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.
CHELAN — The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest opened all snowmobile trails on the Chelan Ranger District Tuesday. Snowmobile grooming started on the north shore trail system including Antilon, Echo Valley, Black Caynon and Gold Creek Sno-Parks. The rest of the trails on the south shore will be groomed later in the week.
OKANOGAN — Okanogan County teenagers may have the easiest time buying tobacco products of the 39 counties in Washington, according to recent state data. The number of retailers in Washington illegally selling tobacco to minors went to its highest level in more than a decade this year, and Okanogan County was at the top of the list.
CHELAN — Wild bighorn sheep appear to be thriving in North Central Washington, including three herds in Chelan County, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says. Recent surveys indicate those herds are growing at a rate of about 10 percent a year, said Jon Gallie, the agency’s assistant district biologist.
Chelan and Douglas County commissioners agreed on a plan Tuesday to hold Douglas County inmates at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center temporarily until they can be picked up and transported to the Okanogan County Jail.
Ana Maria Spagna and Laurie Thompson were slightly out of breath and glowing with excitement when they showed up at the Chelan County Courthouse a few minutes after 9 a.m. today. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in the county on the first day same sex marriages became legal in Washington state after voters approved Referendum 74 last month.
WENATCHEE — Longtime Chelan County District Court Judge Alicia Nakata will succeed retiring Superior Court Judge John Bridges, after a close and drawn-out race with Wenatchee attorney Travis Brandt. Nakata, 57, earned a final tally of 14,634 votes after the last ballots were counted Tuesday, giving her a 175-vote margin over Brandt’s 14,459.
WENATCHEE — Enjoy it while you can. Today’s sunny weather isn’t going to last, the National Weather Service says. By Tuesday, cloudy skies are forecast throughout North Central Washington. And precipitation — either rain or snow, depending on where you live — will return Wednesday night, said meteorologist Steve Bodner.
WENATCHEE — It may be Black Friday in town, but some parts of North Central Washington woke up to a white Friday. Some 5 inches of new snow coated the Methow Valley, and 7 inches had fallen in areas north of Lake Chelan.
LEAVENWORTH — 85.75 percent of voters in the Leavenworth area voted to annex the city into Fire District 3. The City Council approached the fire district about the annexation. It would go into effect in January 2014.
WENATCHEE — In what’s stacking up to be a major upset in one of the most hotly contested races in the region, challenger Brad Hawkins is handily beating incumbent Mike Armstrong to represent the state’s 12th Legislative District in Olympia. Hawkins is leading Armstrong, 18,473 votes to 16,904, after the first ballot count Tuesday night. That’s a lead of 52.2 percent of ballots counted to 47.8 percent for Armstrong.