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Health officials reduce testing plans to reopen school districts

WENATCHEE — Health officials looking at plans to reopen schools have reduced the projected needed sample size from 10,000 in the Wenatchee Valley to 800 per school district.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District couldn’t accomplish testing 10,000 people, because of the manpower they would need, Health Officer Malcolm Butler said Tuesday. Also, each test runs about $150 to perform, so 10,000 tests would cost about $1.5 million. But health officials only need about 800 per school district to get a good sample size, he said.

“The difficulty is, you know, to get a statistically valid sample,” Butler said. “So that we can feel it’s safe to reopen classrooms.”

Officials, who are a part of the Incident Command Team assisting the health district, first floated the 10,000-test idea, said Wenatchee School District spokeswoman Diana Haglund. It sounds like that estimate has since decreased, Haglund said.

A spokesperson for the Incident Command Team could not be reached for comment.

The testing would be conducted in a different manner than was done at Bridgeport and in other communities, to improve the sampling, Butler said. Epidemiologists, including five from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are helping design a study that would be more random.

“There are methods where you take a set of families and you sort of randomly select various families within the cohort that you’re interested in and then you invite them all to come in to be tested,” Butler said.

Butler believes the health district will have an easier time testing minority groups this time, because of the school district’s support, he said, and because people trust their school districts.

“And I think most families, be they Hispanic or non-Hispanic, are interested in getting their kids back into classrooms,” Butler said.

It is important to get an accurate sampling of the Hispanic community, though, especially since they have a higher infection rate, he said. The epidemiologists know this and will continue to test until they get enough Hispanic families for the sample to be accurate.

“For example, the study design may say we need 70 Hispanic families,” Butler said. “And we would just keep testing until we got to that and the additional testing would just be icing on the cake.”

The Douglas County Commission discussed COVID-19 testing and contact tracing during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners Kyle Steinburg and Dan Sutton agreed that while both counties might be experiencing a high number of positives, the actual prevalence of the disease in the community could be much lower.

Steinburg said he didn’t think additional testing would lead to Gov. Jay Inslee allowing the county’s economies or schools to reopen. He was concerned that it was a waste of time and resources.

“The problem is that we believe that we understand,” Steinburg said. “It’s very simple to understand, very simple math and the governor’s office doesn’t get it.”

Sutton said the change is that scientists now agree that a different form of testing may show a different prevalence rate in the community.

“So you don’t keep playing the same game and hoping for a different result,” Sutton said. “You find a different avenue to approach the statistics to take them to the officials that are in charge and say here is my proof and here is my evidence.”

Photo: Reflections

Nursing home industry pioneer Carl Campbell dies at 98

WENATCHEE — Carl Campbell, whose legacy includes a retirement and assisted-living company that once spanned more than 180 facilities, and many other business and philanthropic endeavors, has died.

The Wenatchee icon and community leader passed away Thursday at age 98, at Colonial Vista Retirement and Assisted Living in Wenatchee, where he lived in a penthouse on the top floor.

Campbell founded Triple-C Convalescent Centers, which later became Colonial Care Group.

He and his late wife, Betty, who died in 2010, opened their first nursing home facility in Wenatchee in 1954. From there, the company expanded to 21 states.

In 2016, at the age of 94, Campbell announced he was retiring and selling the last four facilities he owned — including Colonial Vista and Hearthstone Cottage in East Wenatchee — to Vancouver-based Prestige Care.

A flying enthusiast, Campbell owned and piloted multiple private jets before founding Executive Flight at Pangborn Memorial Airport in 1982. The air ambulance and charter business grew to have 14 jets and more than 100 employees, but was later downsized to offer fueling, maintenance and hangar rentals. The headquarters building at Pangborn Memorial Airport is now owned by the Chelan Douglas Port Authority, serving as its main office.

“Mr. Campbell was an amazing man, completely devoted to his greater community,” Port of Douglas Commissioner Mark Spurgeon said.

Campbell helped the Port of Douglas with acquisition of the building at the Pangborn Business Park that now houses Accor Technologies, Spurgeon said.

His work with seniors, though, had a longer reach.

“Mr. Campbell’s work in helping seniors through nursing homes and rehabilitation centers serves as just another example of his efforts to help others,” Spurgeon said. “We’ve lost a giant in our community.”

Campbell, who was born and raised in Yakima, studied to become a certified public accountant and later worked in the lumber and building industry. His first senior-living project was with his brother, Willis, converting a house in Union Gap to a nursing home. He later brought his oldest brother Foster into the business, working together on development and startup.

Carl and his wife arrived in Wenatchee in 1953 to build Parkside Manor Nursing Home. It continued in operation from 1954 until 2007. They gifted the facility in 2009 to the city of Wenatchee to be used as a behavioral health campus.

