Articles by Wendy Culverwell


She was Kamiakin High’s ‘Most Likely to Succeed.’ So, did she?

Something about watching her dad pour over figures at night appealed to Darcy Kooiker. The lined green paper. The mechanical pencil. The orderliness of tracking the plutonium going into weapons production at Hanford, which was her accountant father’s job. Kookier, then Darcy Nelson, likes it when the math is correct. Her fellow members of the…

Joey Casados and his wife, Amanda Thavone, will open Flight Tap and Table in January in the former Dupus Boomer’s Downtown building, 530 Swift Blvd., at George Washington Way in Richland. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

New restaurant to take flight in Richland

A long-empty restaurant at the heart of Richland will reopen as Flight Tap and Table in January. The husband-and-wife team of Amanda Thavone and Joey Casados leased the building that briefly housed Dupus Boomer’s Downtown at 530 Swift Blvd., at George Washington Way. Thavone is a nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, and Casados is…

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will reopen as Hooked Seafood Boil and Bar, a new-to-the area concept from owners Bing Wang and Vicky Lin. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Seafood restaurant to open in old P.F. Chang’s spot

After standing vacant for three years, the former P.F. Chang’s China Bistro building in Kennewick will reopen with a new name, menu and owners. Hooked Seafood Boil and Bar, a new-to-the-area concept from Bing Wang and Vicky Lin, is set to open in early November in the former restaurant near Columbia Center mall in Kennewick.…


Pasco adjusts rules affecting downtown businesses

Pasco is sweeping away some rules downtown business owners say keep them from investing and thriving in a five-block area. A coalition of downtown business owners, frustrated by prohibitions that keep restaurants from putting sandwich boards on sidewalks, selling used bikes and computers, or opening fitness centers, successfully lobbied the city council to revisit the…

The Richland School District bought the former Salvation Army Center, 1219 Thayer Drive, to serve as a second campus for its Three Rivers HomeLink program. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Richland’s HomeLink expanding to former Salvation Army center

The Richland School District bought an old church campus to serve as the second campus for its Three Rivers HomeLink program, an alternative education program that supports home-based learning and other student services. HomeLink will expand into the former Salvation Army worship center, 1219 Thayer Drive, as early as 2022. The Richland School District paid…

Leo Morales reopened Havana Café, 404 W. Lewis St., Pasco, on Aug. 26 after a three-month closure. He and other downtown business owners are pleading with the city to help them invest in the sprinklers old buildings need to open safely. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Old buildings pose costly challenges to downtown Pasco business owners

Leo Morales was pleasantly surprised Aug. 26, the day his Havana Café reopened in downtown Pasco after a three-month closure. A steady stream of customers came in for lunch, drawn by his post on social media. It was more traffic than he dared dream and validated his decision, for now, not to move Havana Café…

Hanford workers conduct a test run of delivery of the 13 chemicals that will form glass to immobilize hazardous and radioactive waste in preparation for the start of vitrification in 2024. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

Pasco company supplies ingredients to bake Hanford waste into glass

A Pasco ag chemical firm is supplying the Hanford site with the ingredients it needs to bake radioactive and hazardous waste into borosilicate glass logs at the $17 billion Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant. Two Rivers Terminal delivered a 35,000-pound load of lithium carbonate to Hanford this summer, the first of what promises to be…

Pasco Farmers Market

Leader of downtown Pasco group out as board assesses next steps

Gustavo Gutierrez Gomez has left the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, the nonprofit group that operates the Pasco Specialty Kitchen, Pasco Farmers Market and puts on Cinco de Mayo, Pasco Fiery Foods Festival and more. Gabriel Portugal, president of the board, said Gutierrez Gomez departed effective July 31. Portugal praised his work but said his vision…

Layna Kinsman, left, and Ellen LeVee of the Tri-City chapter of the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association prepare gift baskets to hand out during the first in-person meeting in more than a year. (Courtesy Mary Alice Binder)

Retired federal employees group celebrates 50 years of advocacy and fellowship

The Tri-City chapter of the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association launched its 50th year with a return to form and its first in-person event in more than a year. The local chapter met Sept. 1 at the Red Lion Hotel Kennewick Columbia Center – its usual spot – in a return to business…

Jared Walther, a former nuclear industry executive and cybersecurity expert, is converting a former strip club on South Gum Street into a Mexican grocery. It’s one of two investments in downtown Kennewick for Walther and his faith-led group of investors. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Faith-led investor wants to rehab downtown, starting with old strip club

A casino-turned-strip club in downtown Kennewick will reopen as a Mexican grocery following a remodel by a faith-led investment group that is eager to play a role in the neighborhood. Jared Walther, a former nuclear industry executive and cybersecurity expert, is the driving force behind Walther CRE LLC and related investment entities. The Christian nonprofit…

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