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Business in brief: UI given 18 acres near research center

Sat., Dec. 8, 2007, midnight

The University of Idaho has been given 18 acres in Sandpoint near the school’s Research and Extension Center.

The land was originally part of a larger gift that would have built a satellite campus in Sandpoint.

But that gift – $36 million from the Wild Rose Foundation run by Coldwater Creek Inc. co-founder Dennis Pence – has been put on hold because of slumping stock prices in the women’s clothing company.

Now the 18 acres and several utility buildings on the land are going to the university as a standalone gift from Dakota Consulting LLC, university spokeswoman Tania Thompson said.

Pence is the managing member of Dakota Consulting.

The land, valued at $675,000, will be used for agricultural production and research and will be managed by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Thompson said.


Unemployment rate rose in November

Idaho’s November unemployment rate rose slightly to 2.7 percent, the second consecutive month in which the state saw a gain in the jobless rate.

The new rate, up two-tenths of a percentage point from Idaho’s October 2.5 percent rate, is the highest since April.

The 2.7 percent rate is a half point below the 3.2 percent posted in November 2006, according to Idaho Labor Department data.

The jobless rate growth is tied to retailers adding significantly fewer workers in November than they have in the past holiday seasons, according to a state news release.

Kootenai County registered a 3.2 percent jobless rate in November, also up two-tenths from October’s 3.0 percent. State data said roughly 2,200 Kootenai County residents were looking for jobs.

The county reported total employment of 68,531 for November. That’s about 1,400 more people employed than in November 2006.


Ex-Microsoft staffer faces fraud charges

Federal prosecutors say a former program manager at Microsoft Corp. stole more than $1 million by submitting false expense reports.

Forty-four-year-old Carolyn M. Gudmundson, of Kirkland, was arrested Thursday night after a grand jury in Seattle indicted her on 18 counts of wire and mail fraud.

From 2000 to 2004, Gudmundson was a program manager in charge of registering Internet domain names for Microsoft as well as the online travel agency Expedia Inc.

She was allowed to use her credit card to pay for the domain names, then file expense reports.

The indictment says she billed the companies for domain names she never paid for.


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