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Giant trees inspire

Nash-Mendez runs to record time

The giant old growth redwood forests of northern California were under siege. Rain pelted the giant trees, which let little precipitation hit the ground hundreds of feet below, where waves of runners competed in The Avenue of the Giants Marathon last Sunday.

Truth rises through geologic research

During the latter part of the 19th century, a considerable brouhaha was going on in Europe, and perhaps the U.S., as well.

Three Rivers can’t afford Graham

J. Scott Graham isn’t yet a resident of Brewster and already he’s one of the highest paid public employees there.

The allure of fishing

Anglers’ successes in Curlew Lake are intriguing

I haven’t been fishing in years, but I still enjoy hearing about fishing successes. Most of my fishing successes were of the small variety – the kind that will fit in a 10-inch skillet with not much tail hanging over the edge. In short, I never caught any lunkers.

Kokes still here

Fishing is good in Conconully

Kokanee were caught in the two bodies of water next to Conconully opening day. The Chronicle posted online statistics from the state, which included a note about no kokanee checked at the Conconullies.

Audience ecstatic over ‘Wiazard of Oz’

All the work to put on musical was well worth it

An ecstatic audience left the opening night performance of “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday at the Omak Performing Art Center.

Replay, good or bad

Does reviewing plays hurt sports?

Would the world be better with or without instant replay?

Social promotion caught up to us

For years, teacher competency has been a topic of contention in our state’s public schools. And for years, rather than focusing on the basics of education, our school curricula has slowly transitioned into a feel-good system where few failing students are held back.

Tiger sets record

Republic among fastest in 1B track

Shania Graham of Republic won the 1,600-meter run in a school record at a league meet April 22 in Colville.

Top bulls heading to Tonasket for Proctor PBR

I love when a handshake produces something like the Professional Bull Riders bringing the inaugural Shane Proctor Invitational to Tonasket on May 30-31. Paul Vickers approached Proctor, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s world bull riding champion in 2011, during last year’s Omak Stampede rodeo in Omak. From that came the rodeo that will be the first PBR event in Tonasket. “It ought to be one whale of an event,” Vickers said. “I know it’s costing us enough to put it on. We need all the support we can get from the community.” Tonasket has had bulls in the past, but this event will bring many of the top riders to town seeking a big purse. The Tonasket Comancheros are putting up $10,000 to the purse. “We will have 35 bull riders a night,” Vickers said, said about 18 head of horses will be bucked, too. The Top 10 bull riders then advance to a short go-round each show. “The Northwest is rich in rodeo history, not only with the Omak Stampede and everything else,” said Lake Roosevelt High School graduate Proctor, 29, from his Mooresville, N.C., home. “Stand-alone bull riding is an exceptional thing. There are a lot of exceptional bulls raised in the Northwest. “That’s why PBR was created. The big draw for a lot of the crowd is bull riding.” Also, the overall winner will receive a free pass to the Built Ford Tough Series final. “What separates the PBR from everything else is the money involved,” Proctor said. “These are top elite athletes and they want to go up against the top elite bulls. Tonasket has put up the money to do it.” After talking with Proctor, Vickers and his wife, Teena, attended a PBR event. “It looked like a good event to do,” he said. PBR is taking entries, with Dakota Beck, Cody Riley and newcomer Ben Jones of Australia already signed, Vickers said. “I think we will have lot of guys that ride the Built Ford Tough series here,” Vickers said. PBR bulls are coming from as far away as North Dakota and South Dakota, including Guns and Donuts and Buck Wild from Silver Creek and Pandemic from C’N Stars Bull Co. Pucker Up and Jumanji are coming from 5 Star Bucking Bulls out of North Dakota. The Katich family will bring El Smacko and Dr. Love, which has bucked off 89 percent of its riders. Mike Corey is bringing Major Impact, Big Cool, Mr. Buddy, Rapid Revolver and Crazy Bull. Proctor anticipates being here, but he won’t be competing. He underwent surgery earlier this year to repair his free, left arm, which was stomped on the last ride in the 2011 world championship. He’s projected back July 1. “They said 24 weeks for recovery,” Proctor said. “I am hoping they release me a couple weeks early.” Proctor’s bull school in Nespelem earlier this month drew 31 young riders that bucked close to 250 head. Al Camp is the sports editor for The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

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.

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.

