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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita



Urgent care plans announced

The Bistro at Water’s Edge will be closed and the physical therapy gym space shifted around to make way for an urgent care clinic, Mid-Columbia Medical Center announced. Plans are to put the clinic where the physical therapy performance gym is now, on the south side of the first floor of the Water’s Edge facility.

December 11, 2018 1:33 p.m. read more..


Beloved teacher, choir director dies

Lloyd Walworth, a beloved retired high school choir teacher and founder of a community choir, died last Friday, Dec. 7, after a several-month battle with brain cancer. He was 72. “He’s a larger than life person,” said his widow, Diane Walworth.

December 11, 2018 1:30 p.m. read more..


Tribal housing moves forward

Much of a century has passed since the federal government promised to replace tribal housing lost when dams inundated fishing villages along the Columbia River. Now, two separate housing projects seeking to fulfill that promise are both making headway.

December 7, 2018 2:07 p.m. read more..


After-school program starts

Wahtonka Charter School student Jacob Bartholomew quickly settled on what he would teach kids at the school’s new afterschool program: how to prepare for a zombie invasion. His idea was solid: in a quick poll of kids at the program earlier this week, most of them listed the “zombie class” as their favorite.

December 7, 2018 2:03 p.m. read more..


Mosier deep well grant nixed by commission

A grant request to build a second deep well in Mosier, moving a heavy agricultural user out of a depleting aquifer currently being used by the town, was declined at this time. The Oregon Water Resources Commission told the grant seekers to come back with more information for reconsideration in the next funding cycle.

December 4, 2018 2:14 p.m. read more..


TD police assist homeless

The Dalles Police Officer Chris Simonds came back from a conference last December with an idea he could quickly and easily implement: helping transients get replacement IDs. But for some reason, the idea didn’t take off until just a few weeks ago, when the Mid-Columbia Community Action Council suggested to a client that they take Simonds up on his offer.

November 30, 2018 2:06 p.m. read more..


Pipeline funding delayed

The City of The Dalles has applied three times to the state for a $1 million grant to help replace the leaking, wooden, century-old Dog River pipeline, which provides half the city’s water. It has gotten closer to funding each time, and in mid-November, state staffers finally recommended the grant be funded. But then the Oregon Water Resources Commission delayed a decision on the staff recommendation until early next year.

November 30, 2018 2:01 p.m. read more..


County urged to take on building codes

After hearing encouragement Nov. 19 from its city counterparts to keep building codes services local, Wasco County will likely try to take on the service itself. The state has asked the county to let it know by the end of the year what it decides to do.

November 27, 2018 1:54 p.m. read more..


Wamic Auto Parts plans to rebuild

Wade Delco’s full-time job these days is recovering from a Nov. 14 fire that destroyed his business, Wamic Auto Parts, one of only two businesses in town. He is rebuilding but doesn’t know when he’ll reopen. The fire, which started about 9 p.m., caused a total loss.

November 23, 2018 2:01 p.m. read more..


Robotic surgery comes to MCMC

When Dr. Marc McAllister does traditional prostatectomies at Mid-Columbia Medical Center, he works directly over the patient, through a long lower abdomen incision. But since July, he’s had another option: sitting at a console 10 feet away from the patient, peering through a high-def 3D monitor as he manipulates the four intricately maneuverable robotic arms of the da Vinci surgical system—one with cameras—which access the patient through pinpoint incisions.

November 23, 2018 1:56 p.m. read more..


Project ELFF runs Dec. 4-6

Project ELFF (Everybody Loves a Fire Fighter) will be hitting the streets Dec. 4-6, as it celebrates its 32nd year of collecting non-perishable food for local food banks. Fire apparatus will be announcing their presence in neighborhoods with lights and sirens going, said Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer.

November 20, 2018 1:50 p.m. read more..


D21 hears complaints

The D21 school board heard at a listening session last Thursday that schools need replaced, but the recently failed bond to replace four schools sought too much money, over too long a period. A number of people said the district had low income or blue collar residents who couldn’t afford the bond.

November 20, 2018 1:49 p.m. read more..


