Environmental Science students help Lake Chelan Research Institute conduct invasive species survey on Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan Water Quality will be the topic of the next Town Hall Meeting in Chelan. It will be held on April 19, beginning at 6 p.m. in the City of Chelan Council Chambers. The community is invited to become involved and enter the dialogue.

by Richard Uhlhorn


Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute explains the protocol of conducting an abundance survey on the shores of Lake Chelan to students in the Environmental Sciences Class at Chelan High School 

“It’s an opportunity for them to practice science like real scientists do,” remarked April Slagle, Chelan High School’s environmental science teacher. Her class gathered along the shoreline of Lake Chelan on Tuesday morning to help Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute, conduct an abundance survey of Asian clams, an invasive species that seems to be increasing.


Phil Long helps a student look for live Asian clams.

“We want the number of live clams,” Long told the students before they descended onto the shoreline. The abundance survey is the beginning of a baseline study to see if these clams are increasing. “We will come back next year to the same location and do another survey. We know it’s increasing.” The question is how much and the baseline will help determine what is happening in the lake.


The students found lots of Asian clams on the shoreline.

Many people who have lived here for years do not remember seeing this many clams on the lakeshore. Is it a concern… maybe. Long says that Lake Tahoe has a major infestation of Asian clams. “They are thick on the bottom,” said Long. “These are trends that we need to follow.”


Long helps a student with GPS data entries that will give coordinates for the next team that samples the shoreline for Asian clams.

Long is the developer and director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute which has been formed to study the lake, create scientific baselines to monitor changes and to keep the public aware of those changes.

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Phil Long addressed City Council on Tuesday, March 27 about the need to do a Risk Assessment on Lake Chelan. He talked about the Whatcom County Boat Inspection Program that has inspected over 12,000 vessels for invasive species since the program’s inception in 2012.

Long was at Chelan City Council on Tuesday, March 27, and addressed the Council about Whatcom Boat Inspection Program that was launched in 2012 to prevent the introduction of Zebra and Quagga mussels, and other aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters.

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Tegan Ward, Director of the Whatcom County Boat Inspection Program presented their program to the Chelan County Watershed Planning Unit on Wednesday, March 21 at its quarterly meeting in Chelan. 

The program which runs approximately $450,000 a year has been effective in keeping invasive species out of the County’s drinking water. At the quarterly meeting of the Chelan County Watershed Planning Unit on March 21, Teagan Ward, the director of the Whatcom County program made a presentation to the unit.

“We were concerned about what can be transported in the early stages by boats and trailers visiting our area,” she said. Adult mussels can live out of water for up to 30 days and Whatcom County’s program protects 95,000 people who depend on the lake’s water for domestic use.

In 2012, Whatcom County had four inspectors and that has grown to eight. In 2013 they made it mandatory that each vessel was permitted. In 2017 the program conducted 12,000 inspections. The annual inspection permit is $50 which helps fund the program and allows unlimited inspections throughout the year. Penalties for not being inspected can run $250 to $1,000. Three day permits to use the waters cost $20 and non-motorized vessels are $10.

The inspection process includes a complete flushing and high pressure water wash of each vessel with 120 degree water. Water in bilges are reclaimed so insure that no invasive species gets into the lake. “We have done over 40,000 inspections since starting the program,” she said. The program began in Whatcom County with only $35,000 and has reached the half million mark through grants and permit fees.

Ward told the Watershed Unit that education is a huge part of the program now. They also work with the Seaplane Association to make sure any seaplanes using the lake are clean.

NOTE: To date, the State of Washington has been successful in keeping Zebra and Quagga mussels from entering its water bodies. However, the Asian clam, Eurasian watermilfoil, New Zealand mudsnail, Purple loosestrife, and Brazilian eiodea are all present in Lake Chelan.


The Chelan County Watershed Planning Unit meets in Chelan on a quarterly basis to discuss a variety of topics concerning lake quality, water rights and other issues concerning the lake. 

With 728 water bodies in 45 states, the danger of an invasive species being introduced to our lake is very high. Once introduced the problem can literally cost millions to rectify.

“It’s a fabulous program,” Long said at the City Council meeting. “We need a risk assessment for Lake Chelan. We still don’t have a boat launch to boat launch inspection program.” Long told the Council that the Valley does not want Zebra mussels in the lake.

