SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
SEPTEMBER 2020 Volume 8 • Issue 9
Community foundation marshals best of the Tri-Cities By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 may affect fall property tax collection Page 3
Nonprofits turn to road trips, drawings and more Page 5
Eisenhower dedicated McNary Dam 66 years ago Page 10
MONTHLY QUIZ What year was the first Kennewick High School graduating class, how many graduates were there, and how many were girls? Answer, Page 9
When Kennewick’s Trios Health was sold to a for-profit company in 2018, the managers of the Trios Foundation were left in a pickle. The nonprofit had $2.2 million in assets, lots of worthy targets for donations, and no home. Led by Pete Toolson, the board considered its options. Several worthy charities wanted the cash, but not the strings that came with it. In the end, it chose the Three Rivers Community Foundation as the new home. Trios Foundation became the Family Health and Wellness Foundation and its money was deposited into the Three Rivers’ investment fund. Its mission to support eight specific charities with the interest it earns stayed intact. “We felt 3RCF was a good home for the money,” Toolson said. The hospital foundation disbanded after the money was transferred. Three Rivers Community Foundation, or 3RCF, is the foundation’s foundation. It was created in 1999 by civicminded Tri-Citians who united to create a unique organization to manage a pool of donations to support the MidColumbia’s nonprofits in perpetuity and to help would-be philanthropists carry out their wishes. It’s also stepped up to help during the pandemic by launching an emergency response fund to support nonprofits affected by the coronavirus u3RCF, Page 8
Photo by Wendy Culverwell Ruben Rojas, Richland’s chief arborist, retired Aug. 28 after 42 years with the city. Rojas oversaw the city’s 5,800 trees and replanted Howard Amon Park with the durable trees the public enjoys today after a damaging 1989 windstorm. Above, he stands by a row of oaks that were planted in anticipation of removing a pair of aging elms.
Longtime arborist says goodbye to Richland and its 5,800 trees By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
It was a hot August afternoon and Ruben Rojas was three days away from retiring as Richland’s chief arborist — the man in charge of the 5,800 trees that dot city parks and properties. It was fitting that he took a final interview at Howard Amon Park, social distancing at a picnic table not far from the Lee Boulevard turnaround. A silver maple with a trunk more than three feet across cast a wide shadow. The maple is an impressive specimen
occupying pride of place in the city’s premier park. It’s not his favorite species, but he pronounces it healthy. It’s also a marker of Rojas’ legacy in Richland. The towering maple survived a 1989 windstorm that toppled trees across the city. Plenty did not survive and the resulting mayhem led Rojas and his team to replant the city’s parks with more durable varieties than the ones available to the people who originally planted elms and black locusts that split and drop branches. uROJAS, Page 15
Residential adult family home bridges care gap between assisted living, nursing home By Laura Kostad for Senior Times
A nurse with a heart for geriatric care has transformed her former Kennewick home into an adult family home, realizing a longtime dream and goal that took shape after losing her grandfather. Called Cherry Creek Adult Family Home, the single-family house built in 2018 in the Cherry Creek Estates neighborhood east of Canyon Lakes has been converted to accommodate six adult residents. LeAnn Touchette, owner/administrator and resident manager, said the facility bridges the gap between long-term care and housing options for ailing family members who need more care than assisted living can provide, but who aren’t ready for the nursing home. Most residents will share a bed-
room with one roommate in the wellappointed 2,590-square-foot home and have free use of the house’s living areas, landscaped yard and covered patio. Private room options are available. Though not the first facility of its kind in the Tri-Cities, Cherry Creek plans to offer best-in-class service. Touchette, a registered nurse, works in outpatient procedures at Trios. Prior to that, she worked as a nursing assistant providing one-onone in-home health care. “Cherry Creek will be set apart from other adult family homes because of the focus on building personal connections with each resident,” she said. Four full-time and two part-time caregivers will be employed, in addition to Touchette. The staff-to-resident ratio will always be 1-to-6 or better, compared to uCHERRY CREEK, Page 4
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SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
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Nonprofits ready to help but they need our support By Senior Times staff
Tri-Citians are a generous lot. Residents give money to Senior Life Resources Northwest to ensure seniors eat courtesy Meals on Wheels. They give to the Kennewick Police Department’s Community Cares Fund to help officers help people in trouble. They reach into their wallets to support important capital projects too. The new Union Gospel Mission in Pasco and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties’ new central Kennewick clubhouse are two recent examples. The list goes on. If there’s a need, Tri-Citians answer the call. Well, there is a need now more than ever. Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic has sidelined the economy since March and pushed the local unemployment rate up. It stood at more than 10% in July, the most recent figures available from the state Employment Security Department.
uBRIEFS Drive-thru Covid-19 testing hours change
The Benton-Franklin Health District is offering free drive-thru Covid-19 testing to residents from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday at the HAPO Center in Pasco. Tests will be done on a first-come, firstserved basis with no appointment required. Tests are free but those who have insurance should bring their cards. Participants remain in their vehicles. The testing site is open to anyone who feels they should be tested and is urging anyone who fits into the following guidelines to get tested: • Anyone with any Covid-19
The losses our local nonprofits are facing due to Covid-19 are staggering. There are more than 1,700 taxexempt organizations in the TriCities, including Prosser and Benton City, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS doesn’t say which ones are still active. But the Covid pandemic will thin the ranks further. An influential report released in July predicts 10% to 40% of U.S. nonprofits will merge or go out of business because of steep declines in charitable giving. Locals won’t be spared the pain. LoAnn Ayers, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, shares that she speaks with a dozen or more nonprofits a day. They’re all hurting. In-person events and fundraisers have migrated online. Amid the bad news, Ayers says there is good. Tri-Citians are compelled to help those who are less fortunate. And most Tri-Citians remain
employed. They’re not traveling, eating out or shopping as much as usual, with is pushing up disposable income. There are lots of ways to help and they all start with the issues and causes closest to your own heart. Donating to support the mission that most aligns with your values is always important but especially during this time when so many of these organizations’ major fundraisers are being canceled or shifted to formats donors aren’t as familiar or comfortable with. United Way and the Three Rivers Community Foundation both launched Covid-19 funds to help nonprofits help our neighbors. As always, if you’re unsure about a charity, check it out. The Federal Trade Commission recommends researching charities at BBB Wise Giving Alliance (give.org), Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), CharityWatch (charitywatch.org) and GuideStar (guidestar.org).
symptoms. • Anyone whose physician recommended they be tested. • Anyone who is a close contact or has a known exposure to Covid19. Test results take seven to 10 days to complete. Results are reported by phone and by mail.
designed for their age group with their health care provider. Vaccinations should continue until January or later. Annual influenza vaccinations are recommended for most people. Two new vaccines are licensed for use during the coming season, including a high-dose version for use in seniors age 65 and over. The health department advises seniors to discuss flu vaccines designed for their age group with their health care provider. Flu vaccines take up to two weeks to provide full protection. Flu shots are available during regular pharmacy hours without an appointment at Walgreens locations.
