Hospital Board approves an affiliation agreement with U. of W. residency program

Press release by Celeste Thomas

Chelan, WA – Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) will become the state’s sixth host hospital and training site for a Family Medicine Residency Rural Program, the hospital Board voted at a special meeting Thursday, June 7. Beginning in August 2020, physician residents from the University of Washington’s residency program will practice at LCCH in partnership with Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH). There will be two physicians in Chelan the first year, followed by another two in 2021, for a total of four in the valley.

The residency doctors will spend two years in Chelan and practice primarily at CVCH, spending about a third of their time at LCCH. Each resident will have a panel of patients at CVCH and work in the hospital’s emergency room, medical / surgical unit and Sanctuary addiction recovery unit. They will also deliver babies and spend a small portion of time at Confluence Health in Wenatchee finishing neurology, nephrology, cardiology and dermatology rotations.

“This program is a natural outgrowth of our two agencies’ deep commitment to Chelan and to people who choose not to live in big cities,” said Dr. Malcolm Butler, CVCH Chief Medical Officer. “It is a testimony to cooperation between CVCH and LCCHC that our medical community can win such a coveted training program.”

“What an opportunity for Lake Chelan Hospital,” said Steve Patonai, LCCHC interim CEO. “The community will benefit from this affiliation in many ways. Physician residents will bring new ideas, and it will raise the bar for all caregivers in the hospital, as well as improve patient access. It will also be a valuable recruiting tool.”

DSC08403 - Steve PatonaiInterim CEO Steve Patonai says the community will benefit from this program.

Seventy percent of residents stay within 30 miles of where they trained, explained Dr. Keri Bergeson, who will serve as the program’s rural site director. Bergeson, a family physician at CVCH, developed and championed Chelan’s affiliation with UW’s residency rural program. She has practiced in the valley for four years and worked tirelessly on the residency project since 2015

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Dr. Kari Bergeson was the main proponent for pushing Chelan’s affiliation with the University of Washington’s rural shared residency program.

“Our biggest goal is to increase the number of physicians we have working the valley,” said Bergeson.  “We are facing a critical shortage of family care providers and hope this become a solution to that problem.”

Chelan’s program will provide residents, new doctors who have graduated from medical school, with the necessary clinical skills and community engagement training to make a difference in the health of their local community, said Bergeson. When they finish their residency, two more will join the program, keeping a continual flow of new physicians in the valley. Other Family Medicine Residency Rural Programs in Washington state include Cle Elum, Chehalis, Colville, Ellensburg and Port Angeles.

“We are thrilled with the hospital Board’s decision to partner with us,” said Bergeson, who explained that a residency program in Chelan is a great fit because of the many diverse services offered here. While developing the program, CVCH engaged three nationally recognized consultants, all of whom agreed Chelan is the perfect spot for such a program.

“Practicing in a town like Chelan is night and day different than practicing in Seattle or Spokane, and the best way to train doctors for this lifestyle and practice style is to train them right here,” said Butler. “Dr. Bergeson is wonderful. She brought a university to town!”

DSC08431 - Mary Signorelli

Hospital Board Chair Mary Signorelli is excited about the prospects of working with the University of Washington’s rural residency program along with the hospital’s joint partner, Chelan Valley Community Health.

Mary Signorelli, LCCHC Board Chair expressed enthusiasm about the project. “With our Board moving forward with the UW and CVCH on this agreement, a brand-new day is dawning. All of us in the Chelan valley will, for many years, see an added dynamic to the future of medicine right here at home. This is truly an historic time for us.”

In other business, the LCCHC Board also voted to approve the CEO executive position overview presented by B.E. Smith.

City Council accepts Bridge bid

by Richard Uhlhorn


The Woodin Avenue Bridge Project will go forward despite only one contractor bidding on the work and coming in 41 percent higher than the Engineers Estimage. City Council after much discussion agreed to accept the contract.

The City of Chelan City Council accepted a contractor’s bid of $3,159,528 for the Woodin Avenue Bridge reconstruction project. The bid was 41 percent above the engineers estimate of $2,242,409 or $917,119 more.

