Chelan Fire District extends seasonal employees to December 31

by Richard Uhlhorn

This image is from the 1990 Labor Day Fire on Chelan Butte. Chelan Butte has burned numerous times since 1990 including the 1994 TYEE Complex and the devastating 2015 Chelan Complex Fire.

“Everyone is back from State Mob,” said Chelan Fire Chief Mark Donnell during is monthly Fire Chief Report. The major incidents fire crews were mobilized for included the September 9 Pearl Hill and Apple Acres fires. Chelan crews were also mobilized for other wild fires outside of the area in both Washington and California. Asked how much mobilization will bring into the District, Chief Donnell said, “About $204,000 which will over wages and overtime coverage.” About $94,000 of those mobilization funds were for equipment and that money will be put in the District’s Capital Apparatus Fund.

Chief Donnell reported that the EMS call out for September included the following:

  • Advanced Life Support            14        Year to Date    123
  • Basic Life Support                   23        Year to Date    184
  • No Transport                          19        Year to Date    188
  • TOTAL                                   56                                495

The District is losing or has lost two career firefighters this month. Samantha Raines has resigned her position for medical reasons and Troy Keene was injured and will probably not be able to return to duty until the end of December. “His injury is covered by Labor and Industries,” said Donnell

The Board agreed to extend the employment of its seasonal employees until December 31 which will fill the vacated positions until permanent employees are hired. This will cost the District $39,000 in wages and benefits. “Our seasonals have been stepping up to the plate,” said Donnell. “It has been a tremendous benefit to the District.” The seasonal employees have manned and responded to incidents while some District career and volunteer fire fighters have been on State Mobilization.

Chief Donnell stated that both of the seasonal employees are in consideration for permanent employment. “We’ve been please with their performance.” However, Donnell told the board that he is going to open the positions up to a bigger pool and look at five to eight candidates.

On the health side of the coin, Chief Donnell stated that some of the District’s employees are coming down with flu symptoms. The District has been training with members of Orondo, Manson and Entiat. Manson had a positive COVID, but Donnell said that tests had everyone come back negative. The District also has self-administered tests on hand that were provided by the State. Any positive results will be reported to the State Department of Health.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher reported that he has two new volunteer recruits; one in Orondo and one in Entiat. he also reported that since the wildfire season is over, it is time for the District to begin its structural training.

Asher is submitting a $12,000 grant request to the DNR. “We’ve gotten it two years in a row and if we get it again, it will give us an option to pick up another wildland chassis.”

Dan Crandall reported on the Firefighters Association activity. He stated that despite not being able to have in-person meetings the Association has been busy.

The Association has donated $5,000 to the Okanogan Long Term Recovery effort, another $1,000 to Chelan Valley Hope, and $1,000 to the young couple that lost their child and were severely burned in the Cold Springs Fire.

They began the month with $44,272 and with the $6,000 donated are down to $38,272.

Chief Donnell stated the District and City have been trying to negotiate a contract for City services. “We are not getting a lot of help from the City,” said Chief Donnell, but admitted that the City has been apologetic and swamped with work. “I don’t expect anything until the end of the year.”

The District is looking at 30 parcels for annexation this year and into 2021. “Most of them are in Knapps Coulee, and area we respond to.” He hopes to have the annexations completed by next February.

The Board of Commissioners decided on holding a Virtual Public Meeting on Monday, November 9 on the District’s Budget Process. More information on accessing this meeting will be forthcoming soon. “We need to get more people engaged.”

During Commissioner comments, Karyl Oules asked how the Hospital issues and EMS not being included in the new hospital plans affects the District? “How does that impact us,” she asked.

Chief Donnell replied that EMS has always been welcomed at the station. He has a meeting set up with Ray Eickmeyer, EMS Director next week. “The Hospital is very reluctant to give up EMS,” said Donnell. “We work directly with them.” He stated that a decision needs to be made on what kind of EMS system the community wants. Seventy percent of all EMS systems are Fire District based, stated Donnell. Oules replied that open communications with them is important.

The District will be sending out information on a Virtual Public Meeting next week to let the public know about its proposed 2021 Budget which has to be completed by the end of November.

The District’s regular board meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month beginning at 3 p.m. The Public is encouraged to attend. More information concerning the District’s activities can be found on its webpage at http://www.chelan7.com.

Chelan school district reopening on October 19

by Richard Uhlhorn

This coming Monday, October 19, the Lake Chelan School District will be welcoming Pre/K and Kindergarten students into the school building. This will give the staff time to acquaint these students with the building, which they have never been in. After that is accomplished, the District will welcome First and Second graders back into a school setting.

This is the current time line for allowing grade levels back into a live school setting.

Superintendent Barry DePaoli stated that it will be safety first. “We will be following the Health District’s guidelines closely,” he said. Students will have temperature tests upon arrival and will be required to be masked. “If everything goes smoothly, the third through sixth graders will return.”

