Photos by Ian Dunn
Thousands lined the parade route in Leavenworth last Saturday for the 53rd annual Autumn Leaf Festival. The Leavenworth Autumn Leaf Festival Association float and Royal Lady Carol Forhan lead off the parade.
The lawsuit brought against Projekt Bayern, the group that puts on the Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, continues on and on. The lawsuit was brought on by three Projekt Bayern members, Steve Demarest, Katie Holmes and Arlene Wagner. Demarest, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the purpose of the lawsuit is to pursue transparency, accountability and membership involvement in the group. Those have always been the main points of the lawsuit.
This particular topic has been a pet peeve of Leavenworth City Councilman Elmer Larsen. He has argued at length numerous times about it, the latest being the Sept. 13 city council study session. It involves existing buildings being converted into ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units. "We have garages that were built 20, 30, 60 years ago and placed on the lot, with or without permits. Setbacks and building codes were different at that time," said Joel Walinski, Leavenworth city administrator. "Nonetheless, they have been used as garages. The policy and application for both the municipal code and the building code, as long as that building stays a garage, they are in good shape. If he comes in and wants to change, they need to update to code."
At the Sept. 13 Leavenworth City Council study session, Development Manager Nathan Pate briefed the council on the progress of the Willkommen Village, which is under development behind and alongside the Safeway store. Pate reported the new Hampton Inn is going up. The foundation is in, along with a lot of the infrastructure. They are planning to extend Ward Strasse to the front of the property as well do some significant upgrades to the water system.
Overnight vacation rentals have been a big issue in the city of Leavenworth. Two groups have formed, arguing the various issues back and forth for several months. This has probably been the most contentious issue since joining the planning commission, said Planning Commissioner Andy Lane, as he and fellow commissioner Chuck Reppas, spoke to the Leavenworth City Council at the Sept. 13 study session.
The Leavenworth City Council has elected to suspend their rules regarding Accessory Dwelling Units in the Urban Growth Area, at the request of Chelan County. The city and country operate under a memorandum of understanding regarding the UGA. This agreement states the county will uphold city rules in the UGA, but the city came into conflict with the county over rules governing ADUs.
The Leavenworth City Council has reversed course on adding some stop signs to intersections on Birch Street, following public testimony on the issue. The original request was for four-way stops at Birch and Orchard and Birch and Cascade intersections. That request was rejected by the city's public works committee, because the requests failed to meet the criteria for adding stop signs.
The start of school sports has begun and many parents have concerns about the safety around allowing their children to participate, especially in football. It is estimated about 60 million children participate in school sports, a leading cause of concussion in children. Concussions occur more often than all the cancers combined. More than 4 million concussions happen every year, according to Dr. Stan A. Herring, MD, head of Sports Concussion Program at Harborview Hospital, Seattle.
Pam Brulotte of Icicle Brewery in Leavenworth has been named president of the Washington Brewer's Guild. The Guild began in 2006 as an Agricultural Commodity Commission, the first commodity commission for craft beer in the U.S. The Guild can produce up to 12 beer tasting festivals per year, using the proceeds to promote and market Washington's craft breweries. Brulotte had been on the executive committee of the Guild as an at-large member for the past two years.
Using her experiences as a missionary in Africa, former Cashmere resident Mary Mendenhall has written a new book entitled, The Wrong Side of Eternity: A Present-Day Passion. Her missionary work in Uganda provided inspiration for the book. "We arrived in a town six miles from the Ugandan border, a few months before the genocide broke out. We were there for the next six years. I listened to a lot of stories and gathered a lot of information while I was there," Mendenhall said.
Forty-five members of Christ Center Church of Cashmere, 17 adults and 31 from the youth group, took an adventurous trip to Rio Grande, Costa Rica, in July. There they encountered poisonous snakes, spiders, and scorpions, while enduring the jungle heat and humidity; fulfilling their commitment to serve. Christ Center supports a missionary family in Rio Grande, the Justin and Grifyn Benedict family and their eight children who reside there. Rio Grande is very remote. The group rented a tour bus and traveled with the aid of five translators who accompanied them everywhere.