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City Administrator Mike Jackson remarked that the Council’s concern was whether or not they could get more bidders to bid on the project in the Fall and whether or not the bids would be lower or higher.

“We had a good discussion,” said City Administrator Mike Jackson. “It was a tough decision. It doesn’t appear that there was a guarantee we would get more bidders or a lower price.”

The City had only one bidder and after the discussion of the three options the council voted with four yay’s and one nay. Councilman Ray Dobbs stated during a telephone conversation that he felt the Council was caught up in a ‘Perfect Storm.’


Councilman Ray Dobbs was the only NO vote on acceptance. 

Dobb’s said that he felt the contractor thought, “Ok, I’ll bid the job, but you are going to have to pay for it.” Dobbs felt that waiting until September and going out for a rebid was the best choice, but admitted that he was a complete amateur when it came to construction. “I felt we could keep the funding and catch a better market.”

However, Dobb’s stated that now that bid was accepted, he is Ok with it.

Chelan’s Finance Director, Cheryl Grant, is working the numbers to find ways to cover the additional $900,000. She said during a telephone conversation that she had several options. One of those options would be to extend the bond from an eight year to a 12 year bond for the additional money. “We would still be fine,” said Grant. The other option would be to use unobligated cash within the City coffers.

Now that the bid has been accepted, Public Works Director Jake Youngren said he is waiting for final approved from the funding agencies. “Once we receive funding, we will sign the contracts and send them to the contractor. He has two weeks to return them. Then we will give a date to proceed.”


Public Works Director Jake Youngren says the contractor could receive a Notice to Proceed in early July.

Youngren thinks the work could begin after the Fourth of July. He stated that pedestrian access will be retained throughout the project but that there will be some closures, including 6 weeks (separate, not together) that would run from Monday at 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. Fridays, leaving the weekends open for traffic. There are also 12 days set aside for full day closures.

In the end, the bridge will become a one-way 10 foot wide traffic bridge into town with and eight foot walking path on the lake side, a five foot walking lane on the river side and a five foot bike lane on the lake side. The car lane coming into town will be shared with incoming bicycles.

Funding discussions will he heard at the Tuesday, June 12 Council meeting.


The Washington State Department of Transportation shared their plans for the Lakeside Trail which will include a new shared use highway from Lakeside Park to the new Bridge. The trail component according to Jake Youngren will be separated from the highway in a similar way it is separated from the new roundabout to Lakeside RV Park. “The timing is nice,” said Youngren. “They are definitely open to our input.”

This highway project also includes new paving all the way from Lakeside to Wal-Mart. “It is slated to go in the spring of 2020,” said Youngren. In addition to the separated trail, there will be two rapid flashing beacon lights at side walk crossing at the High School and Morgan Owens Elementary much like the ones at Emerson and Johnson Avenue. “These won’t be automatic, but push button crossing lights,” stated Youngren.

The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) was at the workshop to discuss their position on lead/arsenic contamination. The DOE gave a detailed slide presentation on the problem of lead/arsenic in ground soils.

The option for local governments facing development pressure on orchard lands is for the local government to use its SEPA process and local ordinances or restrictions. Planning director Craig Gildroy was not available for comment regarding the several projects within the City of Chelan that are slated to build on old orchard land.

The DOE recommends soil testing and if there is contamination, the DOE states that cleanup can be a reasonable cost if incorporated into the construction plan for new developments, but at a minimum it requires a source of clean topsoil for permeable areas.

They also recommend deed restriction to make sure future ownere are aware of contamination and will work with developers and home owners to find the most efficient and effective remedy to the contamination.

Ecology’s approach to residential properties is education of the potential risk and hazards. Best management practices are encouraged which includes keeping the contaminated soil covered with healthy turf; keeping both hands and feet clean; and using appropriate gardening practices. They also encourage families to have their children’s blood lead levels tested.

