News • The Chronicle • March 5, 2014
Bond request won’t come up TONASKET – The Tonasket School District won’t re-run its bond issue request in April. The Feb. 11 measure garnered a 54.4 percent yes vote in final returns. It needed a 60 percent or higher to pass. School board members decided last week against re-running the measure in April, Superintendent Paul Turner said. “The board felt we needed to take a moment to celebrate our levy success and re-energize for the bond,” he said. A maintenance and operations levy request was approved, with 64.25 percent of the voters saying yes. It needed a simple majority to pass. “We want to give a big shout out for all the support shown during this election. This community really supports their school,” he said. Turner said district officials aren’t sure whether the bond request will be rerun in August. The money would have been used to expand and improve facilities.
Board OKs camp mess hall funds OKANOGAN – The School Board approved spending up to $10,000 to rebuild the mess hall at Camp Progress during a meeting last Wednesday. Ken Cline, who cooks for the sixth-grade camp, is spearheading a fundraising project to replace the building, which is small, dark and in disrepair. The project would cost an estimated $15,000. Other groups donating to the project so far include Okanogan Kiwanis Club, Okanogan-Omak Rotary Club and possibly the Colville Confederated Tribes. Each spring, the district’s sixth-graders spend a week at the camp southeast of town on the Colville Indian Reservation. Outdoor education and natural resources are the focus.
House, Senate offer budgets Legislators’ plans differ on funding K-12 education By Elliot Suhr WNPA Olympia News Service
Joaquin Bustamonte/Special to The Chronicle
An Omak District member of the Colville Confederated Tribes tallies results in the recommendation to fill Ernest “Sneena” Brooks III’s seat on the Colville Business Council after he resigned in the wake his arrest for an alleged rape in Idaho.
Tonasket selected for tribal post Omak membership selects Brooks’ replacement The Chronicle OMAK – Rich Tonasket was selected Saturday as the Omak District’s pick for the Colville Business Council seat vacated by Ernest “Sneena” Brooks III. He is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday morning. Tonasket received 65 votes
during a special district meeting. Coming in second was former councilwoman Shirley K. Charley, with 34 votes. Other candidates were Patsy Breiler, 22 votes; Duane Marchand, 19, and Slim Bessette, 6. Last week, the council gave Omak District members two weeks to develop recommendations for filling the vacancy. The position was left empty Feb. 18 when Brooks resigned after being arrested Feb. 14 by Coeur d’Alene Tribal
Police on suspicion of rape. He was booked into the Kootenai County, Idaho, jail and posted $5,000 bond the same day. Brooks was also the council vice chairman. The council had planned to fill the vacancy Feb. 21, but instead deferred to district members. Former councilman Mel Tonasket was approached about filling the post. He said he initially said yes, but later declined. “The membership came
forward with ideas, and was heard,” council Chairman Michael Finley said. “The council fully supports the desire of the district to thoughtfully deliberate the best way to fill the vacant position in a way that suits and honors the voting members of that district.” Under the tribal constitution, when there is a resignation the council shall declare the position vacant and appoint a member from the district to fill the unexpired term until July 2015.
Couple plans to rebuild life BONAPARTE LAKE – A local couple is trying to rebuild after fire destroyed their home. Halla Fuhrman and Joe Dunkin, both 18, lost their apartment, belongings and dog, Ruger, in a Feb. 21 blaze that destroyed three buildings at Bonaparte Lake Resort. The cause of the fire was a wood stove. The fire “took everything we had, including our dog,” Fuhrman said. “We’re just starting out life together. It sucks.” She said community members have been supportive and have donated clothing and other items. “I didn’t know people could be so nice and caring,” she said. An account has been set up for them at the Tonasket U.S. Bank branch, 409 Whitcomb Ave., and a page was created on gofundme.com.
City may form bed tax group WINTHROP – The Town Council will consider forming a lodging tax advisory committee during a meeting tonight, March 5. Other agenda items include a recommendation to amend the zoning code from the town Planning Commission, as well as a request from the Chamber of Commerce to apply jointly for a grant. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Winthrop Barn Hen House, 51 state Highway 20.
County auditor extends hours OKANOGAN – The Okanogan County Auditor’s Office is extending its hours. As of Monday, the main office’s hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Document recording will cut off at 4 p.m. Vehicle and vessel title and registration department hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – The Chronicle
Jennifer Marshall/The Chronicle
Pearl McArthur, 7, of Twisp, learns how to rivet aluminum from plane builder Peter Dixon on Saturday at the second Women in Aviation event at the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop. Methow Valley residents, primarily women and girls, stopped in throughout the day to sign up for free plane rides this week offered by local pilots in honor of Women in Aviation Worldwide Week. Saturday’s weather was not favorable for flights.
