May 24, 2012 in Business

Grant will help retrain laid-off mill workers


A grant of nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor will help about 125 workers who lost their jobs when Clearwater Paper Corp. sold its Lewiston sawmill operation to Idaho Forest Products last year.

Idaho Forest Products reopened the mill but has hired back fewer than half the 250 workers employed there before the sale.

The National Emergency Grant of $947,841 will provide services to the workers who were not rehired and have not found other jobs. The grant allows the Idaho Department of Labor to assist workers regardless of their residency. The mill drew workers from Washington and Idaho.

The grant will prepare workers for jobs in advanced manufacturing, green energy, health care, technology, transportation and other expanding industries.

Staff report

Workers force shutdown of Mexico silver mine

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp.’s Mexican silver mine has been closed since last weekend, when a group of employees blocked access to the mine.

Managers at the Palmarejo Mine supervised a temporary shutdown of the mine and milling operations in order to allow for talks with the employees while keeping other workers safe. As of Wednesday, the talks had been unsuccessful and the mine’s managers had requested assistance from Mexican authorities to resolve the situation.

Company officials said a small number of workers were involved in the blockade. The shutdown is not expected to affect the mine’s annual output, officials said.

The Palmarejo Mine is in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Staff report

Uncertainty pushes oil below $90 a barrel

NEW YORK – The price of oil dropped below $90 per barrel Wednesday, the latest milestone in a weeks-long decline brought on by uncertainty surrounding economies from Europe to China.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell by $1.95 to end at $89.90 per barrel. Oil has tumbled more than 15 percent this month and is at its lowest level since Oct. 21. Other commodities such as copper and cotton fell sharply as well. Stock markets in Asia and Europe fell sharply, while U.S. markets erased most losses with a late-day rally.

Analysts say oil is in an extended slump that should lead to cheaper gasoline and other petroleum-based fuels this summer. Gasoline, which is made from oil, already has dropped by nearly 26 cents per gallon since early April. The national average is now $3.68 per gallon; some experts say it could fall as low as $3.50 by Independence Day. The average price of diesel fuel is below $4 for the first time since February. It’s good news for an economy that has slowed down since last year’s fourth quarter.

The latest report on U.S. crude supplies also depressed oil prices Wednesday. The government said U.S. supplies grew last week by 900,000 barrels to 382.5 million barrels, the highest level since 1990.

Associated Press

Stewart chairwoman of her company’s board

NEW YORK – Martha Stewart, on Wednesday, was named as non-executive chairwoman of the lifestyle, media and merchandising company that she created.

Stewart rejoined the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. in September at the end of a five-year ban on serving as a board member or as an executive of a public company as part a settlement with federal regulators related to insider trading.

As non-executive chairwoman, Stewart will help set the direction for the business but will have no direct operating role. An executive chairman would typically also hold a top management role such as being CEO.

Associated Press

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