Stories in this compilation are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part two, with part one having appeared in Saturday’s Tribune.
KOOSKIA — Recently a decision was made by the Mountain View School District to not renew the contracts of three of its staff members, one of whom is Vincent Martinez, a teacher at Clearwater Valley High School.
An attempt was made to contact Superintendent Mark Scheibe about the matter, but he failed to comment.
Several past and present students from Clearwater Valley organized a meeting Tuesday at the Kooskia Park in support of Martinez, providing a petition to sign, in hopes to sway the school board to give him his job back.
“Mr. Martinez changed my life, just like he did so many other kids,” said 2018 Clearwater Valley graduate Dawson Gorges. “When I was a junior, I had an opportunity to represent my school for the first time in a national competition, and I wasn’t going to go. He changed my mind. That was one of the best decisions in my high school career. He made it happen, he organized fundraisers and, although I helped with that as much as I could, it wouldn’t have been possible without him.”
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact that he’s had, and he’s supported every single kid in that school,” said Clearwater Valley track coach Lara Smith, who also pointed out that Martinez was appointed guest speaker by the last two graduating classes. “Maybe he spoke up in an improper way, but I’m sure that’s out of frustration for wanting the best for CV students and the community. I support him.”
While Martinez was unable to attend the gathering at the park, he sent a note to be read in his absence that said: “I would like to thank you for being here today and for all your support and love. It hurts my heart that I cannot personally be in the moment with you as I am training for my summer youth crew leader job. I will be thinking of you. I want you to know that I am fighting for my job. I want to be your business technology educator. As I have said many times before, you are worth fighting for, thank you for fighting for me. As we move forward, I ask and encourage you to be positive, stay calm, and use your voice to advocate for what you believe in. Ask questions and seek answers. Thank you, I love you.”
The regular monthly school board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Grangeville for anyone who wishes to attend and make public comments on the matter.
— The Clearwater Progress (Kamiah), Thursday
Valley County ponders ending recycling of plastics
McCALL — Valley County commissioners said Monday they are considering no longer accepting plastic at the county’s recycling drop-off stations in McCall, Donnelly and Cascade.
Commissioners were told that the county’s plastic recycling is contaminated with garbage and unrecyclable plastics to the point that recycling centers are no longer accepting it.
The plastic is currently being sent to landfills in either Adams County or Payette County with the county’s garbage, said Scott Carnes, site manager for Lake Shore Disposal.
“By collecting it at the recycling centers, paying to have it hauled, paying to have it baled, and just taking it up and put it in the waste stream, we’re doing a disservice to citizens of our county by adding cost to collection of that,” Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank said.
No decision was made at Monday’s meeting, but the topic will be considered again at next Monday’s meeting. No time to discuss the item had been set by Wednesday.
The county has budgeted spending $180,000 to handle recyclables this year, but proceeds from selling back recyclables has only totaled about $3,300 so far, Cruickshank said.
“Anybody who has a little common sense would say we’re going backwards so fast that it’s not helping,” he said.
The market rates for recyclable materials have been going down for several years nationwide, Carr said.
— Max Silverson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday
Public housing transitioning to local ownership
POMEROY — Project director for the Blue Mountain Action Council, Ted Koehler, met with Garfield County commissioners to update them on the ownership status of the public housing duplex.
The Washington State Department of Commerce is currently in the process of transferring ownership of the property from the council to the Pomeroy Ministerial Association. The transfer process should be finalized in about two to three months, according to Koehler, who added that he will be assisting Roger Pedersen with the ministerial association in getting the transaction completed.
The ministerial association has been managing the property and receiving a $200 per month stipend from the Blue Mountain Action Council. They have plans to do some renovation and repairs once the property transfers, but a lot of work has already been done by the council.
Koehler talked to the commissioners about how Columbia County is handling its homeless housing. They have been arranging repair loans at very low interest rates to homeowners who qualify for assistance. The homes must be real property, nonrental property and the homeowner must qualify as low-income. He suggested that a similar program could be done in Garfield County, as well.
— Connie Boyer, East Washingtonian (Pomeroy), Thursday
City pool repair making good progress
POMEROY — City Superintendent Kenny Landkammer updated the progress being made on the city pool repair, stating that the concrete work is finished, and was curing.
The repaired areas were then to be primed and painted, and they were to start filling the pool last week. It will still take a couple of days to heat, but he estimates that the opening of the pool will be Wednesday.
Mayor Miller gave the list of employees hired as the pool staff for the 2019 summer season, which are Leslie Schmidt as the manager, and as lifeguards: Heidi Heytvelt, Vegas Vecchio, Tiffany Wessels, Teagan Steele, Jordan Tucker, Crystle Gordon and Raelin Borley.
— Connie Boyer, East Washingtonian (Pomeroy), Thursday