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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita

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..

‘Families’ rally draws large crowd

Some 240 people attended a peaceful “Families Belong Together” rally Saturday in front of The Dalles Post Office, opposing the separation of immigrant families crossing at the southern border.

July 2, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Petition seeks ICE deal halt

The regional jail board was handed a petition at its last meeting with 664 signatures, and counting, asking that the jail immediately stop its contract to house federal immigration detainees. The Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility board received the petition, from Solea Kabakov of Gorge ICE Resistance, without comment.

July 2, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

D21 ponders new split for Google cash

The D21 school board will consider a resolution in July to back Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue in seeking a more equitable distribution of payments from Google to local tax entities. MCF&R Chief Bob Palmer told the North Wasco County School District 21 board June 14 that other entities had already signed on to the concept.

July 2, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

A church with a view

Pastor David Woodruff is taking some guff from his congregation about having to compete with a breathtaking view from the sanctuary of the new Seventh-day Adventist Church being built.

June 28, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Jail plans complaint

The regional jail board voted last Thursday to file a bar complaint against lawyers suing the jail, concerning the handling of “discovery” in that case.

June 28, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Protester disputes narrative

The woman who protested Sunday inside a local restaurant against a regional jail employee said in a social media post that comments attributed to her were “highly inaccurate.” She said a Facebook post by Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey was “a highly inaccurate and skewed version of this encounter which directly led to death threats and calls for violence against myself and my family.”

June 28, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Dufur Roadhouse license suspended

The liquor license of the Dufur Roadhouse was suspended for 68 days as of Monday, June 25, after the owner declined to pay a $5,940 civil penalty that would have shortened the suspension. The suspension will be lifted Sept. 1.

June 27, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Jail adminstrator leaving

After three years as administrator of the regional jail, Bryan Brandenburg is resigning, the jail board learned at its June 21 meeting. He said he had planned to stay here five years, but he and his wife have a new grandchild in Alaska and he wants to be close to family.

June 25, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Protester disrupts restaurant

A protester disrupted a regional jail employee’s meal at a local restaurant Sunday, loudly berating him and holding up a sign objecting to the housing of immigration detainees at the jail.

June 25, 2018 2:48 p.m. read more..

Heart Work

Today, Jenny Loughmiller’s home art studio in The Dalles is awash with light and vibrant color, the walls adorned with neat rows of her foot-square canvases, each with a heart theme. But two years ago, that same room was her master bedroom and one day, when she looked out one of the windows that provide so much light, all she saw was desolation.

June 22, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Jail makes ICE policy change

In April, the regional jail stopped a practice of honoring immigration detainers for local arrestees, citing, in part, “local community concern and opposition” to housing immigration detainees. The change came days before the jail settled for $40,100 a federal lawsuit brought by a Hood River County man, Javier Esquivez Maldonado, who was held for nearly 20 hours by the jail last July on an immigration detainer after he went there solely to be booked and released, per court orders, on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge.

June 21, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Community school charter approved

The D21 school board voted unanimously last Thursday to sponsor Wahtonka Community School as a charter school. Now comes the delicate work of the budgetary hand-over from the district to the new school.

June 19, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Panel rules against DA

A state bar panel imposed a one-month suspension of Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley’s law license, after ruling he’d made a false statement to the bar. He plans to appeal.

June 18, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Investigative series turns lens on AmeriTies

A three-part series this week first looked at the AmeriTies West tie plant operations and then at what the plant has done to address odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Today, it recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

June 14, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

AmeriTies seeks to be good neighbor

A three-part series this week first looked at the AmeriTies West tie plant operations. Today’s second installment focuses on what the plant has done address to odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Tomorrow’s story recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

June 13, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Chef Club scores 3rd

The newly formed The Dalles High School Chef Club brought home a third place trophy from a cooking competition in Bend in mid-May.

June 12, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Plant treats up to 1M ties annually

A three-part series this week first looks at the AmeriTies West plant operations and then at what is being done to address odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Finally, it recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

June 12, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Embracing the ‘Blue Zones’

Summit Bohannon, a 20-something who lives in The Dalles, has fully embraced the social aspect of the Blue Zones Project and has set up four different weekly get-togethers around various activities, from music to just hanging out and picking up trash.

June 11, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Fake ‘parent’ call alarms officials

UPDATE: No attempted abduction, say authorities Investigation has revealed that what was thought to be an attempted abduction of a student was in fact an error, according to a press release Thursday afternoon from the City of The Dalles police and the North Wasco County School District. Investigation of the suspected attempted abduction has revealed that there was no attempted abduction, the release stated. Instead, parents of two different students called the school within minutes of each other and the message intended for one student was accidentally sent to another student, authorities said. The message directed the wrong student to walk to the location of Great and Small Day Care where the student was to remain until the parent could pick that child up. “It is a relief that this event is a simple mistake and not a more ominous event,” the release said. The City and district also expressed their appreciation for the publics assistance and that of the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police.

June 6, 2018 4:31 p.m. read more..

Parents praise charter school plan for WCS

Shirley Harris could never get through to her academically struggling granddaughter, but the teachers at Wahtonka Community School could, she said in emotional testimony to the D21 school board last week. Now, her granddaughter is at the top of her class, and “she’s thinking about going to college.”

June 6, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

A life in law enforcement

Back in high school, Dan Nelson will tell you, he certainly wouldn’t have been voted most likely to become a police officer. Steve Baska, who later become his captain at The Dalles Police Department, remembered spotting young Nelson one day, sporting an 11½ inch green Mohawk on top of his lanky 6-foot-5-inch frame, and thinking, “Who is that freak?” But after five years in the military, Nelson joined the department and became the kind of officer people requested by name.

June 1, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

TDHS wins welding event

For the second year running, a student from The Dalles High School has won a regional welding competition. Senior Luke Petroff took first and junior Jaeden Biehn repeated her third place finish from the year before at the second annual Central Oregon Welding Contest held at Central Oregon Community College in Bend on March 23.

May 31, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Students sing for hospitalized kids

Gillian Wolf, who lives in The Dalles and is a junior at Hood River Valley High School, recently donned a Disney princess costume, and, with two fellow students also in costume, sang for kids at hospitals in Portland. The effort was part of Wolf’s extended application project, a requirement for each junior at Hood River Valley.

May 30, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

New TDHS program shows early success

A new program at The Dalles High School aimed at helping struggling ninth graders has shown early promise, with improved grades and attendance among a small starting group of students.

May 29, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

STEM hub wins $50K

The local Columbia Gorge STEM Hub won a $50,000 grant after being named a top-eight finalist in a nationwide competition aimed at improving technology access for students. It was the only candidate from Oregon to be named a finalist.

May 28, 2018 3 p.m. read more..

Couple stiffed with fake $100

Clayton Carter and his wife made a few hundred bucks at a garage sale the other day, but they then learned that a $100 bill a woman used to buy a $5 item was a fake.

May 24, 2018 3 p.m. read more..


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