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Tribe’s hotel, casino has open house

The Kootenai River Inn in Bonners Ferry is hosting an open house today to showcase a $6 million remodel and expansion.

The open house begins with a 1:30 p.m. ceremony by the Kootenai Tribe. Cash and prizes will be given away over the Memorial Day weekend.

Renovations at the casino and hotel include a new spa and the new Kootenai Falls Casino Room, which includes a fiber optic virtual river that flows into a real waterfall. The river theme, important to the Kootenai Tribe’s culture, is found throughout the inn.

The Kootenai Falls Casino room features new video gaming machines, replacing older equipment. The new machines take both U.S. and Canadian currency. The remodel also includes a new kitchen, entryway and water feature for the Springs Restaurant and Lounge.

The project was designed by architects Rann Haight, Roy Marshall and Larry Sullivan. Panco Construction was the contractor.

The Kootenai River Inn employs more than 165 people, making it one of Boundary County’s largest employers. It is privately owned by the tribe, and managed by Hagadone Hospitality.

Coldwater Creek’s earnings increase

Sandpoint Coldwater Creek reported improved first quarter earnings, driven by strong sales of full-price clothing.

The company on Wednesday reported first quarter earnings of $8.5 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to earnings of 5.3 million, or 9 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2004. Coldwater Creek’s first quarter ended on April 30. The Sandpoint-based retailer sells women’s clothing, gifts and accessories.

Net sales increased by 25 percent during the first quarter, to nearly $156 million.

Dennis Pence, company chairman and chief executive officer, attributed the growth in earnings to higher sales of full-priced spring merchandise, and Coldwater Creek’s continued national retail store expansion.

Yahoo introduces ‘PhotoMail’ today

Sunnyvale, Calif. Yahoo Inc. is testing an e-mail service that will let people share digital photos without the hassle of often cumbersome attachments that hog storage space and bandwidth.

The Sunnyvale-based company is touting the free service, available beginning today at, as a simple way to distribute photos to family and friends.

Thumbnails of up to 300 photos can be inserted into a single e-mail that can be sent to hundreds of recipients. Even if it contains 300 photos, an e-mail is unlikely to be rejected by inboxes with limitations on the size of a message because each thumbnail is just three to five kilobytes.

Yahoo designed the “PhotoMail” service so it can be opened and viewed no matter where an e-mail is addressed. All the photos inserted into the e-mails are stored on Yahoo computers, enabling recipients to see a full-resolution image by clicking on any thumbnail.

The photos can be inserted into an e-mail by dragging images stored on computer hard drives or Web sites. Using the test service requires a regular e-mail account. Installing a small piece of software also is required.

NYSE seat sales top $2 million mark

New York

Two New York Stock Exchange membership “seats” were sold Wednesday, the highest for $2.22 million, up $120,000 from the previous regular seat sale on May 19.

The other seat sold for $2.2 million.

Seat prices rose recently after the NYSE announced plans to acquire Archipelago Holdings Inc., the Chicago operator of an electronic market.

At the NYSE, so-called seats confer the right to buy and sell stocks. During the early years of the exchange, members would sit in assigned chairs during the roll call of stocks.

Many members do not trade themselves, but lease their seats to others.

Panel OKs tighter grip on Fannie, Freddie

Washington A House panel on Wednesday approved legislation that would strengthen the government’s hand over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but falls short of the Bush administration’s proposal to reduce their multibillion-dollar holdings.

The vote was 65-5 by the House Financial Services Committee, sending the measure to the full House. Republican lawmakers are pushing to rein in the two powerful, government-sponsored companies recently beset by accounting scandals. Minority Democrats’ attempts to reshape some aspects of the legislation were mostly unsuccessful as the panel debated the measure through much of the day.

“We shouldn’t go overboard here,” said Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., referring to the bill’s creation of a new, stronger federal regulator with authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two biggest U.S. buyers of home mortgages. The measure also would expand the government-set goals for the companies for making home ownership affordable by requiring them to devote 5 percent of their annual profits to financing housing for low-income people.

In addition, the companies would be allowed to buy bigger mortgage loans than currently – the limit is now $359,650 – in high-cost states like California.

Ex-Tyco execs looted firm, prosecutor says

New York L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz treated Tyco International Ltd. as their personal source of art, real estate and tens of millions of dollars in unjustified compensation, a prosecutor said Wednesday at the closing of the former executives’ second trial.

The former Tyco CEO and former chief financial officer took more than $120 million without the company’s knowledge, prosecutor Owen Heimer said.

The defendants presented no evidence that the compensation was properly approved and jurors should not believe their assertion that it was authorized by a board member who is now dead, he said.

Kozlowski, 58, and Swartz, 44, are accused of stealing $170 million from Tyco by hiding unauthorized salary and bonuses and by abusing company loan programs. They are accused of making another $430 million by inflating the value of Tyco stock with lies about the company’s finances.

The former executives’ second trial is ending more than a year after their first trial concluded in a mistrial because a juror — identified by some media outlets and depicted as being a defense holdout — reported receiving threats.