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Jesse Burkhardt

Stories by Jesse

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Working with Wonder

Children’s Museum hits 40

The fun never seems to stop at the Wonderworks Children’s Museum of the Gorge.

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Portland wants to stream TD’s weather

Portland television station KGW would like to include The Dalles as part of its network of regional weather cameras, and the forecast suggests it may happen this year.

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Penney’s closing leaves emptiness

Store has been serving region from downtown TD since World War I

The news earlier this year that the J.C. Penney store in downtown The Dalles was closing hit employees and customers alike fairly hard, and when the store finally locks its doors at the end of July, it will truly be the end of an era. The Penney’s store at 212 E. Second St. has been a mainstay of the downtown area since 1914, more than a century ago.

City OKs paying Civic project debt

The Dalles City Council voted unanimously July 10 to authorize a small outlay to allow the Civic Auditorium to retire a line of credit it had been paying for about seven years. Before the vote, two council members questioned why the issue was not an action item on the agenda, and expressed strong reservations about how the decision was being handled.

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Lottery funds give the Civic a giant lift

Those lottery tickets everybody buys and few win with are about to pay off handsomely for The Dalles Civic Auditorium.

City OKs changes to marijuana grows

Following a brief presentation from Steve Harris, the city’s planning director, The Dalles City Council voted unanimously Monday to change the city’s marijuana ordinance to boost odor control.

City cancels airport operation contracts

Two companies given six months’ notice of termination

The Dalles City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to cancel contracts with two firms managing operations at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport. Following an executive session in which the mayor and councilors discussed possible litigation, the elected body reconvened in open session to take action regarding the airport.

‘Latin Wave’ radio to air Sunday

Pando’s team will air first ‘live’ show at 6 p.m.

Events are taking off quite a bit faster than first anticipated for the new Hispanic radio show in town, “La Onda Latina del Gorge,” or “Latin Wave of the Gorge.” The show’s first “recorded live” segment will air this Sunday, July 9, with the broadcast starting at 6 p.m.

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Managers get Marina ship-shape

Private entity contracts to run port-owned site

If you’ve visited The Dalles Marina in recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed some significant upgrades to the facilities. As of Jan. 1, management of the marina’s community of houseboats was transferred to The Dalles Marina, LLC.

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Cascade Square gets $4M renovation

Grand opening for new mall look planned for September

A major renovation project is moving along as scheduled at the Cascade Square Shopping Center in the 1400 block of West Sixth Street. Work on the 1970s-era mall, which rosters nearly 20 different businesses, began in April and is expected to wrap up in September.

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Civic’s ‘Fireside Room’ gets new look

The Fireside Room at The Dalles Civic Auditorium does not look “drab and dreary” any longer. Thanks to a repainting project completed earlier this month, the room has taken on a lively and attractive new persona.

City rejects water for pot grow

With a 3-2 vote on Monday evening, The Dalles City Council rejected a request from a property owner outside the city limits who was seeking to tap into the city’s water transmission line.

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Paddlers take a stand on the river

On May 27, co-owners Kevin and Sherry Perry opened Celilo Paddle Company in Riverfront Park because they wanted to share their love of paddleboarding, which involves standing, lying or kneeling on a paddleboard and navigating with a kayak-style paddle.

Home at Last launches kennel project

Home at Last Humane Society of The Dalles is embarking on a major renovation project that the shelter’s dogs are likely to love. “We’re launching a capital campaign to have the main kennel area completely redone,” explained Anita Clason, shelter manager.

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Library unveils new media room

OR Cultural Trust, Google provided most of funding

The Athenaeum — the fancy and unusual name for the innovative new Teen Programming and Digital Media Room at The Dalles-Wasco County Library — is now open for business. At noon on Thursday, approximately 80 people attended a grand opening for the new facility, geared to provide young community members with a place of their own to study, create, and learn.

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Mosier project denied again

Extended railroad siding would impact tribal rights

It appears the legal dance over Union Pacific Railroad’s proposed siding project will continue. On Tuesday, the Columbia River Gorge Commission (CRGC) rejected UP’s appeal, thereby denying the railroad’s bid to build an extended railroad siding at Mosier.

