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Wheeler County Rattlers win first Championship, cap undefeated season

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Rattlers down Triangle Lake Lakers 30-0, cement place in history

SISTERS – The Wheeler County Rattlers are the top 6-Man team in the state. The team hoisted the Oregon Six-Man Football trophy after holding Triangle Lake scoreless and controlling the championship game on Saturday at Sisters High School.

In front of an adoring crowd, the Rattlers again displayed a stingy defense – the Triangle Lake Lakers could not find paydirt, despite having several possessions inside the red zone.

The win in the championship game showcased Wheeler County’s toughness and endurance.

Spray Senior Thomas Chase said that after hard fought possessions at the beginning of the game, the Rattlers were able to wear down the Lakers. “We wanted it more,” Chase said after the game as the celebration broke out. “We’ve been at this for four years – if you would have told me a year ago that we would win the championship, I might not have believed it,” Chase said. “This is amazing.”

The 2021 season has been an historic one for the Wheeler County Rattlers. The team sensed that they were on the verge of being great in the abbreviated 2020 season played last spring. Once all of the pieces were put together, the team proved to be formidable.

As the team celebrated on the field with bubbles of Martinelli’s – fans posed for photos and gathered on the field and in the stands. Wheeler County residents past and present shared the victory with the team.

Soaking it all up was Rattler Head Coach Jerry Anderson and assistants Jon McMurray and Darrell Yount.

Pointing to the crowd, coach Anderson held the trophy and said “this is for you!”

First COVID vaccination in Wheeler Co.

Dr. Robert Boss of Asher Community Health Center is the first person in Wheeler County to receive the vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Boss received the vaccination on January 4th. Residents at Haven House were also offered the vaccine today.

Ten vials, containing a total of 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine were delivered to the Wheeler Co. Public Health Department last week. The Moderna vaccine is a two-part vaccine, so a second inoculation will be required after 28 days.

Healthcare workers around the country are the first to receive the Moderna vaccine, which has shown a 94% effectivity rate. Emergency responders and staff at the Asher Clinic have been offered the inoculation.

After finishing with vaccinations at the clinic, staff from the Asher Clinic went to Haven House and offered the vaccine to residents of the facility.

ODFW adopts 2023 Big Game Regulations 

Controlled hunt draw results available June 12 in 2023

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2023 Big Game Regulations during a meeting today in Burns.   

Beginning next year, controlled hunt draw results will be available eight days earlier (on June 12 rather than June 20). Efficiencies from the Electronic Licensing System allow ODFW to make results available sooner. The deadline to change controlled hunt applications will also shift to May 25 (from June 1). The deadline to apply for a hunt remains the same (May 15). 

Several new hunting opportunities will also be available next year including a new controlled youth archery tag providing the opportunity to hunt with a “one elk” bag limit in all but five units, a late general season traditional archery deer opportunity in southwest Oregon, and two controlled any legal weapon late deer hunts in western Oregon.  

For the full list of Big Game Regulations changes adopted today, visit the link below. The Commission adopted all regulations proposed by staff unanimously. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/22/09_Sep/B/Exhibit%20B_Attachment%203_2023%20Staff%20Proposals_Big%20Game%20Regulations.pdf   

  

In other business, the Commission: 

·        Appointed Jeff McNerney of Hood River as Landowner Representative to the Access and Habitat Board, which funds projects that provide public hunting access or improve wildlife habitat on private land. 

  • Approved the acquisition of 9.25 acres of land in the Southgate area of Pendleton on SW 27th Street for the future home of a new watershed district office as the current building (an early 1900s house converted to office space) is inadequate for agency needs.   

·        Amended Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF) rules to reduce the time required between grant submission and review.  

  • Approved the Director’s recommendation of Eduardo Contreras from the Klamath Falls area to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) as the fish and wildlife habitat member appointment to the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Commission.  

  

The Commission also heard from ODFW staff on Chronic Wasting Disease and efforts to model streamflow and temperature to advance understanding of climate change effects, and from Harney County organization, the High Desert Partnership, on collaborative efforts to conserve fish and wildlife in the region. 

