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Mills Bros. Inc.

Helping to dress the men of Wenatchee since 1906, Mills Bros. this year added the fourth generation of the Mills family to its heritage roster. Meredith Hilger, the daughter of third-generation owners Sam and Vickie Mills, returned to Wenatchee after working in corporate retail in Seattle.

“I’m glad to be back home in a small, independently owned business,” Hilger says. “We are proud to be a third and fourth generation working together toward the success of this company. We try to make sure that all employed at Mills Bros. have a voice, and we are careful not to exclude anyone from the decision-making process. Some employees have been with us over 20 years and truly do feel like members of the family.”

That family goes back to brothers Sam and Harvey Mills, who left their jobs at a railroad-owned department store in Roslyn to begin their own menswear business in Wenatchee in September of 1906, when Theodore Roosevelt was president.

Eighteen presidents and 109 years later, Mills Bros. continues to offer in-house tailoring and the sort of personal-touch customer service that Sam and Harvey Mills introduced. Mills Bros. uses careful buying, an eye for quality, and smart inventory control to stay current with men’s fashion trends and continue growing the company. The result: Mills Bros’ sales are up and its wedding business in particular is thriving. Merchandise ranges from formal wear to sportswear and shoes, both for dress and casual occasions.

Sam Mills, grandson of the cofounder, says the foundation laid by the preceding generations was a solid one. “They taught me a lot about business, to have good-quality merchandise and, most important, to strive to give people the best customer service,” Mills says, “because we depend on repeat business.”

Hilger adds that the company’s community ties run deep, including perennial sponsorship of local sports teams and support of charity fundraisers. “My father introduces me to just about everyone when we’re out and about,” she says. “We’re proud to be part of the community.” sam mills

Credit: Hayley Young

CLOTHES CALL. Mills Bros. owners Sam and Vickie Mills with their daughter, Meredith Hilger.

Rod Koski is the Operational Division Employee of the Quarter. Rod is an electrician in the Maintenance and Operations department. He was nominated by Greg Thompson, M&O Director.

Rod was honored today in a staff meeting. Along with Rod’s colleagues and district staff, guests included Shiloh Schauer, Exective Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Shiloh presented Rod with gifts from the Chamber, including Wenatchee Wild tickets and wine tasting vouchers. Scott Stanford, commercial energy efficiency advisor for Chelan PUD, also attended. Stanford worked with Rod in replacing outdated lighting at a cost savings.

The nomination by Greg Thompson read:

“Rod goes the extra step to resolve issues in the district. Rod will take the steps to save the district money and find ways to complete a project within his budget. Most recently Rod worked wit the PUD to receive thousands of dollars in lighting rebates. Rod makes a point to bounce ideas off management to find a solution to a problem, always with a positive attitude.”

A plaque with Rod’s photo will be on display in the District Office. Congratulations, Rod.Rod Group Photo

WENATCHEE, Wash.—Health Alliance Medicare members spoke up and told the federal government they’re happy with their healthcare coverage and customer service.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) last month gave Health Alliance Medicare plans in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties 4.5 stars out 5—making Health Alliance Medicare the only plan in the area with more than 4 stars.

That’s important for seniors as they choose their coverage for 2016. The Annual Election Period, or AEP, ends December 7. The overall CMS Star Rating measures topics in five categories:

  • Staying healthy
  • Managing chronic (long-term) conditions
  • Member experience with the health plan
  • Member complaints and changes in the health plan’s performance
  • Health plan customer service

“Members are always our priority, and it means so much that they’re happy with their coverage and customer service,” said Jana Perry, vice president of sales and retention. “When we become part of a community, it means we’re right in town. You can come visit us. You can call us. We’ll be there.”

Health Alliance Medicare formed a partnership with Confluence Health to bring together local health care and local health care coverage for people on Medicare in North Central Washington.

“Thank you, members, for telling us that’s working for you,” Perry said.

The Star Rating for 2016 is the first for Health Alliance Medicare in Washington, where members were able to have coverage starting January 1, 2013. CMS rates plans only after they become established.

Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next. Health Alliance Medicare is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Health Alliance Medicare depends on contract renewal. For more information about CMS Star Ratings, please visit Medicare.gov.

For more information about Health Alliance Medicare, to find a seminar nearby, request an information kit or to enroll over the phone, call 1-877-561-1463 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until February 14. TTY/TDD 711.

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call our customer service number at 1-877-561-1463 (TTY: 711), 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from October 1 to February 14 and weekdays the rest of the year.

Esta información está disponible sin cargo en otros idiomas. Para obtener información adicional, llamar a nuestro número de servicio al cliente al 1-877-561-1463 (TTY: 711). Nuestro horario es de 8 a.m. a 8 p.m., los 7 días de la semana, 1 de octubre a 14 de febrero, y lunes a viernes el resto del año.

The Numerica Performing Arts Center proudly announces the 2015 Stanley Lifetime Achievement Award winners: TERRY VALDEZ as the recipient in the professional division and ADELE WOLFORD as the recipient in the volunteer division. These winners will be recognized at the Numerica Festival of Trees Holiday Spice concert at the Numerica PAC on November 19 at 7:00pm. Holiday Spice is sponsored by Richard & Connie Hoffmann with support by Sunny FM.

The Stanley Lifetime Achievement Awards were designed in 2002 to honor the life-long arts and culture commitment of Mr. Bob Stanley. The winners will be publicly recognized with a Haglund’s Trophies custom plaque and medallion.

Terry Valdez – Professional Division

Terry is the owner of Terry Valdez Studios and is an award-winning artist and art instructor with over forty years of experience teaching both youth and adult students. He has been an Artist In Residence within the Wenatchee and Eastmont School Districts and the Wenatchee Museum and Cultural Center, and he is a member of the teaching staff for the Grunewald Guild in Plain. He also serves as Director of the Lake Wenatchee YMCA Creative Arts Camp and Art Consultant for the City of Wenatchee’s South Chelan Avenue Public Art sidewalk/lighting improvements project. Terry has exhibited his art work in Russia, Japan, and Mexico. In 2014 he had selected paintings touring in The Wholly Family Art Exhibit sponsored by the staff of the Grunewald Guild at Northwest gallery venues in Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, and Wenatchee.

Adele Wolford – Volunteer Division

Adele has tirelessly supported the arts in the Wenatchee Valley. She may be best known as a key founding member of Art on the Avenues, the all-volunteer group which has placed more than 85 sculptures in the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee area for public viewing and appreciation. Adele’s focus on youth has been inspirational. Not only has she established the Adele Wolford Foundation For Youth Fund through the NCW Community Foundation, she inspired the Beauty of Bronze program which enables fifth-graders to create a personal bronze sculpture and learn about performance and visual arts. She was a founding board member of the Stanley Civic Center, and has served as president of the Wenatchee Arts Commission and Downtown Business Association Design Committee.

wildfire wvmcc

Several opportunities are coming up this month regard to our region and wildfires not only economically but environmentally emotionally.  What can be done?  What does it look like in the future?  Here are three:

Wildfires and Us Exhibit

  • An exhibit illustrating the role of fire in eastern Cascades ecosystems, featuring photographs by John Marshall and others.  Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center runs through November 21, 2015.  More  Open: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm  Admission $5 adults, $4 seniors, $2 kids 6-12, kids under 6 Free. – More

Wildfires and Us Summit

  • Wildfires are an inevitable part of life here in North Central Washington, but we can take meaningful action to improve the odds of catastrophic loss. This summit is dedicated to exploring what can be done by everyone involved: landowners, cities and counties, and state and federal agencies.We are committed to developing a comprehensive, cooperative and collaborative regional approach to reduce the risks of wildfire loss.  You are invited to join with other key leaders in the region to explore what steps need to be taken and how you can help.  More 
    • Monday, November 9th at the PUD Auditorium from 3pm-8pm FREE  (please register)

