Below are links to letters addressed to Governor Jay Inslee's office regarding moving forward with a partial or full implementation of the Phase II plan for opening the economy in Chelan and Douglas counties.

In the Chelan-Douglas COVID-19 Modified Phase II Proposal, a lengthy case is laid out describing current levels of readiness in the health system and willingness of local businesses to carefully open with safety as a major concern.

Chelan-Douglas COVID-19 Modified Phase II Proposal

The Chelan County Commissioners have also made a similar request:

Letter from Chelan County Board of Commissioners

buckner aug 2020

douglas county logoIn February 2020, Douglas County Solid Waste began the long process of inventorying and remediating homeless encampments and illegal dumps along the Douglas County portion of the Apple Capital Loop Trail.  The initial stages of this undertaking included identifying established camps, performing cursory assessments of the contents, and distinguishing between active and abandoned sites. 

On April 21, 2020 Douglas County Solid Waste began the second phase of this process involved physical cleanup and mitigation of the sites.  Ten individual abandoned sites were able to be cleared up with extensive help from the Eastmont Metro Park Department (EMPD).  Douglas County Solid Waste and EMPD were able to remove the following from the areas surrounding the trail:

  • 90 bags of garbage
  • 75 sleeping bags
  • 10 pounds of scrap metal
  • 12 needles
  • Large amount of wire, include razor wire
  • 3 drug pipes
  • 9 buckets
  • Multiple knives
  • 1 machete
  • 1 shopping cart

1,840 total pounds of garbage were taken to the landfill.  The amount of waste located at the sites was staggering and the proximity to the Columbia River makes these sites particularly concerning to the environmental safety of our waterways and wildlife.  During the cleanup, two new large sites were located.

Douglas County Solid Waste has been awarded an additional $45,000 from the Local Solid Waste Financial Assistance Grant to aid in continued remediation efforts.  These funds will be used to ensure that waste can be removed from these sensitive areas surrounding our ecological and recreational areas.

The attached photographs illustrate the significant progress made in this initial cycle of mitigation.  We are grateful for the improvement made thus far and are looking forward to the difference that future efforts can make as we work toward keeping our community safe.

stay 5 6 20

Read the document here

colville 12 tribes logoAfter announcing an initial reopening date for May 5, 2020, the Colville Business Council and the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation (CTFC) approved extending the reopening date.

OMAK, WASH. May 4, 2020— The Colville Business Council and the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation (CTFC) Board of Directors approved an extended reopening date of Tuesday, May 19, 2020 for all three 12 Tribes Colville Casinos properties.

“We want to be the right place, for the right time,” said CTFC Chief Executive Officer, Kary Nichols “Our number one priority has always been the health and safety of our team members, valued guests, and communities.

All 12 Tribes Colville Casinos properties, 12 Tribes Resort Casino in Omak, 12 Tribes Mill Bay Casino in Manson, and 12 Tribes Coulee Dam Casino in Coulee Dam, put into place specific health and wellness measures to prepare a safe place for reopening. Some of those measures include;
• Daily hours of operation at all three properties will be 8AM-2AM
• All three properties will be deep cleaned nightly, 2AM – 8AM, and throughout operating hours
• All players are voluntarily visiting the property at their own risk and will be required to sign a waiver along with signing up for a Player’s Advantage Club Card (if they do not already have one)
• Masks, gloves, and sanitizer will be supplied, but patrons are encouraged to bring their own masks as there will be a limited supply available
• Temperatures will be taken prior to entering each property. Any person displaying a cough, shortness of breath, or other known symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature above 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit will be asked to visit another time
• Patrons and staff will be given placards to promote social distancing at gaming machines
• Plexiglas has been installed in key locations across each property for patron and employee safety
• Food and Beverage venues will follow strict social distancing guidelines
• The hotel at 12 Tribes Resort Casino will open, while valet, the pool, hot tub, fitness center, and Renew Spa will remain closed until further notice
• Table games at 12 Tribes Resort Casino and Mill Bay Casino, Camas Restaurant at 12 Tribes Resort Casino, and Crosswinds Restaurant will remain closed during the initial reopening
• All entertainment events have been postponed, all 2020 Deep Water concerts have been
canceled
• Team members will have extensive training on company policies and proper health protocols upon returning to work and will be required to wear masks until further notice

“We are excited to welcome everyone back when we are absolutely certain it is safe,” said Nichols.

