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The risks of breast cancer and how you can reduce them by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2016

The risk for breast cancer used to be two out of ten people. Now it’s one out of eight. While more treatment options are available now, the incidence of cancer is still increasing, perhaps with our increasingly aging population. Still, it’s time to admit the facts: we are also living in an increasingly toxic world.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Center states that this does not mean you are always at risk, but the one out of eight number covers your risk over a lifetime. At age 20 your risk is more like one in 1,700, so not very high. At age 30 that risk increases to one in 228. But once you reach 50 your risk becomes one in 43. Those are the risk numbers for breast cancer, not overall cancer risk.

You should not panic, but you should know your risk factors and be proactive. The American Cancer Society still recommends a yearly mammogram for any woman over 40. But according to the U.S. Preventive Task Force, a mammogram every two years after age 50 is fine for those with decreased risk factors.

Options other than mammograms include digital mammograms (which are becoming more standard), 3D tomosynthesis, thermography (using heat in the breast to alert to tissue changes) and, of course, self exams. Not all of these methods are covered by insurance, leaving us with some questions.

Interestingly, 85 percent of breast cancer patients (and this includes men) have NO family history of breast cancer. Estrogen dominance appears to drive breast cancer (as well as many other cancers). Alas, many ignore these symptomatic risk factors or may not even know them. The risk factors include excess body fat (especially around the lower abdomen, hips, and thighs), gallbladder disease, pre-menopausal bone loss, slow metabolism and other factors.

Factors that contribute to estrogen dominance include both oral contraceptives and Premarin for over five years, overeating, Type ll Diabetes, depression and stress, as well as faulty liver and gastrointestinal function. Among other factors are exposures to environmental hormone disruptors, like Round-up and other herbicides (see my previous columns). In addition, there are hormone disruptors in cleaning products (including most laundry soaps), personal care items (hair dyes, shampoos) and in plastics like phlalates (even in children’s’ toys), parabens (in cosmetics) and BPA (in soda bottles and other plastic bottles).

Those born after WW ll were raised in an era of high exposures to herbicides, pesticides and other by-products of the war. TV dinners, fast food and decreased backyard gardening led to lesser nutrition as well. Exposure while still in the womb when breast and ovarian cells are maturing leads to damage when adulthood is reached. Exposures to environmental hormone disruptors in infancy and youth, while bodies are still growing is also a risk. In other words, for most people, the damage is already done.

This does not mean we are all doomed to a breast cancer diagnosis. While you cannot change your family heritage of DNA or your previous exposures, you do have recourse. The absolute biggest thing you can do to keep breast cancer at bay is to exercise. Thirty minutes five times a week of brisk walking is great. More than that can lower your risk by 40 percent and help you maintain a healthy weight.

One or fewer alcohol drinks per day appears to be somewhat protective, but “saving up” to have five to seven glasses of wine on the weekend is not! While your daily cup or two of coffee may lead to breast cysts (an uncomfortable risk factor) there is no direct link to breast cancer. And underwire bras show no direct link to breast cancer either. In fact, newer studies have actually shown that underwire bras may decrease the strength of breast ligaments, leading to sagging of breast tissue later in life.

So live the “anti-cancer lifestyle.” Eat cruciferous vegetables, decrease meat, exercise and get the toxins out of your life (including cleaning products, cosmetics and plastics). If you do receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, don’t panic. Those who have emotional support from family and friends within the first six months of diagnosis have an almost 50 percent decrease risk of recurrence. So keep family and friends nearby for health and well-being.

Easy does it by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2016

Bye bye summer – we love you!! Until next time, let's grill one more time and get in some prep for back to reality meals. These minimal ingredient lunch and kid friendly deals are my birthday month gift to you – oh yeah, cake.

Balsamic Chicken

Recently my friend blew my mind with this simple and delicious cooking. Mel and I go way back and fit together like pie ala mode – she'll bring a few ingredients and I'll add a few of mine. It always works out perfectly and somehow all of our picky kiddos get fed. Here's what we did.


Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 t seasoned salt

1 t cracked pepper

3T Balsalmic glaze

1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk ingredients together and save 2–4 Tablespoons. Add up to two lbs of chicken, toss to coat and let it marinate for 1–4 hours. Let it sit at room temp for 20 minutes before grilling. Heat grill or grill pan over med high heat and grill for about 6 minutes one side. Don't move the meat until you have a nice crust, then grill meat on other side adjusting the temp if necessary. Turn heat to medium and grill covered, turning meat every 3-5 minutes.

Salad "kabobs" – Give the kiddos a skewer and set up a small salad bar with cubes of bread, various veggies, cheeses and even big filled pastas such as tortellini. Put out dips and dressings so they can dress their salad sticks.

Here's what we did:

Sliced cucumber

Cooked corn on the cob, sliced 1/2" thick

Boiled new potatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Red lettuce leaves

Salami slices

Provolone cheese

Oil & vinegar dressing, and Caesar dressing

Texas sheet birthday cake.

I'm in love with a sheet cake and I'm not sorry.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2½ t vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

2¼ cups flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, plus more for decoration

Vanilla Frosting

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups confectioners' sugar

2-3 T cream

2 t vanilla extract

1/8 t salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and lightly flour a 12x17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan.

Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about one minute on medium speed. Add the sugar on medium speed and beat until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in the sour cream on medium high speed until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Pour half of this flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Beat on low speed for five seconds. Pour in half of the milk. Beat on low speed for five seconds. Repeat with the rest of the flour and beat in the remainder of the milk. Do not overmix.

Using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the sprinkles.

Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Now, make the frosting.

For the frosting: Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about two minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for three full minutes. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, more cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more of salt if frosting is way too sweet. Spread frosting all over cooled cake, then top with sprinkles. Slice and serve. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Johnson to push for education and logging standards by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 10/01/2016

October is here and that means school has been in session for about a month now. This is the first year that the Oregon Promise has provided thousands of students with tuition waivers and set them on the path to debt-free education. In September, I visited the Mt. Hood Community College and Columbia Gorge Community College to welcome these incoming students and share the importance of their experience for both Oregon and the nation.

With the Oregon Promise, Oregon was nationally recognized for leading the way in college access and affordability. Our community colleges provide vital training and help students learn the necessary skills to land a well-paying job. Today, at least two-thirds of jobs require some form of post-secondary training, and our state has made a commitment to supporting students in their endeavor to gain these skills. I believe it’s a wise investment for the state to help some students with the cost of tuition in order for them to gain the skills necessary to be successful for life. I was proud to support the Oregon Promise in 2015 and in the upcoming legislative session I will be working to ensure the program remains funded so that Oregon can continue making that promise to its students.

In other local news, it appears the proposed logging project in the Brightwood area will not be moving forward this season. It was determined that the developer would not be able to complete the project prior to the arrival of winter weather. This means the project will be up for review again next season. I will continue to work with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Clackamas County to ensure the proper procedures are followed in order to protect local landowners and the communities involved. I’m also working in Salem with key representatives of the logging industry to see what kind of safeguards might be able to be put in place to ensure that developers are compelled to obey existing laws and to eliminate loopholes that appear to exist. This will be one of my priorities in the upcoming legislative session.

Another priority of mine in the 2017 legislative session is to ensure that every third grader is reading at grade level. The third grade reading benchmark is one of the main components that helps a child be successful. Those that can read at grade level are four times more likely to graduate. An investment in this benchmark will include early interventions, saving the state money down the road and helping the student be much more successful early on.

As always, I am available to talk about these or any other issues that concern you. Please feel free to reach out to my office at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

'Before the Fall,' by Noah Hawley
‘Before the Fall’ creates mystery following deadly plane crash by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2016

Scott is initially hailed as a hero after swimming for his life after a high-profile plane crash while also saving a young boy over almost impossible odds. They are the only survivors from the passengers and crew, which soon places Scott in the middle of intense and unrelenting media glare. However, as the investigation into the crash revs up – with scrutiny of the celebrity passenger list as well as the airline’s crew – Scott soon finds that he is also a potential suspect as the authorities strive to determine the cause.

The many flash-backs which describe the crash of the charter jet in foggy, stormy weather off Martha’s Vineyard are harrowing and dramatic. But the real meat of the novel is in the stories of the passengers and crew members leading up to that fateful journey. While Scott Burroughs is a simple painter who became friends with some of the plane’s influential passengers at the weekly marketplace in Martha’s Vineyard, the boy he saves is the youngest child of a powerful media mogul’s family. Another couple on the doomed flight is a Wall Street power broker and his wife. In the media, there is much speculation about why these influential persons were traveling together and whether the crash is evidence of some sort of conspiracy to manipulate broader events.

While Scott struggles to come to terms with his survival and the trauma of the crash, the young boy he rescued from the stormy Atlantic battles his fears from the traumatic events as well as the loss of his family. A special bond exists between these two survivors but the media frenzy and the official investigations limit their contact and question Scott’s motivation since the future custodian of the boy will be privy to a substantial fortune.

Finally, the many stories of the passengers and crew come together to answer the big question of why the crash happened. By the time this is revealed to the reader, an expertly written novel with great insight into the human condition and our society has been appreciated.

This terrific novel has my strongest recommendation.

Noah Hawley is the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critic’s Choice and Golden Globe Awarding-winning creator of the TV show “Fargo.” He was also a writer and producer for the hit TV series “Bones.” This is his fourth novel.

Why not start your day with a flaming Pop tart? by Ned Hickson on 10/01/2016

Why not start your day with a flaming Pop tart?

Cooking can be dangerous, especially when it includes all three components of what experts call the Triangle of Fire:

1) A heat source

2) Combustible material

3) Our son.

While I can vouch for him having absolutely nothing to do with any wildfires, he was in fact responsible for the 2015 Oak Street popcorn smoke-out. It only took that one experience for us to realize just how dangerous popcorn kernels can be once their internal temperature exceeds 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Let me just say that if your microwavable popcorn bag is ever allowed to expand to the size of your favorite pillow, DO NOT open it.


Our government has special underground dump sites specifically designed for this kind of toxic material; please use them.

However, even with all of the precautions we’ve taken, it would seem that our family has been overlooking another potentially dangerous component in the Triangle of Fire:

The Flaming Pop-Tart.

According to a Philadelphia newspaper, that’s exactly what happened to an unsuspecting New Jersey woman who said her kitchen caught fire after her cherry-flavored Pop-Tart “burst into flames like a blow torch!”

I’ll be the first to admit that a fiery breakfast treat spewing artificial fruit filling would be a scary thing. In fact, aside from finding the real “Cap’n Crunch” floating around in my cereal bowl, I can’t think of a more frightening breakfast experience. However, there are a couple of things worth noting about the flaming Pop-Tart incident — the first of which is that my son had nothing to do with it.

He doesn’t even know anyone in New Jersey.

Secondly, the Pop-Tart in question had been left unattended for 20 minutes while Brenda Hurff took her children to school. It was during this time that investigators believe the Pop-Tart “freakishly ignited” as a result of either a) the toaster malfunctioning, b) the pastry malfunctioning, or c) the surprisingly combustible nature of artificial fruit filling.

To ensure the safety of the general public, investigators called in agents from both the FBI and CIA to make sure that the burning Pop-Tart was, indeed, an isolated incident with absolutely no to any terrorist channels.

In addition, they also ruled out my son, and any links to him watching The Food Channel.

In case you were wondering, investigators have also decided against the possibility of spontaneous combustion as a cause for the blaze. This conclusion was reached after days of around-the-clock observation of assorted Pop-Tarts in a controlled environment, after which the following joint statement was released by the agents involved in the study:

“We quit.”

In any case, the fact that we don’t have to worry about living in a world of spontaneously combusting Pop-Tarts is something that should help us all rest a little easier.

But I’d still suggest keeping them away from the popcorn, though.

Just to be safe.

The Adventure Continues: Don't Kid with Me Nicole by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2016

When it came to women there was precious little doubt I was on a serious losing streak – think Casey Stengel’s lovable Mets.

It went back to the time when I lost Hope. After ventilating my fedora with a terrific shot, she had matriculated to state prison and was still wearing her graduation outfit of solid orange.

Then came Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states, who, unsatisfied with that dishonorable title, had thrown in with Johnny Longo and the Grimaldi brothers for a mere twenty-five large and left me tossing in the Reno wind.

Then the notorious Natasha LaRue, who cast some sort of witchy spell over me and ferried me off to France, evidently as some sort of play toy while she laundered money for a modern version of Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, and ended up with a hole in her head – but a least the cheese was delicious.

Finally, all seemed to turn out well due to the diligence and dalliance of Dolly Teagarden, the British diplomat attached to the American embassy in France. But, keeping with the comparison to the Amazin’ Mets, my losing streak continued as Dolly was no more a diplomat than I was Marv Throneberry.

This shipwreck of women has left me tied to a trio of terrorists, and a complicit Dolly, and now tethered to a kitchen chair somewhere in the French countryside in a centuries old farmhouse with an alarmingly modern set of phones, computers, and other equipment I can’t identify.

I haven’t been knocked around, nor have I ever been more than three steps from an assault rifle in the hands of the wrong guy. The boss of the three Arabic types is known as Ahmed – it sounds like something you might utter if you were suddenly surprised by Nicole Kidman asking you to dance. He speaks English. He and Dolly have a thing going. I have nothing going. No plan.

At least that’s the way three days went by at the country chalet. My hands were untied twice a day to eat, if you want to call it that – seems no one in this idyllic setting ate cheese. My hands and ankles were set free when I needed the facilities. The bathroom, or water closet to the French, or loo to the Brits, was separate from the actual bathroom. It was a commode, nothing more, except for a window high on the wall, maybe, just maybe, large enough to squeeze through, or maybe not. Even if the window was breeched, there was little cover outside, just a couple spindly trees that couldn’t conceal Twiggy.

Like I said, by end of day three, no plan.

It might have helped if I understood why I was part of this plot. But whenever I brought it up, or anything for that matter, Ahmed (why yes, Nicole, I’d love to dance) just turned away, Dolly’s mouth turned into a slit that a timber rattler would have envied, and the assault rifle would bump into the back of my head.

But by day four, a couple things became apparent. Despite not understanding a single word Ahmed (Nicole, what fragrance is that?) said over the phone, or being able to decipher a single letter off the computer screen, we were either awaiting orders or reinforcements. The fact that several times each day after a phone exchange, Ahmed (it’s OK if I lead isn’t it, Nicole?) and Dolly would exchange glances and one, or both, would impatiently shrug their shoulders. Another thing, and perhaps the most important, was that the tough guy with the Kalashnikov was losing interest in me – not totally his own fault, for my passive behavior would have coaxed a Spanish fighting bull into a coma.

So I whiled away the hours, eating my two meals sans fromage, making rare eye contact with Dolly, whirling Nicole Kidman around the room with a frenzy of tango moves that kept her breathless, but always looking for an opening.

I had no plans on spending my last days with this unsavory band of messianic muttonheads.

Nicole and I were waltzing out of here.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Leave No Trace principles by Mary Soots on 10/01/2016

We were all troubled recently by the vandalism that involved the tipping over of an iconic sandstone rock pedestal affectionately called the “duckbill” on Cape Kiwanda. The natural rock formation was deliberately destroyed by a group of people.

Although Oregon receives approximately 45 million visitors annually to its parks and natural areas according to statistics, the incidence of vandalism is relatively small. On a hike last year, I was very disturbed when I noticed that a piece of ancient forest had been destroyed by someone who had removed a large piece of trunk (approximately 3 feet by 5 feet by 1 foot) from a Douglas fir tree. The individuals who had removed the piece of trunk had used a ladder to access an area approximately 10 feet from the base of the tree and left the tree to perish.

These are examples of intentional destruction of our natural beauty. On this side of the mountain, campers occupy illegal campsites, leaving trash in their wake. But there many examples of unintentional damage to our environment as well. One is that 45 million visitors cannot help by leave a trace.

With so many new residents moving into this region, it is inevitable that there is more traffic through the area. Where was once a random encounter with another person on the hiking trail along Oneota Gorge is now a scene reminiscent of a college frat party. In the age of technology, the problem is self-perpetuating. A person photographs an incredibly beautiful place and posts it to their Facebook page and soon 10 people want to see that same place. They in turn post beautiful photographs to their Instagram accounts and soon the area becomes a crowded tourist attraction.

It is a sign of the time and we must learn to share the outdoors with other users and allow them to enjoy the same beauty. We can be aware of the impact that we have when we venture into the outdoors. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics offers the following among its tips:

Plan Ahead and Prepare

•             Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.

•             Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.

•             Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.

•             Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Leave What You Find

•             Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

•             Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

•             Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.

•             Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

•             Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.

•             Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.

•             Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.

Respect Wildlife

•             Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.

•             Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

•             Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.

•             Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.

•             Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

 Be Considerate of Other Visitors

•             Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

•             Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.

•             Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.

•             Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.

•             Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

La Nina pattern no longer in line for October by Herb Miller on 10/01/2016

Contrary to the forecast, September was cooler and wetter than average. During the first eight days, high temperatures never exceeded the 60s and rain occurred during every day but one in Brightwood. Warmer daytime temperatures followed during the following week but the 18th and 19th recorded unusually heavy rainfall for September, with Brightwood getting soaked with 2.13 inches of rain. The last weekend of the month accompanied a brief period of summer-like weather but it appears that fall will arrive on schedule.

The National Weather Service has rescinded its earlier outlook and no longer expects a La Nina pattern to set up, at least not during the fall and winter months. The forecast for our area again calls for warmer temperatures and lower precipitation than average during October.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low temperature of 43 and a precipitation average of 6.52 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during eight years, and into the 60s during the remaining two years. Low temperatures have dropped into the 40s once, into the 30s during seven years and into the 20s during two years.

During October, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 36 degrees, and a precipitation average of 7.03 inches, including 5.5 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during six years and into the 60s during four years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during three years, into the 20s during six years, and into the teens once. The record snowfall in October was a 34 inch total set in 1984. A record 24-hour measurement of 15 inches was set in 1984, although more recently, a 12 inch amount was recorded on Oct. 20, 2009.

Some creative photoshopping.
The View Finder: The art of photoshopping by Gary Randall on 10/01/2016

“Is that photoshopped?” I hear that question every now and then, mostly on social media, although not as much as I used to ten years ago. I suspect that it could be that digital photography has become accepted more, and with websites such as Instagram that allow the user to alter their photos with a touch of a thumb, most of the time in an attempt to emulate a bad film photo, people are more accepting of photos with an artistic twist.

Photoshop is a photo editing program, but the word is now used as a transitive verb usually in past tense to describe an altered photo. An altered photo is a very broad description for a process that can easily go from simply resizing a photo to altering a photo into representing something that wasn’t there. There are those who find no fault at all in the photographer editing their own photos, and there are those who say that one dare not touch their photo lest it become fake.

In reality, even back when we sent our photos to the drug store they were altered in some way through the process, usually in an attempt to auto correct by the technician or because of the quality of the maintenance or calibration of the machine used to develop the film and even the type of film that we used.

As a photographer who learned how to shoot using a 35mm camera, a Yashica Electro 35 to be precise, and learned how to develop my own black and white photos I have my own take on the whole, sometimes controversial, subject.

Back when I started out as a hobbyist in 1977 I wanted to learn how to develop my own film in a darkroom. I joined a camera club and learned from the “old guys” there. One thing that I did learn is that it’s not just a simple process of developing, rinsing, fixing and drying. There’s also more to enlarging and making a print than what I suspected. What I learned the most is how much one can alter the look of the photo either by accident or on purpose in the darkroom. This is not to mention how one can alter a photo while they are making the image in the camera using the basic adjustments.

While in the darkroom one is able to push or pull the process which involves leaving it in the developing solution for a longer or shorter period of time, as well as dodging and burning areas independently of other areas. This was a favorite process of Ansel Adams and how he was able to put into practice his Zone System. Masking can be done with cut outs made of cardboard during the printing/enlarging process. Pieces of other photos can be combined, other details removed. One can be creative in the darkroom and most don’t realize that this was done regularly.

The composites that I mentioned that were made in the darkroom are still done today, and are the likely source of the use of the word “photoshopped” as a verb. These include images that include components that were not a part of the scene at the time such as huge moons, false skies or a person in a scene that they weren’t a part of. Some do it not to deceive but to create art. It’s done as an artistic method and the image or the artist usually makes it known. But as with all good things in all good things there will always be those who abuse it. If it’s not real, say so.

I say that in a judgmental way and I’m not afraid to say that. Any kind of deception isn’t good. In the world of photography it makes those who would otherwise enjoy genuine hard earned and skillfully made photos question the photo’s authenticity. It also makes beginners hesitate to enjoy the freedom that they have today in digital photography to be able to develop their own photos without chemicals or a dark room.

In digital there’s no such thing as not adjusted, or as some call it, “SOOC,” straight out of camera. It’s a myth that the image is a pure image. You have presets that are programmed onto the camera when it’s manufactured, usually Landscape, Portrait or Vivid, Neutral or even Black and White. All of these are processes that develop your photo in the camera. An engineer is, essentially, processing your photos for you, so why not do it yourself?

All of this considered, today we have the ability to do the same processes with our computers with the lights on. In my work, my processing workflow follows closely the processes that are used in a darkroom. Exposure, contrast, color correct, dodge, burn etc. Even the one “special effect” that I use was made for film photography, the Orton effect.

I urge anyone who has ever wanted to learn to become a photographer and develop their own photos to not let digital stop them. I also tell them to not let the judgment of others affect what they do in either life or photography. Don’t let the question, “Is that photoshopped?” stop you from being creative with your photography. And the best part is that, due to the introduction of the program Lightroom you can say no it’s not, that is until “lightroomed” becomes a verb.

Down to the core, apples offer strong health benefits by Victoria Larson on 08/31/2016

More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown today, yet only a few varieties make up 80 percent of what we buy! What a shame, given the many benefits of all those types of apples.

While apples are high on the list of fruits that should be chosen in organic form, they’re still an important source of many antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, calcium d-glucarate and quercitin, plus all the constituents we haven’t discovered yet. If you cannot get organic apples, at least wash them in a mild vinegar/water rinse to reduce the amount of contaminants.

Washing reduces E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks as well as decreases some pesticide residues. Do not wash with dish detergent as the residue from the dish detergent can dissolve the mucous lining of your gut, causing gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea.

And do not peel the apples as the skin of one medium sized apple provides a whopping 20 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Better to eat the peels. The French National Institute for Health found that it is the peels of apples that are high in procyanidins. Lab studies showed that animals fed apples with the skin on were 50 percent less likely to die of colon cancer. When choosing between apple juice or apple cider, choose the cider, as it is made of apples with the skin on. Cider is also an unpasteurized and unfiltered, “raw” food. Therefore it should be cloudy and brown. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been filtered many times and is heated so it will stay fresh for a longer shelf-life.

Most people prefer an apple that will not turn brown quickly, but this may be a mistaken choice. Commercial growers have developed apples that don’t turn brown by decreasing the chemicals that oxidize the apple. This is a consumer-driven product and the kind of thing we need to think about when we purchase food. An apple that turns brown is a healthier choice as most of the polyphenols are in the skin of the apple. This is why your apple cider will be brown and the juice will be “soda-colored” and clear.

Apples also contain flavonoids which are super antioxidants. The Nurses’ Health Study found that women who ate one or more apples a day were 37 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. Finnish studies found those with the highest consumption of apples were 46 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. A Netherlands study found that men who ate one green apple a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Onions and tea also help decrease the risk of heart attack.

Important to our aging society is decreasing the risk of cancer. Apples provide the benefit of calcium d-glucarate, which is also found in bean sprouts and grapefruit. The chemical structure of calcium d-glucarate is similar to the body’s own detoxifying agent, glucaronic acid. Therefore, eating apples (an apple a day, anyone?) helps eliminate toxins, including excess hormones, via urine and stool. This detoxifying agent has been known to decrease the size of existing tumors as well as helping fight colon, lung, and prostate cancers.

High fiber foods like apples, cruciferous vegetables and beans help bind harmful cholesterol, hormones, and harmful fats, speeding their removal from your body. This helps to avoid toxic build-up in your bowels. Fiber binds with excess estrogen molecules and other hormones to block their re-absorption into the bloodstream. This means a decreased risk of hormone cancers such as breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers.

The peels of apples also contain high amounts of quercetin. Also found in citrus fruit rinds (organic please), onions and tea, quercetin helps reduce radical damage to the eyes and decreases the risk of allergies. Seems to me a better choice than over-the-counter allergy medicine that leaves you feeling very groggy and foggy. There are people out there driving while taking OTC allergy medicine! When one apple a day, with the skin on, provides as much quercetin as one-half cup of tea or two-thirds cup of raw onions.

From 1950 to 2000 a pesticide known as methyl parathion was used on apples and other fruits. Many of us ate them when we were younger. Methyl parathion is a neurotoxin that was outlawed in 2000 due to child safety laws. Round Up (see previous columns) is still used on fruit and vegetable crops, sometimes in your own backyards. Round Up has been linked to genetic damage in humans and is now classified as carcinogenic to humans. It has been linked to reproductive problems and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I advise against the use of Round Up anywhere as it seeps into groundwater.

Organophosphate pesticides have been found in more that 70 percent of apples. Farmers in India use Coca Cola to kill pests in the fields. Boy oh boy, doesn’t that tell you something! We need much more transparency regarding pesticide use. Know your fields, your neighbors’ fields and your own backyard. Make sure the person telling you the produce is organic is not using the term loosely. Or just grow your own, organically or biodynamically.

On my farm I have Clackamas County’s oldest, living Gravenstein apple tree, as well as three other varieties of apples. I like to take my apples to the Foster Farms Cider Fest and hand crank the cider press handle and watch the sweetly-scented brown cider flow into my vintage, apple-shaped glass bottle. What fun and yum!

Recreation liability law a priority for Johnson by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 08/31/2016

September is here and that means fall is right around the corner. After a summer of networking on the Mountain, I’m excited to fill you in on what I’ve been working on!

As you may have read in previous issues, I have been working to update recreational liability law. Any business that provides a recreational activity usually requires the participant to sign a pre-activity liability waiver (think ski tickets). This acknowledges that there are natural risks associated with the activity, which helps protect the business from expensive lawsuits brought by customers who had a negative experience based on a natural risk of the activity. These waivers are, of course, not meant to relieve all responsibility of the provider but a recent court case has since stated that these waivers really don’t protect a business. Therefore, providers have to pay for more expensive liability insurance, or end up in a costly lawsuit. In order to prepare for this potential cost, any business providing a recreational service will likely be seeing increased costs and greater liability to provide the activity.

This topic is especially important for the Mountain and Villages area because of the number of businesses that provide recreational activities. Anyone who allows access to their land for recreation, various parks and recreation programs, outfitter/guides, resorts, running events and of course businesses like Timberline and Ski Bowl could be subject to similar lawsuits. As a result of their liability insurance costs going up, the price of the activities they provide will also go up. The net result is that we may see less visitor traffic, due to the high price of the activities. Obviously this would have a negative impact on the local economy.

So, what am I doing to help solve this issue? I am introducing legislation in the 2017 legislative session to create a position at the state level to focus solely on recreational tourism, help solve issues like the one described above, and also promote growth and protection to support the future economic success of the recreational tourism industry. Other states around the west including Colorado, Utah and Washington have created similar positions and this has helped give the recreation industry a voice and a place at the table as state policies are created. This is a way that we can make sure that issues of local importance like recreational liability get the serious attention that they deserve. I’m excited to bring this legislation forward because it will not only address the conversation about recreational liability, but it will also give the recreational tourism industry the recognition it deserves for the contribution it makes to our state. I hope to share more on this as I continue to work with stakeholders and find solutions.

Last month, I held a town hall at the Resort and had a great turnout. We discussed the proposed logging project in Brightwood/Tim Rim area and the valid concerns held by many of the local residents in that community. I was happy to step forward and connect with the local citizens there to make sure that they were being heard by the state agencies involved like the Oregon Department of Forestry and to help monitor the situation.

If there are any local issues that you would like to address, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 503-986-1452 or email rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

I’m looking forward to connecting with you in the district soon. Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

Recluse’s evolution at heart of surprising ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Sandra Palmer on 08/31/2016

Ove is to be the grumpiest, most unpleasant and difficult person in his small neighborhood. Since the tragic death of his wife, his only pleasure seems to be enforcing his rigid rules on his neighbors and sticking with his entrenched routine – while insisting that he is left alone. When an unruly new family – including a very pregnant wife, two lively children and a husband who is totally incapable as a handyman – arrives, Ove’s solitude and well-ordered existence is shattered.

Ove is so devastated by his overwhelming loneliness and grief that he has finally decided to end it all. But every time he sets out to implement his plans, a neighborhood emergency interrupts him and pushes his tolerance to the max. And every time Ove helps out with a neighborhood challenge, it only seems to open the door for more interruptions and situations that pull him out of his precious solitude and into the middle of the neighborhood’s small and large calamities. Soon Ove ends up with constant interruptions from his lively – and well-meaning – neighbors and the responsibility of a near-dead stray cat with attitude. Totally unacceptable!

In spite of his rigorous ways of thinking and living, Ove is soon revealed to the reader as a man with a big heart who is honest and can be totally depended upon with skills many other no longer cultivate. Soon he becomes a resource that his neighbors depend upon while also making room in their hearts for his curmudgeonly ways. But will Ove be able to open his home and his life to others? Or will he be successful in his plans to retreat and ultimately seek that final peace he longs for?

This is a surprising book with a serious subject but filled with heartwarming humor. “A Man Called Ove” is a must-read for everyone. I highly recommend this delightful book!

(Fredrik Backman is the author of several other bestsellers in his native Sweden. He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.)

I’ll be dressing as Marilyn Monroe to help fight cancer by Ned Hickson on 08/31/2016

I don’t have good-looking legs.

Not even in heels, which I have worn during the Men’s March Against Domestic Violence, and also the night I turned 21. Fortunately, in both cases (Well, one for sure) I had pants on, so other than looking like a standard poodle walking on its hind legs for a dog biscuit, everyone was spared from seeing my hairy stork legs.

To be honest, even a stork would probably wear pants if it had my legs.

However, come next weekend. I will jeopardize the vision of hundreds of people at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in my hometown by dressing as Marilyn Monroe for the “Mr. Relay” fundraiser.

Naturally, I will be wearing heels. And yes, at some point my skirt will be blown upward, revealing a sight that even Miley Cyrus said “Crosses the line of decency.”

I’m relieved to say I won’t be alone in this endeavor.

At least, I better not be.

The way it was explained to me, there will be about a dozen men dressing as their favorite female movie actress or character. Given that I’ll be turning 50 a few days later, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to cross off “Emotionally scar as many people as possible all at once” from my bucket list. I had actually considered dressing as “Black Widow” from “The Avengers,” but the thought of wearing something THAT skintight had me worried. Not so much because of my figure, but out of fear that my growing lack of flatulence control as I’ve aged might cause the suit to expand like a piece of Hubba Bubba bubble gum.

If it were to pop, the concussion could cost people their hearing. And I don’t even want to think of what could happen if the stage is anywhere near an open flame.

Remember the Hindenburg?

So for everyone’s safety, I’m going to stick with Marilyn Monroe. Though there is still the risk of emotional scarring, at least there’s good ventilation.

Some of you might be asking, “Why are you doing this?”

Others might be asking, “Where exactly is Florence, Ore., so I can protect the one I love by going nowhere near it this weekend?

Rest assured that as long as you stay on the I5 corridor through Oregon, you will be safe. As for why I’m doing this? A portion of the money each of us raises in this competition goes to support cancer research, with the rest going to programs in and around my community. Like many of you, I have lost people I love to cancer, including a best friend who was barely 30.

And yes, he had much better legs than me. If my hairy stork legs can help keep someone else from losing a loved one to cancer, I’m all in.

Even if “in” means wearing a short dress and high heels.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

The Adventure Continues: A girl’s gotta make a living by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/31/2016

Dolly and I worked our way around a Continental breakfast buffet in the basement of the train station hotel, picking up melon, croissants, orange marmalade and bowls of steaming French coffee. There was another couple in the room – a sad, middle-aged man drooped over his bushy mustache avoiding eye contact with what must have been his wife, her hair longing desperately for a shampoo, yielding a faraway look into a past she’d left behind, or perhaps never had.

In comparison, Dolly and I were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The night before, in the cozy hotel bed, after evening antics, Dolly laid out the plan. More importantly, she explained my role. It was a terrible idea. I’d be making myself seen in such exotic places as Brussels, Luxembourg and Baden-Baden.

Right. Exotic. There is no one in Brussels younger than seventy – and it’s not a good looking seventy. Luxembourg is a walled fortress dating back to the conquering armies of Rome – with all the charm as well. Baden-Baden has a history that matches the surrounding Black Forest in color and shame.

Dolly sensed my reluctance and spent breakfast tilting her head to one side like a cocker spaniel, trying to lure me in. Seeing her situation deteriorating, she played the Teagarden Card.

“Think about it Max,” she cooed like a Paris pigeon. “We’d be checking in with each other all the time.”

I shook my head slowly while munching away on my croissant smeared with marmalade. In harmony with the munching, things got fuzzy. Dolly’s spaniel became blurred. The couple seemed to disappear, which wasn’t such a bad thing, but the floor coming up in my face was.

I ended up on a bench in the back of what seemed to be a delivery van, empty in the back except for me on one side, and two dusky chaps on the opposite bench seat. They looked like a couple extras off the set of Lawrence of Arabia – perhaps cousins of Anthony Quinn or Omar Sharif. They even had rifles nestled on each side. All I had was a headache of hangover proportions and a smear of blood on my upper lip. I felt like I’d gone 15 rounds with Joe Frazier.

The driver was barely visible in profile, while the front passenger seat concealed anyone who might be sitting in it. We were motoring well within the speed limit on what the French call an “N” road, their version of an interstate, four-lane divided.

The faulty vision began to clear up. Of my two immediate adversaries, one was alert, certainly able to handle himself, and not exactly enamored with me. The other was fading in and out of a nap, his head bobbing in rhyme with the road. If I could get to the tough guy quickly enough, I’d probably still have time to take care of Sleepy. My only restraint was a seat belt. But the real problem was: what, if anything, was in the front passenger seat.

And where was Dolly?

In a voice raised over the din of the van, the tough guy jabbered something to the driver, who turned slightly and cast a quick glance at me. “Yes, you moron, I’m awake, I have a headache, and I’m pissed” my return glance said as best I could form it without a Berlitz book.

That got me nothing but a slight sense of satisfaction.

Sleepy raised an eyelid then went back to his private place. Tough guy flicked looks at me but seemed uncomfortable fixing his gaze against my unblinking glare.

“What the hell’s going on?” I yelled at tough guy but loud enough for the driver to hear. “If someone doesn’t say something I’m gonna make a mess out of this vacation trip through the French countryside.”

Her head leaned around the passenger seat. The cocker spaniel had split, replaced by the smug visage of a sassy, satisfied woman.

“You gotta be kidding me,” I said, dripping with disbelief.

“Hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, love,” she said.

After all this, I’m still Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Cloth napkins save paper by Mary Soots on 08/31/2016

I recently had the good fortune of attending a barbeque hosted by a friend and neighbor. Dinner was served in an idyllic setting, like many homes on the mountain—outdoors, surrounded by trees, accompanied by the music of the nearby Sandy River. It was a casual affair, just a few neighbors gathered to enjoy each other’s company on a warm summer evening.

While this is a familiar scene to most of us, what made that particular evening feel like a special occasion was that the hostess had draped the outdoor tables with beautiful embroidered linen tablecloths and used linen napkins.

It was only a few days later when I was in Portland that I couldn’t resist driving through a popular donut chain. I ordered one glazed donut and the young man placed it in a bag and handed me ten paper napkins with it. Ten napkins?!? Really? Doesn’t he know there is only limited space in the side pocket of my car door to store extra napkins?

It seems that this sort of excess use of paper napkins is rampant in the fast food world. I have been known to keep one or two and hand back the rest, leaving the perplexed server pondering what is wrong with this crazy woman? Apparently I don’t conform to the mold of people who simply disregard the excess and throw the napkins in the trash. It is my hope that by giving the server pause, perhaps the next person will only receive five napkins with their donut (or sandwich).

Paper accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste and 33 percent of municipal waste. Handing out fistfuls of napkins is obviously eco-insensitive, but it wastes perfectly good paper by providing, in some cases, at least twice as much as necessary. Additionally, the cost of all the wasted napkins must cut into profits for restaurants. A minor change can be made by teaching servers to limit the use of napkins. This would cut expenses into their bottom line by at least 50 percent.

Schools cafeterias can also teach children that they should take only what they will use. Children will carry this ecological awareness into the workplace when they in turn become the servers in restaurants. Parents can support this teaching at home as well by reducing their use of paper products. Instead of reaching for a paper towel, why not use a kitchen towel to dry your hands? And instead of using paper napkins at home, why not use cloth napkins? Keep napkins at arm’s reach so they are easily accessible rather than stored in a linen closet.

By foregoing the use of paper products, you will cut your bottom line as well, and keep paper from going to the landfill. Towels and napkins can be reused and simply be tossed in with a load of laundry. A bonus is that you will never run out of supplies.

Something else I noticed that summer evening as we dined al fresco at my friend’s barbeque. When the tables were set with linen, the formal atmosphere somehow made people behave differently, somehow more genteel, a little more on their “company” behavior. Why not give it a try?

Reduced La Nina expected to arrive this fall by Herb Miller on 08/31/2016

August has been exceptionally sunny with only four days having cloudy skies and the rest being clear. Despite the abundant sunshine, no record high temperatures were recorded, and hot weather was limited to three days in the 90s in Brightwood during the 18th to the 20th with another three day hot spell during the last week of the month. High temperatures averaged just two to three degrees above normal for the month in both Brightwood and Government Camp. Rainfall was much less than average, as would be expected.

The National Weather Service has reduced its earlier expectations for the onset of a La Nina pattern, although the forecast continues to predict the probability one will become established this fall and winter period. Their outlook for our area during September calls for above average temperatures and precipitation near normal.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70, an average low temperature of 48 and a precipitation average of 3.41 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 90 degrees or higher during four years, and into the 80s during the remaining six years. September has had a total of 11 days reaching 90 degrees or higher during the past 20 years and only one day that recorded a freezing temperature. Over the past 10 years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s during six years and into the 30s the remaining four years.

During September, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43 degrees, and a precipitation average of 3.35 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during nine years and into the 70s during the remaining year. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during nine years, and only one year settled for the 40s. Snowfall in September is somewhat rare, with the record four-inch total set in 1972. A record 24-hour measurement of three inches was set on Sept. 23, 1984, although more recently, a 0.2-inch amount was recorded in 2009 and trace amounts were observed on each of the four days during Sept. 26-30, 2009.

Try not to use direct sunlight.
The View Finder: Tips for taking cell phone photos by Gary Randall on 08/31/2016

What did we ever do without our cell phones? In this era of miraculous technology it's hard to remember how it was to wait until we got home to make a call or to search for a phone booth along the way. They have revolutionized communication. These little devices have also revolutionized photography as well.

Gone are the days of limiting the amount of photographs that you take or the need for delayed gratification due to having to send the film out for developing. We just snap, smile, share with our friends on social media or email then forget about them as we continue to record in more pictorial detail our day to day lives.

As cell phone camera technology is improved the pictures become better and better. They have become so good that they have essentially replaced the point and shoot camera. They are all the average person will ever require for their personal photography needs, and even though they have become incredibly capable, they still take a little experience to master, especially in challenging light. A few tricks can make your photos even better.

Don’t shoot with a dirty lens. As we carry our phone here and there we can put them through a lot. Dust and dirt can collect on the lens of the camera. A little lens cleaner on a soft cloth will help to keep your photos clear and crisp.

Don’t miss the shot. Cell phone cameras won’t give you an instant shutter actuation. They take a second or two to find and focus your subject. This is referred to as shutter lag. Anticipate this shutter lag and be prepared to get the shot a few moments prior to the moment. This is especially true with moving objects.

Don’t use direct sunlight when photographing people. Find bright shade to eliminate sharp contrast of glare and shadows. Your subject’s eye won’t be as apt to be squinting.

Don’t use your flash. The stark light of your flash will wash out your photos. There’s an HDR (high dynamic range) setting, use it. And of course there are always exceptions to the rule. I like to use a flash when my subjects are backlit, such as at sunset.

Don’t zoom. Zooming with your cell phone camera is not an optical zoom but an electronic enlargement of the image. The image quality suffers when you zoom in. Choose to move forward or back to fill the frame. If you have a cluttered background, move in to fill the frame to make your subject dominate the scene.

Don’t use harsh light. If you are going to do portraits choose to do them in either mid morning or late afternoon. The light during these times has a less harsh feel and is more warm and welcoming. The camera will struggle less with the light and the photos will turn out nicer.

Don’t settle for straight out of the camera. Post-process them. Your camera does, why not you? Download applications such as Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile to adjust the photo to make it look its best. Most camera phones come with their own image editing application.

Don’t be selective in what you shoot. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital. You increase your odds of getting a great photo if you take more of them.

Don’t forget about them. In the past we would take our photos, print them and put them into a photo album. We can still do that today even though we’re no longer using film. You can either print them yourself if you have a printer, go to the drugstore and use their kiosk or you can send your digital file to a company online who can print them and send them back. Even better is that you can now self publish your own book in any quantity, including a single issue of your vacation photos.

Do have fun with it. It’s always with us when in the past we would leave our cameras at home today it’s usually within arm’s reach at any time of the day. You have a much better chance these days to get a unique photo of life as it happens around us. With these few little tricks you can make your photos better, but it takes practice and the willingness to tell your camera what to do.

Digging deeper and asking more about groceries by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture current research reveals that nationwide, approximately 160,000 farmers are currently selling their products via local markets like farmers’ markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture), etc.

This is great for communities as it keeps money local, brings fresher food to consumers, provides local jobs and decreases transportation vehicles on our already clogged roadways. The USDA also reports that sales of local food increased from $5 billion to $14 billion between 2008 and 2014. That’s good news for participating farmers. It’s a bandwagon farmers want to jump on, for obvious reasons.

What we need though is a high level of transparency and truthfulness and consumers who think things through. You must dig deeper. You must become the “researcher of your own dietary inputs.” Some of the things that we take for granted in America are ease, convenience and low cost. But there’s more to it than that.

Perhaps it starts with decreased supermarket shopping and more local shopping, like farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture. CSAs are where you pay the farmer in advance to grow your produce and then pick up a basket or box weekly or every other week. It is a win-win for anyone who makes the commitment. If the farmer loses a crop for whatever reason, they still survive as they have built-in customers. And the customers always have plenty of fresh food to eat.

Or perhaps you begin your commitment to local food in your own backyard, swapping produce with your neighbors. Big box stores have cheap food that’s traveled far. Sometimes that makes sense as with large families or gallons of organic olive oil. We don’t have much in the way of local olive oil so I admit to succumbing to occasional forays into the big box stores. But if I can buy something locally instead, I will. Knowing that one dollar of every four dollars you spend in a grocery store goes to advertising, refrigeration, storage and transportation keeps me from buying very much in a supermarket.

Truth in advertising is difficult to find even when purchasing locally. “Local” is an interpretive word, meaning “within a three hour drive,” “within a one hundred mile radius” or what grows in your backyard or your neighbor’s yard. As an herbalist in the 1980s I was taught that “what you need grows around you.” Even weeds. When I have a big patch of Cleavers (Gallium aparine) in my fields, I know that’s the tea I should be drinking. I walk into my field (zero transportation needed and free exercise), pick some (become engaged in my own well-being at a very earthly level) and I have a product I can trust (zero contamination). And it’s free besides!

Of course, sometimes people just want to go to the supermarket and trust what others have placed there. But if your commitment to yourself and the environment includes more local choices, you need to know what questions to ask. And you need to interpret the answers.

Not everything needs to be “certified” organic, but you must trust what you see and make decisions accordingly. If you buy carrots peeled and formed and in a plastic bag you need to know that much of the nutrition has been sacrificed for that convenience. If “certified organic” matters to you, and there are many places where it should (see previous columns) then you may need to see that “9” label on your food. If you buy fresh carrots, best to buy with the tops on so you know how fresh they are. Just because carrots keep a long time does not mean you should buy them aged!

Make informed choices. If what you want is instant gratification or convenience, your food will probably come in a plastic bag. But I’ve seen stores and farms where non-organic cauliflower is removed from its cellophane wrapper, placed in a plastic bag and sold as organic. How would you know? Is it a chance you’re willing to take? If so, that’s fine, but don’t you think you deserve to know the truth about your food?

Some consumers bring their own bags for unbagged produce. This, by the way, is commonly done in other countries, both industrial and third world. In most countries you must bring your own shopping bag as stores and open-air markets don’t provide them. Or support your local farmers’ market and buy one of their cloth bags. That’s advertising that pays off.

I pretty much gave up shopping at my closest supermarket years ago, except for coffee and kitty litter. I drive a little farther away to teach my grandkids to look for a #9 tag on the produce, which means its certified organic produce. The farther-away market also tells me the country of origin and whether or not something is organic. Non-organic is sometimes acceptable to me but I want to know what I’m getting! I want it to be my choice. Digging deeper will lead to more transparency and truth in advertising.

August cool down by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2016

Thai beef and noodle cold salad


3 T olive oil

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T smooth peanut butter

1 T chili sauce

2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 t fresh grated ginger

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

2 T honey

Juice & zest of 1 lime



2 carrots thinly sliced

2 green onions sliced

1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin

½ cup plum tomatoes cut in half

1 cup broccoli, chopped into small florets

1½ cups cooked vermicelli rice noodles

½ pound cooked leftover beef/steak (or any other meat/fish/tofu), cut into small cubes

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 cups mixed salad greens

Sesame seeds


Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined.

Layer the salad - pour dressing and toss at the last minute.


Coconut cream watermelon smoothie

Can be frozen after blended.

Blend together:

Juice from one lime

2½-3 cups watermelon

¼ cup coconut cream

15 fresh mint leaves

Toasted coconut for garnish

½ cup ice cubes

3 tablespoons water

Taelers’ take

Is Kobe beef worth the $$$?


Trying new proteins is one of my favorite activities. Kobe beef is incredibly clean and lean tasting.

Just season with salt and heat up the cast iron skillet. Sear a few minutes on each side developing a nice crust, then finish with butter and top quality condiments.

Town Hall in August brings Johnson to Mountain by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 08/01/2016

August is here and it seems like the summer is just flying by. I hope you’re all planning to attend my town hall held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 at the Resort at the Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches. I’m looking forward to sharing some ideas for the 2017 legislative session and hearing from you on local community issues.

Recently, residents of the Tim Rim community in Brightwood contacted me with concerns about a proposed logging operation on a parcel above their community. Some of the major concerns are the risk of landslide and erosion and overall safety in their homes, as they live at the base of the proposed operation. Additional concerns have been raised regarding the risk to wildlife and water quality on the land itself. After hearing these concerns, I organized a tour lead by Oregon Department of Forestry so that I could see firsthand where the operation would take place. Throughout the tour, it was apparent that local concerns are valid and that more analysis of the proposed logging facility is necessary. The land use review process is happening now at Clackamas County and at the Oregon Department of Forestry. I will be monitoring this process and providing oversight of the appropriate government entities to ensure that local citizens are heard and protected. Please contact my office at 503-986-1452 or rep.markjohnson@state.or.us to share thoughts you have on this or to find out more details.

In late July, I hosted a listening session with business owners on the mountain so that they could share how current laws are impacting them, which laws make if difficult for employers and what the best opportunities are for strong economic growth on the mountain. Those that attended each represented a different type of employer in the area and it was interesting for me to see where the agreement was on which policies were positive or negative. In order to best support the economic growth and development on the mountain, I encourage all business owners to contact me and share their thoughts. If you can’t attend my town hall on Aug. 4 please contact my office because the more information I can gather the better policies I can help develop in Salem.

As the summer continues to pass us by, I am looking ahead to the 2017 legislative session. While it seems so far away, preparing legislation now allows more time for community input and to build support both in the district and also in the capitol, which increases the chances of passage when the session starts. Making targeted investments in our K-12 system continues to be a focus of mine. While an increased budget for our public schools is always an underlying goal, we can also make sure that the current budget is put to good use and is best supporting teachers and students to improve student success. A second priority of mine is to ensure the Oregon Promise remains fully funded and successful. The Oregon Promise is giving thousands of students a path to higher education and the workforce without the burden of debt, so I am focused on continuing this progress.

As always, it is important to work in coordination with local agencies and organizations to make sure that the community is well represented. I hope that you will attend my town hall to continue the discussion and please contact my office if you need assistance with anything. Thank you for the honor of representing you!

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

The Adventure Continues: Episode IX Pip, Pip and a Spot of Tea by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2016

The arrival of Dolly Teagarden for a “wrap-up” session was a miserable failure before it began, and it had nothing to do with Dolly’s tweed business suit, frothy silk blouse, with a sawed off skirt that should have been given a shotgun rating.

It was what was walking next to her. He had broad shoulders, a narrow waist, dark suit, skinny tie, black wing tips, aviator sunglasses – which were utterly useless against the overcast Brittany sky – and sported the last crew cut in captivity. If he wasn’t a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, then he was a fed.

Guess which one?

As they mounted the front porch I retreated to the kitchen and shoved the cork back inside a bottle of Medoc, condemning it to breathlessness – at least for today.

I ushered them in. Dolly brushed against me before turning and lifting a bent wrist toward the intruder.

“Max, this is Agent Dick Champion. Dick, Max Malone.”

He removed his shades. I nodded in his general direction.

“Grab a chair,” I said, as I plopped down on the couch. I then asked if I could get them something in the most insincere manner I could muster – and I’m pretty much in the big leagues when it comes to insincerity. Plus, now plunged comfortably in Natasha’s couch, they weren’t prying me out of it with an abalone iron.

Dick took the most uncomfortable chair in the room, and it appeared he preferred it, while Dolly slid into an easy chair and crossed her everlasting legs.

“Max,” she offered in a most serious manner. “Dick is with the CIA.”

“Imagine that” I said, tossing Dick a smile with all the conviction of a Bert and Ernie cartoon exchange.

“Max, can I call you Max?” Dick asked. His was only the second American version of English I’d heard since arriving in France. And the other one was dead. The best I could muster was a nod of approval.

“Ms. Teagarden, Dolly, has filled me in on how you fit in here,” he said with precision. “And it’s time you get filled in as well. There’s no reason for you to remain on the outside of this unfortunate situation.”

“Is that what you boys call them?” I said, the wind hissing through my teeth. “Situations?”

Dick handled my surly manner without flinching, but did resort to clearing his throat and raising his eyebrows, as if inviting me in on the big secret.

“Max, Natasha was working for us.” He paused allowing me to take in the news. I glanced quickly at Dolly who was gnawing on her lower lip like a caged squirrel. “We were close to extracting her when they shot her.”

I leaned forward, disgusted with myself that I had not picked up on the situation. “How did they get on to her?” I asked.

“We don’t believe they did,” Dick said matter-of-factly. “It would appear they were one step ahead of us, and simply didn’t need her anymore.”

“She was their money connection, right?”


I leaned back into the sofa. “Who are they, Dick?”

“Gun runners. Natasha set up accounts for them in Luxembourg, the Caymans, Dahka. We were about to drop the hammer but got delayed by the French. They’re a little touchy about dealing with us.”

“Any idea where they are now”

“We’re pretty sure they’re still in France, but can’t be certain. They’re operating on Belgian passports, so because of the European Union, they can cross EU borders without visas.”

“So they could be anywhere.”

“Yes, but previous plots by groups like this has them laying low for the dust to settle, before they move on.”

“So where do we start?”

Dick turned to Dolly, then slowly back to me.

“We are hatching a plan, Max,” Dolly said though hooded eyes. “It would include you, but it would also be dangerous.”

“Natasha was my friend. What’s next?”

Five days later, traveling on a British passport, checking into a train station hotel in an ancient French city with medieval manners, trying to look natural in my Harris tweed jacket, I asked my traveling companion while signing the hotel registration:

“After we check in to our room, dear, would you like a spot of tea before dinner?”

“Yes love,” she said.

After all, mate, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Ten ways to help the environment by Mary Soots on 08/01/2016

So often we hear negative and worrying news about our environment and how we are threatening our planet. Recently, however, we had a bit of very good news. It was reported last month that the ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, was actually showing signs that it had begun to heal. In 1986, a hole was discovered over Antarctica that was being caused by harmful chemicals such as chlorine and bromine. The exposure to these harmful rays created a risk of skin cancer. This realization led to the banning of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These gases were found in everything from hairsprays to refrigerators to air conditioning units. The new awareness also led to other changes. And as a result, scientists recently reported that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million square km. smaller than it was in the year 2000 – an area roughly the size of India. We are all to be congratulated for the work we have done!

There are other things we can do to ensure that we continue on the right path. Today I have a few more ideas that may be simple but pack a big punch. This is a list of ten ideas that can save consumers money while decreasing our impact on the environment by 20 percent. These ideas are from an uplifting book entitled “Eco Barons: The New Heroes of Environmental Activism” by Edward Humes. The list includes the following:

1. Adjust your thermostat by two degrees (cooler in winter, warmer in summer), to save one ton of greenhouse emissions a year.

2. Switch from incandescent lightbulbs to compact fluorescents and save 300 pounds of greenhouse gases per bulb.

3. Insulate your water heater with a simple thermal “jacket” and save 550 pounds of greenhouse gases a year.

4. Replace air-conditioner filters to save 350 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

5. Unplug “vampire” electronics that suck up electricity even when turned off—television sets, VCRs, DVD players, cable boxes, chargers—anything that is instant-on or that has a blinking light. The typical household will save half a ton of greenhouse gases just by making sure “off” is really off.

6. Wash clothes in cold water and save one ton of greenhouse gases.

7. Dry clothes on clotheslines and save nearly one and a half tons of greenhouse gases.

8. Take mass transit or telecommute once a week to save one ton of greenhouse gases.

9. Check tire inflation every week to increase fuel efficiency by three percent and save a quarter ton of greenhouse gases. (Most drivers have chronically underinflated tires, which make the engine work harder and burn more gas.)

10. Lose ten pounds – the average weight gain for Americans in the past ten years. Airlines use 350 million more gallons of jet fuel every year hauling those extra pounds.

11. Bonus items, Tammin suggests, to substitute where necessary: eat fresh food, not frozen food (fresh food consumes 90 percent less energy); eat less beef (the production of beef, pound for pound, uses up more energy than any other food); avoid bottled water and disposable grocery bags; buy local produce and other foods to avoid the 1,300 miles the average American meal travels on its way to the dinner table, using fossil fuels all the way.

Above average temps for the mountain in August by Herb Miller on 08/01/2016

The first week of July got off to a mild start after which daytime temperatures lowered to what usually occurs during early May. The last week of July brought a return of warmer temperatures peaking near the end of the month and resulting in monthly averages close to normal. As a matter of interest, the record high temperatures for August shown are all-time high temperatures recorded in both Brightwood and Government Camp from records dating back to 1979 in the case of Brightwood, and from records dating back to 1959 in the case of Government Camp.

The National Weather Service has reported the end of El Nino conditions but is now focused on the probability that a La Nino pattern will take place in early autumn and continue throughout the winter. Their forecast for our area this August is to have above average temperatures and precipitation a bit below normal.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 76, an average low temperature of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.46 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 90 degrees or higher during nine years and into the 80s during the remaining year. On average, August has two days reaching 90 degrees or higher and during the past 20 years there has been only one day reaching 100 degrees or higher. Over the past ten years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s all but once when the low fell to 39.

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees, and a precipitation average of 1.58 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, into the 80s during six years and one year couldn’t make it out of the 70s.

Low temperatures fell into the 40s during four years, and into the 30s for the other six years. A trace of snow recorded in 1996 is the only record of any snowfall in August from records dating back to 1959.

A Mount Hood landscape.
The evolution of the darkroom by Gary Randall on 08/01/2016

I remember getting my first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye box camera. It used medium format 620 roll film. I wasn’t much more than six at the time and a roll of 12 exposure black and white film was a luxury especially considering that after the photos were carefully taken, you didn’t want to waste a shot, it was sent to the drugstore to be developed. That was where the mystery happened. All I knew was that I had to wait about a week for the photos to be returned to me in their colorful envelope complete with their negatives. Opening up the envelope, I had two things on my mind. Did they turn out and what the heck did I take photos of? It was like opening a gift.

As time went on, I grew up and transitioned to 35mm film and dabbled in the mysterious darkroom processes as a hobby. I would photograph in black and white and develop the photos myself. At the same time I was still shooting rolls of color film and sending it to the drugstore to be developed, but I was starting to understand how the best photos were made. I learned how photographers who were considered artists made their photographs.

I learned about tools and methods that were used to balance the tonality of the photo. The most notable may be Ansel Adams and his zone system that, in simple terms, used a system to balance the brightness and darkness of areas in the photo using methods such as “dodging” and “burning,” which used a small light to expose more or a paddle to block light to underexpose areas. I realized that the mystery could be affected.

