Local Business Briefs: $243,000 grant to CCAP for solar installation

Commerce awards $243,000 to CCAP for solar installation

Coastal Community Action Program has been awarded a $243,000 grant to build a 121-kilowatt solar installation at its service center in Aberdeen. CCAP will use the energy savings from the project to offset energy costs and provide more services to qualified low-income households across Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

The Washington State Department of Commerce last announced $3.7 million in grants for nine solar energy projects across the state, and the CCAP project was one of them. The projects will result in a total $6.1 million reduction in the energy burden of low-income households and nonprofits serving low-income communities over 25 years.

The clean-energy projects will reduce energy burden for low-income households and nonprofit housing providers

The Low-Income Solar Deployment Program is part of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund, established in 2013. These grants will result in 2.8 megawatts (MW) of nameplate generation from new solar installations — enough solar power to serve about 322 average households per year or over 12 million electric vehicle miles.

“Low-income households pay a disproportionately higher portion of income for energy bills, and often are also in locations more likely to be impacted by the effects of harmful carbon emissions and climate change, such as poor air quality,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “These projects will lower the energy burden of low-income communities while increasing renewable energy generation on the electric grid, both important steps toward achieving energy equity across Washington state.”

Timberland Bancorp, Inc. announces new stock repurchase program

Timberland Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSBK), the holding company for Timberland Bank announced last week that its board of directors has adopted a new stock repurchase program. Under the repurchase program, the company may repurchase up to 5% of the company’s outstanding shares — or 415,970 shares. The new stock repurchase program replaces the existing stock repurchase program, which had 141,952 shares available to be repurchased.

The repurchase program permits shares to be repurchased in open market or private transactions, through block trades, and pursuant to any trading plan that may be adopted in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Repurchases will be made at management’s discretion at prices management considers to be attractive and in the best interests of both the company and its shareholders, subject to the availability of stock, general market conditions, the trading price of the stock, alternative uses for capital, and the company’s financial performance. Open market purchases will be conducted in accordance with the limitations set forth in Rule 10b-18 of the SEC and other applicable legal requirements, according to a statement released by the company.

The statement added that the repurchase program may be suspended, terminated or modified at any time for any reason, including market conditions, the cost of repurchasing shares, the availability of alternative investment opportunities, liquidity, and other factors deemed appropriate. These factors may also affect the timing and amount of share repurchases. The repurchase program does not obligate the Company to purchase any particular number of shares.

McClatchy to recognize union for journalists in four Washington newsrooms

Journalists at four McClatchy-owned news organizations in Washington plan to form a union, and management agreed Thursday to recognize that effort.

Eligible journalists at The News Tribune, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald have organized as the Washington State NewsGuild.

The announcement comes one day after a National Labor Relations Board ruling that the four news organizations could organize as one guild. McClatchy had argued in January at a labor hearing that it was more appropriate for the employees to organize as four separate unions.

Stephanie Pedersen, Northwest regional editor for McClatchy, said she’s eager to accelerate the process.

“The leadership team and our colleagues fundamentally share the same mission: to produce strong local journalism that serves our communities,” Pedersen said. “Recognition allows us to begin negotiations so we may continue to deliver on that mission.”

In its first news release in December, the organizers said nearly 90 percent of eligible journalists have signed authorization cards.

Unionization efforts have become more common in the local news industry. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, under which the Washington State NewsGuild is organized, also represents journalists at the Seattle Times.

McClatchy, which operates newsrooms in 30 markets across the country, recently agreed to recognize news unions at two of its properties in South Carolina as well as in Fort Worth, Texas. Employees at McClatchy-owned newsrooms in Miami and Boise, Idaho, have voted to form unions.

— The Olympian