Archive for August, 2010
Here are a couple of things I noticed this morning worth passing along:
– BelleWood Acres is planning to open this Friday, Aug. 27 and is starting to pick apples this week. Dorie Belisle is reporting on BelleWood’s Facebook page that the apples are looking good heading into the harvest season.
– Are you in Birch Bay today? The C Shop is giving away a sundae to every 10th customer. It’s part of the company’s 30th anniversary celebration.
– A WARN notice (layoff notice) has been announced for Skookum Fleet Management in Fort Lewis. It will lay off 50 employees, effective October 18, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The New York Times has an interesting article about the housing market, speculating that it may no longer be a way of building wealth. Here’s the (link) to the article.
The gist of the article says many real estate experts believe that while the U.S. will eventually recover from the current downturn in the real estate market, home ownership will never again yield the nest-egg type appreciation seen in the second half of the 20th century. In the coming years, housing values will only keep up with inflation, according to several experts, including Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.
The article also paints a picture of how the notion of using housing as an investment came about after World War II.
What do you think? Will we ever seen the “home is an investment” mentality in the coming decades? I was told (quite often) that dirt (or property) is something we’re not making any more of, so it’ll go up in value in the long run. Is that still the case?
Government regulators shut down four California banks this evening, pushing the total to 118 so far in 2010. Details below:
No. 115-116: Butte Community Bank of Chico, Calif. and Pacific State Bank of Stockton were closed, then taken over by Rabobank National Association in El Centro. The closed banks had 23 branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $17.4 million.
No. 117: Los Padres Bank of Solvang, Calif. was shut down, then taken over by Pacific Western Bank of San Diego. Los Padres had 14 branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $8.7 million.
No. 118: Sonoma Valley Bank of Sonoma was shut down, then taken over by Westamerica Bank of San Rafael. Sonoma Valley had three branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $10.1 million.
Government regulators shut down four banks earlier today, bringing the total number of bank failures to 114 so far in 2010. Details below, I’ll update with new posts if there are any more today:
No. 111 and No. 112: Independent National Bank, Ocala, Fla. and Community National Bank of Bartow, Fla. were shut down, then taken over by CenterState Bank of Florida in Winter Haven. The two failed banks had five branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $33.5 million.
No. 113: Imperial Savings & Loan, Martinsville, Va. was closed, then taken over by River Community Bank of Martinsville. Imperial had one branch. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $3.5 million.
No. 114: ShoreBank of Chicago was closed, then taken over by Urban Partnership Bank of Chicago. ShoreBank had 15 branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $367.7 million.
On Wednesday, Aug. 25, T-Mobile will be hosting a hiring event at its call center on the corner of Bakerview Road and Cordata Parkway, near Bellis Fair. The event will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and recruiters will be available to answer questions about the 30 customer service positions the company is planning to fill, said Leah Ratledge, a recruiter for the company.
Company officials will also give tours of the call center, which has several perks, including a fitness center, a cafeteria catered by Hilltop Restaurant and a game room. The jobs pay between $11 and $13 an hour, Ratledge said.
Those hired will go through a training program. The company expects to have other openings later this year as it continues to add to its workforce. Currently the call center has around 450 employees.
Here’s a press release about Allegiant Airlines (a main airline carrier at the Bellingham airport) making Fortune’s list of fastest-growing companies:
LAS VEGAS— FORTUNE announced today that Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT), has been ranked number 25 on the 2010 “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” list. The annual list recognizes the company’s revenue growth and financial stability.
“The troubled economy is on all of our minds these days, but sometimes we forget that even in the long slog we seem to be in, entrepreneurs are hard at work creating the next Cisco or Amgen or Starbucks,” FORTUNE Managing Editor, Andy Serwer, writes in the Sept. 6, 2010, issue.
“We’re honored to be recognized as one of FORTUNE’s ‘100 Fastest Growing Companies’,” said Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Allegiant Chairman and CEO. “It is a testament to the hard work of our employees, who make Allegiant an innovative and profitable company.”
“Our ability to continually grow and add routes is a result of our strong financial health and unique business model,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President, said. “We thank our customers for their continued support of our travel services.”
To qualify for 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, foreign or domestic companies had to meet the following criteria: be trading on a major U.S. stock exchange; file quarterly reports with the SEC; have a minimum market capitalization of $250 million and a stock price of at least $5 on June 30, 2010; and have been trading continuously since June 30, 2007. The company must also have revenue and net income of at least $50 million and $10 million, respectively, for the four quarters ended on or before April 30, 2010. Finally, the company must have posted an annualized growth in revenue and earnings per share of at least 15% annually over the three years ended on or before April 30, 2010.
