DELIVERING NEWS TO MID-COLUMBIA SENIORS SINCE 1982
Vol. 9 | Issue 7
Retirees enjoy patriotic blast, but neighbors may chill this year’s plans By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
A loud Kennewick Independence Day tradition may be a casualty of new home construction this year. Nancy and Hank Sauer have fired a celebratory blast of their replica 1775 British Naval propane cannon every Fourth of July (and on other occasions too) from their deck near Zintel Canyon since they got it in 2001. They would aim the cannon, which makes lots of noise but fires no projectiles, across a nearby irrigation canal toward the 18 empty acres on the other side. A snag arose about two years ago, when the land sold to a home developer. The Sauers report they have 51 new neighbors and now wonder if a blast from a cannon is still a good idea. “The problem is some of these people don’t like to be disturbed,” said Hank, who turns 75 this year. The Sauers are well-known in the
Corvette owners have a wish for Make-A-Wish By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
Corvettes on the Columbia, a longrunning celebration of all things Corvette and a major fundraiser for MakeA-Wish Alaska & Washington, returns in September after organizers were forced to cancel the 2020 event because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 3 Rivers Corvette Club will hold the 2021 edition – its 11th – from Sept. uCORVETTES, Page 2
Photo by Wendy Culverwell Hank Sauer, who turns 75 this year, of Kennewick, prepares a replica 1775 British Naval propane cannon for a demonstration shot on Clover Island. Sauer and his wife, Nancy, traditionally fire the cannon to celebrate the Fourth of July from their Kennewick deck, but the couple are rethinking their plans now that 51 homes are on the formerly empty lot next door.
Tri-Cities. He is a retired educator and principal and was 2008 Kennewick Man of the Year. She serves on the board of The Children’s
Reading Foundation of the MidColumbia. Together, they are wine enthusiasts who support viticulture education and a myriad of related
causes. After Hank had a heart attack in 2012, he took up exercise with a passion, determined to make every minute count. He climbs the steps of Southridge Stadium – 30 up, 30 down – and hit his 1 million step goal on Feb. 25, 2020. Nancy greeted him with a bunch of balloons in the pandemic-emptied stadium. He’s a daily fixture on Zintel Canyon’s Spirit of America Trail too. “The basic goal is I want to live,” he said. So it’s fair to say that he can be a little salty about having fun, living life to the fullest and firing his cannon. “Some of them don’t know what fun is,” he said of the new neighborhood on the opposite side of the Kennewick Irrigation District’s Highlift Canal. In late June the Sauers were still undecided about their traditional uCANNON, Page 12
Pole buildings get new life as unique, affordable homes By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tri-Cities is becoming a center for Instagram-worthy barn-style homes after a pair of Tri-City entrepreneurs with a big social media following built one for themselves. Olivia “Liv” and Tanner Berg converted an old pole barn on their Kennewick property into a family home. The process was so rewarding – and interest from followers so strong – that they created a business to help others follow their lead. Back Forty Building Co., which launched in 2019, provides plans
and metal building kits to people who want something other than a traditional “stick built” home. It has 40,000 followers on TikTok and the ability to sell its designs in all 50 states. Pole buildings kitted out as living space for humans go by any number of names – “barndominiums,” “barndos” and “shouses” (shop houses) are some that get used in the Tri-Cities, where pole buildings are common. Back Forty produces up to 100 building designs a month and has nine projects in various stages of development in the Mid-Columbia. Liv dreams of developing a small barn-
dominium community to promote the concept. Ricky Walsh, a retired Richland firefighter and union executive, built a 1,000-square-foot home in a pole building for his mother, Diane, on his property off Dallas Road in unincorporated Benton County. The 30-by-40-foot home has all the comforts of a traditional home – a front porch, plenty of windows, full kitchen, a bedroom, walk in closet, fireplace and carpets. In a nod to the rural setting, Walsh installed a trendy barn door for his mother’s private uBARNDO, Page 8
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
What railroad town was named the first county seat of Franklin Red Cross depends on healthy seniors to keep blood banks stocked
Pasco Machine prepares nextgeneration workforce for next 100 years
County in 1883? ANSWER, PAGE 7
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10-11. It is normally held in June but is postponed to September as a concession to the lingering effects of the pandemic. The later date gives planners breathing room after the state was set to lift restrictions on gatherings at the end of June. The delay is the only concession to Covid-19, said Matt Price, president of the club. In his day job, Price is an executive with the McCurley Integrity Dealerships, where his responsibilities include fleet services and overseeing its Corvette program, including new and used sales. A Corvette enthusiast, he drives his 2013 60th edition daily during the warm months when the combination of rear wheel drive and torque are perfectly suited to hot pavement. “These are cars that are not driven in snow,” he said. The car show, which includes an auction, dinner and other events, raised $145,000 for Make-A-Wish in 2019, making it one of the largest fundraisers for the wish fulfillment charity in the region. The club eked out a modest donation in 2020 even though the event was canceled. Its donations are earmarked to fulfill the wishes of ill children in Eastern Washington, from shopping trips and snowboard outings to Disneyland trips and puppies. “Families here are what it is all about,” Price said. Price hopes to pass along more than $145,000 in 2021, though he said it will be a challenge. The final tally depends on donations as well as a share of percar sales from McCurley. Thanks to the much-reported computer chip shortage affecting auto manufacturers, car sales have slowed. So, Price is inviting Corvette lovers and the community to team up to ensure Make-A-Wish gets the support it needs after a year that saw its ability to grant wishes slowed by the pandemic but not the need. Price said area residents can donate during the all-Corvette show at Columbia Park in Kennewick. Admission is free. Make-A-Wish will have a tent where it will share heartwarming tales of wishes granted and collect donations. Supporters can contact Price at McCurley or leave checks – made out to MakeA-Wish – at his office at the Pasco Autoplex off Court Street.
