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1/2/2013 2:04:00 PM
2012 Year in Review
We hope you enjoy this look back at some of the top stories of 2012 in The Leavenworth Echo. We have also included some of the many photos from this past year that have appeared on the pages of the Echo, ranging from hard news to festivals and sports. In this issue, we present the top stories from July through December.

July

Demarest lawsuit against city fails

United States District Court Judge Justin L. Quackenbush began his legal brief pointing out the fact plaintiff Steve Demarest is no stranger to legal challenges to municipal action and codes and consequences for bringing meritless lawsuits. Perhaps this fact did not bode well for Demarest in the eyes of Judge Quackenbush. Although, it should be noted, Quackenbush was merely noting a point. His decision was supposed to be based on the facts presented in the case. He ruled for Summary Judgement for the city of Leavenworth on June 22, which means there was no dispute as to the material facts in the case. So, based on the facts alone, Quackenbush ruled in favor of the city of Leavenworth. Demarest had brought suit against the city claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated because his downtown business was forced to adhere to the Bavarian theme. Leavenworth City Administrator Joel Walinski said he was surprised at the scope of the decision. "I was surprised because typically when the court's make a ruling they have a partial ruling, 75-25. There always seems to be a partial ruling," Walinski said. "In this particular case, the judge settled all issues in favor of the city. It just reconfirms the residents and city council have taken a proactive approach to promoting their town and creating an economic engine and have done it correctly over time."

Bullitt files lawsuit against fish hatchery

Local environmentalist Harriet Bullitt has filed a lawsuit against the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, claiming the hatchery is illegally diverting water from the Icicle Creek. The lawsuit regards the longtime hatchery practice of diverting water from the Icicle Creek down their man-made channel adjacent to the facility. Bullitt's suit claims the hatchery does not have a permit to divert water from a river. "This is not the environmentalists leading the charge. This proceeds the Environmental Policy Act," Bullitt said. "This is old western water law that nobody can divert water in a river without having a permit to do so." Leavenworth Hatchery Complex Manager Dave Irving disputes the notion they cannot divert water down their man-made channel. "Legally, we are allowed to divert water at structure two," Irving said. "We are not doing anything illegal there when we divert water. Our biological opinion says we can only do it at certain times." Bullitt has long sought to restore and preserve the natural portion of the Icicle Creek that borders her property.

We hope you enjoy this look back at some of the top stories of 2012 in The Leavenworth Echo. We have also included some of the many photos from this past year that have appeared on the pages of the Echo, ranging from hard news to festivals and sports. In this issue, we present the top stories from July through December.

July

Demarest lawsuit against city fails

United States District Court Judge Justin L. Quackenbush began his legal brief pointing out the fact plaintiff Steve Demarest is no stranger to legal challenges to municipal action and codes and consequences for bringing meritless lawsuits. Perhaps this fact did not bode well for Demarest in the eyes of Judge Quackenbush. Although, it should be noted, Quackenbush was merely noting a point. His decision was supposed to be based on the facts presented in the case. He ruled for Summary Judgement for the city of Leavenworth on June 22, which means there was no dispute as to the material facts in the case. So, based on the facts alone, Quackenbush ruled in favor of the city of Leavenworth. Demarest had brought suit against the city claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated because his downtown business was forced to adhere to the Bavarian theme. Leavenworth City Administrator Joel Walinski said he was surprised at the scope of the decision. "I was surprised because typically when the court's make a ruling they have a partial ruling, 75-25. There always seems to be a partial ruling," Walinski said. "In this particular case, the judge settled all issues in favor of the city. It just reconfirms the residents and city council have taken a proactive approach to promoting their town and creating an economic engine and have done it correctly over time."

