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.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information related to a pair of burglaries in Cascade Locks one month ago. One occurred at Cascade Locks School between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on January 5, and another burglary that occurred later that night at a nearby church. Over $1,000 worth of damage was caused at the school by forced entry through multiple locked doors. A white adult male was captured on surveillance video breaking an office window. If you have any information regarding the identity of the suspect(s) or the items stolen, please call the Sheriff’s Office 24 hour non-emergency line at (541) 386-2711.
Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden has reintroduced legislation he says would ensure that rural ambulance service providers are fairly paid for their services. The Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Act of 2015 would end uncertainty over reimbursement from Medicare by making permanent appropriate rates for the ambulance services. Walden says under current law, Medicare’s rates to reimburse ambulance services are significantly below the cost of delivering services, especially in rural areas. To address the shortfall Congress regularly passes temporary legislative fixes to give the ambulance services higher rates. This legislation would make these rate adjustments permanent to give ambulance providers certainty. Walden originally introduced this bill last year, but it did not become law before the conclusion of the last session of Congress. However, the Hood River Republican thinks a bipartisan push to permanently reform reimbursement rates for Medicare providers across the spectrum gives this effort extra momentum.