November, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner a Century Ago

THANKGIVING DINNER A CENTURY AGO for Clatskanie area families? This photo of a pioneer woman feeding a flock of turkeys is included in the collection of the Clatskanie Historical Society, which has recently moved its museum from the Community Education Center to the historic Clatskanie I.O.O.F. Hall, at 75 S. Nehalem Street, just a half block off Highway 30. The museum is open from 1 to 3:30 p.m. each Saturday unless otherwise noted. Donations of historic Clatskanie area photos are always welcome, and may be brought to the museum. Those wishing more information may contact Clatskanie Historical Society president Larry Cole, 503 728-9854, or secretary Deborah Hazen, 503 728-3350. Photo Courtesy of Clatskanie Historical Society

Christmas Activities Gain Momentum as Thanksgiving Events Wrap Up

As families celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, it signals the transition to the Christmas holiday season.

The community Thanksgiving service in Clatskanie Wednesday, Nov. 23, concluded Thanksgiving events scheduled in the area. The observance was held at the Clatskanie United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. and featured a sing-a-long with Wenda Hall 20 minutes prior to the start of the service.

A variety of Christmas events and fundraisers are planned in the Clatskanie and Rainier areas throughout the coming weeks.

Chamber Contest Encourages Shopping in Clatskanie

Kicking off the holiday shopping season in Clatskanie is the Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” shop locally promotion beginning on Friday, Nov. 25.

Participating local businesses will have “Spirit” cards to hand out to shoppers. The cards will have 30 boxes on them. For each $10 spent in a participating business, store personnel will mark a box.

For transactions at the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) office, Sterling Savings Bank and Wauna Federal Credit Union (WFCU) Clatskanie branch,  only one box per transaction will be marked with a limit of one per day.

When all 30 boxes are filled, the completed “Spirit” cards may be turned in at the Clatskanie PUD headquarters no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23.

Unlike the weekly drawings in the promotions earlier this year, there will be only one drawing for first, second and third prizes of $100, $50 and $30 in Clatskanie Chamber Checks, which can be used as gift certificates at Chamber businesses.

Participating businesses are: Anytime Fitness, Bag Ladies Yarn Shop, Clatskanie Builders Supply, The Clatskanie Chief, Clatskanie Computers, Clatskanie Market, Clatskanie Mini Mart, Clatskanie Mini Storage, The Jam Room, The Blue Nutria, Clatskanie PUD, Clatskanie Subway, Colvin’s Pub and Grill, Discounts & Deals, Eastside Plaza – Carla’s Closet, Latté Da, Clatskanie Floral, Flowers ‘n Fluff, Fultano’s Pizza Parlor, The Hair Place, Hazen Hardware, Hi-School Pharmacy, Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant, Jim’s Garage, M&N Workwear, NAPA Quality Auto Parts, Quilt Garden, Sporty’s, Inc., Sterling Savings Bank, Turning Point Community Service Center and WFCU Clatskanie branch.

Toy n Joy Breakfast

Rainier United Methodist Church’s annual Toy ‘n Joy breakfast is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 3, from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at the church located on the corner of 1st and C streets in Rainier.

Donations will benefit Rainier’s Toy ‘n Joy program.

The menu includes all-you-can-eat buttermilk or blueberry pancakes, ham, scrambled eggs, orange juice, coffee and tea.

A bake and craft sale is planned by the church ladies.

Christmas Bazaar in Rainier

A Christmas bazaar in Rainier on Saturday, Dec. 3, will feature items for sale from local vendors and area businesses.

The bazaar is set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Riverside Community Church gymnasium, 305 West C Street.

The deadline for vendor applications is Friday, Nov. 18. Tables are $10 and there will be no charge for new “startup” businesses.

A community booth is planned in which Clatskanie and Rainier-area businesses that are not present may advertise and sell gift certificates.

To request applications or for more information, contact bazaar director Terry Deaton at 503 369-2245 or e-mail

Tree Lighting Ceremony in Rainier

Rainier’s community Christmas tree will be illuminated Saturday, Dec. 3, during a tree-lighting ceremony in front of Rainier City Hall at 5 p.m.

Community Lunch and Family Time

Clatskanie United Methodist Church’s annual free community soup lunch is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Homemade soup will be served along with breads and cookies. Family time featuring games is planned.

The church is located at 290 Nehalem Street.