The feel-good nonprofit that grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses has felt the same pinch as its peers, said Angela Miller, regional director. The in-person events that drive donations were canceled and replaced with virtual ones. Wishes typically fall into four categories. Travel is by far the most popular wish. Travel is also the least expensive
Courtesy Tom McKenna Corvettes on the Columbia returns to the Tri-Cities in September after being canceled in 2020. Above, a vintage model is displayed during the 2019 gathering, which raised $145,000 for Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington.
to grant, thanks to widespread support for its mission from the hospitality and travel industries. It has continued to grant wishes for items, experiences and virtual encounters with celebrities. Miller said travel trailers were the most popular wish during the pandemic, a challenge given the $20,000 price tag and the shortage of recreation vehicles. Miller said the ongoing support from the Corvette show is invaluable. Since it began 12 years ago, the Tri-City event has generated more than $750,000, easily its largest fundraiser in the region, she said. But no thanks to the pandemic, Make-A-Wish has not been able to keep up. It had to postpone 250 travel-related wishes, and because children keep being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses in a pandemic, it now has 600 wishes on its list. Miller is eager to get back on track. She noted the national organization’s medical advisory team has approved granting travel requests on Sept. 15. Besides money, Make-A-Wish has a deep need for volunteers in the TriCities. It takes two volunteers to coordinate each wish and, she said, it is the best job in the world. Go to wish.org/akwa.
Fun in sun
Corvettes on the Columbia is of course about more than raising money for charity. It brings together Corvette enthusiasts and those with an interest or passion for high-performance muscle cars. “I can’t imagine not owning one,” Price said. He’d been Corvette-less for about five years before he bought his current model in 2016. He’d written out exactly what he wanted in his next car and held onto the scrap of paper for four years. In 2016, a California transplant traded in the 2013 model of Price’s dreams. He pounced, buying it 10 days before Christmas, to his wife’s dismay. But it was the car listed on his scrap paper. “Down to the calipers,” he said. “Everything was exactly what I was looking for.”
At McCurley, he oversees an average of 40 new and used Corvette sales a year, with customers coming from throughout the region to tap into his network of contacts for deals and equipment. He’s presold the next three years’ allocation of new models from the manufacturer and monitors auctions for Corvette listings. In the middle of an interview about the car show, he paused to take a call, then pumped his fist. A McCurley buyer was reporting in after submitting the winning bid for a 2019 Grand Sport convertible. Price wanted it for the dealer’s inventory, knowing it would sell quickly. Even those who prefer new will snap up used ones to get the experience and then trade in when “their” car appears. Price said the Columbia Park show is for Corvettes only, with every model represented. Owners come from five western states and Canada to show their vehicles. “We have to get that border open,” he said, referring to the still-closed (as of press time) U.S.-Canada border. By tradition, each year’s event brochure highlights the winner of the previous event’s People’s Choice competition. For 2021, it is a 2019 blue convertible owned by a Puget Sound area resident.
If you go
Friday, Sept. 10 is centered at the Red Lion Hotel Pasco. Registration and a silent auction open at 9 a.m. There is a wine walk to benefit Make-A-Wish, a pool party and a Corvette Dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m., leading up to a dance at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 11, the action shifts to Columbia Park. The event includes a moment of silence to acknowledge the 9/11 attacks and includes car judging, a lunch with vendors, a concert and more Corvette-related activities. A banquet and concert begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Pasco hotel. Events in the park are free. Registration for the complete event is $160 for singles and $210 for couples. Go to 3riverscorvetteclub.net/2021corvettes-on-the-columbia.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Isoray raises $50M to expand Cesium-131 cancer treatments By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
Isoray Inc., the Richland company that makes radioactive seeds to treat prostate cancer, has raised more than $50 million through supplemental stock offerings in recent months, with most targeted to expand its reach to other types of cancer. Isoray (NYSE American: ISR) raised nearly $10 million in October to fund operations through a pandemic-related slump and $45 million in February. The latter is funding clinical trials and other costs associated with bringing its proprietary Cesium-131 radiation treatment to Lori Woods brain, head and neck, lung, skin and gynecological cancers that can be treated with implantable radiation devices. “We see a lot of areas where cancer treatment is changing,” said Lori Woods, chief executive officer. Isoray produces medical Cesium-131 pellets from isotopes imported from Russia and has 62 employees, with 49 based in Richland. It seals Cesium-131 in titanium tubes marketed as Cesium Blu for implantation at tumor sites. Prostate cancer is its core business, with about 15,000 patients to date. For patients, the implantable approach – called “brachytherapy” – eliminates the traditional surgeryfollowed-by-radiation treatment path. The Cesium Blu seeds can be arranged by physicians to ensure they are placed exactly where they can deliver radiation treatment directly to the cancer, unlike external beam radiation, which passes through healthy tissue on the way in and out. Isoray believes its approach is the
future of cancer treatment and expanding now puts it at the vanguard. “It is very personalized. We can personalize to exactly what the doctor wants for that particular patient and that particular cancer,” Woods said. The company holds four U.S. patents that cover the process of making Cesium-131, making it the world’s only manufacturer. It touts Cesium-131 for its one-two cancer-killing combination of high energy and a short half-life. Cesium-131 hits cancer cells harder and dissipates faster than rival isotopes such as Iodine-125, the company said. Cesium-131 has a 9.7-day half-life, delivers 90% of its the dose in 33 days and is undetectable in the body after 97 days. In contrast, Iodine-125 has a 60-day half-life, takes 204 days to reach 90% of the dose and is undetectable in the body after 600 days, according to a May presentation to investors. Oncologists like brachytherapy because they can deliver higher doses to the cancer site than they can with external beam radiation. “We use it all the time in prostate cancer,” said Dr. Sherry Zhao, a radiation oncologist at the Kadlec TriCities Cancer Center in Kennewick. Brachytherapy lends itself best to cancer sites surgeons can access without major procedures, but she said there is a need to explore more options. Isoray, she said, has a cult following among doctors. “I personally have friends who use only the cesium seeds.”
Investors are critical
Investors have a critical role to play as Isoray moves to treat additional types of cancer. The October offering that raised $10 million improved its cash position in 2020 after sales dropped. In the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer people visited doctors, leading to fewer cancer diagnoses, treatments and demand.
Courtesy Isoray Richland-based Isoray Inc., which makes Cesium-131 pellets to treat prostate cancer, has raised more than $50 million in supplemental stock offerings as it looks to expand to treat brain, head and neck, skin and other cancers.
