September 18, 2010 in Business

In brief: Sirti managing U.S. energy grants, loans


Companies in Washington with clean-energy projects or energy-saving products can apply for federal money through a program managed by Sirti.

A Thursday workshop at Sirti’s downtown Spokane building will detail the guidelines of the program. The $1.5 million to be awarded comes from the federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is administered by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. in the Sirti boardroom; it can also be attended online.

The money will be distributed in grants and loans to firms doing business in Washington.

Sirti market development director Linda Hemingway said applicants must apply for both a grant and a loan. Each qualifying company will receive assistance of at least $100,000 and no more than $500,000, Hemingway said.

She said the expectation is that four to seven firms will receive the awards and loans.

Applicants’ projects must be beyond the research stage and be ready for commercial development.

Hemingway said a review team will be composed of Sirti staff, Commerce Department officials and representatives from the private sector.

Deadline for applications is Oct. 20. Awards will be announced on Nov. 24.

To attend the meeting online, go to register/123691470 and register ahead of time.

Tom Sowa

Panhandle counties’ jobless rates higher

Four of Idaho’s five northernmost counties posted double-digit unemployment rates in August, increasing from numbers posted in July, and in August 2009, the state Department of Labor reported in a Friday news release.

Boundary County had the highest rate in the state, at 14.6 percent, up from 12.2 percent in July. Shoshone County’s rate was 14 percent, up from 12.6 percent in July. Bonner County registered an 11.2 percent rate, up from 10.6 percent in July. And Kootenai County edged up slightly, to 10.3 percent, from 10.1 percent in July. Benewah County numbers will be released at a later date, the release said.

Eleven Idaho counties posted double-digit unemployment rates for August at a time when the statewide rate sits at 8.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percent from July and almost half a percent higher than the August 2009 rate of 8.5 percent.

The Lewiston metro area unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent from 7.7 percent in July. Last year, the Lewiston rate was 7.5 percent for August.

August was the third straight month the Boise area recorded falling unemployment from the double-digit levels of February through May, with a rate of 9 percent, down slightly from 9.2 percent in July.

Alison Boggs

Airlines’ shareholders approve merger

Shareholders of United and Continental airlines voted Friday to approve a combination of their companies that would create the world’s biggest airline and could have far-reaching effects on where they fly and how much they charge passengers.

The companies expect the $3 billion stock swap to close in the next two weeks after tying up loose ends. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have already signaled approval.

At both companies, the vote for the deal topped 98 percent.

With the voting over, the real work begins, including combining two separate groups of highly unionized workers, merging reservations systems and putting new paint jobs on the planes.

Associated Press

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