Our Northwest

DNR pinpoints cause of Colockum wildfire

Friday, December 27, 2013by  Jon Osterberg

Orchardist must be handsome: A work colleague is fond of advising husbands, "If you're not handy, you'd better be handsome."
   Based on news reports out of Wenatchee, a nearby cherry orchardist must be one stunning dude.
   Washington's Dept. of Natural Resources has concluded that last summer's Colockum Tarps Wildfire, which burned 126 square miles between Wenatchee and Ellensburg, was sparked by an improperly wired irrigation pump.
   Investigators found that a cherry orchardist owned the pump that was powered by an exposed, improperly spliced wire that sparked brush and grass in hot, dry, and windy weather. The man's improperly wired electrical panel worsened the danger.
   The DNR report said the same orchardist suffered a 250-acre fire in 2007 caused by an electrical short in his pumphouse.
Safe Christmas in Oregon: Oregon State Police report that no one died on Oregon highways during the evening of Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day for just the second time since 1970.
   Oregon motorists also avoided fatalities in 1996.
   If you're attending holiday parties where drinking and driving is a concern, check out our tips for how to prevent friends from driving drunk.
Frangos endure: For decades, Christmas in the Northwest was captured on film at Frederick & Nelson department stores.
   Kids and their parents formed long lines at Frederick & Nelson stores around the Seattle area, and later in Portland, Spokane (formerly The Crescent stores), and Tacoma, waiting to be photographed with Santa Claus.
   Indeed, when Frederick & Nelson fell on hard times and closed for good in 1992, it was the Santa pictures that many customers lamented losing the most.
   Equally cherished were Frederick & Nelson's special candy, Frangos. And happily, Frangos survived when The Bon Marche stores and Portland retailer Meier & Frank purchased the brand after F&N's demise.
   Frangos survived yet another shakeup when The Bon stores converted in 2005 to Macy's, where Frangos still are sold today in their distinctive box. 
   Other longtime Northwest-made treats include Spokandy, Almond Roca, Harry & David, and Aplets & Cotlets. What are your local favorites? Tell us!

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