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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

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USFS pre-approves Meadows’ parking lot

After three years of planning and analysis, a new parking lot slated for construction at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort looks like it might be a go.

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Burned clam chowder responsible for fire at Heights apartment

A fire that burned a studio apartment on the Heights and shut down part of 13th and Taylor streets for nearly two hours Monday afternoon can be blamed on a pot of unattended clam chowder.

Flu impacts ‘lighter than anticipated’

A surge of H1N1 influenza cases in the last week of December 2013 prompted hospital officials to prepare for what was expected to be a particularly bad flu season

Lolley makes bail in child sex abuse case

Kenneth Gordon Lolley has made bail and has been released from the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles where he has been held for the past three months on first-degree sexual abuse charges.

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Landslide forces closure of Dee Hwy. Tuesday

Another weather-related landslide occurred Tuesday evening outside of Hood River, this time on the Dee Highway, capping off a series of geologic events in the Columbia River Gorge that closed roads and snarled traffic for days.

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A Sense of Place: Randy Kiyokawa discusses farms and family

Different farming practices may have fallen in and out of favor over the years, but the importance of family is one aspect of life that hasn’t changed for the Kiyokawas.

County looks at ball fields

Does the Hood River Valley need more ball fields? Or do local agencies need to be more efficient in how they manage their fields?

Falling tree hits car traveling on Whiskey Creek Road Friday

A driver narrowly missed a potentially serious injury Friday morning after a tree fell across Whiskey Creek Road and struck his vehicle.

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I-84 reopens following rockslide

To the great relief of travelers and Columbia River Gorge businesses, all lanes of Interstate 84 opened Monday afternoon following the cleanup of a weather-related landslide that forced the closure of the freeway’s eastbound lanes for several days.

Four arrested at landslide traffic control

During the evening of Feb. 12, Hood River County Sheriff’s Deputies were assisting with traffic control on Interstate 84 after a landslide closed eastbound lanes at milepost 61.

On ramps and reroutes

Locals, visitors find ways around the slide

The closure of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 has caused an odd situation for the residents of Mitchell Point Drive.

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Hood River Bridge’s lift span is ‘sound’

That Hood River Bridge’s lift span appears to be in good condition following a routine mechanical and electrical inspection on Tuesday by engineers contracted by the Port of Hood River.

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Landslide on I-84 snarls traffic

Both eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 will likely remain closed throughout the weekend after a landslide sent down 2,000 cubic yards of rock across the freeway Wednesday about a mile west of Hood River at milepost 61.

DEQ issues $5,365 penalty to Mount Hood Railroad

Fined for violating stormwater permit

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $5,365 civil penalty to Mount Hood Railroad Company for failing to monitor pollutant levels in the rail line’s stormwater — a violation of the company’s stormwater discharge permit.

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Now, the clean-up

First the snowfall, now the melt.

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ODOT to start repairs on Mosier overpass

The Oregon Department of Transportation is set to begin a $1 million repair project next month to fix cracks that were found in the Interstate 84 overpass near the Mosier exit last year.

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New cell tower for Hood River

The nation’s largest cellular phone provider is looking to install a 100-foot-high cell tower in a field off Multnomah Road, which the company says is necessary to improve cell coverage for its customers in the Hood River Valley.

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Light but thick: snow hits the Gorge

Power company, tow owner offer safety and prevention tips for snow and ice

With a state-high snowfall in Parkdale and up to 10 inches in Hood River, January’s question “where’s our winter?” got a resounding answer Thursday.

Head Start gets good news

When the federal sequester budget cuts went into effect March 1 of last year, they impacted some of the most vulnerable families in the nation.

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County examining RC flying proposal

With the exception of the Westside Community Trail, Barrett Park has remained largely undeveloped as Hood River County Parks and Recreation has fought and continually lost battles to develop public recreation facilities on the 31.4-acre parcel located on the west side of Hood River.

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County split on proposal to expand wilderness areas in national forest

A conservation group seeking wilderness expansion in the Mount Hood National Forest got a mixed response from Hood River County Commissioners last week after asking to a proposal that would designate well over 3,000 acres of national forest in the county as protected wilderness.

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Dee concert venue generates a buzz

People respond with positive and negative feedback on proposed amphitheater

In the Jan. 29 edition of the Hood River News, we ran a story about the DeeTour development: a concert venue proposed for the site of the old Dee lumber mill that is projected to draw upwards of 5,000 people for its larger events.

Port hears comments on waterfront pedestrian trail

The Port of Hood River’s meeting room was packed Tuesday night with members of the public who came to weigh in on a proposal to develop a waterfront bike and pedestrian path planned for the west bank of the Nichols Boat Basin.

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An outdoor music venue for Dee?

Local developer planning concert amphitheater at old lumber mill site

Will Dee become the premier outdoor concert venue in the state of Oregon?

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‘Lava Restoration’ forest thin draws heat

Environmental group calls project ‘a significant assault’ on forests

A proposed U.S. Forest Service timber thin west of Parkdale has caught the eye of environmental groups and resulted in an outpouring of public comment from those concerned about the potential impact of the project — officially named “Lava Restoration.”

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County pursues grant to purchase Punchbowl property

102-acre area in Dee currently owned by Western Rivers Conservancy

There are plenty of options in the Gorge for a summer swim, but Punchbowl Falls on the West Fork of the Hood River near Dee is a favorite of many.

