Year in review – looking back at 2010

January

 

Tours of North Valley Hospital available – Thepublic is invited to tour the new addition of the hospital as work is nearingcompletion.

Murder defendants seek trial continuances – Three offour defendants in the Michelle Kitterman murder are seeking to continue theirtrials, set to begin this month, to a later date.

Second death from H1NI – Okanogan County PublicHealth reported the second fatality in the county from the H1N1 Virus, commonlyknown as Swine Flu.

Superintendent discusses upcoming Oroville School Levy – Thetwo-year $1.5 million levy’s collection rate would be the lowest among nearbydistricts.

Oroville will support hospital’s bid for grant – Orovillehas agreed to be the administrating agency should North Valley Hospital’srequest for as much as $600,000 from CDBG be approved by the state.

Hedlunds named “Citizens of the Year’ – TheTonasket Chamber of Commerce honored Leonard and Donna Hedlund, former ownersof Hedlund Chevrolet, as their Citizens of the Year at their annual awardsbanquet and officer installation dinner.

Oroville will administer Housing Authority Grant – Despitean ever-growing list of responsibilities, including recently agreeing toadminister a grant for the hospital, Oroville’s city council agreed to take onanother grant, this one for construction of permanent migrant housing.

 

February

 

Theresa Hawkins and Michelle Smith “Citizens of the Year’ – TheOroville Chamber of Commerce named Theresa Hawkins and Michelle Smith, co-chairwomenof the May Festival Committee, as their Citizens of the Year at the annualawards and officer installation banquet.

NVH District working to pay off warrants – Thehospital board met with the county treasurer to discuss paying down more than$3 million it owes to the county in warrants.

Oroville takes steps in hopes of state park transfer – TheOroville City Council has applied for additional funding for start-up costs andapproved a motion for immediate annexation should Osoyoos Lake Veterans StatePark be transferred to the city.

Three will be interviewed for Oroville School Superintendent – Thesearch process for applicants for a new Oroville school superintendentconcluded with five finalists and these will be whittled down to three to beinterviewed for the position..

Tonasket residents concerned about affect of possibleannexation – Residents from the Mill Drive area and south of townexpressed their concerns over the possible affects of annexation of theirneighborhoods would have on their land, wells and taxes.

Oroville area voters approve $1.5 million school levy - Itappears voters in the Oroville School District have listened to the argumentsin favor of a two-year $1.497 million M & O Levy, approving it with 55percent of the vote.

Principal Quick selected as new superintendent – Althoughthe job was widely advertised, the Oroville School Board had to look no fartherthan from within the district to find their new superintendent, current OHSPrincipal Steve Quick.

Tonasket School Board still working on final levy amount - TheTonasket School Board has decided it needs more information to determine howmuch they will be asking from voters in the upcoming two-year Maintenance andOperations Levy.

 

 

March

 

Oroville school enrollment higher than predicted – Afteryears of dropping enrollment, Oroville’s student population is starting togrow, helping bring in state basic education funds that aid a conservativeschool budget built by the board on lower enrollment estimates.

Hospital District working on bringing in more revenue – TheNorth Valley Hospital Board discussed a new billing program it hopes will bringin more revenue to help pay down county warrants more quickly.

Oroville man survives Coast Guard Helicopter crash – DarrenHicks from Oroville was one of five crewmen aboard a Coast Guard rescuehelicopter that crashed east of Salt Lake City March 3.

Oroville will sponsor rural library funding application – TheOroville City Council gave the nod to the Friends of the Library to pursuefederal funding to help build a new public library.

State Park will be transferred to Oroville – Afteronce approving and then rescinding the transfer of Osoyoos Lake VeteransMemorial Park to the city of Oroville, the state Parks and Rec Commission hasagain agreed Oroville would be the best stewards of the facility.

Murder defendant’s attorney wants change of venue – Theattorney for Tansy Mathis has requested a change of venue out of OkanoganCounty in her trial for the murder of Michelle Kitterman.

