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Body of drowning victim found in the Columbia River
A body, believed to be that of 45-year old Jorge Anaya Rodriguez, was located the evening of July 17 in the Columbia River near Wenatchee. Friends and family members of Rodriguez called RiverCom dispatch at 8:51 p.m. to advise they had located the body in the river just south of the Apple Yard area, south of the George Sellar Bridge. The body was retrieved from the river by 9:25 p.m. and is with the Chelan County Coroner's Office. The family of Rodriguez said they had been doing regular checks of the river by boat since he went missing on the afternoon of July 11, after jumping into the water from a boat to go swimming. The Chelan County Sheriff's Office spent several days last week looking for Rodriguez's body using a boat, helicopter, underwater camera system, and rescue swimmers. Rodriguez had last been seen struggling in the water just south of the Confluence Wildlife Reserve.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 More...

Coyote Offroad plans two-day dual sport motorcycle ride in October

The Peshastin Mill property could be a check point for 200 dual sport motorcycle riders participating in a first-time event sponsored by Coyote Offroad LLC in October.

The company, which has shops in Snohomish and Cashmere, specializes in taking offroad motorcycles and making them street legal, a conversion and inspection process that has been allowed by law for the past four years.

"That's what we do. We're kind of at the forefront of that," Coyote Offroad partner Jerod Kitchel told the Port of Chelan Commissioners at the June 26 meeting.

Coyote Offroad is gearing up to test a business expansion idea that includes organizing dual sport motorcycle rides, multi-day events of 80 to 100 miles a day.

"We've done a couple guided rides with small groups on private land or forest service land. Now we're looking to take this on a bigger scale, using a central location," he said.

The proposed debut ride, with a goal of 200 riders, is set for Oct. 3 and 4, based out of the Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere. Participants will stay for three nights and ride for two days.

"They're basically going to open the RV facility for us, in addition to other facilities in the fairgrounds, which will serve as the home base for the event.

The riders will start and finish at the fairgrounds, doing 80 to 100 miles in between," he said.

Two routes are being planned, one for the novice rider and one that is more challenging.

"We are trying to tailor it for everyone," Kitchel said.

His next step, which led him to the Port of Chelan County meeting, is figuring out where the riders will go, seeking permission from private landowners and public agencies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 More...
Triple digit heat impacts Founders' Day crowds
When Chamber Director Dawn Collings walked up from the park in time for the parade, she looked up and down Cottage Avenue. She thought to herself....hmmm, because there were not many people along the parade route.

Undoubtedly, the triple digit heat was having an impact.

"If you were one of the people who ventured out in the triple digit heat and survived the heat with us, thank you," Collings said, at the July 13 Cashmere City Council meeting. "In spite of that triple digit weather, it was a wonderful event. Our numbers were down from where we hoped they would be."

Collings said people did come out of the air conditioned buildings, participate in the parade, then went back inside. There were 35 parade participants registered, but some did not show up due to the weather.

"With some of the triple digit weather, some of them did not show up at the last minute, that were registered participants," Collings said.

Also impacting the attendance was car shows in the valley taking place at the same time.

"We had three or four other car shows going on in the valley, so that's why we didn't have great participation of vehicles. And then the weather was a factor. That just kind of finished us off," Collings said.

Despite the heat, Collings was pleased with the event, the parade, arts and crafts fair, beer and wine garden, kids zone and the musical entertainment. She also felt like the fireworks show was particularly well received by the community.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 More...
Bruehl takes council to task over roundabout decision
Cashmere resident Larry Bruehl took the Cashmere City Council to task about the roundabout decision, among other things. Bruehl addressed the council at the July 13 meeting, during a time set aside for public comments.

"I would like to see the grant that you sent in for the light and I would like to see the grant you got on Dec. 8 and what it says. If it doesn't say roundabout on it, we got duped," Bruehl said.

Mayor Jeff Gomes responded, telling Bruehl that the grant required they study a roundabout as a possible solution. Gomes said the council had four choices.

"What this council did was look at four options. They had a video, they had the engineer here. It was a public meeting. They made a selection for the best solution to the problem, out of those four," Gomes said. "I think there were several in here that night that were anti-roundabout, until they saw the facts, information and statistics about it. That night, all five voted for it."

For Bruehl, the issue was not so much about the roundabout.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 More...
Cashmere's Bauscher among state's best young thespians
Cashmere 2015 grad James Bauscher, an incoming freshman at Northwest University in Kirkland, had quite the hectic end to his high school career. After graduation, Senior Sober and two days of graduation parties, Bauscher traveled to Seattle the following day for an awards ceremony at the Emerald City's Fifth Avenue Theater.

Bauscher, who acted all through high school, had earned a nomination for his role as Nathan Detroit in the Cashmere Drama Club production of 'Guys and Dolls.' The award at stake was the Fifth Avenue Theater's top male leading high school actor in the state.

Traveling to Seattle meant performing one more time, for 40 seconds, a small snippet of a song from the musical. All eight nominees to the award had to do the same.

