Business Briefs: Union Bank gives $25K to United Way

  • Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 4:04pm

The day after Union Bank opened for business at all former Frontier Bank branch locations, the company announced a contribution of $25,000 to the United Way of Snohomish County.

Tim Wennes, vice chairman and chief retail banking officer, said that Union Bank intends to be an active participant in the community.

Frontier Bank, which over many years had been a key contributor to United Way, closed on April 30 and reopened May 3 as Union Bank at 50 locations in Washington and Oregon.

Everett Community College summer hours start June 14

Everett Community College will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays from June 14 to Sept. 3.

Last year, the college saved $25,000 in utility costs by switching to a four-day week and is expected to see those savings again this summer, said Jennifer Howard, EvCC vice president of administrative services.

The four-day summer schedule is one of the ways the college is trying to save during a year that the school’s state allocation will be reduced by an additional $1.6 million.

For specific office hours or information on getting started at EvCC, visit www.everettcc.edu.

Summer classes start June 21 and fall classes start Sept. 20.

WorkSource Everett doubles computer count in remodel, announces grand opening

WorkSource Snohomish County and Workforce Development Council Snohomish County announce the grand opening for the new WorkSource Everett center. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon June 17 at Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave., Everett.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and Washington State Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee will cut the ribbon to officially open the new resource center and WorkSource classrooms and offices.

Tours of the new facility will be given following the ceremony.

The grand opening celebrates the relocation of WorkSource Everett to the third floor of the train station. The relocation has allowed the resource center to be redesigned, enhancing the layout of the facility and allowing for better customer flow.

Additionally, the relocation has allowed WorkSource Everett to nearly double the amount of computers available for customers to use in their job search.

“We’re so thrilled with the new space,” said Julie Lord, area director for WorkSource Snohomish County. “With the added computers in the Resource Center, we’ve been able to reduce or eliminate customer wait times. It’s really making a difference.”

Washington’s jobless rate finally falls

The Employment Security Department has released figures that show Washington’s unemployment rate fell in April for the first time in more than three years. Gov. Chris Gregoire said it was evidence that the economy is starting to turn around.

Industries that added jobs in April included leisure and hospitality, government (mostly temporary census jobs), construction, retail trade, manufacturing, information, education and health services and wholesale trade. Nationally, employment declined by 1.7 percent over the past year.

Sound Transit bond ratings upgraded

Sound Transit’s Moody’s Investor Service ratings for both its senior and subordinate bonds has shifted upward as Moody’s updates its system to reflect the lower risks associated with bonds issued by many local governments.

Government and other public bonds are now evaluated at a comparable level to corporate and other nonmunicipal debt. According to Sound Transit chief financial officer Brian McCartan, this will allow Sound Transit to borrow funds more cheaply, saving future tax dollars.

Boeing gets order for two 737-800s

Boeing and RwandAir have announced an order for two next-generation 737-800s. According to Marlin Dailey, vice president of sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the airplane will offer reduced operating costs and environmental impact, as well as a new and improved cabin interior for RwandAir’s customers.

The new 737 Boeing Sky Interior features bigger stowage bins that pivot up and out of the way, and sculpted side walls that draw attention to the windows. A new design creates a more open feel in the cabin with overhead lighting that resembles the sky.

RwandAir currently operates a fleet of regional jets and hopes to eventually expand to regional hubs across Africa and the Middle East.

Chamber celebrates opening of Adora

Adora, a clothing consignment store, celebrated the opening of its Everett Mall store with an Everett Chamber of Commerce grand opening and ribbon cutting on May 28. The store carries clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, books, movies and more. Adora is located inside the mall near Regal Cinemas.

Nominations open for Spirit Award

United Way’s Spirit of Snohomish County Awards annually recognize individuals and organizations that are helping to create opportunities for a better life for all.

Individuals are invited to nominate an adult, youth or company that is actively volunteering for the 2010 Spirit Awards. United Way is also taking applications for the Reeves-Sievers’ Founders Award for a lifetime of service.

Winners will be honored at the Spirit of Snohomish County Breakfast Sept. 8 at the Tulalip Resort Casino. Nomination forms can be found online at uwsc.org/spiritnominate.php. Submit nominations by June 11.

Adecco office moves south to Lynnwood

Adecco, a leader in work-force solutions, has moved from Everett Mall Way to the Lynnwood Corporate Center. Adecco’s general staffing branch fills light industrial and office positions for large and small companies in most industries. More information is available by calling 425-775-1274.

Grand opening for Major League Pizza

Chamber members and staff joined with Everett Area Chamber ambassadors, Webbly the Everett AquaSox mascot and guests for the official pizza and ribbon cutting May 12. After four years in Smokey Point, Major League Pizza owners Andy and Leona Hansen officially moved the restaurant to 2811 Colby Ave., Everett.

Marysville gets boost in wireless coverage

Residents, businesses and visitors to Marysville now have improved service due to the activation of a new Verizon Wireless cell site. The site improves coverage to east and north Marysville.

The network enhancement is part of Verizon Wireless’ multibillion-dollar network investment in voice and data services. Verizon Wireless spent $71 million to enhance services and coverage in Washington during 2009.

Cascade to partner in Everett project

Cascade Bank has partnered with the city of Everett’s new Live Green Downtown project, which encourages recycling by placing new recycling containers throughout downtown streets. Cascade has committed to maintaining the new container located outside its corporate office on Colby Avenue.

President and CEO Carol K. Nelson said Cascade had committed to various green efforts in the past several years by implementing an internal recycling program and offering additional electronic products and services for customers.

Christmas House receives donation

Christmas House in Everett recently received a $1,500 donation from the Northwest Packer Backers, a local club that supports the Green Bay Packers football team as well as area philanthropic endeavors.

Christmas House, a nonprofit charity that was formed in 1981, provided Christmas joy to 10,985 children from more than 3,891 low-income families throughout Snohomish County last year.

An agreement with the North Everett Boys &Girls Club has given Christmas House a holiday home at 2316 12th St., Everett. It will be open Dec. 4-21.

To support Christmas House either with a monetary donation or by volunteering, go to www.christmas-house.org or call 425-338-2273.

Marysville to update community map

A new Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce community map will be available for distribution in December to visitors, tourists, individuals interested in moving to the area and local residents and businesses.

In addition to the printed version, the map and all advertisements will be online www.villageprofile.com soon after they are published, and will also be linked from the chamber’s website.

Businesses interested in finding out more about related advertising opportunities can call Village Profile representative Marilyn Thomson at 360-659-7700 or e-mail mthomson@villageprofilemail.com

First Heritage Bank appreciation days

First Heritage Bank will serve hot dogs, sodas and chips at each of their six locations to thank customers and shareholders for continued contribution to the bank’s success. The dates are June 4 in Snohomish, June 7 in Woodinville, June 8 in Monroe, June 9 in Arlington, June 10 in Marysville and June 11 in Everett. More information is available at First Heritage Bank branches.

Women’s Wellness Center adds class

Women’s Wellness Center, a unique downtown Everett facility that combines wellness coaching, circuit strength training, body treatments, spa services and healthy lifestyle classes timed for busy professional women is now offering dance pulse classes. Dance pulse is an aerobic workout that helps participants look, feel and express themselves like a dancer.

Classes at the Women’s Wellness Center are timed for lunch hours and immediately after work. Memberships are not required to sign up for classes. More information is available at www.womenswellnesscenter.org or by calling 425-259-9899. The Women’s Wellness Center is located at 2817 Rockefeller Ave., Everett.

Everett senior gets free rent for life

Holiday Retirement has selected 89-year-old Cascadian Place resident Florence Simmons as the recipient of its Free Rent for Life Giveaway as part of its national Swing into Spring promotion. More than 30,000 current Holiday Retirement residents across the U.S. and Canada were entered into the drawing.

Simmons will receive Holiday’s independent retirement living at no cost for the rest of her life. The Everett High School graduate said she had never won anything before.

PUD recognizes students in art and essay contests

The PUD Board of Commissioners recently recognized 18 local students who won awards in the utility’s 2010 art, photography and essay competitions. The contests engage students in electricity topics.

The K-12 art competition challenged students to use their artistic talents to create a poster that shows ways students and teachers can reduce their electricity use at school. Winners were Prabhman S. Aujla, Nathan Hayward, Zachary Allgood, Lauren Hill, Bhargavi Kantipudi, Gabriel Johnson, Olive White, Abby Bratt, Espi Garcia, Corrie Hiatt, Danielle Pringle and Amanda Scholl.

