Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation board members have authorized chair Catherine Whalen to begin negotiations with their pick from applicants to be the district’s new executive director. The district board conducted interviews for the position in recent days to replace the dismissed Scott Green. Karl Cozad has served as the district’s interim director since board members voted to remove Green during the summer. The board took the action to move forward with the hiring process at a meeting where a handful of public members spoke in support of Green.
Columbia Gorge Community College President Frank Toda says he sent an e-mail to CGCC Board of Education members Thursday afternoon taking a proposal to close the school’s Indian Creek campus in Hood River out of his deficit reduction plan. Toda had made the proposal to the Board on Tuesday night, citing an anticipated $1,600,000 imbalance in expenditures and revenues that could grow to $2,000,000 if no action is taken. Toda said he works for the CGCC board, noted the closure was the last of seven action items in his reduction plan, and says he has written an e-mail to the board taking that out of play. In the e-mail he says “it appears the majority of the board feels very strongly about keeping the Hood River campus open, and therefore I will immediately remove it from my deficit reduction plan.” Toda says he saw a Hood River closure as the quickest way to save the school money, about $250,000 to $500,000, and he noted it is critical to move on the financial situation quickly and he does not want to be distracted or split in multiple directions. Board member Stu Watson says he and other board members are distressed they had not been engaged in any extensive discussions about pending budget shortfalls, but Toda says he has included the instability of funding sources, particularly from the state, in his budget messages during the last decade with added urgency the last three years.
Delays for Thursday, November 20
Columbia Gorge Community College campuses in The Dalles and Hood River both on two-hour delay…will open at 10 a.m.
Hood River County School District Is CLOSED.
North Wasco County School District on two-hour delay…no morning kindergarten at Dry Hollow, no morning MAST or early intervention.
White Salmon Valley School District CLOSED.
Dufur School District CLOSED.
Lyle School District on two-hour delay…buses on snow route.
Mill A School District on two-hour delay.
Goldendale School District CLOSED.
Wishram School District on two-hour delay.
Klickitat School District on two-hour delay…buses on snow route.
Centerville School District two-hour delay.
South Wasco County School District CLOSED.
Sherman County School District CLOSED.
Horizon Christian School CLOSED.
St. Mary’s Academy on two-hour delay.
Sonrise Academy on two-hour delay.
OCDC Head Start in Odell CLOSED.
OCDC Head Start in The Dalles on two-hour delay.
Mid-Columbia Children’s Council The Dalles Head Start on two-hour delay with afternoon class cancelled, buses on snow route.
Petersburg Head Start morning class cancelled, afternoon class on schedule, bus on snow route.
Country Club Head Start CLOSED.
Belmont Head Start CLOSED.
White Salmon Head Start CLOSED.
Goldendale ECEAP morning and afternoon are on snow routes, running 10:00 to 1:30.
Stadelman Fruit in Odell is on a two-hour delay.
Mid-Columbia Center for Living offices in Hood River and The Dalles will not open until 10:30.
City of Hood River offices will not open until 10 a.m.
Hood River Valley Adult Center is closed.
Mt. Hood Town Hall Senior Meal Site is closed.
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center opening delayed to 10 a.m.
National Art Honor Society Auction at Hood River Valley High School is cancelled.
Mount Adams Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours is cancelled.
St. Mary’s Youth Group is cancelled.
Hood River Garbage/The Dalles Disposal: Routes in Sherman County, Condon, and Hood River are late but they will try to get to everyone.
The Dalles City Councilors and Wasco County Commissioners will be asked to approve a plan to provide the remaining funds needed for Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue to make Fire Station 2 on Columbia View Heights operational. Bids earlier in the month came in $72,000 over estimate and what the City and County had provided for the project through enterprise zone funds from Google. But Fire and Rescue District Chief Bob Palmer says discussions with City and County officials led to a plan to delay implementation of a student volunteer firefighter program for two years, and the City would loan the money to finish the fire station project. The district would pay back the money over the next two years with enterprise zone funds earmarked for the student program. The plan will go to City Council this Monday and to the Wasco County Commission in early December, then to the MCFR board for their approval.
Washington voters during the general election passed another mandate to reduce school class sizes in the state…but it adds another layer to the complex question of how the state should define and fund basic education…and where to find the money to do it. White Salmon Valley Schools Superintendent Jerry Lewis says if the I-1351 standards were adopted…building capacity becomes a big issue for districts like his. Lewis notes the district took a state building survey on the impact of I-1351 showing it would leave them short five to six classrooms at Whitson Elementary School, and there is no room for that expansion. The initiative comes on top of the Washington Legislature dealing with the McCleary decision from the judiciary to fully fund basic education.
All four Northwest Senators voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline bill on Tuesday. The bill needed 60 percent approval and failed by one vote, with 59 saying yes and 41 against. Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Washington’s Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray all voted against the bill. Proponents of the pipeline say it would help the U.S. move away from relying on energy sources in unstable areas of the world, while environmental activists claim it would jeopardize public health and spike carbon emissions.
The Next Door, Incorporated is seeking household items for foster teens who are moving into their first apartment as they turn 18. Next Door, Inc. Development Director Heidi Venture says the items they need are simple things to help set up a new home, like sheets and towels. Venture adds foster children who leave the system without being adopted are truly on their own, and they work with about 25 teens each year that “age out” of the system. For information to help with this effort, call The Next Door, Inc. at 541-386-6665.
Columbia Gorge Community College’s Indian Creek campus in Hood River will be open Wednesday, but classes there will are canceled. CGCC’s campus in The Dalles will operate on schedule.
Hood River Police say a Columbia Gorge Community College employee who was found dead this morning at the school’s Indian Creek campus took his own life. Hood River Police Chief Neal Holste says the man was a resident of the community and was involved in facility maintenance at CGCC, and his body was discovered by another employee just after 7:30 a.m. Holste added the man’s actions did not put the school or community at risk in any way. The Indian Creek campus was closed Tuesday due to the police investigation there. Mid-Columbia Center for Living will be coordinating debriefing and coping sessions for CGCC staff in Hood River over the next two days.
It doesn’t look like a marijuana retailer, or any other kind of business, will be locating in a part of the Park-and-Ride lot adjacent to the Washington entrance ramp to the Port of Hood River Interstate Bridge. White Salmon Mayor Dave Poucher says the City received a response to their question about whether they could lease for commercial use a 2500 foot space in the lot that was developed by the Washington Department of Transportation, and the state gave them a negative response, saying proceeds would have to go to the federal government, which provided funding for the Park-and-Ride. Poucher said in addition, the state would require a traffic study because part of the lot was set aside for trucks to use during inclement weather. The City had issued a request for proposal after inquiries were made about placing a marijuana retail location at the lot.