Flu shots work best in September, October
The Centers for Disease Control and the Washington Department of Health are advising Americans to get a flu shot in September or October for the 2020-21 influenza season. The health department advises seniors to discuss flu vaccines
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
Tri-Citians paid half their property taxes in April. October could be another story By Wendy Culverwell firstname.lastname@example.org
The property owners of Benton and Franklin counties didn’t miss a beat when it was time to pay property tax bills on some $31.5 billion in real estate in April, when the first of two payment deadlines came due. The county treasurers who collect taxes say collections were normal, despite widespread economic challenges inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the stay-home orders it inspired. But that’s just half the story. Property taxes payments are split, with due dates in the spring and fall for those who don’t pay property tax bills to mortgage companies. The second payment is due Oct. 31. With the local economy still battered by the Covid-19 pandemic and stayhome orders that closed many local businesses, at least one local county treasurer is concerned some won’t be able to meet their obligations. “I’m concerned about October, as are many of the treasurers in the state,” said Benton County Treasurer Ken Spencer. Treasurers collect property taxes, which are distributed to a variety of public entities. The state as well as counties, cities, schools, fire districts, ports and junior taxing districts all rely on property taxes to fund operations. In mid-July, Benton County had collected about 56% of the year’s total tax bill of $255 million. That’s typical for this time of year,
uBRIEFS Senior Times, Journal of Business office moves
The Senior Times and Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business office has moved, though it remains closed to the public during the pandemic. The Kennewick office moved Sept. 1 from its longtime 8919 W. Grandridge Blvd. location less than a half mile to a space on Pittsburgh Street. Readers can pay for and renew subscriptions online at tcjournal.biz. Advertisers can pay invoices online at tcjournal.biz by going to “About” in the menu and then “Pay invoice.” The newspapers’ new mailing address is: 8524 W. Gage Blvd., #A1-300, Kennewick, WA 99336. The office email and phone numbers remain the same: email@example.com, 509-737-8778.
Spencer said. But the first deadline came early in the pandemic, before the full economic damage came into focus. Five months later, the local unemployment rate was above 9% and a federal unemployment benefit worth $600 a week was set to expire. Spencer said he’s worried about residential property owners who have lost their income and as well as commercial landlords. “I have several landlords who say, ‘Ken, I’m not collecting any rent,’” he said. Franklin County too reported normal property tax collections in April. The county collected 57% of 2020’s $91.6 million property tax bill by mid-July. Treasurer Josie Koelzer said that’s similar to collection rates in recent years. Koelzer does not share Spencer’s concerns about the coming due date. Franklin County isn’t hard hit by the loss of tourism, one of the industries most affected by Covid-19, she said. Agriculture is an essential business and has continued. Major retailers remained open and busy. “We shop at Walmart and online and all the ag businesses stayed open,” she said. “I think we’re going to be right on target in October.” While some counties in western Washington extended the April tax deadline, Benton and Franklin counties held fast, saying too many jurisdictions depended on the revenue to pay bills and cover debt payments on
the various bonds that pay for infrastructure, new schools, fire stations and other projects. Spencer said delaying collections could have forced government agencies into missing payments on bond debt. Benton County doesn’t want to jeopardize its AA+ bond rating, which translates in lower interest costs on its debt. “We worked hard to get that AA+ rating,” he said. Both counties gave distressed property owners options to spread property tax payments over multiple months. They couldn’t waive interest penalties, which are set in law, but were able to waive county-imposed late payment charges. In Franklin County, 44 people committed to making payments on contracts covering 58 tax parcels and $235,089. They have paid 65 percent of the collective balance to date, Koelzer said. With uncertainty surrounding tax payments in October, the four cities of the Tri-Cities are watching their budgets with care. Richland projects a 5% reduction in property taxes this year, although it has not yet seen evidence of it, reported spokeswoman Hollie Logan. The city’s 2020 budget is nearly $307 million. The city of West Richland ended 2019 with a strong ending fund balance and $2.2 million in its general fund reserves, said Jessica Platt, the city’s finance director. The city has
Mid-Columbia Libraries OK’d for curbside pickup
branch’s designated curbside pickup area once they receive notice they are ready. Return boxes reopen when curbside pickup service begins. Go to midcolumbialibraries.org/ coronavirus for information about individual branch openings. The Richland Public Library also reopened for curbside service.
Mid-Columbia Libraries is offering curbside pickup services at its 11 branches and Bookmobile in Benton and Franklin counties under the modified Safe Start program. Patrons can put their books and materials on hold, then visit their
received 54% of its anticipated property tax revenue, consistent with the amount collected by the county treasurer. “At this point, we don’t anticipate significant delinquency with property tax revenues,” she said. But if there are shortfalls, its reserves are available to fill the gap. West Richland expects to benefit from a sales tax boost courtesy of the stay-home order, which limited in-person visits to stores and closed many businesses in March. West Richlanders who normally shop in a neighboring jurisdiction went online. The sales taxes they pay are coming home instead of going to the neighbors. “It’s been a benefit for West Richland,” she said. The city of Pasco said it anticipates a $3 million negative revenue impact in 2020 and 2021, out of a total budget of $450 million. Kennewick reports it “constantly” updates revenue projections for its $357 million biennial budget. In a nod to the pandemic, it has frozen some discretionary spending and isn’t filling non-public safety positions. It has a $2.9 million rainy day fund which it can tap if necessary.
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SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
CHERRY CREEK, From page 1
1-to-50 in assisted living facilities, Touchette said. “I want families to come tour my home and leave here with a sense of peace, knowing that their loved one will be taken care of the way they would want them to be. My goal is to give members of the geriatric population the respect, care, and attention that they deserve in order to make this difficult situation in their lives, and the lives of their families, easier,” Touchette said.
Grandpa encourages dreams
As an adolescent, Touchette talked about going to school to become a nurse. She said her grandfather, with whom she was very close growing up, encouraged her dreams. “We would go to church on Sundays then go back to his house and play cards and then he would take me shopping,” she recalled. “We shared a love for horse racing and would watch the races at Sun Downs together. Every year we made sure to tune into the Kentucky Derby … When I turned 16, we traveled to Nebraska and Wisconsin together to visit family. We had a wonderful relationship and he meant the world to me,” she said. Touchette’s grandfather later would inspire her to become a nurse in an unexpected way. In 2010, he was diagnosed with
Courtesy Cherry Creek Adult Family Home LeAnn Touchette, owner and resident manager, stands outside Cherry Creek Adult Family Home at 2616 W. 44th Place in Kennewick. The new facility will provide specialized care for six people in a homelike setting. It is scheduled to open in late September or early October.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rapid onset degenerative brain disorder that is extremely rare, incurable and ultimately leads to death. “He went from being a full-time working electrician to being extremely confused. This all seemed to happen overnight. He was no longer able to live on his own or work,” she said. Her family began looking into care facilities, but their first choices had no openings. They eventually settled on an assisted living facility, but “he was only able to be there for a couple of
days because he was so confused and needed more care than they could provide,” Touchette said. Touchette and her sister took turns caring for their grandfather in their own homes until they could find a more appropriate facility. He died within a few months of his diagnosis. “After going through this experience and losing my grandpa, I knew one day I wanted to become a nurse and own a care facility for the geriatric population,” Touchette said. In 2017, she realized that ambition, graduating with an associate degree in nursing. “Now my dream is to own and operate a few of these adult family homes that are specific to each population such as dementia, mental health, and developmentally delayed,” she said.
