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Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Rhododendron Season by Gary Randall on 07/01/2020

It’s rhododendron season again on Mount Hood. The “rhodies” are revered here on the Mountain as they are most likely the most popular wildflower. We even have a town that is named for the beautiful pink flowers that line our roads every springtime. They’re very photogenic and my wife Darlene and I are always glad to see rhododendron season arrive.

The name rhododendron is derived from the ancient Greek words for rose and tree. Of course, rhododendrons are neither a rose nor a tree. They’re a part of a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heather family. They’re found mainly in Asia but are also widespread in the mountains of the American Pacific Northwest as well as in the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains. Azalea are related to rhododendrons.

Rhododendrons are so beautiful that they seem out of place in the forest. I have been asked several times by those friends not from here if they were planted along the highways as a beautification project. Of course, these beautiful flowers also grow far from roads throughout the forest but they love sunshine. You can find them growing along the roads because of that.

As photographers we can capitalize on that by going to a clearing with a beautiful view of Mount Hood for a photo. Many views can be found by taking a hike on many of the trails in the area.

The flower’s pastel pink blossoms in contrast with a beautiful blue sky is a perfect color combination and when blended with a beautiful snowcapped peak creates a classic composition. But these beautiful flowers will also grow in the forests among the trees. Many homes in the area have domestic rhododendrons of varying colors in their yards, but the beautiful native flowers are my favorite.

And furthermore, the bear grass blooms along with the rhododendrons on a typical year. The shape of these flowers, with their stem shooting up from the ground and their hundreds of small, white, sparkle-like blossoms flaring out into an orb reminds me of fireworks bursting in the sky.

The best news is that a photo such as that can be made with a cell phone. There’s no need to pack extra camera gear on a hike to the flowers, but if you want to create a more complex photo a digital camera will need to be used.

There is really not a lot more to say about these beautiful flowers besides my encouragement to take some time to appreciate this local flower that represents the beauty of our forests. 

If you have a burning desire, call the burn information line by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2020

Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m a pyromaniac. Well, not really — I don’t start fires that cause injury or harm, only small campfires that I and others enjoy. But when I was a small boy, my parents may have wondered whether they were raising a pyromaniac.

One day when I was about five years old, I saw smoke rising into the air from not far away. I hopped on my tricycle and raced off to investigate. A couple of streets away, firefighters had lit a field of tall, dry grass, presumably to burn it before a pyromaniac could do so. The fire was burning toward me; the firefighters were monitoring the blaze from across the field. As I sat on my trike on the sidewalk, I spied a telephone pole oozing with creosote set into the concrete a couple of feet from the edge of the field. I imagined that the pole would burn pretty well; I envisioned flames racing up its sides to make a huge torch.

But the pole was probably too far from the grass to be ignited by the flames. I decided to make sure the pole would catch. Working quickly, I gathered several armloads of dry grass and piled it around the pole, then added more dry grass between the pole and the edge of the field—a fuse of sorts. Satisfied that my plan was foolproof, I rode my trike across the street and sat back to watch the show.

As the flames approached the pole, a shadow came over me. I looked up and saw not a cloud, but a firefighter scowling down at me. He told me to stay put, then crossed the street and kicked all of the grass from around the pole into the field. He then escorted me home, explaining all the while what a terrible idea I’d had. After the firefighter explained my scheme to my mom, she escorted me directly to my room, where I imagine I was confined for at least the rest of the day.

These days, I confine most of my fires to the fire pit on my patio or in campgrounds. Once a year or so I burn a pile of forest debris, usually after a heavy rain when there’s no danger of the fire spreading to the woods. When fire danger is high, burning debris piles, otherwise known as backyard burning, is prohibited. Burning larger piles requires a permit from Hoodland Fire District. As most Hoodlanders know, all outdoor fires may be prohibited when fire danger is extreme, including campfires, also known as recreational fires.

What can you burn and when can you do it? As of June 15, 2020, all backyard burning is prohibited until further notice — even though the woods are still wet from recent rains. Recreational fires are still allowed.

In mid-June, I asked Scott Klein, a longtime Hoodland Fire officer who is temporarily serving as deputy chief, to explain.

“We have a seasonal closure on backyard debris burning from June 15, usually until October 1, depending on fire season. This is the standard season,” he said. “Right now it might be rainy, but we’re supposed to get temperatures into the 80s in the next few days, and if people have piles that are hot and smoldering, we could have the potential for fire spread.”

As of this writing, recreational fires are still allowed. However, conditions may change quickly.

“Recreational fires are allowed until the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Clackamas County Fire Defense Board shuts down all burning, and that’s usually when fire danger is very high or there’s a Red Flag Warning,” Klein said.

Red Flag Warnings are issued when warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

Last year was exceptionally warm and dry in our area, with several Red Flag Warnings, and recreational fires were prohibited for much of the summer, as were charcoal barbecues, outdoor fireplaces, and even smoking cigarettes outside.

When backyard burning is again allowed this fall, you won’t need a permit for debris piles five feet or less in diameter and five feet or less in height. For larger piles, you’ll need a free permit from Hoodland Fire.

Klein strongly advises anyone wanting to conduct a backyard burn or have a recreational fire to first call Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line, 503-622-3463, which provides a recorded message about current conditions and what, if any, burning is prohibited. Don’t rely solely on social media or other unofficial sources. Note that messages on Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line apply only to private lands in the area. Check with the Mount Hood National Forest (tinyurl.com/yc69s85s) and the Bureau of Land Management for restrictions on these federal lands (blm.gov/oregon-washington).

Klein said that most of the calls to the fire district are complaints about smoke that is irritating to neighbors. Check Hoodland Fire’s website for a list of materials that may not be burned, such as plastic, paint, household garbage, and other materials that create dense smoke or noxious odors.

Even when burning is allowed, it is important to monitor the fire and the surrounding area, even after the fire is out. Fire can burn underground along decomposed roots and spread to the woods. I saw this happen several years ago when a neighbor conducted a backyard burn, and two days later saw smoke arising from the ground across the road. Fortunately, he noticed the smoke before it could erupt into a fire that threatened his neighbors’ homes.

Have a question about wildfires? A suggestion for a future column topic? Need directions to the next meeting of Pyromaniacs Anonymous? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Viewpoints – Salem: Legislature returns by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2020

With protestors still marching in the streets across our nation on a daily basis, coronavirus cases on the rise in many Oregon communities and no end in sight to the economic uncertainty that has kept many of us up at night, the Oregon State Legislature is convening in a special session to address some of the most urgent issues affecting our state.

As I write this, the legislature hasn’t yet convened and we’re still finalizing the bills that will be discussed when we do. By the time you read this, we should be well on our way to passing policies that keep families safe and healthy, help them stay in their homes through the economic downturn and more. We’re also finalizing the procedures within the legislature that will keep legislators and staff safe and compliant with social distancing guidelines: this includes a limitation on how many Representatives are allowed on the House floor at one time, and it means that the business of legislating will be slower than we’re used to. Still, there’s a lot of important work to be done, and a lot of vital policies to help the people of Oregon.

With regard to pandemic response, the governor has used her executive powers extensively, and I think it’s time that the legislature be allowed to weigh in. As a co-equal branch of government, I’m happy she has sought our leadership in creating long-term policies that will support Oregonians in addressing the ongoing crisis.

At the risk of just giving a boring laundry list of bills, I want to keep everyone updated about why the legislature is going to Salem in the middle of a pandemic. We will be addressing the looming end of the governor’s eviction moratorium and providing utility bill assistance to low income Oregonians; we’ll also be looking at policies to address mortgage assistance and temporary restrictions on foreclosures for landlords who have stopped receiving rent during the moratorium. Other measures discussed could provide emergency shelter siting to combat homelessness during the pandemic, impose limited legal immunity for emergency isolation shelters and create rulemaking authority to make sure state agencies can react to this and other future viral crises.

I’ve written here before about the importance of bringing broadband service to rural areas, and one bill we’ll be discussing will do just that. As part of an economic recovery plan, the Rural Telecommunications Act will create a $5 million broadband fund to provide grants to service providers to create infrastructure in rural areas. While rural Oregonians have needed this sort of assistance for years, it’s especially pressing now as we rely more and more on remote teleconferencing, telehealth and distance learning during the pandemic.

We will be responding to a national call to action by taking up several timely police accountability measures introduced by our People of Color legislative caucus. We will be working to ban chokeholds as a method of restraint, as well as possibly banning the use of tear gas and sound cannons to disperse crowds. We’ll also discuss a proposed legal duty for law enforcement officers to report and intervene in fellow officers’ inappropriate uses of force, and a law that would require police departments to report officer disciplinary actions to a statewide, publicly accessible database. Finally, with regard to police use of force, we’ll discuss a bill that would assign the Attorney General as the independent investigating authority for all use of force cases that result in serious injury or death.

I’m hopeful that these measures, plus several other time-sensitive issues, will pass with bipartisan support, but I’m bracing for some heart-felt disagreements as we figure out how to navigate the process of legislating during a public health crisis. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues regardless of party affiliation to get important things done for hardworking families across Oregon.

Finally, we know that this session is only a first step. We will also need to come back to balance the state budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure we pass a responsible budget that doesn’t cause deeper harm to those already impacted by Coronavirus and the recession. If there are any policy or budgetary issues you would like to see us address before the 2021 session, please don’t hesitate to write or call and let me know your thoughts: Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: Sandy needs to be wonderful for everyone by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/01/2020

It is one of those moments in life that I’ll never forget where I was when I saw it. I will never forget that feeling of sheer horror and powerlessness as I watched as the officer knelt on the back of George Floyd’s neck and heard the pleas to the officers from onlookers to stop.

I felt the sudden urge to jump through the television screen as if I would be able to make it stop. As I watched, like so many of our fellow neighbors in Sandy and across America, I began to realize just how much work we have left to do.

I remember growing up as a kid in this community attending schools in the Oregon Trail School District. I remember learning in school about race relations, history and equality. I remember sitting in Brian Rausch’s class and listening to our nation’s history of civil rights in the way only he could teach. Like many of you, I also remember debating the issues of the day in Bert Key’s civics classes.

While in school, we were left with the sense that as Americans we had made mistakes, but everything was going to be different now. That all of the racism and discrimination would come to an end with our generation. For some, that fantasy came crashing down the day we witnessed that tragic scene through our screens.

We now had to face the reality that not only are we not going to see the end of these injustices in our lifetimes, our children would likely never see it in theirs either. For others, it was a stark reminder of the fear and intimidation they experience in their lives every day.

It is for these reasons that I strongly support and agree with our neighbors who have decided to speak out for the equality of black, indigenous and people of color in a peaceful manner.

The events that surround the murder of George Floyd at the hands of those who serve to protect us has rocked our nation to its very core, as it should. Our country, state and local communities, like Sandy, still have a lot of work left to do. Peaceful protests like the ones our neighbors have engaged in are an important first step in a dialogue that I hope leads to positive reflection and action. Additionally, our first amendment rights of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble go to the very core of what makes this country so great.

I also think it is important to point out that these neighbors of ours have decided to identify themselves separately from and chart a different more localized course than the national Black Lives Matter organization. Their name is The Stand-Up Movement and while they’re still figuring out their policy platform, decreasing or abolishing the police budget is not one of them. From my initial conversation with leaders of the group, they want to enhance the livability and wonderful experiences Sandy affords to all of us. They want to make sure those experiences are inclusive and equitable for all of our neighbors.

I am proud of how our neighbors participating in The Stand-Up Movement have proven their peaceful intentions. I have also been proud of how other neighbors have shown up in peaceful solidarity to ensure no violence and looting occurs, like in other larger more urban communities.

The support for our local Sandy Police Department has also been terrific. Like all of you, I am proud of our Sandy Police Department and the work our officers have done to become an integral part of our community. Their coordination with the leaders of The Stand-Up Movement to ensure the safety of all our neighbors is just a recent example of the exemplary work our local law enforcement officers have come to be known for here in Sandy. My understanding is that there is to be a rally in mid-July held by neighbors to show the much-deserved support for the officers. That’s outstanding.

I speak often about what a special place Sandy is to both grow up and raise your own family. We must work together to make sure those special qualities are extended to all of our neighbors who live here now and in the future. Together, we’ll keep Sandy wonderful for everyone.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Trying new things and staying healthy by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2020

We are not out of the woods yet. New Zealand sought to eliminate COVID-19 rather than merely “contain” the virus and had very few deaths per capita as a result. They did widespread testing for the disease and had strict lockdown policies. The more “industrial” nations (U.S., U.K., Italy, France) did less testing and had increased per capita deaths. Americans appreciate our freedoms, but where do we draw the line? Our own president refused to wear a mask even when there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the White House.

Many believe the way to control disease lies in what kind of a field the germ (be it bacteria or virus) lands on. That “field” is your God-given body. The trick then appears to be to get healthy and stay as healthy as possible. Focus on the person, not the disease.

The vital force is that magic, that magic that makes us “alive.” We need to maximize essentials of health – good appetite, digestion and elimination; good sleep and moods; remove conditions such as pain and stressors. We can start with the basics – six to eight glasses of water per day, good food (fresh, organic – not packaged), adequate sleep (seven to 10 hours per night), sunshine (15 minutes per day) and movement (five minutes every hour or 30 minutes two or three times per week). If these seem too simple, ask yourself how many people you know who are even doing these simple things.

Simple things, like adequate sleep, can mean it’s easier for your body to stave off infections. Fifteen minutes a day of sunshine to your upper chest (where the thymus gland lives) goes a long way towards giving you a faster response to any infections. If you have trouble remembering these simple things, write them on your daily “to-do” list – how much water, how many servings of vegetables, etc. to get in the day.

During the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that devastated Europe and America, those patients who were exposed to fresh air and sunshine fared better than those who were more confined. Pandemics tend to occur every 10-20 years. In 1957 it was the Asian Flu, 1968 Hong Kong Flu, 1978 Russian Flu and so on. We still need to maintain some social distance, but more important is maintaining our health.

While maintaining social distance, I’ve watched shoppers coming out of upscale health markets carrying homogenized milk, sugared drinks and white bread. All of these are foods you should try to avoid if you want to maintain health. Lower your body’s inflammatory responses with green tea and a more plant-based diet. Avoid trans fatty acids as these raise triglycerides which increase insulin resistance leading to pre-diabetic conditions.

I know many are hurting for income, but sometimes buying the cheapest food possible is not the wisest choice. Healthcare is way more expensive than food. A bunch of carrots with the tops still on is way cheaper per pound than a plastic bag or box of whittleddown carrots. And there’s no garbage generated. The outer portion of a carrot has much more nutrition than the core. Cut off the tops of your carrots before you store them so they don’t dehydrate in your refrigerator. Carrots are healthier cooked than raw! The less contact with water, the better. Cook or steam them whole and slice and dice them after cooking. Serve them with a source of good quality fat (olive oil, butter) so they will have the 25 percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound.

Potatoes are a popular vegetable in the U.S. and around the world. Purple (yes, purple) potatoes are more nutritious than white or Russet and can lower hypertension enough to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack by 20-34 percent. Potatoes are not all bad. To avoid the high glycemic rush associated with potatoes, cook them then chill them overnight and reheat them later. This will decrease your glycemic response by as much as 25 percent. Then to slow digestion sprinkle potatoes with vinegar as the English do or consume them with mustard as the French do. It’s better for you than sugared ketchup.

Since it’s strawberry season, you should know that strawberries are one of the most pesticide contaminated fruits in the U.S. There can be traces of as many as 60 different agricultural chemicals on strawberries. So, buy organic whenever possible. Saving a few pennies may not be worth it. Organic strawberries have more vitamin C and more cancer fighting nutrients than conventionally grown strawberries. Shop farm markets to find local, organic berries and be sure to thoroughly wash any that aren’t.

I generally recommend only one to two fruits per day unless it’s extremely hot. Choose organic as much as possible. Make a fruit salad with three to five kinds of fruit and add nuts, seeds, fresh mint or basil, lemon or lime juice. If you must add sugar, use date sugar or honey as these have a modicum of nutritional value whereas white sugar has none.

People are fond of saying they “don’t like” something (fish, garlic, whatever) but try something new each time you go to the market. Maybe just one fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried. You may find something you like. When did you last have chicory, kohlrabi or Lamb’s quarters? They’re out there! Seek and you shall find them!

Food like fireworks by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2020

Happy Fourth of July!! May your meal get as many ooohs and ahhhs as the fireworks!!


Red, white and blue potato salad

2 lbs. red potatoes, peel on

1 t salt plus more for potato cooking water

1 t pepper

2 scallions, sliced

1 T Dijon mustard

½ cup blue cheese crumbled

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs hard boiled and sliced

2 bacon slices baked crisp and chopped (optional, but why wouldn’t you?)

½ cup sliced black olives

In a large pot bring potatoes and two quarts of water with about ¼ cup of salt to a rolling boil, cover with a lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender for about eight minutes. Drain water off and let potatoes cool slightly then slice. Add the dressing while potatoes are still warm.

Dressing: In a large bowl add next seven ingredients and whisk until smooth, then add warm sliced potatoes and remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

 

Orange chicken satay

1 lb. chicken breast tenders cubed, thawed if frozen

½ cup orange marmalade

½ cup soy sauce

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 t sesame seed oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove smashed

½ t fresh ginger peeled and minced

12 bamboo skewers soaked in water or orange juice

Salt and pepper

Place the orange marmalade, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, garlic clove and red pepper flakes into a small saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let simmer until thickened, approximately five to ten minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at least five minutes.

Reserve ¼ cup of marinade for a glaze. Marinade the chicken in the rest of the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours.

Skewer the chicken and grill on med high for about three minutes on each side or until cooked through. Drizzle the glaze onto the skewers in the last minute or so of cooking. Sprinkle cooked chicken with sesame seeds (optional).

 

Easy peach raspberry galette

1 lb. peeled & sliced peaches

1 pint raspberries

1 T sanding or coarse sugar

1 tube sugar cookie dough

1 T corn starch

2 T orange juice

Whipped cream

Open the package and slice the cookie dough into quarter-inch rounds, place some of them on a cookie sheet or pizza stone in a 12-inch circle pressing the spaces together so that the circle is solid.

In a large bowl mix the juice, cornstarch and fruit. Pile onto middle of cookie dough circle, place remaining cookie dough rounds on top of fruit in a concentric circle leaving the top exposed. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream.

Dying without a will by Paula Walker on 07/01/2020

My first article written for the Mountain Times in 2018 reported the results of a Gallup poll conducted in 2016 showing that only 44 percent of Americans reported having a will and that the trajectory was downward, i.e. that percentage was down from 51 percent in 2005. Given that the results of a 2019 survey by one source, that deals with assisted living and elder care, reports the trend continues downward decreasing by nearly 25 percent since 2017, I thought it a good topic to discuss the rules of intestacy succession. What happens in Oregon to your assets if you die without an “asset transition instrument” of any sort, i.e. a will or a living trust? What are the rules governing how the State determines who gets what from your estate.

What follows is oversimplified, because, as with all things in law, everything “depends” on the particular circumstances of a given situation, in this case an individual’s life, relationships and circumstances, that play out in expected and unexpected legal interpretations. In other words, there are legal nuances to be determined in each of the steps evaluating who receives what and in what percentage.

Still it provides an initial sense of the hierarchy the state follows in determining who stands to receive what you have and in what measure if you leave this world without making a clear, and legally supportable transition of your assets, designating who is in charge of following through with that plan.

Initially, the state looks to determine your immediate family. If you have a spouse, that spouse is first in line to receive everything. If you have no spouse and you have children, your children will receive everything. If you have a spouse and children, if all the children are your children together, then your spouse still receives everything. However, if any of your children, i.e. your descendants, are with someone other than your spouse, your assets are divided between your spouse and your descendants. Then the circle widens from your immediate family. If you have no spouse and no children, if one or both of your parents survive you, they receive everything. Finding no living parent(s), your assets will be divided amongst your siblings, if you have any, or their descendants if your siblings predecease you. Finding no siblings, or their descendants, your assets will be distributed to your grandparents if they survive you, or their descendants. So, as you see it can get very involved finding who has the legal right to receive your assets when you have not made that clear.

Stories of the Stars, If Only…

Who gets what and how much from an estate of a wealthy individual has been the stuff of many entertaining legal battles – for those of us not involved, that is. And the estate of billionaire Howard Hughes, provides us with no less entertainment than the many in the annals of the wealthy who depart without an estate plan in place. An excerpt from an article by David Margolick of the New York Times from Oct. 5, 1997 speculating on the results of a battle that spanned 10 years, involving more than a thousand participants, gives a wry summation of the obsessed, complex, seemingly tortured personality we’ve come to know of Howard Hughes who died without so much as a simple will in place.

“Howard Hughes… didn't like anybody very much. He hated doctors. He fought with lawyers. He despised his relatives. And most of all, he loathed tax collectors. And yet these were the folks who laid their hands on his vast estate – in part because no one could ever find a bona fide Hughes will directing the money somewhere else . . . [and yet] . . . Howard Hughes's power to do something worthwhile with his billions . . . somehow survived the lawyers, the relatives, the leeches, the fakers and Hughes himself [because his most valuable asset, Hughes Aircraft was owned by a charity, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, incorporated in the state of Delaware]. ‘Howard Hughes, whatever he may have been, has left something of value to all American People’ the Attorney General of Delaware … declared after the divvying up. ‘But I just don't think that was ever his intention.’”


Photo by Gary Randall
Summer offers nighttime photography by Gary Randall on 06/01/2020

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 shutter 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. This will depend on how dark the sky is. Remember that the darker the sky, the brighter the stars, therefore 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. What is Iso? You know that 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 that one must remember when setting up is that in the dark it’s more difficult, or in many cases 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.

Viewpoints – Salem: Protecting farmworkers by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2020

As our state starts down its path toward reopening, I am mindful of the ongoing risk that the coronavirus poses. Of course, those of us who have been practicing physical distancing within the state will be exposed to possible infection when we venture back out into our communities.

However, I’m also paying close attention to the large wave of newcomers that have already begun entering our state to perform essential services for our state’s economy: I’m talking, of course, about migrant farmworkers.

Oregon is home to about 160,000 farmworkers every year, and a significant number of them work in House District 52, in orchards, nurseries and elsewhere. These essential workers come to our beautiful district to help make sure the food grown here gets to markets and to our families’ dinner tables. They are critical to the supply chain of the food we all eat. They often live in close quarters and work long hours with limited access to hand washing and other preventive health measures. Many of these essential workers don’t speak the same language as their employers or even many of their coworkers. All of this creates an unprecedented challenge to our state as we work to avoid the outbreaks that other states have seen in meat packing plants and other food processing facilities.

I support farmworker advocates’ petition for new emergency rules from Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect these workers from catching and transmitting the coronavirus. I have said from the outset that our state and federal governments need to help farmers cover the costs of complying with those rules.

I’m proud that the state of Oregon came through: after a series of conversations that I was happy to be a part of, almost $30 million of our state’s discretionary CARES Act funding will be dedicated to help cover the costs of keeping our agricultural workforce safe and healthy through the pandemic. In this crisis, it has become clearer than ever: our food system depends on collaboration between farmworkers and farmers, and it requires that we protect the health and well-being of this critical work force. Without this investment, our state’s agricultural economy would face additional risks beyond the export challenges and increased costs we’ve seen recently.

Still, while Congress gave states some discretion in how to spend its first round of relief funds, other federal officials have undermined efforts to protect workers’ health. The White House has declared that farmworkers are “essential” to our economy while refusing to require safety regulations to protect them, and actively working to cut migrant farmworkers’ pay. It’s long past time for the federal government to step up and provide protective equipment and testing, not just for farmworkers, but for all businesses that are beginning to reopen and workers who are returning to work.

I’m thrilled that Oregon is doing our part to keep essential farmworkers healthy and protect our communities in the process. As we know, our community is strongest when we look out for our neighbors, and the security of our food systems and our economy depend on thoughtful implementation of these updated public health guidelines.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are healthy and well, however you’re responding to the ongoing nature of this pandemic. If you need help accessing resources, please reach out to my office by emailing Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov. As a social worker and legislator, I am grateful to be able to serve our district at this time.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: The place for grub by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 06/01/2020

As the Governor begins to lift her Stay-At-Home order and Sandy’s local dining and entertainment businesses begin to open back up, there is one misnomer that I’ve consistently heard in the past that I would like to clear up about our community. I constantly hear that we do not have enough good dining options in Sandy. That is simply not true.

First and foremost, and while this is not at all an all-encompassing list, we are the community of iconic establishments such as Joe’s Doughnuts, Tollgate Inn, Paola’s Pizza Barn, No Place Saloon and Mountain Mocha.

Have you seen the newer additions to our dining scene? Brady’s Brats & Burgers, Scooters, Boring Brewing and Le Happy? These places are fantastic, and you can bring the entire family.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertainment at places like Sandy Family Restaurant/Ria’s and Stephanie’s Café are simply terrific.

Like pizza? Grab and go or dine in, you’ve got Wallstreet and Sparky’s. Dinner and a movie? Smokey Hearth is a must. Thai? Thai Home and Try My Thai restaurants are unbelievable. Chinese? Double Dragon and Golden Key are delicious. You like craft beer where everyone knows your name? The Beer Den and Bunsenbrewer are among places to be. Do you enjoy a good glass of wine? Alder Tree Vineyard, Buddha Kat Winery and Boring Winery and Taproom are wonderful places to find yourself. Especially on a spring or summer evening.

Have you seen the improvements people are making to their buildings downtown in Sandy? Look how nice some of the fast food restaurants look after their “Sandy Style” remodels. Does the remodeled Best Western look good or what? How about that Safeway remodel? People are reinvesting in our community. I think that’s awesome.

Whether you want a night out with a good dinner and drinks, a cool “dive bar” hangout, a coffee meeting at local nonprofit AntFarm, lunch or a quick grab and go at our Sandlandia food carts - there is absolutely zero reason why we’re not dining local right here in Sandy.

Our community has vastly upgraded dining and entertainment experiences and it’s only getting better. We have Sandy Transit services and a local business hub trolley shuttle to help you get around, and all of our businesses are powered with access to first class amenities such as internet powered by SandyNet, our lightning fast internet service.

Whether you’re catching dinner and a movie on Champion Way, hanging at the Local Buzz getting a haircut, letting the kids burn off energy at Wippersnappers, taking a date night at Red Shed Public House or La Bamba or walking down Pioneer or Proctor Blvd’s - Sandy’s the place to be. We are all doing our job to Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Recreation can be confusing in the time of COVID-19 by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2020

Some of my earliest memories are of playing outside, in the yard at first, and then in the field at the end of the road. Though the field was perhaps five acres, it was a vast wilderness for me as a five-year-old. Its narrow game trails became my own, the shrubby hedge with its green tunnels my castle, the majestic oaks at one end the guardians of my kingdom. And it was all accessible — by tricycle.

My first memory of recreation beyond my neighborhood was a campground at Yosemite National Park, where my parents and brother and I slept on the ground wrapped in blankets — we had little camping gear aside from a brand-new Coleman stove and an ice chest. The aroma of frying bacon and wood smoke on the chilly mountain air was intoxicating. As a six-year-old, the trails to the park’s awesome waterfalls, wading in the Yosemite River, and eating meals by a campfire made for an adventure far beyond any I had known.

My first car, a 1964 Pontiac Tempest station wagon — a sport utility vehicle, as far as I was concerned — took me all across western North America. I kept camping gear in the back so I could strike out for a national forest or state or county park on a whim, after school or work.

When I told my parents that I would go to college not to study engineering or business, but forestry, I wondered why they were surprised.

We Hoodlanders have an amazing wealth of recreation opportunities right in our back yard. Or at least we did until so many sites were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I miss those places. Personally, I think many of the sites can be safely re-opened, with guidelines for visitors such as those issued by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department when it reopened some state parks: bring all supplies — food, water, hand sanitizer — needed for a short trip, wear a face covering in congested areas, stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t from your household and so on.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reopened the Sandy Ridge Trail System on May 9 — it is a very popular place for mountain biking. At this writing, the Wildwood Recreation Site is open only to people on foot. A sign at the gate on May 13 read, “Wildwood has been temporarily closed to motor vehicle access. Restrooms are closed and portable toilets have been positioned in family picnic, trailhead, and group areas. Please practice social distancing, hand sanitizing, and other recommendations from the CDC. These are difficult times. Stay safe and healthy.” I wish the BLM would open the gates, so people don’t have to park along the highway, but I’m glad that the policies for using the park are clear.

The BLM’s website states that “Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.”

On March 19, the Mount Hood National Forest (MHNF) closed all campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, OHV areas, Sno-Parks, cabin rentals and other developed recreation sites. In theory, other areas on the forest are open, but signs on Forest Road 19 (Mountain Drive) and at the gate to Old Maid Flats don’t say so, nor does the MHNF’s web site. The signs say, “Following guidance from the centers for disease control and prevention and recommendations from state and local public health authorities, the Forest Service is temporarily closing this location to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).” This is confusing. The three campgrounds and several trailheads on the flats are developed recreation sites, but other trails, roads, and woods certainly aren’t “developed.” Was I technically violating a regulation by walking past the sign and onto the flats? I wish the Forest Service had made it clear that National Forest lands remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.

It’s easy to opine that these lands ought to be reopened. Doing so would bring more folks to The Mountain, thus increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 locally. On the other hand, the local businesses that are open seem to be handling the pandemic well enough. At Thriftway, for example, employees wear masks and Plexiglas shields separate cashiers from customers.

As our recreation sites reopen, site managers will need to provide clear information about what is required of visitors — and what is off limits.

Recreation in forests and on rangelands still calls to me. I don’t keep camping gear in my SUV, a 21-year-old Ford Explorer, but I head for a trail or a campground as often as work and family obligations — and COVID-19 closures — allow. An hour or two on a trail or a couple of days in a campground never seem like enough.

