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Sacheen boat launch to get upgrade
• April 25, 2012

OLYMPIA – The boat launch at Sacheen Lake will get an upgrade after the state approved $500,000 in capital funding money from the state jobs bill. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will lead the project, hiring a local contractor to do the design and development. Work will involve upgrading the boat launch and the toilets. 

The hope is to complete the project this year, but it depends on conditions and the water levels. 

The public access is on the northeast shore of the lake off of Highway 211.


County orders no wake zone on Diamond, Sacheen
By Janelle Atyeo | Of The Miner
• March 28, 2012
DIAMOND LAKE – Diamond Lake residents are concerned about flooding this spring. It’s early in the spring melt, and already the lake level is higher than it was last year at its highest point, said Jeff Taylor, member of the Diamond Lake Improvement Association (DLIA). 

Pend Oreille County commissioners declared an emergency late Tuesday, March 27, and issued a no wake order on Diamond and Sacheen Lake. Any boaters must operate at a speed slow enough to prevent creating a wake. 

The DLIA board will discuss lake levels at its next meeting April 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Diamond Lake Fire Station. Commissioner Diane Wear, sheriff Alan Botzheim and natural resources planner Todd McLaughlin plan to attend. 

Taylor said there are several people around the lake with flooded basements. He’s running pumps to keep his basement dry. Some residents started sandbagging in anticipation of spring floods even before snow hit last fall. Sandbags are now available at the Diamond Lake Fire Station. 

Commissioner Wear said Sacheen Lake is still frozen, “but I see this high water as a regular pattern,” she said. 

DLIA is hoping to relieve flooding by clearing the lake’s outlet at Moon Creek. Taylor said the creek is choked with weeds and beaver dams that keep water from running like normal. DLIA has hired the James A. Sewell & Associates engineering firm to help them secure the required environmental permits for doing in-stream work. 

Last year brought flooding throughout the Pend Oreille River Valley and prompted Pend Oreille County commissioners to institute the first ever no wake zone on some area lakes. It’s a precaution to prevent erosion that lake residents have asked for again this year. 

Taylor said Sewell has also been asked to look into finding a common lake level. That marker could be used to trigger a no wake zone in the future and also automatically be lifted when it lowered again to a certain level. Currently, the county doesn’t have a policy for implementing no wake zones on lakes; it is done at the commissioners’ discretion. They had discussed last year reviewing the policy during the winter before the lakes thawed but apparently didn’t. Last year many people were upset when the no wake zone was not lifted during the first month of summer. 

On the Pend Oreille River though, county ordinance sets a level of 2,041 feet above sea level at the Cusick gauge as the trigger for the no wake zone. That level was established by the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the point when minor flooding starts. As of Tuesday, the river level was at 2,034.32 feet. 

Last year, no wake restrictions went into effect on the river May 9 and weren’t lifted until the river dropped four feet in one weekend in mid-July. 

The levels at Diamond peaked at about 2,345.64 feet in late May 2011. Wake restrictions on Diamond and Sacheen lakes lasted until early July 2011, and Bead Lake restrictions were kept on longer. Bead Lake was not included in this first county order.

Sewer district survives: Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District also passes M&O levy
By Don Gronning | Of The Miner
• November 16, 2011
NEWPORT – Commissioners at the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District breathed a collective sigh of relief after a ballot measure to disincorporate the district was defeated 216-99 and their maintenance and operations levy passed by a similar margin, 216-97. 

“We’re very pleased with the large amount of community support throughout the lake district,” said Gary Garrett, one of the district’s three commissioners.

The district has had its plans to build a sewer system on hold until the vote on disincorporation. Now they will go ahead with the process, district secretary Sheila Pearman said. 

“We’ll start surveys before the snow flies,” she said. 

Developing a sewer system for Sacheen Lake has been a contentious issue from the start. 

