks for the mining industry. Company officials expect to hire 50 or more employees at the Plummer plant within a year.

The building formerly housed a tribal enterprise, Echelon LLC, which made large fuel bladders under a contract with the U.S. Army. As a result of military spending cuts, Echelon has shifted its focus to construction management and environmental services, according to tribal officials.

Ground Force’s lease is for five years, with options to renew.

Comcast offers more details about Essentials web service for familes

Comcast Corp. has launched a three-year effort to push broadband technology into lower-income homes. Called the Internet Essentials program, the test will offer $9.95 per month broadband connections to every family who lives in the Comcast service area and who has a child receiving free school lunches.

Launched this past summer, the program will run through 2013, said Comcast spokesman Walt Neary. Neary visited Spokane this week and took part in two sessions explaining the program.

Eligible families can also receive a voucher worth $150 toward the purchase of a netbook computer for use in the program.

In addition, Comcast is arranging for free Internet training across Washington state for eligible families. In Spokane those courses will be provided through the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane County and through Tincan, a nonprofit that advocates for technology training.

No starting dates for the classes have been announced.

To be eligible, a family must live within Comcast’s service area, have a child participating in a free lunch school program and not have used the company’s Internet service within the preceding 90 days.

Once signed up, the program continues at $9.95 through the child’s senior year in school if the student continues receiving a free lunch.

Comcast officials say between two and three million children within its national service area are eligible.

Comcast will not make any attempt to upsell more services to families using the program, Neary added.

No Qwikster after all; and no impact on the Spokane Netflix center

The weekend surprise from Netflix was the news that it dropped plans to spin off its streaming service and rename the DVD-only service as Qwikster.

Instead, the company has just gone back to the way it was. 

That flip and flop won't affect the nearest Netflix distribution center, on Spokane's West Plains near the Spokane Airport.   See the map here showing all the Netflix distribution locations: http://www.moviesinhouse.com/articles/netflix-shipping-centers.html

We'll have a local angle on the Qwikster-Netflix development next week in the business pages of The Spokesman-Review.

Career consultant Packard Brown to talk about job-hunting tactics tonight

Whitworth University alumnus Packard Scott Brown will talk about job-search tactics during a presentation this evening at Weyerhaeuser Hall on the Whitworth campus.

His presentation, “Strategy and Faith: Partners for Your Job Interview,” starts at 6 p.m. in Room 111.
 
The event is open to the public, costs $5,  and is part of the school's homecoming weekend. And … dessert and coffee will be provided.
 
To register, visit www.whitworth.edu/homecoming.  The SR will have a summary of some of Brown's suggestions in Saturday's print edition, on the Business page.
 
Brown is a veteran career consultant and executive coach whose clients have included Kellogg's, Hewlett Packard, Lockheed-Martin, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. 
 
His public LinkedIn profile is right here.

IT-Lifeline releases cloud-based recovery service for Amazon Web Services

Liberty Lake's IT-Lifeline has announced it's become the first company to offer a cloud-based disaster recovery option over Amazon Web Services (AWS).  AWS is Amazon's rentable online cloud service that gives companies computing capacity on an as-needed basis.

IT-Lifeline will license software from CommVault that is designed for quick and reliable data restoration. CommVault's chief recovery product is the Simpana suite of services.

A company press release noted that cloud-based disaster recovery offers customers the ability to pay for disaster recovery capacity only when required, instead of having a fixed ongoing cost for a service that may be used occasionally or even not at all.

The new IT-Lifeline service is called BlackCloud Edge. It will be targeted toward midsized businesses, said company spokesman Brandon Tanner.

Pricing is based on data capacity. BlackCloud Edge is priced at approximately 75 cents per gigabyte per month.

A company release included a quote from Terry Wise, director of business development for Amazon Web Services:

“Amazon Web Services is pleased to see the innovative approach from IT-Lifeline with itsr disaster recovery solution.  With the secure, on-demand, pay as you go services of AWS, BlackCloud Edge customers are able to scale up infrastructure on an as-needed basis providing them the agility to optimize their resources during a disaster recovery scenario.”

An ‘entrepreneurial juggernaut’ due to share her insights on Oct. 15

UPDATED 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6:

We learned today through Igor Malanchuk that the Teri Hawkins event at the Lincoln Center Oct. 15 is free for all.

The note from Igor reads: 

“Today, Wall Street Barter and Teri Hawkins agreed to make it free for all. Anyone can come for free. I would ask to contact Wall Street Barter (www.wsbarter.com/contact) to get on a guest's list.”
 
Ready or not, a MainStreetChamber event is going to land in Spokane on Oct. 15. Are you ready to fear the Internet?

Many questions arose after we received a release describing the event and the featured speaker, a “marketing guru and entrepreneurial juggernaut” named Teri Hawkins.