“It’s a complicated story. We are looking at what’s needed for a risk assessment.”

More information will be forthcoming at the next Town Hall Meeting. The topic is Lake Chelan Water Quality and will include presentations from Chelan County Resources and the Lake Chelan Research Institute. The meeting will take place in City Council Chambers on Thursday, April 19 beginning at 6 p.m.

Residents are encouraged to get involved and enter into the dialogue.

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Fire District 7 seeks replacement for Peters

Chelan County Fire District # 7 is seeking a new commissioner to replace Tom Peters who abruptly resigned several weeks ago. The following press release outlines the necessary steps to follow if you are interested in serving the community through the fire department.

232 E. Wapato, PO Box 1317 Chelan, WA 98816
PH: 509-682-4476, Fax: 509-682-3297
Date: March 22, 2018
To: For Immediate Release to the News Media.

For more information, contact Carol Kibler, Administrative Office Manager 509-682-4476.

“Chelan Fire and Rescue seeks applications for Board of Fire Commissioner Vacancy”
The recent resignation of a Board member from Positon 2 on the Board of Fire Commissioners has created a vacancy on the three-member Board. To fill the vacancy, the Board of Fire Commissioners is soliciting applications from individuals who would be interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy.

When a vacancy occurs on a Board of Fire Commissioners, State law provides that it can be filled by appointment of the Board. The chosen appointee then serves for the rest of the vacated Board members term. In this case, the term of the vacant seat lasts until November 26, 2019. The chosen appointee would be eligible to stand for election in November 2019.

The Board of Fire Commissioners is a non-partisan, part-time legislative body. Chelan Fire and Rescue was formed in 1926. Board meetings are held at 4:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month with some exceptions. There may be special meetings occasionally to attend during the month as well.

By State Law, the chosen candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a registered Washington State voter, and have resided within the fire district limits of Chelan Fire and Rescue for at least one year. The appointee also must be at least 18 years of age.
The appointed Commissioner would have the same level of duty and privilege as all other Commissioners. Chelan Fire and Rescue Commissioners are compensated $114.00 a meeting during the length of their service.

To be considered, applicants are asked to submit an application and a Declaration of Eligibility. A resume and a cover letter detailing the applicant’s previous and current involvement in the Chelan community.

Application materials must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Friday April 6, 2018 to the Administrative Office Manager at 232 E Wapato Avenue, Chelan, Washington 98816. Applicant’s information will be forwarded to the Chelan County Elections Department for verification of eligibility before an application will be forwarded to the Board of Fire Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners will review all qualified applicants and an appointment will be made at the May 9, 2018 regular meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners. The selected appointee is anticipated to begin his/her term in May 9, 2018.

For further information, please contact Administrative Office Manager Carol Kibler at 509-682-4476.


Hospital bond issues moving foward

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Steve Patonai
Interim CEO at Lake Chelan Community Hospital

New Interim CEO introduced at Hospital Board meeting

by Richard Uhlhorn

Steve Patonai, Lake Chelan Community Hospital’s new interim CEO was introduced to a standing room only board room at the Hospital’s Tuesday, March 20, commission meeting.

Outgoing CEO, Kevin Abel told the commission and audience that Patonai had been on board for two days. “I’ve been showing Steve around and introducing him.”

“This is an exciting time for Chelan,” said Patonai. “I’ve been meeting the staff and they are gung ho and great people.” Patonai stated that he and his wife purchased property in Chelan six to seven years ago with the idea of eventually moving the valley and building a home.

He has worked at hospitals in Auburn, Washington, Florida and most recently in Houston where he came from a week and half ago. When he saw Abel’s announcement, he threw his hat into the ring.

Mary Signorelli said a lot of research went into finding a new CEO for the hospital. “We had a number of qualified candidates, but we ended up offering Steve a contract. He was interviewed by the entire board and has started while Kevin is still here.”

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Mary Signorelli
Hospital Commission Chair

Abel said he is getting Steve up to speed over the next several weeks. Commissioner Phyllis Gleasman remarked that there were a number of qualified people interviewed.

After the introductions, Kevin Abel introduced Jim Nelson to update the commission on the General Obligation Bond progress.

