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.
Milk is the second-highest agricultural commodity in Washington, with a total production value of $1.1 billion in 2016. Ed Zurcher, owner of Zurcher Dairy in Basin City, one of about 400 dairy farms across the state, said his cows are milked twice a day, with the process beginning at 4 a.m. and cycling through all the cows before starting again at 4 p.m., seven days a week. (Photo: Robin Wojtanik)

Leading producers: Agriculture adds billions to state’s economy

Washington state is an agricultural powerhouse, leading the nation in the production of apples, grapes, cherries, pears, hops and blueberries. Supplying the world with millions of tons of apples each year, Washington fills nearly two-thirds of the entire apple market in the United States. It’s expected the current planted acreage of wine grapes could swell…

Red Mountain, between Benton City and West Richland, was designated a sub-American Viticultural Area in 2001. It now boasts 54 vineyards covering more than 2,300 acres. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Vines reign supreme: State boasts viticulture advantage

Growing high-quality wine grapes that become award-winning wine and millions of tons of juice grapes that become America’s best-known grape juices make up the viticulture industry in Washington state. Washington’s massive grape crop is among the 10 highest-valued crops in the state, ranking ninth in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, after producing…

Kent Waliser, director of vineyard operations for Sagemoor Vineyards, just north of the Tri-Cities, grows 60 percent of its grapes for red wine and 40 percent for white wines. (Photo: Washington State Wine Commission/Andrea Johnson Photography)

Steady growth: Wine grape demand nearly outpaces supply

Washington has developed a reputation for over-delivering on the quality of wine as it relates to the price of the bottle, creating an increasing demand for the state’s wine grapes. “You can’t make good wine with bad grapes,” said Vicky Sharlau, executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association. In the past five years, acres dedicated…

Concord grapes

Concord costs: The quest to keep juice grapes profitable

Washington produces more juice grapes than any other state in the nation, fueling the building blocks for not just juice, but also jelly, fruit leather and syrup. Despite sitting atop the U.S. supply, the state acreage of juice grapes has declined slightly in the past several years. People aren’t buying juice as often as they…

APRIL Boost Jadwin

Richland developers planning to add apartments to city’s core

A Richland company has an ambitious goal of bringing city-dwellers back to the central downtown area, to places either dominated by businesses or abandoned altogether. This includes high-profile locations in The Parkway and along Jadwin Avenue and George Washington Way, including the controversial pit at the gateway to the city. “The goal is to add…

APRIL Reconveyance

Federal transfer of shoreline control may come this year

“Imagine the possibilities.” That’s what Brad Fisher ponders when he considers what the Columbia River shoreline could look like if it was in the hands of local jurisdictions and not the federal government. The senior vice president of RBC Wealth Management has teamed up with retired U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings and Gary Petersen, CEO of…

APRIL Tour de Coop

Backyard chicken coop tour eggs on wannabe beak owners

Tour De Coop event on April 21 offers scoop on a dozen coops Annette Pederson scooped up the fluffy yellow chicks that had just arrived at Kennewick’s Basin Feed and Supply to start her first foray into raising chickens. “I’m looking forward to fresh eggs, recycling all my food scraps, bug control and fertilizer,” the…

APRIL Frost Me Sweet

Richland’s Frost Me Sweet cooks up expansion plans

Popular eatery and bakery to double in size, offer new desserts Frost Me Sweet, a popular Richland bakery and eatery, is poised to expand by doubling the size of its restaurant seating and offering more dessert choices. Owners Megan and Jason Savely recently bought the building next door to their restaurant that was once home to…

Calin Tebay, a work force resource specialist, stands at the new Hanford Workforce Engagement Center, scheduled to open April 2 in Richland. The center’s goal is to help current and former Hanford employees, or their family members, who may need assistance filing claims or seeking benefits for different programs. (Courtesy MSA)

New Richland center to offer support to injured Hanford workers

Hanford workers can soon visit a “one-stop-shop” in Richland to receive guidance and assistance with claims and benefits, free of charge. The project has been talked about for years, but finally “grew legs” and is scheduled to open April 2 on Bradley Boulevard. “If somebody doesn’t know who to call and has a Hanford question,…

WoodSpring Suites in Everett.

$6.7 million extended-stay hotel planned in Richland

A new extended-stay hotel is going up near Kohl’s, Mor Furniture and the Holiday Inn Express on Tapteal Drive in Richland. The $6.7 million project has a targeted opening of late 2018. The four-story WoodSpring Suites will feature 122 rooms and a fitness center. Construction financing is still being finalized and a planned ground-breaking of…

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