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12/26/2012 3:56:00 PM
2012 Year in Review
The Leavenworth staff.


February
Lake Wenatchee State Park facing tough challenge after budget cuts Park Manager Rick Halstead thought he was already running Lake Wenatchee State Park with a skeleton crew. So when he was forced to cut one ranger and put another on part-time, he wondered how they would get all the work done. Well, the simple answer is, they won't get all the work done. "State Parks have been under the axe for a decade," Halstead said. "We are always trying to maintain the same level of service with fewer and fewer people. We've always been able to shield that from the public, but I am afraid they will be seeing it now." Aside from the behind the scenes maintenance, Halstead said their popular interpretive programs will have to go, unless they get some volunteer help. More importantly, the law enforcement presence is taking a hit. "Just having that ranger vehicle driving around provides that sense of presence," he said. "We are going to be in there for 25 percent less. We have never been fat with staffing. Prior to this, we were at a sustainable level. I think now we are at a clearly unsustainable level." There is so much to repair and maintain on the 489-acre park through the winter, spring, summer and fall, he said. Flu virus making late run through Wenatchee Valley The normal flu season hits typically in October, November and December. But not this season. The flu is just starting to kick up here and elsewhere. "Usually about this time, we would be peaking with influenza, but now it is just beginning to be seen," said Mary Small, public information officer, Chelan Douglas Public Health District. "This is quite a delay compared to what is normal for us." The normal flu season went by without much notice, Small said. They were not seeing anything early. Usually they are seeing the first cases by Thanksgiving or Christmas. "This is February and we are identifying our first cases," she said. "We monitor absenteeism in schools, if it is more than 10 percent. We get notified by physicians if they see clusters or numbers starting to increase." This pattern is similar for other states, Small said, with the flu outbreak happening late. Just a handful of states had a normal flu season, while the vast majority of states saw their seasons come late. No telling the reason for the late season, weather, vaccinations or travel. Deadly avalanche claims the lives of three Upper Valley men Three Upper Valley men were killed in an avalanche Sunday in an "out of bounds" area near the Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Locals are mourning the loss of popular local extreme skier Jim Jack, 46, Stevens Pass Marketing Director Chris Rudolph, 30, of Leavenworth and local contractor Johnny Brenan, 41, of Peshastin. The men were part of group of 13 skiers that set out Sunday morning to ski a popular route on the backside of Stevens Pass Ski Resort, on the King County side. It about a 10 minute walk from the Seventh Heaven chairlift. Accompanying the group was pro skier Elyse Saugstad and Megan Michaelson, a Freeskiing editor for ESPN. Michaelson reported on ESPN.com the group had already crossed the top section of the line, when the slide occurred. Jack, Rudolph, Brenan, Saugstad and another perrson were waiting in the trees about 300 feet below the top of the line when the slide was triggered. The skiers were swept down the hillside, around 2,000 to 3,000 vertical feet. Grant County PUD moving ahead with hatchery despite examiner decision If you applied to the county for a building permit, and were denied the necessary permits by the county hearing examiner, you could not simply ignore the decision. But that is exactly what Grant County PUD is prepared to do in order to build a controversial hatchery on the White River near Lake Wenatchee. On Feb. 15, Chelan County Hearings Examiner Andrew Kottkamp denied all the necessary permits for Grant PUD to construct a spring Chinook acclimation facility on the White River. Kottkamp denied all seven permits, Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, Shoreline Conditional Use Permit, Shoreline Variance, Wetland Variance, Variance and Conditional Use Permit. The decision put Grant PUD in a tough position since the Grant PUD's license requires construction of facilities on the White River to restore spring Chinook populations on the White River and Nason Creek. So now, the Grant PUD is moving to take action to bypass or preempt the hearing examiner decision. Their federal license, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act, allows Grant PUD to bypass local laws that prevent the utility from complying with the terms of its license.


January

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."