With significant areas in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Yakima counties impacted with former orchard lands, developers need to be aware of the risks to human health. Liability lies with the owner of the land or the operator of the land.

Ecology began sampling school grounds in 2002 and out of the 100 schools in four counties tested, 35 had lead/arsenic levels requiring cleanup. This has been accomplished at over 30 school using state funding sources.

Residents concerned about developments being implemented on old orchard land need to contact the DOE for sampling help.

Water Safety Issues for 2018 were also discussed at the meeting.

This issue will be covered in a separate article after allthingslakechelan can talk to those in charge of changing the rules on the lower basin where most of the boat traffic; motorized and non-motorized is taking place.

Recreation activities loomed large in the Valley this past weekend

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Thanks for Bob Knauss’ volunteer work at Echo Ridge, the 250 plus riders in the NW Epic 30/60 Mountain Bike Race had some sweet new trails to race on.

by Richard Uhlhorn

There were two major events taking place in the Lake Chelan Valley this past weekend.

The annual 30/60 Mountain Bike race morphed into the 14/30/60 mountain bike race and attracted 250+ mountain bikers and their families to the community. Many of them stayed in town at local resorts and others camped at Echo Valley.


The Lake Chelan Ski Club had a full house on Friday night. Campers from around the Pacific Northwest camp for a nominal fee every year at Echo Valley bringing in money for the ski club. 

“By 9 p.m. on Friday we had 54 campers,” said John Page. “It was raining hard by midnight and we just handed out cards and let those coming in find a place to pitch their tents.” The EchoValley parking lot was full of cars, trucks, campers and tents on Saturday morning as the sun came out.


One hundred and eighty eight riders race the 30 mile course at Echo Valley this past weekend. 

Racing began at 8:45 with a large group of 60 mile riders. These races start at Echo Valley, climb to the first trail head on the Echo Ridge road to help spread the riders out. From there, the riders climb to the top and race the course lined out by the Washington Multi-Sport team.


Fifty two team competed in the second weekend of the Lake Chelan Beach Bash 2 at Don Morse Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 & 10. 

Down at Don Morse Park, 52 teams gathered from around the region to play in the Lake Chelan Beach Bash 2 sand volleyball tournament hosted by the Kahiau Volleyball Club.

“We have 104 players,” said Dez Phelps, Tournament Director. This included three tournaments with the little kids playing on Saturday morning into early afternoon and the adults taking over the courts at 4 p.m. for some crazy, fun volleyball.


Brynn Hughbanks (right) and Olivia Strandberg were the champions in the U14 competition on Saturday morning. Brynn is 10 and Olivia 13.

On Sunday, the competition continued with the U16 and U18 girls and boys playing the courts.


Zach Phelps proved that he can play volleyball along with a bunch of other boys and men this past weekend.

Cascade weed 2

Here are the results of the tournament:
U12 – Sienna Addink/Addie Mills Champions           Brookelyn Foyle/Kailani Cruz 2nd
U14 – Brynn Hughbanks/Olivia Strandberg Champions   Lindsey Addink/Marrisa Andrews  2nd
U16s – Emma McLaren/Klaire Perry Champions   Elly Collins/Olivia Strandberg 2nd
Boys – Johan Cruz/Ethan Strandberg Champions  Pablo Mendez/ Ben Cullison 2nd
Adults – Olivia Plew/Joseph antonowicz  Champions       Nicole Bantilan/Todd Harr  2nd

There will be more volleyball tournaments in July said Dez. (Results will be posted as soon as they come in).

A few images from the Volleyball Tournament
Photo Gallery

Back at Echo Ridge, mountain bikers were enjoying the trails. “I love it,” said one rider. “The trails are fast, swoopy and smooth.” Everyone was smiling despite the climbing. The weather was cool and perfect for riding.


Eli Willard made the podium on Saturday after coming in third on the 14 mile loop. Eli is a member of the Wenatchee Composite Mountain Biking School Team.

Evan Plews, owner of Ridge Cyclesport in Wenatchee, was the overall winner of the day with a time of 1:56:19 over 188 riders on the 30 mile course. Gina Estep was over all of the 15 racers in her category with a time of 2:30:38.8.

