All three of the maintenance and operations levies for area school districts on the Tuesday night ballot in Washington were passing by substantial margins. Voters in the White Salmon Valley School District were passing their M and O by a two-to-one margin, 1,043 in favor to 543 against. In the Lyle School District 62 percent were in favor, 467 to 283. And in the Trout Lake School District there is a 71 percent passage rate, 229 to 95. Ballots only had to be postmarked by Tuesday, so ballots will continue to come in for a few days. In the Home Valley Water District, a maintenance and capital improvements levy was being approved 41 to 19.
Google and The Dalles-Wasco County Library unveiled a program that will allow library patrons to check out mobile Wi-Fi hotspots similar to the way they would check out a book. A grant from Google allowed the library to acquire 50 hotspots in the pilot program. Google’s Darcy Nothnagle says the Wi-Fi checkout program is intended to help bridge a “digital divide,” noting household income is an indicator of whether or not a person has consistent Internet access. Hotspots can be checked out for three-week periods, and laptop computers will also be available.
The Hood River County School District is still looking at ways to make up all the classroom days lost due to ice and snow this winter. The district had already developed plans to make up eight days by eliminating the Monday late starts that were used for curriculum collaboration issues, making two grading and conference compensation days full school days, and adding four days to the end of the school year. But District Superintendent Dan Goldman says two more snow days last week leaves the district looking at more options, including adding additional instructional minutes to each school day. As an example, Goldman said Hood River Valley High School could add a minute to two minutes to each class period, and by the end of the school year that would make up two days. Goldman noted the district has to work with their bargaining units to finalize make up plans.
Hermiston 61, The Dalles 57: Chance Flores scored 22 points and Xavier Rambo 16 as the Bulldogs hung on to defeat the Riverhawks. Dakota Murr had a double-double to lead The Dalles with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Pendleton 65, Hood River Valley 48
Pendleton 53, Hood River Valley 37: Kalan McGlothan scored 12 of her 20 points in the first quarter to lead the Buckaroos. Lauren Orr led Hood River with 13 points.
Hermiston 54, The Dalles 46
Southwest Washington Class 1A Girls Basketball Tournament
Seton Catholic 48, Stevenson 36
The Dalles City Council approved extending the negotiating period with Tokola Properties for the Tony’s Town and Country property by a total of 240 days. The City, Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency, and Tokola have been in discussions for over a year to redevelop the property as a mixed use commercial/residential building. Mayor Steve Lawrence says discussions had slowed as Tokola dealt with a project elsewhere, but he adds the company is ready to continue the talks. Lawrence said he’s confident they can get the agreement nailed down in less than the time allotted by the extension which is actually broken into two 120-day segments.
The Hood River City Council approved code amendments that will require townhomes with four or more units attached to go through a site plan review process. The City has been going through a months-long revision to its townhouse regulations to conform to state standards and change them from conditional use to a permitted use. There was quite a bit of discussion about whether to make the number of units for a detailed site plan review four or five, but City Manager Steve Wheeler says the Council also wanted to get the amendments passed before the building season begins. In other business, the Council agreed to approve the use of $240,000 in systems development charges collected with the City by the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District for the Golden Eagle Park renovation project adjacent to Hood River Valley High School.
The Army Corps of Engineers has dedicated up to one-point-five-six million dollars for a village development plan to replace housing that was lost during construction of The Dalles Dam, with plans to dedicate one-point-four-nine million dollars more depending on congressional funding for the rest of the current fiscal year. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Patty Murray of Washington, and Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer made the announcement. Beginning in the 1930s, the construction of the three lower Columbia River dams displaced members of the four Columbia River Treaty tribes. The Army Corps designed treaty fishing sites to be used primarily for daily, in-season fishing access and temporary camping; however, in many cases tribal members now use the areas as longer-term or even permanent residences. A Fact-Finding Review on Tribal Housing prepared by the Army Corps found that as many as 85 tribal families who lived on the banks of the Columbia River prior to construction of the Bonneville and The Dalles dams did not receive relocation assistance, despite the fact that several non-tribal communities inundated by dam construction did receive such assistance.
Wasco County has unveiled its new website. County Commissioner Scott Hege says they have been working on modernizing the look of the site for some time. He says the goal is to make it easier for constituents to find information they want and need. As an example, the Geographical Information System available on the site has more data on the various properties in the County. The website address remains the same: wascocounty.org.
Pendleton 86, The Dalles 45
Horizon Christian 53, South Wasco 38: The Hawks nail down the third seed in this weekend’s Big Sky Conference Tournament
Southwest Washington Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament
Stevenson 55, Elma 44: The Bulldogs move on to a loser-out game with LaCenter Wednesday evening at Rochester.
Horizon Christian 51, South Wasco 34: The Hawks finish the regular season in a tie for first with Arlington atop the Big Sky Conference.
During their goal-setting session, Hood River County Commissioners received troubling projections about their long-term revenue picture. County Commission Chair Ron Rivers says a ten-year analysis shows the County facing difficulty in maintaining services by year six. Rivers says Measure 5 and 50 limitations on property tax increases are a big reason for the shortfall, adding Hood River County is in the bottom ten of property tax rates in the state. He adds the Commission plans to look again at the concept of some kind of tax on tourist services to address the issue. Continuing a study of the future of the Hood River County Courthouse, affordable housing creation, and revamping internal systems to increase efficiency were also on the goal list.