Similkameen and Okanogan Rivers approaching flood stage

OKANOGAN – As river levels rose with temperatures last week Okanogan County Commissioners declared a countywide flood emergency on the Methow and Okanogan Rivers.

“Our concern for the Okanogan River is for the next 72 hours,” said Scott Miller, manager of the Okanogan County Emergency Management Department, last Monday. “Looking beyond that if we make it through the next month we are over the hurdle for the year.”

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Photo by Gary DeVon<br>Cut ‘n’ Edge of Tonasket can add flowers and landscaping to people’s homes. LynAlan and Susan Koehn own the new business and recently used their skills on this Oroville area home.

Cut ‘n’ Edge provides lawn-care needs

TONASKET – People looking to add flowers and landscaping to their homes have a new option

Cut ‘n’ Edge, located in Tonasket, provides a complete line of service for yard care, according to a business description submitted by owners LynAlan and Susan Koehn.

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Photo by Gary DeVon<br>Developers Lisa and Jim Hammond plant one of the first barbera grape vines that will become the Veranda Beach Resort vineyard.

Veranda Beach Resort planting vineyard

OROVILLE – Veranda Beach Resort began planting the first vines for their vineyard last Monday afternoon and plans on one day having grapes and cottages side by side.

“We expect that by the time we are all done we will have 150 to 200 acres in the long run. This is just the first of our vineyard,” said resort developer Jim Hammond.

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TVBRC website up and running

TONASKET – The Tonasket Visitor and Business Resource Center website is almost ready to go.

The new site, www.tvbrc.org, is open to all Tonasket businesses, said Chamber of Commerce president Dave Kester. Trina and Layton Smith, of TwoRebels Design, have designed the site.

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Hospital board approves design plan

TONASKET – The North Valley Hospital Board approved a design plan for the new hospital at a special board meeting May 14.

The final construction cost estimate is almost $7.5 million, hospital administrator Warner Bartleson said. It includes a 17,652 square foot finished main floor and an additional full basement that can be developed at some later point, as well as a remodel of the current building, he said.

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<p><i> Photo by Gary DeVon</i></p><p>    Jackson Gregg, gets a ride in a sidecar from Verna Madison, a member of the Columbia River Harley Owner's Group. The fourth-grader, who had an operation last year for a brain tumor, was helped by the group which ra

Over 350 motorcycles and riders roar into Oroville

OROVILLE – Some 308 riders and their machines left Wenatchee Saturday morning for the sixth annual Run for the Border, picking up more riders along the way, they arrived at their destination in Oroville over 350 strong.

The cyclists had a special police escort as they roared into town and lined up into neat rows along Main Street, Appleway and Golden in special coned-off areas set aside for the occasion. Many of the riders belonged to the Columbia River Harley Owners Group which organizes the annual event to raise money for North Central Washington Kids in Need.

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Photos by Amy Veneziano<br>A firefighter continues to set fire while a ponderosa pine burns up in a crown fire behind him. Crown fires can send flames as much as 300 feet into the air.

Prescribed fire a necessary forest tool

TONASKET – Fire.

It’s the dirtiest of the four-letter words for many home owners, farmers, ranchers, recreation seekers and others across the dry, arid west.

It’s the summertime worst case scenario, an out-of-control blaze that eats up miles of forest, towns and homes.

But firefighters and others entrusted with protecting both the backcountry and private lands know that the best way to fight it is with another form of fire, a cleaner version, controlled by those around it.

“We’re emulating what Mother Nature would do,” said Tonasket District Ranger Mark Morris. “If Mother Nature’s happy, we’re happy.”

Last week, the Tonasket Ranger District of the Okanogan National Forest completed work on a 1,000 acre swath of the Upper Aeneas, lighting a fire by hand and chemical-infused ping-pong balls dropped from a helicopter.

But the flames are the result of a long effort in preparing the area for burning.

The Forest Service first arranged a commercial logging effort in the area to be burned, Morris said.

