May, 2014


NEWS RELEASE May 30, 2014

The Rainier School District issued the following press release regarding the issue of a student suspension that is the topic of Facebook postings:

While we cannot discuss the specifics of any student’s case, we can assure you that we have never suspended any student who has come to us to warn us about the safety of another student or has advocated on behalf of another student. We can also assure you that in this case, no one was suspended for advocating for his friend. Obviously students have to be appropriate in the language and behavior they use when they address school staff, and there are other reasons for this student’s suspension.

Without a signed release from the student and his parent releasing his discipline file, we are not able to share more specific information regarding this case.



Michael Carter, EdS

Rainier School District Superintendent


Memorial Day Inferno Engulfs Home


FLAMES ERUPT FROM THREE STORIES of a home on River Front Road, west of Clatskanie on Monday, May 27. After exhausting the water supply on their trucks, Clatskanie Rural Fire Department (CRFPD) crews drafted from Wallace Slough.

CRFPD Chief Steve Sharek reported that crews were returning from a reported wildfire in the Alston’s Corner area and a medical call, when they were dispatched to the house fire on Riverfront Road at 11:50 a.m.

The occupants of the house were present when the fire started in the lower level and were able to escape unharmed.

CRFPD was assisted by Columbia River Fire Rescue, Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District and Westport Fire Department. Photo Courtesy of Fred Schondebare

CES Auction Set Saturday; Public Invited to Attend

The second annual Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) Auction is set this Saturday, May 31, to raise funds for increased learning opportunities, activities and trips for CES students.

“Oh, The Places We’ll Go!” is the theme of the auction to be held in the Cardiff Gym at CES. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Saturday with the silent auction, followed by the live auction at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 in advance and $10 at the dooor. Tickets are available in advance at the CES office.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Among items to be auctioned are: Winco $100 gift cards, Disneyland tickets, Silverwood tickets, a get-away package to Newport, Portland packages, a play date in Longview, a date night in Portland, Beavers and Huskies football tickets, a Phil Knight autographed hat, a Seaside package, a photo package by Katy Tuttle, a golf package, spa, gardening, beach, grilling, camping and Duck/Beaver fan baskets, gift cards to local restaurants and businesses, and priceless student artwork and classroom projects.

Anyone interested in donating additional auction items may call the CES office at 503 728-2191.

Funds raised at last year’s auction, combined with a donation from the Clatskanie Together Coalition, were used to purchase 20 iPad minis, 30 laptop computers with a mobile lab cart, and two Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) assemblies.

Some Election Results Still in Doubt

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Whether or not a run-off election for Columbia County Commissioner, Position 2, will occur in November is still in doubt, Columbia County Clerk Betty Huser said late Tuesday afternoon.

The preliminary results of the May primary election showed incumbent Henry Heimuller with 5,341 votes (49.86 percent) to challenger Wayne Mayo’s 5,278 (49.28 percent).

In order to win re-election, without facing Mayo again in the November general election, Heimuller must receive 50 percent plus one of the votes.

Huser told The Chief Tuesday that voters who failed to sign their ballot envelopes have not had their ballots counted, but have been contacted by the clerk’s office. They have until June 3 to go to the clerk’s office in the Columbia County courthouse at 230 Strand Street in St. Helens to sign their ballots.

Martwick, Callahan Will Run-off for Judge

The race for Columbia County Circuit Court Judge, Position 1, will continue to the November general election since none of the three candidates won 50 percent, plus one vote.

Sitting Judge Jean Martwick, who was appointed to the seat by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber last fall, received 3,687 (37.67 percent of the vote), while former City of Clatskanie prosecutor and practicing attorney Cathleen Callahan, of Rainier, polled 3,562 votes (36.39 percent). Martwick and Callahan will run-off in November.

The third candidate in the primary, Scappoose attorney Jason A. Heym, drew 2,420 votes or 24.72 percent, and will not be in the field for the general election.

Clatsop Commissioner Race Contested

Clatsop County Clerk Maeve Grimes has announced that she will formally contest the outcome of the Clatsop County Commissioner District 5 race in the May 20 primary election as a result of a balloting error involving almost 500 county voters.

The action will likely result in a new election between District 5 candidates Dale Barrett and Lianne Thompson.

A total of 344 voters living in County Commissioner District 5 received mail-in ballots that did not contain the District 5 race, while 147 voters living outside the district received ballots that erroneously included the District 5 contest.

Unofficial results showed Thompson defeating Barrett for the position by a 99-vote margin, 698 to 599.

The petition to contest the vote would be filed when the final election results are certified, which is required before June 20.

The clerk’s office was informed of the District 5 ballot error by two voters in Monday, May 19. The incorrect ballots were all sent to voters in voter Precinct 38 in Seaside.

State law allows an election to be contested by a county clerk or other certain parties for a “nondeliberate or material error in the distribution of the official ballots by a local elections official.”

Grimes’ petition will be heard by a Clatsop County Circuit Court judge, who will determine whether a new vote is necessary for the District 5 commissioner race. The judge will also assign the date for the election.

The balloting error stems from the redrawing of the five commissioner districts’ boundaries in 2011 following the release of population data from the federal census. The new boundary placed part of Precinct 38 in District 5 and the rest in District 2. Data that was subsequently entered for the county voter rolls mis-identified 491 voters in one or the other commissioner district.

The clerk’s office continues to review voter data to verify and correct all balloting errors, a press release stated.

Annual Heritage Days Events Start June 21, Continue through July 5

“A Magical Time in Clatskanie” will begin Saturday, June 21, with the “Princess-in-Training” event, and then continue on Saturday, June 28, with the annual Heritage Cruise “Show and Shine” car show in the Clatskanie City Park, before reaching its peak on Friday, July 4.