February

Lake Wenatchee State Park facing tough challenge after budget cuts

Park Manager Rick Halstead thought he was already running Lake Wenatchee State Park with a skeleton crew. So when he was forced to cut one ranger and put another on part-time, he wondered how they would get all the work done. Well, the simple answer is, they won't get all the work done. "State Parks have been under the axe for a decade," Halstead said. "We are always trying to maintain the same level of service with fewer and fewer people. We've always been able to shield that from the public, but I am afraid they will be seeing it now." Aside from the behind the scenes maintenance, Halstead said their popular interpretive programs will have to go, unless they get some volunteer help. More importantly, the law enforcement presence is taking a hit. "Just having that ranger vehicle driving around provides that sense of presence," he said. "We are going to be in there for 25 percent less. We have never been fat with staffing. Prior to this, we were at a sustainable level. I think now we are at a clearly unsustainable level." There is so much to repair and maintain on the 489-acre park through the winter, spring, summer and fall, he said.

Flu virus making late run through Wenatchee Valley

The normal flu season hits typically in October, November and December. But not this season. The flu is just starting to kick up here and elsewhere. "Usually about this time, we would be peaking with influenza, but now it is just beginning to be seen," said Mary Small, public information officer, Chelan Douglas Public Health District. "This is quite a delay compared to what is normal for us." The normal flu season went by without much notice, Small said. They were not seeing anything early. Usually they are seeing the first cases by Thanksgiving or Christmas. "This is February and we are identifying our first cases," she said. "We monitor absenteeism in schools, if it is more than 10 percent. We get notified by physicians if they see clusters or numbers starting to increase." This pattern is similar for other states, Small said, with the flu outbreak happening late. Just a handful of states had a normal flu season, while the vast majority of states saw their seasons come late. No telling the reason for the late season, weather, vaccinations or travel.

Deadly avalanche claims the lives of three Upper Valley men

Three Upper Valley men were killed in an avalanche Sunday in an "out of bounds" area near the Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Locals are mourning the loss of popular local extreme skier Jim Jack, 46, Stevens Pass Marketing Director Chris Rudolph, 30, of Leavenworth and local contractor Johnny Brenan, 41, of Peshastin. The men were part of group of 13 skiers that set out Sunday morning to ski a popular route on the backside of Stevens Pass Ski Resort, on the King County side. It about a 10 minute walk from the Seventh Heaven chairlift. Accompanying the group was pro skier Elyse Saugstad and Megan Michaelson, a Freeskiing editor for ESPN. Michaelson reported on ESPN.com the group had already crossed the top section of the line, when the slide occurred. Jack, Rudolph, Brenan, Saugstad and another perrson were waiting in the trees about 300 feet below the top of the line when the slide was triggered. The skiers were swept down the hillside, around 2,000 to 3,000 vertical feet.

Grant County PUD moving ahead with hatchery despite examiner decision

If you applied to the county for a building permit, and were denied the necessary permits by the county hearing examiner, you could not simply ignore the decision. But that is exactly what Grant County PUD is prepared to do in order to build a controversial hatchery on the White River near Lake Wenatchee. On Feb. 15, Chelan County Hearings Examiner Andrew Kottkamp denied all the necessary permits for Grant PUD to construct a spring Chinook acclimation facility on the White River. Kottkamp denied all seven permits, Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, Shoreline Conditional Use Permit, Shoreline Variance, Wetland Variance, Variance and Conditional Use Permit. The decision put Grant PUD in a tough position since the Grant PUD's license requires construction of facilities on the White River to restore spring Chinook populations on the White River and Nason Creek. So now, the Grant PUD is moving to take action to bypass or preempt the hearing examiner decision. Their federal license, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act, allows Grant PUD to bypass local laws that prevent the utility from complying with the terms of its license.

March

Accident claims life of local woman, critically injures two teens

An accident just two miles from the Big Y intersection has claimed the life of a Peshastin woman and severely injured her two teenage daughters. Bernarda Flores, 53, of Peshastin was killed March 1 when the car she was riding in collided head-on with a tractor trailer rig driven by Octavio Soto, 42, of Madera, Calif. Soto was traveling north on U.S. Highway 97 when he attempted to pass a car in a legal passing area, said Lieutenant Kandi Patrick, Washington State Patrol. The Flores car was headed south on 97 when the two vehicles collided head-on in the southbound lane at milepost 184. Bernarda Flores was pronounced dead at the scene, while her two daughters, Rebecca Flores, 18, the driver of the vehicle, and Elva Flores, 17, were both treated at Central Washington Hospital, then transferred to Harborview in Seattle. Rebecca Flores was listed in critical condition upon arrival, and Elva Flores in serious condition. Both are students at Cascade High School.

