Hood River County School District Superintendent Dan Goldman told the district board this week that that the state faces a six-year structural problem brought on by escalating costs that will push the district to reduce at least 12-point-five million dollars in programs during that time unless the Legislature addresses both revenue and cost-driver reform. Goldman says under current state budget proposals for the current biennium, the district will need to cut about a million dollars in the program even if they use about two-and-a-half million dollars in reserves. Current state K-12 education funding proposals in the Legislature are between seven-point-eight and eight-point-oh-two-billion dollars, and school officials say they need eight-point-four billion to maintain current programs. The Hood River County School District will hold community meetings on the budget picture on March 9 at 6 p.m. at Hood River Valley High School and March 13 at 6 p.m. at Mid-Valley Elementary School in Odell.
Starting Monday and lasting through the week, The Dalles Public Works crews will be cleaning catch basins in the downtown core area, mainly from 1st Street thru 4th Street, from the roundabout to Lincoln Street. Work will occur between 8:00pm and 6:30am when traffic is low and parking is light so that the catch basins are accessible. If you will be leaving a car in the downtown core, we ask that you try to leave room around the catch basins if possible.
Pendleton 51, Hood River Valley 41: The Buckaroos got off to a 22-5 lead after one quarter and cruised to the win from there. Caden Smith scored ten of his 19 points in the first quarter to lead Pendleton, while Carson Flores led Hood River with 17. The Eagles’ loss means The Dalles has now formally clinched the Columbia River Conference’s final play-in spot.
The Dalles 57, Crook County 44
Pendleton 48, Hood River Valley 39
Icy conditions on the Dee Highway caused four motor vehicle accidents on Thursday morning, including one which led to a young girl being taken by helicopter to a hospital. Hood River County Sheriff’s spokesman Pete Hughes says the first accident occurred at about 5:45 a.m. at Dee Highway milepost 8.5, where snow melt from the side of a hill had frozen onto the road. A vehicle was northbound when it hit the ice, spun out of control, went off the road, hit a tree, and caved in the passenger side of the vehicle, trapping a six-year-old girl. Hughes said Parkdale fire crews cut into the vehicle and removed the girl, who was flown to a hospital with a suspected broken leg. He added that her mother, who was driving the vehicle, was not hurt. There were three more rollover accidents at that location this morning, but Hughes said there were no serious injuries. He noted that area of Dee Highway is a historically bad spot during icy conditions, and deputies urge motorists to watch for slick conditions.
The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee for North Wasco County School District 21 began to move toward a recommendation on how the district should proceed on replacing aging buildings, and there is a lean toward starting with a new elementary school on the west side of The Dalles. That was the result of breakout group discussions at their meeting this week, and D-21 Chief Financial Officer Randy Anderson noted using a new Chenowith area primary school as a starting point could make it easier to put together a new high school facility. The committee will meet again on March 14 as it moves closer to creating an overall recommendation for the D-21 board. The group is recommending the district wait until November to put a bond measure before voters, after the board had originally had a goal of putting such a request on the May ballot.
The Hood River City Planning Commission is allowing more time for written testimony after a hearing on changing the zoning for Morrison Park at the corner of Wasco and 20th Streets from Open Space/Public Facilities to Urban High Density Residential to allow for construction of affordable housing at the site. Following a well-attended hearing this week, the panel decided to close oral testimony and take written submissions until March 1, with rebuttal allowed from March 3 to March 10 and planning commission deliberations set for April 17. Opponents of the zone change have varied reasons, from believing there is a need to preserve open space to advocating for low-income housing to be move evenly spread through the City. The City and Mid-Columbia Housing Authority both cited the need for more affordable housing in the community, and with the land already in city ownership it would reduce the cost of that kind of development.
Oregon 52nd District State Representative Mark Johnson is part of a legislative workgroup looking at ways to modify the state tax code that isn’t as income tax based as it currently is. Johnson says there are a number of possibilities on the table, including a commercial activities tax at a much smaller rate and with a wider base than was proposed in Measure 97 last fall to lessen its impact on any one group of businesses. Johnson notes a number of states have adopted similar measures, and it would leave the potential to totally eliminate the corporate income tax. He believes whatever happen will involve a trade-off of some kind. The Hood River Republican is on the House Revenue Committee.
A man accused in the stabbing death of another man in The Dalles in late January made a brief court appearance Wednesday in Wasco County Circuit Court. The defense attorney for 21-year-old Zoey Austin Pike told Judge Janet Stauffer he is still receiving large amounts of evidence, and Pike was not ready to enter a plea in the case. Stauffer set another hearing for Tuesday afternoon. Pike is being held in NORCOR facing murder and unlawful use of a weapon chartes in the death of 21-year-old Nathaniel Orio Preyapongpisan at a house on Liberty Street on January 27.
OSAA Class 1A Girls Basketball Playoffs
Powder Valley 60, South Wasco 20: Powder Valley will visit Horizon Christian for a second round game on Saturday.
Arlington 45, North Clackamas Christian 39: Arlington will travel to North Lake for round two on Saturday.
Two men were arrested with a large amount of methamphetamine on Interstate 84 between Hood River and The Dalles Monday afternoon. According to the Oregon State Police, a trooper stopped a vehicle going eastbound on I-84 near milepost 71 for a traffic violation, and during the stop received written consent to search the vehicle. Inside four large packages of suspected methamphetamine weighing a total of 13.2 pounds were discovered inside the vehicle. 28-year-old Edgar Vidal Nuno Naranjo of Rosarito, Mexico and 24-year-old Oscar Arnulfo Fuller Leyva of Tijuana, Mexico were taken into custody without incident, and lodged a the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles.