State OKs Kadlec to add 67 inpatient hospital beds
Regional Medical Center in Richland received state approval to add 67 inpatient
beds to its hospital license.
raises Kadlec’s capacity to 337 beds. Under the approved certificate of need
from the state Department of Health, Kadlec plans to phase in the additional
beds over the next few years.
acute care bed occupancy rate has been increasing steadily. Coupled with the
community’s projected population growth of nearly 2 percent per year for the
next seven years, gaining state approval of this expansion is important,
according to Kadlec officials.
The population growth is driven primarily by growth
in the number of residents age 65 years and older which increased, on average,
5 percent per year from 2010-15, and is forecasted to grow more than 4 percent
per year from 2015-20 and 3.7 percent per year from 2020-25. This high
rate of growth in the number of aging residents is important because this
population has a much greater inpatient utilization rate than younger
residents. In turn, this translates into much greater demand for inpatient
the same time, Kadlec is strongly focused on growing its outpatient services to
meet ever- increasing demand and evolving capabilities in the outpatient arena.
Kennewick to live-stream city council meetings
Kennewick residents can now watch gavel-to-gavel coverage
of Kennewick City Council meetings online.
To watch the live video stream of city council proceedings, go to go2kennewick.com/1256/Council-Meeting-Broadcasts.
In addition, the live video stream of city council,
commission and specialty meetings will be archived and available for on-demand
viewing on the city’s website.
With four cameras in the city’s council chambers,
residents will receive a high definition and dynamic viewing experience. The
streaming video includes lower-third graphics, to help identify who is speaking
and on camera, plus full screen graphics of digital presentations.
The broadcast of the council meetings is hands-free,
meaning it doesn’t require the city to staff a production team, with the help
of Dallas, Texas-based Swagit Productions and its Avior hands-free broadcast
The city’s meetings are at 6:30 p.m. the first and the
third Tuesday of every month.
The meeting videos
will be indexed with the agenda and archived for accessible on-demand viewing.
Once a meeting is archived, the on-demand feature allows viewers to choose
which meeting agenda items or conversations they wish to watch, and then jumps
directly to that specific point within the video.
Labor and Industries extends public comment period on overtime rules
Driven by a high level of interest, the state Department
of Labor and Industries is extending the public comment period on its proposed
changes to the state’s overtime rules by two weeks.
Comments now will be accepted through Sept. 20.
The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s board of
directors voted to oppose the new overtime proposal. The chamber said the rules
will have a big effect on employers, particularly nonprofits and small
In June, Labor and Industries proposed an incremental
increase in the minimum salary threshold for employees to be considered exempt
from overtime. Under current federal guidelines, to be overtime exempt, an
employee must perform certain types of managerial duties and be paid a salary
of at least $455 a week. That figure would climb under the proposed rule.
Along with the salary threshold, an overtime-exempt
employee also must meet a job duties test. Labor and Industries’ proposed rules
would more closely align the state’s test with federal standards. The proposal
covers employees defined as executive, administrative and professional, as well
as outside salespeople and computer professionals.
This would be the first update of the state rules since
“We’ve seen an outpouring of people interested in these
changes, and we want to make sure they all have a chance to tell us what they
think,” said Elizabeth Smith, Labor and Industries deputy director. “With so
many people focused on vacations and family events through the late summer, we
want to give people more time to comment as they return to their fall
Labor and Industries has already received more than 1,450
comments on the proposal, and took testimony from more than 180 people at seven
public hearings held around the state, including in Kennewick, in July and
The proposed changes would significantly increase the
minimum amount employees must earn before they can be exempt from receiving
overtime pay and other protections under the state’s Minimum Wage Act. The
proposal would restore overtime eligibility to more than 250,000 employees when
Company receives 6 patents for innovations
which has an office in Richland, received six patent awards for nuclear
patents cover inventions to improve safety and operational excellence in
nuclear energy facilities.
of the awards were in fuels for utilities: a strip for a nuclear fuel assembly
spacer grid, composite fuel rod cladding and nuclear fuel rod cladding
including a metal nanomaterial layer.
other awards were for: boiling water reactor feedwater sparger end bracket pin
clamp, excavation and weld repair methodology for pressurized water reactor
piping and vessel nozzles, and control rod drive mechanism inner diameter
annulus ultra-high-pressure cavitation peening.
