CLATSKANIE PUD WAS BUZZING WITH QUESTIONS AND EXCITEMENT last Thursday, April 22, as employees participated in the nationally recognized “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” designed “to help build partnerships with youth so they will become empowered with confidence and take control of their futures, to pursue their dreams, and to live up to their potential, according to the national program’s website.
Theme for this year was “1Youth 1Dream 2Morrow’s Leaders,” which was printed on t-shirts the participants wore during the day at the PUD.
Twenty-nine youth reported to work last Thursday, observing the day-to-day activities at the people’s utility district (PUD). As the youth arrived for “work,” they received an employee I.D. badge and an activity packet to complete while at the PUD.
Highlights of the day included taking a tour of the PUD’s facilities and finding out what each department does, learning how a lineman climbs a pole, donning safety harnesses and going for a bucket ride, spending individual time with their parent and/or guardian to experience what they do at work, watching a safety-board demonstration, and enjoying a pizza party. Since the event also fell on Earth Day, the youth and employees visited the Clatskanie city park and picked up garbage.
Participation in this event doubled from last year and far exceeded the planning committee’s expectations. “Each year gets better so we can’t wait until next year,” said Melissa Korsmo, human resource specialist and lead planner of the program. “This event allows the employees of Clatskanie PUD to serve as role models and inspire boys and girls to strive toward their full potential.” Photo Courtesy of Clatskanie PUD
The Department of State Lands (DSL) announced Friday, April 23 that the agency was indefinitely suspending a recent effort to update administrative rules governing waterway authorizations.
The proposed new administrative rules would have raised fees and added classifications to DLS registration and leases on submerged and submersible lands. The only scheduled public hearing on the most recent version of the rules was set for Wednesday, April 28, in Astoria. That public hearing was been cancelled.
Originally proposed last fall, the rules were revised after many public comments were received opposing them. Many of those comments came from citizens of Columbia and Clatsop counties, who were particularly concerned about the DSL’s proposal to add “rip-rap, dikes and similar retaining structures, tide gates, and erosion control structures” to the list of facilities requiring authorizations from the DSL.
State Senator Betsy Johnson held a well-attended meeting of Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook county officials, diking district representatives and other community leaders interested in the DSL rulemaking – as well as the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) dike recertification issue – in Astoria on Tuesday evening, April 20.
Senator Johnson told The Chief that she was “pleased to convene the meeting” after which she summarized the opinions expressed to the governor and other state officials, which resulted in the DSL’s decision to suspend the rulemaking. Johnson credited the “informed and passionate” testimony given by diking district representatives, farmers, and representatives of Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties which “offered an historic prospective” on the issues. The over 60 persons in attendance at the meeting, held at the Boyington building in downtown Astoria, were “angry, but restrained,” Johnson said. “They made their case passionately.”
In the press release issued by the DSL Friday, DSL Director Louise Solliday said. “We believe we need more time to listen and respond to the public’s issues and concerns relating to the waterway authorization process.”
According to the press release: “At statehood in 1859, Oregon gained ownership of all land underlying navigable and tidally influenced waters. Upland property owners must have authorization from DSL to place a structure on this state-owned land.
“The department issues authorizations for such uses as docks, boat houses, marinas and recreational cabins on state-owned ‘submerged and submersible’ land. Rules governing these authorizations have been in place since 1972, and changes have been made over time to reflect new types of uses or to clarify rule provisions. The last major revision occurred in the late 1990s.
“Until further notice, the existing administrative rules governing waterway uses will be in effect (OAR 141-082- 0000 through 141-082-0210).”
The State Land Board, which has supervision over the DSL, consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources.
During a brief meeting April 21, Clatskanie city councilors agreed to lease oil and gas exploration rights on approximately 600 acres of city watershed forestland to Enerfin Resources Northwest, LLC, and, after an executive session, authorized the sending of a letter in regard to the Haven Acres water line issue.
Under the lease agreement with Enerfin, a California-based energy company which is a partner in the Mist Gas Field storage facilities, the city will receive approximately $3470 per year for five years.
Enerfin will conduct exploration for oil and natural gas, along with possible storage sites for natural gas in the West Creek area. In 1999, the city and Enerfin entered into a similar agreement to do exploration on another parcel of city property.
If Enerfin finds mineral deposits or storage sites it would have to come back to the city for permission to drill, city manager Greg Hinkelman explained. Any requests for building roads or disturbing the watershed would require city planning commission approval.
The company has received all necessary permits to conduct similar searches in the Mist-Birkenfeld area.
The lease agreement with Enerfin was approved unanimously.
Following an executive session, the council passed a motion that Wyatt E. Rolfe, of Schroeder Law Offices, P.C., who is advising the city on issues related to the Haven Acres water line, send a letter to attorney Stephen Petersen, who represents the owner of the line.