They will be returning on November 9 in a hybrid model and pending approval of the Health District. If that goes well, the seventh through 12th grade students will return on November 30.

From October 26 to 30 and November 2 to 6, the Staff will undergo Hybrid Model Planning.

DePaoli stated that parents who don’t want their kids back in school will be worked with closely.

This graph shows the results of a parent survey regarding sending students back into a school setting. Those (7%) can register their children in the on-line CalvertAcademy.

MOE Principal Erin Morin reported that the half day schedule between morning and afternoon sessions will include a 90 minute break for the staff to have lunch and time to clean. “The teachers will be cleaning their classrooms,” said Morin. The maintenance crew will handle all the other cleaning within the building.

On Wednesday’s all students will be working on-line from home. She stated that the hybrid model is difficult mostly because of busing issues.

DePaoli stated that if the numbers go above 75/100,000 the District will have to confer and follow Dr. Butler’s guidelines. “Moses Lake (which has been open) had two cases of COVID positives, but the transmission was outside of their school system. It is something we are going to have to monitor closely,” said DePaoli. “None of these decisions are easy.”

Eric Peterson, director of the CSI school, said that enrollment has been really good. He has 33 students enrolled with 12 on-line students. “Attendance has been a definite success. We are trying out a lot of new ideas.”

Peterson reported that he has been talking with advisors nationwide and is getting a lot of help on project ideas for his students. The school is also working on anti-racism and social justice issues with the students. “They need to be able to process the world around them,” Peterson said.

KC Knudson, director of teaching and learning, said that most families want to come back for in-person learning. For those who don’t want to come back to the school, Knudson reported that the District is creating a mixed grade level cohort(s) of students with a district certificated teacher using the Calvert Learning Program.

The Calvert Learning Program is a researched-based instructional program that has been supporting home-based education for over 100 years. The reason for using this system is that the District doesn’t have the staff to create a remote learning cohort at any one grade level. Calvert is a program that will allow a single teacher to oversee and support multiple grade levels.

The School Board will meet again in session on October 27 beginning at 6 p.m.

Hospital board votes 3-2 to move forward with design

by Richard Uhlhorn

After arguments for and against moving forward with construction documents for the new hospital, the board voted 3-2 with both Mary Murphy and Jordana LaPorte voting against.

Most residents are aware that the current hospital has been in financial straits for a number of months. Many employees were either let go or resigned under CEO Steve Patonai, many of them crucial to the very operation of the hospital, i.e. coding personnel. Billing suffered and today, many old (not in age) patients are receiving invoices that are beyond two years old.

The Board of Commissioners are under a lot of pressure, not only from lagging financials, but also from a populace who voted for a new hospital.

The vote to allow the design team to move forward with construction documents is only one part of the entire process. The board will have to make some major decisions down the road concerning the future of the new hospital.

Following are the arguments for and against moving forward with design:

Commissioner Jordana LaPorte is concerned about the hospital’s future financial health to pay the debt service on the new hospital building when it becomes due. The amount the hospital needs to pay is $160,000 per month. The hospital has not recovered its financial health but is working on that.

LaPorte was clearly unhappy with the September financials she was given. “They weren’t pleasant,” she said. “Not comforting.” Later in the discussion she stated that the hospital lost $650,000 in September. “I’m just trying to go into the project below budget.” Currently the proposed cost of the hospital is $1.8 million above budget.

Mary Signorelli voted to move forward with the design team preparing construction documents for eventual permitting in January.

Mary Signorelli said she wanted to stay on target. “I don’t know if we are ever going to be 100 percent satisfied with accounting,” said Signorelli. “We have the opportunity to move forward with design so we can move closer to the target. The design is going to be where it is… another step before permitting.”

Dick Bratton said the design team was essentially asking to finish the design work. “We are in the early stages of construction documents,” he said. Bratton added that the finished design would be submitted tot he board for final review. “We can’t guarantee the maximum cost of the project which we don’t know.” He said they wanted the opportunity to start construction in 2021.

LaPorte replied that the project was $2 million over budget at this time. Phyllis Gleasman stated that CEO George Rohrich would be giving an updated budget. Murphy stated that the dynamics were different before the pandemic. “We can’t cover the $160,000 per month to pay the debt back and that is very concerning to me. There is a great deal at stake here and a great deal at risk.”

Mary Murphy is also concerned with financials and was the second vote against moving forward.

Murphy said she couldn’t vote to move forward on what she knows today. “It is a very difficult time to be moving forward.”

Fred Miller voted for moving forward because it is an essential part of the process. He feels the big decision will be made next spring when the time comes for the contractor to break ground.

Fred Miller stated that the continuation of the design is just a part of a multi-process. With regards to the final costs, Miller said that the project hasn’t gone far enough to find out the final costs. “I think we should move forward,” said Miller. “We have a decision to make next spring and it could be a big one.”

