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Mike Richards

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Mike Richards grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a degree in Multiplatform Journalism and a minor in Public Relations. He wrote and published articles at Pittsburgh’s NPR station covering a variety of topics.
Lighthouse at the San Juan Islands

Washington tourism agencies prepare for the winter decline

As the winter months approach, Washington tourism agencies are implementing different campaigns and marketing strategies to keep travelers coming to visit state attractions. Strategies...
Dock extending into Columbia River

Stakeholders say Millennium permit denial endangers business climate

The Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner this week denied Millennium Bulk Terminals its Shoreline Permit for its proposed export terminal in Longview. Labor and business...
Airplane at Grant County International Airport

13th District lawmakers visit Japan to market Washington’s strengths

Washington’s 13th District lawmakers recently embarked on a trade mission to Japan to foster mutually beneficial relationships and encourage new development within the state....
Wendy Hutchinson speaks to benefit of Millennium Bulk Terminals project

Hearings on Millennium Bulk Terminals permits conclude with strong support

Hearings concluded this week on Millennium Bulk Terminals’ (MBT) Shoreline Substantial Development and Conditional Use Permits for its proposed export terminal in Longview. The...
Engineer working on equipment

Washington technical school to partner with Oregon, British Columbia to fill workforce gaps

There will be an estimated 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years and analysts are projecting a lack of qualified...
View over Seattle

The proposed Seattle head count tax: yet another business burden

Members of the Seattle City Council recently proposed a new head count tax on large businesses in Seattle to help fund homelessness programs and...
Combine Harvesting Wheat

Washington wheat growers weigh in on NAFTA, South Korean trade agreement

As North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations continue, the Washington wheat industry is sharing its concerns and hopes for a revamped contract. The...
Rideshare car

Establishing a level playing field for ride-hailing companies in Spokane

As the city of Spokane proceeds with a temporary contract for ridesharing businesses such as Uber or Lyft, one city councilmember and taxi cab...

Washington Policy Center to expand, focus on labor issues

The Washington Policy Center (WPC) has announced it will expand its research at the start of 2018, opening a center to focus on labor...

Millennium Bulk Terminals appeals Ecology denial of key permit

Yesterday, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) appealed the Washington State Department of Ecology’s denial of its water quality permit for the proposed export facility in...

Building a sustainable housing future

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) hosted builders, developers, realtors and other housing stakeholders for its fourth annual housing summit,...

Secretary of Education DeVos urges school choice in K-12

At Washington Policy Center’s (WPC) annual dinner, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addressed nearly 1,500 business leaders, elected officials and young professionals about the power...

Japan eyes Millennium Bulk Terminals to fulfill energy needs

More than six years after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility disaster, Japan is looking to the United States as a viable option for a...

Labor urges passage of Millennium Bulk Terminals permit to boost economy, create jobs

Members of the labor community have taken a strong interest in urging Cowlitz County to approve shoreline permits for the proposed export terminal project...

Employers: Reduced 2018 workers’ compensation rates appreciated, could be lower

Even as the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) projects a 2.5-percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums paid by Washington employers for 2018, members...
Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed export facility in Longview has been denied its water quality permit by the state Department of Ecology (DOE), prompting members...
Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

As the U.S., Canada and Mexico prepare to enter the third round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions at the end...

Hirst impact study reveals troubling tax implications

A recent economic impact study found that the 2016 Washington Supreme Court decision in Whatcom County v. Eric Hirst will likely increase real estate taxes...

Seattle mayoral and city council candidates discuss Seattle housing

Two Seattle mayoral candidates and one city council candidate shared their perspectives this week on hot housing topics in the expanding city, including affordable...

WWU study highlights economic benefits of agribusiness in Whatcom County

As a recent Western Washington University (WWU) study highlights the benefits of agriculture to Whatcom County businesses, one of the study’s authors as well...

Washington’s agricultural industry weighs in on second round of NAFTA reworks

As the second round of discussions regarding changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wrap up this week, U.S. and Washington representatives...

City of Kenmore downtown development sets example for future Washington municipal projects

As one King County city moves to develop its downtown, developers and city staff are praising the move as a way to attract more...

Spokane rail proposition likely to place taxpayers on hook for legal defense

In July, the majority of the Spokane City Council denied two advisory votes which would have allowed taxpayers to weigh in on how the...

