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RaeLynn Ricarte

Stories by RaeLynn

Season challenges veterans

Patrick Wilbern deals every day with veterans in need and wants to make their lives easier during the Christmas season, and he is asking for community help to do that. “This is a tough time of year for many veterans, so it is the perfect time to show them that we care,” he said.

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Student artists exhibit work in Dufur

The Dufur Community Center was transformed into a cultural enrichment venue Saturday as part of the annual Hometown Christmas Celebration. Local students showed off their acrylic paintings and entertained the audience with newly acquired ukulele skills.

Man sentenced in assault case

For the second time in as many weeks, Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley has announced the resolution of a major case. On Friday, Nisley reported that Nathan Verhaeghe, 32, of Spokane will spend 90 months in prison for first-degree assault, followed by 25 years in the custody of the Psychiatry Security Review Board for three counts of second-degree manslaughter. “The sentence in this case is unique,” said Nisley.

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Editorial: Finding balance during holidays

Finding balance during holidays

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Vet ID Cards now available

The long-awaited Veterans ID Card is finally available as an alternative proof of military service. “The new identification is something that veterans have been asking about for many years,” said Wasco County Veterans’ Service Officer Russell Jones.

Memorial focuses on loss, healing

“Everybody has scars and you will remember exactly how you got them, even though the wound has healed over,” said Tim Willis, pastor, celebrant speaker and “general problem fixer” for Celilo Chapel in The Dalles. “My father died in 2000 and every Christmas I get a little sad about it.” He invites people who want to honor lost friends and family to attend the “Tree of Remembrance Memorial” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the chapel, 202 E. Fourth St.

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Civic hosts Trail Band

Concert first in the newly-heated space

The Trail Band returns to the Civic Auditorium on Monday for its 24th annual concert — and this year people will not have to bring blankets into the theater to stay warm. The theater has been closed since last December for roof and HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) system repairs. The Trail Band will be the first performance in adequately heated space, although the cold has not stopped tickets from selling out in the past.

Pine Grove dad shoots his son

A Pine Grove man allegedly shot and killed his son early Saturday morning and then called 9-1-1 to report that the incident had happened during a domestic dispute. John William Dames, Sr., 76, then reportedly put away his gun and waited for Wasco County Sheriff’s deputies to arrive at the family home.

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A Rural Gem

‘I decided to go into medical because I wanted to help people’

Sharon DeHart has been known to climb into her 4-wheel drive pickup and head out in even the worst winter weather to check on a patient. One way or the other, she makes sure residents of South Wasco County get the care they need, even if they are not patients at the Deschutes Rim Clinic in Maupin, which she manages.

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Holiday breakfast supports seniors

People wanting to enjoy the social aspect of the holiday season, and a breather from the hectic pace of Christmas preparations, are invited to a Saturday, Dec. 9, breakfast at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, 1112 W 9th St.

Council rejects building purchase

The Dalles City Council decided Monday not to change the status quo for how planning and building code services are handled, although officials remain interested in negotiating with Wasco County to combine programs.

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Carpet cleaners ready for work

Whether you are getting ready for a holiday party, or wanting to get rid of the traffic patterns in your rug afterward, All Seasons Professional Carpet Cleaning & Restoration is on the job. “We offer in-depth cleaning that meets the white glove test,” said Jared Snyder, owner of the business that prides itself on total transformations.

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Company still accepting recyclables

People need to continue filling curbside bins while global leaders restructure recycling programs, said Jim Winterbottom, district manager of Waste Connections, Inc., which operates The Dalles Disposal and Hood River Garbage.

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Walden addresses opioid crisis

Ninety people die each day in America from overdoses, a figure that led Congressman Greg Walden, R-Ore., to do something out of the norm as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. For the first time during the 115th Congress, Walden convened all 55 members of the committee to examine the federal government's response to President Donald Trump’s declaration of opioid addiction as a national public health emergency.

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The gift that keeps on giving

The magic of Christmas is in the giving of gifts as well as receiving them, and shopping at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in The Dalles — or “St. Vinnie’s” — enables people to enjoy both benefits. Not only can you find the perfect vintage or collectible item for someone on your Christmas list, but the money you spend helps veterans, the homeless and families in need.

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Health center scores $13.2M loan

John Huffman, in his new role as state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, announced Monday that the agency was investing $13.2 million to improve access to health care services for Gorge communities. The loan will be used by One Community Health, a nonprofit provider, to replace its Hood River dental and medical complex, 1220 Indian Creek Road.

Bonham voted into OR house

Daniel Bonham, owner of Maupin’s Stoves & Spa in The Dalles, was appointed Monday by Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes and Wheeler County commissioners to fill the Republican vacancy in the House District 59 seat.

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­­­A Holiday for Heroes

Eighty-five boxes are on their way to troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East thanks to the generosity of area residents, reported Chris Mumford, co-chair of the Holiday for Heroes Committee, on Friday afternoon.

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Vet explains public ‘outrage’

Joshua Farris said Thursday that he will not apologize to The Dalles City Council for his “outrage” on Monday, but he has apologized, and will continue to do so, to any audience member or citizen viewing a live stream of the meeting who was upset by his behavior.

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Student shares birthday with vets

Evelyn Rogers, a third grader at St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles, wanted to celebrate her eighth birthday in September by helping people in need. She asked family and friends to forego buying her gift and, instead, donate items for families who had been displaced by Hurricane Harvey in Texas in late August.

Warm coats needed for winter

Area residents are being asked by Cousin’s Restaurant & Saloon to sort through their coats tonight and, if there is something they aren’t wearing, donate it Friday, Nov. 16, to the homeless or needy families.

Heading south? Request a ballot for special election

Special election on Jan. 23

Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee is trying to get the word out to voters who might be headed south for the winter that they need to request an absentee ballot if they want to weigh in on the Jan. 23 special election. She said people can sign up for absentee ballots in the clerk’s office at the courthouse, 511 Washington St., or online at www.co.wasco.or.us in the Elections section.

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Troops await care packages

The Holiday for Heroes Committee has raised more than $2,000 for troop boxes and accumulated a pile of snack and hygiene items for shipments to the Middle East. Because of the community’s generosity, Mike Knopf, a member of the committee and The Dalles Outpost Leader for Point Man International Ministries, said more than 30 boxes — the original goal — can be filled on Thursday.

Bonham finalist for Huffman seat

Daniel Bonham, owner of Maupin’s Stoves & Spas in The Dalles, is excited to be one of three finalists to replace John Huffman as the representative for House District 59. He is the only contender from the Gorge and is vying against Mae Huston, chair of the Jefferson County Commission, and Robert Perry of Redmond, who retired after 40 years in a marketing career.

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Vet lashes out at homeless plan

An Iraqi war veteran was escorted by police out of The Dalles City Council meeting Monday after he stridently accused the elected body of violating the free speech rights of the audience and the civil rights of the homeless. “I took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic,” said Joshua Farris, a local resident who told the council he deployed to Iraq in 2003 and had also been stationed in Korea and Germany.

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In the wrong place at the right time

‘I’m a warrior... It is literally how God put his DNA stamp on my body’

Roger Howe of The Dalles took his place in the long family lineage of military service when he enlisted in the Army in 1968 and shipped out to Vietnam the same year. “I am a warrior — I’m a warrior for Christ and I’m a warrior for real,” said Roger.

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Walking for a cure

Noah Barnes, 11, has burned through more shoes than other kids his age this year — he’s on his 11th pair — but then none of his peers are about to become the youngest person on record to walk across America. On Thursday, Barnes and his father, Robert, could be seen along Washington State Route 14 near Wishram, the 311th day of their more than 4,200-mile journey.

Dawn to Dusk: Veterans Day activities abound

From sunrise to well after sunset, there will be Veterans Day activities in The Dalles and community members are invited to show their support by participating in one or more events.

Rep. Huffman resigns from House seat

The Wasco County Republican Central Committee is seeking nominees to fill the House District 59 seat vacated Oct. 28 by Oregon Rep. John Huffman, who makes his home in The Dalles. In July, Huffman announced he would not run for re-election in 2018 because he would have fulfilled his goal to serve for 10 years.

Officials needed for hoops season

Lack of involvement could impact athletics across the state

The number of referees available to preside over basketball games in five counties is declining to the point that it could soon adversely affect the ability of young athletes to compete. That’s the message being delivered by Chris Kaseberg, commissioner for the Mid-Columbia Basketball Association.

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A cheerful setting for a very dark time

The Columbia Gorge Child Advocacy Center looks like a typical day care when one first walks in the door: the room is brightened by primary colors and hundreds of stuffed animals line shelves and window sills. It’s hard to see the cheerful space at Woods Court in Hood River and believe it is a place where children who are in trauma come, and that is exactly the point.

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Trauma team

Heart-wrenching child abuse cases spark change in the Mid-Columbia region

A 2-year-old boy arrived at Mid-Columbia Medical Center with a broken collarbone and extensive bruising on his arms and back several years ago. Scott Williams, a detective with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, remembers getting that case to investigate. He described it as “heart-wrenching.”