Woods called the stock offering Isoray’s equivalent to a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The company concluded a federal PPP loan was not appropriate for it. But it faced the same loss of business as most other businesses. “We needed that money to break even as a company,” she said. It returned to the market for a second offering in February when it spied an opportunity to raise money to support its expansion plans. The capital markets turned bullish for small
companies such as Isoray, aka “micro caps.” Isoray has a market cap of just $113 million, with shares trading at about 86 cents in early June. According to Kiplinger, the smallcap Russell 200 index outperformed the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite for the year through mid-April. “I took the opportunity to say we have an opportunity to raise money to execute on our strategy to take the uISORAY, Page 4
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
ISORAY, From page 3
company to a new level,” Woods said. The board agreed.
Isoray has two big advantages as it looks to deploy its Cesium Blu product to blast more types of cancer. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration approved Cesium-131 to treat all malignant cancers, not just prostate cancers. That means it does not have to pursue fresh approvals for each new line, although new procedures and devices are subject to approval. Too, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, is pilot-
ing a change in how it reimburses cancer treatment, which Isoray believes will drive interest in its lower-cost approach. For instance, CMS is expected to provide a flat reimbursement of $20,000 for prostate cancers, making low-cost options such as Cesium Blu more attractive. It does have to demonstrate that its seeds are appropriate for other types of malignant cancers. It is working with GT Medical Tech on marrying Cesium-131 with GT’s GammaTile Therapy product to treat brain cancer, with commercialization efforts underway. As with prostate cancer, brachy-
therapy could tackle malignant brain tumors faster and with less stress to the patient. Surgeons remove the tumor, then implant the Cesium Blu seeds in the spot where it was removed to tackle any cancerous cells left behind. Normally, the patient would go home after brain surgery, recover, and then return for additional radiation therapy. Brachytherapy is a “one and done” approach. “That’s huge because a lot of these patients aren’t feeling great anyway,” she said. “We’re super excited about the opportunities to impact lives of patients with brain tumors.” In another study, researchers at the University of Cincinnati are using a combination of Cesium Blu and Keytruda to treat recurrent head and neck cancers. Head and neck cancers are another potentially important market. It’s a tricky area to treat because critical physical structures – the spinal column and throat – pass through the narrow confines of the neck. Protecting healthy tissue when there is not much to spare is even more critical, particularly if cancers return. As it eyes additional treatments, Woods said Isoray will not retreat from its core business. Prostate cancer is a $600 million “industry,” with most early-stage cancers considered highly treatable. The American Cancer Society estimates one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. The American Cancer Society projects an estimated 250,000 new cases in 34,000 deaths in the U.S. this year. That is a 30% more than normal and is attributed in part to the pandemic and delayed medical care, which delayed diagnoses. “It was surprising to us how much
lack of access has really affected things,” she said. “In some cases, hospitals were just flat out overwhelmed.” While not every prostate cancer patient is a suitable candidate for Cesium 131, Isoray says its treatment is effective for most. “There’s lots of clinical support to show Cesium-131 is the right treatment for most patients,” she said. Breast cancer is not currently a good candidate for the Cesium Blu approach. Woods explained that the fatty nature of breast tissue means the seeds tend to slip around instead of staying put at the cancer site, lessening the impact. Woods said the company is looking for solutions that will treat breast cancer without creating secondary cosmetic issues like puckering and indentations. “We haven’t found exactly the right thing yet,” she said.
Pandemic and supply chain
Isoray sources isotopes from a commercial reactor in Russia. It previously used a U.S.-based reactor but found the Russian isotopes were less expensive and purer than the American counterparts. Woods, who has visited the supplier on many occasions, said she is not concerned about relying on Russia. It has been a reliable partner that welcomes being paid in U.S. dollars. “They have been good partners. They have never missed a shipment, not before or during Covid,” she said. The pandemic did force it to adapt how the isotopes traveled. Commercial flights were canceled, prompting it to develop fall back positions. It shipped via other carriers and cargo flights, which drove up costs, something she said appears to be temporary.
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SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Red Cross depends on healthy seniors to keep blood banks stocked The supply of human blood is perilously low – in Washington and across the U.S. That is why the American Red Cross – which supplies 40% of all the blood used in hospitals – has launched an all-out push for donors. If you are worried about upper age restrictions being a disqualifier for your eligibility, don’t. “You are never too old to give blood,” said Heath Palen-McBee, district manager of blood donor recruitment for the region. “You may not be able to donate because of medical conditions or because of a medication you are taking, but that has nothing to do with age,” he added. Consider the case of World War II veteran Carl Garrison of Shoreline, Washington. He’s a frequent donor at blood drives at the age of 95. “As long as you are able to give blood and there are people who need it, I think it should be done,” he said. There is no question that blood products are needed, often in vast quantities. Human blood and its components such as plasma and platelets are necessary to sustain the lives of cancer patients, burn and accident victims and those suffering from such life-threatening conditions like sickle cell anemia. Patients with sickle cell may require 100 transfusions of blood a year. It can take as much as 100 units of blood to treat someone who has been in an auto accident. Because the need for blood is
constant, the flow to hospitals also must be constant. Volunteers can help there too. John Gordon Williams Trudeau, a American Red Cross retiree who GUEST COLUMN lives in Yakima, drives daily to the Red Cross Blood Donation Center on South Second Street in Yakima. There he loads a delivery van with boxes of blood and delivers it to Memorial Hospital three miles away. Trudeau does that seven days a week, 365 days a year. While 8 million Americans donate blood each year, the Red Cross estimates that represents only 3% of those who could donate blood. To try and close the gap between blood supply and blood demand, the Red Cross has amplified its search for donors. A full list of eligibility requirements is available at RedCrossBlood.org. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association explored blood donations by seniors. Its conclusion is “that it is both clinically feasible and efficient to recruit healthy prior donors older than the age of 66 for blood donations.” Don Havre of Richland is 76 and is an active donor – as he has been since he first gave blood in 1968. He spent 22 years in the military
