Wasco County is receiving a grant of just over 290-thousand dollars to do three-quarters-of-a-mile of improvements to the Tygh Valley-Wamic Road. The money is coming from the Federal Lands Access Program, and Commissioner Steve Kramer says the grant comes as a bit of a surprise, as the County thought it was no longer in the running for it. The work will involve new pavement, guardrails, and signs, extending improvements done to another piece of the road last year. Kramer noted grants like this one are crucial for the County to get needed road work done.
Washington 14th District Representative Norm Johnson says he is not impressed by Governor Jay Inslee’s threat to veto bills on his desk unless a supplemental budget arrives on his desk by Thursday, the final scheduled day of the 60-day session. Johnson, a Republican, says the Governor, a Democrat, is out of line, noting it is not unusual for a budget agreement to not be in place at this point of a session. Inslee said while negotiations between the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate are continuing, lawmakers need to “pick up that pace substantially.”
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce is putting together a relocation packet outlining why someone should live and work in the community. Chamber Membership Manager Matt Werbach says they took on the task when larger employers in the region said they were having trouble finding qualified employees to help move their companies forward. He says the packet looks to highlight the advantages of living in Hood River. Werbach says the information will also address one of the major issues facing people trying to move to Hood River, finding housing at an affordable price. Werbach says when the packet is finished, it will be made available to local businesses and put on the Chamber’s website, hoodriver.org. He adds the information will be updated as needed.
North Wasco County School District 21 is looking ahead toward its budget for the 2016-17 school year, and it figures to be similar to the current year. D-21 Chief Financial Officer Randy Anderson says he has turned in an estimate for slightly smaller enrollment for 16-17, which he says will present some challenges. But the bigger challenge is probably coming in 2017-18. That’s when school districts in the state will probably have to deal with another increase in obligations to the state’s Public Employees Retirement System. Anderson expects districts will be told PERS rates will go up about five percent for the next three to five bienniums.
OSAA Class 1-A Boys Basketball Championship
Sherman controlled the second half on the way to a 53-45 win over Columbia Christian in the Oregon Class 1-A Boys’ Basketball Championship in Baker City. The Huskies took the lead for good late in the third quarter after trailing by five at halftime, and used an 11 point run in the fourth quarter to take complete control of the contest. Isaiah Coles led the Huskies in scoring with 18 points, while Max Martin tallied 17 and Jacob Justesen added 13.
Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association Championships
Hood River Valley’s Montana Kurahara won the individual combined title to lead the Eagles to the boys’ combined state championship at Mt. Ashland. Kurahara won the slalom in a time of 1:09.21 to go along with his previous victory in the giant slalom, as HRV held off West Linn for the team title. Columbia’s Colin Howe finished fifth in the individual combined, and Preston Klindt of The Dalles was 20th. HRV’s Erin Sutherland was second in the girls’ individual combined, while Josie Peterson was fifth. HRV was sixth in the girls’ standings, while the Eagles took second in the boys and girls combined, trailing only host Ashland.
Columbia Land Trust says it has acquired 115 acres of land on Mill Creek Ridge southwest of The Dalles to conserve wildlife habitat. Mill Creek Ridge is home to an expanse of oak woodlands and wildflower meadows. The woodlands and native grasses support pollinators along with migratory and resident birds. The land trust group had acquired more than 300 acres in the Mill Creek Ridge area in the last decade, but they had been divided until the 115 acre parcel was acquired late last week. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, American Bird Conservancy, and a donation from local landowners helped pay for the land acquisition. Land Trust staff will now control weeds, monitor tree health, and do plantings where necessary.
Oregon 29th District State Senator Bill Hansell says bipartisan support got a bill to uphold last year’s Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decision to remove the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list through both chambers of the Legislature, and he’s hopeful Governor Kate Brown will sign it. The Governor’s office has been neutral on the subject, but Hansell noted it was involved by offering advice during the initial writing of the bill to avoid creating an automatic veto. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission delisted the species in November as part of its wolf management plan, and environmentalists sued, seeking to challenge the scientific merits of the decision. But by upholding the delisting decision in state law, the judicial review sought in the lawsuit would likely be rendered moot.
The Dalles Police have made a second arrest related to a fire that melted the curly slide in the Sorosis Park playground area. Police Chief Jay Waterbury says a 15-year-old male was taken into custody on Thursday. He is charged with second degree arson, first degree criminal mischief, and reckless burning. The teen was lodged at the NORCOR juvenile detention facility. Earlier, an 18-year-old man from The Dalles was taken into custody and charged with the same crimes. The fire occurred early in the morning of February 21. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue crews arrived to find the ten-foot curly slide fully engulfed in flames. The fire was put out but the slide was completely destroyed. Waterbury said officers interviewed numerous people in an attempt to discover who started the fire, adding the investigation is continuing.
Oregon Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament
Sherman jumped out to an early lead and went on to a 71-56 win over Siletz Valley in a quarterfinal game at the Oregon Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament in Baker City. Max Martin led the Huskies with 23 points, while Jacob Justesen had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Isaiah Coles scored 15 and pulled down 10 boards. The Huskies shot the ball well, making 52 percent from the field. Sherman will meet Nixyaawii in a semi-final game this evening at 8:15.
Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association
Hood River Valley’s Montana Kurahara won the boys’ giant slalom on the first day of the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association championships on Mt. Ashland. Kurahara won by nearly two seconds in a time of 1:26.59. Colin Howe of Columbia was eighth, HRV’s William Lamer was 11th, and Preston Klindt of The Dalles finished 16th. In the girls’ slalom, HRV’s Erin Sutherland finished fifth, with teammate Josie Peterson in tenth. Racing concludes today with the boys’ slalom and girls’ giant slalom.
The Fort Dalles Fourth organization is moving under the The Dalles Main Street program umbrella and entering into a new partnership with The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce. Organizers of the Fourth of July celebration say the move into the Main Street program will allow both organizations to work together to further develop events for the holiday and other activities throughout the year. Meanwhile, the Chamber will coordinate an annual request for transient room tax funding from the City of The Dalles to support the purchase of fireworks as well as expansion of regional public relations and marketing efforts, and also take over Fourth of July parade operations. In addition, the Fort Dalles Fourth Festival will operate separately from the fireworks display, with the Fort Dalles Fourth Committee continuing to oversee the fireworks show and controlling the “Fort Dalles Fourth” brand, but will no longer be linked financially to the outcome of supporting events. Festival operations will be supported by business sponsorship, vendor fees, ticket sales, and volunteers, with Nolan Hare continuing as director.