Hood River County Commissioners have extended the application period for those interested in becoming County Administrator to the latter part of May. The panel originally planned to bring in finalists in late April, but retiring Administrator David Meriwether says some serious candidates dropped out for various reasons, so the application deadline was extended by about a month. Meriwether did say the delay has not changed his plans to retire effective June 30. Commissioners have hoped to be able to bring in the new administrator while Meriwether was still on the job to assist in the transition.
The popular Tree Top Play Park at Sorosis Park was made whole again Tuesday as Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District employees installed a new slide to replace one destroyed by arson in late February. The new slide opened to the public again Tuesday afternoon. The damaged slide was removed and temporary barricades were installed immediately after the arson event to ensure children were safe while using the undamaged portions of the Tree Top Play Park. District Director Phil Lewis said he was thrilled to see the slide available again for families in the community, and thanked all those who contributed to the Tree Top Play Park fund over the past several months.
Changes are coming to the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments’ Workforce Development program. MCCOG Executive Director Bob Francis says the Hood River office will move from the Port of Hood River building on Wasco Loop to the Hood River Library, and with that change The Dalles location will switch from MCCOG’s Kelly Street building to the Oregon Employment office on Union Street so it can meet Oregon Workforce Investment Board requirements to be a certified one-stop center. Francis says state and federal funding reductions have led to the moves while adding the MCCOG board still believes in workforce development’s mission. Francis says the moves will take place at the conclusion of the current fiscal year on June 30.
Washington 14th District State Senator Curtis King has announced he will seek another term. In a prepared statement King said he wants to find a stable source for transportation funding, and deal with education and mental health issues. King ran unopposed for re-election in 2008 and 2012. To date, no potential challengers have publicly expressed interest in running against him this year. King is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, a position that in recent years has boosted his profile in state politics as lawmakers, the Governor’s Office and business interests have worked to increase funding for roads in the face of falling gas tax revenue. Last year the Legislature passed a $16.1 billion transportation package that included a gas tax increase of 11.9 cents phased in over two years.
Nineteen restaurants in Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam counties are voluntarily adopting a policy of charging for refills of sugary soda, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages. They are taking part in the Coalition to Reduce Childhood Obesity’s “Fit In Beverage” campaign administered by the North Central Public Health District. Beginning in May, the restaurants that have joined the program can be identified by window stickers near their front doors. They will also display table tents with information about the “5-2-1-0” Program, which seeks to successfully achieve healthy weight in a community through drinking less sugary beverages. A study funded by the Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization found 40 percent of area school-aged children are at an unhealthy weight.
May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month, and The Next Door is looking for more people in Hood River and Wasco counties to serve in that role. The Next Door’s treatment foster care program works with children age six to 18 dealing with behavioral problems. Parent Recruiter Amy Lindley says it’s not an easy job to be a foster parent, but it is rewarding. Foster parents received 40 hours of training and 24-hour on-call support from Next Door staff. For information on becoming a foster parent with The Next Door, call 541-308-2207.
Hood River Valley 9, The Dalles 1: Patrick Harvey and Skyler Hunter both doubled twice, while Isaiah Enriquez and Connor Coerper combined on a five-hitter to keep the Eagles two games in front of Hermiston in the Columbia River Conference with three to play.
Dufur 11, Culver 4
King’s Way Christian sweeps Stevenson 13-0 and 9-2
Hood River Valley 2, The Dalles 1: The Eagles pulled back within a game of Hermiston and The Dalles in the race for play-in spots in the Columbia River Conference.
Columbia 3, Castle Rock 0: The Bruins win their eleventh straight Trico League game, one victory away from a perfect league season.
LaCenter 8, Stevenson 0
Hermiston 6, Hood River Valley 2
Hermiston 5, Hood River Valley 3
Lincoln 18, Hood River Valley 7: The Eagles fall to 0-3 in Columbia League play.
Hood River Valley 11, Lincoln 8: Erin Mayer and Abby Bartles scored three goals apiece to pull the Eagles to a tie for second with Lincoln in the PIL.
National Weather Service statistics show temperatures at Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport averaged much warmer than normal during the month of April. The average temperature was 59.4 degrees, over six degrees above normal and topping the previous warmest April on record, in 1977, by two degrees. Highs averaged 72.4 degrees, more than seven degrees above normal, with a peak of 89 on April 19. Lows averaged 46.4 degrees, which was just short of five degrees above normal. The lowest was 35 degrees, on April 16. Precipitation totaled just short of two-tenths of an inch during April, which was more than a half-an-inch below normal, but since October the water year precipitation at the airport has been 14.31 inches, which is nearly three inches above normal. The outlook for May from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
The Hood River County Weed Board, Central Gorge Master Gardeners, Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Columbia Gorge Cooperative Weed Management Area have launched an effort to raise public awareness of invasive weeds in the area. The organization has started its “Weed of the Month” program to distribute information about a different weed of concern every month. The Weed Board’s Dede Garcia says the weeds being highlighted are non-native, invasive plants. Garcia says they will be asking people to either report these weeds when seen, try to pull the plant to get rid of it, and not plant it by choice. The “Weed of the Month” will be featured in radio public service announcements, posters around the county, newspaper articles, and Master Gardener plant clinics.
YouthThink of Wasco County has received an American Medical Association grant to help reduce the incidence of prescription drug misuse. Debby Jones of YouthThink says Oregon has one of the highest prescription drug abuse rates in the country, and the organization wants to ramp up its efforts to promote proper disposal of unused prescription drugs. Jones notes YouthThink has a drop box inside The Dalles Police Department for people to dispose of prescription drugs. She adds the organization plans to host the Oregon Health Authority’s Jim McElvaney this summer to make presentations in the community to help educate citizens about opioids.