A supplement to The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle June 11, 2014
Page 2 — Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Shovels and hard hats line up on dedication day in May for the Colville Confederated Tribes’ new Omak Casino. The facility is under construction between Omak and Okanogan.
Business Appreciation Tribe digs in for new Omak Casino.........................................................3 Builders Claw their way into business ....................................................5 Methow Natives touts indigenous flora...................................................7 South end chambers’ spark reignited .....................................................9 Kinross continues mining, service ........................................................11
Business Appreciation © The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. 618 Okoma Drive, Omak, WA 98841 P.O. Box 553, Omak, WA 98841 Roger Harnack, Editor and Publisher Dee Camp, Section Editor • Teresa Myers, Advertising Manager 509-826-1110 • 800-572-3446 • 509-826-5819 fax www.omakchronicle.com Cover photo: Roxanne Best
Al and June Apple Cont. Lic. #OMAKMSI941Q2
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Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 3
Tribe digs in for new Omak casino Gambling facility promises more games, restaurants, lodging and other amenities The Chronicle OMAK – The Colville Confederated Tribes’ new casino, now under construction on a hill south of town, is expected to bring 200 jobs to the area and serve as the tribe’s flagship gambling house. Ground was broke for the facility last month. Although there’s no structure visible yet, site preparation work is under way. The project will include a 500-machine casino and table games, two lounges, two restaurants and an 80-room hotel, said Randy Williams, Colville Tribal Federal Corp. chief operating officer for gaming. The corporation has $68 million in financing through Key Bank. A 12-month construction schedule planned. In late 2009, the tribe purchased land along U.S. Highway 97 south of the Rodeo Trail Road overpass and north of the state Department of Transportation maintenance shop. Access to the casino site will be across the road from the Fairgrounds Access Road.
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Gene's Harvest Foods Thank you to all of our wonderful customers for 51 great years! 22 W. Apple, Downtown Omak 509-826-0212
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The casino site sits on a hill above U.S. Highway 97 between Omak and Okanogan. The road running diagonally at the bottom of the photo is the Fairgrounds Access Road between the highway and Rodeo Trail Road.
Okanogan Truck & Tractor, Inc. Thank you , we’ve enjoyed serving you for many years.
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Page 4 — Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. The tribe spent Casino frommore 3 than $2 million to purchase land and consolidate the land.
Williams said the $43 million casino and hotel will sit on about 40 acres of the 300acre site, and will employ about 200 people. Aside from gambling, the 56,000square-foot facility will include a fine-dining restaurant and an upscale Asian cuisine restaurant, and a three- to four-star style hotel with pool, exercise room and other amenities. The facility will be twice the size of the tribe’s Mill Bay Casino near Manson. Finley “It will be the flagship casino for the tribe. For grandeur and look, it will compare with any in the state,” Williams said. “It will be a showcase facility.” Taylor Woodstone of Bloomington, Minn., is building the complex, CTFC CEO Joe Pakootas said. The company has experience building tribal gaming projects and Las Vegas casinos. Utilities will come from the city of Omak. Colville Business Council Chairman Michael O. Finley said the casino is “the result of years of collaboration between the CBC, staff and CTFC. It will provide a direct benefit to the entire Okanogan Valley and will stand as the premier business in the entire region.” Tribal officials said they hope for additional collaboration between the tribe
have to be tribally owned businesses, but would have to comply with the tribalpreference Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance, he said. The tribe has yet to decide what to do with the Okanogan Casino site, 41 Appleway. That casino, which has 432 games, but no table games, lounges or other amenities, is expected to close when the new facility is open.
They actually talked about how important it is to blend our cultures and the community as a whole, and what the economic boon of this project is going to be, so we’re really excited. Omak Mayor Cindy Gagne
” and others. “It’s all about the people,” council member Ricky Gabriel said. “We’re all one big community, anyway.” Omak officials are excited about the new business, even though it’s outside the city limits. “I think it’s really exciting for our community,” Mayor Cindy Gagne said. “They actually talked about how important it is to blend our cultures and the community as a whole, and what the economic boon of this project is going to be, so we’re really excited. “It’s a construction project, so it’s going to have some lumps and bumps and those kind of things, but we’re really excited for them and we appreciate how much they’ve allowed us to be a part of this.”
