Chelan Fire & Rescue Response boat is on the lake and ready for emergencies

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Sunday morning was quiet on Lake Chelan and the perfect time for Chelan Fire & Rescue to conduct “Rescue Swimmer” training off Chelan Fire’s new Rescue Boat in front of the Chelan Ranger District. “We will double our volunteer base with this program,” said Deputy Chief Mark Donnell.

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Chelan Fire & Rescue’s 26-foot Defender Class Response Boat had a trial run early Sunday morning.

One resident saw the action and told me that she thought someone had drowned. “I quickly said a prayer for the family,” she said. What she saw was two trainees towing a dummy to the boat as a part of their training.

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The vessel was used to help train Chelan 7’s Rescue Swimmers on Sunday morning.

The 26-foot Defender Class Response Boat was purchased as surplus from the U.S. Coast Guard for $5,500 of which $3,000 came from the sale of the District’s old boat. It was outfitted with two used Honda 225 outboards, courtesy of the Chelan Fire Association and installed by Reed Marine.

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Chelan Fire Commission Chair Russ Jones pushed to obtain the vessel for the department. “We do live on a lake,” he once said. Jones has also received the OK from Commissioners Jay Witherbee and Phil Moller to help operate the boat without pay on the water. Jones is a certified pilot.

Chelan Fire Commission Chair Russ Jones pushed to have this response boat on the water by the summer boating season. The Fire District has requested moorage space at the Chelan Marina and City Administrator Mike Jackson will present the District’s proposal to City Council at its upcoming Council meeting on July 9.

Chelan Fire & Rescue swimmers received training on recovering a drowning victim from the lake bed on Sunday morning. Lt. Shawn Sherman is heading up the District’s Rescue Swimmer Program. When fully trained these swimmers will be able to dive to 30 feet to recover a victim.

It should be noted that the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department has jurisdiction on Lake Chelan, but has been accepting of the new response boat as another potential life saver.

It should also be noted that there is no funding available for the operation of the boat and grants and donations are being sought to keep it in operation throughout the summer. The District can also rent the vessel to the U.S. Forest Service during wildfire events on Lake Chelan.

Eventually it will also be outfitted with a water pump for firefighting along the shoreline.

Under Coast Guard rules concerning surplus sales to agencies, the agency must agree to keep the vessel for at least 18 months. After that, if it doesn’t work out, the agency can put the vessel up for sale. The Defender Class Response Boats are currently listed for sale between $100,000 and $200,000 depending on how they are outfitted.

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The District’s boat will hopefully be moored at the Chelan Marina where it can respond immediately to accidents on the lake.

The ability to respond to marine accidents quickly will hopefully save some lives this summer. There has already been one drowning and a head on collision between two personal watercraft this season.

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Chelan Fire Commission concerned about current fire conditions going into July 4

by Richard UhlhornChelan_1200px_280px

FIRE… Illegal fires and fire concerns were a part of the discussion at the Chelan Fire Commission meeting on Wednesday, June19.

On Saturday, June 22, an individual(s) thought it would be fun to shoot bottle rockets at some bicyclists participating in the annual Century Ride. This happened on Boyd Road and created a brush fire that Chelan 7 was able to put out rather quickly.

According to Fire Commission Chairman, Russ Jones, the car involved in the incident has been located and the Sheriff’s Department is looking for the owner.

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Commissioner Russ Jones

This brings up the major concern that all agencies have regarding local fire conditions. It should be noted that fireworks are banned in Chelan County including the City of Chelan. So if you enjoy fireworks, plan on attending the fireworks shows being put on by Manson and Chelan.

Commissioner Phil Moller stated that there is a Red Flag Warning regarding current weather conditions. “I don’t see a big focus on our fire conditions. I don’t think the public gets it.”

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Commissioner Phil Moller

Chelan Fire is seeking ways to get the word out, particularly to the traveling public who in many cases do not understand how dangerous and dry our conditions are. This past winter’s snowpack fell way short of normal and very little rain fell to augment the water content.

