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Economy

Carpenters Union and Chase/WAMU gnaw on each other's nerves

Tim Kingston, The Public Press — Jun 4 2009 - 5:33pm

In anticipation of Wednesday’s Earth Day celebration, Berkeley Farmers’ Market has stepped up to the “green” plate – by becoming the first market in the nation to eliminate all plastic bags and packaging.

“We’ve been anti-plastic for a long time, but we’re also committed to our farmers and didn’t want to negatively impact them through diminished sales or costs,” said Ben Feldman, program manager of The Ecology Center – an environmental non-profit that has run the markets since 1987.

The market launched its “Zero Waste” campaign March 7, demanding all farmers’ market refuse be recyclable or compostable. The new rule includes materials for bagging produce as well as containers and utensils for prepared foods.

News Notes: Drain on unemployment benefits could lead to 2011 crisis

Hank Drew, The Public Press — Jun 2 2009 - 12:11pm

More than 1 million Californians are now collecting unemployment benefits that are being covered by a interest-free federal loan to be repaid by 2011.

Who reads the newspaper: You'd be surprised

Bethany Fleishman, The Public Press — May 12 2009 - 5:19pm

Recent layoffs at the San Francisco Chronicle inched it one step closer to saving itself, some would say. However, critics say the financial move is only prolonging the inevitable.

The Chronicle’s woes come on the heels of papers in several major U.S. cities making the move to online only publication, declaring bankruptcy or being sold.

The ever-changing newspaper industry has many local residents, young and old, talking about the future and the “good ole’ days” while debating whether or not the Chronicle should further take advantage of its online component – SF Gate – versus a daily, hard copy edition.

Bay Area economy still slowing, but tech may be stabilizing

Michael Pistorio, The Public Press — Apr 16 2009 - 10:59am

The Bay Area economy continued to slow from late February to early April, though some sectors showed signs of stabilizing, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

Releasing its latest Beige Book, a summary of 12 regional reports, the Fed points to Silicon Valley as the big drag on the local economy. There are indications, however, that the computer and information technology sectors may be poised to rebound later in the year.

While big banks sink, microcredit thrives

Ambika Kandasamy, The Public Press — Apr 7 2009 - 2:52pm

While giant financial service institutions in the nation are shirking under the iron hand of the economy, microcredit organizations are seeing an opposite trend — the number of lenders has been steadily increasing.

Kiva, a Web-based microcredit non-profit in San Francisco, had a record month in February as its total monthly lending soared past $3.8 million.

Old-school band first to 'Tweet-cast' a show

Audrey Wong, The Public Press — Apr 5 2009 - 1:42pm

Anyone who attended the self-titled CD release party of Moonalice at Slim’s Friday night would agree the band evoked the 1960s during their performance.

However, the band also mixed in a little 2009 when it incorporated a taste of social media into its lineup. Fans unable to attend the April 3 event were able to follow the show in real time using Twitter in what was billed as the first-ever "Tweet-cast" concert.

Stacey’s Bookstore writes final chapter

Sam Chapman, The Public Press — Mar 4 2009 - 7:57pm

After 85 years in business – selling millions of books during that time – a San Francisco landmark soon will close its doors to the public.

Stacey’s Bookstore, located at 581 Market St., held its final lunchtime author event Wednesday as hundreds of faithful supporters, former employees, local authors and more walked the aisles of the shop for what may be their last time. The bookstore will close for good the week of March 16.

“I can remember coming here 20 years ago and my book would always make the best-seller list because of what Stacey’s would do in business bestseller lists,” local author Susan RoAne said. “When I read the news, I gulped … this is just heartbreaking for all of us. Stacey’s has been wonderful to me.”

Shanty towns rise in the Central Valley as poverty levels climb

Thea Chroman, Mar 2 2009 - 11:51pm

Fresno, Calif. has the highest levels of concentrated poverty in the nation. In some neighborhoods, nearly half of all residents are living below the federal poverty line. Over the past year, many of those poor residents have slipped out of housing completely. Now shanty towns are springing up along the railroad tracks, an image that recalls shanty towns of a different era: the so-called Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. KALW's Thea Chroman reports.

Hearst Corp. threatens to close Chronicle

Bethany Fleishman, The Public Press — Feb 24 2009 - 7:56pm

The Hearst Corp. announced Tuesday that it would be forced to sell or close the San Francisco Chronicle if it could not make needed “critical” cost-cutting measures, including job cuts, in coming weeks.

The company said the paper lost $50 million in 2008. A memo to employees from the publisher, Frank Vega, said the paper could no longer bear the “staggering losses,” which he said were worsening in the current recession.

“Survival is the outcome we all want to achieve,” said a statement from Hearst quoting two top executives, Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer, Hearst Corporation, and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers.

The return of Hooverville: car and tent cities on the rise in San Francisco

Thea Chroman, The Public Press — Feb 10 2009 - 7:13pm

San Francisco’s per capita homeless rate has long been the highest in the country. But in the past year, it has shot up 40 percent, by some measures. The increase came as foreclosures put pressure on the rental market, the budget crisis slowed aid, and the job market tightened up.

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