North Franklin School District will resume school later this month under new leadership and new Superintendent Jim Jacobs who is ready for the 2018-2019 school year. As we bid a fond farewell and thanks to Gregg Taylor for his 25 years at NFSD (the past 11 as Superintendent), we warmly welcome Mr. Jacobs, who started his career with NFSD in 1996.

Jim started his career in education after serving in the Army and attending college. In 1996, an opening at the Camp Outlook Bootcamp, where he fit the criteria to a T, brought him and his wife, Amy, to Connell. After living in different places around the US, “it was the people and the community that made us want to stay here and raise a family” stated Jacobs. He spent 3 years working at Camp Outlook Bootcamp then moved throughout the district in various positions including: Connell High School Librarian (1 yr), Mesa Elementary Principal (3 years), Basin City Elementary Principal (4 years), and for the last 11 years has led the Olds Jr High as Principal.

North Franklin School District is a PreK-12 school system with 1 Preschool, 3 elementary schools, 1 Jr High, 1 High School, and 1 Alternative High School. NFSD employs approximately 300 people and serves over 2100 students. Jacob's goal is to continue the upward trajectory as one of the best districts in Eastern Washington. He wants to keep pushing forward, leading students, staff, and parents to success. In the NFSD newsletter Jim stated “Our goal is to have our students prepared for college, the military, or the career of their choice after graduation. We have a very high graduation rate that is due to the many levels of support, enrichment and intervention that our schools and community provide to our students throughout their educational journey.” One of his many goals is to keep adding layers to the NFSD system – customer satisfaction and responsiveness are at the top of making the following layers possible. He also plans on continuing the expansion, additions, and renovations to the district that Taylor had set in place and started during his time.

Superintendent Jim Jacobs says he offers the community “good leadership, years of personal relationships across the community, and most of all a passion for others success – students, staff, and parents, who are all working towards their own goals.”

The Jacobs family lives in Eltopia. Jim’s wife, Amy, has been at Mesa Elementary for 12 years as a Para-Ed and Food Clerk. They have 2 daughters that have both graduated from Connell High School. Maddy is a Junior at Whitworth planning to follow in her parent’s footsteps and go into elementary education. Jamie is a Sophomore at Eastern Oregon University studying Physical Therapy. When asked what Jim would have done if he hadn’t gone into public education he said “I would be doing something in technology in corporate business.”

The 2018-2019 school year starts for students 1st-6th, 7th, and 9th grade on August 27th. All students 1st-12th will attend classes on August 28th. The Eagles Nest BBQ will be on August 30th at 5:00pm at the CHS campus. All School offices open on August 14th. Check out for school contact information, NFSD news, updates and upcoming events.

Coulee Flats Dairy

Coulee Flats Dairy

Coulee Flats Dairy is located just a few miles outside Mesa, WA. The dairy has been here for 10 years now but Coulee Flats Dairy in Sunnyside was started 15 years ago. Case VanderMeulen, the owner of Coulee Flats Dairy, and his family live near the dairy. Case grew up on a family dairy in Holland, which his brother still runs. He came to the US in 1989 first finding dairy work in California.

Coulee Flats Dairy was originally two dairies in Sunnyside. When there was no room to expand and grow, the two operations combined and then built into becoming Coulee Flats Dairy with 2,300 head. Upon expanding the Coulee Flats Dairy to Mesa in 2008, they started out with 3,000 head have grown to now have 6,800 head of Holstein cows. In the beginning, they employed 45 workers but have grown their operation to now providing 95 jobs locally.

Being one of many dairy’s in the area – Coulee Flats sells all their milk to the Darigold Co-Op to then be processed and marketed to consumers. They also offer organic Gold Compost to farmers and individuals as well. The Mesa Coulee Flats Dairy runs 24/7, with the cows on a schedule to be milked 3 times a day on rotation in the parallel double 50 and double 30 milking parlors. Cows take a 45-day maternity leave and have their calves under staff supervision in the special maternity barn.

