Looking back at 2012, the year that was

With the start of each year we like to take a moment to look back at some of the news stories that made the front page of the Gazette-Tribune. While not every story is earth-shattering there were some that stick in our minds and some that we say oh ya, that happened back then.

The year started out with rumors that the Canadians were going to close the daylight borders at Chopaka (their side of the Nighthawk crossing) and at Midway. These rumors were spurred on by a Canadian government report that was hitting the newspapers in B.C. and elsewhere. To us it seemed ridiculous, especially when the Nighthawk side was getting a new $6 million state-of-the-art crossing facility. The rumor was persistent and finally went away when a Canadian official stated their government had no intention of closing the two ports – it was all because of a outdated study the Canadians did on cost-cutting measures. One of our sister publications shared their coverage from north of the border with us.

While the county and local governments continued to struggle in a down economy, trying to make up for cuts in federal and state monies, they seemed to be staying afloat, somewhat better than last year anyway. There’s not much meat left before these governments hit bone though. Our hospital district just seems to go from one crisis to the next however. Even though it’s a Critical Access Hospital, which used to guarantee getting a little more than what it costs to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients, that guarantee has disappeared. The district continues to struggle trying to pay down the warrants and worries about the Assisted Living facility have moved to the forefront.

After some controversial meetings of the Oroville School Board it seems to have settled down to doing the people’s business. Hurt feelings still linger among some. However, educating the kids and maintaining a qualified staff while responsibly spending the taxpayer’s money is the most important thing and always trumps personality conflicts.

Oroville’s borders continued to grow, although at a slower rate, with fewer annexation requests and Tonasket got funding to build the Mill Drive/Bonaparte Creek sewer extension.

We also saw the loss of Jackie Bradley, longtime Okanogan County Clerk – everyone seemed to like Jackie who led the Democratic Party in the county for many years. Even her opponents respected her. Bradley was clerk to Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Jack Burchard for a number of years and he also announced he would not seek a sixth term in 2012.

There were a lot of positives in those first six months as well, one being that Oroville Elementary and High School received a large Mr. Holland’s Opus grant to buy and repair musical instruments. And, the Booster Club and Kinross Gold donated $22,000 toward the purchase of the new electronic reader board which has been a great addition to the community. Both schools easily passed their Maintenance and Operation Levies as well.

May Festival and Founders Day were well attended and continue to be great representations of both towns.

Oroville Reman and Reload continues to be a profitable employer and has expanded operations, meaning more good paying jobs where they’re most welcome.

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 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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