Monthly Archives: October 2016

Yakima, WA – Palm Springs in the Pacific Northwest

Yakima Community Highlight

Nestled near the center of the state, Yakima, Washington boasts a rich history that includes apples, hops, and agriculture.  Today, more than 90,000 people live in Yakima making it the 10th biggest city in Washington.


Yakima is only a few hours away from three of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest cities.  It is 142 miles southeast of Seattle and 192 miles southwest of Spokane.  It’s also 185 miles northeast of Portland.

The Yakama tribe lived in the valley long before settlers arrived. In 1805, Lewis and Clark were the first explorers to the region. Between 1805 and 1858, relatively small numbers of settlers and missionaries came to the valley.  More people arrived after the end of the Yakima Indian Wars in 1858.

Yakima City was officially incorporated in 1883.  Several years later, the city moved 4 miles north to be closer to the new Northern Pacific Railroad line. The new settlement was named North Yakima. In 1918, the Washington State Legislature renamed the city “Yakima.”  The original site of Yakima City is now Union Gap, Washington.

The 2010 U.S. Census listed Yakima with 91,067 residents. 2015 population estimates suggest that the population has grown to 93,357.

Yakima has warm summers and cold winters. Average summer temperatures range from the high 40s to the high 80s.  Average winter temperatures range from the low 20s to the mid-40s.  Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, Yakima only averages 8 inches of precipitation per year.

Agriculture has always been an important part of Yakima’s economy.  Today, the Yakima Valley is one of the world’s top apple producers.  It also produces 75% of the hops used in the United States.  Manufacturing, wineries, and outdoor recreation also play important roles in the regional economy.  The 3 largest employers in Yakima are: the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, the Yakima School District, and Walmart.

As Washington State’s 10th biggest city, Yakima has a variety of transportation options.  For drivers, Interstate 82 and US Route 97 go through Yakima.  Also State Route 24 and State Route 821 terminate near the city.  Public bus service is offered by Yakima Transit.  McAllister Field offers daily Alaska Airlines flights to Seattle

The Yakima Valley has an interesting collection of museums including: the American Hop Museum, the Yakima Valley Museum, and the Northern Pacific Railway Museum.   The American Hop Museum chronicles the important role that hops play in American beer making.  The Yakima Valley Museum provides educational exhibits on different aspects of regional history.  The Northern Pacific Railway Museum is located in the former rail station that helped the region grow in the 1880s.

Yakima Valley also hosts a handful annual events, including: Yakima Folklife Festival (July), A Case of the Blues and All That Jazz (August), the Central Washington State Fair (September), the Fresh Hops Ale Festival (October), and the Yakima Downtown New Year’s Eve (December.)

With over 90,000 residents, there is always something to do in Yakima. So take the time to visit.  Start with the options covered here, and then set aside time to explore.  Something unexpectedly intriguing will happen, and then explore more.

City of Yakima. “About Yakima.” ( retrieved October 1, 2016.City of Yakima.  “Museums.”  ( retrieved October 1, 2016.

Northern Pacific Railway Museum. “Northern Pacific Railway Museum.” ( retrieved October 1, 2016.

Wikipedia. “List of cities in Washington.”  October 1, 2016. ( retrieved October 1, 2016.

Wikipedia. “Yakima, Washington.” September 22, 2016. (,_Washington) retrieved October 1, 2016.

Yakima Transit. “History.” 2016. ( retrieved October 2, 2016.

Healthcare Admin: 4 Things to Expect in Training

Congratulations on your new job!  Here are some things to expect in your first few weeks at a healthcare front desk.

  1. Training: Your new employer will offer the necessary training for their organization. Larger companies may host trainings that involve meetings with human resources, department leaders, and clinic managers.  Other organizations may simply offer an individual meeting with HR and some on-the-job training time.
  2. Take Notes: On your first day, bring a notebook and pen.  Take notes.  Even if you never plan to use them, taking notes signals that you’re serious about learning your new role. Plus, one of your new colleagues is taking time to make sure you’re prepared for your new job. Writing down what they tell you signals that you take their opinion seriously.
  3. Ask questions: While you’re training, some things will be confusing.  Ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand what your trainer is saying.  During your first few weeks, people recognize that you’re learning your role.  So take the time to ask lots of questions. Eventually, people will anticipate that you’re learning and implementing the knowledge from training.
  4. Start Doing: Trainings are intended to provide foundational knowledge about your role, clinic services, and operating guidelines.  Unfortunately no training will prepare you for all possible questions and concerns.  Yet working at a healthcare front desk is inherently unpredictable.

