Photo by Ian Dunn
Young riders try out the new pump track in Leavenworth. The park is located in Enchantment Park. It is one of only two asphalt surface pump tracks in the U.S. designed by Velosolutions.
The new pump track in Leavenworth is open. That is an amazing fact in itself, since the entire project came together within a year's time. When it comes to public project's like this, that is lightning speed.
Despite the overwhelming public sentiment against allowing overnight rentals in the residential areas of town, the Leavenworth City Council is still interested in finding at least some instances where the practice could be allowed.
Over the last month, the Upper Valley MEND board of directors has been interviewing and vetting candidates for a new executive director. The board is now pleased to announce that Kaylin Bettinger has been named executive director, effective June 1, 2016. A strategic thinker and energetic do-er, Bettinger brings operations, communications and development experience to MEND, most recently as MEND's communications and development manager.
The Leavenworth City Council has decided to hold off on a utility rate study, at least for this year. Utility rate studies are used by cities to calculate, over time, what rates should be for water, sewer, garbage, etc. Since, by state law, utilities must support themselves, the utility rate studies are important so users are charged appropriately to support the various utilities, including maintenance, upgrades, and the like.
The Leavenworth Community Farmer's Market's first market will be Thursday, June 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. and will run every Thursday until Oct. 20 at the Lions Club Park, located next to the library and city hall building. This year, the market board and new market manager have been planning for a great summer season with new and returning vendors, live music every market, delicious prepared foods and more.
April experienced record high temperatures throughout the entire Pacific Northwest, causing much of the remaining snowpack to melt and runoff. Over 80 percent of all SNOTEL sites with at least 15 years of data set all new melt rate records for April. During two separate high-pressure weather systems in April, Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) experienced minimum daily temperatures exceeding 20 degrees above normal. Due to the rapid snowmelt, runoff was above normal and Washington State's rivers and streams were able to contain it without flooding.
A 50-year old climber from Seatac died last Saturday while rock climbing in the Icicle Canyon. According to Chelan County Sheriff Sergeant Kent Sisson, the accident happened on Bob's Crack route of the Bob's Wall rock climbing area.
The long awaited visit by the Army Corps of Engineers finally took place on May 6. The Cascade School District has been waiting for word from the Corps stating that their Pine Street site is not a wetland. School District officials felt confident the site was not a wetland, based on some of the scientific studies done on the site, but until the Corps signs off, the site was still in limbo, to a certain extent. The Corps had indicated to the school district they wanted to see the site in spring.
The Wenatchee River Institute in Leavenworth has received a $45,000 grant from the Recreation Conservation Office to develop a program for struggling students in the Wenatchee School District. WRI Executive Director Patrick Walker said the school district has had an after school program for years. The school district partnered with WRI on the grant application. It includes a three-week summer school program and a full year after-school program.
The musical Guys and Dolls (junior version) will be presented by grades three to eight from Icicle River Middle and Osborn Elementary schools this week at Cascade High School. "The junior just means it is an original Broadway show that has been cut down to about an hour. It's for people that are not adults. The junior just means it is shortened in length. The music is simplified to a certain extent, but it is not simple," said Director Mandi Wickline. "There are still 15 scenes. We are dividing it into two acts. There's at least 12 musical numbers."
On April 6, there was a packed house at the Leavenworth Planning Commission meeting, a rarity for them, but the topic of allowing overnight rentals in residential areas is striking a chord. "A rough vote, before everything started, of support and opposition for the concept. At the meeting, the majority seemed to be opposed to the idea of opening up overnight rentals throughout residential areas," said Planning Commission member Andy Lane, to the Leavenworth City Council at the April 26 meeting. "We started listening to people and getting comments."
This is not your grandma's playground with swings, slides and teeter-toters. Nope, these concepts being considered for the Beaver Valley Elementary playground take it a whole new level. A parent group received a grant from the Cascade Education Foundation to do a study on an ecological play yard at Beaver Valley.
The Special Education Class at Cascade High School is doing some special things these days. Not only do they have a thriving coffee business, but they're also making and selling jewelry from recyclable items. The objective of the class, said Special Ed teacher Jessi Klancke, is to help every student find meaningful employment after they leave public school. That's going to look different for each student, she said. Some might have good social skills, while others may be good at working with their hands.
The Chelan County Sheriff's Office was alerted at 10:25 a.m. on Sunday, May 8 to an injured climber on the Snow Creek Wall, above the Icicle Creek drainage. According to a news release from CCSO Sergeant Kent Sisson, the climber had reportedly fallen while ascending the second pitch of the "orbit" route. He suffered a fractured right ankle.
In case you were not aware, May is Foster Parent and Foster Care Awareness Month. There are approximately 80 foster families in Chelan and Douglas counties for over 150 children. The month is about showing appreciation for the foster parents and also to recruit new foster parents, because there is a great need. Fostering Washington is a grant funded program through Eastern Washington University's Child Welfare and Research Center. They have a contract with the state, through the Department of Social and Health Services, to recruit foster parents for private or state agencies and also to provide support to those families through the licensing process.
In the wake of Upper Valley MEND stepping away from Meadowlark, Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar is moving forward on establishing a task force to study housing affordability in town. At the April 12 Leavenworth City Council study session, Farivar said the ad hoc committee would have around 10 people with representation from city council, city administration, the affordable housing community, builders and realtors.
Normally, annexations are welcomed by the city, but not in this case. The annexation petition of Chuck Reppas was unique, in that he was not requesting annexation because he needed city services like water and sewer. "As far as the utilities, our sewer and water is fine. We actually have a shared well with four of the lot owners. As Nate (Pate, city development manager) said, it is quite a distance to bring utilities to the site. It really is prohibitively expensive for us to consider bringing utilities to the site," Reppas told the council, at the April 12 city council meeting. "We would be glad to be part of an LID sometime in the future as the other neighbors wanted to consider annexation."
The Leavenworth City Council, at the April 12 city council meeting, approved the selection of a contractor for the Chumstick Trail, water and sewer project. Advantage Dirt Contractors, Inc. was the low bid in the amount of $780,899. There was an additional $121,233 necessary for the project, said Herb Amick, Leavenworth public works director. The additional money was for construction engineering, testing, observation and a PUD pole relocation. The pole relocation costs $78,917, while the additional water and sewer cost is $56,978.
For Gebbers Farms executive Jon Wyss, wanting to replace the longtime incumbent Linda Evans-Parlette as the new senator from Washington's 12th District, is a natural culmination of his life's work thus far.
New and significant resource damage to the Enchantment Lakes basin has spurred the creation of a new group, Friends of Enchantments, to help protect the fragile, iconic landscape in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The Friends of Enchantments formed after several long-time backpackers in the area were stunned last fall with the amount of trail damage from even the previous year. The damage, accompanying a spike in day use, includes widened trails, steep cuts across switchback corners, and new side trails off and along the main through-trail, sometimes three paths side-by-side and at least one sandy swath dozens of feet wide.
Cascade Medical is now accepting the Molina Marketplace insurance plan after several months of contract negotiations with Molina. "We pursued this contract in the best interest of our patients," said Jim Hopkins, Chief Financial Officer at Cascade Medical. "Whenever there is an opportunity to become more accessible for people in the community and lower their out-of-pocket costs, we're going to do that."