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

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. 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

Goetz speeds to win

Racer wins Apple Cup in Yakima

What do Derrike Cope, Garrett Evans, Greg Biffle and Bryon Goetz have in common? The three NASCAR drivers and Goetz each earned victories in Apple Cup races at Yakima Speedway. Goetz, 32, of Okanogan, picked up a gigantic victory April 13, winning the 48th annual West Coast Street Stocks main event and taking the points lead after one race in the series this season. “I’ve never won a race in Yakima, but I have had four seconds,” Goetz said. “It was a long time coming and luck finally came my way. Last main I won was in Wenatchee in 2009.” Goetz started seventh, but did not stay there long. He quickly passed the leaders, making moves inside and outside. “I had at least a quarter- to half-lap lead on the field,” said Goetz, who led 30 of the 40 laps. Since the race is short on the half-mile track, there are no pit stops for fuel. His father, Dave, 58, sets up the car. “It takes a lot of creative work to make a street stock car fast. There’s not as much adjustability on them,” the elder Goetz said of working on suspension, brakes, transmission and body. “I enjoy that very much, the competition to make the car for Byron to drive to win.” “We usually finish in the Top 3 in races we go to,” Dave Goetz said. “This is a big win for us.” The elder Goetz competed from 1979 to 1990 in late model cars on various tracks, including Republic. “I’m too old and slow to race now,” he said. “I would not win a race. I would just be out there going in circles.” Dave Goetz and Bryan Smith work the pits for the younger Goetz, who pilots a 1985 Camaro. The 3,100-pound, red beast puts out about 500 horsepower (uses a bored out 350-cubic-inch engine) and reaches about 106 mph on the straights. “The motor is really good,” Goetz said. “Most (of racing) is corner speed. The sooner you can get on the gas the better. Corner speed is the key to winning a race.” This was the first victory in the Camaro, which he’s run for three years. “I got a second in Yakima and a second at Spokane Raceway Park” with the Camaro, he said. Bryon Goetz, a 2000 Okanogan High School graduate, has been racing 17 years. The last five years he’s been in the 8-race series, which includes races in Wenatchee, Stateline, Idaho, Ephrata, Evergreen, Hermiston, Ore., and South Sound in Tenino. Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at

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.

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.

Kraske speeds in 400

Omak hurdler sets stadium record

Rachael Kraske of Omak appears to be on course to reach the national track and field champ-ionship later this summer after setting a stadium record in the 400-meter hurdles Saturday in Forest Grove, Ore. Kraske, who competes for George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., won the hurdles in one minute, 1.83 seconds, breaking the Pacific University stadium record of 1:01.88 set in 2009. Her time improved her to top standing in the conference and third-place standing on the all-time Bruin list and moved into second in the nation. Her time was .08 second faster than her previous best, 1:01.96 that qualified her for nationals last year. Kraske also won the 100-meters (12.38; PR), improving her conference-leading time and fifth-place standing at George Fox while moving into 21st in D-III. In the 200 meter dash, she placed second with a 25.82, but already leads the NWC and is seventh nationally with a previous 25.60. uuuuu The American Bulldog, Okanogan’s Lee Morrison, lost to Marat Gafurove of Russia in a feather-weight (145 pounds) championship mixed martial arts fight April 4 in Orenburg, Russia. Morrison (13-4-0) lost a five-round decision to Gafurove (9-0-0) in a M-1 Global Championship main event of a mixed martial arts battle. Morrison has won four of his bouts by knockout and four by submission. Gafurove of Dagestan, Russia, defended his title for the second time. He’s had one knockout and five submissions. He is a jiu-jitsu specialist, who originally captured the crown in 2013. After a couple of years trying to make a step up to the next level, 2013 was finally the year that featherweight Lee “American Bulldog” Morrison made that transition. “It went really well with two wins over two great opponents,” said Morrison in an M-1 online article. “One was Julian Erosa in CageSport and the other was Mikail Malyutin over in M-1 Global for my debut. Both are big wins and I’m glad to have them behind me and my confidence high for the next one.” uuuuu Matt Koenigs, the director of athletics and head coach for cross country/track and field at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, sent an email Monday about his move there. Plus, Trinity was accepted Sunday for membership to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). “It’s an exciting time for us at Trinity,” said Koenigs. “We draw quite a few student-athletes from your area.” See Sidelines B10

Some fish missed

Flippers available at Buzzard Lake

I just completed writing this year’s Fishrapper, the annual fishing prospect magazine that will appear in The Chronicle’s Wednesday edition.

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.

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.

April 16, 2014- Letters to the Editor

Concrete park sought for Omak

An ambitious fundraiser will try to raise enough money for a permanent skate park in Omak’s East Side Park.

Sadie speeds to title

Gebbers installed in Hall of Fame

Sadie Bjornsen of Mazama wrapped up her cross country ski season in a big way last week.

Reflecting on the North Cascades Highway

Longtime resident remembers first days of the route

There is something exciting about seeing something being built. Take, for example, the North Cascades Highway.

Search for CEO should restart

Three Rivers needs to heed red flags at Coulee Medical Center

The firestorm at Coulee Medical Center should’ve sent red-flag warnings to hospital officials in Brewster.

Enjoy spring break with your kids

With all the things going on in the world — wars, politics, business, etc. — spring break offers me a much-needed respite.

We need a fair tax code

Guest Column by Doc Hastings

As tax day nears on April 15, we’re reminded of the tremendous impact decisions made in Washington, D.C., have here on families, farmers, and businesses.

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