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Photo by Gary Randall.
Do-it-yourself senior portraiture by Gary Randall on 10/01/2019

It’s autumn once again and for many parents and photographers it means senior portrait season.

There are many photographers to choose from these days when it comes to creating portraiture, but what if you would like to attempt it yourself? In this day and age, you have the tools to do it, even if you use your smartphone camera. All you would need to provide would be your own artistic touch, but there are a few tricks to learn and remember that could help your success.

The first thing to keep in mind is composition. As in all forms of visual art a strong and creative composition is imperative. A photo can be technically imperfect, but if the subject is interesting and the composition is strong then the photo will still be effective. Remembering the basics of composition, especially the “Rule of Thirds” will help to create that perfect composition. Avoid centering your subject or having them stand facing directly at the camera. Turn their body in one direction and have them turn their head toward the camera for instance. Take some time to research poses before your go out with your subject.

Find an interesting location. The location should not be a part of the subject of the photo but should enhance the experience of the moment that you’re capturing. Places such as a garden or a park with landscaping or features such as rock walls, interesting buildings or trees. Allow your subject to be a part of the scene. Have them lean against or stand in front of the feature. It’s autumn, so many times a location with some beautiful fall leaves will be a great backdrop, especially if the leaves are illuminated by warm morning or afternoon light from behind.

Second only to composition in importance is lighting. Portraiture can be created outdoors in natural light without external lighting in certain situations. Try to find filtered light or a shady spot for even tones. I try to avoid direct sunlight on my subjects. This can be done by standing in a shaded area or by blocking the light with a piece of cardboard or matboard. If the subject is too dark in the area that you choose, then either a soft flash or a reflector to direct ambient light onto the subject can illuminate them. You can use a simple piece of white matboard, or something similar, to reflect indirect sunlight onto your subject. This method also works well when the subject is backlit.

Choosing a camera is less important these days, especially considering the resolution that modern smartphones possess. It’s completely practical to use a smartphone for your photos. Today’s phones are capable of taking excellent images and there are apps that will allow you to artfully edit the photos. The only limitation may be the size of which that you’re capable of printing the photos, but in most all cases it’s not an issue. Most smartphones can allow you to set certain settings manually and to save the image as a raw file which enables the photo to be edited more extensively, including creating a shallow depth of field to blur the background. The phone app will also give you editing options for your photos. Take out your phone and give it a whirl.

If you own a digital single lens reflex camera, or a similar solid body camera, with interchangeable lenses, make sure that your shutter speed is fast enough so as not to have any kind of motion blur from movement of your hand or the subject. An open aperture, smaller f/stop number will help by allowing more light into the camera while also creating a shallow depth of field, blurring the background while keeping the subject sharp. This will also help to separate your subject from the background.

Post processing, or developing, your photos can be fairly easy with some of the apps for smartphones or programs for desktop computers that are available. Many are similar to Instagram filters where you have a list of effects that you can click on to preview to see what your photo would look like. Just click until you find one that works or is close, you can do fine tuning in most cases, and then save the high-resolution file.

In most cases there’s no substitute for a professional with experience in working with composition and light who uses professional level equipment. But if you’re wanting to try it yourself first, go for it. What do you have to lose but a little time? It’s fun to photograph your children or your grandchildren and will give you some quality time with them, and you’ll gain some valuable photography experience and, perhaps, some beautiful senior portraits.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Community Campus update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2019

The Sandy Community Campus is an exciting project that can help our community grow into the future. This project would allow us to revitalize the Pleasant Street neighborhood into a vibrant gathering place for our community. It would also allow us to create a more business and community friendly area for businesses off of our downtown core that has a state highway running through it.

To make this project a reality, our community must first go through a process that engages our citizens, local business leaders, neighborhood advocates and taxpayers to create something that we all want.

First a little background. The City of Sandy purchased the former Cedar Ridge Middle School Campus and neighboring aquatic center in 2017 for about $3 million. Included in this purchase was two parcels of land to the north of the old Cedar Ridge Middle School: the existing football field and the adjacent wooded areas. This gives the city 35.08 acres of land to work with.

This purchase allows our community to control the plans for nearly 40 acres of land that sits just adjacent to our downtown core. Rarely are communities afforded an opportunity to dream so big. That said, as is usually the case with big dreams – there are also significant challenges.

Our City Council is embarking on a process that will begin with community feedback. We are commissioning a public opinion survey that will gather the opinions of our neighbors regarding what amenities they’d like to see in such a project, as well as what they’d be willing to pay for them. Additionally, there will be a large amount of community feedback gathered through our Parks Master Planning process that our Parks Committee is embarking on over the next several months.

This information will help determine if we move forward with a proposal to put in front of voters.

In the past, leaders have simply decided to pay to keep the aquatic center open. The recent result of this decision was the draining of our city’s general and contingency (rainy day) funds to the tune of nearly $500,000 a year. This put our city budget into a very precarious situation. To move forward, both the pool and the community campus will need proper and stable funding. Taxpayers need to be the ones to decide the future of the project since they will be the ones funding it.

If this public opinion survey comes back favorably, our council would look to support the consideration of a ballot measure for our community to decide whether they’d like to fund such a project in the form of an Oregon Trail Recreation District. Not only would this district provide a long-term and stable funding source for the Community Campus Project, but it could additionally provide funding to improve Sandy’s current parks and trails.

Additionally, our Council is looking at alternative solutions that can help us reach and/or enhance these same collective goals through public/private partnerships in a more efficient and cost-effective way utilizing the skills and entrepreneurial spirit of America’s private sector. The idea would be to provide a service to our community from the private sector that could stimulate commercial retail activity along Pleasant Street. It would also provide our community with a plethora of greatly enhanced recreational activity choices and parkland on the back portion of the property.

Together, we will develop a vision for Sandy’s future that provides a great sense of community for generations to come. Together, we can Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Viewpoints - Salem: Supporting Child Welfare by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2019

Last month, the legislature gathered in Salem for September Legislative Days, a time for the House and Senate to check in, set priorities for the next session and hear how the bills we passed in previous sessions are being implemented. During Legislative Days, I was honored to sit as Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing for the first time. The committee held an informational hearing on a wide variety of topics, and I took in a huge amount of information. The two issues that most stuck with me, though, were child welfare oversight and children’s advocacy center funding.

It’s no secret that Oregon has struggled with our Child Welfare agency in recent years. That’s why Governor Kate Brown instituted the Child Welfare Oversight Board, which provided our committee with an update on its progress. Child Welfare is in the process of hiring more than 300 new caseworkers, which should end the current backlog of reports of abuse and neglect. As a social worker, I know that massive caseloads are a primary reason people can’t access needed services, as well as the main reason for high turnover at agencies like the Department of Human Services. I worked hard to ensure the legislature would fund these new caseworker positions, and I will continue to push for strong oversight of our state’s child welfare programs as the new caseworkers and managers get to work.

Unfortunately, no matter how effective our child welfare programs become, some children will still be subject to abuse. That’s why funding for our state’s children’s advocacy centers (CAC) is a top priority for me. By working with law enforcement officers, mental health counselors and forensic interviewers, CACs are critically important to our state’s response to violence against children. They expertly investigate reports of abuse, which allows law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable, but most importantly they help children heal from the trauma of abuse. By all accounts, communities that have access to CACs have vastly better outcomes in terms of offender accountability, and also in terms of children and their families having access to the supports needed to overcome these traumatic experiences.

CACs, like many other services, are disproportionately underfunded in rural areas. The Columbia Gorge CAC, for example, serves five sprawling, rural and frontier counties, and only has a single part-time medical provider to see patients. Some patients have to drive for more than two hours just to get to the facility, and if the medical provider is unavailable for any reason, they are sometimes referred to a similar facility in Portland. The Columbia Gorge CAC and other facilities facing similar struggles deserve assistance from the state government.

This investment would pay for itself: in over ten years of operating, only three cases investigated by the Columbia Gorge CAC have gone to a jury trial, because the quality of evidence produced there almost always leads to a guilty plea.

That’s not to mention the future health care costs that may be avoided when children receive specialized counseling and begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. While abuse can impact a child’s life forever, effective treatment can drastically reduce those impacts and empower victims to thrive.

Until the state improves our funding model for these programs, CACs are forced to do their own fundraising to pay for the services they provide. It’s a travesty that Oregon isn’t doing a better job to support facilities like the Columbia Gorge CAC, and I pledge to work for state funding during the upcoming legislative session. Still, in the meantime, fundraisers are essential for these organizations, so I encourage you to join me and the Columbia Gorge CAC at its annual fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 26 at The Ruins in Hood River. The Children’s Center (serving Clackamas County) is also holding a fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Embassy Suites Washington Square in Tigard.

If you would like information about either of these events, or want to reach me for any other reason, please email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or call my office at 503-986-1452.

I am committed to addressing these challenging issues and would love to hear your feedback as I do so.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Library of Things opens by Mary Soots on 10/01/2019

In May I wrote a column about toy-sharing programs and I’m giddy with excitement about something that is happening in our community – a Library of Things! “What is a Library of Things,” you ask? Well, according to the Clackamas County Library website, “A Library of Things is a collection of items such as kitchenware, musical instruments and games hosted at a library that library patrons can check out with their Libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) library card.” Imagine that you are hosting friends for the weekend and would like to have games for their kids to use, and maybe you want to make an extra special meal that you haven’t made because you don’t have the equipment you need. You can just go down to the library and check them out. When you’re finished, you return them. There’s no expense of purchasing equipment that you’ll rarely use again. And the best part of all is that you don’t have to find space to store things you won’t need again.

Ours is a material culture that embraces the idea of owning more and more things. If you’ve never watched the classic video by comedian George Carlin on our accumulation of “stuff,” I highly recommend it. He states that when we run out of room in our houses to store our stuff, we need to get a bigger house to place it in. Or we need to avail ourselves of the one of the fastest-growing industries – personal storage space. According to the website Curbed, one in 11 Americans pays for space to store our overflow, making it a $38 billion industry. They cite that “The volume of self-storage units in the country could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothing, skis and keepsakes more than 26 times.” This is due to people relocating, young people being forced to live in tiny urban residences, and retirees who have downsized into a home where their accumulated stuff doesn’t fit.

I’ve had occasion to check out a piece of equipment from a library in Portland. It was a VHS to DVD converter. I had a favorite exercise video (from the 1980s) that I had held on to just in case I ever had a VHS player again. Alas, I didn’t, but I was loathe to part with the video, so it languished in a drawer for years. Until I learned of the lending library. There was a waiting list, but eventually I got the email telling me that the converter was mine for two weeks. I laughed uproariously when I saw the big hair and the shimmery leotards, but I was happy to have my video again.

One of the best parts of having a Library of Things is that you can experiment with something before you decide to invest in one of your own. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to learn to play the bass guitar. You can try it out and see if you actually have the time and patience to develop musical mastery. If you decide that it was a passing fancy, you won’t feel guilty about having invested heavily in it.

Of course, another benefit to the community is that a Library of Things promotes sustainability. If each household purchased the same baking mold, it would require the use of more resources and eventually the disposal of those molds. However, if we as a community shared those molds, the demand for resources would be diminished and waste would be reduced.

The Library of Things became available on Monday, Sept. 23 at eight Clackamas County libraries including the Hoodland and the Sandy libraries. The funding for this innovative program is through Clackamas County Sustainability and Solid Waste (SSW). Please check the website for updates on what types of things are available. As the program grows in popularity, so will the number of things that are available.

Although there will be all types of stuff available to borrow, you won’t find any power tools at the library at this time. My guess is that would create a liability if some novice hurt themselves misusing one of the library’s power saws. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of other things that you can borrow. Please share this information with others and make this exciting community program a huge success!

Is your diet beneficial to your brain? by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2019

Last month’s column brought up more questions that we may need to address – like why is increasing fats in your diet a better idea for our brains and why we should avoid the current Standard American Diet (SAD) of high carbohydrates and sugar and prepackaged foods?

Some of the interesting things to note are that we all should know that doing the same thing over and over while getting the same results just doesn’t get us anywhere. The Federal Drug Association (FDA) currently lists five drugs to help with Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. None of these drugs is a cure. The cost of this drug development has been more than five billion dollars, and that is approximately twice the cost of research and development for every other drug on the market! Yearly deaths from heart disease, HIV and strokes are going down while deaths from Alzheimer’s have gone up by 89 percent over the last 20 years. One in two people over the age of 85 gets Alzheimer’s. Death occurs because the central nervous system of the brain no longer signals the body to function, like breathing or heart rate. We are no closer to a cure than we were twenty years ago.

The cost of taking care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients was almost $300 billion in 1918. The cost of healthcare in the US is expected to be more than $20 trillion between 2018 and 2050. Somebody is watching these numbers. Yet in the past year, a half a dozen drugs have gone away due to failures. The debate continues to focus on whether the amyloid plaques or some other biomarker for the disease. Drugs from companies like Astra Zenica, Ely Lilly, Johnson and Johnson, Merck and Takena are rarely advertised now as they didn’t really work and were very expensive, as are most drugs in the US. So, the ads have been quietly removed.

Amyloid plaques are the biomarkers currently found in the brains of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. These are the neurofibrillary tangles of proteins, also called tau. These markers usually show up in people who get brain scans and are over 65 years of age. They show up in even younger people now. They also show up in ALS.

Paul Cox, a 65-year-old with a PhD in biology from Harvard, wanted to know more before it was too late. His in-depth studies led him to Guam where citizens were 100 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s/dementia than people anywhere else in the world. What was going on? It seemed like a good place to start his research, but it gets complicated from here on.

It turns out that cycad tree seeds with a certain blue-green alga contain the toxic substance called BMAA, which interferes with amino acids crucial to brain health. Then bats ate the seeds and the toxin accumulated in their fat store. Now I know you’re not eating bat stew like the people of Guam were, but it was a delicacy to the people of Guam. So much so that the bats were actually hunted to extinction. Good, right? But there’s more. The increase in the concentration of the toxins have been found in Africa and Asia. Also, in some lakes in Arizona, Lake Erie, New England and Utah. Blue crabs, a delicacy I’ve always wanted to try off the coast of Florida, have a concentration of the toxin as high as the bats in Guam. Some toxins are now getting into the crabs, shrimp and other marine life off Florida. Talk about “bats in the belfry…”

It turns out that the toxin replaces serine (an amino acid) in the brain by getting into the protein chains in the amino acids. This triggers a misfolding that can kill the neurons (but serine is safe for humans as it is neuroprotective against the protein folding). There’s a lot of protein in bacon… or do you think you should go out and buy a lot of expensive supplements? I don’t think that’s the answer, especially if you have a compromised digestive system as most people over 65 years of age do. My experience can tell you that most people over 45 years of age have compromised digestive systems.

Now let’s go back to Okinawa, the subject of my May 2019 column. The small area of the north side of the island of Japan is known as the Village of Longevity (though hardly a “village” as 4,000 people life there). Many have now studied the area, including the researcher of the Blue Zones. They have decided that reasons for such longevity are multifactorial. They include a diet high in tofu (locally made and without GMO materials), diet, intimate communities, matriarchal societies (women live particularly long there) and years of exercise. These are people who do not eat bread, eggs or milk. A typical breakfast is seaweed and miso soup with a small amount of rice and mushrooms, which is what I was served in my month-long stay in China. While an unfamiliar taste, I was told that the greens had been collected at dawn and the mushrooms (known as fungi there) were also freshly picked. Other meals in “the Village of Longevity” were stir-fried greens with burdock (like a cross between a carrot and a parsnip), mushrooms (fungi) and other vegetables over rice and a small amount of fish or meat.

The people of this Okinawa are consuming three to four times more serine that Americans get. But we do have these foods available, it’s just that few people are eating them. While you probably cannot get locally made tofu unless you are making it yourself, many places like healthy markets provide burdock and dried seaweed (kids love it and it makes a great snack), and sweet potatoes.

We can all decrease meat, have fish two to three times a week and small amounts of rice. Keep trying and keep trying different recipes. Don’t you want to live to be over 100? Many of my friends are in their 90s and even Rose Kennedy lived to be 106. Maybe we can too?

Revoking a will, let me count the ways by Paula Walker on 10/01/2019

You’ve completed your will and now life’s changes bring you to the point that it no longer serves your purposes, what can you do in Oregon to revoke that will.

Slash and burn: starting with the possibly more dramatic approaches, you can completely or partially destroy your existing will — burn, tear, cut, otherwise mutilate. Physical destruction or damage to the will invalidates the entire will. You can also have another person take those destructive actions for you, however, for that to be determined as your willful and intentional act that person must destroy the will in your presence with two witnesses, and you must make it clear to each that it is your intention to revoke your will by this destroying it, whether the destruction is complete or partial in its damage.

Physically alter: you can write ‘VOID’ on each of the pages, or X out your signature to invalidate your entire will.

Replacement: a bit less dramatic and a whole lot more effective is to create another will to replace the prior version; the replacement stating your intent to “revoke all prior wills.” Not only more effective in conveying your clear intent, replacing with a new will does not leave your estate to the consequences of dying “intestate,” i.e. without a will, without any direction of your intent for who should receive what, leaving instead to the state and the court system to decide.

Revoke in full or in part (i.e. change it in part or fully change it): the replacement approach above, constitutes revoke in full. Revoking in part requires other methods. The ‘slash and burn’ tactics mentioned above do not serve to change specific portions of your will and leave the remaining provisions serviceable; neither does physically altering only portions or certain provisions of your will. In Oregon those techniques are all inclusive, the entire will is invalidated. To revoke in part under Oregon law you must create a codicil, which is a written amendment to your will. Like the original will, a codicil requires two witness signatures to be legally valid.

Legal presumption: in Oregon, if the will is lost the presumption is that it was intentionally destroyed or never existed and hence the estate falls to the Oregon’s rules of intestacy.

The do it yourself approach of physically destroying or altering a will, its disappearance, especially without credible evidence in writing of some sort that it was your intent to completely invalidate the will you had prior, leaves your family in a limbo regarding your intent and can cause timely, costly legal proceedings to try to uncover your true intent, the rightful administrator of your estate and the rightful recipients of what you’ve left behind. The rules of intestacy identify the legally “rightful” recipients according to those rules; however, they may not be your intended recipients.

Stories of the Stars, If only…

This September, a year since her death, finds Michigan courts and the potential beneficiaries of Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” embroiled in the effort to determine whether of three hand written documents found in her Michigan home there exists a valid will. These include one found under her couch cushions.

About the family “in limbo,” Aretha’s four sons, Clarence, Jordan, Ted and Kecalf had filed for probate in Michigan court shortly after her death simply as “interested persons.” Most recently, the discovery of the handwritten documents has upended the agreement by the four sons to accept Sabrina Owens as the executor of the estate. Court proceedings have begun on petitions to appoint instead Kecalf, Aretha’s youngest, based on information found in those documents.

And the legal wrangling continues. . .

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.

Preserving the summer by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2019

Summer is gone, but these late crop recipes can help the sunshine linger longer. Store and eat within a week or can for the winter, when you need a sunny day.

Zucchini relish

So good on hamburgers, hot dogs and spoons!

3 medium size zucchinis, shredded

1 bell pepper, sliced thin

1 onion, sliced thin

1 t caraway seeds

1 t celery salt

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup organic or raw sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 T pink peppercorns

Mix squash, onion, salt and pepper and place in a large covered glass bowl overnight.

Drain water the next day, combine with the other ingredients and place in jars. Process or refrigerate.

Summer Succotash

This veggie-filled side is making a comeback!

3-4 ears of corn or 2 cups frozen

2 cups frozen lima beans

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

1 T heavy cream (optional)

1 T red wine vinegar

1 t each black pepper and kosher salt

Chopped basil or parsley

Cut the kernels off the corn cobs over a bowl. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and heat the olive oil in the skillet. Add the corn, red onion and red bell pepper. Add salt and pepper. Sauté for about six to eight minutes. Everything should be soft but not mushy. Add in the lima beans, heavy cream, red wine vinegar and pinch of salt. Stir and let the flavors come together for a couple minutes. Finish with some chopped herbs.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Fall’s photogenic phenomenon by Gary Randall on 08/31/2019

It’s summer here in Oregon but it won’t be long before the leaves start to turn to their autumn colors. The viney-maples up Lolo Pass are turning red, particularly those that are in direct sunlight most of the day, so once the process starts the leaves will change quickly. I love summertime and, considering the approach of the long stretch of wet grey winter weather, never really want it to leave, but I love the colors of autumn for photos.

I don’t make my most beautiful photos in the warm, clear, long summer days. It’s the spring or autumn days that I wait for each year to make the photos that I like the best, especially autumn. I even dare to say that I like photographing these landscapes in the rain. The rain creates a lush, rich feel to the photos. I like the rain because it dampens and cleans the forest. A wet forest allows me to use my circular polarizer filter to remove the glare and reflections of the sky from the forest foliage and allows the lush, bright color to come through in the photograph. It’s not the same with dry leaves, but wet leaves polarized make the colors pop in the photo.

It’s not like summertime is devoid of photography opportunities, I can take some nice photos in the summertime, but at that time of the year the bulk of the photos that I make are sunrises or sunsets which require a little sacrifice of sleep at times, and then once the sky is filled with bright sunlight I’m done until the light changes again. And winter is fine, but the trees are stark and bare, and the best photos are made in the fresh snow so timing can be critical. And besides, it’s cold outside.

I enjoy photographing the forests, creeks and waterfalls of our area a lot. We have so many little creeks or views into the forest from the edge of our local side roads that I don’t even need to hike to create a beautiful photo, which really makes it handy if it’s raining. The creeks are full in the fall and are usually lined with bright yellow viney-maples and devil’s club, with broad leaf maples arching overhead and backed by columns of Douglas fir trees. And when there’s a mist in the trees, especially with soft light sifting through, it creates an ethereal scene. Add the colors of the autumn leaves and these scenes take on a new life of warm light. And when the sun does shine into the wet forest, some amazing misty conditions can be created. Shafts of light cut through soft mists as they filter through the trees.

It’s natural to think that the best time of the year for photos is during the dry weather of summertime, but don’t discount the wet weather of autumn. Instead of dreading the end of summer, embrace it as it’s inevitable and have a great time taking photos.

Viewpoints – Salem: Better support for survivors of violence by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/31/2019

As I consider my priorities for the short session in 2020, one topic keeps coming back to me: our state needs to do better at providing accessible and appropriate services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

As a social worker, I spent more than a decade working directly with these survivors, finding them support, counseling and basic needs like food and housing.

Survivors face struggles well beyond the direct physical impacts of the violence inflicted upon them. As their injuries heal, their trauma can accumulate and cause long-term emotional harm. Their children and loved ones also suffer as a result, which in turn impacts educational attainment, housing security, health outcomes and financial well-being. In this way, an act of domestic or sexual violence can impact a family for generations after the violence takes place.

I am proud to say that Oregon does a great job of helping survivors in some very specific circumstances: when a victim reports abuse to law enforcement or to emergency medical providers. Some areas of our state have robust violence prevention programs in their schools, taking advantage of the excellent work done by the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

However, in many parts of our state, particularly the rural areas, the only points of intervention the state provides exist in law enforcement and hospital settings. These are crisis response services, and they’re critical, but if this is all we provide we are addressing the problem far too late. Many of the struggles survivors face are indirectly caused by the fact that they lack access to health care (physical and mental) as well as supportive services like child care until they are faced with a medical emergency.

In addition to the personal impacts of abuse, the fact that so many survivors receive no assistance until they check into an emergency room results in massive, unnecessary costs to the state. In the coming legislative session, I will propose that Oregon should use its public healthcare funding to provide qualified domestic and sexual violence advocates to survivors. These advocates will connect survivors with the care that they need before their situations become medical emergencies, which is better for survivors, their children and our communities as a whole.

It is incredibly difficult for a survivor to tell their doctor, “I’m coming to you because I am a victim of domestic violence, which is impacting my health, my parenting, my job and my connections to my community.” With an advocate to help them articulate these struggles to service providers before a crisis takes place, survivors can get the help they need when it can do the most good.

The benefits of such a system would be widespread: it could bring about reduced health care costs, improved housing outcomes, increased high school graduation rates and higher economic prosperity in communities where abuse has disproportionately negative impacts.

Domestic and sexual violence are not only criminal justice issues: they are health care issues, educational issues, economic issues and fundamental societal issues. It’s time that we started treating them that way, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Oregon Legislature to continue to improve our services for survivors of violence across the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Traffic update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/31/2019

I’m thrilled to announce that at this past month’s City Council Meeting, we directed our city staff to advance forward with a proposed timeline for the SE 362nd to Bell St. Extension Project. This project is critical to improving the bottleneck that is created every morning and afternoon during the school year as a result of most of our schools’ single access point of Bluff Road.

As someone who commutes to work and has two young daughters enrolled in Oregon Trail Schools, we drive to and from school each day, I can attest to the frustration! This extension of 362nd Ave to Bell St. (the street which Sandy High School is on) will provide another access point, giving parents and neighbors the alternative route to and from schools off of Bluff Road.

The following is the approved timeline:

– January, 2020: solicit qualifications statements for design and construction management services and shortlist consultants (three maximum)

– February, 2020: negotiate scope of work and fee

– March, 2020: begin survey, design and environmental

– August, 2020: define right-of-way requirements, perform appraisals

– September, 2020: submit offers to property owners, submit removal - fill permit application

– October, 2020: February, 2021 - complete right-of-way acquisition, design and permitting process

– January, 2021: set up project financing in conjunction with budget adoption process

– March, 2021: advertise for bids

In addition to City Council approving this timeline, it was announced that our efforts in advocating for more funds out of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the Vista Loop – Ten Eyck Pedestrian Sidewalk Project was successful. The Oregon Transportation Commission approved an additional $1.1 million of funding for the project last week. This project and funding is critical for the safety of our neighbors and young families that continually walk that stretch of highway.

This is hot on the heels of our recent announcement of ODOT agreeing to conduct and fund a feasibility study on a local bypass and their willingness to install signal timers for our lights through town in the next year.

Our Council and I are committed to working to improve our traffic conditions in town, as well as work towards a more citizen-friendly and walkable community. As you can see in our proposed timeline for the SE 362nd to Bell St. Extension Project, these things take time. That said, we’re moving at a rapid pace for a local government in order to reach our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: sustainability on the run by Mary Soots on 08/31/2019

My favorite grocery store is a local Portland-based chain that features local, organic and fair-trade items. When in their area, I like to cruise the bulk snacks to restock the snack jar in the car. It comes in handy when I have no time for lunch or just want some road food. I also get prepared food from the deli department to eat on the run or take home and reheat. As a conscientious consumer, I carry a reusable covered container similar to a three-section plate so that I can put everything in one container. Voila! Lunch on the go with zero waste. Just wash the dish when I get home and toss it back in the car. It also comes in handy to take leftovers from restaurants.

Then I learned about a service that allows individuals to subscribe to a lunch box to-go program. When you go to the grocery counter, or into a growing number of delis and restaurants, you can ask for food to go in a nice reusable plastic box, and then return the box to any vendor and it will be cleaned and re-used. Kind of like when we used to refill glass pop bottles rather than recycling them.

One of the benefits of using “to go” boxes is the idea of no packaging and no food waste, of course. Another is that after you’ve consumed the food, you won’t dispose of the container. You purchase a subscription for the number of containers you want. When you return the ones you’ve taken, you’re eligible for new ones.

I love the current movement to cut down on the amount of waste produced by food and beverage containers. One group that has espoused the idea are the promoters of the Hood to Coast Relay, held on Aug. 23-24 this year. Although the event is good for local economies, it is also a mixed blessing, in part because of the debris left in its wake. This year, they partnered with a sustainability event organizer, Elysium Events. They began with sending information to participants about sustainability. It included a recycling sorting guide (via app to avoid printing) so that recyclable goods are not sent to landfills due to contamination from non-recyclable materials.