Bullitt files lawsuit against fish hatchery

Local environmentalist Harriet Bullitt has filed a lawsuit against the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, claiming the hatchery is illegally diverting water from the Icicle Creek. The lawsuit regards the longtime hatchery practice of diverting water from the Icicle Creek down their man-made channel adjacent to the facility. Bullitt's suit claims the hatchery does not have a permit to divert water from a river. "This is not the environmentalists leading the charge. This proceeds the Environmental Policy Act," Bullitt said. "This is old western water law that nobody can divert water in a river without having a permit to do so." Leavenworth Hatchery Complex Manager Dave Irving disputes the notion they cannot divert water down their man-made channel. "Legally, we are allowed to divert water at structure two," Irving said. "We are not doing anything illegal there when we divert water. Our biological opinion says we can only do it at certain times." Bullitt has long sought to restore and preserve the natural portion of the Icicle Creek that borders her property.

Mark Millette takes over at LWSC

The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club has hired former Mission Ridge General Manager Mark Milliette as the new GM for the Club. Milliette takes over for Bob Black, who is relocating to Bend, Ore. Milliette, 57, who hails originally from Manson, worked at Mission Ridge for 23 years, including the last 14 as general manager. He resigned from Mission Ridge in May after failing to reach agreement with Mission Ridge Owner Larry Scrivanich over marketing of the resort. A Leavenworth resident since 2008, Milliette figured a new job would take him out of the area he loved so much, but then a call came in from the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club.

City Council elects to continue medical marijuana moratorium

After a sometimes heated public hearing on July 10, the Leavenworth City Council voted 5-2 to continue a six-month moratorium on the operation of collective gardens within city limits. The council implemented the moratorium on June 12, and as required by law, held a public hearing within 60 days. In the time the moratorium was established on June 12, the city established 28 findings of fact in relation to this issue. In continuing the moratorium, the council voted to accept the findings of fact and the testimony in the public hearing. In particular, the council ruling impacts Julie Istvan, and the collective garden she established in downtown Leavenworth. Seven people spoke in support of ending the moratorium, including Istvan herself. "I deal with sick people. I am not a drug dealer. I have AIDS patients and cancer patients and people with Crohn's disease," Istvan said. "People are sick of taking all these drugs. We're not hurting anybody. I'm not a criminal."

Wenatchee River level still dangerously high

The Wenatchee River is a commonly known place for luring river rafters, kayakers, and those who partake in other recreational water sports. When the weather gets to be as hot as it has been recently, many locals and visitors resort to the river as a place to keep cool. Bob Dryzmkowski, Water Resources chief with United States Geological Survey in Spokane, says whether you are a resident in the Upper Valley or just visiting it is important to be aware of your surroundings and the dangers the river may present so you can enjoy the water but still be safe. This July, much like a year ago, the water level is quite a bit higher than it normally is this time of year.

August

Train slams into Leavenworth woman's car

A wrong turn in the early morning hours Sunday proved costly for a Leavenworth woman when her car became stuck on a railroad crossing in Cashmere. Kalee McKernan, 21, was able to exit her car safely but her vehicle was destroyed when an eastbound freight train slammed into it. According to a Chelan County Sheriff's Department news release, Rivercom Dispatch received a phone call around 4:19 a.m. indicating a passenger car had been struck by an eastbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at the Aplets Way intersection in Cashmere. Deputies arrived at the scene and reported McKernan had turned westbound on the tracks at the crossing off of Aplets Way, mistaking the tracks for Sunset Highway. "It was really stupid, it was late, I had been pulled over in a parking lot making a phone call and I was going to go up Stines Hill. For some reason, I thought I was a block ahead of myself, took a right, and felt myself go into the train tracks," McKernan said.

Pear crop not impacted by nationwide drought

While crops all over the United States have been impacted by severe drought, pears have not been one of them. Mainly because the Northwest has been spared by the nationwide drought. And because some 84 percent of nation's fresh pear crop comes from Oregon and Washington. "We're expecting a good pear crop in Washington and Oregon," said Ken Moffitt, president, Pear Bureau Northwest, based in Milwaukee, Ore., established in 1931. "I don't see drought affecting our prices this season. The apple crop in some states, besides Washington, have been affected by some freeze damage. With a lower potential apple crop in many of the states, pears might be able to fill a nitch in some of those retail promotions."

