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Photo by Gary Randall.
Fall Leaves around the Mountain by Gary Randall on 11/01/2018

Autumn has arrived here around Mount Hood. This is one of my favorite seasons. As of this writing the leaves are prime all around the mountain. The vine maples and the broad leaf maples are blazing. Even the moss illuminates in the light.

When I grew up my family loved to pack a lunch, load up the car and take Fall Leaf Sunday Drives. It’s something that I still love to do, and so my wife Darlene and I hopped in the car and went for an incredible drive looking for colorful fall leaves the other day, and we were not disappointed.

The Mount Hood Loop Highway has been a favorite day trip for Portland families for many years. It’s fun to hop in the car and spend a day travelling and sightseeing no matter the season. Those of us who live around Mount Hood, the north side as well as the south side, have a secret shortcut that we usually take. Lolo Pass to the Hood River Valley, or vice versa, in good weather will give incredible displays of colored leaves and views of Mount Hood.

Of course a large part of why we take these drives is to take photos. I look forward each year to autumn photos along creeks or framing views of Mount Hood. The trip yielded all of these. I took my DSLR and my tripod, but after the trip was over I realized that most of the photos that I made that day were on my cell phone camera.

Most all of today’s cell phone cameras have capabilities that the average cell phone owner is probably not aware of. I have a device that will adapt the phone to a small tripod. I can then switch the phone to “Pro Mode.” Once in “Pro Mode,” it will allow you to make ISO and shutter speed adjustments. It will even allow you to photograph in a Raw format (DNG). Once I have taken the photograph in Raw format I am able to do adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom CC Mobile application. This is the method that I used to take the photograph that accompanies this article. When Carlton Watkins photographed Oregon in the 1860s, he needed a horse and wagon to carry his camera and supplies and a tent for a darkroom to develop his photos. Today we carry it all in our pocket.

As we drove we stopped here and there, not even getting in a hurry. As we drove up Lolo Pass, we stopped for views of Mount Hood vine maples that were in colors that range from vivid yellow to dayglo oranges and reds. We drove into the upper Hood River Valley to the little town of Parkdale where we drove up to Cooper Spur through amazing yellow broadleaf maple forests on the way to Highway 35.

All along Highway 35, the larch tree blazed a bright yellow as they are scattered through the conifer evergreen trees. We drove up along the east fork of the Hood River making a couple stops along the way before we made it to Government Camp and a quick trip down Highway 26, where the display didn’t end.

The sunshine was shining the day that we made our trip, but don’t let a little rain stop you. Go out and enjoy the autumn color while it’s still around.

Don’t forget to take your camera… or your cell phone.

Trust & Privacy or... Mind Your Own Business by Paula Walker on 11/01/2018

A key question from clients as an estate planning attorney is whether to develop a trust or a will and why. It depends (the stock legal answer – right?!) … there are several essential determining factors, all based on a client’s particular goals, objectives and preferences. Privacy and continuity factor high among them. Distinguishing a trust from a will is the ability to keep our affairs and the terms of our generosity private. Also, there is the ability to designate a continuing source of welfare for your beneficiaries.

You can think of a Trust and privacy in the pragmatic context of sharing a confidence with another. You trust that in sharing, the one with whom you have shared will keep your confidence in trust, a private matter not to be disclosed. In similar fashion, because the terms of a Trust are not subject to probate, i.e. not subject to court supervision, they do not become public record. The person you name as Trust Administrator carries out the duties assigned in the Trust, according to the terms of the Trust without requiring court supervision or approval. The necessities of settling your estate, and distributing your property require accounting to the government — paying final taxes due — and to the beneficiaries you’ve named, not to the court. As well, that Trust Administrator can be assigned to manage the Trust over a period of time to provide beneficiaries a continuing source of benefit, if that meets your goals.

A will by contrast, subject to court supervision, is a matter of public record. Anyone can look up the specifics of your estate. Once a will has been filed for probate, anyone can obtain a copy of it.

Ordinarily in writing this column I supplement the main focus of column with a snippet of a “celebrity gone-wrong” example of poor or lacking estate planning. This month I provide a solid example of the use of a Trust to keep affairs and terms private, as well as ensuring that the Trust is well-administered and continuing for the benefit of the recipient.

And for a little entertainment pull up this website to hear “Mind Your Business” by Hank Williams. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZH2bmbUTl4

Stories of the Stars … If Only

Well known for his roles in “Smokey and the Bandit,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Deliverance,” Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds died unexpectedly at 82 from coronary arrest on Sept. 6. Notable is not only Reynolds’ acting career and iconic style of handsome, but also the use of a Trust to pass his wealth on to his adopted 30 year old son, Quinton, described by Reynolds as his, “greatest achievement.” The media quickly locked on to Reynolds as an example of celebrity wealth managed well with respect to heirs. Headlines declared upon Reynolds passing that, “Reynolds intentionally left his son out of his will” — the reader catching sensationalistic lead — followed by the line declaring that he left Quinton money through his Trust instead. In addition to establishing the Trust itself, Reynolds provided us a model of other aspects of a well-designed estate plan by appointing his niece Nancy Lee Hess as Trust Administrator and not his son, in order to avoid potential contests of self interest dealings. As well, it is reported that he planned a succession of Trust Administrators to follow his niece should she be unable to fulfill that role, thus ensuring the terms of the Trust would be carried out by people that he himself knew to be trustworthy, for the life of the Trust to benefit his son. Reynold’s estate is estimated to be worth approximately $5 million. Because of the privacy guaranteed by using a trust as the estate planning mechanism, the terms, type and specific value of the trust Reynolds left his son are not known. It appears that Reynolds, who professed unabashedly his pride in his son and his son’s self made career, has now provided that self reliance a generous source of support.

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

MHGS: tips for throwing a ‘green’ party by Mary Soots on 11/01/2018

This summer, I attended several outdoor parties. I was struck by the differences between them regarding the decorations.  Take for example, two parties that were given in the same park location.

The first party had balloons clustered around the location to assist party-goers in finding the right shelter.

(Of course, I know some of you will crash a party if their food is better than the one being served at your group’s, but you get the idea.)

Floating balloons, filled with helium, promising us from the time we are children to expect fun, food and games wherever they are present.

Unfortunately, the balloons were released into the air, where they would find themselves traveling sometimes for long distances into the trees, the ground and the rivers and oceans.

There, what was intended as a celebration of a gathering of friends, family and life can become the death sentence to our beloved whales, sea lions, fish and water fowl if they ingest the latex or mylar remains.

Helium, while not scarce, is an element in the air that can best be saved for use in things such as MRI machines, computer and TV screens, etc.

At a different party, I was struck by the fun idea of stringing colorful paper banners and crepe paper waving in the wind to attract party-goers. The crepe paper streamers danced while paper pin-wheels on chopsticks spun around the site of the party, creating a sense of movement, drawing the attention to the site.

Those things are made of natural materials that can be composted and are biodegradable.

Once inside the first party site, plastic tablecloths covered picnic tables with colorful designs.

At a child’s birthday party, the theme included with pictures of the current favorite movie characters.

At an adult party, the tables were covered with red checkered plastic to evoke the nostalgic feeing of days when people would take their gingham tablecloths and wooden baskets filled with homemade fried chicken and fresh-baked pies to enjoy on a Sunday drive in the countryside.

What’s not to love?

But when we examine those things that evoke such wonderful emotions, we don’t think the fact that those tablecloths will be used for 2-4 hours, and then the plastic is promptly deposited into the garbage, ending up in the landfill.

In the middle of the 1900s, convenience was the goal and clean-up was a cinch with the inventions of plastic.

Looking at the other party, fabric tablecloths covered the tables.

I’ve spoken before of using fabric to give your gathering a feeling of nostalgia, refinement, and the environmental benefits of throwing the tablecloth in the washer. Somehow, the party seems just a little nicer when the table is covered in fabric.

You can imagine of course, that the first party used plastic papers and cups, disposable silverware and serving containers.

One use and conveniently, it all disappears from our life, we continue home and forget about having to clean anything.

At the second party, the host had vintage melamine dishes, mismatched, but very functional, as well as a set of silverware that she had rescued at a re-sale shop and reserved for the purpose of entertaining.

A rolling cooler was designated to hold the dishes until they returned home to be thrown into the dishwasher and the cooler was hosed down.

We are conditioned to think that things should be done a certain way.

We are the victims of a society that wants to sell us things.

Maybe we can think of new ways of doing things that will have the same effect emotionally, giving great joy and leaving us with wonderful memories while teaching the younger generations to care for their world.

Simple dishes with leftovers by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2018

Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite meals – my advice is get to the stores early in the month and then keep away, they get crazy!

Also stock up! Get an extra turkey or ham, make doubles of desserts, breads and sides to freeze for the holidays.

Here are a couple recipes to transform leftovers into something wonderfully different.

Butternut fettuccini Alfredo with chicken sausage

Best served by a fireplace in your jammies.

1 lb fettuccine

1/2 lb crumbled chicken sausage

3 cups chopped squash

3/4 cup cream

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 T olive oil

Pinch nutmeg

1/4 cup cream cheese

1 t chopped fresh sage

Boil noodles in salted boiling water until tender.

Cook the chicken sausage in olive oil, spoon out and set aside.

In pan drippings cook chopped squash with all the seasonings until tender, add in cream and cream cheese and use a masher to break up squash (or ladle into a blender and blend until smooth).

Toss noodles and sausage in sauce, top with parmesan and sage.

Homemade crescent pumpkin rolls

2 cups flour

1 T baking powder

1 stick butter melted

3/4 cup pumpkin purée

2 T brown sugar

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix purée, sugar and butter, stir into dry ingredients and knead for one minute. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Roll dough onto a floured surface, cut into triangles and roll, starting with long edge down to a point. Bake at 400 for eight to ten minutes, serve warm.

Turkey Shepard’s pie

4 cups left over mashed potatoes

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cups chopped leftover turkey

3 cups leftover turkey gravy

2 cups leftover cooked vegetables

Combine the turkey, gravy and veggies, pour into a baking dish. Whisk mashed potatoes with cream and Parmesan cheese, pour over turkey vegetable mixture and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes (potatoes should be browned on top).

(Taeler Butel shares her culinary gifts exclusively with The Mountain Times.)

Concerns and issues from recent forums turn into proposed bills by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 11/01/2018

It is hard to believe that November is here and it has been nearly a year since I was selected to serve as your State Representative for House District 52. As you might remember, I hit the ground running. This is an amazing experience and I am honored to represent you. Thank you again to all who contacted me over the last 11 months. Through these contacts, you have shared the challenges and strengths of this great community, and we have discussed how we can work together to ensure that the Hoodland Area continues to be a great place to live, work and recreate.

Over the last month, I had the opportunity to attend and meet some of you at the public safety forum in Welches and the Mt. Hood Lions Club Annual Auction and Dinner. The public safety forum provided insight into problems with illegal camping and dumping, and the need for more law enforcement officers. The need for more public safety presence pitted against deficient local and county budgets is an issue across the district. I am a member of the House and Senate Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety, and as I shared at the Forum, during the 2019 Session I will be working with other legislators and stakeholders to better fund the Oregon State Police. We will also be looking for ways to help counties better serve all of their communities, especially rural ones. I also discussed the search and rescue recovery fees legislation I proposed to help alleviate the costs of these vital services.

In addition to these public safety-related bills, for the 2019 Session I have proposed bills that are focused on education, economic development, environmental stewardship, emergency preparedness/planning and rural health care and services.

Education

As a father with a young daughter in public elementary school, a son starting school next year, and multiple friends and family members who are or have been educators, I understand the importance of all students having access to a high-quality education. For the 2019 Session, I have proposed full funding of education/Measure 1 at the Quality Education Model-recommended funding level [www.oregon.gov/ode/reports-and-data/taskcomm/Documents/QEMReports/QEC%20Short%20Paper%20Final%205-22-18%20v2.pdf]. Also, to address the need for students to have access to mental health care services in school settings, I have also proposed assessing the ability of the state to create school-based mental health centers in every Oregon middle school.

Economic Development

As your State Representative serving on the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade, I believe we need to support, grow, and retain Oregon’s small businesses and the family-supporting wage jobs they provide. Beyond repealing Senate Bill (SB) 1528, I proposed a study to examine the benefits, including cost savings, of shifting to online reporting for all transactions related to liquor control for small businesses and from monthly to quarterly reporting.

Environmental Stewardship

As the son and grandson of farmers, having been a farmworker and being an avid fisher and archery hunter, I believe environmental stewardship is critical for ensuring our natural resources and wonders are around for generations to come. As I shared in August, I have proposed a study to the state purchasing privately held timberlands in the National Scenic Area to be repurposed for recreation and maintained for current and future generations. I am also looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues and stakeholders across the state on other environmental stewardship-related legislation.

Emergency Preparedness/Planning and Public Safety

I am a former Cascade Locks City Councilor, retired police sergeant, Air Force veteran and firm believer that emergency preparedness/planning and public safety are critically important to the success and sustainability of our community. In addition to submitting a bill to make the safety corridor that runs through the Hoodland Area permanent, the other legislation I proposed includes a bill to eliminate all statutory limitations on prosecuting felony sexual assault cases that have DNA evidence. Regarding school safety, I have submitted multiple bills to address various aspects of school safety including an examination of the cost and feasibility of implementing the Salem-Keizer Threat Assessment System in school districts across the state.

Rural Healthcare and Support Services

Across the district, there is a lack of health professionals and prevalence of federal designations as medically underserved areas, I have family and friends that struggle with having access to the care they need, and my wife is a health care provider, I understand the need for health care and other human services in our community. As such, I have proposed a study of the costs and feasibility of providing telemedicine/telehealth infrastructure in rural Oregon, and joint study by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and coordinated care organizations (CCO) on how to provide better access to healthcare services to small communities. Also, in response to the threatened closure of the Hood River County Veterans Services Office (VSO) I proposed a bill to allow Measure 96 (M96) funds to be directly added to small rural county budgets to keep VSOs fully operational.

I look forward to seeing you in the community and hearing from you soon.

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Ways to give thanks and share in your abundance by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2018

Despite our current-day visions of the first Thanksgiving, it may not have been as perfectly bounteous as we imagine. When they first alighted from the Mayflower, the Pilgrims were still eating from what was stored aboard ship. Each family had a ration of a peck of grain meal per week.

The first real Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, when only eleven houses lined the street and four of those buildings were for common use. Native Americans, most notably Squanto, helped the Pilgrims when their crops failed them. The Natives also taught them about local foods. Though 20 acres of corn had done well, the 6 or 7 acres of barley, peas and wheat had failed miserably. Nonetheless, the weekly allotment of maize was doubled for each household.

The time for a true harvest festival and giving of thanks was nearing. Men were sent out to gather in waterfowl, deer and shellfish. For three days the Pilgrims gorged themselves on these gathered delicacies as well as bread, leeks, salad herbs, cranberries and plums. History does not actually record the eating of turkeys as this first Thanksgiving, though many wild turkeys were in the fields and forests so it’s entirely possible that turkey was on the menu. There is no mention of pumpkin pie at that first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was a local and regional Northeast holiday until 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national holiday. This was during the Civil War and one wonders what tables were laden with during war time. But the gratitude for family, food and life must have been great, despite (or maybe because of) the war. At this time there were “new” traditions such as fruit pies and fruit wines!

Traditions evolve over time. Now there are few tables laden with dishes of conserves, currant jelly, pickled peaches or spiced crabapples. Though I still remember the spiced peaches on my aunt’s table. Yum. Fruits were often gathered from farms, fields and roadsides, home-processed and stored in fruit rooms. Whether underground barrels or above ground rooms with foot-thick walls, fruit cellars, or rooms, were necessary in the days before electricity.

The place I moved to last summer has a free-standing fruit room. It may be my favorite part of the new/old 1925 property. Though as of yet, none of my home-grown, home canned fruits are in there. Next year I intend to fill the room with succulent goodies for the table.

More about how to do this in the months to come.

Colonial America brought the country more affluence and estate farms such as Mt. Vernon and Monticello. The Atlantic sea held an abundance of food. Wild fruits and vegetables grew abundantly in American soil. Farms were the norm and they were the “supermarkets” of the time. Apples, peaches and pears dried on strings over open hearths; herbs, garlic and peppers hung from kitchen ceilings; hams and fowl in the smokehouse.

How far have we progressed? We still have hunger in America. Is this because we think that food comes from profit-seeking venues? Is it because our populations have grown tremendously? Have we forgotten the American values of frugality, resourcefulness, self-sustainability? Instead of giving people fish, give them fishing poles. And teach everyone to garden. Gardening gives people a true feeling of self-reliance. Most Americans discard almost half of the still edible food they buy. Literally throwing away money, to say nothing of the food.

Maybe it’s time to re-learn the old ways of canning, drying, using things up. There is an astounding amount of abundance in our country. It disturbs me greatly to see apples, nuts, pears and other foods lying on the ground, not being utilized to feed more hungry people. When I had rescued donkeys and llamas, I’d often ask neighbors and strangers for windfalls for my animals. No one ever turned me down. They were thrilled to have someone use the food.

People want to help one another. Some take their windfalls to food banks or other locations that collect them, sometimes even plant nurseries. Some donate money. Some invite people to Thanksgiving dinner who have nowhere else to go.

Whatever you do, may you be grateful for all you have. May you be able to share your abundance. And may you have a warm and cozy holiday. Be grateful. Always.

A Reason for Treason: a Big Payday by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/01/2018

“I’ve got a real deal for you, old sport,” Andy Campanaro offered as an opening gambit. “You let your Dolly what’s-her-name know that you’re working for yours truly. Then you feed her misinformation.”

“What makes you think I’d ever throw in with you? And I’m not an ‘old sport,’” Max Malone responded under hooded eyes.

“Money,” Andy said, opening his arms and shrugging as if it was the most obvious idea since wheels on suitcases.

“I’m already on retainer,” Max answered meekly.

“Ahh. That U.S. Attorney in Florida,” Andy said, barely masking a chuckle. “I’m sorry. That well just ran dry, old sport. Seems she suffered a vehicle rollover on Capitol Circle in Tallahassee. It cost both of you.”

Max thought: It’s a tough game to play when you’re not holding any cards. Plus, he’s capable of reaching all the way to Florida. And, my revenue stream just got cut off. So, there’s work to do.

“First of all, where’s Jemma Gayle?”

“It’s always about the skirts with you, Max. She’s just fine. You can go back to her little shack as soon as we work through some details.”

“OK. Fill me in.”

Andy drones on, like a worker bee in a field of dahlias, explaining how the U.S. sells billions of dollars of arms to allies, but only because the allies have enemies and they must have arms too, and the arms manufacturers are more than happy to supply those as well.

“It’s just business, Max,” followed by another shrug. “Think of it as the oil industry making billions while polluting the world so the scientists and environmentalists can have jobs and make a few bucks themselves. I’m more like an environmentalist.”

Andy laughs.

Max thought: Anyone this maniacal has the tragic flaw: arrogance. (A personality trait Max is familiar with). I can navigate this mine field.

“All you have to do is feed that annoying British babe some bad information. And, there’s this.” Andy pushes a bank book across the table. “Take a look, old sport.”

Max decides to let ‘old sport’ pass for now. He opens the book, sees an account with his name on it at a Grand Cayman bank, with as many zeroes on the left side of the decimal point as a scoreboard in the midst of a Sandy Koufax-Juan Marichal pitching duel.

“All it needs to be activated is for me to call the bank and release the funds,” Andy says through a Vincent Price smile.

“That’s damned convincing,” Max shoots back, emitting a low whistle, finally getting to play a card of his own. “But I have to make sure Jemma’s OK.”

“You can take off as soon as you sign up,” Andy says. “For that amount of money, I need insurance.”

Andy reaches into his briefcase and hands over another document. Max reads through it, slowly, ponderously, as if it really matters to him. Max looks up at Andy, grins conspiratorially.

“And what exactly will you do with this after I sign it?”

“Nothing, old sport. In fact, tear it up after you’ve done your job.”

Max pondered the situation: I’m admitting to treason, probably, by signing this. But surely there are safeguards I can take. Surely, I can solicit legal counsel if the need arises. And more than all of that, how much do I really care? I am looking at the eye of a needle.

And all I have to do is thread it.

After all, “I am Max Malone, private eye.”


Photo by Gary Randall.
Grizzly bears of the Kenai Peninsula by Gary Randall on 10/01/2018

Another drop in the bucket of things that I have to do in my life has been achieved - to intermingle with and photograph grizzly bears. Darlene and I have just returned from an amazing trip to Alaska that included a hike on a glacier, a boat ride into the Prince William Sound and a flight over the glaciated peaks of the Kenai Peninsula, but the highlight was mingling with grizzly bears in the wild.

We drove to a location that we had visited and were unsuccessful at on a previous trip to Alaska. We weren't all that confident but decided to give it a whirl. We did know that the river was full of salmon, so it would be possible. The bears come down to the rivers when the salmon are spawning for an easy, nutritious meal.

As we arrived at the trailhead a group of fishermen were walking out to their cars. They had been chased out of the fishing holes by a sow and her cubs. Darlene and I got excited. We grabbed our gear and headed down the trail toward the river. As I hiked down the trail my mind was on uber-alert with my bear spray quickly available. The last thing that I wanted was to surprise a momma and her babies. Darlene was singing a song to herself as she walked, hoping to alert a bear before we arrived if one was in our path.

We got down to the river just as the evening light was starting to fade. I had a 150-300mm zoom but was wishing that I had a 600mm with me. Primarily to be able to get a shot without walking right up to them and asking them to smile. As it turned out the 300mm worked well, but I didn't get any closeups. As we walked along the river we saw a group of people coming out that told of another bear further downstream.

Darlene and I walked with a bit more vigor due to the adrenaline in our veins, but when we arrived the bear had gone back into the woods. We decided to just walk up and down the path for a while until we became tired of that and had a seat to just sit and wait and watch.

We sat there chatting in a low whisper while we sat near the brush next to the river as to not alarm any potential bear who might want to come back for another salmon snack. I told Darlene that it was getting a little dim and that we'd now need to really push our ISO to get anything with an acceptable shutter speed. We discussed being hungry and that perhaps we should leave and find a meal before it got too late when as I looked over Darlene's shoulder toward the river, I saw the big sow grizzly lumbering out of the forest toward the river on the bank right across from us no more than 20-30 yards away. I said in a concerned and excited whisper, "Bear! Bear! Bear!" Darlene turned and showed her obvious excitement as we both started to photograph the bear as if we were hidden paparazzi! A moment or two passed and out came a cub, then another and then another. A momma and three cubs. We could hardly believe what we were seeing. I will never forget that moment; when she gracefully emerged from the forest. My first thought was, "this is not the zoo.”

We photographed her and the babies until they decided to retreat into the forest. Not long after we heard some commotion down river. All of a sudden, I heard the "huff, huff" from a bear. It sent a chill up my spine. A minute later a small group of tourists came walking toward me with a sense of urgency. They said that a male grizzly came out of the woods near them and chased them away. I grabbed my gear, and Darlene and we headed toward where I heard the commotion. My senses on alert I walked slowly as I scanned the trail ahead, the forest to the right and the river to our left.

As we approached we could see a bear in the river. Darlene and I found a safe spot to observe and proceeded to watch one of the most beautiful things that I've experienced in my life. In the river was a young bear, perhaps two years old, playing as if he had no care in the world. He walked around in the river picking up fish and tossing them around into the air, wading into deeper pools and just swimming around. He was a joy to watch and to photograph, but our light was fading fast. The cameras were having a hard time and I didn't want to hike out in the dark, so we grabbed our gear and headed back.

As we were walking out we could see silhouettes of bears in the river. We walked a little quicker and counted ten bears in all on this visit. It was as if they were all coming out of the forest at once. We hurried out while we still had light to show our way.

That night at our hotel we decided to dedicate the next day to getting some great bear photos. I reviewed my shots that night and came to the conclusion that I needed that 600mm. The shots were great, but not close enough as far as I'm concerned, and I'll be darned if I'm going to get closer! We decided to drive 150 miles one way to Anchorage to rent a lens. We returned with just enough time to get ready and head to the river.

We arrived with my rented 150-600 zoom lens and walked up and down the trail and spent that evening there with absolutely no success. As the light faded I lamented the fact that we had blown a whole day and the cost of the lens. Darlene suggested that we take our last day in Alaska and come back one more time.

The next day was beautiful. We spent a great day in the Alaska scenery, but I was anxious to return to the bears that evening.

We noted that the time that the sow and her cubs came out of the woods was approximately 7:30 p.m. We made sure that we were there early and staked out a spot to sit near where she had been the night that we saw her previously. Sure to form, at approximately 7:30 p.m. down from the forest she came – her and her cubs.

The rest is history. This family came down and ate for a while, retreated back into the woods for a while and then returned for an encore. Ensuring that I got my amazing bear photos. I was beyond excited. We were so excited when we got back to the car that we felt like kids after a carnival. I scrolled down through the photos, checked focus, etc. and then drove back to the hotel fulfilled and in disbelief that the photos on my card were mine.

MHGS: the cost of paper vs plastic bags by Mary Soots on 10/01/2018

Last month, the City Council of Sandy held a discussion on whether to ban single-use plastic bags in the city. This would be in keeping with a growing number of cities that have implemented similar bans. Each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, consumers in the U.S. use hundreds of billions of plastic bags. Plastic bags end up in trees, the street, the ocean, endangering wildlife and the environment. According to the non-profit Biological Diversity, around 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually and one in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs because they confuse the clear plastic bags for jellyfish.

The truth is that plastic bags are by far the least costly (i.e., carry the smallest ecological footprint) to produce over paper or cotton bags. According to a study done in the U.K., a paper bag must be used three times to offset the environmental impact of production. In part, that is because it takes four times as much water to produce the paper bag by the time you factor in the tree. If you use a cotton bag, it must be used 131 times to offset the environmental cost of production. What about those cute shopping bags they sell at grocery stores? They’re made of nonwoven polypropylene (PP) and according to the same study, must be used 11 times to break even environmentally.

The standard grocery store plastic bag is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Plastic is made from petroleum. The problem with that is that there is not an endless supply of petroleum and it gets more and more destructive to the environment to extract as we are running out of it.

Cost of production aside, we can re-use plastic bags as trash liners or dog poop collectors, but eventually they still end up in the landfill. Plastic bags have the highest after-use cost to the environment. Unlike paper or cotton (or hemp), they will never biodegrade. The cost of disposal is high as well. The EPA notes that some urban communities spend over $1 million annually to remove litter. In 2011, Americans produced around 250 million tons of waste, 32 million tons of that solid waste was plastic. That’s 4.4 pounds of waste per person per day!

Of course, plastic bags can be recycled. Plastic cannot be recycled curbside, which makes it especially challenging for communities such as ours. Seven years ago, the Mt. Hood Green Scene helped the Hoodland Thriftway pioneer a collection site for plastic bags. Since then, each week our community fills two to four large bags with plastic shopping bags, weighing five to seven pounds each. Not all bags are recyclable. Only clean bags that are not crinkly, and no mylar bags. Only produce bags or standard shopping bags can be recycled. Still, in spite of our best efforts, only three to eight percent of bags are recycled in the U.S.

What’s the solution? In 1993, Denmark was the first country to introduce a tax on plastic bags. A bag costs about 50 cents, with the greater part going to taxes and the rest to the store. The result is that the higher cost of the bags has cut the amount of use by more than 40 percent over the last 25 years. In the U.S., in 2014, California was the first state to enact legislation to ban single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. Since then, municipalities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and others have banned plastic bags. Yet others have imposed fees.

Retailers are getting the message. Some stores simply don’t provide bags at all. Both Natural Grocers and Costco avoid either type of bag, opting instead to package things in merchandise boxes. According to Costco’s website, “We sell our goods directly out of the boxes they are shipped in, then reuse those same recyclable boxes at the register by offering them to our members in lieu of shopping bags.” Kroger, owners of Fred Meyer, plans to eliminate plastic bags by 2025. “The plastic shopping bag’s days are numbered,” Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen wrote in an editorial published by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The city of Sandy might be at the vanguard of the new reality or it can maintain the status quo. For better or worse, change is on the horizon.

There are no easy answers to the dilemma of paper or plastic. The best solution is to use the bags we already have — over and over and over again. Avoid purchasing new shopping bags. Instead, look for pre-owned bags at resale shops. Just don’t forget them in the car when you get to the store as I’m prone to do. You’ll end up with your purse and your arms full!

Episode XXVI: Campanaro Again and a Fling with Mr. Fong by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2018

It’s an unexplainable phenomenon how the mind, when in crisis, can stop time and focus on multiple events simultaneously.

The combat soldier experiences it during battle. The Apollo 13 astronauts felt it in their time of crisis. Richard Burton dealt with it when facing Elizabeth Taylor.

So it was with Max Malone in that fleeting moment in Jemma’s bed when the Jamaican nurse slipped into the room, followed by two uninvited shadows from nowhere, followed by the muffled protests of Jemma being gagged, then the sudden gun barrel to the temple as Max reached for his borrowed revolver on the nightstand.

All of this, in an instant.

An arm reached onto the nightstand, the other still pressing the gun to Max’s head, and the lamp switched on. Max turned to the intruder who allowed himself to be seen, relaxing his gun sufficiently to let it drift between Max’s eyes. The man pressed his forefinger to his lips for quiet. Max complied. Mysteriously, Jemma quit struggling.

Max sat up in bed, the gun not having changed its aim, and saw Jemma unconscious with a cloth over her face. Max couldn’t focus on her assailant, so he turned back to the more immediate problem.

His attacker was a huge Asian with a Fu Manchu, imperious eyes, and came draped in a black raincoat that glistened in the dimly lit room. He could have been the antagonist on the Orient Express.

Max looked again to Jemma.

“She will be fine in about one hour, Mister Malone,” the Asian said in an exacting, accented tone. “Now, you will be pleased to dress yourself.”

“Why should I?”

“Because I have the gun.”

Not even Max could protest against such Confucian logic.

*   *   *

The light danced off every surface of what must have been the living room at Andy Campanaro’s mansion, but by simple square footage could as easily been a high school gymnasium. It was simultaneously sumptuous and spare. Modern art adorned the walls, but not overdone as much breathing room existed between each piece. The sofa that Max was sitting on was bottom friendly but uncomfortable in the obvious way of furniture too expensive to be functional. Fluted faux-Doric columns separated the room from the view of the cliffs and the seashore.

And Andy Campanaro slouched in a couch-matching easy chair seemingly searching for a weakness in Max that would allow the gaze from his menacing, steel-blue eyes to penetrate.

“I hope Mr. Fong was not indelicate,” Andy said, smiling broadly, his eyebrows raised in a too-large friendly gesture, yet all of it betrayed by the unscrupulous eyes.

“He made his point,” Max said flatly, then “at the end of a gun.”

“Hah,” Andy exclaimed. “That’s funny, old sport.”

“I’m not an old sport, pal.”

“No,” Andy’s smile and raised eyebrows disappeared, as if dropped down a well. “You’re a two-bit private eye who gets himself lured into shark-infested waters for a U.S. attorney’s pay check and some sort of hillbilly idea of revenge. That’s who you are.” Then the smile reappears as if on cue from an off-screen director. He raises his hand as if brushing away a fly.

“But you hired me as well, remember?” Max answered.

The raised hand again. “Max, please. Wildewood was a ruse. The fix was in. You were nothing more than a bit player.”

“And Anna Belle?”

“Ahh, yes. Lovely Anna Belle Wilde. She was in on the caper from the beginning. Great job by the way, especially for a backwoods babe. She got everything she wanted. The property. The insurance money.” Andy shrugs like an umpire walking away from a confrontation with an impotent manager.

“You killed your own twin brother.”

“He’s been dead for years. Up here,” Andy points at his head.

“You tried to kill me too, pal,” Max leans forward.

“Ahh, Max, old sport. I don’t try to kill people. Look,” Andy leans forward as well and folds his hands together, signaling lecture time. “You blow into a foreign place you know nothing about, on the dime from a U.S. Attorney. The Cayman cops don’t protect much, in fact aren’t capable of protecting much – witness they even messed up putting you out of commission – but they are able to focus on the status quo and what makes them comfortable. You and the U.S. made them uncomfortable.” Andy shrugs and brings on the smile again. “It’s that simple.”

“So what am I doing here, hot shot?” Max gazes around the room.

“I can use you,” Andy says promisingly. “You have an in with British intelligence. That makes you interesting to me. Far above your P-eye grade.”

Max senses an opportunity. After all, perhaps a fish out of water, but he is still Max Malone, private eye.

Why a ‘Revocable Trust?’ by Paula Walker on 10/01/2018

When we talk about a Trust as opposed to a Will as your basic estate plan document, we are in general referring to a Revocable Living Trust. A ‘brain-ful’ to remember and a mouthful to repeat. But why the term “revocable” and what about the term “living?” And are all trusts “revocable?”

First off what is a Trust? It is a legal entity you set up to manage your assets and possessions, such as investment accounts, real estate, qualified tax accounts, cars, art, jewelry etc. You place your assets inside the Trust to manage them during your life and to provide the means to manage them and/or their distribution upon your death. There are two types of “living trusts,” i.e. trusts made effective during your lifetime. They are ‘revocable’ and ‘irrevocable.’

A Revocable Living Trust provides you the means to change the terms of the trust, retain control of your assets or cancel the trust altogether, i.e. ‘revoke’ it. Powers over the trust include adding and removing assets, naming beneficiaries, changing/adding/removing beneficiaries, changing what and how much is distributed to each beneficiary and dictating how distributions occur and when. This is in contrast to an Irrevocable Trust, also a ‘living’ trust that is by contrast cast in stone. Except for rare circumstances, the terms of an irrevocable trust are set upon signing the agreement. Once signed the Irrevocable Trust may not be changed, altered, modified or revoked after its creation.

More to come in subsequent articles on types of trusts and how they might work together or independently to meet your estate planning goal(s).

Stories of the Stars… If Only

As we lived vicariously through the lyrics of the 1985 hit “Freeway of Love” — “We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac” — watching the procession of more than 100 pink Cadillacs, escorting the hearse carrying the golden casket, in honor of the Queen of Soul who brought us that picturesque expression of life at its freest, the media had been quick in making us all aware that Aretha Franklin, who passed away Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer, died without a will. Documents supporting those reports were filed by Aretha’s sons in a Michigan probate court, declaring themselves as “interested parties,” checking the box on the form declaring that the Queen died intestate – i.e. no will, no estate plan and no revocable trust in effect at her death. As the procession of pink Cadillacs that lined the streets of Detroit made an indelible tribute to this Diva of Soul we are left to ponder whether she becomes another in the league of celebrities and famous persons who make indelible impressions in the world of estate planning providing “lessons to learn from” … if only …

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Creamy Rueben Soup by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2018

Rueben, I love you. Let’s make you into a soup:

2 slices rye bread, cubed

1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thin

1/2 cup each yellow onion, celery, carrots chopped

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 peeled and diced large Yukon gold potatoes

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup gruyere cheese (or another Swiss) shredded

1 T corn starch

1 cup sliced pastrami

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

2 T olive oil

2 t salt and pepper

1 t Italian seasoning

1 cup white wine

1 t paprika

Make the croutons: in a bowl toss bread cubes with 1 t salt and pepper and 1 T olive oil. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 for 15 mins or until crusty

In a large pot combine all vegetables, salt, pastrami, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika and olive oil. Cook on medium heat until tender. Add in wine, cook one minute. Add in stock and bring to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes. Add in cheese tossed with corn starch and stir until thickened, then add in cream.

Ladle in bowls and top with croutons.

Bills and the ‘4 Es’ for the 2019 legislative session by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 10/01/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers.

As your State Representative, I have the great honor of representing this community in Salem and working towards solutions for issues we face locally that will make our neighborhoods, communities, district and state stronger. I want to thank you all for taking the time to email, call and share face-to-face your questions, challenges and appreciation. The most common topics discussed in the last month were: Highway 26 traffic and safety, school funding and public safety needs. I have submitted bill proposals and begun conversations with state and county level administrators to address these issues. I look forward to continuing these conversations and working with state, county and local leaders to find sustainable solutions.

Highway 26 safety: I shared in last month’s article that I submitted a legislative concept/bill proposal to make the Highway 26 safety corridor permanent. This bill proposal was in direct response to community members, leaders and community-serving organizations and businesses sharing their concerns about the safety corridor expiring. I spoke with Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett to share the community’s concerns during my meeting with him during the 2018 Session, developed the bill proposal and have since met multiple times with Dir. Garrett to discuss how else the traffic safety needs in the Hoodland area can be addressed and in other communities across the district as well.

School funding: School funding concerns are statewide. Measure 1 and the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act of 2016 (Measure 98) have yet to be fully funded. Oregon ranks 47th in high school graduation rates (https://eddataexpress.ed.gov/data-element-explorer.cfm/tab/data/deid/6100/sort/iup/). As such, in addition to submitting a bill proposal to fully fund Measure 98, I submitted a bill to identify the impact of not fully funding Measure 98 or Measure 1. I believe that the legislature and public need to know the adverse impacts that such inaction has on our students, educators, staff and the education system.

Public safety: Public safety funding concerns exist across the district and state. County budgets are in deficits, public safety funding and personnel are being cut, and communities are grappling with how to address this and some have even attempted to defund county veteran services offices (VSO; http://www.hoodrivernews.com/news/2018/sep/19/county-sustains-veterans-office-funding/). With most residents sharing concerns about the public safety needs along Highway 26, I have begun conversations with Oregon State Police (OSP) leadership on the personnel and funding needed to have additional patrols in the area.

As I shared in my September Mountain Times article, for the 2019 Session, I am proposing bills that focus on education, economic development, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness/planning. Again, these 4Es intersect and directly and indirectly impact the well-being, quality of life and outcomes of the children, families, friends, neighbors and communities across our district and the state. To learn more about the bills I have proposed thus far or share your opinion on current or pending legislation, please contact me directly via email at Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov, my personal cellphone at 541-392-4546 or find me on Facebook and message me @RepJeffHelfrich. I look forward to speaking with you and more state, county and local leaders and community members on how we can work together to address these and other issues. Thank you.

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Witches aren’t just for Halloween – you can be one, too by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2018

Let it be known that Halloween is supposed to be a silly, light-hearted holiday. While not a fan of the gruesome and terrifying, a little thrill of witches and bats can be kind of fun. And Halloween requires no presents, decorating is optional and no particular family tensions. You really can’t beat that for all time fun.

So, do you want to be a witch? I’ll tell you how. Start by getting minimal sleep. Four or five hours is not enough. Before electricity people slept ten to twelve hours a night. Many parts of the world still do. While that may not be possible for you (a new baby, too many lights, electronic distractions), you should at least try for seven or eight hours of sleep every night. Anything less will probably leave you feeling “witchy” and unfocused. Perhaps this is part of the reason so many are seeking an off-the-grid lifestyle?

Of course, you can aim for focusing by consuming numerous cups of coffee or energy drinks. These may leave you feeling even more unfocused and with tremors, but you can always tell yourself you are aiming to be a witch! Add to this a breakfast of anything from cold cereal to a donut (both fairly expensive and nutritionally worthless) or, if your aim is “witchiness,” have nothing at all. Fairly guaranteed to make you a witch.

There’s always the carb overload if you really want to be a witch. Pasta for dinner with too much wine will only put on the pounds, especially belly fat. This will make sleep difficult as well as will less-than-perfect digestion. Most wine has high levels of nitrates. Nitrate (also in processed lunch meats and most bacon) has a strong link to breast cancer. But hey, you are half-way to becoming a witch, so you knew that, right?

Sometimes witches are controlled by societal input. You can be one too. You can be one who feels progress is always “better.” Certainly medical advances have saved lives, but do we really “need” Twitter? I’d personally rather not know what our President tweets to anyone. But I do like the natural sounds of bird tweets every day.

Are we lost in the soulless language of technology? Sure, it’s a fun and almost immediate way to keep in touch with those who matter to you, but do you really need hundreds of “admirers.” And who wants dozens of sales calls, phone threats or any life interruption for that matter! Shouldn’t our lives be more fact-to-face? Man-made things can be good. Things made by God or nature are even better.

We live in the “more is better” time when there is constant clamoring from someone, somewhere for our dollars. To maintain a certain standard of living means to buy more things. Does this not actually lead to more stress - more to clean, more to store, more to insure, more debt for some people? Maybe everyone doesn’t have to have a smartphone, a microwave, a Cuisinart, a computer. But witches live by outside influences and may feel the need to be part of the status quo.

Working a lot of hours at a stressful job will make you spend more money - on clothing, childcare, even eating out because you have no time to cook, though you may own every electric kitchen device available! Does the trend of having your groceries delivered help the environment? Shouldn’t this be reserved for those who are shut-ins or injured or somehow incapacitated. Helping your neighbors is a fading concern. And think, growing even some of your food would be soul-fulfilling.

If you already are, or want to be a witch, having one of those stressful jobs is likely to cause you to reach the stress requirement of witchiness. Many countries encourage vacations of several weeks in order to renew your connection to nature, soul and self. But most North Americans don’t take vacations, much less days off when they are sick. Think about it, which (witch?) would you rather be?

Traits such as frugality, honesty, thrift and transparency are lost to s society that values money above all else. So, you decide, do you really want to be a witch? Or could you be one who simply makes a costume or dons a witch hat and plays at Halloween fun? Maybe you could be a “good witch!”


Perseid Meteor Shower
The View Finder: Perseid Meteor Shower by Gary Randall on 09/01/2018

Each year come August I start to look forward to the Perseid Meteor Shower. The Perseids are an annual event that comes each year as the Earth passes through the orbital path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris from the comet’s path causes little pieces of the comet to fall through the Earth’s atmosphere at over 100,000 miles per hour, creating an amazing amount of falling stars, sometimes up to 200 per hour. The Perseid Meteor Shower of 2018 was helped by its occur-rence during the dark skies of a New Moon.

Another occasion that’s becoming an annual August event is my Dead Ox Ranch Photographer’s Campout. Last year we dedicated the event to capturing photos of the Solar Eclipse. This year we were there to capture photos of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

The Dead Ox Ranch isn’t as morbid of a place as it sounds. The name was given to the ranch by the chance occurrence of there being a dead cow on the property when it changed hands in a sale in its past. The ranch is more than 100 years old and is located east of Baker City near Vir-tue Flats and ruts from the old Oregon Trail. It’s just an hour drive from Hell’s Canyon and the Wallowa Mountains. It’s also the location for some of the darkest skies in the state.

Disregarding all of the above, the ranch itself is like going back in time to an era of outdoor group socials, picnics and sitting around in the yard in the summertime heat visiting and talking to friends and family with an ice-cold beverage. Once everyone arrives and we are all set up in our camps we mix and mingle and discuss our common purpose for being there, photography.

The only chance that we take is being there in the summer during the peak wildfire season, and this year has been a bad one. The state was covered with smoke from fires originating not only in Oregon, but from fires in both California and British Columbia. It’s been terrible indeed, but we somehow lucked out with clear skies and only traces of smoke that came and went for the whole three-day event. If we would have had smoky skies, we would have somehow made the best of it anyway but that wasn’t the case.

Our mission for the workshop was to create what is called a composite image; one that is made from several photos to create one single image. Our goal was to make an image that included a group of meteors gathered over a three-hour period.

To do that we wanted to create the photo using a base layer taken at twilight so we can have focus and definition and yet still have dim and cool light like night time. Then a photo of the sky later at night when the Milky Way was fill-ing the sky.

After that we set up our cameras to take 30 second exposures one after the other for three hours to gather photos of as many meteors as possible. Once we gathered all these photos we then went into our digital darkroom to blend them all together.

To composite the photos, we made our basic adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and then opened all of the files into Adobe Photoshop as layers. Once we had them in Photoshop it was a matter of creating masks and selecting a blend mode to allow each layer to show through in its place and order.

After some final adjustments the whole stack of layers was merged together into a single image. Although this is a general description, I felt compelled to explain the process to those who aren’t aware of how these images are made. In today’s world of digital photography certain lines can be blurred between art and photography.

The whole group of photographers had a great time. I’m convinced that when we were out playing at sunset and into the dark we reverted to kids again.

And when we gathered to process our photos, we were all amazed at the results. I included the image that I created as an example of the composite image that the class came to create for themselves.

Even if you don’t create a complex composite image in Photoshop, a beautiful single image of a meteor is reward enough for a night under the stars.

Keep this in mind next August when the stars start falling during the Perseid Meteor Shower. Perhaps you can join us at the Dead Ox Ranch for a workshop.

A fond farewell, even to those who sent fruitcake by on 09/01/2018

They say all good things must come to an end.

Pompeii.

The “Die Hard” films.

Gluten.

And after today, this humor column.

For 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of more than 30 community newspapers around the country, sharing a laugh or two (sometimes three, if I was really on my game) with folks each week, from Boca Raton, Fla., to Watsonville, Calif., and Tempe., Ariz., to Marietta, Ga.

I’ve learned a few things from the last two decades of being a part of your communities, particularly about all the things that bring us together rather than divide us. For example, our shared belief that Kenny Rogers is one plastic surgery away from becoming a truly frightening Halloween mask. Or not understanding how we have become more afraid of gluten than … well, Kenny Rogers. Or that apes taking over the world will eventually happen because, without opposable thumbs, they can’t become addicted to iPhones. And that our government should have a Secretary of Bacon.

OK, maybe that’s just me.

But the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that humor is a language everyone understands and, in most cases, can agree on. In today’s world, it’s easy to forget the many common, everyday experiences that, while making us uniquely human, are things we all share in our daily lives that unite us. Over the past 20 years I’ve experienced divorce, re-marriage, the challenges of being a father to four teenagers, successes and failures in my personal life as well as my professional life — all things that aren’t particularly unique to me but that I tried to view and share through the lens of humor. And not counting my teenagers, the rest of us had a good laugh together as we shared in the common experiences of being human.

As this chapter of my writing career comes to an end, I am moving on to the editorship of two small community newspapers — in a sense coming full circle back to my journalism roots. Coincidentally, just as marijuana has become legal here in Oregon.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for allowing me the privilege of, in a small way, being a part of your communities for so many years. Your letters and emails have meant a lot, and I will always appreciate your taking the time to write them. Even when they arrived inside of — or wrapped around — loaves of fruitcake.

Thank you again, and if you’re ever in Florence, Ore., please stop in. I still have fruitcake.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Health & Wealth Part 3 by Paula Walker on 09/01/2018

Part 3 in the series addressing aspects of the Durable Power of Attorney, an essential element of a comprehensive estate plan, answers a few questions commonly asked about this legal instrument: Why the term “Durable?” What is the difference between a “Power of Attorney” and a “Durable Power of Attorney?” When do the Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOA) become effective? When do the Durable Powers of Attorney end?

Why the term “Durable?” The use of this term is specifically directed to the viability of the power during a time of incapacity. That the powers granted are durable means that they remain in effect during and despite a time of incapacity for the principal, i.e. the person who created the Durable Power of Attorney document, assigning another person (the “Agent”) to act on their behalf when needed.

What is the difference between a “Power of Attorney” and a “Durable Power of Attorney?” You can establish a Power of Attorney for limited purposes of limited duration, as well as establishing a power of attorney that is durable. You may anticipate circumstances, such as travelling abroad, or surgery and recovery, which will prevent you from directly managing your financial affairs for a limited time. In such circumstances you may designate a person, granting them authority to act as your agent for a limited duration. The power concludes at a specified time, however long you set, or at your incapacity if such a condition occurs before the specified end time. A durable power of attorney remains in effect until you revoke it or at your death.

When does the Durable Power of Attorney become effective? This depends on the choices you make in creating your Durable Power of Attorney. You can designate that it is effective immediately upon your signing the document or alternatively that it “springs” into effect when you are determined to be incapacitated.

When does the Durable Power of Attorney end? That is in part up to you. As mentioned, your Durable Power of Attorney ends when you die, but it also ends if and when you revoke it. In addition, there is the potential for effectiveness to come and go. If you have set the power to “spring” into effect upon your incapacity, it becomes ineffective again when you are determined returned to capacity, as though becoming dormant, waiting in the wings should there be another time of incapacity in which it will be needed.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Gene Wilder, known for iconic comic performances in “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” died of Alzheimer’s in 2016. His is not a story of “if only” but an example for others learn from who face such a prognosis of debilitation. From accounts of the family’s decisions of how and when to publicize the news of Wilder’s illness we can infer that his family was involved early on in understanding and planning for the eventual course of this illness. With Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, time is of the essence. Early action can allow a person to review or create an estate plan, or components of an estate plan like the Durable Power of Attorney while that person can still make legally valid decisions. This course can reduce the potential for a family fight and possible court contests over inheritance as well as ensure that the person and their family have confronted the issues and set in place what is needed for care giving as the disease advances. In these days when there is seemingly much to worry about, it’s a loss when someone who had such an ability to make us laugh is no longer here. The gentle-humored Wilder, who dedicated his life to making us smile, left us with a legacy for another source of happiness — a model for peace and harmony in how he faced his last act.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Hwy. 26 safety one of the high priorities for Mountain community by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 09/01/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers.

For those of you who are new to my column, my name is Rep. Jeff Helfrich and I am the State Representative for House District 52 in the Oregon Legislative Assembly/Oregon Legislature, which includes North Clackamas County, the entirety of Hood River County, and parts of east Multnomah County. I was appointed in late 2017 and have been honorably serving our beautiful district ever since. I am a member of the House Economic Development and Trade committee as well as the Joint (House & Senate) Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee.

I have been a public servant for over 30 years, beginning with my service in the U.S. Air Force. I firmly believe that the best legislation is developed in collaboration and through communication with the community, and it is responsive to the challenges and needs of the communities within the district, because a better district truly makes a better Oregon.

For the 2018 Regular Session, my bipartisan and bicameral work included proposing and passing the maximally allowed two bills: House Bill (HB) 4152, an Eagle Creek Fire Recovery-related bill; and HB 4044, an education bill identifying the most effective programs in Oregon for recruiting, retaining, mentoring and providing professional development to educators working with our most vulnerable students.

As I shared in my August Mountain Times article, for the 2019 Session, I am proposing bills that focus on education, economic development, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness/planning. These 4Es intersect and have both direct and indirect impacts on the well-being and outcomes of our families, community, district and State.

To learn more about some of the bills I have proposed thus far or make suggestions for legislation in time for the Sept. 28 bill proposal/Pre-2019 Session Filing deadline, please contact me directly via email at Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov, my personal cellphone at 541-392-4546, or find me on Facebook and message me @RepJeffHelfrich.

In previous articles, I have mentioned the public safety concerns Hoodland Area community members, leaders, and organizations have shared with me or that I have heard from attending community meetings. Last month, I shared that I had submitted a bill proposal for the 2019 Session that would make the safety corridor in the Hoodland Area along Hwy. 26 permanent.

In late August, I met with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Matt Garrett to discuss the Hwy. 26 safety corridor, how the safety corridor can be improved and enforcement. My biggest takeaways from the meeting with Director Garrett was how approachable he is, that he truly wants to work with community stakeholders to address the Hwy. 26 safety issues affecting the Hoodland Area, and understands that the Hoodland Area’s portion of Hwy. 26 is unique and expectedly faces unique challenges requiring input from and collaboration with this community. I look forward to meeting with ODOT Director Garrett again in the coming months to discuss plans for a Transportation Forum with Sen. Thomsen,  Hoodland Area community and organization members and leaders, Clackamas County government and agency leadership, and other area stakeholders.

In addition, I hosted a community conversation event in late August. Thank you to those who attended, it was great to meet everyone there and discuss the issues that are facing the Hoodland Area. As expected, Hwy. 26 and public safety were two of the major topics, but so too were affordable housing, school funding and PERS reform among many others. I look forward to working with you and many others in our community to address these concerns and others you bring forth.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon,

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

MHGS: protecting our drinking water by Mary Soots on 09/01/2018

We live in what is called a temperate rainforest. While there are many temperate forests around the world, ours is one of a handful of unique sites characterized by temperate temperatures and heavy rainfall. England, New Zealand, Chile and a few others are found around the world in oceanic regions.

While we may think that sometimes the amount of rainfall we receive is more than abundant — especially in the midst of the long winters — we also have other climate regions in our state. The southeastern portion is largely desert. And so, it may seem that our state, especially in the beautiful cascade-laden broadleaf forest where we live, will never run out of water, we only need to look around us to see that we are experiencing water shortages.

For decades those shortages have only seemed to affect the southern Oregon region around Klamath County where there has been the annual conflict around the distribution of water between ranchers and farmers and environmentalists trying to keep enough water in the rivers for fish and wildlife. But other things affect our water supply as well. In central Oregon, the burgeoning population in an area that does not have enough water to support a large population will create larger problems over time.

Incredible as it seems, at the time of this writing, 80 percent of our state is experiencing drought. We currently have eight major wildfires burning throughout the state. At the same time, we have been in a period of insufficient snowfall for the past several years. That means that each summer, we experience shortages of water due to a lack of snowpack melting into the rivers. The result is that the rivers run low, the trees do not get enough water, smaller streams begin to dry up and eventually there will be a change in our ecosystem. That in turn affects our economy – the Christmas tree industry, for example, suffers from lack of healthy trees. Also, the drought brings invasive pests such as beetles that prey on unhealthy trees.

Did you know that at this time, 40 percent of the rivers around the world no longer have sufficient water in them to reach the ocean? Water is diverted from the rivers for the purposes of agriculture and ranching, for manufacturing, since everything we produce requires water. Most recently, an emerging problem is the use of water for fracking. The fossil fuel industry invests heavily in trying to convince us that gas extracted from shale is not harmful. According to Food and Water Watch, “The fracking industry itself consumes space and water on a large scale. Through the construction of a network of thousands of wells, it has a significant impact on the development of the targeted regions and inevitably affects areas where either settlements or environmentally and culturally sensitive zones can be found.”

What’s more, once they have used the water, it becomes contaminated with toxins. Fracking waste includes rock and drilling lubricant left over from the process of drilling a well, as well as wastewater and sand from the fracking and production processes. This toxic cocktail is reinserted into the earth. Sadly, state laws exempt those companies from having to make reparations for the contamination.

There are things we can do to protect our environment and our drinking water. We can plant native trees so that they are more likely to survive droughts. We can take shorter showers, we can conserve water whenever possible (don’t leave the sink running while we brush our teeth, etc.) and we can raise awareness in others. Having a healthy ecosystem with enough water is good for wildlife, good for the prevention of wildfires that threaten our own health, but it will also decrease the risk of conflict over water, just as those conflicts that are currently raging across the world as our most important natural resource becomes more and more scarce.

A Taste of Paradise by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2018

I’m currently eating my way through Miami and the Florida Keys.

This is a place to taste history from the flavors of key lime pie to the flavors of Cuba, and I’ve got the recipes for you.

Cuban roast pork

4 to 5-pound pork roast shoulder

2 cups orange, lime or lemon juice

bay leaf

2 t dried oregano

2 t cumin powder

2 T salt

1/2 t black pepper

10 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

1/2 cup mojo sauce

2 large onions sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

Make a dry rub with the pepper, salt, cumin and oregano, then poke holes all over roast and rub in spices. Heat oil in large pot and brown pork all around, then set on plate, turn heat to med high and add onion and garlic to pot. Cook 3-4 minutes, then add bay leaf, mojo and juice to pan.

Add in pork roast, cover and cook over medium-low heat at least one hour until meat pulls apart easily with fork.

Key lime pie with coconut crust

Crust:

3 T melted butter

1/2 t salt

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix together and press into pie pan, bake at 350 degrees 15 mins set aside to cool.

Filling:

1 cup key lime juice

Zest of one line

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Whisk together filling ingredients until smooth and pour over cooked crust.

Topping:

1 cup whipping cream

2 T powdered sugar

Whip together with an electric mixer, then spread or pipe over filling.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


Episode XXV A Mansion and Marley by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/01/2018

Dolly Teagarden’s idea of hanging out with Max would make him more of an asset than a target for Beau Kimatian-turned-Andy Campanaro remained an unresolved strategy even though the pair made certain they were seen everywhere around the glitziest hangouts of Grand Cayman – boosted by Dolly’s seemingly inexhaustible MI6 expense account and the island’s equal supply of ritzy restaurants and natty nightclubs.

Max played the game but maintained his private-eye notions. Dolly had her eye on the ultimate prize of bringing down Campanaro at the point-of-sale for the arms and military hardware at some far-off unpronounceable desert rendezvous, while Max, being reminded constantly by the tug of pain from his gunshot wound, remained motivated by his burning desire for revenge against the man who defiled a seemingly innocent woman in Wildewood, held Max’s hometown hostage all the while, then had the hubris to have a slug delivered to Max’s midsection.

This Campanaro chap had a date with destiny.

* * *

Max sat in what should have been the driver’s seat of a rental car being driven by Dolly from the passenger’s seat, only she had the brakes, clutch pedal, accelerator, stick shift and steering wheel, while Max had a distant dashboard and homeless glove compartment.

Max thought: How did Sterling Moss ever learn to drive a Formula I race car?

The hair-raising ride was amplified by the fact that Dolly spent precious little time paying attention to the road, road signs, or speed limits, keeping up a running commentary on the politics of England vs. Cayman, all of which totally escaped Max as he was riveted on the palm trees flying by like a picket fence, monuments to his impending doom, on their way to a yet undeclared destination.

Dolly wheeled around a corner and jerked the car over a culvert and guided her missile off-road through and around banyan trees, up a mossy hill with hidden rocks each of which Dolly managed to find, before they bounced to a stop with a breathtaking view of the sea and a white mansion atop the next hill over, followed by a precipitous drop onto a rocky shore below.

“Whattya think?” Dolly asked breathlessly as she killed the engine.

“Nice view,” Max offered, gathering what was left of his wits.

“That’s his,” she said.

Max gazed at Campanaro’s digs, gleaming white atop the grassy hill, the sea in stark blue contrast as backdrop over the orange-tiled roof, sculpted hedges, manicured lawns, three distinct floors, each one slightly smaller than the one beneath giving off the simultaneous sympathies of sumptuousness as well as a fortress to foil any foe. Guards with automatic weapons slung over their shoulders were a finishing touch, two on the grounds, one by the pool, and two more on the catwalk clinging to the third floor, their gazes unwaveringly fixed on the immediate grounds.

Two dark-complexioned women dangled their feet in the pool – Caymans? Jamaicans? – while two goons parked their suffocatingly ample bodies on lounge chairs providing a convenient view of the diffident women.

Despite the temptation, Max paid more attention to the fortress aspect. Surely there are floodlights. Surely there are 24-hour guards. And surely, somewhere behind one of those windows, sleeps this Campanaro.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Dolly said, interrupting Max’s reconnaissance. “Stealth will not get you in there, Max. But we’ve been seen by Campanaro’s people. They’ve reported to him. He knows MI6 is here. He wants to enlist you.”

Max squinted in Dolly’s general direction. “How do you know?”

“Believe me.”

To Max’s way of thinking, a female British agent, who not that long ago, had spent days cozying up to a band of European terrorists while Max was cuffed to a radiator, had no collateral in the “believe me” bank.

However, that resort on the hill looked impregnable.

* * *

Max was spread out on the cot gazing up at the clapboard ceiling, hearing the rummy voice of Jemma’s Rastafarian neighbor making his way through another island tune, accompanied by the spiritual drumming of a sidekick, taking the rhythms into a reggae bent that made shades of Bob Marley dance in Max’s head.

Like a shadow on the wall, Jemma was there.

“You still here Mister Stubborn Americano?”

He certainly was.

After all …

Then, two more shadows washed the room. Max went for the borrowed revolver on the nightstand. Too late.

The three D’s: downsizing, destressing and de-teching life by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2018

Several years ago, I wrote a column of this same title. And I began the process of doing so. Changes can come fast, or they can take years. Life changes in an instant with a job loss, a move, health challenges, divorce or death. These kinds of changes are unexpected and there is little we can do to prepare for them.

Other kinds of changes take months or years, depending on circumstances. I began downsizing five years ago. I started by getting as much plastic as possible out of my house. Then books were donated to the library, the local Montessori school and my friend’s rural “library box” alongside her driveway. Bags and bags of recently unworn clothing went to local churches. Household goods went to Salvation Army and local Senior Centers. This made a considerable dent in “stuff” but not so much.

That reminds me of one of my favorite new sayings, “everything matters, but not that much.” Similar to, “don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff,” but easier to say and usually gets a laugh as people think about it. Ultimately, we are not the ones “in charge.” The Big Guy (or Gal) upstairs is in charge, not us. Just realizing that we’re not really in charge of everything goes a long way towards destressing.

De-teching came next for me. I cannot tell you how many people respond to that by saying, “I can’t do that.” But you can. Start small. When so-called time-saving devices wear out, don’t replace them. Don’t replace the electric coffee grinder, dishwasher, microwave or TV when they break down. By the time I was seriously into downsizing, all the above had broken down. I never replaced them. And I’ve never owned a clothes dryer. I dry my clothes outside on the line in the summer and inside by the woodstove during the winter. Do you really need to upgrade an expensive phone? Or will a simple but portable one do? They all do texting and photos now. If you are serious about “slow food” instead of fast food, don’t eat out more than once or twice a week. Learn to cook and save money besides.

Destressing happens when you tackle the above “stressors.” Of course, you need to make decisions for yourself and your circumstances. A large family may need a dishwasher or clothes dryers, and career addicts may choose to keep their fancy phones and computers. But many “devices” lead to stress. However, I remember an amusing incident when someone asked me why I owned a bread machine. Well, my oven was broken, that’s why!

We need to remember that humans lived without any “devices” for literally millions of years. Electricity only hit most of the US in the late 1800s and was pretty much universal by 1940. Smart phones and computers are relatively new. We’re encouraged, advertised to and given incentives to modernize. But does everyone need to?

In seeking a slower-paced life, rather than pursuing the frazzle-dazzle, I’ve spent most of my life cooking at home, doing dishes by hand and drying clothes on the line outside. Over time I’ve become happier and less stressed. Lots of alternative publications recommend destressing by getting out of debt. First, pay off all your credit cards - then cut them up. Then pay off your car or trade it in on a used car you can pay for outright. Then pay off your mortgage. This is how my parents and grandparents did it. Even those on fixed income or at poverty level may be able to survive on less. Studies show that people are most content right at or just above poverty level. Pots of money don’t necessarily make people happier. In fact, those who win lotteries are often depressed within just a few years.

The decision to retire and live on a low income was not as difficult as one might think. Especially since my level of life satisfaction went up with every step towards self-sufficiency. My life is easier without so much stuff, especially stuff that breaks down and becomes instant garbage. After careers in radio, television and record promotion (back when we still had records), I chose a career in natural medicine. I’ve loved the more than twenty years of practicing and writing. Some people took my advice, some didn’t. Such is the nature of human beings. But by continuing to write the columns I can continue to disseminate information, maybe even controversies. I’m kept up to date on current information and trends. And that’s a good thing, for all of us.

Several studies show that crises in mid-life are real. I’m well beyond “mid-life,” and in fact beyond retirement age, but in order to live the lifestyle I desire I’m choosing to no longer practice, other than to provide information via these columns. Surveying people in 72 developed countries found that people are at their happiest after age fifty. With our youth culture that curve of happiness may even start later. While aging has its attendant unpleasantness, the decrease in anger, worry and stress generally gives way to an increase in laughter, wisdom and acceptance as we age. I look forward to continuing to bring you my monthly columns.


A Jennie Welch landscape
The View Finder: Jennie Welch as an early mountain photographer by Gary Randall on 08/01/2018

We’re all photographers in the 21st century. In 2018, the day of cell phones and their cameras, we hardly think about it when we pull out the phone to get a photo of friends, family and places that we visit.

A hundred years ago it wasn’t so easy. Back then cameras were bulky and film was inconvenient. Not all photos turned out and you didn’t know what results you would end up with for a long time while your film was away being developed, if you didn’t develop your own. But, of course, there were enthusiasts.

There were photographers that ranged from full-fledged professionals to home hobbyists with their own darkrooms. Most professional photographers provided services to those who didn’t have their own photography gear. They would travel and offer their services, sometimes door to door. They would photograph anything from individual portraits to family groups. Even photos of prize possessions such as their home, pets or a brand-new automobile.

At the early part of the 20th century postcards were a big deal. Many people would order a set of the photos printed as a postcard to send a photo to a friend or a family member that lived away.

Many of these same photographers provided photo postcards to souvenir shops of local iconic landmarks frequented by tourists. After all, it was easier to just buy some picture postcards than it was to fuss with a camera and the subsequent rolls of film.

Some of these photographers made a name for themselves that has endured through the years but some of them were a little bit obscure. Some churned out massive amounts of these photo postcards while others only made enough to sell in their own roadhouse gift shops or country stores. Billy Welch’s Hotel was no exception.

Back in 1905 the Welches post office was established at Billy’s Ranch with Billy as postmaster. Billy married Jennie Faubion, the daughter of Oregon Trail pioneers and local homesteaders, and in 1940 became the Welches postmaster. Jennie was the Welches postmaster until 1960. Jennie Welch loved antiques and enjoyed collecting daguerreotype, ambrotype and tintype examples of early photography. It’s obvious that Jennie enjoyed photography.

Most people who remember Jennie remember her primary passion being antiques, but what a lot of people don’t know is that Jennie Welch was also one of the first local photographers of her day. She took photos and most likely had someone else develop them and apply them to postcard backs to be sold to tourists in the Welches Store and Post Office. They’re quite rare as she didn’t make volumes of them like some of the other pro photographers did and they’re hard to take notice of when you see one, but every now and then one is recognized by the keen-eyed postcard collector.

Although not recognized as such, Jennie Welch should be included in the list of early 20th century female photographers. Her photos capture the history and beauty of Welches. Without her photos many early scenes would be lost with the passing of time.

Today her photos are considered rare and collectable. Gone are the days of picture postcards and travelling photography salesmen, but thankfully their work lives on.

MHGS: eco-friendly options to dry clothes by Mary Soots on 08/01/2018

Another incredibly hot summer and as I did laundry yesterday, it just felt wrong to be using the clothes dryer on a day when the temperature was in the 90s. I wondered for the umpteenth time how much energy is being used simply by so many households doing laundry over the course of the day? Or the week? Or the year? It turns out that next to refrigerators, lighting and water heaters, electric dryers are the top energy-consumers in our homes. The average dryer uses 875 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The environmental impact of clothes dryers is especially severe in the US and Canada, since more than 80 percent of all homes have a clothes dryer. Treehugger.com states, “There are upward of 88 million dryers in the U.S., each emitting more than a ton of carbon dioxide per year.” According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, if all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were energy efficient, the utility cost savings would grow to more than $1.5 billion each year and more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented.

So, what can we do about it? Well, the obvious thing would be to use the clothes dryer less frequently. As I researched the answer to my question, I found that there is a nascent movement to bring back one type of solar clothes dryer (also affectionately known as a clothesline). Drying clothes this way actually extends the life of your clothes because tumbling dry breaks down the soft fibers (lint is the byproduct of this). For decades, I lived in a house that was built in 1905 that had a wonderful clothesline in the back yard. Clothes smelled fresh, and the sun added some additional whiteness to the laundry. If I needed a little softening, I could tumble them in the cool dryer for a few minutes. Also, the old Portland house had a clothesline in the basement for rainy day use. I miss that old house! Now, when I do a load of laundry, I try to do it in the morning. Instead of putting the clothes directly into the dryer, I use a drying rack either outdoors or indoors. If I need to, when I return from work in the evening, I toss things in the dryer for a few minutes.

Even if you prefer to use a clothes dryer, there are ways you can make it operate more efficiently to reduce the amount of energy it uses. There are some great new innovations, such as solar powered dryers, which in the future might become the norm. While we wait, you can choose a more energy-efficient heat pump or condensing dryer. It condenses the moisture out of the dryer air, then reheats it. This design is great because it doesn’t require any additional air – it’s a closed loop. Key to any new dryer would be a moisture-detection feature that will shut the dryer off when the clothes have dried.

Here’s some other tips to save energy:

– You should also place the dryer in a warm spot in your house so that it uses less energy to heat the air inside the dryer.

– Dry full loads, but don’t overload the dryer as you need the air to circulate around the clothing.

– Try to wash several loads one after the other to maximize the warm air and warm drum.

– Make sure that you clean the lint filter every time you use it to keep the hot air moving more efficiently through the dryer and shorten the drying time.

– Also, home maintenance experts recommend cleaning out the dryer vents both from the inside and from outside the home to maximize air flow. This will also prevent lint from accumulating inside the ducts which could potentially create a fire hazard.

– And while you’re drying your clothes, you might consider leaving out the dryer sheets. They’re full of cancer-causing chemicals. Instead, go natural.

Episode XXIV: It’s not nirvana to be an iguana by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2018

Max sat alone under a faded umbrella at a veranda bar supported by tired timbers overlooking a working harbor – no luxury liners here – as the moaning of ship horns testified to the tankers and container ships that stood guard, all under the scrutiny of an unblinking indigo-blue iguana that belonged in a Charles Darwin documentary.

Even Max’s most menacing glare was no match for the redoubtable reptile, reclining a few feet away.

Rolling the remains of a defeated mojito around in its glass, Max shifted an unfocused eye on a hazy horizon with lumps of briquet clouds. He thought: Dolly Teagarden is MI6 – British for CIA – Jemma Gayle is a Jamaican nurse providing him shelter from the storm during his rehab from a gunshot wound inflicted by, doubtlessly, Beau Kimatian cum Andy Campanaro, or one of his henchmen, and despite all the distractions – Dolly and Jemma – the unaccompanied thought that bubbled up with every wince of pain from his abdomen was revenge. That rage was deeper than the wound.

The more Max tarried, the more he blended in with his island shirt, white slacks, huaraches, topped by a stylish Panama hat held in captivity by a murky brown band. Or so he thought.

A dark, slender arm plopped down a fresh mojito, and one for herself as well. Max followed the arm all the way to a beguiling Jamaican smile.

“Believe I will, Jemma, thanks,” Max said, lifting his fresh glass to his sponsor. “Have a seat.”

Jemma was already seated. “It’s OK for you to go home now, Max.”

Max squints through the Caribbean sun, smirks, says “Jemma. You don’t know me that well. I …”

“I know Grand Cayman, Max,” she interrupts, somehow without raising her voice above the Jamaican cadence. “I don’t know what you’ve done, or even why you’re here, or who that British woman is you’ve been talking to, but I know that when the people who own Grand Cayman have unfinished business, they find a way to finish it. This is not a democracy. It is a country of billionaire bankers, drug dealers, money launderers, arms dealers, and corrupt authorities. People mean nothing. Money means everything.”

“We’ll see, won’t we?” Max says, shooting a sharp glance to Jemma, uncomfortably impressed that she knew of Dolly Teagarden.

“Iguanas are overrunning Grand Cayman, you know?” she said. “There’s even a bounty on them.”

Max nods, lifting his mojito, getting the point.

*  *  *

Max shuffled along the run-down Cayman neighborhood, far from the eager eyes of tourists. Music drifted on a soft breeze, a striking Cayman woman sauntered across the street with a baby on her hip, vegetables mingled with live poultry in cages on makeshift stands. Max walked into the dark inner bowels of an alcove that dripped with intrigue. Sitting at a table in the hallway, carving up a mango, sat one of the twins that had guarded Max’s hospital room.

Max nodded. The hulking Jamaican polished off the last slice of mango, rose, opened a steamer trunk that rested against the wall, took out a soiled rag and rested it on the table between the two men. Max slid the bulky rag to his side of the table, tucked it in his belt, stood up, dropped a brown envelope in the trunk, walked back up the hallway, drummed his fingers on the wall in an expression of island gratitude.

*  *  *

Two shadows faced off, divided by a sky full of stars freshly washed by an island rain.

“Why don’t you bust him?” Max rasped as sotto voce as he was able.

Dolly whispered, whittling away at the few remaining inches between them. “We need the ones on the receiving end more than him. They’re the ones who start wars. He buys his arms from Americans. All we can do is watch, and wait, and hopefully follow the shipment, and then act.”

Max shuddered. What was unsaid was the U.S. did not intervene because of the supply line.

“You must have a plan,” Max said.

Dolly surrendered her crooked Queen of England smile. “We’re going to make sure Campanaro sees us together. That will make you more of an asset to him than a target.”

That was enough intrigue for one night. The intervening stars fell into shadow.

After all, he is still Max Malone, private eye.

Universe makes push-starting your car that much harder by on 08/01/2018

I certainly feel a deep kinship with the surrounding universe. Particularly after reading how, like my own waistline, it is continuing to expand as it gets older. According to an article in TIME magazine, there are a number of discoveries that answer fundamental questions about the mysteries of space — beginning with a property called “dark gravity.”

It is something that parents have suspected for eons, and that astrophysicists have only now proven the existence of: an invisible force slightly stronger than normal gravity that pulls in the opposite direction. It is this property that keeps the universe expanding in spite of the pull of planets and constellations.

According to physicists at Princeton University, children naturally possess this gravitational force, which explains their ability to pull their parents in two directions at once.

The other effects of “dark” gravity aren’t as straightforward. In fact, the difference between the two types of gravity are a little hazy; both are invisible, and both earn their living by pulling things. Here are a few examples to help illustrate their differences:

– A baseball landing in your mitt is gravity; a baseball landing on your forehead is “dark gravity.”

– Push-starting your car by rolling it down a hill is gravity; if the car doesn’t start before you get to the bottom, that’s “dark gravity.”

– Weight-lifting, gravity; weight-gaining, “dark gravity.”

– Getting sick on the Tilt-a-Whirl, gravity; being strapped next to the person getting sick on the Tilt-a-Whirl –

You get the idea.

And the discovery of light and “dark” doesn’t end there.

Apparently, physicists have discovered that matter also has a bright and not-so-bright side.

While regular matter is easy to see, taste, touch and feel, “dark” matter is an invisible substance that, by a ratio of 10 to 1, outweighs all visible particles that stars, planets and people are made of.

This is why eating a three-ounce candy bar means that you will gain — on average — 10 pounds. It’s all of that invisible “dark” matter surrounding what we eat that’s causing America’s obesity problem, not the calories or lack of exercise.

The trick is to find a way to remove the “dark” matter from our food sources — something that is harder than it sounds since scientists have no idea what the stuff is, what it looks like or where it came from.

The only thing we know for sure is that it was approved by the FDA.

Though there were a handful of other revelations, nothing compares with how the universe will eventually collapse. Much like the elastic waistband in my swimming trunks, the universe will continue to stretch until it reaches a point of critical mass known as “The Big Snap.”

What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

As for me, I’d rather not dwell on the gravity of such matters.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Proposed 2018 legislation by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 08/01/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers,

It is an honor to serve as your State Representative and I thank you all for taking the time to email, call, and share with me face-to-face your questions, challenges and appreciation. Over the last month, I have had the great opportunity to participate in and meet some of you at the Sandy Mountain Festival and Parade and Mt. Hood Farmer’s Market, among other events and venues. In response to these and other contacts, including those with community, business, organization and government leaders across the district, I have developed and submitted bills for the 2019 Session. The legislation I have proposed has focused primarily on the 4E’s: education, economic development, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness/planning. Here are some of the legislative concepts I submitted by Aug. 1:

Education

As a father with a daughter in public elementary school, a son that is soon to start and multiple friends and family members who are or have been teachers, I understand the importance of all students having access to well-qualified and high quality teachers and a high quality education. For the 2018 Regular Session, I proposed and passed House Bill (HB) 4044 which commissioned a study to identify best practices for recruitment, retention and mentoring our educators. For the 2019 Session, I have proposed full funding of Measure 98, the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act of 2016. Measure 98 provides funding for career and technical education (CTE), dropout prevention programs and college credit courses. To learn more about Measure 98, please visit www.oregon.gov/ode/learning-options/CTE/statefund/Documents/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions%20(Updated%202-16-2017).pdf.

Economic Development

As your State Representative serving on the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade, I feel very strongly about our need to support, grow and retain small businesses and the family supporting jobs they provide in Oregon. As such, I have proposed the repeal of Senate Bill (SB) 1528. SB1528 disconnected Oregon from the federal tax code and will prevent our district’s businesses from receiving a tax deduction that could lead to increased investment in the businesses, its employees and our community.

Environmental Stewardship

I am the son and grandson of farmers, a former farmworker and avid fisher and hunter, I believe it is important to be a good neighbor and environmental steward and am teaching my two young children to believe the same. Across the district, many have expressed concern about responsible forestry management practices and the next steps for the privately owned timberlands that are in the National Scenic Area (NSA). The NSA sits squarely within our district and to address these and other concerns, I have submitted a bill to study the feasibility of the state purchasing privately held timber lands in the NSA, their possible use and public benefit.

I believe that buying former timberlands in the NSA is a great opportunity for Oregon to acquire lands to be repurposed for recreation and maintained for current and future generations of community members and all Oregonians to enjoy.

Emergency Preparedness/Planning and Public Safety

I am a former Cascade Locks City Councilor, retired police sergeant, Air Force veteran, member of the Joint (House and Senate) Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee and have a young family of my own. I believe that emergency preparedness/planning and public safety are critically important to the success and sustainability of our community. I have heard from many across the district regarding earthquake preparedness and in the Hoodland Area specifically about the concern for safety along Hwy. 26. In response, I am proposing a bill to identify the best option for adding flexibility to the school building seismic upgrades grant funding that would allow for cases where a building’s upgrades are close to or exceed the cost of reconstruction. I have also submitted a bill to make the safety corridor that runs through the Hoodland Area permanent.

My goal is to propose legislation that is responsive and effective for addressing the challenges you identify and the successes you want to see. To share your questions, concerns or suggestions for legislation or invite me to your community or other group to talk about my role as a legislator or discuss legislation, please contact me via Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov, cellphone 541-392-4546, my Salem office at 503-986-1452 or message me through www.facebook.com/RepJeffHelfrich/.

I look forward to seeing you in the community and hearing from you soon.

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Bite size is the right size by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2018

When it’s hot and you just want a bite and you also have lunches to pack, these bite sized snacks have your back.

Pulled chicken potato skins

1.5 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

6 small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 cup prepared BBQ sauce

1/4 cup sliced scallions

Heat oven to 365 degrees. Bake the potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper for 40 minutes until tender and roasted.

Cool slightly, then scoop out to make room for the chicken mixture.

Toss the chicken together with BBQ sauce and salt and pepper to taste, then spoon about 1/4 of the mixture into the potato skins.

Bake for 15 minutes and top with scallions.

Cheese quinoa bites

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups quinoa prepared

1/2 t each onion & garlic pepper

1 T flour

1 cup milk

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix together the milk, cheese, flour and seasonings together in a small bowl and add this mixture to the cooked quinoa.

Stir over medium heat until thickened slightly, then pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly.

A bite-sized side note

Try salami ravioli flowers, by cooking packaged ravioli and skewer with salami.

Or make apple “chips” with cinnamon almond butter by slicing a green apple and dolloping on some almond butter with a drizzle of honey and then sprinkle on cinnamon and sliced almonds.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


Maintaining health during a staycation, vacation or relocation by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2018

Whether staying home for a vacation this year, driving through our lovely state of Oregon or relocating and settling in, illness on the road is far worse when in flux. How can we make moves more comfortable and be prepared for the possible stress of travel or relocating?

The farther away you plan to travel or move, the sooner you should begin preparations. You can begin shoring up your immune system up to a month before to deal with any onslaughts. Sleep and diet are underappreciated as “health aids.” Since sleep is difficult for many while travelling or under the stress of relocating, consider doing all you can to make yourself and those travelling with you as comfortable as possible.

Try one of those small travel pillows for each member of your family and put a few drops of each person’s favorite essential oil on the corners of the pillow. You do not want to put the essential oil on the middle of the pillow where you put your head as you don’t want to cause any irritation to eyes. Lavender is the go-to essential oil for promoting calmness and sleep but not everyone likes the scent of lavender. My personal favorite is geranium, as it resembles rose essential oil without the high cost.

Since car travel is up and many are travelling with children, why not be prepared to calm both children and adults. A mixture of lavender essential oil and Rescue Remedy (or both) in a spray bottle filled with distilled water will quiet everyone in the car, as well as drown out the odor of those smelly feet or sweaty bodies after that long hike.

Essential oils, homeopathics and essences are small, light and easy to travel with, whatever your luggage choice or your destination. However, you should package the oils separately from the homeopathics and essences, as essential oils may decrease the effectiveness of the homeopathics.