Photography contest entrants were challenged to take photographs based on the theme of energy. Winners were Emma Scoringe, Jennie Collins, Leah Fadenrecht, Danielle Hale and Travis Mosley.

The “Real World Problems” essay competition required high school students to apply research and critical thinking skills to an authentic problem. Sam Eastman of Marysville-Pilchuck High School won. The winning artwork and photography are posted at www.snopud.com/?p=1149.

Lynnwood vet gets training in fractures

Dr. Goutam Mukherjee of Helping Hands Veterinary Clinic has returned from a post-graduate course in management of small-animal fractures in Columbus, Ohio. This allows Helping Hands to offer a higher level of care for clients’ pets.

Helping Hands is a full service veterinary hospital providing a blend of traditional and complementary medicine at 18415 33rd Ave. W., Lynnwood. Go to www.helpinghandsvet.com or call 425-672-4343.

Fire department offers CERT class

The Everett Fire Department is offering a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class on Monday and Thursday mornings from Jul. 12 through Aug. 5. The course will provide a variety of disaster planning, recovery and survival skills aimed at surviving and assisting our community in disaster response and recovery.

Everett citizens and business owners are encouraged to participate or send employees to these free emergency preparedness classes.

Applications are available at the Everett Emergency Management Office at 2801 Oakes Ave., Everett. Class size is limited. The deadline for applications is June 11.

For more information, call 425-257-8111.

Hundreds take part in Bike Commute Challenge

Hundreds of bicyclists braved dark clouds to enjoy a healthy commute on the 10th annual Bike to Work Day in Snohomish County on May 21.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson led a celebration ride of 25 other bicyclists into Everett Station. More than 120 people stopped by the multimodal hub for the event. Community Transit coordinates Bike to Work events in Snohomish County. Everett Transit is a primary sponsor.

Of the 700 people who stopped by seven celebration stations set up around the county May 21, many were riding in the Bike Commute Challenge. The goal is for participants to make some part of their commute on two wheels and make five roundtrips in five weeks.

In the first week of the challenge, 139 teams with 664 members registered and logged 11,000 miles. Register yourself or a team through June 4 at www.communitytransit.org/biketowork.

Presenters to share their business skills

The Northwest Women’s Business Center will offer a business-building session called “Define What Drives You: Business Is a Journey” on June 4.

Presenters Leslie Gilchrist and Diane Johnston are entrepreneur businesswomen who bring their passion and diverse yet complementary backgrounds to the world of women.

Johnston trained as an educator, invested many years in the retail business and customer service, and is a workshop leader and speaker. She is married, the mother of two sons and is active in her community.

Gilchrist has a diverse background that includes public speaking, business sales, television promotion and event planing. As a married mother of twin daughters, she also devotes her talents to enriching families with children.

This session is free, but registration is required. Register online at tinyurl.com/womenscompass.

The session will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., June 4 at the Northwest Women’s Business Center, 12199 Village Center Place, Suite 203, Mukilteo.

PUD refinances bonds at fixed rates

Snohomish County PUD has completed a significant $361 million financing program to fund several capital construction projects. The financing includes $219 million of tax-exempt bonds and $142 million of taxable Build America bonds.

The PUD had $235 million of tax-exempt, variable rate bonds outstanding that were sold in three different financings in 1995, 2001 and 2002. In order to reduce the risks associated with variable-rate debt and take advantage of the very low long-term tax-exempt interest rates currently available, these older bonds were redeemed with the new, fixed-rate, tax exempt bonds with various maturities through 2024. The weighted average interest rate on these new tax-exempt bonds is 3.18 percent.

The PUD also sold new bonds to finance capital projects over the next three years. Final maturities of those bonds occur in 2040.

As part of the sale of bonds, the PUD secured ratings from Moody’s Investor Service, Standard &Poor’s and Fitch Ratings of Aa3, AA- and AA- respectively.

Housing Hope gets $20,000 Safeco grant

Housing Hope, an Everett-based affordable housing and services agency, has received a $20,000 grant from the Safeco Insurance Foundation to help maintain a comprehensive service package for homeless families who reside in its shelter and transitional housing program. The comprehensive package includes:

Case Management: strengths-based, solution-focused services that help families address the challenges that led to their homelessness and to gain the necessary competencies to maintain permanent housing.

