The price of workers’ compensation insurance statewide will take the largest drop in more than 10 years on Jan. 1.
The state Department of Labor & Industries, or L&I, recently announced a 5 percent decrease in the average amount employers pay for the coverage.
“We’re seeing fewer injuries on the job and we’ve made improvements in helping injured workers heal and return to work. That’s good news for workers and employers, and it’s helping us significantly lower workers’ compensation costs,” said L&I director Joel Sacks in a news release.
Under the lower 2019 rate, employers will pay an average of about $58 less per employee for a year of workers’ compensation coverage. Workers also will pay less, with their share of the cost dropping by about $6 a year. The new rates take effect the first of the year.
Because of the reduction, workers and employers will pay $136 million less in premiums in 2019.
L&I workers’ compensation insurance covers about 2.9 million workers and nearly 180,000 employers in the state. The department accepts more than 90,000 injured worker claims each year.
In the past five years, the projected long-term costs for the workers’ compensation system have fallen more than $2 billion, thanks to a variety of department efforts, including L&I programs to help injured workers heal and return to work, reduce opioid use during treatment and provide vocational support earlier in injury claims.
The 5-percent rate decrease is an average. An individual employer’s actual rate change may vary, depending on that employer’s industry and claims history.
More information about 2019 workers’ compensation rates is available at lni.wa.gov/Rates.
Charles Schwab, one of the largest full-service investment service firms in the country, recently opened a new independent branch in Kennewick that offers investors local access to a range of investing, wealth management and personal finance guidance, tools and products.
The new Kennewick office at 1408 N. Louisiana St. is part of a larger franchising initiative Schwab announced in early 2011 to make financial advice and planning more accessible in local communities across the country.
The Kennewick branch is led by Khurshed Sharifov, a financial services professional with 15 years of experience in investment management. Prior to joining Schwab’s independent branch network, Sharifov was an independent investment executive at Century Securities Associates, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stifel Financial. Previously, he served as a wealth management advisor at UBS Financial Services.
Sharifov attended Washington State University Tri-Cities, where he earned a master’s in business administration. He and his wife live in Richland with their three children. He is the current chairman of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce board, a member of Columbia Center Rotary and a member of the Advisory Board of Washington State University Tri-Cities Carson College of Business.
Three Tri-City restaurants announced Dec. 11 in separate social media posts that they’d appear on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show with Guy Fieri.
But they may have been a little premature with the news — they each deleted their announcements shortly after making them.
Porter’s Real Barbecue, which has restaurants in Richland and Kennewick, said on its Facebook page that “apparently we shared the news a little too early.”
Richland’s Frost Me Sweet said on Facebook they were asked not to speak publicly “by contract so we deleted our previous post.”
Barley’s Brew Hub in Kennewick deleted its announcement altogether.
So there’s no word yet on when the superstar chef will be in the Mid-Columbia.
A fourth restaurant owner in Kennewick said it would make his dreams come true to meet Fieri and he already knows what he’d serve up. Turn to page 14 to find out more.
NV5 has formed ARC Professional Services LLC, a new joint venture between Dade Moeller, an NV5 company, and RC Engineering and Construction Management, or RCECM.
ARC will operate under an All Small Mentor-Protégé Program agreement approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA. This program, NV5’s first, was spearheaded by the company’s office in Richland, which was Dade Moeller before joining NV5.
The new venture will provide NV5 a foothold with new clients as well as further a long-standing commitment to support its communities. For RCECM, the relationship will foster the company’s growth and reach, as well as expand its technical résumé. The two companies intend to pursue business opportunities at Hanford and across the U.S. while bolstering the local economy with new work, according to a news release.
NV5 has provided professional radiation protection, occupational safety, industrial hygiene and training support to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford site and its prime contractors for more than 20 years.
Founded in Richland in 2007, RCECM specializes in project and construction management, cost engineering, design and engineering, construction inspection and integrated staff partnering.
WorkSource Columbia Basin will be holding a CDL Truck Driver Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan 15 at 815 N. Kellogg St., Suite D, in Kennewick.
Training providers and truck driver recruiters will be on site.
For more information, call 509-734-5953 or email email@example.com.
Columbia Basin College is accepting nominations for its 2019 Martin Luther Jr. Spirit Award.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award seeks to recognize a CBC student, faculty or staff member, or community member who strongly believes in equality and social justice and whose contributions to society reflect King’s spirit, philosophy and teachings.
Those interested in submitting a nomination can send a letter detailing the contributions of the nominee by email to Anna Tensmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline is Dec. 17. The award will be presented at CBC’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Bell-Ringing Ceremony on Jan. 21.
For more information, call 509-543-1486.
The city of Pasco and Pasco-based company Indian Eyes LLC worked together to install a permanent memorial Nov. 28 to honor the late Leroy Gray Horse.
Gray Horse, who is from the Chippewa tribe, also known as Ojibwa or Anishnaabe, played for Jim Thorpe as part of the NFL’s Oorang Indians in 1923. The team played for two seasons in 1922 and 1923, and were based in LaRue, Ohio, according to a city of Pasco news release.
The team was made up of Native Americans and coached by Thorpe, who won Olympic gold medals and played collegiate and professional football, baseball and basketball.
Gray Horse, born in 1900, died in 1956 and was buried in Pasco’s City View cemetery with a temporary marker that read, “Leroy Gray Horse Little Bear.” The marker has decayed over the decades, according to the city.
