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  • Fires burning on Colville Reservation

    Scott Hunter|Jul 24, 2024

    Update: A Level 3 EVACUATIONS "GO NOW" just issued for residents of Peter Dan Road, McGinnis Lake, Reynolds Resort, Belvedere, and Seatons Grove. Due to increased fire danger from the Swawilla Fire, the current Level 2 evacuations status for your area is now elevated to LEVEL 3 EVACUATION. A shelter is open at Lake Roosevelt High School Gym, 500 Civic Way, Coulee Dam, WA. For information call Tribal Emergency Operation Center at 509-634-7350 or 509-634-7359. There will be a public meeting on...

  • Mayors exploring curbside recycling

    Renata Rollins|Jul 24, 2024

    Curbside recycling bins could be coming to the Coulee — if at least 300 people are willing to sign up. Residents of the four local towns can expect to receive instructions for a voluntary online survey in city utility bills, asking everything from what seems like a reasonable price, to whether it matters if they offered single-stream (all materials added into the same bin) versus separate sorted bins for plastics, cans, cardboard and so on. Dion Gotti, owner of Sunrise Disposal, the Omak-based company providing curbside trash pickup to the f...

  • Nespelem adding ALE school and high school basketball

    Scott Hunter|Jul 24, 2024

    Nespelem School District’s high school will add a 10th grade this year, plus an alternative learning experience program that could push enrollment high enough to add a high school basketball program. The school board Monday night approved hiring Marion Ives and Rowena Antone as coaches for the high school boys’ and girls’ teams. They coached them at the middle school level in the 2023-24 season, superintendent Effie Dean said. The district, which started its new high school program in 2023 with just ninth grade, plans to add 11th grade, then...

  • Spokane Way reopens soon – but one business owner suggests an alternative

    Renata Rollins|Jul 24, 2024

    Road repairs, closures and detours in commercial districts can be a pain point for nearby business owners – sometimes measurable in loss of revenue if potential customers avoid the area. But the owners of one longstanding business in central Grand Coulee would like to see the lower portion of Spokane Way – closed for an emergency sewer line repair since April – remain closed to traffic permanently. Carrie Riechmann owns the TeePee Drive-In restaurant along with her husband Jesse. She said her family has serious safety concerns after witne...

  • Church's sports camp gets kids, community involved

    Scott Hunter|Jul 24, 2024

    Nearly a hundred kids attended a Mega Sports Camp organized by Faith Community Church last week, ending in a cool way to conclude a very hot week. The four-day event had community volunteers teaching elementary-age children the basics in football, soccer, basketball, and cheerleading, said Shannon Hitchcock from the church. Hitchcock said the event was also designed to teach several core concepts important in sports and in life in general, including preparation, commitment, endurance, an all-in...

  • Correction

    Jul 24, 2024

    Sunbanks Lake Resort was not de-annexed from Electric City, as incorrectly stated in last week’s report on the fire that started there. The state Department of Transportation building and other lands nearby were, however....

  • Firefighters keep Sunbanks blaze at bay

    Scott Hunter|Jul 17, 2024

    A fire that originated at a local resort spread rapidly over a hill separating the resort from the rest of Electric City, but ultimately required all local fire crews, federal wildland firefighters, and air support to suppress Tuesday. Fire calls went out between 2 and 3 p.m., drawing in local firefighters from all stations, and prompting fire chiefs to call for air support. The blaze, which got away from a Sunbanks Lake Resort fire, the origin of which was not clear at the time of this writing,...

  • Police mutual aid pact strained with department relations

    Renata Rollins|Jul 17, 2024

    If a Grand Coulee officer calls to request backup at the scene of a crime, they can’t count on Coulee Dam PD to respond, according to an email obtained by The Star. In the email from Grand Coulee Interim Police Chief Levi Johnson to Coulee Dam Police Chief Paul Bowden on July 8, Johnson wrote, “It was brought to my attention, you told your officers they are not to assist Grand Coulee Units. I heard this from a couple of our officers. If this is true, I would like to hear it from you.” The next day Bowden confirmed in his reply: “That is corr...

