Washington state jumped into the top spot in the annual CNBC Top States for Business rankings.
Work force, infrastructure, business costs, economy, quality of life, technology and innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living are scored by CNBC to come up with its annual ranking of America’s Top States for Business.
The rankings were announced July 11.
Washington moved up from sixth place in 2016.
“Why did we top the list? Because we’re the most talented state, the most connected state and the most innovative state in the union,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in a statement. “My top priority as governor is to continue to nurture our thriving economic climate that spurs job growth and keeps us at the top echelon for years to come. We know that a cleaner planet, happy and healthy workers and a growing economy can go hand-in-hand.”
Other states that led America’s Top States for Business list were Georgia at No. 2, Minnesota at No. 3, Texas at No. 4 and North Carolina at No. 5.
According to CNBC, the ranking is based on 10 qualities that states “deem most important in attracting business” and draws mostly from publicly available data to analyze how each state performed in those areas. There were 2,500 points possible, and Washington received 1,621.
Those interested in working in Kennewick school kitchens and lunchrooms as cooks and cashiers are invited to a job fair at 2 p.m. Aug. 3.
The job fair will be in the main conference room at the school district’s MTS Building at 622 N. Kellogg St. Attendees should park in the parking lot of the neighboring Tri-Tech Skills Center and use the gate in the fence separating the facilities to access the MTS building.
Nutrition services staff will explain the costs and requirements of a food handler’s permit and background check and review the district’s training program, wages and job requirements. Interviews with managers for those interested in pursuing a position also will be offered.
Current open positions can be found online at ksd.org. Call 509-222-5073 with questions.
The terminal expansion and modernization project at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco has been named the 2017 Airport Project of the Year by the Washington Airport Management Association.
Bouten Construction Company of Tri-Cities served as the general contractor/construction manager for the $42 million, 110,000-square-foot project, which was completed this year. The award was presented to the Port of Pasco and the Tri-Cities Airport at WAMA’s annual conference in May. Project team members also included architect Mead & Hunt Inc. and Strategic Construction Management.
The terminal’s expanded space houses airplane viewing areas, passenger concourses and hold rooms, an administrative conference room, an elevator tower and a gallery area with a restaurant, café and a gift shop. The improved space includes expanded ticketing and baggage areas, renovated Transportation Security Administration screening lanes, a greeting-area café, back-of-house spaces and car rental facilities.
The Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is accepting business nominations for awards to recognize companies with a commitment to trust and integrity.
The BBB Torch Awards program was created to honor companies, charities and employees who demonstrate a high level of personal character, integrity and ensure that the organization’s practices meet the highest standards of ethics. These employees and organizations generate a high level of trust among their staff, customers and communities.
Have a business in mind that demonstrates excellence in the marketplace? Nominate a business, individual or charity for any of the three awards by Aug. 14,. Self-nominations are accepted.
Entries are evaluated by independent, voluntary panels of judges comprised of business and community leaders. Businesses of all sizes are eligible to apply for this award.
To learn more about the Torch Awards criteria, or to make a nomination, visit go.bbb.org/nw-2017TorchAwards.
Roger Snyder, site office manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest site office, Kevin Smith, manager of the DOE Office of River Protection, and Doug Shoop, manager of the DOE Richland Operations office, are the featured speakers at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s membership luncheon July 26 at the Pasco Red Lion.
The DOE update program is from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Register at tricityregionalchamber.com, or by calling 509-736-0510.
Columbia Basin College and Eastern Washington University will host the first Washington Hispanic Education Summit on Aug. 18 at the college’s Gjerde Center.
K-12 educators, business and community leaders and higher education representatives will discuss education access and student success.
Registration is free, breakfast and lunch will be provided, and service credits are available.
Register at ewu.edu/WHES. Call 509-359-2450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Eleven health insurers filed 71 health plans for Washington state’s 2018 individual and family health insurance market with an average proposed rate increase of 22.3 percent.
