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What gives them the right to take away our rights?

Americans love their freedom. Take some of it away and there will be angry protests. Yet the president of the United States, the state, the county and the cities are allowed to take some freedoms away during times of crisis or emergency. In Oregon, cities or counties have authority under Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 401 to declare a state of emergency. Cities and counties long have been required to have an adopted emergency operations plan and a designated emergency services coordinator. In (continued)

Middle school construction plans approved

Warrenton planning commissioners have approved the school district’s future school complex, keeping with the district’s plans to break ground on a new middle school in May and open for classes there in fall 2021. The 57-acre complex is south of Walmart and will be accessed by a new street off Dolphin Road named Warrior Way. Eventually, the site will hold three separate campuses – elementary, middle school and high school. The three-hour public hearing on March 12 covered traffic, roads, (continued)

Two county commission seats, two measures on local ballot

Voters in some areas will get to select or return two members to the Clatsop County Commission during the May 19 primary election. All voters in the county get to decide whether to approve continuing for five years the property tax for Clatsop County Fairgrounds operations. Measure 4-203 would levy 0.07 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property owners, raising about $500,000 per year for the fairgrounds. A second measure will be on the ballot of those living within the Cannon Beach Fire (continued)

Business and development tidbits for March 20

** High school wins a grant ** The Portland Trailblazers bestowed a $9,600 Take it to the Court grant to Warrenton High School for its STEM/CTE program. The grant was written to purchase welding gear and to increase the number of girls in the welding program. The campus was one of 24 to receive the grants this year. Speaking of WHS’s welding program, Bergeson Construction and JBT Lektro both donated metal for use by students, a huge help as they begin active weld tests and other hands-on (continued)

Strategically placed fuel breaks expected to help control humongous wildfires

Eleven thousand miles of strategically placed fuel breaks will diminish the severity of the West’s great wildfires, the Bureau of Land Management contends. The agency has developed an extensive plan to construct and maintain the breaks in its Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin, which covers 223 million acres in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The document, expected to be put into action soon, analyzes a full suite of manual, (continued)

City hires new building inspector

The city of Warrenton has hired a new residential building inspector. The hiring of Christian Jensen helps round out a department strained by varied projects large and small during the past two years. Jensen will do residential plan reviews, plus structural, plumbing and mechanical inspections. He is the third employee in the Building Department, which includes Building Official Bob Johnston and Building Technician Janice Weese. The city carved off Community and Economic Development into its (continued)

Road work: Bugle Way on its way

** Warrenton ** ** Work crews have begun constructing Bugle Way, a new road in the North Coast Business Park. The new street is 650 feet long initially, but is likely to extend farther north as the park develops. The street runs from Ensign Lane to Southeast 19th Street, roughly between the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Shelter. ** There could be single-lane closures on Youngs Bay Bridge during night hours on weekdays with up to 20-minute delays. A pilot car will assist (continued)

It's a new world

Coronavirus strain is changing us locally, regionally

Spring is associated with nature and human renewal, daffodils blooming and robins feasting on the first mowed lawn of the year. Yet we’ll look back on Spring 2020 as the point when our lives changed. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic last week. And, by the time you read this, there will be more change, more disruption, more panic and pain. Nothing is as it was. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued back-to-back-to-back executive orders, cancelling all events of 250 or more, (continued)

Where to find food

Any children living within the Warrenton-Hammond School District can receive food daily. Breakfast will be available weekdays in the cafeteria at Warrenton Grade School. Grab-and-go meals that include lunch and breakfast items for the next day are available here: ** Warrenton Grade School, 820 S.W. Cedar Ave., 11:30 to noon. ** Alder Manor bus stop, 110 N.W. Fourth St., 11-11:30 a.m. ** Old Hammond library, 861 Pacific Drive, Hammond, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ** Sunset Park, across from Sunset (continued)

Warrenton to restrict new water connections outside city limits

Warrenton has stopped approving new hookups to the city water system from developments outside the city. The new policy was approved at Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting and is effective immediately. Limiting connections has been on the radar since a 2018 study showed the city’s water supply could be inadequate during peak summer months to meet the needs of water customers in 15 to 20 years. “I get concerned about not acting fast enough,” said Mayor Henry Balensifer, who made the (continued)

City's new fire rules to cover burn barrels, debris piles

Before striking that match, you may need to ensure you’re not doing something illegal. Warrenton is poised to adopt new rules regarding outdoor burning. While barbecues and small recreational fires in backyard fire pits would be allowed without a permit, all other forms of burning within city limits would be regulated. “Most of our complaints that come are from people clearing their lots … to prepare it for building,” Fire Chief Brian Alsbury said. The new rules, which require a public (continued)