Leavenworth, Cashmere councils meet to discuss public safety

A decision has yet to be made between the city councils of Leavenworth and Cashmere on whether they would like to start their own police department or continue contracting with Chelan County Sheriff's Department. A meeting was held on July 30 at the Riverfront Center in Cashmere with the public safety consultant, Tom Davis, to further discuss questions the representatives of the cities had on their existing contract and possibly having their own police department. Those who participated in the meeting were the council members of Leavenworth and Cashmere, Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes, and Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Farivar. Also attending was Leavenworth and Cashmere city staffs, Sheriff Brian Burnett, and Chelan County Commissioner Keith Goehner. Leavenworth and Cashmere recently hired Davis to help the cities look at current Sheriff contracts and look at what other options are available.

PUD forced to halt new fiber hook ups

The Chelan County PUD has announced there will be no more connections made to the fiber optic network this year. Even though there is still continuing demand for the service, PUD managers made the decision out of financial considerations. The PUD has reached the limit in terms of the number of fiber connections that fit into the fiber optic system budget. This is something different for the PUD, which typically would borrow money from the electric system to complete the fiber installations. "When we completed our strategic planning process, we turned toward implementing that plan, following the directions given by our board, which was to make the fiber optic network financially sustainable," said Chris Church, interim director, Fiber and Telecom. "We looked at several different options on how to do that. We looked at what we spend. For example, on service installations. We looked at revenues, what we take in from our service providers."

Downtown business owner closes shop amid rape allegations

Less than a month after receiving a business license, the owner of Alpen Spa in Leavenworth, Thomas C. Rohn, reportedly grabbed a few articles from his retail store and locked up the shop. On July 23, Rivercom received a call about some suspicious activity at 219 9th Street, the location for Alpen Spa. An anonymous local resident called in to say her daughter had been working at Alpen Spa and they had read an article in the Spokesman Review talking about a man named Thomas C. Rohn, 38, who allegedly raped two of his employees at a beauty shop he operated in Spokane. This same man recently opened up a business next to the Tumwater Inn, called Alpen Spa. The caller said she was concerned because the Alpen Spa owner, Rohn, had three teenage girls working for him.

Pool and EMS levies pass by wide margins

One thing you can say about voters in the Leavenworth area, they are decisive. Both the EMS and Pool levies passed in the Aug. 7 primary by wide margins. The pool levy collected 71 percent of the vote, while the EMS levy garnered a whopping 80 percent of the vote. The pool levy raised the rate from 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to 11 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This amount to around $18.30 for a $100,000 home or an increase of around $3.50. It may not seem like much, but it will make a huge different in the operation of the pool, which has been running at a deficit for sometime. The pool is operated by the Upper Valley Public Recreation Service Area. With the annual shortfalls, the city of Leavenworth has had to chip in as much as $20,000 to keep the pool afloat.

Man discovers shocking truth behind his 1949 adoption

It was a fall day, like any other day in sleepy Leavenworth. It was Oct. 19, 1949, long before Leavenworth became the thriving Bavarian Village it is today. This may have been an ordinary day, but the events of this day would scar the town forever, impact numerous lives and divide two families. Young Imojean Stinnett, 17, had an armload of groceries as she headed down Front Street with her sister, unknowing the danger that lurked. She had married George Washington Stinnett, 10 years her senior, only the previous fall. Their young son Kenny was just nine months old. Something was amiss. Something had enraged George Stinnett, and that anger was squarely focused on his young spouse. He grabbed a .22 rifle and headed toward town looking for Imojean. She was not hard to find. George walked toward her and began shooting. One bullet hit its mark as the bag of groceries went flying, but she was not mortally wounded. Her family home was down on Commercial Street. Perhaps she could make there. She began to run best she could. But the crazed George was not finished. He chased her down around the corner of 9th Street, continuing to fire until she fell dead on the sidewalk.