In addition to band-aids and healing salves, you can carry homeopathic Arnica as a gel or in pill form to help with those inevitable minor to moderate sprains, strains or other injuries. Both Arnica and Rescue Remedy will also help with insect bites, stings and even sunburn, and are easy to carry in purse or pocket.

Remember that nutrition is an important part of your health. Increasing consumption of ginger, mint or turmeric will improve your traveler’s digestion. Your tummy will be happier with a decrease of sugar in your diet not just when vacationing or relocating but also when settling in. Sugar decreases the ability of your white blood cells (the defenders) within a half hour of consumption and lasts for five hours! After just two hours your immune function is reduced by 50 percent. Plus, and perhaps worst, is the fact that sugar consumption makes people cranky and irritable and summer heat does that already. While treats when travelling or under stress are inevitable, increasing fiber and protein will keep everyone more balanced and happy.

Probably the most incapacitating traveler’s or mover’s problem is diarrhea. Even with the admonition of using only bottled water for brushing teeth or washing fruit, keep in mind that not all places on earth have dishwashers or use boiling water for washing dishes. In some countries it is not advisable to eat raw fruits and vegetable. Forgetting is easy.

I remember a time in China when we dipped grapes into boiling water to peel them before eating. But think about guacamole in Mexico: better to buy the avocadoes and make your own guacamole with processed salsa and not with fresh tomatoes or onions to avoid the famous “turista.”

If intestinal imbalance does result in diarrhea or vomiting, be prepared. It’s easier than trying to find a grocery store or a pharmacy when in the woods, travelling in a foreign country, or relocating to a new area.

Carry some bottles of carbonated water to which you can add activated charcoal or psyillium powder to absorb the toxins you may have ingested. Powdered ginger, turmeric or mint tea bags can help too. Pineapple juice and fresh papayas, if you are lucky enough to be in a country where these are readily available, will ease digestive woes as well.

In a pinch (no pun intended) you could use cinnamon, cloves (also good for toothache), oregano or thyme from any old spice rack to make tea. If you have carried essential oils of mint, oregano or thyme, they may be diluted with olive oil and applied topically to the tummy area. Test a small area for possible irritation before applying, especially with children and anyone with compromised skin issues. Best to avoid the sun under such circumstances as some are more sensitive than others and may cause rash or sunburn. Using essential oils internally, even in drop doses could lead to irritation of mucous membranes of the mouth or intestinal system.

All of the above-mentioned remedies are easy to obtain from Naturopaths (capsules of ginger, turmeric, homeopathics and salves). Many can be found at local grocery or health stores (teas, pineapple juice), or off the shelves of your own home or the home of those you are visiting (powdered spices). Let’s face it, vacations and moving are few and far between, so let’s not lose any time being uncomfortable. With a little pre-planning and becoming prepared we can be happier whether stacaytioning, travelling through or relocating to a new area.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Night Photography by Gary Randall on 07/02/2018

Summer is here. For a landscape photographer this time of the year means good weather, green forests, flowers, warmer nights and starry night skies.

I enjoy heading out for a sunset and staying until the stars come out, and in many cases, staying out until sunrise. Sunsets and sunrises are always a wonderful time to get dramatic landscape photos, while landscape photos with an amazing Milky Way in the sky above can be unique and dramatic.

Night photography is a form of photography that seems mystical and magical. To many people night photography appears to be complicated and left only for those with the most acute photography skill, when in fact once you understand just the basics of the exposure triangle - shutter speed, aperture and Iso - you will realize that all that’s being done to get these dark night sky photos, in most cases, is to get as much light into your camera as possible.

Set your camera on Manual, set up your tripod and let’s get started.

As most photographers know when you use a long exposure you will need a tripod. Your tripod will keep your camera still during the exposure. You will want to ensure that no movement takes place at all during the exposure.

Another device that helps with this is a shutter release. The release will keep you from moving the camera when you press the button. If you have no shutter release you can usually set your camera timer to take the photo a few seconds after you click the shutter button.

Your exposure setting will need to be extended in most cases up to 20 or sometimes 30 seconds, depending on how dark the sky is. Remember that the darker the sky, the brighter the stars, and a night without a moon will give the best starry sky. The only negative consequence will be less light on your subject or foreground. Many times just a slight sliver of a moon will allow a more defined foreground while still allowing the stars to shine.

Concerning shutter speed, the only consideration that you must have is that the longer the shutter is open the more movement you will detect in the scene. Even in the stars as at some longer focal lengths the stars will streak slightly when you extend the exposure to 30 seconds. These star streaks turn into star trails if allowed to streak long enough, sometimes up to 30 minutes. This method will create amazing surreal images of streaks and circles of light above your subject. To do this requires another method, not explained here, to pull off.

The next thing that one must consider is how the aperture will block or allow light to pass through the lens and into the camera. When light is dim or it’s dark outside, you will want to allow as much light through as possible and to do this you must use a wider more open aperture - a smaller number. Without getting into the math involved just remember that when you open your aperture you will be allowed a quicker shutter and a lower Iso. Both are desirable, which I’ll explain later. A good quality lens will allow an f/2.8 aperture setting.

Next is your Iso setting, meaning the longer that you keep your shutter open the more light will pass through the lens and into the camera. We also know that an aperture that’s open wider allows more light in. In digital photography we have no film but we do have electronic film in the form of the image sensor. The image sensor’s sensitivity to light can be adjusted. The higher the Iso number the more sensitive to light your camera becomes. Iso 1000 will be more sensitive to light than Iso 100, for instance. Therefore you will need to raise your Iso to get your starry night photos. It’s easy to think that all one needs to do is raise their Iso, but there are negative effects in the form of noise in the image. In film it’s called grain. To get a cleaner image you want to keep your Iso as low as possible. Extending your shutter speed and opening your Iso allows you to do this.

One thing to remember when setting up is that in the dark it’s more difficult (even impossible) to use your light meter to determine your settings. Therefore, one must take a couple test shots before they get the exposure right.

Another important part, and in many cases the most difficult part, of getting setup for the shot is focus. Unfortunately, on a zoom lens when you set the focus to infinity the stars will not be in focus. And at night it’s dark and difficult to focus manually. I recommend taking your camera out in the daylight and setting the focus to an object far away and then marking the lens. I have used tape where when I line up the edges of the tape it’s in focus. There are other methods, but this is the simplest until you gain more experience.

And so, once we understand this we can let more light into the camera using these three settings and we can start taking photos in low light. Tripod, long exposure, open aperture and a higher Iso. The next thing to do is to go out and practice. Once you do this a few times your photos will get better and your understanding of what settings to start with will become more second nature.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: more steps for a better environment by Mary Soots on 07/02/2018

Last month, the Mt. Hood Green Scene (MHGS) was the recipient of a scholarship to attend the 40th annual conference of the Association of Oregon Recyclers. We would like to express our appreciation to the Association for the great gift bestowed on our community in allowing us to attend. The MHGS is a grassroots group of involved members from our community who have come together to bring opportunities to our unique corner of the world that allow us to protect our home environment. We face unique challenges that large cities don’t face because we have a very basic infrastructure. If there are items that are not recyclable at curbside, we have no nearby facilities to drop them off.

The MHGS was created as a non-profit organization to fill in those gaps for people who want to learn about our environment through education and action. We have worked to bring plastic bag recycling to the Mt. Hood Thriftway, collaborated with Page’s Mt. Hood Auto and Tire to collect used tires, with the Welches Mountain Building Supply to collect used paint and with the Hoodland Library to collect used batteries. These efforts are by citizens who care about our fragile environment; about keeping our lands and waterways safe for wildlife and for humans. Our efforts can only succeed if our community gets involved in bringing in their recyclable materials and if we work together.

Because of the transitory nature of our community, we have a further challenge in working with community members who may only live in our area temporarily. The best way is to engage our community through businesses that will work to set a culture within their organizations that create and promote ways to reduce the amount of materials being used, re-use as much as possible, and recycle responsibly.

At the conference, we also learned that there is a fourth step in the life-cycle of a product: re-creation. This is when an item is re-purposed after its life as one thing has ended. For example, a friend of mine had an old wooden kitchen table that he no longer needed. He took the table apart and used the wood to build a serving cart which he needed for his family room.

The conference allowed us to share concerns about the lack of opportunities that we are currently experiencing in recycling some materials such as plastic. When China was buying recyclable plastic from the U.S., there was much being included that could not be recycled. Items such as those clear plastic clam-shell containers, and even used baby diapers were being thrown in with the recyclables. That is part of the reason that China will no longer accept our recycling. It is now up to Americans to understand that if we don’t find a way to reduce the amount of plastic that we produce, we will drown in our own garbage. Recyclers are in the process of creating an infrastructure to recycle plastics, but that will take three to five years.

We also learned of a second challenge, that of clothing. We are buying more clothing than we need, and retailers change fashion styles quickly — especially for women — to get us to buy more. We think if we donate our old clothing, we are keeping those (often plastic fabrics) out of the landfill. In reality, 80 percentage of what is donated still ends up in the landfill. We can help by buying less, buying used items at re-sell or consignment stores, and wearing the items for a longer period of time.

The conference allowed us an opportunity to exchange ideas with others who are facing similar challenges, and to connect with those who are working to find ways of re-cycle or re-create everything from old candle wax to make new candles, mattresses into dog beds, old furniture into beautiful handbags and clothing, glass into ornaments, record albums into earrings, old windows into artwork, etc. The creativeness of individuals and groups represented was truly astounding!

As a community, we can come together to face the challenges that our lifestyles have created. MHGS is currently working on some projects to bring education to our local schools, on making some YouTube videos, on working with other non-profit organizations and with Clackamas County. We are inspired, and we are looking for individuals who are passionate about making our community a shining example for other rural communities. If you are up for the challenge, reach out to us through our Facebook page.

Episode XXIII: Aint This The Pips by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/02/2018

Max tried to do what he was told. Jemma, the inspirational Jamaican nurse, insisted he get “lost out of here.” But when he rose from the park bench, the excessive activity of escaping the hospital bed caught up with him.

Max’s knees sagged from the pain that ripped through his midsection like a midnight train to Georgia. (Prior to this moment, Max had always liked Gladys Knight.)

Jemma grabbed hold under Max’s arm, slung it around her slender neck, and peered up, inches from his face.

“What’d you have in mind?”

Max winced, then offered meekly: “Tryin’ to do what I’m told.”

Jemma lifted Max’s spirits with a million-dollar smile. “Well, guess we better get you some rehabilitation beforehand, huh?”

“Whiskey wouldn’t hurt.”

Jemma and Max limped along through the park, bouncing off a hibiscus frond here, an unforgiving lamp post there, before piling onto two torn seats on a city bus, and rattling along for what seemed an eternity to Max, more like the last bus to nowhere than any late train going south.

* * *

It wasn’t as bad as one might think. Certainly, Jemma’s hut wasn’t Trump Tower, but it was clean, and the blind Rasti dude next door could sing like a hip Harry Belafonte. And, of course, there was absolutely nothing wrong watching Jemma go to work and return as well. That she could cook, was definitely a bonus. Unfortunately, in some ways, Max improved.

Max wandered in the nearby neighborhood, feeling oddly at home in the shady side of Grand Cayman. He stumbled on an Internet café, which also offered phone booths where a person could call anywhere, then pay up at the counter afterward. Max started to dial when his Spidey sense tingled. He looked through the nicotine-stained glass of the phone booth door and saw a pair of legs, one crossed over the other, in the nearest chair to the booth. He’d seen those stems before.

Max cradled the receiver, opened the booth door, and looked straight into the unblinking, twenty fathom, British blue eyes of Dolly Teagarden.

“So, Max. We meet again,” Dolly opened, as if ordering a slab of salmon in a seafood market.

“How’d you know, uh …” Max began.

Dolly, interrupting, “Your newspaper guy, Nigel Best, but we knew way before that.”

“Nigel’s back in the states.”

“We know, Max. And you’re here in Grand Cayman. Who were you about to call?”

“None of your British business,” Max snapped.

“You’re forgetting, Max. The Caymans belong to us.”

“Well, when I get through with my business, believe me, doll face, you can have ’em.”

Dolly delivers her well-practiced diplomatic smile, stands up, leaving as much space between them as that of a praying mantis couple with a hungry female member.

* * *

Max and Dolly sit at a table squashed against the wall of a local dive, separated by two liberal glasses of Havana Club.

“First, let’s get the name right,” Dolly says in a tendentious tone. “It’s Andy Campanaro, not Beau Kimatian.”

Max stares at Dolly, refusing to flinch, feigning disinterest, shrugs. “A knotweed by any other name is still … and, how in plu-perfect hell do you know him, by whatever name?”

“Well, Max, I promise you it would have nothing to do with you if you hadn’t showed up where you weren’t supposed to be, kinda like France,” Dolly says with a knee-buckling grin. “You remember France, right?”

“I’m not in the mood for remembering anything, especially those days handcuffed to a radiator.”

Dolly forges ahead, figuring she owes Max some information, and possibly, cover as well. She tells of Andy Campanaro’s dim-witted twin brother, Randy, who is now deceased in Wildewood along with a bodyguard and a cook. She drones on about Campanaro’s businesses of shipping companies, money laundering, arms acquisitions and sales, drug trafficking, and any other activity that leads to incalculable wealth.

Max polishes off his rum. “So, if you know all of this, why don’t you arrest him, or as a diplomat is it that you don’t have the authority?”

“I’m MI6, Max,” Dolly says, her blue eyes turning to ice.

This is getting interesting, Max thought.

After all, he is Max Malone, private eye.

Memory is a Sticky Thing by on 07/02/2018

When my wife called to remind me about taking the dogs out at noon, I instinctively retrieved a sticky note pad from the desk drawer and scrawled “Dogs at noon” on the top page, then stuck it to the computer monitor — next to a series of other yellow squares with things like “Call about haircut,” “Clean out car,” and “Go to dry cleaners” written on them. They’re all things I should be able to remember, and usually do; like when I’m staring into the closet for a pair of pants to wear.

Later, I climbed into the truck and was gently reminded by a shocking-yellow square of paper to “get gas.”

It was while sitting at the pump a short time later that the notion of dependency hit me.

In the beginning, I was only an occasional user, jotting down out-of-the-ordinary reminders. You know, things like a doctor’s appointment, or that it was time to change the oil.

Then, “Change cat box” and “Take out trash” began appearing on the bathroom mirror or stuck to the alarm clock — painfully obvious to-dos that were reminders in and of themselves.

My life was becoming sort of a dot-to-dot — or in this instance, pad-to-pad — existence, moving from one reminder to the next.

What was next?

“Breathe?”

“Swallow?”

“Don’t drink soda with ‘Alka-Seltzer’?”

(I must confess that I almost reached for a pad to remind myself to check the spelling on “Alka-Seltzer.” Sad, but true.)

So, I decided that enough was enough. It was time to end the dependency!

I reached into my shirt pocket, snatched my last still-cellophaned package of sticky notes and tossed them out the window and into the trash. This was my moment, something I would long remember without a scrap of yellow paper conveniently laced with “stick-um.”

“Excuse me, sir,” the gas attendant said, interrupting my moment of triumph. “You got another gas card? This one’s expired.”

Confused, I thumbed through my wallet as the attendant handed me a yellow slip of paper. “By the way, this fell off the back of your card.”

I took it from him and stared at my handwritten reminder.

“Call about gas card.”

After handing the attendant my cash, I reluctantly stepped from the car and, with no small amount of humiliation, dug the package back out of the trash and opened it — then wrote myself a reminder:

“Get more pads.”


Bills due for 2019 session in September by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 07/02/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times readers.

First and foremost, thank you for reading this article. Please contact me at Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov, call 541-392-4546 or my Salem office at 503-986-1452, or message me through www.facebook.com/RepJeffHelfrich/. To share your suggestions for legislation, the only question you need to answer is: What do you believe (or know) would be effective at addressing an issue the community, district and/or state is facing?

In late May, the 2018 Special Session started and ended in one day with just House Bill 4301 (HB4301) passing. HB4301 was designed to address an inequity built in to a three-year-old law that excluded otherwise qualifying sole proprietorships from reduced tax rates. To me, what was most troubling about the Special Session and HB4301 was that it failed to repeal SB1528 and address the adverse impact it has on the development and growth of small businesses across our community, district, and Oregon. If SB1528 had been repealed, then these small businesses would have had a much needed tax deduction. This small business tax deduction would have translated into increased investment in the development, growth and sustainability of small businesses, our local communities, district and the greater Oregon economy.

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, places where we buy goods and get services every day. In support of small businesses in our communities and across Oregon, I voted no on SB1528. I firmly believe that we can’t keep taxing small businesses and expecting them to flourish, some will move but others will simply close. We must work together to grow and sustain our small businesses and our communities, and that means developing legislation that shows small business developers, owners and supporters that Oregon values small businesses. To develop legislation that is responsive to this and other issues that are important to you, I need to hear from you.

As your State Representative for House District 52, I am still serving on the House Economic Development and Trade, and Joint (House and Senate) Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee. I have also joined the Fire Caucus and Sportsmen’s Caucus among others. For the 2018 Session, I was focused on developing and supporting legislation that improves education, economic development, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness including public safety in our communities, district and state.

I want to work with you to develop legislation that is responsive and effective at addressing issues you that are important to you. Once developed with you, I will work with my colleagues in Salem, across the aisle and the building, to get that legislation passed. This is the same approach that I used to develop and pass HB4152/Eagle Creek Fire Recovery Bill and HB4044, an education bill which is identifying best practices for recruitment, retention, and mentoring our educators. Both HB4152 and HB4044 are laws and that are currently being implemented. 

For the 2018 Session, Representatives were limited to two bills, but we are not limited for the 2019 Session. The 2019 Session bill submission deadline is at the end of September, but we need to start working to develop the bills now. That’s why again this month and every month through September, I am asking for your bill ideas. To you, what are the community’s greatest challenges and successes? What services and supports are needed for older adults in the community? What are your public safety concerns? What are some of the greatest challenges to maintaining and growing small businesses in the Hoodland area?

To share what matters most to you, your responses to the questions in this article, suggestions for legislation, or any questions you might have about legislation, please contact me using the information above. I look forward to seeing you in the community and hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance.

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Picnic Basket by Taeler Butel on 07/02/2018

There is a picnic equation I think you should know about. One homemade item per ready-made purchase. For example, if you like store-bought potato salad, you’ll want homemade cookies in your basket.

Here are a few recipes to get you started, happy summer ya’ll!

Homemade BBQ sauce

1/2 yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 15 oz can tomato purée

1 small can tomato paste

2 t salt & pepper

2 t dry mustard

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 t lemon pepper

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

Dash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and simmer on low for 40 mins.

Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.

Peanut butter shortbread cookies

Shortbread holds up well in a picnic basket and is a slice-and-bake cookie you can keep in your freezer – a double win!

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 t sea salt

1 stick softened butter

Mix butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer and add in salt, sugar and flour on low.

Stir in the chocolate chips and roll into a log using plastic wrap and freeze.

Slice and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.


Choosing wisely in the age of chemicals and lab food by Victoria Larson on 07/02/2018

In honoring ourselves and the Earth we need to remember that ALL of our food comes from the earth, either directly or indirectly. Not just vegetables and fruits but also protein from meat, milk, eggs, honey and even the nutrients from the sea. The Earth “giveth.”

That is unless you are eating industrial food, chemically produced, manufactured in a lab, with preservatives, colorings and other chemical ingredients. This would be the foodstuffs that comes in bags or boxes, readily available in every “regular” grocery store, but not always the best choice for nutrition.

The history of “lab-created, manufactured” food really boomed in popularity after WW II when chemicals were being touted as the “savior” of humankind! Americans’ taste was altered by the newly manufactured foods, which contained high amounts of salt, sugar, spices and chemicals. This was in order to extend the shelf life of foods for an increasingly mobile society. These were the foods that kept well and as life in America sped up, and continues to do so, most learned to like those salty, sugary, spicy, chemical tastes. Just as people today “like” things on the internet, a totally new introduction into global life.

With the increased speed of American life came also fast food eateries, or rather the ubiquitous drive-through. Never before had we as a nation been able to drive up to a window to procure food. And that’s a long way from hunting and gathering. Fast changes in a relatively short amount of time. To add to the changes, the media, and even doctors were trying hard to convince us that this was the way to go. And that butter, eggs, honey and meat were bad for us. But the faster food came into our mouths, the more simple carbs we consumed. And as a nation we grew to be obese, and that trend continues today, much to the detriment of our health.

In the 1960s and 70s there was a fashionable trend towards vegetarianism, but with adequate protein, mostly in the form of beans. Beans were popular because of their high protein content and low cost. Now veganism is popular due to the decreased carbon footprint and concerns about global hunger and global warming. Valid earthly concerns.

But packaged vegan foods tend to be high in salt and/or sugar. The consumption of sugar has risen to an all-time high. And what can you expect from mouths trained to want those increased tastes. The tastes of industrial food. Yes, they do eat desserts in countries like France, Italy, Spain and others, but you won’t find those countries serving desserts as sickly sweet as those served in the United States. Though that is changing world wide as well. Even bread in other countries is different from what we have in the US, which is why those who are gluten sensitive can eat bread in foreign countries without the kinds of reactions they get at home. Most of the bread made in our country is made quickly without the benefit of slower or multiple risings. This is done to increase profit margins. Oh gee, money is the goal again! The faster method of producing bread may contribute to gluten sensitivities. The jury is still out. We need more studies and more time to figure this all out. In the meantime, if you feel better not eating gluten then by all means don’t eat it if you can avoid it.

When it comes to organic versus conventional food there is often no comparison in terms of flavor. But not always. There are also industrial organic farms producing “fresh” organic, but anemic looking, produce on farms comprising thousands of acres. Some stores have an organic section of produce that in fact looks like it’s been sitting on the shelf for six weeks or more. In that case you may choose the locally-grown sustainable produce as an alternative. The choice is yours.

While vegan diets ensure a decreased carbon footprint, you may be one who still chooses animal proteins. Industrially raised chicken is sometimes labelled organic but in fact the chickens are raised in defunct Tyson or other chicken housing, or from far-away countries, and given only an hour per day in fresh air. That’s not the way to raise chickens, whether you are consuming them or not, as this does not give a quality organic product. Use discretion as there is a great deal of non-compliance in the organic and sustainable practices.

Many Americans are cash-rich and time-poor, hence the desire for fast food places and pre-prepared foods. Yet many are cash-poor and still also time-poor. Remember that cooking some beans in a crock-pot doesn’t take much work or time on your part. And farm markets are just plain fun.

Many who are without monetary constraints still shop by price, while owning expensive vehicles and going on extravagant vacations and eating out more than two times a week. Those are the priorities of most Americans. Perhaps food itself, and its preparation, needs to be more of a priority if we want to live healthy and long lives. We get enough chemicals in our lives from so many sources we have little or no control over, such as air, water and some food. Let’s make our food a higher priority and refuse to buy so much industrial food. Choose wisely, cook a little more, eat slowly and calmly and buy the best you can afford. That’s the secret to living well.


Leslie Gulch.
Striking photographic gold at Leslie Gulch by Gary Randall on 06/02/2018

Oregon is truly an amazing place. In terms of variety of the landscapes available within an easy day’s drive, who really needs to travel outside of the state to find what they want to experience?

From my perspective, that of a landscape photographer, I speak primarily in regard to the natural world. Oregon has views of the ocean, rolling hills and valleys, forests, mountains, glaciers, sagebrush desert, mud playa desert, you name it. I tell people that in Oregon there’s a view of a canyon that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon – Hells Canyon on the Snake River.

Considering the variety of terrain that we have to choose from here, I seem to gravitate to Eastern Oregon. Perhaps it’s because I live in trees and relish a clear view of the sky and clouds, but I seem to breathe more freely in the open spaces and expansive views that I find there.

My latest trip east included a stop at a place that I can never get tired of exploring, Leslie Gulch.

Leslie Gulch is on Bureau of Land Management land located about an hour from the little town of Jordan Valley near the Oregon and Idaho border. Named for a poor fellow named Hiram E. Leslie who was struck by lightning there in 1882, it’s a part of a larger area that include the many canyons that make up the Owyhee River drainage. It’s a canyon with towering rock spires and formations made of ancient volcanic tuff, a rock very similar to what’s found at the popular Smith Rock State Park, but times ten as there are huge formations surrounding you all the way through the canyon and up side canyons.

The canyon has a 15-mile dirt road that takes you down into and through to the end where it meets the Owyhee Reservoir, where there can be found the 8-unit Slocum Creek - Leslie Gulch Campground (Open from March - November) and a boat ramp. Many people come here to fish.

A bit of caution must be expressed here. The road can be treacherous in rain, and the area can be prone to flash floods so be warned. When adventuring in remote areas always be prepared and make sure that your vehicle is up to traveling for miles on dirt. Please don’t go unprepared.

Once you’re in the canyon you’re surrounded by castle like pillars of rock formed by ancient volcanic ash, sheer cliffs and honeycomb type rock formations. The rock features are jagged and more reminiscent of a place in southern Utah or Arizona, but it’s all Oregon. In the springtime wildflowers bloom, but as summer approaches the grasses turn yellow and the canyon can be prone to grass fires. Although elusive, there is an abundant amount of wildlife there including bighorn sheep, which were established there in 1965 and number close to 200 animals.

As you sit at camp you’re serenaded by birds including chukars, which are a type of partridge, and coyotes in the evening, while consumed by the aroma of sage and juniper. Oh - and there’s no cell phone service there so you have no choice but to relax and take it all in.

While in the area take note of some other places nearby that are also worth visiting. There are many other places to get a view of the Owyhee River as well as camping places. Succor Creek is another spot that I’d recommend. Consider also visiting Silver City, Idaho, a remote “ghost town” at the end of a rough dirt road that still has a few hearty residents holding on there and a city ordinance that prohibits modern improvements. Take a day and explore the old town and its old buildings including the Idaho Hotel.

The little town of Rome, the Pillars of Rome and views of the Owyhee River as well as the Alvord Desert, a mud lake much like Death Valley in California, are nearby. The Steens Mountains, considered the Alps of Oregon, tower up from the Alvord Desert and also the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge north of the Steens is an amazing place to sit and birdwatch.

Prior to my time in Eastern Oregon I must admit that from all that I had heard I felt like there was nothing there but sagebrush and coyotes, but once I decided to go it was immediately obvious to me that I had found the solitude that I love and an expanse of land to explore and discover.

It may not be for those who want luxury in their free time as there aren’t many motels but for those who want to get away from the luxurious, forget a shower for a few days and spend time in the natural world, I would recommend Leslie Gulch.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: plastic microfibers in our clothing by Mary Soots on 06/02/2018

When we think of plastic, we don’t think of clothing. However, since the invention of polyester (‘fess up – did you have a leisure suit in the ‘70’s?), increasingly our clothing is made of acrylic, nylon and polyester. We’ve come a long way since the early days of plastic fabrics. They now include everything from those fleece jackets we love, pants, blouses, dresses, socks, underwear and workout clothing. Did you know? Every time you wash these synthetic fabrics, millions of microfibers are released into the water. Yes, plastic. But because they are too small to be filtered out by treatment plants, they end up in our waterways and in the ocean. One research showed that microfibers are responsible for 85 percent of shoreline pollution across the globe. Because they don’t degrade, those microfibers remain in our water systems forever.

Another source of contaminant is our waterproof outerwear. We live in a rainforest and we all appreciate the need to have waterproof jackets. However, the waterproofing process often means coating nylon fibers with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are persistent and potentially toxic pollutants. With use and washing, lab and field studies have shown that some PFCs can accumulate in the tissues of fish and other wildlife as they consume contaminated food and water - building up a dose that can become harmful to us.

How can we stop this pollution? As this problem is becoming more evident, consumers are demanding and manufacturers are seeking alternatives to plastic coatings in the way of bio-synthetics, plant-based alternatives that are equally effective in repelling water. We consumers demand large amounts of clothing.

The website plasticpollutioncoalition.org offers some suggestions on how to reduce the amount of microfibers we produce:

  • Wash synthetic clothes less frequently and for a shorter duration.
  • Fill up your washing machine. Washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes and fewer fibers released.
  • Consider switching to a liquid laundry soap. Laundry powder “scrubs” and loosens more microfibers.
  • Use a colder wash setting. Higher temperatures can damage clothes and release more fibers.
  • Dry spin clothes at low revolutions. Higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes.
  • When you clean out your dryer, place lint in the trash instead of washing it down the drain.
  • Consider purchasing a Guppy Friend wash bag. In tests, the bag captured 99 percent of fibers released in the washing process. The Guppy Friend wash bag traps fiber inside the bag which can then be removed by hand and placed in the trash. I got mine online through the Patagonia store.
  • Purchase a washing machine lint filter. These filters require more of an investment, but they will benefit your septic system and the environment.
  • Speak up and tell clothing designers to choose natural fabrics that aren’t prone to shedding.
  • Tell your friends and family about microfiber pollution.
  • Higher quality clothing lasts longer. Avoid purchasing cheaply-made, “fast fashion” clothes, whenever possible.
  • Buy clothes made from natural fibers such as linen, silk, and wool. Cotton fiber has an even larger carbon footprint based on the large amount of water needed to produce it. But still, natural fibers will eventually break down in the environment. Plastic fibers will never go away.

Most importantly, as Prof. Richard Blackburn, head of the sustainable materials research group at the University of Leeds cautions, “We are unsustainably addicted to consumption. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a step-change it would be for sustainability if we bought fewer items of clothing per year, wore them for longer and threw them away less often.” (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40498292)

Episode XXII: ‘Double Double Toil and Trouble’ by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/02/2018

Inspired by the suspicious hospital food and starched atmosphere, Max was getting back on his feet – literally – as he made it to the bathroom on his own after the recent lime jello dessert course.

Further, generous though the two sons of Janetta were in keeping a watch on his door, they were slowly losing interest, except for the moment when a certain Jamaican nurse named Jemma strolled by – and who could blame them on either count. Certainly not Max.

But the immobile days at the hospital came with a reward: Max had a lot of time to think.

He also had daily visits from Nigel Best, which came with mixed results. Nigel meant well, certainly. And he was smart – especially for a journalist. But he also carried the glandular weight of the overly active conspiracy theorist – something that doubtlessly fed into his gnawing need for a juicy story.

Max’s thoughts drifted more toward simple explanations. It was always his practice to not complicate a matter. Solutions tended to rise to the surface like champagne bubbles. And lately, Max had been splashing around in a mental magnum of Dom Perignon.

To wit: Was it more probable that Beau Kimatian died in the Stardust Lodge explosion, or was that someone else, and Beau was now cavorting in the Caymans? Well, U.S. Attorney Ida Cavendish believed Beau had been spotted in the Caymans. And who could think otherwise. Certainly not Max who had a 38-caliber slug dug out of his precious interior after it was deposited there moments after his arrival in the Caymans. The only logical next step, after getting out of the hospital, was to find Beau. This might not be all that easy, but after all, Beau had certainly found Max.

Or, the guy in the Caymans was only masquerading as Beau, and the real codger was a charred corpse back in Wildewood.

But all of that got too head-scratching for Max. There had to be a simpler explanation. Suddenly, the bubbles rose to the surface.

*   *   *

Nigel came in the night with Max’s getaway wardrobe. Moments later, with Nigel forming a lump in Max’s hospital bed, Max slipped into the hall, past Janetta’s son’s dozing form, to be met by a most curious Jemma at the top of the stairwell. She looked Max up and down, flashed a most delightful evil eye, as Max tried to look natural in his Panama hat, island shirt, chinos and squeaky huaraches.

For Max, it wasn’t a good look.

“Hi there,” Max offered, and tipped his dolorous Panama. “What’s your name?”

“Ah’m Nurse Jemma Gayle, Mr. Malone. And you look like you’ve gone off and gone tourist for your escape.”

“Heh, well …” Max stumbled along, clearing his throat, oddly at a loss for words.

“Well, ah don’t think anything is very ‘well,’ Mr. Malone,” Jemma responded, planting both fists on her hips. “Do you know what could be waitin’ for you out there? Hmmmmm?”

“Out … there” Max said, pointing toward an imaginary outside.

Jenna nodded over an arched, reproving eyebrow.

“Nurse Gayle. Remind me please,” Max said, regaining a fraction of his charm.

“Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm,” she reprimanded, shaking her head side to side, but simultaneously releasing an all-conquering smile. “You best follow me Mr. Malone.”

And Max did exactly that – right out the front door of the hospital and across the wide street to a small park where Jemma parked the two of them on the only bench. It was so dark that Jemma’s face seemed to disappear in the moonless gloom.

“You need more help than that high school boy back in your bed,” she scolded.

“He’s, uh, about forty, actually.”

“Right,” she smirked. “And I’m Penelope Cruz.”

Max had to get past the sinful similarity.

“Miz Gayle,” Max uttered, gathering his private eye attitude.

“Jemma.”

“OK. Jemma. Are Janetta’s sons twins?”

“Yes,” she answered quickly, as in ‘isn’t it obvious?’ “But that’s not why we’re sitting here in the park.” Jemma’s rhythmic Jamaican drawl begged for a percussion base rift. “You need to get lost out of here.”

But Max was anything but “getting lost.” He slapped his knee. It was the only explanation. And the simplest, after all …

Graduates, chances are your old bedroom is already a hot tub by on 06/02/2018

For parents, graduation is a bittersweet time filled with angst and second-guesses. Particularly if it appears their graduate won’t be out of the house before the contractor is scheduled to begin turning that extra bedroom into a new hot tub by July 4th.

Don’t get me wrong. Parents will always have a place for their children at home. It’s just that, after the remodel, that place may have to be in one of the utility closets.

To help with this important transition, a lot of parents put together a “survival” package containing things like pots and pans, utensils, toiletries, dishes, tools — things from home that 1) you, as graduates, will find familiar and comforting in your new life, and 2) they’ve been waiting to unload on you for years so they can buy all new stuff. To protect yourself, take careful inventory of this “survival” package before you accept it. Any small appliance — such as a toaster, blender or hot plate — that was made before standard outlets were introduced should be refused. The same goes for any “family heirlooms” that you’ve never seen before, but that your parents insist you loved as a child. In many cases, these items were never in your home to begin with and are actually the result of an exchange program established by other parents of graduating seniors who are also trying to get rid of stuff they don’t want.

The reason for this is simple: All parents know that whatever you leave behind after graduation will likely remain in the attic or garage until the reading of their wills. Because of this, they will stop at nothing to make sure you are accompanied on your journey by that 70-pound ceramic pterodactyl you made in fifth grade, as well as any other belongings that won’t readily ignite should the garage be consumed in a “freak” inferno.

But let’s assume you manage to escape from home in anything smaller than a 27-foot moving van. Your next step as a graduate will be to settle into your new surroundings. This generally includes adjusting to having a roommate your first year in college. It will probably be someone you’ve never met before, but whom you can rest assured has been carefully screened and, based on compatibility, specifically chosen as the perfect roommate. You will never actually meet this person, of course, and will instead share a room with someone you once saw in a David Lynch movie. But that’s all part of the college experience, which is aimed at preparing you for life.

(Or a life sentence, depending on how the whole roommate thing goes.)

Once you’re settled, it’s time to focus in on what you came to college for: an education.

Ha Ha! Just kidding! Let’s just be honest and admit that you chose a college based on which website had the best-looking students playing volleyball in the fall leaves. Every college website has one of these photos, along with pictures of young, chiseled teachers lecturing before 300-seat-capacity halls filled with super models.

Warning: This is not real life! You will not find a lecture hall filled with 300 super models. In fact, your first semester, you’ll be lucky if you find the lecture hall at all.

And even when you do find it, chances are you’ll be sitting next to your roommate.

That said, I wish all of this year’s graduates the best of luck as they embark into the world with stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts — and, if they weren’t quick enough, a 70-pound ceramic pterodactyl.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Food on trend by Taeler Butel on 06/02/2018

Food can trend like fashion. Just imagine the mid-century gelatin years! Thankfully we’ve left that trend in the past, and we’re leaning toward more fruits and vegetables and less fried foods and carbohydrates. No, I haven’t started putting butter in my coffee just yet. These recipes take a little dip onto the healthier trends pool. They’re hip, and delicious and not too fussy.

Cabbage roll casserole

1 lb grass fed beef

1T olive oil

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 cup quinoa - prepared

Mix together 1t each salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and granulated garlic

1/2 head cabbage - sliced

1/2 yellow onion - diced

2 stalks celery - diced

1T Worcester sauce

1 cup chicken broth

Heat oven to 325. In a large skillet brown beef with seasoning and oil, add in onion and celery. Continue to cook 5 minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Add in Worcester, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, layer into a large baking dish of cabbage then quinoa and then the sauce, and repeat ending with sauce. Bake about an hour until the cabbage is tender.

Philly cheesesteak stuffed Portobellos

1/2 lb thin sliced sirloin steaks

Mix together 1t each of salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, granulated garlic, kosher salt and cracked black pepper

3/4 cup diced onion

3/4 cup diced green or red bell pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mild provolone cheese

4 medium Portobello mushrooms

Heat oven to 350. Cut stem and scoop out scales from mushrooms, drizzle 1T oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 365 for 20 minutes while you prepare the steak, onions and peppers. Set a grill pan over med/high heat, drizzle with olive oil and 1/2 of the seasoning and grill about 2 minutes on each side. Set the meat aside and slice into thin strips when cooled.

Toss veggies with remaining oil and seasoning, and grill on the same pan 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Mix the shredded cheese, cream cheese and sour cream. Layer mushroom caps with steak, then veggies, then the cheese mixture. Set oven to broil and broil until bubbly.

Protein berry smoothie bowls

This is a smoothie with a spoon! Great as a snack, breakfast or dessert. Refreshing and the flavors varieties are endless.

2 scoops of your favorite protein powder (substitute 1/2 cup Greek yogurt)

1 cup almond or other milk

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 cup frozen berries of your choice

Fruit and nuts of choice as toppers (I used berries, tropical frozen fruit mix and shredded coconut)

Blend together first 4 ingredients until smooth, then top with fruits and nuts of your choice.

Shopping smarter – comparing stores for the best deal by Victoria Larson on 06/02/2018

Instead of farm-to-table, I want to talk about getting food to your table. Despite the fact that many people eat in their cars or at their desks or in restaurants, numerous studies show that gathering together at the table leads to better family relationships, better digestion and ultimately better health. Making this a goal is sadly somewhat lost in our frazzle-dazzle society where the goal appears to be dollars and not one’s health.

But you can’t eat dollars and you need to eat to stay alive. All that you ever need is given to you via the eco-system. Photosynthesis leads to plant foods, dairy products, honey and high protein foods. What we hope is an infinite sun that will provide for us. Foods created in labs are not the best choice.

There are many ways of getting healthy food onto your table. Choices come down to growing it or buying it at a grocery store. Other choices will be addressed in another column. We’re all concerned about the cost, or should be, so I decided to run a little experiment. I chose four different stores to compare prices. I chose a “regular” grocery store, a “healthy” store, a “bargain” store and a “big box” store that’s employee owned.

I chose to compare not only prices but the “shopping experience.” I chose items that I regularly buy, though in some cases not often. The items I chose were vinegar, sesame oil, Amy’s frozen meals, coconut oil and fresh carrots. These are not especially expensive items, but they seemed to be sort of across-the-board items in most stores, no matter what kind (excluding the stop-and-go markets which rarely carry anything I find edible).

I didn’t go running from store to store but did choose four stores within five to fifteen minutes of where I live. At the closest “regular” grocery store where I’ve been going for thirty years, I have a few favorite check-out people, Lynette and Craig. But that store also has some check-out people I specifically avoid. Who wants to hear a check-out clerk say, “I’d never eat that!” I wondered if she was making fun of my purchase or trying to talk me out of that purchase.

The “healthy” grocery store also has two of my favorite check-out people, Diane and Jerry. They are truly the friendliest store and once a check-out person reached into her own pocket to dig out the thirty-nine cents that I was short so I wouldn’t need to write a check. I don’t use credit cards. This was quite a bit above the call of duty but very much appreciated. However, I removed one of my items so I could pay properly with cash.

The “bargain” store has check-out people who must be told to increase the number of people served as they all talked fast, moved fast and therefore put no effort into getting to know their clientele.

The nearby “big box” store is employee-owned and the workers appear to be happy working there. Their 24-hour venue means you don’t often deal with repeat check-out clerks especially if you shop at 5 a.m. and only a few times a month. There were trade-offs in all of the grocery store choices.

But here’s the clincher - the “healthy” store has a reputation for being the most expensive, but they also have a sit-down eating area, hot pizzas and soups, cold salads and many other choices if you’re hungry NOW or meeting friends. Only one other store even offered an area for sitting and having coffee! At the “regular” store I often find errors on my receipt and while they’re nice about rectifying it, it’s still disturbing as the errors are rarely the check-out person but appear to be computer generated. I always check my receipts at this store! The “big box” store is slightly cheaper, but it still is a big box and you still have to shop carefully! The “bargain” store had prices that were exactly the same as the so-called most-expensive store and in some cases the same price to the exact penny!

The bottom line is that all these stores had almost the same prices and some of them didn’t even have some of the five items I was looking for. The “big box” store had the cheapest vinegar since I only use Bragg’s vinegar. It is sometimes not even available at the “bargain” store. The “regular” store and the “healthy” store were very close in price. But the ‘big box” store did not even have any carrots with their tops on and I personally would never buy a bunch of carrots without the tops. At the “healthy” store they will remove the tops for you and my favorite clerks will pull them out as they know I have chickens who love those carrot tops. I will occasionally buy a frozen Amy’s meal when I’m dead tired or in a real hurry and the “big box” store did not have that brand which is the only brand I most often buy as it has the best flavor. Sesame oil really ranged in price from a dollar cheaper in the “big box” store to a dollar and a half cheaper than the “healthy store.” But to be fair, it’s not an item I buy often though I do buy it regularly. The range of price on the coconut oil was the biggest, and I do buy that fairly often as I use it in cooking and on my skin. The healthy store had the most expensive (I was comparing prices of the organic brands) but my favorite brand is worth it to me as they used the entire coconut and not just a portion.

To be fair, I don’t shop the way most people do. Most people go into a store without any meal plans, so they buy what they have a hankering for whether it’s on sale or not. I do not buy many items that are not on sale. I’ve learned to substitute asparagus for peas when called for in a recipe. And I can live without dairy products or wheat products for at least a week. And I only eat ice cream perhaps once a year. It has taken years to learn to shop this way, but it makes a huge difference in your food budget! So go with a list, only buy it if the item is on sale and buy what’s in season. Purchase less-often needed items when they are on sale and don’t wait until you are completely out.

If 10 percent of your food cost goes towards advertising, refrigeration, and transportation and you are discarding 40 percent of what you buy, maybe it’s time to consider a CSA (community supported agriculture), a farmer’s market or growing your own food.

More about the alternatives to getting food on you table in a future column.

In the meantime, whenever you shop and wherever you shop, do so wisely.

Spreading the word by on 05/07/2018

Spreading the word about the benefits of the HPV vaccine

Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics has made a push for kids to be vaccinated against HPV, a virus that has found to be linked to numerous cancers. You may have heard of this new vaccine in the news as many health care professionals are starting to recommend it, but it has not become as prominent as other vaccinations that have been around for a while.  

Research has found that HPV infections are linked pretty strongly to head and neck cancers which is why dentists are concerned about this in particular. Dentists are active in the screening and treatment of oral cancer and anything that will reduce diseases is a good thing. In the U.S. overall cancer rates have been coming down, but the rates for HPV-related oral and throat cancers are rising. 

Vaccination can help reduce the risk of these types of cancers and the FDA has recommended it for both boys and girls ages 11 to 12 years old. This is around the time that they might be receiving vaccinations for meningitis and tetanus as well. It is usually given in a series of three vaccines. Unfortunately, in 2016 only 60 percent of  adolescents were vaccinated against HPV and only 43 percent were up to date on the recommended three vaccine schedule. 

Vaccinations can be controversial for some people and ultimately if the patient is a child, the parents will be making the decision on whether or not they feel it is a good idea. A spokesperson for the oral health section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Eileen Crespo MD recommends making a decision based on good factual sources. One online source is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Of course, your family doctor or health care provider is another excellent source of information on the subject.  

Dr. Crespo said, “We have a great opportunity to prevent cancer in this next generation, at least for the types of cancers caused by HPV, I’m hoping that we can galvanize the village that is required so that we can create a healthier adolescent population, and as they grow up, they will have the protection against HPV that we know can help improve their quality of life.  

The Whole Tooth, by Robert Kelly, DMD, General Dentist (McKenzie Dental, Welches)

Communication is the Key by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 05/07/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers, 

I want to start by thanking community members for contacting my office to share their concerns, suggestions for solutions, and being sure I was aware of and could attend Commissioner Humberston’s Town Hall in early April. I want to reiterate a theme from these and other contacts I have had in the Hoodland Community, and throughout our diverse district: open, ongoing, honest and two-way communication is critical to ensuring the needs of our community are heard and addressed, and that our positive and productive relationships are both built and maintained. 

Good communication is the cornerstone of any positive and productive relationship; this is not new or news, but it is worth mentioning and being encouraged. As such, I want to emphasize the importance of us communicating. I need your voice and collaboration to continue building a better community, district and state. I invite you to contact me and share your experiences, challenges, concerns and suggestions for legislation. Please email me at rep.jeffhelfrich@oregonlegislature.gov, call my Salem office at 503-986-1452 or visit my Facebook page and contact me through messenger at www.facebook.com/RepJeffHelfrich/. 

Over the last month, through the Town Hall and other conversations with community members, I have learned more about the needs of this community — some require legislative action and community involvement to both further outline the concern and assist in getting the legislation passed, other issues are specific to the Hoodland Community and could potentially benefit from legislative advocacy to support local efforts and provide effective, active support to move a process forward or facilitate a conversation with other county and state agencies.  

Of great concern was the need for: early, ongoing and increased communication between elected officials and the community; earlier and proper notification of local forestry efforts; addressing feelings of community isolation and insulation; more services and supports for veterans and older adults; increased litter control; penalties and reducing the Hoodland area speed limit for both improving safety and local business access; infrastructure repairs including roadways/potholes; support addressing the growing number of illegal campers and services for homeless community members; and increased public safety and law enforcement patrols. 

I will continue working with local community members and leaders, business owners and county officials to identify the issues of greatest concern and in ways I would be most effective. I look forward to additional conversations, developing plans and tackling the aforementioned issues. I invite you, as community members of the Hoodland area and House District 52, to please contact my office, share your concerns and solutions. 

As your State Legislator, I am interested in your ideas for legislation and opinion on pending legislation, but am also willing and very interested in helping the community find and implement effective, lasting solutions because success in the Hoodland area means a better community, district and Oregon. 

Contact me. I want to work with you and for you! 

Thank you for your commitment to the community. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

The bigger your lips, the sexier ..... by on 05/07/2018

The bigger your lips, the sexier you'll be when it comes to dating a sucker fish

Nothing says “sexy” faster than someone with a pair of giant lips, even if that person’s collagen injections have made their lips so enormously seductive that they can’t actually pronounce the word “sexy,” and must instead settle for calling themselves “shek-shee.” 

The point is, big lips are no longer just a cosmetic enhancement for people less fortunate than Mick Jagger and Angelina Jolie, whose lips are so large and incredibly sexy that they are prohibited by international law from bearing children together because, quote: “Said children could potentially upset the delicate balance between populations of humans and sucker fish.” 

Though we all know that true beauty stems from inside, as any cosmetics surgeon will tell you, no one will notice unless your lips are the size of tractor tires. 

Which is why a product called “City Lips” is being heralded as the newest, easiest and safest way to give you the lips you always wanted, but never dreamed you could have. At least not without surgically implanting tire stems in them and inflating your lips to 350 psi. 

Until now, those of us unable to afford expensive collagen injections were forced to live with the embarrassment of having normal, everyday lips. But thanks to City Lips, you can avoid the hassle and expense of collagen injections by using their patented do-it-yourself lip enlargement process. 

That’s right! Say goodbye to snobby surgeons telling you how much better you’d look with Julia Roberts lips when their own lips look like Phyllis Diller’s. With each purchase of City Lips you’ll receive one bottle of specially formulated “lip transformer” solution and a patented dual-action applicator. This applicator is a crucial part of City Lips’ groundbreaking, two-step process — which starts by applying the “lip transformer” with one side of the patented applicator and then, after turning the applicator over, whacking your lips with it as many times as possible for 10 minutes. 

Okay, I made that last part up. But according to City Lips, their new product has been named “Best Over-the-Counter Lip Plumper” by Good Housekeeping. I’d also like to point out that after three large margaritas, trying to say “Best Over-the-Counter Lip Plumper” will at least make you feel like your lips are really huge. 

I bring this up because I’m concerned about the mixed message this sends to young women. On one hand, they’re seeing supermodels getting thinner and thinner. On the other hand, they’re seeing those same models trip over their own lips on the runway, with nothing to break their fall except for other stumbling models, who then land in a flailing heap of inflated lips and silicone. 

No more. It’s time to quit pouting, pucker up and accept each other’s lips just the way they are. Unless pouting makes your lips look fuller, of course. 

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Good Eats - finding the best diet that will work for you by Victoria Larson on 05/07/2018

We are all living creatures composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur with a few more elemental substances thrown in for good measure.  

A balanced diet will keep you healthier longer than the diet of industrial, packaged, junk food that so many are trying to live on. Where do you start to find out what’s right?  

What is balanced for one person may not work for another person. From the Paleo carnivores to lacto-ovo vegetarians or vegans, there is a mighty range of foods. Luckily for all of us, there is something for everyone. But are you making the right choices for yourself at this stage of your life?  

In my lifetime I’ve been an omnivore (as my parents raised me) to a lacto-ovo vegetarian (my choice when first an adult) to a vegan (during deep detox), so I’ve experienced them all. Then there was the high-protein diet we were required to experience in med school. From the pork rinds of the high protein Atkins diet to thegluten free vegan diet, how can you best judge what’s right for you?  

First assess your well-being. Look in the mirror- Do you look healthy? Do you sleep well and have lots of energy while awake? Are you pretty much on an even keel, or do you fly off the handle easily? Or scream at the kids or the kid next door? Are your muscles taut and bones strong? Is your hair shiny and your skin smooth? Do you get sick often? succumb to hay fever? colds? headaches? Problems in any of these areas indicate a need to reevaluate your food choices! Oh, the confusion, especially if you look only on the Internet and never investigate further.

There’s the GALT/GAPS diet which addresses nutrition from the intestinal-psychological standpoint. There are the vegetarian/vegan diets which address the global and spiritual side of eating. And all the areas of “healthy” eating styles, which may or may not be right for you. 

Where do you start? 

After honestly assessing your nutritional health status, how do you figure out what’s the best for you? We are as individual as the stars in the universe. So, let’s start at the top. We have teeth in our mouths for helping us decide what’s appropriate for our human bodies. In front we have incisors for biting primarily vegetables and fruits. Next, we have the ‘canine teeth’ for the ripping and tearing of flesh foods. And finally, the molars for the grinding of grains. There’s the beginning of your answer if we leave out the mental/emotional/spiritual aspects. We are built to be omnivores. But there may be several other reasons for making the choices each of us makes for ourselves.  Nutritional reasons, monetary reasons, convenience reasons, and they may all play into your choices as well.

Vegetarians and vegans usually become so for a mixture of nutritional and spiritual reasons, and there’s no arguing with that. The veg/veg diets also address the issues of global warming. Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, poultry) increase our carbon footprint on the earth while the veg/veg diets (beans, fruits, nuts, vegetables) decrease our carbon footprint. 

Still, advertising, refrigeration, transportation and where you shop can play into these choices too. It turns out that the people who eat the most fresh foods are also the ones who waste the most food. Across the board, we Americans waste 40 percent of our food by simply throwing it out! While decreasing meat products can help your health and the health of the planet, it doesn’t mean you have to give them up entirely if you so choose. Grass-fed dairy, eggs and meat can help the fertility of our much-depleted soils. Organ meats have higher food value than muscle meats or ground meats. Our ancestors on the now-termed Paleo diet ate their flesh foods raw or barely cooked, gnawed on bones, and had bone broth from grass-fed animals thereby doing less planetary harm. And they thrived, as do the Inuit who eat a diet almost only of meat and animal fats. There are even Buddhists in the disputed areas of China who exist almost entirely on yak butter and tea. We must be careful to not judge for there are many paths to nutrition. 

While researching for this column I found that many attitudes have changed over the years, while many have remained the same. When, after WW II, we were told to eat margarine, Americans jumped in with both feet, or perhaps I should say with open mouths. We were told that margarine and Crisco were the healthy way to go if we wanted to avoid heart disease. Now heart disease is still on the rise. And diabetes has skyrocketed. The Mediterranean food pyramid which came out of Greece at a time when heart disease in Greece was 90 percent less that the US rate, suggests we have meat only once a month. Maybe there’s something in that, even for the three-times-a-day meat eaters. At the base of this food pyramid was daily exercise. Other daily food intakes included fruits, nuts, pulses (the old term for beans, lentils, and peas, now back in favor) and olive oil (yes, daily). Also encouraged for daily consumption were water, cheese and yogurt. Allowances for weekly intakes of eggs, poultry and fish (which was part of the Greek religion) were also made. Meat one time a month, wine occasionally, and meals eaten in a calm atmosphere with gratitude. Hmm...where has all of that gone?  

The bottom line is there is no perfect diet. There is only what’s right for you at this particular time in your life.  While it’s extremely important to stress a lot less about eating, there appear to be certain guidelines our supermarkets are undermining. 

Most of us need to increase water, fruits and vegetables and decrease sugar. We should eat more nuts and foods of the sea (whether fish or seaweed) and decrease packaged, color-enhanced and foods with preservatives. Cook at home more and eat out less. Enjoy slow food and enjoy food slowly while decreasing fast food. Increase good fats (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil) and decrease trans fats (found in fast food and packaged foods). Doing even some of these things will result in a healthier you. And you will feel better too.

Victoria Larson, ND, Family Practice Physician/Schoolhouse Natural Health, Damascus


Eat Cake! by Taeler Butel on 05/07/2018

Can you even celebrate without cake? Confidence is key, cakes can smell fear! Just prepare well, easy on mixing after the flour and don't open that oven door! Bake one of these up for your favorite mom or to celebrate any day of the week. Remember ... boxed  mix is for wussies. 

Here's a couple of my family's favorite cakes.

Flourless chocolate cake 

For the cake:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2t espresso powder

 

For the glaze:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a circle out of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan, and put inside the pan. Spray the inside of the cake pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Put the butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small, heat-safe bowl over a pan with an inch of boiling water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl). Continue heating and stirring until the butter and chocolate are melted and combined. Put the chocolate and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and espresso. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan, bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Run the knife around the edges of the cake to separate it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate. 

For the glaze - Put the heavy cream and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small pot. Heat it over medium heat, and stir until the cream is hot and the chocolate chips are melted. Glaze the cake. 

Confetti cake 

Childhood goes by like confetti in the wind and I hope you'll remember all of its sweetness! This cake is so much fun, almond and vanilla extract give it depth of flavor. 

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4t baking soda

1t baking powder

3/4 cup soft unsalted butter

3 egg whites

1 t almond extract

2t vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sprinkles 

For the buttercream:

2 sticks unsalted soft butter

3 cups confectioners' sugar

1 t milk

3 t vanilla extract

1 drop pink food coloring

1/3 cup sprinkles 

Mix the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the sprinkles at the very end and mix as little as possible. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pans. Bake at 340 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until the centers are springy to the touch.  Cool the layers while making the buttercream.  

Whip butter with electric mixer until fluffy while slowly adding sugar. Add the vanilla and food coloring. Frost and sprinkle the cake.


Photo by Gary Randall
In search of your personal artistic vision by Gary Randall on 05/07/2018

I’m asked at times, typically by another artist, about my personal artistic vision. At first, I had no idea at all what artistic vision was. And if I didn’t know what it was, how would I know if I even had one? And, to be honest, at the time I was asked I’m not sure that I did possess an artistic vision when it came to my photography. All my life I had considered myself an artist, but I never thought that I had to have a reason to be, or a purpose beyond my own happiness. Since the first time that I was asked I’ve had this little thought of curiosity or wonder about it in the back of my mind.  

To be an artist should I have an awareness of a vision, direction or purpose for my art. A curiosity of whether I was to purposely develop one or if it was something that would develop in time, because at the time I had hardly developed any kind of mastery of the skill that it takes to use my artistic voice, not to be confused with artistic vision, so was not especially happy with the level of my work in the present, but I enjoyed doing it.  

Inside those of us who are creative is a want for our work to touch others in some way. Most artists create their art to be judged beautiful or even offensive, at times, by those that experience it. We create our work to express ourselves in a way that conversation never could. Perhaps we don’t have those words, or perhaps we’re too timid to vocalize them. We must use our artistic voice to express our artistic vision, to express ourselves.  

Our artistic vision is the reason and the purpose that we create. It’s what makes us fulfilled so we naturally want to share with others. We all have our own conscious reason for creating our art, but ultimately our artistic vision is comprised of every aspect of who we are and what we believe in, not just conscious decisions applied during the creative process or the application of the skill that we possess. It’s the part that comes naturally when it's allowed.  

Our artistic vision affects and drives our work. It creates an individuality in our work that will allow it to stand out from other work similar. It starts to express itself in the style of your art. Once you recognize that style you can refine it and make it all your own. You can also start to use it to envision a new future

for the growth of your work. A plan for future experiments or projects to push the bounds of your skill and creativity.  

It took me a while to understand this. It’s just a simple process of creating more art. The more that we create the more the process becomes second nature, and the more we’re able to let our artistic vision take control of more of our natural thought processes. The best example of this that I can think of is how a master musician is able to operate their instrument to a point that playing the music becomes second nature, hardly a thought is made while they perform their song. In my case being able to go out into the field and create a photo without wondering what button to push or dial to twist allows me to perform my song, figuratively speaking. It simply takes doing what we love to do a lot to get there. 

I have been doing what I do now for about 15 years and I’m just now realizing that I can now start to consciously consider my own personal artistic vision for my work, but the best part about it all is that while I was working at overcoming technical obstacles and obtaining new skills, I was also developing that artistic voice that drove me to pick up a camera to express my artistic vision in the first place. 

As I practiced, without realizing it, I was actually starting to understand my artistic vision, because when I started, all I knew was that photography made me happy and I wanted to share my happiness with others.  

Perhaps that’s the best way to voice my artistic vision. I want to develop the skills to create the kind of art that speaks for me. I want to create the kind of art that makes others as happy as it makes me.

No Vital Organs, but Your Heart has to come out by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/07/2018

Max opened one eye and tried to focus beyond his feet at the foot of the hospital bed. Just as he was able to make out the window beyond the bed, marked by the palm tree that seemed to be glued to the blue sky like the work of a nouveau collage artiste, a dark cloud trimmed in starched uniform cut off the light.

“Welcome back Mister Malone,” came the sing-song voice of an extremely large nurse looming over Max like a benevolent bison. “It’s nice, mah’n, but you don’t look so good yet.”

“That’s odd. I feel great,” rasped Max, hearing his voice coming from a place far away.

“I’m Janetta, your nurse, Max,” she said, chuckling from deep in the caverns of her ample belly. “And I don’t believe you, mah’n.”

Max focused one eye back on the source of the voice. “I have to get out of here, Janetta,” he said, winking, as he tried to sit up but was slammed back into the bed by a four-alarm pain that stabbed through his midsection. “Uhh.”

“Yeah, mah’n. You not going anywhere too soon,” Janetta said in a well-used motherly tone.

“They’ll come for me, here,” Max gasped, conjuring up a never-before-used defenseless tone.

“No worries, mah’n.” Janetta stepped aside.

Standing a few feet beyond the bed: Nigel Best, his owlish face offering up a classy Norwegian smile, then nodding. “Max.”

“Great. No worries. They sent me a journalist.”

“Be saying thanks, mah’n. Mister Best and my two boys have been guarding your room for two days now.”

In the background, Nigel nods, signaling with one hand raised on tiptoes reaching as high as he can when the words, “two boys” came up.

Nigel steps forward and Janetta emits a giant smile that is punctuated by two gleaming gold teeth, and she leaves the hospital room.

“How long have I been here?”

“Two days and a morning. This morning,” Nigel says. “Ida called me. I grabbed the first plane from Portland. Janetta, the nurse, her two sons were taking turns at your door. I promise you. No one will get past them.”

“Any idea about these,” Max asked, pointing to his abdomen.

“No vital organs, I’m told. Scraped past a couple of them. Chipped rib and sternum. They had to remove your heart,” Nigel scoffed, laughed. “Doc told me you’d be laid up a week or two.”

“So, what exactly are you doing here? I don’t think I got that.”

“Well, I have a theory. And when Ida called and said you’d been shot, my theory got legs.”

Max squinted at Nigel. “OK. Glad I could oblige.”

Nigel pulled up a cane chair. His theory went like this:

Since Beau Kimatian had been spotted in the Caymans, and Max went to find the “real” Beau Kimatian in the Caymans, and then Max got shot, the question had to be, who was blown up in the Stardust Lodge explosion, really, and who was Gloria Lovejoy, really, and is Anna Belle Wilde involved beyond being the innocent widow, well, as Nigel admitted, “That’s as far as I got.”

“Just like a journalist,” Max huffed. “All questions, no answers.”

“Fill in the blanks, Max,” Nigel smiled, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses atop his fittingly aquiline nose.

“That’s what I came here to do,” Max said flatly, turning his gaze back to the palm tree collage. Max sighed, winced.

“Did you get a look at the shooter?”

Max curled his lip, shook his head. “But I saw the set-up man. My supposed contact. He flipped on your attorney friend. He’s a double agent or a sleaze ball, pick one.”

After a long pause while Max returned to his collage, thinking of who knew he was coming to the Caymans, besides Ida, his sponsor. Gloria, check. Anna Belle, check.

“Ever been shot before?” Nigel asked.

“Shot AT a few times. I must be getting old.”

Max tries unsuccessfully for a new position in the bed.

“The authorities aren’t really authorities. Caymans. The British have no police presence here at all,” Nigel said, shrugging.

“Kinda like a Humphrey Bogart movie,” Max said, a smile and a simultaneous here’s-lookin’-at-you-kid spreading across his face.

“Then who am I?”

“Peter Lorre.”

After all, he’s not Bogie. He’s Max Malone, private eye.


Photo by Gary Randall.
Filtering through the confusion of camera filters by Gary Randall on 04/01/2018

One of the most asked questions of me is one concerning lens filters. So, let’s talk about filters for a minute.

Filters are round glass elements that screw onto the end of your lens, or in some cases glass or resin panels that are placed on front of the lens using a fixture. The purpose of these filters is to affect several different things when you’re taking a photo.

During the era of film photography many colored filters were used, mostly used with black and white film. These colored filters would block or cancel certain colors of light causing corresponding areas of color to respond in different ways. An orange or red filter will darken blue tones and lighten reds, while a blue one will darken reds and lighten blues. In digital photography these colored filters are not needed as the sensor can filter red, green and blue light.

In digital photography the most commonly used filters are a circular polarizer and neutral density filters.

A circular polarizer, or a CP filter, will do a couple of things to your photo according to how it’s used. The primary purpose is to reduce glare and reflections on things such as the surface of water or even wet leaves. It will also turn the sky a deeper blue. It is made with two elements, one which you can turn to adjust the amount or place of polarization. The filter glass will be somewhat dark, so it will stop light and the amount of which varies depending on the darkness of the particular filter, but a typical CP filter will stop about two f/stops.

The next filter that is most commonly used in digital photography is a neutral density filter. A neutral density filter modifies the intensity of all wavelengths of color. In short, its purpose is to block or stop light. The purpose typically is to extend or  lengthen one’s shutter speed during bright light such as a sunny day. When a photographer mentions neutral density filters, they typically call them NDs or ND filters. ND filters come in a variety of “darknesses,” stopping different levels of light. They can vary in optical density from almost clear to nearly solid dark. The most common NDs are ND2, ND4 and ND8 with a corresponding 1, 2 and 3 f/stop reduction. Another common ND used for extreme stops of light is a 10 stop ND filter.

Neutral density filters also come in what is called a graduated neutral density filter. This filter is just as it describes. It has a graduation from top to bottom making half of the filter dark and the other half clear. This is used in neutralizing the exposure when you have an extremely bright sky and a dark foreground. It stops the light of the sky making the exposure more even.

As mentioned previously I use my circular polarizer to affect the blueness of the sky, to remove glare and reflections from water surfaces and wet foliage which will allow the color and texture to show. I love using it for creeks and waterfalls, especially on a rainy day or a day where it’s recently rained as the water will typically reflect the bright light from the sky. So too will the leaves and plants reflect this light from the sky. Once you polarize them the shine goes away and color and textures start to show through. An important thing to remember is that a CP filter works best when the light is coming from 90 degrees from the direction that you’re shooting. As the angle changes so does the amount of affect that the filter has on the photo. Also, the filter will allow me to extend my shutter speed to smooth the water a little more to give it a feeling of movement or flow.

My primary purpose for ND filters is to allow me to extend my shutter even more than I could without them under extremely bright light. They come in handy if you show up to a creek or a waterfall during mid-day sun.

As for graduated ND filters, I use them as little as possible as they tend to darken areas that don’t necessarily need to be. A good example is if you want to darken the sky but there are trees or buildings that extend into this area. The most ideal case for the use of one would be at the coast in a photo of the ocean with an even horizon line.

Whew. This can all sound a bit complicated, but once you use them it will become easy to understand. If you use your camera on the Manual setting it’s also easier to understand as you probably have encountered some of these problems while trying to get that shot at less than an ideal time. I do my best to show up at a scene in good light. If I want to extend my shutter at a creek or a waterfall I find it best to show up when the light is right. Good light from a creek or a waterfall is subdued light with little or no glare or reflection on the surfaces in your photo. I find it best early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but I love it best when it’s drizzling or an even overcast cloudy sky. Bright light is not your friend in these cases. Surprisingly, the CP works under cloudy skies too.

I am writing this while in Reading, Pa. to give a presentation at a photography convention. While here I wanted to visit Ricketts Glen to photograph some east coast waterfalls. Two friends and I hiked in to get some photos but, unfortunately, weren’t able to enter the park until after 9 a.m. At that time of the day the sky was bright and the light was harsh and was shining directly on the falls. I had to block light in any way that I could. I lowered my ISO, stopped down (narrowed) my aperture and applied my CP for two more stops of light. By doing this I was able to get some decent shots. Otherwise I would have gotten shots of crusty sharp water with blown out highlights. Instead I was able to extend my shutter enough to get the water to flow a little in the photo and to get a better exposure.

I hope that this helps clear up this subject a little. If you’re serious about your photography put a CP and some NDs in your bag.

A farewell to La Nina, and the monthly weather columnist by on 04/01/2018

Temperatures were close to long term averages during March, with the exception of warmer than average days on March 11 and 12, as well as a brief warm-up during the final week. Precipitation was well below average and a dramatic contrast with a year ago.

Snowfall had been relatively light and scattered at Government Camp, and up until March 18, totaled only 12.5 inches, well short of the March average of 47.7 inches. Brightwood measured a one-inch snowfall on March 24, following a trace that covered the ground the morning before.

You can nearly sense the relief felt by the National Weather Service to observe the MJO pattern has weakened considerably, shifted over to the Indian Ocean, and is not expected to impact our weather during April. Additionally, La Nina conditions have decreased significantly and are expected to end by May. They predict our area will have average temperature and precipitation levels during April.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 38 and a precipitation average of 7.72 inches, including 0.81 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s three times, into the 70s five times and into the 60s twice. Low temperatures have dropped into the 30s during six years and into the 20s during four years. April averages 3.4 days with a freezing temperature. The record snowfall for the month was during 1982 with a total of six inches. The record 24-hour snowfall of three inches was set on April 14, 1982.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30 degrees and a precipitation average of 7.43 inches, including 26.1 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 70s twice, into the 60s during six years and into the 50s twice. Low temperatures fell into the 30s once, into the 20s during seven years and into the teens twice. The record snowfall in April of 77 inches occurred in 1955. The record 24-hour snowfall of 17.6 inches was set on April 12, 1981.

A farewell to La Nina, and the monthly weather columnist by on 04/01/2018

Temperatures were close to long term averages during March, with the exception of warmer than average days on March 11 and 12, as well as a brief warm-up during the final week. Precipitation was well below average and a dramatic contrast with a year ago.

Snowfall had been relatively light and scattered at Government Camp, and up until March 18, totaled only 12.5 inches, well short of the March average of 47.7 inches. Brightwood measured a one-inch snowfall on March 24, following a trace that covered the ground the morning before.

You can nearly sense the relief felt by the National Weather Service to observe the MJO pattern has weakened considerably, shifted over to the Indian Ocean, and is not expected to impact our weather during April. Additionally, La Nina conditions have decreased significantly and are expected to end by May. They predict our area will have average temperature and precipitation levels during April.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 38 and a precipitation average of 7.72 inches, including 0.81 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s three times, into the 70s five times and into the 60s twice. Low temperatures have dropped into the 30s during six years and into the 20s during four years. April averages 3.4 days with a freezing temperature. The record snowfall for the month was during 1982 with a total of six inches. The record 24-hour snowfall of three inches was set on April 14, 1982.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30 degrees and a precipitation average of 7.43 inches, including 26.1 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 70s twice, into the 60s during six years and into the 50s twice. Low temperatures fell into the 30s once, into the 20s during seven years and into the teens twice. The record snowfall in April of 77 inches occurred in 1955. The record 24-hour snowfall of 17.6 inches was set on April 12, 1981.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: spring brings out new beginnings by Mary Soots on 04/01/2018

Springtime and Easter symbolize new beginnings. The bulbs are popping up, the trees are full of new buds. Each blossom represents new life. From the falling leaves, branches, and trees, new life emerges. A new beginning, full of hope, full of possibilities.

Longer days and warming temperatures bring with them renewed energy. It’s time to fling open the windows and let in the sunshine and warm breezes. It’s also time for some spring cleaning. Time to reach into those dark recesses that have not seen the light of day for months. Our fragile environment here on the mountain forces us to think about how we clean. The harsh chemicals seep into our soil and rivers, so we need to find safe alternatives.

As with many other things, our youth have been leading the way to find alternative ways of doing things. When I mentioned that I was preparing to write the April column, Alicen, the youngest member of the Mount Hood Green Scene, suggested it should be about environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. She said her favorite household cleaner is called Thieves, which is produced by a company called Young Living. It is sold through social networks, as well as online. The concentration of essential oils is diluted to meet the demands of the job at hand. It has now joined my bottle of vinegar on the cleaning shelf.

It makes my heart swell to know that many young people are thinking about our environment and how we can protect it. Alicen mentioned the essential oil cleaners that are available, as well as many of the gentle cleaners now commercially available in stores like New Seasons. She suggested a website called Environmental Working Group (EWG) and another called Think Dirty which have databases of household products. Everything from cleaning supplies to beauty products, to which fruits and vegetables contain the most chemical toxins.

Years ago, when the Mount Hood Green Scene started, one of our missions was to educate young people, and teach them about protecting our environment. We held a contest at the Welches school to get the children involved, where one of the students’ entries was selected to name our organization. Our events have included youth groups from local schools and the Ant Farm in Sandy, and we honor the work that our young people are committed to doing to help protect our planet. Recently, one young man on the mountain told me that he is studying to get a degree where he will work in preserving marine life. His life on the mountain has made him aware of the need to protect our environment.

As we move into some difficult times in protecting our environment from those who would exploit it, I think that it will be our youth who will change the paradigms that we have lived with for the last century. From the darkness, a new light is shining, and it will be a force to be dealt with.

In that vein of thought, we have a guest writer for our column next month. Stay tuned...

Finders keepers, losers weepers by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/01/2018

U.S. Attorney Ida Cavendish came out of the gate like a prized filly thoroughbred. Motioning Max Malone into a chair she perched on the front edge of her desk with one foot on the floor, the other dangling – much like Max’s frayed and obsessive accessibility.

But there was something lurking behind that southern smile. Was it a smirk? A warning? Allure? No, definitely not allure. When it dawned on Max it was like the sunrise on a distant planet – as in never previously witnessed. The inner working of Ida Cavendish was All-American attorney. Heisman Trophy stuff. Gold Medal. Nothing imposing mind you, Max thought. Just a strong headwind of way ahead. Her jib was flying in full bloom.

“What makes you think you can find this Beau Kimatian character?” she started, passing over introductions like a lonesome platter of liver and onions.

“I don’t,” Max came back, a little too quickly, probably, tipping his hand more than he might have against an ordinary opponent.

“Then what are we doing here?”

“You tell me,” Max responded, getting his sea legs back.

“Look Mr. Malone,” Ida said, her smile now completely driven by attorney infidelity. “I went out on a limb to finance this, this, what did Nigel call it, a ‘Hail Mary’ and I’m not accustomed to hailing anything, especially worn-out sports metaphors.”

That got a smile from Max – one of his Galway Bay best.

“OK, OK,” Max said, holding up his palms in surrender. “I won’t find him. That’s not the way I work. He’ll find me.”

*   *   *

Max was not unaccustomed to flying by the seat of his pants, but the twin engine prop that the U.S. Attorney’s office had sprung for, for his trip to the Cayman Islands, would have qualified for his seat without pants of any kind. It bounced through, around and under cumulus clouds with all the aplomb of a doomed Dodo bird. The plane was so old it had ashtrays in the arm rests. There was no overhead luggage space because there was no overhead space. When an updraft pitched the plane to port, the starboard prop fluttered to a near-standstill, seemingly catching its breath for the starboard updraft that would soon take its turn. When the plane got its wheels down on Grand Cayman Island, the wings were still waving up and down as if there was a welcoming committee of rusty Cessnas applauding its arrival.

As Max stepped off the ladder onto the tarmac, he took note that farther down the line there were real airplanes parked with passenger tunnels for unloading. In a few days, he was headed for an upgrade.

An island breeze ruffled the brim of his fedora. After all, Grand Cayman is a Caribbean island. And besides being a haven for dodgy offshore banking services, a tax haven for multinational corporations and tawdry tycoons, a grandiose and forgiving far-from-the-British-Isles territory of the British, it was also where, somewhere around the talcum powder beaches, swaying palm trees, and haughty hedge fund managers sipping poolside drinks while twirling plastic umbrellas, lurked Beau Kimatian, the man who made a mistake in Wildewood and, if Max had his way, was going to pay dearly in ways beyond monetary ways.

First, a taxi that had the chilling charm of driving on the wrong side of the road, past the posh hotels and restaurants, up a seven-mile beach, to a relatively modest hotel called The Caribbean Club on the north coast in an area known as Rum Point. Relatively modest, as in Kate Middleton’s dress didn’t cost half as much as the Queen’s.

Rum Point had its Max Malone charm. Early inhabitants included pirates, shipwrecked sailors, slaves, and refugees from the Spanish Inquisition. The skin color of the inhabitants reflected the chromatic glamour of its characters, which made Max’s covert contact leaning against a mostly white pillar that still showed the water line of Hurricane Ivan from 2004 even more obvious, reassuring Max of the abilities of American intelligence to avoid detection – kind of like the stealth of a giraffe in a bankrupt zoo.

“You’re Malone, right?” the contact offered, the words whistling around a toothpick working feverishly to provide an air of nonchalance that was as effective as (see giraffe reference above).

Max nodded with disdain.

“He’ll find you,” the contact said while disappearing behind the white hotel pillar.

Max turned back to the street. A single shot rang out, knifing through the humid air and coming to an abrupt halt in Max’s midsection, pinning him momentarily against the colonnade before he slumped slowly down to a sitting position leaving behind a thin trace of blood along the blanched wall.

Max thought: “He found me.”

After all …

Angry? Don’t beat yourself up over it by on 04/01/2018

Hello and welcome to another edition of our special in-depth medical feature Health Yak, which has been recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General as “extremely topical,” meaning that you should not attempt to ingest any portion of this column without first consulting your doctor.

Today we will be discussing a study that suggests as many as 16 million Americans — or roughly the number of people who never receive their appetizers during an average season of Hell’s Kitchen — suffer from periodic outbursts of anger.

I know what you’re thinking:

What makes this different from a typical outburst of anger, like when I open the air vent in my car and release a cloud of spores the size of shiitake mushrooms?

The answer, of course, is that there IS no difference, at least not until someone funds a clinical study, at which point it becomes an official “disorder” treatable by a new drug with minor side effects, such having your liver grow to the size of Shaquille O’Neal’s seat cushion.

According to Dr. Emil Coccaro of the University of Chicago’s medical school, which, as you may recall, conducted the definitive study on the yawning habits of the Tibetan mountain yak (Conclusion: After 3,000 yawns, researchers become suicidal), what used to be known as “road rage” has now escalated into a nationwide problem called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. By definition, IED involves “outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation.”

For example: Let’s say you’re at a drive-thru trying to order a bacon cheeseburger and, for the seventh-straight time, the person taking your order insists there is no one named “Macon the Sheep Herder” working there, and to please place your order. And let’s say, in frustration, you exit your vehicle and rip the image of a cheeseburger directly from the menu board and begin gnawing on it, causing those in line behind you to drive off through the patio area.

Chances are, you could be an IED sufferer.

According to Dr. Coccaro, his conclusion was based on the results of a nationwide, face-to-face survey of 9,282 adults who were scored based on their response to highly formulated and complex diagnostic observations, such as “I’m guessing most dogs would probably introduce themselves by sniffing your face.”

Amazingly, all 9,282 participants in the study were identified as IED sufferers.

“Obviously, the disorder is more widespread than we thought,” stated Coccaro, who then added, “You got a problem with that?!”

To determine if you might be an IED sufferer, answer “Yes” or “No” to each of the following scenarios:

1) When my computer crashes, I try to remain calm by thinking about the solitude and freedom of skydiving, ascending through the clouds, and then letting my computer drop from 1,800 ft. into a lake.

2) On at least one occasion, I have attempted to affect change and contact someone in Congress by yelling at the top of my lungs.

3) I find it difficult to remain calm when, after paying $40 for gas, I have to pay another 75 cents for AIR.

4) Because I have been told it is an important social issue facing our nation, I am frustrated by my inability to really care where what happens to anyone on The Bachelor.

And lastly,

5) Recently, I have been performing yoga as a way to limber up before handing out a good butt-whoopin’.

OK, tally your score by giving yourself one point for “No” and two points for “Yes.”

Answer key: If you took the time to actually answer any of these questions you are an IED sufferer. According to the study, you should go ahead and join the millions of Americans already on some type of anti-depressant.

And if you have a problem with that, you KNOW where you can find me!

I’ll be waiting right here in the lotus position.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Bills worth supporting and their impact on our lives by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 04/01/2018

I want to thank all who contacted my office to share their concerns and opinions about the bills introduced during the 2018 Legislative Session. As your new Representative for House District 52, both House Bill (HB) 4152 and 4044 that I wrote and Chief Co-sponsored with Sen. Chuck Thomsen unanimously passed and are waiting for the Governor’s signature. Other wins for our District that Sen. Thomsen and I worked on include the securing of $300,000 for the Oregon Food Bank to purchase additional cold storage units used to store fresh food, such as the donations from the successful crop donation program. We were also successful in securing just over $300,000 for the Oregon Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Network which trains and supports community volunteers to be court advocates for foster children who have been abused and neglected.

Representatives are only allowed to submit two bills for consideration during the short legislative sessions. I believe both of my bills unanimously passed thanks to their development through conversations with our area’s education and public safety leaders, bicameral Chief Co-sponsorship of Sen. Thomsen, as well as the outreach to fellow legislators by Sen. Thomsen and me to garner bipartisan support. HB4152 is the Eagle Creek Fire Recovery bill that provides funding to Hood River and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Offices for search/rescue and wildfire-related training and equipment. HB4044 is my education bill that identifies programs in our public school and education service districts that are effective at recruiting, retaining and mentoring educators who work with Oregon’s public preschool through grade 12 students who are or may be at-risk of experiencing an achievement gap when compared to other groups.

In addition to these two, I sponsored and supported bills that successfully passed related to education, economic development, housing, environmental stewardship, health care and public safety.

Education: Beyond HB4044, I sponsored HB4035, providing grants to Oregon National Guard members for college, and HB4056, which allows civil forfeiture proceeds to go to scholarships for the children of public safety officers with disabilities or who have passed away.

