A Tri-Cities Tech Summit is planned at the Uptown Theater in Richland on Sept. 14.
The event is a conference for professionals and innovators to come together and find out more about what’s happening across technology fields in the Tri-Cities.
The theme for the one-day summit is innovation forward and will consist of local speakers and a special keynote speaker, along with demos of technology as part of the summit.
As part of the event, there is a current search for tech-focused speakers to engage and inspire attendees. Those wishing to be a speaker or exhibit at the summit can apply at tctechsummit.com.
The summit is the brain child of Byron Martin of Kennewick’s Teknologize and Ty Mulholland of Richland’s Wildland. Both have worked in technology industries for the past 15 years and wanted to create an event where they could bring together local innovators and organizations to share new technologies and discuss how it is changing business and creating opportunities.
The summit is co-hosted by Teknologize, Wildland, Fuse SPC and Tri-Cities Research District. Opportunities are available for those wishing to help sponsor the event.
Registration begins this month. Those wishing to be contacted when registration is live may enter their contact information at tctechsummit.com.
Benton PUD staff is offering a workshop on home weatherization and automation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 24 at its Kennewick auditorium and 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 25 at the Benton PUD auditorium in Prosser.
The workshop includes information about the latest technologies and home automation devices available that can help make homes more energy efficient. There also will be information about rebates through contractors and do-it-yourself energy tips. Benton PUD’s new SmartHub app will be demonstrated and there will be time for questions.
For more information, call 509-582-1234.
Franklin PUD customers began getting more electrical power in June.
The project added 28 megawatts of energy to the system by installing a third transformer and five additional feeders at the Foster Wells substation in Pasco.
The $2.5 million project will provide more capacity to serve customers in the northeast corner of Pasco, an area with a large number of agriculture and food processing customers.
The national group iCan Shine is offering a Kennewick class to teach people with disabilities to ride a two-wheel bicycle. The nonprofit has offered similiar programs nationwide since 2007 to teach people with disabilities to ride bikes.
The iCan Bike program, offered by the Kiwanis Club of the Horse Heaven Hills, will be July 30 to Aug. 3 at the Southridge Sports Complex, 2901 Southridge Blvd., Kennewick. Professionals and volunteers will use adapted custom-built equipment to provide 75 minutes of instruction daily for five days.
For more information or to register, call Marcella Hansen at 509-528-5550 or go to icanshine.org/ican-bike-kennewick-wa.
The Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific is alerting customers of a fake transporting business that is using the name of a company that once operated in Paul, Idaho.
BBB investigators say victims have collectively lost $30,000 to a company operating under the name of Elk Horn Express Transport. Consumers say they are directed to a website to register to buy and transport vehicles they have found online. When people are registered, they are required to wire payments for vehicles before inspecting them. People then never receive the vehicles.
The BBB recommends avoiding doing business with companies that want payments sent through wire transfers; examining companies’ websites for poor grammar and typographical errors; and reviewing auto shipping companies as they are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Legitimate companies will have a license that can be checked.
To report a scam, go to bbb.org/scamtracker.
Efforts are being made to promote open communication about the management of activities in the Amon Basin.
On July, 3 the Kennewick Irrigation District signed an agreement with Tapteal Greenway, the Lower Audubon Society and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to work together for the first time on stewardship for Amon Basin.
Resources of the Amon Basin include fish and wildlife habitat and irrigation facilities.
The Richland City Council is seeking applications from citizens who would like to serve on its American with Disabilities Citizens Review Committee.
The committee meets in May and November. The appointment is through Sept. 30, 2021. Applications are being accepted until July 24.
For more information, call 942-7388 or go to ci.richland.wa.us/bcc.
All former Hanford and other atomic facility workers will be celebrated at the second annual Atomic Worker Appreciation Night event at the Dust Devils’ baseball game. Workers are invited to attend free of charge to recognize them for serving their country’s nuclear defense program. The event is sponsored by Nuclear Care Partners.
The Atomic Worker Appreciation Night event is July 21 at Gesa Stadium on 6200 Burden Blvd. in Pasco. Gates open at 6:15 p.m. with the game beginning at 7:15 p.m. A fireworks display is planned afterward.
Former workers will have the opportunity to participate in special giveaways and will be honored throughout the baseball game. To get more information about the event or to RSVP for free tickets, former workers can call 509-420-5650. Free parking passes are available for the first 50 people to RSVP.
Last year, more than 200 former atomic workers and family members attended.
Ben Franklin Transit recently launched two new demonstration bus routes in Kennewick and Pasco.
The Summer River Runner operates through Aug. 25, and Route 63D will run for about one year. During these time periods, ridership will be assessed for both routes to determine whether either or both will become permanent.
The Summer River Runner is an hourly seasonal route that originates at Three Rivers Transit Center and runs the length of Columbia Park in Kennewick, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.
Served by a trolley bus, the River Runner stops at the Reach museum, throughout the park and the Playground of Dreams.
Route 63D provides hourly service from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays between the 22nd Avenue Transit Center and multiple destinations in east Pasco.
It travels east along Lewis until Wehe streets before heading north to Ochoa Middle School, then southeast to Tierra Vida.
