Emergency Medical Services hold annual Awards Banquet to honor personnel and organizations

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital Emergency Medical Services held its annual EMS Awards Banquet at the Senior Center on Friday evening, February 28.

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EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer

EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer thanked everyone for coming and said the banquet was dedicated to Alan Anderson who served the community for many years as an EMT before he passed.

After showing a video reviewing the Service’s 2019, Paramedic Kurt Middleton told the assembled crowd, “Our EMS crews are awesome. They provide the best care they can.” He lauded the leadership and said the Eickmeyer is a tremendous leader of the team.

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Paramedic Kurt Middleton

In 2019, the EMS personnel underwent 136 hours of individual training, paid 236 visits to patients, responded to 1679 emergencies and attended and helped with 173 community events.

The current Service was begun in 1972 by Greta Griffiths along with other local residents and was called the Lake Chelan Valley Ambulance Service. “Today, we are in our 48th year,” said Ray Eickmeyer. “2019 was a good year and our ambulances traveled 53,000 miles.”

“We know we are providing the best care to our patients,” continued Eickmeyer. “We continue to lead the nation in critical care and only two counties in the State equal our service.”

A video interview with Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Cline was shown. Jerry suffered a cardiac arrest in 2019 and EMS crews and Fire District 7 personnel were on the scene in seven minutes. “Without our team, we would not of brought him (Jerry) back,” said Eickmeyer.

The following individuals were recognized at banquet.

First year pins were given to Paramedics TJ Bishop, Brian Dice, Jonah Dobbs and Natalie Renick. EMTs receiving first year pins included Jonathon Mendoza, Samantha Rains and Liliia Veremchuk. Greg Moser and Mark Schramm also received first year pins as paratransit drivers.

Paramedic Johnny Rebel received a five year pin, Paramedic Kurt Middleton received a 10 year pin and Paramedic Jim Gilden received a 25 year pin.

Paramedics Craig Vivian, Mistaya Johnston and Brandon Fogelson along with EMTs John Steiner and Linda Nunez all received Save Pins for cardiac arrest saves throughout 2019.

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LCCH CEO George Rohrich

LCCH’s new CEO George Rohrich presented the 2019 Administrator’s Award for “Dedication and Service” to EMT Jared Eygabroad who was unable to attend the banquet. “These EMT’s are the best in the State,” said Rohrich. Eygabroad has taken on the job of the EMS Social Media.

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Fire Chief Arnold Baker (left) and Dr. Ty Witt (right) received the 2019 Edward J. Armbruster Award for their respective organizations.

The 2019 Edward J. Armbruster Award was handed out by Kurt Middleton to both the Manson Fire Department and Chelan Rotary. Fire Chief Arnold Baker accepted the award for District 5 and Ty Witt accepted for the Rotary.

The Chelan Rotary has been installing wheelchair ramps for EMS patients that need them. Witt said, “We are humbled and honored to be able to help.”

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Eickmeyer presented the “Director’s Award” to Paramedic Brandon Fogelson. “There are many in this room that deserve this award,” said Eickmeyer. “Brandon has gone beyond the call of duty this year.”

The 2019 Personnel of the Year given to “Outstanding Individuals Chosen by their Peers” went to EMT Cendie Dietrich, Rachel McCall, Richard Vincent, Mistaya Johnston and Lindsey Stone “These individuals all work well under pressure.”

After the awards were handed out, Eickmeyer stated that the EMS team does hard things. “We are helping others with health issues. We are in the one percent of the nation. When a person is in need, we need to own it. We save lives,” said Eickmeyer. He went on to say that the team’s work in non-emergency needs is just as important to the community. “We will do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.”

DSC08764He thanked the community for its support. “Without the community, we would not be here.”

Hospital board delays new hospital construction for six months

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by Richard Uhlhorn

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The hospital had to open its board room up to accommodate the estimated crowd of concerned residents that attended Tuesday’s meeting.

As expected the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to delay the new hospital construction project for six months while the hospital struggles to build its volume and revenue to a sustainable level so it could reliably pay the mortgage of approximately $100,000 per month.

CEO  George Rohrich stated to the well attended meeting (approximately 40 residents) that the hospital has the funds to build the new hospital, but not the funds to pay the debt service. “I want to reassure the commission that all of the funds from the levies and bond are in the County treasury and every penny is accounted for.”

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CEO George Rohrich

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CFO Mike Ellis

Rohrich and Chief Financial Officer Mike Ellis contacted the USDA to find out if a pause in the project is even possible and reported that it is. “The period that our financing is guaranteed for is five years from the issuance,” said Rohrich. “It was issued on September 2018 so we have five years from then before we have to ask for an extension.”

