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Archive for February 2013

Bloomsday group’s wall cut-out feature in action, in sunlight

Pictures usually do a lot more than words at explaining architectural details.

Today's SR story on the new Lilac Bloomsday Association office building is a great example.

The story said that project manager Chad McDonald decided to add a few touches to the building to make it more appealing.

The story said:  “McDonald asked a relative to design several short steel panels with cutout shapes of runners and the words “Run” and “Spokane.” He fastened those panels to the street-facing edges of the four steel canopies that hang about 6 feet off the ground and that reach out about 3 feet from the westside exterior wall.”

So how does that look? This image from McDonald's phone gives some idea of the visual impact. Granted, it's still not visually clean and simple. The two lower words are in fact the cast shadows created by the words cut into the steel edges.

Photo: Chad McDonald

WSU will pay for up to 70 students to attend the next Startup Weekend

Starting Friday, March 1, is the third Spokane Startup Weekend. We described it in a story last week.

Here's the notable update. Washington State University is backing the idea for its students. The school will pay the total entry fee for up to 70 WSU students from across the state.

The general student fee is $55. For others, it's $85 (and includes meals over the Friday-Saturday period). Any other student from area schools is also invited to register.

The WSU “scholarship” plan comes from a grant from the WSU CougParents Program made to the WSU Spokane student government. Students can take advantage of that registration option at

Notably, that link says only 25 slots have been taken. That means 45 remain to be filled at no cost.

Potlatch names new president and COO

Potlatch Corp. has named Eric Cremers, 49, the company’s president and chief operating officer and added him to its board of directors, effective March 1.

Cremers will be responsible for leading the company’s business operations, including timberland management, wood manufacturing and sales, real estate and human resources.

He will continue to serve as chief financial officer and lead investor relations activities while a search for a successor is conducted.

Cremers joined the Spokane-based, publicly traded company in 2007 as vice president and chief financial officer and was promoted in 2012 to executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Potlatch is a real estate investment trust with about 1.43 million acres of timberland in Idaho, Arkansas and Minnesota.

Fred Meyer issues bread recall because of plastic in loaves

If you buy bread at area Fred Meyer stores, be advised the parent company has issued a warning and is recalling some of its company-produced bread loaves made at its Clackamas, Ore., bakery.

Company officials say the loaves may contain pieces of plastic. The company has not explained at what point in the process plastic got into the dough. A release said it's continuing an investigation.

A spokeswoman said the Spokane and North Idaho stores may have some of those loaves.

The flagged products are listed below and all have sell-by dates of March 8:

  • Kroger Value Wheat Bread   UPC 11110 02199  22.5 oz
  • QFC Tender Twist Wheat Bread UPC 11110 20231 20 oz
  • Fred Meyer Tender Twist Honey Cracked Wheat Bread  UPC 11110 23004  24 oz
  • Fred Meyer Tender Twist 100% Whole Wheat Bread UPC 11110 23005  24 oz
  • Fred Meyer Tender Twist Wheat Bread   UPC 11110 23006 22.5 oz

Refunds and exchanges can be made at local stores, a company spokeswoman said.

Take a look at the comments on today’s story on Silver Mountain Resort

In case you missed the story on the extended deadline for the sale of the Silver Mountain Resort, here's the link to that story.

In brief: Oregon manufacturing company Jeld-Wen is looking for buyers to take over all or parts of the fairly large Silver Mountain Resort properties in Kellogg.

For once, I must salute the commenters on that story. Three distinct points of view, and not a knuckleheaded remark from any of them.  Salu.

Former Edo owner opens two Miso Fresh Asian locations in malls

Jay Underwood has gone from Edo to Miso. Actually, his two new eateries are named Miso Fresh Asian.

Underwood opened the first Miso Fresh Asian last week at NorthTown Mall. This Friday he opens one in the food court at River Park Square. Both take the spots of the former Edos he ran in those two malls.

He describes the cuisine as Southeast Asian street vendor food. He also likes the idea of having all ingredients visible by customers. He incorporated a trait he thinks Subway has used well — giving customers a full selection and view of fresh ingredients.

Edo Japan was a franchise connected to a Canadian parent firm. Last year the parent firm decided not to renew many of its U.S. deals, Underwood said. That led him to strike out on his own, with Miso.

Underwood gives the menu's culinary credit to Chef Curtis Smith. The stores were designed by Paint Room Studios, owned by Dawn Kiki and Catherine Boles. 

They incorporated recycled glass countertops, and selected tile that resembles wood and cork. Each store has a striking glass mosaic that wraps the stove hood.

And no, the cooks there don't use woks. In keeping with an agreement with mall managers, Miso can't use a “wok,” because another eatery established itself as the sole “wok-based” business inside the mall

Underwood said the solution was to use stir-fry pans. “In fact, that's the name for what we use, 'stir-fry pans,' ” he said.

River Park Square is owned by the Cowles Co., which also owns and publishes The Spokesman-Review and

Ambassadors execs Jeff, Peg Thomas resign; board will start search for new CEO

Spokane's Ambassadors Group’s President and CEO Jeff Thomas, and his wife, Margaret Thomas, the company’s executive vice president, announced they are leaving the company.

Jeff Thomas has been head of the publicly traded company since 1996. Ambassadors runs the student-focused travel program People to People. Last year the company arranged education tours for 21,200 travelers, compared with nearly 24,000 in 2011.

The resignations are effective immediately, the company said in a release.

Anthony Dombrowik, senior vice president and chief financial officer, is interim chief executive offficer. The board of directors has said it will start a search for a new CEO.

The company has offices near the Spokane Airport.

According to the company’s 2012 proxy statement, the most recent available, Jeff Thomas’s total compensation in 2011 was $775,031. Margaret Thomas’s total compensation during that period was $455,031.

Startup Weekend, a video primer

Spokane's next Startup Weekend goes live March 1 to March 3, at the WSU Health Sciences Building. Today's SR had a story covering the event, plus highlighting three firms that have sprung to life from prior weekend boot camps.

The term Startup Weekend is trademarked, created by partners who launched the idea on the East Coast several years ago. It's since turned into a national and international for-profit effort. There have been hundreds of Startup Weekends in the past two years, from St. Louis to Lithuania.

Check out the video to get an overview. The link above also gives information on how to register.

One Spokane domainer’s take on how to make money investing in business sites

The Review's story on area domainers last week quoted David Johnston as an example of a new breed. Instead of buying and holding (parking) a domain and hoping someone will buy it, more people are buying an existing or pre-registered site, then developing it.

It's akin to real estate flipping. Johnston, whose business provides website optimization,  is an example of that type of flipper. You can spend hours reading about the how-to or how-not-to make money doing this. Johnston said, in our interview, he spends hours every day trying to keep up with the domain business.

Johnston wanted to add the following comments at the bottom of last weekend's story. I didn't see that it landed there, and I wonder if he ran into a technical glitch.

So he sent it to me and I'm posting it here. (I will also add it to the story comments, citing him as the source). Go to the jump below the main box to read his entire comment.

    The new craze right now for cashing in on domains is to buy a good domain, build a site with something to sell, use paid ads like Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcenter and ramp up sales. This is done even with zero profit. Some are calling it “domain flipping.”

   Most people making a full time living “domaining” bought most of their inventory before the lion's share of good domains were purchased, or they are getting good deals buying premium domains now. I have a close friend managing 16,000 domains, and Google wiped him out as he was making money from ads. He has bought and sold domains for years and thinks the industry is too difficult to make a buck in.

   In his circle you can't even call yourself a “domainer” unless you have thousands of sites and selling them is not your only source of revenue. And yes, the renewal rates are usually higher than the discount rates you get buying it initially, especially if you are part of Godaddy's domain club.

    Anyway, when the scam domain flippers sell the website the buyer is going to look at sales to decide if your asking price is worth it. Profit is different. Most buyers think “sales” is the hard part and profit can be fixed. There is a little truth to that, but be wary.

