Nov. 8 General election will determine look of Oroville School Board

OKANOGAN – Among other things, the Nov. 8 general election will determine who will sit on the Oroville School Board, the new or the old, as four current board members face challengers on the ballot.

The ballots for the election were mailed last week by the Okanogan County Auditor’s office and should be in the hands of voters.

In a rare election where every school board position is up for grabs, the list of candidates was whittled down during the primary election where three of the positions had three candidates seeking the seat.

In the primary for Position 4, candidate Phil Barker received the most votes and faces incumbent Patti Garrett who was appointed to the board to take the place of long-serving board member Jerry Nelson. Whoever wins the general election will finish out a two-year unexpired term.

Back in September, Barker, who is a regular attendee at the board meetings, said, “As a school board member, I am ready to work hard with students, parents, teachers and administration to establish higher goals for our school district. The success of Oroville students shall be my number one priority.”

Barker has owned and operated Thermal Air in Oroville for 30 years. He and his wife Terry have two children.

The incumbent, Garrett, said, “I feel the first major order of business with the school board will be meeting the budget to keep our schools functioning at the appropriate levels. With all the cutbacks in our state, I believe this will be challenging. I also think we need to keep a level of accountability within our schools, as it is with all businesses in our world.”

Garrett is a mother of five and with her husband Pat operates several businesses. She has over 20 years of experience in construction, land development, restaurant ownership and retail businesses. She has an A.S. in Early Childhood Education. The Garrets own Garrett Construction Co., Inc. and Garrett Interiors in Oroville.

For Position 5 (four-year term), Rocky DeVon was the top vote getter in the primary and faces Timothy Whiteaker, the former Oroville School Director who found himself serving in the wrong district after being appointed to fill a vacancy on the board.

“I have always felt a sense of responsibility for community service. I feel that if you aren’t working to make things better you have no right to complain,” said DeVon when he ran in September. “There are two very important issues to me: fiscal responsibility and quality education for our children.”

DeVon has worked in cattle ranching and orcharding and owns RE/MAX Lake and Country Real Estate in Oroville with his wife Cindy. He has three sons and a daughter.

“I held a school board position previously and I enjoyed it greatly. I would like to bring my experiences with budgeting and maintenance to the board,” Whiteaker said.

Whiteaker was in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years before moving back to Oroville. He is the Maintenance Supervisor of four government buildings in Washington and the owner of Lakeview Heating and Cooling in Oroville.

The other two Oroville School Board elections where there are challengers are for Director Positions 1 and 3, both four-year terms. Christina Rise would like the chance to sit on the board in Position 1, the seat currently held by longtime school board member and current board chairwoman, Tedi Fletcher. Scott Rich is challenging incumbent Amy Wise, for position 3. Wise has also served on the current board for a number of years.

David Nutt, a former Oroville School Director, is running unopposed for the two-year unexpired term in Position 2.

In other local elections, Clarice Nelson is seeking a return to Commissioner Position 2 and Helen Casey is seeking a return to Commissioner Position 4 on the North Valley Hospital District (Okanogan County Hospital District 4) Board.

Incumbents are going unchallenged for the three open seats on the Oroville City Council. Edward Naillon seeks a return to Position 3; Walt Hart III to Position 4 and Neysa Roley to Position 5.

In Tonasket, there is one incumbent with a challenger for the three open city council positions. Current council member Jill Vugtaveen will face off against Ron Martell for Council Position 3. Running unopposed are incumbents Scott Olson for Position 2, Julianna Griffin for Position 4 and Selena Hines for Position 5.

Tonasket School Directors are also running unopposed for the three open positions. Catherine Stangland will keep her seat on the board in Position 2, Ty Olson in Position 3 and Jerry Asmussen in Position 5.

Riverside has several positions open in city government. Margie Mefford is the sole candidate for Mayor. Bill Bond and Dana Armstrong are running for Council Position 2 an unexpired two-year term. Arlie Clinkenbeard, the former Okanogan County Commissioner, seeks Position 4 and Chad Booker seeks Council Position 5. Both are four-year terms.

Several local fire districts also have single candidates looking to serve or return to office as fire commissioners. Robert Ellis is running for fire commissioner for Okanogan County Fire District 1, Position 1; Chuck Everts for County Fire District 7, Position 3; Bill Meyers, County Fire District 11, Position 2; Bob Mann, County Fire District 12, Position 1 and Roger C. Prater, County Fire District 16, Position 3.

Delores Patterson of Oroville is asking the voters to return her as commissioner for Position 1 on the Okanogan County Cemetery District 4 (Riverview Cemetery) board.

Okanogan County voters, like those in the rest of the state, have been asked to decide on three initiatives and two amendments to the state constitution. Initiative Measure 1183 is probably the most controversial. If approved the measure would close state liquor stores and allow private parties to sell and distribute hard alcohol, as well as change the regulation of wine distribution.

Initiative 1125 deals with state expenditures on transportation. The measure would prohibit the use of motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes. It would also require that road and bridge tolls be set by the legislature and be project specific.

Initiative 1163 concerns long-term care workers and services for disabled people. The measure would reinstate background checks, training and other requirements for long-term care providers.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 would remove an inoperative provision of the state constitution regarding the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president and vice president. Senate Joint Resolution 8206 would amend the state constitution regarding the budget stabilization account maintained by the state treasury.

More on these amendments and the initiative measures can be found in the Washington State Voters Guide which was mailed to registered voters or online at: http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/pages/onlinevotersguide.aspx.

Ballots must be signed and postmarked by the day of the election, Nov. 8, 2011.

The auditors office, 149 3rd Ave N, Okanogan, is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m to 4 p.m. and on Election Day only from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to drop off ballots, to obtain replacement ballots and for disability access to voting units.

On Election Day only, there will be a drop off site at the Omak City Hall Council Chambers from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Those not currently registered in the State of Washington, can appear in person in the auditor’s office until Oct. 31 and register to vote and be able to vote in the general election.

Anyone that didn’t receive their ballot by Wednesday, Oct. 26 should contact the Okanogan County Auditors Office at (509) 422-7240. Those with questions are encouraged to contact the office at the same number.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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