29 May 2013 by Published in: News No comments yet

Honoring Clatskanie’s Warriors

FLAGS FLEW HIGH at Clatskanie’s Murray Hill Cemetery over Memorial Day weekend with the “Avenue of Flags” erected by the Clatskanie American Legion Post 68. Boy Scout Troop 241 assisted the Legion and Clatskanie Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2994 in placing flags on the graves of veterans in local cemeteries. The Legion and VFW with the assistance of Clatskanie Kiwanis Club put on the 58th annual Memorial Day Breakfast at the Legion Hall Monday morning, then conducted services at the Clatskanie Veterans Memorial and the Nehalem Street Bridge honoring those who gave their lives in service to the cause of freedom around the world. Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hinkelman (standing by the memorial in the center photo) spoke about the meaning and importance of Memorial Day (see his message below). Veterans in attendance at the service were asked to step forward and approximately two dozen former soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines gathered under the “liberty tree” near the memorial. Chief Photos by Deborah Steele Hazen

Clatskanie School Budget Committee Takes Teachers’ Advice About Title I Position

by Deborah Steele Hazen

After hearing from a group of Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) teachers regarding the importance of keeping the Title I reading position full-time, the Clatskanie School District budget committee unanimously approved an amended $9,553,978 budget for the 2013-14 school year at a meeting May 22.

A motion to amend the budget to allow for a full-time Title I teacher passed by a 7-2 margin after a long discussion during which the teachers presented their arguments in favor of keeping the full-time position. The Title I program gets its name from the federal funds which help support it.

Interim Superintendent George Lanning had proposed making the Title I position half-time to allow for a half-time counselor at CES to address problem solving skills, anti-bullying, non-violent conflict resolution on the busses, playground and cafeteria, etc.

CES is also undergoing the change next year of having a half-time, rather than full-time, principal, since the newly-hired Dr. Lloyd Hartley, will be serving as both superintendent and CES principal. All of the changes and proposed changes are due to school funding shortfalls.

However, a letter read by CES teacher and teachers’ union president Megan Kilgore and signed by all of the CES teachers, stated that they feel “strongly that this reduction in support (cutting the Title I position in half) is not in the best interest of student learning and achievement. The Title I teacher provides a variety of supports for student academic growth and teacher professional development including the following:

“• Targeted reading intervention for small groups and individual students

“• School-wide benchmark screening and progress monitoring

“•Student and teacher support during statewide assessment periods

“• A resource for teachers regarding reading instructional support

“• Having a unique school-wide perspective and maintaining knowledge of all students, K-6, in regards to their current academic levels and needs.

“In accordance with the district priority of ‘improving academic achievement for all students while closing the achievement gap,’ we strongly urge you to reinvest in the full-time Title I teaching position.”

Several teachers gave further testimony in support of that letter.

Brad Thorud reported on CES’ high testing scores, in which most of the classes are exceeding the state average. “We’re getting really good results with the instructional system we have in place. The Title I position is crucial to that system.”

Lucius Jones reminded the board and budget committee of the report he had given at a recent meeting about the CES staff’s plans to “reboot” the PBIS (positive behaviorial interventions and supports) system that will address some of the issues that Lanning mentioned.

“I realize this is really frustrating,” said Sarah Thorud, who holds the Title I position. “I know George (Lanning) is looking out for the best interests of kids, and making sure that the right people are in the right positions, keeping us out of litigation. I want to honor the fact that I think George is looking out for the students and the district.”

School board chair Megan Evenson and vice chair Michael Moravec both expressed support for the Title I program, but ultimately sided with Lanning’s recommendation.

“It’s frustrating because we know it (Title I) is a valuable program,” said Evenson. “But I also think that George (Lanning) has looked at the situation. I would support his recommendations.”

Evenson and Moravec were the two votes against amending the budget to allow for full funding of the Title I program, with all the other budget committee members supporting the teachers’ position.

The $9,553,978 2013-14 budget includes $7,390,465 in the general fund, $1,416,013 in the special revenue fund, $655,000 in debt service fund, $62,500 in the capital maintenance fund, and $30,000 in the scholarship trust fund.

The budget committee also approved the district’s permanent tax rate of $4.61 per $1,000 of assessed value in support of the general fund, and a debt service levy in the amount of $655,000 which is authorized to service the district’s general obligation bonds and is accounted for outside the general fund.

A public hearing on the 2013-14 school budget will be held in conjunction with the board’s June 24th meeting, at which the budget will be formally adopted.

County Unemployment Continues Downward Trend

Columbia County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched downward to 8.4 percent in April from the previous month’s 8.8 percent, and was lower than the year before at 9.7 percent.

The rate was higher than the 8.0 percent statewide rate and the 7.5 percent national rate.

Total employment jumped by 192 to 21,821 and the number of unemployed people dropped by 219 to 1,929. Total employment this April was 153 less than one year before and there were 410 fewer people unemployed this year, yielding a total drop in the labor force of 563.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment fell by 40 in April to 9,610. Seasonally adjusted figures compare expected changes with actual changes. A gain of 70 jobs is normal for the month and the county gained only 30. The private sector added all 30 jobs and government employment was unchanged. No industry had a significant change in employment.

Total nonfarm employment in April was up 20 jobs from one year before. Private sector employment added 40 and government employment dropped by 20. Industries adding the most jobs since last year were professional and business services and durable goods manufacturing. Paper manufacturing has cut the most jobs and is down by 80 over the past year.

Many Columbia County residents commute elsewhere for work, so it is not uncommon for the total number of employed people residing in the county to change without a similar change in the number of payroll jobs located within the county.

Effective with this release of preliminary data for April, the Oregon Employment Department is revising recent nonfarm payroll employment estimates once every three months, using employment counts from employer tax records. Formerly, the data was revised annually. Employment data released in May, for April, used tax records data for the months of October, November and December 2012 to make industry employment counts. The January through April 2013 estimates were based primarily on a survey of sampled businesses.

Clatsop Rate at 7.1 Percent

Clatsop County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in April, varying slightly from the previous month’s 7.2 percent, but lower than the year before at 7.9 percent.

It was lower than the statewide rate of 8.0 percent and the national rate of 7.5 percent.

Total employment in the county increased by 236 from the previous month to 18,118. The estimated number of unemployed people fell by 163 to 1,392. The number of unemployed this April was 216 fewer than one year before and 616 fewer people were employed, yielding a total drop in the labor force of 832.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment fell by 150 in April to 16,590. Seasonally adjusted figures compare expected changes with actual changes. A gain of 350 jobs is normal for the month, and the county added 200. The private sector gained 250 jobs and government employment dropped by 50. Food manufacturing added 40 jobs, while transportation, warehousing and utilities shed 60. Leisure and hospitality added 230 jobs.

April’s total nonfarm payroll employment was 180 less than its level last year. Food manufacturing cut 100 jobs over the year and retail trade shed 190. Leisure and hospitality added 140 jobs over the past year.

Rainier Clean-Up Day Saturday

This Saturday, June 1, is Rainier’s bulky waste clean-up, which will be held behind the Rainier waste water treatment plant, 690 West A Street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free for residents with the 97048 zip code.

Accepted items include televisions, dishwashers, stoves, water heaters, washers, dryers, microwaves, furniture, car batteries, scrap metal, computers, printers, monitors, yard debris and tires (not on rims – $1 per tire).

Non-perishable food or monetary donations will be accepted on behalf of H.O.P.E. (Help Our People Eat) of Rainier.

For more information, to volunteer and for senior and disabled assistance contact the City of Rainier at 503 556-7301.

Memorial Day Message

by Greg Hinkelman

(Editor’s Note: We asked Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hinkelman, who also serves as Clatskanie city manager, for permission to publish the Memorial Day message which he gave during the services at the Clatskanie Veterans Memorial Monday. It follows. – DSH)

Thank you all for coming out this morning. We gather here at this beautiful memorial to honor the service and sacrifice of these Clatskanie residents who served their country and have now passed, and for the true purpose of Memorial Day, to honor those who gave the land of the free their ultimate sacrifice.

America is a blessed nation; we are blessed with our natural resources, our political system, and ultimately by our citizens. We are blessed by our geography; a land of abundant natural resources protected by two massive oceans that kept foreign invaders and military strikes away from our shores between the War of 1812 and Sept. 11, 2001.

We might remember on this Memorial Day that America’s willingness to intervene overseas has made the world a better place.  The world is a better place because President Roosevelt and President Truman did not allow Adolph Hitler to persevere in his conquest of the European continent. Or allow the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere of Hideki Tojo and his militarists to succeed at Midway, Guadalcanal or Okinawa. And that Benito Mussolini’s plan for a renewed Roman Empire met its demise on Italian soil at places like Anzio and Monte Cassino.

The dream of Soviet rulers from Stalin to Brezhnev was a global gulag overseen from the blood-stained communist Kremlin. It ended only through the 50-year deterrence of the American military.  South Korea, The Philippines and Taiwan are somehow still free and independent – and would not be without American carriers, jets, submarines and blood.

The list of killers continues today. This generation’s rogues’ gallery is filled with the likes of Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega, and the twisted religious philosophy that rules the Taliban and Al Qaeda of which we received yet another deadly reminder in Boston last month and London four days ago.

Recognizing the threat and dealing with the threat has kept America strong and free.  Roosevelt knew it when he instituted the master-stroke of “Lend-Lease.” Nixon knew it when he upset the strategic applecart by visiting China. Reagan knew it when he called a spade a spade declaring Soviet communism what it was: evil.

The list of American wars, interventions, and campaigns past and present is endless -a source of serial political acrimony, and at times national disgrace here at home over the human and financial cost and wisdom of spending American lives to better others.

Sometimes we feel we are not good when we are not perfect, whether engaging in the noble cause to stop a Stalinist North Vietnamese takeover of the South or failing to secure Iraq before 2008.

But the common story remains the same; for nearly a century, since American blood spilled on Flanders’ Field, the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsmen has often been the last, indeed the only, impediment to butchery, enslavement and autocracy.

So, here we are, at this monument to remember our fellow Clatskanie warriors who participated in the great cause of America’s defense of freedom. We thank them.  We honor them. And we remember them. And we ask that God bless them and He continue to bless this great and noble United States of America.

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