‘As the crow flies’ rule unfairly hurts business

I am often asked why the Conconully General Store does not sell spirits.

I read that in his desire to assist small business, the governor is waiving their liquor license fees.

Well, that’s nice.

Perhaps Governor Inslee can look into removing the 20-mile liquor trade zone provision that prohibits stores with less than 10,000 square feet from selling spirits.

We began our application process in 2012, went through all the steps and waited the extra year while the Liquor Board determined what the trade zone area would be.

When all was said and done, they came up with 20 miles. Meaning if your under-10,000-square-foot-store was 20 miles away from the nearest big box store you could get a spirts license.

We were thrilled.

The general store is 22 miles from the Safeway in Omak. When I called the Liquor Board to complete the license process, they informed me that they were using Google Earth to determine the distance.

It turns out they don’t calculate the distance by road miles. It is, as they informed me, “as the crow flies” — which for a crow and the powers that be at the Liquor Board puts Safeway 16 miles away. So my 22 road miles did not meet the criteria to qualify for the under 10,000 square foot exemption.

The person I was on the phone with actually laughed while explaining the whole flying crow thing to me. It’s been almost 10 years and none of the potential downside scenarios of small stores having spirits licenses have come to pass.

We don’t need a free license, governor, just someone to take a reality check on the validity of flying crows and their negative impact on my business.

Ken Noguera

Conconully General Store

County Community Development is responsive and professional

The recent op-ed criticizing the Chelan County Community Development Department was unfair and biased.

Developing and enforcing land use regulations is a tough job and planning staff rarely receive acknowledgement for the work they do. Planners are frequently caught in the middle between the desires of residents and those of developers.

The county’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance are intended to protect our high quality of life while allowing for growth and development in the appropriate locations.

While I have disagreed with staff on more than one occasion about their interpretation of the comprehensive plan and zoning requirements, I have found staff to be responsive and professional.

Director Jim Brown is working hard to establish a professional operation. Much of what he has inherited is the result of many mixed messages from previous county commissioners and lack of support for following the requirements that are in the state law, the Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinance.

Kirvil Skinnarland


Husband not allowed into ultrasound appointment

My wife and I are expecting our second baby this year. One of the highlights from our first pregnancy was going together to the ultrasound to see our baby.

The first ultrasound this time around, Confluence Health didn’t allow me to attend. It was the height of the last COVID wave we experienced; and so, while I was frustrated, I was willing to accept it.

Our next ultrasound is coming up in mid-March. This will be the one where we find out if God has given our family a baby girl or boy. It’s a big deal.

However, I was crushed to find out that once again Confluence isn’t going to allow spouses to attend. What I find even more upsetting is that the current policy for doctor appointments allows a caregiver to accompany the patient (which we have both done) but somehow the standard is higher for an ultrasound.

I’m also upset my little 3-year-old daughter doesn’t get to experience this magical moment either. She is so excited to be a big sister and this policy is taking some of that joy away.

All I can hope for now is the Confluence will change their policy as cases have dropped and hospitalizations are down, to allow families who love together the opportunity to be together for this moment.

I doubt this will change in time for me but perhaps for others going forward. It only happens a few times in your life and the photo of baby is just not the same as the in-person experience.

Please Confluence, COVID has taken so much from us this past year. Please let us have this bit of joy back.

Brandt Cappell