As the drama surrounding Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber continues to unfold, legislators in Salem are trying to carry on with the business of government. 57th District Representative Greg Smith says he is optimistic the Legislature will continue moving forward, but he adds the Kitzhaber situation is a distraction. The Heppner Republican adds there are a number of issues that need Kitzhaber’s attention. Senate President Peter Courtney has told reporters since a meeting with Kitzhaber on Tuesday that legislative work has not slowed during the gubernatorial turmoil.
A new craft beer alliance combining the breweries located in the Columbia River Gorge has been formed. Ten breweries from Cascade Locks to White Salmon will debut a map and passport program Saturday coinciding with Zwickelmania, a free Oregon Craft Beer event that offers visitors a chance to tour breweries, meet the brewers and sample beers. Christine Ellenberger of Everybody’s Brewing is the group’s first president. The group plans to promote the region’s award winning breweries, host joint events, and highlight the Gorge region as a top beer destination.
Washington 14th District State Representative Norm Johnson is pushing a bill to expand the state’s “College in the High School” program. The program allows 11th and 12th graders to earn college credit in high school, and House Bill 1031 would allow 10th graders to do it as well. Johnson says it’s an important program for high school students and their parents, helping to get college credits accumulated before they enroll and start paying tuition. The bill recently went through the House Education Committee, and is awaiting action in that chamber’s Rules Committee.
Columbia River Gorge Commissioners heard an overview of the Oregon Population Forecast Program, which they believe can be a key tool to help regional planning efforts. Portland State University’s Population Research Center will be in charge of the program that begins in September to provide a comprehensive statewide population and demographic forecasting program. Gorge Commission Executive Director Darren Nichols believes the data will be important to the area’s planning needs. PSU has provided population estimate service for communities for years, but this program will provide a coordinated statewide forecast to be renewed every four years without local governments having to expend large amounts of resources.
Washington 14th District State Representative Gina McCabe is working on a bill to help increase employment for veterans. McCabe’s House Bill 2040 would create a program she envisions being called “One Business, One Vet” to encourage every business to hire one veteran. She would like to start in the Goldendale area, keeping statistics showing the numbers of businesses who have a hired a veteran to encourage others to get on board. McCabe says tax credits would not be a part of it, saying the point is to do the right thing and provide jobs to those who have served their country.
The Hood River County School District will make up the two school days cancelled in November due to inclement weather. Students will have school on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12. June 12 will be a full school day and the final one of the year. If the district experiences any further inclement weather days, the district will address them as they occur.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area fire managers are taking advantage of the cooler weather to finish pile burning for the winter. About 300 piles will be ignited if smoke dispersal conditions are available west of Dog Mountain. Prescribed fires are a proactive tool used to achieve a number of resource management objectives including ecosystem restoration and reduction of hazardous fuels. Smoke will be visible generally in the central Gorge between Wind and Dog Mountains. Motorists traveling should use caution and reduce speeds if smoke drifts across Washington State Route 14 and other local roads. The actual day of ignition for these prescribed burn projects will depend on several factors including appropriate temperature, fuel moisture, wind speed and direction.
Hood River Valley 58, Hermiston 48: The Eagles scored 14 straight points to start the second half to run out to a 24 point lead, and were never really threatened after that. Dallas Buckley scored 16 points and Skyler Hunter 14 as HRV moves into a tie for first in the Columbia River Conference with Hermiston and Pendleton. Austin Naillon paced the Bulldogs with 19 points.
Pendleton 56, The Dalles 21: The Buckaroos limited the Riverhawks to two first half points on the way to the win.
Horizon Christian 47, Ione 37
Dufur 59, Arlington 29
South Wasco 79, Spray-Mitchell 48
Sherman 80, Condon-Wheeler 56
Yakama Tribal 67, Trout Lake 44
The Dalles 43, Pendleton 36: Katie Conklin scored 15 points and grabbed ten rebounds, while Brooke McCall added 10 points to lead the Riverhawks to their second league win in five tries. Kristin Williams led Pendleton with 16 points and ten rebounds.
Hermiston 79, Hood River Valley 24: A 22-1 second quarter run sparked the Bulldogs to the win.
Dufur 46, Arlington 37
South Wasco 46, Spray-Mitchell 36
Condon-Wheeler 58, Sherman 34
Ione 36, Horizon Christian 32
Yakama Tribal 49, Trout Lake 31
Parents in Oregon who have received notices on the need to get their children required vaccinations for attending school have one more week to get it done. Exclusion letters went out last month. Trish Elliott at the Hood River County Health Department says one vaccine seems to be the one that most who received the letters are lacking: the adolescent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster. Elliott noted the number of letters sent out in Hood River County overall dropped from nearly 200 last year to 138.
The Dalles City Council has asked its planning staff for a better definition for when annexations should take place. Mayor Steve Lawrence says they were given a good definition for when urbanization has occurred to a point where annexation could take place, but it did not do enough on the policy issue of when the City seeks to annex properties. Lawrence says the Council wants more of the policy pros and cons on annexation. He adds right now they would affirm annexations of a commercial nature or someone who consents to it. The Council hopes to receive the policy information in about a month.