U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse competed in a bed stripping contest against Springhill Suites’ housekeeping supervisor, Mayely Nava, during a Dec. 2 tour of the Kennewick hotel meant to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how a hotel in his district operates.
Nava won the contest then jumped in to help the congressman complete his work. Newhouse also received a lesson in towel folding from Alma Perez, the hotel’s laundry attendant.
The Kennewick tour, led by hotel General Manager Cliff Reynolds, was part of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Heart of the House Tour, an initiative to educate members of Congress about hotel operations.
The tour also included updates about the hotel industry, the effect homestay services like Airbnb and VRBO are having on hotels, and the need for tourism marketing funding.
Newhouse said in a news release that it was great to see the other side of the hotel operations as he has not visited hotel laundry rooms or kitchens before.
John Lane from the Washington Hospitality Association also attended the event, which ended with the congressman attending a pop-up holiday market at the hotel where he met many several small business owners.
The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is working to gain consent from residents in Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties to treat target properties for the invasive Japanese beetle.
The pest program is hoping to build on this year’s success after seeing a decline in beetle catches this summer. While receiving responses from less than half of target properties, the program was still able to reduce the number of trapped beetles from 23,944 in 2022, to 19,655 in 2023.
Currently, treatments are planned for most of Grandview as well as some areas in Sunnyside, Outlook, Mabton and Prosser. For the first time, WSDA is also planning to treat a square mile in the Pasco area.
Larvicide treatments will begin in April when the larvae (grubs) start munching on lawn roots.
Go to: agr.wa.gov/beetles.
Plans include new board members and a new entity, Hydrotown Group, focused on enhanced promotion, public and media relations, marketing and sponsorship experience for H1 Unlimited.
Hydrotown Group, along with the new H1 board, have spent the past several months developing plans to revitalize and reinvigorate the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing.
Six boats have already pledged to compete in the full series, along with commitments from six race sites across the country and one in Canada. The race site agreements feature multiyear commitments.
The 2024 Tri-Cities races are July 26-28.
Hydrotown Group has plans to offer livestream coverage as well as increased public relations and marketing efforts to showcase the series to a new and larger audience. The group will focus efforts on series sponsorship and improved national visibility through cross promotion and public relations, which includes the hiring of a dedicated PR agency in Moxy 25.
The new H1 Unlimited Board is made up of two 2023 members and five new members. New member and longtime Tri-City Water Follies board member Mike Denslow has been elected chairman.
Darrell Strong, owner of Strong Racing (Beacon Plumbing and Beacon Electric), and Unlimited Racing Group (Legend Yacht Transport) co-owner Shannon Raney are continuing with the board from the 2023 season.
New members include longtime Miss Madison (Goodman Real Estate), team owner’s representative; Hydrotown co-founder Charlie Grooms; H1 media host and race site PA voice Brad Luce; and Bucket List Racing (Flav-R-Pac) co-owner Kelly Stocklin.
Stephen Bauman is making a bid for a Franklin County commissioner seat.
The Pasco resident and owner of B4 Development and Consulting has announced that he’ll seek the District 1 seat being vacated by longtime Commissioner Brad Peck.
Peck, a Republican, is stepping down effective Jan. 1, citing “hyper-polarization, cronyism, workplace bullying and personal acrimony” in the county. Precinct committee officers from the Franklin County Republic Party will choose three candidates to replace Peck, and then county commissioners will have 90 days to pick one of the three. The person selected must run in 2024 to keep the seat.
“I believe I’m the right person for the job. I have lived, worked and built my business in Franklin County and there’s no one better equipped for this position,” he said in a statement.
Bauman is chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party.
He ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate against Peck in 2020.
“I am confident I will win this time around. I had a tremendous amount of support around my first campaign. I believe if I wouldn’t have gotten in so late, I would have won. I’m getting off to an early start and I plan to work extremely hard so voters get to know me,” he said in the statement.
He added that he believes it’s important that the county “is represented by someone who is intimately familiar with the workings of both the urban and rural components of our county.”
He fits the bill, noting that he’s worked with the city of Pasco and the county on development projects and that he grew up farming in Franklin County, he said.
Muchas Gracias Kennewick has signed a lease to open a Mexican restaurant at the former Taco Johns, which closed this summer. The 1,868-square-foot restaurant is at 701 W. Vineyard Drive, near Kennewick High School. Kiemle Hagood was the listing agent.
Muchas Gracias, an Oregon-based Mexican restaurant chain, is open 24 hours a day and serves a wide variety of burritos, including breakfast burritos, rolled tacos, tostados, chimichangas and quesadillas.
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that in some parts of the country energy droughts can last nearly a week.
A compound energy drought is when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow.
“When we have a completely decarbonized grid and depend heavily on solar and wind, energy droughts could have huge amounts of impact on the grid,” said Cameron Bracken, an Earth scientist at PNNL and lead author on a new paper detailing the study.
The team published the findings Oct. 31 in the journal Renewable Energy and planned to present it at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
In the past, researchers studied compound energy droughts on a state or regional scale, but not much has been studied on a nationwide scale, PNNL said in a release. To find out more about the risk of energy droughts over the entire continental U.S., the researchers dug into weather data and then used historical energy demand data to understand how often an energy drought occurs when that energy is needed the most.
