Year in Review 2016: July through December
School bond sale brings good news for taxpayers
By the time Cashmere School District Superintendent Glenn Johnson signed the papers at the close of the district's bond sale, Cashmere taxpayers had made a savings of $1 million.
The bonds went on sale at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, at the D.A Davidson office in Seattle and by 1:30 p.m., the final paperwork was being signed. An interest rate of 2.15 percent allowed the district to finance them over 17 years, rather than the 20 years originally projected, the change that saves taxpayers $1 million.
This reduces the projected amount of assessed taxes from $.93 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to $.79 cents per $1,000. One reason for the brisk sale was that Moody's Bond Rating, based in San Francisco, gave Cashmere bonds a rating of A2, which is a very good rating. Moody's looks at business and industry growth, property values, upticks in building permits and population stability to assign its ratings. Cashmere Valley Bank was one of the buyers. "Cashmere School District was one of three districts, out of a dozen or so bond issues that passed this year," Johnson said.
City, county ban fireworks before holiday weekend
The city of Cashmere announced a ban on the discharge of all fireworks, effective June 30.
According to city Planning Director Mark Botello, the decision was made in keeping with the Chelan County ban which went into effect June 27.
Although the county ban only pertained to the unincorporated areas, the city decided to join in the "better safe than sorry" decision.
The Cashmere Lions Club fireworks stand, which had been slated to open in Harmelt Park next to the museum, remained closed for the Fourth of July holiday. This is the second year in a row the group has had to shutter the stand. The sale of fireworks has been its major fund raising activity in years past.
Club President John Clifford said club members concurred with the city's decision to ban fireworks this year, however. "We agree it's too dry and too dangerous," he said.
Consultants seek flood plan input
Many in Chelan County might be wondering what is happening with the newly formed Chelan County Flood Zone Control District. A series of meetings was held around Chelan County to help bring the public up to speed.
A meeting was held June 30 at Chelan County Fire District 3 in Leavenworth. Like the other meetings, it was sparsely attended with a couple members of the public. Making the presentation was Kristen Gelino, who is part of the consultant support team assisting the county and Flood Zone Control District with development of a comprehensive flood management plan.
"The flood hazard management plan is really a mitigation plan. Mitigation is defined by FEMA as sustained action to reduce or eliminate long term risk to life and property. The real key word in that sentence is sustained," Gelino said. "We're really looking for opportunities to implement actions and projects that are more permanent in nature. We're not really talking about things you would do right before a flood, like sandbag. These are more permanent solutions."
County has one known case of Zika
Chelan County has one documented case of the Zika virus and two pregnant women who reside in Chelan or Douglas county are on the Center for Disease Control's "watch registry," according to state Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist, who spoke at the Rotary of Wenatchee's lunch meeting June 23 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.
About 90 people attended to learn about the effects and risk to residents of Washington state. The Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedesspecies mosquito, which has been found in warm regions such as South America and Central America, Africa, Southest Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Phillips bids fond farewell
Cashmere is losing two of its most dedicated citizen-supporters on Aug. 1. Bob and Kim Phillips will load the last of their possessions into a trailer and drive to Rockport, Texas, where its gain will be Cashmere's loss.
Kim Phillips is known especially for her work at Doane's Valley Pharmacy for the past 29 years and her work on Cashmere's Founders' Days. She has been the driving force behind the Doane's Valley Pharmacy Ping Pong Ball Drop. Her involvement with Founders' Days began she entered her then 7-year-old daughter, Kristi, in the Little Miss Cashmere pageant and became a Founders' Days Junior Princess in 1989.
The family traveled with Kristi on the parade scene for almost two years. Phillips became more familiar with Cashmere and more involved with Founders' Days.
The Ping Pong Drop was born in 1990 when Lorna Harnden shared the idea from an event she had seen elsewhere and told Phillips about it.
"I loved the whole idea. I talked with Jim Ripley, the owner/operator of Cascade Helicopters, who agreed to handle the drop and the rest is history," said Phillips.
The drop started with 300 balls. Local merchants donated the prizes and The Cashmere Valley Record printed up sheets that listed the redemption items.
Mission Creek watershed council proposed
Two Mission Creek watershed meetings were held in spring to create a plan for the creek and all those effected by the creek.