so serving others is a way of life. But Havre donates for another reason. His blood type is AB positive, shared with only 3% of the population. “Because I have a unique blood type I try to give blood whenever I can,” he said. “If the blood isn’t there someone may die.” We asked Havre if he thought he was too old to give blood. “Not at all,” he said. “Anyone who is physically fit can give blood. I don’t think age is ever a factor.” Courtesy American Red Cross Daryl Wuennecke World War II veteran Carl Garrison of Shoreline, of Kennewick is 74. Washington, is a frequent donor at blood drives He was an active at the age of 95. The Red Cross does not have donor until medical an upper age limit for blood donations and issues forced him to encourages qualifying seniors to donate. pause. But he is programmed his smartphone to send feeling fine these him a reminder when it is time to days and so has resumed being a donate. blood donor. In fact, he is so committed to giving blood that he has uRED CROSS, Page 12
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
RSA offers free matinees for seniors at Uptown Theater, other adventures By Senior Times staff
The Richland Seniors Association is celebrating the end of Covid-19 lockdowns with several activities for seniors, including free matinees at the Uptown Theatre and a caravan adventure to the SAGE Center in Boardman, Oregon. Active4Life invites seniors to attend free matinees July 15 and Aug. 10 at the theater at 1300 Jadwin Ave., Richland. The first screening is the 1978 hit, “Grease!,” starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15, with the movie beginning at 2 p.m. The event has a sock hop theme and a classic car display by Ye Olde Car Club is planned prior to showtime. Participants are encouraged to wear attire that recalls the era. The second film hasn’t been determined but will be shown Tuesday, Aug. 10. Watch for details in the August edition of Senior Times. Capacity is limited and registration is required. Go to bit.ly/ Active4LifeGrease or call the
Richland Seniors Association hotline, 800-595-4070. Leave a message and a volunteer will call back. Active4Life is a free activitybased organization offering social interaction to Tri-City seniors. For more information, call SaLee Charlesworth, 509-713-9495 or go to stayactive4life.com. Follow Active4life on Facebook too. The RSA also is organizing a caravan outing to the SAGE Center in Boardman on Aug. 17 to learn about sustainable agriculture and energy. SAGE tells the tale of the Columbia Basin’s network of energy and agriculture enterprises. There is a $3 admission fee. Participants will travel by private vehicle. Call 800-595-4070 by July 30 with your name, phone number, email address and number of people in your car and whether you have room for others or need a ride. RSA is planning a separate caravan adventure to the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon, although a date has not been set.
uBRIEFS Benton Franklin Fair is Aug. 24-28
The Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo will be Aug. 24-28 in Kennewick following a pandemic hiatus last year. Tickets for most events went on sale June 14. The lineup includes concerts by Trace Adkins, Nelly, Foghat, Seether and Plain White T’s, as well as the demolition derby and rodeo. All seats for the Horse Heaven Round-Up are reserved this year. Go to bentonfranklinfair.com or avoid processing fees by buying tickets at the fair office, 812 W. Washington St., Pasco, or the Kennewick Ranch & Home store.
Alzheimer’s Association cheers FDA drug approval
The Alzheimer’s Association cheered the Food and Drug Administration’s controversial approval of Biogen’s aducanumab to treat Alsheimer’s. “While certainly not a cure, this is the first ever FDA-approved treatment for the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s, not just the symptoms,” it said in a statement. The FDA granted approval for aducanumab, sold as Aduhelm,
using its accelerated approval pathway, on June 7, seven months after its independent advisory committee recommended against the drug. Aduhelm is a first-of-its kind treatment and the first new treatment approved for Alzheimer’s, which affects 6.2 million Americans, since 2003. Researchers evaluated its efficacy in three studies. Treatment is expected to cost as much as $50,000 per year.
Selling the family home? Consider these tax issues
With home-selling season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding sellers that there could be tax consequences. Ownership and use – The taxpayer must have used the property as their primary home for at least two of the previous five years to qualify for the exclusion. Gains – Sellers may be able to exclude up to $250,000 in gains from their home, or $500,00 for married couples who file a joint return. Losses – Even in a hot market some sellers will sell for less than what they paid. It is not deductible from income taxes. Multiple homes – Only the sale of the primary home can be excluded. Go to go.usa.gov/x6KAE.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Just for Fun
Solutions on page 9
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17 Scull 18 Suit with an MBA, maybe 20 Rate 21 Title for a
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distinguished Indian 22 Is inclined 23 Give consent 25 “We --- touchdown!” 26 Tyne Daly TV role 27 Storage shelter 29 “Like that would happen!” 32 90-degree fitting 33 Spike
Word search - Boats Ark
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Turn Back the Clock...
© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
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Sudoku - Tough
© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
MTB STR8TS STR8TS
Str8ts - Easy
How to beat Str8ts: No single number, 1 to 9, can repeat in any row or column. But rows and columns are divided by black squares into compartments. Each compartment must form a straight, a set of numbers with no gaps but it can be in any order, eg: 7, 6, 8, 9. Clues in black cells remove that number as an option in that row and column, and are not part of any straight. Rules of Sudoku - To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 such that each row, column and 3x3 box contains ever number uniquely. For more strategies, hints and tips, visit www.sudokuwiki.org and www.str8ts.com.
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July 31: Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott became the first person to drive a wheeled vehicle on the surface of the moon.
ANSWER Quiz answer from Page 1
Ainsworth was the first county seat, but the city soon disappeared as Pasco became a railroad boom town following the completion of the railroad bridge across the Columbia River. — Source: Franklin County Museum
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
BARNDO, From page 1
bathroom. The house shares a well with his home but has its own septic system. Walsh considered several options when his mother, now in her 80s, was ready to leave her much larger home in Hermiston two years ago. He considered a manufactured home but was inspired by the shop buildings that dot his neighborhood. He chose a pole building with wooden trusses and had it erected to the west of the home he and his late wife built decades ago. Walsh, who trained as an architect and learned construction from his grandfather, did most of the construction, though not all. “I can hang drywall but I’m 61 and I don’t want to,” he said. He estimates it cost $65,000 to build – less than it would have cost his independent-minded mother to live in an assisted living center for a year. His mother’s barn house was such a hit that his daughter, Jennifer Hamilton, wanted one for her young family as well. Father and daughter created a 2,600-square-foot version on Ruppert Road, where he owns six acres and is also developing an event venue in a pole building. The Hamilton family’s three-bedroom, three-bathroom home cost less to build than a conventional
Photos by Wendy Culverwell Ricky Walsh (left), a retired Richland firefighter and current union official, built a 1,000-square-foot shop home for his mother, Diana, for $65,000 at his property in unincorporated Benton County. Diana Walsh (right) loves the barn door that separates her bedroom and bathroom.