They also went to the hospital’s contracted design and delivery team and asked them to project the expenses if they delayed with no changes or minor changes. The cost of pausing the project for six months to a year would add between $187,000 to $199,000. With minor changes that cost would escalate to $1.18 million to $1.2 million dollars. A one year delay with major changes would cost an additional $2.27 million to $2.27 million dollars. “It was a good research effort by our design and delivery team,” said Rohrich.

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Board Chair Phyllis Gleasman

Board Chair Phyllis Gleasman asked, “So if we do a six to 12 month pause, it’s going to add that cost of $187,000? Rohrich replied that the amount would be added to the $44.5 million.

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Commissioner Jordana LaPorte called for a delay in construction of the new hospital until the hospital was on better financial ground.

Jordana LaPorte asked if the hospital was reduced another 10,000 square feet, it would obviously bring the costs down. Chief Finance Officer Mike Ellis said, “We don’t have the money to change it, so we aren’t even discussing it.”

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Craig Shelby explained to the board how much it might cost if the hospital is delayed.

The contractor’s representative, Craig Shelby remarked that a year’s pause would increase construction costs four percent based on inflation for materials. He also said that requesting subcontract bids would be best accomplished in January because it is winter. “It is hard to speculate,” he stated.

Rohrich remarked that the consultants the hospital is contracting for could help the facility quickly turn the financial corner so it can afford the $100,000 per month for debt payments.

CFO Mike Ellis said, “I have an abundance of prudence. I believe it would be a wise decision to delay, not a full year, but enough time to prepare for a very big project. My advice is that it would be wise to delay up to six months.”

LaPorte stated that the hospital needs to see an actual improvement of the cash flow prior to taking on the debt service. “If our cash flow doesn’t improve, we can’t pay for it. I am not in favor of stopping, but I am in favor of pausing at this time.”

Mary Signorelli said she wasn’t ready to make a decision on delaying the construction. “We are having a discussion, right. It is not a rush” Fred Miller agreed with LaPorte.

Mary Murphy stated that if you can’t write a check and if there is nothing in your savings account it would be foolish to move forward. “I feel compelled with public dollars to be responsible with these dollars. We have no assurances,” she said.

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Commissioner Mary Murphy

Murphy went on the remark that with the changes in the health care industry all rural hospitals were having a hard time. She doesn’t see the hospital recapturing and filling the beds that the hospital had five to six years ago. “What I see is a movement toward outpatient services. If there is a pause, addressing the right size of the facility that is going to take us 10 years into the future is important, so I have concerns.”

Rohrich said that the hospital will be at a higher risk if it doesn’t get help. He reiterated that the money is protected and can only be used to build the new facility. “The patients will receive the same care tomorrow as they received today, and in a year they will receive it in a more beautiful facility.”

The motion to pause construction and design for six months and then re-evaluate where the financial situation is was passed unanimously.

In other business:

At its last meeting in January, EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer told the board that the services levy was expiring at the end of the year and they needed to prepare to run a new levy to continue EMS services in the Valley.

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EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer requested that the board consider a proposal for a new replacement levy in August with an 8 cent per $1,000 increase
to $.39 cents per thousand for a 10 year period.

“We have not changed our staffing, but we have a few things that are concerning,” said Eickmeyer. “We have one ambulance that is 26 years old and we can’t even buy parts for it anymore. It’s not something I’m comfortable with.”

Eickmeyer stated that EMS is fiscally conservative and wants to increase the levy amount by eight cents to 39 cents per thousand of assessed value. “There is no other agency in the State that I can find that is less than 50 cents per thousand. I think I am the least expensive agency in the whole State of Washington,” said Eickmeyer.

With four ambulances that are 26, 20, 14 and 10 years old and will eventually have to be replaced, Eickmeyer said, “Four ambulances is not cheap.” Gleasman asked how much an ambulance costs. Eickmeyer replied, “$200,000.”

“We’ve put a lot of money into serving the community. The current funding we have now pays for the complete service, but we just don’t have money left over to replace capital equipment,” Eickmeyer told the board.Rohrich added that the biggest change to ambulance services is inside the box (ambulance). “It used to be pretty straight forward. It’s all digital now and it doesn’t take long for it to become obsolete. We can’t be cheap about this… we must have a quality service.”

A resolution to put forward a new levy will be brought to the board at its next meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting the Lake Chelan Health and Wellness Foundation presented the board with a check for $67,384 to cover the first year of the Studer Group Leadership Training.

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The Lake Chelan Health and Wellness Foundation presented the Hospital with a $67,384 check to cover the first year of Studer Group’s Leadership Training Program

The Board unanimously passed a new Business Plan for 2020 based on the six pillars that were developed at a strategic retreat in 2018. Rohrich developed a new format for the plan that includes items he hopes will make the hospital better.

The Board discussed the proposal by QHR (Quorum Health Resources) to help improve their financial situation and look at compliance issues. “What we expect is that they will show us the way to achieve the best results,” said Rohrich. “We are already making progress.” He said the key is that the hospital can achieve these things but that it might take longer.

