The Tri-Cities Airport reports a respectable increase in air traffic in 2021 thanks in part to the arrival of new carriers.
With 346,503 people boarding flights, enplanements were up 83% over 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic battered travel and left planes mostly empty.
Buck Taft, airport director, attributed the rebound in part to new routes added in the past year.
Avelo Airlines added a flight to Hollywood Burbank Airport. Allegiant Air added a flight to San Diego International Airport. Aha! Airlines added a flight to Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Air travel is still below the record 438,123 enplanements recorded in 2019.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the entire aviation industry, it is encouraging to see our passenger numbers trend toward pre-pandemic levels,” he said.
The airport, owned and operated by the Port of Pasco, is also served by Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines.
The airport said cargo operations increased 12% to more than 3.5 million pounds of goods processed through the Pasco airport in 2021.
Communities In Schools Benton-Franklin, a nonprofit serving students, is celebrating a $2 million gift from Mackenzie Scott, the westside philanthropist who was formerly married to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.
Communities in Schools said Scott contributed more than $133.5 million to the network with gifts to 40 individual affiliates. In Washington, she gave nearly $6 million to three affiliates, including Benton-Franklin.
“We are honored and humbled to receive this generous gift that will strengthen our capacity to surround students with the support they need to succeed in school and life,” said Lupe Mares, executive director of the Benton-Franklin affiliate.
The Yakima Herald-Republic is cutting its print edition to save money as it shifts to digital subscriptions.
The newspaper, majority owned by the Seattle Times Co., announced that starting April 1, it will print the paper on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
It said Covid-19 cutbacks in local advertising compelled it to take the step to preserve its newsroom staff.
Print subscriptions include access to yakimaherald.com, the publication’s online presence. An e-edition is available as well.
The Tri-City Herald stopped printing a Saturday edition in 2019.
The Washington Department of Ecology is accepting applications through April 1 as its Ecology Youth Corps program returns after a Covid-19 break since 2020.
EYC deploys crews to clean up roadside trash.
The program will hire 40 youth ages 14-17 (as of June 27). Workers earn $14.49 an hour and work up to 32 hours a week, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, during one of the two four-week sessions, June 27-July 21 and July 25-Aug. 17.
To be eligible, candidates must be eligible to work in the U.S., have a Social Security card and photo ID, submit two teacher references and work every day with no unexcused absences. Camp and family vacations are not acceptable excuses, it said.
Ecology cautions that the work can be physically taxing, involves working in all weather conditions and walking long distances.
Workers must behave professionally and be willing to pick up all kinds of litter, “including discarded diapers.”
EYC crews picked up more than 1 million pounds of litter along 4,000 miles or roads during the last full season in 2019. About 10% was recyclable.
“Every summer we’re faced with what appears to be a daunting task. And over the last couple of years, due to Covid restricting pickups, litter has really been piling up,” said Rod Hankinson, EYC crew manager for the central region.
The Central Washington crews will be based in Ellensburg, Richland, Sunnyside, Toppenish and Yakima.
Applications are available from school counselors and at bit.ly/WAEcologyYouthJobs.
Dylan McElderry, a Hanford High School graduate, enlisted in the Army in January and received a $30,000 signing bonus.
The 20-year-old says the Army was able to offer him a job that would get him a step closer to his future goals.
The Army is offering its largest bonus ever for new recruits, with up to $50,000 available to qualified individuals who sign on for a six-year active-duty enlistment. McElderry is one of the first recruits out of the Seattle Battalion to take advantage of the new incentive program.
The total incentive package for a new recruit is based on a combination of incentives offered for the selected career field, individual qualifications, length of the enlistment contract, and the ship date for training. In the past, enlistment incentives for full-time soldiers could not exceed $40,000.
The Army is competing for the same talent as the other services, as well as the private sector and must have the ability to generate interest in the current employment environment, said Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads the Army Recruiting Command, based in Fort Knox, Kentucky, in its mission to fill full-time and part-time vacancies in about 150 different career fields in the Regular Army and the Army Reserve.