Rise in total assessed valuation lowers
levy collection rate
– TheTonasket School Board voted to lower their levy rate back down to $2.22 perthousand of assessed valuation after discovering the total assessed valuationfor the district has increased $80 million to $439 million total.

Supt. Turner’s contract extended one year – TheTonasket School Board voted to extend Paul Turners contract as districtsuperintendent by an additional year meaning he has the job until at least Juneof 2013.

Oroville mayor authorized to sign park transfer – OrovilleMayor Chuck Spieth was given the go ahead to sign documents transferringOsoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial Park to the city.

 

 

April

 

NVH board changing hospital leadership – After aspecial meeting of the North Valley Hospital District Board, currentAdministrator Warner Bartleson said the board had decided on a change ofleadership in his position.

Guilty plea from murder suspect – With histrial about to begin next month, Brent L. Phillips changed his plea to guiltyof Premeditated Murder in the first degree of Michelle Kitterman, manslaughterof her unborn child, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Kidnapping.

Wauconda still for sale – The eBay auction forWauconda closed, but when the highest bidder didn’t come through with the downpayment for this little highlands town, it went back on the market.

Bharucha acting hospital administrator – With theNVH board letting Warner Bartelson go, Chief Financial Officer Bomi Bharucha isthe acting administrator until a new one is found.

Phillips testifies in Kitterman murder trial – BrentPhillips testifies in the murder trial of Tansy Mathis and David Richardssaying Mathis carried out the killing and Richards was not involved.

NCW Media retains contract for county legal ads – With thecounty commissioners’ decision to accept NCW Media’s bid for their legaladvertising, the Gazette-Tribune and Quad City Herald will remain OkanoganCounty’s official newspapers of record.

More water to be held at Zosels Dam -Additional water will be held back at Zosel Dam on Lake Osoyoos now that adrought has been declared in the region by a joint international board,according to the Department of Ecology.

Mathis and Richards guilty of Kitterman’s murder – Afterless than an 12 hours in deliberation, the jury in the Michelle Kittermanmurder trial has found Tansy Fae Arwen Mathis and David Eugene guilty of firstdegree murder and manslaughter.

 

May

 

Dick and Barb Forrester 2010 May Fest Grand Marshals – Richardand Barbara Forrester, lifelong Oroville residents, are this year’s MayFestival Grand Marshals and join May Festival Queen Brandy Range and PrincessCheyanne Sharpe in leading this year’s festivities.

Tonasket School Maintenance and Operation Levy passes – Votersin the Tonasket School District approve the two-year replacement M&O Levywith 62.4 percent of the vote.

Oroville School District hires two new principals – PatriciaSmith has been hired as the new Oroville Junior-Senior High Principal and GaryPringle as the new Oroville Elementary School Principal.

Taxing districts profit from new way of calculating statepayments – A recalculations of what the state owes forPayment-in-Lieu of taxes has resulted in a windfall of more than $330,000 forthe county, according to Okanogan County Assessor Scott Furman.

Oroville Celebrates May Festival – Many gottheir wish as rain stayed away from the May Festival Grand Parade, one of thelongest and best in the festival’s 76-year history.

No arrests made in school lockdown – Noarrests have been made in the lockdown of Tonasket Schools Monday, May 3, aftera parent made a threat against the elementary school to Rep. Joel Kretz officein Omak.

Killers sentenced in murder of Oroville woman – TanseyMathis received a life sentence without parole and David Richards more than 20years for their part in the murder-for-hire killing of Michelle Kitterman.

Tonasket did not receive CDBG for annexation – TheTonasket City Council announced that the city did not receive a CommunityDevelopment Block Grant for its annexation project.

Oroville okays grant application for sewer extension – TheOroville City Council approved a grant application to fund a sewer extension toseveral units of permanent farmworker housing being developed by the OrovilleHousing Authority off Sawtell Road.