Blewett Pass accident claims life of Peshastin teenager

An accident just two miles from Peshastin has claimed the life of 18-year old Rebecca Flores. Her mother, Bernarda Flores, 53, Peshastin was killed at the scene of the accident, involving the Flores car and semi-truck, driven by Octavio Soto, 42, of Madera, Calif. Rebecca Flores and her sister Elva, 17, were severely injured and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle that same day. Rebecca Flores died at Harborview on March 12 as the result of her injuries. Her sister, Elva, has been discharged from the hospital. The accident is still under investigation. Though no drugs and alcohol were involved, Soto is likely to still face charges for the fatal collision, said Lt. Kandi Patrick, State Patrol. Both girls attended Cascade High School. Counselors in school district have rallied to help support the students, still reeling from the avalanche tragedy

Exchange student learns about Kodiak spirit

When Chi Chi Falise arrived in Leavenworth as a Rotary exchange student from Belgium in August, the only things he knew about the place was the mountains and the Bavarian Village, but not much else. In the space of a school year, Chi Chi has gone from an unknown quantity to one of most popular kids at Cascade High School. So much so, he even participated in the Mr. Kodiak program recently. He calls his experience here, "great." "It's a weird community at first when your come from the outside," Chi Chi said. "But people put in really easily. From my point of view, it's really great how it works together on the local level. People are nice. It's really different from Belgium, but a great experience." When Chi Chi signed up for the Rotary program, he was allowed to pick three countries he would like to visit. But there is no guarantee. When Leavenworth was selected for him, he jumped on Google to find out more. "You get mountains and Bavaria, but that's it," he said. "It was really hard to figure out. It was weird because I did not know a lot before I came here."

Leavenworth, Cashmere join to seek new policing options

City council representatives of Leavenworth and Cashmere met March 6 in Leavenworth and agreed to split costs of new consulting on public safety, which will explore options for increased police presence in the two cities. Depending on cost and service, the cities would consider anything from hiring extra part-time patrol to forming an independent or joint police department. The idea has been long entertained but rose to new priority after the latest renewal in January of contracts with the Chelan County Sheriff 's Department, which contained a 21-percent increase in cost. "We've been with the Sheriff's Department for a very long time, and happily so," said Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Farivar. "But it is time to look to see if there are other options that might better meet the needs of the city of Leavenworth and the city of Cashmere." Leavenworth currently pays the department $425,500 annually for coverage, $54,610 of which goes to communications (i.e., RiverCom, the valley's emergency call-distribution agency). Cashmere pays roughly the same. "The council would like to see a little more local emphasis," said Farivar. "...we would like to have occasionally a police officer walking around downtown, and maybe a little bit more emphasis in the area of the schools and the parks." Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes spoke similarly of his own city's doubts whether it was getting the best value for its buck.

City Council overwhelmed with lodging tax requests

City Council does every year. That is, dole out money from lodging tax funds to help new festivals and events. But, for some reason, this year brought forth a flurry of requests for the money. Consider, the city designates just $10,000 for new festivals and events. This year, the city received requests totaling more than three times this amount, $36,800. This left the Leavenworth City Council the difficult task of sorting through all the requests, and basically, turning a lot of people down. Last year, only three people applied for the lodging tax funds. This year, early on, there were only four applicants, as reported in the Leavenworth Echo. It appears as if people saw the window of opportunity and applied for the funding. In all, there were 11 requests for funding, the lowest for $300 and the highest for the entire $10,000. There was a bit of a disconnect here, as many of the applicants were simply not eligible to receive the lodging tax funds, which have to be spent on something related to tourism. "Probably one of the best examples was the community garden," said Elmer Larsen, city councilman, at the March 13 Leavenworth City Council meeting. "Certainly, a worthwhile objective, except we are taking money meant specifically for advertising for things that benefit tourism. That is what the tax is based on, and that is what it is to be used for. It is decided by the legislature, not controlled by the city. As admirable request as it was, we could not fund it."