OSP identifies two young adults killed in stolen car

Couple killed outside of Antelope had come to Fossil to kick drug habit

FOSSIL – Two young adults met a tragic end after stealing a car in Fossil and crashing it near Antelope on August 10.

Tabitha Scott, 24, of Newburg and Elijah Wilson, 23, of Salem, were killed in a single-car accident on Highway 293 just outside of Antelope.

It took some time for Oregon State Police to identify the deceased individuals. OSP Sergeant Adam Shimer confirmed the identities of Scott and Wilson on August 15 and said that next of kin had been notified.

Oregon State Police, Shaniko Fire, Jefferson County Fire, Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) and several landowners responded to the crash at 6:30 PM on August 10. The exact time of the accident is unknown and both Scott and Wilson were pronounced dead at the scene.

Elijah Wilson was driving a Chevy Colbalt, according to Oregon State Police. The car belonged to Carol Caldera of Fossil.

Caldera says that she was preparing to go out to her ranch just before 8 AM and ran a couple errands. She then swung back to the house to get her puppy. Caldera says she never leaves the keys in her car but did this time.

“I picked up the puppy and went back out to get into my car, and no car,” Caldera said. Initially confused and questioning herself, Caldera called her daughter who lives in Lost Valley. She then realized that the car had been stolen and phoned the Sheriff’s Office.

Wheeler County Sheriff Mike Smith said that Wilson and Scott were in Fossil for a few days. The couple stayed with relatives of Wilson’s and were trying to get clean from opioids. Sheriff Smith says that Wilson and Scott had been using fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is a leading contributor to drug overdoses and deaths.

Caldera’s neighbor told her that the couple appeared at their house at 7 AM on August 10 asking for drugs and alcohol. When the neighbor declined, they asked if they could get a ride to Madras. The neighbor then asked them to leave. It is likely that the couple then saw Carol Caldera pull into her house where they stole her car.

“It breaks my heart that these young people lost their lives,” Caldera said. “That these two lives were snuffed out that quick – cars can be replaced, lives can’t.”

Caldera says that throughout the ordeal, Oregon State Police had been very good to her and she wished to express her thanks to OSP Troopers.

“I was in bed when they came by and brought my keys to the ranch and my purse – they were so kind to me.”

SafeSpace Summer of Hope benefit a success

Non-profit continues to seek support for lifesaving work

HOOD RIVER – The Safe Space Child Advocacy Center held its annual benefit on July 23 at the Stave and Stone Winery in Hood River and raised more than $40,000.

The funds will benefit programming that offers lifesaving support for youth in Gilliam, Wheeler, Klickitat, Wasco and Hood River counties.

Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt served as auctioneer for the event and musical entertainment was provided by Moe Dixon. The event was a celebration of the nonprofit’s work and of their dedicated staff.

Safe Space CAC is a nonprofit organization that responds to incidents of child sexual and physical abuse in the Columbia River Gorge. It also serves children that witness violence and other serious forms of mistreatment.

As the only nonprofit organization that coordinates efforts of child protection staff, law enforcement professionals, family advocates, medical experts and mental health clinicians in the Gorge; SafeSpace CAC is a beacon of hope for abused children.

While the Summer of Hope benefit will help SafeSpace continue in their mission, additional support is welcomed. Donations are tax-deductible and will make a difference in the lives of youth in the region. Click here to donate today.

SafeSpace Summer of Hope benefit a success

Fossil artist Daniel Robinson to lead adult painting class in Condon

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Fossil artist Daniel Robinson to lead adult painting class in Condon

Daniel Robinson is a well-known painter that resides in Fossil. His works have sold across the country and his works are sought after by art collectors.

Now, Robinson is offering a painting class for adults and serious youth above the age of 15 through the Condon Arts Council.

Starting on July 12, the six-week series will be held each Tuesday from 6 PM to 8 PM.

The class will use watercolors will culminate in an excursion to Cottonwood Canyon State Park, where participants will complete a frameable piece of art.

Classes will be held at the Condon Arts Community Classroom at 215 Walnut Street in Condon, next to the Sinclair gas station.

The cost is $150 and all materials will be provided. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to sign-up.