Mountain top accident keep Search and Rescue team busy

The Chelan County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team, Cascade Ambulance Medics, and CCFD 3 personnel were kept busy last Saturday as they worked together handling three separate rescue incidents in the Leavenworth area. At 10:23 a.m. Aug. 18, deputies and medics were informed a 29-year-old Leavenworth woman was injured on Tumwater Ridge above Leavenworth after falling in a paragliding accident. Chelan County Sergeant, Kent Sisson, said Annika Bibby, a special educator in the Cashmere School District, crashed shortly after launch when the left wing of her paraglider clipped a tree. "She fell down just below the launch pad in the trees," Sisson said. Rescuers had to hike over half a mile from the staging area at the top of Ranger Road to reach the area where Bibby had landed.

Man dies after fall in Alpine Lakes Wilderness

William E. Berry of Lakewood, Wash. was found dead in a boulder field near Lake Donald in Alpine Lakes Lake Wildness after falling during a hike with his 9-year-old son last Saturday. Berry, 40, and his son had hiked from High Camp to fish at Lake Donald during the day, according to a media release from the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. On the hike back down, Berry chose to take a different route towards Loch Eileen after a few campers told him about a faster way back to High Camp, said Sergeant Kent Sisson, Chelan County Sheriff's Office On the way back to High Camp, the father got off track and was in unknown territory.

September

Vesta women helped put Leavenworth on the map

Several women recently donated to the Upper Valley Museum a couple scrapbooks detailing the years 1963 and 1964. What is the significance of these years and these scrapbooks? Well, the women were former members of the Vesta Junior Women's Club of Leavenworth. The scrapbooks chronicle two very eventful years in not only the history of the Vesta Club, but also the history of Leavenworth. Back i n t h e e a r ly 6 0 s , Leavenworth was a much different town than the thriving Bavarian Village you see today. Many of storefronts were empty. There were more taverns than restaurants. It was dying town, in the opinion of many. The Vesta Club was started in Leavenworth in 1954, by a group of women all between the ages of 18 and 35. This was a community service club. It took a few years to get rolling, but once it did, this group of ladies did some amazing things.

Stevens Pass owners seeks to make Leavenworth a winter destination

For perhaps the first time, Stevens Pass Mountain Resort is turning its attention to the east. That is, the owner of Stevens Pass, Karl Kapuscinski, believes Leavenworth, in concert with Stevens Pass, would make an ideal destination ski town, rivaling many other such resorts in the country. Kapuscinski, who has owned Stevens Pass for about a year now, cannot believe someone had not thought of this idea before. The Vermont native fell in love with Leavenworth, and all the amenities, tubing, sleigh rides, snowmobile rides, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and the Bavarian themed town. "For some reason, I thought it had already been done," Kapuscinski said. "There had been no concerted group effort to mold these two together as a home ski town, i.e. Stevens home ski town."

City hires Merchant Patrol to test the waters

After a meeting with downtown bar owners, Leavenworth city officials have decided to hire Merchant Patrol during the month of September to patrol weekends, and various other days. After much discussion, it was decided to give Merchant Patrol Security of East Wenatchee a try this month, record the results, and decide whether or not bring the service back on a more regular basis next year. A meeting was held at Leavenworth City Hall on Aug. 30 to discuss the late night problems downtown and possible remedies, including hiring the Merchant Patrol. All liquor license holders in Leavenworth were invited to the meeting, but only a handful showed up.

Multiple lighting fires burn in the Wenatchee Valley

Multiple fires in the Wenatchee Valley continue to be reported that are directly related to the large lightning storm that disrupted most of North Central Washington this weekend. Hundreds of lightning strikes on the Wenatchee River Ranger District have resulted in over two dozen wildfires with the majority concentrated in the lower Wenatchee Valley and extending to Lake Wenatchee. The highest ranked priority fire in the Wenatchee Valley is the 250 acre Canyons Fire, staffed by Chelan County Fire District #1 and the U.S. Forest Service. The Canyons Fire is approximately three miles west of the city of Wenatchee in the foothills area of Number One Canyon. This fire has forced evacuations of 179 homes and is highly visible from the Wenatchee metropolitan area.

