Polley exceeding expectations

by Richard Uhlhorn

“Polley is far exceeding expectations at this point,” said Councilman Ty Witt explaining the total success so far with the Chelan Rotary’s Glass Recycling Project that was partially funded with $50,000 from City coffers.

In three weekends, the Glass Recycling Project has crushed 8 tons of glass.

Yes… the Rotary has named the machine ‘Polley” and so far, according to Witt’s report at last night’s Council meeting, Polley has already crushed 8 tons of glass. This past Saturday, which was the grand opening, the machine ground through 1.5 tons of glass and on the previous Saturday, 2 tons.

Rotary members take a moment to pose for a photograph.

Witt stated that Wenatchee has asked if they can bring glass to Chelan for crushing. “It’s becoming a true operation and generating funds,” said Witt. “The machine has more capacity than we would ever use.”

Mayor Goedde suggested that it might be time to place a bottle tax on all wineries. Witt replied that several wineries have donated up to $15,000 towards the project. “Some even pay their workers to work on the machine.” He also mentioned that Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow donated $20,000 towards the project and that Bob Jankleson has also donated towards the forklift.

Special Presentation:

Executive Director Taylor Sharpe and Officer Sgt. Mallory presented the Council with statistics and information regarding animal control in Chelan.

City Administrator Wade Ferris introduced representatives from the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society who gave a special presentation on Animal Control. Executive Director Taylor Sharp ran through some of the issues facing Animal Control including an increased call volume.

The City contracts with the Humane Society for animal control within the City limits, and so far, in 2021, there have been 36 Chelan cases, mostly “Dogs at Large,” said Sharp. In 2019 and 2020, Animal Control responded to 113 and 96 calls for service respectively. “We are 33 percent over 2019 and 2020 calls,” said Sharp.

The program recently lost two trained officers and are trying to recruit new officers. Some of the issues she reported were a Loss of Trust in the Badge; officers being confronted and threatened with a firearm or knife. “In order to attract and retain quality officers we need competitive wages,” said Sharp.

Pet licensing revenue is on track to equal or exceed 2020’s $2,318 and currently is at $1070 to date.

“We are looking for a 10 to 12 percent increase and will bring an official proposal when the CPI is out. We are asking to continue on a three year contract.

Mayor Goedde used his seat to ask for assistance in corralling or finding the owners of a group of chickens that are running loose in his neighborhood. “Two have already been killed which proves the chicken shouldn’t cross the road,” said Goedde. Sgt. Mallory said he would investigate the chicken incident.

Motion Considerations:

Craig Gildroy, City planner, asked the Council to approve the Mayor to finalize and execute an agreement with Berk Consulting to help with the Planning Department’s permitting overloads.  This was passed unanimously.

Jake Youngren, Public Works Director, brought the Lake Chelan Sewer Agreement to the Council for approval. This agreement was discussed at the previous Council meeting and met with the ire of Councilman Peter Jamtgaard who flat stated he wouldn’t vote for it.

The 40 year agreement has been negotiated to meet the following requirements:

• Sewage shall meet all requirements of City’s current NPDES permit and all other State and Federal laws for sewage;

• City to provide facilities, labor, services, and equipmet required to treat and dispose of sewage;

• City shall transport sewage from District Boundary (Lakeside Park Area) to WWTP;

• Volume of flow from District measured at last District sewer pump station Operation of District System;

• City to operate and maintain District sewer system. The District sewer system includes the sewer forcemain, District lift station 1 through 6 and all other District sewer lines located within a recorded easement;

• District to reimburse City for the actual cost of all repairs and maintenance provided by the City on District system Payment for Use of Sewage Treatment Plant;

• Payment prorated based on total operating costs multiplied by percent of District Flow;

• Percent flow determined by dividing total monthly volume of sewage treated at the treatment plant into the volume of sewage passing into the treatment plant as indicated by the District flow meter. Payment for Use of Joint Facilities (Collection System);

• Cost recovery for use of collection system facilities between District and City WWTP;

• Payment prorated based on total operating costs multiplied by percent of District flow Payment for Administrative Costs;

• Prorated based on City’s “administration” costs multiplied by the percent use of the District Payment for Capital Improvements; and the

• District to reimburse City for Capital Improvements on a percent of use basis

“We don’t plan on executing it until (the sewer district) it defines its boundaries a little more clearly,” said Youngren.

