Basin Briefs for Oct. 9, 2019

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Soap Lake water safe to drink again

SOAP LAKE — The City of Soap Lake canceled the boil water alert Tuesday afternoon that was issued last Thursday, according to a press release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The advisory was in response to a broken water main that occurred when construction crews were attempting to connect a newly rebuilt section of water lines with the existing system.

Tap water in the city is again safe to drink, the release said.

Sno-Park permits go on sale Nov. 1

OLYMPIA — Sno-Park permits will be available for purchase beginning Nov. 1, according to the Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program. The program simultaneously announced new regulations regarding permit purchases and display requirements.

Sno-Park permits allow visitors to park in specially cleared, designated parking lots with access to areas around the state for cross-country skiing, skijoring, fat-tire biking, snowmobiling, snow biking, dog sledding, snowshoeing, tubing and other winter sports and snow play.

Starting this year, the Discover Pass will no longer be required along with the daily Sno-Park permit in Sno-Parks that are on state park property. This change applies to Crystal Springs, Easton Reload, Fields Spring, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Pearrygin Lake and Mount Spokane. In addition, snow bikes have been reclassified and are now subject to the same regulations as snowmobiles. Snow bikes use motorcycle frames and engines, but they have a ski in place of the front tire and continuous track, much like a snowmobile, in place of the back tire.

To purchase a Sno-Park permit online, visit For a list of vendors and their locations, visit

Wheat growers gain advantage in Japanese market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S.-Japan tariff agreement signed today in Washington, D.C., will provide imported U.S. wheat the same preferential advantage that is now given to Canadian and Australian wheat under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to a joint press release from the U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers.

“As we hoped, the text confirms that the agreement will put U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia when it is implemented,” said U.S. Wheat Associates President Vince Peterson, who attended the event at the White House, in the press release. “In addition, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports. The Trump Administration and negotiators for both countries clearly understood what was at stake for U.S. wheat farmers and made sure to have our backs in this agreement.”

“We would like to thank staff and leaders at USTR, USDA, and the Administration for working with the wheat industry as this agreement nears the finish line,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers President Ben Scholz.

When President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced the tariff agreement last month in New York, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat, according to the press release.

Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries, according to the press release.

U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million, according to the press release. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states, the press release continued.

Japan’s legislature must approve the agreement before it is implemented.

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The business in art and the art in business

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Othello Rodeo straw maze opens this weekend

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