HCGR Healthcare chosen by hospital board – TheNorth Valley Hospital Board has chosen HCGR Healthcare to provide managementservices to the hospital district.

 

June

 

Longaneckers honored to be Founders Grand Marshals Arial'> – Ralphand Leona Longanecker say they are honored to be the 2010 Tonasket Founders DayGrand Marshals.

Hirst-Pavek charges elevated by state – Thecharges against Lacey Hirst-Pavek in the murder of Michelle Kitterman wereelevated by the state to Aggravated First Degree Murder.

Tonasket Celebrates Founders Day – Tonasketcelebrates the annual Founders Day with a Grand Parade, fun run, rodeo and muchmore.

Flagpole dedicated at U.S. Armed Forces Legacy Project -Veterans, dignitaries and others joined in as a new 50-foot flagpole was dedicatedas part of the U.S. Armed Services Legacy Memorial at Tonasket on Monday, June14.

VA contract approved at North Valley Hospital – It’sofficial, the contract between the hospital and the Veteran’s Administrationwas approved making health services for veterans in the area more accessible.

Candidates file for county, state and federal positions -Candidates for county offices include three women seeking the position ofOkanogan County Clerk and two-way races developing to fill county commissioner,sheriff, treasurer and District Court Judge positions.

Canola press could bring jobs, spin-off industries – Tim Kingis thinking of locating a canola oil press in Oroville to process millions oftons of seeds produced in Canada each year.

New ideas being pitched at www.sustainableoroville.com – A groupof people with diverse ideas is focusing their efforts in several areas inOroville, including building a new “green” hotel – some of their ideas can beseen at the website www.sustainableoroville.com.

 

July

 

More water to be released from Lake Osoyoos -Additional water held at Zosel Dam in response to a regional droughtdeclaration will soon be released, according to the DOE.

Hospital warrants up to $3.5 million – Theregistered warrants, the money North Valley Hospital must repay the county, areup to $3.5 million as of the hospital board’s June 24 meeting.

Hirst-Pavek trial moved out of county – Thefinal trial in the murder of Michelle Kitterman has been continued until Nov. 1and moved to Douglas County over claims the defendant couldn’t get a fair trialin Okanogan County.

Bartelson attends last Oroville School Board meeting assuperintendent – Dr. Ernie Bartelson attended his last meeting asSuperintendent of Oroville Schools just two days before his retirement.

Forest Ranger Mark Morris retires from 40-year career – MarkMorris wraps up a career of more than 40 years with the U.S. Forest Service,including the last decade as Tonasket’s District Ranger.

Ellen Roberts celebrates 100th birthday – Familyand friends got a chance to tell Ellen Roberts just how much she has meant tothem at a 100th birthday celebration held at the Oroville United MethodistChurch.

Oroville will maintain new road at Harvest Park – In aclosed testimony hearing the city council voted to approve maintaining a roadthat will be built when the Oroville Housing Authority constructs permanentagricultural housing on property off Sawtell Road.

Over 100 celebrate Art Westlund’s 100th birthday – Friendsand family helped Art Westlund celebrate his 100th birthday at the TonasketSenior Center on July 17.

Past 39 years went fast for the Beyers – the past39 years have gone fast for Leona and Ralph Beyers, owners of Ralph’s Radio andTV. The couple will be closing their Tonasket business due to health problems.

Farmers learn potential for growing canola – Localarea farmers gathered in Chesaw to learn about the potential for growing canolaand camelina and plans for a mill in Oroville to crush the seeds into oil forlubrication and biolfuels.

 

August

 

A Grape Experience’ – The Oroville Chamber ofCommerce hosted their first annual Toast of Oroville Wine Festival “A GrapeExperience” with more than 150 people attending.

Water policy discussion pushed back to August – Duringthe Tonasket City Council meeting the decision to approve or not approve thewater policy for the possible annexation area was pushed back until their nextmeeting.

