The Stevens County Republican Central Committee (SCRCC) announces that at its regularly scheduled meeting on July 9 th , 2016, the following candidates were endorsed in the current Pre-Primary period for the 2016 Election Season. The Primary Election period begins with the mailing of ballots on July 15 and closes on August 2, 2016. More
The latest news from around the Chewelah Valley
Last week there were two jury trials in District Court. Both were on DUI cases. Both of the cases were the result of vehicle stops in Chewelah or just outside Chewelah.
Washington State Patrol troopers processed both cases and Deputy Prosecutor prosecuted both cases. One stop was the result of a call by a citizen regarding bad driving and the other stop was the result of the observations of Chewelah officer Pankey.
In the first case, a citizen called 911 and reported that a light gray truck with a broken tail light was driving southbound in the northbound lane by the Chewelah Safeway. It was also reported that the truck crossed the fog line multiple times (in short, the vehicle was all over the road). More
We used to sing the song, America the Beautiful, in our public schools. These inspiring lyrics were penned 103 years ago but our need for the message couldn’t be more obvious. Current national news stories are downright negative and depressing…. We could use more stories regarding why and how so much of the fabric of our culture remains intact.
The Chewelah PD handled 58 calls in the last week and approximately 110 calls since your last police blotter. Four of the calls from last week were dog-related. Barking dogs, dogs on the run, etc. One pet owner rec’d a ticket for allowing two dogs to run loose and is being charged with not having dog tags. On another call, an aggressive dog was collared and transported to impound. Officers responded to three disturbance calls; a noise complaint; and a person reported harassment. Two fraud calls; two welfare check requests; three theft reports; two unwanted persons; officers checked on five suspicious vehicles; and made 26 traffic stops. Traffic stops promote safety by enforcing speed limits, insuring vehicles are operational, and discouraging people from driving impaired. Officers also responded to a report of a possible prowler at 1 a.m.; a vehicle prowl; an area check; an alarm; a report of a stolen vehicle; and two assists to other agencies. Local deputies and officers appreciate your support and encouragement.
-By Chewelah Chief of Police Mark Burrows
Further clean-up of the former Colville Post and Poles business site may be needed to help remove soil and water contaminants left by the business over a 60-year period, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). DOE will be conducting a remedial investigation in July and August to determine how much contaminants like pentachlorophenol (PCP), petroleum products, dioxins and furans are still present at the site.
Colville Post and Poles was just off HWY 395 north of Colville and already received a $4.5 million cleanup from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 and 2006. The business closed in 2005 after it was unable to afford upgrades to meet environmental standards, according to DOE. Contamination of the site was caused by leaking piping and drip pads over the years, in addition to a 1989 spill of pentachlorophenol (PCP) from an above-ground tank. The chemicals used by the business to treat wood products can cause serious complications to human health, including hormone disruption, liver changes, damage to the immune system, lung damage and fragile bones.
Three people were recently charged with breaking into the shuttered Northwest Alloys (NWA) plant in Addy earlier this year. The group broke windows, shot at surveillance equipment and stole items from the facility.
Ryan James Balis, Robyn Elizabeth Norris and Isaac James Boyd were charged on July 12 with several counts of burglary and a charge of malicious mischief after the trio broke into the NWA plant on April 29. More
The $5 million WSDOT project for a pair of roundabouts on Highway 395 in Deer Park has been approved by department officials for the 2017-2019 biennium, the Deer Park Tribune reports.
Engineering for the roundabouts at Main Street and Crawford Avenue intersections will begin when funding becomes available in July of 2017. Construction is expected to begin in 2018. The roundabout project comes after 65 accidents were reported by Deer Park between 2010 and 2014.
The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) recently announced new officers and directors elected to the board, including Chewelah’s Mayor Dorothy Knauss. Elections were held at the association’s Business Meeting on June 23 in Everett, except for the positions of Secretary and Large City Representative, which were elected by the Board of Directors the following day.
In accordance with the association’s bylaws, all even-numbered districts, except District 10, were up for election. District 10 is a single city district held by the City of Tacoma, Washington’s third largest city. More
A man broke into the Kettle Falls Inn earlier this month, threatening the manager and his family with a knife, calling them “terrorists” and saying he was going to “kill all of them.”
Brandon Kenneth Leon Kilgore, 28, went into the lobby at the Kettle Falls Inn on July 9 and asked manager Preet Moudgil for a shower chair, claiming that he was helping a disabled person staying at the hotel, according to court records. Preet said he would bring a chair to the room. Kilgore left but then came back and kicked in the door between the lobby and the hotel office saying that Moudgil was a “terrorist” and that he was going to “kill all of them.” Moudgil was able to hold off Kilgore and called 911 while Kilgore tried doors and windows of the attached apartment, trying to get inside. Moudgil’s parents and a three-year old child were home at the time. Kilgore eventually climbed onto the roof and entered through a sliding glass door, holding a knife and shoving Moudgil. Moudgil warned Kilgore that he had a pistol and told him to stop, according to the police report. At that time, Kettle Falls Police Officers arrived at the Inn and took Kilgore into custody.
Kilgore is being charged with First Degree Burglary, two counts of Second Degree Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree. He is being held in the Stevens County Jail on $100,000 bail and has an arraignment set for July 19.
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
Since 1967, Boise Cascade facilities in Stevens County have produced the wood products needed to help build homes and buildings throughout the United States. The tradition of being a high-efficiency producer of certain products, like plywood, has helped the company gain a foothold in a niche market, according to Region Manager RJ Glover.
Glover spoke at a Colville Chamber of Commerce meeting in June about the current status of the Boise facilities in Stevens County and some of the successes and challenges of the wood products enterprises.
“Over the last decade, Boise Cascade has changed from being a wood products business to being an office supply company and selling their timberlands back to a company that doesn’t have the paper. What we have today is a wood products and manufacturing company that has 21 manufacturing facilities and 33 lumber distribution sites,” said Glover.
Last year the Boise Cascade company, which also has plants in Oregon, Georgia and Alabama, generated $1.2 billion in sales. The Kettle Falls facilities earned $137 million of that total, accounting for 10 percent of the company.
Boise Cascade is the second largest employer in the Stevens County area behind Providence Healthcare, employing 380 people. Glover said those jobs translate into $25 million in wages and benefits in Stevens County. However, Glover noted the economic impact goes beyond just the jobs themselves.
“We employ 380 people and for every person we employ there is another 2.81 in the community that are employed because of our plant—log truck drivers, service technicians, a lot of supporting jobs in the community linked to 300 employees,” he said. “If I was in Seattle and you took away 300 jobs, it wouldn’t have a big effect on the community but in Colville or Kettle to take away 300 jobs would have a big impact.”
The three site locations, two in Kettle Falls and one in Arden, specialize in producing plywood and cut pine boards.
“At the Kettle Falls plywood plant, we employ 200 people and we sell plywood for roofs, houses, and commercial buildings. We are one of the lowest-cost producers of plywood. Our lumber plant employs 135 people and supplies cuts pine boards to Home Depot as well as users like Pella windows and doors,” said Glover.
While some may anticipate seeing Boise products at local hardware stores or in nearby Spokane, Glover said the distribution system is a bit more complicated.
“At our plywood plant, for instance, we generate 16,000 pieces of 4×8 plywood every day. A lot of product goes to Chicago by rail and ends up in New England/Northwest area. You are more likely to find Kettle Falls plywood in New England than we have it here,” Glover related.
While the Boise facilities may be efficient with solid buyers, the somewhat sporadic demand influenced by the housing market can pose real challenges to the company.
“There are some things going on that are shifting our business. It takes wood to build houses and we need 1.5 million housing starts in this country every year to stay even. Since the downturn, the housing demand is not back to a sustainable level. More kids are moving back in with their parents, we are seeing a consolidation of families into one home or an increase of multiple family housing,” said Glover. “For whatever reason, people are not willing to take that commitment to buy a home.”
As more people opt for living arrangements with less commitment, like apartments, Glover said the wood products industry feels the pinch.
“The average house being built today is 2,632 square feet. Apartments are 1,000 square feet on average, so the lumber demand for apartments is significantly less. Although housing starts are going up it’s not the same,” he said.
One of the factors that may discourage young people in particular from buying a home is student loan debt, said Glover.
“The student loan and college costs are a deterrent to taking on other debt obligations. Forty percent of people ages 18-31 have student loan debt. When the economy shrinks and unemployment rises, you can’t get a job so you go to school and then when you graduate school there still isn’t a job so you stay and go to graduate school and eventually someone has to pay for all that,” Glover explained. “One-third of that age group is 90 days delinquent on their student loans and seventy percent of the class of 2016 will have an average of $36,000 loan debt.”
While Boise works to weather a capricious lumber market, the company is also having to address new challenges in recruiting and retaining employees.
“They say unemployment is at 4.7 percent but that means the people looking for jobs has dropped. There are 16-to-24 year olds not looking for jobs. These are the people who stimulate the economy, buy the houses and have consumer spending, so when they aren’t working, the economy can’t grow,” said Glover. “The most frustrating thing to me is that I can’t hire anybody and I am tired of people who say they can’t find a job.”
Glover said Boise is experiencing constant turnover in hourly wage jobs.
“We offer summer jobs to students that ask them to do things like drive the water truck to keep the dust down. This job pays $17-$18 an hour. But they would rather work 20 hours at a pizza shop for half the money,” said Glover. “More people are willing to work Monday to Friday than work a full-time job with benefits. It’s a shift in the value system that, right or wrong, we are seeing in the workplace.”
Glover said recruiting college-educated workers to the area is also a challenge.
“We have a difficult time in recruiting a college educated workforce,” Glover said. “One of the issues, in my opinion, is a lack of social life. If I’m 23 and move to Kettle Falls, it is a tough community to break into a social network. For some of our hires, as much as they thought they liked hunting and fishing they are sitting at home alone.”
Many local students do not consider coming back to Stevens County after college; a trend that Glover said can be tied to a “disconnect” with local schools.
“We have a disconnect with our local schools. There is not one person from our summer hires that have ever raised their hand to say they have a desire to move back to Kettle Falls and would like to be a supervisor or an engineer at Boise,” he related. “We cannot graduate a student from our local schools that is convinced they want to live in Kettle Falls and be an engineer. We are graduating people who have a desire not to do anything or to leave and never come back. Our management trainees make $55,000. They make the same amount if they go work in Seattle. It’s not a money issue, there is a huge disconnect.”
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
49 Degrees North Mountain Resort celebrated the beginning of residential development at its new Sunrise Basin Alpine Glades housing community with dozens of guests, contractors and local representatives attending a groundbreaking ceremony at the base of the Sunrise Quad chairlift on Saturday afternoon, July 9.
Owner John Eminger was joined by General Manager Eric Bakken; State Representative Shelly Short; Stevens County Commissioners Don Dashiell, Wes McCart, and Steve Parker; Chewelah Mayor Dorothy Knauss; and Colville National Forest District Ranger Gayne Sears at the official ceremony, which was preceded by a reception and barbecue on the deck of the new Cy’s Cafe and Discovery Center yurts. More