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Daily Memo


VRB Bancorp earnings slip slightly from 1999's

Valley of the Rogue Bank's parent company made $1.217 million in the first quarter of 2000, a slight dip from the $1.25 million it made in the same quarter a year ago.

The company blamed the lower profits on the costs of opening its first Central Point branch at the end of January. Bill Haden, president and chief executive of VRB Bancorp, said deposits at the branch have already topped $1 million.

The bank's loans grew $5.2 million over the course of the quarter to hit $206.9 million as of March 31. That's 13.7 percent higher than the $182 million it had as of March 31, 1999.

The bank's assets at the quarter's end were $317 million, up 4 percent from the previous year.

Despite the lower profits, the bank's earnings per share actually rose to 15 cents, up from 14 cents in the first quarter of 1999. That's because the bank repurchased 435,000 of its shares over the last nine months.

Valley of the Rogue, based in Rogue River, has 14 branches in Southern Oregon.

Programming talk scheduled for tonight

A look at what it was like to work for high-tech giants like Apple Computer and Microsoft Corp. will be offered tonight in Ashland.

A Programmer's Life is the topic of a Grizzly Tech Talk that starts at 7 p.m. in the Ashland High School library. The presentation will feature area programmers, including for Apple and Microsoft employees.

The speakers include John Fricker and Jesse Williamson from the Vertex Group, Alan Oppenheimer and David Bakkom from Open Door Networks, Kate Cremer from Project A, and Ellen Wright from Plexis Healthcare Systems.

The free event is open to the public.

Foris Vineyards owners earn statewide honor

Ted and Meri Gerber, owners of Foris Vineyards of Cave Junction, have won a top award from the Oregon Winegrowers Association.

They shared the association's 1999 Founders' Award along with Jack Myers of Champoeg.

The award is given annually to recognize pioneering efforts in the Oregon wine industry.

The Gerbers started their first vineyard in 1975 and worked closely with Oregon State University and the Oregon Wine Advisory Board on experimental projects.

At first they sold their grapes to others, then developed Foris as a winery. The first crush at Foris was in 1986.

Today, Foris produces 28,000 cases of wine a year and sells wine in 21 states, Canada and Hong Kong.