To register, follow this link or go to the website for the Condon Arts Council at www.condonarts.org.

Sen. Wyden to hold Gilliam County townhall April 19

Wyden Announces Statewide Town Hall Schedule For April

Coming off this year’s landmark 1,000th town hall, senator’s upcoming online town halls will be in Coos, Curry, Yamhill, Clatsop, Linn, Benton, Polk, Gilliam, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Morrow counties

Portland –  U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is in the midst of live on-line town halls hosted by People’s Town Hall in April for residents of Coos, Curry, Yamhill, Clatsop, Linn, Benton, Polk, Gilliam, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Morrow counties.

The townhall for Gilliam County will take place on April 19. Participants can submit questions in advance here.

Heading into this month’s virtual town halls, Wyden has held 1,007 town halls statewide in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one town hall each year in each of Oregon’s 36 counties.

“Keeping my commitment for town halls each year in each of our state’s 36 counties has been essential to my public service because it provides any Oregonian the opportunity to ask questions and share their ideas,” Wyden said. “And coming off my 1,000th town hall earlier this year, I want all Oregonians to know I’m going to keep my promise to continue these direct discussions that help to shorten the distance between our state and Washington, DC. That’s the Oregon Way and I very much look forward to these upcoming conversations at home in Oregon.”

“Our democracy is stronger and better when lawmakers meet regularly with their constituents, and we congratulate Senator Wyden on his recent 1,000th town hall representing the people of Oregon,” said Nathan Williams of People’s Town Hall, a virtual town hall series from the founders of Town Hall Project. “People’s Town Hall invites all constituents in these twelve Oregon counties, regardless of party affiliation, to join the upcoming substantive conversations so vital to our democracy.”

Federal grant boosts college healthcare training

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The DALLES – Columbia Gorge Community College will receive $1.2 million in federal CARES Act Recovery funding to expand healthcare workforce training across the region. US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the award Tuesday.

“Healthcare workers are a critical force in our region and CGCC is fortunate to be part of the solution,” said Dr. Marta Yera Cronin, CGCC president. “These funds will allow us to increase our capacity to train more highly-qualified healthcare professionals to serve the Mid-Columbia.”

Dr. Cronin cited critical support from US Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. “Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden recognize the incredible stress the COVID pandemic has placed on healthcare workers,” she noted. “Our Senators’ support was instrumental as we expand our ability to train the healthcare workers our region needs so desperately.”

The grant will enable the college to upgrade healthcare training equipment and facilities, explains Lorie Saito, Dean of Nursing and Healthcare Occupations at CGCC.

“We are excited about this grant,” Saito emphasized. “The grant will not only provide more graduates for the frontlines of rural healthcare. It will also give us the ability to update our current high-fidelity simulation lab to be a regional center. In addition to CGCC students, this center will allow our community partners to provide continuing education to their staff. The opportunities awarded with this grant would not be possible without our Columbia Gorge regional community partners. We sincerely thank them all.”

Funding will provide faculty support for the Medical Assisting program, allowing the college to increase class capacity to 24 students. This will help address an urgent need for medical assistants in the region.

The grant also supports the college’s plans to offer nursing students a part-time option, creating a three-year program in addition to the current two-year program. This will help students who are not able to commit to full-time studies.

Finally, the grant will jumpstart the college’s development of paramedic and EMT training.

The proposed paramedic degree will be a nine-month, hands-on, skills-based program providing students with the technical skills for emergency medical and trauma situations. The degree will prepare students for the Oregon State and National Registry of Paramedic exams.

Oregon Employment Department forecasts employment in emergency medical technicians and paramedics to expand six pecent annually statewide until 2029, and 14.5 percent for the East Cascade region. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of EMT jobs at 12 percent through 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Of special concern in the Columbia Gorge region is the ever-increasing frequency of recreational accidents, as visitor numbers continue to escalate with the region’s popularity.

This EDA investment will be matched with $300,000 in local investment and is expected to create 21 jobs.

