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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Frost succeeds Prafke as Valley chamber leader

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce has a change of leadership.

Julie Prafke of Humanix stepped down from serving two years as chairwoman of the board, passing the torch to Wayne Frost at the chamber’s annual meeting on Friday at Mirabeau Park Hotel.

Frost is chief executive of Centennial Properties Inc. and general manager of the real estate division of Inland Empire Paper Co., a subsidiary of Cowles Publishing Co., owners of The Spokesman-Review.

In his opening address, Frost talked about the need to attract more industry and strengthen involvement with lawmakers locally and in Olympia and Washington, D.C.

He spoke about balancing the needs of industry with the community, while expanding economic development and building a healthy business.

One of his many tasks will be to serve on a water issues committee.

Prafke, who was awarded businesswoman of the year for 2005 by the National Association of Women Business Owners, is moving on to chair the local Better Business Bureau.

Grant boosts program that aids small businesses

The Spokane Neighborhood Economic Development Alliance has received a $300,000 grant from a U.S. Treasury Department fund.

The grant from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund requires matching funds, which SNEDA was able to meet, primarily due to a $250,000 investment from Banner Bank last summer, said Eric Loewe, SNEDA’s executive director.

Half the grant will be used for operating costs and to hire a loan officer, he said. The other half will be used to provide loans to small businesses and nonprofit corporations.

SNEDA provides loans and development services to small businesses that would not otherwise receive commercial financing, similar to the successful Cascadia Revolving Fund in Washington and Oregon, Loewe said.

Half the Treasury Department grant – $150,000 – will bring SNEDA’s revolving loan fund to $771,000, about $400,000 of which is spoken for, Loewe said.

“We had zero in 2002. We’re steadily increasing,” he said.

Loewe said there is tremendous demand for the loans, but as applicants are high-risk, they must be heavily screened. Though SNEDA sets a goal of disbursing one loan every six weeks, August was particularly successful, with three loans approved, totaling $117,000.

The average loan is for $50,000 to $75,000, but they have been as high as $200,000 and as low as $3,000, Loewe said.

Ceremony to mark beginning of Liberty Lake development

Groundbreaking is set for Monday for the first phase in a planned $12 million development in Liberty Lake.

H2E Inc., an electrical engineering consulting firm, will occupy the first of up to 12 buildings at Liberty Lake Commons, said Barry Baker, president of Baker Construction.

“What’s lacking in Spokane is a housing development for businesses,” said Baker, who added that other businesses have expressed an interest in the six-acre site. “People who live in Liberty Lake can actually work here.”The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the site, 1327 N. Whitman Lane.

TV feature on mine, Vikings gets new showing times

The airing times for an “NFL Films Presents” feature on former Minnesota Vikings and their ownership in a Murray, Idaho, mine have changed. The feature will air at 2:30 p.m. Monday at ESPN; 7:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN2; and 3 p.m. Sept. 29 on the NFL Network.

State employment agency adds Spanish for Web users

Olympia Spanish-speaking workers in Washington can now file unemployment claims, find job search assistance and download forms on the Internet, even if they speak little or no English.

The newly unveiled Spanish translation of the Employment Security Department (ESD) Web site now allows Spanish-speaking users to view the site from their personal computers or from any location with Internet access.

Unlike other Spanish-translated Web sites, ESD has translated its entire portal – meaning that all the inside links will lead to Spanish pages. The Web address for ESD’s Spanish site is http://home-sp.go2ui.com/.

To receive unemployment and job information by phone, English and Spanish speakers call the same toll-free number: (800) 318-6022; Spanish speakers press 2 when prompted. ESD’s TeleCenters also provide services in many other languages.

Prices: Cable broadband up, phone carriers’ DSL drops

The price gap between cable broadband service and phone carriers’ digital subscriber lines widened to an all-time high in August, according to a survey by SG Cowen.

Cable-modem service was, on average, 75.8 percent more expensive than DSL during the month, up from a 53.3 percent gap in July. While phone carriers cut prices – the average DSL price decreased by 9.2 percent – cable companies raised them.

Leading the price decline was Verizon Communications, which rolled out a slower service that cost just $14.95 a month, with a free month of service with a one-year commitment.

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