Plastic carrier bags will no longer be available at Walmart checkouts in Pullman and Clarkston, a change that will come April 18 at all of the retail giant’s stores in Washington.
When a ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect in Washington in October 2021, Walmart switched to reusable bags containing recycled plastic that sold for 8 cents each. Those bags are being phased out.
As a replacement for plastic bags, customers will be encouraged to bring their own bag or purchase a reusable bag from Walmart (pictured left), according to a press release.
The Walmart bags cost 74 cents each and are located near checkout lines that have been revamped to accommodate more reusable bags.
“Eliminating single-use bags is part of our effort to reduce waste in our stores and keep Washington communities and ecosystems clean,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of Walmart Sustainability, in the press release.
The shift in Washington is informed by what Walmart has learned from eliminating paper and plastic bags in Canada, Mexico, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Connecticut, according to the press release.
“By going bagless in these six states, Walmart avoids using more than 1.2 billion plastic and paper bags each year,” the press release said.
SEL manager receives Women MAKE Awards accolades
A mechanical engineer from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories was named the winner of the 2023 Women MAKE Awards.
According to a press release from SEL, Jessi Hall, senior director of vertical integration, received the award given to women who make significant contributions to production.
Honorees are recognized for their leadership, innovation and dedication to supporting the next generation of manufacturers and promoting inclusion.
Hall joined SEL in 2011 as a mechanical engineer. Today, she leads the development of vertical integration strategies and leads a team of 150 people.
“Her work helped identify the need for SEL’s new printed circuit board facility in Moscow,” the press release said.
During the plant’s two-year construction, she oversaw “the establishment of high-quality equipment and suppliers, rigorous manufacturing processes, methods of reducing environmental impact, and presentations to educate the community about printed circuit board manufacturing.”
In addition to those responsibilities, Hall was a founding member of the SEL Women in STEM group, which provides employees with opportunities for networking, mentorship, and advancement opportunities.
Outside of work, she serves on advisory boards for Washington State University’s Mechanical & Materials Engineering program and Gonzaga University’s Operations Management program. She is also a school board member of the Steptoe School District and plays an active role in SEL’s K-12 Education Outreach program.
Lewiston’s Spiral Rock Events shifts focus to events
LEWISTON – An event center and overnight vacation rental are the focus of Spiral Rock Events after the company retired from making wine and kombucha.
The company’s new direction takes advantage of two of its greatest assets: the view of the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley from its location along the Old Spiral Highway and the large, flexible indoor and outdoor space, said Stuart Davis, an owner of what had been Spiral rock vines.
They removed the riesling, cabernet, malbec and syrah vines in November and stopped sales of kombucha in December, he said.
The decision came after Davis and the other family members who owned the venture realized that about 90% of their time was spent on wine and kombucha, which accounted for about 10% of revenue, he said.
“It was mostly a garden project that got out of hand,” Davis said.
The event center and vacation rental, where he and his wife, Becky Davis, live for three months of the year, are available April through December when they are traveling.
Their daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Billy Doughty, are the managers. They are assisted by the Davises’ son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Holly Davis.
Weddings are the most common activity at the event center, which features a lawn, pavilion and indoor space.
A three-day event center wedding package costs $3,295. It starts on Friday at 8:00 AM and ends on Sunday at 12:00 PM. The price includes chairs and tables for 150 people, linen and insurance, as well as use of a kitchen and barbecue equipment.
Use of the overnight accommodation is additional, but Spiral Rock does not rent it to other parties on wedding weekends.
Different rates are available for events such as baby showers and corporate retreats.
The overnight accommodation has six queen size beds divided into several rooms, including two bedrooms. The lodge can be rented on Fridays and Saturdays for $500 per night. Discounts are available on other days of the week.
Grangeville native promoted by Regence BlueShield of Idaho
BOISE – Regence BlueShield of Idaho has promoted Trish Quarles, a woman born and raised in Grangeville, to vice president of sales.
In her new role, she will lead business development and customer retention in Boise by focusing on the needs of the organization and the timely introduction of new healthcare solutions, according to a Regence press release.
“It has been an honor to guide our account management team here at Regence for the past three years,” Quales said in the press release. “The energy and creativity of our entire sales team and their relentless focus on customer satisfaction is inspiring.”
Prior to joining Regence, she was an executive at a regional consulting firm, where she designed benefit programs for large group clients, developed a specialized self-financing unit at the company, and drove increased engagement and satisfaction by educating existing clients about products such as wellness programs.
Housing trends in Idaho this week’s webinar topic
The demand for housing in Idaho and choices builders face when deciding what kind of homes to build are topics of a free webinar being held on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Registration for the hour-long Idaho Department of Labor event is available at bit.ly/3YtZ0FG.
Idaho Department of Labor economist Matt Paskash will present an analysis of trends in housing construction statewide, along with permitting data from the US Census Bureau.
Paskash holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He previously managed grants for a metropolitan planning organization and studied gender pay inequality as a student at Indiana University Northwest.