Wake Up Wenatchee: Community Economic Recovery from Wildfires

  • The effects of wildfires in our region has been devastating and yet FEMA has denied Individual Assistance to individuals, households, and businesses damaged in this year’s wildfires.  What is the true cost of the damaged public infrastructure and how will our communities go from ashes to recovery?  What is the Governments’ role and the community’s role? The discussion will include regional updates presented by Jon Wyss, Chair of the Long Term Recovery Group, Beth Stipe of the Community Foundation of NCW and Mike Steele from Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce will join us to share information about the long term recovery efforts and strategies to rebuild.
    • Thursday, November 19th, doors open at 7am at the Town Toyota Center
    • to register:  info@wenatchee.org or 509.662.2116


Although the season is still young, it’s interesting to note the early attendance trends in the British Columbia Hockey League. As a reminder, this is year one for the Wenatchee Wild in this all-Canadian league following their first several years of existence in the North American Hockey League.

The BCHL consists of 17 teams divided into three regions of British Columbia, plus Wenatchee. Through their first five home matches, the Wild lead their new league in attendance, averaging 2,752 per contest. A distant second is Penticton, at 2,194. To give a measuring stick, the average attendance at all BCHL games this year is 1,180.

This type of performance is nothing new for the Wild franchise. In their last three years in the 24-team NAHL, they were third, second and second in average attendance. That’s consistency and an amazing accomplishment considering their division was comprised of teams from Texas and Kansas. That wasn’t built from ‘rooter busses’ making the trip from Corpus Christi. It was, and continues to be, from a solid and local fan base.

So what gives? How can that level of interest and support be attained year after year? It’s actually pretty basic. Not easy, but fundamental.

First, the Wild put out an entertaining and competitive product on the ice with consistency. The team also wins a lot. In fact, following last weekend’s play, they were in first place in the six-team Mainland Division.

Next, their coaching and structure is top level. The Wild office puts a lot of effort into marketing and making sure that the fan’s experience at the game is exciting and fun. Team members get incorporated into the community, so there is a nice connection with the locals.

And of course, it’s hard to beat the venue. The Town Toyota Center is a tremendous facility for hockey, helping to make game attendance enjoyable.

All of those components make for a successful combination. The Wild front office, coaching staff and players bring a unique and powerful passion to the ice, one that has obviously rubbed off on their fan base.

Matt Kearny is coordinator of sports tourism for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 509-662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org.

Need to brush up on your workplace Spanish, learn Quickbooks or get a new professional cert? Or do you just want to bake a mean pie?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, the Wenatchee Valley College’s Continuing Education program is for you!

Continuing education is an important part of any professional’s post-secondary training. It keeps us sharp and relevant in an increasingly complex workplace and economy.

But WVC’s Continuing Education program offers more than just professional development opportunities. For example you can take music or photography lessons, get certified in wilderness first aid and even learn how to make a gingerbread house!

While none of those skills will help you secure that next promotion or impress the boss, they might still come in handy…

It’s WVC’s Center for Entrepreneurship that is the driving force behind the Continuing Education program. Its mission is “to create an enterprising business climate and provide the necessary support mechanisms to cultivate and grow successful small business in North Central Washington.”

The center partners with regional entities like the North Central Washington Economic Development District to grow and support entrepreneurialism in our region. In fact they have a website dedicated to just that, ncwconnect.org.

They put on a series of non-credited classes and workshops and classes are delivered in a variety of ways, at locations both locally and online. Since the experience is geared for busy professionals and entrepreneurs, classes are flexible and instructors will work with you so you can get the training you need on a schedule best for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Wenatchee Valley College’s Continuing Education program or the Center for Entrepreneurship, go to wvc.edu/directory/departments/conted/ and see the class schedule and online registration as well as maps and parking information for afterhours students.

If you want to talk to a real live person about the program and the Center for Entrepreneurship, call Stacey Luckensmeyer at 509-682.6915 or email her at sluckensmeyer@evc.edu.

If you’re on a smartphone and want to visit the website now, just scan this QR code and go directly to the website on your mobile device:

WVC Cont Ed Code

Wenatchee announced today that it has been selected as one of three communities across the nation that applied to receive technical assistance under a new program that helps reduce future wildfire risk and costs.