In Stehekin, the water levels are already at July levels and Nick Davis at the Stehekin Log Cabin said the Stehekin River will be at September levels in August. “There should be some good fishing.” Unfortunately, most agencies are very concerned about this fire season’s chance of being the worst in years.

Everyone needs to be aware of just how explosive the fuels are in the region. No one wants a fire in the area and especially the smoke that is associated with fire situations.

The other topic at the Commission meeting concerned Illegal Fires. These include orchard burns that are unattended and other potential illegal burns.

Jones opened the discussion with a statement that there is a RCW that allows Fire Districts to bill for their services on illegal fires after the burn ban is in effect. Chief Tim Lemon said, “Bill them all or not at all.” Commissioner Jay Witherbee said, “If we are going to charge people, we have to charge everybody.” Lemon added that the District should bill for the actual time and for the apparatus.

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Commissioner Jay Witherbee

Deputy Chief Mark Donnell added that it’s not like these people don’t know the law. “We know who’s burning,” he said regarding the Department of Ecology’s permit program for agriculture burns. “It’s the people who are pushing the envelope.”

Witherbee said he would feel more comfortable about charging if the District would bring the subject up at the Regional level. “We need to have that discussion regionally,” he said. Jones tabled the discussion until other Districts could be reached.

In other business, Chief Tim Lemon reported that this year’s Memorial Day was pretty average regarding callouts. “It was more family oriented,” said Lemon. “There was nothing of real significance.”

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Chief Tim Lemon

He also reported that two fire fighters were sent to a State Mobilization brush fire for four to five days and that would generate about $4,000 above and beyond expenses.

Donnell reported that a class for Rescue Swimmers would be held on July 13 and 14. “There will be 10 to 12 attending this class including members of the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department also.”

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher reported that a questionnaire asking potential recruits “Why they were Joining” and “What they Expect” from the fire service as volunteers. “I think it will do a lot of good.”

Asher also said there is an operational guide on how District’s get paid on fires. Both the Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service have adopted its guidelines. Apparently after 12 hours on a fire, it is discussed who and how it gets paid for.

The Fire Fighter Association reported that it has revised the amount given to victims to $500 with a chance to revisit if more is needed. In May the Association gave out two $500 checks to fire victims.

The maiden voyage of the Chelan Fire and Rescue Boat was a success. “The Rescue Boat needs to get on the Water. Apparently there was a head on collision between two personal watercraft that were jumping other boats wakes and the Sheriff’s boat did not respond. “We need a place to park it.”

Regarding the lack of community attendance at the recent Fire Town Hall, Jones said the District needs more meetings. Witherbee added that the District needs open public dialogue regarding the future plans. “We put together what we thought was a good plan,” said Witherbee. “We have to get better at communicating to the community.”

Donnell suggested that opening the floor with the commissioners up front to answer questions would work. “It is important that we listen to them (the public).” Moller said the District needs to be more transparent. “The information is not getting out.” He suggested a Facebook page.

Jones suggested adding a Public Comment period at the end of their commission meetings so the public can ask questions of what was covered in the meeting. Witherbee was supportive of this.

The public is invited to attend the Fire Commission meetings every third Wednesday at 3 p.m. The next Commission meeting is on July 17 at the Fire Hall in the upstairs meeting room.

Be careful out there.

 

City Council receives post legislative report from lobbyists

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Josh Weiss, a lobbyist at Gordon Thomas Honeywell (GTHGA), gave the Chelan City Council a post legislative report on the 105 day session of the Washington State Legislature. “The city’s priorities feel short,” Weiss said. “We did not fare very well. There is a lot of work to be done in 2020,” he added.

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John Weiss – City of Chelan Lobbyist

The legislature spent $52.4 billion with a significant portion going to mental health issues. The State’s Capital Budget is $49 billion. “There is less money to be spent on transportation projects.”

Weiss did remark that the proposed new gasoline tax did not make it, but that tax collection continues to be a major source of revenue for the state. “There is definitely momentum around (passing) a new gas tax in the next two to three years. Your entire delegation was in support of this.”