Economic development: I sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 1516, the Small Business Expansion Loan Fund, which provides early stage growth capital loans to qualifying individuals and businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Housing: I supported HB4007, First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account, which allows Oregonians to set up a savings account at financial institutions for their first single family home purchase and reduce their federal taxable income by up to $10,000.

Environment: I sponsored HB4118, which implements the 2016 Good Neighbor Authority Agreement (GNA); the GNA facilitates sustainable foresting, seeks to reduce wildfire risk and improve wildlife habitat. I was also a sponsor on SB1541, Cleaner Air Oregon, a law that works to examine and reduce toxic air-related public health risk.

Healthcare: I supported HB4005, the drug pricing transparency bill, that requires prescription drug manufacturers to annually report prescription drug prices and the costs associated with developing and marketing them. This information can help us better understand the drivers behind medication cost increases. I also supported HB4018 which requires coordinated care organization (CCO) governing body meetings, where final decisions are made, be open to the public and allow public testimony.

Public safety: Beyond HB4152, I sponsored SB1562 which improves the definition of strangulation and increases the penalty for strangulation when the victim is a family or household member. I also sponsored HB4055 which affects hit-and-runs and includes requiring drivers to immediately stop at the collision scene and reasonably investigate what was struck.

I need your voice and collaboration to continue building a better community, district and state. As we plan for the 2019 Legislative Session, I invite you all to contact me to share your experiences, challenges or concerns. Please email me at rep.jeffhelfrich@oregonlegislature.gov, call my Salem office at 503-986-1452 or visit my Facebook page and contact me through messenger at www.facebook.com/RepJeffHelfrich/ .

Thank you for your commitment to the community. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Brunch, it’s what’s for dinner by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2018

Brunch isn’t just a meal, it’s a lifestyle. This menu is thrown together in the best way, the main dish is served casserole style or as they say in the Midwest, “hot dish.” Either way it can be easily made.

Baked oatmeal

3 cups old fashioned oats

¾ cup brown sugar

1 t cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup orange juice

¾ t ground cinnamon

½ t salt

1 t pure vanilla extract

4 T unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted

2 cups fresh berries (larger berries chopped)

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 2½ quart baking dish. Combine oats, salt, sugar, butter and cinnamon (reserve ½ cup) and press remaining mixture into baking dish. Place half the oat mixture in the baking dish, top with half the berries, sprinkle cornstarch and juice over fruit top w/remaining oats and then top with the remaining berries. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes.

Biscuits and gravy casserole

Preheat oven to 425°F

1 can biscuit dough

1 lb cooked crumbled sausage

1 cup whole milk

8 eggs

1 t salt and pepper

 ½ cup each mozzarella and cheddar cheese

White gravy - homemade or packaged.

In a large baking dish lay out biscuits. I pulled mine in half to make the dough layer thinner. Sprinkle on the cooked sausage then cheese. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over biscuits. Place in oven and bake 30-40 mins until golden brown on top. Serve with gravy.

Cherry pistachio scones with cream cheese glaze

Preheat oven to 365°F. For easy cleanup I make and bake these on a large piece of parchment.

1 stick unsalted cold butter

2 cups flour

1 t salt

1 t baking powder

½ cup sugar

½ cup cream

¼ cup chopped dried cherries and pistachios

Glaze – In a blender combine ¼ cup softened cream cheese, ½ cup powdered sugar, 1t vanilla and ¼ cup cream.

On a large piece of parchment with a fork mix together dry ingredients. Grate butter on top, stir it together and sprinkle cream on the top and mix in. Mix in cherries and pistachios and fold sides up until dough comes together. Do not over mix. Form a disk and score into triangles. Chill dough for 15 mins and bake on a large sheet pan on the same parchment for 20 mins until top is browned. Let it cool and pour glaze over top.

The bottom line on fat – the good, the bad and the lipids by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2018

Many have tried every single low-fat food and drink available to no avail. From planned meals to low-cal cocktails, nothing really worked, right? Well, you’ve been sold a bill of goods, about a billion dollars’ worth of foods that clearly don’t lead to healthy weight management, or a healthy heart for that matter. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity continue to rise. What’s wrong with this picture.

To this day the American Heart Association, in good faith I’m sure, advocates avoiding butter, cream, eggs and whole milk as the way to avoid heart attacks. Instead you’ve been told to eat and drink chicken without the skin, egg whites (but no yolks), margarine, skim milk and low-fat salad dressings made with questionable vegetable oils. If you followed this advice you are probably the first to say, “ugh” in addition to not losing any weight or maybe even not avoiding a heart attack. Why is this?

We tend to believe advertising. What we need to know is this: our human bodies are made of protein. These proteins are composed of amino acids, of which several are considered “essential.” That means they must be consumed in the diet as they cannot be manufactured by our bodies. And our bodies don’t function well without these essential amino acids. Proteins are needed for all enzymatic processes that happen in daily life – like digestion, energy and heart function! The following is a list of several amino acids that must come from foods and which foods they come from.

Histidine comes from dairy, eggs, meat, poultry; Isoleucine from the same sources; Leucine from dairy, meat, poultry and wheat germ; Lysine from dairy, eggs, fish meat, poultry; Methionine from dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds; Phenylalanine from dairy, eggs, meat, wheat germ; Threonine from beans, dairy, eggs, meat; Tryptophan from dairy, meat, nuts, poultry (especially turkey) and finally Valine from dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and wheat germ.

Vegetables and fruits are wonderful for providing vitamins and minerals, but other sources of protein are important to keep us healthy. But wait, those are the very foods you’ve been told for the last few decades to avoid (while diabetes, heart disease, and obesity have continued to skyrocket)! What’s going on here? We’ve been advertised to near death. Sold a bill of goods. Crisco, fake eggs, margarine and vegetable oils were ‘sold’ to us, via advertising, for heart health and weight loss. These things were touted as being better for you than real food!

Yet for thousands of years before advertising, humans have been consuming a traditional diet of dairy, eggs, meat and poultry. And I mentioned wheat germ. These are the foods that bring us amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and the good fats. The foods that don’t make you fat (unless over-consumed) but have an important role in keeping you healthy with a managed weight.

If you still believe that fats raise your cholesterol, you’re partially right. Bad fats, and simple carbs, do raise blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. The “bad fats” are things like hydrogenated fats found in baked goods, crackers and chips, any of the myriad of manipulated, colored, manufactured and preservative foodstuffs that advertisers push you to consider to be healthy food! But they’re not.

The good fats don’t make you fat or raise your cholesterol. Avocadoes, nuts, oils, olive oil, sesame oil and even butter are not only real foods, they are foods (fats, if you will) that are good for you! Most cholesterol is manufactured by your body and recycled. Surprised? That must mean that your body needs cholesterol. And that, in fact, is true. But why do we need cholesterol?

You have trillions of cells in your body and every cell has a membrane composed of lipids. Lipids are fats. Good fats keep those cell membranes fluid and “squishy” so they can move around your body and do their “chores.” The chores of a cell include taking in nutrients, building enzymes for metabolic processes, and releasing waste materials. Every cell. If those cell membranes are composed of trans fats (from the previously mentioned sources), the cells become stiff and unable to function properly, leading to illnesses and the inevitable endpoint.

The bottom line – get the trans fats out of your diet, put the good fats back in. Stop stressing about cholesterol, your body’s going to make it anyway and you need it for cellular health. Eat real food not fake food. Don’t be cajoled or scared by advertising. Use your brain and think it through. Your brain by the way is composed of 40 percent fat so that should convince you of the need for good fats. But more on that another time.


Punchbowl Falls.
The View Finder: Finding forgiveness after the Eagle Creek Fire by Gary Randall on 03/01/2018

This month I’m going to risk making my “View Finder” Mountain Times column an opinion piece, but because of the tremendous negative effects that the Columbia River Gorge Eagle Creek Fire has had on our region, and in the light of the recent trial of the teen who caused it, I have decided to weigh in on the judge’s verdict.

I feel that the punishment dealt out by the judge is fair and I’ll tell you why.

I have been as angry as anyone about this situation. I have family and friends in Cascade Locks and the Stevenson area who were affected directly by this fire. The fire will ultimately cost me money as my guide business in the gorge is essentially shut down. I have a lot to be angry about.

With that being said, I must remove the vitriol, vindictiveness and other emotions from my thinking to see this logically. This is what the law is required to do in these emotional cases. The job of that judge was to put all emotional arguments aside while all the facts are considered.

Prior to this day there have been some lively discussions about this topic. Some have called for extremely severe punishment, while others want to pass it off as just a bad decision by a child who didn’t know any better, but the consensus seemed to be to have this teen serve a ton of community service working to correct what he spoiled and to have him serve some sort of probation. In the end that’s just what he received. It was also the maximum that the judge could rule in a juvenile court.

There will be a hearing, scheduled for this May, to determine restitution, which will be nothing more than a formality and nothing less than a lesson in futility if collection from the family is expected, due to the astronomical amount of monetary damage that was done. It’s my understanding that the cost of fighting the fire is close to $20,000,000 and each person who was affected by the fire has a right to sue the family for up to $7,500 each in damages.

This teen will receive almost 2,000 hours of community service working directly with the U.S. Forest Service. It is my hope that during this 2,000 hours he will dedicate himself and find a mentor who will direct his attention to the importance of conservation and community. If we can trust the system these things will be addressed during his time serving the community.

Although the letter of apology was finely crafted (or at least refined) by his lawyers, I believe him. I believe that he understands now the enormity of his actions. I feel that he truly realizes that his actions can affect so many more than just himself.

It is my reasoning that if the system would have sent this teen to a jail situation he would come out bitter. I’m hoping that his sentence of community service and monitoring through the probation system and his community service that he will come out of this a better human than he would have otherwise.

It’s now time to heal. It’s time to heal our anger. It’s time to heal the losses that those who have been affected have felt. It’s time now to heal the Columbia River Gorge and go forward in the future with an increased level of awareness of how fragile this land is and how easily we all affect the land when we recreate there.

At this point, as a photographer and someone who has loved the Columbia River Gorge all of his life, I can’t wait to be able to return to the trails that were once so familiar to witness and record the effect that the fire has had on the forest.

A lot of people have asked how they can help repair the damage caused by the fire. A lot of people want to help repair the trails and replant trees. The best way to do this is through an agency that does the kind of work directly with the US Forest Service. Two that are doing a lot right now are Trailkeepers of Oregon and the National Forest Foundation.

https://www.nationalforests.org/get-involved/eagle-creek-fire-restoration-fund

https://www.trailkeepersoforegon.org/get-involved/

Save water – fix that leaky light switch by on 03/01/2018

The great thing about home improvement shows is that they inspire the average person to improve their home without the hassle of dealing with an experienced professional. The bad news is that I’m one of those people. The result is our bathroom, which currently has a commode with hot running water and a wall heater that can only be turned on by unscrewing the third bulb in our vanity mirror.

I’d like to point out it wasn’t my idea to take what had been a simple plan to increase the space in our bathroom and turn it into a major remodel. However, after one teeny mistake, my family insisted on a total makeover! Which brings us to our first home improvement tip:

The Importance of Bearing Walls.

You will discover that there are certain walls in your home — possibly even in the bathroom — which should not be removed because, as it turns out, portions of your home will collapse. As important as “bearing walls” are to your home’s infrastructure, they aren’t marked as such and, as a general rule, look just like other walls in your home. Which is why anyone who accidentally removes one, thereby inadvertently causing the total destruction of an otherwise functional bathroom, should be forgiven for this oversight.

So, let’s assume the worst happens, and you find yourself standing in the middle of the downstairs bathroom while surrounded by the upstairs closet. And let’s assume your wife, in a show of support, still hasn’t insisted on hiring a professional, such as a hit man.

The next step is to rebuild the bathroom — and your marriage — as quickly as possible. To do this, you’ll need organization and a basic knowledge of plumbing and electricity. If you don’t possess this knowledge, don’t worry! You will quickly gain it through practical experience, i.e., connecting the wrong wires and practically electrocuting yourself.

Through this process of trial and error you will eventually be able to flush the commode without causing the outlets to spark.

The first step, however, is to clear the area of debris. Depending on the extent of damage to your bathroom, you may be able to do this quickly and easily by shoveling the debris directly through the floor and depositing it under the house. If a hole doesn’t exist, feel free to make one. If your spouse catches you, feel free to crawl inside and seal it up behind you.

Once the room has been cleared, it’s time to rebuild. Start with the bearing wall. Aside from its structural significance, it will symbolize the emotional healing process you are trying to foster with your family — and help avoid the need for a physical healing process should the bathroom be out of commission for more than 24 hours.

Next comes plumbing and wiring, which, I’d like to point out, should never be done at the same time. Sure, it may be faster and easier to run new wiring through an existing water line. But take it from me: if your pet occasionally drinks out of the commode, it’s not worth the risk. The same goes for any other shortcuts that could turn your morning bathroom visit into what looks like an episode of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

That said, I hope this advice has been helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to answer them as soon as I fix this leak in the light switch.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

February shifted gears mid-month, cold continues in March by on 03/01/2018

During the first 13 days of February, relatively dry and mild weather prevailed and Government Camp had received only two inches of snow. A dramatic weather pattern change followed with Brightwood recording a four-inch snowfall and Government Camp six inches on Feb. 14. Several days with snow have followed, and as of Feb. 22, Brightwood has received a total of 15.5 inches and Government Camp 32 inches of snow with the promise of more to come. Quite a contrast with the mild weather in January.

The National Weather Service reports that on Feb. 12, a negative Arctic Oscillation combined with an active MJO pattern and La Nina to cause our current cold weather. The upper jet-stream pattern guides arctic air from the Yukon directly into our area and is not expected to modify within the next several days. Accordingly, they expect our area will have below average temperatures and precipitation about average during March.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52, an average low of 35 and a precipitation average of 8.82 inches, including 3.2 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 70s twice, into the 60s five times and into the 50s three times. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s three times and into the 20s seven times. On average, March has eight days that record freezing temperatures. The record March snowfall was set in 1960 with a total of 19.9 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall of 10 inches was set on March 4, 1960.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 27 degrees and a precipitation average of 9.30 inches, including 47.7 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 60s five times, into the 50s three times and into the 40s twice. Low temperatures fell into the 20s during five years and into the teens during the other five years. The record snowfall in March of 127 inches occurred in 1962. The record 24-hour snowfall of 22 inches was set on March 7, 2003.

The MHGS: the new trend of Cradle to Cradle design by Mary Soots on 03/01/2018

Being a consumer these days is not an easy thing. It used to be that you could just select an item based on what you needed, the quality available and your budget.

However, we now tiptoe around a landmine field of guilt-inducing decisions each time we purchase anything. Do we choose organic produce from the farmers’ market because it’s less toxic and helps our local economy? Do we select a new bed frame from the big distributor because it’s less expensive?

Many of us struggle with decisions around consumption, environmental degradation, etc. According to a couple of my personal heroes, “The environmental message that consumers take from all of this can be strident and depressing: stop being so bad, so materialistic, so greedy. Do whatever you can, no matter how inconvenient, to limit your consumption. Buy less, spend less, drive less, have fewer children — or none. Aren’t the major environmental problems today — global warming, deforestation, pollution, waste — products of your decadent Western way of life? If you are going to help save the planet, you will have to make some sacrifices, share some resources, perhaps you can go without.” [Michael Braungart, William McDonough, EPEA]

Businesses are equally faced with similar dilemmas and must make decisions on best practices. Before manufacturing a new product, a “Cradle to Grave” analysis is performed. This analysis allows producers to assess how their product or service will move through its life cycle. As you can guess, the life cycle refers to how the product is born, moves through its life and finds its way to its grave. Understanding each product involves a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which analyzes the product from the extraction of raw resources, the processing of those materials, the product’s design, how the product is manufactured, then distributed, how the product is used and reused, how it is repaired and lastly, how we recycle and finally dispose of the product.

Generally speaking, LCAs study the use of materials, energy and economic flows. Although each LCA is different, it will typically assess the impact that the product has on the environment, including the use of fossil fuels, non-renewable resources, water use, effect on water bodies and organisms, toxins released on air and land. Some of these effects cannot be exactly quantified for a specific unit of material, so estimates are used. The importance of LCAs is not necessarily in the quantification of specific environmental effects, but in the comparison of products and assemblies.

A different type of analysis focuses on the social and socio-economic life cycle assessment (S-LCA) of products. They take into account that our choices will have social and socio-economic effects as well, not only on workers but also on entire communities where production takes place. The United Nations has developed guidelines for conducting S-LCA’s.

The “Cradle to Grave” concept of design and production was turned upside down by Braungart and McDonoguh, who came up with the concept of “Cradle to Cradle,” “[a] model of industrial systems in which material flows cyclically in appropriate, continuous biological or technical nutrient cycles. All waste materials are productively re-incorporated into new production and use phases, i.e. “waste equals food.” [Michael Braungart, William McDonough, EPEA].

Basically, the idea is that when something is at the end of its life cycle, it becomes a raw material at the beginning of a new life cycle.

There are now many businesses that are built on the “Cradle to Cradle” premise and the numbers are growing. Innovative thinkers are creating products made of plants instead of petroleum so that they can be composted, thus creating food for new plants. This type of closed system creates no waste that leaves a carbon footprint. Along with this, the health costs to workers is reduced as the toxicity levels decrease.

It’s exciting to see what the future of the “Cradle to Cradle” production design will bring. With less waste production and lower social costs along the line, we can have more sustainable development. Then we can become indulgent without the guilt. I’m looking forward to that.

Episode XIX: Tallahassee Lassie by Max Malone, Private Eye on 03/01/2018

Max sat in his overstuffed chair, steam curling around his head from a second cup of coffee, staring out the window at a Stellar’s Jay couple which to no one’s surprise weren’t exactly getting along, able to focus on the mystery of the Stardust Lodge demise for a change as Gloria Lovejoy was having a morning time out after abusing a fifth of gin the night before, listening to a Louie Armstrong vinyl trying to convince one and all of this “wonderful world,” when the phone rang jerking Max back to reality like the sudden return to gravity of a space station astronaut.

It was Nigel Best, the Wildewood World newspaper guy.

“She wants to see you,” Nigel said, getting to the point like most bothersome newsies do.

“Who?” Max offered while gulping down the last of the cup of coffee.

“Ida. Ida Cavendish. The U.S. Attorney in Tallahassee.”

“Let her know how she can find me.”

“No. You need to go there.”

“She needs to do better than that.”

“She already has, I believe. I told her how to motivate you.”

“You think you know that, eh?”

“Think so. She’s carved out a line in her budget, with your name on it.”

 * * *

Max drew the short airline seat straw. He occupied the middle seat from Hades. On his left, window seat, was a woman who, judiciously, had to be an Olympian weightlifter – except she had abandoned her training regimen long ago. On his right, aisle seat, was a detail man on a sales trip that was not going to go well – his suit was the clue. It could have been a Pee Wee Herman hand-me-down. It was five hours of North Korean torture. And once released from the chamber, the Dallas-Fort Worth airport awaited – with open catacombs. The only saving grace for this space was that, perhaps, one day, the construction job would be completed. But that day had not yet arrived.

Quick turnaround for the 2 ½ hour flight to Tallahassee. A delightful flight attendant named Rose renewed Max’s faith in flights.

Standing three deep in the Avis car rental line, Max’s attention roamed to the Hertz desk where a splendid agent sat all alone, propped on an elbow, tapping her pen against the rim of her stylish glasses, making him wonder why in the world he had chosen Avis. Worse than that, the Avis agent disappeared through the back door of her cubicle and hadn’t returned. That was the only clue Max required. He bolted to the Hertz desk like O.J. when it was still OK to bolt like O.J. Before he had completed his transaction with Miss Hertz of the Year, a pair of paramedics had arrived, entered the back of the Avis desk, and emerged with the Avis agent stretched out on a gurney. The word spread quickly. She was dead. No wonder they were No. 2.

Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and so far-removed from actual Florida that it’s only eight miles from Georgia. Capital Circle is the round road around the city that was optimistically designed to allow easy access to everything Tallahassee has to offer. Max quickly found out that consisted of state government buildings that sprawled across green lawns laden with acorns from ancient oaks that had witnessed the civil war; Chick-fil-A restaurants that created backups on the circle route just to gain access to the drive-up window somehow satisfying the southern appetite for everything chicken; and a Waffle House on every street corner because the town folk also required a breakfast warmup before the chicken chow-down.

 * * *

Max stepped out of his Hertz rental car in the state capitol parking lot, having survived a night in a Holiday Inn so undignified the bar didn’t have Jameson’s. The exit from the air-conditioned car was jarring – like walking into a jar of mayonnaise. There are many kinds of humidity, but Tallahassee in August while outfitted in a black suit and fedora was as brutal as being stranded on the Amazon without a paddle or piranha repellent.

Inside, Max toweled off in a restroom before being escorted immediately into the office of Ida Cavendish, U.S. Attorney. She issued a practiced professional smile as she arose from around her desk like a whisper of night-blooming-jasmine and followed up with a breezy “Hello, Mr. Malone” that prompted an immediate and equally professional doffing of his fedora.

This caper was looking up. After all, he is Max Malone, private eye.

New bill to reduce education gap by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 03/01/2018

On Feb. 20, the Oregon House passed legislation to identify, research, review and assess programs used in school districts and education service districts that support educators and reduce the achievement gap. House Bill 4044 is a nonpartisan/bipartisan Chief Sponsored by Representative Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River) and Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River). HB 4044 requires the Chief Education Office (CEdO) to assess programs that are the most effective for recruiting, retaining, mentoring and providing professional development to educators who serve at-risk student populations.

HB 4044 was developed through conversations with school administrators in Hood River, the Multnomah Education Service District and the Clackamas Education Service District. The goal of this legislation is to identify which programs are providing the kind of support educators serving at-risk student populations need to best serve our children, and to find a way to expand these programs to as many communities as possible. This bill is an investment in our teachers, an investment in our students and an investment in the future of Oregon.

HB 4044 specifically calls for the Chief Education Office to “conduct a study on the recruitment, retention, mentoring and professional development of educators who serve students in public preschool through grade 12 who are from student groups that may be at risk for experiencing an achievement gap when compared to other student groups.”

The bill has a four-fold purpose: identify, research, review and assess programs used in school districts and education service districts that support educators. To unpack this, HB 4044 will:

Identify the programs assessed and funding sources that have been most effective or efficient in improving the recruitment, retention, mentoring and professional development of educators or have been most effective or efficient in positively impacting outcomes for students.

Identify schools or school districts that have implemented programs.

And for each of these identify the:

Reasons the program was effective or efficient or was able to positively impact student outcomes,

Populations of educators or students served by the program; and

Challenges and opportunities for success and improved outcomes for educators and students.

Representatives from the Multnomah County Education Service District, Clackamas Education Service District and the Reynolds School District submitted testimony in favor of the bill. The bill is not expected to have a negative fiscal impact on the state budget.

HB 4044 is also sponsored by Democratic Representatives Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) and Janelle Bynum (D- Clackamas). Having passed the House by a vote of 51-0, the legislation was assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and was scheduled for a public hearing in late February. We encourage the community to submit letters of support and watch the hearing as well as subsequent steps of House Bill 4044. To follow the progress of this legislation, please visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2018R1/Measures/Overview/HB4044.

Two ultimate favorites by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2018

Sometimes you need to go that little extra mile, these recipes don’t skimp.


Ultimate deep-dish pizza

This dish has layers of meats, cheeses and sauce, or make an all veggie version if you’d prefer, this is pizza you eat with a fork.

Heat oven to 400 and oil a large cast iron skillet

For the crust:

1 package quick rise yeast

3-4 T olive oil

1/2 stick softened butter

1 T kosher or sea salt

2 cups flour

1 cup tepid water

1 T honey or brown sugar

Mix the yeast, water (should be warm, not hot) and sugar or honey in a large bowl, let sit until frothy. Add in flour, salt and oil, and stirring with a wooden spoon add in softened butter. Dough may be a little tacky, add flour if too wet, cover with a damp towel. Let dough sit about an hour, then press into well-oiled cast iron skillet.

For the filling:

1/2 cup each: sliced peperoni, salami, roasted red peppers, black olives

1 cup whole milk mozzarella cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 lb each cooked crumbled Italian sausage and ground beef.

1 egg

1 t Italian seasoning

Mix together the mozzarella cheese, ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and set aside. Layer the ground meat mixture first, then the cheese mixture, followed by the sliced meats and peppers next. Finally, cover with sauce, Parmesan cheese and olives.

Bake at 375 about 45-50 minutes.

 

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Who knew just a few simple changes could make such a difference – these are decadent!

2 cups flour

1 cup melted unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 1/2 t kosher salt

Sea salt flakes for the top

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 365. With an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until it becomes one – this is key, mix it for five minutes or more – add in vanilla, eggs one at a time and dry ingredients just until dough forms. Then, using a wooden spoon, add in chips and nuts.

Spoon rounded Tablespoon full balls of dough on a large baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on your preference. Let cool five minutes before transferring to a cookie plate.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

The microcosm of the macrocosm and the need to detox by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2018

The onslaught of toxins is phenomenal in our chemically oriented world. Many people think a “detox” means extra fiber and a colon cleanse. But we each have a whole body, not just body parts. And toxic substances are all around us, not just in the air, the water or our earth. There are toxic grocery receipts, cosmetics, cleaning products. Also jet fuel chemtrails that fall all over our planet daily. Positive ions are given off by clothes dryers, dishwashers and HDTVs, to say nothing of the toxic dishwasher soap and popular brands of laundry detergents capable of killing children and puppies who ingest them. There’s a lot of toxicity on television as well.

With a nod to Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” series, where he often mentions “billions and billions of stars in the universe,” I want you to realize there are trillions and trillions of cells in your body. Each and every one of you. Magic, not visible to the naked eye. We are wonders of creation!

In Chinese medicine we often contemplate how the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Every cell of your body reflects the whole being. Each cell takes in nutrients and removes waste products just like the body does. All the creatures on Earth. Perhaps we even reflect the universe with its billions and billions of stars with our trillions and trillions of cells.

Like the skin that holds our bodies intact, each cell has a membrane enclosing “organs” called organelles at the cellular level: a nucleus, mitochondria, stands of DNA and others. Very similar to our organs of brains, hearts, livers and other organs that keep us alive. If each cell is the microcosm of the macrocosm, how in the world, how in the universe, do we begin to detoxify?

We need to detoxify each cell. We must get the nutrients into the cell, let the cell extract those nutrients for health and vitality, and discard the leftover waste products lest they slow down the organism. The cellular membranes fueled by trans fats, artificial chemicals and toxins will become thick and hardened, reducing the ability for the cell to use the available nutrients. Of course, there’s also the fact that trans fats, artificial chemicals and toxins are not nutritious to begin with.

But nobody eats just trans fats and such, right? When useful nutrition does get into the cell and it is utilized, the cell still must discard the waste products, lest they accumulate in the blood and lymph to a toxic level, causing illness, disease and early aging. Keeping the cell membrane flexible is the goal then for efficient nutrient exchange and healthy waste removal.

Since you cannot see your trillions and trillions of cells, how do you know if you are toxic? First off, assume it. If you are alive now and living on this earth, you are exposed to thousands of toxins every day. Some more than others, but it certainly applies to all of us. Besides illness and the signs of early aging, how can you determine the level of your cellular health?

Remember, the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Toxins are eliminated via nose, mouth, urinary tract, colon and skin. If all these systems are in tip-top condition you have less of a worry than the person who gets sick often, is filled with mucous or noxious debris, has dull skin and hair, or may have a bowel movement only every three or four days. If any of these signs are the case, begin self-care. Now you can see why detoxification is recommended for everyone, at the very least once a year, though twice a year would be better for those who are more toxic. Now you can see why detoxifying is so important – why you need water, why daily elimination is necessary.

Detox at the cellular level begins with the basics of good water, good food, fresh air, enough rest, some exercise and especially avoidance of toxins as much as possible. Dishwashers, clothes dryers and HDTVs all give off positive ions, which are toxic to our bodies. So do cellphones. Living lightly on the earth helps you avoid toxins but few people can give up their dishwashers, clothes dryers and TVs. And especially those cellphones.

But living lightly is its own reward. It helps you avoid toxins. Get rid of as much plastic that’s in your house as much as possible. Replace or eliminate toxic cleaning products. Use safer choices or make your own products. You’ll breather easier. Forget cosmetics or find simpler, safer products. Get outside for a minimum of 15 minutes a day and breathe deeply. Take a yoga class, walk or dance. Sleep eight to 10 hours a night to give your body time to heal and detoxify. And eat those terrific detoxifying foods like asparagus, avocadoes, citrus, dark leafies, spring onions and mushrooms that are appearing in the stores now. And enjoy your deep detox without spending a fortune on detox products.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Remember to pay attention to the details by Gary Randall on 02/01/2018

Preparing for a trip, even a simple day trip, should be pretty basic when it comes to packing your camera gear, or so it would seem. It’s easy to throw your gear in the backpack, grab it and go.

You must know that photographers take their backpacks pretty serious. For those who aren’t aware, I should explain that a photography backpack is very much like a typical rucksack, but they have little padded dividers that are fastened with Velcro in an arrangement decided upon by the owner of the backpack to hold their various camera bodies, lenses and other assorted accoutrement. With these dividers it’s easy to take a quick inventory of your gear prior to heading out into the field. Zip open a panel, look inside and zip the panel back up and off you go.

Taking quick inventory in this way is typically straight forward. It’s easy to see if you have your camera and your lenses, but there are always those little details that will trip you up as this little story will show.

After taking my quick inventory on one day, I grabbed my gear for a hike to a waterfall that I had been meaning to photograph for a while. The hike was going to be about a five-mile trip, ten miles altogether. A good day hike but still a bit more laborious due to my backpack full of gear. It’s usually like me to pull my camera from my backpack at the trailhead and carry it separately and take snaps along the way, but on this day the hike was familiar and I figured that I would just wait until I arrived at the spot that I had in mind. Besides, it would make the hike easier without carrying something in my hands.

I hiked with certain urgency as I was on a mission. I walked the five miles with no break for rest as I knew that where I was going would be a great spot to snack on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the apple that I had brought along with me. How perfect. A beautiful waterfall to photograph and a nice little picnic all at the same time.

After the morning hike I arrived at my destination. The spot that I had in mind for the photograph that I had imagined since my last hike there. I walked to the creekside, peeled off my backpack, set up my tripod, unpacked my camera, set it up on the tripod and turned it on to check my settings. As I look at the digital display, which shows me everything that I need to know to adjust my camera, I notice the available exposure count. It reads 0. Zero??? What?

As I stand there looking at the display the cold realization that I forgot to check that I had put the memory cards back in after I had pulled them out to reformat and clear them to prepare for more photos of this trip. I was literally standing there with a camera without “film” in it. All at once I felt emotions welling up inside. I’m not sure if they were feelings of frustration, anger or dismay or a combination of them all. It really didn’t matter as they weren’t good. I dug through my pack to see if I had stashed a spare card, but found nothing. I felt pretty dumb. Without much more than a thought or two about what more that I could do, I packed my gear back into the backpack and sat down to eat my sandwich.

As I sat there I lectured myself. I berated myself for forgetting to reinstall the card, and again for not checking when I packed the backpack, but in time I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to take a single photograph, and that I was in an incredibly amazingly beautiful place in a terrible state of mind and that I just needed to realize how my priorities were out of order.

I had to ask myself how taking the photo became more important than the experience of being there and experiencing the tangible part of the hike that a photo can never capture. At that moment I closed my eyes and paid attention to those non-visual components of this beautiful location that make the experience complete. I listened to the water as it tumbled over rocks. I listened to the breeze in the trees above my head. I felt the moss under me. Once I did this I started to pay attention to things that I may have ignored. I heard birds singing and squirrels quarreling. I smelled the fresh fragrance of a forest in the morning. I felt the mist from the falls on my face. I could feel the stress leave as I concentrated. My feeling of frustration changed to resignation and then to a feeling of satisfaction as I realized the complete beauty of my surroundings.

In time I stood back up, grabbed my backpack and started back down the trail with the thought in my mind about lessons learned. Practical thoughts about how to prevent forgetting memory cards or batteries, but even more the thoughts and wonder if I would have taken the time to enjoy the experience of the waterfall if I had remembered to bring them.

To this day when I head out to hike to a waterfall I will check everything, including the details. I haven’t left a card or a battery at home since, but more importantly after this experience, the first thing that I do when I arrive at a location is to close my eyes and experience everything that being there has to offer, and I think that it shows through the photos that I take afterward.

Cold February with near average precipitation expected by on 02/01/2018

Temperatures during January were close to average except a warmer period during mid-month resulted in slightly above average temperatures for the month in both Brightwood and Government Camp. Interestingly, no measurable snow fell this January in Brightwood, compared to 14.75 inches a year ago, and Government Camp received less than half the 52.6 inches measured a year ago, despite both years being under the influence of La Nina patterns.

The National Weather Service expects a continuation of the La Nina pattern, coupled with active Madden Julian Oscillations to result in a lower than average temperature level for our area during February, with precipitation near average.

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34 and a precipitation average of 8.76 inches, including 5.9 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 60s two times and into the 50s eight times. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s once, into the 20s seven times and into the teens twice. On average, February has 12 days that record freezing temperatures. The record February snowfall was set in 1986 with a total of 32 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during February of ten inches was set on Feb. 26, 1971.

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 38 degrees, an average low of 26 degrees and a precipitation average of 9.65 inches, including 41.8 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures reached into the 50s four times and into the 40s six times. Low temperatures fell into the 20s for three years, into the teens for five years, and into the single digits two years. The record snowfall in February of 112 inches occurred in 1990. The record 24-hour snowfall of 25 inches was set on Feb. 24, 1994.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: how to replace all paper products by Mary Soots on 02/01/2018

There is a trend which I have become increasingly aware of when it comes to disposable paper products. That is that people are finding ways to forego them. Like paper towels. Since paper towels aren’t recyclable, what happens to the 13 billion pounds of paper towels that we use each year? They go into the landfill. That’s more than 45 pounds of paper towels per person, each year. Last year I purchased some brightly colored super absorbent fabric squares to use instead of paper towels. I keep them under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to wipe off counters and mirrors, clean up messes, etc. When I’m finished, I simply toss them in with the laundry. And for me, the best part is that I no longer have to shop for and find a place to store all those rolls of paper towels. You can also save money, space, and trees by cutting up old kitchen towels.

In the past I have written on how wonderful it is to use of cloth napkins instead of paper ones, so I won’t expound on that. The only stack of paper napkins in my house now are the handfuls I receive at the fast-food restaurant drive-through. (Don’t judge me!) But they stay in the drawer for a long time as I prefer fabric napkins now. What’s not to love??

Another paper product that is seen as “old school” is the facial tissue. Ironically enough, it is now chic to use a fabric handkerchief. In some parts of the world, they never went out of style. But in the U.S., they were replaced by their paper alternative around the middle of the 20th century. All things are not equal, and some of the paper alternatives offer quite inferior quality, so the claim that they are more hygienic doesn’t quite hold snuff. Theoretically, one would use a tissue one time and then dispose of it. However, quite often the reality is that the tissue is replaced into your purse or pocket where you forget about it until you’ve washed your jeans and find the pieces of tissue throughout your clothes. The younger generation is now realizing that the fabric alternative is stronger, smarter, equally hygienic and more cost-efficient. Sales of handkerchiefs has seen an increase. They come in men’s, women’s and even children’s sizes (about the size of a paper tissue). They come in different colors, designs and some are embroidered like grandmother’s.

At Christmas, a friend delighted me with a unique gift that also is built on the idea of replacing paper products. It was a reusable makeup remover cloth (along with a travel size one about the size of an eye mask). This wonderful little invention is a soft fleece-like fabric that you simply run under warm water and use to wipe away the makeup, cleaning your face without soap. It is only one of many alternatives to the commercial makeup remover wipes. You can make or buy small pieces of fabric and keep them in a jar containing a makeup removal solution. Again, just toss them in with the laundry and you never run out.

Finally, the dilemma of toilet paper. I know, I know. Truly, I do. I love my Charmin! When it comes to paper products, I’ve always been a very loyal brand consumer. I didn’t have a problem leaving the paper towels behind when I found the fabric that worked even better. Didn’t blink an eye when I fell in love with the makeup remover wipes. And although I confess that I’m still transitioning from paper tissues, I’m waiting for an online order of handkerchiefs to arrive. However, I never imagined that I could make a change with the toilet paper. Short of installing a bidet, that is. According to a source cited in an article in Scientific American, “Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year, representing the pulping of some 15 million trees. Says Thomas: ‘This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching.” In comparison, the cost of water used in a bidet would be negligible. And that doesn’t even account for the energy that it takes to produce, package and transport the stuff.

Still, it was something that I thought about - so much paper going down the toilet! And then one day, an ad popped up on social media for a product with the unfortunate name of “Who Gives A Crap.” The brand is one that produces toilet paper from 100 percent recycled paper. You place your order online and a box (yes, bearing its name!) is delivered to your home. The selling point for me was that 50 percent of the profits are donated to help build toilets around the world. While I avoid promoting specific brands, this company is making a difference with a unique business model. It’s that kind of thinking outside the box that is making the world a better place to be. So until we can all get bidets, this is a nice alternative.

Episode XVIII - Twiggy, Liz and a Nutty Squirrel by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/01/2018

It’s not often that Max Malone, private eye, spends a decent part of his day scratching his head.

But these aren’t normal days. Consider:

First there was Maggie McGee, whose murder remains unsolved. Then there was Hope, who ventilated a perfectly good Max fedora, and was now clad in an orange jumpsuit in state prison. Then there was the most recent escapee Valerie Suppine – the meanest little woman in thirteen western states – who coughed up a split for Max of a quarter million large. Then came the notorious Natasha – from the pink stucco soulless mansion in Reno – who was now among the wandering souls due to a well-placed hole in her forehead, in France of all places. Then, Dolly Teagarden, the British consulate turned double agent. And now, the escapee from the Easy-Inn Motel, Gloria Lovejoy, who was ensconced in Max’s cabin, making herself as comfortable as a never-ending supply of gin could provide. And we haven’t mentioned Anna Belle Wilde, who had taken possession of both banks of the Ruby River, and continued to be as enigmatic as an unfathomable hot tub full of present-day politicians.

And those are just the women.

But Max has his saving graces, which often act as curses. He can’t walk away from a mystery any more than Mickey Spillane could turn his back on another two-day novel. (It should be noted that, by his own admission, Mickey knocked out one book in ten hours.)

The FBI, supposedly led by Agent Mike D’Antonio, was dragging its feet like a drag chain on a semi knifing its way through Wildewood. After all, the FBI had real work to do, apparently.

*   *   *

Even with the Gloria distraction, which can not be overstated, Max went to work. Despite his globetrotting from Nevada to Belgium, Wildewood still mattered. The goal was a simple one: who was/is Beau Kimatian? Certainly, Gloria was a key, but did it fit the lock? Max never trusts needy, even when his resistance wears as thin as a Twiggy poster.

So, what did Max have to work with? He thought: according to Nigel Best – the local newsie – his U.S. attorney friend in Florida reported that she had “spotted” Beau Kimatian in the Cayman Islands. So why did he buy the Ruby River property, marry Anna Belle Wilde, and build the Stardust Lodge, then blow it up with some imposter in his place? Wildewood had as much in common with the Cayman Islands as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the throes of one of their multiple, dodgy divorces.

The only possible answer swirled around an international coverup. Yet, why Wildewood? Perhaps it was a perfect cover. Who in their right mind – which at this point would suggest there were few or none – could make that international connection?

Ahh, Max thought: follow the money, with a nod to Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post. The Caymans were as notorious for storing purloined money as a dedicated Wildewood squirrel with both cheeks full of nuts. But there didn’t seem to be much of a money connection with the Stardust Lodge. After all, it was blown up. The next step came more easily for Max. Beau couldn’t possibly access his stash, if he was dead.

Perhaps Beau made a mistake. He didn’t count on Nigel Best’s U.S. Attorney friend in Florida.

All Max had to figure out was, who died in the lodge explosion? The only thing he knew for sure, for a short period of time, this dupe was Anna Belle Wilde’s husband. And, of course, Max had worked for him for a spell, although calling it work was doing our private eye a disservice.

Which raised another obvious question: is it possible that the dizzy Anna Belle was in on it from the beginning? After all, she now owns the Ruby River after it had been taken away from the family for failure to pay property taxes, inspired by the shenanigans of her father, Randy Wilde – who was now languishing in jail without bail awaiting trial on, of all things, robbing a gas station. Throw in Anna Belle’s grandfather Chance Wilde –  who had returned to Colorado because he “loved the winters” – and there wasn’t enough conspiratorial dynamite to blow up an out-of-date outhouse.

It was a lot to think about, coupled with that Gloria Lovejoy distraction, and would have been the match for any average chap off the streets.

But after all, this wasn’t any chap. It was Max Malone, private eye.

Coaching kids? Starts with jelly donuts by on 02/01/2018

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not very athletic. I made this realization in the third grade, when I was knocked unconscious 32 times playing dodge ball. After that first game, I remember waking up in the nurse’s office and being told of a special program for “gifted” athletes who were so special they got to wear a football helmet during recess. Of course, I eventually figured out there was no “special program,” and openly expressed my feelings of betrayal when I slammed my helmet on the desk of my high school counselor.

After which I was taken to the hospital with a broken finger.

I live with the memory of being an unathletic child on a daily basis. Particularly when I look in the mirror and see a man whose head still fits into a third-grade football helmet. For this reason, many years ago when my daughter asked me to coach her fourth-grade basketball team, I smiled, took her hand and began faking a seizure. I panicked at the thought of providing guidance to a team of fourth-grade girls, any one of whom could take me to the hole. This includes my daughter, who has inherited a recessive “athletic” gene I call the “monkey factor” because, apparently, it leaps entire family trees.

You see, neither side of our family is particularly athletic. This is officially documented in a video of their mom and me playing one-on-one basketball. To the outside observer, it appears to be footage of two heavily-medicated adults trying to catch the Walmart happy face.

Of course, none of this mattered to my daughter; she just wanted Dad to coach her team. Knowing this attitude would eventually change (possibly by the end of our first practice), I made the decision to put aside my own petty fears and be her team’s coach. In addition, I also put aside some petty cash for psychological treatment later.

To prepare myself as coach, I read books about fundamental basketball skills. I talked with other coaches. I installed a tiny basketball hoop over the trashcan in my office. Before long, I had gained confidence knowing that with hard work and determination, someone would be able to undo the damage I was doing.

For our first practice, we worked on free throws and lay-ups. I chose these areas because, as everyone knows, they are the most common — and easiest ways — of scoring a basket.

Unless you are me.

As it turns out, repeatedly sending a wad of paper through a six-inch hoop over your trashcan doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sink a regulation basketball from the free throw line. Particularly if your entire team and most of its parents are watching, in some cases using their iPhones to send live images to friends while laughing hysterically.

Confident that I had taught my team an important lesson in determination, humility, and the value of having a “shared minutes” plan, we moved on to lay-ups. It was at this point I asked parents to please put their phones away. In addition to the distraction it was causing, there were also safety issues to consider since many parents had now moved under the backboard to get a better angle.

When practice ended a week later (okay, but it felt like a week) we joined hands and reached an important understanding as a team:

The coach has no “game.”

Apparently, my players don’t see this as a problem. What mattered to them most was whether I could be trusted, as their coach, to coordinate the snack rotation. I assured them I could, and things went pretty well; they brought “game,” and I bring jelly donuts.

This year, I am coaching second- and third-graders again, with help from my daughter, who is now 23.

Her first assignment as assistant coach?

Get jelly donuts.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o the Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Meet House District 52 Representative Jeffrey Helfrich by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 02/01/2018

My name is Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Helfrich and I am the Representative for House District 52, which was formerly represented by Mark Johnson. The District includes communities of the Mountain/Hoodland area, Government Camp, Sandy, Hood River, Cascade Locks and Gresham; more broadly covering Hood River County, north Clackamas County and east Multnomah County.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Representative.

As your State Representative, I will continue leading efforts started by former Rep. Mark Johnson to improve education, the economy and protect our environment and way of life in the District’s communities and Oregon.

Thank you to Rhododendron CPO President Steve Graeper for the invitation to be the Guest Speaker at the Jan. 20 meeting. I appreciated the opportunity to share my experience and ideas for the Hoodland communities’ and District’s success, hear community concerns including those about housing and transportation, celebrate great community gains including the welcoming of new businesses, and hear updates from County Commissioners Humberston and Fischer. Thank you.

For over 30 years, I have dedicated my life to making my community and country better and safer places to live. I am a public servant, Air Force-Gulf War veteran, former Cascade Locks City Councilman, retired police sergeant, devoted father and husband.

My personal interest in serving as the House District 52 Representative is my family and I love living here, and I want to have a larger impact and contribution to it thriving educationally, economically and environmentally. For over 11 years, I have lived in District 52 with my wife. My wife, a naturopathic physician, and I are avid hunters, fishers and stewards of the land who are raising our young children to be the same.

I bring over 30 years of knowledge and experience gained from:

Four years in the Air Force which included deployment to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm;

Over 25 years in community policing;

  • Four years as a Cascade Locks City Councilor, working to improve leadership and funding for the fire department, management and services provided to the community, serving on the Public Safety Task Force Committee and the Joint (City/Port) Work Group on Economic Development;
  • Over three years as a Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) board member, and representing MCEDD on the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee for the 2015 Oregon State Parks Columbia River Gorge Management Unit Plan;
  • Over two years as a Cascade Locks Planning Commissioner, including being Vice Chairman and working to improve downtown development and support of local businesses; and
  • Two years as a Cascade Locks Budget and Charter Review Committee, and Comprehensive Planning Review member.

As your Representative, in addition to continuing Mark’s efforts, I vow to work on improving our community’s economic viability, housing, health and safety and disaster preparedness, as well as increasing government transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.

I and my staff are available to help identify and address community concerns to ensure that the community’s voice is heard and responded to not only in Salem but directly in the District as well.

I believe that together, through collaboration, regular communication and commitment, we can plan and actively work towards ensuring a better tomorrow for our communities in the Mountain/Hoodland area, throughout our District and Oregon.

Please contact me directly at Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov or my Chief of Staff, Dr. Brandy Ethridge-Lipke, PhD, at Brandy.EthridgeLipke@oregonlegislature.gov. Visit www.oregonlegislature.gov/helfrich, call the Salem Office at 503-986-1452 or visit us in Salem at 900 Court St. NE, H-489, Salem, Oregon 97301.

We look forward to hearing from and working with you to make a better tomorrow today for HD52.

Meet House District 52 Representative Jeffrey Helfrich by Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich on 02/01/2018

My name is Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Helfrich and I am the Representative for House District 52, which was formerly represented by Mark Johnson. The District includes communities of the Mountain/Hoodland area, Government Camp, Sandy, Hood River, Cascade Locks and Gresham; more broadly covering Hood River County, north Clackamas County and east Multnomah County.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Representative.

As your State Representative, I will continue leading efforts started by former Rep. Mark Johnson to improve education, the economy and protect our environment and way of life in the District’s communities and Oregon.

Thank you to Rhododendron CPO President Steve Graeper for the invitation to be the Guest Speaker at the Jan. 20 meeting. I appreciated the opportunity to share my experience and ideas for the Hoodland communities’ and District’s success, hear community concerns including those about housing and transportation, celebrate great community gains including the welcoming of new businesses, and hear updates from County Commissioners Humberston and Fischer. Thank you.

For over 30 years, I have dedicated my life to making my community and country better and safer places to live. I am a public servant, Air Force-Gulf War veteran, former Cascade Locks City Councilman, retired police sergeant, devoted father and husband.

My personal interest in serving as the House District 52 Representative is my family and I love living here, and I want to have a larger impact and contribution to it thriving educationally, economically and environmentally. For over 11 years, I have lived in District 52 with my wife. My wife, a naturopathic physician, and I are avid hunters, fishers and stewards of the land who are raising our young children to be the same.

I bring over 30 years of knowledge and experience gained from:

Four years in the Air Force which included deployment to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm;

Over 25 years in community policing;

  • Four years as a Cascade Locks City Councilor, working to improve leadership and funding for the fire department, management and services provided to the community, serving on the Public Safety Task Force Committee and the Joint (City/Port) Work Group on Economic Development;
  • Over three years as a Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) board member, and representing MCEDD on the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee for the 2015 Oregon State Parks Columbia River Gorge Management Unit Plan;
  • Over two years as a Cascade Locks Planning Commissioner, including being Vice Chairman and working to improve downtown development and support of local businesses; and
  • Two years as a Cascade Locks Budget and Charter Review Committee, and Comprehensive Planning Review member.

As your Representative, in addition to continuing Mark’s efforts, I vow to work on improving our community’s economic viability, housing, health and safety and disaster preparedness, as well as increasing government transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.

I and my staff are available to help identify and address community concerns to ensure that the community’s voice is heard and responded to not only in Salem but directly in the District as well.

I believe that together, through collaboration, regular communication and commitment, we can plan and actively work towards ensuring a better tomorrow for our communities in the Mountain/Hoodland area, throughout our District and Oregon.

Please contact me directly at Rep.JeffHelfrich@OregonLegislature.gov or my Chief of Staff, Dr. Brandy Ethridge-Lipke, PhD, at Brandy.EthridgeLipke@oregonlegislature.gov. Visit www.oregonlegislature.gov/helfrich, call the Salem Office at 503-986-1452 or visit us in Salem at 900 Court St. NE, H-489, Salem, Oregon 97301.

We look forward to hearing from and working with you to make a better tomorrow today for HD52.

February food for love and football by Taeler Butel on 02/01/2018

Putting together a memorable meal for lovers and for friends can be inexpensive and stress free, unlike love and football.

 Make your own torta bar

2 lbs grilled carne asada beef (see below)

1 thin sliced grilled onion

2 cups shredded lettuce

Salsa, guacamole, refried beans

Pickled, sliced Jalapeño

24 small rolls

Marinade:

1 T each onion powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder

1 t Chile powder

1 t cayenne pepper

1 t salt

1 black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup vegetable extra oil

2 lb flank skirt steak

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Slice steak thinly, set aside

Toss ingredients in a large bowl, set aside half of the marinade.

Marinade steak in one half of the marinade four hours. Heat grill pan, using tongs take meat out of marinade, grill steak on grill pan until charred but still slightly pink. Toss out marinade from steak. Next grill the onions.

Place grilled steak and onions on a large platter, spoon some of the marinade that was put aside onto meat and serve alongside all of the accoutrements.

 

Cheesecake dip

1 T lemon juice

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 T vanilla extract

2 cubed room temp cream cheese

Whip all above ingredients until fluffy and serve in a bowl surrounded by some of these suggestions:

1 package lady fingers

1 lb cake, cubed

1 lb strawberries

1 package graham crackers

Pretzel rods

1 jar hot fudge

Pineapple spears

1 bunch Bananas

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

The Toxic Trap, part 1: toxins may come from any direction by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2018

After reading last month’s suggestions for taking charge of your health, I hope you’ve made some progress. Many people find the “basics of health habits” difficult enough. Things like eight to ten glasses of water, exercise, organic food, more sleep. Take care of those and the rest comes easier. Yet some people deny that they’re even “toxic” or think “it’s all in your head.”

I personally feel that doing the basics is a good way to prepare the body for a cleanse, a detox. We’re not yet in springtime when fresher fruits and vegetables become more available, so keep working on the basics until we get there.

Some people need convincing of the need to detox. Well, we are ALL toxic! Few people can eat all organic food. We still love our snacks and sugar. Plus there are hidden and unknown sources of toxins. These ones, as well as the obvious ones, need to be enumerated and identified.

Toxins are poisons. They are all around us, causing us to become sick before our time, aging us and causing illnesses to linger. Drugs are toxins. All of them have detrimental side effects, whether pharmaceutical drugs, over-the-counter drugs or recreational drugs. Even the children who hear the drug ads on TV ask “why would anyone take that?” With side effects like ruptured spleen, fecal incontinence and the quickly spoken word “death,” one does have to wonder.

The drug may cause death! Over 250,000 people per year in the United States alone die from prescription and non-prescription drugs. Over 15,000 of these deaths occur with over-the-counter drugs that are taken as directed! Is this a bit worrisome, I ask you? Well, it is to me. We are not all alike. Most testing of pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs is done on 200-lb men. That’s not the same as a 100-lb woman. Americans take more drugs than any other nation on earth, yet we are sicker than the people of most other nations. While we want life-saving medicines for emergencies and traumas, we might be missing some of the ways that toxins get into us.

There are toxins, poisons, in cleaning products, cosmetics, carpeting, paints, city water, grocery store receipts, the air, the ground, food, well the list just goes on! Some of you reading this remember home milk delivery. Ever wonder why it passed out of favor? After all, what could be more convenient? In those days, milk was not homogenized or pasteurized. The cream rose to the top of the milk bottle and the enzymes were still fully functioning, making digestion easier. But those live enzymes caused the milk to spoil within a few days. In order to sell more milk by keeping it on grocers’ shelves longer, it was homogenized and pasteurized. More profit. But not for you or me or the milkman.

Virtually all human breast milk is contaminated. An independent study found that almost 100 percent of the women tested had residues of jet fuel in their breast milk. Now how could that be? Jet fuel residues were also found deep in the ice of Arctic regions. Every airplane flying overhead leaves a chemical trail. Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. But these chemicals fall to earth, landing on fields, houses, children playing outside. They affect our air and our water supply. While breast milk is still the food of choice for infants for other reasons, we need to know that we are all subject to this chemical onslaught.

Eating an apple a day is still good for you, if it’s organic, for its fiber content and vitamins and pectin. But in order to get the same amount of nutrients today that you would get from an apple 50 years ago, you would have to eat five or six apples a day to get the same benefit! Not all fruits and vegetables are genetically modified, but do you know which are and which aren’t? They aren’t labelled. And most packaged food contains genetically modified ingredients. Why? Because it’s cheaper to produce and the manufacturer makes more money.

I love shopping at farmers’ markets where you sometimes get to talk to those who do the actual growing. But do you actually get to go to the farm where the produce is grown? Is it a farm that has been in production for years which still may have residues of DDT in the soil? Has the soil been tested for residues? Are the seeds being grown organic, open pollinated, heirloom? Are ammonium nitrate fertilizers being used or organically based fertilizers? No insecticides and no fungicides make the farm sustainable but what about things like fertilizers? If the farm is not certified organic, and you haven’t looked around at the growing operation, how do you know what you’re getting?

There are lots of toxins in our environment and thousands more added to our lives every year. Why are we putting up with this? So that large corporate entities can make more money at the risk of our health and our lives? So the big question becomes, what can you do to get some of these toxins out of your body? Next month, some suggestions.


Get your settings right.
The View Finder: Taking pictures with your new Christmas camera by Gary Randall on 01/02/2018

Well, it’s a new year and Christmas has come and gone. With the popularity of photography lately I’m sure that there will be some readers who have received the gift that they wanted: a new digital camera. Because of this I have decided to brush up on how to use it to more of its potential. So let’s talk about manual camera operation.

You have a new camera that, unlike your phone’s camera, was designed exclusively for making photos. I am going to assume that the reason that you wanted your new camera was to make photos that are even better than you could with your cell phone. To do this you will need to move away from the point and shoot mindset and decide to be the computer that controls the camera instead. Switch to Manual Mode.

Let’s start with the “Big 3”. Exposure time - Aperture Setting - ISO/Film Speed. When you’re taking a photo you will want to understand what all three are, how to control them and how they affect each other.

Shutter Speed – Your shutter is a gate that opens and closes to allow light from the outside to come inside of the camera and fall on the film/image sensor. The longer your shutter speed is the more light that’s allowed in and, conversely, how much can be stopped or blocked from coming inside. Consequences of both being a twofold. The first is the exposure of the image, or how bright or dark that it is. The second being the allowance or elimination of movement in your photo. The primary concern typically is to get a photo that’s bright enough without movement being blurred, but there are times when you will want to show movement or blur in your photo such as a waterfall. A fast shutter speed freezes movement while a slower one will blur movement.

Aperture setting – The aperture is a mechanism in the lens that you can adjust to vary the size of the hole that the light goes through as it passes through the lens and into the camera. The larger the hole the more light that can come through in a set amount of time (shutter speed). You can have the same shutter speed but control the amount of light with the aperture.

The second consideration when adjusting your aperture is how it affects the depth of field, or how deep the focus is in the photo. When you choose a larger hole, which is represented by a smaller f/stop number, it will give you a smaller or shallow depth of focus, whereas a smaller hole with a larger f/stop number, will give you a larger or deeper depth of focus. One will realize that with a smaller hole for the light to come through a longer shutter speed will be needed to get the same light inside. With a longer shutter speed you will have a chance to blur, as mentioned previously, which will require you to use the third setting in our big three adjustments to further affect the exposure.

The third and last adjustment that we will add to the formula is what was once called “film speed” in film photography, which is indicated by the ASA rating of the film, whereas in digital photography, where there is no film, we adjust the ISO. The film speed indicated how sensitive to light the film is. A lower rating such as 400 ASA will be less sensitive to light than a film rated at 1000 ASA. When the film is more sensitive to light it takes less light to expose the film so you can use the film in darker light or it will allow you to use a faster shutter speed or a smaller aperture opening.

With this understanding we can translate the application of this information to digital cameras easily. In digital cameras the film is the image sensor and the film speed is translated to the ISO setting of the camera. The ISO setting varies the sensitivity to light of the image sensor.

The beauty of shooting with a digital single lens reflex camera is that you can vary the light sensitivity of the camera using a dial, whereas in film you had to change the whole roll of film. The one consideration when setting the ISO is that the higher the ISO the more grain/noise that you will have in your image.

Let’s summarize what has been covered. You have three settings: shutter speed, aperture opening and ISO or light sensitivity. All three will affect the each other so you will usually need to adjust another, or both, when one is changed. We can now use this knowledge to set our exposure considering movement, depth of focus and acceptable image noise.

Next, your digital SLR camera comes with a built in light meter to show how close your exposure is to being proper. As you set your camera, you can keep an eye on the light meter and balance it in the center. Once you have your shutter speed, aperture and your ISO set according to your light meter take your shot.

Once you take your photo you will have a display on the back that will show you a preview of the image. You can check your focus and your composition with this preview of the photo, but you can’t get a real indication of the exposure therefore, the next and last step is to check the exposure with the histogram. The histogram is a graphical representation of the range of light that was captured in your photo. If the histogram doesn’t show automatically with the preview, you can find a setting that will allow it.

The histogram will look like a rectangular box with a bar chart inside. The left side will be the dark part of your photo such as shadows while the right side will represent the highlights. What you will want to attempt is to balance the highlights and the darks with your “Big 3” adjustments using your histogram as your way of verifying your success.  If the settings were a little off, make an adjustment and take another photo. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital.

All of this may sound a bit confusing at first but the confusion leaves with practice. Like I mentioned previously film is cheap when you’re shooting with a digital camera so go out and take a lot of photos. Therein lies the secret to improving your photography. Practice and experimentation.

It’s my hope for you that your new camera, or your old one for that matter, will provide you with as much fun and life enriching experiences that mine has for me.

Happy New Year. 

12 months in a year means 12 chances to make some changes by Victoria Larson on 01/02/2018

A new day, a new week, a new year! Though many start a new year with resolutions, I’ve always found them either too stringent, too vague or just too overwhelming. So this year, let’s try something different. Since it takes 28-30 days to make or change a habit, we actually have twelve chances to improve our lives!

In order to not be too stringent, we can pick only the ones that apply to our individual lives. But we won’t be so vague as to let the new knowledge or habit fade out of consciousness. And by choosing only the ones that apply to each individual, it will not be so overwhelming.

Twelve months to make changes, somewhere:

1. Let’s start with forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from within the forgiver and benefits that person just as much as the person being forgiven. And remember, the forgiven person is you, the one who ultimately needs it.

2. On a more practical side, avoid trans fats and vegetable oils as much as possible. Trans fats and vegetable oils are in all fast foods and virtually all packaged foods, including cakes, chips, crackers, cookies, breads, etc. Unless you are gluten sensitive, concern yourself more with trans fats and vegetable oils than gluten content. Oils such as coconut oil, fish oils, flax oil, nut oils and olive oil are all better for you than canola, corn and soy oils.

3. Fish – now there are new worries about plastics in seafood. A very valid concern. Ultimately, it’s our fault. Many plastics are not recyclable so we need to stop using them so much lest they end up in the ocean. Think plastic grocery bags, straws and cups, take-home containers from restaurants.

4. Turmeric needs to be warmed in order to be of benefit (anti-oxidant, arthritis). Warm your spices in a pan before using to make meals or tea. Pills taken cold just won’t do the trick.

5. If you prefer coffee to tea, drink no more than two to three cups per day. At that amount coffee appears to be protective against diabetes. Take your coffee with a smidgen of butter and some coconut oil, but no sugar. It’s called “bullet coffee” and helps your brain to function because of the good fats in it.

6. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar is the preferred fuel for cancer cells to grow. This also means only one or two servings of fruit per day. You may have more in the summer as it will keep you cooler.

7. Back to the good fats. Don’t bother with low-fat anything. It’s a longtime experiment that didn’t work and many people bought into it. So many Americans bought into it that it undoubtedly contributes to the near epidemic of Alzheimer’s that we now have in our nation. Though lowering fat intake is not the only cause, it’s looking like a definite poor choice. Be like the French--enjoy anniversaries, birthdays, feast days and holidays. Then go back to avoiding sugar. Knowing that you can have some sugar in small amounts on special occasions will make avoidance more tolerable.

8. Detox. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It takes 15-30 days for skin cells to reach the epidermis layer to be sloughed off. Try skin brushing, using perhaps a baby hair brush or a soft clothes brush, to help remove those top layers of already deceased skin cells. You don’t need them and this will help you to detoxify through your largest organ.

9. Then get into a detoxifying, relaxing bath of Epsom salts to which you may gently add a few drops of a favorite essential oil. Depending on the oil, start with four to five drops and don’t go over 12 drops as it may burn, sending you running down the hall in your altogether!

10. If you are a smoker, STOP. It is the single worst thing you can do for your health, guaranteed to shorten your life. Any smoking. Period.

11. The second worst thing you can do for your health is sitting, just sitting. Couch potatoes, get up. If you’re already up, do something. Every hour. If you are in a wheelchair, wave your arms, lift weights, wiggle your feet every hour. Get rid of your “clickers” except the dog training one. That will get you off the couch as it is. In fact, get a dog. Also guaranteed to make you move.

12. Get more rest. Lack of sleep raises the possibility of illnesses, reduces efficiency, and is estimated to cost our economy $280 billion per year. Employers, get tough. Employees, listen to your body. Quit the frazzle-dazzle which often leads to late nights and increased alcohol consumption. Before electricity people slept ten to twelve hours a night. They had less cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

I’ve left out the really obvious changes we all know about like eat more vegetable (6-10 servings per day), drink more water (to reduce risk of headaches and stroke), exercise more (or at least move more). But those ones you already know. Just pick one of the above to work on each month, adding a new challenge the next month. In a year you will be healthier. Just remember #1 and forgive yourself if you fall back. You’ve got a whole year to make changes!

Episode XVII: Gloria, Gloria - But no hallelujah by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/02/2018

While Max relaxed – knowing it might be his last chance in the near future – taking in the dulcet tones of Ella Fitzgerald scatting through “Mack the Knife” from the needle nestled in the tracks of the vinyl, the mysterious Gloria Lovejoy was simultaneously exiting the rutty parking area of the Easy-Inn, the lonesome motel in Wildewood, guiding her red Jeep Renegade, that was only made more noticeable by its New Jersey license plates, for his cabin. It’s safe to say, however, that she would quite likely be an improvement over the day before visit from FBI agent Mike D’Antonio.

Ella was interrupted by a phone call from the newsie Nigel Best.

“I have some news,” Nigel said, not surprisingly for a newspaper guy. “My U.S attorney connection has traced Beau Kimatian to a hotel in the Cayman Islands. That’s gettin’ around pretty well for a corpse.”

Max was close to forgiving the Ella interruption. Who was it who was consumed by the explosion in the Stardust Lodge? Was Anna Belle’s husband ever actually Beau Kimatian? And how could what was obviously a complicated and sinister plot have found its way to Wildewood?

Max had some mulling to do, which included getting Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen states, out of his way, all the while Gloria Lovejoy chugged closer to his already overcrowded cabin.

Val complied, and pointed her pink Cadillac back to Reno where she belonged like a koala rolling in a pile of eucalyptus leaves.

Mere moments after the pink Cadillac departure – and only a single mere moment after Max had issued his sigh of relief – up pulled the red Renegade. Max had a weak moment where he stole a glance to heaven, but shrugged it away knowing he had nothing on the ethereal books. His disappointment was momentary as Gloria Lovejoy unfolded from the Renegade and approached Max’s cabin door with one arched eyebrow and a tangle of dark brown hair that was caught by a zephyr of mountain air and frolicked in the wind like the mane of a fine filly.

This is going to be interesting, Max thought, and he wasn’t far off the mark. Max pulled open the door with Gloria’s arm raised in an almost knock.

“You’re Max Malone,” Gloria rasped, and there was no hint that it was a question.

“And you’re Gloria Lovejoy,” Max countered in a tone that matched hers like a tuning fork. “Enter at your own risk.” This line delivered with Max’s well-practiced private eye smirk dissolving into an irresistible smile.

Max quickly noticed that Gloria had some rough edges – the type that had to carry enough stories to fill a medium sized town library – but the edges were burnished by a slight cock of the head that would have made even the most jaded cocker spaniel wag his tail like a snare drum riff from Gene Krupa.

“Have a seat,” Max offered, pouring himself a man-sized Jameson’s.

“Gin,” Gloria said, not waiting for another offer.

“What’ya want in it?”

“Gin.”

So, the happy moment was easily solved. Max delivered the drinks and sat opposite Gloria.

“You worked for Beau Kimatian, right?” Gloria explored.

“Not so anyone would notice,” Max came back over a sip of the Irish.

“Do you know who died at the Stardust?” she asked.

“According to the FBI, Beau, his bodyguard and a cook.”

“Do you believe that?”

Max shrugged.

“I know Beau,” Gloria said, keeping it curiously in the present tense. “There’s no one here in Mayberry that could have taken down Beau.”

“And you know this how?” Max kept the conversation rolling.

Gloria slowly crossed her legs and laughed. “You’re a private eye. Figure it out.”

So, if Gloria is saying that wasn’t Beau in the lodge, Max mused to himself, and if she is connected to Beau and there’s no reason to doubt that, then what is she doing in Wildewood, when Nigel Best’s U.S attorney says Beau has been spotted in the Cayman Islands.

As Max was running this through his mind, Gloria flashed a jagged smile that looked like an aerial photo of the Snake River.

Max vaulted over the smile, and refilled Gloria’s drink. And, of course, his own. He was certain Gloria wasn’t hanging out in Wildewood to hook up with a private eye.

Still, after all, he was Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: smelling science and your health by Mary Soots on 01/02/2018

When you enter the house to be met with the fragrance of your favorite cookies baking or smell the cedar or fir from the Christmas tree, it triggers what is known as “olfactory memory.”

Smells can create emotions, bring back memories and affect our mood. Our sense of smell is so much a part of humans and other animals that even a fetus begins to recognize the smell of amniotic fluid while in the womb, and a baby recognizes its maternal milk as part of the bonding process with its mother.

At the same time, our puritanical culture’s obsession with equating cleanliness with the smell of “freshness” was well illustrated in some commercials a while back, where people were blindfolded and placed in a very unclean room. Because the heavy fragrances masked the bad odors, they proclaimed that the room was “fresh and clean.”

Did you know that more than 3,100 fragrance chemicals are used to make consumer products smell “fresh” or to mask unpleasant odors? Things such as shampoo and dryer sheets could also be polluting your indoor air. As a result, each day we inhale, ingest and absorb through our skin a variety of toxic chemicals, putting a massive burden on our bodies.

Especially at this time of year when our windows are closed against the cold and rain, we hope to keep the air from getting musty, so we look to household cleaning items, candles and room deodorizers. We often turn to artificial fragrances. Artificial fragrances may smell nice, but they can also cause damage. According to the National Institutes of Health, a “survey of selected scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. Even products advertised as ‘green,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘organic’ emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.”

Trying to artificially recreate those moods or memories through artificial fragrances can cause serious health risks, especially to children. The National Resource Defense Council tested fourteen air fresheners and found that most contained chemicals known to cause hormone imbalance, birth defects or harm reproductive development.

Chemical fragrances are found not only in air fresheners, but in soaps, our laundry and in our personal care products. The Environmental Working Group found that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Further, many cleaners contain harmful chemicals that have specifically been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies.

In one research project, nearly half of the fragranced products emitted one or more carcinogenic ‘hazardous air pollutants,’ including 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, neither of which has a safe exposure level, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Research by Environmental Defense and the Environmental Working Group also found an average of 10 sensitizing chemicals in perfumes, colognes and body sprays that can trigger allergies and asthma, and cause headaches, wheezing, and a rash.”

There are natural alternatives to keeping your home air purified. A spider plant or peace lily, among many fresh plants will naturally clean the air. Dried plants such as eucalyptus, incense cedar, juniper have been used since early 17th century France. Baking soda is not just for your refrigerator.

You can also create safe smells in your home. Try decorating some oranges with clove spikes and ribbons as part of a festive décor piece. Use cinnamon sticks as decorative pieces. You can make sachets of lavender and other fragrant flowers when they’re in season, or combine them in a potpourri. Boil lemon slices and rosemary in a simmer pot on top of the wood-burning stove.

Use essential oils alone or in combination to create your own signature fragrances or to give as gifts. Look online for recipes to create a misting spray with water and alcohol. Essential oils may be sprayed on rock or allowed to wick through diffusing sticks that will slowly release the scents. There are electric diffusers too, of course.

And of course, you can always bake cookies.

Swearing off coffee can only lead to one thing – more swearing by on 01/02/2018

Today, like every day since the start of the New Year, I’ve abstained from my morning cups of coffee—a decision I reached during a moment of weakness sometime around midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I know this because I was told so by my wife, who swears that, along with taking the trash out without being asked, I vowed (after several glasses of champagne) to take better care of myself. While this decision has certainly made me a healthier person, it has also made me a crankier one.

This is due, in part, to the decaffeination process itself, which can cause headaches, drowsiness, constipation, Tourette’s syndrome, and, in the case of Lizzy Borden, involuntary manslaughter.

After doing some research, I realized that there was more to beating this thing than just dealing with the physical craving, which, for someone who drinks coffee all day, is similar to the craving one might have for, say...

Breathable air.

I also had to take into account the mental aspect of my addiction—which is really about me having an excuse to leave my desk. On a good day, between coffee refills and trips to the bathroom, I can spend as little as eight minutes actually working at my desk. Because of this, it was clear that conquering my physical addiction wouldn’t be enough—I’d need a replacement beverage.

While I briefly entertained the idea of decaffeinated tea, I decided against it, mostly because I can never figure out what to do with the tea bag once it’s done steeping.

Do I throw it out? Save it? Put one over each eye and take a nap?

The truth of the matter is, men are not “steepers.” A man wants to wake up, fill his mug with something close to 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit and immediately drink it. A man doesn’t have time for steeping. In fact, he hardly has time to get to the hospital after drinking his 8,000-degree beverage.

This left me with three viable alternatives: 1) Hot chocolate; 2) Some kind of soy drink that, according to the label, can be consumed either hot, cold or as a grilled patty; or 3) “Postum.”

After reading the label on the hot chocolate canister, I realized that, based on my average daily hot-beverage consumption, replacing coffee with hot chocolate would result in an estimated weight gain of just under 600 pounds in five weeks. This, of course, would defeat having an excuse to leave my desk since I would no longer be able to leave my house.

I considered the soy-drink-patty-thing, but couldn’t get past the idea of consuming something that can be referred to as the soy-drink-patty-thing.

This left me with “Postum” as my morning beverage of choice. For those who are unfamiliar with this product, it is a coffee alternative that is completely caffeine free because it is made from “all natural” ingredients like wheat, corn, sea weed, yarn, tree bark, bone meal and simulated wood paneling, all of which is then ground up and allowed to “steep” before it is eventually freeze-dried to resemble Taster’s Choice.

I’ve been drinking it for a little over a week now, and it’s not all that bad. Still, I’m not convinced that Postum’s claim to be “The Truly Soothing Hot Beverage” is true.

To be honest, I’d kill for a coffee-drink-patty-thing right about now.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o the Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Cooking for a week at a time by Taeler Butel on 01/02/2018

It’s a new year and a new chance to get it together in the kitchen!

These recipes will warm you up while you mix and match simple ingredients (some even pre- made). Cook it all at once or over a couple of days, store in the fridge and enjoy the feeling of having it all together.

The full menu: chicken and dumplings, stroganoff, hamburger soup with biscuits and chicken corn chowder.

The grocery list

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey

Roast chicken

1 lb. bags frozen mixed veggies (carrots, corn, peas, green beans mix)

Beef and chicken bouillon cubes

Couple sticks of butter

1 medium container of half-and-half

1 medium container sour cream

Flour

Baking powder

Baking soda

Dried Italian seasoning

1 can tomato sauce

1 lb. egg noodles

1 bag frozen corn

1 lb. sliced mushrooms

1 bag Yukon gold potatoes

Salt and pepper

One onion

4 celery stalks

The plan

In a large pot brown all the meat with salt and pepper to season. Boil all of the chicken using broth and shred the meat, save the broth.

Chop all of the onion, celery and potatoes, set aside.

Boil the noodles.

Make double batch of biscuit dough: in a large bowl whisk together 4 cups flour, 2 t salt, 2 t baking soda, 2 T baking powder and 1 t Italian seasoning. Mix in 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup half-and-half. Scoop out onto cookie sheet with ice cream scoop and freeze.

The meals

Hamburger soup: in a large pot add 1/4 of the onions and celery with 1 T butter and 2 cups of the diced potatoes. Cook until onions are wilted and then, while stirring occasionally, add in 1 lb. of the cooked meat and canned tomato sauce. Season with 1 t each salt and pepper and 1 T Italian seasoning. Cover with broth, bring to boil and reduce to simmer, adding in 2 cups of the frozen veggies. Simmer about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 365, place half the biscuits in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Chicken n dumplings: in a large pot add in 1/4 of the onions and celery and 1 T butter, cook 5 minutes. Add in 1 T flour, 1 t each salt and pepper, and 1 T Italian seasoning, then stir cooking about 2 minutes more. Add in 1/2 the shredded chicken and 2 cups frozen vegetables, then cover with broth and bring to boil.

Reduce slightly and add biscuit dough. Cover pot leaving room to vent. Simmer until dumplings are cooked thoroughly, around 15 minutes

Chicken corn chowder: follow the chicken and dumplings instructions only instead of frozen veggies, add diced potatoes and corn. Boil, then simmer about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Mix 1 T flour into 1/2 cup of half-and-half, then stir in and let simmer until thickened slightly.

Stroganoff: Add the remaining celery and onion to a large skillet along with 1 T butter and mushrooms, then cook until browned. Add salt, pepper and 1 T each Italian seasoning and flour, cook one minute more. Add in 1 cup broth, 1 cup sour cream, 1 lb. cooked ground meat and cooked egg noodles, then heat to simmer, about 10 minutes.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

La Nina pattern to dominate the weather during January by on 01/02/2018

According to the calendar, winter starts Dec. 21, but Government Camp couldn’t wait and got a 10-inch snowfall the day before. Brightwood got its first snowfall of the season with a 2.5-inch measurement on Dec. 23.

Below average temperatures prevailed from Dec. 20 through Christmas before moderating to seasonal norms the rest of the month. In fact, both Brightwood and Government Camp recorded average temperatures nearly identical with long-term averages for the month. But both locations fell well below the average precipitation levels for December. As of Dec. 19, Government Camp had received only 19 inches of snow, compared to an average for the month of 50.9 inches.

The National Weather Service expects the La Nina pattern to dominate our weather in January but has its eye on the trending pattern which is at odds with the Madden Julian Oscillations activity.

In any event, our area is expected to have above average precipitation with temperatures about average for January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33 and a precipitation average of 10.63 inches, including 8.7 inches of snow.

During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 50s eight times, and into the 40s twice. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s once, into the 20s seven times and into the teens twice.

On average, January has 14 days that record freezing temperatures. The record January snowfall was set in 1968 with a total of 47 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during January of 29 inches was set on Jan. 9, 1980.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.30 inches, including 57.8 inches of snow.

During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached 70 degrees once, into the 60s twice, into the 50s three times and into the 40s four times.

Low temperatures fell into the 20s during three years, into the teens during three years and into the single digits four years. The record snowfall in January of 155 inches occurred in 1964. The record 24-hour snowfall of 35 inches was set on Jan. 9, 1980.


Derek Trucks.
The View Finder: Rocking great hand held/low light photos by Gary Randall on 12/01/2017

Low light, no flash, hand held photography is something that needs to be understood by any photographer of any genre or style. There are many times where one will need to get a shot but a flash or a tripod are not an option. A great way to practice this method is to take photos at a concert. If you can master photographing a concert, with bright lights and deep shadows, and quick movements you can skillfully photograph a wedding, for instance. The primary challenge is to get photos with a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring the subject.

The Grammy award winning Tedeschi Trucks Band came to Portland on Nov. 3 to play to a sold-out show at the Keller Auditorium. I was able to secure photo passes to the show which allowed me to move to the front to take photos of the band during their first three songs and to bring my pro level camera inside. Many concerts will not allow pro style cameras inside without a pass, but many others will, so call ahead of time and ask what their policy for photos are. I’ve been able to bring my camera into smaller venues and clubs in the past. I’ve even used these techniques at informal live shows at backyard parties.

Before the Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage the crowd was fully warmed up by the Hard Working Americans (in photo above), an American rock “super group.” The Hard Working Americans consist of lead singer Todd Snider and bassist Dave Schools from the group Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks, who was also a member of widespread Panic and brother of Derrick Trucks, on drums. The Hard Working Americans put on a powerful show with songs that were a mix of classic hard rock, blues and traditional roots Americana. While the Hard Working Americans were on stage I took that time to make sure that my camera settings were correct before the Tedeschi Trucks Band hit the stage. I used my Nikon D810 and my 70-200mm zoom lens for most of the photos.

I set the camera on Aperture Priority with the aperture set to f/2.8 and Auto ISO with the max ISO set to 6400 and turned my Vibration Reduction on the lens to ON. Aperture Priority means that I set the camera’s aperture manually and then the camera sets the shutter speed for me. It’s semi-automatic. Next my decision to set the camera to Auto ISO was to allow the camera to lower the ISO if possible and to not move past a set maximum ISO, 6400 in this case. I set my aperture to f/2.8 to allow the most light into the camera, which allows a faster shutter speed. The one drawback to a wider aperture is a shallow depth of field but this can be used to a certain effect by isolating the subject from others in the background.

Although I used a single lens reflex camera, many consumer level cameras (and even some mobile phones today) will allow one to make adjustments to the aperture and ISO settings for better low-light photos.

I shot the first three songs and then went to my seat, sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show.

Once the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage, led by guitar prodigy Derek Trucks and his extremely talented singer and guitarist wife, Susan Tedeschi, it was obvious of their following and fans in the Pacific Northwest. The crowd was enthusiastic as the band played through a dozen songs, a mix of original tunes as well as classic covers from “Sailing On” by Toot’s and the Maytals and the country classic by George Jones, “Color of The Blues,” to “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” by Jazz pianist Billy Taylor and “How Blue Can You Get?” by the popular 1940s and 1950’ African-American vocal group Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.

A diverse array of music brought together and played in the iconic style that the power couple, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, has developed with their extremely talented lineup of musical masters backing them up. They finished the show with a three-song encore that included the classic Leon Russell song, “Song for You,” the traditional classic “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the original song “Bound For Glory.”

Being able to be successful at taking concert photos, for me, enhances my concert experience, especially when my shooting time is relegated to the first three songs. The limit allows me to let the photos go and enjoy the rest of the show knowing that I have great souvenirs from the evening.

Wet winter, with average temps, on tap through February by on 12/01/2017

November got off to a cool start with snowfall accumulating on the mountain and leading to high hopes for a great Thanksgiving weekend for skiers and boarders. Unfortunately, Pineapple Express weather patterns melted a good portion of the snowpack, along with hopes for an early ski season. By the end of the third week, Brightwood had already recorded precipitation exceeding its average amount for the entire month, and Government Camp had received 25 inches of snow in addition to the rain. Temperatures averaged near normal at both Government Camp and Brightwood. Weather for the last few days of the month turned a bit brighter.