Cherry Creek’s mission
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Cherry Creek will house residents of varying ages and health needs — there are no age restrictions and “no specific criteria for living at Cherry Creek,” she said. The facility also can accommodate hospice patients. Touchette has received additional certifications in the areas of dementia and mental health, and is working on obtaining certification for the care of those who are developmentally delayed. She said all staff will be trained in these areas as well. Cherry Creek is scheduled to open by the end of September or early October, pending a final inspection by the state, Touchette said. In the meantime, she has begun accepting resident applications and showing the house to prospective residents and their families. Touchette and her family previously lived in the single-story home with a loft — which will serve as the resident manager’s suite — until she realized its potential for easy conversion into an adult family home. The home features a wide-open floor plan, extra-wide hallways, threefoot wide interior doors, and no steps
into the house, making it easy for residents with walkers or wheelchairs to move about. “There were minimal conversions that had to be done to convert this home,” she said. “The biggest things were the bathrooms. My husband converted the bathrooms with handrails and grab bars and also modified the showers. He took out an existing bathtub/ shower insert and put in a shower that’s wheelchair accessible.” There will be staff on hand at all times to assist with the activities of daily living, including diabetic care, tube feedings, wound care and more. A certified nurse will be on-call 24 hours per day in addition to an emergency call system. Services include well-balanced, home-cooked meals, laundry service, pet therapy, activities such as arts and crafts, puzzles, memory games, chair exercises, bingo, and, after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, live music for events such as holidays and celebrations. “The geriatric population loves live music and bands,” Touchette said. “They’re dancing and singing along, and they just come alive. It’s something I’ve always wanted in my facility.” Looking ahead, Touchette said that she has other properties lined up for the building of future adult family homes, and hopes to one day build a large facility for hospice residents too, though she says it all remains to be seen in light of current events. “I’m really excited to start this journey and meet all of my future residents and their families. This is the career I was designed for and I can’t wait to connect with people and show my home and passion to the Tri Cities community,” Touchette said, adding, “I look forward to making a difference in the lives of seniors in their final years because they deserve it.” Cherry Creek Adult Family Home: 509-396-9007, 509-551-3001, firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, Instagram, 2616 W. 44th Place, Kennewick.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
As financial disaster looms, Mid-Columbia nonprofits turn to road trips, drawings and more By Wendy Culverwell email@example.com
The cancellations spread quickly as Washington and the world shut down over Covid-19 in March. Breakfasts and lunches, a duck race and a Gatsby-themed gala disappeared from the Mid-Columbia calendar. Inperson events that generate badly needed dollars to feed low-income seniors, support cancer patients and more were suddenly too dangerous to go on. The pain went deep. Senior Life Resources, which runs Meals on Wheels for seniors, canceled the annual breakfast that helps fill its budget. The Tri-Cities Cancer Center moved its 20th annual Cancer Crushing Breakfast online. Mid-Columbia Rotary shelved its annual duck race, a first in its 32-year history. The Mid-Columbia Arts Foundation canceled its Gatsby Gala, a tribute to the Roaring ’20s. Requests for donations followed of course. Three Rivers Community Foundation launched a Covid-19 Emergency Fund. United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties created a Covid-19 Response Fund. Mid-Columbians responded — generously. 3RCF alone raised $150,000, and United Way raised $263,000. But the early generosity can’t mask the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic: Up to 40% of the 1.56 million nonprofits in the U.S. will merge or close, according to an influential report, Monitor Institute by Deloitte, released in July. The Internal Revenue Service identifies 1,756 tax-exempt organizations in the Tri-Cities plus Prosser and Benton City. Many are inactive, but those that are active are at risk, said LoAnn Ayers, president and chief executive officer of United Way, which raises money and resources for nonprofits through workplace giving and other programs. “It breaks my heart because the need will still be there,” she said. Many in-person events became online ones, but Ayers said participation is low. The Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation is one that pivoted, finding a middle path for its second annual Dine Out culinary event. Instead of gathering to sample dishes fashioned from heathy ingredients, participants will hit the road and visit participating restaurants in person on Sept. 12. But five months after Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order and as Benton and Franklin counties linger in the most restrictive phase of the restart, donor fatigue is setting in,
Ayers said. She compares 2020 to the summerlong forest fired that choked Northwest skies and inspired countless fundraisers. Donors were eager to help — in the beginning. “It’s the same thing with Covid,” she said. But there’s good news too: Nonprofits sharpened their pencils, downsized and found ways to be more efficient. They’re looking for ways to pick up where closed organizations leave off. A client of one is often a client to others. They’re pooling resources too. A new retirement program that launched in July is a good example. The Columbia Basin Nonprofit Association hired Petersen Hastings to manage its new collective program. The pooled program brings the buying power of a large group to a collection of small organizations. “At United Way, it reduces my cost to provide retirement benefits to employees. That’s good for donors and gives employees better options at lower costs,” she said. Ayers said Tri-Cities is “blessed” to have a continuing federal workforce at the Hanford site and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, she said. Unemployment stood at more than 9% in June. Still, most Tri-Citians are working and they have more disposable income because they’re not traveling, dining out or shopping at preCovid levels. “We’re more fortunate than Spokane or Yakima — we had a segment of the community that didn’t lose jobs and have more income,” she said. Elizabeth McLaughlin, executive director of the Tri-City Cancer Center Foundation, opted not to cancel a new but popular event, Dine Out. The first-ever event was held last year at Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser. Participants dined on dishes prepared by area restaurants and voted for a favorite. The 2020 version was supposed to be bigger. But the pandemic made it impossible to gather in person. So, it pivoted to the road trip model. Participants will use an app to direct them to the participating restaurants. They’ll vote on their favorite through the app and collect a Cancer Crushing cookbook at the end. Proceeds pay to send a healthy family meal home with cancer center patients each Friday. It has raised $40,000 for the nonprofit cancer center and is on track to continue through the end of the year.
Courtesy Tri-Cities Cancer Center Joey Bradbury, from left, and Mikey Patterson of Ice Harbor Brewing Co. drop off meals for cancer patients June 6 at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick as part of the cancer center’s Dine In fundraiser. Pictured at right is Tony Ingersoll of the cancer center.
“When you give somebody a meal, it’s like a hug when you can’t hug,” McLaughlin said. Tickets are $75 and available through cancercrushingdineout.com. The cancer center foundation is leading another effort to help nonprofits raise money online. It wants to legalize online drawings. Washington law doesn’t allow organizations that are licensed to conduct charitable raffles to run them online. It launched a change.org petition to allow nonprofits to migrate raffles online in light of the pandemic.
“The guidelines for reporting can still be met by allowing this safe and convenient way to continue the vital funding that raffles can bring to many organizations that serve critical purposes in our communities throughout the state,” it says. Go to bit.ly/TCCancerCenterPetition to learn more. Those interested in making donations can verify the organizations they want to support at Guidestar and Charity Navigator, online sites that rate nonprofits and post the Form 990s they submit to the IRS.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
uBRIEFS Tri-City rental assistance available
Help is available to Tri-City renters who are unable to pay rent because of Covid-19 job losses The Tri-Cities Home Consortium received $700,000 in Federal HOME funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is accepting applications now. The consortium consists of the cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland in partnership with the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee. The program runs through Dec. 31 or when funds are exhausted. The money is available to help lowincome individuals to maintain housing. Once approved, money is paid directly to the applicant’s landlord on their behalf. Call 509-545-4042 or email info@ bfac.org for information. Go to hbfcac.org/home-base/housing-services for more information about housing services.
Survey: Tri-Citians expect to return to skies soon
Nearly half of Tri-Citians either continued to travel by air during the pandemic or expect to return to flying within three months, according to a
passenger survey conducted for the Port of Pasco, which owns and operates the Tri-Cities Airport. The survey was conducted online in June and July and drew 468 responses. • 8% reported they never stopped flying, 40% expected to resume flying in one to three months and 28% expected to resume in four to six months. Only 18% said they wouldn’t fly within six months. • The survey revealed people feel they’re most at risk of exposure to the virus that causes Covid-19 when they’re on the plane, followed by exposure to other passengers and restrooms. • The most popular airport services included availability of grab-and-go meals, water-filling stations and rental cars as well as taxies and ride-share pickup areas. • The overwhelming majority want to see airport workers and employees wear masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. The survey showed 80% of respondents said they felt “comforted” by the use of protective equipment and 11% said it made them nervous. Not all results add up to 100% because some respondents didn’t answer all questions. Survey results are posted at bit.ly/ Tri-CityAirTravelSurvey
Watch a drive-in movie at Richland park
The recreation departments of Richland, Pasco and Kennewick are offering drive-in movies. The event, called Tri-Cities Carpool Cinemas, presented by Windermere Group One and Numerica Credit Union, offers an old-fashioned drivein movie with movies projected on an 11-by-19 LED board and audio sent directly to your vehicle via a radio transmitter. Cost is $15 per carload and includes a large bag of pre-packaged popcorn. Tickets must be prepurchased online. Carloads (no RVs or trailers) must be of the same household and are encouraged to bring additional drinks and snacks. This type of event has been approved by the Governor’s office and Benton Franklin Health Department. The following movies will be shown at Columbia Point Marina parking lot, 660 Columbia Point Drive, Richland: • 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, “Remember the Titans,” rated PG. • 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, “Dora & the Lost City of Gold,” rated PG. • 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, “Jumanji: The Next Level,” rated PG-13.
For more information and to buy tickets, go to facebook.com/ TriCitiesCarpoolCinema.
RiverFest 2020 heads online
The 2020 edition of the annual RiverFest will be held online from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. The celebration of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers is hosted by the city of Richland, Visit Tri-Cities, the Tri-City Development Council and a half dozen more civic organizations. Details will be posted on the RiverFest 2020 Facebook page.
Social Security adds five conditions to disability list
The Social Security Administration has added five conditions to the list of disabling conditions that meet its standards for disability benefits. The additions to the “Compassionate Allowance” list include desmoplastic small round cell tumors, GM1 gangliosidosis (infantile and juvenile forms), NicolaidesBaraister syndrome, Rubinstein-Tybai syndrome and secondary adenocarcinoma of the brain. Compassionate Allowances is a program to identify severe medical conditions and diseases that meet the standards for disability benefits. Learn more at ssa.gov/compassionateallowances.
Help spread good vibes with selfies
Tri-Citians are encouraged to spread positive messages of hope by posting photos of themselves with signs encouraging people who are struggling not to give up hope. The community effort is modeled on the “Don’t Give Up Movement” that launched in Newberg, Oregon, in 2017. Signs with messages of hope in both English and Spanish will be posted throughout the community and are available for businesses and organizations to display on their properties. Messages include “You got this,” “We are all in this together,” “You are not alone,” “You matter” and “One day at a time.” Participants are asked to share photos and share them on social media using the hashtag #SpreadHopeBentonFranklin. Contact Courtney Armstrong for free signs at 509-943-8455, ext. 5280, or by email at courtney.armstrong@ kadlec.org. Partners include the Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition, Benton-Franklin Community Health Alliance’s Behavioral Health Committee, Benton-Franklin health District, Kadlec Regional Medical Center, KEY Connection, Lourdes and Educational Service District 123.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
Tri-City Herald gets new office, new owner By Senior Times staff
The Tri-City Herald has moved into new offices and soon will have a new owner after a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of its parent, McClatchy, to its leading creditor, Chatham Asset Management LLC. The staff left its longtime home in downtown Kennewick for new offices at 4253 W. 24th Ave. in Kennewick’s Southridge neighborhood the week of Aug. 10. It considered several locations, including remaining in downtown Kennewick. The Southridge building best fit its needs, said Jerry Hug, general manager for the Tri-City Herald and Northwest director for McClatchy finance/chief financial officer. The move fulfills plans spelled out in October when McClatchy entered a $4 million sale-leaseback deal for its Kennewick campus with D9 Contractors Inc. of Pasco. McClatchy agreed to lease space in the 102,000-square-foot mixed-use office and industrial building at 333 W. Canal Drive for 10 months. The corner of West Canal Drive and North Cas-
uBRIEFS Downtown Kennewick group announces 2019 awards
The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership recently announced the 2019 Volunteer, Business, and Downtowner of the Year awards. The honorees were announced during an Aug. 11 breakfast Zoom event. The winners are: Volunteer of the Year: Jason Bergan of Bergan’s Timeless Treasures. Bergan was selected for his leadership in the first Deck the Downtown campaign where he helped organize downtown businesses to participate in a drawing to raise money for more
cade was the Herald’s home for generations. McClatchy bought the Herald in 1979 and ran it as a daily newspaper, and more recently, as a digital news site, for the next four decades. But struggling under pension issues, declining advertising and circulation, and debt associated with its 2006 acquisition of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, McClatchy filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in February in New York. Chatham was the successful bidder in an auction held July 10. The New Jersey hedge fund’s offer included a $263 million credit bid of McClatchy’s first-lien debt and $49 million in cash. The court subsequently approved the sale of most assets, McClatchy announced on Aug. 4. The transaction, expected to close in September, includes the McClatchy name, the Tri-City Herald and 29 other news organizations. Other properties include the Miami Herald, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star and Sacramento Bee and three other Washholiday decorations for the downtown area. He helped raise more than $4,000. Bergan also helps his neighbors with graffiti abatement. Business of the Year: Red Mountain Kitchen, jointly owned by Courtney Bauer, Alanna Lindblom and Chris Bauer. Red Mountain Kitchen was honored for making downtown Kennewick a better place to be by creating a space where food, love, and community can come together. Downtowner of the Year: Jay Freeman of Edward Jones. Freeman, who is serving his second term on the HDKP Board of Directors and is also board president, was honored for being a driving force behind
Photo by Senior Times The Tri-City Herald moved from downtown Kennewick to 4253 W. 24th Ave., a new office building above five miles away off Highway 395 in south Kennewick.
ington newspapers — the News Tribune of Tacoma, the Bellingham Herald and The Olympian. The sale concludes the McClatchy family’s 160-plus year run at the head of what had been one of the largest newspaper chains in the country, which traded under the stock ticker MNI on the New York Stock Exchange. The McClatchy papers will be run as a privately-held company with its own board of directors. Tony Hunter, former publisher of the Chicago Tribune, has been named
the new chief executive officer. He will succeed Craig Forman, who along with the current board and chairman, Kevin McClatchy, will leave the company upon McClatchy’s emergence from its court-supervised reorganization. The company will retain the McClatchy family name. The new company will take ownership of all 30 newspapers and has agreed to maintain employment at comparable pay and benefits. It will honor lengths of service and collective-bargaining agreements as well.
several committees, especially the Economic Vitality Committee.
distancing requirements. The new tool gives travelers a real-time view of train capacity when they are searching for a seat. Amtrak also offers seamless gate service through the app so travelers can receive gate and track information through push notifications at some stations, reducing the need to consult gate agents for the information.
Amtrak will tell you how full your train is
Amtrak has updated its booking website to show how full a reserved train is. Reservations currently are limited on most trains to allow for physical
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
3RCF, From page 1
shutdowns. Today, it boasts $6.1 million in assets and helps Tri-Citians — and Tri-City businesses — manage charitable funds, scholarships and pool their resources to support churches, health initiatives, food banks, arts organizations, animal charities and many other nonprofits. While United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties leverages workplace donations to support nonprofits, 3RCF runs on individual donations, bequests and donor-directed funds such as the former Trios foundation. 3RCF is one of 24 community foundations in Washington and 750 nationwide, according to the national Council on Foundations. They range from less than $100,000 in assets to more than $1.7 billion and collectively channeled $5.5 billion to nonprofits in 2017. Its Washington peers include the massive Seattle Foundation, with more than $1.1 billion in assets and a mission to serve the state, and the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, with $34 million and a mission to serve southeastern Washington. By design, community foundations serve specific geographic areas. For 3RCF, that is Benton and Franklin counties. It may be smaller than its neighbors, but it speaks to the maturity of the Tri-Cities and a collective desire to provide long-term financial support to nonprofits of all stripes. “A community foundation signifies the strength of a community,” said Abbey Cameron, who signed on as executive director in December.