John Olson stated that two or three years ago the Sewer District asked the City to take ownership, but that the City refused. “This agreement sounds like ownership,” said Olson.

Youngren said the 40 year term is normal for this type of agreement. “The Lake Chelan Recreation District has a 30 year agreement with us. It can be amended as needed,” explained Youngren.

Servando Robledo asked if the City was liable for the repairs and Youngren replied that the District has its own insurance to cover 100 percent of City services.

Jamtgaard stated he has a lot of concerns about the agreements on both the South and North shores. His major concern is the lack of control or say in either sewer district discharges its waste water into Chelan’s system for that period of time. “I’m going to vote No,” said Jamtgaard. “It needs more study of what we do to plan for the future of the Valley.”

Youngren replied that the agreements are equitable across the board. City Attorney Quentin Batjer stated that these long term agreements comes with leverage in the City’s position.

Tim Hollingsworth stated that his biggest issue is to have all of the South shore hooked into a sewer to protect the lake. “We need to review it every five years.”

The Council voted 5-1 with Jamtgaard voting No. Erin McCardle has an excused absence.

Amendment to Comprehensive Water Plan:

The City has been awarded money for an extension of water to the Airport. Youngren asked the Council to approve an amendment for the Water System Plan by RH2 Engineers.

This also would include the construction of a water reservoir at the east end of Chelan to improve fire flow.

Youngren asked how the City wants to address fire suppression in Chelan and suggested that a larger reservoir at a high elevation would achieve a greater volume of water. “I’m not comfortable with only one pump station serving that area,” said Youngren. He suggested that a ULID by the property owners might be appropriate.

John Olson stated he had heard rumors of water to the airport and Youngren replied that he couldn’t speak to status of funding for that project. Mayor Goedde said that State Legislator Mick Steele said he was coming up with the money which is reportedly $5.7 million to get water to the airport.

Tim Hollingsworth stated that project didn’t seem to be  of the highest priority, but Mayor Goedde replied that the money isn’t City money and that it would generate the potential construction of 20 to 30 hangers at the airport which would drive a much larger economic status at the airport. Kenmore Air would like to begin daily service between Seattle and Chelan in the near future.

Three Fingers:

With a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and preliminary plat approval in hand for the three fingers will require a number of conditions to be met that requires the applicant to improve public lake access, construction of the Lakeside Trail, the installation of viewing platforms at each canal, and the planting of native plants and grass within the walking easement which will be 10 feet wide.

The City will be responsible for the handling of garbage, providing water and snow plowing.

Parking kiosks:

Parks Director Paul Horne told the Council that the Parks’ user interface to pay for parking is out of date. The Parks Department wants to replace the old system with a more intuitive new system on the same pedestals. Hollingsworth asked how long it would take to pay for them. Horne replied, “One weekend.”

The City Council and staff will be holding a workshop on Tuesday, August 6.

Monday’s candidate’s forum helps set the stage for November

By Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Valley residents attended a Primary Candidate’s forum on Monday evening.

The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce hosted a Candidate’s Forum for the upcoming August primary in Manson High School’s Commons on Monday evening, July 19.

Mike Steele, executive director of the Chamber told the assembled Valley residents that each candidate would have two minutes to give an introduction to their candidacy and one minute to answer any written questions and 30 seconds to rebut any challenges to their statements.

The MHS Commons unfortunately has, at least for this journalist, poor acoustics which made it very difficult to understand some of the candidates issues.

School Board candidates:

Both Chelan and Manson had a number of candidates running for positions on each school’s respective school board. Chelan has seven candidates representing three districts within the School District. They include: Jerry W. Lopez and Erik Nelson – District 3; Stephanie Fuller and Cole Soreano – District 1; and Kristi Collins and Barb Polley – District 2.

Manson has a number of candidates vying for the At Large District 4 position being vacated by Jama England who has served the board for many years. They include: Jennifer Pittman, Catherine Willard, Allan Torgesen, Blanca Lehman and Susie Miller Fox. Greg Neff and Janel Lyman are opposing each other for the District 5 seat.