The highest proposed increases come from Molina Healthcare at 38.5 percent, Asuris Northwest Health at 31 percent and Regence BlueShield at 30 percent. No health insurer filed plans in Klickitat and Grays Harbor counties.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said his department will spend months to review “every assumption insurers have made to make sure their proposed increases are justified.”
All rates, health plans and coverage areas are under review and may change. The state Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify all plans for sale at Washington Healthplanfinder on Sept. 14. Open enrollment for the 2018 individual market starts Nov. 1.
The Richland City Council is accepting applications from city of Richland citizens who are interested in serving on its code enforcement board through March 31, 2018.
The board meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Visit the Government, Advisory Boards and Commissions tab at ci.richland.wa.us or call 509-942-7388 for details or an application. The application period will remain open until the position is filled.
Mission Support Alliance has awarded more than $650,000 in scholarships since it took responsibility as the Hanford site services provider in 2009.
At its recent eighth annual scholarship recognition event, MSA presented 51 scholarships to qualifying employee dependents to be used at the school of the student’s choice.
Additionally, three MSA co-op intern employees also received scholarships to be used at Columbia Basin College or Washington State University Tri-Cities.
MSA also provides WSU-TC with funding annually to award scholarships to underrepresented students who are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, and contributes to CBC’s general scholarship fund.
With a $1.8 million federal AmeriCorps investment, the Department of Ecology is recruiting for 300 full-time environmental positions across the state to serve in the Washington Conservation Corps.
This is an opportunity for young adults and military veterans to gain experience implementing environmental restoration projects, engaging in environmental education, and providing disaster response services for communities across the state.
The program seeks young adults ages 18-25, as well as Gulf War era II veterans, reservists and dependents with no age restrictions. Members will begin their 11-month service term on Oct. 2.
To apply, go to ecy.wa.gov/wcc.
Tickets for the Mid-Columbia Duck Race go on sale Aug. 1 at ticket outlets, including all Tri-City Griggs/Ace Hardware stores, Toyota of Tri-Cities, all area Banner Bank branches, Kennewick Ranch & Home and Garrison’s Home Appliance Center.
Tickets are $5 each. Prizes include the grand prize of a 2017 RAV4 LE AWD, donated by Toyota of Tri-Cities.
Proceeds from the annual fundraiser are distributed to local Rotary clubs to fund charitable projects.
The Miss Tri-Cities and Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen 2017 pageant is at 7 p.m. July 22 at Art Fuller Auditorium in Kennewick High School.
The Miss Tri-Cities Scholarship program, sponsored by the Tri-City Water Follies Association, has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships to young women in the community over the past 18 years, including $32,000 to last year’s contestants.
Fifteen young women will compete for titles this year, with the winners competing in the 2018 Miss Washington and Miss Washington Outstanding Teen pageants. Miss Tri-Cities will be selected based on private interview, talent competition, physical fitness in swimwear, poise and personality in evening wear, and the on-stage question. Each contestant must have a platform she will advocate for during her year of service as Miss Tri-Cities. Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen will be chosen based on interview, talent competition, lifestyle and fitness in sportswear, poise and personality in evening wear, and on-stage question.
Tickets are $20 and available at brownpapertickets.com or at the door.
For more information, visit misstricities.org or call 509-539-3252.
Washington reached a record low unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in May, according to the state Employment Security Department.
The rate is the lowest since comparable record-keeping began in 1976.
Private sector employment increased by 2,600 and government employment decreased by 600 jobs in May. The state has added 80,500 new jobs from May 2016 to May 2017, not seasonally adjusted. Construction, education and health services, and retail trade showed the largest employment gains year-over-year.
ESD is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services, including free help with interviewing skills or resumes, and with job referrals. WorkSource Centers are listed at worksourcewa.com.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Benton and Franklin County Farm Service Agency offices are seeking candidates for an upcoming farmer and rancher-elected county committee election.
