DELIVERING NEWS TO MID-COLUMBIA SENIORS SINCE 1982
New $22M Trios birthing center speeds up plans for recovery center By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Trios Health is moving its birthing center to Southridge, a move that speeds up plans to transform the former Kennewick General Hospital into a detoxification and recovery center for Tri-Citians facing drug addiction and mental health disorders. If everything comes together, the birthing center and Two Rivers Rehabilitation Center both will open by mid2022. LifePoint Health’s $22 million investment in a birthing center at Trios Southridge Hospital comes as Tri-City officials pursue funds to develop a recovery center at the old downtown Kennewick hospital or, failing that, on bare land near the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice Center on Canal Drive in Kennewick. The Kennewick Public Hospital District is raising money to fund its $1.6 million agreement to buy the former hospital from LifePoint Health, the current owner. Additionally, Benton County applied for a $2.5 million direct appropriation from the 2021 Legislature to support design work for either location. The county wants to see the recovery center move ahead, said Matt Rasmussen, deputy administrator for the county. If the hospital district can’t close the Auburn Street deal, the project could go on three county-owned acres near the juvenile facility. Rasmussen said the county stepped in to ensure the project advances. He characterized its relationship with uBIRTH CENTER, Page 6
Vol. 9 | Issue 3
Health officials struggle to take luck out of getting vaccines By Kristina Lord
When will I be able to get a vaccine? It’s the question on everyone’s minds, but especially seniors’. Nabbing an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine may feel a little like winning the lottery – you have to keep trying and hope luck is in your favor. Rest assured, the folks in charge of providing vaccines or helping others to find them want nothing more than to get them into seniors’ arms. In late February, more than 1.4 million vaccines had been administered statewide, with more than 6,300 in Franklin County and 42,000 in Benton County. Weather-related delays in mid-February and limited supplies have made vaccines hard to come by for many Tri-City seniors. The vaccine rollout is one of the largest logistical endeavors in Washington state history, said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Umair A. Shah. He encouraged patience, ac-
knowledging the toll the virus has taken on the state in the past year. “We are able to see the beginning of the end to this pandemic,” he said during a Feb. 18 webinar to discuss the vaccine rollout. Dr. Christopher Chen, medical director of Medicaid, Washington Health Care Authority, said providing vaccines to every Washingtonian is an important issue of equity. “It’s critically important … for us to make sure that people, even those that are the hardest to reach, have access to this critical intervention, the vaccine. ... We have almost 2 million people on Medicaid in the state of Washington, and we want to be sure everyone who can get a vaccine gets a vaccine,” Chen said during
the webinar. Here’s what we know about Tri-City efforts to get seniors vaccinated.
Agencies have been busy identifying homebound seniors wanting the vaccine. Tri-City fire departments stand ready to deliver and administer them to homebound seniors as soon as they uVACCINE, Page 2
Richland High grad is a ski, backcountry safety legend By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
One of Paul Baugher’s favorite memories of growing up in Richland involves snow. On the rare occasions it accumulated on the ground, Baugher and his friends would slip into smooth-soled shoes and hold onto the bumper of a slow-moving car as it pulled them across the compact snow and ice. The child nearest the tailpipe would get a face full of exhaust. It was the 1960s and safety concerns didn’t get in the way of a good time.
“That was some of my first fun experience with snow,” said Baugher, who recently retired as head of the ski patrol at Crystal Mountain Resort after 32 years. It was just one of the roles he’s held improving safety in
the skiing and backcountry worlds. There is scarcely a skier or climber who hasn’t benefitted directly or indirectly from the years Baugher spent thinking about the ways people can die in the mountains and the steps needed to minimize risk. The National Ski Areas Association calls him a “legend.” In addition to his work for Crystal Mountain, Baugher co-founded the Northwest Avalanche Institute, International Mountain Guides and is the ski industry’s go-to expert witness in cases brought after acuBAUGHER, Page 5
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
What does the word “Kiona” mean? Columbia Quail supplies bite-size alternative to chicken eggs
Old Sports Authority to reopen as veteran-focused thrift shop
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get the list from the Benton-Franklin Health Department, said Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear, who serves as the commander for the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. Gear said there are about 125 people who fit into the homebound category in the Tri-Cities. He said community groups like Meals on Wheels and Southeast Washington Aging and Long Term Care have been sharing information. Gear said once the team has the list and vaccines, it will get to work. Fire officials will administer vaccines in people’s homes, standing by to monitor for any adverse reaction. He said the fire departments are used to assisting homebound seniors, as they do when they check and install smoke detectors. “We’re well positioned to help with this effort. We’re able to do it; we just need the names,” Gear said. Gear said the health district requested 100 vaccines and syringes, which it hoped to receive the week of Feb. 22.
Adult family homes
Teams from the Richland-based RX Pharmacy will administer vaccines to those living in smaller adult family homes in the Tri-Cities. “We just need vaccines to get it into arms,” said Ayla Collins, an RX Pharmacy pharmacist. The pharmacy already serves many of these residents through its long-term care pharmacy, Collins said. “Pharmacists will go out with the vaccine and administer it at their homes. They do this with flu shots. This isn’t something new to us. It’s just new with Covid vaccine,” she said. Collins said the pharmacy will serve smaller adult family homes with up to 11 residents. She was hoping to receive 200 doses of the vaccine the week of Feb. 22, which should cover most or all of those living at adult family homes in the area. The pharmacy continues to receive calls from customers seeking the vac-
cine. They know supplies are limited but “they’re hoping to get lucky when they call,” Collins said. “People have been really nice and really patient about the whole process,” she said. “We hate telling them, ‘No,’ and, ‘We don’t know when we’re going to get it.’ We want to be able to help.” RX Pharmacy has an online wait list on its website and will notify people when appointments are available for vaccines, she said.
