Northern Wasco County PUD will be accepting applications for its annual Economic Development grants until Monday at 5 p.m. Applications may be obtained at the Northern Wasco County PUD Office located at 2345 River Road in The Dalles, online at nwasco.com, or by calling (541) 298-3302. The Northern Wasco PUD Board of Directors will consider all requests received at their May 24 meeting. Applicants must document non-profit status, not be a religious affiliated entity, and have not been funded more than twice in any five year period. Projects must be for infrastructure or property with a life expectancy of at least five years and located within the Northern Wasco County PUD service area.
Hood River County Library District Director Buzzy Nielsen announced he is resigning effective in late summer or early fall of this year. His family is relocating to Central Oregon. Nielsen was hired in June 2011 as the first employee of the new library district created after the previously County-operated library closed due to lack of funding, and oversaw the reopening of Hood River County’s three public libraries in Cascade Locks, Hood River, and Parkdale following a year of closure. The Library District Board of Directors already has begun a nationwide search process for a new leader, which Nielsen will assist. Nielsen’s departure comes on the heels of the library district completing its new 2016-21 strategic plan.
The Dalles Main Street Organization will be installing two additional parklets in the downtown area for the 2016 summer season. The two parklets are being rented by Route 30 Bottles and Brews and Zims Brau Haus and will be used as outdoor seating space by the two businesses. The Dalles Main Street Director Matthew Klebes says the original parklet will still be a public parklet, but adds one goal of the program is to have a clear economic impact on downtown businesses, and creating outdoor patio space for businesses that do not currently have such space will increase the number of customers they can serve. All three parklets will be disassembled in November and stored for the winter, to be put up the following spring, with the potential of being in different locations.
Track and Field
Hood River Valley’s boys topped Oregon City 79-64 in a high school track and field dual meet on Wednesday. Parker Irusta won multiple events for the Eagles, taking first in the 100 and 200 meters. Oregon City won the girls’ portion of the meet 79-64. Katie Kennedy was first in the 100 meter hurdles and high jump for HRV.
Columbia’s boys were first and the girls second to LaCenter in a four-school Trico League meet at King’s Way Christian. The Bruin boys grabbed six first place finishes on the way to their win. Stacia Bell won both the shot put and discus to lead the CHS girls, who grabbed five first place spots.
Stevenson’s boys were third and the girls fourth in a four-school meet at Kalama. Skyler Bernt won the boys’ shot put and Luke Nichols and Kody Campbell shared first in the boys’ pole vault for the Bulldogs. Host Kalama won both the boys and girls team standings.
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.