FSA encourages interested agricultural producers to seek nomination. Eligible candidates must participate or cooperate in any FSA program or activity, be of legal voting age and live in local administrative they will represent. Members serve on three-year staggered terms so one-third of seats is up for re-election each year. A map of FSA county committee election areas can be found at fsa.usda.gov/wa.
Elected members receive an hourly wage and travel reimbursement for their attendance and representation at county committee meetings.
Nominations are due Aug. 1. Visit fsa.usda.gov for forms.
For more information, call 509-545-8543 for Franklin County or 509-786-2313 for Benton County.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a report, as required by the Washington Department of Ecology’s enforcement order, that shows the second tunnel at Hanford’s PUREX plant is at risk of collapse.
The state Department of Ecology is concerned the tunnels pose a risk to human health and the environment.
The report finding increases the urgency for the federal Department of Energy to quickly identify and implement a plan to stabilize both PUREX tunnels. It is required to submit a plan by Aug. 1 to, on an interim term, stabilize the tunnels and the waste in them to the Department of Ecology.
Washington has been named the most successful state in the country when it comes to supporting seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.
The third edition of AARP’s State Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard highlights changes states face in terms of aging and changing populations and promising practices that allow programs to continue to provide care and support.
Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services’ Aging and Long-Term Support Administration was judged on its affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and quality of care, support for family caregivers and finding the right type of care for clients.
The Tri-City Union Gospel Mission expansion project in Pasco recently received a $2.5 million grant from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a division of U.S. Bank.
The money will ensure the mission is able to stay on track with construction of its new 39,000-square-foot men’s facility that will triple the mission’s capacity for men and double it for women and children.
The investment comes from the exchange of federal New Markets Tax Credits supplied by Brownfield Revitalization LLC in Washington, D.C., for the corporation’s investment in the construction.
Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed a distracted driving bill into law, with an effective date of July 23.
The tougher distracted driving law prohibits use of hand-held cell phones and all electronic devices such as laptops, games and tablets. Drivers can use these devices when parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic, or to contact emergency services. Hands-free use, such as through Bluetooth, is allowed. Electronic devices may be started using a single touch to activate a program, such as a GPS mounted on a dashboard cradle.
Using a handheld device while driving is considered a primary offense under the new law. The first ticket will be at least $136 and the second ticket within five years will be at least $234. Distracted driving violations can be reported to insurance companies to use for rating and underwriting purposes. Drivers can get a $99 ticket for other types of distracted driving, such as smoking, grooming, eating or reading if they are pulled over for another traffic offense.
Benton County ranks No. 3 in the state among places where Social Security dollars go further, according to a recent SmartAsset study.
The financial technology firm analyzed Social Security income, cost of living data and taxes across all counties in Washington. Benton County’s index ranked at 78.07, trailing only Lincoln and Wahkiakum counties at 79.57 and 84.7, respectively.
Franklin County ranked No. 19.
Review the full study at smartasset.com/retirement/social-security-calculator#Washington.
Hop area strung for harvest in 2017 in Washington, Oregon and Idaho is forecast at 54,135 acres, 6 percent more than the 2016 crop, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Washington accounts for 72 percent of the United States’ total acreage; Oregon 16 percent; and Idaho 13 percent. Idaho’s acreage increased 27 percent over the previous year.
If realized, total hop acreage will be record high in each of the three states and the U.S.
The USDA expects the winter wheat production in Idaho to be down 13 percent from last year, to 690,000 acres, and down 10 bushels per acre; Oregon’s production is expected to be up 15 percent from last year and yield up to 8 bushels per acre; and Washington’s production is expected to be down 17 percent at 1.66 million acres, and yield down 13 bushels per acre from last year.
The United States’ winter wheat production is forecast at 1.25 billion bushels, down 25 percent from 2016, and the nation’s yield is expected to be down 13 bushels per acre from last year.
Washington State University Tri-Cities has launched a series of workshops to prepare engineers for the professional engineering exam. Participants choose their discipline—chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical—and then receive 42 hours of classroom-based exam review, learn exam day techniques and complete a simulated practice exam.
