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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita



The Dalles police ready to Rumble(r)

Police lights and sirens sometimes have trouble gaining the attention of today’s distracted drivers. Enter the ultimate un-distractor: the Rumbler. Two new Ford Explorers bought by The Dalles Police Department have the Rumbler, and by late summer, it is anticipated the rest of the police fleet will have Rumblers too, said Police Capt. Jamie Carrico.

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


Blue Zones kickoff Friday

The free kickoff celebration of the Blue Zones Project wellness initiative, set for this Friday, Jan. 19, will feature Zumba and yoga demonstrations, free massages and healthy cooking demonstrations.

January 17, 2018 2:01 p.m. read more..


Self-serve a no-show in TD

The typical reaction in The Dalles in the wake of news that gas stations in smaller Oregon counties can now allow people to pump their own gas has been: Do we have to? The answer at local gas stations — at least so far — is no.

January 10, 2018 1:29 p.m. read more..
 

TD man accused of strangling cat

An 18-year-old was jailed Wednesday on a charge of first-degree animal abuse (a misdemeanor) and is accused of strangling a cat, according to police. James Claude McIntosh was arrested in the 2500 block of West 10th Street Wednesday and was released Thursday.

January 5, 2018 1:34 p.m. read more..


Shull resigns as principal

Chenowith Elementary School Principal Anne Shull resigned effective Dec. 31 in a settlement with the school district following bullying complaints filed against her last June by three current and former teachers. In the settlement, she will receive six months of pay, plus the district will pay her an amount equivalent to the district’s current monthly insurance contribution through June 2018.

January 5, 2018 1:32 p.m. read more..


Internship program launches in Gorge

Gorge employers were regularly saying they had trouble filling well-paying, good-benefit jobs, even though they didn’t even require a college education. Enter Gorge Works, a new program through the Port of The Dalles that offers paid summer internships and apprenticeship opportunities. It began taking applications for internships in mid-December, and the application period closes Jan. 31.

January 4, 2018 1:30 p.m. read more..


Citations issued in horse starvation case

The owners of two horses who were found starving in November have been cited for second degree animal neglect. Edna and Joe Whitesell, 6240 Hwy 30, Rowena, were issued the citations on Dec. 15. The horses were voluntarily surrendered by the Whitesells to Sound Equine Options, a Troutdale-based horse rescue.

December 26, 2017 1:02 p.m. read more..


Air quality topic of public hearing

A vocal opponent of AmeriTies West and the creosote compounds it is permitted to release said of a proposed new air quality rule, “If Cleaner Air Oregon was made for anything, it was made for the city of The Dalles.” Kristina Cronkright spoke at the Dec. 14 hearing in The Dalles on the proposed reform to air quality laws called Cleaner Air Oregon.

December 21, 2017 12:57 p.m. read more..


Wasco County using juvenile detention

Wasco County is again sending its youth to the juvenile facility at the regional jail, after briefly opting to send youth elsewhere on the heels of a report that was highly critical of the facility. Two of the three commissioners met in a work session last Thursday and by consensus gave authority for staff to resume sending youth there.

December 20, 2017 1:21 p.m. read more..


Jail responds to Disability Rights report

The regional jail board formally responded to the critical report of the juvenile detention facility last week, saying the report’s characterization of the facility as inhumane “is totally irresponsible.” The letter mirrored much of a response provided Nov. 27 by Juvenile Detention Manager Jeff Justesen, who was allowed to comment on the draft report before it was issued Dec. 5 by Disability Rights Oregon.

December 19, 2017 2:11 p.m. read more..


Chenowith principal on leave since fall

Chenowith Elementary School Principal Anne Shull has been on paid administrative leave since Sept. 26 pending an investigation of bullying complaints filed by three former employees. Shull spoke to the Chronicle about the complaint, and also provided a copy of the complaint against her, which was filed June 14.

December 19, 2017 2:05 p.m. read more..


Volunteers gear up for bike build

Volunteers from the Wasco County landfill and The Dalles Disposal are doing their second annual bike build Dec. 19, where they will assemble new bikes to be delivered to needy children at Christmas.

December 15, 2017 1:12 p.m. read more..


Report author explains response to input provided by jail

Before a scathing report was issued by a disability rights organization on the juvenile detention facility here, it gave local jail officials a chance to respond to a draft of the report. But juvenile detention officials said Disability Rights Oregon didn’t incorporate those responses into its final report, with one exception.

December 14, 2017 1:39 p.m. read more..


Changes seen at juvenile jail facility

On a recent late morning, a handful of youth were in a day room at the juvenile detention facility in The Dalles, visiting and working on art projects. Juvenile Detention Manager Jeff Justesen said the facility has made a conscious effort to have youth out of their cells more often, following a series of visits by Disability Rights Oregon (DRO), and its subsequent scathing report on practices at the facility.

December 14, 2017 1:30 p.m. read more..