When talking about expanding the Coulee Flats Dairy, Case stated “If there is one constant, change never stops.” Case and his team of employee’s live by the motto “Our Teamwork makes the Dream work.” Case enjoys talking about the dairy and his passion to people and loves visiting and showing the dairy to those who come by to learn more about the process and production of dairy products. In his spare time, Case enjoys reading and researching the original farmers and the history of the Columbia Basin. In addition to running a business, Case is very generous in supporting various community events including being a premium donor for the Connell Fireworks Extravaganza, Fall Festival, and the Harvest Festival, just to name a few. For several years, he previously had teamed with the local grocery store in Mesa, to raise money for Mesa Elementary through milk sales.

To find out more information about the Coulee Flats Dairy, I encourage you to look at their website If you have time and want even more hands on information and possibly a tour please call their office beforehand at 509-205-2077. The office is open Monday – Friday from 8am-4pm. Coulee Flats Dairy is located at 1321 Pepiot Rd, Mesa WA.



Avista is a utility company that serves eastern Washington, portions of southern Oregon and northern Idaho and Sanders County, Montana. The company has been around since 1889. The energy they produce at Avista-owned generating facilities and their long-term contracts ranks the company as one of the cleanest utilities when it comes to greenhouse gases, and their prices are among the lowest in the nation among investor-owned utilities.
Their diverse energy mix as of December 2016 at Avista-owned generating facilities and long-term contracts balances reliability with renewable energy sources while managing costs for customers. Avista’s energy mix consists of coal, wind, biomass, hydro, and natural gas.
Their mission statement speaks to the quality of partnerships they seek. They want to: Provide efficient and effective services through best practices, increase financial value and minimize risk, and maintain Avista’s core values of trust, integrity, honesty, and collaboration to best serve our employees, customers and community.

Avista offers many avenues to give back to the community through assistance programs, scholarships, sponsoring community programs, as well as offering education and outreach classes/sessions to the community.

The website offers an abundance of information about the company, additional services they offer, safety information, a kid’s zone, access to account/bill management, energy saving tips, articles, updates on current outages and projects that may be happening in your area.

grange supply

Connell Grange Supply

The Connell Grange Supply is a good ol’ traditional local hardware store that was incorporated in 1932. Owned by the people/farmers/ranchers, they currently have 450 members and a 5 member board which is voted on by the members.
The Grange Supply came to be by the local farmers who formed a Co-Op so that they could get the best buying power and then the savings would be passed on to the farmers. Kevin Besel has been the manager for 29 years and is the 4th manager since it opened. There are also 5 full time employees and 1 part time employee at the Grange – and all will happily help you find what you need for your farm/ranch or household project.

The Grange Supply offers a multitude of inventory that is always changing based on the needs of the customers and community. A few products include: hardware, paint, key making/duplicating, livestock products, tires, lube/oil, and petroleum products (cardlock or farm delivery). Their shop in the back also offers lube/oil changes, tire install/rotation/flat repair services. The Grange Supply doesn’t have plans on expanding their business but rather continuing to serve their customers with quality product and updating inventory as needed based on customer requests and needs. Manager Kevin stated “We offer a place to shop locally for Connell and surrounding farms. We offer personal customer service that you don’t get at the big box stores.” Personal customer service is important, and customers can place special orders if items are not in stock with a turnaround time of 2 days.

One thing you may not know and not something everyone buys every day but the Grange Supply has hot water tanks in stock and can also order other appliances as well – washer, dryer, stove/oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. The plumbing department at the Grange is the most complete and fully stocked department in the store – offering toilets, sinks, fixtures and more. “You could put together an entire home bathroom with everything coming from the Grange for your home,” stated Besel.

The Grange Supply motto is “Where the Customer is still the Company” and they are deeply rooted in the community offering quality service, quality products and great support to the community. In the middle of downtown Connell located at 343 S Columbia Ave, the Grange Supply is open 6 days a week Monday – Friday 8am – 5:30pm and Saturdays 8am – 12noon. Check out their website or call 234-2631. Stop by, walk through, and shop local!

burger factory

Burger Factory

Burger Factory has been a town favorite eatery since it first opened its doors in 1980 by the Yager family. Since then it has only had 3 owners – Yager’s, Chase’s and now Mike and Rhonda Erstad (both CHS graduates) who bought it in 2012. They have done some remodeling and upgrades to the building and added new daily specials to the menu but the high-quality customer service and food has always been a standard with Burger Factory. When it came up for sale Rhonda stated “We felt the community needed Burger Factory. Many families have worked here – my family has had 3 generations work here at some point since its first opening.” In addition to Mike and Rhonda, their daughter Jill, Mike’s sister (who helped Max Yager open) and Rhonda’s mom have all shared memories behind the counter working at Burger Factory.