PUD holds public meeting on future of fiber network

The Chelan County PUD held public meetings in Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth and Cashmere last week, seeking public comment on plans for the district's fiber optic network. As you might imagine, those attending the meetings were mostly county residents who could not get PUD fiber, who wanted to make their case for expansion. But the data presented by the PUD made it clear expansion would be very costly, to the tune of $150 million. One persistent theme at the both Leavenworth and Cashmere meetings was the belief the PUD should expand the network to the rest of the county because that is what they set out to do. "I have heard so many times that we're going to get fiber. We're going to get fiber. We're going to get fiber," said Rupert Goedde of Brender Canyon at the Cashmere meeting on March 22 at the Riverside Center. "It hasn't happened. I really don't want to be told that again unless it is at my door." PUD General Manager John Janney said feedback from customers shows a preference for living within their means on fiber. And only when revenues are plentiful should the district subsidize the non-electric services like water, wastewater and fiber.

Renner-Singer named state principal of the year

Kenny Renner-Singer, principal at Icicle River Middle and Beaver Valley Elementary schools in Leavenworth, is this year's Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year. Renner-Singer was named this year's Middle Level Principal of the Year by the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). A panel of principals representing the Association of Washington Middle Level Principals, a component of AWSP, selected him from a pool of regional finalists. The selection committee said it was Renner- Singer's work producing "significant student achievement gains" that tipped the award in his favor. Renner-Singer, who has served as principal of Icicle River and Beaver Valley schools since 2005, encouraged his staff to question everything. They pored over reams of student achievement data and determined focus areas. He helped teacher teams develop contentarea learning targets, benchmark assessments and interventions for struggling and accelerated students.

April

Leavenworth, Cashmere hire public safety expert

The Leavenworth City Council has approved a $4,000 contract for Tom Davis. The contract, split between Leavenworth and city of Cashmere, is to pay Davis, an undersheriff in Snohomish County, to analyze the the city contracts with the Chelan County Sheriff's Department. "The focus is on the value of the contract we have with Chelan County and the breakdown of the dollars we are spending," Walinski said, at the March 27 Leavenworth City Council meeting. "That is the piece we need to understand." Davis has been a Snohomish police officer, police chief for the city of Stanwood, and now as undersheriff in Snohomish. Walinski said he has done consulting work on the side with a number of cities, working on questions and concerns on police forces and sometimes negotiating contracts with counties. He was recommended by Leavenworth City Attorney Thom Graafstra, who has worked with him in the past. Walinski said they will meet and talk about what the city needs. They want Davis to provide information to look at the sheriff's contract.

Merger proposed for irrigation districts

It's kind of like a couple that has dated for years and finally decides to get hitched. In this case, the two parties have been dating for nearly 100 years and still have not tied the knot. The Peshastin and Icicle Irrigation Districts have been working together since the very beginning. When the Peshastin Irrigation District was formed in 1917, one of the first things the new district did was ask the Icicle Irrigation District if they could use their canal. So, as you can see, the two districts have been working together a long time. Now, comes a plan to merge the two districts. It's not the first time the idea has been bandied about. "As far back as I've looked in the records, they've been talking about merging the two districts," said Tony Jantzer, Icicle/Peshastin secretary manager. "They keep talking about it but they never go anywhere with it. It is a lot of work to get done."

School District receives $251,000 energy grant to improve lighting

The Cascade School Superintendent Steve McKenna received word the district had been approved by Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for a $251,000 energy grant. The money will be used to upgrade the lighting in Icicle River Middle School and the gyms at Cascade High School. After a formal study, it was recommended to the district that changing out the lighting at the two schools could result in a substantial energy savings. When the district began this process last summer, it was hoped they could qualify for a $1 million to upgrade the HVAC at IRMS. The district had to pay for an energy grade audit in order to qualify for the grant. "They analyze, along with the PUD, how we can save energy," McKenna said. "The company says if you do these certain changes, we'll guarantee you'll have X amount of savings. That is built into the grant application and forwarded to the state."