Since I couldn’t catch all of their introductory comments, suffice it to say that all of these candidates want more transparency. Some running for both the Chelan and Manson boards feel that parents are not being heard and that communication from the board to the parents is crucial to move forward. Kristi Collins running for a Chelan position echoed a lot of what was stated by the candidates. “The school board needs to be responsive and receptive to dialogue. The community has a right to be heard.”

One major issue some parents of both districts have is student masking. The candidates, for the most part agreed that the issue is a tough one but that most of it is state required protocol.  Catherine Willard said, “There are two sides to this issue. We need to get the facts out.” Her fear is that non-compliance with state health regulations the school might have to go back to remote learning.

City Council candidates:

Sheri Dietrich (left) is running unopposed for Chelan City Council while incumbent Chris Baker (right) is being challenged for his seat by Madonna Konshuk.

Sheri Dietrich who has served on the Chelan Planning Commission for the past five years is running unopposed. She told the audience that she has learned a lot on the Planning Commission and feels she is ready to serve on the City Council. “We have to protect the Valley and I consider it an honor to serve.”

Madonna Konshuk is running against incumbent Chris Baker who was appointed to Position 3 last year when Ray Dobbs moved out of the City. Konshuk is currently a special education teacher at the Lake Chelan School District, but said she has extensive experience in the construction and development industry which she would like to bring to the Council position.

Before being appointed to Dobb’s council seat, Chris Baker served on the Parks Board for eight months. He owns and operates his own house painting and security company in theValley. His vision is to make sure that growth in the valley is responsible.

Fire Commission:

Fire Commissioner Russ Jones is being challenged by two candidates; Ben Laughlin and Brogan Kelly. Jones has not only served on the commission as board chair, but has been instrumental in helping to bring Marine 71 to the district. Jones just became a Nationally certified EMT and said, “I would like to continue to help more the district forward.”

Laughlin was not present at the forum, but submitted a letter indicating his concerns and issues with Jones. Laughlin, sat on the recent committee discussing the future of the district. If elected, Laughlin would work towards combining both District 7 and 5 together under one fire chief. He would also like to see the communities EMS services moved to the fire district and would also like to rebuild the volunteer base and not hire more career firefighters.

Hospital Commission:

Incumbent Fred Miller is being challenged by Shannon Motley and Lori Withrow for his seat on the hospital commission.

Incumbent Fred Miller, who has now served 30 years on the hospital commission, is being challenged by two candidates: Shannon Motley and Lori Withrow.

Miller, who is an experience commissioner, told the audience that he would like to continue on the commission until the new hospital is completed while Shannon Motley, a self-employed business woman, wants to bring her expertise to the table with new technology and new options for the hospital. “We need a new hospital.”

Withrow, who is actively campaigning in the Valley feels that she would bring her professional background in construction and business management to the table. She told those in attendance that she wants to make Lake Chelan Health a strong institution for the future.

At the end of the forum, Mike Steele reiterated that the Chamber would be holding another candidate’s forum in the fall prior to the general election.

Kickoff meeting for Chelan Fire and Rescue successful

by Richard Uhlhorn

Citizens for Chelan Fire and Rescue held a kickoff meeting for the upcoming Proposition 1 Levy Lid Lift for the District in November at the Chelan Library on Wednesday, July 14.

Steve Clark, a Chelan resident who became involved in the District’s ad hoc committee to discuss and learn about the District’s needs, told the 25+ people in attendance that the meeting is not about politics, but a sharing of information to potential influencers about the levy.

Clark related his feelings that the community within the District is at risk for fire which is one reason he became involved.

Approximately 25 residents attended a Wednesday morning kickoff meeting for the Chelan Fire and Rescue Levy Lid Lift effort by Citizens For Chelan Fire and Rescue.

Bill Bassett stated that the Lid Lift was for an increase of $.30 per thousand. “It will not be higher than $1.10 per $1000 of assessed value,” said Bassett. “As members of the committee we got a two month crash course in our fire department,” said Bassett. “Demand for services are outstripping our ability to serve. The department has had a 21 percent increase serving its 120 square mile district.”

Bill Bassett is a proponent of getting Proposition 1 passed in November.