A little history on Burger Factory – there used to be 3 of them. Back when it first opened the Connell was the 2nd location – the first was in Prosser and then a 3rd location in Othello. Both the Prosser and Othello locations are now closed and no longer standing but the Connell’s Burger Factory is still a fun place to grab a bite to eat and visit whether you call ahead to place your order, dine in, or go through the drive in.
Burger Factory menu offers good All-American food – burgers, chicken strips, fries, tator tots, onion rings, 16 flavors of milkshakes with real ice cream, slushies and cream slushies – are just a few of the local favorites. However, they are most known for the Eagle Burger as Connell is the only place to get it – it’s the most popular Daily Special which is offered on Wednesdays and comes with a large fry, and don’t forget the famous Fry Sauce either! There is also a kid’s menu.

Burger Factory currently has 7 employees. Burger Factory and the Erstad family are great community supporters and she stated “We try our best!”…. not only does that apply to the their successful 6 year long business with Burger Factory but also in all that they do to help the community too. Burger Factory is located at 452 S Columbia Ave, their phone number is 234-4511. Open 6 days a week their hours are Monday – Friday 10:30am – 7pm and Saturday 11am – 7pm. Stop by and get a shake or a slushie or a quick bite to eat with a friend on these hot summer days!!

napa auto parts

Connell Napa Auto Parts

Connell Napa Auto Parts has been a business in Connell for approximately 35 years. Napa has only had 2 owners, originally opened under Jim Bailie and as of 2012 the Connell Grange Co-Op bought it becoming the 2nd owner in history. Following the retirement of Mike Harrington, Napa Auto Parts new manager, Raul Villa, and the 3 part time employees strive to offer the products and services the community needs and requests. You can always find truck/auto parts, batteries, starters, alternators, tools, equipment for heavy trucks, marine and farm equipment in their store. In addition they also offer U-Haul rentals. And if you don’t find what you need in stock, they do offer special orders that will arrive in just a few days. Napa’s goal is to stay up to date with the latest items and to serve the community and customers with high quality service.

Prior to its current location – many years ago Napa used to be on the north end of town in the space that Pizza Station now occupies. The Grange Co-Op board saw the need for Napa to have a location in Connell not only for the convenience but also to provide residents and local farmers to stay in town and shop local. Once people leave town for 1 or 2 things, they do ALL of their shopping for the day out of town – taking commerce away from the businesses in Connell.

Napa is located at 506 S Columbia Ave. They are open Monday – Friday from 8am-5pm and Saturdays 8am-4pm
To see more products that are available at Napa visit their website – from there you can order items, search what items are needed for a particular vehicle and more! If you need to order parts or check availability at the Connell Napa, call 234-0313.


Columbia Basin Health Association

Columbia Basin Health Association started in Connell in 2007 as a modular dental unit and finally opened a full medical clinic in Connell at the south part of town in 2011. It soon saw the need in the community to add a pharmacy and eye clinic. Not only do they offer medical, dental, and eye care but they also offer family support services, behavioral health and twice a month there is a Psychologist ARNP at the Connell clinic. As of the end of 2017, CBHA overall has treated 34,716 patients with 367 employees. This number is growing every day.

CBHA has served the local community by offering a “one stop shop” of healthcare services that are available and easily accessible. Making it convenient to seek treatment or schedule an appointment quicker without sacrificing the quality of care while lessening the travel time. CBHA was founded in 1971, by citizens in the community of Othello who wanted to guarantee equal access to health care to all people living and working within the Othello’s trade area. They saw the expressing need for healthcare in the agricultural community and though there was a lot of opposition to their vision they pushed forward. Finally a clinic opened with only 1 staff physician and 4 exam rooms, the first patient was seen in August 1973. In addition to healthcare, CBHA has offered many new jobs/careers to the community - the Connell Clinic staff are all residents of Connell or the area; currently there are 25 full time and 4 part time employees.

