Sept. 17 / Sacred Heart to trim work force, services
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital announced it's planning a still-to-be-determined number of layoffs and cuts in services and programs this fall, and it has asked each department to cut its budget by 5 percent. It said the cost-cutting measures are needed to counter anticipated shortfalls in revenues due to a decline in the number of elective surgeries being performed and to mounting charity care costs, which are $7 million more so far this year than it had anticipated.
Sept. 16 / Sirti seeks applicants for energy-innovation fund
Sirti, the state-funded economic development agency located on the Riverpoint Campus here, said it's seeking applicants for grants and loans from a $1.5 million energy-innovation fund that it's managing through its nonprofit foundation. The fund is intended to accelerate projects with commercial applications that improve energy efficiency, reduce reliance on imported energy, improve the reliability of energy delivery, or reduce environmental impacts of energy production. The fund was created with money from a federal grant.
Sept. 16 / Clearwater Paper to buy Georgia company
Clearwater Paper Corp., of Spokane, said it has agreed to buy Cellu Tissue Holdings Inc., an Alpharetta, Ga.-based tissue products maker, for $502 million, and expects the acquisition to boost its earnings immediately and increase its national presence in the private-label tissue market. Clearwater Paper said it will fund the transaction with a combination of cash on hand and $350 million of debt financing. It said it expects the purchase to be completed in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 15 / Avista files for natural-gas cost adjustments
Avista Corp., of Spokane, filed for natural-gas purchase cost adjustments that, if approved, would boost prices 4.6 percent in Washington and 4.3 percent in Idaho starting Nov. 1. The annual adjustments are intended to reflect variations in the wholesale cost of natural gas during the year, and would follow a roughly 30 percent decrease in prices last year, the company said.
Sept. 15 / INHS teams up with federal agencies
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the Spokane VA Medical Center and Fairchild Air Force Base will join forces with Inland Northwest Health Services on an electronic health-information exchange pilot program. The intent of the program is to improve the "portability" and exchange of veterans' and active-duty military personnel's health information on a voluntary basis. The pilot program here will run through 2012, with the goal of expanding its availability after that.
Sept. 15 / Employment here falls
About 200,900 people held nonagricultural wage and salary jobs in the Spokane area in August, down by 4,600 from the August 2009 level, preliminary state figures showed. Preliminary results from another state survey put the unemployment rate in August at 8.6 percent, down slightly from 8.8 percent in the year-earlier month.
Sept. 14 / DOT to add lanes to I-90
The Washington state Department of Transportation said it will construct a third lane in each direction on Interstate 90 between Sullivan Road and Barker Road in the city of Spokane Valley next year. The work is expected to cost $25 million and will be paid for through project savings and low bids on other highway improvements. WSDOT said it plans to award the construction contract this fall and begin construction in the spring.
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