Many “Watch Globally, Drink Locally’ at film festival – Seattlefilmmakers Charles Fosgreen and Tim Watkins took “Best of Fest” with their film”Dishonesty” at the first annual Tumble Weed Film Festival held in Oroville thefirst weekend of August.

Okanogan County deputy exchanges shots with gunman – Asheriff’s deputy returned fire and wounded a man after responding to a domesticdispute on Hungry Hallow Road near Havillah.

High speed hydros - The weather was just aboutperfect as the hydros hit Lake Osoyoos in the annual Can Am Apple CupHydroplane Race last weekend,

Landis charged with attempted murder - A Havillaharea man, James Joel Landis, 61, w
as charged with attempted murder and assaultwith a deadly weapon for firing on sheriff’s deputies responding to a domesticdispute.

Two Republican clerk candidates will advance to GeneralElection - County voters preferred the two Republican candidates forclerk to the lone Democrat in the only three-way race in the Primary Electionheld Tuesday, Aug. 27.

A Garlic Fiesta - Latin Dancers featuringperformers in wooden “old men” masks and young girls in colorful dress,performed at the annual Garlic Festival held in Tonasket last weekend.

 

 

September

 

North Valley Hospital warrant just under $3 million now – Thewarrants for North Valley Hospital District have dropped to just under $3million, down nearly half a million dollars from July.

School policies and more on Oroville District website – Supt. SteveQuick announced that school policies are now on the district’s websitehttp://oroville.wednet.edu/index.html and more information will be addedfrequently.

Marijuana grows with 20,000 plants lead to six arrests – The NCWNarcotics Task Force has eradicated about 20,000 pot plants found in theSinlahekin and Lost Lake areas in the month of August.

Tonasket woman fined for escaped burn barrel fire – Thestate Department of Ecology issued a $6500 fine to a Tonasket-area woman for aburn barrel fire that escaped causing a large wildfire, the second burn barrelcaused blaze on the woman’s property in less than 10 years.

Hospital district working to improve customer service – HospitalAdministrator Linda Michel explains district’s plan to improve customer servicewith nine points, including courteous, compassionate, safety-minded staffproviding quality care.

Oroville Library still looking for funding of new building – JulieAshmore appeared before the Oroville City Council to discuss various fundingschemes for a new library building, including making the new building much morethan just a library.

Tonasket receives transportation enhancement grant – Tonasketwas chosen to receive $126,500 for the Whitcomb Avenue Pedestrian Upgradeproject.

Coalition partners with Support Center against ruralDomestic Violence – The Washington State Coalition Against DomesticViolence is partnering with the Support Center and three other EasternWashington agencies to help address domestic violence in rural areas,especially among migrant workers.

Tonasket School Board anticipating more cuts – TheTonasket School District is anticipating more cuts to their budget from thestate after a six percent cut was already enacted.

Oroville School Board discusses district goals, budget cuts – TheOroville School Board adopted seven goals for the 2010-2011 school year, aswell as hearing a report about the potential for additional state cuts to districtspending.

 

October

 

Oroville one step closer to producing canola oil – With thedelivery of several roller presses to Oroville, it seems that Tim King’s dreamof making canola oil is one step closer.

Gazette-Tribune recognized for “General Excellence’ – TheOkanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune was recognized by the Washington StatePublishers Association with a third place General Excellence Award at theirannual convention, held this year in Wenatchee.

Candidates for Okanogan County face off in forum – Candidatesfor local county offices met at the PUD Auditorium in Okanogan to explain whythey should get your vote in the upcoming General Election.

Green Okanogan in need of new building – As ofthe end of October, Green Okanogan in Tonasket will be homeless unless they cancome up with another building suitable for their recycling center needs.

Hirst-Pavek murder trial set for Nov. 1 – With thedefense’s latest motion for a continuance denied, the murder trial for LaceyHirst-Pavek is set to begin jury selection on Nov. 1 at the Douglas CountyCourthouse in Waterville.

