BOSTON – Microsoft founder Bill Gates told the National Urban League on Thursday that a child’s success should not depend on the race or income of parents and that poverty cannot be an excuse for a poor education.
Gates said shifting the emphasis to education helps in the battle against poverty.
“Let me acknowledge that I don’t understand in a personal way the challenges that poverty creates for families, and schools and teachers,” the billionaire said at the civil rights group’s annual convention. “I don’t ever want to minimize it. Poverty is a terrible obstacle. But we can’t let it be an excuse.”
Gates, who now runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, cited his foundation’s work with charter schools as an example.
“We know you can have a good school in a poor neighborhood,” said Gates. “So let’s end the myth that we have to solve poverty before we improve education. I say it’s more the other way around: Improving education is the best way to solve poverty.”
After speaking, Gates joined Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, who Bill Gates playfully called his “cousin,” for a conversation on education. “He’s the Harvard professor,” said Bill Gates. “I’m the Harvard drop out.”
But Henry Louis Gates praised Bill Gates and compared him to industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who also gave away much of his wealth to humanitarian causes. Henry Louis Gates said the Microsoft founder purposely seeks to help communities with large Latino and black populations.
“Not only is Bill Gates a cousin, ladies and gentlemen, Bill Gates is a brother,” Henry Louis Gates said.
Though the forum was about education, many could not refrain from talking about the economy and a possible default by the federal government. Urban League officials have warned that failure by Congress to prevent default risks putting black and Latino families further behind economically.
New York City’s Rev. Al Sharpton said advocates need to change the conversation about the debt ceiling and get political leaders to talk more about job creation in minority communities.
“The issue is jobs, jobs, jobs, and quality education in our community,” Sharpton said to applause.
Rev. Jesse Jackson of Chicago told The Associated Press that the debt crisis was a “manufactured crisis” by political leaders.
“The debt ceiling will be raised. The issue is (that) the floor is being lowered,” said Jackson, alluding to new reports that middle class and poor blacks and Latino families have been hit hard but the recession. “The floor is dropping and there are cracks in that floor.”
Travis Townsend Jr., an Atlanta lawyer attending the convention, said he didn’t think most people are prepared for the effects of a government default.
“How do you prepare for an unknown increase in interest rates? And you don’t know if it’s going to actually happen at all,” Townsend said. “Many people are just trying to deal with day to day anyway.”
It’s not 2006, but commercial real estate agents in North Idaho are staying busy.
Jim Koon, an associate broker at Century 21 Commercial, Beutler & Associates in Coeur d’Alene, said leasing in the first half of the year has been strong in the retail and office sectors.
“The market has been refreshingly good,” Koon said. “Part of the reason for that are the lease rates to existing tenants are far below what it was.”
For existing businesses looking to expand or reduce space, Koon said now is a great time to move and lock in lease rates. He said good full service rents have gone for $16-18 per square foot and lower.
“We’ve done some really nice buildings for under $12 per square foot,” Koon said.
Craig Hunter and Rob Kannapien, commercial sales and leasing agents with Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty, have also stayed busy with lease transactions. The pair have completed 33 leases in the past 12 months.
“There has also been a significant increase in the sale of owner-use properties, due to the phenomenal interest rates that are being offered,” Kannapien said.
Kannapien said those in the market need excellent credit, with the best opportunities available to doctors, attorneys and other proven businesses that have had firm roots in the community.
Hunter and Kannapien have also seen an increase in distressed property sales, including bank sales, short sales and deals on foreclosed properties. All are good opportunities for cash investors, Kannapien said.
“For those who have the ability to put that 30 percent down, they are able to buy the end product at very low prices,” he said.
Conventional loans have been tougher to come by, making good credit and an airtight business plan all the more important. Still, Koon believes the market is perfect for some new business concepts.
“For businesses with little startup costs or those that can move into a space without a high operating cost or the need for significant tenant improvements, then now is a great time,” Koon said.
