WENATCHEE — A fire near Liberty in Kittitas County became so massive and powerful on Wednesday afternoon that it began to threaten homes several miles away, near Mission Ridge. Officials issued evacuation notices to about 200 homes in the Mission Ridge area Wednesday evening, after the 9,500-acre Table Mountain fire blew up, sending a column of smoke about 35,000 feet into the sky.
WINTHROP — A group hoping open a new ATV route from Conconully to the Methow Valley wants Winthrop to open all its streets to ATVs. The North Central ATV Club has official permission to ride on town streets in Conconully, Loomis and Okanogan, along with U.S. Forest Service roads on the Tonasket Ranger District and 85 miles of Okanogan County roads, said club president Spence King.
TWISP — After building up a small, local business selling organic vegetables from her Twisp farm, Kelleigh McMillan decided one day to give them away instead. Now — six years later — McMillan and a handful of volunteers are feeding hundreds of people who can’t afford farmers market prices for things like fresh, locally-grown tomatoes, carrots, lettuce or peas.
OKANOGAN — The state Department of Natural Resources will auction five parcels of land totaling 180.4 acres in Okanogan County this month. The Aug. 22 auction includes parcels near Conconully, Okanogan, Twisp, Winthrop and Methow.
CARLTON — The state has sped up plans to put radio collars on wolves in the Methow Valley after confirming last month that the pack likely killed a calf — the first in the state to qualify for compensation. Scott Becker, a biologist now stationed in Wenatchee and hired to work with wolves, will begin efforts to trap the two known members of the Lookout Pack next week, said Wildlife’s Eastern Region Director Steve Pozzanghera.
WENATCHEE — People who’ve had cancer say the diagnosis becomes a dividing line in their lives. There were the days before they knew they had cancer, and the days after. It’s not just the physical drain of the disease and its treatments that make this diagnosis so life-changing.
TWISP — Twisp Police and the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a body discovered in a river inside Twisp city limits this morning. Sheriff Frank Rogers said he was told the body appeared to be female, but that he was unable to get more information from his chief criminal deputy who was at the scene, due to communication disruption.
This week, lawmakers will go back to the cutting board in a rare pre-Christmas special session to trim more than $2 billion out of the state’s $32 billion biennial operating budget. And again, public education is on the block.
WENATCHEE — Fishermen looking to reel in a steelhead or fall chinook this month may have gotten a surprise on the end of their line, and one they’re allowed to keep — the coho. Just 15 years after the Yakama Nation started mass-producing coho in hatcheries and releasing them from ponds along the Wenatchee and Methow rivers, more of the late-spawning salmon are in our rivers and streams than we’ve seen in at least 78 years.
WINTHROP — More than 200 hand-painted bowls sat waiting on a table Saturday afternoon for the big event in the Winthrop Barn. In just a few hours, they’d be filled with gourmet soup made by one of the Methow Valley’s best chefs, and later taken home by a patron of Room One — a nonprofit Twisp organization that promotes health and wellness and connects low-income residents with social services.
WENATCHEE — The Community Foundation of North Central Washington is offering a program aimed at building fundraising capacity of nonprofits throughout North Central Washington. The Advanced Professional Development Fundraising Program will teach regional nonprofit officials how to implement fundraising and relationship-building tools. The program consists of 90 hours of intense classroom instruction. There will be six weeks of two-day, back-to-back classes for a total of 12 classes. Sessions will be held at varying locations on Thursdays and Fridays with three weeks in between each session.
WENATCHEE — There is a 100 percent chance of rain both days this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. A flood warning remains in effect for small streams in Chelan and Okanogan counties, due to expected heavy rain and rapid snowmelt.
CASHMERE — Residents in the Wenatchee Valley are reporting more cougar sightings this spring, and also starting to see bears in the Leavenworth area looking for food, said state Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Doug Ward. Ward said his officers are getting about five calls per week from people who’ve seen a cougar — some of them close to communities — including one Wednesday of a cougar sitting on a rock on the hillside near Rusty’s Drive-In in Cashmere.
OLYMPIA — A state budget proposed by the Senate and released Tuesday would fund only a portion of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program projects proposed by the House budget. The Senate’s smaller $30 million allocation to the program eliminates $342,620 for the city of Wenatchee to purchase Saddle Rock; $849,200 to preserve farmland near Omak; $244,800 for burning and thinning in the Sinlahekin wildlife Area near Tonasket; and $75,107 for trails in Twisp.