- Written by Jeff Adamson, WSDOT
DIABLO – With the rev of some engines and the swing of the gate, State Route 20/North Cascades Highway has reopened for 2017. Opening for the upcoming summer season not only provides drivers another option to cross the Cascades but reconnects US Bike Route 10 between Skagit and Okanogan counties.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews were able to speed up the projected eight week reopening with a little help from mother nature. Spring rain helped melt some areas of snow and WSDOT crews worked long days to clear more than 45 feet of snow from below Liberty Bell Mountain and more than 20 feet in many other avalanche chute areas.
Today’s 11 a.m. opening allowed crews to do a final sweep of the highway to remove remaining debris. All travelers should be aware that this route is a scenic byway that features jagged glaciated peaks, high elevations, two lanes and sharp turns. All travelers should be prepared for quickly changing conditions and limited facilities between Diablo and Mazama.
Other SR 20 construction
Travelers heading to the North Cascades Highway from Interstate 5 should be prepared for weekday daytime work between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete. Contractor crews from Granite Construction are currently working on repairing cracks, potholes and bridge decks before resurfacing this 20 mile stretch later this summer. This work is expected to last through September.
Drivers and cyclists hoping to use SR 20 between Twisp and Omak will need to add a lengthy detour to their trip via SR 153. SR 20 west of Loup Loup Summit is closed due to washouts, mudslides and road repair work. Crews are working to repair the area, but there is currently no estimate for reopening.
How long will this stretch of highway be open?
WSDOT crews will keep the North Cascades Highway open as long as it is safe to do so. The gates will close at mileposts 134 and 171 when snow starts filling up avalanche chutes, making it unsafe for travelers and crews to be on the road. That usually happens around Thanksgiving.
- Written by Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus
Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a stage musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale most remember from the 1987 animated film, is currently being presented by Okanogan Valley Orchestra & Chorus (OVOC) with remaining shows on May 12, 13, and 14 at the Omak Performing Arts Center.
To accommodate families with young children the show times have been set earlier than usual with curtain at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Some special events have also been planned such as a costume contest.
OVOC has been producing large Broadway style musicals on the Omak stage since the Performing Arts Center was build 27 years ago. The group of dedicated artists is made up completely of community members from around the Okanogan and Chelan Valleys.
The 2017 production tells the story of Ariel, a young mermaid, who is unsatisfied with her life in the sea. Ariel longs to find adventure and love in the world above. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs including "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl," and "Part of Your World."
Emily Larsen, a senior at Pateros High School plays Ariel. Larsen is an OVOC musical veteran having participated in many productions. Ariel’s father, King Triton, is played by Zachary Van Brunt, whose first role with OVOC was in 1995 as a young revolutionary in Fiddler on the Roof. The love interest, Prince Eric, is portrayed by Derek Nansen and the evil sea witch aunt, Ursula, is performed by CaraMia Stearns Vance (Omak).
Rounding out the cast as Flounder is Hayden Swartsel (Okanogan) and Sebastian the Crab portrayed by Matthew Sonneman (Brewster).
The show is directed and designed by Judy Johnston (Brewster) and produced by James Craddock and Kim Harriman with music direction by Jonathan McBride (Chelan) and Matt Brown (Chelan).
This production takes a fresh look at the design elements of the classic tail, utilizing a steam-punk theme brought to life by costumer Susan Graves and designer Johnston. Steam punk refers to a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction and the steam-power era.
To include the audience in the steam punk fun, there will be a costume contest during the show on May 12th with prizes.
Tickets for Disney’s The Little Mermaid are $10 for children and $20 for adults. Details about the production and events as well as special group ticket pricing can be found by visiting www.ovocmusic.org.
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 04/30/17 at I:34 AM Douglas County Deputies responded to an assault complaint which occurred at the Douglas Creek camp area about 8 miles south of Hwy. 2.
It was reported that two individuals had been stabbed. They had transported themselves to the hospital, but the suspect was still at the scene.
The investigation revealed that there was a large party at the camp area and there was alcohol involved. A person at the party suspected another male party goer had inappropriately touched his wife. The person, identified as 36 year old Bobby McCurdy of Soap Lake, reportedly stabbed the other male and a second male who had tried to break up the fight.
The two injured men took a private vehicle to Confluence Hospital. One subject was treated and released for a minor stab wound. The second had to have surgery because the blade had penetrated this abdominal wall.
McCurdy was booked into the Chelan County Jail for two counts of Assault 1st degree.
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal reports, "Our fire fighters had a very busy night last evening when this residence at the 3600 Blk. of Penn in Rock Island caught fire. Fire fighters from Douglas and Chelan County are still at the scene [at the time of reporting] . Fortunately no injuries were reported. Deputies were on scene to assist if needed."
