The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that it is providing $400,000 in grants to improve transportation to health care facilities for veterans living in eight rural Oregon counties, including Sherman and Wheeler counties. Under the VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grants program, 300-thousand dollars will be provided to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to improve and expand transportation options for veterans living in Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Morrow, Sherman and Wheeler counties. An estimated 2,200 veterans in those counties could benefit from the service. The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs will receive another 100-thousand dollars to provide similar benefits to an estimated 1,350 veterans living in Malheur and Wallowa counties. Senator Ron Wyden applauded the announcement, saying the money will be put to good use ensuring that veterans living in these areas have access to VA health care.
Salmon returned to the Columbia River Basin this year in the highest numbers since fish counting began at Bonneville Dam more than 75 years ago. Fish Passage Center officials say this year’s run of about 2.3 million salmon and steelhead exceeds the previous record of 2.1 million set in 2011. This year also brought a new single-day record, when 67,521 adult fall Chinook passed by Bonneville Dam on September 8, 2014 – the highest one-day total in more than seven decades. Biologists are particularly excited about the increasing number of natural origin fall Chinook returning to spawning grounds throughout the Columbia River Basin. For Snake River fall Chinook specifically, returns of natural origin fish are setting modern-day records—returning in recent years in the highest numbers since Snake River dam construction began. This year’s run should be close to last year’s record return.
Hood River Valley High School has installed solar panels to producing renewable energy in part through a $37,000 grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program. The school received the grant for the installation of a 20-kilowatt solar array that has been installed on the roof of the science classroom wing and is anticipated to produce enough clean, renewable energy to power the entire seven-classroom science wing with solar-generated electricity. An educational reader board will be installed on the inside of the science wing, which will provide information to students, staff and visitors about the amount of energy produced in real-time and over the lifespan of the array. Students in the school’s Alternative Energy Resources class will be able to monitor the output of the panels and make comparisons to the energy used in different portions of the building for educational purposes. Additional funding came from an Energy Trust of Oregon incentive of $29,500. Local contractor Scott Sorenson of Common Energy handled installation.
The Oregon Department of Human Services Aging and People with Disabilities division will host two sessions in The Dalles on Monday to discuss the future of Oregon’s services for seniors and people with disabilities. There will be a short presentation followed by a group discussion. The meetings will take place on Monday at 12:30 p.m. at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, and at 5:30 p.m. at Spooky’s. Interpreters for people who are non-English speakers, who are deaf or hard of hearing or other accommodations for persons with disabilities are available.
Hood River Valley 6, Pendleton 0
Hermiston 4, The Dalles 1
Hood River Valley 3, Pendleton 0
The Dalles 1, Hermiston 0
Castle Rock 3, Columbia 0
King’s Way Christian 8, Stevenson 1
LaSalle 10, Goldendale 0
Pendleton def. Hood River Valley 25-17, 25-17, 25-19
Hermiston def. The Dalles 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-19
Stevenson def. Columbia 24-26, 26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 15-7
Dufur def. Sherman 25-16, 25-16, 25-7
South Wasco def. Horizon Christian 25-23, 25-15, 25-19
Naches Valley def. Goldendale 23-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-19
A semi-trailer loaded with 42,000 pounds of apples destined for the east coast was heavily damaged Saturday after it caught fire along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 about three miles east of The Dalles. The fire response closed the eastbound lanes for about an hour. According to Oregon State Police, a commercial truck pulled to the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 90 just after 11:30 a.m. Saturday after noting a problem with the semi-trailer. After stopping a fire started near one of the tires. The driver disconnected the truck from the trailer as the fire was spreading. Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue firefighters responded to extinguish the fire along with OSP and ODOT.
Columbia Gorge Community College Indian Creek campus in Hood River is closed to all students, staff, and faculty today due to a sewer pump failure.
Port of Hood River Commissioners this week voted to enter into a memorandum of understanding with farm machinery retailer Sheppard’s to develop a disposition and development agreement for the business to purchase and relocate on two acres of land at 2nd and Riverside at the entrance to the waterfront. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the MOU has a six-month time frame, but he does not anticipate it will take that long. He noted it does not appear there will have to be any change in zoning for the transaction to proceed, as the City has indicated the business is an accepted use in a light industrial zone. He added the location would not have accommodated the typical light industrial building.
The Mt. Hood National Forest has lifted all campfire restrictions. This order rescinded the previous order that restricted campfire use for areas east of Highway 35 to designated campgrounds within fire rings and prohibited Off Road Vehicle use on forest trails. With the lifting of these restrictions, campfires are now allowed for dispersed camping, and OHV use is also allowed under normal regulations forest-wide. Along with lifting fire restrictions, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level in all four units has dropped to level I. Barlow District Ranger Kameron Sam acknowledged it may seem to be a strange time to lower fire restriction standards given recent fires in the region, but this is the time of year when moisture becomes more consistent and prevalent, temperatures start to drop, especially in the evenings, and overall fire behavior becomes less severe and less likely. Forest officials have monitored weather models in making their decision.