School board handed a formal discrimination complaint

by Richard Uhlhorn

FROM AND ARTICLE IN THE Christian Science Monitor’s Politics Newsletter by Story Hinckley on 5.30.2021.
After the upheaval of the academic year, it’s perhaps not surprising that school boards across the country have become lightning rods for political debate. As Zoom classes dragged on through the fall and winter – and with many public schools, including those in Fairfax, even now not fully open – heated battles erupted over how to balance the safety of teachers and students against other concerns such as learning loss and mental health. 

Apparently there are a number of school boards facing the scrutiny of their constituents across the nation.

On Tuesday night, May 18, the Lake Chelan School Board was officially presented with a Formal Discrimination Complaint that was filed in the Superior Court of Washington. This complaint was signed and notarized by 217 individuals who are concerned with alleged discrimination and harassment against students in the District.

Jacquelynn Dalton and Holly Moody were allowed to present a discrimination complaint to the Lake Chelan School Board on Tuesday evening, May 25.

The complaint cites unlawful violations against students in the district such as allegedly segregating, masking and excluding students from school activities “based on their parent’s choice to not allow an experimental vaccination of their children.”

This complaint goes on to claim that the District is not complying with its own District Policy as written in the Student/Parent Handbook that states “The Lake Chelan School Board is committed to a safe and civil education environment for all students, employees, parents/guardians, volunteers and community members that is free from harassment, intimidation or bullying.”

In her opening comments to the School Board, Jacquelynn Dalton, said that 75 percent of parents voted to return to full time school in the Spring which was shut down by the board. Dalton stated that those signing the complaint were no longer trusting the collective board of directors or Barry DePaoli, the superintendent.

The final ASK of Dalton’s opening statement stated: “The concerned parents and community members of Chelan are asking the board to remove the mask mandate, to offer all students the same benefits regardless of inoculation status, and to refrain from any future injections being offered on School District Property.”

An estimated 20 parents and community members were outside the Chelan School Administration building on Tuesday evening, May 25 in a peaceful protest.

DePaoli explained that he and/or the school board were the ones to lift the mask edict. “We don’t have jurisdiction to do that,” he said. Masking requirements come from OSPI and everyone entering the school is required to mask up.

In a conversation with both sides, the issues presented are not so easily addressed.

DePaoli said that being vaccinated, or not, is a personal medical decision of each family. “In regards to the Vaccination Clinic that was held at the School, DePaoli wrote that it was organized, staffed and run by Lake Chelan Health, and that the School Nurses did not participate or administer the vaccine.

“Students needed a signed parent signature to obtain a vaccine,” said DePaoli. Dalton remarked that under State Law individuals 13 and over can make their own medical decisions concerning certain issues like pregnancy without their parents knowledge.

 While that may be true, EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer said he could not give a vaccine to any student unless they had a signed parent/guardian permission slip. “The state has made it abundantly clear that anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian signature to be vaccinated,” said Eickmeyer.

EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer received the Lake Chelan School District’s Community Partnership award at the Tuesday evening, May 25, board meeting.

Eickmeyer went on to say that there were two reasons for conducting the clinic at the school. First is that the school is a neutral safe ground and that 25 percent of the eligible population was getting it at the school. “It is done for equity reasons,” said Eickmeyer. Most of the vaccinations were given to the Latino population. “Seventy nine percent getting the vaccination at Chelan were Latino,” said Eickmeyer.

He also explained that, unlike the flu and tuberculosis, COVID is strange. “If 10 people are infected, nine will not give it to others, but the other infected individual can spread it to 20 to 30 people,” said Eickmeyer.

The School District sent out a letter to all parents regarding the Clinic with a screening sheet, a fact sheet, and a sheet to guide individuals to register, and each teacher handed out vaccine packets to all students in their advisory classes.

The fact that only 112 plus 12 more that had permission but didn’t show up for a vaccination is indicative that parents made a decision based on information provided to either hold off or have the vaccination administered elsewhere.