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Spanish radio show fills growing need

There’s a new radio show in town. Local radio personality Eloy Pando launched “La Onda Latina del Gorge,” or “the Latin Wave of the Gorge,” on June 4, and the program will air every Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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City, county team up to battle teen alcohol use

Proclamation calls for awareness, help from community adults

With June graduation ceremonies and the resulting parties cropping up like dandelions in an open field, a team of local officials have joined together to raise awareness of the dangers of use of alcohol and drugs by those under the age of 21.

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Council calls for joint exec session

After meeting in a special executive session on Monday, June 5, The Dalles City Council called for an unusual three-way closed door session with Klickitat County Board of Commissioners and the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport Board of Directors. The purpose of the session is “to consult with legal counsel concerning current litigation or litigation likely to be filed.”

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Dallesport wary of tribal housing

About 50 local residents showed up at the Dallesport Community Center Monday evening to discuss a possible housing project that a tribe wants to place on private property. Bill Morris, a member of the Dallesport Community Council, organized the June 5 meeting. He wanted residents to discuss a proposal by the Yakama Nation Housing Authority, which is considering buying a 47.5-acre parcel in Dallesport.

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New Life Flight hangar finally takes wing

A group of dignitaries picked up their golden shovels Wednesday morning and marked the official groundbreaking for the construction of a new aircraft hangar at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport.

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The Dalles gets a beauty lesson

Gorge Academy of Cosmetology will accept up to 40 students every term

Entrepreneur Kerri Weed wanted to give her students a career they can take anywhere, and when she opened a cosmetology school in The Dalles in March, she began making good on her goal.

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NORCOR bond failed by 41 votes

Final tally in jail tax shows narrow defeat

The regional jail tax rate measure has been defeated by 41 votes. In final results from the May 16 special election, the tally was 4,211 No votes, 50.2 percent; versus 4,170 Yes votes, 49.8 percent. A total of 8,381 voters were cast.

College prepares budget for upcoming year

Columbia Gorge Community College will soon vote on its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the new blueprint includes hiring four more faculty members. “Our budget is very similar in size to last year's budget,” said Rick Leibowitz, regional director of CGCC’s Small Business Development Center.

Chamber agrees to budget cut

City offers 20 percent less than the chamber wanted for 2017-18

During The Dalles City Council’s May 22 meeting, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce officially accepted the city’s proposal to provide 80 percent of what the chamber asked for in its budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Hearings to focus on tribal needs

Dallesport community will discuss two concepts for area

The Dallesport Community Council will sponsor a pair of public input meetings, June 5 and June 19, to discuss two different proposals to create housing and perhaps additional infrastructure for tribal members in the Dallesport area.

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Work on Granada Theater gets underway

New owners ask public to help locate old photos

According to Chuck Gomez, the new owner of the Granada Theater in downtown The Dalles, “a ton of stuff has been happening” at the 1930s-era theater. “The city has been very pleased with our progress,” he added.

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Pot business future uncertain

Council shoots down alterations to marijuana ordinance

The Dalles City Council rejected a proposal Monday to change its new marijuana ordinance to allow stores within 500 feet of each other, rather than adhering to the existing 1,000 foot-buffer.

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Hawk boys’ tennis squad shows growth

Varsity players open eyes with breakthrough performance at districts

Although The Dalles High School boys tennis team did not advance to the state championship round, head coach Shea MacNab was pleased with the growth the team experienced and sees reason for optimism as the 2017 season comes to an end.

City, union ink 3-year deal

The city of The Dalles and Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union have reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

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Council debates fate of city’s oldest building

The historic Gitchell Building on First Street in The Dalles may be down to the last of its nine lives.

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Sunshine Mill: Towers of power

Sunshine Mill silos, once facing demolition, now a tourist landmark

On Memorial Day weekend seven years ago, James and Molli Martin, co-owners of the Sunshine Mill Winery, opened their doors to the public for the first time. “We went in with ‘this might work,’ that’s all we had,” said Molli. “It feels like it was yesterday.”

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Incumbents out, jail tax goes down

The county’s voters were clearly in a mood to make changes, as all four CGCC incumbents seeking another term were swept out in the May 16 special election. The jail measure, creating a permanent tax rate of 26 cents per $1,000 property valuation, was narrowly losing, down by just 11 votes of approximately 8,450 cast across four counties.

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Dufur track team shows mettle

Seven Dufur athletes heading to Eugene for state championships

Dufur’s track and field team did itself proud on Saturday in district competition held in Moro. At the end of the day’s events, the Dufur Rangers ending up with seven athletes who qualified to advance to the Oregon School Activities Association state championship events at Hayward Field in Eugene on May 18-19.

