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Office Hours

Archive for May 2014

In high-roller dispute along shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, there’s a back story

Today's busiest online story was the account of the battle going on between Denny Ryerson and Dana Martin, both of whom are connected to a sprawling lake home on Mica Bay.

Today's tale is about the struggle over who owns many of the items and fixtures removed from the Ryerson home before a foreclosure sale in April.

If you wanted the full background on the dispute, here's our earlier SR story which ran in March.

The photo here shows one of two Lincoln Fox bronze sculptures in dispute between the two parties. It's been removed and is in storage in North Idaho. Photo by Insight Photography/Jewel Simisky.

Here’s the full story on new Anthony’s going into Spokane’s South Hill

Anthony’s Restaurants will open a second Spokane location on the city’s South Hill this fall, near a new Target store.

The Kirkland-based company said the new location will be called Anthony’s Beach Cafe. It will take the pad building in the development near the new Target, which is due to open in July. (Map shows the “B” pad building on the northwest corner of the development.)

The new Anthony’s eatery will open in October, after hiring about 50 workers, said Lane Hoss, the company’s marketing director.

It will be the company’s 24th property in the Northwest. “It will focus on more casual, relaxed dining, with a lighter menu” than other Anthony’s restaurants, Hoss said. For instance, its traditional restaurants don’t serve fish tacos. The beach cafe will, she said.

“We also see it appealing to families and people who are looking to go out for a spur-of-the-moment meal,” she said.

The restaurant is using about 4,000 square feet in the northwest corner building. It's designed with 106 interior seats and 70 seats for outside dining. It will offer lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The company has a downtown Anthony’s at Spokane Falls which will continue in business

Skype version coming that gives users instant translations, due later this year

Redmond-based Microsoft is working on a beta version of Skype that gives real-time translations of conversations between people speaking different languages.

CEO Satya Nadella, who showed off the app at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., said the service has been in the works for 15 years.

It will be available free to Skype users by the end of this year as a Windows 8 beta app, the WSJ’s Douglas MacMillan reports.

 

GSI has GenPrime for Thursday, the Agora Awards next week

Two Greater Spokane Incorporated deals coming in the next week. To make reservations, go to the GSI events page.

Tomorrow (May 29)is the next GSI sponsored Executive Breakfast. It will feature Buck Somes and Darby McLean of Spokane company GenPrime.

It starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Spokane Club downtown.

GenPrime develops testing services to detect microbes and potentially harmful or illegal substances. It has also developed kits used by first-responders dealing with possible toxic materials.

The second event is the June 4 Agora Awards presentation. Here are this year's nominees. The awards are annually presented to recognize local business achievement. The event runs from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Small Business
Design Source, Inc.
Quality Inn - Downtown 4th Ave.
Red and Associates LLC.
U-District Physical Therapy

Medium Business
Asuris Northwest Health
Incyte Diagnostics
Lee & Hayes
USKH, Inc. (Soon to be Stantec)

Large Business
Coffman Engineers, Inc.
Numerica Credit Union
Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, LLC (PAML)
Wagstaff, Inc.

Small Nonprofit
Blessings Under the Bridge
Spring of Hope International
The First Tee of the Inland Northwest

Large Nonprofit
Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest
SNAP
The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations

Seattle is still most popular airline destination from Spokane’s airport

So Delta Airlines in Novermber is adding four daily flights from Spokane to Seattle.

Here's the story version:

Delta Air Lines will add four daily flights to Seattle from Spokane starting Nov. 3.

At present only Alaska Airlines flies to and from Seattle from Spokane. In January 2012 Southwest Airlines stopped providing service between the two cities.

The daily flights from Spokane are scheduled to leave at 8:25 a.m., 10 a.m., 3:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. Return flights leave Sea-Tac International Airport at 6:50 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:35 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The flights between Seattle and Spokane will use Bombardier 65-seat CRJ-700 aircraft.

Delta is also adding Seattle to Bozeman flights starting Dec. 20.

In recent years Seattle has been the most frequent destination for Spokane passengers, according to federal transportation

numbers. The next four most frequent connections are Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland and Denver.

 

Here are the latest data from the Federal Aviation Administration for total passengers from Spokane, based on 2013 flights:

The number shows total ticketed passengers leaving Spokane, by volume:

 

1 Seattle/Tacoma  180,146
2 Las Vegas             88,508
3 Phoenix                76,909
4 Portland                74,170
5 Denver                 64,169 
  

 

New owners at the Hop Shop, plus how much beer we all drink in ‘beer season’

We pause this weekend to celebrate …. great American beer and beer pubs.

Two notes are called for. First, the switch in ownership at the Hop Shop, on Spokane's South Hill.

Spokane resident Mel Kathryn Wood took over the shop on April 15, from previous owners Andy and Glen Gardner, who opened the neighborhood pub in 2010.

Wood will rely on her twin sister Emily Redington to help run the South Hill business, which is open Tuesday-Saturday.

Wood said she will keep the same shop philosophy: no TV, no Wi-Fi, no loud music, and a wide selection of craft beers.

Based on customer preferences, Wood said she’s considering having food trucks in the parking lot a few days per week. Another option is occasional acoustic music performances.

The second key note:  Americans will drink a lot of beer. The accompanying infographic shows how much, based on industry data. If you get releases from the American Beer Institute, you'll be reminded of this fact: In the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2013, beer and malt beverage sales topped $11 billion, making it one of the largest selling categories of all food and beverage categories.

 

 

 

Local accounting firm merges with North Dakota firm — No. 23 top CPA company

Spokane accounting firm McDirmid, Mikkelsen & Secrest PS has agreed to a merger with North Dakota-based Eide Bailly, the company announced Thursday.

The local firm will change its name to Eide Bailly in June, when the deal becomes effective.

Company officials say the deal will not mean reductions to the staff of just over 50 workers in Spokane.

If anything, the merger with much larger Eide Bailly should lead to additional hiring here as the firm expands services for customers, said principal Andrew McDirmid.

The Spokane firm has traditionally specialized in financial services for privately held firms and medical groups. That focus will not change, other than having a fuller range of accounting and auditing options, McDirmid said. “We will continue making our decisions locally,” he added.

MMS is considered Spokane’s second largest CPA firm based on total employees. Moss Adams, with around 75 employees, is the largest. Moss Adams, based in Seattle, has national offices and moved into Spokane when it acquired local firm McFarland & Alton in 1999.

Eide Bailly, headquartered in Fargo, N.D., is ranked the 23rd largest U.S. accounting firm. That size made it an appealing partner when considering whether to join forces with Eide Bailly, McDirmid said. It has more than 20 offices in 10 states

“Moving into the state of Washington continues our strategy to expand west of the Mississippi River and into the Intermountain Region to fully serve mid-market clients,” said Eide Bailly Managing Partner/CEO Dave Stende, in a press release.

 

How many people in Spokane County work in retirement centers and nursing homes?

Spokane County got itself closer to the 6.0 percent unemployment rate, based on preliminary April numbers released Tuesday by the state.

Today's SR  story tried to cover the bases.

Here's one piece of data not listed in that story. Just measuring the nursing and retirement services subgroup for Spokane, the change from first quarter employment 2013 to first quarter 2014 went this way:  6,649 to 6,966.

Those are somewhat preliminary numbers, said Doug Tweedy of Employment Security.

But that's a telling statistic.  As the population ages, we'll be seeing a continuing growth in that part of the job market.

Jim Sheehan is a genuinely quiet guy who avoids the limelight

Jim Sheehan has already created a major upgrade to the east side of downtown Spokane. He helped launch the Main Market Co-op, runs the Community Building and its neighbor, the Saranac Public House.

We featured Sheehan's latest project, the Saranac Commons, on today's SR front page.

More than one reader emailed asking why Sheehan's face wasn't featured in the story. The answer is: he's a modest guy. He doesn't like to be the center of attention. We have had photos of Sheehan in previous articles. This time, I didn't even bother him to consider being in a photo.

Here's a 2001 photo from the SR files.

 

Here’s a state-by-state map of laws related to Uber rideshare services

Let's keep rolling on the topic of rideshare services, which just arrived in these parts. See last's week's story here.

The issue is going to be tossed into the laps of local officials who need to study the issue and decide if regulation is needed, if only because there are some concerns about the services providing safe rides to people relying solely on a smartphone to find a driver.

We checked in with Spokane city officials, who last week said they're likely to review the possible options. We did not check with Spokane County or with the City of Spokane Valley, or Coeur d'Alene, which the two main services provide rides to.

There are numerous similar efforts across the country trying to establish rules and guidelines for rideshares. Here's a map produced by NBC Chicago that tries to track the different regulations occurring nationwide.

