The new swimming pool at the Northern Wasco County Aquatic Center at Thompson Park has passed health department inspections, and will be ready for its grand opening on Saturday. Scott Hege has been overseeing construction of the pool for the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District, and said the inspections took place Tuesday. Hege says the fence around the pool was finished Tuesday morning. The grand opening ceremonies are planned for 1 p.m. Saturday.
Hood River County Commissioners are planning to hold a special meeting next Wednesday (June 24) to discuss a drought declaration. County Administrator David Meriwether says all water and irrigation system stakeholders will be invited to take part in the meeting, adding the Commission has been receiving requests for the drought declaration. The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. June 24 at the Westside Fire Department’s Rockford station.
The Dalles City Council held a town hall meeting Monday evening on downtown economic development. The City’s group that has been at the forefront of efforts to bring business to the downtown district spoke to the group, with Economic Development Director Gary Rains saying they have put together deals involving seven buildings in recent months. Mayor Steve Lawrence noted there are two breweries coming to downtown in the very near future, with both currently in the City planning process. Lawrence added he feels the City needs to do a better job of telling citizens about the work they are doing downtown, and the success he feels they are beginning to have.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says he will hold up the full Senate proceeding to vote on the nomination of Monica Regalbuto as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environmental Management until the Energy Department takes “concrete action” to address both the culture of hostility toward Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers and the department’s failure to clean up any high-level radioactive nuclear waste after 25 years and billions of dollars spent at the site. After questioning Regalbuto during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Wyden said he would vote in favor of reporting the nomination out of committee, but wants to see the Energy Department take corrective action to make changes at Hanford. Wyden did say he felt Regalbuto is very qualified to lead the Office of Environmental Management.
A single-wide mobile home was destroyed in a fire Monday morning at Viewpoint Trailer Park in The Dalles. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer says the fire was caused by an electrical failure in a fan…and when firefighters arrived the home was fully involved. Palmer says crews from Dallesport, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service were brought in to protect adjacent wildland areas. The man who lived in the home was unhurt in the fire.
Hood River County Commissioners will consider a resolution on oil trains going through the Gorge at their meeting in July. Commissioners directed staff to draw up a resolution at their Monday night meeting. County Administrator David Meriwether says Commissioners are looking at various resolutions already done by different Gorge entities and being moderate in approach. In other business, the County approved its budget for the 2015-16 FiscalYear.
Oregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.3 percent in May compared with 5.2 percent in April. This kept the state’s rate close to the national level, with the U.S. unemployment rate at 5.5 percent in May. Payroll employment growth paused in May, posting a seasonally adjusted decline of 1,400, the first monthly drop since September 2012. Despite the one-month decline in jobs, payroll employment was still up substantially over the year, having added 50,500 jobs since May of last year. Taking a breather from rapid growth in recent months, most industries hired close to their normal, seasonal numbers of jobs in May.
Donald Matthew Schneider, one of three brothers facing charges in connection with the disappearance of Jason Muschwek of Parkdale one year ago, was arraigned in a brief proceeding Monday in Hood River County Circuit Court. The 22-year-old Schneider was arraigned on a grand jury indictment on eight different counts including murder, burglary, theft, aggravated animal abuse, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a weapon, and abuse of a corpse. One of Schneider’s attorneys, Peter Parnickis, has asked for a bail hearing for Schneider, but it was not scheduled during the proceeding before Judge Karen Ostrye. A second brother who has faced similar charges, 27-year-old Michael David Schneider, will be arraigned next Monday. The third brother, 23-year-old Peter Damien Schneider, is charged with burglary and theft and is scheduled for a status check on Wednesday.
The Port of Hood River should have some additional angled parking available in front of the Waterfront Event Site by the Fourth of July. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says they are trying to make up for parking lost to various construction projects, particularly parking that had been available at Slackwater Beach. The Port is dealing with parking questions with new construction and continued recreational use. McElwee says the Port is beginning to look into the potential of a permit system or metering in conjunction with the City.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is introducing a new “tiered dues” system based on services the Chamber provides rather than the number of employees in the members’ business. Chamber CEO Lisa Farquharson says she wanted to get away from a dues system she felt penalized growing businesses. Farquharson says they will introduce the new system to members at a series of “Chat ‘N Chew” sessions over the next two months. For information on those call The Dalles Chamber at 541-296-2231.