I enjoyed playing in the darkroom, but I’ll admit that I probably would have preferred doing the same process with the light on. Not everyone is interested in learning the complexities involved in the chemicals and mathematical formulae to develop film photos. Welcome to the 21st Century and digital technology.

I think that it’s finally safe to say that digital photography has developed, no pun intended, in the last 15 years to rival, and in many ways surpass, film as the chosen imaging choice with both hobby and professional photographers. Both the cameras and digital imaging computer software can now replicate quite effectively the mystery of analog darkroom film processes. It’s quite easy for those who prefer to develop their own photos to pull up to their computer, download their photos, start a program and process their photos chemical free all while enjoying a nice tasty beverage of their choosing.

The digital single lens reflex cameras that have replaced their film counterparts create what is called a RAW file which can be considered a digital negative because it can be developed with software and saved as a finished photo file but can always be returned to in the future, reset and redeveloped into a new photo. With so many popular programs available a RAW file gives the photographer the ability to apply the digital equivalent of traditional darkroom developing to their photos and a lot more. The photo can then be sent to a company who can print your image as a frameable ink and fine paper print or on metal or a canvas print, dare I say coffee cups, t-shirts or even your own self published book?

On the other hand, for those who still have the simple need to “make snapshots and take the film to the drugstore” in the digital age, you're covered as well. Each camera can make jpeg (.jpg) files developed automatically with presets within the camera’s onboard software. You can choose one of several “image effects” or styles such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape as well as the ability for you to set and save your own custom effect. This allows you to set your preferred style, take your photos, connect your camera to your printer and just print your own photos. You can even set your camera to make black and white photos. Digital technology and the software included with the camera make it all very simple.

Couple this all with how we use our camera phones and you can see how, in this day and age, digital photography has become so popular. When I was a boy my enthusiasm for photography was limited to twelve photos in a matter of a month or maybe two. Today the sky’s the limit when it comes to how many photos one can make, and we no longer must wait a week for the drugstore to let us know if we failed. It is adaptable to all levels of interest, from snapshots to fine art photography.

Today everyone is a photographer. It has been computed that one trillion photos will be made this year alone. Like I always say, “Film’s cheap when you’re shooting digital.”

Round ’em up, head ’em out - the pesticide problem by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2016

“Round Up,” that supposedly “safe” weed killer is also known as glysphosphate. And it is not “totally harmless” as most farmers and homeowners have been told. You may have some on the back porch or in your garage or garden shed. Time for a “heads up” and let’s get it out of our biological systems.

The Environmental Working Group is the group that publishes the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” and it’s something we should all be aware of and follow. The list is of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Non-organic apples have been found to have the highest amount of pesticides for five years in a row. And much as I hate to say it, if it doesn’t have a “9” number sticker on it, there is absolutely no proof that the apple is pesticide-free.

Peaches and nectarines occupy the 2nd and 3rd spots on the “dirty dozen” list. The USDA tested produce samples and found that 2/3 of the non-organic samples to be pesticide-laden. This at a time when consumers want food that is not doused with agricultural chemicals. The Environmental Working Group states that the USDA found 165 different chemicals on the samples. Oops! And this is your protections agency. Have you read this anywhere or heard it on the news?

Topical pesticides aren’t the only contaminants. There are fungicides, miticides, nitrate fertilizers and the ever-popular Round Up. Also known as glysphosphate, Round Up is now classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic to humans. Meaning it’s been found to cause cancer in humans. The WHO has even found Round Up in human breast milk, infant formulas, and honey. Round Up is found primarily in and on non-organic foods.

Round Up residues in cattle feed can predispose cattle to botulism because it suppresses healthy gut bacteria. Do you suppose this is what disrupts human gut bacteria? Eating pasture-raised meats will help to mitigate this problem, as will eating raw (not processed) sauerkraut and certain supplements, once the GI tract is cleansed of overgrowths of improper bacteria.

Even eggs are exposed to Round Up. Chickens given a diet of non-organic corn or soy, and antibiotics have disrupted gut systems as well. And so do all of us when we eat those foods. Eggs from birds that are caged, cage-free or even free-range, can still be fed these rations. Only pastured eggs that come from hens that have no Genetically Modified (GM) corn or soy in their diets can be truly considered safe. That means only organic feed for those hens. Hence the explosion in home-raised hens. Twenty-five years ago I was begging my favorite feed store to carry organic feed. They do now, and I, and my hens, very much appreciate that.

GM crops in America have led to the blanketing of millions of acres of crops, including human and animal food crops. GM crops means that those plant’s genes have been modified and altered to resist Round Up. So the farmer/grower can use more Round Up on those crops. Thereby keeping the chemical companies in business and getting richer.

Resistance to Round Up is found in areas of Kansas and the Great Plains, where most soy and corn is raised. Most corn and soy is GM. Now the weeds are developing resistance to Round Up while those corn and soy crops have been modified to resist that chemical onslaught. Guess what we need is more and stronger pesticides. I’m being facetious here, as I’m never going to be a believer in more pesticides.

In the never-ending battle to fight nature, what do you suppose is causing the never-ending battle to fight disease? Daily decisions have the power to change lives, our own and others. Let’s re-evaluate what we stand for. Let’s show by our daily actions and choices in everything we do.

Fruits that should be organic are apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, and grapes. Veggies that should be organic are often those that have a high water content like celery, cukes, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. Foods less likely to hold pesticide residue, and therefore may not need to be purchased in organic form, include asparagus, avocadoes, cauliflower, cabbage, citrus fruits, eggplant, kiwi and sweet potatoes. But if you can choose all your produce to be organic, so much the better. Choose according to your beliefs and your pocketbook.

And get rid of that so-called “harmless” Round Up. Round ‘em up and head ‘em out, to the Metro Hazardous Waste station, and we’ll all be better off.

Let’s taco bout it by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2016

Celebrate this Independence Day with a southwest menu - picked for a crowd.

Tres Leches Cake


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups granulated sugar

3½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1¼ cups milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 eggs


1½ cups heavy cream

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

¾ cup milk

2 teaspoons rum extract


2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13x9-inch baking pan, grease and flour bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients together until just combined. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together all filling ingredients and set aside. Once cake has slightly cooled poke the top using a fork approximately every half-inch apart. Pour the three-milk (tres leches) mixture evenly onto the cake. Loosely cover and refrigerate up to three hours or until majority of the tres leches has been absorbed.

In a large chilled bowl, beat topping ingredients until stiff peaks form. Once cake is ready, spread whipped cream over cake and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.

Allow cake to cool to warm before pouring the tres leches into the cake.


Creamy shredded chicken for tacos

Serve with salsa, cheese, avocados and shredded cabbage.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

Juice of one lime

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Lime wedges and more cilantro for garnish.

Heat a large skillet over med/high heat and add in olive oil and onion. Pound out chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.

In a large ovenproof skillet, add the chicken and cook for six to seven minutes, turning once. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside. Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly with foil.

Remove skillet from heat and add the broth, lime juice, onion, cilantro, and red pepper. Return to heat. Cook and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to around a 1/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the cream and butter. Stir until butter has melted.

Add chicken back to pan and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook uncovered until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Cool and shred.

The work starts now for the 2017 legislative session by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 07/01/2016

Summer is officially underway and in House District 52 that means picking fruit, hikes on Mount Hood, and enjoying the many summer festivals. The summer months are also an important time for me as a legislator to begin planning for the next legislative session. While January 2017 seems so far away, and thinking about the cold weather is the last thing we want to do, I start the planning process early to make sure that I have time to get input from my constituents.

One of the major legislative topics that will be discussed is a change to the minimum wage law. On July 1, Oregon’s minimum wage increases .25 per hour in rural counties and .50 cents per hour everywhere else. Next year, the state will be separated into three tiers: Portland-Metro, Nonurban and Rural. Many small businesses, non-profits and community organizations are finding the increase difficult to absorb and in such a short timeframe; the bill passed in February, the Bureau of Labor and Industries clarifying rules on June 15 and the increase begins on July 1.

Legislative leadership, including House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick have acknowledged problems with the law as it currently is and stated that there will need to be changes in the 2017 legislative session.

Because of this, I am meeting directly with business owners and the Executive Directors of community organizations across the district to hear how the law could be adjusted to better accommodate their ability to maintain their business and continue to provide community services. One concept is flexibility in the requirements for young workers and trainees. Another exception may be for the agricultural industry, as they cannot control prices or their goods and may need to be on a different wage structure than other businesses.

Another reason I am focused on adjusting the law is because of the impact to public education. Oregon’s public universities have stated they will need to cut student work-study positions and make other budgetary cuts to account for the money that was spent on increased wages. The University of Oregon estimated $2.3 million and OSU estimated $4.8 million in additional wages for the 2017-2019 biennium. This puts the Universities in a tough position and I believe the result will be an increased tuition, which, in combination with fewer work options, is the worst possible outcome for students. What I will be introducing in the next legislative session is a bill allowing for certain exemptions at University and Community College institutions to help prevent tuitions from being raised to cover wage costs.

I hope you’ll join me to continue this discussion at a town hall I am hosting in August.

What: Town Hall

Where: Resort at the Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave.

When: 5:30 – 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4

If you want to discuss this, or any other topic, before the town hall, please contact me at: rep.markjohnson@state.or.us or 541-308-5306. Thank you for the honor of representing you.

(Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.)

A public service message about horrible pick-up lines by Ned Hickson on 07/01/2016

I’ve been ridiculously happily married for almost ten years now, so the singles bar scene is a long-forgotten memory. Or maybe just a deeply repressed one.

At least it was until yesterday, when an old friend came to town and treated me to a beer at a local hangout. As we began catching up, we couldn’t help but overhear a series of pick-up lines being exchanged by a group of 20-somethings who — at least in their minds, and thanks to several happy-hour pilsners each — had assembled a list of clever lines “no woman could resist!”

Their words, not mine.

In a moment, you’ll understand why.

Think of this as a Public Service Announcement of sorts, aimed at single men everywhere, and in particular to that group of 20-somethings once they’ve sobered up: I felt obligated to jot down some of your “fail proof” pick-up lines and explain — through a “trial” and “error” format — what you can expect should those lines leave your mouths in the general direction of an actual living female.

Let us begin…

Trial: Do you like magic? Because I’d like to make your clothes disappear.

Error: Even David Copperfield wouldn’t attempt this horrible pick-up line. If you do, chances are the only thing disappearing will be her drink in your face.

Trial: Do you know CPR? Because baby, I think I’m having a heart attack!

Error: This is particularly ineffective for men over the age of 40, who could easily be mistaken for having an actual heart attack. Nothing says “sexy” like coronary infarction.

Trial: I’m not a religious man, but you make me want to shout hallelujah!

Error: I must warn you there is a very real risk of being struck by lightning from God at the sheer stupidity of that line.

Trial: If I were Captain Kirk, I would love to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Error: Better keep that one in your Captain’s Log because it will send women away faster than you can say “Warp speed, Mr. Sulu.”

Trial: Someone call the police because I think you just stole my heart!

Error: With a line like this, the only call anyone is going to make will be to the 1980s so they will come take you back. Assuming they want you.

And lastly,

Trial: Baby, your smile is so sweet it should come with a calorie count.

Error: As any supermodel will tell you, there’s no point in counting calories when you’re too busy throwing up after a line like that.

In a random poll taken here in our office, women unanimously agreed that their favorite pick-up line starts out like this: “Hi, my name is…”

If any of you in that group of 20-somethings is reading this, there’s no need to thank me. If one woman is saved from enduring any of those torturous pick-up lines, that will be thanks enough.

Not to mention the lives this column might end up saving.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

The Adventure Continues: Episode VIII - Don’t Follow The Money by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/01/2016

So the dearly departed Natasha was something besides what I thought she was. My only excuse: I wasn’t paying attention.

Perhaps it was the cheese aisle in the grocery store. Or the constant flow of important people in and out the door of Natasha’s house. Or the daring distraction of French women refusing to break eye contact while passing the afternoon at a nearby outdoor table at the local café.

Or maybe it was fancy pants Rickey Benoit, the neighboring horseman, and his thoroughbred interest in Natasha.

And that thought got me back to business. Rickey – not Rickey Schroeder, not Rickey Nelson – but Rickey Benoit (as in Ben Wah) needed a visit. After all, the fatal shot that snuffed Natasha came from the direction of his foppish horse farm.

 I ambled along the tow path of the barge canal that flowed between the two properties, past the scene of the shooting, checked out the discarded rifle still hidden in the bushes of a hedgerow – right where I’d left it – swung over the white fence of Rickey’s horse pasture and continued on to the stable making certain not to obtain any savory French manure souvenirs along the way.

Rickey was patting a stabled horse’s nose – why do horse owners spend so much time patting horse noses, I wondered – and he turned slowly toward me and shared that bemused French smile that alternately puzzled me and nearly made me gag.

“Monsieur Malone,” he offered in an inoffensive Rickey way. “I have been expecting you.”

“And I didn’t want to disappoint you, Mister Benoit,” I responded, refusing to give a Rickey an inch.

“Come wis me,” he said, leading me around the stable while I amused myself at the Frenchman’s inability to pronounce the ‘t h’ sound. Oh well. Zat’s show biz.

We settled into chairs on a broad expanse of patio that was dotted with enough rose bushes to make a White House gardener blush. No more were we planted than a servant arose from nowhere and cast an adoring smile in my direction – just another of those French things – and awaited Rickey’s request. Two espressos appeared in the time it took Rickey to carefully extract a Gauloise cigarette from a pack, tap it lightly on the back of his hand, light it, lean back and take a long drag that probably knocked two years off his life.

“So, Monsieur Malone, have you figured out what ze lovely Natasha was doing all ze time you were z’air?”

I resisted loaning him a ‘the’ or a ‘there’ and after a sip of the espresso that was strong enough to take me in a fair fight, I responded. “I believe I have, Rickey. How about you?”

“Oh, I assure you, sir, I always knew. I tried to stop her. But,” he shrugged one shoulder “Natasha sot she always knew best.”

I’d finished my espresso, causing me to lean forward involuntarily. “Who shot her, Rickey?”

“Choose any one of ze men who came sru ze house. I told her when zay were finish wiz her, zat would be zat.”

I held his doe eyes with a long glance. He wasn’t lying. “What were they doing with the money?”

“Zat is somesing we do not want to know, Monsieur Malone. But you saw zem. Zay way too dangerous for a simple horseman,” he said, smiling broadly, waving a confident hand encircling his estate. “And, a simple private eye, no?”

As I returned along the barge canal I couldn’t help but think that a Frenchman named Rickey might have just been right. And the manner in which these thugs dispatched Natasha when she was no longer needed did suggest that, besides being outnumbered, I was also in deeper than the canal water that trickled along as it had for hundreds of years.

Perhaps it was time to open the lock and sail away.

But first I had a date that night. Dolly Teagarden was coming to town and there was no reason under the Brittany sky that I should disappoint her. She said she wanted to “Wrap things up.”

I was all for wrapping things up.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Mount Hood Green Scene by Mary Soots on 07/01/2016

From the outset, the Mt. Hood Green Scene recognized that a key factor in sustainability was engaging youth as theirs was the Earth to inherit and to protect. Guiding them on how to take on that responsibility was something that we could do to help them on their journey through life. As one student stated, “Some of us are trying to help the environment like the Green Scene and other groups who go around teaching people about the environment and how we can help it sustain itself.” Building a sense of ownership and responsibility would require knowledge of the life cycle of goods. When we created the organization, we held a contest at the Welches Middle School to name our group. “The Mt. Hood Green Scene” was the brainchild of a young man named Benny.

Since that time, young people have been pivotal to our work. With the assistance of the science teachers at the Welches Middle School and at Sandy High School, as well as the youth of the Ant Farm in Sandy, young people have participated in MHGS Sustainability Fairs, our annual Recycling Event, as well as events such as clearing out the wooded area next to the Welches School for the Outdoor School.

Their boundless creativity and imagination have not failed  to delight our community, as did a group of students who created an outstanding dramatic interpretation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for one event. Earlier this year, we once again tapped into the creative juices of the Welches Middle School students by holding another contest, asking the Outdoor School students to do an essay, with the theme of, “How nature teaches us about recycling.” The Mt. Hood Green Scene, in partnership with the Mountain Times, awarded $500 for their Outdoor School program.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry to the contest. There were two that we felt were exceptional, and we would like to recognize the authors and provide highlights (the complete winning essays can be found at mountaintimesoregon.com).

In his essay, entitled Recycling and Sustainability in Nature, Sam Butler describes various cycles. “Nature is defined as ‘The phenomena of the physical world, including flora, fauna, geography and other features of Earth’. There are examples of recycling and sustainability in all of them. To start, there is the Earth itself. The rock cycle is a process through which igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock, along with sediment and magma, interact with and change into each other. This is an example of recycling. Moreover, this cycle happens by itself, without outside intervention. …The ecosystem is very sustainable. Anything that dies in a working ecosystem is used by other organisms. Nature recycles things.”

Similarly, Grace Bliesner’s essay, What Nature Teaches Us About Recycling and Sustainability also explored various cycles. “Some resources such as trees and water are renewable resources which means they can be reproduced. Others like coal and oil are non renewable which means the [sic] can’t be reproduced or it takes billions of years to reproduce them. …When it comes to resources and trash the best thing to do is reduce the amount you use so it doesn’t take so much energy and materials in the first place. The next best thing to do is reuse the materials and resources you already have. …Did you know that one large tree can make enough oxygen for four people! It’s true but some people figure the world’s population of trees has so far decreased by 40 percent. But they teach us about recycling too. Trees turn carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses into oxygen for us to breathe. Then we breathe out carbon dioxide and they turn it into oxygen it is a cycle.”

Understanding our world and how it works helps us understand the disruptions to the cycles of nature. It is our hope to continue to engage our community and our young people to continue to find ways to help our Mother.

End of El Nino brings above average temps for July by Herb Miller on 07/01/2016

The first week of June was hot with Brightwood recording 96 degrees on the fourth and Government Camp reaching 88. Starting on the tenth, a string of cool, showery weather extended through the 19th followed by moderating temperatures and the final week rewarding us with perfect late-June weather. Precipitation was close to average but temperatures ended two to three degrees above monthly averages.

The National Weather Service has reported the end of El Nino conditions and it’s forecasts are now based more on soil moisture and sea surface temperatures that border the coasts. Our area is forecast to have above average temperatures for July and precipitation near normal.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low temperature of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.30 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached 100 degrees or higher during three years, into the 90s four years, and into the 80s the remaining three years.

On average, July has three days reaching 90 degrees or higher, and during the past 20 years there has been six days reaching 100 degrees or higher. Over the past ten years, low temperatures have dropped into the 40s without exception.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 degrees and a precipitation average of 1.04 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years and into the 80s for the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 40s during three years and into the 30s for the other seven years. July is a snow free month, and the only record mentioned is a trace amount that fell during 1981.

Rhododenrons and Mount Hood during a sunset.
The View Finder: Flowers for every frame by Gary Randall on 07/01/2016

Spring has come and gone and now we look forward to summer here on Mount Hood. Summer on Mount Hood is our best time for wildflowers. Most of the flowers at the lower elevations have come and are starting to go, but our elevation and snow cover delays the bloom and gives us amazing flower filled alpine meadows and forests full of native rhododendrons and dogwood trees.

Many landscape photographers wait in anticipation of the spring bloom. And because of this they develop an interest in understanding the cycles of nature including weather patterns and celestial occurrences such as sunrise and sunset times and moon phases. The more one understands nature, the better that they are able to interpret it through their photos.

In the early spring the flowers at lower, warmer elevations such as the east end of the Columbia River Gorge bloom. Beautiful purple grass widows are usually the harbinger of spring in the hills around Hood River and The Dalles, on both sides of the river, and can be seen poking up through coatings of fresh snow some years. Amazing views of the gorge with lupine and balsamroot in the foreground can be had in April and May. The lupine and balsamroot are the larger more visible flowers and will, on a typical year, bloom along side of each other, complimenting each other perfectly.

As the season progresses the flowers move up into the hills and in time to the high altitude alpine meadows of our snow capped peaks. The flowers can cover fields or they can be scattered along roadways. They can even be in your yards. The more that you look for them, the more you notice.

Photographing flowers can be a way to create some beautiful photographs. It can also be a great way to spend some time outdoors. The combination of the two can create a peaceful and centering situation. I can get lost in my own little world as I wander with my wide angle lens among the fields that cover hills or meadows or on my knees with a macro lens in my yard getting close up photos of flowers, mushrooms and bugs.

When I’m out to photograph the grand landscape I try my best to be there either in the morning during a sunrise and into the golden hour or conversely in the evening when the light is nice, but don’t discount a beautiful blue sky especially one with some nice clouds to break up the space. I mention that as an ideal, but the reality is that we live in Oregon and a nice drizzly day can yield beautiful photos as well. On an overcast or cloudy day the light is even and the raindrops on the flowers are beautiful. No raindrops? Use a squirt bottle filled with water to mist the flowers.

Let’s talk about the two previously mentioned forms of flower photography, wide angle and macro, or close-up photos. Both forms can be done with any camera.

Let’s first take a look at our cell phones as an option. Taking a nice photo of a field of flowers is pretty simple and the basic tenets of composition apply no matter what kind of camera that you use. While framing your photo tilt the camera up toward the sky or down toward your foreground to make sure that the sky isn’t too bright or the foreground too dark. Turn on your HDR (high dynamic range) setting and turn off your flash unless it’s getting dark and you want to try to illuminate your foreground. Another use for a flash is to shed light on a person especially when you are pointing toward the sunlight. To take a macro photo with your cell phone you can get a clip on macro lens that doesn’t cost much. The lenses usually come in a set. The other lenses in the set I can live without, but the macro lens works reasonably well.

Using a bridge camera, or an all in one non interchangeable lens camera, is handy. The zoom range can go from 24mm to 400mm and some have a fixed aperture of f/2.8 no matter the zoom range. So you can use the zoom in to get close to your subject or zoom out to get the wide view.

A digital SLR (single lens reflex) or even a film SLR, yes you can still use film, can give more options for photographing flowers but the basics, as mentioned previously, still apply. The biggest difference is lens options especially for macro photos.

On an SLR you can get a close up photo two ways. One is to put on an extension tube to extend the focal length of one of your prime lenses such as a 50mm, or you can use a longer focal length zoom lens. With an extension tube set up you will be closer to the flower than you could normally get, but it will allow you to fill the frame with the photo and still maintain focus. It’s not so good when you’re photographing bees. The second way is to use a longer focal length zoom lens and zoom in, a much safer way to photograph bees.

Buy a field guide to flowers. It’s fun to identify them. Be a Leave No Trace photographer. While in the field be respectful of the plants around you and try your best to not crush them under your feet. It’s easy to look out away from you while getting the shot and not see the flowers below you.

As always, the technical details mean less than the action of actually getting outdoors with your camera.

I may discuss a few minor details about the process but I always stress that it’s less about the process and more about the real reason.

The value of a diagnosis and of staying healthy by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2016

Worldwide there are many kinds of medicine. From medical doctors and surgeons in the United States to shamans and spiritual healers in South America. There’s really no good or bad in any person who helps you with your health. There are just different approaches.

Looking at some of those approaches we find a patient with wrist pain. Her first choice of treatment may be rest or heating pads. Her last choice of treatment might be surgery. Or she could try alternating hot and cold, a respected treatment used by medical doctors in the nineteenth century, but now considered “archaic.” But it still works for relieving pain.

Two containers: one with hot water as hot as you can stand it without burning yourself, another container with ice in it. Place affected part first in hot and then plunge into cold.

You won’t be able to endure either one for very long, maybe just seconds. Repeat three times in a row, ending with cold. It helps to recite, “this is good for me, this is good for me,” rather than cussing. If done correctly you should feel a slight throbbing but you will have hours of pain relief. Try it.

If this patient thought the hot and cold treatment was too “old fashioned” she would have probably gone to her computer, which would make her doctor obsolete, and her “all knowing,” because computers have all the answers, right? She might be obsessed with finding her “diagnosis” rather than finding pain relief. Is the answer in the diagnosis or in the response?

Certainly knowing the diagnosis can aid in treatment protocols, but knowing the diagnosis doesn’t necessarily lead to cure. Before insisting on diagnostic procedures, one could try alternating hot and cold, diet changes, herbs, homeopathics, hydrotherapy, fasting, meditation, prayer, sunlight, yoga or any number of less invasive procedures. Most of them costing virtually nothing.

The need to know the ANSWER may not necessarily get one. After spending big money on diagnostic procedures the “working diagnosis” may help....or it may not. My best friend from the sixth grade on was “diagnosed” with multiple sclerosis after college.

Years later her “diagnosis” was changed to liver cancer, which she eventually died of, after many, many years of treatments for MS. I’m sure the treatments didn’t cause her any harm, but it might have been helpful to keep looking for causes of her discomfort.

To give my best friend credit, she personally, at her own expense of time and money, tried numerous alternative therapies. Alas, her “diagnosis” actually got in the way of her alternative treatments. But she was willing to look at alternatives, despite insurance that sent her in the direction of invasive diagnostic procedures.

Insurance keeps our American medical system going. And expensive. Americans keep buying into this fear-based system. True, anything can happen to anyone anytime, but forcing people to buy insurance may be a backwards approach.

Don’t get me wrong, insurance is a great thing to have. But what if we put more value on healthy living? What if you were rewarded for giving up diet sodas or eating only organic food? What if you had to pay to be healthy, not pay to hope you don’t get sick. In China, the patient pays to ‘stay well’ and if the patient gets sick, he or she doesn’t have to pay. Just a different mindset.

Sometimes our approach to health needs to be gentle, non-invasive and self-motivated rather than giving away power to the All Knowing computer. The only All Knowing is out there in the Universe where trust lives. Perhaps we need more connection. With each other and with the Universe.

And perhaps we shouldn’t deal with wrist pain using an ax. The results could very well be dangerously disastrous! Maybe that alternating hot and cold treatment would be enough. Maybe it’s worth a try.

Cake! ‘Tis the season to celebrate! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2016

 All you need is cake - choose the flavors of the season and stay away from the box.


Angel Food

12 egg whites (room temp)

Cake flour

1 3/4 cup fine sugar

1 1/2 t cream of tartar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla

1/3 cup warm water

Sift the flour, salt and half of the sugar together. Grease and sugar an angel food cake pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer mix water with egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat on medium high, adding in sugar in a slow stream and whip until peaks form.

Sprinkle and fold in flour a little at a time, spoon into the prepared pan and bake 45 mins. Serve cake with freshly whipped cream and berries.


Pound cake

This cake makes me smile, it’s the base to my tiramisu. Add chopped toasted almonds or coconut into the batter before baking.

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 3/4 cup flour

1 t baking powder

Pre heat oven to 300

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale yellow. Add the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and flour mixture alternating with the sour cream.

Butter and flour a loaf pan and line with a long strip of parchment paper, if you have it. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.


Flourless chocolate cake

Also called a torte, this cake is better the second day.

2 sticks unsalted butter

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 t salt

6 eggs

1 t vanilla

In a large glass or metal bowl over a double boiler add in chocolate and butter. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until light yellow, then add in salt and vanilla, fold in egg mixture and pour into a greased and cocoa-powdered pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 for about 30 mins. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven with the door cracked for another 1/2 hour. Cool and refrigerate.

Improving roads a priority on the mountain and across the state by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 06/01/2016

When I think about what the core responsibilities of state government are, the issue of transportation is near the top of my list. Providing safe roads and highways and maintaining them so that we can travel to and fro and conduct business is important to each of us personally as well as to our economy.

Every time we fill up at the pump we are paying the gas tax that provides the funding for Oregon’s highway maintenance and construction. A good local example of a project paid for by this fund is the Hwy. 26 safety project that has been underway near Government Camp. The latest word from ODOT on this project is that it will be complete sometime in October. Although it’s certainly been an inconvenience at times for local residents, I think we can all agree that when the project is complete it will significantly improve traffic safety on that stretch of the Mt Hood Highway. Here are a few interesting facts that I obtained from ODOT:

FACT: To date over 30,000 truckloads of dirt and rock have been removed from the site.

FACT: Over 13 miles of blasting holes have been drilled in the rock along the highway.

The topic of transportation is an important issue in Salem as well. I think it’s obvious to most people that the highways in the Portland metro area are in need of significant improvement to address the ever increasing traffic congestion. At the same time many of our roads and bridges across the state are in need of structural repairs due to wear and tear and seismic updates. These factors are the driving force behind discussions about how the state should address these issues.

Recently Governor Brown appointed a bipartisan special committee of legislators to begin to lay the framework for a transportation package that can be passed by the legislature in the next session. Over the course of the next six months this group will be taking a close look at all areas of the state and evaluating the condition of the highways and bridges based on their safety and their ability to handle traffic flow. When assembling a transportation package for Oregon it’s very important that all areas of the state receive some positive outcomes from the new construction. Upgrades to roads and bridges create good paying jobs and it’s important that the economic benefits be allocated statewide.

The committee will also be considering what revenue streams should be tapped to provide the funding for the package. Traditionally the gas tax has been the primary funding source for transportation packages. But is it time to consider additional sources? Is it time to consider toll roads in the Portland metro area to pay for expanding the highways there? Electric vehicles take up space on the road but don’t pay any gas tax. How will they contribute? These are all questions that will be considered over the coming months.

If you have any comments or thoughts about what a new transportation package for Oregon should look like and suggestions for specific projects in HD 52 or elsewhere that should be in the mix please contact my office.

The best ways to do that are by emailing me at rep.markjohnson@state.or.us, or by calling my office at 503-986-1452. You can also find out about my events by joining my newsletter at www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the House District 52 Representative.)

‘The Crossing’ a smart crime novel that’s hard to put down by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2016

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, star of many Connelly-authored police procedurals over the years, is having a tough time adjusting to not being a cop.

After a forced retirement, Harry is fighting boredom and frustration when his brother in law, “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller, approaches him for help proving that his client, murder defendant Da’Quan Foster, is actually innocent – in spite of a positive DNA match and his lack of an alibi.

Harry has a hard time giving serious consideration to going over to “the dark side” by assisting the defense after so many years as a police officer, proving crimes rather than trying to free a defendant.

But, as we know, Mickey is a great persuader - and Harry is really, really bored. So, tentatively at first, Harry digs in to what he loves – digging through the case details and current evidence to find the truth.

“The Crossing” is a great title for the book as Harry is soon obsessed by trying to find how the victim and the murderer crossed paths.

And, of course, Harry has to endure hurtful comments from his former co-workers in the LAPD because of his professional “cross-over.”

As we might expect, Harry’s close analysis of the Murder Book and all the gathered photos and evidence guide his relentless pursuit of the case. Soon a small detail – the murder victim’s missing watch that was never mentioned in the property lists – leads him down a very unexpected path. It takes time to make the connection but this small detail eventually helps Harry to break the case wide open.

Unlike many crime novels, Michael Connelly’s books rely on smarts, not violence, and Harry’s approach is very cerebral which makes each one a treat for those who want a challenging puzzle. This novel is especially interesting as Connelly brings us behind the scenes of the police investigators, the defense attorney and Harry as the private investigator on behalf of the accused.

And this novel is a skillful combination of “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller with Connelly’s long-time police detective all in one. A little for everyone this time! If you have never read Michael Connelly before, you will be surprised to find out how hard his carefully constructed novels are to put down.

Michael Connelly is the author of twenty eight novels, most featuring LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. His other series features The Lincoln Lawyer which spotlights unconventional attorney Mickey Haller. Connelly lives in California and Florida.

Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill by Ned Hickson on 06/01/2016

Come Father’s Day morning, I will awaken to the sizzle of bacon and eggs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the shuffle of approaching feet as I lay in bed quietly thinking to myself: My God, my wife is leaving me.

Then I’ll remember: Wait! It’s Father’s Day!

It’s the day we fathers are revered for our wisdom, patience and, in a few rare instances, our neckwear.

For one whole day I’ll be the perfect father since my wife will be handling everything for me. She does this to help me relax and enjoy my special day.

The problem is, it’s hard to relax when, by handling everything herself, my wife makes it clear I could be replaced by a dishwasher and a few extra power cords.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

I can still claim “The Grilling of Food” as my main contribution to the daily operation of our family. I have managed to keep this duty the way most men do, by making the task of grilling appear as complicated and miserable as possible, even if it means faking a heat stroke while grilling pre-cooked hot dogs.

I realize there are many new fathers who have made themselves indispensable during the diaper-changing phase. Just remember: your indispensability in this area — much like this morning’s tightly-wrapped dooty — will eventually disappear into the Diaper Genie. That’s when grilling even the simplest things, such as a bratwurst, should be made to look as difficult as possible.

To do this, you’ll need a large grill. The bigger the better. In fact, if a hibachi is your main grilling source, go now, hop into your vehicle, and accidentally back over your hibachi several times and replace it with something more practical.

And, practically speaking, we’re talking a grill roughly the size of a Jeep Cherokee.


Because you need a large cooking surface so that you can convincingly spray down flames and battle for control over a raging inferno that, if not for your grilling skill, would quickly consume everyone’s bratwurst — and quite possibly the world. Unless you are highly experienced in pyrotechnics, or live near an open gas line, trying to produce this same effect on a hibachi is very difficult.

Once you have your giant grill, you’ll need to keep a spray bottle handy. Your wife will assume it’s to prevent charring. This is partially true. But mostly you’ll be using it to spray on your face and body to appear as though you are perspiring when, in fact, you are frequently supplementing any loss of body fluid with liberal amounts of ice-cold beer hidden behind the grill.

Lastly, you should purchase a special, custom-made spatula that is so enormous and so heavy it can only be wielded with two hands. This will make the grilling process appear even more difficult by requiring a “spotter” every time you flip someone’s burger.

Put all of this together — spray bottle, giant grill, two-handed spatula — and you’ll have the dramatic image you want, which is that of a sweat-stained father staggering in and out of the flames of his grill, both hands gripped tightly around the handle of his 50-pound spatula as he devoutly retrieves the evening meal.

Sure, this may sound like a lot of effort; you could fold clothes instead.

But the effort is worth it when it comes to family.

Besides, it’s really hard to keep beer cold when it’s hidden in the laundry.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Episode VII: The Olive Connection by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2016

While pondering the circumstances surrounding the bizarre demise of Natasha, I wandered around her house looking for clues.

The French Keystone Cops had searched the place while I was simmering in the cooler, with no apparent result (in either circumstance). It seemed they enjoyed Natasha’s lingerie department – who knows, a few of them might have improved their own wardrobe – but little else was disturbed.

Having been inspired at an early age – a moment that led to my present condition – by Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” series, I fashioned a beaker of martinis, stirred not shaken, and with a Nick Charles air of utter urbane aplomb launched my own search, figuring my recent knowledge of the notorious Natasha would serve me well, especially in light of the Keystone competition.

I skipped what was left of Natasha’s undergarments – having seen them in every possible array known to man or beast – and started in the kitchen. They didn’t find my passport folded under the wooden handle of the skillet, so why not?

I ignored the silly things that are portrayed in movies – after all, this is real life, right? – like the sugar and flour containers, and concentrated on items that would fit into any ordinary kitchen, but not in the extraordinary existence of Natasha.

There was an early clue: a pantry with shelves full of pantry stuff, like canned peaches, tomato sauce, noodles, olive oil. OK, you’re wondering how I could tell, right? I was in France. All the items were in French. C’mon, there were pictures on the labels.

Sheeeeesh. I poured myself another martini, and tipped my fedora to William Powell and Myrna Loy. If you happened to have missed the whole Nick and Nora Charles Thin Man bit, for shame. Have I ever led you astray?

The pantry was a clue, yes, but a second martini was the inspiration. The only pantry item that had Natasha written all over it was a jar of martini olives. I took the jar down, opened it, plopped two of the green delights into my martini, and detected a slight defect in the wood panel. One slight shove and it fell away.

Stuffed into the newly revealed alcove – like the pimentos in the olives – were several spiral notebooks, folded into funnels. I had made the olive connection.

Before opening the notebooks, I celebrated by draining the beaker of martinis into my glass, with an appropriate splash of two more olives. Keeping my priorities straight, I stirred up some more gin and vermouth reinforcements.

It was a cool, shimmering military necessity.

Retiring to Natasha’s desk, I began work on the notebooks. The first one had a list of numbers and passwords that made little sense, on first glance. But I kept staring. They were in Natasha code, and, after all, I was bound to break it.

Down the left side were a series of numbers: like 2003, underneath 1675, under that 1725, and so on. In a corresponding column appeared things like 48-51 01-43, and so on. The next column over was easier, dates, like: 020816, and so on.

Regular dates, in ascending order, corresponding to two other sets of numbers – nothing to celebrate yet, despite the fact my glass was empty. Then the second set of numbers began to make sense. I was looking at longitudes and latitudes. I didn’t know the locations exactly, but my experience aboard a container ship when the crew mutinied against a deserving captain had left me on the bridge for much too long a time, and I remember amusing myself with memorizing the longitude and latitude of my cabin on the mountain – but that’s another story – and now it wasn’t difficult to extrapolate the same for Reno, then stretching east across the Atlantic.

Location, location, location.

I celebrated knowing I had only one more column of numbers to decipher, plus having a new beaker of Dashiell Delight just added to the momentum.

Looking through the other notebooks – despite the martinis – things became clearer. There were international money transfers with coded bank numbers and SWIFT codes.

Natasha had been in the laundry business, and a few things needed to be cleaned up.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: The dark corner of recycling by Mary Soots on 06/01/2016

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard you try, things just don’t turn out the way you planned. Such was the case when last month we caught a report on Oregon Public Radio (OPB) about an exposé by the Basel Action Network, an e-waste watchdog group, after a two-year investigation on the fate of e-waste. According to the report, dead electronics make up the world’s fastest-growing source of waste.

The U.S. produces more e-waste than any other country in the world, sending 50,000 dump trucks of old electronics to recyclers each year. This doesn’t take into account used electronics that are not recycled.

The article was focused on the way that some recyclers of e-waste are exporting those electronics rather than recycling them in an environmentally responsible way as they have assured us that they do. About a third of the e-waste, containing toxic materials such as lead and mercury, was actually shipped out of the U.S. to Mexico, Asia and Africa. Environmental and occupational protection laws that are in force in the U.S. have no equal in developing countries. Workers disassembling the electronics in order to cull the precious metals were unaware that the water they were boiling them in and dumping back into the rivers were now full of toxic waste, and they were endangering the environment as well as their health.

Among the recyclers that the article singled out as shipping rather than recycling all of their e-waste were the Goodwill and Total Reclaim, a company base in the Pacific Northwest that has a no-export policy.

Total Reclaim has handled the Mt. Hood Green Scene’s recycling events over the past five years, so it was with a heavy heart that we learned that in spite of our efforts to prevent these toxic materials from contaminating our environment, some may have slipped through the cracks.

Fortunately, the greater part of the e-waste was recycled as we anticipated. But the reason that some of the waste was being exported was because the cost of selling recycled materials had plummeted and recycling companies are struggling to make ends meet.

The report shed some light into a dark corner and we must face some very hard facts. The cost of recycling is expensive. Perhaps the cost of purchasing an electronic item should include a small fee for the cost of disposal of the item.

But more realistically, we should look at our consumption patterns. Before the ‘Recycle’ aspect of environmental sustainability, we need to consider the ‘Reduce’ aspect and the ‘Re-Use’ aspect. Perhaps instead of upgrading the flat screen TV, computer, game console or telephone to the latest and greatest version each time a company wants to sell you a new one, it might be the time to think about what will happen to the old one. We can generate a lot less electronic waste by not buying everything over and over again, allowing us to keeping a little cash in our pocket.

Why not use the same cell phone one more year? Instead of purchasing unnecessary electronic gifts, why not spend the money to share an experience with your kids or your loved one? You’ll both treasure the time you spend together.  And we’ll all breathe a little easier.

How to use composition and light to help you take better photos by Gary Randall on 06/01/2016

Have you ever stood next to someone as you both took a snapshot of the same subject, looked at their screen and wondered what the heck they did or why didn't you think of doing that? Trust me, it happens more times than you would think, and it happens to the best of us. Taking a photo can be all about luck. Luck to be at a place or a moment or having the camera work just right, just having everything line up all at once if you're really lucky. But if you leave it all to luck, as in life, your chances of getting lucky will be slim. Therefore, it pays dividends to increase your chances of getting lucky by understanding a few basics of how to be more in control of creating the image with your camera.

Image creation is different than just taking a photo. Ansel Adams famous quote, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” explains it best. Think of it this way. You can walk up to a scene and point the camera at it and get a photo, or you can take a moment and look around the area around you. What do you see that can be a foreground interest? Let's say that you're shooting Mount Hood, for instance. Many folks, I'm sure, point their cameras at the snow clad peak beyond, ignoring the rhododendron bush close by that would give the photos some scale and depth. Is there some sort of trail or an element that would make a lead-in line. Perhaps a gateway of trees to frame the scene. Look around and find some components that, if you position yourself properly, will create a more thoughtful composition.

And then there's photographing people in landscape and photographing landscapes with people. I tell landscape photographers to include someone in the photo. It gives the photo scale and perspective as well as allowing the viewer to create a story in their minds as they view the photo. Conversely, I tell photographers who photograph people to put the landscape in the photo. Create a compelling photo of a friend or family member of a great time or location by including the whole scene. Get close to your subject and use a fill flash if you need to illuminate them, or have them walk off into the distance and stand on a rock using a noble adventurer stance, pointing off into the distance like Lewis and Clark or their arms thrust into the air in triumph. It will add a dimension of emotion.

Now that we've discussed adding a subject to a scene, or adding a scene to a subject, let's talk a bit about composition. I have an understanding of and yet an aversion to standards and rules. I understand how I can learn them and understand them but I love to break them.

Learning compositional standards is learning the mechanics of art. Learning how to break them is when art happens in my opinion. In the beginning the first standard one learns in art is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds dictates a few rules that I feel is always a good place to start, such as not centering your subject, putting the horizon on either a top third of the frame of the bottom third of the frame and, in some forms of interpretation, in no case shall you center your subject, to which I would reply never say never, ever. Although I may start with the rule, it typically stops once I put my subject off center, such as a person at the side of the frame as not to block the view of the Mount Hood scene behind. At that time I will look to each side and up and down to position the frame to include everything that I want in the frame and excluding all that I don't.

Move in toward your subject or further away, zoom in or out. Try shooting lower or stand on something to put yourself higher. Picture your photo inside of a frame. Be creative.

Light is important when making a compelling image. Try to go out and get your shot either in the morning light or in the late afternoon when the light is less harsh and warmer. Midday sunshine is the most challenging light to get a nice photo in. Don't be afraid to photograph your subject into the light. If you're photographing people, try filling them with a fill flash because they will be in their own shade, or put them in shade and do a nice fill flash.

One thing that I rarely do is put my subject in a position where the sun is shining into their faces, primarily because they will be squinting their eyes, but their faces will be too bright in most cases. Use the light to your advantage but don't fight it. If you have the ability to do so return under a nicer light.

You have a lot of options to be able to create an image. Don't be afraid to experiment with some of your manual setting if you have them. It always pays to know your camera and to override the automatic setting if it isn't getting it right. Conversely, don't be afraid of the automatic settings. If your manual settings aren't getting the shot, flip it over onto Automatic and give it a try. The last thing that you want to do is miss out on the photo by messing with camera settings.

The next time that you're out with your camera consider what Ansel Adams said and make your photograph, don't just take it. Create an image not just a snapshot, but whatever you do capture the moment.

Open air markets offer local food for thought by Victoria Larson on 04/30/2016

With the weather sometimes improving at this time of the year, it’s time to get out of the BigBoxStores and into the open air. Many more farmers’ markets are opening up this month as the weather continues to keep us on our toes. That sometimes warmer air invites us to stroll among the outdoor booths and converse with our neighbors and eat fresher, healthier food.

Last column I mentioned the the average distance that supermarket food travels is 1,200 miles! A bit far for my taste that prefers far fresher. The average distance that farm market produce travels is around ten to 100 miles. It’s bound to be fresher, far better for you and more healthful. Choices will be limited to what’s actually in season, not something shipped from some faraway place.

The shocking knowledge that the majority of supermarket food comes from 1,200 miles away bows to the fact that much of it is junk. Not just junk food, but junk. Local sourcing of berries, eggs, fruits and vegetables is fairly easy to accomplish. Even dairy, fish, and meat can be more local. Many stores now “announce” their sources and the location that the available food comes from. It’s a good start. But if you don’t want salmon from China or berries from California, then take control yourself. Shop farmers’ markets. Pat yourself on the back for “eating in season” which may mean you have to wait for those strawberries or tomatoes.

Here’s something funny about human nature: if a local product costs $20 more than the product at the BigBoxStore, I can understand reluctance. But if the local product cost 2 cents more, where’s the hesitation in purchasing? Food banks are inundated with the products people say they are buying - organic eggs, veggies, and fruits. Inundated because these better products are not really selling as well as their BigBox 2 cent cheaper versions. Those foods that traveled the 1,200 miles to get to you.

Shopping locally can and should be fun. Shopping the stranger-faced BigBox stores is often not. We just need to get the word out to our friends and neighbors. Which may mean leaning over the back fence. It takes more effort. My farm business, farmacopoeia, was where my eggs, fruits and vegetables were sold in a small town farmers’ market for a couple of years. A market in the middle of Boring. There are only two stoplights in Boring and maybe a half mile between them. Balloons and signs announced the market each week. And I cannot tell you how many people would tell me they “never found it”. Now defunct, it may require using your eyes and ears to find the open air markets near you.

A $1 spent with a local vendor at a farmers’ market will be more likely to be spent locally as well. A $1 spent at a BigBoxStore will go to the CEOs and shareholders of a large corporation in another state! Be mindful. Who do you want to support? BigBoxStores exist because people want them to. Not such a bad idea if you have nine in your family, but probably overkill if there’s only two or three of you.

Ask questions of your local vendors. Something you really won’t be able to do in the big, corporate-run stores. The local vendors may not know all the answers to your questions but you will be able to have a dialog. Don’t make assumptions though. Think. Ask. Ask about fertilizer use, seed sources, location of the farm, was the produce raised by the farmer/vendor or brought in from elsewhere (which is often OK, but you deserve to know, don’t you?).

If you are buying plants and starts, are they Open Pollinated seeds or Hybrids? You’ll want to know this if you plan to save seeds from these plants to use at another time. Always ask about Genetically Modified (GM) seeds and products, and avoid them. Their safety is unproven and they may be the biggest threat to our food diversity (and our health) that our planet has ever seen. Besides, do you really think it’s wise, or even safe, for three or four seed suppliers to control all of the foodcrops grown worldwide? Probably not a really good idea.

Many, many studies have shown that societies can provide much of their own sustenance by growing organically or biodynamically, using open-pollinated seeds, cover cropping and manuring lands. Find out more. You owe it to yourself.

Camp Cookin’ by Taeler Butel on 04/30/2016

Pack a packet. Make ahead and freeze if you’d like. Pop in the oven or into campfire coals and everyone gets what they want.

Use double layers of heavy duty aluminum foil - use about 12” square per packet.

Chicken fajita packets.

Bake time 35-40 mins. (8 individual) Toss together:

1 thin sliced yellow onion

1 thin sliced red bell pepper

1 thin sliced green bell pepper

8 T olive oil

8 large chicken pieces (breast, or hindquarters). Add 5 minutes if using dark meat.

Seasoning mix:

1 T salt

1 T cumin

1 t each of chili powder, pepper, garlic powder, oregano.

Mix well. Place chicken pieces on aluminum sheet, pile on 1/2 cup of pepper mixture onto each and drizzle in 1 T olive oil & 1t of seasoning. Fold ends in, fold sides in. Bake 35 - 40 mins in 400 degree oven or in hot coals.

Salisbury steak packets. 

Serves 4. Bake time 35 mins.

1 lb sirloin burger

1 cup grated yellow onion

1 t each salt & pepper

1/4 cup cornstarch, mixed with 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 package (8oz) sliced button mushrooms

Mix together with a fork the grated onion, burger, salt & pepper. Separate meat into 4 1/4 lb servings, top with 1/4 of the Worcestershire slurry and 1/3 cup of mushrooms. Fold and cook as above.

Banofee campfire packets.

Bake time 20 mins.

Place into packets:

1 banana

2 marshmallows

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup toffee pieces

Bake 20-25 mins. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

‘The Stranger’ twists around mysterious disappearance by Sandra Palmer on 04/30/2016

In this twisty-plotted novel, bestselling author Harlan Coben provides his trademark suspense in an unusual novel brim-full of the unexpected. A secret about his wife turns New Jersey dad Adam Price’s world upside down when a complete stranger approaches him with information that makes him doubt his wife, his marriage and his neat, comfortable suburban life.

After Adam confronts his wife she disappears, causing Adam to set out to track her down while at the same time seeking to determine the validity of The Stranger’s revelations.

Soon Adam uncovers more related situations and others who have been confronted by The Stranger or those working with him. Adam puts the rest of his life on hold to find his wife and to solve the mystery of how The Stranger operates and why.

Soon Adam realizes that his marriage, his family and even his life are in jeopardy but clues about his wife’s disappearance are widely divergent and confusing. And he receives no further contacts from her. Is she alive or dead? Has she left him permanently? Or will she eventually return to her home, job, and family? And what can he do to help her? Is his whole life that seems so ideal nothing but a sham?

Adam is afraid to share what is going on with neighbors or fellow parents of his sons’ lacrosse teammates but many of the parents seem strangely, inappropriately interested in his wife Corrine’s disappearance. Are some of them connected to his wife’s secret life? Are they part of her disappearance or aware of her whereabouts?

Coben can always be counted on for reliable suspense but The Stranger has even more twists and turns than normal for his novels. Even with all the complexities, Coben provides logical plot sequences for his readers to follow as Adam seeks to unravel the mystery begun by The Stanger’s revelation.

Harlan Coben is an internationally bestselling author of more than twenty previous novels. He has won numerous awards including the Edgar. He lives in New Jersey.

Ashes to ashes, dust to … hey, not so fast! by Ned Hickson on 04/30/2016

I’m turning 50 this August.

There. I said it.

The truth is, I haven’t given it much thought because I don’t feel 50. Sure, there are some days I roll out of bed, walk to the bathroom and realize the creaking and popping sounds I hear aren’t coming from the floorboards. And yes, I’ve noticed when I’m cleaning out my razor it looks like someone used it to shave our neighbor’s grey Schnauzer. But most days I throw on a rocker T-shirt or slim-fit dress shirt, leave it untucked over my jeans, lace up my superhero Vans or hiking boots and am on my way.

Then I rush back in for a second trip to the rest room.

But still... I’m technically on my way.

However, over the last several months I’ve started getting reminders from society’s collective data bank that I am getting older. The first came in my email back in January, when I got one of those Singles Looking for Love In Your Area! messages. I’ve received many of these over the years, and they always include the image of an attractive 30-something woman in a sun dress laughing with an equally attractive 30-something man as they sip wine on a beach at sunset.

Not anymore.

This time, the word “singles” has been replaced with “seniors,” and the two 30-somethings apparently found a hotel room, leaving behind a white-haired couple sipping on fruit smoothies and playing Canasta. Soon after that, I received a free trial subscription to AARP magazine. I have to say, there’s nothing like having an entire magazine full of people living it up on cruises, attending Broadway musicals and playing tennis to remind you that you’re still another 15 years away from retirement. I’ve also been receiving a lot more pharmaceutical spam. Mostly for reducing blood pressure.

And for increasing my, uh...


But it wasn’t until yesterday, when I opened our mail box to find a letter addressed to “Mr. Ned Hickson” from Neptune Cremation Service, that I felt the buzzards beginning to circle. Death was not only coming for me — he knew my address! I opened it and was a bit relieved it wasn’t a coupon with an expiration date. At the same time, I was a little unnerved by a statement in the opening paragraph that read:

“More and more people are being cremated — and the numbers are increasing every year!”

The numbers of what, dead people? Was this a veiled threat?

All of this made me come to the realization that, yes; I am getting older. At least on paper.

However, the fact that society’s collective data bank isn’t aware that I’m ridiculously happily married, am in reasonably good health and am more than a decade away from qualifying for Social Security just shows they don’t know everything.

Given the fact that I come from a long line of longevity and late bloomers, I think I’ll keep the cremation plans on the back burner for now (although that pun might kill someone) and think of approaching 50 as the second act of my life as opposed to the final act.

Besides, I still need to find out who keeps using my razor on that Schnauzer...

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Episode VI: The Horseman Knew Her by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/30/2016

Well, as is so often the case, when inspired by a babe to the point where I’m thinking as straight as an Eddie Izzard stand-up act, Dolly Teagarden was not at the train station. Because, in her clever Anglo way, she was parked at the curb in front of the gendermarie in a Parking Interdit area. 

I wasn’t sure what “interdit” meant in French, but I was fairly certain it didn’t mean “reserved for Dolly.” That opinion was reinforced by the confusion Dolly had visited on two gendarmes, who were either loitering or planning an all-out approach.

The gendarmes’ day was not enhanced when an American private eye parted them like an Inspector Poirot hairdo before swinging into the passenger seat of Dolly’s cushy Citroen.

“Did you spring me, or did they just get tired of me?” I asked, breaking the ice like the crackling of a James Bond martini.

Dolly’s smile wiggled across her face, punctuated by a capricious drooping of her eyelids. “I’m quite certain it was neither,” she said, bending down to push the starter button inspiring the Citroen into action. “You have much to learn when it comes to the French criminal justice system.”

“I’m not much in the learning department, Dolly,” I said, searching for the business end of the seat belt. “I prefer teaching.”

“Jolly good, Max,” she said. “Have it your way, which is probably the way it usually goes. But I’m starved. You?”

We worked our way through a “Plat de Jour” which wasn’t bad, plus a bottle of wine which was as perfect as a grape can be. Then, against every instinct known to a private eye, I had Dolly drop me off at Natasha’s house.

The house had been searched, but in such a casual manner the only thing that might have been discovered would have been an elephant in the room. I was almost embarrassed as I went into the kitchen and unscrewed the wood handle on a 16-inch fry pan and unrolled my passport. With my exit assured, I poured myself a serious glass of 7-year-old Havana Club. Rum makes me as conspiratorial as a ticked-off Che Guevara.

Viva la Revolution.

I gave a lot of thought to the constant stream of French police that would come and go like a herd of women in a T.S. Eliot poem. As the rum drummed the rumba beat of my memory percussions, one image reared its head: All the police at Natasha’s house had short hair cuts, no facial hair, and immaculate finger nails. That description did not fit a single gendarme at the jail. Of the men who showed up in civilian clothes, they all bore the mark of the Middle East, even though I never detected an accent any different than the other Frenchmen. But in the spirit of full disclosure, the Malone family command of the French language was abandoned somewhere near Waterloo – with full apologies to the little corporal.

The only other person who made an appearance prior to Natasha’s death was the snooty horseman from the neighboring property. He had a stable of thoroughbreds and an attitude like one. I would see him in his cute riding pants, jaunty jacket, rakish cap and boots, trotting a handsome bay along the tree line separating the properties. On a couple occasions I witnessed Natasha chatting with him, stroking the nose of the horse, not him. His name was Ricky Benoit (pronounced Ben Wah) which raised the question: what’s a grown man doing with a name like Ricky? I didn’t like him. In the states, guys like him were always chosen last.

So did he figure in Natasha’s death? The gun shot did come from the direction of his property. And how did the flow of cops fit into this caper? What was Natasha doing that attracted so much attention, and eventually landed her on a slab in the morgue?

I poured another Havana Club and restrained myself from an impromptu samba. There was a lot of thinking to do, and a lot of questions that needed answers. And there was Dolly Teagarden.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Education, recreation and craft consumables top Johnson’s list by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/30/2016

Oregon is a beautiful place during this time of year, particularly in House District 52. After a challenging legislative session in February and March, it’s great to be back in the district during the interim and connecting with all of you again. It’s a privilege to serve as your state representative and although I am back home, my commitment to serving and leading our community doesn’t stop when the Legislature concludes. I am thankful to have the opportunity to share with you what I am working on during this time.

Education first, always

First, I want to recognize that Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6, 2016. Thank you, teachers, for all you do to educate and invest in our students. Building a stronger education system in Oregon has always been a top priority of mine, and I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish over the last five years as your legislator. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve fought hard to improve what Oregon can do in education. I will continue to focus on ways we can set our kids up for success, achieve better outcomes in the classroom and find solutions to challenges at every education level. I’m working with my colleagues in the legislature as well as with families, community colleges, educators and students around the district to plan ahead for the 2017 legislative session.

One bill I will be introducing will increase efficiency at the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, or TSPC. As the licensing agency for educators, TSPC is responsible for issuing and renewing licenses. Educators have experienced frustration when trying to complete licensing requirements such as delays in processing, loss of paperwork, etc. Now, a new topic arising is the certification of technical professionals that want to be teaching in the classroom. There is currently no process for these professionals to go into a classroom and share their personal knowledge as an instructor. This is especially unfortunate because career and technical education is a growing part of our economy. There are opportunities for students right out of high school or those continuing education in a particular field, but we need to have instructors ready to teach. Creating efficiency at TSPC will relieve frustration for current teachers and open new doors for the futures of our students.

Continuing to increase access to post-secondary education is an important step for Oregon. This includes adults that, for whatever reason, need to return to college in order to begin a new job. The Oregon Promise was a big step forward in helping recent high school graduates enter community college. I will continue to focus on ensuring this program is successful and will research creating a parallel program that offers similar opportunities to adults taking a new direction.

Oregon’s Vast Recreation Industry

House District 52 is home to some of the most remarkable recreational activities available in Oregon. It’s incredible just how diverse our recreational and tourism industry is here—and also, how vulnerable it can be. Our weak recreational liability laws are a huge risk for consumers and business owners alike. Last session, I fought to update the ski statutes, and while that was unsuccessful, I was able to add some language into legislation that will have us look at some of the barriers to recreational tourism. Since then, a grassroots organization has been formed to advocate for these recreation businesses and for the needs of the consumers these businesses serve before the 2017 Legislature. You can join their efforts by visiting oregonbigtent.org. It’s important that we work together to make sure everyone can safely, responsibly and equally enjoy all that Oregon has to offer.

Meeting on Craft Consumables

Small businesses are what build great communities – they bring culture and diversity, create jobs and support our economies, and they change the dynamics for how we all work together to build our futures. My office participated in a “craft consumables” meeting put together by Rep Lininger (D-Lake Oswego) to discuss ways to help Oregon's craft food and beverage sector grow. Legislators from both sides of the aisle were in the room, along with producers of a variety of craft products. We listened to the hurdles that these businesses encounter and we brainstormed solutions. Here are a few of the topics that were discussed:

• Need for Oregon Research & Development (R&D) capacity: Consider investing in Oregon universities' capacity to fulfill that function so businesses do not have to seek R&D support from institutions outside of Oregon.

• Access to skilled workers: Invest in university training programs for skilled workers; ensure access for workers who can hand-harvest; support development of a craft food and beverage ecosystem that helps Oregon businesses attract and retain top talent.

• Vertical integration and direct access for customers: Adapt land use requirements to allow for direct customer access, development of tasting rooms, and integration of production and processing facilities.

• Branding and tourism: Consider use of transient room tax resources to expand tourism in the craft food and beverage sector and to strengthen Brand Oregon.

I believe Oregonians are unique in our ability to provide craft products. These industries create jobs across our state and are large contributors to our economy, which is why finding solutions now will help us remain strong and competitive nationally. There will be a hearing before House Special Committee on Small Business Growth During May Legislative Days (May 23-25). The hearing will be on craft consumables with a focus on producers identifying obstacles they face and potential solutions. Please contact me if you would like more information on how to participate in this hearing.

Working with you, for you

Serving as your legislator is extremely important to me and a role I do not take lightly, but I am living and working in House District 52 every day just like you — as a neighbor, small business owner, family man and an Oregonian. Having conversations at community meetings or over coffee with constituents or with someone at the grocery store or the Saturday market keeps me best informed about what’s happening in our district and what I need to do in Salem to better serve as your state representative.

I hope you’ll stay in touch with me throughout the interim. My office is available to discuss any issue you have questions about, need assistance with or just want to discuss overall.

The best ways to stay in touch with me and find out about my events are by joining my newsletter at www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup, emailing me at rep.markjohnson@state.or.us, or by calling my office at 503-986-1452. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the House District 52 Representative.)

The history of Earth Day by Mary Soots on 04/30/2016

I remember it like it was yesterday. Standing in front of my family’s home talking with my sisters, I pulled out a piece of gum and threw the wrapper on the ground. My sister Theresa stooped down to retrieve it, telling me that I was “polluting.” It was the mid-1970s and this was a whole new concept, that I was responsible for creating an environmental problem. This was at a time when you would go to the drive-in, get your food and then throw the garbage out the window without any thought to where it might go.

We’ve come so far from where we were at that time and as a global society we have learned so much more about how our actions affect our planet and our own, as well as the rest of God’s creations’ well-being. I would like to reflect back on how our consciousness has evolved around our environment, and to the history of a movement.

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. The height of counterculture in the United States, 1970, brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” War raged in Vietnam and students nationwide overwhelmingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V-8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. The publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries, beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health.

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists, [and] sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.

Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism. Despite these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a relevant, powerful focal point. Earth Day Network brought 250,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project – A Billion Acts of Green – introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.

Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day.

The previous are excerpts from the eartday.org website.

May offers above average temps for the mountain by Herb Miller on 04/30/2016

Precipitation during the first three weeks of April was at a record low, with only six days receiving measureable amounts. Sunshine and warm temperatures were also in record breaking territory. The rest of the month returned to weather more typical for April. The record in Brightwood for average high temperature is 64.2 degrees for April set in 1987, and this year put it at risk. The winter snow total in Brightwood amounted to 7.75 inches which is only 29 percent of the average 26.7 inches. Although the winter snowfall in Government Camp exceeded last year’s, the amount this April was a scant six inches, due to the warm, dry month.

The National Weather Service remains influenced predominantly by the continuing El Nino conditions, but has now discounted any influence from the previous MJO activity. Our area is forecast to have well above average temperatures for May with precipitation near or slightly lower than average.

During May, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 63, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 5.88 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 90s twice, into the 80s during six years and the 70s twice. Low temperatures had one year down to 29 degrees, and the other nine years dropping into the 30s. Measureable snowfall during May occurred only twice from records dating back over 60 years – with two inches recorded on May 20, 1960, and two inches recently on May 5, 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35 degrees and a precipitation average of 5.39 inches, including 6.7 inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have had two years in the 80s, six in the 70s, and one year each in the 60s and 50s. Low temperatures had eight years in the 20s and two years in the 30s. The record snowfall for May was recorded in 1974 with 32 inches. The record 24-hour snowfall was set fairly recently with 13 inches measured on May 13, 2000.

Accessories that make a difference for your camera by Gary Randall on 04/30/2016

Last month I shared a few thoughts to consider when choosing the right digital camera for your use. I mentioned how one can easily get by with just their cell phone camera, while others will consider much more when deciding on a camera and will decide on a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) or Mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

This month I want to cover a few accessories you will need sooner or later when taking photos with a DSLR camera.

Lenses: I recommend a wide angle to mid range zoom such as an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm will also come in handy. Many times a camera kit will come with both lenses. One can get spend a bit more and get an 18-200mm. Then you will have the most common range in a single lens.

A good backpack: your backpack will be your first line of defense from damage to your gear. Make sure that you get one that’s well padded and has partitions for your body and lenses. I like to make sure mine has an extra compartment for a lunch or a jacket.

A solid tripod: a tripod is used as a steady platform to place your camera on while taking a photo, typically during a longer exposure. You usually don’t need to use a tripod if your shutter speed is fast enough to keep the shot from blurring due to motion. Examples of when you would want to use a tripod is if you’re taking a photo in dim light, or if you are taking a longer exposure of a waterfall for instance.

Don’t scrimp on a tripod. You don’t need an expensive one, but don’t get a cheap wobbly one that will fail in the field or shake at the hint of a wind.

Filters: the only filter that I can’t live without is a circular polarizer to reduce glare or to enhance the blue of the sky. Many people use a UV, or Ultraviolet filter, but because digital cameras have a filter on the sensor to do it, a UV filter is now used to protect the front element of the lens.

A warning about using filters at night or with bright lights: you can get light refracting between the lens and the filter. City lights are a good example where you want to remove your filter.

Memory cards: get good memory cards that have good read/write speeds. It helps the camera write the photos to the card quicker as well as downloading to your computer. A fast card will help a lot if you’re doing a burst of a continuous sequence of photos.

A better card will be less apt to fail on you. There’s nothing worse that losing a whole memory card of irreplaceable photos.

Camera strap: a good camera strap will save your camera from hitting the deck. If you’re walking around with it, sling it around your neck. I buy neoprene straps with buckles that allow me to remove the strap from the camera while it’s on the tripod. It keeps the strap from getting caught on my arm and knocking the tripod over, plus it keeps the camera steadier without the strap flapping in the wind.

A remote shutter release: it’s very easy to get shake and slight motion blur in your photos by pushing the shutter button down while mounted on a tripod. A remote shutter release will keep this from happening. They connect via a wire or via remote. I use the wired type because I find them more reliable.

Computer: these days the digital cameras are making some amazingly fine and detailed photos, but that quality can come with a price. Processor speed, memory and storage will be taxed if you have an older computer. Make sure that you have plenty of room to store your photos on your machine, and consider backing them up to a separate external hard drive in case of computer failure.

I recommend deleting any photo that you deem a failure to save hard drive space. Today’s cloud storage services provide a great place to backup your photos. Another practical solution is to sign up to sharing sites such as Flickr or even printing sites such as SmugMug to store your photos.

The bottom line: my approach to photography, and most things in life, are to keep it all simple. You don’t need a truck full of doo-dads, gizmos and what-nots to take a good photo. Your best accessory to your photography is going to be your knowledge of your camera and how to use it on manual to have control of the light that makes your photos.

(Gary Randall is a mountain photographer and graphic artist. Find him and updates on his photography classes on Twitter (@thegaryarandall), Facebook, Instagram and www.gary-randall.com.)

The View Finder: What to look for in a camera by Gary Randall on 04/01/2016

There’s the old adage that, the best camera is the one that you have with you, and a lot can be said for that.

You can’t take a photo if you don’t have a camera in your hand. This role is easily served well by the modern cell phones, which could be considered a camera first and a phone second in many cases. Most of the time the photos that are made are perfectly acceptable. With a little experience and an application or two and an Instagram account one can call it good and their photographic needs are taken care of.

Because cell phones have their limitations, if a person wants to be able to take a little better quality photo, especially in challenging light or fast action, they can choose some excellent cameras today that make the pro models from years past look primitive, even at entry and bridge camera levels. A bridge camera, or prosumer camera, is one that gives the user the ability to either shoot in automatic, programmed modes or manual mode. Generally speaking they don’t have interchangeable lenses but have a large zoom range. Some offer from 24-1000mm equivalent focal length zoom capabilities. These cameras usually run from around $300 to $1000, with the average around $500 to $600 and cover the majority of the needs of the average consumer or hobbyist.

The next step up the progression of abilities are the Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras. The majority of serious hobbyists or professional photographers will want to own a DSLR camera because of their increased capabilities such as more control, larger file sizes for larger printing, lower light capabilities, better lenses etc. I tell anyone who is considering buying a DSLR camera that if they don’t plan on learning how to use it on any other setting than Auto to not bother with the expense as the Bridge cameras will give you the equivalent image. An entry level DSLR can cost as little as $500 for the camera body with lenses additional, up to $6000 - $8000 for a pro model with a myriad of costs and models between. I will cover the differences in the different types of DSLR cameras in a future article.

It is important to note that technology marches on and in the next few years we can see a shift in the camera paradigm since the Japanese 35mm film SLR’s came to the consumer market in the 1950’s. The next big thing in cameras is the elimination of the mirror mechanism that’s the main part of the single lens reflex camera. The mirrorless cameras have no moving parts and the sensor controls the exposure. Another benefit is that they are smaller and lighter. Manufacturers such as Sony, Fuji and Panasonic are leading the way while, oddly, the big guys Canon and Nikon seem to be dragging their feet at this time, but it’s logical that all of the other will follow suit soon.

I always tell anyone who wants to use a camera as a hobby to create artistic images that it matters little the type of camera. I have made beautiful photos with a wooden pinhole camera and 120 film. A pinhole camera is, essentially, a box with a little hole in the front. The photographer uncovers the hole for a moment to expose the film and then covers it again. I have made some photos with an old Brownie Hawkeye that would rival a Hasselblad. Don’t use the excuse that you don’t have a good camera to start taking photos. Use what you have. Learn how to use it. Learn what good and bad light is. Learn a few composition rules and practice. Learning photography is like any skill. It takes a lot of practice. And the true art of photography doesn’t depend on cost or complexity of the paintbrush. There’s a lot to be said about using gear that is more suited to your skill level and growing to the point where the camera’s limitations are limiting your own. I always say that a pair of fancy golf shoes or an expensive titanium driver is not going to help my golf game. If I were a pro or a very good hobbyist, maybe.

I have not addressed or endorsed a recommended brand. There’s no reason to choose one over the other. Arguing about Canon or Nikon is like arguing about Ford or Chevy. It’s all about personal preference. The brands do what brands do. They leap frog each other to try to have the best. We all win because of it. The main reason that a person chooses one brand over the other is the user interface or lens selection. And once you choose a brand and invest in a few lenses, one has little incentive to change brands just to buy a whole new set of lenses, which is indeed something to consider when choosing a brand.

I should also mention that if you are an old film fan you can still purchase film and have it developed, but, sadly they have taken our Kodachrome away!

(Gary Randall is a mountain photographer and graphic artist. Find him and updates on his photography classes on Twitter (@thegaryarandall), Facebook, Instagram and his website, www.gary-randall.com.)

Making healthier choices for us and for Earth by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2016

You’ve heard the expression, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the pollution.” During this “Earth Day” month, lets look to the source of our health: our air, our water, our food, our sustenance. Our nation’s worst air is said to be in New Orleans. I’ve been there, twenty years ago, and it didn’t seem so bad. China’s air is the worst I’ve seen. I’ve been there too. I’ve never been to Mexico City but I understand it’s really bad there.

Because air pollution usually comes to us slowly, we really don’t notice it. I’ve lived in Los Angeles where the smog caused me to cover my nose and mouth while travelling the freeways. The air stung my eyes and made breathing uncomfortable. My beautiful cat died of lung cancer, as did some of my chickens. And I lived in “the country” outside of L.A. forty years ago. Now the smog over Portland and surrounding areas often looks like L.A. forty years ago. And now I live in “the country” again. Around here, in the areas surrounding Portland. It’s here too, people. All around us. And we’re part of the problem. Forty-nine carcinogens are in the air around us.

And there’s pollution in our soils too. And in the water. It’s finally catching up to us. And it’s not just in “certain areas” that may or may not be in the news. This has been creeping into our lives for a long time. Our Earth is a biological system. Just like we are. If we want to be healthy, we need to care for our Mother, our Earth. Since WWII we’ve been glutinous, not just with food but with everything. More, more, more is not sustainable. Taking without giving back is not a viable equation.

Bigger is not necessarily better and in fact is often worse. Big corporations, oil companies and banks hold the world’s wealth. What can we do? Lower our expectations by just saying “no.” Shopping carefully, frugally, locally, keeps your spending down. Driving less keeps more of your money in your pocket and keeps you from playing the “gas price game.” Growing organically or biodynamically gives back to the soil (compost, cover cropping) to decrease or eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

NASA reports tell us that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide is the maximum concentration humans are adapted to as our currently evolved species. To its credit, the Big City (as we outlanders sometimes refer to it) of Portland managed to decrease its per capita carbon emissions by more than ten percent, mostly due to increased bike paths. It’s unfortunate that biking in the outlying areas is often less safe than in the city!

When I first moved to my farm, twenty-eight years ago, I remember counting how many cars drove by in a day. That number was somewhere between six and twelve cars and a few pick-up trucks, maybe the occasional tractor. Now at least three log trucks, three container freight trucks, and sixty to ninety cars speed by every day. Maybe it’s a farm but I’m not still in “the country” am I?

We need to be more accountable, more mindful. Almost one dollar of every amount of money spent in a supermarket goes to cover the cost of advertising, packaging, storage and transportation. Is that what you really need to be paying for? One out of every four vegetables or fruits never even makes it to our tables because they spoil in transit or storage. Gratefully, many stores now inform us of locally produced items, though “local” is a variable term. Still, it’s something. Nonetheless, if not locally raised (for instance, out of season foods) the average distance that your supermarket food has traveled is twelve hundred miles! Maybe we don’t need strawberries in December. Lingonberries would be just as red and as delicious.

In 1960 the average person in the developed world ate 116 pounds of meat protein. Now that figure is well over 200 pounds per person, per year. Don’t get me wrong, the Paleo and GAPS diets are fine, but there is no question that we need to move towards a more plant based diet. It takes eleven times more fossil fuel to raise a pound of animal protein as it does to raise a pound of plant protein. Plants are really good for you.

Food is important. It’s time to learn to cook, to spend more time in the kitchen and in the garden. We should attempt to get six to ten servings of variably pigmented produce into us each day. Doing so would eliminate many of the digestive and elimination and obesity problems facing so many Americans today. It takes approximately four hundred gallons of oil each year to feed an American, and that’s just in packaging, refrigeration and cooking. Are we “eating oil” and spewing out greenhouse gasses? Perhaps we could eat more of our vegetables raw if tolerated. Spring is arriving and now that’s more likely and possible.

We need to be more mindful. Make some lifestyle changes. When a video game console is on, it can use as much electricity as a couple of refrigerators. Turn your refrigerator down. It’ll be cold enough. Turn your water heater down. It’ll be hot enough. Take fewer baths or showers. Unless your job has you getting really dirty, don’t even bathe daily. It’s hard on your hair and skin to do so. If we learn to turn off the water while scrubbing our hands, we can conserve water. Or make a rain barrel.

Insatiable is not sustainable. We can be part of the solution, we just need to curb our voracious appetites.

A spring feast by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2016

Spaghetti squash bake

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

1 medium zucchini, sliced

1 cup minced mushrooms

1 t rosemary

1/2 t basil

1/2 t oregano

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 t each salt & pepper

3 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Poke holes all over squash with a knife; bake in microwave 10 minutes. Let sit for five mimnutes, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and discard (or keep if you’re planning to roast them). Place the two halves cut-side down in a large baking dish or rimmed sheet pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Once the squash has cooled, use a fork and scrape the flesh of the squash and  set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet add the butter and olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and grated carrot. Cook for five to eight minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Remove the cooked onion and carrots to a plate, and set it off to the side.

Add the sliced zucchini squash to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables start to soften and turn a little golden, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the minced mushrooms and garlic. Stir and cook for two to three minutes.

Add the cooked onion and carrot, rosemary, basil and oregano and cook for one additional minute.

Next pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and wine, and add the sugar, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

In a rectangular baking dish (7x11), add a spoonful of the sauce and spread it around the bottom of the pan. Evenly lay down half of the spaghetti squash and season with a little salt and black pepper.

Top with half of the sauce, a cup of the grated mozzarella and a quarter cup of the grated parmesan.

Layer the rest of the spaghetti squash, more salt and pepper, the remaining sauce and the remaining two cups of grated mozzarella.

Sprinkle the remaining quarter cup of parmesan over top.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Quinoa taco bowls

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 can black beans

1 cup frozen corn

1 can diced tomatoes w/chiles

1 t each cumin - salt- chili powder

1 T oil for cooking

1 cup quinoa cooked

1/4 cup copped cilantro

Toppings- sliced olives, salsa, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, guacamole etc.

In a large skillet warm oil over med/high heat add chopped onion, spices and ground turkey breaking up turkey with a wooden spoon.

Cook meat throughly. Add in canned tomatoes quinoa, corn and beans. Top with cilantro and toppings of your choice.


Broccoli salad

1 bag broccoli slaw

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seed kernals

1/2 cup cooked sliced bacon

1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms

1/2 cup poppyseed dressing

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl; salad can be refrigerated as it will not wilt like lettuce.

What’s next after 2016 legislative session by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/01/2016

We just finished a fast and furious short session in Salem and now I am back home in Hood River. And although we have 11 months until the next session, I’m using this time to look ahead and prepare. As an experienced member of the Legislature, I know the interim is a time to connect with my constituents, be engaged in the various communities of House District 52, and really delve into and research issues that can make a positive difference. So here is a sneak peek at the life of your Legislator over the next month.

One area that I will be focused on in the coming weeks is the Columbia River Historic Highway. I was appointed by Governor Brown to be a co-convener of a collaborative taskforce which is tasked with addressing issues stemming from overcrowding along the Gorge. It’s no secret that the Gorge is an extremely popular tourist destination for both in-state and out of state visitors. The tremendous increase in visitor counts is putting great pressure on existing resources. In May we will be having a signing ceremony to present our proposed changes along with celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Historic Highway. The event will feature an announcement of how various agencies and stakeholders agree to do their part to alleviate the congestion along the Highway so that people who live in that area, and visitors, can enjoy it without inflicting harm on the natural resource.

Another way I will stay connected is by doing presentations in the various communities that make-up HD 52. In the next month I will get the opportunity to present to the One Gorge group about how the work that we did in the February session resulted in streamlining the process for the Port of Hood River to access federal funds to assist with the eventual replacement of the bridge at Hood River. I will also be hosting three town halls (Welches and Hood River in March, and Sandy on April 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the library) to share a debrief of the short Legislative session with my constituents and get feedback on current issues and future solutions. I will be doing similar presentations at the Rotary and area Chambers. See below for a list of ways that you can hear about my events and stay engaged.

As we move through the interim I will also be focused on researching various policy ideas. Education is a key priority of mine, so my office is already looking ahead to the ‘17 session and researching potential legislation that can improve outcomes for students. Over the coming months my staff and I will be meeting with teachers, superintendents, and other stakeholders and listening to their ideas about practical changes that could be made to improve public education in Oregon. We will also be sharing our findings with my legislative colleagues in order to build bipartisan support for our efforts to better prepare our students for college or career. I will also have the opportunity to participate in national education conferences that will deepen my understanding of what other states are doing to improve outcomes for their students.

And last, but not least, while I’m home in Hood River, my wife Melodi and I like to play tourist!

It’s nice to be able to go wine tasting, try a new restaurant or find a new hike with a spectacular view. In the Gorge and up on Mount Hood, there’s always a new place to explore. Enjoying this time in the district is important because it allows me to deepen my understanding of each of our communities and their diverse needs. Having the time to travel throughout the area and explore deepens my appreciation for what a special place this is. 

As always, I want to be available to all of my constituents, so I hope you’ll stay in touch with me throughout the interim. My office is available and open to discussing any issue that you need assistance with or just have questions about. The best ways to stay in touch with me, and find out about my events, are: 

Join my newsletter at: www.repmarkjohnson.com/newsletter-signup

Email me: rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

Calling my office: 503-986-1452

Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.

(Mark Johnson is the House District 52 Representative.)

Mitchell Zuckoff takes readers behind Benghazi attacks by Sandra Palmer on 04/01/2016

Yes, this book is about THAT Benghazi incident. With the help of a group of security personnel who survived the dreadful attacks on the US Embassy and Annex In Benghazi, Syria on Sept. 11, 2012 – resulting in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens among others – author Zuckoff has collected a detailed account of the terrifying attacks and the puzzling delay in U.S. response to the threats and attacks.

Even at the time, it was hard for the protection details on the ground In Benghazi to understand why governmental authorities failed to prioritize the warnings – and then the attacks – or the many delays in responses that were finally authorized. And it is hard not to agree that lives would have been saved – including that of US Ambassador Chris Stevens – if additional protection had been provided when requested.

Individual first-hand accounts from Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto, John “Tig” Tiegen, Jack Silva, Dave “D.B.” Benton and Tyrone “Rone” Woods provide clear descriptions of the military challenges faced once the attacks on the embassy compound begin, eventually spilling over to the CIA annex location a few miles away with each wave of attack more serious than the last. They also describe in detail the frustrating search for ambassador Stevens in the smoky, burning embassy complex.

While the sympathies of the readers are certainly with the plight of Ambassador Stevens, it is the personal experiences and decision-making of the security teams facing impossible odds that have our full attention.

And when casualties and deaths occur, these are the participants who have our primary sympathies – in large part because we have been experiencing the events through their eyes and emotions.

Have lessons been learned? It’s hard to say why events unraveled in the manner they did or if challenges in the future would be handled differently. For this reason, it is worthwhile to explore the attacks in Benghazi on Sept. 11 and 12, 2012 and for appropriate reflection on US preparation and planning.

Readers who enjoy military procedurals will certainly enjoy this tense account which has lessons for us all. However, expect to be haunted by the stories contained in this volume and skillfully collected by author Zuckoff.

You owe it to the world to pursue your weirdness by Ned Hickson on 04/01/2016

As an Oregonian who spent several years living in Portlandia, I feel the city’s unofficial mantra “Keep Portland Weird” is a noble pursuit. The world needs weird. Not the current presidential candidates kind-of-weird, which is like a Stephen-King-horror-novel-with-a-rabid-dog-and-terrifying-clown-kind-of-weird.

No, I’m talking about a less volatile, better coiffed and more enjoyable kind of weirdness that helps us keep a fresh perspective on daily life.

Albert Einstein, Edgar Alan Poe, Leonardo da Vinci, Lucille Ball — all were geniuses in their own way who reminded us to see the world with wonderment by unapologetically pursuing their weirdness.

I’m no genius. I’m reminded of this every time I spend five minutes getting frustrated with the TV remote, then realize it’s the garage door opener — usually after the neighbor calls to tell me our Labrador is repeatedly being knocked unconscious. Though I’m no genius, I do consider myself weird. And so do others. Particularly my teenagers, who avoid eye contact whenever we’re in public because they’re afraid I’ll do something weird that will embarrass them.

Or as they jokingly say, “DESTROY OUR LIVES!”

Ha! Ha!

Ok, maybe they’re not joking.

The truth is, though they may feel being in the car with Dad while he orders from the drive-thru in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice could have a lasting impact on their reputations — or at the very least completely screw up our dinner order — I believe the example of infusing random acts of weirdness into daily life is an important one.

That’s because being weird requires looking at a common situation in an uncommon way. As a parent, there are few skills I want my children to develop that are more important than the ability to think unconventionally. It’s that type of thinking that leads to technological breakthroughs, builds self-confidence and develops problem-solving skills.

Not counting me and my TV remote, of course.

Being able to wield weirdness is like having Thor’s mighty hammer to smash negativity and the mundane. Although if you think you’re going to look as cool doing it, you’re kidding yourself. Regardless, it’s an effective way of turning a bad situation into a better situation; an unfortunate circumstance into a laughable moment; Kanye West into ... another laughable moment.

You get the idea.

The world is getting more plugged in and, coincidentally, more stressed out. Weirdness is a necessary coping mechanism that benefits everyone.

So please do the responsible thing by embracing your weirdness. Or even someone else’s.

But if they’re part of the Portland Naked Bike Ride, I’d have them put pants on first.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Episode V Passport, Please by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/01/2016

Much like snobbish French waiters, the gendarmes ignored Dolly Teagarden and me, leaving us to whatever it was we thought we were about. And whatever that was, the gendarmes/waiters could not have cared less.

This was fine with me on several levels, least of which was not sitting across from Dolly, answering her questions which came at me like the purring of a Persian cat, only accented by her delicious English properness.

Having tromped through the short weeds of Natasha LaRue’s and my relationship, Dolly proceeded to ask about Natasha’s dealings with the French police. I told her they came and went at her house at irregular intervals, and that I was never privy to what it was about, nor was I particularly interested.

Dolly seemed to understand that last part perfectly, giving herself away with an unconscious crossing of her legs and rocking of an ankle.

I continued for a bit longer, telling how much I didn’t know about Natasha, when suddenly it dawned on me. I remembered the time in Ecuador when an Australian woman popped her clogs on the couch of the apartment adjoining the one I was staying in, and the more I was unable to tell the local constables due to not knowing any more Spanish than what allowed me to order freely from the menu at Taco Bell, the less interested they were in me and the more interested they were in getting the Aussie’s corpse out of the apartment building and into the back of a van before the devil showed up as was evidenced by the continual crossing of themselves as they went in and out of the apartment. But that’s another story.

So the solution was to play dumb.

Performance art came quickly. Dolly’s allotted time with me had expired, and she exited with a quick glance back that either meant “hang in there” or “meet me at the train station by nine o’clock.” I actually glanced down at my watch.

Enter the bald investigator with the audacity to sit down in Dolly’s chair. He was accompanied by an armed guard – remember I had my handcuffs removed – and I have to say the guard appeared to be able to take care of himself. He was the first French policeman to fall into that category.

The inspector began. “I am certain, Monsieur Malone, that you have not to be interested in staying here -- his eyes surveyed the dank surroundings -- any longer than you wish.”

The act began, in step with his fractured grammar and syntax.

“That’s right Mr. Inspector,” I said, flashing a broad, aw shucks, Warren Beatty smile. “I know you have a job to do, but I sure would like to just, you know, go back home.”

“You never explained to me your relationship with this, uh, Natasha LaRue,” he said, one eyebrow rising toward a long abandoned hairline.

“Well, Inspector, you saw Natasha, right?” I offered in a conspiratorial, between-you-and-me-wink-wink manner.

“I saw her body,” he said, clearing his throat.

“Yes,” I said, my head nodding like a cuckoo on a clock striking midnight.

The Inspector looked away, shuffled the folder and clutched it to his sunken chest for support. He slowly raised his doleful eyes and looked back at me, only to find Warren Beatty.

“Monsieur Malone,” he managed to wiggle out, “you understand we must hold your passport and you are not leave the country, or even Brittany, until we return it and clear this up.”

“I’m pretty sure your crack detectives have my passport,” I said, the smile on my face inching dangerously close to making me ill. “It was at Natasha’s house.”

“I am certain of that as well,” he said, rising from his chair, which, for him, was a short commute.

And he was gone, along with the guard. There I was, left alone, under hot lights that would have broken a Marine to reveal troop movements. I walked out, down an empty hall, into a holding area where Dolly was waiting for me. I glanced around for the train station.

And there was no way they found my passport at Natasha’s house. After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Recycling and sustainability info by Mary Soots on 04/01/2016

Instead of a recycling event, this year the Mt. Hood Green Scene is working with the Welches Middle School’s Outdoor Program because we believe that children are our hope for a sustainable future.

We are holding a contest for the best essay with the theme “How nature teaches us about recycling”. 

This is the first time in the past six years that we don’t hold an annual recycling event. In an effort to help our community find ways to live a sustainable life and reduce, re-use and recycle, we instead compiled a list of websites that we hope will inspire you.

Re-Direct Guide


Eco Metro/Chinook Book Coupons


Sustainable Living and Dying Green Building Resources



Green Cleaning


Safe Pets


Green My Parents (kids can help)


Community Supported Agriculture/subscription farms


Sandy Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 8:30am-1:00pm beginning May 7, 2016.

Oregon/Portland Farmers’ Markets


Green Burial Services



“Say No to Junk Mail” guide


Energy Trust of Oregon (energy conservation program)


Waste Reduction Tips


Illegal Dump Clean-Up



Free Geek (computers, electronics)


Freecycle (household items, clothing, misc.)


The Rebuilding Center (building supplies)


Boneyard NW (online building material exchange program)


Hippo Hardware (hardware/fixtures)


Rejuvenation House Parts (hardware/fixtures)


Community Cycling Center (bicycles)


Recyclery (bicycles)


Schoolhouse Supplies (school supplies)


Habitat for Humanity ReStore (building supplies)


Soles 4 Souls (shoes)


UPS Store (packing peanuts)






Televisions, Computers, Monitors (Free)




Household Batteries






Scrap Metal


Styrofoam blocks (not food-related)




Automotive Batteries


Sustainable Travel

Mountain Express


eRideShare (carpooling)


National Geographic Oregon Sustainable travel initiatives


Sustainable Business

Sustainable Business Oregon


Green Biz



Native Plants



Healthy Lawn & Garden




Non-native Invasive Species

Backyard Habitats


Gardening Resources



Weed Guide


Extreme El Nino conditions to persist on mountain in April by Herb Miller on 04/01/2016

Our weather during March had high temperatures that averaged very close to long-term amounts but low temperature averages were a bit above average. Government Camp recorded 33 inches of snow so far, compared to only four inches a year ago.

Brightwood received precipitation during all but three of the first 25 days, although much of it fell during nighttime hours. Everything considered, a rather uneventful month with a reward of spring-like weather during the last week.

Same as last month, the National Weather Service continues to be heavily influenced by the extreme El Nino conditions that are expected to remain through at least April. Their forecast is somewhat guarded, however, by the very active MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation) pattern that is expected to center over the tropical western Pacific Ocean by the end of April.

Our area felt the effects of the atmospheric river from this same pattern earlier this year. At any rate, their forecast for our area during April calls for temperatures well above average and precipitation near average.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 7.70 inches. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 80s twice, into the 70s during seven years, and the 60s once. Low temperatures fell evenly with five years into the upper 20s and five years into the 30s. On average, April has four days with a freezing temperature. Snowfall is rare and averages only 0.85 inches for the month.

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 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 70s twice, into the 50s once and the other years settling for the 60s. Lows had two years dropping into the teens, one year into the 30s, and the other seven into the 20s.

Inside Salem -- March 2016 by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/01/2016

Greetings from the midst of the hectic February session in Salem. I’ve come to describe this year’s session as “Big ideas, little time.” There have been some very complex issues placed on the agenda for the legislature to consider, but we have not had adequate time to fully investigate the issues, and our constituents haven’t had enough time to provide their input.

The proposal to increase the minimum wage is a clear example of a complex issue that wasn’t fully investigated by the legislature. This issue greatly impacts the Hwy. 26 corridor and communities in House District 52. The House passed SB 1532A off the floor on a partisan 32-26 vote on Feb. 18. The bill will phase in a hike in the minimum wage bringing the base wage in the Mountain communities to $13.50 per hour by 2021. I voted against the bill because businesses across all industries and size throughout HD 52 shared with me their deep concerns about the negative impact of a higher wage mandate. In the agricultural sector specifically, owners outlined how difficult it will be to remain competitive and to afford to pay their current employees.

In the public sector, the list of negative consequences of the wage hike is diverse and far-ranging. Oregonians will see higher costs for child care, higher costs for home health care, fewer work study opportunities for college students, higher costs for pre-school programs, and the list goes on and on. Between these increased costs and the overall impact to business in our communities, I am concerned for the negative affect on Oregon’s overall economy.

As I write this, there is still hope for a bipartisan and centrist proposal that would require a smaller increase in the minimum wage, but provide direct relief for farmers. The proposal would also allow for a new employee training wage. These options could provide more flexibility than the current proposal and I’m hopeful it can be considered before we adjourn this short session in early March.

One of the bills I brought for consideration this session has been updating the Ski Activity Statute that is in Oregon law. In doing so, my office has been working closely with the Pacific NW Ski Association (PNWSA) as well as with local representatives from Timberline, Meadows and Ski Bowl. This issue is important to our local area because the language that currently exists in statute dates back to 1979. It was written long before snowboarding became a popular activity on the slopes and before the ski areas began to provide services such as terrain parks. Terrain parks are a next level activity where skiers and snowboarders can do tricks off of things like ramps, jumps and half pipes. Anyone who has visited our Mount Hood ski areas recently knows how popular terrain parks are with skiers and boarders. This increased interest equates to more visitors traveling through the area, which means more customers for local businesses on the mountain and a positive impact on the local economy.

I think most skiers and snowboarders would agree that anyone who chooses to enter a terrain park at Timberline or Meadows understands that there is an inherent risk in the activity. They are willingly accepting the trade-off between the fun that the snow feature provides and the increased risk of injury while using the features of the park. The problem that we are facing in Oregon is that the statute doesn’t mention the inherent risk that exists for users of terrain parks, nor does it address ski area responsibility to provide proper maintenance and notice. The outdated statute creates large liability issues for both resorts and consumers whereas an updated code would have created clearer protections for both parties.

We crafted HB 4077 to update the language to reflect the modern sport of skiing. Unfortunately, the Oregon Trial Lawyers were unwilling to compromise with the PNWSA and opposed HB 4077. So, at this point, the outdated language remains as do the concerns related to liability over terrain parks.

We will continue to work on this issue in the interim because it is of great importance, not just for the ski industry, but potentially for all of our recreation industries like biking, water sports and competitive events.

Join me for a post-session town hall!

Where: The Resort at the Mountain

When: Saturday, March 19, 10–11 a.m.

As I write this, the legislature is still in session. My focus in the last few weeks will be finding bipartisan solutions on the issues before us. While the process can be challenging, I consistently work to represent my constituents to the best of my ability and I thank you for that honor.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please contact me at: 503-986-1452 or rep.markjohnson@state.or.us.

The Adventure Continues: Episode IV, The Dump by Max Malone, Private Eye on 03/01/2016

As much as I wanted to get out of the holding cell at the gendarmerie, there was a disturbing onset of inertia that went by the name of Dolly Teagarden – the English attorney at the American-English Consulate’s office.

As the cell walls seemed to drip with history, Dolly’s blue eyes inspired history. We were only getting started, but everything was going swimmingly.

“Did the inspector tell you why you were being held?” Dolly asked, being careful not to ripple the moody water.

“I probably didn’t give him a chance,” I said, shrugging my shoulders in little-boy innocence while jangling the chains cuffed to my wrists.

“Oh, wait a minute,” Dolly said, holding a finger in the air and stepping smartly to the door. She rattled off something in French through the barred window and a gendarme quickly stepped in, eager to take his turn with Dolly. She pointed at me, a frown furrowing her brow like a delightful dose of scorn, followed by another avalanche of what had to be perfect French. The gendarme obeyed, unlocked my cuffs, bowed smartly to Dolly, then exited but not before banging into the door due to having his head turned for one last glance.

“You’re being held on suspicion of murder,” she said, as I admired her ability to switch from handcuff housekeeping to consulate concern.

“And how long do they get before they have to charge me, or release me?” I said, posing the obvious question.

“It varies,” she said, shrugging her shoulders, rolling her eyes toward the ceiling, before mooring them back at my dock.

“Wait a minute,” I rasped. “Whattya mean it varies?”

“This isn’t Kansas anymore, Mr. Malone,” Dolly said, wrinkling her mouth around the words.

“Oregon,” I said flatly.

“Hmm,” she said, arching a sly eyebrow. “Oregon.” She paused, then “I’ve never met anyone from Oregon.”

“I’ve never met anyone from England,” I said unflinchingly, despite it being a lie of intercontinental proportions. After all, there was the young English woman I met in Greece who required a rescue as she had run out of money and ideas simultaneously, and I was obliged to escort her from Athens to London all the while restoring her faith in American hospitality by picking up the rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, one block off Kings Road, near Sloan Square which provided a fine view for the retired Russians who lived in the Soviet Sailors Home, and who, presumably are still living there despite the fact that I was forced to abandon the English lady when her mother caught the train up from Twickenham and objected to our cozy situation, which I came to interpret later on as a situation the mother would have preferred to have for herself.

But that’s another story.

Dolly got back to business, glancing down at notes she had obviously received from the good inspector. “Did you shoot Natasha LaRue?”

I was suddenly disappointed with my blue-eyed counselor. “No.”

“Don’t get upset Mr. Malone. I have to ask these questions.”

“I’m not upset,” I said, obviously upset. “You’ll know when I get upset.”

She grinned broadly, her high cheek bones reaching to the sky, her watery blue eyes brimming with good humor. “OK. OK. You’re not upset,” she cajoled, winning me over with gentle persuasion. “What is, uh, was, your relationship with Miss LaRue?”

“You’re supposed to ask me where I was when she was shot,” I said, trying to match her smile.

“I’m not trying to represent you at trial, ol’ sport,” she said in perfect cadence. “I’m trying to get you out of this, this” she looks at the ceiling again, “this creepy dump. And I think you should want the same. I imagine you will have plenty to do once you’re out.”

She was good, very good. I nodded in complete agreement. “You bet I will.”

“Good. Now, about that relationship.”

I offered the easy explanation, how we had a business relationship that first went well, then sour, so we decided to cool off in her house in France. I made no mention of Johnny Longo, the midget casino owner, and certainly steered clear of any reference to Valerie Suppine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states.

“Is that all?” she asked, expecting more.

Of course it wasn’t. After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

If the jeans fit, wear them ... at least until your legs go numb by Ned Hickson on 03/01/2016

I have a favorite pair of jeans I refuse to give up, and which, over the last few years, my wife has attempted to eradicate on six different occasions. She hates these jeans because, according to her, they are “ripped, frayed and embarrassing.” Particularly when I forget to change them before going out somewhere in public, such as our yard.

Her attempts to get rid of my jeans have escalated from them being “lost,” to an incident last week in which she claimed my jeans “spontaneously combusted,” forcing her to put out the flames with the nearest extinguishing device: A meat cleaver.

 She later apologized for hacking my jeans, telling me she reacted instinctively to a dangerous situation. I told her I understood, and that, instinctively, I planned to continue wearing my newly perforated jeans, at least until the remaining threads give way to the force of gravity and I am suddenly de-pantsed.

 Probably while raking the yard.

 There was a time when my wife actually liked seeing me in these jeans. Whenever I wore them I’d get...The Look – an eyebrow raise and quick scan of inventory suggesting the merchandise might be leaving the shelf before I could announce my blue light special.

 Now when I put them on all I get is a roll of the eyes suggesting I hold a clearance sale to reduce some of my inventory.

 Does that mean I’ll stop wearing them?

 Of course not.

 That’s because I’m a man. And as a man, looking good isn’t nearly as important as proving I can still fit into the jeans I wore eight years ago, even if getting them on requires a case of cooking spray and an electric winch attached to the bumper of a Chevy 4x4. It doesn’t matter that the waist is so tight my spleen is temporarily relocated behind my ears. Or that the contents of my pockets look like they’ve been vacuum packed…

 “Is that a 1964 penny?”


“How long until the impression on your leg goes away?”

“Depends. One time I had a Susan B. Anthony dollar that lasted a month.”

“I hear you. I’ve still got a bruise from my car key – see?”

“Plymouth Voyager?”

“Wow, you’re good.”

 This illustrates a fundamental difference between how men and women think. Women by their very nature are theoretical thinkers. For example, just because fitting into the same jeans they wore in their early 30s is now like trying to stuff eight pounds of hamburger into an espresso cup, then, “theoretically,” those jeans no longer fit. (Naturally, there are women who are exceptions to this rule, as anyone who has been in Wal-Mart can tell you.)

 Men, on the other hand, think in terms of practicality, i.e., if we can practically button our jeans without losing all feeling in our legs, then they obviously still fit! It doesn’t matter that our mid section is hanging over our belt like an over-proofed dinner roll. What matters is that we are in our jeans, and therefore “practically” in the same physical shape we were during our early 30s. Assuming, of course, that we were shaped like an inverted milk jug.

So, yes, I will continue to wear my “ripped, frayed, embarrassing” and now recently cleaved jeans. In fact, I may even wear them when I get home tonight.

Unless my wife has hidden the cooking spray again.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Businesses lead the way to the future by Mary Soots on 03/01/2016

As a social scientist, I view my world in the ways my professors taught me to see it – looking at the history, environment, social organization, economy, lifestyles, etc. When I move into a new area, whether it’s a new neighborhood or a new job, I see the world through the lens of these categories. The mountain community is an especially fascinating one as it is a community that depends more upon one another than it does on outside services. It is one where we know that we are vulnerable to the vagaries of nature but find that the benefits outweigh the costs.

My curiosity especially propelled me to ask how people made a living when there is no production and little commerce in this community. I quickly learned that there were some individuals for whom their mountain abode was a second home that was used for recreation purposes. Families enjoy short-term stays but return to their normal lives in more urban areas. Upon retirement, some will take up residence in their mountain home. Many retirees populate the mountain, as do many who live with disabilities. They stay until they reach a point where the services they require are not available and most must return to mainstream life. Likewise, many young people must emigrate to larger communities to advance their education and find careers.

Some people come to work at the ski resorts but are able to make a living only for a short period before returning home or moving on. Others come and stay and find work primarily at service jobs that cater to visitors. Heartier souls sacrifice the long commute to work in far-away places in order to live in paradise, while a fortunate few are able to tele-commute.

Only a small core group of people are able to make a life, raise their families and make a permanent home on the mountain. Business owners are buffeted by the whims of nature measured in snowfall amount that draws visitors to the mountain, lives hanging in the balance during difficult times. As I reflected upon the community, I realized that the most permanent members of our community are not the individuals, but the businesses that stay as staff comes and goes.

We have a wonderful community of business owners whose tenacity has been rewarded. They are individuals who love the mountain, genuinely caring about its geology, its grandeur, and protecting it from overexploitation so that it can continue into the next millennium. Businesses realize that it is the natural beauty and all it has to offer that draws the visitors who become the customers. As a recreational destination, their mere existence relies on the environment.

Many businesses have embraced the protection of our environment, and we would like to give credit and name just a few. Page’s Auto and Tire has worked tirelessly with the Mt. Hood Green Scene to help recycle tires. Chris Page designed a way to drain oil from oil containers so it doesn’t seep into the ground. The Wraptitude features responsibly sourced healthy alternatives to fast food. Former owners of The Resort on the Mountain Ed and Janice Hopper lead stream restoration for salmon habitat. Bob and Margaret Thurman of Welches Mountain Properties are strong environmental advocates, as are the owners and staff of the Mountain Times newspaper. The Thriftway is collecting used plastic bags for recycling, and the Welches Mountain Building Supply is collecting paint for re-use. These are only a few of the efforts that our businesses are making to champion our environment.

Their efforts are very much appreciated as it will be the legacy of these business owners who have created the infrastructure that will live on long after the current staff has moved on with their lives. Those institutions are the ones that will shape the future for our community once we are no longer in the driver’s seat. Following their lead, the staff will take those owners’ ideas of how to become stewards of their world wherever they go. In our community, it is the businesses that will lead the way. We would love to hear from you about ways that other businesses are working to protect the environment. Place your comments on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Mt-Hood-Green-Scene-323987735221/

The Mt. Hood Green Scene members are announcing that there will not be a Recycling Event this year due to the number of options available. The next event will be held in 2017. Next month, we will publish a list of items and locations where they can be recycled.

The mindful eater: do you know how to eat? by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2016

I’m not going to tell you to chew your food thirty times (though that wouldn’t hurt) or to not drink ice water with your meals (though you shouldn’t) or to give up chocolate (though limiting it wouldn’t be a bad idea). Eating is a fairly complex issue these days.

While there are those who peruse the grocery stores flummoxed by choices, declaring that “everything seems to be bad for you” we can begin to ferret out some good choices. How do you know what to eat? What influences your choices?

Primarily we learn from what we were fed as children, though these choices may not necessarily be the best for us. Ethnic background, religion, values, all may confine our choices. Or expand them. Many have lost their familial and religious heritage. That leaves knowledge of food to come from news blips (mere seconds long), ads on the Internet (why do we capitalize the word as if it were “God”), or from what stores have put on sale (fixed by the large corporations who manufacture those items).

Frankly, most people don’t have a clue how to eat. They feel vindicated and knowledgeable to be gluten-free or vegan or whatever the latest eating trend may be. Unfortunately, these are the people who think they’re doing the right thing when they subsist on gluten-free pizza or vegan French fries. Pizza and fries are still not the answer.

In fact, eating out, though immensely enjoyable, is often not the best choice for top nutrition. Most communities, no matter how small, have more than one fast food choice. But is that really a choice. There are fewer and fewer sit-down restaurants because we are always so rushed. Perhaps there’s a key issue there?

The Slow Food Movement (have you even heard of it?) looks at how we view food, with consciousness and mindfulness. People who eat out too often (more than twice a week I’d wager) put themselves at higher risk for diabetes and weight gain. But how could they know. There are all those choices out there, right?

It’s a matter of viewpoint. I remember going to a fast food taco establishment with a pre-med friend of mine. While she declared she was having health food, I relinquished myself to having what I called junk food. Though tasty, I know it wasn’t my best choice and used to come away from there saying “two beans or not two beans” just to lighten my distress.

Learning to cook at home (part of the worldwide Slow Food Movement) does so much for you – better health, slows down your hectic life, and saves tons of money. Get a crock pot (or two) and put stuff in there in the morning. You’ll come home to a ready hot meal at a time when you’re admittedly tired, hungry, and may even too cranky to cook. Whew, doesn’t a pre-made dinner sound like a good idea.

Shop primarily on the edges of your preferred grocery store for the most nutritious foods. If you must venture within the inner aisles, choose wisely. I certainly understand the need to purchase things when they’re on sale, but not because some huge corporate advertiser just changed the packaging of some new junk food offering.

Look mostly for protein (fish, beans, eggs, meat) and vegetables, and read the labels on everything else carefully. Any food that has sugar as its first ingredient should be removed from your cart. A diet of white flour and white sugar will wreak havoc on your health and the health of your kids. Turn off the TV so the kids (or you) don’t watch the ads for sugared foods. You’ll never see an advertisement for broccoli or cauliflower on TV but the kids may be willing to gobble it up if served with some tasty hummus or a good yogurt dip.

Don’t rely on TV ads or Internet to tell you what to eat. Go back to your upbringing. Fish Friday is a great boost to your nutrition. Nonna’s potato latkes, lovingly cooked, would be a better choice than fast food French fries cooked in oil reheated innumerable times. Most importantly, if the first ingredient on any package is sugar, don’t buy it. Period.

Book pulls back the curtain on the O.J. Simpson trial by Sandra Palmer on 03/01/2016

I normally review a recently published book in this column but the fascinating TV mini-series based upon this book prompted me to read and review it. Both the television series and this nonfiction account of the O.J. Simpson murder case are filled with fascinating, newly revealed details – a surprise for those of us who were obsessed with the media coverage of the case at the time. Author Jeffrey Toobin offers up a detailed insider’s account of the crime and the behind-the-scenes dramas during the criminal and civil trials of the popular former athlete, charged with the violent murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her acquaintance Ron Goldman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The evidence pointing to O.J. Simpson as the murderer was overwhelming and all the investigators and attorneys realized almost immediately that Simpson was guilty. However, one of the many Simpson attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, commented, “Once I decide to take a case, I have only one agenda: I want to win. I will try, by every fair and legal means, to get my client off – without regard to the consequences.” And the “Dream Team” of legal experts hired to defend Simpson did just that, helped along by simmering mistrust and hatred toward the Los Angeles Police Department and tactical mistakes by the prosecution team.

The many attorneys and experts involved in the complex and lengthy criminal trial provide fascinating reading as Toobin shares their rivalries and larger-than-life personalities. It is still amazing to realize how much legal and investigative star power was focused on this highly publicized trial – in spite of Simpson’s clear responsibility for two bloody murders which shocked Los Angeles and made headlines around the world. If you are interested in seeing the O.J. Simpson trial in a whole new light, I highly recommend this very well-written account to you!

Jeffrey Toobin is the author of numerous books including “The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court”. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a legal analyst for CNN.

One skillet wonder by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2016

All you need is a pan ... and maybe some forks:

Cheesy chicken and sausage pasta

2 links spicy kielbasa sausage sliced

1/2 lb. cubed chicken breast

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup half and half

1 T flour

1 T butter

1 cup chicken stock

1 t each salt & pepper

1 t paprika

1 t Italian seasoning

2 T oil for sautéing

2 cups any pasta, cooked

In a large cast iron skillet heat oil over medium-high heat and add chicken and sausage, toss in seasonings and cook until chicken is browned. Add butter and flour, toss to coat and cook a minute more.

Add chicken stock and scrape bottom of pan, reduce heat to medium-low, adding half and half, as well as 1 cup of cheese, stir until sauce thickens.

Add pasta and stir. Sprinkle on the cheese and place under broiler to melt cheese. Serve!

Irish soda bread in a skillet

A little oil for your skillet

4 T cold butter

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

2 cups buttermilk (substitute whole milk with 1 t vinegar)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil the frying pan. Mix the dry ingredients then cut in butter using your finger tips (you can also use a pastry cutter or two knives).

Add the buttermilk with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine. Press it into a thick, slightly flattened ball.

Score and brush with buttermilk. Using a sharp knife, mark a large X into the center of the dough, going all the way from end to end, about a half-inch deep. Brush with a little buttermilk. Place in oven bake, about 20-30 minutes.

March brings warmer temperatures and normal precipitation by Herb Miller on 03/01/2016

Our February weather has mostly agreed with the forecast to have above average temperatures and precipitation near average. Brightwood had only three days that dropped down to freezing, compared to an average of 13.

Temperatures averaged about four degrees above normal in Brightwood and about four degrees above normal in Government Camp, which received a total of 15 inches of snow so far this month. A touch of spring was enjoyed Feb. 8-10, and again during the last week of the month. Needless to say, the snowfall that fell on the mountain during the later part of the third week was most welcome.

Once again, the National Weather Service forecasts continue to be heavily influenced by the extreme El Nino conditions that are expected to remain through at least March. Their forecast for our area again expects warmer than average temperatures with near normal precipitation.

The extended range forecast calls for our area to continue to have warmer than average temperatures for the rest of the year, with cooler than average temperatures starting next February.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 8.43 inches including an average three inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 70s twice, into the 60s during six years, and the 50s the other two years. Low temperatures fell into the upper 20s during nine years, and the exception settled for 30 degrees.

On average, March has nine days with a freezing temperature. The record precipitation total for March amounted to 21.59 inches set in 2003 and the record 24-hour precipitation total of 5.31 inches was set during the same year on March 7.

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 48 inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s during five years, into the 50s during two years and into the 40s during three years. Lows were evenly divided with five years dropping into the teens and five into the 20s.

Episode III Well ‘Hello Dolly’ by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/30/2016

No matter how often it happens in my line of work, witnessing a stiff is never a pleasant moment. And in this case, standing over the lifeless body of Natasha LaRue, it was most unpleasant. Her carotid artery had been severed by the bullet from the hunting rifle – an object I had quickly stashed under a hedge. It was a perfect kill shot, whether intended or not. But I suspected the former.

I studied my hands, covered in Natasha’s blood, as the splats of a Brittany rain shower echoed through the oak tree overhead. In perfect rhythm, the approaching sound of the French constabulary’s ambulance played its part, sounding like the musical bridge of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Who called them? And perhaps more importantly, what was I in for?

The ambulance horn section was accompanied by a paddy wagon. White coated doctor types sprinted to Natasha’s body while one gendarme leveled an assault rifle in my direction, the other was too busy squinting in a Frenchman’s best imitation of a no-nonsense investigator.

Trust me, it was brimming with nonsense.

While the white coats scurried for a stretcher, the gendarmes escorted me into the back of the paddy wagon, all the while prattling on in a language that the only word I had mastered up to this point was “fromage.”

Mind you, it was outstanding fromage.

The ride to wherever we were headed was uneventful save the bouncing on a metal bench to which I was handcuffed and the shaky hold on the assault weapon by the gendarme sitting across from me. Of the two, the metal bench was the most uncomfortable. After all, I was sitting four feet away from the pink-cheeked gendarme, and he only had one clip.

The gendarmerie (I only know that’s where I was because the word was emblazoned on the front of a tired stone building, albeit the letters with blue paint hadn’t been touched up since the occupation) doors swung open as I was taken inside. Footsteps echoed on the cement floors from unseen rooms. The French language bounced off walls like the monster insects attacking my net covering in a tent in Nairobi when I got suckered into a safari led by an egotistical maniac who thought he was Lord Jim.

But that’s another story, with apologies to Joseph Conrad.

I was plopped down on yet another metal bench at a metal table and left there, my constant refrain of “American Consulate” going as unheeded as the lyrics of “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown” being crooned by an off-key singer in a Motel 6 Lounge in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before an audience of NASCAR pit crew members who had slipped away from the track after the car they were supposed to service blew a head gasket on Lap 3.

After a grim hour or so, that seemed like thirty, in walked my interrogator. (I use the term loosely.) He was five-foot nothing, his bald head shining like an Ovation guitar, wrapped in a seedy suit that was badly in need of a trip to the cleaners.

“So Monsieur. You are Max Malone,” he offered, the heavily French accented English words slithering over his lips like a satisfied asp taking leave of Cleopatra’s wicker basket.

“American Consulate,” I shot back, attempting to lean forward and plop my arms on the metal desk, only to be stopped by my shackles which raised the desk off its clunky legs, causing my adversary to lurch backward, which pleased me greatly.

“Monsieur Malone,” he gathered himself, “Your position is not a good one.”

“American Consulate,” I repeated.

He slid his chair back, closed his folder, clutched it to his sunken chest, and exited.

Hours passed, but the wait was worth it. Wearing a smart, grey suit jacket and matching short skirt, a delightful woman issuing a faint odor of expensive and well-placed perfume clicked across the cement floor and unfolded across from me.

“Mr. Malone,” she said, almost smiling. “I’m Dolly Teagarden, an attorney from the Consulate.”

Everything about her made perfect sense except her British accent.

“You’re not American,” I said, that being all I could get out as I was too busy swimming in her sparkling blue eyes.

