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In brief: Apple crop is more than expected

SUNDAY, DEC. 11, 2011

YAKIMA – Despite concerns about a late harvest, cold weather and picker shortages, Washington’s apple crop is exceeding industry expectations.

More apples safely reached storage than had been anticipated.

A Dec. 1 storage report estimates Washington state will pack and ship 104.3 million boxes of apples during this marketing season. That’s about 2.6 million boxes higher than a projection a month earlier.

The storage report is prepared by growers’ organizations in Yakima and Wenatchee.

If the Dec. 1 estimate is met, the 2011 crop will be about 5 million boxes smaller than the record 2010 crop of 109 million boxes.

The 2011 crop is projected to be the third largest in the industry’s history.

Snokist will lay off 610 employees

YAKIMA – Yakima-based fruit producer Snokist Growers has notified the state it will lay off 610 full- and part-time employees in February.

Most of those employees are seasonal workers who were recently laid off when the canning season ended. But the latest notification, filed with the state Employment Security Department on Friday, suggests the layoffs could become permanent, depending on the Yakima company’s ability to reorganize under bankruptcy, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

The cooperative said some administrative and salaried employees will remain on the job to handle existing inventory over the next 12 to 18 months.

Snokist filed bankruptcy last week, citing a lack of operating funds and fallout from a food-safety problem identified last spring by the Food and Drug Administration.

WSU fall-semester graduation held

PULLMAN – More than 800 people graduated from Washington State University on Saturday.

The university issued diplomas to a near-record number of fall-semester graduates.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd handed out 697 bachelor’s degrees, 86 master’s degrees and 40 doctoral degrees.

Commencement speaker Brig. Gen. Julie A. Bentz urged the graduates to keep looking forward despite the challenges of today.

Her niece, Samantha Crocker, graduated in psychology and is one of two ROTC officer candidates being commissioned.


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