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Local woman wins photo contest and trip to Ecuadorian Amazon

Photo submitted by Kristin Brocoff
This photo of Crissy Hill ice climbing in the Icicle Canyon won the grand prize in the Essentia Water-Runa Tea “Own the Winter” photo contest. Hill won an eight day trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Crissy Hill, 26, has lived in Leavenworth a couple years, taking advantage of the outdoor pursuits the area has to offer. During the winter, she likes to ski and ice climb with her boyfriend, Robes.

On one of these outings, Robes caught a cool photo of Crissy ice climbing. He is always taking photos, even at times she may not look her best. Ice climbing is something she is just learning, but there is Robes snapping away. "I had been a couple times before. I like it. Technically, you are supposed to be more delicate with your tools, with the ice axe," Hill said. "But I really just like kicking things and getting my aggression out. That's what I was doing, slamming my tools around."

Generally, she is extremely uncomfortable on the ice. Yet, here is Robes trying to get picture while belaying her at the same time. Despite her angst about the photos, unbeknownst to them, one photo would really pay off big time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...

Ale-Fest on tap for Saturday at the Festhalle
The eighth annual Leavenworth Ale-Fest is set for Saturday at the Festhalle. The event features 26 breweries, live music and some great eats. It all serves as a fundraiser for the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

"It is a very big part of the funding for the museum. It is our only fundraiser. We use the money for education. We are writing a book and doing other interesting things," said Arlene Wagner, Nutcracker Museum curator. "We did a large coffee table book in 2005 and we're doing an addition to that."

Since the Nutcracker Museum is non-profit, Wagner said their big focus is eduction. As well, a portion of the proceeds go toward Operation Ward 57, which helps wounded veterans.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...
Cascade High exchange students plan Youth Leadership Conference
Two Cascade High School exchange students, Sarah Jaroush and Emmanuel Gaima, wanted to attend a youth leadership workshop. They were applying for workshops in Florida, San Diego and and Washington, D.C.

One day, they had the idea to hold their own youth leadership conference. They approached the local exchange student coordinator, Amy Massey, who thought it was a good idea.

"The very first time we met to talk about it, we stayed for about four hours to decide what is the name of the workshop, what is it about," said Jaroush, who hails from Lebanon. "We were having fun. We had the idea before we knew. We talked about the sessions to include and the people."

First order of business was to find a name for the conference, something kids could connect with. They came up with S.T.U.F.F.

"It's called the S.T.U.F.F. workshop for Sustainability, Tolerance and Understanding For our Future. Doing the workshop, we are going to have sessions about sustainability, the importance of sustainability," said Gaima, who is from Sierra Leone. "We are going to have sessions for tolerance, teaching kids tolerance. We are also going to learn about understanding and learning about the future, seeing how we can apply these things so it can be bright."

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...
Discovery School thankful for community support
Here at Cascade Discovery Program we try to find student's strengths and desires and foster those while simultaneously working through all their education.

There are parts of their education that are mandated by the federal and state governments. All students, for example, must pass a series of high stakes exams to walk away with their diploma. And while I have resigned myself to sometimes teaching to the test (and I don't think standards are bad) I really enjoy tapping into students passions and seeing them grow.

Juniors and seniors in Cascade School District have a great opportunity to do directed studies, which is to create a class with measurable goals built around a student's passion. Students here have created directed studies around jewelry making, the culinary arts, biology mentorship, bicycle maintenance, robotics, and photography. It is a beautiful thing to see a student light up and engage in school because they are afforded an opportunity to pursue their passion.

And this excitement and passion spills into more than just the immediate subject, this passion spills into their other classes and even into the community making them more engaged in education and relationship.

It's not all students and it's not all the time, but it's often and it's beautiful.

One of the roadblocks we face is a lack of funding for unique programs. Fortunately, very fortunately, we live in an amazing and very supportive community.

Five years ago we decided to put together a photography curriculum and soon realized many students who wanted to participate in the class were unable to do so due to economic constraints. We applied for and were awarded a Cascade Education Foundation grant that purchased a few class cameras, a color printer, and supplies. The class was off and it has been a great success.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...
Community Solar Project launches
A public meeting to explain the Icicle River Middle School Community Solar Project will be held on Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at the PUD building in Leavenworth. If successful, this will be the first Community Solar Project to come to Chelan County through Washington State's Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Program.

The model for a Community Solar Project is this-- a community is invited to jointly finance a solar installation on a public property, in this case the Icicle River Middle School. The Chelan County PUD pays an annual payment of $1.08 per kilowatt-hour produced to a nonprofit entity, in this case Faith Lutheran Church that is the "administrator" for the project. This amount is then disaggregated and paid to the individual Owners based on the percentage of the system they own. Owners recoup their investment with a modest return over the course of six years. Chelan County PUD receives a credit toward the utility use tax it owes to the State equaling the amount of the cost recovery payment.

Cascade School District benefits from the electricity produced which will help power Icicle River Middle School. At the end of the cost recovery program the school district assumes ownership of the solar installation. Meanwhile the monitoring data from the solar system will be available on the Internet, affording an educational opportunity for students and community members.

"This all started when our book study group read the book "EcoMind" by Frances Moore Lappe'," says MaryCarol Nelson, co-organizer for the project. "The premise of the book is that stabilizing climate change is possible if millions of people take small deliberate actions. We wanted to do something that would make a difference in our community."

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...
Oktoberfest Committee starting to make some headway toward solutions
The so called, Festival and Event Committee, seems to getting closer to making some recommendations to the Leavenworth City Council. The last meeting, on April 2, brought forth several substantive proposals for possible changes to Oktoberfest.

In fact, there seems to be a new found willingness on the part of Projekt Bayern to work with the committee to mitigate some of the concerns. Projekt Bayern recently parted ways with longtime board member and Oktoberfest Chairman, Bob Kelly, whose been a lightning rod of sorts, sparking much public criticism.

"We have a lot of new people on our board. People who grew up here. Fresh faces. Things are going to change," said Steve Lord, Projekt Bayern president. "It's not going to be a board that says, 'none of your business.' That's not how we are going to work anymore."

City Councilman Elmer Larsen pushed the committee to come up with some real, concrete solutions. He felt ending the event early might have the most effectiveness, at perhaps 10 p.m. instead of midnight.

"I think we're expected to come up with something that is deliberate and visible and meaningful. There's already skepticism in the community. They say, 'it's a big festival and nobody wants to touch it,'" Larsen said. "The thing I think makes a statement and doesn't affect the dollars...I would pull it back to 10 p.m. I don't think it would have a financial impact. It gives people a couple hours after they come out."

Larsen felt those coming out of the festival at 10 p.m. would start to head home. But Lord said they had tried it before. People got out at 10 p.m. to find all the bars full, Lord said, then a bunch of windows were broken at downtown businesses.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 More...

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