As towns and cities across the country are experiencing the devastating impacts from wildfire, the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program offers much-needed support at the local level. Through CPAW, Wenatchee will collaborate with a team of consultants, including land use planners, foresters, and risk mapping experts, to develop better planning strategies to mitigate community impacts from wildfire. A total of five communities are now engaged in CPAW—work in two communities is already underway and three new communities, including Wenatchee, will begin work later this fall.

CPAW is a partnership between Wildfire Planning International and Headwaters Economics, two organizations dedicated to working with communities to develop and implement local planning measures to reduce wildfire risk. In 2014, Wildfire Planning International and Headwaters Economics launched a similar pilot program in Summit County, Colorado. Over the course of one year, consultants worked with Summit County leadership and staff to identify opportunities to integrate wildfire risk reduction strategies into land use planning practices. The pilot program has already resulted in county staff incorporating many recommendations into Summit County plans and initiatives.

“We believe the city of Wenatchee is in an excellent position to benefit from CPAW due to the community’s recent wildfires, future development pressures, anticipated planning updates, and strong leadership support for this opportunity,” said Molly Mowery, President of Wildfire Planning International. She added, “Too often communities have an interest in reducing wildfire risk through land use planning mechanisms but may lack the capacity or expertise. CPAW provides the assistance to work toward that outcome.”

“Good land use planning is not about telling people where not to build. It’s about making safer, smarter community development decisions to avoid future wildfire disasters,” adds Ray Rasker, Executive Director of Headwaters Economics. “Through more examples like Summit County and Wenatchee, we can show other communities what successful land use planning for wildfire looks like in practice.”

CPAW is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and private foundations.

Allison Williams, Executive Services Director
City of Wenatchee
(509) 888-3616

Molly Mowery
President, Wildfire Planning International
(303) 358-9589

Ray Rasker
Executive Director, Headwaters Economics
(406) 570-7044

WildvMinot10451390The Wenatchee Wild organization is looking at starting an Under 19 Girls program for the 2016-2017 season. The girls would be housed with local families from September through March the same as the Wenatchee Wild and the Wenatchee Wolves U 18 development team. The program would be structured very similar to the Wenatchee Wolves development program. The girls would practice a minimum of four times per week. They would have strength training done by a strength coach at least two times per week. This along with study table in the evenings. The players would all have team rules with a curfew to follow. As an organization we are in the first step of this process. We need to find out if there would be potential for housing twenty girls in the Wenatchee valley. If you are interested or know someone that might be interested in housing a girl could you please pass on my email address so we can make contact? The families will be paid monthly for housing a player. The Wild organization is very excited about this project. We feel if we can get the housing for the girls we will hire a coaching staff that will be able to recruit a girls program that we all can be proud of. This would give the local girls that have aspirations of playing college hockey a place to play without having to move. Anyone interested please email me at blittler@wenatcheewildhockey.com or call me at the Wild office at 509-888-7825.

Write on the River invites you to support our organization and help Write on River continue to offer year-around, diverse opportunities for writers of all levels in the region to hone their craft. Among a variety of ways to donate, you can sponsor a workshop at the May 13-14, 2016 Writer’s Conference, such as:

  • Award-winning thriller and legal fiction writer Robert Dugoni’s master writers class;
  • NY Times best-selling romance author Shoshanna Evers’ self-publishing workshop; or
  • Widely-published author Frank Catalano’s workshop on online articles and essays.

You can also sponsor a Four Minutes of Fame open-mic reading night, providing writers a chance to read their work on stage and network with other writers from the area. These events are held several times each year at local venues. Or you can contribute by sponsoring our annual Writers Competition, offering writers a chance to have their work critiqued and judged by several published authors from the region. Write on the River supports local businesses and the economy by holding all of its events locally.

You can also become a member of Write on the River today for only $35! Membership includes reduced conference admission, special member events, discounts at local retailers and much more.

Donations of any amount can be made directly online at www.writeontheriver.org  or mailed to WOTR, PO Box 3596, Wenatchee, WA 98807. For more information, contact Jaana Hatton, WOTR Coordinator, at 360-421-1729 or jaana_hatton@hotmail.com

Thank you for helping Write On The River to bring the writing arts to the forefront in North Central Washington!