(Now bear with me those of you already in the Master Gardener program; this is for those folks that may have concerns about joining a group with seemingly frightening expectations!)

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The Oregon State University Extension Land Steward course is designed for owners of woodlands, small farms, pasture or other rural land who want to manage their property’s natural resources more effectively.


Three people were killed in a head-on collision near The Dalles Dam Tuesday evening, Nov. 30. Oregon State Police officials confirmed in an announcement.


The Dalles City Council decided Monday, Nov. 22, to create a climate change task force following a presentation by Debi Ferrer on behalf of Protect Oregon’s Progress. The efforts to create the task force will be coordinated by Interim City Manager Daniel Hunter in collaboration with Ferrer a…


WHITE SALMON — The White Salmon City Council will consider recommendations to amend the city’s short-term rental code this week. City staff is recommending council discuss the proposal following a public hearing, and provide direction to staff for further consideration.

I would like to reintroduce myself: My name Andrea Flores-Reyna. I work for Oregon State University Extension Service here in the Gorge as the Juntos Program coordinator. For a while now, we have been sheltered due to COVID-19 and it feels great to be transitioning back into in person working.

WASHINGTON, DC — In November, Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) introduced H.R.6019, a bill that would codify the Trump Administration’s Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) Critical Habitat Revision, which would fine-tune the NSO’s habitat designation and remove about one million acres of non-NSO habi…

Eighteen-year-old Andy has never had much confidence. Growing up in a modest home with few friends and fewer opportunities to develop life skills and have life experiences, he struggled.

During one of my regular ZOOM chit-chats with my sister (you know — football, the weather, kids, latest aches and pains), she threw me a curve when she asked, “What have you learned from working at the Senior Center?” What immediately came to mind was to stay socially connected and keep moving.

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…

HOOD RIVER — The Hood River City Council was approached by the Parks and Recreation District, who is seeking their support in increasing property tax rates for the local parks district. To do this, they must dissolve the current parks and rec district and form a new district. Current tax lim…

North Central Public Health District’s COVID-19 team has had a “front row” seat, as one team member put it, to seeing how the virus behaves in people — and how people behave in response.

PORTLAND — A Mexican national residing in Oregon City pleaded guilty Nov. 24 for his leadership role in a conspiracy to traffic large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine from Mexico for resale in Oregon and Washington State. Among communities impacted was Hood River, where the …

When Hood River Valley High School English teacher Hunter Scholtz saw a student walking home in the rain, he wanted to offer a ride to the student, but rules against giving students a ride home from school made him hesitate. The student had to walk a couple miles from home to school each way…

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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.”


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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In 2021, people in Oregon and Southwest Washington faced great emergency needs as the ongoing pandemic exacerbated the challenges related to severe disasters, blood shortages and global conflict.

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VSO holds winter drive, Lyle School District added to giving tree, Windermere hosts coat, blanket drive, HRVAC Meals on Wheels

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Above, from left to right, sophomores Jennevee Grajeda-Morales, Kimberley Esparza-Avalos and freshman Zanna Diffin, center, leads a walkout in support of sexual assault survivors around Hood River Valley High School (HRVHS) on Nov. 15. Small blue ribbons were given to students and staff who …

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When Selma Pierce died Dec. 1, 2020, after a car struck her while she was walking near their home in West Salem, Dr. William “Bud” Pierce took several days off before he resumed his medical practice in Salem.

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HOOD RIVER — Two underage White Salmon residents crashed their car into a basin at the Hood River Waterfront on Nov. 29. Officer Eric Foster of the Hood River Police Department received the call at approximately 1:52 p.m. The teenage female driver and her passenger were transported to Provid…

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THE DALLES — Mid-Columbia Senior Center hosted their 2021 Wasco County Ageless Awards on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m.

The Ageless Awards honor volunteers 75 and older for their contribution to their community. Each year, there are four awards given out. This year, the winners were Sherry Munro, Duane and Sue Powell, Darrell France, and Mary Davis and the Fort Dalles Floozies.


Several members of the public walked out of Thursday’s North Wasco County School Board meeting in reaction to the board’s approval to dismiss The Dalles High School faculty member Wayne Gibson.

HOOD RIVER — County Chair Mike Oates announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022. Near the end of the Nov. 15 County commissions meeting, Oates declared his intention to step away from the chair position. Oates has been in his current position since December 2019. He hoped his announ…


HOOD RIVER — Newly hired City Manager Abigail Elder, and Community Engagement Coordinator Nubia Sánchez-Contreras jumped right into the swing of things on Nov. 1 when they were given guided tours around City Hall and other departments.


The City of White Salmon honored the city’s late longtime mayor, Roger Holen, at a council meeting last week.

Soroptimist, in partnership with the Hood River Valley Adult Center, is launching its annual collection of feminine hygiene supplies for women and girls in need. Donations of tampons, pads, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste are being collected inside the Adult Center, 2010 Sterling Place,…

Well, it’s the beginning of the holiday season — when we enjoy the company of family and also gain seven pounds by the start of the New Year! But while visiting with parents, children, grandchildren, or all three, it can be difficult navigating around and through past hurts and slights that …

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed its live performances in 2020, Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association Artistic Director Mark Steighner and board of directors had one goal: “To keep our performers engaged and to provide as much as possible an uninterrupted flow of musical entertainment, educa…

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The Port of Cascade Locks is facing a federal civil rights claim for alleged racial discrimination against Puff Factory owner Jacqueline Alexander. That claim is currently under litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon: No ruling has yet been made, as incorrectly reported in the Columbia Gorge News on Nov. 10.

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Dr. Judy Richardson of The Dalles wholeheartedly recommends the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for her young patients ages 5-11 and her own nieces and nephews.

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TD Community Thanksgiving; VSO holds winter drive; Windermere hosts coat, blanket drive; Skyline Health ‘Thanks-For-Giving’ food drive; HRVAC Meals on Wheels

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The sale of SDS Lumber Company and Stevenson Land Company’s vast holdings of timberlands and operations was finalized last week, Nov. 17.

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