Sherman County eNews #5


  1. Teen Team Registration Open for Google Wind Challenge

  2. Sherman County Court Notes, Jan. 3

  3. Columbia Gorge Community College Considers Campus Housing, Survey

  4. Predicting Your Future

  5. Public Notice. Sherman County School District Board Meeting, Jan. 8

  6. Lists of Senior Citizen Discounts in Dining, Travel, and Retail

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

1. Teen Team Registration Open for Google Wind Challenge

THE DALLES, Ore., January 4, 2018 — Middle and high school team registration is now open for the sixth annual Google Wind Challenge coming to the Gorge on March 17 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles. The competition is well-suited for school clubs, small groups of students, or a classroom with chosen participants. Teachers, parents or other mentors are welcome to register teams by February 2.

During the Wind Challenge, teams of high school and middle school students from across the Gorge learn about wind turbine technology and design, and apply their skills in an all-day competition to race against the clock in building the strongest, fastest wind turbine. The event is completely free, plus all materials are provided as well as mentors to help guide the learning process. No advance preparation is required and teams compete for awesome prizes!  

This event is sponsored by Google and put on as a partnership between the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA), Google and Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC). A fun, hands-on STEM Fair is also part of the day, with free activities to engage students and the general public.

Volunteers from the community are needed as well, and no experience is necessary. Volunteers can enjoy the fun, be well-fed and take home a t-shirt for just a few hours of their time. Sign up to volunteer at

Contact event coordinator Jessica Metta with questions at 541-296-2266 or

2. Sherman County Court Notes, Jan. 3

ShermanCoLogoBy Administrative Assistant Kayla von Borstel

(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 January 17 Court session.)

The Sherman County Court met in regular session on January 3, 2018, and in conducting the business of the county,

  • met with Jessica Metta, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, to hear a quarterly report. Request for proposal for last mile broadband is almost ready to send. Ford Family Foundation grant for Wasco Event Center was denied at the staff level but can be reapplied for;
  • met with Jessica Metta, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District to discuss the housing incentive program. Jessica created a document that summarized all three housing programs the County is perusing. Discussion held on requirements to consider, how the applications will be approved, and how these programs affect property taxes. Court approved the rental housing rehabilitation programs. Court approved a rental housing incentive grant for $10,000. Discussion held with Aurora Gardens on need for immediate housing needs;
  • met with Scott Kennedy, Biggs Pilot Center Manager, about public nuisance in Biggs. Discussion held on public nuisance issue at Biggs Service Center and the concerns it brings to the area and the employees. Discussion held on trespassing and about city ordinances;
  • met with Nate Stice, Regional Solutions, to hear a quarterly report. Nate has been working with Aurora Gardens in Grass Valley on the enterprise zone and free trade certification and is working with regional field representatives. Discussion held on economic opportunities at the Wasco Events Center. Nate is meeting with PGE to learn more about repowering and the contract for Sherman fiber is waiting to be finalized at Frontier TeleNet. Nate discussed his goals and next steps;
  • appointed Bryan Peters to the Weed Control District for a term of three years to expire December 31, 2020;
  • appointed Erik Glover to the Planning Commission for a term of four years to expire December 31, 2021;
  • appointed Amber DeGrange, Teri Thalhofer, Alyssa Winslow, Barbara Seatter, Shawn Payne, Gary Thompson, Wes Owens, Wade McLeod, Katie Paul, Tara Koch, Angie Curtis, Tina Potter, and Amy Asher to the Sherman County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) for a term of one year to expire December 31, 2018;
  • appointed Debbie Hayden as Budget Officer for a term of one year to expire December 31, 2018;
  • appointed Larry Hoctor and Forest Peters to the Sherman County Budget Committee for a term of four years to expire December 31, 2021;
  • nominated Tom McCoy, Amber DeGrange, Teri Thalhofer, and Melody Stafford to the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) to serve as members on the Sherman County Local Community Advisory Council (LCAC);
  • declared as surplus numerous office and building-related items previously utilized by Sherman County departments and deemed to no longer be necessary in the execution of departmental functions. Items include approximately eight work stations, four small tables, twelve task chairs, and six 4-drawer file cabinets from various offices; courtroom bar and judge’s bench from the former circuit courtroom and a shelving unit from the former sheriff’s office; sixteen jury/counsel chairs with arms, three miscellaneous chairs without arms, and four task chairs, in the event that those items are acquired by Sherman County from the Oregon Judicial Department;
  • approved the Lease of Office Space between Sherman County and Frontier TeleNet, to lease office space for $1.00 per year in the Burnet Building located in Moro, Oregon and authorize Judge Thompson to sign;
  • approved the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Underground Storage Tank Program, General Permit Registrations Form to Decommission Existing Unregistered Tanks and 30 Day Notice of Intent to Decommission USTS, and authorize Judge Thompson to sign;
  • discussed workforce housing, the housing location of County owned rental tables and chairs, North Central Public Health District Funding Formula, and a renewable energy work session;
  • heard reports from Court members about regional board activities.

3. Columbia Gorge Community College Considers Campus Housing, Survey

It’s no secret the Columbia Gorge has a shortage of affordable housing. The high cost and low supply of rental housing poses challenges throughout the region. Understanding how the housing shortage affects current and prospective students at Columbia Gorge Community College will help the institution plan to address this critical challenge.

The college is considering the development of housing on its campus in The Dalles. While campus housing would primarily serve students, college staff and faculty as well as other sectors of the community, such as seasonal farmworkers and firefighters, might also benefit. Investment in campus housing would, in turn, leverage funding allocated by the Oregon Legislature to build a skills training center on campus.

“The college is contracting with a private consultant to study the economic feasibility of on-campus housing,” explained Dan Spatz, community outreach manager for the college. “This study is supported by the City of The Dalles, as city councilors recognize the important connection between a skilled workforce and the community’s economic vitality.”

As part of the housing study, the college is surveying current and prospective students as well as parents and the community at large. This survey is designed to assess the potential demand for affordable on-campus student housing on the college’s The Dalles Campus.

“We invite you to participate in this survey,” Spatz said. “Responses will have an important role in helping the college decide whether to proceed with a campus housing development in The Dalles.” People can participate by visiting the college’s website,, or by checking the ad appearing Saturday, Jan. 6, in the Hood River News; Sunday, Jan. 7, in The Dalles Chronicle; Jan. 10 in the Goldendale Sentinel and Jan. 11 in the White Salmon Enterprise. The ad includes a digital link to the on-line survey, accessible with your cell phone camera.

This survey closes Friday, Jan. 19. Incentives are offered for those who complete the survey. Results from the housing feasibility study will be presented to the college board in March.

4. Predicting Your Future

Happy New Year!

Did you know that there is an easy and reliable way to predict the future? Now, we all know that by connecting with the news media, there are lots of people trying to predict the future and trying to get you to believe their view of the future. However, there is a method that is far more reliable than pundits and prognosticators.

If you want to predict the future, if you want to know what is in store for you, take a look at your thoughts. What do you think about? What do you dwell on and picture? What do you expect and believe you can cause?

You see, it is your present thoughts that determine your future. Now, that’s not to say that if you imagine yourself walking on water, you’ll do it, or if you think about winning the lottery, you will. But if your thoughts are predominately pessimistic, if you expect to fail, if you believe you don’t deserve success or don’t have what it takes to have a loving relationship, then you will behave accordingly. Your subconscious will do what it needs to do to create a reality that confirms your thoughts.

If you are an optimist, on the other hand, and most of your thoughts are positive, if you trust yourself and others and think a lot about how good it will feel when you achieve and become what you want, chances are very good you will succeed. You will do what you need to do to make your life match your inner picture, your thoughts. You see, although you can’t always control what happens in the outside world, you can control your inner one, your thoughts.

When you control your thoughts, you unleash tremendous energy and tremendous drive. When you choose to respond to the world in positive, productive ways, it is easy to predict a positive, productive future – one you create yourself, day by day. ~The Pacific Institute

5. Public Notice. Sherman County School District Board Meeting, Jan. 8

Logo.Sherman High SchoolThe Sherman County School District Board of Directors will hold a Regular Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 8, 2018. This meeting will be preceded by an Executive Session at 5:00 p.m. pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(f) to consider records or information exempt by law from public inspection and a Work Session at 5:30 p.m. for board training. These meetings will be held in the meeting room of the Sherman County Public/School Library. 

Agenda topics include: Comments from Visitors; Presentations/Recognitions; Adoption of Consent Calendar; Personnel; Reports by Superintendent Wes Owens, K-12 Administrator Mike Somnis, and Athletic Director Gary Lewis; Unfinished Business: Sheriff’s Office Safety Plan Continued Discussion, Update on 2nd Semester Spanish/Health Options, OSBA Policy Update, and Contingency Funds; New Business: Elementary Gym Acoustics Info, 2017-18 Budget Resolution, 2018-19 Budget Calendar, Year 2 Contract Option for Superintendent, and Division 22 Assurances; Audience Communication; Future Agenda Items; Next Regular Meeting February 12, 2018.

The Board of Directors of Sherman County School District may address other matters as deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors. If necessary, an Executive Session may be held in accordance with ORS 192.660

The Sherman County School District recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups.  It is the policy of the Sherman County School District that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups based on race, color religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, marital status, age, veterans’ status, genetic information or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment.

American with Disabilities Act: Please contact Wes Owens at the district office at (541) 565-3500 if you need accommodation to participate.  Please telephone at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled meeting date.  Thank you.

6. Lists of the Best Senior Citizen Discounts in Dining, Travel, and Retail

grandparents.3Welcome to this deals and discounts list and directory for seniors age 50, 55, 60, 65 and over. Usually no sort of membership nonsense is required. However, none of these national chains or other places are likely to have any prominent signs advertising any senior discounts or deals. The company websites also usually do not tell you what the policy is. You will have to ask. The best way to obtain the discount is to just say, “Hi, I understand you have a senior discount?”  See the details here:

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

bird.owl3 Gorge Grown Food Network

A Supermoon, Blue Moon And Total Lunar Eclipse All In One Night Jan. 31

Food Stamp Rolls Decline by More Than 2 Million in FY 2017

2017 Second-Best Year for Gun Sales

Lists of the Best Senior Citizen Discounts in Dining, Travel, and Retail

Oregon Capital Insider Index: This week in Salem, by the numbers