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<html>  <head>  </head>  <body>    <div align="right"><i>Photo by Gary DeVon</i>    </div>    <p>    </p>    <p>    Oroville Mayor Chuck Spieth, with help from Oroville Garden Club President Betty Bair and other club members, plants a Hinoki Cypress in ho

Historic flagpole rededicated at McDonald cabin

OROVILLE – Community members gathered last Thursday to rededicate a flagpole that once graced the U.S. Port of Entry north of Oroville, raise the American Flag and plant Oroville’s Centennial Tree in honor of Arbor Day.

The flagpole was installed at the historic J.T. McDonald cabin, which McDonald, one of the area’s early U.S. Customs officials, used as the Custom House for travelers crossing the border into the United States in the late 1800s. The flagpole was originally dedicated in 1933 at another Custom House that was torn down to make way for the current U.S.-Canada shared Port of Entry north of town.

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<html>  <head>  </head>  <body>    <p align="right"><i>Photo from Brady Freeman’s MySpace account</i>    </p>    <p>    Brady, left, and twin brother Boone Freeman during a camping trip.    </p>  </body></html>

Tragedy for Tonasket family

TONASKET – A trip home from college has left two students dead and one injured.

Brady Freeman, 21, a 2005 Tonasket High School graduate and co-valedictorian, was killed April 25 in a car crash 13 miles south of Okanogan. His girlfriend, senior Jocelyn Denham, 21, a native of Bend, Ore., also died. Freeman, a junior, and Denham were both Pacific Lutheran University students. Brady’s twin and co-valedictorian Boone Freeman, a junior at the University of Puget Sound, was transported to the Okanogan Douglas County Hospital in Brewster. He was released early Saturday afternoon.

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<html>  <head>  </head>  <body>    <div align="right"><i>Photo by Gary DeVon</i>    </div>    <p>    </p>    <p>Rae Jean Hirst, a well-known cook in Oroville, is hanging up her apron.    </p>  </body></html>

Rae Jean Hirst puts in her last shift

OROVILLE – Rae Jean Hirst, who has been cooking Oroville’s meals in various restaurants in Oroville for the better part of four decades, is hanging up her apron and retiring.

Friends, co-workers and the owners of Yo Yo’s Restaurant, Roger and Hazel McClendon, wished her all the best with a small party in the restaurant’s lounge following her final shift last Friday.

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<div align="right"><i> G-T File Photo</i></div><p></p><p>Tonasket City Attorney Mick Howe with Police Officer Janet Storey after a civil service hearing in Tonasket.</p>

Judge rules Tonasket must rehire fired policewoman

TONASKET – After 11 months, a decision has come down about Janet Storey. Storey, a Tonasket Police Officer fired by the city in 2007 has been given back her job, as well as 10 months back pay.

Okanogan County Superior Court revised the decision of the Tonasket Chief of Police and the Tonasket Civil Service Board. Chief Rob Burks fired Storey May 7, 2007 and the local civil service board and an outside arbitrator refused to overrule the police chief at hearings held on the matter.

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Alternative energy fair April 19 in Tonasket

TONASKET – As energy costs rise and experts world-wide look for alternatives, an Okanogan Valley group intends to do their part for the planet.

The first Green Okanogan Alternative Energy, Housing and Agriculture Fair (GO) will begin at 10 a.m. April 19 at the Community Cultural Center in Tonasket.

“There is a need for alternative fuels and energy,” said Mikkel Gredvig, one of about eight organizers. “We need to seek out alternatives to the status quo.”

The fair will cover alternative fuels, alternative agriculture practices, alternative energy, eco-housing and a break-out discussion session.

One important aspect of the fair will be a push for recycling, Gredvig said.

“That will be major,” he said. “We need to begin thinking about how to bring recycling to Okanogan County.”

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<p align="right"><i> Submitted photo</i></p><p>Retired North Valley Family Medical physician Walter Henze (center) received an Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner 2008 Award March 21 in Spokane. Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (left) and state Sec

Retired Tonasket physician receives state healthcare award

SPOKANE – A long-time family health practitioner in Tonasket recently received an Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner 2008 Award at the 21st Annual Pacific Northwest Rural Health Conference in Spokane March 20-21.