Kiwanis Gala

The Clatskanie Kiwanis Club’s 12th annual gala dinner and auction is set Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Clatskanie Middle/High School commons, 471 SW BelAir Drive.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. followed by an auction which begins at 7 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and formal attire is encouraged. Event sponsors include Evenson Logging and Teevin Bros.

Tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased at Sterling Savings Bank, Turning Point or from Kiwanis club members.

Music will be provided by the Jazzberries. A dessert auction is planned. Attendees may have their pictures taken at the gala and prints will be ready by the end of the evening, said an event organizer.

Many auction items have been donated already including three nights lodging and transportation to Leavenworth, Wash. for the ice festival, porcelain artwork from Sky Dancer’s Porcelain Art, an original watercolor painting by Dr. George, a New Belgium Brewery “fat tire” bike, jewelry from Gallery of Diamonds and original artwork from Broderick Gallery.

Childcare is being offered at Clatskanie Baptist Church from 5-10 p.m. as a fundraiser for the church’s Brazil missions team. For more details contact the church at 503 728-2304.

Candelight Memorial Service

Families are invited to join together to remember Christmases past and the loved ones who have shared them in the annual Candlelight Memorial Service, sponsored by Groulx Family Mortuary, on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. at the Alston’s Corner Assembly of God Church.

The service will include local ministers of various faiths, special music, a candlelighting ceremony, trees decorated with ornaments featuring loved ones’ names, a Power Point presentation and refreshments.

Names of deceased loved ones may be submitted by local residents to be included on Christmas ornaments. The memorial ornaments are free of charge and will adorn lighted trees in the sanctuary.Requests must be received by Friday, Dec. 2, at Groulx Family Mortuary, 25381 Wonderly Road in Rainier, 503 556-2323.

Victorian Evening at the Castle

A Victorian Christmas champagne prime rib dinner fundraiser is set at the Flippin Castle National Historic Site Saturday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m.

Victorian attire is optional for the “Elegant Victorian Evening at the Castle” event which will benefit the Clatskanie Senior Center. In addition to prime rib and champagne, the menu includes Hasselback potatoes, smoked salmon crustini, salad, soup, pear ginger sorbet, and kahlua cake with vanilla ice cream and hot buttered rum sauce. Musical interludes are planned during the dinner.

Reservations are required. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the Castle, 620 SW Tichenor Street, or from Clatskanie Senior Center board members.

For more information call the Castle at 503 728-3608, e-mail, or visit the website,

Ballots in Recall of Rainier Councilors Moon and Langford Mailed Nov 28

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Ballots in the recall of City of Rainier Councilors David Langford and Russ Moon will go in the mail Nov. 28 and will be due back Dec. 13.

On recall petitions filed by chief petitioner Don Puckett and signed by over 150 local citizens – (110 verified signatures from voters of the City of Rainier were required to place the issue on the ballot) – Moon is accused of “running off” a former city administrator (Chad Olsen), costing the city money, taking action on his own without authorization from the city council, and acting unprofessionally and in a degrading manner to other council members, community members and the mayor.”

(Editor’s Note: An article in last week’s Chief inaccurately inferred that Moon is also being accused of “running off” former interim city administrator Ken Knight. That is not part of the recall supporters’ accusations against Moon. It was The Chief reporter’s error. In a letter to the editor printed inside this edition, Knight states that Moon and Langford were among his “strongest supporters.” The Chief apologizes for the error and any misunderstandings it may have created. – DSH)

In his rebuttal to the recall petition, Moon stated:

“Donald Puckett has sponsored the recall effort of Mr. Moon, openly admitting that he has never witnessed any of the behaviors or actions in the recall. The accusations are false, malicious, and unfounded.

“Regarding the removal of Chad Olsen, former City Manager of Rainier, Puckett said ‘Mr. Moon, acting on his own, has run off the city manager and cost the city compensation fees.’ The majority of the council indicated they wished to terminate Olsen’s contract. Stated in a letter dated 4/14/07 from Olsen’s attorney, the statement was verified.”

A letter dated April 14, 2007 from Jack D. Hoffman of the law firm of Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue, LLP, attorneys at law, addressed to the Rainier mayor and city council, stated:

“This firm represents Chad Olsen, the City Administrator for the City of Rainier. It is my understanding that a majority of the Council has indicated that they wish to terminate Mr. Olsen’s contract…”

The letter goes on to state that it was Hoffman’s understanding that “one or more Council members have requested that the issue of the City Administrator’s employment status be an agenda item” for the April 16, 2007 council meeting. He suggested that “the City Council not make a decision this coming Monday night (April 16, 2007) to terminate Mr. Olsen’s employment. Rather, the City and Mr. Olsen should utilize a reasonable and mutually beneficial approach that would allow a negotiated separation.”