   A site may pay almost 100 percent of the gross sales amount in advertising fees and run the business at a loss just to have high gross volume.

   Let's say Google Pay Per Click (PPC) costs $50 to make the sale, but the sales price is only $50. Google might let you buy 100 sales a day making it look like you have a million-dollar-plus business.

   The sad truth is, the person may be doing a “pump and dump” which means when you buy the website you are stuck trying to figure out how to make money where there is none to be had. Many times these situations happen in high competition markets where you don't have a chance without a big budget cushion anyway.


The Linoleum Shop changes its name to Caruso Floors, honoring its founder

View Larger Map A Spokane flooring company that opened in 1933 as The Linoleum Shop has been rebranded as Caruso's Floors.

The name change honors the company founder, Phil Caruso, said his son Bill Caruso. It's also time to move beyond the limiting word “linoleum,” a press release noted.

The father opened the business's doors on North Monroe as Spokane and the country were dealing with the Great Depression. Phil Caruso used the same building that his own father used as a grocery store earlier.

The shop later moved to its current address, 402 W. Indiana.

Phil's grandson Mark Caruso, in the press release, said: “We are grateful for the history and longevity of this business. However, with all the products available today, we feel the word linoleum doesn’t reflect the scope of products we sell.” 

Hecla lost around $135 million by not operating Lucky Friday for a year

This week's major news in North Idaho was the announced reopening of the Lucky Friday mine, in Mullan.

For most folks, the Lucky Friday is called a silver mine. In fact, it also produces good amounts of lead and zinc.

Hecla Mining had to shut down mining of those metals for more than a year, following investigations by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Based on the year's typical production of silver — described as roughly 3 million ounces — Hecla missed out on about $90 million in revenue for that metal. But that's just for silver.

When the loss includes no revenue for zinc and lead, the total loss for the company comes to about $135 million over the full 13 months of non-production, said company VP of Investor Relations Jim Sabala.

Photo by SR photographer Dan Pelle:  Hecla CEO Phillips Baker Jr. discusses the reopening of the Lucky Friday mine.

Red Lion sells its Missoula hotel, turns it into a franchise

Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced on Thursday it's sold its Red Lion Missoula Inn for $1.95 million. As part of the sale agreement, the new owners signed a franchise agreement with the company.

It's been renamed the Red Lion Inn & Suites Missoula. It's a limited service property with 76 exterior entry rooms, situated near Providence Health & Services St. Patrick Hospital in  downtown Missoula.

“This property is in a great location,” said Sam Hossain of RASM Properties, LLC, the new owners of the hotel.

Red Lion had announed in November 2011 that the property was for sale.

What happened? Why did Wholesale Sports close its area retail stores?

Is this the Cabela's effect?

The new owner of the Wholesale Sports outdoor and sporting equipment outlets in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene will close those two stores in mid-March.

Employees at the stores said company officers informed them on Feb. 21 that their stores’ final day will be March 10.

The announcement was a sudden reversal, following last week’s announcement that Wholesale Sports was selling 14 U.S. stores back to Sportsman’s Warehouse, a Utah company, and a partner, Alamo Group.

That announcement came from Calgary-based UFA Co-operative Ltd., which had purchased the 14 U.S. Sportsman’s Warehouse stores for roughly $800 million in 2008.

After the purchase, UFA rebranded the stores as Wholesale Sports, the name it uses for outdoor equipment stores it operates across Canada.

Last week’s announcement said the sale was part of UFA’s refocusing solely on its Canadian retail businesses.

Canadian newspapers reported that Sportsman’s Warehouse plans to operate 10 of the reacquired stores, but that Alamo Group, which bought four stores, was closing them in March.

It’s unclear which two other stores will be closed.

Alamo Group, based in California, is described as a real estate investment company.

The Spokane store moved last summer from Spokane Valley Mall to NorthTown Mall. It took a 30,000-square-foot space in the mall formerly used by Emporium.

The NorthTown store employs roughly 40 workers. The Coeur d’Alene store, at 3534 N. Government Way, employs about 35 workers.

