Washington voters during the general election passed another mandate to reduce school class sizes in the state…but it adds another layer to the complex question of how the state should define and fund basic education…and where to find the money to do it. White Salmon Valley Schools Superintendent Jerry Lewis says if the I-1351 standards were adopted…building capacity becomes a big issue for districts like his. Lewis notes the district took a state building survey on the impact of I-1351 showing it would leave them short five to six classrooms at Whitson Elementary School, and there is no room for that expansion. The initiative comes on top of the Washington Legislature dealing with the McCleary decision from the judiciary to fully fund basic education.
All four Northwest Senators voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline bill on Tuesday. The bill needed 60 percent approval and failed by one vote, with 59 saying yes and 41 against. Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Washington’s Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray all voted against the bill. Proponents of the pipeline say it would help the U.S. move away from relying on energy sources in unstable areas of the world, while environmental activists claim it would jeopardize public health and spike carbon emissions.
The Next Door, Incorporated is seeking household items for foster teens who are moving into their first apartment as they turn 18. Next Door, Inc. Development Director Heidi Venture says the items they need are simple things to help set up a new home, like sheets and towels. Venture adds foster children who leave the system without being adopted are truly on their own, and they work with about 25 teens each year that “age out” of the system. For information to help with this effort, call The Next Door, Inc. at 541-386-6665.
Columbia Gorge Community College’s Indian Creek campus in Hood River will be open Wednesday, but classes there will are canceled. CGCC’s campus in The Dalles will operate on schedule.
Hood River Police say a Columbia Gorge Community College employee who was found dead this morning at the school’s Indian Creek campus took his own life. Hood River Police Chief Neal Holste says the man was a resident of the community and was involved in facility maintenance at CGCC, and his body was discovered by another employee just after 7:30 a.m. Holste added the man’s actions did not put the school or community at risk in any way. The Indian Creek campus was closed Tuesday due to the police investigation there. Mid-Columbia Center for Living will be coordinating debriefing and coping sessions for CGCC staff in Hood River over the next two days.
It doesn’t look like a marijuana retailer, or any other kind of business, will be locating in a part of the Park-and-Ride lot adjacent to the Washington entrance ramp to the Port of Hood River Interstate Bridge. White Salmon Mayor Dave Poucher says the City received a response to their question about whether they could lease for commercial use a 2500 foot space in the lot that was developed by the Washington Department of Transportation, and the state gave them a negative response, saying proceeds would have to go to the federal government, which provided funding for the Park-and-Ride. Poucher said in addition, the state would require a traffic study because part of the lot was set aside for trucks to use during inclement weather. The City had issued a request for proposal after inquiries were made about placing a marijuana retail location at the lot.
The Hood River County School District has seen unexpected enrollment growth this year, with the most recent count showing the district up by 56 students…the biggest jump in about a decade. But the difficult part for district administrators is trying to determine is if this simply a bubble or part of a long-term trend. Superintendent Dan Goldman says there are signs that would make the district expect more growth, particularly in the lower portion of the Hood River Valley. Goldman used May Street Elementary School as an example, noting there is no more space to add a classroom there. He says additional classroom space will be a big discussion point for the district as they prepare to go out for a bond measure in the near future.
Columbia Gorge Community College’s Indian Creek campus in Hood River is closed today due to a police investigation. CGCC spokesman Dan Spatz confirmed Hood River Police are conducting an investigation there, but added there is no threat or danger to students or other members of the public. Spatz says the campus will remain closed the rest of the day. He added further information will be released as it becomes available.
The Port of Hood River is going out to bid for on a project to do additional pedestrian and bicycle trail connection improvements around the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Hood River. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says it will go out to bid in early January. McElwee notes the bridge was built in the eighties, and this project will provide some more options for bicyclists and pedestrians. McElwee says the challenge from that will result in a rerouting of the planned pedestrian/bicycle pathway along the waterfront going north along the Spit and connecting up to the new access road to the planned Naito hotel project at the Nichols Basin.
The Wasco County Economic Development Commission and Mid-Columbia Economic Development District will host a forum called “Web Works – Anywhere” on Wednesday to highlight local businesses using broadband effectively to support their business models. It’s part of an effort by the Q-Life Network, Wasco County, and the City of The Dalles to make area businesses more aware of their broadband options. A community college instructor, a non-profit director, and a business owner will all give examples of using high-speed Internet to connect with customers and communities. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Maison de Glace at 208 Laughlin Street in The Dalles. Those who would like to attend should call MCEDD at 541-296-2266.