August, 2012

North Coast Big Band Performs in Park on Labor Day

by Special Correspondent Ernest A. Carman

The annual Labor Day performance of the North Coast Big Band (NCBB) in the Clatskanie City Park is set for Monday, Sept. 3, from 2-4 p.m.

The concert is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

The NCBB was formed in 1987 by members of the North Coast Concert Band, who expressed a desire to play the music of America’s big bands of the 1930s through 1950s, including Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) chair Donavon “Dee” Wooley, pictured above in the center playing his saxophone at last year’s Labor Day concert.

The 16-piece band includes five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, bass, piano, and drums. Two of the musicians also sing with the big band. The band’s repertoire includes traditional big band music popularized by bands such as those led by Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. Also in the big band’s collection are jazz arrangements.

Sponsored by the Clatskanie Park and Recreation District in an effort to bring community-style entertainment to the park, the upcoming concert follows the pathway of previous years’ events with members of the Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) on hand acting as hosts and kicking off their 24th performing arts season by serving free cake during intermission.

From 1-4 p.m., the CAC will also be offering “family-friendly” picnic items as a fundraiser featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob, and a variety of beverages.

Two sets of CAC season tickets will be raffled off (a $50 value each) during the show and all funds raised will be used to enrich CAC programs and offerings throughout the Lower Columbia River Region it serves during the 2012-13 season.

“This unique CAC partnership with Park and Rec enables us to reach out into the community and do what we do best – provide quality entertainment,” said Wooley.

Local car clubs and owners of vintage cars have been invited to park their vehicles on the grass in the park during the event while they enjoy the music.

Concert-goers are asked to bring their own chairs to this year’s gathering as the park’s aluminum bleachers and nearby picnic tables provide only limited seating.

For more information on this and other CAC sponsored events call 503 728-3403 or visit the website at


November Election Races for City of Rainier, CRPUD

Races will be on the November ballot for the Rainier city council and the Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) as a result of election filings for city and PUD offices that closed Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Only incumbents are seeking City of Clatskanie offices with Mayor Diane Pohl and councilors Kathy Engel, Jim Morgan and Steve Constans all filing for re-election.

Clatskanie PUD directors, Bob Wiggins, subdivision one; Merle Gillespie, subdivision two, and Stephen Petersen, subdivision five, are all seeking re-election and are unopposed.

In the City of Rainier, Mayor Jerry Cole is unopposed for re-election. However, former councilor Judith Taylor is challenging incumbent Mike Avent for  position 2; Bill Vilardi, the incumbent in position 6, is being challenged by Phil Butcher, who currently holds position 7 on the council. Former councilor Rob Piercy and Steve Massey have both filed for Butcher’s position 7.

The incumbents for the three positions up for election on the Columbia River PUD board have all filed for re-election, and are all facing challengers. Incumbent David M. Baker, subdivision 1 representing Scappoose, will face Will Kessi; Richard “Dick” Simpson, subdivision 3 representing St. Helens and Yankton, has an opponent in Ernie Zimbrick, and Darrel Purkerson, subdivision 4 representing St. Helens, is being challenged by Jake Carter.

For the City of Prescott only the incumbents have filed for reelection: Lynette Oswald, mayor; Coy Oliver, recorder; Kevin Miller, treasurer, and Jim Larson, councilor position 2. No candidate filed for councilor position 4.


HPE Prepares “Walk to Read” Program

SORTING BOOKS FOR THIS YEAR’S “Walk to Read” program Title I reading specialist Megan Keplinger, librarian assistant Terry Allen and summer workers Kylee Thompson and Joy Gartman prepare for Husdon Park Elementary’s 2012-13 school year.      Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley


Sharing Participation Discussed By Clatskanie School Board

by Adam J. Wehrley

The effort to increase participation in the course sharing program between Clatskanie and Rainier high schools was the major topic of conversation at the Clatskanie School District’s (CSD) board of directors meeting Monday, Aug. 27.

Clatskanie Superintendent Mary Mitchell reported that although enrollment projections from earlier in August showed only four Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) students and 11 Rainier Junior/Senior High School (RJSHS) participating in sharing, meetings between both districts’ administrators and shifts in schedules had increased the numbers to 24 from CMHS and 33 from RJSHS as of Monday.

Forecasts from last spring, as students were finishing the 2011-12 school year, showed 100 or more students from each district interested in participating.

“It’s not over yet, hopefully they’ll be even more. It looks like it’s still going to be a good sharing year.” said Mitchell.

CMHS counselor Rhonda Stecker explained that the course scheduling program run through the Northwest Regional Educational Service District (NWRESD) earlier this month projected four students sharing and that when the problem was discovered, the two districts began meeting to improve the situation in order to continue the program, which allows a wider range of electives to be offered.

Stecker explained the situation in greater detail to those in attendence at the board meeting.

CMHS Principal Jeff Baughman sought to put an end to the perception that he has worked to hamper the sharing program, stating, “Publically and privately I’m pro-sharing.” and “There was no effort by me or my staff to put classes in there to prevent sharing, I don’t know where that rumor got started, but I’d like to squelch it.”

Baughman did relay some concerns parents and students had expressed over the program, including access to teachers for help on advanced courses and social implications of being away from campus. He noted that a math support group had been formed last year to address the teacher access issue.

Director Michael Moravec addressed the issue of working more closely with Rainier during the scheduling process for next school year and forming a single schedule for the two districts’ high schools.

Baughman and Mitchell assured Moravec that the one schedule plan had been discussed in the recent meeting and would be pursued.

School board chair Megan Evenson suggested that Clatskanie and Rainier school boards hold a joint meeting to continue work on the sharing of various programs. It was tentatively agreed that Oct 22 be suggested, pending Rainier’s approval.

Water Heater, Funds, Report Cards Discussed

Mitchell reported that a large water heater supplying the CMHS kitchen had rusted through and would cost $21,000 to replace. It was explained that head of district maintenance Rex Nicholas had explored less expensive options, but inspectors had required the more expensive purchase.

Mitchell said the existing 100 gallon water heater would be used for handwashing, but paper plates would be used until the large tank could be installed in mid-September.

A higher-than-expected ending fund balance was reported by Janice Essenberg of the NWRESD, who contracts with the district for financial services. The district will start the year with $1,021,968 in the fund which will hold the district over until state funds are received later this fall.

Essenberg stated that the 2012-13 budget had projected an ending fund balance of $800,000 to start the year. $103,207 of the additional funds were received in state timber funds from the harvest of timber on state-managed forest land within the district.

Caution was advised by Essenberg, who expects the district’s payments into the public employees retirement system (PERS) to increase $250,000 to $300,000 in the 2013-14 budget year over 2012-13.

Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) Principal Yolanda Brackman presented a series of pamphlets explaining CES’ new standards-based report cards, which will give parents greater detail into how students are progressing towards state grade level standards.

The board approved the hiring of Linda Anderson as part-time English language learners teacher.

An intergovernmental cooperative purchasing agreement with Longview schools was signed. Mitchell explained that the agreement focused on produce and dairy for the food service program, but other commodities could also be purchased.

Director Karen George thanked the volunteers involved in the purchase and still-in-progress installation of the new scoreboard on the football field, including Cyndi Warren, Frank Somes, Calvin Olsen and the Clatskanie People’s Utility District and Evenson Logging for help delivering and setting up the poles holding the scoreboard. Baughman expressed his gratitude to Ideal Steel of Portland for donating the poles.


Clatsop Commissioners Oppose Kitzhaber Fishing Proposal

The Clatsop County board of commissioners has gone on record opposing a proposal by Gov. John Kitzhaber to restrict commercial salmon gillnet fishing on the lower Columbia River.

The proposal, presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Aug. 14, would prevent the use of gillnets by non-tribal fishers on the main channel of the lower Columbia River, and would restrict them to off-channel areas within the Select Area Fisheries Enhancement (SAFE) program.

The commission has directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife to draft the necessary rules to implement the plan.

The SAFE program, a collaborative initiative of the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife departments, Clatsop County, the Bonneville Power Administration and local commercial fishers and processors, releases juvenile hatchery salmon at four off-channel locations on the lower Columbia.

The sites were selected to maximize harvest opportunities for commercial fishers while minimizing impacts on wild salmon runs listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2011 the SAFE program released a total of 5.85 million spring and fall Chinook and coho juvenile salmon.

Clatsop County’s Fisheries Program currently raises fish for three of the SAFE areas: Youngs Bay, Tongue Point and Blind Slough. Juvenile salmon are reared in the program’s net-pen structures to acclimate them to river conditions before their release.

The board’s letter explains that the SAFE program was established to provide only a supplemental source of fish to commercial harvesters, and that catches in the main Columbia channel still account for more than half of the total non-tribal commercial gillnet salmon harvest.

The letter also notes that there is limited capability to expand salmon production in the SAFE program to make up for the harvest opportunities on the main channel that would be lost through the governor’s proposal, and that the existing SAFE fishing areas are not large enough to accommodate more vessels during fishing season.

Future funding for the Clatsop County Fisheries Program from BPA is also not assured, the letter states.


Students Go Back to School Next Week

Students in Northwest Oregon will head back to school next week, but not all of them on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) is planning a “staggered start” for all students. Parents have received notification of what day their child starts school. Friday, Sept. 7, will be the first day for all students.

The CES school day begins at 8:10 a.m. and ends at 2:10 p.m.

Seventh and ninth graders will start at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) on Tuesday, Sept. 4, while Wednesday, Sept. 5 will be a full day for all students.


New Cougar Sighted at CES…

LYING IN WAIT FOR A NEW SCHOOL YEAR a beautiful new hand painted cougar adorns the floor of the Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) office. The cougar was painted by Doug Aske and installed by CES personnel this summer.

Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley

School days at CMHS start at 8:05 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.

An open house is planned at CMHS on Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 6 to 7 p.m.

All students are scheduled to return to school at Rainier’s Hudson Park Elementary on Wednesday, Sept. 5. School hours are 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

At Rainier Junior/Senior High School, seventh and ninth graders, as well as students new to the district will start school on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with all other students joining them on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The RJSHS school day is 8:05 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 4, is the first day of school for the Vernonia School District.

Tuesday is also the first day of school for Knappa School District students with the exception of kindergarteners, who will start on Sept. 10.

More complete back-to-school information was published in the Aug. 23rd edition of The Chief which was mailed to all postal patrons in the 97016 and 97048 zip code areas.



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