SEATTLE — Arbitrators have awarded $350,000 to former Lake Chelan Community Hospital CEO David Bernier, finding that the hospital defamed him. The final arbitration ruling by the panel in Seattle ends a legal battle over the hospital’s decision to fire Bernier less than two years after he was hired.
NCW — Voters in four Chelan County school districts will soon decide on funding proposals ranging from construction projects to classroom programs. Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by the Feb. 12 special election.
WENATCHEE — Compared with the game wardens of years past who focused largely on patrols and writing tickets, today’s state Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are highly trained police officers who investigate complex crimes. Among hunters, some welcome the change, while others say it’s gone too far.
WENATCHEE — Northwest pears will soon be sold and shipped to China for the first time, thanks to a recent agreement the U.S. pear industry and Chinese government. The agreement was announced Wednesday during Washington Pear Day in Wenatchee. The pear industry has been trying to get approval to sell pears in China for nearly 20 years, said Kevin Moffitt, president of the Pear Bureau Northwest.
OMAK — In an office building in Omak, Dan Christensen sits in front of two computers. On one, he’s filling out a damage complaint for deer that got into a nearby orchard. On the other, he’s recovering digital photographs erased from a memory card that may contain important evidence. The $4,500 thumbdrive that helps him reconstruct a photograph was developed to investigate child pornography. But Christensen isn’t looking for people who make and distribute child porn. He’s trying to find the people who poach deer, bait bear, or kill wolves.
WENATCHEE — Federal agencies will waive recreation user fees on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The forest pass, a day-use parking fee required on some federal lands, is waived at all U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation lands.
WENATCHEE — A Stage 1 burn ban is still in effect as an inversion and stagnant air is forecast to continue for all of North Central Washington at least until Tuesday. Under a Stage 1 ban, all outdoor burning and the use of uncertified wood-burning devices is prohibited, unless it is a home’s major source of heat.
WENATCHEE — The state Department of Ecology on Tuesday banned all outdoor burning and the use of uncertified wood-burning stoves, inserts or fireplaces in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties, until further notice. Current weather conditions has resulted in stagnant air, and air quality monitors in Wenatchee and Twisp recorded moderate air quality, while those in Leavenworth and Okanogan registered air unhealthy for sensitive groups.
WENATCHEE — The number of local motorists receiving DUI tickets during a holiday enforcement period dropped from 92 in 2011 to 54 in 2012 in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties. The decrease may be the result of more people using designated drivers or calling cabs, said Mike Harris, chief of patrol with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.
WENATCHEE — Whether you’re driving in Leavenworth, Oroville or anywhere in between, you’ll be seeing some extra police out on patrol tonight. Make that 10 extra law enforcement officers out on the streets and highways, watching specifically for intoxicated drivers Police agencies throughout North Central Washington have been participating in DUI emphasis patrols since Nov. 21.
NCW — It’s still a little far out to forecast, but the National Weather Service says we may see sunny skies on New Year’s Day, accompanied by some pretty cold nights. A weak storm system is forecast to move across the North Cascades and into North Central Washington this weekend, bringing a slight chance of snow or even rain on Saturday, meteorologist Jeffrey Cote said.
WENATCHEE — The state Department of Ecology is offering a new fee-based program to speed up the water rights application process, and the Wenatchee Basin will be the first to try it out. Some 150 water right applicants will get letters inviting them to help hire a consultant who can sort through applications so that water for new applicants can become available. Applicants can then reimburse Ecology for hiring the state-approved contractor to process pending applications.