Dealing with chronic pain is an issue for many Americans. The problem is, over the years, the medical community has relied on opiates to help people manage their pain. Over time, this practice has evolved into a full fledged addiction epidemic. People were dying because of it. Something had to be done. "There is an opioid epidemic in this country. The majority of opioids used in the world for pain are used in the United States. We've created an epidemic for prescribing opioids for non-cancer related pain," said Dr. Jay Jerome, of Cascade Medical. "That being said, more people die from intentional and unintentional overdose in the United States than they do in car crashes. It's clear that this is not just a minor thing. This is a real and major epidemic in our country."
Cascade Medical ER doctor, Emily Johnston, shared her mountain guiding experiences with a group of Osborn fourth graders last week. The kids were learning about natural disasters, so Johnston's experience in the 2015 devastating earthquake in Nepal helped the students learn about that natural disaster. Johnston said she is a mountain guide, river guide and ski patroller. As a mountain guide, she's climbed Mount Rainier 122 times. She grew up in Seattle, skiing, climbing and hiking. After college, she got a job guiding on Mount Rainier for Rainier Mountaineering. Later, she would guide for International Mountain Guides. "Guided Mount Rainier, Mount McKinley. Also was a ski patroller, most recently at Stevens Pass and I was a white water rafting guide. I did all those things after college. I did those for years after college. That is the way I made my living," Johnston said.
t all started with a cost allocation study. The city commissioned the study to see how their employees were spending their time. Where does the city put their resources to get the work done? Are they being charged to the proper funding sources? "In this particular case with our cost allocation study, we found public works didn't do as much work or spend as much time in the water utility or sewer utility as to what was being charged," said Joel Walinski, Leavenworth city administrator, at the Oct. 11 study session. "What we're doing is trying to re-shift the resources to try and discover where the work is being done." The difference they found, Walinski said, is the cost to support downtown activities, trash pick up and those sorts of things. City employees spent a lot of time doing that. He said they've looked at reallocating a number of staffing costs to cover those spots.
Leavenworth city officials are considering helping to fund a full-time school resource officer in the Cascade School District. Currently, a school resource officer is shared between the Cascade and Cashmere school districts. At the Oct. 11 study session, Leavenworth City Administrator, Joel Walinski, said they have had some conversations about this with Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett. "Sheriff Burnett wanted to see a full-time deputy at both locations. They visit all the schools not just the senior high," Walinski said. "He did go to the school districts and talk about this. The overall costs for a resource officer is $104,000. He then came back and talked to the city about how much the city would consider.
Former educator and city councilman John Bangsund has been appointed to the Leavenworth City Council, to fill the vacancy left when Bob Francis resigned. Initially, there were three candidates vying for the open seat, Bangsund, Sharon Waters and Jason Lundgren. In fact, Lundgren might have been considered the favorite. On April 20, he was one of the finalists vying for the open seat left by Michael Molohon.
Plans are to build a new skatepark in Enchantment Park next spring. For a city project, this one has been moving along at lightning speed. Often, city projects are years in the making, but since the skatepark by the high school was demolished early this year, pressured by the skate community, the city and school district came up with a plan to build a new park. Last week, it was announced that a contractor had been selected for the project. Three skatepark contractors responded to the city's Request for Qualifications, Dreamland Skateparks, Grindline: Concrete Skatepark Design and Construction and Evergreen Skateparks.
Several sites were considered as potential locations for new tennis courts. Ultimately, two sites appeared best, at Osborn Elementary or the Pine Street property. Initially, it was decided the Pine Street property would be best, due to the proximity to the high school and middle school. The bids on the Alpine Lakes Elementary School came in above budget. Those bids were rejected on Aug. 10.
The Community Cupboard food bank and thrift store has been on 14th Street in Leavenworth more than 20 years. Over this time, the city of Leavenworth has given them a nominal lease deal, charging around $1 a year. However, the city needs the space, so Upper Valley MEND is getting ready to move the Cupboard in the coming years. Their current lease ends in 2019, so they hope to have a new home by 2020. "We've outgrown the space. We can't take as many donations as we might be able to in a larger space. We have a lot going on over there," said Kaylin Bettinger, UV MEND executive director.
Coordinated Cost Reimbursement was discussed by the Leavenworth City Council at its September study session. It was later approved by the council at the Sept. 27 meeting. This relates to the region-wide effort to secure water for the future. City Administrator Joel Walinski took pains to try to "boil down" for the council this complicated process. "The Wenatchee Water Planning Session back in 2007 adopted two things. There is the ecology and environmental side of the thing, in terms of providing more water, in terms of stream improvements, in terms of habitat improvements," Walinski said, at the Sept. 13 study session. "The other piece of that was for the addition of a reserve which would allow water rights to be permitted for future growth. That was adopted by Ecology. That was then struck down."
The Leavenworth City Council, at its Sept. 27 meeting, approved a new contract with the Chelan County Department of Emergency Management for 2017. "Chelan County provides us with an emergency management service. In the event there is a disaster with emergency services necessary, they coordinate that for us. They provide the backup for communication, making sure the right contacts are there," said Joel Walinski, Leavenworth city administrator. The EMS department also provides training for city staff. Next year, there will be FEMA training for the city council. That is necessary, Walinski said, so in the event of an emergency the city can receive FEMA funding, which requires staff and city council training.
ink Transit is planning to build a new Park and Ride in Leavenworth adjacent to the Safeway store. Now, the organization is seeking funding for the project. To that end, Link asked the Leavenworth city council to support their funding request to the regional mobility program. At the Sept. 13 city council meeting, the council passed a resolution of support for the Park and Ride project along with a cover letter. "They've been doing this for many years, providing money for transit and mobility ridership program," said Nathan Pate, Leavenworth Development manager. "This Park and Ride has been identified in our transportation element as something recommended to be built."
The Leavenworth City Council is now considering a revised ordinance which would allow limited use and sale of alcohol in city parks. The revisions came on the recommendations from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce. Originally, the ordinance would allow alcohol sales only from 1 to 4 p.m. The chamber was seeking greater flexibility on the hours. The new ordinance would open alcohol sales from 1 to 7 p.m. The first draft of the ordinance related to having the special use permit holder on site at all times. The chamber thought this was too restrictive. So now, a permit holder designee can be available on site, rather than just a permit holder.
Last week, Chelan County PUD personnel informed PUD commissioners on the status of transformer projects in Leavenworth and Chelan. PUD Customer Relations Administrator, Teka Sellers, said there is a commitment, as they go through this process, to check in with commissioners periodically to let them know the status. Sellers said they gave commissioners a summary of their engagements with the community, meetings, and other things they've done to keep the community informed and engaged. They also talked about upcoming meetings, including one Nov. 2 in Leavenworth.
The Leavenworth City Council has approved a special use permit for the Swiss Hotel/Hampton Inn near Safeway, allowing for increased noise levels and nighttime construction of a new water line. The Leavenworth Municipal Code allows for approval of special use permits for noise, if five conditions are met. The first condition is that the special use permit must be necessary. "In this case, water improvements are a critical component of the hotel project for safety and fire suppression," said Herb Amick, City Public Works director, at the Sept. 27 city council meeting.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant rolled into Wenatchee July 25 on his "Big Blue Bus Tour" as part of his whistle stop campaign to unseat Gov. Jay Inslee and become the first GOP head of state in 35 years. Bryant spoke about the importance of educating all children in the state not just those of the upper class.
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.