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.
A multi-tenant office building at 8101 W. Grandridge Blvd. in Kennewick is under construction. It’ll be home to CliftonLarsonAllen and Ticor Title, with 3,500 square feet available for one more tenant. (Courtesy Tippett Co. of Washington)

Final building under construction in Grandridge Business Park

Construction has started on the last building in the Grandridge Business Park, with completion scheduled for next spring. The 19,611-square-foot multi-tenant office building consists of two parcels in the eight-acre business area and marks the end of an era for Grandridge Investors LLC. “That’s an investment group that Tippett Co. of Washington serves and there’s…

A draft design concept for Benton Fire District 4’s third station could be built in the western part of the 52-square-mile district on land purchased from the Port of Kennewick, if rezoning is successful. (Courtesy Benton Fire District 4)

New fire stations in the works around the Tri-Cities

Benton Fire District 4 hopes to have a new station up and running to serve West Richland area residents by summer 2019. Fire Chief William Whealan said a design team is already working on building details; however, the location is not 100 percent secured, though one has been identified. Pasco and Kennewick have plans for…

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…

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