The man who was hit by a train while walking on the railroad tracks on Sunday night east of Stevenson has been identified. Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown says 54-year-old Russell Stotts of Stevenson had been walking along the tracks after fishing with friends. Brown says Stotts’ friends warned him the train was coming, but he did not move out of the way. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says the crew of the freight train sounded the horn, but the man did not respond. The accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday.
Track and Field
Hood River Valley won both the boys and girls titles at the Columbia River Conference championships in The Dalles, earning 14 boys and nine girls entries at this coming weekend’s Oregon Class 5-A Championships in Eugene. Sebastian Barajas, Justin Crosswhite, Parker Kennedy, and Parker Irusta won two events each for the HRV boys, with Tyrone Stintzi and Mason McDowell also grabbing first place finishes. Jestena Mattson won three events for the HRV girls while Emily Viuhkola added a pair, with the Eagles also getting a win from the four by 400 meter relay team. The Dalles girls finished third and the boys were fourth. Yasmin Hill won two events and Katie Conklin one for the Rivehawk girls, who grabbed six state meet berths. The Dalles’ Sant Strassheim won the boys’ 300 meter hurdles and finished second in the 110 hurdles to qualify for state in both.
Columbia won the girls’ title at the Trico League Championships in Stevenson. Lauren Thiesies, Stacia Bell, Haley Bell, Aidan Liddiard , and the four by 100 and four by 200 meter relay teams grabbed first place finishes for the Bruins. Stevenson finished fifth, thanks in large part to three first place finishes for Madison McCrum. LaCenter won the boys’ title with Columbia second and Stevenson third. Shawn Tardiff and four by 400 meter relay team scored wins for CHS, while Raymond Hernandez had two first place finishes and Brandon Campbell one for Stevenson.
Lyle-Wishram was the boys’ winner and Bickleton the girls’ victor in the Greater Columbia League Championships. Gabe Montoya won three events for the Lyle-Wishram boys, while Bickleton’s Lindsay Brown won three in the girls’ competition.
Horizon Christian won the boys’ title while Griswold nipped Horizon by two points to win the girls’ championship at the Big Sky Conference meet in Moro. Top individual efforts included Sherman’s Isaiah Coles winning three boys’ events and Taylor Darden of Dufur winning two girls’ events.
Hood River Valley 5, The Dalles 3: Ryan Ward struck out 14 in five innings to lead the Eagles to the win, as the Riverhawks were eliminated from post-season consideration.
Sherman swept Dufur, winning both games by 5-3 scores.
The Dalles 9, Hood River Valley 6: Grace Helyer’s three-run homer in the seventh inning lifted the Riverhawks to the win in the regular season finale for both teams. The Dalles will host a Class 5-A play-in game later this week, while Hood River Valley will be on the road.
LaCenter 7, Stevenson 1
The Dalles finished in a tie for second with Summit at the Class 5-A Special District 1 Tournament, as Bend won the team title. The Riverhawks’ Marisa Cianci advances to the state tournament in Portland this coming weekend with a second place finish in singles, while Johanna Wilson and Anna Miller are also headed to state after a second place finish in doubles.
Hood River Valley’s Scottie Ziegner is headed to state after helping HRV to a third place finish in the boys’ Special District 1 tournament. Ziegner finished third in boys’ singles.
The wife of former Wasco County Sheriff Darrell Hill is in serious condition at Mid-Columbia Medical Center after being wounded by him in an accidental shooting on Saturday morning in The Dalles. According to the Oregon State Police, 75-year-old Darlena Hill suffered a gunshot wound to her abdomen when her husband, 76-year-old Darrell Hill, was handling a firearm which he thought was unloaded and it discharged, striking Darlena Hill. Darlena Hill underwent surgery at MCMC, and the OSP says she is in serious condition. A September 2014 article in The Dalles Chronicle reported Darrell Hill had been diagnosed with rapid progressive dementia. Law enforcement officials responded to the scene of the incident at 950 Pomona Street in The Dalles at around 8:52 a.m. Saturday. The Wasco County Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting, with the Oregon State Police leading the investigation and working in cooperation with the Wasco County District Attorney. Darrell Hill was in law enforcement for nearly 50 years, serving as Chief of The Dalles Police Department and then Wasco County Sheriff from 1996 to 2004. He has been married to Darlena Hill for nearly 57 years.