Currently, the District collects $.80 cents/$1000. “If we don’t pass this levy, the level of service won’t be there.”

John Corbin, who is a retired 31 year veteran of the fire services, said, “We are not adequately protected. We need appropriate staffing.” Relating his year’s of fire experience, Corbin added, “When you see guys like us getting involved, it’s like a shot across the bow.” At the present level of service, Corbin said that the demand is not sustainable. “We are playing with fire right now, pun not intended.”

John Corbin, retired firefighter, spoke about the need to pass Proposition 1 in November.

Corbin said he has always hated scare tactics and never votes for initiatives that ask for money, but strongly stated that this District needs to increase staffing to stay sustainable for the residents. “We want your support as influencers,” said Corbin.

The Levy Lid Lift proposition, if passed by the voters, will carry the Fire District for the next 10 years.

The funds generated by the levy increase will be used to:

  • Make sure there is an appropriate balance of firefighting and emergency staff, including career, stipend, seasonal, and volunteer personnel.
  • Keep the current equipment and fire vehicles in good condition to deliver rapid responses to emergencies.
  • Support the long-term plan to replace aging equipment and fire vehicles in a fiscally conservative manner.
  • Fund other capital and operational expenses needed over the next decade.
Keeping Chelan Fire and Rescue sustainable as a service to the residents residing in the District requires an increase in operating capital over the next 10 years.

So what does that increase mean to the property owner in actual dollars.

A property value of $250,000 would see an increase of $6.29 per month or $275 per year;

$350,000 would see an increase of $8.80 per month or $385 total per year; $450,000, $11.33 per month/$495 per year; $500,000, $12.58 per month/$550.00 per year; and $650,000, $16.36 per month/$715.00 per year.

The Citizens of Chelan Fire and Rescue are just beginning to get started on a campaign to get Proposition 1 passed on November 2. They will be holding or conducting presentations up until the election. If you have a question or are interested in becoming involved, email crfCitizens4.21@gmail.com

City dealing with summer crowds again

by Richard Uhlhorn

City Council balked at a suggested motion to hire Phoenix Protective Corporation for weekend access control at both Lakeside and Don Morse Parks through Labor Day weekend.

City Attorney Quentin Batjar stated that without COVID restrictions in place, the City didn’t have a legal standing to implement restrictions to its parks this July Fourth. “There are constitutional issues at play here.” He stated that the First Amendment comes into play. Batjar went on to say the City could limit access to the parks if it had solid ground that the public’s safety was an issue.

City Administrator Wade Ferris said a lot of tickets were written over the weekend, mostly to vehicles that were double parked all the way up to the hospital. “We semi-alleviated the parking issues.”

City Administrator Wade Ferris proposed hiring a security firm for
Chelan’s parks through Labor Day Weekend.

Ferris said he needed to hear from the Council regarding the park overcrowding. Councilman Peter Jamtgaard stated that he witnessed people parking along Hwy 97A and walking to Lakeside Park. It is not a safe situation,” said Jamtgaard. He noted that Riverwalk Park is being used more often. “If people can’t go to one place, they will find other places.”

John Olson asked where the $18,000 was coming from? Ferris replied that the City would find the money to do it. “We can’t use COVID money.”

Erin McCardle sees the City kicking the can down the road and not solving any of the issues with security. “I have a hard time saying families can’t come in to our parks.” Her other issue is residential parking. “The neighborhoods filling up is also a problem,” she said.

Riverwalk Park has become a go to place for visitors and residents who don’t want to fight large crowds at Lakeside or Don Morse Parks.

Apparently the bathrooms broke down and the City couldn’t get any porta potties; plus the staff was understaffed. “We are not delivering a level of service,” said McCardle. She asked what the security would be doing for its $18,000.

Ty Witt also commented that parking was a huge issue. He said on Gibson “that people just don’t know where to go.” He suggested ticket writers might be the answer. Parks Director Paul Horne said, “Right now the Sheriff is responsible for ticketing.” Witt replied that the City could hire a meter maid for ticketing. “I think somebody like that could be hired.”

Illegal parking along Hwy 97A has councilmembers concerned that someone will be injured or killed on the highway if something is done to curtail the illegal parking issue.

