Oregon man pleaded not guilty to killing his girlfriend in the Gorge in 2009

05 13 15 Stephen NicholsHOOD RIVER, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man has pleaded not guilty to killing his girlfriend while they hiked in the Columbia River Gorge six years ago. The Bend Bulletin reports that 40-year-old Stephen Nichols on Monday pleaded not guilty. He is expected to stand trial in May or June of next year on a murder charge in the death of his 23-year-old girlfriend Rhonda Casto, who fell 100 feet on a steep, narrow path. He later tried and failed to collect her $1 million life insurance policy. Nichols was arrested in February at the San Francisco International Airport after returning from China. He had been secretly indicted in April 2014. He has been in custody at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility since February.

Sherman County Commissioners say no guarantee on school bond without consensus vote

May 8, 2015

Sherman County Court - from left, Mike Smith, Judge Gary Thompson and Tom McCoy

Sherman County Court – from left, Mike Smith, Judge Gary Thompson and Tom McCoy

Sherman County School District

Attention: Superintendent Tarzian & Board of Directors

65912 High School Loop

Moro, Oregon 97039

Re: K-12 Facilities Project

Dear Superintendent Tarzian and Sherman County School District Board,

The Sherman County Court understands that the Sherman County School District is moving rapidly towards building a new facility in Moro to create a combined campus for K-12 students. The County has made significant financial contributions to the School District and, in light of the debt that the District is contemplating taking on to fully fund the project, the Court would like to make certain our position is clear to avoid any misunderstandings.

While the Court recognizes the autonomy of the School District, we had hoped for better communication with the Board in order to understand the project and use of the funds given to the District.  Unfortunately, the Court feels it has been on the outside of much of the process and recent attempts to schedule another quarterly meeting to further communication have been unsuccessful.

The Court had offered to fully guarantee the original loan amount of 3.5 million dollars if the District asked for a consensus vote of the citizens of Sherman County.  That offer was rejected by the Board which leaves the Court in a difficult position.  We had hoped to reach an agreement which would help unify the citizens around this project.  Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any consensus.  With the amount of the loan potentially reaching the 5 million dollar level, the Court feels the need to clearly state our position to the School Board.

Without a consensus vote on the project, the Sherman County Court is unable to guarantee any loan amount that the District is contemplating.  Any and all debt created by the School Board is the responsibility of the School District and not of Sherman County.  The Court will do its best to continue to provide the contribution as we have in the past.  However, as we have stated on many occasions, there is no guarantee those funds will continue in the way we plan or hope.

We hope this clarifies our position for the School District.



Sherman County Court

Judge Gary Thompson

Commissioner Mike Smith

Commissioner Tom McCoy

TD High plans changes to Kurtz Gym

The Dalles High gym makeover

Randy Anderson, financial officer for Northern Wasco School District 21, presented a picture board showing proposed changes at Kurtz Gym to The Dalles City Council Monday night. The district has until 2017 to change the mascot images from Indian to Riverhawk under a law passed by the Oregon legislature.

You can hear his complete description of the changes by clicking on the grey podcast bar below:

Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue donates engine to the Oregon Fire Service Museum

05 11 15 Crown_engine

The Oregon Fire Service Museum has been selected as the recipient of a 1954 Crown fire engine recently retired from Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue in The Dalles.

Except for a brief period when it was returned to the Crown Coach Co. factory for modernization, the “Firecoach” was in continuous service in The Dalles from 1954 to 2014, an amazing 60 years.

The Crown fire engine factory was located in Los Angeles and manufactured fire engines from 1951 to 1985. The Dalles’ Engine #3 was the first of the company’s trucks to be sold in Oregon and was followed by many more.

The transfer of the fire engine will take place at the NW Fire Expo in Portland on May 15-16.

West Third Place in The Dalles closed May 11-14

Street surface upgrade work will begin on West 3rd Place starting May 11 and continuing through May 14. The City of The Dalles Public Works Department will be profile grinding the old surface and repaving West 3rd Place from the intersection with Trevitt working eastward to Lincoln Street. No on-street parking will be allowed during the entire project from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.

May 11-12 both lanes of West 3rd Place will be closed to thru traffic, including emergency vehicles. Workers will try to accommodate local access for residents, with caution given to the immediate work area.

May 13-14 both lanes of West 3rd Place will be completely closed to all traffic, including emergency vehicles, as final surface paving begins. Residents will need to use alternate access and parking.

Following repaving, utilities will be raised to complete the project. Detours will be posted to route traffic around the closures. Motorists are encouraged to use West 2nd Street as an alternate route to avoid the work area. If you have questions please contact Bill Barrier at (541)980-8919 or the Public Works Department at (541)296-5401.

Skamania County emergency medical services respond to multiple emergencies on Dog Mountain

05 11 15 Dog_Mountain_Trail_Rescue_1

Home Valley, WA May 10, 2015: Skamania County Emergency Medical Services responded to four calls at the Dog Mountain Trail over the last two weekends.

On Saturday May 2nd at 12:25 p.m. crews were dispatched for an injured hiker 3.5 miles up the trail. The adult female was transported to the hospital with an ankle injury.

On Saturday May 9th at 5:13p.m. crews were dispatched up the Dog Mountain Trail for a hiker with a medical condition. The patient was descending the trail but still approx. 1 mile up from the trailhead, the adult male received medical intervention and was able to trek the remaining portion of the trail.

On Sunday May 10th at 1:26p.m. crews were again dispatched for an injured hiker at the top of the Dog Mountain Trail. Moments later crews were also dispatched to a motor vehicle collision at M.P. 54 on S.R. 14 (the site of a recent fatality collision) just next to the Dog Mountain parking lot and trail head. Crews responded with multiple apparatus and assisted the 5 occupants from the three car collision. All occupants were evaluated and treated by medical personnel for minor injuries and released.

After the MVC was cleared crew members began up the trail to assist the hiker. The injured hiker, an adult female, was to the south of the meadow approx. 3.5 miles up the steep trail. A helicopter transferred the patient to awaiting crews at Home Valley Park and the patient was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest by ambulance for an ankle injury. SCFD #1, Wind River Search and Rescue, Silver Star Search and Rescue and SCSO were also on scene.
Dog Mountain Trail is a popular destination this time of year due to the spring flowers that bloom in the meadow. SCEMS would like to remind everyone that the meadow, while beautiful, is at an elevation gain of 2800 feet from the trailhead; the trail is difficult if not dangerous and should only be trekked by experienced prepared hikers. Rescue operations while performed with the use of multiple volunteer organizations are expensive and timely.

Free activities this weekend


Free Fishing Day at Camp Baldwin

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife hosts a free fishing day tomorrow at Camp Baldwin outside Dufur. The event starts at 7:30 a.m. And runs until 1:00 p.m. On-site ODFW staff and volunteers provide equipment, teach youth how to bait and cast, and help kids “reel in” their catch. Adults can get tips on basic rigging, fish identification and casting. The program provides a unique opportunity for families to learn to fish together and discover just how much fun it can be. Licenses are required for anyone 14 years and older, and are not available at the events. Locally, licenses are sold at Gorge Outfitters in Rufus and Dinty’s Market in Biggs. To reach Camp Baldwin, drive to Dufur, go all the way through town and head out on Dufur Valley Road (it becomes NFD Road 44) about 17 miles to 76201 Dufur Valley Road.


Washington State Parks Free Day

May 10, All Day @ All Washington state parks.

Today is a spring Sunday “free day” and the Discover Pass is not required to visit a state park. Please note, free days apply only to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities).

A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington state departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife.

Free Admission to Fort Dalles Museum

Moms get free admission to the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead Sunday, May 10, and there will be a drawing for a prize basket for some lucky mom. There are picnic tables on the grounds for those who would like to picnic as well.