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Life is full of those ‘almost’ moments

Have you ever had cold chills over something unpleasant that nearly happened but didn’t quite? I call it having an “almost.” This one happened some 50 or 60 years ago. I was working in a school of music in downtown Chicago, commuting from home, some 20 miles from home to work. One of the students invited me to her home for dinner. I went home, and got ready. My mother and I agreed that since it was a dinner invitation, it would be inappropriate for me to eat before going to the dinner. I caught the interurban, went to the proper stop, walked the few blocks to her house and knocked. She came to the door and exclaimed, “Elizabeth, you’re on time! Come in.” A little surprised at such a greeting, I did. Other people began to arrive, and presently there was a congenial group. But no sign of food. The evening wore on, and presently I realized that it was almost time for the last train. Making my excuses to the hostess, I left to walk to the train stop. For a time I had the feeling I was being followed. Arrival at the train stop ended that. I reached the station platform to see the light of my train just approaching that stop. With a gasp of relief, I got on. My mother gave me something to eat. I never got an explanation for the dinner that wasn’t, and the student and I have not kept in touch. I do not even know if she is still alive. Now, we jump many decades and half a continent to Okanogan County. Here people do not invite others to dinner and then forget it. They feed them when they have not been invited. There are people who, if you drop in for a visit, won’t let you go until they have offered refreshments. It’s sort of like having to eat your way out. And since there are wonderful cooks hereabout, this is a great pleasure. I think they would be horrified at not giving a guest something to eat after a visit. And it’s delicious. As I said, they are fine cooks. It’s one of the tenets of the code of hospitality out here, and there are no frightening almosts, of the kind here described, in visiting friends here. Elizabeth Widel is a columnist for The Chronicle. This is the 2,885th column in a series. She may be reached at 509-826-1110.

Dollar has its roots in German valley

What is it that makes you think of something decades after you have not done so? Back in the hot metal days when The Chronicle was located on North Main Street, they gave me an article to set it in type. It was about the dollar.

April 23, 2014- Our View "Street project to boost economy"

We’ve all sat in our vehicles frustrated by road construction delays and one-way alternating traffic managed by seemingly inefficient workers. That won’t likely change anytime soon. But the outcome of road work just getting under way in Omak may be well worth the wait. State officials are starting into a project that will resurface the main thoroughfare through downtown Omak and Okanogan. In Omak, the work is being done in conjuction with a much-needed streetscaping.

Kudos to our volunteers

I have served on the Omak City Council for approximately seven years now, and the one major item that continues to astound me is our volunteers.

Election about to get interesting

The election season is about to get very interesting. On Saturday night, I attended the Lincoln Day Dinner, where political newcomers and seasoned campaigners unveiled their plans to run for office this year.

Road projects continue to make driving challenging

We’re about to

If you think driving the main drag between Omak and Okanogan has been challenging during the past year or so, just wait. We’re about to be surrounded. Road construction season is here, and the highway through Okanogan and Omak will be repaved. The project involves rebuilding sidewalk ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, installing “bulb-outs” at several corners, grinding off the old pavement and putting down new asphalt. The utility projects we’ve endured for the past year – Omak’s sewer project and a telephone fiber installation – paved the way, so to speak, for the paving project. Pressure was on to get the utilities done before the paving project began. But wait, that’s not all. State highways all over the county will be under construction soon, with flaggers and delays expected. Paving work is planned on U.S. Highway 97 between Brewster and Okanogan and north of Tonasket, state Highway 20 over Loup Loup Pass and east of Tonasket, and on highways in the Bridgeport, Leahy Junction and Grand Coulee areas. In short, we’ll be driving over torn up roads all summer. I’m sure the windshield chip repair places and front-end alignment shops are salivating over the prospects for the coming construction season. In the end, after the state pours more than $18 million into the projects, we should have nice, smooth roads to drive on. At least until next year’s construction season begins. Dee Camp is a reporter at The Chronicle. She can be reached via email at dcamp@omakchronicle.com.

Erosion not only reason for mountains

Continents slide on moving plates

We have considered erosion a number of times as a means of producing mountains. There also are other considerations.

April 16, 2014- Our View "Could stand-off happen here?"

Agencies, cattlemen need a common-sense middle ground

A lot of area cattlemen are talking about last week’s Nevada stand-off between rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management over access to decades-old grazing lands and related fees.

Tonasket Food Bank needs help

Once more, the Tonasket Food Bank may have to find a new home. Our board of directors are faced with a choice of finding another location or purchasing the building currently used.

Agency should reopen gated road

Public lands are supposed to be just that — open for public recreation and activities. So I’m sometimes left incredulous when state or federal officials move to restrict public activities on the land — and roads — owned by taxpayers.

Human-animal interactions intriguing

Pet stories tell connection tales

We have considered the topic of human-animal relations, but the subject is not exhausted. It may never be.

April 9, 2014- Our View

Inslee should’ve signed drone law

Drones will remain off limits to state agencies for the next 15 months.

Reduced to hitchhikers

When President Obama permanently grounded America’s space shuttles a couple of years ago, he made a huge mistake. He gave Russia carte blanche over the International Space Station and we now pay $70 million each for our astronauts to hitch a ride.

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