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Everything you need to know about the River Park Square Christmas tree

Everything you need to know about the River Park Square Christmas tree

The winter holidays are already making their way into River Park Square. Earlier today, construction of the giant Christmas tree that graces the mall's main entrance was completed by Spokane Firefighters IAFF Local 29.

This is the union's 2nd year setting up the tree. According to River Park Square's Marketing Director, Elizabeth Mills, the tree was set up in a record time of 1.5 days.

The Christmas tree you see today has been the main part of River Park Square's holiday decorations since about 2002. The tree itself stands 50 feet tall; the 4 foot star atop the tree makes the whole thing tower 54 feet above the main floor.

10,000 LED lights sparkle on the tree's 689 branches. The silver and red ornaments that give the tree its holiday cheer are numerous. In fact, there are roughly 2,400 of them.

Gov. Inslee proclaims Nov. 17-23 Global Entrepreneurship Week in Washington State

Gov. Inslee proclaims Nov. 17-23 Global Entrepreneurship Week in Washington State

Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed Nov. 17-23, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Washington. This third annual celebration of entrepreneurship and startups will feature more than 100 local education and networking events in all 39 counties – surpassing the reach of any other state program. More events take place year-round in Washington.

Thousands of budding entrepreneurs are expected to attend GEW 2014 events, according to coordinators at the Washington State Department of Commerce. Activities cover a wide range of topics, from how to create a business plan to finding funding.

NNDF to host its Second Annual Native Business Awards Gala

NNDF to host its Second Annual Native Business Awards Gala

The Northwest Native Development Fund (NNDF) will be holding its Second Annual Business Awards Gala Dinner on Friday, November 21st, at the Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights.

The event will honor three members of the local native community for their work on behalf of native business development.

The Eagle Award will be given to honor the Native Business of the Year, the Salmon Award to honor the Native Purchaser of the Year, and the Bear Award for the Native Business Advocate of the Year. Those receiving these prestigious awards will be announced at the event.

Renowned singer, dancer, and speaker Randy Wood will headline this year's entertainment. Wood's awards include a 2002 Grammy and JUNO award for his first solo album. His third album won Best Traditional Album at the 2005 Native American Music Awards. His second Grammy nomination came in 2006 for his song “Our Love Will Never Die”.

University of Washington secures building lease in Spokane

University of Washington secures building lease in Spokane

The Spokane City Council on Monday night formally approved the lease of the former Spokane Visitor Information Center to the University of Washington, which will use the space for many purposes, including business outreach, alumni activities and student admissions. The site will also help support the UW's efforts to expand its existing medical school in Spokane.

The city of Spokane sought tenants for the roughly 2,550-square-foot space and the UW submitted its lease proposal on Oct. 2, 2014. The space is expected to become a hub for prospective students and their parents, alumni and other members of the community to learn more about the university. It may also provide opportunities for startup companies and other innovators in the Spokane area to interact with the UW.

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Thanks to a boost in June, Washington's unemployment numbers have dropped to their lowest levels in six years to 5.8 percent – that's according to the state's Employment Security Department.

Industry sectors saw the largest growth with 2,600 jobs. Retail grew by 2,200, leisure and hospitality by 1,900 and wholesale trade by 1,400. Professional and business services, information, manufacturing, financial services and mining also saw growth in the hundreds.

“After a hiring lull in May, Washington employers really picked up the pace in June,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the department. “The state's economy is picking up momentum and the near term job outlook is good.”

During the one-year period ending in June, Employment Security estimates that employers created 84,700 jobs.

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

A state-sponsored survey of Washington employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall of 2012 and fall of 2013 and employers say it's taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s “2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report” estimated job vacancies increased by 23 percent to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent to 209,100.

Employers also reported that vacant positions remained open for more than two months before being filled. That's a striking contrast to the rate of just 19 days in 2012.

The report also shows more than half of the state's job vacancies were in urban areas of Western Washington, accounting for nearly 82 percent of all new hires from July to September last year.

The industry sector with the most job openings was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and the average estimated hourly wage for $13.69.