Last year, the commissioners decided to form a Local Improvement District to pay for the sewer system. That LID, known as LID number 2, was successfully challenged in court by a group opposed to building what they said was an unnecessarily expensive system. 

The district initially wanted to build a $9.45 million system. Property owners would have been assessed $21,580 for a developed lot and $14,000 for an undeveloped lot. 

But the formation of the LID was challenged in Superior Court. The judge ruled that the district had improperly included some public property in the LID area. 

To overturn the LID without going to court, owners of 40 percent of the property in the LID needed to formally object. With the public property included, it unfairly raised the bar for the objectors, the judge ruled. 

So district commissioners went back and formed LID number 3 to pay for a smaller $7.9 million sewer system. Assessments for LID number 3 will be about $16,900. 

Opponents then petitioned to dissolve the district, which was voted on in the recent election. 

The controversy also sank the district’s $60,000 M&O levy a year ago. That meant the district relied on donations and put off things like treating for milfoil, Garrett said. 

“It was extremely important that the M&O passed,” Garrett said. He said the district didn’t treat for milfoil last year and needs to catch up. 

The district will hold a budget hearing Wednesday, Nov. 23. They will amend the 2011 budget to include the $5,000 in donations, as well as set the 2012 budget, which will be about $60,000, Pearman said. 

“We may also discuss the LID,” she said. 

The district will discuss the LID during their regular monthly meeting Dec. 7. 

The district hasn’t signed for a loan from the state Public Works Board. The district is seeking a 20-year loan at 2 percent interest. That way, property owners can make monthly payments instead of paying the assessment at one time. 

The interest rate will drop by a half percent if the project is completed within three years or by a quarter percent if completed within four years, she said. 

Sacheen Lake Water and Sewer LID sent back to district
Attorney Laura McAloon (center) explains some options to Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water commissioners Gary Garrett and Peggy Johnson after the court hearing challenging the district’s formation of a local improvement district to fund a sewer system. (Miner photo|Don Gronning)

By Don Gronning | Of The Miner
 June 01, 2011
NEWPORT – Superior Court Judge Allen Nielsen ruled in favor of those protesting the formation of the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District’s local improvement district and sent the issue back to the district to refigure the boundaries. The ruling was made after both sides presented arguments in a Pend Oreille County Superior Court hearing Wednesday, May 25.
Nielsen said that there had been an abuse of discretion on the part of district commissioners by including highways and other property in the district that wouldn’t be assessed to pay for the multi-million dollar sewer system.
“The inclusion of the land undermines the protest rights,” he said.
As required by law, there was a formal process by which those opposing the formation of the LID could protest, but Nielsen agreed with protesters that the district’s process was arbitrary and capricious and fundamentally wrong.
“The road was included and it should not have been,” he said.
The three elected Sacheen Lake Water and Sewer District commissioners formed the LID by resolution last fall with the goal of building a sewer system. Property owners within the LID would be assessed $21,580 for a developed lot and $14,100 for an undeveloped lot to finance the $9.45 million system.
By law, those objecting could overturn the LID formation if landowners of 40 percent of the land within the district formally objected in a timely manner.
More than 100 people objected and they hired attorney Stanley Schwartz early on to make their case.
The district gave the county’s community development department the boundaries and asked them to figure the amount of land within the district. The number the county came up with was 337 acres. Landowners representing about 35 percent of the land formally objected but that didn’t meet the 40 percent threshold.
Schwartz said the district should not have included properties that would not be asked to pay for the district, such as a park and a state highway.
Attorney Laura McAloon, representing the district, argued that the district had acted properly in forming the LID. In court, she said that the district had given adequate notice and conducted a fair appeal process. She said the law did not require that the property included in the LID to receive special benefit for it to be included in the district for purposes of calculating the LID boundaries and therefore the amount needed to overturn the LID. Government landowners within the LID, such as the state, which owns a highway and the county, which owns a park, could be assessed, she said.
Schwartz argued that the district could not include such property to the LID area to defeat the opponents.
Nielsen agreed. The goal of the law was to protect the rights of protest, he said. He said the district did not have to include the highway.
“The inclusion of the land undermines the protest rights,” he said. “The government has influenced the outcome.”
After the hearing, Jill Short, one of the people who objected to the formation of the LID said she was pleased the judge sent the matter back to the district.
“Hopefully, they’ll do it right this time,” she said.
Commission chairwoman Peggy Johnson said she didn’t have any regrets about how the district formed the LID.
“We followed the statute,” she said. That statute said total acreage within the LID, not just acreage that would be assessed, she said.
The district has long been trying to get a sewer treatment system for the lake. Johnson said it was defeated by about two votes in the 1970s.
McAloon said she was disappointed with Nielsen’s ruling.
“I don’t think the district did anything wrong, let alone anything arbitrary or capricious,” she said.
“We’re still waiting for the judge’s order,” she said. After reviewing the order, they’ll decide what to do next.
When the district formed the LID through resolution last fall, they used an engineer’s map of the area the sewer district would serve, she said.
They gave that map to the county’s department of community development.
“All the county did was calculate the area,” she said.
Josh Shelton, geographical information system analyst for the county, said that he worked with information from a Sewell Engineering map provided by Short.
He said she and district secretary Sheila Pearman told him which properties were to be excluded. He said the map, had a hand drawn line of the LID boundaries. In some places, the state highway was included in the LID area.
He said he did not deal with including or excluding the highway.
After the court hearing, he said the district asked him for more detailed information about the area, and he referred them to the county’s attorney Tom Metzger.


