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Archives: March 2009

March
31st

Sea-Tac shuts down longest runway for overhaul

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport closed its longest runway early today for a long-overdue rebuilding.


The runway, parts of which date from the airport’s 1947 opening, will be completely rebuilt and equipped with modern lighting and safety systems. Among those safety systems will be a light system that provides airline crews with visual “stop” and “go” signals before they guide their aircraft across the runway to reach the terminal or more distant runways.


The opening of the airport’s $1.1 billion third runway in November enabled the airport to shut down its oldest and longest runway.


The 11,901-foot-long runway

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March
31st

Tacoma man charged with $6 million church-related fraud

A Tacoma man, John H. Min, lived a lavish lifestyle while raising more than $6 million from investors in a fraudulent investment scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged today.


Min bought a $70,000 Mercedes luxury car, sent his children to private schools and took elaborate vacations using the proceeds of the alleged scam, the government claimed.


Min focused on churches and their members and senior citizens as potential investors while claiming that his Dime Financial Group benefited charitable groups in developing countries, charging documents claimed.


He told potential investors that he was able to generate

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March
31st

Seattle home prices down 15 percent from last year

Seattle-area home prices were down 15 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago, according to data released today.


At the same time national home prices sank by the sharpest annual rate on record, and the pace continues to accelerate. There were a handful of battered metro areas where price declines slowed, The Associated Press reports.


The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major cities tumbled by a record 19 percent from January 2008. It was the largest decline since the index started in 2000. The 10-city index dropped 19.4 percent, also

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March
31st

Microsoft to shut down Encarta online, stop software

From The Associated Press:


Microsoft Corp.’s digital encyclopedia, Encarta, might have pushed its printed competitors off the shelves in some homes. Now Encarta itself has fallen victim to changes in technology, made all but obsolete by the likes of Web search and Wikipedia.


Microsoft said it will shut down the online version of Encarta in October and will discontinue sales of the PC software by June.


Encarta was first sold to computer users as a CD-ROM-based encyclopedia in 1993. Critics questioned some of Microsoft’s editorial decisions, including the fact that Encarta’s dictionary had a photo of

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March
31st

Record number of companies use state’s lay-off prevention program

A record 1,000 employers are now participating in a state program aimed at helping companies minimize layoffs.


That’s more participants that at any other time in the program’s 25-year history, according to a news release from the Employment Security Department.


In addition to the record number of employers, the Shared-Work Program is now serving more than 30,000 workers.


A year ago, there were 145 participating employers with about 5,700 employees.


Under the program, an employer can temporarily reduce employees’ hours and qualified workers may receive partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost

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March
31st

A virtual tour of the new MultiCare ER and cancer center

If you’ve been driving the borderlands between Tacoma’s Stadium District and Hilltop, then you’ve likely seen the construction going on at the campus of MultiCare Health System.


The big building going up, slated to open next year, will principally contain a new emergency department and cancer treatment center.


For a neat glance at how it’s all going to look, MultiCare has developed a virtual tour. Click here to see it.

March
30th

Boeing rival signs contract for 20 aircraft

Bombardier Inc., the Canadian planemaker, has signed a sales agreement worth a reported $1.44 billion for 20 of its new C series aircraft with an Irish leasing company.


The twin-engine aircraft are to be delivered to Lease Corp. International Financing beginning in 2013.


The C series aircraft will compete with the smaller capacity versions of Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320 series of aircraft.


The new planes feature fuel-saving geared turbofan jet engines from Pratt & Whitney.


The order is the second for Bombardier in recent weeks. Germany’s Lufthansa signed an order for 30 C series

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March
30th

Gas prices up a dime in a week

Despite ample supplies of gas, the price of regular unleaded continues to rise gradually in Tacoma and in the country.


The average price for a gallon of regular hit $2.259 in Tacoma today according to TacomaGasPrices.com. That’s 10 cents more per gallon than a week ago.


Nationwide, gas prices reached $2.03 a gallon today, up about 8 cents from a week ago.


But the good news is that that Tacoma area price is nearly $1.13 a gallon less than the same week last year.


The lowest price in the Tacoma area today was a Puyallup’s

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