November 12, 2013
Guest Entry: Kara Hetland, Yelm Batting Cages co-owner - speaks-out on Faith Food Harvest controversy
Yelm Batting Cages facility co-owner Kara Hetland in her own words on the Faith Food Harvest controversy,
setting the record straight:
"Last year, Faith Food Harvest [Yelm Prairie Christian Center Pastor Brad Carlson] approached the owners of Yelm Batting Cages and asked if they could use their 8,000' sq. facility for food storage, as they ran a food bank and were low on space. Faith Food Harvest assured Yelm Batting Cages the use of the facility would be a temporary situation. After much thought, Yelm Batting Cages owners decided offering their structure would be a great service for the residents of Yelm, and generously donated the storage space to Faith Food Harvest for a specifically limited amount of time.
The Yelm Batting Cages owners paid all of the property's mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc. during the entire time Faith Food Harvest has used the space. Although Yelm Batting Cages offered a small, one-time donation, that was a "drop in the bucket" compared to the costs to maintain a property of that size. The church offered a small tax-based compensation for their temporary stay, though was so small compared to the costs to run the facility, Yelm Batting Cages decided to just generously donate the space for the "temporary" food storage situation.
After a couple of months, the owners of Yelm Batting Cages noticed a sign going up advertising the church of Faith Food Harvest at the same locale. Apparently the City of Yelm took note because this was the time they started an investigation into who was now using this building. The owners of Yelm Batting Cages were put on-notice the building was being used in a manner that violated city codes - having church services in the structure along with facilitating a food bank.
Yelm Batting Cages immediately asked the church to stop services and remove the sign, which they did.
Upon inspection of the building, Yelm Batting Cages owners have found multiple issues during the year-plus stay. Not only has Faith Food Harvest been in code violation with the city and hiding this fact from Yelm Batting Cages owners, but they have also stored moldy food, garbage, furniture and other such items in the building that Yelm Batting Cages owners have since had to ask them to remove.
In August, the Yelm Batting Cages owners received a certified letter from the City of Yelm explaining that they (Yelm Batting Cages, LLC) will be charged a $250 fee per day if the church does not evacuate the premises immediately. Faith Food Harvest is still occupying the grounds and has offered instead to purchase the property. However, there have been delays in finalizing the contract due to the purchase funds originating from an offshore account, causing complications.
If and when the city decides to fine the LLC, Yelm Batting Cages owners will be the ones facing these fines, NOT the church (as stated by them in the NVN).
We hope that this can be resolved either by their voluntary removal off the premises or by their funding of the sale of the property within the near future."
Hetland added after her Guest Entry was submitted,
"The city has not talked to us at all about the case saying they can't due to the court proceedings. As far as the fines go...the food bank would not have to pay that unless the sale went through. The sale would not go through if they don't receive the funds from overseas. The LLC is responsible for the fees."
- KOMO TV 4 News in Seattle featured this additional angle to this developing story last night
"Church food bank fights City of Yelm over massive fine"
By Mark Miller for KOMO-TV 4 News.