Award nominations announced
The Mid-Columbia Small Business Awards committee received 11 nominations for its 2012 Small Business of the Year awards, “Leaving Your Print.” The event recognizes small businesses in Benton and Franklin counties for customer service, commitment to employees and community relations. The awards are presented to locally-owned and operated companies with fewer than 60 full-time employees. The nominees are: 1st Choice Restoration, Bettendorf’s Printing and Design LLC, Dura-Shine Clean LLC, Imageworks, Oasis Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab, Ojeda Business Ventures LLC, Paws Natural Pet Emporium, Pediatrics for You, Servpro of Tri-Cities West, Sylvan Learning Center, and Tri-Cities Digestive Health Center PS. Winners will be announced at an event May 3 at the Shilo Inn in Richland. Tickets are $35 each or reserved tables of 8 are $280. Contact the Pasco Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 547-9755 for more information or tickets.
CBC banquet nets $123,000
The Columbia Basin College Foundation Scholarship banquet, auction and concert held in mid-March raised $123,000 for student scholarships. More than 250 guests enjoyed a gourmet meal, live and silent auctions and music by “Big Night Out.” The CBC Foundation expects to award a record of $500,000 in scholarships this fall to break last year’s record of $417,000. Call 542-4436 or email email@example.com for more information or to donate to the Foundation.
HAPO opens Yakima location
HAPO Community Credit Union celebrated its new location at 6401 W. Nob Hill Blvd. in Yakima in late March with a ribbon cutting and open house. The new branch is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. The facility has a 24-hour drive-through ATM and a 24-hour walk-up ATM. HAPO was formed in 1953 and has grown to 12 financial centers.
BFHS opens new no-kill shelter
Benton-Franklin Human Society’s new no-kill animal shelter, the Roger James Animal Adoption Center, at 1736 E. Seventh in Kennewick is now open. Although the new facility offers the ability for more animals to be cared for and adopted, the entire project—including construction of outdoor exercise kennels and half of the indoor housing kennels—will not be completed until more funds are raised. BFHS management is grateful to the project’s architect Tere Thornhill of Pasco; Paula Butterworth and all the staff of general contractor T.R. Masterson Construction in Kennewick; the local subcontractors who worked on the project; the BFHS Board of Trustees, staff, volunteers and donors. BFHS is the area’s only no-kill shelter and has been operating for more than 40 years. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Visit www.bfhs.com or call 374-4235 for more information.
REACH launches postcard project
The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, Kennewick School District and B Reactor Museum are partnering on the “Postcards from the REACH” program. A series of images created by students will become postcards that will be sold to raise funds for the Interpretive Center. Students may submit up to two images by May 25 to firstname.lastname@example.org or the REACH office at 1766 Fowler, Suite B in Richland. Students whose artwork is chosen for one of the six images will be acknowledged on the postcards and the REACH website, awarded $50 and recognized at a reception. Call 943-1400 for more information.
SBA launches small business tool
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has launched a research tool for small business researchers and policymakers, a hyperlinked listing of Small Business Data Resources. The new tool lists online databases by government or private sector source and keys them to the small-business-related topics on which they provide information. Small Business Data Resources was created to be an invaluable tool for researchers, policymakers, small business trade associations and members of the media interested in small businesses’ role in the economy. The tool is available at www.sba.gov/advocacy/847/125801. The Office of Advocacy is an independent voice for small business within the federal government.
Wells Fargo donates $2.65 million
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) invested a record $2.65 million to more than 560 nonprofits in Washington in 2011, up 13 percent over 2010. In addition, Wells Fargo team members contributed more than $1.17 million and 30,000 volunteer hours to help their communities. Nationally, Wells Fargo invested $213.5 million in 19,000 nonprofits in 2011, giving more than $200 million for the fourth consecutive year. For the third year in a row, United Way Worldwide has named Wells Fargo’s annual community support and United Way campaign the No. 1 Giving Campaign. Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide financial services company celebrating its 160th anniversary
County hosts waste collection
Benton County residents can drop off unwanted household hazardous waste Friday, April 27 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Benton Franklin Fairgrounds at 1500 Oak Street in Kennewick. This two-day event is for residential waste disposal of materials including light bulbs, paints automotive fluids, fertilizers and solvents. Electronics, tires, appliances, explosives, radioactive materials, asbestos, biohazards and trash will not be accepted. Proof of Benton County residency required. Business or commercial customers must call (208) 869-4468 to make an appointment for a day and time earlier in the week. Contact Benton County Solid Waste at 736-3084 for more information.