Chris Baker stated that it is just a matter of time before someone is killed or seriously injured on the highway.

Jamtgaard said, “I’m totally in support of expanding parking at Don Morse.” He wants to see a kinder, gentler way to handle the problem of parking and the park issues and is opposed to ticketing visitors.

Servando Robledo said he would like to see the Council take a look at solutions for next year. “It is not positive for families. Maybe we are a little too late this year. I would like to figure out how to handle it next year.”

Tim Hollingsworth said the City has the responsibility to keep the parks open. “I spent a couple of hours at Lakeside and Don Morse and nothing I saw was a life or health issue.”

Witt said neighborhood parking is an issue and he brought up the illegal parking on Farnham by the PUD boat launch. He also worries about Hwy 97A and the potential for an accident there.

Mayor Bob Goedde offered a solution for illegal parking. “Let’s put out a bid for three tow trucks (to operate in Chelan) and give them a impound yard.” He also stated that visitors could be given directions or information of other places to go when the parks are full. He asked the Council to come up with ideas and potential solutions for the August 3 City Workshop.

Servando suggested that the Council come up with a long term solution to parking in Chelan.

Peter mad a motion to contract with the security firm through September and it was approved by a vote of 4-3.

Hospital moving forward with a Master Facility Plan

by Richard Uhlhorn

Lake Chelan Health is moving forward despite carrying a $1,572,727 net loss for the year. In an unaudited financial report ending on May 31, the hospital came in $768,000 under its budget.

It was noted at the Tuesday, June 29, board meeting that the facility will be hiring an experienced biller in July and adding a second biller shortly thereafter which, according to CEO George Rohrich, “will make a huge difference in our Accounts/Receivable.” Rohrich expects these hirings to cut the receivables in half which will affect the bottom line.

At the end of May, the revenue projections were $1.9 million under budget. CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that the restricted $3 million plus cash reserves from the CARES act is still sitting in the bank, with the hospital waiting to hear if some or all of it will have to be returned to government coffers. Those funds would, if released, put the hospital in a positive financial position moving forward.

There are a lot of connotations to moving forward. According to Rohrich a Master Facility Plan is being prepared. “We will be reporting back to the board in July on what we propose for the Clinic (new location) and who is in the new hospital.” Rohrich will also give the board an auditing report and costs at the next meeting.

Chairman Mary Murphy said, “People are anxious about where they will be located.” Rohrich added that the potential of getting rid of leases is paramount. The Clinic will be moving out of its current location and will probably be relocated at the existing facility as well as the administrative staff. “We will see what space is left over,” said Rohrich. “We might be able to put a daycare here.”

The cost of physically moving the hospital to its new location will be available prior to the 2022 budget.

Hybrid meetings:

A number of community members have been asking when in-person meetings will begin again. Rohrich stated that the hospital is considering an in-person hybrid model which would include in-person attendance and ZOOM.

Rohrich stated he has received confusing information from the Governor’s office about in-person meetings, but hopes to have in-person meetings beginning with the July board meeting. “If we continue at the hospital, we will have to wear masks so we can listen to everyone mumble.”

Potential locations mentioned outside the hospital facility included the Senior Center, Fire Station conference room, City Hall (which has the audio infrastructure for ZOOM meetings) and the Lake Chelan School District.

HeritageHeights update:

The Hospital, which leases the property Heritage Heights sits on, is working on an amendment to extend its lease. “Timing is significant and we will have an amendment ready for your review and consideration for the next meeting,” said Rohrich.

Rohrich stated that there were two items of importance which includes the length of the lease and a clarification to the access road which goes through the hospital’s property. The hospital is researching and getting a legal opinion on the requests. “We need to get this moving along with what they have to do,” said Rohrich. “We may need a special meeting when an amendment is ready to discuss.”

Surgeon status:

The hospital is losing its surgeon, Dr. Joshua Schronowski, to Alaska at the end of September and Rohrich told the board that the search is on for a good orthopedic doctor who might be able to work on major joints. “We are interviewing candidates,” he said.

Strategic Planning:

The hospital is planning its Strategic Planning meeting which will take place sometime in September. Two proposals for moderators are currently being considered. Jody Corona who has moderated hospital strategic planning meetings in the past and Heron Company. Both parties cost about the same with the price tag somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000.