Coast radio wins grant to improve transmitter

The nonprofit Coast Community Radio received a $7,000 grant from The Templin Foundation of Pacific County, Wash., to repair, replace and update its broadcast equipment. The public radio’s transmitter site is on Megler Mountain in Pacific County. “We’re extremely grateful to the Templin Foundation for their generous grant,” Station Manager Graham Nystrom said. “Thanks to the Templin Foundation, our transmitter site will be ready for the next 20 years of community broadcasting in (continued)

OSU to add housing in Newport

Oregon State University plans to construct new student housing adjacent to the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to support the university’s marine studies program. “University leaders have developed a plan to phase construction of student housing in Newport,” said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing. “The construction will take place outside the tsunami inundation zone.” The housing will be built on approximately 5 acres of OSU-owned property in (continued)

Five arts groups with local ties win state grants

Small grants that can make a big difference in ensuring residents have access to the arts have been awarded to 101 organizations statewide by the Oregon Arts Commission. Five of those groups are based in or have ties to Clatsop County. They are Astoria Arts and Movement Center, Astoria Visual Arts, Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita, North Coast Chorale, and 45th Parallel of Portland, which has been lending musicians and performing this year at the Liberty Theatre. The small operati (continued)

Program takes aim at ensuring healthier newborns

Families in Clatsop County and seven other areas of the state will be among the first given an option of receiving nurse home visits after the birth of a child. The new statewide initiative, called Family Connects, is the result of Senate Bill 526, which was passed by the state legislature last year. The eight “early-adopter communities” are part of the Oregon Health Authority’s debut of a program that eventually will become nationwide. Family Connects is a voluntary, evidence-based model (continued)

College students use more marijuana in states where it's legal, but binge drink less

Marijuana use among college students has been trending up for years, but in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, use has jumped even higher. An Oregon State University study published in the medical periodical Addiction in January shows that in states where marijuana was legalized by 2018, both occasional and frequent use among college students has continued to rise beyond the first year of legalization, suggesting an ongoing trend rather than a brief period of experimentation. (continued)

Columnists & Other Opinions

Mayor's Message: Warrenton's strength is found in its people

Life has certainly changed in our town, our state, our country and the world. This has been a significantly challenging time for our region and for we, the people. It’s not enough to support individuals, if their places of employment are out of business at the end of this. It’s not enough to support businesses if nobody can pay their bills at the end of this. In short, we’re all in this together. Landlord, tenant, employer and employee. Your City Commission has been actively advocating (continued)

Senior Moments: Remember, this too shall pass

Much angst and anxiety exist in our lives at this time. A few weeks ago, a lady who volunteers at the Warrenton Senior Meals site delighted me with the gift of a little book, “A Senior Moment is Just a Wrinkle in Time.” It contains prayers, sayings and chuckles. I was thumbing through it and, on page 93, found a reminder to all of us: “God’s office hours: 24/7 -- always open! And we can smile because we know God has this covered.” In light of all the closures, interruptions an (continued)

Financial Focus with Adam Miller: Will your money last as long as you do?

What do your fellow citizens fear most? Almost half of them – 49 percent – are most afraid of running out of money during retirement, a higher percentage than the 44% whose chief concern is failing health, according to a recent survey by Aegon Center for Longevity and other groups. What steps can you take to help ensure your money will last as long as you do? Here are a few suggestions: • Estimate your longevity. None of us can say for sure how long we’ll live. However, you can mak (continued)

Senior Moments: Walking helps overcome the blues

I’m not sure who said it, but think about this: “During the first third of life, everyone told you what to do. During the second third of life, you told everyone else what to do. And during the final third of your life, everyone’s telling you what to do again. The good thing is that you can’t hear ’em, so you don’t care.” Sometimes, we seniors tend to feel sorry for ourselves. You ask me how I know that? I am a mature in years senior, so I have experience feeling sorry for myself. (continued)

Senior Moments: Seniors can be a powerful force

Many seniors are acquainted with the virtues of old age. At my stage of life, I can act like a little old lady when it helps my situation or I can express wisdom from years of life’s lessons. With age comes advantage. Another virtue I think is that our spirituality becomes more intense, kind of like “cramming for finals”! Oh, yes, we look back on life experiences both good and bad. The most current census estimate (Aug. 28, 2019) shows that there are 31,051 adults in Clatsop County, 8,015 (continued)


Do the kids need a bedtime story?