Goetz claims victory

Okanogan looks at facility change

Bryon Goetz of Okanogan won the Super Stock main at the 48th annual West Coast Street Stocks races April 13 in Yakima. Cover-age of Goetz’s huge win was in Sunday’s sports column. Some information left out included the victory paying $600, enough for a set of tires, Goetz said. The Apple Cup, which draws racers from the Northwest, is the longest continually run stock car race in the Northwest. The race also served as the inaugural race for the newly formed Tri-Track Late Model Series, which is competed at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval, Yakima Speedway and Hermiston’s Super Oval. There were also races in Yakima for Super Late Model (Evans finished eighth), Super Stocks and Columbia River Legends. “I plan on making all the races,” Goetz said. “I am going for the championship this year, then I am going to retire. Then I want to get my kids (ages 6 and 3) into carting.” ----- An effort to build a combination football and track facility and improve softball and baseball fields in Okanogan could become public at the next school board meeting April 30. A community group has asked to be on the agenda for the meeting, presumably for the initial presentation of a process that could lead to a bond request to pay for the improvements. Various sources tell me there is a possibility of building a football and track facility near the current softball and baseball fields behind Virginia Grainger Elementary School, 1118 S. Fifth Ave. I am all for improved facilities, and I cringe whenever a football player heads out-of-bounds on the Bulldogs’ current field, hoping they don’t hit the hard edge along the track. The only concern I’ve expressed is for parking. The school increased parking across from the gym, and it’s often full for football games, as is the regular high school lot. I also wonder about access to the area through fairly narrow, residential streets. ----- Entries are due May 7 for the Hoopin’ in the Spring basketball tournament on May 16-18 at the Nespelem Community Center, 4000 Lower Columbia River Road. There will be a men’s and a women’s open division, with up to eight players on a roster. Awards will include jackets for first place, hooded sweatshirts for second place and crewneck sweatshirts for third place. Awards will be given for most valuable player, all star and hustle. Those wishing to enter can contact Camille Pleasants at 509-633-0543. Camille and Peewee Pleasants, the Lake Roosevelt High School girls basketball coach, are also keeping busy as grandparents. Their daughter, Dominique, had a baby boy in January. Their son, Matthew, will graduate from Evergreen State College with a bachelor’s degree in June before starting fall classes for a master’s degree. He played with the semi-professional Tacoma Rise basketball team in the American Basketball Association this past season. “It was a good experience for him,” Camille Pleasants said. “I love watching him play.” ----- Not a single school mascot from our state made it to the final round of the third annual USA Today High School Sports’ Best Mascot contest. The Pateros Billygoats mascot was in the first round of voting (408 mascots nationwide), receiving six nods. The Ridgefield Spudders, one of my favorite mascots, received 29 votes. The farming community initially grew potatoes and prunes. I think we should all be glad they went with the spud mascot. The Richland Bombers, which were in the running in last year’s mascot contest, received 238 votes for their mushroom cloud and bomber logo. I did get a kick out an online typo that said much of the “petroleum” used in an atomic bomb was manufactured in the town. ----- Anna Blakley, the new president for the Boots and Saddle Barrel Racing Club, recently set a schedule. Future races include fun games and prizes May 25 and doubleheaders June 8 and 18, July 2, 16 and 30, Aug. 20 and 27, Sept. 28 and Oct. 5. The Omak arena, 421 Stampede Drive E., opens at 9:30 a.m. Sundays with time only runs at 10 a.m. and racing at noon. Wednesday races have the arena open at 5 p.m., time onlys at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. ----- There will be a benefit Indian taco feed and auctions, both silent and live, May 8 to help Wyatt Covington, Kaelyn and Krista Marchand defray the cost of attending junior high or high school rodeos. The competitors have their sights set on reaching the national finals rodeos. The junior high finals will be in Des Moines, Iowa, while the high school finals will be in Rocksprings, Wyo. The event will start at 4:30 p.m. at the Omak Community Center, 601 S. Benton St. The menu will include fry bread by Dorothy and Sue Palmer. A live auction starts at 6 p.m. An extensive auction list includes four Raptor Reef tickets, a pass for two to Silverwood and a LaserQuest family pass. ----- The Jet City Bombers roller derby team will present the third annual BomberCon on July 25-27 at The Agriplex, 175 Rodeo Trail Road, Okanogan. “Don’t miss out on the only roller derby training camp-out of its kind,” spokeswoman Ivana Hercha said. “You’ll receive two days of skating workshops and on and off-skates derby training from the Jet City Bombers, WFTDA Division 2 Champions. ----- The annual Two Rivers Spring Trout Derby at Lake Roosevelt has been postponed because of this year’s deep drawdown of Lake Roosevelt, organizer Dan Kieffer said. The event, which was scheduled for April 26-27, has been rescheduled for May 17-18. That’s when the reservoir’s water levels are expected to be on the rise, Kieffer said. Two Rivers Resort, which is on the Spokane Indian Reservation at the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers near Fort Spokane, has also scheduled other derbies – a walleye derby June 7-8, a bass derby June 14-15 and a fall derby Aug. 23-24. ----- The Oroville Booster Club will host its 22nd annual May Day 3-on-3 Basketball Classic on May 10. There is a cost, which must be received before May 5. Divisions will include men’s and women’s open plus boys and girls high school, 14-and-under and 12-and-under. Registration forms are online at www.oroville. wednet.edu under the booster club link or call 509-560-0118 for info. ----- Bridgeport baseball player Constantino Martinez (4-1) was the state’s week 30 class 2B WIAA Player of the Week. He earned the nod with two pitching victories – against Oroville and Pateros. In 12 innings, he gave up two earned runs and 17 strikeouts. He shined at the plate, too, getting 5 hits and 7 RBI. “He is a very hard-working kid,” coach Kyle Krustangel said. “(He has) 46 strikeouts in 33 innings.” ----- Fertilizer was to have been applied Monday at the Okanogan Valley Golf Club. Irrigation for fairways was to have started Tuesday, club professional Bill Sproule said. ----- The Lake Roosevelt boys basketball team will have a Free Throw-a-thon fundraiser April 28. The event will be from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Raiders’ high school gym. ----- The city of Omak will close a portion of Ash Street and Central Avenue for the Omak Battleground 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The streets will be closed from 7 p.m. June 12 to 10 p.m. June 14. Al Camp is the sports editor for The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

Events