Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn Leaf Festival

I hope that many of you had the chance to come out and enjoy Leavenworth's Autumn Leaf Festival this past weekend. As Leavenworth's longest running festival, established in 1964 by the Autumn Leaf Festival Association (, it began with the adoption of our much loved Bavarian Theme. If you were walking around Front Street and Commercial Street on Saturday morning, you most likely saw me volunteering my time in one of the festival's food booths making and selling cotton candy and carmel apples. Mmmmm!

The beautiful parade began at noon on Saturday, featuring our famous Royal Lady, Pat Rutledge and Royal Bavarian Kanzler, Ron Hill. They were joined by past Royalty as well as many of our city's officials; Nancy Smith, the Chamber of Commerce Director, Karl Ruether, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, our Mayor, Rob Eaton, to name a few. School bands, dance teams, military bands, and other Washington festival floats came from all over to join us in celebrating Autumn and our great Bavarian town.

Gazebo entertainment was packed all weekend long, entertaining residents and guests with great local sounds and German tunes.

Autumn Leaf Festival is a great piece of our Bavarian town's history and tradition. I hope that the festival is around for decades to come!

Icicle Station is OPEN!

The Icicle Train Station opening and celebration was a huge success! Congratulations to Mayor Rob Eaton and the City of Leavenworth for making it all happen!

Over 100 people joined in the opening celebration on Friday evening, the 25th. The festivities started about 7pm, with music, snacks and beverages, and everyone was able to tour the new facilities. Chelan County Public Works worked diligently to make it so that North Road could be opened for local access to event, rather than driving all the way to Peshastin to access the station. Great job Public Works!

There were several guest speakers prior to the trains arrival, including Keith Goehner (a Chelan County Commissioner), a representative from Patty Murray's office, and Linda Evans Parlette.

Just after 8pm, the Amtrak train arrived at Icicle Station and a group of people disembarked the train, including our mayor, Rob Eaton. It was a great photo opportunity for all. The overjoyed, teary-eyed Mayor spoke to the crowd thanking all those who had contributed to the project and those who made the project possible.

Congratulations City of Leavenworth! I believe Icicle Station is a huge success and excellent addition to our amazing Bavarian town!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

City Council Meeting 9/22/09

Last evening council meeting started off with a safety report from the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. Since the City of Leavenworth doesn't have their own Police Department, they contract with the Sheriff's Office for law enforcement needs. The Sheriff's Office will be adding extra deputies to the city during Oktober Fest this year, and they may bring the DUI trailer over from Wenatchee as well.

Mike Mitchell, of Leavenworth, came before the council and gave a presentation about the Sheriff's Department Volunteer Service program that he's starting up here in town. It will be a great community service in addition to the Sheriff's Department deputy patrols. Mike is going to start recruiting volunteers next week for the program. Each member of the program will go through an extensive background check and training. Once trained, they will be offering services such as vacation home checks while residents are out of town, traffic control, park patrols, radar box placement, parking ticketing if need be, parade patrol, school patrol, etc. When members are on duty they will wear a uniform and ID, and work in pairs. Mike is hoping to use the octagonal building on Highway 2 as their office. He is trying to work out the details with the City's Community Development Department, but has run into a few difficulties with them. Once the program is up and running, they will give the City and council quarterly reports on their work. This program will be an extension of the Sheriff's Office and the Sheriff's Office will assume any liability. This program should be a great success for the City. It doesn't hurt to have extra eyes and ears on our great town.

Local, Mr. George Wagner, is selling the Leavenworth beer wagon, and the City is buying it. They will be using LAP (lodging tax) funds for the purchase, meaning our beloved tourists are purchasing the wagon. Projekt Bayern will be running and storing the wagon for the City.

The Chelan Douglas Health District is currently working with all the area hospitals on a plan for a flu epidemic response.

The council will be going through the City's 2010 budget to find anywhere they may be able to save. Sales revenue is down this year and they need to make sure revenues and expenditures are balanced. The council will also be reviewing the duties and positions of all City staff in order to make sure that staff are located in the correct departments and conducting the correct duties.

The Pubic Works Department will be working on three residential street projects this week and next week.

Gary Moog, of East Wenatchee and member of the Wenatchee Eagles service club, came before the council to discuss to possibility of creating a Wenatchee Eagles Lodge here in Leavenworth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Attention Leavenworth Residents!