CenturyLink opens north Spokane, Valley stores after exiting malls

CenturyLink has opened two new Spokane stores, replacing ones it formerly operated in NorthTown and Spokane Valley malls.

The north side new location is at 6704 N. Nevada.

The Spokane Valley store is at 506 N. Sullivan.

Store hours are Monday through Saturday,  8 a.m.– 7 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The company provides a range of data and phone services, including DirecTV paid television and Verizon Wireless options.

Hecla reopens Lucky Friday mine after extensive safety steps

After being closed for more than a year, Hecla’s Lucky Friday silver mine has resumed protection, following a series of safety upgrades that cost more than $30 million.

The mine was closed on orders from federal mine inspectors following a rock burst that injured seven workers in December 2011.

The mile-deep silver mine in Mullan, Idaho, is expected to return to full production later this year. The company announced all employees were recalled and received supplemental safety training.

The rock burst injuries followed fatal accidents at the Lucky Friday that killed two miners in April and November of 2011.

Hecla officials also said the company completed a new bypass drift at the main shaft’s 5,900 foot level, around an area impacted by the December 2011 rock burst. Hecla reporting spending roughly $30 million on the rehabilitation of the main silver shaft and an additional $26.2 million on other Lucky Friday capital projects unrelated to the shaft renovation.

If you thought that would help Hecla's stock, that's not so.  As of 11:30 a.m. Pacific time, the stock dipped  9 cents or 1.5 percent


Hayden firm headed by exec accused of slapping child on flight has 130 workers

Updated Sunday, Feb. 17  7:34 p.m.

The company that runs the Hayden business headed by Joe Ricky Hundley announced his dismissal Sunday afternoon. An AP story explains the decision.

Recent news stories about a North Idaho businessman embroiled in accusations of abusive behavior on a commericial flight sent us back to the news library to get some context..

The first wire story from the AP on Friday noted that Joe Rickey Hundley, who runs Hayden-based UNITECH Composites, has been charged with assault for slapping a child on a Feb. 8 flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. On Saturday newer stories reported that Hundley was suspended by his corporate superiors.

The original stories include assertions by the child's mother that Hundley, who's 60, used a racial slur..

Hunley and UNITECH have been mentioned in a number of previous stories.

In October 2012 a reporter interviewed Hundley and wrote about the company. The story said Hundley is running a company with 130 workers. For this area, that's a major manufacturer. The story below was part of the SR's The Road Ahead series, focusing on jobs.

What began as a mom-and-pop startup in Hayden more than 30 years ago has grown into a major Northwest supplier of composite parts for the aerospace industry.

Tucked into five buildings at the Coeur d'Alene Airport, Unitech Composites and Structures produces and ships 14,000 airplane parts per month. Much of the fabrication happens in the controlled environment of clean rooms using materials such as Kevlar, fiberglass and phenolics.

The company is capitalizing on growing demand for lightweight parts for a new generation of super-efficient airplanes. About 40 percent of its business is military orders, and the rest is for commercial aircraft.

The manufacturer's products can be found on every commercial and military plane assembled by Boeing, and soon it will begin supplying parts to Boeing's European rival Airbus, which is expanding its footprint in the U.S.

Unitech was acquired three years ago by AGC Aerospace & Defense, a private equity corporation based in Oklahoma City. AGC has invested millions of dollars in the Hayden operation this year alone, including for a large new autoclave, which uses heat and pressure to cure composites, Unitech President Rick Hundley said.

“We've done just enormous things to this business - major investments in plant and equipment as well as in the people,” he said.
The company has 130 employees and is adding more each month as demand for its products grows.

An earlier story, in the business section, noted that UNITECH had landed a signfiicant defense department contract to build components for military helicopters.

Spa Paradiso looks to open the end of April, taking new digs in Kendall Yard

Valentine's Day related business item. Spa Paradiso, last seen in the basement of the downtown Spokane Davenport Hotel, plans on reopening in a new location in Kendall Yards the end of April.

