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.
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…

Al Nihart, owner of Nihart Clock Repair in West Richland, has been servicing and fixing antique clocks for more than six decades.

West Richland clock repairman continues to see uptick in workload

Al Nihart took apart his first clock before the age of 10. Like his father, Nihart was a mechanic at heart. But that’s where their similarities end. “He was a watch repairman, and I hate watches,” Nihart said. “You don’t fix a watch. You open it up and take out a broken or rusty part…

NW Farm Supply assistant manager, Mason Vickerman, left, and manager, Kevin McClure, a Prosser native, help prepare the new Prosser store for its June opening at 451 Wine Country Road.

NW Farm Supply selects Prosser for its fourth store

NW Farm Supply expects to open a new store in Prosser this month. The new 13,000-square-foot building sits on 2.78 acres at 451 Wine Country Road, adjacent to Shopko Hometown. The company opened its first store in Hermiston in 1995. The Oregon shop, started by Nathan Crowther and John Lloyd, serves as the NW Farm…

Justin Toner, from left, Josh Toner, Brad Toner, Ann Manley, Brooke Manley Rodriguez, Tina Randles and Laauli Faamausili stand in front of Manley Crop Insurance, which was acquired by Basin Pacific Insurance & Benefits in May. The Prosser office will keep its location and name. 

Kennewick business acquires Prosser crop insurance company

After years of referring business to one another, Basin Pacific Insurance & Benefits acquired Manley Crop Insurance in Prosser for an undisclosed amount. Brad Toner, owner of the Kennewick insurance and benefits agency, said the transaction—which was solidified in May—felt more like a merger because the two companies share such similar business philosophies. “We had…

A patient in Don and Lori Watts Pediatric Center is taken to surgery in a wagon to make the experience a little less stressful. The wagon, as well as a big wheel for patients, was paid for through the Kadlec Foundation. (Courtesy Kadlec Foundation)

Pooled income donor program helps Kadlec address unmet health needs

Four years ago, the Kadlec Foundation kicked off a new donor program called K-Life to allow people to make an investment in local health care while enjoying the tax savings benefits of a charitable trust. K-Life uses a pooled income fund with three major benefits: bypassing capital gains taxes, increased lifetime income and a partial…

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Richland Dutch Bros. temporarily closes during remodel

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Late clock repairman’s wife working to reunite clocks with their owners

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September 21 - September 23

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September 21 @ 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm

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