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Archive for October, 2009

Arizona Court Says Public-Records Law Covers ‘Metadata’

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

PHOENIX (AP) — Hidden data embedded in electronic public records must be disclosed under Arizona’s public records law, the state Supreme Court said Thursday in a groundbreaking ruling that attracted interest from media and government organizations.
The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, which overturned lower court rulings, is believed to be the first by a state supreme court on whether a public records law applies to so-called “metadata.”
“This is at the cutting edge — it’s the law trying to catch up with technology,” said David R. Merkel, a lawyer for a municipalities group that urged the justices to rule that metadata doesn’t have to be disclosed.
Metadata can show how and when a document was created or revised and by whom. The information isn’t visible when a document is printed on paper nor does it appear on screen in normal settings.
The Arizona ruling came in a case involving a demoted Phoenix police officer’s request for data embedded in notes written by a supervisor. The officer got a printed copy but said he wanted the metadata to see whether the supervisor backdated the notes to before the demotion.
“It would be illogical, and contrary to the policy of openness underlying the public records law, to conclude that public entities can withhold information embedded in an electronic document, such as the date of creation, while they would be required to produce the same information if it were written manually on a paper public records,” Justice Scott Bales wrote.
Disclosing metadata shouldn’t be overly burdensome on public entities, Bales wrote.
Arizona’s law generally requires governmental entities to release public records, but they don’t have to create them to meet a request.
A Washington state appellate court ruled last year that metadata in e-mail received by a city’s deputy mayor was a public record. Unlike Arizona’s law, the Washington law specifically says the data is subject to disclosure. That case is pending before the Washington Supreme Court.
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns and other governmental entities filed briefs citing burdens of complying with requests for metadata and urging the justices to uphold a Court of Appeals ruling.
Meanwhile, media organizations, including The Associated Press, cited the media’s watchdog role and asked the court to rule that the public records law applies to metadata.
The Arizona decision likely will have a “persuasive effect” on other states’ courts, said Dan Barr, an attorney who filed a brief on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists and other media organizations.
“If there’s metadata in there, that’s public record,” he said.
The ruling also means requested electronic records must be provided in that form rather than paper printouts, which makes them difficult and costly to search, Barr said.
The opinion said some metadata, like other public records, could be withheld for privacy or other reasons.


Frontier Bank Parent Reports $141 Million 3Q Loss

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A merger planned by the troubled Everett-based bank fell through earlier this year, but Patrick Fahey, Frontier CEO, remains optimistic the bank will be successful in raising new capital.

You can read its announcement of its third-quarter results at www.frontierbank.com.

Frontier Bank is active in Kitsap County.

Rachel Pritchett


Kitsap Gas Prices on the Rise

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Today, the average price for a gallon of unleaded was $2.81 in Kitsap, up six cents from a week ago, says the AAA. Rachel Pritchett

The Associated Press
Oil prices rose sharply Thursday on new signs that the U.S. economy has rebounded, though crude levels globally continue to grow and there are few signs that actual demand for it has increased significantly.
The dollar fell once again, a factor throughout the year as crude hovers around $80 per barrel and a big reason why motorists have watched gasoline prices rise steadily for more than two weeks.
The average retail price for a gallon of gasoline is now less than a penny below highs reached during the U.S. driving season.
Benchmark crude for December delivery rose $2.41 to settle at $79.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the best showing in two years, fueled by government-supported spending on cars and homes. The report delivered the strongest signal yet that the economy entered a new, though fragile, phase of recovery and that the worst recession since the 1930s has ended.
“Any sort of encouragement with the economy is potentially bullish for oil,” said oil trader and analyst Stephen Schork.
At the same time, global oil companies have reported that crude production grew during the quarter and American Electric Power, one of the nation’s biggest utilities, said Thursday that electricity demand from industrial customers remains weak, but is showing signs of picking up.
Since last week, crude has retreated from $82 a barrel, the high for 2009, as the U.S. dollar gained back some of its losses from recent months.
Oil is largely bought and sold in dollars, which allows investors holding currencies like the euro or yen to buy more crude when the dollar falls.
When crude began rising in the middle of the month, gasoline prices that averaged less than $2.50 per gallon at the time began to tag along.
Pump prices rose for the 16th straight day Thursday, climbing 0.8 cents to $2.691 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That is 21.4 cents higher than a month ago and 10.2 cents higher than a year ago.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 5.73 cents to settle at $2.0542 a gallon. Gasoline for November delivery added 3.26 cents to settle at $2.019 a gallon. Natural gas for December delivery gave up less than a penny to settle at $5.062 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for December delivery rose $2.18 to settle at $78.04 on the ICE Futures exchange.