Have a question about forest recreation? A suggestion for a future column topic? Want to buy a map of super-secret dispersed camping sites? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Genuine food and finding the fundamental natural rhythms of life by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2020

Genuine food is food that is grown with respect for the environment, the produce itself and the people who consume it. It implies the absence of chemicals and industrial processes. We call it “biodynamic” but most of the world grows food this way, just not in the United States. Maybe it’s why we are not the happiest nation in the world, nor the healthiest.

Last spring this column explored the Blue Zones of the Earth, those areas where the people were known to live a long time. Yet there are still many places on Earth where people live long, like several villages in Italy. Outside of these villages, the average lifespan for males is 75 years and 82 years for females. But in the Italian village of Campodimele, the average lifespan is 95 years for both males and females! It’s from lifestyle as much as anything. These people get up when the sun comes up and retire when it goes down, a rhythm in sync with nature that has been known to aid in longevity due to the healthful impact on melatonin levels in the body. They all live in pure, mountain air, know the restorative powers of sunlight (anti-bacterial for the immune system, increased levels of vitamins that decrease depression) and they live by nature’s tranquil rhythms, not the frazzle dazzle we’ve been known to experience.

This does not mean life is always tranquil. If you want to live a long time, you have to work at it, not the least of which lies in what you choose to eat. Not only in growing your own food, but in eating what’s fresh and in season, foraging some and not eating packaged food. In a garden there is always something to do! With food, if you put energy in, you will get health out.

I moved to Oregon in 1970 to a 100-acre farm. Before making the major decision to move here, I had dinner on a farm owned by the family of friends. At this farm in rural Oregon, everything, repeat everything, on the table came from the farm we were on – the main dish, the sweet peas and the potatoes, the home-baked bread and home-churned butter. It was enough to make a person swoon. But when coffee was served (the only purchased item), they asked if I’d like cream, then pulled a gallon jar of cream out of the refrigerator. That was the moment I decided to move to Oregon.

So we moved from a gorgeous home in Marin County, Calif. to a dilapidated farm in rural Oregon where you could literally peek through the walls to the outside. But I learned the value of leading a seasonal life. If we didn’t grow it, we didn’t eat it. Food was picked daily, in season and prepared within hours (sometimes minutes) of the harvest. There was an incredible abundance, as you may just be experiencing now.

In villages or areas conducive to feelings of community, people talk to each other in real life. We’d talk while shucking corn in an old barn with owls in the rafters. Talk to the check-out person, the postal workers, even strangers (if you’re an adult). Make someone’s day. Perhaps this accounts for the success of the farmers’ markets. Don’t shove elders off if you can help it. Get out in nature as much as possible, at least 15 minutes a day if we’re not having the most horrible weather. Sunlight on the thymus gland (your upper chest) is good for the immune system.

I went from that 100-acre farm through a circuitous route (a death, divorce, disease) to a five-acre small-holding where money was more of a problem, but I learned to waste nothing. I once knew someone who threw away mushroom stems (you can dry them), celery leaves (dry them, too) and even stale bread (Panzanella salads, unless you have critters to feed). A hundred years ago land supplied the only form of income, or at least a way to eat.

During and after World War II, many people didn’t have enough food and there was much hunger in the European villages. For many, the only food choices were beans and legumes (the pulses also known as “poor man’s meat”). Unless you lived on a farm – then there was meat, eggs and dairy, and tons of zucchini.

Genuine food is the antithesis of fast food. Time spent preparing food is an investment in health and happiness. Live life with a new/old philosophy where you celebrate food with gratefulness. You worked rather hard to get it. Spend time living with the fundamental natural rhythms of life.

Relief for your retirement by Paula Walker on 06/01/2020

The pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways and not the least of which has been our work life and the financial climate. Of the efforts the government is marshalling to provide relief as we recover and the economy recovers, there are two pieces of legislation, one enacted and one currently in review in the Senate, the CARES Act and the HEROES Act, respectively. Both have elements that do, or may if enacted, directly impact our retirements savings plans, IRAs, 401(k)s and their ilk, and inherited retirement accounts.

The CARES Act, (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), a giant relief package totaling more than $2 trillion, signed into law March 27 to support American businesses, hospitals and individuals, provided significant changes to the rules for retirement account holders’ required minimum distributions (RMDs). RMDs are suspended for 2020. This allows retirees and inheritors of their plans to leave these investments alone for a year to reap the benefit of the potential recovery from the market downturn. This also makes Roth conversions easier because retirees will not have to take out their RMDs before making the conversion. Those who have experienced a coronavirus adversity, or have been diagnosed with the virus, have the ability to take a withdrawal of up to $100,000 from their retirement account, without incurring the 10 percent penalty tax if doing so before the age of 59 and a half. This draw can come from an IRA which does not usually allow loans to be taken, as well as from other retirement plans that do, and take up to three years to repay the loan.

The HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions), a bill that has passed the House and is now in review by the Senate, could be another gigantic relief package totaling more than $3 trillion. While it is aimed more at providing relief to state and local governments, frontline healthcare workers and other specific groups and programs, it also has provisions that could impact individuals’ retirement accounts. If passed, it could address a few of the gaps in the CARES Act handling of RMDs. For instance, the CARES Act allows account owners to skip their 2019 RMDs if it is their first year to make those RMDs. All well and good if you did not withdraw before the CARES Act was enacted, but what if you did? Under the current law an owner has the option to rollover a withdrawal into an IRA, thereby avoiding the taxable distribution in 2020 if the rollover is done within 60 days of making the RMD. But again – what if you missed that window? If passed, the HEROES Act would suspend RMDs for all 2019 not just for those first time RMDs due, and it would waive the 60-day rollover rule for 2019 and most of 2020. Thus, people could potentially reclaim the RMDs paid out and put them back into the shelter of their retirement plan and do a tax adjustment when filing for the taxes that would have been incurred. This is all speculative right now. Based on the Senate’s determination of the bill before them this may or may not become a reality to act upon.

There is much more detail to this that may apply to you.

The most important take-away from any information provided here is to consult your financial advisor and tax accountant if you have investments in qualified retirement plans, to develop a strategy that may provide you some benefit and turn some of this pandemic mayhem into some advantage.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes… ” a variation on the famous, oft repeated quote from Benjamin Franklin in his letter to French physicist Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1790. The statement holds as true today as when it was first written. And sometimes those two certainties coincide, as in the case of Joe Robbie who died in 1990 owning 85 percent of the Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins home stadium. His intention that the business would remain in the family was thwarted by family feuds and an estate tax liability. Until 2015, the NFL did not permit trusts to own any part of an NFL franchise. This placed a heavy burden on the owner’s estate taxes for an illiquid but appreciating asset. The result for Robbie’s legacy is that in 1994 the estate sold the ownership of the Dolphins and the stadium for $109 million, $43 million of which went to pay estate taxes. A mere fifteen years later the team and the stadium sold for a whopping $1 billion…

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.

Strawberry season! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2020

Get them while they are at the peak of perfection, add them in almost any recipe for a sweet tart pop of color and flavor.

Strawberry creme scones

These are luscious and melt in your mouth thanks to the addition of lots of butter and cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1T baking powder

1 cup cold diced unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup cream or Half & Half

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1t sea or kosher salt (fine)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1t vanilla extract.

Heat the oven to 365F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk together the egg, vanilla and cream. Cut butter into dry ingredients making large crumbs, stir in the cream mixture until just moistened, then fold in the strawberries. I use a two-inch ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking tray, leaving two inches in between the scones. Bake 14-16 minutes until lightly golden.

For the icing, whisk together until smooth:

4oz cream cheese at room temp

4oz softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1t vanilla extract

Ice once cooled.

 

Strawberry jalapeño BBQ sauce

1 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1T oil

1t salt

1/2t pepper

1t stone ground mustard

2 jalapeños, chopped/seeded

1T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup water

In a saucepan heat oil, add onion, garlic, jalapeños and strawberries. Cook on medium heat five minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Photography close to home by Gary Randall on 05/01/2020

If you are like most of us, you have been spending a lot of time around the house lately. We can only spend so much time working or doing chores before we start to try to figure out something that will occupy our creative minds between obligations. I like to give my mind a break by taking time to be creative. As photographers, and creatives, we have a lot of options for making some creative artistic images at home.

Macro Photography – Macro photography is a type of photography that involves photographing small things. It is Springtime and the flowers are blooming and the bugs are starting to crawl. They both make excellent subjects for macro photos. You do not necessarily need a lens that is made specifically for macro if you have a zoom lens that will shoot at a focal length of about 90mm or more. Something that I like to do with flowers is to take a spray bottle and spray water drops on the flowers. I also like the look of a shallow depth of field. Using an open aperture and getting close to your lens will create a soft feel around the narrow-focused area in your shot. Give it a try.

Abstract Photography – Everyone knows about abstract painting, but abstract images can be created with your camera too. An observant eye can find patterns and textures that could be interpreted as impressionistic paintings. Structural shapes, angles and patterns can be framed in a beautiful yet abstract way. Not only are you able to create abstracts by observing your surroundings but you can use the camera adjustments to alter the reality of the scene. Something that I enjoy doing is to extend the shutter speed to a second or more and move the camera to create patterns of movement. This technique is called Intentional Camera Movement. Try varying the degree of focus. Shoot into the sunshine through leaves. Be creative.

Portraiture – Portraiture Photograph your family or your pets. Artful portraiture is something that can challenge you. Try using your family members or your pets as subjects for your photos. Be mindful of the background and consider the lighting on your subject. Some beautiful portraits can be made using the light that comes in from a window. Set up a sheet as a backdrop and use shop lights with a fabric or some translucent paper in front to reduce the harshness of the light. Be creative.

The best thing about a digital camera is that we are not limited on how many photos there are on a roll of film. This allows us to just get lost in taking photos. It allows us to experiment. You can take a photo, preview it, correct or change a setting and try it again. It allows you to be able to occupy yourself creating artistic images all day. So, do not despair if you are agonizing about not being able to get out and take photos like you would like to. Play and practice close to home in the meantime.


Contributed photo.
The lesson of Paradise: act now to save your house by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2020

Imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County – say, in the Bull Run watershed or between Rhododendron and Government Camp. There’s smoke in the air. You’re concerned, but the fire is a couple of miles away and firefighters are working to control it. And then burning embers start raining down. Your worry turns to panic as the embers ignite fir needles and dead leaves around your house – and the bone-dry debris in your gutters. Your only choice is to escape while you can as your house burns to the ground.

Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Something like a scene from a movie? Something that can’t happen here in wet, green Oregon?

Wrong.

Take a look at the photo on this page. It was taken from a drone shortly after the Camp Fire destroyed much of Paradise, Calif., in November 2018. The image shows the remains of some of the thousands of homes destroyed by the fire. In all, more than 19,000 homes, condominiums, apartments and commercial buildings were destroyed or severely damaged in the space of a few hours. Notice the green trees and shrubs amidst the ashes? Embers fell on them and filtered to the ground. Embers also fell on the houses, ignited pine needles in gutters, under decks, or on the ground near the walls, and the houses burned. Some of the trees were scorched by the heat of the burning buildings, but many of them survived.

Does your home have a chance of surviving an onslaught of flying embers? Of flames that burn though the woods in and around your neighborhood?

If you take action now, you can give your house that chance – not a guarantee, but a chance of surviving a wildfire.

After the fire in Paradise, analysis by the McClatchy news service found that more than half of the single-family homes built after 2008, when California updated its building code to help make structures more likely to survive wildfires, survived the Camp Fire. Only 18 percent of the homes built prior to 2008 remained intact. The new building code required houses to have  fire-resistant roofs, exterior walls, decks and so on.

If your house has metal or asphalt shingle roof, as most houses in the heartland area do, you already have an advantage. However, wooden siding and decks can be a disadvantage. In that case, there is much you can do to increase your home’s chances of survival.

Websites such as the National Fire Protection Association’s firewise.org and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s readyforwildfire.org offer a wealth of information on preparing your house and property for wildfire. Hoodland Fire District also has information and a helpful video on creating a “defensible space” around your home (hoodlandfire.us).

Start by performing regular cleaning and maintenance on the house itself, especially when dry weather is in the offing. Clean debris from accumulating in gutters, roof valleys, behind chimneys, and along walls. Install eighth-inch metal mesh screens on attic and foundation vents; small embers can easily pass through mesh with quarter-inch or larger holes.

Next, remove flammable vegetation and other materials within five feet of the house. Rake fallen fir needles cones, leaves, and branches in that five-foot zone down to bare earth. That includes bark dust and mulch—when dry, it can burn. Better yet, place a layer of gravel around the house and keep it clear of debris. Is your firewood stacked up against the house? Move it.

Once you’ve cleared that five-foot immediate zone, work on the intermediate zone, between 5 feet and 30 feet from your home. Remove live and dead “ladder fuels” so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune branches that hang over or near the house – keep them at least ten feet from the house.

Beyond that 30-foot zone, out to 100 feet or more, especially if your property is sloped, remove small conifers growing between mature trees and thin larger trees so that there is at least 12 feet of clear space between them.

These are just a few of the steps you can take. Visit the websites I mentioned for more information.

Still not convinced here at risk from wildfire, even a distant one? Remember the Eagle Creek Fire that burned in the Columbia River Gorge in 2017? The fire burned on the Oregon side of the river, but at least two spot fires were created when large embers rose into the air and drifted across the Columbia River into Washington, more than two miles away.

Take advantage of the time you have while self-quarantined during the Covid-19 pandemic to get started. Come on, you know you need the exercise anyway.

Viewpoints – Salem: Exercising care in a return by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2020

It’s been almost two months since Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon, and about seven weeks since the World Health Organization officially declared a global pandemic. This span of time has been filled with unprecedented levels of stress, and though it has been different for each of us, I would venture to guess that it hasn’t been easy for anyone. For me, it has been a struggle to address the needs of the many people who depend on me, whether family, students or constituents; others have struggled just as hard to find a way to occupy their time or to keep themselves content. Many people are worried about their jobs, their ability to pay the bills or their access to health insurance. Some people’s lives have been occupied by a fear of the virus or the reality of its health impacts on them or their loved ones; for others, the relatively small number of cases in our state has begged the question, “was social distancing even necessary?”

To be clear, social distancing was not an overreaction: instead, it is the reason some now find themselves with the luxury of thinking we may have overreacted. Without the strong measures imposed in our state, experts agree that we would face very different prospects for our economy, our health care infrastructure and our hopes of returning to normal life. Even with the relative success we have achieved through social distancing, many challenges lie ahead. Very few of us have gained immunity to the virus, and it remains unclear whether the few who have been infected will remain immune in the long term. As of the time I’m writing this, no effective treatments for the virus have been developed, and a vaccine is still at least a year away. Our best defenses are still vigilance and caution: even after the state “reopens,” we will not return to life as we knew it in December or January.

I have spent most of my hours during this pandemic thinking about the pain and loss people are facing, and will continue to face, as our economy reels. Yet still, the steps we take to reopen must be taken slowly and carefully. We can’t safely take our first steps toward that goal until our state’s case count has dropped, we see fewer people with suspicious symptoms, and the rate of new infections has fallen. We also need to increase our testing capacity, our ability to trace contacts and contain new outbreaks, and our supply of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers.

Our first steps toward reopening will probably look a lot like our current way of life: we will continue to stress the importance of handwashing, of face coverings and of staying home when you feel at all ill. We will still need to limit our travel and to avoid unnecessary physical contact with others. We will continue to forego handshakes in favor of the awkward “elbow bump.” As they reopen for non-remote work, businesses will need to take care that employees aren’t exhibiting symptoms of illness and will need to be generous with allowing sick time. Restaurants and bars will need to limit the number of people admitted for seating and maintain a safe distance between tables and chairs. People who loosen their own social distance from friends and loved ones will still need to gather in small groups and limit the size of their social circles to minimize the risk of passing on the virus.

The last two months have been chaotic, and they have taken a tremendous toll on our state, on our communities and on each of us individually. I am as eager as anyone to put this crisis behind us. Unfortunately, that is not a simple task. If we don’t exercise extreme care as we inch back toward our normal way of life, we will find ourselves having to return to this one: isolated from one another, worrying about what lies ahead and dreaming of a return to our former routines. I hope you will join me in optimistically awaiting a post-COVID-19 Oregon, and in expecting and accepting that we will need to endure many challenges before we get there.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: In this together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 05/01/2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, many of Sandy’s iconic events that so many of our neighbors look forward to each spring and summer have been forced to cancel. Sadly, this is a year that we won’t be enjoying such incredible annual events as the annual Sandy Fire Pancake breakfast, Kiwanis Easter Egg hunt in Meinig Memorial Park and our beloved Sandy Mountain Festival.

While it is true that 2020 will be a year that many of us think back to the community events we are not able to enjoy, I believe it will also be a time that we remember neighbors coming together to uplift each other in our time of need.

I’ll think back to Kirsten Pitzer and her team at the Sandy Community Action Center working diligently to ensure access to food to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

I’ll think back to Machel Heldstab and her board at Sandy Helping Hands who stepped up to team with Sandy Transit to deliver groceries to those in need of assistance, as well as helped collect much needed supplies for local seniors.

Speaking of seniors, I’ll think back to our city staff and the way they’ve stepped up for Meals on Wheels delivery to Sandy-area seniors in the wake of us having to close the Sandy Senior Center. I’ll also remember how one of our longest Meals on Wheels volunteers contributed his and his wife’s federal economic stimulus money to go towards seniors in need.

I’ll think of our team at the Sandy Library and how they felt a need to provide their invaluable services and became the first in the Portland metro area to re-open and establish curbside service.

All of our city employees have been terrific. Whether it’s our team at City Hall, Public Services, Transit, Community Services, Police, Library, Planning or SandyNet - everyone has stepped up their “A” game during the crisis. It’s been incredible as they’ve adapted to the crisis and put together services to add economic relief for our local businesses.

I’ll think back to how we realized we have new patriots in our midst with our front-line workers in healthcare, grocery and many other essential services. The city has realized just how crucial SandyNet is to our way of life. It’s been so vital as our neighbors work, learn and entertain their families at home.

I’ll think back to our education system and how quickly our local teachers, administrators and school board leaders adapted to the change to provide our children with ongoing learning. I’ll also remember how much parents stepped up to make sure our community’s future continues to look bright.

I’ll remember how Sandy’s first responders continued to be heroic and display why they’re the very best in our community.

Most importantly, I’ll remember how our community came together to show everything I knew we were – special.

The months and year ahead will be difficult. This crisis will not end with the end of the stay at home order. There are many local businesses and employees that will feel the effects into the future. We will be tested, but we’ve been tested before and come out the other end.

Now more than ever, we need to intentionally dine and shop local. We need to donate to our local charitable nonprofits, service organizations and faith-based institutions.

Now more than ever your community needs you and you need your community. We’re in this together and I know that we’ll succeed. We’ll keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

A Meal for May by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2020

An easy and elegant meal for May and Mother’s Day. Oh momma! If anybody deserves a day of honor it’s you!

Blackened rockfish

Blackened seasoning: Mix together and set aside - 1T each garlic powder, salt, onion powder and 1 t each chili powder, black pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme.

2 T fresh chopped parsley

2 lbs. rock fish or another sustainable white fish

1 T each butter and olive oil

One lemon zest and juice

Heat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and dry the fish, and coat with about a t of seasoning on each side of a filet. In a large oven-safe skillet heat the oil over medium high/heat until hot (but not smoking), and carefully lay in filets cooking for around 4 minutes on one side. Do not move the fish as you want the seasonings to form the crust. Flip the fish using a spatula, add butter and lemon juice and zest to pan over the fish, place in hot oven until firm (about 6 minutes more)

 

Quinoa & Lentil medley

1 T butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 t sea salt

1/2 cup each zucchini & artichoke hearts (canned or frozen)

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup diced carrot and celery

1 cup lentils cooked al dente

1 cup uncooked quinoa

In a large stockpot add butter, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for five minutes. Add salt and pepper, quinoa, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and steam for ten minutes. Add in the veggies, cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the veggies and quinoa are tender.

Gardens offer security and a source of nutrition by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2020

In fixing the Earth with permanent agriculture, or permaculture, we begin the process of fixing ourselves. A pandemic is the embodiment of widespread disease (usually viral, as COVID-19 is), but it seems to me we’ve had pandemics of disease going on for years already, like cancer, chronic fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and the list goes on.

We have a nation (a world?) where 80 percent of citizens have insulin resistance and don’t even know it. Insulin resistance from so-called “convenience foods,” high sugar intake and decreased exercise.

After WWII, all those war chemicals had to go somewhere! Fresh foods diminished as people left the farms. Heavy marketing of shelf-stable junk foods became the norm. In the 1940s, pesticide and preservative use was virtually zero. In the 1950s, we had TV dinners and access to cheap food 24/7. Our ancestors never had such luxury, if you want to call it that.

Perhaps we can find a compromise. If you want good health (and who doesn’t?), you should grow your own food. When shelf-stable, industrial foods became available, nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools. It was abandoned in favor of pharmaceuticals. All doctors used to be “natural,” but after WWII the MDs no longer used or touted nutrition. This led to the break between MDs and NDs, and nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools, except the few remaining naturopathic ones. Even as late as the 1990s during my pre-med schooling, I literally had chemistry teachers saying that food had nothing to do with health!

There are many, many reasons to grow at least some of your own food. Its good exercise, good for your nutrition, saves money, can be shared and taught to the kids and is good for bees, soil and your soul. Among those many reasons are the feeling of being in control of your own well-being and realizing self-reliance.

Those of us who believed it was wise to be prepared for whatever disaster (earthquake, terrorism, tornado or war) already had a year’s worth of food stored. We were not the ones who panicked because of a “toilet paper shortage.” Even now, there are those people who have “enough” and rarely need to go to the grocery stores. Fewer outings means less exposure to any virus.

Lots of resources are available for learning to grow food, though seat-of-the-pants may be the best teacher. I was a neophyte during the 1970 back-to-the-land movement. I began by subscribing to Mother Earth News. Living on 100 acres with a new baby and no car meant it was time to learn to grow food. Maybe because of the proverbial beginner’s luck my first garden there produced 150 lettuce plants. What does one do with 150 lettuce plants? Besides making lettuce soup, which is delicious in the springtime, I sold my lettuce to the only local health food store, then owned by Ken Kesey’s family.

Now I still have thousands of different seeds, but I admit to trying to use up the older ones. Some seeds don’t keep well, notably onion seeds. Whether you have an apartment porch or a back 40, now is the time to seek out a modicum of self-reliance, rather than relying on stores that no longer have shelves that are filled to the brim. Even if you only have buckets or 100 square feet, you can grow a lot of food.

And fresh food is so much better for you. If you do go to a store, make smart purchases. Buying from bulk bins is liable to be fresher and cheaper than preservative-laden, over-packaged stuff on the shelves. In the same vein, make your own soups, stews and casseroles with leftovers. Calculate the price per pound to make sure this all makes sense to you. If you don’t cook, learn. All it takes is practice.

And if you don’t know how to garden, it’s time to learn. Again, all it takes is practice. If you are new to it, start with the easy stuff: beans and radishes, cukes and zukes. Then there are the can’t-kill-‘ems like Swiss chard and kale. Kale is over-priced and over-packaged in the stores, but pretty much guaranteed to grow in a bucket or your back yard. All it needs is a little sun and some water. Save the cooking water from your veggies and if you are not using it for soup stock, cool it and use it to water your plants. The extra nutrients in the cooking water will benefit your growing crops.

Seek guidance from your local and regional newspapers (like this one). Establish your purchasing choices now (do I need it, or just want it?). Grow what you are most likely to eat. Use locally abundant foods, like berries and filberts, and that ever-present health food, kale. Eat more plant-based foods, use up leftovers and use scissors to cut ribbons of green from your unsprayed dandelions. Eat in season or by reaping the abundance from your garden. Feel more secure by being prepared. The more you grow, the less you need to buy.

Tales (and Tails) of Trust by Paula Walker on 05/01/2020

We are thriving on smiles these days. Sharing things that make us grin to get us by; keep us focused on the things that matter; things of the heart, humor and happiness. And who better for that role for many of us then our furry, sometimes purry, companions. From Betty the Weather Cat whose cameo debut at the start of April with Indiana meteorologist Jeff Lyons, triggered an avalanche of letters from as far away as Australia — to a little Yorkie with a set of false teeth whose video went viral replete with his human friend and “cameraman” collapsing in laughter in the background.

Estate planning is, in large part, about taking care of our loved ones. For many of us those can include four legged companions. Of course not to imply that there may not also be non furry, non human companions that need our protection if we are not able to provide the care they are accustomed to, the care that we’ve lavished on them for the joy they lavish on us. All right – fair enough, there are those chewed shoes, indoor ‘oopsies’ and raids on the delicacies left on the kitchen counter. So maybe they teach us how to forgive as well as teaching us the many aspects of unconditional love that they bring to us.

Back to estate planning, an important consideration in creating an estate plan is the on going care of our chirping, purring, tail wagging, bridle wearing, lizard lounging non human companions. There are a number of means by which an estate plan can provide for these “family members.” They range from making sure that you have specifically designated someone in your family or a friend you know you can trust to give your animal companion a good home, someone who knows your companion and vice versa, to creating what is called a Pet Trust that provides for the on-going care of your companion(s) with the legal protections and oversight in place to ensure that the care continues according to your directives.

You want to consider providing for their care if you have a time of incapacity as well as providing for giving them a new home after you are no longer here, a home that understands their emotional needs as well attending to their various physical needs for shelter, comfort, exercise, proper diet, special needs and veterinary care. Your estate plan can provide the funds to support someone taking this responsibility for a limited time (incapacity) or as a permanent new home. Having someone at the ready to step in and take care of your companion(s) at a sudden time of incapacity, having the means to alert first responders that you have animals at home can forestall an extended time of deprivation that might otherwise happen to your companions, abandoned because in an emergency no one knows that there are those waiting at home for you.

One well-thought out program available to Oregonians is the Oregon Humane Society’s (OHS) Friends Forever Program. For any amount bequeathed in a Will or Trust to OHS, OHS commits to finding a home for your companion(s) for times of incapacity and after death. You incorporate this planned gift in your estate plan. Making the necessary communications of your intent to OHS assures you that the OHS will go into action immediately to receive your companions and find a placement based on the particulars for care that you have conveyed in your estate plan, where your companions will be cared for, in good hands, for a temporary stay or permanently, if you have such a need. Check out: https://legacy.oregonhumane.org/friends-forever and https://legacy.oregonhumane.org/ollie-and-rusty.

So, when you consult with an attorney to create your estate plan, remember the “other” family member(s) who fill your life with joy and maybe, a sense of purpose.

Betty the Weather Cat : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d98Rl49H91A and https://www.facebook.com/143109659110100/videos/247416563311566/

Yorkie with a big smile : https://nypost.com/2020/04/22/dog-steals-fake-teeth-runs-around-with-gigantic-smile-in-viral-video/

Stories of the Stars… If Only

And let us not forget those with feathers, not fur… taken from a 2015 Vanity Fair article about a “Manhattan woman” who left $100,000 and “very specific instructions” for the care of her “32 pet cockatiels — Wheetie, Port, Blackie, Zippy, Tara, Zara, Shasha, Pigeon, Victory, Alie, Zack 12, Dart, Cubby, Max, Baby, Ruthie, Pumpkin, Tattoo, Susie, Tracy, Margie, Sammy, Angel, Inky, Sara, Tunra, Tanteleah, Eva, Cody, Nicki, Avis and Dragon — along with her cat, Kiki, and dog, Frosty.”

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.


Organizing backups.
The View Finder: Seven Social Distancing Activities by Gary Randall on 04/01/2020

As I write this the whole world is dealing with and addressing a worldwide pandemic called Coronavirus – COVID-19. This is a serious situation that we all can affect. Social distancing and self-isolating has become a part of our lives. Those who are able to work from home are doing just that.

As photographers we can take this time to catch up with certain chores that are usually left for more opportune times. If you find yourself with some time on your hands during this odd time, I have a few suggestions for you to consider that will help you in the long run. Let's just call them chores – necessary chores that are easily put off for later. These really don't have to be unenjoyable, especially if there's really no rush.

So here you go...

Seven Things a Photographer Can Do While Social Distancing

Clean your camera and sensor – Dust bunnies sound cute and cuddly, but they're certainly no friend to the photographer. Most modern cameras have a self-cleaning feature that one can use for most common dust specks, but in time there will eventually accumulate more stubborn particles that will need to be dealt with a direct cleaning of the surface of the sensor.

Sensor cleaning sounds scary. We've all been warned how we could ruin our sensor if we do it wrong or have heard horror stories about how a friend ruined their camera for good trying to clean their sensor. And, in fact, the earlier methods of sensor cleaning could cause scratches if an abrasive dust particle was dragged across the surface of the sensor. I was scared for years to even try it until one day I decided to take an older camera that I had replaced with an upgraded body and attempt to clean the sensor. This sensor was terrible.

I had done some research into the different methods and kits available for one to clean their own sensor. I decided upon one that had a sticky pad that you would dab onto the surface of the sensor. It worked great and at this time it's the type of sensor cleaner that I would recommend.

But if you still are unable to build up the nerve to try this yourself you can still take some time to clean your camera body and lenses. Once this situation is resolved and we're all able to mix and mingle again, take your camera body to a camera shop and let them handle the sensor. It doesn't usually cost a lot.

Clean your lenses – Purchase some good lens cleaner spray and some soft cloths and take some time to carefully clean the front and back elements (glass part) of your lenses. While you're at it pull out your filters and do the same to them.

Clean and adjust your tripod – We don't think a lot about our tripod until it breaks or quits working. And when it does it's usually because we have neglected it. We've allowed the parts and pieces to corrode or to become out of adjustment.

Most all tripods have some sort of metal parts, be it a screw or the whole thing. Even carbon fiber tripods can have places where corrosive or abrasive material can hide. Saltwater and sand are the worst and it's recommended that you clean your tripod completely as soon as possible after getting it wet with saltwater. Aluminum can corrode quickly and make disassembly difficult. Rinse your tripod with fresh water right away and disassemble and clean it as soon as you can.