According to a recent article in the Seaside Signal newspaper, “Elysium has a strategy for helping in this area by providing back-of-house sorting to remove contaminated items. Groups of students from Glencoe High School and Roosevelt High School have volunteered to help with sorting in exchange for bottles and cans that can be deposited for money at the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.” This program allows money from bottles and cans collected to be diverted to the organization of their choice.

Another campaign asked participants to sign a pledge to use refillable containers. According to the Hood to Coast website, “If every team pledges to use a refillable water jug and bottles, we can collectively avoid over 150,000 single-use plastic bottles!” Similarly, they asked people to make home-made snacks or purchase snacks in bulk rather than individually wrapped items.

As this is the first year that sustainability measures were taken for Hood to Coast, it will set a baseline that will inform how efforts can be improved upon in the future.

While the Hood to Coast is working to decrease its footprint on the mountain, there are other marathons and other events and sports that have yet to follow in their footsteps in thinking about their environmental impact. We all understand that when hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or bicycling, we need nourishment and hydration to keep us going. Whether you’re running errands or running a marathon, it is not so difficult to think outside the box and to plan ahead. The choices are much more appealing, healthier and a lot less expensive.

Don’t be a pirate with an estate plan by Paula Walker on 08/31/2019

In equal importance to leaving your affairs neat and tidy with a well-drafted Trust or Will is the comprehensive checklist that supports this instrument. The biggest gift you can give to those you leave behind, is to make it easy for the person you’ve appointed to administer your estate to identify and access your numerous assets. Make the contents, location and means of access to your entire treasure trove — those many things that constitute your estate and your legacy — easy and straight forward to locate and manage according to your plan. Do not make the transition a search for buried treasure.

Provide a map: a single point of information that provides the all-in-one guide to what you have and who to contact for the assistance your administrator will need to wrap things up, close things out and properly maintain them until that occurs. Help them, help you fulfill your objective for a smooth, orderly and efficient accounting and transfer of your assets. Your comprehensive Trust or Will serves the purpose of clearly stating to whom and how to distribute your estate, but it does not identify, in needed detail, the complete listing of all assets, where they are and the means to access them.

This “one stop” source of information is truly the key. This comprehensive list must include not only each asset or type of asset but the means of accessing it; the code, if you will, to the treasure chest. Internet accounts, including social media accounts, email and online banking to name a few, require passwords and possibly other coded information, such as your first car, your favorite first grade teacher, your mother’s maiden name and more, while financial institutions and banks require personal identification information.

What should you list? Everything. Financial accounts: list the financial institutions, the accounts, the account purpose if relevant to managing their closure, such as the payments need to be made from them or payments received in them. Retirement accounts. Credit Cards. Internet accounts, including social media, email, photo repository. Real Estate holdings and the location of deeds. Key Advisors, including your attorney, financial planner, accountant, insurance agent and your spiritual/religious advisor. For all of these provide the contact information and location if, for instance, you deal with a particular branch and representative; and access information, user IDs and passwords. Property maintenance: in the interim between your passing and selling your real estate, list the person(s) to call if that property needs maintenance. Property Security, including how to access your home, keep it secure, not trigger alarms. Personal relationships: add to this a list of personal relationships. These are just a few ideas for the many and varied list of assets that you may have that belong on “your map.”

After creating it, maintain it. Equal in importance to creating your map is maintaining it. As you know, this critical information is always in flux; changes of bank accounts, new investments, changes of passwords. Review this information annually. Set a date that makes it easy to remember this important task; New Year’s or another date that is key to you and is a convenient time to attend to this. It is a bit of a chore to create your first edition, but revisions can be fairly quick and take reasonably little time to accomplish.

And remember to safeguard this highly sensitive information, such as keeping your map in a safe deposit box, a locked safe or a securely password protected file. Give only your administrator the information necessary to access this map, so that they have it when the time comes.

A treasure trove it is. This information is literally gold, the key to the realm for your administrator who will be grateful that you left them everything needed to do the job you’ve asked of them, straightforwardly and efficiently. Good for them, and good for those you intend to benefit from your life.

Stories of the Stars

If Only...

Billionaire Matthew Mellon II, heir to a banking dynasty, died suddenly of a heart attack in Cancun, Mexico on April 16, 2018, reportedly leaving behind him cryptocurrency, XRP, that had risen to $1 billion at its peak in January 2018 from his initial $2 million investment and placing him on Forbes’ “First-Ever List Of Cryptocurrency’s Richest People.” This asset may never be recovered due to Mr. Mellon keeping his digital keys to this currency in different cold storage locations across the U.S., rented under different names. Ingenious. Interesting. Inaccessible.

Taking a clue from this intriguing tale of the most contemporary of asset types: remember to provide the map; the administration of your estate plan should not be an Easter egg hunt or search for Spanish doubloons.

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.

The Ketogenic Plan: food for thought and focus by Victoria Larson on 08/31/2019

With school starting, we want to help our kids and grandkids focus. For that matter, many of us adults could use some help in this matter. Though changing what you eat, or what your kids eat, may not be easy it’s certainly worth the effort. Especially if you want them to focus and think.

I’ve been writing these columns for nearly twenty years now (!), so longtime readers know that I don’t like the word “diet.” So, let me start with calling it the Ketogenic Food Plan. The Ketogenic Plan has grown out of the Paleo style of eating which is what our ancestors did -- from early humans up to about 100 years ago. Then things changed. Face it, our grandparents ate simple, home-grown, home-prepared food. Not the overly preserved, packaged stuff that dazzles the eye in modern supermarkets and big box stores.

What we eat today is responsible for our health tomorrow... or next year. Approximately three percent of chronic disease is caused by genetics. The rest is caused by lifestyle choices. Most chronic disease today, from diabetes to heart disease, is caused by those choices. The generation behind me may not live as long as I will, and the generation after them may live even less. When money and the economy are people’s biggest concerns, we’ve lost perspective. What does it matter if you are rich if you don’t feel well or our Earth is gasping it’s last breath?

Each of you must make your own choices regarding what you eat, but you may have some control over what the kids eat. All – repeat, all - modern food plans stress the need to avoid packaged, sugared food. Yet stores, which are money-making enterprises, continually include more packaged foods, leaving the poor oranges and avocadoes to languish. The simple truth is that low- or no- sugar foods, high good-fat foods and less-packaged foods, like our ancestors lived on, are the way things should be.

The Ketogenic Plan has lots of good fats, protein and less than 5 percent carbohydrates. The healthy fats include fish (two to three times per week), nuts (a handful per day), full-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and even butter. Some say the brain needs glucose to function, but sugar has compromised out health. The brain is composed of 90 percent fat and functions better with good quality fat, but not the manipulated fats found in many of today’s foodstuffs. The good fats include avocadoes, unprocessed full-fat cheese, sardines and other foods, but not cakes, French fries, etc.

When food enters your stomach, it triggers receptors to signal the hypothalamus to register that feeling of satiety (being full enough). Good fats do this readily but manipulated fats and carbohydrates make you want to eat more and more to achieve that state. Eating carbs makes you want to eat more carbs as you’ve no doubt discovered. Eggs have been given a bad rap for years. Yet dementia and heart disease continue to rise. Eggs are a very good source of good fat. And for the record, the yolk contains lecithin, which keeps cholesterol under control. Most cholesterol is made by your body anyway.

The Ketogenic Food Plan means fewer grains, sugars and legumes. You, and your kids, will do better with a breakfast of eggs, avocadoes and nuts than an expensive bowl of over-processed grains known as cold cereal. Today’s children (and many adults) cannot think straight on just air and that is most of what’s being eaten. They, and we, become befuddled, confused and sluggish. The Ketogenic Plan encourages a very low carbohydrate intake in order to cause your body to use ketones from healthy fats to fuel your brain instead of glucose. Very low manipulated fats mean bread, grains and legumes, as well as starchy vegetables are restricted.

The Ketogenic food plan was researched to help those who had seizures. I have a friend who asked about his seven-year-old granddaughter who was having dozens of seizures every month. I’m retired now and not practicing so couldn’t treat her, but I could tell him what I know or learn. Just like this column does every month. My advice was the Ketogenic Plan. His kids put their daughter on the plan and within one day her teachers noticed she was calmer and more focused with fewer seizures.

Aim for 70 percent of your calories coming from the good fats (again that’s eggs, avocadoes, full fat dairy, nuts, seafood, etc.) and less than 50 grams of carbs. That’s still plenty, so you can occasionally give the kids tortillas or rice or beans. While the Ketogenic food plan is also touted as a weight loss program, I think that ANY plan that decreases junk food, packaged food and simple sugars will go a long ways towards weight loss.

Give it a trial but realize it may take a few days for the body to switch from burning glucose (sugars) for energy to burning ketones (fats) for energy so a few days of tiredness could ensue. Vegans and vegetarians will need to find sources of proteins that do not include manipulated soy products (most of which are genetically modified) unless they include some fish, eggs and dairy. Increased protein may cause some constipation so be sure to drink two quarts to one gallon of water per day, depending on weather and activity level. If a little more fiber is needed increase whole grain foods and vegetables. Check with your doctor if you have kidney problems as the high protein can be irritating to kidneys.

Now just watch those brains focus. You’ll see changes in yourself and your kids and your grandkids. Focus! Think!

Fabulous Labor Day menu by Taeler Butel on 08/31/2019

Peach Brined Pork chops

3 lbs. 1-inch thick sirloin pork chops (5-6 chops)

3 fresh yellow peaches

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (optional)

vegetable oil



1 T chopped fresh rosemary

2 cups peach nectar or peach juice

1 T black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

1 T fresh thyme.

6 cups boiling water

Place brine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool brining liquid to room temperature, add pork chops to the brine and chill two to four hours. Heat outdoor grill or grill pan and place pork on grill for five minutes each side until cooked through. Cut peaches in half, discard pits then brush cut sides with oil. Grill cut side down for two minutes or until grill marks form, top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese if you like. Serve with the pork chops.


Grilled corn on the cob with herb butter

6 ears yellow or white corn 

Herb butter:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 T chopped fresh basil

1 T chopped fresh tarragon

1 t fresh thyme leaves

1 t chopped fresh rosemary

1 t fresh oregano

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

Heat grill to 350. Grill the corn in husks for five minutes on each side until tender. Place ingredients for herb butter in food processor and pulse until combined. Husk the corn and spread 2 T of the butter on each ear. Leftover herb butter can be served over noodles, in soups, on hot crusty bread.

Roasted Potato salad

3 lbs small red potatoes cut into one-inch pieces

1 small red onion cut into wedges

6 cloves minced garlic

2 t olive oil

2 T cider vinegar

1 1-oz envelope dry ranch dressing mix

1 cup mayo

4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled

3 hard boiled eggs, sliced

1 green onion, sliced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 avocado, chopped

Salt, pepper, fresh chopped parsley

On a large baking sheet toss together potatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Stir, and continue to roast 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and browned. In a large bowl whisk together mayo, vinegar and ranch dressing, toss in roasted vegetables and celery, eggs, bacon, onion and avocado. Salt and pepper to taste and top with chopped fresh parsley.


Blueberry panna cotta with lime mint syrup

3 cups heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

1 cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, cut and scraped or 2 T vanilla extract

2 cups sour cream or crème fraiche

2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin

4 strips lemon peel (yellow only)

1-pint blueberries picked over


For the syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 T chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup water

Zest from 2 limes

“Bloom” the gelatin by sprinkling over two tablespoons cold water, set aside.

Place the cream, milk, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla bean with seeds in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to just a simmer, turn off heat and add the sour cream or crème fraiche. Take out the vanilla bean pod and lemon peel and discard. Stir in the bloomed gelatin until dissolved, then add blueberries. Carefully pour mixture into eight one-cup ramekins or into muffin tins that have been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Let chill in refrigerator three hours or overnight. To loosen the panna cotta run a thin clean knife around edges and invert onto serving plate.

To make syrup bring water and sugar to a boil and stir constantly until sugar dissolves, then add lime zest and fresh mint. Cool completely and serve over panna cotta.

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

Family photo.
The View Finder: family photos by Gary Randall on 08/01/2019

My family has always valued our photo albums. When I was a boy, I enjoyed looking at the photos that were passed down through generations: my great grandparents, when they were young through to their senior years; my grandfather, from his childhood through his time in the military, including World War II. My own family photos, mom and dad as children, fascinated me, as did seeing photos of places that the family had lived through the years. As time passed the album started holding my own memories: my childhood through high school, Navy days, as well as photos of my own children.

Many old photos were made to remember places as well as family members. Since the advent of the portable Kodak camera at the turn of the 20th century, a camera accompanied family vacations. This was also the era of picture postcards. A lot of locations that attracted tourists usually had a postcard stand that included views that would have been photographed by visitors if they would have had a camera. These location photos have become valuable documentations of change through time.

Although we have more options for printing and collecting photographs, digital photography has made printing photos and photo albums almost obsolete. A lot of people don’t associate printing their photos with digital photography but there are a lot of companies that will print your digital photos in the same manner as film photos. The motivation to take a photo these days has little to do with documenting moments that would be valuable to others in the future, but are usually motivated by bragging about a passing moment in time that will be forgotten by the time the next photo is made and shared on social media. These are mostly never printed and with the chances for hard drive crashes or computer failure, these photos are prone to loss or deletion. I know that many people who make these photos these days probably won’t be proud of them in the future. In most cases they will document the person but not really the experience or the place, and certainly not in a way that would be valuable to historians or curious people or family in the future. On the other hand, digital photos have made documenting our children as they grow much easier, but printing them and putting them in an album is rarely done.

As a photographer and a local history fanatic I am so thankful for the people in the past who had taken the time to capture important moments and places in their more primitive form. If photographers such as Carlton Watkins had not photographed the Columbia River Gorge prior to the loss of the native culture or the commercial development and the damming of the river we would have little idea of just what it was actually like back then. Once photography was practical for the average hobby photographer, more and more images were made of these areas as they evolved into what they are today.

For those of us who live on or are in love with Mount Hood and its history, we’re fortunate to have many photos that were made by those who came here to recreate. The early days of climbing are well documented and as skiing became popular, photographs followed. Mount Hood’s only town, Government Camp, was the launching place for most of these activities and coincided with the boom of photography. Because of that there are a lot of great old images from that era available for collecting, research or just the enjoyment of seeing the changes that have happened through the years.

Government Camp has changed a lot in the last 120 years. It’s a great place to show examples of the changes that have been documented with photographs. I’m thankful that those who made the photos of their times on Mount Hood back in its early days and wonder if the photos made today will be available to those curious in the future.

Besides providing strangers a glimpse into the past, printing photos today for family in the future will be a more reliable way to preserve those memories. I urge everyone to do it and to save these photos in an old-fashioned photo album. Put it on your coffee table to share with friends and family. Make it an heirloom for future generations.

Viewpoints – Salem: Less heralded legislation by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/01/2019

With the 2019 session behind us, plenty has been written about the major accomplishments of the legislature this year. We passed a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (which I’ve written about in this paper before), we raised $1 billion per year for education funding (also the subject of a past column) and stabilized funding for Oregon’s Medicaid system, which provides care for about 400,000 children in the state. I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the less headline-grabbing accomplishments from the session – legislation and action that was every bit as important to people in our mountain community.

One thing I was especially proud to help make happen this session was bringing home $4.6 million that will be directly invested into cities in House District 52. This includes $1.7 million of state funding for storm line repairs in Hood River, $2.4 million for economic development in Cascade Locks and $500,000 for the first phase of wastewater treatment improvements in Sandy. These vital public works will help our growing cities continue to thrive.

One piece of legislation we passed that hasn’t gotten much press is a bill I chief-sponsored that will expand the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Volunteer ombudsmen from that office are charged with extremely important work: visiting long-term care facilities to build relationships with staff and residents and addressing their questions and concerns about the quality of care. However, some of the long-term care facilities in our state (especially in rural areas) receive only one to two visits a year from these volunteers because the staff that oversees them did not have funding to adequately supervise enough volunteers to ensure full coverage. House Bill 3413 adds three paid staff to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, which in turn will allow them to recruit and oversee more than 100 new volunteers. This funding increase will improve quality of life as well as health and safety for Oregonians living in long-term care facilities in communities like ours.

Finally, I want to highlight some behind-the-scenes work that I did on behalf of our communities’ natural resource protection efforts. When the Sandy River Watershed Council sought a permit to begin work on their annual floodplain reconnection project, which helps native salmon in both their migration and rearing, they struggled to get timely approval. Because it was crucial that they be allowed to begin their work as soon as possible (so they could finish in time for the salmon spawning season), they reached out to me for any help I could offer. I reached out to the offices involved with permitting and was able to help coordinate with all parties to ensure that the process was completed in a timely manner, saving the state money and protecting critical salmon spawning habitat.

My efforts to help these environmental advocates achieve their goals highlights the fact that not all of the work I do as a legislator necessarily involves legislating. We don’t always need new laws to solve problems in our state; we just need to figure out ways to more efficiently administer the laws already in place. I hope to continue working toward this type of solution – the type that doesn’t involve unrolling additional red tape – whenever possible. I would love to hear from the people in my district about similar issues they’ve been having in their daily lives. You can contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or by phone at 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Wastewater updates by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/01/2019

As many of you are aware, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring that the City of Sandy update our Wastewater Treatment Process. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of $60-80 million. We are hoping to explore other options that are more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, and we are in luck. When the Oregon Legislature convened last week, they approved a budget that included an earmarked $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

In the last few months, our council and staff have toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the more than 700-acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove. Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment. Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyote and other wildlife.

Thoroughly vetting alternative options is crucial for our community. If one of these options is viable, it would cut the cost of the current plan in half and would be much better for our environment.

I’d like to thank our state legislative delegation of State Representative Anna Williams and State Senator Chuck Thomsen for their leadership in making this happen. Between this and our Oregon Department of Transportation negotiations, this past legislative session had some of the most successful outcomes for the City of Sandy in our community’s history. Their bipartisan and cooperative efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated.

Additionally, we have exciting news regarding our city’s application process to obtain a $25 million Water Infrastructure and Financing Act (WIFIA) loan administered by the federal government. Our congressional delegation of Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Greg Walden and Senator Jeff Merkley have agreed to co-sign a letter to help us get this crucial financing.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project. It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers by allowing us to make small gradual increases in rates, rather than a large initial increase. WIFIA financing can only be used for up to 49 percent of the project so we will have to seek out other financing sources for the remainder of the costs. Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save just over $800,000 per year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or about $16 million over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I’d like to thank our federal delegation for their critical assistance in working to make this a reality. Our community of Sandy faces a huge monetary challenge with meeting DEQ requirements. I have been humbled by the willingness of both our state and federal lawmakers to set partisan politics to the side and work side by side with others to go to work for our community. This is both a critical and special time in Sandy’s wonderful story.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

The journey to happiness can start with slowing down by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2019

“Living well is the best revenge” was always on the back page of a regional newspaper in Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area 50 years ago! A nice reminder that always made me smile. While “revenge” is not necessarily a goal it could be restated as “living well is the best revenge against aging and unhappiness!” The Blue Zones represent not only the healthiest areas on Earth, but also the happiest places. Social scientists have been studying almost 100 countries for happiness levels since the early 1980s. Health and happiness go hand in hand. Face it, it’s harder to be happy when you’re unhealthy.

But what can you do to “get happier” and “healthier?” People often ask this saying they want a simpler lifestyle or more happiness in their lives. You can do this, but it means lifestyle changes, attitudinal changes. Studies of the happiest places on Earth have shown lots of consistencies. And surprisingly the areas where the rich live are not the happiest areas!

The happiest areas are Denmark, Mexico, and even the city of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Singapore comes in fourth but it’s more of a manufactured happiness than a lifestyle. For the record, the United States came in 20th on the list of happiest nations! The least stressed states in the U.S. are those with the most space – Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Maybe you have no intention of moving to these slower, roomier states but you can change your lifestyle and become happier and healthier.

The Danish people cultivate “hygge” which translates as the “art of relaxing in a warm and cozy environment.” This could mean anything from candles to street vendors selling herring instead of sweets! A relaxed attitude means slowing down – better to arrive late than to not arrive at all. In 1988, I made my move to this area. I’d spent the previous months packing up our small 800 square-foot house and was spending the weekend on an herbal retreat. I was late and stressed about meeting a friend of mine on time. Though dusk was fast approaching, the greeters to the retreat sat in the parking lot waiting for the last-minute arrivals. While apologizing for my lateness profusely they let me know it was no problem and pointed me in the direction of the cabins, assuring that my pickup full of household goods would be perfectly safe there. We had touched on the happiness factor.

The Monterey area of Mexico also has a laid-back attitude when it comes to stress. Let’s face it, less stress is going to be better for your health all around. The Mexican people are much more family oriented than most U.S. citizens. They spend six to seven hours a day in social time, which includes helping each other accomplish tasks, long Sunday dinners with lots of laughter and church activities. Laugh therapy (for it is therapy) does not mean putting down others, but instead humor is aimed at corrupt government (otherwise ignoring it), poverty (most are considered very poor) and even death (the only guarantee in life).

San Luis Obispo, Calif. took it upon itself to make this university town livable and lovable. In 1990 they were the first city in the world to ban smoking in workplaces! This town limits growth to a mere one percent a year. They discourage distracting signage and fast food restaurants. The nearest fast food location is in a city twenty minutes away. They encourage bicycle and pedestrian lanes, encourage tolerance and support the arts. Is it any wonder this city of decreased stress is considered the healthiest city in the United States?

Americans (U.S. citizens) tend to think more is better. They work more than 40 hours a week to earn money for the gym, a bigger car or refrigerator or just to buy more stuff, most of which ends up in thrift stores and landfills. Where’s the satisfaction in that? Americans take six to eight days of vacation a year. Europeans are required to take six weeks of vacation. If you’re on vacation right now, enjoy it! You will go back to work renewed. Extend your vacation if you can.

There are plenty of things you can do to increase your happiness level, and thereby your health level:

– pay off your house (no matter what catastrophe you’ll have a roof over your head).

– then pay off your car and try to have only one car per household, or at least per person.

– have not more than one credit card (if any). I was recently writing a check in a store and the man in line explained to his daughter what I was doing. I told her that no credit cards means no debt.

– decrease screen time. One TV per household is plenty. If you want interaction with your kids, take the TVs out of their rooms. Set a good example and turn the TV OFF!

– invest in experiences instead of stuff. You only get one life, and this is it. Play games, read books, cook, sew, garden, work on the car, take a walk.

– get outside more. Most Americans in the U.S. do not get enough Vitamin D. 15 minutes in direct sunlight will give as much vitamin D as a gallon of milk! Take a walk or a bike ride, garden, socialize more outside, go on a picnic.

– just socialize more, with people of all ages (it teaches tolerance). It might be hard to get six or seven hours of socializing in each day, but you could do it.

Few will make these changes in their lives. Even getting rid of the alarm clock and getting a smaller refrigerator is probably not going to happen. Start small -- take your own bags to reuse at the grocery store, take your own containers to restaurants for bringing home leftovers. Use bars of soap instead of expensive plastic containers of mostly water with a little soap that become non-recyclable garbage.

Put family before friends and make time for socializing. Chat with the people you meet. Facebook and Twitter are not real face-to-face socializing. Don’t get a fancier phone or a bigger TV or more clothes. You don’t need them. Strive for decreased use of electronics, less garbage, more time for pleasurable activities. You can be happier!

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: perfecting your portions by Mary Soots on 08/01/2019

I had a wonderful surprise at a restaurant recently. While browsing through the menu, I noticed that each entrée had a large and a small option, with corresponding differences in prices.

This was something I have only come across on rare occasions, yet serving size is something that I struggle with each time I go to a restaurant to eat. In a world where we believe that anything “bigger is better,” many restaurants have a mindset that everyone wants to be served a portion suitable for a 19-year old football player. But the reality is that a petite middle-aged woman whose body does not need a huge amount of calories is going to be overserved. So will a younger person.

The assumption, of course, is that we will take our leftover meal home and eat it later. Personally, sometimes I do, and there have been times that there’s enough food for three meals. But I am sorry to confess that despite my best intentions of eating re-heated leftovers from last night’s meal, it gets less appealing each day until I can be forgiven for throwing it away when it is no longer edible.

The point of this was driven home over the past month while traveling. I visited family in the Midwest where we went out to breakfast. My dining companion’s chicken fried steak arrived on a separate platter from the eggs because it was nearly the size of a pizza! The next time I was invited out to breakfast, I was so afraid of what might be placed in front of me that I limited my order to a couple of side dishes.

On another recent trip where my sisters and I celebrated one of their birthdays in Las Vegas, we quickly learned that rather than ordering individual entrees, we had more than plenty of food by ordering and sharing fewer entrees. Not only did we have enough by eating family style, but we could each have a broader selection of food.

In retrospect, perhaps this propensity for oversized portions that overwhelm me is what has driven me to enjoy Happy Hour as my preferred meal when I go out with friends. Not only can I order food that comes in smaller portions, but we can order and share a wider variety of food.

Restaurants are also becoming aware that the “Supersize Me” model is not ideal. Americans are beginning to demand changes. According to the website MenuCal.com, “With portions of many food items exceeding the USDA recommended serving size by up to 700 percent and obesity rates skyrocketing, Americans are well aware that something needs to change with respect to their food. And given that over one-third of the calories the average American consumes is eaten outside the home, the public wants more choice when it comes to restaurant food.” Offering healthy options with smaller portions will be what creates a strong repeat clientele, will reduce food costs for the restaurants and will also avoid food waste.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste approximately 30-40 percent of the food we produce, or about half of the world’s supply of food. In 2010, that was the equivalent of 133 billion pounds (218.9 pounds per person a year), worth $161 billion. According to their website, “This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change…The land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet. Food waste, which is the single largest component going into municipal landfills quickly generates methane, helping to make landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States.” Not only are large portions unhealthy for our bodies, but they also impact our environment.

Taking all of that into consideration, you can imagine my delight when I sat down at the aforementioned restaurant and saw that I could order a “small” meal and be served an entrée with a portion suitable for enjoying at that time without the inevitable to-go box haunting me afterward (Don’t make me take that Styrofoam box!). I look forward to going back there again. Bon appetit!

Got to get a witness by Paula Walker on 08/01/2019

Marvin Gaye sang, “Can I get a witness.” Don’t know if he ever got one, but to have a valid will, you’ll need one; in fact, you’ll need two.

To be valid, a will must not only be in writing and signed and dated by the person creating the will, it must also be signed by two competent witnesses.


The main purpose is to protect against fraud or forgery. But why does a will, in particular, need this safeguard? Why not require witnesses to the signing of all contracts or other legally binding documents dealing with finances and assets? The main reason is that simply, when the will is submitted to the probate court the person who created it is no longer living — cannot validate to the court that this is their will, their true last and final will.

Disputes, if they arise, generally take aim at the validity of the will. It is the witnesses, one or both, who are in the position to testify to the validity or lack should such disputes arise.

What is the role/purpose of the witnesses?

First let’s say what it is not — it is not the witnesses’ role to know the content of the will.

Their purpose is strictly to know that the document being signed is a will and that at the time of the signing the following conditions are true: the person creating and signing the will is an adult or allowed by law to create a will; understands the task they are undertaking; is not under duress; and has the mental capacity to create the will (“is of sound mind”) i.e. has “testamentary capacity,” the ability to make rational decisions about giving their assets.

Who can be a witness, i.e. what is a “competent” witness?

A “competent witness” is a legal adult over 18. It is best that the witness is a “disinterested” person, not a beneficiary of the will. In Oregon, having a beneficiary as a witness does not invalidate the will per se, but because it can be a weak point in a challenge to the will it gives support by circumstance to a claim of undue influence. In general, estate planners advise clients to select a “disinterested person” as witness.

The witness may be a “stranger,” however, be sure to get their address and if possible, their phone number so they can be found to testify to the validity of your will if ever needed.

What is the process of witnessing a will?

During the will signing, the attorney presiding or the person creating the will — testatrix (female) or testator (male) — states to the witnesses that they are about to watch the signing of the will. The testatrix/testator signs the will. Then the witnesses sign the will. In Oregon, the witnesses must be in the presence of the testatrix/testator. In addition to witnessing and signing the will itself, witnesses may sign an affidavit attesting to their witnessing the signing of the will and the capacity of person whose will it is. An affidavit is an oath-in-writing, thus lending legal weight to the witnesses’ validations for the document when it is eventually submitted to the probate court.

Stories of the Stars, If Only...

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, who died in August of last year at the age of 76, as it turns out, needed a witness. It was initially thought that she had died intestate — without a will. In May of this year reports surfaced that she had not only one will, but three wills including one discovered (that was the most recently dated and nearly illegible due to cross outs and margin notes) under couch cushions in her living room. Two wills were dated 2010. The most recent dated March 2014. It is reported that her attorney had been advising her to create a will and it appears perhaps she did so but without involving or informing him. As of this July, reports are that three of Aretha’s sons, Teddy Jr., Kecalf and Edward are engaging in court battles over the control of her estate and seeking a restraining order from the court against Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens, the estate’s current acting representative — perhaps self-appointed — from further actions and decisions on distributions from Franklin’s estate until the court decides who has authority as representative. Seems Owens has been self-serving in a number of distributions, creating a mess that perhaps the presence and evidence of two witnesses may have helped to minimize.

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

Lolo Pass
The View Finder: depth of focus by Gary Randall on 07/01/2019

We’re focusing on focusing this month. “How do I focus my photos?” is one of the most asked questions of me by other photographers. It’s a great question and one would think would be pretty basic and simple to answer. It’s usually the last skill that a beginning photographer considers when starting out but seems to be the toughest to master.

I mean it seems that it would be pretty basic, what with the sophistication of the auto focus features in modern digital cameras, but once one takes a few photos and is let down by the auto focus mode it’s easy to see why in many cases, especially landscape and portraiture, you will want to manually focus your photo.

There are several things that will affect the focus or clarity of our photos including a completely out of focus image, one where the focus is so far off that nothing is clear or in focus. That issue is obvious, of course, so we won’t discuss this in depth.

We will assume that we are focusing but want to refine the clarity and focus of the shot. I’m going to try to proceed without citing mathematics or terms and theories such as Hyperfocal Distance, Circle of Confusion etc. The purpose of this article is to just understand the basics enough to understand how to overcome a common problem with focusing. Trust that this could become so lengthy that it would require another ten pages of the Mountain Times to cover it. Sometimes when someone is learning something new more information beyond what it takes to understand the concept causes confusion and discouragement. Once the basics are learned the understanding can be broadened in the future. I always tell people that if it requires mathematics to take photos, I’d be a C-minus photographer.

First let’s consider blurring caused by the camera moving or objects in the scene moving. This is not a focus issue, but it can affect the clarity and areas of focus in the photo as you affect it. If movement is causing problems, then your shutter speed is too slow. You’ll need to make sure that your shutter speed is sufficiently fast to freeze the movement. There are times where a slow shutter blur effect is desirable such as in creeks or waterfalls. This typically requires one to make an aperture adjustment to vary the shutter speed. Opened more to make it quicker and closed more to make it slower, but the depth of field will change with each aperture change.

So, what’s this depth of field, you ask? The depth of field is how deep the area that will be in focus is from front to back. The wider your aperture the shallower or narrower your depth of field will be and then when you stop down, or close the aperture down, the depth of field becomes deeper. Remember that the larger the aperture opening the smaller the f/stop number and the smaller the aperture opening is the larger the f/stop number. Something to consider when you’re trying to maximize your focus is that the closer you are to the subject or foreground, the narrower your depth of field will be. If you’re having trouble getting everything in the scene within acceptable focus stand back a little. The same with portraiture. if you’re shooting with a wide aperture to blur the background intentionally, you may have trouble getting the person’s whole face in focus. There’s not a lot worse in portrait photography than having the eyes in focus but the nose out of focus or vice-versa. Either stop down (close the aperture) or stand back a little further or both. This works best with a zoom lens so you can recompose as you move away.

Hyperfocal distance - I know. I said that I was going to try not to mention this, but I think that curiosity will eventually lead a photographer to wonder. Simply and basically, the hyperfocal distance is the point where you will focus to allow everything from the foreground to the background to be in “acceptable focus.”

There’s a mystical mathematical formula to determine what the hyperfocal distance is, but if you remember this advice you will get by like I have been for a long time without taking a calculator into the field with me. Here goes – I remember that I want to be in my lens’s sweet spot, which is the upper and lower limit of the aperture’s clearest settings.

Each lens is different, but the average lens is approximately f/8 to f/14. Compose your shot but try not to get too close to the foreground unless you don’t mind the background to be soft (remember the closer to your foreground the less likely the object in the background will be in focus), and then focus to infinity on your lens focus ring and focus back until the foreground just comes into focus. Then you will usually have the depth of field maximized and pushed out as far as possible while still maintaining a focused foreground. It’s easy to understand once you try it.

That may have been a long road to a short conclusion but just a basic understanding of how your aperture and depth of field affects focus allows you to take control of exactly how you will focus your photo. I hope that I made that as clear as possible.

Viewpoints – Salem: Putting a bow on the bills by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2019

The legislature is almost ready to adjourn, but there are a few things I hope to get done before we head home. A few of my priorities include Family and Medical Leave Insurance (or FAMLI), The Equal Access to Roads Act, The Clean Energy Jobs bill and a bill I brought forward, House Bill 3413. So, I have plenty to do as we wrap up the session.

One of the main reasons I ran for office was to advocate for state-wide family and medical leave insurance. If Oregon creates a FAMLI program, workers won’t have to worry about financial hardship when taking time away from work to care for a loved one or to welcome a new child to their home. I was personally affected by the lack of a FAMLI program in our state when I was fired for taking maternity leave after I had my youngest son. The small company where I worked could not afford to keep the person who replaced me and also rehire me. Because every family deserves to be able to care for one another and make a living, I am working hard to ensure that House Bill 2005 passes this session.

Another bill I’m excited to support is House Bill 2015, The Equal Access to Roads Act, which ensures every Oregonian who can pass a driver’s test can get a driver’s license. This bill will ensure that our roads are safe, and that our neighbors are able to drive their kids to school, get to work and take care of their families. In states with similar policies, the rates of drivers who are insured have risen significantly, making roads safer and saving drivers millions through reduced insurance rates. To be clear, this program does not provide citizenship or voting rights to anyone who is not eligible. The House passed HB 2015 this week, and it’s on its way to the Senate.

Of course, I am excited about Clean Energy Jobs, or House Bill 2020. Throughout the legislative session, I have heard the concerns of many farmers who are nervous about how this bill may hurt their businesses. I’ve also heard from hundreds of supporters who want to see Oregon lead the way for other states to create carbon-reduction programs that can have a real impact on climate change. I worked to help these two sides communicate with one another, find compromises and understand one another’s perspectives. I passed their concerns along to my colleagues who were working on HB 2020, and the final version is stronger as a result.

Finally, House Bill 3413 is a bill that will expand the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or OLTCO, by adding three full-time employees. That office’s function is to address complaints about the care and treatment of Oregonians who reside in long term care facilities. Currently, there are seven deputy ombudsmen, each of whom manages about 35 volunteers who serve at facilities across the state. The addition of three deputies will add critical support for seniors and people with disabilities in rural communities like ours. This bill passed unanimously on the House floor and I am optimistic it will pass in the Senate before the end of session.

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas for the future, reach out to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or visit me in the Capitol. We will be opening an office in Sandy soon, so you will have another way to connect with me. I’m looking forward to some rest in July, and to getting out to see you in your communities this summer.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: a ‘step’ for greener shoes by Mary Soots on 07/01/2019

I went shoe shopping a couple of weeks ago. Who doesn’t love shoe shopping? I try to limit the amount of clothes shopping I do in order to lessen my carbon footprint, so to speak. Once or twice a year, I allow myself the luxury of shopping for a pair of shoes that I will wear over and over again that season, and hopefully for many seasons to come. I try to purchase good quality shoes that will endure. One of my guilty secrets is that I still have a pair of black suede heels that I purchased in the early 1980s that still get tons of compliments because they are chic but classic.

So, on this particular shopping trip, I set out to find a pair of comfortable flats that would not go out of style next year when the manufacturers would try to convince us that the shoes they are all raving about this season are now outdated. All in an effort to try and get us to part with our hard-earned cash and buy more shoes.

I ventured into a couple of different stores at the large mall complex and I was surprised (but not really) to see how many shoes are now made of “Man-made materials.” This means plastic, of course. Plastic shoes are inexpensive to produce, yet if manufacturers can convince a designer to put their name on it, the price goes up into the hundreds of dollars. Personally, I prefer leather shoes because they’re waterproof, breathable, and over time, they conform to the shape of your foot, making them much more comfortable. Plastic, on the other hand, while also waterproof, is not breathable, and there is less flexibility in the shape. But leather shoes are harder and harder to find because they’re more expensive to produce.

I finally found the right pair of loafers, stylish enough that I could wear them for to a nice restaurant, yet comfortable enough to wear for a full day of business. A little spendier than shopping at the discount shoe mart, but worth it. When we purchase quality over quantity, we may be spending a little more for the better pair of shoes, but in the end, we won’t be replacing them over and over again, so the cost will actually be less over time.

One of the reasons that I spend so much time thinking about what to purchase is because unlike in my youth, I take a longer range look at each purchase. What will happen with the shoes that I bought nearly a decade ago that are still in good enough shape because they weren’t worn much, but they sit in the closet gathering dust? I can donate them to the local non-profit, of course. That will make me feel less guilty than tossing them in the trash, headed for the landfill. But let’s be realistic. The amount of clothing that doesn’t get re-sold and re-used is staggering. Although those shoes might take a more circuitous route, they will likely still end up in the landfill. There are a few non-profits around the country that collect shoes and donate them to those in poverty around the world. But the cost of shipping can be its own problem.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, each year we produce about 20 billion pairs of shoes. And Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. Those shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose. In the case of athletic shoes, the Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, which usually makes up the midsole of most running shoes, can last for as long as 1,000 years in a landfill. Some companies are trying to address the problem. Nike will collect unusable used shoes so the materials can be converted to athletic equipment and surfaces. Nike, Adidas, and New Balance are using manufacturing methods to curb the amount of waste during the production process. And Adidas is working on producing a shoe that uses recycled gill nets that have been abandoned in the ocean and are responsible for killing large amounts of marine life.

Athletic shoes and dress shoes aren’t the only problem. I remember those expensive snow boots I bought with the polyurethane soles. I put them back on one winter and as I began to walk around Sandy, the soles started to disintegrate. Apparently, this disintegration process, called hydrolysis, is a result of our damp environment after they’ve been stored for a while. Learn to store your boots in a dry place, away from the heat, and put newspaper and silica packs in them to keep them dry. It will help your expensive boots last longer.

We can help also by being mindful of the shoes we buy and what type of materials they’re made of. Also, taking good care of our footwear will give them a longer life and save us some money in replacing them. It’s a small step toward solving the problems that we have with waste and excess.

To trust a trust, you must fund it by Paula Walker on 07/01/2019

Getting your estate organized for a smooth transition when the time comes was important to you. Furthermore, for many factors, one of the main ones being avoiding probate, you elected to create a revocable living trust. You expended time, energy and money to accomplish this. The document is done. The plan is in place. All is taken care of. Right? Yes and no… depending on whether you complete that final step called “funding” your trust.

For your trust to do one of the primary jobs for which you created it — avoiding the complexity, cost and lengthy process of probate — you must fund it. This is often a well-intended but not attended to task. Some estate planning practices incorporate the funding phase into the development and delivery of a trust. Others leave it to the client to undertake. In either case, the responsibility eventually falls to you, the owner of the trust, to keep the funding current. Even if you walk out of your attorney’s office with a fully funded trust you must remember to fund newly acquired assets to the trust as your life moves forward. Nothing is static. Life is dynamic. You open a new investment account. You sell your home, buy a condo, purchase a rental, etc. These new acquisitions must be funded to your trust. Assets of value (e.g. bank accounts, real estate, investment accounts) that are not funded to your trust could be subject to probate. What a headache for your trust administrator and beneficiaries; and after you so diligently attended to making this process as simple as possible for them.

Funding involves re titling assets from your individual name to the name of your trust or designating the trust as a beneficiary. Your attorney will guide you in determining which type of asset requires which funding approach.

With your revocable living trust, you are the trustee, meaning that you manage the trust and the assets funded. You can add or remove assets. Keeping your funding current is a task that you can perform independently. In creating your trust, with guidance from your attorney, you learn what to fund to your trust and how to do it so that you can stay current as you acquire and release assets.

So, remember, in order to trust your trust to do the job of avoiding the public, costly, time consuming court processes of probate, you must fund it and keep that funding current.

Stories of the Stars - If only…

Superstar Michael Jackson who died untimely in June 2009 at age 50, unlike many superstars whose legacy of intestacy abound, had the foresight to create a revocable living trust, but not the follow through to fund it. As a result, his estate — currently valued by some estimates at approximately $600 million — fell to probate. Court disputes continue to this day. His estate is still open. His beneficiaries wait. All assets are held until, by court approval, the probate process is completed.

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.

Recapping the Blue Zones: lessons learned to live longer by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2019

The columns of the past few months have all been about the Blue Zones. Those areas on Earth where many citizens live longer, healthier lives than most people in the United States. Greece, Japan, Sardinia and Costa Rica all qualify as Blue Zones. Even Loma Linda, Calif. where most people are vegetarians and live an average lifespan of ten years longer than the rest of the United States as a whole.

First of all, almost all of the Blue Zones are in areas that Americans tend to think of as “underdeveloped” and cut off by water. When I look at the Blue Zone areas (with the possible exception of Loma Linda) I sometimes think that just living in such a beautiful area, surrounded by gorgeous, blue unpolluted water would be enough to lead to a better life. And these places have plenty of natural sunlight without smog. And few roads. I’m reminded of the couple (he was a doctor and she was a judge) on my Costa Rica trip who wanted “the roads fixed.” That would of course bring in a bigger population and totally changed the character of Costa Rica. I was there twenty years ago. Maybe it’s already happened. Maybe our worldwide population is already growing that rapidly.

The average person in the United States eats about 80 lbs. of fat per year and most of it from vegetable oils used in fast food cooking! The Blue Zone areas use mostly olive oil and lard, natural sources of brain reviving fats. And there are no fast food places in “underdeveloped” places. Most Americans consume 8,000 teaspoons of sugar a year, most of it hidden in breakfast cereals and packaged foods. And then there are the 60 gallons of sodas consumed per year. Yikes. And we wonder what’s wrong?

A couple of generations ago our grandparents and great grandparents burned at least five times more calories than we do now. There was no Internet, TV, cellphones, microwaves or dishwashers, among other so-called “timesavers” that sometimes aren’t “saving” any time at all. Blue Zones rarely have those “helps.” Food is kneaded or blended by hand, cast iron pots are lifted into brick ovens or open fires, dishes are washed by hand and sometimes in community troughs. I loved the sight of the children washing doll clothes in those community troughs during the day. In one month spent in the outlying areas of China I saw exactly one TV and it was black and white. Most areas only had electricity for two hours per day.

In America most of us live a life of abundance and ease – can openers, microwaves, computers, fast food. Yet it is entirely possible that this is part of our downfall. Because we are NOT the healthiest nation on the planet, nor are we the happiest. We do, however, spend the most on healthcare! Here we rush through our frazzle-dazzle lives to get to the next thing, never savoring where we are now. We stress about health yet spend the most on healthcare, yet we suffer more cancer, diabetes and heart disease than people in the Blue Zones. We put value on money but not on lifestyle.

In order to spend less money, we cut food costs in general. Americans spend less on food than most other industrial countries. In the Blue Zone area, most food consumed is grown in backyard gardens and what markets there are, are used mostly for cleaning supplies and staples like flour. In the United States we buy packaged food with all its extra packaging and wonder why we have a garbage problem. But we worry that it might not be organic or gluten-free. Maybe it’s time we open our eyes.

We seem to have lost perspective on reality. Most food from the supermarket tastes like the cardboard it’s packaged in! And why not, it’s packaged and has been on the shelves for weeks longer than it would take to pick it from your trees and gardens. Do you really think food comes (delivered mind you) only from grocery stores? We get little enjoyment from most of what we eat.

We also get little energy from what we eat. All areas of Blue Zones rely most heavily on fresh (and I do mean fresh) fruits and vegetables. Maybe meat or fish one to three times a week. Eggs, if home raised. A little wine, but no more than one or two glasses per day. Lots of slow-cooked beans, soups and stews. Now that’s inexpensive food. Also, some hand-kneaded, home-baked sourdough bread, mostly. Handmade cheeses.

Rates of dementia in Greece are half what they are in the United States. Half of their diet is vegetables. Women live a long time in Okinawa, where seaweed,sea veggies, beans (pulses) and vegetables make up close to 50 percent of the diet. Sardinia, Italy and Costa Rica boast the longest-lived men on Earth, where vegetables and grains make up 50 percent of the diet. And in Loma Linda, a very Biblical and unprocessed diet of a whopping 72 percent is beans (pulses), vegetables and fruits.

There are lessons to be gleaned here. We need to stress less. Maybe garden more, sing and dance. Move every hour and put down the phone, turn off the TV. Instead, slow down and commit to what really matters in life – family first, friends next, community as well. And make a global commitment to create less garbage, less technological use, less consumerism. Perhaps consider more yoga, more foreign meals and less Facebook and Twitter time.

Make it fun. Go slow and enjoy more. Try one new food a week (but not packaged), reduce your garbage by buying in bulk and at farmers’ markets, not so much in the dollar-oriented grocery store. Drive less. Take up music, sewing, reading. Play with the kids – outside. And remember to always be grateful.

The View Finder - Moss by Gary Randall on 06/01/2019

“Only farmers and summer guests walk on the moss. What they don’t know – and it cannot be repeated too often – is that moss is terribly frail. Step on it once and it rises the next time it rains. The second time, it doesn’t rise back up. And the third time you step on moss, it dies.”

¯ Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

Living in the Pacific Northwest and near Mount Hood, we’re surrounded by lush green forests full of majestic trees of many kinds and bushes that contain berries and flowers. Usually the last thing to be mentioned in the list is moss. Moss is an important component of the forest ecosystem that is easily overlooked and sometimes even walked over without a thought. When we do notice it, we usually notice it when it grows on our roofs and sidewalks.

As a photographer I’m keen to notice all of the details in the scene that I’ll be photographing. Through that close attention to the details I’ve become a “mossaholic.” I love moss and seek out mossy scenes in forests and near creeks and waterfalls. Another thing that I’ve noticed as a photographer is how many of the areas that once were covered with moss are becoming muddy worn out areas due to increased traffic. Many are being closed due to the erosion that this causes.

Because of these reasons my attention has been drawn to moss, how it grows, why it grows and how to best live with moss without damaging it in nature and how to deal with it around my home. So, let me explain moss.

Moss was the first plant on Earth. Algae adapted to life on earth eventually evolving into lichen, liverworts and moss. Moss grows all over the earth with more than 10,000 different varieties. Mosses prefer damp shaded areas, but some can grow in deserts or even in frozen regions. In severe dry spells they can go into dormancy until moisture returns.

Moss doesn’t have roots but instead has rhizoids, string like structures that anchor the moss to trees or rocks but can grow on practically anything. These rhizoids don’t draw water like a root system does and the moss itself has no vascular system to carry nutrients like other plants with stems, leaves and flowers. It absorbs water and nutrients like a paper towel. Mosses are not parasitic and seldom damage the plants that they’re attached to. Mosses get their nutrients from absorbing rain, fog or dew and sunshine. They use photosynthesis to convert sunshine and carbon dioxide to sugar as a nutrient.

Mosses are able to absorb large amounts of water and release it slowly which reduces erosion and helps keep the forest moist. Typical mosses can absorb 25 times their weight in water. Moss is sensitive to air pollution and actually is used by scientists to measure the level of certain types of pollutants in the air. Moss, actually the bacteria that grows on moss, is a perfect nitrogen fixer, meaning that it gathers nitrogen from the air and distributes it into the forest as a fertilizer. Mosses collectively absorb more carbon than all the trees in the world.

The list of benefits moss provide can go on and on, but as a photographer the primary benefit is its beauty in a forest scene. It’s my goal, while I’m in the forest, to affect the moss as little as possible. When I’m walking along a mossy stream, I will choose to walk on forest duff or in the water if possible, limiting the effect that my boots have on the integrity of the plants and moss that hold the stream bank together.

Some may argue that the little bugs in the water may suffer but besides not going into the forest I feel that this is the best method to preserve a pristine area in the forest. Those bugs will benefit from a healthy stream bank.

Most all problems with wear and tear of a mossy area are the result of a lot of foot traffic. The most popular and easily accessible areas are the most susceptible. Most people who go and walk over these fragile areas consider their contribution to be insignificant, but when there are lines of others waiting to stand in the same spot the accumulation of the effects of this traffic adds up over time.

As photographers, it benefits us to help to mitigate damage being caused to these areas for several reasons, but most important, besides the health of the forest, is to maintain the aesthetics and beauty of the area for future photographers. It’s important to keep these areas open to visitation in the future. I know of several areas that once were iconic photography locations that have now been closed just because people wouldn’t stay on the pathway in these sensitive areas and the damage warranted closure for remediation.

I urge everyone who goes adventuring into the outdoors to be mindful of their effect on these places, especially those with large amounts of visitation. If we don’t, the consequences will be the loss of these locations to visitation by ruination. Moss may seem insignificant until you understand its value and importance in the lifecycle, health and beauty of our forests.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Call to action to help the most vulnerable by Gary Randall on 06/01/2019

There are people in our community that must make tough decisions when it comes to feeding their families. There are community members that must choose between paying bills and feeding their children. One in seven of our neighbors face food insecurity, meaning they are unable to access a significant quantity of nutritious, affordable food.

I write to you today requesting help for these neighbors, these most vulnerable citizens.

Because of new regulatory changes enacted by the Oregon Food Bank, our community’s food bank and largest non-profit food provider, the Sandy Community Action Center, needs to purchase a new refrigerated van to serve their clients as soon as possible.

As you may know, the Sandy Community Action Center serves the Oregon Trail School District. The District is made up of 424 square miles and includes the Sandy, Boring and Mt. Hood communities and approximately 30,000 people. The Oregon Trail School District is the seventh largest school district out of 156 in our state. According to Clackamas County, small rural towns and communities tend to have larger concentrations of people living in poverty, and often, isolated seniors in need of basic resources. These are the people that Sandy Community Action Center serves.

The primary mission of the Sandy Community Action Center is to provide hunger relief, assistance and encouragement to those facing food insecurity in our community. The Action Center serves the elderly, disabled, families and homeless.

These recent regulatory changes from the Oregon Food Bank require constant temperature monitoring of products; this could be avoided with a refrigerated van. The Sandy Community Action Center could also pick up additional food from partners like Starbucks, who require that we use an active cooling method for transporting food. This helps reduce food waste, which is a primary goal of many of our partners.

Through one of our local business partners, Sandy Suburban Auto Group, the Sandy Community Action Center has secured a great deal on a van with the refrigeration unit insulation package.

Through contributions from local businesses like Clackamas County Bank, community members and awarded grants, we are only $8,000 away from reaching our goal to fund our new refrigerated van.

J. Frank Schmidt Family Charitable Foundation has approved a challenge matching grant of up to $4,000. If we can raise just $4,000, they will match those funds and we will be able to purchase the van to provide much needed services to our community for years into the future.

Please consider making a contribution to help us meet the matching grant offer. Any amount helps. You can contribute by visiting the Sandy Community Action Center website at sandyactioncenter.org, visiting their Facebook page or by stopping by the store. Thank you for supporting such an outstanding local organization as they work to build a hunger-free community.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints - Salem: The Student Success Act by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2019

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve almost made it to the end of the legislative session. We still have a lot of work to do to get some important bills across the finish line, but I want to highlight one bill that I’m extremely proud to have supported: the Student Success Act.

The Student Success Act is a landmark investment in Oregon’s students that will change the course of public education in our state. This bill is the product of the Joint Committee on Student Success, a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators who have been working for years to improve the way our schools are funded and operated. This group of legislators traveled for 15 months around the state, listening to educators, administrators, parents and students about what improvements were necessary within their schools.

By combining accountability, transparency and a focus on historically underserved students, the Student Success Act will, in many ways, rebuild Oregon’s statewide education system. This bill creates strategic new investments that enhance pre-kindergarten funding, keep class sizes down and ensures struggling schools have the resources and technical support they need to help their students succeed. This investment in our schools will build a brighter future for students, families, communities and businesses in every community in Oregon.

The legislature will fund this proposal through a Modified Corporate Activities Tax (MCAT) which was developed in partnership with a broad coalition, including small business owners, educators and corporations across the state. The MCAT will yield approximately $2 billion per biennium (or $1 billion per year) and will result in approximately $16 million towards schools within House District 52 in just the upcoming biennium. That will grow in the years to come.

This is a significant investment for students in our district and across the state. One of the exciting things about this bill is that it provides for a major increase in resources for early childhood education, summer programs and brings back the kinds of programs that get kids to love school - like arts, music and engineering. Schools will be able to hire more teachers to keep class sizes down, provide long-deferred maintenance for their facilities, fully fund career and technical education, increase mental health and behavioral supports for students and more.

One of the main concerns that was brought to me was that the newly-raised revenue would go directly into the unfunded liability for our state’s pension system, and I wanted to make sure that this record investment would actually go to serve Oregon’s students before I voted for this package. The bill includes the creation of a dedicated fund that is only able to make focused investments in education. Money in the Student Success Fund cannot go toward paying for retirement costs and schools must submit proposals on how these funds will be used to access those resources. Again, I appreciate the work done by my colleagues to keep us accountable in how we allocate these funds.

Thanks to everyone who has engaged with my office and shared their thoughts on the Student Success Act. As always, if you have a question or an idea, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: planting a pollinator garden by Mary Soots on 06/01/2019

It’s wildflower season and this year seems to be more resplendent than ever, with flowers blooming everywhere you go. I constantly marvel at nature’s paintbrush and seeing that we humans aren’t the only ones loving the explosion of colors competing against each other. The birds and the bees seem to be equally active.

Last month I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Thomas Seeley, Biology Professor at Cornell University. He was discussing his new book, “The Lives of Bees,” which explores survival strategies by wild bees at a time when managed beekeepers’ colonies are threatened by severe population decline and extinction of different species of bees. He theorized that wild bees, especially native species, may be better adapted and will hold the key to bee survival.

The reason it is important to learn about bees and how we can help them survive is that our own food supply is at stake. We now understand that bees and other pollinators are key to the survival of our own species, as without them our supply of fruits and vegetables is severely threatened. According to Green Schools Alliance, “It is estimated that bees produce over 10 billion dollars’ worth of agricultural crops annually in the United States.” They cite statistics from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that “over 80% of all crops, especially fruits and vegetables, depend on pollination in order for their output to keep up with public demand.” (https://www.greenschoolsalliance.org/blogs/16/427)

However, for a variety of reasons, bee populations are declining by as much as 30 percent per year. One reason is that temperature shifts caused by changing climate means that bees are not able to pollinate in time and therefore cannot gather nectar at the time of year that they need it.

There are ways that we can help bees, as well as hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, bats and other pollinators to survive in these difficult times, especially native species that are adapted to our unique climate. A simple computer search lead me to the USDA’s “Gardening for Pollinators” (https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml). Among their recommendations are the following:

– Plant a variety of native flowers that bloom from early spring until late fall, but avoid hybrid plants that have been genetically altered, especially those that have “double blossoms.” And don’t forget those flowers that bloom at night in order to attract our vast population of moths and bats as well.

– Whenever possible avoid the use of pesticides, especially the most toxic ones. If you must spray, wait until dark when bees have gone into their hives.

– Plant a butterfly garden that will allow larvae to eat the leaves and flourish. You can attract butterflies with moist soil mixed with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove, or a bit of sea salt. They also like pieces of rotting fruit.

– Leave fallen or dead trees or branches – provided that they aren’t a safety hazard – so that bees can build their hives inside them. According to Seeley, bees build their hives inside trees that provide insulation for a more constant temperature than managed beehives.

– Attract hummingbirds with a feeder using four parts water to one part sugar. Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners or fruit juice. And please wash the feeder with hot soapy water twice a week to prevent mold that will kill the birds.

While it’s wonderful that springtime brings with it a cacophony of color in our wildflowers, we should all do our part to ensure that pollinators are getting the nutrients that they need during the time they need it. Planting native flowers will ensure that by helping bees in the wild survive, we will actually be doing a good thing for the planet and for our own well-being.

Blue Zone finale – Sardinia, where the men live long lives by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2019

In honor of Father’s Day and men everywhere, we’ve come to our final Blue Zone. Not that there aren’t other places and other peoples who live long on this earth, but this Blue Zone is where, proportionally speaking, men live longer than anywhere else on our planet! In America only one in 5,000 people live to the age of 100; in the Ogliastra villages of Sardinia, Italy, five people out of 2,500 live to be 100 years old. Blue Zones are those areas where it was discovered that people lived longer than other areas of habitation. Circled in blue ink by researchers, they became the Blue Zones.

In most of the world where a man reaches the age of 100, there are five women who do so. In Sardinia that ratio is one to one, probably because men are able to stave off heart disease longer. But how do they do that? For starters older people don’t retire they just change jobs. In America it is not uncommon for a man to die of a heart attack within three years of retirement. However, changing what work men do keeps them alert and active and using their brains. Not sitting in front of a computer or the TV and just sitting.

I recently went to lunch at Bob’s Red Mill with friends, and who was standing in line behind me but Bob Moore himself. I took that moment to shake his hand and thank him for the thousands of dollars he’s donated to the medical school I attended -- NUNM (National University of Natural Medicine) formerly known as NCNM (National College of Naturopathic Medicine). Bob is now 90 years old and still goes to work every day, though he may be considering lunch as “work.” Such a deal.

Sardinians claim their longevity is due to clean air, local wine, and, despite the movie “Never on Sunday,” physical intimacy at least once a week. It is also important to note that electricity and roads didn’t come to the area until the 1960s, bringing other changes and a taste for carbs and sugars. At the same time, we saw an increase in diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Prior to the 1960s most men worked as shepherds slowly following their sheep in the sometimes steep hills, while women traditionally cared for children, elders, gardens and home.

We tend to think of the Mediterranean diet as the best diet in the world (see April column). There is no question that the Mediterranean diet is healthier than the Standard American Diet (SAD). Almost half of the Greek Mediterranean diet is greens, pulses (beans and legumes) and vegetables. Yet in Sardinia that same portion of the diet is grains. Dairy, in the form of sheep’s mild cheese, comprises over a quarter of the daily diet. None of the Blue Zones use much sugar.

Protein comes primarily from the beans and legumes (the pulses), mostly as Fava beans and Ceci beans, as they are called in Italy (they are known as chickpeas in the African areas of the Mediterranean and in the United States). A low protein diet is associated with decreased risk of diabetes and cancer in people under the age of 65. However, for people over 65, a high protein intake was associated with a 28 percent decrease of those diseases. This at the age when many elders are onto the “tea and toast” diet usually due to a decrease in the ability to smell food, whether from nasal surgeries, injuries or just aging. In Sardinia, meat was consumed no more often than weekly and mostly for festivals. Barley and the pulses are the main sources of protein otherwise.

Fava beans were grown extensively in England and in the United States as John Seymour tells us in his gardening classic. Barley was the grain found to be most closely associated with living to be 100, at least for the Sardinian male! Ground into flour for bread it has a much lower glycemic index than wheat bread. Barley was also added to daily soup as well as the addition of tomatoes, the beans (Fava and chickpeas) and sheep’s cheese.

Other breads include a high protein, low gluten bread made with hard duram wheat that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. This bread does not cause the spike in blood sugar found with many of our quickly manufactured American breads. On the other hand, sourdough bread made with whole wheat and using live lactobacilli (see April column) converts the sugars and gluten to lactic acid, thereby lowering the glycemic index.

A dark red wine made locally in Sardinia from the Grenache grape is consumed almost daily by adults. At the level of three 3-ounce glasses per day it does not usually lead to disruptive behaviors. This does NOT mean you can save up your quota of wine for the weekend and consume more. And of course, if you don’t imbibe alcohol there’s no need to begin the habit at all.

Americans consume about 2,000-3,000 calories a day, but we sit a lot -- in cars, at desks, in front of the TV. It is now known that the second worst thing you can do to your health is sitting (first worst thing is smoking). Sardinians of Italy consume about 3,000 calories a day but they move more. They engage in more cooking, gardening, walking and chasing kids, whether human or sheep. The latest studies show that even ten minutes per hour while awake can extend your life. So set your computer alarm, get up after every chapter or with each commercial on the TV. At the very, very least move your arms and legs at least once an hour. Then feel energized and go back to whatever you were doing.

Episode XXXIV: Bruised, battered amid poolside pulchritude by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2019

CIA section head Bryan Brodsky filled out his swivel chair like Kim Kardashian seated in a Yugo. He leaned forward, elbows on a desk in an interview room that had seen more guest appearances than a Johnny Carson retrospective. The interview room itself was a masquerade, looking more like an abandoned meat locker with the refrigeration shut off.

Seated on the opposite side of what was passed off as a conference table was Wildewood World editor Nigel Best with 8-by-10 glossy photos strewn atop the tired ridges of the table like a scene from Alice’s Restaurant. Nigel sat as erect as he could manage, which amounted to all of 5 and ½ feet of muster.

Brodsky’s jaw would give Rocky Marciano second thoughts. He clenched his teeth together after decades of cigar smoking that was no longer allowed in government buildings much to the eternal disgust of the CIA section head. The jaw remained permanently set and the teeth gnashed together, even when he spoke.

“Nigel Best?” he belched, as if finding long-lost relief from an ill-advised taco and overdose of Pepto Bismo.

Nigel nodded, his back as straight as a terrified prairie dog.

“What kinda name is that?” Brodsky managed without surrendering to a lower colon eruption.

“English, maybe some Swedish.” Nigel muttered.

“Mmmmm.” Brodsky fumbles with the photos, tossing one after another aside as if surveying his losing cards in a low-stakes poker game. “I think I saw most of these in the Miami Herald, didn’t I?” He doesn’t wait for an answer. “And this Cavendish broad. Why don’t you think her death was a run-of-the-mill car wreck? And do you actually believe this MI6 chick is a double agent?” Again, no hesitation. “And who in the hell is this Andy Campanaro dude and that two-bit private eye?”

“Max Malone, sir.” Nigel’s response surprisingly clears the lump in his throat.

Brodsky studies the newspaper guy through slitted eyes that have seen more espionage plots than George Smiley, and a furrowed brow that has suspected every Joe he’s run from Serbia to the Seychelles.

“And according to your story, there’s no evidence that munitions were actually shipped from the Caymans to who the hell knows where, right?” Brodsky skillfully keeps the information of the pharmaceutical shipment tucked in his already overtight shirt.

“Well, Mr. Brodsky, the evidence is all circumstantial, admittedly. But (Nigel clears his throat and reaches for all the investigative reporter that hopefully lives somewhere deep down inside him), there’s simply too much evidence to brush off as mere coincidence. U.S. Attorney Cavendish hires Max Malone to investigate this Campanaro guy, who Max believes blew up a resort in Oregon killing three people, including Campanaro’s twin brother, and the attorney believes is running munitions to our enemies, then Max gets plugged and is now being held against his will at Campanaro’s estate in Grand Cayman, all the while Max has been set up by Dolly Teagarden who happens to be a British double agent, and U.S. Attorney Cavendish conveniently dies in an auto accident on Capitol Circle in Tallahassee with a 45-mile-per hour speed limit. And there’s my photos of Max being taken captive. He’s an American citizen.” Nigel lets out his breath, then offers rather meekly, having exhausted the last of his bravado,

“That convinces me of a terrible conspiracy against my country, and a job for someone like you.” Then, after a life-saving gulp of air, “Sir.”

“And why exactly should I give a damn,” Brodsky claims, spreading his arms around the shabby expanse of the conference room, then realizing his point has been rendered much less important than it was intended, tries again. “We have big problems to solve here.”

“Because it’s not just my country, sir. It’s also yours.”

*   *   *

Max gets wheeled poolside once a day for the amusement of Andy Campanaro. He’s shackled to a wheelchair. His ribs remind him of every breath he takes. He takes his meals through a straw. One eye remains closed beneath a purple haze. And the other eye is forced to witness the parade of bikini-clad beauties who find Max too disgusting to look at. Max thinks: Dear me, let that skinny newsie Nigel Best deliver me from this hell.

After all, bruised, battered, and shunned by poolside pulchritude, he remains Max Malone, private eye.

Review and Revise by Paula Walker on 06/01/2019

So, it’s done. Finally. After the many years you’ve had it in your mind to create that will or trust as the gift it’s meant to be to help your family take care of your affairs as cleanly and simply as possible after you’ve passed, you’ve done it. There now. Nothing more to do with it! Right? Well … not so fast.

One thing is for certain, life doesn’t stand still. Your family, your circumstances, and (don’t forget) the government are constantly on the move, growing, changing and imposing new laws respectively.

Too often people tuck their estate plan away and twenty years or more hence, when the time comes to rely on the plan, it is discovered inadequate or inflexible to their current needs. Their life’s circumstances changed and the plan in many places is no longer relevant, or worse, undermines their intentions. While your estate plan may not be your favorite bedtime story every evening, as a practical matter for your benefit it is best to review the plan you have in place every three to five years. Some circumstances that should trigger a review on that boundary or before, potentially as circumstances arise, follow:

– Moving to another state. Estate planning laws vary state to state, by example, some states have an inheritance tax and/or an estate tax, others do not. Another example, the requirements for advance directives and durable powers of attorney vary.

– Births; those new family members, you may have a place in your heart that you want reflected in your estate plan.

– The three D’s: death, divorce, disinheritance. Major shifts in life that alter the way you originally intended to distribute your wealth and belongings, impose a need to review and revise.

– Marriage - your own or one of your beneficiaries can impact your plan.

– Charitable giving - there is a cause you want to support that did not have your attention when you first created your plan.

– Your executor or successor trustee may need to be changed. They are no longer able or willing to serve in that capacity, or they are no longer a good fit for your life’s circumstances.

– Children reach the age of majority, i.e. they turn eighteen.

– Changes in the law, tax law and laws that govern aspects of your estate plan, like laws governing the durable power of attorney or advance directive.

This is just a sampling of the events that should trigger you to review your estate plan. Some of these, like changes in the law, you may not be aware of which is why, as I started with, it is a good practice to review your estate plan regularly. Every three to five years review your plan with your estate planner so that you can identify impacts, the obvious and the not so obvious.

Stories of the Stars...  If Only

Examples from a few celebrities.

Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire, with his estate planning and revamping of that plan likely reduced the battle between his third wife and his children from becoming a wildfire out of control, to a mediated settlement that concluded in a relatively short amount of time by creating a prenuptial agreement with his third wife and then updating his revocable living trust in line with that agreement.

Paul Walker, The Fast & The Furious, in contrast to Williams stands as an example of missed opportunities by leaving his estate plan untouched for twelve years, omitting to review and revise. With forward thinking, he created a revocable living trust to provide for his three year old daughter, Meadow. Kudos. But in the twelve years intervening between that event and his untimely death, many of the life changes mentioned in this article occurred that went unattended to in his plan. At the time he created his plan his career was just taking off. He amassed significant wealth, an estate estimated to be in excess of $25 million at his death. And then there was his seven-year relationship with the person that many thought was destined to be his future spouse. None of these significant life changes were incorporated. Much to speculate on that could have better served his estate and his intentions for those that he provided for or may have wanted to provide for had he reviewed and revised his estate plan.

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

Contributed photo
The View Finder: OC Yocum by Gary Randall on 05/01/2019

I love Mount Hood, history and photography, and when I can bring all three together in one place, I’m happy.

Loyal readers of my column may remember the article that I wrote about Jennie Welch, her photography and its importance to the history of Welches and the Mount Hood area (August 2018 Mountain Times). Before Jennie Welch took her first photo another Mount Hood icon was bringing cutting-edge photography technology that would eventually allow consumers, such as Jennie, an easier method to create their own photos to the Pacific Northwest.

Oliver C. Yocum, known to everyone as “OC,” came to Oregon in a wagon on the old Oregon Trail as a five-year-old child with his parents in 1847, and by the time that his life ended, he became a legend indelibly etched into the history of Mount Hood.

His family settled in Yamhill County, where he spent his childhood working on the family farm and odd jobs in between. By the time he was 17 he had worked as a clerk in the family hotel in Lafayette, was an apprentice saddle maker, a builder and in his spare time studied law. In time he struck out on his own.

He loved Shakespearean novels and travelled mining camps with a troupe reenacting the plays on a portable stage.

He eventually made it back to Lafayette where he met Ann Robertson, herself an Oregon Trail immigrant who travelled to Oregon as a two-year-old, and they were married. OC did some building, cabinet making and grain buying before the couple moved to Portland in 1881, where OC became a photograph printer and eventually a professional photographer.

Photography, back in the old days, was a messy and complicated procedure. It required a glass photo plate to be prepared with chemicals, exposed and developed all within a 15-minute period of time and required a portable darkroom in the form of a tent if you were taking photos in the outdoors. This form of photography was called wet plate photography.

But in 1871 a process called dry plate was invented and by 1879 factories were being made to manufacture glass dry plates.

Oliver Yocum was the first person in Oregon and perhaps the Pacific Northwest to manufacture dry plates. Dry plates were portable and able to expose the photo quicker, allowing for hand-held photos and were able to be stored for a time after the photo was made before it needed to be developed. This allowed more people to be able to enjoy photography and even though the cameras were still rather bulky, they allowed folks to carry their cameras into the outdoors.

In 1883 Oliver Yocum climbed Mount Hood for the first time. During the trip he carried a large 8” x 10” wooden camera and all of its accessories, weighing close to 50 pounds.

It was on this trip that the first photos taken on the summit of Mount Hood were made. It was also on this trip that Yocum fell in love with the countryside on the south side of Mount Hood.

For several seasons Yocum did photography in Portland during the winter and came to Government Camp in the summer. He took every opportunity to climb the mountain. In 1887 he was a member of the party that illuminated the summit and was one of the founding members of the Portland climbing club, the Mazamas, in 1894.

 He guided people to the top of Mount Hood until he turned 67.

In his quest to spend time outdoors in clean air, due to “pulmonary problems” caused by smoky air in Portland (and no doubt the chemicals from the photography process), he changed his occupation to surveyor.

In 1890 Yocum moved to Mount Hood, homesteaded, operated a sawmill and started guiding people to the top of Mount Hood.

In 1900 he built the first hotel in the town that was named Government Camp.

Oliver lived on Mount Hood until 1911, when he sold most of his holdings in Government Camp and moved back to Portland where he decided to study dentistry and accepted a position at the North Pacific Dental College. He was 69 years old at that point and had sold most of the business to the soon-to-become-legendary Lige Coalman, including the hotel.

OC lived a long and varied life and will forever be associated with the history of Mount Hood, but will also be a part of Mount Hood’s photographic history. OC died in 1928 and was followed into eternity by his wife Ann two years later.

Although his legacy rarely mentions his contributions to photography, his name will be preserved in some of the geographic locations on and around Mount Hood. Yocum Ridge, a very challenging ridge on the southeastern side of the mountain was named for him, as well as the picturesque waterfall on Camp Creek, Yocum Falls.

Viewpoints - Salem: Looking out for rural Oregon by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2019

The 2019 legislative session has reached its midpoint and we have a number of important policies still to work through. The legislature’s main priorities are coming into focus now that many bill proposals have fallen by the wayside, and I want to discuss three important bills that could make an impact in our local communities.

First, House Bill 2007, a diesel pollution reform bill, is one that I strongly support. Some areas in Oregon have some of the worst diesel pollution in the country. This raises both environmental and public health concerns. HB 2007 would require owners of certain older trucks to install model 2010 or newer engines by January 1, 2029. This bill will also use the remaining funds from the Volkswagen Settlement to help fund that transition to cleaner diesel engines. Although 2029 may seem like a long timeline for such an important law, the longer timeline will give agricultural producers in the Mount Hood area time to budget and plan for the transition.

House Bill 2020, another measure I plan to support, would launch a “cap and invest” program to regulate carbon gas emissions in our state. Under this bill, the state will auction off “allowances” for companies to emit those gases and use the money from the sale of the allowances to help Oregonians transition to lower-emission practices. I strongly support this concept, but I have heard from farmers in our communities about their concern that they may be more negatively impacted than other industries by this law.

In my conversations with those farmers, I have learned about their fears for their farms’ futures and the challenging reality of our ever-changing economy. I have passed their concerns along to my colleagues who are managing the amendments proposed for this bill. My hope is that the final bill will avoid unintended hardships for farmers while creating effective tools to combat climate change. I will keep pushing to ensure that these farmers’ voices have an impact on the bill’s final language.

Finally, there are several bills that propose to ban various pesticides, including chlorpyrifos and neonicotinoid chemicals. Although I have heard from some of my constituents about the risks of recklessly using these chemicals, I have also heard from Hood River Valley and East Multnomah farmers about the challenges that total bans might create.

I worry that farmers will be forced to turn to more damaging or even dangerous alternatives to avoid pest outbreaks if a total ban is passed by the Legislature. Another possibility is that no alternative would exist at all for certain specialized farms in our part of the state, such as blueberry, peppermint and Christmas tree farms.

This would mean that some crops would be exposed to serious and potentially devastating infestations while farmers scrambled to find non-chemical means to combat them. So, while I would probably support restrictions on how certain pesticides are used, I have been proud to stand by the agricultural community in opposing these total bans.

All of these policy ideas may make sense to legislators and voters from more urban areas of our state. However, I am concerned that many farmers feel the cumulative impact of many bills this session are having an outsized negative impact on the agricultural sector and rural communities. It is essential that we protect our farms and small towns, while we find ways to encourage better environmental practices. So, I am open to your thoughts and ideas about how to strike a balance between environmental responsibility and security for rural Oregon that helps make our beautiful district such a powerful economic force in the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: The Mountain Festival Carnival is back! by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 05/01/2019

I’m excited to announce the return of one of Sandy’s most sacred traditions – The Sandy Mountain Festival Carnival!

A big thank you to the Sandy Mountain Festival Committee, especially to Martin Montgomery and Steven Brown. Additionally, this event does not happen without outstanding community partners like AntFarm and the Leathers Family and Leather’s Fuel.

As someone who grew up in this community, I have fond memories of attending the carnival as a child. As a father of two little girls, I’m excited to see this annual tradition continue for future generations.

As some may remember, even prior to me making the decision to run for Mayor, I was a vocal critic of the lack of proactive leadership displayed by the city for such a popular event.

In an editorial that garnered lots of local attention, I stated that while “I understand that most of the work and planning for the festival is done by the committee, it’s imperative that the city begins to coordinate logistics and show this kind of proactive leadership to troubleshoot issues. How is it possible that one simply cannot find a local business owner, a community organization or a parcel of publicly-owned land for a carnival one weekend out of the year?”

I’m happy to say that as Mayor, this is exactly how I have chosen to lead. I’ve had several meetings with the leadership of the Sandy Mountain Festival Committee, as well as the property and business owners affected by the event. I also hosted a joint meeting with all the event stakeholders including our city department heads who interact with the Mountain Festival, like police, public works, recreational services, transit and economic development.

The Sandy Mountain Festival is one of the largest festival events in Oregon and attracts thousands of people to town each year. According to the festival’s website, its purpose is to enhance Sandy’s business climate by showcasing products, allowing local nonprofit organizations to raise funds, providing artists a forum for their talents and promoting community pride and participation.

Basically, the Sandy Mountain Festival provides citizens opportunities and allows our city to put its best foot forward. This is only the first step in our efforts to create the best possible Mountain Festival experience for both our neighbors here in Sandy, as well as our visitors.

In the years ahead, we hope to better incorporate our transit services with the overall visitor experience and help alleviate some of the traffic and parking concerns that arise during this popular event.

We want both our neighbors and visitors to have an experience when interacting with our community that leaves them wanting more and coming back to support our community and our local business owners. The Sandy Mountain Festival is a unique and outstanding opportunity to do just that.

The Sandy Mountain Festival Carnival is back at its usual location! What a crucial piece to reaching our overarching goal – To Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Welcome to adulthood by Paula Walker on 05/01/2019

Our theme of “never too young” continues from last month with a topic that surprises many, if not most parents. The fact that your child, just turned 18, is now legally an adult, imposes legal requirements you’ve likely not yet considered. Although still their parents, and they still live at home, you no longer have legal access to your 18-year old’s medical records or information about their medical condition; nor can you transact business on their behalf should they need you to do so. This becomes especially relevant as your child heads for college, or that gap year of travel between high school and entering college; or otherwise ventures forth, independent and ready to be so, but, in emergencies, still looking to you for support and help.

Four documents each emerging young adult should have, are: 1) Healthcare Power of Attorney; 2) HIPAA Authorization; 3) Advance Directive; and 4) Durable Power of Attorney. With these instruments in place, whomever the young adult appoints in those instruments can intervene on their behalf in cases of medical emergency; can support them with medical care; can have access to medical records as needed; can make life and death decisions; can manage financial affairs as needed. Without these, even though you are paying the medical bills, you may not be able to speak with medical staff about medical conditions, prescriptions, handle insurance claims etc.

While the parent may be the best person to appoint in many cases, the young adult may appoint another trusted adult, aunt, uncle, older sibling, instead of or in addition to a parent. It is advisable to appoint alternates in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

How long do these four documents remain in effect? Two answers to that. First, each document is ‘durable,’ meaning that they remain in effect during a time of incapacity. Second, the appointment lasts as long as the young adult wants. They can revoke or amend the documents at any time appointing other persons to serve as their agent as they move into other stages of their lives and relationships, such as marriage.

Not only for medical events, having these proxy authorities in place can be useful in a variety of situations as your child ventures forth, perhaps travels overseas for a gap year or study, such as your ability to wire money from child’s bank account, contact the local embassy, sign a legal document for your child in their absence such as their lease, sign tax returns and pay bills. As well, a young adult may not want their parents to have access to certain information. They can stipulate not to disclose information they want to keep private.

Where forms may be state specific it is advisable to prepare the forms for the state in which you live as well as those for the state of the school attended and the school’s forms, if they have their own. Once executed, scan and save the documents so that they are readily available on a computer or by smartphone.

Attending to these documents is a good investment; part of your back-to-school/next-stage-of-life support. This can give peace of mind to your child as well as you as they venture forth, that in those fledgling years between childhood and fully independent adulthood, you can still be there for them if they need you.

Stories of the Stars, If Only …

Sobering statistics emphasize the importance of considering this. One source reports that each year, a quarter-million Americans between 18 and 25 are hospitalized with nonlethal injuries, and that accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults. However, there are numerous incidents, less drastic than this that may call upon a parent to be there for their child and act on their child’s behalf.

For this article I offer up, not stories of the celebrities, but stories from our common shared experience as parent and young emerging adult. One father recounts a scary episode in which his nineteen-year-old, who had traveled to Mexico on spring break, developed a severe intestinal bug and was admitted to the college infirmary. His father rushed to visit him there, however, doctors would not discuss his son’s condition citing privacy concerns.

Another parent recounts the events following a phone call informing her that her son, in college 270 miles away, was being rushed by ambulance to the emergency room due to severe chest pains. She called the ER only to be told that she had no legal right to talk with the doctor about her son’s condition. Even though in this case the son would not have wished to keep his parents in the dark, he was in too much pain to authorize their access to his medical information.

In both cases the children recovered, thankfully. Each story, though, goes to underscore the importance that these documents can provide in that transitional period of your and your children’s lives.

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.

Blue Zone delicacies: seaweed, turmeric and mushrooms by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2019

Okinawa, Japan is the Blue Zone where women tend to live longer than other areas on our earth. In honor of women and mothers everywhere, let’s look at the lessons from this Blue Zone. Blue Zones are those areas in the world where it was discovered that inhabitants had better health and lived longer than most other areas on earth. The areas were circled on a map in blue ink and henceforth became known as the Blue Zones.

Okinawa, Japan is about a thousand miles south of Tokyo, an island of white sandy beaches and palm trees. Maybe that alone is enough to lead to longevity? Early Chinese explorers called this “the land of immortals.” Life expectancy for males is 84 years and for females it is almost 90 years! In addition, they have one-fifth the rate of breast cancer and prostate cancer and half the rate of dementia compared to the United States! I know both men and women in our immediate area who are in their 90s too, but for now let’s look at what has been discovered in Okinawa.

While yoga is performed almost daily, it was presumed that the Japanese diet had more to do with the longevity than any other factor. This is now presumed to be the cause of longevity almost everywhere, but a best-selling book, The Okinawan Diet Plan, written by brothers Craig and Bradley Wilcox, proves interesting. Investigation into the eating habits of Okinawans has now been divided into pre-1940 and post WWII. Hmm ... The pre-1940 diet was intensely focused on ingesting a sweet potato, related to our delicious orange ones, but purple and called “imo” in Japanese. This sweet potato used to constitute 60 percent of the daily caloric intake of the people. After WWII and our Western influences, consumption of those sweet potatoes fell to only five percent. In addition, consumption of foods like white bread, white rice, milk and eggs increased considerably. At the same time, cancers of breast, colon, lung and prostate about doubled.

A typical breakfast was miso soup with seaweed and “green leafy things.” Even as late as the mid-1990s, I remember being served a watery soup with rice and mushrooms (called ‘fungus’ in China) on a month-long trip to China. Added to this breakfast soup were greens foraged from nearby hills only hours before. Very fresh and highly nutritious. Main meals were stir-fried vegetables including burdock (we call it a weed) with a very small amount of fish or meat, if desired.

Before 1940, fish was eaten at least three times a week. Dairy and meat represented only three percent of daily caloric intake. Okinawans favored pork, usually only served on feast days, when it was stewed for days before until it was mostly collagen (which we tend to buy in plastic containers for a lot of money). It was believed that the protein substance actually repaired small tears in blood vessels, thereby reducing risk of stroke.

A typical meal was seaweeds, sweet potatoes and turmeric, a digestive mode now believed to mimic calorie restriction. And calorie restriction is believed to lead to greater longevity in Okinawans, at least in older citizens born before 1940. In 1940 Okinawans ate 40 percent fewer calories than the average American. It appears that seaweed, sweet potatoes and turmeric all provide genetic triggers to decrease free radical production without causing increase in hunger.

Tofu has been popular in Asian countries for hundreds of years, being made into everything from milk to ice cream and was the dairy consumed daily in Asian countries. Also consumed daily was green tea made wonderfully fragrant by adding jasmine flowers! You’ve all heard the phrase “all the tea in China?” In fact, while we brought our own tea to tea houses and eateries in China, it was weeks before we learned that we had to ask for hot water in order to brew it ourselves at our table.

Turmeric is used as both a tea and as a spice and is best warmed and served with a pinch of black pepper. Not as an encapsulate pill. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory now being further studied for its anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Add in mushrooms and the hundreds of kinds of fungus with their immune protecting compounds, lots of garlic and the many different kinds of seaweed and you have a very healthy diet.

It’s no wonder that older Okinawans have the longest life expectancy, especially for women. Live well, live long. Sushi anyone?

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: toy exchange programs by Mary Soots on 05/01/2019

It’s May already and summer is just around the corner. The kids will be on vacation before you know it. What are you going to do? How will you keep them busy and out of trouble all day? Apparently, they disallowed child labor some time ago. And child development experts strongly recommend that you limit a child’s screen time (TV, phone, computer, tablet, etc.) to two hours per day. So, it remains up to parents and grandparents to keep them busy and entertained while making learning a part of the play experience during the summer break.

One of the best things when we were kids was receiving a monthly subscription of Highlights for Children, a magazine that began publishing in 1946 and continues in popularity today. It is filled with activities, reading and puzzles. Geared primarily for children ages 6-12 it has kept up with the times by launching a mobile app, Highlights Every Day, in 2017. While an app is nice, it’s not the same as receiving a surprise package in the mail addressed to your child(ren). Luckily, there is a new type of service that has become quite popular that will keep the kids from saying they’re bored. It’s called a toy exchange subscription.

With this type of service, your child receives a used and sanitized toy each month that they play with and then return. When they’ve returned the toy, they get a new one. If the child has fallen in love with the toy, they can keep it for the cost of the toy. There are different types of programs available, based on the type of play that the child enjoys and on their age.

Some popular services such as Toy Library or Pley boast brands such as Lego, Minecraft, Disney, among others, and have hundreds of toys to choose from. Often the cost of the monthly subscription is less than the cost of purchasing new toys and the quality of toys is top-notch.

Other services offer a packet of activities that the child can engage in and there is nothing to return. Companies such as KiwiCo or Spangler Science Club both focus on play as a way of developing a child’s intellectual curiosity. Each month, kids ranging from infants to teenagers receive a box with various arts and crafts activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Dress-up was always a favorite at our house. If your child is into playing pirates and princesses, My Pretend Place is the company for them. Each month, the package includes costumes, books and activities surrounding a specific theme that will set their imagination free.

The advantage of using a toy exchange program is that the toybox won’t get full of toys that the kids will have grown bored with or have outgrown. From an environmental perspective, the toy exchange programs use the “reduce” and “re-use” philosophy in a great way. By sharing or exchanging toys, it reduces the number of toys that end up in the landfill. One environmentally-friendly company, Green Piñata, ensures that their high-end toys “use sustainably-sourced wood or recycled plastic” as well as being toxin-free.

It’s inspiring to see the creative ways that individuals are finding to bring about new models for doing things. Toy exchange programs solve the problem of getting tired of the same toys, keeping them busy, helping the child develop through play, all while saving parents money. Of course, a subscription would also make a great gift for those grandchildren, nephews, and nieces who are far away.

Adventures in meal prep by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2019

As someone who works in nutrition, I’ve seen diet fads come and go as I’m sure many more will come and go. Such is the cycle of life. Recently, I was hired to prepare (or “meal prep” as the streets call it) a keto style menu. This new language included words like “Macros” and “Ketosis.” So, I researched a little and decided on a menu, and now I’ll share a few recipes with you.

Happy Ketosis!

Italian cream cake

(Gluten free also)

Heat oven to 325

Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

For the cake cream together:

2 sticks soft butter

1 cup sweetener such as swerve

1 T vanilla

Add four egg yolks, one at a time. Put whites in a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk following dry ingredients:

1.5 cups Almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 t baking powder

1 t salt

Add dry ingredients about 1/2 at a time alternate adding 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Beat egg whites with 1/4 t cream of tartar.

Carefully fold egg whites into the mix.

Bake 40-45 minutes, let cool in pans, frost when cool with cream cheese frosting.

Use mixer to beat together:

1 8 oz package cream cheese

2 sticks soft butter

1 cup sweetener

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup heavy cream


1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Toast and add around sides and top of cake.

 Creamy Tuscan chicken

Between plastic pound out four large boneless skinless chicken breasts.

On a large plate toss together:

1/4 cup almond flour

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 T lemon zest

1 t Italian seasoning

Dredge chicken in mixture, set aside.

In a large skillet heat on medium, melt together:

2 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

Brown the chicken 4-5 minutes on each side one at a time, place in warm oven.

Wipe out skillet. Then add:

1 T each butter and olive oil

1 t chopped garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup each chopped sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Bring to a bubble, stir until everything is melty and serve over chicken.

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

Episode XXXIII: Rolexes and a Palisade of Pain by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/01/2019

Max tried to shake the fuzzy gauze from his eyes. Slowly, he began to focus. The wall in front of him, viewed from the floor, the hideous pastels of island architecture from hell. Despite the four-alarm fire in his head, he was still able to feel the humid air clinging to him like an iguana in heat. He forced himself to a seated position, saw, figures in the room, thought: I probably have these knuckleheads to thank for my headache.

He heard a door open and the footfall of two men, one very heavy. The big one stopped in front of him. Max looked up and managed a sinful hobgoblin smile.

“Ah, Mr. Fong. So good to see you again. (beat, fighting against the continuing cobwebs in his brain.) You really need to take a dip in the ocean. You smell like fish guts.”

The big Chinaman didn’t appreciate the reference to where he had been tied up by Max and friends, and Max didn’t expect him to. Rather, Max knew he was in deep trouble, but had already guessed he wasn’t going to be killed, because if he was, he’d already be there – call it private eye instincts – so he might as well get in a few licks of his own, albeit only of the verbal nature.

“You stink in a worse way, Mr. Private Dick,” Fong slavered. “But soon it won’t matter to me.”

Max managed a laugh, impressing even himself at its authenticity. The blow came suddenly and with such force Max could only guess it was delivered by Mr. Fong. It sent him reeling across the floor, and Max could feel his nose exploding through the pain. He squinted at the shoes. There were four. Two moccasin types, brown, and two as shiny as a marine’s dress low quarters. He forced himself to look up at his tormenters, got as far as their hands, noticed both wearing Rolex watches, wondered to himself why cheap thugs sought legitimacy through expensive watches.

He almost got back to a seated position when he was sent reeling – a serious blow to his ribs. Had to be a foot, he thought, of the shiny shoe variety. He searched deep inside for a breath, found one, then regretted it as the pain shot through like a bullet train from Brussels.

More blows came. The pain seemed to fall away, like a rock down a deep well. He knew he was losing consciousness as the pastel walls faded with the torment and he began to drift toward a distant shore.

He tried to focus on something he could hang on to. Being Max, he thought of women: Valerie Supine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states; Hope, who had ventilated his fedora, and was doing time for a murder she didn’t commit; Francoise, his faithful secretary now in the good hands of Frank Strong, the former porn star Feral Strong; Natasha, dead on the fecund soil of rural France; Katrina, who swept through his cabin like her hurricane namesake; Anna Belle Wilde, the supposed innocent widow of Paul Kimatian-turned-Andy Campanaro; Jemma Gayle, the delightful and helpful Jamaican nurse who made a habit of pulling him out of trouble; then, before giving in to the gathering darkness, Dolly Teagarden.

Did Mr. Fong see Max smile, or try to smile? If so, his work wasn’t finished.

Max thought of the morality of Dolly, the MI6 agent from England. What cause did she serve? What was her reward? Where does she go from here? After all, he had accompanied her through France while cuffed to various versions of interior furniture, afterward here to the Caymans.

Then it came to him, his final thought before the lights went out: Why is it that as soon as I get to know a woman, I suddenly don’t like her anymore? Is that a flaw, or a salvation? Bah. A split lip and a bother of women.

* * *

Jemma Gayle got off work, checked her watch, and hurried down the crowded street of her neighborhood, finally reaching the Internet Café. She got her phone cabin number from the clerk and went in, closed the door, took a slip of paper from her purse and dialed a series of numbers.

She thought: After all, I’m doing this for my new friend, Max Malone.

Dalles Mountain, Wash.
Wildflower season by Gary Randall on 04/01/2019

It’s April again, and we photographers all know what that means - it’s wildflower season again! Especially around the Mount Hood area as we have so many options and 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 – 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. – early season

Across the Columbia River from The Dalles, Oregon 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 historical 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 – after snow clears

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 –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, views of Barrett Spur and Mount Hood bear grass and rhododendrons line the trail. When you arrive above the timber line and into Wy’east basin you will be greeted with areas covered with beautiful mountain heather.

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.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Budgeting the biennium and beyond by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2019

Sandy’s budget planning process for the next biennium is upon us, which means we get to dream big, but we must also be mindful of the challenges that lay ahead.

Our rapid growth along with the nearly 40-acre Sandy Community Campus means exciting things for our community. Our growth also puts a large strain on our infrastructure and core functions of government, and as the leaders of this community, we can no longer side-step those issues.

Past leaders have been willing to ignore major deficiencies in core local government services, have failed to plan for a rainy day and have continued to ignore a failing waste water treatment process. I refuse to be that kind of leader.

Here are the issues that face us as we enter our budgeting process:

As with other local municipalities, Oregon’s recent rise in the minimum wage and soaring PERS costs are finally catching up. For example, the City of Portland Parks & Recreation Department is facing a $6.3 million shortfall forcing them to dramatically cut staff and close several Community Centers. Similarly, the Sandy City Council recently decided to temporarily close Sandy’s Aquatic Center. In addition to the large maintenance expenses, the salaries and benefits of employees restricted our ability to explore short-term funding solutions to allow the pool to remain open.

Because of poor leadership planning, the city was forced to transfer nearly $500,000 from our general reserve and contingency funds in 2018 to subsidize the Aquatic Center for the remainder of the biennium. This left our reserve and contingency funds at their lowest point in the last decade. The ramifications of that decision could be disastrous if we experience another economic downturn.

Secondly, since Estacada ended their contract with our Sandy Police Department, our department has felt the financial loss. Currently our police budget is in an operational deficit of nearly half a million dollars and that is just to maintain current levels of operation, which means only one or two officers on duty at a time. Past leaders have found this to be acceptable. I do not. As a growing city with increasing petty crime and homelessness issues, this is below standards that our taxpayers deserve.

Adding to all of this is years of not addressing our waste water treatment issues. As a result, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is now requiring our community to fix the problem. As I addressed in my column last month, fixing the issue is one thing, but doing so while creating a plan that can handle our rapid growth in population is another. This project has a price tag of $60-$80 million and must be addressed by 2024. This will put a financial burden on our utility users and compounds our other budgetary shortfalls.

While the issues facing us are complex, my plan to address these new realities is quite simple.

First, we must release some of the strains currently stressing our general fund budget. The first step of this was the temporary closure of the Aquatic Center and the eventual proposal of an Oregon Trail Recreational Parks District to our voters. This will provide a long-term and stable funding source for the Community Campus Project including a new aquatic center and could also help to improve access to Sandy’s parks.

Additionally, our council will need to investigate the viability of a public safety fee to secure adequate funding of our police department. Every citizen in Sandy depends on public safety officers. For a small fee of $5-10 a month, we could finally begin to have the kind of coverage our citizens deserve and expect.

These two items will put Sandy into a position where we can offer core services to our neighbors, create a healthy reserve/rainy day fund and lay the foundation to a wonderful and exciting future for our community.

Viewpoints - Salem: Solutions to the housing crisis by Rep. Anna Williams on 04/01/2019

As I enter the third month of the 2019 session, the pace of legislating shows no sign of slowing! Final deadlines for new bills are approaching quickly. After those deadlines pass, we will focus our energy on evaluating the bills that have already been introduced and passing the good ones. I look forward to getting as much done as possible before we adjourn this summer.

Much of my energy has gone to one major topic for the past month: housing. Since I serve on the House Committee on Human Services and Housing, I get to be involved in the early process of reviewing and amending nearly every housing bill that could eventually become law. Because Oregon’s housing shortage is an issue that affects our district as much as it affects the rest of the state, I will highlight some of the accomplishments and possibilities in this area of lawmaking.

Senate Bill (SB) 608, a bill that you may have seen or read about through local or national media, was signed into law on Feb. 28. The bill places a cap on annual rent hikes at about 10 percent and prohibits no-cause evictions of long-term tenants. I heard from landlords who were concerned about the impact this bill may have on their investment properties, and I listened to every one of their concerns. I also heard from landlords who appreciate this law and the clarity it provides around the eviction process and how landlords can navigate improvements to their rental properties. In the end, I believe this bill will have an overwhelming positive impact on Oregonians and it will be a useful tool to protect safe, stable housing for more Oregonians.

However, SB 608 is only one part of the plan to address the housing crisis. Several other pending bills, if signed into law, will increase the availability of affordable housing and help people who may not be able to afford housing at all. House Bill (HB) 2001, for example, will make it so that cities and counties with large populations would have to provide property owners with the option of building “low-rise middle housing” like duplexes and triplexes, even in areas previously zoned for single-family houses, as an overlay to current city zoning plans. This will provide the opportunity for thousands of affordable housing units to be built in the years to come. To be clear, this bill would not make single family housing illegal in Oregon. It would simply open up local zoning processes to ensure that they prioritize housing which is affordable and appropriate for middle-class people and families in communities across the state.

I am also working with colleagues from Eastern Oregon to encourage the building of new housing in our rural communities across the state. We are looking for ways to encourage developers to invest in smaller towns, especially those which are further away from the interstate system.

There are many challenges involved in making development of affordable, accessible housing a profitable endeavor for housing developers (and they won’t do it if it’s not profitable!). Your ideas are, as always, welcome. What are the challenges to housing development in your community? I look forward to hearing from you and putting your good ideas into action.

The housing bills which are passed this session will have a major impact on the housing crisis. They will make housing available to more Oregonians, help our neighbors find and move into appropriate housing and help us all remain securely and stably housed.

I intend to do everything in my power to fight for the people of our community who currently lack that security and stability. I would love to hear from anyone who would like to weigh in on housing issues. Please feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov if you would like to share your thoughts on these or any other bills.

MHGS: the unwelcome early spring by Mary Soots on 04/01/2019

Spring is here! Have you noticed in recent years that it starts earlier and earlier? Twenty years ago, we would not have seen such beautiful weather as we had recently so early in the season. According to the journal Nature, researchers started tracking data on the annual temperature cycles about ten years ago by studying the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere as well as over the oceans.

They looked at two components. The first component, amplitude — “loosely, half the difference between summer and winter temperatures — has been decreasing over most continental areas and increasing over the oceans.” The second component is phase – “the relative timing of the periodic (seasonal) component of temperature.” (NATURE|Vol 457|22 January 2009). They found that over time, for the most part, the seasons occur earlier over land and later over the oceans.

Researchers in the U.S. and in other parts of the world concluded that shifting seasons are directly linked to warmer global temperatures. According to one website, “As a result, winters are shorter, spring is earlier, summers are longer and fall arrives later.” (http://climatechange.lta.org/climate-impacts/shifting-seasons)

With the earlier arrival of spring and thawing temperatures, trees and wildflowers are blooming earlier than previously. The US EPA uses leaf and bloom dates to track shifting seasons, and scientists have high confidence that the earlier arrival of spring events is linked to recent warming trends in global climate. When the weather warms in late winter, a trend that we have experienced in recent years throughout the United States, this can create a “false spring” that signals to plants that it’s time to start to bloom.

While we are all delighted with the warm weather, sunshine and the miracle of rebirth that spring brings, plants that begin their growth cycle too early are vulnerable to damage from any subsequent frost. This can be especially harmful to sensitive plants and trees and can bring about economic disaster such as in our part of the world where the economy relies heavily on the production of fruit and nuts.

The disruption in the timing of the typical seasons has implications for the ecosystems and for people as well. As Dr. Stephen Thackery of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, in Lancaster, England explains, “Each year, a sequence of natural events unfolds,” he said. “Plant life becomes active, then herbivores that eat those plants, and finally the carnivores that eat the herbivores.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jan/23/spring-early-plant-animal-behaviour)

The early advent of spring disrupts the natural cycle because different species respond in different ways and at different rates. Species that rely on others for survival are not born in time to do so. One example is birds that need to feed on specific species of insects may be hatching too late. Another example is juvenile fish that need to feed on water fleas may hatch too late and could starve from a lack of insects that flourished earlier. This may also affect migrating species, many of which travel through the Cascade Range. Their journey may misalign with the timing of the species they need to survive along the way.

Other effects of the shifting seasons can lead to earlier snow-melt, with corresponding flooding. At the same time that spring is arriving earlier, winter is arriving later as measured by the first frost of the year. They’re shorter winters, however. Plant pests and diseases don’t have time to die and can flourish over a longer summer growing season.

There is little that can be done to change the pattern that we are seeing. Sadly, the rate of which the change is happening is accelerating according to researchers. We can however, as a community recognize the changes that we are experiencing and act to identify and minimize risks. Some groups are beginning to include more plant diversity in restoration projects in order to provide native fauna with other food sources and habitats as the timing of seasons change.

Let’s enjoy the beauty of spring while we have it. Summer is just around the corner. Just realize that with a longer growing season, it also means earlier and longer allergy seasons.

Episode XXXII: Nigel’s the ‘Best’ that Max has by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/01/2019

The longer Max keeps the conversation rolling, the more comfortable he becomes with believing he’s getting out of this with his hide. But absolutely nothing else. Andy Campanaro is too calm – icy calm, like a glacier too big to fail – and too capable, and Dolly Teagarden is thrown in with the scum as she swirls down the drain amid the remains of all the human detritus of Max’s adventures.

Yet, Andy is enjoying his position of being totally in charge. And Dolly is a willing supplicant – which isn’t that tough to figure for Max at this moment, considering the miserable pay check she deservedly receives from MI6 accountants who are doubtlessly all descended from the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge of Dickens fame, albeit sans Jacob Marley, the ghosts and the Cratchit family.

Along with that thought, Max’s mind skips to Tiny Tim, which leads directly to how is the newsie Nigel Best doing? After all, he could be Max’s last shot at improving his hand – Nigel, not Tiny.

“So how long you two been using the same outhouse?” Max asks, sharing the question with both Andy and Dolly via syncopated sideways sneers.

“It’s business old sport,” Andy grins his way through another response. “I’ve explained it.”

“And so have I,” Dolly says, with a not-so-convincing smile.

“Yeah, I get that,” Max parries, covering his concern over Nigel. “We all do business of one kind or another. Some legal. Some not so legal. But I’m just wondering, is there no sense of honor? Nothing bigger than the allegiance to a profit motive? (pause) “And I’m not your old sport.”

“That’s funny as hell, old sport.” Max cringes, but Andy presses on. “What was your motive for doing nothing for a fat retainer back in hillbilly heaven?”

Max remembered his motive perfectly: trying to maintain the last shreds of decency for the Wilde family, and protecting an innocent waif from Campanaro’s crustacean-like clutches. OK. Admittedly. At the time he needed the dough.

But he still needed to play for time.

*   *   *

Jemma Gayle kept her eyes open for trouble, but feigning it with a natural-born thrusted hip and crossed legs at the ankles as she leaned against the outside window of the internet café. Still in hospital uniform, she could have been a nurse on hold for her married doctor to arrive.

Inside, Nigel Best was dictating off his reporter’s notepad, fighting to keep the sweat from ruining his notes. Finished, he motioned for Jemma to come help. She quickly dropped the doctor charade and joined Nigel at the desk. She helped with instructions as the clerk was in over his head with downloading photos from Nigel’s nifty palm camera.

Nigel and Jemma stood outside the café, both looking at the purloined Lincoln, and instinctively and innocently sauntered up the street. Jemma pulled off the innocent part much better – the obvious scene stealer in a B-grade movie.

*   *   *

Max was guessing he had stalled all he could, and the rest was up to Nigel. That still left him holding a pair of deuces in this real-life game. He went all-in.

“You know,” directed at Andy, “your big mistake was knocking off the U.S. attorney in Tallahassee.”

Andy shrugs it off with a washtub full of nonchalance.

“Don’t worry,” Max keeps moving forward, daring for his hand to be called. “I’m confident you have plausible deniability. Especially with that thing running interference,” Max dips a disrespectful shoulder in Dolly’s direction. “But that attorney was a college mate of Nigel Best. Remember him, Andy? From Wildewood? And she was probably the first, and maybe only, woman Nigel ever had. Know what I mean?”

“You’re boring me, old sport.”

“Photos of this escapade,” Max scans the villa, the rooftop, Dolly, then back to Andy, “and the story are headed to the bureau chief of the Associated Press in Tallahassee. And he’s some old curmudgeon who has buried in the Tommy Lee Jones wrinkles that define his face a well-earned disdain for creatures like you. (to Dolly now): and you, doll face. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with AP, but news spreads like a west coast forest fire with that bunch.”

It was an uneasy feeling, putting all your chips in the middle of the table on this 140-pound Nigel Best, and an AP bureau chief he had just invented, but after all, that’s all that Max, the Wildewood private eye, had at the moment.

Scrumptious spring! by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2019

Spring chicken

A whole meal in one pot, bursting with the flavors and colors of spring:

1 whole cut up chicken

1 jar artichoke hearts

1 cup sliced, cleaned leeks

2 smashed garlic cloves

1 t lemon zest

1 T each garlic powder, salt, pepper

1 cup white wine

1 cup chopped fresh asparagus (1/2-inch pieces)

New potatoes (2 cups)

2 cups chicken stock

2 T thyme

1/4 cup flour

Olive oil

Mix together flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Toss chicken in mixture, heat oil in a large oven safe pan with deep sides.

Add chicken in, skin side down, cook on med heat turning chicken until well browned on all sides.

Remove chicken from pan and add all other ingredients to the pan.

Place chicken back on top, heat oven to 365.

Place pan in oven and roast another 45 mins until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.

Strawberry cucumber salad

1 lb sliced strawberries

1 cup chopped kale

1 sliced English cucumber

1 cup halved red grapes

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup feta cheese.

Dressing – mix together 1 T olive oil, 1T honey, 1 t Dijon mustard.

1 T apple cider vinegar, pinch salt and pepper.

Combine with fruit and other goodies and enjoy!

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

Photo by Gary Randall.
Lessons in life and photography by Gary Randall on 03/01/2019

The more time that I spend as a photographer the more that I recognize how I handle life equates to how I should handle photography. How just being patient and using simple life lessons can affect my photos.

How many times have we been challenged by a situation where when we walk away for a period of time and then return everything falls into place? How many times have I came to a location and walked away without a pleasing photo, or with a photo that I’m proud of, only to return another day and effortlessly snap an impressive photo? What makes the difference? In my life it sometimes is only a matter of looking at the problem with a fresh set of eyes, being there under different conditions or using different tools or techniques for the job. Sometimes it takes all three.

When we are challenged by an obstacle that impedes our progress sometimes just a simple break can allow us to throw out or forget about a thought process that keeps us from looking at the situation in a different way, many times creating a “now why didn’t I see that before” situation. Sometimes it requires a totally different approach with a different set of skills or tools, sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at it with fresh eyes. I’ve been out shooting with a friend and saw their photo and thought, holy guacamole! Why didn’t I think of that? Many times, we insist on taking a path that is difficult when the easy way is not far and can be found if we just step aside for a moment and look around. My father would say to me that sometimes you have to stop or back up to make progress again. I apply this to photography when I visit a location where I know there’s a photo but have been challenged in the past.

Technique, or how one uses their camera to capture the scene, is very important. Understanding how your camera works allows you to become instinctual about how to be able to capture the moment according to your vision, adapt to changing conditions and overcome challenging conditions. The three basic settings, shutter speed, aperture and ISO (film speed) and how they’re combined will create certain effects that will capture the scene accurately or will allow the photographer to create an effect that can enhance the image. These techniques can help create a stronger or more unique image. Another part of technique involves composition, including different points of view. Standing in a different spot, raising or lowering your camera zooming in or out. These are all things that the photographer has control over that allows them to adapt the photo to their vision.

Next is opportunity. An opportunity can be an event, a fraction of a moment in time or a set of conditions that are unique. Simple analogies would be a sunset or a rainbow. A photo’s quality or beauty, in most cases, is enhanced under good light. A landscape photographer will always prefer shooting a scene at sunrise, sunset or in “sweet light,” but the light doesn’t always show up. When it does it creates an opportunity for more beautiful photos than in stark light. Outdoor portrait photography or even real estate photography is no different. Being there when these conditions, or opportunities are there brings us to the next variable.

The next variable is planning to take advantage of the previous two variables. Planning is being prepared to use skill or technique to capture an opportunity. Relying on coincidence or luck is like a game of chance and it rarely happens. When it does happen, many times the photographer isn’t at the right place or doesn’t have their camera set properly to completely capitalize on the situation. When the opportunity is fleeting, the photographer needs to be prepared.

When I consider how I handle making a photograph I find that I get the best results when I stop, relax and look around, master the proper tools used for the situation and am prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they occur. I find handling life to be much the same.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Investing in wastewater by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 03/01/2019

Today I write you on a major issue facing our community that I’d like to talk to you about.

As you may have read recently on social media and in our local newspapers, Sandy has been faced with several DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) fines for failing to meet permit limits at our wastewater treatment plant. Our current treatment plant was last upgraded in 1998 when we were a small community with just over 5,000 residents. In the past 20 years, our population has more than doubled to approximately 11,000 residents and we are expected to double again in the next 20!  With those new residents comes more wastewater and our wastewater system just hasn’t been able to keep up with the increased flows.

So, where does our wastewater go?

Starting in May and continuing through summer and into October, there is not enough water in Tickle Creek and our treated wastewater is recycled and used for irrigating potted plants at a nearby nursery. We aren’t planning to change this program – it conserves our water resources and reduces the amount of wastewater released to local streams during the summer, when stream flows are at their lowest.

From November through April, our treated wastewater is released to Tickle Creek. As many of you know, Tickle Creek is not a large stream. Unfortunately, the creek doesn’t have the capacity to accept any more wastewater. In fact, increasing wastewater loads into the creek is prohibited under state law.

Our sewer system also needs investment. We have old, leaky sewer pipes that allow clean rainwater to get into our wastewater system. It costs less to fix the pipes than the build an even bigger treatment plant to treat all the extra water.

The question for our community is – how can we meet the needs of our growing community while protecting our local streams and maintaining affordability for our customers? To answer that question, we hired Murraysmith, a reputable regional engineering firm, to develop a comprehensive Wastewater System Facilities Plan.

That plan showed that the best path forward for Sandy is to build a second wastewater treatment plant to treat our additional wastewater. The new treatment plant will use state-of-the-art membrane technology – the treated wastewater will be very similar to the water that comes out of your tap at home. Water from the new treatment plant will be released to the Sandy River. The Sandy River has much greater flows than Tickle Creek and a greater capacity to accept the treated wastewater.

Under this plan, we will continue to use our existing wastewater treatment plant, making the most of our past investments. We did evaluate whether we could upgrade the existing treatment plant to meet all of our needs – it turns out those upgrades would cost just as much as building a second treatment plant and would only meet our needs for 20 years.

The long-term solution comes with a hefty price tag of more than $60 million. I wish this was not the case, but we don’t have any lower-cost options available to us. Now is the time to address this major challenge facing our community, waiting will only kick the can down the road and result in even greater costs for our community.

Now, you can only imagine what this could mean for our local ratepayers. The City Council and I are doing everything we can to mitigate the costs for our neighbors here in Sandy. We have engaged State Representative Anna Williams and State Senator Chuck Thomsen, among several other regional State Legislators to help find funding solutions at the state level. There is bi-partisan support in this effort and we’re all working together to do what’s best for our community of Sandy.