Future plans call for an RV park and entertainment venue on the site. Williams said the tribe is looking beyond local gamblers to fill the new casino’s seats. It anticipates running more bus programs into Canada. “That’s part of our overall growth and expansion” plans, he said, adding that other businesses in the area will benefit from the increased traffic. Another planned tribal project in the same area calls for development of an industrial park on Colville Indian Plywood and Veneer property south of the main mill and across Rodeo Trail Road from the back side of the CTFC-owned Tribal Trails gas station, Pakootas said. The tribe would provide infrastructure and act as a landlord. Tenants wouldn’t
Mac’s Tire of Omak
Cake is served during the casino groundbreaking.
Collision Specialists Family owned and operated since 1979 Thank you for many great years of service!
1604 N. 2nd Ave., Okanogan
Harvest Foods T hank you for many wonderful years in the community!
Roger Harnack/The Chronicle
Thank you for being a part of our family for all these years!
Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 5
Builders Claw their way into business By Dee Camp The Chronicle COULEE DAM – A pair of reservationraised Colville tribal members who decided to launch a business of their own more than seven years ago are staying busy and were honored last fall by the Northwest Native Development Fund. Jason Clark and Brandon Whitelaw’s Claw Construction was honored with the fund’s Eagle Award for Native Business of the Year. “It’s a little, home-grown company” that has done some big projects, fund Executive Director Ted Piccolo said. The general contracting firm, 1107 Tilmus St., offers a variety of contracting services, including ground-up building construction, siding, flooring repairs, concrete work and pole buildings, Clark said. Claw Construction serves a multi-county area, with projects completed in Kettle Falls, Colville, Okanogan, Grand Coulee-Electric City, Wilbur, Davenport and the entire reservation. The biggest so far have been the dental clinic at the Nespelem agency and a 5,000-square-foot building at the tribe’s youth camp at Inchelium. “They started off doing kitchen cabinets. They’ve worked hard,” Piccolo said.
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Claw Construction, honored by the Northwest Native Development Fund, does a variety of construction, including residential.
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Page 6 — Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Claw from 5 Clark said he likes to work with his hands and build things, so he contacted his best friend, Whitelaw, and pitched the idea of starting a construction business. Whitelaw, who had a background in construction, agreed and Clark left his job with the tribe when the two started their venture. Both men are 33. Clark took an entrepreneurship class – called “Indianpreneurship” — through the development fund, which at the time was itself a fledgling operation, and also was one of the first to secure a loan through the fund. In turn, the fund used Claw Construction as a reference for its services and now “they offer services to a lot more” businesses, Clark said. He said he loves seeing the happiness his clients show “once their projects are completed. I love building things.” He and Whitelaw take “great pride” in their work and getting the job done correctly. Because they cover such a broad area, Clark said they’ve had to deal with building and permitting offices from a variety of jurisdictions, including several cities, multiple counties and the tribe. Claw Construction is licensed by the state and the tribe. The company also has had a few jobs as a designated minority-owned contractor. “It is one of the marquee businesses” with which the development fund has
Storage shops, above, and an airport hangar, right, are among Claw Construction’s projects. worked, Piccolo said. He said the fund offers its services to anyone in the area, not just native entrepreneurs. “So many business plan curricula out there use businesses as models. But we don’t have a Boeing or a Microsoft,” Piccolo said. “Indianpreneurship is story-based.” While the stories may not come from the local area, most people in the area “know someone who is just like that,” he said of the people highlighted in the course presentations. “It fits our region.” The development fund offers the course
periodically and also does small business loans. “We do financing where others won’t,” he said. Economic Alliance Executive Director Roni Holder-Diefenbach, who served on the development fund board during its first three years, praised the fund for helping businesses and individuals on the Colville, Spokane and Kalispell reservations with business start-up information, community development, housing and savings plans and other financial information. The alliance works closely with the fund
and the North Central Washington Business Loan Fund. “It’s a great organization,” she said. The Northwest Native Development Fund’s first gala awards dinner was last November at Northern Quest Casino and Resort in Airway Heights. More than 100 people gathered to see the fund give awards to Claw Construction, Gary George of Wildhorse Casino and Resort as Native Purchaser of the Year, and Dave Bonga as Native Business Advocate of the Year. The fund itself has won a couple of national awards.