Sacheen Lake sewer dispute in court April 28 th

By Don Gronning | Of The Miner
• April 27, 2011
SACHEEN LAKE – Superior Court Judge Allen Nielsen will hear from attorneys on both sides of the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District dispute in Pend Oreille County Superior Court Thursday, April 28 at 1 p.m.
At issue is how a lawsuit to stop the formation of the local improvement district (LID) will proceed.
About 115 people are opposing the formation of the LID, which will access property owners of developed lots in the district $21,580 each and undeveloped lots $14,100 to pay for the $9.45 million system. They have hired an attorney who filed a lawsuit to stop the formation of the LID.
According to the lawsuit, the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District improperly included public roads and government property in the LID. By law, landowners of 40 percent of the property within the LID must formally object to the LID for it to be stopped. The district contends that landowners of only 36 percent of the 337 acres within the LID objected.
Opponents say that if you exclude a park, highways, and other property that shouldn’t be included, there are only 259 acres in the district and that they have easily met the 40 percent threshold to stop the formation. They say that only properties that will benefit from the sewer system should be included in the district.
The Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District commissioners, through their attorney, will argue Thursday that each of the 115 people should pay a $200 bond for the case to continue, instead of being able to combine their case and put up one bond.
The opponents claim that the formation of the district was capricious and arbitrary. The district answers that it is not arbitrary if the district gave due consideration to the process, even if the outcome is incorrect. They say they gave due consideration both when the commissioners voted to establish the district and through the process of seeking objections.
Opponents want the record expanded to present e-mails and other information that they say show the sewer district commission tried to get the outcome they wanted.
One of the things they want admitted is a statement from Josh Shelton, who works as a geographic information systems analyst for Pend Oreille County’s Department of Community Development. Shelton calculated the area for the district that would be included in the proposed LID.
According to the statement, Shelton said the overlay map he developed wasn’t an accurate depiction of the area within the LID due to technical and human limitations.
He said he told Sacheen Sewer and Water District Secretary Sheila Pearman that it wasn’t a “survey grade” document in terms of accuracy.
The attorney for the commission wants to limit the record to what was before the board when they made the decision to establish the LID.
The formation of the LID has been contentious all along. The area of the LID doesn’t include all the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District. Opponents say that some property was left out because sewer commissioners knew the owners would object, contributing to the 40 percent threshold.
To proceed, the sewer district needed an amendment to its comprehensive plan to build the sewer lagoon on land it plans to purchase from the Stimson Lumber Co. north of the lake. The county’s department of community development issued a finding of mitigated non-significance of the environmental impact of the plan.
The department only evaluated the plan, which didn’t have engineering details of the lagoons. An informational meeting was held by the engineers to explain the plan. Several nearby landowners vigorously objected to the location of the lagoon, claiming, among other things, that it would devalue their property and had the potential to contaminate nearby streams.
Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water commissioners have long said that a sewer system would protect the lake and increase property values.
The hearing Thursday is only to decide how the case proceeds. If needed, a trial date will be set for later.