Cochenour receives medal

Les Cochenour, former The Dalles mayor, retired Oregon National Guard officer and longtime volunteer for military organizations, received a significant medal Dec. 2 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center.

December 13, 2017 1:09 p.m. read more..


Lone Pine donation drive underway

A flood of contributions, dwarfing last year’s effort, has come to the Discovery Center for its second annual donation drive to benefit the Lone Pine Native American fishing village. The collection is still underway through Christmas — items can be taken to the museum, at 5000 Discovery Drive — but the needed items aren’t the typical holiday requests.

December 12, 2017 1:12 p.m. read more..


Wasco County backs juvenile facility

Wasco County will likely reverse its Wednesday decision to stop sending youth to the local juvenile detention facility in reaction to a scathing report on the facility, with a county official saying Friday he was comfortable with sending local youth there.

December 9, 2017 11:43 a.m. read more..


Guatemala trip planned

For the second year, a group of students studying Spanish at The Dalles High School is heading to Guatemala on a service trip to bring water purifiers to desperately poor Mayan residents on Lake Atitlan. This year’s group is twice the size, with 10 students. On their nine-day trip next spring, they will work with Worthy Village, a non-profit, to distribute the simple water purifiers to families.

December 8, 2017 12:07 p.m. read more..


Scathing report faults jail

A sharply critical report on the juvenile detention facility at the regional jail claimed youth weren’t allowed to “look around” or ask what time it was, and they spent hours a day isolated in their cells. The report by Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) cited “harsh and purposeless rules” and harmful, outdated and counterproductive practices, including solitary confinement.

December 7, 2017 11:45 a.m. read more..


‘A frightful sound’

For two days after a man kicked in her door in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, a local woman said she didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. A good night’s sleep is still elusive. The woman agreed to talk about her ordeal and the aftermath, but asked that her name not be used.

December 1, 2017 2:39 p.m. read more..


Suit filed in TD sex crime case

An $8.5 million lawsuit was filed against Mid-Columbia Head Start and its volunteer William Frank Osborne, alleging the pre-school program did not adequately supervise Osborne, who has been accused of sexually assaulting several children in his care. The suit, filed Nov. 9 in Wasco County Circuit Court, named Mid-Columbia Children’s Council Inc., the non-profit organization that runs the Head Start program. The program serves 3- to 5-year-olds.

November 30, 2017 2:30 p.m. read more..


Workaround sought for school traffic

Dry Hollow Elementary has the school district’s most congested drop-off/pick-up situation, and a proposal was made to the school board last week that could help lighten the load in several ways.

November 29, 2017 3 p.m. read more..


Home invasion reported Thanksgiving day

A homeless man who had been arrested five times in 2017 was caught in a woman’s house in the 300 block of East Seventh Street early Thanksgiving morning after he kicked in her front door.

November 28, 2017 1:15 p.m. read more..


Thieves steal county plaque

Thieves stole the plaque on the antelope statue outside the Wasco County Courthouse sometime last week, officials said. The statue was donated to the county in 1986 by the community of Antelope. The plaque stated the statue was “Dedicated to all who steadfastly and unwaveringly opposed the attempts of the Rajneesh followers to take political control of Wasco County. 1981-1985.”

November 28, 2017 1:06 p.m. read more..


TDHS graduate awarded Bronze Star

As a daredevil kid who didn’t suffer too many scrapes growing up, Garron Dahle was cool and confident, with an uncanny ability to measure risk, his dad said. It’s a skillset that has served him well in his military career as a special operations combat controller — someone who orchestrates multiple airborne assets in combat situations — and recently earned him a Bronze Star Medal.

November 25, 2017 11:09 a.m. read more..


Two emaciated horses rescued

Two emaciated horses were surrendered to an equine rescue by their Rowena area owners Nov. 5 after a citizen reported the horses were starving. Two other horses and five cows from the property were taken in by a local rancher.

November 22, 2017 1:54 p.m. read more..


Community Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s

Prep work began Monday for the annual community Thanksgiving meal, which takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles. The free meal is open to anyone.

November 21, 2017 2:07 p.m. read more..


70 years of hymns

When she was 14 years old, ­­ Phyllis Ronfeld started playing the organ for Zion Lutheran Church. That was in 1946, just after the end of World War II. Plenty of things have changed since then, but not Ronfeld, who is still playing the organ 70 years later. Zion is celebrating the remarkable milestone this Sunday, Nov. 19.

November 18, 2017 11:36 a.m. read more..


Immigration march draws 65

Chanting slogans in support of immigrants and a “clean Dream act,” a student-organized protest with some 65 participants marched from the west business district to the courthouse steps Thursday afternoon.

November 17, 2017 1:02 p.m. read more..


No rate hike from PUD

Not only has Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District staff proposed no rate increase for 2018, but they also recommend seasonal discounts for low income senior and disabled customers become year-round.

November 17, 2017 1:01 p.m. read more..
 

