Comprehensive distance learning expands job requirements for Sheri Holloway

Hood River Rotary demonstrated its ongoing support with a new sign on the front of the FISH Food Bank. Volunteers from the Rotary Club have been working since March 18, 2020, to help their community. Paul Crowley and a team of 14 volunteers work three days a week to organize and distribute f…

Coming into a brand-new position is always difficult. However, doing so during a global pandemic is even more difficult.

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Prepare yourself and your loved ones for the holidays by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already, or plan to get a booster dose if you are eligible. Beginning this week, there will be a drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Hood River Marina that can accommodate 1st, 2nd, and 3rd doses and boos…

Oregon Humanities has awarded $717,000 in COVID-19 Emergency SHARP grants to 60 nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes across the state. Seventy-eight percent of the organizations that were awarded are led by Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) communities, are…

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and classes were suddenly online, a lot of teachers found themselves thrust into different roles. Though many just went from teaching their subject in-person to teaching it in an online format, Jen Hart found herself teaching a new subject entirely.

As the season of giving approaches, local non-profit organizations are preparing to see a greater need for donations during their seasonal gift-giving drives.

HOOD RIVER — Hood River County School District was notified Aug. 19 that Gov. Kate Brown had issued a new directive legally requiring all K-12 school district staff, substitutes and volunteers to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18.

How do you rehearse and perform during lockdown — or after lockdown, with mandated social distancing requirements in place?

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Act — is providing financial reimbursement for funeral and cremation expenses for those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19, and Jack Trumbull, owner of Anderson’s Tribute Center, is providing assistance to anyone interested in accessing these funds,…

Sports

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To say the Hood River Valley girls swim team is built for a district championship is an understatement. The Eagles have the numbers — a requisite for district-meet success — and they have talent, which obviously helps, as well.

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Hood River Valley girls basketball Coach Steve Noteboom said the process continues to improve the skill level of Eagle players — in order to get them ready to play in the competitive Intermountain Conference.

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A definition of relevancy in high school boys basketball: Good teams schedule non-league games against you because they want to play better competition, not because they want an easy win; or, they schedule you because a win or a loss won’t adversely affect their power ranking.

Either way, the Hood River Valley boys hoops program, under seventh-year Coach Christopher Dirks, is relevant once again.

The first round of bowling action in the Monday Industrial and Wednesday Fraternal leagues concluded last week at Orchard Lanes, Hood River’s …

Gorge Life

Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, hosts the annual Holiday Market Dec. 3-31. The opening reception on First Friday will be Dec. 3 from 5-7 p.m. Gallery hours for December are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Gorge Life

Opinion

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In the recent Columbia Gorge News’ report, “Energy Storage Project Moving Forward,” Eric Steimle, vice president of project development for Rye Development, is pictured posing on a hillside, an area that Rye would destroy as part of its pumped-storage hydroelectric development. An unabashed portrait, atop an article that only mentions the “potential” for loss or damage to tribal culturally significant resources once and as part of the development’s “environmental impacts.” Read more

Business

Hood River Rotary demonstrated its ongoing support with a new sign on the front of the FISH Food Bank. Volunteers from the Rotary Club have be…

HOOD RIVER — The Hood River City Council was approached by the Parks and Recreation District, who is seeking their support in increasing prope…

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HOOD RIVER — It wasn’t until Gisela Ayala Echeverria started kindergarten about two decades ago that her family realized she needed glasses.

Her parents are farmworkers and didn’t know where they could receive eye care. While they were eventually referred to a local doctor’s office, the provider didn’t speak Spanish. Despite her young age, she had to provide unofficial interpretation services between her parents and the provider as she had her vision checked.

Now, Ayala Echeverria is determined to ensure others have better — and more culturally appropriate — access to eye care so other families don’t have to go through what hers did.

She is among nine community health workers from Hood River’s One Community Health who were the first to receive training on the basics of eye health in November as part of a statewide effort to improve eye care access for the state’s under-served and under-insured residents.

Called the Oregon Vision Health Network, the effort involves OHSU’s Casey Community Outreach Program growing partnerships with community clinics across the state. OHSU will train local community health workers and clinical staff as vision health navigators who will help local residents determine if they need glasses or if they might have common sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. In addition, OHSU will provide its partner community clinics and their navigators ongoing support and resources, with the ultimate goal of addressing Oregon’s vision health inequities.

“This statewide network provides local health leaders with the knowledge they need to prevent eye issues and preserve vision in their community,” said Mitchel Brinks, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the OHSU outreach program and associate professor of ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine. “We’re honored to work alongside community health clinics to better meet underserved Oregonians’ eye health needs right in their own backyards.”

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Ayala Echeverria is part of One Community Health’s preventative health team, which offers education and support for patients living with chronic illness. At least 500 of the clinic’s patients have diabetes, which can lead to vision-threatening issues if it isn’t controlled. She plans to use the information she learned at the training to help her fellow community members better understand their eye health risks and prevent conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.

In addition to training local clinic staff, the Oregon Vision Health Network will bring advanced eye imaging equipment that uses a technology called Optical Coherence Tomography, or OCT, to up to eight partner clinics. OCT, which takes a quick cross-dimensional scan of the eye’s interior, provides a non-invasive way to diagnose and inform the treatment of eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

Community clinic staff will operate the OCT equipment locally, and send the resulting images to OHSU Casey Eye Institute ophthalmologists in Portland, who will then review and provide recommendations for the clinics’ patients.

In December, One Community Health in Hood River is expected to become the first partner clinic to receive this equipment.

Being a network partner allows One Community Health to expand the services it offers its 18,000 patients, about 64% of whom are on Medicaid or uninsured and about 40% of whom speak Spanish. The federally qualified health center currently offers behavioral health, primary medical care and dental services. Soon, it will also offer some basic eye health services at its Hood River clinic as well as at its mobile health clinics.

Although they won’t provide advanced eye care in house, they will help connect their patients with local eye providers if needed. One Community Health aims to help its patients understand their risks and take preventative steps now, so specialized care isn’t needed later.

“This creates a new level of access for our community,” said Gladys Rivera, One Community Health’s director of preventative health. “When you screen a patient ahead of time, you can treat eye issues early and prevent blindness.”

Throughout the Oregon Vision Health Network’s first five years, patients will receive care for free. The equipment and infrastructure needed to make this possible is supported by two generous gifts, totaling $3.25 million, that were jointly given to the OHSU Casey Community Outreach Program by philanthropist Heather Killough and the Roundhouse Foundation in early 2021.

The Oregon Vision Health Network expands the OHSU Casey Eye Institute’s efforts to end preventable blindness. The OHSU Casey Community Outreach Program’s mobile eye clinic has provided free eye exams to more than 10,000 Oregonians in every corner of the state since 2010. But while the OHSU mobile clinic can only visit each community about every 1.5-2 years, trained community health workers and clinical staff can screen local residents for eye diseases year-round.

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