Lawsuit challenges Sacheen sewer system LID

By Don Gronning | Of The Miner
• February 23, 2011

SACHEEN LAKE – A group has filed a lawsuit to stop the Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District from forming a Local Improvement District to finance a $9.45 million sewer treatment system.
A lawsuit was filed in Pend Oreille County Superior Court Dec. 16, 2010, according to former Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District commissioner Jill Short.
“About 50 percent of the lake is upset with the way this is being done,” Short said. She said about 100 people have signed on to the suit.
At issue is whether the sewer district should count property owned by the county in the acreage that is included in the sewer district. The opponents to the LID contend it should not be counted because the county won’t pay the assessments that will fund a $9.45 million sewer project. Nor will they benefit from the sewer district, Short said, something that’s required by law.
Owners of a developed lot will be assessed $21,580 for the lot and $14,100 for an undeveloped one in the LID. Property owners could either pay the assessment at one time or pay about $110 a month for 20 years or a similar amount for 30 years, depending on what loan the district obtains, district commissioner Perry Pearman said.
“They won’t have to pay anything until they flush their toilets,” he said. The district plans on having the system in place in early 2013, he said.
That’s not the point, said Richard Prange, one of the opponents. Opponents had a chance to formally object to the LID. It would not be approved if landowners representing 40 percent of the property within the LID went on record with their objections.
“We thought we had gained that many,” he said.
But sewer commissioners adjusted the number of acres from 259 to 337 in order to make sure the opponents didn’t get the 40 percent necessary to stop the LID, Prange said. They did this by including the roadways and easements and Meyers-Harters Park in the LID area.
After the period for objections passed, owners of about 35 percent of the property in the proposed LID formally objected.
Pearman said the district got the number of acres in the LID district from Pend Oreille County.
District commissioner Gary Garrett said that it was a proper way to form the LID.
“I’m told that is the way it’s done throughout the state,” he said.
Garrett said he thinks taking the matter to court is the proper way to resolve the dispute.
“It’s an excellent way to go,” he said.
Pearman said he thought the way the district formed the LID was fair.
“It’s not like we’re inventing this,” he said.
The next step is for the attorney for the LID opponents and the district’s attorney to set up a hearing date, possibly by the end of March, he said.
LID opponents said that the dispute has cost them money. Short said she thinks they have spent about $10,000 to hire the attorney.
In addition to the fairness, Short said she objects to being included in the LID because she and her husband have a drainfield system already. She said they paid $14,000 for three holding tanks for their system. She said the system will last 40 years.
She and her husband, Richard, have asked to be exempted from the LID but were turned down. She said there are others who have private sewer systems who were also denied exemptions.
Pearman said that the time to put in the system is now, while construction prices are down and the district can borrow money. He said the district has applied for a 2-percent loan from the state Public Works Trust Fund. The governor has included the project in her budget, but they won’t know if they’ll get the money until after the legislative session is over.
If they don’t get the money, they will seek a loan from the USDA’s rural development fund. That money would also be low interest but would be repaid over a 30-year period.
The Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District is offering property owners a chance to combine two properties into one assessment, he said. The properties must be contiguous. That offer expires June 30.
Prange said that if the LID is allowed to stand, it will set a precedent for all future LID proposals around the state.
“We don't feel that un-served and un-assessed property should stand with equal footing in a determination of this sort,” he said.

