Columbia Gorge Community College and Google are soliciting entries for their annual Wind Challenge coming up in May at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center. The event is open to teams of three to five students in middle and high school divisions, who will build wind turbines. CGCC’s Loren Mason-Gere says the goal is to have 40 teams take part in the May 2 event, and they have about half of the spots filled. He adds no advance preparation is necessary to take part in the Wind Challenge. Information is available on-line at windchallenge.org.
There will be a meeting next week in The Dalles to discuss forming a food co-op. That’s a democratically owned and operated grocery store. Port of The Dalles Marketing Director Kathy Ursprung says the idea came about partly as a potential avenue to enhance downtown The Dalles, which does not have a grocery store. She says a food co-op would give local agricultural producers more options to market their products. She adds a downtown food co-op could provide more jobs in the core area of The Dalles. An organizing meeting to gauge interest in a food co-op is set for January 29 at the Wahtonka Community School cafeteria. To RSVP call Ursprung at 541-370-5191.
About 15 people testified during Tuesday evening’s Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s public hearing on Amerities West’s draft air quality permit renewal. Many of the comments centered on complaints about the odor that can emanate from the railroad tie treatment plant on the east side of The Dalles. DEQ Public Affairs Specialist Greg Svelund says a decision on issuance of the permit will probably take place in the next couple of months. People can provide written comments through next Friday, January 30 by faxing them to DEQ at 541-388-8283, or e-mailing them to email@example.com.
The Port of Hood River and Port of Cascade Locks commissions held a joint meeting Tuesday night. The two panels get together periodically to discuss items of mutual concern. Port of Hood River Executive Director Michael McElwee says much of talk surrounded the two bridges the agencies own and working together on regional advocacy issues. Both Ports are involved in the One Gorge regional advocacy group that has been formed in recent months, and will be looking to do more in conjunction with the Ports of Klickitat and The Dalles.
An ad-hoc committee is trying to determine if White Salmon can develop walking and bicycle paths in the community. Mayor David Poucher says the group has been meeting since September, and will hold a public meeting next week to gather public input. Poucher says there are some opportunities to develop some trails, with the state holding a “good amount” of right-of-ways along existing roads. The meeting is set for next Wednesday (January 28) at 5:30 p.m. in the Pioneer Center.
Hood River Valley 52, Stevenson 24: The Eagles limited the Bulldogs to two field goals and seven points in the first half, then blew the game open by scoring 21 points in the third quarter. Kassidy Davidson led a balanced HRV offense with 11 points.
Columbia 47, Castle Rock 28: Michaela Enyart’s 14 points topped the Bruins in the victory. CHS jumped out to a 26-8 lead in the first half and were never threatened after that.
Lyle-Wishram 58, Trout Lake 33: MaeLynn Luke scored 25 points and Lacy Carse 23 to lead the Cougar. Bayyine Ozkan paced the Mustangs with 15.
Riverside 30, Sherman 25
Mabton 53, Goldendale 26
Columbia 56, Castle Rock 52 (overtime): The Bruins tied the game with two seconds remaining in regulation, and won the game in the extra session. Ryan Lockman led Columbia with 21 points, while Brock Johnson scored the same amount for the Rockets.
King’s Way Christian 71, Stevenson 68: A Bulldog comeback from a 17-point halftime deficit fell just short. Kieran Walker led King’s Way with 37 points. Austin Brennan scored 29 for Stevenson.
Lyle-Wishram 64, Trout Lake 43: Gabe Montoya and Cody Carse scored 18 points each for the Cougars in their win. Trout Lake’s James Baker had 16.
Sherman 56, Riverside 30
Mabotn 59, Goldendale 51
Hood River Valley 39, St. Helens 27
Oregon’s unemployment rate for December was six-point-seven percent, representing a six-year low. Oregon Employment Department Economist Nick Belecicks says the rate was accompanied by strong job gains in the final quarter of 2014. The department statistics indicate December hiring was unusually widespread in the various sectors of the economy. The jobless rate remained at about seven percent for months as people rejoined the labor force as the state gained jobs, but in December the labor force grew only slightly.
Veteran Washington 14th District State Representative Norm Johnson thinks a balanced budget that increases funding for education without hurting other important programs can be achieved. The Republican legislator says the state is estimated to have nearly three billion dollars in additional revenue this biennium, and he agrees with Senate budget writer Andy Hill’s desire to look at what the state already has before turning to new taxes. Johnson adds if there are cuts, they need to occur across the board rather than being concentrated in one area.
Northwest lawmakers reacted to President Obama’s State of the Union address down predictably partisan lines. Democrat Oregon Senator Ron Wyden thinks the speech set out how the Republican majorities in the Senate and House will be judged. Republican Oregon Congressman Greg Walden countered the President’s rosy economic outlook by saying while the economy may be improving, it isn’t where it needs to be. Fellow Republican and Washington Congressman Dan Newhouse echoed Walden’s thoughts while calling for a flatter and simpler tax code. Oregon Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley said he was encouraged by Obama’s focus on infrastructure and college affordability.
When the Northwest Cherry Festival takes place on the final weekend in April, the event will encompass the entire weekend, rather that the majority of activity taking place on Saturday. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson says while there were Friday and Sunday events, the Festival itself in downtown The Dalles will now be open on those two days. Farquharson adds they are still developing events for Sunday. She also says the heart of the festival is being moved to First Street between Federal and Union for better visibility from the freeway, and that also blocks fewer businesses while it is in operation.
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