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

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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.

City Council hears special presentation on do’s and don’t’s

by Richard Uhlhorn

Ann Bennett – WCIA Executive Director presented the Chelan City Council a series of Do’s and Don’ts as council members. The WCIA (Washington Cities Insurance Authority) is a public entity with 163 members and provides Cities with liability coverage up to $25 million per occurrence.

The City has been a member of this insurance pool since 1987. “I remember when Chelan had a Police Department,” she said. Eighty percent of all municipalities are in the pool.

She warned the Council members that acting outside of their role was a liability risk, but that acting as a body as a whole gave each member individual immunity from lawsuits.

“You must be fair and impartial,” said Bennett. She added that council members should never be influenced by outside parties. “Be very careful you don’t influence a project.” She named one such mistake that ended up with a $10 million dollar verdict.

She also mentioned a case where the Mayor revoked a developer’s permit to continue a project after which the developer sued and won. “There are problems when you go outside the law,” said Bennett. In this case the insurance carrier did not pay.

“The cost of litigation is not cheap,” said Bennett. When it comes to personnel issues, Bennett stated that the Mayor has the authority to hire, fire and discipline. “As a council, you are representing the City… you may disagree, but it is safer to stay out of that executive role.”

If there is a complaint to a Council member about harassment or discrimination, that should be taken to the Mayor or City Administrator who are obligated to do something.

She also remarked that Council members should never misrepresent a City’s decisions. “If you don’t have an answer, say, I don’t know, but I will direct you to the right person.”

Bennett told the Council that it is fine to talk to a constituent, but if it is an issue that needs addressing, ask to staff to research to determine solutions. “Always avoid making inflammatory statements.”

She also remarked that executive sessions should not show up on the front page of the newspaper. “If the other side knows exactly what was said in executive session, it jeopardizes the (city’s) defense.”

“Be very mindful of what you are writing in Emails,” she added. She encouraged council members to not use their personal computers for City email messages. “When you are working on behalf of the City on your personal computer, there is no privacy. It is always best to use the City’s system.”

Bennett also said that Facebook, Twitter and other other social media platforms are tricky and are all new areas of the law. “Anything you write becomes public record.”

While Council members are encouraged to engage constituents, the warning is to never make promises. Councilman Ty Witt asked about quasi-judicial issues. City Attorney Quentin Batjer replied, “We’ve offloaded a lot of this to the Hearing Examiner. The City shouldn’t be sitting here as a quasi-judicial body.”

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked whether it was appropriate to list and remove options from a developer’s project. City Planner Craig Gilroy replied, “If you want to change the code to help a developer… change the code.” He then reminded the Council that they can only take action on what is before them… they can’t change what is already permitted.

Dobbs resigns from City Council

by Richard Uhlhorn

The big news at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting was Ray Dobb’s resignation from the Council. Ray and his wife are making a life change and moving to East Wenatchee where they have purchased a home. “We will be heading down by the end of September,” said Dobbs. “I have enjoyed doing this. It is an opportunity for somebody else to serve”

DSC00763

Councilmember Ray Dobbs has resigned his position effective at the end of September when he moves to East Wenatchee.

Mayor Bob Goedde said that the City will accept letters of intent from potential individuals to replace Dobbs on the Council. Goedde expects it to take two weeks to a month to find a replacement and depending on how many people are interested, Goedde said they would wheedle that down to the top three. “We are not going to replace you,” said Goedde. Dobbs had three more years to serve before his tenure was over or he was re-elected.

Whoever the Council selects to replace Dobbs, will occupy the seat for one of the three years remaining before facing the electorate. According to Goedde as of Monday morning, August 31, four individuals have so far thrown their name into the hat.

Dobbs also remarked that at the Port of Chelan County’s meeting that they had given away $4 million in small business loans during the pandemic so far. Cashmere ($93,000), Entiat ($35,000) and Wenatchee ($160,000) have all given some of the COVID CARES money to the Port to distribute.

The City of Chelan received $127,000 from the Government and Dobbs asked how much money the City has given the Port. Goedde replied that they haven’t given any funds because they are paying $10,000 a weekend for security at the parks.

Dobbs said he would like to see some of the CARES money go back to the small businesses in the community. “I don’t know that we’ve done enough,” said Dobbs. “We need to do something.”