“Health care workers have been the cornerstone of our COVID-19 response over the last two years,” said Sen. Merkley. “I’m pleased this federal funding is headed to Columbia Gorge Community College to help bring new, dedicated individuals into this important work. This EDA grant will provide valuable workforce development programs, ensuring that new health care workers entering the profession are best prepared to keep the Mid-Columbia community safe and healthy.”

“I’ve heard from hardworking health care professionals all over Oregon how serious the need is for more colleagues to help care for Oregonians’ well-being in rural communities and statewide,” said Sen. Ron Wyden. “As our state works together to put this public health crisis in the rearview mirror, these federal funds provide crucial support to Columbia Gorge Community College to build out the healthcare workforce and provide career training for rural Oregonians wanting stable, good-paying and much-needed work opportunities.”

“The pandemic demonstrated the importance of having a sophisticated and well-trained healthcare workforce, and we remain tremendously grateful to our healthcare workers who were on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “President Biden recognizes this deeply and is dedicated to ensuring our healthcare workforce, and our nation as a whole, not only recovers from this pandemic, but builds back stronger. This EDA investment will help prepare Oregonians seeking new employment opportunities in the critical healthcare sector.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support Columbia Gorge Community College’s renovation and outfitting of an existing facility to boost capacity to provide training opportunities for nursing, paramedic, EMT, and other health sciences students.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act), which provided the US Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to communities. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Land Conservation and Development Commission Appoints Dr. Brenda Ortigoza Batemen as Agency Director

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SALEM – At their April 1, 2022 meeting, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC or Commission) appointed Dr. Brenda Ortizoga Bateman to serve as the next director for the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). DLCD’s Directors are appointed by the Commission. Dr. Bateman will begin on May 2, 2022. Dr. Bateman replaces Director Jim Rue, who has served as DLCD’s longest-tenured Director for eleven years.

Following the appointment, LCDC Commission Chair, Robin McArthur shared, “Commissioners take the responsibility of selecting new leadership for DLCD very seriously. The director position is one that requires not only the ability to lead and inspire staff, but the capacity to advance the agency on land use issues that matter to everyday Oregonians. From clean energy development, to managing our coast, taking on issues of housing supply, and preserving our natural resources; clear guidance and strong direction is imperative to DLCD’s success in these areas. While we were fortunate to have had a number of qualified candidates, which made the decision difficult, we are enthusiastic about our support of Dr. Bateman. I am confident the agency will thrive under her direction.”  

Chair McArthur commended the legacy of DLCD Director, Jim Rue; “I want to express the commission’s deep gratitude to Director Rue. Under his leadership, the department built on the strong planning framework of Oregon’s land use program to focus on implementing outcomes that resonate with all Oregonians including increasing housing and transportation choices, promoting equitable and climate friendly communities, and protecting working lands for farming and agricultural production. He has served Oregon well.”

Says Director Rue, “The work I have been able to accomplish at DLCD over the last several years has been the honor of a lifetime,” he said. “We have centered the agency in the important work of housing supply, climate action, equity and creating more sustainable communities.”

The commission looks forward to working with Dr. Bateman to continue that trajectory. Dr. Bateman comes to DLCD from Business Oregon, where she is the Chief Operating Officer / Assistant Director for Operations. During her 30-year career, she has served in strategic planning, implementation, and management roles, with a focus on natural resources policy. She serves on the Governor’s Climate Cabinet and is a Governor-appointee to the Oregon Geographic Information Council (OGIC). Previously, she served as Science Chief and Senior Policy Advisor at the Oregon Water Resources Department, co-authoring the 2012 and 2017 versions of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy. As past president of the American Water Resources Association, she represents the association internationally in venues such as the World Water Forum and World Water Congress. She has a doctorate in public policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.

Director Rue, DLCD staff and commissioners look forward to welcoming Dr. Bateman next month.

Condon School District welcomes new superintendent

The Condon School Board is pleased to announce and welcome Brian Schimel as the new Superintendent/Principal of the Condon School District effective July 1, 2022.

According to board chair, Ms. Schott, “We are very excited Mr. Brian Schimel will be joining the Condon School District as Superintendent/Principle in July. He’s highly qualified to continue and expand upon the projects and programs established by Mrs. Michelle Geer. Best of all, Mr. Schimel really likes our community and wants to be a part of it. We believe he’ll be a great partner and leader for years to come.”

