Special election ballots are in the mail
OKANOGAN – Ballots for the April 22 special election are in the mail. Voters who haven’t received their ballot by Friday are asked to call their county’s auditor’s office.
A drop box for ballots is open in Pateros until 8 p.m. April 22 at 180 Pateros Mall. Other ballot boxes are located in front of Bridgeport City Hall, 1206 Columbia Ave.; at Mansfield Town Hall, 26 Main St.; and at Republic City Hall, 987 S. Clark Ave.
Ballots can also be dropped off at the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office, 149 N. Third Ave. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.
The Douglas County Auditor’s Office, 213 S. Rainier St. in Waterville, and the Ferry County Auditor’s Office, 350 E. Delaware Ave., will also be open on election day.
Voter registration is open until Monday; ballots must be postmarked by election day.
National Forest accepting project ideas
COLVILLE — Project proposals for improvements to the Colville National Forest and the economies of Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens counties are sought by the forest.
Individuals, non-profit organizations and local governments can apply for a share of $560,000 available this year.
Projects must be on or benefit National Forest System lands by enhancing forest ecosystems, restoring land health and water quality, or improving the maintenance of existing roads or facilities.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for local communities to come together to promote the stewardship of forest lands in the tri-county area,” forest Supervisor Laura Jo West said.
Information is available from Resource Advisory Committee Coordinator Franklin Pemberton at 509-684-7000.
Sterling to finalize merger with Umpqua
SPOKANE – Sterling Bank, with locations in Brewster, Oroville, Coulee City and Waterville, is expected to complete its merger with Umpqua Bank on April 18.
The combined companies will operate as Umpqua Holdings Corp., according to an announcement made by the companies last week.
“Over the coming weeks, the sign on the door will change but what you love about your bank will not,” a letter to customers stated. “Individually, Sterling and Umpqua have a lot in common, in particular a shared passion for serving customers and communities at the highest possible level.
“Together, we will be the West Coast’s largest community bank.”
Sterling has more than 2,600 employees in 176 branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
Okanogan County home listings are up
KIRKLAND – Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported an upswing in real estate listings last month in Okanogan County.
According to a report released last week, there were 59 new residential and condominium listings in March, 10 more than the same time last year.
The total number of active listings was 348 last month, compared to 344 a year ago.
Average asking prices are down nearly $2,000 comparing March 2013 to March 2014, but year to date they’re up more than $10,000. Eighteen homes were sold last month in Okanogan County, compared to 17 sold in March 2013. Year to date, nine more homes have been sold so far.
Average sale prices were down more than $27,000 last month than in March 2013. Year to date, sale prices are down more than $20,000.
Governor signs L&I appeal bill into law
OLYMPIA — Rep. Cary Condotta’s bill modifying appeals penalties with the state Department of Labor and Industries has been signed by the governor.
House Bill 2146 modifies the bond amount for appeals of penalties to the department.
Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, said he sponsored the bill after learning a $200 bond was required of someone appealing a $150 penalty with the department.
Under the new law, the appeal amount will be 10 percent of the penalty amount, or $200, whichever is less, and subject to a $100 minimum. The law takes effect July 1, 2015.
Brewster Council to set public hearing
BREWSTER – The City Council plans to set a public hearing date tonight to gather public feedback on a USDA grant/loan for a patrol vehicle.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 105 Third St.
Other agenda items include a request for annual dues from North-Central Washington Development District; lease at Anderson Field Airport; a rate study report, and updates from the city clerk/treasurer, the public works department and the police department.
Methow Valley School Board to meet
WINTHROP – The Methow Valley School Board meets at 5:30 p.m. today, April 9. The board is slated to discuss a policy on a minimum ending fund balance and approve a track schedule. Superintendent Tom Venable will give a report, and the board will hear an update on finances.
The meeting will be in the district office, 18 Twin Lakes Road.
New Bridgeport chamber to elect board
BRIDGEPORT – The newly revived Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce will host a meeting to select its board members and officers at 7 p.m. tomorrow, April 10, at El Puente, 1122 Columbia Ave.
Although four officers had already been suggested before last week, Mayor Marilynn Lynn said the membership has to nominate and vote in a six-member board with four officers.
“It’s just because people are so enthusiastic, is why we got ahead of ourselves,” Lynn said.
Aero Methow names new responders
TWISP – Aero Methow Rescue Service has announced two new certified emergency medical responders (EMR) and one new emergency medical technician (EMT).
Ken Ruprecht and Kimon Roe are the new EMRs, and Meghan Sullivan is the new EMT.
Aero Methow is also currently hiring for a full-time paramedic, according to its website, www.aeromethow.org. The service plans interviews in May and selection in early June, with a start date estimated for June 16.
Oroville chamber meets Thursday
OROVILLE — The Chamber of Commerce will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday at The Plaza restaurant, 1412 Main St.
Topics include Discover Oroville Committee projects, Rally at the Border Blues Festival, the international baseball tournament, Fourth of July fireworks and Lake Osoyoos Cup Jet Ski races.
Volunteers sought for Farmers Market
PATEROS – Those interested in helping with the Pateros Farmers Market are invited to a meeting at 3 p.m. Friday at Sweet River Bakery, 203 Pateros Mall.
Call 509-686-1022 for more information.
— The Chronicle