The council took no action regarding Olsen’s employment until a special meeting was called for May 1, after the city had received another letter from Hoffman, dated April 30, 2007.

That letter was released to the press in July 2007, and was published in its entirety in the July 12, 2007 issue of The Chief. It read, in part:

“This firm represents Chad Olsen, the City of Rainier City Administrator. The purpose of this letter is to place the City of Rainier, Councilor Russ Moon, and the other councilors who have ratified Mr. Moon’s illegal conduct, on notice of their potential liability to Mr. Olsen.

“For the past several months, Councilor Russ Moon, with knowledge and acquiescence by other councilors, has engaged in an unlawful campaign of harassment and intimidation toward Mr. Olsen. Mr. Moon has on numerous occasions damaged Mr. Olsen’s personal and professional reputation. We have irrefutable evidence that Mr. Moon has approached members of the City of Rainier community making derogatory comments about Mr. Olsen, and stating that Mr. Olsen was unfit and lacked integrity in the discharge of his employment duties as City Administrator. Mr. Moon has impugned Mr. Olsen’s honesty in the presence of other City employees. These actions have caused Mr. Olsen significant harm, not only within the community, but also with respect to any possible future employment opportunities. These false statements are slanderous and actionable per se. Flagrant abuse of power, by elected offcials who have intentionally interfered with a city employee’s contract with a city, is not tolerated by the courts. There is no immunity for such acts. Public officials are accountable for defamatory statements and the damage that is caused.

“Many of Mr. Moon’s activities were outside the scope of his official duties, and thus he had no privilege to make the derogatory and defamatory statements that he did. He is personally liable for all resultant damages. Other incidents may arguably have occurred within Mr. Moon’s scope of duties as a councilor. However, his illegal motive and improper methods negate any possible privilege. Assuming some acts were within the scope of being a councilor, the City would also be liable to Mr. Olsen for damages.

“The acts of Councilor Moon have been ratified by and acquiesced to by at least three other councilors. Mr. Moon told Mr. Olsen on repeated occasions that he had four votes on council to terminate his employment. Their support of Mr. Moon’s actions constitute an unlawful civil conspiracy, and make them personally liable as co-conspirators…”

“To the extent four members of the council can act on behalf of the City, the City is also liable for all damages caused by the four councilors…”

Councilor Langford was one of the four councilors to whom the letter referred. The other two are no longer on the council.

As a result of the April 30, 2007 letter from Olsen’s attorney and after a special executive session on May 1, the council agreed to pay Olsen 12 months salary, 12 months of health and dental insurance, plus PERS benefits, etc., costing the city approximately $95,000, according to information obtained by The Chief this week.

Olsen was subsequently hired as city manager for St. Helens, and continues in that position.

Moon’s Defense Continues

Moon’s rebuttal statement continues: “Ken Knight, the interim City Administrator, submitted his letter of resignation to the council on 11/7/07 after the council voted 4-3 denying him a permanent position.

“During a council meeting on 7/5/11, Councilmen Sloan Nelson and Scott Cooper moved and seconded to support a vote of no confidence, therefore terminating Lars Gare’s employment which was effective immediately.

“Mr. Moon was a part of a team effort, and did not act as a rogue individual. Puckett, working for some unknown persons, propagated unfounded accusations and rhetoric. For these reasons, this recall is not supported by our community. I respectfully ask your NO vote.”

Gare’s employment was not terminated “effective immediately” after a 4-3 “no confidence” vote at the July 5th meeting.

In fact, Langford, one of the three no votes along with Moon and Phil Butcher, cited a 1952 city ordinance which required a two-thirds vote of the council to remove an appointed city officer.

Subsequently, the city council unanimously approved a severance agreement with Gare on July 18. That was the date his employment with the city ended, not July 5. The severance package provided for six months of pay, totalling $42,384, and 257.82 hours of vacation pay at $40.75 an hour, totaling another $10,506.17.

Accusations Against Langford and His Defense

Langford, is accused on the recall petition of being “rude in public meetings; for example, calling people ignorant, telling them to “shut up,’ accusing city employees of misconduct, thereby opening up the city, as well as himself, to liability issues.  He does not follow policies and procedures and makes back-door agreement with various agencies without council support.”

