Polio Day and Cancer Month proclaimed by City of Chelan

By Richard Uhlhorn

There were two proclamations entered at the Chelan City Council meeting on October 9.

The first was a proclamation for the City of Chelan World Polio Day on Wednesday, October 24. Councilman Dr. Ty Witt read the proclamation into the record.

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Councilman Dr. Ty Witt read a proclamation at the October 9 City Council meeting proclaiming Wednesday, October 24 as World Polio Day. Through the efforts of Rotary International, the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF and the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation, Polio has almost been eradicated.

Rotary International, which was founded in 1905, encourages members to provide humanitarian service, and to promote good will and peace in the world, launched PolioPlus in 1985 and spearheaded the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which today includes the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to immunize the children of the world against polio.

Since that time, Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent and the world stands on the threshold of eradicating the disease.

Rotary Clubs around the world have contributed more than 1.8 billion dollars and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two and a half billion children in 122 countries.

Rotary is currently working to raise an additional $50 million per year, which would be further leveraged for maximum impact by an additional $100 million annually from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary has played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort. There are over 2600 Rotary Club members in more than 58 clubs throughout this multi-district area of BC/WA of District 5060 sponsoring service projects to address critical issues such as poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy and the environment in their local communities, and abroad.

The proclamation, signed on October 9 by Mayor Cooney, was entered into the public record to note that October 24, 2018 as World Polio Day in the City of Chelan.

In addition to the World Polio Day, Mayor Cooney entered a proclamation dedicating the Month of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer with national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies, who work together to ensure that the NBCAM message is heard by thousands of women and their families

October 19 is National Mammography Day and women are encouraged to make a mammography appoint throughout the month. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. The chance of developing breast cancer at some time in a woman’s life is 1 in 8.

On average a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and one will die of the disease every 13 minutes. Men are also afflicted and although breast cancer in men in rare it is estimated that 2,470 men will be diagnosed and approximately 460 will die each year.

Death rates from breast cancer have been declining as a result of earlier detection, increased awareness and improved treatment.

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Mayor Cooney read a proclamation making the Month of October
Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Mayor Cooney proclaimed the month of October 2018 as NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH in the City of Chelan and ask all employees and citizens to join in this worthwhile cause, to celebrate successes and memorialize lost battles.

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Dr. Ty Witt, a local Rotary Club member, introduced cancer survivors at the October 20 Chelan Chase which had 179 participants this year. The proceeds help with cancer research and free and reduced cost mammograms for women who can’t afford them.

On Saturday, October 20, 179 people participated in the 22nd annual Chelan Chase which has been Chelan’s way of raising money for breast cancer research and to give women who cannot afford it, free mammograms at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital.

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Chelan, Entiat and Orondo Fire Departments seeking more volunteers

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Fire & Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Asher was at the Vogue from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning in hopes of answering some questions regarding volunteerism at the Chelan, Entiat, and Orondo Fire Departments.

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Chelan Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Brandon Asher is at the Vogue on Wednesday mornings between 9 and 10 a.m. to answer residents questions about Chelan’s Fire Service and Volunteer opportunities.

Asher, who is the son of long time Entiat Fire Department Chief Mike Asher, is the Volunteer Recruit and Retention Coordinator that has been funded for four years under a FEMA Regional SAFER Grant. His job is to primarily find and sign up and retain volunteers for all three Departments.

“It’s a challenge for me to find volunteers,” said Asher. As a part of that effort, he has 17 new banners that will be placed at all of the Districts Fire Stations inviting men and women interested in serving their communities through the fire service to volunteer.

He has positions available in Structural Firefighting, Wildland Firefighting, EMS and support services. Volunteers can sign up for just structure fire fighting, wildland firefighting or for support services.

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Volunteers with Chelan, Entiat and Orondo Fire Departments not only learn how to fight fire, but also skills that lead to an EMS certification. (File Photo – Richard Uhlhorn)

Asher said that volunteers meet every Tuesday night in Chelan and less at the Entiat and Orondo for training. “We meet for two hours from 7 to 9 p.m. We are the only fire department that meets every week.”

If you are interested in a fire service career, volunteering will get you on the right track to full time. “Your chances are a lot better if you have had training and volunteered,” said Asher. “If that’s what you want to do, it’s a great way to begin.”