The Sunshine Mill has made its first payment to the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency towards paying back a $600,000 dollar loan to make improvements to the facility at the east end of downtown The Dalles. The $150,000 payment had originally been due in November, but was pushed back to May 15 under an agreement between Sunshine Mill owners James and Mollie Martin and the agency. It’s part of a three-year plan to pay back the loan. The Sunshine Mill and Copa di Vino currently employ 76 people at the site. Under the plan agreed to in December, a $100,000 payment is due on May 15, 2016, and another $350,000 on May 15, 2017. Then a $318,000 payment to purchase the property is due by May 15, 2018.
The Hood River County School District has named Sarah Braman-Smith to be new principal at Wy’east Middle School. Braman-Smith has spent nine years as an administrator at Madras High School, the last four as the principal. Prior to that, she taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels as a language arts and English Language Learner teacher, and in a self-contained classroom for children with behavioral challenges. Braman-Smith will be replacing Catherine Dalbey at Wy’east. Dalbey moves into a new position as the district’s Director of Human Resources on July 1.
Southwest Washington Class 1A District Boys Soccer Tournament
Columbia 3, Elma 0: The Bruins win their second straight post-season game, and will meet LaCenter in Kalama at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the district title.
Central Catholic 14, Hood River Valley 3: The Eagles end their regular season fifth in the Columbia League, with an 8-6 overall record.
LaCenter sweeps Stevenson 11-0 and 8-0.
Track and Field
Goldendale’s Brian Golding swept the boys’ hurdles races, while Ocean Bryan won the girls’ 300 meter hurdles and the Timberwolves earned a first place finish in the girls’ four by 200 meter relay to highlight the school’s effort at the SCAC West meet in Naches Valley.
The Hood River County School District’s budget committee approved a budget for the 2015-16 school year that includes over $324,000 dollars in program reductions. Two teaching positions are being eliminated, one each at Wy’east Middle School and Hood River Valley High School, with both being achieved through attrition. Funding was cut in areas like curriculum, technology hardware, materials, and supplies, while also spending the district reserve fund down to five percent of the general fund, which is an established minimum level set by the district board. Superintendent Dan Goldman added reductions were kept down thanks to increasing the number of tuition paying students from outside Hood River County, the benefits of using staggered start and stop times at district schools to reduce the need for bus purchases, and finding efficiencies with the Columbia Gorge Education Service District. The budget goes to school board in June, and there may be changes depending on what happens in the Oregon Legislature in regards to K-12 funding, with Thursday’s revenue forecast adding 105 million dollars to the statewide allocation over the next two years.
Oregon’s quarterly revenue forecast released Thursday indicates there will be an additional 264 million dollars in general fund revenue to work with in the state’s budget for the 2015-17 biennium. That would add 100 million dollars to the K-12 education budget under a promise from Democratic leaders in the Legislature to dedicate 40 percent of any jump in the revenue forecast to public schools. But that still would leave the K-12 budget about 145 million dollars short of the seven-point-five billion dollar mark education leaders say they need to stop a pattern of cuts. Republican 52nd District Representative Mark Johnson continues to hope his bill to take all of the revenue forecast increase and put it into the K-12 budget will get a hearing in the House Revenue Committee. Johnson did add the revenue forecast would leave the state budget with a 900 million dollar end fund balance, which could also be used in part to help K-12 funding, but he also said much of that needs to be saved in case of another economic downturn. The revenue forecast adds 123 million dollars to the kicker rebates to Oregon taxpayers, putting the refund projection at 473 million dollars. The kickers occur when tax collections exceed projections by at least two percent.
Over 800 people will be taking part in the Color Dash on Saturday in The Dalles. It’s a 5K run with a twist…with participants showered in colored dyes at five different locations along the route. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson says the Color Dash has taken place in many communities, and it has a big following. The run will start at Lewis and Clark Festival Park in downtown The Dalles on Saturday at 10 a.m., heading out to the Port and then looping back to Festival Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with packet pickup for those who have pre-registered set for Friday between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Proceeds will be divided between the Chamber and the “Level The Playing Field” project to improve physical fitness facilities at The Dalles High School spearheaded by the Mid-Columbia Health Foundation. For more information on the Color Dash, go to thedalleschamber.com.
The 50-Plus Expo, a resource fair for those age 50 and older, will be held Saturday at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center. The event is being put on by Mid-Columbia Senior Center, Hearts of Gold Caregivers, and Bicoastal Media. Thomas Keolker of Hearts of Gold says the event was inspired by clients and community members looking for various resources as they age. There will be more than 30 exhibitors along with eight different speakers. The event is free, and will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A schedule of speakers is available at gorgeradio.com.