One parent has commented when her child came home with the packet and asked if he should get the vaccine, she told him, “Not at this time.”

With regards to the complaint addressing alleged discrimination such as separation of vaccinated and non-vaccinated students, DePaoli stated that was false. In other words, as an example, if a student athlete has not been vaccinated, the school will continue to allow that students participation in his/her sport.

However, when asked why a non-vaccinated student would have to quarantine for 10 to 14 days if he/she were exposed to the virus, but an exposed student who had been vaccinated would not have to be quarantined. DePaoli said the follow the science. Eickmeyer added that the CDC has come out with the ruling. Discrimination?

Since being served with an official Discrimination Complaint, Dalton was asked during an interview if the group filing the complaint was going to sue the Lake Chelan School District. Dalton replied, “That is the last thing anybody wants,” said Dalton. One of the groups big concern is the threat of State required Vaccination Passports. “If we are just following the political line, we are putting kids in danger,” said Dalton.

With the school year winding down and the potential promise of moving to Phase 4 by the end of June will help the District prepare to fully open up to in-person instruction again in the Fall.

Fire District preparing for busy summer

by Richard Uhlhorn

At last Wednesday’s May 12, Fire Commission meeting, a number of issues were discussed. The meetings are being held in hybrid in-person status, but the District’s audio on Zoom is difficult at best. I called Chief Mark Donnell to go over my sketchy notes and following is an edited version of the meeting.

Billing for Marine 71 rescue operations:

Fire District 7 commissioner Phil Moller is concerned about budget creep on Marine 71. The Search and Rescue boat has been put on the water at little cost to the district but Moller is concerned about the costs of running the boat and how it might effect the budget.

Chief Mark Donnell explained that the plan for the boat is to have it on the lake on major holidays if the District has the staffing. He hopes that Marine 71 can operate on the lake on a regular basis. Assistant Chief Brandon Asher said, “”We are here to save lives.”

Since any on-water rescue operation by Marine 71 is expensive, the commission discussed how to alleviate those expenses. While the District is still working on its SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), everyone concerned agreed the District would charge a rate based on its Contract rate with the Forest Service for Marine 71 use.

Asher stated that there is an expectation that Marine 71 is on the lake. Commissioner Karyl Oules said she didn’t see how the district could afford to be a towing service on the lake. Donnell answered that $200 per call seemed reasonable to help the district recover its expenses.

Moller stated that there is currently no boat rescue operation on the Lake. “Shawn Raines tried, but there was not enough business to make it viable,” said Moller.

Marine 71 will be operating on the lake during the Memorial Day weekend.

Levy Lid Lift measure to the Voters:

The District will be asking voting residents within the district to approve a Levy Lid Life to approximately $1.10 per thousand dollars of assessed value from its current rate of $.85/1000 that has been in place for the last 15 years.

Commissioner Russ Jones said, “We are limited on revenue that we collect. We can only increase by one percent per year and our expenses increase by at least 10 percent,” said Jones. “We know we are growing.”

In the meantime, the District will be conducting a campaign to educate the voters to the needs of the District over the next 10 years. “It is a pretty well thought out plan,” stated Jones.

The District will now begin a campaign to educate its voters to the necessity of raising its levy amount to maintain the current level of service.

April Statistics:

Chief Donnell reported that the Fire District responded to 87 calls in April of which six were fires, 61 EMS calls, two service calls, 15 good intent calls and three false alarm and false calls. “April had the highest number of calls since 2010,” said Donnell.

The Emergency calls included 12 Advanced Life transports, 25 Basic Live service transports and 26 non-transport calls.

A commercial alarm sounded at Marcella’s Restaurant and the Fire crews arrived to find a fire in the exhaust fan created when the staff was cleaning the grill. “The fire alarm triggered but the sprinkler system didn’t,” said Donnell. the crew put the fire out quickly with no real damage.