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Wildfire, like the fire that almost destroyed S. Chelan in 2015 and caused close to $100 million in damage to structures, is becoming an ever constant threat from early spring to late fall. Assistant Chief Brandon Asher says the need for more wildland firefighters is growing each year. If you are interested in becoming a wildland firefighter, visit Brandon at the Vogue on Wednesday mornings or call him at the Fire Station at 682-4476. File Photo – Richard Uhlhorn

Training will eventually get you to Fire Fighter 1 status. “The test is huge, but we send our volunteers to any fire department that is hosting a Fire Fighter 1 Test.”

Many of the current volunteers are not physically capable for structural fire fighting anymore but are wildland certified, which can also be physically demanding. Asher currently has 50 volunteers at Chelan. Volunteers are compensated $20 per training session and per call out. “We also have one stipend position per day,” said Asher. That pays $65 per 12 hour shift and can run a full 24 hours for $130. Volunteers are also offered a free physical examination.

So, if you are interested in serving your community as a volunteer firefighter, or are seeking the fire service as a full-time career, volunteering is a great way to start.

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Interagency cooperation is night and day from even five years ago according to Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Asher. He stated that Unified Command training has made things much easier during a fire. The new air support protocol is also helping to quickly contain wild fires when they breakout.

Fire fighting is an exciting and rewarding way to serve the community you live in. Opportunities exist in Chelan, Entiat and Orondo.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher or other administration chiefs will be at the Vogue on Wednesday, Oct. 24 between 9 and 10 a.m. to answer any questions regarding the District or volunteerism.

Contact Assistant Chief Brandon Asher at (509)682-4476 for more information

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CITY SEEKING HELP FROM THE STATE TO PURCHASE 900 ACRES ON CHELAN BUTTE

 

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council was given a draft resolution to approve the City’s request for $4 million dollars from the Washington State Legislature to help purchase the 900 acres on Chelan Butte.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle wants to see an approved Legislative Priorities List before making any decision on how much to ask the Legislature for.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle said, “We haven’t approved the Legislative Agenda yet. I would like to wait until that is approved.”

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City Administrator Mike Jackson said he would bring a new priority list
to the 23rd Council meeting for the Council to discuss and consider.

City Administrator Mike Jackson replied that proposed Legislative Agenda would be back at the October 23 Council meeting.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs wants the public to weigh in on
the potential purchase of Chelan Butte.

Councilman Ray Dobbs stated that he had attended the recent Town Hall meeting and was pleased to see the support of those in attendance, but said, “I want to see this thing be more publicized. I want to get it out in the media before we move forward.” He added that he felt there was broad support for the idea.

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Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart felt that requesting
$4 million dollars for Chelan Butte was a big ask.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart thought that $4 million was a big ask for the Legislators to swallow. “Is it necessary to be so specific,” asked Isenhart.

Jackson replied that the document can be reworded. “I’ll talk to them (Gordon Thomas Honeywell) about the amount.”

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that the City needs to
show community support for the purchase of property on Chelan Butte.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that the City needs to show community support for the purchase of the 900 acres. “We are looking for acquisition and protection of that property,” said Hollingsworth. “We don’t want to delay this too long.”

Asked how much the land was being sold for, Mayor Cooney replied, “North of $6 million and South of $7 million.” It will be appraised by the Trust for Public Lands.

The Legislative Priority List had other items listed also.

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Affordable Housing: The City is supporting all actions that will enhance or increase affordable housing. While the City has taken its own steps to address this problem, the creation of a Community Land Trust is underway.

Lakeside Park Improvements: The City is asking the Legislature to ensure funding for the Lakeside Park Improvements or allocate $667,000 in capital budget funding. The new master plan to renovate and improve the park will accommodate more users and includes relocation of the dock; increasing swim safety and accessibility improvements; enhancing the non-motorized boat launch; replenishing beach sand; replacing the restrooms and increasing the parking area.

Chelan Pedestrian Safety Project: The City is requesting the Legislature for $700,000 in transportation funding for 21 Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to provide safe crosswalks along Highway 97A and Hwy.150. The City views this request as crucial to pedestrian safety.