Vaccine hotline help
The Richland Seniors Association launched an outreach effort to help seniors navigate the decidedly unfriendly online system for registering for the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s been wildly successful, said Rob Koenig, an RSA board member. “Those of us who can navigate the system should be able to come up with a way to help those who can’t navigate the system,” said Koenig, who’s been a member of the group for three years. Koenig, 73, of Pasco, knew Tri-City seniors needed help, so he floated the idea to his fellow board members in January about assisting those without a computer. The RSA hatched its plan. Volunteers set up a toll-free hotline to receive messages from seniors. Then they divided and conquered. RSA’s vaccination assistance program aims to help seniors who do not have computer access or sufficient skills to fill out the state’s online Find Your Phase form at FindYourPhaseWA.org, a required step at many places giving the vaccination. Every senior who leaves a message gets a call back from RSA. About 200 seniors left messages in the days after the line went live. Koenig said the group wasn’t prepared for the huge response and has been fine-tuning its approach. During a five-day span in late February, RSA volunteers made or helped to make 64 appointments for seniors, Koenig said. Though making an appointment for seniors isn’t the goal of the program, RSA volunteers will help those who
don’t have access to a computer to do so. The RSA hotline is intended to help three groups of seniors: • Those who are able to move around the Tri-Cities but do not have a computer or computer skills to find or fill out the online registration to get the shot. “That’s our core target,” Koenig said. • Those who are homebound. “We can get your name to the Gear’s team,” Koenig said. • Those who can use a computer but don’t know how to go about registering online for the vaccine or appointments. The RSA will assist seniors in registering on the Find Your Phase website, and notify them via email when it hears about vaccine appointment availability. “The whole idea is to get the Covid shots to seniors, and we’re moving that way. We’re happy with how it’s going, and we’re busy,” Koenig said. If seniors don’t have email or a printer, an RSA volunteer will print the eligibility document and appointment information and send a carrier to their home to hand-deliver it in the Tri-City area. Their team practices social distancing and wears masks, and encourages seniors to do the same, Koenig said. They also recently set up a pop-up weekend distribution site so seniors could stop by to pick up the documents. The RSA referral line toll-free is 800-595-4070. Be sure to leave a message. To register for appointments, go to prepmod.doh.wa.gov and click on the blue “Find a Clinic” button. The state’s Covid-19 assistance hotline is 800525-0127. AARP Washington also offers information about vaccine availability and distribution at aarp.org/wavaccine.
Shah, the state’s secretary of health, encouraged Washingtonians to continue to be patient and to look to the future with hope, not doom and gloom. “We are hopeful that by summer that we’re in a markedly better place than where we are today,” he said.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Columbia Quail supplies bite-size alternative to chicken eggs By Laura Kostad for Senior Times
Fancy a fancy quail egg? A Pasco farm’s flock supplies them by the dozen to several TriCity retailers. These quail eggs don’t come from the kind of wild quail commonly seen around the Tri-Cities. The small, speckled eggs are produced by their larger cousin, the Japanese coturnix. These quail look like a small female grouse and hail from east Asia. They’ve been raised around the world for centuries for their meat and eggs. Carmen Kane, owner of Columbia Quail LLC, raises them locally with the help of her husband and four children, They keep anywhere from 100 to 200 birds at a time for breeding and egg production, with each female laying 300 or more eggs per year. “They’re very similar in flavor to a chicken egg, but richer and more decadent,” she said.
Seeking an alternative
Kane discovered quail eggs while searching for an alternative to chicken and duck eggs, which her children are allergic to. “People are allergic to either the yolks or the whites – each contain different proteins,” Kane said, adding that while some people outgrow their egg allergies, others have them their whole lives. “Some people are even sensitive to the birds’ diet – for example, if the birds are fed a soy-based feed,” she said. Duck eggs, a common substitute for chicken eggs, have similar protein markers, so Kane’s kids still experienced allergic reactive symptoms. Kane found some at Highlands Organic Market, but the store didn’t have a consistent supplier at the time, so she was forced to seek out backyard producers to supply quail eggs for the special-occasion recipes she wanted to make. Though selling poultry eggs without a license is legal in Washington state as long as the eggs are sold onlocation where they are laid, there are no other regulations or inspections required, so “it’s buyerbeware,” Kane said. That’s when Kane, a stay-at-home mom and substitute for the MidColumbia Libraries system, decided to look into acquiring her own birds to supply her family with eggs, as she had previously kept a backyard flock of chickens.
Going into business
Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on a niche market, Kane applied for licensure in 2018 and partnered with Highlands Organic Market (HOM) in 2019 to begin providing customers a consistent supply of quail eggs.
Find Columbia Quail eggs at (HOM)’s locations at 101 Vista Way in Kennewick and 1769 George Washington Way in Richland, as well as Anything Grows at 1625 Columbia Park Trail in Richland. A dozen quail eggs retails for $5 or less. Kane also sells eggs to area restaurants, though the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on restaurant demand for the gourmet ingredient, she said. “As far as I know, I’m the only non-GMO quail egg supplier in the area,” she said, noting that there is one other local competitor, but their birds are not fed a GMO-free diet. Kane said her quails’ diet is soy-free as well. She said some Asian markets in the area carry quail eggs, but they are sourced from out of state. “Worldwide, it is a pretty tradition-
al egg,” Kane said. “In a lot of cultures, it’s the egg they grew up eating.” She said some view quail eggs as a healthier option overall due to a richer mineral and amino acid chain profile that chicken eggs don’t have.
Quail or chicken eggs?
Though egg size is more variable among Japanese quail, Kane raises birds that lay jumbosize eggs and said the recipe conversion is about three jumbo quail eggs to one chicken egg. Columbia Quail LLC’s Facebook page (@ ColumbiaQuailLLC) features regular posts of recipes using quail eggs – a few recent ones include egg drop soup, eggnog ice cream, deviled quail eggs and mayonnaise – as well as tips on how to crack the smaller-size eggs, as the technique differs from that of chicken eggs. With spring weeks away and Easter coming, Kane is happy to report that despite their charming speckles, quail eggs can be dyed, either with a standard egg-dying kit or using naturally-derived dyes. She cautioned not to use too high of a concentration of vinegar though or leave them for too long in the vinegar bath since this will dissolve their speckling.
Though Columbia Quail benefits from being in a niche market there are drawbacks. “I definitely think my biggest challenge is bird management,” Kane said. Though like chickens, Japanese quail can lay year-round with light supplementation in winter, their lifespan is one to three years and they
Photos courtesy Columbia Quail ABOVE: Carmen Kane, owner of Columbia Quail LLC, holds a Japanese coturnix quail in front of a basket of eggs. Her small flock supplies eggs by the dozen to several Tri-City retailers. LEFT: The speckled quail eggs can be dyed for Easter, just don’t let them sit in the vinegar too long or it will dissolve the speckles.
consistently lay for only one year. This short window translates to a lot of careful timing and logistics for Kane when it comes to breeding and hatching new birds, as well as managing flock size to accommodate market demand. Though quail meat is consumed commercially and by local hunters going after native valley and mountain quail, Kane and her family don’t sell the meat, using it instead for personal consumption. “Washington state is highly regulated, which makes it very difficult to sell the meat,” she said. She also has to weigh the fiscal pros and cons of venturing into new market sectors. She considered selling at a local farmers market but the cost of running a booth versus projected sales uCOLUMBIA QUAIL, Page 6
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
uBRIEFS Free oral cancer screenings March 11
Columbia Basin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon will offer free oral cancer screenings from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, March 11 in Kennewick to highlight the importance of detecting oral cancer early. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected routine dental care, potentially delaying diagnoses. During the exam, surgeons will examine patients’ mouths for red or white patches and mouth sores. They also will examine tissue for lumps or other abnormalities. Appointments are required. Go to cboms.com/alwaysapril.