Sacheen Lake voters defeat sewer district M&O levy
By Don Gronning | Of The Miner
 November 10, 2010
SACHEEN LAKE – Opponents of establishing a Local Improvement District at Sacheen Lake to fund a lake-wide sewer system were unsuccessful in turning back the LID but the fight may have cost the district the M&O levy, which was defeated at the polls.
“I do think that some people not in favor of the LID voted against the M&O,” said Sheila Pearman, executive secretary for the district.
Voters were equally divided, with 82 voting in favor of the levy and 82 voting against it, a 50-50 draw. The levy needed a 60-percent approval to pass.
The district was seeking $60,000 with the M&O, which would have been collected at 85 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.
The district has been around more than 20 years, said Pearman and only a handful of M&O levies have failed. The latest to fail was in 2009.
“We got a grant and filled in our obligations,” Pearman said.
This time the grants may be harder to come by.
“We’ll work with whatever money we have left over,” she said. “It will be a slim line budget next year.”
Some activities the district does will not get done, such as maintaining lake levels, beaver control and milfoil control, she said.
The LID didn’t go to a vote. Instead, elected district commissioners passed a resolution to form one. For the LID to not go through, owners of land representing 40 percent of the ground within the district needed to formally oppose the formation of the LID.
According to Pearman, landowners representing 35.8 percent of the land within the district, some 120 acres, formally opposed the formation of the LID. There are 337 acres in the LID district, Pearman said.
The rules for what objections were counted were specific, she said.
If the written objections weren’t signed or if they were signed by someone who wasn’t the owner of record, they were not counted, she said. Some arrived late and they weren’t counted.
The LID will generate $9.45 million to build a sewer system by assessing property owners $21,580 for a developed lot and $14,100 for an undeveloped one. District commissioners are confident they will be able to get a loan so that property owners can pay off the assessments over 20 or 30 years, depending on the loan.
The next step is for the commissioners to formally form the LID at a meeting set for Nov. 18 at the Sacheen Lake Fire Station on Highway 211 at 7 p.m.

Sacheen Lake off polluted lakes list

Clerical error kept lake on federal listing for 11 years

By Youssef Sleiman
Of The Miner
OLYMPIA – The way that people perceive Sacheen Lake’s water may begin to change after the state’s Department of Ecology dropped the lake from a federal list of polluted water bodies in February this year.

“Basically, Sacheen Lake was listed erroneously in 1998,” DOE spokeswoman Jani Gilbert said.

The 303(d) list compiles all of the impaired water bodies, and in 1998, Sacheen Lake was added to the list. However, 11 years later, water quality specialist Ken Koch discovered a clerical error that led to the lake’s listing in the first place.

Sacheen Lake had hits against it for total phosphorous and fecal coliform, which are bacteria left from animal waste and failing septic systems. When water quality assessments were written again in 2004 and 2008, Sacheen Lake appeared on the 303(d) listing again.

What Koch discovered in February was that the 2002 and 2004 listings were only based on the 1998 listing.

And the final listing decision for Sacheen Lake in 1998 was “No.” 

“Yet the listing was erroneously added to the 1998 list,” Koch wrote to The Miner. “In the process of completing the 2002/2004 listing cycle, this listing was still on the list and since there was no new data, the listing was simply brought forward to the 2004 list. The error was finally caught and the listing inactivated.” 

Both the 1998 final listing decisions for total phosphorous and fecal coliform stated “no,” but the lake received the spot on the list anyway and held it for about 11 years.

Sacheen Lake Sewer and Water District managing secretary Sheila Pearman said that when the sewer district first discovered the lake had been listed as an impaired water body, the board questioned it. However, to get off of the list, Pearman said, the district would have to spend more funds to “renew” the lake. At the same time, the district was counseled that the impairment listing could also bring in more grant funds for lake cleanup projects.