A scammer who stole more than $740,000 from Benton County by mimicking one of its regular contractors has been charged in a six-count federal indictment with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a business email compromise scam.
Vanessa Waldref, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that a federal grand jury returned the indictment against Ayoola Taiwo “Gagi” Adeoti, 41, in a lengthy email issued Feb. 3.
Adeoti was able to scam Benton County by directing an associate to create a fictitious business and bank accounts that led the county to believe an invoice was correct, the indictment alleges. In November 2019, the county paid the $740,216.79 invoice.
The county auditor immediately recognized the possible fraud and notified federal authorities, swift action that led to it recovering $717,201.44 through a civil forfeiture action, according to the U.S. attorney, which called out the auditor’s office for its quick action.
“Because of their prompt response, our office and the Secret Service have already returned more than 95% of the stolen funds to the people of Benton County,” Waldref said.
If convicted, Adeoti faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 30 years for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The case was investigated by the Secret Service, Spokane Resident Office, and is being prosecuted by Dan Fruchter and Tyler Tornabene, assistant U.S. attorneys in Eastern Washington.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington unsealed a 138-count federal indictment charging 23 defendants with faking 14 automobile crashes and submitting almost $1 million in false insurance claims, or about $43,500 per defendant.
The defendants hail from Washington, California, Michigan, Nevada and British Columbia, with a large number in the Tri-Cities area.
Mid-Columbia defendants are Ali Abed Yaser, 51, Kennewick; Hussein A. Yasir, 39, Kennewick; Insaf A. Karawi, 52, Kennewick; Hasanein A. Yaser, 20, Kennewick; Ameer R. Mohammed, 45, Kennewick; Mohammed F. Al-Himrani, 33, Kennewick; Maria Elena Sanchez, 41, Kennewick; Farooq S. Yaseen, 32, Kennewick; Khalil Abdul-Razaq, 40, Kennewick; Jesus George Sanchez, 56, Eltopia; and Mohammed Naji Al-Jibory, 54, Kennewick.
If convicted, the defendants face 20 years for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and two years for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, 10 years to commit health care fraud and five years for making false statements to the FBI.
The FBI with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau investigated the case, which is being prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs III and Dominique Juliet Park, assistant U.S. attorneys for Eastern Washington.
The U.S. Attorney outlined the case in an extensive press release Jan. 24.
Tri-Cities businesses are invited to engage with visiting travel bloggers by using the hashtag #TBEXTriCities! in April.
TBEX North America 2022, the largest gathering of travel content creators, is happening April 18-22 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
The program is expected to draw about 300 travel writers and presents an opportunity to showcase the region’s attractions.
Visit Tri-Cities is promoting the gathering as an opportunity to share local stories through the visitors’ social channels.
Local residents can engage with attendees by using the TBEX hashtag and by signing up for the conference, using tricitiesbiz at registration to get a $100 discount.
Go to: TBEXcon.com for details.
Visit Tri-Cities is highlighting business owners, community leaders and others with a weekly interview as part of its new Tri-IDEAs program to promote diversity in tourism.
The program celebrates Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) through tourism.
The debut programs feature Shae Frichette of the International Winemakers Summit, Vanessa Moore of the African American Community, Cultural and Educational Society, and Antonio Smith, a travel influencer who discusses his visit to the Tri-Cities to promote “National Plan Your Vacation Day.”
Tri-IDEAS can be viewed at VisitTri-Cities.com.
The program is available on the tourism bureau’s Facebook and YouTube channels as well.
Junior Achievement of Washington has postponed its annual JA Bowling Classic: Back to the 90s to May because of rising Covid-19 numbers in the region.
New event dates are May 12-13 at Spare Time Lanes, Kennewick, and May 17-22 at Atomic Bowl, Richland. New auction dates are May 11-25.
The fundraiser is a popular corporate employee engagement event, and what organizers call a critical fundraiser for JA programs across the state. JA offers youth programs in financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship.
Registration is underway for the event. If you already registered, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-783-7222 to confirm your new date.
The Appleway RV business, including locations in Pasco and Spokane Valley, has been purchased by RV Retailer LLC, a national recreational vehicle business with nearly 100 locations in 29 states.
The move expands its presence in the Pacific Northwest, said Jon Ferrando, CEO and president.
Terms were not disclosed.
Appleway sells the Tiffin, Newmar, Jayco, Thor Motor Coach, Dynamax and Forest River Sunseeker lines, complementing RVR’s Blue Dog RV business in Washington and Idaho.
Its regional brands include RV One Superstores, Motor Home Specialist, ExploreUSA, Sonny’s Camp-N-Travel, Cousins RV, Camper Clinic, Lifestyle RVs, Family RV Group, Northgate RV, Tom’s Camperland and Blue Dog.
The Children’s Developmental Center has postponed its 20th annual Winter Wine Fete to March because of high rates of Covid-19 in the community.
The benefit dinner and auction support the nonprofit, which serves young children with developmental delays and other special needs.
The event will now be held from 5:30-11:30 p.m., March 19 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Tickets are $140 and are available at childrensdevelopmentalcenter.org.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office Foundation raised more than $2,600 in donations to buy a protective vest for K9 Sable, its German shepherd who accompanies officers on searches, chases and other activities.
The foundation, a nonprofit formed to support K9 Sable, was motivated to buy protective gear for the pooch by the Jan. 5 death of K9 Jedi of the Seattle Police Department. The Seattle dog was stabbed by a suspect.
Geologist Bruce Bjornstad will give a talk on the geology of Hanford at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 on Zoom and Facebook.
“Let’s Talk About Hanford’s Geology: Floods, Lava and More” will explore 17 million years at the Hanford area, from Ice Age flooding to basalt lava flows. It is sponsored by the Washington Department of Ecology.
The program includes a presentation as well as live Q&A session.
Bjornstad is a licensed geologist and hydrogeologist and a retired senior research scientist from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s in from Eastern Washington University.
He will be joined by hosts Ginger Wireman, Diana McFadden and Ryan Miller of the Department of Ecology.
Go to: fb.me/e/2e5EhEztw.
“You Are Here” is a new mixed-media exhibit running through May at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton.
The exhibit was curated by Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College to support a college course on Indigenous aesthetics and explore themes related to place and identity.
The exhibit includes painted portraits by Ric Gendron, a member of the Arrow Lakes Band of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, lithographs that merge historical photos with traditional quilt patterns by Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star, landscapes by James Lavadour of the Walla Walla Tribe and fiber art pieces constructed from wool blankets and embroidered by Marie Watt of the Seneca Nation.
Masks and social distancing are required.
Tamástslikt is at 47106 Wildhorse Blvd., near the Wildhorse Resort & Casino, 10 minutes east of Pendleton. Go to: tamastslikt.org.
Want to hear what famous seniors are thinking about?
Check out a thoughtful podcast that features interviews with “70 remarkable people, all over the age of 70, not just about their past but their lives right now.”
Max Linsky, co-founder of Pineapple Street Studios, which produces the podcast, is the host of the series.
He said during the most recent episode that he hopes that “maybe these talks have changed the way you think about getting older yourself.”
David Crosby, founder of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash; actresses Susan Lucci and Judith Light; Drs. Anthony Fauci and Joycelyn Elders; Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist; singer Dionne Warwick; and newsman Dan Rather are among those interviewed.
Linsky talks to them about what they’ve learned, what they’re still trying to figure out and how they’re thinking about what comes next.
To listen to the podcast, search for “70 over 70” on Apple Podcast or Spotify, or go to http://pineapple.fm/70-over-70.
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