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Life decision means moving on

Rumors, rumors, rumors. For several months now, I’ve heard rumors of my own departure. Well, today’s the day I validate at least some of what you may have heard on the street

September 30, 2015 midnight read more..
 

State grants funding a shell game

Given Olympia’s three-session budgeting fiasco this year, lawmakers should reconsider handing the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board millions of dollars to give away. Most of that money would be better left in the pockets of taxpayers, rather than unwittingly gambling on another shell game with little or no real public benefit.

July 22, 2015 midnight read more..


Phoenix symbolism fits Pateros

Take time Saturday to head to Pateros to help the community celebrate its rebirth. Take time to learn what it means to be “Pateros Strong.”

July 15, 2015 midnight read more..
  

Sometimes, maps are preferable

New GPS systems in cars, tablets and smartphones are not as user-friendly as I had hoped. So, sometimes, its better to just use an old-fashioned map.

June 24, 2015 midnight read more..


Money talks in grizzly bear plan

Decisions about introducing predators into our area should be made locally, not by federal bureaucrats looking to pad their pockets and create legacies.

June 17, 2015 8 a.m. read more..


Reconsider Three Devils decision

Okanogan County commissioners would be remiss if they don’t take another look at the procedural errors and reconsider their decision to vacate Three Devils Road.

June 10, 2015 8 a.m. read more..


Open gates to Dead Horse Cliff

A local history buff wants to make yet another trip to Dead Horse Cliff, but is literally running into a roadblock, again. The information that can be found at Dead Horse Cliff is a significant part of local heritage and history. And an employee who is paid by tax dollars shouldn’t be standing in the way of learning more about our history.

June 3, 2015 8 a.m. read more..


Plan to attend forest session

Plan to be present to voice your concerns and offer your insights June 11 when federal employees come to listen to ideas on managing Pacific Northwest forests

May 27, 2015 midnight read more..


Dont' sequester Wolf Advisory Group

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife's new human-wildlife conflict collaboration executive director, Francine Madden, plans to begin her new management position by sequestering the public board established specifically to be a liaison on wolf-related issues. Since she's unilaterally throwing out the rules established for the board, the state should rescind any job offer and find someone willing to truly collaborate with rural residents facing wolf-related issues.

May 20, 2015 midnight read more..


Thumbs up for bicycle crackdown

As more and more Okanogan County communities welcome ATVs into town, the potential for frustration between those riders and cyclists and drivers will grow. Cyclists have to learn to share the road with other ATV riders, and vice versa.

May 13, 2015 midnight read more..


State's drought is a natural cycle

Enough with falsely claiming specifically that this year’s Washington state drought — the third in less than 100 years — is the result of how we live, what we drive and where we work..

April 22, 2015 midnight read more..
 

Opening government takes effort

This past weekend, I was honored, and humbled, to be one of the speakers at the state Open Government Conference in Tacoma. And while we do our part here at The Chronicle to ensure government meetings and records are open to the general public, I was thoroughly impressed by the efforts of others around our state.

March 18, 2015 midnight read more..


Minimum wage bill will hurt area

If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, it’ll drive inflation and shatter many rural residents’ ability to grow economically and socially.

March 11, 2015 midnight read more..


We don't need Homeland Security

We need to rethink the Department of Homeland Security's creation, divest much of the power it has usurped and give autonomy back to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency and others. While we’re at it, disband the TSA.

March 4, 2015 midnight read more..
   

Land transfer a winning formula

Last week, three bills — two in the House and a companion in the Senate — were filed calling for the study and possible transfer of publicly owned lands managed by the federal government. In short, a handful of senators and a number of Republicans and Democrats in the House want the state to manage the more than 12.17 million acres of land currently under the control of federal bureaucrats.

January 28, 2015 midnight read more..


Committee looking into land buys

In the wake of the Carlton Complex wildfires this summer, the Legislature is taking a hard look at state agency land ownership and management practices.