Who is MainStreetChamber?  We're not really sure, since the bits we can put together are mostly here at the organization's website.

Who's Teri Hawkins? She's a motivational-type speaker based out of Bend or Eugene, it's not clear. A link to her bio and stuff is here. That page says: “Teri has a background that will impress the intellectual and awe the artistic.”

Since many people fit that description, Hawkins' bio adds: “She is a master's master, a teacher's teacher. She has coached and worked with such leaders as Lee Iaccoca, Liz Claiborne and Pat Riley.” Enough said.

As for what Hawkins will do during the visit to the Lincoln Center (1316 N. Lincoln) from 9 a.m. to noon, here's the topic list as provided by the event promoter:

  • How the Internet can seriously hurt business
  • A campaign technique that moves from free gigs to long term business 
  • How to make storytelling into a big money-maker for your business 
  • How to pick and choose the old school and new school of business so that you manifest your dream 
  • How to shut up and let them buy
  • How to heal your relationship with money

What's Hawkins charging for these insights? Tickets are $25 each, but are free, we're told, for people who register with MainStreetChamber, or who become Wall Street Barter members. We have no clue what Wall Street Barter is, and the release didn't explain that either.

But, if you're still interested, we recommend you contact the person moving this event into town: Igor Malanchuk, the state director of MainStreetChamber. He's at  (509) 466-9787 or igor@MainStreetChamber.org.

It's time for us to shut up.

More students trying WSU’s online campus

There is a growing group of Washington State University students who rarely set foot on school property.

They may not even live near Pullman, Spokane, Vancouver or the Tri-Cities while taking classes. They are members of the university’s fifth campus — the one that exists primarily online.

David Cillay, executive director for WSU’s Center for Distance and Professional Education, said more students should have access to online courses at WSU in the near future.

”What we’re really hoping to do is grow our online program mix,” Cillay told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. ”We’re looking at what we offer on campus and finding ways to move those online.”

The effort is not motivated by WSU’s budget, he said, though online courses could bring in more students and therefore more money. The university is simply looking to reach out to more Washington residents who may not be able to relocate to campus in order to get a degree.

Tamarack suitor reportedly owes $350,000

A suitor of Idaho’s beleaguered Tamarack Resort owes a handful of companies more than $350,000 after he issued bad checks, failed to pay employees and stiffed contractors for work on his home, according to liens, police complaints and a lawsuit.

Copies of the bounced checks and the police report were obtained by The Associated Press. The documents showed that Matthew Hutcheson was being pursued by at least four parties for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hutcheson, who wants to buy the central Idaho vacation getaway, was slapped in May with a $159,000 lien for Givens Construction’s work on his home near Boise, according to public documents. He also was hit with a separate $1,273 lien filed in August for landscaping work.

2 Washington hospital systems to combine forces

SEATTLE — Two of Western Washington’s largest hospital systems have announced a plan to create a new not-for-profit entity to operate an even larger health care system in the state.

Leaders of Swedish Health Services and Providence Health & Services described their “innovative affiliation” Wednesday as one driven by economic necessity. They stressed that the move is not a merger or acquisition, according to a story by The Seattle Times.

The proposed new entity will include all of Swedish’s operations in King, Snohomish and Kittitas counties and all of Providence’s operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties. Providence will keep its name and Catholic identity; Swedish will retain its name and remain a non-religious organization.

Swedish operates five hospitals and clinics in its affected area while Providence operates three hospitals and 21 senior and community service programs in its target counties.

Outdoor gear retailer Mountain Gear recognized for supporting cycling

For the third year in a row, Spokane outdoor retailer Mountain Gear has won a Silver Award for being a bike-friendly business by the League of American Bicyclists.

Showing up to work in spandex and lycra from a commute or after a morning ride up Mount Spokane isn’t just tolerated, it’s encouraged.  
 
“We’re very excited to be leading the growing bike culture here in the Spokane area,”  Mountain Gear President Paul Fish said in a release.
 
The company actively encourages the benefits — healthwise and economically — of biking. It offers showers and indoor bike parking and offers rewards for those workers who bike to work and participate in local bike advocacy.
 
Employees are encouraged to buy bikes hrough Mountain Gear’s employee bike purchase program. Coordinated with Two Wheel Transit in Spokane, the program has helped outfit over 60 employees and employee family members with new bikes.
 
For information on the Bike Friendly Business Program, visit www.bikeleague.org.

Vin Rouge closure tied to negotiations with Carl’s Jr.

South Hill restaurant Vin Rouge closed its doors last weekend and will not reopen.

Owner Jeff Jenkins said he’s decided to close the eatery, at 3029 E. 29th, in part because he could not negotiate a new sublease.

He helped open the restaurant in the Lincoln Heights area  seven years ago.

