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The Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) is nominating applicants for its budget committee. Interest forms are available electronically at www.mcedd.org, or at the MCEDD offices at 515 East Second Street The Dalles.

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In the wake of a man’s death last summer while fighting fire on agricultural land, and the fines his employer incurred because of it, farmers need more clarification on firefighting rules, an official said.

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Starting Saturday, Feb. 16, Sorosis Park will close as a contractor removes 35-40 dead and dying trees throughout the park that are infested with the mountain pine beetle.

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The Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District (NWCPRD) will be updating programs and parks this spring with new exercise equipment planned at Sorosis Park and a swim pass program for individuals and families on the Oregon Health Plan.

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A defamation lawsuit brought by a volunteer photographer against the North Wasco County Parks & Recreation District in 2017 was dismissed last month.

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Funding for street maintenance and ADA upgrades in The Dalles is inadequate and the city council is considering adding a $5 transportation fee to city utility bills as one part of a long-term funding solution.

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The Gorge Works Internships is putting the call out to high school and college students—and anyone looking to enter the workforce or change careers for that matter—to apply for its program.

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In November, educators and school children got a champion. The homeless got an advocate and environmentalists got a steward. But perhaps the people most happy with Gov. Kate Brown’s re-election reside in Oregon’s union shops.

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The Wasco County Commission approved entering into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to help fund the Skills Center and Housing Construction Project at Columbia Gorge Community College during its regular session Jan. 16. The agreement between the county, city and college dedicates $3.5 million in Enterprise Zone funding to the project.

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Due to changes in the calendar for the House of Representatives announced Jan. 15 by Democratic leadership, Representative Greg Walden’s (R-Hood River) town halls originally scheduled for Baker, Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Hood River, and Wasco counties the week of Jan. 21 will be rescheduled, according to a press release.

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Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will hold town halls in Dufur Jan. 22 and Hood River Jan. 21. Meetings will also be held in Benton, Linn, Clackamas, Polk, Jackson, Josephine, Multnomah, Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties, according to a press release from Wyden.

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Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) will pursue an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with The Dalles and Wasco County for $3.5 million in enterprise zone funds and proceed with a $7.6 million full faith and credit bond for construction of a skill center and housing project at The Dalles campus following a unanimous vote by the Board of Education at its January board meeting.

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The regional jail is “purposefully assisting” immigration officials, in violation of state law, an attorney argued at a court hearing last Thursday. Court filings also indicated the jail since January 2017 has held dozens of immigration detainees who had no criminal history. The jail has repeatedly said it did not do so.

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The partial shutdown of the federal government, which was in its record-setting 24th day Monday, has closed two area offices, the Farm Service Administration in The Dalles and the Barlow Ranger District office in Dufur. Some 25 percent of the federal government is impacted by the shutdown.

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A ruling is expected within a month on a 2017 lawsuit that alleges the regional jail violated Oregon’s “sanctuary” law by housing immigration detainees. Wasco County Circuit Court Judge John Wolf said at the conclusion of a Thursday hearing, in which both sides asked the case be ruled in their favor, that he expected whatever decision he reached to be appealed, so he wanted to take the time to carefully lay out his reasoning in a written opinion.

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Under new rules that took effect Jan. 1, the salvage of deer and elk struck accidentally by vehicles is now legal in Oregon, provided an online permit is submitted at www.odfw.com/roadkill within 24 hours of the salvage.

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In two generations, Oregonians might drive along freeways and not see a single industrial smokestack. They might instead see solar panels or wind turbines. And they might see them from an electric vehicle. That’s the goal of Oregon politicians trying to pass legislation to charge companies for polluting.

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A new exhibit, “The Eagle Creek FIRE 2017-2018” opens Jan. 19 at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and runs through February.

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The Black History 101 Mobile Museum will visit The Dalles-Wasco County Public Library’s Community Room on Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum’s founder, former social studies teacher Khalid el-Hakim, will give a talk from 12 to 1 p.m.

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William Frank Osborne, 58, plead guilty Dec. 13 to three counts of first-degree sex abuse and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His victims were three children at Mid-Columbia Head Start, where he was a parent volunteer.

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Outgoing Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon was thanked for his service by commission chair Steve Kramer during last week’s board meeting. Runyon had served on The Dalles Planning Commission, the Port of The Dalles Commission and Wasco County Commission, and will be seated on The Dalles City Council in January.

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In December, The Port of The Dalles awarded consultant Matthew Buck a contract to develop a comprehensive feasibility study for a Food Learning and Business Center in The Dalles., according to Andrea Klaas, port executive director. The project will be funded in part by a grant from USDA Rural Development.

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The Oregon Supreme Court struck down the most serious charges against Dustin Kimbrough, who was convicted in 2014 of attempting to hire a hitman to kill the Wasco County district attorney and two others.

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A frightening July 4 encounter involving a gun pointed at two youths reached its court conclusion Monday. Robert Pollard, a resident of Hood River who works in The Dalles, will serve 30 days in jail as part of his sentencing in Hood River Circuit Court Dec. 17.

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A second and final round of trade mitigation payments meant to assist farmers suffering from damage due to “unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations” has been announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and farmers in Wasco and Hood River counties are encouraged to apply by the Jan. 15 deadline.

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Starting Jan. 1, Oregon veterans who qualify for a disabled parking permit and have a service-connected disability that is VA-rated at 50 percent or greater may apply for the new Oregon Wounded Warrior parking placard from ODOT’s Driver and Motor Vehicles division (DMV.)

