Field trip apositive motivational tool

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter in last week’s paper over the concern about “wasted gas used by our school, for a field trip to Spokane.”

All year long, a volunteer group of parents has been in place to help support the staff and students, and help raise funds for educational activities for our Oroville Elementary students, it is called E.P.E.C. Our goal is to bring awareness of just how important being involved in our student’s education really is. Students do better when they have the support from parents and their community.

We all would like to be recognized for our hard work, and rewarded for it. Why should our students feel any different? This particular field trip was used as a motivational tool to give the children a goal, because of their hard work in math, reading and science. Every class had a certain goal to achieve, and given a reward for it.

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Found a sense of community in Tonasket

Dear Editor,

To our friends: On May 1, about 100 Lutes – just a few of the many in our PLU community that would have liked to come – traveled to Tonasket to honor the life of one of our own, Brady Cooper Freeman. What we quickly learned was that Brady was not ours alone – but Brady was a beloved member of a large family,

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Outraged over tree being cut down

Dear Editor,

As I was coming home from Tonasket, I was dismayed to see that the big pine tree that I grew up with was gone, leaving nothing but an ugly stump and a memory. That tree has been a historical landmark for as long as I can remember, which is a very long time. My mother and dad used to tell me stories about the Indians that used to camp under it and that it was known as a birthing tree.

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May Festival is ‘nostalgia onparade’

Dear Editor,

The wind was barely blowing but the cloud gray skies told us an extra coat would be the order of the day.

I wish someone would have told all our young teen royalties that it was not going to be a day of open shouldered evening gowns on a float on a street that runs north with a light south breeze. My bet, some are still shivering and drinking warm liquids to dissolve the goose bumps!

It’s hard to imagine from a far place how many can cram this little Hamlet to see the same sights they’ve seen for the last umpteen years. When you think of it. Sure the newer designs of the floats may change some. But the folks and their grandkids are the same as reflected in the looks of their faces and body structures of generations that began in this new place in the mid-1800s. And there is a lot to be said for tradition and remembrance of what has preceded us.

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Consolidation is not an option!

Dear Editor,

I am rather disappointed, Mr. Billing, that you did not claim ownership to your title as Administrator of Mid Valley Hospital in last week’s editorial in the Omak Chronicle titled “Consider Consolidation.” The readers would then have more clearly recognized that the article was written from the competitive edge point of view rather than having consideration for the medical needs of the communities in the North Okanogan Valley.

Statistics reflect the fact that for every six miles between the patient and the hospital the risk of death increases by 1%. For those patients who live in Oroville, Chesaw, or Loomis and even Tonasket, consolidation decreases their chance for survival in an emergent situation.

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Let’s put out the fire in AeneasValley

Dear Editor,

I have just read Reva Eisenbarths letter (Gazette-Tribune, May 1, “Concerns still haven’t been addressed”) which was a response to an earlier letter I had written. Though not intended to, it seems to have struck a nerve. I wish to make it very clear that I am NOT responding to the contents of her letter. To respond would have crossed over into the negative side, which I choose not to do.

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We’ll keep our own hospital, thanks

I too read with dismay Michael Billings thoughts on consolidating the three county hospital districts. Maybe he’s right, but I’m not sure it would be fair to expect the people in mid-county to have to drive to Tonasket to be treated at North Valley Hospital.

It might make sense though — patients from Omak and north could travel to Tonasket which would be centralized between Oroville and Omak and those from Okanogan and south could utilize the hospital in Brewster. The hospitals in Tonasket and Brewster could then split the money that once went to Mid-Valley Hospital.

I’m being facetious of course, but it’s not much worse than Mid-Valley Hospital Administrator Billings self-serving comments came across to many of us in North Okanogan County. We might have disagreements about just how we are going to accomplish what we want with our hospital in Tonasket, but it is still our hospital and the vast majority of us support it.

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Touch of Grace’ to present handbell concert

OROVILLE – “Touch of Grace” handbell choir from the Oroville Free Methodist Church will be presenting a free concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16 at the Oroville Free Methodist Church. The Oroville High School Girls’ Choir will also be performing several songs from their upcoming concert.