State opens use for drug to fight opioid overdose
The state is making it easier to get access to an
overdose reversal drug.
Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington state health officer, signed a
statewide standing order for naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose.
The standing order allows any person or organization to get naloxone from a
“Making it easier to access and distribute this
lifesaving medication to people who need it is an important step in addressing
the opioid crisis and reducing overdose deaths in our state,” Lofy said. “In
2018, 710 Washington residents died of an opioid overdose.”
Naloxone can be given as an injection or a nasal spray.
It works by temporarily blocking the effects of opioids.
Bigger apple crop ahead for 2019-20 harvest
Washington apple harvest is expected to top 137 million
boxes, an increase of nearly 18 percent over the 2017-18 season.
The Aug. 7 forecast aligns with the volume of the
previous two years’ harvests, according to the Washington Apple Commission.
Varieties grown in Washington have grown diverse,
providing consumers with more than 56 varieties available. The organic category
represents 13 percent of the total crop.
About a third of Washington’s fresh apple crop is
exported each year and accounts for 95 percent of all U.S. apple exports, the
Benton PUD offers low-income advocate workshop
Benton PUD is holding a low-income advocate workshop for
Tri-City area organizations, human service groups and community partners.
The PUD wants to share information about its programs and
The following topics will be discussed:
• Benton PUD’s low-income discounts, which are available
to income qualified senior, disabled and veteran/active military customers.
• SmartHub, a customer portal, and how it can help
customers monitor electric usage and make changes to lower electric
• Pay As You Go, a new program that allows customers to
pay for electricity in advance, similar to minutes on a prepaid cellphone, and
avoid fees and security deposits.
• Conservation programs for low-income customers.
The meeting is at 9 a.m. Sept. 26 at the Benton PUD Auditorium, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick. RSVP to Katie Timmerman by Sept. 20 at email@example.com or at 509-582-1286.
Gesa Credit Union unveils new Local Heroes card
Gesa Credit Union announced its Gesa Local Heroes
Affinity Debit Card program, supporting first responders, veterans and
With each use of the cards, Gesa will make a small
donation to its Local Heroes Fund. The money will be used to fund grants for
fire departments, police departments, teachers’ groups and veterans’ organizations,
as well as organizations that support those services.
Organizations interested in applying for grants can do so at gesa.com/local-heroes.
Gesa already has 13 Affinity debit cards, which have
raised more than $300,000 for Washington schools and youth sports.
Bond for firetruck, station renovation on Nov. 5 ballot
Benton Fire District 1 is asking voters to consider a
capital improvement bond on the Nov. 5 ballot.
This bond would last for 20 years and be an estimated 10
cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The estimated cost to a homeowner
would be $2.92 per month, or $35 a year, for property valued at $350,000.
If approved, funding from the bond would provide
significant renovations to accommodate staff at Station 150 in Badger Canyon
and replace a fire ladder truck at Station 120 in Finley. Replacing the ladder
truck will help maintain the fire district’s current insurance rating for fire
district apparatus. Renovations to accommodate 24-hour staffing will improve
response times district-wide and lower the fire district’s insurance rating.
Benton Fire District 1 funds daily operations through a
fire levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which voters renew
every six years. Capital projects – such as stations and apparatus replacement
– are funded through voter-approved bonds. In the last two years, the fire
district paid off two such bonds.
The fire district asked voters to renew funding for the
fire district levy and bond on the August ballot. Voters renewed their fire
levy, and a majority of voters (54.38 percent) supported the bond on the
ballot, but it was not enough to pass with the super-majority, or 60 percent,
More information about the bond, including an estimated cost based on assessed value, can be found online at bentonone.org.
Social Security goes far in Benton County, study says
Benton County residents are receiving among the highest
annual Social Security payments in the state.
That’s according to research by New York financial
technology company SmartAsset.
The average annual Social Security income in Benton
County is $20,110. The county ranked No. 10 in the state for places where
Social Security goes furthest.