12 Tribes Colville Casinos closed on March 17, 2020, six days before Washington State announced12 Tribes Colville Casinos closed on March 17, 2020, six days before Washington State announcedthe, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order.

More information regarding reopening plans will be made available on 12 Tribes Colville Casino’sMore information regarding reopening plans will be made available on 12 Tribes Colville Casino’swebsite at www.colvillecasinos.com/covid-19-prevention.

colville 12 tribes logoOMAK, WASH. April 30, 2020— The Colville Business Council and the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation (CTFC) Board of Directors approved a re-opening date for all three 12 Tribes Colville Casinos properties of Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

“We will continue to keep our top priority the health, safety, and well-being of our team members, valued guests, and communities,” said CTFC Chief Executive Officer, Kary Nichols. “Throughout this pandemic, we have relied on facts to help guide our decisions.”

Each 12 Tribes Colville Casinos property, 12 Tribes Resort Casino in Omak, 12 Tribes Mill Bay Casino in Manson, and 12 Tribes Coulee Dam Casino in Coulee Dam, will start with a soft opening, with the following measures in place to ensure the health and safety of team members and guests;

• Daily hours of operation at all three properties will be 8AM-2AM

• All three properties will be deep cleaned nightly and throughout the day

• All players are voluntarily visiting the property at their own risk and will be required to sign a waiver along with signing up for a Player’s Advantage Club Card (if they do not already have one)

• Masks, gloves, and sanitizer will be supplied but patrons are encouraged to bring their own masks as there will be a limited supply available

• Temperatures will be taken prior to entering each property. Any person displaying a cough, shortness of breath, or other known symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature above 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit will be asked to visit another time

• Patrons and staff will be given placards to promote social distancing at gaming machines

• Plexiglas has been installed in key locations across each property for patrons and employee safety

• Food and beverage venues will follow strict social distancing guidelines

• The hotel at 12 Tribes Resort Casino will open, while valet, the pool, hot tub, workout room, and Renew Spa will remain closed until further notice

• Table games at 12 Tribes Resort Casino and Mill Bay Casino, Camas Restaurant at 12 Tribes Resort Casino, and Crosswinds Restaurant will remain closed during the initial re-opening• All entertainment events have been postponed, all 2020 Deep Water concerts have been canceled

• Team members will have extensive training on company policies and proper health protocols upon returning to work and will be required to wear mask until further notice.

“Our casinos are an essential tribal operation that helps support important government essential services,” said Colville Tribal Federal Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Kary Nichols. “This has been an impactful, but necessary closure that has affected our tribe, patrons, and team members, and we look forward to safely welcoming everyone back.”

12 Tribes Colville Casinos closed on March 17, 2020, six days before Washington State announced the, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order.

More information regarding re-opening plans will be made available on 12 Tribes Colville Casino’s website at www.colvillecasinos.com/covid-19-prevention.

microloan post 02

HDCA logo 2020Monday April 27, 2020 CHELAN — The COVID-19 pandemic has created extremely difficult circumstances for small businesses in our community. In response to the financial hardship the pandemic has put on local small businesses, the Historic Downtown Chelan Association (HDCA) will launch a micro-loan program for qualified applicants starting May 1, 2020.

"This micro-loan program is a way for the HDCA to put needed resources into the hands of our local downtown businesses quickly and with a minimum of red tape." says Erin McCardle, Executive Director of the HDCA.

Loans of up to $5,000 will be available and must be repaid over a period of three years at a rate of 2%; payments deferred for the first 6 months and no interest for the first 12 months. The loans are first come first serve for qualified applicants and total program funding will cap at $100,000.

The application period will open May 1, 2020 and will close May 7, 2020. Priority will be given to eligible applicants who are physically located within the Historic Downtown Chelan boundary as defined in the HDCA bylaws and all applicants must have been members by December 31, 2019 (this requirement is waived for businesses that began operations on or after January 1, 2020). All applicants must have their 2020 HDCA membership in good standing by the time of application.