“No, I’m English,” she said. Was I imagining it, or did I detect a purr? “We’re in Brittany, not Paris. The British and Americans share the Brittany office.”

“How do you get along?” I asked, trying to dry off after my dip.

“Jolly well, actually,” she said, and this time a thin smile etched its way across her face triggering a rise in her already-elevated cheek bones. “You’re a private detective, the French police told me. Is that correct?” I nodded.

“Then you must be somewhat accustomed to such proceedings, perhaps not from that side of the table.”

How could I tell her there was no way I was accustomed to being in such a room with a woman named Dolly Teagarden?

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

Drier outlook ahead with more typical El Nino conditions by Herb Miller on 01/30/2016

January got off to a cold, dry start with only .32 inches of precipitation recorded in Brightwood including two inches of snow during the first ten days.

Government Camp has recorded 48 inches of snow with a week still to go in January.

Precipitation became more normal during the rest of the month in Brightwood and temperatures rose slightly above average.

The El Nino weather conditions have become more typical and the jet-stream either splits or directs incoming storm systems south of our area, resulting in less precipitation for our location, compared to normal. From all indications, we will not see a repeat of the extremely wet weather experienced during November and December.

The National Weather Service forecasts continue to be heavily influenced by the extreme El Nino conditions that are expected to remain through at least February. Their forecast for our area is for warmer than average temperatures with near normal precipitation.

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34 and a precipitation average of 8.58 inches including an average six inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 60s twice and the other eight years topped out in the 50s.

Low temperatures fell into the teens during three years, and into the 20s during the other seven years. On average, February has 13 days with a freezing temperature.

The precipitation total for year 2015 amounted to 82.17 inches, slightly more than the long-term average of 81.31 inches. Somewhat surprising, considering the parched nine months previous to the very wet months of November and December that more than offset the deficit.

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 42 inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s twice, into the 50s during three years and into the 40s during five years. Lows had three years in the single digits, four years in the teens, and the other three years in the 20s.

For love and football by Taeler Butel on 01/30/2016

Be on your game with these recipes – here’s a nice spread that comes together easy and is inexpensive to make. Think bar food, which I happen to love.


Pizza bread

1 lb frozen bread dough or 1 recipe white bread dough (see below)

1 cup pepperoni sliced

1/2 cup sliced olives

Artichoke hearts

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 small jar marinara sauce

1 small jar Alfredo sauce

Roll out one loaf of dough into nine-inch by 11-inch rectangle, layer on cheese, pepperoni, artichoke hearts and olives.

Roll length wise place on baking sheet seam side down, brush loaf with oil- cover with plastic let rise.


Home made chicken tenders

2 lbs chicken tenderloins trimmed

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup oil for frying

1 t each - lemon pepper, onion powder, garlic salt

Slice each tender length wise into two strips place in between plastic wrap and gently pound out to 1/4-inch thick.

Pour seasonings and cornstarch into a plastic bag and shake together.

Heat oil in heavy 10-inch skillet until hot.

Carefully place tenders into oil frying three minutes on each side. Serve with dipping sauce.


Sloppy Joe bar - rolls- frozen- pretzel rolls etc

2lbs ground beef, turkey, bison, etc.

1 onion minced

2 stalks celery minced

3 cloves garlic minced

1 carrot chopped fine

1 green bell pepper chopped fine

1 T salt

1 t black pepper

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1 T oil

1/4 cup Worcester sauce


Sliced onion for serving

Canned or homemade cheese sauce.

Cook ground meat in oil until brown, add veggies and cook until tender adding salt, pepper, Worcester sauce, ketchup and mustard.

Simmer over medium heat 15 minutes more.

Serve with rolls, raw onions and  cheddar cheese sauce.


White bread dough

2 pkgs yeast

6 cups white flour

1 cup warm milk

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

6 T unsalted room temp butter

2 t kosher salt

In the bowl of a mixer or by hand dissolve yeast in milk and water, add honey. Let foam five minutes.

Add eggs, flour, salt and butter. Knead five minutes, place in buttered bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled (about an hour). Makes two loaves.

Strout’s latest novel offers journey from sadness to joy by Sandra Palmer on 01/30/2016

A new novel by Elizabeth Strout is always a great treat. Author Strout always delivers work that is peopled by unique – sometimes quirky – characters that are emotionally believable and complex. The subject matter is often tender and nuanced.

In this country, we all tend to believe that any of us can choose to become someone “new” or pursue a completely different direction toward a new life if we wish, completely starting afresh in spite of our past. But can we really leave it all behind?

In her latest novel, “My Name is Lucy Barton,” the author uses a mother’s hospital visit to her daughter as the opening for a story that unfolds years of sadness and estrangement. Healing comes gradually as Lucy and her mother share stories about those she has not seen since her childhood in the small town where she grew up. Gradually, Strout weaves in details with the readers about Lucy’s departure from a troubled home, her goal to work toward becoming an author, her marriage and her deep love for her two children.

Surprisingly, the comfort of her mother’s presence soothes her and brings her happiness during this difficult period of her life. And – while they avoid painful conversations about Lucy’s childhood – Lucy and her mother soon find closeness in the stories they share. Even though Lucy is a writer, she is careful in choosing words even when speaking with her mother about her life – present and past.

At its core “My Name is Lucy Barton” is about loneliness - loneliness of a profound variety that cannot be shared even with those who endured the same hardships and sorrows within a family. Loneliness so profound that it cannot even be shared years later since it is too painful even to articulate – or to attempt to find words to express it. However, this well written novel brings us from the depth of sadness to pure joy due to the skill of this amazing author.

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of “Olive Kitteridge” as well as “The Burgess Boys” and other novels and short stories. She lives in New York City.

Spotlighting some of the benefits of light by Victoria Larson on 01/30/2016

After months of darkness in mornings and early afternoons, the precious light begins to return to the earth. Improving moods, lifting spirits, we contemplate our future gardens and outdoor activities. Light bathes our bodies and renews us.

Some may think light touches our bodies only on the surface, but this is an understatement. Sunlight passes through the skin to our blood and to our brains through our eyes. As sunlight hits the retina of the eyes and the rods and cones therein, it is converted to electrical energy! Neurons in the optic nerve carry the images in the light to give us our vision.

Additional light-sensitive cells were discovered in 2002 that carry electrical signals on a separate pathway of nerves. This bundle of nerves travels to the suprachiasmatic nucleus or the SCN. This regulates our “biological clock” determining our wake/sleep cycles.

As normal morning light enters our eyes, it heads for the SCN which in turn wakes up our organ systems. At night, when it gets dark the light traveling to the SCN sends a message to the pineal gland to release melatonin. If not in front of light-emitting devices (computer, hospital, phone, tablet, TV) we become sleepy.

Exogenous melatonin at anything stronger than one milligram can override the body’s own ability to produce it’s own melatonin, something, the body is naturally able to do. I prefer to use herbs, and never more than one milligram of melatonin to help with sleep. And never for long periods as lifestyle changes and natural living work very well.

 Natural light is a mixture of wavelengths from radio waves to X-rays to microwaves. The only wavelengths visible to the human eye are between 400 and 700 nanometers. High intensity lasers (hot lasers) can harm flesh, but are used in surgery to destroy diseased tissue.

Low intensity lasers (cold lasers) promote healing. They give off so little heat that patients usually feel nothing during the brief procedure. The changes that are promoted at the cellular level are felt after treatment. The damaged or diseased cells heal themselves.

In 1979 two Russian scientists (Karel Martinek and Ilya Berozin) found that our bodies have numerous chemical switches and amplifiers that are light sensitive.

These switches can even affect the enzymes we produce within our bodies. Most mainstream practitioners know little about low intensity (cold) lasers even though there are more than 3,000 publications on the topic and more than 200 clinical trials. That’s more trials than are required for most drugs. Admittedly, most of the trials were done in Russia and eastern Europe, India, China and Tibet. These are areas of the world that value energy in medicine over drugs.

At a seminar in the late 1990s a colleague and I attended a talk on cold laser light therapy. I’d never been keen on volunteering for demonstrations, but living on a farm I sometimes experienced back pain from the heavy lifting required (bags of feed, bales of hay, etc).

However, assured that whomever volunteered would not be subjected to any embarrassment or the need to remove any clothing, I chose to “volunteer” my back. The laser device was placed against my low back, over my clothing for maybe 10-15 minutes.

After that 15 minutes I felt 80 percent improvement in my pain level! Most treatments require at least three to four visits and take a little longer to be effective. The cold laser has brought me and my patients relief from many minor and major complaints.

Still, I always encourage people to get out in the sunlight for 15-20 minutes a day. To turn off those light-emitting devices at night and get some refreshing sleep. I know in Oregon we don’t always get direct sunlight every day, but let’s appreciate what we do get when we have it.

Remote-controlled husbands beginning of Brave New World by Ned Hickson on 01/30/2016

As I’ve mentioned before, because of our home’s proximity to the local wharf, from time to time we have a problem with rodents. Now, when I say “rodents,” I mean rats; and when I say “problem,” I mean finding mysterious entries scrawled on our grocery list that read:


Git mor cheeez


However, I know that we aren’t alone in this, and that our neighbors undoubtedly have the same rodent problem. I know this because 1) They are our neighbors, and therefore live as close to the wharf as we do, and 2) Because we routinely lob assorted cheese curds into their yards before going to bed.


[Note to neighbors: We are NOT trying to entice the rats from our house into yours; we’re simply trying to entice you to eat more cheese.]


That said, some recent discoveries could change the way we go about solving our rat problem. According to a recent article in the journal Nature, researchers at the State University of New York have created the world’s first living remote-controlled rat. By implanting tiny electrodes in rats’ brains, scientists can command the rats to turn left or right, climb trees, navigate mazes, and, in some cases, stage dramatic light saber duels while dressed as tiny Star Wars characters.


The science involves three electrodes, implanted at specific locations in the brain, which are then triggered by a remote device which produces controlled responses in the rat. Interestingly enough, this very same technology is utilized by many wives, who use the TV remote to trigger controlled responses from husbands by switching the channel whenever they get up to use the bathroom…


“Hey, what happened to the game?”

“You weren’t watching it.”

“I was in the bathroom for 30 seconds!”

“Did you put the lid back down?”


[Controlled response:]


“...I’ll go check.”


Understandably, there are those who think that manipulating rats (or husbands) is inhumane, and that it is only the first step toward an “Orwellian” world of human-control technology. While this is certainly possible, others argue that we can’t dismiss the many practical applications that Robo-rats offer. For example, Professor Howard Eichenbaum of Boston University says the research “holds the promise of using animals as couriers to reach trapped victims.”


I don’t know about you, but when trapped beneath a crumbled overpass, I can honestly say a rat is just about the LAST thing I want coming in after me (not counting someone from FOX News).


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Robo-rats don’t have their place. It just doesn’t happen to be anywhere near ME.


Or my house.


But at my neighbors’ is fine.


To be honest, it wouldn’t exactly come as a shock. Especially with all of that cheese they’ve got lying around.


(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 01/30/2016

On Monday, Feb. 1 the 2016 legislative session officially begins. You may recall that annual sessions were approved by the voters in 2010 and the even year sessions were limited to 35 days and intended to give the legislature an opportunity to make needed budget adjustments and to consider minor policy needs. More on this later...

 My first priority for this session is an investment in much needed supports for community college students. After passing the Oregon Promise in the last session and establishing a tuition waiver program for recent high school graduates, we are now one of the national leaders in increasing affordable access to higher education. The next step in making sure the Oregon Promise is successful is helping students who enter college, complete college. In my testimony before a White House panel in December I told the participants that passing the policy bill was the easy part. Now we have to make sure that these new students that the state is investing in become successful students and complete their degrees. HB 4076 calls for an investment in proven programs that have shown to help students complete. By completing their two-year degree or career technical certificate, many students will be ready to fill a family wage job and have a clear path to a financially successful future.

 Last month, I highlighted a topic brought forth by representatives from Timberline, Ski Bowl and Meadows to update language about skier responsibilities in Oregon law. My bill will update current language, which dates all the way back to 1979. How many of you skiers are aware that Oregon statutes still require you use ski straps to fasten your skis to your boots? Since 1979 there have also been huge changes and developments including snowboarding and terrain parks.

By updating the statute, we will increase skier (and snow boarder) awareness and safety by clarifying how they should conduct themselves on the slopes and what potential hazards may exist and we will also be able to clarify ski area responsibilities as well. This much needed language change will also allow Oregon to become aligned with our other neighboring ski-states.

Back to the voter-intended limited scope of the February session.... One major topic that the legislature will be considering is an increase in the minimum wage. This discussion will be on our plate because proponents of a $15 minimum wage for all of Oregon have said they will put the issue on the November of 2016 ballot unless the legislature takes satisfactory action in February. The Governor unveiled her plan in January. The basic timeline of her plan is to take six-years and reach a $15.52 an hour wage in the Portland area and $13.50 everywhere else. I’ve received many concerns about what this increase will mean for many of our small businesses and the agricultural industry in District 52. This will be an important topic to share your opinion on, which leads into my next note…

Join me for a telephone town hall! On Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 6:30 -7:30 p.m. I will host a telephone town hall from Salem. We will discuss what the first week of Salem has been like and hear from you! You can RSVP by texting: REPMARKJOHNSON to 828282. For more details and sign up options, visit my site: www.RepMarkJohnson.com

The February session will go by fast. I hope that you will sign up for my newsletter at www.RepMarkJohnson.com to stay up-to-date and informed as the session progresses. If you have any questions or comments, please email me at Rep.MarkJohnson@state.or.us. As always, thank you for the honor of serving House District 52.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Prescription Medicine Disposal by Mary Soots on 01/30/2016

When my late husband’s life was being sapped away from prostate cancer, he was treated with life-prolonging medications. The cost for a month’s supply of one medication was $7,000. Another was $6,000. For us, the silver lining on that dark cloud was that the same government that had exposed soldiers fighting in the jungles of Viet Nam to the toxic Agent Orange (a stronger version of Round-Up produced by Monsanto), had acknowledged the link between it and so many diseases that killed slowly. As a result, his medical care was courtesy of the VA Administration. Without that, we would not have been able to afford even the cost of the insurance co-pays and would have had to make the difficult choices that others must struggle with.

After he passed away, I was left with a month and a half supply of those medications. I knew there were others who could benefit from a donation of the prescription. Surely I could help offset someone’s expenses. According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund published in 2013, about one in four American adults — around 50 million people — failed to fill a prescription they needed because of the cost. Among adults who were uninsured, the figure was 43 percent. Unable to return it, surely I thought there must be a way to donate this to someone. But I was wrong.

As much as I wanted to, I was not able to find a way to donate the life-extending medicine. Why, I asked, when I had an unexpired, unused medication that could prolong someone’s life must I dispose of it? Was it because there was a risk of abuse? Was it because the pharmaceutical industry had such a strong lobby that they didn’t want people to recycle prescription medicine? With tears of frustration, I was forced to dispose of those and other medicines.

Our country spends over $270 billion on prescriptions annually according to a 2009 report by The Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA). With the ever-soaring cost of prescription medicine (unlike many other countries, the U.S. doesn’t regulate pricing and Medicare is not allowed to negotiate costs), the average annual cost of cancer drugs increased from roughly $10,000 before 2000 to over $100,000 by 2012, according to a recent study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In the past 15 years, what are known as “Good Samaritan” laws at the state level have made it possible for certain institutions such as health facilities, assisted living, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies to re-use or recycle prescription medicines. The non-profit organization Sirum (www.sirum.org) has found a way to connect donor organizations with recipients. However, there is no way for individuals to make donations.

A state such as Oregon that actively courts the health industry as economic partners and that is known as a leader in environmental stewardship should be at the forefront of finding a way to ensure that medicines can be redistributed to those people who can’t otherwise access them. Instead, our law is very restrictive. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon law states, “Repository not permitted. Return and reuse is permitted only in long-term-care pharmacies where drugs have remained in the control of facility staff and are packaged in tamper-resistant containers.” It seems to me that we can find a way to expand this program to the individual level.

Until such a time as that becomes a possibility, it is imperative that we dispose of medicines in a responsible manner. Flushing medication down the toilet or drain has hazardous environmental effects. More than 100 pharmaceutical agents have been found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, aquifers, and streams throughout the world and have an impact on aquatic life. Trace elements are found in our drinking water, including bottled water.  There are less dangerous ways of disposing of unused medicines (prescription or non-prescription). A number of years ago, the Mt. Hood Green Scene held a community prescription collection event in collaboration with Clackamas County. This year, April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and events will take place around the country. In our neck of the woods, we are now fortunate to have a prescription drop-off box at the Sandy Police Department lobby where one can anonymously drop off human or pet medication (except syringes). Collections are then incinerated.

Episode II Leopard Hunting in France by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/04/2016
A few weeks pass, but not without more confusion than a tick infestation in Arkansas. Natasha’s little village of Plougennie has more cops (they’re called gendarmes) than the previously mentioned tick attack.

They come and go at the house, pleasant tips of their gendarme hats – they’re so cute you expect them to be leaping out of little clown cars – kisses on cheeks, a tipple of pastis, shuffling of feet, and every one of them waiting for a personal chat with, you got it, the seemingly famous Natasha LaRue.

They don’t pay any attention to me, which is fine with me. Cute clown hats don’t mix with fine fedoras.

They come at all times of day and night. Two, three, sometimes four at a time. In the brief spells when we are gendarme-free I inquire as to what’s going on.

“Just business, Max,” Natasha purrs. “Nothing to worry about.”

I insist on doing the grocery shopping. I’ve informed you of the super market with the football field of cheese. There’s much more, or in some cases, less. The canned food aisle is so short it took me three shopping sorties before I saw it. The French don’t go for canned foods. The few containers of peas could have been labeled: for Brits only.

My most recent grocery run was extraordinary. Besides falling in love five or six times with femme fatales that would corrupt Snidely Whiplash, I found what seemed like the perfect cheese. It broke records for aroma. 

I should have become suspicious when the checkout clerk arched an eyebrow in my direction as she slipped the cheese through her station faster than a Donald Trump dodge of a policy question. 

On the drive home, I got it. Better yet, I was transformed. The aroma of my perfect cheese wafted out of the trunk, slipped silently past the back seat like a monster-movie fog, before settling on top of my head like the monster from the previously mentioned movie.

It wasn’t just overwhelming. The smell would have gagged a maggot. Despite a cold Brittany rain, I opened the window, stuck my head outside, and blinked and wiped my way back to the village, where I tossed the cheese over a privet hedge for the neighbors to enjoy, and wondered if I should simply blow up the car.

But it wasn’t my car. It was Natasha’s car. And she owned the aroma from that point on.

Natasha did drive the car after my misfortune, but she never said a word. I have avoided the car for two weeks now. No sense in taking chances.

It was mid-morning yesterday when Natasha invited me to go for a walk in the woods. Despite suffering from cabin fever – probably called maison madness in France – I declined. Natasha was wrapped in a full length leopard coat and the thought of walking any distance next to that frock would have sent me in a Joseph Conrad state of dystopia.

Fifteen minutes passed.

The crack of a hunting rifle lifted me from the couch. A high-pitched feminine scream followed and I was out the door. I spun around a couple times looking for the woods. 

Aha! Woods!

Voices of Frenchmen led me straight to the scene. They were standing away from what appeared to be a fallen leopard. Seeing me sprinting in their direction they took off into the woods.

Natasha was gasping for air. Blood was spurting from her neck. I grabbed onto the artery but held out little hope. There was too much blood on the woodsy carpet.

Natasha took one last, almost sweet, breath. Her acquisitive eyes dimmed, then closed. She was lifeless.
I ran a few steps toward the Frenchmen’s retreat, but they were out of sight. On the ground was a hunting rifle of unfamiliar vintage. I almost picked it up. Instead I kicked it into a thicket until it was out of sight.

This little foray into foreign serenity had come to a crashing halt. I had lost Natasha. A rush of displeasure awoke from its slumber.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
December Close to Record Precipitation Levels by Herb Miller on 01/04/2016
December’s highlight is the precipitation total nearing record levels. Most years during periods of El Nino, our area is much dryer than average, but this year, November and December are notable exceptions.

Temperatures have averaged a little above normal, although cold enough to allow a return of meaningfull snow to the mountain bringing joy to many. Government Camp received a snowfall total of 70 inches and Brightwood measured two inches. Precipitation moderated significantly during the last week of the month, and we can all be grateful there was no disastrous flooding in our area, despite the heavy precipitation.

The National Weather Service forecasts are influenced heavily by the extreme El Nino conditions, but mindfull of what is referred to as the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which is disruptive to the effects of El Nino. This may explain their failure to forecast the heavy precipitation received in our area during November and December. 

For what it’s worth, our area is forecast to have warmer than average temperatures with near normal precipitation during January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.73 inches including an average nine inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 50s during nine years and one year settled for the 40s.

Low temperatures fell into the 30s during two  years, into the 20s during six years, and two years into the teens, with an average of 14 days that reach the freezing level. The precipitation total so far this December amounts to an impressive 24.01 inches but will not reach the record 28.09 inches set during 1964, although it comes in second, beating out the 22 inches recorded during 1996, both years noted for disastrous floods.

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 58 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures had a record 70 degrees set last year, into the 60s during two years, into the 50s during three years and into the 40s during four years. Lows had three years into the 20s, two years into the teens, and five years into the single digits. The all-time record precipitation total of 32.54 inches for December was set in 1996. and the record for January is 24.10 inches set in 1975.
The Frozen Pantry by Taeler Butel on 01/04/2016
Busy? Lazy? Gone half crazy? Pull a meal right out of the freezer into the crock pot or oven and feel like you’ve got it all together.

Freezer meal prep for a week - you will need:

1 bag of frozen corn
1 bag frozen Italian style veggies
2 lb penne pasta
2 jars pasta sauce
2 lbs bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
2 lbs ground beef or chicken
Italian seasoning
Sour cream
Mozzarella cheese
Chicken stock
Bread crumbs
Steak sauce
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning

Brown two pounds bulk sweet Italian chicken or pork sausage - cool and separate into two labeled containers - freeze for later use.

Boil two pound penne pasta, then drain, cool and freeze into three separate bags or containers.

Boil four pounds of peeled, cubed Yukon gold potatoes in salted water until tender.

Heat one cup whole milk with one stick of butter in a small pan until butter is melted, add to potatoes being careful not to over mix, add one T garlic powder plus salt and pepper to taste. 

Cool and separate into four containers, place in fridge uncovered until cooled completely pop in freezer.

Meatball and meatloaf prep
2 lbs ground beef or turkey separated
2 cups panko style bread crumbs
2 T mustard
1 cup ketchup plus 1/2 cup for topping
1 T salt & pepper
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup steak sauce -

Mix all ingredients gently by hand or fork - divide in half roll one half into half-inch balls and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until done completely, cool and freeze in large zip type plastic bags. 

Form the other half of meat into a meatloaf and top with ketchup, then freeze uncooked.

To make meatloaf just thaw in fridge and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or set frozen in crockpot on low for six to eight hours - serve with mashed potatoes.

Shepherds pie
Place one pound of sausage in the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Mix 2 T flour and a half cup chicken stock - pour in a layer of frozen corn and spread mashed potatoes on top- bake at 350  degrees for about 45 minutes.

Top with half cup of cheese  and place back in oven 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Crock pot baked ziti
Place 1/2 of the meatballs, one bag of pasta, one jar of sauce in a crock pot, and  add in 1 T Italian seasoning.

Cook on low for three hours, top with one half cup of shredded cheese.

Serve hot.

Crock pot meatball minestrone
Place the remaining meatballs, one-half bag Italian frozen veggies, one jar pasta sauce, one bag penne noodles, one T Italian seasoning and three cups chicken stock in crock pot.

Cook on low for three hours, top with a quarter cup  of cheese per bowl.

In a large pot place remaining sausage, one bag of pasta, two cups chicken stock, two cups frozen Italian veggies and one T Italian seasoning.

Heat to a boil, reduce to low. Stir in one cup sour cream and one cup mozzarella cheese.

Stir until thickened, then serve hot. 

It can also be made in crock pot on low for three hours stirring in cheese and sour cream during last few mins of cooking.
King David Revealed in Brooks’ ‘The Secret Chord’ by Sandra Palmer on 01/04/2016
Geraldine Brooks is fearless in the selection of her subject matter and in “The Secret Chord” she takes on the story of one of the biggest characters in the Bible – King David. Using the narrative voice of Natan, the prophet, she provides insight into David’s life as poet (the author of Psalms), lover, military commander, harpist, political leader, giant killer and King.

She also uses other contemporary characters to add insight into David’s life, talents and famous flaws.

“They knew him. They knew his flaws,” says Natan. “Indeed, I think they loved him all the more because he was flawed, as they were, and did not hide his passionate, blemished nature.”

It is comforting for all to realize that David was so very loved and blessed in spite of his similarly enormous sins and heart-breaking choices.

Author Brooks deftly creates the atmosphere of David’s time, providing context for many familiar incidents of his life while also relating the drama of less well known events.

Natan seems like the voice of David’s conscience as he documents his life story but we also see David revealed by those closest to him - including his three wives and his much-loved son, Solomon.

As always, Geraldine Brooks has an amazing ability to bring historical characters to fresh new life on the pages of her books. This novel is – as expected – beautifully written and revealing of faith, family, desire, ambition, betrayal and power. Be ready for an emotional and revealing historical drama that will prompt you to think deeply about own life and choices.

Geraldine Brooks is the prize-winning author of “March,” as well as “People of the Book” and “Year of Wonders.” She lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
Finding the Ways to Savor Every Moment by Victoria Larson on 01/04/2016
Though I enjoy the hustle-bustle, frazzle-dazzle of the holidays while it’s happening, I am glad for the quiet of the early part of each year. The stillness. The slowing down of living Though we should savor every minute of the year anyway.

For twenty-seven years I’ve lived on this farm, almost half of them by myself. Farming isn’t exactly the “slow lane” but moments of pure joy slow me down, give me time to reflect, to be in the moment. Slowing down has actually been a goal for a long time.

I cooked on a woodstove for thirteen years before moving here. No back up heat but the house was less than 800 square feet! Cooking on a wood cookstove puts you in touch with reality. I prefer the intimate contact that comes with cooking, baking and canning on a wood cookstove. The right temperature is bound to be found somewhere on that cooktop. 

When I realized I could not perform the repairs on the stove myself, I gave it to a friend of mine on Whidbey Island. I know once repared, he will cook many a meal on that stove. And he will sing as he does so and think of me.

A favorite memory of that beautiful, Danish, red enamel cookstove was canning peaches on a hot August afternoon. All the windows were open to disapate the heat when a freak storm, complete with thunder and lightening, resulted in a loss of power. For a mere moment I almost panicked, wondering if all that peach peeling time would go to waste. Then I laughed at myself, realizing that canning on a wood-fired cookstove changed nothing. But I did receive the gift of lovely memories with every jar of peaches I opened during the next twelve months!

Slowing down, making memories, savoring the moments of life, makes sense. You don’t get to take your car or your carpets to the grave. Nor your money or your time. All you take when you become one with the Universe is the memories, the love, the mere moments of your life.

That woodstove sat in a room that had windows on all three sides when it was a screened sleeping porch. I can remember lying on the top bunk, feeling summer breezes, reading a good mystery or a couple months worth of homesteading magazines. For years later I wondered where those moments went and how I could “afford” them. 

Creeping wisdom that comes with a different stage of life tells me I can’t afford to not have those moments. Leaving the frazzle-dazzle behind I now seek the state of “being here now.” I purposely buy nothing electronic. And when something electronic breaks down, I don’t necessarily get if fixed. I’ve owned a dishwasher in the past, but it ruined my red-and-white “Purina” checkered floor in the kitchen. When I wash dishes by hand I now get to stare at Mount Hood and watch birds at the feeders. Once, adult and juvenile Pileated woodpeckers were at my feeders. Now there’s a sight I’ll never forget, both oversized for the small, square suet feeder they were greedily hanging onto!

I’ve owned clothes washers (Martha Washingmachine) but never a clothes dryer. I have one now but it’s not hooked up and I have never used it as anything other than a feeding station for my cats. In winter (the inevitable question) I hang clothes in my attached, unheated greenhouse or on drying racks in front of my woodstove, my only heat source. I get to feel and smell the clothes and I get to slow down, to contemplate, to appreciate what comes my way. 

When I sold the Schoolhouse in Sandy, I vowed to downsize, de-tech and de-stress. Got rid of the FAX machine, the copier, the computer and the credit card devices. Life began to simplify again. I no longer own an electric frypan, a bread machine or electric waffle maker. And I usually cook, from scratch, three meals a day. 

I do not own a Smartphone (I do have a dumb phone, but when you tend to wash them there’s no sense spending money on something expensive). I have no TV and only occasionally listen to NPR on the radio. I’ve learned to predict the weather as well as most weather reporters. I have an old Eric Sloanne weather book that tells me all I need to know. My porch lights died several years ago, but I can see the stars clearly.
There is no time to wallow in post-holiday blues. This is a time to rest, relax, trust, believe. For amazingly soon the days will lengthen, the light return, the outdoor chores beckon. Trust that Spring is actually just around the corner. Time to think and plan what comes next and most importantly, to savor every single moment.
My Intuition Tells Me Our Family Will Be Drowning in Tuition by Ned Hickson on 01/04/2016
As parents, my wife and I have been very honest with our three teenagers about the level of financial support they can expect from us for college. To do this, I used my annual donation to our local public broadcasting station as an example.

“You know how they have different levels of supporters? And how the more money you contribute, the nicer the gift they send you as a show of their appreciation for your support — like a T-shirt or really nice backpack, or if you’re a gold-level member an entire season of your favorite PBS show in a special limited edition boxed set on Blu-Ray?”

Our kids nodded.

“As a gift, we received a refrigerator magnet for a show that was canceled three years ago.”

Blank stares from our kids.

“So yeah, the only free-ride scholarship you’re going to get from us will have already been spent on food and your unlimited texting and data plans.” 

Because of this, and because our teenagers were still staring blankly into space with their mouths open, my wife and I attended a scholarship fair where local community organizations were providing information about the many scholarships they offer.

In addition, there were three workshops discussing everything from how to apply for federal education grants, to tips on interviewing and properly filling out scholarship applications. It wasn’t long before, much like our teenagers, my wife and I were staring blankly with our mouths open.

Here’s the problem. After much consideration and analysis, including a mathematical formula involving median income combined with cost projections, annual inflation predictions and an old abacus I found at a garage sale, I was able to determine what I believe is the biggest financial challenge facing students and their families when it comes to continuing their education beyond high school:

Colleges cost too damned much.

In fact, if I didn’t know better I’d say colleges are being run by pharmaceutical companies — which would make sense since, coincidentally, most of the side effects found on drug labels are the same symptoms I felt while researching annual tuition costs: headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, vision loss, diarrhea, vomiting, paranoia...

According to the American College Board, the average annual cost of tuition at a private college is $32,405, or if you’re looking for a real bargain, $23,893 a year to attend a public college from out of state. 
However, your best bet is to enroll in a community college as an in-state resident, where the average tuition is $9,410.

Which, by the way, is still $9,310 more than we’ll have saved up for our oldest son’s college fund. 

Fortunately, there are lots of scholarships for students who consistently earn a 4.0 grade-point average.
Ours just don’t happen to be any of them. They are average students who excel in subjects they are interested in. Truth be told, they’re a lot like their father.

Who, I should probably mention, never went to college. It’s not that I’m advocating against receiving a college education. I’m just saying I’ve owned two homes and done alright without one because ultimately, with or without a degree, what matters most is a drive to succeed and willingness to work hard for it.

No degree can guarantee success over an individual’s desire to be successful.

Do I want my doctor to have a medical degree? You bet.

Should a lawyer be required to have a law degree? Certainly.

Would I be ok with a doctor without a medical degree operating on the average lawyer?

Most likely.

If our kids choose to attend college, we’ll find a way to make it happen. The question is whether the rising cost of higher education is making it less valuable, especially when compared to what can be achieved with a high degree of dedication and hard work instead.

And the freedom to pursue your life’s passions debt free.

Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com
Reflecting Back, Looking Forward in Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 01/04/2016
The holiday season found me reflecting on the many wonderful and fulfilling experiences that I am able to have as I serve the beautiful and diverse House District 52 as State Representative. 

One of the things I enjoy most is being able to find solutions to problems that have been brought to my attention by constituents and groups within the district. Some of you are aware that I have been working with representatives from Timberline, Ski Bowl and Meadows to update language about skier responsibilities in Oregon law.

The current language on the books dates back to 1979, the days that were pre-snowboarding and terrain parks! These updates are very important as they will help to increase skier (and snow boarder) awareness and safety by clarifying how they should conduct themselves on the slopes and what potential hazards may exist. By increasing skier safety and awareness, ski areas liabilities will also be clarified, which will help them to keep the price of lift tickets as affordable as possible. In the February session I will be introducing legislation to make this much needed language change and align ourselves with our other ski-states that have already taken this language.

Recently, I was contacted by the Port of Hood River about an important and timely need that they have. New federal legislation contains language that could, for the first time ever, make it possible for federal highway dollars to be invested in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area for transportation improvements (this is tremendously important, as anyone who has crossed the existing 1920’s vintage Hood River bridge that was built for model T’s knows).

Someday the bridge at Hood River will need to be replaced and the modern traffic load it now supports will likely bring that day sooner rather than later. Potentially having federal dollars available to help with this would be hugely important. The Port of HR, who own the bridge, state that in order for the bridge to qualify for this assistance there needs to be language in Oregon law that mentions the bridge as a part of Oregon Hwy 35. So in February I will introduce an amendment that will put this important language into state law.

Lastly, it’s especially gratifying to me to have some of the policy work that I have accomplished be recognized and appreciated nationally. Many of you will recall SB 81, the bill that created the Oregon Promise. This bill addressed both the need for a better educated workforce and the problem of the high cost of college.
Many of our high school students can’t afford to attend community college or trade school. The Oregon Promise means that all qualifying high school graduates will now have the opportunity to enroll in a community college or trade school and have the cost of their tuition paid for with state or federal support. Since the bill was signed into law in July the response from students and their hard working parents has been overwhelming all across our state.

On Dec. 8 I was honored to participate on a panel at a White House conference in DC on education and making college affordable. It was a huge privilege to be able to share with other legislators, governors and their staff from across the country the good work that we did in passing the Oregon Promise and of the many young adults that would be able to afford the education they need to find a good paying job and to be self-reliant. 

I hope that these few examples help to show the variety of ways that I am privileged to be able to serve HD 52 and the state of Oregon. 

And in the New Year, let’s all look for ways we can serve those less fortunate around us.

Mark Johnson is the State Representative for House District 52.
The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Food Smart by Mary Soots on 01/04/2016
The holidays are always a time of reflecting upon the things that we have. They are also a time when we share food with others. Whether at holiday meals with loved ones, at parties or gifts of cookies and baked goods to express appreciation, we are a society that honors our guests by providing the best we have in abundance. 

Each year, I enjoy holiday meals where everyone brings food and at the end of the feasting, there is enough for everyone to take home leftovers. The uneaten food takes its place in the refrigerator because I can’t bear to throw it out while it’s still good. When it finally goes bad, I no longer feel the guilt because the decision is no longer in mine to make.  Each year I resolve I’m going to make/consume/waste less food.

Lately we’ve been learning more about the amount of food that we produce but don’t consume. I recently saw where a man had bicycled across the U.S., eating only food found in store dumpsters. It was all perfectly good food, but had been thrown out by grocery stores because it was no longer seen as marketable.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, approximately one-third of the world’s food produced for human consumption goes to waste. In the U.S., about 40 percent of our food is wasted, the equivalent of $165 billion each year. The loss of food comes at all stages of production, retailing, and consumption and according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “represents a waste of the labor, water, energy, land and other inputs that went into producing that food.” The U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) notes that food production in the U.S. accounts for “10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States.” 

It is shocking when we think of the number of people who haven’t enough to eat. Just 15 percent of the food wasted would feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables, states the NRDC.

On the other end of things, the food that ends up in the landfill, while it may seem that it is compostable, is the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste. Composted food needs air and light to properly break down, but in a landfill the rotting food is one of the largest producers of methane gas which contributes to global warming. It’s great to see that some cities like Portland have programs for composting food, but that is not available everywhere.

There are a number of organizations that aim to help us reduce our “foodprint”. One such group, Think, Eat, Save (thinkeatsave.org) offers suggestions to help reduce our waste and to save money. Some of the key suggestions include the following:

Shop Smart—plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.
Buy Funny Fruit—many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.

Understand Expiration Dates— in the US, “sell-by” and “use-by” dates are not federally regulated and do not indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Rather, they are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after their use-by dates.

Zero Down Your Fridge—eat food that is already in your fridge before buying more or making something new, which will save time and money. Follow storage guidance to keep food at its best. Websites such as lovefoodhatewaste.com can help you get creative with recipes to use up anything that might go bad soon.

Say Freeze and Use Your Freezer—frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day.

Request Smaller Portions—restaurants will often provide half-portions upon request at reduced prices.

Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
Ski statute needs updating by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 12/01/2015
As I write this update, I’m looking out at the Willamette University campus from the window of my legislative office. It has been a cold and blustery couple of days in Salem as the legislature has been holding what are called “Legislative Days.” For three days committees meet to receive updates on how laws are being implemented and to get a peek what policy proposals may be coming up in the next session.

During the February 2016 session I will be using one of the two member bills that I will have to introduce legislation to update the Ski Activities Statute. This statute outlines the inherent risks to participants in ski activities and has not been updated since 1979. The outdated language in the statute does not reflect changes that occurred in the industry over the last 36 years including the addition of terrain parks, new lift technology and changes to ski equipment. And of course in 1979 no one had even heard of snowboarding! Without reflecting these changes, the outdated statute does not effectively protect the participants or the ski resort. 

Let me provide a summary of the changes that will be proposed:

• Add and define “freestyle terrain” as features for skiers and snowboarders built by trained resort staff vs. users building their own feature.

• Incorporating the responsibility code that resorts use into the statute. As the industry changes their liability agreements, these changes need to be reflected in state law in order to protect both the consumer and the industry. 

• Additional relevant changes in the industry in the last 36 years. 
This update is important from a consumer protection standpoint and also an economic one. At least 68 percent of Oregon residents participate in outdoor recreation each year; 141,000 direct Oregon jobs are provided; and the average annual visits to Oregon ski resorts is around 2,000,000. We all appreciate how important Timberline and SkiBowl are to the local economy on the Mountain. Updating the Skiers Code of Conduct will help ensure that ski resorts and the skiers and snowboarders with have the protections they need to keep snow sports affordable and accessible for all. 

There were two forums in November to discuss this update in Hood River and at The Resort at The Mountain. If you missed these forums and have any additional questions or comments on this update please contact me! (Rep.MarkJohnson@state.or.us) 

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving and will have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends. Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.
Putting the (Vitamin) C in Christmas by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2015
It’s the season for slowing down, staying in more, and resting. It is also the season for holiday events, parties and plays and sing-a-longs, coaxing you back out!

The trick is to find a happy medium. Because it’s also the time of change: colder weather, richer foods, less light, we are challenged to find a balance.

Getting through the holidays without getting sick can be a challenge. Eating less sugar and more root veggies may not do the trick. Or, at any rate, may not be enough to stave off wintertime illness. But it’s a way to start.

Honoring the cycles of nature, we do try to eat what’s in season. Hopefully you’ve preserved some of your summertime garden abundance as that saves you money as well as giving you produce that you can be proud of bringing to fruition.

Perhaps you’ve got a fall/winter garden going, with dark, leafy greens, watercress and chickweed for salads. (Yes, the chickweed you may have considered a summer weed in your yard makes a fantastic addition to salads!)

Take advantage of squashes you’ve stored or bought at the farmers’ market or store. Nuts are abundant at this time of year. Seeds from the winter squashes can be roasted with cayenne or chili pepper to warm you! And this is mushroom season, with a myriad of choices. The seasonal foods will keep you well fed, well fueled and warm.
In addition to the beautiful and colorful foods of the season, we are blessed to have an abundance of foods in season from not-too-far-away territories. Citrus foods are gorgeous, colorful, and fragrant. Besides eating them, you can dry them for use in teas, potpourris or decorations.

In the early 1500s, cases of scurvy were epidemic on sea going vessels. Hundreds of shipmates were lost to this deficiency disease. Yet it wasn’t until 1747 that James Lind did an experiment on the men who were severely ill with scurvy. 

Different seamen were “dosed” with either cider, garlic, horseradish, vinegar or citrus fruits. The only men cured of scurvy were the ones given oranges, lemons or limes. And seamen became known as “limeys’.”
By 1865, our own American Civil War left us with over 30,000 cases of scurvy. Yet despite James Lind’s earlier experiments, precautions were not put into place in the United States until 1895! By 1932 the Russian Albert Szent-Gyorgyi isolated Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is water soluble, so putting the rinds of organic citrus fruits into hot water or tea is a great, tasty way to get some extra Vitamin C. The enzyme needed to synthesize Vitamin C is called L-gulonolactone oxidase. This enzyme is not present in primates, bats, Guinea pigs, or humans. All other animals can make Vitamin C internally.
We humans need to take in Vitamin C on a daily basis. This is why the foods we choose to eat are so important to keep energy levels up and keep illness at bay. Vitamin C is easily obtained from the aforementioned citrus fruits and winter root vegetables, as well as the summer foods such as bell peppers, chili peppers, kiwis, and dark, leafy greens.

A deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, aching joints and muscles, dry skin and the tendency to bruise easily.

More pathological conditions such as viral and bacterial infections (colds and the flu), allergies, gout, diabetes (Type II), cataracts and cancer can result from Vitamin C deficiency.

So now is the season to enjoy the foods that abound. Some people are more sensitive to larger quantities of Vitamin C and may experience diarrhea, or a misreading of occult blood or glucose testing. The “Father of Vitamin C,” Linus Pauling says a couple of grams of raw to gently cooked Vitamin C foods should not cause a problem.
And, let’s face it, having increased energy and not being sick for the holidays, well, that’s priceless.
Gifts from the Kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2015
This year I’m sending a basket with yummy nut butters and fresh loaves of bread from the kitchen as well as store bought cookies and candy. Now who wouldn’t want that?

Pumpkin cashew butter
For this recipe, you’ll need a food processor or find a store where you can grind your own (to make chocolate cashew butter omit pumpkin and pie spice, and add 2 T cocoa powder):
2 cups cashews
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned)
2 T pumpkin pie spice
1 T sea salt (fine)
1 T fine sugar
2 T coconut oil
2 T maple syrup
Place ingredients in a food processor and run until smooth and creamy.

Pronounced “holla,” this eggy buttery bread is lovely for French toast and also wonderful stuffed with chocolate chips or fruit preserves:
4 cups all-purpose flour plus up to 3/4 cup more for kneading
2 T sugar
2 1/4 t rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1 ⁄3 cup honey
2 whole large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 T poppy or sesame seeds
Fillings such as fruit preserves - chocolate chips (optional)
Whisk the flour, sugar, and yeast together in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
Whisk the water and honey with one whole egg, all the yolks, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and pour into the well.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon to make a soft, moist dough.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand, adding up to 3/4 cup more flour as needed, until the dough is soft and supple, about eight minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with oil and turn dough around in bowl to coat lightly.
Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until dough doubles in size, about one hour.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly to release excess air, re-shape into a ball and return to the bowl.
Cover and set aside until doubled in size, about one hour.
Line two baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
Divide the dough in half.
Lightly dust hands with flour and roll each portion of dough into a 30-inch-long log.
Roll each length of dough around itself to form a coiled round loaf on the prepared pans (if adding fillings you can fold them into the coils).
Lightly stretch the end of the coil and moisten it with water; gently press the end into the side of the round to seal the coil into a loaf.
Press down on the loaves gently, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside until doubled, about one hour.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush loaves evenly with it; sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
Put the loaves in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 degrees, and bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.

And here are two favorites from years past that can be added to any gift basket:

Homemade Vanilla 
3 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka
Glass jar with tight fitting lid
Pretty bottles with bottle stoppers
Use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected. Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka. Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place. To gift, funnel into pretty glass bottles adding a strip of vanilla bean, and attach a recipe using vanilla.

Herbed olive oil for 
Dipping Bread
This recipe will make four small jars:
In a large bowl mix together:
1 t each dried oregano, basil,  rosemary, kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes, 
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil. Ladle into jars then pour in about 1/8 cup good quality balsamic vinegar.
History’s darkness comes to light in “The Witches” by Sandra Palmer on 12/01/2015
Although the Salem Witch trials occurred over three centuries back, they continue to fascinate. Now Stacy Schiff’s historical account provides a carefully researched history of what really happened in that small colony so long ago. The Salem Witch trials in 1692 are the most extensive and deadly in American history.

During the Salem Witch trials, 19 people were put to death – primarily by hanging – although one person was crushed by stones increasingly upon his chest. Even two dogs were killed in the community’s attempt to stop the witchery.

Stacey Schiff’s last best seller was Cleopatra which shared the detailed biography of the famous Egyptian ruler. Now, she has used her formidable research skills to reveal as much as we can know about the famous witch trials during which between 144 and 185 people were accused. Those accused and jailed ranged in age from five to 80 years old and men as well as women were accused. However, during the height of the frenzy, “…husbands implicated wives; nephews their aunts; sons-in-law their mothers-in-law, siblings each other.” Four of those jailed accusers died in prison while awaiting trial under horrific conditions.

The first group of the “afflicted” were hysterical teenage girls and the hysteria and strange behavior spread rapidly through the community from that point. Interestingly, many of the typical documentation usually kept meticulously by the colony was absent and appears to have been intentionally destroyed. Nonetheless, Schiff does a great job of weaving the tale using the remaining historical records.

While it is confusing at times due to the huge cast of characters and their intricate community relationships, the growth of suspicion and accusation continued rapidly during that particularly cold, dark winter. 

Even those in positions of authority in the colony – officials, clergy, and the well-educated – dared not stand up to the witch trials, allowing the innocents and suspected to be put to death. Why? As Schiff writes so eloquently, “In isolated settlements, in dim, smoky, firelit homes, New Englanders lived very much in the dark, where one listens more acutely, feels most passionately, imagines most vividly, where the sacred and the occult thrive.”

Schiff won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for “Vera,” a biography of Vera Nabokov, wife and muse of Vladimir Nabokov. She was also a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for Saint-Exupéry. A guest columnist at The New York Times, Schiff resides in New York City.
Men are from NAPA, Women are from Macys by Ned Hickson on 12/01/2015
If you want to observe the difference between men and women at its purest form, study their shopping habits. With the holiday buying season well underway, there’s no better time to witness this phenomenon for yourself.
Here’s a brief study guide to get you started. 
a) Define an outfit as something comprised of at least three pieces of clothing, all of which are interchangeable and flattering. 
b) Have researched the best buys and know where there’s a sale today.
c) Are undecided about whether or not a drop-waist makes them look fat.
d) Will try on all clothes within arm’s reach of the fitting room.
a) Define an outfit as something comprised of jeans. And maybe a fishing lure. 
b) Have researched today’s game schedule on ESPN and know they can get to the store and back during halftime.
c) Are undecided about how to answer when their wives ask if a drop-waist makes them look fat.
d) Won’t get within arm’s reach of the fitting room. 
Obviously, the best time to conduct your study is when both men and women are in the store at the same time. This is easy to do if you just follow the Saturday sports schedule and plan your visits during halftime periods throughout the day.
The first thing you’ll notice is the difference between how men and women enter the department store.
Men don’t browse; they buy.
Being a man for many years myself, I can attest to the fact that we enter the store with absolute purpose, and continue walking that way, even if we have no idea where we’re going. When we do find the clothing section, there’s no wasting time on decisions about color or fabric.
If it’s denim and has working pockets, we’re done shopping.
By comparison, most women enter a department store like archeologists stumbling upon the remains of a lost civilization. After creating a mental grid of the area, they begin the long, slow process of sifting through every rack and every bin of twisted undergarments until, eventually, they conclude there’s nothing worth buying.
At which point they move to the next isle.
For a thorough study of the shopping habits of men and women, you must also include men who accompany their wives shopping. Keep in mind that, in most cases, these men are there by choice, i.e., they’ve chosen to go shopping over having their wives sleep in mechanic’s overalls for the next six months. The easiest way to tell these men apart from those who aren’t there with their wives is to look for any man leaning on a shopping cart with the “100-yard stare.” This is an unblinking gaze fixed on the exit doors, which, in most cases, are within 100 yards.
It’s interesting to note some of the defense mechanisms that have evolved in these men over time. For example, waving at them instantly triggers loss of sight. Next comes deafness. 

Should you somehow manage to get their attention, these individuals will be unable to speak.
Carrying on the experiment past this point isn’t recommended unless you are a certified physician.
That said, as we enter the holiday, gift-giving season, let’s take time to rejoice in the differences between men and women. Let’s embrace our diversity, and savor those things that define our genders.
And if possible, let’s do it within 100 feet of the exit.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)
Episode I: First Dance in France by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2015
The first thing you notice upon entering France is that everyone is speaking French.

The second thing you notice is that it smells different. On the Mountain, odors of conifers permeate everything. In Paris, there’s a striking mixture of fresh bread and expensive perfume.

The third thing you notice is how short French men are. Most of their wives/girl friends are taller.

The fourth thing you notice is they all wear funny shoes.

Then comes the driving experience. Attempting to wheel a rented Peugeot out of Paris resembles a platoon of French soldiers scurrying along the Maginot Line looking for directions.

With Tasha (now and forever more, apparently, known as Natasha LaRue) at the wheel, I make my best effort to play the role of navigator. There’s a problem. The signs are all in French. So are the names of the towns. We’re not talking Tillamook, or even Estacada. Try Ville de Clemenceau, or Argenton sur Prise. (Why the French put a capital P in surprise is and will forever be a mystery to me.)

Like being sprung from a hopeless situation at the pen of a dime store novelist, we escape Paris into the countryside. Hilly green fields roll by, separated by neat hedgerows in perfect patterns that makes it impossible to not imagine German tanks rolling by.

We pass through Normandy into Brittany. The big difference between the two is that Brittany cows are taller than Normandy cows. It reminds me of the women vs. men thing.

As we roll into Natasha’s village of Plougennie (you pronounce this by sprinkling pepper on your tongue, taking a swig of milk, rolling it around in your mouth, then expectorating with a toss of the head), she announces we need supplies. 

France is famous for its little shops, but the bourgeoisie have done their best to create super markets. There are, of course, some differences. And vive not so much le difference.

Shockingly, you have to pay 1 euro to liberate your shopping cart from the rack. Even more shockingly, when you return the cart to the rack your euro pops out. It’s some kind of security deposit. Think short term cart rental.

The first stop is the cheese aisle. It’s not really a stop. It’s multiple stops. There are more stops in a French cheese aisle than in the MTA that bumbles through Boston. There have to be a million varieties. (This is an estimate, as I got all soft in the head -- cheese pun -- after three thousand two hundred twenty one.)

Wisconsinites would weep.

For me, it’s always been a choice between extra sharp or just plain sharp cheddar. The French laugh at such provincialism. In fact, the French laugh at me a lot. It must be the fedora.

The bread aisle rivals the cheese aisle, but I’ve switched into crusty mode by then and I’ve risen above counting.
With supplies in hand we slide through the checkout stand without incident.

Wait. Hold that.

There are no bags for the groceries. You bring your own. Or, in our case, you put it all back in the rented cart and take it to your rented car.

We get to Natasha’s house. For her, it’s a modest dwelling: four bedrooms, three bathrooms (complete with a bidet -- which I’m not going to explain. Look it up).

We open a bottle of 5 euro wine that, I must admit, is the best wine I’ve ever had. It’s not Jameson’s mind you, but quite drinkable.

Natasha surprises me by putting on an Edith Piaf vinyl and we dance the rest of the night away under the light of a milky moon that pours through the living room skylight.

By chance, if you have the opportunity to dance in France, you might be touched by a ray of romance.

But don’t forget, I am still Max Malone, private eye, and somehow, someway, something will go wrong.
November brought precipitation, higher temps in store by Herb Miller on 12/01/2015
November got off to a cool, wet start and remained that way until two days before Thanksgiving after which a cold, dry air mass took over and sunny skies returned.

For the most part, the month was typical for November and it was encouraging to see snowfall return to the mountain, although Government Camp received only about half of its average quota.

The National Weather Service reports El Nino conditions continue at record levels and are expected to continue into the spring months.

El Nino is one of the major factors in their forecast which calls for our area to expect above average temperatures with precipitation near normal.

Of interest, November is the first month since March that Brightwood recorded above average precipitation, and the deficit totals 12.62 inches to date, compared to an annual precipitation average of 81.31 inches.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit, an average low of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a precipitation average of 11.10 inches, including an average 6 inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 60s in seven years and the 50s in the three other years.

Low temperatures fell into the low to mid 30s in four years, into the 20s in another four years and the other two years into the teens, with an average of six days that reach the freezing level.

The record December snowfall of 48.8 inches was measured in 1968. The record 24-hour snowfall for December also occurred in 1968 when 12.5 inches was measured on Dec. 18.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit, an average low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit  and a precipitation average of 13.80 inches, including 51 inches of snow.

During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s in three years, and into the 40s in the other seven years.

Lows had four years that fell into the teens, five years into the single digits and one year recorded minus one degree Fahrenheit.

The all-time record precipitation total of 32.54 inches was set in 1996 and the record snowfall total for December was 122 inches set in 1971. 

The record 24-hour December snowfall of 26 inches was set only recently in 2008.
The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Burning Wood Efficiently by Mary Soots on 12/01/2015
The first storm of the season arrived recently with winds that brought down trees and power lines, putting the mountain into darkness. We are no strangers to power outages, it’s just part of the charm of life on the mountain and most of us are prepared to burrow in for a few days. Whether it’s with the use of a generator, propane fuel or a wood-burning stove, heat is normally not a problem.

In fact, wood-burning stoves are a common way of heating for many mountain dwellers throughout the winter due to cost-effectiveness and our easy access to wood.

Like many forms of energy, regional differences are important. Burning wood is often not a viable option for urban areas. However, when thinking of environmental sustainability, it makes a lot of sense on the mountain. Wood is a renewable resource while fossil fuels are not.

The fact that we have wood a’plenty is another factor, and it requires little transportation, so it eliminates that carbon footprint. It just requires a little bit more commitment to do the intensive labor that is required such as felling the tree, chopping, stacking, etc. And of course, you don’t just flip a switch to turn it on – it requires much more effort to keep your house heated.

Still, there is a sense of satisfaction, of self-reliance, and a connectedness to the land knowing that you can survive the blustery winter without a care.

In thinking about the environmental aspects of using wood to heat your home, people often point out the drawback of smoke and the pollutants to the air. Andrew Jones, author of “Wood Heat” (Firefly Books, 2014), describes three types of smoke pollution: “nuisance smoke (caused by neighbors inefficiently heating their homes); air-shed contamination (caused by too much smoke produced in areas with a depressed topography, such as a river valley, which is prone to temperature inversions in the winter that trap smoke close to the ground); and indoor air pollution (caused by leaky or inefficient in-house wood-burning appliances).” The health implications of this can be significant for those with respiratory ailments, allergies, young children and older adults.

Jones notes that older stoves emit an average of 25 grams of smoke per hour of operation (g/h) and even older “airtight stoves” are not very efficient.  Due to regulations that were put in place in 2000, efficiency has increased and wood smoke has been reduced by up to 90 percent in advanced-technology stoves, inserts, fireplaces and furnaces that produce only two to four g/h. There are several ways to increase efficiency of wood heating while reducing pollution. One way is have an efficient wood-burning stove. While pellet stoves are the most efficient, a good wood-burning stove allows us to burn the wood gathered on the mountain.

In addition, experts advise that you don’t build a larger fire than you need for the space you’re heating. Close doors to rooms you’re not using to maintain the space warm. Clean out the ash often to ensure proper air flow to the fuel.

Using efficient fuel means seasoned wood. Wood should have a moisture content of less than 20 percent. This is achieved by allowing the chopped wood to dry out over a period of six to nine months.

Maintain your chimney regularly. Buildups of creosote and pollutants will not allow an adequate draft for a fire to burn efficiently and can lead to house fires.

Knowing that we are getting the most of our wood-burning stove means that we can cut fewer trees to meet our needs, and will reduce the pain to the wallet, our lungs and our backs.
Appreciating the abundance of life by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2015
While pulling into my driveway, my grandson said “Nana, why are you always so happy when everyone else is worrying about money?” And I thought what a great time to show him abundance, that life is not about money. I’ve been there. On both sides. Over my lifetime I’ve been a single mother on welfare, and I’ve been a millionaire (well, on paper anyway). There’s not a whole lot of difference between the two. You just cut higher on the green onions and never throw out the mushroom stems.

