Sherman County eNews #330


  1. Gilliam County Swearing-in Ceremony and Reception, Jan. 2

  2. Notice. Gilliam County Court Schedule Update, Jan. 9

  3. Columbia Gorge Genealogical Society Program, Jan. 12

  4. What you lose when you lose local news

  5. Responding to Criticism

  6. National ‘Do Not Call’ Registry

  7. Zone of Proximity

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

“Whenever possible, please shop at home! These businesses add to the character of their community. They offer personalized attention, add diversity to our shopping options, and bring life to historic buildings. They pay their employees and local taxes with the income they receive. Each time you choose to spend your dollars in your own home town, you are voting for the continued strength and vitality of your community.” ~K’Lynn Lane, Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce, Condon, Oregon, in The Times-Journal, December 27, 2018.

1. Gilliam County Swearing-in Ceremony and Reception, Jan. 2

January 2, 2019

10:00am Swearing-In Ceremony (Gilliam County Courthouse Courtroom)
The swearing-in of newly elected or re-elected officials.

10:30-11:30am Public Reception (Downstairs Conference Room)
Elected officials, staff, and the public are all invited to enjoy refreshments at a meet-and-greet reception.

Questions? Contact Sandy McKay, Court Administrator, Gilliam County Court 541-384-3303.

2. Notice. Gilliam County Court Schedule Update, Jan. 9

The Gilliam County Court has cancelled the planned January 2nd Court meeting and re-scheduled it for Wednesday, January 9th at 10:00am. On January 9th the Court will address agenda topics that include but are not limited to the Consent Agenda including designation of the Newspapers of Record, The Times-Journal and East Oregonian; “Frontier TeleNet Emergency Funding, Turnaround Proposal and Letter to the Board;” Employee Handbook Revision Committee; Road Advisory Committee; Strategic Planning Process; County Court Meeting Efficiency; Scheduling Tour of SWCD Building; Scheduling Annual Road Tour; and Court Member Reports.

~ Sandy McKay, Court Administrator

Gilliam County Court, 221 S. Oregon St., PO Box 427, Condon, OR 97823

Court Office: 541-384-3303

3. Columbia Gorge Genealogical Society Program, Jan. 12

Columbia Gorge Genealogical Society

January 12, 2019

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center


Downstairs classroom

Carolyn Purcell from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center will give a lecture on preserving old photographs and documents. This free lecture will cover subjects of identifying different types of photo processes used throughout history and best practices for handling and storing them, as well as historical documents. A $1.00 donation to cover room rental fees is appreciated. Public Welcome!

4. What you lose when you lose local news

newspaper-arrowPeople are less likely to vote, and politics become more polarized.

In November 2016, as election results began rolling in, the maps showing state-by-state Senate and presidential wins started to look like they were plotting the same race. By the time the final votes were counted, it was clear: Every state that held a U.S. Senate election favored the same political party in both contests. No state that went for Hillary Clinton elected a Republican senator; no state that went for Donald Trump elected a Democrat.

It was a stark display of the nation’s growing polarization, marking the highest percentage of states with a straight-ticket senator-and-president outcome in a century.

Now, new research suggests America’s increasing partisanship may be related to a monumental shift in the nation’s media landscape over the past three decades. As local newspapers shrink and close, people interested in the news are left more reliant on national outlets. As a result, they become more disconnected from their own communities and elected officials, less interested in voting — and more politically polarized. Without a revival of support for local journalism, experts say, that trend may be difficult to turn around.

For a decade or so, researchers have found that when the public lacks access to information about local issues, democracy itself suffers. When local print news coverage drops, residents are less likely to participate in civic activities, like contacting public officials or joining a community association; less knowledgeable about the candidates for their U.S. House district; less able to hold municipal officials accountable, leading to economic inefficiencies; and, ultimately, less likely to vote.

“When that coverage goes away, people don’t turn out to participate,” said Sarah Cavanah, a professor of mass media at Southeast Missouri State University. In November, a new study published in the Journal of Communication revealed an even further-reaching effect: After a newspaper in their community shuts down, those who do vote are more likely to cast a straight-ticket ballot, just as they did in 2016.

Local news lets people know the individual priorities and goals of local candidates — what they stand for specifically, not just how closely they hew to the party line. In other words, it keeps voters from relying exclusively on partisan cues when they’re marking their ballots, said Joshua Darr, a professor of political communication at Louisiana State University. Darr, who led the Journal of Communication study, focused on straight-ticket voting because it’s a good gauge of political polarization. Other scholars have cited factors as varied as economic inequality and top-down pressure on politicians from party leaders, for example, to explain America’s growing partisanship. Darr and his colleagues wondered if the loss of local news could have something to do with it, too.

To find out, the researchers analyzed how often voters in 66 counties across the country that had recently lost a newspaper split their votes for senator and president in the 2012 election. They found nearly 2 percent more straight-ticket voting in such counties compared to similar ones that hadn’t lost newspapers. That may seem like a small effect; after all, other factors also affect voting behavior, like education, political party affiliation and church attendance. But even small shifts can swing elections. This year, for example, a difference of just a quarter of a percentage point, or about 700 votes, brought Democrat Ben McAdams victory over Republican Mia Love in a race to represent Utah in Congress.

“(Local news sources) just need to keep existing,” Darr said. “If they can do that, they’ll help stem the tide of this polarization that seems to have really taken over politics in recent years.”

That bulwark has weakened as protections for local news itself have eroded. Rules like lower mail rates for periodicals and the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970, which allowed competing newspapers to share some resources, helped ensure that communities had access to diverse sources of local news. But those policies aren’t as powerful in an era dominated by digital media, and updates like net neutrality, which would help safeguard access to independent media, are far from universally supported.

“So it’s not necessarily accidental that there’s a crisis in the functioning of state and local politics now,” said Lee Shaker, a professor at Portland State University who studies media and politics. “We simply stopped, as a nation, working to make sure that those processes function.”

At the same time, we stopped subscribing to local newspapers, shoving the industry off an economic cliff. “Fundamentally, the public needs to value and seek this information,” Shaker said. Without support from readers, bolstered by policies recognizing the importance of local information, local news media will be hard-pressed to help keep in check the bitter partisan animosity splitting the country today. “I don’t see a good future for us if we end up having nationalized politics,” Cavanah said. “And we might end up with that, if we don’t have a quality local news ecosystem.”

Emily Benson is an assistant editor at High Country News, covering Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Email her at or submit a letter to the editor.  See

5. Responding to Criticism

key.goldGet more information.

  1. Active listening. Non-verbal attention, a posture of curiosity. Paraphrasing – Listening to the message, reflecting it back, discovering the speaker’s intent.
  2. Ask for details and clarifying information.
  3. When a speaker can’t think of a specific, you come up with one.

Agreement – Seek out agreement wherever it exists.

  1. Agree with facts. Be explicit in your agreement.
  2. Agree with a critic’s perception. Acknowledge critic’s perception is reasonable.

~Glaser & Associates, Eugene, Oregon, 1998.

6. National ‘Do Not Call’ Registry

boy.telephonetalkTo register your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry go to ~Courtesy of The Times-Journal.


7. Zone of Proximity

Have you ever heard of the Zone of Proximity? It’s an interesting idea, and one that just might help during this season of “too much to do,” and “not enough time,” to get everything done we hope to accomplish.

The main idea behind the Zone of Proximity is that we don’t need to worry or be concerned until the moment we need to act. The late-Muhammed Ali, one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time, used this philosophy all the time, during his boxing matches. He was totally at ease in the corner. When the bell for the round rang, he’d come out with his arms at his sides, conserving energy until he was close enough to his opponent to get hit. When he did get close enough, then the energy he needed kicked in, his arms were up, gloves ready to protect or punch. This conservation meant he didn’t tire as quickly as some of his opponents.

So how does this idea translate to us “regular folks” as we meet each day? Let’s think of it in terms of the energy we use up when we consider the future. There really isn’t much use worrying about what will happen in the future, because it is too far away, right now. When we worry about how our children are – especially if they are adults – it is wasted energy if there is nothing we can do about a particular situation. Worrying about whether a loved one will like a holiday gift is an energy sapper, because we cannot control someone else’s reactions.

We can prepare for as many contingencies as we can imagine, and for humans we are gifted with forethought in order to do this. But once that is done, there is very little else to do until situations play out. Obsessing about possibilities only causes stress inside ourselves that inevitably spreads to those around us. With all this energy and creativity draining away on the “what ifs” of life, there isn’t enough left to deal with the realities that actually do show up.

Mastering our own Zones of Proximity allows us to meet each day with our energy meters fully charged, and our attitudes lined up for achievement.

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

arrow-rightWhat you lose when you lose local news

Oregon opens broadband office to connect rural resident

Oregonians Born in Oregon Are Disappearing

Lions Club International Founder Dr. William Perry Woods

2019 Women Farm to Food Business Competition

Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit, Feb. 5-7

Prager U. Visits the March for Open Borders

Socialist Workers newspaper

The 15 Biggest Art Historical Discoveries of 2018

Mike Rowe Works Foundation