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Office Hours

TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2010

Agents raid business suspected in Ponzi scheme 

Washington state troopers and agents with the Internal Revenue Service raided the Spokane offices today of Team Spirit America, which has been fined by state regulators for operating what clients have alleged in court is a Ponzi scheme.The troopers and IRS agents, identified with their...

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A second new hotel coming to Pullman? 

Last month a California property company announced plans to buy land in Pullman to build a Hilton-branded hotel and convention center.Something must be happening in Pullman. Now a Louisiana company, InterMountain Management, LLC, has plans to build a 100-room, $11.5-million Hampton Inn & Suites in...

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Moses Lake selected for BMW parts plant

SEATTLE — The companies planning to build a parts plant for lightweight BMW cars have selected a site at Moses Lake in central Washington because of the availability of hydroelectric power, The Associated Press reports.The decision by SGL Group and BMW AG was announced today...

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MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2010

Tate Technology wins small business award

Tate Technology Inc. of Spokane will receive the U.S. Small Business Administration Family-Owned Business Award for Washington and Region 10 at a Seattle banquet Thursday.The custom manufacturer of electrical components employs 32 at its Trent Avenue plant. Annual sales are about $4 million.Lee Tate founded...

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Fewer Washington employers cover health care

Fewer Washington employers are offering health insurance, according to the state Employment Security Department.An annual department survey determined the share fell 1.6 percentage points in 2009, from 56.5 percent to 54.9 percent. The drop in 2008 was almost 10 percent, which followed smaller declines in...

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Energy Northwest joins nuclear waste lawsuit

Energy Northwest has joined other utilities in a lawsuit challenging continued imposition of a surcharge on electricity generated from nuclear power plants.The operator of the Columbia Generating Station and other plaintiffs want the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia to stop U.S....

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FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2010

Take another look for unclaimed cash, agency says

The Washington Department of Revenue is encouraging everyone to take another look at its online database of unclaimed cash, because the agency recently added another $87 million owed to 410,000 individuals. "Even if you didn't find any unclaimed property at http://claimyourcash.org the last time you...

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Idaho employment gain best in six years

Idaho employers boosted employment by 2,700 in March, the best monthly gain in six years.The increase was enough to trim the state unemployment rate by .1 percent, to 9.4 percent. The number had not fallen for 32 months.The rate in Coeur d'Alene dropped .6 percent...

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Valley Walmart starts renovation

Spokane Valley's Walmart store at 15727 E. Broadway has begun a facelift, company officials announced today. Walmart moved into the store in 2002. A press release said the new design will feature a clean and brighter interior with wider aisles, low-profile shelves and easy to...

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THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2010

Airport traffic off slightly in February 

Boardings at Spokane International Airport declined slightly in February, but numbers for the first two months of 2010 remain above 2009 totals.In February, 106,314 passengers embarked at SIA, off 2.71 percent from February 2009. The total for January and February was 441,092, up less than...

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BBB warns of recent Bank of Whitman scams

The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana has noticed a rash of spam efforts directed at people who might be members of the Bank of Whitman.The BBB said, in an announcement, that people are getting message purportedly from the bank.The messages...

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Health district on the hunt for workplace smoking

The Spokane Regional Health District has begun its own kind of emphasis patrol, seeking to find, educate and if necessary, punish businesses that violate the state's Smoking in Public Places law. The health district is adding a part-time staffer to investigate an additional 40 complaints...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2010


Sterling Financial extends repurchase deadline

Sterling Financial Corp. has extended the expiration date for its effort to buy back $238 million in trust-preferred securities.The deadline was today. April 12 is the new date.The Spokane-based parent of Sterling Savings Bank and Golf Savings Bank is offering 20 cents on the dollar...

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You can contribute to the Office Hours blog

The newly launched blog you're reading now, Office Hours, will try to keep you connected to what's happening in the region's business environment.We welcome suggestions, comments and ideas. Just post them here or e-mail messages to Tom Sowa toms@spokesman.com or Scott Maben scottm@spokesman.com or Bert...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2010

Eastern Washington companies receive energy funds

Three northeast Washington companies have been awarded stimulus grants and loans worth $3.2 million.Demand Energy Networks of Spokane will receive a $1.5 million grant to commercialize its electricity storage and network management software. The money will help the company retain or create 93 jobs, according...

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Multipacking, and what it means to Pearson Packaging

Spokane-based Pearson Packaging Systems has signed a co-marketing agreement with global service provider CT Pack. Pearson will be the supplier of CT Pack's Vortex Systems Multipacking equipment in North America and will sell the system as part of a complete end-of-line solution for customers. "Multipacking"...

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MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2010


Spokane homes cheapest among Northwest cities 

Spokane homes are the cheapest among major Northwest cities, according to the Center for Housing Policy.Of the 208 cities surveyed, Spokane ranked 93rd during the 4th quarter of 2009, with a median home price of $159,000.Seattle, ranked 20th nationally, was the most expensive city in...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010

Inside the Applied Sciences Laboratory

Hergen Eilers, the first senior research scientist at WSU's Applied Sciences Laboratory, in Spokane, gave a 40-minute recap of three key projects he's heading, all involving advanced work in physics and optics.His remarks came during a recent yearly meeting explaining the ASL's progress, now starting...

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WSU negotiating for on-campus hotel, convention center

A hotel and convention center could be built on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, if negotiations between a California developer and the university are successful. WSU’s board of regents approved a plan Friday to begin negotiations with Sonnenblick-Del Rio Development for the sale...

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Panhandle Health District director to retire

Jeanne Bock, who has directed the Panhandle Health District since 2001, will retire this fall after 24 years of public health service in Idaho's five northern counties.The Board of Health accepted her retirement notice Thursday and plans to hire her successor by August.Bock led the...

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