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Photos: Ohme Gardens gets makeover

Hylands recover at Harborview Medical Center

SEATTLE — Jake and Jamie Hyland, a couple burned while escaping the Cold Springs Fire, are in serious, but stable condition at Harborview Medical Center, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The Hylands, who lost their 1-year-old son Uri in the fire, have been at Harborview Medical Center since Sept. 9. They were found along the Columbia River by state Department of Natural Resources employees, after abandoning their truck and fleeing the fire.

Friends and family members have been updating the public on the couple’s status via a GoFundMe campaign created for them.

The GoFundMe has raised $319,642 as of Tuesday morning and has a goal of $400,000. About 4,500 people have donated, according to the website.

Jamie had a 12-hour surgery this weekend where surgeons worked on her arms, elbows and hands, according to the GoFundMe page. She has been fighting multiple infections.

Jamie suffered burns over 40% to 50% of her body affected and Jake had burns over 25% of his body, according to the page.

Jamie has also undergone a back graft and had three pins put into the fingers of her left hand, according to the page. Her chest was severely burned.

Jake had three pins put into his right hand to stabilize the fingers he used it to protect himself from embers and fire, according to the page. He also has casts around his hands.

Jamie’s birthday was last week and the nurses took her to Jake’s room, where he sang her happy birthday, according to the page. One of the nurse’s made Jamie a pureed strawberry shortcake.

Two Rivers Gallery faces financial uncertainty after reopening

WENATCHEE — Jan Theriault walked down a narrow hallway, then paused, taking a look at one of many artworks housed by the Two Rivers Art Gallery. Bills, he said, they keep coming in.

The Two Rivers Art Gallery in downtown Wenatchee reopened in July after having to close due to state-mandated COVID-19 rules.

Limited business since reopening has created financial uncertainty and Theriault, the gallery’s director, is unsure if Two Rivers will survive. Being gone for three months and having to pay bills without any income is not good, he said.

Some days the gallery only sees two new people stop by, said Theriault. “We’re lucky to see six people on any one day.”

World photos/Luke Hollister 

The Two Rivers Art Gallery was closed from March until July by state-mandated shutdowns.

In the past, the gallery has relied on sales made from art purchases to help cover its monthly rent. They also work as a not-for-profit, though still awaiting their 501c3 paperwork to be approved by the IRS as a nonprofit.

The gallery has finances to make it well into 2021, unless something changes, he said. After that, it is “hit or miss” what happens.

“Without generous people, art cannot survive, even in big cities,” he said.

Art is not being purchased due to many facing job layoffs and older customers are staying in because they do not want to be exposed to the virus, he said.

Russ Hepler, Two River Art Gallery board vice president, said this loss in business is a drastic change from pre-COVID sales. When Wenatchee used to have their monthly First Friday art walks, a day’s income could top $1,000.

Not having those First Fridays anymore “has really hurt us,” he said.

The gallery’s board discussed its finances at a Monday evening meeting. The group will study how limited First Friday events might be possible and how the community might become more involved in gallery events.

Hepler is focused on reaching a positive outcome. “There’s a reason for everything and maybe this is giving us a chance to restructure and think about where we want to be,” he said.

The biggest thing is that the gallery needs to attract more members and get more workers, he said. More people stepping up and helping out would mean the gallery could do more, such as adding more programs people could participate in.

World photos/Luke Hollister 

“Without generous people, art cannot survive, even in big cities,” says Jan Theriault, Two Rivers Art Gallery director.

Rent is roughly $1,300 a month, he said. “That’s a lot of money.” Other bills include phone payments, advertising and insurance.

The gallery usually has about $28,000 in reserve, he said. This year has eaten up a good chunk of that.

Bringing in more business costs money, he said. “We’re going to have to figure out what’s the best thing to do for the least amount of money.”

Working in the gallery has been a very rewarding experience for Theriault, it is something he would be sad to see go.

This is Wenatchee’s art gallery and it has got to continue, he said. “We’re going to get through this, we hope.”

Latino labor and civil-rights groups urge state officials to send aid in aftermath of wildfires

SEATTLE — Latino farmworkers and civil- and labor-rights groups are calling on Washington officials to immediately send food aid and provide housing for families who’ve lost their homes to the state’s wildfires.

Leaders of the Washington State League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Latino Community Fund of Washington and residents of Bridgeport and other Douglas County towns where fires ripped through this month made the plea during a Sunday call with reporters.

It’s unclear how many families have been affected, the organizations said, partly because the state hasn’t yet assessed the extent of destruction to farm labor cabins — where pickers and other farmworkers live.

The organizations also urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess the region as a disaster area and provide mobile homes.

“Who are we going to be holding accountable for the lack of information, masks and mistreatment and disrespect of our community? Is it our state, is it labor and industry or is it the employers? We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time,” said Diana Perez, state director of LULAC, which is collecting donations for people who have lost their homes.

Spokane resident Anai Palacios Isidra said her parents lost all their possessions, including two cars and their mobile home, and have been staying with relatives since Labor Day. Her parents have lived and worked in Bridgeport for more than a decade; her mother packs apples and her father works in the fields. Her parents and siblings are now living in a donated camper trailer.

“We lost everything,” Isidra said. “We’re just trying to get the word out that we really need help,” she said.

Another woman said she’s had no offers of help, while some expressed concern about working the fields while air quality is still poor. Others told stories about struggles to maintain social distancing in emergency shelters.

“We’re the ones on the front line and bearing the brunt of climate (change) and all the injustices that happen to farmworkers,” said Edgar Franks, political director for Familias Unidas por la Justicia, an independent farmworker union in Burlington. “We’ve been trying to ring the alarm for many years.”

