Business

Alaskan Way Viaduct
5:30 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Anti-tunnel rally in Seattle tries to build opposition to referendum

The protestors carried a 25-foot replica of what they said represented the “monster tunnel that eats money.”
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

At a rally in downtown Seattle late this afternoon roughly 60 protesters marched on city hall to show their opposition to the waterfront tunnel scheduled to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The protestors carried a 25-foot replica of what they said represented the “monster tunnel that eats money.”

A smaller group of tunnel supporters also showed up with props to argue that killing the tunnel would cause too much congestion.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:57 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Hanford layoffs not based just on seniority

RICHLAND, Wash. – Seniority won't be the only factor for determining layoffs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Pink slips are expected in six weeks by several Hanford contractors because federal stimulus money is tapering off.

CH2MHill and Mission Support Alliance are the federal contractors planning on the 1,600 lay-offs. The companies say union employees will lose their jobs based on seniority: those with the least experience going first.

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Unemployment
10:51 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In this era of plastic, Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way: by check. That's a stark contrast to neighboring Oregon where jobless benefits are loaded on a debit card. So what are the trade-offs?

Currently in Washington about 180,000 people are receiving unemployment. Half of them are signed up for direct deposit.

The rest get a check in the mail. It costs the state 45 cents to issue each check – most of that is postage.

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Business
10:08 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Standoff puts some airport construction projects in limbo

Spokane International Airport viewed from the south. The Airport is in the midst of a major runway reconstruction project.
Liesl Matthies

The Congressional stalemate over the debt ceiling isn't the only Washington standoff in the news this week. A separate showdown over spending by the Federal Aviation Administration is having an immediate effect on jobs and airport construction in our region.

Since last week, this little noticed budget battle has shut down non-essential divisions of the FAA. Airline ticket taxes are going uncollected and the federal workers who drive that money back out for airport improvement projects are furloughed.

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Business
9:31 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Northwest apricots, peaches, nectarines slow to ripen

John Douglas shows off a peach from one of his family's fruit ranches near Basin City, Wash.
Anna King Northwest News Network

BASIN CITY, Wash. – Peaches, nectarines and apricots are some of the iconic delights of summer. But this year, Northwest apricots are at about half the usual production according to the Washington Fruit Commission. Peaches and nectarines are down too, about 10 percent. And they're all late.

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Worker retraining
5:30 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Tacoma workers laid off in 'Nalley Valley' getting federal help

A spread of Nalley's top products for a 1949 advertising campaign. Workers at the former Bird's Eye canning factory are getting federal help for retraining.
Richards Studio, Tacoma via Tacoma Public Library Archives

More than two-hundred workers who lost their jobs when the "Nalley Valley" canning plant in Tacoma closed last month are now eligible for special retraining through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.

The newly unemployed, consider it a victory.

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Jobless benefits
6:00 am
Fri July 29, 2011

State nabbing innocent job seekers in unempoyment crackdown?

Creating and maintaining the proper paperwork while collecting unemployment can sometimes be harder than it seems. Nevertheless, some innocent job seekers say they've been caught up in the state's unemployment crackdown.
Solo Flickr

Recently, Washington's Employment Security Department sent out a news release announcing it had identified 9,000 people in 2010 who were not actively seeking work. The state said the individuals would have to pay back $23 million in benefits.

But those claims of jobless benefit fraud may be overstated.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:22 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Read the entire Bechtel and URS letter to employees

A message from Frank Russo, WTP Project Director, and Bill Gay, WTP Deputy Project Director

Fellow WTP employees,

Over the past several weeks, there have been reports about the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) Project that question our project’s safety culture and resolution of technical design issues, and that suggest cost and schedule objectives are favored over technical risk and safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

 SAFETY

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:19 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Hanford contractors work to reassure workers about safety

RICHLAND, Wash. – The heads of two Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractors tried to reassure workers with a memo this week. It says there is a strong safety culture on the massive waste treatment plant now under construction. The memo comes after several workers have come forward with concerns about the plant.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:17 am
Thu July 28, 2011

Hanford workers raise safety concerns, test DOE commitment

As more Hanford workers come forward with safety concerns, the Department of Energy's commitment to listen and protect them will be tested.
Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – More Hanford workers are starting to raise safety concerns about a massive nuclear waste treatment plant under construction in southeast Washington.

A federal nuclear watchdog agency has called the safety culture at the Hanford facility “flawed.” That finding is bolstered by a string of new letters from workers who say they have firsthand knowledge of problems at the plant.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:55 am
Thu July 28, 2011

Layoff notices for up to 1,200 Hanford workers

RICHLAND, Wash. — Hanford nuclear reservation cleanup contractors are beginning Thursday to notify up to 1,200 workers they will be laid off at the end of September.

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Medical Marijuana
4:19 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Seattle mayor signs city's medical marijuana law

Mayor McGinn on Wednesday signed an ordinance creating a regulatory framework for medical cannabis operations within the City of Seattle.
Jen Nance Office of Seattle Mayor

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has signed an ordinance that will regulate medical marijuana shops like any other business.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:11 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Update: Hanford whisleblower says DOE too cozy with contractors

Hanford whistleblower says contractors have too cozy a relationship with Department of Energy.
Courtesy of Hanford Contractor Bechtel

RICHLAND, Wash. – A high-level Hanford whistleblower is accusing the Department of Energy of being too cozy with its contractors at the federal nuclear reservation.

Walter Tamosaitis made that accusation in a letter released Monday. (Updated with link to a copy of the letter.)

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Business
10:59 am
Tue July 26, 2011

How's your trash can smell? Redmond company has solution

Screen grab of the company's website.

A new business is cleaning up trash cans in the Seattle area.

Steam and Clean of Redmond uses what look like garbage trucks. They pick up garbage cans at the curb and clean them with blasts of steam.

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Fourth-quarter report
5:30 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

Microsoft strong on revenue, weaker with consumers

Microsoft’s Office division continued to drive revenue growth for the company.
Associated Press

Microsoft reported good news for its investors, announcing record revenues for its final quarter earnings and the 2011 fiscal year. But one analyst said slumping sales in Windows shows the company has some weakness when it comes to consumers.

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