Beauty school gets makeover

The Gorge Academy of Cosmetology’s slogan is “creating beauty inside and out” and that doesn’t only apply to making people look fabulous. Owner Kerri Weed and her husband Tom have rehabbed the inside of the circa 1890s building at 422 E. 2nd St.—where they peeled up five layers of flooring to reveal the original, rich wood flooring—and are now working to do the same on the outside.

November 20, 2018 1:48 p.m. read more..
 

Fence repair help offered

Wasco County farmers and ranchers may be eligible for federal assistance to repair fencing destroyed by the summer’s wildfires, a local agency announced. The Wasco/Hood River County Farm Service Agency said farmers and ranchers have until Nov. 30 to contact the local FSA office and request assistance through the Emergency Conservation Program.

November 16, 2018 2:09 p.m. read more..


TDHS seeks volunteers

The growing ASPIRE program at The Dalles High School, which helps prepare students for post-high school training and education, is looking for more volunteers. Right now 65 seniors are taking advantage of the college counseling program, which pairs students with an adult mentor who helps guide them through the process of finding post-high school training, be it in the military, the trades, or at two- or four-year colleges.

November 16, 2018 2:07 p.m. read more..


School board members quit

In the wake of the resounding defeat of the $235 million school bond, two school board members have quit. Ernie Blatz, the longest serving member of the board, who said he has served since 2004 or 2005, said, “I’ve been trying to get a high school since 2003, and I’m just done trying to get it. Let somebody else work on it.”

November 13, 2018 2:01 p.m. read more..


Police patrols to focus on DUI, cell phones

The Dalles Police Department has been awarded three grants to do emphasis patrols targeting driving while intoxicated, cell phone use, and failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The patrols will start this month and continue through next September, and the public will get advance notice each time.

November 13, 2018 1:57 p.m. read more..
 

District 21 school bond fails

The D21 school board will host the first of several listening sessions next Thursday, Nov. 15, at the middle school to hear from citizens in the wake of a resounding defeat of its $235 million bond authority measure. The measure went down with just a 40.8 percent yes vote.

November 9, 2018 1:28 p.m. read more..


Wyman violates release terms

Former Dufur track coach Ty Lee Wyman, convicted in August of sex abuse against two students, was sent to prison earlier than planned because he violated terms of his release.

November 6, 2018 2:03 p.m. read more..


County eyes codes work

Wasco County has rescinded its tentative decision not to take on building codes services now that it has learned services would probably be moved to Pendleton and a large local cash reserve could be lost. Building codes services had been provided for years by the now-disbanded Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG), a five-county entity that operated out of The Dalles and closed shop earlier this year.

November 2, 2018 2:37 p.m. read more..


A symbolic meeting

It was not your typical calligraphy lesson: last Tuesday, students at The Dalles High School painstakingly wrote their names in Japanese characters, guided by visiting Japanese students. As for the 13 Japanese students, who were on their last day of an exchange through the Sister City program between Miyoshi City, Japan, and The Dalles, they had the tough job of finding the right combination of Japanese characters, called kanji, to sound out each student’s name.

November 2, 2018 2:05 p.m. read more..


TD nixes Blue Zones request

The Dalles City Council declined to make a contribution to the local Blue Zones Project, saying its budget for the year was already established, but invited the community wellness program to apply next year. The dilemma for the Blue Zones Project, however, is that it is facing a January deadline to show it has a local commitment of $197,000 to keep the three-year program operational, said Dr. Mimi Mcdonell, who chairs the group’s sustainability committee.

November 2, 2018 2:03 p.m. read more..


D21 bond election complaint filed

A local woman has filed a complaint with the state alleging the school district violated election law by using persuasive, rather than explanatory, language in describing a bond measure to build new schools. District 21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong said, “We do not believe that we have violated Oregon election law, but we will fully cooperate with the investigation.” (This story has been updated with comments from Trudy Lupkes from the Strong Community Schools Political Action Committee.)

October 26, 2018 3:41 p.m. read more..


TDHS seeks wood scraps

Got any scrap wood lying around, or maybe some tools that could be put to use? Or maybe you know a thing or two about carpentry and would like to help the next generation pick up some skills. The Dalles High School woodworking teacher Jonathan Kranzley is restarting a construction class at the high school, and is putting out a call for wood, tools and volunteers.

October 26, 2018 2:42 p.m. read more..


