07 November 2012 by Published in: News No comments yet

Fisher, Hyde, Dickerson Leading in Incomplete Results

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Incumbent Columbia County commissioners Earl Fisher and Tony Hyde, and Sheriff Jeff Dickerson won re-election in the Nov. 6th general election.

Fisher, running for re-election to position 1, withstood a strong challenge from Wayne Mayo, winning 7,258 (50.92 percent) to 6,930 (48.62 percent).

Seeking re-election to position 3, Hyde won with a comfortable 8,376 (60.80 percent) to 5,314 (38.57 percent) for Tammy Maygra.

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson won re-election to a second term by 8,655 (60.05 percent) to Dave Fuller’s 5,665 (39.30 percent).

County treasurer Jennifer Cuellar-Smith was unopposed for re-election.

In contested races for the Rainier city council, Judith Taylor defeated incumbent Mike Avent, 286 (57.55 percent) to 207 (41.65 percent) for position 2.

Position 6 incumbent William Vilardi withstood a challenge from Phil Butcher, who chose not to run for re-election to his position 7 seat, but filed against Vilardi instead. Vilardi had 297 votes (60.86 percent) to Phil Butcher’s 186 (38.11 percent).

Meanwhile, council newcomer Steve Massey won election to the position 7 seat, polling 289 (61.62 percent) to 173 (36.89 percent) lead over Rob Piercy.

Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole was unopposed for re-election.

All seats up for election for the City of Clatskanie were unopposed with Mayor Diane Pohl and Councilors Kathryn Engel, James Morgan and Stephen Constans all winning re-election.

There were no Columbia County measures on the ballot.

Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) directors Bob Wiggins, subdivision 1; Merle Gillespie, subdivision 2, and Stephen Petersen, subdivision 5, were all unopposed for re-election.

For the Columbia River PUD, David Baker defeated Will Kessi, 772 (51.36) to 717 (47.70 percent) for subdivision 1; Richard (Dick) Simpson had a strong margin over Ernie Zimbrick 1,340 (70.38) to 511 (26.84 percent) for subdivision 3, and Jake Carter beat incumbent Darrel Purkerson 1,185 (63.00 percent) to 676 (35.94 percent) for subdivision 4.

In final unofficial Clatsop County results, incumbent Sheriff Tom Bergin won re-election with 8,812 votes (55.39 percent) over Jim Pierce’s 7,025 (44.16 percent).

Clatsop County had an 81.03 percent voter turn-out with 17,522 ballots cast.

Voters of the Knappa-Svensen-Burnside Rural Fire Protection District turned down a general obligation bond for equipment and facilities improvements.

Witt, Boone Winning Re-election

Democrat Brad Witt of Clatskanie was winning re-election to his State Representative, 31st District seat, over a challenge by Republican Lew Barnes of North Plains by 9,206 (54.04 percent) to 7,043 (41.35 percent) with two third party candidates, Libertarian Robert Miller and Constitution Party candidate Ray Biggs each taking about two percent of the vote.

District 32 State Representative Deborah Boone of Cannon Beach had an even larger margin, 16,855 (68.83 percent) over Jim Welsh, of the Constitution Party, 6,240 (25.48 percent), and Libertarian Perry Roll, 1,292 (5.28 percent).

Statewide Races, Measures

In statewide races and measures, Columbia and Clatsop counties were generally agreeing with the rest of the state, although Republican Bruce Starr held a narrow lead in Columbia County over Democrat Brad Avakian who won re-election statewide to the position of Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

On the measures, the two Northwest Oregon counties agreed with the state, passing Measure 77 (catastrophic disaster declarations), 78 (constitutional language), and 79 (prohibiting real estate taxes), while saying no to 80 (marijuana legalization) and 81 (banning gillnets).

Clatsop County, a traditional commercial fishing center, turned down the gillnet measure by a whopping 86.76 percent, higher than the statewide 66.33 to 33.78 percent vote.

The two counties also agreed with the state, turning down measures 82 and 83, regarding casinos; saying no to 84, the phasing out of inheritance taxes, but approving 85, allocating the corporate income/excise tax “kicker” refund to public education.

National Results

Traditionally Democrat strongholds, Columbia and Clatsop counties also voted to re-elect President Barack Obama.

In Columbia County’s incomplete results, President Obama was carrying the county by 50.54 percent to Mitt Romney’s 45.35 percent, with five other candidates also on the presidential ballot.

Clatsop County favored the re-election of the president by 55.32 percent to 40.78 percent for Romney.

