Brent L. Phillips G-T File Photo

Guilty plea from murder suspect

OKANOGAN – With his trial set to begin next month, Brent L. Phillips changed his plea on Monday, March 29 to guilty to Premeditated Murder in the First Degree, Manslaughter of a Quick Child in the First Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Kidnapping in the First Degree.

Phillips’ plea is part of a bargain with the State of Washington which lowered his charge of Aggravated Murder in the First Degree to Premeditated Murder in the First Degree and lowered the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison to the state’s recommendation of 312 months, or 26 years, in prison. In exchange, Phillips has agreed to testify truthfully against Tansy Fae Arwen Mathis, David Eugene Richards and Lacey Hirst-Pavek.

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Murder defendant’s attorney wants change of venue

TONASKET – The defense attorney for one of the defendants in the Michelle Kitterman murder trial has requested a change of venue for the trial.

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Special pool meeting planned prior to next Tonasket Council meeting

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council will be holding a special meeting to discuss the funding options for the Tonasket Municipal Swimming Pool and related issues beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23.

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Rise in total assessed valuation lowers school levy collection rate

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board voted to lower their levy rate back down to $2.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation after discovering the total assessed valuation for school district has increased $80 million to $439 million.

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Veterans Memorial Park will be transferred to Oroville

OROVILLE – After once approving the transfer of Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial State Park to Oroville and rescinding their decision, the state Parks and Recreation Commission has again agreed the city would be the best stewards of the facility.

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Tonasket School Board sets M&O Levy amount

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board set their levy rate at $2.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which will bring in $860,550 for the next two school years.

“This is a replacement maintenance and operations levy,” Catherine Stangland, board chairwoman, said. “Although this is a rate increase of 17 cents, assuming the Levy Equalization Act dollars remain the same, this levy actually does not replace the levy we passed two years ago. The state has already eliminated $100,000 from our budget this year, which we had already budgeted. We are anticipating another $200,000 in cuts.”

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School funding problems shine light on state budget

King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick recently ruled that the legislature is in violation of Article IX section 1 of the Washington State Constitution to provide state funding for public schools. That section states, “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” Judge Erlick left it up to the legislature to resolve the problem of how to address their constitutional responsibilities. But with the current legislative session scheduled to end this week, it is still unclear that anything will be done this session to address the Judge’s decision.

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Oroville will sponsor rural library funding application

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council gave the nod to the Friends of the Library to pursue federal funding to help build a new public library, a goal the group has been working on for the past several years.

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Darren Hicks (right) and a fellow Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer. File photo

Oroville man survives Coast Guard helicopter crash

ELIZABETH CITY, NC – Darren Hicks from Oroville was one of five crewmen aboard a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk rescue helicopter that crashed in the Uinta Mountains about 50 miles east of Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, March 3.

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Oroville High School students (front, L-R) Abril Lopez, Jessica McAllister, Laurel Griffin, Serena Carper and (back row) Tiffany Roberts, Morgan Roloff and Austianna Quick in a web cam shot as they meet face-to-face over the internet with students in Jala

Oroville girls receive big dose of Afgan culture via Skype

OROVILLE – Following months of discussions on the Global Connections and Exchange social networking site, Oroville High School senior Serena Carper organized a Skype call for six girls in her class and more than 15 girls in Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

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