Chairman Phyllis Gleasman also voted to move forward to final construction documents. More will be forthcoming at the next hospital board meeting after the Facilities Committee has had a chance to meet.

Gleasman also felt that it was important to move forward to the final construction documents to find out what they will be presented with. LaPorte asked about removing two med/surgical rooms and one birthing room to bring the budget in line with the $44.5 million figure. She asked whether a decision has been made and Gleasman stated that the facilities committee hasn’t met yet to discuss that eventuality.

Bratton stated that there were a lot of variable in figuring out how much could be saved by shaving more rooms off the building. “It takes a little bit of study.” LaPorte replied that she was just trying to go into the project below budget.

Signorelli stated that the hospital was looking at 10 years down the road. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but the community is growing rapidly and billing will be a lot different in the future. I’m for moving forward.”

LaPorte replied, “I’m not saying I don’t want a new hospital because I do.” She suggested that holding off an negotiating with the USDA seemed to be the right course forward.

The design team got its wish and will now move forward with construction documents which will help the hospital with their next decision going forward with construction.

HOSPITAL BOARD TO MAKE DECISION ON MOVING FORWARD WITH CONSTRUCTON DRAWINGS MONDAY AFTERNOON

by Richard Uhlhorn

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital board of commissioners will reconvene in special session this Monday afternoon, October 12 to continue its discussion on potential approval of the Design Team’s new 52,420 sq. ft. footprint for the new hospital.

At last Friday’s commission meeting for the purpose of approving the footprint so the design team could begin go to work on completing construction drawings for permitting for a March 2021 construction start, the discussion fell apart when commissioner Jordana LaPorte complained that the full board had not received the new changes until 10:30 a.m. that morning. “We had a different design two days ago,” said LaPorte.

Commissioner Mary Murphy brought up the budget which is now over the $44.5 million and is pegged at $45,859,548. In addition, Murphy remarked that the Hospital Foundation has been given an office in the new building and while she likes the work the Foundation does for the hospital, she said, “There is no clinical reason to be there.”

Murphy added that her concern is over the financial recovery mode. “We need to be more realistic than optimistic.” LaPorte also stated that the EMS department needs be somewhere along with the business office.

CEO George Rohrich stated that all that was being asked of the board was approval to move to completing construction documents. “I need a formal motion,” said Rohrich. “That’s all I’m asking.”

Commissioner Mary Signorelli stated that the board needs to stay on target for permitting.

LaPorte replied that the new budget had not gone to the Finance Committee and that “prudently, we’ve got some tightening up to do. We are underfunded and over budget.”

Murphy said they needed some more time to study the new plan. LaPorte added the numbers have changed once again and she was against the proposed motion.

Chairman Phyllis Gleasman asked Dick Bratton how not passing a motion would affect the timeline? He replied that the team was faced with a crunch to submit permit documents to the USDA and other agencies. The timeline ends on January 31 before new regulations go into effect on February 1, 2021. “If we get approval to move forward we only have two months with holidays to deal with. We essentially have only a couple of mopnths to get it packaged up. It’s very sensitive. It is a challenge for us all.”

LaPorte said the board has yet to see the September financials and with out additional financial information she was not willing to pass a motion. Gleasman then asked Commissioner Fred Miller to weigh in. Miller said he felt it was ok to continue moving forward because the hospital’s future finances are not cut and dried. “It will be many months… there is too much uncertainty. Let’s move forward and approve the footprint with budget decisions later.”

Murphy said that receiving the new information 1.5 hours before the meeting was unacceptable and said it was not possible “for me to proceed.” LaPorte added that the project is over budget and the intent was to build the new hospital for $44.5 million, not $45.8 million.

The new (10 days on board) Chief Financial Officer Tom Moore said, “I’m less concerned about the budget, but am more concerned about the debt service.”

Murphy asked if it would be possible to postpone the vote until Monday afternoon’s meeting on the 12th. Jamey Barlet, Collins Woerman, stated that would be perfect.

The commission’s meeting will begin at 4 p.m. with an executive session and then reconvene to discuss moving forward with project at around 5 p.m. The public is invited to join the meeting on Zoom.

Chelan schools hoping to reopen K-2 in October

by Richard Uhlhorn

In a conversation with Chelan School’s Superintendent Barry DePaoli on Sunday, October 3, he said that he and seven other superintendents wrote a letter to Dr. Malcolm Butler of the Chelan-Douglas Health District requesting a waiver to allow Kindergarten through second grade to attend school.

“He approved our request with some anxiety,” said DePaoli. Dr. Butler is worried about transmission of the Coronavirus. Dr. Butler expects positive transmissions to be down to 75/100,000 by October 12. “We won’t open on October 12,” said DePaoli. “Our concern is that kindergarten children have never been in a school setting.” DePaoli said they would bring the kindergarten kids in for one full week before allowing other grades to come back. “It is an extremely fluid situation.”

