Pet shelter in the works for Okanogan County

TONASKET – Mayor Patrick Plumb declared May 27-28 and June 3-4 to be this year’s Poppy Days in Tonasket.

“I appreciate the American Legion doing this year after year and the vets hand making these poppies,” said Plumb. “The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary do amazing things for this community year after year. I urge everyone to get one of these poppies and display it.”

The poppy tradition has gone on for over 80 years, contributions devoted entirely to rehabilitation and assistance for veterans and their families.

Janet Burks asked the council for their support in establishing an Okanogan County Animal Shelter called OPETS (Okanogan Pet Shelter, Inc.). Burks said Okanogan County Commissioners voiced their support; provided it doesn’t bring up any zoning issues.

Burks said she also received support from other communities, including Winthrop, Brewster, Omak and Okanogan.

Burks said a well-known architect in Seattle is willing to design the shelter for free, which will handle both cats and dogs.

Burks has experience placing over one hundred horses throughout the state of Alaska; as well as experience working with the Freedom Train, placing 21 dogs during a trip from South Carolina to Maine.

Burks said when she inquired of other shelters how they sustain themselves, she was provided the model she is proposing for OPETS, where all communities pitch in to spread out the cost.

Tonasket Mayor said the council would vote on it next month.

To learn more about OPETS or follow their progress, visit their facebook page.

Arnie Marchand appeared before the council to remind them of an invitation by Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff to attend an upcoming Lake Osoyoos Appreciation Day Saturday, May 21 in Osoyoos.

Marchand also offered to present the council with a 45-minute lesson on local history, and the mayor invited him to do so at the May 24 city council meeting.

“It would behoove us to have a knowledge of the history of the area,” said Plumb.

“He is so knowledgable about the tribes, and he puts a little humor in at the same time, so no one will get bored,” said Council Member Brown.

“Arnie is a very valuable resource; a walking history book with a lot of personal resources,” agreed Council Member Claire Jeffko.

The public is invited to attend.

City Planner Kurt Danison urged the council not to give up on the idea of a city annexation at the south end of town that would allow a second access into Chief Tonasket Park despite residents on the west side of the highway being opposed to it. Danison suggested approaching the county to see if a piece of property could be given the town for annexation.

“I don’t want to give up; this is a 25-year dream and it would be really sad to squander the effort that has been put into this,” said Danison.

A meeting of the Okanogan County Economic Development District in Waterville attended by Danison including touring a factory that makes components for cabinetry.

“The company ships plastic parts all over, and employs 100 or so people,” said Danison, adding, “I’m kind of excited about that possibility. We had an aerospace manufacturer at one time. I think that’s an important part of being a part of the ECDD; hearing about other good ideas that work.”

Mayor Plumb said he attended a workshop on asset management, and asked Danison to look into a software program that would map out the city’s water and sewer systems and allow public access to that information.

Police Chief Darren Curtis said Travis West started his training at the police academy and will graduate in September. The city lost the services of police officer Preston Ray, who has been hired as an Okanogan County Sheriff’s deputy. Ray’s last day with Tonasket’s police force was May 4. Meanwhile, the city still has full-time officer Matt Beard, and hired Javier Aguilar at the end of April. Aguilar is working full time as a reserve officer right now, and will be going through field training. Curtis said Aguilar already went through the academy and was working as a security officer at Chief Joseph Dam. Curtis said Aguilar was becoming familiar with the streets of Tonasket, having worked with Officer Ray for a week to “become familiar with where the action is,” and worked with Beard on traffic. He’ll next work with Curtis “for a bit to see if he is ready to be out on his own.”

Alice Attwood reported working with former library board member James Moore to form a new library board following the resignation of all the other library board members after a Friends of the Library group was formed by the Tonasket librarian.

The Tonasket Visitors and Business Resource Center opened up for the season, and the Tonasket Farmers Market season began May 12. The market takes place every Thursday afternoon in the Triangle Park at the north end of town.

Council member Maria Moreno said she attended an Association of Washington Cities in Oroville that was well attended by people from Tonasket and Oroville as well as Omak’s mayor and city officials, and a council member from Chelan and Brewster.

“It was great to see our communities all in attendance,” said Moreno, who is looking forward to more AWC meetings in the future.

The council approved the third supplemental agreement with Varela and Associates for increased costs on the US Highway 97 Pedestrian Bridge Project at the south end of town, contingent on appropriate paperwork being submitted by the contractor. The scope of work was increased by two weeks of construction engineering at a cost of $18,986.76; bringing the maximum amount payable to $98,309.68.

The council heard the first reading of a budget amendment for a salary increase for substitute police officers and reserve officers; changing it from a set hourly wage to a range of hourly wages based on training and experience. Hourly wages for substitute police officers will range from $13.07 to $15.29; and from $10.17 to $12.20 per hour for reserve officers.

An agreement between the Okanogan County Weed Control Board was approved by the council contingent on Tonasket not spending more than $300.

Mayor Plumb and Mayor Pro Tem/Council Member Jeffko attended an incident command training session with Washington and Okanogan County Emergency Management including training on setttin up and maintaining an incident command.

“Both of us got a lot out of it and we expressed our concerns over what happened last year,” said Plumb. “We’re still not entirely sure everything is perfected in that process, but we would like to reach out and thank Maurice Goodall and Glenda Beuregard, who were both instrumental in keeping us in the loop. We would also like to thank the county commissioners for the use of the building and their attending the training also.”

“There was a healthy exchange of ideas, with everyone working well together trying to figure out how best we can be protected,” said Jeffko.

The Public Hearing for the Six Year Transportation Plan has been set for June 28 at 7 p.m.