What your manager is looking for:  Due to the unpredictable (and perpetually changing) nature of healthcare front desks, your manager is paying close attention to how you approach unexpected situations. Most people approach these situations one of two ways.  Employees in the first group freeze.  They get flustered and simply tell the patient that they cannot help them.  Those in the second group pause.  They take a moment and tell the patient, “I’m not sure, but let me find out for you.”  Clinic managers are looking for employees in the second group.

Starting a new job is stressful for both the employee and employer.  Ultimately both parties are looking for the elusive right fit.  The hiring process is designed to be tough, because working at a healthcare front desk is difficult.  You got the job by impressing those on the interview team.   While in training, take time to learn about the role, clinic, and organization.  Learn about your manager, coworkers, and providers.  Use whatever tools needed to learn the role and figure out how to be successful at it.  When asked something unexpected, instead of getting flustered, smile and tell them, “That’s a great question.  Let me find out for you.”  It’s a simple answer, but it goes a long way.


Community Highlight: Arlington, Washington

Aberdeen, WAArlington, Washington

Strategically positioned halfway between Seattle and Vancouver B.C., Arlington provides a scenic escape nestled on the shores of the Stillaguamish River. Located in northern Snohomish County, Arlington is 9.25 square miles and is approximately 10 miles north of Everett and 40 miles north of Seattle. Make time to learn about Arlington and the variety of opportunities available.

Long before the 1850s arrival of settlers, the Coast Salish people called Arlington home. Shortly after the arrival of the new settlers, two nearby towns quickly grew. Arlington and Haller City were located close to each other and both towns were incorporated within months of each other.

For several years, the towns grew side-by-side.  When the railroad stopped in Arlington, Haller City residents decided that the two towns should merge.  So Haller City moved closer. The present day Division St. notes the historical dividing lines between the two towns.

The 2010 United States census lists Arlington with 17,926 residents.  2015 estimates suggest that the population is now 18,949.

Arlington has a mild climate.  Average summer temperatures range from high 40s to mid-70s
Average winter temperatures range from high 20s to mid-40s.

Arlington’s economy has historically been based on agriculture. Today’s farms grow a mix of crops including fruits and vegetables. Additionally, there’s an increased focus on medicine with three large healthcare organizations in the area: Providence Everett Medical Center, Cascade Valley Hospital, and Skagit Valley Hospital.

Arlington is accessible from Interstate 5 by taking the Highway 530 exit, which heads east to Arlington. Arlington is also accessible by Washington State Route 9.

Arlington offers local and regional opportunities for adventure to visitors and residents.  The Centennial Trail is a biking and walking path built along the old Burlington Northern railway. It provides recreational and (car-free) commuter access between Arlington, Snohomish, and Lake Stevens.  There are a variety of water activities (including fishing, floating, and swimming) available on the Stillaguamish River. Other biking, hiking, and fishing opportunities exist throughout Arlington and the surrounding region. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the Glen Eagle Golf Course. Those who prefer to stay in town will also enjoy the summertime Farmers Market and outdoor concert series.

Arlington is positioned on the scenic Stillaguamish River and strategically between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.  The city offers a variety of local and regional activities while also providing a rich history and countless opportunities for adventure.  The question now is, when will you go?

City of Arlington. “History of Arlington. Hometown feel-after all these years.” ( retrieved September 1, 2016.City of Arlington. “Visiting.” ( retrieved September 4, 2016Oakley, Janet. “Arlington–Thumbnail History.” 12/31/2007. (  retrieved September 1, 2016.
Wikipedia. “Arlington, Washington.” August 17, 2016.  (,_Washington) retrieved September 1, 2016.

Aberdeen, Washington: More than Kurt Cobain’s Hometown

Aberdeen, WACommunity Highlight: Aberdeen, Washington

In the early 1900s, Aberdeen, Washington was one of the roughest towns on the West Coast.   In 1967, it became the hometown of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain.  Today, it’s the home port for, the Lady Washington, a ship that’s appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and other movies.  Today’s Aberdeen offers its rich history and well-rounded assortment of activities to visitors and residents alike.

Aberdeen is located near the mouth of the Chehalis River on the east end of Grays Harbor.  Southwest of the Olympic Mountains, the city is 117 miles southwest of Seattle and 142 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon.

The 2010 US Census lists Aberdeen with 16,896 residents.  2015 estimates suggest a -3.7% population decrease with 16,276 residents.

Historically, many native tribes lived in Aberdeen. In 1792, Captain Robert Gray was the first explorer to sail into the Aberdeen area.  In 1824, more explorers from the Hudson Bay Company came.  The first settlers arrived in 1848.  In 1873, the cannery was built and named after a Scottish seaport city. When it was incorporated in May 1890, the city named itself after the cannery–not the Scottish seaport city.  In 1894, the city built its first sawmill as the original foray into the timber industry.

