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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita

Klickitat County eyes county alliance

In a historic move, Klickitat County said it is prepared to fund planning staff to help process land use applications for county residents within the National Scenic Area.

Wildfire by the numbers; fire tops $13 million in costs

State costs for Government Flats fire continue to climb past $13.8 million

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Pastor uses humor to grapple with cross theft

When the officer came to take the report, he told Nate Warren, “I’ve been doing this for 23 years and this is a first.”

Klickitat county questions funding Gorge Commission planner

County wants more details before deciding on money for gorge commission The Gorge Commission asked Klickitat County to dedicate its own full-time planner to scenic area land use applications in the county, plus pay $37,000 for a half-time gorge Commission planner to do the same.

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Fighting ALS

A couple years ago, MariAnne Sansour of The Dalles started to notice her left leg “wasn’t working right.” Three doctors, five MRIs and one spinal tap later, she got what is considered the worst diagnosis in medicine: She had ALS, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

District seeks fire prevention donations

Efforts focus on students Fire Prevention Week is approaching, and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue has posted a wish list of supplies on a national website to help fund educational materials.

Gorge Commission seeks Klickitat County arrangement

Panel says county applications take up lion’s share of planning For 27 years now, the Gorge Commission has processed scenic area land use applications from Klickitat County, since it’s the only gorge county that did not adopt its own scenic area rules. But with reduced staff and pressing gorge-wide issues to attend to, the Gorge Commission is reluctantly planning to almost halve the amount of staff time spent on Klickitat County applications — at a time when applications have doubled because of a rebounded economy.

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Trading Saddles

Cousins trade four hoofs for two wheels in bucket list trek

Cousins Jack Chambers and Nick Roach wanted to do an epic road trip while they were young, so, as Nick so eloquently put it, “our children wouldn’t think we were pansies.”

School gets new (old) moniker

Unlike the drawn-out debate that produced “The Dalles Wahtonka High School” name a decade ago, its return to The Dalles High School was a quick and easy decision.

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Chicago minister works for Palestinian justice

Rev. Loren McGrail, a United Church of Christ minister in Chicago, spoke in The Dalles recently about her missionary work in a country that she, unusually, calls Palestine-Israel.

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Front Row Seat to Wildfire: Patrick Ashmore

Residents watch as fierce Blackburn Fire threatens lives and property In the scariest moment of a long week, as the Blackburn fire raged around him, Patrick Ashmore watched a fire crew run screaming from a flare-up that almost engulfed them.

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‘Back to Church’ event planned

The Life in Christ Center on Cherry Heights Road is trying a first this Sunday and is joining the national “Back to Church Sunday” celebration, with activities planned for people of all ages.

Crews shrink on local fire

The Government Flats Complex Fire was listed at 85 percent contained Wednesday night, and fire crews are down to 552 personnel, about half of what was used at the height of the fire.

Government Flats fire containment grows

The Government Flats Fire Complex is 75 percent contained, officials said this morning, and command of the fire will be turned over to local officials tomorrow morning.

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Fire leaves family homeless

A couple out celebrating the wife’s birthday came home Saturday evening to a house filled with smoke. The smoke and water damage is such that the house is unliveable and the contents are destroyed.

Fire battle gains continue

All evacuations for the Government Flats Complex fires were lifted Monday night, crew levels are down, and more accurate mapping shows the fire, now at 55 percent containment, is smaller than originally thought.

Evacuation notices to be lifted

Sheriff said cool, rainy weather is reducing threat

All evacuations for the Government Flats Complex fire are expected to be lifted by Monday night, Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eiesland said. Evacuation orders are in place along Ketchum Road, Upper Mill Creek past the 9500 block, and Vinsel Road, Eiesland said. He will meet with fire officials at 4 p.m. today (Monday) for final word on evacuations. “If it continues to stay overcast and rain, then they should be good to lift the restrictions and have people return to their homes,” Eiesland said.

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Dufur Church does tornado clean-up

Six members of Dufur Christian Church, including the pastor, spent nearly a week in Moore, Okla., helping residents there recover from a devastating tornado that hit in May.

Program aims to help military families

The Oregon National Guard hopes to add churches and faith-based groups in The Dalles to its new network of communities providing outreach to military members and their families.

Burglar picks wrong boat to scavenge

Owner uses gun to frighten off suspect in 10th St. barn A burglar picked the wrong boat to scavenge from Wednesday mid-morning, when he found himself staring down the barrel of a .38 pistol, held by the boat’s owner, Glenn Summers.

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Pee Wee’s big adventure

Tortoise goes missing for over a month Pee Wee, a young sulcata tortoise, is back nibbling the dandelions in his yard after going missing for over a month.

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Theron's Tale

Theron Bowman, 7, has turned a world of imagination into a book of his own — with Mom’s help

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Family participates in mission to Honduras

Here’s a way to get your kids to take shorter showers and ask for fewer things: Take them on a mission to Honduras, where they’ll stay at an orphanage filled with children who once lived at a dump, where they scoured for garbage to refashion into trinkets to sell and hunted for rotten food to eat.

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Swim team focuses on fun in 2013 season

Board, staff, put meet on hold for better planning As The Dalles Swim Team focuses a little less on competition and a little more on learning and having fun, it is seeing its numbers climb.

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Fire season in full swing

Fires near Warm Springs, Goldendale, Maupin

Area firefighters have been kept busy by fires on both sides of the river.

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Shakespearean play coming to The Dalles

That guy with the deep voice in Aisle 35 at Home Depot helping customers with home improvement projects doesn’t just know a jigsaw from a circular saw.

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Zion Lutheran’s interim pastor fits right in

When the Rev. Dr. Maggie Rourk began seminary at what she thought was the relatively advanced age of 36, she was sure she’d be one of the oldest ones there. She was far from it, she discovered. The average age was 33. She’s already carved out a career as a high school English and French teacher, and had also worked in business and at a large law office when she finally turned to the ministry, a field she’d long known she would enter.

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Eight years in the AIR

Erik Carlson found challenges and fun in years with jetBlue A broken biscotti was making the passenger unhappy, but flight attendant Erik Carlson knew just what to do. Virtually all the biscotti on any given flight were broken, so when the businessman next to that passenger also asked for biscotti, it was basically a fluke that the individually wrapped, long, thin cookie Carlson handed him was intact.

OLCC: Vault should lose liquor license

After a year-long investigation, the state is proposing canceling the liquor license for the Vault Bistro and Lounge, alleging “a history of serious and persistent problems;” the Vault’s owner denies the allegation and will appeal the proposal.

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Mobile spay clinic takes first outing

Dr. Lauretta Burman seeks spay sites in outlying towns The maiden voyage of the Home At Last mobile spay and neuter clinic made its first stop in Rufus June 21.

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Behind the scenes at Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible school is a staple of summer and a number of local churches have hosted them for years.

Tharp hangs law shingle

Attorney focuses on civil litigation Bill Tharp, a longtime attorney who brings with him decades of legal experience, including significant jury awards in several areas of civil law, has hung his shingle in The Dalles.

Sequestration won’t hinder fire control

Despite recent rains, precipitation is below average this year The bad news is this is shaping up to be a tough fire season, with grasses drying out at least a month earlier than normal. The good news is the U.S. Forest Service’s gorge firefighting crew hasn’t felt the effects of sequestration and is at the same 10-person strength as last year.

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Dancing their way to fitness

Adolescents participate in Healthy and Fit TDMS after school. Kids who might otherwise have gone home after school and plopped down in front of the TV or an iPod are now dancing up a storm at The Dalles Middle School.

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Giving a new hope to the disabled

For just $250 — the cost for parts and shipping of a simple, sturdy and colorful hand-powered wheelchair — a handicapped person in an impoverished country can gain mobility, independence and dignity.

Group hopes to restore Celilo Falls

A new non-profit group has lofty goals: to permanently lower the Columbia River, restoring Celilo Falls and its native fishery; and reconnecting Celilo Village to the river by rerouting the nearby rail lines and freeway to Washington.

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Growers wary over GMO wheat

Dry local wheat less prone to fungal disease Wasco County wheat farmers are closely following the worldwide reaction to the discovery of genetically modified wheat in an eastern Oregon wheat field.

Google building height approved

Planning commission OKs plan for new 80-foot tall structure In a quick hearing Thursday, June 6, The Dalles Planning Commission unanimously approved an application by Google to build a new building up to 80 feet tall at its data center campus.

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A few moments of Calm

When life seems overwhelming, meditation can help Sometimes, the stress of working as a nurse in the OB gets to Jill Kieffer, so she’ll steal away to a back room and close her eyes for a few minutes of meditation.

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New pest brings stronger pesticide back to cherry orchards

Sprayers are taking more care to avoid streams in application ­The good news is the median level of malathion detected in local streams dropped 82 percent in 2012 from 2011 — despite the fact that its use has stayed the same.

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Churches rally to help homeless students

Area churches have begun a program to feed 20 homeless high school students on weekends, and they plan to continue the program into the summer and next fall.

Gorge Commission takes on fourth priority

The Gorge Commission last month created a list of three top issues to consider as it prepares for its maiden attempt at a collaborative problem-solving process.

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Sermons: A research paper each week

Catholic priests follow three-year lecture cycle A local minister once likened writing a Sunday sermon to doing a school research paper every single week —— a daunting task, when viewed in that light.

Church news in brief

Speaker’s Forum The Mid Columbia Fellowship of Churches invites the public to its monthly Speaker’s Forum at The First United Methodist Church at 5 p.m. May 28. The speaker will be US Army Chaplain Daniel Thompson, who will be talking on “Partners in Care.”

Fire board Pos. 2: Carmen Gronquist, stepping back

Carmen Gronquist filed for an open position on the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue District board, believing it is important to volunteer for the community.

Fire board Pos. 2: John Willer, an independent view

In his college days before medical school, Dr. John Willer was a volunteer emergency medical responder and firefighter in Ohio.

MCFR Board: Bill Wolfe, On-the-job training

Bill Wolfe retired last year after 37 years with the fire district, and is now seeking a post on the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue District board.

MCFR Board: Harry Larsen, Business skills

Harry Larsen is seeking his fourth term on the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue board, but this is his first time facing competition for the post.

Threats draw police to code enforcement office

Three police officers rushed to The Dalles City Hall Monday afternoon on a report that a man was threatening to get a gun and shoot the city codes enforcement officer.

Man struggles with schizophrenia: Mother critical of services

Mother is critical of mental health services For awhile he thought he was a grizzly bear. Recently, a sore on his back caused him to first think his spine had disappeared, and then that his mother had stabbed him.