Bike & Pedestrian Transportation Funding: The City is also looking for funding to meet its goal of completing the Lakeshore Trail.

Wildfire Prevention and Suppression: The City supports funding and legislative solutions for wildfire prevention and suppression. Negative impacts from wildfires has negatively impacted the City’s economy.

Support for Regional Transportation Projects: The City supports the Chelan/Douglas Transportation Council (CDTC) and its Regional Transportation Plan.

Local Authority:  The City supports policies that respect City local authority regarding revenue, taxes, licensing, and home rule. City officials are elected to their positions by the constituents and must have the authority to solve local challenges.

The Council unanimously authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Consulting Agreement with Gordon Thomas Honeywell for a total of $36,000 annually. The consultant is a lobbying group that helped the City obtain $300,000 from the Legislature last year for the Woodin Avenue Bridge.

These agenda items will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on October 24.

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In other business:

The Council unanimously approved the 2019 Emergency Management Services Agreement with Chelan County. The 2019 cost is assessed on a per capita basis and the rate has increased by 2 cents or $2.74 per capita.

They also approved a contract with KRCI for a total of $989,922.88 for Lakeshore RV Park Electrical work, and Irrigation and Potable Water Projects. The project was awarded in September but needed the Council’s approval to more forward.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs questioned the bid amount. “It is below the engineers estimate because the project was scaled back. Is that right,” Asked Dobbs. Parks Director Karen Sargeant replied that he was right, that KRCI would be proceeding with the electrical upgrades.

Councilman Ty Witt asked how much higher the bid was and Sargeant replied that was 22 percent higher. Witt stated that the City Council is trying to keep a tab on the difference between engineer estimates and actual bids.

Citizen Comments:

Stan Morse, past councilmember and resident, angrily told the Council that it was time for them to begin enforcing City Code 8.15 regarding fire hazards. “Things have changed in this Valley,” said Morse. “People who don’t live here don’t’ understand.”

He stated that the City seemed to have all the money it needed to construct roundabouts, fix the Woodin Avenue Bridge and do other projects, but not enough money for a code enforcement officer to go out and enforce the code.

He added that a fast moving lightning storm with wind could take out half of the town or more. He mentioned that if the DC10 hadn’t helped during the 2015 fire half of south Chelan would have been lost. “You have to pick up the ball on this,” he said.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Ray Dobbs attended a Port of Chelan County board meeting and reported that the Port is offering a contract to Jim Kuntz to become the Port’s Administrator.

He also said the Port has been asked to support an expansion of 720 acres at Mission Ridge.

The Port of Chelan and Port of Douglas County share 70/30 in the operation of Pangborn Airport, but Dobbs reported that Douglas County says it hasn’t got the funding. The two ports are looking at solutions.

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Councilman Ty Witt reported that the bids to finish the Solid Waste Collection Center were $150,000 over the engineers estimate.

Ty Witt reported that he attended the Solid Waste Council meeting and remarked that Chelan County was trying to finish construction on the project that would accept hazardous materials like paint and other chemicals from residents on a year round basis.

Witt stated that when the bids to finish the construction came out, they were $150,000 higher than the funding in place. To take care of the shortfall, it is likely that the County will request that Cities share in the construction based on population. “It might cost us $20,000 or less,” said Witt. “Wenatchee would be paying the most based on their population.”

However, Witt posed the question that Douglas County should be a part of the short fall also. “They can’t get Douglas County to commit.”

Chelan County Waste Management will give a presentation to the whole Council.

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Mayor Cooney reported that he is trying to allow
City residents to burn yard waste again.

Mayor Cooney said that the Community Land Trust is moving forward.

He also said the Stan Morse’s comments were slightly off base. Planning Director Craig Gildroy stated that there is money in the budget to address the issue of fire hazards but City personnel can’t just go on private property. “We have to send a letter,” said Gildroy. Witt stated the it isn’t that the City has done nothing. Gildroy replied that the City did a lot of fire abatement in the right-of-ways.

The City is asking the Department of Ecology about the possibility to allow burning of waste yard material in the City Limits, but Mayor Cooney said the material will still be collected at the Transfer Station and chipped.

The next City Council meeting is on October 23. Citizens are encouraged to attend.

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900 acres on Chelan Butte is for sale… will the valley pitch in to purchase

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The City of Chelan
is interested in
purchasing 900 acres
on Chelan Butte
to preserve it for the Valley
in its natural condition

If you are interested in the purchase of this land
send your comments to
mcooney@cityofchelan.us

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From any angle Chelan Butte offers an imposing and beautiful view from Lake Chelan. The City is interested in preserving the Butte’s natual beauty by heading up an effort to purchase the 900 acres in private hands.

The City of Chelan and the newly formed Chelan Valley Trust would like to have the ability to purchase 900 acres on Chelan Butte. Called a part of the Open Space Vision, the purchase would have two major objectives; one to slice off 40 acres for affordable housing with the remaining 860 acres remaining undeveloped and kept open for recreational purposes.

Chelan Butte is an iconic low elevation peak on the south side of Chelan. It is considered by many as one of Chelan’s most cherished mountains. It’s beauty under different light is what the City would like to preserve.

The 900 acres sits on what is called the half Butte and has over the years been subjected to several real estate developers, but all efforts to develop the property have failed. The first major development considered was SnoCreek which would have been developed into a resort like setting with a ski-in facility from the top of the Butte to the property. John Walcker and Rick Bowles were the original entrepreneurs looking to develop the land.

When this development failed, Walcker continued his involvement with Real Estate Developer Jim Urness and a host of investors. Under this iteration, the half Butte would have become a resort community with a championship golf course, a gondola to a ridge top restaurant along with other amenities including a trail system. It also failed, leaving the half Butte undeveloped, but for sale by the land owner, Golden Gate Properties out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The asking price for the 900 acres is alleged to be $7 million, but Mayor Cooney, who has discussed his idea of taking the half-Butte of Golden Gate’s tax rolls with the owners, made the idea of purchasing the land to keep it in its natural state (with exception of the 40 acres) a goal for the entire Valley.

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The City’s Town Hall meeting on the purchase of the Butte was well attended and received.

he City held a well attended Town Hall meeting at the Senior Center on Monday, September 27th. Most people who attended this meeting were in favor of trying to purchase the land. Others worried that it would open up more development.

Mayor Cooney said, “This is not about making money… this is spiritual to the people in Chelan.”

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Mayor Mike Cooney called a Town Hall meeting to see what kind of interest there would be in purchasing the private property on the Butte.

Mayor Cooney introduced Guy Evans who used Google Earth to introduce the possibilities that lie within the 900 acre parcel. “I’ve walked, hiked or run on the Butte,” said Evans, who is currently at the forefront of the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance. “Open Space is all about the vision as it relates to trails. It is a critical time in the evolution of this valley.”

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Guy Evans introduced some Google Earth images to show where the 900 acres are located.

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This is a Google Earth view of the property that is for sale.

He described five potential hikes on the Butte and beyond to Bear Mountain and perhaps all the way to Stormy Mountain. “Visitors and residents would have a new hike every day. It is breathtaking.”

He also described the long standing efforts to open up more PUD land down by the river. “It is a small example of what the Alliance is working on now.”

“Why are we doing this,” Mayor Cooney asked? He described a parcel of land open to hiking and mountain biking. “The City can’t buy it,” he said. So he and others are looking for capital investment similar to what Wenatchee did in the Foothills system.

He’s hopeful that the Conservation District will be interested in investing along with people; not just residents of the Valley who want to preserve the Butte in its natural form, but others from outside the area that also want more recreational opportunities close to town and would be willing to donate some capital.

Stan Morse, a past Council member and local attorney, suggested that the City could devalue that 900 acres by de-annexing it. The last development group had the acreage annexed into the city. “That would bring the value down,” said Morse who was a major opponent to any real estate development on the Butte.

He also suggested that the Washington State Fish & Wildlife or some such agency might be interested in purchasing the property.

Mayor Cooney replied to Morse’s de-annexation proposal by saying he appreciated his thoughts, but “I’m not going to take the guy’s property.”

Meg Polley remarked that there is real value to the land. “Trails last forever as long as they are used.”

Councilwoman Kelly Allen suggested that the City’s hired lobbying group take the idea to the State Legislature and try to get a down payment on the property to tie it up for a year while the Valley fine tunes the financing of the purchase.

