Richland has selected two finalists for the role of police chief.
They are Port Orchard Police Chief Matthew Brown and Selah Police Chief Daniel Christman.
“We were incredibly impressed with the caliber of these candidates and their ability to continue to move the department forward with excellence,” said Jon Amundson, city manager, in a statement. “Both Brown and Christman possess the leadership skills, experience, and vision necessary to lead RPD into the future. We are confident that either candidate will be a valuable asset to our community.”
Final interviews were set for Jan. 9, followed by a public candidate reception.
A final decision is expected by the end of the month.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs helped with the nationwide search following Police Chief Brigit Clary’s retirement announcement.
State Rep. Stephanie Barnard, R-Pasco, is proposing bipartisan legislation in the upcoming session to incentivize the clean energy sector and the economy.
House Bill 1908, “seeks to establish a program that provides much-needed financial assistance for utility-scale projects focusing on emission-reducing electricity generation or storage, including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs),” a news release said.
She also introduced two other bills to drive economic growth and propel nuclear efforts. House Bill 2120 and House Bill 1981 aim to foster economic opportunities, create more well-paying jobs, and position the region as a hub for clean nuclear energy technology.
Registered vehicle owners in Washington would receive a $180 rebate check – or up to $360 per two-car family – next July under a proposal by Reps. April Connors, R-Kennewick, and Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy.
House Bill 2040, known as the Carbon Auction Rebate, would use $1.3 billion in excess revenue collected under the state’s new carbon allowance auctions to distribute one-time payments to all 6.8 million registered vehicle owners in the state.
Benton County has a new web address, bentoncountywa.gov.
It made the switch on Jan. 4 and becomes the 11th county in the state to move to the .gov domain.
The U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Association recommends .gov domains so the public can quickly identify government sources. The old county web address now redirects to the new one.
Richland’s new Neighborhood Traffic Safety program aims to improve safety by reducing traffic speeds, reducing cut-through traffic and mitigating transportation issues in residential neighborhoods.
The program does this by installing traffic calming devices and other measures.
Residents can request a review, and city staff will work with neighbors to assess what’s needed. Go to: ci.richland.wa.us/NTS.
The national average for a gallon of gas dipped slightly by 3 cents since the first week of January to $3.09 nationwide. One reason could be lower demand, as fewer people are fueling up after the peak of holiday road travel.
In the Tri-Cities, prices remain higher than the national average, with gas prices averaging $3.86 per gallon on Jan. 9, which is lower than a month ago, $4.07-per-gallon.
“January is a bit of blah time of year, and gas prices are in the doldrums as well,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, in a release. “Barring some unexpected shock to the global oil market, gas prices will likely shuffle up and down a few cents for a while.”
Gesa is accepting applications for its college scholarship program. More than $100,000 is available for 2024-25; the deadline to apply is Feb. 29.
Applicants must be Gesa members who are entering their freshman year, continuing college or have active student loans. A total of $50,000 is for high school seniors who participated in Gesa’s High School Credit Union program.
Go to: gesa.com/category/scholarships.
The Port of Benton passed its recent state audits with flying colors.
The audit reports, completed by the state Auditor’s Office, were clean and included no findings or comments. This “confirms the port’s exceptional diligence, transparency and accountability in maintaining the highest financial management and governance standards,” the port said in a statement.
State auditors completed three audits covering the calendar year of 2022, including a financial statement audit, a comprehensive audit and a single audit related to grant activity.
The reports highlighted the port’s financial integrity, operational efficiency and compliance with laws and requirements, the statement said.
The Columbia Generating Station entered its 20-year period of extended operation on Dec. 21, 2023, marking an important moment in the nuclear power plant’s history.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the original 40-year operating license in December 1983, and Energy Northwest – which operates the plant – worked for years to obtain approval for a 20-year license renewal, the company said in a statement. That approval came through in 2012.
“Columbia will continue to be a crucial source of reliable and clean energy, thanks to the dedication of our skilled workforce and the unwavering support of the public power community,” said Bob Schuetz, chief executive officer of Energy Northwest, in the statement. “As we begin the next 20 years of our license, continued operation plays a vital role in sustaining not just hundreds, but thousands of jobs. Furthermore, it ensures a consistent supply of clean energy at a time when every kilowatt counts.”
The plant provides about 10% of the state’s annual power and about 800 jobs, not including contractors and other downstream positions, the company statement said.
Energy Northwest is already assessing a second 20-year license renewal, plus a power update.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has created a center for artificial intelligence, called Center for AI @PNNL, to coordinate the pioneering research of hundreds of scientists working on a range of projects focused on science, security and energy resilience.
Researchers at PNNL were among the first to dive into artificial intelligence decades ago, but AI has surged in the past year with the ready availability of generative AI, which allows almost anyone to produce sophisticated — though sometimes errant — text and images with just a small amount of data. At the same time, AI is a vital tool for serious researchers as well as a subject all its own for scientists to create, explore and validate new ideas.
The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a new rule to fight two common types of illegal tactics consumers face when buying a car: bait-and-switch tactics and hidden junk fees.
The new rule is expected to save consumers nationwide more than $3.4 billion and an estimated 72 million hours each year shopping for vehicles.
The new rule will take effect on July 30.
Washington state lost 2,600 jobs in November, according to preliminary data released Dec. 27 from the state Employment Security Department.
The statewide unemployment rate increased to 4%, up from October’s 3.8%. Benton County’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in November, and Franklin County’s was 5.3%, the most recent numbers available.
The United States is among more than 20 countries pledging to work together to triple nuclear energy capacity globally by 2050.
Last month's declaration was made at the World Climate Action Summit of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
If you own a Washington small business, there’s a good chance you have been targeted by a series of fraudulent schemes orchestrated by three brothers in Michigan, the state attorney general said. The details of their schemes vary, but they all involve deceptive solicitations giving the false impression that they are mandatory bills from a government agency.
In 2008, the Attorney General’s Office investigated consumer protection violations by Labor Law Poster Service, formerly known as Mandatory Poster Agency, a company run by brothers Joseph Fata, Thomas Fata and Steven Fata, and later by Joseph’s son, Justin Fata.
Mandatory Poster Agency entered into a legally enforceable agreement that it would provide full refunds to Washington businesses and stop the unlawful conduct to avoid a penalty.
The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, accuses Labor Law Poster Service of violating the state Consumer Protection Act more than 300,000 times over the course of at least seven years.
Types of businesses affected include a small law firm, a fitness franchise, a day care center, a veterinary clinic, a church, and a company that transports people who use wheelchairs to non-emergency medical appointments.
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