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Wednesday market sprouts at Pybus

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Sisters Mika and Mariah Mulliken pick, pack and sell fruit for Tiny’s Organic in East Wenatchee.

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Wednesday market sprouts at Pybus

Damp, blustery weather didn’t daunt vendors at the June 19 debut of the Wednesday Farmers Market at the Pybus Public Market. A nice handful (OK, eight of them) turned out with great-looking fruit, produce, baked goods and handicrafts.

Mika and Mariah Mulliken, ages 21 and 17 respectively, sold bag-loads of huge cherries and ripe apricots that they picked and packed themselves as employees of Tiny’s Organic of East Wenatchee. It’s a summer job for the Wenatchee sisters who praised Greg and Erin McPherson, owners of the family-owned orchards and their website tinysorganics.com, as good bosses who produce even better fruit. Believe it or not, the farm grows about 60 varieties of fruit and sells at 30 farmers markets, many of them in the Puget Sound area.

The Wednesday Farmers Market operates at Pybus through autumn. Of course, it’s a spin-off of Saturday’s Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market, the Pybus Market’s largest tenant.




Moses Lake

WSU celebrates 50 years of potato research at field day

Fifty years of potato seed improvement was celebrated June 27 when Washington State University held its annual potato field day here.

The field day at the WSU Othello Research Center included discussions of commercial seed lot trials, research advancements, planting improvements, equipment innovations, factors in seed productivity, pests and pathogens and much more.

A presentation also marked a half-century of potato seed lot trials and the longstanding partnership between WSU and the Washington State Potato Commission.

The purpose of the trial is to annually assess the disease load found in commercial potato seed lots,” said WSU Extension horticulturist Mark Pavek. “It’s the centerpiece of the WSU potato field day. Growers and seed growers attend and are able to network or discuss results from the trial in person and on site.”




East Wenatchee

New YWCA Store features high-end items

East Wenatchee’s new YWCA Store East may be the only second-hand store in the region with a million-dollar view of the Cascades and Columbia River. It’s got a great view, too, of the city’s sewage treatment plant, but that can (literally) be overlooked.

The new store, the second thrift outlet for YWCA Wenatchee Valley and its third job-training site, opened June 18 and held a grand opening a few days later.

The new space is packed with high-end items plucked from the organization’s many estate sales — dining room sets, desks, a bunk bed, musical instruments (organ, violin, guitar, drums), home decor (art, pottery, table linens), wedding dresses, jewelry and (keep this under wraps) fur coats. Plus tons of other stuff.

Store manager Jane Graebel, Wenatchee, said the store features an expansive kitchenware section — cooking utensils to dishes to countertop storage containers — and a nice selection of used books, some of them rare. Graebel’s been busy for the last year with YWCA estate sales and, before that, 18 years in the retail industry.

We have some really nice antique furniture here,” said Graebel. “And we’re always looking for more. Antiques are very popular items.”




Home sales up in May

Recovery of the area’s housing market remained strong through May, according to Pacific Appraisal Associates, the local appraisal and consulting company.

In the Wenatchee market, the number of homes sold in the first five months of this year jumped 22 percent over 2012, the average home price is up 4 percent to $233,937 and dollar volume of homes sold is up 28 percent to $73,222,199.

However, the number of homes and condos on the market now has fallen about 28 percent from last year, which means buyers have more competition for their dream homes, local brokers have said.




Listening post ranks at top of local project list

A local effort to record the stories and photos of North Central Washington residents was ranked the top project for funding and other support through the NCW Economic Development District.

The Listening Post Network, an ongoing project of the Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship (IRIS), topped eight other applications from Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties and the Colville Confederated Tribes.

Projects were ranked for their economic and community benefits, presentation of a plan and strategy, alignment with NCWEDD’s goals and extent of local and regional support.

A waterfront redevelopment project by the city of Entiat placed second in the rankings, and Winthrop’s planned improvements to its public ice rink ranked third.

Through letters, networking and other resources, NCWEDD helps recommend top-ranked projects for funding, mentoring and other support. For more info, call 682-6907 or visit ncwedd.com.




Inventor wants you — ahh! — nice and relaxed

Peshastin inventor Melissa Ortega has a new innovation that’ll take your breath away — about 12 breaths, actually.

Her inflatable “personal lounger,” The Sphinx, lends support to relax comfortably (face up or face down) at the beach or in the backyard. It’s basically the key element of a lounge chair — the elevated back — that you blow up like a kid’s pool toy (using 12 breaths) to support the neck and upper body. It comes with a second inflatable piece — the media holder — on which you can prop your book (or newspaper or iPad) or tuck under your knees for additional support.

Other features include a strap to keep book pages from flapping, storage within the media holder for gear or chilled drinks, a drink holder and a vinyl coating that, Ortega says, feels like micro-suede. And — remember it’s inflatable? — The Sphinx floats, so it’ll support you while you paddle ’round the pool.

Inspiration for The Sphinx came from Ortega’s practice of relaxing and reading on the beach. “I always made two mounds of sand to prop up myself and my book,” she said. “That way I could read in comfort on my stomach.”

Ortega was in Pittsburgh last month at INPEX, a huge invention trade exhibition, in hopes of finding a manufacturer, a distributor and maybe even financial backing for taking The Sphinx global. The invention is available online ($49.95) at Castle and Bay, Ortega’s company for “ergonomic products.” Go to castlebandbay.com.







Area banks, credit unions perform well in first quarter


Banks and credit unions in North Central Washington are generally in good financial shape, according to an independent firm that analyzes the performance of financial institutions nationwide.




Bauer Financial, based in Florida, reported last month that 12 of 18 NCW banks and credit unions snagged a five-star rating (out of five) based on performance in the first quarter of 2013. Rating factors included capital-risk ratio, assets, profitability, losses, investment portfolios, the institutions’ historical performance trends and other criteria.




Area ratings through March 31:




Five stars — Banner Bank, based in Walla Walla; Cashmere Valley Bank, Cashmere; Farmers State Bank, Winthrop; KeyBank, Cleveland, Ohio; North Cascades National Bank, Chelan; Peoples Bank, Lynden; Washington Trust Bank, Spokane; Wheatland Bank, Spokane; GESA Credit Union, Richland; Granco Credit Union, Ephrata; Numerica Credit Union, Spokane Valley; and Wenatchee Valley Credit Union, Wenatchee.




Four stars — Sterling Savings Bank, Spokane; US Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Coulee Dam Credit Union, Coulee Dam.




Three-and-a-half stars — Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.; JPMorgan Chase, Columbus, Ohio; and Wells Fargo Bank, Sioux Falls, N.D.