“We would like to achieve profitability tomorrow, but that’s talking silly,” stated Rohrich. “It’s going to take awhile to get this boat turned around.”

Public Comments:

At the beginning of the meeting, Jim Wall asked if there was a plan in place to deal with Corona virus in the community. Eichmeyer replied that the EMS is following the State of Washington Department of Health for updates with what is going on. He also remarked that the department has N95 Masks (antiviral masks) available for every person in the community if necessary.

Dr. Ty Witt commented at the end of the meeting and applauded the board’s decision to pause the hospital construction, but went on to say that he had put his heart and soul into getting the bond passed.

However, Witt had some harsh words to say about the financial state of the hospital and laid blame on past CEO Steve Patonai for not working on quality or patient satisfaction, but trying to be in the top 10 percent in the State of Washington. “We lost five wonderful providers,” said Witt. His concern is that the hospital could lose its supporters and noted that there are a number of naysayers out there. “It looks like we are heading in that direction.”

The next board meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the Hospital’s board room.

Chelan Valley Housing Trust asks City to release $30,000 for affordable housing

by Richard Uhlhorn

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Mike Cooney, executive director of Chelan Valley Housing Trust made a presentation to City Council on February 11 and asked for $30,000 in unrestricted funding to be released to the Trust.

Mike Cooney, executive director of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust, gave a short presentation to the Chelan City Council at the February 11th meeting.

Affordable housing has been identified as Chelan’s largest problem. The idea behind CVHT (Chelan Valley Housing Trust) is to secure property and build homes for residents who are making less than $54,000 a year.

“We are committed to building homes for lower to middle income families,” said Cooney. “We started three to four years age and the Housing Trust was formed.” Cooney said the organization has 12 board members and is currently getting ready to build five town homes behind City Hall on Emerson Street. Emerson Village will have a price point of $200,000.

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Emerson Village will be the first project to be completed by the CVHT with five town homes being constructed this summer at a price point of $200,000.

“We have raised a considerable amount of money,” said Cooney. He was at Council to request the release of $30,000 from the $47,000 that the Lookout has so far contributed for affordable housing. For each home sold at the Lookout, they donate $1,000 specifically for affordable housing needs. “We are asking the Council to release $30,000 of that money to purchase land,” said Cooney. This would leave some of that money for Habitat for Humanity.

“We feel we are on the right track. I’ve been to Olympia several times to discuss these issues.” It is a known fact that many employers and small businesses are struggling to find and retain employees. A lot of the local employees are living outside the Lake Chelan Valley which creates instability and employee turnover.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that he was President of the LCHT and wouldn’t vote on the release of the funds, but added that he felt it was appropriate to ask questions.

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth is also the President of the CVHT

City Finance Administrator Steve Thornton said release of the funds would require City Council approval. Hollingsworth replied that this money is unrestricted funds. City Attorney Quentin Batjer added that the $47,000 collected so far from the Lookout is earmarked for affordable housing only.

Councilman Servando Robledo asked if the Council should have a resolution. Batjer said that a policy could be considered. Councilman Ray Dobbs (on a phone connection) asked if this could be reviewed.

Cooney stated that the City is in the second year of a five year $20,000 donation for construction of affordable and low income housing and added that Chelan County has just matched that donation because the LCHT covers the entire Valley.

Dobbs asked what other outside funding sources have donated. Cooney replied that private donors and other businesses have donated funding for this purpose. “We have $280,000 currently,” said Cooney. Thornton said that the City Funds and other funds are not being co-mingled. Robledo said the City should be consistent and require people to come back to Council and report.

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Councilman Servando Robledo wants organizations to be required to report financial information to the Council on their activities.

Mayor Bob Goedde said that the staff should set up criteria for release of funds. Cooney replied that he would like to come to Council and give quarterly reports. “We are here to get it done,” stated Cooney. “We are not asking for anything unreasonable.”

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Interim City Administrator wants the City to develop policies and criteria for handling affordable housing funds.

City Administrator Wade Ferris stated that to be fair to organizations the City needs to come up with criteria and policies.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked what the definition of affordable housing is? Cooney said he would send the Council that definition by email the next morning. He went on to say that LCHT is not competing or overlapping with Habitat for Humanity.

Dobbs asked that the City reach out to Habitat and Hollingsworth replied that they have already done that. Councilman John Olsen remarked that it should also be noted that Steve Kline sold the property to be build on at a much reduced price to another buyer who then sold it to the Trust for a bargain rate. Hollingsworth said it was gratifying including all of the in-king contributions that are making this project come to life.

The next City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 25, will bring this issue back up with a resolution to release the funds.

Hospital still struggling with patient volume

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By Richard Uhlhorn

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital continue to struggle financially. It has seen a seven percent drop in revenue over the 2018 revenue which has resulted in a net loss of $1,761,852 over 2019.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Ellis reported that the hospital had net operating revenues of $24,762,805 with a Net Operating Loss of $3,848,355 as opposed to 2018 which had a $1,769,745 loss.

