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Grant PUD receives national award for community service

Posted by on Jul 19, 2019

The collective efforts of Grant PUD and its employees to give back to the communities they serve were recently recognized with the American Public Power Association’s 2018 Community Service Award. The association presented the award June 11 at its national conference in Austin, Texas. From fundraisers and food drives to advocacy and education, Grant PUD’s application for the award successfully encapsulated decades of ongoing community service at all levels of the utility, according to a press release. The award honors a collective effort to be a compassionate partner and public citizen across social, cultural, educational and economic fronts. “The compassion and dedication of our employees is our biggest asset at Grant PUD,” General Manager Kevin Nordt said in a press release. “It’s humbling to receive a national award, but gratifying to know that a lot of hard work by a lot of caring people hasn’t gone unnoticed.” “We commissioners have enjoyed enough VoltsWalkers’ cancer-care fundraising luncheons, barbecue fundraisers and turns in the Grant PUD booth at the fair to know that this utility and its employees go the extra mile for this community,” said Commission President Dale Walker in a press release. “We’re proud of them.” Grant PUD and its employees’ community outreach includes fundraising for cancer care and treatment, support for Seattle Children’s Hospital, scholarships for students with an autistic sibling, school and library education programs about energy and salmon survival, support for water safety via The World’s Largest Swim Lesson event, and Archaeology Days, a celebration of Native American culture, area geology and history. By Post-Register...

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Microsoft pays forward its conservation rebate from Grant PUD

Posted by on Jul 9, 2019

Grant PUD’s board of commissioners recognized Microsoft Corp. officials June 25 after the technology leader agreed to contribute a $480,000 energy conservation rebate toward initiatives to benefit Grant County residents as part of the utility’s Pay-it-Forward Partnership. Microsoft has data center operations in Quincy and is a customer of Grant PUD. “I would like to recognize Microsoft for having the generosity of seeing needs that can be met through using their conservation credit for the betterment of the county,” Grant PUD commissioner Thomas Flint said in a press release. Fellow PUD commissioner Nelson Cox echoed Flint’s appreciation. “It’s great to see that it’s countywide support,” Cox said in a press release. “That’s a big kudos.” Grant PUD will make a $470,000 contribution to the Columbia Basin Foundation on behalf of Microsoft. Microsoft will then work with the foundation to have $400,000 of its rebate go toward completion of Big Bend Community College’s Workforce Education Center, according to information from Grant PUD. From the left are: Terry Lees and Leanne Parton, Big Bend Community College; Nelson Cox, Grant PUD commissioner; Gigi Lowry, Microsoft; Tom Flint and Larry Schaapman, Grant PUD commissioners; Patrick Medaglia and Lisa Karstetter, Microsoft; Tom Moncrief, Columbia Basin Foundation; Dale Walker, Grant PUD commission president; Judy Wilson, Grant PUD commissioner; Leslie Taylor and Corrine Isaak, Columbia Basin Foundation. Submitted photo North Central Washington, including Grant County, is one of six regions chosen for Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative to foster economic opportunity and investment. “Sustainability is a core value for Microsoft, and that drives efforts to make our operations more energy efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Mike Egan, senior director of Microsoft’s TechSpark program, in a press release. “Our focus on sustainability can also be found in our work to help make communities more sustainable, and this contribution to Grant PUD’s Pay-it-Forward Partnership supports that goal. As part of our TechSpark initiative, Microsoft is working to foster new economic opportunities in North Central Washington. We see Big Bend Community College’s new Workforce Education Center as an investment in the future of the region where people can get the education and skills that are in high demand by employers.” Another portion of the rebate, $50,000, will help the foundation direct locally grown produce to healthy-eating programs for families in Grant County, and $20,000 will help school districts participate in an environmental-education program at Grant PUD’s Visitor Center at Wanapum Dam. The remaining $10,000 will go directly into Grant PUD’s Share the Warmth fund, which helps families in need pay their power bills, according to a press release. Microsoft entered into a partnership with Grant PUD to make significant energy-efficient upgrades to equipment at its data center operations in Quincy and have them audited by a third-party verifier. This helped Grant PUD fulfill the requirements of Washington’s Energy Independence Act (I-937) by achieving cost-effective conservation requirements. As part of this law, qualifying utilities must report their energy conservation achievements to the state of Washington every two years. Grant PUD has established a conservation goal for the 2018-2019 biennium of 32,149 megawatt-hours, according to a press release. “Microsoft’s participation in this program contributed to a significant savings in energy and also dollars for Grant PUD’s customers,” said Terry McKenzie, senior manager of Customer Solutions, in a press release. “We were able to...

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Something’s cooking at Tacos Jacob

Posted by on Jul 8, 2019

Tacos Jacob is the newest family-owned restaurant to open in Quincy. The opening was so anticipated, that by the time the doors opened, there was a long line of customers waiting outside of the door. The owners, David and Francis Hernandez, followed their hearts, and chose to put Francis’ mother, Lidia, in the kitchen, where she works her magic best. “It was always my mother’s dream to have something of her own,” Francis said. “She’s a good cook. She is the main chef at the restaurant.” Sure, there are quite a few Mexican-style restaurants in town; six to be exact, but the main thing that sets Tacos Jacob apart from the others is its homemade tortillas and generous portions. Lidia likes using only fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch. She doesn’t worry about portions, because she wants her customers to be full and satisfied when they leave. “The tacos are the best,” David said. “People will come because they know they will not leave hungry. The tacos are large and loaded with meat.” From the left are: Araceli Mora, Antonio Herrera, Lidia Rodriguez, Francis Hernandez and David Hernandez. A family that works together, stays together. Tacos Jacob is the newest family-owned restaurant in Quincy.Photo by Tammara Green/For the Post-Register Running a restaurant is a bit of a change for David, who is a musician. He claims he will never leave his music behind completely. He likes being at the restaurant now because he can spend more time with his wife. Family, for the both of them takes priority over everything. In the first week of operation, Tacos Jacob has enjoyed success. It seems that business is going better than expected for David and Francis. “It has been busier than expected to be honest,” David said. “People are talking about it and the word is spreading. People came from Wenatchee and left a positive comment. They came back again. Workers from Microsoft came twice in the same day because they like the food.” Curious minds wanted to also know why the couple chose the name Tacos Jacob for their restaurant. The easy answer, according to Francis, is that her mother wanted them to name the restaurant after her grandson Jacob, or she would politely decline the offer to come and help at the restaurant. Her demands worked, and so the name stuck. Francis is in awe of her mother in the kitchen. She is a huge fan of her cooking, especially pork ribs in red sauce and her fish tacos. She also cannot wrap her mind around how her mother manages to make so many tortillas by hand. “I admire her a lot,” Francis said. “She is working with a big pile of masa and she can make the tortillas so fast. When you go hire people you ask for their experience, but I already know my mom is a good cook.” David patiently watches and learns as Lidia cooks so he can learn her recipes. He is catching on quickly already. Pretty soon, the whole family will be able to recreate mama Lidia’s recipes in the kitchen. After all, a family that cooks together, stays together. Find Tacos Jacob at 800 First Ave. SW. By Tammara Green, For the...

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Port of Quincy close to starting on industrial building