Group hopes to save building

A group of citizens hope to raise enough public interest to save the 154-year-old Waldron-Gitchell building on First Street from the wrecking ball. The city of The Dalles has owned the building for 40 years, and the city council at its Sept. 24 meeting voted to pursue demolition of the building, citing, chiefly, liability concerns should it collapse, a lack of public interest in preserving it, and the need to make room for future expansion of the adjacent sewer plant. “We’ve never figured out why they’re in such a hurry” to demolish it, said Eric Gleason, an archaeologist who was the lone respondent when the city sought proposals earlier this year for how to preserve the building.

October 26, 2018 1:51 p.m. read more..


Staff changes with new jail format

In a series of promotions and other changes, seven staff positions were affected by the regional jail’s interim switch to a jail commander format instead of a jail administrator. When the jail board could not quickly find a replacement for outgoing administrator Bryan Brandenburg, it opted to try out for the remainder of the fiscal year having a sheriff oversee the adult facility, to be run by a jail commander, while a county juvenile director oversees the juvenile side.

October 26, 2018 1:49 p.m. read more..


Wasco facility hosts job fair

A jobs fair is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, in Wasco to test the waters for how many people might be qualified for or interested in working at a planned 14-bed childrens’ diversion center that would employ 50 people. The center would house kids in family crisis who need a safe, temporary respite until they’re returned home or to another safe arrangement, said Mike Smith, who has been working for over 18 months to bring the facility and its jobs to Wasco.

October 23, 2018 2:36 p.m. read more..


New fire trucks, apparatus purchased

The fire district recently bought the first two of its seven fire apparatus that voters approved in a 2016 bond. It also recently acquired a foam trailer should another incident like the oil train fire in Mosier arise. Purchased in August for about $375,000 each were two 3,000-gallon water tenders, said Bob Palmer, chief of Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue. They replace a 1991 Kenworth and a 1993 Kenworth.

October 23, 2018 2:34 p.m. read more..


Parent questions lack of grant

As the Nov. 6 vote approaches on a $235 million bonding authority to replace four schools, a local woman caused a stir on social media last weekend questioning the district’s decision not to seek a $4 million matching grant for the project. A district official said North Wasco County School District 21 tried but failed to get two smaller planning grants that would’ve helped the district create the extensively detailed reports necessary to seek the larger grant.

October 16, 2018 2:33 p.m. read more..


Charges filed in Cruise crash

A Portland man was indicted on seven charges, including assault and reckless endangerment, stemming from a crash at the Neon Cruise in August in downtown The Dalles. The most serious charge against Ronald Leroy Madorin, 53, was third-degree assault, a Class C felony.

October 9, 2018 2:16 p.m. read more..


Council at large candidates voice their views for the city

Candidates John Fredrick, Rod Runyon and Brian Stevens, who are seeking the city council post being vacated by Taner Elliot, provided the written answers to a series of questions posed by the Chronicle. The three candidates for the at-large position spoke about what they see as key issues facing the city and how they feel Google funds should be distributed.

October 9, 2018 2:11 p.m. read more..


Anti-ICE march ends in The Dalles

A seven-day march/caravan seeking to end housing of immigration detainees in Oregon concluded Saturday with about 175 people marching through downtown The Dalles to the regional jail. A local group, Gorge ICE Resistance, has picketed the jail daily for over 520 consecutive days in an effort to get the jail to drop its contract to house immigration detainees.

October 9, 2018 2:05 p.m. read more..


Jail to try new format

The jail board reached consensus Oct. 1 to try running the jail without an administrator for the rest of the fiscal year, on a trial basis. The board also accepted the Oct. 31 resignation of Administrator Bryan Brandenburg.

October 5, 2018 2:12 p.m. read more..


Anti-ICE rally heads to TD

A seven-day walk to demand an end to the housing of immigration detainees in Oregon began Sunday in Sheridan and ends at the regional jail in The Dalles Saturday. Both towns have correctional facilities that hold detainees.

October 2, 2018 1:44 p.m. read more..


Wasco County wins appeal vs. Wood

The Oregon Court of Appeals sided with Wasco County in a Sept. 19 decision, ruling that a 2015 lawsuit brought by The Dalles resident Chip Wood was correctly ruled moot by a trial court. Wood sued the county commission after it voted in December 2014 to leave the North Central Public Health District.

