City Council Protects 2nd Amendment

The Chewelah City Council proclaimed Feb. 18 as Bill of Rights Appreciation Day at the Feb. 6 meeting with a unanimous vote that was also greeted with audience applause. The proclamation states the need for preservation of the second amendment, reaffirming the right to bear arms and protecting all other rights.

Councilman Nick Lasko also urged the public to apply for their concealed carry permit, available through the Chewelah Police Department, as a way to exercise their second amendment right.

An ordinance for amending the 2013 budget was also introduced at the February meeting. It includes updating estimated 2012 balances and budgets to more accurate amounts; adding grant funds for the TIB (Transportation Improvement Board) road construction projects, and budgeting $10,000 for consolidating city staff to the North side of city hall, which would involve installation of a steel roll-up security window and relocation of staff and equipment. The ordinance will be voted on at the Feb. 20 meeting.

City Administrator Mike Frizzell said the city recently hired an engineer for the TIB grant projects after three applicants were interviewed. He hopes both projects will be completed by the end of summer 2013. These projects include $900,000 for reconstruction of East Main Avenue Segment B and $123,000 to add sidewalks on the North Side of East Lincoln Avenue. Both will be funded entirely by TIB grants and matching funds.

Frizzell also said they will be taking down the winter lights on Main Avenue at the end of February and plan to trim trees at the same time to prepare for the road construction.

Rebecca Blankinship, manager of Sunny Acres Senior Housing, wrote a letter to the city requesting help in fixing the damage to the carport caused by Thompson Creek flooding. Frizzell said the city is not responsible for the personal property damage caused by the creek but the staff is looking into ways to help reduce future damage.

Councilwoman Carra Nupp said she is concerned for the Chewelah Public Library staff who are dealing with the same amount of workload as last year, but with less operating hours since the city cut its funding for 2013. The library is now funded by the Libraries of Stevens County Rural Library District for three days a week.

Nupp said she is also disappointed in some citizens for treating staff poorly and blaming them for the reduced hours as it was out of their control. She requested the council think again if there is any way the city might be able help this year.

Councilwoman Krisan LeHew said the wellness committee met to submit the application for being an AWC (Association of Washington Cities) Well City in 2013. She believes they have accrued enough points for the top award as long as the application is accepted. Chewelah has been a Well City for the past two years to encourage city employee wellness and reduce insurance premiums.

Councilwoman Dorothy Knauss said the new advisory committees for the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund and Chewelah City Pool are set to meet soon. The pool citizen advisory group has been researching the history of the pool to have context in how to move forward since the city cut all funding to the pool for 2013.

Teresa Shannon, representing the Chewelah Chamber of Commerce, requested that the city join the Chamber of Commerce and suggested that there be a city representative at the chamber’s weekly meetings.

The next city council meetings are scheduled for Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and March 6 at 6:30 p.m.

By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff