Arrow-right Camera


In brief: Riverfront Park gets free Wi-Fi access

City officials have resurrected a newer, better version of the now-defunct HotZone, providing free Wi-Fi access starting next week in Riverfront Park.

The launch is timed before the start of Spokane Hoopfest on June 28-29.

Providing the broadband wireless service is Ptera Wireless, a Liberty Lake-based provider of wireless connectivity since 2001. The company won the contract through a bid process, the city announced.

The service will be free for 45 minutes per day per customer, with the option to buy additional time.

Service will cover a triangular area from City Hall to the west side of the INB Performing Arts Center to the U.S. Pavilion.

Downtown’s first free Wi-Fi HotZone covered much of downtown Spokane and operated from 2004 until it was disbanded last year. It was managed largely by volunteers. It shut down when technical problems and equipment failures caused the service to deteriorate.

Inflation jump reported to Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve received some further cause for discussion at its policy meeting this week with a report Tuesday of a surprising jump in consumer inflation.

Yet most economists aren’t altering their view that the Fed’s first interest rate increase is at least a year away. Analysts cautioned that the time frame could change if inflation were to accelerate.

The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in May, the government said, and has risen 2.1 percent over the past 12 months – roughly at the level of the Fed’s target rate for inflation.

North Dakota among biggest oil producers

WILLISTON, N.D. – North Dakota has joined the ranks of the few places in the world that produce more than a million barrels of oil per day, due in large part to the rich Bakken shale formation in the western part of the state.

North Dakota’s oil fields now represent more than 12 percent of all U.S. oil production, and more than 1 percent of global production.

North Dakota joins Texas, Alaska, California and Louisiana as the only states ever to produce more than a million barrels per day. Of those, Texas is the only other state still producing above that level.

Paper clips

SunTrust has agreed to pay nearly $1 billion to resolve allegations that it underwrote and provided faulty mortgage loans, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. The $968 million settlement, reached with the Justice Department and other government agencies, will include money for homeowner relief and a requirement that the company improve its handling of mortgage loans and foreclosures.

Apple has reached a settlement on the damages owed to consumers for orchestrating a scheme to drive up the prices of digital books. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in a document filed late Monday. More details will emerge in a filing due by July 16 in a New York federal court. Lawyers representing consumers across the country had been seeking up to $840 million in damages.

U.S home construction slipped in May, with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses. Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April.


Click here to comment on this story »