Recent grant recipients
Recent beneficiaries of 3RCFmanaged largesse include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, which received a grant of nearly $30,000 to support the percussion band; Domestic Violence Services of Kennewick, which received $5,000 for hotel vouchers; and KC Help, a Pasco nonprofit that received $6,000 to buy batteries for the free motorized wheelchairs it gives to residents who don’t have coverage to pay for them and $40,000 to carry it through the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, 3RCF distributed more than $520,000 to 43 entities — 33 as board-directed grants, nine to organizations specified by donors and one memorial fund. It also passed out $24,000 in scholarships for Babcock Services Inc. and the Lyle Holt Scholarship Fund.
It also hired Cameron to succeed Carrie Green as executive director.
Courtesy Three Rivers Community Foundation The Three Rivers Community Foundation distributed 33 grants to local nonprofits in 2019, part of a year that saw the foundation’s foundation distribute more than $520,000.
Cameron, who previously led the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser, joined Rozanne Tucker, the foundation’s longtime associated director. Together with the board, Cameron and Tucker carry out its big goal to bring professional, thoughtful leadership to the growing world of Tri-City gift-giving. 3RCF exists to support area nonprofits. But it also supports residents and businesses by providing a way to contribute now and in the future. The foundation brings expertise, expert eyes and professional money management to what can be a confusing world. All funds are managed by Community First Bank’s HGF Trust. Supporters can donate to the general endowment and let the 3RCF board select grant recipients each year. That gives the foundation flexibility to respond to changing needs over time. Donors also can create donoradvised funds to steer money to specific charities or activities, with instructions that may outlive them. Donors often arrive with a passion for a particular cause, Cameron said. For Cameron, whose marching orders include raising awareness about community foundations, it starts with a simple message: Philanthropy is for everyone. Would-be philanthropists don’t need fat wallets, only generous hearts. All are welcome in the foundation family. “People hear ‘philanthropy’ and think millions,” she said. “They don’t have to think Rockefeller to start a fund.” Small donations are welcome in the pooled fund. A donor-advised fund can begin with as little as $25,000 to $50,000.
Covid-19 emergency fund
3RCF ventured into new territory
in April when it set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund to aid nonprofits affected by the coronavirus pandemic that sidelined much of the economy and left many without jobs. The fund has raised $150,000 to date, including a $50,000 lead donation from an unnamed fund holder and $20,000 from the Group Health Foundation. Group Health Foundation, with $1.9 billion in assets, announced in 2019 it is setting up an office in Pasco to carry out its mission to promote health equity across the state. Cameron called it a great example of foundations partnering on shared goals. 3RCF has distributed $75,000 from its Covid fund to local nonprofits such as Senior Life Resources, which runs Meals on Wheels, Opportunity Kitchen, the Salvation Army, Columbia Industries, ARC of the Tri-Cities and others. It broke with tradition and is giving serial grants to organizations with recurring expenses for food and personal protection equipment, or PPE. While the Covid Emergency Fund has been a success, nonprofits face an uncertain future because of the pandemic. The Monitor Institute by Deloitte projects a 10% to 40% contraction in the sector, with nonprofits that rely on earned income, government contracts and fees for services as well as arts and culture organizations to be among the hardest hit. “Funders and nonprofits may not be able to control the future, but it’s critical that we all keep working to do what we can to influence its trajectory,” it said in a July report. Cameron said the heart and soul of 3RCF are the grants it passes out each year, funds from the proceeds from the endowment.
It received 36 applications totaling $135,000. Last December, it passed out 28 grants totaling $83,000. Cameron called the ceremony touching. Building bridges between nonprofits is a welcome side benefit to passing out checks.
3RCF also has a small but growing scholarship management program. It manages five programs on behalf of sponsors such as Babcock Services, a Kennewick firm that provides professional services to the nuclear industry. Phil Gallagher, senior vice president, said Babcock turned to 3RCF in 2007 to run its then-new scholarship for employees’ children. The company felt starting its own foundation was unnecessarily difficult. He contacted Blue Mountain Community Foundation, but since Babcock isn’t in Walla Walla County, he turned to 3RCF. “They were very helpful and worked with us to develop a strategy and implementation plan to get our scholarship program in place,” Gallagher said. Since 2008, it has awarded more than 100 scholarships totaling more than $400,000. Its scholarships have made college degrees a reality for many of the recipients. “I am a huge fan of the 3RCF and the work they do, and believe them to be both a reputable organization and a worthy landing spot for donations,” he said. Three Rivers Community Foundation: 509-735-5559; 3rcf.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
Just for Fun Crossword
Solutions on page 11
31 Drafted 33 Observe 1 British Delta Force equivalent 34 Free 4 Short change? 35 El operator 7 Iraq war casus belli 36 Highest mountain in Crete 10 Presidential advisory grp. 37 Repetitive behavior 11 “Figured it out!” condition, for short 12 Weeding implement 38 Atmosphere 13 Diamonds 39 Crackpot 14 Actor --- Gibson 40 Might 15 Admiration 41 Statute 16 Fiver 42 Navigational aid 17 Built 19 Party, south of the border Down 21 Blades 1 Smell 22 Drop by unannounced 2 Computer data character 24 Transfer legally set 3 Part of an act 27 Cover completely Across
4 Woke up 5 Healing 6 An auction 7 “Oh, --- Beautiful Mornin’” 8 Lawn-care buy 9 Real estate documents 18 Nam force 20 Vomit 23 To a certain extent 24 Information holder 25 “Fear of Fifty” author --Jong 26 Annie’s LieutenantGeneral 28 On drugs 29 Introduced, with “to” 30 Achievements to be proud of 32 College sporting org.
Word search - Dogs Bandog
Sudoku - Tough
© 2020 Syndicated Puzzles
© 2020 Syndicated Puzzles
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© 2020 Syndicated Puzzles
3 63 6
© 2020 Syndicated Puzzles
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.
How to How beat to Str8ts beat–Str8ts – To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering Like Sudoku, no single 1 to 9 can repeat any row Like Sudoku, nonumber single number 1 to 9 caninrepeat in any row numbers 1 to 9 such that each row, column and 3x3 numbers 1 to 9 such that each row, column and 3x3 or column. But... rows and columns are Sept.are 11: The Ford Pinto, the second subcompact or column. But... rows and columns box contains number uniquely. box every contains every number uniquely. divided by black squares into compartments. 2 1 41 5 4 5 divided by black squares into compartments. 2 from Motor Company (after the Ford Each compartment must form a straight - the Ford For many strategies, hints and tips, Each compartment must form a straight - 6 4 5 6 3 4 2 5 3 many strategies, hints and tips, a set of numbers with no gaps but it can be introduced to2www.sudokuwiki.org theFor U.S. visit for Sudoku Quiz answer from Page 1 a set of numbers with no gapsMaverick), but it can be4was 5 2 1 visit www.sudokuwiki.org for Sudoku in any order, eg [7,6,9,8]. Clues in black cells 4 5 2 1 and www.str8ts.com for Str8ts. in any order, eg [7,6,9,8]. Clues in black cells and www.str8ts.com for Str8ts. 6 5 4 3 2 1 Sept. 17: “The Flip Wilson Show” premiered on NBC. remove that number as an option in that row 4 3 6 2 1 5 remove that number as an option in that row and column, and are not part of any straight. If you like Str8ts and other puzzles, check1908; out our eight graduates; five 3 5 2 1 4 and column, and are not part of any straight. If at youthe like Laguna Str8ts and other puzzles, check out our Sept. 26: The Laguna started 3 5 2 Fire 1 4books, Glance at the solution to see how ‘straights’ iPhone/iPad Apps and much more on our store. graduating Glance at the solution to see how ‘straights’2 1 3 books, iPhone/iPad Apps and much more onseniors our store.were girls. are formed. Summit in San Diego California. Over a 2 1 County, 3 are formed.