Nurse on board to navigate cancer care at Kadlec
The respective foundations of Kadlec Hematology and Oncology and the Tri-Cities Cancer Center are each contributing $100,000 to fund a new nurse navigator position to work with patients in active treatment using oral chemotherapy. The new position will work within an existing team of navigators and health professionals who provide support and education throughout treatment.
Care at the cancer center is more integrated within Kadlec since the nonprofit was brought within Kadlec after its former partners, Trios Health and Lourdes Health, withdrew as they were sold to a for-profit health care company. Partnerships between the two foundations support improved care. The position will serve a roster of more than 200 patients. “Navigation improves health outcomes for our patients,” said Jessica Lukson, RN, administrative director at KCHO.
Documentary tracks state’s hunt for murder hornets
A film crew tagged along last fall as a team of scientists and researchers from the Washington State Department of Agriculture hunted for murder hornets, aka the Asian giant hornet, an invasive species with potentially devastating consequences for bees. The result is a 90-minute documentary, “Attack of the Murder Hornets,” streaming now via Discovery+. According to the ag department, filming began a day before Chris Looney, a state entomologist, caught the first live Asian giant hornet in the U.S. The crew filmed throughout the project, including the dramatic development when the murder hornet crew
found and eradicated an Asian giant hornet nest. “This film is an opportunity to educate people in an entertaining way about the work that is being done to prevent Asian giant hornets from establishing in the Pacific Northwest,” said Sven Spichiger, the agriculture department’s managing entomologist. Go to agr.wa.gov/hornets for updates on the murder hornet detection and eradication efforts.
Booth and Sons wins $5.8M Peanuts Park project
The city of Pasco awarded a $5.8 million contract to update Peanuts Park to Booth and Sons Inc. on Feb. 1 after years of planning. The ambitious project is linked to the city’s planned Lewis Street Overpass project and will include updates to the Farmers Market Pavilion. The project is supported by federal Community Development Block Grants and appropriations from the city as well as local finds. The city previously solicited bids in early 2020 but rejected the lone bid in May because of cost discrepancies. The project was put out for bid a second time in November. Booth and Sons of Kennewick was the lone bidder. Its bid was $800,000 above the engineer’s estimate.
2021 Home & Garden Show canceled
The 2021 Regional & Home and Garden Show, traditionally held at the HAPO Center in Pasco, has been canceled because of restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities board voted to cancel the popular event in January. The association mailed refunds to participants in January. The HBA expects to conduct its 2021 Fall Home Show. Registration opened in late February for returning exhibitors and early March for new ones. Call 509-735-2745.
Grace Clinic director joins Kennewick hospital board
Mark Brault has been appointed to serve on the Kennewick Public Hospital District Board, a taxing entity with a mission to fill service gaps in health care. The district is pursuing a project to convert the former Kennewick General Hospital into a detoxification and rehabilitation center. Brault is director of Grace Clinic and a past Kennewick Man of the Year. He formally joined the board on Jan. 28. Meetings are published via kenkphd.com/meetings.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021 BAUGHER, From page 1
cidents. He is more than an expert witness, said David Byrd, director of risk and regulatory affairs for the National Ski Areas Association, an industry association based in Lakewood, Colorado. Baugher is an instructor for the association’s avalanche safety courses and is a leader in educating skiers about the lethal danger getting trapped in tree wells. “We are very blessed to have him,” Byrd said. “It is really thanks to Paul that the broader ski industry is as well versed on (tree well dangers) as we are.” Aside from the odd Richland snowstorm, Baugher did not grow up around winter sports. There just wasn’t enough snow for it to be a regular feature of winter life. He took up skiing in his 20s, after he had graduated from Richland High School in 1972 and moved to Tacoma to study economics at the University of Puget Sound. Mount Rainier looms large over Tacoma and he took full advantage of it as his love of mountain adventure took hold. Economics may seem an unlikely pursuit for a snow buff. Baugher said it was the right degree for his work. “I always tell people my econ degree taught me how to think and to work out problems,” he said. In retirement, he remains active as a legal consultant, climbing guide and avalanche forecaster, though he said he is scaling back his workload. During his career, he had his own brush with an avalanche. He’s also summited Mount Rainier more than 100 times.
Baugher’s parents moved to Richland shortly after World War II. His father, a doctor, had made connections in the atomic world while at the University of Chicago. His late mother would recall a chilly greeting when she arrived at the Tri-City train station, “Oh you poor thing.” The family lived off Howell Street, where he had a newspaper route. An infamous disaster during his college career prompted his interest in mountain safety. In 1974, he took a climbing course that entailed camping on Mt. St. Helens, which wouldn’t erupt until 1980. The course went off without a hitch, but a year later, on April 26, 1975, a subsequent class wasn’t so fortunate. Five Puget Sound students died in an avalanche while camping on Mt. St. Helens. That wasn’t the only disaster that hit too close to home. Another friend, a topflight French climber, died in a separate mountaineering accident.
“Early on, I had immediate experience with the aftermath of accidents. I got really interested in that,” he said. After college, Baugher joined the National Park Service as a climbing ranger in the Olympic Mountains, a role that led him to working on high altitude search and rescue missions. His first summer, he took part in an avalanche program, a gathering of some of the nation’s leading experts. He was hooked by the idea of understanding how and why snow cascades down mountainsides. “That took me down the path,” he said.
Crystal Mountain Resort would be his professional home for decades, as a patroller and as a risk manager. “Ski areas are the main way to learn about avalanches,” he said. “You set them off, ski into them to learn about them.” He has narrowly escaped an avalanche and even had to dig a companion out of one. Tree wells, or “snow immersion,” caught his attention in 2004. He was working on a lawsuit involving an Oregon snowboard manufacturer. The complaint claimed a victim died by suffocation because snow board bindings did not release the same way those on skis. Suffocation was described as an odd and unusual way to die on the slopes. But Baugher knew better. It happened on his own hill and he realized the subject needed attention. “For the first four or five years, I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me,” he said. Victims are overwhelmingly young and male. Collisions account for more than half of the 40 or so ski fatalities. But tree well or immersion deaths represent 15-20%, a number the ski area association’s Byrd called “astonishing.” The fatality rate for skiers was 0.81 deaths per 1 million visits in the past season. As Bougher’s experience grew, so did his responsibilities at Crystal Mountain. He directed the ski patrol and oversaw risk management – monitoring snow for conditions that can lead to avalanches and other dangers. It’s a tricky balancing act. Ski areas and visitors both have a part to play. There is give and take, as he demonstrated during a 2016 lecture on risk mitigation available on YouTube. The video demonstrates why skiing alone through trees is so dangerous. In the video, an expert skier gets his tips crossed and veers into a tree with a deep snow well around it. In a second, he disappears. Fortunately, he was with a colleague who rescued him while a camera filmed the event.