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CFO Mike Ellis discusses December’s financials with the board.

Non Operating Revenue of $2,086,503 helped keep the losses below two million dollars.

One of the primary reasons for these losses is the lower patient days logged at the hospital along with the loss of doctors and staff over the year. Visits to the Clinic are also down, but Emergency Department visits are up.

“Volume is the major issue we have,” Ellis told the Commissioners. “Cash is on the low side. We have cash locked up in Accounts Receivable.” Ellis remarked that the hospital did better in December and seems to be making progress in January. “We have $3 million locked up in A/R,” he said. This has created a situation where the hospital is not paying bills immediately.

The Hospital’s new CEO, George Rohrich, was on the agenda to report on the Hospital’s Business Plan (a 2020 Pillars Update), but told the board that he didn’t have a report yet. “My apologies. We will get there.” Rohrich is still getting his feet on the ground.

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CEO George Rohrich requested and received the boards approval to enter into two new contracts with health related consultant companies.

He then asked the board to approve a contract with DNV Healthcare. DNV is an international company that provides quality driven accreditation and clinical excellence certifications for hospitals.

“Medical errors are costing billions of dollars,” said Rohrich. He said that DNV would help the hospital with Medicare payments and other medical issues. “It comes with a cost,” stated Rohrich. The first year will cost the hospital $26,200. “Ultimately, they would help us achieve high quality for our patients.”

The Board unanimously approved this contract.

Rohrich then asked the board to approve a contract with the Studer Group which is a global advisory firm that helps develop strategies and solutions for health care institutions to fulfill their mission while creating sustainable growth.

Rohrich said the company would increase accountability with the staff. “Times are hard in our hospital,” said Rohrich. “I think we have to spend some money,” Rohrich told the board. He believes that a partnership with Studer will accomplish better results for the hospital.

“These are investments,” stated Rohrich. “We expect returns.” The board unanimously accepted his recommendation to hire Studer at a cost of $67,384 per year for three years ($202,152 total). There was no pushback on this contract. Mary Signorelli said,” You mean we have to spend money to make money?”

The Hospital is suffering financially from low patient volumes and high accounts receivables. Over the past year, under CEO Steve Patonai, the hospital had an exodus of approximately 75 staff members and doctors which has led to an exodus of patients to other facilities like Columbia Valley. Rohrich, as the new CEO, has to reverse that situation and bring patients back to the hospital. He is a firm believer that the Studer partnership will help accomplish those goals.

Construction update:

Despite the Hospital’s ills, the construction of the new hospital is moving forward. Project Manager Dick Bratton gave a construction update. He reported that the Design Development has been completed and asked the board to expedite the budget to move forward with the working drawings so construction can begin in the spring.

He reported that during the design development effort, they found another 940 square feet of space by changing several corridors inside the hospital. Rohrich said, “I wish we had more square footage to have all of or entities at the hospital, but that is not possible.”

The hospital and contractors are working very diligently with the Naumes Group and the City of Chelan to secure the necessary permits. They have developed a preliminary traffic plan that the City has reviewed. Bratton said Naumes is reviewing the plan and when approved by them, the traffic plan will be forwarded to the City for final approval.

Commissioner Mary Murphy said that design is critically important for the community. “I know we are going to build a hospital, but I don’t want it to be obsolete when it is finished.”

The Board unanimously approved moving forward with construction drawings to the Construction company can line up sub-contractors before the summer building season makes contracts difficult to obtain.

Construction of the new Hospital which is scheduled to break ground in the Spring will not be impacted by the hospital’s operating finances.

Board Elections:

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Board Chairwoman Phyliss Gleasman swore in board members Fred Miller and Jordana LaPorte to a new two year term at the Tuesday meeting.

Mary Signorelli proposed that all of the officers stay the same to keep continuity. This was unanimously approved.

EMS Report:

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EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer reported that he would be coming to the board with a plan to run a new EMS Levy next year.

EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer reported that he is proud of the investment in EMS services over the past 10 years. “There is no one better than us,” exclaimed Eickmeyer. “We have a lot of collaboration. We don’t do this alone.” He pointed out Manson Fire Chief Arnold Baker and the Manson Fire Department’s help.

Eickmeyer said that out of 29 grant requests, EMS has been successful with 26 of them. The most recent success will allow the EMS to secure a new ambulance.

Eickmeyer told the board that by the next commission meeting he will have a recommendation for the next EMS Levy request which they are thinking about running during April of next year.

Rohrich added that Eickmeyer should bring the cost of the levy to the public and for how long it will run.

During the public comment period on resident said she had heard a number of complaints about Clinic patients having to come to the hospital to have lab work done.