Commercial loggers remove small-diameter trees and logs, a boost for the economy. Once they’re done, the forest service continues to remove “ladder fuels” or the piles of discarded branches, weeds and brush deemed unusable by loggers. At this point, the forest is much less dense.

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The big largemouth bass weighing 1.82 pounds was caught by the team of Jim Barker (left) and Cliff Applebee.

May Fest bass anglers face cold, windy day of tough fishing

OROVILLE – The team of Fred Bender and Claude Roberts took home top honors at this year’s May Festival Bass Tournament with fish weighing a combined 22.46 pounds.

The first anglers showed up that morning at about 4:15 a.m. and were soon joined by 12 more teams coming to register and wait for 6 a.m. to arrive.

“As we waited there was talk of tournaments past and just a little talk about how to catch the big ones on this day,” said Roberts, who also serves as tournament director.

“The day greeted us with cool, windy conditions which made fishing tough, but the weather did not hinder the effort the teams put into their fishing,” he adds.

The results of the tournament were as follows:

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Melissa Fry

Fry awarded memorial scholarship

The Okanogan County chapter of the Washington State Music Teachers Association (WSMTA) has awarded its yearly Elma Curry Memorial Scholarship to Omak graduate, Melissa Fry. It will be presented at the chapter’s Variety Recital, 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 18 at the Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, at which Melissa will perform.

This fund is named in memory of Elma Curry, longtime member and encouraging supporter of Okanogan County musical endeavors. To qualify, Fry must have studied with a chapter teacher(s) for a minimum of three years, entered adjudications, performed at chapter events and displayed a consistent attendance and practice record.

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UW scholarships open to Oroville students

OROVILLE – Change is never easy.

But a group of Oroville High School graduates are making the metamorphosis from Hornet to Husky a little less scary.

Ray Wilson and John Zosel both left Oroville after graduating in 1964 for the promise of a University of Washington education. Wilson is now a (mostly) retired MD living in Bellevue and Zosel lives in Oroville.

But neither one of them has forgotten their roots.

Beginning this fall quarter, Oroville High School graduates enrolling at UW will have another source for college funding.

An endowment has been set up to benefit Oroville students continuing on at UW.

“I can’t think of a better way to invest my money then helping young people get an education,” Wilson said recently while in town for a mini-class reunion.

Wilson graduated from UW in pharmacy sciences in 1969. He is an active alumnus at both the university and the college of pharmacy, which raised $50,000 in a night for a pharmacy scholarship.

At a high school class reunion the next year, Wilson decided to try to repeat that success.

“I looked around and thought, there are some really successful people from Oroville. Why don’t we do something like that?”

He proposed the idea to Zosel and soon the ball was rolling.

“We contacted all the OHS and UW graduates we could find,” Wilson said.

The university has computer records of students dating back to 1984, but for anything before then, Wilson and Zosel relied on word-of-mouth and networking to conduct their search.

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Tonasket student wins national art contest

TONASKET – Some are leaping, diving, guarding eggs. Others are artistic representations, Pacific Northwest Indian art interlaid on their sleek bodies.

One piece showed a bear and a waterfall, mountains in the distance and the salmon leaping up stream to spawn.

That piece is a watercolor by Katelyn Antuna, a seventh-grader in the Tonasket Outreach Program.

Antuna and more than 300 other students across the country submitted artistic pieces depicting wild salmon to Save Our Wild Salmon, a national coalition of organizations ranging from commercial and sport fishing associations to clean energy advocates dedicated to restoring wild salmon on the Columbia and Snake River runs.

SOWS held an art contest for students across the country. The top 20 art pieces will be displayed at the Capital and the four age group winners will go to D.C. to a SOWS reception.

Antuna is one of those winners.

“I was very surprised when I won,” she said. “I can’t wait for D.C.!”

SOWS pays for the winner and a parents to head to the “other” Washington in June. Katelyn’s mother, Wanda, will likely accompany her.

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