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Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 7
Methow Natives touts indigenous flora Nursery works with fish recovery group on habitat for salmon-rearing site The Chronicle WINTHROP – One local nursery offers an opportunity for residents, businesses and non-profit organizations to fill the Methow Valley with plants and trees native to the area. Methow Natives, founded in 1999, provides landscaping and consulting services, along with educational opportunities. The company, which has four employees, also works with local and state agencies to preserve riparian habitat. “I really like growing the plants and working on all the habitat projects,” owner Rob Crandall said, noting that he has a background in botany and has lived in the valley for 25 years. “It’s neat to see projects five to 10 years later … to see how much they’ve changed and how much habitat we’ve been able to create.” A garden outside Methow Natives, 19 Aspen Lane, can be viewed by appointment,
See Natives 8
Jennifer Marshall/The Chronicle
Rob Crandall of Methow Natives explains the characteristics and benefits of certain native plants.
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Page 8 — Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Natives from 7 but Crandall said the best way to see an example of his work is to tour the native garden at Methow Valley Interpretive Center, 210 Fifth Ave. in Twisp. That garden is always open, although the center has set business hours. The native garden is a work in progress, with 85 different species and at least 100 more planned for planting. Crandall said he started planning the garden last spring. The new expansion will include sub-alpine plants, while the other species are native to shrub-steppe, riparian and forest areas. “That’s kind of a demonstration to show what people can do with native landscaping,” he said. “It’s also a really great educational tool. It’s pretty satisfying.” One of the most enjoyable parts of his job, he said, is learning and showing others how to re-establish native grasses such as bluebunch wheatgrass, junegrass and Great Basin wild rye. “They’re really great in terms of weed control,” Crandall said. “They’re really aesthetic, and once they’re established, they’re really low maintenance.” Lawns can be transitioned to native grasses, which require less water, he said. Although wildflowers can be tougher to work with, he said he’s getting the hang of which species are easier. Several customers have preferred penstemons and mock orange flowers. “They can still be pretty, but they can be a little bit tricky,” he said. Recently, much of Crandall’s focus has
“ It’s neat to see projects five to 10 years later ... to see how much they’ve changed and how much habitat we’ve been able to create. Owner Rob Crandall
” been on assisting the non-profit Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation with restoring habitat at the Twisp Ponds. The ponds are “four semi-natural sites where the Yakama Nation acclimates juvenile Coho salmon from Northwest hatcheries before releasing them into the river,” the foundation said. More than 3,000 trees have been planted over the past 10 years to provide shade, and other native vegetation promotes pollination, Crandall said. Trails have also been created throughout the area, where he
Dee Camp/The Chronicle
Native plants can create a beautiful, weather-hardy landscape. and others have hosted outdoor classes. “It’s really starting to act and function as riparian habitat,” he said. “Every little bit makes a difference, with all the butterflies and hummingbirds and different bee species that are really important to have providing more habitat, more pollination opportunities.”
In addition to his environmental work and educational programs, he hopes to do more consulting and landscaping for area residents. Methow Natives keeps an extensive list of trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses on its website, www.okanogan1.com/ methownatives/.