With regards to the City’s request for more transportation funding for its Pedestrian Safety project fell on deaf ears because they felt Chelan had done pretty well with funding for the Woodin Avenue Bridge. Weiss feels that the City should continue work with the 12 Legislative District to keep take Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons alive in 2020.

Weiss said that Affordable Housing will continue to be a hot topic. The City had requested that the legislature allow larger City’s to participate in an affordable housing cap of $15,000. “There is opportunity there,” said Weiss.

Funding for The Chelan Butte Conservation project had mixed reviews amongst the legislators.” If you want to go forward you need to strategize.”

Mayor Cooney stated that the City needs to make sure the council is behind the Butte Project. Erin McCardle added that they need a conceptual plan. Tim Hollingsworth said, “The Legislature would like to see grassroots interest n this. I know there is a grassroots move against development up there.”

The City sought funding to move forward with the Lakeside Park project, but Weiss stated the other projects for this funding ranked higher.

In the end, Weiss said, “We do really appreciate representing you. We are developing an interim plan (to go forward) with Mike Jackson.”

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle wants to focus on transportation issues and outdoor recreation issues with the Washington State Legislature next session.

McCardle said the City needs to be really focused on short requests including transportation and outdoor recreation. Councilman Ray Dobbs asked, “Were we surprised we fell so short?” Weiss replied that he wasn’t surprised. Mayor Cooney stated that the City has tried to get funding without a lobbyist. “You an access the floor,” said Cooney. But getting the legislators attention is hard.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if the City was surprised the Lobbying effort fell so short in the last session.

Weiss said that GTHGA would meet with 12 the District legislators to discuss priorities, and identify possible legislative winners.

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Past Mayor Bob Goedde is now attending Council meetings and will be running for a third term as the Mayor of Chelan.

The first part of the meeting concerned the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) with City Attorney Quentin Batjer and attorney Krystal Frost. Absent from this workshop were Kelly Allen – traveling in Europe, Wendy Isenhart and Ty Witt.

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City Attorney Quentin Batjer presented information required by law for all Council people to understand about the Open Public Meetings Act.

“The public deserves to know what it’s government is doing, said Batjer. The purpose of OPMA is to allow the public to view the decision making process. “Any final action (by a public board) must be taken in public,” stated Batjer. Executive sessions is the exception.” Each public meeting must have minutes that are promptly recorded and available for public scrutiny. Executive sessions must be limited to a specific purpose.

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Attorney Crystal Frost went over the City’s requirments
under the Public Records Act .

Crystal Frost went over The Public Records Act where government records are presumed open to the public. “It’s always a good idea to reduce a verbal request to writing,” said Frost.

Batjer said that agencies should work with requesters. “Sometimes a requester doesn’t know what they want… Narrow it down.”

City Clerk Peri Gallucci stated that the City always over produces public records. “We go over the legal limits,” she said. Time to respond to a public request depends on a lot of factors like how big it is. They also document every search.

Councilman Ray Dobbs said that each council member needs to secure their cell phones and to not use. Their personal computers for City business. Batjer added, “Don’t write anything you don’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper or on Facebook.”

Writing includes: handwriting, typewriting, printing, photo stating, photographing, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation including but not limited to letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols.

Gallucci says that she can spend up to 20 hours a week on public records requests.

Agencies have five business days to respond to a public records request. The agency can also ask for clarification of a request if it is not reasonably clear, or does not request “identifiable records.”

Chelan Fire & Rescue Town Hall imparted a lot of information about the state of the Fire District and where it is headed

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The future is already impacting Chelan Fire & Rescue’s district. “There are proposals for over 1,000 new residential units proposed for the Lake Chelan Valley,” said Fire Commission Chairman Russ Jones.

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Commissioner Russ Jones

Jones stated that the District is not interested in running a new levy at this time. “I want to have a year’s conversation with the community,” said Jones. “When we do go for a levy increase, I want it already won.”

By law, the District is allowed to run a levy at $1.50 per thousand of assessed value, but Jones thinks the District will only ask for an estimated $1.09 per/1000 from the current tax levied at $.88 cents per 1000.