For Representative in Congress, 1st District, Democrat Suzanne Bonamici was easily winning re-election over Republican challenger Delinda Morgan by a 61.17 percent to 32.37 percent maragin throughout the district, while Progressive candidate Steven Reynolds got 4.08 percent, and Bob Ekstrom of the Constitution Party drew 2.27 percent.

Veteran’s Day Observances Scheduled

Veteran’s Day observances are planned in Clatskanie, Rainier and Astoria to honor local veterans.

Assembly, Breakfast in Clatskanie Nov. 9

An assembly to honor veterans is scheduled Friday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., at the Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) auditorium, 471 SW BelAir Drive.

This year’s theme is “Country, Honor, Service.”

The program includes a color guard to be presented by the Clatskanie Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, and patriotic music performed by the CMHS band and choir. Scheduled speakers include keynote speaker Ed VanDyke, CMHS principal Jeff Baughman and Rhonda Stecker.

Breakfast will be served to veterans and their families prior to the assembly in the CMHS commons from 8-8:45 a.m.

The meal will be served by honor students and includes breakfast casserole, fruit, pastry, coffee and juice.

Free Veteran’s Day Dinner Nov. 11

The Clatskanie American Legion Post 68 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 68 is hosting a free Veteran’s Day dinner.

All local veterans, military personnel on active duty or reserves, and their families are invited to the dinner on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m., served at the Clatskanie American Legion Hall, 930 NE 5th Street.

Potluck Dinner, Awards Presentation

The Columbia River Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1909 and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary will host a potluck dinner to honor all veterans Saturday, Nov. 10, in Rainier.

The event will begin with a social hour starting at 4 p.m. followed by dinner at 5 p.m. at Riverside Community Church, located at West 3rd and C streets in Rainier. A white elephant auction is planned. Membership longevity awards will be presented to veterans at the dinner. Post 1909 recipients include William Watts, Dean Rundell and Douglas White (20 years); Scott Taggart, Curt Harris and William Puckett (10 years).

Presentations by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary include the following awards: Linda Larson, Gale Lockwood and Mary Hamilton, 25 years; Rachel McCardle, 15 years; Majorie Bowers, 10 years; Joy Boren and Evelyn Davis, 5 years.

CCC Honors Veterans Nov. 8 in Astoria

Clatsop Community College (CCC) will host a ceremony to honor veterans.

The observance is set Thursday, Nov. 8, from 6-7 p.m., in the CCC Performing Arts Center, 588 16th Street in Astoria.

This is a “free intergenerational presentation of support and appreciation for those who serve our country, and an opportunity for all to express gratitude,” said a CCC spokesperson. The public is invited to attend.

Armed Felon Taken into Custody After 10-hour Standoff

by Adam J. Wehrley

A Clatskanie man who reportedly went “berserk” during an argument and began firing a rifle inside a home Friday, Nov. 2, was taken into police custody after a 10-hour standoff.

Law enforcement officers from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Clatskanie, Rainier, Columbia City, Saint Helens and Scappoose police departments, as well as the Oregon State Police responded to the vicinity of 18382 Co-Op Road, just off Beaver Falls Road, east of Clatskanie, at 2:20 p.m. Friday after receiving reports that Cary Lee Woodward of Clatskanie reportedly took a .22-caliber, bolt-action rifle and began firing it off in the house. Residents in the home fled the area uninjured, going to a neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1. There were no reports that Woodard had fired on law enforcement or directly at anyone present. Witnesses reported that they believe Woodard would resist arrest.

As they responded to the scene, officers learned that Woodard had a criminal history of arrest for murder, and had been convicted of manslaughter. For public safety, Beaver Falls Road was closed from about 2:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Saturday according to Clatskanie police sergeant Shaun McQuiddy.

The multiagency Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) was activated. Officers and deputies on the team responded and took up perimeter positions, while waiting for an Oregon State Police (OSP) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, which was deployed in another location and was not able to arrive until 9 p.m. Two tactical dispatchers from Columbia 9-1-1 were also on scene and assisting with tactical operations.

CCSO reported that the SWAT team members took Woodard into custody around 12:10 a.m. after a short struggle. Medics transported him to an area hospital with minor injuries and he was later released in CCSO custody.

Woodard faces charges of menacing and felon in possession of a firearm and is being lodged at the Columbia County Jail.

The scene was also processed for evidence under a search warrant, this produced evidence of a marijuana growing operation at the residence, according to CCSO’s report. The Sheriff’s Office is following upon that through the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team.

Remains of Fallen Bridge Worker Recovered

A body discovered Saturday, Nov. 3, by a recreational boater has been positively identified as missing bridge worker, Charles William “Bill” Wiley Jr. of Mississippi, who was reported to have fallen from the Lewis and Clark Bridge on Oct. 8 while working as part of the crew repainting the bridge. 

Clatskanie area resident Tom Galloway reported that he spotted Wiley’s body laying among rocks near the western confluence of Bradbury Slough and the Columbia River,near Port Westward at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Galloway called 9-1-1 and waited while Columbia County sheriff’s deputies, Cowlitz County deputies and Clatskanie police offi cers recovered the body.

Galloway said the body was near a boat ramp east of the main docks at Port Westward. A safety harness and reflective clothing were still on the body. Galloway said, “I’m glad he gets to go home to his family, so they can have some closure.”

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s chief criminal deputy Charlie Rosenzweig confi rmed that the body had been identified as Wiley.

A Cowlitz County sheriff’s office statement said, “There is no indication that this is anything other than an accidental death. The formal cause and manner of death will be determined by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.”

Wiley was an experienced bridge worker employed by Odyssey- Geronimo JV of Houston Pa.

Rainier School Board Studies Money Matters

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Money for public education is “not where anyone would like it to be,” Rainier School District Superintendent Michael Carter told the school board at its meeting Monday, Nov. 5.

Analyzing the recently-released 10-year recommended budget process for Oregon, Carter predicted that funding for public education would remain flat. With student population falling – Rainier’s enrollment is 48 students less than it was at this time last year – Carter is predicting a $600,000 shortfall.

Part of that will be offset for next year with a cash carryover – currently predicted at about $199,000 – and the district is preparing to institute a spending freeze – but, “it’s going to be a challenging time,” Carter said.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board heard the annual report from Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD) superintendent James Sager and board member Earl Fisher. Rainier will receive about $22,000 less in services from the ESD next year, but Carter praised the ESD staff and board for helping to hammer out compromises that preserved services to smaller districts as much as possible.

Superintendent Directed to Solve Sharing Problems

In regard to the sharing of programs with Clatskanie, the Rainier board passed the same directive to superintendents as was passed by the Clatskanie school board during a joint meeting of the two boards held in Clatskanie Oct. 22.

The directive instructs the superintendents of the two districts to work closely together to develop a unified/ modified schedule which will facilitate the sharing of programs; to work with union officials to develop a plan and memorandums of understanding to allow for moving of staff between districts when appropriate, and to take other steps to solve the problems and make sharing work for the benefit of the students.

The idea behind the program is to pool resources of the two districts to offer students as many electives as possible during a time when rising Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and other payroll costs are increasing, state school funding is not, and student population is dropping.

The directive asks Carter and Clatskanie School District Superintendent Mary Mitchell to report back to the school boards in regard to how they are going to fulfill the goals in the directive in February.

Priorities and Policies

In other actions at Monday’s meeting, the board adopted the proposed 2013 Oregon School Boards Association legislative policies and priorities.

A decision on a policy regarding personal communication devices and social media use by staff was postponed pending language modification, after concerns about some of the wording were pointed out by teacher representatives.

The board also took under advisement a suggested administrative regulation regarding agreements for volunteer service.

Teachers Going to Iditarod

While the superintendent and school board expressed concern about on-going funding problems, they did approve a proposal for three second grade teachers to take personal leave days in February to travel to Alaska where they will attend the Iditarod dogsled race.

Described as an “intense academic trip,” it was explained that the second grade curriculum includes a unit based on the historic event, which combines history, math and other subjects.

The trip will cost about $6200 and funds have been committed from the associated student body, the boosters club, the Rainier Parent Teachers Organization, and private contributions.

After a lengthy discussion, the board authorized the trip and asked the superintendent to look for ways to cover the approximately $3200 cost to the school district to hire substitute teachers during the time the regular teachers are in Alaska. Carter said he would use some money from the professional development fund, and possibly some revenue the district expects from limbing cedar boughs on the campus.

Facility Reports

Carter reported that the energy efficiency projects being accomplished by McKinstry continue to progress.

The district was successful in bidding for three used vehicles from the NWRESD – a small bus, a utility van and a utility truck – for $1000 each. All “run great,” according to Carter. The two utility vehicles have high mileage, but the bus has less than 40,000 miles on it.

Staff Changes

The board approved the recommendations to hire Shalana Harrison, youth in transition program (YTP) specialist, and Susan Laughlin, instructional assistant. It was explained that these are not new positions, but replacing staff members who left or were moved to other positions.

The board approved a memorandum of agreement regarding the pay rate for the YTP position.

Also accepted was the resignation of cook Ellen Kellar.

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