"I knew I had to show up and perform along some of the top actors in the state," Bauscher said. "I was super nervous."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
A thief of hearts named Smokey
To the long list of winning underdogs in American sports, feel free to add one more entry, Cashmere's Diane Schmidt's horse Smokey.

A rescue horse that Schmidt didn't even want to buy at first three years ago, Smokey won a 30-mile endurance ride near Mount Adams in southern Washington last May, teaming up with Schmidt to leave behind horses of much finer lineage.

This was Smokey's first ride -enthusiasts of the activity frown on the word race-- and Schmidt's third ride, with the last one happening three years ago, on a different course and a different horse.

In the first two races, she finished fourth and then third. Forty-one horses competed in each.

This time, it was different, and not only because most of the horses looked like greyhounds compared to the bigger-boned Smokey.

"Smokey, when you look at him, he just doesn't look like the type who could win a ride like that," she said.

Schmidt admitted she didn't prepare at all for the race. She only joined it because her friend asked her to.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
Work on memorial hits home stretch

With the deadline for the dedication 60 days away, the work continues at the Riverside Park site of the Sept. 11 memorial.

The dedication will take place on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, at 11 a.m., with Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste as keynote speaker, and the outgoing chief of the Wenatchee Fire Department Stan Smoke as one of the guests and Vale Elementary students to sing the National Anthem.

In addition, the committee keeps trying to secure a military flyover.

"Maybe the Blue Angels," the memorial committee's Tom Green later quipped. "Just kidding."

Meanwhile, the donations keep coming in, and money is just part of it. Individuals and businesses keep donating their work, sweat and materials to turn the dream of a memorial into a reality.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
Primary election: Aug. 4, 2015
Ballots will be mailed July 15. The top two candidate will face off in the Nov. 3 general election. Ballots for that will be mailed Oct. 15.

For information on the election, go to the county auditor's website.

Port of Chelan County,

Commissioner 3 candidates

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
Enjoy our National Forests - safely
The Icicle Creek Canyon just outside Leavenworth is an immensely popular place for camping and fishing in the Eastern Cascades. On a typical summer weekend the campgrounds and trail heads are full. And with the closure of the Tumwater campground on Highway 2 because of concerns about mudslide risk more campers will undoubtedly be drawn to the Icicle Canyon camping areas.

Icicle Canyon has one serious drawback. There is only one way in and one way out.

Robin DeMario of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Service office in Wenatchee points out this week in her bi-weekly recreation report that fire fighters do not attack a wildfire until escape routes and safety zones have been identified and the firefighters know how to reach them. DeMario encourages recreationists to approach their favorite camping spot with the same caution that professional fire fighters exercise.

With fire danger already extreme it is a warning that all forest users should take to heart. DeMario advises that all recreationists should make sure they have current up to date maps of the area where they plan to camp and that they mark alternative escape routes in case a fire should block the main road. This is especially important if you have not camped in the area before.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
Federal legislation promises to address growing threat of catastrophic fires
Following last summers catastrophic Carleton Complex fire, Governor Inslee declared that fires like that were a natural result of global warming. Unless we begin to address the issues of climate change, Governor Inslee claimed we must prepare for more fires like the one in Okanogan County.

Not everyone agrees with the governor's assessment. Every year the story of the Carleton Complex fire plays out somewhere across the west taxing the resources of federal agencies to deal with them. A 2000 General Accounting Office Report concluded that the single biggest threat to the 192 million acres of western forests was catastrophically huge, catastrophically hot, stand-destroying forest fires.

According to Range Magazine, a chronicle of life in the "Great American Outback," in the 11 western states the Federal Government is the largest land owner. In the west, the Federal Government owns half of all land. Range claims it is 35 years of bad federal policies that are primarily responsible for our fire prone rangeland and forests. Years of policies that have reduced grazing and left disease ridden trees as fuel for uncontrollable fires are the primary reason for the problems we now must face.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 More...
Firefighters from far away recount their experience in NCW
Terry Grogan smiles ruefully and admits, this is a crazy profession.

Mark the white-haired mustachioed Grogan, a retired United States Forest Service employee now working on fifth decade of wildfires, among those to whom firefighting is a passion. A passion that sometimes takes a heavy toll.

"My second marriage ended because I was away from home too much," he said. He has since remarried and his new bride has a more supportive view of Grogan's hobby.

"She understands it," he said. "She misses me but knows that this what I love to do."

This year, Grogan and his fellow volunteer firefighter Steve Brown were among the dozens of firefighters and volunteers who found a home inside tents on the back yard of Cashmere Middle School, to help fight the blazes of the Sleepy Hollow Fire.

At first glance, sitting on a bench at Simpson Park, they look like a couple of retirees enjoying a respite from the sweltering heat in the shade of a tree in a July summer day. It's not until you glance at their polo shirts that you see the logos from their different emergency management agencies.

It's a unique mindset that of a volunteer wildfire fighter. The moment he got the call that he was needed in Wenatchee, Grogan said a smile came upon his face and his hand turned into a thumbs-up.

"It used to be a thrill, now it's a job," he said. "But it's a job that I really enjoy. We hate seeing people's property burn up but if we can help them, that's part of the excitement.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 More...

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