There are now 3 clinics – Connell, Othello and Wahluke (Mattawa). CBHA plans to expand their business and clinic by offering more services to the community and area of Connell – they recently added early intervention home visits to be available to the community. The Othello clinic in addition to the already listed services also offers prenatal and WIC services as well.

As Connell Clinic Manager, Nohely Velazquez stated, “we offer quality customer service in addition to healthcare…we are confident in our staff that they are equipped to help the community navigate not only CBHA resources but also community resources as well.” She talked about the newest facet to the Connell clinic – free transportation for those who live in Connell to make it to their morning appointments – we hope to soon add to that by serving those who live within a 10+ mile radius soon. If you would like to use the transportation services just call the front desk when you make your appointment to also schedule a pickup time.

The Connell clinic is open 7am -6pm Monday through Friday the individual services vary in opening/closing times. The clinic is located at 1051 S Columbia Ave (past US Bank). To schedule an appointment or to get additional information please call 509-234-0866 or visit their website
The website offers more information on the clinic and quick facts overall for the 3 clinic sites.


Basin Disposal Inc

Basin Disposal has been providing complete garbage collection service in a safe and responsible manner since their beginnings in 1941. Their philosophy has always been “to partner with the communities we serve”…. and that goes back 3 generations. They are proud of their staff – some having been with them well over 20 years.
BDI serves the needs of garbage and disposal customers in Pasco, Kennewick, Benton City, West Richland, Walla Walla, Yakima, Grandview, Sunnyside, Connell and other areas in Eastern Washington. They have services for both residential and commercial needs with a variety of container size options.
Basin Disposal also has many recycling centers located throughout their service areas. Visit any drop-box center to recycle the following:
• Newspaper – bundle and tie newspaper or place into brown paper bags. Include advertising insert.
• Aluminum and steel (“tin”) cans – Rinse and crush cans. For steel cans, remove and tuck lids into can, then crimp edges.
• Mixed paper – office paper or mail. There is no need to remove all staples, paper clips, sticky notes, or adhesive labels. White paper can be included with other types and grades of paper.
• Cardboard – break down and flatten corrugated cardboard boxes. Basin Disposal collects cardboard from businesses in Benton and Franklin counties including West Richland and Benton City. BDI donates a portion of all monies earned from cardboard collection to DARE.
An extension of BDI, is BlueRoom. Blueroom is an established locally owned portable toilet rental and service company located in Pasco, WA. They are committed to providing fast, high quality service to the greater Columbia Basin region. Their service areas are specific to the Tri-City, Burbank, Benton City, Prosser, Connell, and Franklin County areas. BlueRoom provides portable toilet rental service for all types of events e.g. backyard barbeques, special events, agriculture or contractor sites. The mission is simple…” We want to provide the best service for our customers so they can have the best experience possible.”
For more information about any of their services, a complete listing of the recycle center locations, or much more information, visit their website at or contact them at 509-547-2476 or email:

port of pasco

Port of Pasco

Our local port district falls under the Port of Pasco. A Port district is a municipal corporation, organized under state law and authorized by a majority vote of the residents in the proposed district, and is governed by a locally elected board of commissioners. The elected office is a six year term, our current commissioners are Vicki Gordon, Jean Ryckman and Jim Klindworth.

