City council honors fire chief

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By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

Before members of the Enumclaw City Council got down to the serious business of paying bills and setting policy, it was time for kind words, cake and coffee.

City officials took about 20 minutes from their March 12 agenda to pay tribute to recently-retired Fire Chief Joe Kolisch. He departed city service in late February after 28 years as the local chief and more than 40 years in the firefighting industry. It marked the third farewell celebration for the retired chief, added to an earlier open house at the fire station and dinner in his honor at Pete's Pool hosted by fellow firefighters.

Kolisch received gifts from Mayor John Wise, City Administrator Mark Bauer and Councilmen Glen Jensen and Kevin Mahelona, along with thanks for his decades of service and professionalism.

Once talk turned to the business portion of the evening's agenda, council members:

€ Took steps to keep the existing moratorium on development in place for another six months. It has been a ritual for the council for many years now, as the city works toward upgrading its wastewater treatment plant so the plant's effluent - which is dumped into the White River - meets current standards.

Public Works Director Chris Searcy said “there have been some milestones reached” since the last time the council extended the moratorium. Namely, construction is expected to begin in April or May.

€ Heard from Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter, who introduced Joan Lewis as manager of the Enumclaw Expo Center, formerly known as the King County Fairgrounds.

“We needed to recruit a manager as quickly as possible,” Fetter said, and Lewis was a ready and willing selection. She had spent 18 years with the fairgrounds operation while it was the property of King County. Lewis said among her priorities will be an effort to “go out and get new events for the facility.”

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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