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The Pybus Public Market concourse is now set up to provide additional space for sit-down restaurant seating, leaving no room for the usual artisan vendors. On July 4, the vendors will be back, though, setting up an outdoor Saturday market, similar to the farmers market.

Artist vendors return to Pybus for July 4 holiday

WENATCHEE — On July 4, artists will join farmers outside the Pybus Public Market’s main facility.

COVID-19 restrictions have kept artisan vendors from setting up shop on tables inside the market as has been the practice in past years.

About 15 artists will display handmade and locally made products for sale on the outdoor plaza, with social distancing guidance and entry and exit points in a setup similar to the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market.

"Our Fourth of July Artisan Market is a way to bring the artisans back to Pybus," said Pybus Executive Director Leslie Freytag. "We pushed our restaurants into part of the concourse to help them be successful on the reopening. With the social distance requirements, there is no room for the artisans in the market until we reach Phase 3. If the community and our artisans like the outdoor market, we will continue through the summer — no set schedule yet."

Pybus also is hosting a mask decorating contest on July 4, complete with a chance to win prizes. The contact-free event invites participants to display their “Independence Day Spirit,” showing off their decorated masks and themed outfits.

The farmers market has been operating 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays since May 9 in the west parking lot. The Pybus concourse reopened May 23 as an open-air market, and shops and restaurants are now open.

“On June 12, we expanded to Phase 1.5 with seated dining,” Freytag said. “It has been heartwarming to welcome back our returning employees and community. The place ‘Where Community Meets’ is back as we are warmly embraced by our community.”

For details, go to pybuspublicmarket.org.

Omak, Sunnyside JCPenney stores will close

BOSTON — JCPenney stores in Omak and Sunnyside have been added to the list of those that will close as part of the company’s bankruptcy reorganization.

The two Washington stores were among 13 named June 22. The company on June 17 listed 136 stores across the country slated for closure. None of those were in Washington.

Additional stores could follow, though a press release from the company states a handful of previously announced store closures were being reviewed.

The Wenatchee store so far has not made the list.

The Omak store is in the Omache Shopping Center. Liquidation sales are expected to start in July.

The company on June 4 announced it would close 154 stores in a first round of closures, with the possibility of additional closures to be announced later.

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Deadline nears for 30 Under 35 nominations

WENATCHEE — The deadline is getting closer for the 30 Under 35 nominations.

If you know a talented, smart, ambitious young person who is going places and doing great things, the Wenatchee Valley Business World wants to hear about them as part of its annual 30 Under 35 recognition.

Past honorees range from teachers and lawyers to artists and entrepreneurs. The common denominator is their attitude and a dedication to making the region a better place to live.

Nominations can come from bosses, spouses, co-workers, customers, teachers or friends.

The nomination form, due July 1, is available on the wenatcheeworld.com home page — look for the 30 Under 35 logo — or link to it directly at wenatcheeworld.com/30under35/.

State’s average wage climbs to $69,000 in 2019

OLYMPIA – The state’s average annual wage in 2019 climbed to $69,000, an increase of 6.7% over the previous year, according to data released by the state Employment Security Department.

It’s the largest year-over-year percentage increase since 1999.

The average weekly wage rose from $1,255 in 2018 to $1,340 in 2019. The figures include only wages covered by unemployment insurance.

Industries with the largest average wage growth in 2019 were:

  • Transportation and warehousing, up 7.1%
  • Information, up 6.5%
  • Educational services, up 6.4%.

The updated wage numbers also will mean an increase in unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15% of the average weekly wage, will increase by $13 to $201, for new claims opened on or after July 5. The maximum weekly benefit, which is the greater of $496 or 63% of the average weekly wage, will increase by $54 to $844.

Currently, about 20% of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount, and 10% receive the minimum, according to the report from the Employment Security Department.

In addition to unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes, which also are increasing. Beginning in 2021, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $56,500 paid to each employee — up from $52,700 in 2020.

The state average wage also is used by the Department of Labor & Industries in calculating worker’s compensation benefits.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151

mcdaniels@wenatcheeworld.com