When ports were first formed in the early 1900s, their primary purpose was to provide facilities for marine transportation and commerce. Over the years, the Legislature has expanded the list of port powers and functions. Some ports deal with all aspects of economic development, others with only one or two. They may:
• Develop lands for industrial and commercial needs.
• Provide general economic development programs.
• Buy, lease and sell property.
• Provide air and water pollution control works.
• Operate trade centers and export trading companies.
• Establish and operate foreign trade zones.
• Promote tourism.
Ports are, by their charge, economic development organizations. Traditionally, ports focus on a mix of transportation – water, rail and air – and property/infrastructure to facilitate job creation. The Port of Pasco has long, successfully followed this formula. Whether attracting new business to the region or assisting existing businesses in expanding, the Port has worked to maximize our role in economic and work force development.
The Port of Pasco also recognizes the importance to taking a broader role in economic development. Taking leadership in helping create a strategic, long-range plan for the region, assisting with business development programs and working cooperatively with community and regional partners. They believe their economic development efforts help keep the talented workforce here and create new opportunities for work force development.
The Port of Pasco hosts different events throughout the year for and with the community, they also offer VIP tours for businesses, individuals and community groups to see what new things are happening within the Port. The Port of Pasco Commission meetings are open to the public and are held the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 10:30am at the Port of Pasco Administration Office.
The Port of Pasco’s mission “We connect people and products whether by air, land, or water. We help businesses grow by offering space for building, manufacturing, processing and creating. We grow the economy by creating opportunities for investment and growth.”
For more information on the Port of Pasco and all that they offer visit their website or call 509-547-3378. The Port office is located in Pasco at 1110 Osprey Pointe Ave.

Flying Colors

Flying Colors

Approaching 30 years since The Jensen's opened up the original shop, Flying Colors appears to operate under the radar while being a force in the community. They produce custom apparel (shirts, jackets, hats, etc) and other multimedia aspects for businesses, schools and organizations. "So much of the custom apparel is created for the schools, their sports and organizations. Every year to few years, you get a new organizer, coach, or lead and a whole new group of kids", owner, Bevon Davis, comments about the vibrant landscape of the apparel industry. "Jace (Jensen) and I had always planned to focus on North Franklin County and fill in the calendar with jobs out of the area. There is more than enough in the community to keep us busy".

When Bevon and wife, Amy, assumed custody of the business, they brought many customers into the fold. Amazon's work-from-home customer service department needed a system to allow their 2000+/- employees in that group to purchase custom apparel with 'credits' they were given for Christmas. Bevon designed a token system that would streamline ordering and accounting as well as make the fulfillment fairly easy to manage. "He always seems surprised when something works, whether he's nailed the artwork on the first attempt or some elaborate system he's just deployed", Amy remarks about her husband's seemingly 'aloof' performances.

Bevon admittedly wouldn't want to operate the business without Amy, "she runs production - and loves it. She's become an ink chemist and strives for perfection at every step of the process". The apparel industry is a triumvirate of skill sets: Art, Quality of Product, and Relationships. While developing his 10,000+ shirt design portfolio, Bevon observed and worked for half a dozen screenprinting shops over the past decade. He remembers, "I used to do Connell related jobs while working for Atomic Screenprinting, then work on a couple of other local jobs for Flying Colors in the same week".

A deep portfolio and passion for printing has encouraged further expansion with in-house embroidery, a local themed online store (, and more community outreach.
"People have asked why we do not advertise more - we simply haven't needed to but as I said, it's always a new group of people with the core customer base so it takes ongoing relationship building to keep the jobs rolling in", said Bevon. "Watch for apparel from Connell Football, CBJLS, Fall Festival and GridKids throughout the summer; all available online. The next large job we have is the See 3 Slam, 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Richland - about 1500 shirts across all the divisions and staff".

Flying Colors expects a soft launch of the entire website in June. Since buying the domain back in 2002, Amy reveals it has been the real "project" that Bevon has been looking forward to, "he wants to promote the community as something more than a snow globe village that never changes". They found a great partnership with Lauren Smith in bringing the site together as well as extending the apparel sales reach to her contacts. Bevon adds, "the site has been much more fun to work on in a group setting for company, criticism and new ideas. Lauren has pushed many elements into being that had long been dormant".

Under the hood, the website presence Flying Colors is developing is ready for whatever the community can throw at it though Bevon is quick to remind that there isn't much to show yet. Balancing ambitions he modestly closes with, "there is something special in this community and there always has been. We enjoy the apparel business and simply want to make clothing that people want to wear".

For custom apparel or comments about the website, contact Bevon 509-591-4405 (call or text), Lauren 509-989-9788 (call or text). Visit the online store at or the main page