Back to profile

Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita

Tease photo

Lone Pine donation drive underway

A flood of contributions, dwarfing last year’s effort, has come to the Discovery Center for its second annual donation drive to benefit the Lone Pine Native American fishing village. The collection is still underway through Christmas — items can be taken to the museum, at 5000 Discovery Drive — but the needed items aren’t the typical holiday requests.

Wasco County backs juvenile facility

Wasco County will likely reverse its Wednesday decision to stop sending youth to the local juvenile detention facility in reaction to a scathing report on the facility, with a county official saying Friday he was comfortable with sending local youth there.

Tease photo

Guatemala trip planned

For the second year, a group of students studying Spanish at The Dalles High School is heading to Guatemala on a service trip to bring water purifiers to desperately poor Mayan residents on Lake Atitlan. This year’s group is twice the size, with 10 students. On their nine-day trip next spring, they will work with Worthy Village, a non-profit, to distribute the simple water purifiers to families.

Tease photo

Scathing report faults jail

A sharply critical report on the juvenile detention facility at the regional jail claimed youth weren’t allowed to “look around” or ask what time it was, and they spent hours a day isolated in their cells. The report by Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) cited “harsh and purposeless rules” and harmful, outdated and counterproductive practices, including solitary confinement.

‘A frightful sound’

Thanksgiving morning invasion victim describes her ordeal

For two days after a man kicked in her door in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, a local woman said she didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. A good night’s sleep is still elusive. The woman agreed to talk about her ordeal and the aftermath, but asked that her name not be used.

Suit filed in TD sex crime case

An $8.5 million lawsuit was filed against Mid-Columbia Head Start and its volunteer William Frank Osborne, alleging the pre-school program did not adequately supervise Osborne, who has been accused of sexually assaulting several children in his care. The suit, filed Nov. 9 in Wasco County Circuit Court, named Mid-Columbia Children’s Council Inc., the non-profit organization that runs the Head Start program. The program serves 3- to 5-year-olds.

Workaround sought for school traffic

Dry Hollow Elementary has the school district’s most congested drop-off/pick-up situation, and a proposal was made to the school board last week that could help lighten the load in several ways.

Home invasion reported Thanksgiving day

A homeless man who had been arrested five times in 2017 was caught in a woman’s house in the 300 block of East Seventh Street early Thanksgiving morning after he kicked in her front door.

Tease photo

Thieves steal county plaque

Thieves stole the plaque on the antelope statue outside the Wasco County Courthouse sometime last week, officials said. The statue was donated to the county in 1986 by the community of Antelope. The plaque stated the statue was “Dedicated to all who steadfastly and unwaveringly opposed the attempts of the Rajneesh followers to take political control of Wasco County. 1981-1985.”

Tease photo

TDHS graduate awarded Bronze Star

As a daredevil kid who didn’t suffer too many scrapes growing up, Garron Dahle was cool and confident, with an uncanny ability to measure risk, his dad said. It’s a skillset that has served him well in his military career as a special operations combat controller — someone who orchestrates multiple airborne assets in combat situations — and recently earned him a Bronze Star Medal.

Tease photo

Two emaciated horses rescued

Two emaciated horses were surrendered to an equine rescue by their Rowena area owners Nov. 5 after a citizen reported the horses were starving. Two other horses and five cows from the property were taken in by a local rancher.

Tease photo

Community Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s

Free holiday meal open to anyone

Prep work began Monday for the annual community Thanksgiving meal, which takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles. The free meal is open to anyone.

Tease photo

70 years of hymns

Phyllis Ronfeld marks 7 decades as Zion Lutheran organist

When she was 14 years old, ­­ Phyllis Ronfeld started playing the organ for Zion Lutheran Church. That was in 1946, just after the end of World War II. Plenty of things have changed since then, but not Ronfeld, who is still playing the organ 70 years later. Zion is celebrating the remarkable milestone this Sunday, Nov. 19.

Tease photo

Immigration march draws 65

Chanting slogans in support of immigrants and a “clean Dream act,” a student-organized protest with some 65 participants marched from the west business district to the courthouse steps Thursday afternoon.

No rate hike from PUD

Not only has Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District staff proposed no rate increase for 2018, but they also recommend seasonal discounts for low income senior and disabled customers become year-round.

Tease photo

PUD volunteer day proves successful

Some 50 Northern Wasco County PUD employees and board members recently spent their day out in the community helping with projects at five locations.