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Hospital Administrator Kevin Abel introduced Jim Nelson to the board for a short update on the Hospital’s quest for a USDA loan for the new hospital.

The voters in the Hospital District approved a $20 million dollar bond issue in August, 2017. The District is obligated for another $22.5 million dollars which will come from a USDA fund. “We should have preliminary approval soon,” said Nelson.

He told the commission that the bond obligation is still coming in below the Hospital’s 38 cents. “It looks like 33 cents (on the dollar) for 26 year financing,” said Nelson. “Hopefully the bond market will stabilize.”

Moving the schedule forward, Nelson said it was necessary to update the bond resolution that the board voted on last year that is needed for the USDA. He expects that the new rates will be fixed by June 27 and the money approved and in the bank by July 17 or July 25, but no later than August 9.

Abel and staff have met with the USDA and the environmental write-off is coming. “The USDA process normally takes six to 12 months,” said Abel. “Slightly more than a year. That’s what we are looking at.”

Kelly Arduino, Director of Strategic and Capital Planning Services at Wipfli, LLP,  who attended the meeting by telephone, said from a political perspective that there is “going to be tremendous pressure in the third and fourth quarters of the year. There will be a lot of approvals coming out.”

USDA  representatives will meet with Patonai on Wednesday.

Commissioner Tom Warren asked the board to repeal the old resolution and move the new one forward. The board voted unanimously to do that.

“We feel confident you would come in below that 38 cent target,” added Nelson.

HDCA hopes landing project can be rolled into bridge renovation project.

by Richard Uhlhorn

At last week’s Chelan City Council meeting, Erin McCardle, the new executive director (also a city council member) of the Historic Downtown Chelan Association (HDCA), gave a short presentation of the Council regarding the progress on the Landing Project.


The Landing area adjacent to the old Woodin Avenue Bridge will also be undergoing improvements during the upcoming bridge renovation project this spring.

The Landing is area on the northwest side of the old Woodin Avenue bridge that goes down to the City dock. Presently, it is unimproved and the HDCA has joined with the City and Lake Chelan Rotary to improve the access for visitors and residents.

The City Dock is used as a short boat moorage area for boaters to visit the downtown area for lunch and shopping. Over the years it has also become a fishing spot for local and visiting kids. Joe Heinlen, a local fishing guide helps kids learn to fish off the dock during the summer months on Wednesdays. It also lends access to just enjoy the lake, sunsets, and boat traffic.


Erin McCardle, executive director of the HDCA gave a short presentation to Chelan City Council on the Landing Project that the City has donated $75,000 to.

“The community support for this project has been tremendous,” said McCardle. Her hope is that the improvement project can be coordinated with the Woodin Avenue Bridge project slated to begin this April. “We would like to roll the two projects together,” said McCardle. “Our goal at the end of the day is to have the bridge and park opening at the same time.”


This sign depicts what the HDCA hopes the end product will look like.

So far the project has received $75,000 from the City, $50,000 from from the community, and $20,000 from HDCA, but still needs $41,000 to go forward. The additional $41,000 is for a new retaining wall. “This is for a new retaining wall that was identified late in the project,” said McCardle. The HDCA has sent a letter to the PUD for some financial help with the retaining wall.

For more information on how to donate to this project, call the HDCA at 682-4322 or Email them at HDCA@nwi.net


Moratorium is effective immediately to reduce operating and financial risks  

 WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan County PUD Monday stopped taking or processing applications, effective immediately, for electric service for cryptocurrency mining.

 PUD board members unanimously imposed the application moratorium after reviewing impacts on utility operations from existing loads and applications for service. This pause will allow lessons learned to be adopted for the existing, under-5 megawatt (MW) rates and policies as well as to develop new rates and policies for above-5 MW loads.  (Discussion begins at 00:44 on the board audio.)

 General Manager Steve Wright said impacts from cryptocurrency mining applications are hampering responses to the District’s overall planned work, and threatens the county’s electric grid capacity to meet planned growth. Public health and safety concerns due to rogue operators led to the cities of Chelan and Wenatchee acting to curb operations, especially in residential neighborhoods.

