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home : premium content : news February 5, 2016

12/26/2012 3:52:00 PM
2012 Year In Review

Redistricting has profound impact on Chelan County

For most of our lifetimes, the Cascade curtain has been real one. There is populous western Washington on the one side, and sparse, rural eastern Washington on the other side. It formed a political boundary of sorts as well. But the recent redistricting is changing all that, particularly for those living in this area. The results of the latest census put the wheels in motion some months ago. A new 10th congressional district would be formed in the Olympia area, due to the population growth. This created an issue for all the rest of the congressional districts in the state. Since each congressional district must have the same population base, this set in motion the redistricting process, to basically redraw the lines around the state to accomplish this goal. A redistricting commission was formed. "When we first started the process, we had town hall forums," said Genevieve O'Sullivan, communications director, Washington State Redistricting Commission. "We did 18 public forums across the state and took feedback." Those attending the meetings were shown maps indicating which districts needed to loose population and which had to gain. O'Sullivan said they looked at issues of interest, urban and rural, and there was talk around majority and minority issues.

Break in at IRMS nets computers, cash

A break in at Icicle River Middle School early in the morning on Friday, Jan. 6 appears to be the work on individuals with inside knowledge. The burglars broke into the school during a time when there was an issue with the school's alarm system, said Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett. "The fact the alarm system was down or not working at the time makes you wonder if they knew the alarm system was down," Burnett said. Much of the movements of the burglars was captured on security cameras in the school. Burnett said the suspects did not go roaming around the school looking for items to loot, rather they went to specific rooms. "It looks like they were familiar with what was in the school," he said. Missing is an HP laptop computer, taken from the library office, $50 in cash from the librarian's desk, $50 from library pay pencil dispenser, and interestingly, chewing gum and prescription glasses from the librarian's desk. A set of fingerprints was lifted from the office door window, where the laptop was taken, according to a press release.

SWAT brings in wanted criminal

Responding to a tip, the Chelan County Regional SWAT team and the Columbia River Drug Task Force captured a wanted felon last Thursday at a home on the 4000 block of U.S. Highway 97 on Blewett Pass. Jeffery L. Rieker, 50, was taken into custody without incident, according to Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett. Recovered were stolen items from all over the Wenatchee Valley, including some items from Upper Valley businesses. "Some of the stuff was from recent burglaries, and some was over a year old. We are still checking it out," Burnett said. "We have some stuff we are not sure. We believe it was stolen." A large trove of items have been recovered, Burnett said, but it is unclear at this point whether Rieker was involved in the robberies, trafficking of stolen goods or both. Most of goods appear to have come from residential burglaries, rather than the rash of car prowls in the area, although Burnett says it is possible some items came via car prowl. Word of Rieker came from a confidential informant, Burnett said.

Finding parking solutions top city to-do list

With the addition of new parking at the old fruit warehouse, Leavenworth city officials are planning to take a good hard look at parking citywide. New mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar said the city's lease and potential purchase of the old fruit warehouse has "opened up an enormous can of worms" about how parking will function in the city. "There's almost not question we are going to have to do workshops and public meetings about parking," Farivar said at the Jan. 10 study session. "Very shortly, we are going to have professionals come in and give us presentations. We may end up spending a half-day on doing nothing but a comprehensive parking plan." The city of Leavenworth currently manages several parking areas around the city, WSDOT Lot 2, City Hall unimproved lot, Pool lot, on street parkingbusiness area, Fruit Warehouse, City Hall, Festhalle parking lot and on-street residential parking. City Administrator Joel Walinski said city hall parking is an issue during the busy weekends, like Christmas Lighting. People coming to city hall for the library or to pay bill, but cannot find a place to park. Farivar said she came to sign papers one time, and could not find parking. "The town is full, but that is a good thing," Walinski said. "Not having a place to park is not a good thing. We hear from people downtown about not being able to park in front of a store. Residents say they want to come downtown, but trying to park downtown becomes a problem. This raises an issue."

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