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Local News

Heat Arrives; Precautions Urged

With hot temperatures forecast this week with the potential to reach triple digits, health officials are reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.  When possible, stay in air-conditioned buildings, limit outdoor activity particularly in the hottest part of the day, avoid direct sunlight, wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing, and take cool showers or baths.  Drink more water than usual, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink, and avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.  Also, check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors periodically through the day.

Study Seeks To Understand Gorge Pikas

Scientists may be a step closer to understanding one of the cutest enigmas in the Pacific Northwest: the mysterious Columbia Gorge pika.  With an assist from the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s Future of Wildlife grant program, a U.S. Geological Survey study has enlisted technicians and more than 175 volunteers to scour the Gorge for these croissant-sized rabbit cousins, whose typically high-altitude habitat makes them vulnerable to climate change.  Columbia Gorge pikas are the lowest-elevation pikas in the U.S.  The study aims to discover where these “extreme” pikas are — and aren’t — living in the Gorge, and to understand what factors may dictate their distribution.   The study will ultimately be used by citizen science groups to measure any future changes that may occur.  The three-year study surveyed 50 miles of the Gorge on both sides of the Columbia River and will conclude in September, when the team will retrieve their sensing equipment, but citizen-science pika surveys will continue.

Mt. Hood Meadows

For the first time in their 46-year history, Mt. Hood Meadows will present Summer events at the resort. Meadows President and CEO Matthew Drake is excited about the opportunity to offer Summer events and recreation. He said since the Forest Service guidelines were released in April, Meadows had worked closely with the Mt. Hood National Forest specifically to get a Summer Operational Plan approved. They are offering two events this Summer – a 1.2 mile running (or walking) event on August 26th….and a Kid’s Day Camp featuring outdoor activities and education on August 23rd. On those two days, Meadows will also operate the Stadium Chair for scenic chairlift rides and offer a barbecue on the Sun Deck. For more info on the events, go to SkiHood-dot-com.

D-21 Alternative School opens

Although most students in the area just started their Summer Vacation 3 or 4 weeks ago, there are some students that started school Monday (7/7). Wahtonka Community School opened with 50-55 students who will attend school Monday through Thursday year-round. There are another 25 or so students on the waiting list. The classes aren’t all inside the school, they will work on projects outside the building as well. One example is Petersburg School, where gardens have been set up for the students to work on. While an expansion could be in the future, D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says they will stay at the current enrollment level for at least the first year for a couple of reasons. She says the staff is maxed out, and they want to make sure they are doing things right. Armstrong is also anxious to see if the excitement they have seen in the run-up to the program is the same after a few weeks of attendance, especially in the Summer.

Man Struck by Train

According to The Dalles Police Department, a man was struck and killed by a train at 1st and Union in The Dalles early Saturday morning (7/5). Shon Hill, 39, of Ione, was lying on the railroad right of way at the time of the incident. It’s not known if he was sleeping or unconscious at the time. He was struck Saturday morning at 4:08. Hill had been arrested for suspicion of DUII by Oregon State Police in the Hood River area on Friday. He had been booked at NORCOR but not lodged because of a medical condition. He was taken to Mid-Columbia Medical Center and then released Friday night around 9:20. It’s not known how he got from the hospital to the location where he was struck. The incident does not appear to be related to the celebration at Festival Park the night of the Fourth.

Missing Rafter

The Klickitat Cou7nty Sheriff’s Office has suspended the search for a missing rafter who is presumed to have drowned in the Klickitat River. The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Department, Klickitat County Search & Rescue and the Lyle Fire Department responded to a call Saturday night a little after 8pm reporting a missing rafter on the river north of Lyle. According to Sergeant Erik Anderson of the Sheriff’s Department, it was determined that 23-year-old Christopher Dube of Kirkland, Washington had been rafting with a group of friends when he attempted to navigate Lyle Falls alone on his raft. Soon after he entered the rapids, he overturned and went missing. His friends searched for him, then called authorities. Deputies and Search & Rescue volunteers searched for him Saturday night into Sunday with no success. The search was suspended indefinitely later Sunday.

Two Arrested After High Speed Chase On I-84

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Two people wanted on felony warrants in Clackamas and Multnomah counties were arrested Thursday after a high speed chase between Cascade Locks and The Dalles.  According to the Oregon State Police, a sports car with stolen plates being driven at a high rate of speed on eastbound Interstate 84 through eastern Multnomah County was reported just before 10 a.m.  The car struck a guardrail and ran over spike strips while going through Hood River, but continued with a deflated right front tire at a speed of nearly 100 miles per hour.  The Dalles Police Department deployed spike strips when the car arrived there, deflating the left front tire, and it finally stopped at milepost 87.  The driver, 30-year-old Patricia Motley of Gresham and a passenger, 28-year-old Aaron Smith of Rosamond, California, were taken into custody and lodged at NORCOR on charges relating to this incident and the warrants.

Fort Dalles Fourth Debuts

The first Fort Dalles Fourth Independence Day celebration will take place in Lewis and Clark Festival Park in The Dalles on Friday.  It will be the culmination of efforts by a local group to reestablish a Fourth of July celebration in The Dalles.  The centerpiece will be the big fireworks show at dusk to be fired from a barge in the Columbia River, and it will be visible from most locations in the community.  But there will be plenty of activity leading up to the fireworks, with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m., the Rocket Run and Walk at 8 a.m., a parade at 10 a.m., and live music from noon until fireworks time with a family festival from noon to 5 p.m.  For more information, go to FortDallesFourth.com

Traditional Hood River Fourth Events Planned

Hood River’s traditional Fourth of July events are set, including a parade through the Heights to Jackson Park beginning at 10 a.m.  The day starts with the Kollas/Cramner Memorial Run and Walk from Mid-Valley Elementary School in Odell to Jackson Park, with walkers starting at 8 a.m. and runners at 9 a.m.  The parade follows at 10 a.m.  The grand marshals are World War II veteran Ed Bartline and three-year-old Lila May Schow.  There will be activities all day Friday at Jackson Park beginning at noon, and the Eyeopener Lions Club fireworks show wraps up the night at 10 p.m.

Port of HR Property Closures For Fireworks Show

Some Port of Hood River property will be closed for portions of the Fourth of July holiday period to accommodate the Eyeopeners Lions Fireworks Show.  The Spit will be closed until noon Saturday.  Access to the sandbar from the Waterfront Event Site will be closed at 7 p.m., and kiteboard launching and landing from the Event Site grass will not be permitted on July 4.  The sand area of Marina Beach will close at 7 p.m. on Friday, and once Marina Park parking areas are full, closed signs will be placed at the entrance and additional vehicles will not be allowed into Marina Park.  Public use of fireworks on Port property is prohibited.

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