Stakeholders voice concerns over Spokane rail initiative

As the Spokane City Council decides to move a controversial measure to the fall ballot which would fine the transport of certain fossil fuels,...

Public awareness campaign warns voters of Spokane rail proposition

A public awareness campaign has launched to inform Spokane voters of the dangers of approving a proposition to fine rail car owners for transporting...

Workers comp cases need increased state oversight, employers say

After four years of battling a reportedly fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, one Washington construction business has decided to drop the case to avoid further...
Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Although fraudulent workers’ compensation claims can financially hinder employers and the success of their businesses, officials at Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industries...
Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Discussions to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin in one week, and Washington’s agricultural stakeholders are voicing concerns and offering suggestions...

Legislature continues work to address Hirst, capital budget

Even though the legislature adjourned last week without a solution to the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision or passage of a capital budget, lawmakers...

Business, Industry Leaders Say Rail Initiative Threatens Washington’s Competitiveness

A controversial Spokane ballot initiative would fine fossil fuel businesses planning to transport their commodity through city limits, which opponents say violates federal law,...
video

Lens Video – Millennium Bulk Terminals Project

Millennium Bulk Terminals President and CEO Bill Chapman tells Lens about the importance of the company’s proposed coal export terminal project to the Longview...

Millennium Bulk Terminals Receives First Permit For Coal Export Terminal

After nearly five years and five months in the permitting process, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) has finally received its first permit for the company’s...

Lawmakers Skeptical They Can Agree On A Hirst Fix Before Session Ends

As the Washington state legislature enters the last day of its third special session, lawmakers are doubtful that a Hirst fix will be agreed...

Skagit Farmers Relieved Over Clarification of Swinomish Constitutional Amendments

Skagit Valley farmers are praising a recent letter sent by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) which clarified that amendments to a local...

Washington Becomes 5th State to Mandate Paid Family and Medical Leave

10 years after the Washington legislature first approved a framework without a clear plan for implementation, Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into...

New Buildable Lands Law Projected to Improve Data, Fill Gaps In State Housing Inventory

Washington homebuilders and realtors are praising a new law that would clarify what land is considered buildable under Growth Management Act (GMA) comprehensive plan...

Construction Business Owner Shares His Struggle With Unresolved Workers’ Compensation Claim

A long-standing workers’ compensation claim can be enough to put a company out of business, take away the owner’s ability to stay profitable, or...

Washington State Sweet Cherry Growers Expecting “Heavy Set” Harvest

It should be a bountiful sweet cherry harvest this year, according to recent estimates from the U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). As cherry...

Locals Divided Over Benefits Of Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Project

The proposed Vancouver Energy oil export terminal project is anticipated to create local jobs, lower the state and county’s dependence on foreign oil and...

Enhanced Safety Strategies Protect Workers, Reduce Construction Business Operating Costs

For construction businesses, workplace accidents have ripple effects which extend beyond the initial claim and the worker’s wellbeing – any injury can hold up...
video

Lens Video – Vancouver Energy Project

Lens sat down with Vancouver Energy General Manager Jared Larrabee to discuss the proposed project, which is anticipated to create family-wage jobs, bolster energy...

Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Would Bring Jobs, Revenue To Local Communities

Final public comment regarding a permit for the proposed Vancouver Energy oil terminal proved lively as local residents, environmental advocates, business stakeholders and members...

Identifying Small Business Challenges In Washington’s Workers’ Compensation System

In the business world, one workers' compensation claim can spell disaster for employers and their ability to stay afloat in a competitive market, and the financial effects...
Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

As budgetary negotiations continue this special session, the survival of a bill that would put Washington’s tourism efforts back on the map is dependent...
Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

In hopes of bolstering American agricultural exports, two U.S. Congressmen this month introduced a bill that would increase market promotion and the ability to...
New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law which would encourage timely completion of state environmental impact statements (EIS) for proposed development projects. Proponents of the...
Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

As Washington prepares to implement a mandatory paid sick leave law for businesses, the department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is gauging small business concerns and considering cost mitigation...
Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

In the wake of a national audit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded and Washington state-based "What's Upstream” campaign targeting the agriculture community, U.S. lawmakers and state...
New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

In a move proponents say will reduce confusion and better equip employers, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law this week legislation that soon will...
Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Numerous Washington state labor leaders are urging Governor Jay Inslee to endorse two economic development projects bogged down in the state’s permitting process, highlighting the regional energy security, expanded...
Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

As Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) release the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) coal...
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