Burning Season ending:

Fire season has begun. Let’s keep it safe this year.

The annual burning season is coming to an end at the end of the month. The District encourages people to burn safely. Wind events a created an early fire season for Chelan Fire and Rescue. They have responded to burns that have escaped boundaries to become brush fires. “These people were doing the right thing,” said Donnell. The fires were quickly controlled, but 2021 is expected to be much drier and hotter than even 2020 and that has fire agencies concerned.

City of Chelan-Fire Department MOU:

“We finally got everyone together,” said Donnell. The District and City came to an agreement in principle added Donnell. The District is not able to collect on property taxes in the City, so an agreement between the two entities has been sought after for a number of years.

To offset the inability to collect taxes, the two entities will offset that inability by drafting a Memorandum of Understanding that states, “You do this and we will do that” contract.

Memorial Day:

Chelan Fire and Rescue will be working with its partners in the Sheriff’s Department and others in the District to make sure it is a safe holiday for everyone concerned. “It will be a busy summer,” said Donnell.

The Commission meetings are held on every third Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend via Zoom. The link is posted on its website under Agendas and Meetings.

Lake Chelan Trails Alliance dedicates lower Reach Trail

by Richard Uhlhorn

The Lake Chelan Trails Alliance dedicated the 2.4 mile long Reach 1 Trail on Saturday morning, May 15.

A number of local trail fans got together Saturday morning to help dedicate the Lower Gorge Trail that was completed this spring.

Guy Evans thanked the trail partners which include the City of Chelan, Chelan County PUD (land owners), the Lookout, Chelan Health and Wellness and the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust who handled the financial issues.

Guy Evans, Lake Chelan Trails president thanked all involved in the
construction of the lower Gorge Trail.

The actual trail, which was first proposed during the Chelan Dam Relicensing efforts, was finally authorized by the PUD as long as the City of Chelan took ownership of trail legalities and maintenance. The Alliance signed an agreement with the City of Chelan to  maintain and operate the trail.

The Eastern Washington Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, the Lake Chelan Rotary Club and others volunteered time to construct the trail.

Trail builder Bob Knauss… the “Unsung Hero of the Lower Gorge Trail.”

“The unsung hero of this trail is Bob Knauss,” said Evans. Knauss worked countless hours cutting in the new trail with a trail machine. Chelan Ranger District’s Paul Willard helped layout the trail and worked hours to support Knauss in the effort.

Bob Knauss building the new Lower Gorge Trail in the spring of 2020.

“We are grateful for both of your work,” said Evans. The completion of this newest trail was a true collective effort by many in the community.

The Trails Alliance continues to work on access to land for trails in and around the Lake Chelan Valley.

Along with the dedication, the Trail Alliance held a self guided walk/run on the trail.

Von Pope, PUD Wildlife Biologist, cut the ribbon to dedicate the lower Reach Trail being held by Board members Paul Willard and Renee Roberts.

Construction of the trail began in the Spring of 2020 and was completed this Spring with a total budget of $12,500.

For more information on the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance or to donate, visit https://www.lakechelantrails.org/

District 7 fire commission agrees to run Levy Lid Lift in November

by Richard Uhlhorn

Fire Commissioners Karyl Oules, Russ Jones and Phil Moller held a special meeting to discuss the upcoming Levy Lid Lift for Fire District 7.

The Chelan County Fire District No. 7 Commissioners held a special meeting on Wednesday, May 12, to discuss the decision to float a Levy Lid Lift to the District 7 residents.

Commissioner Karyl Oules began the discussion saying, “I still say yes, we need one, but I’m leaning towards Spring.” She stated that she is still getting questions from voters asking just what they are going to get.

Chief Mark Donnell stated that the Levy Lid Lift would allow the District to hire three new firefighters, save $XXX each year for new apparatus, maintain the seasonal fire fighters, help with capital projects and maintain funding levels.

