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Clean clothes, dirty money

A Nespelem couple washing clothes at a laundromat on

E Grand Avenue Feb. 5, ended up with clean clothes and a counterfeit $20 bill.

The couple told police that they were approached by a tall slender, white male with brown hair and carrying a mandolin. The man asked if they could exchange a crisp $20 bill for one that was all folded up, because the crumbled bill would not work in the change machine.

The Nespelem man said

he had only $16, but they exchanged money and the man left on foot.

A few days later it was discovered that the $20 bill was counterfeit. The bill was turned over to police.

Bill would streamline new USBR water


Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) has introduced H.R. 875, Bureau of Reclamation Water Project Streamlining Act of 2017, to streamline the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental planning and study process for new water projects.

The bill would apply the same streamlined water project development process used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2014 to the bureau in order to facilitate the construction of new dams and reservoirs.

While very similar to H.R. 2097, which was introduced in the 114th Congress, H.R. 875 broadens the legislation to include additional surface water storage projects, water infrastructure projects, rural water projects, water recycling, and Title XVI water projects.

“Streamlining water storage and infrastructure projects will help communities in the arid West plan for the future,” said Rep. Newhouse. “The growth of our communities and our ability to confront frequent drought depend on access to new water resources, so the framework for developing these projects should not be bogged down by delayed permits and endless reviews.”

Power outage affects 8,000 PUD customers

Grant County PUD crews working throughout the night, and into the early afternoon, restored power Thursday to some 8,000 customers affected by an outage that began at 7 p.m. Feb. 15, when a Grant PUD transformer failed at an Ephrata substation.

The equipment malfunction in the Central Ephrata Substation caused the outage that affected up to 8,000 customers at its peak in Ephrata, Quincy and Soap Lake. Customers in Soap Lake and Quincy communities were quickly restored about one hour into the outage; the majority of customers in Ephrata were restored around 2:30 a.m. Several hundred Ephrata customers in the Swanson Addition, Oasis Park and Railroad Ave. areas, including several businesses in the southeast section of town, remained without power as crews worked to restore damaged spans of distribution line.

Power was restored at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday.

The cause of the substation equipment failure is so far unknown, the PUD said, but crew members will work to determine the cause. No injuries related to the substation equipment failure were reported.

Along with the damage at the substation, the outage resulted in a fire in a Grant PUD maintenance building adjacent to the substation. The fire was extinguished by firefighters with Ephrata Fire Department and Grant County Fire District No. 13. No specific cause for the fire has been determined.

The transformer failed in a spectacle of high-voltage sparks, resutling in several online videos by spectators from a long distance, one of which is posted on The Star’s Facebook page at

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