Courtesy Paul Baugher Paul and Lynn Baugher ski with an avalanche dog. Paul Baugher is a Richland High grad who recently retired as ski patrol director for Crystal Mountain. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on snow and back country safety.
Courtesy Paul Baugher Paul Baugher worked as a climbing ranger in the Olympic Mountains after graduating with an economics degree from the University of Puget Sound.
Another less fortunate video showed what happened when ski area staff touched off a low angle avalanche. The unexpectedly large avalanche destroyed a chair lift, causing millions in damage but no injuries. “When it comes to managing risk, I know what the ski area can do and what the (skier/snowboarder) can do,” he said. It is a message he’s called on to share in courtrooms. Juries can shape the way ski areas operate through verdicts. He considers it his mission to give jurors a complete picture of risk and risk management. “I have a seat at the table when the jury is saying, ‘The ski area should close all the runs and put seatbelts on the chairs,’” he said, describing unrealistic restrictions. “I want to be able to explain, ‘This is how this works. These are the problems, and this is why ski areas do it this way.’ ”
Baugher and his wife, Lynn, have an adult daughter and a shared love of
being in the mountains. He said he’s fortunate that he never had to choose between family and the career that sustained him. He recalled an early climb to Camp Schurman on Mount Rainier with Lynn. It was a miserable, cold, sleety day. They reached the cabin and dug it out. It was “ice cold” inside, with nothing but a Coleman lantern for comfort. Baugher imagined his wife, a flight attendant, would never climb again. “She looked at me and said, ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done!’ ” he said. “We’ve been doing this stuff ever since.” The couple live in Enumclaw, equidistant from Crystal Mountain and the International Mountain Guides office and to SeaTac International Airport. As he prepares to turn 67 this summer, Baugher said he’s preparing to leave International Mountain Guides. But he isn’t giving up on the fun side of his work. He enjoys heli-skiing, skiing done at remote sites by skiers transported by helicopter, and calls Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Alta/Snowbird in Utah his top ski spots, along with Crystal Mountain. “There’s a reason why I stayed,” he said. Want to stay safe on the slopes? Visit these sites: nsaa.org/NSAA/ Media/Industry_Stats.aspx; Deepsnowsafety.org. 8Tri-City Connections is an occasional profile of Tri-City natives and former Tri-Citians who have had interesting careers. Contact editor@ tcjournal.biz to suggest candidates.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
BIRTH CENTER, From page 1
the hospital district as collaborative. So did Lee Kerr, the hospital district’s superintendent. Kerr said Benton County wants to be in charge of funding for what could be a $15 million project, which suits the hospital district. Two possible sites increase the odds a recovery center will get built. “We don’t mind having more than one torpedo in the water,” he said. The state Department of Health has confirmed the hospital district does not need a certificate of need to convert the old hospital and has referred the project to its licensing division. Converting the hospital to a recov-
“We don’t mind having more than one torpedo in the water.” -Lee Kerr, Kennewick Public Hospital District ery center depends on many steps. But moving the birth center to Southridge is key. Trios is building a two-story, 23,376-square-foot addition above the first-floor surgery department with connections to the second and third floors. An additional 9,970 square feet in the hospital building is renovated as part of the project. The addition will unite all Trios hospital operations at Southridge.
The hospital district owned and operated hospital on Auburn Street but lost it after it filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after taking on debt to construct the Southridge hospital. A predecessor to LifePoint bought those assets in a bankruptcy auction. The hospital district has $600,000 banked for the effort and is seeking local, state and federal support for the balance. The Tri-Cities is the only community of size in Washington that lacks a recovery center to help addicts and people who need detoxification services. Supporters say it will provide services that people must travel out of area to receive and keep the millions COLUMBIA QUAIL, From page 3
didn’t pencil out. “Future goals would be to sell more regionally. I have stores interested, but it’s a matter of getting the eggs to them,” Kane said, pointing to additional expenses of licensing delivery drivers to transport the eggs, among other barriers and restrictions.
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of treatment dollars in town. Operating costs are covered by Medicare and insurance companies. The other big obstacle is identifying an entity to operate the center. In yet another twist of fate, LifePoint is a potential candidate. Its head of behavioral health services has visited with local officials. LifePoint operates mental health services through its other TriCity holding, Lourdes Medical Center. Discussions are preliminary, but if LifePoint were to operate Twin Rivers, it would reduce friction over competition from a newcomer. Kerr said the need for treatment is only increasing as the Covid-19 pandemic increases isolation and problems for people with chemical dependency and mental illness. “We are literally in the middle of an opioid epidemic,” he said. “Come to one place, be appropriately assessed and provided with treatment.” In the meantime, until demand makes expansion more economically feasible, Kane said, “I’m looking forward to restaurants getting back into the full swing of things so that one can find our eggs in restaurants more frequently.” She welcomes wholesale inquiries. Columbia Quail LLC: 509-3807661; Facebook; columbiaquail@ gmail.com.
uBRIEF New care position to provide help to homeless
The Kadlec Foundation and Kadlec community health division are joining together with the TriCities Union Gospel Mission and Grace Clinic to offer a new service to help the homeless population. Work is underway to hire a nurse or care coordinator to work at the mission’s men’s shelter with patients who have been discharged from the hospital. Kadlec is contributing $80,000 through its community benefit funding along with the Kadlec Foundation. Recruitment is underway to hire for the position, which will be employed by the mission and work out of the men’s shelter in Pasco. “The homeless medical respite program is a key step in improving access to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Mark Brault, volunteer chief executive at Grace Clinic. “Our free clinic can help, but this program provides service where it’s needed most, at the homeless shelter.”