Commissioner Russ Jones emphatically stated that the District has no plans to build new stations. “We are working with a very conservative number,” he said. The proposal is to float a $1.10 per thousand levy.

Chairman Phil Moller added that 17 residents sat on a committee to help make the decision. “It was pretty clear that we need to do this. The question is when?”

Donnell stated that the group of 17 committee members was a good representation of the community. “We have a tremendous amount of momentum.” Moller asked Donnell what part of the discussion he didn’t understand? Donnell replied running the levy in the Fall of Spring.

Moller stated that he wants it run the levy in November and Chief Donnell told the commission that they had to get on the November ballot by August 3.

Commissioner Russ Jones also favors November as a time to go to the voters. If the District waited until Spring they wouldn’t see any money until 2023. “I believe the assessment will be greater than what we are anticipating,” said Jones. “If we waited a year there is a lot of uncertainty with the economy and disruption.”

Oules said she was good to go for the fall election and is in agreement that the District needs to go to the voters in November. “We need to run an effective campaign,” she stated

Moller stated that if the campaign begins now, they have five months to educate the District residents of the need for more money. “If we waited until spring I think we would lose momentum.”

Oules said failure was not something in her wheelhouse.

These firefighters from Chelan, Manson, Entiat and Orondo received structure training recently to help them understand the nuances of fighting fire inside a burning house. or structure.

The Levy being proposed would be for 10 years and the commission believes the time period is sustainable.

A final decision to run the levy in November will take place at the Commission’s meeting in June.

The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 19.

Chelan Housing Trust seeks City participation in affordable housing project

by Richard Uhlhorn

At last week’s City Council meeting the City held a Public Hearing for the Chelan Valley Housing Trust who are seeking a partnership with the City to get the infrastructure needed to support the 45 home sub-division adjacent to Anderson Road.

Mike Cooney, executive director of the CVHT, told the Council that the proposed development still needs to secure public water, sewer and power to the site.

The property was donated through an exchange with Seven Acres Foundation who was planning on building its Community Center on the property, but exchanged it for property the Housing Trust has a the Lookout.

The Housing Trust plans on building quality single family homes on the property that are affordable for residents so they will not have to commute from other areas around the region. “We are permitted to build 40 homes… up to 45 homes,” said Cooney. The plan includes five market rate homes to help the Housing Trust to raise funds. These home sites would be free of the Housing Trust’s criteria with the exception of potential covenants for the entire development.

The City’s 2017 Housing Element of its comprehensive plan identified the need for affordable housing within the community. It recognized that one method to accomplish that need would be to partner with a non-profit to get the infrastructure need to support any homes built.

There is a $900,000 Community Block Grant available which the Trust hopes the City would sign on to be the signature agency to obtain it. There is also a $500,000 grant from the State for infrastructure needs.

Not everyone is excited about the proposed development and the City received a number of letters from surrounding residents proposed development because of what they view as potential problems to the surrounding area, one of which they feel would lower their property values.

Other concerns cited included increase traffic, crime, drugs and noise. “I get the angst,” said Cooney. “It’s a rural area and we would be bringing homes to that area.”

Erin McCardle said she wants a more in-depth look at the American Recovery Plan. “There is a lot of money set aside for infrastructure.” Cooney replied that the Trust would like to be a part of what government money the City receives. McCardle added that there are lots of opportunities for grants and that she doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunity.

Mayor Goedde stated that the City needs to hire a grant writer. Peter Jamtgaard asked how much matching funds would be required. Rachel Golde, executive assistant, stated that matching funds would be required. Jamtgaard said, “We’ve got some windfall money that could be used.”

Golde said that no number has been written down and she has no idea of how much matching funds would add up to.

Cooney said he clearly understands that development pays for development, but that other cities have helped with needed infrastructure for affordable housing. “We would like to have a reasonable discussion on the subject,” he said.

