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Archives: 2010

Dec.
23rd

Holidays 2010: By the numbers

Here’s a look at the 2010 holiday season By-the-Numbers, thanks to the U.S. Census Bureau.

2,226: 2009 population of North Pole, AK
2,303: Of Santa Claus, IN
247: Of Santa Claus, GA
1,165: Of Noel, MO
418: Of Rudolph, WI
821: Of Dasher, GA

$488.5 million: Value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and August 2010
$28.2 million: Value of artificial Christmas trees likewise imported
$27.4 billion: Retail sales by the nation’s department stores in December 2009, a 45 percent jump from the previous month
$30 billion:

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Dec.
22nd

With $4.7 billion paid to 500,000 workers, unemployment insurance benefits set a state record in 2010

It’s a record – and not one that anyone can be proud of.

According to a state Employment Security Department release Wednesday, more than a half-million Washington workers collected nearly $4.7 billion in unemployment benefits in 2010 – eclipsing records set in 2009.

“This has been another demanding year for Employment Security, but even more challenging for those who still can’t find a job after months and months of looking,” said Joel Sacks, the department’s deputy commissioner.

• By Dec. 31, more than 500,000 Washingtonians will have received unemployment benefits in 2010, compared to 475,000 in 2009 and

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Dec.
22nd

Heritage Financial repays Treasury balance of TARP CPP funds

Olympia-based Heritage Financial Corp. announced Tuesday that it has redeemed the 24,000 shares of its preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program Capital Purchase Program in November 2008.

On Tuesday, according to a Heritage release, the company repaid $24.1 million, comprising $24 million of principal and $123,333 of accrued and unpaid dividends.

Brian L. Vance, Heritage president and CEO said the redemption completes the company’s participation in the capital progam.

“We are very comfortable with our overall strong capital levels that were further enhanced by the recent common public offering of $57.6 million,” he

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Dec.
22nd

Counterfeit cashier’s checks in circulation bearing the name Cashmere Valley Bank

If Santa brings you a cashier’s check from Cashmere Valley Bank, you might want to check to see if it’s real.

The bank has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to report that counterfeit cashier’s checks bearing the institution’s name are in circulation.

According to an FDIC release Wednesday, the counterfeit items display the routing number 125104603, which is assigned to Cashmere Valley Bank. Although similar in appearance to actual checks, these have have rounded corners, and authentic checks include the bank’s telephone number below the bank’s name and address in the top-left corner.

The FDIC asks that

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Dec.
22nd

A gift from the Small Business Administration: a new website filled with help and advice for small businesses

If you’re the owner or manager of one of America’s 29-million-plus small businesses, the Small Business Administration has some new tools to help you succeed.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills this week launched a redesigned SBA website at www.sba.gov. The site presents the launch of “SBA Direct,” a new web tool with a variety of personalization features that, according to an SBA release, “will help small businesses start-up, succeed and grow.”

With the launch of the new site, said Mills, “we have reached a significant milestone in how the agency has evolved in using interactive Web tools, social media and

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Dec.
21st

State issues warning about payday loan company operating from Malta

If you got that payday loan from an outfit in Malta, then this consumer alert from the state Department of Financial Institutions may be little too late to help. For the rest of you – be warned.

DFI this week said a company called Northway Financial, doing business as “Cash Transfer Centers,” doing business as “Zip19.com” provides payday loans to via the internet. The company is located in Malta and is not licensed to do business In Washington.

The department warned consumers “to verify the license of any lending professional” they intend to work with.

The Maltese company is not

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Dec.
21st

State Health Department OKs MultiCare application to build a hospital in Covington

The state Department of Health announced Tuesday that it has approved the request by Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System to build a 58-bed acute care hospital in Covington, in King County.

The facility, the department said in a press release, “will improve access and meet South King County residents’ needs for hospital services.”

In its approval, the department “found a clear need for additional hospital beds in Southeast King County’s communities. The decision to approve MultiCare’s request followed a review of three very competitive hospital proposals in that part of King County.”

Requests were also filed by Auburn Regional Medical

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Dec.
21st

Alaska, California and Nevada top the destination list of Puget Sound travel bookings for 2011

Alaska, Anaheim and Las Vegas. That’s where travelers from the Pacific Northwest will be going in 2011.

Travel Leaders – with 18 travel offices in the Tacoma-Seattle area and 547 nationwide – is out with its annual year-end look at bookings for the year ahead.

So far, Pacific Northwest agents report the highest bookings for domestic travel include Alaska cruises; trips to Anaheim-Orange County, California; and Las Vegas. These are followed in the Top 10 by Honolulu, Orlando, Maui, Chicago, Hawaiian cruises, New York City, Pheonix and, oddly enough, Seattle.

Nationally, agents report the top domestic trips as including Las

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