Langford’s statement regarding the recall reads:

“I campaigned on ‘Honesty Matters,’ this has never changed. The accusations by the petitioner are fabrications and have admittedly never been witnessed by the petitioner. The petitioner has stated that I made backroom deals with various agencies, yet has not been able to provide any evidence due to the fact that there are none. He also stated that I do not follow policy and procedures, yet again the petitioner cannot provide any such example. There is also the false accusation of accusing city employees of misconduct without any basis or fact. Furthermore, the petitioner has admitted publicly that he has no standing in the order to bring such a recall effort; he has stated that he is ‘acting as a pawn’ and that he ‘does not know the details of the allegations.’ I can assure you that I know that there are no details to these fabricated allegations. I represent the city and the citizens, not myself. Fabricating this story is an attempt to alter the will of the good people of Rainier, therefore I humbly ask you to reject this fraudulent recall effort, because the good citizens of Rainier deserve better.”

Mayor Supports Recall

In announcing his support of the recall two weeks ago, Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole stated that “Councilor Langford’s verbal abuse during the meetings and Councilor Moon’s constant behind-the-scenes deals, make it difficult for the council to work in a productive manner.”

Cole decided to go on record after he was the target of a “verbal outburst” from Moon following a special meeting Oct. 31. Moon subsequently apologized.

Councilors Scott Cooper and Bill Vilardi have also gone on the record in support of the recall, and have been the target of some of the “verbal abuse” from Langford and Moon. Councilors Mike Avent and Phil Butcher have said they oppose the recall.

In an e-mail conversation between city councilors (which are public record), just prior to the resignation of Gare in July of this year, Langford, a supporter of Gare, stated that a July 9, 2005 article in The Daily Record, a newspaper covering Central Washingon, which reported Gare’s “immediate dismissal” as city administrator of Cle Elum, Wash. six years before his forced resignation as Rainier city administrator “is a mute point.”

In the e-mail exchange, Cooper corrected Langford’s use of the word “mute” instead of “moot,” but questioned humorously whether he really intended to keep the information silent or “mute.”

“Wow Scott, you are just a d**k huh,” was Langford’s reply.

Following Gare’s negotiated resignation, Langford made pointed remarks during a public meeting of the council to city finance manager Debbie Dudley accusing her of siding with those in favor of Gare’s departure from the city administrator post.

Dudley had announced that she would like to be considered for the position of interim city administrator, if the council decided to hire an interim, and that she had a recommendation from Gare among others.

Felon Proposed as City Administrator

At the Aug. 1st meeting, Moon and Langford promoted the hiring of Michael Patterson a former Redmond city manager, who Moon had invited to the meeting and who offered to work for $100 per month. Patterson acknowledged that he had made a “mistake in my personal life.”

At that meeting, Langford said that he had never met Patterson, but that he supported hiring him.

Subsequent research by The Chief revealed that Patterson pleaded guilty to one count of felony fourth-degree assault (domestic violence) in December of 2008 and one count of misdemeanor fourth degree asault related to two separate incidents with his previous wife. The felony was downgraded to a misdemeanor in December of 2010.

After his criminal record was revealed, the idea of hiring Patterson was dropped.

Moon Petitions for “Forensic Audit”

The Sept. 6th meeting was abruptly adjourned by Mayor Cole after the council broke into arguments about a packet handed out by Moon with questions regarding money that was budgeted as expenditures, but had not been spent. The funds were not spent because of the on-going litigation in the case involving the Rainier Economic Development Council (REDCO) and U.S. Gypsum.

Dudley’s written staff report explained where the funds were in the budget.

However, in the days following that meeting, Moon circulated a petition requesting that the city obtain a “forensic audit,” and stating that “the audit will determine how much money is available for settlement, and prevent an over-estimation of funds being used. This could result in having to go to the taxpayers for additional tax revenues to support the settlement.”

The statement about tax revenues, which could not be raised without a vote of the people, caused a flurry of calls to city hall.

Moon’s allegations regarding city finances were also the subject of an article in The South County Spotlight which raised concerns among the other councilors because of its inaccurate portrayal of the situation regarding the REDCO payments.

In a 4-3 split at the Sept. 19th meeting, the council voted against the $5,000 forensic audit, but agreed that with an additional scope of work, Moon’s questions could be addressed in the regular audit.

The results of the audit of transactions between the City of Rainier and REDCO from 2007 to the present were presented to the Rainier city council at its meeting Monday, Nov 21.