Disassembling your tripod can be a bit intimidating at first but once you do it once you'll remember the next time. Especially if you do it with a certain amount of frequency. If you're unsure of your ability to reassemble it, take photos as you disassemble it so that you have some reference when you put it back together again. You can do one leg at a time so that you have the others to reference.

Once it's apart wash and dry the pieces in fresh soapy water and then rinse and dry completely. Never use oil or WD-40 on your tripod as it will attract and adhere dirt particles which will hinder operation and wear the tripod out prematurely.

Calibrate your monitor – I've heard so many people complain that their photos, when viewed on a different computer or their phone, don't look the same as they did when they processed it on their computer. Sometimes the photo is darker or brighter than it looked or that the colors aren't right. There are times when someone is printing their photo and it comes back from the printer looking completely wrong.

Computer monitors need to be calibrated every so often. It's not a difficult chore to do but you will need to invest in a monitor calibration device. It's a good investment and once you buy one you will own it and use it forever. I use a Spyder 5 Pro but most all are good.

Organize and backup files – It's easy to come in from a trip out in the field and download all of your photos and then forget about them until you have time to process one or two. They can all add up and then left unattended, including backing them up. Redundancy isn't just a fun word to say, it's something that's important to a photographer when it comes to keeping their work secure for the future. Hard drives and memory cards fail. Accidents happen.

If you're anything like me, you will have ten times more unprocessed files than you will keepers. Create some hard drive space. Thin them out and backup the keepers. In addition to any hard drive backups consider uploading the master files for any photos that you process and finish to some cloud space. Most of us have some free space available to us from our cell phone providers, for instance. Secure some cloud space and create a folder in a file that contains the raw file, the finished processed file in a high resolution/non-lossy format such as PSD or TIFF and even your formatted jpegs for sharing on social media, etc. If you do that you won't need to worry about hours of uploading all of your files, good or bad, and you will have a secure copy of your finished photos, the most important ones.

Clean cards/charge batteries – Don't wait until the night before a shoot to clean your cards and check your battery charge. If you have multiple batteries, consider getting some small round sticky tags to stick onto the batteries that are charged so that you don't have to put the battery in the camera to check the charge. Take it off of the charger, tag it on the end. Once you use the battery take the sticker off of the end of the battery and stick it on the side so you know that it's been used and needs to be charged once you get back home.

Learn something new – What a great time to sit down in front of YouTube and pull up a few processing videos. YouTube can be a good place to learn something new or to completely run in the other direction, but you have the power to know if someone there aligns with your vision or not. Whether they have value in their video that you can use to make your photos better.

We have finally come to a place in photography where people understand that digital photos can be shot in a format that allows the photographer to decide how the finished photos will look. They are understanding that many of the processes are similar to what was done back in film days in the darkroom by artistic photographers like Ansel Adams. Talented photographers are usually also expected to be talented in how they process their photos in Lightroom, Photoshop or both. Find some videos that will push your understanding of them.

Also, in this day and age, there are so many other options for photographers than Lightroom or Photoshop. Give one of them a try, you may like it better. Process some of your photos using the help of a tutorial video using software such as one of my favorite alternatives to Adobe, On1. Give some new software a try. You might like it. You can usually download and install a program for free for 30 days to try it out.

These are all ideas for things to do, but in reality, they're all things that we are doing or should be doing anyway. Zombie apocalypse or not. This is just as short list of six things. I'm sure that you'll discover more things that you've not had time to do because you had too much time away from your desk. I didn't mention cleaning out Clif Bar wrappers from your backpack. Now's the time. Make social distancing work in your favor. Then once it's over you'll be raring to go. Your camera and sensor will be clean, your tripod will be smooth and functioning properly, your monitor will be calibrated, your files will be organized and backed up, your cards will be clean and your batteries will be charged. And furthermore, you'll be smarter than you were before because you've taken the time to learn something new in your down time.

Now. Tell me how bored you are.

Viewpoint – Salem: Facing the challenge together by Rep. Anna Williams on 04/01/2020

These are strange and uncertain times, but I remain optimistic despite the challenges ahead. As I write this column (about a week before the newspaper’s publication), I can’t predict what the coronavirus outbreak will look like by the time you read it. Presently, there have been 209 confirmed cases and eight deaths. Sadly, those numbers will certainly have increased significantly by April. However, it’s important that we look at this crisis in terms of how things could have gone if we had not acted decisively, if we had not come together (metaphorically, of course, given the importance of physical isolation) and sacrificed our comfort for the welfare of our communities.

Oregon is unique among the nation’s smaller states in how it has responded to the crisis. We were one of the first to identify a positive case as a result of community spread, but by that point we had already begun to prepare for what seemed like an inevitable outbreak. Even as I write this, when news on the pandemic is changing by the hour, the state government is responding quickly to every development and sharing as much information as possible with the public.

With regard to the legislature specifically, a Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response was announced on March 12. It has since met publicly for dozens of hours to discuss a huge number of proposed ideas for economic relief, housing support, health care expansion and other issues. These concepts will be drafted into bills for the legislature to pass during a special session, probably sometime in early April. After that, help will be on the way. I am hopeful that we will be able to keep Oregon’s thousands of small businesses operational after this crisis is over. We will do everything we can to keep renters from losing their housing due to financial hardship and we will help small landlords avoid hardships of their own due to nonpayment of rent. We will do everything in our power to help Oregon’s hospitals and health care workers see us through the months to come and we will try to find relief for every Oregonian struggling as a result of this outbreak.

But the legislature can’t do this without your help. We need every Oregonian to remain vigilant in the face of this disease and hopeful in the face of the economic struggles that await us. This means practicing responsible social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus: stay home unless you absolutely need to leave for groceries, health care or other essentials, and keep six feet of distance from others if you do go out. It also, importantly, means taking care of your mental health – minimize the amount of time you spend reading dire news reports or scrolling through social media and focus instead on what is within your control. Call your loved ones, call your neighbors and give yourself space to process your worries, your fears and your grief. Share your gratitude for the people who are keeping our communities running: health care workers, grocery workers, farm workers and first responders. Expressing this appreciation and strengthening your relationship with your community will help you cope with the stress that we’re all feeling.

We will get through this. Our communities, our state, our nation and all of humanity have been resilient throughout our history. There will be significant challenges in the months to come, of course, but when we act collectively to address these sorts of challenges, we not only survive them – we emerge from them stronger than before. If you have thoughts on how to strengthen our communities in the midst of this crisis, or if you have stories, questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Weathering the COVID-19 storm by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2020

I have been truly humbled by our community’s response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic currently facing us. Our wonderful city employees, the Oregon Trail School District, our service organizations, local small businesses or our fellow neighbors – everyone has stepped up to the plate to lift our community during this trying time.

First, I’d like to just remind everyone that we have both President Donald Trump and Governor Kate Brown saying this is an extremely serious situation and when those two agree, I think we all should take note.

I agree with Governor Brown’s Stay-At-Home order and thank her for listening to leaders from all over Oregon. These measures are vitally important to flatten the curve and provide our hospital system with much needed relief. When this pandemic is done, we need to have a nuanced conversation on the cost/benefit analysis of whether shutting down our local economies has been worth it.

At the city, we’ve had to take unprecedented steps to close our public library and programs, senior center along with community programming, City Hall, the business office of the police station and much of our public parks system.

To help provide a helping hand to our neighbors, we’ve suspended all shut-off’s and late fees for our public utilities and are committed to ensuring seamless operations of SandyNet, which is incredibly vital during this time.

So, what can we do with all of this newfound time on our hands? First, let’s use this unique opportunity to spend much needed time in our busy lives with our loved ones. I for one have really enjoyed this newfound time with MacKensey and our girls.

Additionally, maybe use this opportunity to finally fix that fence, improve your back yard or garden and finish up those home projects you’ve been putting off.

Also, please help our local Sandy small businesses. I’m very concerned for our local businesses and employees. I’d like to encourage everyone to both dine and shop local. While we may be confined to our own spaces and homes for the next several weeks, we all must still eat. Please consider ordering food from one of our local favorites for pick up to eat at home.

Additionally, if you’re unable to leave the house to pick up groceries, Sandy’s Helping Hands and the City of Sandy Transit Department are partnering to provide Clicklist delivery from Fred Meyer in Sandy. You can visit the Sandy’s Helping Hands Facebook page for more details.

If you need groceries or supplies, please consider buying or getting supplies along with a gift card from one of Sandy’s local businesses.

As many of you know, I grew up here in Sandy. I like to believe that my core beliefs about giving back, putting your community first and providing a helping hand to a neighbor are all a result of growing up in this special place we call Sandy. Together, we will get through this difficult time. Together, let’s keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

The Woodsman: beyond toilet paper by on 04/01/2020

Toilet paper was, until recently, on the very bottom of my list of article ideas for this column. However, at this writing, TP — and the people buying it as they hunker down during the coronavirus pandemic — have been in the news for weeks. Some folks have been accused of hoarding, of buying years’ worth of TP, and there have even been reports of people fighting in store aisles over the last package. Coming to blows over toilet paper? I can see fighting over beer or bacon, or maybe a bottle of bourbon (which I would use for medicinal purposes only, of course). But bathroom tissue?

At the risk of being accused of over-stocking up, I went to Bi-Mart a couple of weeks ago and was relieved to see dozens of 12-roll packages on the shelves, with a sign saying, “One per Household.” I bought my one package. So did everyone else in the store that morning. No forest product has ever been so popular.

As one who closely follows the forest-products industry, I can tell you that there is no need to worry about a shortage of TP. In mid-March, the American Forest & Paper Association issued a statement saying that, “This situation is highly dynamic and changing daily, and the industry is working diligently to respond to the spike in demand for tissue products due to coronavirus (COVID-19) purchases. Rest assured, tissue products continue to be produced and shipped — just as they are 52 weeks each year as part of a global market.”

We Americans use paper every day: TP, paper towels, newsprint, writing papers, sales receipts and paper grocery bags (which we now have to pay five cents each for), to name a few. Newsprint production is declining, as Americans read fewer newspapers (with the exception of The Mountain Times and other local papers). Corrugated cardboard is increasing along with the popularity of online shopping. Toilet paper production is growing slowly along with the US population. One area of growth in the US paper industry: adult diapers, which are made primarily of absorbent wood fibers, also known as wood pulp or fluff pulp.

Aside from being a key ingredient in TP and Depends diapers, wood pulp is a highly versatile product that can be used in making a surprisingly wide range of products, from concrete to solar cells. 

More than Paper

The pulp-making process starts with hardwood or softwood logs that are debarked and chipped. The chips are broken down mechanically or chemically to separate out the cellulose fibers needed for paper. In addition to cellulose, wood also contains hemicellulose, which is a minor ingredient in paper, as well as waxes, oleoresins and ethanol; and lignin, which is used for making glues, biofuels and other chemicals. Together, these three elements of wood are called lignocellulose or lignocellulosic biomass, which is the most abundant organic substance on Earth.

In recent years, scientists have discovered some interesting uses for cellulose, especially when the fibers are broken down to much smaller particles, called nanocellullose or cellulose nanomaterials (CNs). I recently interviewed Robert J. Moon, a materials research engineer at the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Wisconsin. Moon is an internationally recognized CN researcher who works closely with scientists at Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. According to Moon and other scientists, the addition of CNs to cement may have a significant impact on global climate change. Research by the FPL, Purdue, and Oregon State University has shown that the addition of CNs to cement makes concrete stronger. What’s more, because less concrete is required to provide the same strength, less carbon dioxide is emitted during the production of cement, which currently accounts for an estimated eight percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions.

Another promising use of CNs is in producing flexible, transparent films that serve as a platform for electronic circuits — flexible electronics.

“The substrate [film] is fully recyclable, and you can put electronic circuits on it,” Moon said. “You take regular pulp and disintegrate it about 10,000 times. The particles are super small, and they don’t interact with light in the same way, so instead of having an opaque substrate, you have a transparent substrate. And because the particles are so small and they’re packed together very tight, the surface roughness is much less. When you try to print micron-size lines or smaller on regular paper, they get lost in the roughness of the paper and you lose your connection. But on substrates made from much smaller particles — cellulose nanocrystals — you can print circuits on it and do a lot of other things to it.”

Nanocellulose films are strong, flexible and less prone to thermal expansion — a critical property for electronic circuits. That makes CNs useful in flexible cell phones and displays, and in solar panels that can bend.

Examples of other innovative uses for cellulose nanomaterials include paper food packaging with a CN coating that serves as a barrier to oxygen and is impenetrable to oils and grease. CN films also hold great promise in biomedical uses, such as skin tissue engineering and wound healing. As a covering for severe burns, CN dressings help promote new skin growth, block germs that could cause infections, allow for the application of medicines without removing the dressing and don’t stick to wounds when removed.

Say “forest products” and most people think of lumber, plywood and paper, even toilet paper, but forest products are all around us and will be in future products that we can only dream about. The great thing about all of these products is that they come from a renewable natural resource: trees.

Have a question about toilet paper or cellulose nanomaterials? Want to buy some two-ply TP, cheap? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.


A happy and healthy Earth makes us all happy and healthy by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2020

If we don’t “fix” the Earth, the Earth won’t take care of us, we the people. We cannot have the economic success without the support of our Earth. In the U.S., undesirable nutritional choices lead to diseases such as cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes, depression and heart disease. The inner person reflects the outer environment. In Chinese medicine, we say, “The microcosm is the macrocosm.”

That means we are responsible for the condition of our local landscape and the earth as a whole. We can no longer hide our heads in the sand and wait for our neighbors to make a change!

Yes, we are making some steps in the right direction: air pollution in northern China has been reduced, for instance, and that was the most polluted area I’d ever seen on Earth when I was there in 1996. But China still had millions of plastic bags snagged in trees and clogging waterways (which often were roadway ditches). So, we’ve made some steps in dealing with pollution and the future of our Earth by banning plastic bags. Quit-cher complaining – I’ve been using cloth bags since 1986 when I went to Europe where they don’t provide shopping bags in stores. Easy change and I’m glad to see so many doing it.

Ever notice how Mother Nature doesn’t like barren Earth, so she fills in with what we call “weeds?” Another word for many of our weeds is “edible food.” Author Bill Mollison coined the word “permaculture,” a contraction of “permanent” and “agriculture.” He was not the first to espouse this style of restoring the Earth, but he’s been around in our lifetime. Bill Mollison worked for the Division of Wildlife, the Fisheries Commission and universities in Australia. In the 1970s, the “green revolution” hit America and Mollison and David Holmgren began the concept of permaculture, based on ethics not greed.

If we don’t take care of the Earth, it won’t take care of us. Hence, we had the back-to-the-land movement, the interest in herbal medicine, vegetarianism and new ways of living. I moved to 100 acres and had a radio program called “The Wildflower Farm Report.” I learned a lot but we’re all still learning.

Now we have moved so far in the other direction, money before people, that we are in danger of losing our global health. DDT once was widely used until it was discovered that the bird population was declining. Chemically resistant bugs proliferated. The National Pesticide Use Database states the pesticide use in the 1940s was about zero. Post-World War II left us with a lot of war chemicals and nowhere to get rid of them. Hence the growth of the pesticide industry. Now we use half-a-billion pounds per year of pesticides. A greed-based move in the wrong direction.

DDT is now banned but what about its half-life? Some farms claim to be organic probably used DDT from 1950-70. RoundUp will be banned next as it’s been proven to cause cancer in some. Yet, Monsanto claimed it to be a “dream come true” herbicide (for Monsanto, maybe) and you can still buy it over-the-counter. Start saving the Earth by not buying RoundUp, which is an endocrine disrupter. And patients wonder why they have thyroid imbalances, cancer, depression. Were you born before 1970, or even after?

Every one of us can start on the road to permaculture, restoring the Earth to increased safety. Covering the Earth with green, growing things is a start. Everyone can garden, whether on the windowsill or the “back forty.” Before our industrial food system (which makes money for stores, refrigeration specialists and packaging companies), how did people feed themselves? We all need to eat. How about more money in your own back pocket? Invest in yourself, your local economy, your local farmer. A natural ecosystem is ethics-based – people before money. After all, you cannot eat money. In study after study, it’s been shown that backyard gardening can produce more food than large-scale, monoculture farming. Food security means “enough for all,” not just the rich.

Personal food security makes you feel “rich.” A freezer stocked with berries, a pantry filled with home-raised and canned tomato products can decrease your food bill by up to (and sometimes more than) $1,000 per year. And you can save more if you dry beans, garlic, peppers and ferment herbal vinegars, sauerkraut, pickles. Store foods in that pantry mentioned in last month’s column. All this will create a feeling of abundance, the ability to share in times of disaster, such as we’re all experiencing. Now, doesn’t that just beat the “dog-eat-dog” culture of money?

This is the month to plant most anything, whether on your apartment porch of in the back forty. Start with things that take the longest to mature – your personal permaculture. Trees take longest to mature, especially nut trees. Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) yield very high amounts of food calories per year. A consortium of universities (including Oregon State University), the Arbor Day Foundation and several state agencies are working to come up with a hardy European hazelnut that is cold-hardy and more resistant to previous species.

The devastation of hazelnut tree-shrubs that occurred locally in 1988 did not include the stand of trees next to my (then) recently purchased farm. I referred to that grove as “kittywoods” and vowed to leave the farm if that grove was ever removed. It was cut down and I left the farm after living there for 30 years, almost half of that on my own. I admonished my cats to not go in there as sometimes they didn’t come out. Coyotes, don’t you know. But, while I did lose a few animals, that grove continued to provide healthy nuts for the 30 years I lived on that farm, as long as I got the nuts before the jays did!

I’m reminded of the humbling experience I had while working at Northwoods Nursery (now defunct), where we sold fruit trees. Elderly people, some on crutches or in wheelchairs, came to purchase trees that wouldn’t even begin to bear fruit for three to five years. What faith! What trust and care these elderly people taught me – me being the naive whippersnapper who could lift those potted or balled-root trees.

Now I, too, am of an age where lifting trees is more difficult. But I have trust and faith. Permaculture will see us through, even if I’m not around to see the results. I am no longer on that five-acre small holding but a year and a half ago, I began permaculturing my land, which is now less than an acre. I put in my “Victoria” rhubarb (of course) which I should wait another year to harvest, lest I weaken the plant. The one-fruit-tree-per-year that I plant will give me Anjou pears this year. My only dilemma is where to put my next tree. Make that your dilemma, too. But have faith and trust in your goals. Wendell Barry said it succinctly: “Nature includes us, we are in it and part of it. If it does not survive, we cannot thrive.” Be a part of nature’s permaculture!

Time for some levity by Paula Walker on 04/01/2020

If there was ever a time for levity, this is certainly among them. So, let’s take a look at some of the laughable, zany and strange in the world of Wills & Testaments as we navigate our own often zany** and strange time of COVID-19.

I’ll start with the top of the list pick approved by my two feline owners. Yes… they have established clearly who “owns” who in this household.

British pop singer Dusty Springfield who left us with memorable ballads, among them “Son of a Preacher Man” and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” put her elderly cat at a place of prominence in her will. Thirteen-year-old Nicholas was to be fed baby food imported to the U.K. from the United States and serenaded to sleep each night with her songs.

Leaving nothing unattended to for his care and happiness, Dusty also arranged that Nicholas would sleep on a bed lined with Dusty’s pillowcase and would be wed to the female cat of the caretaker Dusty had appointed. A devoted animal rights activist all her life, Dusty Springfield, born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, died in 1999 just two weeks before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not before she was awarded as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for “services to popular music.”

Knowing of her advanced illness, the Queen gave permission for Dusty to receive her medal of honor in the hospital, a few months before her passing.

Next, there is Harry Houdini, in a tale of life’s fabrication that will rival the creative talents of the best novelist in piecing together events and circumstances for a sensational read. For starters, Houdini died on Halloween. Now who could have arranged better than that?

Intrigued with the idea that communication was possible between the living and the dead, he had created a ten digit secret code with his wife Beth, which only she would know and by which she could be certain that he was communicating to her. His will contained provisions of the pact with his wife that she would hold a séance each year, for ten years, on the anniversary of his death.

Beth held the last séance in 1936, however the tradition has continued in various places, gaining in popularity over the years. Google “Houdini séance 2020” as the time for this event approaches. Perhaps there is a trip in store for you for next Halloween?

And then there’s Tom Shewbridge. You’ve not heard of him?! Neither had I. A California prune rancher, his fame was little assured until his will, in which he guaranteed that his two “Heinz 57” variety canine companions, Mac and George, would continue to live a life of comfort after his passing.

Tom’s estate, valued at $112,000 in 1958 (more than $1 million in today’s dollars), was invested, in the dogs’ names, in 29,000 shares of stock in the local power and light company. The dogs were regular attendees of the stockholders’ and board of directors’ meetings.

Finally, oscillating between stories framed by animal heirs, and bequests with an occult shadow, the last story for this article regards Nina Wang, who at the time of her passing in 2007 was reported to be the richest woman in Asia. She left her entire $12.8 billion fortune to the charity that she and her late husband founded. Her lover and former feng shui advisor, Tony Chan, contested this, finally losing his battle of many years with the courts. The judge described Chan as a fortune teller and “opportunist” who was guilty of forging a fake will in his attempt to make his claim on Nina Wang’s fortune.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

In this episode, I celebrate ‘US’. We are the Stars and the creators of interesting tales and tellings.

**The zany… who knew peanut butter and toilet paper would top the list of items to hoard as a bulwark against the flu and the top items to have if you’re stuck at home for an extended period of time to minimize exposure to the flu?! Who knew even a month ago that we’d be stuck at home for such an extended amount of time?!

And the admirable… from the stories and accounts I hear personally, in the news and through social media, the human spirit is indomitable. We always find a way to play, to laugh, to pull together to help each other to get through challenging times.

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.

Comfort Food by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2020

Take pleasure in the stirring, the aroma and the mouthfuls of comforting dishes. These dishes are simple and frugal to make, have few ingredients and will feed everyone.

Baked Orzo

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 t granulated garlic

¼ t each salt & ground black pepper

2 T grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked al dente and drained

2 T Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

1 cup Half & Half

1½ cups Mozzarella, leave a little for sprinkling on top

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine ricotta, 1¼ cups mozzarella, Half & Half, garlic, eggs and pepper in bowl. Combine the hot pasta and sauce in a separate large bowl. Stir in ricotta mixture. Spoon into 11x7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup mozzarella, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, removing foil for the last five minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and cheese is melted.


Chocolate chip cookie pie

2 eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup chopped walnuts

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high speed until light and foamy. Add the softened butter, flour and both sugars to the bowl and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts and mix gingerly. Bake for 30 minutes until just set.

Serve with ice cream.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: A discussion about composition by Gary Randall on 03/01/2020

In all forms of art there are compositional rules that are applied to its creation. Music, painting, sculpting - they all have standard methods that are used to create them that have been observed to be pleasing to those who enjoy it. These methods have been developed or discovered, documented and taught through time to the students of the selected art. Understanding these rules during the initial layout of the painting, for instance, helps to establish a more compelling image, but the painter usually has creative freedom to place elements into the scene or arrange them in a more pleasing way. They are starting with a clean canvas, but a photographer doesn’t have that freedom. We are handed an unmovable scene and then tasked with interpreting the scene in an artful way.

Composition as it’s applied to photography, especially landscape photography, doesn’t have the freedom to place or arrange elements within the frame as we create our photo. Therefore, it’s critical for landscape photographers to be aware and observant of the scenery that surrounds us. In landscape photography it’s important to understand classical compositional rules so that they can recognize them when they’re discovered in our adventures.

So, what are these compositional rules? How strict are these rules, and what happens when we break them? First of all, never be afraid to break any compositional rule, and try your best to stretch the rules to fit your situation. They are no more than a “rule of thumb.” There are no consequences for breaking these rules other than creating a total failure, or in many instances creating something unique. So, go for it.

Now that we know that there’s no consequences worth worrying about, let’s try to understand the basic rules that I keep in mind as I’m composing a photo. The first is the one that most all artists are aware of and it’s most likely the one rule that’s considered universal. That’s the Rule of Thirds. The second being the Fibonacci Curve or the Golden Ratio, and in cases where I’m dealing with diagonal lines, the Golden Triangles.

The Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds creates guidelines as a grid of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines equally spaced to divide the frame into nine different parts. Important components of the composition are lined up along the lines or at their intersections.

The Fibonacci Curve: The Fibonacci Curve or The Golden Ratio is a curve whose shape is created using the Fibonacci Sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. Plotted out on paper it creates a spiral similar to the spiral of a snail shell. This pattern can be found in nature in many things besides the snail shell, such as the arrangement of flower pistils and petals. It can even be seen in the rotation of a hurricane as it’s observed from above.

The Golden Triangles: Diagonals in a scene can be used as compositional elements. Not everything in the world lines up with the Rule of Thirds. Hills, valleys and sometimes even chaotic elements can be organized into a direction, usually in a diagonal.

There are more rules, but for the sake of simplicity, and the lack of need for more rules, I feel that it’s important to learn these three rules and to understand them in a way that they can be recognized when you’re in the field. As I said before, we don’t have the freedom that a painter has to move elements around on our canvas, so we have to observe and recognize these harmonious arrangements when we come across them. Although we’re not able to move the elements we are able to move our camera left, right, up, down, forward or back to try to place them within our frame.

Besides a basic understanding of types of harmonious arrangements of elements within our frame, there are other important elements or components in a scene that can be used to make a more compelling composition.

Lines: Lines within a scene are very important elements that can be used to create separation of elements or even depth in a scene. Leading lines are lines that typically start in the foreground and lead the viewer’s eyes into the background of the scene. They can be most anything from a creek or a canyon to a crack in the earth. Another important line is the horizon and its placement between the bottom of the frame and the top of the frame, usually depending on the importance of one area over the other to the image.

Shapes: The shapes of the elements in the scene and how they interact with each other is an important part of composition. Let’s say that we have a mountain peak in the background with trees in the foreground. You would try to place the trees in a complimentary way to frame or emphasize the mountain.

Color and Light: A lot of people don’t consider how color can affect composition. Even the brightness or intensity of color can affect how the scene is viewed. An example would be a darker cool color in shadows in the foreground, with warm light in the back creating depth in the photograph. Colors can also create mood in a photo. Brighter, more saturated colors are typically viewed as more cheerful, whereas cooler or darker colors are more solemn or moody.

Textures, Patterns and Space: Texture and patterns are excellent components in a composition. They give the image a look or feeling how it would be to the touch. It is also important to try to use textures and patterns to replace negative space. Negative space being an area in your photo with no subject, element or pattern. It could be a flat gray overcast sky, or even a blue cloudless sky. There are times when negative space can be used as an effect, but it’s typically avoided.

Simplify: When you’re composing your photograph, I feel that it is important to leave out of the frame all that is not needed to create a compelling photo. Take time to look at the scene, recognize subject elements and zoom into it to solidify and simplify the scene. Position the frame of the photo in a way that excludes clutter, distracting or hard to photograph areas.

Combining Elements: There are times when one can combine characteristics of more than one element into their composition. You could line up a complete scene with the rule of thirds, yet leave a distant mountain centered on the horizon for instance.

“So many rules, how can I remember them all?” I hear you. But remember what I said earlier. Understand these things but don’t dwell on them. It’s best to understand that the scene that you’re photographing will speak to you and tell you how it should be composed. You don’t know what elements will face you when you arrive. You don’t know their placement or relationship with each other. It’s our job as photographers to read the scene and try to determine what elements are presented to us and how we can arrange them within the frame of the photo. We can move left, right, forward or back. We can zoom in or out to include or eliminate that which isn’t needed to tell the story that you hope that your photo will tell. We can raise or lower our camera until the scene fits comfortably and harmoniously within the frame of our photo.

I tell photographers that once you understand the rules of composition to a point where you no longer think about them, your eye will recognize these elements when they’re presented to you automatically. When you have practiced enough, they become second nature. And when you get to a point where you can take a photo without relying on using these grids and patterns, and then apply the grid to the photos and it all lines up, then composition has become second nature to you.

Learn composition and then forget it. Let the scene talk to you. Most of the time it will tell you how it wants to be photographed. Composition is, in most cases, the most important part of creating an interesting and compelling photo. Become familiar with the rules, but don’t be afraid to break them.

Viewpoints – Salem: The broadband conundrum by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2020

The science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick once said, “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Anyone who has tried to log on to the internet in rural Oregon knows exactly what he was talking about. Over the last 20 years, the web has changed every aspect of our lives, from how we make phone calls to how we shop and run our businesses. However, across large portions of our state, internet access is spotty in some areas and non-existent in others.

According to a recent report, 27.6 percent of people in our state live in places - mostly rural - that are not “Future Ready,” meaning they have internet speeds lower than 100mbps. This may seem fast to those of us who remember the screech of dial-up modems, but in our tech-driven economy, high speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury. More than 50 rural Oregon schools don’t have access to broadband internet. In an age where healthcare is undergoing a technological revolution, patients and providers in rural communities are being left behind.

This is bad for Oregon on several fronts. Instead of staying in the towns where they grow up, talented young people are relocating to bigger cities, increasing housing scarcity and reducing the tax base in rural areas. This deepens the ‘rural brain drain’ problem and contributes to a cycle of decline. There are some high-tech industries setting up in places like Hood River, Bend and Pendleton, but further growth in smaller communities is inhibited by the lack of broadband infrastructure.

High-speed internet is perhaps our state’s most powerful economic development tool, and every community deserves to have access to it. However, the very thing that attracts so many people to our state - wide open spaces - makes installing high speed internet incredibly expensive. Engineers estimate that the total cost of providing broadband internet fiber to all unconnected households in Oregon is about $1.3 billion. Providing broadband to only Senate District 26, which includes the House district I serve, would cost $18 million.

