Monthly Archives: November 2009

Port Receives EnviroStars Recognition

By Rachel Pritchett
The Port of Bremerton has received recognition from the Kitsap County Health District for its environmental efforts at its airport and industrial park.
The health district gave the port a five-star rating as part of its EnviroStars program, meant to encourages businesses to think green.
In an evaluation that lead to the rating, the health district found that the Bremerton National Airport and the Olympic View Business and Industrial Parks were doing a good job managing and handling hazardous wastes. Training to deal with hazardous-waste spills, was found to be good, as well.
The port’s re-use of waste oil to heat the airport and a maintenance shop caught the health district’s eye, as did an ongoing energy audit of the airport’s terminal building.

Gas Prices Near Year’s High, Kitsap Gas at $2.84 Today

Kitsap unleaded per gallon 65 cents higher than a year ago.

Gasoline prices remain near 2009 high
The Associated Press
Gasoline prices remained near their highs for the year on Monday as a weaker dollar and rising global stock markets boosted oil prices.
Prices at the pump fell 0.4 cents overnight to $2.631 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That is down 6 cents from the peak of $2.691 reached Oct. 30.
But the gap between now and a year ago continues to widen. Prices are now 52.6 cents higher than last year at this time when gasoline prices slid along with oil prices as the recession took hold.
Higher prices for gasoline come even as demand for oil and gasoline remain soft.
For most of this year, oil prices surged as investors pumped money into crude contracts to protect themselves from a weaker dollar. Oil was seen as a safer bet with demand expected to rise next year as the world’s economies begin to recover.
After hitting their lowest level in a month, oil prices bounced back on Monday. Benchmark crude for December delivery rose $2.55 to settle at $78.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. stock markets rose to highs for the year after retail sales rebounded more than expected in October because of a boost in auto sales.
Stock markets in Asia and Europe rose as well Monday as Japan reported its economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the third quarter. That was the second straight quarter of expansion and the biggest rise since 2007.
At the same time, the euro pushed back toward the $1.50 level against the dollar. Commodities such as oil and gold are priced in dollars so they become cheaper when the dollar falls.
Crude prices fell last week and U.S. stock markets rose as investors started to focus more on the continued weak demand for oil.
“That could be the beginning of the disconnect as the fundamentals weigh on oil,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 6.59 cents to settle at $2.0320 a gallon. Gasoline for December delivery gained 7.06 cents to settle at $1.9868 a gallon. Natural gas for December delivery advanced 22.2 cents to settle at $4.614 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Monday Stocks Jump at Retail News

Down now up to 10,392, a rise of 121 points this morning.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors kept the stock market’s upward momentum going Monday, sending shares sharply higher after retail sales rebounded more than expected in October and the dollar extended its slide.
Major stock indexes rose more than 1 percent to new 13-month highs, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which jumped 145 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index topped 1,110, the first convincing move above 1,100 after hovering around that level for the past month.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 1.4 percent in October, easily surpassing the 0.8 percent increase forecast by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. It was a sharp rebound following the 2.3 percent drop in September. Excluding the gain from autos, however, sales rose just 0.2 percent, half of what economists predicted.
Jamie Cox, a managing partner at Harris Financial Group, said the sales growth was a good sign heading into the holiday shopping season, especially because the data were not affected by factors such as sales tax holidays and government stimulus programs that had been present in the preceding months.
The weaker dollar lifted gold to a new record and pumped up prices of other commodities, including oil. That, in turn, helped shares of energy and materials companies.
Stocks briefly pared their gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said policymakers would monitor the dollar while at the same time repeating that the Fed will hold interest rates low until the economy strengthens. That gave a short-lived boost to the dollar.
The market’s own dynamics fed some of the day’s gains, analysts said.
Dan Deming, a trader with Stutland Equities, said the S&P 500’s move above 1,100 gave some investors a shot of confidence and led to short-covering, which tends to amplify gains in the market. Short-covering occurs when investors have to buy stock after having earlier sold borrowed shares in a bet they would fall.
“We’re breaking through the 1,100 mark, which is psychologically significant, and the market is seeing a little pop from that,” Deming said.
In midafternoon trading, the Dow rose 154.86, or 1.5 percent, to 10,425.33. The broader S&P 500 index rose 19.28, or 1.8 percent, to 1,112.76. It traded above 1,100 in mid-October but hasn’t closed above that benchmark since October last year. The S&P 500 index first finished above 1,100 more than a decade ago, in March 1998.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 34.52, or 1.6 percent, to 2,202.40.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 17.21, or 2.9 percent, to 603.49.
The ICE Futures US dollar index, which measures the dollar against other currencies, fell 0.6 percent. Gold reached a record $1,143.40 an ounce.
Investors have been using the weak dollar to finance purchases of higher-yielding assets. The move, what’s known as a “carry trade,” can further weaken the dollar.
Bond prices rose, pushing down yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.37 percent from 3.42 percent late Friday.
General Motors Co. said it lost $1.2 billion in the period since emerging from bankruptcy and the end of the third quarter on Sept. 30. Despite the loss, GM said it will begin to repay $6.7 billion in government loans and was seeing a stabilization in its business.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. reported lower profits that matched analysts’ expectations and said it was seeing stabilization in some of the hardest hit housing markets. The company’s shares fell 6 cents to $21.79.
Investors will get more insight into consumer spending from retailers Home Depot Inc., Target Corp. and TJX Cos., which are due to report earnings Tuesday.
Cox said the wide range of retailers reporting earnings during the week will provide signals into whether shoppers are willing to step up their spending and move back toward more expensive goods. Investors will be parsing any updated forecasts from the companies ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The stock market is coming off a strong week, which added more than 2 percent to major indexes. On Friday the market was buoyed by encouraging earnings reports and outlooks from major retailers Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and J.C. Penney Co. as well as The Walt Disney Co.
Crude oil rose $2.84 to $79.19 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Energy stocks rose. Baker Hughes Inc. rose $2.37, or 5.7 percent, to $43.82, while Devon Energy Corp. advanced $3.93, or 5.8 percent, to $71.66.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose $3.37, or 4.1 percent, to $84.94.
Ten stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 624.9 million shares compared with 557.4 million shares traded at the same point Friday.
Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.2 percent after that country’s economy grew for the second straight quarter, marking an end to the recession there.
Investors also drew confidence from the results of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which said it would maintain stimulus spending until a global economic recovery is at hand.
Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.6 percent, Germany’s DAX index gained 2.1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 1.5 percent.

Update on Hearing the Port of Bremerton Study Sessions


Earlier, I blogged about a problem I and other audience members were having hearing Port of Bremerton study sessions held occasionally among commissioners and port staff. The sessions were taking place without benefit of microphone.

Since then, the problem has been solved. Staff and commissioners now are using the mics, and so everyone can hear now.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

