(THE DALLES) – The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Distinguished Citizens awards banquet kicked off in style as it honored the “True Pioneers of our Time”. The banquet took place on Thursday, January 15th from 5:30pm-9:00pm at The Fort Dalles Readiness Center.

The Chamber’s 2015 Annual Banquet was held to honor both citizens and businesses of The Dalles area; welcome new members to the Chamber Board of Directors; and say farewell to the outgoing Chamber Board Members. The event was sold out and had an attendance of 256 people.

Distinguished Awards for 2014 were awarded as follows; Outstanding Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Fred Wendt. Mr.Wendt spent 30+ years as a teacher in our community and continues to reach out to kids through the Shriners Club as “Freddie the clown”. Our Community is indeed blessed to have such a fun loving guy.

Our Outstanding Youth Award was awarded to Andy Felderman. Andy can be found tutoring his fellow students as well as participating in ACTS as a youth leader. Through his community involvement and compassion for others, Andy is setting a great example for other kids in our community.

Our 2014 Business of the Year went to Discover Rentals. Matt Larsen and his crew can be seen all over town setting up and taking down equipment in preparation for any great event. With their continued community support and outstanding customer service this honor is well deserved!

John Shearer of Shearer Sprayers, Inc was awarded with our 2014 Outstanding Ag Achievement Award. Several local Cherry orchardists have stated that John saved the cherry industry by his response and ability to act quickly in controlling the Cherry Fruit Fly throughout the Mid-Columbia and preserving the visual appeal of our sweet cherries in the fresh market. The Ag Industry throughout the region is grateful for the many contributions and the positive impact made by John and his family.

2014 Woman of the Year was awarded to Tonya Brumley. Tonya’s commitment goes well beyond her job. She consistently gives 110% to every organization that she is a part of, many times going well above and beyond anything that is asked of her. With her dependability, attention to detail and true compassion for the community around her there is no one more deserving.

2014 Man of the Year is none other than, David Griffith. David has been an enthusiastic and generous giver of time and financial support.  He has served and continues to serve on many boards and committees always being mindful of what is good for The Dalles.

The evening was catered by Cowboy’s Grill & Catering and live music was performed by Dianna Lysgaard and Mike Stillman. Entertainment included a Wagons Ho Auction complete with items from Cousin’s Country Inn, A Kidz Dental Zone, Casa El Mirador, Subway and Ernie’s Locks & Keys as well as many others. Through donations we were able to raffle off 29 gifts!


About The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce

Our diverse membership represents the entire community with members from business and industry, civic and non-profit organizations, social service agencies, education, government, home-based businesses and individuals.  Nearly 500 members representing 2,000 individuals believe that Chamber membership is an important component to business growth, job development and a healthy economy.

The Chamber and its activities are managed by the President/CEO and a professional staff under the leadership of a 17 member Board of Directors. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce has been aiding the community since 1916.

Portland woman found dead in Columbia may have been killed

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County sheriff’s office says a Portland woman whose body was found in the Columbia River near Ridgefield may have been the victim of homicidal violence some time in late December.

The sheriff’s office says 40-year-old Jessica Newton was a transient and her death is suspicious. A boater spotted her body Jan. 2 on the shore of Bachelor’s Island.

Sheriff’s detectives would like to hear from anyone who had contact with her.

Goldendale Planning Commission votes against recommending permanent pot ban

From left: Goldendale Public Works Director Karl Enyeart (back to camera) Commissioner Richard Hope, Commissioner Martin Taylor, city attorney Ken Harper, City Manager Larry Bellamy. Commissioner Sherry Carver appeared by phone.

From left: Goldendale Public Works Director Karl Enyeart (back to camera) Commissioner Richard Hope, Commissioner Martin Taylor, city attorney Ken Harper, City Manager Larry Bellamy. Commissioner Sherry Carver appeared by phone.

In a surprise move last night, the Goldendale Planning Commission voted two to one against recommending a change to the city zoning that would prohibit any new marijuana use in the city.

Some 22 people had testified, only two of them expressed opposition to zone change. But Commissioners Martin Taylor and Richard Hope both said afterwords they did not feel such a blanket ban was the right approach. Commissioner Sherry Carver, who appeared by phone, originally moved to recommend the zone change to the city council, only to see her motion die for lack of a second.

That decision doesn’t bind the city council, which can overrule the recommendations of the planning commission. And there will be no immediate change since the city council earlier initiated a 6-month moratorium on new marijuana-related businesses, which still has several months to run.

We’ve broken the 90-minute hearing into two parts. You can listen by clicking on the podcast bars below.

Hearing Part 1

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Hearing Part 2

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NuCulture Foods turns cashews into flavorful cheese alternative

Hear our interview with Jenny Hogan by clicking on the grey podcast bar below.

Jenny Hogan

Jenny Hogan

THE DALLES, Ore. — Folks with special diets or who just want to eat better without sacrificing taste have some new options to turn to thanks to NuCulture Foods.

NuCulture is the newest business at the Port of The Dalles Industrial Area. The company has introduced three flavors of a cheese-like cultured cashew Gorgeon (TM) Spread made of cultured cashews.

“Sugars in cashews are very, very helpful in creating a natural fermentation that reduces pH, makes the cashew more digestible, extends the shelf life — and the flavor is amazing,” said NuCulture Owner and Food Scientist Jenny Hogan said.

Hogan began thinking about ways to improve the American diet after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” that advocates a whole food, plant-based diet to combat many of the world’s most prevalent diseases.