Are you registered to vote in Leavenworth? If not, you have to register at least 29 days before the election date or you will not be eligible for a ballot. This year's cut off date is October 5th! It's very easy and can be done online.

Go to, click on the "Elections" tab on the right. This will open a new window and simply click on the "online voter registration" button at the top and follow the easy steps. All you should need is your Driver's License in hand when you register.

If you have any questions, just let me know. I'm more than happy to help!

Anne Hessburg for Leavenworth City Council!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Campaign donations

Thank you to all those who have been following my blog, facebook group, and/or campaign! Your support is amazing and greatly appreciated.

I recently opened up an account for anyone interested in making a donation to my campaign. I'll be using the donations to fund a mail out and possibly some signs, if I have enough to do so. I started by donating $100 to my campaign! As always, donations to a campaign are tax deductible.

Please make your check payable to:
Committee to elect Anne Hessburg.

Donations can be mailed to:
Committee to elect Anne Hessburg
420 Cascade Street
Leavenworth, WA 98826

Thank you again for all your support!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Life2 - For a More Sustainable Leavenworth

As a new member of Life2, I attended their monthly meeting this past Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with this Leavenworth organization, " The mission of LIFE2 is 'to inspire, educate and mobilize the citizens of the greater Leavenworth community to take responsibility for meeting the environmental, economic and social needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their needs.' LIFE2 began when interested citizens of Leavenworth responded to an invitation to come to the Barn Beach Reserve to discuss the concept of a sustainable community at a meeting held on October 29, 2008, initiating what has become an on-going series of discussions about the future of the greater Leavenworth area."

At this weeks meeting we discussed several important and current issues; the downtown ice rink project, the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery upgrade project, recycling, the upcoming candidate forum.

The Downtown Ice Rink
There recently was a gathering of Leavenworth residents to discuss the possibility of constructing an ice rink at a downtown location. The brainchild of Tony Keyser, this rink is currently being proposed in the Lion's Club park. The City of Leavenworth would be sponsoring the project and wold be the fiscal agent for the project, particularly for grant funding.

If the rink were to be constructed in the park, it would require the removal of a few trees and would be adding a hardened surface to this current green space. This has been of concern for some residents, due to the fact that Lion's Club park is the only park north of Highway 2. The location in the park is not final, but it is hoped that it will be located where it is visible in the downtown corridor. The City will be asking for public feedback in the near future.

Fish Hatchery Upgrade Project
The Leavenworth Fish Hatchery recently obtain $14 million dollars in federal stimulus money to be used to repair and upgrade the fish pond infrastructure. Currently there is a pipe system that leads to the aquifer which in turn fills the fish ponds, from a diversion several miles upstream on Icicle Creek. This system is failing and in need of repair. The hatchery is proposing a new system that would incorporate a pumping system, which would require electricity. The current system is gravity fed. Although there are other structures within the hatchery that are in need of repair, like the head gate, the stimulus money would only be used for the pumping station.

Currently, the gravity fed system diverts 42 cfs worth of water to the aquifer and wells at the hatchery. The diversion water goes into the canal and recharges the aquifer, and is then used to fill the ponds. The new system may at times divert all the creek water, and this is of concern for many, not only for the health and vitality of the creek, its fish and their habitat, but also because the hatchery may not have the water rights for a full diversion of the water from the aquifer.

There is no doubt that the system needs to be repaired. The current pipe system is close to failure, and if it fails, it would be difficult to keep the fish alive. For those interested in this upcoming project, please contact the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery or the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Dave Torgler, the City Administrator, joined us at our meeting this week to discuss the progress that the City is making on introducing a recycling program to the residents of Leavenworth. Dave said that Waste Management has agreed to provide residential service, but they do not have a written agreement with the City yet. Once an agreement has been signed, Waste Management would provide 95 gallon containers to those who contract for the service. Pick-up would be bi-weekly, $7.90 per month, and service would be direct with Waste Management, not with the City. Dave is hoping to be able to bring an agreement to the City Council in early October, as they are trying to make recycling available as soon as possible. He believes that city residents will have recycling at their homes by January 1, 2010!

