Articles by Audra Distifeno

Audra Distifeno has been in the "news" business for more than 20 years. She is passionate about writing, and is also an educator with the goal of igniting young minds so they might discover their potentials. She lives in the Yakima Valley with her children, two mini schnauzers, two lizards and multitudes of fish. She enjoys camping, kayaking and breathing in the ocean air. She hopes to one day be a published novelist and see her work being read by the masses ... or even by just one who is moved by her story.
The newest creation of HRA Inc. of West Richland is a rotor blade to replace aging parts on Bell-47 helicopters. Owner Nick Hertelendy has produced one set of prototypes and is contracted with manufacturer Scott’s-Bell 47 to sell the part. The prototype was introduced at a recent trade show in Las Vegas.

West Richland company creates blades for Vietnam-era helicopters

A Tri-City-area aviation enthusiast, raised by a father with a helicopter hobby, worked alongside his dad as a curious 12-year-old, often pedaling several miles on his bike to pick up parts for their projects. Fast forward to the end of February this year. Nick Hertelendy of West Richland attended the 2018 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo…

A January 2016 study by Washington State University-Pullman found the state’s potato industry generates $7.42 billion in total economic output for Washington. (Photo: Washington Potato Commission)

Potato powerhouse: State ranks No. 2 in nation for potatoes

Potatoes are Washington state’s third top commodity, behind apples and milk, valued at $888 million last year, up from $813 million in 2016. This year’s outlook looks promising, with most of the state’s potatoes grown in Eastern Washington and the Skagit Valley and producing 20 percent of all U.S. potatoes. “Last year, Washington state produced…

Kennewick’s Southridge area continues to fill with the addition of restaurants, businesses and homes. (Photo: Paul T. Erickson)

Demand for development swells in Kennewick

Kennewick continues to grow as the Southridge area flourishes and new residential and commercial construction projects take shape throughout the city. Projects under permit review that likely will start at the end of this year or the beginning of 2018 include a 10-screen movie theater on South Quillan Street, a 53,750-square-foot Gensco Inc. building for…

Lamb Weston’s $200 million French fry processing facility is expected to bring 162 jobs to the area when fully operational. The Richland plant’s expansion off Saint Street is just shy of 280,000 square feet. (Photo: Paul T. Erickson)

Richland eyes local, international developments

The city of Richland continues to experience residential, commercial and industrial growth, with additional homes and businesses to pop up in 2018. “Beginning in 2016 and continuing through this year, Lamb Weston’s expansion continues to be our biggest project. Lamb Weston is a great partner with the city, and its expansion increases our job market…

The new $3 million Northwest Farm Credit Services building is under construction near Road 100 in Pasco. It’s scheduled to open this fall. (Photo: Paul T. Erickson)

Building permits surge with Pasco’s population

Commercial building permits issued in Pasco edged ahead of last year, while single-family home permits were well above those issued for the same period. And next year’s outlook also looks positive, said Rick White, community and economic development director for the city of Pasco. “Things look good. Food products and distribution activities continue to be…

A flurry of activity continues during construction at Double Canyon Winery in West Richland. The 47,000-square-foot winemaking facility opened in September. The $6 million facility has the capacity to make 50,000 cases of wine. (Photo: Paul T. Erickson)

Residential growth on rise in West Richland

The city of West Richland continues to be a desirable place to live, made evident by the 84 single-family home building permits requested during the first six months of 2017. That’s an impressive number when compared to the 89 single-family home construction permits issued in all of 2016. “This year has been big. We are…

APRIL Consolidated

Regional wholesale plumbing distributor celebrates 90 years in business

Consolidated Supply Co.’s Kennewick branch opened in 2008 Consolidated Supply Co., which has a branch in Kennewick, celebrates 90 years in business this year. The Pacific Northwest wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and water supplies strives daily to put its motto of “doing ordinary things extraordinarily well” into action. “The company takes care of its…

Washington State University viticulture and enology student Connor Eck and WSU Associate Professor of Wine Chemistry Jim Harbertson process grapes at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center. In 2017, 30 tons of grapes were used to create WSU research wines. (Courtesy of WSU Tri-Cities)

More students set sights on WSU degrees to launch wine industry careers

120 students now enrolled in viticulture, enology undergraduate program Seven years ago, Becca DeKleine was the lone College of Agriculture student walking at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities campus commencement. She carried the department’s banner by herself. She and three others graduated together with an emphasis in viticulture and enology in 2011. The others graduated from…

The Mustang Sign Group’s owners have bought land at 10379 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick and expect to break ground on a 12,000-square-foot building within the next 60 days. From left are Production Manager Devin Nielsen, Sign Ninja Amos Williams and co-owner Lauren Wang.

Mustang Sign Group’s growth prompts plans for new building

Construction of $1.2 million building in Kennewick could be complete by fall Five years ago, Will and Lauran Wang bought Mustang Sign Group with the hope of slowly growing the company. Little did they know their clientele would double, revenue would increase by six times and they’d be closing on 1.5 acres of land for…

Triplets Lisa Olson, from left, Laura Geertsma and Leslie Miller-Stidham recently expanded the boutique within Flash Your Style, which offers eyelash extensions, microblading and more. The boutique boasts hand-selected clothing, shoes and accessories. The shop is at 118 Keene Road in Richland.

Triplets expand Richland lash salon to include boutique

In addition to eyelash extensions, waxing and microblading, sisters offer training, online sales Three sisters believe owning and operating a business together is triple the fun. Meet Laura Geertsma, Leslie Miller-Stidham and Lisa Olson — identical triplets who have always worked together. From their first teen job at Subway to working nights at a casino,…

Latest News

  • LS_Networks


Sign-up for our e-newsletter filled with featured stories and latest news.


Write a letter to the editor