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City, Main Street Market and others win business awards

The city of Warrenton and several local businesses won awards recently at a ceremony honoring outstanding businesses. The awards were presented by Clatsop Economic Development Resources, or CEDR, during a banquet April 11 at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. About 200 people attended. Warrenton received the “Business and Community Building” award, a bit unusual since the awards are designed for for-profit companies. “We had so many nominations from citizens and others in the (continued)

In my Easter bonnet

A pair of photos that are 60 years in the making. (continued)

Coast Guard makes major meth arrest at sea

The Astoria-based U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alert was on routine patrol last week when it stopped a suspicious vessel and discovered the captain was carrying 196 gallons of suspected liquid methamphetamine. A criminal complaint was filed April 11 in federal court against John Phillip Stirling, 65, a citizen of Canada, alleging he was in possession of the methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. The cutter’s crew detected a sailing vessel headed north 225 nautical miles from Newport, (continued)

Warriors varsity baseball team riding a 5-2 season

Warrenton High School's baseball team walked away with a double-header win last week. In two games against Taft High School in Lincoln City, the Warriors came away with 7-5 and 3-2 wins. Then on Monday against Willamina, the team breezed to a 21-1 win. There have been two losses so far this season, 1-7 against Knappa on March 13 and 1-8 against Santiam Christian on March 29. (continued)

County Commission seeks citizens for advisory panels

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners made some appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Update Citizen Advisory Committees on March 27, but more members are needed. Representatives are needed to serve on six advisory panels as part of a 33-month project to update the county’s six community plans and the comprehensive plan. “We’re looking for county residents, property owners, business owners and/or employees from the unincorporated areas of the county to join representatives from other (continued)

Fries with that? Long-awaited Wendy's opens

“I’m so glad I don’t have to drive to Vancouver any more to get my Wendy’s,” exclaimed Dan Arnoth of Astoria. He and friends, Doug and Debra Kaup, were among the first in town to be served at the new Wendy’s restaurant, which opened to about 100 invited guests for a “dry run” Tuesday afternoon. The restaurant opened to the public Wednesday morning. “We’ve been working on it for a year and a half,” said Steve Harris, the franchisee. His new store is the third burg (continued)

Repairs to Head Start building crucial, city contends

The Head Start building at Robinson Community Park needs major repairs and city leaders are contemplating the unusual situation that has the city as owner but with little say over the building’s operation. “Those before us hung us out to dry,” Commissioner Mark Baldwin said, calling it a prime example of a city that builds something it can’t afford to maintain simply because a construction grant was available. “We shot ourselves in the foot the day we took ownership of it,” Mayor (continued)

Fisher/cable cooperative gets industry honor

The Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee, an Astoria-based company, got some unprecedented national exposure this week. OFCC Chairman Scott McMullen presented a paper, along with co-author Rob Munier, on sharing the seabed with fishermen at the SubOptic 2019 conference in New Orleans. SubOptic is the longest running, most comprehensive submarine cable industry conference in the world. The Astoria company’s founding two decades ago helped place Oregon in the forefront of fiber cable placement (continued)

Historic hotel wins $2.8 million grant

The historic Merwyn Hotel in downtown Astoria won a $2.88 million award from Oregon Housing and Community Services. The award is one of 11 projects throughout the state to get LIFT or Local Innovation and Fast Track money. Statewide more than $34.9 billion will be used to fund 466 new affordable homes. The Merwyn project will create 40 homes in the grand but deteriorating former hotel on Duane Street, adjacent to Astoria’s library. There will be a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments, (continued)

CCC student wins summer spot at Columbia University

Itsamar Benitez, a student in Clatsop Community College’s TRIO program, was selected to participate in a summer curriculum for health majors at Columbia University in New York. TRIO student support services is a federally funded grant program for first-generation, low-income and disabled students. The program aims to develop future health care professionals who will serve as community health leaders throughout the country. She’ll get exposed to a variety of health fields including (continued)

Preparing a canvas for art and the young child

Some of the world’s most beloved artists started young. Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Georgia O’Keeffe were painting by their early teens. The works of some of our region’s youngest artists will be included in the Second Saturday Art Walk in downtown Astoria. Who knows? The next Michelangelo could be among them. “I think it empowers them to become artists,” said Michelle DeVos, preschool instructor and supervisor at Warrenton Prep Preschool. “They get to show off their work at a (continued)