“In the past, that may have been true,” Pearman said, “But anymore, there’s hardly any grant funds left.” 

As far as Pearman knows, the district did not receive any grant funds based on the listing.

Since the district also did not spend any funds to try and get off the 303(d) list or receive funds from being on the list, the listing had a net zero effect on the district’s balance sheet.

“The biggest impact may be on how people perceive the lake’s water quality,” Pearman said, adding that some residents, after hearing about the 303(d) listing, wouldn’t swim in the lake.

The only active mark against Sacheen Lake remains the aquatic invasive species listing, caused by Eurasian watermilfoil.

The ecology department did note the existence of an Active Phase II State Clean Lakes Restoration Project at Sacheen Lake. The project performed watershed nutrient management (to manage nutrients such as phosphorus), septic tank elimination, lake level regulation, public education and control measures on aquatic herbicides.

“So yes, the people are right. Sacheen Lake was on the 1998 and the 2004 lists, but erroneously so,” Koch wrote.

Sacheen Lake wasn’t the only lake to receive a reprieve from the state’s ecology department. Another total phosphorous sampling hit against Sacheen Lake came from a 1981 float-equipped helicopter recon of the lake. The helicopter would land, take a sample, and then DOE would use the sample for pollution determinations. The results were collected in a 1985 study, informally called a Sumioka and Dion study.

“It was later decided that a single sample event is not justification for a 303(d) listing,” Koch said. “If the Sumioka and Dion information was the only information we had on any particular lake, the listing was inactivated. Many lake listings were inactivated. This happened with Sacheen Lake.” 

This listing was dropped from Sacheen Lake in 2006.

The fecal coliform and total phosphorus listings, inactivated Feb. 4, came from a 1991 Phase I restoration project, by Kennedy Engineers. The data was submitted to the ecology department in hard copy only. Seven years later, the department recommended against listing Sacheen Lake on the 303(d) list, but the lake appeared on it anyway. The department is waiting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve the 2008 list before changes are made and a new category assigned to Sacheen Lake.

All three sewer commissioner positions are up for election this year, with the only incumbent being recently appointed Jill Short. Two other positions will run for an unexpired term of four years and an expired term of six years.

Voters will also be deciding on two finance issues for the sewer district. The district is putting before voters a 10-year $505,000 bond issue and a one-year, $56,000 maintenance and operations levy. The rate for the bond is estimated at $1.15 per $1,000 of assessed value, and the rate for the levy is estimated at 80 cents per $1,000.

The district is holding a meeting Oct. 3 at the Sacheen Lake fire station to discuss the bond. The bond would be used to purchase a site for a water treatment facility, Pearman said.

Lake level is main Sacheen concern
To the editor:
Recently, Joanie Suttle cited a portion of a conversation Sacheen Lake water and sewer commissioner Jeff Storms had with The Miner regarding reasons for failure of the M&O bond for the sewer district. If she communicated with Storms or attended sewer board meetings regularly, her confusion may have been cleared up. 
She also stated what she erroneously perceives to be the belief of Save Our Sacheen members and supporters regarding sewering. Again, if she had attended an S.O.S. meeting, she would know that lake level is the main focus of S.O.S., not sewering. Most S.O.S. members and supporters favor sewering, but not "at any cost" and not without all relevant information. S.O.S. has no interest in sabotaging the sewer. Ms. Suttle must know of some other small group trying to control lake decisions. 
The important question remains: Why did the M&O fail?" Commissioner Ron Schmidt, at a board meeting, said, "The M&O and sewer project are two separate issues." M&O funds are intended for controlling lake level, milfoil elimination, park maintenance, staff compensation, etc., not for payment of the sewer comprehensive plan, which was rolled into the M&O request. County re-evaluations resulted in most property owners seeing a doubling plus of assessed property values, the M&O tax basis. The requested amount was not cut proportionally. 
Ms. Suttle is correct; communication is the key. Now that the issue of the board commissioner is resolved, maybe the board and staff can focus on open communication with lake residents, owners, and voters. Transparency of operation and full disclosure of information by the board and staff, may restore confidence and the M&O and sewering project may find more support. The board is urged to do as Ms. Suttle suggested, "Help property owners make informed decisions with true facts and figures regarding sewering."
For more information visit
-Jamie Spivy
Save Our Sacheen

