First Federal CEO to retire from firm she joined as a teller

Karen L. McCormick has announced plans to retire from the position of president and chief executive officer of First Federal in January 2010.

First Federal has begun the process of selecting its new president and CEO, in accordance with its Management Succession Plan.

McCormick will remain in her position until that time, to ensure an orderly transition of duties and responsibilities.

She joined First Federal on July 5, 1977, as a teller and subsequently advanced through many positions with the bank. She was named president and chief executive officer in January 1997.

Chairman Jimmy D. Ray commented, "The board of directors and our entire First Federal team are extremely grateful for Karen's outstanding leadership and dedication to First Federal and to the communities we serve. For over 30 years, she has been instrumental in creating the growth, vitality and strength we enjoy today."

"I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to First Federal's success," says McCormick.

"With the introduction of our new Community Dividend Program, I've accomplished my professional goal of ensuring that our communities have a bank devoted solely to their own well-being. I look forward to watching First Federal continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead."

First Federal has served North Olympic Peninsula families and businesses for more than 85 years and offers a full range of lending and deposit services.

A mutual bank, First Federal is the only locally owned and managed savings and loan institution on the North Olympic Peninsula. First Federal operates branches in Port Angeles, Forks, Sequim and Port Townsend.

No 60-day layoff notice has been filed for the Gottschalks Inc. store in Port Angeles despite the company's announcement Jan. 14 that it was filing for bankruptcy protection and offering the company for sale.

None of the company's approximately 22 employees has been told they are being laid off although several have inquired about unemployment benefits, according to the Washington State WorkSource office in Port Angeles.

The Fresno, Calif.-based company filed Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Chapter 11 protection.

The company's bankruptcy petition listed assets of $288.4 million and debts of $197.1 million.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers to provide 60 days notice of plant closings and mass layoffs to either the employees, their union or the state's Employment Security Department.

The state Employment Security Department took in a record number of new claims in December. The number of applications - more than 90,000 - was an increase of about 75 percent over December 2007, when about 73,000 people applied for benefits.

The week of Dec. 21-27 set a one-week record, with nearly twice as many claims as the same week in 2007.

The department has added phone lines and doubled staff at its call centers and is hiring and training more employees to manage the workload. See

The Recycling Center has a new location at the Regional Transfer Station, 3501 W. 18th St., Port Angeles. It now is 300 yards west along the road to the Transfer Station scales. The Recycling Center accepts household recyclables including mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, tin cans, glass bottles and cardboard. There is no charge.

The Recycling Center is open the same hours as the Transfer Station - 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, call 417-4875 or recycling at 417-4874 or see

The North Peninsula Building Association will meet Jan. 22 at the Red Lion CrabHouse, 221 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles. There will be a no-host social hour from 6-6:45 p.m. and a dinner meeting from 6:45-7:15 p.m. A program follows dinner at approximately 7:45 p.m.

Orv Campbell and Jerry Hendricks share the progress of the Port Angeles Harbor Works program and provide background information about the program.

Dennis Poppe, with Capital Benefits, will discuss the BIAW health insurance program and assist with enrollment. Rebecca Leonard, with Verizon Wireless, can enroll members in a new program for Verizon customers.

Dinner reservations can be made until 3 p.m. Jan. 21 at 452-8160, fax 452-8197 or e-mail

Frontier Bank hosts a fraud protection and identity theft seminar from 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 28 at Quality Inn & Suites, 134 River Road, Sequim.

Officer Maris Turner,

Sequim Police Department; Peter Badame, Olympic Community Action Programs; and Beverly Droppelman and Bev Roach from Frontier Bank will be the speakers.

Fraud as it relates to seniors and ways they can protect themselves will be discussed.

Call 888-779-4801.

James Whitfield speaks about "How the Business of Health Affects the Health of Your Business" at the Clallam Economic Development Council's annual dinner 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Club 7 in 7 Cedars Casino, 270756 Highway 101, Sequim.

Whitfield is the Region 10 director of United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The cost for the dinner is $35 per person and reservations are required by Jan. 31. Call 457-7793.

Windermere Real Estate SunLand broker Tom Cantwell was appointed to attend the Leadership Institute Northwest. Seven Realtors are selected from each state for the program.

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