By the 1900s, Aberdeen was known as one of the grittiest towns on the West Coast.  It had a large number of saloons, gambling halls, and brothels. In fact, Aberdeen’s brothels continued operating into the 1960s without governmental approval or official interference.

Timber became an important part of the city economy when the first sawmill was built in 1894.  Although the approach has changed over the years, the timber industry still plays an important role in Aberdeen’s economy. There is also an active fishing industry, which also began in the late 1800s.  Increasingly tourism is playing a more important role in the city economy as well.

Aberdeen often gets rain and rarely gets snow.  The city’s annual average for precipitation is 82 inches.  Summer temperatures typically range between the mid-40s-high 60s. Average winter temperatures range from the mid-30s to the mid-40s.

With easy access to rivers and mountains, there are always opportunities for hiking and exploring around Aberdeen.  Aberdeen also has a collection of unique landmarks. The Kurt Cobain Memorial Park is the first memorial to the singer, in his home town.  The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport offers tours and educational programs.  It’s also home to the Lady Washington, a ship that has appeared in a handful of movies.  The Sucher and Sons Star Wars Shop offers customers the chance to see (and buy) thousands of different memoribilia items from the movies.  More treasures can be discovered at the Treasure Harbor Flea Market which has a variety of different vintage offerings.

Aberdeen, Washington has grown up from its gritty beginnings.  Still nestled southwest of the Olympic Mountains and on the Chehalis River, Aberdeen has a rich history and offers a collection of unique experiences.  Take the time to visit and decide what to see first.

- City of Aberdeen. “Brief History of Aberdeen” (  retrieved August 27, 2016.Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. “Lady Washington.” ( retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Ott, Jen.  November 2, 2009. “Aberdeen-A Thumbnail History.” ( retrieved August 27, 2016.
-Sucher and Sons Star Wars Shop in Aberdeen, WA.  “About Us.” ( retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Treasure Harbor Flea Market. “Facebook Page.” ( retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Westport Winery Garden Resort. “Visit Us.” 2016. ( retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Wikipedia. “Aberdeen, Washington.” August 26, 2016. (,_Washington) retrieved August 26, 2016.

Community Highlight: Auburn, Washington

Although it is only 26 miles from Seattle, Auburn, Washington is a world unto itself.  With over 70,000 residents, the city offers a variety of opportunities for nearly every interest.

The Skopamish, Smalhkamish, and Stkamish tribes lived in the Auburn area long before the first explorers came in the 1830s. The first settlers arrived in the 1850s.  By the 1890s, the city was incorporated as Slaughter, Washington.  It was originally named after Lieutenant William Slaughter who died in a battle with local tribes. In 1893, the city was renamed “Auburn.”

In 2008, Auburn doubled in size when it annexed the nearby neighborhoods of West Hill and Lea Hill. The 2010 US Census listed Auburn with 70,180 residents.  2015 estimates suggest that the population is now 77,006,

Auburn has a mild climate.  Summer temperatures typically range from the mid-50s to the high 70s.  Average winter temperatures range from the mid-30s to the high 40s.  On average, Auburn gets 37 inches of precipitation (mostly rain) annually.

There are three major highways (Hwy 12, SR 167, and SR 18) that all run through Auburn. Additionally, the Auburn Transit Center connects commuters with other nearby cities (like Kent and Puyallup.)  The Sounder Transit Rail delivers commuters to downtown Seattle (and other locations) quickly without typical traffic gridlock. For air travel, SeaTac International Airport is the closest airport.

The top three employers in Auburn are: Boeing, the Muckleshoot Tribal Enterprises, and the Auburn School District.

The Auburn School District has 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Green River Community College is the nearest college.

Auburn is located 26 miles south of Seattle and 154 miles north of Portland, Oregon. The city also straddles both Washington’s King and Pierce Counties.  It’s the 14th largest city in Washington.

In Auburn and its surrounding areas, there are a lot of different things to do.  There are 2 rivers, 28 parks, 23 miles of trails, and 247 acres of open space.  Shoppers can spend hours at the Outlet Collection.  Muckleshoot Casino and Bingo and the White River Amphitheater both have regular events.  Emerald Downs offers people the chance to watch horse racing.  The White River Valley Museum has different educational programs and exhibits for all ages.

The 29.62 square miles of land in Auburn pack in a rich local history, a strong school system, and a variety of activities.  As the 14th largest city in Washington, it’s hard to get bored in Auburn.  Check it out and see what captures the imagination first!

Auburn School District ( Retrieved August 28, 2016.Muckleshoot Casino. “Entertainment.” 2016. ( Retrieved August 26, 2016.Wikipedia. “Auburn, Washington.” August 23, 2016. (,_Washington)  Retrieved August 26, 2016.White River Valley Museum and Mary Olson Farm. “Visit the Museum.” (    Retrieved August 27, 2016.