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May 14, 2014- News Briefs

County names parks applicants

OKANOGAN – Okanogan County has released the names of several residents who have applied so far to serve on the Parks and Recreation Board and new Fair Advisory Committee.

Gary Allard, David Swanberg and Christopher Harlow had thrown their hats in for the Parks and Recreation Board as of last week, according to commission board clerk Lanie Johns.

Bill White and Lonnie Dixon, who both served on the parks board until being excused this month as the county commissioners work on reorganizing both groups, have submitted applications for the Fair Advisory Committee. The other two applicants are Jill Scott and Emily Buzzard.

Wednesday night’s regular parks board meeting has been canceled.

Johns said voicemail is being checked and all scheduled events at the fairgrounds, 175 Rodeo Trail Road, are proceeding.

Prescribed burn begins in Methow

WINTHROP – The Methow Valley Ranger District moved forward with its spring prescribed burning Monday in the Fawn Creek area.

“We expect southerly air flow today that should mix and move smoke out of the area; we’ll work on completing the burn unit as soon as possible today to take advantage of this movement,” Assistant Fire Management Officer Meg Trebon said Monday.

Other areas designated for treatment this year include Lucky 2, on West Fawn Road; Upper Rendezvous 2, north of Edelweiss by Cassal Hut; Flatmoon Complex, northwest of Winthrop in the Eightmile Creek drainage, and Deer Creek, west-northwest of Twisp in the Little Bridge Creek drainage.

City contracts for mosquito control

OKANOGAN — For the second year in a row, the city will contract with Conconully for mosquito abatement.

The city contracted with Conconully last year for ground spraying after Omak decided not to join Okanogan for aerial spraying.

The council decided during its Tuesday meeting to stay with Conconully for another year.

In other business, the council:

• Agreed to let the Okanogan Valley Farmers Market use Legion Park at no charge for this year’s market. The group recently installed two electrical outlets in the park office building.

• Decided to have Omak Paving place 1,560 square feet of hot mix asphalt on South Fifth Avenue at Tacoma Street. The city will pay $4,728.34.

City considers shoreline rules

BREWSTER – The City Council will consider a draft ordinance for shoreline setbacks during its meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. today at City Hall, 103 N. Third Ave.

Other agenda items include a resolution to form a transportation council of governments with others in Okanogan County; an update from the North Central Washington Economic Development District; public comment from Karl Word regarding the Goehry Memorial Basketball Court; agreements with North Central Regional Library and the North Central Washington Task Force; an asbestos and lead inspection proposal from Fulcrum Environmental, and a resolution for a policy on investing city funds.

Firewise program on tap Saturday

TWISP — A Firewise workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at TwispWorks, 502 S. Glover St.

Fire managers will discuss preparing a home and property for wildfire, and how to react when a wildfire is in the area.

Firewise Communities is an interagency program designed to encourage local solutions for wildfire safety.

BRIDGEPORT – The City Council plans to discuss its 2013 annual report and financials from the first quarter of this year during its meeting at 7 p.m. today at City Hall, 1206 Columbia Ave.

Other agenda items include eliminating the warrants account, voting on swimming pool rates for this summer and voting on a contract with Armada Corp. for collection services.

Drift illnesses reported

OLYMPIA – As orchard workers continue nurturing tree fruit this spring, the state Department of Health is reporting a higher number of illnesses resulting from pesticide drift events.

“There have been 15 potential pesticide drift events resulting in about 60 people getting ill reported to the Washington State Department of Health in the past two months– that’s as many the agency normally sees in a year,” the department noted.

People in Douglas, Chelan, Grant, Franklin, Yakima, Adams and Benton counties have reported coming down sick from too much pesticide exposure since March.

Information wasn’t immediately available on whether anyone in Okanogan County has been affected.

“We don’t track that at the county level. It’s not like a reportable disease,” J.J. Bellinger with Okanogan County Public Health said Tuesday morning.

Drift events happen when wind carries pesticide spray away from the area it was intended, or sometimes when the person spraying isn’t aware there are other people in the area.

Many of those coming down ill are the orchard workers themselves, the state said.

“We’re concerned with this spike in potential drift exposures and are calling our partner agencies to work with pesticide applicators on following state and federal rules to prevent drift,” state health officer Kathy Lofy said.

The departments of health and agriculture, the Farm Bureau and Washington State University Extension are notifying licensed pesticide applicators about the issue.

Those found in violation of the law could be subject to penalties by the state agriculture or labor and industries departments.

More information about pesticides and potential health effects is on the Department of Health website, www.doh.wa.

gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Contaminants/Pesticides.aspx.

Motorists should expect delays Construction under way on several area highways

OKANOGAN – Drivers using U.S. Highway 97 southward to the intersection with state Highway 173 can expect delays of up to 20 minutes while crack sealing takes place.

The work is between milepost 260 and milepost 286.

No work is planned this week on U.S. Highway 97 north of Tonasket, state Highway 20 east of Tonasket and west of Okanogan in the Loup Loup Pass area, and state Highway 17 west of Bridgeport.

In the $15.5 million project, Central Washington Asphalt is resurfacing 238 miles of 10 state highways in five counties in North Central Washington. This project also updates safety features including new striping, centerline rumble strips and reflective pavement markers, along with paving several intersections and addressing Americans with Disabilities Act concerns on state Highway 155 in Grand Coulee and U.S. Highway 97 in Tonasket.

Work should be done by October.

In Omak and Okanogan, motorists can expect lane shifts, shoulder closures and pedestrian detours while crews are upgrading sidewalks, installing street light foundation and repairing drainage issues along curb lines.

The work is preparatory to repaving state Highway 155 in Omak and state Highway 215 between the two towns.

In this $3.2 million project, Granite Construction is upgrading sidewalks to meet ADA standards, and paving the two highways. Work should be done in early September.

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