Chelan County Natural Resources Department Director Mike Kaputa reported a record turnout with more than 25 residents attending each meeting. The meetings brought together orchardists, private land owners and irrigation districts to discuss the formation of a Mission Creek Council to create a comprehensive plan to protect stream flow (supply) and water quality (pollutants and temperature).
According to Kaputa, water supply has been adequate for the past few years, even during the 2015 drought, but it may not be so in the future. Mission Creek has a significant steelhead population. Steelhead and salmon, which depend on an adequate water supply should be able to thrive in all the tributaries off the Wenatchee River. Mission Creek's future water supply is a serious concern.
Museum spawns new exhibit
The Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village has a new exhibit called "Native American Salmon Fishing." It includes a mounted 65-pound King salmon donated by Rollie Schmitten.
"It (the salmon) had extensive damage to it. The best estimate we could find to have it professionally repaired was $3,000. So I decided to take a stab at fixing it and was able to repair it, investing some time and a few dollars in paint and glue," said Fred Harvey, the museum's facility manager.
Harvey, who is part Lakota Sioux, also fashioned the tools in the exhibit using mostly authentic materials.
The woods used in the parts of the nets are authentic but the actual netting would have been made from the bark of dogbane which was stripped and rolled into strips on the thigh of the person making it. Dog bane grows on the museum grounds for those who want to see it.
The large net has more than 500 feet of netting in it, for which he substituted jute. Over 500 feet of sinew was needed for the attachment (he used artificial sinew) which is then caked in beeswax and then covered in pine pitch.
Cashmere unloads garbage containers
Cashmere sold its entire surplus of approximately 1,050 garbage cans to the city of Leavenworth for $7,425.
The move is the latest step in the city's move to get out of the garbage business. Waste Management has contracted to take over those duties as of Oct. 1, using its own containers that work with its truck-lift system.
Leavenworth will be getting a range of sizes from 35 to 95 gallons along with 100 sideloading 300 gallon dumpsters ranging from new condition to barely serviceable.
Cashmere's used bins saves Leavenworth tax payers more than $107,000 over buying new containers, according to figures discussed by Leavenworth City Council.
"We checked with a number of companies who deal in used garbage equipment and found that there is almost no market for them," Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes said. "Waste Management would have to charge to take them and have them shredded by a company it contracts with to do that."
On the last week of September, Cashmere trucks will pick up the garbage for the last time.
Concussion care making a difference
The start of school sports had begun and many parents have concerns about the safety around allowing their children to participate, especially in football.
It is estimated about 60 million children participate in school sports, a leading cause of concussion in children. Concussions occur more often than all the cancers combined. More than 4 million concussions happen every year, according to Dr. Stan A. Herring, MD, head of Sports Concussion Program at Harborview Hospital, Seattle. Fortunately, a great deal has been learned about how to diagnose and treat concussion.
Former Cashmere School District superintendent, and a former football player, Dick Langum, had a large hand in bringing to light this information. After retiring from the Cashmere School District in 1996, he was asked by Dave Canfield, CEO of Ephratabased Canfield and Associates, to assess risk management for athletic activities.
Canfield and Associates was formed to provide self-insurance for school districts and nonprofit groups which were being priced out of the insurance market. It would eventually become the leader in risk managers for Washington state.
Fire destroys Shell station
The Shell gas station and minimart known as BJs, owned by Bob Ogan and located at 130 Titchenal Way in Cashmere, caught fire and sustained catastrophic damages.
Cashmere Fire Department Captain Dave Dronen responded to a "vehicle fire" alarm at 10:16 p.m. A motorhome, parked on the west side of the minimart, next to the building had an engine compartment fire that quickly spread to the wood siding on the building. Dronen, incident commander on this fire, arrived at the scene and had the lines to the gas pumps shut off within 2 minutes of the call. The fire truck arrived and they had water on the fire within 10 minutes.
By that time the motorhome was totally engulfed along with about 80 percent of the wall. The highway was closed briefly until it was determined that the fire was contained to the building. A second alarm brought in firefighters and trucks from Chelan County Fire District 6, as well as Wenatchee CC1, Douglas County DC2, and Leavenworth, CC3 departments. Approximately 40 firefighters attended the call, along with 13 vehicles and one "F" truck which refills the "self contained breathing apparatus" worn by individual firemen.