According to numbers presented by Coldwell Banker Commercial at the Kootenai County commercial market forum in February, the retail vacancy in the county sat at 8.7 percent.
The vacancy rate of office space in Coeur d’Alene sat at 11.4 percent. The vacancy rate of office space in Post Falls was 8 percent.
Kannapien said those numbers have likely improved since February but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“Our guess is that we’re trending in the right direction,” Kannapien said.
Koon said there has been a delay in national commercial foreclosures that will remain a factor into 2012.
“The banks are now needing to put those foreclosures on the books, so you will see more buildings come on the market,” Koon said.
“There’s always an upside to a downside, so there are opportunities there, particularly for owner-users,” he said.
Hunter said land sales have been generally slow in the past year, leaving plenty of time for vacancy absorption.
“There won’t be a lot of new property coming in the next couple years,” Hunter said. “When the economy recovers, there is nothing immediate in the pipeline, so there will be a slow absorption of existing inventory.”
With any new building project, the focus has been on efficiency and affordability in regards to tenant retention, Hunter said.
“There are no huge hallways or tall ceilings,” he said. “The space matches the needs.”
Kannapien said existing property owners are meeting agents to find out what tenants are looking for on the market.
“They’re coming to us for advice on fair market lease rates,” Kannapien said. “It’s very much an income-based approach.”
For existing owners who bought during the boom, the agents recommend holding off on selling property and instead focus on tenant retention, as commercial value has dropped anywhere from 20-40 percent post-boom, depending on the property.
“For the next couple of years, you need to pay attention to your property, maximizing its income and maintaining clients,” Hunter said.
Kannapien recommends hiring a commercial property management company to help maintain positive relationships with longstanding tenants.
“For those that don’t, they need to be on a first name basis with clients,” he said. “They need to call, email, take them out to lunch.”
Koon believes the area will continue to see new construction in the medical industry, and eventually other industries will follow suit.
“The future is bright, I have no doubt about that,” Koon said. “I’ve been here 20 years, and in the next 20 years we will see another growth spurt. It’s just too nice of an area.”
Expectations, however, are in check.
“(In 2012), I think it will be much like this. It won’t be dead and it won’t be 2006,” Koon said. “But it doesn’t take much to get things really moving. Commercial development and new business feed off each other.”
From the Better Business Bureau, Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana
The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a program of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, announced an agreement that will change the landscape of what is advertised to kids by the nation’s largest food and beverage companies. For the first time, these food and beverage companies will follow uniform nutrition criteria for foods advertised to children.
These uniform nutrition criteria, designed by CFBAI and top food industry scientists and nutritionists, will further strengthen voluntary efforts to change child-directed food advertising.
Approximately one in three products currently advertised to kids do not meet the new nutrition criteria. While individual companies already have strong nutrition criteria for the products they advertise, the new uniform nutrition criteria will require many companies to change the recipes of these products or they will not be able to advertise them after December 31, 2013.
The new criteria encourage the development of new products with less sodium, saturated fat and sugars, and fewer calories.
The result of a year-long effort to further improve the nutrition composition of foods advertised to children, the new CFBAI criteria take into account food science, U.S. dietary guidelines, and the real-world difficulties of changing recipes of well-known foods. The new CFBAI uniform criteria fill gaps in the system of company-specific standards. They also recognize the inherent differences in food categories and their role in the diet, and set calorie and nutrient requirements that are appropriate for ten categories. Under the new CFBAI criteria, different foods such as cereals, peanut butter and dairy products have different nutrition criteria that are appropriate to each category.
The ten product categories are: Juices; dairy products; grains; fruits and vegetable products; soups and meal sauces; seeds, nuts, nut butters and spreads; meat, fish and poultry products; mixed dishes; main dishes and entrees; small meals; and meals. Each category has its own set of criteria, such as:
Juices. For juices, no added sugars are permitted, and the serving must contain no more than 160 calories.
