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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita



‘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..


Jail won’t ask for more cash

The regional jail board, made up of representatives from the four counties that run the jail, declined last week to have the counties pay for unexpected expenses at the jail. Instead, the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility will have to dip into its contingency fund to pay for $101,500 in legal fees, and $86,725 for repairs to the nearby warehouse it owns, now rented by Insitu.

August 21, 2018 1:20 p.m. read more..


DeVaney declines jail job

The regional jail board unanimously voted Friday to offer John DeVaney, a lieutenant at a large Nevada jail, the position of jail administrator. However, on Monday, he declined the offer. The jail board will have a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at noon at the regional jail to discuss its options, said outgoing Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg.

August 20, 2018 1:47 p.m. read more..


D21 bond backers kick off effort

Some 50 people attended the kickoff event Aug. 4 for supporting the $235 million bond measure that goes before voters in November to replace four schools in The Dalles. Phil Brady, a teacher at the high school, said the group was participating in something historic. “There’s not many times when something this big gets started.”

August 17, 2018 2:15 p.m. read more..


Famed TD cartoonist on film

John Chambers was clear at the other end of the hall at The Dalles High School when he heard the bam of someone getting slammed, hard, into a locker. The slamee was John Callahan, the eventually famous cartoonist whose life story is told in the recently released movie, “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” which opens Friday, Aug. 24, at Columbia Cinemas in The Dalles.

August 17, 2018 1:39 p.m. read more..


Two vie for top job at NORCOR

A Nevada corrections official and the former warden of the state prison in Montana are the two finalists for administrator of the regional jail. They are John DeVaney, now a corrections lieutenant for the city of Henderson, Nev., and Michael Fletcher, who most recently served as warden of the Montana State Prison.

August 14, 2018 1:46 p.m. read more..


Goodwin touts Wahtonka

Brian Goodwin, principal/teacher of Wahtonka Community School, agrees with naysayers that the school is a dangerous place to be — but hear him out. It’s only dangerous, he said, to apathy and to kids graduating without real skills.

August 14, 2018 1:44 p.m. read more..


Cruise victim condition serious

The Dalles resident Craig Byers, 28, badly injured Friday night when a car “rapidly accelerated” at the Neon Cruise and hit a parked car which then struck him, remained in serious condition at a Portland hospital Monday.

August 13, 2018 5:09 p.m. read more..
 

Community school gets $2M grant

The good news just keeps coming for Wahtonka Community School officials. First they achieved a long-standing goal of becoming a charter school. Then they got a $2 million grant.

August 10, 2018 2:32 p.m. read more..


D21 approves bond measure language

Taking a key step toward the November school facilities bond election, the D21 school board unanimously approved the official language for the $235 million measure Aug. 6.

August 10, 2018 2:29 p.m. read more..


District 21 to sell 70 acres

D21 earlier this year surplussed 70 of its 100 acres of property in Columbia View Heights, retaining 30 acres for a possible future school site. By doing so, Northern Wasco County School District 21 can now sell the property, said D21 CFO Randy Anderson. But that step is quite a ways off, he said.

August 7, 2018 1:23 p.m. read more..


MCMC talks heating up

Nurses at Mid-Columbia Medical Center will vote Aug. 6-7 whether to authorize an informational picket — which would not affect patient care — an unprecedented step for what have historically been placid contract talks. The three main areas in the lengthy negotiations are wages, benefits for part-timers, and the hospital’s increasing and unpopular use of what are called variable shifts, said RN Sarah Gunderson.

August 3, 2018 1:35 p.m. read more..


Stolen papers yield man’s story

To a reporter, the strange surfacing of notes and papers from a long-ago homicide case was a puzzlement; to Janet Acevedo, seeing a box with the notes inside was like “opening a coffin.”

August 3, 2018 1:33 p.m. read more..


Long Hollow fire ­75% contained

Though you’d be hard pressed to find any smoke, the 33,451-acre Long Hollow Fire was still listed at 75 percent contained Tuesday, as the hard work of mop up in steep canyons continued, according to a spokesperson. “We’re on a glide path to demobilize and turn this fire back to the local administration by Wednesday,” said Alan Hoffmeister, public information officer with the Northwest Incident Management Team 10.

July 31, 2018 1:32 p.m. read more..


Top picker is very focused

The other day, Juan Martinez Martinez had already picked 100 buckets of cherries, and it was only 9:24 a.m. By contrast, the average cherry picker can only hope to pick 60 to 70 buckets in an entire workday, which begins at 5 a.m. Martinez Martinez, 28, is among the five fastest pickers for Orchard View, which has up to 900 pickers working at a time, said Melissa Reyes, human resources manager for Orchard View.

July 31, 2018 1:25 p.m. read more..


AmeriTies lawsuit settlement pending

A class action lawsuit against AmeriTies alleging that odors from the plant diminished the use and value of area properties has reached a proposed settlement of $1.25 million. Almost all of The Dalles is included in the boundaries covered by the settlement, according to a map posted on the website of one of the law firms involved.

July 31, 2018 1:23 p.m. read more..
 

