Articles by Guest Contributor


Tri-City students step one foot forward, one foot back

By one key measure, public schools in Benton and Franklin counties have shown strong progress. By another, students in the counties’ public schools are not succeeding. The positive conclusion stems from high school graduation rates, or specifically for this column, the five-year high school graduation rate. Benton-Franklin Trends data reveals steady progress in raising the…


Financial education starts with scarcity, perspective

Recently someone very dear to me said they were in near physical pain listening to an investment presentation. They were probably exaggerating, but it was an understandable feeling. They went from starting a foundation with budgeting and a savings plan to a detailed review of portfolio theory and valuations. This would be akin to someone…


Help your kids and grandkids avoid college debt

As higher education costs continue to rise, it is important to consider how best to fund your child’s or grandchild’s education. I propose a multi-pronged approach to use tax-advantaged 529 plans, trusts and term life insurance. The 529 plan offers great long-term savings capability, but in the event of a worst-case scenario, a trust with…

Tenancy agreement

Tenant, landlord groups wait on new resolution system

By Virginia ThomasSpokane Journal of Business New laws and a state-level eviction moratorium bridge have created confusion, and more funding for rental assistance is needed, according to regional landlord and tenant group leaders. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee’s eviction moratorium bridge expires Sept. 30. It orders landlords and tenants to seek out rental assistance and…


New data offers a glimpse of Washington’s nascent pandemic recovery

In the fourth quarter of 2020, retail sales came roaring back in Wahkiakum County. The small county in southwest Washington saw nearly a 30% jump in taxable quarterly sales compared to the previous year. On the opposite side of the state, Lincoln County reported a little more than 25% quarterly growth during the same period.…


We must put a stop to catastrophic wildfires

This summer, with severe drought and hot temperatures throughout the West, the threat of wildfires is once again at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Tens of thousands of acres in Washington alone were burning in late July. While the causes of wildfires can be unpredictable, there are ways to reduce the risks to rural communities,…


Could Japanese hydrogen pilot work in Washington?

The 2020 Toyko Olympics were billed as the “Hydrogen Olympics.” Then along came Covid-19 and sporting events worldwide were put on hold. The summer games were delayed until 2021. Postponing the games cost Japan billions and thwarted its efforts to showcase the Japanese “green growth” strategies. Japan, like the United States, plans to become carbon-neutral…


STEM jobs have grown, but largely due to health care sector

Growth has been a common refrain in the Tri-Cities over the past decade. Population has climbed, as Benton-Franklin Trends laid out, from 262,500 in 2012, to the estimated of 308,800 today. Similarly, the average number employed, has risen from 120,474 in 2011, to 130,516 in 2020. And median household income has enjoyed steady improvement, from…


Doing nothing isn’t an option to protect your small business from cyberattacks

You cannot read the news today without finding another story of a company besieged by a malware infection: their files encrypted, and the company brought to its knees by cybercriminals. We’ve recently seen a large pipeline company forced to shut down all operations and a U.S. government agency suspending operations for two to four months,…


Don’t forget medicine in the next scientific revolutions

I imagine historians looking back at the decades spanning 1990-2020 will describe those years as the most unimpressive of the past two centuries in terms of technological progress. In medicine, we witnessed life expectancy plateau and even decline for a period of years. Energy production via fracking became more efficient but hardly revolutionary. The excitement…

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