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The Line Item cost per unit at the District.
The largest cost is for suppression personnel


Fire District are hamstrung to a one percent cap on what they can collect from the tax payers, which means that for every $100 collected, the cap restricts them to  $101 the next year. “As the population grows, we can’t keep up,” Jones stated.

A $.21 cent increase from the current $.88 cent collected now would allow the District to hire two more full-time firefighters ($240,000), add $60,000 to help retain volunteers through the District’s stipend plan, and put $200,000 a year into the District’s apparatus equipment fund.

Myrna Duke, a retired Forest Service employee, stated that the District failed a levy attempt a year ago. “You found money to keep fire fighters,” she said. “Why?”

Jones replied that money came from the equipment fund. She then remarked that the District had the money to purchase a boat. Jones replied that the District paid $2,500 for a $200,000 boat and while it is true that the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department has the primary responsibility for operations on Lake Chelan, they don’t have the capability to go below the surface.

He further stated that one of the District’s rescue swimmers was near the recent drowning accident but wasn’t able to free dive the 55 feet to the victim. One of the District’s fire fighters came out with SCUBA gear and was able to retrieve the body on his own time. It took the Sheriff’s Department over one-half hour to respond to the scene.

The District, under the terms of purchasing the boat from the US Coast Guard, has to operate it for 18 months, after which the District could sell it.

Duke then asked how long it takes to get mutual aid to a fire situation. It was explained that mutual aid comes into play on a second alarm fire and can take up to 30 minutes to respond.

Commissioner Jay Witherbee remarked that consolidation would be nice, but getting voters approval would be extremely difficult because of the tribal attitude between Districts. “It’s almost impossible.”

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher said that under his grant to recruit and retain volunteers for Chelan, Entiat and Orondo, he has attracted 146 potential volunteers and that only 46 have remained. The cost of living is one of the problems in retaining volunteer firefighters. “We’ve lost four people to the Forest Service and some have gone to Alaska.”

“All of the positions we have hired are local and out of our volunteer base,” said Asher. He added that, unlike Wenatchee, the District doesn’t have enough living space for a resident program.

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Chief Tim Lemon

At the beginning of the meeting, Chief Tim Lemon remarked to those attending the  Town Hall that “We are your fire department… you own us! If we are going to maintain our services, we will need funding.”

The District covers 120 square miles. “We have to cover the city and we do get support from our neighbors,” said Lemon.

The District also participates in State Mobilization efforts for up to 14 days. “This generates revenue and gives our firefighters significant experience fighting fires to bring home.”

Chelan Fire also has vehicle extraction equipment including air bags; special rescue including water rescue swimmers, and high angle rescue capabilities.

The District conducts Fire Prevention efforts with inspections for defensible space and free smoke detectors.

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Assistant Chief Brandon Asher (left) and Deputy Chief Mark Donnell

Chief Mark Donnell is in line to become the next Chief when Lemon retires later this year. He moved to Chelan in 2013 and joined the volunteer staff before accepting a job as Deputy Fire Chief.

Donnell told those in attendance that since 2010 there has been a 22 percent increase in calls, or over 200 more calls each year.

The laws concerning fire have also changed and made the job more dependent on trained personnel. There is a two in/one out law concerning structure fires. “Down in Washougal, the firefighters ignored this rule and made a tremendous save, but were fined by the State anyway,” said Donnell.

The District maintains 2 career staff on board 24/7 and a volunteer under a District stipend program plus volunteer shift personnel. The secondary response to fire are from the home volunteer base or career call back.

In the urban interface it takes the District no more than nine minutes to respond; in the suburban it is 10 minutes; and in the rural areas, 14 minutes 90 percent of the time.

Training is a major issue with the District. To become a firefighter 1 requires 212 hours of training; a firefighter II, another 116 hours. Hazardous certification take 40 hours of training in EMT status is 200 hour of training. Hi-Low Angle rescue takes 84 hours of training and rescue swimmers undergo 40 hours of training.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher stated that the Department has 21 pieces of equipment, some of which is over 25 years old and more that is approaching that age. “It is important to keep equipment up to date,” said Asher. “Our goal is to slowly upgrade… the new ladder truck is an example. To replace this stuff takes funding.”