Turn Back the Clock...
course of eight days, it would burn more than 274 square miles.
— Source: East Benton County Historical Museum
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
Eisenhower dedicated McNary Dam 66 years ago this month, called water a ‘natural legacy’ By East Benton County Historical Society
It was a no school day on Sept. 23, 1954, in east Benton County and surrounding areas. The bright, beautiful, sunny early autumn day remained, however, a day of education and history. Students from grade school up didn’t get a day’s learning at their desks carved with inkwells and pencil canals. They didn’t solve a problem in long division. They didn’t dissect a sentence on the blackboard, identifying pronouns, verbs and adjectives. It was an education derived at a structure comprising 1.8 million cubic yards of concrete. It was the dedication of McNary Dam 66 years ago this month on the Columbia River near the little east Benton County community of Plymouth, and 30,000 were on hand to see it, and hear the remarks of the man dedicating McNary, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. For many, it was a once-in-a-life-
time chance to see their president up close. Local participation was not lacking. The Richland, Kennewick and Pasco high school bands, under their respective directors, Gordon W. Pappas, Hampton Wines and John J. Fitzpatrick, all performed. Hermiston High’s band under Ted Marshall, and Umatilla High’s under Robert M. Lennebille, also were part of entertainment, headlined by the Navy’s precision flying team, the Blue Angels. The Tri-City Aqua Acrobats, under the late Dale Metz, longtime owner of Metz Marina on Clover Island, gave three water show performances. Washington Gov. Arthur B. Langlie, Oregon Gov. Paul L. Patterson and Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay also spoke. On the presidential dais were J. T. Bettinson, a Benton County commissioner, and J. M. Doyle of Plymouth. Eisenhower awakened at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla where he spent the night in
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Courtesy East Benton County Historical Museum/The Tri City Herald Collection President Dwight D. Eisenhower toured McNary Dam on Sept. 23, 1954. “Wisely and providently we must use and develop these resources, so that each succeeding generation of Americans may share in their benefits,” he said during the dedication ceremony.
modest but comfortable accommodations that included an outer room to relax and host, and an adjoining bedroom and bathroom separated by a door. His bedroom window, several stories up, looked south onto the city of Walla Walla, and his living room window looked east toward the Blue Mountains. He traveled to McNary by car via Pendleton and it was said that the 55 miles he traveled to the dedication was (and perhaps still is) the longest presidential motorcade in history. His address at the powerhouse still resonates. “This structure symbolizes the purpose of using, for the benefit of all our people, the tremendous natural legacy with which the almighty so abundantly endowed our land,” Eisenhower said. “Wisely and providently we must use and develop these resources, so that each succeeding generation of Americans may share in their benefits. “It is for us to see that they shall not be wasted or neglected or denied to generations yet to come.” Water, he said, is a “blessing” when used properly. “It is essential that every drop of water, from the moment that it falls upon our land, be turned to the service of our people,” the president said. “Thus we will save our soil and make it more productive; thus we will develop power, prevent floods, improve navigation and supply our tremendous and growing domestic and industrial water needs.” Following his dedication address at 10:30 a.m. that Thursday, President Eisenhower returned by car to Pendleton where his plane “Columbine,” named by his wife
Mamie, awaited. Air Force One became the official designation in 1962. McNary Dam was named for Oregon Sen. Charles L. McNary, a 1940 Republican Party nominee for vice president of the United States and a well-liked 28-year member of the U.S. Senate. He died in 1944. On April 15, 1947, Cornelia Morton McNary, his widow, turned the first earth in ground-breaking ceremonies. She was joined by Janis Paige, a well-known Warner Brothers actress in the 1940s and 1950s who was born in Tacoma. She was named “Miss Damsite.” Also attending was Oregon Gov. Earl Snell. During Eisenhower’s dedication the late senator’s widow shared the platform where he paid personal tribute to her. McNary Dam is 292 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River, 7,365 feet long and stands 183 feet over the riverbed. Its multiple purposes include hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, navigation, recreation and wildlife habitat, and it is one of 14 dams, including three in Canada, on the main stem of the Columbia. McNary has two fish ladders for salmon and steelhead, one each on the Oregon side and the Washington side to aid salmon in reaching their spawning grounds. An 86-foot wide, 683-foot long navigation lock on the Benton County side can lift boats 75 feet, including tugs and barges navigating the river with cargo. Extending behind McNary Dam is a reservoir named Lake Wallula extending 64 miles back to the TriCities to Hanford and up the Snake River to Ice Harbor Dam.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 uBRIEFS Covid forces closure of Tender Care Village
A Kennewick-based nonprofit which offered aging-in-place initiatives by pairing seniors with volunteers has closed. Tender Care Village, which was part of a national network of community “villages,” closed Aug. 31. It had been in operation since spring 2018. “Sadly, Covid was one battle we couldn’t survive. The constraints of the virus limited our already scarce volunteer base, our ability to recruit new members and restricted what we could offer our members,” said Traci Wells, director and president of the nonprofit. For an annual fee, village members could tap into a network of screened volunteers for non-medical assistance, like rides to the grocery store or doctor’s appointments, light home maintenance, seasonal yard chores or companionship. “I am hopeful another nonprofit agency can create a similar program in order to fill that gap between needing a little assistance and needing assisted living, there is such a need in this community. We definitely did not have a problem finding members who were searching
for affordable and safe assistance so they could age in place,” Wells said.
Coulee power plant renamed for father-son pioneers
The third power plant at Grand Coulee Dam has been renamed the Nathaniel “Nat” Washington Power Plant to honor a father-son team of pioneers who were instrumental in developing the dam. U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, who introduced the naming bill in 2019, announced the move by the U.S. Department of the Interior during a virtual roundtable on Aug. 12. Nat Sr. was a Virginia native who homesteaded on the Columbia River in 1908. He served as Grant County prosecutor and was later the first president of the Columbia River Dam, Irrigation and Power District. Nat. Jr. earned a law degree at the University of Washington and served as Grant County’s prosecutor before a decades-long tenure in the state Legislature. Both men were instrumental in pushing for hydropower projects across the Columbia. The third power plant was completed in 1980 and pushed the Grant Coulee Complex to a gener-
ating capacity of more than 6,800 megawatts, the nation’s largest. “This naming is fitting since the Washington family was an early supporter of hydropower and advocated for infrastructure investment. Their efforts helped put thousands to work, and their infrastructure legacy continues to meet the needs of current and future generations through the largest hydropower producing structure in North America,” David L. Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior, said in a prepared statements.
Battelle donates $80,000 for Covid relief
Battelle, the Ohio-based company that manages the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, announced an $80,000 contribution to Covid-19 relief funds in the Tri-Cities. The donation is split between Three Rivers Community Foundation and United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties. They are being directed through All in Tri-Cities and
All in Washington, which have matching programs that could double the gifts.