The fire was out by 4 a.m. and they were done by 7 a.m. Selland Construction brought in an excavator to help with "mopping up." No one was injured.
Mayors cry out for affordable housing
Chelan County mayors spoke out unanimously Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Tri-Commission meeting in Wenatchee, pleading and complaining about the lack of affordable housing in their cities. Mayors Cheri Kelley Farivar (Leavenworth), Mike Cooney (Chelan), Jeff Gomes (Cashmere) and Keith Vradenburg (Entiat) all spoke individually, but had the same message,
"We have five new teachers with no place to live," lamented Vradenburg. He went on to say that besides extremely high end new housing along the waterfront at $700,000 each, "I wouldn't put my dog or horses in what's left."
9/11 Memorial: 15th anniversary ceremony
The Spirit of America Foundation, operator of the 9/11 Spirit of America Memorial in Cashmere held its annual ceremony honoring all those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
This year's ceremony began at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. In addition to presentations and performances, a new award was introduced.
The first recipient is John Jackson of Tenino, Washington, was recognized for founding the Spirit of America Foundation that sponsored the 9/11 memorial now located at Riverside Park behind the Riverside Community Center.
Cashmere Fire Chief Matt Brunner served as the emcee of Sunday's event, which tentatively includes a flyover by a U.S. Army Chinook CH-47 D/F.
Foundation President Tom Green was still waiting for final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Army at press time. Others persenters included Chaplain Darren Cruchfield, Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes, Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett and retired Wenatchee Fire Chief Stan Smoke.
City's sewer plant earns accolades
Cashmere's waste water treatment plant received a Department of Ecology "Outstanding Performance Award" for 2015. It was one of 119 plants that achieved full compliance with its national pollutant discharge elimination system, out of approximately 300 plants within the state. "It takes and diligent operators and a strong management team working together to achieve this high level of compliance. It is not easy to operate a WWTP 24/7, 360 days a year without violations," quoted Cashmere Mayor Jeff Gomes from the DOE award letter.
Precautionary school lockdown
goes without a hitch
At approximately 9:40 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Chelan County Sheriff's deputy and Cashmere school board member, Paul Harris, called Cashmere School District Superintendent Glenn Johnson to inform him that the sheriff's office was about to execute an arrest warrant on a potentially dangerous suspect.
This individual was wanted for gun burglary crimes. The schools were notified because the suspect was believed to be in a home near Simpson Park, which borders Cashmere Middle School. The sheriff's office requested all district facilities immediately go to a modified lockdown.
A "modified lockdown" is defined by exterior doors being locked and supervised while students and school happen as usual inside the building. This was implemented within minutes of the call. One student needed to leave for a doctor's appointment. That student's parent was called to come and collect the student at the door. By approximately 10 a.m., deputies had made the arrest and the modified lockdown was removed.
Garbage service changes coming
Waste Management began waste and recycling service to city of Cashmere residents the week of Oct. 3.
The agreement between the city and Waste Management includes collection of waste and recycling for all single-family residents at one price and collection of waste for all business customers. Recycling for business is also available at an additional cost. Larger multi-family complexes are considered businesses. '
Residents will no longer have to separate recyclables by paper, cardboard, tin, plastic and bottles. All recyclables will go into the" Big Blue Recycling Cart" that will arrive with their waste cart the week of Sept. 26. The recycled material is processed at Waste Management's SMaRT Center in Spokane, a state-of-the-art processing facility.
Brush dump's closure questioned
Candice In Hout wants to see the Cashmere mulching center/brush dump reopened.
At the Sept. 26 Cashmere City Council meeting, she used the public comment period to present a handout to the council called, "Reasons to keep the mulching center open" where she lists 12 bullet points why it is a good idea to keep it open and how this might be accomplished.
Her points include a comparison with other local, small towns and what they offer their residents; she covers the fire danger of people storing brush piles on their own properties; she includes the cost of using the Dryden transfer station and the limitations on what it does and does not accept.
She says that a number of other residents agree with her assessment and she is asking for the city to hold a public discussion about it. In response, Mayor Jeff Gomes has put this issue on the agenda for the Oct. 10 meeting which begins at 6 p.m. at Cashmere City Hall, 101 Woodring St.