Dave Morgan of Leavenworth Recycles (LR) reminded everyone that the drop off site on the County Shop Road would be closing as of January 1, 2010. LR is no longer able to fund its operation. Morgan asked Torgler if it would be possible to obtain a variable can rate for garbage for those who contract for curbside recycling, meaning if a resident uses a smaller garbage can or uses less cans, they would pay less for garbage. Currently garbage is a flat rate, that doesn't take into account those who dispose of less. A variable can rate would help encourage recycling. Torgler said that the City would be looking at a variable can rate that is economical for the City too.

Torgler mentioned that the City was not aware that LR was not going to be running the drop off site as of 2010. Currently, the City is not looking at taking over this site, but is interested in meeting with LR to discuss this option. A LIFE2 member mentioned that the City had agreed years ago, at the opening of the drop off site, that the Cit would work, over time, to take over the site from LR. This hasn't happened to date.

Ross Freeman, the Stevens Pass Environmental Manager and LIFE2 member, said that he and Stevens have worked with Waste Management for nearly two years now, and he is happy to help and answer any questions anyone, including the City, may have.

Ultimately, people innately want to do what is right. We just need to make it easy for them to do it.

Candidate Forum
The absentee ballots are to arrive at homes on October 16th, so the forum is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14th. The forum will be at 7pm at Barn Beach Reserve, and will give the City Council and School Board candidates the chance to speak to the residents of Leavenworth and answer questions before they vote.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Autumn Leaf Festival - weekend of September 25th

Leavenworth is kicking off it's festival season in just a few short weeks with the 46th annual Autumn Leaf Festival! As Leavenworth's longest running festival, established in 1964 by the Autumn Leaf Festival Association (, it began with the adoption of our much loved Bavarian Theme. From the famous Royal Ladies and Royal Bavarian Kanzlers, to the Grand Parade, Gazebo Entertainment and Street Dancing, this festival is quintessentially Leavenworth!

The festival begins Friday, September 25th, running through Sunday, September 27th. There will be food, fun, and entertainment for all ages. Come watch and cheer for your Bavarian Royalty at the Grand Parade on Saturday starting at noon, and check out the climbing wall and inflatables in the Front Street lawn.

This is not a festival to miss! I will be volunteering in a food booth on Saturday the 26th from 10am to noon. Come on down and support your local community, and be sure to stop on by and say hi. There are still some volunteer opportunities available at the festival. If you are interested, please contact the Autumn Leaf Festival Association or the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce. See you there!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

City Council Meeting 9/8/09

On Tuesday I attended the Leavenworth City Council meeting, as I have been for the past year. I enjoy knowing what is going on in my city. With the Mayor and the Community Development Director still in Russia on their cultural and economical exchange, the meeting was conducted by our Mayor Pro-Tem, Peter DeVries.

The Public Works Director, Dave Schettler, mentioned that the city is looking at conducting a few small road projects before the snow begins to fall. He did not mention which roads would receive maintenance, but I'm sure that this type of project information can be obtained at the Public Works Department in City Hall. I did not have the chance to ask for this information, as the council went into Executive Session at the end of the public portion of the meeting.

Peter DeVries told the council that they will be receiving a complete list of the proposed revitalization projects for the city. The council will review all these projects so that money can be appropriately allocated to fund the chosen projects.

RECYCLING! Currently, the city conducts the pickup of recyclable cardboard from our businesses in the commercial district, and Leavenworth Recycles runs the drop off site on County Shop Road. At the end of the year, Leavenworth Recycles will run out of funding and will not be able to keep the drop off site open any longer. With the rising desire for a city recycling program from residents, the City has been researching recycling options for the city as a whole for quite some time. You may have recently read in the Leavenworth Echo that several city employees took a field trip up to the City of Chelan to take a tour and get a better understanding of their city-run recycling program. Chelan runs a successful drop off site, and the City of Leavenworth is researching the possibility of doing the same. The City recently obtained a $125,000 grant to help with the funding of a recycling program. This money will be available in January 2010.

Additionally and recently, Dave Torgler, our City Administrator, has been talking with Waste Management about a personal pickup/home-by-home curbside recycling program within the city limits for individual residences. Essentially, the City and Waste Management would have to work up an agreement that would allow Waste Management to conduct business within the city limits at individual residences who have personally contracted with them for recycling pickup. All the details have not been worked out yet, but Dave is hopeful that a draft agreement may be ready for council review and approval as soon as the next City Council meeting on September 22, 2009. Dave told the council that it looks like the service and rate to be charged would be the same as what is conducted and charged within the County; pickup would be every two weeks, and billing would be directly with Waste Management. The City would not require residents to contract with Waste Management for recycling pickup. It would just be an option made available.