USA Today says Walla Walla Valley is ‘America’s Best Wine Region’ for 2020
The Walla Walla Valley was named America’s Best Wine Region in the 2020 USA Today Best Readers’ Choice awards following a month-long nationwide public vote. Walla Walla Valley has been a finalist for the award three consecutive years, but 2020 is the first time it earned first place. In addition to its Best Wine Region win, Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla took fourth place in the Best Tasting Room category for the second consecutive year. A panel of five wine industry experts chose 20 finalists from a list of more than 250 American winegrowing regions. The public was then asked to vote daily for their favorite region between July 13 and Aug. 12.
Puzzle answers from page 9
13 16 19
W M D H O
N G U P
35 38 41
A W E
A W N
36 39 42
7 8 4 3 2 1
8 7 8 9 6 4 9 5 7 1 3 5 7 2 6 9 4 5 1 4 3 2 3 6 4 1 2 3 5
2 3 6 1 2 3 3 4 2 5 4 8 1 7 8 6 7 8 5 9 7 7 9 6 8 4 5 1 2 3 6
7 8 4 3 2 1
8 7 8 9 6 4 9 5 7 1 3 5 7 2 6 9 4 5 1 4 3 2 3 6 4 1 2 3 5
2 3 6 1 2 3 3 4 2 5 4 8 1 7 8 6 7 8 5 9 7 7 9 6 8 4 5 1 2 3 6
7 2 4 5 8 6 3 9 1
9 8 3 4 1 7 6 5 2
6 5 1 3 2 9 7 8 4
3 9 5 2 4 8 1 6 7
1 6 8 7 9 3 2 4 5
2 4 7 1 6 5 9 3 8
For more strategies, hints and tips, visit www.sudokuwiki.org and www.str8ts.com.
8 3 2 6 7 4 5 1 9
5 7 9 8 3 1 4 2 6
4 1 6 9 5 2 8 7 3
7 2 4 5 8 6 3 9 1
9 8 3 4 1 7 6 5 2
SENIOR TIMES â€¢ SEPTEMBER 2020
Q&A Employees you oversee: We have about 200 team members at CI. Tell us about your organization and its commercial ventures: Columbia Industries is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company that operates solely for the benefit of our community (the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas). We work with persons who face significant barriers to employment and/or meaningful social involvement as a result of challenges such as disabilities, homelessness, prior incarcerations, substance abuse, inadequate education and so on. Our mission is to support and empower those individuals to help them achieve personal success and community engagement. We do that by offering employment services; specialized job training and vocational skills; direct employment opportunities; centers for life skills and social enrichment; food and housing assistance; and, guided access to a broad assortment of other community resources. CI has a long history of operating commercial businesses to help support its mission services. Some of those ventures have directly employed or involved the clients we serve. Others have been intended to simply generate positive cash flow to help fund our mission programs. In the last three years CI’s board and leadership team made a significant commitment to aggressively add more commercial ventures in order to provide additional, and more sustainable, operating funds to CI. Those funds will not only make up ongoing gaps between the costs of running our programs and money raised from government agencies and public donations but will also allow us to significantly expand our service offerings. In the last year, we added two very significant new mission programs, Opportunity Kitchen and Empowerment Place, that have greatly expanded the number of people we serve and the types of challenges we can address. We are a nonprofit (all of the profits generated by our commercial ventures stay within CI and benefit our mission activities) but we identify far more with the “social enterprise” model than with a traditional nonprofit structure and way of doing business. How did you land your current role? How long have you been in it? I joined CI in December 2017. Ending up here in the Tri-Cities and assuming the CEO duties for CI was
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
President & chief executive officer Columbia Industries
the result of a long, focused search on my part and a very thorough and wide-reaching recruiting process by the company, but the actual connection came through a posting on an internet job board. What should the Tri-Cities know about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting your clients and your organization? I can honestly say that the pandemic has been one of the greatest and most complex challenges I have encountered in my career. As it has virtually every business, Covid-19 has had a profound impact on how we conduct business at CI and on the services we can deliver to those in need. Demand for our services and community-wide needs for support have gone up significantly at the same time our options for providing services have been reduced. In most mission services, we have experienced an increase in demand. In our employment services for persons with barriers to employment, we have seen our caseload grow threefold; we have able to help some in person when they have “essential” jobs, meet with persons virtually to prepare them for job search, but because of the current restrictions and some individuals opting out, many of the services will have to wait until things open up. With Empowerment Place, our outreach and resource center, we have experienced a significant increase of persons experiencing homelessness and needing food assistance; thankfully, we have been able to help many with virtual visits. In Opportunity Kitchen, a food service vocational training program, we found ourselves not able to hold fundraisers or dine-in events; however, we have been able to successfully pivot the program to provide emergency meals to families — more than 5,000 provided so far. Our Community Center, a day program to support families needing respite services while offering life skills and social inclusion opportunities to individuals with acute disabilities, has been closed to in-person sessions; however, we have been able to hold regular virtual sessions, leading the clients through many craft, exercise and self-care activities while they are at home. Not everyone has a stable home
environment with internet and phone access. We are continuing to develop the technology that will make it easy for persons to access the available services, and also working hard to analyze how in-person services can be done safely and at the appropriate time. Overall, CI has had to adjust to entirely new ways to work and communicate (working from home, Zoom meetings and so on), but we have been fortunate in that most of our activities are considered essential in nature. While business is clearly down due to restrictions on how business can be conducted, the closure or activity reduction of many of our corporate customers and by our very determined desire to protect our customers, team members and clients, we have continued to provide most of our services throughout this very difficult time. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Wow, that’s an extremely hard question because I think true and effective leadership requires a number of positive talents and attributes. But if I had to distill it down to one
Brian McDermott characteristic, I guess I would identify a hybrid quality I call “responsible vision.” I think every leader must understand very clearly that he or she is completely and fully responsible for the proper and mission-responsive conduct of their organization. With that clear understanding, a leader must then be able to craft an effective vision that fosters buy-in and excitement and serves as a clear road map for the planning and execution of growth strategies. To me, a clear and compelling vision is a necessary, unifying tool — a universal language that everyone can understand and embrace. And, once a leader gets buy-in to a vision, the process of realizing it becomes much easier. uMCDERMOTT, Page 14
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
MCDERMOTT, From page 13
If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry/field? Justin Crume, our director of mission service, offered this gem: he would have everyone in the community walk in the shoes of our clients for an hour, just to truly understand the challenges they face. I think that’s a wonderful idea. But my team and I also see a need for a great deal of innovation in the nonprofit world — everything from diversifying and broadening the sources of funds, to making the government agencies that oversee and fund our activities more technologically current and responsive to our needs, to reducing both paper processes and many repetitive and unproductive requirements in the compliance arena. I also would mention that funding and service priorities are influenced far too much by swings in political thought. We need to establish, sustain and fund programs on a truly long-term basis, which provides much-needed continuity and security to those receiving assistance. How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Well, I have benefited greatly by the kindness of others and their will-
ingness to give me opportunities to grow and succeed. As a result, I have been fortunate to have had great experiences in business and life that allowed me to develop a pretty strong set of skills and beliefs. When contemplating my next (and possibly last?) leadership opportunity a few years ago, I realized that I had a deep appreciation for what I had been given and a desire to do some true “heart work” (rather than just “money work”) in the latter part of my career. And voila, here I am… How do you measure success in your workplace? While I still use many traditional, time-tested financial measurements to evaluate effectiveness, efficiency and progress towards attainment of goals, I am delighted to say that at CI we measure success by the number of people we serve, the degree to which we help them achieve their goals and personal success and by the overall impact we have on the community. It’s wonderful to evaluate our effectiveness in the success of those we support. What do you consider your leadership style to be? Rather than answer that myself, I asked my leadership team to describe my style. They surprised, flattered
