The superintendent of Richland schools is dropping out of the race for the state’s top education job to be with his wife as she deals with a health problem.
Rich Semler, who had been endorsed by the state teachers’ union, the Washington Education Association, announced his decision in an interview Friday with the Tri-City Herald.
He had announced in October that he would challenge incumbent Terry Bergeson – who has held the post for 12 years – for state schools superintendent. The WEA, which represents 81,000 educators statewide, declared a loss of trust in Bergeson at its recent annual convention in Spokane.
Semler’s wife, Ginny, a retired teacher, recently learned that one of her kidneys has stopped functioning.
Semler, 62, plans to retire from Richland in June, after being with the school district since 1997.
Former Eatonville High School principal Randy Dorn and two other candidates – David Blomstrom and Don Hansler – also are running for Bergeson’s job. The filing deadline for additional candidates is in two weeks.
Memorial Day holiday affects services
The following offices and services will be affected by the Memorial Day holiday today:
“City, county, state and federal offices will be closed.
“Post offices will be closed and there will be no mail delivery.
“Garbage collection will be one day late for the week.
“State liquor stores will be closed; in Idaho they will remain closed Tuesday for the primary election.
“Most banks will be closed.
“Area public schools will be closed.
“Parking meters do not have to be plugged.
“In Spokane, Riverfront Park attractions will be open.
Morning fire leaves apartments damaged
Three apartments in a South Hill building were uninhabitable after fire crews responded to a Sunday morning fire that destroyed one unit and left two others soaked.
Firefighters responded about 11 a.m. to a fire that started in the kitchen of a third-floor apartment at 1403 E. Hartson Ave., said Bob Green, a Spokane Fire Department battalion chief. It took about half an hour to knock down the blaze, the cause of which was still under investigation.
“It pretty much destroyed that unit, but it didn’t cross over into the units next door,” Green said.
Clerk’s office to take absentee ballots today
The Bonner County Clerk’s office will open briefly this morning to make sure ballots of people who vote absentee are counted.
The office in the County Courthouse will be open from 9 a.m. to noon today, and elections officials arranged to pick up ballots at the post office today.