HOHS, Community Forum meet; city groups gear up for action in new year
Last updated 1/19/2019 at 1:46pm
Monday, January 7, the Harrington Opera House Society held their first meeting of the year with Ed Haugan, Linda Wagner, Mark and Sheryl Stedman, Gordon and Billie Herron, Marge Womach, Karen Robertson, Carol, Becky Moeller and Ellen Evans present. Haugan gave his final treasurer’s report with its usual keen attention to details and comparisons and gave his formal resignation as treasurer, having served for more than 22 years.
Discussion was held on the status of the building committee’s projects and needs. Water was turned off on December 8. A minor leak that caused rust on the carriage of the elevator was discussed. A sensor can be installed to detect moisture. A separate water issue was addressed since water was pooled on the floor in the kitchen area several days following the last performance in the auditorium. Cleanup was easy, and the cause was a stopper that had been placed in the drain. Discussion was held on the need for a computer to function with the sensors as well as for use with the projector which has yet to be ordered. Obtaining a potential grant for these items was discussed. Bids were received for the purchase and installation of a gas furnace to replace the expensive electric furnace which provides heat to the lobby. Kysar Mechanical won the bid.
A brief review of the Santa pictures and the school Christmas concert was held, with everyone quite satisfied with the turnout and presentation. The first scheduled upcoming event is Carolyn Caruso on April 27 at 7 p.m. Other topics of interest included annual dues and the upcoming newsletter.
The election of officers went rather quickly with current President Linda Wagner submitting a potential slate of candidates and a request for other names to be submitted. With no additions, Wagner requested the vote be taken and it was unanimous for the following: President, Ellen Evans; Vice President, Carol; Co-Treasurers, Becky Moeller and Sheryl Stedman; Secretary, Bunny Haugan and Historian, Ed Haugan. There needing to be a determination as to whether the engineer is voted or appointed, no decision was made. It was announced that the annual meeting needs to be next month.
Prior to the close of the meeting, Billie Herron made an offer regarding the gas station on the SE corner of Willis and Third to the Opera House or another group in conjunction with the opera house, so that the other group could make use of the “in kind hours” that the opera house has accumulated that would be available toward obtaining grant funding. Herron stated that they (Billie and Gordon) have invested in the purchase price, the new roof and upkeep expenses which they would like to recover, but were willing to gift the potential profit from an ordinary sale. It would be a perfect location for a museum with space for historic farming equipment displays, they said.
The Harrington Community Forum met January 8 at the Harrington Church of the Nazarene with 14 people present and most of the local organizations represented. In addition to those who presented, present were Kris Moritz, Dave Michaelson, Meagan (Cherie MacClellan’s daughter) and Michelle Quigley. Cade Clarke welcomed the group and mentioned that refreshments were provided by the ladies of the church. Pastor Cade explained that the Catholic, Nazarene and Methodist churches are working on a benevolent fund. He also mentioned the joint community church services that are held in the park in the summer and that they are working toward having a united Thanksgiving service.
Anita Smith spoke about the Harrington Food Bank, which is housed at the Harrington Church of the Nazarene. They have some new freezers and shelving. They serve between 12 and 50 families per week and also do home deliveries. They intend to expand and work with the school in some manner. Individuals wishing to volunteer or to donate may call Anita at 509-768-4316.
Heather Slack spoke on behalf of the Harrington Public Development Authority, stating that members meet monthly on the third Tuesday at 7 p.m. at city hall. Their goal is to support opportunity for businesses to come to town. This past year they facilitated, with the help of the Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce, the new interchangeable signage on Highway 28 announcing “Cruizin’ Harrington” or “Fall Festival.” Other groups may purchase a sign or banners to advertise their events. The frame has eyelets on it specifically for banners to be used. Slack also discussed the need for housing in Harrington and stated that the Authority is trying to reach out to the owners of vacant houses to encourage or explore the idea of making the houses available on the market.
Ron Mielke represented Lincoln County Fire District #6, stating that the district provided 24-hour ambulance and fire service since 1968 to Harrington and the outlying areas. The district averages 30-40 fire calls per year, but calls were down this year, for which the volunteers were thankful. He mentioned there were three new fire recruits, plus two currently receiving EMT training which is paid for by the organization. Justin Slack recently passed his testing.
Cherie MacClellan, new president of Mid-County Seniors, discussed Senior Meals. MacClellan stated that Senior Meals serves on average 8-14 seniors three days a week at the Memorial Hall. “Changes are being put into effect at Harrington Senior Meals which are challenging. She is working with the Seniors and Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition to reach solutions to the current issues. Good progress is being made.”
Ellen Evans, newly elected president of the Harrington Opera House Society stated that the Society has met most of its original goals and has become financially stable. The group wants to better serve the community and see more sharing and interconnections, such as the recent collaboration between the Society and the school and teacher Taunya Sanford. The Society was very pleased with the tremendous turnout for three school events. Evans made an observation that people seem to isolate in terms of attendance per group, i.e., school events at the school don’t bring out the community at large, nor do church events at a particular church. She summarized her view that church and school events, when brought to the opera house, tend to draw a wider audience. The Society wants to see more weddings, concerts, lectures and school events held there. “If you know of more opportunities to bring the arts and culture to Harrington, let us know,” she said. In terms of membership, Evans stated that there are 100 or more, but probably about 12 people that attend meetings regularly. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Art Room of the Opera House.
Billie Herron announced, “I have a dream” and then presented her ideas for Harrington to have a museum of size. She wants to sell the gas station only to a person or group who wants to put in a museum, for an at-cost fee. She said she has turned down offers for the building to fulfill this dream. Since it is centrally located, has a large lot for display of machinery, has a building with a newer roof and is larger than the present location of the museum in the opera house, she hopes someone will latch on to her dream and turn it into a museum. She commented that she and Gordon had bought nine buildings, have sold seven and have two left, including the old gas station.
Nathan Luck of the Harrington Lion’s Club reported that the Lions meet the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the Memorial Hall, except during the summer months. They have about 15 active members, with 30 on the roster. Membership dues are $110 per year. A meal is provided at each meeting. The Lion’s Club has their main event as the Harrington Fall Festival in September. They help families during the holidays and offer funds for eye exams to those in need. He stated that “the mud bog races will occur this year,” as he is a member of the 4 X 4 club as well.
Maddie Peters spoke for the Harrington Homemakers, which has 12 to 15 members and meets in the basement of the Catholic Church. They support all of the vendor activities in town and the Miss Harrington program.
Tim Tipton, an active young man wearing many hats, spoke on behalf of his family’s business, The Harrington Hideaway RV Park. He acknowledged that he is also a city council member and president of the Harrington Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber facilitates/sponsors Cruizin’ Harrington, the beer garden and the vendors for both Cruizin’ Harrington and the Fall Festival. Additionally, the Chamber organizes the community-wide yard sales for Cruizin’ Harrington. The Chamber also puts on cleanup days before these two events, working with the students and faculty at the school to sweep sidewalks, wash windows, pick up trash/weeds downtown and at the city park. They also select a Yard of the Month from April to October, and put out a newsletter and mailer multiple times a year. The next deadline for submissions is February 15.
The Chamber launched a new, updated Wordpress-based website back in March with the same web address as before, http://www.harringtonbiz.com. The Chamber is currently looking for people to write blog posts for the website. Members also coordinate the gift baskets for seniors during Christmas, working with the Harrington students and staff to put them together and deliver them. Everyone is always so thankful for this warm community heartfelt gesture around the holidays, Tipton said. The Chamber has joined forces with the Huckleberry Press this year to bring forth a “Harrington Happenings” section of the paper. They are seeking individuals interested in writing and organizing content for the editor as well as supplying pictures of current local events.