 

It’s easy to be confused by the difference between names Uber or UberX

Last week's story on the arrival of rideshare companies Lyft and Uber to the Spokane area generated more than 85 comments. They covered both sides of the street and identified the chief concerns: should they be regulated, are they well-run businesses, and what good they're providing.

One commenter made an assumption about the term “UberX”:

Uber cars are insured properly as limos-not taxis
That is in reference to Uber cars/drivers. UberX (note the X), Lyft, and SideCar cars/drivers do not necessarily go through the regulated vetting process, are not necessarily licensed to provide rides in exchange for compensation, and do not necessarily carry adequate insurance for doing so.

For some reason Shelalal thinks the company name is UberX. It's not. The company is Uber. It provides a number of levels of cars, from basic to high-end.

The low end, basic tier of car offering is called UberX.

 

What is the difference between interpreting and translating?

Today's little tech story, on A1, featured Providence Health and its growing use of remote video interpreting.

In the course of reporting we found out the difference between translation and interpretation, as applied to language conversions.

The distinction is new to us;  Interpretation involves converting spoken words. Translation involves written words.

Here's a good summary.

SR photo by: Colin Mulvany.

Hite Rigging latest example of a local firm acquired by out-of-state company

Is it just us, but is there a run on out-of-area companies buying out local firms?  Seems to be an active trend.

The latest: Barnhart Crane & Rigging has acquired longtime Spokane company Hite Crane and Rigging. Terms of the deal were not announced.

The deal gives Barnhart, based in Memphis, its first operations in the area. Until now its nearest offices were in the Tri-Cities.

Hite has provided rigging and heavy transportation services in the region going back to 1969.

All of Hite’s employees are being retained as Barnhart takes over the company’s Spokane Valley location, said Chris Teague, director of marketing for Barnhart. None of the original Hite family members were in the company when the deal closed, Teague said..

The deal will expand the range of services from what Hite previously provided, said Alan Barnhart, CEO of Barnhart

Spokane’s retail picture is brighter, but not crazy good, at least not yet

What are the biggest areas of the Spokane economy in terms of retail spending?
Let's take a look, compliments of the city's chief financial officer, Gavin Cooley. Today's news story, about how much area cities and counties rebounded in retail sales last year, noted that Washington has a big net called “taxable retail sales” and a smaller part of that group, which is called retail trade.

Retail trade covers products sold like cars, stereos, computers, furniture. Taxable retail covers services and those products purchased by construction crews or manufacturers, who also pay a sales tax on those items.

Inside the city, this is the breakdown:

Construction taxes accounted for 11 percent of the city's retail taxes last year.

Retail trade accounted for 45 percent.  Services accounted for 29 percent. The remaining 15 percent is distributed among a number of small categories.

As a general rule in Washington state, the breakdown between taxable non-trade and trade retail is 55 to 45 percent.

Looking just at 2014's first two months, Spokane city retail shows the largest gain this year is in services, up 10 percent from Jan-Feb. 2013.

Retail trade is down 2 percent. Which makes me wonder if Spokane hosted some major spectator events or touring shows in January or February 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Automaker BMW plans major expansion of Moses Lake carbon-fiber plant

Since last Friday, a lot of people are suddenly aware of SGL, the German company that has a large carbon-fiber production site in Moses Lake. That's when state officials and company execs gathered in Moses Lake to announce a major expansion of one of Eastern Washington's distinctive high-end manufacturing companies.

The S-R used a Seattle Times story, printed Sunday, that explains how the plant got to Grant County, and why BMW is investing a lot more money into more jobs and increased carbon-fiber production.

The Moses Lake site was chosen for its cheap and clean energy. The expanded plant, touted to be the world’s largest carbon-fiber plant, will employ about 200 workers earning $17 to $22 per hour.

Photo from SGL.

Big data in a different cause: giving WSU football fans a panoply of game views

Today's tech story on Spokesman.com is about the Pullman-based company 3D-4U, developing a form of interactive viewing that its inventors hope catches on.

This technology has been used during two seasons of Cougar games at Martin Stadium on the Washington State University campus.

What happens is the group of cameras around the field are collecting HD quality video from the stadium, producing a video feed of around 1,200 lines.

In near-real time, users with laptops, tablets or phones can view the feed on their devices using the company's app. The resulting display on those screens is about 500 lines. Viewing can be done either during the game, or at some later stage. Either way, the company is creating a “second screen” option tor people to look at events or performances with a lot more control over the point of view.