Dairy. This category includes products such as milk and yogurt. For ready to drink flavored milk, an 8 fluid ounce portion is limited to 24 grams (g) of total sugars. For yogurt products, a 6 ounce portion is limited to 170 calories and 23 grams of total sugars. These sugars criteria include both naturally-occurring and sugars added for flavoring.
Grains, fruits and vegetable products (and items not in other categories). This category includes products such as cereals, crackers and cereal bars. Foods with less than 150 calories, such as most children’s breakfast cereals, must contain no more than 1.5 g of saturated fat, 290 milligrams (mg) of sodium and 10 g of sugar.
Seeds, nuts, nut butters and spreads. Foods in this category, which includes peanut butters, must have no more than 220 calories, 3.5 g of saturated fat, 240 mg of sodium and 4 g of sugar per 2 tablespoons. Foods in this category also must provide at least one ounce of protein equivalent.
Main dishes and entrees. Foods in this category, such as canned pastas, must have no more than 350 calories, 10 percent calories from saturated fat, 600 mg of sodium and 15 g of sugar per serving.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus created the CFBAI in 2006 to respond to the FTC’s and Institute of Medicine’s calls for greater self-regulation of food advertising to children. As a result, advertising primarily directed to children through traditional and emerging media today are for healthier products, and these new criteria will result in participants improving products even more.
For more details on the criteria, visit: http://www.bbb.org/us/children-food-beverage-advertising-initiative/
Spokane Valley-based Horizon Credit Union relocated its Post Falls branch to 920 N. Highway 41, Suite 10.
Horizon’s previous Post Falls branch resided at 565 Vest St., south of Interstate 90.
The relocation moved the branch to a 1,700 square foot space on the north side of the freeway in the River City Center retail complex.
“The new branch is more centrally located at Highway 41 and Mullan,” said Brian Grytdal, Horizon’s vice president of marketing. “We think members and potential members will find the new location more convenient and easier to access.”
Grytdal says the new location also has additional services including a drive through, a deposit taking ATM, and a self-service center with Internet access to Horizon’s Web site and Home Banking.
All three Horizon employees at the current location moved to the new branch and branch hours of operation will still be Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Credit Union is planning for a grand opening celebration in August.
The Hagadone Event Center, a wedding venue on Lake Coeur d’Alene, is now open. It hosted its first event with the Western Governors’ Association annual conference.
The year-round venue has 11,000 square feet of floor space and is situated next to the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course’s hole No. 3.
The event building, air conditioned for all seasons, has sliding glass doors on three sides with lake views, and two large fireplaces.
It has banquet space for 400 people indoors, or up to 600 people if the exterior decks are used.
For weddings, the center also has private suites for both the bride and the groom.
A private processional passage from each wedding suite leads to the ceremonial garden area, which has its own sound system.
In addition to weddings, the facility can host Christmas parties, banquets, award gatherings, car and boat shows, corporate meetings and retreats, and conferences.
Parking space has doubled at the site to 250 spaces.
Located in a prime location downtown at Second Street and Lakeside Avenue, Seasons of Coeur d’Alene Fresh Grill & Bar opened in time for the Fourth of July. Seasons is a full-service restaurant with a dining room that seats 100 guests.
The lounge is anchored by a 25-seat “U-shaped” bar, serving signature martinis, special cocktails, beer and wine. The bar seats more than 100, with additional space for patrons at the piano bar, patio and fireside lounge with its comfortable seating and fireplace.
Seasons also features a separate banquet or meeting room, which can accommodate 50 guests.
Menu includes traditional favorites like peppered bistro steak, a Kobe pub burger, short rib pasta and seasonal specials.
Overhead Door Corporation, a manufacturer of overhead doors and openers for residential, commercial and industrial construction applications, recently recognized 125 of its U.S. and Canadian Ribbon Distributors as recipients of the “Eagle Award,” for significantly exceeding sales goals for 2010.
The awards were presented during Overhead Door’s 90th anniversary celebration event in Puerto Rico on May 21.
Overhead Door of Spokane-Coeur d’Alene was among the award recipients. Manager Jeff Voeller attended the National Distributor Meeting to receive the award.