PUD outlines wastewater plans for Peshastin and Dryden

Wastewater rates will be rising for Peshastin and Dryden in the near future. That was the message from the Chelan County PUD last week. The PUD held a public meeting on Sept. 5 at Peshastin-Dryden Elementary School to discuss the future of the wastewater systems, in light of state and federal mandates to clean up of the discharge into the Wenatchee River. These mandates are forcing the PUD make an expensive upgrade to the wastewater systems, which already are running in the red. The PUD wastewater systems in Lake Wenatchee, Peshastin and Dryden cost the district $340,000 per year.

Heavy smokes impacts Leavenworth

Lightning storms causing fires in the Wenatchee Valley. This is nothing new or unusual. It has been happening for thousands of years. A severe lighting storm in early September is a bit unusual, as well as the resulting fires. But a combination of weather factors combined this past week to create an extraordinary and extremely hazardous situation in the valley. Several fires were burning along with an inversion system. Bad combination. Smoke from the fires pushed the smoke to the ground, making the air hazardous to very unhealthy in most of the valley. "This is extraordinary for not just this area, but for the entire state. It is rare," said Mary Small, public information officer, Chelan-Douglas Health District. "It just happens that normally our fires are in July and August and our inversions are in September and October. Our fires hit our inversions and you don't want that."

Micah Rieke named CHS boys basketball coach

A name familiar to Kodiak fans, Micah Rieke, has been named the new head coach for the Cascade High School boys basketball team, taking over for Paul Fraker, who resigned this past spring. Rieke, 33, is a Leavenworth native who graduated from Cascade High School in 1998. He played college basketball at Pacific Lutheran University. His coaching career started as an assistant at Burlington-Edison High School, then as a graduate assistant Eastern Washington University, where he had a chance to coach future NBA star Rodney Stuckey. He received a masters in sports psychology at EWU. For the past five years, he has been the head basketball coach at Cedarcrest High School in Duval, Wash.

Leavenworth Summer Theater founder Wagner retires

As Leavenworth is enveloped in smoke these past couple weeks, it is almost fitting that John Wagner retires from Leavenworth Summer Theater at this time. You see, the smoke in the town was much the same in 1994 when LST debuted, during a summer of devastating fires in the Leavenworth area. The smoke and fires and poor performing conditions at Icicle River Middle School nearly sunk the fledging outfit before it started. But Wagner and his financial backer Bill Weis decided to press on the next season. And the rest is history. In past 25 years, Leavenworth Summer Theater has become an institution in Leavenworth, performing three shows every summer, and one Christmas show, drawing thousands of fans every season.

October

City Council contributes $20,000 toward Stevens Pass partnership

The Leavenworth City Council has decided to allocate $20,000 toward an effort, in conjunction with Stevens Pass Resort, promote Leavenworth as Washington's best winter destination. The decision came as part of the Sept. 25 Leavenworth City Council meeting. City Administrator Joel Walinski said Stevens Pass has pledged to use 25 percent of their $242,000 marketing budget toward the destination Leavenworth promotion. "The destination based promotion is, come stay in Leavenworth, ski at Stevens Pass," Walinski said. "Beside doing the promotional marketing, they are also going to offer a number of cost reductions on ski packages. In exchange, the city, chamber and lodging association is looking at discounting rooms to match those ski packages. That is the partnership being formed." The $20,000 would be provided to the LAP Committee, so they can create a marketing piece in conjunction with the Stevens Pass destination based marketing plan, he said. The LAP Committee would have oversight on the expenditures.

