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Cultural preservation ideas sought

Do you have an idea for a project that would support, maintain or protect cultural programs in the arts, heritage or humanities in Clatsop County? The Clatsop County Cultural Coalition urges you to submit a project this month for possible funding in 2021. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 31 to Clatsop County Cultural Coalition, P.O. Box 864, Astoria OR 97103. Emailed applications are due by noon Oct. 31 at Grants up to $2,000 each will be announced in (continued)

State urges all residents to get a flu shot

Flu vaccine won't affect COVID-19 tests

Oregon Health Authority urges everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu shot, especially as COVID-19 cases increase in Oregon. "Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is more important than ever to get a flu shot to keep the people around you healthy,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, OHA’s medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations. The flu vaccine will not cause anyone who gets a COVID test to test positive for coronavirus, Cieslak (continued)

Hammond's new water line in the works

First published in the Oct. 16 print edition

A new water line to Hammond took a step closer to reality this week as city commissioners issued a call for bids on the estimated $2.5 million project. “Wait, this is actually happening?” Mayor Henry Balensifer joked. He project has been on the books almost as long as he’s been alive. Hammond residents long have had issues with water flow and low water pressure, which poses problems when fighting fires and has all but halted new development. The new 18-inch water line will be built above (continued)

Cruise ship to berth at Port of Astoria

First published in the Oct. 16 print edition

A cruise ship with no passengers was expected to arrive at the Port of Astoria on Thursday, where it will remain at berth for six months. “This decision to accommodate the vessel was not taken lightly,” port Executive Director Will Isom wrote in a notice issued this week. “Public safety is our top priority. The port has received confirmation from the cruise line that no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported on board the vessel.” The Norwegian Cruise Line ship also (continued)

City installs new police officer

First published in the Oct. 16 print edition

Warrenton’s newest police officer was given the oath of office Tuesday night. Officer David Yelton joined the department Sept. 28 and has been training with other officers. Yelton, who graduated from Astoria High School in 2003, served in the Army for four years. He was a member of the police department in Odessa, Texas, where he was a corporal and a firearms and taser instructor. “He will go through an abbreviated field-training course … ,” Chief Matt Workman told city commissioners. (continued)

In their own words: Warrenton commission candidate Poe speaks out

**Gerald Poe** Age: 62 How long have you lived in Clatsop County? 40 years Occupation: Merchant sailor, Washington State Ferries; past occupations include commercial fishing, logging, construction, ocean-towing tugboats; I have been involved in the maritime profession for 40 years. Education: Clatsop Community College GED with honors in mathematics and English; Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential training and licensure, unlimited tonnage mate inland waters, 1600-ton master towing vessels (continued)

In their own words: Warrenton commission candidate Williams speaks out

** Brandon T. Williams** Age: 37 How long have you lived here? 32 years Occupation: Self-employed general contractor Education: Bachelor’s degree in fire service administration, Western Oregon University; associate’s degree in fire science/EMS, Clatsop Community College; high school diploma, Seaside High School. Community involvement: Stakeholder in the city of Warrenton; former volunteer firefighter/emergency medical responder, Warrenton Fire Department; precinct committee person and (continued)

In their own words: Warrenton commission candidate Berry speaks out

**Allen Berry** Age: 56 Years here: 10.5 years Occupation: Retired electrician Education: High school + Community involvement: Previously active volunteer in my church, where I served as deacon, went on mission trips to Mexico to build church buildings, and delivered an ambulance to a city in Mexico. Why should people vote for you? My motto is “For honesty, integrity, and courage, elect Allen Berry on Nov. 3.” That sums me up pretty well. I am willing to get done what needs to be done. (continued)

In their own words: House District 32 candidate Weber speaks out

**Suzanne Weber** Age: 73 Party affiliation: Republican, also nominated by the Independent Party of Oregon and the Libertarian Party. Residence: Tillamook How long have you lived in the district? 50 years Occupation: Mayor of Tillamook Education: Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, Bemidji State College. Community involvement: Member, Tillamook Education Foundation; member, Tillamook County Housing Task Force; member, Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac); board (continued)

In their own words: House District 32 candidate Boothe-Schmidt speaks out

** Debbie Boothe-Schmidt** Age: 65 Party affiliation: Democrat and cross-endorsed by Oregon Working Families Party What city do you live in? Warrenton How long have you lived here? I have lived in the district for 29 years and in Oregon for 55 years. Occupation: Small business owner Education: Associate’s degree Community involvement: Former board chair, Sunset Empire Transportation Board; former AFSCME local 2746 union president. Why vote for you? As a small business owner and the (continued)

Where to cast your ballot

Mail-in voting is in the news nationally this year, as many states look to expand the voting option during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting in the Nov. 3 election for Clatsop County and the rest of Oregon will go off as it has since the state adopted all mail-in balloting 20 years ago. Ballots went out to registered voters this week. Completed ballots must be received by the county’s Elections Division by 8 p.m. on Election Day – postmarks do not count. There are now 24-hour drop boxes at (continued)

Building owner wouldn't mind if post office moves

First published in the Oct. 16 print edition

The man who owns the Warrenton Post Office building says he’s tired of dealing with the U.S. Postal Service and wouldn’t mind if it found accommodations elsewhere. “If the Postal Service wants to move, all I can say is ‘Go ahead and move.’ In fact, I will encourage it,” Bernie Bjork wrote in a letter to postal officials, city leaders and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. “I have no problems telling the Postal Service that I do not want to deal with them anymore. (continued)

County receives shipment of quick-response COVID tests

Health officials now can get nearly instantaneous results from COVID-19 tests. Clatsop County Public Health Department received 1,000 BinaxNOW test kits on Wednesday from Oregon Health Authority. The portable test kits – approved for use in August by the federal Food and Drug Administration – require no laboratory processing and can produce results in as little as 15 minutes. The county’s other kits had to be sent to a lab and took two to seven days or longer to process, Public Health (continued)

Fellowship's new minister serving members remotely

Pacific Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Astoria has a new minister who will serve the group in a nontraditional way. The church is meeting remotely on Zoom as it attempts to keep members safe during the pandemic. The Rev. Denise M. Cawley lives in Milwaukee, Wisc., and will serve the congregation remotely. “We interviewed ministers nationwide and picked the best one to lead our church into the next stage of growth,” said Laura Gordon of Seaside, the fellowship’s board president. (continued)

Increases coming for those on Social Security

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 70 million people will increase 1.3 percent in 2021, the Social Security Administration announced this week. The cost-of-living adjustment is tied to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some other adjustments that take effect in January each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject (continued)

City signs agreement with port and fish processor

From the Oct. 9 print edition

The city of Warrenton, Port of Astoria, and the Scoular company signed a joint development agreement this week that spells out what each will do to get a fishmeal processing plant up and running at the Airport Industrial Park. The company plans to have its proposed 14,400-square-foot plant ready for the 2021 fishing season, which begins in April. The plant would use the cast-offs from other seafood processing plants and turn them into fish meal for the aquaculture and fishing industries, said (continued)

State, company tackle questions about Pacific Seafood outbreak

From the Oct. 9 print edition

Recent outbreaks of coronavirus at a Warrenton seafood plant and at the White House have some similarities: both have been linked to large gatherings in which participants wore no face coverings. A Labor Day party is the possible “super-spreader” event for Pacific Seafood employees, who have now completed their mandated 14-day quarantine. A party in the White House Rose Garden for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is suspected of contributing to an outbreak that included the president. “Outbreaks (continued)

Seasonal show-offs

Suddenly, scary things are everywhere. Fall is bringing out the pumpkins, changing leaves and … great decorations. We’ll feature more of these in the weeks ahead, but for now, take a drive by the Warren House, which has a choreographed light show and talking creatures. Donations there will go to Spruce Up Warrenton. And let us know of other events and frights. (continued)

City hires new building official

From the Oct. 9 print edition

Warrenton has hired a new building official to replace Robert Johnston, who retires at the end of the year. Van Wilfinger, who is regional manager for Interwest Consulting Group, comes to the city from Palmdale, Calif. “Van has over 20 years’ experience in the field and, along with his customer service philosophy, I believe he will be a great addition to the team we are building here at the city,” City Manager Linda Engbretson said. “He has family here and is excited to be i (continued)

Business and Development Tidbits for Oct. 9

Dr. Kevin Baxter, who started his family medicine practice in Astoria in 2003, has signed an agreement with the Port of Astoria for offices on the top floor of the Pier One building. Last month, Baxter unexpectedly resigned from his position as chief medical officer for Columbia Memorial Hospital after just nine months. Baxter’s practice will lease two suites facing the water for $3,300 per month. The suites have some of the best views on the Columbia River waterfront. Filling the vacant (continued)

County cultural groups win $400,000 in state support

Clatsop County’s cultural organizations received more than $400,000 in grants through Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support. More than $25.7 million will be distributed to 621 groups across the state through a partnership between the Oregon Cultural Trust and its county and tribal cultural coalitions. The funds, meant to help cultural groups facing losses due to the pandemic, were made available through a $50 million relief package from the Oregon Legislature in July. “Many cultural (continued)

Grants will improve boat facilities

Sixteen boating access points, including Nehalem Bay State Park and Clatsop County’s Westport boating facility, will get state money for improvements. Oregon State Marine Board approved 16 boating facility grants for motorized and nonmotorized boating access and improvement projects around the state during a special Marine Board meeting Aug. 27. ** Nehalem Bay State Park will receive $103,779 to replace the boarding docks. State parks must provide a $33,500 match for the project. ** Westport (continued)

Ham operators sought for emergency network

Are you a ham radio operator who’d like to provide service to the county and your community? Disaster Communications Neighborhood Radio Network hopes to link all county areas to emergency services during power and cell-tower outages. Clatsop Auxiliary Communications, through the Clatsop County Office of Emergency Management, is reaching out every licensed amateur to see how they can help during a disaster. There are more than 500 licensed hams in the county. AuxComm is mailing red postcards (continued)

Columnists & Other Opinions

Off the Shelf: Growing library seeks community wishes

Something I learned in library school that grounds me and reminds me why and how I do my job are the Five Laws of Library Science. First published in 1931 by Indian mathematician and library science scholar Shiyali Ramainrita Ranganathan (1892–1972), they are meant to be essential principles to define a library’s function and purpose. Ranganathahan’s Five Laws of Library Science are: 1. Books are for use; 2. Every reader, their book; 3. Every book, its reader; 4. Save the time of th (continued)

Senior Moments: Masks aside, let us see the real you

Age is just a number and mine is unlisted! I liked that phrase when I heard it recently. It reminded me that everything we do in life involves trade-offs. One could say, to wear mask or not? With Halloween around the corner, I recall parties over the years when we had the unmasking toward the end of the evening. However, most of us already knew who was who. Didn't we have an expression "take off your mask and let us see your real self"? That wasn't just for Halloween. The mask I’m talking (continued)

Letter to the Editor: Boothe-Schmidt would bring a better tomorrow

I have been a resident of Clatsop County for 10 years. I am employed for the Department of Health Services, Child Welfare. In my job, I work with families and children who struggle daily just to stay alive. This includes working with the homeless, individuals who struggle with drug addiction and mental illness. The current health crises have exposed the vulnerability of the marginalized members of our society and people of color. What does this all mean? It means we need to elect Debbi (continued)

Letter to the Editor: Ackley will be missed on city commission

When Pam Ackley told me that she wasn’t running for re-election to the Warrenton City Commission, I was very sad; I tried hard to talk her back into running. Another commissioner appeared to be devastated by the news. Warrenton has been fortunate to be enabled by the diversity of professions on our City Commission team. We currently have a contractor, a realtor with land-use experience, a retired state trooper who has a legal perspective, a businessman, a trained leader, and a very good city (continued)

Letter to the Editor: All Oregonians deserve steady jobs

I am writing to voice my support for Debbie Boothe-Schmidt for my state representative. Debbie has roots in our community as a dedicated public servant and small business owner and was a strong advocate as our union representative. No matter our race or place, every Oregonian should be able to have a good, reliable job. We should all be able to live in communities that enjoy clean air, clean water, and natural resources now and for generations to come. Republican candidate Suzanne Weber is (continued)

Letter to the Editor: Jobs and healthy environment are not mutually exclusive

We all want our families to be able to have reliable, good-paying jobs now and in the future. But the corporate interests behind Timber Unity PAC, along with Koch Industries and other large corporate interests, have created a false choice in rural Oregon: either economic prosperity or clean drinking water and air, healthy forests and thriving wildlife. These corporations want short-term profits that leave our communities with fewer jobs. Mechanization of logging and mills has greatly reduced (continued)

Financial Focus with Adam Miller

Protect your family from long-term care costs

Like everyone, you want to remain physically and financially independent throughout your life. But if you lose some of this freedom, the last thing you’d want is to become a burden on your family. How can you keep this from happening? First, you need to be aware of the risk. Someone turning 65 today has almost a 70 percent chance of eventually needing some type of long-term care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll face that (continued)

Senior Moments: The importance of voting

As a child, if I should happen to sneeze, my mother would always say "Bless you child!" and somehow, I always said "Thank you." Who or what started those responses? We’ve blamed our parents almost since the beginning of time for just about everything. I always said "bless you" to my kids when they sneezed and I hear them doing the same to their kids and grandkids. You may have thought, as I did, of Adam blaming Eve in the Garden of Eden. Blame did not have to be taught to us. It comes (continued)


Need ideas for things to do on Halloween?

