Week in review


Just out of the hospital, with medical bills to pay and a Kettle Falls gift shop in need of inventory, RoseMarie McKee turned to the Internet for $5,000 that would help get her and the Silver Rose back on their feet. McKee said she thought a loan negotiated with Fairway Lending Group was the answer. It wasn’t. Like dozens of other Fairway clients, the Colville resident has learned that a slick Web site and professional telephone help do not a lender make. The lesson cost her $900.

“ A major service outage afflicted users of the popular, addictive BlackBerry smart phones across the United States and Canada on Monday, wireless carriers said. Officials with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. told them customers of all wireless carriers were affected.


Hecla Mining Co. will buy the world’s fifth-largest silver mine for $750 million. The purchase of the Greens Creek Mine near Juneau, Alaska, will nearly double Hecla’s annual silver output, boosting company production to about 11 million ounces a year. Rio Tinto, a London-based metals conglomerate, is selling the Greens Creek Mine as part of planned sell-off of $15 billion in company assets.


Empire Health Services lost $7.1 million last year and is treating fewer patients, a two-fisted problem that executives said Wednesday is forcing them to cut about 130 jobs at Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center. It’s the latest episode for a system awaiting regulatory approval to sell to a large, for-profit hospital chain.


A Spokane Valley manufacturer has shut its doors for good and laid off its 115 workers, the second round of big layoffs announced locally in two days. Pristina Pine, which cut wood into finished lumber and sold it to window frame companies, shut down Feb. 6, said company Chief Operating Officer Eugene Winter.

“ A German maker of polysilicon for solar cells and other uses is considering purchase of the idled Northwest Alloys plant at Addy, between Chewelah and Colville. Solarvalue AG representatives visited the smelter last year but have kept a low profile in recent weeks. The company is headquartered in Berlin.

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