The new route—the result of extensive analysis by the Ben Franklin Transit’s Planning and Service Development team, a series of public meetings, and community survey input—will connect bus service to previously unserved areas in east Pasco, with access to Ochoa, Marie Curie STEM and Whittier Elementary schools, Fiesta Foods, Griggs and more.
Those interested in trying out the new routes are encouraged to use the transit’s GPS-enabled trip-planning tool at https://MyRide.bft.org.
Ben Franklin Transit also is offering reduced seasonal youth bus fares, including a summer youth pass that gives students in grades K-12 unlimited rides through Aug. 31 for $25 and a $1 day pass for all youth boarding buses. More information is at bft.org/Summer.
HAPO Community Credit Union and Gesa Credit Union are teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank to fight hunger in the Tri-City community.
The credit unions are accepting food donations at their Tri-City locations through the end of August and each also will match up to $10,000 in monetary donations.
Teams from HAPO and Gesa also will be assembling packs of food to distribute in schools to children in need. The donations will be distributed through Second Harvest.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently sent the Arlene’s Flowers case back to the Washington State Supreme Court to review in light of the recent ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
As is common when cases involving similar issues as a recent ruling are pending before the court, the U.S.
Supreme Court issued a “grant, vacate, remand” order. This means the court does not conduct any additional review of the case to determine whether the ruling applies, but formally vacates the lower court ruling and sends the case back for a second look. The lower court then re-evaluates the case to determine whether that new ruling affects the case.
The state attorney general brought the case against the Richland flower shop and its owner, Barronelle Stutzman, after she refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
Under Washington law, a business need not provide a particular service, but if it chooses to do so for couples of the opposite sex, it must provide that service equally to same-sex couples.
The state Department of Ecology is now recruiting for 300 environmental positions across the state in the Washington Conservation Corps, or WCC.
The full-time AmeriCorps positions offer young adults and military veterans a range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in environmental restoration, education projects and disaster response services for communities throughout the state.
WCC is seeking young adults ages 18 to 25 as well as Gulf War Era II veterans, reservists and dependents with no age restrictions. Members will begin their 11-month service term Oct. 1.
Typical projects include planting native trees and shrubs along rivers and streams, building and repairing bridges or backcountry trails, and responding to local or national disasters. To apply, go to ecology.wa.gov/wcc.
In addition to career experience, WCC members who complete 11 months and 1,700 hours of service earn a $5,920 AmeriCorps Education Award. Full-time members also are eligible for education loan forbearance, interest payments, health insurance and biweekly paychecks equivalent to the state minimum wage.
In May, dozens of WCC AmeriCorps members were deployed in Okanogan and Pend Oreille counties to help communities prepare for the worst spring flooding the region had faced in more than 40 years. WCC members filled and placed tens of thousands of protective sandbags around homes and other structures.
Last fall and winter, members went to Texas, Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Toshiba Corp., a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Japan, will pay $1.3 million as part of the state Attorney General’s price-fixing lawsuit against manufacturers of a component used in television and computer screens called cathode ray tube, or CRT.
The lawsuit alleged Toshiba and other CRT manufacturers, including LG, Panasonic, Hitachi, Chungwha, Philips and Samsung, engaged in a price-fixing scheme to drive up the cost of CRTs from 1995 to 2007. During those 12 years, the price-fixing conspiracy caused millions of Washington consumers to be overcharged for their CRT TVs and computer monitors, according to the state attorney general’s office.
The consent decree, which will be filed in King County Superior Court, holds Toshiba accountable for its role in the price-fixing scheme. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he will distribute the bulk of the $1.3 million through a claims process to Washington consumers and state agencies that bought CRTs during the conspiracy.
Some of these companies also orchestrated a strikingly similar conspiracy around the same time to drive up prices of LCD screens. In 2016, the Attorney General’s Office recovered $41 million for Washington consumers in its lawsuit over the LCD price-fixing conspiracy.
The attorney general will retain a claims administrator to help with the distribution of the funds. Money will be distributed after all cases are resolved. More details on the claims process will be announced when available.
This payment will bring the total paid so far by CRT manufacturers over their scheme to $3.65 million. So far, four other conspirators have paid a total of $2.35 million to Washington: LG, $1.5 million; Panasonic, $450,000; Hitachi, $275,000; and Chunghwa, $125,000.
The lawsuit is ongoing against Philips and Samsung, with a trial set for July 2019.
Work is beginning on a new state-of-the-art research building at Washington State University.
WSU broke ground in late June for the Plant Sciences Building in Pullman. The $52 million building is the fourth of six planned buildings in the V. Lane Rawlins Research and Education Complex. It will provide a modern research venue for faculty members and students of plant biochemistry, plant pathology, horticulture and crop and soil sciences.
The programs will be moving from buildings constructed in 1959 and 1971.
Washington’s average annual wage grew by 5 percent in 2017 to reach $61,887 — the largest percentage increase since 2007, according to the state Employment Security Department.
The average weekly wage for those covered by unemployment insurance increased from $1,133 in 2016 to $1,190 in 2017
The industries with the largest average wage growth last year were retail with an increase of 14.5 percent, information with an increase of 8.2 percent, and accommodation and food services with a 6.9 percent increase.
The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $9 to $178, for new claims opened on or after July 1. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, which is the greater of $496 or 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $36 to $749.
Currently, about 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount and 10 percent receive the minimum.
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