Veterans challenged to help troops

Army veteran Roger Howe gave a large cash donation to the Holidays for Heroes Committee Wednesday to use for care packages that will be sent to troops in Afghanistan — and he is challenging other veterans to do the same. “The fact that we are here, still walking and talking, and we have experienced what our troops are going through — we get what it means to get something from home,” said Howe, who deployed to Vietnam in 1968 with the 101st Airborne Division.

Referee shortage critical in region

The number of referees available to preside over basketball games in five counties has declined to the point that it could soon adversely affect the ability of young athletes to compete. That’s the message being delivered by Chris Kaseberg, commissioner for the Mid-Columbia Basketball Association.

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Christmas giving: Community to support troops

HR and TD residents invited to help fill care packages, pack holiday boxes

Community members in The Dalles and Hood River are asked to donate snack and hygiene items to make Christmas merrier for an Oregon National Guard platoon and other troops in Afghanistan. The goal of the Holidays for Heroes Committee is to pack at least 30 boxes at a public event on Thursday, Nov. 16.

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Company scrambles to pack undamaged pears

A packing line and an estimated 100,000-150,000 boxes of pears were destroyed by Wednesday’s fire at the Underwood Fruit & Warehouse Company in Bingen and officials are scrambling to find a place to finish packing about 1,000 bins of pears.

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Walden forum sparks debate

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held a town hall in Grass Valley Monday that sparked debate between audience members reflective of the deep divide between ideologies across America.

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Wyden talks Trump, forest plan

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., held his 854th town hall since taking office in 1996 at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles Friday evening. “I just felt there was unprecedented interest toward what’s going on in Washington, D.C., so I’m going to give you unprecedented access,” he said after being introduced by The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence, who drew tickets in a lottery system to select speakers.

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Editorial: Compromise is becoming lost art

Compromise is becoming lost art

Buehler visits TD to ‘listen and learn’

Oregon Rep. Knute Buehler is visiting The Dalles on Thursday to talk with GOP leaders about his campaign to oust Gov. Kate Brown, who he strongly criticizes for “failed leadership.” “I am traveling the state listening and learning,” said Buehler, who resides in Bend and represents House District 54.

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Anti-bullying: ‘Smile, it’s contagious’

Kerri Weed doesn’t claim to be an artist, but she pulled off chalk drawings on a sidewalk Wednesday that seemed joyful enough to portray her “Smile, it’s contagious” message.

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Vogt Theater: Gone ... but not forgotten

When Karl Vercouteren began researching the history of the “forgotten” opera house in The Dalles, he became so enthralled by the project that he published more than 200 pages of his findings. “It became much bigger than what I thought when I started out,” he said.

Crosstalk: What role do emotions play in politics?

What role do emotions play in politics?

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Bullets skim by swimmers on Columbia

Athletes from the Columbia Gorge Triathlon Club got a scare Sunday morning when bullets buzzed around them and entered the water not far from swimmers. “It was pretty terrifying,” said Dawn Rasmussen of The Dalles, who was in a kayak in front of the group.

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Lifestyle Tour

The P.E.O. “Home Away from Home” fall tour offers area residents the opportunity to explore six bed and breakfasts, and short-term rentals, in The Dalles while “helping women reach for the stars.”

Room tax use under review

The Dalles City Council held a special work session Monday to gather public input about whether the funding formula for lodging taxes should be changed, or if the current dispersal adequately supported tourism and marketing activities. “We decided it was a good time to look toward the future,” said Mayor Steve Lawrence.

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Community Meal throws a party

There’s going to be party in the parking lot outside the Community Meal site on Saturday and area residents are invited to come down, enjoy music and a hamburger, and learn more about the program to feed anyone in need of a hot meal.

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Smoke, traffic impacts region

Interstate 84 west reopens, eastbound lanes still closed

The westbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale re-opened to travelers Thursday evening, but the eastbound lanes remain closed with no timeline for re-opening. Although two lanes of the freeway are now in use, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced Sept. 14 that all ramps along the 45-mile stretch of road, milepost 62 to 17, remain closed, except for those in and out of Cascade Locks.

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‘It just sometimes takes a village’

Simple answers to a challenging task

Becky Windsor’s approach to being a foster mom is simple, but effective. “I just love them as much as I can while I have them, but I always know deep in my heart that I’m going to have to let them go, so I do,” said Windsor, who typically has the foster “kiddos” in the family’s Hood River home for six months.

Walden talks politics, Trump, future of GOP

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, said it has gone largely unreported that the House has approved more than 300 bills within the first six months of 2017 — more than under the Obama, Clinton and both Bush administrations during the same period. “We are getting a lot done this year,” he said. “That’s what the people elected us to do and that’s what I stay focused on.”

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