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Grandma-led popcorn party business aims to build name for itself By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranae Pearce and Lisa Killian had everything they needed to launch a popcorn party business in early 2020, except for good timing. The two grandmas – their term – were ready to start “Popped” to provide gourmet popcorn bars at weddings, reunions, tailgates, showers, quinceañeras and other festive gatherings. The business leverages the founders’ connections to Killian Korn, maker of gourmet-glazed popcorn treats. Pearce, who lives in Pasco, and Killian, who lives in Kennewick, had a license, materials and even a website all set to go. Of course, something else popped: Covid-19. Events dried up with Popped sitting on the starting line. “It was a terrible setback. We didn’t get the thrill of starting our business,” Pearce said. Unwilling to sit around waiting for the pandemic pass, they adapted as best they could to at least get the name out in the community. Popped embraced a party-in-a-box concept so customers could enjoy their treats at home. Popped ships boxes of flavored popcorn, reusable serving scoops and party bags to customers. A standard 96-ounce box costs $55. It has been slow to take off, but it is helping the founders put the Popped name in front of Tri-City event planners. “When events come back, it will be on people’s minds,” she said. So, just what is a popcorn bar? Like a yogurt – or salad – bar, visitors start with a bowl or bag of Killian Korn’s famous glazed popcorn. The popcorn glaze comes in assorted colors that can be used to match special events. Guests add toppings, from nuts to chocolate to fruits and even savories, such as cheese and jalapeños. Pearce, 60, and Killian, 56, are newbie entrepreneurs. Pearce divorced after 30 years and found herself needing to work for health insurance. She married an Australian she met at a dance in Richland and while the couple are comfortable, she said she wants to strengthen their finances. She began “noodling around,” contemplating businesses that would not take too much time away from her new husband. She found inspiration in her own wedding, where she had served Killian Korn at the reception. She contacted Lisa, who also is related to the Killian Korn family, to discuss offering whimsical popcorn
Courtesy Ranae Pearce Ranae Pearce, left, and Lisa Killian planned to launch Popped, a popcorn bar business oriented to events, but were deterred by the pandemic. So they created a party-in-a-box concept to get the word out.
buffets at weddings. Her cousin had been thinking along similar lines but didn’t want to limit the market to weddings. She envisioned popcorn bars at barbecues, birthdays, showers, graduation parties and other festive events. They decided to collaborate, starting on a shoestring budget with no advertising and little understanding of how to build an online presence. Their mostly grown children provided tech support. The website included a phone number for placing orders. Pearce
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liked the human contact, but her daughter pooh-poohed that, reminding her that millennials want to push an order button with a minimum of fuss. “It’s really just little granny footsteps. Two older ladies who are creative but not tech savvy,” Pearce said. The Covid-19 pandemic put the official launch on hold, but Pearce said it is an interesting moment to be an entrepreneur. The U.S. Census Bureau is tracing an increase in business formation,
the so-called “Covid Companies.” Pearce is not surprised. “People are creating businesses,” she said. “The entrepreneurial bug is everywhere.” She, however, is eager to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror so that people can get together to celebrate milestones and family. “I know we have a remarkable product. It’s going to be really great if we can get it off the ground,” she said. Go to: popcornspopped.com.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Tax-Aide offers free tax prep help by phone, video conferencing By Senior Times staff
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is taking appointments for its free tax preparation and e-filing services. Traditional face-to-face meetings with a Tax-Aide counselor are being replaced with a contact-free approach due to the Covid-19 pandemic limitations. All tax preparation interactions will take place via telephone and video conferencing. Anyone wishing assistance with their tax preparation must make an appointment. Tax-Aide can process most personal tax returns, with some limited exceptions. Taxpayers can call 888-OURAARP (888-687-2277) and leave a voicemail message. A volunteer will call back to set up an appointment. Assistance may also be requested through the AARP Foundation TaxAide website at www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide. Tax-Aide is offered through April 15. “Tax-Aide is a free service for anyone who needs help completing their tax return and filing it electronically,” said Terri Jones of Vancouver,
AARP Tax-Aide Washington state coordinator, in a news release. “Our dedicated and certified volunteers will provide the same high-quality service as in years past, just in a different way to accommodate Covid-19.” Tax-Aide is an all-volunteer organization whose tax counselors are trained and certified by the IRS. Last year, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 25,000 taxpayers in Washington before all sites were closed in mid-March. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide operates the nation’s largest volunteerrun free tax preparation service. Volunteers are trained and IRS-certified every year to ensure they understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. In 2020, 1.5 million taxpayers who used AARP Tax-Aide Foundation received more than $1 billion in income tax refunds. They also avoided any tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or “refund loans.” The service is offered in conjunction with the IRS, and AARP membership is not required.
Parkview Estates Senior Living is located in Kennewick, tucked away in Hansen Park. Currently there is limited availability for independent and assisted living. Parkview offers studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. Select apartment have full kitchens and washers/dryers. Call to schedule a tour and find out about the March move in special. 7820 W. 6th Avenue • Kennewick
(509) 734-9773 www.Parkviewslc.com
Courtesy IPG David Everett, president of the Richland Seniors Association, dressed up as Baby Huey, left, and SaLee Charlesworth of PCP Consulting hand out swag bags to seniors filled with sweet treats and other Valentine items on Feb. 12 during the Senior Valentine Gala weekend event. Volunteers dropped off bags to seniors who opted to stay home to avoid the snow. The event was sponsored by the RSA, RSA’s Intercommunity Planning Group, HAPO Community Credit Union and Active4Life.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Just for Fun
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Solutions on page 11
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Word search - Elements Manganese
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© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
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© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
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© 2021 Syndicated Puzzles
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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books, iPhone/iPad and much episode, ending a nineApps season run.more on our store. March 30: The first Starbucks coffee shop chain opened, founded in Seattle, Washington.
ANSWER Quiz answer from Page 1
It means “brown hills.” In the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century, Kiona was a thriving community across the Yakima River from what is today Benton City. — Source: East Benton County Historic Society and Museum
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Even in a pandemic, donʼt delay treatment for heart attack symptoms By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association is marking the 57th annual celebration with a sobering message for the Covid-19 era. Don’t let fear of the virus keep you from seeking help if you are having symptoms of a heart attack. The hospital is the place to be. Time is muscle saved in the cardiac world. Fear of the virus is legitimate, but it is a matter of risk, said Dr. John R. Matheson, emergency medicine physician at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. An untreated heart attack is more dangerous than exposure to the virus. “If you wait, you can miss the opportunity to get the best outcome,” he said. By “best outcome,” he means stopping the heart attack in time to prevent death or severe heart damage. The good news is Tri-City emergency rooms are part of the Washington Department of Health’s Emergency and Cardiac Health System. Kadlec and Trios Health in Kennewick are both Level 1 Cardiac Centers, the top tier. Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and Prosser Memorial Hospital are Level II hospitals. The ECS system was established by a 2010 law to prevent death due to heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke by raising standards of care for heart attack victims in emergency rooms. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for Americans. Under the ECS program, hospitals
are reevaluated every three years. Trios renewed its Level I cardiac rating in December, along with its Level II rating for stroke care. Level 1 hospitals must be ready to diagnose and treat cardiac emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cardiac teams must be available within 30 minutes of being notified of a patient in need. The clock can start ticking when a patient is en route by ambulance or private vehicle. Hospitals are measured by how quickly they perform tests to detect heart attacks and how fast they act to treat the condition. They are even measured on how often they give flu shots – which is nearly all the time. At a Level 1 hospital, patients are evaluated by nurses. If a heart attack is suspected, either at the door or in an ambulance, the hospital activates its cardiac system. Patients get an EKG. If the EKG shows a heart attack, the patient goes to the cardiac catheterization lab. A specialist places a catheter in the heart to see where the blockage is happening. The same specialist opens the vessel, stopping the heart attack in progress. If it is done soon enough, it can prevent the blockage from causing more damage or death. That is why it is so important to seek treatment as soon as possible, said Matheson, who said Covid-19 concerns are a real deterrent to seeking health. Delays can be tragic, he said. Pursuing Level 1 cardiac certification is a complicated commitment, said Bryson Casale, stroke and trauma coordinator at Trios. To earn the highest rating, hospitals must demonstrate they
Learn more at Heart.org/HeartAttack.
Courtesy American Heart Association
provide the right care and document results. “It’s not easy to get designated through the state. There is an application that is not easy. You have to prove you’re performing at these standards,” he said. Hospitals must meet quality standards and constantly review their cases. The payoff for patients is emergency rooms that stand ready to respond to the hundreds of heart attacks that strike TriCitians each year. Walk-in patients will typically go to their nearest emergency room. But first responders will send patients to Level 1 hospitals with PCI capabilities, which stands for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or angioplasty. Trios has seen Oregon patients bypass their own hospitals to get treatment at the PCI-capable one. Cooperation among hospitals and the people responding to emergencies is the key. “We can get the ball rolling for the patient before they get to the door, including transmitting EKGs (from ambulances),” he said. “It’s a pretty smooth process.”
Matheson, of Kadlec, said being a Level 1 facility is important, but he discourages people from driving past nearby emergency rooms. Ideally, patients should call 911, but the key is to get to the nearest emergency room fast. “You need to get in quickly,” he said. Kadlec had a heart attack mortality rate of 13.7 based on 423 cases between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019, according to Washington Hospital Quality, which measures hospital outcomes. The lower the number the better. Trios’ rate was 12.9, with a sample size of 165 over the same three-year period. The Lourdes sample size was too small to generate an index. The national average is 12.7, and Washington’s statewide average is 13.0. According to the American Heart Association figures from before the Covid-19 pandemic, there are 605,000 new and 200,000 recurrent attacks each year. The average age for a first heart attack is 65.6 years for men and 72 years for women. Heart attacks are one of the 10 most expensive conditions to treat.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Early days of busy Hanford post office meant long lines By East Benton County Historical Society
Key elements were necessary for the success of Hanford’s role in the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II. Not all of them were directly involved in producing plutonium for development of the atomic bomb to end World War II to save thousands and perhaps millions of lives in an anticipated lengthy ground invasion of Japan. One of those key elements was a dependable, efficient U.S. Post Office to service the thousands of workers recruited by DuPont, Hanford’s prime contractor. Some came with family in tow but many did not, taking a job with an uncertain future shrouded in the secrecy of the project. Families in thousands of homes throughout the country depended on money sent home by their breadwinners working in a desolate area of southeastern Washington state while living in small hamlets with names like Richland, Kennewick and Pasco. Most workers depended on a general delivery system with mail filed by alphabet for personal pickup at the post office and where money orders were purchased to send home. “There never was a bigger general delivery section in any post office in the United States,” said Charles A. (Chuck) Smith, named to head the post office when it opened at Hanford in 1943. His recollections and reflections on the Hanford post office were chronicled in the 1958 book, “Hanford...The Big Secret,” by Ted Van Arsdol, a writer for the old Columbia Basin News, a morning daily newspaper in the Tri-Cities from 1950-64, competing with the Tri-City Herald, then an afternoon newspaper. In early 1943, Smith was working as a dispatch clerk at the Pasco Post Office when postal inspectors showed up one spring day, telling him he was going to be the branch superintendent of the post office at Hanford. He was informed he would probably encounter experiences not usually associated with postal work. That “turned out to be an understatement,” he told Van Arsdol. Smith joined Leona Burford who
Courtesy East Benton County Historical Society Workers at the Hanford Camp swamped the Hanford post office on Fridays when they wanted to buy money orders to send home to their families. At its peak, the busy post office employed 100 clerks.
had been swamped trying to keep up with demand at what was then Hanford’s fourth-class post office. Pay was on Friday for workers, and “everyone wanted to send money orders back home.” On June 1, 1943, the Hanford post office became a branch of the Pasco Post Office, a status that would continue for 21 months, Van Arsdol recorded. For about 45 days, Smith and Burford toiled alone, trying to meet the needs of Hanford workers whose tempers were known to flare after long stretches of lining up to be served. The need became so great that post office workers were hired after dispersing with the usual requirement of meeting civil service regulations. The Hanford Post Office took “anybody we could find,” Van Arsdol was told. At its peak in August 1944, about 100 clerks were handling postal affairs at Hanford. Women wanting to be close to their husbands were among many hired. Virtually everyone hired was without previous postal experience except for one who worked at a post office in Tacoma. Inexperience and rapid turnover resulted in recurring mistakes. On Friday nights, Smith settled himself in his office for “complaint time,” and opened his door to a line of workers with sour expressions and moods to match. Smith still lived in Pasco and was glad he did.
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“I think I would have flipped my lid if it hadn’t been for that ride back and forth to my home in Pasco,” he said. “It would relax me.” Between June 1, 1943, and midDecember of that year, the Hanford Post Office moved to five different locations, including a concrete block building that had been a church. Space needs demanded bigger buildings. Finally, plans were made to build a permanent office. It began operating on the run.
One week after construction started, postal workers were conducting business to meet demands of the Christmas rush of 1943. It would be completed with 12 general delivery and five money order windows. Friday’s regular business day concluded with the post office closing at 5 p.m. It reopened at 6:30 p.m. for money orders sought by workers “lined up as far as you could see.” Smith said approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in money order sales were transacted on Friday nights. Requirements demanded that a post office do $40,000 a year in stamp sales to be awarded a firstclass rating. When the Hanford project started, Pasco was a second-class post office. In 1944, Smith said the Pasco Post Office rang up “a little less than halfa-million dollars in stamp sales,” much of it from Pasco’s Hanford branch. On January 26, 1945, Smith received notice from DuPont that “the services of the Hanford Post Office should be discontinued after closing of the normal day’s business on February 28, 1945.”
Puzzle answers from page 9
M A I
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7 6 9 8 5 7 4 8 3 2 4 7 6 2 3 5 4 5 9 6 8
3 8 6 9 7 6 5 7 6 5 8 4 3 2 2 3 1 1 2
1 5 2 6 7 8 4 3 9
7 3 4 2 1 9 5 6 8
9 6 8 4 3 5 7 1 2
2 4 3 1 9 6 8 7 5
6 8 9 3 5 7 2 4 1
5 1 7 8 4 2 3 9 6
For more strategies, hints and tips, visit www.sudokuwiki.org and www.str8ts.com.
4 9 6 5 8 3 1 2 7
3 7 5 9 2 1 6 8 4
8 2 1 7 6 4 9 5 3
1 5 2 6 7 8 4 3 9
7 3 4 2 1 9 5 6 8
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021 uBRIEFS State: Scammers targeting health care pros
Scammers are targeting licensed health care professionals in Washington, according to the state health department. The Department of Health reminds health care workers that it will not request money or financial information by phone. In one case, a pharmacist was contacted by two men who identified themselves as Department of Health employees who claimed her license would be suspended over illegal drug activity. The callers tried to get her banking information. The drug activity claim was untrue and the victim reported the incident. If issues do arise regarding a license, an investigator will send a written message by mail or email along with a phone number for follow up questions
Face masks required on Ben Franklin Transit
Face masks are required to be worn on Ben Franklin Transit vehicles. The public transit agency serving the Tri-City area is following the requirements of the Jan. 29 emergency order issued by the Centers for Disease Control that require masks on all public transit to slow the spread of Covid-19. The federal requirement applies to
all BFT vehicles and facilities and to all passengers and employees. Face masks should cover the nose and mouth, can be manufactured or homemade. Masks that have slits, exhalation valves or punctures do not qualify. Face shields and goggles may be worn to augment proper face masks but are not acceptable substitutes. Medical exemptions are allowed and children under the age of 2 are exempt.
IRS encourages taxpayers to ghost sketchy preparers
The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to drop any tax preparer who refuses to sign the returns they prepare. So-called “ghost preparers” will prepare a tax return but have the client sign and mail it to the IRS, or will refuse to digitally sign as the preparer for returns submitted electronically. Tax preparers who are paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid tax ID and are required to sign documents they prepare and include their ID. A “ghost” also may require clients pay in cash and direct refunds to their own accounts. For that reason, the IRS encourages taxpayers to verify that their accounts are properly included on their returns. Ghosts also may illegally invent fake income and deductions to reduce the client’s tax liability. Go to irs.gov/tax-professionals/ choosing-a-tax-professional.
CALLING ALL VENDORS!
2021 Tuesday, April 20, 2021 Southridge Sports & Events Complex 2901 Southridge Blvd., Kennewick
Here’s an opportunity to connect with hundreds of seniors from around the Mid-Columbia. Exhibitors’ information or products will be handed out in goody bags to active and retired seniors and their families. For more information, call 509-737-8778. Tiffany ext. 2 or Chad ext. 1.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Longtime librarian plans to read more in retirement By Senior Times staff
Tom Moak started his career at MidColumbia Libraries before the age of the internet. He joined the library district in 1979, back when there were no library cards, and customers signed a three-ring binder when checking out books and materials. There were 16mm films, mostly educational, art prints and 33 1/3 RPM classical records for loan. Times sure have changed over the arc of Moak’s 41 years as a librarian with MCL. He retired as the West Richland branch manager on March 4. Today, patrons have 24/7 access to more than 400,000 books, audiobooks, magazines, and videos, including more than 100,000 downloadable e-books, audiobooks, e-magazines and streaming video. He began working in a library as a teen. Growing up in Tacoma, his 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 fall 1979, Moak moved to the east side of the state to begin his job as head reference librarian at the Kennewick library, now called the Keewaydin Park branch, in downtown Kennewick. At the time, MCL consisted of the
Bookmobile and five branches: Benton City, Connell, Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland. Today, there are 12 branches, a rural delivery service and a
digital branch. MCL founder Neva LeBlond Bequette had already retired when Moak arrived, but he got to know her well and would later be the emcee at her memorial service in the library she built in 1964. 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 said with a smile. Moak also has lent his library expertise at the state level. In the 1990s, Moak served as chairman of the bylaws committee for the Washington Library Association. Since taking the helm at the West Richland library five years ago, Moak seen 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 said. “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.” Moak opted to retire in March because it gives 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 said. MCL Executive Director and Chief Librarian Kyle Cox said the library district is thankful for the commitment, community focus and zeal for knowledge Moak has given to MCL. “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,” Cox said.
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 said. “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 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. “If you’re doing things that you feel are rewarding to you and the community, you keep doing them,” he said.
In retirement, Moak said 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,” he said.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
The Tri-Cities’ graying population will grow over next decade
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& & & &
Franklin Franklin Franklin Franklin
Counties Counties Counties Counties
Benton Benton Benton Benton
the graph shows. It is unlikely that the Tri-Cities will become a college town, although the economy isn’t D. Patrick Jones losing prime Eastern Washington working age University adults. We GUEST COLUMN don’t know the ages of newcomers to the area. Yet we do know that over the past decade, births in the two counties have declined. A bit more expansive view of the age distribution of the greater TriCities than the median can be found in the graph. This measure breaks down the population into four age groups and tracks the shares of the groups over the past three decades. The changes are subtle but apparent. Essentially the upper half of the distribution has become more important at the expense of the younger age groups, 0-17 and 18-34. The age group that has gained the most: the 65+ segment. Over the past decade, its share of the greater Tri-City population has climbed
Share of Total Population
The Tri-Cities have long been a youngster among state metro areas. With an estimated median age of 34.5 in 2019, the two counties sport the youngest population of all, except for Yakima County. Among counties, Franklin County currently claims the title of youngest, with an estimated median age in 2019 at 30.4. But youngsters get older. A decade ago (2010), the median age in the two counties was a full two years younger. Median age, one number that often represents the age structure of a population, can change due to many factors. The birth rate is one. People living longer is another. The departure of prime working age (2554) adults is yet another. Further, a greater number of students enrolled in local post-secondary schools lowers the median, as college towns well know. Yet another factor is the median age of newcomers to the two counties. Some of these forces affecting the population here are measured, some not. A quick look at some of these factors leads one to conclude that the local aging trend is probably going to continue. Life expectancy pre-pandemic continued to climb, as
0-17 18-34 35-64 65 Years and Over
Courtesy Benton-Franklin Trends
