Longs to become a Rite Aid store

The Longs Drugs at the South-end shopping center will become a Rite Aid now that the two companies have agreed to swap six drug stores in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and California.

Longs announced the change-over last Friday with a press release. According to the announcement, the exchange will include prescription files, fixed assets and inventory as well as property leases. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of May and will be subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

A spokesperson for Rite Aid, Jody Cook, said the exact time of the change-over has not yet been determined and the company will be offering jobs to the current Longs staff. Cook also said the swap will not result in a store closure.

“There will be no loss of services because this is something that will happen overnight,” she said.

Ali Spietz elected head of national organization

Ali Spietz, Mercer Island’s city clerk, will be the next president of the Washington Municipal Clerks Association. Her term begins next year.

The city recently learned of Spietz’s honor after receiving word of her appointment a couple of weeks ago. Mayor Bryan Cairns then read a letter of acknowledgment before City Council on April 2.

The city clerk’s association was founded in 1970 and is a non-profit organization promoting professional and education standards for municipal, county and transit board clerks in Washington.

As the city clerk, Spietz is responsible for gathering and producing materials for City Council meetings, public notifications, and the minutes of all city meeting. She also manages public records requests, assists the county with elections and voter registration and recruits members to serve on a variety of city boards and commissions.

Homeowners legislation dies in House

Ironically, a bill championed by Mercer Island’s Senator Brian Weinstein to protect homes has apparently died in the Washington state House of Representatives.

Though the bill was recently approved by the Senate, it seems a vote on the House floor won’t happen this year because of sudden and stiff opposition from the House majority leader.

The bill, dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights because it aims to protect new homeowners from defective or negligent construction, passed the Senate 30-19 earlier this month and was approved Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

Last week, House Majority Leader Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) publicly stated the bill wasn’t ready for law.

Sen. Weinstein responded to the reports by accusing Chopp of caving into developers’ interests. Other senators also stated they want to see the bill move forward. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said the Senate would continue advocating the measure.

The bill SB 5550, would create warranties for new homes to protect against defects in construction.

Katy Ryan joins Reporter staff

For the first time in 15 years there is a new face at the front desk of the Reporter as Katy Ryan joins the staff.

Ryan is an University of Washington honor’s college graduate, who received two degrees in 2006, one in journalism and another in English. While studying at the UW, she also worked for the student newspaper, The Daily, for three years. At The Daily, she was a reporter, copy editor and copy chief.

Ryan also worked with The Seattle Times as an online letters editor. After graduation, she worked for Microsoft as a content editor before deciding to come back to journalism.

At the Reporter she will assist with editorial duties as well as being the Webmaster.

Ryan, 21, is a native of Maple Valley, Wash., and a graduate of Tahoma High School, where she lettered in swimming and track. She now lives on Queen Anne.

She said Mercer Island is a clean, beautiful city and likes how it is community-oriented. Ryan also said she looks forward to working for the Reporter because it serves the community in a strong way

No new state quarters at Island banks today

The new Washington state quarter is officially released today, but it is unlikely that Islanders will find the coin at Island banks anytime soon.

A telephone survey of all Island banks revealed that none of the banks expect to have the newly minted coin on hand for its debut on Wednesday. All but one bank did not know when they would have the new coin on hand.

Mercer Island’s Washington Mutual Bank branch expects the quarters on May 2.

The new coins are expected to arrive mixed in with other currency in regular coin shipments, bank representatives said.

The quarter is the second commemorative coin released in 2007 and honors Washington state, and is the 42nd coin in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program. Washington was admitted into the Union on November 11, 1889, becoming the nation’s 42nd state. The quarter features a king salmon breaching the water in front of majestic Mount Rainier.

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