County is a Blue Zones worksite

Wasco County is the second organization in The Dalles to earn a designation as a Blue Zones Project approved worksite. It will celebrate with a blue ribbon cutting ceremony 2:30 p.m. Friday on the steps of the courthouse, at 511 Washington St.

July 24, 2018 1:49 p.m. read more..


Fire claimed four homes, 2M bushels

The Substation Fire wiped out an estimated 2 million bushels of wheat at a value of $12 million, and began on the first day of what is normally the two busiest weeks of harvest, said an official with Mid-Columbia Producers. Jeff Kaser, general manager for MCP, said Monday that insurance adjustors, including crop specialists from all over the country, were busy evaluating losses, and a final number on the loss is at least a week away.

July 24, 2018 1:43 p.m. read more..
  

Urness recounts fire, neighbor support

Judy Urness could hear the fire alarms going off in the background Tuesday as she called her son Charlie to tell him to stop trying to save their house on Emerson Loop Road and just get out. “But he didn’t listen to me,” she said of her 24-year-old son. “But my house is standing. I guess he gets away with it this time.”

July 20, 2018 2:03 p.m. read more..


Substation fire top priority in U.S.

The 70,000-acre Substation fire, threatening 900 homes in Sherman County, became the top priority fire in the nation Thursday, an official said. It was 15 percent contained as of Friday morning.

July 20, 2018 7:57 a.m. read more..


Fire jumps Deschutes again Thursday morning

The 50,000-acre Substation fire jumped the Deschutes River where it empties into the Columbia River Thursday morning, and a level 3 evacuation was called for Biggs Junction, said Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill.

July 19, 2018 12:26 p.m. read more..


Man killed in fire identified

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office this morning identified the man who died Wednesday in the Substation fire as John Ruby, a 64-year-old longtime Wasco County resident. The press release stated the fire is “incendiary in nature” and is being investigated by the sheriff’s office, the Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

July 19, 2018 11:22 a.m. read more..


First deep well drilled for Mosier orchard

For adventures in deep-well drilling, look no further than the 1,223-foot well recently drilled for orchardist Bryce Molesworth in the Mosier Valley. It came in at just over 1.5 times the estimated cost and took far longer than expected, but it’s finally done and has been in service for several months now, Molesworth said.

July 17, 2018 2:15 p.m. read more..


Mosier’s long history of water woes

With the community water supply in Mosier long under threat, motivation has been high to find a solution. Concerns dated back to the mid-1970s, when orchardists began complaining about steadily declining water levels, a 2012 federal report said.

July 17, 2018 1:49 p.m. read more..


Jail now lists ICE crimes

Starting last Friday, July 13, the regional jail began listing the previous criminal history of immigration detainees held at the jail as a transparency move, the jail administrator said.

July 17, 2018 1:46 p.m. read more..


‘Mosier Million’ project well underway

In a project dubbed the “Mosier Million” for the amount of state investment in it, work is well underway on replacing 12 to 15 commingling wells in the Mosier Valley. A state study found higher-pressure lower aquifers were leaking via poorly constructed wells into an upper aquifer and then out to Mosier Creek.

July 17, 2018 1:40 p.m. read more..
  

District 21 seeks better scheduling

Coaches met with the D21 school board in late June in hopes of creating a better system for using school and community sports facilities. They left with a goal of better communication, a plan to explore scheduling software that is more user friendly for both coaches and building administrators, and possibly centralized scheduling.

July 13, 2018 1:39 p.m. read more..


D21 to seek $235M bond

The D21 school board voted Thursday to seek a $235 million bond authority in November to build four schools after hearing polling of likely voters found support for it at 53 percent. After more information and messaging was given to those surveyed, support increased to 61 percent.

July 13, 2018 1:38 p.m. read more..


Subdivision work begins

Infrastructure work is underway and should be done by August on the 50-lot Lone Pine Village subdivision, creating the last riverfront residential lots in town, one of the developers said. Being installed are streets, water, power, and high-speed internet, said Chris Schanno, of Lone Pine Land and Cattle, a half-owner in the subdivision.

July 10, 2018 1:34 p.m. read more..


Don’t be ‘unlucky’ on Friday

If the past is anything to go by, Friday the 13th will be an unlucky day for about 30 motorists, since that’s about how many people have been ticketed in past crosswalk enforcement actions. This Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Dalles Police Department will be conducting a crosswalk enforcement action, aimed at getting motorists to yield to pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

July 10, 2018 1:33 p.m. read more..


Alert couple chases down thief

If there’s one thing Jason and Sheeana Schacher can’t stand, it’s a thief. So when Jason spotted a man jogging across the Home Depot parking lot Friday evening with a smile on his face and a Milwaukie tool kit under his arm, and then bundling into a getaway mini van that peeled off before the door even closed, the Schachers naturally gave chase.

July 10, 2018 1:31 p.m. read more..


Goose tags along with rafters

A friendly white goose tagged along over the weekend with at least two rafting parties on the Deschutes River, floating downstream with them and hanging out overnight as they camped. In a first in her 12 years as a camp host at Heritage Landing at the mouth of the Deschutes, Pam Disbro had to put the word out Sunday to try to find the owner of the goose that rafters had naturally named “Lucy Goosey.”

July 3, 2018 3:42 p.m. read more..

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