The full-service spa and salon has been closed since fall 2012. It originally hoped to open in a new commercial building in the Kendall Yards development on Dec. 1. Project managers however didn't finish the building that early.

The spa will take half of the 13,000-square foot two-story building due east of the Cedar Plaza building, which houses Central Food. The other tenant in the new building is The Inlander newspaper.

The building will be the second commercial building at Kendall Yards, a Greenstone multiuse development west of the Monroe Street Bridge and north of the river.

Co-owner Larry Schoonover said he'll start booking appointments in early April. The company will have around 35 employees.

They will lease about half of a 13,000-square-foot, two-story building due west of the new Cedar Plaza Building. A second unidentified tenant will take the other half of the space.

The new commercial building is part of the 78-acre Kendall Yards development, a project of Greenstone Corp. So far more than 140 residential units have been sold or are under construction

Ambassadors Group sets quarterly dividend of 6 cents per share

Later today we'll visit the Itron earnings report. For now, let's feature Ambassadors Group (traded as EPAX) on Nasdaq.

The publicly traded Spokane-based travel provider announced it's issuing a quarterly dividend of 6 cents per share, which will be paid on March 13 to common shareholders of record on Feb. 27, 2013.

I guess that means: If you need a dividend, you can buy the stock before Feb. 27. It's trading at $4.63 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Washington state getting more serious about creating a one-stop business portal

Each week during the legislative session, OfficeHours will focus on a single piece of legislation, seeing how it would affect state businesses and considering the bill's chances of going forward.

This week's bill is HB 1757, introduced by a bunch of legislators including Marcus Ricelli, who represents Spokane's Third District.

The companion Senate bill is SB 5718.

It would create a one stop business portal to simplify business interactions with regulatory bodies (like revenue, L&I and Employment Security).

The language of the bill is revealing, at least about the state's foot-dragging effort in this arena.

In 2006 the state legislature adopted a bill requiring the creation of the business portal. “But it has not been developed,” the bill's analysis notes.

That same summary says: The bill outlines “high-level technology architecture and implementation steps to achieve a single online place for businesses to accomplish their state business in a way that is consistent and efficient for both business and government.”

The bill further requires the office of the chief information officer to provide the economic development committees of the legislature with a plan for establishing  performance  benchmarks  and measuring  the  results of implementing a one-stop integrated system for business interactions with government.

This is a goal that Washington failed to execute so far, but which  Oregon has recently completed.
Here's the Oregon summary of its portal, called Business Xpress.


Office Hours continuing to offer the credit card surcharge challenge; win $5 cards

Nobody answered our invitation to win a $5 coffee card on us, by proving that a retailer is adding the new credit card optional surcharge.

Our first blog entry laid out the terms.

The offer stands.  If you can show by photo or other means (even a credit card receipt) that some retailer (after Feb. 1) began adding the surcharge, as permitted by a court settlement of a class action suit, then you'll get one of three cards we're offering to readers.

Read that entry to get the particulars. Limit, one submission per person.

We weren't confident that any retailer would start doing something that few others would. Still, we wanted to test that theory by asking the mob for any indication if it is or isn't happening.

What can businesses really really learn from how the Pope is chosen

The most overused pitch sent to the media by business PR people is the standard “what can business leaders learn from …… FILL IN THE BLANK…”

Today's version: “Speculation mounts over next Pope. What can business leaders and managers learn from the selection process.”

I'll spare you the elaborate effort to justify that offering.

Here are some additional off-the-wall connections I drew between electing the next pontiff and operating a business:

Plan your corporate meetings and annual meetings in a large public square. The CEO stands on the balcony, waving his or her arms a lot, talking to those down below.

Surround the main headquarters with a “security” team who wear helmets and pantaloons. But call them your Swedish Guard, to avoid trademark infringement.

Give your employees an extra holiday at the end of the year because that's when you really have to mail those Christmas fruitcakes and get ready for your Annual Midnight Mass.

Issue any restated financial statements in Latin, so that the analysts won't be able to ask a lot of questions during a conference call.

Develop a spin-off investment arm to help new companies get started. Call it your Angelic Investor Fund.


Should Allegiant Air passengers have a right to not receive union literature?

Updated at 1:28 p.m. Feb. 12

Updated to include a statement by Allegiant Air on the issue of new routes and possible cancellation of routes:

Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler emailed this comment regarding the issue that the TWU cited for the flyers handed out:

Many of the routes in our system have never been flown before - we have no historical data to look to and forecast demand and costs based on available data.  Allegiant is making every effort to bring new service to underserved communities at affordable prices and in this case, new visitors to the Hawaiian islands, visitors who have never had access to nonstop service to Hawaii before. We do not go into a market unless we believe we will be successful there, but some routes do not work out the way we anticipate.  The vast majority of our new routes are successful.

Is there a guaranteed right of free speech aboard a commercial airliner?

That question was raised last weekend during the first Allegiant Air flight from Spokane's airport to Hawaii.

Last weekend, the TWU sent a representative aboard the first flight, and once on board, the union rep handed out leaflets to passengers

In December Allegiant's flight attendants voted to be represented by a local of the Transport Workers Union. This first-flight event occurred as Allegiant and the union are hammering out their first-ever contract for flight attendants.

 The flyer handed out is what you see here.

The issue isn't union representation. A press release, posted at this link, includes information about the company’s record of abrupt cancellation of service to “underperforming” markets. The leaflet leaves the impression Allegiant dumps its service to some markets without a lot of advance notice. We're not sure how accurate that is.

There were no incidents on the flight, according to reports. A sheriff's deputy, however, interviewed the union worker in Honolulu when the flight arrived. After 10 minutes, the union worker left, having established no disruptions occurred during the flight.

So here's the nub:  If you're in a restaurant with your best friend, is it OK if union workers drop by your table and ask you to sign a petiion against the owner of the business? Or pass out material suggesting the owner is mistreating employees?

Restaurants are public or semi-public locations. An airplane may not be the same kind of workplace.

Or, is free speech basically free speech, provided it doesn't inflame or injure anyone?

Which way should the law tilt?

Hutton Building goes from foreclosure to future home for STCU

You can find on the full version of the announcement by Spokane Teachers Credit Union it purchased the downtown Hutton Building.

Reporter Jon Brunt summarized the main points in that story (top six graphs below). Saturday's print and online editions will have the expanded version, which includes details on the bankruptcy that led to STCU's purchase.

Spokane Teachers Credit Union is turning a foreclosed property into one of its most prominent buildings.

The credit union announced this week it will move its commercial lending operations to the Hutton Building, which it owns as a result of a foreclosure last year.

The seven-story Hutton Building, 9 S. Washington St., is valued at $3.5 million by Spokane County. It was built in 1907.

Credit union President and CEO Tom Johnson said that the credit union was running out of space for its commercial lending department at its current leased space at the Schade Brewery building near the Riverpoint Campus.

Since it already owned the building and the credit union desired to keep commercial lending offices in downtown Spokane, the Hutton Building was an ideal choice to help it expand, Johnson said.

The credit union will use the top two floors of the Hutton Building as well as some space on the ground floor for a branch.

Another newer Jacobs Java opens on the South Hill, at 17th and Ray

Jacobs Java, which claims the title of Spokane’s original drive-through coffee stand, has opened its fifth location, on the South Hill at 1621 S. Ray St.

Brothers Paul and Scott Jacob will operate the business but are leasing the land from Lucky Dog Coffee LLC, which they are part of along with Spokane residents Kevin Edwards, Colin Conway and Gary Bernardo.

The site, at 17th and Ray, formerly was a gas station and later a bakery. That building was torn down to make way for the new 850-square-foot coffee stand.

Paul Jacob said he and his brother had wanted to open a stand on that corner for nearly a decade. “It’s one of the last great spots left in that area,” he said. added.

The stand will be open seven days a week. The brothers’ other four locations are in downtown Spokane, Airway Heights, Spokane Valley and in north Spokane.