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District 21 is seeking grants to do a long-range facilities plan and facilities assessment, and also plans to seek a $4-million matching grant from the state when it again asks voters to fund new schools.

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As was predicted when a multi-county regional government entity dissolved earlier this year, the fate of a $3.9 million reserve fund for building codes services has ended up being a key point of contention. The state wants Wasco County to decide whether it will take over building codes services before the state starts the difficult task of figuring out how to divide the reserve among the counties.

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Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a cumulative report Friday identifying core strategies to addressing and preventing cybersecurity incidents.

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State officials wrongly granted a wetland fill permit to Walmart for a proposed super-store in The Dalles, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in a precedent-setting case. In issuing a fill permit to Walmart in 2013, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) wrongly stated that it was “inconclusive” whether public need outweighed damage to wetlands, the court ruled.

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The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) improperly issued a wetlands fill permit to Walmart for a proposed superstore in The Dalles. In issuing the fill permit, DSL said it was “inconclusive” whether the project would meet a public need that outweighed damage to wetlands. The Appeals court said the agency is required to find that a project meets a public need, and therefore the permit was wrongly issued. The matter was reversed and remanded back to the DSL. A fuller story on the ruling will appear later today.

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SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown was eager on the campaign trail to tell voters she would represent all regions of the state. “I’m the only candidate in this race with a track record of bringing Republicans and Democrats together, urban and rural Oregonians together, to tackle the problems facing Oregon,” Brown said during one debate. A month after her reelection, she is following through on that claim.

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Bipartisan legislation to protect endangered salmon and steelhead from sea lion predation has been passed by the U.S. Senate. “For too long, predatory sea lions have been taking an unhealthy chomp out of Oregon’s salmon and steelhead stocks,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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Volunteers were sorting donated food items destined for Christmas boxes during the ELFF Food Drive (Everybody Loves a Fire Fighter) Wednesday night. The three-day drive covered The Dalles Tuesday and Wednesday nights and Dallesport Thursday night.

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SALEM — Thousands of Oregonians could see more money taken out of their paychecks and companies would be writing bigger checks to fund Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed budget and revamp the state’s education system. Brown needs to find $2.6 billion more than is already being paid in state taxes to cover her proposals for the state’s next two-year budget. It’s likely much of that sum would come from corporate or personal income tax increases.

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Citizens addressing The Dalles City Council Nov. 26 asked for plenty of time to attempt the rescue of the historic Gitchell/Waldron building, located on city property immediately east of the Lewis and Clark Festival Park at First and Union Streets, from the wrecking ball.

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A grant request to build a second deep well in Mosier, moving a heavy agricultural user out of a depleting aquifer currently being used by the town, was declined at this time. The Oregon Water Resources Commission told the grant seekers to come back with more information for reconsideration in the next funding cycle.

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What should parks in The Dalles look like in 20 years? The Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District (NWCPRD) gave an overview of the possibilities as they presented an early draft of their new master plan to The Dalles City Council Nov. 6.

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The City of The Dalles has applied three times to the state for a $1 million grant to help replace the leaking, wooden, century-old Dog River pipeline, which provides half the city’s water. It has gotten closer to funding each time, and in mid-November, state staffers finally recommended the grant be funded. But then the Oregon Water Resources Commission delayed a decision on the staff recommendation until early next year.

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Prospects for a student housing facility and regional skill center at Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) moved forward Monday as The Dalles council voted unanimously to develop an intergovernmental agreement with the college and Wasco County to use enterprise zone funds for the student housing facility. “These funds can be used for the greater good, and this could fit with that definition,” said Mayor Stephen Lawrence.

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After hearing encouragement Nov. 19 from its city counterparts to keep building codes services local, Wasco County will likely try to take on the service itself. The state has asked the county to let it know by the end of the year what it decides to do.

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Project ELFF (Everybody Loves a Fire Fighter) will be hitting the streets Dec. 4-6, as it celebrates its 32nd year of collecting non-perishable food for local food banks. Fire apparatus will be announcing their presence in neighborhoods with lights and sirens going, said Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer.

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An email exchange in 2016 indicates the regional jail kept its local inmate population “low” to make room for immigration detainees, according to OPB.

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Over a third of renters in The Dalles are “severely rent burdened,” or paying more than 50 percent of their household income on rent, according to data provided by the state and presented at a City of The Dalles public hearing Nov. 14.

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Following the first facilitated wolf plan stakeholder meeting in The Dalles in August, during which little consensus was reached, the committee met Oct. 9 in Salem. According to a report by Jim Akenson of the Oregon Hunter Association, the second meeting resulted in progress on reaching consensus on radio-collaring efforts, the definition of chronic depredation of livestock, and which agencies and staff could review depredations in the field.

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After traveling thousands of miles and visiting dozens of schools, one thing was clear to all members of the Joint Interim Committee on Student Success. Today's schools, and their problems, do not resemble the ones that legislators learned in.

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SALEM — On election night, Oregonians blocked attempts to overturn the state's sanctuary status for undocumented immigrants and affirmed public funding for reproductive health care, holding onto its status as a socially liberal state. In so doing, Oregon voters rejected socially conservative priorities by large margins.

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More of those who care for elderly Oregonians are completing free training from the state that helps them perform better. The state reported that from August 2014 to August 2018, 69,647 classes have been taken and 19,218 caregivers have been trained.