‘The interest and support for civic organizations’

The next Sense of Place lecture will be Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m., at Columbia Center for the Arts, with Parkdale orchardist Randy Kiyokawa describing “Generations of Farming in the Hood River Valley: One Family’s Story.”

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Hawks Ridge Assisted Living Community hosts a community event known as “Winter White Ball” on Feb. 6.

This will be a night of food, fun, drinks and dancing, writes Cathy Carter.

“The dining room will be transformed into a Winter White Wonderland. The food and beverages will white as well as the attire for the night.”

Cost for Winter White Ball is $20 per person or $35 per couple.

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Harmony of the Gorge chorus is once again offering a special gift for Valentine’s Day: Singing Valentines.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, quartets from the local chorus will deliver roses and songs throughout the Gorge area all day.

More information is available at harmonyofthegorge.com. Sweethearts are encouraged to place orders early — but the group will also try to fit in last-minute deliveries. Phono-grams are also available.

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Katie Haynie and the 16 other ladies of Alpha Gamma write:

“I am thankful to live in a community that has interest and support for civic organizations.

“Last month, Nicholas Photography and Rosauers Supermarket volunteered their services and space, to provide a Santa photos fundraiser for Alpha Gamma, a local civic sorority.

“In one day, Alpha Gamma raised over $800. All the money raised, was donated to a local family in need.

“Thank you to Nick and Pam Bielemeier for generously donating their photography services to this program, and thank you to Steve Morgan, Rosauers, for donating space and cookies.”

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The U.S. Department of Interior last week recognized the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership for its conservation achievements focused on federally listed salmon species. Jennifer Bayer of Hood River, a United States Geological Service biologist, oversees the Partnership’s staff.

The partnership was selected for a “Partnership in Conservation” award because it improves the scientific foundation for natural and cultural resource management and advances government-to-government relationships with Indian nations.

The Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership is a voluntary partnership of state, tribal and federal entities, supported by a small team of four USGS employees. Working to coordinate efforts of partners and other entities, the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership strives to improve efficiency and effectiveness of aquatic monitoring programs in the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, these efforts contribute to the restoration of salmon populations and protection of aquatic habitats throughout the region.

Bayer said, “Salmon recovery is a shared goal; by focusing on common needs and sustaining collaboration among many entities, the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership enhances partners’ contributions to salmon conservation, ultimately working toward more effective monitoring and data collection efforts.”

The “Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership demonstrates that the whole truly can be more than the sum of its parts,” said Max Ethridge, U.S. Geological Survey’s regional director for the Northwest, “with partners working together in a time of scarce resources, the winner is conservation.”

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Lisa Sollman writes:

“I just wanted to publicly thank HUD for researching a dispute I had with Indian Creek Court Apartments. On Jan. 7, 2014, this dispute was resolved and I will gladly pay the $60 I owe, now that I am no longer being told to pay $700. I lived in the apartment for five and a half years but something happened in the accounting department about two years ago that I disputed.

“I was charged $161 as a result of a backdated rent increase. I was not given a satisfactory resolution on this issue and was bullied and threatened with eviction if I did not pay. So I made payments but received paperwork that showed that I still owed it in full.

“It was soon forgotten but later was advised that I had to pay another rent increase and was advised that there was back due rent still owing. Since I always paid my rent, I felt this was incorrect and disregarded this notice as a lack of communication between the corporate office and the management.

“Later when I moved out, the letter telling me that I still owed them was not sent to the forwarding address I gave them, so I never received it.

“They sent the bill to collections who contacted my aunt first, so there was another delay in me getting the information I needed to pay or dispute these charges. Finally when I saw that the bill was over $700, I tried to follow the dispute procedures, I even got a little legal advice. I offered to settle the account for $140 (even though I did not feel I owed that amount).

I fully expected them to respond with a counter-offer of a larger amount but instead it was reported to the credit bureau as a charge off or refusal to pay. They had failed to give me an explanation of the charges or proof that I owed this amount. They would not consider the possibility of an error on their part.

This is a low-income apartment and $700 is a lot of money and the negative effect on my credit has been detrimental in many ways. So someone taking the time to research this issue by HUD is greatly appreciated. Thank you!”

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Senior parents of the HRVHS graduating class of 2014 need your help to make the all-night drug and alcohol free graduation party a success.

