Oroville Chamber of Commerce making plans for 2011

OROVILLE – The Oroville Chamber of Commerce is still seeking nominations for next year’s officers and board members, but it looks like the organization will continue on into 2011.

Although all positions are open to additional nominations, so far Gary DeVon has agreed to put up his name for president, a position he’s held since Raleigh Chinn stepped down in mid-2010. Patti Garrett said she would put her name up for vice-president and Dennis Henry for a return to treasurer. There is still a need for a secretary, but it was agreed that the job could be split into recording and corresponding secretary positions if someone did not what to fill both roles at the same time. There are also three to five openings for board member positions.

All chamber members are welcome to submit nominations for all positions at the January general membership meeting with a final election taken at the February meeting. A date for an awards and installation banquet has not been set.

At the Friday, Dec. 10 meeting there were two guest speakers, Lisa Andrews with Amedisys and her sister Brenda Jones with Combined Insurance.

Andrews explained that Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys began offering home health care services locally after Okanogan Regional Home Health and Hospice no longer offered the service in the county.

“Home health care keeps healthcare costs down,” said Andrews. “We’re trying to get the word out, so instead of patients transitioning to the nursing home where the costs are huge, they go into home health for patients for 30 and 60 days of care.”

Andrews, who worked for North Valley Hospital for over 11 years, said she is working with all facilities and physicians in the county to spread the word. She also spoke about how homebound status is defined, with Medicare being harder in its requirements. To qualify a patient must be under the care of a physician who signs his or her home health plan, be considered “homebound” (confined to his or her residence for the majority of time, leaving the residence infrequently, for short durations and requiring taxing effort), patient require intermittent skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy or continuing occupational therapy.

Andrews said “homebound status” doesn’t mean the patient can’t make trips to the hairdresser or to attend religious services for example, but going to play bingo a couple times a week would not qualify.

Examples of homebound patients can include those that are paralyzed from a stroke and confined to a wheelchair or requiring the aid of crutches to walk, a patient that is blind or demented, lost the use of their extremities, someone who has returned from a surgical hospital and has weakness or pain, those with arteriosclerotic heart disease, psychiatric problems, ALS or neurodegenerative disability.

The Amedisys office is located in Omak and can be contacted by calling (509) 422-6721 or toll free 1-800-422-0779.

Jones said she recently became a sales representative for Combined Insurance, a company that sells supplemental insurance policies similar to Aflac. She said that although several people in Okanogan County have policies with Combined Insurance there has not been a reprehensive who lived in the county before. Jones can be reached by calling (509) 429-7914.

Arnie Marchand reported that the Canola Plant in Oroville will run four shifts of four people each to produce non-consumable oil for lubrication and bio-fuels when production begins.

Robin Stice, who organizes the chamber’s Northwest Ice Fishing Festival on Sidley Lake over President’s Day Weekend, said that the ice on the lake was already between six to nine inches thick. She said rumors last year of ice that was not thick enough kept the number of anglers down. She also said that fish as large as three pounds have been reported as being caught this winter.

Seattle filmmakers Geoff Klein and Mo Fine, who organize the Tumble Weed Film Festival, were on hand to discuss their plans for next year’s festival. They told the chamber members that they were filing for non-profit corporate status. They plan to hold three nights of films in 2011 with venues in early August at Veranda Beach Resort, Alpine Brewery and Esther Bricques Winery, as well as smaller festivals in Richland, Wash., Omak and Osoyoos, B.C. at other times of the year.

Vice president Rich Solberg announced that there are new managers at the Camaray Motel, Clyde and Sandy Andrews, former Real Estate Agents from Vancouver, Wash. He said they were making improvements to the rooms and general appearance of the building as financing allows.