Girls aged 5 to 10 are invited to participate in the Princess-in-Training day at the Flippin Castle on Saturday, June 21. Pre-registration is required and may be accomplished by calling The Chief office at 503 728-3350, stopping by the office at 148 N. Nehalem Street, or emailing

The main schedule of events will begin on Saturday, June 28, with the annual Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the American Legion Hall, 930 NE 5th Street.

Approximately 300 collector cars from all eras are expected to park on the grass of the Clatskanie City Park for the 23rd annual Clatskanie Cruisers Heritage Days Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 28th. Dozens of awards sponsored by local businesses will be given in a variety of categories.

Another feature in the park that day will be the Chapter T P.E.O. “Pie in the Park” baking contest and pie sale. All pie bakers are invited to enter their pies in the baking contest. For adult bakers (age 18 and older) pies will be judged in the categories of fruit, holiday specialty and sugar-free. Youth (17 and younger) are invited to enter pies in the fruit or holiday specialty divisions.

All pies entered in the contest must be homemade – including the crusts. Each baker may enter a maximum of two pies. Pies entered in the contest will be sold in the pie booth.

The festivities will continue on Monday, June 30, with a talent show. People of all ages who are interested in performing in the annual Heritage Days talent show on Monday, June 30, should contact Lori Sherman at 360 431-7910, or email Deadline to register for the talent show is June 16.

Local merchants are encouraged to have sidewalk sales June 30 through July 5.

An outdoor family movie night is set for Thursday night, July 3, after dark in the city park.

“A Magical Time in Clatskanie” will be the theme of the 2014 4th of July parade, down Nehalem Street, which will be followed by the logging show, live music in the  park and fireworks as darkness falls.

The celebration will continue on Saturday, July 5, with the all-school reunion in the park, the “Strut Your Mutt” dog show, and the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Dog Daze event.

Packets for vendors, donations and parade applications will be available by the end of this week from Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce president Mike Clark, 503 467-8600, e-mail

Vietnam Veteran Speaks at Memorial Day Services


VIETNAM WAR COMBAT VETERAN Phil Hazen, who fought with the 101st Airborne Divison on “Hamburger Hill” 45 years ago this month, and whose cousin Norman Brecke, a paratrooper, was killed during World War II 70 years ago, was the special speaker at Memorial Day services at the Clatskanie Veterans Memorial Monday morning. He urged those in attendance to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought and died for our country, and to support those who are currently serving.  Chief Photo by Deborah Steele Hazen

Horse-Assisted Therapy Brings Healing and Learning to Humans 


by Deborah Steele Hazen

It’s no news to horse lovers that their equine companions make good therapists.

For as long as humans and horses have interacted, they have reflected each other’s moods and emotions.

Many an equestrian has found peace of mind not only riding along a wooded trail or galloping with the wind, but in merely spending time with a horse – talking, grooming, trusting.

In recent years, studies have shown that the bond between horse and human can become so strong that they mirror each other’s blood pressure and heart rate, according to Renee Baldwin Siahpush, a practitioner of equine assisted psychotherapy through her “Heart Before the Horse” service based in Astoria.

She also provides services at her friend Aimee Elliott’s 58-acre horse ranch, riding and training facility – Elliott Equine Connections – off of Apiary Road between Rainier and Clatskanie.

In the midst of a long career as a licensed mental health professional, Renee discovered a love of horses, and began to ride. Those two interests came together when she learned of various programs that were using horses to help people with numerous kinds of emotional and mental illness issues – including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and addiction. Horses are also being used to lift the spirits of cancer patients, and as learning partners for people with developmental disabilities.

As someone who spent much of her career working with troubled young people, Renee sought and obtained training through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), an organization founded in 1999 to provide a standard and structure for equine assisted psychotherapy and equine assisted learning sessions.

Under the EAGALA model an equine specialist, a mental health professional, and horses work together with clients. The focus is on the ground – not on horseback. “The basis of the EAGALA model is a belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them,” according to the EAGALA website. The actions and reactions of the horse are used as metaphors for what is happening in the client’s life.

Renee tells the story of a troubled boy and a frightened, untouchable horse. The boy understood that the horse, like himself, had been abused and abandoned. It took months for the trust to slowly build, but eventually the horse was eating out of his hand, and the boy had worked through his own issues as he gained insight into the horse.

“When I work with kids who are dealing with peer pressure, bullying, anger, whatever, I tell them – go tell it to the horse.”

“The horse mirrors their emotions. They filter them, and they’re able to let go of the past, and focus on the here and now.”

Renee met Aimee, an expert rider and trainer, on a trail ride in 2006. They became instant friends, and Aimee, who already knew much about the love of horses, was drawn into the EAGALA model.

She now serves as the equine specialist in the EAGALA sessions the two hold at Elliott Equine Connections.

During the past school year, Renee and Aimee have worked with the Rainier School District to provide services to middle/high school students who are struggling with various issues, as well as working with a group of developmentally disabled students to help them with problem-solving and socialization.

Those two types of sessions are structured much differently to meet the needs of the different individuals. Only the calmest, best-trained horses are used with the developmentally disabled, while less-trained horses serve as a better metaphor for troubled teens and adults.

Renee and Aimee hope to expand their services to local school districts in the future. They also work with Columbia Community Mental Health, Clatsop Behavioral Health, and private clients.

Additionally, Aimee trains horses, gives riding lessons, and is a wellness advocate for doTERRA International essential oils. She has seen and experienced the health benefits they bring to horses, dogs and people.

For more information, contact Aimee at 360 430-0853 or email, or call Renee at 503 836-2222.



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