The next strategic planning meeting will include a survey of what community members would like to see going into the future. The planning effort will cover the hospital’s service area, market share, population census data and survey considerations.

The hospital holds its board meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month beginning at 1:30 p.m. Beginning in July, there is a possibility that the meeting will be held as an in-person meeting with the ZOOM option available.

Glass recycling program on track for a grand opening in July

by Richard Uhlhorn

GLASS RECYCLING:

Public Works Director Jake Youngren announced that the City and 911 Glass Rescue have “come up with an operating agreement” for the glass recycling program. “We feel like we are at the finish line,” said Youngren.

The recycling program will run on weekends and will not be in conflict the City’s other ongoing recycling program. Only authorized personnel will be allowed to work with the glass recycling program.

City Attorney Quentin Batjar told the Council that paragraph four of the agreement gives the City a lot of leeway. “It has been a pleasure working with 911 Glass Rescue,” said Batjar. Councilman Ty Witt, one of the Rotary proponents said he was impressed with the efforts by the City.

The glass crusher machine is on site and being set up with July 24 set as the Grand Opening of the program. “We need to get the word out so we have glass to process,” said Witt. “It’s up to the public to bring it to us to make the program successful.”

CHELAN WATERFRONT ACCESS PLAN UPDATE:

Park’s Director Paul Horne brought forth cost estimates for the seven sites designated as having the best potential for public waterfront access. The City has put aside $150,000 in the budget to help fund improvements as directed by the City Council.

The sites that have been designated as having the most potential out of the 17 sites researched were:

  • Lake Chelan Shores – A long beach area between Willow Park and Lake Chelan Shores that is in the public domain would be improved with a boardwalk that would allow access to the lake as well as becoming a part of the proposed North Shore Pathway. The cost to improve this area is estimated to cost $320,626.00.
  • Dietrich Road Street End – This location is at the lake at the end of Dietrich Road and improvements were estimated to cost $298,374.29.
  • Chelan Riverwalk Park – This site would be constructed on the southwest side of the Woodin Avenue by the Grandview at an estimated cost of $149188.35.
  • Peterson’s N. Park Street – This site is adjacent to Peterson’s Waterfront Resort and is currently being used by the Chelan residents as a place to escape too. Under the proposed improvement, it is estimated to cost $94,915.65
  • Sunset Marina/Lake Chelan Boat Company – This area is between the Boat Company and Sunset Marina where the old Howe Sound Mining Dock was. It is already a perfect beach area. Improvements are estimated to cost $161,754.86.
  • W. Main Avenue – Estimated improvement at this location are $132,945.58.
  • Green Dock Micro Park – This park is in use, but the consultant has included an over the lake viewing dock at the corner of Water Street and Terrace Avenue at a cost of $327,450.28.
  • Two alternate sites have been included at the end of the seven sites selected for improvement. they include the following:
    1. West of the western finger at Three Fingers for a lake access dock and several swimming docks adjacent to the Lakeside Trail and 97A. This project would be an excellent collaboration between the City and PUD. All the underwater land is owned by the PUD at this location.
    2. Spader Bay Water Access – It has been suggested that the City make use of the Spader Bay acquisition with several floating docks that would accommodate paddle boarders and kayakers to help disburse water use from the Chelan River.

The Three Finger and Spader Bay alternatives will be discussed at Chelan’s next Council Workshop.

SHORELINE MASTER PROGRAM UPDATE:

Craig Gildroy, planning director, updated the City Council on the required Shoreline Master Program that is required to be submitted to the State by June 30.

The amendments include a number of comments from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife which was the only agency making a comment. Most of its recommendations were changes in the language used in the updates including references to accessible ramps and docks, and the hydraulic code.

Gildroy told the Council that he would be bringing back a resolution for council to approve at the next Council meeting. A representative of the WDFW told the Council via ZOOM that “some of the recommended changes are unique to Lake Chelan, some of which are required by the Department of Ecology and some that were not.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren requested approval of a Change Order with KRCI for the Lift Station No. 5 Improvement and Force Main Replacement Project for a total of $9,252.34 which will be reimbursed to the City by Ziply Fiber.