Both Pateros and Brewster along with Moses Lake have opened up because of low positive transmission rates. DePaoli says that schools are probably one of the most safe places to be. However, apparently Moses Lake had a big celebration where no masks were worn and 55 people ended up positive. “We’ve had one teacher test positive and that person is in quarantine. We are doing contract tracing.”

Currently the School District has 50 students attending in building at both MOE and the High School/Middle School. “Some will be at least a week ahead of us, but we have to be cautious,” stated DePaoli.

_______________________

Representatives from the Holiday Hills Development group addressed the School Board at its Tuesday evening meeting on September 29 requesting that the District donate a 60 foot right-of-way to the City of Chelan for their proposed secondary access for their major development.

DePaoli said that while they made some good points of buses coming in on the backside of the school property, there are still 12 buses which need to access Hwy. 97. “We still have to get our buses off the school property along with teachers and student drivers,” said DePaoli.

The developer is proposing to connect Raymond Street to Waterslide Drive, which they say adds additional access to the school facilities.

“There is no decision off the bat for their proposal,” said DePaoli.

In a quick call to Planning Director Craig Gildroy at the City of Chelan, Gildroy said, “Their application has expired… there is no active application at this time.”

He added that the City’s code requires a secondary access to the development but that there is a dispute over the easement at this time. “They are trying to solve those issues.”

Gildroy also said that a traffic study will be required and remarked that the City will be conducting its own traffic study. “The Farnham exit does get blocked,” said Gildroy. “I’m not sure when the traffic study will take place.

According to the Capital Improvements (CIP) document, a S. Chelan Access Study will be conducted in 2022. The Farnham/97A Intersection Study is funded, but not included in this year’s 2020 projects. The Farnham/97A intersection is currently the only egress out of South Chelan except for the Old Gorge Road.

The City will be holding a workshop on Tuesday, October 6, beginning at  4 p.m. to discuss Capital Improvement Projects budgeting after it decides on the new Councilman.

Ray Dobbs leaves a legacy of community service behind… council bids adieu!

RECENT POSTS

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council waited until the Mayor/Council comment period to bid farewell to Councilmember Ray Dobbs who resigned his position on the Council effective on September 25, 2020.

Ray Dobbs resigned his seat on City Council as of September 25, 2020 with two years remaining on his term. Dobbs, who is moving out of Chelan to East Wenatchee with his wife, leaves a long legacy of community service to the Lake Chelan Valley, not only as a city council member, but a past planning commissioner, a Rotary member, and a major voice on KOZI Radio over the years.

The Council will make a decision at the October 6 Workshop on the applicant who will replace Dobbs on the Council. Each applicant will be given five minutes to address the Council and the Council members will be given five minutes to ask questions of each applicant.

Potential applicants have until September 30 to apply for the position after which their letters of application will be reviewed by the Council members.

During the Mayor/Council comments, Mayor Bob Goedde told Dobbs that he was going to miss him, but that he would take over his assignment to attend the Port District meetings.

Dobbs replied that after working and living in Chelan for the past 45 years, God has a new adventure for him and wife. “I’ve already had conversations with the Wenatchee Rotary and there are also other opportunities opening up,” said Dobbs. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this council.”

Erin McCardle praised Dobbs for all his community work and stated that he would be missed. “Thank you for your commitment to the community. It’s been a pleasure to work with you.”

Peter Jamtgaard thanked Dobbs for sharing his wisdom when he got on to the Council.

Ty Witt said he looks forward to many more endeavors by Dobbs, and then encouraged people to drive out through Apple Acres. “There is a lot of charred land out there but the firefighters and home owners saved their homes. It is an impressive thing to see.”

Servando Robledo told Dobbs that the Council was going to miss him. “When I applied, you sat down and helped get new council members up and running.”

John Olson said it was a pleasure to get to know Dobbs and thanked him for his donations to Reruns.

Tim Hollingsworth stated that it has been a pleasure working with Dobbs on both the Planning Commission and City Council. He then reported that the Housing Trust has been working diligently and has a lot of applicants for Emerson project.

Dobbs thanked Mayor Goedde for taking on the job of attending the Port meetings. “It’s important to stay in their world. Goedde replied that he feels it is very important to stay connected and added that he would continue to work on getting water out to the airport.

Mayor Bob Goedde is taking over Dobb’s assignment to attend Port of Chelan County Board Meetings three times a month. The big issue with the Chelan Airport which is co-owned by Chelan and the Port is trying to get water to the facility so it can expand.

Craig Gildroy said he enjoyed working with Dobbs over his years on the Planning Commission and Council. Peri Gallucci said she has enjoyed Dobbs’ feedback over his time on Council. City Administrator Wade Ferris thanked Dobbs for spending a lot of his personal time on City issues and business.