Ty Witt added that the City  brings infrastructure to developments. “Our real goal is to help with affordable, attainable housing. Cooney replied that the PUD is considering a way to come up with hookups.

John Olson stated that he is totally behind the Housing Trust on this project. Hollingsworth said the Community Development Block Grant would provide the public to have input into the project.

Planning Director Craig Gildroy told the Council that a sub-division has not yet been applied for. “Once that is done, there will be another public hearing.”

Hospital staff working on a transistion plan for the current hospital

by Richard Uhlhorn

At Lake Chelan Health’s board meeting on Tuesday, April 27, the board and CEO discussed Facilities including the transition plan for the current hospital building.

CEO George Rohrich told the board that the plan was not ready yet. “The Facilities Plan will go back to the Facilities Committee and then to the board when it is completed.,” said Rohrich. “Staff will have to do the work and bring it to the committee.”

The plan will, according to Rohrich detail what the hospital will come up with. Questions like… “Do we have the space for everybody,” stated Rohrich.

Chairperson Mary Murphy said she hopes the plan utilizes the best use of what is available including the disposition of what is not needed. “It should have not only an assessment of our needs, but how they are being met,” said Murphy. She added that the plan needs to bring the board and the public up to what is happening with facilities and the potential surplus of the old hospital. “Things are very different then what we looked to do two years ago.” said Murphy.

Boardmember Jordana LaPorte asked if the Facilities Plan would be available by the July Strategic Meeting. Rohrich replied it would be finished by that meeting.

Dave Yackell joined the board and gave a report on the QHR Health efforts to deliver progress in bringing the hospital’s accounts receivable down. Currently he reported that average ‘patient discharge to billing cycle is down from 51 days to 37 with an eventual target of 10 days before a patient is billed for services.

He said that 64 percent of the issues delaying billing was coding errors, missing charges, and documentation that does not support charges being billed.

The board expressed some concerns with the contract and Murphy stated that there have been challenges along the way. “What is the corrective actions,” she asked? Murphy said detailed discussions of the concerns need to be discussed in the Finance Committee and that Yackell needs to be invited into those meetings.

New Board member Jeremy Jaech agreed with that and asked what the roadblocks have been. “The contract is not what was expected,” he said. Board member Mary Signorelli stated that there are some key milestones missing from some of the initiatives.

Murphy suggested that a special meeting might be useful in correcting the issues.

Another issue that is particularly bothering LaPorte is the possibility of expensive Change Orders during the new hospital construction. Rohrich explained the policy concerning Change Orders. “In a nutshell, they will come out of the contingency fund.” LaPorte asked if anything over $25,000 could be approved by email. Jaech was explicit in his comment that no work should be done until approved. “The goal is to maintain a fund. You can’t go beyond an approved budget.”

Rohrich replied, “We cannot exceed our budget.” The contingency fund has approximately $1.4 million in it which is five percent of the entire budget. LaPorte asked who would approve the change orders? Rohrich stated that there was a process in place and that he was on call 24/7.

The hospital is still facing financial issues and CFO Cheryl Cornwell told the board that they are waiting for 100% forgiveness on the first $3 million of CARES money they received which will bring the hospital back to a secure financial position. “There are a lot of moving parts,” she said. “The restricted funds are not doing us a whole lot of good.”

She feels they are still several months away from an answer on the federal money.

Financially the hospital suffered from being forced to shut down regular services for several months during the pandemic along with the decision to shut down the Sanctuary which affected the hospital’s cash flow.

In the meantime, Bouten Construction is moving dirt at the new hospital site across Apple Blossom Drive from Columbia Valley Health.

Chelan Fire & Rescue has busy March

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chief Mark Donnell told the Chelan Fire & Rescue commissioners that the department had 62 calls in March. “It was a fairly busy month for us,” said Donnell. There were 39 EMS calls with12 requiring Advance Life Support; 15 – Basic Life Support and 12 that required no ambulance transport.