The board will hear a special presentation by QHR on Tuesday, February 11 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. The Board’s next regular meeting is set at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25. The public is encouraged to attend and to bring their concerns or comments. The board allows public comment at the beginning of each meeting and at the end of each meeting.

 

No One Left Behind


by Richard Uhlhorn

 You have your ballots, and now you have a decision to make. It is actually an easy one. The Lake Chelan School District is asking voters within the District to vote “YES” on its two replacement levies on February 11.

What voters are being asked is to continue to help finance the various educational programs in the Lake Chelan School District. What was called an M&O levy in the past is now referred to as an EPO Enhancement Levy or Education Programs and Operations Replacement Levy.

The second request is a Technology Levy that will provide funding for the replacement of aging computers, printers, servers and document cameras along with staff training. This new request will result in an estimated tax rate of 9.3 cents per $1,000.

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The Technology Levy will provide funding for new computers, printers, servers
and document cameras, and Staff Training.

Currently, the Lake Chelan School District is receiving $1.31 per $1,000 of assessed value for Maintenance and Operations and the Technology Levy is approximately 10 cent per $1,000 in 2020 for a combined total of $1.41 per $1,000.

The new requests, if passed by 50 percent of the District’s registered voters is estimated to drop to $1.38 in 2021 and $1.34 per $1,000 in 2022. The EP&O Levy being requested is for two years while the Technology Levy will run through 2024.

“If we don’t pass this levy, it directly impacts our students,” said School Administrator Barry DePaoli.

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Chelan High School Students fulfilled their civic duty by holding a Candidate’s Forum for the Mayor Race this past November.

The primary reason schools seek additional funds through the levy process is that the State of Washington only provides approximately 82 percent of the funds required to operate a school district.

The EP&O Levy funds the following:

  • Student Support:
    Nurses – Resource Officer – Liasions – Counselors
  • Maintenance & Operations:
    Additional Staff – Food Services
  • Academic Programs & Classroom Support
    Early Learning Programs – College in the High School Courses
    Curriculum Materials – STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) – Highly Capable Program – Chelan School of Innovation – Career & Technology Education Course & Programs
  • Enrichment Activities & Programs:
    Athletic Offerings – Afters Program (MOE & CMS) – Club Programs (FFA/FCCLA/FBLA/Chelan Project, etc) – Arts Programs (Music, Art, Drama) – Experiential Field Trips (San Juans/Holden Village)
  • Opportunties:
    High School schedule that creates opportunities for acceleration, exploration and remediation.)

Lake Chelan School District has not failed a levy in the last 20 years.

The school district has a number of successful programs that have been funded in part or in full from the current levy.

The Lake Chelan School  District’s AFTERS Program helps students who are struggling to catch up and provides enrichment opportunities
like photography for other students.

The Afters Program is 28 years old this year. I have been involved since 2005 when I was asked to begin a Photography enrichment program for the middle school and elementary school, along with helping set up a high school photography program. It consists of two separate programs; Target Afters where students who are struggling receive help and Enrichment Afters where students elect to be involved in a variety of activities. This program keeps many students at the school until 4:30 p.m. instead of dumping them at home when the parents are still at work.

School Athletics is a large part of a student’s team building.

Funding for the Athletics Program comes from the levy. Funds are used to pay coaches and for transportation services to and from event and activities.

The Chelan Project is a 110 member strong Associated Student Body leadership program that is recreation and service oriented. 

The Chelan Project is a ASB leadership organization that is focused on promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and environmental awareness. This student organization offers kids a chance to go backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing. It began with a small group, but now has 110 members.

Chelan Middle and High School have a successful music program.

Chelan’s Music Program is well known for its excellence and will be traveling to Disney Land in April to perform. On March 17 and 18 the Middle School and High School will perform its Spring Concert in the Performing Arts Center. This is a levy funded program that produces an excellent evening of music.

This past Fall, 110 seventh grade students traveled up-lake to the remote village of Holden where they attended educational workshops and visited the $500 million dollar Rio Tinto Rehabilitation Project. 

Student trips: With Rio Tinto finishing its rehabilitation project at Holden, Middle School seventh graders had the opportunity to spend four days in this remote village in workshops and tours. It is a program designed to bring the students together in a setting that has no outside influences like cell phones. The students learn to work together and are introduced to a number of environmental activities.

“We need the levy funds to backfill what the State doesn’t provide,” said DePaoli.

DePaoli and the school board are also beginning to plan for the District’s future. After the failure of the major bond issue last year, Depaoli said, “We are looking at a path forward and will be communicating with the community on what their vision is. We have some challenges.”

Phase I will brainstorm community values regarding the district, students, schools, educators and program offerings.

Phase II will identify issues and opportunities for the district including programs, technology advancements, cultural shifts, needed facility improvements, and funding shortages.

Phase III will develop short and long term plans.

“We need to know where we will be at the end of the decade,” said DePaoli. “We need to look at capital projects. We will be spending way more time with the process with the community.”

