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Oroville’s four wineries plan Spring Barrel Tasting

OROVILLE – Oroville’s four wineries will be having a Spring Barrel Tasting at their wineries on Saturday, May 17.

This is the fifth annual event for Okanogan Estate and Vineyards, Oroville’s oldest winery, and the first for Oroville’s newest Esther Bricques Winery and Vineyard.

For Okanogan Estate and Vineyards, their tasting begins at noon and runs to 5 p.m. and is at their winery located at 1010 Appleway. This is the only day of the year the winery is open to the public and their inviting people to “taste wines by the barrel.”

Esther Bricques Winery and Vineyard is located about 8 miles south of Oroville, nestled at the base of Mt. Hull at 38 Swanson Mill Rd. The winery is the dream of Steve and Linda Colvin, who began experimental plantings of seven different varieties of grapes in 2001. They will have their tasting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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<p align="right"><i> Photo by Gary DeVon</i></p><p>    Oroville's mayors, past and present, were this year’s Grand Marshals. Riding the Mayor’s Float are former mayors David Reynolds, John Shaw, Jimmy Dale Walker and Steve Bayley and current mayor Chu

Weather couldn’t dampen May Fest spirits

OROVILLE – Although the weather could have been a bit warmer, all made the most of this year’s 74th Annual May Festival whether it was enjoying the parade, fishing for the big bass, shooting hoops or learning about Native American Culture at the pow wow.

The theme for this year’s May Festival was ‘Honoring our Past and Celebrating our Future. On Friday the Queen’s Coronation was held and Ashley Porter was crowned May Festival Queen and Megan McKinney and Lacy Johnson were crowned as her princesses.

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<div align="right"><i> Photo by Gary DeVon</i></div><p></p><p>    Port Director Ron Arrigoni (left) presents Mel Lindauer with several gifts in honor of his 33 years of service at the U.S. Port of Entry. Lindauer retired from th

Mel Lindauer stands down from standing guard at border

OROVILLE – He’s seen many changes in his 33 years working at the U.S. Port of Entry at Oroville, but Mel Lindauer says he’s looking forward to retirement — his second.

Lindauer also taught mathematics at Oroville High School for 30 years, retiring in 1989. It was while he was teaching that former Port Director Bud Brownlee asked if he’d like to work part time at the border.

“That was in 1975 and teachers were often hired because summer traffic was heavier. It was a good job. Since then they’ve virtually phased out part time employees,” Lindauer said.

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Airport, hospital, correspondence dominate Tonasket council

TONASKET – The City Council had a relatively short meeting April 22.

The council approved granting North Valley Hospital three spots in the City Hall/Library lot for the duration of the construction at the hospital. Hospital Administrator Warner Bartleson requested use of the spaces through October 2009.

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Oroville schools will use ’728 money’ to reduce class size

OROVILLE – The Oroville School Board held a hearing on 728 funds and passed a motion to continue to use this money from the state to reduce class sizes.

“We have received a lot of money from the 2008 state legislature and they said they want us to use it to lower class sizes,” said Dr. Ernie Bartelson, district superintendent.

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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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