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Local News

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Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss NORCOR Suit

A judge has denied motions made by the Northern Oregon Corrections Facility to dismiss a lawsuit by four citizens claiming NORCOR is violating state law by allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees to be held there, but did remove Wasco County as a defendant in the lawsuit.  A spokesperson in NORCOR attorney Will Carey’s office said they received the ruling from Wasco County Circuit Judge John Olson Friday.  Plaintiffs claim the sanctuary law passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1987 prohibits state resources from being used to apprehend and detect people in the country illegal.  During Thursday’s NORCOR board meeting, Carey explained the motion he filed was based on interpretation of that statute, saying the detainees are housed by contract with the Federal Marshal’s office, and they don’t detect or apprehend any of them.  Carey’s spokesperson said today they “remain optimistic” about the eventual outcome of the case.

December 14 Prep Sports Roundup

Boys Basketball

Ridgeview 71, Hood River Valley 67 (overtime):  The Ravens outscored the Eagles 13-9 in the extra session to grab the win.  HRV’s three-game winning streak was snapped with the loss.

Horizon Christian 64, Trinity Lutheran 62:  The Hawks with their first game at the Triad Tournament in Klamath Falls, and will play Powers today.


Girls Basketball

Hudson’s Bay 51, Stevenson 45:  Katie Rathgeber led the Bulldogs with 17 points.

Horizon Christian 49, Powers 29:  The Hawks advance in the Triad tourney to meet Prairie City today.



Hood River Valley 51, Madras 27:  Jason Shaner, Blake Willis, and Jonathan Garcia grab victories by fall for the Eagles.  HRV also got wins in girls’ matches from Alexis McCafferty, Monique Verduzco, and Perla Gomes.

Zillah 72, Goldendale 6

Granger 42, Goldendale 30


Klickitat County Seeks Volunteers For Emergency Operations Center

The Klickitat County Department of Emergency Management is seeking citizen volunteers to assist in staffing the Emergency Operations Center in Goldendale during large-scale emergencies and exercises.  Department Director Jeff King says volunteers can serve as public information officers, provide logistical support to field operations, plan for multiple-day operations, track financial activities related to the incident or event for possible future reimbursement by the Federal government, and other tasks.  Emergency Management Volunteers will be meeting one Tuesday night per month starting in January, with the first meeting scheduled for January 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center on the ground floor of the Emergency Management Building at 199 Industrial Way in Goldendale.  For more information call 509-773-0582.

NORCOR Board Responds To DRO Report

The Northern Oregon Corrections Facilities board released its response to a scathing Disability Rights Oregon report on NORCOR’s Juvenile Detention Center released last week, calling DRO’s claim of the facility as inhumane “totally irresponsible.”  In a letter approved during the board’s Thursday meeting, NORCOR acknowledges there are areas of the juvenile facility that require improvement and have been changed, but they also deemed various aspects of the DRO report “exaggerated or inaccurate.”  The letter says contrary to the findings in the report, youth at NORCOR receive initial and regular screenings for self-harm behavior, those removed from group settings for unsafe or disruptive behavior have access to educational resources and mental health and medical staff, consistent family visitation is encouraged, and there is a documented 5.5 hours of education daily.  NORCOR board chair Rod Runyon thinks the facility is on the right road, noting he had talked to representatives of various counties that contract to send youth to the facility, and in one conversation told them he was “well-satisfied about our people, our staff, the director of the juvenile side, that we’re doing all the things and where we need to make corrections we’re getting them done.”  Juvenile directors in the four NORCOR counties met with administrator Bryan Brandenburg to go over changes, and the Oregon Youth Authority was to tour the center Thursday.  At the meeting, Brandenburg said an audit of the adult jail at NORCOR has passed 306 of 309 standards in an Oregon State Sheriff’s Association audit, and Sherman County Sheriff and OSSA board member Brad Lohrey said it one of the best jail audits he had ever heard.