Agenda Items:

Wineries, cottage wineries and tasting rooms text amendment

Planning Director Craig Gildroy brought a Text Amendment to the Council and requested that they approve the Planning Commission’s Tourist Accommodation Zone amendment to allow wine tasting rooms as a permitted use; allow restaurants with cocktail lounges without a conditional use permit (CUP) and allow cottage wineries and wineries though a CUP.

John Olson said he has had residents calling him about noise issues that might arise from approval of this amendment. Gildroy said that the City has doubled the distances between residential areas and businesses, and that the Sheriff would address noise complaints. “We would also adjust the hours and not allow loud bands,” said Gildroy. The Council approved the recommendation unanimously.

Legal services contract for Indigent Criminal Defendants

City Attorney Quentin Batjar told the Council that the Wenatchee law firm of Kottkamp, Yedinak & Esworthy had no interest in continuing with their contract to provide indigent defense services for criminal cases in Chelan County District Court. Under the contract, the City is responsible for the cost of the conflict attorneys which is $75 per hour.

Batjar brought a new contract for the Council’s consideration. Attorney Mr. Steven Krake charges $135 per hour and has been providing indigent defense services locally since 2018. 

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if any local attorneys were considered. Batjar replied that since the indigent cases would be argued in Wenatchee it didn’t seem reasonable to pay a local attorney several hours above the court time for travel. “These issues shouldn’t happen very frequently,” said Batjar. “We’ve never had to engage them,” he added.

The City budgets $8,000 each year for these services and John Olson asked if there was any sort of cap (on money) if a case comes up. Batjar replied that he wouldn’t anticipate that the City would ever go through $8,000. “We’d know pretty quickly,” said Batjar. Most indigent cases involve pretty simple misdemeanors and are disposed of quickly. The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Indigent Legal Services with Mr. Steven Krake.

2021 Emergency Management Services agreement with Chelan County

The Council approved the 2021 Emergency Management Plan with Chelan County at a rate of $2.88 per capita. Last year’s contract was for $2.93 per capita, but the 2021 rate has decreased because of staffing changes.

Ray Dobbs asked for some discussion on the issue and would like to see some local resources plugged into the plan. Tim Hollingsworth asked what the City was getting for its money. Mayor Goedde replied that three County emergency management vehicles were located on the Apple Acres Fire. Ferris added that the EOC has the expertise they can tap into that the City doesn’t have.

Airport Market Analysis

City Administrator Wade Ferris said the City wants to do a market analysis for hanger space. “Our lease rates are low,” he stated. “Hopefully we can make some changes based on a study.”

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard remarked that bringing up lease rates at the airport might result in losing leases. “We could use more leases there,” he said. Ferris replied, “Our lease rates are 20 years old and we have two pages of people who want to lease out there. We are going to make sure we are getting our band for the buck.”

Many of the land leases for hangers at the airport are up for renewal and a market rate analysis hasn’t been done in over 10 years.

Councilman John Olson asked if this issue was for information, not action. McCardle asked if this would be on the City or Airport Budget. City Finance Director Steve Thornton said it would be an Airport Budget item. Dobbs said the City should give its partner, the Port of Chelan County a heads up on this issue. The Council approved $1,200 for an appraisal by Walters Appraisals.

City office space to Department of Licensing

The City has been leasing 861 sq. ft. of office space in City Hall to the DOL for the past five years at a rate of $1458 per month. It was set to expire in June but because of COVID the lease was extended by mutual agrement until September 30.

Mayor Goedde said this is a project that started years ago and has worked out well for the community. He requested that the lease be extended for a couple more years at the same rate. Dobbs asked about the prior analysis on City Hall space needs. The Council approved to extend the lease.

Golf Course mower purchase

Erin McCabe, Chelan’s Golf Course Maintenance Superintendent, has found another great deal on used mowers. They are from a premier golf course that rotates through its machines on a regular schedule. Erin has negotiated a package deal for three (3) Toro 5410 Fairway Mowers, plus a set of veritcutting reels (valued at 5K) for a total of $26,000. One new mower of this style of mower would cost $70,592.

McCabe and the shop mechanic inspected the surplus machines and determined that the purchase would be a good deal. The council authorized the staff to proceed with the purchase out of the Recreation Capital Fund.

Side Sewer Replacement

Public Works Director Jake Youngren told the Council that the City is in the design phase of a project that will replace water and sewer infrastructure in the alley north of Woodin Avenue between Columbia St and Sanders St.

Youngren told the Council that he thinks the best option over the long term is to make the sewer connections on private property. How to pay for it is the question. There are approximately 30 side sewer services to be replaced at an estimated cost of $150,000 and $200,000.

