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Quad City Herald
Brewster, Washington
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October 8, 1998     Quad City Herald
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October 8, 1998
 

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QUAD CITY Serving the towns of Brewster, Bridgeport, Mansfield, Pateros and lower Methow Valley II II H L P September 30 82 42 0 October I 81 44 0 October 2 71 49 0 October 3 65 43 0 October 4 68 37 0 October 5 72 35 0 October 6 73 40 0 Weekly weather repoN through courtesy Security Section. Chief Joseph Dam Vtflume 97 No. Brewsler, Washin ;ton USPS 241-921 50 October 8, I'P)8 00FruitsofOur Lc00bor Long hot summer blamed for lack of color and size Mother Nature usually is portrayed as a nice sweet little lady with a benign smile. But that characterization is misleading. Sometimes she can be a downright dysfunctional morn. This lesson is being driven home in the 1998 apple harvest. In the spring the trees burst out with thousands of blossoms, a very pretty sight--if one does not own an appleorchard.The so.call snowball bloom of the spring promised one of the largest apple crops ever, if not the largest crop ever. The spring was followed by a very hot summer, which promoted insect populations. But more bugs were not the worst feature of the long hot days. Apples need cool nights and warm but not hot days to achieve the most salable color, size and maturity conditions. A long siege ' of 100-plus temperatures are not good for apple color or apple size; a long siege of lif0-plus temperatures were Morn Nature's gift to the apple growers, This mayhe-biggest-evet crop is entering the market ata time when export sales have declined from 1995 and 1996. All of these factors have combined to "Interior maturity is moving a little quicker than color development is," - Bill Brauchla, field consultant, MAGI produce a market that Magi manager George Chapman referred to as "challenging." Chapman ,said 1998 reminds him of a year apple growers may remember--1987. The near-record 1987 crop also endured a long hot summer, and showed the effects. The extreme temperatures and hot sun cause a condition known as sunburn, where the apple's color fades away. In some cases the apple's skin is so damaged it develops a dark spot. Many of the apples coming into the warehouses this fall are showing the effects of sunburn."A lot of damage," Chapman said, so much that among the apples processed so far the paekouts are the lowest since---1987. "The two major causes are sunburn and insect damage. With this hot weather, it was hard to control the insects." Chapman said. The hot temperatures of late August have moderated; the conditions in most of Septemher and early October have been very good. This has promoted another problem. "Interior maturity is moving a little quicker than color development is," said Bill Brauchla, field consultant for Magi. An apple that is ripe inside but doesn't look as ripe outside will not sell as well. In addition, the hot temperatures retarded apple growth. Some growers, Chapman said, are being very selective in what they send to the warehouse, while others are not and as a result are picking fruit that does not have much value. The selective growers are "color- picking," a process where apples are examined and some removed before the bin leaves the field. This is a return to the picking methods of 30 and 40 years ago, Chapman said; "color picking was the standard" before the mid-1970s. He said in his opinion color picking this year will reduce harvest and processing facility costs. Ed Pariseau, manager of Brewster Heights Packing, said he thinks some factors-- such as more diversified orchards and technology that extends the picking schedule-- have changed the apple game for the better, at least at BHP. "I think we're far better off at our place than 1987." He said BHP operators are not doing much color picking. However, he said he thinks there will be culling due to sunburn in all varieties, especially among Red Delicious. In addition, apple size may have been affected by, spring frosts and the hot summer weather. Brewster Heights has not experienced any labor shortages, Pariseau said, although"we could use a little more help." Brewster orchardist Richard Thomason said he thought some people who normally come north to pick apples stayed away because they thought they would be asked to color-pick, a slower process. Brauchla said he thought owners of smaller orchards might be having some trouble attracting labor. Owners Of bigger orchards, especially those who could provide housing, appear to be having less trouble getting workers, he said. The 1998 crop is entering an uncertain market; export sales have declined, largely due to recession in Asia. In the 1990s Asian countries have been some of the biggest customers for Washington apples. The shrunken export market has led growers to approve a proposal to increase the funds provided to the Washington Apple Commission, The additional money raised will be used in a national advertising campaign designed to boost domestic sales. Chapman said he voted for the proposal; more money was spent