The request for a change order was derived from KRCI discovering an unknown/unlocated fiber conduit near the intersection of 97A and Waterslide Drive. This fiber conduit is owned by Ziply Fiber and was identified as a part of their main service line for the region.

The conduit was installed directly above the City’s 10 inch gravity sewer line that is being replaced. “It was unfortunate that the unlocated fiber line was on top of our sewer line that is being replaced,” said Youngren. “To keep the project moving we came up with a plan to relocate the line.”

Youngren also reported that the City received two bids for a Chelan Traffic Improvements Project. The low bid was submitted by Specialized Pavement Marking, Inc. in the amount of $45,166.15. The engineers estimate was $66,279.00. “This project was funded through the legislature,” said Youngren. “We have more than adequate funds.”

The project is a proposed short term channelization project in lieu of the proposed traffic signal control project identified at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Sanders Street.

The City Council approved a Construction Management Agreement with SCJ Alliance for the Chelan Traffic Improvement Project not to exceed $11,500.00.

Youngren added that SCJ Alliance will be putting an effort in to make the public aware of the project.

Councilman John Olson asked if the ultimate solution would be forthcoming in the next five to six years. Youngren replied that was the plan.

This began a discussion about truck traffic turning at the corner of Woodin by MOE and driving through the elementary school’s area. Councilman Chris Baker suggested that the City should talk to the school administration about the traffic situation. “It’s an all day long issue.”

Donnell retiring at end of December… Board approves Levy Lid Lift

by Richard Uhlhorn

A number of residents of Chelan Fire District attended the Commissioner meeting on June 16.

Fire Chief Mark Donnell publicly announced that he would be retiring effective December 31, 2021, however, promised the Commissioners that he would remain on until a new fire chief was found.

Fire Chief Mark Donnell (right) announced is retirement effective December 31, 2021, but said he would continue to help the district until they hired a new chief.

In his following Chief’s report he said the Department is on budget (slightly lower) and that the District received $70,000 from last year’s State Mobilization. “We have transferred $20,000 into the Capital Equipment Fund.

Donnell reported that the District is having a difficult time filling its Sesonal Firefighter position. “We are struggling to get that,” he said. “There are so many firefighter positions open.”

Chairman Phil Moller asked if it was possible to get staffing help from the Department of Natural Resources or the Forest Service. “We are all struggling to fill positions. It is a struggle for us, the Forest Service and DNR. California is having huge problems.

Moller replied that if the District is unsuccessful in filling the seasonal position by July that it doesn’t make sense to continue the search. Seasonal firefighters are hired from May through September normally.

Last year, the seasonal hires helped the District immensely when its career firefighters were deployed under State Mobilization.

Donnell reported that May was slower than normal. “Memorial Day was very calm Even the police said it was.” However, the weekend after Memorial Day there were 60 calls, “and we are only halfway through the month,” added Donnell.

The big worry by all agencies including Chelan Fire and Rescue is the July 4 weekend. “That is a party weekend.”

Donnell gave a lot of kudos to Marine 71 which has responded to a number of on-water issues already this year and helped making contact with boaters and personal water craft users.

The District held an open house at its Union Valley facility on June 11 and between 40 and 50 people attended. Most were interested in the fuel reduction program that has been taking place in Union Valley for a number of years under DNR grants.

Moller asked where the estimated 50 attendees were from. Donnell said that most of them were Union Valley residents. “That area is growing fast.”

Donnell also reported that Ladder 71 could be back in service by October. It is undergoing corrosion repair work.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher gave a Volunteer and Retention and Training report to the commissioners.

Asher reported that one lateral fire fighter has been added, and “it is a great addition for us.” Another volunteer signed on at Station 75, two at Orondo and one in Entiat, however, Asher also reported that the District has also lost some volunteers.

The District has been filling its stipend slots with fire fighters who have been coming off of a 48 hour shift at their District and coming to Chelan for another 48 hour shift… or 96 hours.

Moller asked if there was a policy on that. Asher stated there wasn’t any and that these firefighters were working towards a career post somewhere. “They want to get as much experience as possible.”

