Recall includes nut butters at Costco, Trader Joe’s

October 9, 2012

Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters in recent days due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 35 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and a Thurston County boy.

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Salmon Days Festival spawns road closures

October 2, 2012

Motorists should prepare for road closures throughout the Salmon Days Festival.

Expect closures on the following streets from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 6-7:

  • Front Street from Newport Way Southwest to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • East Sunset Way from Second Avenue Southeast to Newport Way Northwest
  • Rainier Boulevard South and First Avenue Southeast from East Sunset Way to the Issaquah Community Center
  • Southeast Bush Street and Southeast Andrews Street from Second Avenue Southeast to Front Street South
  • First Place Northeast and First Avenue Northwest from West Sunset Way to Northwest Dogwood Street

Expect closures on the following streets from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 to accommodate the Salmon Days Grande Parade:

  • 12th Avenue Northwest from Northwest Maple Street to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • Northeast Gilman Boulevard and Northeast Dogwood Street from Third Avenue Northwest to Front Street North
  • Rainier Boulevard North from Northwest Dogwood Street to Northwest Juniper Street.

Parking near downtown Issaquah is also a challenge during the festival, and Salmon Days visitors should consider the event shuttle.

Shuttles depart from the Issaquah Transit Center, 1050 17th Ave. N.W., Costco corporate headquarters parking lot, 11th Avenue Northwest and Lake Drive, and Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

The cost for a shuttle is $2 round trip for adults; children 12 and younger ride for free. Parking is free at the shuttle departure points.

Costco faces gender bias lawsuit from employees

October 2, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco faces a gender bias lawsuit from workers, after a federal judge ruled the lawsuit can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco certified a class, or group, of plaintiffs Sept. 25. The group includes about 700 women challenging the company’s system for promotions to management posts. Costco has denied the plaintiffs’ claims.

In 2004, employees sued Costco after plaintiffs claimed the largest warehouse chain in the United States limited promotions to female employees by failing to post job openings.

Courts put the case on hold as a gender-discrimination case against Wal-Mart headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2011, justices threw out the case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart.

Chen’s 86-page order granted plaintiffs’ attorneys the right to proceed in the case Ellis v. Costco. No court date has yet been set in the case.

Liquor sales increase statewide after June slump

October 2, 2012

Retailers sold more liquor in July than state stores sold a year earlier, according to data from the state Department of Revenue released Sept. 10.

In July, sales by volume increased 15.4 percent over July 2011 sales, after declining 9.4 percent for June and rising 26.6 percent in May.

Sales spiked in May as consumers prepared for the transition from state stores to private retailers, and then declined in June, presumably due to the inventories built up in May.

Overall, Washingtonians purchased 10.6 million liters of spirits in May, June and July, compared to 9.5 million liters for the same period last year.

The average price paid for spirits increased 16.2 percent in July compared to 17.2 percent in June.

Washingtonians voted to privatize liquor sales by passing Costco-backed Initiative 1183 last year.

Molly Moon Neitzel, ice cream entrepreneur, to sign books in Issaquah

September 27, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 27, 2012

Molly Moon Neitzel earned accolades aplenty and satiated many a sweet tooth as the proprietor of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop.

The ice cream shops — in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Madrona, Queen Anne and Wallingford neighborhoods — begat a cookbook in April. Neitzel is due at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., at 11 a.m. Saturday to sign copies of “Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream” — a collection of recipes adapted from the boutique ice cream shops for home cooks.

Neitzel garnered national notoriety for creating ice creams and sorbets fashioned from local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Milk in the ice cream comes from a Lynden dairy, berries from a Carnation farm and lavender from a Sequim grower. Instead of cane sugar, Molly Moon’s shops use sugar from Idaho beets.

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Costco faces class-action gender bias lawsuit from workers

September 26, 2012

NEW — 11:15 a.m. Sept. 26, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco faces a gender bias lawsuit from workers, after a federal judge ruled the lawsuit can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco certified a class, or group, of plaintiffs, Tuesday. The group includes about 700 women challenging the company’s system for promotions to management posts. Costco has denied the plaintiffs’ claims.

In 2004, employees sued Costco after plaintiffs claimed the largest warehouse chain in the United States limited promotions to female employees by failing to post job openings.

Courts put the case on hold as a gender-discrimination case against Wal-Mart headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2011, justice threw out the case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, and said the lawsuit encompassed more than 1 million women — too many plaintiffs to qualify as a single class-action case.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire to visit Costco on Korea trade mission

September 25, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 25, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to a visit a Costco in South Korea on a trade mission to tout Washington companies and products.

Issaquah-based Costco operates eight warehouses in South Korea. Gregoire’s visit to the warehouse is meant to promote Washington foods.

The governor is due to depart Sept. 30 on a 10-day trade mission to India and South Korea. The governor, alongside almost 50 Washington business, education and government leaders, plan to promote Evergreen State agriculture, commerce and technology on the trip.

Gregoire is visiting South Korea at the request of President Lee Myung-bak. Lee extended the invitation during a visit to Washington last year.

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Offer input on projects to relieve Issaquah traffic woes

September 11, 2012

The city could join other landowners to address traffic congestion and upgrade roads near bustling businesses in North Issaquah.

Before city leaders act, citizens can offer input as planners host a Sept. 18 open house to discuss the proposed transportation changes.

The proposal under consideration calls for the city and other landowners — including Issaquah-based Costco, the largest employer in the city — to form a local improvement district. Landowners in the affected area then shoulder the costs for road improvements, supplemented by state and federal grants.

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Local Democrats rally, volunteer as party gathers in Charlotte

September 11, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama gesture to the crowd at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6. By Emiliana Chavez

The television audience for the 2012 Democratic National Convention remembers the event for speeches from former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama and more, but local delegates to the convention said projects far from the convention floor defined the days in Charlotte, N.C.

The agenda for the event included the usual party business — a blur of speeches and celebrations — and Southern hospitality aplenty.

Washington Democrats sent 121 delegates and eight alternates to the convention. The delegate ranks included Issaquah resident Jennifer Sutton and Sammamish resident Dorothy Willard.

Sutton joined a volunteer effort from Craftsman and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host Ty Pennington called House United. The project enlisted volunteers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., to start construction on a home.

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Costco cofounder at Democratic convention: ‘Costco’s story is the American story’

September 6, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal offered a forceful defense of President Barack Obama’s economic policies Wednesday in a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal said Obama is more likely to create a hospitable climate for job creation than Republican rival Mitt Romney. The former leader of Issaquah-based Costco also countered GOP criticism of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line.

“We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck and a little help from their neighbors and their country,” Sinegal said to delegates and attendees at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. “I’m here tonight because Costco’s story is the American story.”

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