on "one single horticultural practice," experiments to change apple shape, he said. That experiment turned out to be worth it, he said. The more competitivemarketalso means applepnrssing facilities must market their fruit as attractively as possible, Pariseau said; "all packers have to put out a really good box." Win. E. Vallance photo The sun, although a Welcome supplier of warmth in the early mornlnge of this year'a apple harvest, cauNd damage to the apple=l, called aunburn, during the long hot summer. Bridgeport Bar man dies in fall from cliff Volunteers spend Sunday in all day search Volunteer searchers found the body of a Bridgeport Bar man Sunday. October4, about halfa day after he had been reported overdue from a hunting trip. Bryan D, Crow, 41, told a friend he was going cougar hunting on Dyer Hill at about 2 p.m. Saturday, October 3. said Douglas County Sheriff's sergeant Rick l-lalterman. He was reported missing when he failed to return by lOp.m, Saturday. Volunteers began looking for Crow by about 10 a.m. Sunday. They found his body at the bottom of a cliff near the rockslide area at about 2 p.m., Halterman said. The searchers found footprints next to an old house, Halterman said, and followed them east; Crow's hat was found at the edge of the cliff. Searchers looked over, the edge and saw the body at the bottom of the cliff, Haiterman said. Apparently Crow had slipped while walking along the top of the cliff and fallen 100 to 150 feet, he said. The signs found by searchers indicated he was walking a route he normally used, Haiterman said. The :.22 pistol he had taken with him was found nearby. Halterman said it took rescuersan hourto90 minutes to work their way down the cliffandrecover Crow's body. An autopsy was performed on C;ow's body Monday, October 5, at Central Washington Hospital by Chelan County coroner Dr. Jerry Rappe. The investigation is continuing. About 30 people participated in the search on foot and on horseback, Halterman said. They were volunteers from the Bridgeport Fire Department, Douglas County Fire District No. 7, Brewster Fire Department and Okanogan County Fire District No. 5, Douglas County Fire District No. 5,the sheriff s "It is a 'great feeling' to know there ate people in the Quad City area willing to do that (give up theh" se " "" " Sunday to arch), - Sergeant Rick Halterman, Douglas County Sheriff's Office department and Douglas County Fire District No. 6. They were assisted by a helicopter from the Chelan County Sheriff's Department. Halterman prais&lthe efforts of the volunteers who agreed to give up their Sunday to help in the search. It is a "great feeling" to know there are people in the Quad City area willing to do thai, he said. Employeesandmanagers at the Brewster IGA- Plus provided lunch, snacks and drinks for the search crews. "At the last minute, they made 60 sandwiches," Haiterman said; he expressed gratitude for their help. Religous and political objects restricted in Pateros Schools Pateros School District employees will be asked to keep any papers or objects that could be considered to have political orreligious themes out of public view under a new rules approved by the Pateros School Board. District superintendent Bob Nolan said board members had received complaints from district patrons about some of the items displayed by school personnel and visible to visitors, such as a screen saver with a religious theme on an employee's on-desk computer (not classroom computers used by the students), or students' papers with religious statements ordrawings. Nolan said board members wanted the building to be considered neutral space; as a result, they will ask staff members to keep all such materials where they cannot be readily seen by the general public. In addition, staff members will be asked to restrict such materials to their personal work space, defined as the desk top and the area behind the counters or employee's desk. In other businessat the tegular board meeting Thursday, October 1, board members approved a request from principal Perry Atkinson to allow possible random drug searches. Any such searches would be conducted with a dog mained Io delectdrugs. District officials do not know if Pateros students are using drugs,Nolan said; a random drug check would be a way to discover if a problem exists, Students and parents will be notifiedofthe policychangebefore any searches are conducted; the searches themselves would he conducted without prior notification. Board members approved a request from the senior class to change the time of graduation ceremonies to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 5. Previously graduation had been scheduled for Saturday evening. The seniors also asked permission to move their end- of-school trip to April 30. Traditionally the trip is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. But Memorial Day weekend attracts hordes of other travelers; Ihe potential for accidents increases and it is more difficult to obtain discounts for lodging. The board approved their request, A district patron asked boanlmemhers about the telephone in the front lobby. A child was stranded at school one night last week, Nolan ' C, on't on page 4