The photo here shows company employee Matt Poppe at the 3D-4U servers inside one of the sky boxes at the stadium. All the feeds from the cameras come in via fiber and then go out to customers via WSU wireless broadcast.

 

 

One of America’s great economic thinkers: Gary Becker, dies at 83

Every once in a while Office Hours will call attention to the passing of someone whose significance goes way above-average.

That is why we're posting a short note on the recent death of economist-sociologist Gary Becker, 83, who died this week in Chicago.

He won the Nobel Prize in economics, and numerous other awards.

In a recent NYTimes story, the Times calls attention to some of Becker's important studies of everyday life. He wrote about the impact of discrimination on the economy and the intricate interplay of motives taking place within the family.

An excerpt from that article:

Professor Becker’s “A Treatise on the Family” (1981) studied people’s interactions in such private areas as choosing a spouse, divorce, deciding how many children to have and whether to leave money to them rather than spend it in retirement.

Among many other things, he sought to explain why family size has tended to decline as income rises, finding that wealthier parents were choosing to invest more in quality at the expense of quantity. Women’s time became more valuable as they swelled the work force and earned more money, he found.

One of the best-known elements of the book was the “rotten kid” theorem. “Children have an incentive to act altruistically toward each other as their parents want them to, even if children are really egotistical,” he wrote.

Seattle VC Hanauer in town Wednesday, offering insights on job creation

Ron Reed's ongoing effort to change the way the economic game is played resumes this week.

The owner of Spokane firm PacifiCAD is bringing to town Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer to be the keynoter at a symposium running fromn 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Davenport Hotel.

Our recent preview story gives some of the background.

Nick Hanauer has had more than four minutes of Internet fame already.

He was made famous in 2012 when he made a presentation to the TEDTalks forum. The topic was how the economy needs more than job creators to create a healthy community.

His talk (shown here embedded) was not published on TedTalks.com, with the moderator there saying the argument was not well-founded. TedTalk Moderator Chris Anderson posted this explanation: “The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance.”

So anyway, you can decide for yourself about Hanauer, either watching the YouTube video version or visiting the symposium on Wednesday at the Davenport.

To make reservations for Wednesday’s symposium, call (509) 326-7789 or (800) 722-2621. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofit Generations Alive. Tickets are $50.

 

Group is developing waste-to-reused-resources network in the region

To register for the Re:Source workshops, visit www.sustaininw.org/ programs/resource-synergy-network

Great idea for area manufacturers: a materials exchange network. Here's today's business section story:

A coalition of  sustainable industry advocates and manufacturers are forming the area’s first materials exchange network.

The effort is labeled RE:Source, the Inland NW By-product Synergy Network, said Susanne Croft, the executive director of Sustainable Resources INW. The nonprofit is using a two-year state grant to move the project forward.

“That name pretty much captures the main idea of finding a source for materials by reusing the byproducts we have in this region,” she said.

Materials exchange networks look to find ways for one company’s byproducts to be used by other businesses.

An example, not connected to the Spokane effort, was last year’s announcement by Boeing that it will send 20 million pounds per year of scrap aluminum from its Everett operations to the Kaiser Trentwood plant for reprocessing.

Part of the $108,000 Ecology Department grant will be used for two workshops, on May 22 and June 19, both at the McKinstry Innovation Center, 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd. The presenter will be Dorothy Fisher Atwood, who works for a Portland group focusing on sustainable practices.

Croft said area businesses interested in the network should plan on attending both free sessions.

The goal is to create a network of manufacturing companies listing their byproducts to sell or trade both within this region and across the Pacific Northwest.

Inland Empire Paper Company is already using the exchange to cut costs, Croft said. The company uses large volumes of wood chips and odd wood pieces from sawmills while making pulp at its Argonne Road production center. Through the network it sells rejected wood pieces that are unusable to Barr-Tech, a large-scale composting operation near Sprague, Wash.

Inland Empire Paper is a subsidiary of Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review.

A well-established exchange network provides multiple possible sources of byproducts, so that if supply from one provider is low, other options are available for the buyer, Croft said.

Backing the RE:Source idea is Impact Washington, a statewide nonprofit that coaches manufacturers on competing more successfully.

Patric Sazama, a regional director for the group, said companies in this area should explore the network because it will benefit their bottom line, beyond just reducing the volume of waste they would otherwise discard.

“Any time a company is able to convert a potential manufacturing stream waste to a product that another company will pay for, that is a complete win-win,” Sazama said

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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 spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

Recent work by Alison

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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