“We do need time to take a deep breath and work through the issues and this may be the best approach,” said Commissioner Randy Smith. (01:11)

Commissioners set a public hearing on the moratorium for 1 p.m. on May 14. Approved applications with fees and charges paid will go forward.

Inquiries about and applications for cryptocurrency operations significantly increased as the price of bitcoin soared last fall. The trend continues with the number of applications filed so far this year approaching 2017’s total.

There are 19 pending applications from cryptocurrency miners for up to 5 MW each, a potential total load of about 16.3 average MW. There are 22 approved and active high density loads in the county, totaling about 13.5 aMW, said Lyle Moore, Customer Service engineering supervisor. Typical countywide growth in a year is about 4 MW.

Staff also is finding rogue cryptocurrency operations requiring time and effort to investigate and respond, said Moore. Many are in homes without the grid equipment needed to serve heavy load, threatening the safety of neighbors and PUD workers.

Lindsey Mohns, Customer Utilities business manager, said with the moratorium in place, staff will:

  • Review and update the existing Schedule 35 rate (under 5 MWs) including considering adding transmission costs and continue to develop rates, fees and processes for service requests of 5 MW or more
  • Widely communicate the consequences of unauthorized operations including adding fees for investigation, monitoring and equipment damage
  • Keep working with city, county and state building code officials
  • Keep adding technology to meet the challenges of detecting and serving cryptocurrency loads

A previous application moratorium for bitcoin mining and similar operations was in place December 2014 until Jan. 3, 2017, as staff developed the rate for use of up to 5 MW.

Spring Sports – Week 1



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 Perfect baseball weather greeted baseball fans, parents and players as the Chelan Goats opened their first home game hosting the Okanogan Bulldogs. Coach Dana Papasedero had to be pleased with the Goats efforts. His report follows:

 It was a great day for baseball Saturday, as the Goats opened their CTL season with a Double Header  against the Okanogan Bulldogs.  It was a roller coaster day, with emotions running high on both sides.

 In the first game, the Goats opened the scoring with Colt Corrigan slashing a RBI double to score a hustling Gage Estes to provide a 1 nothing lead. In the top of the second, the Bulldogs capitalized on 4 Goat errrors, scoring three unearned runs. The score remained the same until the bottom of the 5th, when the Goats erupted for 3 runs highlighted  by Bryson Darlingtons 2 RBI double, and Breckin Sporseen adding another RBI double to take the lead for good, with the Goats coming away with a hard earned 4 to 3 victory.  Sam Austin came in to pitch in the top of the third inning to  shut down the Bulldogs with 5 innings of one hit, no run, pitching to earn his first win of the season.

 Game two featured a real nail biter, with the Goats scoring first. Then had an ensuing see saw battle that included a 45 minute delay for an injured Okanogan player, two ejections for a collision at home plate ( one for each team ) , a long home run by Breckin Sporseen to left, and,  a hard hit RBI double down the left field line by freshman Drake Bird to tie the score in the bottom of the 7th to force extra innings.  From there, the Goats surrendered 4 runs in the 8th, and weren’t able to recover, giving the Bulldogs the 7-3 victory.

 Next up, more CTL action, as the Goats travel to Cashmere Saturday at 11 for another double header


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It was a nice spring day to open the Lady Goats fast pitch softball season as the Lady Goats hosted the hot Lynden Christian and Kittitas teams in non-league action. While the Lady Goats fell short in these two games, it was an opportunity for the new coach to see what she had and where she has to work to become competitive.

Both Lynden Christian and Kittitas pounded the ball giving Chelan plenty work defensively.

Chelan Goats Varsity Can’t Catch Up To Linden Christian

 Chelan Goats Varsity watched the game slip away early and couldn’t recover in a 23-6 loss to Linden Christian on Saturday. Linden Christian scored on a triple by T Bajema and a groundout by M Vanderveen in the first inning.

Chelan Goats Varsity collected five hits and Linden Christian had 22 in the high-scoring affair.

In the first inning, Linden Christian got their offense started. Linden Christian scored two runs when Bajema tripled.

Chelan Goats Varsity put up three runs in the fourth inning. Chelan Goats Varsity‘s big bats in the inning were led by a home run by Ashley Sams, a groundout by Azzia MacDonald, and a double by Ashley Oswald.