Mr. Schimel has been the Director of Human Resources with the North Wasco School District since 2017. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of the Mosier Community School for four years. Mr. Schimel holds master’s degrees in educational leadership and business administration and earned his administrative credentials from the University of Oregon.

Mr. Schimel stated, “I am honored to serve as the next Superintendent/Principal of the Condon School District. I believe my education and experience as a teacher and administrator are in alginment with the needs and direction of the school district and community. During the course of the interview process, I increasingly became aware that Condon is both a vibrant and child centered environment. Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming months!”

The Condon School Board is pleased to have Brian Schimel as the next superintendent and looks forward to many successful years working together.

Sherman School Board discusses four-day week proposal with teachers

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Burnout, turnover concerns main topics of work session

Jessica R. Wheeler

The Sherman County School District Board of Directors met Wednesday in a special work session to discuss moving to a four-day school week for the 2022-23 academic calendar.

The board heard a presentation prepared by staff and teachers at Sherman, many of whom said they are overwhelmed and facing burnout.

Teachers shared data and information on a new proposed four-day week, followed by some questions and discussion by the board. The meeting ended with a handful of testimonials from teachers or staff, gathered anonymously and then read aloud for the board.

Health teacher Jessianne Miller kicked off by presenting the board with some data comparing details of the current 4.5-day school week with two different proposed four-day schedules.

First day of school would be Sept. 6, same as with the 4.5-day week, and the year would end approximately June 14. Holiday breaks such as Thanksgiving, winter and spring break also would remain mostly the same. She said that total instructional hours did not go down under the new plan — in fact, they went up in both cases.

“Both of the four-day proposal schedules actually have an increase in instructional time,” Miller said.

“I want to make it clear that Sherman County staff really does want what is best for kids. We do. We’re in this for a reason,” Miller said. “But after the last two years, it is really difficult.”

Miller said she’s thankful to work with such “amazing colleagues,” but acknowledges they, too, are facing challenges. She paused, her voice cracking with emotion.

“And when we go through and talk about this year, staff members are really struggling, and trying to voice that in a positive way,” she said. “The burnout is huge, and people are really trying. They want to be there for the kids. But it’s becoming too much.”

Speech Language Pathologist and special education teacher Kalie Rolfe said retaining existing teachers while also attracting new ones will be key to student success in coming years.

“Not only have we been asked to make a lot of changes, but students have been asked to make a lot of changes, and they haven’t been easy changes,” Rolfe said. “We would like to implement a change that would be positive. We feel as though a four-day week would have a positive impact not only on maintaining the current staff we already have, but attracting new staff to our district.”

Rolfe told the board about a recent trip she made to Oregon Career Fair on behalf of the district in an effort to recruit teachers and staff, maybe even a new principal — a role the district has been hoping to fill for the coming academic year.

Average attendance for applicants at that career fair in past years was about 3,000 — this year, that number was closer to 800, Rolfe said.

“Only 26 percent of the educators who would normally show up were there, because they’re either getting recruited straight out of school, or they’re leaving education altogether,” she said, adding it’s one of the few job forecasts that has a negative growth rate this year, at negative 16 percent.

“A lot of people don’t get into education for the glory and the money,” Rolfe said. “You get in it for the kids. And ultimately who’s going to suffer if they don’t have a teacher? Our students.”

Of the more than two dozen staff members initially polled, the majority were in favor of the change. A few were neutral, and two were against.

“If we have longer days, perhaps we can gain back some of that connection with our kids. Perhaps we can add in some more interventions for our kids,” Rolfe said. “Because there was some lost learning over Covid, and we all know that.”

Miller added that losing even another one or two teachers come fall could be devastating to staff.

“I think something people need to realize is, with gas prices and lots of people here who commute in — teachers are being poached, and it’s an open market,” Miller said. “In the past two years, staff members have taken on a lot of extras and have also been substituting — being pulled from one class on their prep time to cover another class. This is contributing to burnout that people are feeling, because you’re losing your prep time to walk in and cover, sometimes multiple times a day.”