John Olson told the Council that the STR (Short Term Rentals) debate is still going on at Chelan County. (Note: Since John’s Council comments, Chelan County has placed moratorium on STRs). Olson stated that Chelan County has a new Planning Director who is getting an assistant to help in the office along with two new planning positions. “They are moving (County) Code Enforcement to the Sheriff’s Office,” said Olson. Real estate is still booming in the County and Olson doesn’t see it going away.

He remarked during a telephone conversation on Monday, August 31, that Leavenworth is installing parking meters throughout town with the proceeds eventually going towards building a Parking Garage.

Outdoor seating areas for three restaurants are being installed this week with funding from the City’s CARES funds.

Erin McCardle told the Council that she was hoping to do the downtown outdoor seating for three restaurants. She also agreed with Dobbs on the $125,000 the City received in CARES funding. “I would love to see where that money is going,” stated McCardle. “We need to be prepared for a tough Fall.” She also would like to see a Fall cleanup in town with pressure washing on the sidewalks.

Ty Witt remarked that the weekend parking situation has gotten much better. He also remarked that while there have been some complaints, “nobody is going to like everything we do.”

Peter Jamtgaard said he was saddened by Dobb’s leaving the Council. “He has mentored me.” With regards to the bridge jumping, Jamtgaard said the City has a duty to do more to stop it. Goedde said more signage was going up and a $200 fine will be assessed to jumpers.

Jumping or diving from the City’s bridges will become expensive if those jumping or diving are given a ticket. 

Geodde also said he had called the Washington Association of Cities to see if it would be permissible to install a boom under the bridge where jumping is taking place to protect lives. “They said absolutely not.”

With regards to outdoor seating, Goedde said that the 25% capacity facing restaurants is a tough go for them. “I’m not sure we are helping them with only two to three hours worth of business. It is almost to late in the season.”

Wade Ferris added that Public Works Director Jake Youngren has receive 10 signs to be place on all four corners of both the old and new bridge with one in the middle to help mitigate the jumping issue.

Chelan’s Wastewater Treatment Plant received the 2019 Outstanding Performance Award out of 300 plants statewide. The achieved full compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in 2019.

The Council approved an amendment change for the Tourist Accommodation Zoning District for cottage wineries. This amendment was recommended by the Chelan Planning Commission.

The Council approved reapplying for RCO Grants that were not awarded to the City for Lakeside Park improvements in 2018. Eleven projects were awarded with Chelan being an alternate at number 14 on the list. The hope is that these grants will be awarded. The Council matching funds in the amount of $331,596.

On Tuesday, September 1, the City will be holding a workshop beginning at 4 p.m. This meeting will be live-streamed on Lakechelannow.com

Chelan School District moves closer to reopening

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan School Superintendent Barry DePaoli told the school board on Tuesday evening, August 25, that the Chelan-Douglas Health District did not accept its first proposal to allow small groups of kid into the classrooms. “We will be approved by Friday to bring in small groups,” said DePaoli. “We have to be really careful on how we do that.”

DePaoli also stated that there are a number of families who want their children in a remote environment. “Some prefer to remain remote. We need an online option more specific to COVID.”

From Tuesday, September 1 to Thursday, September 3, the District will be holding an orientation with parents and students. “We are going to be connecting with each student one-on-one with Zoom,” said DePaoli. There are 1,400 students in the District.

Food service will begin again on September 1. “We are getting that system built,” said DePaoli.

School will officially begin on Tuesday, September 8. Staff has been receiving online remote learning training over the past week. “A lot of the staff have been sharing ideas with one another,” stated DePaoli.

The District will be utilizing a Project Based Learning protocol that will require collaboration and teacher guidelines with the students. This model will allow the teachers to instruct student lessons t home whether it be by video/podcast/book/website. The students will work in class and receive teacher support as needed.

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“I think the Project Based Learning has a lot of clout,” said DePaoli.

Board member Lynda Foster remarked that she was glad that a Project Based Learning system will be used. “I understand the value of that.” DePaoli replied that it really dovetails well with critical thinking. “I love the fact that we have student choice. Staff will be really engaged.”

MOE Principal Erin Morin remarked that the elementary school will have a drive up teachers table to meet students from afar. Staff at MOE are learning how to utilize the technology.

Middle School Principal Brian Wood said that they are partnering with the high school so parents with students in both the Middle School and High School won’t have to come in twice. Parents will be learning passwords for their students to alleviate any potential problems of signing onto Skyward.

High School Principal Brad Wilson said he has met with his staff and they are being fine tuned for the start of school. “We are trying to work with parents and kids at both schools for some face time with teachers… especially the (incoming) Freshmen.