suburban home. Lower costs and rural settings are key selling points, said Liv, who with her husband brings the evangelical spirit of a convert to barndominium living. They can be a cost-effective way for people who want to live on acreage. That was the dilemma she and Tanner faced when they bought land in Kennewick for their future home about six years ago, at the same time they created BlankSpace. BlankSpace was an urban Kennewick gathering spot that fostered
creativity, community and a series of popup businesses. It has since closed. They planned to build a dream home, but worried about the $500,000 mortgage. “We were definitely maxing out our debt-to-income ratio at 25 to build a big, beautiful home,” Liv said. The property came with a 40-by80-foot pole barn that caught her attention. “Naturally, I was like, we can turn that into a house,” she said. The Bergs jumped in, bringing no special expertise to the project. But they were creative and interested and learned as they went about building a home inside a structure intended for industrial and agriculture use. They spent the cash they had saved for their home and acted as their own contractors. The result was a mortgage-free, comfortable home in a relaxed rural setting and most important, no debt. A roll-up garage door, airy interior and concrete floors hint that it is not a typical home. In a recent post, Berg highlighted the differences when she invited her TikTok followers to describe living in a “barndominium” without using the term. She kicked it off with a video starring her young daughter, Oakley, par-
ticipating in activities that would not fly in more traditional settings. Oakley rides her bike on the cement floors. She cradles a chicken at the dining room table and hugs a goat and a horse in the living room. The message was clear: The Berg home is spacious and durable enough to welcome barnyard pets. “We became experts at this type of dwelling,” she said. The couple had not intended to make a business, but after they closed BlankSpace and traveled, the questions kept coming. “People are looking at affordable options for home ownership,” she said. Back Forty clients want to be self-sustained, to live on the land. They may buy land and need a way to live comfortably even if money is tight. “A barndominium can be the answer to that,” she said. The couple drew on their previous business experience to make a go of it. Their first hire was a full-time drafter to convert her designs into blueprints that are specific to metal buildings. The company’s plans can be stamped in all 50 states, signifying they were prepared by a qualified professional. “We draw steel-specific plans. There are few companies in the U.S. that can do that,” Liv said. Back Forty provides designs and, for customers who want it, metal building kits. It works with steel building manufacturers around the country. It is a happy marriage that ensures the designs that go to the manufacturers have enough detail the accommodate residential touches. A plan for a wood-framed home don’t automatically translate to a metal-framed one, Liv said. Most customers buy plans and enlist their own manufacturers. Follow Back Forty Building Co. at backfortybuildings.com and on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
2020 wasn’t a great year for Washington wine. Or was it? By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Northwest wine economist Chris Bitter painted a bleak picture when he recapped the state of Washington’s $8.4 billion wine industry in March. The state’s wineries shipped almost 1 million fewer cases in 2020. All sales channels – to consumers, to retailers, to distributors – fell in 2020, according to Bitter, of Vancouver, B.C.-based Vintage Economics. The Covid-19 pandemic bears some, though hardly all, of the blame. Washington winemakers were dealing with a national glut of both wine and grapes even before coronavirus reached U.S. shores. “Going into the pandemic, the channel of distribution was full, even backed up,” said Vicky Scharlau, executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association, which represents grape growers. Washington is the second largest producer of premium wine in the U.S. With more than 1,000 wineries and 400 vineyards, the state produces nearly 18 million cases annually, according to the Washington Wine Commission.
Courtesy Washington Wine Commission Washington wineries shipped nearly 1 million fewer cases in 2020, but the news wasn’t as bleak as it seemed. Four in 10 wineries posted growth and there were other causes for celebration as the industry worked through a wine and grape glut.
Not so bad
Was 2020 as bad as it sounds? As the saying goes, “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Yes, overall shipments fell – sharply – in 2020, but the industry found success by pivoting to curbside sales, focusing on wine clubs and other innovations. Four in 10 wineries increased
shipments, according to Bitter. Royal Slope, near Quincy, became the state’s 15th federally recognized American Viticultural Area, or AVA. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WLCB) said 2020 wine tax collections were unchanged at $26.5 million. Bitter called it a “respectable performance given the circumstances.”
He also noted an 8% increase in wine shipments in early 2021. Bitter highlighted two growth stories as a counterweight to the gloom of 2020. Seattle-based Precept Wine, the second largest brand in Washington with 30 labels, reported a 12% increase, according to Bitter’s research, which is based on WLCB data. Aquilini Wines, a newcomer to the Red Mountain AVA outside Benton City, successfully launched several national brands – Dixie & Bass, Be Human, Roaming Dog and 10,000 Hours. Steve Warner, president of the Washington Wine Commission, was euphoric about the successes eked out in 2020 and how the lessons learned will benefit the industry moving forward. Successful wineries that had depended on retail and tasting room sales embraced curbside pickups and packaged meals and wine for date nights. The WLCB loosened regulations to allow for curbside delivery and restaurant pickups. And Washington consumers responded to the commission’s Buy
uWINE, Page 10
Puzzle answers from page 7
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SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Courtesy Washington Wine Commission A glut of wine grapes is easing in Washington after two years of lowerthan-usual harvests. Washington winegrowers produced about 179,000 tons of wine grapes in 2020, far fewer than the 260,000 projected midway through the growing season.
WINE, From page 9
Local campaign efforts. In one sense, the pandemic served as a pilot for nontraditional sales that Warner hopes will persist now that restaurants and tasting rooms have reopened. “I was really proud,” he said.
Washington vineyards and wineries have struggled with a glut since 2016, when the state’s largest – by far – winery halted growth and moved to “reset” its business as supply outpaced demand. In 2016, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, a division of Altria Corp., moved to limit production and curtail grape purchases, leading to the glut that persists today. Ste. Michelle shipped 7.3 million cases in 2020, down 12%, according to its parent company’s fourth quarter and year-end report. Ste. Michelle wrote off $411 million in inventory losses and non-cancelable wine grape purchases. The parent company’s wine revenue fell 11% in 2020, to $614 million. David Dearie was appointed chief executive officer for Ste. Michelle on Nov. 1, 2020. Warner, of the wine commission, said he’s optimistic Ste. Michelle has reset and remains committed to the state’s industry. Ste. Michelle brands account for more than half of all wine produced in Washington. The company backed the wine commission’s work to establish a Washington-specific sustainability designation for wine, which will roll out later this year.