Workplace fatalities at historic low
Deaths in Washington due to fatal workplace injuries fell to 51 in 2011, the lowest number of work-related deaths in the state’s history. The deaths are reported in the Washington FACE 2011 Work-Related Fatalities report compiled by researchers with the Department of Labor and Industries. Only deaths from traumatic injuries or acute chemical exposures are counted. Deaths due to illnesses related to work are not included in this report. In recent years, Washington has averaged between 80 and 90 work-related deaths annually. The previous low was in 2009 when 65 workers died on the job. One of L&I’s primary goals is to improve workplace safety, and the agency offers a range of safety related materials at www.lni.wa.gov/safety.
United Way golf tourney gears up
The 2012 United Way charity golf tournament, sponsored by EnergySolutions, is set for a 1 p.m. shotgun start Monday, May 14 at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland. EnergySolutions covers the tournament’s costs, so 100% of entry fees go to United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties. Cost for individual golfers is $250 or $1,000 for a team of four. Participants will enjoy lunch, dinner and great prizes. Register by May 1 by calling 375-9811 or email email@example.com.
Former agent sentenced to prison
A former insurance agent who stole money from elderly clients was sentenced to 75 months in prison last month. Jasmine Jamrus-Kassim took $1,052,088 from five of her elderly clients. The clients thought the money was being reinvested. Instead, Jamrus-Kassim pocketed the money. She was an independent agent who sold annuities for Bankers Life and Casualty. Bankers Life agreed to repay the victims as well as any taxes and penalties they incurred. An investigation was launched after one of the victims, a 90-year-old woman from Renton filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner’s office. Jamrus-Kassim pleaded guilty to 21 counts of first-degree theft and one count of attempted first-degree theft. Anyone with a question or complaint about an insurance company or agent can call the insurance commissioner’s office at (800) 562-6900 or visit www.insurance.wa.gov.
Settlement reached on litigation
The Richland City Council approved a settlement with the Wolff Company and two homeowners’ associations at its March 20 meeting, resolving a dispute about the city’s 2010 approval of an amendment to the Badger Mountain Village Planned Unit Development. The litigation stemmed from a city staff-approved change to the city’s 2005 approval of the 50-acre Badger Mountain Village project that would add an apartment complex. Brantingham Greens and Applewood Estates homeowners’ associations filed suit to stop the change. A trial court ruled in favor of the homeowners’ associations but the Washington State Court of Appeals overturned the lower court ruling, allowing the apartment project to proceed. The settlement provides community amenities in the Brantingham Greens/Applewood Estates area, including a new city park and streetscape improvements to Westcliffe Boulevard. All parties agreed to pursue no further legal actions regarding the development of this project.
KGH schedules Gala D’Vine
The Kennewick General Hospital Foundation’s annual Gala D’Vine is set for Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Three Rivers Convention Center. The event is a major fundraiser for the Foundation, featuring more than 500 guests, entertainment, social hour, dinner, auction, tribute and dancing. The KGH Foundation is accepting nominations for the 2012 Tribute to Excellence to be honored at this year’s event. Nomination forms are available at www.kghforg. For more information call 586-5776.
DVS collecting used cell phones
In connection with Earth Day, Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties is collecting used and unwanted cell phones through April 30. The donated phones will be used as emergency 9-1-1 phones by victims or recycled. Proceeds from recycled phones will go to support victim service programs. Donate phones at the DVS office at 3311 W. Clearwater Avenue, Suite C-140 in Kennewick, any local police department, any Mid-Columbia Library, Banner Bank, Wal-Mart, Yoke’s Fresh Market, Columbia Basin College, New Beginnings Thrift Store in Richland, City of Richland office, Hanford Vitrification Plant or Westside United Church. Contact DVS at 735-1295.
Port seeks commission board member
The Port of Kennewick is accepting applicants to represent District 1 on the commission board to replace Commissioner David Hanson, who resigned. The appointed candidate will serve in the capacity until the next election in November 2013 at which a member would be regularly elected. Interested candidates must reside within the Port of Kennewick’s District 1, must submit a completed application and provide verification of voter registration and residency within District 1. District maps and application materials are available online at www.portofkennewick.org or the Benton County Auditor’s office in Prosser. Completed applications must be physically received in the Port office no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 27. Candidates will be interviewed during a special meeting May 9.