You may need to quench that burning desire

Have a pile of old branches in the yard you’d like to burn? Use caution, because the city’s rules are, well, confusing. And they might conflict with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s rules, which might conflict with the Department of Environmental Quality’s rules. Problems arose last month when a contractor began burning large piles of alder that had been cleared from property off Alternate Highway 101. The large hot fires created an inversion layer on the overcast day, which made the (continued)

Living near protected parks and land brings big benefits

Living near a protected area can improve aspects of human well-being across the developing world, new research published this week suggests. Protected areas are defined geographic spaces such as national parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas that are managed with the goal of long-term conservation. They are one of the chief tools used to conserve biodiversity around the world. In addition to Fort Stevens State Park and Lewis & Clark National Park, Warrenton and Clatsop County have several (continued)

Columnists & Other Opinions

Eggs, baskets and other trivia

I’d promised to talk about the puzzle of when Easter arrives and, since Sunday is Palm Sunday, I’d better get with it. But first, why do we call the Sunday before Easter Palm Sunday? Be ready grandmas and grandpas; you will be asked that question. The simplest explanation is from the Bible, Matthew 21:1-9 and Revelation 7:9. “At the end of the Bible, people from every nation raise palm branches to honor Jesus,” according to Wikipedia. “Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus (continued)

Mayor's Message: City's rebranding focuses on the wild side

If you follow the city of Warrenton’s Facebook page, read last week’s The Columbia Press, or recently received a letter from the city, you may have noticed we have a new logo. The new look better represents our city and our marketing strategy. The logo is a circle inscribed with “The City of Warrenton” around the edge. Inside the circle is a scene that includes a soaring bird of prey, a small stand of spruce, and a fish jumping out of a stream. In the foreground is a Roosevelt elk (continued)

Letter to the editor: Information sought on truck that collided with pedestrian

On Monday, March 11, at approximately 10:20 a.m., I was walking across the crosswalks on Eighth and Commercial streets near the courthouse and the post office in Astoria. As I was making my way to the post office, a white truck was stopped over the crosswalk and I had to go around the front of this truck, which is when he ran into the left side of my body. The man driving the truck was an elderly (late 70s) Caucasian man. My opinion is that this was, No. 1, a hit and run; No. 2, careless (continued)

Senior Moments: Where did our work ethic go?

To quote a rather obscure person on work ethics, “If I couldn’t do a job both quickly and well, I would rather do it well than quickly.” I think this is true of most of us seniors. Ethics is defined by as “the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.” Wikipedia defines work ethics as “a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and an inherent ability, virtue or value to strengthen character and individual abilities.” (continued)


Crabfest: It's celebration time in Clatsop County

It’s festival time for those who love living here and those who love to celebrate the bounty the land and sea provide. The 37th annual Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival has arrived and will fill the county fair’s expo center with 155 vendors selling the requisite seafood and wine, but also fine arts and crafts. There are more than 50 wine vendors, 80 artists and 10 food sellers. “It’s going to be great,” said Kelsey Balensifer, the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of (continued)

Crabfest: Getting a sip of the best Northwest wines

Wine is a big part of every Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival. It’s such a big deal that a pre-festival event, UnWined, is held earlier in the year to pay tribute to the winemakers and let experts and the public select their favorites. This year, UnWined was March 2 and five judges awarded prizes to 50 outstanding wines. Initially there was a blind tasting. The top-scoring reds and whites were then tasted again by the judges. The winning red and white wines were named “Best of Show” while (continued)

Crabfest: Where being crabby and coming hungry is essential

Few things are as memorable as that first bite of Dungeness crab. Well, a close rival could be a bowl of perfect clam chowder made from fresh North Coast razor clams. And, unless you hate all things seafood, a cheesy bread with shrimp or crab is something to be craved. Visitors to the Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival can eat like kings while there or purchase canned and packaged specialties to take home. There will be jerkies, seafood canned locally and treats like smoked clams (continued)

Crabfest: Entertainment includes Northwest favorites and newcomers

The Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival features live music on two stages during all three days of the event. Lum’s Auto Center in Warrenton is the festival’s entertainment sponsor. They’ll have a car on display by the main stage that will be raffled off after the fair. Some festival favorites are returning, other acts are new but destined to be favorites, such at Holus Bolus, a psychedelic loop artist, event director Kelsey Balensifer said. ** Friday Trio Eclectique (continued)