and delighted me by comparing my leadership approach to that of John Wooden, the influential and longtime men’s basketball coach at UCLA. I shared with them a book by and about Coach Wooden as part of our first strategic planning process together in early 2018. I think what they are saying is that I share Coach Wooden’s belief in thorough preparation, attention to details and fundamentals, establishing clear priorities and sharing a compelling vision. At least I hope that is what they mean. I also try to be as personal as possible in dealing with others and use a lot of humor in my leadership. How do you balance work and family life? I try my best to invest my energy in activities and efforts that I consider very important, high value-added and/ or of personal interest. If I do that well, I find I am pretty effective in balancing demands on my time. What do you like to do when you are not at work? One definite perk of moving to the Tri-Cities from LA is that I was able to buy a nice property that contains a one-acre wine grape vineyard. I spend quite a bit of time working on growing grapes and trying my best to sell them at harvest time. I also love lis-
tening to music and going to concerts (love The Gorge!) and I have two great dogs and a terrific girlfriend with whom I like to spend time. I travel as much as I can as well. What’s your best time management strategy? To me, it’s all about having as few, high impact priorities as possible — no more than three at a time — and putting my efforts there. Best tip to relieve stress? If I do the things that I really value and enjoy, stress kind of takes care of itself. But staying in touch with my children may be my best stress reliever of all. What’s your favorite podcast? “Armchair Expert” by Dax Shepard Most-used website? I use LinkedIn a lot in my business dealings. Favorite book? Just too many good ones to name a favorite but I have loved both “The Lord of the Rings” and the Harry Potter series. Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for length. The full Q&A is available online at tcjournal.biz
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 ROJAS, From page 1
The storm battered Howard Amon and the shelterbelt and much of the city. A commercial roof landed on George Washington Way. A sailboat crashed into an intersection. Trees fell everywhere, he recalled. Wind events are not tracked as well as other types of storms, but it appears a major one rolled through the Tri-Cities on May 18 that year. Winds topped 60 miles per hour at the TriCities Airport, according to National Weather Service and Tri-City Herald reports. Rojas, assigned the only city vehicle that could communicate both with dispatchers and multiple departments, spent the day routing cleanup crews to blocked streets. Once emergency routes were cleared, they turned their attention to parks. Howard Amon was an unwalkable jumble of fallen trees and limbs. The shelterbelt too. “I had trees literally picked up by the roots and thrown around,” he said. Someone had the idea to invite the public to cut up fallen trees for firewood. People showed up, but when they started cutting down live trees, the invitation was revoked. When the debris was cleared, Rojas was left with the municipal equivalent of a blank canvas: A park in need of trees. “That gave me an opportunity to be more selective about trees,” he said.
uBRIEFS Online shopping is state’s top Covid-19 scam
Online shopping scams tied to the Covid-19 pandemic broke the $105 million mark on Aug. 11 and are now Washington’s No. 1 scam, according to SocialCatfish.com, which tracks online scams. Nearly 25,000 online scams have been reported nationally and 722 in Washington, making it the top way fraudsters attempt to steam money from victims. Washington victims filed nearly 3,700 reports with the Federal Trade Commission, representing $2.7 million in losses. Online shopping scams are the most common type of scam nationally, followed by travel and vacation scams, credit card scams, bank/credit union scams and mobile text messages. File complaints at ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
Suspicious seeds arrive in Washington mailboxes
Washington and U.S. residents have received mysterious packages containing unidentified seeds, often
A Federal Emergency Management Association grant paid for replacements. Saplings arrived by the truckload. The city set up a makeshift nursery. Today, those young oaks, red maples and other durable species tower alongside the silver maple. Rojas is also a devoted experimenter, eager to plant modern hybrids if they suit a location. He’s less fond of the cottonwoods that were widely planted across Richland. They grow fast but they die back fast too. Limbs fall — heavily — from great heights. Rojas, who turns 65 in October, said he’ll climb up to 80 feet in a tree. With cottonwoods, there’s still 20 to 30 feet overhead. “You don’t want to put in cottonwoods,” he said. Rojas, who has served on the state urban forestry council, helped launch the Mid-Columbia Community Forestry Council, which posts advice about what to trees work best in a desert at trees4you.org. “The right tree for the right location” is the philosophy that guides what is planted and where both in parks and at city facilities. Rojas lends his expertise to developments across the city. Richland’s new City Hall has specially selected varieties he said will grow and age well with the structure. Howard Amon is Exhibit A for the benefits of taking a long view. To ensure a mature canopy, the city
routinely plants young trees near aging ones. He prefers larger saplings — three inches or more across — because they can stand up to the damaging curiosity of children. The city seldom loses a newly planted tree because it takes care to put them in the right spot, with the right water. When their old friends must be removed, the young trees have matured enough to take on their place. Rojas said the city tries to be transparent about tree maintenance. It posts notices when trees are set for removal. The area near the tennis courts, south of Lee Boulevard, is a good example of how pairing new with old has paid off. Four oaks quietly matured near two towering elms along the eastern fence. When the elms had to be removed, a mature line of trees was already in place and the elms were not missed. The urban forestry program Rojas leads is a big part of Richland’s great network of parks, said Joe Schiessl, who leads the parks and recreation system. “He’s created a legacy for future generations. It’s something he should be very proud of,” he said. Rojas is mindful too that Richlanders love their trees and are quick to object to them being cut down. Once, when the city hosted a tree care conference, several trees were marked with yellow ribbons as part of the program, triggering alarmed calls. Rojas is no fan of removing trees. But he will not shy away from the
job either, pointing out several spots where trees once stood. “I don’t like taking down trees though,” he said. He credits the diligent scrutiny and a commitment to tree health, which includes removing hazardous trees, for the overall health of Richland’s urban forest. Rojas said he’s most proud that there have been no falling limb injuries during his tenure as chief arborist. Rojas, one of two certified arborists with the city, inspects trees prior to major events such as the Art in the Park. He’s confident the attention to the city’s trees will continue when he’s gone. The city will name a new chief arborist, Schiessl said. Rojas moved with his family to the Tri-Cities in 1963. He went through Pasco High School and took courses at Columbia Basin College and Washington State University to become a certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. He joined the city in 1978 as a temporary maintenance worker. He soon landed a full-time job and held a series of positions in parks, then the landfill and then energy services before becoming the parks maintenance lead in 1989 — the year of the storm — and lead arborist in 1994. “It’s been a good ride,” he said.
labeled as something else. The Washington State Department of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are asking the public to turn in seeds they receive that may have been shipped into the country illegally. Some people reported ordering the seeds but they did not know the seeds would be coming from another country. Others had not ordered the seeds at all. Mislabeling packages to get seeds and other plant materials into the
country is agricultural smuggling. Washington residents should seal any seeds they receive in plastic and send them to: USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Attn: Jason Allen, Seattle Plant Inspection Station, 835 S. 192nd St., Bldg D, Ste 1600, Seatac, WA 98148.
The online event is organized by the University of Washington’s Memory and Brain Wellness Center on behalf of the Washington State Dementia Active Collaborative. It is open to all who share a passion for raising awareness about dementia and to encourage innovative programs. The event meets from 9 a.m. to noon both days. The cost is $15 for community members and $40 for professionals. Scholarships are available. Go to depts.washington.edu/mbwc/ events/dfc for details.
Make your community dementia friendly
Meredith Hanley, director of the national Dementia Friendly America, will give the keynote address for a two-day virtual event Sept. 29-30.
SENIOR TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020
The 2020 Senior Times Fall Expo is a drive-thru-only event this fall because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Get a goody bag filled with vendor products and information in our drive-thru loop. We’ll be masked and gloved up with your safety in mind.
Limited to first 1,000 people. For more information, call (509) 737-8778.