Business Briefs – January 2022

Kennewick Albertsons to become a Safeway

Planning is underway to turn the Albertsons store at 5204 Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick into a Safeway store.

A commercial alteration permit recently filed with the city of Kennewick indicate the “banner flip” won’t add any square footage but about 184 linear feet of non-load bearing partitions. A new Starbucks coffee kiosk is planned.

The existing pharmacy will be relocated and a new drive-thru window added. Restrooms will be refreshed and the parking lot restriped. Façade improvements include some structural modifications.

All told, the work will total $1.25 million. The permit for the work has not yet been issued.

Albertsons, parent of Safeway, could not be reached for comment.


Lamb Weston increases quarterly dividend

The board of directors of Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. declared a quarterly dividend of 24.5 cents per share, a 4-cent increase, at its Dec. 17 meeting.

The dividend is payable March 4, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 4. The board also committed an additional $250 million for the repurchase of its common shares.

Lamb Weston, based in the Boise area, is a global french fry producer with substantial business, growing, production and development operations in the Mid-Columbia.


Credit union deposits soar in pandemic

Washington credit unions reported deposit growth of nearly 15% in the third quarter, according to statistics released in December by the National Credit Union Association, which insures credit unions.

Washington ranked ninth in the nation for deposit growth.

Idaho led the nation with 20.2% growth, followed by Nevada at 17.7% and Oregon at 16.7%

Median assets also were on the upswing. Washington assets were up 14% or ninth in the nation. Idaho was first, followed by Nevada and No. 3 South Dakota. Oregon was No. 4.

Idaho led the nation in a third category, membership growth. It saw a 4% increase in membership, the NCUA said.

Nationally, median asset growth over the year ending in the third quarter of 2021 was 10.4%, down from 12.0% one year ago.

NCUA reported that 84% of federally insured credit unions had positive net income in the first three quarters of 2021, compared with 82% in the first three quarters of 2020.


Kennewick Man & Woman of Year nominations due

An awards ceremony is planned to honor the accomplishments of this year’s Kennewick Man & Woman of Year after taking a hiatus in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The program dates back to 1946, with Woman of the Year awards beginning in 1948.

The program is presented by Soroptimist International of Pasco-Kennewick and the Kennewick Past Men of the Year Club.

A panel of judges will consider nominees’ public service as its first priority, though professional merit and activities also are considered. Judges are not previous award recipients.

Nominees must live or work in the city of Kennewick, but there’s no requirement that their public service takes place only in the city of Kennewick, just that the community service benefits the citizens of Kennewick.

Nomination forms are due Jan. 20. Nominations must be limited to 1,000 words. Excessively long submissions may be returned for editing.

Winners will be announced Feb. 28 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

Go to kmwoy.com for nomination forms and to reserve a spot at the awards banquet.


WA Notify adding home Covid-19 test results

WA Notify, the smartphone app that uses anonymous data to share Covid-19 exposure results, is expanding to include at-home test results.

The new feature enables people who test positive using an at-home kit to anonymously notify people they’ve been near about the potential exposure. Previously, only those who received a positive result automatically received verification codes to post to WA Notify.

The app now includes instructions to share Covid results. The app uses anonymized location data to share results with other WA Notify users who were in close proximity within the past 14 days. Nearly half of smartphone users in Washington use WA Notify, which can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded from Google Play Store for Android phones.

Go to doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/WANotify.


New law helps people with convictions get jobs

The Washington Department of Licensing is offering a prescreening service to help individuals with criminal convictions pursue professional licenses.

The preliminary application is free and will help determine if the conviction is related to the license. The service is optional and gives applicants information about the likelihood of success in applying for a license before they spend time, money or take classes or attempt to secure a license.

The new service complies with House Bill 1399, legislation intended to remove barriers that stop people with prior criminal convictions from entering the workforce. It allows people to get licenses in professions, businesses and trades that aren’t related to their convictions.

To submit a Criminal Prescreening request, go to dol.wa.gov/forms/html.


IRS tax season starts Jan. 24

 The Jan. 24 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform programming and testing that is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly, officials said.

Updated programming helps ensure that eligible people can claim the proper amount of the Child Tax Credit after comparing their 2021 advance credits and claim any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2021 tax return.

The filing deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Monday, April 18, for most taxpayers. Taxpayers requesting an extension have until Oct. 17 to file.

The IRS encourages people to use online resources before calling. Last filing season, as a result of Covid-era tax changes and broader pandemic challenges, the IRS phone systems received more than 145 million calls from Jan. 1 to May 17, more than four times more calls than in an average year. In addition to IRS.gov, the IRS has a variety of other free options available to help taxpayers, ranging from free assistance at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly locations across the country to the availability of the IRS Free File program.

Last year’s average tax refund was more than $2,800. More than 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the traditional April tax deadline.

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