TONASKET – As voters are receiving their ballots in the mail next week, Tonasket Superintendent Paul Turner asks that voters think of the students before making their decisions.
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.
TONASKET – The defense attorney for one of the defendants in the Michelle Kitterman murder trial has requested a change of venue for the trial.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.