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Harrington news

Opera House Society and city council meetings show community at work


September 21, 2017

Harrington Opera

House Society

The Harrington Opera House Society met for its monthly meeting September 11 with the following present: Bonnee Clarke, Karen Robertson, Cherie MacClellan, Gordon and Billie Herron, Ed and Bunny Haugan, Mark and Sheryl Stedman, Marge Womach, Carol, and Linda Wagner. Members expressed how pleased they were with the packets recently sent out by the Chamber of Commerce emphasizing the attributes of our town, organizations and businesses.

HOHS received a letter from Lincoln County Economic Development Council stating that they are seeking new members. Robertson mentioned the upcoming “Reviving Rural Downtown Workshop” to be held in Ritzville September 21 and 22. It was reported that Heather Safe’s theme for her music lessons this year is “Music Around the World.” She has one adult and four children signed up for lessons this year. Art lessons are getting off to a slow start but will continue again this year.

The building committee is continuing with a list of items that need to be completed in the building prior to the October events.

Upcoming events were discussed after reporting that the Bridges Home event was a success and that they hope to return to Harrington at a later date.

September 22, Friday, at the start of the Harrington Fall Festival, the Harrington Church of the Nazarene will host the Needhams, who will arrive at about 4 p.m. for their 7 p.m. performance. Attendance is by donation. The Harrington community at large has been quite supportive of this group, and we are hoping that there will be good attendance. Tours of the Opera House on Saturday will be from 9 a.m. to noon, before and after the parade. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be the Society’s rummage sale, most items available for a donation. Many new items have been set out for sale.

October’s schedule is filling in nicely. The anniversary event with Dr. Graves performing is October 15. The Society is hosting the Community Forum on October 23 in the Art Room. Those who follow Peter Davenport and his UFO reporting will be pleased to learn that on Saturday, October 28, Davenport’s associate, Maureen Morgan, will present a most interesting visual and audio program titled “UFOs and ETs in Ancient Art.”

Events with Nona Hengen and Pages of Harmony, if details can be worked out, were also discussed. The next meeting will be October 2 at 7 p.m. at the Art Room.

City Council

The scheduled city council meeting on September 13 had an unusual start. With Mayor Dillon Haas, Rick Becker and Peter Davenport at the table as well as city clerk Bunny Haugan, maintenance supervisor Scott McGowan and visitors Margie Hall (EDC), Marc Torre (Sunshine Disposal), Marge Womach and Cherie MacClellan, the council was left with no quorum, due to two of the council members attending a school meeting. Following brief comments as to how to proceed, Mayor Haas called the meeting to order at 7:36 with the intent of gathering information for the city on items for which no vote would be taken.

Margie Hall presented data pertaining to the income survey which she has been striving to complete for Harrington, which would likely alter HUD’s figures which reduce the number and type of grants that our town is available to apply for. This has left Harrington in a position of having to take out conventional loans for improvements. This in turn is more costly to utility users in town. The purpose of the survey is to determine the percentage of low-and-moderate-income households and the median household income for the community. The Lincoln County EDC has been successful in getting the citizens of Odessa, Sprague and Creston to participate in income surveys for those towns and immediately following its completion were able to receive grants for: Odessa $693,000, Sprague $650,000, and Creston $24,000 for either water or sewer system improvements, “saving their residents $$.” For Harrington, Hall has sent out two mailings and has received at least 100 valid responses. Unfortunately, two that had been sent in had removed their “random number” which invalidated the survey. Peter Davenport acknowledged that he had not returned his as he had questions that he wanted answered. (Mayor Haas following the meeting explained that he has answered remarks on Facebook regarding the survey which has enabled a better response.) Hall informed the council that she will be making door to door contact through September 28 to households that had not responded. If the town does not have an adequate return on the survey, “this leaves Harrington ineligible for CDBG grants altogether and unqualified for ‘enhanced’ loan terms from DOE, USDA-RD, PWB and DOH Drinking Water funds.” Hall anticipates that the citizens will return the surveys as they realize that it is in their own best interest in keeping their rates lower.

The city’s current contract with Empire Disposal will expire by end of year, and the Mayor has been requesting proposals from other disposal companies that service our area. Consequently Marc Torre of Sunshine Disposal of Spokane came to the council meeting and made his presentation including the history of his business and experience. He said that they are a fourth-generation family business and that they started with horse and wagons. If they are awarded the contract, he would be operating out of Airway Heights. Haas informed the council he would be meeting with Sunrise Disposal on September 22. The other companies he had contacted were Wheatland and Empire Disposal.

At 8:10 Council member Mike Cronrath arrived from the open house at the school and the council had a quorum. The maintenance report was given by McGowan and Haas, explaining repairs made on machinery, as well as the immediate scheduling of preparations for the Fall Festival, including street sweeping, placing signs, painting crossings and mowing in park and cemeteries. Council member Schenk also arrived from his job at the school and the meeting continued. McGowan, needing level-two operator certification for the water treatment facility, has been working with DOE personnel for study materials and availability of classes. These classes cost about $300 for two or three days. The council received a contract from Cassie J. Monge, a certified Level 2 operator, who offered to work for the City under her licenses at a cost to the City of $600 per month plus $50 per hour on on-site work until McGowan completes his certification. Council voted to accept her contract proposal and that she would be hired on a month to month basis as needed.

Minutes, bills and payments were all approved following discussions. A suggestion was made to dedicate the new Second Street. Mayor Haas will contact Gloria Bennett regarding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new Second Street project. It was hoped that she would be available to attend. Haas scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. with the following on the agenda: 1) Public hearing for revenue sources for 2018, 2) Enforcement officer, executive session to discuss personnel for this position and 3) Select a hauler for the municipal solid waste.

The Mayor reported that he met with Dave Michaelson, senior-meals cook, and Cassandra Pfaffle-Dick, the janitor. Michaelson told the Mayor that the senior meals site (Memorial Hall) did not have adequate cold storage for fresh produce and thawing meats. This facility is rented by the City to Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition for senior meals three times each week. They are responsible for all their appliances. The council allowed the OCTN to add an apartment-sized refrigerator to the kitchen of the Memorial Hall to use for additional cold storage.

The Mayor suggested that city council members join him on Sunday afternoon for a walk-through of the shop and make a list of items that could be surplussed, since the city has already considered surplussing the 1947 Mack Fire truck, which is stored in the former state shed that could be used for a storage garage for city vehicles. It was suggested that the city check on RCWs for surplussing other things the city has no need for. A short discussion was held on the LED street light replacement program that had been a topic in April of 2016 and the conversion has not occurred. The mayor will check on this issue for the council. Also the lighting of the city hall and library was brought up as the mayor has spoken of starting in January 2018 to replace the 14 light fixtures and look for alternative fixtures and lighting which would pay for itself in a year’s time by the savings on the electric bill. Council adjourned prior to 10 p.m., an hour short of the past several meetings.


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