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December 24, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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December 24, 2015
 

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CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, December 24, 2015 Medical Lake plowing business reveling in the return of winter snows By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Many people cringe at the thought of the return of a more traditional winter in our region. In other words, to some, that four- letter word known as SNOW. But for Gene Haas, he's reveling in the prospect of a white Christmas in the area for the first time since 2008 as his snowplowing business is working overtime - and more - in the lead-up to the Friday holiday. How busy has it been for Haas and his Medical Lake-based Red, White and Blue Snowplowing ser- vice? In less than 10 minutes on the phone conducting.this interview, Haas said he had calls from 10 cus- tomers. Just as many wait for the first snow to have winter tires installed, Haas said, he gets so busy he turns away upwards of 40 customers a day when the lineup of storms, like those that hit the Northwest recently, march eastward. He sends them to businesses like Arborpro and Spo- kane Boys. "I'm up for the next 18 hours," Haas said as he sat behind the wheel of one of his many plowing devices watching this past Mondav's snow blanket the West Plains. For Haas it's a love-hate relation- ship with the weather forecasts as of late. "Yes I love it but at the same time I'm scared to death because I picked up a government contract which we're still trying to iron some of the bugs out," Haas said. With little or no snow in the past several years it's been feast or famine. "Luckily I have my company set up to where if we get 10 days of snow at two inches a day the company is profitable," Haas, who retired from a career in the U.S. Air Force said. Haas has two dump trucks, four pickups and a variety of heavy equipment. He hires independent drivers, 15 in all sometimes to man the various pieces of snow plowing equipment. His company services "a lot of properties," Haas said, opting not to disclose exact numbers. "I started this by accident in Photo by Paul Delaney A truck from Red, White and Blue clears the parking lot of snow at the Cheney Bi-Mart, Monday. 2004-05 when I moved out here from California for the Air Force," Haas said. His initial focus was to keep the driveway and road in front of his house open. He bought a bigger plow and began to think "Maybe I can make a little money." Starting out with four accounts in 2007, in eight years the business has grown exponentially. Haas recently acquired Spokane Plow when the owner retired to Hawaii. Aside from figuring out how to get all the work done in the first place the bigger challenge for RWB Winter weather puts hold on EWGRR rail project Most of work was pretty much done with the rails and finished before cold ties," he added. That allows trains to use the track that was upgraded in order to service the new Highline Grain shuttle facil- ity at Four Lakes, targeted for first use in January 2016. "Once it gets cold like that it's hard for us to perform any work with the ties," Austin said. "We actually got one week in where it was warm The state owns three such opera- tions. Most of the ties will be ground and used to fuel some type of electri- cal power generation, with maybe a few being resold for use in landscap- ing Austin said. The contract has been suspended, Austin said. "It is in negotiation right now, I don't know when the final completion date is going to be." He suspecta that work will re- sume sometime early in 2016 With a completion date soon after. "Come the first thaw in late February, early March we'll be back at it," Austin said. RailWorks specializes in con- structing track for short line railroads but they do specialty work for Class 1 lines like the BNSF, private lines, pub- lic and state, as well as port districts. Paul Delaney can be reached at pdela~chenek~epress.com. and snow came By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Just as winter slows many tra- ditional construction projects, so it is for the rehabilitation of tracks on the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad. A cold snap in late Noven~ber kept crews from finishing replace- ment of old ties and additional work on the roadbed for the 6.9- mile stretch of track that runs from the junction with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe in Cheney to the Geiger Spur. The good news, however, "The majority of the project is finished," Josh Austin, area manager for con- tractor, RailWorks, said. "We're enough to disturb the ground, we Currently a small crew is work- ing along the line removing old ties and rail both of which will be recycled in some manner. "If we can see them under the snow," Austin said. Austin said he did not know what the state had in mind for the old raft but speculated it might find use in other parts of the short-line system owned by the state of Washington. Numerica contributes to EWU scholarship campaign EWU alumni to match the gift up to $25,000, pushing their endowment total to $175,000. "Numerica is corn- mired to enhancing lives and fulfilling dreams," says Numerica CEO Carla Altepeter. "A student's dream of higher educa- tion shouldn't be cut short because of financial limi- tations." The Numerica dona- tion is just the latest suc- cess of the Inspire Awe- some initiative. Cullinan kickstarted the campaign last spring when she announced that she and her husband, Jef- frey Kelter, would match, dollar for dollar, each gift from faculty and staff up to $50,000 total. By Thanksgiving her dona- tion was matched, as East- em reached its collective goal of $100,000 in schol- arship support. Recognizing the im- pact of this climate of giving, members of the EWU Foundation Board have now increased the president's match by an additional $25,000. ] "The EWU family has been wonderfully gener- ous, Cullinan said. In a news release, East- ern Washington Univer- sity has announced that Numerica Credit Union is making a $150,000 gift to the university in sup- port of EWU's student scholarship campaign, "Inspire Awesome." So far, this is the single larg- est donation to the cam- paign. The money will help to create the Numeri- ca Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide crudial fi- nancial support for stu- dents while boosting Eastern's efforts to re- tain and graduate those students. "I'm so pleased and excited about this gift," EWU President Dr. Mary Cullinan said in the re- lease. "And I'm delighted to be working in part- nership with Numerica. Working together, we can significantly benefit students and make a real difference in our region." Numerica, based in Spokane Valley, is the first business to give to the Inspire Awesome Cam- paign. In2016, the credit union pledges it will challenge Plowing is trying to figure out who gets plowed first, second and so on. The customers, "They want ev- erything now," Haas said. "They want to know 'Why aren't you here when I call you?'" Generally how he decides where to send plows is based on the length of time a client has been on his list. "Older customers are at the top of the list," Haas said. But there are other considerations. Haas starts out at a 2-inch min- See Haas page 9 ~season. your us and look rdto seeing you again, soon.. MEDICAL LAKF~['DENTAL CLINIC Famfl~ Den~s~ry 123 N. Brewer Street. Medical Lake 299-5171 www.medicall akedental.com ! Cheney Federal Credit Union Congratulates December Student of the Month Nate Scholfield 5th Grade Salnave Elementary School CREN[ FEDERAL CRED3T UfllO~ 520 1st Street, Cheney, WA 99004 509.235.6533 509.299.6533 Where others have branches--we have our roots. If you live, work, worship or go to school in Cheney or Medical Lake school districts, you are eligible to join Cheney Federal Credit Union The best chicken in town/ Side Orders: Mashed Potatoes & Gravy ,. Corn Macaroni & Cheese Potato Wedges Tully's Coffee 116 W. 1st, Cheney, WA 235-4222 EVER Y DA Y! VISIT US ONLJ IT WWW.IIARVESTFOODS#W.