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HR County Working On Budget

Hood River County is in the midst of its budget process for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year.  County Administrator David Meriwether says the budget is currently being worked on at the staff level, with a public process to start in the next month.  He notes the County’s budget is being helped by an improvement in its timber fund thanks to increasing sale prices.  Meriwether expects the final budget to be similar to what it is this fiscal year.  The County must have its 15-16 budget in place by the end of June.

The Dalles Outreach Team Returns From D.C.

The Dalles Community Outreach Team is back after spending a portion of last week in Washington, D.C.  Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas says one of the policy issues the group discussed with federal officials involved flowage easements given to the federal government when the Columbia River dams were built.  She says a portion of the North Chenoweth property being developed for light industrial use is somewhat encumbered by a flowage easement, even though its elevation is higher than the top of Bonneville Dam.  Klaas noted two weeks ago she received a map from the Portland District office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detailing where the easement is, with an invitation to meet with them to discuss administrative solutions.

McCabe Bill To Encourage Vet Employment Passes Washington House

A bill authored by 14th District Representative Gina McCabe to increase employment of Washington’s military veterans passed the state House unanimously.  The Goldendale Republican says her bill pairs up the state Veterans’ Department and Employment Security with local businesses to increase employment for veterans.  The “One Business, One Veteran” campaign asks each business to hire at least one veteran.  McCabe adds the unemployment rate for veterans between the ages of 18 and 25 is about 21 percent.

March 6-7 Prep Sports Roundup

Oregon Class 5A Girls Basketball First Round Springfield 57, The Dalles 40:  The Riverhawks were limited to 10 first half points, and the Millers advanced to the final eight in Corvallis this week.  Emma Klym poured home 32 points to lead Springfield.  Brooke McCall topped The Dalles with eight points.   Oregon Class 1A Boys Basketball Third Place Game Horizon Christian 63, Siletz Valley 42:  The Hawks held Siletz Valley to a 24 percent field goal shooting effort.  Mason Bloomster scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Horizon Christian, while Jared Davis scored 10 for the Hawks.   Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association Championshsips at Mt. Hood Meadows Hood River Valley won the boys and girls combined team title, as the boys finished second and the girls third.  HRV’s Lucy McLean won the girls’ individual combined title, thanks to a first place finish in the giant slalom.  The Eagles’ Austin Keillor was third in the boys’ combined after a second place finish in the slalom.  Ashley Ruddick of Lakeridge won the boys’ combined, followed by slalom winner Trevor Maxwell of West Linn and Keillor.

HR Construction Projects Set To Start Monday

Two major construction projects will get underway in the Hood River Waterfront area on Monday.  The Nichols Basin West Edge Trail construction will continue through June, with all access to the site from the ordinary high water line to North 1st Street prohibited during that time.  The Pedestrian Bridge Trail project will also get underway next week.  Vehicle access to the Spit, the Museum, or the Marina area will not be affected, but two brief periods of closure for pedestrian and bicycle access over the Pedestrian Bridge will occur, with dates and times to be announced on the Port of Hood River website.  In addition, the eastbound lane of State Street between Third and Second Streets in downtown Hood River will be closed from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday to allow for a boom truck that will be working on the State Street restroom project.  Eastbound motors will be detoured north on to Third Street, while the westbound lane will remain open.

MCHF Gives Out Compassion Awards

Mid-Columbia Health Foundation gave out its Tradition of Compassion awards on Thursday evening.  David Neitling received the Outstanding Philanthropist award for his work on the Riverfront Trail, dedication to Habitat for Humanity, and donations to the tennis court resurfacing project at Sorosis Park.  Carol Roderick was named Outstanding Volunteer for her work with North Wasco County School District 21 and the National Guard.  Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation went to Hire Electric for donated services to local veterans and support of community events.  And Mid-Columbia Community Action was named Outstanding Community Service Organization for its work connecting people in need with services to make their lives better.

March 5 Prep Sports Roundup

Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association Championships at Mt. Hood Meadows Lincoln’s Carolina Maienza held off Hood River Valley’s Lucy McLean by 12-one-hundredths of a second to win the girls’ slalom on Thursday.  Lincoln also took the lead in the girls’ team standings, with Ashland in second and Hood River Valley in third heading into today’s giant slalom.  In boys’ competition, Columbia’s Colin Howe led the local effort with a fourth place finish in the giant slalom that was won by Ashley Ruddick of Lakeridge.  Austin Keillor of HRV finished sixth, and Martin Carter was the top finisher for The Dalles in 34th.  The boys’ standings currently have West Linn leading with Lakeridge in second and Hood River Valley third heading into today’s slalom.   Oregon Class 1-A Boys Basketball Tournament Consolation Round Yoncalla 58, Sherman 53:  Zack Van Loon scored 22 poits and Will Shaw 18 to lead Yoncalla to the win.  Austin Kaseberg led the Huskies with 24 points.

CGCC Lays Off Five In Budget Cutting Effort

Columbia Gorge Community College has laid off five employees in the last two weeks as the school continues efforts to close a two-point-four million dollar budget gap for the 2015-16 fiscal year.  College President Frank Toda says a voluntary employee resignation program and leaving vacant positions open along with the layoffs provided just under one million dollars in savings for 2015-16.  He says the search for more savings continues as school administration looks to present a balanced budget to the CGCC Board of Education by the end of April.  Toda says he has reduced travel and eliminated vacant positions in his own budget.  He adds there is a possibility of another round of layoffs if their current efforts do not completely close the budget gap.

Wasco County Asks EDC To Focus On Projects That Can Be Completed

Wasco County Commissioners are asking the County’s Economic Development Commission to push more for projects that have a better chance to be completed or receive funding in the near term.  Commissioner Rod Runyon says they want to have more success with seeing projects on the EDC’s priority list reach completion.  Commissioners did approve the 2015 Wasco County Community Enhancement Project list of 55 different projects ranked by the EDC, topped by the City of Maupin’s South Wasco County Library and Civic Center, the Port of The Dalles’ Regional General Wetland Permit, and The Dalles-Wasco County Library children’s addition.  The list goes to Mid-Columbia Economic Development Department for inclusion in the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Habitat For Humanity To Take Home Applications

Columbia Gorge Habitat For Humanity is looking for people who want to buy a home of their own and can’t afford it, and will be willing to help build their own home.  The group has one lot in Lyle and three in The Dalles, and will be taking applications in the coming weeks from families wishing to take part in the program.  Habitat’s Chip Wood says most of the labor in building the home is donated with the purchaser putting “sweat equity” into the house, so it can be sold to the homeowner at a much more affordable price.  Community meetings where applications will be available are planned for March 15 at 2 p.m. at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue on 1400 West 8th in The Dalles…March 17 at 6 p.m. at Westside Fire Department on 1185 Tucker Road in Hood River…and March 22 at 2 p.m. at the Lyle Fire Hall.

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