Mountain Bike Racing is fun. These riders are still smiling with only eight miles to go on the 30/60 course. 

All of the results can be seen at RESULTS


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DSC06994-Powerhouse park

Chelan Powerhouse Park may close for a portion of the summer from July 30 through October if a Corps of Engineers permit for shoreline restoration is obtained by July 15. 

One of the most popular swimming holes in the Lake Chelan Valley will be closed this summer from July 30 through to October 26 for shoreline erosion repairs by Chelan County PUD.

Chelan Falls Powerhouse Park will be closed to restore and improve riverbank stability. The restoration work also required inwater work that can only be done when fish are not using the river channel for spawning purposes. The late July to October window allows this work to be done without disruption of migrating salmon or salmon smolt.

The closure is being done as a safety measure for the public. Park users are encouraged to visit and use other nearby PUD Parks during the closure. They include Chelan Falls Park and boat launch; Beebe Bridge Park and boat launch; and Chelan Riverwalk Park and boat launch.

The PUD says the work is  necessary to preserve the park shoreline and for future generations.

The work depends on receiving a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If this permit is not approved by July 15, the park will remain open and the work will be rescheduled for the following year (2019). If a permit is not forthcoming the PUD will notify the public.

Jerry Jr. Spring Football game a success

by Richard Uhlhorn

It was a very nice evening to honor Jerry Jr. with a Spring Football Scrimmage with the Entiat Tigers and to announce the winner of the 2018 $1,000 Jerry Jr. Scholarship.


A nice crowd of families and football fans joined the Chelan and Entiat Football teams at Sargent Field for the annual Jerry Jr. Spring Football Game

Entiat is a ‘B’ School that plays eight man football, but they chose to join the Chelan Goats for an evening of scrimmages, playing in 8-Man formation on offense against a Chelan 8-Man defense and then switching to an 11-Man defense against Chelan’s 12-Man offense. It made for some interesting football.


Chelan quarterback Quinn Stamps made a number of
successful passes during the gam

Both teams looked good on the field with Chelan also taking on its own players in several scrimmages. Everyone got to play. Quinn Stamps was at the quarterback position for Chelan and his receiver Kyle Jackson was collecting passes along the sideline. There was no score kept, but all in all, both teams looked good. Coach Travis Domser said that spring training was over, but the team would have 11 more days of training this coming summer and then a team camp in Wenatchee in July.


Chelan running back Johnny Ayala ran the ball well during the game.

“It was a good night,” said Domser. “We got 80 plays in and no one got hurt. I saw some good things and some bad things… stuff we can correct later.”

At half time Coach Domser and Coach Erik Romero greeted the Isenhart family at mid field to give out the scholarship to the Isenhart’s selection of Scott Abel, son of Kevin and Chris Abel.


Senior Scott Abel was the recipient of this year’s $1,000 Jerry Jr. Scholarship.

Scott, a graduating senior, played football all four years and credits the experience of bringing him out of his shyness. In his essay, he stated that football taught me that in order to succeed, we all need to work together and rely on each other.


Scott Abel graciously accepted congratulations from the Isenhart family and Coach Erik Romero on his selection for this year’s scholarship.

Scott has spent time working on community events and service projects, one of which was repairing and replacing the media box at Sargent Field as a part of his Eagle Scout project.

Scott plans on attending medical school so he can take his knowledge into the world to help those in need. “It is a dream of mineto beable to participat in a program such as Doctors Without Borders.”


The Isenhart family posed for a photo with this year’s winner of the Jerry Jr. $1,000 scholarship. From the left are Willy Isenhart, Cecilia Isenhart, Scott Abel, Jerry Sr., Alberto Mendivil, Rosa Acosta and Coach Erik Romero.

Jerry Sr. said that he had four applications, but that it was obvious that Scott had spent a lot of time preparing his. “It was a tough call, but clearly Scott was the right choice.” He also had competition from another senior.