Dr. Walter Henze, retired from North Valley Family Medicine, received his award from Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers at the Washington Rural Health Association (WRHA) Awards Luncheon. The award is based on the overall contributions a practitioner has made to benefit rural health over the course of his career.

Henze has practiced medicine in the North Okanogan Valley for more than 30 years, according to a nomination letter submitted on his behalf.

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<p align="right"><i> Photo by Gary DeVon </i></p><p><font size="3">Brad Calico, with Oroville Public Works, takes a pneumatic jackhammer to the remains of the low cement wall that was removed from the front of what will soon be Oroville’s Centennial Par

Oroville Council discusses demolition of building for city hall expansion

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council decided demolition of a building to make way for expansion of the city hall will not include trying to salvage the building’s cement blocks.

After agreeing that it was time to advertise for bids to demolish the building, the council discussed whether to offer the structure, located north of city hall, for bids for salvage of its building materials.

City Attorney Mick Howe warned that it might be better to not offer the building for salvage. “You’ve got to be careful, what happens if you find asbestos for instance?” asked Howe.

The cement block building, which has housed various businesses over the years, including a dry cleaners and a bookstore, was most recently used as storage for the city’s Public Works department.

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, recommended not offering the building for salvage as it would save time and money if the demolition crew did not have to take care in not damaging things like the old cement blocks.

“My suggestion is we just tear it down,” said Noel.

The council agreed and the city will advertise for bids to do the demolition.

The city has been asked to apply for a Conditional Use Permit so work can move forward on Oroville’s Centennial Park. The Streetscape Committee has agreed to pay the $250 fee for the permit. In addition it was noted that the city still needs to sign its lease with Stan and Tamara Porter for use of the lot on Main Street between Porter’s Sun Lakes Realty and the Old Peerless Restaurant for the park. The Porters have offered the lot at very low terms and attorney Howe agreed to review the lease so Mayor Chuck Spieth can sign it.

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<p align="right"> Submitted photo</p><p><font size="3">Oroville Reman and Reload will be among the Oroville businesses that will benefit from the Heavy Haul Corridor designation between the U.S. Port of Entry and the Cascade and Columbia River Railroad ra

Gregoire signs Hwy. 97 Heavy Freight Corridor Bill

OROVILLE – Some 100 new jobs may soon be created along a newly designated Heavy Haul Corridor along a five mile stretch of Highway 97 from the Canadian border to the Reman and Reload facility just south of Oroville, thanks to a bill that was recently signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Substitute Senate Bill 6857, “State Route Number 97,” provides a “heavy haul designation” for the highway, which will allow trucks bringing wood products across the border to be fully loaded, according to North Central Washington Resource Conservation and Development Vice President, Chris Branch.

“Without the designation, only partially loaded trucks were allowed to cross the border,” Branch said. “Now, fully loaded trucks can be reloaded onto rail freight cars at the Reman and Reload station and continue by rail to a variety of businesses in Eastern and Western Washington,” he said.

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Public hearing on Hoffman/Gould Annexation continued to March 18

OROVILLE – Although it’s not required, Oroville is taking the suggestion of their city planner and following procedures that go beyond the minimal requirement of just placing a notice of the hearing in the local newspaper when an annexation is presented to the council.

The Tuesday, March 4 council meeting was advertised as a Public Hearing on the proposed Hoffman/Gould Annexation. Mayor Chuck Spieth opened the hearing to take public testimony but no one came forward for or against the annexation.

Planner Chris Branch told the council that the proponents of the annexation which is comprised of two waterfront lots about two acres in size north of the recent Rezka Annexation, wanted to be part of the earlier annexation but were too late to sign on to the petition. If annexed the property would be zoned R-3, the same as the adjoining property and would square up the city’s boundaries in that area, according to Branch.

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Heavy Haul Corridor bill passes second hurdle, heads to governor to sign

OLYMPIA – The state legislature has passed a bill sponsored by Seventh District Senator Bob Morton (R-Kettle Falls) which he feels will benefit his district’s local economy and reduce the number of trucks on Highway 97.

The measure, Substitute Senate Bill 6857, directs the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to designate a seven-mile stretch of State Highway 97 from the Canadian border to Oroville as a heavy haul industrial corridor., SSB 6857 was unanimously approved by both the House and Senate.

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