  • More parking and crosswalk proposed for city park

    Renata Rollins|Jul 17, 2024

    An improved park in Grand Coulee may need a couple more improvements because of increased usage, a city council member proposes. The chair of the city council’s safety committee wants the city to take another look at installing a few more parking spaces next to Grand Coulee City Park, perhaps in the adjacent alley running parallel to Grand Coulee Ave. and Roosevelt Drive. At the council’s June 25 meeting Councilmember Tom Poplawski also proposed petitioning the state Department of Transportation to install a crosswalk with button-activated fla...

  • Toxic algae blooms detected in Rufus Woods

    Renata Rollins|Jul 17, 2024

    Elevated levels of neurotoxin were detected in the middle section of Rufus Woods, according to a monitoring website that tracks toxic algae blooms. A sample pulled June 25 from the "Mid Lake" region of the reservoir showed 13.760 micrograms of anatoxin-a per liter of water–well over the state Department of Health's guidelines for anatoxin-a in "recreational water bodies," which is 1 microgram per liter of water. Anatoxin-a is a naturally-occurring substance produced by cyanobacteria, s...

  • Keller Ferry to remain out of service for scheduled repairs until Saturday afternoon

    press release, WSDOT|Jul 17, 2024

    ­­­­­­KELLER – Those who use the Keller Ferry, M/V Sanpoil, across the Columbia River on State Route 21 will need to find alternate routes due to planned closure of the ferry. Planned Keller Ferry closure The closures will begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16, and last until the afternoon of Saturday, July 20, in order to make repairs to a support beam on the vessels hull. The damage to the hull was located by marine inspectors with the United States Coast Guard who conducted a required five-year hull exam dive operation last month. Travele...

  • Firefighters busy all over

    Scott Hunter|Jul 10, 2024

    Grand Coulee volunteer firefighters responded to 526 Wetzel Street for a fireworks-related blaze reported at 8:41 p.m. They were on scene by 8:46. Douglas County Fire Disrtrict 3 also responded. It was one of several fires that burned in region over the last several days. The fire was put out quickly and all crews left by 9:09 p.m., a department Facebook post said. Police at the scene said it was believed to have been started by people under the age of 18 and that no infraction would be issued s...

  • Heat wave turns library into cooling center 

    Renata Rollins|Jul 10, 2024

    Triple-digit temperatures over several days can pose a challenge for almost anyone. For those living in homes with inadequate AC, and for people living outdoors, it can be deadly. “More people die from extreme heat than extreme cold,” said Molly Morris, team lead at Grand Coulee’s STAR Hub, a division of Rural Resources Community Action. “We are not strangers to this type of heat, but when it first occurs each year we have to reach back to our early training on how to cope.” With the current h...

  • Man's body recovered from Banks Lake

    Scott Hunter|Jul 10, 2024

    Searchers on Tuesday recovered the body of a young man missing in Banks Lake since Thursday. From Tacoma, Daniel Ciobanu, 28, and his wife had been riding a paddleboard near Coulee City when a breeze came up and they fell into the water in a spot "filled with very thick aquatic vegetation," according to a Grant County Sheriff's Office Facebook post. "The woman made it to shore, but the man went under and didn't resurface. First responders were called right away." That was about 8:30 a.m. They se...

  • Kelly Hughes named CEO of Coulee Medical Center

    Renata Rollins|Jul 3, 2024

    Seven years ago, Coulee Medical Center was in trouble. Financial challenges going back to 2012 combined with an administration publicly described by staff as "incompetent and hostile" had led to layoffs, unpaid bills, and high-profile provider resignations at the public hospital. In summer of 2017, the CEO hired to turn things around had resigned - after just one year on the job. To alarmed community members at the time, the hospital itself appeared to be in critical condition. It was then that...

  • Senior Center paid $70k but got no roof

    Renata Rollins|Jul 3, 2024

    The senior center lost approximately $70,000 this year to a contractor with a documented history of scamming clients in Washington, and it looks like the money is gone for good. The board president of the local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization reportedly wrote the check based on an unrealistic, unclear and over-valued contract with no specified end-date - an expense that, according to the senior center's own bylaws, should have gone before both the full board and the general membership for approva...