New Horizons Updated Logo

by Richard Uhlhorn

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The Blue Line is the proposed easement access to the Spader Bay Property.

Spader Bay was back on the City Council agenda on Tuesday evening, January 28, with two alternatives in front of City Council. With the 90 day due diligence period coming to an end on February 4, the Council was asked by the Seller to extend the period of the Bargain and Sale Agreement for another 90 days to allow the seller an opportunity to continue negotiations with Larry Lehmbecker on access to the property.

The other alternative was to terminate the Bargain and Sale Agreement for failure to secure an appropriate easement to the property.

City Attorney Quentin Batjer told the Council that the City had been unsuccessful in an effort to attain easement access. He turned the discussion over to Guy Evans, the seller’s real estate representative.

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City Attorney Quentin Batjer has been working on the legal aspects
of the proposed Spader Bay Property purchase.

Evans said, “We need more time for clarification. I have been working with Larry Lehmbecker.” Lehmbecker is not adamant against granting an easement, but Evans said that he is not in a position to say Yes or No at this time. Lehmbecker would like the City or Seller to hire a landscape architect to help with the issue.

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Guy Evans, the seller’s representative explained the reasons why he needed another 90 days to help secure an easement to the Spader Bay Property.

The current proposed easement in on a private road that cuts between Vin du Lac’s property and the Martin’s and O’Neal’s property. Both Martin and O’Neal have signed off on the proposed easement. According to Evans, Lehmbecker will grant an easement on the road upon review of easement language.

Erin McCardle asked if there was any parking involved in the easement. Evans replied that the concept was for walk-in or ride in only. Ray Dobbs asked about emergency access, which would or could be provide along the easement road.

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Ty Witt is a proponent of purchasing the Spader Bay Property.

Ty Witt, who is a proponent for the purchase said, “It seems we are making progress,” and suggested that if the Council felt that what has been proposed is adequate, to go ahead and purchase the property. Dobbs replied, “I would not be interested in approving tonight without the easements in place.”

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Tim Hollingsworth is a proponent of purchasing the Spader Bay property.

Tim Hollingsworth, also a proponent to purchase the property said he would like to see the extension granted for the Seller to continue to work on access. “Overtime we can improve that to make it better,” said Hollingsworth.

The other issue would be to improve the functionality at the top end of the easement. Interim Administrator Wade Ferris stated that he had already talked to Public Works Director Jake Youngren about this issue. Youngren said a local contractor looked at the potential project and said it would take four to five days and an estimated $20,000.

Guy Evans suggested that an open house in the Spring would give the community a better idea of what is there (on the property). He also said that if the extension isn’t approved the property would go back on the market.

Witt said he saw value in owning the property. He is worried that if the City doesn’t purchase the property, it will be developed. “To stop any development, we need to own it,” stated Witt. “There is a value to own it.”

McCardle pondered whether the City would have a new Public Space or a Preservation Space.

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Mayor Pro Tem Erin McCardle asked whether the property
would be a public space or a preservation space.

Peter Jamtgaard weighed in and stated that access needs to be attained and in writing. “As long as we have an easement, it is a good investment. We don’t need to open it up to the public yet.”

During Council Comments, John Olson, who heard many negative comments on purchasing the property during his campaign said he has seen a two-point shift on the property. “It is hard to find people in support,” said Olson.

Ray Dobbs said the City needs to have the community along on the purchase. “We need to make sure we have the community along.” He went on to remark that there is a lack of trust in the City Council. “They don’t think we are listening,” said Dobbs.

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Ray Dobbs wants to make sure the community is on board with the purchase of Spader Bay.

The Council unanimously gave the Seller another 90 days to continue efforts to secure an easement.

Spader Bay Point 3

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In other business:

 The Council unanimously approved three construction amendments brought forth by the Public Works Department.

  • A Construction Services Amendment on the Highland Booster Pump Station.
  • A Change Order on the Lakeshore RV Park Restrooms project.
  • A Lakeshore RV Park Restrooms Construction Change Directive.

Jake Youngren brought up the main waterline break that happened on Hwy 150 adjacent to the Lakeshore RV Park and Highland Avenue. The City worked late into the night to repair the break, but Youngren said it is only a patch. “We band-aided it,” said Youngren. “We will go back in April.”

Youngren said there was some substantial work to do and there will be a definite cost for the repairs in the future. In the meantime, the City is going to leave the excavation spot in gravel until the weather allows a permanent patch and “We can make it a part of the Highway again.”

City Administrator Wade Ferris said he has met with 10 employees and is impressed with the professionalism. “I’m enjoying myself and getting up to speed.”

The City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend. There is an opportunity to Citizens to make comments on issues not on the City’s meeting agenda.

Hall of Fame Induction added to an incredible night at Chelan High School

by Richard Uhlhorn

What an amazing evening as Chelan High School inducted a number of past athletes into its Hall of Fame.

