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Neita Cecil

Stories by Neita



Committee meets to consider new high school plan

A new high school could have the same square footage as the current one, but with more efficient usage of space, would accommodate 25 percent more students, a consultant said last Thursday. At the first of four meetings of the high school master planning committee, architect and consultant Richard Higgins with BLRB Architects said better use of space would mean a new high school could accommodate 1,035 students, up from the 800 housed at the current high school.

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


Cochenours feted at party

Les Cochenour has a long and illustrious record of community — particularly military — support, of which his stint as The Dalles mayor in the 1990s is just one highlight. He and wife, Jody, are moving to Bend and a going-away party for them is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at the Portage Grill in Shilo Inn.

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


Celebrating 35 years

Running strong as it marks its 35th anniversary, Community Meal has served hundreds of thousands of meals over the decades, all through volunteer efforts. Community Meal will celebrate the milestone at its annual meeting on Tuesday, March 13.

March 10, 2018 noon read more..


Blue Zones activities ramp up

Marielle Kowaleski is newish to the Gorge, having moved here two years ago, and she dropped in on the Blue Zones Project’s inaugural “Friends at Five” event to socialize. The get-together at the Blue Zones office on Klindt Drive, which is open to anyone who wishes to attend, drew just a handful of people, but Kowaleski was glad she came.

March 8, 2018 3 p.m. read more..


Future Chef challenge at TDMS March 17

For the second year, young chefs will compete at The Dalles Middle School on Saturday, March 17, to win the title of Future Chef. This year, six students in grades one through five will be preparing their favorite healthy Asian fusion recipe.

March 7, 2018 3 p.m. read more..
 

Audit looks at juvenile detention

This week an outside expert begins a policy and practice review of the juvenile detention facility, which came under intense criticism in December, causing other entities to stop sending kids here.

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


D21 seeks committee members

The D21 school board will recruit members for a bond oversight committee, a group that would, upon passage of a planned $235 million bond in November to replace most of the district’s schools, oversee expenditure of the funds.

March 5, 2018 3 p.m. read more..


Sherman deputy charged with hit and run

Former Sherman County Sheriff’s Deputy Geremy Shull was charged with two counts of hit and run and one count of reckless driving last week stemming from a Feb. 1 incident in The Dalles.

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


TD a top finalist for STEM grant

The Dalles is a top-15 finalist nationwide for a grant that could potentially hire two full-time employees to help bring hands-on STEM mentoring and projects to local students. The finalists were selected based on their potential for impact, approach to partnership building, creative engagement strategies and sustainability planning, according to US2020.

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


BB gun incident sparks anger

Two parents told the D21 school board last week they were upset with how the district handled the discovery of a BB gun at the middle school and a student threat at the high school. A BB gun was found on a student at the middle school on Jan. 17. No notice was sent to parents because the district determined the student did not have intent to use it.

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


Fire rating improves for district

A long-awaited improvement in a fire rating for those living in the Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue district will mean lower insurance costs, said Fire Chief Bob Palmer.

February 26, 2018 3 p.m. read more..


Dog park explored

A well-attended drop-in session earlier this month helped the parks and recreation district get a sense of what the public is looking for in terms of dog-friendly local parks.

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


TD finds BB gun ‘no threat’

A BB gun was found in a student’s backpack at The Dalles Middle School a month ago, but school officials issued no notices to parents because it was determined not to be a threat, the superintendent said.

February 20, 2018 3 p.m. read more..


Man sentenced in TD home invasion

The homeless man who broke into a woman’s home early last Thanksgiving by kicking in her front door was sentenced to 40 months in prison for first-degree burglary.

February 15, 2018 1:14 p.m. read more..


New recruiter joins fire leadership team

A nationwide, longstanding drop in volunteerism across all interests has so impacted the fire service that federal grants have been awarded to boost volunteer firefighter rosters. Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue has begun its second four-year grant-funded position aimed at increasing volunteerism.

February 14, 2018 1:39 p.m. read more..


Principal gets music award

The Dalles Middle School Principal Sandy Harris never misses a music performance by students at the school, and is always ready with a compliment for their work. For her ongoing support, she was awarded the Oregon Music Education Association Outstanding Administrator Award last month.

February 13, 2018 1:37 p.m. read more..


‘Purpose workshop’ draws 40

What is your purpose in life? Some 40 people attended a “purpose workshop” this week which explored that heavy topic and offered ways to find the answer.

February 9, 2018 1:27 p.m. read more..


Teacher contract settled

The teachers union for District 21 and the school board have agreed on a new two-year contract that provides a 2.2 percent cost of living increase this year. “We are very excited and feel like things went really well,” Superintendent Candy Armstrong told the Northern Wasco County School District 21 board last week.

February 8, 2018 1:18 p.m. read more..


Man sentenced in dog deaths

Kenneth Ray Smith, the owner of three dogs who died in his car in October, was sentenced to three years of bench probation, with a suspended 15-day jail term, on a charge of second-degree animal neglect. The adult dogs, two pitbulls and a terrier, had been dead 24-48 hours when they were pulled from Smith’s vehicle in the 3500 block of West Second Street Oct. 1.

