Sherman County eNews #302


  1. Solar Saturday at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, Oct. 14

  2. Space Weather: An Asteroid to Buzz Earth this Week

  3. Sherman County School District Letter to the Sherman County Community

  4. Oregon State Land Board Public Meeting, Oct. 17

  5. Hauling Rocks

  6. Medicare Annual Open Enrollment is October 15 through December 7

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

1. Solar Saturday at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, Oct. 14

sun.circleBob Yoesle from Friends of the Goldendale Observatory will present a solar viewing free to the public Saturday, October 14 from 11 am to 3 pm at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles. Using special safely-filtered telescopes you can view the surface of the sun. This event is free, and will be held, weather and clouds permitting, on the museum lawn. Museum admission still applies for visitors who wish to see the exhibits. For more information visit

2. Space Weather: An Asteroid to Buzz Earth this Week

ASTEROID TO BUZZ EARTH THIS WEEK: Four years ago, a house-sized asteroid tore through the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and exploded.  Shock waves shattered windows and knocked down onlookers as fragments of the disintegrating space rock peppered the Ural countryside. This week an asteroid about the same size is approaching Earth. It will not hit our planet, but it’s coming very close. On Oct. 12, 2017, the speeding space rock, named “2012 TC4,” will skim just above the zone of Earth’s geosynchronous communications satellites and briefly become a target for amateur telescopes. Learn more about the flyby on today’s edition of

3. Sherman County School District Letter to the Sherman County Community

SCSchoolDist.Communication to Community 10-9-17

4. Oregon State Land Board Public Meeting, Oct. 17

Salem — The State Land Board will be asked to adopt proposed amendments to the administrative rules governing the placement of ocean renewable energy facilities on, in or over state-owned land within the territorial sea (three miles westward from the low-tide mark).

The amendments are the result of recommendations from an advisory committee that met eight times between 2016 and 2017, and a 45-day public comment period. The proposed amendments also take into consideration several legislative actions in the 2013 and 2015 sessions affecting ocean energy facilities.

In addition, the Board will be asked to approve the consent agenda which includes requests to initiate the review of three potential sales, and one request for a perpetual easement for two bridge crossings.

The informational agenda includes the annual update from the Oregon Ocean Science Trust, the annual report on management of Common School Fund real property, and a status report on the Elliott State Forest.

The meeting will be held:

Oct. 17, 2017
10:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
Department of State Lands
Land Board Room
775 Summer St. NE, Salem

This meeting will be held in a facility that is accessible for persons with disabilities. If you need assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability, please notify Arin Smith at (503) 986-5224 or at least two working days prior to the meeting.

To live stream the meeting, go to the State Lands YouTube channel:

Meeting agenda:

The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and State Treasurer Tobias Read. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.

5. Hauling Rocks

Abraham Lincoln once said that if you “look for what is wrong, you will surely find it.”  How true this is. The imperfections in ourselves mean we can always find deficits if we try. For a lot of us, it is much easier to find cracks and faults.

If your focus is on what is wrong, if you are busy looking for the flaws and weaknesses in your character, you are weighing yourself down just as surely as if you were going through life carrying a big backpack full of rocks – and every day the backpack just gets heavier.

Of course, if you are a world-class negative thinker, then the weight of your burden becomes just one more thing with which to find fault. On the other hand, if you spend most of your time looking for and appreciating all that is right or delightful about yourself and the world around you – and make no mistake, there are thousands of delights in this world once you start looking for them – it is as if you had diamonds in your pockets.

To get a quick reading on where your focus is, list all your shortcomings and all your strengths on a piece of paper. Take your time and make sure you cover as much as possible. Once you have finished both lists, look to see if you used a double standard. Did you list as weaknesses those things that are occasionally true about you or always true? On the other hand, did you list strengths that are almost always true or just occasionally true? Depending upon what you find, you may be stacking the cards against yourself.

If you get rid of your old programming that says it is better to haul rocks than diamonds, and start affirming your strengths instead, your life will be so much richer! And you couldn’t find a better day to start than today. ~The Pacific Institute

6. Medicare Annual Open Enrollment is October 15 through December 7

~ Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services

Annual open enrollment for Medicare starts next week, and Oregon’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) Program is available to help.

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years or older or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability Income. People living in Oregon who are 65 years or older may be eligible to sign up and find health insurance that best meets their needs. Medicare covers many medical costs, including visits to the doctor, prescription medications, and preventive care, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes treatment, and blood pressure screenings.

Medicare annual enrollment runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2017. Any Medicare Advantage (MA) or prescription drug plan (Part D) changes must be made between these dates so that coverage begins without interruption on Jan. 1, 2018. Those who are late to enroll may face a lifetime of premium penalties.

