Articles by Wendy Culverwell


PPP loans a ‘lifeline’ as Tri-Cities struggles to put Phase 1 behind

As Tri-City business and civic leaders work to tame local Covid-19 infection rates so more businesses can open, some of the Mid-Columbia’ biggest employers say forgivable paycheck loans were a “lifeline” that helped them keep valuable employees. Benton and Franklin counties moved into a modified version of Phase 1 of Washington’s Safe Start economic recovery…

Jr. Gonzalez, left, and Chris Curtis of Help-U-Move remove furniture from a Richland home in preparation for new flooring. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Covid-19 is making Mid-Columbia’s tight housing market tighter

Tri-City home sales are defying the expectations of a stressed economy. But real estate insiders aren’t surprised. A tight inventory of homes for sale coupled with unprecedented low mortgage interest rates and an unemployment rate that’s lower than the rest of the state is keeping the market moving. The first five months of 2020 saw…

Derrick Stricker, a Tri-City commercial real estate broker, wants to create a drive-in movie theater and event space that would allow for social distancing and other measures needed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tri-Cities entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities in the crisis. (Courtesy Derrick Stricker)

Necessity is the mother of invention for Tri-Cities innovators

Great disruptions can bring great opportunities. For Derrick Stricker, a Tri-City commercial real estate broker, working during the Great Recession in Chicago drove that idea home. Now, a decade older and working in the Mid-Columbia, he’s one of the many local entrepreneurs who see new opportunity in the Covid-19 pandemic. Or rather, an old one.…


PPP applications pushed lenders to their limits

Talk was going around. Politicians in Washington were developing a coronavirus package with a generous program to save jobs at small businesses affected by the pandemic. Eric Pearson, chief executive officer of Kennewick-based Community First Bank, recalls the talk. Nothing was official. The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act hadn’t been signed into…

Photo by Wendy Culverwell

Right on schedule, food follows wine at Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens

The Port of Kennewick used wineries to woo tourists and hungry crowds to an industrial stretch of Columbia Drive. Now food is following, all part of the port’s plan to use its wine-themed tourism to spark development and reconnect Kennewick to its downtown waterfront. “The tourism focus was the driving factor for transitioning the neighborhood,”…

Robert Jackson of the Port of Benton maintenance team works on the Crow Butte Park irrigation system (Courtesy Port of Benton)

Crow Butte ready to welcome campers – when Phase 2 comes

One good thing happened when Crow Butte Park in southern Benton County closed to campers because of the Covid-19 crisis. No one was camping in early June when a storm blew through. Lightning struck an irrigation pump and 14 large trees blew down in the campground. Normally, all 52 campsites would have been occupied, as…

Courtesy Visit Tri-Cities

The cheery champion of Tri-City tourism finds good news in sea of bad

Michael Novakovich is by nature and by profession an optimist. As president of Visit Tri-Cities, his job is to champion the people, places and things that draw tourists to the Mid-Columbia, to fill its shops, bars, restaurants and hotel rooms. Visitors spent more than $560 million in Benton and Franklin counties in 2018, according to…

The Lil’ Miss Becky Lee began life as a 15-foot Dorsett El Dorado runabout and
is now the bar at the Richland Yacht Club. (Courtesy Roy Keck)

Vintage boat cruises into new life as bar at Richland Yacht Club

The little runabout was so perfect, Roy Keck couldn’t help himself. When the like-new 1962 Dorsett El Dorado the color of harvest gold came up at auction, the boating enthusiast had to have her. The 15-foot fiberglass beauty had fewer than 90 hours on its Mercury 50 engine. The original owner garaged it in the…

Jackson Contractor Group Inc. of Walla Walla will construct the Pasco Fire Department’s new headquarters and fire station after submitting the winning bid of $7.5 million to build Fire Station 84 at 4929 W. Court St. Work begins in July. (Photo courtesy TCA Architecture and Planning)

Pasco tees off on its next fire station project in July

Jackson Contractor Group Inc. of Walla Walla breaks ground in July on the Pasco Fire Department’s long-anticipated new fire station and headquarters. Jackson submitted the winning bid of $7.5 million to build the 21,800-square-foot Fire Station 84, administrative offices and storage at 4929 W. Court St. The project is expected to be completed in February…

Bruce Barnes, the Tri-City franchisee for Dutch Bros Coffee, has agreed to buy land at Wellsian Way and Stevens Drive on the approach to Richland’s Duportail Bridge for the seventh local location for the popular Oregon-based coffee brand. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Dutch Bros adding coffee stand on the way to Duportail Bridge

Dutch Bros Coffee, the popular Oregon coffee chain with a dedicated fan base, will open its seventh local stand in Richland, where it has a deal to buy land on the road leading to the new Duportail Bridge. Bruce Barnes, a Pasco-based Dutch Bros franchisee, will buy a 42,000-square-foot site for the Tri-Cities’ seventh Dutch…

Latest News

Bush Car Washes sold to growing Arizona company 

Kadlec, Tri-Cities Cancer Center commit to ‘brand’

Columbia Center owner Simon nixes Thanksgiving hours

Meals on Wheels postpones drive-thru service due to poor air quality

Read with a Child book giveaway canceled because of smoke

Fitness centers, training facilities can reopen, Inslee says

  • LS_Networks


Sign-up for our e-newsletter filled with featured stories and latest news.


Junior Achievement of Washington’s Dare to Dream Virtual Fundraising Event and Auction

September 26 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Cancer Crushing Challenge Virtual Run

October 1 @ 8:00 am - October 10 @ 1:00 pm

Tri-City Photography Club

October 8 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm