Archive for June, 2010
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held near Lynden for a new digester that converts manure to energy.
The Farm Power Lynden Anaerobic Digester groundbreaking will start at 2 p.m. Monday, June 28, at 8421 Bob Hall Road, west of Lynden.
Andgar Corporation is the general contractor building the 1.5 million-gallon reinforced concrete digester. It will convert manure from 2,000 dairy cows into a methane biogas, providing enough renewable electricity to supply an estimated 500 houses. Capturing the methane also will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by the equivalent of 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to a press release from Farm Power.
The waste heat recovered from the engine will supply enough hot water to meet half the annual heating needs of the neighboring Van Wingerden Greenhouses’ four-acre facility and provide a clean bedding material for dairy cows. The project is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
The project is funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Washington State Energy Program, a $500,000 USDA Rural Development grant and a $2.4 million bank loan from Shorebank Pacific. For further details, visit farmpower.com.
The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry released the upcoming topics for its monthly speaker series between September 2010- April 2011:
Chamber Speaker Series
The 2010/2011 Season for the Chamber Speaker Series has been set. For the 2nd year, we are proud to offer an outstanding variety of program, each specifically designed to give you important information you need for your business.
Wednesday, September 8th:
Speaker: Insurance Commissioner Kreidler
Topic: Impacts of Health Care Legislation on Business
Thursday, October 7th:
Topic: Candidates Debate
We will invite candidates from the hotest race in the November 2010 election.
Tuesday, November 9th:
Topic: Construction Industry Outlook
Speakers will provide insight on the issues facing the constrution industry in Whatcom County.
Thursday, December 9th:
Topic: Impact of Canadians in the Whatcom County Economy
Speakers will address key industry sectors in Whatcom County, and the impact of Canadians spending on them.
Thursday, January 13th:
Speaker: Mayor Dan Pike
Topic: State of the City Address
Thursday, February 10th:
Speaker: Economist Bill Conerly
Topic: 2011 Economic Forecast
Thursday, March 10th:
Topic: Healthcare Impacts at the Local Level
We will invite local providers to share how Whatcom County will be impacted by Health Care Reform.
Thursday, April 14th:
Topic: State of the Waterfront Redevelopment Project
The Port of Bellingham will give a status report on the overall project.
Maurices, a national women’s clothing retailer, has announced an opening date for its Bellingham store and has hired a store manager.
Michele Osborn was named store manager for its Bellis Fair mall location, which is scheduled to open Thursday, July 22.
Osborn will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the store. Osborn previously was associate manager with maurices.
“I look forward to not only serving our customers with the latest fashions, but also in leading the store’s associates in community involvement,” said Osborn in a press release. “I’m thrilled to be part of a 750-plus store company that still believes in the importance of community and getting involved with local causes.”
Established in 1931, maurices is wholly owned by dressbarn inc. It operates stores in 44 states, offering clothing sizes 1-24.
For more store information, visit maurices.com.
Here’s an interesting map showing the where Whatcom County residents moved to in 2008 and where new residents came from, put together by Forbes. If Whatcom County is highlighted after you click the link below, you can move your cursor over the other counties to see how many people moved to or came from Whatcom County. (Thanks, Mike, for sending the link)
What’s interesting about it is seeing where people came from… we are a region that attracts people from all over the U.S., but in 2008 it was mostly from the West Coast/Southwest. I’m guessing 2009 had less inbound/outbound traffic with the recession curtailing moving in general.
When it comes to search engines, it appears Google is maintaining its dominance. According to a press release from Experian Hitwise, Google accounted for 72.2 percent of all U.S. searches in May, up from 71.4 percent in April.
Yahoo! and Bing saw its shares drop. Yahoo! was at 14.4 percent in May, down from 15 percent in April. Bing was at 9.2 percent in May, down from 9.4 in April. The search engine Ask was at 2.1 percent in May.
– Unique West is having a going-out-of-business sale. The four-year-old women’s clothing store at 1323 Cornwall Ave. has products discounted 50 percent and more between now and Wednesday, June 30.