Local winemaker makes trip to China

Shenzhen, China is probably the largest city you've never heard of. That is the estimation of Don Woods, Icicle Ridge winemaker, who visited the city in August to serve as a judge in the International Beverage Exposition and Competition. It is a city of 18 million people, he said. "You get there and wonder why you have never heard of it because it is enormous and high tech," Wood said. "It has grown from 1 million to 18 million in 10 years. The Chinese government made conscience decision to make it grow by bringing in all the industry." You might wonder why a small time player in the wine industry like Wood would be traveling around the world to judge a wine competition. Well, it is because of a contact he made while studying at Central Washington University. The head of developing the judging panel is Amy Mumma, head of the Institute for Wine, Beverages and Gastronomy at CWU. Wood was part of her first class of graduates in 2003.

Kjell Bakke elected to Pacific Northwest Ski Hall of Fame

The name Bakke in Leavenworth is synonymous all things related to skiing. So it comes as no surprise that Kjell Bakke, 79, has been inducted into the Pacific Northwest Ski Hall of Fame. Bakke was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of a special ceremony this past Sunday in Seattle. The affable Bakke has literally spent a lifetime on the snow, beginning when he was only three years old in 1936, right here in Leavenworth, taught by his father Magnus, a legendary skier in his own right. He calls the election into the Pacific Northwest Ski Hall of Fame, a great honor. "A lot of skiers come out of the Pacific Northwest, and to select one to three every two years, is quite an honor for all the thousands of skiers. I feel pretty honored," Bakke said.

McKenna battling cancer

Nine months ago, Cascade School Superintendent Steve McKenna, 58, was diagnosed with a rare form of the skin cancer called Merkel cell. At that time, the cancerous skin was removed from his forehead and tested. No more cancer cells were found. But now, the cancer has returned, and has moved into his bones, which is not good news, McKenna said. Initially, McKenna started noticing some discomfort in his shoulder. Thinking he may have injured himself, he went to see an orthopedic doctor. "He found I hadn't injured my shoulder and there was something else causing the problem," McKenna said. "He referred me to an oncologist for additional testing." A biopsy of the bone confirmed the Merkel cell had spread. The cancer had spread to both his shoulders and his hips. Anytime cancer spreads from one place to another, that is not good news, he said.

Tax revenue down due to smoke

Leavenworth has impacted any gains in lodging tax revenues the city of Leavenworth may have realized this year. At the beginning of the year, lodging tax revenues were up 8 percent from 2011, and remained that way into September. City Finance Director Chantell Steiner said, at the Oct. 9 study session, the lodging tax revenues are now 4.59 percent over last year. "I am just now seeing the numbers because I just finished up September. We had another fairly sizable drop. We know that September is going to be another fairly sizable drop that is going to come to us," Steiner said. "As the year has gone on we've gotten smaller and smaller, closer and closer. We need to be real cautious with how much more we keep putting on the table." Steiner said she heard there were a lot of people calling and checking on the smoke and canceling hotel rooms. She urged the council to be very cautious moving forward. "September's numbers last year were extremely high. If we are comparing ourselves to last year, it is kind of false hope," she said.

LWSC $500,000 project remembers fallen skiers

A half-million dollar project is a pretty big deal for the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club and Ski Hill Heritage Foundation. It seems like a tall mountain to climb for the little club, but there is an abiding belief they will climb it. This belief comes from the fact the project is dedicated to Jim Jack, Chris Rudolph, Johnny Brenan and Dan Zimmerman, who all tragically perished doing what they loved. The many friends and supporters of these men will not let the project fail. Zimmerman died in an avalanche while skiing on Mount Cashmere on March 5, 2011. Jack, Rudolph and Brennan died in the tragic Tunnel Creek Stevens Pass avalanche on Feb. 19, 2012. LWSC Marketing Director Rebecca Darley said the project came about because friends of Dan, Chris, Jim and Johnny decided they wanted some place in Leavenworth that could be built and used as a place to remember the guys, ideally among ski culture, since they were all really into skiing. "We talked about doing something at the Ski Hill and it just kept evolving into what it is now, which is a wonderful gathering place that will include a huge patio, outdoor barbecue and fire pit," Darley said.