  • Chickenpox increases in Grant County

    Jul 3, 2024

    Grant County Health District (GCHD) staff have been responding to an increase in chickenpox (varicella) cases in Grant County over the past several months. GCHD has investigated reports of chickenpox in multiple parts of the county and is currently managing a chickenpox outbreak at a childcare center in Warden, affecting several children not yet eligible for the chickenpox vaccine, the agency said in a release last week. GCHD urges all eligible residents to get up to date on the chickenpox vaccine if they have not had chickenpox yet. “By g...

  • Firefighters ask for safety, caution over 4th

    Scott Hunter|Jul 3, 2024

    The Grand Coulee volunteer firefighters would like to remind everyone to be careful during the upcoming July 4th holiday and to be careful all summer during outside activities. Local firefighters are not alone in their concern. Agencies responsible for fighting fires statewide are issuing pleas for safety and advising people take in public displays instead of lighting off their own fireworks. "In 2023, fire incidents from fireworks resulted in more than $12 million of property damage in...

  • Lauded pyrotechs to repeat popular show atop dam on 4th

    Scott Hunter|Jul 3, 2024

    Oohs and aahs and lots of applause were audible at the end of last year's fireworks show put on by Rocketman Pyros, L.L.C. So the chamber of commerce brought them back again. The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce's main sponsor of the fireworks, STCU, merged in 2021 with the Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union and has been a reliable community partner ever since, helping the community to put on many events. It's hard to imagine a better, more iconic venue for the patriotic show than the top...

  • Final two plaques bring schools together

    Bert Smith|Jun 26, 2024

    A pillar of rock in front of Lake Roosevelt Schools memorializes the evolution of the community, now displaying plaques to recognize two more schools that went before. A dedication ceremony in front of Lake Roosevelt Schools June 22 unveiled plaques to memorialize the contributions and achievements of Mason City and Nespelem High Schools, which would later be consolidated into Coulee Dam High School. The first plaque on the basalt column, added in 2017, remembers the Grand Coulee Tigers, whose...

  • Grand Coulee appoints Dalton mayor

    Renata Rollins|Jun 26, 2024

    Grand Coulee officially has a new mayor. The council quickly voted Tuesday to install Ruth Dalton who, as the city's mayor pro tempore, had already assumed the duties of the office since Mike Eylar resigned in May. She was also the only candidate to apply. "I have lived and loved this community for the last 38 years and now I bring a special community interest to the table," Dalton wrote in the letter of interest she submitted earlier this month. She referenced a "varied career with experience...

  • President Biden selects Amelia Marchand for advisory council

    Jun 26, 2024

    Amelia Marchand was appointed last week as the new Tribal member on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. President Joe Biden appointed Marchand to a term ending June 2028. "On behalf of our members and staff, I am pleased to welcome Amelia Marchand to the ACHP," Chair Sara C. Bronin said. "Her years of experience in the cultural and natural resources fields, and her expertise in Indigenous Knowledge and climate change, will make her a strong advisor as we move forward in implementing...

  • Two honored for fire service

    Jun 26, 2024

    Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department members met at North Dam Park Sunday to honor two men retired from their ranks - John Tufts and Jerry Sands. Tufts joined in April of 1988, retired from the department in December 2021 and this year retired as police chief in Grand Coulee. Sands joined in April of 2002 and retired in December 2023. Combined, they rendered over 54 years of service to the community, a poster on the departments Facebook noted. "We had a good gathering at Windy North Dam Park...

  • Grant County resident dies of hantavirus

    Jun 26, 2024

    A young person likely exposed to rodents in Grant County died from a virus often acquired while cleaning in conditions where rodent waste is present. Grant County Health District said a person in their 20s had a known exposure to rodents, likely inside a vehicle, before falling ill. The last confirmed case of Hantavirus in Grant County occurred in 2019. This is the sixth case of Hantavirus in Grant County in the past 20 years and the first reported case in Washington in 2024. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our community m...

  • Library group puts on garden tour

    Jun 26, 2024

    Nancy Brown, right, talks with garden owner Anita Eylar and Dennis Carlson during a tour of Eylar's garden, part of a six-garden tour Saturday organized by Friends of the Grand Coulee Area Library as a fundraiser and social event. It ended at North Dam Park with a lunch from Auntie Dannee's. - Nancy Zimmerman -Boord photo....

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