Fall is finally afoot and spookiness looms large. Homes are tricked out in Halloween fashion, pubs have planned adult costume parties, and coffeehouses have brought out the pumpkin-spice lattes. Following are some of the best ways to celebrate fall and Halloween. ** ‘Haunted’ mansion ** The annual holiday light show at the historic D.K. Warren House has been up and running since Oct. 3. The decorations and lights are choreographed to music and comedy routines through a shortwave radi (continued)

Class is for those needing help choosing Medicare options

Medicare’s open enrollment period is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 and Clatsop County residents will lose the Medicare Advantage Plan/Moda. Lasso, a new Medicare Savings Plan, is an option for the coming year. Northwest Senior and Disability Services, in cooperation with Senior Health Insurance Benefits Association, is offering a free online class on Medicare open enrollment. To register, call 503-861-4200 to receive a password and information on the Zoom link. The class is at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. (continued)

County sets meeting on short-term rentals

Clatsop County’s code compliance staff will have a meeting for those who own short-term rental property in unincorporated areas of the county. The community discussion, one of several throughout the county, is meant to increase transparency and accountability and obtain input from community members, County Manager Don Bohn said. An electronic meeting will be held for property owners in the Clatsop Plains area at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30. For more information and a link, contact Rob Ledgerwood (continued)

Rainforest trivia night postponed

North Coast Land Conservancy had to postpone its virtual rainforest trivia night, which means there’s still time for teams to sign up. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. It’s a fundraiser for the nonprofit group, which hopes to raise $10 million to create a 3,500-acre rainforest reserve adjacent to Oswald West State Park. Register at (continued)

Solo art show is all about 'Rediscovering Silence'

Clatsop Community College’s Royal Nebeker Art Gallery opens its 2020-21 season with a solo show, Rediscovering Silence, featuring Seattle-based artist Chris Sheridan. This show is an award show, the premier prize awarded during the 2020 annual international competition Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century. The show runs Oct. 5 through Nov. 12. The gallery exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Guests must wear face coverings and practice social distancing (continued)

Community event planned for Halloween

With so many events cancelled this year – and some communities banning door-to-door trick-or-treating – Warrenton’s children will have a fun activity on Halloween. On Tuesday night, city commissioners approved an application from Spruce Up Warrenton to have a Halloween Trunk or Treat event at Robinson Community Park. “We’re going to play it pretty safe,” said Jeanne Smith, event organizer. There will be no congregating, those handing out treats must wear gloves and masks, and each (continued)

Police and Public Safety

Public safety calls for week of Oct. 16

** Thefts and burglaries ** Shoplifting, 6:51 p.m. Oct. 4, Walmart. Shane K. Cherry, 35, of Astoria was cited for third-degree theft after he allegedly left the store without paying for $35 in merchandise. Stolen utility trailer, 1:03 p.m. Oct. 8, 1000 block South Main Avenue. Shoplifting, 6:38 p.m. Oct. 8, Home Depot. Angela M. Cushman, 39, of Seaside was cited for second-degree theft after she allegedly attempted to leave the store without paying for $117 in tools. Shoplifting, 6 p.m. Oct. 9, (continued)

Public safety calls for week of Oct. 9

** Warrants ** Warrant service, 9:31 p.m. Oct. 2, Panda Express. Anatoliy V. Melnik, 33, of Vancouver, Wash., was arrested on warrants from Clackamas and Clark counties. Warrant service, 5:25 a.m. Oct. 4, 600 block Marlin Avenue. Zackary J. James, 35, of Portland was arrested on a failure to appear warrant from McMinville Municipal Court. Warrant service, 1:50 p.m. Oct.1, police station. Scott D. Mueller, 70, of Warrenton was arrested for an outstanding warrant from Clackamas County. ** Thefts (continued)