“It is important to compare Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans every year,” SHIBA Program Manager Lisa Emerson said. “Plans change year to year, as do people’s individual health care needs. People could potentially save money by shopping for a new plan.”

SHIBA provides free health insurance counseling to explain how the Medicare program works, additional insurance options that work with Medicare, and help with reducing out-of-pocket costs. SHIBA staff members, along with over 200 certified counselors, serve many of Oregon’s more than 780,000 Medicare beneficiaries to help them understand their Medicare benefits and enrollment options. Free information and help is available by calling 1-800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting

SHIBA counselors help beneficiaries compare plans and enroll by using the plan finder tool found online at Beneficiaries and their families can also choose to use this tool to compare plans and enroll on their own.

SHIBA also publishes an annual Medicare guide, which will be available online in early October and in print in mid-November.

Tips from SHIBA to prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment:

Review your plan notice. Be sure to read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially your Annual Notice of Change letter.

Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Do you need a new primary care doctor? Does your network include the specialist you want for an upcoming surgery? Is your new medication covered by your current plan? Does another plan offer the same value at a lower cost? Take stock of your health status and determine if you need to make a change.

Find out if you qualify for help paying for your Medicare. SHIBA can help you learn about a state program that helps with the costs of Medicare premiums, your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments, and Medicare prescription drug coverage costs.

Apply for help with drug costs. If you have limited income and assets, you may qualify for extra help with prescription drug costs. SHIBA counselors can help you apply for this benefit through Social Security.

Tips from SHIBA when comparing health insurance plans:

Find your insurance cards. You may need your red, white, and blue Medicare card to review benefit details or enroll in a new plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan, you may also need that card.

Update your list of prescription drugs. Check with your doctor to make sure you understand each prescription. Is a generic available? Can you eliminate unneeded medications? Based on your list, do you have the right plan?

Use the plan finder. The plan finder uses your prescription list to compare prescription drug and Medicare Advantage health plans in your area. Not all companies cover the same drugs so it’s important to have a complete list of your medications and dosages when using this tool.

Contact your doctor, hospital, and pharmacy before making changes. Not all health and drug plans contract or work with the same providers. If you switch plans, make sure you understand which providers you can see for the best price.

More information
SHIBA: To meet with a counselor, contact the toll-free SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-722-4134. You will be asked to enter your ZIP code to be connected to a program in your area. Visit to find local help in your county, obtain a copy of the 2018 Oregon Guide to Medicare Health plans and find Medicare education and enrollment events in your area.  Follow SHIBA on Facebook:

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


bird.talkThe Truth About Columbus

Anhydrous Ammonia Fertilizer

Anhydrous Ammonia Agricultural Fertilizer Production

Prager U. Short Videos. Big Ideas. The New Deal. (free subscription)

Forbes. United Airlines And Unions Fly Through Sham Attacks On Labor To Help Out In Puerto Rico


The Daughter of a Trucker: Japanese Beef Farming & Oregon Ag

The Oregon Vortex

Antiquities Act weakens rural communities

Redoubt News

redoubt noun

a :a small usually temporary enclosed defensive work

b :a defended position :protective barrier

~ Merriam-Webster

Multiculturalism Is Splintering the West


Sherman County eNews #301


  1. Sherman County Broadband Survey, Community Meetings, Oct. 11 & 17

  2. Editorial. Fact Checking Support for Community Counseling Solutions’ Proposal

  3. Sherman County Court Notes, Oct. 4

  4. Notice: Sherman County Court Session, Oct. 18

  5. ODOT Warns of Deer Migration

  6. 53 Red Cross Disaster Responders Helping Communities on the Ground

1. Sherman County Broadband Survey, Community Meetings, Oct. 11 & 17

Residents and businesses in Biggs Junction, Grass Valley, Moro, Rufus, and Wasco are encouraged to take a broadband satisfaction survey hosted by Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD). This survey is intended to gauge interest in improved internet service and help better understand the needs in the community related to internet connectivity. Paper surveys are being mailed in city water bills and can be returned to your city hall, or you can take the survey online on County’s website ( by October 31.

The information collected in the surveys will assist the community in seeking proposals from private internet providers to develop “off-ramps” the fiber “highways” in the County so that those in Sherman County’s cities can access truly high speed internet service.

For more information about broadband and this project, everyone is invited to attend two community information sessions with MCEDD. Each session will provide the same information. The meetings are Wednesday, October 11 at 6pm at Moro City Hall and Tuesday, October 17 at 6pm at Wasco City Hall. If you have questions about this effort, please contact city staff in your community or Jessica Metta with MCEDD at or 541-296- 2266.

2. Editorial. Fact Checking Support for Community Counseling Solutions’ Proposal

pencil.sharpIn doing a little fact checking, it came to our attention that a misleading statement was made in giving notice of the October 8th meeting regarding the Community Counseling Solutions’ proposal to locate a respite center in Sherman County.

Not all who were named as supporting this proposal gave permission for their name to be used in this statement. Corrections and apologies are in order.

3. Sherman County Court Notes, Oct. 4

  • By Administrative Assistant Lauren Hernandez

ShermanCoLogo(This is a brief summary of topics addressed and is not official minutes. For official minutes and details, please see the official approved minutes posted on the Sherman County website at after the October 18 Court session.)

The Sherman County Court met in regular session on October 4, 2017, and in conducting the business of the county,

  • heard a quarterly report from Jenine McDermid, Clerk; Jenine presented a draft copy of the Sherman County Public Records Request form, Sherman County Response to Public Records Request, and an updated County Clerk’s Office Fee Schedule; the Court approved the public record forms and fee schedule; the Court approved the appointment of Jeanne Kuettel and Dee Ashley from the Non-Office Holding Pool and Gary Thompson with Joe Dabulskis as alternate from the Office Holding Pool to the 2017-2018 Board of Property Tax Appeals; the Clerk’s Office may purchase a new ballot counting machine in the near future;
  • heard a renewable energy update from Dave Van’t Hof, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, and Dana Peck; Dana gave a brief history of the wind market in California and its impact in the Columbia River Gorge; Dave explained he has connected with policy making groups in California to try to get regional wind into California; he will attempt to work with the Governor’s Office to try to recreate an authority for a regional market; Dave reported on a few bills that will come up next session; discussion was held about the Wyoming wind market; Dana emphasized the local wind market should be looked at comprehensively for the full range of economic benefits, including jobs, a tax base, schools, and more; Dave suggested focusing on making the repowering of wind projects in Sherman County a streamlined process; the rules are made by the Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Facilities & Safety division; Dave suggested having someone go in to meet with staff and then going to local legislature if needed;
  • heard a quarterly report from Amber DeGrange, Juvenile Director; her caseload has increased; interviews for the Prevention Coordinator position will be held October 16; Amber continues to perform Prevention Coordinator tasks while the position remains open; the 2017-2019 Four Rivers Early Learning Hub budget is being developed; Amber discussed the curfew ordinance with cities, is looking for opportunities to enhance the Justice Reinvestment Grant, and continues to chair the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council; Trauma Informed Practices and Sanctuary Model training will be held in November;
  • heard a quarterly report from Rod Asher, Weed District Director; the remaining seasonal workers will work through October or until freezing weather; finding enough seasonal workers will continue to be a challenge; large patches of skeletonweed have been found on the north end of the county; Rod is concerned about Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land and seeds being stirred up if the land is tilled; a crew completed the Grass Valley Canyon project and then moved to the Deschutes River project; there have been no issues with Azure Farms, and Rod reported he has a good working relationship with them; grounds maintenance is going well; Rod explained he has safety concerns about the building at DeMoss Park;
  • heard a quarterly report from Wes Owens, Sherman School District Superintendent; the Grass Valley facility has been sold, and the school will collaborate with the new owner to offer support with the building; bargaining went well and both contracts will be recommended; the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports system is in place; the school has been accepted into the Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention program; the safety proposal is still under discussion; the Hall of Honor class induction went well; a newsletter will be sent to constituents to open up communication between the community and school;
  • heard a quarterly report from Mark Coles, Road Master; edging the pavement south of the school parking lot will begin in a few weeks; fall grading has begun; the access road for the Biggs Service District water project is complete; hot mix patching and crack sealing are complete; washboards are being cut, spraying will be finished soon, and rock will be crushed for next year’s chip seal;
  • entered into Biggs Service District Board of Directors;
  • approved the Term of State’s Offer for the US97 Spanish Hollow Creek Bridge Project and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • approved the Permanent Easement for the US97 Spanish Hollow Creek Bridge Project and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • approved the 2017-2019 Grant Young Memorial Planning Assistance Grant application to the Department of Land Conservation and Development and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • declared the Sheriff’s Office 2011 Ford Crown Victoria as surplus;
  • approved the Intergovernmental Agreement with Sherman County between Sherman and Gilliam County for the provision of independent assessment services necessary to assist the Sherman or Gilliam County Board of Property Tax Appeals in the performance of their functions upon request;
  • approved the National Association of Counties invoice for county membership dues in the amount of $450;
  • approved the distribution of $590 to eligible applicants for the 2017 Resident Incentive Program;
  • followed Heath Gardner’s recommendations on the library roof leak repair up to $25,000, declared an emergency, and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • discussed the Area Agency on Aging region request; library roof leak repair; a website redesign update; a quarterly report submitted by Georgia Macnab, Planner; and small business incentives;
  • heard reports from Court members about regional board activities.