Overhead Door Company of Spokane-Coeur d’Alene is at 420 E. Fifth in Post Falls.
Coeur d’Alene Chamber Business After Hours. 5-6:30 p.m. Bell Tower Funeral Home, 3398 E. Jenalen Ave. in Post Falls. Food, beverages, door prizes, facility tour
Hayden Chamber Membership Breakfast Mtg. 6-7:30 a.m. Daanen’s Deli, corner of Wayne Blvd and Prairie Ave. $12 at the door, $10 with RSVP – email@example.com
Post Falls Women in Business Network. Network with area women in business. For more information, call 664-0216
Coeur d’Alene Women in Business Network. Network with area women in business. For more information, call 664-0216
Art on the Green, Taste of the Coeur d’Alenes, Downtown Coeur d’Alene Street Fair. Art on the Green hours: Noon – 7:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Street Fair hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. www.CdADowntown.com, www.ArtOnTheGreen.org
Coeur d’Alene Chamber Upbeat Breakfast. 7 a.m. Coeur d’Alene Resort. Breakfast is $14 with RSVP required. Speaker: Priscilla Bell speaking on North Idaho College: Past, Present and Future. RSVP to Brenda at 415-0110
Men in Business Network. Network with area businessman. For more information, call 664-0216
Hayden Chamber Business After 5. 5-6:30 p.m. Info: 762-1185
Aug. 12-14, 19-20
NIBCA Parade of Homes. Multiple sites in Kootenai County. 765-5518, www.NIBCA.com
Coeur d’Alene Triathlon & Duathlon. 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run. Swim starts at 7:30 a.m. More information: www.CdATriathlon.com
Post Falls Chamber Takin’ Care of Business BBQ at Red Lion Templin’s beach. 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register go to www.PostFallsChamber.com. Program cost is $13
Post Falls Chamber Business After Hours. 5-8 p.m. at Dickinson Insurance and Moon Dollars Restaurant, 609 E. Syringa Ave.
Coeur d’Alene Wooden Boat Show. Coeur d’Alene Resort Boardwalk. Regional ACBS Chapters Classic, more events. More information: www.CdaChamber.com
Hayden Rocks Music Festival. 3-10 p.m. Hayden City Park. www.HaydenChamber.org
Italian Street Fair. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Fourth Ave. and Frederick Street, Post Falls. www.NorthIdahoItalianFestival.com
North Idaho Fair. Kootenai County Fairgrounds. www.NorthIdahoFair.com
Hayden Chamber Membership Breakfast Mtg. 6-7:30 a.m. Daanen’s Deli, corner of Wayne Blvd and Prairie Ave. $12 at the door, $10 with RSVP – firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Falls Chamber Coffee Connections. 7:30 a.m. at the Chamber. Guest speaker: Kevin Campbell, president of Mentor Business Advisors. Register by calling the Chamber at 773-5016. Cost is $5 (free with member punch card), $10 at the door
By TYLER WILSON
Members of the North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA) are making final preparations for the 2011 Parade of Homes.
“There’s always new designs and new ideas,” said NIBCA president Rod Underhill. “Showcasing builders is the main focus of the Parade of Homes.”
Larry Jeffres, an associate director with the NIBCA, anticipates at least 12 homes entered this year. The Parade featured seven homes last year.
“One of the things we’ll see this year are homes that are more modest in price, because that’s what the industry is demanding right now,” Jeffres said. “We have seen a national reduction in square footage in homes today.”
One of the participating homes this year is a remodel, a rarity for the Parade. The home, a waterfront property in Post Falls, was originally purchased as an investment property by Cal and Debbie Clausen.
“When we first bought it we didn’t know if we should make it livable and flip it or to maximize its potential,” Cal Clausen said. “The house was a really nice layout, the structure was wonderful. It had good bones.”
In order for a remodel to qualify, the home must be completely refurbished, and nobody can be living at the property during construction.