“They want to see Washington wine brands succeed nationally and internationally. They’re a very, very strong partner,” he said. Its difficulties unquestionably spilled over to wine growers. Typically, Washington wineries require about 220,000 tons per year, well below the state’s production capacity of more than 250,000 tons on 60,000 acres of vineyards. In a bit of good news from a supply-and-demand perspective, 2020 production fell to 179,000 tons because of freezing weather, poor fruit set, damage caused by the wildfire smoke that blanketed the region for weeks and other economic factors. Scharlau, of the winegrowers association, said a lower-than-normal harvest was not good news for individual growers, who typically have contracts to produce fruit for winemakers. Growers and winemakers are in constant contact about grape quality and quantity, adjusting as the season progresses to the fall harvest. Scharlau said the association encouraged growers to use the pandemic and slowdown in sales to review their grape portfolios. If a variety is struggling or is losing popularity with consumers, it’s time to switch courses. “Get rid of and replace some of the weak players,” she said. Warner, of the wine commission, said the imbalance is easing after two years of lower-than-expected grape harvests. “What I’m hearing from growers is they have buyers,” he said.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Covid-19 relief includes internet subsidy. Here is how to get it Connection was more important than ever in 2020, but for many, it was hard to find. What was once an easy visit with family or friends became a complicated endeavor that often took place in front of a computer screen. And if your home or community lacked access to high-speed internet, the opportunity to connect became even more frustrating. New research from AARP found that while more older adults (44%) now view tech more positively as a way to stay connected than they did before Covid-19, greater adoption and reliance on technology is uneven. An estimated 15% of adults 50 and older do not have access to any type of internet, and 60% say the cost of high-speed internet is an obstacle. In Washington, 7% of our total population do not have access to high-speed internet. Of the 7%, 32% are rural areas and 20% are on tribal lands. However, a recently launched program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might help Washingtonians lower their internet bills. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a $3.2 billion program that will provide a temporary discount of
up to $50 per month for high-speed internet services for eligible households and up to $75 per month for Cathy MacCaul households on AARP tribal lands. GUEST COLUMN Those that are eligible also may receive a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider. The FCC is defining an eligible household through several different criteria. Individuals who qualify for the Lifeline program and those on Medicaid, receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or participate in other federal assistance programs may be eligible for the monthly discount. Washingtonians who experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020 – whose household had a total income below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers – are encouraged to apply. While the program will help many
households that experienced financial setbacks during the pandemic, it is only short term. Once the allocated funds are gone, or six months after the federal government declares an end to the pandemic, the program will end. Individuals will receive notice before the program concludes, and the FCC guarantees at least a 50% benefit in the final month so participants have enough time to decide the best course of action for their internet needs. “So much of our lives have moved online this past year,” said Doug Shadel, AARP Washington state director. “The importance of connecting people, especially older adults, to affordable, high-speed internet goes beyond what we’ve seen during the pandemic. “Older adults see the possibilities that stem from being connected online, and they want to learn more and take advantage of those opportunities.” For more information about EBB, go to aarp.org/EBB or call 833-5110311. Cathy MacCaul is AARP’s advocacy director in Washington.
uBRIEFS Cancer center barbecue features fireworks show
The Kadlec Tri-Cities Cancer Foundation holds its 2021 Summer Barbecue from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, July 31 at Bookwalter Winery, 894 Tulip Lane, Richland. Tickets are $100 and includes dinner, two glasses of spirits, entertainment and a fireworks show. Attendees must be 21 or older. Call 509-737-3413 for information or buy tickets online at bit.ly/ BookwalterBackyardBBQ.
Prosser Art Walk is July 17
The 17th annual Prosser Art Walk & Wine Gala will be held from 6-10 p.m. July 17, on the streets of downtown Prosser. The event includes award-winning wine and a promenade featuring creative works by Northwest artisans, including fine art, glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber and recycled wood. The wine event features new and established wineries as well as microbrews from throughout the region and live music from the Chase Craig Band. There will be food trucks offering food for purchase. Tickets are $15 and include a commemorative logo glass, two scrip for wine or beer. Go to tourprosser.com/artwalk.
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SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Photo by Wendy Culverwell
CANNON, From page 1
distant boater turned toward shore to investigate the fuss. The Sauers bought the cannon about the time Hank retired. It was a no impulse purchase. For reasons he can’t fully explain, he wanted one and shopped around until he found what he wanted on the website for Cannon Mania, a veteranowned firm that was operating in Stratford, Connecticut, at the time. The Sauers say only that the cost wasn’t prohibitive, and its entertainment value is “priceless.” He and Nancy agree one point: He did not consult her first. She had one question when he broke the news: Why? His answer, “Because I wanted one.” Twenty years later, he’s still hard pressed to fully explain it. “I wanted a cannon. Cannons fire things. It’s loud and fun. Who has a cannon? Me. That’s it,” he said. Nancy’s initial skepticism turned to enthusiasm, and she happily engages in his cannon shenanigans. During the Clover Island outing, she stood watch, cautioning him to wait if she thought pedestrians or boaters were too close. Their model fires when a spark plug ignites compressed gas. The result is a mighty bang and an impressive 4- to 5-foot flare. “It’s absolutely stunning at night,” he said. The style of cannon is marketed for use at sporting events, regattas, patriotic and history events and as a warning device. The Sauers use it for special occasions, primarily New Year’s and the Fourth of July. “It’s fun. But like I said, we have neighbors now,” Hank said.
RED CROSS, From page 5
own blood drive. A final plea comes from Michele Roth, executive director of the Red Cross Central and Southeastern Washington chapter, based in Kennewick: “The need for blood is critical and the Red Cross is relying on volunteers throughout the region to help keep the supply of blood flowing to where it is needed. You can donate blood no matter how old you are. Besides donating your own blood, you can volunteer to assist at one of the many Red Cross blood drives throughout the state.”
