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Mayor Verner’s seven 2011 resolutions: Be more business-focused

Mayors 2011 State of the City AddressSpokane Mayor Mary Verner is looking to burnish her relations with the city's business community.
Last week her honor released a list of "Seven in Eleven" action steps the city intends to follow this year.

Those came from a survey sent to city businesses, followed by comments from city staff and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

One goal, simplifying a complex administrative process when a business changes its "use,"  was described in a recent SR story by Jon Brunt.

We spoke with city Economic Development Specialist Andrew Worlock and got some insight into the why and how of the whole effort.

The main point, he noted, is that much of this is "inward-facing" work to refine and improve they city's business-related processes.

One example is the No. 1 item on the list of seven: improving a "Surviving Construction" plan to help business owners disrupted by road or street work.

The city needs to do "a better job" of developing a toolkit and an online resource list to help affected businesses push through those disruptions, Worlock said.

One first step, he noted, is a city-sponsored workshop called "Open for Business, Making the Best of Rough Road Construction."

That free workshop will be March 24 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., at Spokane City Hall. It will be recorded and broadcast over City Cable 5.

We'll do another blog entry and business section story on that business workshop next month.

Other projects on the list of seven are creating a permitting checklist for small businesses and improving online access to business license and permitting information.

Mayor Verner to deliver State of the City address at GSI breakfast on Friday

This Friday's Good Morning Greater Spokane event features Spokane Mayor Mayor Verner giving an annual state of the city address.

The Greater Spokane Inc. event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. It is expected to run until 9 a.m.

Tickets are $25 for members and $55 for nonmembers. The rate for members goes up to $30 on Feb. 9.

To order or find more information, here's the link.

Friday follow: A Twitter stream showcasing Spokane business messages

We’ve made a few attempts to single out notable area business websites. Today we’ll go a different direction, doing a sample stream of Twitter messages keyed to the term “Spokane business.” Got any other streams or business lists you think are relevant? Please send them our way and we’ll share… You can review the tweets by grabbing the slider on the right edge of the frame and scrolling down. Most recent messages appear on top.

FDIC sponsors symposium on cyber crimes aimed at small business

Last Sunday The Spokesman-Review business section carried a story about the growing number of cyber crimes directed at small and midsized firms.

This week we find the FDIC (Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation) is concerned about the same growing problem.

It’s hosting a day long symposium in Arlington, VA., on May 11, focusing on the increasing need by companies to work with law enforcement to contend with the threat.

The FDIC release said:  “Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection Director Sandra Thompson says the program is intended to raise awareness to the potential threats to commercial payments and explore best practices and technologies available to mitigate this risk.”

FDIC analysis of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) Suspicious Activity Reports indicates that bank losses related to computer intrusion or wire transfer have increased “significantly” as of last fall.

These schemes—also known as “corporate account takeovers”—typically involve compromised access credentials to online business banking software that are used to make fraudulent electronic funds transfers (EFTs) through the automated clearinghouse (ACH) and wire payment systems.

The illicit proceeds from these activities are often funneled through some type of fraudulent work-at-home scheme involving individuals who knowingly, or unknowingly, serve as “money mules” by forwarding funds to criminals outside the United States.


City’s 2010 SMART business awards go to 47 Spokane firms

The city of Spokane recently gave out SMART —  sustainable management of assets, resources and technology — awards to 47 businesses for their efforts in cutting waste and reducing energy use.

This is the second SMART group getting the recognition (and window stickers, shown above) for cutting energy use, for recycling materials and significantly consuming less water.  The first SMART group of about 40 firms were honored in 2008.

The full list of the 2010 group is at www.developingspokane.org.  The honorees range from used-records retailer 4000 Holes to well-established major companies such as Access Telecom and Ross Printing Co.

The SMART program was developed by the city’s Business & Development Services Department in partnership with Avista, Eastern Washington University and the Washington State Department of Ecology.


Spokane’s Dry Fly to add bourbon to lineup

Spokane’s successful Dry Fly Distilling is ready to move on to bourbon.

After first launching a lineup of gin and vodka, the private distillery released an all-wheat whiskey last year. It was snapped up within weeks.

Now owners Kent Fleischmann and Don Poffenroth say they’ll release about 75 cases of bourbon in the fall. They’ll call it Dry Fly Washington State Bourbon.

No price has been set. Each barrel will age for three years, said Poffenroth.

Their site is www.dryflydistilling.com