“It has been upgraded in every aspect possible. It’s beautiful,” Jeffres said. “I think it’s a very good demonstration of how one can take their existing home and really give it a new feel.”
The remodel project proved to be an excellent showcase of what builders have been able to accomplish during the housing slowdown, Jeffres said.
“There are those quality builders out there that don’t have as many projects,” he said. “They are putting their expertise and quality craftsmanship into remodels.”
Parade chairperson Stephanie Davenport said interest in the Parade from builders has remained strong throughout the housing slowdown.
“Everyone still wants to be a Parade builder,” Davenport said. “It all comes down to (project) timing.”
A People’s Choice award will be given out this year, replacing the traditional juried awards. Anyone who buys a ticket to the Parade will get to vote for their favorite home. A stamp or punch will be required at each tour home, and there will be a drop box for ballots at each site. The remodel home will not be eligible for the People’s Choice.
The 2011 Parade of Homes Show will be held Aug. 12-14 and 19-21. Tickets to the show are $5.
At press time, the following builders are participating in the Parade: Aspen Homes, Messina Construction, Rosenberger Construction, Viking Construction and Northwestern Builders Corp.
Major sponsors are Avista Utilities, The Coeur d’Alene Press, Pro Build and Fairway Floor, Inc. The Parade Builder’s celebration sponsor is MetLife Home Loans.
A free Realtors’ preview of the Parade will be held 8 a.m. to noon, Friday, Aug. 12.
More information on the show will be presented in a special section within the Coeur d’Alene Press. Contact the North Idaho Building Contractors Association for more information, (208) 765-5518, www.nibca.com
By TYLER WILSON
Shaky economy or not, it’s never easy to start a new business.
With such a wide variety of commercial space available in Kootenai County, there are opportunities for startups to lock in excellent long-term lease rates.
Location is vital, however, and not every lease agreement is created equal.
Dale Rainey, a business coach at the Idaho Small Business Development Center, advises people to take a close look at the lease agreements.
“Some get the paperwork and it’s a half an inch thick,” Rainey said. “They don’t negotiate and they don’t read the lease. They just sign it.”
The Idaho Small Business Development Center offers no-cost business consulting and advice to startups as well as existing businesses. Rainey said he’s helping everyone from new entrepreneurs to existing businesses looking at changing locations.
“It’s a really great time to lease if you’re a successful business because we can lock in five- and seven-year leases at great rates,” he said.
For startups, Rainey recommends a more cautious approach, encouraging shorter term leases and warning business owners of hidden costs in lease agreements.
“I advise people to have their own broker represent them. You want to have an agent on your side,” he said.
Many new businesses are unaware of triple net leases, which are common in many commercial contracts. A triple net lease is an agreement where the tenant agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance on the property, in addition to any normal fees that are listed in the agreement.
“Many people are ignorant of the triple rate number, and in some cases that can be a large chunk of money,” Rainey said.
Shorter-term leases are safer bets for newbies, he said, preferably with options in the contract to expand or change locations.
Tom Maydew, a business consultant who writes advice columns for the Small Business Development Center, also warns of month-to-month contracts.
“A month-to-month lease means you are potentially only 30 days away from a forced move, which can be fatal to a new business,” Maydew writes.
For the newest of businesses, the Development Center coaches urge careful consideration of budget, especially in an unstable economic climate.
“I’m a big believer of startup on a shoestring,” Rainey said. “It makes you more focused on where you spend the money.”
For retail businesses, however, Rainey urges choosing a location that maximizes traffic from their intended customers.
“People sometimes assume cheaper is better, but I think they can commit to cheap rent and spend all their efforts trying to overcome a bad location,” he said. “In the right space, it doesn’t take a lot in sales to make up those numbers.”
For more information on the Idaho Small Business Development Center, visit www.idahosbdc.org or contact the local office to set up a business consultation. The local office is operated through North Idaho College at 525 W Clearwater Loop in Post Falls. Phone: (208) 665-5085