Posted by on Jul 6, 2019

Commissioners of the Port of Quincy are close to completing a deal that would have the port construct a building to house Raceway Technology., which would be a new employer in Quincy. At the June 26 port meeting, commissioners discussed the port’s industrial properties and gave some time to a deal with Raceway, a deal that the port has been working on for a couple of years. Raceway is interested in 9 acres in the port’s Industrial Park 4. Involved in the deal is Washington Trust Bank, which is expected to advance funds from a bond issue for the building for Raceway. Before the bank will advance funds, Raceway must give a deposit and rent, Kuest explained later, and sign the lease with the port. Then construction can begin. The building has been designed, and the port has selected a contractor to build it. If all goes as planned, Raceway will be in the new building and have 45-60 people working in Quincy by the end of the year, according to Kuest. Port commissioners also heard a report from Sarah Hawes on tables, chairs and a wedding coming up in the main hall of the conference center. Asked about the new sound system in the hall, she said she informs renters that the system is ready to use. Catalina Blancas updated the board on marketing the conference center, a new role for her. Blancas also works at Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce. Commissioner Brian Kuest gave an update on dealings with the industrial water users group and the city of Quincy regarding handling discharge water from local industries. Kuest said the subject would be on the agenda at the next meeting of the Quincy City Council. The board voted in favor, with conditions, of engaging Landau Associates, an environmental and geotechnical firm, at a cost of $25,000 to perform an assessment, which will be paid for by the water users group. Kuest relayed to the port board a summary of ongoing talks between the leaders of Quincy Valley Medical Center and of Samaritan Healthcare of Moses Lake. Commissioners tabled an item of new business regarding a service agreement with Grant County Economic Development Council. By Dave Burgess,...

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Port hears business owner’s concerns about crime

Posted by on Jul 1, 2019

Rob Sole, owner of Chet’s Honda Polaris in Quincy, spoke about an “explosion of property crime” at the June 12 meeting of the board of commissioners of the Port of Quincy. He said his business has been hit eight times since March. His remarks were similar to what he told the Quincy City Council recently. Burglaries make it difficult for him to do business in Quincy, he said, and complacency about the level of property crime blunts the community’s progress. “It’s got to change. It’s got to get fixed,” Sole said. It’s “the last great hurdle that Quincy has to get over to make this a really great place to be.” He says a full complement of officers patrols town during the day, but only two patrol at night. “It’s a broken system,” he said. Despite his poignant remarks to the City Council on May 7, he told Port commissioners the crime problem is not getting fixed. “We still have minimal officers at night,” he said. “The mayor, the council … they are just not getting it.” Commissioner Curt Morris replied, “We agree. You gotta get control of this crime, one way or another.” Commissioner Brian Kuest asked whether Sole had a specific wish of what should be done. Sole replied he is willing to pony up some money for security guards, but, he said, he is generating a lot of sales tax for the city but not getting the services. Sonia Padron, a member of the City Council, was at the Port meeting and joined in the discussion. Morris said Quincy has been good over the years about solving its challenges and Port commissioners have looked at the crime question. The Port has studied creating its own police force but found that its police force could patrol only the Port’s properties. Property crime happens across Grant County but it is a low priority and suspects are being turned loose, Morris said. Following extended discussion of ideas, Morris concluded with, “Duly noted. It’s up to us to work with the council. Let’s figure it out.” Golf course Moving on to Colockum Ridge Golf Course, commissioners discussed a proposal to install new carpet in the clubhouse. A men’s golf club had offered to donate half the cost of the estimated $2,800 for carpet. Kuest motioned to put up to $2,000 toward carpet, take $1,400 from the club and see about doing the installation now and at night, rather than wait for the busy season to pass. Installation at night was expected to cost more. The motion passed. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of acquiring more golf carts. More are needed for the larger tournaments. And, Catalina Blancas has begun marketing efforts for the golf course. She said she has started an Instagram page for the course already. Wine tasting room Returning to the Port board, LeeAnnette Fortier did a presentation on the idea of creating a community wine tasting room. At her prior appearance, commissioners asked her assess interest from local wineries. “We have six wineries that would be interested,” Fortier said. She said wineries had agreed to sell at wholesale prices to the tasting room. Participating wineries would not be charged a fee for having their wines at the tasting room. Commissioner Patric Connelly expressed his opinion that it...

