Articles by Guest Contributor

Paulina Valdez has worked as the site coordinator for Communities in Schools at River’s Edge High School in Richland for almost four years. She said she believes the program has helped reduce dropouts at the school.

Dropout prevention program expands reach in Tri-City area schools

By Arielle Dreher What causes a kid or teen to drop out of school? The answer to that question can be vast — and attributed to myriad factors, from housing to economic status to food and transportation. Enter Paulina Valdez, who works for Communities in Schools, or CIS, and has a portable on the River’s…

Training props at HAMMER include several for firefighters, including the fuel truck burn prop. (Courtesy MSA)

Richland-based HAMMER facility provides training for thousands annually

By Lori Araujo The Department of Energy’s Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center is a critical resource for worker health and safety at the Hanford site. The facility north of Richland features an 88-acre campus comprised of numerous classrooms, specialty training areas and props that create a variety of hazardous material and emergency response scenarios. Annually,…

Taylor Brucher, left, and Gabriel Crowell are two of six interns joining the Four Feathers winemaking crew for 2018 harvest.

Washington wine education thrives alongside industry

By David Forsyth One sign that an industry is maturing and becoming an important part of the regional economy is the development of an educational infrastructure that trains its existing and future workers. Additional support comes in the form of research from some of these same facilities. Such is the case with the modern Washington…

Jim House, center, laughs during a ceremony honoring him for his efforts in helping replace the basketball courts at Columbia Playfield in Richland. The 1963 Richland High School graduate donated $50,000 toward the project. House is flanked by former Richland cheerleaders Kippy Brinkman, left, and Ellen Weihermiller.

Former Richland star player helps bring Columbia Playfield courts back to life

By Annie Fowler The uneven blacktop is gone. So are the weeds growing in the middle of the court, and the basketball hoops that had no nets. In their place is a quality playing surface, complete with green keys and gold free-throw lines. The baskets are reinforced to withstand even the mightiest of player. And,…

Jim Jewell, who owns two electric cars and an electric motorcycle, bought as many solar units as he could in the new Benton Rural Electric Association’s solar co-op program. (Courtesy Jim Jewell)

Benton REA’s new co-op solar program sells out in one week

By Arielle Dreher Members of the Benton Rural Electric Association bought out a new solar co-op program in just a week, despite declining incentives for the renewable energy source. Troy Berglund, community development and member relations manager at Benton REA, said he did not know how the program would be received. “I was uncertain of…

D. Patrick Jones is the executive director for Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis.

Higher education in Tri-Cities isn’t keeping pace with local market’s needs

By D. Patrick Jones The Tri-Cities sport an enviable concentration of talent in science and technology. In economic statistics, most of these professionals show up in the sector “Professional & Technical Services”. The other sectors that contain tech workers are Information and Manufacturing.  While firms of lawyers and accountants make up part of the first…

Lampson Transi-Lift LTL-1200 crane performing a gate replacement on a dam in Washington. (Courtesy Lampson International)

Lampson International beating odds for family-owned businesses

By Don C. Brunell It is impossible to ignore Lampson International’s monstrous cranes in its Pasco assembly yard. Those gantries stand out like the Space Needle in Seattle and reach over 560 feet into the sky. Like the Space Needle, Lampson is built on a solid footing. Last month, Construction Review Online, or CRO, ranked…

D. Patrick Jones is the executive director for Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis.

Diversity vibrant in Tri-City population but not so much in economy

By D. Patrick Jones Diversity comes in many dimensions — gender, sexual preference, racial/ethnic makeup, to name a few. This column takes up one — racial and ethnic diversity — in part because it tells such an interesting story for the two counties. First, let’s state the obvious: Benton and Franklin counties show unique racial…

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes ready to harvest. (Courtesy Four Feathers Wine Estates)

Veraison signals upcoming harvest for growers, winemakers

By David Forsyth Verasion is the harvest wake-up call for wine-grape growers and winemakers. The sign to get the harvester ready and the vats empty for the coming harvest. Verasion is the point of development where the berry starts to soften and plump and the fruit is making the final lap to maturity. For a…

Giving strategies offering tax benefits

By Scott Sarber I am constantly amazed at the generosity of our Tri-City community. There are many great nonprofit organizations that are committed to making our community a better and safer place to live.  Even though our community is very generous, organizations continue to look for new donors, and for existing donors to increase their…

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