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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University of Washington students protest Palermo’s Pizza at Costco headquarters

August 28, 2012

University of Washington student activists rallied at Costco’s Issaquah headquarters Aug. 24 to protest the chain’s affiliation with Palermo’s Pizza.

The members of UW United Students Against Sweatshops, a labor rights group, demanded to meet Costco CEO Craig Jelinek to request the company end a contract with Milwaukee-based Palermo’s Pizza. The pizza maker is under criticism for labor practices at a Wisconsin plant.

Costco is a major purchaser of Palermo’s Pizza products.

“Costco, a company with an admirable record toward its own employees, has an opportunity to take a stand,” Leo Baunach, UW United Students Against Sweatshops member, said in a statement. “Costco should end their business relationship with Palermo’s and do right by the workers who are fighting for fair treatment in their workplace.”

Photographer Barry Sweet brings book of iconic images to Issaquah

August 14, 2012

Madonna performs at the Paramount Theatre in 1985. Explosions demolish the Kingdome in 2000. By Barry Sweet

Barry Sweet, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and The Associated Press’ longtime Seattle-based photographer, captured photos as astronauts returned from the moon, as Robert F. Kennedy campaigned for president, after Mount St. Helens erupted and at thousands of other events across the Pacific Northwest.

In 1985, however, Sweet received a more unfamiliar assignment — instructions to photograph a pop singer on the rise.

“None of us had any clue who Madonna was or what she was or what she was going to become,” he recalled in a recent interview. “Basically, I got a phone call saying, ‘There’s a woman who’s a singer. She’s going to be at the Paramount singing and she’s pretty good — and it’s really interesting because she’s going to be on stage and wear her underwear outside of her clothes.’”

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Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian to appear at Costco

August 14, 2012

Readers can learn some tips to create inexpensive and delicious meals as Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian comes to Issaquah for a book-signing event Aug. 22.

The winner of “The Next Food Network Star” and “Ten Dollar Dinners” is due to appear at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sign a cookbook based on “Ten Dollar Dinners.”

The Food Network catapulted Kirkland resident d’Arabian to stardom in 2009, during the fifth season of “The Next Food Network Star.” “Ten Dollar Dinners” debuted not long after the competition ended.

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