Archive for January, 2011
So, have you stayed in a Classic King Room, or any of the 250 guest rooms at Northern Quest Resort and Casino? And have you devoured a Cougar Gold Cheddar Arancini at Masselow’s Restaurant (or any other dish, really)? If you have, you might like to know that you’ve stayed and/or eaten at a recent recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award.
If you haven’t, move it to the top of your bucket list.
Anyway, the AAA Four Diamond Award is quite prestigious. Get this: Less than 4 percent of the 31,000 nation-wide properties approved by AAA achieve this award. So, Spokane County not only has two AAA Four Diamond award winners, but two winners on the same property!
The start of the 2011 Legislative Session has started and will continue for 15 weeks to the end of April – at least that’s what the state constitution provides. Given the poor fiscal health of the state, the Legislature may need extra time to figure out how to reduce the budget shortfall. Expect immediate budget action on the current biennium as time is of the essence to find about a billion dollars in savings just to keep the state in the black by the end of June. In discussions with budget staff, this may prove a more difficult task than actually solving the bigger $4 billion plus budget shortfall for the next 2-year budget cycle that starts July 1. There’s a long way to go and a short time to get there.
So, what’s been your biggest challenge in the business world? How’d you overcome it?
It takes a lot of leadership, a lot of work and a lot of focus to tackle a challenge. One Spokane business faced a mammoth of a challenge starting in 2009 and has now risen above it. Sterling Savings Bank – the largest bank based in Washington and with branches throughout the Northwest – was under government regulations and needed to raise capital.
Now, Sterling Savings is out of the government’s eye. Chief Operating Officer Ezra Eckhardt will be in our offices on Jan. 20 to talk about how he helped lead the bank back to independence. Here’s a little more on Eckhardt and what drives him:
Ever think of the Inland Northwest as home to an internationally-known developer of specialty food ingredients?
Commercial Creamery began in 1908 as a local creamery. Now, 103 years later, its headquarters, research and development, and pilot plant are solidly in Spokane. It also has a 150,000 sq. ft. large-scale production facility in Jerome, Idaho.
Every town had a creamery in the early 1900s. But during the1960s, family dairy farms started disappearing and factories and interstates blossomed. While most creameries went out of business, Commercial Creamery Company stood the test of time by adapting to new revenue streams. What was its secret “ingredient” to survival? Cheese powder.
The above photo shows the north end of the North Spokane Corridor looking south, where it meets Farwell road. A thought born decades ago is now coming to fruition.
That’s right, the North Spokane Corridor (or North-South Freeway) is progressing well. The state has invested $559 million over the last decade to the project. Now, thanks to a recent $35 million Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant at the federal level, southbound lanes from Farwell Road to Francis Avenue will be completed by 2012, making the corridor a full, drivable freeway from the Wandermere Bridge to Francis Ave. That’s progress.
“In future years, we hope to secure another $300 million in funding to advance the project to the Spokane River, and, ultimately, Interstate 90,” says Rich Hadley, President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated.
So what benefit does an additional freeway have in Spokane? Well, the answers are plenty. Here are a few: