Here are photos of the 2017 Valley Fair last weekend, photos taken by Brandon Hansen and Jared Arnold…
(By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent)
Department will see if lethal removals will stop cattle depredations in Stevens County…
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is now in an evaluation period to see if lethally removing two wolves from the Smackout Pack in Stevens County will have an effect of the pack’s behavior. The hope is the two lethal removals will discourage depredation on livestock.
This comes after WDFW announced to the public on July 20 that public non-lethal deterrence efforts were not working against the Smackout Pack and they had approved lethal removal. The agency had record five depredations by the wolf pack since September of 2016.
The agency has not confirmed any more wolf depredations on livestock since the last recorded attack on July 22.
All three cattle producers are still using nonlethal deterrents after the WDFW has recorded depredations on their stock on Sept. 21, 28, 29, 2016 and July 18, 22, 2017 on federal grazing allotments.
It was a move that was criticized by the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association on Friday.
“SCCA has received reports that the two wolves killed were pups, which isn’t likely to slow down the efforts of the adult wolves that are able to cause the most damage,” the press release reads. “This ‘incremental’ removal approach by WDFW has failed in the past and is likely to fail again.”
The Association said that once a wolf pack begins preying on livestock, the behavior is impossible to reverse. More
(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Hirst Decision played into policy change…
Because of uncertainty about water rights, Washington Federal sent out an internal memo saying the company will not be lending on properties in the state of Washington that have had wells drilled after Oct. 6 2016, reports the Columbia Basin Herald. The reason for the change in policy is last fall’s Hirst decision by the state Supreme Court to require counties to approve all well permits, including exempt wells.
The memo was provided to the Columbia Basin Herald by Republican state Senator Judy Warnick of Moses Lake.
This policy applies to Washington Federal dealing with wholesale loans – which are loans that go through brokers – and no consumer real estate loans which are made directly by Washington Federal and its customers. In order to secure a loan, a borrower would still need to get a certificate from the county saying that they have adequate water rights.
The fallout from the Hirst decision has led to both chambers of the state legislature unable to pass a $4 billion capital budget because they can’t decide on a fix for the Hirst decision.
Local state representative Jacquelin Maycumber said that a lender limiting loans on real estate is one of the many results of the Hirst ruling.
“As these properties are devalued, we are going to begin to see a tax shift on our property taxes,” Maycumber said. “As home and business owners we are going to have to pay for the lost values of these properties.”
Maycumber said that the McCleary decision regarding funding of education will also be affected.
“The state’s education mandate is balanced on these property values for basic education,” Maycumber said. “Hirst will begin a ball rolling in rural Washington that will affect everyone. Restricting the exempt wells that come from the same aquifers that municipal water is drawn from unregulated, has nothing to do with the environment or water. It is solely based on control.”
Local state senator Shelly Short said that she was not surprised by Washington Federal’s response given that building permit moratoriums have been issued by some local counties in response to Hirst.
“Frankly, why would any band lend money for home development without the certainty of water?” Short said. “This is already having a chilling effect on development in rural Washington.”
Short said the timing for this “court-created uncertainty” couldn’t have come at a worse time for property owners and families trying to become home-owners in communities around the state that lack available housing while recovering from the recession of 2008.
“This is one more reason that the Hirst decision cannot be allowed to stand,” said Short.
(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Candidate said politics with mayoral race interfering with pool project…
After a crowded community meeting on Thursday at the Chewelah Casino to determine interest in saving the current public pool, mayoral candidate Bob Belknap said he’s holding off on the project until after the election.
“At the first general meeting of the save our swimming pool group, it became clear that politics and the current mayoral race is interfering with the process we are attempting to pursue in determining the viability of repairing and montetizing the community’s pool,” Belknap wrote in a letter to the newspaper. “As such I am suspending those parts of the project that directly involve City Hall until after the election. We will continue to investigate the experiences of cities and towns that have successfully revitalized older existing swimming pools, as well as the various funding opportunities, both federal and state and building a larger volunteer organization.”
This comes after community members weighed in at a meeting last week with many city leaders in attendance.
At the meeting, Belknap asked people to fill out forms to show if they’re interested in helping with the effort to fix the Chewelah pool which has been closed since 2013.
