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Governor imposes face mask rule statewide

A statewide requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces began July 1. The guidance applies to businesses and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores. “The choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter,” Gov. Kate Brown said in making her announcement. “Face coverings that cover your nose and mouth play a critical role in reducing the spread of this disease because droplets from our breath can carry the virus to others (continued)

College game highlights local athletes

It was the bottom of the seventh, the final inning of a seven-inning practice game on the baseball field at Astoria’s Tapiola Park on Saturday, June 27. At bat was the Lower Columbia College team from Longview, Wash., for potentially its last at bat of the game — they were down 3-1, losing to the team from Lakeside School, a private institution whose alumni include Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. LCC’s Ashden Meyer led off the inning with a base hit to left field. Austin (continued)

Children still can get free meals

Two summer meal programs for children continue to operate in Warrenton. Warrenton-Hammond School District continues its meal offerings along several bus routes. The meals also can be picked up at Warrenton Grade School from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. Meals next week include blueberry muffins, toaster tarts, blueberry waffles, cereal, and sausage-pancake breakfast sticks for breakfast. Burgers, chicke (continued)

Take caution if you choose to boat and drink

Marine law enforcement from 18 sheriff’s offices in the state are working with the Marine Board, Oregon State Police, and five Coast Guard Stations to participate in this weekend’s Operation Dry Water. The coordinated effort over the Fourth of July holiday is part of a national effort to reduce accidents and fatalities caused by those boating under the influence of intoxicants. “We have multiple patrols scheduled this season to catch impaired boat operators,” said Randy Henry, a program (continued)

Brewpub to open in historic downtown Fenton building

Warrenton is about to get its first brewpub. Partners Jonathan Elliott and Eric Lane are putting the small brewery, Battery 245, in the 1925 Fenton Grocery Building, soon to be the centerpiece of downtown Warrenton. The partners signed a lease in March with building owner Russell Maize and are working with the Fenton building’s project manager, Weston Roberts. “There were a lot of people interested in the space, but none were the right fit,” Roberts said. “It’s finally the last piece (continued)

Dog park, ducks, recycling center in city's improvement plan for 2020-21

Street and park renovation, sewer projects and improved equipment for the police and fire departments are included in the capital improvement plan approved Tuesday night by the Warrenton City Commission. The plan, a blueprint for major spending during the next five years, was approved unanimously. There were few changes from the previous year. “It’s important to note on this one that we did not have a CIP work session,” Mayor Henry Balensifer said. “We decided to keep the programs (continued)

County moves to make masks mandatory

County officials will ask the governor to include Clatsop in the requirement to wear face masks in businesses, which she imposed on seven other counties last week. “From what I’ve been reading, if the whole nation had been wearing face masks from the beginning, we’d have a much lower count,” County Commissioner Sara Nebeker told fellow commissioners Wednesday night. “We have a divided population who thinks it’s a political thing and that’s really very sad because it’ (continued)

Coronavirus turns annual budget process into an ordeal

This year’s budget process hasn’t been fun for anyone. Cities, counties and other publicly run entities have had to scramble and get creative to come up with balanced budgets – a requirement of the state, but especially hard during the COVID-19 uncertainty. “While we were very conservative across all funds, it will be necessary to closely monitor expenditures,” Warrenton City Manager Linda Engbretson said. “There was a lot unknown as we were preparing this. … We also budget (continued)

City's community development director accepts post in Mount Angel

Kevin Cronin, who served as Warrenton’s community development director, has accepted a job as city manager of Mount Angel in Marion County. His last day was Thursday, June 25. Cronin was hired in June 2018 to replace City Planner Skip Urling, who retired. Previously, Cronin spent two years as Astoria’s community development director. During his two years with Warrenton, Cronin was best known for cracking down on blighted properties and cleaning up the city’s building code – including (continued)

County makes planning appointments

Planning commissioners Robert Stricklin in District 2 and Christopher Farrar in District 3, were reappointed Wednesday evening to four-years terms. Both positions were to expire on June 30. In addition, Commissioner Michael Magyar, whose term expires in June 2022, submitted his resignation. Lam Quang, a self-employed artist living in the Lewis & Clark/Olney/Wallooskee unincorporated area, was appointed to fill Magyar’s post. Two county commissioners, Mark Kujala and Lianne Thompson, had (continued)

County adopts ethics policy

County commissioners adopted a new policy Wednesday night on property governmental conduct. The order applies to all county employees, contract employees, applicants, contractors and authorized volunteers. The policy is meant to reinforce an organizational culture that provides the opportunity for all to report their concerns and complaints with assurance they’ll be investigated in a fair and timely fashion without retaliation. It covers the abuse, improper use or destruction of county (continued)