CIS Principal Erik Peterson said they were finding new ways to engage kids in his system. “We are establishing accountability and expectations,” said Peterson.

DePaoli remarked that the District is in a much different place than last spring. “The staff is in a way better place and we are excited even though we are going to be remote.” However DePaoli stated that, “Child Care is the biggest issue in the community. I wish we could take care of that.” DePaoli is seeking answers to the child care issue.

At least 90+ percent of the District’s staff will be working from their individual classrooms at each school and all staff members will be required to attend staff and department meetings. “It’s going to be a challenge,” said DePaoli.

AllThingsLakeChelan will continue to update the community as more information about District school reopening comes forth.

Hospital moving forward with new Clinic

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By Richard Uhlhorn

The Hospital Board discussed the upcoming change from the Primary Care Clinic to an Express (Walk-in) Clinic that, according to Interim Chief Financial Officer Viola Babcock, will be open seven days a week with a only a staff of seven.

It is slated to open on November 1. Medical personnel will include two Certified Family Nurse Practitioners who don’t require a physician’s oversight.

Start up costs are estimated at $110,000, with $80,000 for buildout of the new location and $20,000 for advertising. Rohrich said, “Nobody will be turned away and we will be able to bill Medicare.”

The funding for the clinic will come out of the COVID fund.

CEO George Rohrich congratualted the hospital’s Chief Quality Officer Maria Sirois on her becoming nationally certified in infection control (CIC). “She may be our first CIC in our history,” Rohrich told the Board. “It will help us in moving forward.”

Rohrich give an update on the forthcoming strategy plan, telling the board that he needed to wait until the design team comes back with cost estimates or changes in costs and space of building the new hospital. “We should have a Strategy Plan after that,” he said. “It may drive some of our goals.” Any changes to the design efforts will mostly be COVID learned changes Rohrich added.

The Design Team will be giving their updates on October 9 in what Rohrich things will be no more than a two hour meeting. After that Rohrich said it would take a half day for a facilities review they have been discussing.

Under New Business, Rohrich discussed Resolution #626 CEO Authority. “This resolution was created and drafted by our counsel,” said Rohrich. The document outlines the authority the hospital’s CEO has in situations that do not require Board approval. “This resolution makes (my) authority very clear.” Rohrich shaved zeros off a number of issues he has control over bringing one down to $25,000 and another down to $10,000. The board approved his changes to the CEO authority resolution.

Emergency situations like a hot water heater going out would be within the CEO’s authority to approve expenditures to fix without Board Approval.

The Hospital’s finances saw a $1.2 million in increased volume over June and July. Mary Signorelli said, “It is great to see a positive bottom line.”

Rohrich stated that July was a good month for the hospital. “We almost hit the orange bar. We had no beds available and we haven’t seen that in awhile.”

“The community is still hampered by COVID,” explained Rohrich, Agustin Venegas said the hospital has to cancel its annual Fun Run but did have two successful events; one was handing out backpacks to students who needed them and the second was teaching new parents how to install car seats so the child would be safe in case of a collision. “COVID is ruining our Fun Run,” said Benegas.

Chelan Fire has busy July

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Fire Chief Mark Donnell, does not see any major changes to Chelan Fire & Rescue’s revenues based on current real estate values. “I don’t see that changing,” said Donnell. He feels that the real estate values will remain high over the next few years and sees no reason to move forward with a levy request.

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Donnell reported that this July has been the third busiest July in the District’s history. “We have been busier than normal,” stated Donnell. “We’ve had a number fires out of the District. The good thing is we’ve had zero dollars in fire loss.”

Beginning on July 11, the District responded to the Mansfield Brush Fire that ended up with State mobilization. That fire was the first major blowup that required state mobilizations. On July 24 District personnel were mobilized to the Coluckum Fire. Four days later on July 28, the Waterville Brush Fire became a state mobilized fire and on July 30 the District helped on the Moses Coulee Fire which was also a state mob. fire.

Other fires and emergency response involving fire personnel was the Easy Street Fire on July 13, a structure fire on Chelan Butte on July 17, a brush fire in Chelan Falls on July 22 and a structure fire on July 30.

Rescue crews responded to a situation in the Chelan River Gorge where four Seattle adventure hikers were trapped by high water on the wrong side of the Gorge. They were eventually rescued by Chelan Fire & Rescue with the help of the High Ropes Rescue Team from Wenatchee.