The state simply doesn’t have the funds to cover these costs. What we can do, however, is provide meaningful assistance to help small communities access partnerships with companies that could connect them, and incentives for those companies to do so. In theory, small communities are eligible for USDA grants to cover the massive costs of providing fiber connectivity, but these grants require extensive administrative work and a 25 percent cash match (which many small communities can’t afford). Even if a community does manage to secure a grant, they are still on the hook for ongoing costs to provide the internet service.

As I write this, about ten days before publication, Senate Republicans stand poised to walk out and the House is due to hear House Bill 4079 (the Rural Telecommunication Investment Act). If it passes, the RTIA will allocate $5 million per year to expand broadband investment, including funding to help rural communities apply for federal funds and secure private partnerships. Despite widespread support, however, there is a strong chance it won’t get to the floor for a vote.

If my Republican colleagues follow through on their threatened walkout, it isn’t only the controversial cap-and-invest bill that will die. While they claim to take a stand on behalf of their rural constituents, they are also threatening legislation like HB 4079 that could help transform education, healthcare and commerce throughout the rural parts of our state.

It is difficult to write speculatively about the future – I’m no Philip K. Dick, after all – so I hope that by the time you read this column, there has been no walkout. One thing you can be certain of is that whatever happens in the coming weeks, I will keep looking for ways to support broadband expansion and other initiatives that help rural Oregon to build an economy ready for the 21st Century.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Addressing childcare by on 03/01/2020

In a town full of young working families, Sandy is severely lacking in providing enough quality childcare for residents. According to recent data gathered by Clackamas Workforce Partnership, we currently only have spots for six infants and toddlers in licensed childcare settings. There are about 162 spots for preschool aged kids and 63 for school-age. To put this in perspective, Sandy is estimated to have about 1,400 children under the age of 5.

What does this mean for our families? It means that we are having to send our kids to childcare centers outside of our community. Families have constant stress about finding and keeping quality childcare so they can continue working. If you are lucky enough to secure a spot in a setting that works for your family, you are then faced with the barrier of how to afford to keep that spot while still paying the rest of your bills. According to data from the Partnership, the average cost of providing infant care in the United States is about $15,000. That amounts to around 20 percent of a typical family’s income. We even see amounts much higher than that.

The flip side of this equation is that our childcare providers are also struggling to pay the bills. Childcare standards for facilities, education level of providers, child to teacher ratios and safety standards mean that the people providing care for our children are making barely over minimum wage in a lot of cases. As we know, it is very hard to raise a family on $10-15 per hour. As a result, this is an industry with a lot of turnover.

This conversation was started towards the end of 2019 when Clackamas Workforce Partnership reached out to the City of Sandy to see if we could come together to find solutions. I am so pleased with the leadership our city has taken to explore this issue. We have had two formal convenings with city staff, elected officials, Clackamas County ESD, local childcare providers and more! House District 52 Representative Anna Williams was even in attendance at our January gathering. She is especially interested in focusing on this issue with us during the 2021 legislative session.

With so many voices and so much passion, I am feeling confident that we will be able to address this childcare crisis in a way that will meet the needs of both our families and our childcare providers. At a very local, practical level, city staff is working towards changing some of our codes to make childcare businesses more profitable. These include parking code modifications, possible creation of a tenant improvement grant solely for childcare businesses and grant programs for facade and public infrastructure.

This is a timely and important topic as we continue to see more young families settle down in our wonderful city. The City of Sandy is a leader in this conversation that is gaining momentum and being discussed all across the county. We have made it an official goal of our Sandy City Council for this year.

We will continue to have discussions and move toward positive results to keep Sandy the most amazing place to live and raise a family.

Bethany Shultz is a Sandy City Councilor

The Emerald Season offers greens by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2020

Unless you are living in outer space eating entirely chemical food, you no doubt realize that food does not come from grocery stores. Food comes from your beautiful green Earth. Every ounce of food in any grocery store has traveled using petroleum to get there! The average distance your food has traveled is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of gas. And doesn’t include the rest of it – like processing, packaging and refrigeration.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you only use food from your hundred-mile radius. Or better yet, grow your own food in your own backyard, at least some of it. Or forage in your own yard if you are not using cancer-causing chemicals (glyphosphate, otherwise known as Round-Up). Or learn to do without some things. There are no strawberries growing in our area at this time of the year. Soon though.

In fact, a hundred or so years ago there were NO grocery stores as we know them. They were mostly called general stores, for you could get cloth, thread and tools, as well as staples such as flour, coffee and tea. But some of the general stores were few and far between so most everyone outside of the cities grew most, if not all, of what they ate. Of course, they didn’t eat packaged foods in those days. Our ancestors had a real sense of what grew on their own land, when in was in season, what keeps through the winter and how to preserve those foods.

Among rural people were many farms providing food for rather large families. Most had a large garden, a cow, some chickens, an orchard. I’ve now, in my brief lifetime, lived in two places that have had a free-standing fruit room – one was a hundred-acre farm outside of Eugene, the other where I live now.

A “fruit room” is a thick-walled building which allows cool air in with just a small screen (about four inches) to allow for an exchange of air. Sometimes they were root cellars or rooms in the back of a house. This was in the era before refrigeration was everywhere. Most food was kept in these cool rooms and not mechanically refrigerated like today.

Root crops such as beets, garlic, onions and potatoes were kept there as well as home-canned goods and some orchard fruits. Even eggs and milk may have been stored there if there was not a spring house on the land. Where else would you put these things? A cooler perhaps? Think emergency. What will you do if disaster strikes?

Our grandparents also knew from those who came before them, what wild greens to look for in the spring and which mushrooms were safe to eat. Few of us know this information anymore, though there are still foods out there to be foraged, if you care to learn them. It takes years, so start now.

By March, fruits and produce in the fruit rooms were drying up, literally. Not only had most of the home-grown and canned foods been used up by then, but even the flour and coffee from the general stores were about gone. We would then be approaching “the bottom of the barrel” by March. This was known as “the hunger month” as new crops had yet to be planted and harvested. Hence the reliance on neighbors and learning to forage for food. No Cheetos for our ancestors.

As we wait for spring vegetables to come into season perhaps it’s time to try some of those greens, known nowadays as weeds, while we wait for asparagus, greens and eggs to come fully into season. If you are lucky enough to have these foods in your backyard, you are truly lucky. You can have beautiful, nourishing meals by using up the root veggies in your fruit room and learning to forage in your own or your neighbors’ yards. With permission of course.

But don’t do this at home if you are using cancer-causing Round-Up chemicals in your yard. Do NOT forage near railroad tracks or golf courses. There are deadly chemicals in the soils there. Also, some farms where DDT (now outlawed) was used in the 1950s. But if you have a chemical-free lawn, or back 40, it’s time to learn about foraging

I once asked a midwife I worked with if I could pick the chickweed in her garden. She was astonished as I picked two black garbage bags full of chickweed. I have chickens so I never have chickweed growing on my property. It’s named “chickweed” for a reason!

In medical school there was a small, local restaurant we went to almost daily. In fact, my best friend and I would go for both first lunch and second lunch. In a terraced garden next to the restaurant Miner’s lettuce grew. It tends to grow through our mild winters and it is very distinctive, extremely nutritious and more delicious than spinach. I would take a bag and some scissors and cut enough every day for the nightly dinner salad. Even my fellow Naturopathic medical students thought I was a bit weird. But I had spent years in advance herb classes taught by the woman instrumental in starting the National Herbalist Guild.

A lot of people are now trying to get off the industrial food train – not buying foods that are overly packaged or with ingredients that are unpronounceable, reading labels, buying more local produce.

Only about one quarter of American households have food-producing gardens. To keep our Earth green there needs to be more local orientation. It’s the beginning of the Emerald Season. Soon we will be inundated with greens from the Earth. Maybe even your own patch of earth. Enjoy it all.

State prefers you don’t die intestate by Paula Walker on 03/01/2020

These articles in the past have covered the concept of “dying intestate,” i.e. without at minimum a will to direct the proper disposition of your assets, and other estate planning vocabulary that amuses or hangs in the air with a sense of the strange and arcane; remnants of legal concepts born in medieval ages.

This month I’ll take a closer look at the term “intestate” and its potential companion, “escheat.”

Dying intestate calls upon the state to undertake the search to find the people in your family relations, that could legally inherit your assets. Failing to find people who are qualified by law to inherit the value of your estate, the state holds the proceeds from liquidating your estate, and in some cases the tangible item itself, for a ten-year period as it continues to search for rightful heirs and as a waiting period for rightful heirs to come forward. Last October, Fox 12 reported that the State had holdings of approximately $600 million in unclaimed assets.

This is where “escheat” comes to play. Those unclaimed assets having remained unclaimed for ten years escheat to the State. The word having its origins in 13th and 14th century “old French” and Latin; literal meaning “that which falls to one,” i.e. falls to the State.

In this month’s Stories of the Stars I present you a link to an interview with a representative from the Oregon agency that deals with intestate estates. Considering why people may not create a will, often people think that really, they don’t have much and can’t afford to, but says the representative straightforwardly, “you can’t afford not to.”

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Sometimes you discover allies and collaborators in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected and often propitious times. Such was the case with Fox 12 Portland News and the occasion of writing this article this month. Instead of a celebrity gawking story of the mishaps of the very wealthy, I invite you this month to consider an account of the “close to home.” A tale of the every day person, like you and me, Fox 12’s recent airing on its nightly news of why everyone should at least have a will, if not a complete estate plan.

Interviewing Sally Wells, Estate Representative for Oregon’s Department of State Lands, this broadcast walks us through several estates of ordinary folks who died fairly recently without a will and shows how the state must intervene to determine what must be done with everything they’ve left behind. The proceeds, if no legal beneficiaries are discovered, eventually allot to a worthy purpose, the State’s Common School Fund.

Nonetheless, the State of Oregon aired this news broadcast to advise Oregonians: 1) to at minimum, create a will; 2) that the State would prefer not to be called upon to find the legal beneficiaries for people’s unappointed assets; 3) that the search is costly and time consuming; 4) that this effort likely does not result in the outcome you’d prefer; 5) that the cost to your estate for the State to do this search, many times spanning a decade, robs the value of your hard work and life’s effort that could go to people and causes that you would otherwise like to take care of and promote; 6) that state assumed estates are on the rise. Since 2009 the state handled estate cases have grown by a factor of seven.

Take a look. You’ll be interested to know, may be surprised, may be appalled at the potential for your own situation.

Check out the embedded video of the interview. https://www.kptv.com/news/fox-investigators-look-into-what-happens-to-oregon-estates-when/article_a27db22c-519b-11ea-847b-c7d2b7ed1d81.html

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.

Butter cookies by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2020

With half their weight in butter these simple cookies are rich but not expensive. There are only a few steps and ingredients between you and a plateful of happiness. Use the best organic butter you can find. European butter really makes a difference.

Shortbread with chocolate chips

1 cup softened unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached if available)

1/2 t sea salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 t cornstarch

1 T vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

In an electric mixer beat butter with sugar for three minutes until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla.

Mix salt, cornstarch and flour together, then add the flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on medium until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap making a disc and chill for half an hour. Roll out the cookies to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and bake for 11 minutes or just until the edges get color.

Pistachio wedding cookies

2 cups flour

3/4 cup chopped, shelled, unsalted pistachios

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 t vanilla

1 t almond extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside. With a paddle attachment beat remaining ingredients on a slow speed, scraping the bowl as needed just until well mixed. Shape dough into one-inch balls and place the cookies on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove cookies from the oven and cool the cookies slightly before rolling in the powdered sugar.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Intimate Landscape Photography by Gary Randall on 01/31/2020

Landscape photography has a reputation for being one that includes travelling to epic corners of the earth to bring back photos of places that are rarely seen by most people. Or places that we’ve seen in National Geographic magazine or a TV documentary. But from my point of view, landscape photography should include the photographer’s artistic touch. It should be separate from documentary photography or marketing photos that are seen in magazines. It shouldn’t always need to depend on a location to send a message. I think that a beautiful landscape photo can be taken on the side of the road in most any community, especially ours.

As an example, where we live the first subject that we’re drawn to is Mount Hood in the distance. It’s iconic and known all around the world. But we have so much more available to us that we could use to make our photos, and many are along the side of our side roads. Don’t ignore our mountain, but maybe consider taking a photo of a group of flowers that happen to have a snow-capped volcano behind them. Be creative in choosing your subjects and be creative in how you compose and photograph them.

A photographer can consider that landscape photography can be reduced to two basic types, grand landscapes and intimate landscapes. A grand landscape typically is a territorial view, or one where there’s a view off into the distance that includes a lot within its frame, whereas an intimate landscape is typically one that’s a smaller part of a larger scene. A grand landscape is more apt to include a recognizable location, certainly a photograph that includes Mount Hood in the distance is going to be considered a grand landscape. It’s going to be location dependent and in a lot of cases weather dependent. I feel that a landscape photographer really spreads their wings when they embrace intimate landscapes.

Intimate landscapes can include a small part of or a detail within a grander scene such as a small segment of a creek or maybe a section of the scene that is affected by some atmospheric conditions, think fog and sunlight as it filters through the forest, or maybe sunlight illuminating a curtain of moss that is draped across the limbs of the trees. I also look for designs and patterns within the scene. An intimate landscape can include a part of the scene that, when extracted from the larger view and seen separate from the context of the larger scene, stands alone and on its own merits. Put the wide-angle lens away and use your zoom lens. Get closer to the scene.

It’s said, in painting as well as photography, that it’s not what’s included within the frame but what’s excluded that strengthens a composition. And this is very true in simplifying complex or generally unappealing scenery, at first glance. Analyzing a scene and trying to find an interesting composition for a photo allows us to look deeper into the scene and to recognize what more that it has to offer. The first glance at a scene is like looking at a book’s cover. Looking further into a scene is like reading the book.

I tell my students that as artists we shouldn’t take the scenery at its first impression. In most cases we will take all it has to offer all at once. Instead take some time to stop and analyze the components of the scene and separate these smaller scenes and abstracts. Be creative and I’m confident that you will be able to stop along most any side road and find a photograph within sight of your car.

Viewpoints – Salem: What is missing in some data by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/31/2020

Sometimes, statistics hide as much as they reveal. Inaccurate data may be worse than misleading; it may have real-world negative impacts on people’s lives.

As an example, I recently learned that official state data estimates that there is one homeless person in all of Sherman County. Just one. This paints a rosy picture: you might guess that there are tons of housing resources available to people in Sherman County. However, if you ask local authorities about homelessness, they will tell you that there are well over a dozen homeless camps throughout the county.

There are several reasons that state records drastically under-report the number of homeless people in places like Sherman County. The main one is because the methods used to collect that data rely on a voluntary “point in time” count where agencies who provide services to people at risk of homelessness counts the total number of homeless clients who come through their doors on a single day. Lacking social service providers in rural areas to count clients, the state could only verify that one person lacked housing. In fact, the number may be closer to one hundred. Put simply: in areas where no services exist, the people who most need those services become invisible within the state’s official data.

This creates a vicious circle: if the state doesn’t allocate enough funding to a particular rural area, then very few people in that area can access needed services. When fewer and fewer people in the area are recorded as accessing the services, the state interprets that as a reduced need for funding.

When I took office, I sought to ensure that nobody is invisible when it comes to the allocation of resources or the creation of new policies. That’s why, as my colleagues in the legislature push for Oregon to declare a “homelessness state of emergency,” I’m reminding them that the focus can’t just be on the Portland metro area. Portland may have the highest concentration of unhoused people in the state, but an estimated 75 percent of our homeless population lives outside of the metro, many of them in rural areas like ours. Furthermore, far too many rural Oregonians live paycheck-to-paycheck and could be just one financial emergency away from losing their housing. If our state government is going to address the homelessness crisis, its allocation of resources must reflect the needs of the state as a whole, not just areas that our imperfect data highlights as homelessness hotspots.

The dilemma of the invisible homelessness in Central and Eastern Oregon is echoed in other areas of decision-making at the Capitol. Despite having the best of intentions, Salem doesn’t always know the true picture in Sandy, in our mountain towns or in other more distant communities. This session, I’m presenting three bills that tackle state-wide problems in ways that are sensitive to how rural Oregonians live, work and access services.

One of those bills is particularly relevant to the relationship between statistics and services: HB 4112 will vastly improve the way we gather data on the prevalence of child abuse in Oregon. Currently, the legislature makes its policy decisions regarding child welfare based on the number of abuse incidents that are reported to the Department of Human Services. As a result, because abuse is less commonly reported in rural areas, those regions lack sufficient funding for victim services or for specialized law enforcement units. This is despite some experts’ estimates that abuse is twice as prevalent in rural areas as in cities.

If you have other ideas about how I can correct the provision of services in rural areas, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or by phone at 503-986-1452. Also, let me know if you have any questions or concerns about upcoming bills and how they might impact the people in our community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Building on the momentum by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/31/2020

Last spring, our Sandy City Council had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our community swimming pool because of inherited budget deficits. During this process, several of our community members said they’d be willing to pay more for increased recreational opportunities, primarily for aquatics.

As a result, we conducted a survey to see if this opinion was shared by the community of Sandy, as well as nearby communities of Estacada and Boring, which could potentially broaden the proposed Parks and Recreation District and tax base.

The goal of the survey was to gauge support for the pool, provide options for possible future outcomes of the pool, ask additional questions about what the community would like to see done with the Sandy Community Campus, along with additional community parks, and seek community interest in funding such proposals through the creation of a Parks and Recreation District.

The results we received from the survey show overall support for this effort to the tune of 76 percent.

Next, we’ll conduct a phone survey and additional community meetings to get direction on what the final proposal and boundaries of the Parks and Recreation District may be, which will give us the best opportunity for success in November.

I don’t love the idea of taxes going up, especially on my watch. However, I feel the message is pretty clear from the community for our council to develop a proposal for the voters to decide on. I prefer voters make decisions for themselves when it comes to paying more for something they want. That’s democracy.

Our City Council believes strongly that we must capitalize on the momentum behind this effort and to do everything we can to place this decision in front of our neighbors on the November ballot in 2020. Even if successful, our community will still have to wait on construction for the renovations and improvements to be made before re-opening the pool. This holds true for all of the projects that will be funded within this proposal.

As a result, we feel the need to get this process moving. All of this means reduced timelines so there with be limited time to flesh out all of the details of this proposal for our citizens before the vote in November.

There are some decisions in front of us that should be relatively easy. For example, the boundaries of the district seem to be self-apparent. The boundary lines will most likely go as far east as Firwood Road, west to the METRO boundary in Boring and north to the Sandy River. We will need to work with the leadership of Estacada to determine their interest in participating, which will determine the southern boundary.

There are only so many people that live within that boundary and as the result of something called “compression,” that limits the tax rate for the district. This determines how much we’ll be able to raise on a yearly basis. This result, and the fact that swimming pools are expensive, a large portion of the budget will go towards the pool renovations in the first few years.

As a result of these factors, our City Council is leaning towards a plan that would create a new Parks and Recreation District governed by a board of local community members representing zoned districts. They would be responsible for managing the budget and deciding how to allocate the funds, after first addressing the pool.

If this proposed Parks and Recreation District passes in November, our City Council may potentially use some reserved funds to renovate a portion of the old Cedar Ridge Middle School into a revamped community center with community meeting spaces that will be a part of the new Sandy Community Campus.

I believe this to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for our greater Sandy community. A Parks and Recreation District would be a complete gamechanger in livability and recreation opportunities for all of us. It would enable us to remain close to home to access amenities and recreational opportunities after spending our weeks commuting to work. From that point forward, on weekends – we’ll stay. This is for us and will help us keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

A will doesn’t make an estate plan by Paula Walker on 01/31/2020

Words to the wise drawn from one of the wisest… Aristotle. Considering his turn of phrase, advice that one experience or thing does not provide the whole — “One swallow does not the summer make.” (Aristotle’s Ethics) So too, this advice applies to creating your estate plan, or considering whether you have one, or examining whether what you have will do the job for you when the time comes.

“When the time comes” is not only after your passing, but during your life as well as after your death. An estate plan, whether based on a Trust or a Will, should consist of a number of interrelated documents that support you while you are alive, not only serve to distribute your assets when your estate is to be administered upon your passing.

And those documents should contain language that covers certain areas that can affect you, your estate and your beneficiaries; that have are known to be areas of legal vulnerability leading to complications, conflict, confusion and that unnecessarily prolong the ability for taking action on your behalf or on behalf of your estate.

A comprehensive estate plan includes documents that provide or convey: 1) Directions for distributing your estate according to your design, i.e. a Trust and/or a Will. 2) Legal control of your assets to extend the benefit for beneficiaries you know will need assistance in managing the assets that you leave to them, i.e. a Trust. 3) Your decisions on managing your finances in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself, that appoint the persons you know you can depend on, i.e. a Durable Power of Attorney. 4) Directions for your care if you cannot care for yourself; that appoint the person(s) that you can rely upon to talk to your doctors, make critical medical decisions, take care of your day to day affairs, i.e. a Healthcare Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive. 5) The necessary authority and means to access your digital assets, passwords to online accounts of photos and family memories. 6) Those ideas and thoughts not contained in your Trust or Will; that “speak” from your heart to your loved ones or carry information and instructions that will help them in carrying out your directives, ideas that impart your intent in creating your plan. 7) A list of those documents and their location that will be necessary to administering your estate and/or that will have meaning to your family’s history, such as life insurance policies, birth, death and marriage certificates, real estate deeds, divorce records, bank and other financial accounts.

A comprehensive estate plan is the solid compass you provide to those you care about and support to navigate life’s transitions with you and for you. It is the essence of the generosity and an act of love that you undertake to leave those who will carry you in their memories as part of their lives. It is the means by which you have confidence now that you will be well taken care of should you face a time where you must rely on someone else to make the decisions for you that you have always made for yourself.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

According to Wikipedia, Snoop Dogg carries a long list of accomplishments and achievements, “American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur and actor…” Model for an approach to estate planning that others should follow and aspire to is not among them.

When a Business Insider reporter in 2016 asked Snoop Dogg after the sudden death of Prince, who left behind an estate estimated at $300 million and no will, whether he, unlike Prince, had a will, Snoop Dogg replied, “ I don’t give a f--- when I’m dead. What am I gonna give a f--- about?”  Adding that he hopes to be reincarnated as a butterfly and watch the ruckus of fighting over his estate.

Well I can’t say about the butterfly, but with a net worth of $124 million reported in 2017, his position promises to place his estate among the annals of famous celebrity inheritance fights, with his accumulated wealth pouring into the accounts of those hired to fight for the spoils, rather than supporting people and causes Snoop Dogg may have championed or cared for during his life.

Simply delicious by Taeler Butel on 01/31/2020

Thinking of a special dinner for a valentine?

These dishes are simple yet elegant and most important, scrumptious!

Browned Butter seared scallops

1 lb. sea scallops, dried on paper towels, room temperature.

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/2 t fresh cracked pepper

1/2 t sea salt

1 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Sprinkle half the salt and pepper over the scallops. Swirl pan until the butter is lightly browned, and using tongs, carefully place in the scallops with the hot oil.

Sear for two minutes on one side, then turn the scallops, salt and pepper the other side and cook two more minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with fettuccine if you like.

Simple fettuccine Alfredo

The first recipe was said to be made by a husband for his wife after the birth of their first son, now that’s amore!

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 lb. fettuccine cooked al dente

In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan heat the cream and butter to steaming, whisking in the cheese, salt and pepper and stir until thickened. Add in the noodles and remove from heat.

Chocolate pots de creme

These are individual, which means you don’t need to share. They taste like a rich chocolate pudding with a custard like consistency.

4-6 Ramekins

1 1/2 cups half & half

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped

1 t vanilla

6 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Whisk the yolks and sugar together until a ribbon consistency. In a medium saucepan scald the cream and half & half. Slowly stir the cream mixture into the egg mixture, pour back into the pan, whisking slowly over medium heat until it just steams. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate and vanilla, divide into ramekins. Refrigerate for six hours.


Photo by Gary Randall
Christmas Valley Sand Dunes by Gary Randall on 01/01/2020

I love the diversity of landscape in Oregon. We have most everything that a landscape photographer could want to photograph.

Oregon has a pretty awesome ocean coastline abutted against forested mountains and hills, valleys, glacial peaked mountains, sage and juniper high desert plains, low elevation desert mud playas and a canyon that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon – Hells Canyon on the Idaho border.

We also have windswept sand dunes, not just along the coastline, but right in the center of the state in Central Oregon.

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes in Central Oregon are some of the remnants of the catastrophic volcanic explosion of Mount Mazama just 7,000 years ago that blew 1,600 meters (almost a mile in elevation) of the 3,700-meter (12,000-foot) mountain completely off and created a caldera that contains the iconic 1,943-foot-deep Crater Lake that we know today.

The Christmas Valley sand is composed of ash and pumice that was ejected during the eruption. Although the dunes are majestic on their own, they’re only a small part of the evidence of an event that changed what we know as Oregon forever, and greatly affected the people who lived there.

What’s thought-provoking to me is the fact that humans were in the area and were witness to this event. Incredibly preserved reed sandals have been unearthed in a cave near the little town of Fort Rock, not far from Christmas Valley, and have been dated from 9,000 to 13,000 years old.

Life for the native Klamath people in the area changed forever after the massive eruption. Their legends tell of an angry battle between Llao, their “Chief of the Below World” who inhabited Mount Mazama (Giiwas in the Native American Klamath language), and his rival Skell, their “Chief of the Above World.”

Llao fell in love with a beautiful Klamath maiden but she refused his offer of immortality if she would become his wife. This angered Llao and he rained rocks and fire down from the sky onto the people below. During the battle, Skell tried to protect the people from above while standing atop Mount Shasta. The battle ended when Skell was able to force Llao back into the mountain. All of this commotion formed the crater on Mount Mazama which filled with torrential rains that followed the battle.

The mountain became sacred ground to the natives and the people were forbidden from going there. Some shaman forbade them from looking in the direction of the mountain. 7,000 years ago, all of this would make perfect sense. The human catastrophe and the pure terror that they witnessed must have been something that we as modern humans can hardly understand.

Today we can still witness the effects of the massive geological battle that formed so much of the landscapes that we photograph. I feel that understanding the science as well as the legend of these areas works to enhance our appreciation for them and allows us to better translate their meaning and message through our photos.

The winds in Central Oregon blow with some regularity in this area and create dunes as well as ripples in the sand. The patterns that they create are perfect for a photographic foreground. Unique conditions such as a vivid sunrise or sunset can complete a breathtaking scene.

Christmas Lake, Christmas Valley and nearby Peter’s Sink and Peter’s Creek were named for pioneer stockman Peter Christman, who grazed his cattle there and had a house at Silver Lake, 18 miles to the southwest. The name “Christmas” was an early corruption of the name Christman that became entrenched in the vernacular by 1900.

The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, are easily accessible and are designated as a recreational area for campers and wanderers as well as off-highway vehicle use. Camping areas are available for extended camping stays. If you find yourself wandering in Central Oregon, exploring our amazing public lands a trip to Christmas Valley should be on your list of places to stop and experience.

Viewpoints – Salem: Rural-urban partnerships by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2020

In conversations about lawmaking for the entire state, I often hear about the “rural-urban divide” in Oregon. I don’t use that phrase – in fact I don’t even like hearing it – because I don’t think there is a divide. On the contrary, I think the rural and urban parts of our state are more connected than a lot of people realize. What Oregon needs is not some metaphorical bridge between rural and urban communities. Instead, we need to build a strong rural progressive movement that extends services into the communities that need them most; and we need to have more frank conversations in large population centers about how drastically underserved rural communities are.

I am proud to constantly voice these concerns in the House Democratic Caucus (to the occasional irritation of my colleagues), and I think it has won some hard-earned recognition for the people in this district and in rural communities throughout the state. I have been working to build a coalition of other progressive lawmakers who represent rural, frontier and agriculturally focused districts, and I think we’re starting to make significant headway in statewide policy. I worked hard to get historically unprecedented funding to our state’s farm-to-schools program. I pressed my colleagues to ensure that everyone in rural parts of the state, where car travel is necessary for survival, had access to a driver’s license and car insurance regardless of their citizenship status. The list goes on.

In conversations around the climate policy that will again be a major focus in the 2020 legislative session, I have tried to bring together the diverse voices in my district. Climate activists and farmers, timber producers and farm workers, business owners and underrepresented communities... all of these voices belong at the table, but many of them feel their concerns are not being heard in Salem. I have listened to all of them and urged my colleagues to consider the unintended consequences that may result from sweeping statewide policies. Problems that impact our entire state need solutions that meet the needs of our entire state. This includes (and maybe should especially take into account) the parts of our state that are already struggling the most.

That’s why I’m helping craft the Oregon House Democrats’ policy platform to better reflect rural communities’ interests. The lack of affordable childcare affects every community in the state, but none more so than small cities and towns like ours. Many communities are underserved by social workers, healthcare providers and qualified caregivers, but many rural areas effectively have no access to those services. The issue, as I see it, is that progressive policies have often been crafted with urban centers in mind, then implemented statewide in a uniform way. A truly progressive policy would take into account the differences between rural and urban areas, and support each of them in catering services for the most effective delivery.

I agree with most progressives in believing that the state should set expected outcomes when implementing a new policy; I also agree that the state should provide the financial means to reach those outcomes. But I sometimes feel like an outsider in my party when I believe that the state should refrain from prescribing the specific methods that rural communities should undertake to reach expected outcomes. Each small community of Oregonians has its own way of relating to one another, and oftentimes there is no way a person without roots in one community could ever know the best way to address a problem there. Where such a problem exists, the state government should not command a fix; it should be a partner in finding one. I hope to use my position to build those partnerships.

If you would like to share your thoughts on issues confronting rural communities, please let me know. You can reach me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452. Happy New Year!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: A chance to go big by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/01/2020

Like many of our neighbors here in Sandy, the coming of the new year gives us at City Hall the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead.