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HR man accused of raping underage girl

A Hood River man is facing two felony and three misdemeanor charges after allegedly raping an underage girl in Hood River County Jan. 19.

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Job creation a focus of Sen. Merkley town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley was in Hood River Tuesday morning as part of keeping his 2008 promise of holding a town hall meeting in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year.

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Young and old serve at FISH for MLK Day

With Martin Luther King’s legacy in mind, a diverse group of community members spent part of Monday afternoon in service at a place that definitely can use volunteer help: FISH food bank.

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ODOT to start work on final portions of Historic Highway

Marking the beginning of an end to nearly three decades of restoration efforts, the Oregon Department of Transportation is poised to start physical work this spring on reconnecting the final portions of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

CL Port to hold town hall meeting on toll increases

Repairs to restore the Bridge of the Gods’ 40-ton weight limit were completed last month and big trucks and buses are now back on the bridge, shuttling people and supplies up and down the Columbia River Gorge.

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Fire consumes shed on Belmont Drive

A tool shed on the west side of Hood River was reduced to little more than a pile of charred wood following a fire that quickly ripped through the structure Wednesday morning.

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As Odell grows, a boundary is drawn

Hood River may get a lot of attention, but the unincorporated community of Odell is also a happening place. Though it is not an incorporated city like Hood River, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, Odell has 2,225 residents — twice as many as Cascade Locks, which is the only other incorporated city in Hood River County. Odell is also a relatively young community as well, with approximately a third of its population 18 years of age or younger.

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Storm packs a punch, but damage minimal

Wet and windy weather brings much-needed mountain snow

Storm packs If you were one of the well-over-1,000 people who lost power Saturday morning, you can blame Mother Nature.

Progress made on Hanford cleanup, but challenges remain

It’s been almost 25 years since the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington Department of Ecology entered into an agreement to clean up the Hanford Site — widely considered to be the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation.

Man arrested for allegedly stealing cables near Union Pacific rail

A 45-year-old Rainier man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly cutting and stealing a number of cables between the Wyeth weigh station and the Union Pacific rail line located approximately 10 miles west of Hood River off Interstate 84.

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Escapee back in NORCOR after four-year hiatus

‘Get this stuff done’

On Aug. 19, 2009, Duane Allen Reineccius was temporarily released from the Northern Oregon Correctional Facility for a dentist appointmentwhile serving time for a probation violation on a DUII charge.

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Hospital institutes flu restrictions

Hospital institutes With H1N1 flu cases on the rise in the state of Oregon, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital announced Thursday it is instituting new visitor restriction policies in order to help prevent the virus popularly known as “swine flu” from spreading throughout the hospital.

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Crash spills diesel into East Fork

Icy roads send semi over the edge

A steep grade and slick road conditions caused a semi-trailer to go over an embankment along Highway 35 Wednesday morning and narrowly miss taking a plunge into the icy East Fork of the Hood River.

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Hood River County Sheriff officers honored as life savers

Sheriff deputies receive lifesaving award for July river rescue

On July 4, 2013, two men and a dog hung onto dear life and the keel of their sailboat as it capsized in the Hood River Marina and began to float downstream on the current of the mighty Columbia River.

Man faces assault, meth charges in alleged shooting of woman, 18

Hood River resident treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in incident

A local man is behind bars after allegedly shooting and injuring a teenage woman at his residence Friday evening.

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HR man charged with sexual abuse

A Hood River man has been charged with sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse after being accused of inappropriately touching and attempting to touch underage girls.

New charges filed in Lolley sex abuse case

73-year-old faces 14 counts of first-degree sexual abuse

Local business owner Kenneth Gordon Lolley is facing more child sexual abuse charges after an investigation determined he may have inappropriately touched the private parts of another underage girl.

ATC drops cell tower appeal

American Tower Corporation has chosen not to appeal a Hood River County Planning Commission decision that denied the company a permit to build a cellphone tower on the west side of Hood River.

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Bank robber gets 3 years

A Hood River man has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree attempted robbery following a heist at the U.S. Bank branch on the Heights in September.

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Blocks of love: Cascade Locks ladies make, donate quilts to domestic violence shelter

For those who have been displaced from their homes following a domestic violence incident, the holidays can be an especially difficult and traumatic time of year.

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Ruling brings Nestlé closer to CL

State agency says Nestlé opponents’ chief argument is ‘without merit’

Nestlé’s proposed water bottling plant in Cascade Locks may still be years away, but last week a state ruling helped Nestlé over one of multiple legal hurdles it must clear before the 250,000-square-foot plant can be built.

Garbage rate increase set for January

Hood River County Commissioners unanimously approved a garbage rate increase for county residents after a public hearing that was held during the commission’s regular meeting Monday night.

County sells east Oregon timberland

Hood River County has accepted the offers of two bidders interested in purchasing all of the county’s nearly 19,000 acres of Eastern Oregon timberland it has owned since 2002.

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Bridge of Gods limits have broad, negative impacts

The Bridge of the Gods has been closed to heavy truck traffic for nearly five months now as the Port of Cascade Locks works to repair the bridge and lift the Oregon Department of Transportation weight restrictions that have been in place on the structure since July.