The Department has had over 1,000 people vaccinated by the EMS at the Fire Station and vaccination dates continue to come up for non-vaccinated individuals. Go to lakechelanhealth.org for information and/or to register for your vaccine appointment.

The Department responded to two brush fires on Little Butte that turned out to be a fires that escaped a controlled burns when the wind came up. It burned approximately 14 acres. “The folks were doing the right thing,” said Donnell. “Unfortunately the wind picked up.”

Chelan Fire also responded to a structure fire on East Center Street and an Aircraft Standby emergency. “All of the planes landing gear was not functioning, but they got it down and landed without incident.”

Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Asher said he signed one new recruit but lost four. He hopes to get a few volunteers he can get trained up to be on the fire lines this summer. “Red cards will be issued in the first week of May,” said Asher.

Asher reminded the Commissioners that there would be a practice structure burn out by Pat & Mikes on Saturday.

Chairman Phil Moller stated that despite rumors to the contrary, the District has no intention of putting a Fire Station out at Pat and Mikes.

Cutting a vent for smoke to escape from.
Smoke needs to be vented out before fire fighters can enter a burning structure.

Fire Association President Dan Crandall reported that the association has $31,500 in the bank, but only brought in $700 last month while spending $2,500. The Association usually holds its annual Pancake Breakfast during the June 5 Cruzin Chelan event. “This year we are going to try a Grab n’ Go,” said Crandall. “We will have a booth set up where people can pick up breakfast and a few beverages. It will keep us in the publics eye.”

Crandall also announced that the association is on the verge of releasing its new website.

He also congratulated Commissioner Russ Jone on his successful completion of the recent EMT course. Jones is now a certified EMT in the State of Washington and will continue towards a National Certification. Jones said, “After I retire from the bank, I’m interested in becoming an operator on Marine 71. I am not interested in becoming a combat fire fighter or a wildland fire fighter.”

Chief Donnell stated that the Advisory Board is going along. In a separate conversation with Jones, the Department is looking at the possibility of running a Levy Lid Lift in November. The District is looking at a levy that will be in place for 10 years and will allow the District to keep abreast of new regulations and allow it to replace outdated equipment.

Moller said he was concerned with the 240+ hours of overtime this past month. “I don’t have a solution, but we are going to have to find a lot of money for OT.

Crandall noted that with the pandemic winding down, more people might be interested in volunteering. “Let’s keep a positive outlook.” Moller replied that volunteerism is coming to the forefront nation wide. “We need to keep a close eye on that.”

Once the training was finished, they allowed the structure to burn to the ground.

Practice Burn:

On Saturday, April 24, Chelan Fire, Manson District 5, Entiat District 8 and Orondo came together to conduct a major training exercise at a residential structure burn. This exercise was designed to give firefighters (volunteer and staff) real time training with combat firefighting inside a burning house.

“This is important training for them,” said Fire Chief Mark Donnell. “They get to see what it is like under real conditions and learn how to use the tools available to them to combat a house fire.”

District 5 Fire Chief Arnold Baker echoed Donnell’s remarks and stated that the training was an important part of becoming a combat fire fighter. When he and a volunteer took a fan up to the smoke filled front door, he described how the fan, as long as an escape hole has been  attained, will push the fire out and allow fire fighters access to the structure.

Career firefighter Adam Jones and Lt. Shawn Sherman take a break after instructing fire fighters in the nuances of combat firefighting.

When it got too hot for firefighters to effectively fight inside, hoses were put into play to cool the fire down to help fight the fire.

This practice burn was an excellent opportunity for new and old fire fighters to learn new techniques. The entire exercise was run by Assistant Chief Brandon Asher, Lt. Shawn Sherman and Fire Fighter Adam Jones.