2019 marked a year of transition and change for Sandy. In January, I was sworn in as our Mayor. That meeting also marked the first day of our new City Manager, Jordan Wheeler. Together, along with our City Council and our dedicated and hardworking staff, we forged ahead on one of the most ambitious agendas in our city’s history.

As a result, we didn’t just dream big in 2019, we accomplished some big things. We were able to get the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to agree on a joint venture to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. We secured funding and a timeline for the 362nd to Bell Street connection. We kickstarted our master planning efforts for transportation, transit and parks. We adopted our Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan that included $500,000 from the State Legislature for a green alternative analysis which was our top 2019 legislative priority. We created an Economic Development Committee and adopted a budget that included a dedicated and stable source of funding for our police department. We also increased funding for our economic tenant improvement program and invested more into a reserve fund in case of a rainy day.

2019 was about laying the right foundation for Sandy to build off in the future. And 2020 is about adopting that vision and beginning our building process.

While our City Council is committed to continuing progress on our successful projects from 2019, we are now transitioning our focus onto the Sandy Community Campus project, Pleasant Street development and beginning the process of updating our Master Plan for growth.

As I’ve discussed in previous columns, the Sandy Community Campus is an exciting project that can serve as the starting point for a bright future for all of us. This project could allow us to completely revitalize the Pleasant Street neighborhood into a vibrant gathering place for our community and allow us to not rely so heavily on a downtown core that has a state highway running through it.

Recently in order to determine our vision and direction, we commissioned a public opinion survey which asked neighbors to share their opinion on what amenities they’d like to see in such a project as well as what they’d be willing to pay for such amenities. The results of this survey will be released to the public at our City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd. Additionally, citizens will have the opportunity to express what the City Council should do for next steps at our City Council Open House held at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Sandy Senior Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd.

If this public opinion survey comes back favorably, our community will have an important decision in front of us. Will the community decide to support a Parks & Recreation District that would provide our community with new and ongoing recreational, athletic and aquatic opportunities for all of us? In 2020, Sandy will have the opportunity to go big and not just dream big.

Additionally, our City Council and urban renewal board will be looking for opportunities to invest in Pleasant Street to help generate more economic activity. A vibrant Pleasant Street that provides a walkable gathering space for our neighbors with retail and entertainment-based business establishments that interface with a new Sandy Community Campus is something to get excited about.

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

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of City of Sandy

The Season of Good Will(s) by Paula Walker on 01/01/2020

A time for conversations…

In this age of convenience and efficiencies of effort, many products advertise “set it and forget it.” Sounds so good in our busy, sometimes harried lifestyles with family, work and social obligations to lighten the load of things to attend to with “do-it-for-you products.”

But estate planning is not one of those. Not set it and forget it but set it and tend to it – over time.

One of the many advantages in creating an estate plan, Trust or Will, is providing the basis for family harmony as part of your legacy. The certainty and clear direction that you provide with a well-thought out and executed estate plan is one of the greatest gifts to those who will support you and fulfill your directives, as well as to the family and friends your plan encompasses.

This is not something to wait for an “unveiling” after you pass, or a plan to be discovered in a time of emergency. It is a plan whose intended outcome is best assured if you talk with those involved about it now.

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to have such a talk, with many/most of the family already gathered. Be thoughtful in planning for and launching into such a talk, for your sake and theirs. Tell them in advance that you want to have this discussion. Set aside a quiet time and space, a brief spell apart from the flurry of festivities. Keep this first foray short. Its purpose is to convey that you have a plan. Explain your intentions i.e. to provide clear direction and guidance to help them help you at some future date. Talk process and framework, not content which is your private affair. Though discussions of death and incapacity can be awkward to initiate, often such conversations serve to bring the family closer. As well, you provide a model for your family to follow that can benefit them as they travel a similar path.

Ask your estate planning attorney for guidance in preparing for a family discussion.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

We’ll be back in the New Year with stories of the foibles, follies and fantastic tales of prominent persons, celebrities—stunning stories highlighting “things gone wrong” that you can avoid by doing things right in your estate plan.

For this article I leave you with my wishes for a joyous season of warm friendship and family sharing. As this year comes to a close and you step forward into a new year, may your life grow in ways meaningful and fulfilling.

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.

Opportunities abound in the New Year by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2020

The play “Our Town” is a favorite of mine and my favorite line is this: “Do any human beings ever realize every minute of life while they live it?” Clearly, the answer is “no,” but we can try. Change is constant -- maybe the only constant. But change begets more change and one step in the right direction can lead to more steps. Go slow, if possible, as sudden change can be stressful.

This blessed year we actually have an extra day, it being a leap year and all. A whole extra 24 hours! But we feel the tug to start as early as January first, so let’s do it!

The cells of your body live 21 days. At the end of 21 days all your cells will be new ones, though in a relative stage of “newness” as they don’t all change at once. What an opportunity we all have here. Interestingly people who live in developing nations have a much greater diversity of healthful bacteria in their gastro-intestinal systems than most Americans. Hmm, why is that? It’s because they eat a much wider diversity of foods than we do, especially vegetables.

Maybe this partially explains why the United States has sky-high healthcare costs, but a decreased life expectancy compared to those developing nations. In America the choice of vegetables runs to corn, green beans and potatoes. Lower fiber foods in general. And we have tons of packaged foods available. And sugar. Tons and tons of sugar. Sugar kills the good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods feed the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics like garlic, grains, onions and root vegetables and plant fibers in general will ferment in your colon to increase the good bacteria. All from what you choose to eat. We need the trillions (literally) of gut bacteria. Fermented foods can be eaten to help the cause. Fermented foods include such foods as aged cheeses, kefir, sourdough, yogurt, vinegar. Even three to four ounces of aged wine is acceptable, but only one glass a day and not every day.

Eliminating white foods is a good opportunity to start your health improvement. Eliminate or at least cut down on milk, potatoes, sugar and white flour. But not cauliflower, Daikon or other radishes, or mushrooms! Tend towards the Mediterranean lifestyle not just the nutritional aspects. Use good quality fats like cold-pressed oils, flax oil, palm oil, olive oil and even butter (but not margarine). Eat seeds -- sesame, fennel, even two Brazil nuts a day can be enough. Eat organic as much as you can afford and remember that YOU run the economy by what you choose to purchase. One to three times a week eat beans (canned or dry beans are fine), lentils or peas. And eat as many whole foods as possible, as they come from nature, not packaged foods. What an opportunity!

After my frantic harvest of Bok Choy, lettuce and Swiss chard before the freezing temperatures, I was still harvesting herbs almost daily. Hundreds of years ago we humans paid close attention to the seasons, the stars, the plants. Using herbs was our way of relating to the awesome universe. Rosemary and pomegranate protect against Staph aureus (otherwise known as methicillin resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA). The spices that appeal to us are now readily available -- cinnamon, cloves and ginger for instance. I currently am using a hefty dose of cardamom in my coffee, but you could make Golden Milk, an ages old recipe of milk (any kind) with butter or ghee, a scant teaspoon of both powdered ginger and turmeric. Add a pinch of nutmeg or pepper and you have a very healing bedtime drink.

Most experts agree that lack of movement is a huge risk to our health. Decreased movement leads to decreased muscle mass, a big risk factor not only for elders but for all of us. Women lose muscle mass and gain an average of five pounds of fat per decade, or maybe even per season. This is not good for your bones or your heart. Moderate exercise -- walking, carrying laundry, even walking to the end of the driveway -- it all helps. Try for some moderate exercise of 30 minutes at least three times a week. At home get up and move around after every chapter in that book or every commercial on TV. For those who are more ambitious there are fitness classes, dance classes, running or yoga. At my favorite health store in Eugene, The Kiva, the workers used to dance while stocking the shelves. It put a smile on everyone’s face.

Winter in our area is the traditional time to slow down, look inward, re-evaluate. Moderate alcohol intake. A study of Japanese and Americans found increased mental well-being in those who abstained from alcohol. Interestingly, women who had quit drinking were even better off. Alcohol can interfere with sleep and you really need your sleep to de-stress in the winter. Try cooking more with rosemary to enhance sleep and mood. But don’t go beyond ten hours of sleep unless you are overworked, as this could lead to a higher risk of heart disease.

Danish people live by the concept of Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh). This is a call for simplicity and coziness. Being half Danish (don’t ask about the spelling of my name, though it is a good story) coziness can include just slowing down, lighting a candle and wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket with cats on the bed. It could include a relaxing bath which includes Epsom salts and a very few drops of your favorite essential oil. For the much more adventurous it might mean taking the Polar Bear Plunge into cold water, or simply turning your shower to cold for the last few minutes to invigorate you and build your immunity.

Spend some time outdoors in green spaces. Fifteen to twenty minutes in sunlight gives you enough Vitamin D for the day and decreases stress hormones. Children who spend that amount of time outside are almost half as likely to develop mental health issues. And our children clearly need our help. Take the dog for a walk, check out the neighborhood, take that holiday popcorn string out to feed the wild birds.

While outdoors look for the “good” all around you. Always be aware of your blessings. Be grateful that you woke up this morning and say “thank you” for everything. When you think there are no more possibilities, there still are. Chances are good that the sun will come up tomorrow (though we may not always see it) and February will be here in no time with that extra 24 hours. What an opportunity!

More treats, less cheats! by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2020

If you’re eating for health this year check out a couple of recipes that are as yummy as they are healthy. Tips:

*Remember to think of it as an eating plan not a diet.

*Eat for health, not weight loss, losing weight is a byproduct.

*At a restaurant? Take half of your food home for later, you’ll have a nice snack.

*Sugar cravings? Eat a piece of fruit and wait.

*Have a fiber rich soup – split pea, bean, vegetable soups are all good for your body and soul!

Happy New Year!

 

Roasted veggie enchiladas

3 T olive oil

1 red pepper

1/2 small zucchini

1/2 small yellow squash

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen

1/2 cup black beans rinsed and drained

8 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

For sauce:

1/2 cup half & half

2 cans diced green chiles

1 1/2 t cumin

1/4 t salt

2 garlic cloves minced

2 T chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Chop vegetables into 3/4-inch pieces, toss all vegetables (omitting beans) with 3 T olive oil and spread on a large rimmed baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside. Add black beans to roasted vegetables. Heat corn tortillas slightly to soften, then fill each tortilla with approximately 1/3 cup roasted vegetable mixture. Roll tightly and place seam-side down in 9x13 inch pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled. Prepare the sauce by combining half & half, diced green chiles, cumin, salt and garlic cloves. Pour sauce evenly over enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Top with cilantro.

 

Skinny apple crisp

3 lbs. Granny Smith or Fuji apples, 1-inch slices

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 T cornstarch

Topping:

1 cup oat or nut flour

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1/2 cup brown coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 sticks butter chilled and diced into cubes

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t nutmeg

2 t cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples. Place them in a 9×12 baking dish and pour the rest of the filling ingredients over the apples. Toss with a large spoon to coat evenly. This can be done in a large mixing bowl if you prefer, I just like to save dishes. Combine all streusel topping ingredients in a food processor with the ‘s’ blade, pulse until crumbly and pour evenly over the fruit. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Check with a knife or fork to make sure apples are soft. Cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt.

 

Eat Cake

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 out. 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

1/4 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t 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 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 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 and bake 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let 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.

For the cake:

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

3/4 soft unsalted butter

3 egg whites

1 t almond extract

2 t 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. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pans. Cool layers while making buttercream. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the sprinkles at the very end and mix at little as possible.

Bake at 340 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch. Whip butter with electric mixer until fluffy while slowly adding sugar, add vanilla and food coloring, Frost and sprinkle cake.


Photo by Gary Randall
Tools of the trade: the tripod by Gary Randall on 12/01/2019

There’s no other piece of equipment that a photographer possesses that elevates the perception of skill and professionalism than a tripod. Walk down a pathway or a trail with just a camera and you’ll blend in, but put it on a tripod and walk down the trail and you’ll be noticed and recognized as someone who must obviously be taking more than snapshots.

A tripod is usually the first accessory that photographers will acquire after they buy their first fancy camera, but I have found that it’s also the most misunderstood. A tripod doesn’t elevate a photographer’s skill or professional ability. Sometimes it’s the photographer without a tripod that knows when and how to use one, but understanding your tripod (as with any other tool that you use) will certainly allow you to elevate the quality of certain photos.

The purpose of a tripod can be to steady the camera to prevent it from shaking during extended shutter speeds that are longer than is practical by hand, such as for smooth water photographs of creeks and waterfalls. It can also be used to simply allow for a brighter exposure or to give the photographer a platform to rest their camera on while they compose their photos. You can maintain the same position while you wait for conditions to change for instance. The most practical purpose is that it’s used when the shutter speed isn’t fast enough to hold the camera by hand for the photo that you are trying to make.

The times where your tripod is indispensable is when light is dim and the shutter speed needs to be extended, but the average photographer isn’t taking photos during this time. Daytime lighting can typically allow photographers to have a shutter speed that’s fast enough to eliminate motion blur for a clear and focused photo while handheld. Making sure that you have a shutter speed that’s quick enough is usually nothing more than choosing the proper ISO or aperture setting, as both can allow increased exposure without extending the shutter speed.

Taking photos without a tripod can be liberating, especially while hiking. A tripod can be cumbersome, heavy and usually unnecessary.

Using a tripod can also limit creativity in composing a shot. You must fiddle around with the tripod to get it positioned properly to get the photo, when if you didn’t have it you can simply come up to the scene, focus and frame the shot and snap it. A photographer is typically more apt to wander around and find different compositions if not tethered to a planted tripod.

A tripod comes in handiest to landscape photographers as they tend to take their time composing, focusing, adjusting and reshooting the scene. In that case it’s handy to set up on the tripod and take the time to make sure that everything is perfect. It’s also used to maintain a composition while conditions change. It’s most indispensable to a landscape photographer than most other genres of photography. In the case where there’s a lot of moving from one shot to the next, such as candid photos during an event, being able to react quickly prohibits the use of one.

Tripods can come in varied levels of quality, sizes and types and made, basically, from two kinds of material – aluminum or carbon fiber. Weight is a very important consideration, especially while travelling, hiking or in cases where the tripod is carried throughout the day, but weight saving should never compromise stability. Make sure that it’s sturdy enough for the camera that you use and the conditions that you plan to use it in. Remember that we use tripods to steady our cameras, so having a steady tripod is a must.

When choosing a tripod, I’ve found that paying a bit more for one that is of a higher quality, like most things in life, will pay dividends in time.

When I first started in photography I used cheap tripods, but after having a few break, typically with no way to repair them, usually at the most inopportune times, or being frustrated by unstable versions that would move in the slightest breeze, I decided to save my money and buy a sturdy carbon fiber tripod that will last a lifetime. If I had done so in the beginning it would have eventually paid for itself.

No tripod is complete without an accessory that attaches the camera called a head. The more inexpensive versions may have a head that is attached permanently, but most tripods will need a separate head.

There are typically two types that are most commonly used – pan-tilt or ball head. My experience is that a ball head is the most versatile, reliable and most simple to use. A ball head has a spherical joint that can be easily positioned in many ways and then locked down with a single knob. A pan-tilt head has two levers that are used to adjust the tilt, elevation and direction separately. As with the tripod legs, buying a sturdy head will save you a lot of frustration and will last longer.

Carbon fiber or aluminum? Carbon fiber is always preferred, but carbon fiber tripods are usually more expensive. Carbon fiber is lighter and will not oxidize or rust. There have been many times where I’ve been in creeks or lakes or even worse, in the surf at the ocean with my old aluminum tripods where I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it before it started to seize up due to the corrosive nature of saltwater. Saltwater is terrible for aluminum. Carbon fiber and plastic parts will not corrode and will give you more time to get around to rinsing or cleaning your tripod. Keeping your tripod clean is an absolute must, so learn how to disassemble it and reassemble it.

I hope that this helps to better understand your tripod and how and why it’s used. My advice is to learn your camera and the basic principles of photography to allow you to know when a tripod is needed and when it’s not.

As with any tool, using your tripod properly will enhance not only your photography but your experience of creating photos.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: options beyond gift cards by Mary Soots on 12/01/2019

It’s the holidays! That wonderful time of the year when we spend time with friends and loved ones, coming together to share expressions of gratitude and love. We express our friendship and love through symbolic gestures such as sharing food, spending time together engaged in seasonal activities and in giving gifts. Whether Chanukah, Christmas or whatever your religious or world view is, it is a time when the world seems to soften.

When we are exchanging gifts, something that we in the social sciences refer to as reciprocity, we put much thought into what we would like to gift to say. A new sportscar, for example, would have a very different message if given to a spouse than if it was given to a member of the local cleaning crew. Another example would be if you gave that same car to your teenage offspring while giving your spouse a new power drill (may God take pity on your soul!).

In a different time, holiday gift shopping was a special event where one would contemplate what might please the recipient. The objective of this is that you are demonstrating that you care enough about the individual, are aware of their tastes and have spent both time and money in finding just the right gift for them, wrapping it in a way that pleases the eye and in general shows how much you care for that person. To illustrate this, while working in a retail jewelry store once, a customer asked me to help him select a gift for his mother that would “make her cry.” He later reported success in his endeavor. Jewelry is marketed as equating cost to “show how much you love her.”

In this day and age, we live in a virtual world where shopping is as simple as the click of a computer keyboard, especially when living in a remote location where shopping options are limited. Online shopping gives the benefit of comparison shopping and access to a wider variety of merchandise. At the time, the day of shopping in downtown Portland or at the mall, window shopping, seeing the holiday décor in the hustle and bustle, stopping for lunch or meeting with friends for dinner are gone. Shopping has become more of a tedium than an adventure, coming across something unexpected that will put a smile on Bobby’s face. The holidays have become more about the merchandise than about the act of shopping. Stores start putting out their holiday merchandise as soon as Halloween is over, hoping to entice people to buy from them rather than waiting until the last minute to buy online.

The other aspect that has changed is that we no longer try to find the “perfect” gift to express our care. The stigma of not choosing the right color, size or item has resulted in our taking the easiest way out of shopping – hence the gift card. It’s our way of saying, “I didn’t know what to buy for you, so go buy something for yourself.” While it takes the guessing out of the game, it also removes the element of surprise and delight, which in my opinion is half the fun. And the recipient doesn’t remember who gave them the card after it’s spent.

To be fair, prior to the advent of gift cards, gift certificates were used when we wanted to give someone a gift of their choice at their favorite store. Those have been replaced with plastic gift cards that can be found in abundance in nearly every retail store. We asked what the environmental impact of plastic gift cards is, and learned from giftbit.com that “In 2013, physical gift cards have an estimated annual CO2 footprint of 585,300 tons. That’s more than all the daily air flights in Europe combined. What’s worse is that 8%-19% of all gift cards go unused.”

What are the alternatives to plastic gift cards? As I’ve stated previously, my favorite gift is a voucher made by someone with an invitation to spend time together. Rather than a physical object, their time is their gift. It’s always the right gift! A homemade gift (especially food) is always a welcome expression of friendship. A wrapped gift with a gift receipt for exchange if something is not the right one is another option. If a gift card is still the preferred choice, there are many digital options for sending a gift card. They have a significantly reduced footprint compared to physical cards, so the environmental impact of gifting can be reduced.

Happy holidays to you from all of us at the Mt. Hood Green Scene!

Viewpoints – Sandy: The Holidays in Sandy by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2019

Whether it be the holiday tree lighting at Centennial Plaza, breakfast with Santa or the Sandy Light Show – our local businesses, service organizations and talented neighbors are on display. It’s truly the most wonderful time of year in our community of Sandy.

The holidays are all about family, community and giving, and in Sandy we have no shortage of ways to get into the holiday spirit.

In Sandy, we kick off the holiday season with our annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony held at Centennial Plaza. This year’s ceremony is on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. In addition to the lighting, Sandy area families get to mingle with Santa, enjoy treats and hot cocoa from local Sandy businesses, caroling by the SHH Choir, free trolley rides and more. My girls Lucy and Olivia love the Sandy Historical Museum’s free kids craft projects during the event inside the museum adjacent to the plaza. And I’ll be there lighting the tree at 7 p.m.! The annual tree lighting is an event that our family looks forward to every year. With this being the first year as Mayor lighting the tree, my girls, MacKensey and I are incredibly excited.

Growing up in Sandy, no annual event had a bigger impact on me as a person than the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Every year this program helps assist more than 400 families within our community with baskets filled with food and toys to make the holidays a little brighter to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a special dinner or presents.

According to their website, Kiwanis purchases the fresh food, meat and basic canned goods that are included in each box. The Oregon Trail School District supplies additional canned food and non-perishable items collected through their annual canned food drive as part of high school Leadership and Key Club activities.

Last year, my wife, MacKensey, and I took our girls to deliver baskets to locals, just like I did as a student at Sandy High School. There’s nothing like looking into the eyes of your child as they give to another in need and realize the impact they have on that individual. You can find more information about this program by visiting the Sandy Kiwanis Facebook page or their website at www.sandykiwanis.org.

Every year in early December, the city of Sandy’s Senior Center puts on our “Breakfast with Santa.” This year’s breakfast will be held at the Senior Center on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 7 a.m. to noon. In addition to treats and getting to visit Santa, there are crafts and activities for kids, and vendors for parents to shop. This is one of the most well attended and highly anticipated local events of the year and all proceeds help benefit our local Meals-on-Wheels programs. More details will be available soon on the city’s Facebook page.

One of our favorite local traditions is to put the kids in the car on Christmas Eve and head over to the Scenic Meadows neighborhood to enjoy the Sandy Light Show. One of our local City Councilors, John Hamblin, and his family put on this amazing light show each year for our community. We greatly appreciate their efforts, as the holidays in our community wouldn’t be the same without it!

The light show begins the evening of Saturday, Nov. 30 and will run nightly from 5:30-8 p.m. This year we may need to make a trip over to the Sandy Light Show a little earlier as Santa is coming to town! The Sandy Light Show is teaming up with local area charitable nonprofit Sandy’s Helping Hands on Dec. 20. Santa will be visiting the light show and Sandy’s Helping Hands will be collecting canned food and non-perishables to help local families. Make sure to check out the Facebook pages for both organizations for future updates.

As a community leader, I tend to spend a majority of my time thinking and focusing on our future. The holiday season allows all of us the opportunity to take a moment, reflect and be reminded of what it is we’re working so hard to preserve. This column only scratches the surface of local activities and charitable efforts of Sandy’s local businesses, charitable organizations, churches and neighbors that helps spread holiday cheer each year. It is this reminder of why we must continue to work so hard together to Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints – Salem: Funding SAR by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2019

Most people in our mountain communities are fans of outdoor recreation and are aware of the risks that go along with it. Unfortunately, some of the millions of people who come here from around the world are less experienced on slopes and trails, and less aware of the dangers that Mount Hood and its surrounding attractions pose. When tourists venture away from trails or injure themselves in the wilderness, it falls on the people in our communities to conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

Under state law, county sheriffs are responsible for SAR, which makes sense. Sheriffs know the terrain of their counties better than just about anyone. They are on the front lines when someone needs rescue: they know all of the local resources available and they have relationships with groups and individuals who can help effectively conduct SAR operations. Often, this means that they rely on the generosity of volunteers and non-profit groups to help find and rescue people in need.

Unfortunately, volunteers and non-profit groups are necessary for this work to get done, because the financial cost for SAR operations also falls on county sheriffs. In rural counties especially, sheriffs’ offices are overwhelmed by these expenses. Yet some rural areas like ours are points of pride for our state’s tourism industry; so the state works hard to draw people to the mountain, but doesn’t provide adequate resources for mountain communities to address the SAR needs that result from this booming tourism.

During the short session, I will be co-sponsoring a bill with Representative Paul Evans to create a voluntary outdoor recreation SAR card program. Put simply, this will create a card that will be advertised and sold to recreators at locations where fishing and hunting licenses, ATV permits, and other outdoor recreation passes are available. The card will cost $10 for an individual and $25 for a family, and the proceeds will go to the Office of Emergency Management, who will distribute the funds to county sheriffs’ offices as partial reimbursement for their SAR expenses.

This is nowhere near a complete solution to the massive funding problem that SAR poses to our counties, but it is an excellent way to highlight the issue for the public and to bring in some of the direly needed funds. My hope is that this program will be a steppingstone to a more robust SAR funding policy in the near future. In addition to pushing to pass this bill, I will keep working with a coalition of sheriffs, business owners, outdoor recreation groups, volunteer rescue units and government organizations who developed this plan. I’m confident that, with this large group of diverse voices that are as motivated as I am to solve Oregon’s SAR problem, we can find the funding our sheriffs need to keep performing this essential function. They deserve the state’s help in keeping our communities safe for everyone to enjoy.

If you have thoughts about SAR costs or ideas about how to help counties cover them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or to call us at 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The e-state of passwords by Paula Walker on 12/01/2019

Passwords, passwords, passwords. In our world steadily moving to online everything from buying your daily groceries, to auto-pay for all your utilities, to the family photo album… managing all those passwords maybe challenging for you. But imagine the task of accessing, closing and/or retrieving the data in those accounts after your death. Managing your accounts, increasingly takes a prominent role in estate planning. Our various on-line accounts, aka digital assets, demand attention if you want your accounts to be settled, final bills paid and your mementos secured. Without the necessary provisions in your estate plan, your electronic bill pays go unattended and your auto pays continue to pay out months after your passing.

In short, you have a “digital legacy” to consider and provide directives for. You may think that this information does not apply to because you don’t have a Facebook account or don’t use social media, but your digital assets are much broader than whether you have a social media account or not. Our most every day dealings involve some form of cyber asset, PayPal, frequent flyer miles, NetFlix, Flickr photos, email, Amazon subscription orders, cloud storage like Google Drive and even cryptocurrency.

Cyber intestacy: dying without a will is called “intestacy” and for digital assets there is a phenomena called “cyber intestacy,” dying without a will (or Trust) and leaving your cyber assets unaddressed along with all your other assets; or with a will that does not specifically authorize your estate administrator access to your digital assets.

Consequences: without provisions in your estate plan authorizing your estate administrator to access your digital assets, the companies holding those assets, the “custodians” can (nay, most likely will) refuse access. The TOSAs (terms of service agreements) that we say “yes” to — clicking through without reading as we sign on to one of the many accounts with which we conduct our every day affairs — result in our agreeing to the terms of the custodian. Those terms often reserve the custodian’s right to refuse access to those accounts by a third party. While that may be a valuable privacy protection to you during life, it can pose significant challenges to the persons you ask to act on your behalf when administering your estate.

What to do: if you do not have an estate plan, create at minimum a will that includes provisions designating authority to the person you trust to access your accounts when administering your estate. If you do have an estate plan, check that it has those provisions. If it does not, take action to create them. In addition to ensuring that you have the necessary digital assets management provisions, create and store in a secured place an inventory of your digital assets along with the detailed information necessary to access the associated accounts. Include in that list links to the custodian’s detailed information on how to make contact on behalf of the estate and what information to provide to access and close your account(s). Tell your estate administrator where they can access that information when the time comes. This information may be needed by your Agent, acting as your fiduciary in a time of incapacity, so these provisions should be part of your Durable Power of Attorney as well.

Examples of links to custodian websites detailing their processes for handling the removal of a deceased members account include this page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/1111566045566400 and this one on Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/contact-twitter-about-a-deceased-family-members-account.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

John Ajemian – not a household name or a celebrity, but a name that holds prominence in the struggle to create laws that both protect the data privacy of the initial account holder, as well as dictating the rights of the estate to access those accounts after that person’s passing where such is the decedent’s intent. In the Massachusetts case Ajemian v. Yahoo!, Yahoo denied access to Mr. Ajemian’s email accounts to the estate administrators after Mr. Ajemian’s death in 2006 based on Yahoo’s terms of service agreement, which denied third party access to accounts. In a court battle that yet ensues, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) concluded in fall 2017 that neither state nor federal law prohibited the personal representative from acting on the decedent’s behalf to give “lawful consent” to release the contents of the email account.

The SJC however stopped short of requiring Yahoo to release the emails to the family. It instead sent the case back to the lower court to address particular fact issues regarding Yahoo’s terms of service. Yahoo meanwhile petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Yahoo’s petition.

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.

Trees are part of the holidays and nature by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2019

While many will indulge in holiday trees and honor them, we must remember that ALL trees are sacred and honor them. It’s the season of peace and love, of a need for light, a time for sharing.

The lunar month of the birch tree is Dec. 23 thru Jan. 20. At the winter solstice we are smack in the middle of the darkest time of the year. Heat and light become important to us. The burning of the Yule log (traditionally birch) was more about the need for light and warmth around the time of the solstice according to the ancient druids. It was not yet a celebration of Christian beliefs, but more about the Yule log later in this column.

In this season of peace and love we recognize the importance of trees. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or some Celtic ceremony, it’s more about peace and love than about war. War is not healthy for children and other living things. The “real” things in life are air, water, food, shelter and love or community.

Without a thriving ecology we will never really achieve a thriving economy. We first need to revive our ecology. We are leaving an inherited Earth to our children and grandchildren. Will it be a living, green planet filled with lush trees and plants...or will it lead us into another ice age. A restored and healthy landscape will give us more continued food, medicine and resources than a planet of bare, exposed, cemented-over earth!

The National Science Foundation (NSF), which studies our ecology, has had no funding increase in over ten years. The amount of funding for non-defense research has been frozen for most scientific research. Since 1983, spending on government allocated scientific research has been just over $7 billion per year. If that sounds like a lot, note that our government spends over two times that much on defense, more than $18 billion per year. Yikes.

Looked at from outer space, which we’ve been able to do since the startling Mother Earth News Catalog of 1970, it reveals that our planet appears less green each year. With the health of our planet being closely tied to human health, is it any wonder that we now have increased rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer pretty much worldwide. We are destroying our ecosystem at a rate that is faster and greater than any other culture in history. We’ve polluted water and air, degraded our soils and toxified the Earth at a rate never known before. Certainly not known by our grandparents. We no longer have enough trees to return oxygen to our living bodies. Increased carbon dioxide from our destruction of our atmosphere has led to increased drought, floods, heat, hurricanes and tornados. We might need to decide what’s more important - the essences of life or big screen TVs and plastic grocery bags.