Companies that meet the above criteria were ranked by revenue growth rate; EPS growth rate; and three-year annualized total return for the period ended June 30, 2010. (To compute the revenue and EPS growth rates, FORTUNE uses a trailing four quarters log linear least square regression fit.) The overall rank was based on the sum of the three ranks. Once the 100 companies were identified, they were then re-ranked within the 100, using the three equally weighted variables. If there is a tie, the company with the larger four-quarter revenue receives the higher rank.
The full list and related stories appear in the Sept. 6, 2010, issue of FORTUNE, available on newsstands on Monday, Aug. 23, and now at this link
Allegiant was also recently ranked number one globally for low-cost carriers in Aviation Week’s 2010 Top Performing Airline study.
NAMA Living Foods & Wellness Cafe will be having a grand opening celebration 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21.
The raw food restaurant at 1111 N. State St. opened in April. The grand opening celebration will feature live music by Misty Flowers and Russ Riviere.
The restaurant will also have new hours. They’ll be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
For further details, call 360-594-4448 or click this (link).
Here’s a press release from the WSDOT about selecting a contractor to improve the Interstate 5 on-ramps in Bellingham. Note the difference between the WSDOT’s estimate and the low bid – a possible sign of just how competitive it is during a slow construction season.
BELLINGHAM – The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently hired a contractor to improve I-5 on-ramps in Bellingham and make it easier for drivers to safely merge with traffic and ease congestion through the city.
WSDOT awarded the contract to Vetch Construction LLC of Camano Island for their low bid of $4.4 million – $1.5 million less than WSDOT’s estimate for construction. This project is primarily funded by the 2005 Transportation Partnership Account gas tax passed by the Legislature.
“There’s a lot of congestion at the ramps when traffic merges onto the interstate, which causes slowdowns and collisions,” said planning and operations manager Todd Carlson. “Improving and lengthening the ramps will help keep traffic moving more smoothly and reduce collisions.”
Crews will improve and extend the northbound Samish Way on-ramp, northbound Iowa Street on-ramp, southbound Sunset Drive on-ramp and the southbound Lakeway Drive on-ramp.
Construction could begin as early as this September, weather permitting, and will wrap up in summer 2011. Crews will close I-5 lanes and ramps at night during the work. Construction and lane closure information will be available on the project website and distributed in weekly e-mail updates.
Carlson said many of the needed improvements on I-5 in Bellingham are costly and will require hundreds of millions of dollars to construct. Less expensive improvements, such as lengthening ramps without completely rebuilding interchanges, provide travelers with immediate benefits. They also serve as building blocks for future improvements, as funding becomes available.
Engineers used collision data and cost estimates to select specific ramp improvements that will maximize benefits for the downtown corridor with the funds available.
Catrina Bremer has announced one final bash at Nona Rosa’s Ristorante – A porchetta meal.
Nona Rosa’s will be serving the roasted pig as well as some of its other signature Italian meals from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29 and Monday, Aug. 30. The restaurant’s final day is Aug. 30.
Bremer announced last month she’s closing the restaurant because of the economic challenges since opening two years ago, right before the start of the national financial meltdown. Since the announcement her restaurant has been packed with regular customers stopping in with well-wishes and to have dinner, she said.
“I have a big stack of comment cards, and what customers wrote and said has meant a lot to me,” Bremer said. “I really want to thank people for rallying around us in the final month. To show our appreciation, we decided to have one more big event.”
In its final days, Nona’s is open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at 113 E. Magnolia St. (near the Railroad Avenue intersection). Reservations are appreciated: 360-733-8100.
The Community Food Co-op is collecting register donations at both stores to aid flood relief efforts in Pakistan by Doctors Without Borders.
Additionally, the Co-op will match up to $1,000 total in donations for the aid agency, according to a company press release.
“We were overwhelmed by the community’s generosity when we collected $22,500 for earthquake relief in Haiti. Sadly, the situation in Pakistan is equally devastating and the Co-op wants to provide the same opportunity for the community to donate to flood relief,” said Kevin Murphy, education coordinator in the press release.
Anyone can make a donation at the register at either Co-op location. No purchase is necessary to donate and membership is not required.