A 40-year-old Bend man accused of murdering his girlfriend on a steep section of the Eagle Creek trail in March of 2009 pleaded not guilty in Hood River County Circuit Court. Stephen Wagner Nichols entered the not guilty plea to a murder charge before Circuit Judge John Olson on Monday afternoon. 23-year-old Rhonda Casto of Portland fell 100 feet on March 16, 2009 about a mile from the Eagle Creek trailhead. Nichols was arrested in early February in San Mateo County, California in February of this year. A tentative trial date for Nichols is set for sometime between late May and July of next year. A status check was scheduled for this July 7, while a motion for release hearing will take place in early August. Nichols’ attorney Mike Arnold said during the proceedings a motion to suppress some evidence has been filed.
The Dalles City Council approved a plan to transition the City’s current Administrative Fellow into a full-time position of Project Coordinator that would be involved in helping the City reach its economic development goals. The new position would include among its duties managing the City and Wasco County Enterprise Zone, help coordinate activities with The Dalles Main Street program, manage the Urban Renewal District property rehabilitation and loan and grant program, and work on Riverfront Trail projects. Mayor Steve Lawrence says the goal is to consolidate a number of issues into one position. City Councilors decided not to seek an AmeriCorps/RARE program member to do the Community Curation project. The new position was approved by the City Budget Committee for the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget. In other business, the Council approved refunds of pre-paid assessments for public improvements totaling over $65,000 to six property owners who had paid into a fund under requirements the Council recently abolished. And the Council approved The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce community marketing program for 2015-16.
The City of Hood River is working on a 20-year plan for water and sewer system upgrades and how to plan to pay for them. City Councilors heard a presentation on the needs facing the City in those areas, including old sewer lines with leaded joints and the need for improved water pressure in the growing west side of town. City Manager Steve Wheeler says part of the challenge is how to pay for improvements, particularly when federal funding is drying up. He adds loans are still available, but you have to plan how to pay them back, primarily through systems development charges and rates. Councilors will consider the information they receive as they look to make decisions on finalizing a 20-year plan.
With the official declaration of the emergence cherry fruit fly in the Mid-Columbia, it’s time for homeowners who own fruit trees to apply a control program. Wasco County Extension Agent Lynn Long says a fairly new material called Spinosad can be applied to trees to control cherry fruit flies. Long says it is a made from an extract of fungus and is very safe for humans. Long does say Spinosad has to be applied every seven days until cherries are harvested. He adds you won’t see a label for Spinosad in the store, but it will be an active ingredient in the product. For guidance on using pesticide sprays for cherry fruit fly, call the Wasco County Extension Office at 541-296-5494.
Oregon High School Lacrosse Association Playoffs
Hood River Valley 14, Marist 2: Savannah Brentlinger and Lydia McElderry scored four goals each as the Eagles won the first round game at Henderson Stadium. The Eagles move on to a second round game at second-ranked Lake Oswego tomorrow.
The Dalles is twelfth and Hood River Valley fourteenth after the first round of the Class 5-A Special District 2 tournament at Eagle Crest. Summit leads Bend by two strokes atop the team leaderboard. The final round is today.
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington announced white sturgeon retention fishing will close effective Thursday on the Columbia River and its tributaries between The Dalles and John Day dams. Managers from the two states decided to close that section of the river to sturgeon retention after reviewing catch data that indicate anglers have achieved their pre-season harvest guideline of 100 fish. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing remains open in The Dalles Pool, except that sturgeon fishing is prohibited from May 1 through July 31 in the sturgeon spawning sanctuary that runs from John Day Dam 2.4 miles downstream to the west end of the Rufus grain elevator.
Oregon State Wasco County Extension Agent Lynn Long says the cherry fruit fly emerged on Sunday in The Dalles area. The entire cherry-growing area, including the cities of The Dalles, Mosier, and Dufur are within a cherry fruit fly control district, and all homeowners with a backyard tree as well as commercial orchardists are required by state law to apply a control program. Long says for homeowners recommended materials would include Spinosad and Malathion. To obtain a free pesticide spray guide for the cherry fruit fly and other tree pests…contact the Wasco County Extension Office at 541-296-5494.
The Port of The Dalles is planning to apply for funding from the state to help planning and marketing funds to help market the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says it appears there will be funds in the state budget for 2015-17 to be associated with capital construction projects. For The Dalles, that means the opportunity to receive grant dollars for planning and marketing projects they are working on, and specifically the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center. Klaas says the final three-inch lift of asphalt on roads in the Industrial Center is expected to be laid down in June, which will finish infrastructure installation there.
After some reluctance over the years…Hood River County is joining with the Area Commission on Transportation that also includes Multnomah…Clackamas…and Washington counties. The panel is an off-shoot of the Oregon Transportation Commission…and County Commission Chair Ron Rivers says Hood River County had been reluctant to join because of a good working relationship with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and a fear of getting lost behind the three larger metropolitan-area counties. Rivers says the makeup of the voting members of the group is such that he no longer has that concern. But he adds not being a part of a group can leave Hood River County on the outside looking in when it comes to state funding. The other three counties had also never formed an area commission. Rivers says by-laws are being set up to determine how the commission will operate.
Skamania County Emergency Medical Services responded to three calls at the Dog Mountain Trail over the weekend. On Saturday evening crews were dispatched up the Dog Mountain Trail for a hiker with a medical condition. The adult male received medical intervention and was able to trek the remaining portion of the trail. Sunday afternoon crews were again dispatched for an injured hiker at the top of the Dog Mountain Trail. Moments later crews were also dispatched to a motor vehicle collision at milepost 54 on Highway 14 just next to the Dog Mountain parking lot and trail head. Crews responded with multiple apparatus and assisted the 5 occup nts from the three car collision. All occupants were evaluated and treated by medical personnel for minor injuries and released. Crew members then began up the trail to assist the hiker, an adult female. A helicopter transferred the patient to awaiting crews at Home Valley Park and the patient was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest by ambulance for an ankle injury.