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Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 9
South end chambers’ spark reignited By Jennifer Marshall The Chronicle BREWSTER – Chambers of commerce that reignited over the past year in Brewster, Pateros and Bridgeport are picking up steam this summer. “We have a lot to offer in this valley, and I think that just says it. We have a lot to offer, and we realize that now,” Brewster chamber President Karl Word said. “I am excited to see new life bred into the chamber. Young people, lots of new ideas, fresh energy — that’s what makes things work,” Harmony House Health Care Center owner Jerry Tretwold said. “The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t do much for Harmony House itself, but it creates energy in the community where we all live, and I’m excited for that.” The group – also led by Vice President Shan Miller, Secretary Alex Thomason and Treasurer Sabrina O’Connell – has spearheaded several efforts since last fall promoting businesses, from the St. Patrick’s Day Pot o’ Gold contest to Easter activities and Mother’s Day giveaways. Each event increased foot traffic to downtown businesses, Word said. “Everybody comments that they’ve seen more and more involvement, and people are
See Chambers 10
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Folkloric dancers participate in the Brewster Chamber of Commerce-organized Cinco de Mayo on May 10.
“Thank you for 21 years of beautiful smiles!”
Archery 31 S. Main St., Omak 509-826-5581
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Page 10 — Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
getting more and more aware of shopping from 9 local,” he said. A majority of the chamber’s promotional efforts have been paid out of pocket. “Most of these events haven’t cost the businesses money,” he said, noting that the chamber bought gift certificates for prize baskets from several shops. “It was a two-fold deal for the businesses,” he said. The May 10 Cinco de Mayo festival on Main Avenue, featuring an inaugural parade, drew major involvement from some of the Hispanic business owners such as Martin Hurtado with Mi Pueblo Market, 623 W. Main Ave. “One of my goals was to unite two cultures,” Word said. “It really impacted that town on both sides of the aisle. That in itself is just worth more than words can ever say.” The most recently revived of the three, the Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce, is also seeing more participation from the Hispanic community, with three of the four officers – President Mario Martinez, Vice President Hugo Martinez and Secretary Amparito Martinez – representing that aspect of the community. Marilynn Lynn is the treasurer, and the two other board members are Ron Lewis and Scott Wright. Since the group reformed after a threeyear hiatus, it has been busy re-establishing itself as a non-profit organization and putting together the annual Bridgeport Daze celebration, which took place June 7-8. At the same time, the Pateros Chamber of Commerce is riding high on the success of its first farmers market May 30,
“ We really got a great boost of enthusiasm and energy from not only the old members, but from people who have moved here and decided they wanted to be involved in the chamber. Michael Zoretic
” organized by member George Pearson. “That’s been really exciting, because that was something that was an organic effort,” chamber President Michael Zoretic said. “It was a pretty good showing for the first week.” The farmers market will take place from 3-7 p.m. every Friday through the end of September, and possibly even into October, he said. Ten vendors set up shop on the pedestrian mall the first day, and Zoretic said he expects there will be 20-25 vendors as harvest season progresses and word of mouth gets around. Two years after the chamber went dormant, it was restarted again by Zoretic, Vice President Rikki Grow, Secretary Karen Wagner and Treasurer Darci Wert. “We’re a very new organization and I think we’ve made a lot of good strides,” Zoretic said.
