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.
Sharing the golden scissors to cut the ribbon during the Feb. 9 ground-breaking of Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village are Don Barnes, vice president of the Port of Kennewick Commission, left, and Kennewick Mayor Don Britain. Winemaker Victor Palencia of Palencia Wine Company stands next to Barnes and Bart Fawbush of Bartholomew Winery is next to Britain. (Courtesy Port of Kennewick)

Long-awaited Columbia Gardens opens, second phase beginning soon

Public plaza, space for food trucks to be completed this summer Now that wine is being made and poured at Kennewick’s waterfront wine village, the community can look forward to the next ribbon cutting, as the second phase is set to get underway this summer. A larger-than-expected crowd gathered for the Feb. 9 ribbon cutting…

Tri-Cities Legislative Council members Gary Ballew, from left, director of economic development and marketing for the Port of Pasco,Troy Berglund, president of the council and a representative of the West Richland Chamber of Commerce,and Diahann C. Howard, director of economic development and governmental affairs for the Port of Benton, helped to develop a list of Tri-City priorities to share with state legislators during its annual visit to the state Capitol on Jan. 25-26.

Legislative council brings Tri-City goals to Olympia

A group of Tri-City business leaders will travel this month to the state Capitol to promote a regional economic development agenda. The Tri-Cities Legislative Council will make its annual visit to Olympia on Jan. 25-26. The group is made up of members from all of the area chambers of commerce, including the Pasco, West Richland…

(Courtesy 401kcalculator.org)

Experts discuss ways to find deductions before new tax law takes effect

Tri-City tax professionals are boning up on the new tax code as they prepare for the start of the 2017 tax filing season. Signed into law just before the end of the year, the changes mark the first major reform of the tax code since the mid 1980s. It won’t take effect until 2018 taxes…

The Richland School District’s new Teaching, Learning, and Administrative Center will be built west of Leona Libby Middle School in West Richland. The district’s 12th elementary school will be south of Badger Mountain. (Courtesy Richland School District)

Richland School District chooses sites for new district office, elementary school

The Richland School Board will build its new Teaching, Learning, and Administration Center in West Richland and its 12th elementary south of Badger Mountain. The board made the decisions at the Jan. 9 school board meeting. The new $10 million Teaching, Learning, and Administration Center, or TLAC, would replace the aging 70-year-old administration building on…

The city of Kennewick denied a business license for City Stars Gentleman’s Club on Dec. 8 because the applicants did not make necessary required improvements by a city deadline. The business can ask for an extension.

Kennewick strip club on hold after city denies permit

An effort to bring a strip club to an industrial portion of Kennewick is on hold after the city denied a business license to City Stars Gentleman’s Club LLC. The city rejected the application because the club’s owners failed to complete required tenant improvements. One of the main improvements needed is a stage for the…

The $2.5 million project to double capacity at Premier Seed is underway on Ione Road, north of Pasco. 

Franklin County farm adding $2.5 million warehouse

Onions piled as long as a football field fill a Franklin County agriculture warehouse, and now two more warehouses are under construction to store the same amount of crops. Premier Seed is doubling its capacity to keep onions or potatoes in a climate-controlled environment. The $2.5 million project is underway at the company’s location on…

Gale-Rew Construction's 7,600-square-foot building at 1616 Terminal Drive in Richland should be complete by July.

Gale-Rew Construction building big red barn for new headquarters

Richland remodeling company’s new offices will be complete by July A big, red barn will be the new headquarters of Gale-Rew Construction in Richland, providing a permanent home base for the home builder and remodeling company that completes hundreds of projects each year. Since merging Rew Construction with Gale Developments in 2008, owner and president…

Construction on a new Chuck E. Cheese restaurant is underway at 6340 W. Rio Grande Ave., near North Kellogg Street, in Kennewick. The Richland Chuck E. Cheese on North Columbia Center Boulevard will close in 2018 when the new one is completed.

A new house for the mouse: Chuck E. Cheese to open in Kennewick

A new design for Chuck E. Cheese’s will roll out in the Tri-Cities next fall when the Richland restaurant reopens in a new location and a new city. Construction is underway at 6340 W. Rio Grande Ave. near North Kellogg Street in Kennewick, about a block south of the McDonald’s that faces West Canal Drive.…

An overhaul, expansion and new joint venture to operate the former CRF Frozen Foods plant at 1825 N. Commercial Ave. is in place between J.R. Simplot and CRF’s parent company, R.D. Offutt. A 25,000-square-foot expansion is planned and valued at $2.48 million.

Food plant linked to listeria to reopen under new name

A former Pasco vegetable processing plant will reopen in spring under new ownership and a new name following a shutdown after a listeria outbreak last year. The food processing facility at 1825 N. Commercial Ave. was previously owned by CRF Frozen Foods. An overhaul, expansion and new joint venture to operate it is now in…

The 290,000-square-foot Lamb Weston plant expansion in Richland means the company can make about 600 million pounds of frozen potato products annually. Washington potatoes provide almost $7.5 billion in economic activity in the state, according to the Washington Potato Commission. (Courtesy Lamb Weston)

Lamb Weston doubles fry production with Richland plant expansion

Lamb Weston’s expansion of its Richland potato processing plant adds two million more pounds of frozen french fries daily to the worldwide market. The new $200 million addition has nearly doubled the company’s output of frozen spuds in Richland. “We’ve incorporated 45 years of making french fries into this factory,” said Mark Schuster, Lamb Weston’s…

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