Cooney also assured those in attendance and others that the City is not and will not propose a property tax. “We are not going to do that.”

Another suggestion was to explore the possibility of a Recreational Taxing District in the Valley to help pay for the property along with other recreational opportunities.

Allen’s suggestion did make it to the Draft 2019-2021 Legislative Priorities as the No. 2 item on the City’s list. It asks that the Legislature provide $4 million in capital budget funding for the conservation of 890 acres of Chelan Butte.

It was brought up as a part of the City Council’s workshop on priority issues with Josh Weiss and Traver Justin of Gordon Thomas Honeywell. Josh Weiss told the Council and staff that while the state has more money coming in, there are a lot of requests for that money.

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Josh Weiss and Traver Justin represent the City in Olympia and will be taking a final approved Legislative Priority List to the State Capital.

“The Legislators have a billion things coming at them,” said Weiss. He suggested the City par its list down to 3, 4 or 5 priorities. He felt that a $4 million ask for the Butte purchase was probably too big a request.

At the last City Council meeting on October 9, the Butte priority was discussed.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle wants to see an approved 2019-2021Legislative Priority List before adopting a resolution approving it.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle was uncomfortable with the list. “We haven’t even approved the Legislative agenda yet.

City Administrator Mike Jackson said the priority list would be back on the agenda on the 23rd

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Councilman Ray Dobbs wants to see the public more engaged in the potential Butte land purchase.

Councilman Ray Dobbs said he had attended the Town Hall meeting, but wants to see Butte purchase idea brought to more of the public. “Get it out in the media before we go forward,” said Dobbs. “I think there was pretty broad support,” he added.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart stated that $4 million was a huge ask. “Is is necessary to be so specific,” she asked? Jackson replied that the verbiage can be revised. “I’ll talk to them (the lobbyist) about the amount.”

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth 

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said that the purpose of the draft resolution in front of the Council was to show that that the City is supporting acquiring the property. “We are looking for acquisition and protection of that property.

State Senator Brad Hawkins was at the Town Hall meeting and emailed Mayor Cooney his thoughts which in part stated: “I would characterize the response by the people at the meeting as very supportive. The more challenging question is what percentage is in favor of the City purchasing and preserving the Butte. Or securing the Butte by providing a 50 percent local match.”

He also suggested that the City should announce that it will be accepting public comments on the draft resolution.

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The Resolution will be coming back in front of the Council on October 23 beginning at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend. However, if you would like to comment on the potential purchase of the Chelan Butte property, Email your comments to Mayor Cooney at mcooney@cityofchelan.us.

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9th annual Mahogany & Merlot roars to life on Saturday and Sunday

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by richard Uhlhorn

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Up to 11 old classic unlimted hydroplanes will be in Chelan this coming weekend and will provide lots of thunder as they go out and run exhibition laps. Mitch Evans is bringing his own unlimited, the Blue Chip

The 9th annual Mahogany & Merlot Wooden Boat Show will roar to life at Don Morse Memorial Park’s Boat Launch on Saturday morning, October 6 and carry through to Sunday, October 7. Presented by the PNW Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society, this year’s show should be an absolute win-win for Chelan.

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Along with the unlimited hydros, there will be up to 20 vintage hydros also running exhibition laps on the lake.

This year’s event will include up to 11 unlimited vintage hydroplanes, up to 20 limited vintage racing boats from individual owners and the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum along with 20 to 30 gorgeously restored and maintained wooden boats.

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This year’s car show will feature a number of classic and modern vehicles.

In addition, there will be a car show in the upper parking lot at the marina featuring vintage cars.

“There will be two pits this year,” said John Walcker, one of the organizers of the event. The normal pit will be at the Lake Chelan Marina and an additional pit will be located at the Three Fingers. “We have so many boats coming that we had to split the pits because of crowding,” said Walcker.

20 to 30 beautiful classic wooden boats will also be on
display throughout the weekend.

Pit passes will be available to the general public for $10. It’s a great way to get up close and see these magnificent machines and interact with the drivers and pit crews.

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There will also be a beer garden featuring ales from Mack & Jacks, wine from Vin du Lac and spirits from Blue Spirits.

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Hospital moves forward on new strategies

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, September 25.