Crabfest: Vendors offer unique and one-of-a-kind items

While many fairs and festivals have a large building full of vendors, Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival offers something special. “One of the things we focus on is handcrafted or personally produced items,” said Kelsey Balensifer, event director for the chamber of commerce. “You can actually interact with those who have made your item. We think that’s a unique experience,” she said. “We really focus on the personal interaction side of things.” Artist Don Nisbett of (continued)

Crabfest: Times and other important details

If you go What: The 2019 Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival When: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28 Where: Clatsop County Fairgrounds, 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria Cost: $15 for adults on Friday and Saturday; $10 on Sunday $5 for children 5-12; Free for those younger and free to all children on Sunday $5 for seniors and members of the military with ID on Sunday (continued)

Crabfest: Getting to the festival and what you need to know

Parking for a big event can be daunting. No doubt about it, the best way to get to the crab fest is by shuttle. There are six shuttle routes in Astoria, Warrenton and Hammond, all of them stopping near major hotels and campgrounds. Cost is $3 round trip (exact change only). If wine is your thing, it’s great to know you won’t have to drive after the festival. And parking at the fairgrounds is expensive ($15 per vehicle). Shuttles run Friday starting at 5 p.m., Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. (continued)

Forest Remembers is for those who've lost loved ones

The Forest Remembers, a memorial honoring friends and loved ones who have died, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Circle Creek Conservation Center south of downtown Seaside. Each year, the staff, board, and volunteers of North Coast Land Conservancy gather in the center’s memorial grove and the public is invited to take part. Participants gather at the big barn and walk to the nearby grove of ancient Sitka spruces. There, names of all those who have b (continued)

Trip to movies helps fund scholarships

“Movie Dollars for Scholars,” a benefit to raise money to provide scholarships for young women, is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. The benefit is sponsored by the Seaside American Association of University Women’s Scholarship Foundation. Tickets are $30 and include popcorn, a beverage, and the chance to see this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, “Green Book.” The Times Theatre in Seaside will host the event, making it possible for more than 70 percent of the ticket price to g (continued)

Your opinions sought for new business area

The public is invited to a three-day drop-in-anytime open house to help develop plans for one of Warrenton’s newest commercial areas. The Spur 104 Master Plan Charrette is the city’s first “pop-up” event, Community Development Director Kevin Cronin said. It will be held in the historic Fenton Grocery Building, what many have called the “Brown Building” because of its color, 60 S. Main Ave. in downtown Warrenton. ** Workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; open house, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 7. (continued)

CMH releases its list of classes

FREE Community Mindfulness Group. Most of us at some time deal with high-stress, high-emotion situations. It can be difficult to stay focused. Mindfulness is a de-stressor that will improve clarity and inner resilience so that you can be non-distracted and present with those around you, while taking care of yourself. Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday, 7-7:45 am, CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative, 1905 Exchange Street, Astoria.  Drop-in, no registration required. Please call 503-338-4520 for more (continued)

Artists present their interpretations of the forest

Forest Visions, a forest-focused contemporary art exhibit, opens Saturday, April 1, at Clatsop Community College’s Royal Nebeker Art Gallery, 1799 Lexington Ave., Astoria. Featured artists include Astoria photographer Robert Adams, painters Kim Osgood, Laura Ross-Paul, Michael Brophy, and Rita Robillard, and sculptor Lee Imonen. Each artist interpreted the forest individually, curator Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson said. “Some of their imagery appears singularly critical of current logging (continued)

Fishing: State to stock local lakes

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has released its schedule for stocking local lakes. Smith Lake will be stocked March 18-22 and April 22-26. Cullaby Lake will be stocked March 18-22. Vernonia Lake will be stocked March 18-22, April 1-5, and April 29-May 3. Sunset Lake will be stocked April 1-5, April 22-26, and Sept. 16-20. Coffenbury Lake will be stocked March 18-22, April 1-5, April 22-26, May 27-31, and Sept. 16-20. (continued)

Symphonic band announces its 38th season

North Coast Symphonic Band returns to the Liberty Theatre for its 38th season in October. The community band, with Dave Becker as conductor and musical director, is a self-supporting nonprofit group with 50 volunteer musicians. The group provides two of its four annual concerts for free. The first concert of the season is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. “Dances of Enchantment” will feature a collaboration between the North Coast Symphonic Band and 3 Leg Torso, a well-known ethnic folk band from (continued)