“We essentially took a snapshot of the infrastructure as of 2020 and ran it through the 40 years of weather data, starting in 1980,” Bracken said. “We are basically saying, ‘Here is how the current infrastructure would have performed under historical weather conditions.’”
The researchers found that energy droughts can occur in any season across the continental U.S., though they vary widely in frequency and duration.
In California, for instance, cloudy and windless conditions might last several days, whereas the same conditions might last for only a few hours in Texas. Utah, Colorado and Kansas experience frequent energy droughts both over several-hour timescales as well as several-day timescales.
The study showed that Pacific Northwest and Northeast tend to experience energy droughts that last several hours more frequently than several days.
Overall, researchers found that the longest potential compound energy drought on an hourly timescale was 37 hours (in Texas), while the longest energy drought on a daily timescale was six days (in California).
Washington’s population is aging, and the state’s long-term care workforce is struggling to meet demand, a new Workforce Board report shows. The report also highlights how long-term care poses major financial challenges for many Washington families.
But solutions like a new registered apprenticeship program for licensed practical nurses offer a path forward to better wages and working conditions for frontline long-term care workers, the report said.
The report was commissioned by the Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) on behalf of the Long-Term Care Workforce Initiative, a partnership of private long-term care employers, health care providers, educators and state agencies focused on industry challenges and creating solutions. It was recently shared with the state Legislature.
Washington families, employers, workers and taxpayers face significant challenges around long-term care, the report said. For example, Washington’s overall population is expected to grow 5% by 2030. But the population over age 65 will grow by 30% over that period.
More than half of Washingtonians over age 65 are expected to need paid, long-term care for an average of 3.2 years, the report shows. These paid services cost from $1,700 to $9,000 per month.
Many long-term care workers face their own challenges, including burnout and financial pressures. Nearly half of home care workers received public assistance in 2020, for example. Workforce turnover is high – averaging about 50% a year for direct care workers.
This workforce includes many women, people of color and immigrants. Women make up about 85% of the workforce.
The state Department of Commerce is awarding $3 million to 54 cities in Washington— including Kennewick — to increase “middle housing.” Kennewick is receiving $75,000.
The money will help support the adoption of policies and zoning codes that make way for middle housing, which includes duplexes, fourplexes, townhouses, courtyard apartments, cottage housing and more.
All communities planning under Washington state’s Growth Management Act are required to adopt policies for these types of moderate-density housing.
Construction on a traffic circle at the Broadmoor Boulevard and Interstate 182 interchange in Pasco is underway, and drivers can expect intermittent delays throughout the yearlong project.
The project is part of the city’s nearly $40 million investment in the Broadmoor area.
Future projects include intersection enhancements at Burns and Broadmoor, widening of Broadmoor, extension of Sandifur Parkway to the west, and upgrades to the westbound off-ramp. Improved pedestrian and cyclist safety amenities are also included.
Go to: broadmoorinterchange.com/project-updates.html.
Benton REA will charge members 8% more for electric service among all rate classes beginning March 1.
The electric cooperative announced the plan in its December edition of the Ruralite magazine, noting it has avoided increases for eight years.
Benton REA said inflation is to blame, citing significant cost increases for materials, equipment and fuel required to deliver electricity to members. It said a standard residential transformer cost $1,191 seven years ago and now costs $3,416, a 187% increase.
Much of the rate increase will be included in the fixed base charge.
An outside consultant conducted a “cost of service analysis” to ensure the rate adjustments were appropriate.
Details about the new rate structure for each specific rate class are still being determined, and Benton REA plans to hold in-person and virtual public meetings to provide members with information about the rates and to ask questions.
Gov. Jay Inslee and a 60-member delegation from Washington recently returned from a trade and study mission to Australia focused on clean energy.
The delegation included leaders from the new Institute for Northwest Energy Futures at Washington State University Tri-Cities and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The governor’s office noted that Australia embraces healthy, clean energy in the form of renewable energy generation, hydrogen-powered industry and advanced climate policies.
The delegation traveled to Australia in November.
State regulations are banning the sales of new air conditioners and commercial refrigeration units that contain hydrofluorocarbons.
Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are a group of chemicals used in refrigeration and other applications that can have thousands of times more global warming impact than carbon dioxide, the state Department of Ecology said in a release.
Washington wants to reduce the use of these chemicals, and new rules adopted by the Department of Ecology will prohibit manufacturers from using certain HFCs in new air conditioners (including heat pumps) and commercial refrigeration equipment sold in Washington.
The new rules also will establish a refrigerant management program with registration, leak inspection, leak repair, recordkeeping and reporting requirements for owners or operators of large stationary refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The program takes effect Jan. 1.
HFCs are the fastest-growing category of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and account for at least 4% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, the state said.
The state Legislature passed the HFC law in 2021, requiring manufacturers to use safer refrigerants and prevent the accidental release of HFCs from existing equipment. The state law complements federal EPA requirements to transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants.
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