We’ve relied upon trees and green vegetation since the dawn of civilization, approximately 10,000 years ago. One of the oldest trees on earth is a chestnut tree growing on the rocks composing the side of Mount Etna in Sicily. It is more than 4,000 years old. Another tree of the same age is the Ginkgo tree found growing on the top of Mount Qingcheng in China. The ginkgo tree was thought to be lost for years until discovered there in China. All ginkgo trees now grown are descended from this one tree. I heard this historic story in 1991 in a Biology 101 class so when I went to China, in 1996, I made a special effort to visit that sacred tree. I laughed when I found its huge trunk embedded in the earth around a pig sty!

Closer to home, I had on my small holding, Clackamas County’s oldest living Gravenstein apple tree. Alas it was undocumented. It grew next to an old cistern that seeped water even during the summer months. When I got tired of canning applesauce and pie fillings, I simply threw the fruit over the fence to my rescued donkeys and llamas. Next to the apple tree was a pear tree of similar lineage and age though not girth. The pear tree once gave me 96 quarts of pears before I realized that living alone, I’d probably never finish all those home-canned pears. I should have thrown those over the fence too! Needless to say, most everyone got quarts of pears or applesauce for Christmas that year.

Wendall Berry said that nature include humans, we are part of it. If nature does not thrive, we will not thrive. Whether you choose a real tree or a fake tree to honor this season, think at least of the future. How will you dispose of said tree when you are done with it? The real tree can become firewood or mulch. How will you dispose of the fake tree? This is the kind of forward-thinking we need to be doing.

Now back to that Yule log. Engage your family and friends in locating a log that would be appropriate for honoring the season. One that will give back heat and light for your fireplace, firepit or woodstove. Decorate that log by gluing on things like berries, herbs, cinnamon sticks, moss or star anise for ceremonial and fragrant burning. Sing carols around the fire, share stories or pray silently in the tradition of honoring trees. Then save the ashes to spread round trees in your yard and surely spring will come. Have a peaceful, loving season.

Gifts from the kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2019

This is the season for indoorsy fun and sharing calories. Pie kits are fun to make and give!

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Decorative glass jars, medium size

– Crushed candy canes, mini M&Ms

– Double recipe pâte sucrée (store bought pie crust works also)

– Wax and parchment paper

– Kitchen twine

– Gift tags, bows, etc.

– Pie tins

– Printed Recipe/Directions

Pâte Sucrée (sweet pie dough)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 T cornstarch

1 egg yolk

1 t salt

2 T sugar

1 cup unsalted diced chilled butter

1/4 cup chilled water

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using forks or a food processor, cut in the butter until crumbly. Mix water with the egg yolk and gently mix in. Make two disks, chill. Roll out on a floured surface and roll up with a sheet of greased wax paper. Wrap in parchment and tie with kitchen twine. Keep refrigerated.

Apple cherry pie filling

In a large saucepan add in four sliced and peeled Granny Smith apples with:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 T lemon juice

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup cornstarch

Bring to a boil over medium/high heat then reduce the heat to medium stirring often and cook for six minutes until the apples release their juice and mixture thickens slightly. Allow to cool completely, spoon ingredients into a pretty glass jar with a lid, secure lid, add a nice ribbon to the pie dough and place in a nice pie tin.

Chocolate cream pie filling

In a saucepan over med heat whisk together:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

2 T cornstarch

1/2 t salt

3 cups Half & Half

Increase the heat and bring to a boil whisking constantly. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, then add in 2 t vanilla and 2 T butter. Pour into a jar, cover with plastic on the surface and cool completely. Gift with the pie dough, a pie tin and a bag of mini M&M candies and crushed peppermint.


Rhododendron circa 1940.
Mount Hood’s photographic legacy by Gary Randall on 11/01/2019

Since photography was invented it has been an important part of the preservation and interpretation of history. I have an enthusiastic interest in the history of Mount Hood as well as photography and so it’s not hard to imagine that I’d also be interested in historic photos of Mount Hood and its surrounding areas.

It’s easy for those who live on or around Mount Hood today to become familiar with how things are without having anything to compare how it once was. We may think that this area hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years.

But buildings come and go. Forests grow and die. Flooded rivers change landscapes. Fashions change and transportation methods improve. The activities of the people who live on or visit Mount Hood change through time as well. All of these things have changed through time but are captured in their own moment with a photograph. 

Most of the towns on Mount Hood were established and grew during the age when the average tourist could own a Kodak camera and not need the bulky cameras from the past that required a professional to operate. Government Camp has been photographed by visitors since before it was a town. Once it was a town, thousands of photographs were taken by tourists while they hiked, climbed the summit or skied its slopes and relaxed afterwards. Documented from these activities are photos of early Mount Hood scenes, buildings and the people that made Government Camp a town.

Further down the south face of the mountain Samuel and Billy Welch were creating their own situation in the Salmon River Valley, where Sam homesteaded and built his ranch. A couple of decades later Billy turned the ranch into a tourist destination and Welches was soon established, and with that came more photographs by those who came to visit.

Not long after came the town of Rhododendron as an attractant of folks from Portland that wanted to get away and relax in the woods with their cameras. The old Rhododendron Inn was a popular destination for out of towners.

During the golden age of postcards for those who didn’t have a camera, professional photographers created what are called Real Photo Postcards to be sold at the inns, resorts and tourist attractions. Many depicted the places that the tourists visited including inns, hotels and restaurants. Many also depicted the surrounding countryside, much of which has changed over the last 100 years.

I’ve included several old photos of familiar locations that have changed over time. These old photos are invaluable to understanding the history of our home here on Mount Hood. I wonder if, in this day and age where photographs aren’t printed, if the digital images that are being made will still be around for those in the future to understand us and what Mount Hood is to us today.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Rate increase explained by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2019

For the past year I have talked often about the issues with our Wastewater Treatment process. In previous months, I’ve attempted to provide background as well as updates on the what, when, where and why in this column. Now, our community is faced with the reality of our first rate increase in order to help pay for the project.

At the City Council meeting held in October, we were forced to raise our wastewater rates by an average of $22.44 a month for our ratepayers. Land and housing developers will see a hefty increase as well. New commercial and residential development projects in Sandy pay a one-time System Development Charge (SDC) to purchase wastewater system capacity. Sandy’s SDC will increase from $1,834 to $4,889 for a single-family residence.

As you can imagine, this was absolutely gut wrenching for our City Council. This is the result of years of deferred maintenance, not budgeting for upgrades, a resistance to raising rates after the recent recession, and basically ignoring a giant elephant in the room.

The truth of the matter is that we do not have a choice. As a community, it’s not realistic to say we’ll stop running water or flushing toilets. There is no possible future without a new plant. We are currently at capacity. The Department of Environmental Quality will not allow us to legally discharge any more water into the Clackamas River Basin and they are mandating that we update our process by 2024.

City Council and I are doing everything we can to minimize this impact on our community ratepayers. We’ve engaged with our state legislative delegation and have successfully advocated for funds for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis. Thoroughly vetting these options are crucial. If one of these options is viable, it would cost approximately half the price of the current plan and would be much better for our environment.

We have also engaged with our federal delegation to advocate for federal loans, grants and budget earmarks.

Despite these opportunities to decrease costs, we still must increase the rate now to start saving funds for this massive project. If our efforts are successful, we will be able to lower or eliminate planned future increases.

The lack of strategic budgeting for this current project is frustrating. For years, there were no wastewater rate increases and the facility has continued to deteriorate. The first fines from DEQ began in 2003, and we are just now taking substantial steps towards fixing our issues in 2019. Small rate increases should’ve been planned for gradually over the past 16 years, but that never happened. We will need to do a better job of long-term budgeting and rate forecasting in the future.

It should be noted that our wastewater rates are still on the lower end compared to other Portland-area communities. The only communities with rates lower than ours in the area are Gladstone and Estacada. I recently had a chance to speak with the Mayors and staff of those cities and they’re both under the same mandate from DEQ that we are and plan to raise rates dramatically in the near future as well. My guess is that once they raise their rates, we’ll be back at the bottom for the area again. Our project webpage has the graphics that compares our current and future wastewater rates to other Clackamas County cities for your reference: https://www.ci.sandy.or.us/wastewater-system-improvements

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.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints – Salem: Fixing a gap in the law by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2019

Every now and then, an omission in the law is so glaring that I’m amazed it hasn’t already been dealt with. For example, I was shocked when I recently learned of a gap in our state’s child labor regulations: there are currently no labor laws that keep child employees from coming into contact with adult coworkers who are registered sex offenders. Even more shocking is the fact that no other state in the country seems to have any law that provides that protection!

In Oregon, employers that want to hire anyone younger than eighteen need to apply for an employment certificate from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). In limited circumstances, even kids as young as nine years old are eligible to be hired as long as their parents consent. The application for a child labor certificate asks employers what sorts of duties the minor employees might perform, where they will be working, and whether they will be using any potentially dangerous machinery or other equipment.

These questions are all intended to protect kids from hazardous workplace situations, but the laws that created this application didn’t take one significant risk into account: there is nothing in the application process to require employers to ensure that the minors they hire won’t come into contact with registered sex offenders. Worse, there is no law that gives BOLI the authority to look into whether an employee who will work alongside those minors is a registered offender, or to deny an application on those grounds.

When BOLI brought this issue to my attention, it was immediately clear that something needed to be done. Since agricultural districts like mine are the main employers of minors in Oregon, I decided that correcting this disturbing gap in our labor laws would be one of my priorities in the 2020 session. I plan on introducing a bill (the first of its kind in our nation!) that will require employers to attest that none of its employees who will likely come into contact with young workers is a registered sex offender. It will also empower BOLI to perform background checks on applicants and their employees.

Sometimes, the gears of government grind slowly. Here, though, is a chance to fix a potentially serious problem quickly and effectively within months of my having learned about it. Even better, Oregon has the chance to be a national leader on this issue. There are a lot of good life lessons and fundamental values that young Oregonians can learn from part-time employment. I will see to it that they remain as safe as possible while they do so.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: bagging our pooch’s poop by Mary Soots on 11/01/2019

I love dogs. Over the past three decades, I have had at least one dog in my household. My current dogs, Joe Cockerpoo (a Cockapoo) and Dogma (a Rottweiler/German Shepherd mutt) keep me active, entertained, protected and healthy. Dogs can have such wonderful health benefits. Among the benefits are that they improve your heart health by keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, so that dog owners are likely to have fewer heart attacks.

Dogs have to exercise and guess who has to do it? If it weren’t for my dogs, I don’t know if I would be hiking along the Salmon River in the rain or traipsing all over Mt. Hood in all kinds of weather instead of only on nice days. Research indicates that people with dogs are more fit and active (even if reluctantly) and as a result require fewer doctor visits.

We used to think the opposite was true, but owning a pet can help children become up to a third less likely to develop allergies to pets. In fact, pets can help them develop their immune system.

Dogs, like children, are good for the social life. Dogma’s predecessor was Karma (don’t judge me!), who loved to roam the neighborhood around my cabin. The neighbors all knew the 120-pound gentle giant. After spending some time in Portland, I once had a call from one mountain neighbor asking if I was okay because she hadn’t wandered into their home to say hello. In town, people tend to live more reclusive lifestyles, but those who own dogs are forced to be outdoors at dog parks or walking in their neighborhood and share a common bond.

There’s a good reason why dogs make great therapy animals. Spend a few minutes with a dog to reduce stress, lower anxiety, increase levels of serotonin and dopamine to calm and relax you. They’re good for easing tension at work or at home. If my husband and I would ever argue, Karma would stoically stand between us until we finished.

Retirees find that dogs give structure to the day and all dog owners have a sense of not being alone or isolated when they have a best friend with them. For that same reason, dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Dog owners feel a sense of responsibility because their pets depend on them and give them a sense of purpose.

Dogs do so much for us and we, in turn, treat them like family. We want to protect them and make sure that they are getting the healthiest nutrition possible. We take them to the vet for their vaccines and check-ups. We should also be cautious of what types of toys they play with. Plastic toys can be ingested, or plastic containers and even plastic-lined dog food cans leach into their food. We already know how plastic can harm other animals, and we’re slowly realizing the extent of damage it can have on our beloved pets as well.

So as much as we love and care for our dogs, we must also be aware that when we take our dogs for a walk where we need to collect the dog waste, we need to think about how we’re doing it. I often wonder what some archeologist of the future is going to think when they discover that I and the other 60 million pet households have been collecting dog poop and encasing it in plastic bags as though it were something to be treasured. Plastic bags that don’t decompose and are packed tightly in a landfill will “mummify” the waste rather than allowing it to break down.

Until recently, I had been using what were supposedly “biodegradable” dog poop bags that were misrepresented. Apparently, there is much controversy about what is authentically so. I’ve now discovered compostable bags made of natural ingredients. If we lived in Portland, we could avoid the hassle and subscribe to a low-cost service that will collect dog waste from your yard and dispose of it in a composting site. Other people choose to collect the waste and flush it down the toilet. Still others use paper bags to avoid using plastic bags.

The best part of this is that people have realized that the volume of dog poop being preserved in plastic bags is an environmental catastrophe and that we are looking for solutions to the problem of how to balance the needs of the environment with the needs of our best friend. We will all be happier for it.

A great trust – accept or not? by Paula Walker on 11/01/2019

Your friend, perhaps a member of your family, is preparing their estate plan. One part of that plan is the healthcare document set that contains two key documents, the Advance Directive and the Healthcare Power of Attorney. You’ve been asked to be the healthcare representative, i.e. the person appointed to perform responsibilities called out in those documents should your friend face a time that they cannot make their own healthcare decisions. It is a gesture of immeasurable trust. Still - should you accept or decline?

Acting as someone’s healthcare representative, aka healthcare proxy, in the event that they cannot make medical decisions on their own behalf is a huge and potentially weighty responsibility. Here are things to consider as you make your decision.

The Healthcare Power of Attorney conveys the fiduciary responsibility for the day to day; that, for an indeterminate amount of time of incapacity, you are seeing to that person’s daily affairs. It may mean that you make sure that they have what they need for their medical care as well as daily fundamentals such as groceries, heat and other utilities in their home; that you or someone you’ve arranged for prepares meals and provides the fundamental care needed, ensures transportation to doctors’ appointments and arranges medical care as required by their condition.

The Advance Directive requires that you step into the narrow margins of life and death decisions according to the document prepared and person to person interactions that person may have, hopefully did have, with you so that you have the intimate knowledge needed in a high intensity, often emotionally charged circumstance to make decisions acting with the knowledge of their preferences that may or may not be supported in writing. You may be, likely will be called upon to make tough choices in tough circumstances regarding medical treatment and life support.

The range of circumstances in which you will be called upon to decide on another’s behalf will require you to be ready to make firm decisions timely, at times within limited timeframes, i.e. you must make a decision and make it now. It will require a strength of character, a backbone in standing firm on behalf of the person you represent in the presence of possible opposition from the medical staff with whom you are dealing and from other friends or family members. It may require you to make one of the toughest decisions you may ever be called upon to make, the decision to pull life-support – or continue life support – according to what the person who entrusted his or her care to you made clear as their desire should you be faced with certain circumstances in their condition that present or limit the medical options remaining.

Another consideration in accepting this awesome responsibility is practical in its nature. Will you be around? If you travel often for various reasons and it is reasonable to foresee that you may not be available in an emergency or to provide that day to day oversight, this is not a role that you could reasonably assume, regardless of how you might otherwise serve in this role, i.e. understanding the intimate decisions of the person you’d represent and possessing the strength to follow the course if ever called upon.

Another practical consideration involves who will be the financial counterpart to you. Determine whether you are compatible with the person who has been asked to manage your friend’s finances because acting as healthcare proxy requires that you interface that person. You will be dependent upon their support for the work that you could be called upon to perform and the services and supplies you may need to provide.

And yet another fundamental examination of your fit for the role is your ethical position on the treatments that may be required and/or the continuation of life, or not, decisions that may present themselves. Do your religious, spiritual or intellectual guideposts conflict with what you may be called upon to support?

Saying yes to a person honoring you with their trust in you, anticipating the most intimate decisions in a time when their life depends on you, requires some careful and thorough introspection before yes should be your answer.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Equal to preparing the asset management components of your estate plan is “end of life planning.” Joan Rivers may be a grand star shining in the universe of ideas discussed in this month’s article when it comes to knowing that and showing the way. Joan Rivers, who found material for her comedy even in this topic, gave the responsibility for making the decision of her continued life or its end to her daughter Melissa.

In Time Magazine’s tribute to Joan following her death, calling Joan “the boundary busting comedian” carried the line Joan liked to quote from Sally Marr: “I ain’t afraid of death, I’m in show business. I died a million times,” in humorous recognition of the many rejections survived on the way to fame.

Making her wishes known regarding the trust and confidence she had place in her daughter, even publicly, with a spot in her reality show in 2014 prior to her death in September of that year, Joan candidly advised her daughter to be ready in case Joan did not recover from upcoming surgery; assuring Melissa that she would be fine when the time came.

Not an “If Only” example of estate planning that could have gone better, but instead a model to consider as you ask someone to support you in this most profound undertaking and as you respond to taking such a mantle.

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 fabulous flavors of the fall feast by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2019

Fall is the season where we harvest the fruition of what was planted in spring and summer. We gather in the fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, and all the abundance of fall vegetables. We turn to inward thoughts, our homes and our families. We take quiet walks to enjoy the coloring of the leaves. We rest more to keep that immune system in tip-top shape. The Days of Thanks (which should actually be every day) are a good time to do a little fall cleanse of our digestive system in which you might include the juices of beets, celery, carrots, parsley, zucchini and such though always diluted with water or apple, grape, or pear juices.

Chinese medicine states this is the season of the lungs and the large intestine. After the mine-cleanse of juices you may be eating fewer fruits than you did in the summer. We turn now more to the grains and vegetables, which are especially nice roast in the oven or even over an open fire or the grill. Those who eat meat may include more, while the vegetarians may increase beans, nuts, seeds and even some eggs. Either way, the Instapot and crockpot will play a greater role in the preparation of soups, stews and bone broths. Fall is the start of the yin cycle, the inward turning cycle. It is the time to finish those projects of spring and summer, and to put the garden temporarily to bed. Thus, may we prepare for a day (or more) of feasting.

There will be an abundance of recipes for stuffing, whether you stuff a turkey, bell peppers, squash or cook the stuffing in a pan. We are so scared of gluten that gluten-free is on most every menu in every restaurant now. But the real problem may be in buying average bread from a big box store or regular grocery store. Our bodies are not made to digest that amount of gluten at one sitting. If you make an effort to locate organic, heirloom grains, preferably sprouted or soured, you may digest better than most of America’s quickly grown, high-gluten bread! In our country everything is all about the money, so everything is fast, fast, fast. While there is currently no genetically modified wheat in the United States (yet), it would be a good thing to avoid. Pita bread has no yeast but should be avoided by anyone with a grain allergy.

Broccoli is being harvested now and even the children learn to love those “little trees.” It is very nutrient dense and easy to prepare. It is high in vitamins C, B complex, calcium, potassium and chromium (which helps to prevent diabetes). Broccoli is among the cruciferous vegetables which include cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and more. These cruciferous vegetables are all anti-cancer foods, though you should try to avoid any vegetable grown in high nitrate soils or where Round-Up is used. Opt for the freshest and darkest broccoli you can find and roast in a hot oven or steam it just until the color turns a very bright green.

Cranberries, that traditional accompaniment, are very high in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and fiber. Also pretty on the plate and a nice tangy side dish for the other rather salty and rich foods of the fall feast. Most women are aware of the reputation that cranberries have for alleviating urinary tract infections. But don’t stop just with the cranberry sauce, put the dried ones in your green salad or bake a cranberry and pear pie.

Mushrooms are body-building and anti-aging foods that can be eaten after your mini-cleanse and at any big feast. Use them when they are very fresh or totally dried as a base for broths, gravies, soups and stews. Called “fungus” in Asian cultures, they are very low in calories but high in minerals and will boost your immune system, which is a good thing to do in the fall as preparation for winter colds and flu. According to Paul Stamets, PhD, it is best to not eat mushrooms raw (even the common white ones found in most grocery stores). Though I can’t imagine that three or four in a salad would cause much harm. Probably best to serve mushrooms on the side as one never knows who among your guests might not enjoy mushrooms.

Olives are usually served as an appetizer or worn on the fingers of any children present. Olives are a big part of the Mediterranean diet as they are high in monosaturated fats which help control cholesterol levels. Plus, they too are low in calories (for those who are still counting them). My belief is there’s no need to count calories if you just eat healthy foods and not many of the packaged, processed, junk foods on the supermarket shelves. Olive oil is one great oil to use on your salad with just a little fresh lemon juice and herbs of your choice added.

Onions, which can be so well used in the fall feast, are a good source of trace minerals, especially germanium, which is also in mushrooms and many herbs. Onions help decrease food allergies, fungal overgrowth, viruses and cancer as well as being beneficial for the heart. I eat onions daily, both cooked and raw, and have been told that my heart is two years younger than my actual age! You can fill your onions with stuffing or nuts, make pickled onions or even cook the small ones with your broccoli.

Mashed potatoes are known to be a big part of the fall feast, but you can serve them in any form that appeals to you. Commercial onions and potatoes have been treated with sprout inhibitors which have been known to cause cellular changes in tests, so try to buy organic potatoes, or better yet, grow your own potatoes. Try to harvest them before there are too many rains as that can cause them to rot in the ground. Do not make the mistake of thinking that potatoes should not be grown because they are so cheap to buy. The flavor of a home-grown potato is superb! You can even use any potatoes you have that may have sprouted to grow new ones next spring. The lifeforce is so strong that they will grow even if coated in sprout inhibitors (which obviously don’t work anyway). Potatoes are a staple in some of the Mexican cancer clinics because of their potassium content. To make a high potassium broth, just cook potatoes with carrots, celery and parsley. Strain out the broth and store it in your refrigerator to be warmed up for recovery from illness.

Ahh pumpkin, the piece-de-resistance. Pumpkins are plentiful and being harvested right now. Their lovely color makes them a rich source of beta-carotene, as well as vitamins A, C and potassium. The seeds are a source of iron, vitamins B, E and fiber. The seeds can be baked or roasted, used to top soups or stews. You can roast the seeds for a snack and flavor them with your favorite herbs. You can purchase them already shelled or roasted as well. Try to buy them packaged rather than from open bins as the ones in the bins may have been already oxidized. This is the opposite of my usual advice to not buy packaged foods.

The Day-of-Thanks is a feast day in the United States and many people serve turkey. Though I once had a friend who had a freezer full of trout that her husband had caught and she decided that would make a perfect Thanksgiving meal. So, you don’t have to serve turkey, but poultry is an excellent source of protein. You could serve anything from game hens to Tofurkey as they all have less saturated fat than any other meats. Turkey is high in vitamins A, B and minerals. The latest studies say to not wash your poultry as that leads to kitchen-wide contaminants. If you can afford a free-range and organic turkey go for it as supermarket pre-packaged turkeys are preserved with formaldehyde. Whether you cook your poultry in an oil-coated paper bag or a deep-fryer, remember to be thankful for your food.

Last but not least, the pies if you are serving them. Whether apple, berry, nut, pear, pumpkin, squash or Vegan be sure to enjoy! It’s ok to treat yourself and your guests and they will be thankful. 

Thanksgiving for two by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2019

A Thanksgiving dinner using just a few ingredients. This meal is casual and scrumptious. Great for Friendsgiving!

 

Mustard & cranberry turkey thighs

4 turkey thighs, skin on and pat dried with paper towels

1 T each olive oil and butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1 T sea salt

1 t cracked black pepper

1 t onion powder

1/4 cup flour

1 T baking powder

1 T stone ground mustard

1/2 cup prepared whole cranberry sauce

Heat the oil and butter on medium high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet. Mix together flour, baking powder, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Dredge turkey thighs in mixture, place skin side down in hot oil. Sauté skin side down for five minutes, flip and place in oven. Bake at 365 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the juices run clear. Mix cranberry sauce and mustard, pour over the thighs and place back in oven for ten minutes.

 

Roasted Brussels with Parmesan

1 lb Brussels sprouts

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 each t salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Trim bottoms of sprouts, peel off any tough leaves and cut in half. Mix salt, pepper and parmesan cheese together. Toss mixture with sprouts and roast for 30 minutes, turning once.

 

Butternut squash fries

1 med-sized butternut squash

1 each t salt and pepper

1 T olive oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash and slice into steak fries. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the fries onto a large baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes turning every so often.

 

Pie apples

Medium size peeled apples, any type, with bottom cored, leaving the top intact

1/2 cup light brown sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks

1 package thawed puff pastry

Egg wash

Caramel sauce

Heat the oven to 365 degrees. Push a cinnamon stick into the top of each apple. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a dish and roll the peeled apple in the sugar. Cut pastry into squares, and wrap around the apples using the scraps to make leaves. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm with caramel sauce.


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

 

Brine:

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.

Why?

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

Optional

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.

Onward!

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.”

“Cousins?”

“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.


Alaska
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

Veggies

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.

Panettone

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.

Education

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

Economic Development

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

Environmental Stewardship

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

Emergency Preparedness/Planning and Public Safety

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

Rural Healthcare and Support Services

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

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

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“First of all, where’s Jemma Gayle?”

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

“OK. Fill me in.”

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

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

Andy laughs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all I have to do is thread it.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of this, in an instant.

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

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

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

Max looked again to Jemma.

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

“Why should I?”

“Because I have the gun.”

Not even Max could protest against such Confucian logic.

*   *   *

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not an old sport, pal.”

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

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

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

“And Anna Belle?”

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

“You killed your own twin brother.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stories of the Stars… If Only

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 slices rye bread, cubed

1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thin

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

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 peeled and diced large Yukon gold potatoes

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup gruyere cheese (or another Swiss) shredded

1 T corn starch

1 cup sliced pastrami

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

2 T olive oil

2 t salt and pepper

1 t Italian seasoning

1 cup white wine

1 t paprika

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

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

Ladle in bowls and top with croutons.

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

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers.

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

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

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

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

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

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They say all good things must come to an end.

Pompeii.

The “Die Hard” films.

Gluten.

And after today, this humor column.

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

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

OK, maybe that’s just me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stories of the Stars… If Only

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon,

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuban roast pork

4 to 5-pound pork roast shoulder

2 cups orange, lime or lemon juice

bay leaf

2 t dried oregano

2 t cumin powder

2 T salt

1/2 t black pepper

10 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

1/2 cup mojo sauce

2 large onions sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

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

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

Key lime pie with coconut crust

Crust:

3 T melted butter

1/2 t salt

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup shredded coconut

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

Filling:

1 cup key lime juice

Zest of one line

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

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

Topping:

1 cup whipping cream

2 T powdered sugar

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

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


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

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

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

This Campanaro chap had a date with destiny.

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s his,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Believe me.”

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

However, that resort on the hill looked impregnable.

* * *

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

Like a shadow on the wall, Jemma was there.

“You still here Mister Stubborn Americano?”

He certainly was.

After all …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some other tips to save energy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Max nods, lifting his mojito, getting the point.

*  *  *

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

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

*  *  *

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

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

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

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

“You must have a plan,” Max said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You get the idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

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

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

Proposed 2018 legislation by on 08/01/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times Readers,

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

Education

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

Economic Development

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

Environmental Stewardship

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

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

Emergency Preparedness/Planning and Public Safety

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

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

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

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

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

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

Pulled chicken potato skins

1.5 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

6 small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 cup prepared BBQ sauce

1/4 cup sliced scallions

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

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

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

Bake for 15 minutes and top with scallions.

Cheese quinoa bites

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups quinoa prepared

1/2 t each onion & garlic pepper

1 T flour

1 cup milk

Salt & pepper to taste

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

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

A bite-sized side note

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

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

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’d you have in mind?”

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

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

“Whiskey wouldn’t hurt.”

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

“How’d you know, uh …” Max began.

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

“Nigel’s back in the states.”

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

“None of your British business,” Max snapped.

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is getting interesting, Max thought.

After all, he is Max Malone, private eye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was next?

“Breathe?”

“Swallow?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Call about gas card.”

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

“Get more pads.”


Bills due for 2019 session in September by on 07/02/2018

Hello Hoodland Community and other Mountain Times readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Jeff Helfrich is the representative for House District 52)

Picnic Basket by Taeler Butel on 07/02/2018

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

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

Homemade BBQ sauce

1/2 yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 15 oz can tomato purée

1 small can tomato paste

2 t salt & pepper

2 t dry mustard

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 t lemon pepper

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

Dash of hot sauce

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

Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.

Peanut butter shortbread cookies

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

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 t sea salt

1 stick softened butter

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*   *   *

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

For Max, it wasn’t a good look.

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

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

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

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

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

Jenna nodded over an arched, reproving eyebrow.

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

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

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

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

“He’s, uh, about forty, actually.”

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

Max had to get past the sinful similarity.

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

“Jemma.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cabbage roll casserole

1 lb grass fed beef

1T olive oil

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 cup quinoa - prepared

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

1/2 head cabbage - sliced

1/2 yellow onion - diced

2 stalks celery - diced

1T Worcester sauce

1 cup chicken broth

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

Philly cheesesteak stuffed Portobellos

1/2 lb thin sliced sirloin steaks

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

3/4 cup diced onion

3/4 cup diced green or red bell pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mild provolone cheese

4 medium Portobello mushrooms

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

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

Protein berry smoothie bowls

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

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

1 cup almond or other milk

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 cup frozen berries of your choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spreading the word by on 05/07/2018

Spreading the word about the benefits of the HPV vaccine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communication is the Key by 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.

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Bearing Walls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was Nigel Best, the Wildewood World newspaper guy.

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

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

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

“Let her know how she can find me.”

“No. You need to go there.”

“She needs to do better than that.”

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

“You think you know that, eh?”

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

 * * *

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

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

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

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

 * * *

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

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

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

New bill to reduce education gap by 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

Marinade:

1 T each onion powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder

1 t Chile powder

1 t cayenne pepper

1 t salt

1 black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup vegetable extra oil

2 lb flank skirt steak

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Slice steak thinly, set aside

Toss ingredients in a large bowl, set aside half of the marinade.

Marinade steak in one half of the marinade four hours. Heat grill pan, using tongs take meat out of marinade, grill steak on grill pan until charred but still slightly pink. Toss out marinade from steak. Next grill the onions.

Place grilled steak and onions on a large platter, spoon some of the marinade that was put aside onto meat and serve alongside all of the accoutrements.

 

Cheesecake dip

1 T lemon juice

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 T vanilla extract

2 cubed room temp cream cheese

Whip all above ingredients until fluffy and serve in a bowl surrounded by some of these suggestions:

1 package lady fingers

1 lb cake, cubed

1 lb strawberries

1 package graham crackers

Pretzel rods

1 jar hot fudge

Pineapple spears

1 bunch Bananas

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

The Toxic Trap, part 1: toxins may come from any direction by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2018

After reading last month’s suggestions for taking charge of your health, I hope you’ve made some progress. Many people find the “basics of health habits” difficult enough. Things like eight to ten glasses of water, exercise, organic food, more sleep. Take care of those and the rest comes easier. Yet some people deny that they’re even “toxic” or think “it’s all in your head.”

I personally feel that doing the basics is a good way to prepare the body for a cleanse, a detox. We’re not yet in springtime when fresher fruits and vegetables become more available, so keep working on the basics until we get there.

Some people need convincing of the need to detox. Well, we are ALL toxic! Few people can eat all organic food. We still love our snacks and sugar. Plus there are hidden and unknown sources of toxins. These ones, as well as the obvious ones, need to be enumerated and identified.

Toxins are poisons. They are all around us, causing us to become sick before our time, aging us and causing illnesses to linger. Drugs are toxins. All of them have detrimental side effects, whether pharmaceutical drugs, over-the-counter drugs or recreational drugs. Even the children who hear the drug ads on TV ask “why would anyone take that?” With side effects like ruptured spleen, fecal incontinence and the quickly spoken word “death,” one does have to wonder.

The drug may cause death! Over 250,000 people per year in the United States alone die from prescription and non-prescription drugs. Over 15,000 of these deaths occur with over-the-counter drugs that are taken as directed! Is this a bit worrisome, I ask you? Well, it is to me. We are not all alike. Most testing of pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs is done on 200-lb men. That’s not the same as a 100-lb woman. Americans take more drugs than any other nation on earth, yet we are sicker than the people of most other nations. While we want life-saving medicines for emergencies and traumas, we might be missing some of the ways that toxins get into us.

There are toxins, poisons, in cleaning products, cosmetics, carpeting, paints, city water, grocery store receipts, the air, the ground, food, well the list just goes on! Some of you reading this remember home milk delivery. Ever wonder why it passed out of favor? After all, what could be more convenient? In those days, milk was not homogenized or pasteurized. The cream rose to the top of the milk bottle and the enzymes were still fully functioning, making digestion easier. But those live enzymes caused the milk to spoil within a few days. In order to sell more milk by keeping it on grocers’ shelves longer, it was homogenized and pasteurized. More profit. But not for you or me or the milkman.

Virtually all human breast milk is contaminated. An independent study found that almost 100 percent of the women tested had residues of jet fuel in their breast milk. Now how could that be? Jet fuel residues were also found deep in the ice of Arctic regions. Every airplane flying overhead leaves a chemical trail. Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. But these chemicals fall to earth, landing on fields, houses, children playing outside. They affect our air and our water supply. While breast milk is still the food of choice for infants for other reasons, we need to know that we are all subject to this chemical onslaught.

Eating an apple a day is still good for you, if it’s organic, for its fiber content and vitamins and pectin. But in order to get the same amount of nutrients today that you would get from an apple 50 years ago, you would have to eat five or six apples a day to get the same benefit! Not all fruits and vegetables are genetically modified, but do you know which are and which aren’t? They aren’t labelled. And most packaged food contains genetically modified ingredients. Why? Because it’s cheaper to produce and the manufacturer makes more money.

I love shopping at farmers’ markets where you sometimes get to talk to those who do the actual growing. But do you actually get to go to the farm where the produce is grown? Is it a farm that has been in production for years which still may have residues of DDT in the soil? Has the soil been tested for residues? Are the seeds being grown organic, open pollinated, heirloom? Are ammonium nitrate fertilizers being used or organically based fertilizers? No insecticides and no fungicides make the farm sustainable but what about things like fertilizers? If the farm is not certified organic, and you haven’t looked around at the growing operation, how do you know what you’re getting?

There are lots of toxins in our environment and thousands more added to our lives every year. Why are we putting up with this? So that large corporate entities can make more money at the risk of our health and our lives? So the big question becomes, what can you do to get some of these toxins out of your body? Next month, some suggestions.


Get your settings right.
The View Finder: Taking pictures with your new Christmas camera by Gary Randall on 01/02/2018

Well, it’s a new year and Christmas has come and gone. With the popularity of photography lately I’m sure that there will be some readers who have received the gift that they wanted: a new digital camera. Because of this I have decided to brush up on how to use it to more of its potential. So let’s talk about manual camera operation.

You have a new camera that, unlike your phone’s camera, was designed exclusively for making photos. I am going to assume that the reason that you wanted your new camera was to make photos that are even better than you could with your cell phone. To do this you will need to move away from the point and shoot mindset and decide to be the computer that controls the camera instead. Switch to Manual Mode.

Let’s start with the “Big 3”. Exposure time - Aperture Setting - ISO/Film Speed. When you’re taking a photo you will want to understand what all three are, how to control them and how they affect each other.

Shutter Speed – Your shutter is a gate that opens and closes to allow light from the outside to come inside of the camera and fall on the film/image sensor. The longer your shutter speed is the more light that’s allowed in and, conversely, how much can be stopped or blocked from coming inside. Consequences of both being a twofold. The first is the exposure of the image, or how bright or dark that it is. The second being the allowance or elimination of movement in your photo. The primary concern typically is to get a photo that’s bright enough without movement being blurred, but there are times when you will want to show movement or blur in your photo such as a waterfall. A fast shutter speed freezes movement while a slower one will blur movement.

Aperture setting – The aperture is a mechanism in the lens that you can adjust to vary the size of the hole that the light goes through as it passes through the lens and into the camera. The larger the hole the more light that can come through in a set amount of time (shutter speed). You can have the same shutter speed but control the amount of light with the aperture.

The second consideration when adjusting your aperture is how it affects the depth of field, or how deep the focus is in the photo. When you choose a larger hole, which is represented by a smaller f/stop number, it will give you a smaller or shallow depth of focus, whereas a smaller hole with a larger f/stop number, will give you a larger or deeper depth of focus. One will realize that with a smaller hole for the light to come through a longer shutter speed will be needed to get the same light inside. With a longer shutter speed you will have a chance to blur, as mentioned previously, which will require you to use the third setting in our big three adjustments to further affect the exposure.

The third and last adjustment that we will add to the formula is what was once called “film speed” in film photography, which is indicated by the ASA rating of the film, whereas in digital photography, where there is no film, we adjust the ISO. The film speed indicated how sensitive to light the film is. A lower rating such as 400 ASA will be less sensitive to light than a film rated at 1000 ASA. When the film is more sensitive to light it takes less light to expose the film so you can use the film in darker light or it will allow you to use a faster shutter speed or a smaller aperture opening.

With this understanding we can translate the application of this information to digital cameras easily. In digital cameras the film is the image sensor and the film speed is translated to the ISO setting of the camera. The ISO setting varies the sensitivity to light of the image sensor.

The beauty of shooting with a digital single lens reflex camera is that you can vary the light sensitivity of the camera using a dial, whereas in film you had to change the whole roll of film. The one consideration when setting the ISO is that the higher the ISO the more grain/noise that you will have in your image.

Let’s summarize what has been covered. You have three settings: shutter speed, aperture opening and ISO or light sensitivity. All three will affect the each other so you will usually need to adjust another, or both, when one is changed. We can now use this knowledge to set our exposure considering movement, depth of focus and acceptable image noise.

Next, your digital SLR camera comes with a built in light meter to show how close your exposure is to being proper. As you set your camera, you can keep an eye on the light meter and balance it in the center. Once you have your shutter speed, aperture and your ISO set according to your light meter take your shot.

Once you take your photo you will have a display on the back that will show you a preview of the image. You can check your focus and your composition with this preview of the photo, but you can’t get a real indication of the exposure therefore, the next and last step is to check the exposure with the histogram. The histogram is a graphical representation of the range of light that was captured in your photo. If the histogram doesn’t show automatically with the preview, you can find a setting that will allow it.

The histogram will look like a rectangular box with a bar chart inside. The left side will be the dark part of your photo such as shadows while the right side will represent the highlights. What you will want to attempt is to balance the highlights and the darks with your “Big 3” adjustments using your histogram as your way of verifying your success.  If the settings were a little off, make an adjustment and take another photo. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital.

All of this may sound a bit confusing at first but the confusion leaves with practice. Like I mentioned previously film is cheap when you’re shooting with a digital camera so go out and take a lot of photos. Therein lies the secret to improving your photography. Practice and experimentation.

It’s my hope for you that your new camera, or your old one for that matter, will provide you with as much fun and life enriching experiences that mine has for me.

Happy New Year. 

12 months in a year means 12 chances to make some changes by Victoria Larson on 01/02/2018

A new day, a new week, a new year! Though many start a new year with resolutions, I’ve always found them either too stringent, too vague or just too overwhelming. So this year, let’s try something different. Since it takes 28-30 days to make or change a habit, we actually have twelve chances to improve our lives!

In order to not be too stringent, we can pick only the ones that apply to our individual lives. But we won’t be so vague as to let the new knowledge or habit fade out of consciousness. And by choosing only the ones that apply to each individual, it will not be so overwhelming.

Twelve months to make changes, somewhere:

1. Let’s start with forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from within the forgiver and benefits that person just as much as the person being forgiven. And remember, the forgiven person is you, the one who ultimately needs it.

2. On a more practical side, avoid trans fats and vegetable oils as much as possible. Trans fats and vegetable oils are in all fast foods and virtually all packaged foods, including cakes, chips, crackers, cookies, breads, etc. Unless you are gluten sensitive, concern yourself more with trans fats and vegetable oils than gluten content. Oils such as coconut oil, fish oils, flax oil, nut oils and olive oil are all better for you than canola, corn and soy oils.

3. Fish – now there are new worries about plastics in seafood. A very valid concern. Ultimately, it’s our fault. Many plastics are not recyclable so we need to stop using them so much lest they end up in the ocean. Think plastic grocery bags, straws and cups, take-home containers from restaurants.

4. Turmeric needs to be warmed in order to be of benefit (anti-oxidant, arthritis). Warm your spices in a pan before using to make meals or tea. Pills taken cold just won’t do the trick.

5. If you prefer coffee to tea, drink no more than two to three cups per day. At that amount coffee appears to be protective against diabetes. Take your coffee with a smidgen of butter and some coconut oil, but no sugar. It’s called “bullet coffee” and helps your brain to function because of the good fats in it.

6. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar is the preferred fuel for cancer cells to grow. This also means only one or two servings of fruit per day. You may have more in the summer as it will keep you cooler.

7. Back to the good fats. Don’t bother with low-fat anything. It’s a longtime experiment that didn’t work and many people bought into it. So many Americans bought into it that it undoubtedly contributes to the near epidemic of Alzheimer’s that we now have in our nation. Though lowering fat intake is not the only cause, it’s looking like a definite poor choice. Be like the French--enjoy anniversaries, birthdays, feast days and holidays. Then go back to avoiding sugar. Knowing that you can have some sugar in small amounts on special occasions will make avoidance more tolerable.

8. Detox. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It takes 15-30 days for skin cells to reach the epidermis layer to be sloughed off. Try skin brushing, using perhaps a baby hair brush or a soft clothes brush, to help remove those top layers of already deceased skin cells. You don’t need them and this will help you to detoxify through your largest organ.

9. Then get into a detoxifying, relaxing bath of Epsom salts to which you may gently add a few drops of a favorite essential oil. Depending on the oil, start with four to five drops and don’t go over 12 drops as it may burn, sending you running down the hall in your altogether!

10. If you are a smoker, STOP. It is the single worst thing you can do for your health, guaranteed to shorten your life. Any smoking. Period.

11. The second worst thing you can do for your health is sitting, just sitting. Couch potatoes, get up. If you’re already up, do something. Every hour. If you are in a wheelchair, wave your arms, lift weights, wiggle your feet every hour. Get rid of your “clickers” except the dog training one. That will get you off the couch as it is. In fact, get a dog. Also guaranteed to make you move.

12. Get more rest. Lack of sleep raises the possibility of illnesses, reduces efficiency, and is estimated to cost our economy $280 billion per year. Employers, get tough. Employees, listen to your body. Quit the frazzle-dazzle which often leads to late nights and increased alcohol consumption. Before electricity people slept ten to twelve hours a night. They had less cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

I’ve left out the really obvious changes we all know about like eat more vegetable (6-10 servings per day), drink more water (to reduce risk of headaches and stroke), exercise more (or at least move more). But those ones you already know. Just pick one of the above to work on each month, adding a new challenge the next month. In a year you will be healthier. Just remember #1 and forgive yourself if you fall back. You’ve got a whole year to make changes!

Episode XVII: Gloria, Gloria - But no hallelujah by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/02/2018

While Max relaxed – knowing it might be his last chance in the near future – taking in the dulcet tones of Ella Fitzgerald scatting through “Mack the Knife” from the needle nestled in the tracks of the vinyl, the mysterious Gloria Lovejoy was simultaneously exiting the rutty parking area of the Easy-Inn, the lonesome motel in Wildewood, guiding her red Jeep Renegade, that was only made more noticeable by its New Jersey license plates, for his cabin. It’s safe to say, however, that she would quite likely be an improvement over the day before visit from FBI agent Mike D’Antonio.

Ella was interrupted by a phone call from the newsie Nigel Best.

“I have some news,” Nigel said, not surprisingly for a newspaper guy. “My U.S attorney connection has traced Beau Kimatian to a hotel in the Cayman Islands. That’s gettin’ around pretty well for a corpse.”

Max was close to forgiving the Ella interruption. Who was it who was consumed by the explosion in the Stardust Lodge? Was Anna Belle’s husband ever actually Beau Kimatian? And how could what was obviously a complicated and sinister plot have found its way to Wildewood?

Max had some mulling to do, which included getting Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen states, out of his way, all the while Gloria Lovejoy chugged closer to his already overcrowded cabin.

Val complied, and pointed her pink Cadillac back to Reno where she belonged like a koala rolling in a pile of eucalyptus leaves.

Mere moments after the pink Cadillac departure – and only a single mere moment after Max had issued his sigh of relief – up pulled the red Renegade. Max had a weak moment where he stole a glance to heaven, but shrugged it away knowing he had nothing on the ethereal books. His disappointment was momentary as Gloria Lovejoy unfolded from the Renegade and approached Max’s cabin door with one arched eyebrow and a tangle of dark brown hair that was caught by a zephyr of mountain air and frolicked in the wind like the mane of a fine filly.

This is going to be interesting, Max thought, and he wasn’t far off the mark. Max pulled open the door with Gloria’s arm raised in an almost knock.

“You’re Max Malone,” Gloria rasped, and there was no hint that it was a question.

“And you’re Gloria Lovejoy,” Max countered in a tone that matched hers like a tuning fork. “Enter at your own risk.” This line delivered with Max’s well-practiced private eye smirk dissolving into an irresistible smile.

Max quickly noticed that Gloria had some rough edges – the type that had to carry enough stories to fill a medium sized town library – but the edges were burnished by a slight cock of the head that would have made even the most jaded cocker spaniel wag his tail like a snare drum riff from Gene Krupa.

“Have a seat,” Max offered, pouring himself a man-sized Jameson’s.

“Gin,” Gloria said, not waiting for another offer.

“What’ya want in it?”

“Gin.”

So, the happy moment was easily solved. Max delivered the drinks and sat opposite Gloria.

“You worked for Beau Kimatian, right?” Gloria explored.

“Not so anyone would notice,” Max came back over a sip of the Irish.

“Do you know who died at the Stardust?” she asked.

“According to the FBI, Beau, his bodyguard and a cook.”

“Do you believe that?”

Max shrugged.

“I know Beau,” Gloria said, keeping it curiously in the present tense. “There’s no one here in Mayberry that could have taken down Beau.”

“And you know this how?” Max kept the conversation rolling.

Gloria slowly crossed her legs and laughed. “You’re a private eye. Figure it out.”

So, if Gloria is saying that wasn’t Beau in the lodge, Max mused to himself, and if she is connected to Beau and there’s no reason to doubt that, then what is she doing in Wildewood, when Nigel Best’s U.S attorney says Beau has been spotted in the Cayman Islands.

As Max was running this through his mind, Gloria flashed a jagged smile that looked like an aerial photo of the Snake River.

Max vaulted over the smile, and refilled Gloria’s drink. And, of course, his own. He was certain Gloria wasn’t hanging out in Wildewood to hook up with a private eye.

Still, after all, he was Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: smelling science and your health by Mary Soots on 01/02/2018

When you enter the house to be met with the fragrance of your favorite cookies baking or smell the cedar or fir from the Christmas tree, it triggers what is known as “olfactory memory.”

Smells can create emotions, bring back memories and affect our mood. Our sense of smell is so much a part of humans and other animals that even a fetus begins to recognize the smell of amniotic fluid while in the womb, and a baby recognizes its maternal milk as part of the bonding process with its mother.

At the same time, our puritanical culture’s obsession with equating cleanliness with the smell of “freshness” was well illustrated in some commercials a while back, where people were blindfolded and placed in a very unclean room. Because the heavy fragrances masked the bad odors, they proclaimed that the room was “fresh and clean.”

Did you know that more than 3,100 fragrance chemicals are used to make consumer products smell “fresh” or to mask unpleasant odors? Things such as shampoo and dryer sheets could also be polluting your indoor air. As a result, each day we inhale, ingest and absorb through our skin a variety of toxic chemicals, putting a massive burden on our bodies.

Especially at this time of year when our windows are closed against the cold and rain, we hope to keep the air from getting musty, so we look to household cleaning items, candles and room deodorizers. We often turn to artificial fragrances. Artificial fragrances may smell nice, but they can also cause damage. According to the National Institutes of Health, a “survey of selected scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. Even products advertised as ‘green,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘organic’ emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.”

Trying to artificially recreate those moods or memories through artificial fragrances can cause serious health risks, especially to children. The National Resource Defense Council tested fourteen air fresheners and found that most contained chemicals known to cause hormone imbalance, birth defects or harm reproductive development.

Chemical fragrances are found not only in air fresheners, but in soaps, our laundry and in our personal care products. The Environmental Working Group found that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Further, many cleaners contain harmful chemicals that have specifically been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies.

In one research project, nearly half of the fragranced products emitted one or more carcinogenic ‘hazardous air pollutants,’ including 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, neither of which has a safe exposure level, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Research by Environmental Defense and the Environmental Working Group also found an average of 10 sensitizing chemicals in perfumes, colognes and body sprays that can trigger allergies and asthma, and cause headaches, wheezing, and a rash.”

There are natural alternatives to keeping your home air purified. A spider plant or peace lily, among many fresh plants will naturally clean the air. Dried plants such as eucalyptus, incense cedar, juniper have been used since early 17th century France. Baking soda is not just for your refrigerator.

You can also create safe smells in your home. Try decorating some oranges with clove spikes and ribbons as part of a festive décor piece. Use cinnamon sticks as decorative pieces. You can make sachets of lavender and other fragrant flowers when they’re in season, or combine them in a potpourri. Boil lemon slices and rosemary in a simmer pot on top of the wood-burning stove.

Use essential oils alone or in combination to create your own signature fragrances or to give as gifts. Look online for recipes to create a misting spray with water and alcohol. Essential oils may be sprayed on rock or allowed to wick through diffusing sticks that will slowly release the scents. There are electric diffusers too, of course.

And of course, you can always bake cookies.

Swearing off coffee can only lead to one thing – more swearing by on 01/02/2018

Today, like every day since the start of the New Year, I’ve abstained from my morning cups of coffee—a decision I reached during a moment of weakness sometime around midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I know this because I was told so by my wife, who swears that, along with taking the trash out without being asked, I vowed (after several glasses of champagne) to take better care of myself. While this decision has certainly made me a healthier person, it has also made me a crankier one.

This is due, in part, to the decaffeination process itself, which can cause headaches, drowsiness, constipation, Tourette’s syndrome, and, in the case of Lizzy Borden, involuntary manslaughter.

After doing some research, I realized that there was more to beating this thing than just dealing with the physical craving, which, for someone who drinks coffee all day, is similar to the craving one might have for, say...

Breathable air.

I also had to take into account the mental aspect of my addiction—which is really about me having an excuse to leave my desk. On a good day, between coffee refills and trips to the bathroom, I can spend as little as eight minutes actually working at my desk. Because of this, it was clear that conquering my physical addiction wouldn’t be enough—I’d need a replacement beverage.

While I briefly entertained the idea of decaffeinated tea, I decided against it, mostly because I can never figure out what to do with the tea bag once it’s done steeping.

Do I throw it out? Save it? Put one over each eye and take a nap?

The truth of the matter is, men are not “steepers.” A man wants to wake up, fill his mug with something close to 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit and immediately drink it. A man doesn’t have time for steeping. In fact, he hardly has time to get to the hospital after drinking his 8,000-degree beverage.

This left me with three viable alternatives: 1) Hot chocolate; 2) Some kind of soy drink that, according to the label, can be consumed either hot, cold or as a grilled patty; or 3) “Postum.”

After reading the label on the hot chocolate canister, I realized that, based on my average daily hot-beverage consumption, replacing coffee with hot chocolate would result in an estimated weight gain of just under 600 pounds in five weeks. This, of course, would defeat having an excuse to leave my desk since I would no longer be able to leave my house.

I considered the soy-drink-patty-thing, but couldn’t get past the idea of consuming something that can be referred to as the soy-drink-patty-thing.

This left me with “Postum” as my morning beverage of choice. For those who are unfamiliar with this product, it is a coffee alternative that is completely caffeine free because it is made from “all natural” ingredients like wheat, corn, sea weed, yarn, tree bark, bone meal and simulated wood paneling, all of which is then ground up and allowed to “steep” before it is eventually freeze-dried to resemble Taster’s Choice.

I’ve been drinking it for a little over a week now, and it’s not all that bad. Still, I’m not convinced that Postum’s claim to be “The Truly Soothing Hot Beverage” is true.

To be honest, I’d kill for a coffee-drink-patty-thing right about now.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nedhickson@icloud.com, or c/o the Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439)

Cooking for a week at a time by Taeler Butel on 01/02/2018

It’s a new year and a new chance to get it together in the kitchen!

These recipes will warm you up while you mix and match simple ingredients (some even pre- made). Cook it all at once or over a couple of days, store in the fridge and enjoy the feeling of having it all together.

The full menu: chicken and dumplings, stroganoff, hamburger soup with biscuits and chicken corn chowder.

The grocery list

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey

Roast chicken

1 lb. bags frozen mixed veggies (carrots, corn, peas, green beans mix)

Beef and chicken bouillon cubes

Couple sticks of butter

1 medium container of half-and-half

1 medium container sour cream

Flour

Baking powder

Baking soda

Dried Italian seasoning

1 can tomato sauce

1 lb. egg noodles

1 bag frozen corn

1 lb. sliced mushrooms

1 bag Yukon gold potatoes

Salt and pepper

One onion

4 celery stalks

The plan

In a large pot brown all the meat with salt and pepper to season. Boil all of the chicken using broth and shred the meat, save the broth.

Chop all of the onion, celery and potatoes, set aside.

Boil the noodles.

Make double batch of biscuit dough: in a large bowl whisk together 4 cups flour, 2 t salt, 2 t baking soda, 2 T baking powder and 1 t Italian seasoning. Mix in 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup half-and-half. Scoop out onto cookie sheet with ice cream scoop and freeze.

The meals

Hamburger soup: in a large pot add 1/4 of the onions and celery with 1 T butter and 2 cups of the diced potatoes. Cook until onions are wilted and then, while stirring occasionally, add in 1 lb. of the cooked meat and canned tomato sauce. Season with 1 t each salt and pepper and 1 T Italian seasoning. Cover with broth, bring to boil and reduce to simmer, adding in 2 cups of the frozen veggies. Simmer about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 365, place half the biscuits in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Chicken n dumplings: in a large pot add in 1/4 of the onions and celery and 1 T butter, cook 5 minutes. Add in 1 T flour, 1 t each salt and pepper, and 1 T Italian seasoning, then stir cooking about 2 minutes more. Add in 1/2 the shredded chicken and 2 cups frozen vegetables, then cover with broth and bring to boil.

Reduce slightly and add biscuit dough. Cover pot leaving room to vent. Simmer until dumplings are cooked thoroughly, around 15 minutes

Chicken corn chowder: follow the chicken and dumplings instructions only instead of frozen veggies, add diced potatoes and corn. Boil, then simmer about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Mix 1 T flour into 1/2 cup of half-and-half, then stir in and let simmer until thickened slightly.

Stroganoff: Add the remaining celery and onion to a large skillet along with 1 T butter and mushrooms, then cook until browned. Add salt, pepper and 1 T each Italian seasoning and flour, cook one minute more. Add in 1 cup broth, 1 cup sour cream, 1 lb. cooked ground meat and cooked egg noodles, then heat to simmer, about 10 minutes.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

La Nina pattern to dominate the weather during January by on 01/02/2018

According to the calendar, winter starts Dec. 21, but Government Camp couldn’t wait and got a 10-inch snowfall the day before. Brightwood got its first snowfall of the season with a 2.5-inch measurement on Dec. 23.

Below average temperatures prevailed from Dec. 20 through Christmas before moderating to seasonal norms the rest of the month. In fact, both Brightwood and Government Camp recorded average temperatures nearly identical with long-term averages for the month. But both locations fell well below the average precipitation levels for December. As of Dec. 19, Government Camp had received only 19 inches of snow, compared to an average for the month of 50.9 inches.

The National Weather Service expects the La Nina pattern to dominate our weather in January but has its eye on the trending pattern which is at odds with the Madden Julian Oscillations activity.

In any event, our area is expected to have above average precipitation with temperatures about average for January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33 and a precipitation average of 10.63 inches, including 8.7 inches of snow.

During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 50s eight times, and into the 40s twice. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s once, into the 20s seven times and into the teens twice.

On average, January has 14 days that record freezing temperatures. The record January snowfall was set in 1968 with a total of 47 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during January of 29 inches was set on Jan. 9, 1980.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.30 inches, including 57.8 inches of snow.

During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached 70 degrees once, into the 60s twice, into the 50s three times and into the 40s four times.

Low temperatures fell into the 20s during three years, into the teens during three years and into the single digits four years. The record snowfall in January of 155 inches occurred in 1964. The record 24-hour snowfall of 35 inches was set on Jan. 9, 1980.


Derek Trucks.
The View Finder: Rocking great hand held/low light photos by Gary Randall on 12/01/2017

Low light, no flash, hand held photography is something that needs to be understood by any photographer of any genre or style. There are many times where one will need to get a shot but a flash or a tripod are not an option. A great way to practice this method is to take photos at a concert. If you can master photographing a concert, with bright lights and deep shadows, and quick movements you can skillfully photograph a wedding, for instance. The primary challenge is to get photos with a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring the subject.

The Grammy award winning Tedeschi Trucks Band came to Portland on Nov. 3 to play to a sold-out show at the Keller Auditorium. I was able to secure photo passes to the show which allowed me to move to the front to take photos of the band during their first three songs and to bring my pro level camera inside. Many concerts will not allow pro style cameras inside without a pass, but many others will, so call ahead of time and ask what their policy for photos are. I’ve been able to bring my camera into smaller venues and clubs in the past. I’ve even used these techniques at informal live shows at backyard parties.

Before the Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage the crowd was fully warmed up by the Hard Working Americans (in photo above), an American rock “super group.” The Hard Working Americans consist of lead singer Todd Snider and bassist Dave Schools from the group Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks, who was also a member of widespread Panic and brother of Derrick Trucks, on drums. The Hard Working Americans put on a powerful show with songs that were a mix of classic hard rock, blues and traditional roots Americana. While the Hard Working Americans were on stage I took that time to make sure that my camera settings were correct before the Tedeschi Trucks Band hit the stage. I used my Nikon D810 and my 70-200mm zoom lens for most of the photos.

I set the camera on Aperture Priority with the aperture set to f/2.8 and Auto ISO with the max ISO set to 6400 and turned my Vibration Reduction on the lens to ON. Aperture Priority means that I set the camera’s aperture manually and then the camera sets the shutter speed for me. It’s semi-automatic. Next my decision to set the camera to Auto ISO was to allow the camera to lower the ISO if possible and to not move past a set maximum ISO, 6400 in this case. I set my aperture to f/2.8 to allow the most light into the camera, which allows a faster shutter speed. The one drawback to a wider aperture is a shallow depth of field but this can be used to a certain effect by isolating the subject from others in the background.

Although I used a single lens reflex camera, many consumer level cameras (and even some mobile phones today) will allow one to make adjustments to the aperture and ISO settings for better low-light photos.

I shot the first three songs and then went to my seat, sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show.

Once the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage, led by guitar prodigy Derek Trucks and his extremely talented singer and guitarist wife, Susan Tedeschi, it was obvious of their following and fans in the Pacific Northwest. The crowd was enthusiastic as the band played through a dozen songs, a mix of original tunes as well as classic covers from “Sailing On” by Toot’s and the Maytals and the country classic by George Jones, “Color of The Blues,” to “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” by Jazz pianist Billy Taylor and “How Blue Can You Get?” by the popular 1940s and 1950’ African-American vocal group Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.