Jones remarked that the District’s succession plan is to move Donnell into the Chief’s position when Lemon retires. “He is a pretty good guy to take over. He has 29 years of experience.”

Jones also said without additional funding in the future the District would be forced to eliminate one chief’s position.

While the Town Hall was not well attended, Jones and the District plan on holding a series of Town Halls to engage with the public… to find out concerns and gather information.

HOSPITAL NAMES NEW Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer… Hires Contractors for new hospital

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Lake Chelan Community Hospital has hired two new senior positions; Mike Ellis takes over as the new Chief financial Officer and Kate Pina is the new Chief Human Resource Officer.

Mike Ellis (left) has been hired at the Hospital’s new Chief Financial Officer and Kate Pina has been hired as the new Human Resources Officer.

Ellis said that most of his history has been in larger hospitals over the last five years. “There have been a lot of changes in the health care industry,” said Ellis. He said he was excited to be back in a rural setting.

Pina is from Arizona and said she left home directly out of high school for the Air Force where she spent 22 years. She is also excited to be in Chelan and a smaller environment.

Dr. Megan Guffey has been named the hospital’s new Chief Medical Officer and will oversee the critical operations at the hospital and clinic.

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Dr. Duffy has been named the new Chief Medical Officer at the Hospital.

The board went over its powers and duties as commissioners. Mary Murphy stated that each person on the board is only an individual with no power to make decisions. “We have to bring issues to the board,” she said. She also hoped that more people would access the board meetings and comment during the Public Comment periods of which there are two. One prior to the agenda and one following the agenda.

Responsibilities of individual board members are as follows:

  • Chairperson – Phyllis Gleasman
    Medical Staff
    Facilities Steering Committee
    Affiliations Partnerships Committee
  • Vice Chair – Mary Murphy
    Quality committee
    Affiliations Partnerships Committee
  • Secretary – Fred Miller
    Finance Committee
    Trustee/Retirement
  • Commissioner – Mary Signorelli
    Community Committee
    Credentialing
    Facilities Steering Committee
  • Commissioner – Jordana LaPorte
    Community Committee
    Finance Committee
    Warrants/Vouchers

LaPorte remarked that she would like the public to have more access to background documents. “The public doesn’t have access and I’d like to make those more available,” she said.

Signorelli remarked that all meetings were posted within 24 hours on the Hospital’s website and over the radio. “We don’t have to post to all media,” said Signorelli. Murphy shared this reporter’s concern that all media should be notified about the board’s meetings. “We want the public’s engagement,” said Murphy.

CFO Mike Ellis gave a short financial report to the board and said, “I do have ideas going forward, but the (financial) trend is the same as in prior years.”

Director of Public Relations, Celeste Hankins, told the board that a Prevention Fair would be held on June 20 at the Chelan Fire Station. This will include a Giant walk through super Colon, booths, prizes and food. She also mentioned the Hospital’s Health Challenge had 100 participants, many who had participated in past challenges.

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Director of Public Relations, Celeste Hankins , gave a
short report on Community issues

Hankins also stated that they are finishing up a Chronic Disease Self Management program and would be offering a Diabetes Self Management Class later this year.

Kate Pina, the hospital’s new Human Resources Director, said her top priorities would be to change the performance based personnel evaluations. “We will be moving towards a merit based evaluation instead of a 2% over the board raise.” Employees performing at a high level will get more than those that are not performing well.

CEO Steve Patonai reported that the Hospital has retained both Bratton Construction out of Bellevue and Jerry Boyd in Chelan to oversee the construction of the new hospital. “Both interviewed very well,” said Patonai who added that Bratton will be the overall project manager while Boyd will be the on-sight manager.

Patonai said he is excited about the hospital coming together. “We’ve got managers here who are very strong,” he said. He recognized Vicki Bodle for the numerous hats she has worn at the hospital over the past five years. “Her work has been very, very important to us.”