Population increase degrading Sacheen Lake

To the editor:
Jeff Storms’ recent statement in The Miner, indicating that if the Sacheen sewer maintenance and operations levy does not pass, it must mean the Sacheen residents don’t want a sewer system could not be further from the truth. Contrary to the belief of Save Our Sacheen members and supporters, the majority of property owners do want a system. Sewer commissioner Storms refuses to acknowledge that 147 property owners indicated their desire to develop a whole lake system in their recent petition to the board and by a large majority at another sewer meeting held in May. 
Communication is the main issue because a large percentage of property owners are weekend/summer users. The Sacheen Betterment Association tries to keep everyone informed via annual meetings, SacheenSCOPE newsletter and e-mail. Sadly, because lake decisions are made through the voting process and very few property owners are registered voters, the votes of that small group make the decisions for the whole. 
At a time when we should be pulling together and working towards the long-term health of the lake, it seems that a small minority has been able to successfully sabotage the lake’s health for their own personal interests. We will continue to watch, listen, participate, and educate by sharing information, to help property owners make informed decisions with true facts/figures regarding sewering. 
With permission, I close this letter with a quote from another letter written by Perry Pearman to the SLSWD Board on Oct. 15, 2008. 
“We are at an unprecedented juncture in the life of Sacheen Lake. The past and the future are at loggerheads. We are dead in the water. The past says we do not have to do anything to protect the lake. The future says that our population pressures are quickly degrading our lake and we must install a sewer to protect what we have.” 
-Joanie Suttle
Sacheen Lake

Remaining ballots won’t change general election outcomes

By Michael Denuty
Of The Miner
NEWPORT – Pend Oreille County’s 2008 general election will be canvassed and certified Tuesday morning, Nov. 25. Virtually all of the ballots have been counted and none of the election outcomes will change. 

The auditor’s staff counted 25 more ballots Tuesday morning, Nov. 18. 

The only close race was for the Sacheen Sewer & Water District maintenance and operations levy, which required a 60-percent approval to pass. It did not pick up any more votes and is failing with 58 percent in favor and 42 percent against (100 yes, 71 no). 

Tuesday’s count confirmed that Pend Oreille County has set two voting records. 

The 25 ballots brought the voter turnout to 6,648, which is 85.24 percent of the registered voters. The old record was 83.72 percent, set in 2004. 

The number of registered active voters – 7,799 – is also a record. The old record was 7,486, also from 2004. 

Elections supervisor Liz Krizenesky said the canvassing board will meet at about 10:30 a.m. to count any remaining ballots – probably not more than a handful. She said the late start will allow the auditor’s staff to check Tuesday’s mail for any additional ballots. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 4, in order to be counted. 

The election will then be canvassed and certified at about 11 a.m. Assessor-elect Jim McCroskey will be sworn in at 1 p.m. 

McCroskey beat Sonya Gamalielson for the assessor’s seat. 

There have been questions about a recount in the District 1 county commissioner race where Democrat Diane Wear was leading by less than 300 votes over Republican Anthony Newcomb. Krizenesky this does not qualify for an automatic recount. State law calls for a mandatory recount if the vote is one-half of 1 percent difference. Wear had about 52 percent of the vote and Newcomb had 47 percent. 

Pend Oreille County also elected a new district No. 3 commissioner. John Hankey defeated the incumbent, Ken Oliver, 63 to 37 percent. 

PUD commissioner Curt Knapp held on to his seat over Richard Bevans, 61 percent to 39 percent. 

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