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Spokane praised by AARP

Wed., July 18, 2012, midnight

Spokane is among the top 10 “best places to live on $100 a day,” according to AARP The Magazine.

The magazine lauds Spokane’s “easygoing livability” and says its vibe is “lush green beauty meets smart urban planning.”

The other cities on the list are Eau Claire, Wis.; Gainesville, Fla.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Omaha, Neb.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Roanoke, Va.; San Antonio, Texas; and Morgantown, W.Va.

AARP included housing affordability, the number of sunny days per year and “local flavor” in creating the ranking, the magazine said in a news release.

Five of the cities are highlighted in the print magazine and all of them are included in the online version at

Feds look into SUV throttles

DETROIT – Government safety regulators are investigating complaints that throttles can stick on older-model Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs and cause them to crash.

The probe, announced Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, affects 730,000 SUVs from the 2001 to 2004 model years that are powered by V-6 engines.

The safety agency said it has received 99 complaints from owners of the SUVs alleging 13 crashes, nine injuries and one death caused by the problem. The throttles on the SUVs can fail to return to idle when the driver takes his foot off the gas pedal, according to agency documents.

Costco rejects tight sow pens

MINNEAPOLIS – Costco Wholesale Corp. on Tuesday joined a growing list of retailers and restaurants in asking suppliers to phase out the use of small pens for pregnant sows by 2022, as an animal welfare group prepared to release an undercover video showing conditions at one of its suppliers.

Gestation stalls have been a major target of groups like Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, which say they’re inhumane because they keep sows so tightly confined that they can spend most of their lives and multiple pregnancies with too little space to turn around or even sleep on their sides.

Mercy for Animals’ director of investigations, Matt Rice, commended Costco’s decision. Costco’s vice president of food safety, Craig Wilson, said the Issaquah, Wash.-based company had been working on the issue for a long time, and the timing was a coincidence.

Sleepy Eye-based Christensen Farms, backed by pork industry advocates, defended the practices seen on the video. It showed sows in gestation cages as well as other industry practices often criticized by animal welfare groups, including the castration of piglets and docking of their tails without anesthetics and the killing of sick or injured piglets by slamming them against the floor.

Goldman sees tough quarter

NEW YORK – Another tough quarter and another reminder for Goldman Sachs that it’s not just its reputation that’s under attack.

The once-mighty investment bank’s revenue and earnings continue to decline even as it has resorted to massive job cuts and other steps to reduce costs in the past year.

On Tuesday the New York bank said net income in the April-through-June period fell 11 percent to $962 million, or $1.78 per share. That compares with $1.09 billion, or $1.85 per share, a year ago. The earnings were higher than the $1.17 per share that analysts expected.

Revenue fell 9 percent to $6.63 billion compared with the same period a year ago.


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