Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s Total Hip and Total Knee replacement programs were recently accredited by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits healthcare programs in the country. MCMC underwent an onsite review early this month, as Joint Commission experts evaluated MCMC’s compliance with advanced disease-specific care standards and total hip and total need replacement requirements, including orthopaedic consultation, and pre-operative, intraoperative and post-surgical orthopaedic surgeon follow-up care. MCMC is one of less than a dozen hospitals in the state with this accreditation. Both programs have been accredited since 2012, when MCMC became the second hospital in Oregon to have received this distinguish accolade.
A public hearing on the appeal by Apollo Land Holdings of the Hood River County Planning Commission’s denial of an application to construct a 50 room hotel on the former Dee Mill site as part of the DeeTour project has been continued to December 19. The County Commission hearing was scheduled for Monday evening, but with Commission Chair Ron Rivers on vacation and Bob Benton recusing himself due to a conflict of interest, there were only three remaining members of the Commission to hear testimony, and that’s the number of votes required by the County Charter to make any decision. County Counsel emeritus Will Carey said traditionally the Commission has allowed a request for a continuance if the appellant desired. And attorney Mike Robinson, representing Apollo, made the request, noting they had submitted an extension of the 150 day clock that would give the Commission until the end of the year to render a decision. Commissioners Les Perkins, Maui Meyer, and Karen Joplin voted unanimously to grant the continuance.
The Dalles City Council got an update on the wastewater treatment plant build out during a special worksession on Monday evening. Mayor Steve Lawrence says they will be receiving at a Council meeting on December 12 the completion of the design for a second phase that is enlarging capacity and find a way to use the methane gas the plant produces to power it. He adds it will cost about 11 million dollars, but they will be able to fund it without bonding or raising sewer rates. The plan is to have construction start in January, with work to be finished by the end of next year. Some changes are being made to the design to accommodate challenges that arose in the upgrade, including a new structure to house the headworks, additional piping work, and a second backup power generator to handle the electrical loads of an upgraded plant.
Hood River County Commissioners received a report on snow removal polices from the County Public Works Department as the winter season approaches. Priorities for road plowing remain essentially the same as they have in the past, starting with high traffic volume roads, then school bus routes, remaining county roads, and subdivision, cul-de-sac, and outlying dwellings on gravel roads. County Administrator Jeff Hecksel noted the department has lost several experienced plow operators in the last few years, and that could slow the process. Standard county policies call for snow removal operations to begin at four in the morning when sufficient accumulation is present.
The Port of Hood River Commission is planning to hold a public meeting, probably in December, on a parking plan for the Waterfront. A draft plan has been put together, and the City is planning to institute metered parking on their portion of the Waterfront. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the next step will be to hold a meeting is to go out to the public for input, and discuss details including maximum price and hours of parking. McElwee noted an objective would be to make the Port and City plans for parking mesh together in a seamless manner.
We are reaching the holiday shopping season, and local officials are reminding people about the importance of shopping at home. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson says she hopes people will think local before shopping online or heading to large metropolitan areas. Farquharson adds she is seeing more businesses with extended hours for the holidays, and new stores offering more variety of selection. She also says some of the smaller businesses in the area will be at holiday bazaars taking place around the region.
With the holiday shopping season coming, The Dalles Police Department will be actively enforcing the downtown parking ordinance. Under the ordinance, no one can park their vehicle on city streets while at their place of employment, business, or residence when that location is within the central business zone boundary between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Copies of the complete ordinance are available at The Dalles City Hall and The Dalles Police Department.
The White Salmon Valley School District board has passed a resolution to seek a three-year maintenance and operations levy in February that is slightly over their current amount. Superintendent Jerry Lewis says they will ask for $2,780,000 in the first year, which is $150,000 over the current level, and would go up $50,000 each of the following two years. Lewis says the current levy had an expected property tax rate of $2.61 per $1,000 of assessed value, but as assessed value goes up the rate goes down, so it ended up at $2.42. This levy projects the rate at $2.52 per thousand. M and O levy funds cover items in the district budget the state of Washington does not fully fund.
The effort to establish a Gorge Youth Center in The Dalles has moved into a capital campaign. Joe Martin of ACTS says they are seeking to first build a commons facility with a café, kitchen, classrooms, auditorium, facilities for various youth organizations, and a family fitness facility, followed by a fieldhouse and a gymnasium. Martin says the commons facility will cost about $8.5 million, with the other buildings moving the expected price to about $15 million. He adds getting local donations is critical to get to a point where the project will begin to qualify for grants. The group last year received a donation of land behind the Motel 6 in the west end of The Dalles. Those who would like to assist in the Youth Center effort can go to gorgeyouthcenter.org.
Community Thanksgiving meals are being planned in both Hood River and The Dalles. In Hood River, it will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday at Riverside Church, with all food donated and work done by community volunteers. One of the organizers of the meal, Debby Chenoweth, says they had about 200 people for last year’s event, and they are hoping to serve up to 400 this year. She adds all are welcome to attend. Those who need to have a meal delivered in Hood River can call 541-399-2384 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In The Dalles, the Salvation Army is sponsoring the community Thanksgiving meal from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday at St. Mary’s Academy. To get a meal delivered call 541-705-4656.