In addition to the fire activity, the District was involved in the rescue of four trapped young adults in the Chelan River Gorge when the PUD released 800 cubic feet of water. This rescue included personnel from the Wenatchee Fire District’s rope rescue team.

There was a conversation about hiring ER Recovery, a company that offers billing services and IT solutions for first responders and ambulance companies. Donnell said, “They specialize with invoicing and billing and pretty impressive statistics.”

The District has billed several companies for emergency calls to defray resource costs. One such company is Chelan Tree Removal for a non-permitted fire that required District resources. They have not responded to the District. Two other companies who have not replied to District invoicing for resources is Safeway and Kelly’s Hardware, both of whom had need of Hazmat services. “We need to have some incentive to sold these problems,” said Donnell.

Who to bill and who not to bill was a part of the conversation. “Are they residents in the Fire District? The District’s rescue operation in the Chelan River Gorge involved four individuals who are Seattle residents, and who did not heed PUD Warning Signs to stay out of the Gorge.

There was also a recent paragliding accident on Chelan Butte that required District resources to remove the badly injured pilot. “This was a high risk rescue that used a lot of manpower which taxes our system,” said Donnell. “They take the responsibility and we need to go after them for those (resource) charges,” stated Donnell.

Oules asked who would be excluded from District charges. “Are we billing those idiots (Gorge rescue),” asked Oules. Moller said he would be in favor of billing or hiring ER Recovery, but felt it need more discussion. “We only have five or six instances a year,” said Donnell.

The recent Knapps Coulee Fire was contained quickly by
Chelan Fire and Rescue personnel.

“Turnout is pretty good,” stated Donnell. “We had enough people at Knapps Coulee to get around the fire and were able to call of air support before using it. A few minutes more and we would have needed it.” The cause of the Knapps Coulee fire is still under investigation. “It was close to the road, so it could have been a cigarette or a spark.”

There have been two Marine 71 operations. “I’ve been quite impressed with how quickly we’ve been able to respond. I think we’ve been able to put together a very good marine and rescue swimmer program.”

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Chelan’s Fire and Rescue’s Marine 71 has been highly successful responding to accidents on Lake Chelan this summer. 

Russ Jones stated that he is impressed and happy with some of the volunteers for the Marine program. “It was a gratifying water rescue. We made a difference in the outcome,” said Jones who added that Marine 71 arrived several minutes before the Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol boat showed up alone.

State mobilization brings in additional revenue to the District and Administrative Assistant Carol Kibler said the District has receive $27,000 in state mobilization funds which is being placed into the District’s Capital Investment Fund.

However, Chief Donnell told the Commissioners that California had called and asked for some resources. There was also a request for a crew to Okanogan. “That’s not going to happen,” said Donnell. “I don’t want to deplete our resources.”

Phil Moller stated that was a good choice. “We get one out and no one else goes.”

The District and City have scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, August 25 regarding fire services to the City. “Hopefully I can update you (on negotiations) next week,” said Donnell.

The Siren was also a topic of discussion at the meeting. “We have strong support of the community,” said Donnell. The activation of the Siren for a structure fire in Chelan Falls was not needed. “We did not receive a lot of complaints. We will do whatever the board wants.”

Moller remarked that he thought the Siren was to be used when the community was in imminent danger like the 2015 Complex. “It’s old technology. We never want to use the Siren to get people to respond. It should not have gone off for Chelan Falls.”

Donnell replied that the Siren can be changed for however the commission wants. Russ Jones replied that he wanted to leave things as they are. “I’ve been impressed with the support. We need to get information out on Social Media.”

Karyl Oules said, “I’d like to leave it where it is. If we start having issues with it we can come back and visit.”

Chief Donnell brought up the 2020-2025 Long Range Plan and SWOT Analysis and told the board that the District needs buy-in from the Board, Staff, Fire Fighters, Volunteer Fire Fighters and the Community. This document is only good when you buy into it,” he told the Board.

The three questions on the SWOT Analysis are:

  1. Where are we;
  2. Where are we going; and,
  3. How do we get there.

Moller asked if he had talked with Chief Arnold Baker about their plan and the way District 5 has their plans laid out. Donnell replied that District 5’s document is a usable guide of the District. He stated that he would be visiting with Baker and talk about how both organizations can cooperate.

The Board and others are in the process of reviewing the 2020-2025 Long Range Plan and will discuss its content and any changes at the next Fire District meeting.