Sitting in the driveway I was able to provide some of the ongoing reassurance that the children need in these so-called tough times. I’m able to give the benefit of my experiences. I’m old school, so I never reveal my age, but I’ll take pride in the “creeping wisdom” that comes along with it.

How did I get to my current comfort zone? I was twenty years old when I read my first issue of “Organic Gardening,” though the magazine had been published since World War II. I was living in a small farmhouse that had been built by Louis B. Mayer, of MGM movie fame. Too young at the time to know much about anything, I jumped into gardening with both boots. Going back to the land was “in style” and I was determined to be “stylish.” Almost unbelievably, I started raising chickens with a retired movie extra. There were fruit trees already on the property: apricots, grapefruit, pomegranates, and an arbor of red, white and blue grapes almost a hundred feet long!

The grape arbor led to a patio with a built-in outdoor grill where Louis B. had fried eggs for a hundred people at a time! Those movie people liked to entertain and the neighborhood remembered. I could hardly believe the stories, nor the abundance, surrounding me. But I was raised by parents who knew depression, the era, not the emotion, and I’d been brought to be frugal and “waste not, want not.”

With a steep learning curve ahead of me, and youthful arrogance, I began learning to process that abundance, to shop wisely, to recycle. I started my first garden as a grown-up. I began to relate to the land and to remember the visceral connection of all things. Everything relates to everything else. I was hooked on “wholeness.”
When you look at the wholeness of life, of living, there are only a few things that really matter. Food, air, water, shelter, community, love --- the interconnectedness of it all. The wild berries that surround my property, the jewel-like eggs of numerous colors that come from our chickens, the donkey poo that fertilizes our fruit trees. Who cares that the blackberries are a wild tangle, that there are fewer eggs in the winter, or that there’s way more manure than my raised garden beds can absorb?

My grandson’s eyes opened wide as he absorbed all this abundance. He has fields to play in and animals to care for and the results of his own labor to eat. He never complains. As the largest part of our populations contemplates retirement, they are again worrying about their personal “recession.” Yet, I know that everyone reading this has air and most have water (though my well struggles this dry year). We have a roof over our heads (that no longer leaks!) and plenty of food (mostly tomatoes and zucchini but it’s food). Check with local food banks and churches if you are struggling for food. Shop wisely. Don’t even buy junk food. Recycle garden waste through composting or, even better, chickens.

 It’s taken twenty-seven years but I now know all the neighbors around me and participate in local organizations - that makes a community. And most importantly I have the love of my grandchildren who live nearby. And you too have friends who love you, even if your grandchildren do not live near you. Churches bring love to you that you may not even be aware of. We all have so much abundance, we just need to be grateful for all of it. Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving. 
Thanksgiving, step by step by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2015
My first shot at thanksgiving was a bit of a disaster. My roommates were coming home from Barbados, I was 21 years old and wanted to impress invited guests. Made a hodgepodge of about 20 items for side dishes ( including soggy canned asparagus and white rice) and stayed up all night preparing a raw on the inside turkey. We still had a blast and although the food was lacking edibility I did impress them with my friendship skills.

Shop the week before if possible then stay away from the store - it’s a mess, you are too cool to shop the day before.

One week out - freeze the breads and whole cranberries, chop 2 of each carrot, celery, onions, apples - slice 2 oranges chop herbs, freeze in plastic bags

6 days - purchase the wines and cheeses - this is an event for me! Choose 1 Chardonnay 1 Merlot 1 Cabernet plus a sparkling wine - also choose a non alcoholic sparkling grape juice - for wine my ideal price is below $8 per bottle, $16 if I’m feeling fancy. Three cheeses will be great- one soft- one blue and a white cheddar, a dish of nuts and fruits such as grapes and figs as well as crisp breads or crackers

5 days prior make the filling and crust for the pies - assemble fruit pies, place in freezer, bake and freeze pumpkin pies and cheesecake.

4 days prior remove turkey from freezer (if frozen).

3 days prior - blanch fresh green beans, remove turkey from freezer.

2 days - make stock using neck - brine turkey - make mashed potatoes - roast yams, make green bean casserole and cranberry sauce.

Day before - roast turkey, make gravy, prep stuffing.

Day of - warm turkey, slice -warm mashed potatoes, bake green bean casserole and stuffing, bake fruit pies, prepare cheese plate.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for a fantastic holiday:

Fall Fondue
1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ lb each gruyere (swiss) cheese and white cheddar
2 T cornstarch
1 clove garlic
¼ t nutmeg
¼ t white pepper
¼ cup apple juice

I butternut squash, peeled, cubed & roasted
1 lb baby potatoes boiled in salted water until tender
1 lb blanched asparagus spears, tender crisp
Cubed crusty bread
Sliced kielbasa sausage
Sliced pears sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning

Directions: In a bowl toss the cheeses with the cornstarch. In a large pot bring the wine and juice to a bubble over medium heat, slowly whisk in the cheese mixture and turn the heat to med low. Continue whisking until the fondue is smooth adding in the clove of garlic, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for 10 minutes without boiling, then transfer to a fondue pot and serve with dippers.

Whipped Yukon gold potatoes with goat cheese
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled 
1 t Kosher salt 
1 1/2 cups half and half
6 T unsalted butter 
1/2 cup goat cheese/chevre
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper
Snipped herbs such as chives (optional)

Directions: Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add enough salt so the water tastes quite salty. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork. 
Meanwhile, heat the half and half and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done. 

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a glass bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth to force the potatoes through the disc.

As soon as the potatoes are mashed, slowly whisk in enough of the hot cream/butter mixture to make the potatoes very creamy.

Add 1 t of salt and the goat cheese and pepper and whisk to combine.

Taste for seasoning and serve hot with snipped herbs if you’d like.

Sweet potato gratin
5 large yams or sweet potatoes peeled & sliced thinly
2 T pumpkin pie spice
1 T salt 
1 stick unsalted butter softened
1/4 cup four 
2 T chopped pecans
1/4 cup light brown sugar 
Butter a 9x13 baking dish 

Directions: Make streusel- With fingers mix pecans, 1/2 stick of butter, 1/8 cup brown sugar & flour set aside 
Mix 1/8 cup brown sugar with the pumpkin pie spice 1/2 of the butter and salt.

Layer potato slices with the butter pie spice mixture until all potatoes are used, top with streusel, bake at 375 degrees 45 mins or until potatoes are tender and top is golden - let cool slightly.

Finally, my number one tip: get invited to someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner and bring a delicious side like the sweet potato gratin!
Erik Larson's latest a fascinating glimpse into history by Sandra Palmer on 11/01/2015
Although we know that disaster looms as the Lusitania prepares to leave New York harbor, Erik Larson’s tale of the passengers, military tactics and personal decisions that lead to the ship’s spectacular sinking keeps the reader’s interest from the first page.

“Dead Wake” tells the gripping tale of that fateful journey and suspense builds as we see events and choices conspire toward the inevitable horror to come.

Many readers will recognize Larson’s skillful historical research translated into a compelling narrative approach which has resulted in many recent nonfiction bestsellers, but this volume is one of his best.

Again, the historical information provides fascinating perspective for compelling personal stories as the Lusitania’s captain and an aggressive submarine commander put their two craft on a collision course.

Unlike the sinking of the Titanic which shocked the world because the state-of-the-art liner was believed to be unsinkable, the attack on the Lusitania shocked in a different way as most had assumed that passenger liners would be immune from attack even as marine warfare escalated.

And the Lusitania was a formidable vessel carrying more than two thousand souls, many of them Americans while the United States continued to avoid participation in World War I.

The two ship captains are a contrast in styles and personality but even the unpredictable fog and the decision not to escort the Lusitania as it approaches its destination play a role in the crucial moments that result in the rapid sinking of the great liner. A “lucky shot” from the German sub who has the unexpected gift of a clear, close shot at the liner maximize the scope of the tragic sinking.

“Dead Wake” provides fascinating history in a compelling narrative. Another magnificent piece of work from Erik Larson that you do not have to be a history buff to appreciate.

Erik Larson, author of many bestselling books including “In the Garden of Beasts” and “The Devil in the White City” (winner of the 2004 Edgar Award) lives in New York City and Seattle.
Last Tango in Reno by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/01/2015
A few weeks went by. Tasha had dismissed the Grimaldi brothers like a cross-eyed teacher expelling the 3rd grade class clown.

I had settled into the stucco mansion with an endless supply of Jameson’s in the parlor bar. As long as I stayed inside, all was well. On the odd moment I ventured outside I was struck in the midsection by the pink exterior and the city of Reno failing to have the rifraff swept away despite the noble efforts of the Truckee River knifing through the tattered town.

For a time, my options were few. I had lost my mountain cabin. Francoise, my faithful secretary, had taken up with Frank Strong, the former porno film star Feral Strong. She had closed my office – something to do with a lack of payroll. My apartment in the Pearl District of Portland had been taken away by a greedy landlord who sold the buildiing to a dot.com company full of 20-somethings with horned rim glasses and wispy beards.

So settling in with Tasha was a buckdancer’s choice, my friend.

I soon discovered Tasha’s real name: Natasha LaRue. Her French origin came to light one morning over toast and jam and a cup of coffee.

“Have you ever had a croissant with orange marmalade washed down by an enormous cup of coffee with steamed milk?” she purred.

In the three weeks that had passed I had almost become accustomed to Tasha’s sharp conversational turns – that were always managed without a turn signal.

I didn’t answer. I just stared into her Maxwell House eyes steaming with delight.

Call me a Tom Waits wannabee.

“I have a house in France,” she said as if everyone in the world but me knew that.

Aha, I said to myself, discovering the conversational boulevard we were navigating.

“That’s nice,” I offered up like a disinterested politician, but I repeat myself.

“I’m serious,” she said. “I know you don’t like Reno all that much. But you certainly act like you like me.”

She had scored a point, but this was going to be a three-set match.

“So, how about let’s go,” she said, veering sharply ‘a gauche’.

“To France?” I said, feeling my legs suddenly failing me.

“Yes,” she said, through that purring thing of hers.

“What?” I said through numbing lips. “You expect me to ride around in a Peugeot slathering Grey Poupon on my ham sandwich all the while guzzling from a bottle of Pernod?”

“Have you ever been there?” she responded, her teeth clinched on the idea like a wild wolverine.

I had, once, I thought to myself, remembering my astonishment at the overwhelming number of Frenchmen there were.

“We have plenty of money,” she reminded me, as I had witnessed the amount of dough she had bilked from Johnny Longo once I had removed him from the premises. “And you had a lot to do with that. So that makes us ... like ... partners.”

I screeched around the conversational curve holding desperately to my fedora, with Tasha’s purr whistling through my ears.

What’s a guy to do? Tasha was a witch, no doubt. But it’s not like I’m exactly a saint. A bit Mickey Spillane, perhaps, but no saint.

“So when we get to France do I call you Natasha?” I was trying out the no-signal turn.

“Yes,” she said, feline friendly. “Natasha LaRue. And you’ll be Maxmillian.”

Well, like I said earlier, what’s a guy to do?

After all, I am Maxmillian Malone, perhaps a former private eye.
El nino signals warm temps ahead by Herb Miller on 11/01/2015
As forecasted, October has had warmer than average temperatures, but nothing compared to the record breaking summer experienced during June, July and August. In Brightwood, June temperatures averaged 6.2 degrees above normal, and during July, 5.6 degrees above normal, both months breaking the record set during 2003. July also set a record with having 11 days reaching 90 or higher.

The summer had a total of 16 days reaching 90 or higher, compared to an average of just under seven. August averaged 3.2 degrees above normal, threatening the record set during 1986. During those three months, rainfall totalled only 2.80 inches, just 40 percent of the normal 7.01 inches. Temperatures moderated to a more seasonal level during the last two weeks of October and precipitation became more frequent, but still remained dryer than average.

The National Weather Service reports El Nino conditions are expected to peak during November or the early winter period, and that El Nino is the predominant influence on their forecast. November is expected to have above average temperatures and near normal precipitation for our area.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.79 inches, inluding an average 2.6 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached the 60s during seven years and the 50s during three years. Low temperatures fell into the low to mid 30s during four years, into the 20s during four years and two years into the teens. 

November averages six days that reach the freezing level. The precipitation total of 24.44 inches measured during November of 2006 was surpassed only by the historic record of 28.09 inches set in December of 1964. The record November snowfall of 27.7 inches was measured in 1973, during which a record total of 8.8 inches was measured on Nov. 5, 1973. But last year, an eight-inch snowfall was measured on Nov. 13, 2014.

During November, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 29 degrees and a precipitation average of 12.16 inches, including 32 inches of snow. During the past ten years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s during four years and into the 50s during the other six years. Lows had four years that fell to the 20s, five years into the teens, and one year reached into the single digits.

The record precipitation total of 26.51 inches was set in 1995. and the record snowfall total for November was 125 inches set in 1973. Interestingly, the record 24-hour November snowfall of 20 inches was set on two occasions, both within the past nine years, on Nov. 18, 2010 and Nov. 23, 2006.
It's a Wild and Wacky World by Victoria Larson on 09/30/2015
Though we humans have been around for thousands of years, we’ve been very slowly evolving. Agriculture has been around for about 10,000 years and that has caused some of the biggest changes. We were still hunters and gatherers when we began to grow things in one place. First the “wild grasses” were domesticated. 

Around 5,000 years ago, China began domestication of rice. Central and South America domesticated corn and potatoes. These plants (rice, wheat, corn and to a lesser degree potatoes) are domesticated starches. A good 75 percent of our domesticated diet is based on these four food groups. Rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes are all concentrated starches. Decreasing hunting and gathering, domesticating foods, allowed peoples of the world to proliferate. It’s less dangerous to garden and farm than it is to stalk wild animals. Women were the primary farmers, allowing them to stay home, grow food that could be ground into a softer form for children, and have more babies. World population soared.

But there was/is a downside to domestication of our food supply. Carbs (even complex ones) are concentrated energy. Carbs break down to glucose (sugar) which breaks down to glycogen (stored sugar), but it’s all carbohydrate starch anyway. When we were in the hunting and gathering mode, we didn’t just live on starches alone. Wild game was still hunted, all parts of the animal eaten, and wild berries, herbs, roots, and seeds were eaten as well. 
Now we “evolved” humans live in such an abundance of carbohydrates that most grocery stores carry food that is primarily based on rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes. Now “the white foods” abound. Mostly in the form of processed foods. Most of what most people buy in grocery stores. Remember, it is now 75 percent of the United States diet. Is it any wonder that we have a problem.

In addition, people don’t “move around” as much as they used to in hunter-gatherer times. They sit. All day. In cars, in front of computers, in front of the TV. And so we, as a nation, are putting on the pounds. The latest studies show that the biggest health threat we face (after cigarettes) is sitting. Just sitting. So please get up and walk around right now. Swing your arms around. Outside if possible. Take a few deep breaths while you’re at it. A few jumping jacks would not hurt either. When you feel energized, come back in and finish reading this column. For there’s more to learn. And it’s pretty wacky.

I have read books and been to seminars on the evils of gluten, sugar, soy, and wheat. But the truth is, it’s not just one thing. It’s the whole white package. Plants and animals are now disappearing from the face of the earth at a rate 1,000 times faster than at any time in the past 65,000,000 years! That’s an alarming bit of news. We cannot evolve fast enough to process these kinds of changes. We are losing diversity (more about that in a future column - why we need it). 

The United States controls global agriculture with our voracious appetite for many foods and petroleum products. We trust our ongoing and global food supply. Yet in societies where people have fewer electronics and are more closely tied to the land where all their food comes from, have a better awareness. It is estimated that with some kind of catastrophe (earthquake, volcanic eruption, terrorism) the grocery stores would have about a three-day supply of food for our current population. And most of that would be packaged carbs. Just look at what’s on the aisle in your favorite store. 

The average distance that your non-local food travels is estimated to be 1,200 - 1,500 miles. A year’s worth of eating in the U.S. means the average person’s food will have traveled 5,000,000 miles in that year! And that’s a lot of petroleum. The U.S. supplies most of the genetically modified food and seeds (GM) which many of the world’s countries refuses to import. 

Do they know something we don’t know? 

It’s a wacky world all right.  
Hot Sandwiches for Cool Nights by Taeler Butel on 09/30/2015
Just in time again for busy schedules and empty lunch boxes to fill. 

These recipes are easy, scrumptious and freeze well.

1 can refrigerated pizza dough or homemade pizza dough
1 small jar pizza sauce
8 oz Swiss cheese slices
8 oz sliced ham
1 T softened butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees, roll out dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spread sauce then cheese then ham. Roll lengthwise and slice into 1” thick slices, then brush tops with butter. Bake the pinwheel sandwiches for 20 mins or until tops are browned & cheese is melty.

Moist pumpkin bars
Stir together:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 T pumpkin pie spice
In a bowl stir together:
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Mix well, pour into a 9x11 parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325 oven 20-25 mins. Allow to cool, add nuts and or choc chips to the mix if you like.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 09/30/2015
Summer seems to have come and gone quickly, but the fall season brings a lot of excitement across the district. This summer I was able to travel throughout HD 52, visit with constituents, and enjoy the events held in our communities. Throughout the month of September, I held a series of town halls to discuss the outcomes of the 2015 legislative session and to hear from all of you. Listening is an important part of being a legislator! Let me provide a brief update of these town halls.

In Hood River, I invited a panel of energy experts including reps from Portland General Electric, NW Natural, and the Energy Trust of Oregon to talk about policies currently in place affecting our carbon output as a state. This was a great discussion open to the public and we had a lot of constituents attend, ask questions, and learn more about the complexities of energy policy. I felt this was an important event to coordinate because many of my constituents care about the topic of conservation and issues surrounding carbon output. The information presented by the panel is similar to what we legislators can usually receive in Salem, but could be shared more with the general public. Therefore, this was an opportunity for all the information to be out in the open and helps all of us have a more productive conversation. In order to make good policy decisions about energy, or any other issue, it’s important that we all have good objective information on which to base our decisions. 

Following that, Sen. Thomsen and I held a joint town hall at the Hoodland Fire Department. We also invited a representative from ODOT to provide an update on local transportation projects on Hwy. 26 and other locations throughout the district. Having a chance to talk with Village of Mt. Hood residents is an imperative part of representing HD 52 because your needs are unique and often overlooked by Clackamas County. I am always conscious of how policies will affect the communities on the Mountain and always encourage you all to stay in contact with me with any issues or concerns that may come up.

At the time of writing this, my next meeting will be with the Sandy Chamber. This last session enacted significant laws impacting small businesses. Especially in the Sandy and Villages community, small businesses are a vital component of the local economy. I am looking forward to having this opportunity to share with local business owners and employers what new legislation may be affecting them and to receive input that I can take to Salem and use to influence the discussions there. 

It is an honor to represent the Mt. Hood area and the communities in HD 52. I look forward to being able to see more of you at upcoming events in the district. If you want to stay up to date on events, please join my newsletter at www.repmarkjohnson.com.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me:

Rep.MarkJohnson@state.or.us or call 503-986-1452.
Rev Up for Return of Lisbeth Salander by Sandra Palmer on 09/30/2015
Fans of Steig Larsson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (‘Millenium”) series will not be disappointed as crime novelist David Lagercrantz picks up the series using Steig Larsson’s outlines for the remaining seven books in his planned 10 book series. 

You may recall that there was quite a controversy about who owned the rights to Steig’s materials but his family won out and carefully appointed a successor so that this unique series – and it’s unusual characters – could live on.

I have to admit that I struggled during the first chapters, realizing that the new author was not Steig. 

And series fans may be a little impatient as Lagercrantz teases us in the early chapters with only brief mentions of Lisbeth Salandar as Mikael Blomquist battles writer’s block and sets the stage for their next adventure, finally stumbling onto more than he bargained for. 

But once Lisbeth enters the action, the pace completely revs up and readers are turning pages with no care for any other responsibilities in life. 

I gulped this book down in just a few days, obsessed as usual even with a new author in the driver’s seat.

This literary trip has an unusual international flavor which includes Lisbeth hacking the NSA and chasing down shady characters (including her sociopath sister!) who are involved in international crime. 

There is an interesting story about an exceptionally gifted mathematician and computer engineer with an extraordinarily skilled autistic child who helps to solve his father’s murder and save Lisbeth from international murdering thugs. 

Of course, this provides Blomquist with his next news “scoop” and burnishes his celebrity stardom once more.
Don’t hesitate to dive into this new adventure with the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” 
The series is in good hands, I assure you!

*   *   *
David Lagercrantz is a Swedish journalist and author. 

He has worked as a crime reporter and several novels. 

This is his first book as he steps into the shoes of Steig Larsson to complete the Millenium series.
Episode X: Longo Comes Up Short by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/30/2015
The setting is Tasha’s faux-Hollywood home, faux because it’s not in Hollywood, it’s in Reno.

Casino baron Johnny Longo is sitting across from me at a glass-top settee table with matching maroon easy chairs. In this particular case, I have no plans on making Johnny’s chair easy.

Meanwhile, Tasha is draped on a bar stool over Johnny’s shoulder, with me in her line of sight.

“So tell me Max Malone,” Johnny opens, emphasizing my full name as if I’m a mixed breed of dubious origin. “Why have I been summoned here?”

“Well, let’s see, Johnny Longo,” I respond with a corresponding snub at his AKC credentials. “Your business interests have crossed over into my business interests. More to the point, you had my mountain cabin burned down. I also have a pretty good idea why you had it done.”

He arches an eyebrow and shifts in his chair. I interrupt him in mid-arch.

“Uh-uh. Sit tight pal. You asked a question. Do yourself a favor and listen. Your business with Paul Greinke was a big mistake, as even you must have figured out by now. But moving on me is an even bigger mistake.”

Johnny leans forward in a sad Nevada attempt at being a tough guy. I’ve seen better imitations from 130-pound waiters in an English tea room.

Yet, he continues, rolling his dwarf-like shoulders in an attempt to fill out his 32-short shiny sport coat.
“The only mistake I made was you were supposed to be in the cabin at the time.”

He leans back in his chair, comfortable in the mistaken idea he had scored a point that could not be answered.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Tasha squirm on the bar stool.

I don’t like surprises, and I have to admit I never thought I was the real target, not my property. But in my business, I have to deal with surprises all the time.

“Then we need to make something very clear, Johnny Longo,” I spit out. “I’ve dealt with two-bit thugs like you my entire adult life. And if you check it out, I’m still here.”

“I’m a two-bit thug?” Johnny counters, the words spilling over his diminutive chin like a soft current over a river rock.

He stands up as tall as his genetic makeup allows.

I smile broadly and take up the distance between us. He reaches inside his jacket with his right hand.
Tasha leaps from her bar stool in astonishment.

I grab Johnny’s left hand with my right and crunch his fingers into the back of his wrist. He squeals in pain, his empty right hand flying out of his jacket.

My left hand disappears into his jacket and I quickly remove his piece from the shoulder holster and press the business end against his ear.

“You’re in way over your head little man,” I manage to say without laughing as Johnny’s toupee tilts like a tower in Pisa. “What you need to do now is walk out of here as quickly as you can, before I get upset.”

The last words come with a tightening grip on his hand before letting it go.

Johnny tries desperately to not cradle his ailing hand, but fails. He glares back at Tasha, then turns back to me.

“I want my piece,” he says, sounding  like a choir boy late for rehearsal.

“You’re fresh out of wants,” I say, no longer able to hold back my laughter as he adjusts his hairline. “And you want to avoid ever seeing me again.”

Johnny left like an Italian soldier before a Patton army.

Tasha sighed deeply and approached, engulfing me in her arms.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

El Nino to Hang Around Through Winter by Herb Miller on 09/30/2015
The first week of September was cooler than average, with rain during four days. Summer weather followed reaching a peak Sept. 11 with Brightwood recording a high of 92 degrees and Government Camp recording 86.
Summer came to an abrupt end on Sept. 17 with cool temperatures and Brightwood getting soaked with 1.26 inches of rain.

Seasonal average temperatures resumed for the remainder of the month, although rainfall remained less than average.

At the end of the 2014-2015 rain year on Sept. 30, Brightwood received a precipitation total of 75.42 inches, which is 93 percent of the average of 81.31 inches.

In all probability, the fire season has ended and all of us can be grateful to the firefighters for a job well done under trying conditions.

The National Weather Service reports El Nino conditions are at exceptionally high levels and feel convinced they will continue through the winter months, if not longer. October is expected to have above average temperatures and near normal precipitation for our area.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 6.56 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 70s during seven years and the 60s during three years. Low temperatures fell into the low to mid 30s during seven years, into the 20s twice, and one year settled for 40. The record precipitation total of 14.67 inches was set only three years ago in 2012. The record snowfall of 7 inches was measured Oct. 31, 1994.

During October, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 6.99 inches, including 5.4 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 70s during five years, and into the 60s during the other five years. Lows had seven years that fell to the 20s, two years into the 30s, and one year reached into the teens. The first freezing temperature averages out on Sept. 23, with the latest recorded Oct. 22, 1975. The record high snowfall total for October was 34 inches measured in 1984. The record high 24-hour snowfall in October was 15 inches measured in 1961, compared to a 12-inch total measured recently in 2009.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugli by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2015
Time was when kings, queens, and emperors viewed fruit as a special treat. Not daily fare unless they lived in tropical climates. Worldwide, fruits are in abundance. According the the United Nations, the most common fruits in fruit bowls around the world are bananas (or plantains), apples, citrus fruits, grapes, mangoes, melons, coconuts, and pears. To a lesser degree peaches, plums, dates, and pineapples are also found around the world.

Clearly we have a global economy.For shipping purposes, fruits are now pretty standardized. Ripe fruit goes to mush if shipped any farther than a few miles. Therefore, our global desire for fruit demands that fruits be picked when hard and underripe in order to reach your fruitbowl still in edible shape. Unless your are eating from your own backyard or your neighbor’s.

Fruits are so delectable and desirable because they are sweet. There is much controversy over whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. Yet in 1893 the United States Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes were a vegetable because they weren’t sweet. Of course, now many are sweet. Rhubarb was legally determined to be a fruit in 1947 because it was almost always served sweetened. People thrive on controversy. There are estimated to be almost 500,000 different fruit bearing plants in the world. While 70-80,000 of these fruits are edible, most of our fruit comes from a mere 20 crops.

History shows us that Galen, the great physician, in the second century, advised against eating fruits. He taught that fruits were laxative and indeed in large quantities they are. The belief that fruits were to be used only medicinally lasted until the Renaissance. Fruits are now a major food group for all who can afford it or have fruits available in their yards.

Until the Industrial Revolution, most people grew their own food. Shipping was not so much a problem in the United States, though in China fruit was bred to remain hard even when ripe, as fruit traveled long distances from the countryside to cities. Canning did not become popular until 1809 and allowed fruits to be stored for the less temperate months.

Messing with fruit (and other foodstuffs) has been going on for a long time. Though vitamins were discovered around WW I, the war made fruit less available. Fruit was rationed. In Canada, rations of raspberry “jam” were actually sweetened turnips, dotted with woodchips to simulate the seeds of the raspberries!

The word “fruit” comes from the Latin word fruor, which means “to delight in” and the word fructus, which means “pleasure and gratification”. Now widely available, pomegranates were uncommon in the United States until 2006. Though I had several pomegranate trees on my farm in Tarzana, California in the 1970s, we hardly knew what to do with them.

Fruits are good for you. The US Department of Agriculture says we should have five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Naturopathic Doctors say six-ten servings. The actual per capita consumption in America is less than two servings a day. Now is your chance. Summer means there is wide availability of fruit. 

Fruit helps you in so many ways. While not local, bananas help people relax and feel less depressed. Citrus peels (and that includes the ugli fruit which looks like an over-sized grapefruit) combat skin cancer. Figs have more polyphenols (which are good for you) than red wine or tea. 

Locally, berries, cherries, and plums have anthocyanadins, which are flavonoids shown in 2007 to destroy cancer cells in the body without harming the healthy cells. Orange fruits (apricots, peaches, some plums) have carotenoids to protect against heart disease and loss of muscle mass. Now is the time to eat from a rainbow of choices. Everyday if you can.  
Kids in the Kitchen by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2015
Teach a kid to cook and you can say:  “Hey you there – you’re makin’ dinner tonight!” 

It’s so worth it.

Here’s how this went: Each of my kiddos ages 10 & 11 got to pick out groceries to make their dinner of choice for the week. This was Week One. As they master their recipes they can even make dessert and invite a friend over to learn and enjoy their new skills.

My son chose steak and my daughter chose broccoli cheddar soup. Who knew there were so many lessons to be learned in the kitchen like patience and perfect timing. 
Now we can all learn some of that.

Pan seared sirloin steak:
2 lbs sirloin steaks 2” thick
Spice Rub
1 t each – salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder mixed with 1T olive oil.
Generously apply the rub and allow meat to sit out, about 20 mins until room temperature. Heat oven to 350, heat a cast iron skillet over med high heat until a drop of water sizzles & disappears. Place steaks in a pan and do not touch for about 3-4 mins or until a brown crust forms, then flip and place pan in the oven. 6-7 mins for medium well, 4-5 mins for medium or 3-4 mins for rare.

Broccoli cheddar soup:
2 lbs fresh or frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 white onion finely diced
1/2 cup each fine chopped carrots & celery
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup Half & Half or heavy cream
1 t each salt & pepper
2 cups med sharp shredded cheddar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 clove garlic - smashed
Sautee the onion, celery & carrot 4 mins or so until the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic and the broccoli and cook over med heat another minute or so. Add in the salt and pepper and chicken stock to cover veggies, bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a simmer. Simmer until broccoli is very tender. Using an immersion blender, blend the veggies into the soup until only small chunks are visible. I do not currently have one so I scoop out 3 cups of the veggies into a blender adding enough broth to cover and I blend until smooth/chunky. Pour back into pot, add cream or half & half and allow to steam but not boil. In another bowl, add the cheese and toss together with the cornstarch. Add cheese to soup in thirds stirring constantly, and allow the soup to boil about a minute or so until thickened.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 08/01/2015
The 2015 Legislature gaveled out on July 7 after spending six months in Salem. These six months were spent crafting policy meant to address the issues facing Oregonians and to improve our state. Of course, crafting policy is not always a simple equation of problem + Legislature = solution. 

For a bill to become law, it takes a great deal of communication and engagement with those that are knowledgeable, have an interest in creating a solution, and especially those who may be opposed. This is the way that I approach the legislative process and it has allowed me to develop working relationships with legislators from both sides of the aisle and across the state. 

These relationships are what helped me to accomplish some key priorities while working in the minority for my constituents. There are some key challenges facing Oregon that were not addressed in this session, but I will continue working to find solutions and develop sound policies. 

Below are some of the main pieces of legislation I championed this session:

SB 81: creates the Oregon Promise, a community college tuition waiver program for eligible high school graduates. Students will accept all grant money first and in many cases, federal grants will cover the entire cost of tuition. The state will pay the remaining cost of tuition, effectively removing the main barrier to post-secondary education. 

Currently, the state pays an average of $17,000 for those receiving state social services and 2/3 of all jobs today require some form of post-secondary training. 

SB 81 is an investment giving students the skills they need to enter the work force and supporting their long-term success, making it less likely they will need costly state support in the future.

Governor Kate Brown came to Hood River on July 17 to sign SB 81 into law. She signed the bill at the Columbia Gorge Community College and thanked myself along with Sen. Mark Hass and Rep. Tobias Read, co-sponsors of the bill, for our bi-partisan efforts in crafting this historic piece of legislation.

SB 418: allocates $7 million to build the capacity that is needed to help our students’ transition from high school to Community College. With this bill we are building a seamless pathway from high school to post-secondary education and career training for students who may not have previously considered it possible. This will help build a culture supporting students, especially those that previously thought college was out of reach due to the cost.

HB 3069 sets higher standards for teacher education programs to train candidates in reading instruction practices. The K-3 reading benchmark is one of the most critical for our children. Students that can read at benchmark are FOUR times more likely to graduate. 

This bill requires teacher-training programs to make sure that new elementary level teachers have demonstrated the skills needed to help all students read well. 

HB 3225 is a huge step to protect our communities from oil train/hazardous cargo accidents. HB 3225 establishes the Oregon State Fire Marshal as the lead coordinator to ensure first responders are trained and have the resources they need to respond where incidents may incur throughout the state. 

In partnership with the rail companies, the OSFM will create a response plan, identifying gaps in the current system and solutions to addressing them. 

SB 478 requires Oregon Health Authority to establish and maintain a list of designated high priority chemicals used in children’s products. With this legislation, manufacturers will be required to phase out the presence of known harmful chemicals in certain children’s products. Parents will be able to make informed decisions when choosing products for the children.

HB 2317 extends the statute of limitation from six to twelve years for prosecutions of rape. This is a common sense piece of legislation addressing some of the most serious crimes in our communities. Advocates brought awareness to the level of trauma experienced by victims as a result of these crimes, which can often lead to delayed reporting.

There are some serious challenges ahead for our communities. This Legislature did very little to help support small business growth and strengthen our private sector. We must do more to support job growth and creation in our state so that we will have the resources we want and need for schools and other important needs.  Our economic outlook in May was good, but the message was that we might be nearing the peak of our growth.
This combined with some very large budget holes looming in the next biennium makes me concerned for our future. 

Overall, I’m proud of what I accomplished during the legislative session. I’m looking forward to returning home and connecting with all of you in person, because that’s where I learn about how I can serve the district. Please continue to stay in touch with me and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have. Email: rep.markjohnson@state.or.us  or Call: 503-986-1452.
The Big House by Sandra Palmer on 08/01/2015
Even if the beach is not on your agenda this summer, you can take a trip there in spirit by diving into 

“The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home” by George Howe Colt.

‘’The Big House’’ is a rambling, beloved and eccentric summer home perched high above the tides overlooking Cape Cod’s Buzzards Bay. This massive and unusual summer home was originally constructed by author George Howe Colt’s great-grandfather, Edward W. Atkinson, a wealthy member of the Boston elite. Over one hundred subsequent summers since its construction, the Big House witnessed weddings, divorces, deaths and numerous remarkable nervous breakdowns. Before the house was sold and remodeled, author Colt spent 42 summers vacationing at The Big House with his extended family, absorbing its personality and atmosphere before finally introducing his own children to this special summer holiday ritual.

In this extraordinary volume, the author shares a final poignant summer at the House while relating his family’s unusual history interspersed with his own personal memories of this much-loved place – afternoon tea on the “piazza,” early morning fishing in the bay with his grandmother, playing pool in the barn with his grandfather and extended family, listening to the wind play distinctive melodies through the eaves and windows, finding imaginative treasures washed in by the waves.

Chapter by chapter, page by page, the reader comes to understand and share the strange attachment felt by the author for his family’s traditional summer home and their desire to preserve its nostalgic – often completely outdated – traditions. The reader comes to appreciate the comfort in the family’s return to this spot, year after year, where the realities of the greater world can be completely left behind during their visit. The reader can finally appreciate why The Big House remained the center of life for so many generations and why the author wanted to memorialize it in a literary way.

In spite of its eventual sale to a new family as its original family grew beyond consensus in terms of its preservation, The Big House remains in the shared memories of the extended family for whom it provided such a resonant experience over the generations.  And on the pages of this beautifully written memoir.

(George Howe Colt is the bestselling author of “The Big House,” which was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times notable book of the year, and “November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide.”  He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Anne Fadiman, and their two children.) 

Max Malone, Private Eye
Episode VIII - Doberman at the Gate by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2015
Yep. It was back to Reno for the kid.

And there was only one reason for suffering that town of bright lights and miserable souls: I had a mountain cabin score to settle with a chap who called himself Johnny Longo.

He owned two casinos in Las Vegas, one in Reno, but for a reason I didn’t yet know he preferred to hole up in Reno. Evidently he subscribed to the Big Fish in a Little Pond way of life. And Reno, even in its highest of tides, was still a little pond.

I took the long route, wheeling my Suburban through the forest communities of Burney Falls, Westwood and Susanville. 

I have a thing about the woods. 

Climbing out of Susanville I mounted the high desert environment that signaled Reno was on the way. Dust devils danced off the roadway. Cars sped in my direction toward Reno – the stuff of high hopes – while oncoming traffic traveled at a loser’s pace – the stuff of empty pockets.

Reno on the half shell. People power.

With the help of my long-suffering secretary Francoise, and having tapped the powers of Frank Strong in the attorney general’s office, I had divined that Valerie Suppine – the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States – had abandoned Reno. Doubtlessly, she was seducing (fleecing?) a pit boss on the Delta Queen as it churned the murky waters of the mighty Mississippi River.

Tasha, on the other hand, was still in Reno, doubtlessly lounging in her pink Hollywood-like mansion far removed from the tug of tourists, yet, despite her considerable abilities, still in Reno.

She had her fingers in the Max pie that went up in flames, overcooked, that had brought me to the boiling point.

After checking into a tired casino hotel, Tasha was my first stop. I parked at the iron gate and punched the intercom. An alert Doberman, ears at attention, ran down the driveway in my direction, then stopped abruptly ten feet from the gate. We stared at each other, both trained to never give an inch.

A gravely whisky voice crackled through the intercom. “Yeah. Whattya want?”

“I’m Max Malone. I’m here to see Tasha.”

“She know who you are?”

“Ask her.”

The intercom went silent. A whistle from the house summoned the Doberman. The lock on the gate clicked. I swung the gate open, climbed back in the Suburban, and drove up to the mansion.

Both Grimaldi brothers were standing at the door. I decided not to suppress the humor of the confrontation.

“You goons still got jobs, eh?” I chuckled, as the door opened revealing Tasha in silver pants that appeared painted on and a plunging neckline that would be the envy of an Olympic diver.

“Max, what a surprise,” Tasha sang. “Boys, step aside, let the private eye pass.”

I parted the Grimaldi brothers like an annoying red sea and entered the opulent – with a splash of sleazy – chambers of Tasha’s mansion.

She offered a quick kiss on the cheek, clutched my hand, and escorted me through the great room into the parlor. 

She strolled behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of Jamesons.
“Let me fix you a drink,” she said, as if we were old lovers finally getting back together, which we weren’t.

“When did you get into town?”

“This afternoon,” I said flatly, taking a sip of Irish nectar. “We have some business to get to.”

“Ohhh, so sudden?” she said, slipping into heroine tied to the railroad tracks mode.

“Johnny Longo,” I said. getting straight to the point.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye. 

by Larry Berteau/MT

El Nino Warning: Hot and Dry by Herb Miller on 08/01/2015
As expected, June broke records kept since 1978. 

Brightwood recorded an average high temperature of 78.1 degrees (normal 68.3), an average low of 50.7 degrees (normal 48), and a precipitation total of .84 inches (normal 4.25). Not to be outdone, 

July started with an unprecedented string of six days in the 90s in Brightwood and continued the dry weather that started June 5. 

The year 2013 is the only year without measurable precipitation in Brightwood during July. 

The year 2003, which recorded an average high temperature of 85.5 degrees and eight days reaching the 90s or higher will likely retain the honors of being the hottest July on record – but the record was in jeopardy.

Temperatures moderated starting the third week but the hot weather returned during the last days of the month. 

The National Weather Service reports El Nino conditions continue in full force and expects they will even intensify during the coming months, extending at least through the winter. As expected, our area is forecast to be hotter and drier than average. 

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.46 inches. During the last 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s only one year and all others had at least one day reach the 90s. Low temperatures fell into the low to mid 40s with the exception of one year that dipped to 39 degrees. 

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46 and a precipitation average of 1.64 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s during three years, into the 80s during six years, and one year into the 70s. Lows had seven years that fell into the 30s, and the other three ended in the low 40s.
Trending Now by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2015
Cooking in season means lower prices on better tasting food. This season is peak for squash, tomatoes & berries.

Tomato Sauce
4 lbs ripe tomatoes any kind cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves peeled garlic
2 med size sweet onions sliced thin
2 stalks celery sliced
1 T dried oregano
1 t fresh thyme
1 t each kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup red wine (optional)

Heat oven to 375. Spread ingredients in an even layer on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on seasonings and roast uncovered for about an hour turning ingredients every 20 mins or so. Allow to cool to room temperature. Blend ingredients about a cup at a time in a food processor or a blender and transfer the mixture to a large stock pot. Add wine, and reduce over a med heat. The sauce will have a fresh tomato flavor and it can be canned or frozen.

2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 t each kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
1 T flour
2 eggs beaten
Oil for frying

Heat 1/2 inch oil over med heat in a cast iron skillet. Mix all other ingredients & scoop about 1/4
cup of the batter into pan, flatten slightly and cook frying about 4 at a time  for 4 mins on each side until golden brown. Transfer to  plate lined with paper towels. Fritters will soak up oil so you may need to add more to the pan, but heat the oil before frying. 
Keep fritters warm, as they make an excellent side dish.
More uses for zucchini
Use as lasagne noodles
Substitute for cucumbers in pickles
Shred & freeze to add to muffins & stir fry
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 07/01/2015
As I write this update, the Legislature is fully preparing for Sine Die, which literally means “with no appointed date for resumption.” 

Constitutionally we must adjourn by July 11. I’m sure hoping it’s before that! The days down in Salem right now are quite unpredictable – spontaneous meetings, impromptu conversations, and various unscheduled events are the norm as we try to bring the session to a close.  

In the August issue of The Mountain Times, I will be happy to share my full post-session wrap up. For now, I can write about some of the positive legislation that I’ve been able to be a part of this session:

 HB 2317 – Providing Protection for Victims
HB 2317 extends the statute of limitation from six to twelve years for prosecutions of rape. This is a common sense piece of legislation meant to address some of the most serious crimes in our communities. Advocates on behalf of sexual assault victims brought awareness to the level of trauma experienced as a result of these crimes. The level of trauma suffered by the victim can often lead to delayed reporting. 

In my opinion, HB 2317 is in the best interest of the victims as law enforcement can work to locate the perpetrator when the victim is ready to speak. 

I do recognize that there is a long way to go in providing support and certainty for domestic violence. 
This bill is just one step in updating state law to help prevent and address these violent crimes and to provide needed support for victims.

HB 3069 – Improving 3rd Grade Literacy 
In the last year, I have spent a great deal of time working to improve our third grade reading standards. Students who read well at the end of third grade are FOUR times more likely to graduate – and those that can’t struggle with school and are less likely to go on to any kind of post-secondary education or career training. 

There are multiple aspects to improving third grade reading and one key component is ensuring our new teachers are prepared.

HB 3069, which I sponsored and carried on the House floor and is on its way to the Governor’s desk, will require teacher preparation programs in Oregon to provide training based on new reading standards adopted by the Oregon Department of Education. 

Basically, anyone who is studying to be an elementary level teacher will have to demonstrate their skills in reading instruction to ensure that they can not only teach students to read but also help provide early intervention for struggling students and be able to demonstrate how they would get students back on track.
As a member of the school board and as a Representative, many superintendents have shared their frustration that too many teacher candidates are graduating and are unprepared to meet the curriculum demands in our classrooms.
Oregon has now joined many other states with a specific plan to improve our outcomes on third grade reading!

Transportation Package?
As I write, there are still on-going discussions about a transportation package that could be completed and passed this session. 

This is a very complicated discussion that involves many factors. In order for a bipartisan agreement to be finalized and agreed to, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard that was passed earlier this session would need to be replaced with a better plan that will actually reduce emissions and not unnecessarily drive up fuel prices. 
It’s certainly a politically charged issue and we will know sometime soon whether there will be an agreement during this session or not. 

I know that Clackamas County and the Mountain area would certainly benefit from a transportation package that would provide money for much needed road maintenance.
Looking Ahead
I’m looking forward to getting back to House District 52 and to my home in Hood River. 

It has been great to share the success of HD 52 over the last six months with my colleagues and an honor to represent such a beautiful part of the state. 

Many of you have taken the time to contact me throughout session, but there is no better connection than the in-person connections I experience traveling throughout district. 

Summertime means attending the many events, parades, and interacting with all of you! No day in Salem can replace that!

Behind the Scenes of an American Tragedy by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2015
I should have read “Columbine” last year but its massive size put me off. It was very much worth the wait. 

While hauntingly disturbing, it is also full of insights and behind-the-scenes research which reveals the truth of what happened that awful day at Columbine High when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold engaged in the worst act of school violence our country has ever seen.

Why? The media at the time proposed that the cause was bullying and tension within the school between jocks and Goths but it is clear from this well-researched book that the answer was not that simple. 

Dave Cullen takes us behind the scenes and into the journals, websites and videos left behind by the killers revealing their thoughts and motives.

It turns out that Eric Harris, a classic psychopath, was determined to pull off an act of domestic terrorism of enormous proportions – allowing him to go out in a blaze of glory. 

And if the many bombs the two boys placed in the school had gone off as planned, the death toll would have easily exceeded 500. 

And Dylan was depressed and suicidal. Committing suicide with his friend Eric was a good way for him to get it done.

Cullen follows the aftermath of the tragedy – traumatized students and parents, news media obsessions, community healing and law enforcement obfuscation. His research is impeccable as he traces the stages of grief and healing – and examples of determination and courage in the face of lifelong, life altering injuries. 

Cullen does not glorify the tragedy or sensationalize what happened that fateful day. The account of the actual shooting is not related until the end of the book – after the reader has perspective and understanding about the killers and their victims. 

It is a sad account and it will stay with you long after you finish reading but you will come away with understandings of the event that you never expected. 

As haunting as the real Columbine story is, I was surprised to realize after finishing the book that I was grieving not just for the innocent victims of the crime but also feeling intense sadness for the loss of these two young men whose demons led them down this very sad path. 

And I was also feeling real sadness for the families they left behind who truly had no idea of the plot that was brewing or the psychological profiles of these two friends that would bring it about.
I dare you to be haunted. This is an amazing book.

(Dave Cullen is a journalist and author who is considered the nation’s foremost authority on the Columbine killers. Cullen has won several writing awards, including a GLAAD Media Award, Society of Professional Journalism awards, and several Best of Salon citations.)
Episode VII: Lay Off the Skirts by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/01/2015
I barged into my Portland office and went straight to my desk. Purposely, I created a dark cloud to keep Francoise, my secretary, at arm’s length. I had some thinking to do.

My mountain cabin is nothing more than charred remains. The torching was obviously a message, and more. I was under serious – well, as serious as the fire marshal could be – investigation for insurance fraud. It seems my foray into Reno to come to the rescue of Valerie Suppine – the meanest little woman in thirteen western states – and the subsequent run-in with Tasha the temptress and her two goons, the Grimaldi brothers, was all a ruse, orchestrated by a casino owner named Johnny Longo, who pulled the strings for Paul Greinke’s run for governor that went awry with a murder that was pinned on Hope, who was now doing time and oddly enjoying it.

Unable to afford another capital crime, the only recourse to get even for Longo was to have my cabin go up in flames and me get hosed by a fire marshal.

That’s all the quiet time I was allowed as Francoise marched into my office and plopped her loveliness down opposite me.

“I couldn’t tell them about the cash payment you brought back for your work in Reno,” she said flatly. “But that leaves us with a little problem. They believe you lost a wad on that trip and to make up for it you burned down your cabin to compensate through an insurance claim. And if I might add, I’m a bit perturbed that this is a problem for US, rather than just YOU.”

Francoise, normally a woman of constant good humor when it came to managing my affairs, was suddenly possessed by an alien presence, which was still one more problem that I was hoping I wouldn’t be forced to hire Richard Burton to perform an exorcism.

Where was Liz Taylor when I needed her.

I waded carefully into the murky waters of Francoise.

“I never intended to put you on the spot,” I offered, only succeeding in raising a Francoise eyebrow. “I wasn’t aware of the plot against me.”

“It’s not like you, Max,” she snapped. “Unless, of course, there are skirts involved, then, well, it’s exactly like you.”

I suffered the rebuke. I owed Francoise at least that much. I tried to calm her down with a soft wave of my hand, palm down, with about as much success as a freshman senator trying to thwart a congressional filibuster.

Nevertheless, I pressed on, despite the short “skirt” sitting in front of me.

“I’m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that,” I said, bracing against another arched eyebrow. “There’s a so-called big shot casino owner who’s behind all of this.”

Francoise rolled her eyes and studied the ceiling fan.

“But I’ll get after it,” I said, glancing up to make sure the ceiling fan was not another obstacle. “Look, you just have to hold the fort down until I get back from Reno.”

“Great!” she said. “I’ll just keep running around the ramparts even though I’m surrounded by hostiles.”

We looked at each other for a significant period of time. Her face softened perceptively. I offered a narrow smile. She let out a final huff of indignation and raised from her chair.

“OK Max. You go to Reno and take care of this casino boss,” she said in a businesslike manner. “But lay off the skirts. I’m in no mood.”

I stood up and walked around the desk. Carefully, I pulled Francoise into an avuncular embrace, patting her on the back. “Just remember, dear, were it not for my afflictions, you wouldn’t have this exciting job,” I said. 
After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
El Nino is Upon Us for Summer by Herb Miller on 07/01/2015
k, this June will set a record for the hottest high temperature average, not only for our area, but also a number of locations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, records will likely fall on low precipitation reports.

After the first four days of June, there has not been any measurable rainfall in Brightwood, and both Government Camp as well as Brightwood received less than 20 percent of the average precipitation.
It’s evident most of the western states are experiencing a severe drought and fire danger is critical.

The outlook for the next three months calls for temperatures to continue to be above average for the West Coast, so all of us should keep fire hazards to a minimum, and conserve water.

The National Weather Service reports El Nino conditions are in full force and expects these conditions will continue at least for the next few months, and possibly into the winter months. Their outlook for our area is a continuation of warmer than average temperatures, and precipitation near average.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.31 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 100s during three years, and into the 90s four years. Chances are about five out of seven that July will have at least one day with a high of 90 or higher. Low temperatures fell into the low to mid 40s without fail.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.08 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s twice, and the remaining years reached into the 80s, except last year couldn’t get out of the 70s. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during all but one year and that one settled for 40 degrees. Latest freezing temperature was set July 8, 1981, and a trace of snowfall was reported, also in 1981.
It's in Your Genes by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2015
This month’s column is about the power in your genes. Not your blue jeans but the DNA that is yours alone.

The latest research tells us that genetic expression can fluctuate on a moment to moment basis. Ninety percent of your genes can exchange signals from your outer environment. Your family, your friends, strangers. Your feelings, your thoughts your spiritual practices. 

The choices you make affect your experiences and behaviors, and have a huge effect on your ability to regenerate and maintain your best health. We normally express about 1.5 percent of our DNA. The remaining 98 percent or so lies dormant, just waiting for further input. New studies in epigenetics tell us that signals from the environment, outside of our bodies have a profound ability to determine how our genes express themselves, whether healthy or struggling. (See last month’s column).

I cannot begin to tell you how many times a patient can pinpoint when their disease state began, even without the presence of overt symptoms. We do know. Genes are affected by everything. What you eat and what you drink. What you breathe and what you think. 

Is is any wonder that our society is in trouble. We know, at least internally, at the gut level, when we are out of balance, no longer in homeostasis. 

Stress affects genes more than anything else, be it physical (trauma), chemical (toxins), or mental emotional (emotions such as fear and worry). 
So it is true! Body, mind, and spirit are connected. This is why many people come to a Naturopathic Doctor, for we listen and treat the whole person.

Long term stress has been linked to everything from anxiety, depression, GI issues, colds, aging, allergies, and heart disease to fatigue, diabetes, cancer, and pain. All of the above are stress-states to your biological body and are a result of information exchanges in your genes. 

We are simply not built to withstand long term stress without addressing some sort of healing requirements.
The fight-or-flight response is now in constant “on” mode in our current frazzle-dazzle lifestyles. Our negative emotions are revved up. Anger, anxiety, aggression are often present. Fear, frustration, guilt show their ugly heads. To top it off, we often feel powerless to deal with our environment. Our bodies tighten up. Our cells stiffen. We don’t cope so well, inside or out.

Start with the basics. Eat well, feed less sugar to your kids. Sleep longer but without the crutch of alcohol or drugs. Take time out for meditation, play, prayer. Cultivate gratitude. Do something just for fun. Laugh more. “Keep calm and carry on” is cute but a little too simplistic.

Buy less stuff, give more away. Don’t burden yourself. Oxytocin, created by your body, is the “feel good” hormone. With receptor sites in your immune system, gut, heart and liver, you can have a major healing effect just by thinking good thoughts.

Our minds are about 5 percent conscious and 95 percent subconscious. Self talk to your subconscious mind can bring about a far greater sense of well being within. Focus on what you want to happen instead of worrying over the things you don’t want to happen. Remember there are only two kinds of problems in the world – the kind you can do something about (dietary choices, sleep) and the kind of problems you cannot do anything about (the weather, your age). 

Have hope in your lives, Your heart beats over 101,000 times a day. Your body makes 25 trillion new cells a minute. And you have more than 70 trillion cells to begin with. Those cells can perform up to six trillion functions a second. There is hope for all of us and our world. 

Enjoy the gift of life.
Ready, Set, Summer by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2015
Sports, beaches, road trips and adventures – you’ll want food. Just throw a little something homemade in your basket. Here’s a few.

Something munchie
Rocky Road Popcorn
You are gonna need lots of popcorn (10-12 cups)
(I cover the bottom of a heavy bottom saucepan with popcorn kernels and olive oil, then I add 1t salt and cover and let it pop on medium high)
Heat oven to 250.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup karo syrup (light)
1t kosher or sea salt
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup chocolate chips
2T cocoa powder
1t vanilla

Stir popcorn, almonds and 2 cups marshmallows in a large bowl. Butter a large cookie sheet. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan add in the brown sugar, cocoa, karo and butter. Bring to a boil stirring almost constantly until boiling - let it boil about 4 minutes stirring often. Pour mixture over popcorn mixture and stir, coating evenly. Pour out onto cookie sheet and bake about an hour mixing every 20 minutes. Let it cool completely and add remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips. Toss to mix.



1 lb zucchini cut into strips or ribbons
1 thick sliced red onion
1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic
2t coriander
3t salt
3t peppercorns

Place water, sugar, salt and vinegar into a saucepan and boil two to three minutes. Place zucchini and remaining ingredients in a large jar, pour hot vinegar mixture over the zucchini and let it cool. Refrigerate.
Inside Salem -- Final Committees by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 06/01/2015
Legislators are busily working through the final policy bills that are not in the Ways and Means, Revenue, or Rules committees. These committees do not have the same deadlines as the regular policy committees do and can stay active until the end of the Session to complete their remaining work. 

One of the most significant events in May was the release of the May Revenue forecast. Now that the forecast has been released, the three committees listed above typically become a contentious area of politicking as legislators compete for the limited funding that is available.

The May forecast is the last assessment of the strength of Oregon’s economy that is used by the Legislature to finalize budget work and finish the session by the end of June (or early July if extended).  Revenue is now projected to be at least $463 million higher than expected for the combined 13-15 and 15-17 bienniums. This is great news for school districts and post-secondary institutions who had been hoping for a positive forecast that could mean additional money for their budgets. 

You may recall that when the Legislature passed the inadequate K-12 budget in April,  they were promised to receive 40 percent of any new General Fund Revenue that would be contained in the May forecast. That 40 percent will equal an additional $105 million for K-12. 

Certainly this is good news for Oregon Trail School Districts but it still leaves our schools short of the $7.5 billion that is viewed as necessary to maintain current service levels and avoid cuts that can lead to larger class sizes or lost instructional time.

The economists said that while Oregon’s economy is currently doing well, we are likely at the peak of its strong performance. Although job growth is strong, it is primarily in lower paying positions that won’t provide long-term growth for our economy. 

It now is certain that the “kicker” will kick in Oregon. 

This refers to the Constitutional requirement that anytime general fund revenues exceed budget projects by more than 2 percent, the excess must be returned to tax payers. 

Currently the kicker is expected to be at least 470 million dollars. 

The economists said this revenue distribution could help provide a boost to the economy as tax payers have more disposable income. The kicker is now returned to taxpayers in the form of a tax credit when they file their next tax returns. 

This will help to make April 15th a bit less painful next year!

Yesterday’s good news is tempered by the long-term budget concerns that exist. With the Supreme Court overturning most of the PERS reforms that were passed in the “Grand Bargain” two years ago, public employer costs will once again begin to rise across the state. 

Additionally, the federal money that has been used to expand the Medicaid population in Oregon will begin to be scaled back. 

These two issues together could create a general fund budget hole in the BILLIONS two years from now. 
So even though the economic news was very positive we must keep an eye to the future and budget responsibly. 

I’m hopeful that the last month of the session will be characterized by bipartisan collaboration to meet the needs of Oregonians in the short-term and also involve responsible, long-term planning. 

We also need to be sure that we don’t get in the way of hard-working Oregonians and small businesses who must be successful if our state is to have future prosperity. 