Mayor from A1 contractor to provide services previously approved by the City Council,” she wrote. Lynn noted the City Council didn’t want to hire Dominguez as an employee. So, she was paid from the vendor registration program again and no taxes were deducted from her checks. The council approved vouchers to pay Dominguez on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 for professional services provided. In total, she was paid $834. During a January meeting, Councilwoman Janet Conklin challenged Lynn about the hire. Conklin said the council did
Meeting from A1 Jacobson of meeting by polling, a violation of state law. Council members Jackie Hentges and Eric Schmidt – the latter was the only one to oppose the no-confidence vote – said they had not been approached about the resolution. A meeting by polling, according to Municipal Research and Services Center, “happens when a series of communications about agency business occurs involving, singly, less than a majority of the body, but involving, cumulatively, a majority or
OLYMPIA — While the budgets the House and Senate Democrats proposed last week were nearly identical, Senate Republicans believe the debate over education funding is a battle best fought next year. The McCleary v. Washington decision in 2012 requires the state to “sufficiently fund” basic education. According to officials and education lawmakers, the state needs to invest more than $5 billion into education by 2018 to comply. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court ordered “the pace of progress” to quicken. In the Senate budget, about $40 million would be allocated to fund technology-related materials in schools. The House budget makes a $60 million investment. While the two budgets are similar, House Democrats also included a plan to increase funding for education through House Bills 2792 and 2796. The bills would fund education by increasing revenue through tax changes or by allocating more money within the current supplemental budget. “The supplemental budget — it’s not another bite at the apple,” Republican Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond said. “It sets us up for next year.” The supplemental operating budget proposed in the Senate would add $96 million to the state’s $33.6 billion two-year operating budget approved last June. The budget passed last year added $1 billion to the state’s education system for the 2013-2015 biennium. Carlyle’s House Bill 2796 closes four tax exemptions — including tax breaks for oil refineries and sales of bottled water — and would raise $100 million. The increased revenue would be directed toward restoring cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and to fund early learning. The bill is more modest than Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed list of eight tax breaks changes raising more than $200 million. “The House budget goes further than the Senate’s in addressing our constitutional basic education obligations,” Inslee said. Carlyle said the House took an aggressive approach in finding tax exemptions, but said the short session has its limitations. The Senate budget passed off the floor on Thursday with a 41-8 bipartisan vote. Other than the $40 million investment into materials, supplies and operating costs, the budget doesn’t provide any additional funding to the other areas of education.
not approve hiring the woman and found out via Facebook that Dominguez was working for the city. Lynn said the council did approve a voucher to pay the woman for her time, less than 40 hours. “I don’t care how many hours it was, because the only way we found out about it was rumor around town,” Conklin said, noting she didn’t believe the council should have paid her, but was advised by an attorney to do it. On Monday, Conklin said she didn’t have any comment on the appeal itself. “However this plays out, she is still the mayor. And as a council person, the only thing I
want is what is best for the city and would love to give the spotlight to making the city of Bridgeport the best it can be,” Conklin said. The judge’s ruling opens the door for Knox to begin collecting signatures for a recall ballot measure. Hotchkiss’ decision did not indicate an order for Knox to delay collecting signatures, nor did Lynn request that in her motion for reconsideration. To get a measure for recall on an election ballot, Knox would have 180 days to gather signatures from 35 percent of the residents who voted in the 2011 mayoral election, when Lynn defeated incumbent Bill Zweigle. According to voter
turnout that year, at least 85 people will have to sign the petition. Knox has expressed confidence he can meet the quota. To gain a court ruling in his favor, Knox had to prove Lynn committed malfeasance or misfeasance, violated her oath of office or intended to violate the law. Out of 13 complaints leveled against the mayor, Hotchkiss found only one with sufficient basis to start a recall petition. However, he noted his finding doesn’t mean the allegation is true. Hotchkiss had initially considered four of the allegations against Lynn. The
other three, which he deemed to be without basis, were: • Illegal direction to the city planning commission, a possible violation of city code. • Failure to respond to Knox’s appeal of a denied public record request. • Failure to follow the directions of the City Council to correct an administrative error contained in a city ordinance. The City Council questioned Lynn on some of the allegations during a meeting in January, then voted 3-1 against her request to pay for her legal services through the Feb. 4 court hearing. The council also voted, 3-1, last week to approve a noconfidence resolution on Lynn.
more of the body. “A ‘meeting’ under the OPMA doesn’t require the contemporaneous physical – or electronic – presence of the members.” Also known as a secret ballot, the action is prohibited under state law. Three Rivers Hospital commissioners found that out last week after The Chronicle challenged a decision to winnow a field of applicants for its CEO job. In that case, hospital commissioners in Brewster reviewed resumes and left notes for Chairwoman Vicki Orford, who used those comments in an attempt to reduce the field outside of a
public meeting. After hearing from the State Attorney General’s Office, Three Rivers has since restarted its winnowing process. As a result, the newspaper halted a formal protest it planned to file with the state. State law says, “No governing body of a public agency at any meeting required to be open to the public shall vote by secret ballot. Any vote taken in violation of this subsection shall be null and void, and shall be considered an ‘action’ under this chapter.” Violations include discussions in person, over the phone or via email, text messaging or via other media.
“I had already talked to my source at Municipal Research before the meeting,” Conklin told The Chronicle. “He said not to lose any sleep over it. “Matt is a new council member and did not understand the concept of polling. He thought that as long as three council members did not meet he could run things by them to give them a heads up on what he was to do and that is all that he did with me. “As far as I know, no other council member contacted another to discuss the matter. I did not call other council members to discuss that matter.” She added Schuh hasn’t
been a councilman long enough – he took office in January – to attend training on public meetings and records. “At least, we are getting an education on the rights of council and the mayor,” she said. According to the city’s attorney, Julie Norton of the Wenatchee-based Ogden Murphy Wallace law firm, the vote of no confidence cannot force the mayor out of office. “The council can issue a vote of no confidence, but it would have no legal impact,” Norton said in an email. “While such a vote would be an expression of dissatisfaction, it would not curtail the mayor’s authority .”