With classes starting this week in the Hood River County School District, a large freshman class at Hood River Valley High School is creating a bump in enrollment. Superintendent Dan Goldman says a big eighth grade class went through both middle schools last year, and they expected a jump of about 65 students at HRVHS, but the early returns puts the increase at about 90. He does point out historically they won’t have an accurate enrollment figure until the latter portion of September, when registered students who have not shown up in the first ten days are removed from the rolls. Goldman says the district tends to be very conservative on enrollment projections, and they are about to embark on a year-long process of facilities planning, with potential growth to be one of the factors taken into consideration.
Set up for Cycle Oregon’s start from The Dalles this weekend will get underway Wednesday. Cyclists being arriving and setting up at Sorosis Park on both Friday and Saturday to be ready to begin their week-long tour on Sunday. Tara Corbin of Cycle Oregon says The Dalles has some of the unique components necessary to be a start and finish location for the event, including long-term parking for participants and good locations to set up camp and to finish the tour. Those who would like to volunteer to help can call The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce at 541-296-2231.
Over 450 swimmers jumped in the Columbia River Monday morning to take part in the Roy Webster Columbia River Cross Channel Swim in Hood River. Two people shared the honors for the most time they have taken part in the event, with Doug Brenner and Jeff Gudman each involved for the 41st time. Seven others were in the swim for at least the 30th year. Steven Kassakian of Providence, Rhode Island traveled the farthest to jump in the Columbia, just over 3,012 miles. Lee Gehrig was the oldest swimmer at the age of 81, while Kristen Dawn Anderson was the oldest woman at 77. A total of 20 swimmers were over the age of 70. Five ten-year-olds shared the title of youngest swimmer.
The Hood River County School District is advising that school bus schedules published earlier this week are incorrect, and parents should go to the district website for the correct information. The Hood River News ran the schedules in their Wednesday edition, but the district announced today they were not the latest version. Superintendent Dan Goldman notes with changes to school start times this year, every route has some kind of change, primarily involving the time students are picked up. Correct bus schedules are available on the Hood River County School District’s website on the transportation page…go to www.hoodriver.k12.or.us. School start times for this year are 7:40 a.m. for elementary schools, 8:40 a.m. at Hood River Valley High School, and 8:45 a.m. for middle schools. Hood River News editor Kirby Neumann-Rea says they will be running a corrected version of the bus schedule in their Saturday edition.
By a three-to-two vote, the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District voted to terminate the contract of Executive Director Scott Green, effective immediately. The vote came following an hour-long executive session that Green was a part of for a time. Green, who has been on administrative leave while a personnel matter is investigated, was in attendance during the vote in regular session. Board Chair Catherine Whalen, Nikki Lesich, and Travis Dray voted for the dismissal, while Dean Dollarhide and Marcus Denney were against. The vote came quickly with no discussion in regular session, and the meeting adjourned immediately following that action. In a statement issued to the press after the meeting, the district indicated Karl Cozad would continue in his role as interim director until a permanent replacement is hired. That process will begin immediately and take about two months. The move comes as the district nears the formal signing of a construction contract for a new swimming pool at Thompson Park. Cozad was given the go-ahead by the board earlier this week to complete that contract.
A telephoned bomb threat closed the Port of Hood River Interstate Bridge for about 20 minutes Wednesday night. Hood River Police Sergeant Andrew Rau says Klickitat County emergency dispatchers received the call at 10:11 p.m. Wednesday that indicated a bomb was on the bridge and would detonate in 20 minutes. Law enforcement from both Oregon and Washington shut down access to the bridge, and Hood River Police officers visually inspected the bridge deck, walkways, lift span, and lift control center, and did not find anything suspicious. The bridge reopened at 10:30 p.m. The threatening phone call came from a large generalized area in Skamania County. Skamania County Sheriff’s deputies checked the general area the call originated from, but were unable to locate any suspicious activity or persons responsible.
The Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District board has approved moving forward with negotiations with contractor Tripplet-Wellman on a construction contract for the Thompson Park swimming pool project. Tripplett-Wellman has completed the pre-construction phase of the project except for demolition of the current pool…which will be included in the overall project construction and will be a part of this contract. District Interim Executive Director Karl Cozad said projected expenses are constantly being reviewed and refined…and they are now at a point to be confident that the project can move forward within available financial resources. He also thinks contract negotiations should move quickly. The project will commence within ten days of execution of the contract. The goal is to have the pool ready to go for next summer.
It will be a crowded field in the November election seeking three seats on the Hood River City Council. Unless someone withdraws by Friday, seven candidates will be on the ballot looking to replace three incumbents who decided not to seek re-election. The Hood River Council hopefuls are Susan Johnson, Joseph Sheahan, Bob Palmer, Dave Bick, Becky Brun, Timothy Counihan, and Peter Cornelisan. The three current Councilors whose terms expire at the end of the year: Brian McNamara, Ed Weathers, and Carrie Nelson, all decided not to seek re-election. There were no last minute filings for Hood River Mayor…leaving Paul Blackburn and Greg Colt looking to succeed Arthur Babitz, who is not looking for another term. In The Dalles there will be a three-way race for City Council position three with incumbent Bill Dick challenged by Russ Brown and Brian Stevens, and Carolyn Wood looks to be re-elected to the at-large seat while being opposed by Taner Elliott. Mayor Steve Lawrence and Position 1 Councilor Tim McGlothlin are both unopposed on the November ballot.
The North Wasco County School District 21 board appointed Lori McCanna to fill the long-vacant Zone 3 seat on the panel. McCanna is in management with the Oregon Department of Human Services. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says McCanna works in a profession that uses the Sancutary model the district uses. McCanna’s seat will be up for election this coming spring. Armstrong noted they had two outstanding candidates for the seat, with D-21 budget committee member Aaron Bowman also considered.
The Washington Department of Transportation says repainting and other work starting next week on the White Salmon Bridge along Highway 141 in Husum will cause delays for about two months. Temporary stoplights at each end of the bridge and at Oak Ridge Road will guide alternating one-way traffic during the work, leading to delays of up to ten minutes. Crews will replace expansion joints on the bridge deck, then begin painting. The 74-year-old bridge was last painted in 1988, and the transportation department says its protective coating is deteriorating. Crews won’t work below the deck of the bridge before September 22, allowing rafters to float under the bridge until the first day of autumn.