Chelan Fire and Rescue needs more individuals willing to commit and volunteer for the District. Interested individuals can contact Assistant Chief at 509-682-4476 or basher@cfr7.org. Contact the department and find out what opportunities exist. Fire service is a great occupation for those willing to commit to the training. There are plenty of high paying jobs available in Fire Departments, the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and other organizations with fire departments.

Hospital breaks ground

by Richard Uhhorn

Agustin Benegas opened Friday’s ceremony by telling the large crowd of hospital supporters that he was born in the Chelan hospital. “The first hospital was built in Chelan in 1947, followed by the current hospital in 1972,” said Benegas. “We are now moving health care forward and recognizing the importance of good health care.”

Benegas introduced CEO Rohrich who remarked that the community was at this place in time because of their support. He also thanked the staff and physicians for their support. “Today we celebrate the start and in August next year, we will celebrate the completion of this project.”

CEO George Rohrich

Board Chairperson, Mary Murphy stated that it was hope and trust over a decade that has brought this project to where it is. She thanked the hospital employees, the hospital foundation, the board, Chelan Valley Community Health and the local businesses for all of their work at making this project a reality.

Board Chair Mary Murphy

“If you choose Lake Chelan Health as your provider, you will be the success,” said Murphy. Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you in 16 to 17 months.”

Board member Fred Miller recognized past board chair, Phyliss Gleasman for all of her decication and help in moving this project to the groundbreaking point. Gleasman was presented with a framed picture of the architects drawing of the hospital. She stated that she isn’t ever at a loss for words, but said, “I’m at a loss for words here. Thank you.”

Board member Fred Miller honored Phyliss Gleasman for her hard work at bringing the hospital to this point. Gleasman retired her position last month.

Pastor Lynda Mayer led the crowd in prayer and blessed the site.

Lake Chelan Health Board members, past board chair Phyliss Gleasman and CEO George Rohrich broke ground at the hospital’s new building site.

Manson Community Council is dealing with growth issues

by Richard Uhlhorn

Short Term Rentals:

Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gering attended the Manson Community Council meeting on Tuesday, April 20, to discuss a variety of issues facing the community.

Regarding Short Term Rentals (STRs), Gering stated she had met with Jim Brown in the Planning Department and they were able to come up with some regulations for the planning commission board to consider at its May 7 meeting. “Both sides were kind of unhappy,” she said. “We are looking forward to getting regulations in place to move forward.”

Gering suggested that everyone visit the Chelan County Community Development page on the Internet. “The Planning Commission does extensive work. They read everything line by line. I’m not concerned at all… they will make good recommendations.”

The STR issue has been developing over several years with many complaints by neighboring residents regarding loud parties and no regard for peaceful coexistence.

Council Chair Kari Sorenson brought up the use of GIS for locating STRs that are not in compliance. Gering said she had talked to Brown and County Assessor Deanna Walter. Walter said it would be a great help to figure out how to access those STRs.

According to Brown, implementation of code enforcement could take awhile. “They are trying to work through 300 permit applications,” said Gering. “Jim is hiring (help) as soon as possible.”

Scenic Loop:

Gering told the Council that County Public Works is setting up a committee to explore signage and scenic pull outs for people to view or take photographs from.

Transportation Issues:

The Council brought up the issue of increased traffic in Manson and would like to see a 4-way stop sign installed at Green Avenue and Wapato Way. “We pay a lot of taxes to the County and we should be able to get some of that back.”

Gering replied to the request for stop sign by saying that a community needs to have a certain number of accidents to get a stop sign. It was suggested by Pat Hautenne. that the Community ask the Sheriff for a Speed Sign. “The Sheriff can plug in and get (traffic) data from the unit,” said Hautenne. The Manson Farmers Market held at the Grange Hall parking lot was also mentioned as problematic.

It was also noted that resident Brian Paterson said that the 20 year plan includes a bogus traffic plan that has not recognized the massive increased growth in both Manson and Chelan. The consultant reported that traffic would increase 1.5 percent each year for 20 years. It was noted that traffic has increased way beyond that projected number.

