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.
Dr. Jessica Schneider’s new Richland clinic, Empowered Health, breaks tradition to offer more personalized patient care. (Photo by Herb Collingridge IV)

Richland doctor offers membership health care

Tri-City native offers nontraditional setting for personalized care A new membership-based health care clinic is available in Richland, the brainchild of a board-certified internist who wanted to offer more patient-focused care. Dr. Jessica Schneider, a Hanford High School graduate, decided to jump off the “hamster wheel” she said was inherent in traditional medical practices to…

To offset the challenges presented with the sale of wheat, some farmers have begun a crop rotation with canola, which produces a vibrant yellow flower as it grows. (Photo by Karen Sowers)

Agriculture powerhouse: Crop value high amid trade threats

Persistent issues with international trade have been threatening Washington’s most successful crops. Ongoing trade issues with Asian markets and North American neighbors are “making farmers nervous,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. “We have to have trading partners,” she said. With $6.7 billion in food and agricultural products sent…

The Washington cherry crop is consistently among the top 10 agricultural commodities in the state with predictions of this year’s crop reaching 25 million boxes of fruit. (Courtesy Northwest Cherry Growers)

Fruitful summer: Cherry crops a sweet success

The 2019 Washington cherry crop is expected to reach nearly 25 million boxes. These initial estimates come from about 2,100 cherry growers who are part of the Northwest Cherry Growers/Washington State Fruit Commission, a five-state group covering orchards in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah. Before cherries are picked, “there are still plenty of opportunities…

Ripe Apples in Orchard ready for harvesting

Apple action: New variety coming as tariff threats loom

As the state’s apple growers strategize to overcome international tariffs, they’re also looking ahead to introduce to the world a highly-anticipated variety — the Cosmic Crisp. The end of the 20 percent tariffs on apples shipped to Mexico in mid-May was welcome news to the state’s apple industry, which saw overall exports down 32.7 percent…

Tri-City leaders continue to focus on building an economy with higher-paying jobs that don't rely on Hanford. (File photo)

Tri-City leaders look to economy after Hanford

Tri-City leaders remain focused on efforts to diversify the economy, create jobs and expand employment sectors beyond Hanford and the roles offered by the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors. “TRIDEC has made this a top priority for decades,” said David Reeploeg, vice president of federal programs at the Tri-City Development Council. The effort…

waste treatment plant

Vit plant ramps up for next phase

Round-the-clock staffing is in place at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant as Bechtel National Inc. prepares to process low-activity waste by 2023, but possibly as soon as 2022. There hasn’t been 24/7 staffing at Hanford in more than 20 years. Earlier this year, the analytical laboratory at the plant entered its startup phase,…

Single shell tank

Several major Hanford contracts to be awarded in late summer

Contracts worth tens of billions of dollars are being systematically awarded for work to be performed at Hanford, covering prime responsibilities at the nuclear waste site and operating under new models. “It’s an important and critical time for collaboration,” said Mark Heeter, public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office. This…

The Tri-Party Agreement was designed with a bias towards preserving the Columbia River from contamination, which led to the installation of several groundwater treatment facilities that treat contaminated water before it reaches the river basin on the Hanford site.

DOE looks to way to replace outgoing workers

Hanford’s workforce is made up of more professional support staff than engineers, scientists or technicians. More than 9,000 people are directly employed with efforts at the Hanford site, based on recent U.S. Department of Energy data. That’s more than the individual population of three neighboring cities: Prosser numbers 6,125, Connell 5,460, and Benton City 3,405.…

Lamb Weston expanding with $2.2M building

Lamb Weston is adding a potato storage building in Paterson to support its expanded operations across the Columbia River in Oregon. The new building is under construction at 158695 Highway 221 in Paterson. It is valued at $2.2 million and will have the capacity to hold 15,000 tons of potatoes. At the end of 2017,…

Kris Lapp, president and founder of i-3 Global accepts the Protege of the Year award. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

Kennewick company’s mounting lawsuits total $1.8M

Once named the U.S. Department of Energy’s Protégé of the Year, a Kennewick business and its founder are now facing three lawsuits and a tax warrant totaling nearly $2 million. Kristopher Lapp, i-3 Global president, is being sued in Benton County Superior Court for: $515,000 for a breach of contract by E2 Consulting Engineers Inc.…

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