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Fri., June 10, 2011, midnight

Ambassadors to add GPS phones

Spokane’s Ambassadors Group will add international GPS phones on some of its summer student travel trips to increase safety, the company said.

The phones will help parents stay connected to teens and ensure rapid response and quick reporting of concerns, Ambassadors said in a news release.

The company is using Cellhire, a global telecom company, to provide GPS and satellite phone services.

Ambassadors, which sponsors and guides adult and student travel, is the first company in the travel industry to adopt that technology, said spokeswoman Meredith Banka.

“Student travel safety is our No. 1 priority,” Banka said. “Annually we spend more than $3 million on our safety practices and procedures.”

Tom Sowa

Schaller resigns at Quest Aircraft

The CEO of Sandpoint airplane manufacturer Quest Aircraft Company is stepping aside, at the same time the company has said it is boosting production of its highly regarded Kodiak.

Paul Schaller, who’s been in the CEO seat at the privately held firm since 2004, has become a consultant to the company.

Ron Wright, director of operations, is taking over as acting general manager at the Sandpoint manufacturing facility. The board will begin a search for a new CEO, said spokeswoman Julie Stone.

Orders for Kodiaks, which sell for roughly $1.6 million, have increased as the general aviation industry starts to recover. The company is gearing up to produce three planes per month, an increase from two per month earlier this year.

The company produced 14 Kodiaks during 2010. The single-turboprop aircraft is popular for its ability to fly into rugged terrain and because it uses jet fuel.

Tom Sowa

Reports indicate recession will linger

WASHINGTON – Jobs are scarce and food prices are likely to stay high through next year, according to new data that reinforced evidence of a U.S. economy stuck in a weak patch.

Thursday’s data showed:

• The number of people seeking unemployment benefits hardly changed for a second straight week, the Labor Department said. Applications ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 427,000 last week. It marked the ninth straight week in which applications have been above 400,000.

• A wet spring will likely cut the size of this fall’s corn harvest and keep food prices high through 2012, the Agriculture Department said.

• Exports of U.S. goods and services rose to a record $175.6 billion while imports dipped to $219.2 billion, the Commerce Department reported. But a key reason the U.S. trade deficit narrowed was a 25.5 percent decline in imports from Japan, which is recovering from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.


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