February 7, 2018 12:36 p.m. read more..


Wahtonka school seeks charter

Wahtonka Community School is venturing into the uncharted waters of becoming a charter school. Principal Brian Goodwin is unabashed about why: He wants to give the alternative school the budget protection offered by charter school status.

February 6, 2018 1:17 p.m. read more..


Man hit by train in TD

A local transient was hit and killed by a train Sunday morning around 7:45 a.m., just west of Exit 82 of Interstate 84, according to the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office.

February 6, 2018 1:15 p.m. read more..


Ex-teacher accused of sex abuse

Robert Weems, 42, a former substitute teacher in School District 21 and a former track and wrestling coach at the middle school, was arrested Friday and is accused of having sex with a student. A grand jury indictment dated Friday, Feb. 2, lists charges against Weems of third-degree sexual abuse, first-degree official misconduct and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, all relating to the same victim. He was arrested in the 2400 block of East 11th Street.

February 6, 2018 1:09 p.m. read more..


Man killed by train

A local transient was hit and killed by a train Saturday morning around 7:45 a.m. just west of Exit 82 on Interstate 84, according to the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office.

February 5, 2018 12:36 p.m. read more..


Creating a safe refuge for kids

A new after-school program on Wednesdays — an early release day in the school district — at Wahtonka Community School is the brainchild of two sisters who are students there. Sisters Anyssa and Nevaeh Campos spent five years in foster care, three of them apart, in homes all over the state and even in Colorado. They don’t know if any of the kids in their program are also foster kids, but at any rate, they just wanted to create a place where kids could come and have some snacks, read some books and play some games.

February 2, 2018 1:18 p.m. read more..


Better seating planned

The school district will loan portable bleachers to the chamber of commerce for its increasingly popular Cherry Idol event during Cherry Festival, the school board agreed on Tuesday. How many the chamber will need — and how many will fit in the space — will be decided soon.

February 2, 2018 1:13 p.m. read more..


New mini storage open in The Dalles

Two years ago, Richard Hynd tried to rent a storage unit in The Dalles. “Ain’t happening, not in The Dalles,” he recounted. So he and his partner, Lorne Richman, built their own self storage facility. Located at 105 Webber St., Oregon Trail Mini Storage opened in November.

February 1, 2018 1:11 p.m. read more..


Dog park open house Feb. 5

Residents are invited to a “pop-in, pop-out” open house Monday, Feb. 5 to let the parks and recreation district know their thoughts on off-leash dog parks in The Dalles.

February 1, 2018 1:09 p.m. read more..
 

TDHS ’17 grad rate hits 87.1 percent

Continuing its extraordinary improvement trajectory, The Dalles High School’s 2017 graduation rate was 87.1 percent, more than 10 points above the state average and nearly four points above the year prior.

January 30, 2018 1:14 p.m. read more..


Lyle district achievements

Dallesport Elementary was awarded the Washington School of Distinction for being in the top five percent of schools in the state in terms of academic growth, the district superintendent said Tuesday.

January 26, 2018 1:30 p.m. read more..


Man ejected from Lyle school meeting

Joshua Farris, who was ejected from a city council meeting in The Dalles in November, was removed from a Lyle school board meeting Tuesday after alleging misconduct by the superintendent.

January 26, 2018 1:20 p.m. read more..


Private college professor now seated on local school board

The newest D21 board member brings a wealth of professional knowledge about education and boards, but her main motivation in seeking the position is that she’s a mom with kids in local schools. Bethani Studebaker, Ph.D., was named by the North Wasco County School District 21 board to fill the vacancy created by the resignation in October of longtime board member Carol Roderick.

January 25, 2018 1:22 p.m. read more..


New push to address gonorrhea

A state grant aimed at helping modernize public health services will install video conferencing capabilities in 14 eastern Oregon counties, and hire three staffers to address significantly increasing gonorrhea rates.

January 24, 2018 1:45 p.m. read more..


Blue Zones project kicks off in TD

Over 350 adults attended last Friday’s kickoff of the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles, where attendees pledged to make small changes to live healthier, longer lives, and signed up to join walking groups called “moais.”

January 23, 2018 1:26 p.m. read more..


Women’s march draws 400

Exceeding expectations, over 400 people joined the women’s march Saturday through downtown The Dalles, making a 1.1-mile loop that began and ended at City Park on Union Street. Pink hats and political signs abounded, as the crowd listened to speakers before heading for the protest march that was kept to the sidewalks because no permits were obtained for it, an organizer said.

January 23, 2018 1:21 p.m. read more..


TD Women March Sat.

A year ago, a women’s march in The Dalles arranged in just 48 hours drew some 135 participants. This year, organizers expect 300 at the march, set for Saturday, Jan. 20, at City Park.

January 19, 2018 1:24 p.m. read more..


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..

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