Olson appointed to Tonasket City Council – ScottOlson, a fourth-grade teacher and former Tonasket City Councilman, wasappointed to fill the seat vacated by Councilwoman Joyce Fancher.

Jerian Ashley crowned Tonasket Rodeo Queen – JerianAshley, a Tonasket High School senior, was crowned the 2011 Tonasket RodeoQueen at a coronation ceremony held Oct. 23.

Oroville adopts changes to zoning map – After aclosed record hearing the Oroville City Council approved a request for a zoningmap amendment and Conditional Use Permit on behalf of Oroville Reman andReload.

 

November

 

Early returns favor Detro, Rogers, Groomes and McCormack – Electionnight counts of Okanogan County ballots favor Jim Detro as the next countycommissioner and a return of Frank Roge
rs as county sheriff.

Tonasket Council still thinking about ad volorem taxes – TheTonasket Council is continuing its discussion about raising ad volorem taxes byone percent, the most a city can raise the tax in a one year period withoutgoing to the voters for approval.

Witness connects Hirst-Pavek with convicted murderers – Duringthe fourth day of testimony in Lacey Hirst-Pavek’s trial for her suspectedinvolvement in the murder of Michelle Kitterman, a witness was able to connecther with the three people already convicted in the case.

Tonasket pool repairs would cost half a million dollars – At aworkshop with the Tonasket City Council and interested citizens, LandExpressions and Pool World representatives explained repairs to the pool willcost just over $.5 million.

Hirst-Pavek guilty of all charges – The juryin the murder trial of Lacy Hirst-Pavek found her guilty of first degreepremeditated murder of Michelle Kitterman and first degree manslaughter of herunborn child.

Detro, Rogers, Groomes, McCormack and Rawson win elections - With noballots left to count it looks like Jim Detro will join Andy Lampe and BudHover on the Okanogan County Board of Commissioners.

North Valley Hospital warrants down to $2.6 million – WithNorth Valley Hospital District making payments of nearly $30,000 a week, thewarrants they owe the county have dropped by nearly a million dollars sinceJuly to $2.610,000.

Oroville looking at moving “two Chrises’ to old VIC – Orovilleis looking into the feasibility of moving the Director of Community andEconomic Development, Chris Branch and the Permit Administrator/BuildingInspector, Christian Johnson, to the vacant Visitor’s Information Center onMain St.

 

December

 

Hirst-Pavek sentenced to life without parole – LaceyHirst-Pavek was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in OkanoganCounty Superior Court for the murder of Michelle Kitterman and 126 months inprison for the manslaughter of Kitterman’s unborn child.

Mining company looking for more gold on Buckhorn – Echo BayExploration is looking to expand mineral exploration near Kinross’ BuckhornGold Mine near Chesaw.

No property tax increase for Tonasket – TheTonasket City Council declared there would not be a property tax increase in2011, dropping plans to increase the ad volorem tax by one percent.

Open House planned to answer questions about goldexploration – Several state and federal agencies are holding an openhouse to answer questions about a proposal to do minerals exploration onBuckhorn Mountain, northeast of Oroville near Chesaw.

Water and sewer rates going up in Oroville – TheOroville City Council voted to approve a two-year increase in water and sewerrates for all customers inside and outside the city limits.

Oroville Chamber of Commerce making plans for 2011 – TheOroville Chamber of Commerce is still seeking nominations for next year’sofficers, but it looks like the organization will continue on into 2011.

Public attends Open House on gold exploration proposal – Thoseinterested in more information on a proposal to expand gold exploration onBuckhorn Mountain near Chesaw nearly filled the seats of the OHS Commons lastweek.

One open seat on Tonasket City Council – With theofficial resignation of Councilwoman Connie Maden the council is seekingletters of interest from people who would like to fill our her term.

Tonasket School District facing more budget cuts – Due todecisions in the recent legislative session, the Tonasket School District isonce again facing budget cuts.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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