Employment Services: Includes GED preparation, job readiness skills, resume development, application completion, employment search, interview practice, job retention, wage progression, vocational certification and employment training services.

College of Hope: Adult life skills training program that offers courses in housing expertise, family life, health and wellness and economic well-being to help homeless parents gain knowledge, skills and attitudes critical to maintaining permanent housing and increased levels of self-sufficiency.

EvCC teacher Paul Marshall wins teaching award

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges selected Everett Community College’s Paul Marshall as the winner of the 2010 Anna Sue McNeill Assessment, Teaching and Learning Award.

Marshall, who has worked at EvCC since 1980, is the college’s Teaching and Learning Cooperative coordinator, working with faculty and staff to strengthen experiences inside and outside of the classroom.

He introduced the Teaching and Learning Cooperative in 2001, a concept he developed after seeking new challenges in his own career. Through the cooperative, Marshall organizes yearlong teaching labs for faculty, staff and administrators on a variety of topics, such as diversity. He also offers individual faculty support and helps pioneer new technologies in the classroom.

“I do the work I do because I love to do it,” Marshall said.

Marshall’s award was presented at the recent Pacific Northwest Higher Education Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Conference.

Cascade Bank gets best rating on Community Reinvestment Act

Cascade Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Cascade Financial Corp., has been awarded an overall rating of “outstanding” on its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluation from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The “outstanding” rating is the highest rating possible by the FDIC, and was awarded to fewer than 5 percent of banks nationally in 2009.

The CRA evaluation is based on performance in three tests including lending, investment and service as well as CRA activities conducted between 2006 and 2009. The evaluation assesses the bank’s specific initiatives and efforts toward meeting the credit needs of its assessment area in a manner consistent with its resources and capabilities.

“We are extremely proud that Cascade has earned an ‘outstanding’ CRA rating, the highest rating possible in an evaluation by the FDIC,” said President and CEO Carol K. Nelson. “Additionally, this recognizes the leadership role Cascade Bank directors and employees play as they contribute their time and talent to a variety of not-for-profit organizations in our market area.”

The Community Reinvestment Act is a 1977 federal law that encourages commercial banks and savings associations to meet the needs of borrowers in their communities by reducing discriminatory credit practices against low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Lady Washington visits local ports

Tall sailing ship Lady Washington is docked at the Port of Everett through June 2, moving to the Port of Edmonds June 4-13 as part of its spring 2010 visit to nine ports in northern Puget Sound.

The Lady Washington will also offer battle sails, adventure sails, walk-on tours and educational programs for K-12 students in most ports.

A detailed schedule is available at www.historicalseaport.org. Guests may buy tickets for public sails online or by calling 800-200-5239.

County leaders join in health symposium

The national Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) invited key representatives from the Everett area to share their innovative approaches to health care at a May 25-26 symposium titled, “How Will We Do That? Building Low-Cost, High-Quality Health Care Regions in America.”

The Everett team includes representatives from The Everett Clinic, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Premera Blue Cross and Group Health. The two-day symposium in Washington, D.C. was jointly-sponsored by the IHI, the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, the Brookings Institution and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Last year, a national analysis by The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care identified Everett as one of 10 model communities able to provide high quality medical care at relatively low cost.

Golf tournament to benefit college

Business students at Shoreline Community College are launching a new golf tournament to benefit the business programs and scholarships at the college. The SCC Scholarship Scramble will tee off June 4 at Nile Golf &Country Club in Mountlake Terrace.

Proceeds from the tournament may endow scholarships such as the Leadership Challenge Scholarship.

Player registration closed May 14. Businesses interested in sponsoring the tournament can contact lportole@shoreline.edu. Facebook will also feature updates www.facebook.com/shorelineoncourse.

Community Energy Roadmap June 2, 3

Mossadiq Umedaly, former CEO of BC Hydro, will be featured at Community Energy Roadmap — Practical Local Solutions for Global Problems on June 2 and 3. His discussion is on insights to help communities and utilities get value from the emerging green economy. Space is limited and exhibits need pre-approval. For registration, call 206-226-7224. For sponsor or exhibit sales information, call 425-827-5029.

Government redoes green card’s design

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it has redesigned the Permanent Resident Card — commonly known as the “green card” — to incorporate several major new security features. The green card redesign is the latest advance in ongoing efforts to deter immigration fraud.

Upgrades include optical media that will store biometrics for rapid and reliable identification of the cardholder. Holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints and high-resolution micro-images will make the card nearly impossible to reproduce.

Tighter integration of the card design with personalized elements will make it difficult to alter the card if stolen. Radio Frequency Identification capability will allow Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to read the card from a distance and compare it immediately to file data.

More information is available at www.uscis.gov or 800-375-5283.

AstraZeneca legal details announced

Drug manufacturer AstraZeneca will pay Washington state nearly $10 million for improperly marketing of the drug Seroquel.

Federal and state officials said that AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP illegally paid for doctors to attend meetings at resorts, where those doctors would “advise” the drug maker about marketing messages for unapproved uses. Medical professionals were also paid to serve as authors of promotional articles and to conduct studies for unapproved uses of the drug.

Seroquel is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, and other specific conditions.

A government investigation revealed that between Jan.1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2006, it was wrongly promoted to treat aggression, Alzheimer’s, anger management, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and sleeplessness. Seroquel is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat any of these conditions.

Construction trade employment goes up

The nonresidential construction industry gained 9,200 jobs in April, according to a recent report by the U.S. Labor Department. Employment in nonresidential specialty trade construction increased by 6,200 jobs in April and has added 21,700 jobs in the past two months. However, both are still down from the same time last year.

By contrast, the residential construction sector was down by 4,000 jobs in April after experiencing marginal increases the previous month.

Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu said the figures were a sure signal that the construction season is underway.

Construction enjoys fed’s stimulus boost

According to a new analysis of federal spending figures released May 3 by the Associated General Contractors of America, increases in public-sector construction spending, driven by stimulus funds, helped to boost total construction activity by almost $2 billion between February and March.

The figures demonstrate that the stimulus has gone from slowing declines in construction spending to contributing to increases.

However, association officials cautioned that the increases in construction spending were unlikely to last once the stimulus spending runs its course.

Businesses uncertain about health reform

A series of surveys conducted by the Washington State University School of Economic Sciences IMPACT Center and the Seattle Business Executives Association suggests that Seattle business executives are uncertain about how to handle recent health care reform legislation and doubt the effectiveness of the new Federal Jobs Bill.

About a third of those surveyed said they do not know how they could minimize costs under the new health-care legislation.

Another 30 percent said they think that eliminating health-care coverage for employees completely would reduce their costs, but only a small number of those believed that eliminating health-care coverage for employees would be in their business’s best interest.

Those surveyed also expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the new Federal Jobs Bill, which provides a $1,000 tax credit and an exemption on Social Security taxes for business that hire a previously unemployed worker. Only 5 percent said the incentives might influence their hiring practices.

June Performance Excellence workshop

An overview of the Malcolm Baldrige-Washington State Quality Award system and criteria is offered in the Introduction to Performance Excellence workshop at the John Stanford Center for Excellence in Seattle June 7.

The workshop is designed for people who have had no previous training about the criteria, or who need a quick refresher course. In addition to the general version that uses nonspecific examples, industry-related versions also are offered for public sector organizations, health-care and educational institutions. More information is available at www.wsqa.net/workshops.php.

Shenzhen, China, seminar comes to Seattle

A seminar entitled Shenzhen, China: The City of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is scheduled at the Seattle Sheraton on June 8. Local professionals can gain insight into the information technology industry by listening to an array of private and public sector professionals from Shenzhen, China, who will be in Seattle to meet representatives of U.S. companies with an eye toward promoting trade and investment activities.

Representatives from China’s BYD (high-tech and green transportation), ZTE (telecom), VanceInfo (IT outsourcing) and the Research Institute of Tsinghua University (R&D and incubator) as well as Microsoft will be speaking. Cost is $15.

More information is available from www.washingtontechnology.org.

July Fourth photo shoot for the troops

Biscuit 8, LLC and KOMO Communities will partner with Carter Subaru and Volkswagen and the Puget Sound USO in the Fourth of July Photo Shoot for the Troops — A Face to Families at War.

The event is to celebrate the birthday of the United States of America and honor the men and women serving the nation at home and overseas. Biscuit 8 photographers, together with Livebooks and Pictage, are donating time and talent to photograph select families of the deployed from local area bases. This promotion is to support military families and to help bring those separated by thousands of miles from their loved ones back home a little closer together.

More information is available from www.komonews.com/communities.