The first workshop in the series, which is currently underway, runs through Oct. 19. A chemical engineering workshop runs Oct. 12 to Feb. 16, 2018. Cost is $975.
Visit tricities.wsu.edu/pdce/peprepworkshop or call 509-372-7174 to register or for more information.
Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station, the third largest generator of electricity in Washington state, re-connected to the Northwest power grid on June 19 after completing its 23rd refueling and maintenance outage.
Energy Northwest and Bonneville Power Administration, which buys all of Energy Northwest’s electricity at-cost, time the biennial outage to coincide with spring time snow melt and runoff—which maximizes power output from the region’s hydroelectric system and minimizes the impact of taking the nuclear station offline.
During the outage, workers replaced 272 of 764 nuclear fuel assemblies and installed a low-pressure turbine rotor, part of Columbia’s $32 million turbine lifecycle plan to refurbish the three low-pressure turbines to satisfy the plant’s license extension to 2043.
Union Pacific is spending $5.1 million to increase the safety and efficiency of its Washington rail infrastructure this year, including $500,000 to replace a section of curve rail in the line north of Wallula and $3.5 million for an infrastructure project south of Hooper in Whitman County.
The company has spent more than $45 million to strengthen Washington’s rail lines since 2012.
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corp.
Bechtel National Inc. recently donated $30,000 to help build the Vista Arts Center.
The planned 800-seat Vista Arts Center depends on businesses such as Bechtel, as well as individuals in the community to help fund it through donations and grants.
It will be located at the heart of the Vista Field redevelopment project, and is envisioned as a catalyst for further development of the area as an urban center and an arts and entertainment district.
Bechtel is among the initial Capital Club donors for the project. The Capital Club recognizes donations of $20,000 or more.
Contact Kathryn Lang at 509-375-3474 for more information.
The Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health recently received $1 million from the state Health Care Authority.
“This funding will support the design phase of the Medicaid demonstration project, and allow Greater Columbia to kick-start health improvement initiatives in our region,” said Carol Moser, executive director for Greater Columbia, in a release.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Washington state’s request for a Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration on Jan. 9.
Under this demonstration, the state will make performance-based funding available to regionally-based Accountable Communities of Health, tribes, and their partnering providers with the goal of transforming the delivery system for Medicaid beneficiaries.
The work will be supported by payment reform efforts to move Medicaid payment from primarily volume-based to primarily value-based payment over the course of the demonstration period.
Trios Medical Group gastroenterology providers Dr. Tegpal Atwal and Kim Larson, advanced registered nurse practitioner, are now seeing new patients at their new practice at Trios Care Center at Southridge at 3730 Plaza Way in Kennewick.
The new location allows the providers to offer better coordinated care for hospital-admitted patients, as well as access to Trios Health’s diagnostic imaging and supportive services.
Atwal will continue to perform scheduled procedures at the Trios Endoscopy Center at Trios Care Center Vista Field, 521 N. Young St. in Kennewick, as well as at Trios Southridge Hospital.
The gastroenterology practice’s new phone number is 509-221-6550.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $67 million to 85 projects, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State University.
PNNL will receive $1 million to design an ultrasonic sensor for deploying at the TREAT reactor in support of transient testing of pre-irradiated nuclear fuel rods, as well as $30,000 to develop atomic scale data on the phase stability and thermo-mechanical properties of FeCrAl accident tolerant cladding under the combined effects of radiation and elevated temperature.
WSU will receive $800,000 to study the effects of simulated used nuclear fuel chemistry and microstructure on its dissolution in geologic repository conditions, as well as $11,163 to replace an existing 1970s exhaust gas monitoring system with a modern system.
Community Action Connections, a Pasco-based nonprofit organization, recently received $6,738 from MOD Pizza in Richland’s grand opening in late May.
CAC aims to improve the quality of life for those in need in Benton and Franklin counties with emergency needs, weatherization, housing rent or home energy assistance.
MOD Pizza was founded in Seattle in 2008.
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