The U.S. Department of Energy says wind energy prices have hit an all-time low and the cost of installing turbines has fallen 20 to 40 percent in the past five years. The agency’s new report says last year’s wind-power price contracts with utilities averaged under two-and-a-half cents per kilowatt hour, down from seven cents in 2009. That could mean a resurgence of interest and investment in wind farms. The Energy Department report also says wind turbines are changing, allowing them to produce more power at lower wind speeds.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is joining with Google in its “Put Your City on the Map” campaign. Chamber CEO Lisa Farquharson says it’s all about making sure businesses are listed correctly on Google maps. The Dalles Chamber will use its Power Breakfast event on September 4 at Columbia Gorge Community College to help people update those listings. Farquharson says wi-fi will be available at the event. Sign up by calling the Chamber at 541-296-2231, and pre-registration is required.
The Skamania County Fair and Timber Carnival continues in Stevenson through the weekend. Admission is free. Activities Saturday include the Parade in downtown Stevenson at 11 and the annual Market Sale at 3. There is a church service scheduled for 11 Sunday morning. The Wasco County Fair is in progress at Tygh Valley this weekend. Highlights include the rodeo tonight and tomorrow and the crowd-favorite Demolition Derby on Sunday.
The Cougar Creek Fire, burning about 6 miles NW of Glenwood, grew to 18,000 acres overnight. A passing cold front from the West is expected to influence fire growth today. It is anticipated that the primary movement of the fire will be to the East, turning NE and North after the front passes. Additional resources have arrived and been deployed. Local ground resources and helicopters are also working on the fire. Aggressive suppression efforts are being focused along the South and East edges of the fire to protect structures, private land and timber resources. Strategies are being developed to attack other areas of the fire. The fire began Monday night sparked by lightning on lands protected by the Yakima Indian Nation, Washington Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. With resouces stretched thin throughout the country, officials are urging the utmost caution in situations that could start new fires.
The Cougar Creek Fire, which was started by lightning Monday night, continues to burn approximately 6 miles NW of Glenwood. It has grown to over 9400 acres. There is no containment at this time. It is on land that is protected by the Yakima Indian Nation, Washington Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. Along with ground forces, fixed-wing tankers and helicopters are working on the fire. More resources are expected to arrive today. Firefighters are dealing with extreme fire behavior, long range spotting, treacherous terrain and heavy fuel loading from bug-killed timber. There are also remains from the Cold Springs and Cascade Creek Fires. Aggressive suppression efforts are being focused along the South and East edges of the fire to protect structures, private land and timber resources. There is a public meeting set for this afternoon at 5:00 at the Glenwood School Gym. They ask that those who can, please walk or carpool, as parking will be limited. The school is also being used as the base camp.
This weekend is Cruise The Gorge Weekend in The Dalles. It all begins Friday evening with the Neon Cruise through downtown, with the Show In The Shade set for Saturday in Sorosis Park. John Kiser of the Mid-Columbia Car Club says it is difficult to say how many cars take part in the event, but there are plenty of all kinds involved, particularly during Friday’s cruise. Registration for the Show In The Shade begins at 5 p.m. Friday in the Burgerville parking lot, and continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Sorosis Park, with the Parade Of Champions at 3 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds go to The Dalles Rotary Club scholarship programs.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office reports some residents are receiving phone calls from a man who says they have warrants for their arrest for failing to show up for jury duty. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the number the calls come from is 541-980-1361, and the person claims his name is Lt. Jones or William Ramsey with the “warrants division.” Neither the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office or The Dalles Police Department has a “warrants division” and the calls are not being made by law enforcement, and officers would not call residents to inform them if they have warrants. Do not respond to the calls if you receive them, and anyone who might have information about who is making these calls should call the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-296-5454.
The Port of Hood River is planning to hold a public open house in September on conceptual plans for Lot 1 along the west portion of the Nichols Basin. Consulting firm Walker Macy presented some conceptual diagrams to the Port Commission this week. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the diagrams begin to merge Lot 1 ideas with already developed plans for the area. McElwee adds those elements must be coordinated for pedestrian access, parking, and building mass. The open house will be held in September on a date still to be determined.
The Highway 8 Fire in the southeast corner of Klickitat County has grown to over 37 square miles, but is 50 percent contained. The fire near Roosevelt is no longer threatening any homes. When the fire started on Tuesday it led to the evacuation of the entire town, but people were allowed back in their homes on Wednesday, and then 35 more homes northeast of Roosevelt were evacuated Wednesday afternoon. Fire spokesman Ron Fryer says 275 people are battling the grass fire and hoped to have it 100 percent contained by Saturday evening. Fryer says the fire grew quickly on Wednesday because of strong west winds, but the wind is calmer today.
The White Salmon City Council has authorized proceeding going out for bids on the long-awaited renovation of City Hall. The building suffered water damage after a pipe broke two years ago during a freeze, and since then the City has been negotiating with its insurance company to be able to weave in repairs with a renovation that would allow the police department to move in. Mayor David Poucher says those are not complete, but they are close enough to feel comfortable with proceeding. They will start with taking bids on structural work. Poucher says they will have about $300,000 to work with for the project.