State's cultural organizations are suffering

Many of Oregon’s cultural organizations face suspension of operations or permanent closure due to the COVID-19 impact, reveals an Oregon Cultural Trust survey released this month(June 11). The survey, the most comprehensive look at Oregon’s cultural community since the crisis began, includes data and comments from 330 cultural nonprofit groups. Participants project a collective loss of $40 million and average losses of $121,281 through June 30. Just over half the respondents have annual (continued)

Big drive for community unity

Dozens of people lined the streets of Warrenton Wednesday evening for a tribute to the area’s first responders. The Unity Tribute Train was a procession of Warrenton police officers and firefighters, Clatsop County Sheriff’s deputies, medical workers from Life Flight, Medix, Columbia Memorial Hospital and Providence Seaside Hospital. “We appreciate the support of our local police and first responders,” said Charlie Mecham, who was waving a large American flag with his neighbors, family (continued)

Officer on leave after alleged racial incident

A senior Warrenton police officer is on administrative leave after witnesses said they saw him mocking George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has sparked worldwide protests. Robert Wirt, the department’s K-9 officer, was with buddies at Bubba’s Sports Bar when he began poking fun at the case and saying “I can’t breathe” while a friend held his neck, according to a Facebook post by Jessie Salcedo, who wrote that he was at the bar with a friend when they (continued)

Demolished building leaves stunning view in its wake

You could Seafare before, but now the view is great. The Port of Astoria has completed demolition of the former Seafare waterfront restaurant, featured in a scene from the movie “Kindergarten Cop.” “I don’t recall any discussion on what we’re going to do there,” Port Commissioner James Campbell said in a meeting Tuesday. “We need to look at putting the same thing back. It is one of the most desirable locations on the coast.” Commissioner Frank Spence agreed. He suggested issuing (continued)

Business and development tidbits for June 19

** History museum ** A new museum is moving downtown. Gil Gramson discovered he had lots of extra space after building the new office for his Sandridge Construction. So he offered it to Diane Collier for her collection of historical photos, books and other memorabilia. Last year, Collier closed the museum she ran at the Oregon Welcome Center in Youngs Bay Plaza. Now Collier and several friends and history lovers are forming a nonprofit group to operate the new museum on Main Avenue, across from (continued)

Two cemeteries win historic preservation grants

Two Clatsop County cemeteries received grants to help support their preservation projects. The grants went to the Astoria Pioneer Cemetery, founded in 1865 and occasionally called Hillside Cemetery, and Greenwood Cemetery, also known as Crestwood. Ten other historic cemeteries in the state received a portion of the $50,000 in grants. Pioneer received $4,748, which will go toward monument repair and cleaning training for students at Clatsop Community College, who will put their skills to work at (continued)

BLM finds the tiny beginnings of big waterways

Even a creek with no name deserves some recognition. This spring, hydrologists with the Bureau of Land Management hiked into the Coast Range foothills outside Eugene to document a stream inception point, where the water first bubbles to the surface. At 1,200 feet elevation, a barely gurgling stream channel may be only inches wide, just strong enough to move some dirt and pine needles around, said Jonas Parker, a BLM hydrologist based in Salem. “You would literally need to get down on your (continued)

PUC provides more funds for low-income families

Oregon Public Utility Commission was allocated $3.5 million for the Oregon Lifeline Program to temporarily increase the discount on telephone or high-speed internet service for low-income households. The funds are a portion of the $247 million in federal coronavirus relief allocated to the state and its small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Oregon Lifeline, a federal and state program, typically provides a discount up to $12.75 per month on telephone or high-speed internet with (continued)

Columnists & Other Opinions

Mayor's Message: Accountability is a two-way street

A number of factors have combined to create stress and strain on the mental health of many. Nerves are frayed from months on lockdown, there’s a changed landscape for businesses and doing business, plus unemployment, the continued failure of unemployment insurance assistance, the harassment of people wearing masks or not wearing masks in stores, and the sudden awareness of how different life experiences affect minority Americans and what to do about it. We also had a local incident of an (continued)

Senior Moments: We need computer buttons for life activities

The “start” button on my computer gives me too many choices: Switch user, log off, lock, restart, sleep and hibernate. What if we humans (especially us seniors) had such buttons to handle living our own lives? We do, to some extent, but don't usually realize it. One day recently, I began my day with the restart button. I couldn’t find the remote, which is the size of a credit card, for my Bose Radio. I had looked everywhere. Many seniors have what I call a junk drawer and, often, it holds (continued)