Patonai said the hospital would be keeping things moving and that a lot of changes were going on.

 

 

City Council had plenty on its plate

by Richard Uhlhorn

As usual, Tuesday’s (May 28) City Council meeting was full of interesting bits of information relevant to the community.

First off, the council was hit with another discourse by Mayoral hopeful, Stan Morse, on the dangers of wildfire affecting his neighborhood. However, this time Mr. Morse hit upon the fact that over Memorial Day, the City and Sheriff’s Department barricades certain residential streets behind Safeway to keep people from accessing those areas where there is no fire danger, but allows visitors to park in the Lakeside neighborhood. “You do exactly that in that corridor in town,” said Morse

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Stan Morse was back on Community Comments at the City Council meeting asking the Council to consider closing streets in his neighborhood to visitor parking.

Morse went on to complain that during the summer months, Lakeside is inundated with cars parking in neighborhoods. “It’s only a matter of time when a converter sets off a fire in our neighborhood. It is actually a threat,” stated Morse. “You park so many cars it is impossible to get a fire engine around the corners.” Morse asked them to put some “Local Access Barriers” in his neighborhood.

John Olson also addressed the Council and discussed the seasonal community shuttle service that will be coming to Chelan in July and operating through September.

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John Olson told the Council that the City wasn’t prepared for the future.

Olsen told the Council that the City and Valley are not prepared for the future, but that he wanted to address one issue… transportation. “Chelan has basically the same highway system today as it had when I was born here 72 year ago,” stated Olsen. Both highways meet in the middle of town and Olsen stated that during the summer months, traffic was becoming very bad. “Alternatives need to be sought.”

“We must get serious in getting people out of their cars and getting cars off the streets and out of the core of the town,” he stated. Olson feels the LINK seasonal Chelan Community Shuttle will be a huge step in that direction.

His other comments concerned the lack of public lake access. Olson pointed out that Wenatchee, Chelan Falls, Entiat and Pateros all have large amounts of waterfront dedicated to the public, but that Chelan seems to be out of step with the public’s need for more lake access.

Olson brought up the Three Fingers as a possible goal for the City to pursue instead of trying to spend $6 million on purchasing property on Chelan Butte.

Two special presentations were on the agenda:

  • American Viticulture Area Proclamation by the City
    Lake Chelan wineries will be celebrating the 10th year of the Valley’s AVA (American Viticulture Area) and Mayor Mike Cooney read into the record a Proclamation.

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Lacy Lybecker – Carirdeas Winery, Shane Collins – Rocky Pond, Denny Evans – Tunnel Hill, and Cheryl Nelson – Tildio Winery were on hand at the meeting. Lybecker spoke for the group and stated that the 10th anniversary celebration of the AVA would take place in the second week of June. “There will be educational and social opportunities for the public,” said Lybecker. The Chamber of Commerce will be hosing a tasting seminar and 23 wineries and a number of restaurants will be involved.

  • Roy Turner, Port of Chelan County Commissioner, was joined by Douglas County Port Commissioner Jim Huffman and several staff members of the two Districts were on hand to update the Council on the efforts to consolidate the two Districts into one regarding Pangborn Airport.DSC08088
    Roy Turner – Port of Chelan County Commissioner

    Turner explained that the two Districts pulled together a task force of community members who had some connection with the airport to discuss new funding options for Pangborn. They came up with a consolidation plan. “It has not been voted on yet,” said Turner.

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    Lisa Parks – Executive Director of the Port of Douglas County

    Lisa Parks, executive director of the Port of Douglas County, told the Council that they were reaching out to all the small communities in both counties to hear concerns and issues. She said there was a good history of the two Port District’s working together as one unit through an Interlocal Agreement.

    However, the airport has been running a $1.5 to $2 million dollar deficit, so they hired a consultant who had been the Chief Financial Officer of the Port of Everett. “We found out that we could find in excess of $500,00 in savings if we consolidated,” said Parks. “Most of that would come in reduction of staff,” she said.