October 2, 2018 1:40 p.m. read more..


‘Blue Zones’ project seeks city funding

The Blue Zones Project, a three-year community wellness endeavor now in its second year in The Dalles, is about $82,000 short of local funding for this year, but an appeal will be made to the city next month. Dr. Miriam McDonell will ask The Dalles City Council at its Sept. 24 meeting to review information presented by Blue Zones, and then will come back to its Oct. 8 meeting to request funding.

September 21, 2018 2:31 p.m. read more..


PUD surveys energy efficiency

The Northern Wasco County PUD has launched an online survey to learn how aware customers are of energy efficiency programs and how willing they might be to participate in them. Results could help tailor marketing efforts and the PUD’s strategic direction as it considers new programs to both stay competitive and help customers keep their power bills down.

September 21, 2018 2:14 p.m. read more..


Grant sought for Dry Hollow traffic

The city will apply for a state grant to improve traffic flow at pick-up and drop-off time at the highly congested Dry Hollow Elementary School. It should know by January if it was successful.

September 21, 2018 2:11 p.m. read more..


Jail governance change discussed

The jail board reached consensus on the concept of not replacing its outgoing administrator, and instead switching to a jail commander format used in all other jails in the state. The board will meet again Oct. 1 to get more details from the sheriffs and juvenile administrators who would play a larger role in overseeing the four-county jail.

September 21, 2018 2:07 p.m. read more..


Pig Bowl benefits three families Sat.

Three local families will benefit from the popular annual Pig Bowl fundraiser this Saturday, Sept. 22, which pitches Washington and Oregon law enforcement against each other in flag football. The game, which starts at 7 p.m., is at Wahtonka football field. Tickets are $3 single or $10 per family.

September 18, 2018 2:10 p.m. read more..


Governor hears fire issues

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited Sherman County last week and heard from farmers and cattlemen that repairing roads and fences were top issues following the summer’s devastating fires.

September 18, 2018 1:20 p.m. read more..


Jail head protests ‘littering’

For many months, jail board meetings have often featured sharp words between jail officials and citizens who oppose the jail’s contract to house immigration detainees. Last week’s jail board meeting was no different. Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR) Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg opened the Sept. 12 meeting by addressing citizens in attendance, saying a bunch of golden shoes were left behind and a sign was pitched over the jail fence following one of the daily anti-contract protests at the jail.

September 18, 2018 1:18 p.m. read more..


AmeriTies settlement OK’d, but few opt in

Only around 200 people out of an estimated 5,600 households have filed for compensation so far as part of the settlement of a class action nuisance odor lawsuit against AmeriTies West LLC. The deadline for filing a claim for compensation is Sept. 22.

September 14, 2018 1:42 p.m. read more..


Park proposals presented

A possible mini golf course at Thompson Park, a dog park on 14th Street and RV/camping at Riverfront Park are among the ideas being considered as the parks district works on a 20-year master plan. Over a year ago the Northern Wasco County Parks & Recreation District launched on an 18-24 month master planning process.

September 11, 2018 2:11 p.m. read more..


Federal charges filed on pot scheme

A Hood River man who previously lived in Mosier was charged in federal court last month as part of two “vast conspiracies” to traffic marijuana grown in Portland to Texas, Virginia and Florida, officials said. The office of the U.S. Attorney in Oregon announced six people were charged, including Cole William Griffiths, 30, of Hood River who is accused of conspiring to manufacture marijuana in Hood River and shipping it to Florida.

September 11, 2018 2:05 p.m. read more..


Man killed by train had tech following

A man killed by a train in The Dalles in mid-August had a Youtube following and was a “minor celebrity” in the computer world for doing the Herculean task of writing his own operating system, a fan said. Terrance Davis, 48, was killed Aug. 11 near West First and Terminal Avenue.

September 7, 2018 1:34 p.m. read more..


MCMC RNs okay contract

Nurses at Mid-Columbia Medical Center have overwhelmingly ratified a three-year contract that raises wages and limits the variable shifts that saw them working both day and night shifts days apart.

September 5, 2018 1:13 p.m. read more..


Health budget upped

Three years after Wasco County significantly cut its funding to the regional public health district, it has restored higher funding, allowing staff cost of living increases for the first time in three years.

August 28, 2018 1:04 p.m. read more..

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