GOP appears to have the votes to act as Trump weighs Supreme Court pick

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump said Monday he is likely to name a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, as Senate Republicans continued to discuss whether to push for a vote before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition.

As more senators declared their positions, Republicans appeared increasingly likely to have the votes to confirm Trump’s choice — assuming no surprises emerge in the confirmation process — although the timing of a vote remained uncertain.

Trump said five women were being vetted for the nomination to replace Ginsburg, who died Friday, “but I have one or two that I have in mind.”

According to Republicans familiar with the selection process, two conservative federal Appeals Court judges, Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, are the only candidates in real contention.

Administration officials for the last two years have viewed Barrett, a former Notre Dame law professor and conservative favorite, as the front-runner for the next Supreme Court vacancy. She was the runner-up for the court nomination that ultimately went to Brett M. Kavanaugh in 2018.

Over the weekend, however, Lagoa emerged as a strong possibility. The daughter of Cuban exiles, her selection might help Trump politically in Florida, a state vital to the president’s reelection chances.

Trump appears intrigued by that possibility. He told reporters Monday that he “may” speak with Lagoa when he visits Miami on Friday.

“She’s highly thought of. She’s got a lot of support. I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of people. She has a lot of support. I don’t know her, but I hear she’s outstanding,” he said.

Lagoa, however, has a much shorter track record than Barrett, who has written extensively on high-profile legal issues as a law professor.

Some conservatives are uncertain if Lagoa would be firmly on their side on the high court. Ironically, the fact that she won 80 votes in her Senate confirmation to the 11th Circuit last year now has some conservatives suspicious that she may be too moderate.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who recently said he would vote only for nominees who explicitly say that the court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision establishing abortion rights was wrong, said Barrett passed his test.

“Amy Barrett, I think, clearly meets that threshold,” he told reporters.

He did not explicitly comment on Lagoa.

As Trump weighs his choices, Republicans in the Senate continue to ponder the timetable.

Their interest in further entrenching a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could clash with their hope of preserving Republican control of the Senate and White House.

Delaying a vote until after the election could galvanize GOP voters and provide breathing room to some Republican Senate incumbents, for whom a court vote could be politically perilous. Republicans worry particularly about Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, an embattled incumbent whose vote for Kavanaugh has been a key factor in putting her behind her challenger, Sara Gideon, the speaker of the state House of Representatives.

Collins has publicly said she would oppose a nominee before the election.

Holding off until after the election could also provide a buffer for other Republican incumbents who are on the ballot and would face criticism for rushing through a nominee.

But conservative activists fear that if Republicans lose the White House or the Senate, Republican senators might not be willing to confirm Trump’s nominee. With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, they can currently afford three defections, but after the election, that margin could tighten. No Democratic senators are expected to back Trump’s nominee before the election or in a lame-duck session if Trump loses.

If the presidential race or key Senate contests do not have clear winners for days or weeks after Election Day, Nov. 3, holding a vote could be even more difficult.

Conservatives are pressing hard for a quick vote.

“No one should trust that faux Republicans in the Senate will keep their word after Nov. 3,” warned Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C. “The Supreme Court opening should be filled before the election.”

Democrats remained hopeful that at least two more Republicans would join Collins and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in opposition to voting on a new justice so close to Election Day.

“There is only one way for us to have some hope of coming together again, trusting each other again, lowering the temperature, moving forward — and that is for four brave Senate Republicans to commit to rejecting any nominee until the next president is installed,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “That was Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish, and it may be the Senate’s only hope.”

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah announced Tuesday the Senate should move forward on a vote for a Ginsburg replacement vote.

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said Monday evening that he would consider a nominee. “Should a qualified nominee ... be put forward, I will vote to confirm,” he said.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa — who led the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2016 when it blocked the consideration of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland — has previously said he wouldn’t support considering a nominee in an election year. But he said he would support the consideration this year. He said the divided government that existed in 2016 — when the Senate and White House were controlled by different parties — does not exist this year, eliminating his reservations.

Senate Republicans plan to huddle behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the pending appointment and strategy.

McConnell pushed back on Democrats’ claims that he was rushing the process. “The Senate has more than sufficient time to process the nomination,” he said Monday. “There are 43 days until Nov. 3 and 104 days until the end of this Congress.”

In a preview of what’s expected to be a fiercely partisan battle, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who leads the panel responsible for confirming nominees, struck a personal tone. He told Democrats on the committee that he would “proceed expeditiously” and that he was “certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same.”

Republican senators — and voters — have placed an extremely high value on building a conservative court majority. For that reason, Republicans are increasingly confident that if Trump’s selection survives a vetting and a predictably contentious hearing, the nominee would be confirmed.

”I cannot imagine a scenario where even the most stubborn Trump critics in the Senate on the right would vote against a conservative nominee for the Supreme Court if their qualifications and hearing check out,” said Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist and managing director at Purple Strategies, a political consultancy in Washington. “Whether you support Trump or don’t support him, once he makes the nomination, it really has nothing to do with him.”

Republicans speculated that candidates who have recently gone through a confirmation process for a lower court position — such as Barrett or Lagoa — would move more quickly because they were vetted, albeit to a lower threshold, for their current positions.

”If it’s somebody who’s just been confirmed with a circuit court ... I think it could be done more expeditiously but remains to be seen,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Some Republicans argue that they are in a no-win situation, pointing to progressive Democratic warnings about packing the courts if they win the election.

”If the Democrats are in charge, they will pack the courts and the Senate,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. “The Republic and its institutions are now at stake, and I did not run for the Senate and put my family through a grueling campaign just to shrink from a moment like this.”