Jan. 10 / Council approves Wheelabrator contract, rejects car-tab fee
The Spokane City Council approved a three-year, $25 million contract with Wheelabrator Spokane Inc., a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management Inc., to continue to operate the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System's waste-to-energy plant. Spokane County, which co-owns the plant with the city, also must vote on the contract. Separately, the City Council rejected a $20 annual fee on vehicle tabs, in part after becoming divided over whether some of the funds the fee would generate should be spent on sidewalks rather than pavement.
Jan. 4 / Gee acquires Kia dealership
Liberty Lake-based Gee Automotive Management LLC said it acquired Spokane Kia from Kane Automotive Group LLC, also of Liberty Lake, for an undisclosed sum and has moved the dealership's sales and service operations to the Gee Import Center, at 21602 E. George Gee Ave. With the acquisition, Gee Automotive, which also owns Buick, GMC, and Porsche dealerships in Liberty Lake, became the exclusive Kia dealer for the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area.
Dec. 27 / Clearwater acquires Georgia tissue maker
Spokane-based Clearwater Paper Corp. said it completed its $530 million purchase of the Alpharetta, Ga.-based manufacturer of tissue products, Cellu Tissue Holdings Inc., and now has 14 manufacturing locations in the U.S. and Canada, with a 15th under construction in Selby, N.C. The acquisition significantly expanded Clearwater's production and sales network for its private-label tissue business, the company said.
Dec. 22 / NightHawk, vRad merger complete
Minnesota-based Virtual Radiologic (vRad) completed its acquisition of NightHawk Radiology Holdings Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., as part of a previously announced merger. NightHawk was launched in Coeur d'Alene 10 years ago. The merged companies said they'll be able to provide enhanced services to radiology groups and hospitals nationwide. Both companies provide physician readings of radiology studies on an around-the-clock basis, filling in gaps when the staff members of radiology practices aren't available.
Dec. 16 / Regulators fine Avista over energy-assistance funds
The Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission said it fined Spokane-based Avista Corp. $62,100 for improperly applying energy-assistance pledge funds to customers' prior balances, rather than using them to keep low-income customers connected during winter months. Avista said certain rules regarding the application of energy-assistance funds were unclear, although it has since paid the fine without further protest.
Dec. 15 / Western Aviation named Felts Field FBO
The Spokane Airport Board approved a five-year contract designating Western Aviation, a subsidiary of Western Avionics Inc., of Spokane, the fixed-base operator for Felts Field general aviation airport. Western Avionics said that in addition to fuel service, it will provide aircraft maintenance services, pilot supplies, avionics equipment, and independent flight instruction. Felts Field had been without an FBO since last spring, when Felts Field Aviation Inc. closed most of its operations there after it was unable to negotiate a lease with the airport to continue as the FBO.
Dec. 15 / Budget cuts could close MAC
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire announced a 2011 to 2013 biennium budget proposal that would cut funding for the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and its associated agency, the Eastern Washington State Historical Society, forcing the museum to close. If approved as proposed, the museum said it would receive $1.9 million less during the new biennium than the $3.2 million it received in the last budget. Those cuts include reducing the MAC's staff from 34.8 to 2.8 full-time equivalent employees, retaining the minimum number of staff necessary to maintain the museum's archives.
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