Klickitat PUD held hearings this week in both White Salmon and Goldendale on a proposal to increase electric rates by three percent at the beginning of 2016 and another two to three percent in July. PUD General Manager Jim Smith says a combination of Bonneville Power Administration cost increases and a drop in wholesale revenues is leading to the rate hike. He expects the wholesale revenue situation will be a long-term concern. Smith says the PUD is looking at options for replacing the wholesale revenue losses, with the potential to sell carbon credits off its existing generation if Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s carbon legislation initiatives come to fruition. The PUD board will vote on the rate increases at a meeting in December, when they will also conduct a 2016 budget hearing.
The U.S. Forest Service is looking for more than one-thousand seasonal workers for jobs that start this spring in Oregon and Washington, and will be taking applications for one week beginning on Monday (November 30). Forest Service spokesman Stephen Baker says the jobs include building trails and staffing visitor service centers, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and more. There are over 90 seasonal jobs available in the Mount Hood National Forest, and a number in the Gifford Pinchot as well. Applicants can apply beginning on Monday at USAJobs.gov.
Preparations continue for a pair of community Thanksgiving dinners in the area on Thursday. In The Dalles, the community dinner will be from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy. It’s sponsored by the Salvation Army, with dinner being prepared for up to 1,000 people. If you know of someone who needs a delivered meal, call the Salvation Army at 541-296-6417. In Hood River, FISH Food Bank, Asbury Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, and Riverside Community Church are teaming up to serve dinner to up to 400 people. The dinner will be at Riverside Community Church on 317 State Street from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday.
The annual Starlight Parade will roll through The Dalles on Friday evening. The lighted parade will begin at 6 p.m., taking the usual route through the downtown area. At the conclusion, there will be a Community Tree-Lighting Ceremony and hot chocolate and coffee at The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce office at 402 West 2nd. Santa Claus will be there for photographs inside the Chamber.
Mt. Hood Meadows announced it will run a pair of lifts this holiday weekend. Meadows plans on operating the Easy Rider and Buttercup chairlifts, as well as the Ballroom Carpet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday through Sunday, offering a limited amount of terrain. A special preview rail park is under construction for freestylers. Additionally, Meadows will offer cross country skiing at its Nordic Center all three days and open a snowshoe trail as well.
Hood River native Minoru Yasui Tuesday posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Family members accepted the honor from President Barack Obama. Yasui, born in Hood River in 1916, was the first to intentionally defy a military curfew imposed upon Japanese-Americans in 1942. He was sent to prison, including nine months in solitary confinement in the Multnomah County Jail, and fought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court…which upheld his conviction. Yasui spent the rest of his life appealing his wartime conviction, until his death in 1986, the year his conviction was overturned by a federal court. Yasui was the first Japanese-American graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said Yasui was a trailblazer whose courage, eloquence and dogged fight against unjust government bigotry should always be remembered as an example of what one person with a powerful voice can accomplish for others.
The sale of about 24 acres in the Port of The Dalles’ Columbia Gorge Industrial Center to Google for a new data center is now official. The Port announced the sale had closed in a written statement released on Monday. The sale price was $4.271 million, which includes compensation or a portion of the construction work undertaken by the Port. During the summer, City of The Dalles and Wasco County officials approved enterprise zone tax abatement agreements for the new facility, which will be the third constructed by Google in The Dalles. Recently the City Planning Department issued its approval of Google’s plans. In its statement, the Port says it is happy that Google plans more growth in the community.
The Dalles City Council has sent an ordinance adopted in late 2012 requiring second hand dealers to report merchandise acquired that was valued at over 25 dollars back to the committee that developed it to determine if it has been effective and whether it should be continued. The ordinance contained language calling for the review. Mayor Steve Lawrence says the intent of the ordinance was to help police track stolen goods, but whether that has been effective is questionable, noting second hand dealers who testified to the Council each had only one instance where the police had inquired about an item. Lawrence says the question for the committee will be to decide whether the ordinance needs to be tweaked or is necessary at all.
When Hood River City Councilors held their annual goal setting session, development of clean energy opportunities made the list. Mayor Paul Blackburn says he is hopeful to see renewable energy projects take place over the next year that the City might be able to pursue. He noted there could be a chance to involve the municipal wastewater treatment plant to generate its own power. Blackburn noted the City earlier this year passed a resolution asking the state to take action toward more development of clean energy sources.
Preparations are underway for The Dalles Community Thanksgiving Dinner to take place on Thursday. A number of volunteers are preparing the meal at the commercial kitchen at Columbia Gorge Community College. RaeAnne Edmiston of the Salvation Army, which is sponsoring the dinner, says they could still use more volunteers to help with the effort. Anyone who would like to volunteer, or might need a meal delivered to them, should call the Salvation Army at 541-296-6417. The dinner will take place on Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles. Hood River’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Riverside Community Church. For more information on that event, call 541-399-2384.