Since January, the chamber has also hosted a wine tasting membership drive and organized a monthly social gathering of local business owners, called Third Thursdays. The group is also enjoying a bigger turnout of members at its meetings, which take place at 8 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month. The June 4 meeting saw 21 members. “We really got a great boost of enthusiasm and energy from not only the old members, but from people who have moved here and decided they wanted to be involved in the chamber,” Zoretic said. “I would say that the support of the businesses has been even more than I expected.” “It truly is amazing what’s happened here in Pateros,” Sweet River Bakery owner Alex Hymer said. “When I got here seven years ago and I was going to Pateros
Appreciation to my amazing clients! 2108 Elmway, Okanogan 509-422-3858
chamber meetings then, and it was fizzling out. “Everyone’s invigorated and excited, and it’s been really fun to see.” Coming up this summer, Brewster is readying the town for its annual July 4 celebration, featuring the new “Pig Out in the Park” event, a 48-hour softball tournament, vendors and fireworks. Next up is the ninth annual Brewster King Salmon Derby on Aug. 1-3, which draws hundreds of anglers to the area each year. “That’s huge, and that’s where we really need the volunteers,” Word said. “That’s a big event. You’re talking a lot of people.” Pateros is planning a four-man scramble golf tournament June 20 at Alta Lake Golf Course, 140 Alta Lake Road. It’s a fundraiser for the chamber. Something everyone is anxious to see is the planned Aug. 1 opening of the new Gamble Sands golf course, 200 Sands Trail Road north of Brewster. “It will bring people from around the country and maybe even the world,” Word said, noting the salmon derby is the same week. “Brewster’s got an opportunity of a lifetime staring them in the face; they’re going to really be able to showcase themselves,” he said. “Pateros is doing the same thing.” “We really think there’s going to be a blossoming golf industry in the Okanogan County region,” and with that will come more tourism dollars, Zoretic said. “We just have so many resources around here. We’re right in the middle of all the action right here,” he said.
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Business Appreciation 2014, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 11
Kinross continues mining, service Company prepares for closure of Buckhorn Mine operations in mid-2015 The Chronicle CHESAW – Kinross Gold Corp. continues to pull high-grade gold ore out of Buckhorn Mountain and support a variety of community causes despite plans to close the mining operation in mid-2015. Spokeswoman Deana Zakar said the company also is working with local communities – from businesses to taxing entities – to try and mitigate the effects of the mine’s closure. The company’s mill near Republic will continue to operate after the mine itself shuts down. In the underground mining process, holes are drilled into the earth and explosive charges set. The mine is evacuated and the charges are detonated. After that, the loosened ore is removed from the mine and stockpiled into ore, test sample and non-gold piles, Zakar said. The non-gold material is returned to the mine and used as backfill to supplement supports installed earlier. The ore is trucked to the Republic mill and the samples are tested for ore content.
Buckhorn has been pumping out about 0.3 ounce of gold per ton, which is “a very high-grade deposit,” Zakar said. That’s the equivalent of about a wedding ring’s worth of gold in a refrigerator-sized pile of rock. Blasting is done twice a day around the clock. At the mill, the rock is crushed to the texture of flour, mixed with water and chemicals, including cyanide, and extracted using a flotation process in which the gold attaches to air bubbles. Carbon – actually burnt coconut shells – is added and the gold clings to it. From there the mixture, which resembles rich, dark soil, is poured into furnaces and heated to pull out the gold. The gold – plus some silver and other metals – is poured into 70-pound bars, each worth about $1 million. The bars are shipped to a refinery out of state for further refining. The bars are about 80 percent gold, 7 percent silver and the rest other metals, she said. The cyanide and leftover tailings go to a lined tailings facility; the cyanide dissipates under UV light. No tailings are deposited at the mine itself. Kinross employs 230 people in its Buckhorn-Kettle River operation and another 130 as contract workers. Many lived in the Okanogan-Ferry County region before
Kinross operates an underground gold mine at Buckhorn Mountain near Chesaw. Trucks can operate in the underground portion. The Chronicle
going to work for Kinross, while others are longtime company employees who moved to the area and have settled down with their families, she said. In anticipation of closure, Kinross has started a support process for workers. The company offers short-term stays at its other operations for those who might want to move on eventually and also will reward those who stay until closure with severance and retention bonuses. It’s also working with the two counties and their businesses to ease the transition to a post-mine economy. A special economic impact analysis is being done.
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According to 2011 figures, Kinross has a direct payroll of $19 million a year and a $27 million influence on payroll in Okanogan and Ferry counties. The average wage is $80,000. Kinross spends $9 million a year in Ferry and Okanogan counties on various supplies and services, and pays $1.4 million a year in property taxes in Okanogan County alone, Zakar said. The company also gives $200,000$250,000 a year in charitable contributions, mostly to youth cases, and also donates money to businesses at Christmas so they can help community members in need.
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