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Rowena Loops slide being cleared

Road to reopen for Memorial Day

The Oregon Department of Transportation is hard at work removing the recent rockslide that occurred just east of the Rowena Crest Overlook between Mosier and Rowena.

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TD track team members advance to state

It has been a successful two days for members of The Dalles High School track and field team, which has been participating in the district track meet at Hermiston High School field in Hermiston, Wednesday and Thursday. According to TDHS head coach Garth Miller, during the two days of events numerous students qualified to move on to the Oregon State Athletic Association State Championships, which will be held at Hayward Field in Eugene on May 19-20.

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Three vie for fire district board seat

The Dalles Chronicle interviews the three candidates going against each other for MCFR Position 4. Incumbent board member Crystal Dodge is hoping to win another four-year term, but she is facing two challengers – David Jacobs and Cyndi Vipperman. All three candidates live in The Dalles.

City cuts Chamber budget

Council votes to cut chamber funds 20 percent

In a move that caught some members of The Dalles City Council by surprise, officials voted Monday, May 8, to cut 20 percent from the annual funding request by The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Gleaners lose food facility

Windy River Gleaners has been handing out food to area residents from its facility at 3400 Crates Way since 2007, but the doors won’t remain open there much longer. “We found out that the building we currently occupy has been sold, and we need to find a new space,” said Kristen Burke, vice president of the Gleaners. “Everything will have to be moved from the building no later than May 31.”

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Fire race contested

The competition for two positions on the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue (MCFR) Board of Directors has turned hot this year. A total of five candidates stepped forward to vie for two seats on the board, and who ultimately gets the nod will be decided by voters in the upcoming special election on May 16.

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Councilor files complaint over store

Wants enforcement of ordinance requiring 1,000-foot buffers

A member of The Dalles City Council has filed a formal complaint with the city, claiming that a local ordinance that prohibits marijuana stores from being within 1,000 feet of each other is not being enforced.

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Rockslide closes Hwy. 30 near Rowena

You know it’s bad when the Oregon Department of Transportation has to call geologists to inspect the area before cleanup work can even begin at the site of a rockslide. That is the situation on the scenic Rowena Loops stretch of Highway 30, just east of the busy Rowena Crest Viewpoint.

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Two vie for park board seat

Ballots must be returned by May 16

Two candidates are competing for the Position 5 seat on the Northern Wasco County Parks & Recreation District board.

‘WagonCon’ comes to TD

Coming to The Dalles Civic Auditorium is an all-weekend analog gaming convention known as “WagonCon.”

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Vineyard, orchard supply company opens store in The Dalles

With orchards and vineyards a growing segment of the area’s agricultural economy, a Yakima, Wash.-based company has moved into The Dalles to tap into the expanding market. “Wilson’s is a one-stop solutions provider for commercial orchards and vineyards, offering a full suite of irrigation, planting, development, and harvesting equipment and supplies, as well as irrigation systems designs,” said Joe Perry, chief executive officer of Wilson’s.

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Governor visits TD to ‘listen’

Gov. Kate Brown came to The Dalles on Friday for a lengthy visit that focused on several of her top priorities as governor — education, agriculture, and economic development. It was Brown’s first visit to The Dalles since taking office in February of 2015.

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Neighbors upset with transitional housing

Jack and Lois Thienes, a retired couple whose home is at the intersection of 12th Street and Federal, say they and others around the neighborhood were blindsided by the recent purchase of a house that is being turned into a recovery group home.

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Two seek CGCC board Position 2

Incumbent board member Dr. James R. (Doc) Willcox is asking voters for another four-year term on the Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education. He is being challenged for the seat by political newcomer Dana A. Campbell, who hopes to bring her voice to the board.

Company inks 10-year deal with city

Telecom firm will pay franchise fee to city

Zayo Group, a communications infrastructure provider, has inked a 10-year deal with the city of The Dalles to “construct, operate, and maintain a fiber-based service facility.”

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Keller vs. Morgan in race for CGCC Pos. 5

Ballots mailed by county today

Two candidates are seeking the Position 5 seat: Dr. Ernest Keller, who wants another four-year term, and challenger Kim Morgan, who works as a legal assistant for an attorney in The Dalles. To get an overview of where the candidates stand on key issues, The Chronicle asked them to respond to a series of questions.

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