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Archives: Aug. 2009

Aug.
28th

Union engineers in Wichita reject Spirit offer

Engineers working in Boeing’s former Wichita, Kan. plant have rejected a second contract offer from Boeing’s successor there, Spirit Aerosystems.


Ninety-three percent of Boeing engineers voting on Spirit’s contract proposal said “no” to the latest contract offer. Ninety-two percent voted to authorize a strike at Spirit.


The engineers, represented by the same union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, that represent Boeing engineers in the Puget Sound area, said the Spirit offer was unsatisfactory.


The union said the Spirit contract proposal would double medical premiums eliminate minimum wage increase and takes away overtime pay for

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Aug.
28th

Sea-Tac Airport lands grant to buy electric vehicles

Sea-Tac Airport will use a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to replace 200 gas and diesel vehicles used at the airport with electric vehicles, the airport said this week.


The grant will also help the airport add electric charging stations on the airport’s ground level for those new vehicles.


The replacement program is estimated to eliminate some 4,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually at the airport.


The vehicles being replaced include gasoline baggage tractor and loading equipment that are among the thirstiest of the airport’s 650 ground vehicles.

Aug.
27th

Tacoma Power seeks $4.7 million grant for Cushman hydropower project

It was President Calvin Coolidge who pressed the button that started the juice flowing from Tacoma Power’s Cushman Dam hydroelectic project in 1926. That was Dam No. 1.


Dam No. 2, smaller and downstream on the Skokomish River, came in 1930.


Now, Tacoma Power is seeking a $4.7 million grant from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to build a new generation facility nearby.


The project, according to Chris Gleason, spokeswoman for Tacoma Power, qualifies for funding from the Department of Energy’s Hydroelectric Facility Modernization program, "which aims to support hydropower projects that would modernize the existing

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Aug.
27th

Why the Luzon is in danger of collapse

The City of Tacoma’s Building and Land Use chief Charlie Solverson Wednesday night shared with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission several photos of the exterior and interior of the Luzon Building to illustrate why the city is concerned.

Here are the pictures that give an idea how two or three decades of neglect to even a well-built structure such as the historic Luzon can become a dangerous building.

Note the collapsing roof and floors, the missing support colums, fractured beams and the separation between the floors and the leaning brick north wall.

Aug.
27th

City lays out plan to shore up the failing Luzon Building

Two tall, angled metal supports anchored in the middle of South 13th Street would support the deteriorating north wall of downtown Tacoma’s historic Luzon Building under a city plan to save the building from collapse.


The City of Tacoma unveiled those preliminary plans Wednesday night at a meeting of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission.


Those supports would be connected to vertical I-beams welded to existing horizontal beams on the six-story building’s exterior.



Once the new supports were in place, the city could partially reopen South 13th Street, said Charlie Solverson,

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Aug.
27th

Put a tape around your cubicle – a new way to enforce workplace privacy


Millions of people work in cubicles. You know who you are. And you know what it’s like to be interrupted by co-workers passing by who stop to pass the time.


You have likely developed methods by which either to discourage or encourage these interruptions. Well, so has a company called CubeGuard – which offers a message tape that can be stretched across a cubicle entryway.


The messages vary: "Please Do Not Disturb," "Out of the Office," "Working from Home" and "Out to Lunch" come pre-made. Should you want another message,

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Aug.
27th

Boeing taking $2.5 billion charge on Dreamliner

Boeing’s woes with the development of the fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner came home to roost today with an anticipated $2.5 billion charge against third-quarter earnings.

The news of the huge charge-off came as Boeing announced that the first 787, fresh from modifications of its wing-to-body joint, will fly late this year.

If the 787 flies in December for the first time, its initial flight will be nearly two and a half years behind its original schedule.

The company said it will be taking the charge against earnings of $2.21 a share in the third quarter because the first three test aircraft have no market value because of all of the retrofits and unique changes made to them.

The fourth through sixth test aircraft, subject to less rework than the first three, will likely be sold in the executive aircraft market, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group President Scott Carson in an early morning conference call.

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Aug.
26th

Boeing solar cell sets efficiency record

A solar cell produced by Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab Inc. has set a new efficiency world record for an earth-bound solar cell.


The cell, tested at a U.S. Department of Energy lab in Colorado, converted 41.6 percent of the sunlight falling on it to electrical power.


The previous record, 41.1 percent was held by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.


Spectrolab solar cells power 60 percent of satellites orbiting the earth as well as the International Space Station. The company is expanding its efforts in building terrestrial photovoltaic cells.