Citizen led group recommends building a new high school

The citizen led group, assigned to assess the Cascade High School building, is recommending to the Cascade School Board a new high school should be built. This recommendation comes after a nearly year long review of the situation. The group made a presentation at the Oct. 8 Cascade School Board meeting at Cascade High School. Previously, a district led committee came to the same conclusion, however, the subsequent bond measure failed. This time around, district officials decided to put the issue in the hands of a citizen led committee, without any timelines. Meetings were held once a month since the beginning of the year. First, the group examined all the materials from the previous committee. Then, they had meetings with the architect to review everything he put together.

Project At Ease to help local vets

After months of planning, the newly formed group Project at Ease, for the first time, hosted a group of local veterans in Leavenworth in October. Project at Ease came together with hopes of treating local vets to a relaxing weekend in Leavenworth, free of charge. It was modeled after a similar program in Chelan. Three veterans came t o Leavenworth with their partners during the mid-week, so as to stay away from the crowds, and in particular, Oktoberfest. Two of the vets were Marines, who had done tours of duty in Iraq, and an Army vet, who had done tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. All are struggling with issues related to post traumatic stress disorder. The veterans were referred by their counselors, as people they felt could benefit by this type of activity.

Ranger Station getting long overdue upgrade

The Wenatchee River Ranger District Station in Leavenworth is currently undergoing some extensive remodeling. Three separate projects were planned for the station, all happening at different times. But then the late season fires hit, and projects were delayed. Now, all three projects are happening simultaneously, making things rather chaotic around the ranger station of late. "The biggest project people will see is the fire warehouse. The building is being revamped, the electrical, the plumbing," said Susan Peterson, Wenatchee River Ranger District information officer. "For decades, it has not been functioning as it should. The building has been remodeled many times."

November

Aftermath of fires could lead to severe flooding

After the brutal lightening storm on Sept. 8 over 7,500 acres burned over the course of a month. Even though the issues of smoke and evacuations have come to an end, the Wenatchee Complex Fire has raised concerns for potential runoff events. For the next three years people with homes near the forest fires of September 2012 will need to prepare for possible severe runoffs that could flood property. Ray Faini, Director of the Chelan County WSU Extension, said as long as we continue to have gentle rain like we have had in the month of October we should be fine. However, the worry for runoffs is dependent on the weather. It's possible freezing weather will cause the grounds to freeze over and then the a large amount of rain could come through causing the ground to flood. Faini said locals should be worried even if significant runoffs don't happen over this fall and winter.

Powerful pipe bomb found in Leavenworth home

Chelan County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Leavenworth man after discovering a powerful pipe bomb at his home. On Nov. 13 at 8:24 a.m., deputies were called to the home of Dart and Lonna West on the 11400 block of U.S. Highway 2. "RiverCom received a 911 call from a female in Leavenworth," said Chelan County Sheriff Chief of Patrol Mike Harris,"There was a possible domestic dispute and she thought he had killed himself. They were having an argument." Lonna West reported her husband Dart, 55, had gone into the room of the house where he keeps the guns. She heard a single shot, and assumed he had shot himself. He had been drinking heavily, Harris said. While still on the phone with RiverCom, she went into an outbuilding on the property that includes a furnished apartment. Then, Dart West started banging on the door. "She wasn't sure if he still had the weapon. So it was relayed to us he was possibly still armed," he said. "We had four deputies and two State Patrol officers arrive on the scene. They were able to take him into custody for the domestic part of that."

Voters overwhelmingly approve fire district annexation

Voters in Leavenworth and Chelan County Fire District 3 approved, by a 86 percent margin, the annexation of the city into the fire district. Fire District Chief Kelly O'Brien called the support overwhelming. During the low key campaign, he really never encountered any opposition. "There was nothing but support for it. A lot of folks did not realize this needed to happen. They thought we were already one in the same," O'Brien said. "Some of that had to do with educating folks. Yes, this has been running smoothy over the years, but it is separate." Since the city closed it's fire department in 1989, Leavenworth has contracted with CCFD 3 for fire services. The annexation means the fire district would collect taxes from Leavenworth instead negotiating a contract every couple years. Because additional taxes will be collected from city residents for CCFD 3, City Administrator Joel Walinski said city taxes would be reduced by a like amount to offset the increase.

