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Ben Miller
Puget Sound Business Journal|www.bizjournals.com/seattle

When the new Bass Pro Shops opens at Interstate 5 and 72nd Street in Tacoma later this year, it’s expected to be one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.
 
The News Tribune in Tacoma reports the new outdoor sporting goods retailer is expected to become a big draw, since it will be the only Bass Pro Shops in the Pacific Northwest region. Other Bass Pro Shops across the country have become big tourist attractions.
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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will install more than 500 electric charging stations that will power the airport’s ground support equipment that’s transitioning to electricity-powered.

The $31 million project is a joint effort between the airport, Alaska Airlines and Western Washington Clean Cities. The switch to electricity-powered vehicles — baggage tugs, bag ramps and pushback vehicles used at the airport — is expected to save $2.8 million in airline fuel costs per year. read more »

 

Visit Seattle, the Seattle visitors bureau, targeted potential city visitors in Denver and Salt Lake City by giving away free coffee in those cities.

In five coffee shops in each of the two cities on Monday, Visit Seattle paid for the first 200 customers’ coffee orders. Each of the complimentary brews was accompanied by to-go cups with sleeves inscribed with the slogan, “Make the ultimate coffee run — plan your trip at 2DaysInSeattle.com.” Sleeves also had images of the Seattle skyline and Space Needle and a tagline: “What will you do with your 2?”

“Coffee and our city are virtually synonymous, so what better way than to start the week off with free coffee. We intentionally didn’t promote this ahead of time as we wanted this to be an unexpected surprise on a Monday morning,” said Ali Daniels, vice president of marketing at Visit Seattle, in a statement. read more »

 

The U.S. Justice Department and the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are both reportedly investigating Seattle-based assisted living giant Emeritus Corp. for possible Medicaid fraud.

ProPublica reports federal investigators are looking into allegations of improper Medicaid billing, as well other company business dealings.

Earlier this month, Emeritus (NYSE: ESC) announced it was merging with Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living Inc. in a $2.8 billion deal.

Emeritus is the 16th-largest public company based in Washington state, according to Puget Sound Business Journal research.

 

The number and percentage of Washington state workers who are represented by a union rose in 2013 compared with 2012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 546,000 workers were in unions last year, up from 513,000 a year earlier. The percentage of workers represented by a union rose to 18.9 percent in Washington state last year, compared with 18.5 percent in 2012.

The national average in 2013 was 11.3 percent of workers represented by a union, unchanged from 2012.

The government reported that union membership rate for the state was at a recent high of 23.8 percent in 1993 and at a low of 17.9 percent in both 2000 and 2001. read more »

 

Bainbridge Island sales-tax software company Avalara Inc. said it’s raised $30 million in a financing round led by existing investors Battery Ventures and Sageview Capital.

Since its founding in 2004, Avalara has raised more than $100 million.

“This investment should help extend our technology and integration capabilities and support growth,” said Avalara founder and CEO Scott McFarlane in a statement.

Avalara created a software system that aggregates the sales tax rates and regulations from around the country and attaches them to a company’s sales management system. The correct tax is then calculated and applied automatically.

 

Wednesday (Feb. 5) at 11 a.m. is the time for the victory parade honoring the Seattle Seahawks for their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.

According to the city, the parade will start on Fourth Avenue south of Denny Way and will end at CenturyLink Field.

“Now the city will prepare to celebrate in the way that only Seattle knows how,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. He added that extra police patrols will be in force for the event. During Sunday night’s Pioneer Square revelry after the Seahawks win, fans slightly damaged the pergola at the square. read more »

 

Boeing Co. reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenues both grew over a year earlier, and fiscal 2013 earnings hit a record level.

Boeing reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.88 per share, and revenues of $23.8 billion. That compares with adjusted earnings of $1.46 per share, and revenues of $22.3 billion a year earlier.

For fiscal 2013, Boeing reported adjusted earnings of a record $7.07 per share and revenues of $86.6 billion, which compares with adjusted earnings of $5.88 per share, and revenues of $81.7 billion in fiscal 2012. read more »

 

There won’t be many poor countries in 2035, according to Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in his annual letter.

The Microsoft Corp. co-chairman also said that foreign aid to poor countries isn’t a waste of money, and that saving the lives of children in poor countries doesn’t contribute to the world’s overpopulation.

In Gates’ letter, he tries to dispel myths about poor countries, including that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor.”

“Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution,” Gates said about his 2035 prediction. read more »

 
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