The HDCA micro-loans will be serviced by HDCA community partner, North Cascades Bank. Bank President, Charlie Guildner says, “At North Cascades Bank, we believe a vibrant downtown benefits the whole Lake Chelan community, which is why we are proud to be providing support for the HDCA micro-loan program.”

Please check the Historic Downtown Chelan Association website for qualification details and to download a copy of the application and instructions. https://www.historicchelan.org/microloan/

The Historic Downtown Chelan Association is a local non-profit working to shape the future while preserving the past of historic downtown Chelan.

dougcountysherlogoOn April 19, 2020 at about 2:13 PM, Douglas County Deputies were dispatched to a report of human remains found by an individual picking asparagus.

The remains were located in the trees and brush on the hillside, in the 2700 block of Tacoma Avenue, Bridgeport. The scene was investigated and the remains were removed.

Although confirmation cannot be made as to the identity of the remains until further DNA testing, Investigators believe this to be Roy L. Groeneveld. Mr. Groeneveld was reported missing from a nearby residence in 2010 and never located.

stemilt logoWENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt Ag Services (SAS) received COVID-19 results late yesterday after coordinating with Confluence Health to proactively test 71 asymptomatic team members at an isolated East Wenatchee site over the weekend. Thirty-six individuals tested positive for COVID-19. The group is in isolation, and SAS continues to follow Chelan-Douglas County Health District protocols for confirmed cases. This was the first widescale testing done in Chelan and Douglas County on asymptomatic agriculture workers.

“Our essential business of growing fruit to feed people would not be possible without our frontline team members,” said West Mathison, Stemilt president. “We are doing all that we can to ensure our team members are well-cared for while in isolation.”

Dr. Joel Banken, who oversees the Confluence Health operated Stemilt Family Clinic in Wenatchee visited with the SAS team members at the isolation site on Tuesday. He provided them with clinic information and pamphlets on the virus.

“Everyone was in good spirits,” said Banken. “It’s great that this family medicine clinic exists and will continue to be available to serve employees.”

Stemilt has proactively followed Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for spacing, hygiene, and social distancing in its work processes.

Local public health officials and health care organizations are fully involved with these positive cases, and able to support individuals if needed. Stemilt, in collaboration with Confluence Health, will monitor each team member daily and is working on a protocol to re-test the individuals who tested negative this week while they quarantine.

“Stemilt has actively implemented social distancing, symptom monitoring and other recommended COVID control measures at its work and housing sites,” said Barry Kling, administrator at Chelan-Douglas Health District. “What these test results tell us is that asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are so common that these measures are not sufficient in these settings even when implemented well. That means we need to think differently. Social distancing measures should be maintained at farmworker sites and housing, but we also need to greatly increase testing of workers so that isolation and quarantine can be used when needed, and uninfected workers can continue to work. We must assure that agriculture workers who are sick get the care they need. Public Health will be working with the ag industry to make this happen. We are fortunate that local health care organizations such as Confluence and Columbia Valley Community Health are also ready to play an important part in this effort to protect workers -- and to protect a truly essential local industry.”

dougcountysherlogoSee our previous story: Missing person sought after major structure fire

On 4/21/2020, a Unified Command Team was established to help coordinate fire investigation efforts. Members of this team included the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Fire Marshal, Douglas County Coroner, Douglas County Fire District #1, and the Town of Waterville. Due to the size of the scene, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue was contacted for the assistance of their cadaver-trained detection K-9. The K-9 identified areas within the fire scene to help guide investigators to check for the unaccounted person. Due to the amount and size of the debris, heavy equipment had to be mobilized to the scene to assist with further search efforts.

On 4/22/2020, Douglas County Detectives, Coroner, and Fire Marshal re-entered the fire scene to conduct a search for the unaccounted subject and attempt to determine the cause of the fire. As a result of the search and the assistance of the heavy equipment, one deceased subject was located within the debris. The subject located has not yet been positively identified, but is believed to be the property owner, 87-year-old Waterville resident Ray D. Kope. The Douglas County Coroner will work to confirm the identity. The Douglas County Fire Marshal has concluded his investigation work at the scene and determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.