They started their first Jacobs Java on Aug. 1, 1992, Paul Jacob said.

Flight attendants for Spokane-Hawaii flight gain full-time status, health benefits

Today's Spokesman Review has a story about the first Allegiant Air direct flight to Hawaii from Spokane.

We call attention to related news about this flight; namely, that these inaugural flights will be staffed with full-time flight attendants. Up to now Allegiant has told its workers it would use part-time attendants on those flights.

Allegiant's position, based on media coverage in Hawaii, came down to an apparent desire to not pay health beneifts, according to a  story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Earlier this week Transport Workers Union Local 577, representing more than 600 flight attendants at Allegiant, announced the change to full-time status for those attendants who would be based in Honolulu. Allegiant's action only affected that uncertain number based in Hawaii. Its flight attendants at its nine U.S. bases all are classified full-time and receive benefits.

The union's release said: “The airline, which begins service to Honolulu this week from airports in Boise, Phoenix/Mesa and Spokane had originally planned to service these and other Hawaii routes with part-time flight attendants based in Honolulu.

“In October, (union officials) wrote to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. senators and members of Congress from Hawaii. The letter questioned whether Allegiant’s planned use of so-called part-timers – for a route on which each flight lasted at least 14 hours – was a maneuver to avoid providing health care benefits for flight attendants based in Hawaii.' ”

That letter and some other efforts led to Allegiant making the change. The Star Advertiser summary of the change by Allegiant can be found here.

Vancouver Democrat introduces bill to allow sales of wine growlers

Today's Olympia update. A bill submitted in the Washington House would allow beer or wine retailers in the state to sell growlers of wine.  A growler is a container or pitcher provided by the seller or the customer.

Introduced by Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, HB 1742 reads this way:

Licensees holding either a license that permits or a license with an  endorsement  that  permits  the  sale  of  beer  to  a  purchaser  in  a container supplied by the licensee or a sanitary container brought to the premises by the purchaser and filled at the tap at the time of sale  may similarly sell wine to a purchaser in such a container.

A Feb. 12 hearing has been set with the House  Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight. Wylie is the vice chair of that committee.


Boise Cascade officials ring the NYSE bell, see IPO rise 24 percent

Boise Cascade Company started a second life as a publicly traded corporation Wednesday with an IPO that sent its New York Stock Exchange shares rising 24 percent to $26.12.

The Boise-based company has 49 U.S. facilities, making wood products and building materials. It operates plywood and lumber mills in Colville and Kettle Falls and a distribution center in Spokane

The first Boise Cascade Corp. traded on the New York Stock Exchange until 2003 and was one of the country’s largest wood products companies. In 2004 the company sold its paper, building products and timberland assets to private equity firm Madison Dearborn.

Madison Dearborn spun off the paper products and packaging unit into OfficeMax. Madison Dearborn also renamed the forest products operation as Boise Cascade Company.

In February 2008 the company spun off its paper and packaging operations and continued operating Boise Cascade as a limited liability corporation.

Industry analysts have said the company’s decision to issue an IPO in early 2013 made sense in light of the rebounding U.S. housing market.

April 5 will be the opening date for Sephora’s new downtown store

A while back we mentioned national health and beauty product retailer Sephora would move into River Park Square, in downtown Spokane. It's taking about half the space vacated two years ago when Abercrombie & Fitch moved out.

We learned today the opening day is April 5.

The company already has in-store locations at NorthTown Mall and Spokane Valley Mall. This will be the company's first full stand-alone location in Spokane.

RPS is owned by Cowles Co. The Spokesman-Review is owned by Cowles Co. receives no special information from RPS. The newspaper has no connection with River Park Square and treats it as just another retail mall.

Google adds exact ski run routes to its map service; Schweitzer is one of the first

View Larger Map

Notable news for the skier contingent. Google Maps has begun adding maps of ski runs for a number of North American ski resorts.

The ones we care about that have the option are Sandpoint's Schweitzer Mountain, Sun Valley and Mount Bachelor in Bend, Ore.