The other option is to have the property owners pay for the work. “My goal tonight is that when we reach out, I want a clear way forward. The first question is who is going to pay for this,” said Youngren. McCardle asked about individual business cost. Youngren said he felt it would be between $5,000 and $7,500 per side service. “We don’t actually know the answer yet.”

Dobbs asked why the City is looking at doing this. Youngren replied that new infrastructure would be good for 30 to 40 years and that the infrastructure that is currently in the ground is beyond its serviceable years. Most of it is asbestos/concrete,” said Youngren. “We are having problems.”

The Council felt that it was a productive conversation. Jamtgaard said he likes the idea of a City/business owner working relationship that would share costs. Hollingsworth said, “You are on the right track. Bring the business owners in.” McCardle said it would be an exciting transformation of that alley.

The next meeting is a workshop on October 6 which begins at 4 p.m.

Hospital board approves new name in re-branding effort

by Richard Uhlhorn

Jackie O’Hara at Jet Marketing, out of Ft. Collins, Colorado, presented the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Board of Directors at their Tuesday, September 22 board meeting with the marketing firms re-branding efforts. Her presentation included reasons why health organization would want to re-brand its identity.

She said, “If there’s a major change in leadership, community perception or an outdated logo.” She called the hospital/clinic’s current logo hard to use. She mentioned the legal reasons for a change including Blue Cross’s demand that the hospital stop using the blue in its current logo.

She stated that her firm worked with CEO George Rohrich, and other members of the hospital’s leadership plus two board members to re-brand the hospital. O’Hara stated that the number one issue with the hospital/clinic’s current branding was it was too long.

Commissioner Mary Murphy said she liked the new logo, but asked what criteria was used to design it. O’Hara said they considered three or four different designs in the process. Jordana LaPorte said it was a learning experience for her.  

The team came up with a name revision for the hospital that would be a:
Better representation of the organization today
Offers flexibility in service offerings
On point with best practices in the industry

The new name (logo), Lake Chelan Health, was unanimously approved by the board and O’Hara said it’s message wasn’t just about fixing health related problems, but also leading a healthy lifestyle.

Agustin Venegas, the hospital’s marketing manager, said the new name fits the hospital’s new direction. “This one is what is going to stand out,” said Venegas. “I feel pretty strongly of what it says about us.”

Rohrich asked if there would be any issues about registering the design? O’Hara said she wasn’t too worried about that but they did purchase URL lakechelanhealth.com in June. “We’ve already secured that which becomes a copyright of it,” said O’Hara.

Depending on the final design of the new hospital, this is what the
re-branding could look like on the building

Finances:

Total operating revenues as of August 31 was $2,323,124 which was $174,025 less than the projected budget. Vickie Bodle, interim Chief Financial Officer, said, “The pandemic money (we received) significatly helped us.” She also reported that any monies the hospital received from the CARES Act is not required to be paid back. “The good news is that we won’t have to pay that back,” said Bodle.

The facility is seeing a downturn in admissions now that the tourist season has ended and the fact that the Sanctuary is closed.

George Rohrich told the board that the hospital has a small negative bottom line. “Looking at September we are definitely out of the tourism season,” said Rohrich.

Rohrich hopes to have the hospital back in the black by the end of the year.

Building Project:

LaPorte requested that the Facilities Committee report be pulled from the Consent Agenda for board discussion. “I’m trying to coordinate this with the Finance Committee,” she said. “Where are we going with this?”

Rohrich replied that the staff continues to work “even as late as today to come up with a footprint (for the new hospital) that we can afford.” He said the number of beds in the new building is moving, but didn’t say by how much. He said if they hit budget, he will come to the Board with a report on October 9.

“Are we still considering removing beds,” asked LaPorte? Rohrich said enough where they won’t have to cut anymore. “When the bid prices come inwe may have to react to that,” added Rohrich.

LaPorte asked that the Facilities Committee report become a part of the regular agenda instead of on the consent agenda. “I’m looking for more meat” she said.

The board will conduct a Budget Review on September 30, hold its board meeting on October 9 and approved October 16 for a one-day retreat to complete a Strategic Plan.

Health District sees declining COVID numbers

By Richard Uhlhorn

On Monday, September 21, the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Commissioners met in a Zoom meeting to discuss recent developments

Commission Chair Dan Sutton introduced the new Interim Director of the Health District, Nathan Weed, who is an employee of thte State Department of Health on loan until December 12 while the District continues its search for a permanent director.

Weed has been in the health industry for a number of years and is currently the Incident Commander of the Office of Rural Health. “You reached out to me and I agreed to do this,” said Weed. He has worked for the Clark County Department of Health, in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana, and as a firefighter/EMTin Wyoming.

Weed will serve fulltime as the interim director until December and said he may have to run back and forth a little bit, but will remain fully available electronically at times.

