Community meeting on helicopter plan
The Methow Valley Citizens Council will host a community informational meeting on Oct. 1 to discuss the U.S. Army’s proposal to conduct helicopter training exercises in a broad area of north central Washington including the North Cascades. The meeting will be from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Twisp Valley Grange.
The proposal and the process for commenting on it, which has been extended to early November, will be discussed.
The Army and the U.S. Forest Service will be invited to send representatives.
Ferndale man drowns at Big Twin Lake
A 68-year-old Ferndale man drowned in a boating accident last Friday morning (Sept. 11) at Big Twin Lake near Winthrop.
Dennis R. Elwell apparently fell out of a small boat into the water. His wife, Patricia Elwell, was on shore and saw him struggling in the water and called 911 at 9:52 a.m., according to Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers.
A campground employee, Neil Krueger, also spotted Elwell bobbing in the water and jumped into a rowboat to try to rescue him, Rogers said. When Krueger reached Elwell, he was floating face down in the water, according to the sheriff.
Krueger brought the victim to shore and began CPR. Sheriff’s Deputy Ottis Buzzard responded to the scene, as well as Aero Methow Rescue Service, Northwest MedStar and a U.S. Forest Service firefighting crew.
They were unable resuscitate Elwell, who was not wearing a life vest when he fell into the lake, Rogers said.
East Chewuch property owners seek variances
Three property owners on East Chewuch Road have applied for permission to use individual holding-tank sewage systems, which require a variance from Okanogan County’s on-site sewage regulation.
The properties are all on Cottonwood Lane, 9 miles north of Winthrop, and all are too small to accommodate both a well and discharging septic system, according to Dave Hilton, environmental health director for Okanogan County.
Holding tanks are not allowed for residential use without a variance. They are considered temporary and the properties could not be used more than 60 days per year, according to the notice from the county.
Each parcel would require a separate holding tank, which would have to be pumped out at certain intervals depending on use. If approved, they would have audible and visual high-water alarms to prevent overfilling, said Hilton.
The existing systems — a variety of drain fields of varying sizes — were apparently installed over time without permits, he said.
Since the systems have been there for many years, the property owners and Environmental Health are trying to work out a solution that allows use of the structures but minimizes the environmental impact, according to Hilton.
The three separate applications have been submitted by Jim and Sherry Leuenberger, Jerry L. Hays and Kim Vande Griend.
For more information, contact Okanogan County Public Health at (509) 422-7140. Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday (Sept. 18).
New home for Okanogan Land Trust
The Okanogan Land Trust has moved from its former location in Tonasket to new offices in Okanogan, at 217 Pine St. (mailing address, P.O. Box 325, Okanogan, WA 98840). The phone number and email address remain the same: (509) 486-2765; info@okanoganland trust.org.
The land trust, a nonprofit with a mission similar to that of the Methow Conservancy, helps landowners in Okanogan and Ferry counties form conservation easements and protect the open spaces, wildlife habitats and scenic vistas of the Okanogan Valley and beyond.
PBI seeks volunteer help
Volunteers interested in studying the impacts of wildfire on wildlife and their habitats are invited to join scientists and staff from Pacific Biodiversity Institute during the remainder of the field study season.
PBI, a Winthrop-based conservation research and education organization, provides opportunities for “citizen scientists” to gather data and learn about forests, native plants, birds and mammals. Training will be provided by well-qualified biologists.
Current research projects include investigations of impact of recent wildfires on wildlife and ecosystem health. PBI is also assisting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with a statewide assessment of the population status of the threatened western gray squirrel.
More information is available at (509) 996-2490 or by email at email@example.com.