Articles by Wendy Culverwell


Four years ago, Carbitex bet its future on footwear – it’s paying off

Carbitex Inc., the Kennewick tech manufacturer that turns carbon fabric into flexible carbon composites, had a choice to make when it debuted in 2012. Its patented, flexible-yet-rigid composite material could be used in any number of products. Junus Khan, founder and chairman, had to figure out which one to target. Four years ago, Khan and…

The Bob will honor the late Robert “Bob” Young, a Tri-City apartment developer who died in 2014. Construction on the 192-unit Class A apartment project begins in early 2022. (Courtesy Nick Wright)

New apartment project honors pioneering builder

The late developer Robert “Bob” Young liked to give his apartment complexes dignified names. The Villas. Washington Square. Broadmoor. Jadwin Stevens. Highlands. Young, who lived in San Francisco but left a mark on the Tri-City landscape, died in 2014 at age 82. The company he founded, once known as Robert Young and Associates, is now…

Benton County District Court Judge Dan Kathren, left, and Ryan Washburn, case manager for Veterans Court, say the therapeutic court for veterans accused of crimes is turning lives around. Franklin County is piloting a test case that supporters hope will lead to the program expanding there too. (Courtesy Benton County)

Veterans Court is changing lives in Benton County. Will Franklin follow?

  Judge Dan Kathren expected miracles in 2019, when Benton County launched a special court to help veterans charged with crimes turn their lives around. Forty veterans and 20 graduates later, he has not been disappointed. “It’s absolutely doing what we were hoping it would,” said Kathren, a seasoned Benton County District Court judge who…

John Landefeld, executive vice president and managing director, Bruker Inc., holds a device that provides instant analysis of the elemental content of whatever it is pointed at: machine parts, scrap metal, marine oil, consumer products, soils, archaeological material and even fine art. Bruker is closing its Kennewick business as part of a global reorganization, and Landefeld hopes to help his staff find jobs elsewhere. (Courtesy Bruker Inc.)

Work wanted: Tech manager seeks jobs for staff as company reorganizes

A profitable Kennewick technology business is being closed by its parent as part of a global reorganization blamed on the pandemic. Bruker Inc. is merging Bruker’s Nano Handheld-Mobile Portable XRF unit, which employs about 50, with a sister company in Berlin and closing the office at the end of December. It is shifting its work…

Port of Kennewick, 350 Clover Island Drive, Kennewick. (Courtesy Port of Kennewick)

Port of Kennewick CEO survives contentious job review

Tim Arntzen, longtime CEO of the Port of Kennewick, narrowly survived a job challenge during a stormy performance review by the port’s divided commission. The performance review was conducted in public session during the commission’s Nov. 9 meeting, held virtually because of the pandemic. The commission voted 2-1 to accept the review, with the current…


Former executive director seeks Port of Benton seat

Scott Keller, the Port of Benton’s retired executive director, is seeking appointment to the seat vacated by Commissioner Bob Larson, who retired on Oct. 28, four years into a six-year term. The port’s remaining two commissioners, Roy Keck and Jane Hagarty, intend to appoint Larson’s replacement on Nov. 29. Keller is the only candidate to…

Susanne and Jessie Ayala opened Ciao Trattoria in downtown Pasco in October to offer fans of their Ciao Wagon food truck a place to pick up meals. The restaurant offers eat-in and pick-up service.  (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Series of happy and not-so-happy accidents led Ciao Wagon to Pasco

Susanne and Jessie Ayala had a plan. It just didn’t include opening Ciao Trattoria in downtown Pasco, which they did in October. The Ayalas intended to leverage their restaurant experience and the success of their Ciao Wagon food truck into a sit-down restaurant in east Pasco, at the Osprey Pointe Marketplace, which hasn’t been built.…

Bill and Cheri Smoot, founders of Pepper Preppers LLC, are buying the former Benton City fire station, 713 Ninth St., as a new home for their hot sauce business and related ventures. (Courtesy Pepper Preppers LLC )

Pepper Preppers heating up old Benton City fire station

A former fire station in the heart of Benton City will be the new home of Pepper Preppers LLC, a hot sauce business, as well as a commercial kitchen available for lease to a limited number of food startups. Cheri and Bill Smoot, founders of Pepper Preppers LLC, have a $211,000 agreement to buy the…

Rosetta Assisted Living is adding a third building to its Pasco campus at 5921
Road 60 near Barbara McClintock STEM Elementary School. It will break ground
on a fourth in late 2021 or early 2022. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Memory care home adding two buildings in Pasco

Rosetta Assisted Living is completing its Pasco complex with its third and fourth buildings to serve residents with memory disorders. The Pasco facility, 5921 Road 60, has room for up to four identical buildings to care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Each building has 17 rooms and can serve up…


Train blasts too loud?
Pasco fields complaints about noise

Prompted by complaints about the blasts from trains rumbling through Pasco, the city is looking at what it would take to create a “railroad quiet zone.” The city council reviewed the state and federal requirements for quiet zones during a July workshop but has taken no further steps since then. Steve Worley, public works director,…

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West Richland Area Chamber of Commerce in Person Luncheon Meeting

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