A total of 38 resorts are part of the first Google batch. The maps are available on tablets, computers or smartphones.

Click the map here and zoom in to see the runs on Schweitzer.

Even cooler, the service for some areas includes a StreetView option for some runs.

Maplewood Software sued by Texas firm over product development allegations

This week in software litigation.

A Texas company has sued Spokane-based Maplewood Software, claiming it mishandled development of business software, causing some customers to cancel orders.for a product both firms were selling to clinics.

Austin-based Longhorn Laboratory Partners LLC said it and Maplewood collaborated on Web-based software that automated staff scheduling and laboratory inspection readiness.

Maplewood, founded in 1996 by Spokane residents John and Nancy Janzen, has developed several “software as a service” business products. Its most successful programs are sold to hospitals and clinics to simplify and manage complex work schedules.

In 2011 Maplewood joined with Longhorn Laboratory Partners to deliver a version of the scheduling product called ScheduleLabs. At the time, Longhorn became the global and U.S. distributor for ScheduleLabs.

The suit states Maplewood delivered some versions of that product to customers who found it didn’t perform as advertised.

Cornerstone Church buys former Liberty Lake Kia dealership, expands

Cornerstone Pentecostal Church is converting the former Kia of Spokane showroom and dealership in Liberty Lake into its new church. The dealership, at 21326 E. Mission, was owned by Sydney and Arlene Kane, who had operated it until closing in January 2011.

The purchase price paid by the church was $1.9 million. Cornerstone Pentecostal is leaving its current church building at 12817 E. Broadway.

The church has roughly 300 members, said Pastor Rick Mayo. Mayo said the showroom is being transformed into a vestibule and the service shop is being converted to a 9,000-square-foot sanctuary.

Steve Ridenour worked on behalf of the previous owners. Clark Pacific of Spokane represented the church in the deal.

Mayo said the church has its current site for sale. It is listed for $750,000.

Providence consolidates all of its local anesthesiogists into new Spokane unit

The area's largest hospital group had acquired two anesthesia groups who were working at its two Spokane hospitals.

Providence Medical Group announced buying the units at Providence Sacred Heart and Providence Holy Family and combining them into a new unit.

That new operation is called Providence Anesthesia Services. It has 39 anesthesiologists and 94 CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists).

The new medical director for the group is Dr. Alan Rietz. Dr. Phil Ogden will be associate medical director.

Providence Medical Group of Eastern Washington includes more than 400 physicians and advanced practitioners.

Main reasons the BIA sees proposed casino not harming Fairchild

The key section of the recently released Bureau of Indian Affairs environmental impact statement summarizes why the proposed Spokane Tribe casino and project doesn't impede or endanger the operation of Fairchild Air Force Base, west of town.  A major argument cited by critics was the fear that future Base Relocation and Closure reviews would lead to a reduction in operations at Fairchild.

The proposed casino would be about 1.5 miles away from the main gate of Fairchild.

The attached document (linked below) is the third chapter which is the BIA comments and responses.

The pages worth looking at are 3-13 through 3-18.

Here's the summarized response:

“For the reasons described above and in Section 4.9 of the Final EIS, the Proposed Project would have no impact on Fairchild AFB’s military value based on the evaluation criteria historically used by past BRAC committees to develop recommendations for base realignment and closure.

 As described in Section 4.9 of the Final EIS, implementation of the Proposed Project would not encroach upon Fairchild AFB’s available air space or impede its ability to implement the operational and training mission of the installation because:

1) with the implementation of mitigation recommended in Section 5.0 of the Final EIS the Proposed Project would not create an air navigation hazard or otherwise impede Fairchild AFB operations;

2) the Tribe has agreed to accept any inconveniences associated with AFB operations during operation of the Proposed Project; and 3) the Fairchild AFB has confirmed that it will not alter its flight patterns in response to complaints from the Tribe related to nuisances on the project site.  Therefore, with identified mitigation measures contained in Section 5.0, the Proposed Project is not considered an “encroachment” that would make Fairchild AFB vulnerable to closure” 


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

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on 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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