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 05/02/17 at 3:30 PM RiverCom dispatch received a report of a sex offense that had just occurred on the Bridgeport Bar approximately 5 miles north of Bridgeport.
Deputies assisted by WSP troopers, and Brewster police responded to the scene.
The suspect, 27 year old Jose F. Torres Solorzano from the Bridgeport Bar area, was located at a mobile home near the victim’s residence. Detectives interviewed the female victim who stated the suspect forcibly held her down and forced her to manipulate his genitals. He then left the residence.
The suspect was arrested and booked at the Okanogan County Jail for Forcible Indecent Liberties (RCW 9A.44.100) which is a Class A Felony.
The suspect claimed to be from California, but so far detectives have not been able to positively identify him. Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
- Written by Olivia Plew, LCCC
LAKE CHELAN, WA (April 28, 2017) — The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual awards dinner at Rancho Grande on May 4th, 2017.
Chamber members and their guests are invited to attend this Cinco de Mayo celebration! Awards include Chamber Member of the Year, Business of the Year, New Business of the Year and many others. Over 20 businesses will receive coveted awards!
Tickets are only $25 and can be purchased at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce office. Reserve tickets early, as they tend to sell out of this celebratory event!
Activities taking place:
- Mexican buffet
- Awards ceremony
- Live music
- One complementary beverage
- Full bar
- Wine pull
- Photo booth
- Written by Meagan Lott, WSDOT
EASTON – Work to repair deteriorated sections of Interstate 90 near Easton is still scheduled to take place Saturday. Next week construction-related delays continue east of Snoqualmie Pass. The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to remove and replace sections of deteriorating asphalt in the westbound lanes between Easton and the Cabin Creek area between mileposts 63 to 67. Drivers should plan for delays between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. This work is weather dependent and may need to be canceled and rescheduled.
Drivers will experience delays due to daytime rolling slowdowns and nighttime lane closures east of the Snoqualmie Pass Summit to the Price Creek area between mileposts 57 to 62. The eastbound lanes near Cle Elum between mileposts 87 to 93 will be reduced to a single lane 24 hours a day Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5.
Bridge deck repairs start in various locations on Monday, May 1 and will cause delays for drivers during the day throughout the week due to lane closures in both directions near Easton between mileposts 75 to 76 and Ellensburg between mileposts 97 to 98.
WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass:
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 04/28/17 at approximately 8:54 AM Douglas County Deputies responded to 6608 Batterman Rd. to investigate an injury traffic accident. They found a single vehicle (2015 GMC Sierra) approximately 20 feet off off the road.
Investigation revealed the vehicle appeared to be traveling towards Rock Island on Batterman Rd. It crossed the centerline, went off the road, and struck and embankment. There was a single male driver.
Deputies started CPR and deployed their department issued AED. EMS and firefighters arrived and continued rescue efforts, but the subject was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The driver was identified as 70 year old Kenneth R. Manke of East Wenatchee.
It is not known why the vehicle went off the road and the investigation is continuing.
The deceased was a loved and respected retired Wenatchee police officer. He will be missed and we send deepest condolences to his friends and family.
- Written by Mrs Vanhulle
Diane Ellen “Hopkins” George passed away on April 26th. Diane was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, January 5th 1953. Parents are Gloria Hopkins (Monroe) and Lee Hopkins (Goldbar). She was raised in Seattle, Lynnwood and Monroe. A 1971 MHS graduate. Diane married the love of her life Paul George Jr. in March 1975. They raised their two sons, Brandon and Brian in Monroe before moving to Manson.
She was a six year survivor of stage four inflammatory breast cancer, a battle she won. In February 2016, the beast returned this time in the form of incurable brain cancer. She fought long and hard. Diane loved life, family, friends and the Mariners. She was outgoing and made friends with all. Diane was a co-founder of MHS Bearcat Pride, spent many hours of volunteer work. Her employment over the years were at Renaware, Avon, First Heritage Bank, Wyatt’s Jewelers and Allison’s (Manson).
Diane leaves behind both of her parents, husband, Paul George of 42 years, son Brandon (Michelle) Bothell, first grandchild due July 2017, and son Brian (Kirkland). Sisters Donna (Brett) Thomas, Debra (Gary) Kolrud, Jeri (Tom) Gibson, Marlies (Barry) Haight, Brother Mark (Georgia) Hopkins, best friend Laurie (Rick) Aschenbrenner, childhood friend Susan Fyall along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Please join the family to visit and remember Diane on May 20th. Open house and potluck at Donna’s home, 1:00pm to 5:00pm, open mic at 3:00 to share stories. 26227 Van Brocklin Rd, Monroe WA.