Demarest takes city to federal court of Bavarian Theme

Local businessman Steve Demarest has taken the city of Leavenworth to federal court arguing he and other businesses should not be made to comply with city codes related to the Bavarian theme. Demarest, who owns the Adventure Inn and Der Hinterhof in Leavenworth, is also challenging the city sign code. This is the not first clash between Demarest, who is an attorney, and the city. Last summer, the two parties went back and forth over the noise coming from his outdoor beer garden, Der Hinterhof. His federal court action contends it is unconstitutional to force businesses to adhere to the Bavarian theme. In particular, he claims the requirement to adhere to the Bavarian theme limits his freedom of speech. "The lawsuit will definitely answer the question about the legality of a local government mandating compliance with a specific theme," Demarest said, via email April 4. "My personal hope is for the court to decide it is not the role of government to tell businesses how to market their businesses. In any event, it will be good for there to be a final answer on the issue."

Health District warns of pertussis outbreak

An outbreak o f Pertussis or Whopping Cough in Washington state has prompted Chelan- Douglas County Health District officials to warn the public to get vaccinated, particularly those around young children. Three confirmed cases of Pertussis have been reported in Chelan and Douglas counties. Two years ago, there were no reported cases in this area, and only two all of last year, so having three confirmed by April is major concern, said Mary Small, CDHS public information officer. "The state is having a major epidemic in the counties surrounding us," Small said. "We would anticipate, if we do nothing, and people do not proactively seek a Tdap vaccination, that we will continue to have increasing numbers locally. We want to prevent hospitalizations and deaths of children, infants and new borns." Young children are hospitalized most often. Infants and new borns are the most vulnerable. "They can't breath. They can't get their breath. Their coughs cause them to turn blue because of lack of oxygen,"

Cascade's league winning streak ends at 53 games

As the weekend began, there was some talk about the Cascade winning streak in the Caribou Trail League. How many games in a row had they actually won? Well, turns out they had won 53 straight games. It almost seemed a forgone conclusion the Kodiaks were well on their way to another undefeated league season. But along came Okanogan, just 2-3 overall, to Dryden last Saturday. And to the surprise of all, the Bulldogs outlasted the vaunted Kodiaks 13-12 in eight innings, thus ending the Cascade winning streak at 53. "Though losing the first game was disappointing, the way we lost it was even more so," said Todd Gilbert, Cascade head coach. "To have such big lead disappear is beyond frustrating. When we win, it's often due to a very strong team effort. This loss was also a team effort."

Voters approve Cascade School District Tech Levy

School District officials worried some weeks ago there was not enough time to get the word out about a technology levy. But press forward they did, hoping district constituents would hear their message and vote for approval. Turns out the message was received as the technology levy received 61 percent of vote on April 17. Cascade Superintendent Steve McKenna said he was appreciative and pleased with the level of support from the community. "As I shared with staff, people could have voted 'no' and taken a reprieve from their taxes," McKenna said. "But we live in a remarkable community that saw the need we have and were willing to support kids in that effort. It's just humbling and makes me very appreciative of the support our voters gave us." Voters approved a two-year technology levy, which will collect 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. District officials pushed the plan, saying since the Icicle River Middle School debt was being retired, adding the 42 cents would not result in a tax increase. The levy will collect $1.6 million over the next two years.

May

Cascade Medical spends $50,000 to address mysterious smell

A strange smell in the lab at Cascade Medical has forced one employee to go on family leave. Interestingly, the smell does not bother everyone in the lab, just a couple people. CM Administrator Jon Davis said the problem began surfacing last September. Since then, nearly every avenue has been explored trying to rectify the problem, including spending $50,000 to seal off the tar paper in the ceiling of the old hospital. An occupational medicine consultant has been brought in. Davis said they have had people checked. As further measure, they moved the lab into one of the patient rooms while they tried in vain to diagnose the smell. "We have not been able to pin down that odor. Most people don't smell it but a few people do, and those people work in the lab," Davis said. "We've done everything we know of. It appears at this point the air is clear of whatever it was. We are not having the same problems."

Man charged with kidnapping, threatening to kill ex-girlfriend

A Lake Wenatchee woman survived an alleged kidnapping attempt by stabbing her exboyfriend, nearly killing him. Adam Ellis, 45, of Leavenworth has been arrested and charged with felony kidnapping charges and felony domestic violence for threatening to kill his exgirlfriend, Tami Prpich, 31, of Lake Wenatchee. The two had been in a relationship for year, said Lieutenant Maria Agnew, Chelan County Sheriff's Department, but they had broken up in February. On May 1, the two agreed to meet at Lincoln Park in Wenatchee so they could go retrieve some her belongings. "She picked him up and they started driving to, what Ellis described as his friend's house on Stemilt Creek," Agnew said. "She had never been to the area and was not familiar with it. As they were driving up there, she became suspicious about his intentions. She did not know this friend." Fearful, Prpich pulled into the driveway of a nearby home and began honking the horn in order to alert the homeowner.