Mary Ann Patton, a local resident, made a public comment about how excited she is with the Hospital’s new direction. “I’ve been able to hear some of the things you are doing,” she said. “It is exactly the type of commitment to turn a substantive portion of our community’s trust in you in a positive direction.”

The CEO Recruitment Screening Committee (Interim CEO Steve Patonai, Phyllis Gleasman and Mary Murphy) developed a flow chart to identify the process to select the new CEO. “We went back and asked for all resumes,” said Patonai. The full commission has the draft flow chart and were told that if there were any changes to let the screening committee know.

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Chairwoman Mary Signorelli told everyone that the board would go into executive session later in the afternoon to discuss the seven candidates that have been selected. “We need to decide if we are to interview all seven or shake it down to three or less,” said Signorelli.

With regards to the USDA loans and grant, Signorelli stated that the hospital is about as close as it can be. “We have tentative approval,” said Signorelli. The entire loan package is now in Washington DC awaiting final approval. “It has been a long and arduous and painful process to wait this long,” she said.

In a telephone conversation on October 1, Signorelli said the hospital has received final approval and a letter noting that approval was in the mail. “We will wait until we receive the letter to make a formal announcement,” she said.

The process went from the USDA offices in Wenatchee to Olympia where the funding committee met with the agency “There were very few questions,” Signorelli stated. “We were surprised there wasn’t more questions.”

As soon as the approval is finalized, Signorelli said the Hospital will move forward for bonding with Wheatland Bank.

The Board and Staff continue to work on the 2019 strategies that were discussed at its annual retreat in Pateros. Patonai went over the strategies in the meeting including:

  • Service
  • Quality and Safety
  • Growth and Innovation
  • Finance
  • Community

The Hospital is developing a strategy to be in the top 10 percentile in Patient Satisfaction and top 10 percentile in community hospitals. They have a strategy to achieve a long term goal of 80% of patient visits by Primary Care Teams and Zero Preventable Patient Harm.

The strategy for Growth and Innovation is to increase access and availability to primary care and specialty providers. “We need to be thinking out of the box,” said Patonai.

The hospital finance goal is to increase its operating margin and cash reserves by the end of the year.

Community outreach includes developing and initiating a comprehensive wellness and education program with the community.

Patonai and the board want to see more training and methods to improve customer service. Patonai stated that when staff evaluations are done, strong performers will be rewarded and those with lower performance levels will be out the door.

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In the Finance area the hospital will be cutting back on travel and conferences.

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EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer and Paramedics Mistaya Johnston and Kurt Middleton gave the commission an EMS update.

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EMS Personnel gave an update on EMS activities. Pictured from the left are Paramedics Kurt Middleton, Mistaya Johnston and EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer.

According to Eickmeyer there are 14 EMTs (5 fulltime) and 16 Paramedics (8 fulltime) in the EMS system.

Middleton told the commission that the group is constantly training and setting up scenarios so EMS can provide quality service for the community.

Seventy percent of EMS calls originate in Chelan with another 23 percent in Manson. The rest are to other locations like Entiat or in Douglas County. Eickmeyer told the commission that responding EMS crews are on the scene within five minutes of being called out.

“We are one of the top performing EMS crews in the State,” said Eickmeyer. “We’v been in the top one percent for the last two years. Spokane attained that last month.”

He said that they saved 17 lives in the last 10 years because they are able to bring them back from being clinically dead before they arrive at the Emergency Room. “The National average is only two lives,” said Eickmeyer. “We get a pulse now in 80 percent of our ambulance transports to the hospital. Washington State is the best in the Nation in that regards.”

Chelan EMS is also a local leader in CPR training. “We offer more training than anyone in the region. I would put us up against Seattle,” he stated.

Chelan’s EMS is oe of the only two units in the entire state that can transfer highly infectious individuals and are the only Hazmat trained rescue unit in NCW.

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Interim CEO Steve Patonai

During his CEO Report, Patonai stated that the Chelan Clinic is a growth engine for the hospital going forward.

Patonai told the board that after 32 years, Lee Tinsley’s last day was on Monday and that the hospital would not be refilling his position. “We will be sharing that position.

He stated that the Department of Health made an unannounced visit to the Hospital and that there are several quick fixes that the Hospital needs to address quickly.

