TONASKET — Marylou Kriner was voted and sworn in as the new Mayor of Tonasket during the council’s Tuesday night meeting on June 9.
Kriner, who was acting mayor pro tem, fills a vacancy following the resignation of former mayor, Dennis Brown, on May 26.
The council appointed Kriner as mayor in a three to two vote. Her empty seat leaves position 5 open on the council.
“I have no family here. When I chose to move to Tonasket and put all of my efforts into the city, I wanted to get involved all the way. I know that we have some challenges in our city and bringing integrity and honesty to the forefront is really important to me. Anything I do will be for that and bringing the community back together because we need to be united and work together. Every decision has a place. This is my heart. This is where I chose to make my home. I could’ve moved anywhere but I chose Tonasket,” said Kriner.
Kriner said she believes in Tonasket.
“I believe our community has a lot to offer, we truly do. My goal will be to help find goals and work together to bring the community back to a whole and make it good again,” said Kriner.
The council took a moment of silence during Tuesday night’s meeting to acknowledge a loss in Councilman Jeff McMillan’s family.
“If we can just take a minute, bow our heads and say a little prayer for the McMillan’s and what they will be going through,” said Kriner.
City Planner, Kurt Danison briefed the council on the six year transportation plan.
“We are required to do a six year street plan every year. Anytime that we are trying to get funding from the Department of Transportation. In the case of Tonasket, we have a large six year street plan because we include all of the transportation issues that we have within the city,” said Danison.
Councilwoman Christa Levine moved to approve the low bid from Central Washington Asphalt as recommended by Varela and Associates for the Tonasket Avenue and Division Street Rehabilitation Project. Councilwoman Jill Ritter seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
“On this, I’m kind of worried about everything that has been going on in the U.S, the state and everything else. I am familiar with Central Washington Asphalt and I very much appreciate Varela and Associates recommendation and I think we should move forward before funding is cut,” said Levine.
“I agree with Teagan, if we are going to get this done, we probably need to get on the ball and just do it. Things are too volatile right now to be waiting around,” said McMillan.
City Attorney Michael Howe spoke to the council, explaining an email correspondence from community member Jennifer Ward, addressing the issue of cyber bullying.
Howe said Ward has indicated threats being made against her.
“These matters are serious. However, we have to look at what powers and what authority we have as a city to deal with this. Cyber bullying can fall into two categories. It’s all wrongful conduct but it can be dealt with as a civil matter or it can be dealt with as a criminal matter,” said Howe.
Howe said the city council does not have the authority to impart criminal penalties nor the authority to impart civil penalties.
“I’m not sure how I will proceed but it is a serious matter and I’m sorry if I get emotional. I do take it personally and I do take it as a threat against my family,” said Ward.
Ward said she was called a foreign and domestic enemy and that some council members have patted those who said it on the back and have turned a blind eye. She said the behavior has been happening since March.
“Some of our leaders and elected people are using aliases on Facebook and that is also a problem. So it does concern our city council. To me this does impact the oath of some of our council members,” said Ward.
“I really appreciate you speaking. I can say that if people are falsifying who they are on Facebook, that’s nothing the city can control,” said Kriner.
Kriner thanked Ward for bringing the matter to the city’s attention and she believes every council member has worked hard to bring Tonasket back together.
The council moved to table the discussion and possible action on approving bus shelters and signs in certain areas on public right of way until the next council meeting.
A young woman from the community also spoke to the council regarding being targeted on Facebook with cyberbullying. She expressed she and her family are scared and it’s an urgent matter needing to be dealt with.
“Since we are not a policing authority, I would hope that anyone that feels threatened and feels like their life is in danger would please contact the sheriff’s department,” said Councilwoman Christa Levine.
Levine motioned to approve the purchase of radar signs. McMillan seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Kriner said her afternoon was joyful after receiving back five slabs of wood from the trees removed from History Park.
“We’re going to let it dry, sand it and then we’ll put the plaques on that and at the very top would be one sign that I would love to have committee or even the community come together and figure out some type of verbage to go on the very top,” said Kriner.
Kriner said she is looking forward to seeing the job complete and fulfilled.
Levine said graduation was very emotional for a lot of people and done well.
Councilwoman Alisa Weddle acknowledged the women who expressed being cyberbullied.
“I really hope you can reach out for people to support you and help you work through that. I do so that the council is not an enforcement agency, there’s nothing we can really do. I’m trying to find policies or things that can help but that’s just really not our role,” said Weddle.
Weddle said these are trying times right now for the community and really polarizing.
“Emotions are getting so big, people are getting so angry and I’ve been contacted by so many community members this week either angry or sad about something that’s happening in our community. I just hope we can reach out and take care of eachother,” said Weddle.
Councilwoman Jill Ritter was voted in as mayor pro tem during Tuesday night’s meeting.
“Congratulations madam mayor Kriner, congratulations mayor pro tem, councilmen Ritter,” said Levine.
The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 23.