That’s why city staff contacted Indian Eyes for help in recognizing Gray Horse and his heritage. The business, which provides staffing, equipment logistics and construction management for various companies, agreed to donate a permanent marker. Indian Eyes is a federally-certified and designated Native American- and woman-owned small business.
“City staff wanted to ensure this resident and his past was not forgotten,” said Dan Dotta, the city’s facilities manager.
Benton Rural Electric Association celebrated the launch of its first community solar project at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 7.
The 30.2 kW solar project, called Co-op Solar, is at 6102 W. Van Giesen St. across from the Benton REA West Richland office.
Hot Solar Solutions of Kennewick was expected to finish construction of the array in early December. Dependent upon weather conditions, the project is estimated to produce 43,725 kWh annually.
This is enough electricity to power 2.5 average sized West Richland homes.
Once live, members and the public may view Co-op Solar’s hourly electric generation at BentonREA.org/co-op-solar.
Through community support, Benton REA was able to bring renewable, carbon-free energy to the area.
Electricity generated from the solar project will be credited to the electric accounts of the 31 Benton REA members who enrolled in the program. In August, co-op members were given the opportunity to buy the energy produced from 550 solar units. One solar unit is about one-sixth of one solar panel in this project. The project sold out in eight days after enrollment opened to co-op members on a first-come, first-served basis.
A trade delegation from the state Department of Commerce sponsored a “Choose Washington State USA” at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibit in Tokyo in November.
The Port of Moses Lake was among those represented at the event that draws 20,000 international visitors.
While Japan’s aerospace sector is small compared to its auto, electronics and computer industries, space and civil aircraft show significant upside potential, with growing opportunities for suppliers and technology companies based in Washington, the commerce department said in a news release.
Spending on Small Business Saturday reached a record, with more than $17.8 billion being spent by shoppers at independent retailers and restaurants in the U.S. on Nov. 24.
The 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business reported that about $103 billion has been made during the nine years during the signature post-Thanksgiving event’s inception.
The state Community Economic Revitalization Board has increased the cap for projects’ construction funding.
The maximum amount of the low-interest loans local governments and federally recognized Native American tribes may apply for to pay for infrastructure projects in their communities — including rural broadband projects — is now $3 million per project for CERB core construction funds and $2 million for rural broadband funds.
These higher limits are effective through the end of the two-year state budget cycle that ends on June 30. 2019.
Deadlines to apply for funds are Jan. 14 and March 18. For more information, visit commerce.wa.gov/cerb.
The Washington State Department of Commerce has released new guidelines to help local governments complete buildable lands reports required by the state’s Growth Management Act.
The Legislature called for updated guidelines last year to reflect current issues and challenges of growth management in the state. The guidelines were developed over a year-long process by a steering committee representing counties, cities, industry experts and other interest groups. Commerce hired consultants to assist with drafting the update.
Certain counties are required under the GMA’s review and evaluation program to inventory their buildable lands, measure development of land that has occurred (including housing and employment) since the last inventory, and to review the resulting population densities against forecasted growth. The new guidelines detail procedural, data collection, and approach and methodology suggestions to help local governments complete their buildable land reports. Updated definitions, a comprehensive list of potential “reasonable measures,” and new market supply factor evaluation considerations also are included.
Implemented in 1990, the Growth Management Act requires local jurisdictions to direct development within urban growth areas, efficiently using infrastructure, supporting transit and preserving natural areas. The Department of Commerce oversees growth management and implementation of the GMA at the state level.
The updated guidelines are available on the Department of Commerce website.
Share your vision for Richland’s parks, trails, recreation programs and facilities as part of the city’s master plan process.
The city has hired consulting firm Michael Terrell Landscape Architecture to assist with updating the 2019-25 Parks & Recreation Master Plan.
The plan will help guide the city when making decisions to improve facilities and provide recreation offerings. A series of public meetings have been scheduled and a survey has been established.
The plan encompasses more than just parks, aquatic facilities and a community center. It also includes trails, beaches, golf amenities, tennis courts, off-road vehicle facilities, skate parks, dog parks, sports fields and pavilions, along with a variety of programs and events.
To learn more about this effort, view a complete list of public meetings and take the survey, visit ci.richland.wa.us/parksmasterplan.
Authors Robert Bauman, Robert Franklin, David W. Harvey and Laura Arata recently released a new book focusing on the early years of the Hanford site.
Called “Nowhere to Remember: Hanford, White Bluffs and Richland to 1943,” the book chronicles the early days of pre- and post-Hanford towns and the people who were removed to make way for the Hanford site.
The book is the first in a series known as the Hanford Histories that will be published by WSU Press, in association with Washington State University Tri-Cities’ Hanford History Project. Other volumes are currently in the works, of which some of the topics will focus on science and the environment, race and diversity, building Hanford, the Manhattan Project and its legacies and an illustrated history of Hanford.
Copies of the book may be bought online for $25, at wsupress.wsu.edu.
Richland gallery Clay Atelier is joining the Empty Bowls project to fight hunger by holding several public workshops in which participants can make a clay bowl to donate to the project to help raise money for the Tri-Cities Food Bank.
The one-hour workshops will be from 10 to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1 to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 5, Jan. 6, Jan. 12 and Jan. 13 at 2740 Leslie Road in Richland. All supplies and clay are provided and no experience is necessary.
The bowls will be displayed and available for purchase at the Gallery at the Park from Feb. 5 through March 3 at 89 Lee Blvd. Cyber Art 509 and Gallery at the Park are joining forces to support the fundraiser.
For more information and to reserve a spot, email Arlene Custer at email@example.com.
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