Jail feels pressure of mentally ill

Last month, Regional Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg described a recent day at the regional jail that stood out for a frustrating reason: at one point, every inmate in the booking area belonged in a mental health facility. Instead, as regularly happens, they were put behind bars. Booking felt like an acute psychiatric unit, Brandenburg told the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility board at its October meeting.

Tease photo

Council eyes homeless ban

In a bid to address concerns about homeless impacts in town, The Dalles City Council on Monday will discuss creation of exclusion zones, from which people accused of certain crimes can be banned. If they reenter the zone after being excluded, they can be arrested for trespassing. Also proposed is amending the city’s nuisance ordinance to prohibit camping on public property within the city limits.

Tease photo

Hage resigns from Home at Last position

The woman asked to help turn around the struggling animal shelter in The Dalles as it contended with a ringworm outbreak has quit her volunteer post, citing interference from the shelter board.

ICE hunger strike ends

A hunger strike by immigration detainees was “paused” at the regional jail Saturday after detainees said concessions were promised by jail and immigration officials. They said they may resume the strike if conditions don’t improve. Meanwhile, Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility Administrator Bryan Brandenburg said no agreement was made in order to stop the strike, which he said lasted three days, not four as claimed by supporters of the strikers.

Tease photo

Protecting property values: Codes enforcement

At one location, two couches and a battered barbecue were sitting by the side of the gravel road. At another, ragged outdoor carpet covered a property dotted with junk and tall vegetation. A third had a dilapidated and dangerously leaning outbuilding that was a threat to human safety. Those are the kinds of public eyesores that The Dalles Codes Enforcement Officer Nikki Lesich works to eradicate.

Tease photo

Police ditch razors for a good cause

The Dalles Police Department is taking a small break from protocol in order to fundraise for a good cause this month: normally clean-shaven officers have paid $25 each to participate in No-Shave November. The department has also encouraged the public to donate to No-Shave November, a cancer charity, in the department’s name.

ICE detainee hunger strike begins again

A second hunger strike by immigration detainees at the regional jail in The Dalles has started, with strikers objecting to largely the same issues that sparked a strike in May.

Local preference sought for move

The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments will ask the state to waive rules that make it unlikely that the new administrators of the Area Agency on Aging will be from the local area. MCCOG, a 40-year-old five-county entity that runs a handful of local and regional services, anticipates dissolving itself by Jan. 31.

Building codes future discussed

The entity that has handled regional building codes services is shutting down, and the question of who will take over those services has, as expected, become complex. The possibility of litigation over how to equitably divide a large cash reserve was raised when the issue was recently discussed.

TDHS ASPIRE seeks mentors

The Dalles High School is looking for mentors willing to help juniors and seniors plan for their next steps after graduation. The ASPIRE program pairs mentors with one or more students to help them line up plans ranging from the military to trade school to college.

Tease photo

Warming Place seeks volunteers

The Warming Place opens Nov. 19, and volunteers are needed to run the shelter, which opens on the coldest nights to give the homeless a respite from winter weather.

Jail won’t seek a tax measure

Board nixes ballot plan

The regional jail board has decided not to ask voters again to pass a permanent tax rate to help fund the jail. Voters narrowly defeated the issue last spring. The Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility board agreed at its Oct. 19 meeting that the matter was off the table for now.

Lone Pine maintenance challenge

This is the fourth of a four-part series looking at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. This final article reviews current maintenance levels at Lone Pine.

MCCOG seeks to divest by Jan. 31

The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, which decided in August to shutter its doors, anticipates divesting itself of all its programs by Jan. 31, 2018, the MCCOG board heard last Tuesday. One possible wrinkle is the handoff of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

Tribal housing efforts looming

This is the third of a four-part series looking at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. This story looks at plans to fulfill decades-old promises of housing for tribal members displaced by dams.

Tease photo

‘­My river’ a source of comfort

This four-part series looks at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. The second article, presented here, shares the viewpoints of two women who have lived at Lone Pine for years.

Tease photo

A fateful ride to Lone Pine

This four-part series looks at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. The first article describes homeless advocate Dorothy Rodriguez’s push to help meet needs at the site.

Tease photo

PUD getting electrical grid ready for winter

The Northern Wasco County PUD has been spending the summer —and then some — getting ready for the winter. It is an ongoing effort that ranges from tree trimming to vehicle preparation.

Turnaround in outbreak

Animal shelter controls ringworm outbreak

The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence has made it his priority to ensure the local animal shelter survives, saying the town needs to have dog control. That’s welcome news to Janna Hage, who was recently asked by the Home at Last Humane Society to help it recover from a ringworm outbreak that shut down operations.

Tease photo

Transients cleared from overpass

Earlier this month, after getting multiple complaints, city police told transients living under the freeway overpass by Dairy Queen to clear out. It was done at nighttime, when they were more likely to be there, said The Dalles Police Capt. Jamie Carrico. Police logs show five people were asked to move along on Oct. 5.

Tease photo

Tackling Type 1

How a competitive local athlete learned to handle Type 1 diabetes

Connor Shortt, a 2014 grad of The Dalles-Wahtonka High School, always had his eye on some type of work in the medical field. He wasn’t sure just what it would be until May 2016, when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after his sophomore year at Pacific University. Now he wants to be an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in treatment of the disease.

Report card: Chenowith boosts scores

Chenowith Elementary School showed a 20 percent gain in overall academic achievement in the 2016-17 school year, according to the just-released state school report card. In a statement on the state report card, Chenowith Principal Anne Shull said it was “a year of celebration for Chenowith and our students!”

Tease photo

Nod to DA for new hire

Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley can’t say enough about his newest employee. Kurt Cochran, who is helping digitize the office’s huge backlog of paper files, “has a great sense of humor,” Nisley said. “He’s got a great work ethic. He gets to work early and he stays late.” Cochran has a disability, and the attorney’s office was recently named the “Best New Employer” by the Mid-Columbia Employment First team at an awards banquet.

Three dogs die in vehicle

Three dogs who had been dead for 24 to 48 hours were pulled from a man’s vehicle in the 3500 block of West Second Street on Oct. 1. He has been charged with one count of first-degree animal neglect regarding all three animals.

Bomb squad called; device ‘fake’

The Oregon State Police bomb squad was called to an address in the 2500 block of East 12th Street Friday night on a suspected explosive device, which turned out to be fake, police said.

Tease photo

Infected animal shelter to close for cleaning

Home At Last Humane Society has been open about problems it’s been having since June with a ringworm outbreak. Finally, a board member called a former HAL director for help. That director, Janna Hage, began volunteering with the shelter just last week. “Quite frankly, ringworm isn’t the issue going on with the shelter,” Hage said. “It’s a symptom of what the problem is.”

Tease photo

TDHS turns out 24 AP Scholars

The Dalles High School produced 24 Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars in the last academic year, up from 21 the year before.

Health District gains accreditation

The North Central Public Health District is among the first 10 such districts in Oregon to earn accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. The voluntary accreditation means the health district meets nationally recognized, practice-focused and evidence-based standards.

Tease photo

A welcome ride

Officer lucks upon cold mountain biker in bad weather

Usually, when The Dalles Police Officer Brent Larson patrols the city watershed on the Mt. Hood National Forest, he goes in one way and out another, to cover more ground. But, in a very lucky turn of events for mountain biker Cori Bucherl, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, Larson decided to go out the way he came in. As he was trundling down the 1720 Road right by where it intersects with the 44 Road, he came upon a drenched Bucherl, who had cut short a planned 25-mile bike ride due to unseasonably wet and cold weather.

Tease photo

TD trooper honored

On Oct. 28, 2015, Senior Trooper Zach Bohince was near Seaside with the fugitive apprehension task force, which was trying to arrest a man with warrants for kidnapping and attempted murder.

Tease photo

Grass Valley native gets OSP medal

Six troopers recently received the first ever Medal of Valor issued by the Oregon State Police. Two of them, Ryan Sharp and Zach Bohince, have local ties. Both troopers were shot at by fleeing suspects in vehicle pursuits.

Meeting explores decision to end DACA

Some 40 people attended a recent meeting about President Trump’s decision to end DACA, the federal program that defers deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection are often called “Dreamers,” which refers to a legislative act that was never passed by Congress.

Tease photo

HR ‘Dreamer’ speaks out

Leonidas Montenegro came to the U.S. with family at age 13

Leonidas Montenegro and his family came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was 13. In 2012, the Obama Administration began its DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which defers deportation for undocumented immigrations who arrived in the U.S. as children. Montenegro, then in his early 20s, jumped on the opportunity to legally remain in the U.S.

Ban on using cell phones while driving starts Oct. 1

The Dalles Police Officer Jeff Kienlen just got back from a traffic conference, where discussion touched on the fact that fatal crashes are on the rise, mostly due to distracted driving. And so the timing is apt for the Oct. 1 start of Oregon’s new distracted driving law, which bans holding a cell phone or other electronic device while driving.

Prev

CLOSE X

Information from the Chronicle and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)