The value of the property at the time was estimated at $3.5 million.

“Betty and I started there,” Carl Campbell was quoted in a news story at the time. “We built the building and improved the street. Thousands of people were helped there. We just thought the best thing to do was to see it continue the tradition of good care in the community.”

Former Sen. Linda Evans Parlette said the Campbells did a lot of work behind the scenes. “They did a lot for the community, but didn’t broadcast it,” she said.

She worked with Campbell on the transfer of the Parkside facility.

“I loved working with him,” she said. “When it reopened, it felt good to see the building turned into something that was useful and helpful.

Through the Carl and Betty Campbell Foundation of Caring Fund, the Campbells contributed millions to charities, churches and other causes, including $1 million to the Central Washington Hospital Foundation in 2011. Donations also went toward a new home for the East Wenatchee Seventh-day Adventist Spanish Church and an expansion of the Cascade Christian Academy.

In 2010, Carl Campbell received a lifetime achievement award at the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance’s Innovator Awards Luncheon. In 2012, he received the inaugural Legacy Award at the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

Elizabeth Campbell, Foster Campbell’s widow, who lives in Seattle, said Carl’s passing is an end of an era. She worked with Carl on the construction of two nursing homes, one in Boise, Idaho, and the other in Sparks, Nevada.

“Carl gave me the money to pay for the land, to hold it until the bond financing came through,” she said. “He was good to me.”

And to others, she said.

“I think Carl was a huge credit to everything he touched,” she said. “One of his distinguishing features is he was a good Christian and he followed through on that in business.”

Elizabeth Campbell said Carl’s wife, Betty, was a guiding force in his life.

“She was the gatekeeper. Before projects moved forward, they had to convince Betty first,” she said.

Wenatchee Downtown Association Executive Director Linda Haglund said she recalls hearing a lot about Carl Campbell growing up.

“My mother was the morning waitress at the Chieftain Restaurant (a legacy restaurant that many miss to this day). The Campbells were regulars at the Chieftain and my mother was their preferred waitress,” she said. “Even before I knew the contributions to this community, my mother would talk about what generous and community-minded people they were. Especially Carl. The businesses they started, the people their facilities helped and the contributions they made to their charities were substantial.”

Haglund said Campbell didn’t seek the limelight, so many of his contributions to the community were done quietly.

“I always marveled on how he was present at places and things that were important to him,” she said. “I believe that giving back was a part of his DNA. He supported those efforts and initiatives that he felt made this place special. His generosity of time, money and expertise is the legacy he leaves.”

Carl and Betty Campbell had two children. Daughter Kathy Ball and her husband Marc Ball own the Gilded Lily in downtown Wenatchee.

Port approves lease for kombucha company moving to Cashmere

CASHMERE — Huney Jun, a kombucha company based in Peshastin, is eyeing a move to a larger industrial space in Cashmere.

The Chelan Douglas Regional Port District on Tuesday authorized staff to enter into a lease with Huney Jun for 9,671 square feet in the port’s Cashmere Mill District.

The business would occupy part of building B, one of two 16,500-square-foot industrial buildings on the site.

The port on Tuesday also approved a project to add bathrooms, an HVAC system, more lighting, floor drains and other improvements to the space. That project is budgeted to cost around $700,000.

These are all basic improvements we’d like to do anyhow,” port CEO Jim Kuntz said during the meeting Tuesday. The port is looking to Chelan County to cover some of the cost.

While the exact terms of the lease with Huney Jun are still being worked out, the cost is expected to be $0.87 per square foot per month — totaling a monthly payment of $8,413.77, according to board meeting documents.

To help the business ramp up to the larger space, the port is expected to offer an initially discounted rent that will increase to the full rate over time.

Huney Jun is currently based in a small warehouse on Main Street in Peshastin. It brews a variety of kombucha — a fermented tea known for its probiotics — called jun using green tea and honey.

It’s one of the only jun manufacturers in the United States and is carried in dozens of retailers in the Northwest, California and New York, including some Walmart and Safeway stores.

Huney Jun has expanded twice in its current building and was looking for a larger space last fall.

It would be the final tenant in the Cashmere Mill District, 32.5 acres of land the Port of Chelan County bought for $1.5 million in 2008. The two industrial buildings were completed last year.

Last year it also secured two anchor tenants: Hurst International, a fruit label printer and equipment manufacturer, and Blue Spirits Distilling.

A kombucha manufacturer will be a great fit for the space, port Commissioner J.C. Baldwin said in the meeting.

“Their business will be very complimentary to the other businesses we have in the mill district,” she said.