BJ's will reopen 'as soon as possible'
Gutted by fire Aug. 24, the Shell service station and convenience store at the main entrance to Cashmere could be rebuilt and again selling gas and jo-jos in six or eight months - if all goes according to plan, a company exec said last month.
"We know this fire has been disruptive for our good customers," said Phil Dormaier, chief financial officer for Wenatchee Petroleum Company, parent of the six-store chain of BJ's Shell and Food Marts. "We intend to be back in business and serving customers' needs as soon as possible."
The 2,880-square-foot convenience store at 102 Titchenal Way burned when a fire started in a motorhome parked next to the building. Gas pumps located 70 feet away and underground fuel storage tanks were not damaged.
The blaze displaced eight employees, Dormaier said, "but nobody lost their job, and all have been reassigned." The station is located on 0.82 acres near the intersection of Cottage Avenue and Highway 2/97, one of the busiest junctions in town. It sits next door to Rusty's Drivein, also a Wenatchee Petroleum business.
PUD finishes faster fiber network
Out with the old and in with the new. That phrase is definitely applicable to the world of technology.
The Chelan County Public Utility District's fiber network was 14 years old and in need of an upgrade. In late September, it was announced the conversion to support all gigabit speed across the fiber network had been completed nine months ahead of schedule and 17 percent under budget.
"We started about a year and a half ago on this upgrade. This has been in service for about 14 years. It just got to the point where it is not reliable and not keeping up with the bandwidth demands for the customers," said Robert Shane, Fiber and Telecom director. "We started the program to get that replaced. Finished it up last week."
The new G Pon network is 40 times faster than the equipment installed 14 years ago. PUD fiber crews replaced 5,500 connection devices at homes and business in Chelan County. The project was budgeted at $5.1 million.
Costs kill mulching center
The Oct. 10 Cashmere City Council meeting agenda included discussion of the closing of the mulching center and brush dump on Hagman Road of Sunset Highway.
It was put on the agenda at the request of some residents who hoped to see the mulching center remain open. Mayor Jeff Gomes had been looking into the possibility, but says the numbers are against it. He found grass collection receipts numbered 138 this year, with multiple people purchasing multiple tickets. Gomes received a bid for grinding and hauling the last three year's worth of brush accumulation for $10,000. He said these costs used to be absorbed by the city's sanitation department (which no longer exists) and somehow, that $10,000 has to be made up. The receipt income over the last three years was only $4,000.
"This is only serving a very small number of citizens. It wouldn't be fair to have the people who don't use the facility subsidizing the few who do," Gomes said. Gomes showed that the yearly loss is about $500 which would mean that the cost of dumping would have to reflect that increase.
Stewart jailed, dogs seized up Mission Creek
Mission Creek resident Robert Stewart, 74, was still in Chelan County Regional Jail after his latest arrest on Wednesday, Oct. 12, for violating a no contact order and dogs-at-large in roadway. His bail was set at $50,000.
Stewart's Mission Creek Road property lies on all sides of the intersection of Mission Creek Road with NF 7100 and Sand Creek Road. He posted a warning sign in a bush that states a court of appeals number to explain why he was gating off the road from public use.
The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society was also present that day to legally seize dogs, having received numerous complaints about dogs at large on the county road. Dawn Davies, executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, said its officers were able to catch 29 dogs that day with an estimated 20 more still on the property.
Superior Fruit interested in mill site
The Port of Chelan County had a potential buyer for some of the land at what is commonly called, "the old mill site," located on Sunset Highway between Mission Creek and the developed area around the Conoco gas station.
The potential buyer is Superior Fruit Company which is considering building a 30,000-square-foot warehouse to do some manufacturing.
Dog shot to death after dog fight
Three people and four dogs were still reeling from the trauma of a dog fight that resulted in one dog being shot to death to save another.
It started when four leashed dogs broke loose from their owner's control and one attacked another leashed dog being walked by its owner in the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 25 near Cashmere's River Street Park.
A woman was walking her four leashed dogs that broke free from her control and one, 35 pound, part pit bull mix, attacked a 60 pound leashed dog being walked by its owner.
The owner, a large strong man, tried everything he could to force loose the jaws of the aggressor. He kicked and hit it and finally tried to break its jaw by stomping on the side of its head, but nothing would make it let go of the death grip it had on his dog.