Dr. Malcolm Butler invited the CDC to the meeting and they were on-line at the meeting, headed up by Dr. Monterraso who has been in the health industry for the past 29 years working globally. “I was brought back from Africa,” said Dr. Monterraso. “I am now working to understand COVID dynamics.” This will include mitigation efforts of COVID. The team of doctors with Dr. Monterraso will be conducting phone surveys in both East Wenatchee and Wenatchee with those who have recovered from the virus. He will report back to the board at their October 2 meeting.

Dr. Butler expressed his gratitude to the team. “I have not known what way to turn in our community,” he said.

He reported that there has been seven new mortaliites in the last month. (See graph). The mortalities are all above the age of 59 and all had other medical issues.

The big news is that the incidence of new cases is going down. “We are at one to two percent which is quite low. If we can prove it is that low, we can get more classrooms open,” said Butler.

Butler reported that a lot of community testing has gone on in North Central Washington communities. “The positives are going down to around six percent.” The age breakdown has the over 70 community well insulated with those in the age group of 20 to 39 being the most probable cases. “The majority of cases is still in agriculture,” said Butler. (see graph).

Dr. Butler said that Masking compliance has dropped down to about 66 percent (70 percent in businesses). “It is worse in smaller communities. Our target is to have 80 percent compliance.” Butler encouraged everyone to continue to bang the drum for masking.

Two agriculture facilities went over the threshold and had to shut down for a complete cleaning. A number of infected employees went into quarantine and are receiving health checks twice a day.

“It is hard to describe the care our schools are taking with this issue… it is impressive,” said Butler. “If the prevalence in East Wenatchee and Wenatchee continues at 1 to 2 percent, we will be able to move into a hybrid teaching model.”

Commissioner Doug England asked about safety plans for schools and was interested in Manson’s K-5th grade. Butler said the tests came back at one percent.

Commission Chair Sutton said, “It’s important for the community to understand that getting kids back in school has to be done in the safest manner possible.”

Sharon Waters asked Dr. Butler if he has had any Ah Ha moments during the pandemic. Butler replied that he was surprised at how different COVID is than influenza and how under resourced Chelan-Douglas Health District was.

Dr. Peter Houk, who has been helping mitigate the virus, said that just because the new cases were dropping steadily, the District needs to avoid becoming complacent. “The rate of decline has leveled off and citizens need to continue being careful.”

Dr. Monterroso added that the incidence of positive cases are going up at universities and colleges around the nation. “Name the state and the cases are up dramatically,” he said. He blames those burgeoning numbers of the fact that college students are partying and not observing safety procedures like social distancing and masking. “When it gets colder the numbers will go up again,” he said.

Interim director Nate Weed ended the meeting by telling the board and staff that he was there at their request. “I want you to know that you can reach out… feel free to guide me. I’ll be here until December 9 or so depending on the hiring of a fulltime administrator.”

Butler reported that a lot of community testing has gone on in North Central Washington communities. “The positives are going down to around six percent.” The age breakdown has the over 70 community well insulated with those in the age group of 20 to 39 being the most probable cases. “The majority of cases is still in agriculture,” said Butler.

Dr. Butler said that Masking compliance has dropped down to about 66 percent (70 percent in businesses). “It is worse in smaller communities. Our target is to have 80 percent compliance.” Butler encouraged everyone to continue to bang the drum for masking.

Two agriculture facilities went over the threshold and had to shut down for a complete cleaning. A number of infected employees went into quarantine and are receiving health checks twice a day.

“It is hard to describe the care our schools are taking with this issue… it is impressive,” said Butler. “If the prevalence in East Wenatchee and Wenatchee continues at 1 to 2 percent, we will be able to move into a hybrid teaching model.”

Commissioner Doug England asked about safety plans for schools and was interested in Manson’s K-5th grade. Butler said the tests came back at one percent.

Commission Chair Sutton said, “It’s important for the community to understand that getting kids back in school has to be done in the safest manner possible.”

Sharon Waters asked Dr. Butler if he has had any Ah Ha moments during the pandemic. Butler replied that he was surprised at how different COVID is than influenza and how under resourced Chelan-Douglas Health District was.

Dr. Peter Houk, who has been helping mitigate the virus, said that just because the new cases were dropping steadily, the District needs to avoid becoming complacent. “The rate of decline has leveled off and citizens need to continue being careful.”

Dr. Monterroso added that the incidence of positive cases are going up at universities and colleges around the nation. “Name the state and the cases are up dramatically,” he said. He blames those burgeoning numbers of the fact that college students are partying and not observing safety procedures like social distancing and masking. “When it gets colder the numbers will go up again,” he said.

Interim director Nate Weed ended the meeting by telling the board and staff that he was there at their request. “I want you to know that you can reach out… feel free to guide me. I’ll be here until December 9 or so depending on the hiring of a fulltime administrator.”