Jerry Jr., 2011 graduate of Chelan High School passed on of a rare brain cancer one year after graduation. He was a leader on the football team and in the high school, and was known as the Gentle Giant. He was always willing to help someone.

$1100 was collected for the scholarship fund. “That was really good,” said Domser. “A good night overall.”

Advertisers and sponsors are crucial to keeping sites like allthingslakechelan sustainable. If you see these advertisers or have the chance to use their services, tell them how much you appreciate their support. Richard Uhlhorn


The Lake Chelan Valley was a busy place this past weekend

by Richard Uhlhorn

All of the Photos from the Car Show are on

This past weekend was a mish mash of events and activities and despite the fact that it isn’t summer yet, it certainly felt like summer.


A beautiful 34 Chevy Coupe was just one of over 100 meticulously prepared cars entered into the Cruizin Chelan Car Show.

The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce held the 12th annual Cruizin Chelan Car Show on Woodin Avenue with 100+ cars showing up. The results of the show were unavailable at press time. They will be added to this article when All Things Lake Chelan can get them.


A motor head in the making

In addition to the Car Show, the PNWBA Pro BBQ Classic was taking place in Riverwalk with samples of BBQ meat for $2. We are waiting on the results of that event also.

In the evening, the Chamber held a fireworks show which seems to be a normal thing anymore. Used to be only during the 4th of July and Winterfest that fireworks were offered to the community.

There were a lot of people in town enjoying the Car Show. I ran across a visitor from Vernon, B.C. who said he and his wife, along with some other companions road into town on their motorcycles. “We didn’t know this was going on until we arrived,” he said. “The girls are out looking for a shoe store while we look at the machinery.”

Leo Miller and crew were situated at the corner of Woodin and Emerson in front of the Museum. One of his gorgeous old Dodge’s was advertising his Miller’s Lake Chelan Car Museum, which is slated to open on Saturday, June 23. All Things Lake Chelan will be giving a preview of the museum on the week of June 11, with an in-depth interview with Leo.

There were a number of newer cars on display at this year’s show, but I chose to concentrate on the vehicles I haven’t seen before, and there were some beauties.


This beautifully restored 1927 Harley Davidson J was on display
at Cruizin Chelan this year. 

Harold Schell was situated behind his gorgeous Indian Motorcycle, but the real eye catcher was the 1927 Harley Davidson J with sidecar attached. Harold was decked out in his 20’s clothes to go with his motorcycle. All in all there were around 10 motorcycles on display.

Other events were also playing out on Saturday.

The annual fly-in had planes flying around the valley all day and Miss Veedol was back at the airport for visitors to get a good look.


Miss Veedol and other planes were on hand at the annual Lake Chelan Fly-in out at the Lake Chelan Airport.

Out at Don Morse Park, the Lake Chelan Beach Bash 1 put on by the Kahiau Volleyball Club kicked off the sand volleyball season with U12s and U14s playing on Saturday and the U16s and U18s along with the first sand volleyball boys team playing on Sunday.

A great volleyball tournament will continue next week at Don Morse Park.

The Lake Chelan Beach Bash 2 will take place at Don Morse on June 9. If you like beach or sand volleyball, this is the place to be. These kids are fun to watch and there is plenty room to kick back and enjoy.


Up on top of Chelan Butte, paraglide and hang glider pilots were checking out the World famous Chelan air with sled runs to Chelan Falls Park. In July, world class paragliders will descend on Chelan for a Pre-World meet. All Things Lake Chelan will keep you posted on that event.


On top of Chelan Butte, hang gliders and paragliders were flying Chelan air.
File Photo by Richard Uhlhorn

Echo Ridge was busy with hikers and mountain bikers enjoying the many miles of trail and the incredible bloom of lupine on the north side of the system. The local riders are in awe at the new trail built by Bob Knauss that leaves out of Grand Junction and takes the rider all the way down to Alley Oop before looping back to the parking lot.