What I enjoyed about the inductions is that, with the exception of Marjorie “Ma” Rainier, I was had the distinct pleasure of covering these athletes as they rose to the top of the high school athletic pyramid.

The things I remember most about these individuals was their undying dedication to the sport they played or participated in.

Wrestler – Frank Velazquez:

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Frank Velazquez was inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame.
He is pictured here with his wife and son.

Frank was one of the first athletes I was introduced to when I moved back to Chelan and began covering sports for the Lake Chelan Mirror. As the story goes, Frank refused to leave school in the eighth grade when his dad wanted him leave his education behind and help the family in the orchards.

Frank went on to be coached by Randy McGuffin and over the years was instrumental in helping McGuffin’s son Jay become a state champion through his relentless mentorship.

During his wrestling career at Chelan, Frank was voted team captain and was a state finalist in his freshman year, only to lose that match on a call late in the third period which denied him becoming a four time state champion.

His remaining years on the wrestling team brought three state championships; 122 pounds in his Sophomore year, 129 pounds in his Junior year; and 135 pounds in his Senior year. Frank was the ultimate wrestler in high school. Not many opponents wanted to face him on the mat he was so tough.

After graduation, Frank began his college career at Oregon, but left for North Idaho College where he became the NJCAA National Champion in both 1991 and 1992. He was also an Academic All-American, Team Captain and was voted Outstanding Wrestler at North Idaho.

After his two year tenure at North Idaho, Frank went on to the University of Nebraska and became the Big Eight Champion in 1993 and 1994. He earned NCAA All-American honors, the Optimist Award and was voted team captain and outstanding wrestler of the Nebraska team in 94. He followed his wrestling passion as a coaching assistant at the University from 1995 to 1997.

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Frank enjoying a moment with Greg Griffiths and his brother Nick at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremoney.

Frank received his bachelor degree from Nebraska and currently lives in Wenatchee with his wife and son. He is employed in an administration job at Star Ranch Orchards.

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Pickle Ball -Tyson McGuffin

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Tyson’s brother Jared accepted Tyson’s plaque for him at the CHS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Friday evening.

Unfortunately, Tyson was unable to attend his induction into the Chelan High School Hall of Fame because of his professional commitments. He is competing in the Hawaii Open in Kona.

My biggest memories of Tyson was on the tennis court. His passion for tennis had him placing second in singles at State in 2006, and then winning the State Tennis Championships in both 2007 and 2008. Tyson was fun to watch on the tennis court and not many players could compete at his level.

Tyson also participated in cross-county and wrestling. Under the coaching of his Dad, Randy, Tyson finished fourth in the MATT Classic State Wrestling Tournament in 2008.

After graduation Tyson attended Spokane Falls Junior College where he was undefeated and became the 2010 State Jr. College Tennis Champion in both singles and doubles.

Tyson became a tennis instructor in Yakima and then in Couer d’ Alene where he was introduced to the upcoming sport of pickleball. His learning curve led him to turn professional in six short months.

Tyson is now a four time Grand Slam Champion in singles, a one time Grand Champion in Men’s Doubles, a five time silver medalist in singles, a three time Grand Slam Bronze Medalist and is currrently ranked as the World’s No. 1 Singles player, No. 2 ranked Mixed Doubles player, and No. 3 ranked Men’s Doubles player in the world.

When Tyson is not competing across the professional circuit, he is serving as an IPTPA and PPR certified instructor for LevelUp Pickleball Camps. Tyson lives with his wife and son in Coeur d’ Alene where he is associated with Selkirk Sport, a leading designer and manufacturer of pickleball paddles.

To watch Tyson in action go to You Tube and search his name.

Golf – Kelli Bowers

Kelli Bowers was on hand to receive her plaque
and induction into the CHS Hall of Fame.

Kelli Bowers-Caples was an outstanding athlete at Chelan High School from 2006-2010. Kelli was an all around high school athlete but her passion was found on the golf course where she became a four-time state 1A champion.

Kelli also played volleyball and basketball, participating in 11 State Championships. She earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball, and four in golf.

In addition, Kelli was the 2009 Washington Jr. America’s Cup team MVP and qualified for the USA Pub-links.

Kelli’s passion for golf ended in a full scholarship from the University of Washington. As the story goes, Kelli wasn’t even selected by UW until the UW Coach watched her play in California. It was after that golf tournament that Kelli saw her dream of playing at the University become a reality.

In her first year Kelli finished best on the entire team and tied at 26th individually at the NCCA Nationals. She served as a captain for two years and achieved a top 100 National Ranking in her senior season.

Following her graduation from UW, Kelli qualified for and plahed in the Women’s U.S. Golf Open Tournament and continued playing professional golf on the Symetra tour for one year.

Currently, Kelli is the women’s assistant golf coach at Grand Canyon University where she is mentoring and teaching the game she loves.