The 96 hour stints does not mean that these firefighters are working the entire time. There are periods of sleep and rest, but they are available for service if an issue arises.

Asher reported that the wildfire training has finished up and red cards are being issued.

It was also reported that it will take the fire department 15 minutes to respond up Bradley Street to the newly approved 82 residential development above the golf course.

It was announced that a major paragliding competition is coming to Chelan in mid-July and Moller asked if there were any plans to respond to that area in case of an accident.

Asher responded by telling the commission that they have learned a lot of lessons for accidents up on the Butte. “A big benefit will be the ability to get a helicopter up there.”

(Editors note: Beginning on July 11 and lasting through July 24 Chelan will host a US Open Paragliding event and a US National Paragliding event that runs concurrently with the Open. Over 200 pilot have registered and 130 will be allowed to compete.)

FIREFIGHTER ASSOCIATION REPORT:

Dan Crandall, president of the association reported that they have made one $100 donation and have gifted $500 to the parade truck.

Currently the Association has $31,754 in the bank and Crandall mentioned that the Association has been requested to cover Marine 71 operational expenses. “We are reviewing that currently,” said Crandall. “It’s a new request.”

In the past the Association has supplied the funding to outfit Marine 71 with engines and other accessories to make it water ready.

Crandall stated that the Association’s new website has been launched at http://www.cd7ffa.com.

Commissioner Russ Jones added that Marine 71 has been on the water and well received by local law enforcement.

LEVY LID LIFT:

Chief Donnell reported that the resolution for going forward with the proposed Levy Lid Lift is ready for the board to approve or not approve. “We have to file no later than the end of July,” said Donnell. He added that the resolution has been reviewed by the District’s attorney.

The board unanimously approved the resolution to move forward with the levy.

Donnell remarked that if didn’t matter if he was still chief or not during the new chief search. “It has no bearing on whether I’m here or not. I’m committed to stay in place until a new chief is on board,” said Donnell. “I’ll be here to help… I’m committed to success.”

Donnell stated that the success or failure of the Levy will have a direct impact on finding a new chief. “Failure will limit the pool.”

Moller has proposed that maybe the District should look at contracting out for a part-time chief, i.e. Fire Chief Arnold Baker from District 5. Jones said the District needs to explore all options. “There are all kinds of options after the levy.”

Karyly Oules said they need to move forward and if the District can get it done before the levy that would be good.

Larry Peabody, a member of the District’s Citizen’s Advisory Group and a retired firefighter said he is in full agreement that the District needs to lift its levy because of the exploding growth.

Larry Peabody, a member of the District’s Advisory Committee, said he appreciated open discussion about the Levy. “Speaking for myself, having Marine 71 hang out on the water creates enforcement.”

John Corian said he had 31 years in fire services, both as a volunteer and firefighter. He told the commissioners that he is on the HOA board of Chelan Hills. He said that in his 31 year history with fire services that the board is making the step in the right direction. “This area is exploding,” he stated.

He said the size of the District calls for four to five on staff at the fire station all the time. “You really need two crews on at a time.”

Shawn Sherman, a Lt. with the District, wondered where the line is drawn legally and ethically in a supervising role. “We are putting people into dangerous positions while in stress,” he said. After the meeting and during public comment the 96 hour shift issue was discussed. Firefighters are not working for 96 hours, they are just on duty in case of an emergency.

Chris Baker, the City’s liaison to the Fire District said he supports the upcoming levy.

City Council liaison Chris Baker said the department has to grow. “There are many hundred’s of new houses planned. I support the levy and feel it is a small amount to pay.”

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:

Oules stated she was already sold on the need for the Levy Lid Lift.

Karyl Oules (left) and Russ Jones added comments at the end of the
commission meeting on June 16.

Jones thanked the Firefighter Association for its contributions to Marine 71. “Your help has been immeasurable. We have a solid relationship with law enforcement.” Jones also said he rode with the department staff to a motorcycle accident on Sunday and stated that he was impressed with the coordination between EMS, the Fire Department and Law Enforcement. “Everybody knew what to do and did it.”

Moller said he appreciated the Associations purchase of Marine 71’s motors and other equipment. “It’s nice to be on the water and ready to go.”

The Chelan Fire and Rescue commission meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m.

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/