The National Weather Service reports the expected development of a La Nina pattern and the Madden Julian Oscillation activity has weakened, but the Weather Service is keeping its eye on it. A new addition to their concerns is the Arctic Oscillation but it is not expected to affect our area during the coming month.

Their best guess for our area expects temperatures to be near average, and precipitation a bit higher than average during December. Their outlook during the December to February period for our area continues to expect lower than average temperatures and above average precipitation.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 11.52 inches, including 5.9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 50s nine times, and into the 40s once. Low temperatures dropped into the 20s five times, into the teens three times and into the single digits twice. On average, December has 12 days that record freezing temperatures. The record precipitation amount for December was set in 1964 with 28.09 inches. The record December snowfall was set in 1968 with a total of 48.8 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during December of 12.5 inches was set on Dec. 8, 1968.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.80 inches, including 50.9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached the 50s during four years and into the 40s the remaining six years. Low temperatures fell into the teens during four years, into the single digits during four years, one year recorded zero and the other year minus one. The record snowfall in December of 122 inches occurred in 1971. The record 24-hour snowfall of 26 inches was set on Dec. 18, 2008. The total yearly snowfall average is 271 inches.

MHGS: what food means to us and the environment by Mary Soots on 12/01/2017

Several years ago, we had a series of snow and ice storms at Christmas that kept many on the mountain unable to move about. A friend had come to visit and with the help of our neighbors, we made our way into Sandy between storms to restock our supplies and settled in to spend a quiet Christmas on the mountain. On Christmas Eve, there was a knock on the door. Neighborhood kids had brought us some homemade fudge. Their gesture was so kind and meaningful.

The holiday season is the time of year when we focus much of our attention on food. Food can represent so many aspects of our culture. How food is produced, distributed, prepared and consumed are all aspects of our relationships with the earth, between countries and between individuals. Food can conjure up memories and recreate emotions, such as “comfort food” that reminds us of home or of loved ones. These can be very simple meals such as macaroni and cheese. And then there are foods associated with specific holidays such as the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal of turkey and all the side dishes.

Generally speaking, when we provide food to others, it is not because they can’t get sufficient sustenance on their own. Rather, it is meant to express solidarity, to assess the other’s social status through their manners, etc., and provides a means of interaction while focusing on food.

Like the gift of fudge brought by my neighbors, a welcome basket or a holiday gift of food can express friendship between people. When a neighbor held a baby shower, the invitation asked guests to bring a frozen meal in lieu of a baby gift in order to feed the family while the mother was recovering from labor. We often share food also at times of hardships as well. Recently, I delivered a meal to the family of a friend who is away caring for her dying mother. Similarly, when someone passes away, food is delivered to the family. This is a way of reinforcing relationships between people.

When we entertain, food speaks volumes about us. In a bygone era when women primarily were homemakers, entertaining meant making everything from scratch, usually starting days prior to prepare a heavy meal that everyone sat at a dining table to enjoy. The lavish production was meant to impress the invitees. The message to guests was that “You are important guests and we have taken care and trouble on your behalf.” If a guest does not consume the meal, it is considered offensive to the hosts.

Modern entertaining has changed as working couples have less time to prepare lavish meals. The multiple course dinner has been replaced with a potluck where everyone is invited to bring a dish. The premium is on being innovative with new combinations of simple foods over time-consuming meals. The meal is consumed casually standing, sitting in the living room or as guests mill about.

One common theme around entertaining is the demonstration of excess food. Like 21-course meals for dignitaries, lavish presentations are meant to impress guests with conspicuous consumption. The excess food is a way of demonstrating social status. A shortage of food would be seen as an embarrassment, and it is preferable to throw out the excess than to run short.

There are environmental costs to food waste. Decomposing food creates methane gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than twenty times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. Wasted food also consumes limited landfill space and leads to water pollution through run-off.

Wasted food involves the waste of all of the resources that went into producing it in the first place – water, fertilizers and pesticides, fuel and all of the associated human capital and labor. Together, the environmental harm and the wasted resource inputs associated with food waste carry great financial cost. Further, some reports note that the U.S. spends another $1 billion annually just to haul excess food away.

Episode XVI: A Private Eye And The FBI by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2017

It was difficult for Max Malone, private eye, to completely ignore the digging of the Wildewood World’s editor Nigel Best – despite the fact that Max often referred to him as Nigel Pest.

The possibility that it was not Beau Kimatian who died in the explosion of the Stardust Lodge would be an absurdity along the lines of political decency. Best may have been many things – the first strike being a journalist – yet there was no denying that his connection to a U.S. Attorney who had plenty of dirt on Kimatian was as undeniable as believing that the Stardust Lodge’s proprietor, and husband of Anna Belle Wilde, was dirt-free.

But before Max could spend too much time on Best’s theory, he was forced into a tete-a-tete with FBI Agent Mike D’Antonio who arrived – unannounced, what other way? – at Max’s cabin before breakfast but not before Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states, had emerged from the shower, barefoot, bathrobed, with her hair tumbling down in rollicking ringlets.

“Miss Suppine,” Mike said, acknowledging Val with a drop of his eyelids as only a man of Italian persuasion or ancestry can muster.

“Hi, Mike,” Val shot back with a shake of her hair and a smile that could drop any man of Italian persuasion or ancestry.

Meanwhile, Max just peered over the top of his coffee cup, marveling at a scene that could only be replicated by the last spring hookup of a pair of twitterpating house wrens.

Shaking off Val’s spell, Mike emerged shaken, but surprisingly serious under the circumstances.

“I need to go over a few things with you,” Mike said, only turning toward Max halfway through the sentence.

“Sure thing,” Val responded like the house wren of spring.

“Uh, Val, I think the agent was referring to me,” Max offered, not entirely certain he was right.

After Mike stole one more glance at Val, as if staring across their newly fashioned nest, he ripped himself away, tail feathers and all.

“Have a seat,” Max offered with no trace of sincerity.

Mike sat down on the front edge of an easy chair, while Max flopped on the sofa, and Val leaned across the back of the sofa, dispelling the unseemly squalor of Max’s dystopian digs.

“Max. What do you know about this Gloria Lovejoy woman?” Mike said, apparently recovered.

“Never heard of her,” Max said flatly, giving no hint of truth or otherwise.

“Me neither,” Val said, but she could have been speaking to the wall. The two men were now locked into investigative combat.

“Well, she was seen near the scene of the lodge in the early morning of the explosion,” Mike said. “And I have it on good authority you knew her.”

Max, his eyes fixed on the FBI agent, said nothing.

“You need to understand, Mr. Malone, that we’ll figure this thing out,” Mike said, keeping to his script.

“Yeah?” Max said, issuing an unsuppressed chortle. “Kinda like Ruby Ridge and Waco?”

Mike stood up, but Max continued to stare him down.

“You need to understand something as well, pal,” Max continued. No sign of a chortle. “I don’t have any use for your agency, or your kind. As for your ability to figure this thing out, I’m pretty sure there are already two or three people who have lapped you.”

“And you’re still sticking to your alibi of Mr. Malone for that night?” Mike said, eagerly turning to Val after he arrived at the door.

“Yeah,” Val said, leaning one-handed on the sofa back. “I’m pretty sure of things like that.”

It was uncertain if Valerie Suppine was talking about an alibi any more.

Mike exited without a glance in Max’s direction. Had he done so, he would have been highly disappointed. Max was grinning ear-to-ear in Val’s direction over the top of his coffee mug.

“Whew,” Val exhaled. “What do you suppose that was all about?”

Max knew the FBI game. It was all about intimidation and misdirection. But he said nothing, not wanting to disturb Val’s nest.

*   *   *

Chance Wilde and Anna Belle (now Wilde again) sat on Randy Wilde’s front porch, gazing out on the Wildewood forest of firs and cedars, each deep in their private thoughts.

Chance was wrestling with the need to hang around to protect his granddaughter, or return to the gentle notion of a Colorado winter, while Anna Belle was wondering how long it was going to take before the Stardust Lodge insurance settlement arrived.

Chance’s thoughts were of the spirit. Anna Belle’s were of revenge. Meanwhile, Max was itching to get after someone who had upset his chosen town of Wildewood – no matter how sinister a place it could be.

After all, it was his town. And he was still Max Malone, private eye.

Gifts from the kitchen! by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2017

Inexpensive and fun to make, a gift of your time and thoughtfulness will be felt with these gifts from the kitchen.

Homemade chocolate bars

You’ll need parchment paper to wrap, twine and pretty tape to wrap these up.

2 cups each several types of chocolate: white chocolate, semi sweet (dark) and milk melted separately in a double broiler.

Accouterments, such as dried cherries, pistachios, crushed sandwich cookies, caramel chips, sea salt, roasted almonds, toffee bits or crushed espresso beans.

Coat the bottom of small loaf pans with oil and place a strip of parchment down the middle.

Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chocolate, then (accouterments about 2 T each) then top with another 1/4 cup of melted chocolate.

Smooth over and refrigerate until solid, wrap and place in cool dry area until ready to give.

For the milk chocolate I’ll do the almonds and toffee bits, for the dark I like to chop the cherries and pistachios and for the white, crushed cookies and crushed espresso beans.

Olive oil bread dip and pomegranate balsamic vinegar

You can find pretty corked bottles and a nice table cloth to wrap these in. Throw in a basket with crusty bread and cured meats such as salami and cheese, and maybe a jar of olives or pickles.

For the oil:

2 cups best quality virgin olive oil

1 T each dried oregano, parsley, rosemary, dehydrated garlic

1 t red pepper flakes, black pepper, sea salt.

Mix together the spices and divide into small jars (about 2 t each) or bottles.Top with olive oil about 1/4 cup and seal with lid or topper.

For the pomegranate balsamic syrup:

4 cups pomegranate juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar

Bring to a boil all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, stirring until honey dissolves, and reduce to simmer. Let reduce by ½, then cool and jar or bottle.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Influenza – the virus that is nothing for us to sneeze at! by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2017

Antibiotics first came into being in the 1930-40s and really blossomed after WW II. Now we have resistance to antibiotics creating an even bigger problem. But the flu is different, as the flu is caused by viruses and therefore will not respond well to antibiotics. If you demand antibiotics for colds or the flu you may be creating your own personal antibiotic resistance. For the record, most of us have antibiotics in our systems even if we’ve never been prescribed them. 80 percent of antibiotics are in our industrial food system, especially meat. An argument for a more plant-based diet then.

The most lethal influenza (flu) in history occurred in 1918, which was the worst, coldest winter the US Midwest had ever experienced. This strain of flu killed more people in one year than all of the Bubonic Plague! We were headed into WWI and both politics and money reared their dubious heads.

Medical schools in the late 1800s didn’t require any science courses! There were no labs for testing anything. Hardly any students ever even saw a patient. All that medical schools offered was a series of lectures. Except for the homeopathic schools this was all there was. An epidemic is local or national. A pandemic is world-wide. In 1918 some of the elderly had been alive in the great flu of 1889-90. They had either been exposed enough to fend off this epidemic or perhaps they were the ones who used homeopathics and survived. Other major rounds of flu have occurred in 1957 and 2003.

Influenza (flu) is still classified by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as one disease with pneumonia. Pneumonia was classified as the leading cause of death in the US until 1936. Even today with antibiotics, antivirals, oxygen therapies, etc. influenza/flu is still the fifth or sixth cause of death. This is nothing to sneeze at!

Sneezing and coughing are not the only method of spreading influenza/pneumonia. Close proximity/crowding, hand-to-nose contact, even common surfaces may spread the disease. But carrying around antibiotic wipes is not the solution (see last month’s column). Not only would that be unwieldy and costly, but it would not counteract viruses. It’s why the fist pump is now as popular, or more so, than a handshake.

The incubation period is 24 to 72 hours. Hence, early on the influenza outbreak was called “the 3-day fever.” The influenza virus attacks the immune system, both directly and indirectly. During the flu epidemic of 1918 it was not just the young and the elderly who succumbed, but people in the middle stages of life. It was noted, however, that those with already lowered immune systems, for instance soldiers living in crowded and intimate contact, were likely to succumb.

It appears that the fear of the disease caused as many deaths as the disease itself! Even in 1918 it was noted that the first to succumb were the weak and fearful. Also those who were malnourished. Even today we have malnourished people such as the homeless, school children, the elderly and those who make poor dietary choices.

It is important to remember that despite the horror stories of that time, most people with influenza/pneumonia survived! Perhaps they were the ones who had the milder cases that accorded some immunity, they had stronger immune systems or they simply recovered. My primary bouts with flu were in 1957 and 2003. Whether or not you get a flu shot is your choice (so far) but even today the scramble to get the right flu strain is, well, a scramble.

During the influenza/flu epidemic of 1918 the US Surgeon General suggested what we all know to be true: to avoid disease cover your sneezes and coughs, breathe through your nose (to warm your breath), wash your hands before eating, avoid constipation, avoid other persons who are sick, get bed rest and keep reasonably clean and well-nourished. Some things haven’t changed!

There is no cure for influenza. Vaccines and antivirals may protect but they really just reduce symptoms. Perhaps leaving you feeling healthy enough to go to work, much to your co-workers angst. But antiviral foods (herbs, garlic, ginger) also do so. Decreased use of antibiotics in livestock, packaging and disinfectants would be good too. Good old soap and water and a little friction will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Eat the best food you can afford and avoid sugar (it is food for viruses to grow). Eat truly fermented foods to feed the good microbes in your gut (like sauerkraut and yogurts with live bacteria). Do these things so you can avoid illness and have a healthy holiday.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: choosing a wedding photographer by Gary Randall on 11/01/2017

With the spring and summer months behind us and the fall and winter months ahead, many people start planning ahead for the next season’s warm weather activities. Many of these plans will revolve around weddings and wedding engagements. Because of that, I’ve decided to try to provide some information that will help in deciding what photographer would be best for you from a photographer’s point of view.

First and foremost is the misconception that all that a photographer does is show up, take pictures, go home and send them in an email. That’s no different than thinking that all that the caterer does is show up and put some food on a table, serve it up and throw away the paper plates. That food needs to be carefully prepared, delivered carefully and served in a beautiful way and then the dishes need to be done. It’s a process as photography is a process. It’s certainly true that you can hire someone to come and take pictures inexpensively; you can also hire a caterer that will serve TV dinners.

When you hire a professional photographer you will expect more than snapshots of the wedding. A photographer can take hundreds or sometimes a thousand or more photos at a single event. Once back at the studio they will need to sort out all of the stinkers before starting the processing phase of the project. Out of focus, closed eyes, redundancy, etc. are all considered in this phase. This all takes time. After the initial sorting of the photos there are still many more left to consider whether they’re worthy of being a final photo.

If the photographer is using film, which some still do, they will have shooting time plus processing and developing time. If they shoot digital they will also have processing time. Modern professional photographers photograph their images in what’s called a RAW file, which is considered a digital negative as it will need to be converted into a usable image format for printing or digital display. This RAW format gives the photographer the same form of adjustment ability that the film photographer does in a darkroom; primarily brightness, contrast and color adjustments, such as white balance and saturation, plus a lot more. Because each photo is unique each will typically require separate attention from the rest. In other words, each photo is typically processed in its own unique way.

In many cases a professional photographer will have a second or third photographer at the event. The second, or assistant photographer, is helpful in capturing fleeting moments that come and are gone in a flash. This assistant is also helpful in setting up any equipment such as lighting and backdrops as well as posing people, seeing overlooked details, as well as sorting the photos after the event. Once sorted, the primary photographer will process the final photos. A second shooter will also help with any video captures of the event. Today most professional wedding photographers provide video service as well.

A professional will also have a backup photographer who will cover for him if he becomes ill or is unable to photograph the wedding for unforeseen reasons. The last thing that you want is a sick photographer at the event or one that’s too ill to attend.

What do you get for your money?

All of this can add up when considering cost. Generally speaking one can expect to pay from $2,500 – $10,000 for a true professional wedding photographer. Most photographers will have packages at different levels of pricing. The packages will typically provide a specified amount of final photos provided as well as other products, such as specialty printing like canvas or acrylic prints, a hard bound portfolio album or a video of the event.

I know what you’re thinking. Holy macaroni, right? I know because I’m asked a lot about photographing weddings and have seen the look in a few faces when they start to think about their budget. First consider this. Will you remember or enjoy the catered food in twenty years? Will you remember the DJ or the wedding planner or the venue manager? In my mind photography is the most important part of the wedding besides the vows. The photos will be with you for the rest of your lives and will help you to remember the details like the fabulous food and great music. Why compromise on what will truly be heirlooms for you and your family?

I also understand that a professional, in many cases, is impractical. In those cases my advice is to look for a photographer who is trying to make a mark or one who is trying to gain experience and a professional portfolio. Most aspiring photographers are not only willing to work for less they’re also usually enthusiastic. In this day and age, in many cases, one will know someone that’s either a friend or a family member that has a nice camera that would be willing to do this, sometimes for free. Ask to see their photos. You may be surprised.

And a final word concerning attendees with their own cameras or cell phone cameras who are tempted to snap photos during the ceremony or during the professional photographers time.

Please consider that if there’s a hired photographer working please allow them the freedom to work. There have been many times where I’m unable to get the photo through or between guests trying to get the same photo. It also makes it difficult when eyes are straying while a group of people are all looking at different cameras all at once. Many weddings ask attendees to not take photos during the ceremony and to relax and enjoy the event. If the bride and groom ask or if there’s not a professional working photographer there some brides and grooms want their attendees to snap photos. They figure that 25 photographers working for free are better than one or two pros working for a wage. That’s a valid approach which I give as an option when I discuss a job with a potential client.

I hope that this helps those who are considering hiring a photographer for their wedding. And may I be the first to congratulate you.

Contradictions on November forecast, hot next summer by on 11/01/2017

The first 18 days of October were typical early fall weather, with periods of sunny days followed by cloudy, showery days and temperatures near their seasonal averages. During the next four days, Brightwood was soaked with 7.97 inches of rain, while Government Camp received 7.28 inches of rain, melting the remains of snowfall that added up to nine inches. We were rewarded the rest of the month with sunny, mild weather. As the rain year ended Sept. 30, Brightwood recorded 107.12 inches of precipitation, which is 137 percent of the long term average of 81.70 inches.

The National Weather Service is frustrated with different indicators giving contradictory signals, in addition to keeping a wary eye on expected development of a La Nina pattern and continued Madden Julian Oscillation activity. Their best guess for our area expects average temperature and precipitation levels during November. Their confidence is much higher in forecasting a La Nina pattern to develop during the winter months, and somewhat colder than average temperatures for our area during December through March, with precipitation about average. Further beyond, our area is expected to have above average temperatures during next summer.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.78 inches, including 2.5 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 60s seven times, and into the 50s three times. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s five times, into the 20s four times, and into the teens once. On average November has six days that record freezing temperatures. The record precipitation amount for November was set in 2006 with 24.44 inches.

The record November snowfall was set in 1973 with a total of 27.7 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during November of 8.8 inches was set on Nov. 5, 1973.

During November, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 29 degrees and a precipitation average of 12.15 inches, including 33.5 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached the 60s five years, into the 50s four years and one year ended in the 40s.

Low temperatures fell into the 20s during six years and into the teens the remaining four. The record snowfall in November of 125 inches occurred in 1973. The record 24-hour snowfall of 20 inches was set on Nov. 18, 2010, followed five days later with another 19 inches on Nov. 23.

Stardust Melody: Chapter 9 by on 11/01/2017

FBI Agent Mike D’Antonio was back in the Portland bureau, down in the trenches with Bureau Chief Ted Grayson.

Although having come up empty after interviewing all possible suspects, with the exception of the mysterious Georgia Lovejoy who was now in custody as a material witness, D’Antonio was being told to hand over the case to local authorities. According to Grayson, who was more and more protective of his time on the job due to the recent addition of his much younger fourth wife, the bureau simply didn’t have the resources to continue.

After all, there were terrorists in the world.

But unlike Grayson, D’Antonio had a control-freak wife, Sophia, and seven kids, and he wasn’t ready to give up on an out-of-town assignment, even if he had to work weekends – which he was actually looking forward to doing.

Besides, ATF and Homeland Security had determined the explosion at the Stardust Lodge had nothing to do with them, and the thought of turning the investigation over to Wildewood’s Police Chief Gandy was, in D’Antonio’s mind, tantamount to turning loose the Deputy Dogs of Hooterville.

*   *   *

Max Malone pulled off the road twenty yards before the wooden bridge that yawned across Ruby River, fifty yards upstream from the picayune remains of the Stardust Lodge.

Nigel Best, editor and owner of The Wildewood World newspaper, was waiting, leaning against the back of his Prius, with one foot planted on the insubstantial back bumper, yet posing no threat due to the equally insubstantial weight he was applying.

Downriver, insurance investigators were walking through the wreckage of the lodge, faces covered with masks against the foul odor of Tannerite, stepping carefully along with inadequate footwear.

Max approached. Nigel pushed his wire-rimmed glasses higher on his nose in what was more reflexive than required.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Max offered.

“Right, Mr. Malone,” Nigel managed with only a slight hesitation. “I believe we were both back in the woods where Maggie McGee’s body had turned up.”

“Right. What do you want?” Max said, somehow not making it sound like a question. “And it’s Max, not Mister Anything.”

“Sure, uh, Max,” Nigel said, pulling a reporter’s notebook out of the belt behind his back, thumbing through a few pages, presumably finding his place. “The FBI agent, D’Antonio, asked me if I knew if you were working for Beau Kimatian. I said no.”

“No, I wasn’t working for him, or no, you didn’t know?”

“That last one,” Nigel said, turning another page in the notebook. “Were you?”

“Are you interviewing me? Cuz if you are, I don’t do interviews. Not for the Wildewood World, or any actual reporter in the real world.”

“I probably should explain,” Nigel backtracked.

“That’s a start,” Max snorted.

“Uh, I’ve been digging into Beau Kimatian ever since he acquired the Ruby River property. At first, I just didn’t think it was right that the Wilde family, Anna Belle in particular, should lose the property, then I got more concerned when I saw the Stardust Lodge get built, and, of all things, Anna Belle and Beau got married, followed by a confederacy of politicians and polecats coming in and out of the place, and I had a hard time believing that you were working for someone like him, even though your reputation was, um, not exactly whistle clean, but at least you’d never done anyone wrong here in Wildewood. Best I knew. I don’t know about France.”

All this without coming up for air.

“You’re about as long-winded when you talk as when you write,” Max said, pushing the fedora back on his forehead and almost smiling.

Nigel reset his glasses.

“He’s dead, so it doesn’t really matter,” Max went on. “Yeah, I unshackled Beau from some of his sheckles, pretending to follow Anna Belle for him. But I wasn’t. For such a supposed high roller, he was pretty easy to deceive.”

“Maybe he had another motive,” Nigel jumped in. “There’s this other woman, a Georgia-something, I’m still checking on that. Anyway, I’ve traced Beau quite a ways back. He’s connected to – and protected from as well – a lot of, uh, businesses in the South. Riverboat casinos, strip clubs, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, overseas accounts. I’ve pulled this off through a college friend of mine who’s now a U.S. Attorney in Florida, and …”

“You’re not old enough to have gone to school with a U.S. Attorney,” Max interrupted.

“I’m forty-three,” Nigel snapped. “And this old friend of mine is pretty sure Beau Kimatian is no more an Armenian than the Pope of Greenwich Village. She’s come up with another name from his past. Makes you kind of wonder if that was him in the lodge? Interested yet?”

He was.

After all, he is Max Malone, private eye.

MHGS: not so fantastic – China looks to cut plastic imports by Mary Soots on 11/01/2017

There is a crisis unfolding in the global recycling scene that will have profound effects on all of us down to the household level. In the world of trade, ‘Scrap and Waste’ is the sixth largest U.S. export to China. Now China says it doesn’t want our garbage any more.

The following is an article reprinted from The Conversation, a British site which explains our situation:

 

“The dominant position that China holds in global manufacturing means that for many years China has also been the largest global importer of many types of recyclable materials. Last year, Chinese manufacturers imported 7.3m metric tonnes of waste plastics from developed countries including the UK, the EU, the US and Japan. However, in July 2017, China announced big changes in the quality control placed on imported materials, notifying the World Trade Organisation that it will ban imports of 24 categories of recyclables and solid waste by the end of the year. This campaign against yang laji or “foreign garbage” applies to plastic, textiles and mixed paper and will result in China taking a lot less material as it replaces imported materials with recycled material collected in its own domestic market, from its growing middle-class and Western-influenced consumers.

The impact of this will be far-reaching. China is the dominant market for recycled plastic. There are concerns that much of the waste that China currently imports, especially the lower grade materials, will have nowhere else to go. This applies equally to other countries including the EU27, where 87% of the recycled plastic collected was exported directly, or indirectly (via Hong Kong), to China. Japan and the US also rely on China to buy their recycled plastic. Last year, the US exported 1.42m tons of scrap plastics, worth an estimated US$495m to China.

Plastic problems

So what will happen to the plastic these countries collect through household recycling systems once the Chinese refuse to accept it? What are the alternatives? Plastics collected for recycling could go to energy recovery (incineration). They are, after all, a fossil-fuel based material and burn extremely well – so on a positive note, they could generate electricity and improve energy self-sufficiency. They could also go to landfill (not ideal) – imagine the press headlines. Alternatively, materials could be stored until new markets are found. This also brings problems, however – there have been hundreds of fires at sites where recyclable materials are stored.

Time to change our relationship with plastic?

While it is a reliable material, taking many forms from cling film (surround wrap) to flexible packaging to rigid materials used in electronic items, the problems caused by plastic, most notably litter and ocean plastics, are receiving increasing attention. One way forward might be to limit its functions. Many disposable items are made from plastic. Some of them are disposable by necessity for hygiene purposes – for instance, blood bags and other medical items – but many others are disposable for convenience.

Looking at the consumer side of things, there are ways of cutting back on plastic. Limiting the use of plastic bags through financial disincentives is one initiative that has shown results and brought about changes in consumer behaviour. In France, some disposable plastic items are banned and in Britain, leading pub chain Wetherspoons has banned disposable, one-use plastic drinking straws. Deposit and return schemes for plastic bottles (and drink cans) could also incentivise behavior. Micro-beads, widely used in cosmetics as exfoliants, are now a target as the damage they do becomes increasingly apparent and the UK government has announced plans to ban their use in some products. This follows similar actions announced by the US and Canada, with several EU nations, South Korea and New Zealand also planning to implement bans.

Many local authorities collect recycling that is jumbled together. But a major side effect of this type of collection is that while it is convenient for the householder, there are high contamination levels which leads to reduced material quality. This will mean it is either sold for lower prices into a limited market, will need to be reprocessed through sorting plants, or will be incinerated or put in landfill. But changes to recycling collections and reprocessing to improve the quality of materials could be expensive. Alternatively, recycled plastic could be used to provide chemicals to the petrochemical sector, fuels to the transport and aviation sectors, food packaging and many other applications.

The problems we are now facing are caused by China’s global dominance in manufacturing and the way many countries have relied on one market to solve their waste and recycling problems. The current situation offers us an opportunity to find new solutions to our waste problem, increase the proportion of recycled plastic in our own manufactured products, improve the quality of recovered materials and to use recycled material in new ways.”

(https://theconversation.com/us)

 

In Oregon, the Department of Environmental Quality states that it “is following the proposed China ban of post-consumer plastics and unsorted paper closely and is engaged in ongoing conversations with local governments, collectors, processors and industry representatives. Given the major market disruption this is causing, DEQ and its partners are preparing for different possibilities and developing strategies to maintain recycling collection and processing where possible as we update those systems to recycle more effectively in the future.

These challenges also present an opportunity to develop long-term plans to strengthen local processing capacity, identify and grow new markets, reduce contamination and deepen partnerships.

The DEQ is encouraging residents to continue recycling as much as possible, but to stop “wishful recycling,” which is putting an item into a recycling container that doesn’t belong, wishing it will be recycled.

On a more local level, our mountain community has had challenges with recycling since its inception. The Mt. Hood Green Scene has been working with Clackamas County’s Resource Conservation & Solid Waste management to address the current issue and will continue to work with our community to find solutions to our local challenges.

Teaching children to bowl is leading cause of sterility in men by on 11/01/2017

Teaching a child to bowl is truly a bonding experience — meaning that you should really consider taking out a bond before entering the bowling alley.

As someone who escaped the experience with only a minor skull fracture and minimal orthodontic surgery, I feel I’ve acquired a level of expertise that could be helpful. First of all, don’t change into your bowling shoes while in the carpeted area. It will give you a false sense of security — and make you less prepared for the realization that walking in tractionless shoes on a highly-waxed surface is a lot like strapping soap bars to your feet and trying to cross a wet mirror.

Ironically, your children will have a natural ability to perform double axels over the same surface. That isn’t to say that you won’t, it’s just that theirs will be on purpose.

When it comes to selecting a bowling ball, remember: At some point it will be hurled backwards and into your stomach, chin, and/or groin. So go light, and make sure your child’s fingers fit the holes snuggly. A ball that’s moving out of control but still attached to a small child can provide you with an extra two seconds of reaction time.

As most bowlers know, delivery style is a crucial element to success. A curve or spin placed at just the right arc can mean the difference between a strike or split. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about either since your child’s delivery will be closer to something like this:

Walk up to line.

Lift ball over head.

Throw ball straight down.

Get soda while ball is moved by earth’s gravity toward pins.

It’s at this point that the manager will offer your child free, personal instruction that begins immediately.

Next, don’t forget to ask for bumpers, which are metal gates about six inches high that extend to block the gutters and keep the ball in play. In addition to that, consider bringing along some extra fencing [chain-link is best] that can be attached to the bumpers. Though the metal gates keep the ball in play, the fencing will ensure that play remains in your lane.

Finally, it’s inevitable that your child will become infatuated with the ball-return mechanism, which is sort of like a giant throat that hacks up bowling balls from somewhere beneath the lanes. At some point, your child will begin hovering around it in spite of your warnings that ball-return machines have been known to suddenly switch into reverse and suck small children into them, where they are forced to live as pin-setters until released by an 800-series bowler.

This makes no difference to a 5-or 6-year-old drawn to the mystery of the ball-return machine — which brings me to my final suggestion:

If you have a child who bowls, always keep a spare.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o the Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

A farewell: thank you for the opportunity to serve HD 52 by on 11/01/2017

When I first ran to be your State Representative seven years ago, I did so because I was concerned about the future of our state. I felt that I could make a positive impact for all Oregonians. Since being first elected back in 2010, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish and contribute to the legislative process, and for the service I’ve been able to provide to my constituents.

Recently, another service opportunity has come my way as I applied and was hired to be the first President and CEO of Oregon Business and Industry. OBI is the largest business association in Oregon and represents more than 1,600 businesses, from major international corporations to small businesses throughout our state. I chose to take this position because of many of the same reasons that I originally ran for the Oregon House: my concern for our state and the need for Oregon’s businesses to have a stronger voice. I believe my time in the legislature has prepared me to provide the leadership that OBI needs at this time and I’m looking forward to this new challenge.

Because of this new opportunity, I will be resigning my seat in the legislature in early November. After the resignation, an appointment process outlined in state law will begin to choose my replacement. I plan to be actively involved in that process to ensure that the appointed Representative is prepared to serve our district and to help him or her become familiar with all of you. The communities on the Mountain need a representative who understands your local needs and someone who will work with local and state partners to find solutions on your behalf.

It has been an honor to advocate for the Mountain communities, and all of House District 52, in the state legislature. As I move on, I will miss the wonderful people and the relationships I’ve made with many of you. From the Ant Farm in Sandy to the Mt. Hood Lions Club in Welches, this area is home to service organizations that help make the Mountain a truly special place. I want to personally thank the Mountain Times for allowing me to use this forum to communicate directly with residents of the area about issues of importance to them and to the state of Oregon. It has been a rewarding experience and I thank you for all of your support these past years. I’ll still be a resident of HD 52, so I might see you in the coffee shops, hiking trails or on the slopes! Thank you for allowing me to serve you as your State Representative.

Sincerely,

Mark Johnson

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Sides, Glorious Sides! by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2017

My favorite thing to make for Thanksgiving is an invite to someone else’s home. There are a couple rules to this game – you must bring something amazing that adds to the menu and a hostess gift of sparkling cider or wine is a nice way to get invited back.

Here are a couple of scrumptious sides anyone will appreciate:

Roasted Maple Butternut Squash Dressing

2 lbs butternut squash peeled and chopped to 1/2” dice

1 T kosher salt 1/2 t cracked black pepper

1 t chopped fresh Rosemary

1 t fresh chopped sage

1/8 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh pomegranate kernels

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1 cup cooked wild rice

2 stalks green onions sliced on the bias

Heat oven to 400 degrees

In a small bowl, whisk syrup with herbs and pomegranate kernels and set aside.

Toss remaining ingredients together on a sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes stirring at least once. Coat with the maple mixture, place in oven another five minutes and toss in wild rice.

Root Vegetable Gratin

1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1 bulb fennel sliced thin

1/2 lb sweet potatoes sliced thin

1 T crushed garlic

2 leeks sliced thin

1 t salt and pepper

1/2 cup gruyere cheese

1 stick butter softened

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 cup half and half

1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese

Toss together vegetables, Gruyere, cream, garlic, salt and pepper in a gratin dish, and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Mix together Parmesan, butter and panko. Place crumb mixture on top and bake another five to ten minutes, until golden brown.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

The gut punch: antibiotics and the role of good microbes by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2017

The word microbiotic means “tiny living thing.” It used to be blanketed with the moniker “germs.” The germ theory claimed that all disease was caused by germs, so we grew to believe that all germs are bad. But germs, or the more currently politically correct terminology, microbiota, can be good or bad depending on the amount, the location and who or what they land on!

The germ theory convinced us that we needed to fight the “battle of germs.” A battle we will never, ever win. There are more microbes in each and every human gut than there are stars in the Universe! About nine or ten microbes per human cell, and we have trillions of cells in each of us. But we’ve been manipulated into spending huge sums of money on anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and anti-microbial packaging on just about everything we touch or ingest. Despite the fact that we’ve lived on this earth without these “germ fighters” for thousands of years.

Now don’t get me wrong, anti-biotics have saved many a life and we’re grateful to have them when we really need them. But no anti-biotic kills all the bacteria that cause an infection. The surviving microbes that weren’t killed by the anti-biotic go on to confer their genes to other microbes, telling them to avoid that particular antibiotic in the future. Thus we have antibiotic resistance. That’s a very real danger. For the record, 90 percent of antibiotics are given to animals (whether they need them or not) to increase their weight or cause them to give more eggs or milk. A case for more vegetables and less meat!

In the early 1940s penicillin became the antibiotic of choice. Resistance to penicillin began showing up by 1965. Tetracycline came to the fore in 1950 but lost its oomph by 1960. Erythromycin was the answer in the mid-1950s, but became resistant by 1960. New antibiotics since after 1970 are already showing resistance, some being beneficial for only a brief period of time. This is a big problem now especially in hospitals. In New York City hospitals the antibiotics have to be changed about every four months in order to avoid resistance.

Researchers at Oregon State University previously discovered that not only do antibiotics kill the microbes (bacteria), but they are also capable of destroying some of the cells lining the colon. While antibiotics do reduce infections, both chronic and autoimmune diseases have rapidly increased in the last fifty years. Any kind of doctor in practice for twenty years or more can attest to this. We are now treating different problems. In 1900 infection represented 53 percent of disease, chronic disease was only 36 percent and the rest of disease was attributed to other causes. By 2011 infection represents only three percent of disease but now chronic disease has risen to a whopping 88 percent. And doctors now see 40 percent more gut dysfunction than we did just 20 years ago.

This is not to say you should extend the “five -second rule” to five minutes or stop washing your hands. But maybe just rinsing your root vegetables rather than peeling them, or washing your clothes with water and soap that isn’t necessarily antibacterial is the way to go.

We can see the problem but how do we fix it? Everything you touch has microbes on it. Every doorknob, person, pet or other object. Microbes are inescapable. Even the much-advertised sprays which do indeed kill 99 percent of “germs,” do so for approximately sixty seconds. So that’s clearly not the answer.

Now let’s go back to those trillions of microbes that exist in everyone’s body. Our gut (mouth to ... the other end) does a great job of destroying most of the bad microbes unless there are just too many of the wrong kind in the wrong place or unless the interior of the gut has had all the normal flora (microbes) destroyed. So how do you protect yourself?

We’ve been trained to take an antibiotic for what ails you even if it’s a virus (most colds and flu) or other cause that antibiotics won’t even address. What if, instead, you ingested pre-biotics to feed the good microbes in your gut. Increasing the good microbes automatically confers resistance to the wrong ones. Pre-biotics contain inulin from onions and garlic. Their polysaccharides provide food for your good gut microbes. Also potatoes, carrots, the skins of apples and pears. Your internal flora ferment these foods for good gut health.

Pro-biotics benefit particular parts of the gut system. These include strains such as Bifidus, Bulgaris and Lactobacillus, found in foods like aged cheeses, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and yogurt. And some of these foods should be eaten on a daily basis in order to confer healthy immunity to your gut system.

We have a very wide variety of healthy foods in America. We have an even wider variety of unhealthy foods available that we should try to avoid as much as possible. All we have to do is eat the proper foods, opt for free range and grass fed animal products, increase vegetables for their complex carbohydrate content which is good food for your interior gut microbes. Avoid water during meals as this dilutes enzymes necessary for proper digestion and assimilation. Eat for health but don’t destroy your microbes. And replenish those good microbes if you do have to have antibiotics.


Photo by Charlie Riter, Big Tree Images
The View Finder: Lessons on Responsible Recreation by Gary Randall on 10/02/2017

Here on Mount Hood we are literally surrounded by forestlands. Our homes touch the edge of the Mount Hood National Forest and with increased recreational usage and in light of the recent Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge, concerns about wildfires and overuse are increasing. Many people aren’t aware that our local village is less than 20 miles from the Columbia River Gorge and the Eagle Creek Fire boundaries. A wind in a different direction was the only thing that prevented that fire from becoming a direct concern to our community.

In this day and age recreation is increasingly becoming the purpose and primary use of the forest. The amount of people using trails and camping areas has increased dramatically on public lands, especially in areas such as the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and the Mount Hood National Forest. Local and federal governments are trying their best to develop and to promote these areas to increase the usage, and with this increased usage comes an increase in the impact on these areas. This makes our personal responsibility to, and the assumption of stewardship of, these lands important. We can’t have the attitude that it’s just the outdoors and that it will grow back or that the government will just repair or rebuild it. We must take care of it or lose it.

Most all of those who are coming out to use the forests are prepared, capable and aware of the responsibility involved in the use of these public lands, but there’s also an increased chance of having someone that’s not aware making mistakes or bad decisions that could prove costly or dangerous. There are many people who haven’t had the opportunity to live or to be taught the outdoor experience during their childhood. We can’t assume that everyone that is visiting the forest is aware of responsible forest use.

There are some basics that anyone that’s going to spend time in the forest should be aware of and they should be understood by anyone that goes out into the forest to recreate. The US Forest Service website has a wealth of information such as this that can be used to raise your awareness or of that of your friends and family before they go to play. They call it Responsible Recreation:

 

  • Camp responsibly – use existing campsites or use an area without vegetation if possible. Keep the site small to minimize your impact. Don’t chop down or into trees. Camp at least 200 feet away from lakes, streams or wetlands. Use biodegradable soap or just plain water to wash.
  • Answering nature’s call – human waste can cause all kinds of problems if it’s introduced into the water. When you must go find a place that’s at least 200 feet from any water source. Dig a hole at least 6-8 inches deep to bury human waste. Pack out your toilet paper etc. Carry zip lock backs for this purpose. It’s kinda icky, but you’ll get used to it.
  • Be fire safe – first and foremost check with the ranger station in the area that you will be about any fire restrictions. Have a shovel, axe and a bucket of water available before starting the fire. Use existing fire rings. Remove flammable material from a ten foot diameter area around the fire. Keep fires inside of the fire ring. Don’t feed large logs into the fire. Never leave a fire unattended. Keep fires small and bring your own firewood. If you must collect wood from around your camp collect downed and dry wood only. Extinguish your fire properly. Pour water slowly into the coals while stirring with your shovel until the area is cool to the touch. Do not bury the fire as it can smolder for days. Never bring fireworks into the forest no matter the conditions.
  • Keep the forest creatures wild – don’t approach wildlife. Don’t feed wildlife. Keep your dog completely under your control or on a leash to keep wildlife safe.
  • Don’t erase the traces of America’s past – archaeological and culturally significant sites are protected and must be preserved for future generations. Anyone disturbing such areas can be dealt a substantial penalty if caught.
  • Be considerate of others – this should be a given in this society but unfortunately some folks don’t consider how their action affect others. Be courteous on trails and in the backcountry. Yield to others on trails. Take breaks and make camps away from trails and others who may want to experience the solitude of the area. Keep noises down and let nature’s sounds and noises dominate.

 

And last but not least, don’t forget to take your camera.

It seems like a lot of ‘do not do’s’ but trust that the do’s far outweigh the do not’s, so go out and enjoy the outdoors.

Trick, or treat? October expected to be warm and wet by on 10/02/2017

Similar to the previous month, September got off to a hot start with four of the first five days reaching the 90 degree mark in Brightwood. Temperatures slowly cooled, reaching seasonal levels by the start of the third week and falling below average a few days later. Temperatures rebounded during the final week, ending the month reaching above average levels again. Heavy rain fell during a four-day stormy period from Sept. 18-21 resulting with totals far in excess for the month’s total average. As many of you may have suspected, this summer set a record with an unbelievable total of 25 days reaching 90 degrees or higher, compared to an average of ten in Brightwood.

The National Weather Service is keeping an eye on indications that an El Nino pattern may return and is again facing uncertainties caused by an active Madden Julian Oscillation observation. Their forecast for our area during October calls for above average temperatures and above average precipitation also.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low of 43 and a precipitation average of 6.82 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s seven times and into the 60s three times. Low temperatures dropped into the 40s once, into the 30s eight years and into the 20s once. Chances for a freezing temperature in October are favorable two times out of three.

The only recent record of snowfall in Brightwood during October was a remarkable seven inches measured on Oct. 31, 1994. Of interest, last October, Brightwood recorded 17.86 inches of precipitation, although not a record.

During October, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 36 degrees and a precipitation average of 7.03 inches, including 5.5 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures reached the 70s five years and an equal number of times into the 60s. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during four years and into the 20s the remaining six. The latest date to reach a freezing temperature was Oct. 22, 1975, but the mean date is Sept. 23. The record snowfall in October of 34 inches occurred in 1984. The record 24-hour snowfall of 15 inches was set on Oct. 21, 1961, compared to a more recent total of 12 inches measured on Oct. 27, 2009.

Stardust Melody: Chapter 8 by on 10/02/2017

Max Malone chugged his old Suburban past the police station and slowed just long enough to gather in a scene the likes that the mountain community of Wildewood had never seen:

Every conceivable type of law enforcement officer had arrived in town, with the mass of humanity overflowing from the police station into the street, coupled with a morning crowd of local onlookers huddled together on the opposite side of the street, some with cups of coffee, others puffing through their second morning cigarette, chatting among themselves about absolutely nothing, but nevertheless dressed similarly in various versions of Levis and Wranglers as if they all played for the same denim bowling team.

In other words, it resembled a presidential nominating convention that somehow got mistakenly booked in Boise.

For those important, and possibly unlucky, enough to be inside the one-horse town of a police station, FBI agent Mike D’Antonio was droning on about what he knew so far, by way of catching up the really important agents from Homeland Security and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Homeland Security personnel – there were four of them, three men who blended into the knotty pine paneling and a woman so stern looking her first name had to be Sam, and as it turned out, it was – plus the ATF boys, hopelessly outnumbered as there were only three and their demeanor reflected this fact as they shuffled their feet like penguins rolling an egg.

*   *   * 

Max Malone pulled up at the former residence of Randy Wilde, who at the moment was languishing in what might have actually been better digs, that being county jail, where he was a government guest awaiting trial for robbing a gas station.

Randy’s daughter, Anna Belle Wilde, was rocking gently on a porch swing that complained like a hog trapped in a bog, while her grandfather, Chance Wilde, leaned in the doorway, one boot holding open the screen door. As Max swung open the gate that seemed to harmonize with the hog, Anna smiled broadly and Chance almost nodded.

Max barely settled into a wicker chair on the porch, keeping his weight forward to avoid the broken slat at the back of the seat. He looked at Anna, who was still grinning like a Cheshire cat, then Chance, who might have been the Mad Hatter if he’d ever been to Danville, Connecticut.

(Over the years there had been women who knew if Chance ever took off that Stetson, but none of them were talking.)

“That FBI agent talked to you yet?” Max asked, shattering the looking glass.

“Yep,” Chance responded with his usual eloquence.

“Oh yes he did,” Anna answered breathlessly.

“Well, you were both here when the Stardust Lodge went up, right?” Max again.

“Of course,” Anna again.

“Where were you Max?” Chance said through a smile so narrow you couldn’t slide a credit card without it getting refused.

“Home.”

“Good,” Chance expounded. “Anyone see ya there?”

Max stood up, but before he could reply Anna broke in.

“C’mon Gramps. You know he was with that uptown Reno gal.”

“That’s good,” Max said, ignoring Anna. “So, the authorities have nothing to go on. Locally anyway.”

Max shrugged, thinking how Valerie Suppine actually had not arrived in Wildewood until the morning after the explosion.

Max, to Anna: “The FBI agent said there were three bodies in the lodge. But Beau only had one bodyguard.”

Anna called Max’s shrug with one of her own, and raised him the other shoulder.

Max drifted away with a one-finger private eye salute from his fedora, a familiar bounce returning to his step.

*   *   *

D’Antonio’s briefing of Homeland Security and ATF can be summed up by: There was no one in town sophisticated enough to successfully blow up that lodge, not to mention all the players connected to the lodge had alibis – including the owner’s wife who was staying at her dad’s house with gramps in the other room, and a mystery woman named Georgia Lovejoy who was convincingly shook up that her paramour, the lodge’s owner, was dead, and the two-bit private eye who had been working for the lodge’s owner, but really wasn’t.

At this point, the FBI agent didn’t have a good fix on the price of Max Malone, private eye.

MHGS: fall is the time to get your yard and garden in order by Mary Soots on 10/02/2017

The nights are beginning to cool, which is wonderful for a good night’s rest. The mornings are chilly, but the days are still warm. Fall is in the air, the leaves are changing colors and the deciduous trees are beginning their decline. We mountain denizens know it’s time to get ready for whatever comes our way during the coming winter.

But before we start moving into winter, fall is also the best time of year to think about our yards and gardens. A little work this time of year can make for a healthier yard in the spring and summer. Here are some sustainable yard tips:

 

  • Leaves – If you want to get rid of your leaves and feed your lawn at the same time, run the lawnmower a few times. The leaves will decompose faster and provide nutrition for the soil. Alternately, you can rake the leaves and compost them so that you’ll have rich nutrient-filled soil in the spring.
  • Plant trees – Fall is the best time to plant new trees. The hot summer is behind us, the rainfall will help establish new trees, bushes and flowers, so they have a better chance of survival than if they were planted when it was hot. Make sure to select those trees that are native to this area so that they can support native habitats and watersheds. Native trees are best adapted to our soil type and more resistant to drought and pests. Keep in mind the amount of sunlight you have available on your property.
  • Plant perennials – Don’t spend extra money buying new plants year after year. Choose perennials that will continue to get larger each year until you can divide them and have even more beautiful plants. Planting them in the fall is the ideal time, after the heat and while they still have plenty of time to get established before the cold of winter. In the spring, your plants will thrive. As our summers are getting warmer, select drought-resistant native plants that will thrive without having to be watered.
  • Fertilize your lawn – If you have a lawn, that is. Many of us prefer to have a more natural, low-maintenance yard. But if you are going to fertilize your lawn, fall is the best time of the year to do it. In fact, you can fertilize now and you fertilize again in the late fall for best results. And of course, use an organic fertilizer.
  • Remove weeds – You know those pesky weeds like dandelions, thistles, and ivy? Fall is the best time to attack. You can pull them by hand, pour boiling water on them, or even use an organic broadleaf herbicide to prevent their return in the spring.
  • Remove the lawn – More and more, landscapers and homeowners are moving away from the idea of lawns. They are high-maintenance, and the cost to maintain can be astronomical, especially with the rising costs of water. Lawns that are not maintained through organic fertilizers can be detrimental to our water systems, creating algae blooms and raising toxicity levels for fish. Replacing the lawn with native vegetation such as bushes, flowers, and trees can enhance the beauty of your yard.
  • Fertilize organically – When preparing your soil for next year, add organic, slow-release fertilizers that will help enhance your soil over time. These fertilizers are made of natural materials, contain vital nutrients to help your plants grow, and prevent plants from getting nitrogen. Most garden stores today carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers; many catalog companies also sell organic products, or you can use the compost you processed yourself.

 

With a little planning now, we can start enjoying our yard with less work once the winter has come and gone. Happy gardening!

First step to good golfing: Get a grip by on 10/02/2017

 When our publisher began looking for someone to captain our golf team for a recent fundraiser, it only made sense that she came to me first. That’s because, being that I was once a sports writer, I’m naturally a great golfer. Just like I’m a great shot-put thrower, quarterback, point guard, stock-car racer, Extreme skateboarder, free-style swimmer and calf roper. In fact, I sometimes wonder where I might be today had my sports career not been tragically cut short by my complete lack of athletic talent. This discovery was made as early as first grade when, during a dodgeball game, I was knocked unconscious and rushed to the nurse’s office after being hit by the ball.

Forty-seven times.

(And I should mention that recess only lasted 10 minutes in those days.)

After agreeing to captain our golf team, I gave myself a crash course on golfing — beginning with golf terminology. I immediately went online for help and, thanks to the power of the Internet, found myself on an inappropriate website after typing in the first term on my list: Mixed Foursome.

For anyone else who might be looking to the Internet for golf-term clarifications, I’d also suggest avoiding Scotch Foursome, Shag Bag and Loose Impediments. While these are all legitimate golfing terms, try explaining that to your wife when she finds you doing an Internet search for the term Double-D.

(Which, by the way, means when a driver is used on the fairway after it has also been used to tee off — so THERE, Mrs. Smarty Pants.)

After getting a handle on the game’s terminology, the next thing on my list was golf etiquette. I know for a lot of people, one of the things that keeps them from actually trying golf is the fear of unintentionally doing something that, as a result of not knowing the proper etiquette, gets them clubbed to death by someone with a 9-iron. That’s because, to the outside observer, things that seem to warrant a good clubbing are actually no big deal. You want to swing your club and take a six-inch gouge out of an otherwise perfect lawn?

Fine.

Want to drink a beer AND drive an electric go-cart through the woods?

Perfectly acceptable.

However, walk between someone’s ball and a small hole in the ground, and there’s a good chance you’ll be found floating in a water hazard.

The thing to remember is that you will undoubtedly make some mistakes your first time on the course, and that’s to be expected. What won’t be expected is a hollowed-out golf club that can be loaded with tees and used as a blowgun should you need to defend yourself.

But you didn’t hear that from me.

This brings us to the actual fundamentals of playing golf — which begins with finding your “natural swing.” Ask any golfer the secret to doing this, and they’ll tell you it’s all about having the proper grip. To achieve this, simply make sure the back of your left hand as well as the palm of your right hand are both facing your target. Then, using the thumb of your right hand as a guide, wrap your fingers around one side, then do the same with your left while, very slowly, bringing them both back into a perfect arch so that your beer doesn’t spill on the way to your mouth.

After a couple of practice swigs, place your beer back in the cooler and you’re ready to tee-off.

This may not improve your swing much, but it will provide you with a legitimate excuse as to why you shot a 167 on a par-72 course.

And if that isn’t enough, you can always claim that playing in a mixed foursome was just too darned distracting.

(Write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple Street, Florence, Ore 97439)

Eagle Creek Fire highlights need for better land management by on 10/02/2017

We’ve had quite an exciting fall season already. For the other side of the Mountain and the Columbia River Gorge region, the Eagle Creek fire dominated most of my September. As citizens evacuated their homes and I-84 remained closed for an unprecedented amount of time, local businesses suffered from loss of sales. I’m proud of the coordinated effort between the Oregon Department of Transportation, Forestry, State Fire Marshal as well as the first responders that aided from across the state to protect what they could of our Nation Scenic Area and its residents. This fire, and the many others that have swept across Oregon this past summer, continue to point out the need for better management of our state and federal forestlands. I’m hopeful the legislature will convene hearings on this topic soon that will lead to much needed action.

In other September news, I attended part two of an Energy Conference (part one was in July). During this conference, I developed an even deeper understanding of how our state can maximize its current investment in renewable energy and return that benefit back to you as a consumer. As a member of the House Energy and Environment committee, I’m focused on ensuring that we get the most out of our current policies in place before considering any further costly legislation.

I had a great time celebrating the rebuilding of the iconic “Swinging Bridge” in Rhododendron last month. Thank you to the Rhododendron CPO for the invitation. It is important to make sure that our Mountain communities are part of the planning process of the Hwy 26 corridor. I know that the CPO used this celebration to encourage community engagement in the future growth and development of Rhododendron. I plan to continue to remain engaged as well and am open to assisting in any way I can.

In addition, I’m researching whether there may be a need to address the safety corridor issue with legislation. With so much additional traffic now on Hwy 26 the corridor is an important component of public safety on the Mountain. I want to make sure that local communities have a say in the creation and preservation of the corridors and not a state agency.

Lastly, on Sept. 23 I was honored to once again serve as judge for the Mt Hood Lions Club 3rd annual Chili Cook Off. I’ve got to admit this is one of my favorite in-district activities to be a part of! I’m sure it’s no secret to residents of the area, but there are some talented chefs from local restaurants! They really came up with some tasty chili for the event. Hats off to the Lions for their great work on this event and to the entire community that came out to support a great cause.

The time between legislative sessions is important for me to have discussions with my constituents, attend local events, and take ideas back to Salem. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas or issues you may have: 503-986-1452 or rep.markjohnson@oregonlegislature.gov.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Is it fall yet? by Taeler Butel on 10/02/2017

Welcome back chilly nights with these simple scrumptious meals:

Fall fondue

1 cup Swiss cheese cubed

3 oz cream cheese

Salt & pepper 1/2 t each

1 crushed clove garlic

1 cup milk or 1/2 & 1/2

Pinch nutmeg

1/2 cup dry white wine

Pinch of nutmeg

1 T each butter and flour

Start by heating a heavy bottomed pot over med heat, then add butter, flour and salt and pepper and whisk for about a minute.

Add in garlic and wine, then stir until thickened. Add milk or cream to mixture as well as cream cheese and Swiss cheese. Stir and add to fondue pot, then sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Serve with roasted butternut squash, toasted cubed bread, cauliflower, sliced sausage, pickles, fingerling potatoes and roasted peppers, and a salad.

 

Rueben casserole

1/2 lb pastrami chopped

1 package cooked ziti pasta

1 jar Alfredo sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 slices rye bread crumbs

1 cup sauerkraut

3 T Thousand Island dressing

1 T butter

Salt & pepper

1 T melted butter

Heat oven to 350

In a large bowl toss cooked pasta, pastrami, Alfredo sauce, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 t salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into casserole dish, then sprinkle on sauerkraut and drizzle dressing over the casserole.

In a small bowl mix bread crumbs, butter and 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, then sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 25 minutes.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

The Milky Way – how milk has changed and changed us by Victoria Larson on 10/02/2017

Milk, it does a body good, doesn’t it. Well, unless you are lactose intolerant or vegan or hate milk. But that’s not the issue here. As far back as 1929 John Crewe, MD of the Mayo Clinic, wrote an article entitled “Raw Milk Cures Many Diseases.” In those days most doctors approached disease by providing advice for diet alteration, homeopathics, hydrotherapy or prayer. This was way before the Big Pharmaceutical companies persuaded many doctors to use drug therapies instead. After all, there’s money in drugs.

From the 1800s until the 1950s most families consumed fresh raw milk, not pasteurized or homogenized. In fact, most households still had a cow, even in the cities, or got milk from a neighbor who had a cow or a goat. In the 1940s raw milk was a staple in the American diet. The operative word here is “raw” milk. By the 1950s most milk in America was pasteurized. So what’s the story here?

Pasteurization came about in the early 1900s but people still had a choice – store bought pasteurized milk or neighbor’s raw milk. The operative word here being “choice.” In a nation where choices dwindle every day let’s take a further look at some history.

When the Pilgrims landed in 1620 there were no livestock on board the ships, leaving them woefully unprepared for survival, until later landings brought butter, cheese and milk. At that time most dairy products arriving were from the Dutch. Jan Kaas, or John Cheese, became the word “Yankee!” Churches in early settlements were located within areas where the farmer could walk home to milk his cows twice a day!

The famous Boston Common began as a cow pasture, and continued pasturing cows until 1850. Cows were kept on common ground even (or especially) in the cities. But here’s where a change comes to animal husbandry.

When distillation and fermentation of grains into alcohol (whiskey) became popular, it was discovered that feeding the slop, or swill, to cows greatly increased milk production. Somehow the image of tipsy cows doesn’t thrill me. But the bottom line was that someone made more money.

But swill milk, as it became known, lacked the healing properties of fresh raw milk. It could not even be used for making butter or cheese. The slop, or swill, milk industry led to a rapid rise in infant mortality. Half of the infant deaths in cities were caused by diarrhea, caused by the vastly inferior product produced from these “industrial” cows. Thus, pasteurization of city milk made sense.

Let’s face it, just as with humans, the cow’s diet largely determines its health. But slop milk was thin and somewhat bluish so it was “pumped up” with substances to give it the right consistency and color. Substances like chalk, flour, sugar, starch, and even plaster of Paris. Not so “yum,” huh? Laws to end these practices did not come about until the 1850s.

But now we have confinement cows in our industrial food system and they are not so healthy either. Instead of a natural diet of fresh pasture grasses, cows are now fed grains, bread, cakes, pastries, soybeans, etc. – leftovers from our industrial bread supply. Most cows will only live an estimated quarter of their natural lives as this is not a healthy diet. Not for the cows and not for humans.

Louis Pasteur’s germ theory became an accepted idea and made sense given the conditions of the cows and the increase in infant mortality. However, the mechanistic view of disease took away an individual’s choice to prevent their own afflictions, as touted by Dr. Crewe (mentioned in the first paragraph). Interestingly, on his deathbed, Pasteur acknowledges that the condition of the body determines disease, not the germs of his own “germ theory.”

The bottom line is, whether you prefer raw milk, pasteurized milk, soy milk, almond milk or no milk you should make your own decision regarding your own health. Just keeping yourself healthy will go a long way towards avoiding disease.

It may make more sense to keep healthy than to rely on pharmaceuticals, prescribed or over-the-counter, unless in extreme, life-threatening situations.


The Great American Eclipse.
The Great American Eclipse: Life comes into focus by Gary Randall on 09/07/2017

Motivation, purpose and reason. Why do we do what we do, especially when it’s doing something that we love? To me, photography is more than taking photos.

It took me a while to understand this as it applies to my own work and how it affects my life, but the realization was life changing.

I just returned from an event in Eastern Oregon where 25 photographers gathered at a ranch just east of Baker City in Eastern Oregon to photograph the total solar eclipse. I organized and conducted a solar eclipse workshop and campout. During the organization phase of the event I had no idea how it would all turn out. There’s always so much to worry about it seems. Will the clouds show up and blot out the eclipse? Will there be enough water? Will there be enough porta-potties? Will there be something that I’ve forgotten? Will everyone be happy?

When it comes to worry, I seem to be a pro.

The day of the event comes and the photographers start arriving. There were young, old, men, women, children, varied races, nationalities and ethnicities. People who, if they were in their own element, may not even meet, let alone sit and share a campfire, food, drink, dance and conversation. Our lives were diverse. Our common catalyst is photography. Our reason for gathering is the eclipse. A perfect formula.

The event could have formed into smaller social groups defined by our differences but instead everyone came together into a hive of gracious sharing.

We created our own village there of people who concentrated on their one common goal, in this case something as simple and as innocuous as getting a photograph, albeit a very special photograph. Everyone helped those who were less skilled or prepared. We all shared our experience, expertise, equipment, food and drink, anything freely and selflessly.

Even the children ran and played completely disconnected from their electronic devices as if it was 1965. I saw no conflict that the children weren’t able to resolve themselves.

It was an amazing convergence of love, happiness and cooperation.

I describe this event only to make a simple point that has taken me some time to realize. The secret to happiness and mutual cooperation, I think, is not finding our differences but, rather, to find our common interests. It doesn’t have to be photography.

It can be a myriad of other things but if we stop for a moment and realize how much we help ourselves when we help others the world would be a better place.

I don’t mean to preach, nor do I mean to act as if I’ve discovered the secret to world peace, but I would like to express how much I have realized that photography for me is the tool that opens doors to the things that make me happy.

It’s the tool that allows me to affect others in a positive way, and the more that I receive the recognition and gratitude of others, the more that I realize it’s more than the photography or vanity that could come with notoriety. It’s about affecting people's lives in a positive way with what I love to do.

I have a lot of people ask me what is the most important element or method of my photography that allows it to stand out so that they too can learn how to do it themselves.

I’m convinced that what will make anyone’s photography stand out can’t be taught but must be discovered through a journey of practice, mistakes, realization and discovery.

It’s a process that allows you to be able to see the world through your heart and soul and not your eyes and practical mind.

A realization that will bring a feeling of relief and relaxation that will allow you to do what you do in a much more creative way.

My personal realization of these principles has completely changed everything that I do that involves how I approach my work.

It has brought me happiness where there once was frustration.

It has brought a new inner peace that translates through my photos.

It has even brought a certain amount of success that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I feel that it all comes from sharing what I love.

I may not have discovered the secret to world peace, but what I’ve discovered is helping me with my own.

Energy and education both a focus as the summer turns to fall by on 09/07/2017

Summer in House District 52 is a beautiful thing. Whether you’re picking fruit, enjoying a hike or riding your bike, there’s no end to the activities. As a legislator, I do like to take advantage of the summer, especially after the long session and having a break from the commute to Salem. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working!

In addition to being a legislator, I continue to run my own construction business in Hood River. Being able to work on the home front also keeps me grounded because I can talk with residents and business owners around town about day-to-day issues.

There is no better way to understand the needs that people have and their feelings about state government than sitting down with them for a cup of coffee. Sometimes these conversations lead to the introduction of a bill, and fairly often I can assist a constituent through my office contacting the appropriate government office. I also use this time between sessions to learn and develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing House District 52 and Oregon.

Last month, I attended a legislative conference in Breckenridge, Colo. called “Creating a Clean Energy Economy.” For three days I joined with legislators from 20 other states and learned about new trends in energy policy from various experts in the field. I really enjoyed this conference because it was non-partisan and the purpose was to be presented information that could be helpful to us in our roles as legislators.

As Vice-Chair of the House Energy Committee, it’s important that I stay aware of new developments in the energy sector so that I can not only be informed when discussing issues at the committee level, but also bring new ideas to the conversation. I will use this information to create good energy policy that protects consumers in Oregon and maintains our history of having access to abundant and affordable energy for our homes and businesses.

As we look ahead to the fall, I’m excited to see what the new school year will bring. This year, we will see the implementation of Measure 98 supporting dropout prevention strategies and investments in career and technical education. During the legislative session, I participate in a workgroup to outline the rules for applying and using the funds allocated. We secured $170 million for the next two years to be distributed to school districts apply and submit plans and are approved by the Department of Education. This investment will benefit all students by increasing graduation rates and allowing for greater participation in career and technical education.

I hope that you are all enjoying your summer (and were able to witness the eclipse!). Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have: rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

Thank you for the honor of serving House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Stardust Melody: Chapter 7 by on 09/07/2017

Lead FBI investigator Mike D’Antonio swung out of his ordinary Buick, patted his hand on the top of the door, tucked his jaw onto the half-Windsor knot of his blue necktie, flipped the door closed with authority, and proceeded resolutely toward the scene that had gathered inside the crime scene tape that surrounded what remained of the Stardust Lodge – which wasn’t much.

D’Antonio assessed the players as he approached.

CSI members were rummaging through charcoal chunks of timbers, grey ash that fluttered in the air under their footfall, creating the lasting impression that the charred remains of the Stardust Lodge were going to surrender clues of the explosion with a genuine degree of reluctance;

The Wildewood police chief, Barney Gandy, held a non-filter Camel in one hand, while the other hand held desperately to his pants belt less it abandoned completely the substantial obstacle that intruded upon it from above. Gandy rocked dangerously on his heels while enveloping a deputy and what must have been a reporter with enough cigarette smoke to set off an alarm from the Lodge, if only there was one;

And there was a woman standing off by herself who was able to maintain a certain appeal despite her reddened eyes, rumpled hair, and snagged left leg of her pantyhose.

With one hundred eighty pounds of reluctance, D’Antonio ducked under the yellow tape and headed toward Gandy.

“And you must be the FBI. Do I have that right?” Gandy wheezed, calling down echoes of Andy Devine.

D’Antonio stared at Gandy’s extended hand until the police chief finally picked up on the insult and planted his thumb back in his pants belt.

“Who are you?” D’Antonio said, turning to the bespectacled lightweight with a reporter’s notepad and poised pen.

“I’m Nigel Best. Editor of the Wildewood World,” Best said in a surprisingly unflinching manner.

D’Antonio looked around at the tops of Douglas firs and cedar trees, scanned the October sky with puffs of fair-weather cumulus clouds dancing in the brilliant blue ballroom of clean mountain air, chuckled so quickly you had to wonder if you’d actually heard it, then said: “Wildewood World? Whose idea was that, to call it the World?”

“My father,” Best said, almost answering the challenge.

“I see.”

“And what’s your name?” Best kept pace.

“Mike D’Antonio,” he shot back. “Would you like me to spell it?”

“That’s OK. I’ll assume it’s classic Italian.”

D’Antonio was not accustomed to being stood up to, especially from one hundred forty pounds of pasty white skin and thick eyeglasses. He turned away and honed in on Chief Gandy, shooting a look at the woman of ruined hose, knowing this was to be his easiest day as the invasion of ATF and Homeland Security loomed on tomorrow’s horizon.

*   *   *

Valerie Suppine peered over her pillow and watched suspiciously as Max Malone whistled through an expertly crafted breakfast of French toast with bacon sizzling in an adjoining fry pan.

“Must you whistle?” Val intoned through a healthy helping of morning voice.

“I must,” Max responded sharply. “Must you wake up? The house was so enjoyable.”

“You call this a house? Where are the rest of the Clampetts?”

“You’re about as funny as a pay toilet in a diarrhea ward.”

“That might be funny if you had indoor plumbing.”

And so it went between the meanest little woman in thirteen western states and Max Malone, a suddenly unemployed private eye due to the untimely and fiery departure of Beau Kimatian from his mortal coil.

*   *   *

Chance Wilde scuffed along a dirt road, his well-worn Tony Lama cowboy boots raising puffs of clouds in his wake. Anna Belle Wilde, Chance’s granddaughter, kept pace but avoided the rutty road, choosing instead to glide with her bare feet through the grassy verge.

“You don’t seem too upset,” Chance said, peering under suspicious lids.

“Oh, but I am,” Anna said breezily.

“Your husband, err, late husband?”

“Heavens no,” Anna responded vigorously. “I despised him.”

“Yet you’re upset?”

“Yes,” she said, resorting to her previously airy manner. “That was a wonderful piano. I’ll miss it.”

Chance stopped, planted his fists into his hip, and dared Anna to stop and turn around to face him.

Of course, she did exactly that. She, too, was a Wilde.

*   *   *

“Better get after that bacon before it gets cold,” Max slung the words over his shoulder as he clomped out of the cabin.

Val peeked around the door as Max got into his Suburban.

“Dammit. Where are you going?”

“None of your business.”

“I hate French toast,” Val bellowed at the indifferent rear end of the SUV.

If a man is attacked by his tent, should he make a sound? by on 09/07/2017

Our family loves to go camping. In fact, we make sure to get out and pitch our tent — without fail — once a year. Traditionally, this takes place during the busy Labor Day Weekend so that as many people as possible can witness a 51-year-old man being attacked by his own tent.

In my defense, I have to say our tent is very large; especially when it is laying flat on the ground.

If I hadn’t lost the step-by-step instructions that came with it, I’m sure the assembly process would be a lot easier because, as a man, I could use them to, step-by-step, blame everything on having lousy instructions. What this means is that over the Labor Day Weekend my handiwork will again be mistaken for a hot air balloon that has crash-landed into our family’s campsite.

I bought our tent many years ago while living in Texas. As you know, everything is bigger there — including tents — which is why we tried to find the smallest model available. This turned out to be a tent called Quick Camp, which was a handy, two-compartment structure roughly the size of a jet hanger. Despite its size, the salesman assured us that the assembly process was very simple. He said that the entire thing could be erected in less than 20 minutes with a little planning.

And he was right.

As long as our plan included staying out of the tent.

For some reason, it collapsed on us every time we got inside. I’m not talking about an inconvenient buckling of the walls; this was more like an instantaneous implosion of water-resistant nylon that required the assistance of a search and rescue team.

In spite of this, we still feel it’s important for our family to go camping together. That’s because, as parents, we know our kids really hate it. I mean, sure — it’s pretty exciting while Dad is flopping around under 200 yards of nylon. But once that’s over, and I’ve decided that we’re all going to sleep out under the stars LIKE REAL PIONEERS! they begin to realize that everything they know about civilization has been left behind.

And by “everything,” I mean the television and devices.

In the primitive world of camping there is no Bachelor in Paradise or Netflix.

There is only dirt.

And time.

And if they’re lucky, enough fire to cook a marshmallow.

Eventually, as the shock of not having their devices wears off, teenagers enter what I feel is the most important phase of their camping experience: Realizing that we, the parents, are the key to their survival.

This epiphany starts the moment I pull out the old camp stove, give it a few pumps, then light the picnic table on fire. In that instant, the only thing that matters is reaching out together as a family and finding the nearest fire extinguisher.

So, during the Labor Day Weekend, our family will once again be camping out. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by.

The rescue team could probably use your help.

(Write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple Street, Florence, Ore 97439)

MHGS: preserving food allows us to enjoy fruits of our labor by Mary Soots on 09/07/2017

This might be one of my favorite times of the year in the great Pacific Northwest – harvest season.

Even as I write, the sweet smell of figs wafts through my home as they are drying out. Figs are one of my favorite fruits; the dried ones are delicious with yogurt and granola for breakfast. Years ago, a friend delighted me on my birthday with the gift of a fig sapling that he had grafted from his own tree. Truly a gift that kept on giving. Alas, I later moved away and now have to depend on the kindness of those who will allow me to pick some of their excess fruit.

Our region of the world is one where so many things grow abundantly.

When I lived in southeast Portland, there were fruit trees overhanging into public areas from which you could pick the fruit. There were Asian pears, apples, cherries, figs and more. My dog loved plums, and learned to eat the fallen ones on the ground and spit out the pit.

Once I met a woman who grew a quince tree and invited neighbors to pick the fruit. Another woman with hazelnut trees invited me to take a bag of hazelnuts. In the coming weeks, I look forward to dehydrating apples and pears for snacks.

I’ll make my annual expedition to the Hood River valley to pick from the vast selection.

Also, the freezer has been stocked with frozen peaches and strawberries that I will use in the coming months for smoothies. There is nothing sweeter than Oregon strawberries, and if you can catch the Hood berries during their three week growing season, all the better. They will join an assortment of fruits and vegetables that I will freeze for the winter.

Food preservation is something of an art that has been fading over time. It’s so much more convenient to run to the grocery store to pick up packaged foods in the frozen section than to freeze our own. But I find so much enjoyment recalling that the fresh basil that I preserved in a frozen cube of chicken broth came from my own garden. In the winter, I just drop that little cube in the stir-fry I’m making to give it life again. I love freezing the heirloom tomatoes that will give sauces so much more flavor than the hothouse tomatoes we can get once summer is gone.

There was a time that I enjoyed making jellies, and I would spend the harvest season making exotic jellies like cantaloupe, quince, jalapeño or combinations such as peach-strawberry, etc. It was a great way to spend a day preserving summer in a jar.

There are so many different ways to preserve summer harvests. One year, I made flavored vinegars with nasturtium flowers. I placed the vinegar in pretty bottles and dropped flowers from my flower bed to add a peppery flavor to the vinegar. They made beautiful and inexpensive gifts.

Another fun gift I’ve made in the past was cherries preserved in brandy. The cherries were fabulous served over ice cream or cake, and the cherry flavored brandy was exquisite.

Whether you prefer to freeze, dry out, can, make vinegars, jams and jellies, or other ways of preserving summer’s bounty, we should take advantage of our wonderful farmer’s market to obtain locally grown produce that has not been harvested long before it is ripe in order to make it to the market before it spoils. Find the local organic producers so that your off-season food is the healthiest for you and the earth.

This is the time to take advantage of the bounty of our natural environment. By doing so, we will enjoy the best of our local food during the long days of winter. It’s so much less expensive than paying for imported fruits and vegetables later.

However you preserve your food, make sure to do it with a friend or a group of friends. The work is enjoyable by itself, but is so much more fun when the work — and the fruits of its labor — are shared.

And you’ll have good memories to accompany the food.

Going back to school and keeping up with kids’ health by Victoria Larson on 09/07/2017

No more hot dogs,

No more s’mores,

No more extra summer chores!

If there’s an end-of-school chant, shouldn’t there be one for back-to-school too? Not just for kids but also for the many adults headed back to school as well. As we move gently to cooler weather, which sends us to sleep sooner and less time outdoors and also less exercise, we need to think of boosting our immunity.

Less time outdoors and more time indoors increases the chances of “coming down with something.” This does not always have to be the case though. Naturopaths, and many others, believe that it’s rarely “the germs” that cause the disease. After all, germs are everywhere all the time. It’s the “field” that the germs land on that causes the diseased state. Germs enter your nasal passages, ears, eyes, but mostly through your gut, that term referring to the long tube that goes from mouth to ... the other end.

If your child, or you for that matter, is the one who “always gets sick” or “brings every illness home,” it’s time to consider “the field” that those germs land on. While in the United States we use more vaccines than any other country in the world, we still have some of the highest rates of chronic disease. Without getting into a further discussion of vaccines, let’s consider immune support for all of our children, all of our citizens for that matter. While the medical community and pharmaceutical companies continue to increase their profit margin, those of any income level can do their part to combat illness.

In the US we’ve come to accept disease states as “the norm.” Allergies, Autism, ADHD, the list goes on. It always amazes me that there are people who shrug off type 2 diabetes when there is so much evidence showing that diet and exercise are as effective in the treatment of diabetes as drugs like Metformin.

Yet there are people who complain more about the cost of their food than the cost of pharmaceuticals.

The appropriate expression here might be, “pick your battles.”

The complaint of food costing so much in a nation where only 10 percent of income is spent on food (less than most other countries) and throws away nearly 40 percent of the food they buy is sort of backwards.

In many countries food is purchased daily or nearly so, and locally, not trucked in from thousands of miles away. The markets are not “super” markets or big box stores with entire aisles devoted to boxes of cold cereal or plastic bottles of salad dressing.

So where does good nutrition start? At home, fixing breakfast for your kids and foregoing the office goodies. Or worse yet, that candy bar and energy drink that many teens think constitutes a breakfast. Try to wean children off cold cereals (any brand) perhaps by letting them sprinkle some on their oatmeal (which does have nutritional value) or yogurt. Add fresh fruit (endless choices these days) and nuts and proper protein of cow’s or goat’s milk. Almond, rice and soy milk may be appropriate for some instances but make sure other nutrients are still being supplied. Perhaps some wheat germ (readily available in the cereal aisle) or nutritional yeast (not baker’s yeast) which is a little harder to find but often in bulk food sections of the store.

Children need plenty of carbs because they are still growing and building their bodies, and these needn’t be the empty carbs of cookies, crackers or hydrogenated peanut butter or chocolate on white bread! Better sources for growth and health would be nut proteins, fruits and veggies.

Healthy fats include avocado oil, butter, certain cheeses, eggs, flax seeds, olive oil and animal fats from pastured-raised animals. Expensive? Yes, but so is medical healthcare and those pharmaceuticals. Since most pharmaceuticals have side effects leading you to need more drugs, you should know that by the time you are taking a third drug it’s to take care of the side effects of the first two!

Whereas the side effect of good nutrition and a healthy immune system is ... good health!

Cook for an hour – eat for a week by Taeler Butel on 09/07/2017

Lemme tell u somthin bout my best friend ... it’s a freezer.

Lemon chicken tenders for the freezer

1 lb chicken tenders, thawed

2 t lemon zest

1 t lemon pepper

1 t kosher salt

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 T olive oil

Place flour with salt & pepper in a gallon-sized plastic bag, crack the eggs in another bag and whisk with a fork. In another bag place the panko bread crumbs and lemon zest.

Shake the chicken tenders in the flour mixture, then shake one chicken tender at a time in the bag with whisked eggs, and then one at a time again into the lemon panko mix.

Lay out the chicken tenders on a baking sheet and freeze. When you’re ready to cook them sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

When they are golden brown sprinkle with lemon juice.

Freezable roasted veggies

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 t each salt & pepper

2 T olive oil

1 sweet onion or red onion, diced

Toss all ingredients together on a pan and bake at 375 for 30 minutes turning the veggies every 10 minutes. Freeze.

Hamburger meal starter

Cook 1 lb ground meat of your choice with 1/2 t each of salt and pepper. Add in 1 small diced onion, 1 celery stalk and cook for 5 minutes. Next add in 1 T minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add in 2 T tomato paste, and cook for a minute more. Remove from the heat, and stir in 1 can of diced tomatoes. Scoop into freezer bags. Lay them flat pushing out all the air and allow to cool completely. Freeze.

Put it together - Harvest Chili

Add the veggies and hamburger meal starter in a pot with 2 cans of beans. Add 1 t chili powder, 3 cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes. Enjoy!!

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Warmer weather pattern continues on into September by on 09/07/2017

August got off to a very hot start with the high temperature average in Brightwood during the first ten days recording 93 degrees and hitting a high of 103 degrees on Wednesday, Aug. 2, followed by 102 degrees the next day.

Government Camp peaked with 91 degrees on Friday, Aug. 4. Temperatures returned to seasonal averages during the following ten days, but a return of hot weather followed for the last weekend of the month. Precipitation remained much below average, and fire danger continues to be critical.

Following a familiar forecast, The National Weather Service expects our area to have above average temperatures with precipitation near average during September. The overall weather pattern is expected to continue much as it has during the past month.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 3.45 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s three times, and into the 80s seven times.

On average, September has one chance in two of reaching a high of 90 or more. Low temperatures dropped evenly into the 40s and 30s with five years each. Chances for a freezing temperature in September are one in 20. When 0.02 inches of precipitation was measured Friday, Aug. 11, it ended a record-breaking stretch of 51 days without measureable rain.

During the year 2013, July was also completely dry, preceded only by four dry days at the end of June.

During September, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43 degrees and a precipitation average of 3.49 inches, including 0.2 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during eight years and into the 70s twice. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during nine years and one year ended in the 40s. The record snowfall in September of three inches was measured on Sept. 23, 1984. More recently, during 2013, trace amounts of snow were recorded on each of the last five days of September.


From top down: 20, 50 and 85 mm.
The View Finder: Making sense of your camera’s lens by Gary Randall on 07/31/2017

The most asked question of me is typically advice in what camera that one should get. I have addressed this in a previous version of The Viewfinder. (March 2016) The second most asked question may be what lens to choose.

In SLR photography there are two types of lenses that one can choose. Fixed focal length and zoom lenses. It was common back in the old days when I first started for photographers to have a whole set of fixed focal length lenses. A full set typically consisted is a 20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm. Beyond those focal lengths one bought large telephoto lenses such as a 200mm or a 300mm. We had zooms back then but they were of poor quality. After the 1970s zoom lenses became much better and soon became the choice of most photographers, especially hobbyists. Today the quality of a zoom lens is fantastic.

A zoom lens allows you to magnify the scene that you’re photographing, enlarging an area to give a closer view. It will also help in aiding your composition. You can start wide and zoom in until you have removed all that you don’t want in the shot creating a much more solid and stronger composition. A zoom lens is very handy as it allows you to have one lens instead of a set. Zooms are available that will allow a range from 28mm-300mm in one lens.

