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Where we stand with COVID-19

Worldwide cases of coronavirus COVID-19 are expected to pass 1 million by the end of the week with deaths nearing 50,000. The United States moved to the top of the list for countries with confirmed cases, reaching 204,000 on Wednesday, far surpassing China’s peak of 82,400. Oregon’s cases continued to rise with 736 cases and 19 deaths as of Wednesday. Of the 213 hospitalizations, 40 people were on ventilators. Nearly 14,000 Oregonians had been tested for coronavirus. Clatsop County has had (continued)


Efforts to 'flatten the curve' could be working, county says

Oregon’s effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve appears to be producing positive results. The coronavirus pandemic is projected to peak in the state on May 6, according to the latest information released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Education at the University of Washington. May 6 is when the projected highest use of hospital resources occurs statewide. Earlier projections put the peak 13 days earlier, on April 24. It’s good news for Oregon residents, as it means there is less (continued)


Information sought on waste of cow elk near Vernonia

The Oregon State Police is seeking the public’s help in finding the person(s) responsible for the waste of a cow elk in Columbia county near Vernonia. The elk was found the morning of Saturday, March 28, on Weyerhaeuser property off Clear Creek Road near Timber Road. The elk is believed to have been killed close to the time of discovery. Workers reported seeing a dark pickup with a white canopy driving in the area around the time the wasted elk was discovered. The pickup turned around an (continued)


Blazing a trail: Warrenton gives tourists 24 hours to leave; other cities follow suit

Warrenton was the first city on the coast to issue an edict to tourists: Get out of town or face arrest. The March 21 unanimous vote by city commissioners was followed within hours or days by nearly every other coastal community in Oregon and Washington. Warrenton city commissioners took the stance after thousands of people from elsewhere arrived in town for spring break. Many flocked to beaches and state parks, often disregarding calls to adhere to social distancing measures. Soon, Oregon (continued)


Schools work on making more kids successful

$860,000 windfall could be a game-changer

A huge chunk of state money could be a game-changer for local students who come to school with distinct disadvantages. The Warrenton-Hammond School District expects about $860,000 more for the 2020-21 school year, thanks to the Student Success Act, which was approved by state lawmakers in the 2019 legislative session. The corporate activity tax, which the state’s largest businesses begin paying this year, will fund the program, funneling $1 billion a year into school coffers statewide. “In (continued)


City Commission wants to finish what's been started

The city has vowed to finish what it starts. On Tuesday evening, city commissioners approved a list of goals for fiscal year 2020-21 and No. 1 on the list is “Finish city priorities/initiatives that have been started.” City commissioners Rick Newton and Pam Ackley attended the meeting by phone while Mayor Henry Balensifer and commissioners Tom Dyer and Mark Baldwin kept a required 6-foot social distance. The City Commission meeting was broadcast live on Facebook for the first time and (continued)


Woman injured in Highway 101 crash

A Warrenton woman was hospitalized after she was thrown from her vehicle during a crash on Highway 101 at Cullaby Lake Lane. Faythe Hill Koontz, 20, was hospitalized following the 6:35 p.m. Tuesday crash. Dispatchers had received a call from another driver complaining of a blue Dodge Journey that was driving recklessly, at high speed, failing to maintain its lane and passing other cars unsafely, according to an Oregon State Police report. Koontz was headed north when her vehicle crossed the (continued)


County updates its property, other online map system

Clatsop County’s Webmaps service, an interactive map showing information about individual properties in the county, has been improved. Users can view the legal descriptions of tax lots as well as assessment, sales history and current tax statements. Information can be entered by account number, owner name or physical address or by clicking on a parcel. Users also can choose from map overlays showing zoning designations, school districts, voting precincts, geological hazard areas and more. The (continued)


Middle school construction plans approved

Warrenton planning commissioners have approved the school district’s future school complex, keeping with the district’s plans to break ground on a new middle school in May and open for classes there in fall 2021. The 57-acre complex is south of Walmart and will be accessed by a new street off Dolphin Road named Warrior Way. Eventually, the site will hold three separate campuses – elementary, middle school and high school. The three-hour public hearing on March 12 covered traffic, roads, (continued)


Two county commission seats, two measures on local ballot

Voters in some areas will get to select or return two members to the Clatsop County Commission during the May 19 primary election. All voters in the county get to decide whether to approve continuing for five years the property tax for Clatsop County Fairgrounds operations. Measure 4-203 would levy 0.07 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property owners, raising about $500,000 per year for the fairgrounds. A second measure will be on the ballot of those living within the Cannon Beach Fire (continued)


Business and development tidbits for March 20

** High school wins a grant ** The Portland Trailblazers bestowed a $9,600 Take it to the Court grant to Warrenton High School for its STEM/CTE program. The grant was written to purchase welding gear and to increase the number of girls in the welding program. The campus was one of 24 to receive the grants this year. Speaking of WHS’s welding program, Bergeson Construction and JBT Lektro both donated metal for use by students, a huge help as they begin active weld tests and other hands-on (continued)


Strategically placed fuel breaks expected to help control humongous wildfires

Eleven thousand miles of strategically placed fuel breaks will diminish the severity of the West’s great wildfires, the Bureau of Land Management contends. The agency has developed an extensive plan to construct and maintain the breaks in its Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin, which covers 223 million acres in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The document, expected to be put into action soon, analyzes a full suite of manual, (continued)


City hires new building inspector

The city of Warrenton has hired a new residential building inspector. The hiring of Christian Jensen helps round out a department strained by varied projects large and small during the past two years. Jensen will do residential plan reviews, plus structural, plumbing and mechanical inspections. He is the third employee in the Building Department, which includes Building Official Bob Johnston and Building Technician Janice Weese. The city carved off Community and Economic Development into its (continued)

Columnists & Other Opinions

Mayor's Message: Warrenton's strength is found in its people

Life has certainly changed in our town, our state, our country and the world. This has been a significantly challenging time for our region and for we, the people. It’s not enough to support individuals, if their places of employment are out of business at the end of this. It’s not enough to support businesses if nobody can pay their bills at the end of this. In short, we’re all in this together. Landlord, tenant, employer and employee. Your City Commission has been actively advocating (continued)


Senior Moments: Innovation is spawned by necessity

During World War II, there was a lady named Wilhelmina who would one day become my mother-in-law. This was in Detroit, Mich., in the early ’40s, and she got a job in a renovated factory making parachutes. Most of “our” men were fighting the war while the women were sewing parachutes to be used in the war. My ingenious mother-in-law was allowed to bring home the scraps and made dress-up blouses from the material. My hubby and his brother went door to door selling the blouses and their Mom (continued)


Senior Moments: Remember, this too shall pass

Much angst and anxiety exist in our lives at this time. A few weeks ago, a lady who volunteers at the Warrenton Senior Meals site delighted me with the gift of a little book, “A Senior Moment is Just a Wrinkle in Time.” It contains prayers, sayings and chuckles. I was thumbing through it and, on page 93, found a reminder to all of us: “God’s office hours: 24/7 -- always open! And we can smile because we know God has this covered.” In light of all the closures, interruptions an (continued)


Senior Moments: Seniors can be a powerful force

Many seniors are acquainted with the virtues of old age. At my stage of life, I can act like a little old lady when it helps my situation or I can express wisdom from years of life’s lessons. With age comes advantage. Another virtue I think is that our spirituality becomes more intense, kind of like “cramming for finals”! Oh, yes, we look back on life experiences both good and bad. The most current census estimate (Aug. 28, 2019) shows that there are 31,051 adults in Clatsop County, 8,015 (continued)

Events

Do the kids need a bedtime story?

Warrenton Community Library officially closed this week, at least through April 4. But Tuesday and Saturday children’s story times and other gatherings were closed earlier this month. Mayor Henry Balensifer is picking up the slack. “Storytime with the Mayor,” geared for children but open to everyone, can be heard at 7 p.m. Fridays on his Facebook page. Just search on Facebook for “Mayor Henry Balensifer.” In addition, the library has been posting online resources available to (continued)


Arts camp taking registration

Astoria Art Loft is sponsoring two summer camps for children interested in art and music. Art and music are essential to optimal child development, the group says. Children do better in reading and math, and they develop fine motor skills and enhanced concentration by participating in the arts. The weeklong camps are for children ages 7 through 13. The first camp is June 22 through 27 and the second is Aug. 3 through 8 at Astoria Art Loft, 106 Third St. The cost for each week is $100, with some (continued)


Carpentry skills sought for little library program

The Astoria, Seaside and Warrenton public libraries seek do-it-yourselfers to build a Little Free Library for their auction on Friday, May 15. All proceeds will benefit Reading Outreach in Clatsop County. ROCC is a nonprofit program that provides free library cards to children younger than 19 who reside in rural areas not served by a public library. It also furnishes a courier service between schools and libraries in the county, along with supporting a countywide summer reading program. Further (continued)

Police and Public Safety

Drivers stopped for vehicle problems could get nice surprise

If you’ve got a small problem with your car but can’t afford to fix it, one of Warrenton’s police officers may come to your rescue. Warrenton Police Department is participating in Oregon’s Car Care Program. The program was started by Oregon State Police, but has expanded to include many other law enforcement agencies. The program allows officers who stop a vehicle or otherwise work with a vehicle owner the ability to issue an “Oregon Car Care Voucher” that provides a discount on (continued)


Public safety calls for week of March 27

** Warrants ** Warrant service, 1:34 p.m. March 15, location not listed. Christopher Theodore Holland, 31, no known address, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Warrant service, 2:19 p.m. March 20, 1600 block Ensign Lane. Timothy Scott Wright, 51, of Cornelius was arrested on a felony warrant from Washington County Community Corrections. ** Thefts and burglaries ** Theft by deception, 10:27 a.m. March 19, 1500 block Southeast Willow Drive. A woman reported she lost $4,500 (continued)

Education

School district to hire some new administrators

Some new leadership is in the future for Warrenton’s schools. Warrenton Grade School Principal Robbie Porter resigned suddenly for personal reasons and Vice Principal Sean O’Malley has submitted his resignation, effective in 2021. In addition, opening of the new middle school in August 2021 means an administrative staff will be needed there. “The timing of this is somewhat how the universe works sometimes,” said Tom Rogozinski, superintendent of the Warrenton-Hammond School District. (continued)


College news for March 20

** Gonzaga University ** Two Astoria residents have achieved honors at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Caroline Jennica Kotson was named to the president’s list for fall semester. The honor is for students who earn a 3.85 to 4.0 grade-point average. Rory Christopher Loughran was named to the dean’s list for fall semester, an honor reserved for those earning at least a 3.5 grade-point average. ** Eastern Oregon University ** Noni Webster of Warrenton and Danielle Williams of Cannon (continued)