Under the proposed four-day schedule, Fridays would become a full-day teacher workday, perhaps with additional interventions and enrichment activities for students.

Sherman parent Becky Hilderbrand spoke as a visitor, raising concerns about lengthening an already-long school day — especially for rural kids who have a long bus ride and very early morning pickup. She stressed the importance of decompression time for kids.

“My children will be on the bus before 7 a.m. every morning, and will be off after 4:30 p.m.” With nine hours of sleep and a long day of school, she said that leaves just four hours free time for homework or reading, hobbies, food and personal needs.

Hilderbrand was worried that some kids younger than hers would be picked up even earlier. She agreed half-day Friday is probably not hugely beneficial, but said that while four-day schedules might work well for other districts, most aren’t as spread out as Sherman, with long bus rides for young students.

“I understand it’s only four days a week, but that’s a long time for kids to be away from home,” Hilderbrand said.

Results of the survey put to members of the school community were released this week. Of 235 responses, more than 52 percent were from current parents, 18 percent from current students, 9 percent from community members, 8 percent from staff without students in school, and the small remainder evenly split between past parents of Sherman students and current staff who also are parents.

Of these respondents, more than 68 percent favored transitioning to a four-day week, and another 15 percent were undecided or had no preference. About 16 percent of respondents were opposed.

Among the concerns reported in the survey were number of instructional hours, longer days, food accessibility and child care availability. However, more than 50 percent reported they had no concerns at all about the proposed four-day schedule.

Superintendent Wes Owens said he was still taking in all the information presented and that he could not yet comment on the proposal, other than to ask: “Is there a schedule structure or calendar that will better serve our students, staff and community that supports our mission statement?”

Most board members had some questions for the group.

“There’s so many questions in my mind and I don’t know what to ask,” Kristie Coelsch said. “I’m not willing to jump into something until I have more facts, and I don’t know how to get them.”

“I am a person that likes to base everything on fact, and especially kids education stuff, I really want to base that on fact,” Coelsch said. “If you guys have ideas on how to find that info so that we could move forward that way — because that is the thing that weighs the most heavy on me right now. How do you find the data to know what’s best for kids? I can tell you what’s good for my kids, but it’s not good for everybody’s kids. Or I might think something’s good for my kids, and really it’s not.”

Rolfe said it all comes down to quality over quantity.

“You could go seven days a week, and if you didn’t have a quality instructor, it wouldn’t matter. Or you could go four full days and have a quality teacher teaching, and that makes the difference,” Rolfe said. “But I don’t know where the data is for that, or if anybody could even find that.”

Board chair Jesse Stutzman said he understands the staff at Sherman is pretty much maxed out, and that’s true at other schools as well, across the state and nationwide.

“Like Kristie, I see a lot of pluses in this, and I’m completely open-minded,” Stutzman said.

But he brought up a question for the group: What about that segment of the school community, however small, for whom this plan does not work? What if on Fridays, parents work and nobody is home, so kids will be in daycare or home alone, perhaps with limited access to food?

Board member Jeremy Lanthorn also had some questions for the proposal. He wanted to know more about how it has affected staff retention at similar districts with four-day weeks; how it affects student learning and test scores; how it affects graduation rates; and how the busing system would be impacted.

Coelsch made it clear this would not be a quick process.

“I hope that people are patient with us, because this is a big ask to make this decision in a month or two, in my opinion,” she said. “I don’t think that we have enough information at this point, for myself, to make a decision one way or the other.”

“My hope would be that we can get a committee together, mixed with people we haven’t heard from, and community members, people that are on other boards, to get some information for us and help us decide. I don’t think that us five want to, or should be, making this decision for the whole entire school community. I think we need a lot more input.”

Stutzman echoed that sentiment.

“I agree, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said, referring to a quick decision.

He said there would be a lot of logistics to put this plan together and it would take time.

Lanthorn asked about a timeline regarding when a decision would need to be made. Historically the calendars are typically set by March or April, Owens said. This is to give staff and students the chance to make their plans for next year before summer.

Coelsch asked if there might be other options or solutions they hadn’t considered yet.