January 21, 2015 midnight read more..
 

Rule change would affect rite of passage

This coming weekend, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to change the sportfishing rules. In short, the new rules will close all of the Columbia River, its tributaries and beaver ponds to fishing “unless otherwise open.” That’s a reversal of tradition.

January 7, 2015 midnight read more..


Rock'n'roll may have a place here

With all the cowboy and country persona emphasized here, it sometimes feels like I’m the only one in the area who listens to hard-rock music. But there are several local hard-rock musicians making a name for themselves elsewhere

December 31, 2014 midnight read more..


Dear Santa, will you please leave...

It’s usually easy for me to ask for a few well-deserved gifts. But given the destruction caused by this year’s Carlton Complex wildfire, there are so many things that area residents deserve — and need — that I can’t possibly ask for enough. But I’ll start with a few common-sense requests.

December 24, 2014 midnight read more..


Reopen 36-mile stretch of river

Residents of our state did not cede the right to access and enjoyment of public waterways to utilities operating dams on the Columbia or other rivers. But Grant County Public Utility District officials would have you believe they are the sole arbiters of who gets to fish, boat and access a 36-mile stretch of the Columbia River from Wanapum Dam to Rock Island Dam. They are not.

December 17, 2014 midnight read more..


Road block to established access

Forest Service Road No. 30 is an example of access issues facing those of us who enjoy recreating on publicly owned lands managed by a government agency. It makes you wonder how many public roads with prescriptive rights are now off limits, locked behind a government gate.

December 10, 2014 midnight read more..
 

Focus funding on our agriculture

In the wake of the Carlton Complex wildfires, you’d think the only industry here in Okanogan County is tourism. It’s a narrative a self-serving group of state agencies want you and the world to believe.

November 26, 2014 midnight read more..


Philae gave me reason to believe

I’m usually not much of a movie-goer. And I certainly don’t plan to sit around and watch TV when there is life to live and work to be done. But then there are times I can be such a geek. I can sit motionless in front of the big screen or the TV. And on occasion, I can even tune out my favorite hard-rock songs and tune into “Coast to Coast.” Last week was one of those weeks.

November 19, 2014 midnight read more..


Large ‘habitat’ buy raises concern

I’ve often voiced my concern over state agencies continuing to buy land in the name of habitat protection. But rural residents should also be aware of the economic pitfalls that will follow large acquisitions by environmental groups.

November 12, 2014 midnight read more..


Student election results intriguing

Last Friday, students statewide had an opportunity to participate in a mock election that included the same measures and congressional candidates as on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

November 5, 2014 midnight read more..


Ratepayers deserve a break

In the short six year’s I’ve been living here in Okanogan County, I’ve seen power rates increase, and then increase again. Now, it looks as though the Okanogan County Utility District wants me to dip into my wallet further.

October 29, 2014 midnight read more..


Agency spin not helping economy

Last week, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife hosted a local meeting on its “tourism” effort. Interestingly, the effort looked more like an effort to sell a political agenda than it did a concerted tourism plan.

October 15, 2014 midnight read more..


State moving to close Columbia

During the last two months, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has been flying a fishing proposal for the Columbia River under the radar. That proposal would reverse the way fisheries are managed on the Columbia River, its tributaries and their beaver ponds.

October 1, 2014 midnight read more..


GPS data may resolve wolf issues

Just when you thought the intense discussion over the re-introduction of wolves in Washington state was quieting down, livestock deaths in Stevens County has added fuel to the fire. And the Stevens County Commission has stepped to the forefront of the debate.

September 24, 2014 midnight read more..


Attend Oct. 1 fish, wildlife session

It’s that time again when you have an opportunity to make sure the “top brass” at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife hear you. The annual Brewster Roundtable is coming up Oct. 1. It’ll run from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Columbia Cove recreation building, 508 W. Cliff Ave., Brewster.

September 17, 2014 midnight read more..


Social media the bane of parenting

Many middle and high school students today consider it a rite of passage to have a Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Skype, MySpace, Twitter or other social media account. My own daughter believes all the “cool” kids have one.

September 10, 2014 midnight read more..
  

Say 'thank you' through advertising

In the days since the height of the wildfires, we’ve had a few requests from readers to publish thank yous to friends, neighbors, volunteers, firefighters, etc.

August 13, 2014 midnight read more..


Pateros shows strength, resiliency

The night was Thursday, July 17. A firestorm was coming, but Pateros residents didn’t know it until it was too late. Before the night was over, about 30 homes in the city and adjacent subdivisions would burn to the ground. Later that night and in the coming days, another 41 homes would burn at Alta Lake and other communities that consider themselves to be part of Pateros.

July 30, 2014 midnight read more..


Inept state response propels fire

Okanogan County Commissioners Jim DeTro, Ray Campbell and Sheilah Kennedy didn’t mince words when they laid the blame for the catastrophic fires squarely on state government.

July 23, 2014 midnight read more..
 

Be a part of the editorial process

In the past, our editorial board for endorsements has consisted mostly of Chronicle staff. This year, we’d like to try something a little different. I’d like to alter the composition to include more community members.

July 9, 2014 midnight read more..
 

Allow ATVs on more roads

Okanogan County commissioners Ray Campbell, Sheila Kennedy and Jim DeTro heard from the public, tribal officials and so-called environmentalist groups Monday on plans to open more roads for ATV use.

June 18, 2014 midnight read more..
 

Wishing everyone Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas. There, I said it. I didn’t wish you happy holidays or a joyful Kwanzaa. I wished you a Merry Christmas. After all, the holiday predominately celebrated in North America and Europe this time of year is just that, Christmas.

December 25, 2013 midnight read more..


Bringing Santa to town closes gap

Last week, I had the opportunity to help Santa Claus navigate the streets of Omak and Okanogan as he brought Christmas cheer to area children and collected donations for area food banks.

December 18, 2013 midnight read more..


You can make Christmas merrier

It’s that time of year again, when we shop for presents, load up the refrigerator and put up Christmas trees. We go to church, proclaim our good will toward each other and wish everybody we meet a Merry Christmas.

December 11, 2013 midnight read more..


Letter illustrates deceitful tactics

My how time flies, at least within the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. In the last few weeks, we’ve reported on the Haeberle family’s dismay at the agency’s attempt to use their ranch to boost Fish and Wildlife’s land acquisition efforts.

December 4, 2013 midnight read more..


‘Catching Fire’ reflects our excesses

More than a year ago, I stood in a long line to see “The Hunger Games” on opening night. This past weekend, I was surprised to be one of very few people arriving early to see “Catching Fire,” the next installment of the series written by Suzanne Collins.

November 27, 2013 midnight read more..


Photos tell more than you know

Are you one of those people who takes selfies and posts them to your Web page or Facebook? Do you use your cellphone to photograph your children and upload images for friends, family and others to see?

November 20, 2013 midnight read more..


Deceased’s story isn’t easy to tell

Covering death in small communities such as ours isn’t an easy thing for any journalist to do. As reporters, editors and photographers, our job is to lay out the facts of tragic events for you, the reader, to get the big picture. At the same time, we need to be sensitive to the family and friends of those who die.

November 13, 2013 midnight read more..


Health Plan Finder failing epically

Like many people around the country, I’ve been following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. And since we live in an arguably economically depressed area of the country, I specifically am interested in finding out how many of my friends and neighbors were benefitting from a program that supposedly would give many health care for the first time.

November 6, 2013 midnight read more..


Board changes should be normal

In case you haven’t heard, three members of the Omak Stampede’s governing board have stepped down, trading their directorships spurs for the “honorary” board.

October 30, 2013 midnight read more..
   

