Articles by Guest Contributor

Zirkle Fruit Co.’s Prosser plant at 101 Max Benitz Road plans to close its apple packing line. The move means about 300 employees will be laid off,  beginning Oct. 17.

300 layoffs loom as plant shuts down apple packing line

By Andrew Kirk Almost 100 people will lose their jobs at Zirkle Fruit Co.’s Prosser plant in October and about 200 more will be laid off in the coming months. The layoffs are necessary as the Selah-based Zirkle Fruit Co.’s plant at 101 Max Benitz Road closes its apple packing line. The layoffs begin Oct.…

Lovage, or Levisticum officinale, is a sun-worshipping perennial herb.

Cultivate a love affair with versatile lovage

By Marilou Shea In a recent column, I waxed poetic about how lovage, among other uncommon herbs, is trending as a culinary darling these days. I’ve just done a deep dive into lovage—which sounds like “luggage”—and it’s a pretty, cool herb, and while it won’t shake the shingles off your roof, it’s sure to intrigue…

Cyber security column

5 tips to reduce your vulnerability to cyberattacks

By Aaron Welling Six trillion dollars. It’s a large sum and one that warrants a better understanding. How much is $6,000,000,000,000? It’s the estimated cost of the war on terror. It’s slightly larger than the gross domestic product of Japan ($5.4 trillion). It’s six times the value of Apple. And it’s the projected annual cost…

Beau Ruff, Cornerstone Wealth Strategies

New transfer on death deed avoids probate, seamlessly transfers land

By Beau Ruff One of the challenges facing anyone who owns property outside of his or her state of residence is the fact that a person’s estate generally must go through probate in the state of residence and any state where the deceased person owned real property. A relatively new law is making it simpler…

The Association of General Contractors’ “Lemon Heads” apprenticeship program has rolled out at Pasco High School, the first school in the Tri-Cities to offer it. Students earn a paycheck, as well as class credit, for participating. Lemon heads refer to the yellow hard hats worn by workers in the construction industry. (Photo by Scott Butner Photography)

Lemon Heads construction program launches in Pasco

Association of General Contractors partners with schools to train next generation of workers By Andrew Kirk This spring a few hard-working high school students in Pasco will get to work outside the classroom at an actual job site where they’ll earn $16 an hour or more, while earning class credit. The opportunity is being offered…

Washington State

High costs drive people to move elsewhere

By Don C. Brunell Too often, elected officials overlook the cumulative costs of regulations, taxes and fees on taxpayers; however, it comes back to bite them hard when people move, or take matters into their own hands by initiative. Consider what is happening in high-tax and cost-of-living states, such as California, New York and Connecticut.…

Apprentices from the Joint Apprenticeship Training Community, or JATC, which receives support from both the Local 112 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association, receive about $1,500 per year for books, fees and tuition for five years and finish the program with a six-figure salary and a Columbia Basin College certificate. (Courtesy JATC)

Trade apprenticeships offer path to lucrative careers

By Andrew Kirk Those who graduated from college or a university this year could expect to make on average about $50,000 for their first year of work, according to several independent national surveys. They could also expect, on average, to have about that much in student debt. Those working in the construction trades shake their…

Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards and Winery President Bill Monson, left, talks on Sept. 11 with Hilary Franz, the state commissioner of public lands, while touring Goose Ridge’s vineyard in Richland, a piece of Department of Natural Resources state trust land now being utilized more optimally to generate dollars for school construction. (Courtesy state Department of Natural Resources)

DNR repurposing land to make more money for schools

By Andrew Kirk At statehood, the federal government granted Washington millions of acres of land to be managed for the support of public schools, including universities. Today, it, along with other lands dedicated to different state needs, is managed by the state Department of Natural Resources. A portion of the 1 million acres of state…

(Courtesy Benton-Franklin Trends)

More education needed to foster a Tri-City knowledge economy

By D. Patrick Jones To what degree will the Tri-Cities participate in the knowledge economy well underway this century?  First, a quick definition: a knowledge economy is one where a large number of jobs exploit brainpower. We need to look no further than King County to see what this kind of economy looks like. In the economists’ taxonomy of jobs, where there’s a large concentration…

From left, Gary Christensen of R.E. Powell; Fran Forgette of Rettig of Forgette Iller Bowers LLP; Lori Mattson of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce; Association of Washington Business President Kris Johnson; and Steve Simmons of the CG Public House in Kennewick pose with the 2019 AWB Manufacturing Week bus after touring Cascade Natural Gas in Kennewick on Oct. 10. Natural gas is important to the manufacturing industry as a dependable supply of energy. Cascade Natural Gas Corp. is one of four utility subsidiaries of MDU Resources, which provides energy to rural communities across eight states. In Washington and Oregon, it serves nearly 300,000 customers in mostly rural areas and employs 240 employees. (Courtesy Brian Mittge of AWB)

It’s time to celebrate the amazing things Washington makes

By Kris Johnson Washington makes some really cool things. We’re famous for many of them—airplanes, apples, software, wheat and more. The state’s iconic manufacturers established the foundation that our recent economic expansion is built upon. But there are many medium and small manufacturers that fewer people know about. The fishing rod manufacturer in Woodland. The…

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