By Don Nelson

Newly appointed Winthrop Town Council member Kellen Northcott will have to wait a few weeks to be sworn into office because technically he is not a resident of the town.

Northcott told the council last week that when he moved back to the Methow Valley, as a practical matter he listed his parents’ address in Twisp when he registered to vote.

Northcott now lives within the Winthrop town limits, as required, and owns the Java Man Espresso shop in downtown Winthrop. But he won’t be able to change his legal address — which determines where he can hold an elected office — until after the May 24 Presidential Primary.

Northcott’s swearing in was postponed to June 15.

In other business, the council agreed to write a letter supporting the idea of establishing an Okanogan County animal shelter. The county doesn’t currently have a shelter.

Janet Burts, an organizer of the effort to develop backing and funding for such a shelter, said that her group — Okanogan Pet Shelter Inc. (OPETS) — wants to create “a sustainable operation” that would be funded by pro-rated contributions from the county and its incorporated towns.

The shelter would be a nonprofit that could also seek out grants, donations and other fundraising sources, Burts said. Some fees also would be charged, she said.

Burts said she is working to build “community-by-community” support for the concept, but is not asking anyone for a monetary commitment yet. Burts estimated it would cost $130,000-$150,000 a year to operate a shelter.

There are potential sites for such an operation in Omak and Okanogan, Burts said.

In supporting material, Burts said that the shelter would aim to be 98 percent “no kill.”

Burts also included a letter from Tom and Jan Short, who have voluntarily found ways to transport dogs to shelters in other areas. The Shorts, who transported about 450 dogs in 2015, head a small self-supporting group. In their letter, they said they had already been involved in 222 dog rescues or adoption coordination efforts just three months into 2016.

“It’s hard to express how much I support this [shelter] effort,” Tom Short said in the letter. “I believe this sort of thing is the only long-term solution. People have to come together and realize they have a responsibility to these animals that have no voice and are so dependent on the efforts we make.”

Burts can be reached at (509) 429-1315, or by email at