<b>CIVIC ALMANAC | </b>Herald staff
Protect your pocketbook by going to suspectfraud.com to see if a business is registered and in good standing before you sign on the dotted line.
Links on suspectfraud.com allow consumers to check to see if a registered business is properly licensed, owes the state taxes, has had complaints filed against it or is the subject of state enforcement actions.
The site was developed by state agencies to cut down on an underground economy of businesses that don’t play by the rules.
Concerned citizens also can use suspectfraud.com to notify the agencies about possible tax evasion or other types of fraud, such as illegally claiming unemployment benefits, billing the state for medical services that weren’t delivered or evading state taxes on boats, planes and vehicles.
The Department of Revenue alone uncovered more than a thousand unregistered businesses during the past fiscal year due in part to tips it received, generating nearly $69 million in taxes, penalties and interest.
Lane closure on Aurora
On March 6, crews relocating utilities for the SR 99 Tunnel Project will reduce southbound SR 99/Aurora Avenue North from three lanes to two lanes between Republican and John streets, near the Battery Street Tunnel. Drivers should anticipate increased congestion as they approach the lane closure, which is scheduled to last through at least mid-April.
PUD customers efficient with Community Power
More than 5,500 homes and 170 businesses are saving energy after working with Snohomish County Public Utility District the last two years on energy efficiency projects under the utility’s Community Power! program. Customers collectively have saved more than 5.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to serve nearly 450 homes, or about $450,000 in total annual savings. Community Power! received considerable support from grassroots efforts in the communities it served.
Community Power! was a partnership funded through federal stimulus grants.
Program staff provided conservation resources, including free home energy assessments, compact fluorescent lights and smart power strips.
One promotion allowed five or more households to team up to receive free energy assessments for each home.
LEGO builds at Alderwood
A new LEGO Store will be introduced at Lynnwood’s Alderwood mall this summer. The square foot store will feature four million LEGO bricks including DUPLO sets and LEGO Games.
The store will include a “Pick-A-Brick Wall,” giving shoppers the option to hand select bricks and elements, and an interactive play area.
The location joins 58 other LEGO Stores across the country. This will be the second Seattle-area location for the chain. There is another store at Bellevue Square.
Bartell collects bears
Bartell Drugs is helping to give “bear hugs” to children in stressful or traumatic situations as the Puget Sound area drugstore chain teams up again with Warm 106.9 FM in the annual “Teddy Bear Patrol” campaign, through April 1.
All 58 Bartell Drugs locations, including those in South County cities, are taking donations for police departments, hospitals and emergency response teams so they may give bears to children involved in challenging situations.
Donate a new or gently used bear under 12 inches or purchase an official Bartell Bear for $7 and the chain will match that donation with a second bear.
New veeps named
Veteran mortgage banking executives Donn Costa and Debbie Steck have recently joined 1st Security Bank of Washington.
They accepted positions of senior vice president to lead in building a mortgage lending department at the groups six locations.
Steck and Costa have worked together since the mid-nineties at then-named Lynnwood Financial Corp. That company became Golf Savings Bank in 2000 and was purchased by Sterling Financial in 2006.
Costa most recently held the position of executive vice president of Sterling Savings Bank. Prior to the merger with Sterling, Costa was the president of Lynnwood Financial, the parent company of Golf. Before joining Golf, he was a loan officer with Phoenix Mortgage in Seattle.
Steck most recently held the position of senior vice president and operating officer of home lending at Sterling Savings Bank. Prior to the merger with Sterling, Steck was the chief operating officer and senior vice president of golf savings bank. She was previously with Phoenix Mortgage.
• Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce After Hours 5-6:30 p.m. March 15, Sterling Savings Bank, 19230 Alderwood Mall Parkway, Lynnwood. For details call Jim Smith 425-218-2150.
• The Edmonds Chamber’s networking breakfast is 7:30-9 a.m. every Wednesday at Fairwinds Brighton Curt, 6520 196th St. SW, Lynnwood.
• Greg Bauman, owner of Lynnwood’s Play It Again Sports, was among those to receive a Sales Excellence Award by the sporting goods franchisor at its 2012 Winter Conference and Trade Show, held in Phoenix.
• David Jones has been names sales manager at the Lynnwood Convention Center. He was most recently with the Lynnwood Courtyard by Marriott.
Edmonds seeks input during visioning process
The Strategic Planning and Visioning process moves to the next phase 6:30-8:30 p.m., March 14 and 19, 2012 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The public is invited to participate in these communitywide brainstorming workshops – otherwise known as a charrette. The March 14 charrette will be held in the Edmonds Conference Center (4th Avenue and Bell Street) and the March 19 charrette will be held in the Library Plaza Meeting Room (650 Main Street).
These session are a follow up to a series of focus group sessions held in January and February with a variety of interest groups ranging from youth and senior organizations, service clubs, environmental and arts groups, and business owners.
Meeting room size limits the number of people that can attend the charrettes. To sign up to attend call Cindi Cruz at 425-775-7724 or e-mail StrategicPlan@EdmondsWA.gov. Your name and e-mail address are required for a reservation.
The city of Edmonds also has mail-back and internet surveys open. Online Strategic Planning and Visioning surveys can be found at EdmondsWa.gov.
Solar info meeting
An informational meeting about the hows, whys and finances of solar electric installations for individual homes and group participation will be held 7 p.m., March 14 at Shoreline Community College, 16101 Greenwood Ave. N, Shoreline.
The event is free, but due to limited seating reservations are required through www.thecommunitysolarproject.eventbrite.com.
Chave named interim director
Edmonds Planning Manager Rob Chave has been appointed as Interim Director of Development Services for the city by Mayor Dave Earling.
Chave is a 20-year veteran of the city, with more than 30 years as a practicing professional planner. Chave’s undergraduate degree is from Northwestern University; he completed his graduate studies in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation at Cornell University in upstate New York.
Prior coming to Edmonds, Chave was a Senior Planner in charge of long-range planning for the city of Auburn from 1986 to 1991.
Coffee with the City
Mountlake Terrace citizens, business owners and others from the community are invited to join city officials for a cup of coffee and hear first-hand what’s happening in the city. This casual event will be held 8-10 a.m., March 14 at the Recreation Pavilion Jungle Room, 5303 228th Street SW.
For more information go to www.cityofmlt.com or call Virginia Olsen at 425-744-6206.