About four years ago a set of Belleplates from the Whitestone Church were borrowed for a Christmas service. Lynn Chapman, the director, had played in a handbell choir in Oregon and directed and was willing to direct a small handbell ensemble using the Belleplates. The women playing in the ensemble enjoyed playing so much, that the Belleplates were not returned for a year. They not only performed at the Oroville Free Methodist Church, but also at the Habitat for Humanity fall concert.

This exposure to handbell ringing was the beginning of “Touch of Grace.” A one octave set of Malmark Handbells, which includes 13 notes, was purchased on eBay and donated to the church the following year. Very few songs, however, can be played with only 13 tones, so donations were requested from the congregation of the Oroville Free Methodist Church for additional handbells.

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Photo by Gary DeVon<br>Walt and Vicki Hart get an up close look at one of the many species of butterflies that inhabit the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area during last year’s Watchable Wildlife Weekend. Dale and Kathy Swedberg will lead the tour in one of the e

Watchable Wildlife Weekend presents great opportunity to view nature

NORTH COUNTY – The Oroville and Tonasket Chambers of Commerce are sponsoring a Watchable Wildlife Weekend from May 23 to May 25 with a full schedule of opportunities to enjoy the flora and fauna of Okanogan County.

Friday, May 23

The weekend begins the evening of Friday, May 23 with “The Best Dam Tour in Oroville.” The Porters will be giving rides from Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial State Park down the Okanogan River to Zosel’s dam aboard their family party boat. They promise views of beaver dams, waterfowl and other interesting sights along the way. The boat will then return to the park. Departure times will be announced next week.

Saturday, May 24

The next day, Saturday, May 24, starting at 8 a.m. there is the Forde Lake Narrated Nature Hike. Participants are asked to join Dale and Kathy Swedberg as they team up to discuss the flora and fauna calling the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area home. This is a one-mi1e hike at a snail’s pace between Conner and Forde Lakes. The Swedbergs will lead the hike and discuss wildflowers, butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians of the area.

Dale Swedberg, manager of the wildlife area, will talk about fire ecology, ponderosa pine forest and management and the history of the area. The hike presents a great opportunity to see the bird blind and put it in use.

The hike is on uneven ground with some short, steep, uphill climbs and the scenery is second to none, according to Swedberg, who will also answer questions about the new trails in this area.

To find the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area go south out of Loomis (6.5 miles) or north out of Conconully (15 miles) on the Sinlahekin Road to Forde Lake.

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Assessor says property values will increase for most homeowners

OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Assessor Scott Furman announced last week that his office has completed the reevaluation process for all the taxable property located within the Oroville School District.

Portions of the county are re-evaluated on a four-year cycle and it was the Oroville area’s turn. Portions of the Omak School District that are located outside Omak’s city limits were also revalued, according to Furman. This included the Omak flats and the Conconully, Riverside and Tunk areas, as well as portions on the Colville Reservation.

“Notice of value change forms will be mailed out May 30, 2008,” said Furman.

Furman told those in attendance at the Thursday, May 8 meeting of the Oroville Chamber of Commerce that many taxpayers will see increases in their property valuation. He explained how the real estate appraisers used “comparables” from recent sales of similar properties to determine current value. He also showed several examples of homes and lots that had sold recently and how much they had increased with each successive sale over the past four years. Most had at least doubled in value, while some had gone up several times.

“The re-appraisal process involves real estate appraisers from the assessor’s office going out and physically inspecting all taxable property. The last revaluation was based upon sales that occurred prior to Jan. 1, 2004,” said Furman.

“The new assessed values are based upon comparable sales of similar property located in your area that have occurred over the past few years,” he said.

According to Furman the real estate market in the Oroville area has experienced unprecedented market appreciation in the past three years.

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Oroville will receive money to fence airport, build two helipads

OROVILLE – Oroville has been granted $616,567 from the FAA to completely fence the perimeter around the city’s Dorothy Scott International Airport.

The city has also applied for $16,225 from the state Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics division which it will receive to help pay the city’s share of the grant from the federal government. The federal agency, as well as the city, agrees that fencing the airport to keep deer off the runway is an important step. The fence is also intended to bring additional security to the airport.

At their Tuesday, May 5 meeting, the Oroville City Council passed a resolution saying that it had matching funds to the FAA grant. Councilman Tony Keopke made the motion to approve the resolution and it was seconded by Councilman Jason Blotsky.

“Fencing around the perimeter will include the buildings and the open hanger area and leave out the parking area,” said Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works.

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