Edward Jones Announces New Financial Advisor for Chelan and North Central Washington

The financial services firm Edward Jones has hired Kim Dunbar as the new financial advisor for it’s Chelan branch office located at 123 East Johnson Ave, Suite 1, Chelan, WA 98816.

Kim is enthusiastic about taking over the office. “I joined this firm because I was impressed with its commitment to individual investors,” she said. “Now I’m looking forward to meeting with the individuals here to help them meet their financial goals.”

Kim received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.

Her professional experience includes The Boeing Company and the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation.

Kim Dunbar and Branch Office Administrator Jo Grooms can be reached at 509-682-7014. You may also visit Kim’s website at www.edwardjones.kim-dunbar.

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm’s 18,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1.3 trillion in assets under management. Visit our website at edwardjones.com and recruiting website at careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.

Chelan Golf Course subject of presentation and ideas

by Richard Uhlhorn

Parks Director Paul Horne opened a discussion with City Council by saying, “We need to prioritize things we need to fix.”

“We will be relocating Hole 17,” said Horne. Hole 17 is located adjacent to the new Campbell’s housing development and the concern is that golf balls may land on or near the houses. “It will not cost the City anything,” said Horne who added that the developer has signed an agreement to pay for the relocation.

Horne stated that with all the new homes being build around the course and at close by developments, the community is actually developing new golfers.

Erin McCardle commented on the consultant’s potential bias. “I would like to see the financial gain at the Clubhouse and the opportunity we have for fine dining there,” said McCardle. “Those all take strong management. What is the return on improving the clubhouse,” she asked?

Horne replied that for people who live up there, it is a no brainer. “They could walk to the clubhouse.” He added that an economic strategy was needed. McCardle stated that the next step towards improving the clubhouse is an analysis and budget. “We’ve had this type of discussion three or four times. The next step is to get to the next step.”

Ty Witt said, “I could really support a good steakhouse. We should be using this facility at night.” He called it an economic multiplier. “I’m not seeing that. These are economic multipliers.”

John Olson added that in the past the golf course grounds have been used for winter time activities like sledding and cross-country skiing. He added that the facilities could be used as a wedding venue and suggested a hiking/biking trail around the course which was immediately shot down because of the danger of being hit by a golf ball.

Tim Hollingsworth said he was with Erin. “We need to stay on top of this.” He added that the City needs to be cognizant about competing with private business. We need to dance around that issue… my other concern is the future of golf. It is an aging sport.”

Peter Jamtgaard added that people are fleeing from the metropolitan areas and he has been amazed at the number of people that have visited the valley for the first time, including the golf course. “It is a huge opportunity to capture them.”

Servando Robledo cautioned that the overall goal was to make the golf course profitable. “We need to be careful. My goal is to have a balanced approach.”

Jamtgaard asked how much the course is going into the red on a yearly basis. Horne replied that the average is $40,000 per year.

This has been an unusual year for the Chelan Municipal Golf Course. It originally opened for business on March 6, but was shut down by Governor’s orders in response to COVID on April 13 and stayed shut down until May 5 when it opened to 50 percent capacity. On May 15, the Governor released golf courses and it has operated since then.

This year has been a good one for rounds played. To date, 15,872 rounds have been played for a 74 percent increase over 2019. In 2019 there were 9,123 rounds played.

The report stated that there were more first time players on the course than ever before and plenty of compliments on the course’s ground conditions, much of which is due to the April to May closure that allowed the grounds maintenance people to do a lot of work.

The report goes on to say that the Golf Course is a community asset and a business enterprise.

The Chelan Golf Course was originally built in 1969 by a private group of citizens. It was given to the City in 1975.

The Consultant reported that a plus/minus $3.5 million dollar bond is potentially required within the next five to seven years for capital investments. He estimated $4,462,667.00 excluding any clubhouse improvements.

He feels that the key to the success of the course is:

An upgraded website;

Improved quality and quantity of marketing; and

Improved communications between departments and concessions.

The local high schools hold golf tournaments at the Chelan course with Caribou Trail League and B school teams.

The survey the Consultant sent out received 876 respondents of which 203 had a 98816 zip code. Fifty eight percent of respondents felt that the municipal golf experience should be focused on avid golfers, leagues, outings, and tournaments while another 40 percent saw the course as an entry level one appropriate for players of all abilities.

When it came to course recommendations, Gamble Sands was number one with Desert Canyon coming in at number two and Chelan at number three in the region.

Chelan is liked by many golfers because it has the best price, best customer service and best value.

The big question is how to manage the course. Should it be self managed by the Parks Department, under some sort of controlled management, leased, or sold to a private buyer.

The City would like to see its Golf Course as “A Municipal Course with a Country Club Feel.”

Knowing that Chelan’s golfing contingent have strong feelings about the future of the course, comments would be welcome on what they would like to see. One thing is for sure… the cost of a round of golf is going to go up.