Jenkins said he had a multiyear sublease with the parent company of fast food chain Carl’s Jr., which has the first lease with property owner Harlan Douglass. Jenkins said he has been unable to negotiate a new sublease with Carl’s Jr.

He speculated that negotiations were affected by the activity in that area related to the opening later this month of a new Trader Joe’s market in Lincoln Heights Shopping Center.

Officials at Carl’s Jr. may consider the Vin Rouge property an attractive option for a new tenant because Trader Joe’s will attract more traffic to that area, he said.

Another eatery in Lincoln Heights also closed recently. The Jack in the Box at 3020 E. 29th also shut down on Sept. 29, said a company spokeswoman. That fast food store has been a corporate-owned location and will not be reopened, the spokeswoman said.

She declined to offer a reason for the closing.

If you plan to try out peer lending, here’s a tip from a successful blogger

Our recent Page 1 story about peer-to-peer lending gathered a few interesting online comments from readers.

One, from a Texan named Marc, was notable because he commented that in the past few months he managed to earn the “top return” position on Lending Club, one of the two major peer lending businesses. His current return is above 20 percent, based on numbers he's tracking from his investments at lendingclub.com.

You can find more information about Marc's strategy to maximize his loans at http://lcp2p.blogspot.com/.

Disclosure:  We have no idea who Marc is, other than that he's apparently a smart guy who reads Office Hours and pays attention to lending strategies that work.

For data heads, we should add that Lending Club is one of the more transparent sites that offer a wide range of useful numbers and charts. For a sampling, here's the Lending Club main statistics page.

An alternative recycling center for used electronic products, including CFLs

Sun People Dry Goods Co., a cool Spokane retail store, is now taking recycled electronic products at its store.

It's accepting used compact fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, inkjet cartridges and cell phones.

Items collected will go to the Earth Recycling location in Spokane Valley.

The product drop-off location is at Sun Goods' store at 32 W. 2nd Ave. Suite 200.  Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

The website forEarth Works Recycling is www.earthworksrecycling.com.

Vin Rouge, Jack in the Box on the South Hill both close


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It appears South Hill Spokane restaurant Vin Rouge on East 29th has shut down. Details to come later on that decision.

Across the street, it's the same story. The Jack in the Box at 3020 E. 29th closed down on Sept. 30, a company spokesperson confirmed.

That store, near Lincoln Heights Shopping Center, is a corporate-owned Jack in the Box. As such, the company's main office declined to give a reason for the closure. 

The Jack in the Box spokesperson also declined to speculate on whether it will add a new store in the Spokane area soon.

Opponents of Camp Easton swap file lawsuit to block sale to developer

A group of Inland Northwest backers and supporters of the Boy Scout's popular Camp Easton have filed a lawsuit trying to halt the sale of the camp to an Arizona developer.

The suit, filed recently in Kootenai County District Court by the group Camp Easton Forever, seeks a permanent injunction that would prevent any future sale of Camp Easton. They assert that the original donation of the land restricted its use forever as a Scout camp.

Camp Easton Forever is a nonprofit group created last month in response to announced plans by the Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts of America to explore selling Camp Easton to Discover Land Co., which has also developed a residential area and golf course along Lake Coeur d'Alene.

The camp sale is not a done deal. The Inland Northwest Council has said its board will decide at some point if the option of building a new and safer Scout camp justifies selling Camp Easton.

No date has been set for that review and a board vote on the sale, said Tim McCandless, the CEO of the Inland Northwest Council. 

Discover has proposed buying 380 acres on which Camp Easton sits, then building another newer camp on 270 acres along Sunup Bay on the other side of the lake. Opponents say the new land doesn't offer the beach that Camp Easton has, and they claim the appeal of Camp Easton is its age and tradition.

McCandless and board members say they are obliged to review the offer and consider whether the new site, along with a capital improvement fund provided by Discover, are in the best interests of future Boy Scouts.

A copy of the lawsuit filed in Kootenai County District Court is here.

Mike Tedesco becomes new head of Downtown Spokane Partnership

A homegrown guy who later worked in Colorado and the Seattle area has been named the new Downtown Spokane Partnership president.

Mike Tedesco will begin his job in mid-October. He takes over the position left by Marty Dickinson, who left for a position with Sterling Savings Bank.

Tedesco was selected following a national search. After growing up in Spokane and graduating from Lewis and Clark High School, Tedesco worked in Pueblo, Colo., focusing on urban and economic development.

Most recently Tedesco has been the Puget Sound Attractions Council executive director.

He has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of Idaho.

A little biographical note not included when DSP sent out its release:  Tedesco pulished a book called “The Official Bureaucrat's Guide For Navigating the Bureaucracy.” The self-published book can be ordered through this link.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Alison Boggs Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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