Over the past several years, Paul Willard, USFS, Bob Knauss and assorted volunteers from the Central Washington Mountain Bike Alliance have added 5+ miles of new single track trail which is making Echo Ridge a very popular, family oriented mountain bike venue.


Eli Willard leads his mother Catherine down Dust to Glory in last year’s 30/60 mountain bike race at Echo Valley/Echo Ridge. Eli now races on the Wenatchee Vallely Composite Mountain Bike Team. 

Next Saturday, June 9, the annual NW Epic 30/60 Mountain Bike event will be taking place at Echo Ridge. Over the years, this event has proven to be one of the most popular races on Washington Multisports calendar attracting around 400 riders each year.

Summer might be just around the corner, but events and activities are heating up the Valley.

Hospital board swears in LaPorte and discusses CEO search process

by Richard Uhlhorn


Hospital Board Chairman Mary Signorelli swore in Jordana LaPorte to fill the vacant spot on the hospital commission at its Special Meeting on May 31.

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital held a special meeting on Thursday, May 31, to swear in Jordana LaPorte as its new commissioner and to appoint, authorize and direct the Chief Executive Officer to sign any documents required by the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development to complete the processing of the District’s loan application.

In consideration of passing Resolution No. 589, the board acknowledged that Interim CEO Steve Patonai might not be the hospital’s CEO during the entire loan application process, which is why the resolution gives authority to any individual that holds the title of CEO.

Patonai told the board that he expected the loan approval over the next month. “It will come back to the board for final approval,” said Patonai. The board unanimously approved Resolution No. 589.

The Board is currently in the process of finding a new CEO to replace Kevin Abel who took a job in Montana. In the interim, Steve Patonai is acting CEO and helping the hospital through the process. In addition, the Board has hired B.E. Smith, a health care executive search firm, to help locate the right person to be the hospital’s new CEO.


Chris Corwin, Vice President of B.E. Smith Company, a Health Care Executive Search Firm, answers questions from the hospital board on the process of finding a new CEO to replace Kevin Abel who took a job in Montana.

Chris Corwin, Vice President of the firm, was on hand to discuss the process with the Board. She said her company was very committed and passionate to finding someone who will fit in the community. “We will go out in the market representing you,” she said.

B.E. Smith will be screening applicants based on criteria developed by the hospital board. Corwin said the timeline for finding suitable applicants will be three to four weeks. “The board will determine who they are most excited about,” she said.

The first screening interviews will be conducted by video for its practicality. Those who are short listed will be brought on site. The initial screening process will be accomplished in executive session and it won’t be until the finalists are selected that a public session will be held.

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Hospital commissioner Mary Murphy had several questions for Chris Corwin of B.E. Smith Company regarding the criteria for finding a new CEO.

Board member Mary Murphy asked if B.E. Smith’s criteria will be different than what the board is using. Corwin replied that it wouldn’t be different. Over the next week, the board will develop its criteria. Murphy asked if Corwin would be available for consultation which Corwin replied in the affirmative.

Dr. Witt asked about the market, pay and benefits. Chairman Mary Signorelli answered that a CEO could be paid higher or lower depending on experience. There is also a State bench mark in the industry.

Corwin added that the job would be made attractive and that they would have that conversation with applicants up front. “We want to screen all of those people,” she said.

Signorelli said that once the board is down to two candidates, they will also be interviewed by the staff and have a meet and greet with the public invited. Signorelli commented that when Mike Jackson was hired at the City, there was a social get together at the Vogue. “They had postcards so people could write down who they liked the best,” she said.


Chairman Mary Signorelli signs paperwork at the Special Board meeting held on Thursday, May 31. 

Signorelli told Corwin that it was good to have her on board. “We are looking forward to working with you,” she added. “We are not in a rush mode. We are taking our time to find the best person possible.” Corwin replied that she was looking forward to the process as well.

The board unanimously approved an amendment to Patonai’s Employment Agreement for the next three months without having to come back to the board each month.

The next board meeting will be held on June 7 at 1:30 p.m. in the hospital board room. The public is invited to attend.

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