According to the man's wife, after 25 minutes of struggle by both parties, he told the other dog's owner, "I'm going to have to shoot your dog to save mine," to which she replied, "I know," giving her consent.
Man drowns fleeing arrest
A Wenatchee man suspected of stealing a truck, drowned in the Wenatchee River near Cashmere Friday night after fleeing Chelan County Sheriff's Deputies.
Deputies responded to a call about 6:45 p.m. Nov. 18, from a Cashmere resident who reported the theft of his 2010 Ford pickup truck. A deputy located the stolen truck near the intersection of Hay Canyon Road and U.S. Highway 2.
According to a press release from the Chelan County Sheriff's Office, the male driver, later identified as 30-yearold Daniel Posey of Wenatchee, fled the pickup, crossed Highway 2 and ran toward the Wenatchee River bank. Deputies located Posey hiding near the edge of the river. He ignored deputies' commands and jumped into the river. Deputies tried to convince him to swim back to shore but he refused, and was last seen near the middle of the river.
A search followed with help from swiftwater rescue personnel from Leavenworth Fire, Cascade Ambulance and Chelan County Sheriff's Office Volunteer Services, along with personnel from the Cashmere Fire Department, and Ballard Ambulance. The initial search was suspended at 9 p.m. due to darkness.
Some levee trees get a reprieve
The Cashmere City Council meeting of Oct. 24 reported on the Cashmere levee tree removal project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently marked 36 trees for removal. Cashmere City Planner Mark Botello said that when this first began, 4-5 years ago, about 120 trees were scheduled for removal, then it dropped to 60, and now it has been reduced to about 30.
"Now they are saying that even though 36 are recommended for removal, they don't expect us to remove all 36 at one time and we only have to remove 15. So, we are going to sit down with the agencies and see what we can do," Botello said.
"With the direction this is going, perhaps if we can hold out a little longer, the corps might have us planting trees instead of removing them," Councilman Jim Fletcher remarked.
Stewart gets his day in court
Robert J. (Bob) Stewart has had his day in court. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, in an all-day proceeding before Chelan County District Court Judge Roy Fore, Stewart defended himself against the three charges against him: one count of dogs wandering at large-third offense, two counts of violating a non-contact order and one count of second degree animal cruelty.
Stewart agreed to a non-jury trial which means he will accept the decision of Judge Fore. Stewart was acting as his own counsel. The mutual non-contact order is between Bob Stewart and his brother, Ray Stewart, and has been in effect since 1995. It was initiated by Raymond Stewart, who lives on property adjacent to Robert Stewart's, both of which are in the 800 block of Mission Creek Road in Cashmere.
Judge Fore reminded Stewart that "past hearings have been heated," and everyone in attendance needed "to maintain decorum and not to get personal."
District explores in-school
Cashmere School Board member and Confluence Health employee Glen Adams gave a report to the Cashmere School Board at its Nov. 14 board meeting about creating a Confluence Health doctor's clinic in one of the schools.
According to Adams, it's not a new concept. Several school districts around the state have adopted this model of care. Research shows that with the current model, both parents and children end up missing most of a day's work and class when they need to visit a doctor.
Cashmere Middle School Principal Sarah Graves moved to Cashmere from Steilacoom, Washington, a district that offered inschool clinics. She attested to its convenience and said one clinic day a week took care of the needs of that district's students. She said the parents loved the convenience of it. "A child could go get a physical and not miss one whole hour of school," Graves said.
Stewart guilty, rules judge
The sentencing of Robert J. Stewart, 74, of 853 Mission Creek Road, was held Tuesday afternoon Dec. 13 in the Chelan County courtroom of Judge Roy S. Fore.
Stewart was being sentenced, having been found guilty at a Dec. 7 trial, on all three charges against him; two counts of dogs at large-third offense; two counts of violating a non-contact order, and one count of animal cruelty.
Stewart began by handing out declaration documents that supported why he "basically disagreed overall" with the verdicts.
Chelan County Prosecutor Andrew Van Winkle gave a lengthy summary of the county's history with Stewart involving similar convictions and concluded with, "Stewart has demonstrated that he has no respect for the law or the court, and even having served 180 days in jail on prior convictions five years ago, he remains unable 'to get the point.' He (Stewart) continues to insist that he is the sheriff and the attorney general of an unrecognized Indian Nation and is therefore exempt from state and county laws."