Articles by Wendy Culverwell

Washington posted a modest increase in agricultural exports in 2019 even with trade wars and other challenges. The Covid-19 crisis poses a new set of challenges in 2020 to a sector that is second only to airplanes for export activity. (Photo courtesy state Department of Agriculture)

To market: Exporters turn to new trade agreements, Zoom

Washington’s agricultural exporters faced brutal headwinds in 2019 and they are facing them again in 2020. Trade wars, retaliatory tariffs targeting the state’s most iconic crops and a new Pacific Rim trade alliance that didn’t include the U.S. marred the 2019 season, driving producers to seek new markets in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, among…

Courtesy USA Hops

Brewing storm: Hop growers pull back as beer drinking shifts

Growing conditions are strong on Washington hop farms but growers are curtailing expectations of modest growth as beer-drinking patterns shift and an entire industry is disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The unknowns mean 2020 will look a lot like 2019, when the National Agricultural Statistics Service said Washington growers produced about 82 million pounds of…

Shaun Ehlers, owner of Free Culture Clothing, is scheduling private shopping appointments at his downtown Kennewick store at 509-948-8187. He said if Benton County doesn’t move to Phase 2 soon, his business will not survive. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Updated: Face masks could be key to reopening Tri-City businesses

Shaun Ehlers ended 2019 on a contented note. He’d opened a second edition of his small fashion boutique in Columbia Center mall in September. By year’s end, the Free Culture Clothing stores in downtown Kennewick and at the mall were breaking even. He knew the first few months of 2020 would be rough. January is…

The Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco could come out ahead as the Covid-19 crisis prompts airlines to cast off old, unprofitable runs and pursue new opportunities, according to a consultant who says anything is possible, including restoring the region’s connection to Portland International Airport. (Courtesy Tri-Cities Airport)

Could Covid-19 restore air service to Portland?

Airport seeks passenger input The Tri-Cities Airport is inviting those who traveled by air in the last 12 months to complete a survey about their future plans. The survey asks participants to share their thoughts on what will make them feel comfortable about traveling by air again. Go to flytricities.com/ psc-passenger-survey. The Covid-19 crisis blew…

Lamb Weston is known for its frozen french fry products but it also produces shredded potatoes, diced potatoes formed potatoes (hash browns and Tater Puffs), chips, mashed potatoes, appetizers and vegetables. (Courtesy Lamb Weston)

Lamb Weston pulls back curtain with first-ever sustainability report

 The region’s largest potato processor sheds new light on french fry-making in its first-ever corporate sustainability report. Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. issued its 2020 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report on June 2. In it, the Eagle, Idaho-based company describes its corporate and environmental goals, the steps it is taking to meet them and the progress…

Columbia River Walk, a $7 million, 60-unit apartment project at 2120 W. A St., is Pasco’s first new apartment project in recent years. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Upscale living for renters taking shape on Pasco waterfront

Some of the finest homes in the Tri-Cities line the Pasco riverfront. Soon, renters will be able to call the Columbia River shoreline home too. The first 60-unit phase of a 288-unit luxury complex opens to residents in September at 2120 W. A St. in Pasco. Columbia River Walk, named for its intimate proximity to…

The main phase of the Duportail Bridge project is nearly complete with the second phase, reconstructing the intersection of Duportail Street and Highway 240, up next. This file photo was taken July 2019.

Apollo Inc. building second phase of Duportail Bridge

Editor’s note: This story is updated to reflect the award of a contract for the second phase of Richland’s Duportail Bridge project. Richland is preparing to move to the next phase of its $38 million Duportail Bridge project. The main phase — building the bridge over the Yakima River — is wrapping up. Now, Apollo…

Bergstrom Aviation provides fueling and maintenance services as well as a flight school at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco. The pandemic forced it to furlough workers, close the flight school and endure a 90 percent drop in refueling. The Port of Pasco is deferring rent for tenants, but Malin Bergstrom, president, said it is little help when there’s little business coming in. (File photo)

Bergstrom Aviation ponders its bills as fuel business collapses, flight school stays shuttered

As Malin Bergstrom ponders the future of the aviation business her father Karl started in 1971, she is worried. The coronavirus pandemic all but froze travel, which hammered the Pasco business. It reported a 90 percent drop in fuel sales to airlines. It closed its flight school when Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home,…

The new Tapteal Elementary School in West Richland will be 65,000 square feet and built in the same location as the existing school. This means Tapteal students will spend a year at elementary school No. 11, currently under construction off Keene Road in West Richland, for the 2019-20 school year. (Photo: Richland School District)

Positive coronavirus test stops one school project, spares others

West Richland’s Tapteal Elementary will not open as planned this fall after construction stopped when a worker tested positive for the new coronavirus, which causes the deadly COVID-19. The shutdown is sending a ripple through the Richland School District’s construction schedule. Fowler Construction, the Richland contractor for the $20 million project, had previously informed the…

Some construction work that can be performed at a six-foot distance resumed in Washington as the state moved to lift the severest restrictions of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Permit activity appears healthy but looks may be deceiving. (Photo by Scott Butner)

Tri-City construction numbers appear normal, but looks may be deceiving

Homebuilders and homebuyers appear undaunted by the COVID-19 crisis that has sidelined construction and much of the economy since March. Building permit activity dipped in April, but it is still solid for the year to date, according to new figures released May 7 by the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities. Local agencies authorized 437 single-family…

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