Fourth of July blast, though they were leaning against it. “For one of the first times in my life, I don’t know what’s possible and what’s not possible,” he said. “I still have my cannon. But firing it is a different song.” The couple resolved the debate by taking the cannon to Clover Island for a demonstration blast on a pleasant Friday evening. The Port of Kennewick, which owns and operates the island, gave reluctant approval, noting it didn’t want the peace disturbed by repeated cannon blasts. At 8:30 p.m., with the sun low in the western sky and pedestrians and motorists milling about, the Sauers positioned the cannon near the water’s edge on the far side of a parking lot. An ice cream cart near the island’s iconic lighthouse was busy and the Clover Island Yacht Club was packed with members and guests enjoying an evening on the water. The Sauers were careful to choose a spot away from people, or at least as far as they could be on the narrow slip of land in the Columbia River. Still, the device is an attention grabber. A well-dressed retiree stopped long enough to ask the types of questions that indicated he knew his way around cannons too. Hank pointed the barrel toward the water, above a gaggle of geese floating placidly near the island’s western shore. He hollered, “Fire in the Hole,” pushed one button and then another, letting loose with a boom and the briefest of flashes. The geese were unperturbed but a
“I don’t get lightheaded or dizzy,” he said. “I have never even gotten a bruise. I go in and donate and walk out to get my cookie.” In addition to fixed blood collection sites in Richland and Yakima, the Red Cross holds pop-up donation events throughout the region. You can find a site by going to RedCrossBlood.org. Or call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS. Even if health or other reasons keep you from donating blood, you can still play a role. The Red Cross needs local groups throughout the state to host blood drives. RedCrossBlood.org will not only help you schedule a blood donation; it also will help you set up your
Planning a move?
Gordon Williams is a volunteer with the American Red Cross’ Northwest Region Communications Team.
If you are planning to move, please let us know in advance so you don’t miss an issue. Email information to email@example.com.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Pasco Machine prepares next-generation workforce for next 100 years By Kristina Lord
A 100-year-old Pasco company is charting a course to ensure it can navigate another century by making a significant investment in its future workforce as manufacturers nationwide struggle to find qualified workers. Pasco Machine launched an on-site apprenticeship program this year to train its next generation of craftsmen. Jason Story bought the business, in downtown Pasco about a block from the Pasco Farmers Market, from his father 15 years ago, though he was a partner along with his dad and a previous owner for several years. “We’re the fourth family to own it,” said Story, who has worked there for 29 years. It’s still a family affair. His son is enrolled in the apprenticeship program, and his daughter is the pump shop office assistant. A nephew and second cousin also work there. “My dad built a good foundation in the sense that he was adamant about service – service, service, service. We’ve lived on that. And I feel like we’ve been blessed,” Story said.
Over the years, Story, a trained machinist, has done most of the jobs at the shop, with the exception of accounting. “But we were a lot smaller then,” he said. Pasco Machine employs 50 people, 32 of whom are craftsmen. When Story took over the business, there were 10. Story, 49, didn’t plan on joining the family business as a teen. The Pasco High graduate wanted to make his own
Courtesy Pasco Machine Fabrication and welding are among the many services offered at Pasco Machine’s 20,000-square-foot facility at 518 W. Columbia St. in downtown Pasco.
way in the world. “It was a dark, dingy, old nasty shop. It wasn’t very appealing back then,” he said. He started as a floor sweeper. It’s how a lot of employees get their start, including his kids. Those who prove to be hard workers and good with their hands are the ones Story wants for the apprenticeship program. Over time, Story transformed “the full manual shop with OK machinery” into a diversified manufacturing and repair shop by adding new equipment, lighting and air conditioning and improved safety procedures. “I just wanted to be – simply put – the best machine shop around,” he said. “I knew we had to put money into the company to do it.” The shop manufactures parts winer-
ies need and keeps them stocked, said Austin Chapin, territory sales manager. “Winery parts are hard to get,” he said. Pasco Machine’s primary customers are food processors. “30% of our work is pump related; 70% is machine work and fabrication,” Story said. One of its biggest customers is Lamb Weston. Jim Kirkham, plant manager for Lamb Weston Pasco, called Pasco Machine an excellent partner the company has come to rely on for more than 30 years to support its maintenance craft departments. “One of their specialties is in designing and fabricating new components for our equipment. They are one of the few vendors we do business with that can service our plant needs 24/7,” Kirkham said.
Pasco Machine staffs a rotating oncall team to serve customers around the clock. Team members get compensated well for being on call, carrying a company phone and being available to their customers, Story said. “We’re an emergency room for these people. Their sense of urgency becomes our sense of urgency,” he said. Kirkham also complimented the machine shop’s work quality and service speed. He said Lamb Weston has worked with the shop to redesign mechanical components that historically have high failure rates. “We have seen significant improvements with these efforts due to often Pasco Machinery’s creative solutions. Pasco Machine has and will continue to be a key partner in our business success,” he said.
Manufacturers nationwide continue to struggle to fill critical jobs. As many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled through 2030, according to a recent report published by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. It has been clear to Pasco Machine that it needed to find its future workforce from within. “The reason why the school started is because we could not find the craftspeople to do the job,” said Kelly Davenport, a territory sales manager who’s been with the company for more than two decades. Employees fresh from trade schools often can’t do the manual aspects of the job, Story said. uPASCO MACHINE, Page 14
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SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
PASCO MACHINE, From page 13
“Without this school, I almost feel like there’s no next generation. Because what they’re teaching in schools now, it’s all computerized. While we’re computerized, a big piece of our work is still manual. And there’s always going to be a need for that,” he said.
Tom Nix, a longtime Pasco Machine employee, runs the school and helped develop the curriculum. The school enrolls five students, including Story’s son Spencer. Students get paid to go to school, and they’re ensured a job after successfully completing the program.
