Each year the City of Richland receives funds from the room tax imposed upon hotels and motels located within the City. These funds can be retained by the City or can be expended for a narrow range of projects and activities established by State law. Also referred to as Lodging Tax, these funds are distributed to eligible projects and events located within the City of Richland on an annual basis.
Applications are typically accepted in the Fall of each year for the following year's events. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff were forced to postpone solicitations for 2021 events/projects until now.
To be considered for funding, proposals must meet criteria as established in State law (RCW 67.28.1815) “…used solely for the purpose of paying all or any part of the cost of tourism promotion, acquisition of tourism-related facilities, or operation of tourism-related facilities…”
For more information visit www.ci.richland.wa.us/hotelmotel or call 509-942-7730.
The deadline to apply is March 12, 2021.
Child Care Aware of Eastern Washington – Community Assessment Underway to Explore the Need for Expansion of Child Care Hours
Child Care Aware of Eastern Washington – Pasco, a program of Community-Minded Enterprises (CME) is calling on community partners to help increase access to child care in the Tri-Cities area.
“Supporting quality child care is at the heart of what do here at CME’s Pasco office,” said Suzanne Suyama, Child Care Aware Supervisor – Southeast Washington. “We need the community’s help to learn more about what needs families are facing when it comes to child care.”
This project focuses on the child care needs of parents and guardians of children birth to 12 years of age. Information collected will be used to better understand the need for licensed child care during non-standard work hours, including early morning, evening and weekends. “We know there’s need” said Suyama, “we’ve heard it anecdotally for years. With concrete data, we will be able to make a case for expanded child care.”
Are you an employer and have employees having issues with finding child care? We’d like to hear from you. If you provide your information HERE, we will contact you to learn more.
Funding for this work is made possible thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce under the Child Care Partnership Grant program. CME was one of 24 organizations identified for funding and awarded $63,470.
Community-Minded Enterprises is a 501c3 nonprofit with four offices in Spokane and one in Pasco. It was formed as a grassroots organization in the early 1990s and incorporated 1997.
Our mission is to transform communities in Washington State while advancing diversity and inclusion of marginalized populations, so that all people have an opportunity for equitable health, education, and safety.
The newest round of local artwork has been installed at the Tri-Cities Airport. The airport’s selections for 2021 were curated by the Airport Art Committee, and all celebrate the history of the Tri-Cities region.
The Pacific Northwest Aviation Museum, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Franklin County Historical Society and Museum were selected to educate travelers on the people, buildings, and historical events that shaped the current Tri-Cities community.
“From artwork to archival imagery, this year’s art displays at the airport are sure to capture your attention,” said Buck Taft, Director of Tri-Cities Airport. “These insights into our region’s history help our passengers learn more about our community, and the three organizations do an excellent job of telling new angles of the Tri-Cities story.”
Each organization has a separate wall in the terminal to showcase their pieces, and the displays will be up through the year.
Pacific Northwest Aviation Museum: The museum has displayed several panels and photographs of aviation history in the Pasco region.
WRPS Awards Subcontract for Construction of Surface Barrier to Protect Groundwater
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has awarded a subcontract worth about $14.5 million to construct a protective barrier above another group of large underground waste storage tanks at the Hanford Site.
Fowler General Construction, based in Richland, will install three sections of high-density, modified asphalt to form one large barrier over 18 tanks that make up the TX Tank Farm. Field work is expected to begin in March and be completed by the end of September.
“The surface barrier protects the environment by preventing rain and snowmelt from permeating into the soil and driving existing contaminants closer to groundwater,” said Richard Valle, ORP program manager for the project.
Constructed between 1947 and 1948, TX is the largest of Hanford’s 12 single-shell tank farms and will be the fourth tank farm with a surface barrier. The barrier will cover more than 220,000 square feet. Last fall, WRPS installed a stormwater collection system and a lined evapotranspiration basin to collect and evaporate water that drains from the barrier.
“The barriers are important for continued safe storage of tank waste,” said David Vasquez, WRPS project manager. “They improve tank and soil stability, and they significantly reduce surveillance and maintenance costs. Furthermore, they provide a safe, clean and stable platform for workers in the farm for years to come.”