The most valuable tool in my bag is the right lens for the right scene. In landscape photography the most common lens used is a wide angle lens. A focal length range from 24-70mm on a 35mm camera or a full frame digital camera, or 18-55mm on a cropped sensor camera, is the most effective and most used range for landscape work. Although it’s the most commonly used range it’s certainly not the only one that a landscape photographer can use. I love to use my 70-200mm zoom to get some details of the scene of more abstract interpretations of the scene.

The next consideration in choosing a lens is how fast the lens is. Fast meaning how wide that you’re able to open your aperture. The most common maximum aperture setting is f/3.5, but better lenses typically will allow f/2.8 to f/1.8. This means that you can use a faster shutter with more light coming through the lens at the maximum aperture setting. The wider the opening the more light that’s able to make inside the camera. Another consequence of the wider maximum aperture opening is a narrowing or decrease in the depth of field which will allow one to separate the subject from the background by keeping the subject sharp while blurring the background. The better lenses will usually have a wider maximum aperture but with the quality and extra feature comes an increase in cost and quality.

I have been talking a lot about landscape photography but the same principles apply in all forms including portraiture, for instance. A typical prime focal length for portraiture is 85-105mm. When you own a zoom lens, you have that range. A note concerning portraiture use a wider aperture to narrow the DOF to separate your subject from the background by blurring the background as described above.

For those who don’t own a camera with removable lenses, all of this applies to your camera as well. A typical prosumer camera will have a built in zoom as well as the ability to switch to manual and set your aperture. Learn to manually adjust your camera and use the aperture to control the DOF to allow you to enhance the look and quality of your photos.

It’s easy to complicate photography in one’s mind with the perception of mathematical complication. I leave the math to the engineers and learn simple practical application. Experiment, practice, make mistakes, experiment more and in time it will all come together into an instinctual understanding. In this day and age of digital photography film is cheap.

Pack your bags, it’s time to get the dog neutered by on 07/31/2017

It was a foregone conclusion that we would have our dog, Stanley, neutered once he was old enough. Just like it was a foregone conclusion that, when it came time to deliver him into the hands of the vet, I would be playing the role of “Judas.” I thought about disguising myself and borrowing someone else’s car so that Stanley would not associate me with his loss of malehood.

My wife told me I was being silly. He’s a dog, she reminded me, and capable of recognizing my scent no matter how I was dressed.

It didn’t help the situation that my then four-year-old son, after overhearing our conversation, had reached the conclusion that something serious was happening, and that it involved — but wasn’t limited to — Stanley turning into a girl and biting daddy.

Naturally, as responsible parents, we then sat down with our son and, together, convinced him that he had a hearing problem. We informed him the problem could be solved by allowing his ears to “rest,” which he should do by covering them as much as possible.

However, we’re rational adults. We realized our son would, from time to time, need to use his hands for something other than covering his ears. So, as rational adults, we also developed a secret code language in order to safely continue our discussion about Stanley. Using our new code, I explained that I was concerned how Stanley would react once he got home and discovered his luggage had been lost, and how he might hold me personally responsible since I was there when his bags were checked in.

My wife argued that dogs lose their luggage every day, and none of them go after the pilots.

I admitted she was right, but that most pilots aren’t standing next to a passenger when they’ve just realized there’s nothing waiting for them at the baggage claim.

That’s when my wife took me by the hand and gently told me that if Stanley missed his flight today, my luggage would be waiting for me on the front porch when I got home.

As I sat in the vet’s office that afternoon, I avoided all eye contact with Stanley, who, at 10 months old, still hadn’t learned to fear people wearing latex gloves.

When it came time, the vet explained that it was a simple procedure. That Stanley wouldn’t be conscious during the operation and that, as a male veterinarian, neither would he. But his assistants were perfectly capable of doing whatever is supposed to be done “down there.”

When they took Stanley away, he was happy.

When I picked him up a few hours later, he was still happy. Even though, with the cone over his head to keep him from licking his stitches, he looked like a dumb cousin to the RCA dog who had gotten a running start and gone headfirst through the small end of a Victrola speaker.

My wife called a short time later, and it was obvious that my son was with her because she asked how Stanley’s flight went.

I told her the plane landed safely, and that we would be home just as soon as I determine the physics necessary to fit a three-foot diameter cone through a two-foot-square car door opening.

Ironically, we’d probably still be there if Stanley hadn’t fit in the luggage compartment.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

MHGS: organic produce making its mark in the marketplace by Mary Soots on 07/31/2017

Our state — and more specifically, our area — had the opportunity to shine recently. I had the privilege of being a fly on the wall during a conference in July hosted in Portland by the Oregon Trade Association. Members of the Commission of Inter-American Organic Agriculture (C.I.A.O.) attended the conference, including representatives from the respective Ministries of Agriculture from 13 different countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Spain, along with several staff members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. and Oregon.

At the annual meeting of the Commission, member countries shared information about the advances and the challenges that have been made in the areas of organic farming and ranching in their respective countries. Sharing information and resources is key to the promotion of sustainable agriculture as most countries receive little support in this area. Faced with the task of fighting against mega-corporations that through the use of mass media promote the use of non-sustainable farming practices, these producers are changing the way that we produce our food. The group was hosted for breakfast at New Seasons where they were able to see how consumers have access to natural products and healthy alternatives. Across the world, people are beginning to choose organic options, and Oregon is one of the highest in consumption.

Organic producers argue that the Green Revolution, which began in the mid-20th century as a way of increasing agricultural production, has failed. The use of agrochemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to intensify production has seen negative consequences to both the earth and its inhabitants. In the case of farming, the soil’s nutrients are depleted and must be replaced with more inputs.

The use of toxic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides leave residuals that kill off species such as bees and pollinators. In humans, they have proven to cause many illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, not just in the consumers, but in the producers as well. By contrast, producers of organic agriculture that do not depend on the use of toxic chemicals have seen that after they have transitioned to organics, the soil has become healthier, and therefore more productive. The visitors were given a tour of Siri and Sons, an organic farm that operates out of Damascus. The family has been in business for generations and has four farms around the region.

The same practices that apply to plant production also apply in the area of animal and dairy production. Chemicals such as antibiotics and hormones are used in conventional ranching, and as a result, the food that is produced contains fewer nutrients and more calories, contributing to our obesity epidemic.

The group was also taken on a tour of the four-generation Cloud Cap Dairy in Boring, a member of the Organic Valley cooperative. Ranchers such as these have seen that their herds are healthier and are also producing at higher yields by being fed an organic diet and given fewer chemicals. As we were told, happy cows are productive cows.

None of this is news, of course. Many research studies have revealed to us that we are slowly killing off our planet and ourselves through input intensive practices. The public is becoming aware that we need to make a change to healthier practices. More and more households are consuming organically produced goods. Oregonians are consuming organics at higher levels than other states. In an emotional meeting of minds and spirits, our visitors had the opportunity to have lunch and tour Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie. For nearly 40 years, Bob has promoted organic and whole grains and his business is now a global producer.

The word is getting out about the benefits of organic consumption. The economic benefits of organic production are being seen. There is pressure to drive prices downward. However, areas with organic production have lower poverty rates and higher incomes.

The challenge is that with an increased demand comes a demand for increased production. We can’t supply the demand within our own countries, and therefore must promote organic exchange between countries. This is especially challenging in the current strong anti-regulation mood and anti-trade environment. Marketing and investment is important when it’s difficult to fight against the Monsanto’s of the world. In spite of that, there is a growing force around the world and it is very empowering to see that we are showing others the way that this can be accomplished. We as Oregonians have much to be proud of.

Take a hike! Get out and enjoy some plants and animals by Victoria Larson on 07/31/2017

We’re finally past “Junuary” in Oregon and the vagaries of July, so we can actually find outdoor weather a little more reliable. Residents of Oregon and visitors as well, it’s time to take a hike in our beautiful countryside. Always with a cell phone, water, food and a jacket in order to be prepared “just in case.” A good motto no matter what you are planning.

 A trail map and a plant and/or animal guide is always a good idea too. While I’ve made it a point to know my animals, it’s the plants (especially herbs and weeds) that I’ve been trained in. The natural world appeals to me way more than Big Pharma, though there is a place for both in our modern society.

 Rather than buying over-processed herbal preparations in plastic bottles from a large profit-oriented outlet, I prefer to be closer to the source and know what I’m using. Sort of like going to the farmers’ market or food co-op rather than buying processed, over-packaged foods from faraway lands in a big-box store.

But if you are buying your herbs this way, what do you really know about them? United Plant Savers is a non-profit organization (802-476-6474-PO Box 400, East Barre, VT 05649) dedicated to preserving native medicinal plants. Does your herb bottle label tell you where or how or when the herb was collected? With herbs, everything can make a difference in efficacy, including location, weather, the age of plant, ceremony and even the mood of those collecting.

 Common herbs you may be buying like Blue or Black Cohosh, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Wild Yan and others, are all on the “At Risk” list for survival in the wild. Echinacea and Goldenseal from your own garden or nearby forest is fine IF you continually replant, care for the species, and perhaps even do some ceremony or make an offering of thanks when harvesting.

 Rather than over-harvesting Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) we could substitute Oregon Grape for the same medicinal purposes. While it may seem strange, Oregon Grape is on the “To Watch” list from United Plant Savers. It is abundant in Oregon in yards, schools, and places no one cultivates, but overharvesting and habitat loss make it a plant to be aware of diminishing in other states and areas. You are not likely to find any of that out from any label, leaving you more removed from the source.

 As with mushrooms, or any wild plant, you must use visual guides. Taking a class that includes hiking in the wild is even better. There are excellent guides, from the late Euell Gibbons and Nelson Coon to more modern guides with color photographs. I like to use both the old line drawing guides as well as the newer color photos when hiking to collect plants. Remember to collect only in areas where it is allowed and be sure no sprays have been used.

 Many of the more useful plants are subjected to the carcinogenic assault of herbicides like Round-Up and worse. You’ve probably heard of the usefulness of plants like Dandelions (salads and coffee substitute in Europe) but there are other wild edibles you may wish to learn more about. Barks, berries, ferns, flowers, leaves, and roots are all useful for making medicines, teas, soups, stews and even candy.

 The battle to destroy so-called harmful wild plants and weeds will continue. Certainly the over-growth of non-indigenous blackberries in Oregon is an example of a species out of control!

 Another interesting example in our society is the much maligned Kudzu. Yet it is grown extensively in other areas of the world for food, fodder for animals, erosion control and as a cover crop. Previously it was a staple food crop for centuries in Asia until crops like sweet potatoes were introduced. Interestingly, Kudzu has a lower glycemic index than sweet potatoes. The plant is a ‘cousin’, and even a look-alike to jicama, the root is still used to make nutritious broth for healing digestion, inflammation and tonifying deficiencies. In other words, a wild food that “cures what ails you.”

 With a reminder to never taste, touch or eat anything from the wild that you are not 100 percent sure you know. Enjoy your hike into beautiful Oregon.

After dry July, above average temps await in August by on 07/31/2017

This July has been exceptionally sunny and dry. In fact, the rainless period started the second half of June and we can all be grateful the wildfire damage in the Pacific Northwest has been minimal, at least up until now.

Despite the abundance of sunny days, there has been an absence of extreme heat and the average high temperature for the month is only about five degrees above average in Brightwood, and three degrees above average in Government Camp. Precipitation is just a memory at this time.

The National Weather Service reports our area can expect above average temperatures with precipitation near average during August. Looking ahead, they see no reason to change this outlook for the rest of the year and into next spring.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 76, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.44 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s nine times and into the 80s once. On average, August has two days with a high of 90 or more. Low temperatures dropped into the 40s without exception. Except for a trace of rain in 2012, this the only year in the past 10 years that had no precipitation. The record high temperature in Brightwood, dating back 40 years, was 106 degrees set on Aug. 8, 1981.

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees and a precipitation average of 1.58 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s three years, into the 80s during 6 years, and once in the 70s. Low temperatures were evenly divided with five years in the 30s and five years in the 40s.

Food for the frugal chef by Taeler Butel on 07/31/2017

Life isn’t always perfect, but you can make a perfectly yummy meal whether you are short on cash, time or ingredients.

When you have pennies ...

Potato soup

2 T butter

1 large sweet onion diced fine

1 lb Yukon potatoes

1 t each salt & pepper

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup 1/2 & 1/2

1 T Italian seasoning

1 T flour

In a large pot sweat the onions with the butter until translucent. Add 1 T flour and the seasonings. Cook stirring for about 2 minutes, add in potatoes and broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer soup for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add the cream and mash lightly with a potato masher.

Things to add: Cheese, crumbled cooked bacon, sour cream, green onions, corn, pulled pork, sausage.

When you have just a few ingredients ...

Flan

6 Eggs

1 cup sugar

3 cups cream

1T vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small pot heat 1/4 cup of sugar stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over med/high heat until it melts and turns amber. Immediately pour into a 9” glass pie plate. Whisk the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined, then pour into the glass dish over the sugar. Place in oven 35-45 minutes until it just jiggles in the center. Chill completely in fridge.

When you have company ... just a few ingredients ... and pennies

Chicken Legs 3 ways

Sure, the breasts get all the attention but these are inexpensive and chicken legs are the dinner version of wings.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

3 lbs chicken legs skin on

Spread chicken legs on a large sheet, pan drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, bake at 400 degrees for 45 mins.

Prepare three bowls:

In the first bowl

1 cup Teriyaki sauce

In the second bowl

1 cup BBQ sauce

In the third bowl combine

1 T lemon pepper

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup melted butter

1 T garlic salt

Toss 1/3 of the legs in each of the sauces. Place separately on a cookie sheet and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Bonus – when you have only minutes ...

While on my way to a birthday party I re-read the invite and only then did I see the words “please bring a dish to share.” Challenge accepted.

Last minute cheese plate

Burata cheese (mozzarella with cream inside)

Olives

Chevre cheese

Brie

Fruit (I chose yellow cherries)

Pistachios

Crackers (I chose olive & fig)

Sliced baguette

Pesto

Cranberry jalapeño spread

A bunch of herbs

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


The Underground Railroad
Novel offers more than expected on the Underground Railroad by on 07/31/2017

Colin Whitehead’s best-selling novel “The Underground Railroad” uses a unique, free-spirited format to offer more than a historical novel about the subject. Whitehead offers an insightful look at the actual historical “railroad” from the cruel slavery in the South toward the hope of freedom and opportunity in the north. Southern slaves traveled at great risk from their bondage toward even a vague hope to a better circumstance in the Northern states – at times assisted by sympathetic citizens, horrified at the institution of slavery. At the same time he offers a creative way to view the black slave experience in America, using a number of unique literary vehicles.

Cora, a young female slave running from a Georgia cotton plantation, is Whitehead’s main character. After a difficult life in servitude and hard labor, a brutal rape and humiliation finally pushes her to run. To add to her risk, she is forced to kill a white man to ensure her escape. Each of the novel’s installments about Cora’s trials shows yet another ugly aspect of slavery and the evils it brings out in those touched by it.

This unique, inventive novel will open your mind to our country’s experience with slavery in unexpected ways with creative literary devices that keep you thinking.

Highly recommended.

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the 2016 National Book Award, and named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships. He lives in New York City.

Inside Salem - 2017 recap by on 07/31/2017
The legislative session officially ended on Friday, July 7. After meeting for just over five months in Salem, I feel we had clear victories, but also left some opportunities on the table. 
HB 3350 was a victory for House District 52. This bill creates an Office of Outdoor Recreation at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). They will be responsible for coordinating all things recreation in Oregon with a specific focus on new economic development opportunities. Tourism related activities only scratch the surface of what the recreation industry contributes; the gear that people buy to the jobs created, new business expanding available activities are just some of areas we can continue to develop. Even new higher education programs are being created to train students for manufacturing and recreation based jobs, helping us keep and attract talent to Oregon. 
I’m extremely proud to have introduced this legislation on behalf of the recreation community in House District 52 and to have seen it through to passage. OPRD is excited to have this new, designated office. They have committed to shifting some of their current resources to support the goals meaning only one new position will be created. This position will be funded with money outside of the general fund. I think this bill will be especially important to the Mountain community because giving Outdoor Recreation a voice in policy making will help ensure that our recreation based businesses will continue to grow, provide benefits to our communities, and be supported into the future.
The long awaited transportation package passed in the final days of session. This package is a result of years of negotiations and hard work. Local investments will be made in public transportation as well as in infrastructure and maintenance projects. Bicycle and pedestrian projects will also receive some investment across the state. Funding for this package will come from a modest increase to gas tax, vehicle registration and titling fees, and user fees in some metro areas targeted directly to helping reduce the congestion there. Half of the new revenues raised will be returned to cities and counties to help pay for local road maintenance and improvements. All across Oregon we have roads and bridges in need of repair. This package will help Oregon reinvest in needed elements of our transportation infrastructure and build a transportation system that can meet our future needs.
Now for what was left on the table. Going into the legislative session, we knew about the large hole in the state’s budget. The state’s revenues cannot keep up with its costs. Our state economy is now performing better than ever, meaning the state has more money available in the general fund than ever before. But our current budget situation did not reflect that.
Our economy is strong, but it won’t always be this way and I’m concerned about the long-term impact of not addressing clear cost-drivers to our system. Increasing PERS, healthcare costs and other out of balanced spending has lead us to a point where we have had to reduce services and cut back on important investments in education. Since the beginning of session, I advocated for a comprehensive set revenue reforms and structural cost containment. I worked to build bipartisan support for a package that could have balanced our budget this year and for years to come. We had many opportunities to tackle this problem but instead, in the end, Democratic leadership only chose to pass minimal cost containment measures. This means that we have to wait two more years to make structural budget changes when the situation to be even more dire than it is now. I’m worried about what this will mean for Oregon and I’m sure most of you are as well. In the interim, I will continue to work for a sustainable budget solution on behalf of all Oregonians.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52. It’s an honor to represent you in Salem.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)
Inside Salem - 2017 reflections by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 07/31/2017

With the 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly behind us, we can now look back and reflect. All things considered, I want to say that I left this session with an overall decent feeling. Coming out of the sessions of 2013 and 2015, the mood of my colleagues and myself was not as positive, and it is a credit to our current legislature that this time we maintained a proactive tone for six months. For a bipartisan guy like me, that’s the climate I prefer.

As I’ve mentioned before, we passed General Fund and Lottery Fund budgets to a total of nearly $21 billion, marking a 10 percent increase from our current biennium. K-12 received $8.2B, which wasn’t as much as many of us wanted but is still respectable. I am on the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee and was proud of my colleagues for holding strong – getting to $8.2B was not a simple task and I especially want to thank my friend, Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland) who chairs the subcommittee, for helping keep us unified.

The big item of the session was the Transportation Package, HB 2017. It has been critical for years that we improve our road infrastructure, and for the past few sessions the legislature had punted on doing so. This time, $5.3B will be raised over ten years to do just that. Rather than just one massive gas tax hike, the cost will be more spread out between bicycle and vehicle sales. There are also provisions in the bill to help streamline ODOT expenditures.

I Chief-Sponsored 16 bills that either directly passed or were amended into other legislation, and was a Sponsor of 25 successful bills. Out of the “realistic” bills I was part of, all but one proved successful. Sen. Peter Courtney and I still have SB 1 left to work on, which will improve labor camp conditions for agricultural workers – and in turn help a little to ease the housing market. We felt it was best to wait a session to really push for that one.

Over the next year I would like your help if you have any new ideas for legislation or would just like to offer your feedback. You can contact me at any time at 503-986-1726 or sen.chuckthomsen@oregonlegislature.gov.

(Charles Thomsen is the State Senator for District 26.)


Stardust Melody: Chapter 6 by on 07/31/2017

Mike D’Antonio is the lead investigator for the Portland office of the FBI. He likes his lofty position because it gets him out of the house. A lot. He also likes it because it gets him out of Portland. Not nearly enough. And the pay’s not bad.

D’Antonio is married to Sophia – a controlling woman who can’t control him, according to her – but is highly successful at it, according to him. They have seven kids.

Mike hates the city. Any city. Well, except for Palermo, perhaps, though he’s never been there.

He has a chip on his shoulder that is more like a wood pile. His nose has been broken more times than a bus load of campaign promises. He sports a scar under his right eye that’s obvious enough to look like, once upon a time, he dropped a twelve-round split decision to Sugar Ray Leonard. But that’s not true. What happened is his father dropped a brick as he was perched on the top rung of a ladder trying to build his own fireplace chimney while Mike held the bottom of the ladder, gazing up admiringly at the masonry skills of his pop – which was nothing more than childhood devotion to a father who never particularly cared about Mike, or either of his four sisters for that matter. Spellbound, little Mike took the brick in the face.

He goes by the book, unless the plot gets too murky. He subscribes to the Captain Jack Sparrow book of rules: “They’re more like guidelines.” He’s wary, and tough to pin down.

He was called into the office Sunday afternoon – it would have been better if it had been Sunday morning, before mass – but it was better than spending the afternoon with his knucklehead neighbors, flipping burgers for a city block of kids, which was Sophia’s idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon.

The bureau chief, Tad Grayson, filled him in as quickly as possible. Tad was actually looking forward to flipping burgers at home with his new wife, his fourth, who was twenty years his junior.

*   *   *

Mike meandered along the Columbia River on this lazy Sunday afternoon in his bland Buick sedan, settling in to the slow lane of the Interstate, with Puccini blasting through the stereo speakers.

Mike rocked back and forth to the heartbreaking and rare Toscanini conducted version of La Boheme.

Was that a tear in the corner of Mike’s eye?

*   *   *

Anna Belle stood underneath the footbridge, just beyond the debris scattered by the explosion that removed the Stardust Lodge from the face of the earth, and the crime tape that had been tacked up by crime scene investigators, dragging her bare foot along a shallow pool of Ruby River, curling her nose against the acrid odor of the conflagration.

*   *   *

Chance Wilde tackled the Monster Burger at Lola’s like Ronnie Lott chasing down a skinny quarterback. His baleful stare kept the bartender at bay. He washed the burger down with a bottle of Bud. Kris Kristofferson would have called it “Sunday comin’ down.”

*   *   *

Max Malone stared in disbelief at the pink Cadillac with fins borrowed from a Peter Benchley novel. Valerie Perrine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states, and the woman who had somehow sneaked two-hundred-fifty large from underneath Max’s normally well-trained nose during the Reno caper, slid out from behind the wheel, knocked the door closed with her heel, and marched straight up to Max, stepped around him into his cabin, peered for a second or two with utter disdain at the décor, and leaned away from the stereo bouncing through a Frank Sinatra tune.

“I hope you don’t expect me to stay in this dump,” Valerie offered without it being an actual question. “And what’s with the music?”

Valerie Perrine left popular music when Bob Dylan went electric.

*   *   *

In other words, everyone in Wildewood seemed to be about their own business, despite the eruption that sent the Stardust Lodge sky high early that morning, as Mike D’Antonio brought his Buick to a halt beyond what had once been the lodge’s parking lot.

For the crack FBI investigator, it was time to go to work.


Lost Lake.
The View Finder: Getting the light right – nighttime photography by Gary Randall on 06/30/2017

When I was a boy living in southern Oregon my friends and I would take our blankets and sleeping bags out into a huge field near our homes and sleep under the stars. Where I lived, the sky had no effect from cities or other light sources that would dilute the brightness of the stars. We would watch for satellites and falling stars against a backdrop of a band of a dense cloud of stars stretching across the sky and the Milky Way.

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our solar system. It's our home in the universe. We're looking at it from the inside out, so to speak. Its shape is like a disc with a bulge in the center which is the core of the galaxy. As we are observing it from our point of view here on Earth we can see the core on the horizon and the diminishing density of the disc as it stretches out from the core above our heads. As the night progresses it sweeps across the sky as the Earth rotates.

The best time of the year to observe the Milky Way from the northern hemisphere is in the summer. Its place in the sky is most dramatic and bright toward the southern horizon where the core is positioned. I love to photograph the Milky Way in July. The nights are usually warm and the Milky Way is bright.

Other considerations include the moon phase as well as the moon rise and set times. The moon will illuminate the sky and fade out the stars and the Milky Way when it's illuminated, even a crescent moon will provide sky-brightening light.

Now get away from a city or a town that will brighten the sky on a dark sky night. The darkest skies are found during the beginning of the moon's first phase called the New Moon. The New Moon happens when the sun, earth and the moon's alignment puts the dark side of the moon toward Earth during the daytime. There are times when one can observe the rise and fall times of the moon and plan a night when the moon will set early enough in the evening to have less effect on the night sky, but planning a photograph of the night sky during a new moon is the easiest way to insure a nice dark sky with nice bright stars.

To understand the mechanics involved in getting a photograph of the Milky Way or any night sky photograph, one must consider that the sky is dark and you will need to do all that you can to get as much light into the camera as possible within a 20-30 seconds exposure time. This will require you to set your camera up on a tripod first and, ideally, the use of a remote shutter release to reduce camera movement.

The next consideration is the lens. The best lens for night photography will be a "fast" lens, one that you can open the aperture up to f/2.8 or more. This will allow more light to come into the camera through the lens, but an f/3.5 lens will work with a higher ISO setting and so the next setting to understand is the ISO, or ASA if shooting with film. ISO/ASA is the film or the image sensor's sensitivity to light. I will assume that we're discussing digital photography for this exercise but the principle is essentially the same with film photography.

The higher the number of the ISO the more sensitive to light your camera will be, therefore you will want to shoot at elevated ISO settings. The quality of the image will depend on the quality of the sensor in your camera. Some more modern sensors will produce a much cleaner image with less noise, a result of an elevated ISO. This is the same as with film. The higher the ASA the more grain that the image will have.

With all of this said, and to sum it up, you will shoot the night sky on a tripod with a wide open aperture, high ISO and an extended exposure time, usually 20-30 seconds. A shutter speed that's longer will start to show streaked stars as the Earth rotates. Because the amount of light in a sky will vary from location to location, city light pollution, etc., and each camera is different in how well it performs in the dark, you may need to take a test shot or two before you get your settings right for the exposure that you're looking for. Your goal is to get a bright enough exposure with the lowest ISO that you can use. This is to insure a cleaner image with less noise as discussed previously.

The last thing that you will want to consider is focusing in the dark. You will not be able to use your Auto Focus feature and setting your zoom lens to infinity will provide a soft focus. You will need to manually focus your camera. A good way if one has a preview screen is to point the camera at the brightest star in the sky, center it in your preview screen and increase the magnification of the preview screen while keeping the star visible. Once it's magnified you can manually focus until the star becomes clear. Turn off your Live View and take your photo. There may be times where you may see a light off in the distance that you can focus on too, perhaps a far distant house for instance. I have seen folks focus their camera during the day and mark the spot with a marker such as a piece of tape or a marker.

It may sound a little complicated but it's actually very simple once you give it a try. It's all about gathering light on a dark night – a wide open lens aperture, a high ISO setting and an extended shutter/exposure time. Go outside on the next dark night, point your camera toward the southern horizon and give it a try.

I'm sure that you'll be excited with what you will see on your preview screen.

How to impress people by freaking out on a carnival ride by on 06/30/2017

I have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to carnival rides: If the person running a ride, such as the Squirrel Cages, keeps a garden hose available for spraying out the seats, I stay away. That’s because this person’s sole ambition is to make me — and others like me — vomit.

I realize this person may be a trained professional who, on a daily basis, makes countless split-second decisions on whether to push the red or green button to stop the ride. And, yes, I realize this individual has nothing but the safety of his passengers in mind when he secures a safety latch by removing his boot and whacking it until his arm gets tired, at which point, being a trained professional, he bolsters the confidence of his nervous riders by hacking up a cheekful of phlegm and shrugging his shoulders before walking off.

Yet somehow, in spite of these assurances, I’m still terrified of carnival rides. I think it’s because, when I was 10, my “friends” talked me into riding The Drop Out, which wasn’t actually a ride as much as it was a barf-a-torium with an observation deck.

Basically, 30 people entered a circular room and found a spot along the wall. Gradually, the walls would begin to rotate faster and faster, creating enough centrifugal force to suck the cotton candy from the mouth of anyone standing within 100 feet.

Once the ride reached optimum centrifuge, occupants would be stuck to the wall as the floor dropped out, leaving them suspended 20 feet above a pit of (presumably fake) spikes.

All of this was visible through a series of windows surrounding the ride so that, while waiting in line, people such as myself could prepare for the experience by, very slowly, having a bowel movement. I still don’t know how I got talked into this ride. All I know is I ended up next to someone whose stomach contents went on display the instant the floor dropped out.

Due to the force of gravity, I couldn’t move my head without blacking out, which meant watching the sum total of this person’s food consumption — which was considerable — reconfigure itself on the wall next to me.

This was, without question, the longest ride of my life. To this day, I can still see the apologetic look on that person’s face as the ride came to an end and the three of us — him, his vomit and I — gradually slid down the wall together.

Since that fateful encounter I’ve had no interest in being strapped down, cinched up or buckled into something specifically designed to do things I wouldn’t normally do without a flight suit and full medical coverage.

My daughter gets frustrated by this because she’s one of those people who is exhilarated by having her stomach in her mouth. The one time she talked me into riding with her was the Squirrel Cages. Everything was fine until that part in the ride where — and you know the part I mean — it starts to actually move.

Granted, I’m not a professional carnival ride operator, but I think I could recognize some of the subtle signs exhibited by a rider who is in distress. For example: Someone who is pressed so hard against the cage that his lips are actually outside the door while screaming “LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF!” would be a red flag to me.

Particularly if the rider in question began doing this after traveling less than two feet. In my case, these signs were somehow missed by our ride operator. I’m not saying it was all his fault.

Who knows, he might’ve been busy looking for a garden hose?

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

MHGS: the connection between happiness and our environment by Mary Soots on 06/30/2017

It’s summertime! Everyone who lives in our community understands that summer is an opportunity to hear the birds sing, spend time outdoors next to a river or stream, find a waterfall, barbecue outdoors and revel in the beauty of The Mountain.

Not everyone has the opportunity to bask in the glory of paradise. It made me curious about the relationship between happiness and the environment. We often study humans’ effect on the environment, but what is the effect of the environment on humans? Are people who live in a beautiful environment such as ours more likely to be happy than someone who lives in a decaying urban environment?

A case study that was done by the Happiness Initiative measured Seattle’s environmental happiness, and it focused on citizens’ perceptions about the quality of their water, air, soil, forest cover, biodiversity, etc. This included access to green areas and the system of waste management and transportation. Unfortunately, Seattle scored low in spite of their overall appreciation for access to nature. They expressed pessimism about conservation efforts and the future state of the environment.

To see how the U.S. as a whole compared with other countries, I referred the Happy Planet Index that measures sustainable wellbeing, how well nations are at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives.

The Happy Planet Index measures a quality of life by examining three major factors: median Life Expectancy, experienced Wellbeing and Ecological Footprint, taking into consideration resource consumption as a factor in one’s wellbeing.

While it may be difficult to measure feelings, the information is derived from surveys and from statistical data. Also, when discussing environment, the research looks at such things as social support, available resources and even weather. Its purpose is to help us understand that it is possible to live good lives while living sustainably.

Are we a happy nation? In spite of the fact that we have so much wealth, I was surprised to learn that the U.S. did not score in the highest 10. Not even in the highest 100! In fact we came in as 108th nation of the 140 that were studied in 2016. It seems that our increasingly unstable global economy, rising inequalities and the threat of climate change have both Americans and Europeans no longer thinking that life is getting better. One reason people are unhappy is that governments place more importance on economic growth over social and environmental wellbeing. GDP growth does not value the things that are really important to people such as social relations, health or how they spend their free time. Most importantly, economic growth is incompatible with the planetary limits.

The Happy Planet Index for the U.S. was 20.7, while many Latin American and African nations rated much higher. The country that rated highest was Costa Rica, with 44.7, followed by Mexico at 40.7. In terms of Life Expectancy, Hong Kong residents can expect to live an average of 83.6 years, while the average American lives 78.8 years. In measuring Wellbeing on a scale of 1-10, Iceland and Sweden scored highest at 7.6, while the U.S. scored 124th lowest at 7.0.

When it came to Inequality of Outcomes, European nations rated the lowest inequality (as low as 7.5 percent) while the Sub Saharan nations rated highest (up to 51 percent).

The U.S. rated among post-communist European nations at 13 percent.

Not surprisingly, when we look at Ecological footprint, wealthier countries such as the U.S. had the most environmental impact per capita while the poorest had the lowest impact.

So the answer to my question was that people who live in beautiful areas are not necessarily happier than those who don’t.

The Happiness Initiative study showed that “our mindset about the environment may be just as powerful as the actual state of it.”

They suggest that we can take steps toward improving our environment and to boosting optimism about the Earth’s future by taking the following steps:

 

  • Eat local and organic
  • Work with neighbors to turn an ugly communal place into a beautiful area
  • Avoid pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in your home garden

 

Stardust Melody: Chapter 5 by on 06/30/2017

The saga unfolding in Wildewood was getting edgy – like a butcher knife coming to an end of its encounter with the grindstone.

Chance Wilde was ignoring his son’s struggle with the law.

Anna Belle Wilde was as fed up with her husband, Beau, as a Roman in a vomitorium.

Beau Kimatian was knee deep in notoriety over his sumptuous Stardust Lodge, but also up to his neck in suspicions about his wife’s fidelity, or lack of it.

Johnny Templeton, the bespectacled high school English teacher couldn’t see past his next tryst with Anna, while each moment brought him closer to a Beau bombing run.

And of course, there was Max Malone, private eye, parading around with a pocket full of Beau bucks, supposedly spying on Anna – which was the last thing on his mind – while he tried to put his personal life back together after Natasha, Dolly Teagarden, a house full of terrorists, an unyielding radiator, and France, none of which were in any particular order other than the shared necessity of being compartmentalized so Max could get back to being Max, even though, all the while, there was a pink Cadillac with a Nevada license plate sliding across the border bearing down on his location like a heat seeking missile from a bad Tom Cruise movie, there being no other kind.

* * *

It was Sunday, 3 a.m., the lights dimmed at the Stardust Lodge, with Beau Kimatian basking in his narcissistic aura, fondling a warm snifter of cognac, which was his ritual after another successful Saturday night full of wealthy trout fishermen – where do wealthy trout fishermen come from? – politicians, retired ball players, sloe-eyed body guards, and Anna’s flawless music renderings.

He had asked Anna to join him after hours but she refused, shaking her head, causing several strands of black hair to invade her ivory forehead before she flicked it back with a dismissive, and practiced, flip of her wrist.

Beau watched Anna sway away with the same interest as a drunk in a Leonard Cohen song lyric.

He had no reason to worry, after all. He had Max Malone on the case.

Beau activated the juke box eliciting into the still of the night a piece of disco fluff from the 70s that belonged in this moment like a truck load of yellow cake in an Iraqi arsenal.

A lot of things about Beau Kimatian didn’t fit.

It had rained that night, but had now subsided, leaving the haunting drip-drip of drops from the laden conifers. A mountain lion crept from the shadows and crossed the road leading to the footbridge of Ruby River – clearing the distance in an easy, menacing, single bound – seen only by a barn owl that unblinkingly gazed at the lithe cat with yellow-eyed approval.

With the exception of Beau, Wildewood was done for the night. Supposedly.

First came the rumble of earth, seemingly moving, rocking, quaking, followed immediately by the sound: an explosion that was both serious enough to wake the town, and dangerous enough due to its proximity.

Some Wildewood residents held on to the headboards. Some ran toward their children’s bedrooms to reassure them despite their own lack of the same. Some scrambled to their vehicles and headed like the sturdy volunteers that they were, to the fire station for directions to the disaster. Some stared at the bedroom ceiling, intent on not getting involved. Some wondered what had just go into their partner.

After the attack on his eardrums and the burst of flame from the kitchen, Beau’s wonderings were over.

The Stardust flames leaped into the sky. The fire engines made it as far as the footbridge, but firemen ventured no closer, turning their attention to working a perimeter to prevent a forest fire.

The wet forest was their best ally.

The mountain lion had crouched, then ran deep into the woods. The owl was shaken out of its reverie and noiselessly skimmed over the branches casting a knowing glance back as it flew into the night that it had owned up until the disturbance from what had been the Stardust Lodge.

And it’s quite possible there was someone in Wildewood making certain of an alibi.

Schools and transportation on legislative docket by on 06/30/2017

Here we are in the full swing of summer. This time of year, so many are celebrating graduation and the achievements of students across Oregon. As the Hood River County School District board chair, I recently had the honor of handing out 300 diplomas to Hood River High graduates at their commencement. This is one of my favorite experiences as a board member, because their success is the reason why I continue to serve on my local school board and as a State Representative advocating for a strong public education system. This graduation was extra special for me as the class of 2017 was in first grade when I first joined the school board in Hood River. It was fascinating to think of all of the board decisions and policies that I had been a part of that were intended to help each of them to be successful students. Watching them receive their diplomas that evening was especially gratifying for me.

As I write this, the Oregon Legislature is still meeting, but has yet to complete the budget balancing process or been able to vote on a transportation package. The state school fund, that funds our K-12 schools, is currently set at a minimum of $8.2 billion and has passed out of the Senate. The bill will come to the House floor by the end of June. It’s important to note that, this biennium’s budget for schools is 11 percent more than the previous biennium. But the Oregon School Board Association calculates that Oregon schools need $8.4 billion to reach a ‘no cuts’ budget. The reason for this is the impact that increased costs (PERS rate increases and health insurance premiums) are putting severe pressure on local school district budgets. So even an additional 11 percent increase in state funding is not enough to keep up with costs. This is why I’ve been working hard throughout this legislative session to find a bipartisan budget solution that can address the structural budget problems that we have and make strategic investments in education that will produce better outcomes for students. I hope we can be successful, not just for this budget year but for the years to come.

Whether the transportation package will come to the floor for a vote remains unknown at this time. The entire Clackamas County region could benefit from infrastructure updates, especially throughout the I-205 corridor, and maintenance and safety improvements on Hwy. 26. Overall, highway maintenance and preservation, especially seismic upgrades, are a key component of the package, funded through increased registration and titling fees. Traffic congestion relief is a second component, with a focus on the areas experiencing high congestion on a daily basis, and improvements to public transit are a third component to the package, with a specific focus in rural areas. An increase to the gas tax is what would help fund the package, which is something I have to balance carefully with other increases to everyday items that my constituents may be experiencing. One of the new ideas in this transportation plan is to utilize tolling in high density areas to fund traffic congestion relief projects in the metro area. It is based on the thought that it is more equitable to require the metro area residents to contribute more to the projects that will benefit their areas. While these conversations continue, I’d like to ask for your feedback ASAP on what you’d be willing to support and what you’d to see in a transportation package. Please email me at rep.markjohnson@oregonlegislature.gov. For information about the specific components that are being considered.

One legislative highlight I want to make is on HB 2998. This legislation addresses the complex problem of credit transfer for community college students who want to achieve a four-year degree.

Too often, credits that students take at a community college aren’t accepted at credit towards a degree at an Oregon university. HB 2998 will establish a foundational curriculum outlining the first year of coursework for any degree that community college students can take and guarantee that all the credits will transfer. HB 2998 will also create unified transfer agreements for individual majors. Using the foundational curriculum for the first year, these agreements will outline the credits needed for the remaining three years to provide a path for students to achieve their degree in a timely fashion. This legislation will make a big difference for students, because they won’t be taking excess credits that don’t count towards a degree. Combined with the affordable Oregon Promise grant, students can realize their success without the threat of crushing student debt. In my four terms as a state legislator, this one of the most significant pieces of legislation I’ve been a part of and I’m thrilled to have been a part of the process.

There is still quite a bit unknown about how this legislative session will end. A final wrap-up will be provided in my July content. If you’d like more regular updates, please sign up for my newsletter at http://www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup/. You can always call or email my legislative office at 503-986-1452 or rep.markjohnson@oregonlegislature.gov.

Thank you for the honor to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)


Camino Island
Grisham’s latest a break from the courtroom, and worth it by on 06/30/2017

Occasionally, over the course of his writing career, author John Grisham has ventured away from his well-known legal thrillers into new territory.

Why? Because he is the John Grisham and he can!

In this volume, Grisham spins a tale involving a struggling novelist, missing (and extremely valuable) F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts and a setting in a quiet resort town on an island off the Florida coast that happens to have an independent bookstore.

Mercer Mann is a local novelist wrestling with possible inspirations for her next book when she is approached about the missing F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts stolen from a library in Princeton.

As the recovery would potentially pay off her student loans, she agrees to take on the challenge.

One possible lead involves the local independent book store which specializes in valuable rare editions as well as the normal retail sales, book signings and meet-the-author events.

The bookseller is a colorful character with a deep passion for rare volumes. But has he also given in to a nefarious financial motive?

Grisham has a lot of fun here. Publisher marketing indicates that he and his wife came up with the idea for this novel while traveling down the east coast to Florida.

This is a great read for lovers of physical books and bookish things – and fans of John Grisham.

John Ray Grisham Jr. is an American bestselling writer, attorney, politician and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.

Hot end of June relents as average temperatures arrive in July by on 06/30/2017

Temperatures during the first week of June were moderate with mostly sunny days and precipitation limited to June 1. Showers fell during all but one of the next 10 days in Brightwood, accompanied by cool and cloudy weather. Then summer got off to an impressive start during the last two weeks with rainfall just a memory and a heat wave ending the last weekend of the month, with record-threatening temperatures.

The National Weather Service reports that all their indicators are in agreement that our area can expect near average temperatures and precipitation during July.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.29 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 100s twice, into the 90s four times and into the 80s four times. Low temperatures dropped into the 40s without exception.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees and a precipitation average of 1.04 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s twice, and into the 80s the other eight years. Lows had six years in the 30s, and four years in the 40s.

Fireworks in the kitchen by Taeler Butel on 06/30/2017

Recently I made the best strawberry cake with fresh strawberries and cream cheese icing. I ate it hot out of the oven which is highly recommended. For this one, let’s add blueberries and make it festive for the fourth!

Red, white and blue cake

Preheat the oven to 365 degrees. Butter and flour three 8” round cake pans.

In a large bowl mix together:

1 1/2 T baking powder

3 cups flour

1 t salt (kosher)

2 cups sugar

In a measuring cup stir:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 t vanilla

Add the wet to the dry and stir until moistened.

Add in:

3/4 cup sliced strawberries

3/4 cup whole blueberries

Add mixed up contents to the three prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting:

With a mixer whip together:

1 stick room temp butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 t lemon juice

1 t vanilla

Frost each layer.

Kentucky Hot Browns

Butter a 9x13” baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the Hawaii sweet rolls in half and place the bottom halves in the dish.

Make a white sauce by adding 1T each of flour and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk, cooking for 2-3 minutes then add in 1 cup of milk slowly while stirring.

Add in 1/2 t salt & pepper and cook until it is thickened. Set aside.

2 pkgs Hawaii Sweet rolls

10 slices cooked bacon

10 slices sliced turkey

10 slices ham

1 cup Swiss cheese

1 tomato sliced

For the topping

Melt 3T butter and mix in 1T each of onion powder, poppy seeds and garlic salt.

Assemble the sandwiches. Spread sauce over bottoms of the rolls, then place the bacon, turkey, ham, tomato slices and cheese on top, place the tops on and brush with the seasoned butter.

Place in the oven for 15 mins until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Legislature's tone improving by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 06/30/2017

As legislative session is on the brink of wrapping up, I believe we look okay. Not great, but not bad.

Much of what I write can change by the time you read this – the K-12 budget, SB 5517A, hasn’t passed the House yet. Like I wrote about last month, I voted for it in the Senate and in subcommittee. As a state senator, it has been my first yes vote for a K-12 budget as introduced because it’s the first decent one yet. I was expecting them to come in at $7.9 billion, so when it arrived at $8.2B I concluded that with extra end-of-session funds, we can hit a relatively impressive number.

Its holdup in the House shouldn’t worry anyone. If they do anything to it, it would be slight increases that we were assuming would happen at the end of session anyway. By the time you read this, I bet it’ll be passed.

The two hot button topics are the Transportation Package and taxes, and on both of those my position has remained firm: it must truly be fair to everyone and there must be actual cost containment. Transportation, or at least a lighter version of it, is the more realistic package to succeed. Higher taxes just aren’t justifiable to most with general fund revenue up as high as it is. Few businesses or households would see 10 percent growth as too slow or worthy of the “crisis” label, nor should we in the legislature. So the big test will be whether or not we can prevent a whopping 14.1 percent spending increase so we don’t become the next Illinois, unable to pay our bills.

What I’m happy to report is that I feel the overall tone and work of the legislature has improved since the last few sessions. There seems to be a higher sense of working together. There are certainly far more obstructionists getting bussed down from Portland who march around chanting in the halls, but it seems to be having the opposite effect they intended. In truth, other than my first term when there was greater parity, this may turn out to be the best session I’ve experienced as a state senator.

(Charles Thomsen is the State Senator for District 26.)

 


Be careful when photographing lightning.
The View Finder: Catching lightning by Gary Randall on 06/02/2017

With spring and early summer comes transitional weather that will cause some amazing photography opportunities. Everything from blue skies with majestic thunderheads to rainbows and lightning. It is lightning that I’m asked about how to capture the most.

A lightning bolt typically lasts about 10 to 50 microseconds (0.000050 sec). That’s a lot faster than your ability to react to it so we will need to discuss methods and conditions that must be understood prior to going out into the field to get that awesome photo of a bolt of lightning. But I must preface the information with a warning about safety.

Standing in the rain with a lightning rod in your hand

Of course when we’re trying to get our lightning photo we’re venturing out into a storm. Be prepared for the weather. Dress appropriately, of course, but also remember that you are standing out in the storm with a tripod and a camera. One can’t help but be reminded of the fellows who are struck by lightning on the 18th hole as they celebrate a great putt with a golf club in their hand.

When the storm is surrounding you, go inside. Do not stand in the middle of a thundering tempest and think that you’ll come away with something more than a quick trip to the hospital, if you’re lucky, to treat you for the effects of a 100 million-volt electrical shock. Your best photos of lightning will be when the storm is in the distance.

Equipment

You will want to use a camera that you are able to control manually. Many cameras will allow you to switch to Manual Mode to allow you to control your shutter speed, the duration of the exposure. You will also want to use a tripod to establish a platform for you to put your camera on. It’s easier than trying to hold your camera while you’re working and a necessity for a longer exposure photograph.

Additional gear which will improve your chances of success are a 10 stop Neutral Density Filter (ND filter). And another piece of gear that can be handy is a Lightning Trigger. I will cover the use of both of these pieces in the text of this article.

Daytime or Nighttime

When photographing lightning there are two basic conditions that will require different methods to be successful: daytime with a lot of light and darkness with little or no light.

It’s easier to capture a lightning strike during the night than during the day. At night time it’s easy to set your camera to make a long exposure, sometimes as long as 30 seconds. Because the light is dim or even completely dark your photo won’t be exposed unless there’s a lightning strike during your exposure. I set my camera up on the tripod and point it in the direction of the storm, set my exposure to 30 seconds and click the shutter and wait for a lightning strike while hoping that it will happen in the direction that I have the camera pointed. If, once you’ve captured some lightning, your photo is too bright make your exposure a little shorter or stop down your aperture (smaller hole, bigger number) and try again. The lightning becomes its own flash bulb.

Daytime is a bit more challenging. It’s much more difficult to set your camera up to make a long exposure when there’s so much light that you will need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter. An ND filter is like sunglasses for your camera. It blocks light allowing you to extend (make longer) your shutter speed which will allow you to photograph the scene using the same method as at night. Make your exposure as long as possible, click the shutter cross your fingers and wait.

High Tech Toys

Of course there’s always the easy way. Technology is your friend when it comes to photographing lightning. Many people are just hobbyists and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a toy that they would rarely use, but there is that option.

A lightning trigger is the solution. A lightning trigger can react to the flash of the lightning and click the shutter in time to capture an image. The mechanism mounts to the hot shoe flash connection on top of your camera.

Although handy a lightning trigger is certainly not required to capture lightning.

Have Fun – Be Safe

The most important part of capturing lightning in a photograph for me is the experience. I love being outside and watching severe weather. To be able to make a beautiful and dramatic photo is a bonus.

I can’t stress enough the safety aspect of doing this. Please be safe and don’t put yourself in any dangerous situation to try to make any kind of photograph. There will always be more opportunities in the future.

Give these methods a try. Good luck and as always, have fun with your photography.

Watching out for the things in life that are killing us softly by Victoria Larson on 06/02/2017

Some of you may remember growing up on Tang, TV dinners and Wonder Bread; that soft, squishy stuff was as appealing to a child as balloons, with those multi-colored polka dots on the plastic wrapper. Tang was sold as orange juice replacement, with as much Vitamin C but without the need for refrigeration. In the early 1940s refrigeration had still not reached all areas of America. So Tang was a boon in the post-war baby boom. Kids could stir the powdered crystals into glasses by themselves and in those days families were likely to include three or four kids. Without refrigeration or the need for busy moms to stop what they were doing it was considered an industrial food of merit.

And then there were TV dinners – my brother and I considered them a “treat” with their aluminum trays compartmentalized to hold every food separately (something we kids preferred) and always with a dessert. My parents only allowed them on Fridays, the only night they went out to eat, and I was often headed to high school game and dance anyway. Since I spent more time on the illusive “getting ready” than eating, the TV dinners were a convenience all around.

Industrial foods came to the fore during World War II with Wonder Bread being one of those foods. Dieticians at that time convinced the government that the only difference between white bread and wheat bread was the B vitamin Thiamin being absent in the white bread. So our government decided to “enrich” bread with B vitamins and one mineral (iron). The vitamins were synthetically produced in the laboratory, from coal tar. Chlorine was used to make the bread white. Chlorine is the same stuff used in many laundry products and pool chemicals. Probably not a good ingredient for the flour you consume. It’s added not just for its whitening power, but also because it reacts with gluten to make the bread ready faster. Which means increased dollars for the industrial food industry.

Hopefully everyone is now headed for better nutrition. More whole grains, pastured eggs, dairy and meat, high quality fats. And, of course, fresh vegetables. All good foods. Yet the CDC reports that between 1995 and 2004 half of all food-borne illness came from eating out! Another 25 percent of food-borne illness is attributed to “eating out” at catered buffets, hospitals, schools and take-out places! Might this be enough to get you to start cooking and eating at home more?

Whether your food is cooked or raw, it’s likely to be less suspect if you put in on your plate at home. Better yet, if you grow it yourself (read next month’s column). Most cases of reported food-borne illness are due to leafy greens, amounting to approximately 14,000 cases per year. Eggs come in at over 11,000 cases per year, usually from mayonnaise-based salads sitting out too long at outdoor venues. An argument for being first in that buffet line maybe?

Oysters causing food-borne illness amount to over 3,500 cases a year but berries come in almost as high. Having worked part-time for local farmers, I can’t tell you how many children, and their parents, handle those jewel-like berries only to buy the untouched box next to the one they just handled! Peaches were even harder to protect from the perfection-seeking public. Everyone knows that a peach is bruised when you touch it. After squeezing the peaches almost to death, invariably the purchaser would pick up a totally different box to buy, little knowing how many people had handled that box of peaches. The way to buy a peach is to smell it, without touching it to your nose, please.

While I’m not a germ-freak there might be good reason to wash and/or peel some of your fruits and vegetables. A vinegar wash is fine and when mixed with water is unlikely to leave any vinegar residue. You don’t need a plastic bottle of “produce wash” especially if you don’t intend to recycle that plastic bottle (don’t even get me started on that soapbox).

Food-borne illness reported from dairy foods has made raw milk virtually “illegal” and hard to find in Oregon. I still remember buying such on the porch of a small farm in Gresham when I first moved to this area almost thirty years ago. Part of the problem with raw milk may come from the biased desire to jump to conclusions on the source of the pathogens. One case of a woman who took her 3-year-old son to the doctor is that it later came to light that the child had gnawed on raw chicken bones he’s pulled out of the garbage (a rather potent source of salmonella). But the ingestion of raw milk was blamed even though the child had never had a problem with raw milk previously.

With proper gut bacteria and lacking a full-blown milk allergy, raw milk is a great source of nutrition (more on this in a future column). I’m not saying it couldn’t happen but out of more than nine million people who drink raw milk in the United States, only 28 people reported getting sick from ingesting it. To be thorough, 2.3 percent of the people who drink pasteurized milk get sick from it, but that’s out of roughly one hundred and fifty million milk drinkers.

To be fair, out of the more than seventy-seven million annual cases of reported food-borne illness, your beloved ice cream accounted for almost 3,000 cases of illness! It’s not what you eat but how it’s handled. Let’s get real here – my grandson is fond of reminding me that “more people die of being hit on the head by coconuts than die of shark attacks.” And in the US and average of only four people a year die of snake bites. Far more people die in car accidents. The things that are killing us softly are far more insidious than we think.

My commencement speech (should I ever give one) by on 06/02/2017

To the Class of 2017, faculty members, parents, dignitaries, misinformed wedding crashers and Visa or MasterCard representatives who have gathered here today:

I am honored to have the opportunity to address this group of graduating seniors and impart the wisdom I have gained since my own graduation from high school nearly 150 years ago.

Standing before you today, I see the anticipation on your faces as each of you comes to realize what sharing my wisdom with you means: Possibly the shortest commencement speech in school history.

Before long, you will step forward and receive the culmination of 12 — possibly 14 — years of education. You will shake hands with some of those who have helped guide you to this milestone. And unless your last name begins with a “Z,” you will return to your seat as the rest of your classmates step forward to receive their diplomas.

That’s when you will silently think to yourself, “I really shouldn’t have had that second bottle of Mountain Dew.”

But you will sit quietly, probably cross-legged, and deal with it.

You are now officially your own person — making your own decisions, embracing the rewards and accepting the consequences of those decisions — as you embark on a journey of independence in a world of your own making.

At least until laundry day, when you will return home to eat chocolate chip cookies while mom gets the Cheeto and pizza stains out of your favorite underwear.

That’s because having wisdom isn’t about knowing everything. It’s also about recognizing and acknowledging when you don’t.

Just like getting those stains out, it’s OK to admit when you don’t know how to do something or handle a tough situation in life.

A smart person takes ownership of the things they know; a wise person seeks the knowledge of others when they don’t.

When I graduated from high school in 1984, there was no Internet.

No Siri.

No Pinterest.

And thankfully, no Kanye West.

Therefore, the Class of 1984 was expected to know EVERYTHING. The pressure was tremendous! We hugged our parents goodbye and entered a dark, Google-less world. We were young pilots flying blind. Dead stick. Rudderless. Broken-winged.

And lots of other euphemisms I am now able to Google for occasions like this.

We had no choice but to rely on each other.

We pooled our knowledge.

Challenged each other.

Together, we advanced ourselves and society by having the courage to answer fundamental questions like: What would happen if we grew chia seeds on a clay pot shaped like ‘Mr. T?’

Truth be told, it’s human nature to want to know all the answers.

At the same time, culture discourages us from admitting when we don’t have them. You’ve now spent the better part of your first 17 to 20 years of life receiving an education — not so you’ll have all the answers, but have the courage and wisdom to ask the kinds of questions that will improve your life and, hopefully, the lives of others.

This will take more than Googling. More than Wikipedia.

Possibly even more than “how-to” videos on YouTube.

It’s certainly going to take a great data and texting plan.

However, most of all it’s going to take the kind of determination that got you here; sitting in these chairs; moments away from receiving your diploma; and still regretting that second bottle of Mountain Dew.

Yet, I look upon your faces and see my own hope reflected in them.

When you leave here, be courageous and wise. Never be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers.

Those who do are destined to a life of empty promises — usually somewhere in our nation’s Capitol.

Always remember the feeling you have right now. The anticipation. The hope. The unlimited possibilities.

It’s who you are at this moment. It’s who you will always be.

As long as you allow yourself to be wise...

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Stardust Melody: Chapter 4 by on 06/02/2017

Some families might have celebrated the gathering as a happy reunion. Not the Wilde family.

Chance Wilde, Anna Belle’s grandfather, moseyed back into town as subtly as a mosey could be made – driving a 25-year-old diesel Mercedes four door sedan belching as much smoke out the rear that would make the first transcontinental railroad engine chug with admiration.

At the same time Randy Wilde, Anna Belle’s estranged father, returned to Wildewood in handcuffs riding in the back seat of a sheriff’s patrol car.

The fact that Max Malone, private eye, had settled back in Wildewood in his rebuilt cabin only added to a barrage of returning locals that rivaled the Earp brothers and the Clanton gang when they hitched up in Tombstone.

Meanwhile, Beau Kimatian continued to own and operate the Stardust Lodge, filling his pockets with cash and political capital like a rising star in the Chicago political constellation.

And there was Anna Belle Wilde, consorting with an unsuspecting, in-over-his-head English teacher, while trickery, deceit and larceny were whirling around in her pretty head like a gathering Kansas storm heading for the nearest trailer park.

What could possibly go wrong?

Max made a regular stop at Tommy’s joint – still his favorite watering hole after all these years, despite the fact the redhead waitress he’d never had the time to introduce himself to was now married with a babe in arms and a husband that looked like the latest crowned champion of the world’s cage fighting tour.

It’s entirely possible Max was losing his sense of timing.

That notion was exposed when Chance Wilde sauntered into Tommy’s and unwound in the barstool next to Max.

“I’m lookin’ for my son, Max,” Chance brayed, ignoring any pleasantry that might have passed between them after a couple decades.

Max turned slowly to the old friend and nemesis, hooded his eyes like an irritated timber rattler, slowly lifted his shot of Jameson’s, then, and only then, responded.

“He’s in jail.”

“What fer?”

“What does it matter?”

“Cuz he’s my kid.”

“Take that up with him.”

Max went back to his Jameson’s, drained the glass, and scooted it expertly forward to attract the attention, but not irritate the feelings, of the bartender – who now happened to be a fulsome brunette that believed she should be getting a speaking part in the next Quentin Tarantino film but would have to settle for a two-buck tip from Max, assuming he was in the mood, which was something that seemed to be going down the drain under the glare of the raw-boned old man who was sitting next to Max with no apparent interest in leaving any time soon.

“What’d he do, Max?”

“Hell Chance. Robbed a bank maybe? I take that back. He’s not that smart. He probably knocked over a lemonade stand.”

“You’ve always had a mouth on ya, ya know?”

“Keeps me in the game.”

Chance motioned to the brunette.

“Get this ornery cuss another whisky, and set me up.”

“You plannin’ on this conversation lasting long?” Max asked, somehow without actually asking.

“There’s still my granddaughter Anna Belle.”

“Heh. Hope you stabled your horse.”

Max labored through the Anna Belle saga, leaning heavily on the whisky anesthetic. Chance took it all in without a twitch. He’d been down too many roads before.

After getting an ear full of Anna Belle and a snoot full of Irish whisky, Chance kicked down the dusty trail that doubled as a Wildewood sidewalk to the sheriff’s office. He plopped an elbow on the counter and ignored the blank stare drifting his way from the duty deputy.

“I’m Chance Wilde and you’ve got my son in here, right?”

“That’s right Mr. Wilde,” the deputy responded, after clearing the intimidation out of his throat.

“What’s he in for?”

“He robbed a gas station.”

Chance turned away, then stopped at the door.

“He didn’t take the sushi, did he?”

That night was Saturday business as usual at the Stardust Lodge, until Chance walked in.

Anna clunked a bad key on the piano when she looked up at her grandad, and all heads turned his way.

Anna tried to recover but her soulful rendition of Mack the Knife couldn’t be rescued.

Mack had already left town.

She got up and ran to her grandad, throwing her arms around him.

“Where’d you come from all of a sudden, gramps?”

“I’ve never liked that gramps thing.”

“That’s too bad, gramps. You’ve always been able to get your way with everyone but me.”


And Anna was right. Maybe a little too right.

# # #

The big picture of the state budget by on 06/02/2017

Last month, we received the May revenue forecast. The revenue forecast is released quarterly by the State Economist and provides a detailed overview of how the state economy is working, the amount of revenue available for the general fund and an analysis on future economic growth. The forecast revealed that our state continues producing record revenues and there is nearly $200 million more available for the general fund than previously estimated, which lowers the current estimated budget gap to around $1.4 billion. Between the March and May forecasts, we’ve seen a $400 million increase in revenues while the legislature has been in session, which leads us to continually ask why we have such a large budget gap to fill.

If the legislature could fill the alleged $1.4 billion budget gap, this only gets us to the current level of spending. This does not include any additional investments or expansions in healthcare, education, public safety or any other policy area. I’m concerned that even if it could come up with $1.4 billion of new revenue, we would be in an even worse position two years from now because current costs would continue to increase. If our costs continue to exceed the growth of our state economy, we will continually find ourselves in a budgetary deficit.

Additional questions were brought to light in May, when the Oregon Health Authority acknowledged that for three years Oregon Health Plan benefits (Oregon’s Medicaid plan) may have been going to ineligible recipients. The Oregon Health Authority stated that the problem stems from the process to transition from the failed Cover Oregon computer system to a new one, which has taken more than three years. When Cover Oregon’s website wasn’t working, members had to sign up with a paper application. A process that starts with inputting all that information into a computer system and ends with a final redetermination of eligibility is not yet complete. This session, the Legislature is being asked to consider a nearly 50 percent increase in the Oregon Health Authority’s budget and expansions to Oregon’ Medicaid system. Before we can have any serious consideration of the OHA budget this session we simply must have a better understanding of the real numbers and only then can we be sure of the budgetary needs. It’s possible that tens of millions of dollars can be saved for the State of Oregon through more accurate accounting by OHA.

This most recent budget component is just one that remains to be answered as we head into the last full month of the legislative session. I’m disappointed that with only a month left, we haven’t had a serious conversation about bringing current spending in line with our available revenues and helping to bend costs so that over time, we can save money to reinvest into needed services for Oregonians. If we can address some of the systemic costs that continue to take away our ability to invest long-term, then we can truly begin to provide stability for our state.

Last week, I filed legislation creating the Age 3 to Grade 3 (3-3) reading initiative. This proposal was something I had worked on prior to the 2015 legislative session with key education leaders. I’ve re-filed this bill as an example of the kinds of programs we could be investing in if we could get costs under control, met current levels of spending and were able to use the record revenue that our economy is producing for targeted investments that truly benefit Oregonians.

I want to prioritize funding for public education. I want to invest in our students and communities to continue some of the progress we’ve made. But we must look at the whole picture – what are we spending now, how do we address out of control costs and finally prioritize policies that make an impact for Oregonians.

As always, please feel free to contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@oregonelegislature.gov with any thoughts or questions you may have. Thank you for the honor of representing House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Right attitude needed to tackle budget by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 06/02/2017

Hello, I hope everyone on the mountain is having a great year so far. It has been a while since I wrote for The Mountain Times and I felt like now is a good time to give a session update. I also plan to write a session report here when everything wraps up.

The most recent forecast is in, and the combined Lottery Funds and General Fund available resources are set for about $21 billion. This represents a 10 percent increase in revenue from last biennium’s roughly $19 billion approved budget. The kicker will likely be triggered, but we should still be seeing a robust $1.713 billion more for our state budget than ever before.

Now we are coming into the home stretch of session, and it is the responsibility of my colleagues and I to craft a decent budget. It is very easy to get swept out to sea by all the rhetoric flying around – but I will remain even-keeled during this process while I sit on the Full Ways and Means Committee. For me, there are two ultimate goals: come out with a decent education package and improve our roads via better transportation funding.

In all my time serving Senate District 26, this may be the most critical stage I’ve been a part of.

The surging forecast really shows Oregon has minimal revenue concerns. It’s like getting a 10 percent raise, or a business growing 10 percent in a biennium. It is hard to subscribe to the idea that we need to go out there and get more. Allocation is the issue. And as with any budgeting, fixed priorities we consider vital must truly come first. $8.2-8.4 billion is the range K-12 funding should be, and what I’m pushing hard for.

When budgeting, there are ways to get carried away. In our personal lives, we know the things that come first. It’s our home payment, car payment, utilities, necessary foods, etc. Then at the very end come the non-essentials like eating out, vacations or anything we’d like but don’t need. Each session the legislature runs the risk of over-prioritizing those nonessentials at the expense of what we all demand, and that’s why our education package has to be a lock right now – treated as the premium fixed, important budget item that is not to be bargained over.

Attitude is vital. Steady, composed and responsible are all words I hope to be described as when this session is over. I believe right now there’s a deficit of correct attitude in politics. The main thing I keep in mind when I’m making decisions in Salem is that constituents sent me down here to get a job done, and that’s what I intend to do.

As always, you are welcome anytime during session to come down to Salem and spend the day with me. Just call my office at 503-986-1726 and we’ll set it up!

(Charles Thomsen is the State Senator for District 26.)

MHGS: The importance of diversity, biologically speaking by Mary Soots on 06/02/2017

My neighbor cautioned me to be aware, that late one evening this past week his wife informed him that she had heard a cougar in their back yard. I recalled that a colleague reported that earlier this month while laying in the entryway of their cabin, their dog was attacked by a cougar. We sometimes forget that living in the forest comes at some cost.

Yet it is often not the wildlife that have encroached upon our habitat but the contrary: that we have encroached on theirs. The cost to native species by invading humans has been largely documented — the loss of habitat has contributed to species decline, etc. But something we rarely stop to consider are the costs of habitat destruction to humans.

When we cut down large swaths of forest land, it vastly increases an area’s vulnerability to natural disasters like flood and drought, crop failure, spread of disease and water contamination. When we convert forest land to agricultural land, studies have shown that the soil has degraded approximately 40 percent of agricultural land worldwide via erosion, salinization, compaction, nutrient depletion, pollution and urbanization.

Probably the most profound impact that habitat destruction has on people is the loss of many valuable ecosystem services. Habitat destruction has altered nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and carbon cycles, which has increased the frequency and severity of acid rain, algal blooms and fish kills in rivers and oceans and contributed tremendously to global climate change.

One ecosystem service whose significance is becoming more realized is climate regulation. On a local scale, trees provide windbreaks and shade; on a regional scale, plant transpiration recycles rainwater and maintains constant annual rainfall; on a global scale, plants (especially trees from rainforests) around the world counter the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The loss of trees from the rainforests alone represents a substantial diminishing of the earth’s ability to produce oxygen and use up carbon dioxide. These services are becoming even more important as increasing carbon dioxide levels is one of the main contributors to global climate change.

The loss of biodiversity may not directly affect humans, but the indirect effects of losing many species as well as the diversity of ecosystems in general are enormous. When biodiversity is lost, the environment loses many species that provide valuable and unique roles to the ecosystem. The environment and all its inhabitants rely on biodiversity to recover from extreme environmental conditions. When too much biodiversity is lost, a catastrophic event such as an earthquake, flood, or volcanic eruption could cause an ecosystem to crash, and humans would obviously suffer from that. Loss of biodiversity also means that humans are losing animals that could have served as biological control agents and plants that could potentially provide higher-yielding crop varieties, pharmaceutical drugs to cure existing or future diseases or cancer, and other uses.

The outlook seems bleak. The rapid expansion of the global human population is increasing the world’s food requirement substantially. As the world’s population increases, agricultural output will need to increase by at least 50 percent over the next 30 years. In the past, continually moving to new land and soils provided a boost in food production to appease the global food demand. That easy fix will no longer be available, however, as more than 98 percent of all land suitable for agriculture is already in use or degraded beyond repair.

The impending global food crisis will be a major source of habitat destruction. Commercial farmers are going to become desperate to produce more food from the same amount of land, so they will use more fertilizers and less concern for the environment to meet the market demand. Others will seek out new land or will convert other land-uses to agriculture. Agricultural intensification will become widespread at the cost of the environment and its inhabitants. Species will be pushed out of their habitat either directly by habitat destruction or indirectly by fragmentation, degradation or pollution. Any efforts to protect the world’s remaining natural habitat and biodiversity will compete directly with humans’ growing demand for natural resources, especially new agricultural lands.

Natural forest areas provide aesthetic uses such as bird watching, recreational uses like hiking, fishing and ecotourism usually rely upon virtually undisturbed habitat. What can we do to conserve our natural areas? People and political decision-makers at all levels (local, regional, national, global) must take into consideration the following:

 

  • Consider the many irreplaceable ecosystem services provided by natural habitats.
  • Protect remaining intact sections of natural habitat.
  • Educate the public about the importance of natural habitat and biodiversity.
  • Develop family planning programs in areas of rapid population growth.
  • Find ecological ways to increase agricultural output without increasing the total land in production.
  • Preserve habitat corridors to minimize prior damage from fragmented habitats.
  • Reduce human population and expansion.

 

Written with reference from Wikipedia.


'Victoria,' by Daisy Goodwin.
‘Victoria’ is a thorough look at the life and love of a Queen by on 06/02/2017

It’s hard to imagine the experience of young Queen Victoria, who unexpectedly becomes Queen of England at eighteen years of age. At that time, she is a sheltered young woman still treasuring her dolls and comforted by the companionship of her beloved lap dog.

Daisy Goodwin does a masterful job of describing Victoria’s life and experiences based upon thorough research and extraordinary insight. This volume has also been translated into a screenplay presented by Public Broadcasting’s Masterpiece Series.

The young Queen pushes back against her mother and instead leans heavily on the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne for advice and support, soon developing a growing affection for him in spite of a huge difference in their years. Goodwin describes Victoria’s increasing affection for “Lord M” which completely blinds her to the possible advantages of the throngs of potential suitors closer to her age.

When two cousins from Germany – Ernst and Albert – arrive as potential suitors for the Queen’s consideration, Victoria initially dismisses both as not worthy of her interest. However, soon Albert overcomes her resistance. Thus begins a great romance and royal partnership that will result in nine children and a devoted marriage that spans 21 years of Victoria’s influential 63 year reign.

Highly recommended.

Daisy Goodwin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels “The Fortune Hunter” and “The American Heiress.” She is a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University and was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. She is the creator and screenwriter of the PBS/Masterpiece drama, “Victoria.” She lives in London.

An official companion book to the PBS Masterpiece Presentation is also available, which includes photographs from the television production.

Above average temps expected to continue into June by on 06/02/2017

The first week of May had two warm days and precipitation nearly every day. The next three days were mild, followed by a week of cool, showery, weather before summerlike weather set in for the remainder of the month. In fact, Brightwood recorded a high of 90 degrees on May 22. That stretch of summer caused the average temperatures for the month to end above average for the first time this year.

The National Weather Service reports the Madden Julian Oscillations are not expected to affect our weather during the coming month of June and expects our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation near average.

During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68, an average low of 48 and a precipitation average of 4.27 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 100 once, into the 90s three times and into the 80s six times. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s during four years and into the 40s the remaining six years.

During June, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 41 degrees and a precipitation average of 3.91 inches, including 0.6 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s once, into the 80s during three years, into the 70s during five years and one year in the 60s. Lows had one year in the 20s, eight years in the 30s and one year in the 40s. The record snowfall for June was 11 inches, set in 1995 when 5 inches fell on June 5, followed by another six inches the next day on June 6.

New School by Taeler Butel on 06/02/2017

Now we all know there is no school like the ol’ school. However, with tastes and times a changin’ we can add a few touches to the classics.

Stuffed meatloaf

Two ways (Turkey Mediterranean and Bacon Cheeseburger)

For the Meatloaf mix

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs

1 cup ketchup

1 T mustard

1/2 cup milk

1 t each salt & pepper

Mix all together, divide in half into 2 bowls and mix into each bowl 1 lb of ground meat (ground turkey for the Turkey Mediterranean Meatloaf, or grass fed beef for the Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf)

For the Turkey Mediterranean Meatloaf:

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup onion

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup feta or mozzarella cheese

Sweet chili sauce for a glaze

On a large piece of plastic wrap flatten the ground turkey into a 1/2 inch thick square. Layer all the ingredients down the middle, press both sides up, discard the plastic and place into pan. Pour chili sauce over the top and bake at 375 degrees for about 1/2 hour.

For the Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf:

1 lb lean grass fed beef

8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed

1/4 cup BBQ sauce for a glaze

Pickle slices for garnish

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

Flatten the beef mixture on a large sheet of plastic wrap, about 1/2 inch thick square. Add bacon, cheese, onions and tomatoes layering down the middle. Roll the sides up pressing to form a loaf. Discard the plastic and place into the pan. Brush with BBQ sauce and top with pickle slices. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-45 minutes.

 

Mashed cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower

1/2 cup milk

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup butter

Cut a whole cauliflower into 1” chunks. In a large pot of boiling salted water boil cauliflower for about 15 minutes until tender, and drain. Mash with a potato masher or in a food processor. Add in milk and butter, salt and pepper and place back in the pot. Heat stirring occasionally until the extra moisture evaporates and the mixture is a mashed potato consistency.

 

Pineapple mango crisp

Mix these ingredients together to form crumbs:

1/2 cup plus 2 T cold unsalted butter, diced (set aside the 2 T butter)

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup dried coconut

1/4 cup flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 t vanilla extract

In a separate bowl toss 1 small bag of frozen pineapple (about 2 cups, or 2 cups fresh diced), and 1 small bag of frozen mango (or 2 whole mangoes, peeled and chopped)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 T flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

Transfer the fruit to a 9x11” pan, pour the crisp topping over the fruit and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and serve warm with coconut gelato.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


Rowena Crest.
The View Finder: A day in the life of a photographer by Gary Randall on 05/02/2017

It’s pushing midnight as I finish processing the last photo for a client photo shoot the previous day. I get up from my desk and walk over to the gear that I have set on my couch. My backpack is full of the required equipment for a day in the field. My camera is charged up with an extra battery. My memory cards are clear and installed into the camera. My clothing is ready to go for the next morning and my alarm is set for 4 a.m. These are the moments when one can easily justify turning the alarm off and just calling the next day off completely. The temptation of sleeping in is almost overwhelming.

The alarm rings and in a daze I hit the snooze alarm. Five minutes later the familiar but unwelcome sound of the alarm sounds off but with an increased intensity. It’s at the moment that I realize why it’s ringing. Spinning around while sitting upright my feet hit the floor. Heck, I need to visit the bathroom anyway. Maybe I’ll just get up, take care of some business and look outside to see how the weather looks.

As I go to the front door and let my dog Betty outside I stand on the porch and watch the drizzle as it saturates everything. A typical Oregon Spring day, I think to myself as Betty and I walk back inside to decide that because I’m up anyway, I’ll just make some coffee and get into my rain resistant clothing and head out to see what the day will hold.

It’s dark and with just enough time to get to the gorge for sunrise I put my gear into the Jeep, load up Betty and head out to drive over Mount Hood and over Highway 35 in the pouring rain. At that time of the day there are very few people on the road. It’s my favorite time to drive. I sip from my travel mug and watch for errant deer crossing the road in front of me.

As I drop down into the Hood River Valley I notice that the rain has stopped and the clouds are thinning. My heart starts to pump with a bit more vigor with the realization that the morning may turn out to provide the conditions for a photograph that I am seeking, and perhaps the effects of the coffee. I turn east and travel down Highway 84 and then take the exit at Mosier before heading up to Rowena Crest. As I drive up the old Columbia River Highway toward my destination there are still a few sprinkles as the twilight starts to illuminate the horizon to the east, but it’s looking very promising.

Driving into the parking area at Rowena I grab my gear and run to the spot that I have in mind for the composition that I seek. I have been here several times in the past and have photographed the area with varied luck, typically with mediocre skies, and am hoping that this will be the best moment yet. Within moments the light from the sun over the horizon starts to shine light under the clouds in the sky. I immediately start photographing the scene while blocking out all other thoughts or worries from my mind. I am in the moment. I’m in the groove.

That morning turned out to be one of my best days of photographing wildflowers in the gorge. I came home with a big bag of great images. This, the morning when I was riding a razor's edge in deciding if I should even go or not, turned out to be amazing. It would have been so easy for me to just turn that alarm off and roll back over and sleep for another few hours. It would have been so easy for me to just come back inside after seeing the rain from my porch and hop back into bed. It would have been so easy to justify missing this amazing experience. I certainly had more reasons to not go than I had to go.

I think about this a lot and have this notion engrained into my thinking now so that I am more apt to think about these experiences when that alarm rings on those early mornings. I don’t know much about gambling but I’m sure that certain principles that apply to it might apply to outdoor photography in Oregon and around Mount Hood. You don’t win the majority of the times that you play, but if you don’t play you will never win. Take that gamble. What do you have to lose but a little sleep?

Stardust Melody: Chapter 3 by on 05/02/2017

After her midnight set, Anna Belle slipped out of the Stardust Lodge unnoticed by her husband, Beau, who was up to his ample ears in political capital and cigar smoke.

From the edge of Ruby River, the nearly full moon provided a view upriver to the footbridge. The dark figure who had passed on the deck earlier was standing there, and he slightly tipped the brim of his fedora in her direction. Anna rushed along the river bank and mounted the footbridge, as the dark figure took to the opposite bank and settled into the deep shadows of a stand of Douglas firs.

Anna smiled and followed, glancing back toward the lodge to secure the knowledge of her aloneness. She needn’t have worried. Beau was spending political capital like a drunken congressman – of which there were two in his company.

Anna hugged the dark figure, and Max Malone held her as well. They leaned back and admired each other.

“Uncle Max. I heard you were back. Have you finished rebuilding your cabin?”

Max nodded, but a concerned look slowly crept across his face. This was more than a reunion, and Anna picked up on it.

“What is it, Uncle Max?”

“Your husband has hired me to follow you,” Max rasped.

“Whatever for?” Anna answered back, trying to save her innocence with her main weapon, growing a smile from a face that, around Wildewood and the Stardust Lodge, could launch a thousand drift boats.

“Now don’t play the naïve niece with me, young lady,” Max responded. “He’s pretty sure you’re messin’ around on him, he’s just not sure who he is.”

Anna’s eyes dropped. When she raised them again the embarrassment – assuming there had been any – had disappeared and the defiance inbred in the Wilde family glared back at Max.

Max chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Anna snapped.

“You, for starters.”

Max rescued the moment by explaining that he’d been approached by Beau, and wanted to hire him to track after Anna, not knowing, or perhaps not even caring, that “Uncle” Max knew Anna and her family.

“And you agreed?”

“Easy money, Anna. I follow you, and report back to Beau what you want me to report.”

“Isn’t that unethical?”

Max flashed an Irish smile that stretched from Dublin to Donegal. “Ya know I was gone for a while, and met up with a bunch of lawless characters across two continents that didn’t exactly qualify as eye-openers. But if you’re suggesting that Wildewood grew a crop of ethics while I was gone, well …”

Anna shook her head.

Max explained that they couldn’t be seen together, and how he would arrange their rendezvous at appropriate times.

Anna interrupted. “Maybe you don’t understand … completely that is. I got plans.”

Max smiled again, this time stopping one train station short of Donegal. “I got a hunch what that might be, young lady.”

 

 *   *   *

 

Chance Wilde, Anna’s grandfather, was doubtlessly the wildest of the Wilde’s.

He left his family – father Sonny, Indian mother Blue, brothers Victor Blue and Tommy Blue – when he was eighteen after missing more school than he was hitting.

He scrabbled around Wildewood until the town got too close for him, and he landed in Colorado where he had a son – Anna’s father, Randy – and five daughters that were sprinkled judiciously among three wives. Chance worked as a ranch hand, entered any rodeo he could reach, and it seems spent most of his time mounted in one way or another. In typical fashion, he disappeared one day, but echoes of Chance Wilde can still be heard, from Steamboat Springs to Durango.

Randy returned to Wildewood. Ranching was too much like work for him, and besides, he figured he could get by on his good looks. And he did for a while, long enough to rein in the free spirit of Brandy, and bring Anna Belle into the world.

Brandy took to motherhood in a manner that shocked those who knew her, and everyone said she qualified for sainthood for putting up with Randy’s drinking and carousing.

Ultimately, however, she was no match for that mountain lion, as local lore has it, but those who knew her always believed that mountain lion took away a few scars as well.

 

 *   *   *

 

“Why ya messin’ around with that English teacher anyway?” Max asked, squinting against a shaft of moonlight that stabbed through the fir branches.

“You know a lot,” Anna shot back.

“I know enough to know that when I get around women they either end up dead or in prison, little lady.”

“You don’t have to worry about me.”

“That’s what they all say, kiddo.”

Oregon's financial woes by on 05/02/2017

May marks the halfway point for the legislative session. This session, Oregon’s financial status is much more serious than in previous sessions. With a $1.6 billion budget hole, we need to be focused on structural reforms to address rising costs and create real stability for Oregonians. These reforms need to happen before any discussions about how to raise new revenue. Built into our current system are runaway costs that need to be contained. By containing these costs, we can re-invest money into programs that we know work and will benefit Oregonians with money already available to the state. By reforming and re-investing, we can help future generations of Oregonians realize even greater success and stability.