Chronicle Website updates loom

All businesses must change with the times. And The Chronicle is no exception. Don’t panic. You’re still going to get the award-winning local news coverage, photographs and local advertising that you’re accustomed to. And no, our print edition is not going away anytime soon.

September 25, 2013 midnight read more..


Tell wildlife officials how you feel

Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials’ ears must be burning. Many area residents are talking about catching them in the act of trying to change wolf-kill rules in violation of an agreement made to pass a law giving the agency more money through license plate sales.

September 18, 2013 midnight read more..
 

Go get a dictionary and look it up

I’m not squeeing much this week after checking out the new words recently added to the dictionary. Oh, you’ve never heard of “squee”? That’s because it’s one of those new buzzworthy words in the Oxford Dictionaries, srsly.

September 4, 2013 4:48 p.m. read more..
  

Keep forest roads open, repaired

Nothing irks me more than heading out into the mountains in my four-wheel drive on what was once a wagon trail or logging road only to run into a berm blocking access.

August 14, 2013 midnight read more..
 

Chairman change may open door

Kirby Wilbur. He’s somebody you may or may not have heard of. But in recent years, he’s influenced the rural voice of Eastern Washington, even though he didn’t live here.

July 31, 2013 midnight read more..
  

New ATV law means opportunity

A new state law will give those of us who live in The Okanogan a much needed boost — both in terms of the economy and accessibility to services.

July 10, 2013 midnight read more..
  

Don’t mandate community service

The 7th Legislative District Senate debate Monday night shed some light on a hot-button issue that’s sure to come up again. The issue is whether state law should be enacted to require volunteer service for high school students to graduate. Candidate Sen. John Smith said he supports the idea; challengers Mike Brunson and Brian Dansel both opposed it. Smith said mandating community service teaches leadership. He has a point. You don’t have to go very far in our neck of the woods to see who the movers and shakers are. In fact, it’s likely they are volunteering on a number of boards from chambers to rodeos to booster clubs; you get the picture. Dansel and Brunson said schools are in place to teach academics, not how to act as a member of society. They have a point, too. How can you mandate community service, something that is supposed to be voluntarily given? I’ll side with Dansel and Brunson on this issue. Coercing our youth to give s0-called “freely” of their time cannot guarantee leadership. In fact, that’s just the opposite. Leadership stems from making a decision, not being told what to do. If we want our youth to grow and develop, we definitely should encourage them to volunteer in activities they believe in, not order them to “volunteer” in activities and social programs we believe in. The bottom line is public schools were created for one single purpose — to educate students on reading, writing, mathematics and other academic subjects. In supporting that effort, shouldn’t our students choose where to spend their time and effort? Nothing irks me more than seeing parents use children to further political causes they do not understand. Mandating community service can devolve to just that. Given a chance, our high school students will find a way to make our communities a better place to live. But it only becomes better if they choose to do something. Indeed, several students already choose to make their hometowns better. Look at the ranks of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, etc. and you’ll see they have chosen to join a group that emphasizes volunteerism and helping others. And yes, there are also many students who choose not to be a part of those groups. But having choices is a fundamental building block of American society. Forcing youth into community service is counter-productive to making our communities better and building leadership. Rather than thinking about how to make our communities better, this type of coercion leads to “How can I fulfill another graduation requirement?” I’d rather reward students for taking initiative, than coerce them into helping out a teacher’s or parent’s pet project. Roger Harnack is the editor and publisher of The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via email at rharnack@omakchronicle.com.

June 19, 2013 midnight read more..
  

Time for FCC censorship to end

I spend a lot of my time in my truck driving to remote locations in our county, racing in out-of-state locales and just traveling to travel. Because of that wanderlust, I tend to listen to radio probably more than most people. So, I have an XFM subscription.

May 29, 2013 midnight read more..


Memorial Day more than time off

This coming week, flags will be flying as Americans remember their war dead. But all too often, Memorial Day devolves into a weekend celebration of camping and fishing, boating and drinking.

May 22, 2013 midnight read more..


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