Destiny awards deadline extended

The deadline to nominate volunteers for the City of Tacoma’s 24th annual City of Destiny Awards has been extended. Nominations will now be accepted through Jan. 29.

Nomination forms, which also detail eligibility requirements, are available by calling Maria Lee in the City’s Community Relations Office at (253) 591-2054, or stopping by the office, 733 Market St., Room 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nomination forms are also available in the City Clerk’s Office, Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 220 or on the City of Tacoma’s Web site.

South Sound Bank had ‘successful’ year

South Sound Bank reported in its year-end letter to stockholders that 2009 was a success, considering the current economic climate, and quickly added that the outlook for 2010 is optimistic.

The bank finished the year with $154.9 million in total assets, an increase from $152.7 million at the end of 2008. Total deposits were $126.6 million, down slightly from $126.8 million a year earlier.

Total loans also decreased, from $126.9 million at the end of 2008 to $111.7 million at the end of 2009.

The bank’s net income for 2009 was $1.44 million, down from $2.04 million at the end of 2008.

“By the numbers, 2009 wasn’t as good as previous years, but considering the economic climate we have been in, it was an overall success,” said Dan Yerrington, president/CEO.

Dock Street named Marina of the Year

Tacoma’s Dock Street Marina has been recognized as Marina of the Year by Marina Dock Age magazine.

Each year, the magazine honors two marinas for their facilities and dedication to customer service, as well as a commitment to areas such as environmental responsibility, advertising and marketing, industry and community involvement, and facility improvements.

Dock Street was chosen in the small category (fewer than 250 slips). The award comes on the heels of Dock Street general manager Craig Perry’s recognition during November as the 2009 Tourism Professional of the Year by the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau.

The marina opened five years ago and was part of the redevelopment and economic revitalization of the Tacoma waterfront.

The marina is on track to increase by 40 percent this year. During 2009, guest moorage was fully booked 42 of 52 weekends, compared to 25 the year before. Perry said that boaters spend $182 per night on average while visiting. That translates into $238,420 for the 1,310 nights spent during 2008.

And incomplete numbers for 2009 show 1,977 nights of moorage with an impact of $359,814 for the city.

Providence adds digital mammography

The Providence Centralia Imaging Center is the first health care provider in Lewis County to offer digital mammography, using a system called Selenia.

Conventional and digital mammography both use X-ray radiation to produce an image of the breast. But unlike conventional mammography, in which the image is stored on film, digital mammography produces an electronic image of the breast that is stored in a computer. A radiologist can then magnify and perform an in depth evaluation of the images.

The new system is 60 percent faster than traditional mammography and the digital images can easily be shared via the electronic medical record. Also, the equipment is more environmentally friendly by eliminating the need for chemicals to process the films.

Mammography patients can expect faster exams, fewer follow-up appointments, higher quality images and less exposure to radiation.

The digital mammography system was paid for in part by a 2009 federal appropriations earmark recommended by Rep. Brian Baird and Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell. The earmark covers 67 percent of the $422,000 total cost. The remaining money was provided by the Providence Centralia Health Care Foundation.

SBA loan volume increased 37 percent

U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle District Office lending in Washington and northern Idaho increased significantly during the first quarter of the federal government’s 2010 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31.

Compared to the first quarter of 2009, the number of SBA loans increased 37 percent, from 332 to 455, and the dollar volume of lending increased 85 percent, from $79.1 million to $146.4 million.

The increase in the number of loans offers no conclusive evidence of a fundamental shift in the lending environment, but is not unique to the Seattle District Office’s geographic area and might be reflective of the impact economic stimulus efforts are having in the marketplace.

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided broad reaching assistance to small businesses, including an increase in the guarantee on all loans, up to 90 percent from 75 percent to 85 percent, and the elimination of guaranty fees, resulting in substantial savings for small business borrowers.
Since the Act was signed, SBA nationally has supported more than $19 billion in lending to small businesses through its two largest loan programs and seen its average weekly dollar volume increase by more than 75 percent in comparison to the weeks before the Recovery Act.

Tacoma gets $700K for economic development

Tacoma will receive $700,000 from the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund to help retain and boost business within the city.

“We can rebuild our economic future by all working together,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “With the infusion of these funds, Tacoma will be able to make investments that will help it keep and attract businesses.”

The money awarded today will leverage Tacoma’s efforts to encourage business expansion and job growth in the city’s downtown neighborhood. Specifically, the money will be used for infrastructure investments in the redevelopment of the old Sauro’s site in downtown.

Together with investments by the city, the funds pave the way for an expansion of DaVita Inc., which is expected to add more than 350 jobs in Tacoma. DaVita is one of the largest providers of dialysis services in the country.

“Tacoma is open for business, and these funds will help us attract private investment,” Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland said. “With this money, we’ll be able to make our city center more attractive to business and create jobs.”

Frito Lay earns Federal Way recycling award

The Frito Lay Distribution Center in Federal Way has earned the City of Federal Way’s inaugural Leadership in Recycling Award for its commitment to sustainability.

The city developed the Leadership in Recycling Award to recognize local businesses that work to increase recycling, reduce the generation of waste and employ other sustainable practices.  

The center ships more than 50,000 cases of snack foods each week and every case is returned for re-use. The cases are re-used up to 10 times before being recycled. This removes more than 75,000 pounds of cardboard per week from the waste stream.

Frito Lay’s Federal Way location also employs the following green practices:

• Recycles all plastic bottles, aluminum cans and office paper;
• Composts paper towels, coffee filters and all food-contaminated paper;
• Uses motion-sensor-lights and state-of-the-art efficiency lighting to conserve energy;
• Uses rain sensors that reduce irrigation system use.

Kent, Bellevue papers reducing schedule

The Bellevue Reporter and Kent Reporter will be changing their publishing frequency from twice weekly to once per week on Friday beginning March 5.

Josh O’Connor, vice president of East Sound Newspaper Operations for Sound Publishing Inc. said that both papers are purposefully reducing their frequency of distribution in favor of focusing more resources to publishing an online edition with breaking news content and regular community features.

Sound Publishing is the largest publisher of community and suburban newspapers in Washington, and is also one of the area’s largest commercial Web printers. The company operates 30 community and suburban newspapers, two monthly business journals and 18 Little Nickel and Nickel Ads weekly shoppers throughout Washington and Oregon.

Consumer Price Index inched up last month

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the December Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the last 12 months, the index increased 2.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

For the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton reporting area, the CPI-U increased 1.4 percent. The local Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased 2.1 percent compared to December 2008.

The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad based, with the indexes for food, energy and all items less food and energy all posting modest increases. Within the latter group, a sharp rise in the index for used cars and trucks was the largest contributor to the increase, while the indexes for airline fares, apparel and lodging away from home rose as well. In contrast, the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent were unchanged and the index for new vehicles declined.

Grocery store food indexes showed broad-based increases. The energy index also rose. The indexes for fuel oil and gasoline rose, but the electricity index was unchanged and the natural gas index declined.

Taxable retail sales decline year-over-year

Taxable retail sales declined 11.4 percent to $2.7 billion in Pierce County during the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period during 2008, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported today.

In Tacoma, sales were off 11.5 percent, falling to $965 million.
Statewide, taxable retail sales declined 11.6 percent to $26.4 billion during the third quarter – the third-largest on record. Sales dropped 14 percent during the second quarter of 2009 and 12.8 percent during the first quarter of 2009.

Retail trade, a component of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction, dropped 6.4 percent to $1.3 billion in Pierce County and fell 7.1 percent to $467 million in Tacoma.