September 23, 2005

Excursion rides stay on track with verbal agreements
Following several months of negotiations, verbal agreements have been reached between Clark County, the owners of the Columbia Basin Railroad and the volunteer members of the Battle Ground, Yacolt, and Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association (BYCX).

The BYCX is seeking to continue excursion rides on the northern portion of the county-owned rail line, which was leased for 40 years to Columbia Basin Railroad in December 2004. In two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), Columbia Basin Railroad agreed to lease back to Clark County the northern portion of the railroad and the BYCX agrees to sub-lease this northern part of the line from Clark County. Before the volunteers can start running excursion trains again, detailed agreements based on the MOUs between the three parties must be worked out and signed.

Southwest Washington Medical Center awarded organ transplant award
Southwest Washington Medical Center was awarded a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Medal of Honor for achieving organ donation rates of eligible donors who died in their facilities of at least 75 percent last year. The national average is 55 percent. From March 2003 through February 2004, 19 lifesaving organs were transplanted from nine organ donors at the medical center. SWMC was one of three hospitals of 78 in the Pacific Northwest to receive the honor. Organ donation rates nationally increased 10.8 percent in 2004 to over 27,033 successful transplants.

Multiple long-term agreements reached at Port of Vancouver
The Port of Vancouver credits is track record for efficient handling of niche cargo through modernized facilities, excellent labor relations and quality logistics operations for its ability to reach five-year agreements with seven major breakbulk customers. The seven signing agreements include: Star Shipping, Saga Forest Carriers, STX Pan Ocean, Hyundai Merchant Marine, SK Shipping, New Zealand Lumber Shippers and MAN Ferrostaal. In 2004, these customers handled over 75 percent of the breakbulk cargo at the Port of Vancouver, moving almost half a million metric tons of steel and forestry products.

In the past 10 years, the Port of Vancouver has embarked on a multi-million dollar terminal capital program, updating its terminals and adding warehouse capacity and equipment. The Port of Vancouver features over one million square feet of waterfront warehousing, one of the largest amount of covered storage at niche ports on the West Coast.

Boise and Spicers announce distribution partnership
Boise Paper, Printing and Imaging Papers, the Vancouver division of Boise Paper, and paper merchant Spicers Paper Inc., a division of PaperlinX North America Inc. based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., have formed a distribution partnership to develop new and innovative business models to support the ever-changing needs of the commercial print industry. Boise’s printing and imaging products will now be available across the U.S. through Spicers’ traditional merchant sales model and to western printers through Boise’s Now@BoisePaper Internet platform. For more information visit www.bc.com.

Employment Security Department unveils Spanish Web site
Spanish-speaking workers in Washington can now download forms, find job search assistance and file unemployment claims on the Internet. The web address for the Employment Security Department’s Spanish site is https://home-sp.go2ui.com/. Spanish translation of the Web site coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Unemployment and job information continues to be available by phone in English, Spanish and other languages by calling 1-800-318-6022. For more information on Employment Security Department services and programs available to Spanish speakers, contact Alicia Cárdenas-Short at 360-902-9395.

WSU enrollment figures show increases in numbers, academic quality
Washington State University reported a record fall semester enrollment of 23,330 at its four campuses statewide, which represents a 0.9 percent increase over last fall’s total. Pullman’s incoming class continued the trend of improving the academic quality of WSU’s new students. The average high school grade point average of the incoming Pullman freshman is 3.45 with 38.6 percent carrying a high school grade point average of 3.6 or greater. The average SAT score of the new class is 1,109. Comparable figures for the 2004 freshman class were 3.45 grade point average, 38.2 percent with GPAs of 3.6 and above and a SAT average of 1,072. At WSU Vancouver, 62.3 percent of the students are women, versus an even split at the Pullman campus. Students of color make up 7.2 percent of total enrollment at WSU Vancouver, up from 6.3 percent last fall. Students of color represent 14.1 percent of total enrollment in Pullman, up from 13.7 percent last year.

Bank of Clark County exceeds quarter billion in assets
Bank of Clark County announced recently it has exceeded $250,000,000 in assets. Year-to-date net income increased 36 percent over the same period last year. Strong loan growth combined with local deposit growth allowed Bank of Clark County to reach this milestone. Local deposits are up 21 percent over the same period last year. The bank’s courier program continued to expand, averaging approximately 200 stops per day.

Clark resident publishes public relations book
Clark County resident Tom Hagley recently published the book "Writing Winning Proposals: PR Cases." The book is aimed at raising standards for the public relations planning process and is marketed as a tool for organizations developing public relations or strategic communication plans, applying for grants or responding to requests for proposals.

Hagley is a 30-year corporate and public relations agency veteran who now teaches in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. The former Alcoa executive resides in Brush Prairie. For more information visit www.tomhagley.com.

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