Warrenton Community Library officially closed this week, at least through April 4. But Tuesday and Saturday children’s story times and other gatherings were closed earlier this month. Mayor Henry Balensifer is picking up the slack. “Storytime with the Mayor,” geared for children but open to everyone, can be heard at 7 p.m. Fridays on his Facebook page. Just search on Facebook for “Mayor Henry Balensifer.” In addition, the library has been posting online resources available to (continued)

Arts camp taking registration

Astoria Art Loft is sponsoring two summer camps for children interested in art and music. Art and music are essential to optimal child development, the group says. Children do better in reading and math, and they develop fine motor skills and enhanced concentration by participating in the arts. The weeklong camps are for children ages 7 through 13. The first camp is June 22 through 27 and the second is Aug. 3 through 8 at Astoria Art Loft, 106 Third St. The cost for each week is $100, with some (continued)

Carpentry skills sought for little library program

The Astoria, Seaside and Warrenton public libraries seek do-it-yourselfers to build a Little Free Library for their auction on Friday, May 15. All proceeds will benefit Reading Outreach in Clatsop County. ROCC is a nonprofit program that provides free library cards to children younger than 19 who reside in rural areas not served by a public library. It also furnishes a courier service between schools and libraries in the county, along with supporting a countywide summer reading program. Further (continued)

Master Gardeners to offer two scholarships

High school seniors interested in careers in horticulture or related fields are eligible for two scholarships from the Clatsop County Master Gardeners. The $1,000 scholarships will be given to two class of 2020 graduates. Applications are available from school counselors or from the OSU Extension office, 2001 Marine Drive, Astoria. Deadline is April 17. For more information, call 503-325-8573. (continued)

Police and Public Safety

Public safety calls for week of March 20

** Warrants ** Warrant service, 10:33 p.m. March 14, Goodwill parking lot. Dennis Lee McQuire, 47, no known address, was arrested on a failure to appear warrant. ** Drugs ** Switched license plates, 4:02 a.m. March 15, storage units on Northeast Fifth Street. Subject was stopped for having mismatched license plates. Devin Michael Fields, 27, no known address, was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and theft of lost or mislaid property. He was booked at Clatsop County Jail. ** (continued)

Man pleads not guilty to 11 charges after high-speed downtown pursuit

The man who led officers on a high-speed chase through downtown Warrenton on Feb. 29 faces additional charges. Cody Alexander Arnett, 27, of Vancouver was arrested after a manhunt around the Premarq Center and Shilo Inn. According to police reports and court documents, Arnett and a woman who was with him both were driving vehicles stolen from the Vancouver area. At some point, while Arnett was driving a white Audi and the woman was driving a Ford Explorer, a communication between them prompted (continued)

Local officers graduate from police academy

Two of Warrenton Police Department’s newest recruits graduate today from the basic police academy in Salem. The academy is sponsored by Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. It’s the agency’s 396th basic academy graduation. The 16-week class includes training in survival skills, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, ethics, cultural diversity, problem solving, community policing, elder abuse, and drug recognition. Officers Madyson Hanna and Dylan McCoy were hired (continued)

Public safety calls for week of March 13

** Warrants ** Warrant service, 10:47 p.m. March 4, TJ Maxx. Matthew C. Ruljancich, 31, of Seaside was arrested on a restraining order violation and booked at Clatsop County Jail. Violation of parole, 11:29 a.m. March 3, Fultano’s Pizza. Jennifer Rose Meyers, 35, of Vernonia was arrested on a felony warrant from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and booked at Clatsop County Jail. ** Drugs ** Field interview, 10:24 p.m. March 3, Second Street at Marlin Avenue. Angela Marie Cushman, 39, of (continued)


School district to hire some new administrators

Some new leadership is in the future for Warrenton’s schools. Warrenton Grade School Principal Robbie Porter resigned suddenly for personal reasons and Vice Principal Sean O’Malley has submitted his resignation, effective in 2021. In addition, opening of the new middle school in August 2021 means an administrative staff will be needed there. “The timing of this is somewhat how the universe works sometimes,” said Tom Rogozinski, superintendent of the Warrenton-Hammond School District. (continued)

College news for March 20

** Gonzaga University ** Two Astoria residents have achieved honors at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Caroline Jennica Kotson was named to the president’s list for fall semester. The honor is for students who earn a 3.85 to 4.0 grade-point average. Rory Christopher Loughran was named to the dean’s list for fall semester, an honor reserved for those earning at least a 3.5 grade-point average. ** Eastern Oregon University ** Noni Webster of Warrenton and Danielle Williams of Cannon (continued)