Parks Levy:

The Manson Parks Department is running a six year replacement levy for $.23 cents/per thousand. “We have been collecting less that 15 cents and are shooting for $185,000,” said boardmember Rob Campbell. “We use reserves to balance the budget.” Reserves come from launch fees and other fees generated by the park.

Manson resident Larry Pintner chimed in at the end of the meeting telling the Council that they needed to get all three County Commissioners to spend a weekend in Manson to see, “what we look at every single day.” He also felt that it was time to initiate user fees for the parks so the entire burden is not falling on the residents of Manson.

DogPark issue:

BACKGROUND:

Judge Brandt approved a vacation of half of the original 25 foot right of way between the old swimming hole (now referred to as the dog park) in his court proceedings. This property has been in public use for many years. The vacation of a portion of this property went to a neighboring property owner (Buckingham Family).

The Dog Park is the only legal section of property on Lake Chelan which allows dogs to swim. It is specifically designated in Manson’s Comprehensive Plan as one of the community’s local parks.

The issue has apparently not been completely resolved at this date. Gering stated at the March meeting that she would talk to the

(Editor Note: Having followed the Shoreline Management Act, I believe it is illegal to transfer public lake front property for private use and/or ownership.) This was an important oversight by Judge Travis Brant.

Pintner remarked that the attorney regarding the dog park (old swim hole) property vacation said, “It is what it is!” Pintner added, “It is a disappointing situation ill served by the county commissioners. We need to get all the commissioners involved because she (Gering) is only one vote.”

“Why isn’t our State Representative at this meeting,” he asked. “We don’t need to write letters… we need to get aggressive.” Pintner added that as far as he is concerned, the community has an emergency situation. “It’s not business as usual…it’s a whole new world.” He would also like to see Governor Inslee visit Manson. “I don’t think our elected representatives are doing their job,” stated Pintner.

Campbell replied that the Parks Department receives 40 percent of their funding from user fees.

Manson Community Council meets every third Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. Currently these meetings are being held on ZOOM and the connection is available on the community’s Facebook page.

Emerson Village holds successful Grand Opening

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Valley Land Trust hosted its first Grand Opening of affordable housing at the five unit Emerson Village. The event was attended by a number of notable local residents who have either supported this effort or were there to cheer the group on.

Charlie Guildner, president of North Cascades National Bank, was pleased the bank could help the Trust build the units and said, “I have 40 employees… half who can’t live where they work.” Guildner said he was very appreciative of all the support this project generated. “Some of my employees can now call Chelan home.” He added that the affordable housing needs to continue. “Let’s let it happen,” he said.

Charlie Guildner, president of North Central National Bank, made the opening statements at the Emerson Village Grand Opening on Saturday, April 17.

The Housing Trust has several other projects they are working on, most notably on nine acres adjacent to Anderson Road in east Chelan.

Mike Cooney, President of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust told those in attendance that “everybody should have the ability to buy a home in the town where they work.” He thanked the board members and mentioned that Steve Kline donated the property that the Emerson Housing development sits on. He also thanked Legislator Mike Steele for his help with the development of the property. “A lot of people stepped forward.”

Mike Cooney, Chelan Valley Housing Trust thanked everyone involved in making Emerson Village a success.

K&L Homes was thanked for their building skills and workmanship.

Tim Hollingsworth, board president, thanked those directly involved in the project and said, “These five units are a down payment of what we need to do in this valley.”

Board President Tim Hollingsworth remarked that this project is only the down payment for affordable housing in Chelan.
Executive Assistant at the Housing Trust, Rachel Goldie, cut the ribbon officially dedicating Chelan’s first affordable housing projcet

Executive Assistant Rachel Goldie said, “Welcome home” to the new home owners.

Community members who would like to get involved or donate to the Housing Trust can visit the organizations website to sign up or donate. https://chelanvalleyhousing.org/