A new clinic offering drive- and walk-thru Covid-19 testing has opened at 3110 W. Argent Road in Pasco.
The site is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Monday and can test up to 500 people per day. Anyone who may have been exposed to coronavirus, who has symptoms or who would just like to check their status can get tested. Results are available within two to three days.
The test site is staffed by the Pasco Fire Department and local health care and EMS workers from Columbia Safety. The staff is multilingual in Spanish, Somali and American Sign Language. Help is available.
Testing is free to participants and offered regardless of insurance or immigration status. Register for a spot at wacovid19.org/tricitiestesting.
The service is offered by Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health, Benton-Franklin Health District, Health Commons Project, Washington State Department of Health and the University of Washington.
The Washington state Department of Commerce has launched an Economic Recovery Dashboard to share key measures of the economy.
The dashboard draws data from public and private organizations to examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the state’s economy. It covers topics such as employment levels, taxable retail sales, consumer behavior and more.
The traffic signal at Keene and Kennedy roads in West Richland has been altered to cut down on the number of collisions involving inattentive drivers.
City crews altered the signal Oct. 5 to allow left turns from Keene Road only on a protected green arrow.
The change will increase travel time through the intersection but is considered necessary to reduce the number of wrecks caused by drivers turning left from Keene into the path of oncoming traffic, the city said.
Hanford Laboratory Management and Integration LLC in Richland has secured a five-year, $389 million contract to provide laboratory services in support of tank waste management at the Hanford site.
The Richland contractor consists of Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Advanced Technologies and Laboratories International of Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The 222-S Laboratory’s primary mission is to provide analytical support for the storage and treatment of tank waste. The 222-S complex is in the site’s 200 West Area.
The new contract replaces laboratory contracts held by Wastren Advantage Inc. and Washington River Protection Solutions LLC, set to expire on Sept. 20 and Sept. 30, 2021, respectively. Both have early exit clauses.
Go to emcbc.doe.gov/SEB/222S_Lab/rfppage.php for contract documents.
The Association of Washington Business Institute has launched “Washington in the Making,” an initiative to help shape the post-pandemic economic recovery.
The website lays out a strategy and includes a dashboard to measure 34 of Washington’s economic vital signs, such unemployment rates, median household income, cost of housing and more. The site provides data on all 39 counties and is continually updated.
“We need good data to drive smart decisions and to know when we’re making progress,” said Kris Johnson, president of AWB, in a press release.
Go to awbinstitute.org.
Washington River Protection Solutions will continue as the Hanford Tank operations contractor following a contract extension by the U.S. Department Energy’s Office of River Protection.
The new contract expires Sept. 30, 2021.
“Our record of safety and progress speaks for itself,” said John Eschenberg, WRPS president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “We are positioned to make year 13 our best yet.”
WRPS employs 2,300, plus more than 500 subcontractors. It is responsible for managing waste in Hanford’s underground tanks while preparing to deliver it to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant at the Hanford site for vitrification in the future.
Charter Communications Inc. is renewing its free internet program for new customers with K-12 and college students, as well as educators to facilitate remote learning during the Covid-19 crisis.
New customers can call 844-310-1198.
A self-installation kit will be provided.
The 2020 Tri-City Diversity summit will offer a keynote address and discussion sessions held via Zoom Oct. 26-28.
Skot Welch, a diversity and inclusion strategist, will give the keynote.
Listening sessions, led by local leaders, will tackle racial equity and recognition, citizen-law enforcement relations, child well-being and education equity, economic inequity and opportunity, and leadership.
Organizers also will present the Tri-Cities Champion of Diversity Awards to an individual and an organization.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.
The minimum wage in Washington will be $13.69 an hour beginning on Jan. 1, a 19-cent boost, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries calculates.
The minimum annual salary for overtime exempt workers rises to $42,712.80, or 150% of the hourly minimum, for those working at businesses with 50 or few workers, and $49,831.60, or 175% of the hourly minimum, for those working for larger firms.
The new minimum salaries were mandated under modifications to the Minimum Wage Act that took effect on July 1.
Baker Boyer is inviting the community to virtually attend its biannual economic update, normally an invite-only event.
The hourlong presentation begins at noon Oct. 15 via Microsoft Teams Live and will cover current and future pandemic policy, implications of the Nov. 3 election and Covid-19 and a long-term investment outlook. There will be time for questions.
Go to bakerboyer.com/economicupdate to register and for login details.
Pet Overpopulation Prevention, or POPP, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering animals, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to buy surgical instruments for its new Pasco clinic.
POPP bought a former dental office and is converting it into a low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter clinic. It is using the GoFundMe platform to raise nearly $84,000 to buy instruments.
Toyota of Tri-Cities is lending a hand by promoting the campaign and linking to it through the auto dealership’s Facebook page. Toyota is inviting customers to contribute as well by having the donation added to their service bill.
Follow Toyota on Facebook @ToyotaofTriCities. Supporters can donate directly to POPP at popptricities.org or via gofundme.com/f/pet-overpopulation-prevention-spay-amp-neuter-clinic.
The Washington Policy Center will hold a virtual Farm Hall at 4 p.m.
Oct. 22 to discuss the state of agriculture in Washington and the top issues confronting the industry in the coming year.
The event is organized by WPC’s Initiative on Agriculture and will cover farm labor, predator management, the 2021 Legislature, carbon taxes and more.
Go to bit.ly/FarmHall to register.
Benton County’s temporary voting center has opened in a former Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant at 2610 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Richland.
The county leased the space to provide more room to assist voters and to process ballots during the 2020 general election season. The new location replaces the Canal Drive Annex in Kennewick and is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Voters can get help registering and changing their address. After Oct. 14, they also can request replacement ballots, get voters’ pamphlets and use accessible units for voters who have disabilities.