Thursday Stocks Up Almost 200 Points

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Now teasing the 10,000 mark at 9,952, up 190 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose sharply Thursday morning after the government said the economy grew at a stronger than expected pace during the third quarter.
Investors have spent the past couple of months hunting for clues of just how much the economy has recovered. Thursday’s gross domestic product reading gave them the surest sign yet that the economy is on the upswing.
The Commerce Department said the economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, faster than the 3.3 percent increase predicted by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.
The growth was the best in two years and stops four consecutive quarters of declines that had pushed the economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression.
Growth was bolstered by government stimulus programs, including the popular Cash for Clunkers auto program and tax credits for first-time home buyers.
In early morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 66.27, or 0.7 percent, to 9,828.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8.99, or 0.9 percent, to 1,051.62, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 20.20, or 1 percent, to 2,079.81.
Mitch Schlesinger, a managing partner at FBB Capital Partners in Bethesda, Md., said that because of government support, fourth-quarter GDP should provide a better picture of how much the economy has recovered.
“Some of the artificial goosing of the numbers will come out and we’ll get a better picture,” Schlesinger said. He added that the economy is likely to grow in the fourth quarter, but probably not at as fast a pace as the third quarter.
In the interim, however, investors will welcome the better-than-expected third quarter report, he said.
Investors were also pleased by the Labor Department’s report that people receiving unemployment benefits on an ongoing basis dropped sharply by 148,000 to 5.8 million, below economists’ expectations.
Workers filing first-time claims for unemployment dipped 1,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 530,000 last week. Economists expected a larger decline to 521,000.
Stocks are rebounding after being pummeled for the third straight day on Wednesday. A disappointing report on sales of new homes helped ignite worries about the pace of a recovery.


Could Port Become Navy-Contractor Campus?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

By Rachel Pritchett
rpritchett@kitsapsun.com
BREMERTON NATIONAL AIRPORT
For the moment, don’t call it economic development. Call it a move.
General Dynamics Electric Boat has finished conversion work on two submarines at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, so the office space it had there no longer was available.
So it’s moving its offices to the Port of Bremerton’s Olympic View Industrial Park near Bremerton National Airport, where it also will lease warehouse space.
That will be the new home base for Electric Boat’s 50 to 70 local civilian employees, though some will still report to the shipyard for work.
“We’d still be working out of the shipyard, primarily,” said Bob Hamilton, spokesman for the Groton, Conn.-based contractor.
How long it stays at the port — and whether it will ever add any new jobs to local economy — depends on the robustness of its Navy contracts.
“It is entirely tied to what they want us to do,” Hamilton said.
Shipyard workload projections appear strong.
Shipyard spokeswoman Mary Anne Mascianica called its workload in 2010 and beyond “full to bursting.” And speakers at a Kitsap Economic Development Alliance symposium this past summer also predicted a strong U.S. Department of Defense workload in the coming few years.
It’s what Electric Boat’s move could mean in the future that excites local economic-development leaders.
Electric Boat joins government contractor Safe Boats International at the port, and together they might form a critical mass that would allow the port to market itself as an emerging Navy-contractor campus, according to Bill Stewart, KEDA executive director.
“In the case of the port, they’re developing a good cadre of tenants that can attract more,” he said.
Port Commissioner Bill Mahan agreed, saying local Navy contractors now are spread throughout the area.
“One of the things that creates a synergy is when like-minded companies are located in the same general area,” he said. “I think it’s kind of like the anchor store in a shopping mall that will allow us to really market that area as a defense-oriented group of businesses.”
Port Commissioner Cheryl Kincer has long argued for a contractor campus.
“I would like to see Electric Boat being the catalyst for a lot of different contractors, vendors and customers of the military,” she said.
That would be an abrupt about-face for the port, which in the past tried to become a clean-tech center with its Sustainable Energy and Economic Development plan. The port abandoned SEED earlier this year for lack of support and money.
Port leaders had also said they were working for economic diversity away from military dependence, but a contractor campus wouldn’t accomplish that.
Port leaders are just glad for their new major tenant, even if it’s just for office and warehouse space, and not manufacturing and research and development, as they perhaps had initially hoped for.
“I’m just happy that our team was successful in securing this world-class company,” said port Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman.


Gov. Gregoire’s Statement on the 787 Line Decision

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

This issued from her office:

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today issued the following statement on Boeing’s 787 second production line:

“My philosophy is ‘it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.’ I am continuing to work with both sides to urge them to keep talking and reach an agreement that would result in the second line being located in Washington. Senator Murray, Representative Dicks and Representative Larsen are also working hard on this and I appreciate their tireless efforts. If there is a deal to be struck, we will leave no stone unturned in trying to strike it.

“I absolutely believe Washington is the best place for Boeing to locate its second line. We have more than $3 billion on the table in incentives, the best workforce in the world, and the lowest production risk for the company. I have not given up hope that the labor/management issues that are central to Boeing’s decision can be resolved.”


Statement from Sen. Murray on Boeing Decision

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

From U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office:

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after Boeing announced their decision on the second 787 line.

“This is a disappointing moment for our state and for Boeing customers.

“We had an opportunity today to take a step toward workforce stability and a win for Boeing, our workers, and the state of Washington. I am disappointed that Boeing cut off negotiations and passed on a final chance to make this happen.

“This state’s workers, communities and elected officials have worked hand in hand with Boeing for nearly 100 years to build the best aerospace workforce and the best business environment possible.

“Even when they moved headquarters to Chicago, Boeing’s Washington workforce remained dedicated to the quality product they make.

“Now, Boeing has decided to take their second 787 line to South Carolina. It’s a shortsighted decision.

“Washington state has fought for Boeing from day one. The dedication and quality of product Washington state provides is not something you can build overnight. The passion and history of grandparents passing knowledge, know-how and skills to the next generation is not something that can be reflected on balance sheets.

“What the Company has neglected to account for is the quality and well-trained workforce that they already have in Everett.

“I don’t take that workforce or that product for granted and neither does our state.

“There are over 80,000 good-paying aerospace jobs in the state of Washington. I will continue to work as I always have to invest in that workforce and in the infrastructure and economic development that will keep Washington state on the map as the world’s aerospace capital for generations to come.”


Decision: Second Boeing 787 Line Goes to South Carolina

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

By PRNewswire
Boeing Wednesday announced that it has chosen its North Charleston, S.C., facility as the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program. Boeing evaluated criteria that were designed to find the final assembly location within the company that would best support the 787 business plan as the program increases production rates. In addition to serving as a location for final assembly of 787 Dreamliners, the facility also will have the capability to support the testing and delivery of the airplanes.
“Establishing a second 787 assembly line in Charleston will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This decision allows us to continue building on the synergies we have established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica,” he said, adding that this move will strengthen the company’s competitiveness and sustainability and help it grow for the long term.
Boeing Charleston performs fabrication, assembly and systems installation for the 787 aft fuselage sections. Across the street, Global Aeronautica, which is 50 percent owned by Boeing, is responsible for joining and integrating 787 fuselage sections from other structural partners.
Until the second 787 assembly line is brought on line in North Charleston, Boeing will establish transitional surge capability at its Everett, Wash., location to ensure the successful introduction of the 787-9, the first derivative model of the 787. When the second line in Charleston is up and operating, the surge capability in Everett will be phased out.
“We’re taking prudent steps to protect the interests of our customers as we introduce the 787-9 and ramp up overall production to 10 twin-aisle 787 jets per month,” said Albaugh.
“While we welcome the development of this expanded capability at Boeing Charleston, the Puget Sound region is the headquarters of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Everett will continue to design and produce airplanes, including the 787, and there is tremendous opportunity for our current and future products here,” Albaugh emphasized. “We remain committed to Puget Sound.”
Approximately 55 airlines have ordered around 840 787 airplanes since the program was launched in 2003. The 787 family of airplanes will carry 200 to 250 passengers on flights up to 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 km). The 787 will be more efficient, quieter and have lower emissions than other airplanes while offering passengers greater comfort and the convenience of direct, nonstop flights between more cities around the world.
“The 787 will provide airlines with unprecedented operating economics and efficiencies. It also will take passengers where they want to go, when they want to go, and do it more comfortably and affordably than ever before,” Albaugh said. “This airplane will allow us to continue to set the standard for commercial aviation in the second century of flight.”


Wal-Mart Starts Selling Caskets, Urns Online

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The world’s largest retailer wants to keep its customers even after they die.
Wal-Mart has started selling caskets on its Web site at prices that undercut many funeral homes, long the major seller of caskets.
The move follows a similar one by discount rival Costco, which also sells caskets on its site.
Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., quietly put up about 15 caskets and dozens of urns on its Web site last week.
Prices range from $999 for models like “Dad Remembered” and “Mom Remembered” steel caskets to the mid-level $1,699 “Executive Privilege.” All are less than $2,000, except for the Sienna Bronze Casket, which sells for $3,199.
Caskets ship within 48 hours. Federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets.
The caskets come from Star Legacy Funeral Network, Inc., a company based in McHenry, Ill., that sells the same caskets for about the same price — some less — on its site, along with many others.
Star Legacy CEO Rick Obadiah said the response in the first week has been better than the company or Wal-Mart expected, though he declined to give specifics. A spokesman for Walmart.com also declined to release sales figures and downplayed the venture.
“Several online retailers offer this category on their sites,” spokesman Ravi Jariwala wrote in an e-mail. “We are simply conducting a limited beta test to understand customer response.”
But Obadiah said it is not simply a test. He said more than 200 Star Legacy products, including pet urns and memorial jewelry, and eventually about two dozen caskets, will be sold at walmart.com. The company also supplies similar types of products to online retailer Overstock.com and urns to CostCo’s Web site.
Other parts of the Wal-Mart empire also sell funeral wares. The company’s samsclub.com site sells casket floral arrangements for about $300.
Part of the business model is to get people to plan ahead: Walmart.com is allowing people to pay for the caskets over a period of 12 months for no interest.
The move gives more power to consumers and helps them avoid high mark-ups on caskets, which can often be several hundred percent, said R. Brian Burkhardt, a funeral director who blogs as “Your Funeral Guy.”
“You can get a quality casket for $1,000 rather than pay $2,000, $3,000 or $5,000 in a funeral home. That’s where it helps the consumer,” he said.
The industry is not too concerned about Wal-Mart entering the market, said Pat Lynch, president-elect of the National Funeral Home Directors Association. Consumers have been able to buy caskets online and from other sources for years, with minimal effect on the business, he said.
Wal-Mart’s prices for caskets don’t differ greatly from those offered at funeral homes, most of which range from $500 to $5,000, Lynch said. He declined to give an average price, saying a casket selection is a personal one.
He said Wal-Mart can’t offer one thing funeral directors do have: the ability to comfort someone during a trying time.
“There’s no question in my mind as a funeral director for nearly 40 years that the most critical element is the human contact,” he said.


Pope Resources Reports Modest 3Q Gains

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

By Rachel Pritchett
rpritchett@kitsapsun.com
POULSBO
Pope Resources on Wednesday announced a $920,000 gain in net income on revenues of $6.6 million for the third quarter of 2009.
Net income so far for the year for the Poulsbo-based company amounted to $104,000 on revenue of $15.3 million, according to a statement from the company.
“While we have seen some modest improvements relative to earlier in the year, the third quarter was punctuated by continued weakness in markets for both logs and residential lots,” said David Nunes, president and chief executive officer.
Third-quarter results were helped along by the company’s sale of 2,290 acres of its Hood Canal tree farm for conservation easements. The sale contributed $3.1 million to net income.
Pope Resources and subsidiaries Olympic Resource Management and Olympic Property Group own or manage 152,000 acres of timberland and development property in this state and in Oregon.