Additionally, I’ve already engaged with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s office and have future meetings set up with a representative from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s office and a face-to-face meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer. I’ve also been in discussions with John Huffman, who is the State Director of the US Department of Agriculture. This is all in effort to secure additional federal funding for our wastewater project.

City Councilor Carl Exner has done a tremendous job in his outreach with both the Clackamas River Watershed Council and the Sandy River Watershed Council to engage them early on in this process.

Councilor Jan Lee has joined water resource committees at both the county and state levels, and Council President Jeremy Pietzold and Councilor Laurie Smallwood have joined me in our advocacy efforts. We’re all-hands-on-deck working side by side fighting on behalf of our community of Sandy.

As someone who grew up here, who returned to raise my own family and knows many of you through our kids being in school together, attending youth activities or delivering food baskets during the holidays, you can bet I understand what an increase in utility costs means for our neighbors here in Sandy. Nobody runs to be Mayor of their hometown to champion an issue like wastewater treatment. However, this is a core function of government we must address together. I promise you that Council and I will do everything we can to mitigate the impact this will have on our community. That said, we cannot do it without your help. We need your involvement and your feedback.

Posted on our City of Sandy Social Media pages is an opportunity for community feedback on this process. Please also take a few moments to review the plan along with a video presentation on our website at https://www.ci.sandy.or.us/sewer-wastewater-system-facilities-plan. While there, you can also provide us with your feedback and comments.

Additionally, there will come a time when we will need you to advocate to our state and federal representatives on the need for their assistance in funding this new system.

Together, we will address the future needs for our community while protecting the rivers and streams that run through our town. Together, we can Keep Sandy Wonderful. Thank you. 

Viewpoints – Salem: Funding Search & Rescue by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2019

Somehow, it’s already February. Things at the State House in Salem are bustling and there’s too much going on to give you an overview this month. So, I will use this column to tell you about one of the bills I’m really excited about this session.

I’m serving as a Chief Sponsor for House Bill 2503, along with Senator Thomsen, Representative Bonham, Representative Helt and Representative Marsh, among others. This bipartisan and bicameral bill “directs the Office of Emergency Management to study and make recommendations regarding funding of search and rescue operations.” Search and Rescue operations (SAR) are a necessity in our community, but they are expensive and strain our Sheriff and our community’s resources and budgets.

People come from all over Oregon (and the world!) to visit the Mount Hood area and enjoy our beautiful scenery, exciting recreation opportunities and delicious local food scene. As you know, folks who live here are incredibly proud of this, and many of us make our livings through tourism. We love showing off our amazing communities to visitors, but sometimes those visitors get lost or injured in our mountains, rivers and trails and need help to get back to safety. Our SAR teams are hard-working, dedicated volunteers and professionals who only care about getting people back to safety. However, our counties and cities have to pay for the costs of these vital programs and these operations can be expensive and pull law enforcement away from enforcement and crime prevention.

House Bill 2503 would mandate a study to find out how SAR expenses are currently spent and offer suggestions for how we can better fund these critical services. It doesn’t allocate funding or resources, but it is a first step toward a stable solution. Once we have a clearer understanding of SAR costs and practices, we can work with stakeholders to make recommendations for how to adequately and fairly fund SAR in counties like Hood River and Clackamas where the majority of our search and rescue operations are for people who don’t live in (and pay taxes in) our counties.

I love our mountain community. We need to be sure our search and rescue providers have the resources to make sure that all Oregonians can enjoy what we have to offer.

It is important to note that thousands of bills are proposed each session - but generally, only a couple hundred pass and become law. Bills often change significantly as they make their way through the legislative process. With this in mind, if you’re concerned about a particular bill or have a question, my door is always open. Feel free to email Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or stop by my capitol office.


MHGS: going gray is the new green by Mary Soots on 03/01/2019

Perhaps it’s just my age. Perhaps it’s my gender. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but I’ve noticed a recent trend in women of a certain age refusing to color their hair and opting instead for a more natural aging process. It’s refreshing, really, like a big exhalation when one has been holding their breath for a long time. You no longer have to impress anyone or yield to social pressure to conform. Women are shedding the mantle of eternal youth, instead choosing to feel comfortable with the real woman they are.

In part this is due to the realization some time ago that hair color contained toxic chemicals. P-Phenylenediamine (PPD), an active ingredient in most hair dyes, has been linked to skin irritation, as well as immune and nervous system problems. Ammonia, another common hair dye ingredient, can cause respiratory problems and throat irritation.

In addition to the effects these chemicals have on us humans, they are also damaging to the environment. According to one website, “to put it simply, when you wash commercial hair dyes out of your hair, chemical ingredients often wind up in local waterways. Ammonia has been linked to soil acidification and changes in ecosystems, and the EPA notes that chemicals associated with personal care products like hair dye are proven to be in our water supply.”

As a result of the research giving the harmful effects of hair color, companies have developed products that avoid these two ingredients. More and more salons and home kits have shifted toward dyes that use natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. Organic and henna-based hair colors do not cause damage to the skin, the body or the environment. While chemical hair colors strip the hair of its natural coating and cover it with dyes, the way that henna works is to instead wrap the hair in color. The down side is that the color does not last as long as the chemical dyes, but it is less damaging to the shaft of the hair.

Still, it has now become fashionable to have gray hair. Even young people are using hair colors to dye their hair different shades of gray. As Anne Kreamer, author of “Going Gray: How to Embrace Your Authentic Self with Grace and Style,” points out, it is liberating. As a 46-year-old businesswoman, she literally wrote the book about it letting go of the “brown helmet.” Not only does she describe it as an act of desperation while one tries to hold on to an imaginary youth, “Kreamer is adamant that using colouring as an ageing disguise does exactly the opposite and is detrimental to your confidence. ‘It’s your sense of vitality and your character that define you. You could have the best dye-job from a top salon, but have a slump in your step, and you would look ancient.’”

Another advocate for gray hair, Jane Mayled notes the disparities between how society views men and women. In an article in the Guardian in 2016, she notes that men who have gray hair are viewed with respect as being wise. “Men who embrace their grey are treated as if they’ve found a cure for cancer,” she said. “They’ve become gorgeous. Women who do it don’t get that response. We’re either brave or mad.” She sees the move to go gray as a political one. “I want my children to see what a real live middle-aged woman looks like.”

The baby boomer generation is one that has blazed new trails in many social norms. Perhaps the way that mature women are seen in regard to their appearances and the “Forever 21” syndrome is only beginning to change.

Episode XXXI :A tough hand of Cayman hold-em by Max Malone, Private Eye on 03/01/2019

Seemingly in charge of Andy Campanaro matters, Max’s attention turns back up the hill as four squad cars of Cayman cops roar toward the villa, and after passing Andy’s Lincoln Max sees his newsie buddy from Wildewood, Nigel Best, scramble from beneath the limo, fire up the engine, and take off over the hill and disappear into the distance, heading in the general direction of town.

Dolly Teagarden’s MI6 “assets” have lowered their Glock 17s, Carlo’s gang has lost its advantage on the roof of the villa, holding their hands aloft as a newly arrived band of Campanaro reinforcements have gained control of the high ground, while Dolly’s fierce expression of triumph has morphed into one of conspiratorial conquest, and of course Andy, the eternal vision of evil incarnate has rediscovered his mocking smile – one that has never completely disappeared despite the highly charged turmoil that has erupted over the last minute which could have also been described as an eternity.

Despite a flood of questions that could have floated Noah’s ark, Max at least understands that his position has suddenly become as untenable as Joe Frazier looking up at Muhammad Ali standing over him rhyming “I told you your fate, you were going down in eight.”

Max turns to Dolly. She shrugs as if she’s just turned down a glass of champagne at a cocktail party that she has long ago found boorishly boring – not to mention the dubious history of the bubbly being offered.

“Tough luck, old sport,” Andy chuckles predictably. “Best laid plans, and all that.”

Max buries his fists into his sides as his glare turns from Dolly to his nemesis. “Got it all figured out, eh?”

“You’re a private dick. Think about it. I’ve got two boat loads of precious seed and farm equipment headed to countries ravished by famine.” Andy raises both arms, palms upward in self-praise. “I’m a hero.” He pauses, drops his arms to affect something more sinister. “Of course, there’s the aircraft winging across the Atlantic with all those life-saving drugs. Granted not completely tested, but they soon will be, old sport.”

Max turns again to Dolly. “It’s way above our pay grade, dear Max,” she rasps, as if still at the crushing cocktail party. “Drugs, dollars, deception, diplomacy. It’s really that simple.”

Max knows he has to drag this out. No one has left the scene except Nigel. Have they forgotten about him? Not likely. It’s also unlikely Nigel can outwit this band of island thieves. But those are Max’s only cards.

“I suppose it’ll be easy enough getting rid of me,” Max opens holding a pair of deuces. “You’ve got enough weapons. But what do you plan to do about the authorities back in the states who know what I’m up to? You can’t kill ’em all.”

Andy’s grill grows into his gruesome grin. Dolly cocks her head to one side like a Labrador retriever begging for a command. The “assets” have holstered their Glocks suggesting all danger has passed.

After the flop, Max’s hold-em hand still tops out at deuces.

*   *   *

Nigel Best careens into town, searching with the limo for the right side of the road, or in this case, the left side. The Oregon newsie leans into the steering wheel as if at the helm of an undersized fishing boat in the perfect storm – albeit therein ends the comparison of Nigel to George Clooney.

He pulls up at the emergency room entrance to the hospital where Jemma Gayle comes running down the ramp, squishing in her spongy, sensible nurse’s shoes, and slips into the passenger seat, which nearly every other driver in the world knows should be the driver’s seat, but isn’t.

“Can you drive?” Nigel implores hopefully.

“Never tried,” Jemma disappoints.

“Terrific. Where to?”

“Straight ahead.”

Nigel screeches onward down the narrow market street scattering alarmed locals trying to do nothing more than collect their meager supplies for the evening meal.

“There it is,” Jemma shouts, pointing at the Internet café.

*   *   *

“What does England get out of this?” Max asks pointedly to Dolly.

Again, the Dolly shrug, as if everyone should already know. “There are things in this world that cause we cousins to join forces.”


“Americans,” followed by the seductive Dolly smile that Max recalls like the soft sigh of a scented breeze from the not-too-distant past.

After all, if even for a brief, yet stressful, romantic moment, he’s still Max Malone, private eye.

Blue Zone benefits – Costa Rica offers the ‘pure life’ by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2019

They don’t say “hello” in Costa Rica, they say “Pure Vida” (purr-ah veedah) as a greeting. Literally translated it means “pure life,” loosely it translates as “life is good.” Imagine being with a cheery “life is good” ten, twenty, fifty times a day. Pretty soon you internalize it and life IS good!

Costa Rica is another of the Blue Zones on our lovely green-and-blue Earth. Blue Zones are those five areas on our planet where it was discovered that people lived the longest. Last month I told you about the only Blue Zone in the United States, Loma Linda, Calif. This month I’ll let you know about Costa Rica, the only Blue Zone I’ve actually visited. But it is the one place I’d move to in a heartbeat if all things were equal. But my family and grandkids don’t want to move, and I don’t want to leave them. They give me so much happiness.

Costa Ricans live to be ninety years old and older at a rate that is two-and-a-half times greater than US citizens. They have decreased rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, yet they spend one-fifteenth of what we Americans spend on healthcare. How can that be? What are they doing that we should be doing? Pharmacias (drug stores) are on almost every corner in the cities. The pharmacias sell mostly homeopathics for healthcare. Homeopathics are generally considered to be safe, effective and cheap. And for mental and spiritual well-being there are several churches in each city.

I was in Costa Rica in 1999 after graduating naturopathic medical school, and I consider it the best vacation I ever had. It was an ecological tour with a dedicated guide and instructor. Twelve people travelling together to learn more about the ecology of Costa Rica - why coffee needs to be grown under shade trees, how to avoid being bonked on the head by falling coconuts and myriad other tidbits of knowledge. We hiked in jungles to see butterflies, orchids and snakes, swam in rivers, took water tours where our guide could spot caiman eyes or a hummingbird nest yards from the boat. Using a machete he’d open a coconut for all to try. We awoke early to the sounds of howler monkeys, ate mostly vegetarian food and basked in the glow of lava running down mountains.

The food was always freshly prepared, never packaged, as it is a small country and there’s no place for garbage to build up. For the duration of the trip I had the same meal for dinner every night, corvina with hearts of palm salad and every night it was prepared differently though incorporating identical foods. Costa Ricans have a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates, not the simple carbs over-consumed in America. There was an abundance of fresh foods, locally made cheeses, and wonderful seafood. Members of our group were taken to a garden where we each took turns digging and pulling Casavas, a staple food of Costa Rica, much like a large yam. Then we were treated to a meal of them baked, mashed, even as freshly prepared ‘potato’ chips.

Costa Ricans eat a diet high in fruits – bananas (they grew outside the hotel rooms), plantains (which are not sweet), papayas (both green and ripe) and strawberries. Though it was March they already had strawberries, several months away from ripeness in the rainy Northwest. A sweet young woman came onto the bus and we all sampled her basket of berries. But when we purchased baskets of berries from the farm stand we’d stopped at we discovered alas, that we’d been duped. The berries we bought were not sweet like the ones we’d sampled on the bus. Caveat emptor! Buyer beware!

The Costa Ricans who live outside of cities work hard. They don’t spend their days sitting in front of computers or in cars or watching TV. They grind their own corn for their daily tortillas, manually (or more likely fe-manually). Everyone in the country has a garden, for grocery stores are few and far between. Beans, corn and squash are grown in every garden and beans are eaten daily. Many grow their own coffee in the shade of the jungle and daily use machetes to keep that jungle at bay.

Thus, the average Costa Rican earns time for fishing, socializing or just loafing. There are a lot of hammocks to be enjoyed in the mild climate of Costa Rica. On a video of that trip in a view of me resting in one of those hammocks with a book fallen across my face, saying “All I have to do is breathe in and breathe out.” Any wonder I’d like to move there?

The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica has been cut-off from rampant development for several decades. Most roads in the outlying areas are dirt or gravel, becoming mud roads during the rainy season. And it rains a lot in jungles. One person in our group complained when our bus was delayed for a few hours, waiting for torrential rains to abate so we could continue our travels. I thought back to the dirt and gravel roads of outlying China that I’d travelled in 1996. Better roads would make Costa Rica more travelled, which would completely change the character of this gorgeous Blue Zone country. No wonder so many live so long there.

Healthier comfort food by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2019

This menu will get in some healthy ingredients in a tasty way, great for a night in!

Sloppy joes on cheddar biscuits

For the joes:

1 lb lean ground beef/ turkey

1/2 cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot

1 T each onion powder, garlic powder, salt and white pepper

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup ketchup

1 T Dijon mustard

1/2 cup water

In a large pan, brown ground meat with seasonings, add in onion, carrots and celery, cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in tomato paste and cook another few minutes, then add in other ingredients.

Let mixture simmer until thick, around 20 minutes.

For the cheddar biscuits:

Heat oven to 375 – place a layer of parchment onto a baking sheet.

2 cups flour

1 stick butter; chopped

1 T salt

1 T baking powder

1/2 cup milk or cream

Stir dry ingredients, cut in butter and cheese, then stir in milk or cream until mix just comes together then drop by large tablespoons onto parchment lined sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes until tops are golden.

Sweet potato chips

2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin

1 T olive oil

1/2 t sea salt

Heat oven to 365. Toss ingredients together and lay out on a baking sheet, bake 30 minutes or until crisp, tossing every ten minutes.

Cauliflower “Mac n cheese”

1 large head cauliflower, chopped

1 t garlic powder

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups vegetable stock

1 t corn starch

1/4 cup minced onion

1 T butter

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in large pan, add in onion and cauliflower, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add stock, cream and vegetable stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Mix cheese with cornstarch, stir in and cook until mixture is thickened and cauliflower is tender.

Stress-free skinny brownies

Trust me these are delicious! I’ve made them weekly since all ingredients are often in my cupboard:

1 large sweet potato, baked (1 cup)

1/2 cup nut butter

2 T real maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, melt nut butter with syrup and set aside. In a large bowl whip potatoes with cocoa powder and nut butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, bake 20 minutes.

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

You are never too young by Paula Walker on 03/01/2019

The adage “You are never too old …” has a reverse corollary in Estate Planning — “You are never too young.” And in some circumstances better young than old.

We have all heard of the sensational feuds, battles of the Titans, waged by family over the wealthy estates of famous people who die at a relatively young age without an estate plan, or at minimum a will in place to direct the distribution of their amassed wealth. The result leaves the claimants to wrassle and whittle away the spoils in the legal firmament.

Their stories bring us to the realization that you are never too young to put into place at minimum the most basic of estate plans: a will. But, better to attend to creating a comprehensive estate plan and moreover to consider the benefits to your family and loved ones that a revocable living trust may provide over a will, because after all, the main point is taking care of those who are dear to you.

Compelling reasons include family harmony, appointing a guardian for your children and managing assets for your children as they emerge into adults.

Family harmony … an estate plan conveys your clear directions of how to distribute your assets, when and to whom. It can alleviate the potential for conflict over what you intended, saving costs in time, energy and dollars to those involved, and allow for the personal time need to grieve and deal with loss.

Appointing a guardian for young children … with an estate plan you entrust the care of your most precious responsibility to the person of your choosing and not leave this paramount decision to the court, a timely and costly process that leaves children’s fate in limbo for a time and can result in a placement you may not desire.

Managing assets for young children and young adults … money left to minors must be managed by an adult. Your estate plan appoints who you trust with that responsibility and provides your directions as to how to manage that financial support for their care and upbringing. And it provides the means to spread distributions over time to help the just-turned-eighteen-year-old emerge into the financial realities of adulthood, to further support them in preparing for life’s financial milestones like higher education or a first house down payment. An important boost because as we know, becoming legally an adult at eighteen does not immediately confer fiscal wisdom and foresight.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

The estate plan of actor Paul Walker provides an example of “never too young.” Upon his sudden death in Nov. 2013, in a car accident that rivaled the spectacular and sensational scenes from the program he’s well known for, “Fast & Furious.” The planning from years earlier did not compound this tragedy with the issues of intestacy. Paul had created his estate plan based on a revocable living trust at the age of 28, providing for his wealth to transfer to his daughter, Meadow Rain Walker, who was three years old at the time.

In the estate plan he also appointed his mother as Meadow’s guardian to manage the estate he left his daughter until she reached adulthood, if his ex wife, Rebecca Soteros, was unable to take or keep custody.

Others whose early death provide sagas to emphasize the idea of “never too early” include: Bob Marley, whose death from cancer at age 36 in May 1981, with a fortune of $30 million at that time, now estimated at more than $130 million from posthumous earnings, triggered legal suits between family members for more than 30 years. Jimi Hendrix, whose sudden death at age 27 in Sept. 1970, with an estate valued at more than $80 million at that time, triggered sibling battles in a $1.7 million lawsuit that was still active in 2017. And Prince whose sudden death at age 57 in April 2016, leaving a fortune estimated at approximately $200 million, still has court battles raging and escalating related legal fees estimated at more than $9 million.

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

An Alaskan Experience by Gary Randall on 02/01/2019

The gurgling sound of the twin 200-horsepower outboard motors mounted on the stern of our excursion boat mixed with the sound of camera shutters and the random “ooh and ahh” as we cruised back and forth through the still, ice laden water at the face of the massive wall of glacial ice before us.

Once everyone was through photographing this incredible scene, our boat captain eased forward on the throttle, turning the gurgle to a roar as we left the sheltered cove to head back to where we started this incredible day.

Our group of intrepid photographers sat at rest and enjoying the views after a full day of cruising the Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska, photographing wildlife and the immense, wild remote scenery that surrounded us.

Our day started at our log lodge located near Palmer in the beautiful Matanuska Valley, located about an hour northeast of Anchorage. We had a drive to make to be on schedule, as we had to be at the Whittier Tunnel on time to pass through with the regularly scheduled opening that allowed visitors and residents to get to the little town of Whittier, located at the other end on the majestic and scenic Prince William Sound. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, commonly called The Whittier Tunnel, is a tunnel that was made through a mountain between the town of Whittier and the Seward Highway, a major thoroughfare taking traffic to and from the Kenai Peninsula to Alaska’s mainland.

The Whittier Tunnel is a one-way, single lane, tunnel that is two-and-one-half miles long. It’s the longest highway tunnel in North America. The roadway includes a set of train tracks to accommodate the Alaska Railroad. The inside of the tunnel is rough rock, almost cave like, and is a bit claustrophobic the first time through, but is a bit exciting nonetheless. There’s a time schedule for opening the tunnel that accommodates the train as well as car and truck traffic in each direction at different times. If you miss your scheduled opening, you must wait an hour before it’s open again in your direction.

On this morning our group awoke with adventure on our minds. We all climbed into the van and headed out. We were right on time, although the bathroom break along the way caused a little concern about catching the tunnel, and we made it with time to spare. Our destination this morning was Epic Charters and the boat that we had reserved to take us out into the fjords of the Prince William Sound to photograph not just scenery, but also to photograph its wildlife.

The day was calm with some overcast skies. The ride out into the sound was calm and exhilarating. The Chugach Mountains surrounding us tower up from the water to reach an average height of 4,000 to 5,000 feet, with peaks as high as 13,000 feet. Many have majestic glaciers covering their flanks and filling their valleys with some ultimately crumbling into the ocean waters. As we traveled along, we passed small islands covered with sea lions, rafts of sea otters (as they’re called) and eagles flying overhead while we hope to see orcas and black bears.

Our skipper navigated our boat into a couple small bays, one of which was the location of a remote salmon hatchery where we found at least a dozen or more opportunistic black bears roaming the shore, dipping their paws into the water and dragging out a fish with little challenge. We left and made our way to another bay where we found several more bears away from manmade surroundings, a small group of which consisted of a mother and three cubs hiding in tall grasses on the shoreline. Their heads peeked up every so often just to keep an eye on the boat full of shutterbugs sitting in the water beyond the shoreline.

We left that bay and made our way further into the sound to a little island where we all stepped off the boat to stretch our legs for a little while before heading into the incredible Harriman Fjord, a finger off of the sound and a realm of huge hanging and tidewater glaciers. Our boat made it to the face of Surprise Glacier where we floated around taking in the massive mountains and huge flows of glacial ice. Massive waterfalls flowed down huge solid stone walls from the ice fields and hanging glaciers above. The boat slowly cruised through the iceberg filled water, several of which were the size of the boat itself as we observed walls of ice caving into the ocean and creating waves that would gently rock the boat as we stood there in amazement of the scene surrounding us.

In time we turned to head back to Whittier. As we skimmed over the calm water, we passed by the glaciers in the College Fjord before heading back into deeper water and passage back. The boat’s captain pushed the throttle further and brought the boat up onto a plane as our group sat at the stern watching the scene disappear behind us. As we sat there taking it all in for one last time and recalling all that had happened on that day, a rainbow appeared behind us as one final parting gift from this spectacular land.

Our group left the pier and our captain as we gathered together to make sure to catch the tunnel scheduled opening for our trip back through and to the Seward Highway for our drive back to the lodge, with one more stop for a meal at the Turnagain Arm Pit, a favorite barbecue restaurant along the way. Once back at the lodge all everyone wanted to do was rest and look at all their photos from this amazing time. This trip has become a favorite part of our yearly Alaska Adventure tours but is only one day of the five that we spend photographing Alaska. Each and every day is filled with another incredible experience.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Local officials ready for action by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 02/01/2019

Winston Churchill said, “I never worry about action, only inaction.” I’ve spent the past few months since being elected mayor meeting with members of our local city council, community stakeholders, department heads and state and federal officials. I’m excited to say we are ready to work together on a plan to keep Sandy wonderful!

While the Federal government is mired in partisan bickering, we at the local level are ready to put people before politics and do what’s best for the future of our beautiful city.

I’ve known Senator Chuck Thomsen for some time and have watched him work across party lines to get great things done for our community. I’ve also been impressed with our newly elected State Representative Anna Williams. Representative Williams and I have met several times and discussed ways that we can collaborate on Sandy’s behalf at the state level. It’s been over a decade since our community has had majority party representation in Salem, and we are fortunate to have someone like Anna who is willing and excited to carry Sandy’s priorities to our state capital.

What are these Sandy priorities you may ask? At our recent goal setting retreat for Sandy’s City Council and department heads, we created an aggressive agenda to get our quickly growing city into the 21st Century while preserving our unique character and pioneer spirit. These goals are some of the most ambitious in our communities’ history.

We’ll be addressing traffic congestion by conducting a Transportation System Plan, advocating for a viability study for a local bypass and an extension of Bell St to 362nd to alleviate the morning and afternoon school commute.

As one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities, we plan to put together a comprehensive plan for growth with extensive community outreach for input and direction. Our neighbors will no longer be bewildered by development projects that have little vision, guidance or infrastructure built to support them.

As a result of our rapid growth in size, our sewer water treatment process is simply no longer viable. In the months ahead, there will be announcements involving a new Waste Water Treatment facility. I will be working collaboratively with our state and federal officials to find funds that will help make this plan a reality without overburdening our local rate payers.

And finally, we’ll be providing our community with a vision for the Sandy Community Campus project that will revitalize the Pleasant Street Neighborhood, provide opportunities for our residents and allow us to grow from our main street core, which is bisected by a state highway.

Additionally, in the year ahead our council will be holding a series of work sessions on a variety of major topics including public safety, homelessness, urban renewal, parks and enhancements to the Sandy Style and Sign Code to become more small business friendly.

We will also be updating our cities policies to incentivize industry to come to Sandy that will create more family wage jobs, allowing families to thrive with parents who will be able to work where they live.

We’re going to leave the partisan fighting to Washington D.C. Our locally elected officials are already busy working together to reach our common goal: to keep Sandy wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints – Salem: 2019 legislative session starts by Rep. Anna Williams on 02/01/2019

This week has been an exciting one for me, as the first week that the 2019 Oregon State Legislature is officially in session. The Capitol is bustling with excitement and I’m really looking forward to getting to work with my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Up until now, I’ve been taking meetings with state-agency representatives, lobbyists and constituents, but this week my committees had their first meetings and I voted on the House floor for the first time.

Speaking of committees, I’m thrilled to have been appointed to the following: Agriculture and Land Use, Energy and Environment and Human Services and Housing. I’m really looking forward to getting to work on these committees - I think they are a perfect fit for my experience and they also represent the district well. My legislative priorities include creating affordable housing, healthcare for all Oregonians and protecting our environment and what makes Oregon so special, so I’m glad that I will have opportunity to work on these issues in my committees.

Another exciting new development is that I hired staff for my Capitol office! If you ever visit, email or call my office you will likely either speak to myself, Amy and/or Justin. I’ll be in my Capitol office Monday through Thursday, but I’m looking forward to spending Friday in-district to take meetings and visit with constituents and spend the weekend with my family. My staff will also be at in-district events I’m attending and will be organizing town halls and constituent coffee meetings throughout House District 52.

There are already a few bills that have been introduced this session that are getting some attention, and I think it’s important to note that a lot of these bills will likely change significantly as (or if) they make their way through the legislative process. I want to wait and see the final version of a lot of these bills before I make my voting decision, but I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have along the way. We may not always agree on the specific issue, but I think it’s important to let my constituents know where I stand, while also hearing their thoughts.

I’m excited to get to work to represent House District 52, and I hope that you will reach out to me and my staff to let me know how you think I am doing.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

MHGS: the forest’s therapeutic benefits by Mary Soots on 02/01/2019

Shhhh! Our secret is starting to get out. The knowledge that those of us forest-dwellers already knew – that being in nature and spending time in the forest is good for the body, the mind and the soul. According to the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, “Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to ‘forest bathing.’ Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition.”

Dr. Andrew Weil relates that, “researchers from UK’s University of East Anglia analyzed 143 studies of forest therapy including data on some 290 million participants from 20 different countries. Not only was forest bathing associated with lower levels of cortisol, lower blood pressure and heart rate, it also lowered blood cholesterol and reduced rates of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma and death from heart disease. In addition, it was associated with decreased risk of preterm birth and lower all-cause mortality. Some studies suggested that forest therapy helped people sleep better and improved outcomes in those with cancer and neurological conditions. Finally, people exposed to forest therapy were found to be more likely to report that their overall health was good.”

For example, one research study cited by Quarts.com states that, “From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, measured the activity of human natural killer (NK) cells in the immune system before and after exposure to the woods. These cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells and respond to tumor formation and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention. In a 2009 study Li’s subjects showed significant increases in NK cell activity in the week after a forest visit, and positive effects lasted a month following each weekend in the woods.”

Another study measured the physiological effects of forest bathing on “280 subjects in their early 20s. The team measured the subjects’ salivary cortisol (which increases with stress), blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability during a day in the city and compared those to the same biometrics taken during a day with a 30-minute forest visit. Forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.” In other words, being in nature made subjects, physiologically, less amped. The parasympathetic nerve system controls the body’s rest-and-digest system while the sympathetic nerve system governs fight-or-flight responses. Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.

One theory presents the idea that spending time among the trees is beneficial for one’s health due to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood, plants and some fruits and vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function. For city dwellers, time in nature can be spent in a park. The benefit is best if one spends time simply absorbing nature, leaving behind the electronics, the stressors of daily life and taking time to relax and de-stress. No need to hike, ski, snowshoe or exert yourself.

We are fortunate to live adjacent to a national forest. The more we learn about forests as a living organism, we realize that not only do they provide clean drinking water, clean the air and offer myriad opportunities for recreation and healthy living, but that our very well-being is dependent on them. It is therefore our responsibility to protect the last remaining forests from overlogging, exploitation and development. It is also our responsibility to walk back out of the woods leaving them without a trace of our having been there.

Bringing healthy ‘Blue Zone’ principles into your life by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2019

As mentioned last month, we can learn a great deal from the Blue Zones. Blue Zones, circled in blue ink by researchers looking at longevity on a world map, are areas on our glorious blue-green earth where people live the longest. Most of these areas of longevity are in other places in the world, save for one in the United States.

The area of our nation with the lowest rates of heart disease, diabetes and even obesity, is Loma Linda, Calif. Let’s start studying Blue Zones with this area, as it most likely is the most “user-friendly” area worldwide for those of us who live in the United States.

The people of Loma Linda statistically live about ten years longer than most of the rest of our nation. Hmm... let’s find out why.

As a cardiologist and epidemiologist, Gary Fraser, of Loma Linda University, has directed huge health studies for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These studies looked at causes of death among this Blue Zone segment of the population. The AHS-1 study included 34,000 people for 14 years. The AHS-2 study included 96,000 men and women and all ethnic groups.

Most of the participants of both studies followed the Adventist lifestyle which we will look at in greater depth in this column in a bit. Participants were asked 500 questions regarding diet and lifestyle, these being determined to be indicators of longevity.

The well-known principles to follow for longevity were not smoking, primarily a plant-based diet, maintenance of body weight and physical activity. We’ve all heard about the usefulness of oatmeal, six to eight glasses of water per day, physical activity and even a handful of nuts per day, but many have ignored the benefits of avocadoes, seafood and pulses (the old-which-is-new-again name for legumes like beans, lentils and peas).

The AHS 1 and 2 studies included vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who include a little eggs and dairy), pesco-vegetarians (those who include some fish in the diet) and non-vegetarians. While vegans weighed the least, they didn’t live the longest. The people who lived the longest ate primarily plants with up to as much as one serving of fish per day. Non-vegetarians tended to not live as long and consumed more sugar and refined foods, and hence tended to carry more weight, especially around their middle, which is a sign of high risk of diabetes.

Even those in the study on a plant-based diet ate up to one serving of fish per day or even had the occasional egg or dairy. Researchers found that a three-ounce serving of fish one-to-three times a week provided enough essential fatty acids (EFAs) to reduce the chances of dying from a heart attack by one third. Alaska wild-caught salmon was by far better than farmed Atlantic salmon (which should be avoided if possible). Other tasty and good-for-you choices included cod, clams, crab, scallops, shrimp and sardines. The smaller the fish the less mercury. An ounce of nuts (about a handful) was capable of decreasing heart disease by 20 percent.

A primarily plant-based diet helps to clear out arteries, helps you to lose weight and leads to a longer lifespan. The Adventists in the study ate a very Biblical diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, vegetables and water. They ate little or no refined grains, salt or sugar. New studies show that consumption of good fats such as avocadoes, flax, nuts, seeds and seafood will give you the needed omega 3s needed for heart and brain health.

In addition, let’s remember to get up and move around even if you don’t exercise per se. Get up from the book, computer, TV or video game every half hour or hour. Walk around, jump up and down, move your arms and legs. My grandsons and the neighbor kids do this even though they laugh about it.

In fact, in order to decrease stress reactions, it is better to spend some “sanctuary time,” time without computers, TV or video games. Our grandparents burned at least five times more calories a day than we do in modern times. Of course, they also didn’t have blenders, microwaves, Mixmasters or TVs to start with!

Reducing stress includes 15-20 minutes walking in nature every day. Eat sitting down, never standing up or in the car. Eat with family. If you live alone, your “family” may be cats, dog or even a goldfish.

Feb. 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. So, do something nice for someone. Carry their groceries, buy a stranger a coffee, do something for someone else. It’ll de-stress you as much as them. For sanctuary time, go to church, meditate, have a potluck, turn off the electronic devices and remember to say “I love you.” I love you.

Itemizing isn’t just for your taxes by Paula Walker on 02/01/2019

‘Tis the season … no not nostalgia for the holidays just passed, but an acknowledgement of the focus that many of us have during the first few months of every year to meet or beat that annual April 15 filing deadline.

But, ‘tis not only the season to itemize for taxes but also to consider what to leave to whom in organizing our affairs for our loved ones to divide the belongings that we leave. The recognition of memories and valuables contained in items termed “tangibles” when developing your estate plan.

Itemizing can be a very important part of keeping family harmony intact as your belongings are distributed amongst your family. Often people simply state that their “tangibles” are to be divided in shares of equal value amongst their children as they agree — and that may be sufficient.

However, there can be particular items of value — emotional, sentimental, utilitarian, as well as those having financial worth — that may do you well to specify their distribution to eliminate or reduce the possibility for disagreement, conflict and stalemate.

One very important aspect of this process of itemizing is conversation. The best outcomes for your estate administration in the future are those discussions you have now. Find out who wants what and work out overlaps for family treasures. You don’t need to itemize every little thing. Itemize those tangibles that are meaningful to someone you are close to or that serve some enduring purpose you want to support as part of your legacy.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

One example of such a seemingly easy distribution lies in the estate of Audrey Hepburn, who left a storage locker in Los Angeles full of her memorabilia to be divided equally between her two sons “as they agree.” But they could not agree … for many years. In 2017, twenty-four years after her death in 1993 at the age of 63, Audrey Hepburn’s two sons settled a two year legal battle over dividing the possessions kept in that storage locker. The settlement encompassed those items that each will keep, and those items that they will sell and divide the profits. The famous Christie’s Auction house expects that Hepburn’s photographs from this collection will sell for prices ranging from $120 to $101,000.

About Ms. Hepburn, these highly prized memorabilia represent this enduring icon not only of style, grace and beauty, but also of humanity. A remarkable individual in the course of humankind, Audrey Hepburn was renowned not only as an actress, but also as a philanthropist and UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

Born in Ixelles, Belgium, in 1929, Ms. Hepburn was a child of World War II. Of her own recounting, she was “among those who received food and medical relief right after World War II;” she knew firsthand the value of UNICEF’s work to aid children worldwide, dedicated to the proposition that “All children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world.” Upon becoming a UNICEF ambassador in 1989 she went on a mission to Ethiopia, a country devastated by famine due to years of civil strife and famine. That was just the start. She worked tirelessly, to bring attention to the plight of children in many countries, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 for her work, spending the last years of her life as a UNICEF ambassador though battling cancer.

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.

Episode XXX: Fong gets fishy, & Dolly’s ‘assets’ by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/01/2019

Max, Jemma and Carlo walk out of a clapboard building with Max looking as violated as a Thompson’s gazelle having a bad day on the savannah. Jemma and Carlo are trying to suppress a laugh, with about as much luck as that gazelle.

“What wrong mahn?” Carlo manages to ask through a losing battle against a wide grin.

“That place could gag a maggot,” Max snarls.

“It’s just a fish processing plant,” Jemma offers, lips caving in.

“Is that what you call it? I hate fish.”

“Good protein, mahn.”

“Yeah. I prefer my protein medium rare.”

Jemma and Carlo surrender to laughter. Max glares at them, softens.

“I just hope that Chinaman and his sidekick hate the smell as much as me. C’mon. There’s work to do.”

* * *

Max, Jemma, Carlo and MI6 operative Dolly Teagarden are huddled in a local dive, surrounded by pirates, scoundrels and brigands – or so Max imagines. They lean forward across the table, speaking in low register, listening carefully, making pains not to look around suspiciously.

Dolly: “What makes you think his guards won’t just shoot you?”

Max: “Well, Campanaro is lots of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He’ll want to know where Fong and the driver are, and, maybe, more importantly, how to get his Lincoln back. Plus, he doesn’t want to lose me in the counter-espionage caper. He’ll call off the dogs until he hears me out.” To Carlo, “How many men you got?”

Carlo: “Seven good ones. More if you don’t need good.” Carlo’s gold tooth glows through the gloomy surroundings.

Max looks at Jemma for confirmation. She nods. Max turns to Dolly.

Dolly: “I got two assets flown in. They’ll be ready.”

Max: “You actually call them assets? I mean, I saw all three Jason Bourne movies. Are you serious?”

Dolly nods affectionately at Max’s enduring sense of humor despite the crisis that awaits. Carlo looks to Jemma for translation.

Jemma: “Is your news guy here, Max?” Max nods.

* * *

Sunrise in Grand Cayman. The sleek Lincoln is parked at the top of the hill facing away from the Campanaro compound, beyond the range of ordinary weapons. Nigel Best, editor and publisher of the Wildewood World, stands next to the limo, arms folded across his chest, puffed up as much as his 140 pounds allows. Dolly is at his side, hip jutted out defiantly. There’s no one else in sight, except for:

Max – who has ditched the island attire for his signature suit and fedora – stalks resolutely down the hill toward the compound. Two armed guards are at their posts on the roof of the villa, one more stands next to Andy at the edge of the pool. Andy Campanaro’s eyes glint into the sun, a hand gripping a glass of orange juice, his pernicious grin firmly in place.

“I’ll be damned,” Andy says to no one. “He’s got a pair.”

Max arrives. Andy flops casually into a poolside chair, motions to his guard to lower his assault rifle.

“What makes me think our beautiful friendship has gone adrift, old sport?” Andy says, in his unflinching manner.

“Maybe we never had one, old sport,” Max says with a mocking snort.

“Have a seat anyway.”

Max doesn’t comply, keeping the sun at his back, with Andy and the guard fighting the piercing Cayman sunlight.

“Let’s get to it, Andy,” Max says evenly, despite a clenched jaw. “Your Chinaman and driver are all tied up at the moment. They’ve been singing to MI6 agents. The containers on your boat are being ransacked.”

“Do they have an interest in farming?” Andy interrupts.

“Ahh. I should have been clearer. They’re going through the containers on the Andromeda, not the Jamaican Star. It was part of Fong’s sea chanty.”

Andy is able to maintain his expression, but he hoods his eyes with his hand and his glance goes beyond Max toward the Lincoln.

“I don’t see much up there, Max old sport.”

Max looks up to the roof. “Look closer.”

Carlo and his pals are on the roof, both guards face down. Dolly’s assets step from the villa into the pool area behind Andy and his guard. They hear them, and start to turn.

“’Ello, ’Ello,” says an agent. “Don’t be too hasty there, mate.”

Andy and his guard are looking down the barrels of a pair of 9-millimeter Glock 17s.

“Love those accents, don’t you?” Max says congenially.

After all, he is Max Malone, an American private eye.

For the love of health by Taeler Butel on 02/01/2019

Food is my hobby and it shows. Making food healthier doesn’t have to be a bummer. Think of nutrient rich food your body can use right now and not store around your belly. Here are a few simple and scrumptious recipes that are sneakily good for you.

Dry brined roasted chicken and vegetables

1 cut up chicken

4 T sea salt

2 T olive oil

1 T lemon pepper

1 T Italian seasoning

1 t smoked paprika

1 T each granulated onion and garlic


2 med zucchini, sliced

1 small yellow or red onion quartered

1 small sweet potato peeled and sliced

Heat oven to 365. Mix together seasonings – set 1 t of mixture aside. At least an hour before cooking, run seasoning all over chicken, getting under skin if possible.

Lay veggies onto a tray, drizzle 1 T olive oil on them, add the seasoning and toss. Roast 20 minutes at 365 degrees until browned and tender.

Pour 1 T olive oil in large pan (I used large cast iron skillet), place chicken pieces upside down, bake 40 minutes, turn over and bake top side up another 20 minutes adding until skin is crispy - serve with roasted veggies.

Nutty Granola

4 cups rolled oats (not quick cook)

1 cup chopped hazelnuts or almonds

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup peanuts

1 T salt

1 t cinnamon

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Toss all ingredients except cranberries in a large bowl. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray, spread mixture into pan and bake, tossing every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes or until brown and toasty. Cool!

Beef and Broccoli

Super quick and delicious, beef tenderloin is very lean and packs a ton of protein! Serve over quinoa or wild rice if you need a starch.

1 lb sliced beef tenderloin

4 cups chopped broccoli

2 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves smashed

2 cups beef broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 small onion, sliced

1 T corn starch

Heat a large wok or skillet, add oil and then add beef in batches. Brown pieces on each side - remove from pan.

Add in broccoli, garlic and onion. Cook, tossing occasionally until tender crisp, remove veggie mixture from pan, add in stock mixed with corn starch and soy sauce. Let thicken (about a minute), add beef and broccoli back to pan. Serve warm over your favorite rice or plain.

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

Photo by Gary Randall.
The focus on focus by Gary Randall on 01/01/2019

It’s a beautiful morning as you gather your camera and gear to head out to take some beautiful landscape photos. You understand the settings that you’ll need to get the proper exposure, in this case with a fast-enough shutter to overcome the blur caused by the breeze that tosses the flowers around in front of you. In the background is a view of Mount Hood on the horizon. You allow the camera to set the focus by using one of the automatic settings. Perhaps you focus on either the foreground or the background. Or, if you are using manual focus, you use the age-old method learned from another photographer, who learned it from his uncle who was a photographer, who learned it from some guy named Ansel, and you focus a third of the way into the scene and hope for the best.

Once you get home and download your photos you notice that in some of the photos the foreground is out of focus and the background is in perfect focus, while in others the foreground is sharp but the background is out of focus. Some may be fine from front to back but you don’t know why or how it happened.

In time, as you hone your photography skills, you will want to understand how to focus properly and consistently. It’s something that is hard to guess your way through or to accidentally discover. And once you figure out that there’s a method, understanding it seems daunting but it’s rather simple to understand if explained properly, so I’ll give it a try.

What you need to understand is something called hyperfocal distance. By focusing your camera at the hyperfocal distance your photo will be in acceptable focus from half that distance all the way to infinity. In other words, if your hyperfocal distance is 20 feet everything will be in focus from 10 feet to infinity. In landscape photography especially, it allows you to maximize your depth of field. Knowing this, in this example, we can then push our depth of field out by focusing to 30 feet, 10 feet past your subject, maximizing the depth of field.

Determining the hyperfocal distance for a particular focal length and aperture combination can be tricky, but there are charts that you can put in your billfold or camera case. There are also apps for your smartphone that will help you calculate what it is for your particular camera, focal length and aperture setting. Because of this I won’t go into the complications of the mathematics involved in determining your hyperfocal distance. With one of the variables being “The Circle of Confusion,” it would be easier to explain a method that I use and that you can start using to maximize your depth of field, resulting in a more accurate and consistent focus in your photos.

Start by switching your lens to Manual. Turn off any kind of vibration reduction if you’re using a tripod, leave it active if you’re hand holding. Make sure to stop down, aiming for the lens “sweet spot,” an aperture setting of roughly f/8-f/11. The sweet spot is the range of sharpest aperture settings of your lens. It’s typically two full stops from your widest aperture depending on the lens. Just make sure to stop down to increase your depth of field.

Turn on your Live View screen and increase its magnification and scroll the view to the closest spot that you want to be in focus in the scene. Observe that area as you turn your lens focus ring to infinity, which will slightly blur your foreground, and then focus back from infinity slowly until your foreground object just comes into sharp focus then stop. Once you do this you’ve moved your depth of field out as far as it can go while maintaining focus at your foreground object. Using this method, you don’t need to know distances to set your focus.

I should mention that there are times when hyperfocal distance is not desired or necessary. Many forms of photography rely on a shallow depth of field, such as portraiture or macro photography. In that case, none of this is necessary, as having areas that lack focus is desired to direct the viewer’s attention to the subject which is in focus.

Also, modern digital photography and computerized post-processing allows a photographer to take multiple shots of a scene, focusing from front to back, and then combine them to create a focus that is sharp throughout the image. This method is called Focus Stacking, but in most cases it’s unnecessary if you use the methods described in this article.

As in most cases when an instructor explains something, they will always seem to take the long way. I know that I gave you the shortcut at the end of a lengthy description, but as with any skill it’s more than doing, it’s also about understanding. The more that we understand what we are doing, the more we’re able to perfect how we do it. I hope that this rudimentary explanation of hyperfocal distance helps you to take your photos one step closer to perfection.

Building relationships in Salem and beyond by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2019

As the days get shorter and my to-do list gets longer, I remind myself this is the season of service, rather than the season of shopping. To that end, I have enjoyed spending my time this month getting to know some of the elected officials who will become my colleagues in January.

December marked my first adventure into serving as your State Representative. I was in Salem for Legislative Days and new member training where I learned the rules for being a legislator from the Chief Clerk’s office, got my office and parking space assigned and met with constituents and lobbyists for the first time. It was a hectic and exciting time.

In my conversations during Legislative Days, I heard from people concerned about access to health care in rural communities, funding for search and rescue operations in tourism destinations and about how climate change will affect their businesses. I also visited with representatives of survivors of sexual and domestic violence and students hoping to share their visions for the future of Oregon’s education system.

The time was also important in building relationships with my new colleagues. We shared photos of our family celebrations and got the chance to talk about our communities. Getting to know my colleagues as people first, before we discuss policy, ensures that we will be better able to find solutions to our common problems.

I also travelled across the district to learn about the issues I’ll work on in Salem. I met with the Port of Cascade Locks and the administrator for the Bridge of the Gods and I learned about the pressing need for a pedestrian and bike lane across the bridge. They generously provided a tour of the important economic development and community-building projects in the works.

I met with an advocacy group called One Gorge, which works across state and party lines to meet the needs of the people, businesses and environmental resources on both sides of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. We discussed the need for increased support for search and rescue operations in the scenic area, as well as the process for replacing the Hood River Bridge, a project that has been in process for nearly two decades.

I connected with Stan Pulliam, mayor-elect of Sandy, multiple times. We discovered we have a lot in common and a host of shared priorities for the people of Sandy. I am excited to partner with Mayor Pulliam as well as Stephen Bates, a community leader in Boring, on a variety of projects. We are ready to work together to support local businesses, improve school funding, expand transportation options throughout Clackamas County and ensure proper infrastructure is built to support the ongoing growth of Sandy and the surrounding areas.

As we enter the final weeks of the holiday season and set our sights on a new year, however you celebrate, I hope the holidays bring you joy and connection to loved ones.

(Anna Williams is the representative-elect for House District 52)

MHGS: socially responsible corporations by Mary Soots on 01/01/2019

The way that business does business is changing. In a good way. Businesses have always competed to get to the lowest common denominator – selling products at the lowest price to produce the highest profits. But companies are now leading the way to create benefits for the world in which they operate, and often to save the environment. Where governance has given the business sector free rein to do as it will, some companies are blazing trails to set a new standard. And it’s paying off for those companies. Patagonia, a company that produces outdoor gear, was one of the first companies to make us stop and think about our consumption habits. In 2011, the company released a full-page print advertisement detailing the environmental costs of its bestselling sweater and asking customers to think twice before buying it. The company responded to the demands of consumers who are also concerned for our planet and want to act responsibly. The culture of overconsumption is one that is driving environmental degradation and the company has asked that we change our culture to one of responsible consumption. Patagonia also sells worn clothing, hosts repair events and supports local environmental organizations. As a result, it saw double digit growth annually over the past five years.

Another corporation that is setting a new standard is Chipotle, the Mexican food chain that serves “Food With Integrity,” which includes using fresh foods free of artificial flavors or preservatives, sourcing meat that has been responsibly raised and eliminating genetically modified ingredients from its products. International corporations like Starbucks are also realizing increased profits from policies such as sustainable coffee, greener retail spaces, employee programs and community service.

Socially responsible corporations will be the drivers of our new culture where customers whose values align with those companies will boost sales. We know the things that are bad for our bodies, our health and our environment, but we often don’t have healthy and affordable alternatives. Those companies that are presenting us with options are the ones that will see the greatest growth in the future.

Besides resource and environmental protection, companies with socially responsible polices benefit from being role models for others, enjoy a better reputation and customer loyalty from grateful consumers who see that they benefit from an improved standard of living. The philanthropy that businesses give will benefit their bottom line through tax benefits, of course. But the benefits to both the businesses and the society at large will be immense as other businesses take on the mantle of sustainability.

We as individuals can support companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. We can choose how our money is used. As consumers, we can save money and support the companies that produce the best quality goods that will last longest so that we don’t have to replace them as often. We can buy from companies that have socially responsible programs. And we can invest wisely. Often our money is tied up in pension plans and retirement savings accounts. At a previous job, I tried to find out where my 401K fund was invested, but no one could tell me. I knew that it was being used to fund business whose values did not line up with my values and I felt that there was nothing I could do about it.

Instead, I moved my savings to a brokerage firm and into a different type of retirement account where I can choose that it be invested in socially responsible stocks. Those provide funding for companies that invest in environmental stewardship, consumer protection and human rights. It doesn’t mean that we are sacrificing profits. On the contrary, while some companies are treading water in a poor economy, socially responsible companies are thriving. And I can feel better knowing that I’m helping to make a difference.

Episode XXIX - ‘Ahh, Mahn, We Do That’ by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/01/2019

Weeks passed as Max battled to maintain a few drops of sweaty sanity through the endless days of sameness. The island weather was taking its toll on the Wildewood private eye. His skin had sprung more leaks than the Minnow on a three-hour cruise. The rattle of palm fronds in the wind were beginning to sound like the clatter of lunchtime false teeth at the sanitarium.

He longed for an afternoon of whispering wind in the cedar trees around his mountain cabin.

Then there was the music. Max had nothing against the rustling of reggae that drifted in the heavy air of the Caymans – except for the fact that it was so infuriatingly jolly. He needed a good dose of Sinatra melancholy – some “the place is all empty, ’cept you and me.”

And then there was his job. It was a chore just to keep up with the information that flowed between Campanaro’s camp and Dolly’s diary – information that Max was entirely in charge of. Did this make him a foreign agent? Or a double-agent? Or, was there such a thing as a triple agent? Max qualified, or failed to qualify, on all these fronts of foreign espionage. Campanaro fed him false information that he was supposed to provide to MI6 operative Dolly Teagarden. She in turn would reverse engineer the info then let Max know exactly what she wasn’t doing about it. Max would return that misinformation back to Campanaro.

Miraculously, Max kept both sides informed, misinformed, and oddly pleased.

But that was just Max’s cover. He had his own agenda: keeping Jemma company after the attack from Mr. Fong – the wicked fixer of Campanaro’s – and fashioning his revenge on the churlish Chinaman.

And it would be an added and well-earned bonus if he could pick up the juicy payment from Campanaro.

Max kept a “private eye” out for the habits of Mr. Fong and his observations paid off. Campanaro’s muscle made trips into town twice a week, always on Sunday and one other random day, returned the same night, and was chauffeured by the mustachioed sidekick that had driven Max a couple times, and was doubtlessly the second dark shadow the night of Max’s capture and Jemma’s unwarranted assault.

* * *

The proper Sunday arrived. Max spent the day squirming in a poolside chair, listening to Campanaro wax on about arms deals, drug running, money laundering, all in an “aw shucks” tone that, except for the subject matter, could have doubled for Andy Griffith explaining the heartwarming art of fishing to an adoring Opie.

But Max was no Opie. And right on schedule, Mr. Fong and his driver folded into the Lincoln Continental and drove off.

After two more hours of Campanaro: “I’ll be going, Andy,” Max said, releasing himself from the agony of the poolside chair, and glancing at his watch. “I have to see the Brit in about an hour.” He took a couple steps, had his rhythm interrupted by a woman poured perfectly into a bikini, sporting come-hither golden hair. “I’ll stay in town tonight.”

Campanaro nodded, but not in Max’s direction, whose departing figure had been eclipsed by Germanic effulgence.

Max walked along the nearly endless driveway toward the motorway where he could hail a taxi. His stroll was not an idle exercise as he wandered on and off the drive, poking his head here and there in the tangle of Cayman underbrush and fallen fronds.

* * *

The headlights of the Lincoln searched the darkness as it moved along the driveway, made a turn, and came to an abrupt halt. Limbs, trunks and palm tree leftovers were strewn across the road. Mr. Fong and his driver got out, the Chinaman going immediately to his shoulder holster and removing his piece. They were greeted by three island men who stepped into the headlights, each dangling a machete from one hand.

“Do you know what you are doing, idiots,” Fong growled. It was not a question.

“Ahh, mahn, we do that,” Carlo responded through a broad Jamaican smile with a voice rooted in the music of the islands.

Fong brought his pistol into position. A man stepped out of the shadows and clicked back the hammer on a revolver as its barrel came to rest in the back of Fong’s head.

After all, despite the island attire and borrowed revolver, he is still Max Malone, private eye.

Having the will not to procrastinate by Paula Walker on 01/01/2019

A quick Google search serves up ‘195’ for the number of countries or nations there are in the world. I will add to that one more that I think all of us, at some time or another, are members of … the “procrasta – nation.”

As we round another year, reminding ourselves to enter a “9” instead of an “8” as we date our checks in this first month of the new year, many of us become temporarily preoccupied with the anniversary ritual of New Year’s resolutions. One worth considering in the many that are worthwhile is creating or reviewing your estate plan.

Whether based on a Trust or a Will, a comprehensive estate plan consists of a set of documents that transfer your possessions in an orderly manner according to your directions upon your passing and carries out your preferences for care and financial stability should you have a time of incapacity while you are living. It identifies those who you trust and rely on to perform those duties and gives them solid direction in fulfilling your desires according to what’s important to you.

What to review? Just as Santa has his list and is “checking it twice,” here is a checklist of some of the items to review if you have an estate plan. Have there been major changes in your life or in law that warrant changes in your estate plan: a birth, a death, a remarriage, a divorce, a shift in wealth, a move to another state, a change in federal tax law?

Why create an estate plan? If you don’t already have an estate plan here are a few reasons why you might be motivated to do so.