Jail feels pressure of mentally ill

Last month, Regional Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg described a recent day at the regional jail that stood out for a frustrating reason: at one point, every inmate in the booking area belonged in a mental health facility. Instead, as regularly happens, they were put behind bars. Booking felt like an acute psychiatric unit, Brandenburg told the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility board at its October meeting.

November 10, 2017 1:11 p.m. read more..


Council eyes homeless ban

In a bid to address concerns about homeless impacts in town, The Dalles City Council on Monday will discuss creation of exclusion zones, from which people accused of certain crimes can be banned. If they reenter the zone after being excluded, they can be arrested for trespassing. Also proposed is amending the city’s nuisance ordinance to prohibit camping on public property within the city limits.

November 10, 2017 1:07 p.m. read more..


Hage resigns from Home at Last position

The woman asked to help turn around the struggling animal shelter in The Dalles as it contended with a ringworm outbreak has quit her volunteer post, citing interference from the shelter board.

November 9, 2017 1:16 p.m. read more..


ICE hunger strike ends

A hunger strike by immigration detainees was “paused” at the regional jail Saturday after detainees said concessions were promised by jail and immigration officials. They said they may resume the strike if conditions don’t improve. Meanwhile, Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility Administrator Bryan Brandenburg said no agreement was made in order to stop the strike, which he said lasted three days, not four as claimed by supporters of the strikers.

November 7, 2017 1:06 p.m. read more..


Protecting property values: Codes enforcement

At one location, two couches and a battered barbecue were sitting by the side of the gravel road. At another, ragged outdoor carpet covered a property dotted with junk and tall vegetation. A third had a dilapidated and dangerously leaning outbuilding that was a threat to human safety. Those are the kinds of public eyesores that The Dalles Codes Enforcement Officer Nikki Lesich works to eradicate.

November 4, 2017 11:31 a.m. read more..


Police ditch razors for a good cause

The Dalles Police Department is taking a small break from protocol in order to fundraise for a good cause this month: normally clean-shaven officers have paid $25 each to participate in No-Shave November. The department has also encouraged the public to donate to No-Shave November, a cancer charity, in the department’s name.

November 3, 2017 1:31 p.m. read more..


ICE detainee hunger strike begins again

A second hunger strike by immigration detainees at the regional jail in The Dalles has started, with strikers objecting to largely the same issues that sparked a strike in May.

November 3, 2017 1:18 p.m. read more..


Local preference sought for move

The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments will ask the state to waive rules that make it unlikely that the new administrators of the Area Agency on Aging will be from the local area. MCCOG, a 40-year-old five-county entity that runs a handful of local and regional services, anticipates dissolving itself by Jan. 31.

November 2, 2017 1:05 p.m. read more..


Building codes future discussed

The entity that has handled regional building codes services is shutting down, and the question of who will take over those services has, as expected, become complex. The possibility of litigation over how to equitably divide a large cash reserve was raised when the issue was recently discussed.

November 2, 2017 1:03 p.m. read more..


TDHS ASPIRE seeks mentors

The Dalles High School is looking for mentors willing to help juniors and seniors plan for their next steps after graduation. The ASPIRE program pairs mentors with one or more students to help them line up plans ranging from the military to trade school to college.

November 1, 2017 1:19 p.m. read more..


Warming Place seeks volunteers

The Warming Place opens Nov. 19, and volunteers are needed to run the shelter, which opens on the coldest nights to give the homeless a respite from winter weather.

October 31, 2017 1:34 p.m. read more..


Jail won’t seek a tax measure

The regional jail board has decided not to ask voters again to pass a permanent tax rate to help fund the jail. Voters narrowly defeated the issue last spring. The Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility board agreed at its Oct. 19 meeting that the matter was off the table for now.

October 26, 2017 1:19 p.m. read more..


Lone Pine maintenance challenge

This is the fourth of a four-part series looking at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. This final article reviews current maintenance levels at Lone Pine.

October 25, 2017 1:25 p.m. read more..


MCCOG seeks to divest by Jan. 31

The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, which decided in August to shutter its doors, anticipates divesting itself of all its programs by Jan. 31, 2018, the MCCOG board heard last Tuesday. One possible wrinkle is the handoff of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

October 24, 2017 1:31 p.m. read more..


Tribal housing efforts looming

This is the third of a four-part series looking at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. This story looks at plans to fulfill decades-old promises of housing for tribal members displaced by dams.

October 24, 2017 1:23 p.m. read more..


‘­My river’ a source of comfort

This four-part series looks at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. The second article, presented here, shares the viewpoints of two women who have lived at Lone Pine for years.

October 21, 2017 12:01 p.m. read more..


A fateful ride to Lone Pine

This four-part series looks at the Lone Pine Native American treaty fishing in-lieu site, which overlooks The Dalles Dam. The first article describes homeless advocate Dorothy Rodriguez’s push to help meet needs at the site.

October 20, 2017 1:56 p.m. read more..


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