Resignation opens door for write-in candidates for Oroville School Board

NORTH COUNTY – In addition to a $7 million hospital bond issue, voters are being asked to decide who will be Tonasket’s next mayor and who will sit in an Oroville School Director’s position after the incumbent was forced to drop out of the race.

The ballots for the upcoming general election are due on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

In Oroville, a once uncontested school board race now has two write-in candidates and the incumbent, who was seeking re-election to a two- year unexpired term, had to pull out because he lived in the wrong section of the district. Tim Whiteaker was appointed to the Oroville School Board to fill the place of Mary Hughes when she stepped down from the board. At the time fellow school board directors, who did the appointing, thought Whiteaker resided inside the portion of the district where Position 5 candidates can be drawn from. Whiteaker resigned as school director at last Monday night’s board meeting.

Phil Barker, who does live in the right part of the district, began a write-in campaign for the position prior to Whiteaker’s resignation. Barker owns Thermal Air, a heating and air conditioning installation and repair business. He has been very vocal and sometimes critical over recent school board decisions, including the appointment of Oroville High School Principal Steve Quick as the school’s part time Athletic Director.

“I want to see the administration and the teachers work together for the benefit of the students and community,” said candidate Barker. “I also believe we need to open the selection of the new superintendent of schools to a number of candidates.”

Also running as a last minute write-in candidate is Casey Smith, who works as a computer specialist at the U.S. Port of Entry at Oroville. Attempts to reach Smith for comments Monday were unsuccessful

In Tonasket, the main race is for mayor and the candidates are Joyce Fancher and Patrick Plumb.

“When Patrick Walter chose not to run, a number of people asked me to run for mayor and I decided I would try,” Fancher said. “I don’t have great political ambitions but sometimes you’ve got to do what you can do.”

Fancher, a current city council member, said she is hoping the support she received during the primary election will carry over into the general election. Near the end of August, a primary election was held to narrow the mayoral candidates from three to two – Fancher received 46.88 percent of the votes in the election.

During the primary Plumb took the second slot with 36.16 percent of the votes.

“Initially, we’re just going to have to have a sit down with government officials and businesses and see where we want to go with business,” Plumb said. “We need to start working on the future today. I’m really excited to have an official position to do that.”

Plumb, a former city council member, said he is very optimistic about his chances to win the mayoral race because he’s been going to a lot of places and people of all different age groups seem excited about the prospect of him as mayor.

Fancher said her main priorities as mayor will be to annex outlying areas around Tonasket and to create a parks and recreation committee. Plumb, who states he has had an interest in politics since he was 12-years-old, said he wants to be Tonasket’s biggest cheerleader and the best facilitator he can be.

Also on the general election ballot is a $7.5 million bond issue for North Valley Hospital District to finish the construction on the addition.

The $7.5 million will be used to finish the admitting and lobby area and the CT area in the new addition. It will also pay to finish the swing bed rooms in the patient rooms, finish the labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms in the new addition and build additional parking for the new addition. The money will also be used to relocate surgery to the basement of the new addition and to relocate the clinic to the second floor of the existing hospital. Finally, the money will be used to upgrade the mechanical systems such as the boilers, the air conditioning units, the plumbing, the electricity, the heat exchangers and the control system.

Warner Bartleson, administrator of the hospital district, said the need to finish the admitting and lobby area and to finish the CT area near the emergency room were what triggered the request for the bond issue. He said upgrading the existing building will allow for more space and the district will get more for their money than if they were to build an entirely new hospital. Finally, Bartleson said the upgrading of the mechanical systems will pay itself off in 15 years due to the energy savings the district will receive by using newer systems.

“Most people don’t think anything of buying a $5 latte a month but for that cost, they’ll be getting a wonderful hospital facility. This facility has the lowest healthcare costs of any medical facility in the state of Washington. The people are getting quality care at a bargain price,” Dale White, a member of the bond committee, said.

Herb Wandler, the incumbent, is running unopposed for (North Valley) Hospital District 4 Commissioner Position 3, a nonpartisan six-year term.

In Oroville, C.F. “Chuck” Spieth is asking a return to his position as Oroville’s Mayor, he like the three incumbent candidates for city council, are running unopposed. Jon Neal, Anthony “Tony” Keopke and Ed Naillon are seeking returns to Oroville City Council Positions 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Spieth, Neal and Keopke are running to serve four-year terms, while Naillon is running for a two-year unexpired term.

There are also several candidates in Tonasket running for positions unopposed. Jean Ramsey is running unopposed for the city council position number one, a four-year term, while Connie Maden is running unopposed for the city council position number three, a four-year short and full term.

For the Tonasket School Board, Lloyd Caton is running unopposed for the Director position number one, a four-year term and Ernesto Cerrillo is running unopposed for the Directory position number four, also a four-year term.

For the various local Okanogan County Fire Districts, Ron Hirst is running unopposed for Fire District 4 (Tonasket) Commissioner Position 3, a six-year term and Chris Williams is running unopposed for Position 2 on Fire District 10 (Loomis). Patty Ekenes is running unopposed for the Position 3, a six-year term, for Fire District 12 (Mt. Hull) and Michael Woelke is running unopposed for the Position 2, a six-year short and full term, for Fire District 16 (Aeneas Valley). Ken Ripley, is an incumbent running for Position 3 for Fire District 1 (Oroville Rural), a six-year term, while Steve Leslie wants to be re-elected to Position 1 for Fire District 11 (Molson-Chesaw), also a six-year term.

John Minyard Sr., is also on the ballot for Commissioner Position 2 for Riverview Cemetery, which is located on Golden Road west of Oroville. The incumbent will serve a six-year term.