There were no irregularities noted in regard to the REDCO transactions except that one check had only one signature rather than the two required by city policy.

Public Works Issues Dominate Quiet Meeting

At the Nov. 21st meeting all of the Rainier city councilors conducted themselves civilly.

Most of the time was devoted to an evaluation of public works director Darrel Lockard that was spearheaded by Langford, who serves as the council’s liaison to the public works department.

At the Nov. 7th meeting, Langford said he would provide the other councilors with evaluation forms and wanted them back by Nov. 18 in order to compile the results in time for the Nov. 21 meeting.

He noted that he had not received Cooper’s, Vilardi’s or Sloan Nelson’s until after that deadline, and that therefore their results were not included in the evaluation.

However, with Lockard’s agreement, all of the councilors were able to give their input at Monday’s meeting.

They agreed that Lockard was excellent in regard to the operation of the water and sewer plant, but several raised concerns about the maintenance of the streets, storm drains, responding to citizen concerns about water leaks, communication with the council, etc.

Nelson also noted that the city had been fined a total of $2,000 in the past by the State Fire Marshal’s Office because paperwork had not been turned it. Lockard emphasized that this year the reports were filed within days after receiving them.

The concerns about public works maintenance issues were underscored by a nine-page list of issues presented by Connie Budge, a former city councilor and resident of View Street, including over-growth, litter, dead vegetation due to spraying, clogged drainage ditches, leaking water hook-ups, etc.

At the end of the long evaluation session, Lockard told the council “thanks for talking to me. It works when I know what the issues and goals are.” Out of 11 issues on which his performance was rated, Lockard received seven “threes” for “satisfactory,” and four “fours” indicating above satisfactory performance. Five was the highest on the scale.

While Langford had emphasized that it was the job of the city administrator to do the evaluation, the council did it because the mayor is currently filling the role of administrator, with the assistance of city staff.

In fact, Gare had refused to do written evaluations of the staff when asked to do so by  former Councilor Judith Taylor.

During the course of the discussion, an audience member, Viki Overbay, said “the message that you sent by not all of you completing a simple task that you had two weeks to complete – I think that message sent is horrible.”

The councilors who were late with their evaluation forms apologized.

Don Puckett, the chief petitioner in the recall movement, asked about the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) investigation and “the safety of our employees.”

Lockard responded that the OSHA investigation “is still going on. The council will have that information when it’s complete.”

“Do you know what it’s like to be in your home and be concerned that the water’s going over the berm and may be coming into your garage and into your home?” asked Budge in regard to the storm drainage issues on View Street she had raised earlier in the meeting.

Mayor Cole promised to put it on the agenda for the Dec. 5th meeting.

Langford also presented a list of goals for the public works department. The council added some more, and Langford said he would revise them in time for the Dec. 5th meeting.

Meeting on Railroad, Other Reports

Councilors Mike Avent, Butcher and Moon reported on “very productive give and take meeting” that Moon had organized with representatives of the railroad, the Port of St. Helens, Teevin Bros., Foss Maritime and Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery regarding the train traffic on A Street.

In other business, the board approved placing a porta-potty at the restrooms in Riverfront Park since the permanent restrooms there are now closed for the winter.

The contract with CBR Forestry LLC was renewed for forestry management services.

An agreement with JL&O Enterprises for a commercial thinning harvest in the watershed was approved. It is estimated that it will generate $20,000 in revenue for the city.

Dudley reported on the City County Insurances Services best practices bonus program which could save the city money on its insurance premiums.

Several of the recommended steps have been implemented. The council agreed with Dudley’s suggested that staff begin the updating of the safety manual and ensure compliance with it.

Cougar Attack Reported Near Clatskanie

by Cindy Bloomer

An attack by a cougar on a dog was reported recently several miles outside of Clatskanie at a residence on Johnson Road, off of Olson Road.

The 88-pound boxer-lab mix sustained injuries to the head, neck and front shoulders the afternoon of Nov. 10 between 1 and 3 p.m.

The dog underwent a four-hour surgery and is “basically stapled and stitched together,” said the dog’s owner Wenda Hall. The dog is reportedly getting around well and is scheduled to have stitches removed Dec. 2.

The veterinarian believed the injuries were inflicted by a cougar which had approached from behind and clawed underneath the head and around the chest area, said Hall.

Hall contacted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife  (ODFW) to report the attack and informed the agency that she had seen a cougar with two cubs on her property a number of times. “The family of cougars is not uncomfortable around people and has been seen right in our driveway and hangs around the nearby woods,” she said.