This year the party will be held June 6 in the space annually donated by the Hood River Elks.

Donation letters went out in November and some businesses have already sent a donation; thank you to those businesses.

“We greatly appreciate any and all types of donations to make the evening a fun and memorable night for our students,” said one of the parent coordinators, Wendy Herman.

Students pay a $35 fee to attend the party, but that doesn’t cover all the prizes, food and activities the parents fundraise to provide.

If you received a donation letter and haven’t sent yours, please do so if possible. If you are a business and didn’t receive a donation letter but would like to donate, contact Herman at 541-490-6828 or wherman@hoodriverelec-tric.net.

All donations are tax-deductible and a tax receipt will be provided if needed.

Donations can be made to Project Graduation 2014 and mailed to 1767 12th St., #178, Hood River, OR 97031. If you would rather have someone come pick up your donation, contact Wendy Herman.

Senior parents who have not attended a meeting but want to volunteer are encouraged to come to the next meeting at HRVHS library, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22.

You can also contact Herman to sign up to volunteer or for future meeting dates. Information is also available at the HRVHS Project Graduation 2014 Facebook page.

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The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum is making displays in the new expansion, completed mid-November, and is asking the community for help.

WAAAM volunteers are covering the white insulation on the walls with old weathered “barn” wood in the shape of building fronts. With more than 500 feet of wall to cover, the museum is in need of a lot of weathered wood and old corrugated metal roofing to help give the display area some extra excitement.

The museum has completed the fronts for a barber shop, jail and used car store, and is currently working on an antique auto parts store with an elementary school and a telephone company in the planning stages.

Any leads or donations of material are greatly appreciated. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all donations are tax-deductible.

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Rockford Grange plants seeds of information during the winter.

While the fields, orchards and gardens are laying in rest, Rockford community Grange is busy with several different activities to which the public is invited.

Master Mark England and member Linda Short will be conducting two in-services to share with potential members and members what Grange is all about. Come learn about Grange history, culture and what sort of activities and work Granges do.

The in-service will be on Jan 30, beginning at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Rockford Community Grange will be the host of an informal gathering of farmers, gardeners, growers of food in the Mid-Columbia Gorge region to share the ins and outs of growing food. “Crop Talk” is a casual gathering and is open to the public.

The first talk will be Jan 22 at 5:30-7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Crop Talk is co-sponsored by Gorge Grown Food Network.

The Grange is also starting a Seed Bank to help preserve genetic diversity and to share heirloom, non-GMO and locally adapted seeds with local gardeners.

Look out for a Seed Sharing event at the Grange in March when there will be an opportunity to learn more about the ancient tradition of seed saving and amateur plant breeding.

Rockford Grange is located at 4250 Barrett Road, next to the West Side Fire Department.

For details call 541-490-9287 or 541-806-2344.

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SOLVE is currently accepting applications for volunteers to lead Earth Day projects for the 25th annual SOLVE IT Earth Day event. SOLVE IT events will take place across the state on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also as part of SOLVE IT, teachers are encouraged to involve their students in service-learning activities any time between April 21 and May 2.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Jan. 31.

The SOLVE IT program supports Oregonians who help take care of parks, waterways and neighborhoods by picking up trash, pulling invasive weeds, planting trees and taking care of watersheds. Last year, SOLVE IT helped 6,300 Oregonians volunteer at over 230 sites across Oregon.

“For 25 years, SOLVE IT has provided a great opportunity for individuals, community groups, teachers and students to make a positive impact on the special places we love,” said Quintin Bauer, SOLVE statewide team leader.

Project leaders receive assistance for local Earth Day projects, including free project planning assistance and training, event flyers and pre-event publicity, online volunteer registration, and cleanup project supplies. SOLVE also has a limited number of grants of up to $100 for reimbursement of project expenses.

Since 1990, SOLVE IT volunteers have removed more than 15 million pounds of litter and invasive weeds from illegal dumpsites, neighborhoods, and natural areas. Visit solveoregon.org to apply online or call SOLVE at 503-844-9571 or 1-800-333-SOLV (toll-free in Oregon).

SOLVE is a statewide nonprofit organization that has been bringing Oregonians together to protect the environment since 1969. The organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action.

Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers across Oregon to clean up beaches and rivers, and restore watersheds.

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