– In a couple weeks Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen will be getting five new double fermentation tanks, which will more than double the current capacity of the brewery, said co-owner Mari Kemper. “Our brewery has been at capacity since April (2009), so this will help us tremendously,” Kemper said in an e-mail.
– There’s been several recent vacancies in the retail center across the street from Yeager’s Sporting Goods on Northwest Ave. Bellingham Appliance Center, Access Comics, Bay B Exchange and Rawlings Music Co. are among the businesses that have left or closed at the center recently.
– Valley Market & Deli in Sudden Valley worked with locally owned One Stop Movie Rental to rent new release DVD’s. One Stop kiosks are owned by Pat, James and Andrea Rowe of Bellingham. They also own a kiosk located Silver Beach Grocery near Lake Whatcom. The Sudden Valley movie rental store closed recently and Valley Market & Deli managing partners Jamey and Wanda Evans worked with the Rowes to make sure the community was served quickly, according to a company press release.
I’ll get a complete story up later today on the news site, but Owner Noel Lemke has announced he will be moving the Sportsman Chalet from downtown Bellingham to Sunnyland Square, next to Trader Joe’s on James Street.
Lemke said he plans to be in the new space by August. It’ll be a smaller space (about 8,500 square feet, compared to 13,500 square feet on Holly Street) but the layout of the space will lend itself to a more efficient layout. He will continue to carry the same sports products, including tennis, soccer, skis, snowboards and outdoor gear.
Lemke said there were a variety of factors of his leaving, with parking being one of them. “None of my competitors have parking meters,” he said. “I wish we could have stayed downtown, but the new space has great traffic, with Trader Joe’s nearby being a major draw.”
Bellingham-based Haggen Inc. saw its revenue drop year-over-year, but it was able to move up on the Largest Private Companies in Washington list.
The list, compiled by the Puget Sound Business Journal, ranks the companies based on gross revenue. In the most recent list, published in last week’s PSBJ edition, Haggen ranked sixth with $740 million in 2009 gross revenue. However, that’s down from $844 million in gross revenue in 2008. The company moved up because Symetra Financial Corp. (previously ranked No. 2) became a public company and the Howard S. Wright Companies of Seattle dropped a few spots.
Haggen also trimmed its Washington workforce in the past year, according to the data in the PSBJ. In 2009 the company had 3,800 employees in Washington; this year the total is 3,200.
The only other Whatcom County company to make the top 100 was Exxel Pacific Inc. It ranked 84th, down from 77th last year. The construction company saw its gross revenue drop from $106 million in 2008 to $65 million in 2009, but was able to maintain the same level of employees, according to the list.
Delails below in a press release from the Washington State Employment Security Department:
The loss of thousands of low-paying jobs helped to increase the average wage in Washington in 2009, according to the Employment Security Department.
The 1.9 percent increase drove the average annual wage to $47,153, the smallest increase since 2004. The average weekly wage was $906.
Among other things, the average wage is used to compute unemployment-insurance benefits for jobless workers. Because the average wage increased in 2009, the minimum and maximum unemployment benefits will go up for new unemployment claims beginning next month.
The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $2, to $135, for new claims opened on or after July 4. The maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase $10, to $570.
Currently, about 24 percent of unemployment-insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount, and 6 percent receive the minimum. Claims opened before July 4 will not see a change in the minimum or maximum benefit.
In addition to unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2011, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $37,300 paid to each employee, up from $36,800 in 2010. As a reference point, about one-third of all employees in Washington earned more than $37,300 last year.
I was out of the office a few days last week, so I’ll be doing a bit of catch-up. First order of business: Weekly bank closures. Only one was shut down on Friday (June 18), making it 83 so far in 2010. Here are the details:
No. 83: Nevada Security Bank, Reno, was shut down, then taken over by Umpqua Bank of Roseburg, Ore. Nevada Security had five branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $80.9 million.