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Gov. Jay Inslee approved $149,554 of the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant for 31 companies in Kittitas County to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a pandemic lifeline for several city and county business who will use the funding to pay rent, utilities or other allowable expenses. Recipients in Kittitas County will help employ 130 individuals and prevent the loss of 96 jobs, while continuing to support the security of these businesses and the county’s economic shift caused by COVID-19.

Bill and Gail Munden over at The Soup Bowl were one of the Ellensburg recipients of the grant funding.

“I hope people aren’t mad because we received money and others didn’t. But we’re a one-income family and this really helps,” Gail said. “Right now, we’re two-thirds down from what we normally do and were kind of desperate. We’ve been working hard, but it’s hard to keep the doors open. So, this is a good boost and hopefully they can get some money to help other businesses in town.”

The selected businesses include; seven construction/contractor companies, five retail establishments, four restaurants, two hospitality establishments, two health care businesses, two manufacturing businesses, one fitness facility, one surveying agency, one auto repair business, one law agency, one salon, one janitorial business, one forestry service, one electric company, and one HVACR business.

Justin Seth at Seth Motors showed some of that integrity his grandfather and father showed him as a third-generation owner. Seth Motors received grant money and gave it back, Justin said.

“Since we able to stay open I decide to give it back and let another business in town use it,” he said of the $5,000. “We’re doing OK. We’re not having to close the doors and we’re surviving.

“There are people out there that are struggling and ready to lose their business that need this money more than us and we’re happy to support them.”

On the small business battle front, the Ellensburg City Council approved dedicated a small portion of funding to small business recovery to pick up some of the businesses not included in the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant.

“We’re forming a sub-committee and accepting applications,” said Mayor Bruce Tabb, who said the council is still formulating a timeline. “We don’t have a contract with the state yet, but we wanted to start the process.

“Once we get the money from the state coming through the feds, that’s a big deal. There were a number of businesses no funded through the Working Washington process. Any Ellensburg businesses will be considered and hopefully we’ll be able to get money back out to the community to help the businesses stay afloat through this.”

In other business around town, the city of Ellensgurg natural gas utility was presented the prestigious American Public Gas Association’s (APGA) System Operational Achievement Recognition or SOAR award for excellence in operating its natural gas utility.

Out of approximately 750 APGA members, the City of Ellensburg Natural Gas Utility was selected for SOAR level Bronze by its peers on the APGA Operations and Safety Committee. The selection was based on demonstrated excellence in the four areas of system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development.

System integrity refers to the natural gas distribution system performing its overall intended function safely, efficiently and effectively—distributing energy to all customers without being degraded or impaired by its internal or external environment.

System improvement refers to keeping the natural gas system well maintained and up-to-date through a self-improvement program that includes both an eye on the future through research and development, technology integration and a commitment to system improvement programs. Systems that exhibit excellence in employee safety include adopting a safety program that includes policies and procedures for education involvement and accountability for all employees, as well as tracking safety performance.

Road Closure

South Willow Street will be closed to through traffic Monday through May 21 from Mountain View Avenue to Seattle Avenue to facilitate sewer installation on South Willow Street.

Southbound traffic on Willow Street will detour westbound on Seattle Avenue, and traffic from Mountain View will detour north on Maple Street to Seattle Avenue. Willow Street will be closed to through traffic in both directions. Flaggers will be directing traffic and detour signs will be installed.

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