Animal Control seeks dangerous local dog

A man and his girlfriend were walking down Icicle Road on Nov. 17 when they were approached by what appeared to be a friendly Pit Bull mix. He was wagging his tail. The man leaned over to pet the animal when suddenly the dog changed demeanor and bit him in the face, then ran off. "The guy went to the hospital and had 27 stitches," said Dawn Davies, executive director, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. "As is required, the hospital called Animal Control to report the dog bite. That is why we put out information to get the public to help us track down this dog." Animal Control is looking for a black and red or black and brown Pit Bull mixed dog.

KOA Campground owner seeks annexation into city

The owner of the KOA Campground in Leavenworth is seeking to have his property annexed into the city of Leavenworth. Daniel Reyna, Snohomish, briefed the council on his plans at the Nov. 13 Leavenworth City Council meeting. The KOA Campground is a 27 acre property just behind Safeway on Riverbend Drive, bordering the Wenatchee River. The city has 60 days to accept or reject the application or establish criteria for the annexation. Reyna said the annexation makes a lot of sense because it borders the Safeway and Fitzsimmons properties, which have already been annexed into the city. "We are looking at the pros and cons and cost-benefit reward of annexation," Reyna said. "Most of it points to positive results. We have to find out about the city requirements and protocol that could create some challenges." He noted the city's long term plan is to bring a utility line down Riverbend Drive, with a lift station planned for one end of the KOA property.

December

Seattle man arrested after standoff in Merry Canyon

A Seattle man was arrested last Thursday after holding law enforcement at bay for most of the day outside at cabin in Merry Canyon near Leavenworth. Alan Chamberlain, 59, Seattle, was subdued and arrested after a 12 hour standoff in which he allegedly threatened to kill law enforcement officers and himself. The whole incident began on Nov. 28 when a woman called RiverCom to ask if deputies would check on her friend Chamberlain, who she believed was possibly en route to Leavenworth from Seattle. According to press release from the Chelan County Sheriff 's Office, the woman claimed Chamberlain was making suicidal statements after having a domestic dispute with his wife and an apparent negative situation at work. She thought he was possibly heading to a cabin in Merry Canyon to kill himself. Deputies did check the cabin on Nov. 28, but did not find any sign of Chamberlain. They did notice of some gun cases in the cabin. The deputies tried to make contact again last Thursday morning about 9:30 a.m. When the deputies made contact, he allegedly threatened deputies with a rifle in hand. The press release said the deputies backed off and attempted to talk with him. Chamberlain was continually telling the deputies he would kill them and then kill himself.

Lawsuit threat forces repeal of gun code

Due to the threat of a lawsuit by the Bellevue based Second Amendment Foundation, the Leavenworth City Council has been forced to repeal local laws limiting gun possession. The Second Amendment Foundation drafted a letter to Leavenworth City Attorney Thom Graafstra in September, informing him the Leavenworth Municipal Code was in violation of state law, with regard to the possession of firearms at city hall or the cemetery. The Leavenworth Municipal Code prohibits the carrying of firearms at city hall, library and cemetery. These laws were enacted in the mid 1990s. The Second Amendment Foundation pointed out in the letter these codes were violation of state law and should be repealed. Failure to so, the letter states, "puts the city of Leavenworth at risk for a lawsuit." Graafstra brought the matter before the council at the Nov. 27 meeting. "It is pretty straight forward. Obviously, these folks believe very strongly in their second amendment rights and monitor cities to make sure they are in compliance with state law. The possession of firearms is regulated by and preempted by state law," Graafstra said. "Some city code is inconsistent and needs to be brought into compliance." Councilman Bob Francis, a Chelan County Sheriff 's Deputy, lamented people could bring firearms to city hall, but not to the courts.







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