The City is also exploring other city-wide commercial and residential options. They may be maintaining the drop off site on County Shop Road once Leavenworth Recycles is no longer able to do so.

Dave Schettler reported that the Icicle Train Station project is progressing on time. The lights are up on the station and asphalt should be complete next week. Chelan County Public Works is hoping to have one lane on North Road open to local traffic in time for the first train stop on September 25, 2009.

City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. I will be at the next meeting on the 22nd. I hope to see you there too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chamber of Commerce

Last week I joined many of the Leavenworth area business owners at the Chamber of Commerce General Meeting. It was great to sit down with many of the business owners that I know, and to be able to meet many that I didn't.

The Chamber memebers recieved an update on the Russian trip that our Mayor, Rob Eaton, and Community Development Director, Connie Krueger are currently on. It is a cultural and economic exchange program between a similar small, recreational town in Russia and Leavenworth. Rob and Connie will be away for about two weeks on this educational exchange.

There was also an update on the Icicle Train Station project. As many already know, the first stop at our amazing station will be on September 25th! The project is nearing completion, and with the date quickly arriving, there is an excited buzz of anticipation in the air. I can't wait to take a trip over to Seattle on the train!

There will be a celebration at the Icicle Station beginning around 6pm the evening of the 25th, just prior to the first evening stop around 8pm. The Chamber may be supplying bus service to the station since there is limited parking.

The Chamber is still working on a few long term transportation details. Many will most likely rely on Leavenworth Shuttle and Taxi to take guests from the station into town, but some businesses have expressed that they will be taking care of their personal guests; ie. lodging guests.

For those who are Chamber members, the Chamber Board meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at 8am at Krystals. Members are welcome to attend.

The next general meeting will be held later this fall.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Affordable Housing

Hand in hand with development and the desirability of our setting, the relative price of housing costs have increased dramatically in Leavenworth over the past 20 years. While this is largely seen as a strong sign of economic heath, we need to continue to work with organizations like SHARE to making housing affordable to the residents and employees of our community. Many tourism and recreation communities pay attention to this important issue too late, and as a result, isolate members of the community on all sides of this issue. Having worked for seasonal employers such as the Forest Service and Stevens Pass in my past, I understand the strain of finding affordable housing, and what the potential long term consequences can mean in this community. We need to find a balance between the growing market values of homes in this amazing mountain town and the growing need to keep our valuable employment base living and working in our community.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Residential Infrastructure

As many residents have observed, a number of our residential neighborhoods are in need of facelift. The reinvestment of city revenues into upgrading and renewing the infrastructure of our residential neighborhoods merits equal focus with projects intended to serve our tourism guests. As a member of the Leavenworth City Council, I will advocate the upgrading of roads, the assessment of storm water capture and treatment systems, an examination of our solid waste infrastructure, and the integration of focused stream street lamps. These amenities will in turn contribute to the safety of our residents and add to the long term value of our community as a whole.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


As more families and individuals recognize the many qualities of our beautiful Cascade mountain town, the demand for housing, commercial space, and community services continue to increase. With our new residents, our community on the whole benefits from increased diversity in our schools to new volunteers and contributors at our festivals. At the same time, population growth and community expansion exert pressures on our current residents, our surrounding natural environment, and our community services as a whole.
In my position at the Chelan County Community Development office, I balance and manage issues surrounding community growth every day. I am already familiar with the current issues facing our town. Additionally, I understand that the ability to reach out and communicate the needs, concerns and desires of all Leavenworth residents, regardless of duration, economic status, or generation. This cross-community understanding is the starting point for any development project; with the support of our valuable community, Leavenworth will see sustainable development and progress for the future.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The development of tourism surrounding our unique Bavarian theme and outdoor recreation has served to truly differentiate Leavenworth over the last four decades. It is our loyal and dependable tourists that generate millions in sales tax revenue each year; funds, when allocated practically and appropriately, serve to better the lives of our residents and community, while at the same time ensuring the financial health of our town in the future. Balancing public investment to serve the needs of our residents, businesses, and tourists, is an ever-moving target that merits close attention and public discussion. As a member of the city council, I will work to achieve and maintain this balance, with an eye to both the health of our business community, and the wellness of our residents.