- Phyllis Gleasman takes over chairmanship of the Hospital BoardJanuary 25, 2019
- Fire agencies discuss need for rescue boatJanuary 14, 2019
- Patonai takes over to help lead hospital into the futureJanuary 7, 2019
- City Council cleans year end issuesDecember 28, 2018
Local attorney Stan Morse announces his candidacy for Mayor of Chelan in the next election.
by Richard Uhlhorn
Chelan attorney and ex-city council member Stan Morse quashed a rumor that he would be running for Mayor of Chelan in the next election cycle by announcing his candidacy at the City of Chelan City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 22.
Saying he was concerned with how Chelan has evolved, Morse told the Council that his primary focus during the campaign would be on issues he has spoken about in the past; fire and fuel loads, housing options, water rights and the arsenic and lead issues.
“I’m a good talker, but a better listener,” said Morse. “I’m just hoping for a brighter future for Chelan.”
Rumor has it that his opponents might well be Councilwoman Erin McCardle and ex-councilman Skip Morehouse.
DUI arrests and speeding tickets are up substantially.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office quarterly report
Jason Reinfeld, Chief of Special Operations for the Sheriff’s Office, gave a statistic’s report to the Council for the 2018 calendar year. There were some significant changes over 2017.
If you are in the habit of drinking, you need to be very careful of your consumption before driving. In 2017 there were 44 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests made. That number jumped to 92 in 2018 in Chelan. Reinfeld’s comment was that there are a number of newer and eager deputies on patrol in Chelan. “They are out there finding DUI drivers,” said Reinfeld.
Over the course of 2018, DUIs arrests are up in Chelan and Douglas Counties. In 2017 Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office made a total of 496 arrests. In 2018, that number jumped to 685 arrests with 289 of them by Chelan County Sheriff’s deputies.
It would be interesting to find out how the wine industry may have affected the newer, higher numbers. Whatever the reason, if you are drinking and driving, make sure you stay under the limit or have a designated driver on hand. A DUI is worth about $10,000 these days when you consider fines, loss of driver’s license, insurance increases and attorney’s fees.
Reinfeld also said there was a significant increase in speeding tickets also. These went up from 98 in 2017 to 167 in 2018.
Domestic violence, assaults and criminal trespass were all down in 2018, but thefts were up. He also stated that there was no significant uptick in drugs.
Mayor Cooney asked what the department is doing with immigration issues. Reinfeld said it doesn’t come up that frequently. “We partner with Homeland Security and work with them on investigations.” However, he said the department is not out specifically looking for immigration problems.
Councilman Ty Witt said it was nice to see the deputies around and working hard.
Brian Moody – Marine Patrol lead
After Reinfeld was finished, Marine Patrol deputy Brian Moody took the podium and gave a short presentation about the County’s Marine Patrol. Moody told the Council that the department had five active volunteers and 20 deputies on the marine patrol.
The County’s coverage includes Lake Chelan, Wapato Lake and 70 miles of the Columbia River which is all covered with only three boats. “Ninety five percent of our patrol work is on Lake Chelan,” said Moody. The full year included 415 boat hours. Moody said 330 written inspections were conducted and of those 155 failed the inspection process.
During the season the County assisted 32 boats that had lower level issues and were not in any peril. There were six reported boat accidents that required hospitalization or had over $2,000 damage to the vessel. “Most rental companies won’t report accidents,” said Moody.
Mayor Cooney asked Moody if the addition of the proposed Chelan Fire and Rescue boat would be a help or hindrance to their operation. “I think it would be a help,” replied Moody. “They have a long road to hoe.”
Moody talked about how boats get into trouble on the lake. He stated that people who don’t know that lake will think that because the weather is calm in the Wapato Basin that they can just boat on up to Stehekin. “They get around the corner and find four to five foot swells,” he said and added that the boating accidents on the lake normally involve rental boats.
Councilman Ty Witt said that the Marine Patrol is not on the lake more than one third of the time. “Is there any way to get more money for more hours on the water,” he asked? “That’s a better question for the Sheriff,” replied Moody. “One half of our money comes from boat registrations.”
Councilmen Ty Witt and Ray Dobbs
Councilman Ray Dobbs who had been listening in on the phone remarked that in the past the Sheriff’s Department had up to 70 volunteers for marine patrol duties. “I think a lot of people would be interested,” he said. Moody replied that there was a liability aspect involved.
Dobbs then asked if it would be possible for a non-profit organization of volunteers could help? Moody replied that definitely could be a part of the conversation.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that his particular concern was paddleboards and kayakers who are vulnerable to motorized vessels. “I think we need to keep looking at ways to get them (motorized users) to calm down,” said Hollingsworth.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth
Lake Chelan Water Quality Monitoring Program:
Mike Kaputa, Director of the Chelan County Natural Resource Department and Dr. Phil Long, Director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute were on hand to give a report on ongoing water quality monitoring effort on the lake
Dr. Phil Long
Long told the Council that the program “very much appreciated the $20,000 the City has committed too.” The City committed to giving $20,000 for five years to help the ongoing efforts to monitor lake quality that includes Secchi disk measurements, mulitiparameter probe collections and fiber optic temperature measurements. “All of us can get our heads around that we want clear, clean water in Lake Chelan,” said Long.
The monitoring program costs an estimated $50,000 per year with the Lake Chelan Reclamation District and Chelan County each putting in $10,000 and Cascadia Conservation District and Chelan Public Utility District putting in $5,000 each. The Department of Ecology will also contribute $5,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is contributing $10,000 in-kind work for lab sampling services and Oregon State University is also contributing $10,000 in-kind for installation of a fiber optic cable to monitor temperature data.
Long presented the Secchi Disk data that had been collected over the years and in 2018 which showed a slight deviation of water clarity in the lake. Councilwoman Erin McCardle asked what was causing this decline and Long replied that the Cougar Mountain fire contributed a lot of ash to the lake last year. He also remarked that a lot of fire material is from past fires on Lake Chelan is still entering the lake from runoff.
He reported that the Manson High School Drone Club would be taking drone footage of the color of the lake at different periods. “They are applying for a grant,” said Long.
He added that the Research Institute was developing a strategic plan to begin a University on the Lake like Dr. Charles Goldman did in Lake Tahoe.
Mayor Cooney asked Long if he saw the Research Institute creating jobs in the future? Long replied that was the goal.
Mike Kaputa – Director of Chelan County Natural Resources Department.
Mike Kaputa gave a short report on water supply and said that State Representative Michael Steele was working with them to secure a water supply program which would alleviate some of the backlog of water applications. The program is a domestic water supply plan that would allow small requests to be adjudicated. “When we get a response, will know if that program is available,” said Kaputa.
Hollingsworth remarked that there was a huge backlog of applications. Mayor Cooney asked how much water people actually use. Hollingsworth said the program would use the water from the Stehekin River and other tributaries.