Sherman County eNews #365


  1. Wasco United Methodist Church Christmas Eve Worship Service, Dec. 24

  2. Reine Marlene Thomas 1953-2017

  3. Consumer Spending 2016

  4. New Year’s Prep – Part 2

  5. Bureau of Land Management Announces Annual Almanac

  6. Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Was 4.2 Percent in November

1. Wasco United Methodist Church Christmas Eve Worship Service, Dec. 24

church.family1The Wasco United Methodist Church invites all to attend our Christmas Eve Worship Service, this Sunday December 24, beginning at 11am.  The Sunday School children will be performing their play “A Christmas Carol”.  We will finish the service with refreshments and fellowship.  We hope you can join us for this blessed time of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Reine Marlene Thomas 1953-2017

flower.rose.starReine Marlene Thomas, age 64, passed away peacefully on December 15, 2017 surrounded by her husband Thomas Brateng, son Casey Hayes, and daughter Abby Kraayeveld after battling cancer for over seven years. She was born on January 2, 1953 in The Dalles, Oregon to Dewey and Catherine (Fridley) Thomas. She was raised by her parents in Wasco, Oregon on a wheat farm, along with her brother, Kent. There she enjoyed riding horses, raising 4-H cattle, and helping her family with wheat harvest.

When Reine was old enough to take the wheel, one might have spotted Reine confidently steering the wheat truck while standing on the truck’s running board, driver’s side door swung open wide, just as her mother had taught her. Reine was a calculated risk taker and a grounded free spirit.

Reine’s roots as a “farm girl” helped in defining her approach to life and work ethic. In her elementary and middle school years Reine learned to play the piano, as well as the trumpet, which established her love for music. Reine was baptized in and attended the Wasco United Methodist Church with her family, then found herself fixed behind the organ playing for the congregation as a teenager.

While attending Sherman County High School, Reine enjoyed cheerleading, running track, and performing arts. Friends say that Reine could light up a room and always made them laugh. She also held positions on the Student Council which foreshadowed her career in leadership. While in high school, Reine stepped out of the small rural farming community she called home and traveled to Brazil to live as an exchange student. This gave her a taste of what would be a life-long passion for travel and appreciation of diverse cultures throughout the rest of her life. Reine graduated with honors from Sherman County High School in 1971.

Reine attended Mt. Hood Community College and ran track before transferring to Oregon College of Education. Ultimately, Reine graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in English in 1977, and began her 30 year career in Education. Reine took her first job teaching Middle School English and PE classes, as well as coaching volleyball and track, at South Sherman Elementary School in Grass Valley, Oregon.

Reine then stepped away from teaching for approximately five years to raise her two children. She was a loving, nurturing, and committed mother—always putting her children first. Reine loved to read and did so religiously to and with her children. Reine taught Sunday school, coached her children’s sports, led sing-a-longs around the piano and on car rides, and always had her hand in ensuring homework was completed. Reine loved nothing more than her children, and reminded them of that frequently throughout her entire life, in her actions and her words. She was an exceptional role model, cheer leader, and friend to both kids.

Reine received a Master of Science in Education in 1985 and later taught English, coached cheerleading, and directed plays at Sherman County High School, in Moro, Oregon. Reine connected her passion for students and travel by serving as a liaison with the AFS student exchange program. Reine loved to write poetry, narratives, and descriptive essays—she truly had a way with words. Reine might have also been seen on the stage as a lead or supporting actress in the Barnstormers theater group of Sherman County. Reine was emotive, funny, and just a wonderful story teller and artist.

Reine worked for fifteen years at Columbia Gorge Community College filling a number of roles including the ABE Director and Director of Student Services, before becoming the Dean of Instruction. She was devoted to program development and partnerships from collaborating efforts to offer GED classes off-campus at Celilo Village, to launching the nursing program and Rural Clinical Simulation Center. During this time she traveled to Guatemala and served on a mission trip with a local Methodist Church group to build houses, care for children in orphanages, and support native women.

Reine accepted her position as the Dean of Instruction at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus in 2004 where she continued to foster strong relations within the PCC community and colleagues from community colleges across the state. A former Campus President was quoted saying that Reine was “extremely hard working, trustworthy and has a delightful sense of humor.” Reine resigned from her position at PCC’s Rock Creek campus, married Thomas Brateng in September of 2007, and moved to Dallas, Oregon where she would reside until her final days.

Reine found herself back on familiar soil, as her husband Thomas farms cherries. Reine loved living amidst cherry blossoms with her sweetheart. They enjoyed traveling to spend time with their children and grandchildren, vacationing in Mexico and California, taking walks together, and they laughed often. They attended the Dallas United Methodist church together.

Reine filled the role as the Dean of Chemeketa Community College’s Dallas Center for five years before retiring in 2013. While leading at the Dallas center, she grew student enrollment and dedicated herself to Polk County’s outreach programs. Reine earned a Doctor of Education degree, with an emphasis in Community College Leadership, from Oregon State University in 2013.

Reine was known for her creative leadership, her community spirit, and ability to build partnerships within the community. She was innovative and demonstrated creative thinking for program development and growth. But above all, Reine’s work in education was always about the students. Reine was once quoted saying that it was “an inspiration” to go to work and “experience student success.” Reine not only dedicated her life to education but was devoted, simply, to the success of the student learner.
Reine had an uncanny ability to reach people in a deep and meaningful way. She made all of those around her feel special. Her sense of humor and wit, compassion and empathy, positivity and support were all attributes she demonstrated to strangers and her best friends alike. Reine was a loyal and true friend to many. She always wanted to help others and would go out of her way to do so. She was a faithful and dutiful mother, daughter, and sister.

Left to honor Reine and remember her love are her husband, Thomas Brateng of Dallas, OR; son Casey Hayes (Kristi) of San Diego, CA; daughter Abby Kraayeveld (Jefferey) of Ridgefield, WA; father Dewey Thomas of Wasco, OR; brother Kent (Melva) Thomas of Wasco, OR; stepson Jason Brateng (Brett) of Dallas, OR; and stepdaughter Jeni Cochrane (Dan) of Bend, OR; and nine grandchildren.

Reine was preceded in death by her mother Catherine (Fridley) Thomas in 1999.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM at the Wasco United Methodist Church in Wasco, Oregon, followed by a private family graveside service at 3:00 PM. Those who so desire may make memorial donations to Columbia Gorge Community College at or mail to CGCC Foundation at 400 East Scenic Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058.

3. Consumer Spending 2016

dollars.coinsThe share of U.S. household consumer expenditures for 2016, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey:

33 % housing

15.8% transportation

12.6% food

11.9% personal insurance, pensions

8% health care

5.9% entertainment, alcoholic beverages

3.6% savings

3.5% personal care products, tobacco, misc.

3.2% apparel

2.5% education.

~ Agri-Times Northwest, December 15, 2017.

4. New Year’s Prep – Part 2 

So, how did you do in your 24 hours of “no negative thinking?” It was probably a very long evening, but if you truly worked at it, the time spent was eye-opening. Today, let’s talk further about trying to break negative thinking addiction

We have been talking about the fact that negative thinking can be a harmful addiction, and about how to raise our awareness of the amount of negative thinking we do by learning to pay attention without blaming ourselves.

Today, let’s take it one step further and talk about what you can do to break this destructive habit, once you realize that you have it.

The first thing to do is stop justifying or defending your negative thoughts. While it may be true that they are perfectly rational, they are not doing you or anyone else any good. They are getting in the way of your interactions with family and friends, and causing unnecessary distractions in the work place. So, stop labeling them as reasonable or unreasonable. Just notice them.

Another thing to do is declare a ban on all negative thinking for short periods every day, say for 30 minutes when you get up, before you get in your car to drive anywhere, or right before you go to bed. Then, gradually extend those times.

One final strategy is to be a champion Disputer. Learn to argue with your negative thoughts and to replace them with positive ones. Every possible subject has a positive side. Accomplished positive thinkers know they have a choice about where they want to focus their attention, and they choose the positive aspect. You can, too. Say, “Yes,” to life and to breaking the negative thinking addiction.

If you start today, imagine how you will feel in a couple of weeks. The New Year is looking better every day! ~The Pacific Institute

5. Bureau of Land Management Announces Annual Almanac

Portland, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon and Washington is proud to announce the latest BLM Facts, our annual illustrated almanac answering the diverse and detailed questions one may have about public lands in the Pacific Northwest. The BLM continues to serve the American family by being good neighbors, supporting traditional land uses such as grazing, and providing access to hunting, fishing, and highlighting these uses through publications like BLM Facts.

BLM Facts has lots of numbers, and those figures do tell a story. In most cases, your public lands are located within an hour’s drive from where you live or work. You can find an amazing array of resources and opportunities at almost any site you visit.

This report has the latest BLM news and updates — from wild and scenic rivers and exciting recreation sites to wildlife, cultural, and archaeological programs. BLM Facts also shares information about management plans for minerals and energy, forestry, mining, wild horses, and much more.

In addition to maintaining our commitment to delivering an updated volume every year, we continue to make improvements such as full-color maps, photos, and a plethora of timely, user-friendly data. You can read it online at:

You can also swing on by your local BLM Office to pick up your copy of BLM Facts:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016–more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

6. Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Was 4.2 Percent in November

Oregon.Flat.poleOregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.2 percent in November from 4.3 percent in October, remaining near the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in November.

“Oregon’s low unemployment rate and other positive labor force measures indicate there’s a shrinking pool of available job seekers,” said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist. “Businesses are having difficulty finding applicants, and that has slowed Oregon’s job growth in the second half of this year.”

In November, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,800 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,900 jobs in October. Monthly losses were concentrated in professional and business services, which cut 2,000 jobs, and in manufacturing, which cut 1,700. Counterbalancing these job losses were gains of 1,300 in other services and 1,200 in leisure and hospitality.

The job losses in November, coupled with the downward revision to October, slowed the pace of Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate. Since November 2016, Oregon has added 30,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, which equals an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent. Oregon is now gaining jobs at a slightly faster pace than the national growth rate of 1.4 percent over the past 12 months. This is a change after a long stretch of growth that far outpaced the national growth rate.

Construction continues to lead Oregon’s over-the-year gains as it added 7,400 jobs, equaling 7.9 percent growth. Only two other industries expanded by more than 2 percent: health care and social assistance (+6,000 jobs, or 2.6%) and leisure and hospitality (+5,200 jobs, or 2.6%). Many of Oregon’s major industries expanded within the one-percent range. Professional and business services (+2,600 jobs, or 1.1%) growth has slowed dramatically, to about 1 percent, from about 4 percent per year throughout much of the prior seven years. Meanwhile, several industries have stopped growing, as wholesale trade; manufacturing; mining and logging; and other services each had roughly the same employment as a year ago.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the November county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, December 26th, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for December on Wednesday, January 17th.??NLG

All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted. The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the April, May and June 2017 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

For help finding jobs and training resources, visit one of the state’s WorkSource Oregon Centers or go to:

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.