CGCC Talking With Business Reps About Workforce Needs

Columbia Gorge Community College is talking with business and industry representatives about what they need the school to do to provide a trained workforce in the region.  Three CGCC board members and six faculty members have been doing site visits.  CGCC Community Outreach Director Dan Spatz says they are talking about responsive programs the college can look at for various vocational needs.  The question then becomes:  is the need in any particular area large enough to attract the number of students necessary to sustain a program?  Spatz says this will be an on-going effort, noting given the ever-changing skill needs of area businesses the college has to remain flexible.

Bettencourt Named Sheriff Of The Year

Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt has been tabbed by the Oregon State Sheriff”s Association as its 2017 Sheriff of the Year.  The organization cited Bettencourt for his work as a leader within that group, and for his understanding and commitment to dealing with mental health issues.  He has represented the state sheriff’s organization on numerous committees on the topic  The OSSA also noted Bettencourt for his work for injured deputies and their families, involvement with the Western States Sheriffs Association, and understanding the importance of a consolidated voice when it comes to issues with federal entities and travel management plans.

Klickitat County Commission Discusses Capital Budget With Legislators

Klickitat County Commissioners met with Washington 14th District State Senator Curtis King and Representative Gina McCabe to discuss their concerns for the 2018 legislative session.  Commissioners were in particular concerned about whether a capital budget will be passed after the 2017 session failed to produce one.  The legislators indicated they expected one to pass, with King pointing out with Democrats now holding majorities in both chambers it is difficult for Republicans like himself and McCabe to able to give any kind of guarantees.  Commissioner David Sauter said the county doesn’t have any specific projects they are awaiting on capital budget funding for, but many cities and agencies in Klickitat County do.  Sauter adds the County has been backfilling funding for some programs that are typically funded by the state capital budget.  Commissioners also re-affirmed their desire for the Legislature to deal with the Hirst decision from the Washington State Supreme Court in 2016 that increased regulations on water rights.

TD City Council To Hold Tourism Worksession

The Dalles City Council is planning to hold a worksession on tourism, and how transient room taxes in the city get used, early in 2018.  Councilors discussed the potential formation of a tourism commission, something that came out of two prior town halls on the subject earlier this year, but instead rolled back to taking more input.  Mayor Steve Lawrence, who favors the establishment of some kind of tourism committee, says there will be active participants in the tourist industry invited to take part.  No date has been set yet for the worksession.  The City currently contracts with The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce for tourism marketing services.

City of HR Population Estimate Goes Up

Portland State University’s population estimate for the City of Hood River went up by one-and-a-half percent to 7,880, but that may be a bit low.  City Manager Steve Wheeler says they are unsure if recently annexed areas were included in that estimate, and the City is looking into that.  He adds the population data is used for planning purposes, and there is a financial element, as it a factor in state disbursement of some tax funds.  In other business, the Hood River City Council received a clean audit report for municipal government in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

December 12 Prep Basketball Roundup

Boys Basketball

Hood River Valley 69, Gresham 68:  J.J. Mears scored on a driving lay-in with just over four seconds left to give the Eagles the win.  HRV came back from a nine point deficit in the fourth quarter to win its third straight game.  Erik Siekkinen led the Eagles with 15 points while Carson Flores scored 13 and Jonah Tactay 12.  Christian Turner topped Gresham with 25.

The Dalles 62, Ridgeview 46:  Jacob Hernandez scored 18 points and Dakota Murr 15 as the Riverhawks snapped a two-game losing streak.

Columbia 66, Lyle-Wishram 60

Washougal 82, Stevenson 73

Dufur 49, Klickitat-Glenwood 31

Sherman 62, Trinity Lutheran 48

South Wasco 40, Monument-Dayville 28

Sunnyside Christian 98, Trout Lake 38

Highland 60, Goldendale 56


Girls Basketball

Hood River Valley 51, Gresham 20

Ridgeview 47, The Dalles 46

Columbia 46, Lyle-Wishram 28

Dufur 50, Klickitat-Glenwood 43

South Wasco 48, Monument-Dayville 31

Sunnyside Christian 75, Trout Lake 20

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