4. Notice: Sherman County Court Session, Oct. 18

The Sherman County Court will be in session on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.  This session will be held at the Sherman County OSU Extension Office/Burnet Building, 66365 Lonerock Rd, Moro, OR 97039.

The agenda, including updates, will be posted on the Sherman County Website at

CoCourt1Agenda October 18 2017

5. ODOT Warns of Deer Migration

deer3BEND – At the center of the state, Bend is more or less ground zero for collisions with deer during fall migration. So, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is advising motorists to be on the lookout for migrating mule deer on US97 and other Oregon highways.

“Deer are embarking on their fall migration from the eastern slopes of the Cascades to their winter grounds near Fort Rock and Christmas Valley”, said Cidney Bowman, wildlife biologist for ODOT. “Highway 97 lies directly in their path so motorists need to be alert for deer on or near the highway.”

The bulk of the deer migration starts about mid-October and extends until early-December in Central Oregon. Most of the animals travel during the dawn and dusk hours, but motorists can expect to see them at any time.

ODOT is putting up notices on message boards on and near the highway to advise motorists to be extra cautious during the migration and taking other steps to alert motorists to the influx of deer. “We want to be sure drivers know what to expect on the highway during deer migration”, said Bowman, adding, “We’re doing what we can and motorists need to do what they can too.”

For more on deer migration and the impact on Central Oregon Highways visit:

6. 53 Red Cross Disaster Responders Helping Communities on the Ground

Red Cross logoPORTLAND, Ore., October 9, 2017 — Fifty-three disaster responders from the American Red Cross in Oregon and Southwest Washington (Cascades Region) are on the ground helping communities affected by destructive hurricanes in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, and Texas. Additionally, local responders are helping in Las Vegas, offering emotional support and other resources to people affected by the tragic shooting.

Responders from Silverton, Springfield, Albany, Troutdale, Portland, Turner, Salem, Eugene, Bend, Rockaway Beach, Beaverton, Happy Valley, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Medford, Gold Beach, Tigard, McMinnville, Corbett, Independence, Wolf Creek, and Ashland, Oregon, as well as Vancouver, Goldendale, and Longview, Washington, are assisting communities affected by hurricanes and the shooting by working in disaster relief shelters, delivering food and water to affected neighborhoods, providing emergency financial assistance, helping with family reunification, delivering health and mental health services and providing spiritual care.

Since the tragic shooting in Las Vegas last week, the Red Cross has been providing support to families of the deceased, people who were injured, and helping at public memorials and vigils. The Red Cross is providing health and mental health assistance, spiritual care and other forms of assistance at a family assistance center (a centralized location for affected families to go to get help and resources), at local hospitals, and through outreach teams. Additionally, and as part of our national blood network, the Red Cross has provided blood to hospitals treating patients injured in the incident. Following the shooting, the Red Cross supplied more than 450 units of blood and blood products to hospitals treating victims.

In the last six weeks, the American Red Cross has launched a wide-ranging relief effort to help people devastated by three historic, back-to-back hurricanes–Harvey, Irma, and Maria. And now, the Red Cross is helping families affected by a fourth hurricane, Nate, which made landfall in Mississippi Saturday. The Red Cross is on the ground, part of a large team of agencies and organizations responding to provide help to communities turned upside down by these storms.

* In the last six weeks, the Red Cross, along with community and government partners, has provided more than 1.2 million overnight stays in emergency shelters. Shelters were opened in 8 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
* The Red Cross has served more than 6.4 million meals and snacks, and provided more than 2.9 million relief items to people in need.
* Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 177,200 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected.
* A total of more than 16,000 trained disaster workers, 91 percent of them volunteers, have been mobilized to support hurricane relief efforts.
* More than 100 Red Cross workers from around the world deployed to the United States to help with hurricane relief efforts.
* Right now, more than 2,600 Red Cross disaster workers and almost 250 emergency response vehicles are on the ground, helping thousands of people affected by these storms.

The Red Cross has launched massive responses to these devastating hurricanes and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate and ongoing disaster relief for those affected. Help people affected by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS to make a donation.

Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters. The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to hurricane relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.