Wine industry offers scholarships
The Washington Wine Industry Foundation is offering four sets of scholarships for those interested in viticulture or enology. The $1,500 Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers Scholarship is open to students of Benton, Yakima or Klickitat counties. The Walter J. Clore scholarships range from $500 and $2,000 and honor Dr. Clore’s grape research and lifetime achievements. Six John Farmer scholarships between $500 and $2,000 are offered to students with demonstrated financial need. Farmer was a prominent and respected wine grape grower. Lastly the $3,000 S.W. Bill Preston Scholarship is awarded to a student studying in Washington. Preston was a recognized visionary in the wine industry. Applications are available at www.washingtonwinefoundation.org and must be postmarked no later than June 1.
Start-up funding made available
Central Washington University’s Symposium On University Research and Creative Expression is offering $10,000 in business start-up funding to winners of CWU’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition in May. The first place winner will receive $5,000, the second place winner will receive $3,000 and the third place winner will receive $2,000. Go to www.cwu.edu/~source/business_plan_comp.php or call (509) 963-1487 for more information.
Donation supports cancer patients
The Kennewick office of the American Cancer Society will fund patient and family support programs thanks to “America’s Farmers Grow Communities.” This program, made possible by the Monsanto Fund gives farmers the chance to direct $2,500 to their favorite local nonprofit. Local farmer Al Fountain was Benton County’s winning farmer, and he selected the American Cancer Society.
State loses unemployment benefits
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Washington dipped to 8.2 percent in February, the lowest since January 2009. As a result, the maximum weeks of long-term unemployment benefits will be reduced from 99 to 73 for most eligible workers after April 21. Regular benefits last up to 26 weeks and are paid by the state’s unemployment trust fund, then emergency unemployment compensation or extended benefits programs kick in. These programs are funded by the federal government, and trigger on and off based on the state’s unemployment rate. ESD officials estimate that nearly 12,500 unemployed workers will lose benefits when extended benefits end April 21. More than 11,000 workers will exhaust their emergency benefits within eight weeks after April 21, and another 40,000 people receiving unemployment benefits are at risk of running out during the final six months of the year if they don’t find work. The Employment Security Department will mail notices to workers who are claiming long term-benefits with information about how their benefits will be affected. Go to www.go2worksource.com for employment assistance.
Alaska Air launches Portland service
Alaska Airlines will start a daily nonstop flight between Pasco and Portland starting Aug. 27 on Bombardier Q400 aircraft operated by Horizon Air. Flights will leave Portland at 11:10 a.m., arrive in Pasco at 12:02 p.m., leave Pasco at 12:35 p.m. and arrive in Portland at 1:30 p.m. Horizon Air began serving Pasco in 1981. Tickets are available at www.alaskaair.com.
Reading Foundation to host fundraiser
The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia’s annual Books and Vines event is Sept. 14 at Bookwalter Winery in Richland. The dinner and auction event is sponsored by Bechtel National Inc. and raises money for local literacy programs while celebrating the Reading Foundation’s 16th anniversary. Books and Vines features a silent auction, live music, wine and appetizers. Last year the event raised about $100,000.
AJAC unveils new training model
The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee has built a new 53-foot classroom on wheels, the Advanced Inspection and Manufacturing Mobile Training Unit, or AIM-MTU. This new model of apprenticeship and short-term training is equipped with state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment and allows for customized manufacturing and inspection training at Washington’s aerospace and manufacturing employers’ job sites. AJAC is a non-profit, statewide developer of Washington registered aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs.
Celebrity Bowl brings in $300,000
More than $300,000 was raised in support of Junior Achievement programs at Celebrity Bowl 2012 at Spare Time Lanes and Arcade in Kennewick. Marty Conger with Battelle was the top individual fundraiser. Mission Support Alliance was the top fundraising company, bringing in $30,359.
IRS offers Health Care Tax Credit
The Internal Revenue Service offers qualifying small employers that provide health insurance coverage a tax credit. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible. Businesses that have already filed and later find they qualified in 2010 or 2011 can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for one or both years. More information is available on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit page on irs.gov.
SARC awareness events underway
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and includes Crime Victims’ Rights week. The Sexual Assault Response Center’s Strides of Strength walk starts at 11 a.m. April 21 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Kennewick. The community event will show support to victims of crime. The nonprofit is hosting an online auction through April 27 to support advocacy and counseling service for victims of child abuse, www.biddingforgood.com/SARC.