“We are hearing you — I am hearing you. I don’t want you guys to walk away defeated, because that is not at all what my goal is here,” Coelsch said.

The board will revisit the discussion at its next regular meeting, set for 6 p.m. Monday, April 11.

Nature of Oregon Day proclaimed on April 7

NEWS RELEASE 
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 

odfw.com 

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF) encourage all Oregonians to celebrate April 7 as Nature of Oregon Day. 

The Nature of Oregon Day represents a new opportunity for all Oregonians to bring awareness to critical conservation goals and reduce barriers for underserved communities to connect with the outdoors.   

“Oregon is renowned for its natural beauty, bounty, and unique places from our iconic forests to our stunning shorelines and majestic mountains,” said Governor Kate Brown. “April 7th is Nature of Oregon Day––let’s celebrate by getting outside and enjoying Oregon’s amazing outdoor recreation opportunities. And let’s take a moment to recognize what a healthy environment means for Oregonians of all backgrounds and walks of life,” added Brown.  

More than 4 million people and 700 species make Oregon home. Healthy landscapes are as vital to the animals and plants that live here as they are to our own physical, social, and economic well-being. The Conservation and Recreation Fund was established to work alongside ODFW and the Oregon Conservation Strategy, a blueprint for conserving Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitats. The program provides grants to projects that benefit Conservation Strategy species and also support community-science research, outdoor equity and recreation accessibility. 

“ODFW is dedicated to protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Through the support of the OCRF, we can continue to promote access and opportunities for Oregonians to enjoy our great state,” said Curt Melcher, Director ODFW. 

Growing pressures from population growth and environmental changes make stewarding our natural resources increasingly challenging. In addition, far too many individuals face significant barriers to engaging in the outdoors.  

“The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund is excited to continue to work alongside all sectors to build a broader conservation and recreation legacy,” said Karl Wenner, OCRF Chairperson. “Together we can protect and maintain our communities – plants, animals, and humans – for generations to come. This is the Nature of Oregon,” added Wenner. 

The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF) is a public-private partnership created in 2019, which has distributed roughly $2 million dollars of funds in support of over 60 projects focused on a wide range of projects from community-science research to outdoor equity and recreation accessibility, and even wildlife safety. More information on the OCRF can be found at OregonIsAlive.org

Gilliam Co. Court approves 8.1% wage increase for employees

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CONDON – The Gilliam County Court has approved of an 8.1% wage increase for all union, non-union and sheriff’s office employees – effective immediately.

No elected officials will be eligible for the pay bump, only county staff.

Typically, wage increases are set at 3.5% and are done on July 1st.

During the meeting on April 6, Judge Farrar Campbell introduced a resolution to increase wages immediately and effective April 1. The court unanimously passed the resolution.

Judge Farrar Campbell said that inflation and the rising cost of groceries, gas and other expenses warranted the increase. Commissioners Shannon and Wilkins agreed.

The pay increase will not impact new hires for the county, who will go through their regular increase on July 1.

Employees that are eligible for the pay raise will not be eligible for another increase until July 1, 2023.

Governor Kate Brown Announces Sherman County Justice Court Vacancy

Judge McDermid to retire from Sherman County Justice Court


(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown announced today that she is accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Sherman County Justice Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Ron McDermid. The Governor thanked Judge McDermid for his dedicated judicial service, and announced that she will fill the position by appointment. Judge McDermid’s retirement takes effect July 31, 2022.

The Governor’s office will use its standard Circuit Court Interest Form for this Justice Court vacancy. Interested applicants should address their completed application forms to Dustin Buehler, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, and email (no mail or hand delivery) those completed forms to Shevaun Gutridge at shevaun.gutridge@oregon.gov. Forms must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Governor Kate Brown fills judicial vacancies based on merit. She encourages applications from individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. ORS 51.240 sets forth the qualifications for office. Applicants should review the statute to confirm their eligibility for appointment. 
 
To receive answers to questions about the appointment process, or to request an interest form, contact Shevaun Gutridge at 503-378-6246 or shevaun.gutridge@oregon.gov.

The judicial interest form is also available online.