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Harrington News

Council meets, Opera House Society meets, summer reading ends

 

August 17, 2017

--Courtesy photo.

Harrington children enjoyed their last day of the summer reading program with a lesson entitled "Fun Science."

City Council

The Harrington City Council met August 9 at city hall with Mayor Dillon Haas, Peter Davenport, Levi Schenk, Justin Slack, Rick Becker, Mike Cronrath, Scott McGowan, Bunny Haugan, Ashley Schenk, Brent Wilday, David Michaelson and Marge Womach present.

A public hearing was held to allow comment on the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan.

David Michaelson addressed the council regarding his new position with the Senior Meals Program and reported how he had saved the program from termination. He also expressed concerns regarding adequate cool storage. After responding to a few questions, he left and the council continued discussion. The City has a yearly contract with Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition to provide a kitchen and dining space at the Memorial Hall for these meals. Since no one in the city government had any recent information directly from that organization, the council instructed the Mayor to make contact and determine the validity of the report they had been given.

Discussion was held on the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to cover the 2018-2023 period. Councilman Becker reviewed some of the areas included in this proposed plan which are 5th Street from Lincoln to Main, 1st Street to the Park, Douglas Street, the lack of sidewalks on one side of the city park and an alternate route around town.

Mayor Haas labeled the next item on the agenda a "Review of 2nd Street Project Process, Communication and Administrative Load." Haas summarized the experience with the following points: he did walk-throughs with Bo McCanna and they were pleased with the quality of work, the hydro-seeding is OK in spite of it being a poor time of year, ADA ramps were done well, pouring of cement went well, alignment of storm drains is correct, and that there were complaints about the design. The unseen sewer line that was compromised prior to this project is now replaced. The original design for the Street Project had been developed by Rick Becker and changes had been made regarding the swales. Haas was emphatic to have it on the record that the area from the sidewalk to the street is not city responsibility, and that precedent has been set that it goes to the home owners. No evidence for this statement was presented.

Davenport thanked the Mayor for his hard work and complimented him on "getting up to speed" on his first large street project. Praise for one another was flowing, and Haas thanked the city clerk for the extra work that the project caused her and thanked McGowan for taking on extra labor and duties to see the project to its conclusion. Haas acknowledged that it was a "learning curve" in terms of communication, that he would have been better served by not expecting the contractor to pass along communication from him to the engineer and vice versa. No comments were made regarding the dissatisfaction expressed by some homeowners on the street although a comment by a councilman sums up what was not addressed: "If they don't take care of it, it will make their neighborhood look bad."

McGowan and Haas gave the maintenance report, including mention of McGowan's short vacation during which time the crew using the brush-hog sparked a small fire which was quickly extinguished. Repairs on the back-hoe are nearly complete. Sewer lines are being worked on. Haas is developing for the council a list of city-owned property, much of which has not been properly mowed this season due to the time-constraints with the street project. Mention was made of the 1946 Mack fire truck which the council may declare as surplus. Haas is also planning for anticipated repairs for 2018.

Mayor Haas handed out a review of mid-year 2017 accounts and how spending versus budgeted amounts was working out. The Water Fund has been damaged due to the major water line replacement on Second Street between Douglas and Adams. The roof on the Memorial Hall needs repair to the caps and securing of loose bricks.

Regarding municipal solid waste, the city's contract with Empire Disposal expires in December. Proposals will be sent to local haulers on August 10 and the contract will be awarded at the September Council meeting.

The Mayor addressed the abatement notices and enforcement issues by stating that "time and the economic health of the City is promoting non-action." He explained that his time has been at a premium with his day job being so hectic the past several weeks. He has spoken with the Odessa police chief regarding citation books, forms and receipts. He stated that the ordinances are in a proper format for county court. A determination for wages needs to be made for the duties that would constitute the position of enforcement officer.

Slack presented a unique temporary solution (as a motion) to the vacant position of enforcement officer, suggesting that council members fill the position on a rotating basis (except those currently running for re-election). Schenk seconded the motion in order to allow discussion. After a lengthy discussion, the motion failed 1 to 4. Cronrath recommended hiring someone and moving forward. Frustration was shown regarding the time and work that goes into forming ordinances that are not enforced.

Haas shared copies of his "End of Year Goals and Priorities List" for council members to take home. As a follow-up to last month's meeting with Ms. Washington of the Department of Ecology, the mayor reported that he had responded to them by letter regarding the violation, requesting a waiver for McGowan's level 2 certification due in September of 2017. Haas would like to walk through the Waste Water Treatment Plant, determine its flow-meter status and provide Internet capability there.

Council was informed that the "Income Survey" letters will be mailed out by the county Economic Development Council to "mailing addresses only," the names being concealed by the city. It is hoped that the townspeople will respond promptly to the survey which will aid the city government in accessing grants. The Six-Year TIP hearing was closed. Resolution 206-2017 was unanimously approved adopting the Program for 2018-2023. The meeting adjourned just shy of 11 p.m.

Harrington Opera

House Society

The Harrington Opera House Society met August 7 with the following individuals present: Linda Wagner, Billie and Gordon Herron, Mark and Sheryl Stedman, Edwin and Bunny Haugan, Karen Robertson, Carol and Pastor Cade Clarke. The Society is now officially registered at http://www.smile.amazon.com and will receive from the Amazon Foundation 0.5% of each purchase made by shopping online at Amazon and choosing the Society as their non-profit to support. The smile.amazon link can also be found on the Society's Facebook page.

The calendar of events for this fall season will begin Friday, August 25, at 7 p.m. with the return of Bridges Home, the talented trio presenting Americana, Celtic, Roots and original compositions. Tami, Dave and Paul Gunter "utilize shimmering harmonies over a changing line-up of instruments and a unique take on three-part foot percussion." Bridges Home tickets are on sale for $12 through August 24, and $15 at the door. The proceeds will benefit the Harrington Opera House rehabilitation and operations.

Members will add a flyer to the September 1 Chamber of Commerce mailing of their brochure prior to the Fall Fest. Some interest has been shown in providing pre-schoolers music with rhythm. This has now become a suggestion for a formal Musikgarten program if canvassing the area warrants an investment into training for our music instructor, Heather Safe.

Summer reading

program ends

The Harrington Public Library concluded its Summer Reading Program August 10, with a group of nine children and six adults. The program this year ran six weeks, with a total of 28 different children appearing for a varying number of days. Three children were present for five of the six sessions, Isaak Brown, Kaydence Brown and Daxton Sewall, but no child enrolled attended every session. This concluding lesson was entitled "Fun Science" with comments on ways that science and engineering help build a better world. This was truly a fun time for the children as they experimented with static electricity. They also had an activity called "Skittles Art" in which each child placed skittles on a Styrofoam plate making a design, then dissolving the skittles with water. A final activity, using distilled water in a microwave and putting objects in the water with the expectation of an explosion, did not work, which made it a good lesson in the scientific method. Children checked out books and DVDs before heading for home.

 

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