“I was realizing that the American diet isn’t exactly healthy,” Hogan said. “So I started trying to eliminate animal-based products from my diet. But I’m a cheese lover. I was on the dairy judging team while at Oregon State University and I won second in the nation.”

She found eliminating dairy products particularly challenging.

“I tried to develop a cheese that I could eat and hopefully other people would love as well,” Hogan said.
After 20 years in food product development, she had a solid base of knowledge and experience from which to start.  She developed the Tofurky Frank that won Best in Show at the Natural Foods Expo West. NuCulture Foods is one of only six companies that have been named to the TEAM Oregon Food delegation attending the 2015 Natural Food Products Expo West show in March. She will be joined in her booth by Jill Miles, Business Recruitment Officer for the State of Oregon, and Andrea Klaas, Executive Director of the Port of The Dalles.

Using non-GMO ingredients that are organic whenever possible, Hogan created a spread that works on crackers and vegetables in flavors like Bacony Chipotle, Garden Herbs and Pimento Paprika. More flavors  and products are in development.

“They are plant-based, probiotic, dairy-free, cholesterol-free, soy-free and gluten-free — and they taste really good,” Hogan said.

NuCulture’s products will soon be available at White Salmon Thriftway, Rosauer’s and The Farm Stand in Hood River, and through Azure Standard of Dufur. Hogan eventually plans to pursue online sales.

NuCulture Foods is located at 1127 Bargeway Rd. in The Dalles. Contacts:,, 541-806-8888.


Hood River County Sheriff’s Office honored for rescue work

01 12 15 HR County Sheriff rescue in snowcat 300

The following is a press release from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office:01 12 15 HR County Sheriff rescue pepare for trail search 300

On December 10, 2014, the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA) held their annual banquet in Bend at the Riverhouse Hotel. The pinnacle of the event is the awards presentation that recognizes achievements from the previous year. Awards are competitive and open for statewide nomination.
Sgt. Ricardo Castaneda and Deputy John Harvey were honored with Lifesaving awards for their actions on May 16, 2014 when they saved the life of a kiteboarder on the Columbia River. The kiteboarder had become entangled in a navigational buoy and was being pulled under water. Harvey and Castaneda were able to reach the kiteboarder in the Sheriff’s Office boat, cut her free from her kite lines and bring her on board safely. Following the rescue, the kiteboarder made statements that she was at the point of giving up and would not have survived if Castaneda and Harvey hadn’t rescued her.

In addition, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office was recognized by the OSSA Search and Rescue Advisory Council as the Search and Rescue Program of the year. Hood River County’s Search and Rescue needs have grown exponentially in recent years and show no signs of decreasing. In recent years, there has been a significant uptick in trail rescue needs within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. In 2013, the Sheriff’s Office fielded ninety-three search and rescue calls for service. In 2014, that number exceeded 100. Counties with similar search and rescue volumes often have four or five times the staffing that Hood River County has. Great community partnerships and volunteer programs like the Crag Rats, have been the key to success and are absolutely critical to fulfill the volume of missions performed by Hood River County.

“I’m extremely proud of our organization and the work that our personnel performs everyday. Although our staff doesn’t seek or expect recognition, it’s very nice to be acknowledged and all of the accolades are truly well deserved.”, said Hood River County Sheriff Matt English.

Death notification via social media, troopers stunned

The following is a press release from Washington State Patrol
SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON – On January 4, 2015, troopers in Lewis County were called to a two vehicle collision on State Route 12 involving a passenger car and semi-truck. The driver of the passenger car, Mr. Jay Sume of Randle, WA, was fatality injured when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line, impacting the front of the semi-truck. The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

This fatality collision presented another obstacle for troopers. The wife of Mr. Sume arrived on scene after reading a message of the incident on the social media site FaceBook. Troopers were not prepared to notify Mrs. Sume of the death of her husband, or answer questions on how the death occurred when she arrived on scene. Investigators were still collecting evidence and determing a preliminary cause of the incident. Troopers were extremely concerned the final images Mrs. Sume would remember of her husband would have an emotionally lasting  impact. Troopers were faced with the difficult task of telling Mrs. Sume her husband had died while she looked at the wreckage of the scene.

Social media has become an important part of everyday life. Notifying friends or family of milestones and offering congratulations to another on a job well done can be important ways to share our lives with those we care about! Social media also informs us of impending dangers and where critical information can be found during a significant event. It uses words and pictures to help us understand our world.

However, before posting a message or picture of a tragic incident, it is always a good idea to think of the family that may be affected by your words or images. It may be best to tweet just the facts, “Road closed, use alt route!”

You may recall a similar incident in December 2013 when a Vancouver woman unknowingly tweeted her husband’s death, then realizing the person killed was indeed her husband. She then began asking investigators and passing motorists, through social media, for more details to confirm her suspicions. Troopers were able to notify the woman in person, before she confirmed the death on social media.

Another case in Vancouver last March left a motorist with serious injuries. The driver of the causing vehicle, while passing a collision scene, was attempting to capture images of troopers investigating a fatality collision for social media. The driver’s action not only caused an injury collision but had the potential of notifying yet another family their 18 year old loved one had died before troopers could make a more compassionate notification.

The task of notifying family members of a loved one’s passing is difficult and painful. Troopers take pride knowing they can bring comfort to a grieving family. The comfort may be given by staying with a wife who is home alone until a friend or family member can be with them. The comfort may also be given by answering a specific question about the investigation. Troopers cannot offer personal comfort or answer questions when families learn of loss over social media.

At times, the Washington State Patrol posts pictures of critical incidents and offers infromaton to the public on social media sites. Photos are only posted after families have been notified.