Monday 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.
On 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.
WENATCHEE, 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.”
See 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.
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority has been working with the Washington State Department of Commerce in administering the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant Program. This program was announced by Governor Inslee on March 18 to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID‐19 outbreak and the response to it. Funding is being provided through the use of $5.0 million from the Governors Strategic Reserve Fund.
Grant funding up to $10,000 per business will be provided to a limited number of businesses in Washington’s 39 counties. Applicants must have been in business for at least a year and have no more than 10 full‐time employees. Grant funds can be used for operating expenses including rent, supplies/inventory, utility bills, consulting, marketing, and training. Payroll cannot be reimbursed as part of the grant program.
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority accepted and processed applications on behalf of the Department of Commerce. The Governor’s Office will make the final small business selections. The Regional Port was flooded with applications once the Department of Commerce website went live on April 7th.
To date, the Regional Port has received over 800 applications from small businesses in Chelan and Douglas Counties with grant requests exceeding $8.0 million. The Regional Port estimates $173,000 will be available for the two county area from the Governors Strategic Reserve Fund. With so many applications and very little money, the Regional Port has requested the maximum grant amount for Chelan and Douglas County small businesses be placed at $5,000 per business. This way more deserving businesses will receive some funding instead of none at all. Grants will be made available to approximately 34 businesses in lieu of 17. Grant award announcements are expected within the next three to four weeks.
The State also requested the Regional Port submit applications for “Aspirational State Funding” in case additional state and/or federal funds could be secured for the program. That amount for the two county region is estimated at $674,000.
Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Board of Directors President Rory Turner said, “the demand for small business grants in our region has been overwhelming. The board of directors have asked our administrative team to look at other opportunities to secure funding for our impacted small businesses.”
The Regional Port is currently working with several local governmental agencies to determine if Community Development Block Grant funding can be used to assist small businesses impacted by COVID‐19.
On 4-16-2020 at approximately 7:07 PM, Douglas County Deputies responded to assist with a commercial structure fire located in the 100 block of W. Locust Street, Waterville.
Douglas County Fire District #1 personnel were on-scene of the fire, which was reported as being fully involved upon arrival.
Fire District #1 personnel requested a second-alarm fire response which provided additional fire resources from both neighboring Chelan and Douglas County Fire Districts.
Washington State Patrol Troopers also responded to the scene and assisted with traffic control.
During the course of the fire containment, deputies learned one of the subjects reported to be at the location, prior to the start of the fire, is currently unaccounted for.
Douglas County Detectives are currently assisting the Douglas County Fire Marshal with the investigation of the fire and are working to locate the unaccounted subject.
Due to the compromised integrity of the building, US 2 will remain closed past the fire scene and WSDOT has established a detour route for motorists traveling through the Waterville area.
Effective April 14 2020, the Douglas County Commissioners are limiting the use of Short Term or Vacation Rentals and recreational vehicles until May 4, 2020 or until the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is lifted.
The Douglas County Commissioners find that people coming to Douglas County for recreational purposes avoiding the COVID-19 emergency directive and recommendations in other communities are negatively impacting the public health, safety, and welfare in Douglas County. Additionally, these actions are negligent in complying with Governor Inslee’s Proclamations 20-25 and 20-25.1 by not staying home. An influx of people living in recreational and other vehicles, as well as short term and vacation rentals, creates traffic, sanitation hazards, trespass, and other public safety problems further exhausting law enforcement and first responder resources.
The Douglas County Commissioners are directing all use of recreational vehicles for camping, sleeping or occupancy to cease unless occurring on owner’s own property. Furthermore, all short term/vacation rentals are hereby directed to close, whether compensated or not.
The Douglas County Commissioners are committed to the health and safety of their community and as such strive to ensure the continued operability of all emergency services. The Board believes that limiting the influx of visitor during this emergency will help reduce the strain on community resources and protect Douglas County.
Spring is a great time to get work done around your property, including wildfire preparedness. Consider using our spring chipping program instead of burning debris piles.
Burning your piles can lead to air quality issues and is a safety concern if fires were to get out of control.
Registration is open for our chipping program until May 1 here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GKTNND9.
Chipping will take place in late May. You don’t need to leave your property, just stack your branches on the street or driveway and our contract chipping crew will take care of it!
Resolution 2020-42 has been signed by the Board of Chelan County Commissioners. This latest resolution will allow pre-existing home sales to continue.
The Chelan County Board of Commissioners have released a new resolution in response to questions from citizens who stated they were not clear about declarations stated in Resolution 2020-38.