Chelan County mayors spoke out unanimously Tuesday, August 30 to the Tri-Commission here, pleading and complaining about the lack of affordable housing in their cities. Mayors Cheri Kelley Farivar (Leavenworth), Mike Cooney (Chelan), Jeff Gomes (Cashmere) and Keith Vradenburg (Entiat) all spoke individually, but had the same message, "We have five new teachers with no place to live," lamented Vradenburg. He went on to say that besides extremely high end new housing along the waterfront at $700,000 each, "I wouldn't put my dog or horses in what's left."
Leaves of Absence requests continue to be contentious decisions for the Cascade School Board. School district personnel, certificated and classified, can request leaves of absence up to one year. Each time this has come before the board, members have wrestled with the issue. The main issue is holding a position for someone who may or may not return to the district. Every year, the Cascade School Board gets these requests. This time, it was not a teacher making the request, but a classified employee, Special Education Para, Carrie Wright.
The first improvements at the downtown paid parking lots should be in place before Oktoberfest. The main parking lot targeted for improvement is the P2, lower parking lot, across from the Festhalle. On Aug. 23, the Leavenworth City Council approved a contract with Wenatchee Quality Welding and Fabricating for the installation of 641-feet of steel railing along the P2 parking lot wall which borders U.S. Highway 2 on the north side. The contract was for $61,033.
A few laws were created by the last state legislature that have prompted changes in Cascade School District policies. These policy changes were discussed at the Aug. 22 Cascade School Board meeting. Homeless Student Rights "The law states, when we have 10 or more homeless students, which in our district would never happen, it requires each middle school and high school principal has to identify a point of contact for that youth," said Cascade School Superintendent Bill Motsenbocker. "Typically at the middle school, the counselor would be the point of contact. That person would introduce the guardians of that student to Tim Lawless, who is our homeless coordinator for the district."
With solid containment lines now surrounding the 390-acre Suncrest Fire, firefighters are being sent back to their home units across the great Pacific Northwest. This will be the final update from regional Type 2 Incident Management Team 12. Control of the fire will be given to local fire district, Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources agents at 6 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, the Chelan County Sheriff's Office has reduced evacuation levels from Level 2 to Level 1 for homes north of North Road between Nibbelink and Fox roads. Roadblocks on North Road were scheduled to be removed Wednesday, as well.
The 15-year anniversary of 9/11 will be commemorated at Cashmere's Spirit of America Memorial in Riverside Park at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. This memorial was dedicated one year ago in a ceremony attended by an estimated 1,100 people from all over the state. It took one-and-a-half years to find a location and create a design to win the competition against the other cities which also wanted to have the memorial, after which it had to be constructed.
Quick action by local fire crews prevented a fire in Tumwater Canyon from expanding. The fire occurred on the evening of Aug. 23. Chelan County Fire District 3 Chief Kelly O'Brien said they were called to a possible brush fire at 5:58 p.m. one mile west of Leavenworth in the Tumwater Canyon. Also responding was Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue, Chelan County Fire District 6, Forest Service, DNR, Chelan County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Patrol and WSDOT.
Leavenworth City Councilman Robert (Bob) Francis announced his resignation from the City Council effective Aug. 23, 2016. Council Member Francis was appointed to the Leavenworth City Council on Nov. 28, 2008 by Mayor Robert Eaton; Bob was elected to the position in 2009 and again in 2013. Bob served on numerous Council Committees during his tenure including Public Safety, Finance and Public Works. He also served on the City's Residential Advisory Committee.
During the last new Leavenworth high school rebuilding in 1983-84, students were housed in pods outside the construction site. This time around, the pods won't be necessary, as the students will be shuffled to different parts of the building instead. The new high school will be constructed on top of the old high school parking lot. So that means students, teachers and visitors will need another place to park.
Second year principal Mike Janski is excited to add the AVID program to the eighth grade this year. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, seeks to prepare students for college. Malia Renner-Singer started the program at the high school last year. Janski said they are pulling the program into the eighth grade to see how it will work. Then, possibly move it into sixth and seventh grades next year. Leah Boggs will head up the AVID program at IRMS.
Osborn Elementary School has grown by about 30 students this year. Last year, they were at 269 students. Now, they're at 300. A particularly large class has been moving through the school system. Now, they are in third grade, at Osborn. "That third grade class has been big all the way through. We had the physical space to add another teacher. It brings the class sizes from 28 down to 21 in each class, which is a huge difference," said Osborn Principal Kenny Renner Singer.