City Administrator Mike Frizzell and Mayor Dorothy Knauss were also at the meeting and answered questions from people attending. Knauss clarified recent news that the city would not be pursuing federal grants for the pool. She said it was her understanding that the city council had agreed to give Belknap and a pool foundation — if created — two years to find a way to fix the pool, and that the city would not provide funds for the project because Belknap said it would not cost the city money.
(By Geno Ludwig/Chewelah Independent)
Mike McMillin new head coach of Cougar boys basketball team…
If enthusiasm is a preferred ingredient for a high school head basketball coach, Chewelah is going to get a double-dose of it when Mike McMillin takes the helm of the Cougar hoops program this winter.
“I love these boys,” McMillin said. “They are all great kids. I have worked with them now for four years, and they are a great group of guys, and I believe they are hungry to win.”
Some Cougar fans might be thinking: ‘What’s a NAPA car parts store owner doing coaching a high school basketball team?”
“I’m a late bloomer,” McMillin laughed. “I never thought I’d have the patience for this. However, after five years of helping with the program, I came to the realization that I really like coaching.” More
(By Don Gronning/Newport Miner)
Company had looked at Addy, now says no red flags so far in Newport…
(This was originally published in the Newport Miner. you can read more by the Miner at http://pendoreillerivervalley.com)
HiTest Sands Inc. president Jayson Tymko says his firm is still studying a site south of Newport proposed for a $300 million silicone smelter.
“We’re still in our due diligence phase,” Tymko said, meaning the company is getting the results of a number of studies connected on the Newport site to decide if they’ll go ahead.
“It’s taking longer than we thought,” Tymko told The Miner last Tuesday morning in a phone interview. The company has a number of subcontractors conducting studies. “It seems like every step they take leads to another,” he said.
So far there have been no red flags, Tymko says. HiTest is looking at environmental impacts over a 600-kilometer area, including impacts to air, water and transportation.
(By Sarah English/For the Chewelah Independent)
Safe viewing glasses available at Stevens County Libraries…
Katie Park, library assistant at the Chewelah Public Library, has been planning the library’s solar eclipse event since February. The event has been in the works for much longer—the last solar eclipse experienced by Washington residents was in 1979. Those under 38-years-old are in for a pretty unique occurrence.
On August 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun. blocking it. The darkness that we see is the moon’s shadow. Michael Allen, an astronomer at Washington State University, told WSU News that “the stars won’t come out, but for about two minutes, daylight will definitely be dimmer.” In Chewelah, those two minutes will occur at 10:27 a.m.
This “once in a lifetime event,” as Park calls it, offers an opportunity to “teach some great STEM activities to the kids about the sun and moon, orbits, sun spots, sun flares, distances and sizes of the sun and moon, tides, phases of the moon, the list goes on and on,” she said. This knowledge will be useful to participants even after the eclipse is over.
(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Valley Grange celebrates a century as a community mainstay…
Verna Rosenberg was honored at the Addy Grange’s last gathering for being with the organization for 78 years.
The pin she received, however, was for 75 years.
“They don’t have a pin for 78 years,” Rosenberg said with a laugh.
The Addy Grange celebrated it’s 100th year of existence on July 30 with live music, food and refreshments, a program and plenty of friends.
Rosenberg was honored with three others in attendance for many years served with the Grange, which has lasted this long because of selfless dedication from people like Rosenberg and from current Addy Grange Master Bob Egland. More
(By Jamie Henneman/Chewelah Independent)
University seeks public feedback…
A project that would create a mobile laboratory that could help rural school districts “fill the gaps” in their science and technology education programs is being considered by Eastern Washington University. The project would help students learn about science and healthcare careers, according to Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center Director Krista Loney. The laboratory would travel to schools in all 20 counties of Eastern Washington to teach non-traditional Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education that would support and supplement what students are learning in school.
“What we would bring to schools is what isn’t currently offered. The quality and availability of science education varies by school district, by geographic area, and quite frankly, by the amount of money that a district has to spend on extras,” she said. “We have not built the curriculum for our mobile laboratory yet, but we plan to do lessons on gel electrophoresis, bacterial transformation, DNA extraction, etc. Equipment to do these types of lessons is extremely expensive. Unless the school has a Project Lead the Way biomedical curriculum, then these types of lessons and experiences are uncommon.”
The mobile lab would have to have at least two designated staff, ideally teachers with a health sciences credentials. The same people who staff the mobile lab will be responsible for curriculum development and quality control/improvement, Loney related.