April 19 / Children's initiative backers target later vote
Advocates of the Children's Investment Fund Initiative said they had gathered 8,200 signatures on petitions, short of the 12,000 signatures they had sought, and now hope to get the initiative onto the Nov. 3 general election ballot rather than the Aug. 17 primary ballot. The levy would raise $5 million a year for six years, and would fund before- and after-school programs to help reduce the high school dropout rate. For the measure to make the ballot, they must gather 8,400 valid signatures from registered voters.
April 17 / Whitworth selects new president
Whitworth University's board named Beck Taylor, of Birmingham, Ala., to succeed the Spokane school's longtime president, Bill Robinson. Taylor, who will take the reins July 1, is dean of the Brock School of Business, at Samford University, the largest private institution in Alabama. Separately, Whitworth said it will name the $32 million biology-chemistry building under construction on the school's North Side campus the William P. and Bonnie V. Robinson Science Hall in honor of Robinson, who has been president of the university for 17 years, and his wife.
April 15 / Sterling approves shareholder rights plan
Spokane-based Sterling Financial Corp.'s board adopted a shareholder rights plan designed to preserve substantial tax assets. The plan, similar to tax benefit preservation plans adopted by other public companies, calls for the distribution of a one-for-one dividend of preferred share purchase rights to common shareholders if a substantial ownership change were to occur. Sterling said its tax benefits would have been substantially limited if certain ownership changes occurred involving its largest shareholders.
April 14 / Massachusetts concern agrees to buy Signature Genomic
PerkinElmer Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based health technology services provider, announced it plans to buy Signature Genomic Laboratories LLC, a Spokane genetic testing service. The sale, the terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close next month, PerkinElmer said. Signature Genomic was founded here in 2003 and has 120 employees.
April 13 / Employment dips here
Nonfarm wage and salary employment in the Spokane area fell to 205,800 in March, down 3,600 jobs from the March 2009 level, according to preliminary Washington state Employment Security Department figures. Preliminary figures from another survey put the unemployment rate here at 10.5 percent in March, up from 9.7 percent in the year-earlier month.
April 9 / Study says courthouse complex best jail site
A second jail-site study conducted by Integrus Architecture PS and Jim Kolva Associates, both of Spokane, concluded that the best of 10 potential sites for a new medium-security Spokane County Jail is next to the high-security jail in the Spokane County Courthouse complex. The second- and third-ranked sites were a 40-acre gravel pit at the northeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Russell Road, in Airway Heights, and 500 acres of farmland and native pasture west of the Medical Lake-Interstate 90 interchange, on the West Plains. Meantime, the city of Spokane said it wants to explore whether it can reduce the cost of incarcerating low-risk inmates by building its own minimum security jail rather than continuing to pay Spokane County to house them.
April 7 / Avista chooses wireless network for smart grid
Avista Corp., a Spokane-based energy company, selected Tropos Networks, of Sunnyvale, Calif., to provide a wireless network as a key component of its smart-grid system. The two-way network is expected to enable Avista to pinpoint faults in its distribution network, match energy demand with supply, and reduce unneeded production and energy losses in its Spokane service area. The project aims to provide savings of 42,000 megawatt-hours and to reduce carbon emissions by 14,400 tons annually.
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