A diverse array of music brought together and played in the iconic style that the power couple, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, has developed with their extremely talented lineup of musical masters backing them up. They finished the show with a three-song encore that included the classic Leon Russell song, “Song for You,” the traditional classic “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the original song “Bound For Glory.”

Being able to be successful at taking concert photos, for me, enhances my concert experience, especially when my shooting time is relegated to the first three songs. The limit allows me to let the photos go and enjoy the rest of the show knowing that I have great souvenirs from the evening.

Wet winter, with average temps, on tap through February by on 12/01/2017

November got off to a cool start with snowfall accumulating on the mountain and leading to high hopes for a great Thanksgiving weekend for skiers and boarders. Unfortunately, Pineapple Express weather patterns melted a good portion of the snowpack, along with hopes for an early ski season. By the end of the third week, Brightwood had already recorded precipitation exceeding its average amount for the entire month, and Government Camp had received 25 inches of snow in addition to the rain. Temperatures averaged near normal at both Government Camp and Brightwood. Weather for the last few days of the month turned a bit brighter.

The National Weather Service reports the expected development of a La Nina pattern and the Madden Julian Oscillation activity has weakened, but the Weather Service is keeping its eye on it. A new addition to their concerns is the Arctic Oscillation but it is not expected to affect our area during the coming month.

Their best guess for our area expects temperatures to be near average, and precipitation a bit higher than average during December. Their outlook during the December to February period for our area continues to expect lower than average temperatures and above average precipitation.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 11.52 inches, including 5.9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 50s nine times, and into the 40s once. Low temperatures dropped into the 20s five times, into the teens three times and into the single digits twice. On average, December has 12 days that record freezing temperatures. The record precipitation amount for December was set in 1964 with 28.09 inches. The record December snowfall was set in 1968 with a total of 48.8 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during December of 12.5 inches was set on Dec. 8, 1968.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25 degrees and a precipitation average of 13.80 inches, including 50.9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached the 50s during four years and into the 40s the remaining six years. Low temperatures fell into the teens during four years, into the single digits during four years, one year recorded zero and the other year minus one. The record snowfall in December of 122 inches occurred in 1971. The record 24-hour snowfall of 26 inches was set on Dec. 18, 2008. The total yearly snowfall average is 271 inches.

MHGS: what food means to us and the environment by Mary Soots on 12/01/2017

Several years ago, we had a series of snow and ice storms at Christmas that kept many on the mountain unable to move about. A friend had come to visit and with the help of our neighbors, we made our way into Sandy between storms to restock our supplies and settled in to spend a quiet Christmas on the mountain. On Christmas Eve, there was a knock on the door. Neighborhood kids had brought us some homemade fudge. Their gesture was so kind and meaningful.

The holiday season is the time of year when we focus much of our attention on food. Food can represent so many aspects of our culture. How food is produced, distributed, prepared and consumed are all aspects of our relationships with the earth, between countries and between individuals. Food can conjure up memories and recreate emotions, such as “comfort food” that reminds us of home or of loved ones. These can be very simple meals such as macaroni and cheese. And then there are foods associated with specific holidays such as the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal of turkey and all the side dishes.

Generally speaking, when we provide food to others, it is not because they can’t get sufficient sustenance on their own. Rather, it is meant to express solidarity, to assess the other’s social status through their manners, etc., and provides a means of interaction while focusing on food.

Like the gift of fudge brought by my neighbors, a welcome basket or a holiday gift of food can express friendship between people. When a neighbor held a baby shower, the invitation asked guests to bring a frozen meal in lieu of a baby gift in order to feed the family while the mother was recovering from labor. We often share food also at times of hardships as well. Recently, I delivered a meal to the family of a friend who is away caring for her dying mother. Similarly, when someone passes away, food is delivered to the family. This is a way of reinforcing relationships between people.

When we entertain, food speaks volumes about us. In a bygone era when women primarily were homemakers, entertaining meant making everything from scratch, usually starting days prior to prepare a heavy meal that everyone sat at a dining table to enjoy. The lavish production was meant to impress the invitees. The message to guests was that “You are important guests and we have taken care and trouble on your behalf.” If a guest does not consume the meal, it is considered offensive to the hosts.

Modern entertaining has changed as working couples have less time to prepare lavish meals. The multiple course dinner has been replaced with a potluck where everyone is invited to bring a dish. The premium is on being innovative with new combinations of simple foods over time-consuming meals. The meal is consumed casually standing, sitting in the living room or as guests mill about.

One common theme around entertaining is the demonstration of excess food. Like 21-course meals for dignitaries, lavish presentations are meant to impress guests with conspicuous consumption. The excess food is a way of demonstrating social status. A shortage of food would be seen as an embarrassment, and it is preferable to throw out the excess than to run short.

There are environmental costs to food waste. Decomposing food creates methane gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than twenty times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. Wasted food also consumes limited landfill space and leads to water pollution through run-off.

Wasted food involves the waste of all of the resources that went into producing it in the first place – water, fertilizers and pesticides, fuel and all of the associated human capital and labor. Together, the environmental harm and the wasted resource inputs associated with food waste carry great financial cost. Further, some reports note that the U.S. spends another $1 billion annually just to haul excess food away.

Episode XVI: A Private Eye And The FBI by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2017

It was difficult for Max Malone, private eye, to completely ignore the digging of the Wildewood World’s editor Nigel Best – despite the fact that Max often referred to him as Nigel Pest.

The possibility that it was not Beau Kimatian who died in the explosion of the Stardust Lodge would be an absurdity along the lines of political decency. Best may have been many things – the first strike being a journalist – yet there was no denying that his connection to a U.S. Attorney who had plenty of dirt on Kimatian was as undeniable as believing that the Stardust Lodge’s proprietor, and husband of Anna Belle Wilde, was dirt-free.

But before Max could spend too much time on Best’s theory, he was forced into a tete-a-tete with FBI Agent Mike D’Antonio who arrived – unannounced, what other way? – at Max’s cabin before breakfast but not before Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states, had emerged from the shower, barefoot, bathrobed, with her hair tumbling down in rollicking ringlets.

“Miss Suppine,” Mike said, acknowledging Val with a drop of his eyelids as only a man of Italian persuasion or ancestry can muster.

“Hi, Mike,” Val shot back with a shake of her hair and a smile that could drop any man of Italian persuasion or ancestry.

Meanwhile, Max just peered over the top of his coffee cup, marveling at a scene that could only be replicated by the last spring hookup of a pair of twitterpating house wrens.

Shaking off Val’s spell, Mike emerged shaken, but surprisingly serious under the circumstances.

“I need to go over a few things with you,” Mike said, only turning toward Max halfway through the sentence.

“Sure thing,” Val responded like the house wren of spring.

“Uh, Val, I think the agent was referring to me,” Max offered, not entirely certain he was right.

After Mike stole one more glance at Val, as if staring across their newly fashioned nest, he ripped himself away, tail feathers and all.

“Have a seat,” Max offered with no trace of sincerity.

Mike sat down on the front edge of an easy chair, while Max flopped on the sofa, and Val leaned across the back of the sofa, dispelling the unseemly squalor of Max’s dystopian digs.

“Max. What do you know about this Gloria Lovejoy woman?” Mike said, apparently recovered.

“Never heard of her,” Max said flatly, giving no hint of truth or otherwise.

“Me neither,” Val said, but she could have been speaking to the wall. The two men were now locked into investigative combat.

“Well, she was seen near the scene of the lodge in the early morning of the explosion,” Mike said. “And I have it on good authority you knew her.”

Max, his eyes fixed on the FBI agent, said nothing.

“You need to understand, Mr. Malone, that we’ll figure this thing out,” Mike said, keeping to his script.

“Yeah?” Max said, issuing an unsuppressed chortle. “Kinda like Ruby Ridge and Waco?”

Mike stood up, but Max continued to stare him down.

“You need to understand something as well, pal,” Max continued. No sign of a chortle. “I don’t have any use for your agency, or your kind. As for your ability to figure this thing out, I’m pretty sure there are already two or three people who have lapped you.”

“And you’re still sticking to your alibi of Mr. Malone for that night?” Mike said, eagerly turning to Val after he arrived at the door.

“Yeah,” Val said, leaning one-handed on the sofa back. “I’m pretty sure of things like that.”

It was uncertain if Valerie Suppine was talking about an alibi any more.

Mike exited without a glance in Max’s direction. Had he done so, he would have been highly disappointed. Max was grinning ear-to-ear in Val’s direction over the top of his coffee mug.

“Whew,” Val exhaled. “What do you suppose that was all about?”

Max knew the FBI game. It was all about intimidation and misdirection. But he said nothing, not wanting to disturb Val’s nest.

*   *   *

Chance Wilde and Anna Belle (now Wilde again) sat on Randy Wilde’s front porch, gazing out on the Wildewood forest of firs and cedars, each deep in their private thoughts.

Chance was wrestling with the need to hang around to protect his granddaughter, or return to the gentle notion of a Colorado winter, while Anna Belle was wondering how long it was going to take before the Stardust Lodge insurance settlement arrived.

Chance’s thoughts were of the spirit. Anna Belle’s were of revenge. Meanwhile, Max was itching to get after someone who had upset his chosen town of Wildewood – no matter how sinister a place it could be.

After all, it was his town. And he was still Max Malone, private eye.

Gifts from the kitchen! by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2017

Inexpensive and fun to make, a gift of your time and thoughtfulness will be felt with these gifts from the kitchen.

Homemade chocolate bars

You’ll need parchment paper to wrap, twine and pretty tape to wrap these up.

2 cups each several types of chocolate: white chocolate, semi sweet (dark) and milk melted separately in a double broiler.

Accouterments, such as dried cherries, pistachios, crushed sandwich cookies, caramel chips, sea salt, roasted almonds, toffee bits or crushed espresso beans.

Coat the bottom of small loaf pans with oil and place a strip of parchment down the middle.

Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chocolate, then (accouterments about 2 T each) then top with another 1/4 cup of melted chocolate.

Smooth over and refrigerate until solid, wrap and place in cool dry area until ready to give.

For the milk chocolate I’ll do the almonds and toffee bits, for the dark I like to chop the cherries and pistachios and for the white, crushed cookies and crushed espresso beans.

Olive oil bread dip and pomegranate balsamic vinegar

You can find pretty corked bottles and a nice table cloth to wrap these in. Throw in a basket with crusty bread and cured meats such as salami and cheese, and maybe a jar of olives or pickles.

For the oil:

2 cups best quality virgin olive oil

1 T each dried oregano, parsley, rosemary, dehydrated garlic

1 t red pepper flakes, black pepper, sea salt.

Mix together the spices and divide into small jars (about 2 t each) or bottles.Top with olive oil about 1/4 cup and seal with lid or topper.

For the pomegranate balsamic syrup:

4 cups pomegranate juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar

Bring to a boil all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, stirring until honey dissolves, and reduce to simmer. Let reduce by ½, then cool and jar or bottle.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Influenza – the virus that is nothing for us to sneeze at! by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2017

Antibiotics first came into being in the 1930-40s and really blossomed after WW II. Now we have resistance to antibiotics creating an even bigger problem. But the flu is different, as the flu is caused by viruses and therefore will not respond well to antibiotics. If you demand antibiotics for colds or the flu you may be creating your own personal antibiotic resistance. For the record, most of us have antibiotics in our systems even if we’ve never been prescribed them. 80 percent of antibiotics are in our industrial food system, especially meat. An argument for a more plant-based diet then.

The most lethal influenza (flu) in history occurred in 1918, which was the worst, coldest winter the US Midwest had ever experienced. This strain of flu killed more people in one year than all of the Bubonic Plague! We were headed into WWI and both politics and money reared their dubious heads.

Medical schools in the late 1800s didn’t require any science courses! There were no labs for testing anything. Hardly any students ever even saw a patient. All that medical schools offered was a series of lectures. Except for the homeopathic schools this was all there was. An epidemic is local or national. A pandemic is world-wide. In 1918 some of the elderly had been alive in the great flu of 1889-90. They had either been exposed enough to fend off this epidemic or perhaps they were the ones who used homeopathics and survived. Other major rounds of flu have occurred in 1957 and 2003.

Influenza (flu) is still classified by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as one disease with pneumonia. Pneumonia was classified as the leading cause of death in the US until 1936. Even today with antibiotics, antivirals, oxygen therapies, etc. influenza/flu is still the fifth or sixth cause of death. This is nothing to sneeze at!

Sneezing and coughing are not the only method of spreading influenza/pneumonia. Close proximity/crowding, hand-to-nose contact, even common surfaces may spread the disease. But carrying around antibiotic wipes is not the solution (see last month’s column). Not only would that be unwieldy and costly, but it would not counteract viruses. It’s why the fist pump is now as popular, or more so, than a handshake.

The incubation period is 24 to 72 hours. Hence, early on the influenza outbreak was called “the 3-day fever.” The influenza virus attacks the immune system, both directly and indirectly. During the flu epidemic of 1918 it was not just the young and the elderly who succumbed, but people in the middle stages of life. It was noted, however, that those with already lowered immune systems, for instance soldiers living in crowded and intimate contact, were likely to succumb.

It appears that the fear of the disease caused as many deaths as the disease itself! Even in 1918 it was noted that the first to succumb were the weak and fearful. Also those who were malnourished. Even today we have malnourished people such as the homeless, school children, the elderly and those who make poor dietary choices.

It is important to remember that despite the horror stories of that time, most people with influenza/pneumonia survived! Perhaps they were the ones who had the milder cases that accorded some immunity, they had stronger immune systems or they simply recovered. My primary bouts with flu were in 1957 and 2003. Whether or not you get a flu shot is your choice (so far) but even today the scramble to get the right flu strain is, well, a scramble.

During the influenza/flu epidemic of 1918 the US Surgeon General suggested what we all know to be true: to avoid disease cover your sneezes and coughs, breathe through your nose (to warm your breath), wash your hands before eating, avoid constipation, avoid other persons who are sick, get bed rest and keep reasonably clean and well-nourished. Some things haven’t changed!

There is no cure for influenza. Vaccines and antivirals may protect but they really just reduce symptoms. Perhaps leaving you feeling healthy enough to go to work, much to your co-workers angst. But antiviral foods (herbs, garlic, ginger) also do so. Decreased use of antibiotics in livestock, packaging and disinfectants would be good too. Good old soap and water and a little friction will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Eat the best food you can afford and avoid sugar (it is food for viruses to grow). Eat truly fermented foods to feed the good microbes in your gut (like sauerkraut and yogurts with live bacteria). Do these things so you can avoid illness and have a healthy holiday.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: choosing a wedding photographer by Gary Randall on 11/01/2017

With the spring and summer months behind us and the fall and winter months ahead, many people start planning ahead for the next season’s warm weather activities. Many of these plans will revolve around weddings and wedding engagements. Because of that, I’ve decided to try to provide some information that will help in deciding what photographer would be best for you from a photographer’s point of view.

First and foremost is the misconception that all that a photographer does is show up, take pictures, go home and send them in an email. That’s no different than thinking that all that the caterer does is show up and put some food on a table, serve it up and throw away the paper plates. That food needs to be carefully prepared, delivered carefully and served in a beautiful way and then the dishes need to be done. It’s a process as photography is a process. It’s certainly true that you can hire someone to come and take pictures inexpensively; you can also hire a caterer that will serve TV dinners.

When you hire a professional photographer you will expect more than snapshots of the wedding. A photographer can take hundreds or sometimes a thousand or more photos at a single event. Once back at the studio they will need to sort out all of the stinkers before starting the processing phase of the project. Out of focus, closed eyes, redundancy, etc. are all considered in this phase. This all takes time. After the initial sorting of the photos there are still many more left to consider whether they’re worthy of being a final photo.

If the photographer is using film, which some still do, they will have shooting time plus processing and developing time. If they shoot digital they will also have processing time. Modern professional photographers photograph their images in what’s called a RAW file, which is considered a digital negative as it will need to be converted into a usable image format for printing or digital display. This RAW format gives the photographer the same form of adjustment ability that the film photographer does in a darkroom; primarily brightness, contrast and color adjustments, such as white balance and saturation, plus a lot more. Because each photo is unique each will typically require separate attention from the rest. In other words, each photo is typically processed in its own unique way.

In many cases a professional photographer will have a second or third photographer at the event. The second, or assistant photographer, is helpful in capturing fleeting moments that come and are gone in a flash. This assistant is also helpful in setting up any equipment such as lighting and backdrops as well as posing people, seeing overlooked details, as well as sorting the photos after the event. Once sorted, the primary photographer will process the final photos. A second shooter will also help with any video captures of the event. Today most professional wedding photographers provide video service as well.

A professional will also have a backup photographer who will cover for him if he becomes ill or is unable to photograph the wedding for unforeseen reasons. The last thing that you want is a sick photographer at the event or one that’s too ill to attend.

What do you get for your money?

All of this can add up when considering cost. Generally speaking one can expect to pay from $2,500 – $10,000 for a true professional wedding photographer. Most photographers will have packages at different levels of pricing. The packages will typically provide a specified amount of final photos provided as well as other products, such as specialty printing like canvas or acrylic prints, a hard bound portfolio album or a video of the event.

I know what you’re thinking. Holy macaroni, right? I know because I’m asked a lot about photographing weddings and have seen the look in a few faces when they start to think about their budget. First consider this. Will you remember or enjoy the catered food in twenty years? Will you remember the DJ or the wedding planner or the venue manager? In my mind photography is the most important part of the wedding besides the vows. The photos will be with you for the rest of your lives and will help you to remember the details like the fabulous food and great music. Why compromise on what will truly be heirlooms for you and your family?

I also understand that a professional, in many cases, is impractical. In those cases my advice is to look for a photographer who is trying to make a mark or one who is trying to gain experience and a professional portfolio. Most aspiring photographers are not only willing to work for less they’re also usually enthusiastic. In this day and age, in many cases, one will know someone that’s either a friend or a family member that has a nice camera that would be willing to do this, sometimes for free. Ask to see their photos. You may be surprised.

And a final word concerning attendees with their own cameras or cell phone cameras who are tempted to snap photos during the ceremony or during the professional photographers time.

Please consider that if there’s a hired photographer working please allow them the freedom to work. There have been many times where I’m unable to get the photo through or between guests trying to get the same photo. It also makes it difficult when eyes are straying while a group of people are all looking at different cameras all at once. Many weddings ask attendees to not take photos during the ceremony and to relax and enjoy the event. If the bride and groom ask or if there’s not a professional working photographer there some brides and grooms want their attendees to snap photos. They figure that 25 photographers working for free are better than one or two pros working for a wage. That’s a valid approach which I give as an option when I discuss a job with a potential client.

I hope that this helps those who are considering hiring a photographer for their wedding. And may I be the first to congratulate you.

Contradictions on November forecast, hot next summer by on 11/01/2017

The first 18 days of October were typical early fall weather, with periods of sunny days followed by cloudy, showery days and temperatures near their seasonal averages. During the next four days, Brightwood was soaked with 7.97 inches of rain, while Government Camp received 7.28 inches of rain, melting the remains of snowfall that added up to nine inches. We were rewarded the rest of the month with sunny, mild weather. As the rain year ended Sept. 30, Brightwood recorded 107.12 inches of precipitation, which is 137 percent of the long term average of 81.70 inches.

The National Weather Service is frustrated with different indicators giving contradictory signals, in addition to keeping a wary eye on expected development of a La Nina pattern and continued Madden Julian Oscillation activity. Their best guess for our area expects average temperature and precipitation levels during November. Their confidence is much higher in forecasting a La Nina pattern to develop during the winter months, and somewhat colder than average temperatures for our area during December through March, with precipitation about average. Further beyond, our area is expected to have above average temperatures during next summer.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.78 inches, including 2.5 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 60s seven times, and into the 50s three times. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s five times, into the 20s four times, and into the teens once. On average November has six days that record freezing temperatures. The record precipitation amount for November was set in 2006 with 24.44 inches.

The record November snowfall was set in 1973 with a total of 27.7 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall during November of 8.8 inches was set on Nov. 5, 1973.

During November, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 29 degrees and a precipitation average of 12.15 inches, including 33.5 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached the 60s five years, into the 50s four years and one year ended in the 40s.

Low temperatures fell into the 20s during six years and into the teens the remaining four. The record snowfall in November of 125 inches occurred in 1973. The record 24-hour snowfall of 20 inches was set on Nov. 18, 2010, followed five days later with another 19 inches on Nov. 23.

Stardust Melody: Chapter 9 by on 11/01/2017

FBI Agent Mike D’Antonio was back in the Portland bureau, down in the trenches with Bureau Chief Ted Grayson.

Although having come up empty after interviewing all possible suspects, with the exception of the mysterious Georgia Lovejoy who was now in custody as a material witness, D’Antonio was being told to hand over the case to local authorities. According to Grayson, who was more and more protective of his time on the job due to the recent addition of his much younger fourth wife, the bureau simply didn’t have the resources to continue.

After all, there were terrorists in the world.

But unlike Grayson, D’Antonio had a control-freak wife, Sophia, and seven kids, and he wasn’t ready to give up on an out-of-town assignment, even if he had to work weekends – which he was actually looking forward to doing.

Besides, ATF and Homeland Security had determined the explosion at the Stardust Lodge had nothing to do with them, and the thought of turning the investigation over to Wildewood’s Police Chief Gandy was, in D’Antonio’s mind, tantamount to turning loose the Deputy Dogs of Hooterville.

*   *   *

Max Malone pulled off the road twenty yards before the wooden bridge that yawned across Ruby River, fifty yards upstream from the picayune remains of the Stardust Lodge.

Nigel Best, editor and owner of The Wildewood World newspaper, was waiting, leaning against the back of his Prius, with one foot planted on the insubstantial back bumper, yet posing no threat due to the equally insubstantial weight he was applying.

Downriver, insurance investigators were walking through the wreckage of the lodge, faces covered with masks against the foul odor of Tannerite, stepping carefully along with inadequate footwear.

Max approached. Nigel pushed his wire-rimmed glasses higher on his nose in what was more reflexive than required.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Max offered.

“Right, Mr. Malone,” Nigel managed with only a slight hesitation. “I believe we were both back in the woods where Maggie McGee’s body had turned up.”

“Right. What do you want?” Max said, somehow not making it sound like a question. “And it’s Max, not Mister Anything.”

“Sure, uh, Max,” Nigel said, pulling a reporter’s notebook out of the belt behind his back, thumbing through a few pages, presumably finding his place. “The FBI agent, D’Antonio, asked me if I knew if you were working for Beau Kimatian. I said no.”

“No, I wasn’t working for him, or no, you didn’t know?”

“That last one,” Nigel said, turning another page in the notebook. “Were you?”

“Are you interviewing me? Cuz if you are, I don’t do interviews. Not for the Wildewood World, or any actual reporter in the real world.”

“I probably should explain,” Nigel backtracked.

“That’s a start,” Max snorted.

“Uh, I’ve been digging into Beau Kimatian ever since he acquired the Ruby River property. At first, I just didn’t think it was right that the Wilde family, Anna Belle in particular, should lose the property, then I got more concerned when I saw the Stardust Lodge get built, and, of all things, Anna Belle and Beau got married, followed by a confederacy of politicians and polecats coming in and out of the place, and I had a hard time believing that you were working for someone like him, even though your reputation was, um, not exactly whistle clean, but at least you’d never done anyone wrong here in Wildewood. Best I knew. I don’t know about France.”

All this without coming up for air.

“You’re about as long-winded when you talk as when you write,” Max said, pushing the fedora back on his forehead and almost smiling.

Nigel reset his glasses.

“He’s dead, so it doesn’t really matter,” Max went on. “Yeah, I unshackled Beau from some of his sheckles, pretending to follow Anna Belle for him. But I wasn’t. For such a supposed high roller, he was pretty easy to deceive.”

“Maybe he had another motive,” Nigel jumped in. “There’s this other woman, a Georgia-something, I’m still checking on that. Anyway, I’ve traced Beau quite a ways back. He’s connected to – and protected from as well – a lot of, uh, businesses in the South. Riverboat casinos, strip clubs, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, overseas accounts. I’ve pulled this off through a college friend of mine who’s now a U.S. Attorney in Florida, and …”

“You’re not old enough to have gone to school with a U.S. Attorney,” Max interrupted.

“I’m forty-three,” Nigel snapped. “And this old friend of mine is pretty sure Beau Kimatian is no more an Armenian than the Pope of Greenwich Village. She’s come up with another name from his past. Makes you kind of wonder if that was him in the lodge? Interested yet?”

He was.

After all, he is Max Malone, private eye.

MHGS: not so fantastic – China looks to cut plastic imports by Mary Soots on 11/01/2017

There is a crisis unfolding in the global recycling scene that will have profound effects on all of us down to the household level. In the world of trade, ‘Scrap and Waste’ is the sixth largest U.S. export to China. Now China says it doesn’t want our garbage any more.

The following is an article reprinted from The Conversation, a British site which explains our situation:

 

“The dominant position that China holds in global manufacturing means that for many years China has also been the largest global importer of many types of recyclable materials. Last year, Chinese manufacturers imported 7.3m metric tonnes of waste plastics from developed countries including the UK, the EU, the US and Japan. However, in July 2017, China announced big changes in the quality control placed on imported materials, notifying the World Trade Organisation that it will ban imports of 24 categories of recyclables and solid waste by the end of the year. This campaign against yang laji or “foreign garbage” applies to plastic, textiles and mixed paper and will result in China taking a lot less material as it replaces imported materials with recycled material collected in its own domestic market, from its growing middle-class and Western-influenced consumers.

The impact of this will be far-reaching. China is the dominant market for recycled plastic. There are concerns that much of the waste that China currently imports, especially the lower grade materials, will have nowhere else to go. This applies equally to other countries including the EU27, where 87% of the recycled plastic collected was exported directly, or indirectly (via Hong Kong), to China. Japan and the US also rely on China to buy their recycled plastic. Last year, the US exported 1.42m tons of scrap plastics, worth an estimated US$495m to China.

Plastic problems

So what will happen to the plastic these countries collect through household recycling systems once the Chinese refuse to accept it? What are the alternatives? Plastics collected for recycling could go to energy recovery (incineration). They are, after all, a fossil-fuel based material and burn extremely well – so on a positive note, they could generate electricity and improve energy self-sufficiency. They could also go to landfill (not ideal) – imagine the press headlines. Alternatively, materials could be stored until new markets are found. This also brings problems, however – there have been hundreds of fires at sites where recyclable materials are stored.

Time to change our relationship with plastic?

While it is a reliable material, taking many forms from cling film (surround wrap) to flexible packaging to rigid materials used in electronic items, the problems caused by plastic, most notably litter and ocean plastics, are receiving increasing attention. One way forward might be to limit its functions. Many disposable items are made from plastic. Some of them are disposable by necessity for hygiene purposes – for instance, blood bags and other medical items – but many others are disposable for convenience.

Looking at the consumer side of things, there are ways of cutting back on plastic. Limiting the use of plastic bags through financial disincentives is one initiative that has shown results and brought about changes in consumer behaviour. In France, some disposable plastic items are banned and in Britain, leading pub chain Wetherspoons has banned disposable, one-use plastic drinking straws. Deposit and return schemes for plastic bottles (and drink cans) could also incentivise behavior. Micro-beads, widely used in cosmetics as exfoliants, are now a target as the damage they do becomes increasingly apparent and the UK government has announced plans to ban their use in some products. This follows similar actions announced by the US and Canada, with several EU nations, South Korea and New Zealand also planning to implement bans.

Many local authorities collect recycling that is jumbled together. But a major side effect of this type of collection is that while it is convenient for the householder, there are high contamination levels which leads to reduced material quality. This will mean it is either sold for lower prices into a limited market, will need to be reprocessed through sorting plants, or will be incinerated or put in landfill. But changes to recycling collections and reprocessing to improve the quality of materials could be expensive. Alternatively, recycled plastic could be used to provide chemicals to the petrochemical sector, fuels to the transport and aviation sectors, food packaging and many other applications.

The problems we are now facing are caused by China’s global dominance in manufacturing and the way many countries have relied on one market to solve their waste and recycling problems. The current situation offers us an opportunity to find new solutions to our waste problem, increase the proportion of recycled plastic in our own manufactured products, improve the quality of recovered materials and to use recycled material in new ways.”

(https://theconversation.com/us)

 

In Oregon, the Department of Environmental Quality states that it “is following the proposed China ban of post-consumer plastics and unsorted paper closely and is engaged in ongoing conversations with local governments, collectors, processors and industry representatives. Given the major market disruption this is causing, DEQ and its partners are preparing for different possibilities and developing strategies to maintain recycling collection and processing where possible as we update those systems to recycle more effectively in the future.

These challenges also present an opportunity to develop long-term plans to strengthen local processing capacity, identify and grow new markets, reduce contamination and deepen partnerships.

The DEQ is encouraging residents to continue recycling as much as possible, but to stop “wishful recycling,” which is putting an item into a recycling container that doesn’t belong, wishing it will be recycled.

On a more local level, our mountain community has had challenges with recycling since its inception. The Mt. Hood Green Scene has been working with Clackamas County’s Resource Conservation & Solid Waste management to address the current issue and will continue to work with our community to find solutions to our local challenges.

Teaching children to bowl is leading cause of sterility in men by on 11/01/2017

Teaching a child to bowl is truly a bonding experience — meaning that you should really consider taking out a bond before entering the bowling alley.

As someone who escaped the experience with only a minor skull fracture and minimal orthodontic surgery, I feel I’ve acquired a level of expertise that could be helpful. First of all, don’t change into your bowling shoes while in the carpeted area. It will give you a false sense of security — and make you less prepared for the realization that walking in tractionless shoes on a highly-waxed surface is a lot like strapping soap bars to your feet and trying to cross a wet mirror.

Ironically, your children will have a natural abi