Washington voters can also use VoteWA.org.
The deadline to register online to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 26. The deadline to register in person is Nov. 3, Election Day.
Ballots must be postmarked by Election day to count or can be dropped in special collection boxes throughout the county.
The voter center in the Benton County Courthouse in Prosser is closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pacific Pasta & Grill in Kennewick is looking for new space after losing its lease at 7911 W. Grandridge Blvd.
Mary Sue Hui, who owns the restaurant with her husband and daughter, said the family likely will take a few months off to recover from a difficult year beset by health issues. They are looking for a smaller spot to house the restaurant.
Its current 120-seat configuration is too big, particularly in a pandemic. Even with occupancy limited to 25% by the state’s Safe Start program, it seldom reached that level, she said
The landlord, Gerald & Spring Covington Living Trust, put its 3,425-square-foot building and 0.56-acre site on the market in March. Pacific Pasta’s lease expires Oct. 31.
It is being marketed for $699,000 as either a restaurant or a potential office or retail space. The taxable value is $727,000. Fixtures, furnishings and equipment are not part of the sale.
Professional Realty Associates is the listing agent, for the owner. The restaurant was built in 2005 and opened as Nothing But Noodles before changing names in 2012.
Editor's note: Corrected to fix spelling of Mary Sue Hui's last name (12/20/2020).
McCurley Integrity Dealerships in the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla are supporting area food banks through October by collecting food donations and contributing a share of vehicle sales. The goal is to raise $40,000.
Supporters are invited to bring nonperishable food donations to any McCurley dealership and leave it in the “donor car.” Yoke’s Fresh Markets is offering $5 and $10 “Food-Drive Food-Bags,” which are purchased at the register and left in a donation bin in the store.
The 2019 Octoberfest brought the 18-year total of donated food to nearly 920,000 pounds.
Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. shipped 14% less frozen potatoes by volume in its second fiscal quarter, leading to a 12% decline in net sales, the company reported in its quarterly earnings report, released Oct. 7.
Lamb Weston reported $871.5 million in net sales, $117.5 million less than a year ago. Net income fell 23% and its 61 cents per share earnings was 23% below a year ago.
The company previously announced it would pay a dividend of 23 cents per share on Dec. 4 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 6.
In an unusual move, the Eagle, Idaho, frozen potato giant provided results for the first four weeks of its second quarter, which ended Sept. 25, to show business is reviving. The glimpse indicates shipments in North America were at 90% of where they were a year ago, while shipments to Europe, China and Australia were close to prior-year levels.
“While still below pre-pandemic levels, demand for our products in the U.S. stabilized during the latter half of our first quarter and into September as quick service restaurants rebounded, and as full-service restaurants were aided by the relaxing of government-imposed restrictions on on-premises dining,” said Tom Werner, president and chief executive officer, in a release that accompanied the earnings report.
Werner noted rising carry-out and delivery traffic contributed to returning demand.
Retail demand remained strong but below the peaks it observed in the initial stages of the pandemic when shoppers were stocking their pantries.
Lamb Weston is a major Mid-Columbia employer with offices, research and production facilities scattered around the region. It is one of the leading buyers of Washington-grown potatoes.
The company’s shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LW.” The 52-week range is roughly $40 to $96.
The 13 health insurers who sell plans on Washington’s Healthplanfinder Exhange will cut rates by an average of 3.2% in 2021.
Mike Kreidler, Washington’s elected insurance commissioner, approved the new rates in September. Plans are certified by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board.
Not all 13 offer plans in the Mid-Columbia.
Insurers approved to operate in Benton and Franklin counties in 2021 are: BridgeSpan Health Co., Coordinated Care Corp., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, Premera Blue Cross (Franklin only), Providence Health Plan, Coordinated Care Corp.
In addition, Asuris Northwest Health intends to sell plans off the exchange in the Mid-Columbia and elsewhere in eastern Washington. Its plan and ad rates are under review.
The annual Benton Franklin Fair Market Stock Sale raised $647,000 for 336 participants in the Aug. 28 event.
The auction is part of the annual Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo, which was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organizers raised an additional $52,000 to boost prices. There were 522 participants in 2019, when the sale total topped $1 million.
Lori Lancaster, executive director, said 67% of the 2020 participants benefited from the boost and the program will probably continue in the future.
Washington State University Tri-Cities is hosting a series of virtual classes on race, equity and engaged citizenship.
The classes are held on Zoom and are free to participants:
Got to tricities.wsu.edu/community-classroom for information.
Washington State University Tri-Cities has launched a loaner laptop program with 50 donated machines.
Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities bought 20 laptops that students can check out free to use throughout their college time.
Cadwell donated 30 reconditioned laptops, with some earmarked to be rented through the student government program.
Laptops are offered through tricities.wsu.edu/current-students/support.
To contribute to the program, contact the director of campus student support services at email@example.com.
Tri-Cities cable provider Spectrum is making the new Black News Channel available to its Tri-City subscribers.
BNC is available on channel 708 at no added charge to customers who have Silver, Digi Tier 1 or Spectrum Lifestyle TV.
BNC launched Feb. 10 to provide national cable news programming that covers the perspective of African American communities.
Marianne Boring has been appointed the Richland City Council vacancy left by the resignation of Brad Anderson.
The city council interviewed Boring, a longtime planning commissioner, as well as Theresa Richardson and Maria Gutierrez, in September.
The vote was unanimous. Boring was expected to take her seat in early October. Anderson won reelection to the Position 2 seat in 2019, defeating challenger Shir Regev. The term expires in 2023.
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