Sherman County eNews #156


  1. Reminder! Sign up for Sherman County Summer Swim Bus

  2. Sherman County Public/School Library Book Club, June 21

  3. Sherman County Public/School Library Summer Reading Program, June 21

  4. On Your Mark, Get Set… READ!

  5. Editorial. Baker City Herald: A call for safer trains

  6. Unconscious Bias – A Comfort Zone Issue?

  7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

1.Reminder! Sign up for Sherman County Summer Swim Bus

boy.telephonetalkREMINDER:  Sherman County Prevention Program is still taking names for the 2016 Summer Swim Bus.  The group will be going to the Goldendale Pool for swimming lessons and free swim.  This is a free program for every child in Kindergarten and older that lives in Sherman County.  The swim bus will run Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning July 12th and the last day will be August 18th.  Please call Shandie Johnson with the Prevention Program at 541-565-5036 Monday through Friday 8:00 – 12:00 for more information.

2. Sherman County Public/School Library Book Club, June 21

books.loveThe Library Book Club will be meeting at 6:00pm, June 21. Please join us for discussion of “The Lake House” by Kate Morton, even if you haven’t read the book! To request a hold on a copy, e-mail or call 541-565-3279


3. Sherman County Public/School Library Summer Reading Program, June 21  book.boy.readSummer Reading Program Tuesday, June 21 at 10:00am.
Numbers (0-3 years)
Global Playground (4-11 years)
Join us for reading, play, crafts, snacks, prizes, and fun!


4. On Your Mark, Get Set… READ!

School is out for the summer! Research by Harris Cooper and his colleagues indicates, “At best, students showed little or no academic growth over summer. At worst, students lost one to three months of learning.” How are you going to help your children remember what they learned last year so they’re ready to level up when they go back to school?

Providing children access to books, allowing them to choose what they want to read, talking with them about what they are reading, and going to the library are four things you can do to help your children stay at the same reading level or improve their reading skills this summer (Kim, 2006). But don’t forget, kids need a break from the rigors of school so make fun the priority of summer learning!

All public libraries in Oregon offer a free summer reading program. While the fun activities and reading challenges may be different at each library, they all have great books for kids to choose from and opportunities for kids to make new friends. Most libraries also have arts and crafts and STEM activities so kids can do fun thing to practice the skills they learned in school last year. Many libraries also bring in professional performers that put on free shows for families to enjoy together. Contact your local public library to find out what’s going on in your community this summer (Oregon Library Directory,

The statewide summer reading program at local libraries is supported in part by the state general fund through the Ready to Read grant program and the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, both administered by the Oregon State Library.

Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsey, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 66, 227-268.

Kim, J. (2009). How to Make Summer Reading Effective (National Summer Learning Association Research in Brief). Retrieved from

5. Editorial. Baker City Herald: A call for safer trains

June 17, 2016

The fire that resulted from the June 3 derailment of a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil through the Columbia Gorge vividly reminded us of the inherent danger of transporting hazardous cargo.

Baker City has been a railroad town since 1884, so this is hardly a new issue hereabouts.

Reactions to the Gorge derailment, which fortunately didn’t hurt anybody, have ranged from reasonable calls for expediting the replacement of outdated rail cars and making other safety improvements, to hysterical demands that railroads stop hauling fossil fuels as though those products are uniquely dangerous.

An example of the former was Rep. Greg Walden’s column, printed on this page in Wednesday’s issue. The Oregon Republican, whose district includes Baker County as well as the site of the derailment, which is near his home in Hood River, wrote: “If there’s better technology available to hold the rack in place, then for all of our safety, the railroads need to retrofit their lines accordingly.”

Walden also pointed out that a federal law mandates railroads to replace older rail cars with safer versions by Jan. 1, 2018. Although the oil cars that derailed June 3 had protective liners, Walden wrote that “in areas of critical environmental sensitivity, such as the Columbia Gorge, we need to move to the next generation of cars that are built even tougher.”

These are practical measures that will make railroads safer, whether they’re hauling oil, anhydrous ammonia, chlorine or any of the other potentially lethal substances that roll through Oregon every day.

Contrast Walden’s prosaic approach with the comments of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. He wants Congress to ban railroads from hauling oil.

“No transportation system is ever 100 percent safe,” Hales said. “That’s why it’s a fundamentally wrong idea to be moving explosive fossil fuels by rail.”

The first part of Hales’ comment is of course true.

Yet he’s not calling for the closure of Portland International Airport, where every day dozens of aircraft, laden with jet fuel, take off or land. Nor, apparently, does he oppose trains carrying other cargoes that could threaten more lives than oil.

Walden’s proposal, and the laws Congress has already passed, will make trains safer no matter what they’re hauling.

That’s a much more sensible approach than the one Hales and some other Portland political leaders, including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, advocate. Walden’s ideas, moreover, are scientifically valid — which can’t be said of acting as though oil is more dangerous than chlorine.

6. Unconscious Bias – A Comfort Zone Issue?

~ The Pacific Institute

Whether it is the intentional racist comments from the owner of a professional basketball team, applying a nasty epithet to a sitting politician, or the active discrimination towards gender, society is quick to condemn the perpetrators. Publicly, overt racism and discrimination has no place in today’s world. But is there a more persistent bias running “under the radar” about which we are unaware?

University of Washington professor of psychology, Anthony Greenwald, says there is and it is not so much “against” another group, but an unconscious favoring of the familiar. Greenwald and his associates developed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in 1995, and their initial findings were first published in 1998. Since that time, the test has been expanded to cover several different types and undergone rigorous study to check for validity.

The IAT measures the strength of an individual’s automatic association with objects and concepts. In other words, it relies on automatic reactions, on the subconscious (or unconscious) level, based on our memories. It is more reaction without thought, than conscious decision-making. The result is a kind of discrimination without intent to do harm, except that it does cause harm when practiced by a dominant group.

A comfort zone, by definition, is where the world feels familiar to us. We have a lot of comfort zones, depending upon the subject at hand. Comfort zones are wonderful, because we feel safe. Our comfort zones are based on who we believe we are, and that belief is stored in our subconscious. We make all of our decisions, conscious or unconscious, based on that picture of who we are.

Organizations have comfort zones, which lead to stagnation of innovation. A lack of diversity of thought causes institutional as well as individual favoring of the familiar, more commonly known as a blind spot or scotoma. And scotomas cause us to miss options and opportunities.

The cure? Self-reflection, individual and organizational, and a change in that internal picture of who we are which, someday, will do away with negative automatic responses.

7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do


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Editorial. Congressman Walden: Baker City Herald: A call for safer trains June 17, 2016

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