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Microsoft applies for change to permit

Posted by on Jun 29, 2019

Microsoft aims to revise the air quality permit for its MWH Data Center, at 1515 Port Industrial Parkway, Quincy, and a public comment period is open. The Washington Department of Ecology states that Microsoft MWH Data Center currently has an air quality permit to install and operate 117 diesel powered emergency generators, 32 cooling towers, and 136 evaporative coolers. The operating limitations and emission limits in the existing Approval Order are calculated based on the assumption that MWH may average annual fuel use and annual operating hours over a three-year rolling period, meaning that theoretical maximum emissions are based on a worst-case year in which MWH would use three times the average annual fuel limit and operate three times the average annual hourly limit. Microsoft submitted an application to remove MWH’s option to average annual usage over a rolling three-year period and replace it with a rolling 12-month average. The proposed change to the operating limits represents a decrease in permitted worst-case annual emissions. Hourly emission limits and operating scenarios would not change, according to the department. Ecology says it has determined this project satisfies the requirements of Chapters 173-400 and 173-460 WAC, and the public is invited to comment. A public hearing will be held if Ecology determines there is significant public interest. Comments are due by 5 p.m. July 19. For information and ways to comment, visit Post-Register...

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Ecology holds air quality permit hearing for CyrusOne data center

Posted by on Jun 28, 2019

The Washington state Department of Ecology’s open house and public hearing on a permit for a proposed data center to be built in Quincy drew a handful of attendees June 13. CyrusOne Inc. has applied for an air quality permit from Ecology for a new data center in Quincy. In its application, the company proposed 42 backup generators. The event was held in the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center and featured three information stations around the main hall. Attendees had an hour to learn about the site, health impacts and permit details at the separate stations and to talk with representatives of CyrusOne and Ecology officials. CyrusOne had several representatives at the meeting answering questions. Spokesman David Baum said the company works with some of the largest companies in the world, and the Quincy data center would be CyrusOne’s 46th data center globally. Growth in the technology sector in the Pacific Northwest was a big draw for the company to come to Quincy, Baum said, along with growth in the cloud and artificial intelligence. The cloud makes AI possible, he added, and it requires a tremendous amount of computing power. And, technology is continuing to grow in importance within businesses everywhere. “Every company is a tech company” these days, he said. The company has headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and Baum called the company the largest data center provider in Texas. Danna Dal Porto, left, chats with a representative of Washington state Department of Ecology, air quality toxicologist Gary Palcisko, during the open house June 13 for the CyrusOne data center air permit. Photo by Dave Burgess/Post-Register Ecology’s Cynthia Wall led the formal public hearing – an opportunity for anyone to speak about the project. It lasted about five minutes, because only one resident, Danna Dal Porto, chose to present a comment at the hearing. Ecology also has other methods of submitting comments. “I am here because as a Quincy resident for 39 years … I want to learn about any development that emits hazardous materials into the air we breathe,” Dal Porto said. “I can see the pink diesel plume over town during the frequent inversions we have here,” she said. Dal Porto said she is part of a residents group she called MYTAPN, short for “Microsoft Yes, Toxic Air Pollution No.” “We are not against industry … but we do have some concerns about our air quality,” she said. Dal Porto has attended similar hearings and has studied concerns about data centers for years. At the hearing, she made points about diesel particulates, pollution sources and Ecology’s work and documents. She concluded by saying that based on conversations she had with officials during the open house, she would submit more comments online, using Ecology’s regular comment system. The Department of Ecology has recommended approval of the permit. Later, in an interview, Dal Porto said, “I am committed to making sure things are above board and honest. … If there are opportunities to speak up for your community, you should.” The public comment period closed on June 17. A response to comments submitted will be placed on an Ecology webpage: The CyrusOne data center is planned to be built at 1025 D St. NW, Quincy. The site is on the western side of another data center, NTTData...

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Quincy Farmers Market brings in more vendors

