News

<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.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
<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.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
<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.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

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.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

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.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
Dr. Karla Christian

Tonasket native sends Iraqi girl home with healthy heart

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Most of the time, headline stories on the nightly world news have little relevance to the calm of the Okanogan River Valley.

But one major story last week had local residents sitting up when a familiar name turned an open-heart surgery into international news.

Born and raised in Tonasket, Dr. Karla Christian (nee Godwin), was in the spotlight for an open-heart surgery performed pro bono on a two-year-old girl from Iraq.

American soldiers discovered the sick little girl, Amenah Al-Bayati, in the city of Haditha. According to Vanderbilt Medical Center’s journal, the Reporter, Amenah’s family told soldiers they feared she would not live much longer. The soldiers and friends raised money online and arranged to fly her to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville for surgery. The operation went from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Nashville on Feb. 11

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
<p align="right"><i> Photo by Amy Veneziano</i></p><p>The Tonasket Visitors and Business Resource Center on Whitcomb has had several renovations over the last few weeks. The back addition includes an American Disabilities Act approved restroom, as well as

Council decides to have Chamber continue to manage TVBRC

The future of the Tonasket Visitor’s and Business Information Center (TVBRC) was in question Feb. 12 when the mayor Patrick Walter requested the presence of representatives of the Chamber of Commerce at the City Council meeting.

Walter said he has had concerns about the management and organization of the TVBRC for some time, including questions about a high turnover rate and non-compliance with the original terms of the TVBRC which describe it as mainly be a small business center.

“There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the chamber has failed in this to the city,” Walter said after reading an agreement between the chamber and the city about the responsibilities of the TVBRC.

Chamber president Dave Kester spoke on behalf of the organization. Walter addressed several questions to him.

The first question Walter asked was, “Why can’t you be in compliance after seven years?”

Kester said the Chamber has met its agreements with the city.

“I don’t feel we are offsides in doing what we have done in the last seven years,” he said.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
7th District Sen. Bob Morton

Morton bill to designate part of SR-97 a heavy haul corridor passes Senate

OLYMPIA – A measure sponsored by Sen. Bob Morton (R-7th District) which would benefit his district’s local economy and reduce the number of trucks on Highway 97 and perhaps I-5, passed the state Senate on Valentine’s Day.

The measure, Substitute Senate Bill 6857, would direct the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to designate about a seven-mile stretch of SR-97 from the Canadian border to Oroville as a heavy haul industrial corridor.

Currently, Canadian trucks must off-load on the Canadian side of the border to redistribute the weight to other trucks and then off-load again at Oroville at the rail head. SSB 6857 would allow trucks to use the corridor with WSDOT special permits for gross truck weights up to 137,000 pounds — about a third more weight than currently allowed.

“I think this will be a real asset to the town since we have the rail head right here,” said Oroville Mayor Chuck Spieth. “I know the railroad has been struggling to keep the line going and this will be a boost to them and to the area.”

The U.S. Port of Entry at Oroville is the only crossing in Eastern Washington open 24 hours a day. It is a gateway for the hauling of fruit and lumber. At Oroville, truck loads are put on the Cascade &amp; Columbia River Railroad to go to the Wenatchee area and shipment across the nation.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Developer wants to build eleven $1 million lakefront homes

OROVILLE – Yet another request to be annexed into the city was heard by the Oroville Council at their Tuesday, Feb. 4 meeting.

While the council considered a previous request to grow its boundaries between Lake Osoyoos and the Chesaw and Eastlake Roads, a new proposal asking the city to take in land on the west side of the road was heard.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
The sign for the new Oroville Building Supply, across from its old location south of Oroville on Highway 97, recently went up. The business, comprised of a new, larger storefront and separate building to store wood and other building materials, is nearing

Taxable sales rise in Oroville, Omak, Brewster, Chelan and Leavenworth

While some areas of the nation are experiencing an economic slowdown, that doesn’t appear to be the case for most cities and counties in North Central Washington, according to a series of reports released this month by the Washington Department of Revenue.

Among area communities, taxable retail sales increased from $8.6 million to nearly $11 million for a 27.9 percent increase in Brewster; from $1.26 million to $1.36 million for a 7.9 percent increase in Bridgeport; from $48.6 million to $49.5 million for a 1.8 percent increase in Chelan; from $1.53 million to $2.7 million for a whopping 77.6 percent increase in Entiat; from $31 million to $34.2 million for a 10.2 percent increase in Leavenworth; from $13 million to nearly $16 million for a 22.4 percent increase in Okanogan; from $37.3 million to $48.9 million for a 31.1 percent increase in Omak; and from $7.4 million to $9 million for a 22.8 percent increase in Oroville, according to figures for the third quarter of 2007 reported by the WDR.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }