Ill man gets help with heat

Many people were moved in the days just before Christmas to help Van Neubarth, a Southeast Portland man who has suffered numerous hardships in the 1 1/2 years, the latest being a poorly insulated house that he and his family moved to recently.

'Lots and lots of people donated wood' for heating the home after reading a Dec. 20 story in the Tribune, said Neubarth's sister, Raevon Day.

Neubarth's troubles became public in April when he lost his 8-year-old daughter, Vanessa, in a deadly domestic fight. The child's 30-year-old half-brother, Aaron, allegedly turned on her while arguing with his father and fatally stabbed her.

Aaron Neubarth is in jail. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Emotionally, the father and other children found it too difficult to stay in the house, so he and his surviving children, ages 6, 11 and 12, rented another, only to have their budget depleted by sewage and plumbing problems. Neubarth, 55, who's living on Social Security while being treated for colon cancer, also was running out of wood for the stove that heats the home.

Day said one man told Neubarth he'd provide more when the donated wood is depleted. One woman reportedly stopped by, talked with Neubarth for a few minutes, and gave him a handful of money amounting to $200.

'He just about passed out,' Day said.

Until that point, help had been hard to come by, she said. Friends who'd offered to help didn't follow through, and overwhelmed social service agencies said they were out of money until January.

Day said readers' response renewed Neubarth's faith in people.


Body of missing hiker found

An employee of the city auditor's office, missing for more than a week, apparently fell to his death in the Tillamook State Forest. On Sunday, searchers found the body of Abhay Thatte, 37, of Beaverton, at the base of a cliff in the snow-covered forest.

Thatte was last seen alive about 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 21 at the Kings Mountain Trailhead parking lot. He signed the registration log at the Kings Mountain summit later that day.

Thatte was an auditor for the city of Portland and a native of Bombay, India. Auditor Gary Blackmer said Thatte was an avid runner who was working on a doctorate in economics. He is survived by his wife and children.


Peace day starts new year

A group in Portland and more than a half-dozen other cities nationwide are continuing a dream that teenagers in Arizona launched Jan. 1, 2000, a day widely celebrated as the start of the new millennium.

The high school students' hope was to establish a day without any violence.

A celebration of what's become known as One Day of Peace is scheduled for Wednesday at the University of Portland's Chiles Center, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. It includes a peace fair from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with more than 50 exhibitors, and a later performance from about 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with pianist Michael Allen Harrison.

Event co-director Aura Wright says organizers expect as many as 3,000 people to attend the UP gathering, which would be double last year's turnout. She estimates that nine cities are holding One Day of Peace events.

Ñ Tribune staff

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