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.
Tyrone Riggle, president of Riggle Plumbing Inc., is one of many Tri-City subcontractors who lost money when Vandervert Construction Inc. was placed in receivership amid financial crisis. Riggle considers his company fortunate to have lost less than $10,000 for work performed for Vandervert Construction after initially filing claims totaling nearly $300,000. (Courtesy Riggle Plumbing Inc.)

Dozens of Tri-City subcontractors still left without paycheck

Contractors who once did business with Vandervert Construction Inc. are separating themselves into two groups: lucky or unlucky. “We are one of the lucky ones,” said Mary Rosen, controller for Richland-based Garrett Electric Company Inc. The lucky ones are those who got paid most or all of what they were owed for doing work for…

Pasco has agreed to sell 6.7 acres of land to Moore Holdings, which could become the site of a new Hyundai dealership. (Courtesy city of Pasco)

Sale to close soon on former aquatics center land in Pasco

Pasco is ready to offload nearly seven acres of land on the western side of the city once intended for a regional aquatics center. Pasco’s Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel said the 6.7-acre property is under contract with Moore Holdings at $5 a square foot, for a total purchase price of $1.5 million. Pasco originally…

An extensive interior remodel is underway at the Richland Dutch Bros., located in the Yoke’s Fresh Market parking lot on Keene Road.

Richland Dutch Bros. temporarily closes during remodel

Richland’s only Dutch Bros Coffee currently is closed for a complete interior remodel, with plans to re-open on Sept. 26. “We’re gutting it and starting over inside,” said Brad Barnes, who owns the Richland coffee stand and both Dutch Bros. in Pasco. “We are setting up the stand for something that makes sense,” Barnes said.…

Foodies too will debut this fall in the former site of Paper Street Brewing Co. It will become the third restaurant opened by Joanna and Terry Wilson in the past three years.

Second Foodies restaurant coming to Richland’s Parkway

The Wilson family has expanded from a single floating food counter aboard a pontoon on the Columbia River to three full-service restaurants in Kennewick and Richland. Their third restaurant, called Foodies too, is expected to open before Christmas in Richland’s The Parkway, occupying the space once home to Paper Street Brewing Co. Terry and Joanna…

Kennewick recently revised its transportation impact fees, or TIFs, to a location-based fee schedule, with the highest fees assessed on homes built in the Southridge area, and the lowest on homes built in the city’s downtown core.

Builders face rising home permit fees

Tri-City home building permits remain a fraction of the cost they are in larger cities like Seattle and Portland, but the final price tag still has seen steady increases in recent years across Pasco, Kennewick and now Richland. “My counterparts in other regions would probably laugh at our fees. In the Portland market, the fees…

Sexual harassment prevention training continues in wake of #MeToo movement

Nearly a year into the #MeToo movement, the awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace has prompted many large and small business owners to take a closer look at their own policies and procedures. John Heaton, president of Pay Plus Benefits in Kennewick, believes there’s been cyclical attention to the issue over the years. “This…

Mark and Leticia Whitten prepare to launch their new restaurant at 701B The Parkway in Richland. Miss Tamale will feature tamales sold individually or by the dozen.

New tamale restaurant to open in Richland Parkway

The Food Network taught Leticia Whitten how to cook and even some English. “She watched a lot of Martha Stewart. Well, until (Stewart) got in trouble,” joked Leticia’s husband, Mark Whitten. As a Mexican immigrant, Leticia built her skills in the kitchen while raising three daughters, eventually perfecting her recipes for tamales. She began selling…

A massive remodel is underway at the M Hotel on George Washington Way, taking dozens of rooms down to the studs before re-opening them at the end of the month. The hotel is poised to become a Best Western property after its remodel began in fall 2017. The hotel started as a Holiday Inn when it first opened in 1976.

M is for ‘makeover’ at longtime Richland hotel

A Richland mainstay for more than 40 years, the M Hotel will soon offer guests refurbished rooms when its first phase of renovations are completed at the end of this month. This stage of work includes the hotel’s original 120 rooms surrounding the large, indoor pool at the property on 1515 George Washington Way. Due…

Remodeling is underway at the Tri-Cities’ first Bright Now! Dental clinic next door to FedEx Office at 1220 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Suite A-105 in Kennewick. The national dental chain intends to open a Richland clinic by February. 

Bright Now! Dental bringing two offices to Tri-Cities

Bright Now! Dental is bringing the first of its two Tri-City clinics to Kennewick by the end of October. The practice is targeting an Oct. 29 opening date after representatives say they’ve fielded repeated requests to open in the region. “We’ve been asked by a lot of our union clientele to go into the Tri-Cities…

Kurtzman Park in Pasco has been named by community members as a location of historical significance.

Pasco works to identify historic African American sites

The city of Pasco is working quickly to identify historic African American buildings and locations of significance in the community before they’re lost to city growth. “It just seemed like it was prime time, if you will, to capitalize on this opportunity and preserve the history of this community,” said Tanya Bowers, project manager for…

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