North Cascades Highway to close Nov. 15
The Washington state Department of Transportation announced last week that the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) will close for the season at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15 between milepost 134 and 171 – the Silver Star Gate.
Until then, the WSDOT advises that travelers should be prepared for winter traveling conditions.
As of late last week, WSDOT was reporting compact snow and ice on the roadway.
See local election results online
Results from this year’s general election came out after Methow Valley News’ press deadline. To see full results before next week’s paper, go to methowvalleynews.com, www.okanogancounty.org/government/auditor/elections/index.php, or www.sos.wa.gov/elections/.
Daylight savings ends Nov. 7 — set your clocks back
Daylight savings time officially ends this year at 2 a.m. Nov. 7 — so remember to set your clocks back one hour the night before.
In 2019, the state legislature passed a bill to keep Washington in daylight savings time permanently — meaning no bi-annual time changes — but the state would need to get federal approval from congress to put the law into effect, which hasn’t happened yet.
Health Benefit Exchange announces 2022 plans
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s open enrollment period starts Nov. 1. Statewide, 120 health plans are available from 12 carriers. In Okanogan County, plans are available from three carriers, not counting Apple Health. Okanogan’s plans are offered by Ambetter, Lifewise and Community Health Network of Washington.
The last day to file for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2022, is Dec. 15 and open enrollment end on Jan. 15, 2022. The Customer Support Center will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday during that time.
For more information and to research health plans, go to https://www.wahbexchange.org/.
Medicare open enrollment ongoing through Dec. 7
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period this year is scheduled for Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, and is a time when people can enroll, switch plans, or join a Part D drug plan.
The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors program is a part of the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and can provide one-on-one counseling and support over the phone or through video.
For more information, go to https://www.insurance.wa.gov.
Christmas tree permits available
Christmas tree permits are now on sale for $5 through Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest offices, from local vendors, or may be purchased online through www.Recreation.gov (if purchased online there is an additional $2.50 charged for the transaction fee).
Each tree permit allows a family to cut one tree, with a tree height limit of 15 feet, or dig a small live transplant tree. Permits are limited to two permits per household. The permits are non-refundable and are only good on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Christmas trees cannot be harvested in wilderness areas, campgrounds, developed recreation areas, or tree plantations. Permits purchased online have to be printed to be valid.
Free tree permits are available to fourth-graders as part of the national Every Kid Outdoors initiative. Fourth-graders with a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass may get one free holiday tree cutting permit from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
The Methow Valley Ranger District is selling permits through the office service window: 24 W. Chewuch Road, Winthrop, 996-4000; Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.).
Vendors are also selling national forest Christmas tree permits — see the vendor list posted at https://bit.ly/3nM83Az.