Oregon’s economy has been producing record revenues, but we still do not have stability in our budget. In our current budget cycle, the state has collected $1.5 billion more than in the previous cycle. But this increased revenue has already been consumed by the growing costs of existing services. We know that PERS rates for public employers, including school districts, will increase from about 15 percent of payroll in 2015-17 to about 33 percent of payroll in 2023-2025. This means that public employers will be spending 1/3 of their payroll costs just on PERS. I use this as an example, not to be critical of PERS beneficiaries, but to show some of the systemic costs that can’t be avoided.

Rising health insurance costs present a similar situation for public employers. Looking at the cost of health insurance plans available within the public-school system, Oregon’s pays more than $2,000 per employee over the average school district across the rest of the nation. In 2004-2005 school districts paid just over $8,000 for health insurance per employee. This number has grown to almost $12,000 per employee in 2013-14. That’s a 50 percent increase in 10 years and the number has continued to grow into the present day. When you multiply the number of state government employees by the increased relative costs of our health insurance plans, you can begin to understand why our budget is out of balance.

I’m working with other legislators to better understand what systemic costs can be reduced this session in order to get our budget under control. If we can find efficiencies to slow the rate of growth, in comparison to the examples provided above, then we can ensure stability of these services and programs for future Oregonians. Unlike previous budget reductions, what is needed now are systemic changes in order to bend the cost curve so that we do not find ourselves in this situation every two years.

A program that I would like to see fully invested in is third-grade literacy. Third-grade literacy has time and time again been shown to improve graduation rates among students. Students who can read at grade-level are almost certain to graduate on time and will be much less likely to need costly state services. With a well-funded third-grade literacy program, we can support early intervention of students, put them on the right track and save the state money down the road, while producing a better, more educated work force.

Oregon’s public universities can also benefit from structural reforms. In April, the public universities proposed a double-digit tuition increase. This increase presents a huge barrier to students but without some major cost reductions, it will be hard for universities to avoid tuition increases. As someone who has been fighting for increased affordability in higher education, this is unacceptable and is another reason why I will be doing all I can to enact systemic cost reforms during this session.

Reforming and re-investing will prove to be beneficial to our state for the long term. I am open to discussing this and any other topic. Please feel free to contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@oregonelegislature.gov

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. It’s an honor to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)


The Woman in Cabin 10
Cruise ship the setting of a mysterious missing person case by on 05/02/2017

Ruth Ware (author of “In A Dark, Dark Wood,” 2015) offers up a tense mystery with the female character in peril as she attempts to unravel the mystery in the confined environment of a prestigious modern cruise ship.

Just a few days before her cruise departure as a travel reviewer, Lo Blacklock is traumatized by a break-in at her apartment. Although she suffers no physical injuries, Lo is still reeling from the upsetting experience and suffering from extreme sleep deprivation when she boards for luxury Aurora for its maiden voyage. She is determined to handle her professional responsibilities and regain her internal poise, putting thoughts of her disturbing imprisonment aside.

However, during her first night on the Aurora, she meets a woman in the next-door cabin who loans her some make-up and speaks with her briefly. Later, Lo hears a large splash from the next-door balcony and finds what appears to be a smear of blood. Mysteriously, the “woman in cabin 10” is nowhere to be found. Was the woman thrown overboard? And who was she? Lo cannot find any objective evidence that the mysterious woman existed, yet she is unwilling to believe that her senses are deceiving her and starts investigating.

The prestigious but tiny cruise liner is full of specially invited guests as well as the ship’s wealthy owner and wife and their staff. Lo is unsure who she can trust or believe as she begins her search for answers and explores both public and behind-the-scenes areas of the ship. The plot has echoes of classic Agatha Christie formulas as Lo seeks to eliminate suspects one by one, even her friend and fellow journalist, Ben, who seems to believe her and want to help.

In spite of her shaky emotional state, Lo is a strong woman who is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and soon puts herself in great danger due to her efforts. And the truth behind the mystery is unexpected with action that plays out beyond the Aurora itself.

Despite well-done plotting, this exciting mystery novel is a good read but not a great one. Still, it’s worth your time as is Ware’s previous mystery “In a Dark, Dark Wood.”

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris before returning to the United Kingdom. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer.

She now lives in London with her husband and two small children. A movie based on “The Woman in Cabin 10” is planned.


The Woman in Cabin 10
Cruise ship the setting of a mysterious missing person case by on 05/02/2017

Ruth Ware (author of “In A Dark, Dark Wood,” 2015) offers up a tense mystery with the female character in peril as she attempts to unravel the mystery in the confined environment of a prestigious modern cruise ship.

Just a few days before her cruise departure as a travel reviewer, Lo Blacklock is traumatized by a break-in at her apartment. Although she suffers no physical injuries, Lo is still reeling from the upsetting experience and suffering from extreme sleep deprivation when she boards for luxury Aurora for its maiden voyage. She is determined to handle her professional responsibilities and regain her internal poise, putting thoughts of her disturbing imprisonment aside.

However, during her first night on the Aurora, she meets a woman in the next-door cabin who loans her some make-up and speaks with her briefly. Later, Lo hears a large splash from the next-door balcony and finds what appears to be a smear of blood. Mysteriously, the “woman in cabin 10” is nowhere to be found. Was the woman thrown overboard? And who was she? Lo cannot find any objective evidence that the mysterious woman existed, yet she is unwilling to believe that her senses are deceiving her and starts investigating.

The prestigious but tiny cruise liner is full of specially invited guests as well as the ship’s wealthy owner and wife and their staff. Lo is unsure who she can trust or believe as she begins her search for answers and explores both public and behind-the-scenes areas of the ship. The plot has echoes of classic Agatha Christie formulas as Lo seeks to eliminate suspects one by one, even her friend and fellow journalist, Ben, who seems to believe her and want to help.

In spite of her shaky emotional state, Lo is a strong woman who is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and soon puts herself in great danger due to her efforts. And the truth behind the mystery is unexpected with action that plays out beyond the Aurora itself.

Despite well-done plotting, this exciting mystery novel is a good read but not a great one. Still, it’s worth your time as is Ware’s previous mystery “In a Dark, Dark Wood.”

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris before returning to the United Kingdom. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer.

She now lives in London with her husband and two small children. A movie based on “The Woman in Cabin 10” is planned.

Winter wetness waned, adjusted to the average in April by on 05/02/2017

Brightwood received 19.50 inches of precipitation last March, setting a new record previously held in 2012 (19.17 inches). Precipitation for the current October – March winter period in Brightwood totaled 78.86 inches, verifying our opinion this has been a very long, wet winter. Only the winter of 1996-97 which was accompanied by disastrous floods exceeded that total with 84.40 inches, from records dating back over 40 years. For perspective, the average for the entire year is 81.70 inches.

April got off to a mild, pleasant start but showers got started on April 5 and kept it up for most of the rest of the month. It’s a distant memory now, but last year Brightwood had a high temperature of 86 on April 18, but this year the high never made it to 70.

Despite the cloudy and showery weather, temperatures and precipitation at both Brightwood and Government Camp averaged out surprisingly close to normal. Snowfall in Government Camp totaled 11.25 inches.

The National Weather Service is facing confused activity with its old bugaboo, the Madden Julian Oscillations and consequently has lowered confidence in its outlook.

Our area is forecast to have close to average temperatures and precipitation for May.

During May, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 63, an average low of 43 and a precipitation average of 5.83 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s once, into the 80s during seven years and into the 70s during two years. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s without exception with four years reaching the freezing level. The chances are three out of ten for a high of 90 degrees and four out of five for a low temperature dropping to the freezing level will occur during May.

The only measureable snowfall from records dating back 40 years was a two-inch total that fell May 5, 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35 degrees and a precipitation average of 5.39 inches, including 6.7 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 80s once, into the 70s during seven years, into the 60s once and into the 50s once. Lows had seven years in the 20s and three years in the 30s, one of which stayed above freezing.

The record May snowfall of 32 inches was set in 1974. The record 24-hour snowfall of 13 inches was set on May 11, 2000.

MHGS: The next steps in the evolution of recycling by Mary Soots on 05/02/2017

This week I found myself at the grocery store where I came upon a very unusual bottle of laundry detergent. It was packaged in a cardboard bottle which contains a thin resin bag inside to hold the detergent. It is made of 100 percent recycled materials and can be either recycled or composted.

As I did a little research on the bottle, I learned that the really remarkable environmental benefits were in the process of recycling. A regular plastic bottle is transported from our curbside recycler to a recycling facility. When it arrives at the recycling facility, it goes through extensive washing, a process that uses 1 gallon of water per 37.2 bottles. This yields plastic pellets that can be used to make new bottles. From there, the pellets are shipped to a blow molding facility to make new bottles.

The cardboard bottle meanwhile does not need washing, thus saving the cost of transportation to a processing facility. Instead, it goes directly to the bottle manufacturer for re-molding into new bottles. During the production process, cardboard bottles use substantially less water than plastic bottles. One gallon of water is used for every 76 bottles made — a 51 percent savings.

New bottles are sent to be filled from each facility. Since the plastic bottles are so bulky, only 25,000 can be transported at a time. In contrast, the cardboard box is halved and stacked so that 161,000 are transported at once. Once the new laundry bottles reach the retailer, the stores can return the shipping boxes for the cardboard bottles to the manufacturer for re-filling, unlike the plastic containers, thus reducing the demand for more single-use cardboard boxes.

At home, people are more likely to recycle the cardboard boxes than the plastic containers. Ultimately, according to the manufacturer, “most plastic goes to the dump, where a cubic meter holds either 520 empty 1-liter plastic jugs or 40,000 pouches. Cardboard fares better: 81 percent is recycled in the U.S.”

I present this as one example of the successes that we have achieved through innovation and thinking outside of the box (or plastic container). Not only does the process of manufacturing, recycling and reusing make much more sense, but it comes at a lower cost to natural resources such as fuel, water and trees. Ultimately, we as consumers will reap the benefit of lower cost production.

I tip my hat to those innovators for sustainable packaging such as an edible six-pack ring for beer and soft drinks so that when it finds its way to the ocean, the fish can feed off it, to the invention of packaging made from mushrooms rather than plastic, and so many more that are working their way into the mainstream.

The demand from our population for more responsible social, environmental and governance in the area of environmental sustainability has led to the creation of such organizations as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, started by nine companies whose aim is to “Use wisely; Reduce toxicity; Recover more.” The goal is to have sustainability for the resources used in packaging, to optimize packaging design so that it can eliminate the use of excessive boxes, bags and ties while protecting the products inside, and to support recycling efforts.

This demand from consumers has moved the conversation from specialty suppliers to the buy-in from box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart whose goal is to achieve zero landfill packaging waste from 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025. While “recyclable” doesn’t necessarily translate to sustainable, it is a step in the right direction.

It is an exciting time for our environment, a time when people are bringing new ways of thinking, and the packaging industry has heard the call for more ways of protecting our oceans, our forests and soils. Look for more innovation in this area in the near future.

Maybe some stores will start selling more things (like laundry soap) in bulk so that we can eliminate the need for single-use packaging altogether.

But then, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Getting saucy by Taeler Butel on 05/02/2017

Put down the powder packet, it’s not that hard. Making your own sauce ensures you’ll never go hungry or dry bun again.

Aioli

This is mayo for grown-ups. Silkier, mild and can be a dressing or sauce for meat and veggies. It’s kinda fancy and fun to say - give it a try!!

Juice & zest from half a lemon

Mashed garlic cloves, 3-4 depending

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

1 t salt

½t white pepper

½ cup olive oil

In a blender add lemon, egg and yolk, zest, garlic, and the salt and pepper. Blend until incorporated on low speed and stream in olive oil slowly until emulsified. If it’s too thick add lemon juice. You can store in the fridge airtight for about a week.

 

Hollandaise Sauce

Definitely make eggs Benedict, but don’t stop there. Add herbs, and pour over steak, veggies, chicken, your mother...

4 T Butter (unsalted)

4 egg yolks

2 T lemon juice

1 T heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Start your Hollandaise Sauce by melting the butter in a small sauce pan. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks.

Add the lemon juice, heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper into the egg yolks. Next, add the melted butter into the mixture slowly and whisking vigorously to cream the mixture.

Once the butter has been added, place the mixture back into the pot. Heat the mixture on low heat, constantly stirring with a whisk.

Stir until the mixture starts to thicken (30 seconds to a minute) and remove from heat.

 

Salsa verde

Add this to tacos, enchiladas, beef, pork or just a chip

1 T olive oil

1½ pounds tomatillos, husks removed

1 jalapeno - sliced - seeds in for spicy, or seeds removed for mild

¼ of a medium onion

2 garlic cloves crushed

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

Add olive oil, tomatillos, jalapeno and onion to a large skillet. Sauté on high heat until caramelized on both sides, about three to four minutes.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and add in garlic, cilantro and lime juice.

Blend until combined. (You may have to do this in two batches).

Place in the refrigerator to chill.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


Rowena Crest at sunrise.
The View Finder: Wildflower season by Gary Randall on 04/01/2017

It's April again, and we photographers all know what that means. It’s wildflower season again! Here in the Mount Hood area especially as we have so many options as well as a very long season to photograph them.

Early in the season the flowers such as the purple lupine and bright yellow balsamroot sunflowers start in the lower elevations, especially along the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. Places such as Rowena Crest or Dalles Mountain on the Washington side of the river are both very popular locations for those who seek these wildflowers in the springtime. As the season progresses the flowers work their way up into the foothills of Mount Hood and in time, onto the slopes of the mountain during the summer months. Most of the best wildflowers on Mount Hood are accessible from the many hiking trails available to us, but a drive on some of the forest roads will be lined with everything from lupine and paintbrush to a wide assortment of orchids and lilies.

When photographing the flowers I like to get up before sunrise to be able to be there during the best light available to me, especially for my landscape photos, but a sunset can be just as nice. I typically avoid the light of midday, but a nice blue sky with some fluffy clouds is also striking. As the light changes I like to take more close up photos of the flowers. Macro photography is fun, but bring some knee pads. I spend a lot of time on my knees during wildflower season.

When out in the wild and roaming among the fields of flowers be aware of your surroundings so as not trample or destroy any plants or areas surrounding them. Don't break new trails as there will be many opportunities for photos along the pathways and trails. As outdoor enthusiasts we need to practice and preach proper stewardship of the lands, especially in these days of increased usage.

Some of my favorite secret locations:

Rowena Crest Viewpoint, Mosier – in early season

Rowena Crest Viewpoint is located on and is a part of the old Historic Columbia River Highway. Located between Mosier and The Dalles, it gives you a commanding view of the Columbia River Gorge, especially to the east, which makes it a great place to photograph a sunrise. Lupine and balsamroot sunflowers dominate the scene but it is home to an amazing variety of native wildflowers. There are great trails through the area, including the Tom McCall Preserve.

Columbia Hills State Park – Dalles Mountain, Wash. in early season

Across the Columbia River from The Dalles lies a whole world of exploration. One of my favorite places to photograph is Dalles Mountain Ranch near Dallesport. It once was a ranch and several of the buildings, including barns and the original farm house are still there and a part of the history of the area. With views over fields of wildflowers in the springtime that overlook the southern skyline, including Mount Hood, amazing photos are made here.

Mt Hood National Forest roads – any time that they're clear of snow

I love to just go for drives on many of the roads that are open for travel that are on National Forest land, especially while the rhododendrons and bear grass are blooming. Many of these roads come to views of Mount Hood. As you drive you will also notice a wide variety of wildflowers that grow along the road. Just pack up your camera and go for a drive.

Mount Hood's Wy'east Basin – in late season

For those who enjoy a beautiful hike that will get you onto the upper slopes of Mount Hood I recommend a hike up Vista Ridge to Wy'east Basin. It can be strenuous to some but if you pack a lunch and water, take your time and stop and photograph the flowers along the way a wonderful day can be had. The trail weaves its way through the ghost forest created by the Dollar Lake fire, the floor of which can be covered in flowers including beautiful white fawn lilies. As you break out of the forest, you find views of Barrett Spur and Mount Hood bear grass and rhododendrons line the trail. When you arrive above the timberline and into Wy'east basin you will be greeted with areas covered with beautiful mountain heather.

Mount Hood's Elk Meadows – in late season

For a less strenuous hike go to the east side to Elk Meadows trail. A large variety of flowers can be found in these meadows, from phlox, shooting stars, elephant heads and lilies. This trail makes its way to several trails that network this area that allow loops hikes including a trip to Umbrella Falls which can be surrounded by fireweed.

These are only a small sample of the amazing scenery that can yield amazing wildflowers and, consequently, amazing photographs.

Grab your gear and hit the road.

Stardust Melody: Chapter II by on 04/01/2017

The land on either side of Ruby River, in the wide stretch where the trophy trout took their ease, was once all owned by the Wilde family – first by Casper Wilde, down through the family tree to Anna Belle’s father, Randy Wilde.

But that’s where the tree uprooted. After the tragic death of Anna’s mother, Brandy (reportedly mauled by a mountain lion), Randy left Wildewood, and his daughter Anna, and the property eventually went up for auction due to non-payment of taxes. All of 18-year-old Anna’s protestations were smothered by the monarchy of big money.

Beauregard Kimatian – known as Beau – was no stranger to opportunity. He got his chops growing up in New Jersey, and made his bones in Las Vegas. He had more business partners that ended up dead or in prison than Jimmy Dean had sausages or embarrassing TV commercials.

He won the auction – although it wound through the tangled court system for four years. The land along the bend of the Ruby River was no longer Wilde.

Beau wasted no time getting down to business. He built the Stardust Lodge which yawned over the river’s edge with four stories of balconies with stunning views, twenty-eight sumptuous hotel rooms, a restaurant of unparalleled quality, and a dining room that could have stolen its damask tablecloths from the Byzantine Empire.

The word spread. Famous people came – the really rich ones – and even a President. Beau knew how to put a joint together.

Beau had kept his eye on young Anna throughout his court battle to land the Wilde property and the building of the lodge. He played Anna, or so he thought. He seemed to win her over when he bought the finest Baldwin grand piano that gangster money could buy, and installed it in the equally grand dining room of the Stardust Lodge.

Anna had learned to play piano, and she had a voice that made nightingales weep. Beau had hooked his prize. They were married. And to his mind, it wasn’t catch and release.

So, while the fine dining purred along, Anna would play softly: Brahms, Grieg, Bach. Once the dishes were cleared and the cigars were lit, she would sing as well: old standards like ‘My Funny Valentine,’ ‘As Time Goes By,’ ‘Over the Rainbow.’ But at midnight, on dinner nights Friday, Saturday and Sunday, she played and sang the lodge’s signature song: ‘Stardust.’

“Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely

nights, dreaming of a song …”                       

*   *   *

The last entry in Casper Wilde’s frontier journal was as brief as all the rest:

“Maggie died giving us a son. I’ll call him Sonny.”

Some time went by before a new handwriting appeared in the journal.

“I’m twelve now,” Ruby wrote. “I’ve been schooling with Mrs. Bigham on how to read and write. I don’t understand how Mrs. Bigham can even read with her crossed eyes. But she does. I’m teaching Sonny by reading to him and showing how letters make words. I have three books. Heidi, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Scarlet Letter. I like Heidi best. She was quite a girl. I don’t read The Scarlet Letter to Sonny. He’s too little. Tom Sawyer is his favorite, and that’s cause he’s a boy.”

“I sing to the river,” was her last entry, the river that would one day bear her name.

What happened to her is mostly gossip passed down through the family. There’s one story she became a famous writer under another name. Another that she headed off to San Francisco and went on stage in the dance halls. Another that she became a nurse and died on the battlefield in the Great War.

Meanwhile, Sonny married an Indian woman named Blue, and had three sons, Victor Blue Wilde, Tommy Blue Wilde, and Chance Wilde. Chance was Anna Belle’s grandfather.

*   *   *

On this night, Anna was weaving her way through Stardust with a crowd of appreciative, eager, well-heeled fishermen, two Congressmen and their wives, a Senator with someone who wasn’t his wife, and Beau at his table under a sickly halo of cigar smoke.

From the light of a full moon hanging over the deck outside the dining room, Anna noticed a dark figure pass by the full-length window.

He was wearing a black fedora.

Anna covered the lyrics with a mystical, knowing Mona Lisa smile.

Working to fund Measure 98 by on 04/01/2017

We’re now heading into the third month of the legislative session. The legislature is considering several important policies and we will feel the effects of those policies back home in District 52. In particular, I’ve recently been actively involved in implementing Measure 98 and opposing predictive scheduling for employers.

On the November ballot, Oregon voters overwhelmingly supported Measure 98, which would create new career and technical education programs in high schools to help raise our disappointing graduation rates. But here in Salem, there are some who would like to ignore the will of the voters. In her budget proposal, Governor Brown suggested halfway funding the measure, cutting the program by 50 percent. Others would like to distribute the funding throughout the K-12 system, defeating the purpose of making targeted investments to help more high school students graduate on time.

In the last couple weeks, I have been hard at work advocating on behalf of Measure 98. I’ve held meetings, participated in a work group and spoke at a press conference where I urged the legislature to listen to the will of the voters by fully funding this initiative and implementing it as intended. Oregonians recognize the importance of dropout prevention, college readiness and career training. They want strategic investments and programs that will help our kids get through school and achieve success. Fully funding and implementing Measure 98 as the voters of Oregon intended is a big step in the right direction and I will continue to fight for it.

The legislature is also considering predictive scheduling, legislation that would restrict how employers set employee schedules and would penalize employers who may need to change an employee’s schedule on short notice. All employers would be required to pay employees partial compensation for unworked or unfinished hours in the event of last minute scheduling changes. Large employers would be required to provide work schedules two weeks in advance and to compensate employees for any changes.

This legislation disregards the reality that for many, work is simply unpredictable. Weather patterns can affect work hours in almost any industry, as we all learned during our weeks of snow and adverse weather this past winter. Our local businesses had to absorb the costs of those snow-related closures. Requiring them to pay employees extra compensation for snow days would be a hardship that most small businesses on the Mountain could not afford. In some businesses, variable hours are a routine part of the job. Changing seasons, heavy traffic, power outages, and even customers calling to cancel orders last minute can necessitate changes in work schedules. Employers and employees need the freedom to be flexible for the mutual benefit of all.

Predictive scheduling is being strongly opposed by employers across the state, and I’ve reached out to our chambers of commerce in District 52 and to local businesses to ask for their perspectives on this issue. I want to ensure that our community has the opportunity to participate in this discussion and I will make sure that your voices and views are heard here in Salem.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

‘Bathroom rage’ could soon be clogging court system by on 04/01/2017

Several years ago I came up with an idea while standing in line for the rest room, which, in this case, was actually a row of six portable toilets set up to meet the needs of approximately 8,000 men, women and children, each of whom had apparently consumed two or more 128-ounce Big Gulps in the previous 20 minutes.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Which is why, as I stood waiting with my legs crossed, I had a revolutionary idea I call the “Rodeo Commode.” Like other commodes, it provides users with a private and sanitary environment in which to complete their bodily functions. However, unlike ordinary commodes, the “Rodeo Commode” allows a person just eight seconds before the doors fly open and, finished or not, they are bucked out of the stall by a hydraulic system similar to a mechanical bull — including, if necessary, spinning a full 360 degrees in order to dislodge even the most experienced riders in the “Rodeo Commode” circuit.

Unfortunately, just like my idea for an all-commercial cable channel (allowing viewers to tune in and leave the room as often as they like without worrying if they missed anything), the “Rodeo Commode” was met with skepticism by my list of potential investors — i.e., several plumbers I know who have daily contact with pipe dope.

As it turns out, I was simply ahead of my time. I know this because of a new social phenomenon experts are calling “bathroom rage,” wherein, much like “road rage,” a confrontation between two strangers quickly escalates into a potentially dangerous situation.

In the restroom.

The big difference here is that you won’t be traveling in excess of 60 mph while sitting on a commode. And if you are, you have a right to be angry. Especially if someone cuts you off.

According to the New Haven Register in Stratford, Conn., police charged Andres Diaz and Joseph Augusto with breach of peace following a confrontation in a Burger King restroom that started when Diaz apparently “took too long.”

Augusto, who was waiting to use the commode, was enraged when Diaz emerged from the stall with a copy of “War and Peace.”

Okay, I made that last part up. But the two men did get into a fight over how long Diaz was in the bathroom after Augusto confronted him about it. That’s when, according to the police report, “The two men allegedly bumped chests, then chased each other around the restaurant with their weapons — Augusto with a small pocket knife, and Diaz brandishing a Burger King straw dispenser.”

The restaurant chain refused to comment on the incident other than to say it was “unfortunate.”

Following the advice of its lawyers, Burger King has now adopted a strict new policy of making straws “only available on request.”

This, my friends, is “bathroom rage” rearing its ugly head and, in a matter of speaking, slurping out of society’s collective soda cup. What if Diaz had grabbed a toilet paper dispenser instead?

My point is we could end this madness right now, before some unfortunate teenager is hired to hand out allotted squares of bath tissue.

With the help of a small investment in my “Rodeo Commode,” there’s no need for us to take “bathroom rage” sitting down.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)


The Lightkeepers.
‘The Lightkeepers’ delivers a suspenseful murder mystery by on 04/01/2017

“The Lightkeepers” is an unusual mystery – set in a very unusual place – that will keep you guessing until the final pages. The author takes us to the remote Farallon Islands off the rugged coast of Northern California, a small group of islands so difficult to navigate that visitors have to be lifted onto the island in a metal cage by a crane and where the ferry only calls every month or so, depending upon the seas.

The tale is told through the eyes of a young photographer, Miranda, who begs and pleads for a fellowship to visit the islands for a year, capturing the spectacular, wild scenery and the wildlife – gigantic white sharks, pods of blue whales, sea lions, armies of mice and enormous flocks of nesting birds, particularly gulls.

In spite of the fierce beauty of the scenery, Miranda finds the islands treacherous and frightening at first with the very granite land crumbling under her feet and pitching her toward danger. While the land has many dangers, the other occupants of the island (all of whom share one rickety cabin) seem strange, unwelcoming and secretive. Author Gemi does a great job of building a sense of mystery and menace as Miranda settles into her new, strange surroundings, even introducing a ghost who frequents the cabin.

While it seems that dangers exist everywhere on the island and from the sea’s inhabitants, the biologists and researchers who live there often flaunt the dangers, taking chances with full knowledge of the potential consequences. And after she endures a brutal rape by one of the island’s other inhabitants, Miranda withdraws unto herself even more, losing herself in the joy of photographing the unusual landscape and its wonders.

When two deaths and a life-threatening accident occur, staying out the year’s commitment seems to be more of a question – especially as Miranda realizes that she is pregnant.

Ms. Geni has a gift for descriptions of the ever-changing weather, the unique landscape and the island’s wild inhabitants.

However, the murder mystery will keep you guessing until the last pages.

The Lightkeepers in an unusual book with unusual twists that transports the reader to a world far removed from one that we can experience.

(Abby Geni is a graduate of Oberlin University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop as well as the recipient of an Iowa Fellowship. Her work won first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and was listed in The Best American Stories 2010. The Lightkeepers has been recognized by the Barnes and Nobel’s Discover New Writers program. She lives in Chicago.)

End of La Nina brings average temps and less precipitation by on 04/01/2017

Needless to say, March has been a cloudy, wet month. Brightwood received precipitation nearly every day and recorded a 5.5-inch snowfall on March 5, which exceeds the average monthly total of 3.15 inches. Government Camp received a 10-inch snowfall on March 1 and another 10-inch snowfall on March 8, combining to reach a total of 35 inches so far compared to an average of 47.7 inches for March. Precipitation totals at both locations were well above average, although temperatures were remarkably steady and close to average.

The National Weather Service reports an end to the La Nina influence and expects our area to have temperatures close to average with lower than average precipitation for the coming month of April. Let’s hope they’re right.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 7.63 inches, including an average of .83 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during three years, the 70s during six years, and only one year couldn’t make it above the 60s. Low temperatures were evenly divided with five years dropping into the 30s and the other five dropping into the 20s. Only one year failed to drop to the freezing mark. The record precipitation total for April is 16.10 inches, set in 2011. The record snowfall for April is 5.5 inches, set in 2008.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30 degrees and a precipitation average of 7.43 inches, including 26.1 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s twice, into the 60s during seven years and into the 50s once. Lows had two years in the teens, seven years in the 20s, and one year in the 30s. The record April snowfall of 55 inches was set in 1972. The record 24-hour snowfall of 17 inches was set on April 12, 1981, although a 13-inch total was measured recently on April 3, 2011.

MHGS: Earth Day and an anniversary by Mary Soots on 04/01/2017

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the Mt. Hood Green Scene. The goal: to bring sustainability to the mountain. It was an ambitious goal, and at times we were faced with opposition. In spite of that, the Mt. Hood Green Scene persevered and has worked to bring recycling opportunities and environmental awareness to our community. We worked to bring plastic bag recycling to the Hoodland Thriftway, paint recycling to the Welches Mountain Building Supply Company and hold annual events allowing our residents to bring in thousands of pounds of electronics, tires, light bulbs, batteries, Styrofoam, plastic and other materials not recyclable at curbside. We have also conducted work in the community such as Sustainability Fairs, lectures, films and removed fallen trees and debris from the school for their outdoor school.

The birth of the Mt. Hood Green Scene was set for an auspicious date – it was Earth Day 2010. Earth Day itself began in 1970, the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. It was at a time when people were blissfully unaware that we were polluting the earth through our lifestyle and our demand for fossil fuels. After a massive oil spill in California, Nelson decided to bring awareness to the problem. At that time, the Vietnam War raged; it was the height of the counter-culture movement when people were encouraged to “Question Authority.” People were already organized and were ready to take on a new challenge.

Mr. Nelson and others organized a national “teach-in on the environment” on April 20, 1970. On that day, “20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.” (Source: earthday.org). This was an issue that transcended political alliances or social class, and brought together people from all walks of life. It was a very successful movement. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Earth Day resonated with people everywhere and inspired the publication of the novel “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach. It also found great success on the international stage. By 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries were involved and lead to the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where it was recognized that pollution is an international problem that all nations must work together to resolve. By 2000, there were 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries around the world.

But of course, not everyone was happy about the new regulations. And much like in 1970, Earth Day 2017 comes at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded fossil fuel lobbyists and reticent politicians who claim to know more than the scientific community continue to work to turn back the clock to the days when the air and the water was contaminated and the natural world was an inconvenience for those who prefer the smell of money.

This year, Earth Day will be marked by the Mt. Hood Green Scene by a variety of smaller events. Between April 22-29, we will hold collection sites for batteries and other materials. On April 29, we will be conducting an English ivy removal event in the Mountainair community. Please check out our Facebook page for more details. Come out and join the efforts. And feel free to wish us a happy birthmonth!

Scrumptious seafood stew by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2017

Cioppino, the basics for this “company’s coming” seafood stew are any mix of shellfish, aromatics, fish and a light flavorful broth. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

1 lb peeled deveined shrimp

1 lb crab legs, cooked

1 lb scallops

1 lb mussels or clams

1 lb white fish fillets

1 yellow onion, diced

1 T dried Italian herbs

1 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes

1 16 oz can quality diced tomatoes and their juice

1 cup white wine

4 cups chicken or fish stock

1 cup sliced leaks (white to light green parts)

4 minced garlic cloves

2 T olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Scrub clams or mussels, place in ice water with 1 T flour and stir. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat oil over medium heat, pat the shrimp, scallops and fish with paper towels, season with salt and pepper and sear in small batches on both sides and set aside.

Add to a pan the onion, leeks and garlic, cook for a minute then add in potatoes, tomatoes, wine, stock and Italian seasoning. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer for 30 minutes then add in the mussels or clams, top with the seared seafood and crab, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes until mussels or clams open and fish is cooked through. Top with lemon slice and parsley.


Painted Hills at sunset
Painted Hills Road Trip by Gary Randall on 03/01/2017

The mountain is such a beautiful place to explore with all that it has to offer the outdoor enthusiast and landscape photographer. With unmatched scenery that includes scenic vistas, old growth forest groves, moss lined creeks and majestic waterfalls, there’s no shortage of beautiful scenery. There’s really no reason to go far to find a world class photograph, especially during beautiful conditions.

In landscape photography the weather affects, and in some ways regulates, when we are able to make the most striking images. Some seasons are certainly more photogenic than others. A creative mind can usually find beauty in the most mundane or challenging conditions, but even the most creative mind can get weary of the weather, especially when they’re patiently waiting for springtime and all that it brings.

We are in a unique position here on The Mountain in that we’re able to travel east a relatively short distance and find fairer weather. I always keep this in mind come April or May. On those gray rainy days when I feel captive in my own home I am known to head east.

On one particular day in May, after a long winter that pushed snowfall into the days that are typically conducive to wildflower blooms, I had had enough. It was past lunch time. Half of the day was gone so I thought for a minute. The Painted Hills came to mind. The Painted Hills are only one example of the amazing scenery that we have at our doorstep. Being only three hours from home I packed my gear, my dog and a lunch and headed out.

As I drove the rain seemed to follow. My best consolation was that it was a great Sunday drive. It was doubtful that I would get any photos that surpassed anything that I had taken there in the past, but it’s better than sitting in my living room watching TV. I love the open road, a brown bag lunch and a full tank of gasoline.

I arrived mid afternoon in the midst of a rain squall. There were several other photographers there hooded and hunkered over their tripods. I sat in my dry, warm rig wondering if I should even get out, but I figured that if I was going to drive all the way out here I was going to, at least, eat my lunch.

I sat in my rig and watched as each of the other photographers gave up, got back into their cars and left. In time the park ranger came by. I got out and walked over to have a chat and explained that I was there for the sunset. He looked at me, then looked up into the sky and said, “Well, stranger things have happened I suppose,” before he wished me luck and went on his way.

As the afternoon progressed and it got closer to sunset it didn’t look good, but in time I could see a narrow slot of an opening in the clouds on the horizon to the west. I made a little wish and set up my tripod and camera just in case.

Sure enough the sun moved down to the horizon and to the opening in the clouds and as it did it shone this amazing orange light on the scenery around me. As I stood there looking to the west, with the Painted Hills behind me I started shooting the horizon. My heart was beating as I shot a few scenes. I never expected this show at all. A moment later it occurred to me to turn around and look behind me at the scenery that I had really come to photograph. “Holy macaroni!” The hills were painted with this amazing vivid orange light. I could hardly believe it. I ran around photographing the scene as if it were a super model.

As I photographed the scene it changed and morphed into an incredible light show. As the beam of light moved into the clouds above the hills a rainbow appeared above the scene. As I stand there my in awe of what is happening in front of my camera the only thing that I figure would make the scene better would be a Pegasus flying through the sky or a unicorn grazing in the foreground.

I left that day with some of the best photographs that I have ever made, and I almost missed it. I learned a lesson that day. If you don’t go out you won’t get the photograph. A second lesson is that I wouldn’t make much of a meteorologist.

Don’t discount those days that aren’t obviously epic. At the least you will go for a nice drive in some beautiful countryside. At the most you will experience something epic. And don’t forget your camera.

Stardust Melody: Chapter I by on 03/01/2017

Johnny Templeton bunched his beige raincoat tightly to his neck and squinted against the objectionable rain that dotted his glasses – not that he minded so much as a freight truck passed by in a belch of diesel smoke that contributed greatly to his knowing that he wasn’t missing a whole lot.

He huddled back against the wall of the dentist’s office with its Cascadian themed exterior that neither polished the rain or snow in winter, nor reflected favorably the flavor of summer sunshine.

Still, he stood there, blinking through the rainbow drops that had reluctantly blended with the winter downpour and the diesel fumes. Until, like an urban mirage, a woman slipped through the traffic from across the street, buried in a mid-calf winter coat and a wet pony tail that kept perfect time with her dance steps on the pavement.

Anna Belle Kimatian – though no one added Belle to her name except Johnny Templeton – came to a stop on the sidewalk, unsheltered from the rain, and smiled only with her eyes at the man who waited for her.

“Can we get out of the rain?” she asked, her eyes blinking heavenward for an instant.

“Follow me,” he said, waking from the fog of her arrival and the realization they were drowning.

Johnny Templeton turned away from Anna and walked past the side wall of the dentist’s office, around the back into a strip mall parking lot that resembled a million others, and disappeared behind a ticket kiosk of a long ago abandoned effort of a local playhouse.

Anna followed several cautious steps behind.

Under the cover of the visibility defying rain and the ticket kiosk, Johnny Templeton and Anna Belle fell into each other’s arms. They kissed softly.

Johnny loosened a crooked smile. “It feels like someone else.”

Anna leaned back, rain still glistening from her dark cheeks, and questioned him with a tilt of her head.

“Novocain,” Johnny offered, nodding back toward the dentist’s office.

“I can fix that,” Anna said. She parted Johnny’s raincoat and kissed him on his neck.

“I also had my tonsils out,” he said.

Anna slapped Johnny playfully on the cheek.

They embraced again, lost in each other like lovers in a Russian novel.

Johnny removed his glasses so their noses touched.

“How long?” he asked.

“Minutes.”

Then the Russian play at the shuttered theater lingered as long as was allowed.

***

It should probably be mentioned that this nearly lost town in Oregon is called Wildewood. The extra “e” came from the founder’s name: Casper Wilde. No one knows for sure when Casper settled here, even though a journal has survived him. Seems he was a writer of few words. Entries in his journal – never dated – went like these:

 

Still stuck in the snow

 

Had to a shoot a horse

 

This’ll do

 

(presumably “this’ll do” was written when his wagon arrived in the place that now bears his name.)

He must have been mighty proud of his daughter, Ruby, because he nearly became so prolific in his praise of her you’d think Tolstoy had grabbed on to his journal:

 

Ruby plays every day down at the river always all alone

 

And to this day, it’s known as Ruby River.

Anna was born Anna Belle Wilde. Casper was her great-great grandfather. Ruby belonged in Anna’s family tree based on their mutual affection for that river.

Anna Belle’s father was Randy Wilde, her mother, Brandy Wilde. When Anna was eighteen Brandy was mauled by a mountain lion. Brandy loved to be alone – like most of the Wilde women – and would take two and three day solo hikes in the wilderness. Despite the fact she was woodsy savvy, on this day she met her match. A great hunting party ensued for the mountain lion once the scene of the attack was discovered. There were Brandy parts to follow but soon an early autumn snow arrived and the trail, and Brandy, went cold.

Brandy’s tragic death tipped Randy over the edge, a spot he teetered on all his adult life. He loved his whisky more than anything, which included Brandy, Anna Belle, jobs, chopping firewood, mending a broken gate, just about everything. When Wildewood mourned for Randy’s loss, he used that tidbit as an escape valve. No one is sure where he went. Someone said they spotted him at a football game in Sacramento. Someone else insisted they had it on good authority he went to South America.

At least everyone agreed, he was gone, and attention turned to what would happen to poor Anna.

They needn’t have worried.

***

State budget shortfall a big concern by on 03/01/2017

The Legislature officially convened on Wednesday, Feb. 1 and it has been a busy couple of weeks. Already this session, I’ve had constituents come to Salem to discuss a variety of topics with me. We’ve also received a lot of completed legislative surveys from people sharing their concerns and outlining what they would like to see addressed over the next six months. I’m thankful to have so many of my constituents engaged because it helps guide me while I’m in Salem and outline my priorities. Please continue to share your thoughts with me as we go through the session by visiting our website or emailing rep.markjohnson@oregonlegislature.gov

One of the top concerns shared was about the $1.8 billion deficit in our state budget. To be honest, I am disheartened to see the lack of urgency on the part of legislative leadership (Speaker of the House, Senate President, and the Governor) to address this budget gap. To date, no substantive meetings have been convened to propose potential solutions to the budget problem or to assemble the bipartisan support that will be needed for any legislation to be successful. Meanwhile, school districts and other programs that depend on state funding are putting together their budget projections for next year without any guidance as to what a final budget solution may look like. The irony of this situation is that we are currently experiencing record general fund revenues in Oregon, but still can’t seem to live within our means and invest in key programs that produce positive outcomes.

In spite of this lack of action from leadership, I’m not waiting around. I’m focused on finding ways to bend the cost curve of our state budget. We currently have too many programs and agencies in our budget that are expanding at a rate exceeding the growth of general fund revenues. This is not sustainable and is largely to blame for our deficit. Of course, fixing this is easier said than done. But this work is necessary to ensure a better quality of life for all Oregonians.

One piece of legislation I am bringing forth to help bend the cost curve, and to provide better outcomes for students, will provide behavioral health support to elementary schools across Oregon. The inspiration for this bill comes from classroom teachers that I spoke with during the interim period about what legislation I could work on that would help them to be more successful in the classroom. What I heard is that high needs students with serious behavioral issues are making it difficult for teachers to teach effectively. Schools are attempting to provide behavioral health support, but just don’t have the funds to provide enough support for teachers either through training or behavioral health staff. Due to these changes in our student population, the state school fund is being asked to provide services it was not designed for. So this legislation does not place an additional burden on our public school budgets, but instead partners with the Oregon Health Authority to identify how their current resources can be shifted to provide needed supports for students with behavioral problems that make learning difficult for them. It will limit costs to provide this support from the state school fund and tap into available funds within our health care system. Access to behavioral health specialists can make a big difference in the quality of learning in our schools. Partnering with the Oregon Health Authority can provide a new model to help relieve the stress on K-12 budgets while not removing a key resource in our schools. I think this legislation will help us limit pressures on the state school fund and allow us to provide more effective classroom instruction within existing budget resources.

There are ways to address our budget crisis, such as the new model I outline above, but it won’t happen overnight and we need to make sure that while the legislature is all in one place for the next six months, we act to provide certainty for the citizens of Oregon. I’m focused on having these conversations, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. I hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with me on this topic, or any other topic that’s important to you. And after the winter we’ve had on the mountain and around District 52, here’s hoping for an early spring!

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Insuring your buttocks could require a big premium by on 03/01/2017

Given that Jennifer Lopez was reportedly able to insure her buttocks for a million dollars, and British food critic Egon Ronay had his taste buds insured for $400,000, I couldn’t help but wonder how much I could get for my legs, which my wife has often referred to as “cute” after a few glasses of wine.

After filling out the necessary paperwork and submitting a photo, it turns out my legs have a combined net worth of just over $68.50.

That’s according to Lloyd’s of London, which assured me their appraisal was pretty much the going rate for hairy-legged, 50-year-old, non-celebrities whose wives admire their husband’s legs while mildly intoxicated.

As you can imagine, I was absolutely shocked by the insurance company’s appraisal of my legs’ value, and immediately responded by firing back a letter telling them — in no uncertain terms — to sign me up before they changed their mind.

That’s right. For just $100 a month, I have the security of knowing that in the event of an accident, my legs — just like our vehicles and home — will be assessed by an experienced claims adjustor and immediately declared a total loss.

No matter how minimal the damage.

That’s because, in each case, I’ve already paid more into the policy than I’ll ever get back.

For example: Both of our cars are over 15 years old. Neither of them has full coverage. Each costs us about $500 a year to insure. And, according to the Blue Book reference chart, their combined net value is still worth less than the premium on my legs. In fact, the only way I might be able to break even with all these policies is if the following were to happen:

While using one car to tow the other, my legs suddenly caught fire, causing me to drive both vehicles directly into the side of our house.

The point is my legs shouldn’t be any less valuable than, say....Michael Flatley’s, which Lloyd’s of London insured for $25 million.

Okay, sure. He is “Mr. Lord of the Dance.”

And yes, his legs can do things mine could only do if I were dancing barefoot on a mound of writhing scorpions covered with cooking spray.

At the same time, I’ve seen the Riverdance video. As impressive as it was, my footwork in a video taken of me trying to run past the water sprinkler while carrying our two cats was equally impressive.

(And, if I may add, a lot more dangerous.)

In fact, plans are being made to release this exciting video, which includes footage of:

• My sprinkler dance with the cats.

• Our neighbors making tourniquets.

• Me riding in an ambulance.

• All of this performed to the dramatic musical score of “Cat Scratch Fever.”

As an added bonus, the first 100 people to buy Sprinklerdance will also get a free documentary about skin grafts.

That said, I must issue a disclaimer telling anyone who watches this video NOT to attempt Sprinklerdancing at home.

Unfortunately, this warning came too late for one celebrity who received an advanced copy.

The good news is, seeing that her buttocks were already insured for a million dollars, she’s expected to make a full recovery.

The cats, however, are another story.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Lessons from ‘Ruby Ridge’ persist in today’s world by on 03/01/2017

We are living in extraordinary political times, in part driven by a distrust of government. Some may remember – but many will not – the roots of our own homegrown terrorism at Ruby Ridge. The Federal stand-offs at Ruby Ridge and Waco dramatically illustrate the true terror of Federal authority run amok when wielded against those who sought to separate from society due to their deeply held beliefs divergent from the mainstream. Anger from these events soon led to the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal building and the beginning of modern-day terrorist tactics.

A recent PBS special reminded me of the power and relevance in this volume. In Jess Walters’ powerful book “Ruby Ridge” (previously published as “Every Knee Shall Bow”) he provides the most complete and authoritative account of the Ruby Ridge confrontation, tracing the roots of the tragedy through the Randy Weaver family’s evolution of beliefs and the federal agencies who first tried to entrap and then to capture or kill them.

The Ruby Ridge confrontation came to a head in the late summer of 1992 but had been brewing for years. Randy Weaver and his family had moved to a very remote piece of land on a hilltop in the Northern Idaho panhandle, about 50 miles south of the Canadian border. Their desire was to be free to practice their unique set of separatist, fundamentalist religious beliefs and to be prepared for an eventual, inevitable confrontation with the evil authorities. Federal agents determined to target Randy Weaver as a potential government informant since he and his family sometimes visited with the nearby White Separatists. Hoping to force Randy to become a government informant, an ATF agent persuades Randy to saw off several shotguns and then attempts to force him to inform on others in order to avoid prosecution for doing so. Randy resists and fails to appear at a hearing which gives the Federal authorities reason to seek his arrest on a warrant. This precipitates a confrontation totally out of proportion to the charges. Soon the Weavers’ small compound is surrounded by massive military, ATF and FBI forces, converging to confront Randy and his family.

With a family compound where all the inhabitants are always armed and trained to shoot is surrounded by armed snipers and Special Forces experts, it is just a matter of time before tragic and deadly mistakes happen. This only increases the out-of-proportion response by the Federal government. Fortunately, lessons eventually were learned at Ruby Ridge that have assisted in the handling of future stand-offs, like our recent Malheur confrontation.

This volume is well written and very much worth your time and consideration. A true American tragedy.

Jess Walter is a NW author who has won national recognition for his reporting and innovative novels. Jess’ former employer, the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review newspaper, won a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the paper’s coverage of the Ruby Ridge stand-off in the nearby northern Idaho panhandle with Walters as a key writer. Jess Walter is the author of eight books including “Beautiful Ruins” and “The Financial Lives of Poets.” He’s been a #1 New York Times bestseller, finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and the PEN/USA Literary prize in both fiction and nonfiction and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award. He still lives in Spokane, Wash. with his family.

Average temps and precipitation tentatively expected in March by on 03/01/2017

As many may have noticed, precipitation has been higher than average this February, and temperatures have moderated substantially from the levels experienced in January, although still lower than average.

The snowfall total in Government Camp has reached 39 inches so far, and will likely end the month close to the average 41.8 inches. The total at Brightwood amounts to only an inch so far, and it appears unlikely to reach its average of 5.9 inches. The return of colder temperatures and light precipitation during the final week of the month will have the answer. But a taste of spring-like weather doesn’t show up on the crystal ball yet.

This winter has been a severe test for the National Weather Service and their confidence is still weak due to an expected active Madden Julian Oscillation pattern over the Western Hemisphere.

This usually translates to some guesswork on their part, so they hesitantly forecast about average temperatures and precipitation for our area this coming March.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52, an average low of 35 and a precipitation average of 8.54 inches, including an average 3.15 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during two years, into the 60s during six years, and into the 50s the remaining two years. Low temperatures fell into the 20s during eight years and into the 30s the other two years. On average, there are 8.6 days when the temperature drops to freezing or lower. The record precipitation for March dating back 40 years is 19.17 inches, including 18 inches of snow set during 2012. The record snowfall for March is 19.9 inches measured in 1960. The record 24-hour snowfall is ten inches set on March 4, 1960.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 27 degrees and a precipitation average of  9.30 inches, including 47.7 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s once, into the 60s during six years, into the 50s twice and into the 40s once. Lows had six years in the 20s, and four years in the teens. The record March snowfall of 127 inches was set in 1962. The record 24-hour snowfall of 22 inches was set on March 21, 2012 and also March 7, 2003.

MHGS: The dangers posed by algae and how to help by Mary Soots on 03/01/2017

As spring and the growing season are just around the corner, there is one growth that we would like to see a little less of this year. Those of us who are old enough may remember taking a swim on a hot day in a cool lake or pond. Those are wonderful memories for those who were fortunate to have a local swimming hole nearby.

In more recent times, it seems that those same lakes or ponds have been ever increasingly invaded by blue-green algae blooms that appear near the edges and grow toward the center. I no longer allow even my dogs to swim in the toxic swill. In trying to understand the reason for this and what we can do to prevent it, the following information is from an EPA article entitled “Why Is the Beach Green?” that explores algal threats:

Algal threat? How can those little green cells called algae we grew in high school biology class be threatening? ‘Algae’ is actually a term for a broad group of different kinds of microscopic organisms that can live in the water. Algae play a key role in supporting the food chain and they are present in most marine and fresh surface waters. So, how can a good thing like algae be a hazard? Simply put, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

When growing conditions are just right, algae can form massive blooms, fouling surface water, depleting oxygen, and out-competing other organisms in the water. The blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, can produce toxins that if present in high enough concentrations can cause adverse health effects among people and animals. Toxic blue-green algal blooms have impacted drinking water and recreational beaches, so they are a concern for officials who are tasked with protecting public health. Algal blooms can also have adverse economic impacts on communities by increasing the cost of drinking water treatment, and by affecting home prices, tourism and industries that depend on clean water.

Nutrient pollution is a key driver of blue-green algae blooms. The nutrients come from fertilizer use and animal manure, nitrogen oxides produced by fossil fuel emissions, soil erosion, storm water runoff, leaking septic tanks, waste water and some industrial sources. When combined with nutrient pollution, other environmental conditions that support blooms include drought, increased water temperature and low lake and river levels. These environmental conditions may increase in frequency as a result of our changing climate.

While scientists have learned a great deal about harmful algal blooms, there is still much more that we need to learn to help communities protect themselves from the harmful effects of these blooms. EPA is conducting research to better understand the reasons why these blooms occur, to better predict when and where they might occur, and to define environmentally acceptable levels of nutrients, algal cells and toxins that are protective of the health of people and the environment.

EPA researchers will continue to do the science needed to understand the health and environmental hazards of algal blooms and to work with other agencies and local officials to better predict when and where blooms will occur. Yet the best solution is to limit the occurrence of algal blooms. We can protect our water by limiting fertilizer applications, by managing storm and waste water runoff, and by preserving our land’s health and fertility by preventing soil erosion. If we are careful stewards of our land and water, we can continue to enjoy bountiful harvests from our fertile soils and also maintain safe drinking water, healthy fisheries, and inviting recreational waters. Individuals and communities can play a role in monitoring waterways for algal blooms, and also be aware of the sources of fertilizers, waste, and nutrients that may flow into their local waters.

Irish and authentic by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2017

March is the time to celebrate all things Irish, so give ‘em a kiss and an authentic Irish meal, no green food dye needed.

Irish beer & cheese bread

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour or add parchment paper to a 9x5 loaf pan.

3 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 t baking powder

1 t kosher salt

1 cup plus shredded, aged Irish cheddar such as Kerrygold - you will need more for a topping.

1 12oz bottle Guinness

4 T unsalted butter, melted

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of cheese. Pour in the beer and melted butter and stir well until combined. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick insert in the center comes out clean and the top is crisp and golden brown. Let it cool before removing.

Potato pancakes

These freeze well between sheets of parchment - if you can sneak some away.

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1/3 cup flour

2 T whole milk

1 T chopped green onion

Salt and pepper

Combine 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, a heaping 1/3 cup flour, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon of chopped mixed herbs in a bowl. Knead until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 balls on a floured surface and flatten each into a 3-inch patty.

Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the patties and cook until golden brown for 4 to 5 minutes per side, adding more butter to the pan when needed.

Lamb roast

3 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large shallot, minced

1 t chopped rosemary

1 t chopped sage

1 t chopped marjoram

1 t thyme leaves

2 boneless lamb loins with tenderloins butterflied (about 3 lbs)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Make a paste with olive oil, herb and the salt & pepper.  Spoon mixture on the inside of the tenderloin, roll up and season the outside with salt & pepper the cut side down. Sear in a large cast iron skillet with the seam side down. Carefully turn over using tongs. Heat oven to 350 degrees, place the pan in the oven and roast tenderloin in oven. Roast for about 15 minutes and let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

The road of life and our bodies – bumping up against mortality by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2017

It doesn’t take a genius level IQ to realize there’s only one guarantee in life. None of us will make it out alive. We need to try and embrace this reality and accept and appreciate our lives. The current frazzle-dazzle lifestyle will only accelerate the race to the endpoint!

That edge of death gives life its exquisite meaning. As we age, we come to realize that some things are simply not worth our time. Arguing over the small stuff, for instance. In God’s eyes, it’s ALL small stuff.

As recently as one hundred years ago, most people were born at home and died at home. Now, the end of a lifetime is usually spent in some sort of care or medical facility. The elderly therein are sapped of energy with addled brains in the slim hope of beating death. But it’s not going to happen. It comes to each and every one of us.

There are still people who live to be 90 years old (I have two friends that age!) or even 100, but most that age are in countries other than ours. Care is difficult. But where several generations live under one roof care is spread out among many. And the “many” care about their loved ones. Monetary constraints in America are bringing some of that back but it’s still not the norm.

In this modern time we have nuclear families and the generation of “self.” Witness the almost constant use of that word in our society. Many grown children are not only “too busy” for their aging relatives, but they’re often too busy for their kids! Making money is necessary but making a life is more important.

The elderly face a lot of challenges. Here’s a for instance: blood supply to teeth and gums diminishes the desire to eat. In the United States, by the age of 60 years old most people have lost a third of their teeth. By 85 years of age, 40 percent have no teeth at all. Tooth care is important so you can keep eating. Food is your fuel.

Tooth and gum problems lead to altered diet. A diet common with the elderly is as follows: cold cereal and a banana for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and not much of anything for dinner. Not enough nutrition, period. Yet how many children and young adults eat like that without the excuse of deteriorating teeth? It’s really not enough nutrition at any age. Again, food is your fuel.

Bones become more brittle as we age and lack proper nutrition. Calcium leaches from bones into arteries leading to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Every year approximately 350,000 Americans fall and break a hip due to weakening bones. 40 percent of those who do break a hip end up in a nursing home. 20 percent never walk again. Risk of falling increases with the muscle weakness of aging. Use of prescription medicines increases the risk of falling, though you should never discontinue the use of a pharmaceutical medicine without your doctor’s knowledge. These factors increase the risk of falling by about 12 percent. Add in poor balance issues and the risk of falling jumps to 100 percent. Is this how we should be treating the elderly?

Weak muscles and bones more brittle lead to poor posture. The elderly may be “stooped” or lean forward to eat while pushing the head backwards to balance the forward slump. Unfortunately, this leads to a “kink” in the esophagus which in turn leads to an increased risk of choking on food. Yet you need food. Sit up straight to eat your food.

Alerting the elderly to their potential problems may help them avoid more than the necessary struggles and risks of life. With aging also comes what I like to call “creeping wisdom.” It just comes with the territory of aging, but the elderly want to share their wisdom. Be kind, be patient, be respectful. SLOW DOWN, rather than race to the end. Show gratitude in all things. And eat, for food is your fuel. Love to all of the elders out there. Let’s keep bumping along the road of life.

Food for friends (and lovers) by Taeler Butel on 02/01/2017

February food is for friends and lovers. These recipes can be converted to feed a crowd or just one or two.

Shepherd pie potato skins

6 large russet potatoes, baked in 400 degree oven with 2 T olive oil and 1 t salt for 1 hr until fork tender

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 minced sweet onion

2 stalks celery

1 cup frozen peas & carrots

Salt & pepper

Beef bouillon cube

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 T flour

3 T butter

1 lb ground meat browned

Let the potatoes stand until cool enough to handle. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out.

Into a bowl mash in sour cream, 2 T of butter, shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add in celery and onion and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute. Add in flour and salt and pepper and whisk about a minute. Add beef bouillon cube and drizzle in about 3/4 cup of water whisking a few minutes until thickened.

Add in cooked, crumbled meat and the frozen veggies. Let it cool, then scoop the mixture into potato skins with a big scoop of the mashed potato mixture on top. Place skins back in oven on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Layered mac n’ cheese

One package dried elbow macaroni cooked and drained, (2 cups or 16 oz)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup half & half

1 stick butter

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup flour

1 lb pulled pork

1 jar roasted red peppers

6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain or seasoned

2 T melted butter

In a large skillet melt the stick of butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 t each of salt and pepper, add flour and whisk and cook for about a minute. Add in the half & half and 1 cup of cheese, then add in pasta. Set it aside. Layer a glass dish with a thin layer of macaroni followed by shredded pork, peppers and the remaining cheese. Top with bread crumbs mixed with bacon and melted butter. Bake 30 minutes on 350 degrees.

Budget shortfall must be addressed by on 02/01/2017

On Monday, Jan. 9, members of the Oregon Legislature were officially sworn in for their two-year term. This is my fourth time serving as your State Representative and each term, I am reminded of what an honor it is to stand on the House floor to take the oath of office. I encourage you all over the next few months to take a trip down to your Capitol and witness the session in action. You can also stay in touch by signing up for my newsletter: www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup

The main conversation this session will be around the budget, and specifically adjusting the state’s revenue system. You may know that Oregon is currently facing a $1.8 billion shortfall on current spending levels to maintain the service level of existing programs. This means that even if no new programs or benefits are enacted in the next session we have a significant budget deficit. We find ourselves in this situation even though our economy has been producing record revenues for the state treasury over the last few years. The proposed budget by the Governor reflects significant cuts to current programs and services including public education, healthcare, senior services, veterans’ benefits and other programs. It also uses a series of tax and fee hikes to put the budget in balance. This week the Ways and Means co-chairs released their budget plan, which simply complies with existing law and does not raise new revenue but balances the budget through spending reductions. This plan results in much deeper cuts to various programs than the Governor’s plan does.

Neither of these budget proposals takes a comprehensive look at our state budget and makes the reforms necessary to provide long-term budget stability. They each are just a stopgap measure that will only get us to the next biennium when we will be faced with even greater budget challenges. I am working with a group of bipartisan legislators towards a comprehensive plan that will do three things: bend the cost curve on state government so that we can get spending under control, do what we can to address the cost drivers (PERS) that are wreaking havoc on state and local government budgets and also working closely with the business community to design specific tax code modifications that can provide a more stable source of revenue for the state and also encourage business investment and expansion. It’s a huge undertaking but is very important work. It is time that the state of Oregon to stop kicking the can down the road and complete the serious work needed to ensure a successful future for all.

This is the reality that the Legislature faces and must deal with over the next few months. If we don’t change the way our state both collects revenue and also how we spend it, we will be without any investment in any service many of us rely on. I will continue to work with local leaders, in addition to the bipartisan legislative group, to ensure their voices are heard.

I hope that you will stay in touch with me throughout the session. I value your opinion and want to address any other issues that are important to you.

Please contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)


'News of the World'
Kidnapped girl’s return to family fraught with turmoil by on 02/01/2017

Johanna Leonberger no longer remembers her parents or life before the Kiowa raised her as their own after murdering her family. Even though she was six when she was kidnapped, none of the trappings of civilization remain in her memory.

Now ten years old with blue eyes and caramel-colored hair, she only speaks the Kiowa language and has no memory of eating with utensils or living in white civilization. After being “rescued” by the U.S. Army and torn away from the only family group she remembers, Johanna is now forced to return to her closest living relatives near San Antonio, Texas.

The army pleads with Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd to transport her the remaining four hundred miles to her family, realizing that having a white man of his background as Johanna’s deliverer will be more acceptable. Not to mention that the army personnel have had great difficulty handling the wild young girl who refuses to submit to any requests and constantly tries to escape so that she is now forcibly lashed down to a wagon. For fifty gold pieces, Captain Kidd reluctantly agrees due to the dire situation and his strong sense of duty.

Fortunately, Captain Kidd knows the area well, with family and business interests in San Antonio and having made a living in recent years by traveling throughout the southwest to read the news for a fee to communities lacking newspapers from the outside world.

And so, Johanna and Captain Kidd’s momentous journey begins over difficult roads and facing many threats from hostile Native Americans, highwaymen and natural forces.

Author Paulette Jiles is a poet and her careful word choices make this novel a sheer pleasure to read. Ms. Jiles has done her homework and knows much of the historical circumstances of young children kidnapped by Native Americans in that era and later returned to the white world. Almost without exception, these young people continued to identify with their Native American upbringing and longed to return to that life, in spite of the desire of their families that they be returned.

Captain Kidd is seventy-one years old and Johanna is ten but – over time, distance and through many dangers – trust and camaraderie develop between the two travelers who face difficult decisions at the journey’s end.

This beautiful novel is a great read and full of revelations about this time of great flux in the West, just after the Civil War. I highly recommend it to you!

(Paulette Jiles is a poet, memoirist and novelist. Her other novels are Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning and Lighthouse Island. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.)

How married men can benefit from watching ‘The Bachelor’ by on 02/01/2017

Tonight, I will be watching “The Bachelor” with my wife. I actually watch very little television. The shows I do watch are because of personal interest. I watch “Chicago Fire” because I’m a volunteer firefighter; “Meet the Press” because I’m a journalist; “Hell’s Kitchen” because I was a chef for 10 years; and The Bachelor because I don’t ever want to be one again.

As a ridiculously happily married man, I can tell you the benefits of a good marriage far outweigh the initial discomfort of watching Chris Harrison — week after week — inform everyone who didn’t pass kindergarten math that there’s only one rose left.

You also have to get past the three main types of contestants who appear each season:

The Cryer — Easy to spot because they are reduced to tears and sitting alone within 15 minutes of arriving at the mansion

The Liar — This person is already in a long-term relationship and is a struggling actress. They are always extremely attractive, which causes the Bachelor’s judgment to become cloudy as blood flows away from the brain to an area not directly related to the circulatory system.

And lastly,

The Psycho — Always arrives separately from the rest of the contestants, usually in some uniquely pretentious way, such as by helicopter or riding a unicorn and wearing only a wrestling singlet.

As someone who has been watching The Bachelor with his wife for several years now, I have gained a few insights that have made me a better husband. Here are a few of those insights for husbands who may have missed last (every) season of the show.

First, always keep a rose with you.

Always.

Having the ability to — at a moment’s notice — produce a fragrant flower symbolizing your love is a game changer that can diffuse any situation....

Wife: “Are these your dirty BOXERS in the sink... AGAIN?!?”

Husband: [Pulls out rose] “This is for you.”

Wife: “Oh sweetheart! Where else can I look for your boxers? Wait, don’t tell me! I want it to be like an Easter egg hunt!”

In the rare instance a rose isn’t enough, make sure you have a mutual friend willing to be a love liaison for you — someone who cares about you both and has your best interest as a couple in mind.

I would highly suggest getting Chris Harrison. He may not be able to count higher than 1, but he is an artful mediator. Contrary to what you might think, getting his help is actually pretty easy. All you have to do is take a single rose and put it in a basket. He will appear almost instantly to announce it’s the only one left.

So tonight, I’ll once again take a spot on the couch next to my wife and watch as the latest bachelor attempts what is essentially televised cat juggling, complete with claws and hissing. But as he attempts to discover the inner truths of each woman and searches for his soul mate one rose at a time, my wife and I will be eating snack foods and sipping something cold as we share observations about each contestant — which brings me to the most valuable lesson I’ve learned:

Given the chance to be The Bachelor, it would be the shortest season of all.

Because I’d simply choose the amazing woman I’m already married to.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

The Adventure Continues:Episode XV Attackus Interruptus by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/01/2017

Turncoat, or spy, or MI6 agent, or terrorist, or whatever, Dolly Teagarden was right about the border guards believing we were going camping on our honeymoon. The Belgian in charge of the frontier crossing gazed longingly past me, to Dolly, then back to me, and with a wink handed back my bogus passport and we were off to our campground like two Eddie Bauer-clad yuppies headed to Yosemite.

“You need to listen closely now, Max,” Dolly said in a most unfittingly master sergeant’s voice. “We have plenty of backup at the campground, but the bad guys have to make the first move.”

Despite the fact that I seldom listen closely, especially to a skirt, I remembered what Dolly had told me before we crossed the border. “After dark,” she had warned. “You’re supposed to be dead by then.” That’s the kind of thing that tends to get my attention, especially as the sun was disappearing into the western horizon as we clattered into the campground/killing field.

I cradled by Beretta in my lap as Dolly felt into her jacket pocket for a grip on her pistol as well. There were half a dozen campers, a few people outside taking up the remains of their picnic dinner – in other words everyone acting like nothing was about to happen.

As it turned out, they knew more than we did.

“Wait here,” Dolly ordered as I drew the camper to halt. “Just wait.”

Nothing happened.

Suddenly, two choppers rose above a tree line and headed straight toward us. I slumped down behind the dashboard and cradled my Beretta on the top edge.

“They’re ours,” Dolly blurted. “Something went wrong.”

Call it attackus interruptus.

The choppers landed, the rotors whirred to a stop, campers watched wide-eyed from the safety of their windows, and we got out as a rangy, crusty-looking chap in a trench coat dismounted from the chopper and, followed by four soldiers in full riot gear, approached us.

“I’m Special Agent Mike Donovan,” he growled. “We’ve been deked.”

“Deked?” Dolly asked.

“We’re decoys,” I told her. “They crossed a different border.”

While we stood around scratching various body parts, the soldiers went through the camper. Nothing.

“Dammit,” Donovan said, setting his jaw and looking to the sky as if seeking divine intervention.

I couldn’t help but chuckle, despite the two-hundred-pound-glare from Donovan. “Do you have any other ideas?” I asked him. “Because I’ve never been much of a camper.”

I cared not a whit where the arms deal went down. It was above my pay grade, and I didn’t have a good handle on Belgium geography.

There was a lot of rock kicking and swearing and cell phone calls, all adding up to us piling in the chopper and night-skipping over the Belgian countryside to Brussels, where Dolly and I stood in the Zaventum Airport staring at the ticket counters.

“Come to London with me,” she purred, back from agent Teagarden to seductive Dolly.

“Can’t do it, Dolly,” I rasped, tipping my fedora. “I miss America.”

From a window seat the next morning I watched Ireland, gleaming like an emerald against the blue Atlantic, fade into Iceland – never a more aptly named country – then to Greenland – the most inaptly named, well, you get the picture – finally to Nova Scotia as we chased the sun across Canada, topped the Rockies, and finally dropped down to shoot up the Columbia Gorge to PDX.

Remember Francoise? She was my secretary before I went off the grid to Reno, and Valerie Suppine, and Natasha, and the Grimaldi brothers, and Dolly, and succumbed to a diet of red wine and cheese. Well, she was there waiting for me.

I realized she probably knew more about me than anyone, as we zipped along the Interstate to Gresham, then Hwy. 26 to the mountain community I had left behind, with hardly a word coming between us. We pulled up a familiar dirt road to what had once been my cabin. To my surprise, the charred remains had been cleared away, and a framing job was underway. Three tool-belted men stood at the surviving rock fireplace, a blaze going against the late-afternoon spring chill, passing a bottle, turning to see us pull into the driveway.

It was nice to see my two next-door neighbors, as well as the fire chief, who handed me the bottle of Jameson’s.

Francoise nudged against me. “Welcome home, Max.”

MHGS: Concerns for the environment and beyond by Mary Soots on 02/01/2017

It was a shout that was heard throughout the world. It is estimated that January’s Women’s March in over 500 cities across the United States with more than 600 sister marches across the world brought an estimated 3.3 million people into the streets to express their concerns for a variety of issues such as women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights, environmental rights, etc. Many people fear that the rights that have been hard-earned will be turned back due to the assumption of the position of president of the U.S. by Donald Trump and his cabinet of billionaires.

Clearly as one whose mission is the protection of the environment so that it can continue to sustain humankind for generations, there is concern for the return to fossil fuel extraction which is so harmful to people and planet, rather than continuing the work of seeking cleaner, renewable energy that will not be depleted at the Earth’s expense. After all, we’re not the only species whose lives depend on it.

Reminiscent of the Tea Party or the Occupy Movement, there were many reasons that people joined the Women’s March and many groups that came together to be heard. Though they may have dissenting voices otherwise, they unified for this one moment. This is actually the latest in a series of social uprisings (don’t you just love democracy?). The first shot was fired with the 1999 Battle of Seattle demonstration against the World Trade Organization. The common denominator in all the movements is to express to our leaders that the neoliberal economic model of globalization has led to the stagnation of incomes, the concentration of wealth (a recent report by Oxfam indicated that just eight men hold as much wealth as the rest of the world combined), environmental destruction, among other things.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was one that appealed to the masses who hunger for a return to an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, with company benefits such as medical insurance and retirement, and the return of a strong middle class. One of the hallmarks of his campaign was his claim that free trade would be dismantled, thus allowing America to return to a manufacturing economy.

It is no secret that free trade has harmed us. We have become a society of overconsumption because we can purchase things manufactured in countries that have been forced to dismantle domestic laws that protect labor and environment in favor of economic gains. This so we can purchase goods in dollar stores and other cheap retail stores. Because those things are so easily acquired, they hold little value to us and we dispose of them and move on to the next thing. The landfills are filled with them.

It is too soon to see how the neoliberal global market economy can be replaced with a protectionist national economy. If we want higher wages, we must be prepared to pay higher costs for the things we purchase and as a side effect, we can reduce overconsumption and the environment will benefit. Perhaps by replacing the political elite with the economic elite as leaders of our nation, we will be the beneficiaries.

It is my fervent hope that Mr. Trump’s vision of making America great again will include protection for the environment upon which the future of our species depends.

Winter’s chill may not last, but Weather Service unsure by on 02/01/2017

This winter goes into the books as one of the coldest, and as of now, records show this winter to have set a record at Hillsboro and the second coldest at Portland Airport.

The Portland area was especially colder than average due to an extended period of arctic air trapped by an inversion.

This arctic air also affected the Mount Hood area, but to a lesser extent. Temperatures averaged about seven degrees lower in Brightwood, and about five degrees lower in Government Camp.

Snowfall in Brightwood totaled 14.75 inches and Government Camp 47.3 inches. Precipitation was only slightly more than half of average. The arctic air moderated after the first two weeks, returning to seasonal levels and precipitation continued to be lower than average.

The National Weather Service is confident that neither La Nina nor the Madden Julian Ocillations will have a significant effect on our weather this coming February, and beyond that, their confidence vanishes. Their various computer models not only disagree, but make predictions that flip-flop opposite to predictions made 10 days earlier. Although making a tentative forecast for our area to have about average temperatures and precipitation, their confidence is shattered.

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34, and a precipitation average of 8.63 inches including an average 5.9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 60s during three years and into the 50s the other seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s once, into the 20s during seven years and into the teens the other two years. On average, there are 12 days when the temperature drops to freezing or lower. The all time record low dating back 40 years was set during February 1989, shared also with December 1990. The record snowfall for February is 32 inches measured in 1986. The record 24-hour snowfall is 10 inches set on Feb. 26, 1971.

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 38 degrees, an average low of 26 degrees and a precipitation average of 9.65 inches, including 41.8 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 60s twice, into the 50s three  years, and into the 40s the other five years.

Lows had three years in the 20s, four years in the teens and three years in the single digits. The record January snowfall of 112 inches was set in 1990. The record 24-hour snowfall of 25 inches was set on Feb. 24, 1994.


A pinhole camera photo.
The View Finder: Tips on upgrading your camera by Gary Randall on 02/01/2017

I’m asked frequently what camera that I would recommend if one wants to “get into photography.” To this I reply that they most likely carry a camera that will get them into photography every day. In this day and age you don't have to wait to get into photography.

There’s no excuse not to master your cell phone camera before you upgrade to one that’s more complicated. In photography the kind of camera has never dictated the artistic quality or impact of a skillfully done photograph.

Creating an interesting or artistic image in any medium relies more on an eye for an interesting subject, a basic understanding of light, an understanding of basic compositional standards and the ability to use the tools that they have at hand, the camera. A painter can use crude applications of heavy paint using a pallet knife and create an amazing image while another will use the finest brushes and the smoothest paints to create theirs. Both can be masterpieces. It’s about knowing how to use the tools instinctively through practice. Photography is no different.

I don’t discourage anyone from wanting to upgrade to a better camera, especially if they want to work on improving their skill. There’s no doubt that a better camera can yield a better image, especially in challenging conditions such as low light situations, but I do stress that photography is like fishing. Better gear doesn’t always yield more fish, especially in unskilled hands. One of my favorite photographs that I have made was made with a strip of film in a pinhole camera, which is nothing more than a wooden box with a hole in the front of it.

One shouldn’t need a more sophisticated camera until their skill level exceeds the camera’s abilities. In many ways a basic camera such as your cell phone will challenge you and will teach you lessons that you won’t need to learn once you get the better camera. Your learning curve will be smoother and your frustration level lower if you practice first with a simpler device.

Some advice that I do give to those who will be upgrading is to consider some of the intermediate, bridge cameras. Many have quality image sensors while supplying a single non-removable lens with a zoom factor that exceeds most zoom lenses that the average digital single lens reflex photographer uses.

For those that are upgrading to a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera I stress that unless they’re planning to use the gear professionally, there’s no need to purchase professional level equipment. Many intermediate photographers feel that they need a full frame camera to push their work further, when it’s not usually the camera that’s the barrier. The cost for pro gear is more than one needs to pay as the new sensors give outstanding performance. The cropped sensor DSLR’s perform amazingly well at low light conditions. The lenses, filters, etc. also cost less. The only practical trade off is that you won't be able to print the size of a billboard.

Do you still have a film camera? Guess what? Film is cool again. Dust off your old film camera and take some pictures. You can still buy film and you can have it sent off to be developed. You can do it all over the Internet with a little help from the US Postal Service. There are still drug stores that sell and develop film.

The point that I’m really trying to make is that if one wants to get into photography there’s no time like the present. There’s no need to wait. If not having the right kind of camera is your reason for not starting today, you need to get past that. Not having the right kind of camera should not be an excuse. Art doesn’t matter what kind of camera that you use, nor does documenting your children while they grow or any other special moment in your life.

Get into photography. Pick up your camera and take some pictures today.

Winter is the restorative season, so get a full dose of z’s by Victoria Larson on 12/30/2016

The bustle and excitement of the holidays are over, but it’s still cold out there. The shorter days and cold weather, and even the loneliness after the holidays, send some people into depression. So let’s take a look at winter in our yearly cycle and find a way to embrace its lessons.

Winter is a time for going inward, slowing down and resting. It is the yin time of the year. The fauna hibernate, the flora stop growing and we humans sleep more. Or if we’re not, we should be. Sleep is restorative. Our ancestors didn’t have electricity and electronic devices to keep them awake. They also had fewer chronic problems in their health, though infections were still a problem.

Deep in your brain, your pineal gland produces your naturally occurring melatonin. Going to bed earlier will increase the production of this hormone, which helps you sleep - taking even a few too many milligrams of manufactured melatonin, may make your pineal gland “forget” how to work. Light emitting devices (TVs, phones, computers, parties!) will decrease production of melatonin.

Foods high in naturally occurring melatonin can boost your body’s levels in as little time as three days (or nights, if you will). A cup of purple grapes will work, as will cherries. Cherries can be in any form from frozen, dried or as juice. Even one ounce of cherry juice can give you an extra half-hour of sleep! If you sleep with a partner who reads or watches TV, wear an eye mask as any light entering your eyes decreases melatonin.

For thousands of years people slept ten to twelve hours in the winter. Those who slept long had decreased rates of dementia. Lack of sleep leads to amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid plaques are the classic lesion of Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2013 study in JAMA Neurology, it found that those who had the worst sleep quality had a five times greater risk of Alzheimer’s than those who had the benefit of sound sleep.

So no need to feel guilty about a nap, especially in wintertime! People with poor sleep quality had a decreased volume in the brain, in the cortex, frontal, parietal and temporal lobes. Granted we don’t use our full brain capacity, but we want it to work as well as possible for as long as possible, especially as we age.

In 2015, the British Medical Journal found poor sleep to be a hallmark sign of ADHD in children and adults. Toddlers need naps until at least three or four years old. Adults can simply choose to go to bed earlier.

The Journal of Sleep found those who sleep less have increased anxiety, decreased joy in life, and a decreased ability to solve problems.

Sleep increases creativity and problem solving. Got a problem? Sleep on it. This time of hibernation in the cold allows us time to conserve energy for the next cycle, when the rains lighten and the breezes soften.

Lack of sleep shows up in the physical body too. In Chinese medicine we think of winter as Kidney time. The kidneys are the seat of fear, and we all have some fears. To evaluate the health of the kidney, look to the tone and color of the skin. A bluish or white patch under the eyes, bilaterally, may indicate kidney imbalance which in turn may indicate fear. If you watch TV look to the non-actors on the screen and see if you can notice this. Something to ponder.

More gifts from the Kitchen! by Taeler Butel on 12/30/2016

It’s always a good time to be in the giving spirit. Pair a loaf of gingerbread with brown sugar cinnamon butter to make a lovely gift for a neighbor, teacher or anyone you want to see smile.


I LOAF YOU A LOT

1½ cups all-purpose flour

2 t ground cinnamon

¾ t ground cloves

2¼ t ground ginger

1 T grated orange peel

1 t kosher or sea salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup applesauce

1 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9” x 5” bread pan or use baking spray. You can also use two pieces of decorative 7” x 2.5” disposable bakeware, and they do not have to be greased.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla and orange peel. Add the egg, and mix well.

Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan(s). Bake for 25 minutes and for larger loaf turn after 15 minutes.

 

BROWN SUGAR CINNAMON COMPOUND BUTTER

1 lb unsalted butter at room temp

1 T sea salt

¼ cup powdered sugar

½ t lemon zest chopped fine

2 T dark brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

Whip ingredients together, scoop about 1/2 cup onto wax paper, roll into a log and tie ends with pretty twine. Place into freezer.

Outdoor recreation office a priority by on 12/30/2016

The holiday season is behind us and the New Year is before us. This is a good time to prepare for the upcoming legislative session and set our goals for the next year. Part of the preparation for me means getting things settled on the home front, as I will be working in Salem during the week and traveling back home on the weekends. I’m looking forward to tackling some of the larger issues facing our district and our state in the upcoming months.

One major topic this session will be establishing an Office of Outdoor Recreation. I’ve been working with the recreation community both in district and as part of the Travel Oregon “Outdoor Recreation Means Business” initiative. The Travel Oregon initiative is a coalition of industry members and government officials working on a coordinated effort to improve and sustain the recreation industry across the state. From my conversations locally and as part of this initiative, it is clear that the industry does not have a seat at the table and therefore my legislative priority is to create a permanent position that is responsible for making policy recommendations directly to the Governor. This position will allow the recreation industry to have a voice in the policy making process in Salem. My intent is not to simply create another bureaucracy but to ensure that as state level policy decisions that impact the recreation industry (land use, access to public lands, transportation, etc.) are made with input from the industry itself. This office will also help to build connections between the recreation industry and other sectors of our economy like manufacturing, tourism and even our education system, which will help grow our economy as a whole while supporting local recreation and tourist based businesses. The creation of this position has broad support and I will continue to provide updates as it progresses.

A second priority of mine will be to remain part of the budget balancing and revenue reform discussions happening in Salem. As you may be aware, Oregon is currently facing a $1.5 billion dollar budget deficit for the next biennium based on current spending levels. In order to generate the bipartisan support necessary to address the situation and prevent more costly cuts to education and needed social services, any potential solution to the problem must have bipartisan support. This means that we will have to enact some kind of budget and spending restraints and address cost drivers before any kind of revenue reform can be considered. Particularly, I will work on making sure that any changes to Oregon’s tax structure not be regressive and negatively impact middle class families. It must also stimulate economic growth and business investment.

