Business

Real Estate
7:22 am
Fri March 4, 2011

King County home prices down 7% compared to last year

A jogger and dog run past a house posted with a new price in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Foreclosures and uncertainty are clogging up the real estate market, and one local expert says prices won't go up again before next year.

The median price of a home in King County  is down nearly 7% compared to a year ago.  That's one of many tidbits in the mass of numbers released this month by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Sales data for February show the median sales price in Washington's most populous county down 7 percent compared to last year. The median price of a home in King County has dropped to $320-thousand dollars. That's about $23,000 dollars less than in February of last year. 

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Unemployment
4:38 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

State's jobless rate drops

Washington state added 11,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate in state dropped from 9.3%  in December to 9.1% at the start of the year.

It's the strongest month of job growth in three years, and the largest since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. The gains came outside the agriculture sector.

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Shellfish Harvesting
7:48 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Washington poised to get tougher with shellfish operators

This story has been updated to correct the dollar amount the state believes to have been poached.

Last summer, we brought you a story about gaps in the system that's supposed to keep Washington shellfish safe to eat. Now state lawmakers appear ready to get tougher with shellfish operators who violate food safety laws.

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Seattle Center Master Plan
5:25 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Improvements planned for Seattle Center Food Court

The Seattle Center Food Court, inside the Center House, February 28, 2011. It will close close July 1st for demolition. New food services are to be in place in time for the anniversary celebrations of the 1962 World's Fair.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It looks like the Seattle Center Food Court will soon be run by a concessionaire that has current contracts with Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo. 

The Seattle Center has announced a letter-of-intent with Lancer Hospitality. 

The space was built originally as an armory, completed in 1939.  Located at the base of the Space Needle, it was famous in the 1970s for the Bubbleator amusement ride (now in Burien) and for at that time newfangled food attractions, such as Orange Julius smoothies. 

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Defense
4:58 pm
Fri February 25, 2011

Boeing workers and unions celebrate winning bid for Air Force tanker contract

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

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Defense
8:18 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Tanker deal is big win for Washington aerospace, 10 years in the making

An F-16 from the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing aligns with the boom from a Boeing, KC-135 Stratotanker.
Ben Margot AP Photo

Aerospace workers in the Puget Sound region are celebrating.  So is the state's congressional delegation, which has fought for 10 years to win a lucrative contract to build a refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The Pentagon's Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, says Boeing was "a clear winner" in the competition to build a multi-billion-dollar refueling tanker.  This means unless rival bidder EADS contests the decision, a newly revamped 767 line at Boeing's Everett factory will likely be busy for decades. 

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Agriculture
7:58 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Middle East among factors causing wheat price volatility for Washington farmers

The Middle East is one of the largest wheat-importing regions in the world but the tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.
Wikimedia Commons

The tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.  Northwest farmers and wheat traders are trying to hedge against the uncertainty.

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Bank Failure Fallout
8:08 am
Tue February 22, 2011

WaMu execs face federal lawsuit

Kerry Killinger, former Washington Mutual Bank president, chief executive office and chairman of the board, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Cliff Owen AP Photo

Several former Washington Mutual executives have been notified by the federal government that they'll be sued over their role in the collapse of the Seattle-based bank.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that sources familiar with the suit say the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation intends to seek more than a billion dollars in damages.

To be named in the suit are:

  • Kerry Killinger, former WaMu CEO 
  • Steve Rotella, former president and chief operating officer 
  • David Schneider, former head of the bank’s home load division

All three executives have denied wrongdoing.

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HUMANOSPHERE
1:37 pm
Fri February 18, 2011

Young biz entrepreneurs compete for social good

Cynthia Koenig and her Wello
Tom Paulson KPLU Humanosphere

If you walked into the dimly lit, wood-paneled room and listened to the fast-paced talk by Cynthia Koenig, you might be forgiven for thinking she just sounded like another one of those young, profit-oriented entrepreneurs looking for money from venture capitalists or other kinds of investors.

Koenig is, actually, one of those money-seeking young business types, except that the primary goal of her proposal is to make life a lot easier and safer for millions of poor women around the world.

Hence the Wello, a kind of goofy looking water-carrying wheel-barrel (no, that’s not a typo) that she and her colleague, Colm Fay, at the University of Michigan’s business school want to sell to poor people.

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workplace safety
11:06 am
Fri February 18, 2011

Workplace deaths rise, after several years of drops

An example of the dangers of “trench digging” illustrates how workers should not stand near or under operating machinery.
OSHA Training Institute, Southwest Education Center / elcoshimages.org

When you leave home for work, you probably assume you’ll live to come back at the end of the day.  For 86 workers, that didn’t happen last year.

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Business
1:24 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Microsoft teams up with Nokia

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in London 2/11/2011
Nokia

In a widely expected move, Microsoft and Nokia have announced they're joining forces on the smartphone front. Nokia has long been a leader in the cell phone industry, but has fallen behind Apple and Google in the smartphone arena. Microsoft has been playing catch-up with its Windows Phone 7. The new partnership melds Nokia hardware with Microsoft software in what the companies hope will be a winning combination. 

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AIR FORCE TANKER
10:17 am
Fri February 11, 2011

Verbal sparring begins as military refueler bids submitted - again

An F-16 from the California Air National Guard aligns with the boom from a Boeing, KC-135 Stratotanker. On Thursday, Boeing and Airbus’ parent company EADS America submitted competing bids for the third time for a contract to build a new tanker. (File)
AP

Final bids were submitted Thursday by Boeing and Airbus' parent company, EADS for the contract to build the Air Force's in-flight refueling tanker. The Air Force could announce the winner as early as next month, but the award is likely to be sidetracked by politics and protests.

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Aerospace
12:13 am
Fri February 11, 2011

Premiere of 747-8 to cap big week for Boeing

Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental will be flying "in a matter of weeks," says spokesman Jm Proulx. The superlative version of the company's iconic jet will have its premiere at a celebration this weekend in Everett.
Image courtesy of Boeing

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood

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Business
2:01 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Groupon's coffee buzz: Starbucks' CEO joins board, invests in site

Howard Schultz is joining the board of Groupon, the web 'coupon' site, as well as making a financial investment. The Starbucks CEO is pictured last March in Seattle at the company's annual shareholders meeting.
AP

Howard Schultz announced his investment in the enormously popular consumer-discount site Groupon Thursday. At the same time, Groupon confirmed the Starbucks CEO's election to its board

TechFlash's John Cook reports Schultz' investment "is not connected to Starbucks":

...but having the leader of the world's leading specialty coffee retailer on the board certainly will add some interesting possibilities. Starbucks has been expanding its digital footprint aggressively in recent months, adding features such as mobile payments and free in-store wi-fi.

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Business
1:27 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Microsoft looking for more technical know-how at the top

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's Xbox 360 Kinect avatar as seen at his CES 2011 keynote address
Simon Bisson (sbisson) flickr.com

Microsoft wants more engineers leading the company. According to a Bloomberg report, CEO Steve Ballmer wants his senior executives to have solid technical backgrounds in addition to business expertise. Bloomberg's Dina Bass reports the new strategy may be announced later this month. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

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