Linden Christian scored nine runs in the third inning. BajemaRe DykstraB HornstraAb JansmaK Lautabach, and K Leven each had RBIs in the frame.

Ri Dykstra got the start for Linden Christian. She lasted five innings, allowing five hits and six runs while striking out five.

Taylor Sams was on the mound for Chelan Goats Varsity. She allowed nine hits and ten runs over two innings. Leanna Garfoot threw three innings in relief out of the bullpen.

Chelan Goats Varsity collected five hits. Sierra Shively and Oswald all collected multiple hits for Chelan Goats VarsityOswald and Shively all had two hits to lead Chelan Goats Varsity.

Linden Christian tallied 22 hits. BajemaVanderveenHornstraM Vander GriendB BosmanLautabach, and Leven each had multiple hits for Linden Christian.
Bats Blistered As Chelan Goats Varsity Falls To Kittitas 24-8 in a high scoring game

 Bats were blistered on Saturday, but Chelan Goats Varsity couldn’t quite get the job done against Kittitas and lost 24-8.

The Chelan Goats Varsity struggled to put runs on the board and had a tough time defensively containing Kittitas, giving up 24 runs.

Chelan Goats Varsity took an early lead in the first inning. Chelan Goats Varsity scored
one run when Taylor Sams doubled.

Kittitas took the lead for good with eight runs in the third inning. In the third, a batter grounded out, scoring two runs, while another homered on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring two runs, one also singled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run, and a final player from Kittitas homered on a 1-0 count, scoring three runs.

Kittitas scored 11 runs in the seventh inning. 

Leanna Garfoot was on the mound for Chelan Goats Varsity. She lasted two and two-thirds innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs while walking one. Sams threw three and a third innings in relief out of the bullpen.  Azzia Macdonald also pitched part of an inning for the Goats.

Kittitas hit two home runs. 

Chelan Goats Varsity totaled 12 hits. Sierra Shively, Taylor Sams, and Jade Hatherell each collected multiple hits for Chelan Goats VarsitySams and Shively each collected three hits to lead Chelan Goats VarsityShively led Chelan Goats Varsity with four stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with 12 stolen bases.

Kittitas racked up 17 hits in the game.



In non-league action on Saturday, March 17, the Chelan Boys continued to dominate play on the tennis court, shutting out Ephrata 5-0.

The girls won their game, but lost two matches in the singles rounds.

Following is the coaches report. The tennis team will host Quincy on Thursday, March 22 at Lake Chelan Shores.

Ephrata at Chelan (non-league)

Girls: Chelan 3, Ephrata 2
#1 Singles:  Emma McLaren (C) def Kenzie O’Donnell 6-2, 6-2
#2 Singles:  Kayla Mullings (E) def Bella Gatzemeier 6-2, 6-4
#3 Singles:  Roslyn Martin (E) def Katelyn Deal 6-2, 6-1
#1 Doubles:  Sierra Rothlisberger/Madeline Peebles (C) def Taylor Perez/Hannah Goodspeed 6-1, 6-2
#2 Doubles:  Sydney Hawkins/Abby Martin (C) def Elena Duffner/Chloe Davis 6-4, 6-4

The final match on the court was the #2 dubs match to break the 2-2 tie.  Hawkins and Martin won the first set 6-4, but were down 0-4 in set #2 before winning 6 straight to clinch the win.  The Chelan girls move to 2-0.

Boys:  Chelan 5, Ephrata 0
#1 Singles:  Micah Larson (C) def Griffin Allen 6-2, 6-0
#2 Singles:  Wyatt Habich (C) def Ryan Pugh 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
#3 Singles:  Tobin Wier (C) def Kaden Johnson 6-0, 6-0
#1 Doubles:  Alex Gavin/Tyler Higgins (C) def Joseph Qualls/Xavier Hughes 6-0, 6-0
#2 Doubles:  Eli Phelps/Steven Williams (C) def Colton Murray/Andres Ramirez 6-1, 6-1

The Chelan boys move to 3-0 on the year.

Chelan JV wins:  Isabella Evans/Madison Latter 8-6, Audrey Gilleland 6-4, Aiden Petersen/Scott Abel won twice 8-3 and 8-2