The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

City council doings, Nu-Blu at opera house, food bank schedule changes

 

--Photo courtesy of Linda Wagner.

The bluegrass band Nu-Blu, left: Justin Harrison, Carolyn Routh, Daniel Routh and Calder Baker perform a 20+ song set at the Harrington Opera House Saturday.

City Council

Promptly at 7:30 p.m., Mayor Dillon Haas opened the city council meeting with four council members present (Peter Davenport, Tim Tipton, Mike Cronrath, Levi Schenk), clerk Bunny Haugan, Scott McGowan (maintenance) and visitors Cherie MacClellan, Andy Tom (JAS & Associates), Marge Womach and Brent Wilday.

Andy Tom presented 30 minutes of information for the council, primarily thanking the council for selecting his company for the wastewater treatment program, and projecting his goals and vision. He spoke of his long-term experience of working for the Dept. of Ecology, noting that this will help Harrington comply with regulations. He mentioned three issues of importance with the water treatment project: Operation, leakage and biological nutrients. He also spoke of "liner protocol" and added that the Harrington system can discharge about 500 gallons per day. He said the city would need to budget up to $20,000 for the project, not including the side jobs that would be performed at hourly wages. He recommended that Harrington hire an engineer and hydrogeologist even though it would involve an additional expense.

Tom and McGowan discussed the stormwater situation and questioned whether the excess is all coming from the sump pumps. He thanked the council for its time and departed.

The council read and approved the minutes from the previous meeting and approved the bills, which included 20 keys for the Memorial Hall and the fine from the Dept. of Ecology. A brief discussion was held regarding the city's lack of job descriptions, documentation, policies and training. Guidelines need to be clearly set forth which would enable a checklist for specifics. In order to conclude the purchase of the McGregor building, the council needs to continue its work on the capital improvement plan and decided on a workshop to be held June 29 at 5 p.m.

Councilman Justin Slack arrived at 8:45 as the council was taking up the topic of the code enforcement officer, Shelley Quiggly. She has been on the payroll for two months, and the city has not given her a clear list of duties and responsibilities. The mayor said her job is purely "administrative," which was not the original conception of the position. Complaints generally are heard by the city clerk or the maintenance crew. The process is expected to be that if a citation is to be given out, the enforcement officer needs to be contacted. Unfortunately, the clerk and maintenance crew do not have contact information for the enforcement officer. The process currently is to begin with a complainant filling out a form which will be passed along to the enforcement officer. Presently, the mayor is sending the violations on to have the paperwork completed. Part of the council wanted to suspend the position until details could be worked out, but Cronrath, senior council member, defended the process, saying that this is the first time in 18 years that the council has attempted to enforce the ordinances, and the process requires patience. Issues and complaints continue to be the failure of dog owners to keep dogs under leash, property owners failing to clear their properties of weeds which become a fire hazard and property owners who accumulate an abundance of vehicles, machinery, campers, boats, trailers, and appliances in their yards and alleys. To date, there are still dog owners who refuse to pay the annual dog license fee.

With the obvious difficulties of ordinance enforcement, the city council brought back to life the issue of allowing chickens in residential areas of the city. At the March 9, 2016 city council meeting, the mayor announced that he had received six letters requesting that chickens be allowed within the city limits. In order to allow chickens in the city limits it would be necessary for Ordinance 319 to be revoked or amended, he had stated. In the interim, committees were formed and reported back to council, and Mayor Haas created an entire ordinance toward making chickens legal. The council failed to take any action on any of those proposals. Now Councilman Schenk presented a portion of Ordinance #319 in which his amendment would add "except chickens (no roosters)". The only portion of Ordinance #319 that was addressed was Section 6, Subsection D, part F which, according to Schenk, would now read: "Part F. The following uses are prohibited in the R-1 zone: d. Keeping of animals, livestock or poultry except chickens (no roosters) and household pets for the personal enjoyment of the occupants." Davenport made the motion, but only read what is quoted here. Schenk seconded the motion. A short discussion was held about enforcement of issues of noise, cleanliness, running at large in which the general consensus was that Ordinance 104 would be the means of controlling the potential problems. No limit was specified on the number of chickens per household. No regulations were given regarding cages or fencing. Other ordinances would apply for the distance from a neighbor's property that the chickens could be. When the vote was taken, Davenport and Schenk quickly cast their support, Tipton seemed apprehensive but cast in favor of the motion. True to his word to Schenk that if he wrote it up, Slack would support it; Slack cast his vote for it. Cronrath cast the sole negative vote against the amendment, shaking his head. Schenk did state that if the change creates problems or people don't take care of them properly, he'd be the first to put an end to having chickens. It is vague how and when this amendment will take effect.

A nomination was made for the Post and Office/Bank to be added to the Harrington Historic Register. The council will vote on this at their next meeting.

The mayor made a brief update on the removal of the fence which had been erroneously approved by the city, and stated that the fence will go back up at its proper placement. Mention was made of an upcoming AWC business meeting on June 28 in Yakima. Tipton and Slack are considering attending. Council went into executive session for five minutes, returned and adjourned the meeting.

Nu-Blu

The bluegrass group, Nu-Blu, arrived late for their performance at the Harrington Opera House on Friday evening, June 15, due to automotive difficulties en route. Dan Routh, their guitarist and bus driver, introduced the group, stating that this is his third time to perform in Harrington. His wife Carolyn played bass, with Harrison on the fiddle and Calder on banjo. Their performance began with Carolyn singing "That's What Makes the Bluegrass Blue. They hail from Silva City, N.C., but Calder is from Grand Rapids, Mich. Their second song with Dan taking the lead was "That Road." The applause from the audience made one think that it was larger than the nearly 40 who were present. Nu-Blu is currently on tour, introducing their new album "Vagabonds," and they performed many of the songs from that album. Another six or eight songs were enjoyed, including "It's Not That Cold Up in Montana," "Still Small Voice," "The Bridges that You Burn" and "Gypsies on Parade" prior to intermission. Several were instrumental songs, and many traditional bluegrass songs. They played a Bob Dylan song, stating "it is not really bluegrass, but it is after we get hold of it," "Knocking on Heaven's Door." Following a brief intermission, the audience was treated to another 10 selections, including "Man from Galilee," "River of Love" and "Good Hearted Woman." At the conclusion they stated that they would love to come back, and the audience cheered.

Food Bank

The Harrington Food Bank schedule change will begin on July 7, when the Food Bank will be open only the first four Saturdays of each month, and there will not be any Friday Food Bank days. Commodities will be on the fourth Saturday, as will home deliveries. If there are five Saturdays in the month, the Food Bank will not be open on the fifth Saturday. These being the new rules for July, don't forget that Friday, June 22, will be the last commodities served on Fridays. If you have questions, please call 509-253-4588.

 

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