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Local News

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House Approves County Forest Payment Extension

The House Thursday approved a measure that contains a two-year extension of county forest payments.  Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden had the extension placed in a bill that would permanently block cuts in physicians’ Medicare payments.  In a floor speech, the Hood River Republican said the extension is necessary to allow continued work on forest management reforms.  The bill passed Thursday now goes to the Senate, where its fate is unclear.

King Hopes Transportation Package Agreement Can Be Reached

Washington State Senate Transportation Chair Curtis King is hopeful agreement can be reached with the House on a transportation package, but he adds it won’t happen without passage of Department of Transportation reforms that are part of the Senate’s plan.  King says they’ve been working on getting a package done for three years and believes it is needed, but he won’t accept just anything from the House.  King added there has been talk House Speaker Frank Chopp might hold up the transportation budget and attach it to discussions on the general fund budget.

K-12 Rhetoric Continues In Oregon Legislature

The rhetoric surrounding the K-12 education budget continues to increase in the Oregon Legislature.  Republican 52nd District Representative Mark Johnson took issue on the House floor with remarks made by Democrat House Speaker Tina Kotek that “it would be foolhardy and irresponsible of school districts not to support a guaranteed floor that would give them certainty.”  Johnson, who is also a Hood River County School District board member, said he felt the comments insinuated that Oregon schools and parents aren’t able to make good decisions and judgments when it comes to educating kids.  The K-12 budget faces a vote in the Ways and Means Committee Thursday.

March 25 Prep Sports Roundup

Baseball

Legend (CO) 5,  Hood River Valley 3:  Patrick Harvey pitched a two-hitter, but four HRV errors led to five unearned runs.  The Eagles have lost three straight on their Arizona trip after winning three straight to begin the season.

Hudson’s Bay sweeps Stevenson 11-9 and 10-1.

The Dalles Urban Renewal Approves Elks Lodge Plan

The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency, approved purchasing the Elks Lodge building downtown and conveying it to developer David Benko to renovate it for use as a neon sign museum.  Urban Renewal is purchasing the building for $245,000, then turning it over to Benko and his group, which is committing to a rehabilitation of the building estimated to cost over one million dollars.  The agreement calls for the renovations to be done in two years.  Benko’s group includes fundraisers from the Portland Art Museum that will be involved in generating money for the project.

Huffman Disappointed In Subcommittee Vote

Oregon 59th District State Representative John Huffman said he is disappointed the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee he is a part of moved forward a $7.255 billion  K-12 education budget.  Huffman voted no on the budget.  In a speech on the floor of the House, The Dalles Republican said the budget approval gave school districts certainty that they would have to cut teachers, programs, and school days.  He added constituents told him to prioritize school funding. The full Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on the K-12 budget on Thursday.

WA House To Unveil Budget Friday; Senate May Wait

Washington House Democrats will unveil their state budget proposal on Friday, but when the majority caucus in the Senate will do the same is unknown.  Republican 14th District State Senator Curtis King says speculation in Olympia indicates the House will release spending plans but not reveal revenue plans.  King says if that is the case, the Senate budget may not come out for a while.  King added Senate Republicans believe a number of tax measures Democrat budget writers want may not actually have the votes to get out of the House.

March 24 Prep Sports Roundup

Baseball

Sherwood 12, Hood River Valley 0

Central Catholic sweeps The Dalles 11-0 and 15-3

Goldendale sweeps White Swan 9-5 and 11-2:  The Timberwolves used big innings to grab the sweep, scoring six runs in the fourth inning of game one, and ten runs in the third inning of the nightcap.

 

Softball

West Anchorage 11, The Dalles 10

Gresham 4, The Dalles 1

North Eugene 7,  Hood River Valley 4

Marist 9, Hood River Valley 8 (11 innings)

Goldendale sweeps White Swan 9-3 and 18-6

Columbia at Washougal, postponed

 

Boys Tennis

LaSalle 3, Goldendale 1

 

Girls Tennis

LaSalle 5, Goldendale 0

TD Council Approves Medical Marijuana Location Ordinance

The Dalles City Council approved an ordinance governing where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.  Councilors had put a moratorium in place to allow time to develop the zoning rules, but that was due to expire May 1, and Mayor Steve Lawrence said they needed to get the ordinance passed even though the landscape may change with the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Councilors approved municipal planning commission recommendations to allow the dispensaries as an outright permitted use restricted to three commercial zones:  the Central Business District, the General Commercial District, and the Commercial Light Industrial District.  The ordinance puts siting distance restrictions used for adult businesses into effect for medical marijuana outlets.  However, the Council elected to allow the dispensaries to operate on weekends, while the planning commission had sought to restrict the businesses to weekday hours.  The vote to approve was three-to-one with Dan Spatz opposed, noting marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and he was uncomfortable with state and local governments moving in opposition to that.

Forest Payments Extension Included In Medicare Agreement

A two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act for local school, road, and law enforcement funding in counties with national forestlands has been included in a bipartisan agreement to reform how doctors are paid under Medicare.  Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden says the extension provides more time to work on long-term federal forest policy reforms.  Walden credited fellow Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio for working with his leadership to support including the provision in the Medicare deal.  House consideration of this bipartisan agreement is expected this week.   If passed by the House this week, the bill would then go to the Senate for a vote.

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