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Bonamici postpones town hall dates

Town hall meetings in Banks and Sauvie Island are among those being postponed by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., due to congressional wrangling over funding for the federal government.

Bonamici’s office announced Wednesday, Sept. 25, that the congresswoman is delaying scheduled meetings in Banks, Beaverton, Yamhill and Sauvie Island from this Saturday and Sunday to the weekend of Oct. 19 and Oct. 20.

The meeting in Banks, originally scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Banks Fire Station, will now be held at the same location at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 19.

The Sauvie Island meeting, which would have taken place in the Sauvie Island Academy gymnasium at 2 p.m. Sunday, has been moved to Oct. 20 at 12 p.m., also in the same location.

Bonamici said in a written statement, “I regret any inconvenience, but it is important for me to be in Washington for the discussions, negotiations, and votes to prevent a government shutdown.”

PUD awarded for communications efforts by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - (L to R) Libby Calnon and Nicolle Prehn display awards received Sept. 17 for Columbia River PUD's excellence in communications.

Columbia River People’s Utility District has been named the 2013 winner of the Northwest Public Power Association’s Tom Hougan Award for overall excellence in communication. The PUD is the first two-time winner of the award. “This is a great achievement for the PUD,” said General Manager Kevin Owens. “This award recognizes the quality, consistency and effectiveness of our customer communications.” Communication Specialist Libby Calnon accepted the award for the utility, and credited her coworkers for the recognition. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who are committed to providng excellent service to our customers,” she said. “It’s an honor to be recognized for our communications work.”

County unemployment once again steady

For the fourth straight month, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Columbia County was 8.2 percent in August, the Oregon Employment Department announced Monday, Sept. 23.

The county gained 120 nonfarm jobs last month, according to the state release. As a 70-job gain is considered “normal” for August, the seasonally adjusted job gain was 50 jobs for the month.

Columbia County has just slightly higher unemployment than Oregon as a whole. The state unemployment rate for August was 8.1 percent.

County lawmakers to hold town hall meetings

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, and Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, will hold three town hall meetings on Saturday, Oct. 12. The legislators will speak with constituents at the Clatskanie Public Utility District off Highway 30 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and then head east for afternoon meetings at the Sacagawea Health Center at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in St. Helens from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Skyline Grange at 11275 N.W. Skyline Boulevard in Portland from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Johnson and Witt, whose districts include all of Columbia County, will talk about legislation enacted during this year’s legislative session and issues that may come up during next spring’s legislative session.

Pumpkin lighting to kick off Halloweentown events by: MARK MILLER - The Great Pumpkin of Old Town stands watch over Courthouse Plaza in St. Helens on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The annual Spirit of Halloweentown festivities will begin in St. Helens on Saturday, Oct. 5, with the lighting of the Great Pumpkin of Old Town. The giant pumpkin sculpture is already up on display in Courthouse Plaza. The Great Pumpkin lighting will take place at 6 p.m., marking the “official kick off to the 2013 Spirit of Halloweentown celebrations,” according to event organizers on Facebook. Halloweentown events will occur throughout the month of October and will include a “Paranormal Convention” on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, a pumpkin painting contest at St. Helens High School on Oct. 26, and more.

Scappoose rolls out transportation website

The Scappoose Transportation System Plan has a new website. The site, www.scappoosetsp.com, was launched this month to help people “learn about and get involved with the project,” in the words of Scappoose City Recorder Susan M. Reeves. The website offers a place for people to submit public comments on the plan, which seeks to provide a vision for how Scappoose’s transportation system should look by the year 2035. Interested individuals can visit www.scappoosetsp.com/comment-map/ to add their thoughts or review others’ comments.

St. Helens to hold meeting on street plan

A city meeting will be held to discuss St. Helens’ street corridor master plan at the South County Chamber of Commerce office on Monday, Oct. 7. Individuals affected by the project, which will cover parts of Highway 30, Columbia Boulevard and St. Helens Street, are being invited by mail to the meeting, which is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. It will feature a presentation on plans for the corridor and testimony for local business and property owners. A city release noted that “while the Chamber meeting is only intended for affected property and business owners, the City will offer the general public multiple opportunities to provide input as the plan takes shape.” More information on the project is available at www.sthelenscorridorplans.com.