Copies of the letter, which states that the city crew will no longer be authorized to make repairs to the Haven Acres water line system as of June 1, will be sent to the residents served by the system. The motion passed unanimously with the exception of Councilor Ron Puzey who abstained on the grounds that he is related to two of the affected homeowners.
Nuisance Ordinance, Park Problems
A copy of a nuisance ordinance, specifically designed for chronic crime properties and modeled after a Umatilla County ordinance, was passed out to councilors. The proposed countywide ordinance has been discussed at meetings around Columbia County hosted by the sheriff’s department.
On another law enforcement-related topic, Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover stated – as reported in the April 22nd issue of The Chief – that there have been problems recently in the Clatskanie city park including an assault with air soft guns and some damage to vehicles.
Hoover stated that the department will no longer be giving warnings for disturbances, curfew violations, vandalism, etc., but will be issuing citations, including Failing to Supervise a Minor citations to parents. The police chief also said he will be going before the Clatskanie Park and Recreation District board of directors to ask them to post larger signs regarding the 10:30 p.m. park closure.
PSEA Requests “Spring Fling” Volunteers
At the beginning of the meeting, Cyndi Warren, speaking on behalf of the Clatskanie Elementary School Parents Supporting Education Association (PSEA), announced that on May 7 the PSEA is having a “Spring Fling” with an ’80s theme.
She asked for volunteers to help serve nachos from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. so that the PSEA members may enjoy the event with their sons and daughters.
The event will include music, dancing and costume prizes. Willing volunteers are asked to contact Cyndi at 503 728-2038.
Nuisance Ordinance, Water Rates, Projects on May 5 Agenda
First reading of an ordinance regulating nuisance crime property and a resolution establishing higher water rates effective Sept. 1 will be on the agenda of the Clatskanie City Council at its regular meeting Wednesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers, 95 S. Nehalem Street.
Also on the agenda is discussion about the needed replacement of the sewer headworks screening, a $700,000 project, and the water reservoir project, estimated at $500,000 to $800,000, depending on whether it is built by the existing reservoir above SW Bryant Street or on the hillside north of Clatskanie, which would have additional benefits to the water system.
According to federal and state guidelines, the city needs a third water reservoir to provide three days worth of drinking water storage in case of emergency.
The third in a series of town hall meetings sponsored this spring by State Senator Betsy Johnson and State Representative Brad Witt are set for this Saturday, May 1.
The meetings will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Port of Astoria board room, 422 Gateway Avenue in Astoria, and from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Columbia Learning Center Library, 375 South 18th Street in St. Helens.
The public is urged to attend.
The topic of Saturday’s town halls will be jobs and economic development. Topics of previous town halls have been health care and public education.
A panel representing various sectors of the state and local economic system will join the discussion and answer questions.
At the Astoria meeting that panel will be Brigadier General Mike Caldwell, deputy director and commander of the state defense force; Mark Ellsworth, regional director, governor’s office; Tom Byerley, administrator, Oregon unemployment insurance; Nick Beleickis, senior economic analyst, Oregon Workforce and Economic Research Division; Ryan Fischer, marketing and sales director, Portland & Western Railroad; Jack Crider, executive director, Port of Astoria; Bruce Conner, marketing director, Cruise Lines; John Lansing, regional sales manager, SeaPort Airlines, and Willis Van Dusen, mayor of Astoria.
The panel at the St. Helens meeting will include the first five listed above as well as Paula Miranda, Port of St. Helens.
“Good jobs are fundamental to the success of every community, and economic development is key to creating permanent family wage jobs,” said Rep. Witt. “I am excited to have some very knowledgeable people available to discuss what we can do together to take advantage of opportunities in our area.”
“I believe we have opportunities throughout our region to bring new products to market and create jobs that put Oregonians back to work. Our panel provides the forum to discuss the possibilities,” said Sen. Betsy Johnson.
Clatskanie School District’s board of directors approved numerous employee changes, adopted a school calendar for 2010-11, commented on various issues and heard reports on student accomplishments at its regular meeting Monday evening, April 26.
Employee changes approved as part of the consent agenda were the retirements of Betty Palmrose and Janet Schultz, both fulltime teachers at Clatskanie Elementary School (CES), Brenda Brosseau, fulltime physical education teacher at Clatskanie Middle High School (CMHS); Darlene Slotte, .88 FTE (full-time equivalent) special education assistant, and Lois Horness, full-time head secretary at CMHS.
Also approved were the resignations of Wallace Overlund, .4750 FTE bus driver; Sarah Gregg and Shawna Petersen, both fulltime teachers at CES, and Beth Garnett, fulltime teacher at CMHS.
The following hirings were approved: Stephena Held, fulltime speech language pathologist for the district; Diane Arnst and Neil Rininger, both fulltime special education teachers at CMHS.
Also approved was the renewal of Megan Kilgore, fulltime teacher at CES, and an adjustment of pay step for bus driver Warrren Currington to reflect past experience.
The board approved a school calendar for 2010-11 which will see school beginning on Sept. 7 and ending on June 17.
In another action item, the board gave its support to former Clatskanie school superintendent and current Columbia County commissioner, Earl Fisher, who is running for re-election to his Zone 4 position on the Northwest Regional Education Service District board of directors.
The board also adopted a resolution proclaiming Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7. (See page 9)
Facility Use Fee Revisions, Apology
Superintendent Ed Serra told the board that he planned to bring back a revised facility use fee schedule for profit-making organizations at the May 24th meeting.
He emphasized that fees would not be charged for youth-oriented non-profit and fundraising organizations.
An earlier proposal for facility fees was met with dismay by groups which use the school solely for youth programs or fundraising for those programs. That fee schedule was subsequently suspended.
Serra noted that under the revised schedule he plans to bring back to the board, any use of the buildings that “cost us money,” such as custodial time, excess garbage, etc., would be charged to the users.
Regarding the previous fee schedule and its implementation, director Michael Moravec gave board members copies of an apology he had written and was proposing that the board issue to the public.
Board chair Janet Willey read the apology aloud and said she would support it with the deletion of the final sentence.
Moravec moved, and Willey seconded, that the apology be approved by the board as amended. The amended version read: “The Clatskanie School District Board of Directors would like to apologize to the community in regards to the recent facility fee schedule. We understand that there was some distress and hurt feelings as a result of the implementation of the fee schedule which could have been avoided, and for this we apologize. The board of directors would like to make a further apology to Nick Smith and any other community member who had a written agreement unilaterally altered as a result of the implementation of the fee schedule.”
Director Karen George stated that she was not comfortable with the apology. Director Dave True voted with her against adopting the motion with Moravec and Willey voting in favor. With a tie vote in the absence of director Stuart Haas, the motion failed.
However, during the portion of the meeting devoted to board comments, Moravec stated that “I personally would like to say that I am sorry that the public had the experience they did regarding the facility use fees. It wasn’t intended to be like that.”
“I agree,” said Willey, “and I particularly feel bad about those whose contracts were changed.”
Doernbecher Fundraising Drive Successful; Contributors Thanked
On the positive side, the board and audience heard a report from CMHS student body treasurer Mathew Langley who spearheaded the Doernbecher Dash event April 24 which had 68 participants and earned over $1300.
Other Doernbecher Children’s Hospital fundraising events at CMHS included a dance, a Mr. Incredible contest, root beer float sales, and a “Stop the Bop” campaign in which the song “It’s a Small, Small World” was played continuously during breaks between classes and lunch until a total of $200 was donated.
The various fundraisers and a total of $960 from private donations raised a total of $3590 for Doernbecher – believed to be the largest amount ever in the many years Clatskanie students have been running “Kids Making Miracles” campaigns for Doernbecher.
Langley thanked the many people and “wonderful sponsors”: including: Pam and Eric Sellix of Hump’s, who helped design and print the posters for the Doernbecher Dash; Kris Lillich of the Bike Inn, who donated the t-shirts and silk-screened them for the dash; Clatskanie Kiwanis members, who barbecued for the dash participants; Fultano’s Pizza Parlor, which donated water; The Amber, which donated hot dogs and hamburgers for the after-dash barbecue; Discounts & Deals, which supplied cups, plates and napkins; Clatskanie Builder’s Supply, which provided propane; Magic 94.5 radio, for promoting the event; local businesses, which distributed registration forms; Clatskanie Safeway, which helped with ingredients for the root beer floats; Mr. Formal, which donated a $160 tux rental for the winner of the Mr. Incredible pagent; Blackbird band, which played free for the Doernbecher dance, and The Clatskanie Chief for helping with publicity.
Staff members who volunteered their time were: Mark Torkelson, Jordan Slavish, Karen Slotten, Casey Litwin, Richard McNicholas, Annikke Olson, Jeff Baughman, Mr. Bevans, Nina True, Ryan and Amanda Tompkins, Tim Van Voorst, Bob Emminger and Beth Garnett.
At the end of Langley’s presentation, high school leadership advisor Karen Slotten presented him with a copy of a book called “The Richest Man in Town.” She noted that Mathew had made it his goal to have the most successful Doernbecher fundraiser ever. “He is rich in accomplishment, motivation and dedication.”
Her words were met with applause from the audience.
More Good News
In more good news reports…
Baseball coach Ryan Tompkins reported that the Friends of Baseball had given the baseball program a $1200 grant to “fix up the field and take pride in our facility.” Players and others volunteered their time to work on the field and Chinook Sales & Rentals donated grass seed.
Representatives of the Parents Supporting Education Association (PSEA) announced plans for a “Spring Fling” on May 7 and asked for volunteers from the board and administration to help with the serving of food so that PSEA members could spend time with their children. Serra, Willey and George volunteered.
CMHS Principal Jeff Baughman announced that 101 students had earned 3.5 grade point averages or higher for the third quarter. That represents about a third of the student body and “obliterates the trend” that student performance “dips” towards the end of the school year.
“Our trend is going the other way. Congratulations to our students and our staff – they’re doing a tremendous job of working with our students.”
Baughman announced that Whitness Miller is the winner of a $2,000 nursing scholarship from Kaiser Permanente.
Students Gary Points and Ashley Berry placed second and fourth, respectively, in the regional math competition held recently in Astoria. They will go on to state competition on May 15.
Special Education director Mary Mitchell announced that two students from the Next Steps program have completed requirements for their general diploma. “They were headed towards dropping out – now they will be contributing members of society.”
Serra remarked on the excellent work of the staff on the data team project, and noted that the district’s team will be making a presentation at a state conference.
Business teacher Mark Torkelson thanked the 20 people from the community who made presentations to students for Career Day.
Bond Committee Meeting
Serra reported on the continuing meetings of a citizens’ committee that is looking into the feasibility of a bond levy to help pay for maintenance of school facilities.
The next meeting was set for Wednesday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. All interested persons are invited to attend.
School Board, Budget Meetings
A school budget committee is set for Monday, May 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the district office board room in the Community Education Center.
The next regular meeting of the Clatskanie school board is May 24, preceded by a budget meeting at 5 p.m.
Drug/Alcohol Prevention Topic of Work Session
Prior to the regular meeting, the school board and administrators met in a work session for an update on drug and alcohol prevention with Leeann Grasseth, Columbia County prevention specialist for Columbia Community Mental Health, and Robin FouchŽ , executive director of the Clatskanie Together Coalition.
Grasseth reported that current prevention measures in the Clatskanie schools include bi-monthly random testing of student athletes and proctoring of the Oregon Wellness Survey in the 6th, 8th and 11th grades.
Grasseth and FouchŽ participate on the School Health Advisory Committee and the Youth Service Team.
Columbia County has received a three-year suicide prevention grant, and two Clatskanie staff members will be trained to recognize the warning signs and intervene. A curriculum will be offered to ninth grade students.
Other proposed prevention efforts include the Second Steps violence prevention curriculum which is aimed at decreasing disciplinary referrals, increasing positive goal setting, providing practice in peer pressure resistance skills, increasing risk assessment and decision-making ability, and decreasing approval of physical aggression, verbal hostility and social exclusion.
A “strengthening families” program is also planned to improve family relationships and parenting skills, and increase the youth’s social and life skills. The 14-week program would be offered to all families in Clatskanie with youth ages 10-14.
FouchŽ noted that the Clatskanie Together Coalition is currently partnering with the school district on a number of current strategies aimed at minimizing risky behaviors and encouraging healthy lifestyles.
She suggested that if Grasseth had an office at the high school again, it would provide more opportunities for her to interact with students.
“Any increased attention to the issues of substance abuse among our youth is a wise strategy,” FouchŽ told the board. “Studies show that healthy students learn better. Building on that statement, the logical conclusion is that while we work to offer the best programs, classes and educators we can, if a percentage of our students are unprepared to learn, our best efforts will be met with only moderate success.”
She presented the board with data taken from the healthy teen survey, in which Clatskanie has participated since 1999.
In the most recently-compiled results from 2008:
• 8th graders who report using substances before their 13th birthday: alcohol – 30.6%, tobacco – 7.7%, marijuana – 0.
• 11th graders who report using substances before their 13th birthday: alcohol – 30%, tobacco – 25.5%, marijuana – 7.7%.
• 8th graders who report substance use in the past 30 days: alcohol – 31.4%, tobacco – 7.7%, marijuana – 2.9%.
• 11th graders who report substance use in the past 30 days: alcohol – 42.5%, tobacco – 17%, marijuana – 10.3%.
• 8th graders who think there is little or no harm from using: alcohol – 44.1%, tobacco – 14.7%, marijuana – 5.9%.
• 11th graders who think there is little or no harm from using: alcohol – 63.6%, tobacco – 29.4%, marijuana – 52.9%.
FouchŽ told the board that the survey indicates that, except for marijuana among 8th graders, Clatskanie’s numbers are “pretty high” in regard to “our kids not seeing the risk” in using those substances.
“When a community really enforces its alcohol laws, and shows that they’re not using, then they find that all substance abuse in youth goes down,” Grasseth noted.