The Chewelah office of the Dept. of Licensing (auto licensing and title transfers) is still open at the old Chewelah Insurance location, 113 N. Park St. They will eventually move to the new insurance office location but are waiting on approval from the State. It could be as long 60 days. A new (temporary) phone number has been established at 509-675-6376 or contact Kevin Schalock at 509-936-3627.
The latest news from around the Chewelah Valley
By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent
The 2017 Stevens County February Special Election took place Feb. 14. Currently all M&O levies on the ballot are passing for Summit Valley, Columbia and Mary Walker school districts. There was a 32 percent voter turnout for the 6 precincts reporting.
Here are the numbers:
SD 202 Summit Valley Educational Maintenance and Operation Levy Proposition No. 1
Levy Yes: 64.61 percent (115/178 votes)
SD 206 Columbia Replacement of Existing Maintenance & Operation Levy No. 1
Levy Yes: 62.59 percent (174/278 votes)
SD 207 Mary Walker Replacement Maintenance and Operartions Levy Proposition No. 1
Levy Yes 52.46 percent (299/570 votes)
The election results are set to be certified Friday, Feb. 24.
By PACA/For The Independent
Although The Event will take a one-year sabbatical, the Chewelah Performing and Cultural Arts (PACA) will still be announcing the annual winners of their prestigious PACAwards in March.
“We are concentrating solely on getting our building ready for performances, so we are not hosting The Event this year,” said Sharon Ludwig, PACA president. “However, we do not want to leave out our annual PACAwards. We have so many outstanding musical, theatrical, visual art, and dance groups here in our community, and we want to recognize them.”
Ballots for the Eighth Annual PACAwards are in this week’s edition of The Independent (Page 2). Voting will take place from Feb 23 through March 3. Ballots can be picked up and dropped off at Valley Drug, Akers Drug, Jenkins High School, and The Independent, or they can be mailed to PACA.
Winners will be notified in March and announced in The Independent.
“We are looking forward to doing The Event in our building next February,” said Ludwig.
Insufficient reimbursement from Medicaid, Medicare
By Jamie Henneman/Chewelah Independent
Increasing numbers of calls for emergency transport and low reimbursement rates from patients on government insurance has put local volunteer ambulance services in a tight spot.
“The cost for services is continuing to rise with regulations like the increased minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act as well as other costs outside of the ambulance administration’s control,” said Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen who oversees the Stevens County Sheriff’s Ambulance Service. “In addition, approximately 80 to 85 percent of the patients we transport are Medicare or Medicaid patients and our service is incurring a significant loss of revenue because of the low reimbursement rate.”
Ambulance services cost a flat rate of $833 or $733 which is billed to the patient no matter what kind of insurance the patient has. In 2016, the sheriff’s ambulance responded to 2,100 calls for service. For Medicaid and Medicare patients, the federal government only reimburses $115, forcing the ambulance service to operate at a loss for those transports. The number of people in Medicare or Medicaid programs has grown since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 that required employers with 50 full time employees or more to provide insurance for 95 percent of employees and their dependents. All Americans were also required to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. In response, employers cut schedules for full time employees or restructured their businesses to avoid the requirement, leaving many with no choice but government Medicare and Medicaid programs.
By Jared Arnold/Chewelah Independent
The Chewelah City Council voted to sell city property known as the “county yard” for $50,000 to Weston and Heidi Griepp of West One Plumbing at their regular meeting last Wednesday evening, Feb. 15.
The property had not been advertised for sale but was declared surplus by the city earlier this month. The Griepps also offered to rent the lot back to the city until August 1 in exchange for $5,000, lowering the net proceeds to the city to $45,000. The parcel, zoned Retail Business, consists of approximately 24,300 square feet and is currently used by the city to store transformers, power poles, water pipes and other materials. It is located on South 2nd St. West behind Hartill’s Mountain Saw and Tractor.
Councilwoman Sharon Ludwig noted that the proceeds from the sale of the property would be used to help pay for the new city shop located near the wastewater treatment plant.
Councilwoman Carra Nupp voted against the sale after asking if other offers would be considered. City Administrator Mike Frizzell said that, if the council voted to accept the offer, no other offers would be considered. All other councilmembers voted in favor of accepting the offer.
The council’s next regular meeting will be held Wednesday, March 1, 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Rodgers still committed to repealing Obamacare
By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent
Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, cosponsored the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017. It was introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the energy and commerce committee.
Rodgers said that this legislation insures that individuals with preexisting conditions would be guaranteed access to health coverage.
