Business

data mining
11:05 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Seattle region's economy ranks over many countries

The metro area of Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma has many iconic attributes, and the size of our economy is one of them.
Sergio Bonachela Flickr

You know you’re in a first-world economy when … many of your metro areas have larger economies than whole countries.

The Wall Street Journal wanted to put into perspective just how big the gap is between the U.S. economy and much of the rest of the world and so created a ranked list.

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Business
2:55 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

African-American hair braiders want easing of state licensing rules

Traditional African-American hair-braiding doesn't use chemical and heat treatments. Photo by BBC World Service

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:15 am

Some African-American hair stylists are objecting to an Oregon licensing rule that means they can't braid hair without taking a two-year course. And they’re asking state lawmakers to take up the cause.

Amber Starks wants to put her braiding skills to work as a volunteer for African-American children in foster care. The Oregon Department of Human Services embraced the idea. But the Portland woman soon found that even a volunteer needs to get a cosmetology license.

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Business
4:45 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

A First As A Public Company, Microsoft Reports Quarterly Loss

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer comments on the Windows 8 operating system before unveiling Surface, a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 3:18 pm

Microsoft made a $6.2 billion accounting adjustment this quarter that threw it into negative territory for the first time as a public company, the AP reports.

Microsoft took the charge mostly based on the acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising company Microsoft acquired in 2007.

As MSNBC reports, the "charge was an acknowledgement that the company's struggling online services division — which lost about half a billion dollars in the previous quarter — is a significant financial drag on the company." Microsoft, remember, is the owner of the search engine Bing.

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Business
4:59 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Oregon, Wash. Truck Inspections Turn Up Weary Drivers

An Oregon Department of Transportation motor carrier enforcement officer weighs a truck as a it passes through a weigh station. Photo by ODOT via Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:51 pm

SALEM, Ore. – A joint effort in Oregon and Washington to make sure truckers are following safety rules turned up a higher than expected number of weary drivers. More than a quarter of drivers inspected in Oregon were found to be on the road when they shouldn't have been.

Truckers are required to take rest breaks every so often in order to ensure they're alert when they're behind the wheel. They have to keep track of those breaks in their logbook.

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Washington state investments
7:37 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Washington's pension owns resort in paradise, among far-flung investments

Marlon Brando’s private atoll Tetiaroa as seen from the air. Photo courtesy of Pacific Beachcomber

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:47 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There’s a government office in Olympia where employees travel the globe and titans of Wall Street are regular visitors. The singer Bono even dropped in once, after a concert.

We’re talking about the Washington State Investment Board. Its job is to maximize returns on an $85 billion investment portfolio. To do that the Board invests in some very exotic places.

About the closest most of us will ever get to Tahiti is a Paul Gaughin painting or the beach image on our computer screensaver. But Steve Draper’s been there several times.

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Business
4:47 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

New program turns foreclosed homes into affordable housing

A foreclosed home in the South Beacon Hill neighborhood that Homestead plans to rehab
Ashley Gross KPLU

Home prices have dropped almost 30 percent from their peak in Seattle, but there are still a lot of people who can’t afford to buy a home in the city. Now, a new program is tackling that problem by converting foreclosed homes into affordable housing.

Under the program, you could buy a house for $85,000 less than what it’s worth - if you make below a certain income threshold.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Ditch that memo, it's time to race tricycles! Office Olympics catch on

Troy Brockway throws a slingshot in Guidant Financial's office Olympics
Andy Karnopp Guidant Financial

The summer Olympics kick off in London on July 27th. But while the world’s best swimmers and sprinters get ready, office workers here are not to be outdone. They’re going for the gold in the name of that corporate buzzword – team-building.

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Business and labor
2:02 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Taxis threaten to stop Sea-Tac Airport service over town cars

Taxi drivers are up in arms over town cars, but the Port of Seattle says it doesn't know of any violations by town car operators.
Thomas Hawk Flickr

Claiming town cars are breaking the rules, Seattle taxi drivers are threatening to stop taking passengers to Sea-Tac Airport.

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Business
8:43 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Cities near Seattle may lose tax revenue if arena gets built

The Sonics playing the Pistons at KeyArena in 2007
Mike Kelley

A new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle could steal tax dollars from neighboring communities. That’s according to the analysis of University of Washington geography professor Bill Beyers, who has spent a lot of time studying the economic impact of professional sports.

Beyers has done previous analyses about the Mariners and Seahawks, as well as KeyArena.  As part of an expert panel, Beyers presented his initial thoughts on the proposed NBA and NHL arena to the King County Council.

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Business
4:10 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Boeing wins big 737MAX order from United

Boeing had a triumphant announcement today - a big order from United Continental for its 737 narrow-body airplanes, which are made in Renton. United is buying 150 737s, Boeing's popular single-aisle jet. Two-thirds of those planes will be the newest version – the 737MAX, which Boeing announced last August.

Boeing was rushing to catch up with its rival Airbus, which had already announced hundreds of orders for its new narrow-body plane, the A320neo. Randy Tinseth is a vice president of marketing for Boeing.

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Foreclosures
10:37 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Report: Some Americans Have Lost Homes Over As Little As $400

Furniture and personal belongings sit in front of a house that appears to have been foreclosed on in Antioch, California.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 7:02 pm

A report from a consumer group released today says that vulnerable owners are losing their homes for owing as little as $400 in back taxes.

The AP reports:

"Outdated state laws allow big banks and other investors to reap windfall profits by buying the houses for a pittance and reselling them, the National Consumer Law Center said in a report being released Tuesday.

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Business
8:29 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Can Seattle's population support six major sports teams?

Seattle's SoDo neighborhood would be the site of a new basketball and hockey arena if the proposal goes through
camknows

Battle lines are being drawn between people who want a new basketball and hockey arena in Seattle and people who don’t. A town hall meeting at North Seattle Community College at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 10th, will give people a chance to speak out on the proposal. 

One issue likely to come up is whether the city is even big enough to support six professional sports teams.  The plan would add an NBA team and possibly an NHL team to the city's pro sports landscape of Seahawks, Mariners, Storm and Sounders. 

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NPR tech news
3:23 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

The next Silicon Valley? Berlin startups catching up

Simon Fabich (center) is CEO and co-founder of the Berlin-based online shopping startup Monoqi. Artsy and relatively inexpensive, Berlin is an up-and-coming city for European tech startups.
Courtesy of Monoqi

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 1:29 pm

California's Silicon Valley remains by far the dominant arena for high-tech startups and venture capitalists looking to back innovative projects.

But Europe is starting to make its mark on the startup scene. London, Paris and Berlin are starting to hold their own as more and more European startups look to compete on the global stage and attract investors.

A 'Crazy Green Field' For Creative Types

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Your Money
2:37 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Raising minimum wage: A help or harm?

Wendy Brown of Schenectady, N.Y., holds a sign before an Occupy Albany rally pushing for a raise in New York's minimum wage on May 29, 2012.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 5:55 pm

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

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Privatizing liquor
2:14 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

The surprising places you might find liquor in Washington

A hardware store in Lake Forest Park has gotten into the liquor business. The proprietors noted that in addition to the booze you might expect, they carry boutique liquors from Washington distillers.
Hannah Jacobson For KPLU

Liquor in a hardware store? Mini’s at the checkout stand? Mega-stores around the corner?

Woman on the street: “My parents actually needed a gift for a friend of ours, and they were able to buy it at a convenience store – like a nice bottle of liquor. I think it’s convenient!”

Now that Washington State is out of the liquor sales business, bottles of booze are showing up in some unexpected places.

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