Articles by Robin Wojtanik

Robin Wojtanik spent most of her career in broadcast journalism, working at television stations around the country. She spent nearly a decade managing newsrooms in the Tri-Cities and Yakima. She enjoys volunteering for Junior Achievement and Christ the King School and serves on the board for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Northwest chapter. She lives in Richland with her husband and children.
Swimming lessons at CBRC Health & Wellness Clinic have ongoing demand but finding enough certified lifeguards and other staff has been a challenge. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Tri-Cities’ largest gyms see mixed demand in wake of pandemic

The largest fitness centers in the Tri-Cities are seeing mixed results on membership numbers since getting the green light to reopen after initial Covid-related shutdowns. At a time of year when gyms tend to see a boom of interest from those with a “new year, new me” mentality, CBRC Health & Wellness Clinic in Richland…

Richland Energy Services’ Matt Suarez, left, meter, power and protection lead, and Trevor Wilkerson, power operations manager, stand with Richland Energy Services’ first AMI meter, which arrived in April 2021. (Courtesy city of Richland)

Richland improves metering efficiency, renewable energy use

Richland is preparing to launch final testing of a new utility metering system prior to its rollout in 2022, ending the need for dedicated meter readers to visit the 27,000 homes and businesses throughout the city. Officials hope to have new electric and water meters installed in most locations by the end of next year.…

Mark Gloy, left, general manager of Executech Spokane, shakes hands with Paul Carlisle, general manager of Executech Tri-Cities. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Richland IT support startup acquired by Utah company

Years after a Richland entrepreneur launched a business and grew it into an established IT support provider, a Utah company has acquired it, transforming Elevate into Executech. The service will stay local, all jobs will remain, and the former CEO of Elevate, Paul Carlisle, is proud to report that each employee “got a piece of…

The new water feature at Vista Field in Kennewick. (Courtesy PS Media for Port of Kennewick)

Port of Kennewick: Vista Field, Columbia Gardens ready for sale

Almost a decade after closing Vista Field, the Port of Kennewick is poised to start selling land and to welcome new construction after challenges and delays brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Everything has to be talked about against the backdrop of where we’re still at in 2021,” said Tim Arntzen, the port’s chief executive…

Pioneer Packaging is building a $3.8 million warehouse at 5818 Industrial Way in Pasco. (Photo by Kristina Lord)

Port of Pasco: Industrial expansion targets open land

The Port of Pasco is set to become the home base for the largest milk protein facility in North America – employing hundreds of people with well-paying jobs at a new Darigold facility that will anchor the Reimann Industrial Center. Darigold Inc. expects the project to employ more than 1,000. Those at the plant will…

Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco. (Courtesy Port of Pasco)

Tri-Cities Airport: Pandemic has air travel in a holding pattern

Covid-19 has taken a bite out of air travel at the Port of Pasco-operated Tri-Cities Airport, which hasn’t rebounded as hoped, just as the end of summer tends to “dry up” leisure travel, said Airport Director Buck Taft. “I don’t have the confidence to say anything for certain. It’s taking a dip as of right…

Delicakes by Angelica is located in a storefront at 110 S. Fourth Ave. In the Pasco Specialty Kitchen in downtown Pasco by appointment. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Pasco businesswoman discovers hidden cake decorating talent

Pilar “Angelica” Hernandez had already earned her cosmetology license and commercial driver’s license before realizing she had a hidden talent as a cake decorator. Now, the Pasco businesswoman owns Delicakes by Angelica, operating out of the Pasco Specialty Kitchen and providing elaborate cakes for weddings, birthdays, quinceañeras, baby showers and other celebrations. But don’t expect…

Valerie Driver, owner of Richland’s Spudnut Shop, has worked for more than 50 years in the restaurant started by her father and uncle. She recently spent tens of thousands of dollars to update the doughnut shop after it and neighbors in the Uptown Shopping Center were sued in federal court for allegations they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Spudnut remodels to meet ADA requirements after suit

Modern updates have come to Richland’s famed Spudnut Shop, but not from a voluntary desire to change the space that hadn’t been remodeled since 1965. Valerie Driver, the second-generation owner of the iconic Richland restaurant, said she spent tens of thousands of dollars to update the shop after she and several neighbors in the Uptown…

Tri-City native Arthur Baranovskiy launched a drafting and design company called AYB Drafting, based in Richland that taps into skills, education and talent found locally. Baranovskiy founded his company while still completing his electrical engineering degree at Washington State University Tri-Cities. (Courtesy Arthur Baranovskiy)

Delta High grad-turned-entrepreneur solves problems with design

Arthur Baranovskiy, who credits YouTube and Pasco’s Delta High School for propelling him into technical drawing, is building a successful business offering drafting and related services to Tri-City businesses. Baranovskiy, 24, isn’t shy about touting AYB Drafting, which offers drafting and design services, including technical drawings, blueprints for high-end custom homes and mechanical shop work.…

Courtesy Terri Szendre

Couple transform Flat Top Mountain property into lavender farm

An unassuming West Richland lavender farm brims with purple and possibility as the owners dream well beyond U-pick bunches to becoming the largest lavender-cutting supplier in the state. Terri and Steve Szendre operate SunKissed Lavender on Flat Top Mountain, off Collins Road, where they nurture 2,000 lavender plants, land once covered with weeds and sagebrush.…

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