“Every American, including those with disabilities or other pre-existing conditions, should have access to affordable coverage that puts patients back in control of their health care decisions. With this bill, we are giving individuals with pre-existing conditions the peace of mind that they will have protections beyond Obamacare. As we continue to take the necessary steps to repeal Obamacare and improve our nation’s health care, we will pursue a people-first approach that offers long-term solutions that work for everyone. We want to lower costs, increase the number of choices, and give more control back to the American people. This is a top priority for me, and I’m proud to cosponsor Chairman Walden’s legislation. I strongly encourage my colleagues to do the same,” said McMorris Rodgers. More
By Matt Spaw/WNPA Olympia News
In a surprising turn, a state panel discussing studies of lethal means to control wolves preying on farm animals and invading humans’ territory, found that non-lethal control is a more effective option. Wildlife experts and members of the public came together at a Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Friday to discuss wolf removal.
According to the panel, most of the state’s wolf packs are in northeastern Washington, with some in the North Cascades region. The panel was made up of Department of Wildlife experts specializing in wolves, wildlife conflict and carnivores.
Wolves present a challenge for livestock owners. Wolves are reestablishing themselves after being nearly eradicated in the early 1900s, but ranchers and others face the problem of protecting their livestock from wolf predation. More
By Jamie Henneman/Chewelah Independent
Pellet and wood stove manufacturer Hearth & Home Technologies announced they will be shuttering production operations at the Colville facility later this year, following a recent capacity analysis of the company’s production facilities. The closure will mean the loss of approximately 100 jobs to the area.
“The well-being of our members is of utmost importance to us always and especially when we make the difficult decision to close a facility,” said President V.P. Berger. “We’re committed to helping our Colville members who are impacted transition to new roles. With that in mind, we’ve provided working notice so employees have time to look for new positions, as well as transition pay to provide stability until they are in new roles. “
Senior Conner Krouse finishes third at state, first wrestler in Jenkins High School history to place all four years
Krouse caps off career as Cougar
By Geno Ludwig/Chewelah Independent
Conner Krouse pinned Mike Garrison from King’s Way Christian with 50 seconds remaining in the first round to earn the third place medal in the 195-pound bracket. After losing to eventual state champion Juan Zamora in the semifinals, the Cougar senior battled back to win the consolation finals by pinning Garrison in the opening round.
In so doing, he became one of the only Chewelah wrestlers, if not the only one, to own four state wrestling medals.
Krouse has had a unique and interesting state tournament history. Both as a freshman and as a sophomore, he got into the tournament through the back door and came out the front door with a medal.
SATURDAY’S BOYS DISTRICT BASKETBALL GAMES
MEDICAL LAKE 62, OKANOGAN 51
Medical Lake (16-8) outscored Okanogan 24-13 in the fourth quarter en route to a 62-51 District 7 1A crossover round victory on Saturday. Nizhole Sherman led the Cardinals with 25 points, which led 31-21 at halftime.
Okanogan went on a 17-7 run in the third quarter to tie things up but the Cardinals were able to pull away in the fourth. Drew Hostetter scored eight-straight points in the fourth for the Cardinals.
Jordan Jesse scored 14 points for Okanogan.
Okanogan 10 11 17 13-51
Medical Lake 13 18 7 24-62
Okanogan Scoring – Fingar 2, Grooms 10, Goetz 10, Jesse 14, Wilson 10, Colbert 2, Veenhuizen 3
Medical Lake Scoring – Butler 11, Hostetter 12, Jasmer 3, Johnson 2, Sherman 25, Steege 5, J. Johnson 4
FRIDAY’S GIRLS DISTRICT BASKETBALL GAMES
OKANOGAN 55, LAKESIDE 43
The fourth-ranked Okanogan Bulldogs put an end to Lakeside’s season on Friday, downing the Eagles 55-43 in District 7 1A crossover action.
It was a close matchup for most of the game, but Okanogan got key three-pointers in the third quarter to pull away. Jordan Boesel finished with 22 points for the Bulldogs.
Lakeside, which finished 14-9, got 11 points apiece from Hallie Jensen, Joelle Mahowald and Sienna Swannack.
Okanogan 14 14 14 13-55
Lakeside 12 9 10 12-43
Okanogan Scoring – Sachse 11, Beetchenow 1, Boesel 22, Rasmussen 4, Townsend 17
Lakeside Scoring – Gay 3, Jensen 11, Joe.Mahowald 11, Marikis 2, L.Mikkelsen 2, O.Mikkelsen 3, Swannack 11