from 10.2% to 14%. If this growth were to continue over the next decade, nearly one fifth of the TriCity population would be older adults by 2030. While this future would bring the two counties only to the current share of older adults in Spokane and Walla Walla, it would nonetheless signal a major shift in the makeup of the area. The consequences of an aging population are many. Often overlooked is that those who have reached age 65 bring wealth. The latest (2019) Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve Bank, the one reliable series on wealth in the U.S., reveals that age group 65-74 reported the highest wealth, whether median and mean, among all age groups. That is likely the case here, too. The mix of goods and services consumed by the older adults varies from that of the general population, too. For many years the Bureau of Labor Statistics has maintained a separate consumer price index for the elderly, the CPI-E. Several departures from the market basket of the common CPI are worth mentioning for the CPI-E. The first is a much greater share is spent on medical care. Second, a greater share is allocated to housing. Third, considerably less is spent on transportation, apparel, and food consumed away from home. The much larger share spent on medical care, both goods and services, comes as no surprise. A recent (2019) analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation of medical expenditure data found that 36% of all U.S. health spending was taken up by older adults. One can see a local consequence in the parallel growth of the health care and social
assistance sector over the past decade. As Trends data reveals, the share of the two-county labor force accounted for by this sector has grown from 8.9% to 13% since 2010. While there are several forces behind this growth, the rising presence of seniors in the greater TriCities surely has been a major driver. Perhaps one doesn’t think of housing as an area of outsized spending by older adults. But consider the backdrop: a generation who, while now downsizing, is accustomed to “trading up” in the housing market over their lifetimes. Then there’s the growing desire by boomers to age in place. Couple these preferences with greater-thanaverage wealth, result shouldn’t be too surprising. On the other hand, dressing for success is no longer a motivator once retired. Similarly, the thrill or need associated with a new vehicle may not be present among older adults. And once retired, more time is available to cook at home. In 2030 the greater Tri-Cities will hardly be gray compared to many areas in our state. But next decade will undeniably be a graying one. This change should bring opportunities to the health care sector and both opportunities and challenges to local businesses. 8D. Patrick Jones is the executive director for Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis. Benton-Franklin Trends, the institute’s project, uses local, state and federal data to measure the local economic, educational and civic life of Benton and Franklin counties.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021
Old Sports Authority to reopen as veteran-focused thrift shop By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
The former Sports Authority store at Kennewick’s Columbia Center will reopen this spring as Veterans Warehouse Thrift Store, the second outpost for a Wenatchee nonprofit focused on supporting homeless and struggling veterans. Operation Veterans Assistance & Humanitarian Aid is converting the 40,000-square-foot retail space into a full-service thrift store that will sell furniture, clothing, household items and offer electronics and computer repair. The nonprofit is led by director Thelbert “Thadd” Lawson Jr., who said it will open in late March or early April. The new store brings life to a prominent retail space that sat empty for more than five years. It occupies a high-profile address at North Columbia Center and Grandridge boulevards, in the heart of Kennewick’s prime retail corridor. Sports Authority closed in 2016, about the same time as its neighbor, OfficeMax. That left Lowe’s Home Improvement as the main occupant of the building. Lawson said it was the only space big enough to accommodate the sprawling Veterans Warehouse Thrift Store concept. The original store is in Wenatchee. Lawson established Operation Veterans Assistance in 2013 to serve homeless veterans and their families. Its mission includes providing humanitarian aid to the larger community.
PTSD, prison, new focus
Lawson is an Army veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm. Within three months of being discharged, he was in serious trouble. He was convicted in 1992 in Chelan County Superior Court for hiring someone to murder his wife. The prosecutor’s office confirmed she was not killed. Lawson served more than 16 years of an 18-year sentence. “The real story is I’m a veteran. I came home. I was broken,” he said, citing PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. He had ample time behind bars to see how many of his peers were incarcerated. Lawson said he reset behind bars. In 2006, Vietnam Veterans of America honored him as its Incarcerated Veteran of the Year during a ceremony at the Twin Rivers Corrections Unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex. The Everett Herald covered the ceremony, noting Lawson was 41
Photo by Wendy Culverwell Thelbert M. “Thadd” Lawson Jr. stands inside the new Veterans Warehouse Thrift Store at 908 N. Colorado St. in Kennewick, the site of the former Sports Authority store that closed in 2016. The Army veteran suffered PTSD and served in prison before turning his life around to help veterans through the nonprofit Operation Veterans Assistance & Humanitarian Aid, based in Wenatchee.
and had been behind bars since he was 24. A post-prison misdemeanor conviction in Chelan County District Court was reversed in 2016. Lawson said he accepted a plea bargain deal for fourth-degree assault to end the case and get on with his life. Now 55, Lawson said he is dedicated to serving veterans. “There has to be more done. That’s why I started my crusade in prison,” he said. Outside of prison, he continued his education at Wenatchee Valley College, where he established a schoolsanctioned club for veterans. He took a leading role in his local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.
Sales fuel nonprofit
Operation Veterans Assistance operates as Lawson did as a drill sergeant. Its “loose and off the cuff” approach adapts to changing conditions
as well as needs. It hires and trains workers who can learn the job and then do it without supervision. He is not interested in babysitting, he said. The seven people setting up the new store include a mix of ex-convicts and veterans. It reflects his mission to help veterans avoid the criminal justice system while giving ex-cons a chance to succeed when they get out. The nonprofit is organized around thrift sales, first in Wenatchee and now Kennewick. It is a deliberate strategy that delivers a steady stream of earned revenue instead of an unsteady stream of donations. The first Veterans Warehouse Thrift Store opened in November 2013 in Wenatchee. Business soared in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic as people staying home cleared out their closets. Donations packed its basement in Wenatchee – enough to open a sec-
ond store. Lawson considered expanding to Spokane, but he turned to the Tri-Cities because another veteran-oriented thrift store already operates there under a similar name, Veterans Thrift Store. The Tri-Cities offered an attractive combination of population growth and above-average income, as well as empty space in a prime retail location. He signed a seven-year lease with the Kennewick building’s Spokanebased owners. The lease covers the sporting goods space as well as an adjoining mattress store. The two spaces are now linked by a passthrough. The lease includes free rent for several months while the crew cleans and stocks the space. Sports Authority left racking and other equipment. The nonprofit has big hopes for the Tri-Cities. A Richland store could open in 18-24 months. Proceeds could support housing for homeless vets, Lawson said. The store serves as both an employment and job training center. Most apparel is priced at $6 with ample room to negotiate. Veterans with ID can sign up for a voucher that lets them shop for whatever they need, from clothing to household goods. Proceeds support eight outreach programs aiding communities affected by disaster and organizations that provide humanitarian aid, and help veterans find and furnish homes when they return to civilian life, as well as clothing and food. Through 2019, Lawson said the nonprofit has contributed $32.5 million in goods and mostly services and helped 24,000 veterans, including spouses and families. It reported $7.3 million in gifts, grants and other donations between 2014-18, according to its most recent filing with the IRS. Follow the store’s progress on Facebook @thrift410.
SENIOR TIMES • MARCH 2021