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Kelli Bowers and Phil Cullen share a moment at the CHS Hall of Fame night.

1998 State Basketball Champions:

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Most of the players on the 1998 State Championship Basketball Team were present for their induction into the CHS Hall of Fame.

1998 was the year that Coach Joe Harris’ basketball team rolled through all competition to attain the State’s highest level by becoming the WIAA 1A State Basketball Champions.

Chelan completed the 1997-98 season with an overall record of 24-2.

Ranked Number 1 all season, Chelan was a defensive minded squad that survived the pressure of tourney favorite with the aid of one of the top talents in the State in 6’9″ senior Phil Cullen, who would go on to play college basketball at the University of Utah.

The 1998 State Champion basketball team led by Hall of Fame Coach Joe Harris and Tourney MVP Phil Cullen rolled through the tourney in almost unprecedented fashion. The Goats defeated Toledo on day one 57-47 in what would prove to be their closest game of the tournament. In their Quarter Final matchup with Life Christian Academy, Chelan cruised to a 32 point win of 67-35. In this contest Chelan was fueled by their best offensive performance of the tourney.

In the semi-finals against tradition rich Lynden Christian, the Goats again won comfortably by the final score of 55-41.

As they had throughout the entire tourney, Chelan would wear down their opponent and pull away late to win the State Championship 43-27. The Goats were once again keyed by outstanding team defense and the dominating play of tourney MVP Cullen who had a monster game with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 7 of his single Tournament record 25 blocked shots. Fellow senior Lucas Dobbs contributed 16 points in the victory. Just like throughout the entire season, success in the title game was triggered by outstanding defense and an unselfish team commitment to do whatever it takes to win.

A big part of the team’s defensive success in addition to Cullen closing down the inside, was the tough on-ball pressure applied by senior guard Ryan Waller and junior guard B. J. Mitchell.

It was a team guided by the outstanding coaching of Joe Harris and his assistants, Shane Backlund and Brian Mayer.

The team consisted of Justin Barnhart, Clint Jespersen, Josh Rogge, Hector Rodriguez, Lucas Dobbs, Ryan Walter, Jeff Barnhart, Robert Johnson, Jordan Miller, B.J. Mitchell, Wes Rush and Phil Cullen who went on to play four years at the University of Utah and now works in the San Antonio Spurs organization.

Basketball – Joe Harris

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Joe Harris addressed the crowd at Chelan High School via a video message from Brooklyn New York. Joe was unable to attend due to his professional commitments.

Probably the most familiar name on the list inducted into the Hall of Fame is Brooklyn Net basketball player Joe Harris. Joe was unable to attend the induction ceremony because of professional commitments.

Joe Harris, the 6th leading scorer all-time in Washington State basketball, had an illustrious career at Chelan earning first team CTL honors all four seasons. Joe was the 1A Player of the year in his junior season and as a senior was selected as Washington’s Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year. He would go on to be a four-year starter at the University of Virginia and earn an All-ACC selection and ACC Tourney MVP in his senior year.

Joe was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 33rd pick in the 2014 NBA draft and would later sign with the Brooklyn Nets.

Harris has been a starter the past two years for the Nets and won the 2018-19 NBA All-Star 3-point Championship as well as finishing the season as the NBA’s top 3-point shooter.

In addition to being inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame, the school is retiring his No. 12 basketball jersey which is the first time in CHS history for this distinction.

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Joe Harris’ No. 12 Basketball Jersey was retired at the
CHS Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies on Friday evening.

While Harris was unable to attend the ceremony, the Brooklyn Nets had a video prepared to honor his induction and Joe also gave a short thank you to the school and all the people who have supported him all these years.

One thing I remember is that Joe “Joey” Harris was never without a basketball in the gym, even when he was a little tyke.

Coach -Marjorie “Ma” Rainier

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Greg Griffith accepted the Hall of Fame induction for “Ma” Rainier who taught, administered and coach at Chelan High School.

When people think of Ma Rainier- they would say “She was tough, but fair.” Marjorie “Ma” Rainier had many different roles; she was a teacher, an administrator, and a coach at Chelan High School. Marjorie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington, where she was the captain of the basketball team. At the University of Washington, she served as the President of the Women’s Athletic Association.

Mrs. Rainier was hired by Chelan to teach math and coach Girls basketball. Her years in education at Chelan spanned over a time period of three generations, for a total of 50 years. She began teaching and coaching in 1912 until her retirement in 1967. In addition to coaching basketball and teaching math, she eventually took on the boys and girls tennis teams and served as the principal at Chelan High School from 1919 to 1926. Mrs. Rainier was a fixture at all Chelan basketball games, always watching from her seat in the corner of the gym where she wasn’t too bashful to remind you of the standard of excellence necessary to succeed.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies had everyone’s attention
at the Chelan High School on Friday evening.