Any package of revenue reform needs to be comprehensive and also establish clear priorities for spending. For more than ten years now, legislators have not prioritized education and have chosen to favor other parts of the budget over kids in the classroom. I believe a part of any additional revenues that may be generated by modifying the tax code needs to be directed into programs that we know work and lead to clear outcomes for our students. An investment in early learning, and specifically third grade reading, will be what I push for. Students who can read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to graduate high school. Setting students up for success early will save money on interventions later and allow students to grow into new opportunities throughout their school career.

In addition to these two priorities, I will continue to work on some local topics to improve the communities across House District 52. I hope that you all have a wonderful start to your New Year and I encourage you to stay in touch with my office. Please email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us or call 503-986-1452 if you need assistance with anything or have any questions.

Thank you for the honor of representing you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for HD 52.)

Historical novel captures Paris after German takeover by on 12/30/2016

On June 17, 1940, the French Army was ordered to cease fighting, as France capitulated to Hitler and the forces of the Third Reich. Soon the German forces infiltrated almost every aspect of French life. Jews were rounded up and sent first to prison camps within France and ultimately to the east.

It’s against this backdrop that Alan Furst has placed the story of a brave French resistance cell headed by the novel’s protagonist, code named Mathieu, “A Hero of France.” The book’s action covers five months beginning in March 1941, nine months after the beginning of the German occupation. A vivid example of the type of perilous actions undertaken by his cell opens the book as Furst describes the risks Mathieu undertakes while linking up with and escorting a downed R.A.F. pilot from a rendezvous in the French countryside. They barely escape detection while secreting him to Paris so that he can be smuggled back to England – a valuable asset in the war against the Reich.

Furst, who is known for his detailed research into both sides in occupied Europe, shares stories not just of Mathieu’s group but also many other Germans from many walks of life - including the police and the Gestapo – as they all seek to find a path to survival for themselves and their families.

Mathieu’s cell is similarly diverse, including a teenage girl who acts as a courier on her bicycle and two well-connected women of French society, Annemarie and Chantal. Aiding their efforts is Max de Lyon, a nightclub owner whose establishment caters to German officers, a Polish Jew who hides resistants in his club and puts Mathieu in touch with merchant marine smugglers who specialize in helping people escape the country. De Lyon even blackmails a German officer into aiding the escape of an endangered member of the resistance cell.

Mathieu’s great gift is his ability to accurately evaluate another person’s character. “It’s one of the things I do,” he tells de Lyon, “make decisions about people, can they be trusted. I am good at it. And I’d better be, because I can be wrong only once.” But it takes a great emotional toll on the resistance fighters who must constantly worry about every move, in fear of discovery.

Furst’s descriptions of occupied Paris convey the sinister atmosphere of the time (“Eyes searching the darkness, he had to move slowly, pausing at doorways where he could hide if necessary, hurrying to cross a narrow street, and listening intently for the telltale sounds of the police patrols”), but Furst’s Paris is generally a city where the citizens refuse to give up hope and where their love for France and for their city inspires them to take risks for freedom.

If you enjoy historical novels, you will greatly enjoy this expertly researched work.

(Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel and has authored numerous bestsellers. This is his fifteenth. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris and now lives on Long Island.)

Don’t forget your cat when taking down the Christmas tree by on 12/30/2016

For our family, packing up the Christmas decorations is never easy. Not only because it means the official end of the holiday season, but also because it means it’s time to pry the cat out of the Christmas tree.

What makes this process especially difficult is sap. You see, it’s not until after spending the better part of December attached to the mid-section of our tree that our cat realizes she can no longer retract her claws.

A few years ago, this actually resulted in a front-page story in the Weekly World News under the headline:

Holiday tree sprouts cat tumor!

It’s not like we haven’t tried to keep this tragedy from happening. In fact, we’ve even taken our cat to a pet psychologist, thinking that maybe she suffers from a traumatic experience that is somehow triggered by the site of Christmas trees – such as an unresolved conflict with a strand of tinsel.

After six weeks of therapy (equal to eight years in cat time), the only thing the doctor was able to tell us for certain was that our cat had been Shirley MacLaine in a previous life, which, according to him, isn’t all that unusual.

In short: He had no explanation for her behavior.

This, of course, led to my own – admittedly less scientific – diagnosis, i.e., which is that our cat is crazy. This forced us to take drastic measures this year in hopes of avoiding another appearance in the tabloids. To achieve this, we came up with the idea of spraying our entire tree with WD-40.

Initially, this seemed to be the answer as we watched our cat slide down the trunk and into the water bowl. But as we soon discovered, while WD-40 kept our cat out of the tree, it also kept any ornaments from staying on for more than six seconds.

This left us with a handful of desperate ideas, such as moving one of our stereo speakers under the tree and playing “Dogs Barking Jingle Bells” 24 hours a day.

That idea was dropped pretty quickly.

After six barks, to be exact.

We also toyed with the idea of decorating a dogwood tree, the logic being that a cat wouldn’t go near a tree with the word “dog” in its name. That suggestion was nixed after my wife pointed out I’d first have to teach our cat to read.

What all of this is leading up to is something you’ve probably already guessed, which is that, once again, the Christmas tree in our living room will remain there until it is completely brown and withered, and the sap has weakened enough that our cat can safely be detached.

In the meantime, we have already begun planning for next year, when we’ll try to coax our cat to move high enough on the tree that we can use her as a top ornament.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His latest book, “Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 years as a shucking columnist” is available online at www.PortHoleBooks.com)

The Adventure Continues:Honeymooners At Last Alone by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/30/2016

Picture an Oregon private eye taken hostage by Arabs driving a camper (of all things) with an irresistible woman named Dolly Teagarden in the passenger seat who just days before was an English-American diplomat who bailed this private eye out of a French prison who was now thrown in with this band of Ali-Baba hoodlums and had a Beretta stashed under her seat and had the audacity to have told me to “just stay calm.”

Well, that’s the picture. More a Picasso than a Monet if my high school Art Appreciation memory served me. That is, surreal and indefinable shapes and colors compared to perky water lilies defining a local pond.

Despite it all, I remained calm on the outside – much like Muhammad Ali before the George Foreman fight – while watching the Arabs leading the way in a fancy Citroen. Going along with Dolly paid off. The Citroen took an exit. Dolly told me to continue straight ahead.

“OK, Max,” she began, that clever smile curling around her mouth like a friendly garter snake. “I didn’t want your reaction to show through the wind screen.”

Hint: wind screen is windshield in British auto speak.

“If everything works out according to plan, we’re going to bust up a serious terrorist ring,” she said, sounding as matter-of-fact as an English housewife on her way to the grocery store. Or, that’s the way I thought an English housewife would sound, never having actually accompanied one to the grocery store. But I digress.

“Whattya mean ‘we’” I shot back, sounding like Tonto turning down the Lone Ranger’s plan to evade a band of Indians.

From Dolly, again the smile. “You, me and Zabun, plus reinforcements.”

“I get it,” I snarled, moving into the passing lane to get by a French farmer’s hay truck. “You expect me to believe you’re a diplomat, then a traitorous terrorist, then a double agent good guy again, right? I’m not that naïve, doll face.”

“Max,” again that damnable purr. “Reach under your seat.”

I ran my hand around and felt the cold steel of a 5-inch barrel and the 15-round magazine of a 9mm Beretta. It wasn’t my old reliable Glock, but certainly a kissin’ cousin.

“Where’d this come from?”

“Zabun wasn’t just giving you driving instructions.”

“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

“You’re just scratching the surface, Max.”

Somehow, I believed her. What choice did I have? She was packin’ and so was I, thanks to Zabun, and we had a rendezvous with the terrorists. And Zabun was riding with them. At least it was three against three, at the moment anyway, and by my accounts, we had ’em outnumbered.

“So, where we headed?”

“We’ll be crossing the border into Belgium in less than an hour,” Dolly said, seemingly still going over her grocery list. “After about twenty kilometers we’ll get off the main road at an exit that leads to a camper park.”

“You’re kidding, right? A camper park?”

“Yes, and that’s where all the fun begins. There will be four other campers that are part of the deal. And nearby a large lorry.”

For the unwashed, a lorry is Brit speak for a truck.

“OK. But where’s the payload?”

“We’re sitting on a lot of it. There’s more under the floor in the back and between the panels.”

“And it all gets off-loaded into the truck?”

“Yes. After dark. But you’re supposed to be dead by then.”

“And everyone knows that but me,” I said, yielding to a genuine, confident smirk that was my first one in weeks.

“So do you, now. But we have the frontier just ahead.”

There were signs at the border in French and a couple other languages, but none in English. But there were pictures, and I got in the lane for campers and trailers.”

“We’re on our honeymoon,” Dolly said flatly. “That explains the different last names on our passports. We’re headed to the camping park up ahead. And don’t forget you’re a Brit. So, pip-pip and all that, matey.”

“We’re going camping on our honeymoon, and they’re going to buy that?”

“Oh, they’ll buy it,” Dolly said, with a deep-down chuckle. “We’re British.”

Thank goodness, and after all, I am still Max Malone, private eye, mate.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Going green with painting projects by Mary Soots on 12/30/2016

In the dark days of winter, our thoughts turn inward to how to make our home a cozy place that gives us joy. Perhaps now that the New Year has arrived, you’d like to give your home a makeover. What could be easier than a little bit of paint to give the house a new look? Painting is an inexpensive way to redecorate and give your home a whole new feel. But before you begin, think of the ways you can save money and bring sustainability to your painting project.

Metro has some great suggestions on how you can do both. When planning, purchase only the amount of paint you need. The amount you use varies depending on the type of paint, the application method and brand, but as a rule of thumb, one gallon of primer will cover 200 sq. feet and paint color will cover approximately 350 sq. feet. You can also use recycled light colored paint as a primer.

To be more environmentally friendly, use latex paint as it is recyclable. Metro.gov sells remade paint for a fraction of the cost of new paint. According to Metro.gov, “MetroPaint is previously unwanted paint remade new. Screened for quality, enhanced with helpful additives and reblended into desirable colors, it’s evolved paint ready for a new purpose.”

According to Metro, there are some great reasons to use recycled paint. It decreases the project’s carbon footprint, reduces the need for landfill space, conserves the water needed to make new paint, and prevents pollution from the mining and extraction of raw materials. To date, Metro has remade two million gallons of paint. We can purchase remade paint in a variety of colors from Metro at various locations, such as Clackamas Miller Paint, Gresham Miller Paint, Gresham Fred Meyer and Estacada True Value.

Be earth-friendly when applying the paint, avoid ground and groundwater contamination, use alternatives to toxic solvents when possible, and use tarps and drip pans to catch spills and splatters. Clean your brushes with non-toxic solvents.

When you are finished with your project, you can recycle at curbside any clean, empty metal paint cans and lids as well as plastic paint buckets (lids cannot be recycled). Any unused latex or oil paint can be taken to a collection center. On the mountain, the Mt. Hood Green Scene has worked with the Welches Mountain Building Supply Company to collect used paint. You can also share your unused paint with friends and neighbors, possible through a sharing website. You can donate paint to the Habitat for Humanity or the ReBuilding Center for use by others.

If you have leftover hazardous waste from your project, such as solvents and removers, please comply with laws regarding hazardous waste disposal and take them to Oregon City, or look for hazardous waste collection events in Sandy.

And when the rains stop and it’s time to paint the exterior of your home, remember that you can find affordable recycled exterior paints as well.

Average temps and precipitation expected for January by on 12/30/2016

December has been colder than average, with Brightwood about four degrees lower and Government Camp more than seven degrees lower. In addition, snowfall has been plentiful with Brightwood getting a total of 14 inches and snow on the ground continuously since the fourth. Government Camp is having a great winter season and has received 58 inches of snow so far this month. No records were set and the low of 19 degrees in Brightwood was its coldest temperature since December two years ago.

The National Weather Service has observed a reduced influence made by a weakened La Nina pattern on weather experienced in North America and is also keeping a watchful eye on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) influence which is expected to become more of a factor at the end of January. For now, our area is forecast to have about average temperatures and average precipitation during January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 34, and a precipitation average of 10.75 inches including an average 8.6 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 50s during nine years and one year failed to get above the 40s. Low temperatures fell into the 20s during seven years, into the teens during two years and into the single digits the other year.

On average, there are 14 days when the temperature drops to freezing or lower. The record snowfall for January was 47 inches measured in 1980, although more recently, 29.5 inches was recorded during 2008.

The record 24-hour snowfall is 29 inches set on Jan. 9, 1980 compared to a more recent 16 inches measured on Jan. 11, 1998.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.30 inches, including 57.8 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 70 once, into the 60s twice, into the 50s three years, and into the 40s the other four years. Lows had two years in the 20s, two years in the teens, and six years in the single digits. The record January snowfall of 155 inches was set in 1964. The record 24-hour snowfall of 35 inches was set on Jan. 9, 1980, although just three years ago, 27 inches was recorded on Jan. 29, 2013.


Views of 2016
The View Finder: The views of 2016 by Gary Randall on 12/30/2016

It’s been another great year here at Gary Randall Photography. I hope that it was for you as well. After all setbacks are considered, we’re thankful for the growth and progress that has taken place in life and business, including being included as a writer for The Mountain Times.

As I look back on 2016 I thought that I should share a few of the photos that were made and share what it took to get the shot. The photos might not be my most beautiful or technically brilliant but combine my memory of the moment with the resulting image and they’re some of my personal favorites. Consider this a year in review. I hope that non-photographers enjoy them and that fellow photographers and photographic artists can learn or be inspired to push their work to be the best that it can be.

I hope that 2017 brings good health, happiness and many photographic opportunities to you.

 

Mount Hood at night

(top left)

This photo is one of my favorites from this past year. After getting the black and white photo of Mount Hood  (see page 16) I decided to return again after dark to see what I could do with the scene at night, especially under the moonlight. This photo might be considered an unexpected benefit of looking all around me while I was photographing the mountain. This scene was behind me.

To get this photo I used my tripod to be able to extend my exposure to 20 seconds. I stopped down to f/22 to allow the light to play off of the aperture blades which created the light star from the moon’s light.

A snowboarder had cut a line through the scene that aligned with the shadows of the moonlight. I felt that the simple composition created a much stronger image than a wider view of this scene.

 

The Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon

(top right)

Early spring is a good time to explore those places that heat up during the summer. The Alvord Desert is a great example. The mud tiles of the playa start to form as the mud starts to dry and the skies give you a good chance for a sunset at that time of the year as well.

To get this photo I had set up for a sunset and then waited. The sunset was nice that night, but the color didn’t come on in a dense colorful way until after I watched the “first sunset” fade and I had started to pack my gear into my Jeep.

This second sunset is the result of the last beams of light shining from below the horizon and up under the clouds that were in front and above us.

Always stay until the end of the show.


Rural Victoria ruin near Dufer

(bottom left)

I’m a guide and photography instructor. I love taking people from all over the world to places in and around the Mount Hood area. Less than an hour away we have a whole different world to explore by heading east toward open skies and Central Oregon.

This photo is one that I used to demonstrate my focusing techniques. My goal was to get the wheat in front of the camera as well as the house behind in perfect focus.

To get this photo I set my camera on my tripod to give me a stable platform to allow me to take my time with my composition and adjustments. There was also a bit of a breeze so it allowed me to repeat the shot if it didn’t turn out the first, second or third try.

I stopped down my aperture to maximize the focal distance, moved my focus out to infinity and then focused back until the wheat became tack sharp. I set my exposure and took the shot.

 

Alaskan workshop, Matanuska Glacier

(bottom right)

I took this photo as we were making our way across the ice of the Matanuska Glacier. In all we spent three days exploring this amazing place. As tour leader I was able to lead everyone out to a spot inside the heart of the ice to get amazing photos of a real Alaskan glacier up close and personal.

To get this photo I turned behind me to see them all coming over this crest of ice. I asked them to stop as I set my camera to Aperture Priority, opening my aperture and setting my ISO at about 800 to insure a fast enough shutter and then snapped a series of photos, taking this one as the best of the group.

Although landscape photographers typically prefer to set their cameras manually, there are times when you have to work quickly so it’s perfectly acceptable to switch to a more automatic mode such as Aperture or Shutter Priority to insure that you get the photo.

Making the season even better by engaging with each other by Victoria Larson on 12/02/2016

As we turn to the last page of the calendar we give certain pause. For the year we’ve just known is winding down and the future is an unknown. Though a chore to many, greeting cards and good wishes put us in touch with family and friends, both distant and past. And this is good.

Contact with other humans is different now than in years past. With such a huge and growing Earth population, and so much to do, many of us are unable to answer our phones. We are often in our cars. Some only communicate via electric devices, which is simply not the same as face-to-face contact that may include a hug or a kiss on the cheek.

Friendship and contact are treasures we must seek and honor. Without friends, the winter may seem pretty bleak. We need other people. We need touch. Or we die. OK, we die anyway but it’s the journey that makes it worthwhile. And it’s up to each and every one of us to make it as wonderful a journey as possible.

As recently as 1945 most births and deaths occurred at home. By 1980 only 17 percent of births and deaths occurred in the home. Home was the center of many people’s lives. All the more reason to seek comfort during the colder seasons. Your well-being may depend on it.

The divorce rate in America is above 50 percent, 62 percent of us are obese, emotional neglect of children has risen over 300 percent and cases of autism have risen by 600 percent in just the last ten years. One in four women is sexually molested in her lifetime. Are we losing our grip? Where are we going wrong?

A lot of problems stem from overwork, high stress, poor diet, and sadly, lack of true commitment. First of all, we no longer “take the time” to commit. It’s all fast! fast! fast! This is because we are a nation of instant gratification. Which leads to credit card debt, sorrow and guilt. Everything fast is electronic. If it’s true that 80 percent of human communication is non-verbal, then it’s no wonder we’re missing something in our lives!

Now ‘tis the season for warmth and love. Talk to people. Really talk and you may find that people are “real.” So when Aunt Mary insists on giving you her special recipe for gooseberry pie, listen, maybe even write it down. By next holiday season you may be glad you did it even if you never bake the pie.

Life is short no matter how long you have. We miss a huge portion of it when we just rush through it. Savor some ceremony, be it Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza. We may be blessed with some magic (like snow? or a new baby?) that will quiet and calm us in the true spirit of the season. Reflect on how these things feel to you. Photograph the moments if you want but realize that your mind will hold the memory anyway.

Winter is a dark and inward time of reflection on the year just ending. Honor this time during mid-winter Solstice as the light begins to return to the Earth. Sit by the fire, huddle for warmth, burn that Yule log. Engage in the rituals you love, from bubble baths to family game night.

Festivals of love and warmth are good for us. Just don’t burn the candle at both ends or you will flame out. Sure you may succumb to eating some sugar but concentrate more on the scents of the season and find pleasure therein. There’s pine and peppermint. Frankincense and myrrh, but also rosemary and sage. Eat lots of nuts, drink more warming tea, stay home more. Give your kids your attention. What we all really want this season is each other. Have a lovely holiday season.

Gifts from the Kitchen! by Taeler Butel on 12/02/2016

This season give them what they want. Food!!

Create incredible gift baskets right from your kitchen. I like to make some things as well as add store bought items. Baskets can be cost effective and fun to put together. These recipes are gifts of their own or can be put in an inexpensive basket for a co-worker, teacher, or any other lucky recipient.

Biscotti with pistachios and cherries

1 3/4 cups dried cherries

1/2 t almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

2 t baking powder

1/2 t coarse salt

4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2T vanilla

4 large eggs (3 whole, 1 lightly beaten)

3/4 cup chopped, shelled pistachios

3 T coarse sanding sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in 3 whole eggs, one at a time. Mix in reserved cherry liquid and the vanilla, reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in cherries and pistachios.

On a lightly floured surface, halve dough. Shape each half into a 12 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch log. Flatten logs to 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush logs with beaten egg and sprinkle with the sanding sugar.

Bake 35 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Cut each log on the diagonal into 16 to 18 pieces. Transfer pieces to racks, laying them on sides. Set racks on baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes; flip. Bake 8 minutes more. Let cool until crisp. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 

Cream cheese scones with cranberries and white chocolate chips

2 1/2 cups flour plus more for rolling dough

1/2 cup sugar

2 t baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 ounces soft cream cheese

1/3 cups heavy cream plus 1 tablespoon for brushing

1 T coarse sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, or food processor cut in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture is crumbly. Add the heavy cream, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough to 1-inch thickness. Cut the scones using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

The success of the ‘Oregon Promise’ needs sustainable funding by on 12/01/2016

The year has almost come to an end. As we prepare for winter and the changing of seasons, I’m looking forward to enjoying time with friends and family and some fresh snow on the Mountain so that my wife and I can put our skis to good use. I’m also looking ahead to the New Year and the start of the legislative session. Before heading into the New Year, I like to reflect back on some of the recent progress that we’ve made, the successes we’ve had and the challenges we will tackle.

It’s not often that a legislator comes face to face with the benefits of the policies he or she has passed into law. I had such an experience in October when I was able to address a room full of students at Columbia Gorge Community College, who are the first cohort of Oregon Promise students in the Gorge.

The Oregon Promise is a program that I was able to pass into law along with Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) in the 2015 legislative session. It provides tuition waivers to Oregon high school graduates that meet eligibility requirements and accept all federal and state grants that they may qualify for. The state then picks up the last dollar owed for their community college tuition so that the debt burden is removed for students who want to attend a college or trade school.

At the Oregon Promise student orientation I asked for a show of hands for those students who were enrolled at CGCC only because they had been able to obtain a tuition waiver. Half the hands in the room went up. That was the most vivid evidence I could have asked for to demonstrate the success of the vision that Senator Hass and I had two years ago. The hands that were raised belong to students who are enrolled in classes that will lead to jobs as dental hygienists, nurses and technology manufacturing right here in the Gorge. And they will be able provide for themselves rather than rely on our costly social safety net.

Since we passed the Oregon Promise into law the response across the state has been tremendous. Over 19,000 applied to the program and 10,000 scholarships have been awarded and now these students are attending one of our 17 community colleges in Oregon. Across the state, enrollments are up five percent, showing that students and families are excited about the prospect of a debt-free education and being on a successful career path.

In the next legislative session we will need to ensure sustainable funding for the Oregon Promise and make sure that critical student support services are available statewide so that we aren’t just enrolling more students, but making sure they receive their degree.

Part of ensuring there is adequate funding available for programs like the Oregon Promise is addressing the way our state generates revenue for state government and some of the current high-cost services that can be reformed to save money. We are at the beginning stages of the revenue reform conversation in Salem as well as looking for ways to address the cost drivers that are consuming too much of the budget. I’m a part of a bipartisan group of legislators that will be working on this and trying to put together a framework that the legislature can consider in February when the next session begins. I will continue to update you on this conversation as it develops and encourage you all to stay in touch with me throughout the legislative session. Feel free to contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

It’s an honor to represent you and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

Wilderness expedition examined in Ivey’s second novel by on 12/01/2016

Those who read Eowyn Ivey’s first novel, “The Snow Child,” will not be surprised by the luminous writing and layers of Native American mysticism in her new book, “To the Bright Edge” of the world. It is also set in the beautiful but unforgiving Alaskan wilderness in the 1800s as an expedition explores the rugged Wolverine River Valley.

The tale is made more fascinating due to the many differing perspectives offered by the tales’ characters.

Like “The Snow Child,” this new novel offers gorgeous prose to describe the expedition, the daunting wilderness and the physical and spiritual challenges faced by Colonel Forrester’s expedition and his pregnant wife who is left behind awaiting his return.

The format of the novel is also unique as Ivey uses letters, journals, photographs, newspaper clippings and artifacts to tell the story rather than a simple narrative. The premise is that a future great nephew of Forrester is fascinated by the trove of materials he finds that relate to his uncle’s expedition and sends the collection to an Alaskan museum for preservation. Both curators puzzle through the details to reconstruct the story of the expedition. The reader is a part of putting the details together as the many documents and details are unveiled.

Readers of  “The Snow Child” will already know that skill with which Ivey weaves myth, folklore and the supernatural into her tales. This unique novel’s adventure details the dangerous trek through the uncharted wilderness with his small band of explorers and his wife Sophie’s experiences back in Oregon as she explores a newfound passion for the natural world and photography instead of more traditional feminine pursuits.

There is intrigue and mystery as Allen Forester’s expedition makes its way through a haunted territory to complete their exploratory mission.

“I can find no means to account for what we have witnessed, except to say that I am no longer certain of the boundaries between man & beast, of the living & the dead. All that I have taken for granted, what I have known as real & true, has been called into question.” – Lt. Col. Allen Forrester

This historical novel is a beautiful blend of supernatural occurrences and magical realism with a treacherous exploration tale and a remarkable love story.

(This is the second novel by Eowyn Ivey, bestselling author of “The Snow Child”, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a former bookseller and she lives in Alaska with her husband and children.)

The Adventure Continues: Leaving the nest, Hatching a plan by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2016

From a glowing excitement in the farmhouse, the mood slowly ebbed like a low tide in the Bay of Fundy.

We had run out of Dolly’s prison soup – so my Arabic hosts had to settle for Camembert cheese and a daily baguette from the local bakery. I applauded the culinary upgrade.

As the spirits waned, mine improved. When you’re a hostage, every day is a new experience – much like a gold fish with every trip around the aquarium.

Security grew lax. Every night cuddled up to my bed partner – the radiator – had proved somewhat fruitful. I had managed to unscrew the supply line and wedge it behind one of the coils so as not to be noticed, but had yet to figure out how I was going to drag it out of the farmhouse without drawing attention. I tried not to get all steamed up over my predicament.

I confess to amusing myself by imagining walking into a nearby village dragging a radiator and trying to explain myself in English to puzzled onlookers.

Dolly Teagarden shaved me this morning. There was no twinkle in her eye, but her gaze lingered on me during the mustache removal.

Her eyes were as blue as a Dizzy Gillespie trumpet solo.

After the shave, I dined on a croissant (yesterday’s croissant, call it a hostage croissant, as the hostage takers got today’s croissant), with half a spoonful of orange marmalade. The croissant insult never landed. I never completely warmed up to croissants. But half a spoonful of marmalade? Could you spare it?

That very day, a day with a liberated yet useless radiator, a day of another hostage croissant, a day with a whisper of marmalade, a day with a lingering look from Dolly Teagarden, a day with a Kalashnikov pointing in my direction, a day of Zabun covering ‘Monday, Monday’ as if he was on a Neil Diamond holiday, in other words a day like any other day, the phone rang.

Everyone jumped but Ahmed. He smiled narrowly and picked up the phone. He wasn’t doing much of the talking, but he was nodding like a rookie pitcher getting signs from Buster Posey. It seemed like all the air had been sucked out of the room. We were getting our marching orders.

I was certain my affair with the radiator had come to an end. Oh, well. It wasn’t my first.

Bewildering chatter flew around the room like a chapter from ‘One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.’ Clothes went into suitcases, my captors even brushed croissant crumbs off their shirts. Yep, the Ali Baba show was hittin’ the road.

I was escorted to the driver’s seat in the camper. Dolly climbed in, putting something under her seat. Ahmed lingered at her window and they exchanged what seemed to be pleasantries. How sweet it was. I licked marmalade residue from my lips.

The band of Arabs piled into their car and took the lead. Dolly nodded her head toward them. I took the cue and followed them out the country lane leaving the farmhouse and my radiator bed partner in the rearview mirror.

I tossed a sneer at Dolly.

“What makes you think I can’t pile this camper into a tree and get to that Beretta under your seat before you can?” I growled.

“Max,” she purred, as if we were suddenly thrown back to the future.

“Don’t Max me, sweetie. I’m not in the mood.”

“You just need to keep calm,” she said, her motor still running like a pleased Persian cat.

“How’s it feel, Dolly? Sleeping with the enemy. Ahmed must be a bundle of joy.”

“It’s easy, Max. Ahmed has no imagination.”

I was starting to boil over, looking for the perfect tree to plant in Dolly’s lap.

We bumped off the country lane onto a highway.

“Where we headed?” I asked, making it sound more like a demand than a question.

“I’ll fill you in as we go along,” she said, still managing that measured tone in her voice.

How could she do this? Throwing in with terrorists. Leaving Natasha with a hole in her head. All I knew for sure was the more miles I put on the camper, the closer I got to a stickier situation than the one I was in.

I had to hatch a plan.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Looking forward and sustaining by Mary Soots on 12/01/2016

The holidays are upon us and we are more than ever a nation divided about the direction that our country should take. Families and friendships have been faced with the reality that our values are not shared by others, and this can make for a very tense time sitting around the holiday table. However, we need to find the things that unite us in order to heal the rifts that politics have created. That is the only way we can heal as a nation. We must understand that in the end, we all share a love for our country and we each want to find a way to do what is best for all.

On a local level, in terms of environmental sustainability, it seems that the thing that most divides us is that on one hand, there are those who see economic opportunity in our environment and the way to make those gains is through extraction of resources such as timber. On the other hand are those people who believe that the remaining rain forest should be protected at the cost of the economy. The result is that “Pacific temperate rain forests have been subject to ongoing large-scale industrial logging since the end of the Second World War, cutting over half of their total area. In California, only 4 (percent) of the redwoods have been protected. In Oregon and Washington, less than 10 (percent) of the original coastal rain forest area remains.” (source: Wikipedia)

We must look forward in a way that unites the two interests, to create economic opportunities that will benefit the members of our community while protecting our environment. It is my belief that we don’t fully recognize the power of our environment to build an economy based on environmental protection. The Pacific Northwest Rain Forest is a unique ecosystem found no place else in the entire world. It is the largest temperate rain forest on the planet. The biomass in our ecosystem is at least four times greater than that of any comparable area in the tropics. And geologically, ours is a fascinating history.

The Cascade Mountains are a young mountain range, rising up only about seven million years ago during the Pliocene period. They were made by up of thousands of small, short-lived volcanoes. You can see the history of the formation of our mountain if you know where to look. The rain forest, primarily consisting of conifers, only began to grown as the glaciers and ice sheets retreated a few thousand years ago.

We have some of the most beautiful rivers such as the Salmon which has the designation of protected National Wild and Scenic River. The beauty of the rivers as they travel over volcanic rock is documented in beautiful artwork produced in this region. And I need not speak to the beauty of the waterfalls that surround us, thanks to the rivers.

In addition, our unique ecoregion is home to a plethora of animals and plants. Although the grizzlies are gone, we have abundant numbers of brown bear, and as Wikipedia notes, “other wildlife species of note include the bald eagle, marbled murrelet, wolf, sitka deer, and Bigfoot.” Besides those that make their home in our area, the wildlife that travels through as it migrates during the spring and fall are bountiful. Marking the seasons are everything from salmon spawning to birds and butterflies passing through.

An ecosystem is the sum of its parts. The canopy of the trees protects the temperature of the rivers and provide habitat for the species that call it home as well as those that travel through. The biomass the trees produce provide the area that mushrooms flourish and feed the soil that provides the food that others depend upon. Without the habitat, the cougars, bears, eagles, owls, salmon and even Bigfoot have no way to survive. Habitat loss is the largest threat to the survival of thousands of species.

So instead of thinking of our beautiful and unique place that we call home as something that should be destroyed so that a few can profit until it is gone, let us think of ways that we can capitalize on what we have. Visitors from around the world would be willing to spend a few days in our area taking a geologic tour or learning about ancient forests or taking a hike to a remote waterfall. Those visitors in turn will need a place to stay, a place to eat and they will need to rent some equipment, buy some souvenirs, etc. Let’s look forward to a future economy built on sustainability instead of repeating the mistakes of the past where resource extraction and environmental destruction was the only way to a healthy economy. And by doing so, we might teach others how to work together and overcome their differences.

We wish you a season of peace and love.

Good snow this winter, but December warmer than average by on 12/01/2016

The rainfall last October set a new record in Brightwood with a total of 17.86 inches, smashing the previous 14.67 inches set in 2012. The Government Camp total ended with 14.52 inches, nearly an inch shy of its record 15.51 inches set in 1967. November got off to a much dryer and milder start with less than an inch of rainfall during the first 11 days. Cooler temperatures moved in during the last half of the month, and Government Camp measured its first snowfall on Nov. 15 with the week following accumulating a total snowfall of 7.6 inches. Higher elevations had enough snow to encourage skiers and boarders to the slopes after Thanksgiving. But the unusually warm and dry weather during the first half of November resulted in temperatures averaging about six degrees above normal in Brightwood and over seven degrees above normal in Government Camp. Precipitation was around half of normal in both locations.

The National Weather Service is now basing its forecasts on an established La Nina weather pattern. With this in mind, it’s likely the mountain can expect a good snow cover this winter. Our area is given a hesitant outlook for temperatures to be above average and precipitation to be about average this December.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 11.50 inches, including an average 5.7 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 50s without exception. Low temperatures fell into the 20s during six years, into the teens during two years and into the single digits the other two years. On average, there are 12 days when the temperature drops to freezing or lower. The all time high precipitation total of 28.09 inches of was set in December of 1964, compared to the impressive 24.74 inch total recorded just last year. The record December snowfall of 48.8 inches was measured in 1968, compared to the more recent 43.75 inches recorded in 2008. The record 24 hour-snowfall of 12.5 inches was set in 1968.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.80 inches, including 50.9 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s during four years, into the 40s during six years. Lows had five years in the teens, four years in the single digits and one year recorded -1. The all time high precipitation total of 32.54 inches was measured during that disastrous flood year in December, 1996. The record December snowfall of 122 inches was set in 1971. The record 24-hour snowfall of 26 inches was set only recently in 2008.



Capture your holiday moments.
The View Finder: Tips for better holiday photos by Gary Randall on 12/01/2016

With the holiday season here many of us will be taking more photos than we typically do throughout the year. Family dinners, Christmas mornings and, in many cases, the one time of the year that we spend quality time with our friends and family. Photos of these times can be priceless treasures in the future. Just a little bit of thought and preparation can make sure that you get the shot and make an image that more beautiful or impactful. With this in mind there are a few easy to master techniques that will help you to do this.

Fill your frame – Either move closer or zoom in to fill the frame to exclude all that could clutter or distract from the image. With either a planned group photo or a close up of someone, move or zoom in. If you are taking a photo of a child opening a gift, for instance, make sure that it’s a close-up to include their gift and their face to capture the whole context and emotion of the moment. A wide angle view of the room won’t be able to capture the moment in the same way.

Mind the background – Be aware of the background behind your subject. If there’s clutter or a group of people not meant to be in the frame, for instance, find a nicer background. Move your subject or subjects in front of some holiday lights, Christmas tree or decorations. You can also blur the background. One way to do that, if you have a camera that you can adjust manually, is to open up the aperture, set to a smaller number, which will make the depth of field shallower which will soften the background or stand back from your subject and zoom in. Most of the time this should give you a similar effect.

Use fill flash, or not – a general rule with digital cameras is to use flash if your subject is standing in front of a bright background such as a window. Unless the room is very dark try to get the shot without a fill flash. This will give you a more even tone and natural looking photograph.

Use the timer and a tripod – you should be in the photo too. It’s most always been the case that, when sharing your photos, you will need to explain that you were there but were taking the photo. Why not be in the shot? Learn how to use the timer on your camera. You can usually set it for anything from 10 to 30 seconds or more to allow you to click the shutter button and casually walk around into the shot with time to smile. It’s usually very simple to set the camera quickly to Self Timer and then back again. Set your camera on a tripod if you have one, otherwise find something sturdy that you can set the camera on while the shot is taken.

Video – you can be a videographer. Most digital cameras these days will allow you to create videos simply. Most cases all you need to do is flip a switch and press a button. Once you are videoing you can zoom in and out. Once you have made your videos you can easily download them to your computer and edit them in various programs that come with most all personal computers. Apple products can use iMovie while Windows users can use Windows Movie Maker and either brands can use many aftermarket programs as well. Both programs are easy to use and have many tutorial videos available online.

I hope that these tips will help you to get the shot that may have gotten away. The most important tip of all is to get the camera out, charge the batteries, learn to use your settings prior to your event and make sure that it’s handy so you can grab it when the opportunity to save a moment for posterity is provided.

Time is fleeting, memories are treasures. Take more pictures this holiday season.

Being grateful for the everyday conveniences in USA by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2016

As modern citizens of the United States, we take too many things for granted. Flip a switch and instantly there is light. Turn on a faucet and you have an abundance of free flowing water. Press a handle and waste matter is whisked out of sight. Our supermarkets are always filled with food and non-food items alike. There’s always gas at the pumps.

But this is not how most of the world lives. Travel to other countries teaches us about the rest of the world. Travel to countries like China or Jamaica or India teach us even more. What if our plush American lives were continually “inconvenienced?” Over two-thirds of the world lives without electricity, so no heaters, air conditioners, refrigeration. The list goes on.

I loved traveling to beautiful places and staying in four-star hotels with room service and pools. I equally loved my travel to places less plush. Twenty years ago I travelled to China for a month with a group of medical students and our instructor. A year later I helped deliver ninety-three babies in Kingston, Jamaica. It’s all good. It was all a learning experience.

In China, electricity was only turned on for two hours a day. You only hoped it was at a convenient time. Generators were few, and used mostly, astonishingly, for televisions tuned to schlock! Water flowed downhill from the mountains into central fountains used for both washing and drinking.

In Jamaica, moderate temperatures left little need for heating or cooling, but water only trickled from showerheads and toilets didn’t always flush. Showers were shared with fifteen other midwives-in-training and the tubs didn’t always drain. This is how more of the world lives than not.

Food was pretty scarce and of minimal quality in both of those countries. I was not travelling in the “big cities” and well-known places of either country. In China we went as far north as the Tibetan province. A disputed area, where we had to be escorted by police for our safety sake. There was barbed wire around the perimeter of the hospital in Jamaica where we brought the babies into the world. It was to protect the doctors, nurses and midwives! Kingston, Jamaica is fraught with violence – the sound of gunshots in the streets accompanied the squalls of babies being born.

We have it pretty nice in the good ol’ US of A. It couldn’t happen here, right? Or could it? Pretty much no one is denying global warming anymore. This could, and has, led to crop failures and further rises in foodstuffs. The reason we are told to have a three-day supply of water and food during weather alerts is because it is estimated that the supermarkets only hold about three days of food on their shelves, should there be an emergency. And we all know what happens at the stores when a snow day is predicted.

So what do you do? First of all, give thanks for all that you have. Stop driving frivolously; you don’t really need strawberries in December. Increase your preparedness and self-sufficiency. Growing even a small amount of your food will leave you feeling secure and proud. Don’t purchase so much imported food or any junk food. If you’re not already doing so, raise chickens for plenty of protein or learn to hunt or fish or forage for nuts and fruits. We leave so much waste in orchards and gardens. Share your wealth.

Continue to be optimistic, but don’t be frivolous. You can do this. Anyone can do this. It can be fun and challenging for all of us, and stabilizing to our country. For we should be very grateful to live in this relatively safe and lush country.

Pumpkin Spice up your life! by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2016

Here’s a couple of ways to add even more pumpkin spice in your life. These snacks are great to have around, to pack in lunches, or pack in a pretty bag and celebrate the season of giving thanks!

Harvest spiced granola

This granola is so good, you’ll want to sing it a 90s love song. Please feel free to swap out ingredients or add your own – a pinch of chili powder might be nice...

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl whisk together:

1/4 cup pumpkin pie filling

1 t sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 cup agave syrup

Set aside

In large bowl toss together:

2 cups whole oats

1/2 cup each

  Flaked coconut

  Sliced almonds

  Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 cup quinoa

Stir in pumpkin mixture and spread onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes tossing every 15 minutes. Let it cool then toss in 1/2 cup dried fruit such as apples, apricots, cherries or cranberries and 1/2 cup of baking chips of your choice – butterscotch would be delicious!!

 

Pumpkin spice popcorn

Heat oven to 275 degrees and grab a large cookie sheet.

6 cups popcorn (from about 3/4 cup kernels)

1 bag pumpkin spice marshmallows

1 cup vanilla baking chips, melted

1 t sea or kosher salt (fine)

1 T vanilla

1 T pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)

1 cup vanilla baking chips, melted

In a large pot melt the butter with marshmallows, then add vanilla and salt. Pour popcorn (and seeds if using) onto the cookie sheet. Drizzle the melted marshmallow mixture and toss lightly – sprinkle on pumpkin spice and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes and let cool.

Reflecting on domestic violence and what needs to be done by on 11/01/2016

I want to begin by reflecting back on October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is important to discuss and acknowledge violent crimes that occur in our community so that we can work together to prevent further crimes from happening and to better support the survivors. In the last session we took steps here in Oregon to provide better resources and support through legislation such as: providing safe harbor and confidentiality for victims of sexual assault who seek services on a college campus; providing funding for emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence and legal and medical advocacy for survivors; and extending the statue of limitations for these crimes to be prosecuted. As a strong supporter of this legislation, I have learned that more needs to be done in order to create a better environment for victims to become survivors and I will continue to work with organizations in our communities, as well as the statewide coalition, to make sure we continue this progress.

I was happy to be able to be part of the conversation about the future of the Villages community representation last month. I think the strong turnout for the most recent meeting at the Resort reflects the communities’ commitment for finding a solution to not currently having a Villages board. I will remain engaged as the conversation continues going forward and provide any help and support I can in order to ensure that the community has the type of local representation they deserve.

Looking ahead to the 2017 session, I have pre-session filed legislation creating an Office of Outdoor Recreation to raise the conversation of recreational tourism in Oregon to the highest policy making level. Currently Washington, Colorado and Utah have this kind of office and it is helping these states to align state policies in order to keep their recreation industries expanding. If Oregon is going to be able to continue to expand our recreation based economy throughout the state, I think it is necessary to have this type of coordination as policies are made. I would envision this office playing a key role in the recreational liability issue that I have discussed before, as well as access to public lands for outdoor recreation.

It’s an honor to represent you and I’m happy to have a conversation about these or any other issues. Please feel free to contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us at any time.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

Unique bond of friendship helps neighbors through struggles by on 11/01/2016

An unexpected knock on the door prompts an unusual discussion between Addie Moore and her neighbor Louis Waters, long-time acquaintances and neighbors but not close friends in their tidy neighborhood in Holt, Colo.

Both are living alone after the deaths of their spouses many years ago and fighting loneliness in their own ways with families many hours distant.

Addie proposes an unorthodox solution to their long, lonely nights: sleeping together as friends with plenty of conversation before turning out the lights and providing physical companionship throughout the night without any further expectations. After thinking about the surprising suggestion, Louis agrees to give the arrangement a try – initially with much trepidation and stealth but as their bond of friendship grows stronger, the two decide to be open about their agreement even though some of the community are shocked and assume much more is happening than conversation and companionship. Soon Addie and Louis are daring enough to visit downtown businesses and go on picnics without concern of the gossip this creates.

This novel is a delight as Addie and Louis’ trust and knowledge of each other grows closer as they share the stories of their lives and their families – children, tragedies, loves and disappointments. Soon challenges arise, of course, as Addie takes on temporary custody of her grandson when his parents separate, considering divorce. Their arrangement is also challenged by her son who heartily disapproves and threatens to withdraw opportunities for her to be with her family.

Haruf is adept at weaving the spell of simple small town life and the neighbors and experiences that bind people into a community. The developing strength of the relationship between Addie and Louis is slowly paced and realistic as two lonely people learn to confide in and trust each other from such an unorthodox beginning, their friendship providing the strength they need to confront the remaining challenges of their lives.

This is truly an unexpected delight of a book. Please don’t miss it!

Kent Haruf is the author of many well-received novels set in the mythical town of Holt, Colorado; this is his last published work before his death at 71 in 2014.

Never ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ with your deep-fried turkey by on 11/01/2016

The human brain.

Most of us have one.

For those who don’t, there are warning labels.

Unfortunately, these warnings don’t appear on actual individuals. Instead, they are issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the monumental task of thinking up ways people might injure themselves using standard household items.

While the commission generally stays ahead of the curve with the help of researchers, lab studies and a select group of retired circus chimps, from time to time a product is embraced so tightly by the general public that there’s simply no time to warn them that actually embracing it could result in serious injury. According to the safety commission, reports of house fires involving large men submerging whole turkeys into deep fryers has risen dramatically in the past decade. This has prompted the commission to issue a special, multi-paged consumer alert called:

Fryer, Fryer Pants on Fire.

Using this handy combustible pamphlet, I’ve organized a safety checklist from the American National Standards Institute, which oversees turkey-fryer safety standards, as well as any consumer product that includes the three components of what safety experts call the Triangle of Fire:

1) A heat source.

2) A meat product.

3) An intoxicated male.

This brings us to safety tip number one:

Never leave your turkey unattended.

Studies show that once the initial excitement of watching hot oil has passed, men quickly get bored and wander off in search of the nearest flat-screen TV. So, as a precaution, the standards institute suggests that wives keep an eye on their turkey at all times — or, at the very least, until he’s done using the deep fryer.

Tip number two:

Always use turkey fryers outdoors.

Given the opportunity, men will set up their turkey fryer in the living room in order to watch football while cooking. This is dangerous because, should his team score at the wrong moment, there’s a good chance the turkey will get spiked into the fryer. And hey, even if you manage to avoid this hazardous situation, there’s also your home’s resale value to consider – meaning that, should you ever decide to sell, describing your home to a potential buyer as having “three bedrooms, two baths and a pleasant fried-turkey smell” will, in many cases, end negotiations.

And finally, tip number three:

Don’t move fryer while it is in operation.

You should always wait until the oil is completely cooled before moving your fryer.

The only exception to this, of course, is if your wife catches you cooking in the living room.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His books “Humor at the Speed of Life” and “Pearls of Writing Wisdom “are available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Episode XII: Half asleep and mint free by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/01/2016

As my escape plans kept dancing through my head like the last tango in France with Nicole Kidman, the scene changed.

Rolling up the dirt road to the farmhouse lumbered an honest-to-god camper coach, with British license plates, driven by an Arabic-looking chap, who was singing along with the blaring CD player rendering a Mamas and the Papas cut of “Monday, Monday.”

I was trying to keep my sanity as I became engulfed in the plot of this Fellini movie. Plus, it was Monday. Can’t trust that day.

Ahmed (sorry Nicole, tough guys don’t dance) was the first out the door to greet the new arrival. My two armed guards were turned to the window as well.

What was that? Did Dolly just wink at me before turning to the window? Yeah. THAT Dolly Traitor Teagarden.

Zabun was the name of the camper captain. He was introduced to Dolly and the two guards. Ahmed was as happy as a Sinai desert camel on oasis day.

“We’ll leave at first light,” Ahmed said – I figure he must have watched a few too many John Wayne movies. “Zabun, check out our British tourist with the camper.”

I was the British tourist (remember the Brit passport Dolly rigged for me back in the good old days).

Zabun was not your typical terrorist. He really liked everything about the camper and that meant the very best the western world of wilderness wonder could offer, right down to showing me how the cruise control worked. Even my armed guard seemed mildly interested.

I considered marrying Zabun’s forehead with the steering wheel, but the camper wouldn’t be able to outrun my Kalashnikov cronie.

But it was apparent I was going to be driving the camper somewhere, and that would have to provide a better opportunity for this private eye than what existed at the moment.

Plus, there was that wink, right?

Or was it an out-of-place eye lash?

I was led back to the farmhouse as the sun melted into the horizon behind a field of some sort of grain. That’s as close as I can get. I used to live in Portland and on the mountain, not Kansas.

Zabun was still humming “Monday, Monday” while Dolly stirred a pot of something that smelled like prison soup. Meanwhile, I was once again cuffed to the chair, consequently, I was actually looking forward to the soup.

Such are the little things when you’re reluctantly playing the lead role in a hostage movie directed by an insouciant Italian.

That night saw me back on the floor, cuffed to the radiator, no blanket, no pillow, no mint.

But my mind was whirling. Why am I driving the camper? And where were we going?

As best I could figure, I had a much better chance driving that rig than a terrorist if we were crossing a border. The conclusion must be that the camper had value.

Or cargo.

But the rear of the camper looked so normal it could have belonged to the Cleavers.

There was a bed in the back. And a sofa. A table. Overhead storage areas. And who knows if that’s a false floor, or not? And who could tell?

Certainly no one would suspect a tweedy Englishman like me. Hell, they’d probably provide me with a briar pipe to cinch the charade.

And then there was Dolly. Wink or no wink.

And there was Zabun harmonizing with Mama Cass.

And somewhere between a Dolly Teagarden eyelash and “Things just turn out that way” I drifted half asleep – with one eye on the nearest Kalashnikov.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Sustainable holiday gifts by Mary Soots on 11/01/2016

The stores have been filled with Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas decorations since September in an effort to inspire holiday shoppers to part with their cash. We shop until we drop and then we shop some more. Online shopping makes it even easier with just a click of a pop-up ad. It seems that people receive gifts that go directly into the donation pile rather than into the house.

Each year, I struggle to think of clever gifts to buy for the person who has everything. It’s a hard thing to do for one who is aware of mass overconsumption. So one year, I chose to have a philanthropic Christmas. I attended an alternative gift fair with dozens of non-profit organizations and made donations in the name of various family members. Together, we supported environmental causes such as a rain forest in southern Mexico, the Conservation Fund, endangered species, the Amazon forest and a few others. We also proudly supported social justice causes such as victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation in Thailand and funded a microloan program. Each organization sent a card to the recipient thanking them for their donation. I had a great time deciding which non-profit organization would be best suited as a gift for each individual. After the initial surprise at receiving their gift, they felt their gift had a greater impact and were happy to give up a gift in exchange for supporting a worthwhile cause.

Other years, I’ve purchased only locally produced goods. Not only are they unique, but they also put money back into our own community. It’s not a hard way to shop since we have such a gifted artistic community on the mountain.

Sustainable gifts can be found in so many ways. Perhaps a cell phone solar charger for camping (this would come in handy in an emergency too). Food makes great gifts, especially if it’s something homemade. If there’s a gardener in your life, you can order heritage seeds and delight them with some exotic fruits and vegetables. If you do purchase something, there are many companies that will make a donation when you purchase their products. Buy something while helping to make the world a better place.

Another thing to keep in mind this holiday season is the gift wrap. Unfortunately, gift wrap is not recyclable and tons of it ends up in the landfill. Instead of wasting money on something that is so environmentally wasteful, think of other alternatives. Perhaps wrap with colorful old magazines or maps and use a holly clipping instead of a bow. Cloth from old sheets, tablecloths, or curtains in beautiful designs and colors makes great wrapping material. Many years ago, I purchased some reusable fabric gift bags for my nephews and nieces and each Christmas, they look for them under the tree. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

If you’re a conscientious gift recipient, you can ask for some alternative gifts as well. Recently, a niece implored that we please not buy any more toys for her kids for Christmas as they had so many already. Instead, she said that she would appreciate gifts that involved activities. This type of gift is something that gives people something to look forward to doing and they will hold on to the memories of the activity (especially if you join in the fun!) Maybe they would enjoy a performance at the Sandy Theater. Maybe they can look forward to whitewater rafting in the spring or a weekend stay at the coast. A family membership to something like OMSI is a gift that they use over and over again.

One year, I asked family members to only give me gifts that they had made themselves. I received the most wonderful gifts! One that I will always treasure was a box of wishes. With this, the person who made the gift distributed blank cards to friends and family members. Each one wrote something that they wished for me. The wishes included things like “the kind of inner peace that leaves you sleeping securely and restfully every night, the kind that comes from honesty, dignity, pride, confidence and living out who you truly are without compromise to your beliefs and values” to more simple things like “I wish that you could have a kiss from a little two-year old boy. Love, Phillip (2 years old).” The sister who gave me this gift said she’d had a great time compiling the wishes.

‘Weather pattern’ – Weather Service changes outlook again by on 11/01/2016

Our fall rains got off to an early start with the arrival of October and never let up until setting a new record. Brightwood has received 16.02 inches of rain so far, compared to the previous record of 14.67 inches set during October 2012. Government Camp had a higher hurdle with its record 15.51 inches recorded in October 1967. Temperatures were close to seasonal averages but rainfall was nearly a daily event.

 The National Weather Service has revised its outlook and returned to its earlier prediction that a La Nina weather pattern will set up during the coming months. If this actually occurs, we can expect our area to experience a more typical winter, but their predictions for our area during the last two months have missed the mark. Regardless, their prediction for our area this coming November expects temperatures to be close to average and precipitation to be a bit above average.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.85 inches including an average 2.5 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 60s during seven years and the 50s during three years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during four years, into the 20s during four years, and into the teens during two years with an average of six days that reach the freezing level. The record November snowfall of 27.7 inches was measured in 1973 and the record 24-hour snowfall of 8.8 inches also occurred in 1973. This record was threatened only two years ago when eight inches was measured on Nov. 13, 2014. As the rain year ended Sept. 30, Brightwood had received an annual total precipitation amount of 91.42 inches, which is 112 percent of the average 81.70 inches.

During November, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 29 degrees and a precipitation average of 12.15 inches, including 33.5 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s during four years, into the 50s during five years and one year in the 40s. Lows had five years in the 20s, four years in the teens and one year in the single digits. The record snowfall total for November was 32 inches set in 1974. The record 24-hour November snowfall of 20 inches was set only recently in 2010, also 2006 and 1996. This record was also threatened recently when 19 inches was measured again during 2010. As the rain year ended Sept. 30, Government Camp had received an annual total precipitation amount of 79.88 inches, which is 92 percent of the average 87.28 inches.


Photographers flock to a popular site.
The View Finder: Take photos, leave no trace by Gary Randall on 11/01/2016

If you haven’t noticed lately, the Pacific Northwest has become quite popular. Many of the folks that are visiting or relocating here are inspired by the photos posted on social platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. We have all seen that epic photo of someone standing on a hill in the foreground with their hands up in the air as if victorious after an epic journey. Behind them you see a sweeping view, idyllic light and Mount Hood towering in the distance. These photos inspire those who yearn to express the human spirit of adventure and exploration. It also causes an increased number of people trekking to these locations. When I post a photo online the most asked question is usually, “Where is that?”

No longer is there an attitude that you should go out and explore the world and find these places. In this day and age it’s about the image and not the adventure. The location that’s easy to get to and to take a striking photo of especially. The result of this is that these iconic, beautiful and many time environmentally sensitive locations are being overrun by folks that may be inexperienced in the outdoors. Many that I have met seem to have the attitude that they are in a landscaped and maintained city park or, with some, an amusement park for extreme outdoor sports. At the end of the day it really is but a way to make an awesome photo to post online in an attempt to feed their own vanity.

This may sound harsh, but as a professional outfitter and guide as well as a photographer and social media practitioner I experience this frequently. You may think that this is about me railing against the virtues of humility but it is not. The purpose of this is to point out that this activity on public land is causing it harm. With the increase of use of all of the trails and facilities in the Mt Hood National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge, my domains, it is more important than ever before to realize our effect on the land. Therefore I feel compelled to make a list of suggestions that will help to minimize the effects of this increased usage. This applies to us all, not just photographers.

Don’t create new trails in established trail areas. Stay on the existing trails. If you can see that someone has already been to an area, look for a trail to it before you cross virgin territory. I was at Elowah Falls one day and observed two photographers looking down and over the embankment to a spot in the creek below. As I approached I could tell that they were considering trailblazing their way to it. I walked up and started a friendly conversation about how beautiful it was there. I told them that there’s a great little trail just behind us that will take them there. They thanked me and took the trail. They were unfamiliar with the location, but if they would have taken just a few more minutes looking they would have found the trail.

Pick up other’s trash. We’ve all heard the saying, “Pack it in. Pack it out”. In this day and age it should be, “Pack it in, pack it… and other less considerate people's trash, out.” I always carry a kitchen trash bag and some Ziplocs in my backpack. They can come in very handy for this and other purposes. If you’re hiking with a dog, pick up the poo with a plastic baggie and do not leave it along the trail with the intent of picking it up on the hike out. Put it in its plastic bag and then put that into the trash bag. If you’re still worried about getting poo in your pack, double bag it.

Don’t pose in sensitive areas. I have seen people standing in or erecting their tents in places off trail just for a photo. This sends a message that this location is fine to walk to which will cause damage in time. Choose a location that a trail already accesses.

Be original. With the sheer amount of people accessing these areas think about why you would want to go to the same location to get the same photograph. This mindset creates a herd. And with any herd it causes a swath of wear to these places. I’m not saying not to go, but think about all of the other less photographed areas left to explore. If we as photographers seek out new locations it will scatter the herd and at the same time you will create more unique photographs.

Buy trailhead or commercial use permits. There is a purpose to purchase forest passes or commercial use permits beyond paying another tax. It’s also a way to help regulate the use of these areas. If you’re hiking frequently consider a season pass. It’s convenient because you don’t have to buy one every time that you go hiking, and it saves you a lot of money. I’m one of a mind that this land is ours to use freely, but in the 21st century we have a few harsh realities that a permit system addresses.

Volunteer. The Forest Service or many social or civic clubs have ways for one to volunteer to clean trails and trailheads. This gives you a chance to give back all that our public lands provide. Contact the US Forest Service office to inquire about how you can help. Join a meet up group and go out for a walk with new friends and teach by example how easy it is to clean a trail as you hike.

None of these points are abstract or obscure concepts. This was how my parents raised me as we hiked on Oregon trails as a boy. I’m not one to claim that we’re doomed in this day and age because of the deterioration of society. Even when you toss that out of that argument there’s one glaring fact that can’t be ignored. There are more and more people coming here and just that fact alone dictates that we treat our trails and public land with even more respect.

The risks of breast cancer and how you can reduce them by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2016

The risk for breast cancer used to be two out of ten people. Now it’s one out of eight. While more treatment options are available now, the incidence of cancer is still increasing, perhaps with our increasingly aging population. Still, it’s time to admit the facts: we are also living in an increasingly toxic world.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Center states that this does not mean you are always at risk, but the one out of eight number covers your risk over a lifetime. At age 20 your risk is more like one in 1,700, so not very high. At age 30 that risk increases to one in 228. But once you reach 50 your risk becomes one in 43. Those are the risk numbers for breast cancer, not overall cancer risk.

You should not panic, but you should know your risk factors and be proactive. The American Cancer Society still recommends a yearly mammogram for any woman over 40. But according to the U.S. Preventive Task Force, a mammogram every two years after age 50 is fine for those with decreased risk factors.

Options other than mammograms include digital mammograms (which are becoming more standard), 3D tomosynthesis, thermography (using heat in the breast to alert to tissue changes) and, of course, self exams. Not all of these methods are covered by insurance, leaving us with some questions.

Interestingly, 85 percent of breast cancer patients (and this includes men) have NO family history of breast cancer. Estrogen dominance appears to drive breast cancer (as well as many other cancers). Alas, many ignore these symptomatic risk factors or may not even know them. The risk factors include excess body fat (especially around the lower abdomen, hips, and thighs), gallbladder disease, pre-menopausal bone loss, slow metabolism and other factors.

Factors that contribute to estrogen dominance include both oral contraceptives and Premarin for over five years, overeating, Type ll Diabetes, depression and stress, as well as faulty liver and gastrointestinal function. Among other factors are exposures to environmental hormone disruptors, like Round-up and other herbicides (see my previous columns). In addition, there are hormone disruptors in cleaning products (including most laundry soaps), personal care items (hair dyes, shampoos) and in plastics like phlalates (even in children’s’ toys), parabens (in cosmetics) and BPA (in soda bottles and other plastic bottles).

Those born after WW ll were raised in an era of high exposures to herbicides, pesticides and other by-products of the war. TV dinners, fast food and decreased backyard gardening led to lesser nutrition as well. Exposure while still in the womb when breast and ovarian cells are maturing leads to damage when adulthood is reached. Exposures to environmental hormone disruptors in infancy and youth, while bodies are still growing is also a risk. In other words, for most people, the damage is already done.

This does not mean we are all doomed to a breast cancer diagnosis. While you cannot change your family heritage of DNA or your previous exposures, you do have recourse. The absolute biggest thing you can do to keep breast cancer at bay is to exercise. Thirty minutes five times a week of brisk walking is great. More than that can lower your risk by 40 percent and help you maintain a healthy weight.

One or fewer alcohol drinks per day appears to be somewhat protective, but “saving up” to have five to seven glasses of wine on the weekend is not! While your daily cup or two of coffee may lead to breast cysts (an uncomfortable risk factor) there is no direct link to breast cancer. And underwire bras show no direct link to breast cancer either. In fact, newer studies have actually shown that underwire bras may decrease the strength of breast ligaments, leading to sagging of breast tissue later in life.

So live the “anti-cancer lifestyle.” Eat cruciferous vegetables, decrease meat, exercise and get the toxins out of your life (including cleaning products, cosmetics and plastics). If you do receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, don’t panic. Those who have emotional support from family and friends within the first six months of diagnosis have an almost 50 percent decrease risk of recurrence. So keep family and friends nearby for health and well-being.

Easy does it by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2016

Bye bye summer – we love you!! Until next time, let's grill one more time and get in some prep for back to reality meals. These minimal ingredient lunch and kid friendly deals are my birthday month gift to you – oh yeah, cake.

Balsamic Chicken

Recently my friend blew my mind with this simple and delicious cooking. Mel and I go way back and fit together like pie ala mode – she'll bring a few ingredients and I'll add a few of mine. It always works out perfectly and somehow all of our picky kiddos get fed. Here's what we did.

Marinade

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 t seasoned salt

1 t cracked pepper

3T Balsalmic glaze

1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk ingredients together and save 2–4 Tablespoons. Add up to two lbs of chicken, toss to coat and let it marinate for 1–4 hours. Let it sit at room temp for 20 minutes before grilling. Heat grill or grill pan over med high heat and grill for about 6 minutes one side. Don't move the meat until you have a nice crust, then grill meat on other side adjusting the temp if necessary. Turn heat to medium and grill covered, turning meat every 3-5 minutes.

Salad "kabobs" – Give the kiddos a skewer and set up a small salad bar with cubes of bread, various veggies, cheeses and even big filled pastas such as tortellini. Put out dips and dressings so they can dress their salad sticks.

Here's what we did:

Sliced cucumber

Cooked corn on the cob, sliced 1/2" thick

Boiled new potatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Red lettuce leaves

Salami slices

Provolone cheese

Oil & vinegar dressing, and Caesar dressing

Texas sheet birthday cake.

I'm in love with a sheet cake and I'm not sorry.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2½ t vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

2¼ cups flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, plus more for decoration

Vanilla Frosting

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups confectioners' sugar

2-3 T cream

2 t vanilla extract

1/8 t salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and lightly flour a 12x17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan.

Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about one minute on medium speed. Add the sugar on medium speed and beat until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in the sour cream on medium high speed until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Pour half of this flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Beat on low speed for five seconds. Pour in half of the milk. Beat on low speed for five seconds. Repeat with the rest of the flour and beat in the remainder of the milk. Do not overmix.

Using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the sprinkles.

Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Now, make the frosting.

For the frosting: Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about two minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for three full minutes. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, more cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more of salt if frosting is way too sweet. Spread frosting all over cooled cake, then top with sprinkles. Slice and serve. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Johnson to push for education and logging standards by on 10/01/2016

October is here and that means school has been in session for about a month now. This is the first year that the Oregon Promise has provided thousands of students with tuition waivers and set them on the path to debt-free education. In September, I visited the Mt. Hood Community College and Columbia Gorge Community College to welcome these incoming students and share the importance of their experience for both Oregon and the nation.

With the Oregon Promise, Oregon was nationally recognized for leading the way in college access and affordability. Our community colleges provide vital training and help students learn the necessary skills to land a well-paying job. Today, at least two-thirds of jobs require some form of post-secondary training, and our state has made a commitment to supporting students in their endeavor to gain these skills. I believe it’s a wise investment for the state to help some students with the cost of tuition in order for them to gain the skills necessary to be successful for life. I was proud to support the Oregon Promise in 2015 and in the upcoming legislative session I will be working to ensure the program remains funded so that Oregon can continue making that promise to its students.

In other local news, it appears the proposed logging project in the Brightwood area will not be moving forward this season. It was determined that the developer would not be able to complete the project prior to the arrival of winter weather. This means the project will be up for review again next season. I will continue to work with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Clackamas County to ensure the proper procedures are followed in order to protect local landowners and the communities involved. I’m also working in Salem with key representatives of the logging industry to see what kind of safeguards might be able to be put in place to ensure that developers are compelled to obey existing laws and to eliminate loopholes that appear to exist. This will be one of my priorities in the upcoming legislative session.

Another priority of mine in the 2017 legislative session is to ensure that every third grader is reading at grade level. The third grade reading benchmark is one of the main components that helps a child be successful. Those that can read at grade level are four times more likely to graduate. An investment in this benchmark will include early interventions, saving the state money down the road and helping the student be much more successful early on.

As always, I am available to talk about these or any other issues that concern you. Please feel free to reach out to my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)


'Before the Fall,' by Noah Hawley
‘Before the Fall’ creates mystery following deadly plane crash by on 10/01/2016

Scott is initially hailed as a hero after swimming for his life after a high-profile plane crash while also saving a young boy over almost impossible odds. They are the only survivors from the passengers and crew, which soon places Scott in the middle of intense and unrelenting media glare. However, as the investigation into the crash revs up – with scrutiny of the celebrity passenger list as well as the airline’s crew – Scott soon finds that he is also a potential suspect as the authorities strive to determine the cause.

The many flash-backs which describe the crash of the charter jet in foggy, stormy weather off Martha’s Vineyard are harrowing and dramatic. But the real meat of the novel is in the stories of the passengers and crew members leading up to that fateful journey. While Scott Burroughs is a simple painter who became friends with some of the plane’s influential passengers at the weekly marketplace in Martha’s Vineyard, the boy he saves is the youngest child of a powerful media mogul’s family. Another couple on the doomed flight is a Wall Street power broker and his wife. In the media, there is much speculation about why these influential persons were traveling together and whether the crash is evidence of some sort of conspiracy to manipulate broader events.

While Scott struggles to come to terms with his survival and the trauma of the crash, the young boy he rescued from the stormy Atlantic battles his fears from the traumatic events as well as the loss of his family. A special bond exists between these two survivors but the media frenzy and the official investigations limit their contact and question Scott’s motivation since the future custodian of the boy will be privy to a substantial fortune.

Finally, the many stories of the passengers and crew come together to answer the big question of why the crash happened. By the time this is revealed to the reader, an expertly written novel with great insight into the human condition and our society has been appreciated.

This terrific novel has my strongest recommendation.

Noah Hawley is the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critic’s Choice and Golden Globe Awarding-winning creator of the TV show “Fargo.” He was also a writer and producer for the hit TV series “Bones.” This is his fourth novel.

Why not start your day with a flaming Pop tart? by on 10/01/2016

Why not start your day with a flaming Pop tart?

Cooking can be dangerous, especially when it includes all three components of what experts call the Triangle of Fire:

1) A heat source

2) Combustible material

3) Our son.

While I can vouch for him having absolutely nothing to do with any wildfires, he was in fact responsible for the 2015 Oak Street popcorn smoke-out. It only took that one experience for us to realize just how dangerous popcorn kernels can be once their internal temperature exceeds 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Let me just say that if your microwavable popcorn bag is ever allowed to expand to the size of your favorite pillow, DO NOT open it.

Ever.

Our government has special underground dump sites specifically designed for this kind of toxic material; please use them.

However, even with all of the precautions we’ve taken, it would seem that our family has been overlooking another potentially dangerous component in the Triangle of Fire:

The Flaming Pop-Tart.

According to a Philadelphia newspaper, that’s exactly what happened to an unsuspecting New Jersey woman who said her kitchen caught fire after her cherry-flavored Pop-Tart “burst into flames like a blow torch!”

I’ll be the first to admit that a fiery breakfast treat spewing artificial fruit filling would be a scary thing. In fact, aside from finding the real “Cap’n Crunch” floating around in my cereal bowl, I can’t think of a more frightening breakfast experience. However, there are a couple of things worth noting about the flaming Pop-Tart incident — the first of which is that my son had nothing to do with it.

He doesn’t even know anyone in New Jersey.

Secondly, the Pop-Tart in question had been left unattended for 20 minutes while Brenda Hurff took her children to school. It was during this time that investigators believe the Pop-Tart “freakishly ignited” as a result of either a) the toaster malfunctioning, b) the pastry malfunctioning, or c) the surprisingly combustible nature of artificial fruit filling.

To ensure the safety of the general public, investigators called in agents from both the FBI and CIA to make sure that the burning Pop-Tart was, indeed, an isolated incident with absolutely no to any terrorist channels.

In addition, they also ruled out my son, and any links to him watching The Food Channel.

In case you were wondering, investigators have also decided against the possibility of spontaneous combustion as a cause for the blaze. This conclusion was reached after days of around-the-clock observation of assorted Pop-Tarts in a controlled environment, after which the following joint statement was released by the agents involved in the study:

“We quit.”

In any case, the fact that we don’t have to worry about living in a world of spontaneously combusting Pop-Tarts is something that should help us all rest a little easier.

But I’d still suggest keeping them away from the popcorn, though.

Just to be safe.

The Adventure Continues: Don't Kid with Me Nicole by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2016

When it came to women there was precious little doubt I was on a serious losing streak – think Casey Stengel’s lovable Mets.

It went back to the time when I lost Hope. After ventilating my fedora with a terrific shot, she had matriculated to state prison and was still wearing her graduation outfit of solid orange.

Then came Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states, who, unsatisfied with that dishonorable title, had thrown in with Johnny Longo and the Grimaldi brothers for a mere twenty-five large and left me tossing in the Reno wind.

Then the notorious Natasha LaRue, who cast some sort of witchy spell over me and ferried me off to France, evidently as some sort of play toy while she laundered money for a modern version of Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, and ended up with a hole in her head – but a least the cheese was delicious.

Finally, all seemed to turn out well due to the diligence and dalliance of Dolly Teagarden, the British diplomat attached to the American embassy in France. But, keeping with the comparison to the Amazin’ Mets, my losing streak continued as Dolly was no more a diplomat than I was Marv Throneberry.

This shipwreck of women has left me tied to a trio of terrorists, and a complicit Dolly, and now tethered to a kitchen chair somewhere in the French countryside in a centuries old farmhouse with an alarmingly modern set of phones, computers, and other equipment I can’t identify.

I haven’t been knocked around, nor have I ever been more than three steps from an assault rifle in the hands of the wrong guy. The boss of the three Arabic types is known as Ahmed – it sounds like something you might utter if you were suddenly surprised by Nicole Kidman asking you to dance. He speaks English. He and Dolly have a thing going. I have nothing going. No plan.

At least that’s the way three days went by at the country chalet. My hands were untied twice a day to eat, if you want to call it that – seems no one in this idyllic setting ate cheese. My hands and ankles were set free when I needed the facilities. The bathroom, or water closet to the French, or loo to the Brits, was separate from the actual bathroom. It was a commode, nothing more, except for a window high on the wall, maybe, just maybe, large enough to squeeze through, or maybe not. Even if the window was breeched, there was little cover outside, just a couple spindly trees that couldn’t conceal Twiggy.

Like I said, by end of day three, no plan.

It might have helped if I understood why I was part of this plot. But whenever I brought it up, or anything for that matter, Ahmed (why yes, Nicole, I’d love to dance) just turned away, Dolly’s mouth turned into a slit that a timber rattler would have envied, and the assault rifle would bump into the back of my head.

But by day four, a couple things became apparent. Despite not understanding a single word Ahmed (Nicole, what fragrance is that?) said over the phone, or being able to decipher a single letter off the computer screen, we were either awaiting orders or reinforcements. The fact that several times each day after a phone exchange, Ahmed (it’s OK if I lead isn’t it, Nicole?) and Dolly would exchange glances and one, or both, would impatiently shrug their shoulders. Another thing, and perhaps the most important, was that the tough guy with the Kalashnikov was losing interest in me – not totally his own fault, for my passive behavior would have coaxed a Spanish fighting bull into a coma.

So I whiled away the hours, eating my two meals sans fromage, making rare eye contact with Dolly, whirling Nicole Kidman around the room with a frenzy of tango moves that kept her breathless, but always looking for an opening.

I had no plans on spending my last days with this unsavory band of messianic muttonheads.

Nicole and I were waltzing out of here.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Leave No Trace principles by Mary Soots on 10/01/2016

We were all troubled recently by the vandalism that involved the tipping over of an iconic sandstone rock pedestal affectionately called the “duckbill” on Cape Kiwanda. The natural rock formation was deliberately destroyed by a group of people.

Although Oregon receives approximately 45 million visitors annually to its parks and natural areas according to statistics, the incidence of vandalism is relatively small. On a hike last year, I was very disturbed when I noticed that a piece of ancient forest had been destroyed by someone who had removed a large piece of trunk (approximately 3 feet by 5 feet by 1 foot) from a Douglas fir tree. The individuals who had removed the piece of trunk had used a ladder to access an area approximately 10 feet from the base of the tree and left the tree to perish.

These are examples of intentional destruction of our natural beauty. On this side of the mountain, campers occupy illegal campsites, leaving trash in their wake. But there many examples of unintentional damage to our environment as well. One is that 45 million visitors cannot help by leave a trace.

With so many new residents moving into this region, it is inevitable that there is more traffic through the area. Where was once a random encounter with another person on the hiking trail along Oneota Gorge is now a scene reminiscent of a college frat party. In the age of technology, the problem is self-perpetuating. A person photographs an incredibly beautiful place and posts it to their Facebook page and soon 10 people want to see that same place. They in turn post beautiful photographs to their Instagram accounts and soon the area becomes a crowded tourist attraction.

It is a sign of the time and we must learn to share the outdoors with other users and allow them to enjoy the same beauty. We can be aware of the impact that we have when we venture into the outdoors. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics offers the following among its tips:

Plan Ahead and Prepare

•             Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.

•             Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.

•             Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.

•             Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Leave What You Find

•             Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

•             Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

•             Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.

•             Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

•             Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.

•             Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.

•             Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.

Respect Wildlife

•             Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.

•             Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

•             Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.

•             Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.

•             Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

 Be Considerate of Other Visitors

•             Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

•             Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.

•             Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.

•             Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.

•             Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

La Nina pattern no longer in line for October by on 10/01/2016

Contrary to the forecast, September was cooler and wetter than average. During the first eight days, high temperatures never exceeded the 60s and rain occurred during every day but one in Brightwood. Warmer daytime temperatures followed during the following week but the 18th and 19th recorded unusually heavy rainfall for September, with Brightwood getting soaked with 2.13 inches of rain. The last weekend of the month accompanied a brief period of summer-like weather but it appears that fall will arrive on schedule.

The National Weather Service has rescinded its earlier outlook and no longer expects a La Nina pattern to set up, at least not during the fall and winter months. The forecast for our area again calls for warmer temperatures and lower precipitation than average during October.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low temperature of 43 and a precipitation average of 6.52 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during eight years, and into the 60s during the remaining two years. Low temperatures have dropped into the 40s once, into the 30s during seven years and into the 20s during two years.

During October, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 36 degrees, and a precipitation average of 7.03 inches, including 5.5 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during six years and into the 60s during four years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during three years, into the 20s during six years, and into the teens once. The record snowfall in October was a 34 inch total set in 1984. A record 24-hour measurement of 15 inches was set in 1984, although more recently, a 12 inch amount was recorded on Oct. 20, 2009.


Some creative photoshopping.
The View Finder: The art of photoshopping by Gary Randall on 10/01/2016

“Is that photoshopped?” I hear that question every now and then, mostly on social media, although not as much as I used to ten years ago. I suspect that it could be that digital photography has become accepted more, and with websites such as Instagram that allow the user to alter their photos with a touch of a thumb, most of the time in an attempt to emulate a bad film photo, people are more accepting of photos with an artistic twist.

Photoshop is a photo editing program, but the word is now used as a transitive verb usually in past tense to describe an altered photo. An altered photo is a very broad description for a process that can easily go from simply resizing a photo to altering a photo into representing something that wasn’t there. There are those who find no fault at all in the photographer editing their own photos, and there are those who say that one dare not touch their photo lest it become fake.

In reality, even back when we sent our photos to the drug store they were altered in some way through the process, usually in an attempt to auto correct by the technician or because of the quality of the maintenance or calibration of the machine used to develop the film and even the type of film that we used.

As a photographer who learned how to shoot using a 35mm camera, a Yashica Electro 35 to be precise, and learned how to develop my own black and white photos I have my own take on the whole, sometimes controversial, subject.

Back when I started out as a hobbyist in 1977 I wanted to learn how to develop my own film in a darkroom. I joined a camera club and learned from the “old guys” there. One thing that I did learn is that it’s not just a simple process of developing, rinsing, fixing and drying. There’s also more to enlarging and making a print than what I suspected. What I learned the most is how much one can alter the look of the photo either by accident or on purpose in the darkroom. This is not to mention how one can alter a photo while they are making the image in the camera using the basic adjustments.

While in the darkroom one is able to push or pull the process which involves leaving it in the developing solution for a longer or shorter period of time, as well as dodging and burning areas independently of other areas. This was a favorite process of Ansel Adams and how he was able to put into practice his Zone System. Masking can be done with cut outs made of cardboard during the printing/enlarging process. Pieces of other photos can be combined, other details removed. One can be creative in the darkroom and most don’t realize that this was done regularly.

The composites that I mentioned that were made in the darkroom are still done today, and are the likely source of the use of the word “photoshopped” as a verb. These include images that include components that were not a part of the scene at the time such as huge moons, false skies or a person in a scene that they weren’t a part of. Some do it not to deceive but to create art. It’s done as an artistic method and the image or the artist usually makes it known. But as with all good things in all good things there will always be those who abuse it. If it’s not real, say so.

I say that in a judgmental way and I’m not afraid to say that. Any kind of deception isn’t good. In the world of photography it makes those who would otherwise enjoy genuine hard earned and skillfully made photos question the photo’s authenticity. It also makes beginners hesitate to enjoy the freedom that they have today in digital photography to be able to develop their own photos without chemicals or a dark room.

In digital there’s no such thing as not adjusted, or as some call it, “SOOC,” straight out of camera. It’s a myth that the image is a pure image. You have presets that are programmed onto the camera when it’s manufactured, usually Landscape, Portrait or Vivid, Neutral or even Black and White. All of these are processes that develop your photo in the camera. An engineer is, essentially, processing your photos for you, so why not do it yourself?

All of this considered, today we have the ability to do the same processes with our computers with the lights on. In my work, my processing workflow follows closely the processes that are used in a darkroom. Exposure, contrast, color correct, dodge, burn etc. Even the one “special effect” that I use was made for film photography, the Orton effect.

I urge anyone who has ever wanted to learn to become a photographer and develop their own photos to not let digital stop them. I also tell them to not let the judgment of others affect what they do in either life or photography. Don’t let the question, “Is that photoshopped?” stop you from being creative with your photography. And the best part is that, due to the introduction of the program Lightroom you can say no it’s not, that is until “lightroomed” becomes a verb.

Down to the core, apples offer strong health benefits by Victoria Larson on 08/31/2016

More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown today, yet only a few varieties make up 80 percent of what we buy! What a shame, given the many benefits of all those types of apples.

While apples are high on the list of fruits that should be chosen in organic form, they’re still an important source of many antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, calcium d-glucarate and quercitin, plus all the constituents we haven’t discovered yet. If you cannot get organic apples, at least wash them in a mild vinegar/water rinse to reduce the amount of contaminants.

Washing reduces E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks as well as decreases some pesticide residues. Do not wash with dish detergent as the residue from the dish detergent can dissolve the mucous lining of your gut, causing gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea.

And do not peel the apples as the skin of one medium sized apple provides a whopping 20 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Better to eat the peels. The French National Institute for Health found that it is the peels of apples that are high in procyanidins. Lab studies showed that animals fed apples with the skin on were 50 percent less likely to die of colon cancer. When choosing between apple juice or apple cider, choose the cider, as it is made of apples with the skin on. Cider is also an unpasteurized and unfiltered, “raw” food. Therefore it should be cloudy and brown. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been filtered many times and is heated so it will stay fresh for a longer shelf-life.

Most people prefer an apple that will not turn brown quickly, but this may be a mistaken choice. Commercial growers have developed apples that don’t turn brown by decreasing the chemicals that oxidize the apple. This is a consumer-driven product and the kind of thing we need to think about when we purchase food. An apple that turns brown is a healthier choice as most of the polyphenols are in the skin of the apple. This is why your apple cider will be brown and the juice will be “soda-colored” and clear.

