November 21, 2016
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Tree-lighting family announced for Holiday Kids' Tree program on Dec. 2

There are less than two weeks until the lighting of the state's tree! Plans are coming together for this year's event, including the naming of the family that will light the tree.

Chief Maungwai Soe, the command drug and alcohol program advisor at Naval Base Kitsap, will light the tree with his wife and their two young children. Soe is the commanding officer's advisor on all matters relating to alcohol or other drugs and is also responsible for the successful completion of Funeral Honors Services in support of active, retired, and honorably separated service members. 

This tree lighting is part of the 28th annual AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB hosts the lighting of the tree in the state Capitol rotunda each December. A special part of the event is the presentation of toys and cash gifts for rural fire districts to give out to needy families across the state.

Since 1989, the AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project has raised and given away more than $370,000 to families in need. Firefighters have mentioned that these donations are often the only funds they receive to help needy families during the holiday season.

Mark your calendar for the public tree lighting ceremony, sponsored by AWB. It will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, in the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia. The theme for this year's tree decorations is "under the sea," and will again feature oversized stuffed characters from popular kids’ movies and television programs as tree ornaments. As always, when the tree comes down, those stuffed animals along with a book are given to children receiving care at a regional children’s hospital.

To donate to this project, contact AWB's Bonnie Millikan.

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Focus on Sustainability

Feed Commodities LLC: Giving Unused Bakery Goods a New Life

This Tacoma company helps divert past-its-prime food from the landfill to ranchers, feeding cattle across the Northwest.

From Salem, Ore., to the Canadian border, Feed Commodities, LLC is the Pacific Northwest's premier recycler of bakery byproducts into livestock feeds. The company acquires otherwise unusable raw bakery goods around the Pacific Northwest to process at its Tacoma facility. Each month, the plant repurposes thousands of tons of bakery products that would otherwise end up in landfills, turning it into high-quality livestock feed sold in bulk to ranchers.

The company has also taken the lead in food waste reduction through the development of Normandy Waste Management Systems, a web-based software service designed to help the food production community learn how to track and reduce waste in their daily operations.

Read the full story in Washington Business Magazine
Time to Build Millennium Bulk Terminals

Still waiting for good jobs in Cowlitz County

By Mike Bridges, president of the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council

Millennium's $680 million private investment stands to create more than 1,000 union construction jobs over a two-year build-out under a Project Labor Agreement. That's also 135 permanent jobs when the facility is complete and 2,650 direct and indirect construction jobs overall. And that doesn't count the ongoing maintenance work that would employ different trades for years to come. For Cowlitz County, this represents a significant private investment that would have an enormous economic impact on thousands of tradespeople and their families. All told, Millennium would bring in $43.1 million in state and local taxes during construction, and $5.4 million in state and local taxes each year when fully operational.

It would also mean fewer people on the road, working closer to home.

Right now, most of our tradesmen and women work outside of Cowlitz County. Many work out of state, driving home on weekends or once a month for visits. I get so tired of people criticizing these Millennium jobs as "temporary." Anyone in the trades knows our work is always "temporary." And for someone who drives thousands of miles each month to a job in Montana, visiting their kids once a month back home in Kelso, the promise of a local "temporary" job sounds pretty appealing...

Read the full column in The Stand
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