The Wenatchee World

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Hi57° Mostly Cloudy

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Cottonwood Campground closed by pine beetles

ENTIAT — An infestation of mountain pine beetles has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to close the Cottonwood Campground on the Entiat Ranger District until trees can be removed. Beetles in recent years have killed lodgepone pine trees in the popular campground, and those trees are now at risk of falling, a Forest Service news release said.

Chief Joseph Hatchery: A promise from the past holds promise for the future

BRIDGEPORT — Hundreds came Thursday to celebrate the new, $50 million hatchery, its concrete raceways, its incubation building, its state-of-the-art plans to raise and release 2.9 million chinook salmon while protecting their wild cousins. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation officially opened the Chief Joseph Hatchery bordering the southwest corner of their reservation.

Group plans to sue over Buckhorn Mine water quality

CHESAW — Despite efforts to work closely over the last five years, the company extracting gold from the Buckhorn Mine near Chesaw and an environmental group that monitors it are likely headed to court, representatives from both groups say. David Kliegman, executive director of the Okanogan Highlands Alliance, said the Buckhorn Mine has failed to establish a working system to collect groundwater, and continues to discharge pollutants that exceed water quality limits.

Flood warning issued for Stehekin, Okanogan rivers

NCW — The Okanogan and Stehekin rivers are expected to reach flood stage today, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning from today through Tuesday. With a flood stage of 24 feet, the Stehekin River hit 23.47 feet this afternoon, and is expected to spill over its bank onto the Stehekin Valley Road late today or tonight, the Weather Service said. McGregor Meadows Road, Torbert Pasture and part of the Harlequin Campground may flood between today and Monday, when the river is forecast to fluctuate between 24 ...

Appeals Court upholds Okanogan PUD’s powerline plan

OKANOGAN — After more than 17 years of lawsuits and appeals over plans for a new transmission line in the Methow Valley, the Okanogan County PUD has jumped one more hurdle. And, officials say, if no one asks the state Supreme Court to review the decision, Tuesday’s ruling could clear the way for construction of a new transmission line from Twisp to Pateros.

Crack shuts down massive ditch serving Columbia Basin

EPHRATA — A crack in the concrete panels that line a main canal serving the Columbia Basin Project prompted officials to temporarily shut down some irrigation Tuesday. Located just below Pinto Dam, north of Highway 28 in eastern Grant County, the crack poses no threat to safety. But an as-yet undetermined number of irrigators will not be getting water until the ditch can be repaired early next week, an official for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said.

Twisp rancher convicted of conspiring to kill a wolf, reports dead calf

TWISP — A Twisp cattle rancher who admitted last year that he had earlier conspired to kill a wolf and ship its pelt to Canada reported finding a dead calf that he suspects might have been killed by a wolf on his property Wednesday. But state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say their preliminary finding is that Bill White’s calf was not killed by a wolf.

Open houses set for Columbia River Treaty

WENATCHEE — Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be in Wenatchee and Coulee Dam this week to host open houses about the Columbia River Treaty. In Wenatchee, the event will be on Tuesday at the Wenatchee Community Center Veterans Hall, 504 S. Chelan Ave. In Coulee Dam, it will include a special session on recreation, and will happen Thursday at City Hall, 300 Lincoln Ave. Both events are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Company prepares for major Holden Mine cleanup

HOLDEN VILLAGE — The big $100 million push to clean up Holden Mine is ramping up. Residents may have already noticed a few rumblings of work to accommodate a barge at the Lake Chelan Boat Company in Chelan, and at uplake at Lucerne.

Two companies fined for pollution in NCW

NCW — Alcoa Wenatchee Works in Malaga and Imerys Minerals California, Inc. in Quincy were both fined for exceeding pollution limits, the state Department of Ecology said today. Alcoa discharged excessive amounts of aluminum and fluoride to the Columbia River on May 3, 2012, violating daily limits allowed by its pollution discharge permit, an Ecology news release said.
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Wildlife officers recover 10 trophy bucks, arrests pending

OKANOGAN — State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers on Friday seized 9 trophy deer heads after searching four homes in Okanogan County. A 10th head was recovered last month, authorities said. The evidence will be key to solving the case of the headless bucks, reported by residents from Malott to Okanogan who’ve been finding carcasses of whitetail and mule deer with the heads cut off and the bodies left to rot, said Wildlife Sgt. Jim Brown.

Salmon movie to spark discussion

TONASKET — Several groups involved with salmon recovery will attend the free showing of the film, “Salmon: Running the Gauntlet,” at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Community Cultural Center, 411 S. Western Ave., Tonasket.
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Exploding targets: Some want them banned, others say they’re no danger

WENATCHEE — While dozens of wildfires were burning out of control in North Central Washington late last summer, at least two people decided it would be a good time to do some target shooting in the dry, grassy hills above Alta Lake. They set up an exploding target — a type of device blamed for starting at least two dozen fires across the west last summer — and fired at it, causing a loud boom, and a huge smoke-like cloud. The outing also resulted in the Goat Fire, which would ...

Exploding target shooters blamed for Goat Fire

PATEROS — People using exploding targets caused the Goat Fire, a wildfire that burned nearly 7,400 acres and threatened communications towers near Pateros last fall.

Burn ban extended to Tuesday

OKANOGAN — A burn ban in effect since Friday in Okanogan County was extended this morning until at least 10 a.m. Tuesday. Monitors in Twisp and Omak showed air quality this morning to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.
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Some say wildlife officers are too strict; others support the change

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.

CSI Backwoods: Wildlife cops

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.