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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

‘The Phat Pack’ kick off community concert series

The Phat Pack, a trio who sing Broadway tunes and were named Best of Las Vegas: Best All-around Performers, perform Monday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at The Dalles High School auditorium.

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Blue Zones hires local staff in TD

The Blue Zones Project, a three-year well-being initiative begun in The Dalles this past spring, has hired its four locally-based staffers.

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Psychic hones her abilities, returns to TD

Mary Wymer loves old buildings — not only for the architecture, but for the people, long dead, she can connect with in them.

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Pig Bowl helps 3 families

For the first time in its 15-year history, the Pig Bowl, a fundraising flag football game featuring local law enforcement, is donating proceeds from its Sept. 23 game to three families.

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Cancer patient provided bus fare

Homeless advocate Dorothy Rodriguez learned about Christine Young on a Tuesday night and put the word out via social media asking for help. By Wednesday morning, someone had donated bus tickets to get Young and her husband, Randall, on to Ontario, where they have a connection. Young has Large B cell lymphoma and spent 41 days in Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Randall said.

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A helping hand for the homeless

About a year ago, Dorothy Rodriguez Anderson began handing food and clothing out to the homeless people she saw at the laundromat in The Dalles. She operated out the back door, providing a stream of love, support, acceptance, clothes and food.

Smoke closes D21 schools

North Wasco County schools closed Thursday because of poor air quality, which reached hazardous levels Wednesday night before lowering this morning to “unhealthy” levels.

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Arsonist targets Sherman county

A series of human-caused fires have plagued Sherman County’s backroads since July, and there’s a $6,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

NORCOR board mulls new tax levy

The four counties that make up the regional jail are researching the feasibility of returning to voters in May 2018 to ask for a permanent tax rate to provide stable funding for the jail.

New intern pastor at United Methodist

Gigi Siekkenen, the new part-time intern pastor at First United Methodist Church in The Dalles, came to seminary as a second career — an ever more common path to the pulpit.

Sixth grader heads to state spelling bee

Pyeper Walker, 11, an incoming sixth grader at Sherman Elementary, headed to Salem Saturday to take part in the Oregon Statewide Spelling Championship at the Oregon State Fair. “I am very proud to represent my county in the state spelling bee. It will be really exciting to compete against other spellers from Oregon, but I will also be nervous,” Pyeper said earlier this week.

Crosswalk enforcement nets 26

The third of four crosswalk enforcement actions took place Monday in The Dalles, and one of the ticketed motorists had been cited for the same thing in an earlier enforcement action. The action is part of The Dalles Police Department’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety, specifically motorists who do not yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks.

D21 hires PR firm for facilities effort

District 21 has hired Wright Public Affairs, which has managed winning campaigns for school bonds and levies in the Portland Metro area, to guide its facilities bond campaign. The hiring was announced at the North Wasco County School District 21 meeting last Thursday.

MCCOG to hand off services

After a nearly 40-year existence, the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments has voted to find new homes for its four programs and will cease to function as a direct service provider. The four programs are: transportation, which includes the LINK dial-a-ride as well as a non-emergency medical transport service; the Area Agency on Aging, which helps with meals and other services for seniors; workforce development programs; and regional building codes services.

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Community Meal seeks volunteers

Community Meal, which has been providing a free meal to all comers every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for over 30 years, is looking for a few new groups to help prepare meals a few times a year.

Youth arrested following pellet gun shooting

A 14-year-old male was taken into custody on two counts of second-degree assault Monday morning and is accused of shooting a woman and her son with a pellet gun.

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Worth the price: ‘Sundown in Shaniko’

A sleepless night in the family van was the completely-worth-it price my kids and I paid for the thrill and privilege of seeing the total solar eclipse Monday in the wide-open spaces of Shaniko.

Hospital turns corner financially

Mid-Columbia Medical Center has “turned a corner as a whole,” said its new chief executive officer, Dennis Knox. He said rumors that the hospital would be closing its doors due to financial issues were unfounded.

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MCMC may sell visiting health services

Mid-Columbia Medical Center is considering options for its unprofitable visiting health service that include keeping it but reducing losses, or selling it to another company. MCMC officials hope for the former.

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Senior Center elevator opens

In a short ceremony Wednesday afternoon, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center officially opened its long-awaited elevator. Winning the honor of taking the first ride was Gary Bradley and Sandy Haechrel.

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Antiques Roadshow draws a crowd

The huge lines of people waiting to get into the Antiques Roadshow is reminiscent of a line at the airport, only all the people have really cool luggage. The show, now in its 22nd season, was taping in Portland last Saturday at the Oregon Convention Center.

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Local vigil held against racism

Some 70 people attended a vigil Sunday evening on the Wasco County Courthouse steps in reaction to violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left a woman dead. Event organizer Dr. Mimi McDonell was overwhelmed by the response to the event, which she publicized earlier that day through social media.

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Enforcing the Law

When the police chief heard that the Chronicle would be interviewing retiring The Dalles Police Capt. Steve Baska, the chief’s immediate — and correct — response was, “Oh no!” Baska is famously, delightfully, unfiltered. His 31 years with the city police enabled him to wryly observe, and comment upon, the foibles of humanity.

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Wahtonka students tackle calculus

While calculus might be viewed as a daunting level of high school math, a group of students at Wahtonka Community School are approaching it in the form of an exercise challenge.

Host family sought for Korean student

The Rotary Club is looking for local families to take in a South Korean exchange student who will be arriving in The Dalles the week of Aug. 24-31.

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Greenhouse project wins award

Wasco County Master Gardeners received a prestigious Search for Excellence award at the International Master Gardener conference for its regional jail greenhouse and spring plant sale.

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Shaniko prepares for ‘seige’

Shaniko, population 26, is preparing for a siege of sorts when the solar eclipse happens Aug. 21.

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Nañez wins state DYW honors

Jessika Nañez, an incoming The Dalles High School senior, was named Oregon’s Distinguished Young Woman Saturday in Salem, winning a $3,000 scholarship and the option of full-ride scholarships at various colleges nationwide.

Fire training tower work underway

Foundation work has begun on a four-story fire training tower at Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue. The tower should be finished in mid-October.

Visa snafu lands Spaniard in jail

A 22-year-old Spanish woman heading for a six-week stay in Corvallis was denied entry to the U.S. at the Portland airport July 5 and spent 38 hours at the regional jail in The Dalles before being returned to Spain.

Well-being surveys set out

A wellness survey landed in several thousand mailboxes in The Dalles to establish a baseline for the Blue Zones Project as it begins a three-year effort to improve community wellness.

TD boy dies in crash

A 4-year-old boy from The Dalles, Parker Lee Perkins, died in an off-road-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon near Goldendale. The vehicle involved in the accident is called a UTV, or a utility task vehicle, and is also known as a side by side, since UTVs can seat two to four people.

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Garbage burns at county landfill

A fire at the Wasco County Landfill on Steele Road was reported early Saturday morning, and 30 planeloads of water and foam were dropped on it to quell it as quickly as possible, an official said. Reported around 1 a.m. Saturday, it was fully out by Sunday around 6 p.m., said Kevin Green, district manager for Waste Connections, which runs the landfill.

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Fatima statue coming to TD

Hundreds are expected at a once-in-a-lifetime event, when a world-famous religious statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be on display at St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles Aug. 3-4 as part of a national tour of peace.

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Cop Block films courthouse staff

A scary encounter in the county assessor’s office, where a man silently filmed employees, ended with the film crew — known for filming police — praising Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill for his professionalism.

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