“We build them the Pasco Machine way,” Davenport said. “You know how hard it is to instill a sense of urgency in people? It’s hard. We’re doing that from the ground up.” The company has made it a priority. It’s been “a deep sixfigure investment,” Story said. The school launched in February, though planning for much of it happened the year prior. In addition to bolstering its younger workforce, Pasco Machine recently sent a dozen people through a leadership training program. Courtesy Pasco Machine Story is proud of the benefits package the com- Jason Story, owner of Pasco Machine, stands pany offers, pointing to underneath his machine shop’s current sign its “awesome retirement while holding one from the company’s earlier days. The business celebrates its 100th program.” “It’s our goal if some- anniversary this year. one starts their career and transition on.” finishes it here, they’re going to retire “Succession is big for us – setting the someday and they’re going to live just groundwork for a successful future for fine,” he said. the younger people who are here. It’s Next 100 years never too early to start thinking that way. Story’s goal is to set the company up “We do want it to go for another 100 for solid, sustainable growth “so it will years. We want to be the best,” he said.
SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
Smiles everyone! The American Empress paddleboat is back on the river Imagine yourself facing a busload of people all wearing masks. You’re wearing one, too, of course. You were tested for Covid-19 on arrival. You’ve been introduced to the bus driver, and you’ve helped the first 45 guests from the American Empress cruise boat board the bus. You take a deep breath. First bus out at 9 a.m. “Good morning, my name is Kirk and I’ll be your guide this morning. I’m a recovering broadcaster who has flunked retirement … twice. We’re in Richland, Washington, one of five cities that we call the Tri-Cities of Washington.” I wait for folks to do the math, then explain. On June 14, the American Queen Steamboat Company resumed cruises on the Columbia and Snake river system aboard its American Empress paddleboat. The boat stops at Richland’s cruise dock, where buses meet cruisers who are interested in touring the community. That’s where local “Hop-On, Hop-Off” guides step in. We lead a bus tour that takes about an hour and 15 minutes, with three stops along the way: the
Reach Museum, Sacajawea State Park and the Parkway shopping district in Kirk Williamson Richland. Tour bus guide As I write this, the GUEST COLUMN Franklin County Historical Museum is still closed because of the pandemic, so we don’t stop there yet. We do point it out, along with the Franklin County Courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Three specially marked buses travel with Empress. They all follow the same route a half-hour apart so guests can step off at the Reach, for example, learn a thing or two from the exhibits, then board the next bus or the bus after that. Each bus has its own guide who makes two complete circuits so all the guests can hear the complete commentary. Guides coordinate their material to ensure that each segment of the tour is fresh and interesting, even if the guest changes buses and gets a
Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company Kirk Williamson of Kennewick is a tour bus guide that shows off Tri-City highlights to American Empress paddleboat passengers who stop over in Richland.
new guide. Want to know who started the first airplane manufacturing plant west of the Mississippi? We’ll tell you. (Hint: it wasn’t Bill Boeing.) How big is the cut glass dome on the Franklin County Courthouse? Got that one covered.
What about those mostly similar houses by the intersection of South Fourth Avenue and West A Street in Pasco? And what’s a “reach” anyway? Where did Richland and Pasco get their names? What does uPADDLEBOAT, Page 16
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SENIOR TIMES • JULY 2021
PADDLEBOAT, From page 15
“Kennewick” mean? All of that and more are shared with about 200 guests who arrive in the Tri-Cities four times a month on American Empress. Guests come from all over the world, but most are from Texas, California, the upper Midwest and New England. One tour in 2015 had a film crew from Japan’s NHK network. The American Empress is the largest of the cruise boats on the Snake and Columbia rivers. After a night’s stay in either Spokane or Portland, guests board in Clarkston or Vancouver, Washington. Ports of call include Astoria, Stevenson, The Dalles and the TriCities. On a personal note, my wife Gloria and I really enjoyed our cruise on the Empress. We grew up in Goldendale and thought we knew the Columbia River pretty well. But any boater will tell you that you don’t really know a river until you’re on the water. We’ve made our two circuits and welcomed nearly all the 200 guests on board. One final announcement to be made. “Enjoy the rest of your cruise. Remember, all aboard time is 4:30 p.m. Empress sails at 5.”
Curious about the answers to the Tri-City trivia questions posed above? Williamson provided the answers: First airplane factory: Charles Zornes, 1908-12, at what is now Big Pasco Franklin County Courthouse dome: 36 feet diameter, 20 feet tall. Artwork around the base depicts Franklin County towns. Northern Pacific executive houses, also called “red row” because NP used the same paint as on its cabooses, red with green trim. Richland is named for state legislator Nelson Rich, a land developer and friend of Howard Amon. The name “Pasco”: A railroad engineer suggested the name based on a place he worked in Peru, Cerro de Pasco. Kennewick means “winter paradise; winter haven; grassy place; grassy slope” depending on the dialect of Sahaptin. Its mild weather made it a winter gathering place for tribes. Kirk Williamson of Kennewick regularly writes about the Columbia Basin Badger Club for the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.
uBRIEFS Almost every nursing home is short staffed
A recent survey by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living reveals an alarming staffing shortage in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The survey was released in support of the industry’s “Care For Our Seniors Act,” to reform the senior care industry and improve Medicaid funding. The organization, which represents more than 14,000 facilities, reports 94% of nursing home providers and 81% of assisted living communities said they had a shortage of staff in the most recent month. More than half said they lost key members of their staff in the previous year during the pandemic, including certified nursing assistants, direct caregivers and dietary staff. The workforce situation worsened in 2021, it said, Better pay and benefits would help, according to 81% of nursing home providers and 75% of assisted living communities. Mark Parkinson, president, called on lawmakers to prioritize long term care, starting with addressing chronic underfunding of Medicaid for
nursing homes. Current reimbursements cover 80% or less of the cost of care. Go to bit.ly/CareForOurSeniorsAct.
Here’s one way to brighten an empty Sears store
Simon Property Group, the parent to Kennewick’s Columbia Center mall, is doing something interesting with the empty Sears in a mall it owns in Burlington, Massachusetts. The retail landlord converted the space into a “restaurant gallery” with tenants such as Fogo de Chão. While there are no indications Simon has similar plans for its empty Sears spot in Kennewick, it offers a hint to ways the property owner is getting creative about filling large, empty spaces. The Burlington mall property in Massachusetts debuts its restaurant gallery this fall with four restaurant tenants, including a sandwich shop and a Shake Shack. Too, Simon created a one-acre greenspace outside the old Sears for the gallery. Sears closed its 160,000-squarefoot Kennewick store after it filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Al Urbansky of Chain Store Age wrote about the restaurant gallery project in the online retail publication.