 

Affordable housing consultant Julie Brunner gives City Council an Housing Study update

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Affordable housing was on the collective minds of the Lake Chelan Valley this past week. On Tuesday evening, September 25, the Chelan City Council heard an update from Housing Consultant Julie Brunner. This meeting was followed on Wednesday evening with a well attended Senior Living Initiative Summit at the Chelan Senior Center followed by a standing room only, crowded City of Chelan Town Hall meeting at the Chelan Senior Center on Thursday night.

At the Tuesday, September 25 City Council meeting, consultant Julie Brunner gave a Housing Study Update to the council on the Chelan Valley Housing Trust and the current housing needs assessment.

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Affordable Housing Consultant Julie Brunner spent several days in Chelan last week and gave a full report on her Housing Study within the Lake Chelan Valley to City Council at its September 25 meeting.

Chelan Valley Housing Trust was originally started as the Affordable Housing Initiative in Chelan by Mayor Mike Cooney, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth, and Planning Commissioner Rachael Goldie in an effort to address the housing crisis for moderate to low income residents of the Chelan Valley.

Currently, the Trust is seeking  501(c) 3 status as a non-profit organization. Brunner said that the group held a meeting on Monday evening with 11 individuals who are interested in participating as professional board members and that sort of thing.

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They also had conversations about land donations and trying to figure out where housing might go. They are also discussion fundraising and planning.

“One of the things special about here and in the Methow is that we in the affordable housing industry in Washington State is that all the traditional sources of money we’ve gone to the make affordable housing happen are no longer available,” said Brunner. “They have been shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and the completion (for that money) has been getting worse and worse and worse.”

Because of the shrinking funding sources, affordable housing organizations are beginning to look at private money and local municipal support for funding sources. “We can’t rely on State and Federal folks we used to, so we are trying to take matters into our own hands,” said Brunner.

Brunner shared numbers from the 2016 census (CCD). These numbers indicate that Chelan has 6,631 residents and Manson has 2,948 residents. There are 2,625 households in Chelan and 1,303 in Manson with 4,514 housing units in Chelan and 2,452 in Manson.

Of the 9,579 people residing in the Valley, 2,734 are owner occupied and 1,194 are renter occupied. 2,365 are seasonally occupied. “Thirty four percent is seasonally vacant here (Chelan valley) compared to 16 percent in the county and three percent in the State.

One of the biggest jumps in residency between 2000 and 2016 according to Brunner’s statistics is from the age of 45 to 65 with a jump from 22 percent to 34 percent and 65 and older from 12 percent to 20 percent. The biggest drop was the younger generation from 0-17 and 18-44.

Wages weigh into the housing crisis in the Chelan Valley. Fully one-quarter of the population make under $25,000 per year followed by 24 percent making between $25,000 and $50,000 per year. Seventeen percent are in the higher bracket of $50,000 to $75,000 and 14 percent are making $75,000 to 100,000 a year.

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Poverty by age groups was also shared with the Council. The percentage of people in the Chelan Valley under the poverty level is an astounding 12.3 percent with 14.8 percent 65 years or older against only eight percent state wide.

What was interesting was the amount of income an individual or family must bring in to rent in Chelan (median rental prices). The standard for rentals is one-third of one’s annual or monthly earnings. Therefore, according to Brunner’s study, a person or family would need to make $18 per hour or $38,000 a year to rent a one bedroom apartment. A two bedroom apartment runs about $1,250 per month and a three bedroom, $1,500 a month which means a family would have to make $24 or $29 per hour to meet the 1/3rd of their income criteria. Unfortunately pay norms in Chelan are below that minimum of $18 per hour.

According to Brunner’s study, Chelan Service workers make on average $14 per hour or $29,120 per year, which means they can afford to rent at $728 per month or would qualify for a $103,000 conventional mortgage or $180,000 USDA mortgage.

Small business owners are reporting $35,000 earnings per year on average which means they would qualify for a $134,000 conventional mortgage or $234,000 USDA mortgage, if they could even qualify for that. Nurses are on average a little higher at $17 per hour, and mid management on average are pulling down $20 per hour or $41,600 per year. They couldn’t qualify for a USDA loan, but can afford $1,144 per month rent or could qualify for a $166,500 conventional mortgage. Chelan’s teachers on average make $42,290 per year.