1) To keep your wealth for you and those you want to benefit - and don’t, by lack of action, feed the state coffers. The federal estate tax threshold is so high it is beyond the concern of most of us, though we may wish we were in the category to have such concerns. However, our wonderful state (and it is) of Oregon has an estate tax threshold that can concern many of us.

2) To take care of you. A comprehensive estate plan includes those documents in which you appoint someone you know and trust to take care of your finances, manage your daily affairs and assist with health issues when you cannot do so for yourself. Better you choose than the court because there is a void that needs to be filled.

3) To reduce the cost and the hassle of leaving yourself or your possessions to the state to decide what’s to be done. In the case of healthcare arrangements for instance or probate by intestacy, not only does leaving it to the court expose you to “who knows who” to manage your most personal affairs, it’s a lengthy, costly process for the court to intervene in these regards.

4) To take care of your little ones. One of the most important reasons for a young family to create an estate plan is to name a guardian for your children. Should that ever be needed you don’t want to leave it to the state to decide to whom they should be entrusted.

5) And what about that furry companion? What happens to them when you cannot see to their care? An estate plan ensures for their well being too.

Whether you simply want to be better organized about your own affairs in general or want to leave your loved ones one of the greatest gifts you can give – and I’m not talking here about your wealth in finances and belongings but about guidance in trying times – preparing an estate plan is worth your action.

Who benefits from you making good on this New Year’s resolution? Ultimately you … and those you love, be they two legged, four-legged, finned or feathered, or the more ideological purpose of supporting a cause you believe in, because it is about your gift to life and not just your wealth but your legacy.

That is why this is one New Year’s resolution worth your time to complete.

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.

Living in The Blue Zone and some lessons on lifestyle by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2019

If you are the type who likes resolutions, pick something very specific like quitting smoking or drinking more water. If you’ve got those basics covered let’s go for a refinement of changes. But where to start...

Health and longevity are admirable goals. Years ago, people researching these goals found that there were five places on God’s green earth where people routinely lived the longest and were the healthiest. These regions were circled on maps and the globe by the researchers.

They used blue pen and henceforth these areas were known as The Blue Zones. They were areas found to have less arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease! Areas where the citizens lived into the later years, and without Alzheimer’s!

These five locations were Greece, Japan, Sardinia (Italy), the town of Loma Linda, Calif. and Costa Rica. Locations any one of us would probably be happy to live in. And live a long time. But what exactly did the people of these five locations, The Blue Zones, do to extend their lives. What do they all have in common? What are we in the United States missing?

In all of the five locations, movement, not necessarily exercise per se, was the daily norm. As well, these people had some purpose in life. And in all five locations people were faith, family and community oriented.

They knew how to rest once in a while, from daily to weekly to yearly. And followed the 80 percent rule of healthy living most of the time while still allowing for celebrations without guilt. The eating habits of all five locations is mostly plant-based.

There will be more about the individuals living in The Blue Zones in future columns. For now, suffice it to say that in none of these locations did anyone resort to strict exercise regimes, they just moved, a lot. (Do I hear a ‘yeah” out there?) Though admittedly, there are no garage door openers (and few cars) or microwaves (most food was prepared over wood fires) or junk food (most people grew or foraged for food), with the possible exception of the California location. All the other four locations are in countries we Americans tend to think of as “foreign”.

These lifestyles don’t mean you have to give up everything you’ve become used to in life. But going for the 80 percent rule would be a good place to start. All areas of Blue Zones are little meat, but sometimes eggs, dairy, fish and always beans for protein.

Many in these locations drank one-to-two glasses of wine and even coffee. All drank plenty of water though. So, we are going to do some refinement changes, nothing totally drastic.

With the exception of Loma Linda, Calif., most of these zones don’t even have supermarkets like we have. Ours are filled with undesirable, factory-made, over-packaged foodstuffs! One percent of all Seventh Day Adventists live in Loma Linda. They eat a very Biblical diet of fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. While discouraging the use of alcohol or coffee, some may have small amounts of eggs, dairy and meat. Like the Amish, Adventists have (or should have) what’s known as “sanctuary time” where time is spent avoiding distractions such as movies and television. Instead they take long walks and visit with friends. Many religions observe “sanctuary time” in their own fashion.

All the Blue Zones evidence decreased calories, some by eating only two meals a day, all by increasing fiber, eating in season, no junk food and daily walking or biking or even dancing. Drinking plenty of water and eating high fiber will automatically decrease calories by filling you with high quality nutrition. If half of your food intake is beans and vegetables, you’ll never be hungry!

Regrettably, the Japanese consumption of plant foods went from 82 percent of the diet in 1950 down to 48 percent before 1990. Though still eating little salt or sugar, “the diseases of affluence” are infiltrating this (all?) countries.

Each of The Blue Zone world locations has something wonderful to be gleaned. Each has an outstanding result to be considered; from the Mediterranean diet to the area with the longest living females, or the longest living males, to Biblical and historical diets.

Each of these areas of The Blue Zones will be reviewed in future columns, but for now I’ll see you in the produce department or gleaning for fallen fruits in your yard.

Photo by Gary Randall
Photographing winter by Gary Randall on 12/01/2018

As the Mama’s and The Papa’s once sang, “All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey.” But that shouldn’t stop you from taking a walk on a winter’s day. And while you’re at it, don’t think that photography season has passed. I can think of at least six reasons why winter is a great time for photography.

The first reason that comes to mind concerns the weather. The common thought about photography in the weather would be that it’s a terrible time to go due to the grey skies, rain or snow. It is commonly believed, especially among non-photographers, that the Summertime is the best time for photos. Although the Summer weather is a great time to be in the outdoors it may not be the best time to make beautiful photos - especially photos of dramatic light and skies. A clear blue sky is beautiful in a photo, but there can be a lot of negative space to try to fill, whereas a grey, dramatic cloudy sky can add texture and drama to the scene.

Rain can help a scene as well, especially a forested creek or a waterfall. The rain wets the foliage that may still be in the forest, including moss and evergreen trees. When the foliage is wet, I like to apply a circular polarizer to my lens and turn it until the shine and glare that’s on the leaves and rocks, which is a reflection of the sky and ambient light, disappear, which will in turn bring out the color of the forest.

Don’t hesitate to go out and photograph in the snow. The snow can make some great photos, especially fresh snow. A bluebird day and fresh snow will bring clear views of the horizon and any geographic features such as a mountain into view.

Wintertime is the best time for beautiful sunrises. Winter skies and rainstorms can, at times, clear or partially clear at night and during daybreak only to succumb to a completely overcast or stormy sky soon after sunrise. I always try to go to bed early, set my alarm and head out to a view to try to witness a sunrise.

Winter forest scenes can be dramatic as well as artistic. The lack of foliage leaves the forest with a clear view through tree trucks and bushes. Many times, a view of a scene such as a creek, waterfall or view into the distance is exposed in the winter when it’s obscured by foliage in the summer. Also, with the tree trunks exposed, creative abstract landscape scenes can be found.

Summertime weather, sun and no rain, leaves the streams and waterfalls dry or with a limited flow but the rains of winter fill these streams with water. With rain comes renewed growth of the moss around these streams and waterfalls as well. Winter can be a great time to photograph them. And don’t hesitate to arrive after a fresh snow to photograph them in the winter white forest. I enjoy photographing streams and waterfalls in the winter.

Winter weather will also filter out a lot of fair-weather photographers too. Not all will dare to go out to get those unique winter photos. This leaves you with more room to work at a location. Fewer people in a photograph will allow you to concentrate on your subject better, no matter if you’re photographing a landscape or a portrait shoot in a park.

Then there are the holidays. The winter season offers holidays that will traditionally bring families together for family events and get togethers. Don’t let these times with family pass without documenting them with a photograph. A lot of times, in this busy day and age, we are so distracted by our personal day to day routine that these holidays are the only times throughout the year when family can be gathered together in one place. Take advantage of that time to gather images for posterity.

As you can see the winter season is no time to set your camera aside. There are plenty of reasons to look at winter as another time of the year to get beautiful photos. 

New House District 52 Representative heads to Salem in January by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2018

As your newly-elected State Representative, I get the privilege of writing a regular column in the Mountain Times. This first edition, I will introduce myself and my priorities. As the session starts, I will share updates from the State House, my thoughts on our district and responses to your inquiries. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve you as your Representative in Salem.

I am an academic adviser, social worker, mother of two boys and wife of a high-school math teacher. I have been raising my family in this part of Oregon we call home for just over a decade. A wise man once told me that the best way to feel successful in life is to find a place you love and then do everything you can to make it better. I have followed that advice earnestly, and the results so far have not been disappointing.

I love this district, and I will do all I can to make it the best it can be for all of us who live here. I am honored to have been elected as your State Representative for House District 52 in the mid-term election. I am ready to get to work to make HD 52 better for everyone who lives here.

I will do my best to keep in touch with you. One way I will do that is to write this regular column in the Mountain Times to inform you of my work in the Legislature, and to provide updates on what is happening in Salem that will affect people in Sandy and the Hoodland/Mountain community. I will be sworn in as a State Representative on Jan. 14 in Salem, and the Session will officially begin on Jan. 22. At that time, I will focus my time and energy on serving the people of House District 52, bringing a rural progressive lens to the committees to which I am assigned, and working with you (my constituents) to resolve your concerns and challenges with navigating governmental systems.

One of my major goals for my freshman term is to be in regular contact with each of the communities in the district. I met with thousands of you during my campaign, but I want to continue to meet and listen to you so I can best serve the community.

I will only know how you feel about something if you let me know about it. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to respect one another as neighbors and equals. Please feel free to invite me to your local forums, community meetings and events. I will do my best to attend as many of these as I can. I have yet to receive my legislative contact information, so for now you can get a hold of me at anna@friendsofannawilliams.com or you can email my Chief of Staff, Adam Rice, at adam@friendsofannawilliams.com.

My priorities in the Legislature will be to expand access to healthcare for all Oregonians, ensure our children get the education they deserve, protect the environment, and to make sure that the legislation passed in Salem works well for the diverse and varied people who make up the communities I now represent.

As I take the oath of office and begin working as your Representative, I will learn more about how these values can take shape in the legislature. Until then, thank you for trusting me to stand for you in Salem. I am honored to be the Representative for House District 52. I will do my best to serve you, protect the beautiful place we call home and all the things that make it special, and be a Representative you can be proud of.

Thank you.

(Anna Williams is the representative-elect for House District 52)

MHGS: recycling construction materials by Mary Soots on 12/01/2018

I sprained my ankle last week, walking where admittedly I had no business walking. It was a construction site where the grounds were being prepared for development. There were big piles of gravel and sand. As I walked along, I realized that the gravel I was walking on wasn’t the type of gravel I’m used to seeing. It was, in fact, broken up concrete.

Instead of breaking up the rocks to make smaller pieces, this was gravel made of aggregate of rocks that had been broken up into smaller pieces. Instead of quarrying more rock, this was a way of re-using what has already been quarried.

While nursing my swollen and purple ankle, I thought of ways that we dispose of construction materials. When we demolish an existing building or tear up a road, used materials are generally taken to a landfill.

But much of that material is of good quality or can be repurposed. Old concrete can be recycled into aggregates and used in many civil engineering applications, including road pavement materials, sub-basements, soil stabilization, and the production of new concrete.

Re-using or recycling building materials is not a new concept. In Portland, Hippo Hardware, the Re-Building Center and Habitat for Humanity are all long-time institutions that re-use building components. There is a difference between disassembling and demolishing a home. It is only recently that architects, builders and some clever entrepreneurs have been finding new and inventive ways to sustainably recycle construction materials from deconstructing buildings rather than demolishing them. Materials such as the concrete.

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. That means that when we demolish buildings to make way for new ones, there’s that much concrete to dispose of. When we dispose of concrete, it uses up landfill space. But when we recycle, it cuts down on greenhouse gases that are created in the production of virgin concrete. Recycling also cuts down on the cost of transportation. Best of all, it is less expensive to produce. A win-win all around!

If you are doing a remodel, consider taking your concrete to one of several recyclers in the area. Many will also take masonry, bricks, asphalt shingles, glass or rock. And if you are building, look for recycled concrete. Not only will you do something nice for your wallet, you’ll do something nice for the planet.

Another construction material that can be recycled is gypsum from drywall or sheetrock. According to one Oregon recycler, Knez Building Materials, “Every year, manufacturers produce a total of 80 million tons of drywall supplies – and 15 million tons of drywall waste ends up in the landfill. In the US and in Europe, drywall waste that is disposed of in landfills has allegedly created a dangerous Hydrogen Sulfide Gas (H2S). In high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can be lethal. Although drywall waste itself is not dangerous, when mixed with organic waste and exposed to rain in an anaerobic environment, hydrogen sulfide gasses can begin to develop.”

As with concrete, recycling the gypsum from drywall can reduce the amount of quarrying to produce, as well as the other ingredients used to make it such as black alkali, lactic acid and aluminum. It also cuts down on the energy used to produce virgin gypsum. Another local recycler, American Gypsum Recycling, uses the drywall materials for agricultural soil applications.

The future of downstream materials handling for all types of construction materials – everything from carpet pads to thermostats--is bright. It is an industry that is just taking off, with the possibility of much future expansion. To get more information on how to recycle your building materials, look online for Metro’s 2018-2019 Construction Salvage and Recycling Toolkit. You can find it at https://www.oregonmetro.gov/tools-working/guide-construction-salvage-and-recycling.

Pouring over a pour-over will by Paula Walker on 12/01/2018

We all know the basic idea of a will, that testamentary document that directs the distribution of your belongings after your death, so why the term “pour-over will,” and how is it used, and how does it work in Oregon?

A pour-over will is also a testamentary document that accompanies the revocable living trust. In creating your trust based estate plan, the pour over will is the ‘fail safe’ component. It covers assets that you forget or omit to put into or assign to your trust. That is to say that, a revocable living trust must be what is called “funded,” i.e. you must associate all your assets to the trust to get the benefit of avoiding probate, one of the many motivations for creating a trust based estate plan.

For those assets that you leave out of your trust, the pour over will is the means by which those assets are handled.

In many states pour over is true to its obvious wording, the assets not in the trust, are “poured over” into the trust as was the intent of the trust maker in creating the trust in the first place, i.e. that all their assets would be covered by the trust. In many states you, the person administering the estate, petitions the court to approve that intent for assets not in the trust, and with that approval proceed to administer the entire estate, all assets, according to the terms of the trust. But not exactly so in Oregon.

In Oregon the pour over will does not so much pour the outlier assets into the trust but instead circumscribes the scope of probate. All assets in the trust are handled by the trust itself, avoiding probate for those assets. All assets not in the trust go through probate. In that second prong then, the determination becomes whether the value of those left out assets warrants a full probate proceeding or a small probate proceeding, a matter of the level of time, cost and complexity of probate incurred.

In either case, whether a state that allows a true “pour over,” or a state like Oregon that limits the scope of probate according to the value of the assets left out of the trust, the purpose of the pour over will in creating a trust based estate plan is, and should be, vestigial, i.e. something that was once larger and with an important purpose that is now smaller or non existent and of no real use.

More to come on the many terms and concepts that this article introduced.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

The point of the pour over will, whether used or vestigial — as with many aspects of a carefully considered estate plan — is to have a plan … the loving, considerate act of leaving your family and loved ones with a solid course of action to follow and execute legally when you are gone.

Unlike the “Stories of the Stars…” that abound, of the absence of such a plan by some well-known personage, that leave in the wake of their sudden or not so sudden death confusion at best and more often embittered, long running battles that waste the bounty that could otherwise have benefited their family, friends, and philanthropic goals.

Recent examples: Prince… now nearly two years since his untimely death without even the most basic will in place creating a muddled mess that has to date benefited no potential heirs but has cost the estate so far $6 million in attorney and advisor fees. Aretha Franklin with an estate valued at $80 million died this past August without a will, leaving four sons to sort out the bramble of legal requirements and claims aplenty you can be sure. As the legal system recognizes her sons initially only as “interested parties” and Aretha’s niece petitioned the court to be assigned personal representative for the estate it appears the ingredients of drama possibly fomenting.

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.

Episode XXVIII: Mutiny on a Cayman Island by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2018

When Max Malone climbed into the lime-green sedan, driven by a mustachioed Andy Campanaro boot-licker, he was plotting his course like a resolute Fletcher Christian no longer able to suffer the tyranny of Captain Bligh.

But much like the fate of a moody Fletcher Christian, dark clouds were on the horizon.

As he bumped along the palm tree dotted road away from the island villa of Campanaro’s, Max squinted into the sunlight and gathered his thoughts:

Cashing in on Campanaro was not his highest priority, he mused. Although it would be a welcome reward. More importantly, there was the world view that had to be taken into account, even though he had dedicated most of his life to not being tangled in such nefarious affairs – save for a few days handcuffed to a radiator in France, but his mind stopped its wander and snapped back to the moment. He had to work with MI6 and the redoubtable Dolly Teagarden in order to thwart the Campanaro shipment of arms from the island if, for no other reasons, that it might bring down the demonic arms dealer, the issue of the remains of three dead men at the inferno once called the Stardust Lodge, and it seemed like the right thing to do.

Max lurched back to reality when the free ride came abruptly to a halt on the edge of George Town, the capital and site of Jemma’s place and the hospital where he was repaired. Max walked along, pulled his island shirt away from his sweaty shoulders, cursed the clammy tropical weather, passed fruit and vegetable stands, a furniture store that seemed not long for this world, a shop selling turtles (big ones) complete with all sorts of turtle products (don’t ask).

The urban nature of George Town surrendered to neighborhoods clinging to the island like egrets tottering on the backs of grazing cattle – which led him to Jemma’s place.

First, Max noticed what wasn’t there. There was no music. No children playing. In fact, no anything, save for a few faces stealing glances at him from inside their huts. Cautiously, Max knocked at Jemma’s door. Nothing. He stepped silently into the darkened cottage.

The Rasty musician sat on the floor next to Jemma’s bed. His eyes rose to meet Max in a most unfriendly way. Jemma was tucked into bed. She didn’t bother to budge.

“What’s happened?” Max whispered, approached the bed.

The Rasty stood up. “You not welcome here no more, mahn,” he said defiantly.

Max stopped at the bed, close to her protector. “Well, I’m here.” And he bent over Jemma, nudging the Rasty aside, somehow softly and seriously at the same time.

“What happened Jemma?” he asked, already assuming the answer.

Jemma opened one eye, the other too swollen and bruised to participate. She touched Max’s hand lightly with her fingertips. “Too much, Max,” she managed over a cut lip. “Too much,” her voice as distant as a forgotten foghorn.

Max looked back at the Rasty. “Big Chinese guy?”

The Rasty nodded. “You were knocked out, mahn. They drag you away to a car, then do this,” turning his glance to Jemma.

Max’s blood boiled, but he didn’t let it spill over. Not yet. He bent down to a knee and held Jemma’s hand. “Is there anything else broken?” he asked the Rasty with a look over his shoulder.

“Don’t think so mahn. Jemma said no. She a nurse,” he shrugged.

Max looked apologetically down at Jemma. She held his glance for a moment, then closed her painful eyes.

“English woman came for you,” the Rasty said.

“Yeah,” Max responded with no enthusiasm. Then, to Jemma: “I’ll fix this. I promise. I’ll fix this.”

Jemma looked away. Max stood. “Can you take care of her for now?”

“Yes, mahn. Carlo take care.”

“Thanks Carlo.”

Max turned slowly, exited the hut, shamed by the sudden sunlight.

He knew he had to contact Dolly Teagarden. He knew he had to string Andy Campanaro along. He knew he could not be distracted by the possibility of a big payday. And he knew he had a date with a big Chinese guy. The kind of date Mr. Fong would never forget.

After all, he is Max Malone, private eye, with enough anger to satisfy a scurvy-ridden survivor of Pitcairn Island.

Gifts from the kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2018

Time to have fun and create, some of my favorite gifts are found in a jar!

Pickled Carrots

7 medium carrots cut into 1/4” spears

2/3 cup white wine vinegar

3/4 cup water

1/8 cup sugar

3 t sea salt

1 teaspoon each caraway seeds and black pepper

Sprigs of rosemary

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and boil for about 5 minutes. Place the carrots and rosemary into small jars.

Make the brine by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil.

Pour the hot brine into the jars with the pickles and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


This is a buttery, yeasty seasonal bread with dried fruits it is good enough to give! Choose the traditional way or add your own take with different fruits.

1/2 cup whole milk, warm

1 package dried yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup softened unsalted butter

5 large eggs, beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting

1 t sea salt

1/4 cup currants

3 T rum

For the icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 T cream

1/2 t vanilla

1/2 cup candied lemon and orange peel, finely chopped.

Panettone cake pan or 20 cm deep cake pan.

Grease a Panettone pan with softened butter. Place the warm milk in a bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Mix well and let yeast get frothy, about five minutes.

In a large bowl with a mixer beat together the butter and vanilla extract until light and creamy. Add lemon and orange zest. Add the eggs a little at a time until all are well incorporated.

Place the flour in a large bowl and mix with a pinch of salt and make a well. Add the yeast mixture, then the butter and egg mixture, folding in with a large spoon to make a soft dough.

Knead for five minutes in the bowl until the mixture starts to come together. Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a further ten minutes, until you get a soft, stretchy dough. Add a light sprinkling of flour to the surface and your hands as you go to stop the mixture from sticking.

Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; keep in a warm place for two hours or until doubled.

Place the currants in a small saucepan with the rum and heat on low for about five minutes or until the fruit has absorbed the liquid; set aside to cool.

When the dough is risen, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another five minutes. Gradually knead in the soaked raisins and chopped candied peel. Shape the dough into a ball and pop into the prepared Panettone pan. If using a wrap layer of baking parchment around the inside of the pan, place it to come up about a few inches above the rim and secure the paper with string. This will help contain the dough as it rises.

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and leave to rise for another hour until it has risen to the top of the pan or paper.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the Panettone in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden and risen. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake to test if done.

Leave to cool in the pan for ten minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Leave to cool, mix and drizzle icing on Panettone.

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

Handy herbal helpers to stay healthy for the holidays by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2018

The holidays bring us so much, in many cases more than we need. Yet each of the winter holidays can deepen the meaning of our lives. We can venture away from the frazzle-dazzle of holidays.

But if you succumb to the frazzle-dazzle of “shop ‘til you drop,” treat yourself. If your feet are dog-tired (pun intended) then treat yourself to a soothing footbath as soon as you can get those swollen feet out of those shoes. To refresh worn out tootsie-toes use a handful of fresh herbs, or 1/4 cup of dried if no fresh herbs available. Using a dishpan or large bucket, throw in some salt and water. To refresh feet, use any or all of the following: bay leaves (those old ones in the cupboard?), lavender, marjoram, sage and thyme. Add vinegar if your feet itch.

If your feet feel cold, try this before bed to warm up. Make a footbath of bruised black mustard seeds (available at Asian or East Indian markets). But don’t make things any more complicated during this busy season. Just leave herbs or seeds loose in the footbath. When removing them, simply pour out over your outside plants to replenish the earth.

For a Fizzy Fun Footbath use 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of cream of tartar (it needs to be used up somehow, right?), add some sage leaves and 5-6 drops of peppermint essential oil. This will fizz those frazzled feet for a few minutes. Soak feet for at least ten minutes and feel the tickle.

If you’ve been overdoing the holiday season you may need to stave off a cold or the flu. If you don’t feel like going out use up whatever you have at home instead of running off to the pharmacy for industrial remedies. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll be saving gas and therefore the environment. Boil some eucalyptus or peppermint leaves in water. Then remove from heat, put a towel over your head and the pan of steaming water with herbs. Being careful to not burn yourself, lean over and breathe deeply. If you have a cold or the flu, brew up some teas: lemon and ginger for cold, flu and digestive upsets; sage and thyme for coughs and flu.

Compresses work well on sore throats. Soak a clean cotton cloth in hot brewed tea (eucalyptus, peppermint or sage) and place over your throat and chest, being careful to not burn yourself or your “patient.” Cover the towel with plastic wrap, another towel and a hot water bottle. Remove when cooled and replace with another warmed hot water bottle.

The use of sage during the holidays is well-known with our American Thanksgiving meal. But did you know that sage leaves were a sacred herb in Roman times? Sage was used in ceremony, as a medicinal and a culinary herb. It is also a wonderful plant to attract pollinators.

Sage wands are still used to dispel not only animal and cooking smells but also bad juju. Sage purifies the air. Large leaves of basil or sage can be made into fritters by dipping into a batter of flour and beaten egg and frying in olive oil.

If you get outside in time you may still be able to harvest the last of the herbs in your garden. Dry them in bundles held together with rubber bands or paper bags so they won’t fall all over the floor. Bundles of herbs such as lavender or rosemary can be placed among linens or clothing. Or stuff some herbs into baby socks tied with ribbons and use as dryer sheets! You or your children could make tea cozies or pot holders by placing herbs between the layers before sewing them together. Lovely gifts that release their scent when warmed by use.

I was thrilled to find a three-foot bay tree among the arborvitaes that surround two sides of my new-to-me 1925 home. Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) was growing wild in the Mediterranean region in Biblical times. The will often survive our relatively mild northwest winters.

Bay trees are evergreen and consistently successful, so bay was used by athletes, poets and priests. Wearing a wreath of bay was a mark of distinction. A door wreath of bay was said to dispel sickness and even protect from lightening. The leaves are most potent when used fresh or dried slowly.

A terrific herb to use for warming in the wintertime is curry. Curry is actually a blend of several spices and can range from mild to sweet to fiery! It is always best made fresh (as is most everything). Here’s a good recipe to try: 2Tbsp each of cumin seed, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and cardamom seed; 1 Tbsp each of caraway and fennel seed; 1 three inch cinnamon stick broken into pieces; and 1 tsp whole cloves (not ground). Toast the herbs in a heavy skillet, without any oil, for 8-10 minutes.

Spices will turn darker and be very fragrant. Cool completely before grinding in a blender or spice grinder in small batches. Store in a dry place. To use this delicious and good for you curry blend, just sauté leftovers and top with any combination of almonds, apples, celery, coconut or raisins and serve over rice. Yum!

Adding turmeric to your curry mixture will be delicious and very healthful (much more healthful than capsules). Turmeric is better utilized by the body if heated. Turmeric is a rhizome grown easily in tropical areas of the world such as India and South America. Difficult in our area unless you have a tropical greenhouse.

Turmeric is good for digestion, liver problems, lowering cholesterol and decreasing Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s a food, so side effects are less likely. You can add it to curry or on its own to dips, eggs, rice, salads, stuffing or teas. Try Golden Milk: use any kind of milk heated with turmeric and a little honey if desired.

For gaining the “holiday spirit” try making “Bishops’ Wine.” To two quarts of cider add four cinnamon sticks, six cloves, one orange unpeeled but cut into quarters, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and two quarts of port.

This recipe comes from Adelma Simmons, herbalist extraordinaire. As an aspiring herbalist I went to hear speak at an herbal gathering in 1997. Alas, she couldn’t attend due to an upper respiratory infection making travel from Connecticut too difficult.

She died not long after that and it is my longtime sorrow that I never met her. Her writings are legend. Now I have many more herbalist friends who’ve written wonderful books if you’d like to immerse yourself in herbs – Lesley Bremness, Stephen Foster, Deborah Francis, Jill Stansbury, Sharol Tilgner and many more. Have fun discovering the world of herbs.

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 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.


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 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.


The “Die Hard” films.


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 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


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.


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.


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 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:


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?



“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 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.


“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 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 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.



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 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 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 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


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?”


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


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.”



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.


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.


“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?


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 ...


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)


Chevre cheese


Fruit (I chose yellow cherries)


Crackers (I chose olive & fig)

Sliced baguette


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.


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.


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.


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