The barrier will be constructed under an agreement between DOE, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mid-Columbia Libraries Introduces Rural Library Services for Benton and Franklin County Residents
Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) now makes it easier than ever for rural residents in Mesa, Paterson, Plymouth, and beyond to get library books and materials delivered to them.
This convenient new rural library service reaches readers in remote areas of MCL’s service area in Benton and Franklin counties and is designed with future expansion in mind. Residents living furthest from an MCL branch are eligible for Rural Services delivery.
Currently, residents in the City of Mesa receive in-person delivery weekly, while residents of Paterson and Plymouth receive items to their mail boxes via the U.S. Postal Service. Library staff follow all State and local safety guidelines when delivering and mailing out materials.
New or existing Rural Services customers can call (509) 737-6375 or visit the library’s online catalog to place items on hold. They should select “Rural Services” as their pickup location. Items will be mailed or delivered in person to qualifying customers. Library grab bags are a great option for anyone who isn’t sure what to read; the request form is at midcolumbialibraries.org/grab-bag-request.
For questions or assistance, customers can contact MCL by phone, via email, or using the Ask the Library form. Learn more at midcolumbialibraries.org/branch/rural.
PNNL Announces the Demystifying COVID Special Edition Series as part of its Community Science and Technology Seminar Series
In our first special edition seminar series we will tell the story of the science behind COVID-19, including the difference in symptoms between a cold, flu, and COVID-19; how COVID-19 made the initial jump from animal to human populations; how we can stop it in its tracks; what to expect next, and more.
The first seminar of the series, “Hindsight is 2020: The Science Behind COVID-19,” presented by Steve Wiley, a Lab Fellow and Biologist at PNNL, will take place on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 5:00pm via Zoom.
What lessons have we learned over the last few months? What’s left for us to uncover? And seriously what is the difference between a cold, a flu, and COVID symptoms?
The next seminar of the special edition series, “What Do Bats Have to Do with It?”, presented by Amy Sims, Biomedical Scientist at PNNL, will take place on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 5pm via Zoom.
Bats, pangolins, and humans—oh my! This talk will explore the role wild animals play in the emergence of new diseases.
The third presentation of the series, “Behind the Mask: The Science on Stopping the Spread,” presented by Katrina Waters, Lab Fellow and Biomedical Scientist at PNNL, will take place on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 5pm via Zoom.
What measures keep our communities safe? And why do some strange, sometimes serious health effects linger even after COVID-19 has gone, including a loss of taste and smell or COVID toe? Join us to find out.
The next seminar of the series, “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 (And What’s Up With The New Vaccine, Anyways?),” presented by Kristin Omberg, Manager of the Signature Science & Technology Division at PNNL, will take place on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 5pm via Zoom.
If you’re confused about COVID-19 testing and vaccines, you’re not alone. This talk will explore the science behind the 400+ diagnostic tests 200+ vaccine candidates produced over the last year.
The final seminar of the Special Edition Seminar Series, “Model Me This: COVID-19 Scientific Predictions and Where We Go from Here,” presented by Tim Scheibe, Lab Fellow and Earth Scientist at PNNL, will take place on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5pm via Zoom.
Using mathematical models, scientists across the globe are beginning to arrive at a more complete picture of how and why COVID-19 spread across geographical locations and human populations.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Community Science and Technology Seminar Series was launched to help the general public better understand and explore how science transforms our world. For more information, contact Megan Neer.
Gesa Credit Union and Columbia Basin College Launch Community Partnership to Raise Funds to Support Student Success
Gesa Credit Union and Columbia Basin College (CBC) today announced the creation of the first CBC co-branded affinity debit card from Gesa Credit Union. The new card is designed to raise unrestricted funds for the Columbia Basin College Foundation to allocate toward its Emergency Fund, which is used by students for books, supplies, rent, and tuition.
Each time a cardholder swipes their CBC co-branded Gesa VISA® Debit Card, a donation is made to help cover one-time expenses that may prevent a CBC student from continuing their education or being successful. To kick off the partnership, Gesa Credit Union has already donated $10,000 to help support CBC students.
“We are extremely proud to extend our partnership with Columbia Basin College by providing this program for students, staff, alumni and any member of the community who wants to support students’ success at CBC,” said President and CEO of Gesa Credit Union, Don Miller. “With the addition of this card, our members can help support students to obtain the necessary funds, financial literacy and personal money management skills needed to benefit a lifetime.”