Franklin County ranked 30th in the state, with annual
Social Security income at $18,795.
Smart Asset subtracted the county-level cost of typical
living expenses from each county’s net Social Security income, among other
calculations, to determine the rankings.
Ecology fine-tunes wastewater training
The state Department of Ecology has added three group
levels to its Operator-in-Training program, hoping to increase viable
candidates for an increase in openings among top positions at wastewater
Plant operators must be certified by Ecology. A recent
survey of wastewater plant operators found there were not enough workers
certified to replace a growing number of retiring plant managers.
The new group levels in the OIT program are for workers
who can pass the next higher group level exam, but have not yet met requirements
for full certification at the next level.
Task force to set cannabis testing standards
A state Cannabis Science Task Force is being put
together to ensure cannabis labs can produce reliable results when testing
consumer and medical products.
A number of state agencies, including the Department of
Ecology, are forming the task force in response to state law intended to
The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board and the
Department of Health require products to be tested by an accredited lab.
For more information, go to bit.ly/2lBgbZf.
Friends group offers giant book sale in Kennewick
The Friends of Mid-Columbia Libraries’ semi-annual giant
book sale is Sept. 25-29 at the Kennewick branch, 1620 S. Union St.
Members get a full day of early access from 10 a.m. to
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. The cost of membership is $5 a year, and new
members can sign up at the door or online.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 26; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sept. 27; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28; and 1-4 p.m. Sept. 29, when all items are
The event offers used books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and
more. All money raised provide support for local libraries. Debit and credit
card payments are accepted.
Women Helping Women fundraiser set for Oct. 10
The annual Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities luncheon
is noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at The HAPO Center, formerly TRAC, in Pasco.
This year’s speaker is Maja Kazaaic, a survivor of the
Bosnian genocide in the 1990s.
A donation of $100 is needed to attend the event, with
100 percent of the money staying in the community and going to local
Women Helping Women provides grants aimed at addressing
the unmet needs of women and children throughout the Columbia Basin.
For more information, go to whwftc.org/annual-luncheon/.
Benton REA holding blood drive on Oct. 24
Benton REA will hold a blood drive on Oct. 24.
The drive will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Benton REA’s
Prosser office at 402 Seventh St.
All blood types are needed, especially O negative, B
negative and A negative.
For more information or to sign up, call 509-781-6753 or go to redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code BREA.
Plan in place for state’s clean electricity law
The state Utilities and Transportation Commission has
finalized a plan to implement the state’s new 100 percent clean electricity
The plan outlines a process and schedule to come into
compliance with the Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act. The act, passed
in the 2019 legislative session, requires the state’s electric utilities to
produce 100 percent clean power by 2045.
The bill directs electric utilities to eliminate coal
power from rates by 2025 and to provide carbon offsets from power generation
Comments sought on Pasco landfill cleanup plan
One of Washington’s most challenging contaminated sites
soon could see the worst of the waste removed in a major cleanup operation.
A draft plan recommends excavating 35,000 drums of
industrial waste from the Pasco landfill, located north of Kahlotus Road and
Highway 12, while continuing to safely contain what stays put.
The state Department of Ecology and more than 30 parties
responsible for cleanup have collaborated since late 2018 to bring a decades-long
process to this final, pivotal step.
The industrial waste in one area requires a permanent
solution to control ongoing releases of hazardous substances to air, soil and
groundwater. Under the proposed plan, the drums would be excavated,
characterized, segregated by waste type and then moved off site for treatment
About 5,000 drums of herbicide-manufacturing waste from
another area were dug up and sent off site for incineration and disposal in
2002. Because of this source removal and 2013 engineering upgrades to the cover
system, the contaminants do not appear to intermix with contamination from
other disposal areas. This July, Ecology granted a request from Bayer
CropScience Inc. to establish a distinct cleanup site. Separate cleanup documents
for this area will be presented later for public review.
Household and commercial waste buried at the landfill from
1958 until 1993 would be left in place. Gases from decomposing waste would
continue to be collected and burned off by a flare.
Ecology seeks comments on the cleanup plan through Oct. 3.
Documents can be reviewed on Ecology’s website, the Pasco
branch of Mid-Columbia Libraries, 1320
W. Hopkins St., Pasco, or the Ecology Eastern Regional Office, 4601 N. Monroe
Comments can be submitted online, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to: Charles Gruenenfelder, Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane, WA 99205.
Dick’s Sporting Goods hires team for September opening
Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would hire five full-time
and 40 part-time workers for its store in Kennewick when it opens at Columbia
Along with the associate positions, the store said it
needed about 30 temporary workers.
The store’s grand opening is Sept. 20-22.
BIAW reaches agreement over workers compensation
The Building Industry Association of Washington announced
Aug. 15 that it reached an agreement on a lawsuit over using Workers’
Compensation Funds to implement the Clean Energy Bill.
The BIAW filed suit against the state Department of Labor
and Industries to bar workers’ comp from being used for non-worker injury
purposes. The agreement stays the suit to give Labor and Industries and the
Legislature time to make budget changes in the 2020 legislative session, BIAW said
in a press release.
Senate Bill 5116 was passed this year as part of a
package of environmental bills.
is not a dispute over the policy in the bill,” said Jackson Maynard, BIAW
general counsel, in a release. “However, taking $625,000 from the Workers’
Compensation Fund for the bill’s implementation is not allowed under the state
Constitution. We hope this case will deter policymakers from siphoning these
funds away from injured workers in the future.”
Latter-day Saints meetinghouse opens in West Richland
newly completed meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
recently opened in West Richland.
at 5885 Holly Way, the 17,000-square-foot facility will serve about 3,800
Latter-day Saint members who live in the vicinity.
is the 16th meetinghouse in the Tri-City area, in addition to the temple,
seminaries and bishop’s storehouse.
decision to build meetinghouses is based on growth of membership in the area.
All church buildings are paid for by member tithing contributions.
The church teaches its members to avoid debt as much as possible and operates
in this same manner. This building has no debt.
Builder fined $2,500 by Ecology Department
Homes was fined $2,500 by the state Department of Ecology at a site in Walla
reported the company “repeatedly placed concrete waste on the ground next to a
swale causing wastewater to flow over the curb.”
issued $46,500 in environmental penalties to 12 parties from April to June. The
largest was to the city of Seattle for water quality permit violations.
Hollister reopens at Columbia Center mall
store Hollister is open again at the Columbia Center mall after a six-month
store opened its doors again Aug. 15. It is located near the play area between
Auntie Anne’s and Coach.
is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
Tank wash facility breaks ground in Grandview
Valley Truck Wash broke ground Aug. 26 on an agricultural food-grade tank wash
facility in Grandview.
be the second tank wash facility for owners John and Theresa Loueiro, who also
have a facility in Ontario, California.
Port of Grandview said in a news release that the facility will sit on a
seven-acre site at Stover and Puterbaugh roads and is the first business to
move into Puterbaugh Business Park.
employees are expected to be hired within three years.
Construction underway on administration center in West Richland
is underway on the Richland School District’s new teacher and administration
center in West Richland.
Teaching, Learning and Administration Center at 6972 Keene Road near
Leona Libby Middle School is expected to be completed in September 2020.
$11.6 million building will be 41,000 square feet, with offices for six
district departments, school board meeting space and three classrooms.
for the project was approved by voters in 2017.
approved a $99 million bond for this project and several others in 2017.
Construction of Richland is the general contractor.
Tri-Cities Farm Hall event set for Nov. 14
Washington Policy Center’s Tri-Cities Farm Hall event is
from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 14 in Pasco.
The event will be at The HAPO Center, formerly TRAC, at
6600 Burden Blvd. in Pasco.
Attendees can hear directly from elected officials and
industry experts about some of the key agriculture and farming policy issues in
This event is free and open to the community. Boxed lunches are available to those who register early. Register online at washingtonpolicy.org under the events tab.
ACT plans fundraiser with construction update
Construction of the 300-seat Academy of Children’s
Theatre is underway with occupancy planned for late 2020.
The new theater is at the rear of ACT’s existing facility
at 213 Wellsian Way in Richland.
ACT will provide a community update on the progress of
its expansion project at an annual fundraising luncheon at noon Sept. 26.