SECOMM warns of 9-1-1 scam
Southeast Communications Emergency Services warns residents of Washington and other states have reported receiving calls from someone requesting money for 9-1-1 services. The caller claims residents must pay a fee to register their house in a 9-1-1 database so first responders can locate their homes in an emergency. The caller also requests names and medical information. 9-1-1 services are funded through dedicated 9-1-1 excise taxes on telephone bills and by other government funds. Any request for 9-1-1 funds over the phone is fraud. Residents who receive these calls should hang up and report the suspicious call to their local police or sheriff’s non-emergency phone number. Benton County residents should call 628-0333.
Coffee shop hosts fundraiser
Cool Blends Smoothies and Espresso at 504 E. First Avenue in Kennewick is raising money for Abigale Hamlin with its Cups of Compassion fundraiser. For every cup purchased during the month of April, the company will donate $0.25 and match another $0.25 to Riverview Booster Club for Hamlin’s family. Hamlin was diagnosed and treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital last year for acute myelogenous leukemia and the disease has returned. She must undergo chemotherapy again; receive a bone marrow transplant and will likely be a patient at Children’s for eight months to a year. Hamlin’s peers and the Finley community are working together to defer the costs of her treatment and the family’s expenses of traveling to and from Seattle to be with her.
WSU expands online options
Washington State University is launching several new online options to help students accelerate their educations. The Intersession allows students to earn three credits in three weeks. It runs July 29-August 19, between summer and fall semesters. Two new six-week online sessions will be offered during summer, in addition to the regular 12-week courses. The sessions run May 7-June 15 and June 18-July 27. About 40 six-week courses will be offered. The new sessions are open to on-campus and online students. Priority registration for the sessions opened April 9 and registration for the new Intersession is at http://intersession.wsu.edu.
Grant funds made available
The U.S. Department of Labor has made $20 million in grant funds available to provide employment-related training and support services to youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. The purpose of these grants is to improve the long-term labor market prospects for former offenders, ages 14 and older in high-poverty, high-crime areas by focusing on training for in-demand industries and occupations in their communities. The department has another $12 million in grants available to provide similar services to formerly incarcerated adult and youth females as they make the transition back from facilities to their communities. Any nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status and the capacity to implement multisite, multistate projects may apply for the grants. View the grant applications at www.doleta.gov/grands/find_grants.cfm. Visit www.doleta.gov for information about the Department of Labor’s employment and training programs.
Local homebuilder pleads guilty
A Tri-Cities homebuilder who kept building homes after his construction business closed pled guilty in early April to filing a false state tax return. Vasilly Petrovich Sinyuk, 29 operated Sinyuk Construction LLC dba Tri Cities Dream Homes but closed that company in 2009 after getting into tax troubles with the Washington State Department of Revenue. He later built a home in Richland under the guise of VNS Construction, his brother’s construction business. Sinyuk took out the building permit and payments were made to Sinyuk Construction. Benton County Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson sentenced Sinyuk to 30 days in jail with eligibility for work release and ordered him to pay $13,365 in restitution to cover taxes, penalties and interest associated with building a custom home but filing a return stating he did no business. Outstanding tax warrants of $419,165 for liability incurred prior to the criminal case are still outstanding.
Red Cross develops guidebook
The Benton-Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross is developing a resource guidebook for local military families and veterans that includes information about service organizations and resources in categories like childcare and development, counseling and mental health and veteran/military services. The books will be available in early May at the Red Cross office, 7202 W. Deschutes Avenue in Kennewick and Red Cross partners including WorkSource, the National Guard Recruiters, Armory and VFW posts. The Three Rivers Community Foundation provided funding for the guide.
4-H license plate available
Thanks to passage of House Bill 2299, sponsored by Rep. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) a specialized 4-H license plate with the 4-H clover is being designed. Drivers may purchase the plates for $40 and $30 for renewal in addition to the cost of standard license plates. The Department of Licensing will collect fees and deposit funds after administrative expenses into the newly created 4-H programs account in the state treasury. 4-H is the state’s largest youth development program with more than 90,000 youth served. The 4-H license plate bill goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Richland library offers baked goods
Ethos Bakery is now selling its baked goods and coffee at a kiosk in the atrium at the Richland Public Library, 955 Northgate Dr. Pastries and coffee are available from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday.