News briefs for Aug. 30, 2013 issue

Bonamici to hold local town hall meetings

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Democratic congresswoman for Oregon’s First Congressional District, announced eight town hall meetings for next month that include events accessible to Columbia County residents.

While Bonamici will not appear in south Columbia County for the town hall meetings, she will speak with constituents in Clatskanie on Sept. 21 and Sauvie Island on Sept. 29.

The meeting in Clatskanie will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School gymnasium. The venue for the Sauvie Island meeting will be the Sauvie Island Academy gym at 2 p.m.

“Congress is working on many important issues that directly effect on our quality of life in Oregon,” Bonamici said in a statement. “I’m holding these meetings to discuss issues, answer questions, and gather ideas. Hearing directly from my constituents will help me better represent the needs of this diverse district.”

The First District includes all of Columbia County, as well as Clatsop, Washington and Yamhill counties and part of Multnomah County.

Bonamici will hold her other town hall meetings next month in Astoria, Banks, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tualatin and Yamhill.

$138 million to aid families hit by unemployment, foreclosure

The U.S. Department of Treasury has approved plans submitted by Oregon Housing and Community Services to provide $138 million to assist families hardest hit by unemployment and the threat of foreclosure on their homes. OHCS will implement the program by the end of the year. Those facing unemployment and foreclosure can seek assistance through Housing and Urban Development at St. Helens’ Community Action Team, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency that offers free services, will hold community meetings once the OHCS program is implemented. CAT is encouraging people not to wait for the meetings if they are in need of assistance. For more information, contact Cindy Peake, Housing Center manager with CAT, at 503-325-9215.

Wauna Credit Union selects new vice president-lending

Robert Blumberg, president and CEO of Wauna Federal Credit Union, announced the selection of John Moore to the position of vice president of lending in a press release Wednesday, Aug, 28. Moore served as vice president-community manager for the Clatskanie Sterling Savings Bank since 2005 where his responsibilities included overseeing several branches as a regional bank manager. Moore also worked for Washington Mutual as a personal banker, branch manager and area manager. Moore earned a bachelor of science degree in economics from Western Oregon State College in 1994. Moore currently lives in Clatskanie and can be reached at 503-728-6117.

Luau and Auction for child abuse victims

The Columbia County Child Abuse Assessment Center is holding its annual Luau and Auction Sept. 7 to benefit child abuse victims.

The event starts 4:30 p.m. at the Columbia County Fairgrounds and will include Polynesian music and dancers, a “Hawaiian-themed” dinner, and silent and oral auctions.

Tickets range from $50 for single to $375 and up for tables. Presenting sponsor tables, which seat 20, are available for $3,500.

An hourlong VIP pre-event reception for sponsors will begin at 3:30 p.m. The reception will feature drinks created from local distilleries, as well as appetizers.

The annual luau relies on community support. The Amani Center, as the child abuse group is also known, is seeking “donations of all sizes” in the form of money and items for auction.

The fundraising goal for this year is $45,000. Funds will go toward evaluative and treatment services for children who have experienced abuse or domestic violence.

American Legion to hold Armed Forces coffee meetings

The American Legion Post 42 in St. Helens will hold Armed Forces coffee breaks as a meeting grounds for veterans of all ages who wish to talk about their experiences with one another. Armed Forces coffee breaks will run from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month beginning Sept. 6 and will be held at the Village Inn, located at 535 South Columbia River Highway.

St. Helens gives $15,000 to CCET

St. Helens contributed $15,000 to a county agency charged with economic development in Columbia County last Wednesday, Aug. 21. Mayor Randy Peterson presented an oversized check to Chuck Daughtry, new executive director of the Columbia County Economic Team, representing the city's contribution at the St. Helens City Council's evening meeting. The CCET is tasked with supporting job creation and retention in Columbia County. A city press release described the $15,000 check as representing St. Helens' "continued effort to support and promote economic development within the Columbia County region."

Scappoose man penalized for water quality violations

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $6,300 civil penalty to Paul Bertrem Scharf for violating the conditions of a storm water permit on a construction site at N.W. Five Peak Terrace in Scappoose. Scharf received the penalty because he failed to implement an erosion and sediment control plan and never inspected the site for areas of potential storm water runoff. According to a DEQ press release, when sediment-filled storm water is discharged into streams, it can cover food sources, wear down fish gills, smother fish eggs and aquatic life and impair fish vision. Scharf has until Sept. 9 to appeal the penalty.

Disaster preparation event coming to Vernonia

A "Get Ready" event will be held in Vernonia on Sept. 14 as part of NW Natural and the American Red Cross' joint effort to prepare Oregon residents for a natural disaster or other emergency. The event, which is free to the public, will be held at the Vernonia School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Columbia County Emergency Management, the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County and the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District will participate in the event. The first 100 families to show up will receive complimentary Red Cross emergency kits.

OSP to target impaired drivers during holiday weekend

Anticipating an increase of holiday travelers this weekend, Oregon State Police are promoting a “Drive Sober or get Pulled Over” nationwide campaign to prevent traffic crashes during heavy traffic periods. The increased patrols run through Monday. Beginning Friday, Oregon highways will see an increase in the number of OSP patrol vehicles, both marked and unmarked. An OSP press release reports that highway areas will be a target of weekend enforcement efforts. Last year during the Labor Day holiday period, three people died in three separate traffic crashes on Oregon roads. According to OSP, the Labor Day holiday weekend is the second deadliest major holiday period for highway travelers in Oregon.

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