“You can see that half of your population is under $50,000 per year. That’s a pretty good guide of who you need to focus on,” said Brunner.

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At the Chelan Valley Housing Trust (Community Land Trust – CTL) meeting on Monday, an employer said, “I want my employees to live in Chelan because they would be more productive and happier at work.” Land Trusts are community based with local membership and a professional board structure.

CTL’s are a form of subsidized home ownership. Each housing unit, whether a single family home or a condominium, have a lower initial price and a resale restriction. In other words, a home owner in a land trust home can sell, but at a lower price again and again. The individual owns the house and leasehold interest. The CTL owns the land.

The Lookout has offered to donate land for the CVHT. The cost to build on this land would be $150 per square foot plus $35,000 for site preparation and utilities. This would build a 900 square foot home for approximately $170,000, and a 110 sq. ft. house would cost approximately $200,000.

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Brunner has been involved in the Lopez Community Land Trust, the San Juan CHT, and Opal CLT and a number of other Land Trusts that have been highly successful on the west side of the mountains

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that the City has to be on board with lower costs. City Administrator Mike Jackson stated that there was a work session next week that will include rate studies.

Mayor Cooney stated that the City does not want to own it. “We want to be a part of the Land Trust and take a role of leadership.” The Chelan Valley Land Trust will be looking for land donations and funding from a variety of sources. “We are not going to build houses,” said Cooney. “I think people are waiting for us to start it.”

Hollingsworth said there was a lot of discussion at the Monday evening meeting that included realtors and bankers. “It’s hard to get an answer that’s going to make a difference.” Cooney replied that the City needs to let developers know the City is working on a rate study.

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth along with Rachel Goldie and Mayor Mike Cooney have started the Chelan Valley Land Trust and are working hard at bringing some affordable housing to the community.

While the City has no influence over the private sector, Brunner said that it is not uncommon for Cities to be involved. She said she is working with Houston who is putting $2 Million towards building affordable housing. “You have good hearted developers who want to help but they don’t want to own it,” said Brunner. This is where the Land Trust comes in. Hollingsworth said that a part of the reason to forma Land Trust is to move government and include the broader community.

“The City has been very involved in fostering the effort, but ultimately the City doesn’t have the infrastructure or the mandate that a separate organization can do. It’s a part of the solution,” said Hollingsworth who added that the City’s rate structure is also a critical element to the success of building affordable housing.

Mike Jackson said he hopes to have the rates adopted before the 2019 budget.

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City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that GFC Rates would be discussed at a special workshop on October 3 and hopes that a rate schedule can be adopted before the 2019 budget is finalized.

There is a special workshop session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, in Council Chambers for upcoming City Council topics including, but not limited to, GFC Charges, Proposed 2019 Legislative Agenda and Draft Financial Policies.

The Affordable Housing mandate that started with the City and has moved to a Chelan Valley Land Trust effort is moving forward, but affordable housing in the Lake Chelan Valley is still at a crisis stage.

AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONS IN CHELAN

Rental

$1,550

Chelan, WA

Chelan Long Term Rental

  • 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath Townhome
    • 1768 sq. ft., 2-story
    • Washer/dryer in-unit
    • Non-smoking
    • No pets
    • Available November 1
    • $1,550/mo.

Fantastic location next to Chelan High School, walking distance to downtown and around the corner from the Riverwalk trail. Well maintained and comfortable home in a quiet community in Chelan.

More information upon request. Contact: Debbie Turner,
Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan Properties Chelan,
509-682-7777

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Unless you are making in the neighborhood of $40,000 a year, $1,500 per month for rent is probably beyond your reach, however, the listing above for a three-bedroom condominium at $1,550 is certainly within the reach of two or three responsible people looking for a long term lease.

The owner of this Condominium says that she has leased to more than one tenant before and that it has worked out well. “I have no problem leasing to more than one person,” she said. “As long as each one signs the lease, I’m fine with that.”

This writer knows of another three bedroom home that will be coming up for rent in the near future and I will report that one also when it is available.

Shared housing can be very affordable. There should also be short term rentals coming available now that the tourist season is over and many homeowners are escaping south for the winter.

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