Apples also contain flavonoids which are super antioxidants. The Nurses’ Health Study found that women who ate one or more apples a day were 37 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. Finnish studies found those with the highest consumption of apples were 46 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. A Netherlands study found that men who ate one green apple a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Onions and tea also help decrease the risk of heart attack.

Important to our aging society is decreasing the risk of cancer. Apples provide the benefit of calcium d-glucarate, which is also found in bean sprouts and grapefruit. The chemical structure of calcium d-glucarate is similar to the body’s own detoxifying agent, glucaronic acid. Therefore, eating apples (an apple a day, anyone?) helps eliminate toxins, including excess hormones, via urine and stool. This detoxifying agent has been known to decrease the size of existing tumors as well as helping fight colon, lung, and prostate cancers.

High fiber foods like apples, cruciferous vegetables and beans help bind harmful cholesterol, hormones, and harmful fats, speeding their removal from your body. This helps to avoid toxic build-up in your bowels. Fiber binds with excess estrogen molecules and other hormones to block their re-absorption into the bloodstream. This means a decreased risk of hormone cancers such as breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers.

The peels of apples also contain high amounts of quercetin. Also found in citrus fruit rinds (organic please), onions and tea, quercetin helps reduce radical damage to the eyes and decreases the risk of allergies. Seems to me a better choice than over-the-counter allergy medicine that leaves you feeling very groggy and foggy. There are people out there driving while taking OTC allergy medicine! When one apple a day, with the skin on, provides as much quercetin as one-half cup of tea or two-thirds cup of raw onions.

From 1950 to 2000 a pesticide known as methyl parathion was used on apples and other fruits. Many of us ate them when we were younger. Methyl parathion is a neurotoxin that was outlawed in 2000 due to child safety laws. Round Up (see previous columns) is still used on fruit and vegetable crops, sometimes in your own backyards. Round Up has been linked to genetic damage in humans and is now classified as carcinogenic to humans. It has been linked to reproductive problems and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I advise against the use of Round Up anywhere as it seeps into groundwater.

Organophosphate pesticides have been found in more that 70 percent of apples. Farmers in India use Coca Cola to kill pests in the fields. Boy oh boy, doesn’t that tell you something! We need much more transparency regarding pesticide use. Know your fields, your neighbors’ fields and your own backyard. Make sure the person telling you the produce is organic is not using the term loosely. Or just grow your own, organically or biodynamically.

On my farm I have Clackamas County’s oldest, living Gravenstein apple tree, as well as three other varieties of apples. I like to take my apples to the Foster Farms Cider Fest and hand crank the cider press handle and watch the sweetly-scented brown cider flow into my vintage, apple-shaped glass bottle. What fun and yum!

Recreation liability law a priority for Johnson by on 08/31/2016

September is here and that means fall is right around the corner. After a summer of networking on the Mountain, I’m excited to fill you in on what I’ve been working on!

As you may have read in previous issues, I have been working to update recreational liability law. Any business that provides a recreational activity usually requires the participant to sign a pre-activity liability waiver (think ski tickets). This acknowledges that there are natural risks associated with the activity, which helps protect the business from expensive lawsuits brought by customers who had a negative experience based on a natural risk of the activity. These waivers are, of course, not meant to relieve all responsibility of the provider but a recent court case has since stated that these waivers really don’t protect a business. Therefore, providers have to pay for more expensive liability insurance, or end up in a costly lawsuit. In order to prepare for this potential cost, any business providing a recreational service will likely be seeing increased costs and greater liability to provide the activity.

This topic is especially important for the Mountain and Villages area because of the number of businesses that provide recreational activities. Anyone who allows access to their land for recreation, various parks and recreation programs, outfitter/guides, resorts, running events and of course businesses like Timberline and Ski Bowl could be subject to similar lawsuits. As a result of their liability insurance costs going up, the price of the activities they provide will also go up. The net result is that we may see less visitor traffic, due to the high price of the activities. Obviously this would have a negative impact on the local economy.

So, what am I doing to help solve this issue? I am introducing legislation in the 2017 legislative session to create a position at the state level to focus solely on recreational tourism, help solve issues like the one described above, and also promote growth and protection to support the future economic success of the recreational tourism industry. Other states around the west including Colorado, Utah and Washington have created similar positions and this has helped give the recreation industry a voice and a place at the table as state policies are created. This is a way that we can make sure that issues of local importance like recreational liability get the serious attention that they deserve. I’m excited to bring this legislation forward because it will not only address the conversation about recreational liability, but it will also give the recreational tourism industry the recognition it deserves for the contribution it makes to our state. I hope to share more on this as I continue to work with stakeholders and find solutions.

Last month, I held a town hall at the Resort and had a great turnout. We discussed the proposed logging project in Brightwood/Tim Rim area and the valid concerns held by many of the local residents in that community. I was happy to step forward and connect with the local citizens there to make sure that they were being heard by the state agencies involved like the Oregon Department of Forestry and to help monitor the situation.

If there are any local issues that you would like to address, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

I’m looking forward to connecting with you in the district soon. Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

Recluse’s evolution at heart of surprising ‘A Man Called Ove’ by on 08/31/2016

Ove is to be the grumpiest, most unpleasant and difficult person in his small neighborhood. Since the tragic death of his wife, his only pleasure seems to be enforcing his rigid rules on his neighbors and sticking with his entrenched routine – while insisting that he is left alone. When an unruly new family – including a very pregnant wife, two lively children and a husband who is totally incapable as a handyman – arrives, Ove’s solitude and well-ordered existence is shattered.

Ove is so devastated by his overwhelming loneliness and grief that he has finally decided to end it all. But every time he sets out to implement his plans, a neighborhood emergency interrupts him and pushes his tolerance to the max. And every time Ove helps out with a neighborhood challenge, it only seems to open the door for more interruptions and situations that pull him out of his precious solitude and into the middle of the neighborhood’s small and large calamities. Soon Ove ends up with constant interruptions from his lively – and well-meaning – neighbors and the responsibility of a near-dead stray cat with attitude. Totally unacceptable!

In spite of his rigorous ways of thinking and living, Ove is soon revealed to the reader as a man with a big heart who is honest and can be totally depended upon with skills many other no longer cultivate. Soon he becomes a resource that his neighbors depend upon while also making room in their hearts for his curmudgeonly ways. But will Ove be able to open his home and his life to others? Or will he be successful in his plans to retreat and ultimately seek that final peace he longs for?

This is a surprising book with a serious subject but filled with heartwarming humor. “A Man Called Ove” is a must-read for everyone. I highly recommend this delightful book!

(Fredrik Backman is the author of several other bestsellers in his native Sweden. He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.)

I’ll be dressing as Marilyn Monroe to help fight cancer by on 08/31/2016

I don’t have good-looking legs.

Not even in heels, which I have worn during the Men’s March Against Domestic Violence, and also the night I turned 21. Fortunately, in both cases (Well, one for sure) I had pants on, so other than looking like a standard poodle walking on its hind legs for a dog biscuit, everyone was spared from seeing my hairy stork legs.

To be honest, even a stork would probably wear pants if it had my legs.

However, come next weekend. I will jeopardize the vision of hundreds of people at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in my hometown by dressing as Marilyn Monroe for the “Mr. Relay” fundraiser.

Naturally, I will be wearing heels. And yes, at some point my skirt will be blown upward, revealing a sight that even Miley Cyrus said “Crosses the line of decency.”

I’m relieved to say I won’t be alone in this endeavor.

At least, I better not be.

The way it was explained to me, there will be about a dozen men dressing as their favorite female movie actress or character. Given that I’ll be turning 50 a few days later, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to cross off “Emotionally scar as many people as possible all at once” from my bucket list. I had actually considered dressing as “Black Widow” from “The Avengers,” but the thought of wearing something THAT skintight had me worried. Not so much because of my figure, but out of fear that my growing lack of flatulence control as I’ve aged might cause the suit to expand like a piece of Hubba Bubba bubble gum.

If it were to pop, the concussion could cost people their hearing. And I don’t even want to think of what could happen if the stage is anywhere near an open flame.

Remember the Hindenburg?

So for everyone’s safety, I’m going to stick with Marilyn Monroe. Though there is still the risk of emotional scarring, at least there’s good ventilation.

Some of you might be asking, “Why are you doing this?”

Others might be asking, “Where exactly is Florence, Ore., so I can protect the one I love by going nowhere near it this weekend?

Rest assured that as long as you stay on the I5 corridor through Oregon, you will be safe. As for why I’m doing this? A portion of the money each of us raises in this competition goes to support cancer research, with the rest going to programs in and around my community. Like many of you, I have lost people I love to cancer, including a best friend who was barely 30.

And yes, he had much better legs than me. If my hairy stork legs can help keep someone else from losing a loved one to cancer, I’m all in.

Even if “in” means wearing a short dress and high heels.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

The Adventure Continues: A girl’s gotta make a living by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/31/2016

Dolly and I worked our way around a Continental breakfast buffet in the basement of the train station hotel, picking up melon, croissants, orange marmalade and bowls of steaming French coffee. There was another couple in the room – a sad, middle-aged man drooped over his bushy mustache avoiding eye contact with what must have been his wife, her hair longing desperately for a shampoo, yielding a faraway look into a past she’d left behind, or perhaps never had.

In comparison, Dolly and I were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The night before, in the cozy hotel bed, after evening antics, Dolly laid out the plan. More importantly, she explained my role. It was a terrible idea. I’d be making myself seen in such exotic places as Brussels, Luxembourg and Baden-Baden.

Right. Exotic. There is no one in Brussels younger than seventy – and it’s not a good looking seventy. Luxembourg is a walled fortress dating back to the conquering armies of Rome – with all the charm as well. Baden-Baden has a history that matches the surrounding Black Forest in color and shame.

Dolly sensed my reluctance and spent breakfast tilting her head to one side like a cocker spaniel, trying to lure me in. Seeing her situation deteriorating, she played the Teagarden Card.

“Think about it Max,” she cooed like a Paris pigeon. “We’d be checking in with each other all the time.”

I shook my head slowly while munching away on my croissant smeared with marmalade. In harmony with the munching, things got fuzzy. Dolly’s spaniel became blurred. The couple seemed to disappear, which wasn’t such a bad thing, but the floor coming up in my face was.

I ended up on a bench in the back of what seemed to be a delivery van, empty in the back except for me on one side, and two dusky chaps on the opposite bench seat. They looked like a couple extras off the set of Lawrence of Arabia – perhaps cousins of Anthony Quinn or Omar Sharif. They even had rifles nestled on each side. All I had was a headache of hangover proportions and a smear of blood on my upper lip. I felt like I’d gone 15 rounds with Joe Frazier.

The driver was barely visible in profile, while the front passenger seat concealed anyone who might be sitting in it. We were motoring well within the speed limit on what the French call an “N” road, their version of an interstate, four-lane divided.

The faulty vision began to clear up. Of my two immediate adversaries, one was alert, certainly able to handle himself, and not exactly enamored with me. The other was fading in and out of a nap, his head bobbing in rhyme with the road. If I could get to the tough guy quickly enough, I’d probably still have time to take care of Sleepy. My only restraint was a seat belt. But the real problem was: what, if anything, was in the front passenger seat.

And where was Dolly?

In a voice raised over the din of the van, the tough guy jabbered something to the driver, who turned slightly and cast a quick glance at me. “Yes, you moron, I’m awake, I have a headache, and I’m pissed” my return glance said as best I could form it without a Berlitz book.

That got me nothing but a slight sense of satisfaction.

Sleepy raised an eyelid then went back to his private place. Tough guy flicked looks at me but seemed uncomfortable fixing his gaze against my unblinking glare.

“What the hell’s going on?” I yelled at tough guy but loud enough for the driver to hear. “If someone doesn’t say something I’m gonna make a mess out of this vacation trip through the French countryside.”

Her head leaned around the passenger seat. The cocker spaniel had split, replaced by the smug visage of a sassy, satisfied woman.

“You gotta be kidding me,” I said, dripping with disbelief.

“Hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, love,” she said.

After all this, I’m still Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Cloth napkins save paper by Mary Soots on 08/31/2016

I recently had the good fortune of attending a barbeque hosted by a friend and neighbor. Dinner was served in an idyllic setting, like many homes on the mountain—outdoors, surrounded by trees, accompanied by the music of the nearby Sandy River. It was a casual affair, just a few neighbors gathered to enjoy each other’s company on a warm summer evening.

While this is a familiar scene to most of us, what made that particular evening feel like a special occasion was that the hostess had draped the outdoor tables with beautiful embroidered linen tablecloths and used linen napkins.

It was only a few days later when I was in Portland that I couldn’t resist driving through a popular donut chain. I ordered one glazed donut and the young man placed it in a bag and handed me ten paper napkins with it. Ten napkins?!? Really? Doesn’t he know there is only limited space in the side pocket of my car door to store extra napkins?

It seems that this sort of excess use of paper napkins is rampant in the fast food world. I have been known to keep one or two and hand back the rest, leaving the perplexed server pondering what is wrong with this crazy woman? Apparently I don’t conform to the mold of people who simply disregard the excess and throw the napkins in the trash. It is my hope that by giving the server pause, perhaps the next person will only receive five napkins with their donut (or sandwich).

Paper accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste and 33 percent of municipal waste. Handing out fistfuls of napkins is obviously eco-insensitive, but it wastes perfectly good paper by providing, in some cases, at least twice as much as necessary. Additionally, the cost of all the wasted napkins must cut into profits for restaurants. A minor change can be made by teaching servers to limit the use of napkins. This would cut expenses into their bottom line by at least 50 percent.

Schools cafeterias can also teach children that they should take only what they will use. Children will carry this ecological awareness into the workplace when they in turn become the servers in restaurants. Parents can support this teaching at home as well by reducing their use of paper products. Instead of reaching for a paper towel, why not use a kitchen towel to dry your hands? And instead of using paper napkins at home, why not use cloth napkins? Keep napkins at arm’s reach so they are easily accessible rather than stored in a linen closet.

By foregoing the use of paper products, you will cut your bottom line as well, and keep paper from going to the landfill. Towels and napkins can be reused and simply be tossed in with a load of laundry. A bonus is that you will never run out of supplies.

Something else I noticed that summer evening as we dined al fresco at my friend’s barbeque. When the tables were set with linen, the formal atmosphere somehow made people behave differently, somehow more genteel, a little more on their “company” behavior. Why not give it a try?

Reduced La Nina expected to arrive this fall by on 08/31/2016

August has been exceptionally sunny with only four days having cloudy skies and the rest being clear. Despite the abundant sunshine, no record high temperatures were recorded, and hot weather was limited to three days in the 90s in Brightwood during the 18th to the 20th with another three day hot spell during the last week of the month. High temperatures averaged just two to three degrees above normal for the month in both Brightwood and Government Camp. Rainfall was much less than average, as would be expected.

The National Weather Service has reduced its earlier expectations for the onset of a La Nina pattern, although the forecast continues to predict the probability one will become established this fall and winter period. Their outlook for our area during September calls for above average temperatures and precipitation near normal.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70, an average low temperature of 48 and a precipitation average of 3.41 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 90 degrees or higher during four years, and into the 80s during the remaining six years. September has had a total of 11 days reaching 90 degrees or higher during the past 20 years and only one day that recorded a freezing temperature. Over the past 10 years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s during six years and into the 30s the remaining four years.

During September, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43 degrees, and a precipitation average of 3.35 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during nine years and into the 70s during the remaining year. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during nine years, and only one year settled for the 40s. Snowfall in September is somewhat rare, with the record four-inch total set in 1972. A record 24-hour measurement of three inches was set on Sept. 23, 1984, although more recently, a 0.2-inch amount was recorded in 2009 and trace amounts were observed on each of the four days during Sept. 26-30, 2009.


Try not to use direct sunlight.
The View Finder: Tips for taking cell phone photos by Gary Randall on 08/31/2016

What did we ever do without our cell phones? In this era of miraculous technology it's hard to remember how it was to wait until we got home to make a call or to search for a phone booth along the way. They have revolutionized communication. These little devices have also revolutionized photography as well.

Gone are the days of limiting the amount of photographs that you take or the need for delayed gratification due to having to send the film out for developing. We just snap, smile, share with our friends on social media or email then forget about them as we continue to record in more pictorial detail our day to day lives.

As cell phone camera technology is improved the pictures become better and better. They have become so good that they have essentially replaced the point and shoot camera. They are all the average person will ever require for their personal photography needs, and even though they have become incredibly capable, they still take a little experience to master, especially in challenging light. A few tricks can make your photos even better.

Don’t shoot with a dirty lens. As we carry our phone here and there we can put them through a lot. Dust and dirt can collect on the lens of the camera. A little lens cleaner on a soft cloth will help to keep your photos clear and crisp.

Don’t miss the shot. Cell phone cameras won’t give you an instant shutter actuation. They take a second or two to find and focus your subject. This is referred to as shutter lag. Anticipate this shutter lag and be prepared to get the shot a few moments prior to the moment. This is especially true with moving objects.

Don’t use direct sunlight when photographing people. Find bright shade to eliminate sharp contrast of glare and shadows. Your subject’s eye won’t be as apt to be squinting.

Don’t use your flash. The stark light of your flash will wash out your photos. There’s an HDR (high dynamic range) setting, use it. And of course there are always exceptions to the rule. I like to use a flash when my subjects are backlit, such as at sunset.

Don’t zoom. Zooming with your cell phone camera is not an optical zoom but an electronic enlargement of the image. The image quality suffers when you zoom in. Choose to move forward or back to fill the frame. If you have a cluttered background, move in to fill the frame to make your subject dominate the scene.

Don’t use harsh light. If you are going to do portraits choose to do them in either mid morning or late afternoon. The light during these times has a less harsh feel and is more warm and welcoming. The camera will struggle less with the light and the photos will turn out nicer.

Don’t settle for straight out of the camera. Post-process them. Your camera does, why not you? Download applications such as Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile to adjust the photo to make it look its best. Most camera phones come with their own image editing application.

Don’t be selective in what you shoot. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital. You increase your odds of getting a great photo if you take more of them.

Don’t forget about them. In the past we would take our photos, print them and put them into a photo album. We can still do that today even though we’re no longer using film. You can either print them yourself if you have a printer, go to the drugstore and use their kiosk or you can send your digital file to a company online who can print them and send them back. Even better is that you can now self publish your own book in any quantity, including a single issue of your vacation photos.

Do have fun with it. It’s always with us when in the past we would leave our cameras at home today it’s usually within arm’s reach at any time of the day. You have a much better chance these days to get a unique photo of life as it happens around us. With these few little tricks you can make your photos better, but it takes practice and the willingness to tell your camera what to do.

Digging deeper and asking more about groceries by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture current research reveals that nationwide, approximately 160,000 farmers are currently selling their products via local markets like farmers’ markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture), etc.

This is great for communities as it keeps money local, brings fresher food to consumers, provides local jobs and decreases transportation vehicles on our already clogged roadways. The USDA also reports that sales of local food increased from $5 billion to $14 billion between 2008 and 2014. That’s good news for participating farmers. It’s a bandwagon farmers want to jump on, for obvious reasons.

What we need though is a high level of transparency and truthfulness and consumers who think things through. You must dig deeper. You must become the “researcher of your own dietary inputs.” Some of the things that we take for granted in America are ease, convenience and low cost. But there’s more to it than that.

Perhaps it starts with decreased supermarket shopping and more local shopping, like farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture. CSAs are where you pay the farmer in advance to grow your produce and then pick up a basket or box weekly or every other week. It is a win-win for anyone who makes the commitment. If the farmer loses a crop for whatever reason, they still survive as they have built-in customers. And the customers always have plenty of fresh food to eat.

Or perhaps you begin your commitment to local food in your own backyard, swapping produce with your neighbors. Big box stores have cheap food that’s traveled far. Sometimes that makes sense as with large families or gallons of organic olive oil. We don’t have much in the way of local olive oil so I admit to succumbing to occasional forays into the big box stores. But if I can buy something locally instead, I will. Knowing that one dollar of every four dollars you spend in a grocery store goes to advertising, refrigeration, storage and transportation keeps me from buying very much in a supermarket.

Truth in advertising is difficult to find even when purchasing locally. “Local” is an interpretive word, meaning “within a three hour drive,” “within a one hundred mile radius” or what grows in your backyard or your neighbor’s yard. As an herbalist in the 1980s I was taught that “what you need grows around you.” Even weeds. When I have a big patch of Cleavers (Gallium aparine) in my fields, I know that’s the tea I should be drinking. I walk into my field (zero transportation needed and free exercise), pick some (become engaged in my own well-being at a very earthly level) and I have a product I can trust (zero contamination). And it’s free besides!

Of course, sometimes people just want to go to the supermarket and trust what others have placed there. But if your commitment to yourself and the environment includes more local choices, you need to know what questions to ask. And you need to interpret the answers.

Not everything needs to be “certified” organic, but you must trust what you see and make decisions accordingly. If you buy carrots peeled and formed and in a plastic bag you need to know that much of the nutrition has been sacrificed for that convenience. If “certified organic” matters to you, and there are many places where it should (see previous columns) then you may need to see that “9” label on your food. If you buy fresh carrots, best to buy with the tops on so you know how fresh they are. Just because carrots keep a long time does not mean you should buy them aged!

Make informed choices. If what you want is instant gratification or convenience, your food will probably come in a plastic bag. But I’ve seen stores and farms where non-organic cauliflower is removed from its cellophane wrapper, placed in a plastic bag and sold as organic. How would you know? Is it a chance you’re willing to take? If so, that’s fine, but don’t you think you deserve to know the truth about your food?

Some consumers bring their own bags for unbagged produce. This, by the way, is commonly done in other countries, both industrial and third world. In most countries you must bring your own shopping bag as stores and open-air markets don’t provide them. Or support your local farmers’ market and buy one of their cloth bags. That’s advertising that pays off.

I pretty much gave up shopping at my closest supermarket years ago, except for coffee and kitty litter. I drive a little farther away to teach my grandkids to look for a #9 tag on the produce, which means its certified organic produce. The farther-away market also tells me the country of origin and whether or not something is organic. Non-organic is sometimes acceptable to me but I want to know what I’m getting! I want it to be my choice. Digging deeper will lead to more transparency and truth in advertising.

August cool down by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2016

Thai beef and noodle cold salad

Dressing:

3 T olive oil

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T smooth peanut butter

1 T chili sauce

2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 t fresh grated ginger

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

2 T honey

Juice & zest of 1 lime

 

Salad:

2 carrots thinly sliced

2 green onions sliced

1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin

½ cup plum tomatoes cut in half

1 cup broccoli, chopped into small florets

1½ cups cooked vermicelli rice noodles

½ pound cooked leftover beef/steak (or any other meat/fish/tofu), cut into small cubes

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 cups mixed salad greens

Sesame seeds

 

Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined.

Layer the salad - pour dressing and toss at the last minute.

 

Coconut cream watermelon smoothie

Can be frozen after blended.

Blend together:

Juice from one lime

2½-3 cups watermelon

¼ cup coconut cream

15 fresh mint leaves

Toasted coconut for garnish

½ cup ice cubes

3 tablespoons water


Taelers’ take

Is Kobe beef worth the $$$?

Yes!

Trying new proteins is one of my favorite activities. Kobe beef is incredibly clean and lean tasting.

Just season with salt and heat up the cast iron skillet. Sear a few minutes on each side developing a nice crust, then finish with butter and top quality condiments.

Town Hall in August brings Johnson to Mountain by on 08/01/2016

August is here and it seems like the summer is just flying by. I hope you’re all planning to attend my town hall held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 at the Resort at the Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches. I’m looking forward to sharing some ideas for the 2017 legislative session and hearing from you on local community issues.

Recently, residents of the Tim Rim community in Brightwood contacted me with concerns about a proposed logging operation on a parcel above their community. Some of the major concerns are the risk of landslide and erosion and overall safety in their homes, as they live at the base of the proposed operation. Additional concerns have been raised regarding the risk to wildlife and water quality on the land itself. After hearing these concerns, I organized a tour lead by Oregon Department of Forestry so that I could see firsthand where the operation would take place. Throughout the tour, it was apparent that local concerns are valid and that more analysis of the proposed logging facility is necessary. The land use review process is happening now at Clackamas County and at the Oregon Department of Forestry. I will be monitoring this process and providing oversight of the appropriate government entities to ensure that local citizens are heard and protected. Please contact my office at 503-986-1452 or rep.markjohnson@state.or.us to share thoughts you have on this or to find out more details.

In late July, I hosted a listening session with business owners on the mountain so that they could share how current laws are impacting them, which laws make if difficult for employers and what the best opportunities are for strong economic growth on the mountain. Those that attended each represented a different type of employer in the area and it was interesting for me to see where the agreement was on which policies were positive or negative. In order to best support the economic growth and development on the mountain, I encourage all business owners to contact me and share their thoughts. If you can’t attend my town hall on Aug. 4 please contact my office because the more information I can gather the better policies I can help develop in Salem.

As the summer continues to pass us by, I am looking ahead to the 2017 legislative session. While it seems so far away, preparing legislation now allows more time for community input and to build support both in the district and also in the capitol, which increases the chances of passage when the session starts. Making targeted investments in our K-12 system continues to be a focus of mine. While an increased budget for our public schools is always an underlying goal, we can also make sure that the current budget is put to good use and is best supporting teachers and students to improve student success. A second priority of mine is to ensure the Oregon Promise remains fully funded and successful. The Oregon Promise is giving thousands of students a path to higher education and the workforce without the burden of debt, so I am focused on continuing this progress.

As always, it is important to work in coordination with local agencies and organizations to make sure that the community is well represented. I hope that you will attend my town hall to continue the discussion and please contact my office if you need assistance with anything. Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

The Adventure Continues: Episode IX Pip, Pip and a Spot of Tea by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2016

The arrival of Dolly Teagarden for a “wrap-up” session was a miserable failure before it began, and it had nothing to do with Dolly’s tweed business suit, frothy silk blouse, with a sawed off skirt that should have been given a shotgun rating.

It was what was walking next to her. He had broad shoulders, a narrow waist, dark suit, skinny tie, black wing tips, aviator sunglasses – which were utterly useless against the overcast Brittany sky – and sported the last crew cut in captivity. If he wasn’t a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, then he was a fed.

Guess which one?

As they mounted the front porch I retreated to the kitchen and shoved the cork back inside a bottle of Medoc, condemning it to breathlessness – at least for today.

I ushered them in. Dolly brushed against me before turning and lifting a bent wrist toward the intruder.

“Max, this is Agent Dick Champion. Dick, Max Malone.”

He removed his shades. I nodded in his general direction.

“Grab a chair,” I said, as I plopped down on the couch. I then asked if I could get them something in the most insincere manner I could muster – and I’m pretty much in the big leagues when it comes to insincerity. Plus, now plunged comfortably in Natasha’s couch, they weren’t prying me out of it with an abalone iron.

Dick took the most uncomfortable chair in the room, and it appeared he preferred it, while Dolly slid into an easy chair and crossed her everlasting legs.

“Max,” she offered in a most serious manner. “Dick is with the CIA.”

“Imagine that” I said, tossing Dick a smile with all the conviction of a Bert and Ernie cartoon exchange.

“Max, can I call you Max?” Dick asked. His was only the second American version of English I’d heard since arriving in France. And the other one was dead. The best I could muster was a nod of approval.

“Ms. Teagarden, Dolly, has filled me in on how you fit in here,” he said with precision. “And it’s time you get filled in as well. There’s no reason for you to remain on the outside of this unfortunate situation.”

“Is that what you boys call them?” I said, the wind hissing through my teeth. “Situations?”

Dick handled my surly manner without flinching, but did resort to clearing his throat and raising his eyebrows, as if inviting me in on the big secret.

“Max, Natasha was working for us.” He paused allowing me to take in the news. I glanced quickly at Dolly who was gnawing on her lower lip like a caged squirrel. “We were close to extracting her when they shot her.”

I leaned forward, disgusted with myself that I had not picked up on the situation. “How did they get on to her?” I asked.

“We don’t believe they did,” Dick said matter-of-factly. “It would appear they were one step ahead of us, and simply didn’t need her anymore.”

“She was their money connection, right?”

“Yes.”

I leaned back into the sofa. “Who are they, Dick?”

“Gun runners. Natasha set up accounts for them in Luxembourg, the Caymans, Dahka. We were about to drop the hammer but got delayed by the French. They’re a little touchy about dealing with us.”

“Any idea where they are now”

“We’re pretty sure they’re still in France, but can’t be certain. They’re operating on Belgian passports, so because of the European Union, they can cross EU borders without visas.”

“So they could be anywhere.”

“Yes, but previous plots by groups like this has them laying low for the dust to settle, before they move on.”

“So where do we start?”

Dick turned to Dolly, then slowly back to me.

“We are hatching a plan, Max,” Dolly said though hooded eyes. “It would include you, but it would also be dangerous.”

“Natasha was my friend. What’s next?”

Five days later, traveling on a British passport, checking into a train station hotel in an ancient French city with medieval manners, trying to look natural in my Harris tweed jacket, I asked my traveling companion while signing the hotel registration:

“After we check in to our room, dear, would you like a spot of tea before dinner?”

“Yes love,” she said.

After all, mate, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Ten ways to help the environment by Mary Soots on 08/01/2016

So often we hear negative and worrying news about our environment and how we are threatening our planet. Recently, however, we had a bit of very good news. It was reported last month that the ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, was actually showing signs that it had begun to heal. In 1986, a hole was discovered over Antarctica that was being caused by harmful chemicals such as chlorine and bromine. The exposure to these harmful rays created a risk of skin cancer. This realization led to the banning of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These gases were found in everything from hairsprays to refrigerators to air conditioning units. The new awareness also led to other changes. And as a result, scientists recently reported that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million square km. smaller than it was in the year 2000 – an area roughly the size of India. We are all to be congratulated for the work we have done!

There are other things we can do to ensure that we continue on the right path. Today I have a few more ideas that may be simple but pack a big punch. This is a list of ten ideas that can save consumers money while decreasing our impact on the environment by 20 percent. These ideas are from an uplifting book entitled “Eco Barons: The New Heroes of Environmental Activism” by Edward Humes. The list includes the following:

1. Adjust your thermostat by two degrees (cooler in winter, warmer in summer), to save one ton of greenhouse emissions a year.

2. Switch from incandescent lightbulbs to compact fluorescents and save 300 pounds of greenhouse gases per bulb.

3. Insulate your water heater with a simple thermal “jacket” and save 550 pounds of greenhouse gases a year.

4. Replace air-conditioner filters to save 350 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

5. Unplug “vampire” electronics that suck up electricity even when turned off—television sets, VCRs, DVD players, cable boxes, chargers—anything that is instant-on or that has a blinking light. The typical household will save half a ton of greenhouse gases just by making sure “off” is really off.

6. Wash clothes in cold water and save one ton of greenhouse gases.

7. Dry clothes on clotheslines and save nearly one and a half tons of greenhouse gases.

8. Take mass transit or telecommute once a week to save one ton of greenhouse gases.

9. Check tire inflation every week to increase fuel efficiency by three percent and save a quarter ton of greenhouse gases. (Most drivers have chronically underinflated tires, which make the engine work harder and burn more gas.)

10. Lose ten pounds – the average weight gain for Americans in the past ten years. Airlines use 350 million more gallons of jet fuel every year hauling those extra pounds.

11. Bonus items, Tammin suggests, to substitute where necessary: eat fresh food, not frozen food (fresh food consumes 90 percent less energy); eat less beef (the production of beef, pound for pound, uses up more energy than any other food); avoid bottled water and disposable grocery bags; buy local produce and other foods to avoid the 1,300 miles the average American meal travels on its way to the dinner table, using fossil fuels all the way.

Above average temps for the mountain in August by on 08/01/2016

The first week of July got off to a mild start after which daytime temperatures lowered to what usually occurs during early May. The last week of July brought a return of warmer temperatures peaking near the end of the month and resulting in monthly averages close to normal. As a matter of interest, the record high temperatures for August shown are all-time high temperatures recorded in both Brightwood and Government Camp from records dating back to 1979 in the case of Brightwood, and from records dating back to 1959 in the case of Government Camp.

The National Weather Service has reported the end of El Nino conditions but is now focused on the probability that a La Nino pattern will take place in early autumn and continue throughout the winter. Their forecast for our area this August is to have above average temperatures and precipitation a bit below normal.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 76, an average low temperature of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.46 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 90 degrees or higher during nine years and into the 80s during the remaining year. On average, August has two days reaching 90 degrees or higher and during the past 20 years there has been only one day reaching 100 degrees or higher. Over the past ten years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s all but once when the low fell to 39.

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees, and a precipitation average of 1.58 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, into the 80s during six years and one year couldn’t make it out of the 70s.

Low temperatures fell into the 40s during four years, and into the 30s for the other six years. A trace of snow recorded in 1996 is the only record of any snowfall in August from records dating back to 1959.


A Mount Hood landscape.
The evolution of the darkroom by Gary Randall on 08/01/2016

I remember getting my first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye box camera. It used medium format 620 roll film. I wasn’t much more than six at the time and a roll of 12 exposure black and white film was a luxury especially considering that after the photos were carefully taken, you didn’t want to waste a shot, it was sent to the drugstore to be developed. That was where the mystery happened. All I knew was that I had to wait about a week for the photos to be returned to me in their colorful envelope complete with their negatives. Opening up the envelope, I had two things on my mind. Did they turn out and what the heck did I take photos of? It was like opening a gift.

As time went on, I grew up and transitioned to 35mm film and dabbled in the mysterious darkroom processes as a hobby. I would photograph in black and white and develop the photos myself. At the same time I was still shooting rolls of color film and sending it to the drugstore to be developed, but I was starting to understand how the best photos were made. I learned how photographers who were considered artists made their photographs.

I learned about tools and methods that were used to balance the tonality of the photo. The most notable may be Ansel Adams and his zone system that, in simple terms, used a system to balance the brightness and darkness of areas in the photo using methods such as “dodging” and “burning,” which used a small light to expose more or a paddle to block light to underexpose areas. I realized that the mystery could be affected.

I enjoyed playing in the darkroom, but I’ll admit that I probably would have preferred doing the same process with the light on. Not everyone is interested in learning the complexities involved in the chemicals and mathematical formulae to develop film photos. Welcome to the 21st Century and digital technology.

I think that it’s finally safe to say that digital photography has developed, no pun intended, in the last 15 years to rival, and in many ways surpass, film as the chosen imaging choice with both hobby and professional photographers. Both the cameras and digital imaging computer software can now replicate quite effectively the mystery of analog darkroom film processes. It’s quite easy for those who prefer to develop their own photos to pull up to their computer, download their photos, start a program and process their photos chemical free all while enjoying a nice tasty beverage of their choosing.

The digital single lens reflex cameras that have replaced their film counterparts create what is called a RAW file which can be considered a digital negative because it can be developed with software and saved as a finished photo file but can always be returned to in the future, reset and redeveloped into a new photo. With so many popular programs available a RAW file gives the photographer the ability to apply the digital equivalent of traditional darkroom developing to their photos and a lot more. The photo can then be sent to a company who can print your image as a frameable ink and fine paper print or on metal or a canvas print, dare I say coffee cups, t-shirts or even your own self published book?

On the other hand, for those who still have the simple need to “make snapshots and take the film to the drugstore” in the digital age, you're covered as well. Each camera can make jpeg (.jpg) files developed automatically with presets within the camera’s onboard software. You can choose one of several “image effects” or styles such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape as well as the ability for you to set and save your own custom effect. This allows you to set your preferred style, take your photos, connect your camera to your printer and just print your own photos. You can even set your camera to make black and white photos. Digital technology and the software included with the camera make it all very simple.

Couple this all with how we use our camera phones and you can see how, in this day and age, digital photography has become so popular. When I was a boy my enthusiasm for photography was limited to twelve photos in a matter of a month or maybe two. Today the sky’s the limit when it comes to how many photos one can make, and we no longer must wait a week for the drugstore to let us know if we failed. It is adaptable to all levels of interest, from snapshots to fine art photography.

Today everyone is a photographer. It has been computed that one trillion photos will be made this year alone. Like I always say, “Film’s cheap when you’re shooting digital.”

Round ’em up, head ’em out - the pesticide problem by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2016

“Round Up,” that supposedly “safe” weed killer is also known as glysphosphate. And it is not “totally harmless” as most farmers and homeowners have been told. You may have some on the back porch or in your garage or garden shed. Time for a “heads up” and let’s get it out of our biological systems.

The Environmental Working Group is the group that publishes the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” and it’s something we should all be aware of and follow. The list is of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Non-organic apples have been found to have the highest amount of pesticides for five years in a row. And much as I hate to say it, if it doesn’t have a “9” number sticker on it, there is absolutely no proof that the apple is pesticide-free.

Peaches and nectarines occupy the 2nd and 3rd spots on the “dirty dozen” list. The USDA tested produce samples and found that 2/3 of the non-organic samples to be pesticide-laden. This at a time when consumers want food that is not doused with agricultural chemicals. The Environmental Working Group states that the USDA found 165 different chemicals on the samples. Oops! And this is your protections agency. Have you read this anywhere or heard it on the news?

Topical pesticides aren’t the only contaminants. There are fungicides, miticides, nitrate fertilizers and the ever-popular Round Up. Also known as glysphosphate, Round Up is now classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic to humans. Meaning it’s been found to cause cancer in humans. The WHO has even found Round Up in human breast milk, infant formulas, and honey. Round Up is found primarily in and on non-organic foods.

Round Up residues in cattle feed can predispose cattle to botulism because it suppresses healthy gut bacteria. Do you suppose this is what disrupts human gut bacteria? Eating pasture-raised meats will help to mitigate this problem, as will eating raw (not processed) sauerkraut and certain supplements, once the GI tract is cleansed of overgrowths of improper bacteria.

Even eggs are exposed to Round Up. Chickens given a diet of non-organic corn or soy, and antibiotics have disrupted gut systems as well. And so do all of us when we eat those foods. Eggs from birds that are caged, cage-free or even free-range, can still be fed these rations. Only pastured eggs that come from hens that have no Genetically Modified (GM) corn or soy in their diets can be truly considered safe. That means only organic feed for those hens. Hence the explosion in home-raised hens. Twenty-five years ago I was begging my favorite feed store to carry organic feed. They do now, and I, and my hens, very much appreciate that.

GM crops in America have led to the blanketing of millions of acres of crops, including human and animal food crops. GM crops means that those plant’s genes have been modified and altered to resist Round Up. So the farmer/grower can use more Round Up on those crops. Thereby keeping the chemical companies in business and getting richer.

Resistance to Round Up is found in areas of Kansas and the Great Plains, where most soy and corn is raised. Most corn and soy is GM. Now the weeds are developing resistance to Round Up while those corn and soy crops have been modified to resist that chemical onslaught. Guess what we need is more and stronger pesticides. I’m being facetious here, as I’m never going to be a believer in more pesticides.

In the never-ending battle to fight nature, what do you suppose is causing the never-ending battle to fight disease? Daily decisions have the power to change lives, our own and others. Let’s re-evaluate what we stand for. Let’s show by our daily actions and choices in everything we do.

Fruits that should be organic are apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, and grapes. Veggies that should be organic are often those that have a high water content like celery, cukes, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. Foods less likely to hold pesticide residue, and therefore may not need to be purchased in organic form, include asparagus, avocadoes, cauliflower, cabbage, citrus fruits, eggplant, kiwi and sweet potatoes. But if you can choose all your produce to be organic, so much the better. Choose according to your beliefs and your pocketbook.

And get rid of that so-called “harmless” Round Up. Round ‘em up and head ‘em out, to the Metro Hazardous Waste station, and we’ll all be better off.

Let’s taco bout it by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2016

Celebrate this Independence Day with a southwest menu - picked for a crowd.

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups granulated sugar

3½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1¼ cups milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 eggs

Filling:

1½ cups heavy cream

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

¾ cup milk

2 teaspoons rum extract

Topping:

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13x9-inch baking pan, grease and flour bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients together until just combined. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together all filling ingredients and set aside. Once cake has slightly cooled poke the top using a fork approximately every half-inch apart. Pour the three-milk (tres leches) mixture evenly onto the cake. Loosely cover and refrigerate up to three hours or until majority of the tres leches has been absorbed.

In a large chilled bowl, beat topping ingredients until stiff peaks form. Once cake is ready, spread whipped cream over cake and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.

Allow cake to cool to warm before pouring the tres leches into the cake.

 

Creamy shredded chicken for tacos

Serve with salsa, cheese, avocados and shredded cabbage.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

Juice of one lime

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Lime wedges and more cilantro for garnish.

Heat a large skillet over med/high heat and add in olive oil and onion. Pound out chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.

In a large ovenproof skillet, add the chicken and cook for six to seven minutes, turning once. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside. Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly with foil.

Remove skillet from heat and add the broth, lime juice, onion, cilantro, and red pepper. Return to heat. Cook and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to around a 1/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the cream and butter. Stir until butter has melted.

Add chicken back to pan and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook uncovered until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Cool and shred.

The work starts now for the 2017 legislative session by on 07/01/2016

Summer is officially underway and in House District 52 that means picking fruit, hikes on Mount Hood, and enjoying the many summer festivals. The summer months are also an important time for me as a legislator to begin planning for the next legislative session. While January 2017 seems so far away, and thinking about the cold weather is the last thing we want to do, I start the planning process early to make sure that I have time to get input from my constituents.

One of the major legislative topics that will be discussed is a change to the minimum wage law. On July 1, Oregon’s minimum wage increases .25 per hour in rural counties and .50 cents per hour everywhere else. Next year, the state will be separated into three tiers: Portland-Metro, Nonurban and Rural. Many small businesses, non-profits and community organizations are finding the increase difficult to absorb and in such a short timeframe; the bill passed in February, the Bureau of Labor and Industries clarifying rules on June 15 and the increase begins on July 1.

Legislative leadership, including House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick have acknowledged problems with the law as it currently is and stated that there will need to be changes in the 2017 legislative session.

Because of this, I am meeting directly with business owners and the Executive Directors of community organizations across the district to hear how the law could be adjusted to better accommodate their ability to maintain their business and continue to provide community services. One concept is flexibility in the requirements for young workers and trainees. Another exception may be for the agricultural industry, as they cannot control prices or their goods and may need to be on a different wage structure than other businesses.

Another reason I am focused on adjusting the law is because of the impact to public education. Oregon’s public universities have stated they will need to cut student work-study positions and make other budgetary cuts to account for the money that was spent on increased wages. The University of Oregon estimated $2.3 million and OSU estimated $4.8 million in additional wages for the 2017-2019 biennium. This puts the Universities in a tough position and I believe the result will be an increased tuition, which, in combination with fewer work options, is the worst possible outcome for students. What I will be introducing in the next legislative session is a bill allowing for certain exemptions at University and Community College institutions to help prevent tuitions from being raised to cover wage costs.

I hope you’ll join me to continue this discussion at a town hall I am hosting in August.

What: Town Hall

Where: Resort at the Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave.

When: 5:30 – 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4

If you want to discuss this, or any other topic, before the town hall, please contact me at: rep.markjohnson@state.or.us or 541-308-5306. Thank you for the honor of representing you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

A public service message about horrible pick-up lines by on 07/01/2016

I’ve been ridiculously happily married for almost ten years now, so the singles bar scene is a long-forgotten memory. Or maybe just a deeply repressed one.

At least it was until yesterday, when an old friend came to town and treated me to a beer at a local hangout. As we began catching up, we couldn’t help but overhear a series of pick-up lines being exchanged by a group of 20-somethings who — at least in their minds, and thanks to several happy-hour pilsners each — had assembled a list of clever lines “no woman could resist!”

Their words, not mine.

In a moment, you’ll understand why.

Think of this as a Public Service Announcement of sorts, aimed at single men everywhere, and in particular to that group of 20-somethings once they’ve sobered up: I felt obligated to jot down some of your “fail proof” pick-up lines and explain — through a “trial” and “error” format — what you can expect should those lines leave your mouths in the general direction of an actual living female.

Let us begin…

Trial: Do you like magic? Because I’d like to make your clothes disappear.

Error: Even David Copperfield wouldn’t attempt this horrible pick-up line. If you do, chances are the only thing disappearing will be her drink in your face.

Trial: Do you know CPR? Because baby, I think I’m having a heart attack!

Error: This is particularly ineffective for men over the age of 40, who could easily be mistaken for having an actual heart attack. Nothing says “sexy” like coronary infarction.

Trial: I’m not a religious man, but you make me want to shout hallelujah!

Error: I must warn you there is a very real risk of being struck by lightning from God at the sheer stupidity of that line.

Trial: If I were Captain Kirk, I would love to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Error: Better keep that one in your Captain’s Log because it will send women away faster than you can say “Warp speed, Mr. Sulu.”

Trial: Someone call the police because I think you just stole my heart!

Error: With a line like this, the only call anyone is going to make will be to the 1980s so they will come take you back. Assuming they want you.

And lastly,

Trial: Baby, your smile is so sweet it should come with a calorie count.

Error: As any supermodel will tell you, there’s no point in counting calories when you’re too busy throwing up after a line like that.

In a random poll taken here in our office, women unanimously agreed that their favorite pick-up line starts out like this: “Hi, my name is…”

If any of you in that group of 20-somethings is reading this, there’s no need to thank me. If one woman is saved from enduring any of those torturous pick-up lines, that will be thanks enough.

Not to mention the lives this column might end up saving.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

The Adventure Continues: Episode VIII - Don’t Follow The Money by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/01/2016

So the dearly departed Natasha was something besides what I thought she was. My only excuse: I wasn’t paying attention.

Perhaps it was the cheese aisle in the grocery store. Or the constant flow of important people in and out the door of Natasha’s house. Or the daring distraction of French women refusing to break eye contact while passing the afternoon at a nearby outdoor table at the local café.

Or maybe it was fancy pants Rickey Benoit, the neighboring horseman, and his thoroughbred interest in Natasha.

And that thought got me back to business. Rickey – not Rickey Schroeder, not Rickey Nelson – but Rickey Benoit (as in Ben Wah) needed a visit. After all, the fatal shot that snuffed Natasha came from the direction of his foppish horse farm.

 I ambled along the tow path of the barge canal that flowed between the two properties, past the scene of the shooting, checked out the discarded rifle still hidden in the bushes of a hedgerow – right where I’d left it – swung over the white fence of Rickey’s horse pasture and continued on to the stable making certain not to obtain any savory French manure souvenirs along the way.

Rickey was patting a stabled horse’s nose – why do horse owners spend so much time patting horse noses, I wondered – and he turned slowly toward me and shared that bemused French smile that alternately puzzled me and nearly made me gag.

“Monsieur Malone,” he offered in an inoffensive Rickey way. “I have been expecting you.”

“And I didn’t want to disappoint you, Mister Benoit,” I responded, refusing to give a Rickey an inch.

“Come wis me,” he said, leading me around the stable while I amused myself at the Frenchman’s inability to pronounce the ‘t h’ sound. Oh well. Zat’s show biz.

We settled into chairs on a broad expanse of patio that was dotted with enough rose bushes to make a White House gardener blush. No more were we planted than a servant arose from nowhere and cast an adoring smile in my direction – just another of those French things – and awaited Rickey’s request. Two espressos appeared in the time it took Rickey to carefully extract a Gauloise cigarette from a pack, tap it lightly on the back of his hand, light it, lean back and take a long drag that probably knocked two years off his life.

“So, Monsieur Malone, have you figured out what ze lovely Natasha was doing all ze time you were z’air?”

I resisted loaning him a ‘the’ or a ‘there’ and after a sip of the espresso that was strong enough to take me in a fair fight, I responded. “I believe I have, Rickey. How about you?”

“Oh, I assure you, sir, I always knew. I tried to stop her. But,” he shrugged one shoulder “Natasha sot she always knew best.”

I’d finished my espresso, causing me to lean forward involuntarily. “Who shot her, Rickey?”

“Choose any one of ze men who came sru ze house. I told her when zay were finish wiz her, zat would be zat.”

I held his doe eyes with a long glance. He wasn’t lying. “What were they doing with the money?”

“Zat is somesing we do not want to know, Monsieur Malone. But you saw zem. Zay way too dangerous for a simple horseman,” he said, smiling broadly, waving a confident hand encircling his estate. “And, a simple private eye, no?”

As I returned along the barge canal I couldn’t help but think that a Frenchman named Rickey might have just been right. And the manner in which these thugs dispatched Natasha when she was no longer needed did suggest that, besides being outnumbered, I was also in deeper than the canal water that trickled along as it had for hundreds of years.

Perhaps it was time to open the lock and sail away.

But first I had a date that night. Dolly Teagarden was coming to town and there was no reason under the Brittany sky that I should disappoint her. She said she wanted to “Wrap things up.”

I was all for wrapping things up.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Mount Hood Green Scene by Mary Soots on 07/01/2016

From the outset, the Mt. Hood Green Scene recognized that a key factor in sustainability was engaging youth as theirs was the Earth to inherit and to protect. Guiding them on how to take on that responsibility was something that we could do to help them on their journey through life. As one student stated, “Some of us are trying to help the environment like the Green Scene and other groups who go around teaching people about the environment and how we can help it sustain itself.” Building a sense of ownership and responsibility would require knowledge of the life cycle of goods. When we created the organization, we held a contest at the Welches Middle School to name our group. “The Mt. Hood Green Scene” was the brainchild of a young man named Benny.

Since that time, young people have been pivotal to our work. With the assistance of the science teachers at the Welches Middle School and at Sandy High School, as well as the youth of the Ant Farm in Sandy, young people have participated in MHGS Sustainability Fairs, our annual Recycling Event, as well as events such as clearing out the wooded area next to the Welches School for the Outdoor School.

Their boundless creativity and imagination have not failed  to delight our community, as did a group of students who created an outstanding dramatic interpretation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for one event. Earlier this year, we once again tapped into the creative juices of the Welches Middle School students by holding another contest, asking the Outdoor School students to do an essay, with the theme of, “How nature teaches us about recycling.” The Mt. Hood Green Scene, in partnership with the Mountain Times, awarded $500 for their Outdoor School program.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry to the contest. There were two that we felt were exceptional, and we would like to recognize the authors and provide highlights (the complete winning essays can be found at mountaintimesoregon.com).

In his essay, entitled Recycling and Sustainability in Nature, Sam Butler describes various cycles. “Nature is defined as ‘The phenomena of the physical world, including flora, fauna, geography and other features of Earth’. There are examples of recycling and sustainability in all of them. To start, there is the Earth itself. The rock cycle is a process through which igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock, along with sediment and magma, interact with and change into each other. This is an example of recycling. Moreover, this cycle happens by itself, without outside intervention. …The ecosystem is very sustainable. Anything that dies in a working ecosystem is used by other organisms. Nature recycles things.”

Similarly, Grace Bliesner’s essay, What Nature Teaches Us About Recycling and Sustainability also explored various cycles. “Some resources such as trees and water are renewable resources which means they can be reproduced. Others like coal and oil are non renewable which means the [sic] can’t be reproduced or it takes billions of years to reproduce them. …When it comes to resources and trash the best thing to do is reduce the amount you use so it doesn’t take so much energy and materials in the first place. The next best thing to do is reuse the materials and resources you already have. …Did you know that one large tree can make enough oxygen for four people! It’s true but some people figure the world’s population of trees has so far decreased by 40 percent. But they teach us about recycling too. Trees turn carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses into oxygen for us to breathe. Then we breathe out carbon dioxide and they turn it into oxygen it is a cycle.”

Understanding our world and how it works helps us understand the disruptions to the cycles of nature. It is our hope to continue to engage our community and our young people to continue to find ways to help our Mother.

End of El Nino brings above average temps for July by on 07/01/2016

The first week of June was hot with Brightwood recording 96 degrees on the fourth and Government Camp reaching 88. Starting on the tenth, a string of cool, showery weather extended through the 19th followed by moderating temperatures and the final week rewarding us with perfect late-June weather. Precipitation was close to average but temperatures ended two to three degrees above monthly averages.

The National Weather Service has reported the end of El Nino conditions and it’s forecasts are now based more on soil moisture and sea surface temperatures that border the coasts. Our area is forecast to have above average temperatures for July and precipitation near normal.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low temperature of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.30 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 100 degrees or higher during three years, into the 90s four years, and into the 80s the remaining three years.

On average, July has three days reaching 90 degrees or higher, and during the past 20 years there has been six days reaching 100 degrees or higher. Over the past ten years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s without exception.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees and a precipitation average of 1.04 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years and into the 80s for the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 40s during three years and into the 30s for the other seven years. July is a snow free month, and the only record mentioned is a trace amount that fell during 1981.


Rhododenrons and Mount Hood during a sunset.
The View Finder: Flowers for every frame by Gary Randall on 07/01/2016

Spring has come and gone and now we look forward to summer here on Mount Hood. Summer on Mount Hood is our best time for wildflowers. Most of the flowers at the lower elevations have come and are starting to go, but our elevation and snow cover delays the bloom and gives us amazing flower filled alpine meadows and forests full of native rhododendrons and dogwood trees.

Many landscape photographers wait in anticipation of the spring bloom. And because of this they develop an interest in understanding the cycles of nature including weather patterns and celestial occurrences such as sunrise and sunset times and moon phases. The more one understands nature, the better that they are able to interpret it through their photos.

In the early spring the flowers at lower, warmer elevations such as the east end of the Columbia River Gorge bloom. Beautiful purple grass widows are usually the harbinger of spring in the hills around Hood River and The Dalles, on both sides of the river, and can be seen poking up through coatings of fresh snow some years. Amazing views of the gorge with lupine and balsamroot in the foreground can be had in April and May. The lupine and balsamroot are the larger more visible flowers and will, on a typical year, bloom along side of each other, complimenting each other perfectly.

As the season progresses the flowers move up into the hills and in time to the high altitude alpine meadows of our snow capped peaks. The flowers can cover fields or they can be scattered along roadways. They can even be in your yards. The more that you look for them, the more you notice.

Photographing flowers can be a way to create some beautiful photographs. It can also be a great way to spend some time outdoors. The combination of the two can create a peaceful and centering situation. I can get lost in my own little world as I wander with my wide angle lens among the fields that cover hills or meadows or on my knees with a macro lens in my yard getting close up photos of flowers, mushrooms and bugs.

When I’m out to photograph the grand landscape I try my best to be there either in the morning during a sunrise and into the golden hour or conversely in the evening when the light is nice, but don’t discount a beautiful blue sky especially one with some nice clouds to break up the space. I mention that as an ideal, but the reality is that we live in Oregon and a nice drizzly day can yield beautiful photos as well. On an overcast or cloudy day the light is even and the raindrops on the flowers are beautiful. No raindrops? Use a squirt bottle filled with water to mist the flowers.

Let’s talk about the two previously mentioned forms of flower photography, wide angle and macro, or close-up photos. Both forms can be done with any camera.

Let’s first take a look at our cell phones as an option. Taking a nice photo of a field of flowers is pretty simple and the basic tenets of composition apply no matter what kind of camera that you use. While framing your photo tilt the camera up toward the sky or down toward your foreground to make sure that the sky isn’t too bright or the foreground too dark. Turn on your HDR (high dynamic range) setting and turn off your flash unless it’s getting dark and you want to try to illuminate your foreground. Another use for a flash is to shed light on a person especially when you are pointing toward the sunlight. To take a macro photo with your cell phone you can get a clip on macro lens that doesn’t cost much. The lenses usually come in a set. The other lenses in the set I can live without, but the macro lens works reasonably well.

Using a bridge camera, or an all in one non interchangeable lens camera, is handy. The zoom range can go from 24mm to 400mm and some have a fixed aperture of f/2.8 no matter the zoom range. So you can use the zoom in to get close to your subject or zoom out to get the wide view.

A digital SLR (single lens reflex) or even a film SLR, yes you can still use film, can give more options for photographing flowers but the basics, as mentioned previously, still apply. The biggest difference is lens options especially for macro photos.

On an SLR you can get a close up photo two ways. One is to put on an extension tube to extend the focal length of one of your prime lenses such as a 50mm, or you can use a longer focal length zoom lens. With an extension tube set up you will be closer to the flower than you could normally get, but it will allow you to fill the frame with the photo and still maintain focus. It’s not so good when you’re photographing bees. The second way is to use a longer focal length zoom lens and zoom in, a much safer way to photograph bees.

Buy a field guide to flowers. It’s fun to identify them. Be a Leave No Trace photographer. While in the field be respectful of the plants around you and try your best to not crush them under your feet. It’s easy to look out away from you while getting the shot and not see the flowers below you.

As always, the technical details mean less than the action of actually getting outdoors with your camera.

I may discuss a few minor details about the process but I always stress that it’s less about the process and more about the real reason.

The value of a diagnosis and of staying healthy by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2016

Worldwide there are many kinds of medicine. From medical doctors and surgeons in the United States to shamans and spiritual healers in South America. There’s really no good or bad in any person who helps you with your health. There are just different approaches.

Looking at some of those approaches we find a patient with wrist pain. Her first choice of treatment may be rest or heating pads. Her last choice of treatment might be surgery. Or she could try alternating hot and cold, a respected treatment used by medical doctors in the nineteenth century, but now considered “archaic.” But it still works for relieving pain.

Two containers: one with hot water as hot as you can stand it without burning yourself, another container with ice in it. Place affected part first in hot and then plunge into cold.

You won’t be able to endure either one for very long, maybe just seconds. Repeat three times in a row, ending with cold. It helps to recite, “this is good for me, this is good for me,” rather than cussing. If done correctly you should feel a slight throbbing but you will have hours of pain relief. Try it.

If this patient thought the hot and cold treatment was too “old fashioned” she would have probably gone to her computer, which would make her doctor obsolete, and her “all knowing,” because computers have all the answers, right? She might be obsessed with finding her “diagnosis” rather than finding pain relief. Is the answer in the diagnosis or in the response?

Certainly knowing the diagnosis can aid in treatment protocols, but knowing the diagnosis doesn’t necessarily lead to cure. Before insisting on diagnostic procedures, one could try alternating hot and cold, diet changes, herbs, homeopathics, hydrotherapy, fasting, meditation, prayer, sunlight, yoga or any number of less invasive procedures. Most of them costing virtually nothing.

The need to know the ANSWER may not necessarily get one. After spending big money on diagnostic procedures the “working diagnosis” may help....or it may not. My best friend from the sixth grade on was “diagnosed” with multiple sclerosis after college.

Years later her “diagnosis” was changed to liver cancer, which she eventually died of, after many, many years of treatments for MS. I’m sure the treatments didn’t cause her any harm, but it might have been helpful to keep looking for causes of her discomfort.

To give my best friend credit, she personally, at her own expense of time and money, tried numerous alternative therapies. Alas, her “diagnosis” actually got in the way of her alternative treatments. But she was willing to look at alternatives, despite insurance that sent her in the direction of invasive diagnostic procedures.

Insurance keeps our American medical system going. And expensive. Americans keep buying into this fear-based system. True, anything can happen to anyone anytime, but forcing people to buy insurance may be a backwards approach.

Don’t get me wrong, insurance is a great thing to have. But what if we put more value on healthy living? What if you were rewarded for giving up diet sodas or eating only organic food? What if you had to pay to be healthy, not pay to hope you don’t get sick. In China, the patient pays to ‘stay well’ and if the patient gets sick, he or she doesn’t have to pay. Just a different mindset.

Sometimes our approach to health needs to be gentle, non-invasive and self-motivated rather than giving away power to the All Knowing computer. The only All Knowing is out there in the Universe where trust lives. Perhaps we need more connection. With each other and with the Universe.

And perhaps we shouldn’t deal with wrist pain using an ax. The results could very well be dangerously disastrous! Maybe that alternating hot and cold treatment would be enough. Maybe it’s worth a try.

Cake! ‘Tis the season to celebrate! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2016

 All you need is cake - choose the flavors of the season and stay away from the box.

 

Angel Food

12 egg whites (room temp)

Cake flour

1 3/4 cup fine sugar

1 1/2 t cream of tartar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla

1/3 cup warm water

Sift the flour, salt and half of the sugar together. Grease and sugar an angel food cake pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer mix water with egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat on medium high, adding in sugar in a slow stream and whip until peaks form.

Sprinkle and fold in flour a little at a time, spoon into the prepared pan and bake 45 mins. Serve cake with freshly whipped cream and berries.

 

Pound cake

This cake makes me smile, it’s the base to my tiramisu. Add chopped toasted almonds or coconut into the batter before baking.

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 3/4 cup flour

1 t baking powder

Pre heat oven to 300

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale yellow. Add the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and flour mixture alternating with the sour cream.

Butter and flour a loaf pan and line with a long strip of parchment paper, if you have it. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

 

Flourless chocolate cake

Also called a torte, this cake is better the second day.

2 sticks unsalted butter

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 t salt

6 eggs

1 t vanilla

In a large glass or metal bowl over a double boiler add in chocolate and butter. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until light yellow, then add in salt and vanilla, fold in egg mixture and pour into a greased and cocoa-powdered pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 for about 30 mins. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven with the door cracked for another 1/2 hour. Cool and refrigerate.


Improving roads a priority on the mountain and across the state by on 06/01/2016

When I think about what the core responsibilities of state government are, the issue of transportation is near the top of my list. Providing safe roads and highways and maintaining them so that we can travel to and fro and conduct business is important to each of us personally as well as to our economy.

Every time we fill up at the pump we are paying the gas tax that provides the funding for Oregon’s highway maintenance and construction. A good local example of a project paid for by this fund is the Hwy. 26 safety project that has been underway near Government Camp. The latest word from ODOT on this project is that it will be complete sometime in October. Although it’s certainly been an inconvenience at times for local residents, I think we can all agree that when the project is complete it will significantly improve traffic safety on that stretch of the Mt Hood Highway. Here are a few interesting facts that I obtained from ODOT:

FACT: To date over 30,000 truckloads of dirt and rock have been removed from the site.

FACT: Over 13 miles of blasting holes have been drilled in the rock along the highway.

The topic of transportation is an important issue in Salem as well. I think it’s obvious to most people that the highways in the Portland metro area are in need of significant improvement to address the ever increasing traffic congestion. At the same time many of our roads and bridges across the state are in need of structural repairs due to wear and tear and seismic updates. These factors are the driving force behind discussions about how the state should address these issues.

Recently Governor Brown appointed a bipartisan special committee of legislators to begin to lay the framework for a transportation package that can be passed by the legislature in the next session. Over the course of the next six months this group will be taking a close look at all areas of the state and evaluating the condition of the highways and bridges based on their safety and their ability to handle traffic flow. When assembling a transportation package for Oregon it’s very important that all areas of the state receive some positive outcomes from the new construction. Upgrades to roads and bridges create good paying jobs and it’s important that the economic benefits be allocated statewide.

The committee will also be considering what revenue streams should be tapped to provide the funding for the package. Traditionally the gas tax has been the primary funding source for transportation packages. But is it time to consider additional sources? Is it time to consider toll roads in the Portland metro area to pay for expanding the highways there? Electric vehicles take up space on the road but don’t pay any gas tax. How will they contribute? These are all questions that will be considered over the coming months.

If you have any comments or thoughts about what a new transportation package for Oregon should look like and suggestions for specific projects in HD 52 or elsewhere that should be in the mix please contact my office.

The best ways to do that are by emailing me at rep.markjohnson@state.or.us, or by calling my office at 503-986-1452. You can also find out about my events by joining my newsletter at www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the House District 52 Representative.)

‘The Crossing’ a smart crime novel that’s hard to put down by on 06/01/2016

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, star of many Connelly-authored police procedurals over the years, is having a tough time adjusting to not being a cop.

After a forced retirement, Harry is fighting boredom and frustration when his brother in law, “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller, approaches him for help proving that his client, murder defendant Da’Quan Foster, is actually innocent – in spite of a positive DNA match and his lack of an alibi.

Harry has a hard time giving serious consideration to going over to “the dark side” by assisting the defense after so many years as a police officer, proving crimes rather than trying to free a defendant.

But, as we know, Mickey is a great persuader - and Harry is really, really bored. So, tentatively at first, Harry digs in to what he loves – digging through the case details and current evidence to find the truth.

“The Crossing” is a great title for the book as Harry is soon obsessed by trying to find how the victim and the murderer crossed paths.

And, of course, Harry has to endure hurtful comments from his former co-workers in the LAPD because of his professional “cross-over.”

As we might expect, Harry’s close analysis of the Murder Book and all the gathered photos and evidence guide his relentless pursuit of the case. Soon a small detail – the murder victim’s missing watch that was never mentioned in the property lists – leads him down a very unexpected path. It takes time to make the connection but this small detail eventually helps Harry to break the case wide open.

Unlike many crime novels, Michael Connelly’s books rely on smarts, not violence, and Harry’s approach is very cerebral which makes each one a treat for those who want a challenging puzzle. This novel is especially interesting as Connelly brings us behind the scenes of the police investigators, the defense attorney and Harry as the private investigator on behalf of the accused.

And this novel is a skillful combination of “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller with Connelly’s long-time police detective all in one. A little for everyone this time! If you have never read Michael Connelly before, you will be surprised to find out how hard his carefully constructed novels are to put down.

Michael Connelly is the author of twenty eight novels, most featuring LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. His other series features The Lincoln Lawyer which spotlights unconventional attorney Mickey Haller. Connelly lives in California and Florida.

Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill by on 06/01/2016

Come Father’s Day morning, I will awaken to the sizzle of bacon and eggs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the shuffle of approaching feet as I lay in bed quietly thinking to myself: My God, my wife is leaving me.

Then I’ll remember: Wait! It’s Father’s Day!

It’s the day we fathers are revered for our wisdom, patience and, in a few rare instances, our neckwear.

For one whole day I’ll be the perfect father since my wife will be handling everything for me. She does this to help me relax and enjoy my special day.

The problem is, it’s hard to relax when, by handling everything herself, my wife makes it clear I could be replaced by a dishwasher and a few extra power cords.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

I can still claim “The Grilling of Food” as my main contribution to the daily operation of our family. I have managed to keep this duty the way most men do, by making the task of grilling appear as complicated and miserable as possible, even if it means faking a heat stroke while grilling pre-cooked hot dogs.

I realize there are many new fathers who have made themselves indispensable during the diaper-changing phase. Just remember: your indispensability in this area — much like this morning’s tightly-wrapped dooty — will eventually disappear into the Diaper Genie. That’s when grilling even the simplest things, such as a bratwurst, should be made to look as difficult as possible.

To do this, you’ll need a large grill. The bigger the better. In fact, if a hibachi is your main grilling source, go now, hop into your vehicle, and accidentally back over your hibachi several times and replace it with something more practical.

And, practically speaking, we’re talking a grill roughly the size of a Jeep Cherokee.

Why?

Because you need a large cooking surface so that you can convincingly spray down flames and battle for control over a raging inferno that, if not for your grilling skill, would quickly consume everyone’s bratwurst — and quite possibly the world. Unless you are highly experienced in pyrotechnics, or live near an open gas line, trying to produce this same effect on a hibachi is very difficult.

Once you have your giant grill, you’ll need to keep a spray bottle handy. Your wife will assume it’s to prevent charring. This is partially true. But mostly you’ll be using it to spray on your face and body to appear as though you are perspiring when, in fact, you are frequently supplementing any loss of body fluid with liberal amounts of ice-cold beer hidden behind the grill.

Lastly, you should purchase a special, custom-made spatula that is so enormous and so heavy it can only be wielded with two hands. This will make the grilling process appear even more difficult by requiring a “spotter” every time you flip someone’s burger.

Put all of this together — spray bottle, giant grill, two-handed spatula — and you’ll have the dramatic image you want, which is that of a sweat-stained father staggering in and out of the flames of his grill, both hands gripped tightly around the handle of his 50-pound spatula as he devoutly retrieves the evening meal.

Sure, this may sound like a lot of effort; you could fold clothes instead.

But the effort is worth it when it comes to family.

Besides, it’s really hard to keep beer cold when it’s hidden in the laundry.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Episode VII: The Olive Connection by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2016

While pondering the circumstances surrounding the bizarre demise of Natasha, I wandered around her house looking for clues.

The French Keystone Cops had searched the place while I was simmering in the cooler, with no apparent result (in either circumstance). It seemed they enjoyed Natasha’s lingerie department – who knows, a few of them might have improved their own wardrobe – but little else was disturbed.

Having been inspired at an early age – a moment that led to my present condition – by Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” series, I fashioned a beaker of martinis, stirred not shaken, and with a Nick Charles air of utter urbane aplomb launched my own search, figuring my recent knowledge of the notorious Natasha would serve me well, especially in light of the Keystone competition.

I skipped what was left of Natasha’s undergarments – having seen them in every possible array known to man or beast – and started in the kitchen. They didn’t find my passport folded under the wooden handle of the skillet, so why not?

I ignored the silly things that are portrayed in movies – after all, this is real life, right? – like the sugar and flour containers, and concentrated on items that would fit into any ordinary kitchen, but not in the extraordinary existence of Natasha.

There was an early clue: a pantry with shelves full of pantry stuff, like canned peaches, tomato sauce, noodles, olive oil. OK, you’re wondering how I could tell, right? I was in France. All the items were in French. C’mon, there were pictures on the labels.

Sheeeeesh. I poured myself another martini, and tipped my fedora to William Powell and Myrna Loy. If you happened to have missed the whole Nick and Nora Charles Thin Man bit, for shame. Have I ever led you astray?

The pantry was a clue, yes, but a second martini was the inspiration. The only pantry item that had Natasha written all over it was a jar of martini olives. I took the jar down, opened it, plopped two of the green delights into my martini, and detected a slight defect in the wood panel. One slight shove and it fell away.

Stuffed into the newly revealed alcove – like the pimentos in the olives – were several spiral notebooks, folded into funnels. I had made the olive connection.

Before opening the notebooks, I celebrated by draining the beaker of martinis into my glass, with an appropriate splash of two more olives. Keeping my priorities straight, I stirred up some more gin and vermouth reinforcements.

It was a cool, shimmering military necessity.

Retiring to Natasha’s desk, I began work on the notebooks. The first one had a list of numbers and passwords that made little sense, on first glance. But I kept staring. They were in Natasha code, and, after all, I was bound to break it.

Down the left side were a series of numbers: like 2003, underneath 1675, under that 1725, and so on. In a corresponding column appeared things like 48-51 01-43, and so on. The next column over was easier, dates, like: 020816, and so on.

Regular dates, in ascending order, corresponding to two other sets of numbers – nothing to celebrate yet, despite the fact my glass was empty. Then the second set of numbers began to make sense. I was looking at longitudes and latitudes. I didn’t know the locations exactly, but my experience aboard a container ship when the crew mutinied against a deserving captain had left me on the bridge for much too long a time, and I remember amusing myself with memorizing the longitude and latitude of my cabin on the mountain – but that’s another story – and now it wasn’t difficult to extrapolate the same for Reno, then stretching east across the Atlantic.

Location, location, location.

I celebrated knowing I had only one more column of numbers to decipher, plus having a new beaker of Dashiell Delight just added to the momentum.

Looking through the other notebooks – despite the martinis – things became clearer. There were international money transfers with coded bank numbers and SWIFT codes.

Natasha had been in the laundry business, and a few things needed to be cleaned up.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: The dark corner of recycling by Mary Soots on 06/01/2016

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard you try, things just don’t turn out the way you planned. Such was the case when last month we caught a report on Oregon Public Radio (OPB) about an exposé by the Basel Action Network, an e-waste watchdog group, after a two-year investigation on the fate of e-waste. According to the report, dead electronics make up the world’s fastest-growing source of waste.

The U.S. produces more e-waste than any other country in the world, sending 50,000 dump trucks of old electronics to recyclers each year. This doesn’t take into account used electronics that are not recycled.

The article was focused on the way that some recyclers of e-waste are exporting those electronics rather than recycling them in an environmentally responsible way as they have assured us that they do. About a third of the e-waste, containing toxic materials such as lead and mercury, was actually shipped out of the U.S. to Mexico, Asia and Africa. Environmental and occupational protection laws that are in force in the U.S. have no equal in developing countries. Workers disassembling the electronics in order to cull the precious metals were unaware that the water they were boiling them in and dumping back into the rivers were now full of toxic waste, and they were endangering the environment as well as their health.

Among the recyclers that the article singled out as shipping rather than recycling all of their e-waste were the Goodwill and Total Reclaim, a company base in the Pacific Northwest that has a no-export policy.

Total Reclaim has handled the Mt. Hood Green Scene’s recycling events over the past five years, so it was with a heavy heart that we learned that in spite of our efforts to prevent these toxic materials from contaminating our environment, some may have slipped through the cracks.

Fortunately, the greater part of the e-waste was recycled as we anticipated. But the reason that some of the waste was being exported was because the cost of selling recycled materials had plummeted and recycling companies are struggling to make ends meet.

The report shed some light into a dark corner and we must face some very hard facts. The cost of recycling is expensive. Perhaps the cost of purchasing an electronic item should include a small fee for the cost of disposal of the item.

But more realistically, we should look at our consumption patterns. Before the ‘Recycle’ aspect of environmental sustainability, we need to consider the ‘Reduce’ aspect and the ‘Re-Use’ aspect. Perhaps instead of upgrading the flat screen TV, computer, game console or telephone to the latest and greatest version each time a company wants to sell you a new one, it might be the time to think about what will happen to the old one. We can generate a lot less electronic waste by not buying everything over and over again, allowing us to keeping a little cash in our pocket.

Why not use the same cell phone one more year? Instead of purchasing unnecessary electronic gifts, why not spend the money to share an experience with your kids or your loved one? You’ll both treasure the time you spend together.  And we’ll all breathe a little easier.

How to use composition and light to help you take better photos by Gary Randall on 06/01/2016

Have you ever stood next to someone as you both took a snapshot of the same subject, looked at their screen and wondered what the heck they did or why didn't you think of doing that? Trust me, it happens more times than you would think, and it happens to the best of us. Taking a photo can be all about luck. Luck to be at a place or a moment or having the camera work just right, just having everything line up all at once if you're really lucky. But if you leave it all to luck, as in life, your chances of getting lucky will be slim. Therefore, it pays dividends to increase your chances of getting lucky by understanding a few basics of how to be more in control of creating the image with your camera.

Image creation is different than just taking a photo. Ansel Adams famous quote, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” explains it best. Think of it this way. You can walk up to a scene and point the camera at it and get a photo, or you can take a moment and look around the area around you. What do you see that can be a foreground interest? Let's say that you're shooting Mount Hood, for instance. Many folks, I'm sure, point their cameras at the snow clad peak beyond, ignoring the rhododendron bush close by that would give the photos some scale and depth. Is there some sort of trail or an element that would make a lead-in line. Perhaps a gateway of trees to frame the scene. Look around and find some components that, if you position yourself properly, will create a more thoughtful composition.

And then there's photographing people in landscape and photographing landscapes with people. I tell landscape photographers to include someone in the photo. It gives the photo scale and perspective as well as allowing the viewer to create a story in their minds as they view the photo. Conversely, I tell photographers who photograph people to put the landscape in the photo. Create a compelling photo of a friend or family member of a great time or location by including the whole scene. Get close to your subject and use a fill flash if you need to illuminate them, or have them walk off into the distance and stand on a rock using a noble adventurer stance, pointing off into the distance like Lewis and Clark or their arms thrust into the air in triumph. It will add a dimension of emotion.

Now that we've discussed adding a subject to a scene, or adding a scene to a subject, let's talk a bit about composition. I have an understanding of and yet an aversion to standards and rules. I understand how I can learn them and understand them but I love to break them.

Learning compositional standards is learning the mechanics of art. Learning how to break them is when art happens in my opinion. In the beginning the first standard one learns in art is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds dictates a few rules that I feel is always a good place to start, such as not centering your subject, putting the horizon on either a top third of the frame of the bottom third of the frame and, in some forms of interpretation, in no case shall you center your subject, to which I would reply never say never, ever. Although I may start with the rule, it typically stops once I put my subject off center, such as a person at the side of the frame as not to block the view of the Mount Hood scene behind. At that time I will look to each side and up and down to position the frame to include everything that I want in the frame and excluding all that I don't.

Move in toward your subject or further away, zoom in or out. Try shooting lower or stand on something to put yourself higher. Picture your photo inside of a frame. Be creative.

Light is important when making a compelling image. Try to go out and get your shot either in the morning light or in the late afternoon when the light is less harsh and warmer. Midday sunshine is the most challenging light to get a nice photo in. Don't be afraid to photograph your subject into the light. If you're photographing people, try filling them with a fill flash because they will be in their own shade, or put them in shade and do a nice fill flash.

One thing that I rarely do is put my subject in a position where the sun is shining into their faces, primarily because they will be squinting their eyes, but their faces will be too bright in most cases. Use the light to your advantage but don't fight it. If you have the ability to do so return under a nicer light.

You have a lot of options to be able to create an image. Don't be afraid to experiment with some of your manual setting if you have them. It always pays to know your camera and to override the automatic setting if it isn't getting it right. Conversely, don't be afraid of the automatic settings. If your manual settings aren't getting the shot, flip it over onto Automatic and give it a try. The last thing that you want to do is miss out on the photo by messing with camera settings.

The next time that you're out with your camera consider what Ansel Adams said and make your photograph, don't just take it. Create an image not just a snapshot, but whatever you do capture the moment.

Open air markets offer local food for thought by Victoria Larson on 04/30/2016

With the weather sometimes improving at this time of the year, it’s time to get out of the BigBoxStores and into the open air. Many more farmers’ markets are opening up this month as the weather continues to keep us on our toes. That sometimes warmer air invites us to stroll among the outdoor booths and converse with our neighbors and eat fresher, healthier food.

Last column I mentioned the the average distance that supermarket food travels is 1,200 miles! A bit far for my taste that prefers far fresher. The average distance that farm market produce travels is around ten to 100 miles. It’s bound to be fresher, far better for you and more healthful. Choices will be limited to what’s actually in season, not something shipped from some faraway place.

The shocking knowledge that the majority of supermarket food comes from 1,200 miles away bows to the fact that much of it is junk. Not just junk food, but junk. Local sourcing of berries, eggs, fruits and vegetables is fairly easy to accomplish. Even dairy, fish, and meat can be more local. Many stores now “announce” their sources and the location that the available food comes from. It’s a good start. But if you don’t want salmon from China or berries from California, then take control yourself. Shop farmers’ markets. Pat yourself on the back for “eating in season” which may mean you have to wait for those strawberries or tomatoes.

Here’s something funny about human nature: if a local product costs $20 more than the product at the BigBoxStore, I can understand reluctance. But if the local product cost 2 cents more, where’s the hesitation in purchasing? Food banks are inundated with the products people say they are buying - organic eggs, veggies, and fruits. Inundated because these better products are not really selling as well as their BigBox 2 cent cheaper versions. Those foods that traveled the 1,200 miles to get to you.

Shopping locally can and should be fun. Shopping the stranger-faced BigBox stores is often not. We just need to get the word out to our friends and neighbors. Which may mean leaning over the back fence. It takes more effort. My farm business, farmacopoeia, was where my eggs, fruits and vegetables were sold in a small town farmers’ market for a couple of years. A market in the middle of Boring. There are only two stoplights in Boring and maybe a half mile between them. Balloons and signs announced the market each week. And I cannot tell you how many people would tell me they “never found it”. Now defunct, it may require using your eyes and ears to find the open air markets near you.

A $1 spent with a local vendor at a farmers’ market will be more likely to be spent locally as well. A $1 spent at a BigBoxStore will go to the CEOs and shareholders of a large corporation in another state! Be mindful. Who do you want to support? BigBoxStores exist because people want them to. Not such a bad idea if you have nine in your family, but probably overkill if there’s only two or three of you.

Ask questions of your local vendors. Something you really won’t be able to do in the big, corporate-run stores. The local vendors may not know all the answers to your questions but you will be able to have a dialog. Don’t make assumptions though. Think. Ask. Ask about fertilizer use, seed sources, location of the farm, was the produce raised by the farmer/vendor or brought in from elsewhere (which is often OK, but you deserve to know, don’t you?).

If you are buying plants and starts, are they Open Pollinated seeds or Hybrids? You’ll want to know this if you plan to save seeds from these plants to use at another time. Always ask about Genetically Modified (GM) seeds and products, and avoid them. Their safety is unproven and they may be the biggest threat to our food diversity (and our health) that our planet has ever seen. Besides, do you really think it’s wise, or even safe, for three or four seed suppliers to control all of the foodcrops grown worldwide? Probably not a