The co-branded debit cards are free to Gesa members with a checking account. Community members wishing to obtain a CBC Gesa VISA® debit card can visit one of Gesa’s branches and have a new card instantly printed or receive one by mail. This is the first collegiate co-branded card for Gesa Credit Union – adding to several high school partnerships spanning across Washington State. To date, this program has raised more than $500,000 for students. “We are excited about this new partnership with Gesa Credit Union. So many of us use debit cards as a part of our regular business throughout the day, but now a portion of those proceeds will be going to support our students without us having to do anything different. It’s also a great opportunity to open up lots of conversations, as these transactions happen, where we can talk about our college and the many lives we change” said CBC President Dr. Rebekah Woods.
To learn more about Gesa Credit Union and the Co-Branded Affinity Debit Card Program, visit www.gesa.com.
Baker Boyer is hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Forum on February 26 at 12pm. This event will be virtual and accessible to everyone on our website at https://www.bakerboyer.com/vaccineforum.
Baker Boyer wants to focus its resources on helping the vaccine initiative through education. This one hour event will feature experts who will discuss the vaccine, its effectiveness and how it is being administered. They'll also cover the concept of herd immunity and the likely impacts the vaccine will have on re-opening public spaces, schools, and businesses in our region. The featured guests will be:
Mid-Columbia Libraries’ West Richland Branch Manager Tom Moak to Retire After 41 Years of Library Service
When you still love your job and the organization you work for, it can be a good time to leave.
That’s the feeling Mid-Columbia Libraries’ West Richland Branch Manager Tom Moak had a few months back when he made the decision to retire after more than 41 years as a librarian at Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL). March 4, 2021 will be his last day at the library. He chose March because it would give a new manager some time to get settled before the rush of summer. And, he didn’t fancy working another March, one of the longest months of the year, he says.
“We are thankful for the commitment, community focus, and zeal for knowledge Tom has given to MCL and our customers for over four decades,” says MCL Executive Director and Chief Librarian Kyle Cox. “Tom’s mark on life in the Mid-Columbia can be seen within our libraries and in so many other organizations. He is the personification of a life lived in service, believing life can be made better through effort and intention.”
While he has a plenty of mixed emotions about retiring, Moak has many ongoing commitments—from another part-time job and volunteer leadership roles, to home improvement projects—to fill his time.
“I don’t think I’ll be bored,” he says. “It’s a good time to look afresh at things.”
Moak serves as a Port of Kennewick commissioner, a position he has held since 2014; his current term lasts for four more years. He is president of the Kennewick Housing Authority, vice president of his Kiwanis club, and he recently became president of the Benton-Franklin-Walla Walla Good Roads and Transportation Association.
Moak has a long history of community involvement and volunteerism. He served for 12 years on the Kennewick city council and was appointed and briefly served as a state representative for the 8th District. He was president of the East Benton County Historical Society, where he’s proud to have implemented historic home tours and installed historic marker plaques on city sidewalks. In the 1990s, Moak served as chair of the by-laws committee for the Washington Library Association.
“If you’re doing things that you feel are rewarding to you and the community, you keep doing them,” he says matter-of-factly.
With potentially more free time in retirement, he looks forward to being able to travel again (post-pandemic), to reading more often (he is a big fan of genealogy and family and local history), to taking naps, and to attending library programs.
“I want to enjoy being busy doing the things I want to do, when I want to do them,” Moak says.
And, he’s been quite busy at MCL for four decades. Growing up in Tacoma, Moak’s first library job was as a page at a local Tacoma library branch. He had attended Western Washington University with the intention of becoming a Spanish teacher and also worked as a substitute teacher for several years. But, he enjoyed his work at the library and decided to pursue a master of librarianship at the University of Washington.
After completing his degree in the fall of 1979, Moak moved to the east side of the state to begin his job as head reference librarian at the Kennewick library, what is now called the Keewaydin Park branch, in downtown Kennewick. MCL consisted of just five branches at the time—in Benton City, Connell, Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland—and the Bookmobile. While MCL founder Neva LeBlond Bequette had already retired by then, Moak got to know her well and would later be the emcee at her memorial service in the library she built in 1964.
He recalls the early years before internet and online databases. There were no library cards; customers signed a three-ring binder when checking out books and materials. There were 16mm films (mostly educational), and it was unheard of to watch a feature film at the library. There were art prints and 33 1/3 classical records for loan. The speed and accuracy with which he can currently do his job seems almost limitless.
With the opening of the new Kennewick branch on Union Street in 1999, Moak served as branch manager there until 2016. With his years of MCL knowledge and expertise, it’s no wonder Moak was the library jeopardy champ (by a long shot) at all-staff training day in 2019.
“That’s what I live for,” he says with a smile.
Since taking the helm at the West Richland library five years ago, Moak has embraced the West Richland community and staff. He has built positive relationships and has seen customers embrace their library, with usage increasing especially since the remodel of the building in early 2019.
“The staff have risen to the challenge of meeting the needs of the West Richland community, which really supports their library,” he says. “Staff go the extra mile. They make me look good. It really is the people who work with me—with their great community service attitude—who deserve a lot of the credit. There’s a framework here for the next manager to do even better.”
Trios Health to Construct New Family Birthing Center on Southridge Hospital Campus
Trios Health, part of LifePoint Health, is pleased to announce that construction will soon begin on a new birthing center unit that will be added to its existing hospital at Southridge in Kennewick, WA. This is made possible by a nearly $22 million investment from LifePoint Health.
“We are excited to officially begin construction on this addition to our Southridge campus, which will relocate our Family Birthing Center from its current location at our previous campus on Auburn Street to our new hospital, which opened in 2014,” said John Solheim, Chief Executive Officer at Trios Health. “We are taking another exciting step in advancing our mission of Making Communities Healthier, and we look forward to seeing this important project come to fruition. We are grateful for LifePoint’s substantial investment in our organization and community through this project.”
The approximately 23,376 square foot, two-story addition will be constructed above the 1st floor Surgery Department and connected at the second and third floors of the current Southridge hospital, and approximately 9,970 of existing space at the Southridge campus will be renovated for the project. The new space will accommodate the current Family Birthing Center and Special Care Nursery and bring all of Trios’ hospital services under one roof.
“It will be a big improvement to relocate our Family Birthing Center to a growing area in Kennewick on our existing Southridge campus and hospital building, adding convenience to access all of our hospital services in one place for our patients and bringing greater support for patients and staff as we move to one site,” Solheim said. “This plan also allows us to save expenses by not duplicating the same support services across two hospital campuses. We are grateful to move forward and excited to see this project come to fruition.”
The Family Birthing Center addition will add two dedicated rooms for Caesarean Section deliveries, six Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum (LDRP) rooms, and a 10-bed Critical Care Nursery. With the addition being constructed adjacent to and within current hospital space, 11 existing beds on the medical/surgical floor will be converted to postpartum beds. The Southridge hospital’s licensed bed count will jump from 74 to 111 with the completion of the project, but the overall Trios bed count will not change with 37 beds being relocated from the Auburn campus to the Southridge campus.
“Building this new birthing center is just one more example of how deeply we care are about the Tri-Cities communities and how we are always looking for ways to better serve their needs,” said Sandy Podley, Western Division President of LifePoint Health. “We look forward to the exciting day when we can open this new unit and start delivering babies at the Southridge campus. LifePoint Health is proud to partner with Trios Health to continue transforming the health of this region.”
Currently, approximately 1,400 babies are born each year at the Trios Family Birthing Center. In more than 60 years, thousands of babies have been delivered at Kennewick General Hospital/Trios Health.
Trios is working with local public agencies to plan for future repurposing of the current Auburn campus. The Trios Care Center at deBit on the west end of the Auburn campus will be retained by Trios and remain open. Currently, family medicine and obstetric/gynecology providers see patients there.
The contractor for the Trios Family Birthing Center addition project will be Layton Construction, and Trios plans to use several local and statewide contractors throughout the duration of the project. The facility is anticipated to be completed and open to the public in the second quarter of 2022.
Email your press release and a photo to Austin Regimbal, Marketing & Communications Director. Press releases are posted in their entirety. This is a free benefit for members of the Tri-City Regional Chamber.