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Local News

Sunshine Mill Makes First Urban Renewal Loan Payment

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.

Madras Administrator Named New Wy’east Middle School Principal

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.


May 14 Prep Sports Roundup

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.


Boys Lacrosse

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.

HR School Budget Committee Approves Plan

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.

State Revenue Forecast Shows Increase

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.

Color Dash In The Dalles

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.

50 Plus Expo Set For Saturday

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.

Defense Lawyer Says “Mental State” Will Play Role In Smith Trial

A lawyer for the Goldendale woman accused of killing one daughter and trying to kill another in a Cannon Beach hotel last summer indicated the woman’s mental state would play a role when the case goes to trial.  William Falls told Clatsop County Circuit Judge Cindee Matyas during proceedings this week that 41-year-old Jessica Smith suffered a mental breakdown.  Smith’s lawyers have asked the court in a motion to bar the possibility of a death penalty in this case, citing “evolving standards of decency” in regards to dealing with severe mental illness.  The defense is also asking for the court to allow Smith to appear at trial free of any restraints.  A status conference is scheduled on the case in late August, with further motions due by December 31, and a trial expected next year.

May 13 Prep Sports Roundup

Track and Field

Hood River Valley leads Hermiston by 12 points in the boys’ standings after one day of the Columbia River Conference Track and Field Championships at Sid White Field in The Dalles.  The host Riverhawks sit in fourth after a limited number of finals.  HRV earned four first place finishes in the first day of competition, with Sebastian Barajas winning both the shot put and discus, Justin Crosswhite winning the 3,000 meters, and Parker Irusta the long jump.  In the girls’ competition, Pendleton has a ten point lead over both Hood River Valley and The Dalles.  The Riverhawks’ Yasmin Hill won both the pole valut and long jump, while the Eagles’ Jestena Mattson was victorious in the high jump.  The meet continues with the rest of the finals on Friday at 3:30.


Oregon High School Girls Lacrosse Association Playoffs

Second Round

Lake Oswego 17, Hood River Valley 1


D21 Budget Committee Approves “Flat” Fiscal Plan For 15-16

North Wasco County School District 21’s budget committee approved a flat budget for the 2015-16 school year as many district officials hope the state will increase K-12 education funding for the upcoming biennium.  D-21 Chief Financial Officer Randy Anderson used a state biennium funding number of $7.255 million in putting together the budget, but says he wouldn’t be surprised if there is a revised number that will lead to changes to the fiscal plan before the school board holds its hearing in late June.  He added he budgeted to spend 49 percent of the biennial allocation rather than splitting it 50-50.  Anderson says the budget is flat…with no staff reductions or school days cut, but no cost of living increases either.



the dalles, oregon
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