Our Voice: Grateful for improvements — now and in the future

New and better. Words that describe what our community can be grateful for now and in the future.

From innovative ideas, to expansion, to life changes, there is a move to make the Mid-Columbia more inviting and more effective.

Airport remodel

There’s a shining new gateway to the Tri-Cities that invites passengers to linger a while.

Recently unveiled at the Tri-Cities Airport, the rebuilt concourse features artwork on engraved wall tiles reflecting life in our area.

Even the floor has a pathway that illustrates the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers. Intertwined with the art décor are video screens displaying flight destinations, TVs with weather updates and an interactive kiosk with visitor information.

This first phase of the expansion project is part of a $41.9 million project with still more to come. We’re thankful for the new ‘look’ that may encourage visitors to take a longer look.

New radios

Brand-new mobile and car radios will soon be in the hands of Franklin County law enforcement — and members couldn’t be more grateful.

The new technology will allow the agencies to communicate on the same frequency as the rest of Tri-City emergency agencies, thanks to money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The grant will give Connell police, the Port of Pasco and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office almost $634,000 to buy dual-band radios when they put up more than $28,000.

With new radios coming by the first of the year there will be better law enforcement communication, something for which we can all be thankful.

Hanford cleanup

There’s talk about developing innovative technology that will benefit the Department of Energy cleanup.

This is good news for Hanford and our community. Technology development has decreased over the years, but Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and his advisory board are looking ahead to future needs as the nation faces 50 years of work to complete cleanup, some that may include robotics.

Thankfully, with new high-tech strategies, there is opportunity to reduce the cost of accomplishing the mission and provide a safer working environment.

It can also help young people understand the cleanup and why it’s exciting to work on it. It’s an investment for the future and we are grateful.

Syrian refugees

A new and better life is what one Syrian refugee from the war-torn country hopes for in our community.

Thanks to Tri-Cities World Relief, the refugee is resettling with the Christian humanitarian organization’s help, and more refugees from Syria may be on their way.

Local residents are working together to introduce him to our culture and help him get his feet on the ground.

We’re thankful for what our generous community has done for more than 200 refugees from various countries, offering hope and a future.