A neighbor, Sherri Lynn, reported seeing a cougar behind her shed Sunday morning, Nov. 20. During the night she had heard a commotion of nearby gun shots between 12:30 and 1 a.m. and what sounded like an animal jumping over her fence.

Predator Control

“The biggest issue is public safety,” stressed ODFW district biologist Don VandeBergh. Regulations allow for the protection of persons and livestock from cougars to the point of lethal means when there are repeated sightings near buildings or any time a predator is stalking or growling, he stated.

“We don’t want to shoot or kill cougars that are just being cougars out in the wild,” VendeBergh clarified.

Any cougar sightings or encounters should be reported to Oregon State Police or ODFW. Timely contact is really important in deciphering the cause of attacks, stressed the biologist.

Cougar hunting is allowed year round under ODFW big game regulations. Hunters must possess a valid hunting license and cougar tag. Spotted kittens are protected as well as females with spotted kittens. Hunting with the use of dogs is prohibited.

VandeBergh encourages those who find cougar tracks or the carcass of a game animal they suspect of being killed by a cougar, particularly one that has been covered  with ground debris, to contact ODFW. To preserve the sign he recommends putting a bucket with a weight on over the tracks and to spread a tarp over the dead animal. Cougar photos taken by trail cameras are also helpful, he added.

Tips from ODFW

ODFW offers the following guidelines for living with cougars.

• Learn your neighborhood/property. Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer or elk concentrate.

• Be more cautious at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.

• Install motion-activated light outdoors along walkways and driveways.

• Walk pets during the day and keep them on a leash. Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk, and shelter them at night.

• Do not feed wildlife – by attracting other wildlife you may attract a cougar. Do not leave pet food outside – feed pets indoors if possible. Keep birdfeeder areas clean.

• Use animal-proof garbage cans if necessary.

• Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas.

• Deer-proof garden and yard areas with nets, lights and fencing.

• Pen livestock closer to the home – shelter them in sheds or barns at night.

For those who encounter cougars ODFW recommends the following actions.

• Leave the animal a way to escape. Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity.

• Stay calm and stand your ground. Maintain direct eye contact. Raise your voice and speak firmly.

• Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.

• Back away slowly and do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.

• If the cougar seems aggressive do things to appear  larger such as open a coat or raise arms, and clap your hands.

• If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.

Foss Maritime Gets Contract, Adds Jobs in Rainier

A $9.6 million ferry building contract is expected to bring 18 new family-wage-paying jobs to Foss Maritime Company’s shipyard in Rainier.

Washington state transportation officials announced Nov. 17 that Foss Maritime had won the bid to build an aluminum ferry which will be built in pieces in Rainier, then shipped to Lake Roosevelt in northeastern Washington where it will be assembled.

The new 20-car ferry will replace a 60-year-old smaller vessel, to provide transport between the towns of Wilbur and Keller on Lake Roosevelt, the lake created by Grand Coulee Dam. It is expected to go into service in 2013.

At the Rainier city council meeting Monday, Nov. 21, Councilor Phil Butcher announced that the ferry project would create 18 new jobs at the Rainier shipyard, which currently employs about 30, and has concentrated primarily on the building of tugboats.

More jobs may be added in the future when Foss is expected to continue converting tugs from diesel to hybrid fuels.

In 2009 Foss’ Rainier shipyard built the world’s first hybrid tug, the Carolyn Dorothy. Earlier this year it retrofitted the Campbell Foss tug to hybrid technology.

Deer Island Woman Remains Missing

A 19-year-old Deer Island-area woman remains missing nine days after leaving home to visit a friend.

Nichole “Nikki” Sherman disappeared in the early evening hours of Nov. 13, while enroute to visit a friend living on Apiary Road near Rainier.

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson terms the disappearance as “highly suspicious” and has determined it is unlikely she drove off the road on the way to her friend’s house.

Although the sheriff’s office continues to track down leads as they come in, nothing is taking them in any particular direction, according to Sheriff Dickerson.

Sherman is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall, medium to heavy build, with brown hair and eyes. She was last seen wearing dark jeans and a camouflage hooded sweatshirt.

The car she was last seen driving is a red 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier, Oregon plate YCD 562, with dents in both the trunk and drivers’ side door, missing hubcaps and LCC parking stickers in the back window.

Anyone with information about Sherman should call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 503 366-4611.

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