Off the Shelf: Libraries can never be neutral places

The horrific death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the movement it propelled across the United States and world, didn’t start with George Floyd or Trayvon, Eric, Sandra, Korryn, Botham, Breonna or the countless others who died too soon at the hands of police. Racism and oppression have been camouflaged and festering for hundreds of years in communities and systems everywhere. Maybe you haven’t been touched by racism personally, or never thought about it as a problem. (continued)

Letter to the Editor: 'Anti-hate' protestors should stop spreading hate themselves

The story expressing the opinions of Alejandra Lopez during Black Lives Matter protests covered in the June 9 edition of The Astorian cannot go without a response. Ms. Lopez’s behavior is: Anti Police; Anti-Community; Anti-Public Safety and Anti-Truth. This is not a formula for peace and/or unity. Her words incite the very behavioral environment which she purports to oppose. She and the “organizations” which she says share her opinion have chosen to shout and carry signs that call a (continued)

Senior Moments: Dreams and money legends

Most of us seniors remember how, as children, we relied on our piggy banks for much-needed funds, such as when the ice cream truck musically appeared. Instead of opening the plug on the bottom, I remember taking a table knife and capturing coins through the slit. In the middle ages, money jars made of orange clay became known as "pygg pots." In the 19th century, English potters were encouraged to make the jars into pig shapes, birthing the “piggy bank” we have to this day. Animals hav (continued)


Small farms market is a real fresh affair

North Coast Food Web is sponsoring a Small Farm Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday at 577 18th St., Astoria. During the pop-up-style food stand, more than a dozen farmers from Clatsop, Columbia, Pacific, Wahkiahkum, and Tillamook will bring eggs, fish, produce, jams and other local foods for purchase. Sales are by cash or check only. All proceeds go to the farmers. Producers sign an agreement that their products are grown with organic practices. For more information, call (continued)

Seaside Farmer's Market opens

Seaside opened its weekly farmer’s market on Wednesday. The market, at 1120 Broadway, will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. every week through Sept. 30. Masks are required and only service dogs will be allowed. Shoppers are asked to leave their children at home with a responsible adult. The market has 20 to 30 vendors offering fresh produce, artisan food and hand-crafted products. It’s run by Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. (continued)

Fort Clatsop offers online camps

Registration opens Saturday, June 6, for the first virtual Nature Adventure and Nature Survival Camps at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The online camps are in July. **Nature Adventure Camp ** will take place from 10 a.m. to noon daily July 6 through 10. Each day, campers can participate in activities from their home as led by counselors live and online. Nature Adventure Camp is open to children entering fourth through sixth grade in the 2020-21 school year. ** Nature Survival Camp (continued)

Produce pantry available Thursdays

A mobile produce pantry for low-income Clatsop County residents is available every Thursday through Sept. 24. Anyone at or below eligible income levels (participants in the food stamp program or SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or Low Income Energy Assistance Program) can pick up free fruits and vegetables. Warrenton – 3 to 4:30 p.m. at 2010 S.E. Chokeberry Ave., just past the animal shelter. Astoria – 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Marine (continued)

Police and Public Safety

Public safety calls for week of June 26

** Thefts and burglaries ** Shoplifting, 10:08 p.m. June 5, Fred Meyer. Heather C. Huffman, 31, no known address, was cited for second-degree theft and criminal mischief after she allegedly attempted to leave the store without paying for $505 in clothes. Shoplifting, 11:04 a.m. June 7, Rite Aid. Tyler Michael Thury, 26, of Warrenton was cited for third-degree theft after he allegedly attempted to leave the store without paying for a $60 clock radio. Theft, 12:45 p.m. June 16, SuperMart. A man (continued)

Public safety calls for week of June 19

** Thefts and burglaries ** Stolen license plate, 11:55 a.m. June 4, 800 block Alternate Highway 101. Shoplifting, 3:30 p.m. June 8, Walmart. Michele A. Sealy, 33, of San Jose, Calif., was cited for third-degree theft after she allegedly attempted to leave the store without paying for $56 in makeup and sewing items. Shoplifting, 3:30 p.m. June 10, Rite Aid. Nicole D. Bowers, 24, of Astoria was cited for third-degree theft after she allegedly attempted to leave the store without paying for a $13 (continued)


Private colleges offer virtual visits

Those considering attending a private Oregon college may be interested in the five-day Private College Week, which will be held virtually this year. Beginning Monday, July 27, 10 colleges will each host three 80-minute virtual visit sessions, which will include information about admissions, financial aid, COVID-19 restrictions and academic programs. The event is sponsored by the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. Featured institutions are Corban University, George Fox (continued)