Port Passes Budget With Self-Sufficiency Goal

By Rachel Pritchett
Port of Bremerton commissioners on Tuesday approved a 2010 budget they hope will push its enterprises closer to profitability.
Currently, taxpayers subsidize 51 percent of the cost of running the port’s biggest facilities — marinas in Bremerton and Port Orchard, the Bremerton National Airport, and the Olympic View Business and Industrial Parks. The new $16.6 million budget aims to cut that dependence to 33 percent.
That bold directive has put pressure on overseers of those enterprises, especially Marine Facilities Director Steve Slaton, who is now out marketing the Bremerton Marina hard.
His talking it up while out on the Northwest yacht club circuit has resulted in some payoff. The Tacoma Yacht Club just signed an agreement with the port to reserve 285 feet of the marina’s north breakwater for its exclusive use.
With the Bremerton Marina occupancy rate slipping to 
28 percent, Slaton has priced its moorage cheaper than marinas on the east side of Puget Sound, as an incentive for boaters to head west.
And he’s dangled some other carrots to get new tenants and keep them.
Current tenants who stay a year get a half-month’s free rent. There is also an incentive for boaters who recruit new tenants to the marina.
New tenants who pay for six months’ moorage upfront get $100 fuel vouchers; if they sign up for a year, they get a free month.
“We consider word-of-mouth the best way to sell anything,” Slaton said.
Before the end of the year, the port will have a Web site dedicated to creating buzz about the Bremerton Marina. A new e-newsletter to boating clubs and marinas is soon to start.
Ads have appeared in regional and West Coast boating magazines; radio and television spots are planned, too.
The 2010 budget is pared down from when it was first proposed as port leaders bowed to public pressure to keep costs down.
It no longer calls for a property-tax increase, though commissioners left open the possibility of seeking one later.
“We don’t have the ability to predict the future,” Becky Swanson, chief financial officer, told them.
The budget blueprint no longer calls for a soccer field, remodel of an airport restaurant building, or preparatory work for a proposed storage lot for recreational vehicles.
It does call for $5.8 million in capital projects, including a new road that will open up the undeveloped South Kitsap Industrial Area; another small new road at the existing business park; and floating restrooms at both marinas.
Eighty-eight percent of the capital projects are to be paid by grants and bond proceeds.
In other port news, CEO Cary Bozeman told commissioners Tuesday that a comprehensive communications strategy is the only way to build goodwill with a public still feeling burned by the controversial Bremerton Marina tax.
“The pushback is severe, it’s real and its out there,” he said.
The key to building goodwill, he said, is to have residents understand and believe in what the port does. Bozeman said he wants the new plan in place by January, when a new communications staffer comes onboard.
“I think it’s really critical,” Bozeman said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Larry Stokes questioned how much goodwill was generated by a recent economic-development summit that cost the port $10,000.
The summit resulted in Bozeman volunteering the port to do groundwork on a branding campaign to sell Kitsap County. That idea was later abandoned so as not to interfere with one being undertaken by a local visitors’ bureau.
“You stop shooting yourself in the foot,” Stokes said.
Bozeman said the summit was a “darn good investment.”

Fed Officials Warn Weak Recovery Won’t Spur Jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment likely will remain high for the next several years because the economic recovery won’t be strong enough to spur robust hiring, Federal Reserve officials warned Tuesday.
The cautionary note struck by the presidents of regional Fed banks were the first public remarks by Fed officials since the government reported last week that the nation’s jobless rate bolted to 10.2 percent in October. It marked only the second time in the post-World War II period that the rate surpassed 10 percent.
In separate speeches, Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, warned that rising unemployment could crimp consumers, restraining the recovery. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.
“With such a slow rebound, unemployment could well stay high for several years to come,” Yellen said. “In other words, our recovery is likely to feel like something well short of good times.”
Yellen envisions the shape of the recovery kind of like an “L” with a gradual upward tilt of the base.
Lockhart said “very slow net job gains” may occur “sometime next year.”
Troubles in the commercial real estate market and the plight of small businesses also will weigh on the recovery, they said.
Small businesses — which held up reasonably well in the 2001 recession — have been clobbered by the downturn, accounting for about 45 percent of net job losses through the end of 2008, Lockhart said. During the last two economic recoveries, small businesses contributed about one-third of net job growth. Lockhart said he doubted that would be the case this time.
That’s because many small businesses rely on smaller banks for credit. But troubled commercial real estate loans are concentrated at those banks, hobbling the flow of credit. Lockhart said he is “particularly concerned” about that linkage.
Meanwhile, Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, weighed in on a different hot-button issue for Congress: how best to handle huge financial companies whose failure could endanger the economy.
Rosengren endorsed “living wills” that outline wind-down arrangements in the event of failure, rather than having the government restrict the size or activities of financial firms. “I am skeptical such dramatic action would significantly limit systemic risk,” he said in a speech in London.
The Obama administration has called on Congress to set up a mechanism to safely dismantle failed financial companies — along the lines of what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. does for collapsed banks. Although key legislative proposals revamping the nation’s financial rules contain such a provision, some lawmakers and others have expressed interest in limiting the size of colossal firms or breaking them up if they get too big.
Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told an Austin audience Tuesday evening that consumer spending is growing, but that he doubts it will recover its pre-recession vigor “for some time to come.” He also said there is no imminent willingness by businesses to rehire or expand capital expenditures during the recovery.
“It may be some time before significant job growth occurs and it’ll be even longer before a meaningful decline in unemployment takes place,” Fisher said.
“It will take some time, in my opinion, to get back on a steady pathway to a pace of growth that will result in significant job creation for Americans. We are in for a very slow slog and a long slog,” he said. “We have too much of everything in America, and we over-consumed,” he added, saying it’s not surprising there has been a contraction.
Fisher added that he believes inflation is likely to remain subdued and that the Federal Reserve’s current monetary policy is appropriate.

Intellicheck Mobilisa Posts 3Q Data

PORT TOWNSEND — Intellicheck Mobilisa, the Port Townsend-based company that currently is helping to develop a security-buoy system being tested in north Puget Sound, has announced its third-quarter results.
Revenues for quarter ended Sept. 30 increased 6 percent to $3.8 million, compared to $3.6 million for the same period in 2008.
For the nine month period of this year, revenues were $9.8 million, compared to revenues of $7.4 million last for the same period last year.
“We are proud to post our second quarter in a row of profitability, our second best quarter of revenue to date, as well as year to date profitability,” said Nelson Ludlow, chief executive officer.
Besides working on the security-buoy system in concert with the Navy and others, Intellicheck Mobilisa specializes in developing wireless technology and identity systems for the government, military and commercial markets.
The company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wednesday Stocks Open Higher as Dollar Slides

Banks, bond markets closed today, Veterans Day. down now at 10,287, up 40 points.

The Associated Press
Stocks are rising in early trading as investors anticipate interest rates will remain low for some time.
Record-low interest rates and the resulting slide in the dollar have been major forces behind the recent surge in stocks. Federal Reserve officials speaking late Tuesday noted that the economic recovery is likely to be weak and reiterated that the central bank will keep rates low.
Investors continue to look to consumers for economic guidance, as Macy’s reported a smaller loss in its third quarter than a year ago.
The Dow is up 46.40, or 0.5 percent, at 10,293.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 6.46, or 0.6 percent, at 1,099.47, while the Nasdaq composite index is up 14.96, or 0.7 percent, at 2,166.04.
U.S. government bond markets are closed for Veterans Day.

Former Kitsap Country Treasurer Joins Tourism Board

This from a statement from the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Board:

The Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau announced that Sharon Shrader, former Kitsap County treasurer and member of the Bremerton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, has joined the KPVCB board of directors.

“In addition to her impressive list of financial and economic development projects, and community involvement, Sharon’s knowledge of the region and enthusiasm for tourism make her a tremendous asset to the KPVCB. This is another positive step forward or the organization,” said Diane Robinson, board president.

“I’ve worked with both Diane and Patty and agree its time to aggressively market the unique, natural identity of the Kitsap Peninsula” said Shrader. I’m delighted to be on board with this new, energized KPVCB.”

Shrader wants to help create a special wilderness and wildlife docents group that can guide visitors on tours of the miles of shoreline, trails, wetlands, estuaries, and habitat that exist throughout the Kitsap Peninsula. She sees ecotourism as a great fit with the KPVCB’s strategy to promote the region’s natural environment and the regional and national quest to save salmon, Hood Canal and the Puget Sound.

According to Patricia Graf-Hoke, executive general manager, tourism is a proven growth industry for Kitsap County. In 2007 visitor spending was $258 million and in 2008 increased to $270 million.

Sharder’s three year term as a member of the KPVCB Board of Directors is effective immediately.

Community Invited to Help with Burial, Family Expenses

By Rachel Pritchett

Members of the community who wish to help with the cost to bury Laresa Davis can send checks to Miller-Woodlawn Funeral Home, according to Deborah Jackson, founder of Surviving Change, the group that assists local young people.

Davis, 28, of Bremerton, was killed early Sunday when a car in which she was a passenger crashed at National Avenue and McCall Boulevard West in Navy Yard City. 

Another woman, Nina Martinez Gonzalez, 27, of Bremerton, also was killed, and the driver, a 24-year-old Fort Lewis soldier, was injured.

A funeral director at Miller-Woodlawn said checks should have written on them  “in care of Laresa Davis.” The amounts will be directly applied to the cost.

The mailing address of the funeral home is 5505 Kitsap Way, Bremerton, WA 98312-2298.

Davis leave behind three children. 

A fund has been set up at Bank of America to help support them, according to Jackson. Contributions to the Laresa Davis Family Fund No. 42325399 can be made at any branch of the bank.