To keep you all informed about the goings on in the Tri-Cities, The Observer announces a new feature, “Heard in the Tri.”

Richland councilmembers visit a micro-apartment mockup

On Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 Richland City Council and staff finally got a chance to see a mock-up of a micro-apartment in the former M Hotel at 1515 George Washington Way.

The hotel was recently purchased by an LLC associated with Fortify Holdings, a Portland developer.

Newly anointed City Manager Jon Amundson assured The Observer that there were no plumbing or electrical renovations in the apartments, only cosmetic changes for the city officials to see. The developer’s contractor, Amenity Construction and Renovation LLC out of Portland, didn’t apply for a construction permit until Nov. 17.  

According to the city’s permit page, Amenity has applied to create 206 studio apartments and 9 commercial spaces.  

Kennewick finally gets to 2022 legislative priorities

The Kennewick City Council will finally discuss at their Dec. 14 meeting priorities for the Washington State Legislature’s 2022 session.  The Richland and Pasco City Councils went through their priorities at meetings on Oct. 25 in Pasco and Oct.26 in Richland.

The 60-day session starts on Jan. 10, 2022.

How much campaign money will Matt Boehnke vacuum up in 2021?

In 2020 State Representative Matt Boehnke raised $99,790 even though his election opponent filed that he expected to raise less than $5000.  Boehnke began donating his extra dough to the House Republican Organizational Committee in August 2020 and ultimately transferred $52,100 to them by the end of that year. He has contributed $15,000 to them this year.

Boehnke recently announced that he’s running for Sharon Brown’s 8th district state senate seat. Brown said that she will not run for re-election in 2022.

With permission from his donors, Boehnke can transfer the $28,400 that he now has on hand for his state legislature race to the state senate race.

The Herald and other McClatchy papers have lost their comments

Readers have noticed that the Herald comment section that follows articles online has disappeared, and Facebook comments seem to have dwindled to nothing. A search by The Observer of other McClatchy newspapers around the country reveals the same change.

To find out why, The Observer called and emailed Susan Firey, Media Inquiries, at McClatchy headquarters in Sacramento, California. Firey did not respond.

New Secretary replaces Jennifer Azur at the Benton-Franklin Bar Association

Danielle Purcell replaces Jennifer Azur as secretary of the Benton-Franklin Bar Association. Azur was appointed by the Benton County Commission to replace a retiring judge on the Benton County District Court.

Some bar association members were not happy when Azur failed to post on a bar newsletter the opening that she applied for. There’s no word as to whether Purcell will be required to notify members when judgeships become available.

Audubon members hopping mad at the City of Richland

Local Audubon members are hopping mad about the destruction of native plants that provide bird and butterfly habitat along the pedestrian path in Richland’s Leslie Grove Park. The city’s parks department cleared an area east of Gaillard Place and Hunt Point.

According to members, the city’s justification for the clearing has changed from eliminating a place where homeless people sleep to eliminating a possible fire hazard. None of it holds water with the group that has appealed to the city to replace the plants that were removed and to consult with the local Audubon Society and the local Native Plant Society before proceeding with such a plan in the future.