City council hears from Grangeville Horizons

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Stories from this compilation are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is the second of a two-part Regional News Roundup; the first part was published Saturday.

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GRANGEVILLE - The Soroptimists Pavilion should stay in Pioneer Park.

That's the opinion of the Grangeville Horizons Committee, representatives of which were at the Dec. 18 Grangeville City Council meeting to advocate keeping the 31-year-old park shelter in conjunction with private plans to construct a band shell.

Grangeville Horizons is responsible for annual holiday decorating of Pioneer Park and has raised funds for lighting and related underground infrastructure.

"We know it is used a lot," said committee representative Cathy Wassmuth, for events and gatherings throughout the year. For when the band shell is completed, she said this could function, for example, as a preparation area for performers. For other area communities with band shells - Riggins, Nezperce and Craigmont - each one has a pavilion in connection with it.

Committee member Terra Hill said their hope was to place an infrared heater in the pavilion, and use this as a warming station and to provide concessions during tree lighting and winter events. Both she and Wassmuth said it has a multipurpose use, and Hill added as far as pavilion aesthetics, it could be modified to complement the band shell design. Tear it down, Wassmuth said, and in three to five years you'll have the public requesting a new one be built.

"Grangeville Horizons is against moving the pavilion out of the park," Wassmuth said.

For the past year, volunteers through Grangeville Arts have been working to establish a band shell structure at the park, a project estimated between $60,000 to $65,000, a multi-use building to be used primarily for public performances and presentations. Last month, the city authorized up to $30,000 toward the project, which organizers hope to break ground on - pending securing funding - in 2018.

The pavilion's future was discussed as part of last month's council discussion, but no determination was made.

"I'd sure like to keep it," commented Councilor Pete Lane, on the pavilion's good public usage, especially as a shady place during the summer.

Wassmuth said an informal survey she conducted that day, all were in favor of keeping the pavilion. Councilor Beryl Grant said comments she had received were the opposite.

"Most of the people I talked to said to take it out. They don't want the park cluttered up," Grant said. "They love the park, but not so many structures." That concern for open green space was echoed by councilor and mayor-elect Wes Lester, on future requests for more structures, and that this is primarily a park.

- David Rauzi, Idaho County Free Press, (Grangeville), Wednesday

CVHC hosts WWAMI student for clinical practice

Sara Schaefer grew up in Boise, and is currently attending the University of Washington. Schaefer is enrolled in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program. WWAMI, the University of Washington's regional medical program, allows entering medical students to train in their home state, increasing their familiarity with the health care needs of their region and state, and increasing the likelihood that students will select further training or practice opportunities in Idaho once their training is complete.

Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics is a premier training site and is a highly sought-after location for students to come and learn.

Most students in the WWAMI program would like to continue practicing medicine in their home states once they have graduated medical school.

"I would definitely like to stay and practice somewhere in Idaho," Schaefer said. "And I am fortunate enough to get to do most of my training here in various places across Idaho. I did my first year and a half of medical school in Moscow, one month in Twin Falls, and now, six months here in Orofino."

Schaefer received her undergraduate degree from Western Washington University, where she took a Wilderness First Responder class and an EMT class.

"These courses are what sparked my interest in the medical profession," Schaefer said.

Sara is part of the WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience or "WRITE" program and will spend a total of six months training in Orofino. She spends her time working with the providers in the hospital, emergency department, the clinics in Orofino and Kooskia as well as at Brookside and CH&R.

"Each week is a variety - some days in the hospital, some in the clinic and ED. The schedule definitely keeps you on your toes," Schaefer said. "My absolute favorite part of medicine is that no two days are alike. I love meeting, and learning from new patients every day."

WWAMI students who receive training in rural locations such as Orofino receive many benefits that students in larger areas would not get. "This is really a unique place to train in medical school; many students train in larger cities where there is much less continuity with patients and providers," Schaefer said. "So they will see a patient once, maybe twice in clinic. Here it is really unique to be so immersed in a community where I can follow patients in many different settings.

- Clearwater Tribune, (Orofino), Thursday

Columbia Pulp, hospital and railroad are top stories in Dayton

DAYTON - Columbia County was a happening place in 2017.

Columbia Pulp

"Pulp Fiction" became fact in July when Columbia Pulp I, LLC secured financing for its $184 million straw pulp manufacturing plant near Starbuck. Excavation began in earnest in August, and the official groundbreaking ceremony and site tour took place in October. The $184 million facility will produce 149,000 tons per year of market pulp from wheat and alfalfa straw and 95,000 tons per year of carbohydrate-lignin co-product. When fully operational the Lyons Ferry Straw Pulp Plant will employ 70.

Dayton General Hospital

The $5.5 million Dayton General Hospital Renovation and Enhancement project that began in June 2016, was finished in December. DGH was renovated to accommodate a full line of outpatient services including: speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, a therapy pool, ultrasound and behavioral health care, all of which are enhancing the bottom-line financial picture.

Shortline Railroad Reopens

After several years of embargo on a portion of rail track in need of repairs, and a two-year concerted effort on the part of Port officials, 34 miles of track between Dayton and Walla Walla are open again to commercial business. The track had been closed since 2012. On Oct. 7, the Columbia Walla Walla train pulled into the Dayton Historic Depot for a grand opening ceremony.

Real Estate

Realtors paint a rosy picture for home sales and rentals in 2017. They say there has been a slight uptick in home sales since Columbia Pulp broke ground and there is a lot of demand for rentals. Houses in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range are selling well and rentals are rented before they are even vacant.

Winter Woes

The "Winter of 2017" caused headaches for city and county officials as they began addressing damage to infrastructure from an unusual amount of ice and snow. FEMA has kicked in with 75 percent of the necessary funding for city street repairs which will take place in 2018. Port officials have been busy all year assessing and repairing damage at Lyons Ferry Marina caused by the inclement weather.

Boys & Girls Club

The Dayton Boys & Girls Club received a $25,000 grant from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist national grant competition to help get the program up and running, as well as grant from the Wildhorse Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, in the amount of $18,346, to upgrade the heating system in the building. Local citizens, Dan and Ginny Butler, purchased the old bowling alley in Dayton to be given to the Boys & Girls Club for student use.

Dayton-Waitsburg Athletic Combine

The Southeast IB League and WIAA District 9 approved a request from the Waitsburg School District and the Dayton School District to allow the process of creating a full combine for athletic programs in 2018-19. A lack of numbers of athlete participants at each individual school is driving the process.

Communications Updates

In November, voters approved a one-tenth of 1 percent county-wide sales tax to improve outdated telecommunications equipment which will allow the sheriff's office, the emergency management services department, Fire Districts No. 1, 2 and 3 and ambulance crews to provide for enhanced public safety. There are dead zones in communication throughout the county because of faulty equipment.

Dog Park

Canines have been enthusiastic since the off-leash Dayton Dog Park opened this year. The city donated a 0.6-acre parcel of land south of the fishpond, installed an irrigation system and planted the grass for the park. The Friends of the Dayton Dog Park conducted numerous fundraisers to support the project and the grand opening celebration took place Sept. 26.

Recreational Trails

In May, the long hoped for trail, going from Dayton to Waitsburg, was placed on an official map. A committee of local citizens and stakeholders has been working to create a map of non-motorized trail connections going from Dayton to Burbank. The Blue Mountain Region Trails, Bridges, Town and Rivers consortium will reveal the final map in January, after which the search for funding can begin.

- Michele Smith, The Times, (Waitsburg), Thursday

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