Police and Public Safety

Fire quickly extinguished in illegal camp off Highway 101

A homeless camp in the woods behind the Goodwill store caught fire Saturday evening, police and fire officials reported. Officer Christopher Beem was among the first officers on the scene. After checking to see if anyone was injured or staying in the camp, he helped slow the fire’s spread with a fire extinguisher, Police Chief Matt Workman said. Firefighters quickly got the blaze under control. “Even though there were no structures directly adjacent to the fire, the heavily wooded area does (continued)

Public safety calls for week of April 12

** Warrants Warrant service, 7:48 p.m. April 7, 900 block of Northwest Warrenton Drive. Joseph William Blackler, 37, of Warrenton was arrested on a warrant from Jefferson County and for violating conditions of a release agreement. ** Thefts and burglaries Theft, 4:02 a.m. March 26, Arnie’s Café. Richard J. Simmons, 53, of Warrenton was cited for criminal second-degree theft. Vehicle burglary, 12:02 p.m. April 2, Rite Aid. Christina Lee Yanez, 38, with no known address was arrested on (continued)

Police coax down barricaded man with gun

Officers responding to a disturbance involving a man with a gun found themselves dealing with a barricaded subject early Saturday. Wade Allen Cizek, 58, of Hammond was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and menacing following the hourlong stand-off in the 500 block of Northwest Ridge Road in Hammond. The call came in shortly after midnight. When officers arrived, the door was answered by another family member who told them the person causing the disturbance was upstairs. Cizek refused (continued)

Felon escapes custody, prompts search

A man who was being arrested on felony warrants ran from sheriff’s deputies Monday, leading to a multi-agency manhunt in Hammond. Daniel C. Lunsford, 29, eventually was taken into custody and booked at Clatsop County Jail on escape charges as well as warrants from Clatsop and Tillamook counties. Deputies were serving the warrants at 8:52 a.m. when they issued a call for help to locate the man in the 0-100 block of Tyee Street near Fort Stevens State Park. Warrenton Police Officer Christopher (continued)

EMT named responder of the year

At our recent banquet, Seth Czehatowski was awarded “Emergency Medical Responder of the Year.” Seth is originally from Redding, Calif. He was a seasonal firefighter for wildland before graduating from high school. Czehatowski has an associate’s degree in Natural Resources from Shasta Community College. He got his Emergency Medical Technician training at Shasta Community College in 2012. In 2013, he took an opening on the fire crew for the Oregon Department of Forestry in Astoria. During (continued)

Man caught on home surveillance stealing cans

A man carrying a bag of cans was arrested on three charges after an officer linked him to thefts at a nearby home. Darren Robert Myers, 26, of Astoria was charged with criminal trespassing, theft and providing false information to police. A woman in the 800 block of King Salmon Street in Hammond reported two separate thefts last month, one of glass fishing floats and the other a bag of aluminum cans. The thief in both cases was captured on her home surveillance system. An officer driving on (continued)

Public safety calls for week of April 5

** Warrants Warrant service, 12:09 p.m. March 28, 1000 block King Salmon Place. Dennis James Wentz, 48, with no known address, was arrested on a Clatsop County parole violation detainer warrant. Warrant service, 2:11 p.m. March 28, 0-100 block Southwest Main Court. Teddy Ray Slate, 41, of Warrenton was arrested on a felony warrant from Clackamas County. ** Thefts and burglaries Shoplifting, 6:26 p.m. March 25, Walmart. Craig Michael Stephens, 44, of Garibaldi and Sabrina J. Tomeoni, 30, of (continued)


Registration set for those entering grade school

KinderConnect and Head Start are sponsoring a pre-registration day for children who will enter Warrenton Grade School is slated for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 26. Pre-registration will take place at the school, 820 S.W. Cedar Ave. Head Start is taking applications for the 2018-19 school year. Applications are available online at or call 503-556-3736. Children that will be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1 may be eligible. (continued)

Program hands out 1,000th book

Volunteers from SMART, Start Making A Reader Today, distributed the 1,000th book to a student in the program at Warrenton Grade School on Thursday. The program pairs adult volunteers with children for weekly one-on-one reading sessions. Volunteers model the joy of reading, while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently. The intention of SMART is to improve literacy through early reading support, access to books and community participation. (continued)