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Pend Oreille Gardens Horizon Inside The Newport Miner THE VOICE OF PEND OREILLE COUNT Y SINCE 1901 Wednesday, September 15, 2010 Fall High School Sports Preview. B3-7 Volume 107, Number 32 | 2 Sections, 22 Pages 75¢ Commissioner salaries reviewed again County commissioners ask to cut out their automatic increases, reduce pay BY JANELLE ATYEO OF THE MINER NEWPORT – Staring down an $800,000 shortfall in 2011, Pend Oreille County commissioners are considering chopping their own wages. But that’s not quite allowed under state law. Commissioners John Hankey and Laura Merrill said in a recent meeting that they are in favor of reducing the commissioner’s pay by 10 percent – taking it from about $53,000 to just under $48,000 per year. The issue came up at the meeting of the salary commission Thursday, Sept. 9. The board of appointed citizens sets the commissioners’ salary each year. If the commission reduced the pay, however, it wouldn’t do much for next year’s budget. By state law, salary decreases take effect only after a new term of office begins. It could apply to the District 2 commissioner currently held by Merrill, who will be elected this fall, but terms for seats held by Hankey and Diane Wear run through 2012. At Thursday’s meeting, Wear said some counties are defying state law for “A COLA is the sake of not reasonable the budget’s bottom line. when you Wear said look at today’s she opposes the plan economy.” to cut the salary by Diane Wear 10 percent Pend Oreille County because Commissioner she would like a more permanent solution. She would like to do away with the resolution that grants the board members an automatic 3 percent cost of living increase each year. She feels that over the years there’s become a “COLA culture.” “People expect a cost of living increase every year,” she said. SEE SALARY, 2A COURTESY PHOTO|PETER CLARKE, SEATTLE CITY LIGHT Metaline Falls make an appearance The town of Metaline Falls overlooks its namesake on the Pend Oreille River. The waterfalls are usually not visible because Boundary Dam keeps the water levels high. The river was drawn down to 1,950 feet above sea level last week to remove a maintenance gate for refurbishing. Levels were lower than they had been in nearly 30 years. They were brought back to normal (1,990 feet) this week, but by Thursday they’ll drop another 20 feet as the gate is hauled out of the reservoir. The reservoir remains open for public use, but the Boundary recreation area and campground will be closed until Nov. 1. The last time Metaline Falls could be seen was three years ago when the water level was dropped to 1,970 feet for erosion studies. Not many jury trials in county Juries still necessary BY DON GRONNING OF THE MINER NEWPORT – Every other month 125 people in Pend Oreille County get a notice in the mail that they have been selected for jury duty. They are randomly selected from drivers license records, voter rolls and lists of people who own property. But getting a notice doesn’t mean you’ll have to serve on a jury, according to District Court Judge Phillip Van de Veer. He says there just are not that many jury trials in Pend Oreille County – maybe one a year for Superior Court and three or four for District Court. “So far this year there haven’t been any,” he said. Less than half the people called to jury duty return the form, as is required. “The form requires a response,“ Van de Veer said. But there isn’t usually action taken if a person doesn’t return it, he said. He said he did call a woman juror who just didn’t show up after being chosen for the jury and threatened to send a deputy to get her. Van de Veer said that people could face civil contempt if they don’t fill out the form, but that usually doesn’t happen. Of the 40-60 people who do return the form, about 20 are randomly selected. If it looks like there is a jury trial coming – either civil or criminal – they are contacted by phone. After they receive the phone call, they are required to call every week to see if they need to come to the Hall of Justice in Newport. They stay on the list of potential jurors for two months. Twelve jurors plus an alternate are needed for a Superior Court trial, six and an alternate for District Court. But during the actual SEE JURY, 2A County looking short on funds Staff reductions expected with $800,000 shortfall BY JANELLE ATYEO OF THE MINER NEWPORT – Pend Oreille County departments have been asked to cut their budgets by 15 percent. Hopes are those cuts will take care of the $800,000 shortfall the 2011 preliminary budget currently shows. The county auditor released the draft budget last week. Expenditures total $9.36 million, a bit less than the current year. Still, much more trimming is needed. Departments have been asked to cut their travel accounts significantly. The commissioners have cut theirs by more than