Rural library internet porn battle finally over

After almost six years, the North Central Regional Library's 28 community branches will now be able to freely use an Internet filter to meet federal requirements and make collection decisions about Internet content. On May 10, the deadline finally passed for the plaintiffs of the Bradburn et al v. North Central Regional Library to file an appeal with the Ninth District Federal Court of Appeals. Dean Marney, director for the North Central Regional Library, has been working there for almost 20 years. Once high speed Internet went into the big city libraries, Marney realized the problems which came with libraries offering high speed Internet to the public.

Sheriff annual report shows high activity downtown

The 2011 Chelan County Sheriff's Department annual report revealed some interesting things about the city of Leavenworth. In particular, the vast majority of calls are coming from the business district, rather than the residential areas. In 2011, the Sheriff's Department responded to 1,226 calls in the Leavenworth area. Of those, 821 were calls to the business area and 405 to the residential area. There were 68 non-injury accidents in the business district and just nine the residential area. There were 53 disturbance calls in the business district and just five in the residential area. The were some 56 calls related to property in the business district and just eight in the residential area.

Crucial grant denied for Meadowlark project

The Washington State Department of Commerce distributed $11 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to 15 cities and counties. Unfortunately, the city of Leavenworth and Upper Valley MEND were not one of the recipients. The city and MEND sought $750,000 to build city utilities within the planned Meadowlark affordable housing development. In addition, had the grant been secured, the city agreed to go out and bond for the extension of water and sewer lines up Chumstick Road in order to serve Meadowlark. No question, the denial of the grant is a big blow. "We're very disappointed. I can't say much more about that," said Brian Thompson Royer, UV MEND executive director to the Leavenworth City Council on May 22. "Keeping in mind, this is a $15 million project and this is $750,000 of it." At this point, Thompson Royer said they have not had a chance to examine different options and opportunities.

June

Dryden man found murdered, Wenatchee man arrested

Cody Johnson, a 28-year-old man from Dryden, was found dead in his home, a 25-foot recreational trailer, due to multiple gun shot wounds around midnight on June 4 after a friend called the RiverCom dispatch center at 12:01 a.m. saying Johnson was dead. Johnson's trailer is located at the intersection of Olalla Canyon Road and North Dryden Road. "When detectives showed up it appeared the victim had just recently been shot," Sheriff Brian Burnett said. Detectives have found two different guns that possibly relate to the death of Johnson and one could be the murder weapon. One gun, a 45-caliber-semi-automatic pistol, was found mid-day on June 6 along North Dryden Road. The second gun, a .40-caliber Glock model 27, was found inside of the trailer on the bed and is believed to be the murder weapon. Moore could not say whether fingerprints were found on the gun until the ballistics test comes back. Only a few hours after detectives found the pistol along North Dryden Road, they arrested Jasen L. Bertram, 41, of Wenatchee about 6 p.m. at his job at Tree Top on Highway 97A.

IRMS Renner-Singer and Osborn's Doherty to switch places

It is common in larger school districts, but not so much the smaller ones. So when Cascade School Superintendent Steve McKenna announced Icicle River Middle School Principal Kenny Renner-Singer and Osborn Elementary School Principal Kelli Doherty were switching places, it did catch many by surprise. While in discussions with both Renner-Singer and Doherty, McKenna said it came out each was interested in doing the other's job. They were ready for a change, a challenge. "I considered it is not only a time for a new challenge for an administrator, but for the buildings to have new leadership. In a small district, after eight years, if they are looking for a new challenge, they leave," McKenna said. "One of the things I wanted to do was sustain a very strong leadership team. If that means providing them opportunities for challenge and growth by moving them, there is a lot of benefit to that." Doherty said, after eight years at Osborn, she is ready for some new challenges in her career. She and Renner-Singer had talked informally about doing this over the past several years.

City places six-month moratorium on collective marijuana gardens

No sooner had Julie Istvan opened Cascade Green Cross Collective Garden did the city of Leavenworth take action to shut her business down until further notice. The Cascade Green Cross Collective Garden dispenses medical marijuana to those possessing a "green" card, indicating a doctor's permission. Istvan very much wanted to stay above board with the effort. She invited the Columbia River Drug Task Force to inspect her operation, and came to the city of Leavenworth, not to seek a business license, but merely to let city officials know what she was doing. She was invited to address the council at the June 12 study session. Same time, a six-month moratorium on collective gardens was placed on the council agenda for that evening.

City considers annexation into Fire District 3

The city of Leavenworth may be annexed into Chelan County Fire District 3. That is the proposal currently being considered by both the Leavenworth City Council and Chelan County Fire District 3 Commissioners. If both boards sign off on the proposal, then it would be up to the voters in the city and Fire District 3 to approve it. The issue was discussed at the June 12 Leavenworth City Council Study Session. Currently, the city contracts with the fire district for fire services, inspection services and fire marshall services. "We take a portion of our revenue stream, whether from property tax or sales tax and we make a payment to the fire district to pay for those services," said Joel Walinski, Leavenworth city administrator. "If we are annexed, what businesses and residents would see is, on their property tax line, for Fire District 3 services." The overall increase in tax due to the annexation would have to be offset by a reduction in the city's property tax, Walinski said. The city council would have to decide how to balance that. There is also an extra level of service provided by the fire district for commercial inspections. Walinski figures the extra cost is about $40,000, so an additional contract may be needed. "The city has to maintain code enforcement. That's by RCW," said Kelly O'Brien, CCFD 3 chief. "We can't do it unless we contract with the city. We don't want to lower the level of service because we annexed. That would be dependent upon a contract." Apparently, there has been a long standing issue between the city and fire district over re-inspections. The fire district does the initial inspection, then the city has to follow up. O'Brien said, under a new contract, the fire district will do the inspections and re-inspections.

Bertram formally charged for murder of Dryden man

Jasen L. Bertram, 41, Wenatchee, was formally charged on June 20 for the murder of Cody Johnson, who was found dead in his Dryden 25-foot trailer home June 4 with three gunshot wounds. According to the affidavit of probable cause made by Sergeant Jerry Moore, detectives believe Bertram is responsible for the murder. They came to the conclusion after an investigation which included multiple interviews. The affidavit stated Bridgett Jake-Lee, a family friend of Bertram, approached the trailer some time late on June 3 and recognized Bertram's voice screaming, "Get the....down". Jack-Lee also reported Bertram was near the crime scene shortly after she found a dead body in the trailer.

Gilbert steps down as Kodiak fastpitch coach

The man who built the Cascade Fastpitch Girls Softball program into one of the best in the state is stepping down as coach. After 14 years at the helm, Todd Gilbert, 47, has announced he will no longer coach team he has led to five consecutive league titles. What it came to, he said, is just having too many irons in the fire at this particular time. "I wasn't giving a lot of things my complete attention so I had to reduce a little bit. At the end of the softball season, I was really coaching three teams, a couple baseball teams too," Gilbert said. "I didn't feel like I could put the time in with softball that it really needs to keep the level going that it has reached." Gilbert has been with the program 15 years, the last 14 as head coach. His overall record is 212-131. His teams have won the past five league titles. The Kodiaks have been to State seven times, finishing as high as third. His teams and girls have set some school records that may never be broken.

Health District continues to sound the alarm and whooping cough threat grows

Whooping Cough or Pertussis continues to plague Washington state, including Chelan and Douglas counties. Statewide, 2,525 cases have been reported. Locally, there have been 32 cases reported, mostly among younger people. These numbers represent a significant increase from recent years. "We were at zero in 2009. We had one case in 2010. We had two cases in 2011," said Mary Small, Chelan Douglas Health District. "That is what we look like for years and years and years. This in not normal." The hardest hit group in the state is from 10 to 13 years old. The state rate is 37.4 cases per 100,000. Last year, during this same time, there were 179 reported cases in the state, now there is more than 2,500. Small is hoping people take this serious enough to take precautions, and get the Tdap booster for anyone 11 years and older.

July through December 2012 Year in Review in the next issue of your Leavenworth Echo!





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