Posted by on Jun 27, 2019

Saturday, June 15, was the perfect day to hang out at the Quincy Farmers Market. In the early afternoon, temperatures rose to a toasty 85 degrees before the market shut down for the day. According to Sonia Padron, the Quincy Farmers Market vice president, there was a total of 27 booths for this second market of the season. “The first season we started out with 11 booths,” Padron said. At the Quincy Farmers Market, vendors from all over the local area are coming to sell their handcrafted goods. You can find anything from Soap Lake soaps and refreshing wines from Ginkgo Forest Winery in Mattawa, to an abundance of lavender products from Trinity Gardens in the Quincy area. Entertainment at the market was also a hit. Musician Rylei Franks performed from 9 to 11 a.m., and then the Quincy High School Choir took over from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The next market will be even bigger and better,” Padron said. The next Farmers Market is Saturday, July 6. There will be other vendors, and Birch Mountain Barbecue will be serving up some delicious food. The farmers markets continue through September on the first and third Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lauzier Park. “The 2019 season brings more vendors than before,” said market manager Chelsea Putnam. “New food vendors, excellent crafters, and of course our wonderful produce growers. We have an average of 30 vendors at each market, so the park is nice and full. We are always looking for new vendors because even at 30 we are not full. We also have a beautiful stage where we have musicians, choirs, and dancers perform each market.” If you are looking to be a vendor at the Quincy Farmers Market, call Putnam 509-670-6175. Booths cost $25 for a 12-foot by 12-foot space. To inquire about performing on stage at the farmers market, contact Padron at 509-398-0616. By Tammara Green, For the...

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Chamber’s Business Expo and Job Fair promotes local businesses

Posted by on Jun 24, 2019

Promoting local business and Quincy, the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce held its third annual Business Expo on June 11 at the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center. The Expo’s “Get in the Game” theme urged local businesses to join in and keep the local business community lively. “It’s a valuable event for the Quincy area,” said Julie Putnam, the chamber’s president this year, “another venue for local businesses to promote themselves.” Chamber members supported the event, as seen in their attendance. While most vendors at the Expo were chamber members, the event was not closed off from nonmember businesses. Participating businesses offered raffles throughout the three hours of the event, announcing winners about every 10-15 minutes. The chamber’s top raffle items were a propane fueled grill and a $100 gift certificate for Akins Fresh Market. The major sponsor of the Expo was the Port of Quincy. One of the vendor booths attracting attention was Harvest Valley Pest Control’s. Visitors were offered samples of edible bug parts if so inclined. The business offered its services in a raffle, and it had a miniature golf putting challenge. A hole-in-one would win a $50 gift card for Barb’s Clothing and Things. The putt looked difficult, yet the Harvest Valley booth staff said some visitors had succeeded. The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce leadership including board members gather for a quick photo amid the fun of its Business Expo and Job Fair on June 11 at the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center. From the left: Ryan Peterson, Catalina Blancas, Cari Mathews, Glenda Bishop, John Akins II, Galen Golay, Gigi Lowry, Brent Giles, Teddy Bakke and Julie Putnam. Photo by Dave Burgess/Post-Register This year’s Expo also saw a couple of changes: new vendor space dividers and a job fair addition. The job fair included four businesses: OIC of Washington, a nonprofit service agency; Legends Hospitality, which does alcohol and food concessions at Gorge Amphitheatre and had several job openings; WorkSource, an employment services agency; and SkillSource, a nonprofit providing workforce training. The booth dividers this year had been purchased by the chamber. They are tall and draped in black fabric. Previous Expos had blue dividers borrowed from Big Bend Community College. “Which was great – that’s how we did our first two years,” Putnam said. The chamber’s new dividers have frames of metal tubes, and they fit together easily, she said. The chamber bought them with multiple events and uses in mind. They can also be rented out for events of other organizations. By Dave Burgess,...

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Business Expo adds job fair

Posted by on Jun 8, 2019

Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce is going to host the Business Expo and Job Fair on June 11 at the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center 4-7 p.m. The Chamber’s executive director, Cari Mathews, explained that not only will it be an opportunity to meet local businesses, but to apply for jobs as well. The local enterprises are mostly from Quincy and some also from Wenatchee and other nearby cities. While visiting with the business representatives, attendees can also enjoy the offerings of food vendors and buy raffle tickets to win prizes. Mathews is hoping to have a bouncy castle for children to enjoy. Indoor booths were available as of May 28. To reserve one, call Cari at 509-787-2140. The event will be advertised with banners, flyers and reader board messages. The Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center is at 115 F St. SW, Quincy. For more information, go to By Jaana Hatton, For the...

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