Klickitat County Commissioners have decided to extend a moratorium prohibiting the production, processing, and sales of marijuana in unincorporated areas of the county for a maximum of another six months. County Commissioner David Sauter says planning commissioners need more time to complete the work it has been assigned on the topic. Sauter did indicate he hoped the report would be done in less than six months. He noted many on both sides of the issue expressing a fatigue with the continued discussion, and desire for some kind of resolution.
Wasco County Administrative Officer Tyler Stone and volunteer consultant Kathy Schwartz gave County Commissioners their plan for evaluating the North Central Public Health District. Stone says the plan involves doing cost-benefit analysis of services, determining if the programs being offered are the correct ones in a changing health care world, and addressing the actual governance of the district. That analysis is expected to take about six months. District Director Teri Thalofer said evaluating return on investment in public health is difficult because that return doesn’t necessarily come back to local government and or public health but to society itself. County Commission Chair Scott Hege says that needs to be considered, but he added the increasing costs of public health need to be looked at. Schwartz, who as director of the Wasco County Health Department was part of the initial discussions for formation of the district that also includes Sherman and Gilliam counties, said she hoped a revised intergovernmental agreement for the district could be developed by November. County Commissioners had voted to leave the district late last year, but rescinded that decision amid legal questions.
This weekend is the traditional Hood River Valley Blossom Festival weekend. In recent years the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce has extended into the surrounding weekends with its “Blossom Time” promotion. But many events are centered on this weekend. Among planned events are the Westside Fire District all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at the station at 4250 Barrett Road, the Asbury Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Blossom Craft Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 1140 Tucker Road, the Blossom Fest Craft and Quilt Shows at the Hood River County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Parkdale Fire Department Casino Night at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on 4895 Baseline Drive in Parkdale.
The 14th District representatives in the Washington House were split on a bill to establish a new set of safety regulations for oil trains traveling through the state. Goldendale Republican Gina McCabe voted in favor of the bill, saying it was a hard decision and had originally voted no, but after some amendments decided it was in the best interest of the Gorge to be prepared for an emergency. Yakima Republican Norm Johnson voted against it, feeling it is important to meet energy needs within the country, and worries about the additional cost the measure could impose. The Senate passed an amended version of the bill with Senator Curtis King voting yes, and it now moves on to a conference committee.
Hood River Valley 16, Redmond 6: HRV came back from a 5-0 deficit after two innings to get their record to the .500 mark. The Eagles scored seven runs in the fourth inning, as HRV combined 13 hits with eight Redmond errors on the way to the win. The Eagles have won five of their last six games.
Castle Rock swept Columbia 14-0 and 12-1
Kalama swept Stevenson 13-1 and 21-8
Castle Rock sweeps Columbia 5-3 and 3-2
Kalama sweeps Stevenson 13-3 and 12-2
Track and Field
Columbia took the top spot in both boys and girls competition at a six-team Trico League meet in Kalama. Stevenson finished fourth in the girls standings and fifth in the boys. The Bruin girls won six events during the meet, while the CHS boys used depth and two event wins on the way to their victories.
The U.S. Senate has passed a bill containing a two-year renewal of the Secure Rural Schools program, which provides payments to counties with federal timberlands to help pay for roads and schools. The two-year extension that cleared the Senate is expected to bring about $85 million to Oregon counties this year. Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon says the money will provide an important boost to their road fund, but adds they have been operating on the assumption they might not receive the funds. Senator Ron Wyden says the payments can provide a bridge while Congress develops a broader and longer-term solution to forest management issues. The bill still must be signed by the President.
Hood River County School District Superintendent Dan Goldman has outlined for legislators cuts his district are facing if the K-12 funding level that was approved and signed by Governor Kate Brown last week. In a letter to legislators, Goldman says an initial set of budget reductions identified to make up the $900,000 the district must cut from its budget include eliminating about seven-and-a-half teaching positions, five-and-a-half classified jobs, a half to full administrative position, and over $100,000 in various program funds. Goldman adds the vast majority of the district’s budget is people. Another option is to cut school days. The district board has directed administrators to negotiate with their unions in regard to cutting days. It would take a reduction of about seven school days to reduce the budget by $900,000. In the letter Goldman again told legislators the statewide K-12 budget has to get up to $7,500,000 to allow the Hood River district to avoid cuts.
The project looking to form a food co-op in The Dalles has a new name. Community Harvest Cooperative Grocery was tabbed by the co-op’s founding team after considering several other possibilities. Founding team co-chair Kathy Ursprung said board members felt the new name does a good job of reflecting the focus of the co-op to emphasize locally sourced products within a community-led, member-owned grocery store. Co-op founders are inviting the public to submit ideas for a logo to represnet the organization. For information call 541-370-5191.
There is federal funding available for Sherman County crop producers to reduce soil erosion and build healthier soils on their land. The Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it has $100,000 available to help Sherman County farmers switch to no-till drilling and direct seeding, which can minimize disturbance on the soil and benefit its productivity. Funding may be used to implement other erosion control practices like installing terraces. Applicants must meet standard program eligibility criteria and must be producers on Sherman County cropland that has been in production and has not been directed seeded for the past three years. Applications must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Moro Service Center by May 15. For information call 541-565-3551.