Articles by Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer is a freelance writer based in Prosser and a contributor to numerous print and online publications. When she’s not working on a news story, she can be found on the soccer field, at her local library or holed up in her office working on her next Young Adult novel.
Fundraising efforts for Columbia Basin College’s 20,000-square-foot culinary center in downtown Kennewick have been put on hold so CBC officials can make sure the facility is financially viable and offers quality curriculum. (Courtesy CBC)

CBC puts fundraising efforts for culinary school on back burner

Fundraising efforts for Columbia Basin College’s culinary school have been put on hold, but that doesn’t mean plans for a facility in Kennewick’s new riverside wine village aren’t moving forward. “The original plan was to start with fundraising, build the building, and while that was going on, build the program and get the approvals,” said…

The Dementia Coach’s Rick Bennett, left, presented the Virtual Dementia Tour at Guardian Angel Homes in Richland in October. Tyson Frantz, a partner at Guardian Angel Homes, said the experience was eye-opening.

Virtual tour helps people understand what it’s like to live with dementia

A man whose mother faced down Alzheimer’s wants to educate others about dementia by giving them a virtual tour through the disease. “We impair your senses to mimic or give your brain the thought of what it might feel like to have dementia,” said Rick Bennett, who owns a business called The Dementia Coach. Bennett’s…

Kelsey Shank and her husband Darren in January started theEDGE, a company that tracks major offices within the Department of Energy to help businesses learn about job opportunities.

Couple creates software to help businesses land DOE contracts

After two decades working in business development for the nuclear industry, Darren Shank decided to stop chasing down Department of Energy dollars and instead make it easier for others to find contracts. “This industry is overwhelming with procurement data from RFPs (Requests for Proposals) to the key intelligence you need to win work,” said Shank,…

Kaelyn Booth and Cesar Olazcon of Perfection Glass test the Andersen door displays in the new Perfection Glass showroom at 1238 Columbia Park Trail in Richland. The newly remodeled building will house the residential side of the business.

Glass company finds perfect location for new home

Around the late 1990s and early 2000s, Shawn Linhoff and his staff at Perfection Glass began to feel the walls closing in on them at 15 N. Auburn St. in Kennewick. “We outgrew this place, but there was a sense of home and not wanting to risk everything. Moving a business that’s been in the…

Smoke obscures the view of the other side of the Columbia River from the patio of the Hampton Inn in Richland on Aug. 19.

Businesses relying on Mother Nature feel effects of smoky skies

Last month’s smoky skies were the worst Joe Creager said he’s seen during his 21 years in the golf industry. Smoke from recent wildfires caused the air quality index to spike into the hazardous range for several days, and the Department of Ecology urged people to stay indoors if possible, which meant businesses that rely…

Charles Kahlenberg of Richland, a narrator for audiobooks, spends about 20 to 25 hours voicing each book. The national demand for audiobooks means he’s booked out until February with seven projects in the pipeline with his publisher.

Libraries note increase in digital downloads as audiobook popularity grows

Nearly one in five Americans now listen to audiobooks. That’s because smartphones have helped usher in a new way for consumers to digest books, and audio has quickly become the fastest growing format in the publishing industry. That’s according an Audio Publishers Association’s May 2017 survey. Despite the surge in popularity of audiobooks, voiced books…

Prosser Starbucks store manager Jeff Couch shows off the new Nitro Cold Brew machine, which infuses coffee with nitrogen bubbles for a frothy, foamy texture. The store received $342,000 in improvements over nine weeks.

Prosser Starbucks gets makeover, equipment to craft nitro brews

After more than a decade of business, the Prosser Starbucks got a makeover and some new equipment to create drinks not previously available to customers. The nine-week, $342,000 makeover started in the middle of the summer and included new interior walls, paint and fixtures at the coffeeshop at 10 Merlot Drive. The Prosser Starbucks closed…

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. supports the STEM Like ME! program with classroom volunteers mentoring middle school students. Hanford contractors offer their employees plenty of opportunities to volunteer and give back to the communities they live and work in. (Courtesy CHPRC)

Hanford employees know as they help charities, they help community

Hanford employees work in a variety of fields, from engineering to management, electrical and pipefitting. But despite their diverse career choices, thousands have one trait in common: philanthropy. “We do about one to two employee-volunteer events a month,” said Reneé Brooks, communications specialist for Mission Support Alliance, the prime contractor for the Hanford site. “There’s…

Wine Country RV Park manager Louann Rockney said their 10-acre park in Prosser has been busy since the season kicked off in March as more people are traveling and camping again.

RV industry picks up speed as customers look to slow down

Employees at Prosser’s Wine Country RV Park knew 2018 would be a good year before camping season took off. Each March, the 10-acre park, which includes 125 RV sites and nine tent sites, hosts a spring opener to get people out on the road earlier in the season. Park Manager Louann Rockney said spots at…

A Framatome employee loads a shipping container with fuel assemblies. The Richland company has been an active participant in the city of Richland’s energy efficiency program for more than a decade, taking advantage of incentives and reducing energy consumption by 20 percent. (Courtesy Framatome)

Energy-saving rebates available to Richland businesses

Thanks to a partnership between the city of Richland and the Bonneville Power Association, commercial and industrial businesses within city limits are being rewarded for reducing their carbon footprint. The energy efficiency program offered through Richland Energy Services works with 30 to 50 commercial and industrial customers a year. After providing a no-cost energy analysis…

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