half. Still, that’s a savings of only $10,000. The significant cuts will probably be much harder to take. Commission chairwoman Diane Wear said there will probably be some staff reductions, but it’s too early to tell if they will come in outright layoffs or reductions in hours. This year, county employees took eight days without pay, causing most county offices to be closed for a long weekend at various times throughout the year. Wear said they’re attempting to balance the 2011 budget without resorting to furlough days. Implementing them would require approval from each of the SEE FUNDS, 2A Kalispel Tribe acquiring land for habitat restoration BY DON GRONNING OF THE MINER MINER PHOTO|DON GRONNING Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson said he thinks people serve on juries because they think it is exciting and they like to be able to do justice. || Commissioners add line to vacation rental chapter NEWPORT – Pend Oreille County Commissioners held a vacation rental workshop Tuesday morning, Sept. 14. County Commissioner Laura Merrill was absent but commission chairwoman Diane Wear and commissioner John Hankey were present, as was Mike Lithgow, community development director. They agreed to make reference to the International Building Code in the applicability section of the chapter. The IBC allows vacation rentals with 10 or fewer occupants to be treated as a single family residence. Had the county decided to use the International Residential Code instead, substantial infrastructure upgrades would be required for vacation rentals such as sprinkler systems and other commercial safety COOLIN - The Kalispel Tribe of Indians is looking to acquire 156 acres of land as part of the Bonneville Power Administration’s Albeni Falls Dam mitigation. The land is located in the Goose Creek drainage, near Coolin, said Ray Entz, Director of Wildlife and Terrestrial B R I E F LY Resources for the tribe. The BPA will buy the land for the Kalispel tribe. The tribe will then own and manage the land for mitigation while the BPA receives credit for mitigating habitat losses due to the construction of Albeni Falls Dam. The dam is located near Oldtown and was built in the 1950s. The dam caused the Pend Oreille River to rise and eliminated wildlife habitat. SEE TRIBE, 10A || features. Lithgow told commissioners he would need to send the updated vacation rental chapter to the state Department of Commerce to make sure it can be added to the county’s development regulations that commissioners passed last week. Commissioners intend to adopt the chapter as soon as possible. The moratorium on vacation rental applications is still in effect. full time equivalent students. Having more students means the district will receive more money from the state than was budgeted. The state measures enrollment each month. The count on Sept. 8 was 1,120, including 374 at Stratton Elementary, 300 at Sadie Halstead Middle School, 362.8 at Newport High School, 61.36 at the Learning Enrichment Center and 21.98 at Newport Home Link. Newport School District enrollment above projections Rainbows departing, clean up complete NEWPORT – The Newport School Board heard at their Sept. 13 board meeting that enrollment this year is about 45 students over projections. The board built the budget on a projected enrollment 1,075 The tribe wants the land so it can better manage wildlife habitat, Entz said. The tribe can then create wetlands or plant native plants in stream corridors that will contribute to wildlife habitat. He said the last bit of land they are trying to buy for this project is located between two other parcels the tribe already owns. The other two parcels CUSICK – The last of the Rainbow Family members are breaking camp and moving on from the Power Lake area of the Colville National Forest where the Northwest Regional gathering of the Rainbow Tribe was held. From Aug. 25 through Sept. 7, about 300 hippie-esque people gathered, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s estimates. The estimate came from counting the people gathered around the various kitchens. One kitchen stayed open last week and a small group remained to help rehabilitate the forest site. Forest Service crews (range and soil experts, hydrologists, botanists and archeologists) inspected the site Tuesday, and the cleanup work was completed to their satisfaction. The same site at Bartlette Meadows had been used for a barter fair in the past and wasn’t exactly pristine, according to Forest Service spokesman Franklin Pemberton. The same group of Forest Service employees had inspected the site before the Rainbows arrived. CLASSIFIEDS 9B-12B • FOR THE RECORD 8B • LIFESTYLE 8A • OBITUARIES 8B • OPINION 4A • POLICE REPORTS 8B • SPORTS 1B - 2B • FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 3B - 7 B

The Newport Miner Sept. 15, 2010 Issue

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