    She also mentioned that there would be a savings of at least $40,000 by having only one required audit by the State. The consolidation would be controlled by three commissioners from the two ports and two commissioners from the Airport.

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    Councilman Ray Dobbs

    Councilmember Ray Dobbs stated that the City has a great working relationship with the Port of  Chelan County. He was concerned about how the consolidation would affect that relationship. Parks replied that it would not affect it at all.

    Parks went on to say that a lot of questions still need to be answered but they won’t be answered until both Port are working together. “We will do that over a course of a year to see some of those concerns are being met,” she said.

    Turner added that when consolidated, the Port District would be the largest in the State of Washington.

 

The Council held a Public Hearing on the proposed Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan that is required by the State.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle
Councilmember Erin McCardle brought up the City’s alleys. “Alley’s need to be a top priority,” said McCardle. Currently the City’s alleys are basically not usable. Councilmember Ray Dobbs asked what it would take for the City to get commercial trucks off Woodin Avenue and into the alleys to offload product. He said the Budweiser driver remarked that overhead wiring was an issue. “If we want to move trucks off Woodin, the alleys would have to be one-way.” said Dobbs.

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Public Works Director Jake Youngren
Public Works Director Jake Youngren said he was planning on applying for a grant for Farnham Street intersection through the Chelan/Douglas County Transportation Council. “Farnham is listed on the Regional plan,” said Youngren.

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that during a recent workshop, traffic calming issues were discussed. “I would like to see that included before the Boyd Road (Widening Project).” Other issues of concern are new Cross Walks for the school areas. Youngren said the State would be addressing the crosswalk issue during their Hwy 97A paving project from Lakeside to WalMart.

Dobbs brought up the Chelan PUD Transfer Station that will be constructed up in the Boyd District. “There will be lots of work on Boyd Road,” said Dobbs. “It might be the time to put a sewer line up there.” Most of Chelan Hills is still on septic.

During the 2019 budget session, in addition to their annual funding request of $13,000, Thrive requested an additional $7,000 in funding to assist with transportation costs to and from the Teen Center. Thrive has since received a donated vehicle and is now requesting use of the funds for other purposes.

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Thrive Executive Director Amy Davis

Executive Director Amy Davis told the Council that the $7,000 would be allocated to volunteer training and other areas. She said that Thrive receives funding from other areas also. The Council voted unanimously to allow Thrive to reallocate those funds.

Council comments:

 Erin McCardle asked for help with the annual MOE Mock Council. Wendy Isenhart, Tim Hollingsworth and Ty Witt said they could do it on the morning of June 11.

Wendy Isenhart commented on the Memorial Day event at the Visitor’s Center. She also wondered why Chelan didn’t have a parade float and asked if there ever was one. Dobbs replied that back in the day of the old Chelan Bike-A-Thon, money was raised for Chelan’s float. No one knows where it is now. Dobbs suggested using some 3% money for a new float.

Isenhart is still pushing for a small boat harbor and is concerned that time will run out on the permits before it can be built.

Ray Dobbs remarked that LINK is funding the shuttle service for this year only. He said that Richar DeRock would like to see at least five people per hour using the shuttle. Tim Hollingsworth remarked that Lakeside should have a few temporary parking slots open so people can drop off their BBQ and picnic stuff before parking off site and taking the shuttle back to the park.

Dobbs said he would like to see the City put up  $2,000 to $3,000 to market and advertise the shuttle service. It was noted that the High School has 240 vacant parking slot and the ball fields have another 110 parking spots available.

Ty Witt told the Council that the Rotary Club is planning on revitalizing the area south of the ball fields as a gathering place for BBQs and other events. “We don’t want to step on toes so I’m attending the Eagles meeting right after our meeting,” said Witt.

Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Watershed Planning Unit would be receiving $460,000 from the Department of Commerce for water rights applications.

Mayor Cooney said that Microsoft is now purchasing power from the PUD and would be visiting the area looking for opportunities in North Central Washington.

City Administrator Mike Jackson and several council members visited a parcel of land that has been for sale for a number of years. Jackson asked Jim Brennan if he could prepare a concept plan for trail access to the property and Brennan stated he could do that for $15,000. Hollingsworth said the property has a lot of recreational value. Witt stated that access would be extremely important and that public opinion would be critical to the City considering a purchase.

Jackson told the Council that he would do his best to bring access possibilities to the next meeting. Other issues are the sales price. “It is open space with water access,” said Mayor Cooney. “I can’t think of something people want more.”

allthingslakechelan banner ad-hospital x 1200There will be a City Council workshop on Tuesday, June 4.

Link Transit seeks more funding to expand services

by Richard Uhlhorn

Richard DeRock, LINK’s administrator, gave the Chelan City Council an update on Link Transit operations.

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The big news from DeRock is that there will be a new proposal on the ballot in August to raise Link’s share of sales tax up to increase the service it currently provides.

The 2019 revenue projections have 76 percent of Link’s revenues coming from Sales Tax with other revenues coming from Federal and State Grants (20%), Fares (3.5%) and other sources at a mere .4%.

Link serves 3,500 square miles in Chelan County with a total ridership exceeding 1 million riders for the fifth consecutive year.

DeRock stated that the service moves people over 550 miles a day or 2.2 million miles a year.  “That’s 17 million passenger miles,” said DeRock. They have 600 bus stops on the system serving 10 urban centers.

In 1999, Link cut Saturday services and then brought it back. The system averages 13 riders per run and the cost per hour to run the service is 25 percent lower than the State average. “We have worked hard to keep our costs low,” said DeRock.

Link has the largest percentage of alternative fueled transit fleet in the Pacific North West. It operates 42 propane powered buses resulting in a 16 percent reduction in green house gases, 99 percent reduction of other pollutants and has a 65 percent less cost than gasoline powered buses.

It also operates 10 battery powered buses with zero emissions at 1/2 the cost of diesel. Link also has the World’s first Wireless 200Kw vehicle charger.

“We went out and asked people what they wanted,” said DeRock. “Sunday service was the major thing asked and more Saturday service.”

The cost of the system to the average household is only $24.00 per year, or $8.88 per person.

Link does plan on running a shuttle from Walmart to Lakeside this summer from July 1 to September 1.

He was asked if Link provided transit services to Pangborn Airport and he replied that they didn’t because it wasn’t cost effective. “For the most part, airports don’t generate enough business to make it work,” he said.

They are also prohibited from providing services to Mission Ridge, but do donate services to the ski area.

Over the next six years, Link plans on funding the following projects if the voters approve an increase in local sales tax by 2/10 of one percent (2%). This means for every ten-dollar retail purchase, Link Transit would receive an additional two cents in sales tax:

 

  • Add Saturday service to all cities and towns
  • Add Sunday service to all cities and towns
  • Begin service earlier in the mornings
  • Operate later evening servic on some routes until 12 a.m.
  • Faster service between Chelan and Wenatchee
  • Expand coverage to reach more areas
  • Smaller buses in residential neighborhoods
  • More frequent service on major arterials in urban areas
  • Cost effective rural services.

PUD representatives were also on hand to discuss the PUD’s Regional Area Planning efforts and Lake Chelan Lake Levels.

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Jenna Rahm told the Council that the PUD was holding a public meeting to discuss the Chelan Dam Substation plan. “We are currently looking at our own property, “she said. In addition, the PUD is looking at a Fire Hardening Project that would entail replacing wood transmission poles with steel poles. “Basically, the fire would go right through the area,” said Rahm, who added, “We would be able to turn off the power and when the fire goes through, turn it back on.”

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John Wasniewski told the Council that there was a lot of information on lake levels on the PUD’s website. This year’s snow pack is only 70 percent of normal. The annual spill will be a lot less than in a normal year.

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if the PUD would still hold its weekend for the kayakers in the Fall. Wasniewski replied that they would still hold that event.

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City Council meets every second Tuesday and fourth Tuesday of the month. The public is encouraged to attend.