ACT board member Cathy Kelly and Executive Director Anne
Spilman will provide details about the progress. The event is being held at the
new theater site.
Entertainment by youth actors participating in ACT’s
upcoming production of “Frozen Jr.” also will be featured.
To attend the event, there is a suggested minimum donation of $100 per person. In addition, guests will have an opportunity to make a pledge for a theater chair naming sponsorship for a $1,000 contribution. For details, contact ACT at email@example.com or call 509-943-6027.
Tri-Cities Cancer Center opens Hermiston office
Cancer Center opened an office in Hermiston on Aug. 21.
new office is at 600 NW 11th St., Suite E-23 at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
It is open for patient consultations, follow-up visits, support services and
will be open on Mondays. Call 509-783-9894 to schedule an appointment.
want to ensure that our patients are served well across the region,” said Chuck
DeGooyer, chief executive officer of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. “With many
of our patients coming from Hermiston and the surrounding communities, we want
to make it easier for them to receive their cancer care and support close to
Homebridge acquires Kennewick HomeStreet loan center
Kennewick HomeStreet loan center was acquired as part of a broader acquisition
by Homebridge, a large independent mortgage-specific lender.
of HomeStreet Bank’s stand-alone home loan offices were included in the
acquisition, raising Homebridge’s profile to include more than 240 retail
branches and 2,300 associates throughout the company, according to a news
Kennewick branch is at 8203 W. Quinault Ave. Suite 700.
announced in February that it would seek buyers to acquire its stand-alone home
loan centers and related mortgage origination personnel.
offers borrowers and the residential builder communities an array of mortgage
products, including Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and jumbo loans.
WSU Tri-Cities opens center for student inclusion
Washington State University Tri-Cities recently
celebrated the grand opening for its new MOSAIC Center for Student Inclusion in
It will be a home to student resources to enhance equity
and inclusion, a place to discover more about various cultures and a central
location for students to talk and learn about current social issues.
Students will have access to workshops on social issues,
a library on equity and diversity topics, book clubs, documentary showings on
diversity-related topics, advocacy opportunities, celebrations and more.
First introduced by Israa Alshaikhli, former president
of the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities, the project is coming to fruition
under the leadership of Savanna Navarro Kresse, current vice president for
ASWSUTC. The students worked directly with university administration, faculty
and staff to start conversations about the importance of having a center
focused on equity and inclusion, what that center could look like and how they
could make the center a reality.
Last spring, WSU Tri-Cities held a soft opening for the
center, welcoming student input on what they would like to see.
PNNL report shows shift in wind power usage
U.S. is shifting to smaller turbines when it comes to distributed wind power,
according to a report from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
study by the U.S. Department of Energy lab in Richland found that 99 percent of
distributed wind power projects in 2018 used turbines that generate 1 kilowatt
power is created where it is consumed, such as at homes, schools, farms and
businesses. It is not power that is sent through transmission lines and
than 83,000 turbines were used for distributed power, up more than 2,000 from
2017. Small turbines accounted for 47 percent of the 1,127 megawatts generated
for distributed power.
of that distributed increase has come from turbines of 1 kilowatt or less, as
use of larger turbines is decreasing.
TV program highlights Pasco African Americans’ contributions
Pasco City Television has premiered a program that
documents some of the significant sites and people in the community’s
As part of a grant from the state Department of
Archaeology and Historic Preservation, financed in part with federal dollars
from the National Park Service, the program features interviews with members of
Pasco’s African-American community at significant sites in east Pasco that are
central to the deep history of African
Americans in the Tri-Cities.
The main objective of the grant was to document properties
in east Pasco historically associated with African-Americans.
the population ages and we lose the sites associated with the period when east
Pasco was home to a vibrant, African-American community, recognizing this
history through place becomes critical,” said Tanya Bowers, producer of the
program and member of the city’s Planning Commission, in a news release.
program is on the city’s YouTube channel and will be running on
PSC-TV, Channel 191, on Charter/Spectrum Cable in Pasco and Richland.
For the schedule, go to pasco-wa.gov/psctvschedule for the schedule.
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