I will work hard over the last month of the Session to make sure the vital interests of the Mountain community are represented and heard in Salem.
Time to Revisit Grisham's 'A Time to Kill' by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2015
I originally read this novel shortly after its original publication date in 1989 but after reading Grisham’s excellent sequel “Sycamore Road” a few months ago, I decided to revisit this outstanding book. While it was “The Firm” – his second book – that truly rocketed Grisham to fame, making him a true Rock Star of book publishing, his first novel “A Time to Kill” remains one of his very best works. 

And it sets that stage for all that follows in his successful literary

The story is set in the small town of Clanton, in Ford County, Mississippi where an innocent 10-year-old black girl is savagely raped, beaten and left for dead by two white racists. Tonya survives but will carry scars for a lifetime and her distraught father takes matters into his own hands, shooting both perpetrators dead in front of scores of witnesses in the county courthouse after their arraignment. Soon the entire community is in an uproar of the murder and Tonya’s father, Carl Lee Hailey, is on trial for murder with his fate to be determined by an all-white jury in the middle of a true media frenzy.

Carl Lee’s defense attorney is young Jake Brigance who successfully defended Carl’s brother in a high-profile trial years earlier but who now becomes a high-profile target for a resurgent KKK and suffers assassination attempts, threats and violence as the trial moves forward. 

Jake loves the spotlight but is committed to justice for his client who was out of his mind with rage at the time of the crime. Jack hopes to give the jury reason to free Carl Lee due to temporary insanity with the help of several colorful southern lawyers who are also friends – a disbarred wealthy legal  mentor, a hedonistic local divorce specialist and a spunky female legal aid – who all believe in
the cause.

Grisham provides colorful portrayals of all the players in this riveting drama, many tinged with humor and southern sensibilities, making the novel dramatic and rich in both large concepts and everyday human insights. The novel’s legal action and human drama keep the pages turning as the case moves through the legal process and many elements come into play. Black political figures, the Klu Klux Klan, flocks of journalists, worried local residents and the National Guard all gather around the courthouse awaiting the outcome and trying to influence the jury’s decision.

If you have not yet enjoyed “Sycamore Road”, I recommend that you find a copy of “A Time to Kill’ and read it first to set the stage for that novel’s events. We’ve come to take John Grisham for granted but he is a truly gifted author as his first published work demonstrates.

John Grisham is an American lawyer, politician, and author, best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages. He graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990. He began writing his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1984; it was published in June 1989.

Max Malone, Private Eye
A 'Longo' Shadow by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2015
Watching Hope from across the metal table, her decked out in her prison orange outfit, me sporting my fill-in fedora, I was supposed to feel smug, bordering on French insouciance, but instead found myself wiggling in my chair and experiencing a rare moment of shaky confidence.

Hope had her gushing ways, and a prison term didn’t seem to stem the tide.

“Did you enjoy your little tryst in Reno,” she asked, keeping with the current.

I almost said “How did you know about that. After all you’re in prison,” but swallowed the sentence like a steelhead gulping down a struggling worm.

But instead, I was hooked. She saw the hesitation and started reeling me in.

“You think you’re always on top of things, Max,” she gurgled. “But you miss the big picture. You’ve been played.”

I didn’t have a comeback. I waited through an uncomfortable pause, enough, hopefully, to allow me to get at the reason for my visit.

“It certainly looks like you’ve been played plenty as well,” I said, wading in the shallow end, glancing down at her ill-fitting orange prison shirt that was somehow still unable to hide her ample pulchritude. “I prefer my position, thank you.”

Her knowing smile continued to blanket the room like a total eclipse. I was surprised the nearby prison guard didn’t scramble for the safety of the nearest chicken coop.

“Well, I’d consider your statement if it wasn’t for the fact that your cabin was torched, you are wearing a new fedora, not by choice, and you’re visiting me here in this forsaken place,” Hope said, as matter-of-factly as a college vice-president addressing an auditorium of incoming  freshmen.

Gathering scraps of composure, unfortunately more like a homeless bum unwrapping half a tossed taco than a suave private eye interrogating an incarcerated criminal, I pressed on.

“I’m not here because I missed you, lady,” I said, able to avoid clearing my throat. “I’m here to find out about the whereabouts of Paul Greinke. I know that charlatan has been to see you. I checked the visitor’s log.”

“Ohh, he’s been to see me, all right,” she responded, flicking the words out through a smile like a scorpion who just hitched a ride across the pond on the back of an unsuspecting frog. “Several times. He asked about you as well. He wondered if you’d recovered from your Reno trip. More to the point, if you’d recovered from Tasha and Valerie.”

I stood, pushing my way away from the table, my blood beginning to bubble.

Hope was unmoved, except her eyes followed my rise from the chair, hooded by eyelids that would be the envy of a colony of timber rattlers. “I take it our little visit is over, Max. Too bad. I was just beginning to get a warm fuzzy feeling. Like old times.”

In the parking lot I shot a phone call to Frank Strong, the former Feral Strong of porno film fame, who was now firmly ensconced in a real job as researcher for the state’s attorney general. Go figure.

“Greinke’s in the shadows these days,” Frank said. “Your investigation ruined his bid for governor, as I’m sure you know. He’s probably crawled back into his handler’s cave.”

“His handler?”

“Yeah. You probably didn’t know about him. He’s Johnny Longo. Owns a casino in Reno, two more in Las Vegas. He’s a king maker, not a king, and he financed Greinke’s campaign for governor. He has plenty of politicians in his pocket but needed Greinke to pave the way for a casino in Portland.”

Johnny Longo. I already didn’t like the dude. After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Warmer June Headed Our Way by Herb Miller on 06/01/2015
May started off with mild temperatures that were soon followed by a brief cool down, then a few more mild days that ended a 10-day period with scant rainfall. The next 10 days followed with cool, showery weather. The last week ended with warm, dry days.

But rainfall was much below normal, following the pattern that has been set every month this year. The first four months, Brightwood has received just 71 percent of its average precipitation, and coupled with the almost nonexistent snow cover in the Cascades of both Washington and Oregon, explains the low stream and lake levels. 

One comforting fact is the better snow pack in British Columbia that will melt into the Columbia River and should help irrigation in the Columbia basin.

The National Weather Service forecasts our area will again have above average temperatures and near normal precipitation for the upcoming month of June.

During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 4.35 inches. During the last 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 100s during two years, into the 90s one year, into the 80s during six years, and one year failed to get above the 70s. Chances are about four out of five that June will have at least one day with a high of 90 or higher. Low temperatures had seven years in the 40s, with three years dropping into the 30s. Latest freezing temperature is May 20.

During June, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 41, and a precipitation average of 3.88 inches, which includes an average .72 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 80s three years, into the 70s six years, and one year settled for the 60s. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during all but one year that hit the upper 20s. Five of those last 10 years had lows falling to the freezing mark. The record snowfall for June was 11 inches measured in 1995 and the record 24-hour snowfall also was set in 1995 on June 5. Latest freezing temperature was set July 8, 1981.
Mexican Fare at New Rhododendron Restaurant by on 06/01/2015
If you’ve got a hankering for a Tostadas de Ceviche, a plate of super nachos with all the trimmings, a giant burrito or other Mexican fare, head for some south of the border cuisine at Fiesta Jalisco, the recently opened Mexican Restaurant at 73330 Hwy. 26 in Rhododendron.

Restaurants run in the family with Fiesta Jalisco’s owner, Alberto Garcia. Garcia professes that his grandmother, who still runs a restaurant in Cuautla Jalisco, a small Mexican town where he grew up, “makes the best molé in town.”

Garcia moved to Seattle at the age of 16 and entered the restaurant business with his family. Now, as the owner of Fiesto Jalisco, he does a bit of everything -- cooking, waiting tables and bartending. Another family owned business, long-established Dos Margaritas, is still located in Vancouver, Wash. and is considered Fiesta Jalisco’s “sister restaurant.”

Since the opening of Fiesta Jalisco in April, when his sons cut the ribbon, Garcia described it as a “very happy day” and he is pleased with the progress of his new restaurant.

“It has been very good, and the customers all like it,” Garcia said. “I like it here, I found that this is a good place for it.”

Everything on the Fiesta Jalisco menu is handmade on the premises using only the freshest ingredients. The salsa is a Garcia family recipe which has been in the family for many years. An extensive menu features authentic Mexican food with all the favorites along with a daily special. Breakfast will also be served in the future, with a choice of Mexican or American breakfasts.

 If it has been years since a trip to Mexico and you have a craving for Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, this is sure to satisfy your palate. 

A large selection of Tequilas are available with brands including Don Julio 1942, Cuervo, Patron Silver and Sauza Commemorativo. Margaritas are served in a wide choice of flavors, from fruits and berries to happy fun-filled beach vacation sounding names such as “Sunset Margarita” and “Moonlite Margarita.” 
Happy Hour runs from 3 - 6 pm with $3 well drinks and $2 for local beers. 

“A fiesta is to enjoy your food, and I enjoy what I do,” Garcia said.

Business hours 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with breakfast to be served in the future at 8 a.m. Telephone 503-564-9801.

by Frances Berteau/MT
May is for Momma by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2015
Pssst … Make crepes.
Mom’s love crepes. 

Maybe because I am French or because of my fondness of Nutella but I think crepes may be the most perfect food. All will not make it, so please just sacrifice the first one.  A perfect first crepe just isn’t gonna happen. 
Here are some sweet and savory stuffins’ to try.

You will need a non stick 8” frying pan or crepe pan plus a blender.

Basic Crepes: 
1 Cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 Cup  milk (or ½ & ½) 
¼  t salt 
2 T butter, melted plus more for cooking.

Whisk together flour and eggs. Gradually add in milk and water, stirring to combine. Add salt and butter and blend until smooth. For best results, refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Heat a lightly buttered nonstick pan over medium-high heat. (For dessert crepes, add 2 tsp sugar to the mix.) When pan is hot ladle about ¼  cup of batter swirling the batter to cover the entire pan. Let cook for 1 minute until top looks dry then gently flip with a spatula to the other side and cook another 30 seconds. Place onto a plate. Repeat until all of the batter is used. 
You can do a crepe bar for a mommies-only brunch … just sayin.
Spread nutella and sliced bananas and/or strawberries then fold & eat.
Cheese blintzes
Ricotta filling 
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
 ¼ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla
Pinch of salt
Mix all of ingredients (mixture will be lumpy). Spoon about 3 tablespoons into each crepe. Roll or fold burrito style and top with fresh strawberries, jam, blueberry sauce or just a dusting of powdered sugar.

Savory suggestions
Shred 2 chicken breasts, mix with 1½ cups Monterey jack cheese, 2 T salsa & 6 oz cream cheese. Grill like a quesadilla.
Roasted veggies & herb cream cheese.
Spinach and ricotta cheese. 
Steak & mushrooms. 

Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 05/01/2015
Halfway through our time in Salem and some major session deadlines have passed. April 21 was the last day a bill can be passed out of its originating chamber. This deadline means that bills that did not pass out of their originating chamber cannot become law this session. With that, I’ll provide you with some information on the bills that are still alive and the bills that died. 

Protecting Our 
Recreation Industry
There are a few pieces of legislation that died but had great relevance to House District 52. The first of these is SB 849 which would protect the recreation industry in our district. SB 849 was introduced to help protect the skiing industry in Oregon after a lawsuit was filed against Mount Bachelor. The risk of litigation is not limited to the ski industry – all recreation activities could be open to lawsuits including mountain biking and basically any scenario in which a liability waiver is signed. Unfortunately, SB 849 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the issue will not be dealt with this session. However, I do plan on continuing to engage with stakeholders to work on finding a solution. 

Creating Low-Cost 
Degree Pathways
Last February I introduced legislation instructing colleges to create at least two bachelor’s degree pathways costing significantly less than their current amount. This was modeled off the $10,000 BA pathway that exists in multiple other states and helps to address the issue of student debt. This session, my colleague Representative Whisnant and I worked to pass HB 2973 establishing the Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Act. HB 2973 includes text from my original bill and incorporates developments from the Higher Education system since first introducing the concept. I’m excited about the prospects that this bill will provide to post-secondary students and their ability to afford higher education. 

Improving Financial 
HB 2847 instructs ASPIRE programs to provide information regarding financial aid to high school students. This information includes the types of financial aid available, the different loans and their impacts, and the long-term contracts students sign into when taking out financial aid. The unfortunate reality is that more students need to take out loans to finance their post-secondary education. HB 2847 will help students make more informed decisions when addressing their post-secondary financing. Additionaly, this bill will require information to be provided regarding the types of apprenticeship and career technical pathways available. It is important to share these options with students as they are a viable alternative to attending a higher education institution. It was exciting to share this bill on the House floor and see it pass 60-0! 

K-12 Education 
The fight continues on the K-12 education budget. HB 5017 setting the budget at $7.255 was signed by the Governor. I drafted HB 3538 to require all new money from the May revenue forecast go to the K-12 budget. It is unfortunate that this budget has become a partisan issue in both the House and Senate because the negative impact of these budget cuts affects all Oregon kids and communities. HB 3538 will require the prioritization of our school system in order to add days back to the school year, reduce class sizes, and provide the needed supports to educators. The bill was referred to the House Revenue Committee but has yet to be scheduled for a public hearing. I hope my colleagues can come together to support this common sense legislation in order to bring the budget up to the $7.5 million amount agreed would prevent cuts by the Oregon education community. 

Attending The Bite 
I had a great time attending the Bite at the Mountain! Melodi and I always enjoy spending time with constituents in the Villages area and visiting the Resort at the Mountain. Kudos to all for their efforts in putting together this always successful event!

As always, please continue to contact me with any questions you may have regarding these bills or any other issues. Thank you for the opportunity to serve House District 52.
Be Prepared for an Odd Book by Sandra Palmer on 05/01/2015
Kazuo Ishiguro is a remarkably skilled novelist. His work is all of consistently high quality and the language therein is beautifully, carefully executed. 

However, even more remarkably, Ishiguro never writes the same type of novel twice. “The Buried Giant,” his latest book, is a fantasy tale set in post-Arthurian Great Britain in a land still populated by sprites, ogres, knights, monsters, mystical spells and dragons.

Be prepared – this is an odd, sad book. 

The setting is hard to grasp, especially in the early chapters as much of British populace in those days barely survived under conditions that were hardly tolerable, in cave-like hovels dug out of hillsides, cowering together in the dark cold near scarce fires and rare candles. And the land is covered by an inexplicable mist that seems to confuse everyone and take away memory of the past. Is it a spell cast by the dragon Querig from her lair in the nearby mountains?

Much of the story follows an elderly couple who determine to break free of their meager, hard-scratch existence to find the son from whom they were separated during the preceding years of war and pestilence. And they seek to find answers to the unnatural forgetfulness that has even taken away memories of their loving years together. Will they love each other as closely after finding these answers? Or will the elusive truth – if they find it – cause them to question each other?

Along the way, Axl and Beatrice meet a warrior with mysterious powers in battle, an abandoned child who seems destined to complete a strange mission and monks living in a castle fortress. And finally they encounter an aging knight from King Arthur’s roundtable who has spent years seeking to overcome the wily dragon whose spiritual powers threaten the powerless people and a boatman who selectively ferries carefully selected individuals to a secret island of unending tranquility, an escape from the terrors and hardships of life.

Is loss of memory at times a gift? Or do we lose something essential of ourselves when memories fade? Can our lives sometimes be happier when painful memories fade beyond our ability to retrieve them?

Ishiguro finally surprises us by gradually parting the mists to reveal the truths about the characters in his narrative in the closing chapters. And as the clouds of muddled memories are finally parted, the reader is left with questions that linger long after the book cover is closed. 

KAZUO ISHIGURO, one of the most honored of contemporary authors, was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and moved to Britain at the age of 5. He is the author of six novels most notably:  The Remains of the Day (1989, winner of the Booker Prize); The Unconsoled (1995, winner of the Cheltenham Prize); When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize); and Never Let Me Go (2005, Corine Internationaler Buchpreis, Serono Literary Prize, Casino de Santiago European Novel Award, shortlisted for the Booker Prize).

by Sandra Palmer/MT  

Max Malone
Episode V: Pretty In Orange by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/01/2015
A few days have passed. The side show – that is, the destruction of my cabin – has passed as well. 

I’ve been staying with my good neighbor Sam, trying to sort things out, which does not include figuring out the out-of-sortness of Sam’s cabin.

Sam is a good friend. Sam is everyone’s good friend. A big reason he’s such a good friend to everyone is they haven’t spent three days living with him. Sam believes with all his heart and soul that cowboys still drive cattle to Abilene, the county sheriff has a mustache that droops beyond his chin, and bar maids are delightful vixens whose sole desires are to please crusty cowpokes with a silver dollar in their pockets.

Actually, I’ll have to re-think that last one.

And his cabin is messy – and I have a very high threshold for messy.

Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time walking through the cold ash which was once my cabin. There’s evidence there were three explosions. Interior broken glass has melted toward three separate locations. And that’s about it, besides the rock chimney that hovers forlornly over what was once my mountain retreat.
I don’t care much about lost items, except, of course, the great vinyls of Sinatra, Armstrong, Bennett, Darin and Fitzgerald.

OK, and Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and John Prine.  Which reminds me, 

I could do with an angel from Montgomery about now.

Campanaro, the fire marshal, has eased up on the questioning. At least he knows when he’s behind. But the investigation has not gone away. They’ve asked about my trip to Reno – surely you remember the Tasha and Valerie Supine caper – and they’re suspecting I dropped a bunch of money at the tables and am trying to recoup it through a cabin insurance claim.

The long arm of the law has a dwarf’s reach.

*  *  *
Brushing aside the sentimentality of the cabin, and the detritus which is Sam’s cabin interior, I turn myself back into the character that I am. In this case: one ticked-off private eye with a score to settle.
Over the years there are certainly a merry band of people who could have it in for me. But I keep it simple.
After all …

My mind fixes immediately on the defrocked high priest of attorney world, Paul Greinke, and his sidewinding, fedora ventilating courtesan, Hope.

*  *  *
State prison is, surprisingly, well designed. It not only incarcerates a colony of criminals, but it also signals a warning to visitors that this is not a place you want to be.

Hope is escorted into the room by an annoyed guard who has other things he’d rather be doing. I’m not sure what I expected, but this wasn’t it. Except for the jump suit – prison orange is definitely not a good color for Hope – she looks amazingly attractive and, well, comfortable with her surroundings.

She slithers into the chair opposite me, folds her delicate hands on the metal table, and washes the room with that feline smile that always meant she knows something you don’t.

“Hello, Max,” she purred. “I see you got a new fedora.”

“That was the easy part,” I offer, feeling suddenly uncertain of myself.

This awkward opening is followed by what seems like a nine-month pregnant pause.

“I heard about your cabin. What a shame,” Hope said, completely void of conviction, but still in possession of that beguiling smile.

I felt like the kid who wasn’t chosen for the team. I had work to do. After all, I am Max Malone, private eye. I think.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Warm May Headed Our Way by Herb Miller on 05/01/2015
The first half of April felt more like February. 

In fact, the average temperature during that period was actually more than a degree colder than the average temperature for the entire month of February at both Government Camp and Brightwood. It is also the period when Government received a snowfall total of 12.4 inches of snow. Spring weather followed, and by the 20th the high temperatures for the month were recorded. Cooler weather followed for the next week before two more warm days were enjoyed after which the month ended with more seasonal weather for late April. Daytime temperatures averaged close to 4 degrees above normal for the month at Brightwood and Government Camp.

The National Weather Service forecasts our area will have temperatures well above average for May, but precipitation near average.

During May, Brightwood has an average temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43 and a precipitation average of 5.96 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s three years, into the 80s five years, and two years into the 70s. Low temperatures had eight years in the 30s, with one year dropping to 29 and the other at 40 degrees. Chances of a freezing are seven out of eight, and chances of reaching a high of 90 or higher are three out of eight. Snowfall is very rare, but the record of 2 inches was only five years ago in 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 5.24 inches which includes an average 6.6 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s three years, into the 70s five years, and one year each in the 60s and 50s. Low temperatures fell into the 20s during eight years and into the 30s the other two years, with only one year failing to drop to the freezing mark. The record snowfall for May was a 32-inch total measured in 1974. The record snowfall for a day in May was 13 inches measured May 11, 2000.
Winds of Change at The Resort by on 05/01/2015
New Executive Chef Nate Wiesner

Things are spicing up in the kitchen at The Resort at The Mountain. 

Nate Wiesner, previously the executive sous chef at The Resort has climbed the ladder into his new role as executive chef, for which he is responsible for all kitchen operations, staff management and menu creation.
His cooking prowess starting in his own kitchen at home as a young boy where he would often cook for the whole family, and since then has racked up 17 years of restaurant operation management experience. 

“I am honored to take on this new role as executive chef.” Wiesner said. “I feel pretty confident about it and excited to show what I can do. We’ve got a good team.”

After a spell at the Mt. Hood Brewing Company in Government Camp as a kitchen manager in his early 20s, Wiesner became motivated to pursue a culinary career. Gaining his skills as a line cook and later sous chef at Salty’s on the Columbia River, a sous chef at Mama Mia Trattoria in Portland, and then as executive chef at L&B’s Restaurant & Gallery in West Linn, Wiesner was on his way to land the position of executive chef at The Resort.

At the 2013 Bite of Oregon, Wiesner won best presentation for his dish.

“I’m excited, he brings a great perspective to the Oregon bounty and has come up with some very good menu items, highlighting what we do in the northwest,” said John Erickson, general manager for The Resort.

All the menus are changing at both Altitude and mallards pub since Wiesner took over. 

The Altitude will now be a gluten-free restaurant, and new vegan and vegetarian dishes will be available at both establishments. 

New menu items for Altitude include delicious fare such as homemade mozzarella caprese salad, oyster stew, and slow-braised wild boar, prosciutto wrapped prawns with grilled pineapple and a balsamic reduction being served at mallards pub.

“All chefs like to put their touch on a menu and he is redoing menus for the season,” Erickson said. “He is very well rounded in all styles of food and his focus is on the northwest bounty and using fresh products a majority of the time.”

The Pacific Northwest has been Wiesner’s home since he was 15 when he moved with his family from Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

“We’ll be doing some cool things in the future,” Wiesner said.

Brooke McDermott has recently been hired as the new sales manager for The Resort. 

Bringing luxury service to guests, and working closely with the management team to plan promotions and organize staff will be McDermott’s main focus.

“I was really excited to get back into a destination type property and work with the corporate market again,” McDermott said. “ The Resort at The Mountain has so many great amenities and activities to offer its guests.”
With more than 15 years of experience working in the hospitality industry under her belt, McDermott brings those skills to The Resort and is looking forward to fulfilling her passion of working in group sales. 

“I’ve always looked at The Resort as a beautiful property and I am looking forward to it flourishing,” she said.
Most recently, McDermott was the sales manager for Crowne Plaza, and prior to that she was the director of marketing and sales for Vesta Hospitality where she was successful in developing and implementing marketing and branding initiatives for Country Inn & Suites and West Coast Carlton Hotel Worldwide.

“She is a great addition and brings a different perspective to business development, having experience in the commercial side,” Erickson said. 

McDermott noted that by promoting groups to stay at The Resort this also helps other local businesses flourish.

by Frances Berteau/MT
The Earth Saves Us by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2015
The first Earthday (1970) came at a time when many of us were reading The Whole Earth Catalog and Mother Earth News and contemplating a move to the country. 

I moved to 100 acres outside of Eugene and began growing in earnest. Earthday focused all of us into taking part in preserving and renewing our earthly resources. It was a steep learning curve but we succeeded in providing nourishment for ourselves and others.

As we again take time to honor the earth and its resources, perhaps we might consider our gains from the earth. For it is not just the conservation of our earth that we get for our actions, but the great benefit of health as well. 

As the earth is saved, so are we.

Jakob Boehme wrote “View this world diligently and consider what manner of fruits, sprouts, and branches grow out of … the earth, from trees, plants, herbs, roots, flowers, oil, wine … whatever else there is that thy heart can find.” For we surely do receive so many gifts from the earth and the sky and all ultimately from the Universal Source. May we be grateful for such fruitfulness.

One of the greatest ways to honour our earth is to plant something! Plants give us all of our food, unless you are consuming a totally manufactured diet (those foodstuffs that are processed, preserved, colorized, and genetically modified). Whether vegetarian or paleo protein based, we must remember that the animals consume grass, hay, seeds, nuts, and all forms of sustenance which ultimately comes from the earth. 

By planting something, anything, you are contributing to the oxygen in the air, for the plants take in carbon dioxide and transform it to the air we breathe. Whether house plant or field, we gain. Everyone can grow something. But please no pesticides, genetically modified seeds or plants, or synthetic fertilizers.

Most of our supermarket produce comes from California where 200 million pounds of pesticides are applied to the soils each year. A 2014 study at the University of California at Davis found a 66 percent increased risk of the development of autism in exposed children. The pesticide most strongly linked to autism is Chlorpyrifos. Though sounding like some newly marketed chip, it is actually quite harmful to children and other living things. Like you and me and our kids and grandkids. 

The Portland Metro area and surrounding agricultural land uses more than 8.19 pounds per square mile on much of our arable land. The application of this pesticide being as high as that of California. Is there no escaping it? How much of our other disease rates (cancer, diabetes) are due to pesticide residues still found in the soils around us? We don’t know.

The only way to avoid this threat is to strive to eat as much of our food in the organic state as possible. Organically raised food, by definition, should not be genetically modified. Sustainable, while a step in the right direction, could still involve the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic modification. In extreme cases of pest infestation, even large organic growers may involve the application of pesticides. So you must trust your grower or grow it yourself in order to know the truth of your food.

I am one of those people who went “back to the land” before 1970, and stayed there. The satisfaction of growing my own food was amazing. It was a way to take more control of our health. It was a worthwhile investment of time with a truly magical return. My first packet of lettuce seeds on that 100 acre farm yielded over 150 heads of lettuce! So I sold to Eugene area upscale restaurants and the Springfield Creamery, which Ken Kesey was then involved with. It was a time of abundance, thanks to the good earth.

In the 1930s there were no pesticides. In the 1970s we knew their dangers and couldn’t afford them anyway. Now we have a range from acute awareness to ennui to outright distrust and an orientation toward “the god of green” (money, not ecology). When we should be giving thanks to the God of Green who gives us the earth.
The earth will continue to exist even if humans don’t last. The bacteria and insects have a unique and strong ability to resist chemical onslaughts. 

Humans have no such ability. 

We must save the earth in order to save ourselves. 
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/01/2015
Spring has sprung here in Salem and that means the legislative session is well underway. In this update, I want to highlight efforts to create a Mt. Hood license plate and the important issue of K-12 funding. 
HB 3027 which creates a specialty Mt. Hood license plate received a public hearing on Monday March 23. I was excited to talk about the increase of bicycle and pedestrian tourism in the Mount Hood region and the positive impact on economic development. 

It has been a wonderful experience for me to bring this bill forward as I’ve been able to connect with people across House District 52. Chambers, Rotary Clubs, local businesses, and excited constituents have all contributed to the effort of highlighting an iconic state landmark. 

The next step is to ask the chair of the committee to schedule a work session. If you would like, please send an encouraging note to Rep. McKeown asking for her support of the bill! Rep.CaddyMcKeown@state.or.us

Now on to K-12 funding.

Over the past few weeks my inbox has been filled with dozens of very well written and personal emails from constituents across House District 52 about the proposed budget for K-12 education. These emails have come to me from educators, parents and students and all share the same theme: The co-chair’s projected K-12 budget of $7.235 billion is not acceptable and will result in further budget cuts throughout our state. 

I totally agree with them. 

On Tuesday, March 24, the Education Sub-Committee passed out this $7.235 budget. I have attempted to personally respond to each of these emails to let you know that I am doing all I can here in Salem to communicate the message that we simply cannot pass a budget that will mean we will have fewer teachers and even higher class sizes in Oregon. 

The next step is to communicate with the members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee now as they craft the budget that will be sent to the House Floor for a vote.

It’s important to know that there is an additional $1.8 billion dollars of new general fund revenue available this biennium. So the issue at hand is not the lack of revenue, but the priorities of those that are making the budget. 

The message that the legislature needs to continue to hear from the local level is PUT KIDS FIRST as we build the budget. At the left, this page, you will find two pie charts that clearly demonstrate how the budgeting priorities of the Legislature have changed over the last decade. In that time frame the amount of general fund revenue that has been dedicated to K-12 has gone from 44.7  percent to 39.1 percent. This is a trend that we must reverse.

     Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sending out regular newsletter updates to keep you all informed. I encourage you to contact members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, especially Co-Chairs Rep. Peter Buckley and Sen. Richard Devlin.

Please continue to stay in touch with me as well.

An Obsession that Leads to Danger by Sandra Palmer on 04/01/2015
It’s so easy to look at others and imagine their lives are so much more ideal than ours – even if we only see glimpses of daily activities.

“They are a perfect, golden couple,” Rachel Watson thinks, as she views Jason and his beautiful wife, Jess. “He is dark-haired and well-built, strong, protective, kind. He has a great laugh. She is one of those tiny bird-women, a beauty, pale-skinned with blond hair cropped short.” 

Rachel, the protagonist of Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train, is obsessed with her observations of the pair as she passes by their house twice each day on her train to and from London. 

The relationship between Jason and Jess seems to be the perfect relationship she yearns for, the relationship she remembers before … before she lost it so tragically.

It’s only natural that Rachel observes the house since it is a few doors away from the house she lived in during her marriage that ended in large part due to her heavy drinking. But Rachel just can’t stop thinking about Jason and Jess even though she does not know them, watching for little clues each time the train carries her past their home.

However, as we soon learn, Rachel may not remember everything in the right way. 

But her obsession not only grows, it compels her to get involved with the world that she has been observing from afar when Megan – the real person Rachel had fantasized about as “Jess” – disappears. Rachel tries to intervene to “help” and complicates circumstances in ways she could not have imagined. And she is now exposed to danger in a way that she is not well prepared to understand.

The Girl on the Train is not an easy book to put down although I struggled with it for much of the first half of the novel, primarily since I found the book’s narrator, Rachel, not very appealing as she wallowed in self pity and alcohol to dull her pain. However, the complex plotting and the masterful unfolding of the plot in unexpected ways keeps the reader intrigued and wondering if Rachel is guilty of the very crime she is trying to solve.

To make things even more complicated, the tale’s perspective changes throughout – primarily Rachel’s viewpoint but also switching occasionally to Megan (now disappeared) and Anna, the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom who is living in Rachel’s old home in the neighborhood that Rachel so carefully observes. 

And over the course of the novel the mystery’s layers are very gradually peeled back to a very unexpected conclusion.

This is Paula Hawkins’ first novel but I am sure that we will hear much more from this talented author in the future.

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for 15 years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in London. “The Girl on the Train” is her first thriller. It is being published all over the world and has been optioned by Dreamworks.

Max Malone, Private Eye
Episode IV -- 'This Isn't That Day' by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/01/2015
Andy Campanaro, the fire marshal, was having too good a time kicking through the ruins of my burned-out cabin, then, turning back to me with more innuendo in his questioning technique than a Fox News “reporter” in prime time.

He was a big guy, but obviously had nothing to back it up. He enjoyed his size advantage, but was as unaware of his situation as a cobra swaying over a mongoose in attack mode.

Let’s just say he enjoyed all the popularity of a proctologist at a high school Career Day.

The snow eased up as the day wore on, but the word of my cabin fire quickly took its place. Neighbors drifted by but kept their distance. Katrina dropped by and was doubtlessly thankful she had liberated her vacuum cleaner from my cabin when she moved out. Nigel Best, the local newspaper editor, showed, chatting up Campanaro and Angel Ingle, the fire chief, took photos and notes, but kept his distance from me. 
It must have been apparent I wasn’t in a talkative mood.

The present was accounted for. There was no cabin. It had been taken down by arson. I was Campanaro’s prime suspect – his being fixed on an insurance claim – a fact arrived at with all the luminosity of a gang of  North Korean generals gurgling over with group think.

But the future wasn’t nearly as clear. I was going to be the only one to get to the source of the arson. And Campanaro was going to be an incessant annoyance.

Despite the whirl of humans in the area, my mind was in first gear. My cabin was the target, but to the arsonist, nothing inside the cabin was worthwhile. Nope, not even my precious vinyls. So it was personal.
I felt the smooth transition from low into second gear, just as Campanaro clicked out of a cell phone call and approached.

“I’ve determined that the cabin is insured,” he said, flashing a marvelous version of the master of the obvious.

“WAS insured,” I said, holding his hollow gaze in the grips of a steely private eye stare.


“WAS insured,” I intoned. “The cabin can’t be insured now, pal. 

Turn around. No cabin.”

Campanaro snorted, then: “A man in your position should be a bit more careful. This is serious business, mister.”

I stood up from the chair on Sam’s porch, descended the three steps, took up a space inside Campanaro’s comfort zone, and tipped back the brim of my fedora.

“Let me explain something else that’s serious business, pal,” I began. “That was my cabin. Those were my belongings. And the day I need advice on being careful from someone like you is the day I retire to an orthopedic chair on the deck, wrapped in a tartan blanket, with a nurse charged with turning me toward the sun.”

I took up another inch of precious space.

“And this isn’t that day.”

“You think you’re intimidating me,” he said, with a visible lump in his throat.

I tugged on my fedora and smiled through a narrow slit. After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Warming Trend to Continue by Herb Miller on 04/01/2015
March came in like a lamb, with abundant sunshine, mild temperatures and dry the first 10 days.

Tropical moisture moved in on the 14th and 15th, drenching Brightwood with a total of 3.86 inches of rain and 2.26 inches in Government Camp.

The rest of the month continued with mild temperatures and alternating periods of showers followed by sunshine.

Snowfall continues to avoid our area and Government Camp has received only 2 inches all month. Temperatures averaged about 4 degrees above normal in Brightwood and close to an eye-popping 9 degrees above average in Government Camp.

What has now become usual, the National Weather Service forecasts our area will have above average temperatures and near average precipitation during the coming month of April.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55 degrees, an average low of 37, and a precipitation average of 7.72 inches, including just a trace of snow. High temperatures have reached the 80s twice during the past 10 years, into the 70s during seven years, and only one year couldn’t make it above the 60s. Low temperatures have fallen to the freezing level or lower without exception during the past 10 years, evenly divided between the lower 30s and upper 20s. On average, April has four days dropping down to freezing. Record snowfall for April was 6 inches in 1982 and the record for one day was 3 inches measured only seven years ago on April 21, 2008.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30, and a precipitation average of 7.21 inches, which includes an average 25 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during two years, the 60s during seven years, and only one year couldn’t make it out of the 50s. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s during seven years, into the teens two years, and one year settled for the 30s. The record April snowfall of 55 inches was measured in 1972. The record daily snowfall of 17 inches occurred in 1981, but four years ago a 13-inch depth was measured on April 3, 2011.
The Business End by on 04/01/2015
In early March, Dianne Williams, owner of Grapevine Stained Glass Studios, moved her studio into Williams Pharmacy in the Rendezvous Center, Welches.

Stained glass panels will now be created and also sold at the pharmacy, where a portion of the store is devoted to an assortment of colored glass, supplies and a work station. 

People can come in and watch Williams at work and get a good idea of what goes into creating a stained glass piece.  

“Anyone interested can stop by and watch and also sign up for a class,” Williams said.  

Described as “her second love, after family,” Williams brings years of experience and skilled hands making custom designed stained glass pieces to the Mountain. As a member of the Stained Glass Association of America since 1985, Williams and her work was featured in San Diego Home & Garden Magazine in 2003.

“Everyone has different ideas and tastes which make it interesting,” said Williams, describing her custom design work.  

A typical piece approximately six feet by three feet may take anywhere from six to eight weeks to create. Working with builders and homeowners, Williams creates an original custom designed piece of stained glass, usually in the form of a window or door panel, unique to a home or business. 

Growing up in a Catholic family, Williams observed her share of stained glass windows so often featured in churches, and liked it. 

Williams has always leaned toward the arts, taking oil painting classes in her youth where the teacher told her to keep on drawing. She trained and worked as a surgical nurse for about 10 years, but after taking a stained glass class in 1982 for fun, she started making gifts, and then people started ordering from her.  

Williams said of her choosing stained glass as an art medium, “it chose me, I fell in love with it.”

An extensive photo gallery of examples of her custom design work is available to peruse at Williams Pharmacy. 

Amsterdam, Germany, Italy and the United States are all places where Williams’ stained glass art can be found.

An art form that has been around for approximately a thousand years, stained glass is used extensively in places of worship with stunning window displays, and is also found in homes for door and window decorations, lamp shades (such as Tiffany), and other ornaments.

Grapevine Stained Glass Studios is located at Williams Pharmacy, 67193 Hwy 26, Welches, and can be contacted at 503-309-9779, grapevinestainedglass@hotmail.com.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Guarding Our Health by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2015
Our parents and grandparents and all our ancestors before us ate food. Food was all there was. Nothing packaged, preserved, colorized, enhanced, refined, or new and improved. Most food, except maybe coffee, tea, sugar and flour came from the earth out back. 

Now we have trouble even finding real food!

After WWII everything changed. Leftover chemicals became the pesticides and preservatives used in newly touted foodstuffs. 

Here’s a little history about America’s first synthetic food. In the early 1950s we got the scientific opinion which was then called the lipid hypothesis. We were told that fats in the diet caused us to get heart attacks. So margarine replaced butter in most households. Perhaps some of you reading this remember the early Crisco-like substance that needed to have coloring stirred into it in order to resemble butter. The public was told this would be better for you. And heart disease rose sharply in America soon after the introduction of margarine into stores.

By 1956, Ancel Keyes, considered the father of the lipid hypothesis, admitted that perhaps heart disease was not due to fat in the diet. Even now only half of the people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol. The other half do not. Not really a strong statistic for the use of margarine. But it was too late and America was duped. Sales of margarine soared. So did heart disease. In 1977 The American Heart Association added that it would be best to decrease meat and dairy and suddenly we had the renewal of the lipid hypothesis. And Lipitor became the most sold prescription. And made the most money for Big Pharma. Regardless of what you think of meat, dairy, or for that matter The American Heart Association, we’ve come to believe that hydrogenated vegetable fats are “better for you” than natural foods. Like nuts oils and fruit oils (olive oil, for instance).

Chronic disease began to rise but the rise in heart disease was rapid and steep. Margarine is manufactured by injecting hydrogen into vegetable oils. This is called “hydrogenation” and is what makes a liquid or semi-liquid substance solid at room temperature. Like butter. Butter is a natural food (cream) which is agitated to incorporate air into it to make it solid at room temperature. 

Air is good for you.

By the 1960s the industrialization of food was in full swing. We got TV dinners and Tang. And grocery stores were pretty much the only place one could buy food. Well some food, and lots of packaged food. Few states had year round open markets where you could purchase food that came straight from fields and orchards. 

The SAD diet (Standard American Diet) was fixed in America. And cancer, diabetes, and heart disease continued to plague us. 

You, eater-of-food and purchaser-of-food, can speak with what and where you purchase the stuff that goes into your mouth. Will it be food or will it be some non-foodstuffs. Maybe you’re not perfect, and no one is, but you speak volumes about your values every time you purchase real food. All that stuff in the middle of your grocery store, and I mean any grocery store, is packaged, preserved, colorized, enhanced, refined and new and improved. But most of it is not what you need except maybe olive oil and the occasional emergency can of natural soup. 

Otherwise you are better off shopping the edges of the store.

Margarine was probably the first synthetic substance to slip into the public diet, but certainly not the last. When heart disease started to rise the scientists should have been on immediate alert to figure out why. But many of those who do the “studies” are in the back pockets of large corporations. 

So it comes down to money. 

What you purchase will be reflected in your health. We must guard our health against the money seekers. We don’t need to keep our choices to what’s “new and improved” foodstuffs. If it hasn’t been altered in some way, it’s probably good to eat. 

With a nod to Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food I quote him: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

by Victoria Larson/MT
Culinary Corner: A Picnic Brunch by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2015
Brunch in my opinion needs something fresh and bubbly and eggs Benedict. You can top this sliced bread with roasted asparagus, hollandaise, crab, shrimp, bacon, ham or simply homemade butter and homemade jam. 
Sounds like a nice neighbor gift or take with a fruit and something sweet in your picnic basket. 

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk room temp
1 T yeast (one envelope)
1 ½ t kosher salt
1 T corn meal 
¼ t baking soda
¼ cup tepid water
1 t sugar 
2 t olive oil 

Grease and dust with cornmeal a 8”x4” loaf pan or med-sized cast iron skillet. Set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast, soda). 
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water and oil. Heat on med high heat. It should be really warm but not too hot to the touch. 

With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough for about a minute, or until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scoop the dough out into the prepared pan. Cover and place in a warm and draft-free place. When dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the bread (uncovered) for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let it sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool.

Honey pear Frescas 
with mint 
I love something juicy and bubbly on a Sunday. This  can be made with prosecco or simple sparkling water.

½ cup honey melted in microwave for 20 sec
2 red or bosc pears sliced
2 T mint muddled with 1T raw sugar (any coarse or brown sugar will work)
½ cup simple syrup 
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup pear nectar
2 cups sparkling water 
2 cups sparkling wine , champagne or prosecco
Stir in all ingredients gently into a pitcher and serve in chilled glasses over ice

Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.
Inside Salem -- A Historical Time by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/01/2015
The first month of the legislative session has been a historical time. 

The resignation of Governor Kitzhaber and swearing in of Governor Kate Brown has created some distractions in the day-to-day business of the Legislature. The federal subpoenas that accompanied the resignation ensure that the Kitzhaber/Hayes story is not yet complete.  

However, we have been hard at work holding committee hearings and passing bills from the House and Senate floors.

Among some of the bills I have authored is HB 3027, establishing a license plate featuring Mt. Hood. Travel Oregon is an agency that develops and implements the marketing plan to promote tourism throughout Oregon. As an agency, Travel Oregon would receive the money from Mt. Hood license plate sales and then administer a grant program to distribute the funds. In order to receive the grant funds, the applicant would have to show how the money would support bicycle and pedestrian tourism in the Mt. Hood region. This bill has served as a uniting theme throughout the region and here in Salem as Clackamas and East Multnomah County legislators have come together to co-sponsor the legislation with me.

On February 12, students from all over Oregon held a rally on the steps of the Capitol building to advocate for increased investment in post-secondary education. As the longest serving member on the House Higher Education Committee, I outlined specific areas legislators should focus on this session to reduce costs for students. As more students take out loans and leave school with crippling debt, this session, I am hoping to move Oregon toward open-source textbooks. The idea of open-source textbooks is that the same content found in traditional textbooks used would be available online. This kind of access for students can help to lower overall costs and helps stretch their limited funds.

Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) has been largely covered in the media and is one of the major pieces of legislation being discussed currently. This is a complex piece of legislation, with many of the details of the program unknown, and therefore the full consequences to Oregonians are unknown. In order to reduce carbon emissions, the legislation mandates greater use of blended fuels, such as ethanol produced with food. The primary goal of the program is to reduce the carbon content of Oregon’s motor fuels by 10 percent over 10 years. Oregon cannot produce enough of the blended fuels that would be required in-state and would therefore have to import the product from elsewhere. In addition, there are very concerning environmental impacts associated with any large-scale expansion of biofuel production in our region. Converting agricultural land from food production to biofuels and importing Brazilian ethanol made from sugarcane can have negative consequences in other areas of our planet.

In addition to the environmental impact, the effect on gas prices is unknown. Taking an average of the studies introduced in testimony so far, gas prices would increase anywhere from 6 cents to well over a dollar a gallon. Sadly, none of the additional money consumers would have to pay at the pump would support infrastructure in Oregon – leaving our roads, bridges and congestion in the same state they are in now. Most of the increased costs would go to out-of-state producers and investors. I think most residents of Clackamas County agree that Oregon desperately needs to invest in better roads in the region. The unknown impact on the price of gas and fuel would hurt working families and businesses across the state. Many rural Oregonians especially do not have alternate forms of transportation and have to travel further distances for daily activities such as doctor appointments and to get to work. Higher gas prices throughout Oregon could also decrease tourism and create hardships in many towns that rely heavily on the tourism market, especially in the Mount Hood region.
It is important to remember that Oregon is already a national leader in energy conservation. Oregonians lead the nation in recycling and energy efficiency efforts and our gas consumption is declining each year as people choose to transition to more high mileage vehicles. Polls show that residents of our state might consider paying more at the pump if the increased costs led to better roads. 

They strongly oppose higher prices for such a minor ecological benefit.

As always, I am thankful for the ability to represent the people of House District 52. Please contact my office by calling 503-986-1452 or emailing Rep.MarkJohnson@state.or.us to share your opinions.

by Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River)
Lavish Living and Loneliness by Sandra Palmer on 03/01/2015
Hugette Clark, the famously reclusive heiress and owner of many empty mansions, is the fascinating subject of this carefully researched biography by Bill Dedman, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, assisted by Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of Hugette’s cousins. 

“Empty Mansions” is truly an unbelievable story of incredible wealth and lavish living contrasted with isolation and loneliness.

Huguette Clark was born into a family of great wealth, the daughter of a copper baron and successful industrialist with a taste for fine art, showy architecture and the high life. 

She was shy even as a child and, as she reached adulthood, her shyness became much more than that. 
Huguette gradually becomes a wealthy recluse with personal contact limited only to her mother and a few trusted servants and staff. She had a life-long interest in art and became a good artist in her own right while also collecting magnificent original works, adding to the massive collection begun by her parents.

Huguette also had a life-long fascination with Japanese culture and throughout her life she studied Japanese artwork and collected Japanese dolls. Until late in her life, this fascination was also expressed by hiring select foreign artists to recreate Japanese buildings in exact miniature with painstaking detail. 

A California mansion that she had not visited in decades was maintained as she remembered it from her youth although she never traveled to visit the property. 

Another mansion in Connecticut was purchased after 9-11 as a potential retreat from the dangers of New York City but was never visited although she maintained a full-time caretaker to oversee the property.

Eventually, a health crisis results in a hospital stay to treat skin cancer and Huguette never again returns home – staying on in a modest hospital room in isolation except for occasional visits from her attorney and her financial advisor. 

During the rest of her life she was cared for by a few select nurses and doctors who profited to a shocking degree from her isolation and generosity along with her few remaining employees and close friends. 
At times she simply gave away valuable objects and wrote enormous checks to individuals that she hardly knew. Her kindness and generosity to those in her favor knew no bounds while she failed to trust her extended family members.

Huguette Clark’s life makes an unusual tale but the extent that those close to her took advantage of her wealth and vulnerability is shocking.  

“Empty Mansions” is a well-written and researched history that will fascinate and entertain.

Bill Dedman (born 1960) is a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist and an investigative reporter. While working for NBC News, Dedman uncovered the case of the reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark, first documenting her life in a series of reports on NBCNews.com and The Today Show.

by Sandra Palmer/MT

Max Malone
Episode III -- So Long, Sinatra by on 03/01/2015
It was the kind of winter morning on the mountain where the sun didn’t have a chance. The storm clouds were in charge, discharging a serious blanket of snow around the pitiful plot that used to be my cabin.

As I sat on the porch of my good neighbor Sam’s cabin my mind drifted back to my childhood. Unlike Sam, my father was anything but a good neighbor. 

He was a relentless rancher who battled constantly with neighbor ranchers, holding them in disdain primarily because they were far more successful than he was.

Call him a rancher-in-training.

They fought over water rights, rules that my father insisted were the cause of his miserable existence.
If there was one thing he took pride in, it was his chicken coop. In many ways – except for a distinct lack of electrical appliances – the coop was a grander edifice than our house.

One night, amid the desperate exhortations of his prized chickens, the coop went up in flames. Despite all my father’s efforts – poorly assisted by a young boy who would one day become Max Malone, private eye – all that remained was charred remains of chicken wire, a dozen dead laying hens and a once-proud rooster. Was that a tear I saw in the corner of my father’s eye?

But that’s another story.

Now, I sat with Sam, my cabin consumed by a fire, and watched the Andy Campanaro fire marshall chap poking through the rubble, occasionally casting a suspicious eye back at me. The local fire chief, Angel Ingle, worked the scene with Campanaro, while the firefighters packed their gear, folded their hoses, and in general went about the business of cleaning up after themselves in an efficient manner that, despite my gloominess, I had to take notice, with a hint of admiration.

But my overriding thoughts could not ignore the fact that Sam had been awakened, not by the fire, but by a series of explosions. That thought barely held sway over the memory of what used to be my vinyl collection. Frank, Tony, Louie, Ella, all gone.

Never call me sentimental, but I know the value of some things. I was gonna miss them.

“What color was the smoke?” I asked Sam.

“The color?” he asked.

I nodded grimly.

“Uh, well, it was dark of course, but the smoke was as black as the night,” he said. “Later, it turned more gray than black.”

I’d worked a few arson cases over my years – people hiring me for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong reasons – and I knew this: black smoke was the product of accelerants, gray smoke was the color of burning wood.

Call me a private eye with a private eye as a new client.

Campanaro approached me again, ready to ask the kind of questions I would ask me.

“Mr. Malone. I trust you had insurance on the cabin,” he said in practiced even tones. “There’s some evidence this may have been arson.”

I said nothing. I was on the job just as much as he was. After all, homeless on the mountain or not, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Warm Trend Likely to Continue by Herb Miller on 03/01/2015
The first 10 days all had measureable rainfall starting in February, but only one day had more than an inch. A sunny and dry period followed during the next 10 days with temperatures far above average.

And snowfall just a memory.

The record in Government Camp was set in 1991 when only one inch of snow was recorded during February. But that record will likely stand.

A cooler weather pattern emerged during the final week with the promise of some snow, and more to come during early March. Temperatures averaged close to 6 degrees above normal and precipitation well below normal for February.

The National Weather Service is once again frustrated by conflicting indicators. 

Their official forecast for our area calls for above average temperatures and lower than average precipitation, although it admitted this contradicts two of their models that predict below average temperatures. So take your choice.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52 degrees, an average low of 35 and a precipitation average of 8.41 inches including an average of 3 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 70s during three years, and into the 60s during five years, and the 50s twice. Lows fell into the 20s all but one year that ended in the 30s. Freezing temperatures average nine times and measureable snowfall was recorded nine of the past 10 years in March.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 27 and a precipitation average of 9.12 inches, including 46 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s during five years, into the 50s during two years, and into the 40s during three years. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s during five years, and into the teens during the other five years.
A Farm to Table Bistro by on 03/01/2015
Amber Spears began her cooking career at the tender age of five, baking cakes and living in a household where she did not know that food came from boxes. 

Today, Spears still embraces that same attitude toward healthy and wholesome nutrition running Sissymamas, a gluten-free “farm to table” bistro in Welches where nothing comes from boxes, and her latest adventure, Hoodland Farmacy, a local food buying club. 

Sissymamas, a nickname affectionately given to her by her nephew, became the inspiration behind the name for her bistro. She describes her cooking as “comfort food” made from scratch, and “doused in love.”
“I’m very excited and grateful. The people here are so supportive and happy to have allergen free food that tastes good,” Spears said. 

Attending a two-year course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, Spears studied 100 major dietary theories which she now utilizes using a holistic approach to health and eating. Combining her skills as a cook and health coach, Spears’ extends that premise with healthy, nutritious and tasty food at her bistro.

Changing seasonal menu items at the bistro include soups, hand pies, sweet treats and casseroles along with vegetarian and vegan options using fresh, organic food with local ingredients when possible. Daily specials and menu items are updated on Facebook. 

Sissymamas’s take-out food is also available from the Government Camp General Store and Buddha Kat Winery in Sandy.

The food cart bistro’s footprint recently expanded to include the adjoining property, and Spears is now busy sprucing up the interior as a community gathering and education space for classes, and a sorting and storage facility for the Hoodland Farmacy.

The recently launched Hoodland Farmacy, with the Bull Run Foodshed Alliance one of the main partners, is a community oriented food buying club to serve the Mountain area. The main focus is on “farm to table eating,” with pasture-raised animals, organic vegetables, local eggs, butter and milk. To ensure sustainable practices are being followed, Spears familiarizes herself with all producers.

“I want to make sure the animals are being treated right, and hens are to be free-range for eggs,” she said.
The Hoodland Farmacy has about a dozen farms signed up to date, and community members wanting to be part of the buying club can sign up by contacting Spears.

“The buying power of coming together brings down the cost,” Spears said. 

Current events at Sissymamas include the Clackamas County Foodshed Roundtable which meets at 2 p.m. every fourth Thursday to address local food availability, and the Bull Run Foodshed Alliance which meets at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday presenting the “Market Garden Series,” where home gardeners learn about growing their own food and becoming market gardeners. 

Sissymamas and Hoodland Farmacy are located at 67886 E. Hwy 26, Welches. 503-208-1841, sissymamasbistro@gmail.com, sissymamas.com, HoodlandFarmacy@gmail.com.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Cooking for 20 by Taeler Butel on 02/02/2015
Jalapeño popper dip 
6-8 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy (if desired)
2 -8-oz packages of cream cheese, soft
½ cup mayo w/olive oil 
½ cup sour cream full fat 
4-6 jalapenos, roasted under a broiler chopped and deseeded. The seeds will make it fiery hot.
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded and divided in half 
½ cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup diced green onions for topping 
½ t cumin
½ t chili powder
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 T melted butter
(tip* make a double portion and mix uncooked into cooked white rice, top with cheese and bake) 
To roast jalapeno’s: Wearing rubber gloves slice jalepeno’s in half, discard seeds or save to add heat. Roast on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil, sprinkle with vegetable oil and a little salt and roast under a med broiler about for 8 mins. Turn and roast another 6 mins, cover with more aluminum and let sit. Discard skin, give flesh a rough chop and set aside.

Stir together bread crumbs, bacon, butter, ½ cup cheddar & green onions in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oven to 365. Butter a casserole dish and set it aside. In a large bowl with a large wooden spoon or in a kitchen aide with paddle attachment mix thoroughly the sour cream, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, cumin, chili powder and diced onion. Spread and bake in oven for 25 mins until bubbly. Add topping and broil under low for a few minutes turning as needed. Serve with chips 

Build-your-own tostada bar 
Pkg corn tortillas 
1 inch Olive or canola oil in cast iron skillet for toasting tortillas 
Guacamole – bought or made or chopped avocado
Sliced black olives
Crumbled taco meat (I use a pre-seasoned brand) 
Sour cream
Chopped butter lettuce or shredded cabbage
Shredded chicken beef or pork
Refried black beans
(See note for homemade)
Tomato slices 
Hot sauce 

*you can also put out a meatless meat option such as Soyrizo for hippy friends.

Step one:
If making your own refried black beans, I drain 2 cans of black beans and place in a blender or cuisinart. Drizzle in a half cup of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cumin. Cook in a pot, covered, stirring occasionally and adding more olive oil or water to make it a little thinner than canned refried beans.

To toast the tostadas:
Fill the bottom of a medium cast iron skillet with 1” of olive oil. Heat over med high heat and drop a scrap of tortilla to see if bubbles form around it. 

Once this happens you can toast in oil a minute or two on each side one at a time with tongs. Drain on a clean kitchen towel and serve with all the toppins’.
Inside Salem -- A New Session by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 02/02/2015
In January, the Legislature met for what is called Organizational Days. During these three days, the Representatives and Senators were sworn in, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate were selected, and the Governor gave his inaugural address. 

This experience only gets better each time I’m honored to experience it. My favorite part is walking up the House steps from the capitol rotunda and walking through the doors onto the House floor for the swearing-in ceremony. This reminds me of the privilege I have to serve you, and the honor I have to represent the people of House District 52. 

With the session convening Feb. 2, some of the hot topics are already receiving ample discussion. Topics such as hiking the minimum wage, paid sick leave, issuance of a carbon tax, increasing background checks on guns, taxes on small businesses, and changing the tax rebate called the “kicker” are all up for discussion and action over the next six months. I have put a survey on my website (www.RepMarkJohnson.com to solicit input on these topics, or any other topics of importance to you. I hope you’ll take the time to complete this survey as your opinion makes a difference in how I address these topics.

Last month I communicated some of my priorities for the session. I will continue to communicate progress and updates in my newsletter. I hope you’ll sign up to receive these updates in addition to the monthly updates in The Mountain Times. As always, please contact my office with any questions or comments you may have: RepMarkJohnson@state.or.us; 503-986-1452.

Response to constituent question about minimum wage and a ‘living wage’:
Over the past few years the concept of a $15 minimum wage has attracted quite a bit of attention. Proponents feel that boosting the minimum wage for workers will ensure that workers can earn a “living wage” and have a better opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. While on the surface this may appear to be true, if you look a bit deeper you will find that there is much more to the story. 

The economic recovery that Oregon and our nation is making from the great recession is the slowest on record. Job creation has been extremely weak over the past several years and wages have remained basically flat. There are many reasons for this but the result is that entry level workers are seeing few chances for advancement and they are growing frustrated. I share their frustration. 

But I fear that simply raising the bottom wage earners to $15 per hour is actually going to make our state’s economy weaker, not better. It will result in fewer good paying jobs being created in Oregon, not more, because small business would be forced to pass increased costs to their customers. Our local retailers would have a much more difficult time competing with national chain stores who could spread their increased costs over many states. The agricultural industry in HD 52 would be especially impacted. Our farmers can only charge what the market will bear for their products. With increased labor costs they would have less of a return on their products and have less to spend on labor and equipment. Our manufacturers would have a harder time being competitive with products from other states with lower labor costs. All of this does not promote a healthy economic environment in our state. Keep in mind Oregon already has the second highest minimum wage in the country and it increases each year along with the cost of living.

In recent weeks, many business owners throughout the district have contacted me regarding the hike in the minimum wage. Overwhelmingly, an increase would make it harder for them to be profitable, and would also result in fewer jobs and a reduction in benefits provided to current employees in order to comply. I want to work toward a solution for all of my constituents which means creating more “family wage” jobs in Oregon. Allowing our small businesses to grow, providing high school students access to apprenticeship and career technical education that can lead them to good paying jobs, and improving services and resources that support low-wage earners on a pathway to careers that come with higher wages and good benefits are all ways to support our communities. We all want Oregonians to be successful and able to provide for themselves and I don’t believe that mandating an inflated minimum wage will accomplish that.
Stuck on Mars by Sandra Palmer on 02/02/2015
Mark Watney regains consciousness only to realize that he has been left behind on the surface of Mars when his fellow astronauts abandon their mission in the midst of a fierce dust storm. While all indications were that he was fatally wounded and unreachable due to the storm, he finds that he is stranded on the Red Planet with only minor injuries. 

In this terrific science fiction novel, the reader anxiously turns the pages to discover if Watney can continue to find a way to survive. 

While it certainly helps that Watney is an engineer and a botanist on top of being a top-notch astronaut with solid knowledge of Mars and its environment (and a good deal of abandoned technical equipment), staying alive on Mars long enough to be possibly rescued requires a strong spirit, extraordinary problem-solving skills and even a little luck. 

Mars is – as we know – a barren landscape with a very weak atmosphere and a dusty, rock landscape without plant or animal life. The next Mars mission is not scheduled to arrive for 1,412 days – a long time beyond the amount of food Watney’s team leaves behind.

Mark inventories what he has to work with: a habitat, food planned to support six astronauts for 50 days, 300 liters of water, an oxygenator that produces oxygen from carbon dioxide and two Mars rover vehicles. Not enough but it’s certainly something to start with.

It turns out that Watney also has 12 potatoes, meant for a Thanksgiving dinner that didn’t happen. Botanist Mark realizes that each potato can be split and grown, with the resultant tubers split and grown again. He does have lots of soil – dry, dusty Martian soil – that he can enrich using (his) human waste. And his “Hab” plus several emergency tents provide 126 square meters of “farmland,” to grow the potatoes he will require to stretch his food supply. 

Now he needs to figure out how to create enough water for his own survival and to water his crops.

Soon Mark is patching together ingenious solutions for day-to-day existence while NASA takes two months to realize (by viewing satellite video) that he is still alive, although without communication or hope of rescue. And eventually the smart folks at NASA figure out a way to communicate with Watney while trying to develop a rescue scenario but the drama unfolds with plenty of setbacks along the way. 

A hastily constructed supply rocket blows up after launch, Mark inadvertently shorts out his communication link and blows up his Hab shelter, etc. – you get the idea.

But throughout, Mark’s very survival illustrates that desire and creative problem solving can overcome many obstacles beyond scenarios planned out by mission designers. And that human ingenuity and emotion can often solve seemingly insurmountable problems by creative use of materials on hand.

There is plenty of suspense as Watney eventually drives his rag-tag rover and improvised trailer for weeks to a potential rendezvous with an unmanned booster rocket that might give him an escape option as his vehicle tips over into soft Martian dust, disconnecting his trailer and scattering his life support equipment over the hostile landscape. 

Tension builds further as he encounters a massive dust storm that can shut down power from the scavenged solar cells he uses to power his Martian transportation.

I won’t give away the ending but readers will thoroughly enjoy Watney’s ingenuity, humor and even insubordination in the face of such solitary and life-threatening circumstances. This is great science fiction but has wide appeal. Don’t miss this exciting novel!

ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel and is planned to be a major motion picture.

Max Malone, Private Eye
Episode II -- A Lonely Witness by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/02/2015
The urgent phone call from my good mountain neighbor Sam came before dawn on a frigid winter morning. There’s trouble, is all he said, which for Sam is a Republican filibuster. 

Portland was still waking up when I wheeled my Suburban onto the Interstate. In the darkness there were only a handful of lonely semis streaming into the city with their loads. By the time I turned onto Hwy. 26 snow flurries were dancing in my headlights. As I reached the mountain community a winter snow storm was in full flower, shrouding the attempt of the sun to announce a new day. As for me, I had a bad feeling about this new day.

I turned off the highway onto the unpaved road to my cabin. A blanket of snow had settled along the way, but there was a curious number of vehicle ruts that had left their mark.

The bad feeling turned into stark reality as I bounced along, nearing my cabin. Multiple fire department vehicles blocked the way to my house: a command vehicle, two water tenders, two more fire engines.
I saw Sam slumped in his front porch chair, head in hands. He barely glanced up at my approaching headlights.

Then it hit me. The after-smell of a fire. A mixture of wood, chemicals, suppressants, and most of all, loss.
I bolted from my Suburban, blocked 50 feet from my cabin by the fire vehicles. Fifty feet later, there it was.

 Or wasn’t.
The river rock chimney stood as a lonely witness to the disaster. A few charred timbers were draped across the foundation. Two blackened wall studs leaned against the chimney. The rest was rubble.

A man approached me but I turned back to Sam, who pulled himself to his feet and held his palms up in surrender.

“Are you the owner of the cabin?” the man asked.
I turned back slowly. “What cabin?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, sir. My name’s Andy Campanaro. I’m the fire marshal.”

“That’s nice,” I offered, and turned away and walked over to Sam.

“There was nothing I could do,” Sam said, his face smeared with sweat and ash. 

“It went up, boom. I tried Max. But the best I could do was keep a hose on my side of the cabin and those trees. Until they could get here.” 

His head nodded to the swarm of firefighters who were busy packing up their gear.
“Whattya mean, it went boom?” I asked.

“There were at least two, maybe three explosions.”

I had a few things to ponder, besides just the loss of my cabin, and my precious vinyls. Empty cabins don’t go boom.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Higher Temps to Continue in February by Herb Miller on 02/02/2015
January started with a cold snap that ended quickly, followed by moderate and relatively dry weather until mid-month when tropical rain soaked both Brightwood and Government Camp with more than 3 inches in three days. 

Despite the downpours, precipitation for the month remained well below average. 

Temperatures averaged several degrees above average, but the final weekend saw a record high 68 degrees set in Government Camp, replacing the previous 63 degrees set 2013. The 57 degrees recorded in Brightwood on the same day only approached the record high of 60 degrees. 

But the lack of snow is the issue. Government Camp has measured only 2 inches for the entire month, approaching the record of only a trace recorded during January 2003. Skiers and snowboarders will be encouraged to note that last year, Government Camp received 69 inches of snow during February following the 26 inches recorded previously in January. In fact, snowfall totals for February in Government Camp have exceeded 50 inches for the past four years in succession. 

The National Weather Service is once again frustrated by conflicting EI Nino indicators. The sea temperatures recorded in the tropical waters of the Pacific favor an EI Nino, and have for the past few months, but the atmospheric conditions disagree. The forecasters now state chances for EI Nino will likely disappear after another two months. The outlook for our area during February calls for above average temperatures and precipitation near average. 

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34 and a precipitation average of 8.64 inches including an average of 6 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 60s during 3 years, and into the 50s the other 7 years. Lows fell into the 20s during 7 years, and into the teens the other 3 years. Freezing temperatures average 13 and measureable snowfall was recorded during 7 of the past 10 years in February. Record snowfall for February is 32 inches recorded in 1986. 

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 54, an average low of 28 and a precipitation average of 9.54 inches, including 41 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 60s during 3 years, into the 50s during 2 years, and into the 40s during 5 years. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s during 3 years, into the teens during 5 years, and into the single digits during the other 2 years. The record snowfall total for February is 112 inches, measured in 1990.

Kris and Blythe Williams.
Twenty Six is the New Cozy by on 02/02/2015
It’s like being in your own living room. Cozy, welcoming, warm, and with great coffee. 

 Blythe and Kris Williams took over Coffee House Twenty Six (previously Cafe 26) on Jan. 1, in the Rendezvous Center, Welches. 

Opening on the first of the year, it was a dream come true for the lifelong Mountain residents with Kris describing the coffee shop as “their new year baby.” 

“We had been looking for a coffee shop as we have always wanted to do that,” Kris said. 

When the chance for a purchase came along, Kris and Blythe jumped at the opportunity. 

“Heather asked if we wanted to buy it and here we are,” Blythe said. “It was such a smooth transition it was amazing.” 

Blythe is not a stranger to the community when it comes to coffee, having previously worked at Mt. Hood Roasters, Cafe Aria and Java The Hut. 

“You get to know everyone in the community doing coffee,” Blythe said. 

The coffee served at Coffee House Twenty Six is local from Mt Hood Roasters Coffee Roasting Company in Rhododendron. Fresh roasted beans are also available for purchase along with cold brew coffee and a sizeable selection of teas. Cookies are baked fresh on the premises every morning, and breakfast sandwiches, yogurt parfait and paninis will assure a splendid start to your morning. 

Comfy chairs and a bookshelf packed with books by the fireplace make for a cozy place to sit, listen to music, sip coffee and linger. 

“The idea is for everyone to come in and feel welcome, sit and relax and stay as long as they want,” Blythe said. 

“We have a lot of groups that come in here, it’s more of a meeting place,” Kris said. “We are working on the atmosphere and the way it feels. We want you to stay.” 

As musicians, with Kris playing guitar and Blythe the violin and guitar, they are eager to introduce some live music to the coffee house with instruments out for public use and open jam sessions on certain days. 

Plans to open the upstairs into a large living room area and meeting place are also in the works. 

Cups by Lindsoe Clayworks are among artisans items for sale in the coffee house. 

Coffee House Twenty Six is located in the Rendezvous Shopping Center, 67211 Hwy. 26, Welches. 503-622-4074. They are open daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Legislative Preview 2015 by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 01/01/2015
By Sen. Chuck Thomsen
For The Mountain Times

Well, 2015 is here. I sincerely hope that this new year is a great one for you. I’ve always believed that good things happen to good people. Sometimes that saying is tested of course, but I do believe it is true. 

For all of us, a fraction of what makes a year “good” or “bad” is a result of what happens when we convene down in Salem. I’m a month away from being there again for a Full Session with the goal in mind of making your year better.

There will of course be ideological battles that make all the newspapers, which heighten stress and tension in the building. You probably won’t see my name amidst all that. It’ll just be your typical minority vs. majority rhetoric and in the end the majority will pass things that they like.

Then there will be the discussions that are truly on the table, for the good of Oregon. That tends to happen in the budget committees where we decide funding allocation. This is never covered publicly in-depth because it’s boring for most. Partisanship does happen there, but with a different flavor and less grandstanding.

I have been on the Full Ways and Means Committee since I was a freshman, but now I have a new budget committee: Education. Remember, I don’t choose these things – the majority does. I think they put me there because I work collaboratively. 

I hope that in five months, I can report back that my rookie year on the education budget was a success.

Here is my current list of committees: Full Ways and Means, Education Budget, Business and Transportation Policy, Emergency Board, and Environment and Natural Resources Policy. I think with that lineup, I can have a shot at influencing most issues we face.

As always, I am freely available to you. A large part of what I do is help constituents with specific issues they have. Email me at sen.ChuckThomsen@state.or.us and hopefully we can help. After all, my goal in serving you is simple: To make 2015 better for you.

Also, if you or your family would like to come visit us down at the Capitol sometime, let me know. Some of the best days are when kids visit and they come out on the Senate floor with me. 

Happy New Year!
Legislative Preview 2015 by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 01/01/2015
By Rep. Mark Johnson
For The Mountain Times

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready to start 2015.

This is an exciting new year for me as I begin my third term as State Representative in House District 52. 
It’s an honor to continue working on your behalf and advocating for the needs of the communities surrounding Mount Hood.

Beginning in February, the Legislature will convene in Salem. This session, I will return to my position of leadership as Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee, which will be considering some very important legislation. I will continue to work for creating a sensible balance between environmental and business interests.  

I am also returning to the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. As a member of this committee last session, I advocated for strong community colleges and increased funding for career and technical education. This will continue to be a priority of mine as a way to bridge the gap so that all Oregonians can achieve their potential through education innovation and expanding career opportunities.

One of the exciting bills that I will be working on would create a specialty license plate with the image of Mount Hood. Creating this license plate not only highlights the magnificent beauty of the mountain, but also the endless tourism opportunities for native Oregonians and visitors alike. 

My bill would utilize the dollars from purchased license plates to support travel and tourism throughout the Mount Hood region. I will be looking to area businesses for their support on this initiative and hope to bring many down to Salem to lend their voice. As this idea develops, I hope you will provide your input and ideas for how this could benefit the entire Mountain community.

An issue of statewide importance is the topic of third-grade literacy. There is no better investment we can make in public education than improving third-grade literacy. Those that can read at grade level are four times more likely to graduate from high school and subsequently, be much more successful students and become self-supporting adults. In order for Oregon to reach the educational goals of 40-40-20 established by the Legislature, I believe we must begin to make this investment now. Throughout the summer, I worked with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Oregon Education Investment Board advocating for a sustainable investment, because unfunded policies do not lead to accomplishing our goals. Therefore, during session, I will continue to fight for this principle and fight third-grade illiteracy. 

Over the past four years, I have gotten to know many of you and I’m looking forward to developing relationships with more of you throughout these next two years of my term. 

My door is always open to those that would like to share their opinions. 

Please contact my office at Rep.MarkJohnson@State.OR.US or call 503-986-1452. You can even schedule a visit to the capitol and see me there.

Thank you again for your support during the campaign and the opportunity to serve you once again.

Grisham's Revisit to Mississippi by Sandra Palmer on 01/01/2015
In “Sycamore Row”, novelist John Grisham revisits Clanton, Mississippi, the setting of his most famous book “A Time to Kill.” 

However, instead of setting the action in the present day, Grisham takes us back to three years past Jake Brigance’s racially charged murder trial covered in the previous novel.  It’s now 1988 and Jake is still practicing law in Clanton but struggling financially after losing his home to a Klu Klux Klan fire bombing after successfully representing a black father who murdered the two white boys who raped and tortured his 10-year-old daughter.

Once again, Jake is presented with an unexpected high-profile case with racial overtones and high drama after a local Clanton businessman Seth Hubbard commits suicide after re-writing his will. The handwritten will cuts his family out and potentially leaves more than $20 million to his black housekeeper. 

In a personal letter to Jack, Hubbard pleads with Jake to defend his wishes at all costs, emphasizing that his family has had no interest in supporting him through his battle with cancer and will only be after his wealth. 
But Jake correctly suspects that there is more behind this controversial request than Seth’s estrangement from his children. And it will take much investigation and litigation before the answers are finally revealed in this well-written saga.

Predictably, two contradictory wills and the huge potential inheritance bring a hoard of opportunistic attorneys to the Clanton courthouse to do battle with Jake. The primary arguments are that Seth Hubbard could not have been in his right mind when he penned the handwritten will Jake is charged to defend and that his housekeeper Lettie must have exerted undue influence in order to be so favored in his bequest. 

It turns out that the answer to this puzzle is beyond any scenario discussed at the local diner.

The legal battles are fascinating which is no surprise since Grisham is best known for his legal thrillers. And the characters – familiar and new – are satisfying and very human. 

But Grisham has become such a successful author with such predictable appearances on the bestseller list that many of us (me included) have taken his writing skills for granted. 

It’s satisfying to revisit Clanton, Mississippi with John Grisham and to revisit many of the characters in his first novel. 

But “Sycamore Row” is one of Grisham’s strongest books yet and it causes all of us to sit up and take notice of this talented author once again. 

Highly recommended.

John Grisham is the author of a collection of stories, a work of nonfiction, three sports novels, four kids’ books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into 42 languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Max Malone
Episode I: The Call not Wanted by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/01/2015
Christmas passed at my mountain cabin without any sign of disaster, with Katrina’s incessant cleaning the only exception.

I have to admit the tinsel was a challenge, even for Katrina. But she kept after it like a wolverine on a scent.

Gifts were exchanged. I got a pipe and a tin of tobacco. Katrina thinks I’d look “smart” smoking a pipe. She might be right, but only for a short period of time until I started turning yellow, followed quickly by a desperate dash for the commode.

Call me less than committed to Arthur Conan Doyle.

Santa Claus brought Katrina a new apron and cleaning gloves. She didn’t need new ones – yet – but she would by the first week of January.

My good neighbor Sam got ammo for his rifle.

The mountain was held firmly in the steely grip of winter. An east wind howled up the gorge and slammed through the fir and cedar trees, leaving downed limbs in its wake. The golf course was turned over to the Canada geese who waddled over the frozen fairways finding food and frolicking hither and yon without a care – or an errant drive – in their world. Studded tires clacked along the highway to their own staccato creations. The grey sky crouched overhead like a giant turtle.

All in all, it was time to get back to town for a lively city sidewalk stroll among the shop windows, folks I didn’t know, and bruising street lights. 

Too much of this tough mountain can weaken a man.

An uneventful drive found me at my office engulfed in the welcoming hug of Francoise, my secretary. She had courtside tickets for us to the Trail Blazers game that night – provided by her boyfriend who owned a string of sports bars from Portland to Eugene and was a major advertiser of the basketball team.

He opened new sports bar franchises like some people open mail. 

I wasn’t terribly fond of him but he found me an imposing figure so I was able to attain toleration.

The game wasn’t very interesting. For me, I retired from the NBA as a fan when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired as players. But Francoise was a fanatic, and that provided a sufficient amount of amusement, as in exhortations like “You live by the three, you die by the three!” bellowed with an incongruous French accent.

The city escape came to a crashing halt the next day with a desperate phone call from Sam on the mountain.

“You need to get back up here, padnah. There’s trouble in River City.”

I fumbled for the keys to my rig. 

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Warmer than Usual January is on Tap by Herb Miller on 01/01/2015
December started with three days of cool, dry weather followed by two weeks of mild, showery weather before the upper jet stream took aim directing tropical storm moisture directly at our area.

Dec. 20 and 21 Brightwood received a total of 3.98 inches of rain and Government Camp was hit with 5.75 inches. Fortunately there was no low elevation snow and the rains subsided enough that there was little, if any, significant flooding. Christmas Eve ushered in a period of colder weather, raising hopes for snow to return to the mountain to stay for the season. These hopes were encouraged when an arctic cold snap ended the last few days of the month. Despite the two days of heavy rain, precipitation ended close to average for the month due to a relatively dry first half.

The National Weather Service is once again frustrated by conflicting reports being reported by its indicators and as a consequence has limited confidence in its forecasts for January. Our area is expected to have above average temperatures and precipitation near average.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.81 inches including an average of 9 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 50s during eight years, and one year each in the 60s and 40s. Lows fell into the 20s during six years, into the 30s twice, and into the teens twice. January averages 14 days with freezing temperatures and chances of measureable snow are 6 out of 10. Record snowfall for January occurred in 1980 when an impressive total of 47 inches was measured.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24, and a precipitation average of 13.25 inches, including 59 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s during five years, into the 40s during four years, and one year made the 60s. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s twice, the teens twice, into single digits during five years, and fell to zero or below once. The record snowfall total for January was an impressive 155 inches measured in 1964, well above the 90 inches recorded recently in 2008.

Austin Headrick (left) and Will Koons.
Presenting Mountainology by on 01/01/2015
The great outdoors influenced their lives at a young age, and two friends – Will Koons and Austin Headrick – are now doing what they love.

Co-owners Koons and Headrick have opened the doors to Mountainology, a full-service outdoor store in Rhododendron. The shop stocks everything from boards, skis and boots for retail or rental, apparel, and a line of climbing and paddle gear. An on-site tech shop provides tuning, repairs and waxing for skis and boards.

“We both just wanted a job that promoted our lifestyle outdoors, and we fell in love with the area,” Koons said. “We didn’t want to be weekend warriors from Portland for two days a week.” 

Headrick, who studied finance in school, “didn’t want a suit and tie life.”

The duo felt there was a hole in the market for a full-service shop offering gear for all four seasons. Along with skiing and boarding, climbing is also a passion for both of them, and with the nearest climbing shop located in Portland, it seemed like a natural decision to add climbing gear to their winter sports inventory.
“We promote everything in our store that we like to do,” Koons said.

Describing their store as being a different experience for customers than that of a big box, Headrick said “It’s one-on-one, and some beginners are trying it out for the first time. People come back, because we’re helpful.”

Season lease program options are available with gear ready for pick up in November or December and no return necessary until May 31. 

“You can come in, get your gear and leave for the mountain,” Headrick said, adding that the season lease programs are especially good for children, or skiers wanting different equipment each year.

Both started skiing and boarding at a young age, with Koons an avid boarder and Headrick preferring to ski. Moving to the mountain from different areas a few years ago for the abundant recreational opportunities, they now consider this their home. 

For the immediate future, they would like to see the place continue to grow and expand, as well as increase online sales with a possibility of adding a second location.

Mountainology is located at 73265 Hwy. 26 (next to Mt Hood Foods), Rhododendron. 503-564-9156. www.themountainology.com. Online sales are also available at their website www.themountainology.com, and skiers headed for the mountain have the option of picking up their lift tickets for Timberline.

by Frances Berteau/MT
This Year Make it Healthy and Wise by Taeler Butel on 12/02/2014
(Editor’s note: Taeler reprises her 2010 recipe for the budget minded.)

I am a big fan of going out to eat. There are so many wonderful places to grab a bite on the Mountain. Here are some tips for those of us on a budget.

Go out for one course and have the rest at home. You can start at home with a salad and appetizers then hit the restaurant for the entrée and dessert. Or vica versa.

Go online, go through the newspaper and through coupon books to find restaurants offering deals. Eat lunch – usually you can save about 30 percent and still enjoy the house specialties. Call your favorite restaurant to inquire about upcoming events and specials and plan accordingly. Go for happy hour!!  This is my favorite tip – you don’t have to drink to enjoy the great deals many places offer on their happy hour menu. Go for coffee and share a dessert.

Making restaurant favorites at home can also save you cash.  Here are a few favorites you may find are really simple to make and you won’t have to fight over the bill.

Stuffed Chicken 
4 oz herbed goat cheese
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
6- 6 oz chicken breasts- pounded out to ¾ inch thick
8 oz button or cremini mushrooms
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
1 15 oz can of tomato puree
1 sliced red or yellow bell pepper
Salt and pepper 
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
3 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 egg plus ¼ cup milk for dredging 
1 cup flour for dredging
1 cup panko or Italian style breadcrumbs
Fresh thyme & parsley

Start with the chicken. Set up a dredging station - I like to use 3 shallow pie pans - one with the flour, one with the egg and the milk whisked together to make an egg wash and one with the bread crumbs. A pinch of salt and pepper in each. 
Spread the bottom side of each chicken breast with about one tablespoon of goat cheese, top with about 2 teaspoons of chopped sundried tomatoes and roll chicken breast burrito style tucking in the ends and securing with a toothpick or tie with kitchen twine. Roll each stuffed breast in the flour first then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Set on a plate and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
In a large oven-safe skillet melt the butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil on med heat. Place chicken breasts in 2 at a time and brown evenly about 5 minutes on each side. Place chicken breasts to the side and add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, add in all of the veggies besides the tomato puree. Sautee the veggies about 6 minutes until tender, using a slotted spoon remove the veggies and set aside. Carefully pour the wine and chicken broth into the pan and scrape up the bottom with a wooden spoon deglazing the pan.  
Turn the heat to low and pour in the tomato puree, add the chicken and veggies back into the pan and cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over orzo or pasta and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and thyme.

Beef Tenderloin roast with balsamic glaze
1 3-5 lb tenderloin roast
2 T chopped fresh thyme
1 t coarse salt
1 t fresh ground pepper
2 T soft unsalted butter
½ cup good balsalmic vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 400, mix together the butter with the salt, pepper & thyme, rub onto the beef tenderloin. Roast in the oven for 25 mins or for med rare- let rest on counter for 15 minutes before cutting.  Place a small saucepan with the vinegar on med high heat and let reduce by half. Spoon over roast beef.

Spinach salad with candied pecans
½ cup sugar
½ cup whole pecans, toasted
1 8 oz bag washed baby spinach
¼ cup shreds of parmesan cheese
¼ cup pomegranate kernels
To make candy walnuts - cook sugar with ½ cup water in a small saucepan over med high heat until a warm amber color. Mix in nuts and pour quickly onto a cookie sheet and let dry about ½ hour. Toss with other ingredients and dress salad. Serve with crusty bread and soup.

½ t Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 T lemon juice
1 t sugar
Whisk all ingredients until emulsified, then toss into salad gently 

Roasted vegetable soup
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
One red bell pepper, large dice
½ head cauliflower florets
About 6 cups homemade or store bought chicken stock
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded 
3 T good olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the carrots, peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1- to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don’t cut them too small. Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on 2 sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a spatula. Place vegetables in a pan on the stove and add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until chunky smooth. You can also blend the veggies in batches in a blender , then add the half and half and serve.
Ghosts Inhabit 'A Sudden Light' by Sandra Palmer on 12/02/2014
How do you follow a blockbuster best seller like “The Art of Racing in the Rain?” With difficulty. 

Garth Stein is one of my favorite authors but his latest novel “A Sudden Light” is not up to his best. However, Garth Stein not at his best still beats most other options, so let’s talk about his latest book.

“A Sudden Light” is set in Seattle and revolves around a mysterious mansion overlooking Puget Sound which has been home to a timber dynasty but now both the property and the family are in decline. And the unique home is inhabited by ghostly presences who definitely have opinions about the present day. 

The Riddell family has difficult choices to make in the present day – about the family and the family legacy.

The aging patriarch, Samuel, is in poor health and suffers from dementia. Several younger family members want to place him in an assisted living situation and sell the large family property so that it can be profitably developed. 

However, this is contrary to the expressed wishes of Elijah, the founder of the family’s fortune and the builder of the remarkable house. Elijah decreed that the property should be kept in the family and allowed to eventually return to nature – never to be sold. Elijah felt strongly that – since the family’s fortune had been made by destroying forests throughout the northwest – it was fitting that the beautiful and remarkable family property would eventually be returned to its natural state.

Into this situation comes Trevor, an inquisitive 14-year-old who immediately senses the supernatural presence in the home – seeing and hearing ghosts of his grandmother and great uncle, in particular. Soon he is secretly exploring hidden stairwells and finding secret rooms filled with old journals that contain much of his family history. Even old trunks in the barn contain family artifacts that help him to understand the sad family story and the pleadings of the ghosts inhabiting the property. 

Trevor even witnesses ghostly dancing in the ballroom in the middle of the night.

One of the most beautiful sections of the book describes Trevor’s uncle Ben and his friend Harry climbing a gigantic tree up to the very top.  Author Garth Stein arranged just such a climb when he last visited us at Mount Hood and read for us at the former Wy’east Book Shoppe a few years ago. Clearly the experience was huge for him and he does a great job conveying the experience in the book.

While it feels like the author tried to accomplish too many things in this one novel, Garth Stein still has a great talent for words and the book is an enjoyable read. 

We just expected more.

Garth Stein is the author of three novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain and How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, and a play, Brother Jones. He has also worked as a documentary filmmaker. Garth lives in Seattle with his family.
Holidaze by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/02/2014
I’ve successfully fended off the notion of being a private eye for the remainder of the holiday season.

My plans go no further than popping a Heineken, dropping the needle on a Christmas vinyl – Crosby, Mel Torme, Elvis, anything but the cheer-busting chipmunks – waiting patiently on OPB to hear a heartbreaking rendition of “Ave Maria,” and watching out my window as winter comes to my mountain cabin with a dusting of snow on the open arms of the vine maple.

Of course, these moments will be interspersed with Katrina whipping around the cabin with her vacuum cleaner like Danica Patrick negotiating the first turn at Daytona.

After all, I’m still Max Malone, private eye. 

Go Daddy.

by Larry Berteau/MT
December Forecast Up in the Air by Herb Miller on 12/02/2014
The first 10 days of November had seasonal temperatures with light rainfall, followed by a cold snap that lasted nearly a week giving Brightwood a near-record 8-inch snowfall Nov. 13, and Government Camp 12 inches.

Seasonal temperatures returned after the cold snap ended and heavy rainfall caused by tropical moisture arrived Nov. 22 and 23. Despite the brief extremes, temperatures averaged near normal for the month, although precipitation was slightly less than average.

The National Weather Service is frustrated by conflicting reports coming from a variety of indicators and as a consequence has limited confidence in its outlook for our area to have above average temperatures and near average precipitation.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42 degrees, an average low of 33 and a precipitation average of 11.06 inches including an average of 6 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s all 10 years. Lows fell into the 20s during seven years, into the teens once, and into the single digits the other two years. December averages 12 days with freezing temperatures and chances of measurable snow are 8 out of 10. Record snowfall for December occurred in 1973 when a total 27.7 inches was measured.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25 and a precipitation average of 13.92 inches, including 52 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s during three years, and into the 40s during the other seven years. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s once, into the teens during four years, into the single digits during three years, and fell to zero or below twice. The record snowfall total for December was 122 inches, measured in 1971, well above an impressive 84 inches recorded recently in 2010.

Kevin Tillson
A Lawyer Follows His Dream by on 12/02/2014
Kevin Tillson opened the doors for business to Tillson Law, PC in Sandy in the late summer of this year.
Raised in a small mountain community in South Lake Tahoe, where his father still practices law, Tillson realized during his high school days that he too aspired to be an attorney. 

Following his dream he attended the Willamette University School of Law in Salem, then practiced criminal defense for one year in The Dalles.

Tillson’s areas of practice include wills, trusts, probate, trust administration and protective proceedings. 
“My dad’s practice influenced me to want to practice estate planning and probate,” Tillson said.

Previously, Tillson had worked in a general practice firm where he worked on all of the estate planning, probate and trust administration matters.

Tillson found the perfect fit for his own law practice in Sandy when he purchased the business from Jeffrey and Pam Crook who retired after practicing law for 35 years.

“I acquired Jeff and Pam’s firm for a number of reasons,” he said. “Jeff focused his practice on estate planning and probate which are the areas of law that I thoroughly enjoy and wanted to focus my practice on. This firm provided the perfect opportunity for me since I wanted to practice in a smaller community.”

The fact that both Crook and Tillson are avid San Francisco Giants fans no doubt helped to seal the deal.
Tillson’s assistant, Juli Classen, previously worked for Crook for 17 years.

“Juli’s been a huge help for my practice,” Tillson said. “She works hard, she knows all of the clients and she is in touch with the community.”

Classen is pleased to have the opportunity to continue working at the same office, and found her transition into his practice easy due to his friendly, funny and low-stress attitude.

“I have gotten to know many of the clients over the years and am glad to be able to stay in contact with them,” Classen said. “I have always enjoyed working here.”

Growing up in South Lake Tahoe, Tillson enjoyed the abundant winter recreational opportunities such as skiing which he still enjoys since moving to this area with his two young boys. As well as playing soccer in a Gresham adult league, Tillson stays busy out of the office coaching his sons’ soccer, basketball and baseball teams.

“The community has been great to me,” he said. “My clients and other business owners have been receptive to me and I feel welcome in the community.”

Tillson Law, P.C. is located at 39075 Proctor Boulevard, Suite C, Sandy.  503-668-3558, www.tillsonlawpc.com.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Left Behind by Taeler Butel on 11/02/2014
I don’t know about you but my favorite part of Thanksgiving is leftovers for days. If you are going to spend a whole day cooking might as well make it last. Here’s the recipes and the strategies to make all that effort go way beyond Thanksgiving day.

*Save the trimmings of veggies & herbs for soup – just stick in a large zip lock and freeze. Potato peels don’t work so well for this but carrot tops, celery ends, onion ends, etc. will make great stock. Add the trimmings, carcass, salt and water to your crock pot and let simmer 4-6 hours for recipe gold! 
* Make your own TV dinners. Buy cheap aluminum trays at the dollar store and put individual servings of the turkey, potatoes and gravy etc. in the trays. Put lids on and freeze. You will give yourself a high five the next time you need a quick dinner.
*Dinner rolls, stale bread, crackers, etc. can be toasted in an oven and run through a food processor. Voila! Bread crumbs (freeze in plastic bags), herbs and spices can be added for seasoned bread crumbs (fancy!).
*Boil the carcass in salted water or stock, pull the meat, allow to cool, place the shredded turkey in a large bag and cover with cold stock. Push out air, lay flat and freeze.  Use shredded turkey for BBQ sandwiches, turkey gravy, enchiladas etc. etc. etc.
*Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes freeze well. Spoon into large zip lock type bags, and flatten pushing out any air and freeze.Gravy can be frozen using the same method

Let’s cook something:

Sweet potato pie
1 unbaked pie shell
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes or yams
½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t allspice
1 t vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ t salt
1 stick of butter softened
Place sweet potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and beat until well combined. Slowly add sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Continue beating until well combined. 
Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Transfer to oven and bake until center has set, 45 to 50 minutes. 

Potato pancakes
One of the best fixes for leftover mashed potatoes. You’ll want to eat these with sour cream next to fried eggs and kielbasa sausages.
¼ cup olive oil for frying
1 T butter
4 cups mashed potatoes
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper (½ t each)
½ cup shredded cheese (op)
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 lightly beaten eggs
Mix about 4 cups of your mashed potatoes into a bowl  and mix together potatoes, salt & pepper, sour cream, parsley and eggs. If you are using cheese, add this too. Roll mixture into golf ball sized balls and flatten into disks. Heat a skillet over med heat, add in olive oil and a pat of butter and once butter is melted add a few potato disks and cook untouched for about 2-3 mins until browned. Flip over gently and cook until the other side is browned. Place on paper towels to drain – serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
French Continues the Murder Saga by Sandra Palmer on 11/02/2014
A small postcard-sized card posted on a bulletin board within St. Kilda’s boarding school causes re-opening of a cold case for the Dublin Murder Squad. 

The posting shows a photo of young “golden boy” Chris Harper who was found murdered on the grounds of the posh girl’s school a year earlier. Even more intriguing is the message beneath the photo of smiling Chris: “I know who killed him.” 

Soon cold case detective Stephen Moran teams with female Murder Squad detective Antoinette Conway to go back over the evidence and re-interview the young women at the school to find out who can reveal the murderer. 

And just to make things even more interesting, the new evidence comes to Stephen from Holly Mackey, the daughter of detective Frank Mackey (of “Faithful Place”, a previous Dublin Murder Squad mystery). Even Frank Mackey plays a small role as he oversees the interrogation of his daughter.

Soon the detectives are interviewing Holly Mackey’s closest friends and those in a rival clique who each had keys that allowed them to escape to the school grounds after hours. It seems certain that these girls have information about the murder or that the murderer may be one of them. But the complexities and rivalries of the teen girls challenge the detectives who are trying to discover what was missed by the original investigation. 

Tana French’s skill with dialog again amazes in this novel as the interviews of the primary groups of boarding students reveal webs of deceit, jealousy and loyalty that are constantly shifting, revealing many possible theories of the crime.

Every Tana French mystery novel has a unique perspective and primary voice as she takes a minor character from a previous novel to elevate as her main protagonist in the next book in her series. It is a unique approach and what is most incredible is her ability to completely change her narrative voice to reflect the personality of her new protagonist.

It also takes a great mystery writer to weave such an intricate plot and to create so many characters with unique personalities and agendas. French pulls it off while creating an ending that makes sense while still being a surprise to the reader. I recommend the entire Murder Squad series to you.

(Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the United States and Malawi. She is the author of “In the Woods” (winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Macavit, and Barry awards), “The Likeness, Faithful Place “and “Broken Harbor” (winner of the Los Angeles Times prize for Best Mystery/Thriller). She lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.)

Max Malone
Pause Button by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/02/2014
Returning to my Mountain cabin is always rewarding, with a few notable exceptions that discerning Max-devotees will doubtlessly remember:

1. Losing a perfectly fine fedora to a rifle shot in the dark.
2. The harried Hope thrusting her way into a murder investigation prior to thrusting her way into a prison-orange outfit.
3. Suffering through an accidental rendezvous with the local newspaper editor at a murder scene, which forced me to smother one chuckle after another throughout the encounter.
4. Being forced into the middle of a caper that took so much of my time that I never got to pursue the new smoldering redhead bartender at Tony’s joint.
5. And so it goes.

Now, having slipped the surly bonds of Valerie Suppine, Tasha, and the city of Reno in general, I find that my good neighbor Sam has not only been keeping watch over my coveted cabin, but he’s also allowed Katrina to find safe haven there following a series of break-ins at her house.

We all remember Katrina, the woman who could sweep into your life like the sigh of a soft Jamaican breeze, followed up by sweeping clean your cabin like a hurricane from Hades. 

Yeah, that Katrina.

She was overwhelmingly glad to see me. She ushered me into my cabin with glee. She loved my new fedora so much she snatched it away, set it rakishly on her head, and spun around the immaculate floor of my cabin to a tune that only she and a few island dancing girls could hear.

She was an attention-getter, I had to admit.

A few days slipped by when Francoise, my secretary in the Portland office, summoned me back to work. It was mindless, but paid handsomely. I had to conduct some post-trial interviews with jurors for the district attorney’s office. When a trial went bad, they always looked for improprieties among the jurors. That’s where I came in. So my days were filled with traveling around, and my evenings were spent in delicious solitude with a Heineken or three and the needle dropped on a Sinatra vinyl.

Katrina worked the night shift at Lola’s joint, so that worked out in my favor as well.

About 3 a.m. one night, as I heard her cleaning the kitchen counter, I rolled onto my back to feign a deep sleep. She slipped into bed like a secret shadow of a cumulus cloud passing over the moon, and nestled against me.

“I know you’re not asleep,” she said in her husky manner.

“I was meditating,” I said.

“Right, and I was just dropping in from the astral plain,” she said with a girly giggle.

My attempt to choke back the chuckle failed. 

I tried to concentrate on the pristine condition of my kitchen counters – and failed.

“So what’s next, Max?” she asked, much later.


“Ewww. I hate that word.”

“Then why do you spend so much time cleaning house?”

“It helps me forget about work.”

Followed by a long pause, then: “Besides Max. Don’t you think my house work is erotic?”

Such was surviving the whirlwind of Katrina.

The interviews and the subsequent writing of my reports for the DA took a few weeks. There was nothing of note unless you think interviewing an albino witch is worth mentioning. It was enough to lose all faith in the science of jury selection.

With Francoise in a fine mood spurred by cash flow, and Katrina seemingly pleased with her titillating cleanups, I took to sitting on my back porch watching autumn arrive on the Mountain, dappled by the turn of the colors, and the rise of the river bowing to sudden boosts from season-changing rains.

Katrina had moved beyond her fear of break-ins at her house, as, chipmunk-like, her nut stash grew: a winter coat, a pair of boots, and more cleaning supplies than the housekeeping department of the Vatican.
But much like the tribulations of the Byzantine Empire, nothing was meant to last.
A couple had been washed away after a footbridge collapsed at Florence Falls. It was played in the paper as a tragedy – the stuff of human interest in an otherwise slow news cycle. Photos of the search team and the body recoveries were accompanied by mug shots of the couple from north Florida. They were proprietors of a thoroughbred horse ranch and owners of a particular horse that was an early favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby. The nag’s name was Fire Dancer, a distant relative of the famous Native Dancer. Like the horse, the couple had distant familial ties to the Vanderbilts. According to the paper, they were traveling alone.

That changed the next night when Katrina told me she had served the couple at Lola’s the night before the accident.

“But they weren’t traveling alone, Max,” Katrina said with a wink. “There was another man. You should check into it, Sherlock.”

First of all, I hate the smell of horse manure and Florida. I’m taking a vacation. And I’m not Sherlock.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau
Warm November in Forecast by Herb Miller on 11/02/2014
Warm, sunny and dry weather returned during the first 10 days of October, but after that the customary wet weather pattern took over for the remainder of the month.

Unusually heavy precipitation accompanied two of the storm patterns which had been enhanced by typhoons that had previously skirted the Hawaiian Islands.

Temperatures averaged about 4 degrees above normal in Brightwood and about 6 degrees above normal in Government Camp. Precipitation increased dramatically in Brightwood after heavy downpours caused by the typhoon remnants were recorded during the last part of the month.

When the rain year ended Sept. 30, Brightwood recorded a total of 92.72 inches which is 114 percent of the normal average of 81.31 inches.

The National Weather Service forecasts our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation about average during the coming month of November. For that matter, they forecast above average temperatures for all of the northern states that border Canada from coast to coast.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48 degrees, an average low of 38 and a precipitation average of 11.72 inches, including 2.4 inches of snow. High temperatures have reached into the 60s during six of the past 10 years, and into the 50s the remaining four years. Lows fell into the 30s during four of the past 10 years, into the 20s during four years, and into the teens for the other two years. November averages six days with freezing temperatures and has recorded six days with measureable snowfall during the past 10 years. Record snowfall for the month was 27.7 inches measured in 1973, and the record daily snowfall was 8.8 inches measured Nov. 5, also in 1973.

During November, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 29, and a precipitation average of 12.16 inches, which includes an average 32 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have had four years in the 60s and six years in the 50s. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s during five years, into the teens four years, and the single digits once. The record November snowfall of 125 inches was measured in 1973, well above the 84-inch total measured four years ago in 2010. But the record daily snowfall of 20 inches occurred recently during three years, the most recent being Nov. 18, 2010, then Nov. 24, 2006, and ending with Nov. 19, 1996.

The gang at the hardware store
Hardware with 60 Years of History by on 11/02/2014
It’s not your average hardware store.

Welches Mountain Building Supply Store, located on the corner of Arrah Wanna Blvd. and Hwy. 26 in Welches has been serving the community for the past 60 years, and it has always been at the core of the community for more than just hardware items. 

Hardware, lumber, paint, tools, electrical, plumbing, automotive and RV supplies are at the ready. And during the winter months snow shovels and sandbags await. Special order items can be added to your building supply list which gives a good start if you are building your own home, and local contractors and roofers can special order from the store. Equipment rental is also available. 

Also, the friendly staff provides weather forecasts, local referrals, information about lost dogs and good hiking spots.

Current owners Bill and Rochelle Simonds have owned the store since 2005, and describing their business where people will ask almost anything as “Information Central,” Rochelle emphasizes that customer service is the key. 

“Our customer service sets us apart and we really go out of our way to help people,” Rochelle said. “We’re animal and kid friendly, always ready for a joke and are very helpful.”

There are also personal touches to the store not usually seen in hardware stores specializing in nuts and bolts, such as locally made arts and crafts. 

“There are things in here you can get in other places but maybe not year-round,” Rochelle said.

One local customer, Ralph Soule from Timberline Rim, was pleasantly surprised with his shopping experience which included a wick for his lamp and a new dog bed. 

“I didn’t think I’d find the wick, but I did and they always seem to have just about everything I need,” he said.

Also offering a wide variety of garden supplies, and a large selection of plants during the growing season, Rochelle places emphasis on the importance of local sources. 

“We get our rhododendrons and trees from local nurseries, so we know they are local,” she said. “Our live and cut Christmas trees also come from a local supplier.”

In a truly local spirit of sharing information, the store holds at least one class a year demonstrating how to create your own birdfeeder, chalkboard or yard display. The Annual Garden Party, which is the kickoff to the gardening season, offers crafts for kids and adults, and guests from the garden like the singing hens and slug eating duck demonstrate organic ways to manage your patch. Past speakers have included landscaping and gardening experts and local beekeeper Joel Swink who discussed bees and honey-making techniques.

Keith Gautney, Rochelle’s brother and employed at the store since 1988, holds the record for longest serving employee, while relative newcomer Rima Little has just over a year under her belt and got her start at the store by helping to water the plants. 

“Rochelle needed help when Regina (Ballou) was sick, and the next thing I knew I had a job,” Little said. “This is the most incredible job ever and it all started with watering.” 

Little oversees the garden center and custom plant ordering, along with the area in the store where local artisans can display their work.

Paint specialist and employee Eric Getchell previously worked at the Bellingham Hardware Sales and specialized in the paint department. 

“Eric is really good with paint, and both Eric and Keith know their stuff when it comes to plumbing,” Rochelle said.

“We have an awesome crew here, they’re a great group of people. We all get along, and it’s such a nice atmosphere,” Rochelle added. 

In July, 2011 The Welches Mountain Building Supply Store was recognized as the 2010 PRO Hardware Retailer of the Year, and was also a finalist for the national Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award. 

“Without the community we wouldn’t even be here,” Rochelle said. “Our customer service sets us apart.”

by Frances Berteau, for Geoff Berteau/MT

Fall Flavors by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2014
Pumpkin Granola
If you’ve never made your own granola this is a great one to try. Makes for a wonderful fall hike or anytime snack.  Please use whatever fruit and nut combo you’d like.
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
¼ cup dates chopped 
¼ cup golden raisins
2 cups old fashioned oats 
½ cup Pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 t cinnamon
⅛ t Cloves, ground
1 t nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1t vanilla extract
½ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut, unsweetened
½ cup pecans
½ cup pumpkin seeds
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Spread onto  a greased cookie sheet & bake uncovered at 375 degrees, stirring every 30 minutes until crisp and browned slightly. Let cool completely then package in an airtight container. This stores well for a few weeks but only lasts a few hours in my house.

Creamy chicken chili 
Perfect for those Sunday games. Break out the crock pot for this one.
2 chicken breasts (still frozen is ok)
1 can tomatoes
2 ribs celery, sliced
½  med onion, diced
1 sm can green chilies
1 cup corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 pkg.  Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin 
1 t chili powder 
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese 
1 bunch chopped cilantro
Warmed tortillas or croissant for dipping 
Place all ingredients in crock pot on high heat for 2 hours. Pull out chicken, shred meat and return to pot then cook on medium for another 2 hours. Serve hot with salsa verde, Monterey jack cheese & cilantro – I like to serve with a croissant, or another option is cornbread.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
The Ultimate Adventure to the Lonesome North by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2014
Ever wonder what ideas we currently believe are beyond doubt might be proven completely wrong in the future? 

It’s hard to believe that in the nineteen hundreds, the North Pole was one of the last big mysteries. 
The Arctic was a source of endless articles and continuing debate. 

And, not only was the North Pole defying many courageous efforts to reach the “top of the world” but the consensus at the time was that the Polar region contained a huge, warm Polar Sea. 

Top scientists and theorists at the time expected explorers to be able to reach the Pole quite easily once they found the best route through the girdle of ice surrounding it. 

And the explorers aboard The Jeannette whose courage is recounted in “The Kingdom of Ice” felt that they had an improved route through the ice due to an expected warm current from the Pacific that should lead them through the never-ending ice flows toward the Pole.

Author Hampton Sides has great players in the drama within this volume. Captain De Long was already noted as an Arctic explorer and his extravagant financial backer James Bennett was the larger-than-life owner, publisher and editor of the New York Herald. As an innovative, competitive newsman, Bennett believed in creating news – not just reporting it – and found the Arctic quest and its popular appeal irresistible. 

De Long surrounds himself with dedicated seamen who were loyal to his cause and the story of the preparations for the journey is interesting, also, but I found myself anxious for the ultimate adventure on the lonesome icy terrain of the North.

Hampton Sides has a proven touch in taking on sweeping historical sagas with thorough research and drama based upon the documented records and first-person accounts. 

He is also a master at revealing nuances within his overall narrative that bring deeper understandings to the readers. 

We are fortunate that many records of the dangerous and terrifying journey undertaken by De Long and his crew survived along with letters and records from the exploration. 

While the originally conceived goal was not achieved, these courageous men contributed much to our understanding of the frozen regions of the remote North.

If you enjoy history, this book will entertain and amaze you. 
Hampton Sides has another winner in his latest “In the Kingdom of Ice.”

Hampton Sides, contributing editor of Outside and editor of “The Wild File,” is also the author of Ghost Soldiers, Hellhound on His Trail and Blood and Thunder. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Max Malone
Played by a Pair of Babes by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2014
As Tasha and I waxed our way across the tile floor, the song changed in the sound system. Sinatra eased his way into “Too Close for Comfort.”

How did Old Blue Eyes know, I wondered, as Tasha was suddenly clinging to me like a dangerous veil of Velcro. Then I thought maybe Tasha had a remote hidden under her dress. I dismissed that thought quickly, remembering there was no room for such a device.

“Why don’t you come work for me, Max,” Tasha’s husky voice whispered in my ear.

“You already have two slugs, Rocco and Bruno,” I countered with all the conviction I could muster in light of the close quarters.

“Good help’s hard to find in this little city,” she said as her breath curled around my ear.

“I don’t work for people who kill people, my dear.”

Tasha leaned back, her eyes wide, while her black hair surrounded her ivory shoulders like the frame on a portrait in the Louvre. “But you already do,” she said. “Tell me, why were you so blind as to accept Valerie Suppine’s version of her husband’s murder?”

Tasha sounded so sure of herself. But wasn’t that just part of her whole package?

“Which means you have another version, right?”
“Max. Valerie killed her husband. And because of her acquittal, she’ll never have to worry about it, or account for it.”

Tasha swayed gently against me. The coal embers of her eyes burned into mine. I needed a deep breath, but didn’t dare take it. She had enough of an advantage on me already. I tried to clear my head. I thought, could Val have done the dastardly deed? Is Tasha trying to seduce me? And what is the real reason Tasha asked me here? Well, it wasn’t because there were no other men in town who would dance with her.

“Assuming you are right about Val, why did she hire me to come help?

“It’s called cover, Max,” she said. I was falling dangerously close to becoming a victim of her guile – much like a helpless male black widow spider, tangled in a deadly web.

I stepped away from the dance. “Cover for what? A stupid drug charge doesn’t warrant that.”

Tasha shrugs, her raven hair obeying the move, falling off the back of her shoulders as if having taken lessons from Penelope Cruz.

“Yet you answered her call and came to the rescue, like Jim Dandy from a mountain top.”

“There were other reasons,” I said, continuing to give ground like a brigade of Italian soldiers staring into the oncoming tanks of General Patton.

“Other reasons,” she said, her smile broadening, the web tightening. “That little incident on the dock in Sausalito was all she needed, right?”

How did this seductress in the pink stucco house in Reno know about Val’s and my past? I ripped at the web.

“OK sister. You need to come clean. What’s going on? I don’t like playing from behind. Especially in the dark.”

“There, there, Max,” Tasha said, turning away and walking around the back of the bar.

Was she getting a gun? Certainly not. After all, she doesn’t kill people, right?

She held up an envelope. “Since you won’t come work for me, this is all you get.” I walked to the bar and snatched it. “Go ahead, Max. Open it.”

I ripped into it. A stack of hundred dollar bills were paper clipped together. And there was a locker key with a number inscribed on it.

“The five thousand is for the bail bondsman.”

I felt a bead of sweat trickle down my back. Val and Tasha were in this thing together, and I was the unwitting dupe.

“Where’s Val?” I blurted, conceding even more ground.

“Who knows?” she purred, walking around the bar. “It doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

I couldn’t put the pieces together. Not with Tasha in my immediate neighborhood. I turned and walked toward the door.  I stopped and turned back toward her. “Nice middle game, kid,” I said, pleased enough with my tone to give her my index finger salute to the brim of my fedora. “But it’s all about the end game.”

Call me a Bobby Fisher fan.
“Check,” she said, over a confident wink of the eye. “Do you need a ride, mate?”

I hailed a cab and passed through the lights of the Biggest Little City in the World, chewed on my lip, and longed for the simple mysteries of my mountain cabin. Cradled in the locker of the Greyhound bus depot was another envelope. I slipped it into my inside jacket pocket.

I don’t remember much about the long drive back to Portland. A few gas stops complete with gas station food, then an emergency stop for a roll of Tums. But as much as the scenery and the miles were blocked out, my mind was focused on the fact that, quite simply, I had been had. Valerie, the Meanest Little Woman in 13 Western States, and Tasha, the wide-eyed vixen in the pink stucco house, had worked me.

Max Malone. Taken down by two chicks. Two babes. Two skirts. Two tummatas.

Somehow Val’s since-buried husband had stolen a big stash. Val, in cahoots with Tasha, offed him for the dough. Val’s acquittal was orchestrated not so much by Val, but by Tasha. That was part of the deal. What wasn’t part of the deal was Val getting busted for drugs. The coconspirators had to keep their distance. Enter Max, as Tasha had said, “for cover.” Once sprung from jail on the drug charges thanks to my putting up the bail, she split, leaving Tasha her share of the dough, and me without a legal leg to stand on.

I spent the night at my Portland office, and the next morning handed over the envelope to my secretary Francoise. She was delighted with the contents (a five grand bonus for the insult). I rolled the Suburban out of the Pearl District and headed straight to my mountain cabin, having called my good neighbor, Sam, telling him I was on the way. I was surprised at my welcoming party. Katrina was sitting with Sam on my front steps.

“Max, I’m so glad you’re here,” Katrina said. “I’ve missed you desperately. And I’ve had my house broken into twice in the last week.”

“I hope they stole your vacuum cleaner,” I said.

“Oh Max,” she said, wrapping me in a warm, welcoming hug.

After all, I am still Max Malone Private Eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Above Average Temps on Tap by Herb Miller on 10/01/2014
The official start of autumn fell on Sept. 23, and right on schedule our summer ended.

Following the pattern of earlier months, September was mostly warm and sunny, with the average temperature well above normal. In fact, the entire summer has had above average temperatures, with the notable exception of June, which ended with an average temperature one degree below average.

Starting in May, Brightwood’s average temperature was up 3.5 degrees, with July up 3.5, August up 4.0 and September up 5.5 degrees through the end of summer. Government Camp was even more impressive with average temperatures in May up 4.0 degrees, July up 5.5, August up 6.0 and September up 6.5 degrees.
Despite the warm weather, Brightwood had only two days with a high temperature reaching the 90s compared to a normal seven days. 

Precipitation started May 1 and ended with the start of autumn totaling 13.42 inches, which is 96 percent of average.

Although many of us are glad to see the rains return and ease the fire danger, don’t put your hose away just yet, if the forecast for October is accurate.

The National Weather Service forecasts our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation below average during the coming month of October.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low of 42, and a precipitation average of 6.43 inches. 

High temperatures have reached the 70s during 7 of the past 10 years, and into the 60s the remaining 3 years. Lows fell into the 30s during 8 of the past 10 years, and into the upper 20s the remaining 2 years. October has two freezing temperatures on average. A rare snowstorm dumped a record total of 7 inches on Oct. 31, 1994.

During October, Government Camp has an average temperature of 54 degrees, an average low of 36, and a precipitation average of 6.99 inches, which includes an average 5.4 inches of snow. 
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have been evenly divided between the 70s and 60s. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s most years, although one year dropped to 19 and the other year settled for 30. 

Measurable snowfall occurred during 5 of the last 10 years, with the record of 15 inches measured on Oct. 28, 1961.
Consignment Store Offers 'Fanciful Finds' by on 10/01/2014
A place to browse and linger. A place to shop for fanciful finds. A place to bid farewell to your old and surplus treasures. 

At Consignment & Resources, an upscale consignment shop in Welches, you can do just that.

Shirley Rohr and Jeremy Herman, partners in Consignment & Resources, opened their doors to the public in July of this year, and report that with each day the numbers of customers are increasing along with many returnees.

“There is now trust,” Rohr said. “When customers hand over their expensive Lenox to be placed on consignment they want to know who is getting it.”

Rohr and Herman moved to the Mountain about a year ago to “do something together,” and after quizzing local residents what they would like for a new business, a conclusion was reached there was nowhere to shop. As locals expressed they want to buy locally, Rohr and Herman seized on the opportunity to open the consignment store.

For Rohr, this is her first consignment store experience, having formerly owned a full service garden center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while Herman comes from a long line of retail furniture store owners. 

“I love the people here, the ambiance, and the laid back, no rush, down to earth atmosphere,” Rohr said. “The mountains rejuvenate us.”

Among the vintage clocks, lamps, a 1900s vintage oak ice box, and the odd Panama hat at Consignment & Resources, customers will find lots of quality furniture, including some Ethan Allen, tables, glassware, plates, paintings, clothing and jewelry – both costume and real gems.  

There is also a line of organic soaps and lotions. Items on consignment are mostly vintage, slightly used or new and the majority come from local residents. 

Future plans include adding garden art and accessories, and holding garden parties to the rear of the store. 
For customers interested in placing their items, consignments are 60/40 and are received on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The item is usually held for 30 days and if not sold by then the customer will be asked if they would like to lower the price or they have the option to pick it up. 

“Everyone that walks in says what a good feeling and good vibes they get and they love the music we play,” Rohr said. “We dance to the music. Customers have turned into friends who come in weekly.”

Rohr has many stories to share, but be sure to ask her about the flamingo caretaker in Florida. 

The tale will be sure to bring some giggles.

Consignment & Resources is located at 23750 E Greenwood, Welches (behind El Burro Loco), 503-564-9994.


Merit Properties is experiencing growing pains. They have welcomed their two newest brokers to their team and are happy to introduce Maureen Delaney and Kylie Milne, both offering local expertise to provide a high level of service to their clients.

Maureen was born and raised in Canada, and has now lived on the Mountain for many years. She married and raised four children, with her youngest now a senior at Sandy High School. When Maureen is not in the office you can find her on her cozy back porch with a cup of Joe and a treasured book. Besides having a knack for spotting beauty and painting lightning storms, she can also knock out a crowd on her violin. Maureen Delaney can be reached at 971.333.1060.

Kylie has lived in this area for 36 years and previously was a broker with Merit for 14 years. Extremely involved in community activities, she currently serves on the Governor’s Commission for Home Care Workers. In 2010 Kylie became bedridden with severe rheumatoid arthritis, but she works from her home with fellow Merit Broker Cindy Nerison. Cindy provides the footwork and Kylie handles the paperwork and negotiations. They’re quite the team!  Kylie is the only bedridden broker in the state of Oregon. Kylie Milne can be reached at 503.622.6002, ky@teleport.com. Merit Properties is open each day and serves the needs of the Mountain communities from Government Camp to Alder Creek.

It’s not too late to drop by your canned food to McKenzie Dental for their annual food drive. For each donation of canned food, enter to win a Coffee Keurig Brew Station. Open to anyone. Just drop off your donations at McKenzie Dental, 24540 E. Welches Road. Open Mon-Thurs, 503-622-3085. Feed the community and win.

by Frances Berteau/MT
September to Remember ... Everything by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2014
Summer is speeding by and fall is in the air, kids are back to school, sports, scouts you name it. Here’s a few helpful tips and recipes to keep everyone fed. 

Let Kids make their own lunches.
Keep a bin with snacks such as chips, nuts, trail mix, cookies, etc., packed in individual snack bags for kids to grab.
Keep fruit washed and ready to go in the fridge.
Make PB&J, cheese and ham or turkey & cheese Sammie’s cut in half. Freeze in small baggies or wrap and stack in the freezer for kids to grab.  
Kids should grab one of each and pack – having a choice will help them bring home less of their lunches.

Have a “make” Day Season and cook meats in bulk, let cool then divide and freeze into portions. Shredded or cubed chicken is great, cubed ham and ground beef with onions is another option.
Make a few loaves of quick breads like corn bread, white bread etc.
Also make and freeze rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, quinoa and other sides – use within a month or two so you won’t get freezer burn.

Skillet Mac - It’s chili, meats, mac n’cheese 
1 lb ground sirloin or chuck
1 package cooked penne pasta
1 T chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 t cumin 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1T garlic
1 (7 oz can) green chilies
1 green onion chopped
1½ cup chopped onion
½ t oregano
1 (15.5 oz) can pinto or red kidney beans
1 large can of tomatoes
Olive oil

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over med heat. Add in the ground beef, onions, bell pepper and  1t each salt and pepper. Cook until browned then add in the garlic, beans, tomatoes, green chilies and seasonings. Cook for about 15 minutes, adding a little water if too dry, then add in the pasta and toss in the cheese. Serves lots and is better the next day! 

Cookies for breakfast! 
No flour or white sugar in these bad boys!
2 cups oats
2 mashed ripe bananas
½ cup nut butter or applesauce
¼ cup chopped almonds, pecans or any other nuts 
2 t cocoa powder
¼ cup chocolate chips (if desired) 
¼ cup flaked coconut
½ t salt 
2 T honey or agave 
1 t vanilla 
1 dash of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well, bake in a 350 degree oven 20 minutes.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Powerful Prose, Tinged with Hope by Sandra Palmer on 09/01/2014
Author William Krueger is known for his mystery series featuring detective Cork O’Conner but in “Ordinary Grace” he has instead crafted a literary novel with a mystery at its heart. The death of a young boy hit by a train on a trestle just outside of town is the tragedy that begins the summer of Frank’s life-changing thirteenth year. Soon another tragedy strikes the small town, a tragedy that hits even closer and Frank – along with most of the small community of New Bremen – is trying to determine if the two calamities are connected. And, of course, the big question is who might be responsible for the two shocking events.

Two families are at the heart of the story. Frank’s family – the Drums – includes his father, the local Methodist minister, his complex and controversial wife; the ever-curious Frank; Jake his wise-in-surprising-ways younger brother and his beautifully gifted older sister Ariel. The Brandts, in contrast, are wealthy and powerful with complex relationships tying them to the Drums. And both families – as well as the ties between them - are put under extreme stress due to the dramatic happenings of that fateful summer of 1961. 

Krueger has a great gift with words that makes the reader’s experience very rewarding.  And Grace in spite of great tragedy is certainly exhibited by many characters in this outstanding novel. I especially loved the gentle faith exhibited by Frank’s father in his counseling of his congregation and as part of his fathering of his two young sons. 

The book is filled with gentle but powerful prose and sadness tinged with hope. And, in spite of the dark, heartbreaking events portrayed, “Ordinary Grace” manages to be uplifting and rewarding. Kruger’s skillful prose and the depth of his finely drawn characters make the reader relish each page while wishing the book was longer. 

The novel was definitely a reading experience I hated to see come to an end. I’m sure that I will be seeking out Kruger’s mystery series to enjoy more of his insightful and poetic writing. I believe that “Ordinary Grace” is one of the best books I’ve read in years with beautiful language, complex characters, fascinating moral themes, a plot illustrating universal truths and a skillfully organized story line right up to the last page. Don’t miss this great read! 

William Kent Krueger is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen mysteries in the Cork O’Connor series, including Trickster’s Point and Tamarack County, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace, which won the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Max Malone
Episode VI: Let's Dance by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/01/2014
I exited the Silver Slipper Casino with no more disguise than a cat with a mouthful of feathers. Let’s just say there was no way I was going to blend in with a street crowd of salivating tourists from every cow town in central California.

I fought my way through the maze and stepped into an alcove that served as the front door to a business that trumpeted: “We Cash Out-of-Town Checks” in lurid red and blue blinking neon.

Having knowingly made a futile offer to the Grimaldi brothers – which was designed to intimidate more than negotiate – I had uncovered the true identity of the brains in the outfit. 

As yet, I didn’t know how difficult this Tasha was going to be, as Rocco and Bruno hadn’t set the bar very high. It was, at least, going to be more interesting, as the black hair that waved off her neck like a midnight ebb tide continued to lap at my senses.

After all …

I dialed the number from the note handed to me by Irene at the casino bar. Three rings later, a husky voice came on.


“This is Max Malone.”
“Max. Good of you to call. Let’s get together over a drink and get to know each other.”

“Name the place, Tasha.”

“I’ll send a car around for you. Wait in front of the Silver Slipper.”

Twenty minutes later a white Cadillac – what else, it was Reno – pulled up and the driver motioned to the back seat. I climbed in. Tasha’s chauffeur was cut from the same mold as Rocco, another bolo tie draped around his neck, wearing dark shades despite the fact it was nearing midnight. 

We didn’t talk. 

He wheeled the Caddy off the main drag, a silver bracelet brushing against the steering wheel’s red felt covering. We followed the Truckee River to the edge of town before pulling into a driveway that paved the way to a pink, stucco, two-story house that was as unassuming as Marilyn Monroe at a USO show. The chauffeur unfolded out his door, and opened mine, apparently staring at me from behind his shades. His upper lip curled and I stifled a laugh. 

He led me to the door and rang the bell – a three-toned jingle of unrecognizable origin.

Tasha opened the door. She had abandoned her black look and adopted a shimmering white house dress that left nothing to the imagination. The long slit from bottom to high-thigh would have been considered overkill by Hugh Hefner at a Playboy party.

Call me a big-time Bunny backer.

I followed the white dress to a full bar off the living room. First edition posters by David Lance Goines peppered the walls. I couldn’t help but notice the sound system and the phrasing of Frank Sinatra as he glided through Mack the Knife. Either Tasha was on to me, or she just had good taste – which are not dissimilar notions.
She lifted a bottle of Perrier Jouet from an ice bucket and poured two glasses.

“You drink champagne don’t you Max?”

“Only after midnight,” I said, then glanced casually at my watch. “You’re in luck.”

“Well then, here’s to late nights,” she said, lifting her glass. We clinked the crystal glasses. She held my eyes in hers like a lynx fondles her kittens, as we drank.

“There’s really no reason for us to be on opposite sides of things, Max,” she purred.

“Actually, there may be two-hundred fifty thousand reasons, Tasha.”

“Honestly Max. That’s not that much money.”

“Then what is it? There must be some reason you send the Grimaldi brothers out on missions they can’t possibly accomplish.”

“It’s the business of doing business in Reno, Max. They’re cannon fodder.” She shrugs and a full lock of hair falls forward. “But your gal Val. That’s another story, Max. She’s bad for business. You see, I can’t be insulted. If word gets around that something like Valerie Suppine got the best of Tasha … well … that wouldn’t be good for business.”

“YOUR business,” I said firmly. Then waited before: “And what exactly is your business?”

Tasha spread her arms around the corners of the house. “Being comfortable, Max. I like my comforts.”

“So let me do my business, Tasha,” I said, leaning forward, grabbing the champagne bottle and refilling our glasses. “Your boys, Rocco and Bruno, screwed up, and Val ended up with a pile of your money. Then they blew it again, thinking it was Val’s husband who had the money. He ends up dead because Rocco and Bruno got overly excited knowing how displeased you’d be. The last thing you need is for Val to get stuck with the murder rap and end up in jail, because it will still look like you got taken advantage of. So Rocco and Bruno stumble again trying to intimidate Val with a drug possession charge. Val calls me in, and the game changes again. Now, you see that the Rocco-Bruno-Val dance is a cheap tango and you and I need to get acquainted and do a Viennese waltz.”

I wait. The depths of her dark eyes deepen. Her eyelids slowly close, then rise again from the coals. 

“Not bad, Max, for a back-country private eye. So all we need to do tonight, is find a solution.” She takes another full eye contact sip of her champagne.

“I already made your lackeys an offer.”

“Right. Now make Tasha an offer.”

Sinatra was pouring his lyric over “One for my Baby, and One More for the Road.” I stood up.

“Let’s dance,” I said.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Hot September in the Forecast by Herb Miller on 09/01/2014
The 95 degree temperature set in Brightwood Aug.11 is the hottest day this summer which applies also to the 88 degree high in Government Camp set on the same day.

The next day experienced thunderstorms, including thefirst rain shower of the month. The shower that accompanied the thunderstorm in Brightwood amounted to .10 inches, but the thunderstorm in Government Camp dumped .45 inches in about a half hour.

For the most part this has been a sunny, warm, dry month with temperatures averaging well above normal, although no record-setting heat waves. It’s interesting to note that last year September was extremely wet, with Brightwood getting drenched with 11.22 inches of rain compared to a record 12.61 inches measured in 1959. Government Camp was doused with 9.73 inches of rain, compared with a record 12.71 inches, also in 1959.

The National Weather Service again forecasts our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation near average during the coming month of September.

During September, Brigtwood has an average high emperature of 70 degrees, an average low of 47, and a precipitation average of 3.47 inches. High temperatures have reached the 90s during 3 of the past 10 years, into the 80s during 6 years, and the remaining year couldn’t struggle above the 70s. Lows were evenly divided between the 30s – including the record 32 set during 2005 – and the low 40s.

During September, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 42, and a precipitation average of 3.44 inches, which includes an average of .25 inches of snow. During the past 10 years high temperatures have reached into the 80s during 7 years, with the remaining 3 years reaching the 70s. Only one year had a low temperature in the 20s during the past 10 years, with all the rest dropping into the 30s. Last year, a trace of snow was recorded during each of the days from Sept. 26 to 29, with the record 3-inch total measured Sept. 23, 1984.
The Business End by on 09/01/2014
It’s twig furniture. Comfortable, totally unique and a certain conversation starter. Forget the sensible recliner in the corner, this furniture takes center stage.

Mike Martini started making “twig” furniture after noticing a friend’s twig chair on a porch during the 80s and decided he would make one too. Numerous twig rocking chairs later, Martini has developed a business called Forest Furniture where he skillfully creates intricate works of art in his workshop in the woods in Welches.

Martini’s passion for his twig furniture is evident. Each of his pieces is different, taking about a month to create a complete piece of furniture. Loveseats, chairs and the ever popular rocking chair are shaped from bendy pieces of red alder.

“I only use red alder wood, and you have to work with green wood,” Martini said. He noted that a piece must be used within a week otherwise it will lose its flexibility and not bend properly. The sturdier and dry pieces of wood are used as the frame, and a finished chair has a coat of oil applied to the wood which preserves it.

“But, getting the wood is good exercise,” he said.

As a high jumper, Martini received a track scholarship to the University of Portland, and went on to graduate from the University of Oregon following a tour in Vietnam. 

Always gravitating toward the arts, Martini dabbled in pottery and stained glass. He also tried his hand working in the fishing industry in Alaska for awhile. 

“It just wasn’t me,” he said. “I consider this the only thing I do really well,” Martini added.

Martini yearned to be self-employed while working the graveyard shift during the 80s at Mt. Hood Community College. After spotting his friend’s twig chair and figuring out how to build one himself, that was all the inspiration he needed to set up his own business on the Mountain. 

“I do a lot of custom made furniture but mostly the rocking chair is the one people want the most,” Martini said. “I have probably made about 300 rocking chairs since 1986.”

Jeff Williams, owner of Williams Pharmacy in Welches, displays a table and some chairs in his store made by Martini.

“He made us a beautiful table and six dining chairs, and he was so clever, every one of them has a “W” in the woodwork. He is just a brilliant artist,” Williams said.

Passers-by have a chance to try out the twig furniture when Martini holds periodic sales on Hwy. 26 in Welches by the Old Produce Stand. 

“People always want to sit on a piece,” Martini said. 

Martini noted that commercially made furniture has a place in our lives, “but it’s just not special. My stuff is one of a kind.”

Mike Martini and ‘Forest Furniture’ can be contacted at 503-622-3036. 

by Frances Berteau/MT
Hot Off the Presses by Taeler Butel on 08/02/2014
Confession: I’m not always in the mood to cook but I’m pretty much always in the mood to eat. Perfect for movie night. No fancy equipment needed – a couple of cast iron pans come in handy or even a brick covered in aluminum foil. Cut and freeze extras for kids lunches and quick snacks.

Here are a few examples, let us know what you come up with!

How it’s done:
Heat the large skillet over med high heat with ¼” of olive oil on the bottom (I use a grill pan). Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Make a quick herb aioli by simply chopping a few herbs (1t  finely) and then mixing with 2T mayo -  I like to also put in about ½ t of Dijon mustard. Spread this mixture on the opposite side of the bread for a savory sandwich. Place your toppings on the other slice of bread, and once oil is hot carefully lay sandwich down and place an aluminum foil covered brick or pan on top of sandwich. Lift pan and flip after about 6 mins.

Chicken and Mozzarella Panini:
Focaccia, or a white crusty bread
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella or sliced fresh mozzarella
Small handful of spinach leaves
1 t sun dried tomatoes 
Thick sliced chicken breast (about 4 oz for each)
Herb aioli 

Ultimate ham and cheese Panini:
Potato bread
4 oz Black Forest ham
Sharp cheddar cheese (1/8 cup each sandwich)
Thinly sliced granny smith apple
Arugula leaves
Dijon mustard & mayo (about 1 t each )

Some other ideas:
Grilled veggie Panini 
Roasted red pepper, goat cheese, roasted eggplant and artichoke hearts 
Nutter fluffer Panini 
Creamy peanut butter or Nutella, sliced banana, marshmallow fluff on a grainy bread

Homemade Yukon gold chips:
I cook these kettle style and then bake to let crisp in the oven, top with sea salt and parsley as well as a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and lemon.
1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes sliced very thin
1 T sea salt
1 cup olive oil
1 T minced parsley
1 T parmesan cheese
½ t black pepper, fresh cracked
1 smashed clove of garlic
1 small lemon (optional)
Here’s how:
Heat oven to 375. Slice potatoes and lay on paper towels to absorb moisture. In a large skillet  (I use cast iron), heat oil over med high heat and add in garlic. Place one layer of “chips” at a time and fry on one side about 3-4 minutes using tongs to flip over, and  once they are golden brown place on a sheet pan . When all the chips are fried place pan in oven for about 10 minutes until dry and crisp. Immediately top with salt, pepper, parsley, cheese and a  squeeze of lemon juice then serve immediately.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
Vintage Craig Johnson by Sandra Palmer on 08/02/2014
Winter is setting in on the high plains when Sheriff Longmire agrees to investigate a death just outside his jurisdiction. Not only is he disturbed about the death of a fellow lawman but it is also a favor for former sheriff and friend Lucian Connally. A respected Campbell County deputy, Gerald Holman evidently took his own life but it just doesn’t make sense to Walt Longmire who feels an obligation to clear the case in spite of the imminent birth of his first grandchild and the plane tickets his daughter has booked for him to fly east to Philadelphia to be there for the happy event.

Soon Walt, his Native America friend Henry Standing Bear, Lucian and Walt’s Under-Sheriff Victoria Moretti are deep into an investigation that turns up a number of missing person cases that officer Holman was investigating before his death. 

As frigid temperatures and deep snow kick in, Walt doggedly pursues the leads wherever they lead and no matter how inconvenient. The trail leads to a seedy strip club run by the sheriff’s wife, a soon-to-close rural post office whose disgruntled employee knows many secrets, a small casino in the town of Deadwood and a mysterious and historic hunting lodge deep in the snowy Black Hills of South Dakota.
“Any Other Name” is vintage Craig Johnson and fans of his Longmire series of mysteries will love this new installment. For those who have not ventured into Johnson’s Longmire books, a real treat awaits you. 

The tales are narrated by Walt Longmire, a remarkable sheriff in a rural district of Wyoming with a reputation for fair play, toughness and dogged determination. Walt’s dry humor and humorous observations about life, nature and law enforcement make each novel delightful, the ongoing characters that span the books are well developed over the course of the series and come to feel like old friends in a small town. And for those who have dipped into the Longmire TV series, it’s hard not to hear actor Robert Taylor’s voice as Walt Longmire or Lou Diamond Phillips as the voice of Henry Standing Bear – the casting is that good.

But there is no substitute for Craig Johnson spinning mysteries as Walt Longmire on paper. This volume is the eleventh novel in the series. 

I’d recommend that you pace yourself but plan to enjoy them all. Johnson has a unique writing voice and while it is not high art, it’s mighty fine writing.

(Craig Johnson is the author of eight previous novels in the Walt Longmire series. He has a background in law enforcement and education. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.)
Episode V: A Midnight Ebb Tide by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/02/2014
Having let Rocco Grimaldi know we had business to tend to, he tried to brush past me, sticking a bony finger against my shoulder which, to his way of thinking, meant he was too busy a guy to spend time with the likes of me.

His big brother Bruno was a full two steps behind, and no one was paying any attention to us – something that old-timers at the old-time Silver Slipper Casino had practiced over the years. I grabbed a handful of Rocco’s shirt, stifling a chuckle as his bull’s head bolo tie stabled itself between the fence posts of my fist.

I quickly assessed the look on Rocco’s face. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being astonishment that anyone would challenge the great Rocco Grimaldi on his own turf, and 10 being utter terror, he registered an 8.5.

Call me a standing member of the Richter Scale Club.

Meanwhile, Bruno’s dumbfounded nature was causing him to move forward – albeit at glacial speed. Rocco tried to twist loose, but I tightened the grip and leaned close to his ear.

“I never mix business with pleasure, Rocco,” I rasped. “And right now I’m quite pleased stuffing your stupid tie closer to your Adam’s apple. So what say we go find a quiet table, and get down to business.”

Rocco shrugged his shoulders in submission and I released his bolo tie from captivity, never breaking eye contact. He straightened his tacky tweed jacket, removed the toothpick from his mouth in a manner that suggested he was performing at his jaunty best, and motioned toward the back of the casino. Bruno held his ground, an activity he obviously found quite stylish, but oafish to anyone with half a brain, much less to a private eye of my considerable career dealing with two-bit wise guys that had been perfectly described to me by my client, Val.

We walked around Bruno, Rocco giving another tug on his jacket, and made our way through the casino bar to a booth in the back. Irene, the bartender, had made her way to the far end of the bar in case of further trouble, and she gave me a subtle smile, the crow’s feet in the corners of her eyes doing a buck and wing.

Rocco slid into the booth, Bruno next to him as if forming a line of defense. The Maginot Line had nothing on these two knuckleheads.

Call me anything but a Francophile.

Before I could get to my opening gambit, a woman approached out of the shadows. My internal alarm system went off like a shuttle liftoff – that is, one that is always on time, always in anticipation of inexorable possibilities of exploration, but always with an undercurrent of impending disaster.

In this order, I noticed: black heels, legs ascending to the short cut of a black dress, a low curve off the shoulders, black hair that waved off the neck and down the back like a midnight ebb tide, and smoky complexion that surrounded eyes that smoldered like two lumps of anxious anthracite. The next thing had to be that her name was Natasha.

“Everything OK, Rocco?” she hummed.

“Yeah, for now, Tasha,” Rocco said obediently.

I nearly had the name right.

She burned her eyes into mine as she turned, assuring that would fixate me into watching her sway away. It worked. Tasha was trouble. And by now, you know all about Max Malone and trouble.

Right here in Reno city.

I clasped my hands on the booth table, dousing the fiery coals that Tasha had spread in her wake.

“Listen up, Rocco,” I opened the game. “I’m an old friend of Valerie Suppine. She’s also hired me to take care of things. In this case, you two are the things.”

“You know who you’re talkin’ to?” Rocco fired back, with all the ferocity of a neutered dachshund. 

“As a matter of fact, yes. Because this little town has a law enforcement establishment with all the commitment to justice as a cross-eyed scorpion; because you guys hung a murder rap on my client, that, of course, sunk out of the court room like a white sidewall in a grease pit; all because you dolts couldn’t keep track of a stack of money even though your supposed adversary was a night club singer with all the crooked savvy of a Benedictine monk; and now you’re trying to intimidate my client into leading you to your money by planting drugs on her – a woman, I might add, who is meaner than both of you; and what that leaves regarding ‘who I’m talking to’ is that you now get to deal with Max Malone who is prepared to bust this murder case wide open, at best, or, at worst, banish the two of you so far from Reno that Elko, Nevada, may allow you to stay a few nights at the Motel 6 on your way to nowhere.”

“He talks a lot, huh, boss?” Bruno blurted.

Rocco kept looking at me, ignoring Bruno.

“What are you offering?” Rocco blundered.

Without hesitation I devised an offer. “Ten cents on the dollar in exchange for a full recorded confession to Frankie’s murder, in front of an attorney, that I will hold hostage.”

“You think I’m crazy?” Rocco snarled.

“No. I think you’re stupid. And that’ll make it easy for me to paste Frankie’s murder case on the front page of the Reno rag. And that’ll make you dream of the 25 Gs you left behind and that Motel 6 you traded for federal prison.”

Rocco squirmed in his seat. Bruno looked confused, as usual.

“I’ll get back to ya,” Rocco responded through a tight grimace.

“You do that,” I said, flipping my business card on the table. “ You’ve got 24 hours.”

I stood up and walked slowly away. Irene motioned me to the bar and handed me a note. “Call me at this number. Tasha.”

I shot a call to Val as I exited the casino, and asked her who this Tasha was.

“Hah” Val responded bitterly. “So she’s in the picture. She’s a vixen who can track a money and testosterone trail from Reno to Las Vegas.”

I had a phone call to make.
After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
August will be Steamy by Herb Miller on 08/02/2014
The 94-degree temperature set in Brightwood July 1 could be the hottest day for the summer. The first three weeks were dry except for a brief period of precipitation accompanied by a thunderstorm in Brightwood July 13. The third week ushered in three days of showers, welcomed throughout the Northwest by those fighting fires. 
Clear, warm weather returned for the rest of the month, with temperatures averaging nearly 4 degrees above normal in Brightwood, and 5 degrees above normal in Government Camp.

The National Weather Service has moderated its thoughts about El Nino and based upon current observations expects the conditions to peak during the late autumn or early winter, with lowered impact. Regardless, our area is forecast to have above average temperatures during August, with precipitation near average.

During August, Brightwood has an average temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.48 inches. High temperatures have reached the 90s during nine of the past 10 years, with the remaining year settling for the 80s. Lows dropped into the 40s for all but one year during the past 10, with the exception being a 39-degree reading. Of interest, during last year, July went the entire month without a drop of rain – for the first time in 36 years of records.

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.64 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during four years, into the 80s during five years, with the remaining year unable to get above the 70s. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during seven years and into the 40s during the remaining three years.

A Tale of Melanoma by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2014
Skin cancers are alarmingly on the rise. While we think of Oregon as a “rainy place,” in fact, we have the fifth highest rate of skin cancer in the nation. Skin cancers rank as the second most common form of cancer in women. 

Cancer cells are cells that have somehow been damaged. Cells are damaged by radiation, by chemicals, and by irritation. The following is a detailed history of a melanoma that was 20 years in the making. Today matters. 

A female patient in her twenties had two or three bad sunburns in her late teen years. Growing up in California before sunscreen was even invented, she used baby oil as a sun lotion. This offered absolutely zero protection from the sun’s harmful rays and actually allowed the radiation from the sun to penetrate her young skin. But who knew?

Years later, now in her 30s, the patient lived on a farm where she generously allowed a group of friends to stay for a few days. There being only one bathroom for all of the residents and guests, the supply of clean, dry towels soon ran out. People resorted to grabbing whatever damp towel was hanging over the towel bar. 

Two weeks after the guests left the household was left with a scabies infestation. This is a small mite that burrows under the skin causing extreme itching. The itching was especially intense on the woman’s lower left leg. 

In those days, the infestation was treated with repeated topical application of a chemical wash called Kwell. Those were strong chemicals, but who knew?

Now in her 40s the patient goes through a time of grief – a death in the family, an imminent move, stresses that lower the immune system.  

When your immune system is not up to snuff, you get sick. So this patient, who as a child had been able to roll in poison oak with perfect immunity, now had the lowered immunity that caused her to get poison oak while on a picnic. The intense itching once again was felt on the lower left leg and the irritation caused by scratching caused a new mole to form. The mole grew in the exact spot where the scabies burrow had been 10 years earlier. Irritation, but who knew? 

Though a hospital health fair was the last place this patient felt like going after a funeral, she went to have her lower left leg checked. And was told to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. 

That was 28 years ago and she’s allowed her story to be told. 

A skin cancer 20 years in the making. The patient had the melanoma removed within a few days and no further treatment was needed. 

Yes, 28 years ago. Catching skin cancer early results in better outcome. Get checked yearly. And don’t use tanning beds, no matter what your age.
A Tale of Melanoma by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2014
Skin cancers are alarmingly on the rise. While we think of Oregon as a “rainy place,” in fact, we have the fifth highest rate of skin cancer in the nation. Skin cancers rank as the second most common form of cancer in women. 

Cancer cells are cells that have somehow been damaged. Cells are damaged by radiation, by chemicals, and by irritation. The following is a detailed history of a melanoma that was 20 years in the making. Today matters. 

A female patient in her twenties had two or three bad sunburns in her late teen years. Growing up in California before sunscreen was even invented, she used baby oil as a sun lotion. This offered absolutely zero protection from the sun’s harmful rays and actually allowed the radiation from the sun to penetrate her young skin. But who knew?

Years later, now in her 30s, the patient lived on a farm where she generously allowed a group of friends to stay for a few days. There being only one bathroom for all of the residents and guests, the supply of clean, dry towels soon ran out. People resorted to grabbing whatever damp towel was hanging over the towel bar. 

Two weeks after the guests left the household was left with a scabies infestation. This is a small mite that burrows under the skin causing extreme itching. The itching was especially intense on the woman’s lower left leg. 

In those days, the infestation was treated with repeated topical application of a chemical wash called Kwell. Those were strong chemicals, but who knew?

Now in her 40s the patient goes through a time of grief – a death in the family, an imminent move, stresses that lower the immune system.  

When your immune system is not up to snuff, you get sick. So this patient, who as a child had been able to roll in poison oak with perfect immunity, now had the lowered immunity that caused her to get poison oak while on a picnic. The intense itching once again was felt on the lower left leg and the irritation caused by scratching caused a new mole to form. The mole grew in the exact spot where the scabies burrow had been 10 years earlier. Irritation, but who knew? 

Though a hospital health fair was the last place this patient felt like going after a funeral, she went to have her lower left leg checked. And was told to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. 

That was 28 years ago and she’s allowed her story to be told. 

A skin cancer 20 years in the making. The patient had the melanoma removed within a few days and no further treatment was needed. 

Yes, 28 years ago. Catching skin cancer early results in better outcome. Get checked yearly. And don’t use tanning beds, no matter what your age.
A Tasty Fourth by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2014
There are few things as satisfying to me as a well executed meal for family and friends. I have a few rules when it comes to the Fourth of July menu which by the way is the third most important meal of the year. 

1.There must be plenty of food for everyone and their mothers
2. Make dishes that can sit at room temp for a few hours without turning (aka no mayo)
3. Quality over quantity – make just a few things perfectly instead of 11 things OK
4. When someone asks if they can bring something, always say yes.  I prefer people  to bring a beverage and chips and that way you get a nice variety
5. Make a classic menu but add your own touches 
6. Class it up with table linens – reusable dishes, candles, etc. 
7. If it can be done in advance it is worth doing in advance
Now let’s get cookin’

Pulled bbq chicken
4 large split chicken breasts bone-in and skin on
Olive oil
Sea or kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 Maui (or other sweet) onion, 1 finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T tomato paste
1 cup all-natural (100%) pineapple juice
1 t chicken base 
1 cup smoky BBQ sauce
Hawaiian sandwich buns
Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkle about 1T of salt and 1T of pepper all over skin. Grill on med heat for about 10 mins each side or bake in an oven on a sheet pan at 400 for approx 25 mins or until juices run clear. 
Make the sauce: Add olive oil and onions to a large sauce pan and cook on med heat until translucent, add in the garlic and cook for one minute. Add in remaining ingredients besides buns. Kick the heat up and let it boil, reduce heat, then cover and simmer ½ hour.
While the chicken is still warm shred with your fingers or two forks. Place meat in a bowl and toss enough sauce to coat. Spoon into buns and top with more sauce and coleslaw, as well as bread and butter pickles 

Street corn
5 ears fresh corn, husked 
For the Spread: 
¼cup cream cheese room temp
2 T olive oil 
1 T butter room temp 
½ t garlic powder 
Juice from one lime 
For the Topping: 
¼ cup grated Cotija or a feta cheese 
1 t smoked paprika (or chili powder if you want heat) 
Chopped cilantro
Soak 5 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Pierce a skewer halfway into the bottom of each corn cob. 
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the corn directly over the heat, cover and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning often, until the kernels are spotted brown. 
Meanwhile, combine the spread ingredients in a small bowl, and the topping ingredients in another small bowl. Set aside. 
Carefully remove the corn cob from the grill and transfer to a large platter. Smear the spread all over each corn cob, then sprinkle evenly with the topping. Serve immediately.
Beauty and Terror in WWII by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2014
Anthony Doerr’s elegant language fills this compelling novel with exquisite descriptions of beauty and terror during World War II in Germany and France.  

He populates the story with fresh characters the reader can truly appreciate and care about as he weaves the stories together in ways that are not predictable or expected. He skillfully leaves just enough unresolved for the reader to fill in some of the blanks and to allow a bit of mystery to pervade the book’s conclusion.

The heroine is Marie-Laure LeBlanc, whose father is a uniquely talented locksmith and woodworker who is charged with oversight of all the many locks and security measures for the Museum of Natural History in Paris. 

Marie-Laure lost her sight at six years of age due to cataracts and her father has gone to great lengths to raise her to be independent in spite of her blindness, even creating a detailed scale model of the neighborhood in miniature so that she can learn to navigate by locating landmarks and street markers – eventually by memory. 
She has cultivated a deep love for the natural world and senses its beauty through touch and smell. She also appreciates music, literature and science and her father’s connections with the cultural life of Paris and the Museum has offered many opportunities to expand her intellectual world.

Much of the novel’s action takes place in the walled-in city of Saint-Malo on the Breton coast during the German occupation where Marie-Laure and her father have fled after Paris is overrun by German forces. Eventually her path crosses that of the novel’s other protagonist, a young German named Werner who is a prodigy with electronics and radios in particular.  Their meeting turns out to be pivotal for both of them and climactic but bittersweet as well.

Telling the story from the perspective of two exceptional young people allows the author to provide a unique perspective on the era. But Doerr does not stop there. Rich relationships populate the novel and bring the reader into a real intimacy with the action and the challenging times. Werner’s “inside the Reich” experiences provide a unique perspective on the Nazi training and indoctrination of talented youth to fill unique roles in the German military machine. However, Werner’s intelligence and sensitivity, while repressed, still survive and offer hope in spite of the war’s sadness that has destroyed the spirits of so many.

“All the Light We Cannot See” is extraordinarily well written and illuminating, a unique reading experience.

(Anthony Doerr is the author of four books: Memory Wall, The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. His fiction has won numerous prizes. He teaches occasionally in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.)

Max Malone
5 Inches & 50 I.Q. Points by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/01/2014
With two thousand dollars of Val’s purloined money stashed in my pocket, I zipped to the bank and wired half of it to Francoise, my secretary in Portland. It would be odd to an average chap that with that one deft transaction two virtually unappeasable women had been appeased.

But not for me. I have walked that tightrope for a couple decades like the High-Wire Malone that I am. The Big Top of Reno was just another road show.

Now it was time to turn my attention to Bruno and Rocco Grimaldi – the brothers who, if Val can be trusted, killed her husband and were after their 250 G’s that they, themselves, had doubtlessly obtained through more nefarious means than even Val.

There was no reason for me to try to untangle that web any more than there was a particular reason for me to trust Val – the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States. But she hired me to run these two-bit thugs to ground, and owing a debt to Val that will never be satisfied, the choice was an easy one.

I wheeled my Suburban into the parking lot of the seedy Silver Slipper Casino – which, according to Val, was the hangout of the Grimaldi brothers. The Slipper had managed to hang onto its space on the Reno strip despite the encroachment and expansion of the big-ticket casinos. Only two stories tall, the Slipper was leaned on heavily by Harrah’s on one side and the Nugget on the other. But the Slipper just didn’t seem to fit any more.

I sidled through the saloon doors like Pat Garrett on the trail of Billy the Kid, to the tune of “El Paso” scratching along over the house stereo system in its never-ending path to Rose’s back door.

I was never much for Marty Robbins.

Instinctively, I headed straight to the bar. Like the Slipper itself, the bartender had seen better days, but she was easily forgiven, having watched my approach with a professional smile that exposed a spray of crow’s feet that strolled from her sleepy blue eyes.

“Nice hat,” she rasped.

“It’s a fedora,” I returned.

“No kidding.” The crows feet were doing a two-step as Marty Robbins continued through the badlands of New Mexico. “Wanna drink?”

“A Heineken, for openers.”

“Well, we never close, stranger.”

I pushed the brim of my fedora high on my forehead. “I’m Max.”

“I’ll say,” as she leaned back flaunting her name tag.

“Nice to meet you Irene.”

She dropped the Heineken onto the tired bar while deftly flipping a bar napkin underneath – a ritual she had perfected in her long journey through the wars of her profession.

She drifted down the bar to other patrons as, mercifully, the cowboy had finally arrived at Rose’s back door. Soon now, he would die in the dance hall girl’s arms and the epic would come to an end. Half-way through my Heineken, with Irene planted once again in front of me, I got down to business.

“I’m looking for the Grimaldi brothers, doll face.”

“Hmmm. You don’t look like their type, Max.”

“I’m not. That’s why I need to talk to them.”

“Well, if you promise to come back for another beer, they’re over your left shoulder at the first 7-card stud table.”

Without turning, I fished for some money, but she held up her hand. “I’ll start you a tab, Max.”

There were five players, a dealer, and two empty chairs. Bruno and Rocco were too obvious. They sat side-by-side, Bruno hulking over his cards, Rocco chewing on a toothpick. The three other players could have been from Cleveland. I stood at the empty chair next to Rocco and waited for the dealer to finish the hand. He nodded at me to take a seat, which I did, making certain none of Rocco’s tacky tweed jacket rubbed off on me. He turned too quickly toward me and stared through sunglasses that went out of style long before Sonny Bono crashed. The toothpick bounced from one corner of his mouth to the other, exposing a gold tooth that must have been obtained during an odd time when Rocco was having a good week.

I bought in and polished off my Heineken while the dealer spent two cards on each of us. A cocktail waitress, no doubt tipped off by Irene, was at the ready and asked if she could get me another.

“Sure thing, and get Rocco and Bruno here one as well,” I said, looking at my two down cards, 9 of hearts, 3 of spades – perfect for my first hand. Slowly, Bruno turned to the waitress and handed her his empty glass. Rocco stopped him and turned to me.

“We buy our own drinks, pal,” he said, trying his desperate best to sound like a wise guy.

“Really? I just thought you might need some assistance, seeing as how you’re playing against such card sharks as these,” I said, throwing my shoulder in the direction of the Cleveland cats, who obligingly shifted in their squeaky chairs.

The face-up cards arrived – I got a King of Diamonds – accompanied by Roy Orbison on the house stereo. Things were looking up. I was high and bet twenty bucks and flashed a smile as broad as the brim on my fedora directly into my mirror image in Rocco’s garish glasses. Rocco folded his 10 of clubs, but Bruno called with his 7 of diamonds. In unison, yet slightly out of order, Cleveland bowed out. Second cards, I got one of Bruno’s 7’s, and he pulled a deuce. I made the price of playing fifty bucks, just short of the pot limit, a move that was wasted on Bruno. Rocco turned away and looked sternly at Bruno. “You fold, idiot,” Rocco said.

Bruno tossed in his hand. The two-bit hustlers stood up and cashed out. I took my winnings, put the chips in my pocket, and stood with them. I had Rocco by five inches and Bruno by fifty IQ points.

“We have business,” I said, chuckling at the gnashed toothpick.

“Sez who?” Rocco said, standing as tall as he could while Roy Orbison wrapped his four-octave voice around Pretty Woman.

“Sez Max Malone, private eye,” I said flatly, after all.

by Larry Berteau/MT
July Will Be Hot by Herb Miller on 07/01/2014
The first 11 days of June were completely dry with temperatures averaging well above normal – not at all like the weather we frequently associate with Rose Festival.

The following week was the exact opposite with temperatures averaging well below normal and rain a daily event.

Warmer and drier then made a brief comeback until the final week when unsettled weather, occasionally accompaanied by showers, predominated. But putting things in perspective, we should be grateful for the moisture that helps to control the fire danger.

Based mainly on El Nino indications, the National Weather Service expects our area to have above average temperatures and about average precipitation this July.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.32 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 100s in four years, into the 90s for three years, and into the 80s during the remaining three years. 

The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 degrees will occur at least once during July. 

Averaged over 10 years, Brightwood has 27 days reaching 90 degrees or higher in July. Low temperatures dropped into the lower 40s without exception during the last 10 years.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.06 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, and into the 80s during the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during eight years and into the 40s during the remaining two years.
July Will Be Hot by Herb Miller on 07/01/2014
The first 11 days of June were completely dry with temperatures averaging well above normal – not at all like the weather we frequently associate with Rose Festival.

The following week was the exact opposite with temperatures averaging well below normal and rain a daily event.

Warmer and drier then made a brief comeback until the final week when unsettled weather, occasionally accompaanied by showers, predominated. But putting things in perspective, we should be grateful for the moisture that helps to control the fire danger.

Based mainly on El Nino indications, the National Weather Service expects our area to have above average temperatures and about average precipitation this July.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.32 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 100s in four years, into the 90s for three years, and into the 80s during the remaining three years. 

The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 degrees will occur at least once during July. 

Averaged over 10 years, Brightwood has 27 days reaching 90 degrees or higher in July. Low temperatures dropped into the lower 40s without exception during the last 10 years.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.06 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, and into the 80s during the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during eight years and into the 40s during the remaining two years.
On the Road Again by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2014
Officially or unofficially we feel that summer is here. Though airline travel is down since 9/11 other forms of vehicular travel are up. Four out of five people will travel by car for their vacations. But whether traveling near or far, illness on the road is far worse than illness at home. Let’s be as prepared as possible.

The farther away you plan to travel, the sooner you should begin preparations. Up to a month before traveling you can begin shoring up your immune system to deal with any onslaughts. Sleep and diet are under appreciated as “health aids.” Since sleep is difficult for many while traveling, consider a small travel pillow. You can put a few drops of lavender essential oil on the corners of your pillow to help you relax and get to sleep. Do not put the essential oil in the middle of the pillow where you put your head as you don’t want to cause irritation to the eyes. 

Since car travel is up and many are traveling with children, why not be prepared to calm children (and adults) in the car as well. That same lavender essential oil or Rescue Remedy (or both) in a spray bottle filled with water will quiet everyone in the car as well as drown out the odor of those smelly feet.

Essential oils and homeopathics are small, light, and easy to travel with, whatever your luggage choice or destination. However, you should package the oils separately from the homeopathics as the oils may decrease the effectiveness of the homeopathics. In addition to band aids and healing salves, you can carry homeopathic Arnica 30c for those inevitable minor to moderate sprains, strains or other injuries. Arnica will even help with bee stings or other insect bites.

Remember that nutrition is an important part of your health. Increasing consumption of ginger, mint, or turmeric before leaving on your vacation will improve your traveler’s digestion. Your tummy will be happier with a decrease of sugar in your diet. Sugar decreases the ability of your white blood cells (defenders) within a half hour of consumption and lasts for five hours. After two hours immune function is reduced by 50 percent. Plus sugar consumption makes people cranky and irritable, and not just the kids! While vacation treats are inevitable, if you increase fiber and protein you will keep everyone as balanced and happy as possible.

Probably the most incapacitating traveler’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 or vegetables. Forgetting is easy. I once got sick from eating guacamole in Mexico. If you buy the avocados and make your own guacamole with processed salsa and not with fresh tomatoes or onions this will probably not happen.

If intestinal imbalance does result in diarrhea or vomiting, be prepared. It’s easier than trying to find a grocery store or pharmacy when in the woods or traveling in a foreign country. Carry some bottles of carbonated water to which you can add activated charcoal or psyllium 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 traveling to Hawaii will ease digestive woes as well. 

In a pinch (no pun intended) you could use cinnamon, cloves, oregano, or thyme off the spice shelf to make tea. If you have essential oils of oregano or thyme they may be diluted with olive oil and applied topically to the tummy area. Test a small area for irritation before applying, especially with children and anyone with compromised skin issues. Best to avoid the sun under such circumstances. Using essential oils internally, even in drop doses could lead to irritation of mucous membranes. 

All of the above mentioned remedies are easy to obtain from Naturopaths (capsules of turmeric, ginger, homeopathics, salves) Some can be found at local grocery stores (teas, pineapple juice), or off the shelves in your home (powdered spices). Let’s face it, vacations are few and far between so let’s not lose any time being uncomfortable. With a little pre-planning we can be happier while we’re on the road again.  

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091. Starting this month, she will also join the group practice of John A. Green, MD, and Jennifer Reid, ND, in Oregon City. The phone number is 503-722-4270 and the website is theevergreencenter@msn.com)
Picnic and Party Time by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2014
Chipotle pasta with sausage and peppers

1 lb penne pasta cooked
½ cup olive oil mayo
1 small can chipotle peppers – blended in a food processor or blender
1 can sliced black olives
1 red pepper sliced thinly
Cubed pepper jack cheese ( about 1 cup) 
1 lb sliced kielbasa sausage 
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl stir together the olive oil and chipotle paste. In another large bowl toss together the other ingredients, pour dressing over the top and mix lightly. Chill thoroughly.

Chili lime shrimp salad

1 lb cleaned  shrimp, cooked 
For the dressing 
4 T olive oil, 1 t lime juice, ½ t red pepper flakes, ½/ t chili powder, 1 T each chopped garlic & cilantro.
1 bag of spring mix salad
1 chopped avacado
½ cup  pico de gallo
¼ cup each  - diced red, yellow and green bell peppers, shredded cheddar cheese and corn. 
Make the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients together and then toss the other ingredients in a large bowl and dress before serving.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
Orphan Train by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2014
Molly is a troubled teenage girl, a foster child who has been moved from one unsuitable home to another for most of her young life. 

Vivian is a wealthy but lonely 91-year-old widow, who lives in a Victorian mansion on the Maine seashore with an attic full of memories. 

But it turns out that Vivian’s history has much in common with Molly’s present-day experiences. When Molly is enlisted to assist Vivian to sort through and organize the belongings in her attic as part of a required community service, the stories of Vivian’s past tumble forth. And an unlikely friendship begins.

The story of Vivian’s early life reveals a connection that is healing in unexpected ways for both women. And in the process we learn much about a historical effort to populate the Mid Western United States with young, unwanted orphans from the East who were delivered to foster home situations that often involved hard labor and abuse.

In this beautifully composed novel, two parallel tales of personal suffering and resilience mesh and amplify the emotional complexities involved in foster care, even today. Vivian’s life story moves from poverty in Ireland to life in a New York tenement to her experience as an orphan exported on one of many orphan trains to Minnesota after the rest of her family dies in a tragic fire. Molly’s tale is present day but mirrors many of the same emotional themes – loneliness, abuse and mistreatment though a series of unsuccessful foster placements.

The orphan train saga tells of misguided early 1900’s “social engineering” attempts to find homes for abandoned children while also providing cheap labor on the frontier. However, quite often these “throw-away” children were exposed to horrifying and degrading treatment at the hands of the barely screened recipients. Vivian was a fortunate survivor but before finding a home with a decent, loving family she had to survive multiple situations involving forced labor, mistreatment and sexual abuse.

The author makes both Molly and Vivian’s stories believable without sensationalizing the neglect and adversities. At the same time, she enlightens with the broader social context. This well-written novel and the issues it raises make Orphan Train an outstanding book club choice and an enjoyable reading selection for those who enjoy literary and historical fiction.

(Christina Baker Kline was born in England and raised in Maine. She is the author of six novels, including The Way Life Should Be and Orphan Train. She lives outside of New York City, and spends as much time as possible in Northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine.)
A Hot Time in Texas by Ned Hickson on 06/01/2014
Later this summer I will be visiting Texas. More than likely, I’ll be wearing a cowboy hat, wandering in and out of shops, and carrying on with the kind of loopy, carefree attitude one expects from someone suffering a heat stroke. Six of the hottest cities in the U.S. are located in Texas, which is why, on an average day, an estimated 15,000 armadillos attempt suicide on Texas highways — in many cases, by strapping old Dixie Chicks CDs to their backs in order to increase their chances of being run over.

I actually lived in Texas for six years. I am familiar with its August atmosphere. Which is why I have been preparing myself by breathing directly from the end of a hair drier each night for the last six weeks. I can now last a solid 15 minutes on “high heat” which, during an average day, is longer than most Texans spend breathing air that isn’t being piped through some type of cooling system. In fact, the majority of hustle and bustle in downtown Dallas isn’t caused by a steady exchange of commerce interacting to sustain a thriving economic base. No. It’s actually made up of people frantically hurrying from one air conditioned building to another, trying to avoid prolonged exposure to the sidewalks, which could potentially melt the soles of their Justin ropers, and reduce their $800 ostrich skin boots to a pair of decorative shin guards.

So, knowing all this, why am I going to Texas? For the same reason many of us find ourselves doing things we wouldn’t normally do, at least not without liberal amounts of beer or the promise of buried treasure (Or, as is often the case, both): I’m talking, of course, about friends.

Dallas and Waco, two of the six hottest cities in the U.S., are home to long-time friends, all of whom have been asking me to visit since the 90s. And by that I mean the last time it got below 100 degrees. You see, we coastal Oregonians put on flip-flops and tank tops once the temperature reaches 65 degrees. At 75 degrees, we instinctively move to a shaded area and remain there, in a fetal position, until help arrives. Several years ago it actually reached 85 along the Oregon coast. As expected, people panicked and dozens were treated — mostly for frostbite — after climbing inside the freezer displays at local supermarkets. To this day, I still can’t reach for a frozen Popsicle without the image of Bill and his...

Well, never mind.

All that matters is that he is now happily married to Annette, who proposed right there in the freezer aisle.

Yesterday, my friend called from Dallas to confirm my arrival date, run through a list of things we could do during my visit and, most importantly, let me know it was 104 degrees — which, after factoring in the heat index, meant he needed to hang up because his pool was boiling over. Like most Texans, he met this crisis with the concerned demeanor of someone reading the ingredients on a bag of flour. My theory is that heat is the main reason for the distinctively slow Texas drawl; when it’s that hot, even your mouth is too tired to do anything but look for shade.

That isn’t to say I’m not looking forward to this trip. In the end, no matter how hot it is, paying a visit to my friends in Texas is long overdue. The trick, of course, will be making it back before I’m overdone.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Max Malone
But Don't Call Me Maxie by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2014
Reno is pretty easy to figure out. Casinos rule. They overshadow all other enterprises – the one exception being pawn shops. Think praying mantis. They have a certain allure, a gaudy presence, but they are deadly. They offer cheap food, making legitimate restaurants go belly-up in a hurry, or drive their proprietors into devious forms of making money. Every casino employee is trying to get out of town. Graduating to Las Vegas is the dream of every pit boss and Keno runner. This provides fertile ground for two-bit gangsters. Consequently, despite its rag-tag role in the gambling world of Nevada, the underbelly thrives. The Grimaldi brothers, Bruno and Rocco, are examples. 

Valerie Suppine, the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States, stood trial for the murder of her husband, Frankie Romero – a crooner of little note but a chap who deserved better if for no other reason he endured a five-year marriage with Val. They give war medals for less.

Val was acquitted. She told me the Grimaldi brothers did the dirty deed on Frankie, and the reason I was summoned to Reno was not to “just bail her out of jail” on a trumped up drug charge.
“I want you to stick it to those two-bit bums, Maxie,” Val hissed as I drove off casino row down a Reno side street – all at the direction of Val as she bounced around on the passenger seat of my suburban like an over-caffeinated kangaroo. “Pull over here and wait.”

So I sat in a loading zone while Val sashayed half a block and disappeared into the Greyhound bus depot. I pondered my fate. Suddenly, I longed for my Portland office and the knowing eye of Francoise, my secretary. I wished for my mountain cabin, Sinatra filling the air, sipping a shot of cheap bourbon in a dirty glass with my good neighbor Sam. At least I had a new fedora – a concession Val made on the way to the bus depot – and if I do say so myself, it sat smartly on my head and made me feel unholy again.

Call me enshrined in a shiny chapeau.

Val didn’t take long. The only thing missing on her face when she swung into the Suburban was the canary feathers at the corner of her mouth.

“Gun it,” she blurted.
“Where to,” I pleaded.
“That way,” she pointed.

Under Val’s direction I wound my way out of the city along a high desert road, passed a herd of wild mustangs, climbed a sage-brush dotted hill, and was ordered to stop. Val looked around – at what, I have no clue – and dug into her purse removing a wad of hundred dollar bills. She peeled off five and handed them to me.
“There. That’s for my bail.”

“And where’s the thank you?” I asked, able to flash my best smirk due mainly to the aspect of my new fedora casting an enigmatic shadow across my steely visage.

All I got was a raised eyebrow, which for Val would have to suffice. She counted through another wad of hundreds. “Here. That’s two G’s. You’re hired, Maxie.”

Two thousand dollars is a lot of money at my mountain cabin. Two thousand dollars can keep Francoise out of my hair for a few days in Portland. Two thousand dollars in Reno is twenty unfortunate minutes at a craps table. But two thousand dollars to work for Val didn’t even qualify as a retainer.

“To do what, exactly, Val? And it’s not Maxie.”

“Ohhh, there now,” she almost purred, patting my leg. “Don’t get your shoulder holster in a knot. Just listen.” Her demeanor went sour again. “I didn’t kill my Frankie. Bruno and Rocco botched a torture routine on him and off’d him accidentally, thinking he had stole two-hundred fifty G’s from them. Don’t ask,” she raised her hand to hush me. “I know this. They got me framed and did a piss-poor job of it, but enough to get me to trial.”

“But if I remember right, your problem was you didn’t have an alibi.”

“Oh, I had one. I just couldn’t use it. See, Maxie, that night I was with Sammy Calloway.”

“The casino owner?” I was letting the Maxie bit slide. The story was beginning to  intrigue me.
“Is there another Sammy Calloway? Yes. He couldn’t afford to alibi me. You know, he’s got six kids, a wife from hell with the freedom of no pre-nup, and a solid reputation with every cop and congressman in Nevada.”

“So he owes you.”

“No, Maxie. He owes me nothing. He fixed the jury.”

I scratched my head, watching the mustangs kicking up a cloud of dust in the distance.

“Before you get too confused, Maxie, here’s what I’m hiring you to do. You need to get the Grimaldis off my case. They planted the drugs to get my attention. They think I’ve got their money.”

I was almost afraid to ask, but I threw caution to the wind like a latter-day Rhett Butler. “And do you?” I ventured with a Clark Gable grin.

Call me a Margaret Mitchell maven.

“Not all of it. I just gave some of it to you, honey.”

Dripping with Valerie Suppine “honey” didn’t make me feel sweet – more like trapped in a hive of berserk bees.

She did nothing to change my situation as she went on. “I want you to put the arm on those two-bit thugs. They need to know I’m connected. And who better to do exactly that than my dear old Maxie?” Quickly the syrup dripped onto the floor. “Sides. You still owe me.”

The mustangs had disappeared, leaving a landscape of sage, mesquite and desolation. She was right. I owed her. That damned, unfortunate memory of the caper with the drowned waiter in Sausalito drifted through the front seats of the Suburban. But that’s another story. This is now.

I could choose walking away from Val, leaving her to the vagaries of her tangled life, and suffering the consequences. Or I could turn my attention to the Grimaldi brothers. I pushed the bill of my fedora high on my forehead, under the knowing gaze of Val.

“That’s my Maxie,” she blurted, digging her elbow into my rib cage.

After all, I am Max, don’t call me Maxie, Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
El Nino Promises a Hot Summer by Herb Miller on 06/01/2014
After getting off to a summer-like start, the next 10 days of May were more like March with cool temperatures and rainfall a daily event – except for May 7.

After that, temperatures not only moderated but returned to summer levels during the 13th to 15th, with rainfall dropping off dramatically leading to concerns about the coming fire season, especially in light of the extended forecast expecting a return to El Nino conditions.

Temperatures at both Brightwood and Government Camp averaged well above normal and precipitation was close to average – but only because the first 10 days were so wet.

The National Weather Service is 65 percent confident that El Nino conditions will prevail during at least the June-July-August period and probably extend beyond. The June outlook for our area calls for above average temperatures and precipitation about normal.

During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 4.33 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 100 during two years, into the 90s one year, into the 80s during six years, and one year couldn’t get above the 70s. The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 will occur at least once during June. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s during four years and into the 40s the remaining six. Precipitation has ranged from a record high of 11.90 inches in 1981 to a low of .86 inches in 1987.

During June, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 41, and a precipitation average of 3.88 inches – including an average .6 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during four years, into the 70s during five years, and into the 60s once. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during nine years with the exception being one year recording a low of 29.  Lows reached the freezing mark during five years. Precipitation ranged from a record high 9.09 inches in 1981 to a record low of .70 inches in 1965. The record snowfall for June was 11 inches set in 1995, which includes a 6-inch total measured June 5, 1995.
Fatigued? Let's Detox by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2014
In my March column I wrote about assessing your need for detox. Are you generally a cold or a hot person? Are you dry or moist (G.I. tract, hair, skin)? Do you get sick often? Are you always fatigued? The answers to the above questions will help  you determine the level of detoxification you personally need.

But the fact is, we all need to clean up our bodies periodically. How many of the following factors affect you? Do you regularly consume white flour, sugar, pasta? What about chemicals, colorings, or preservatives in overly processed foods? Do you eat out often, be it fast food or sit-down restaurants? Do you live near high tension power lines, polluted air or water, or use your cellphone, computer, or i-Pads more than half of every day? Do you use prescribed or recreational drugs or alcohol, or anti-biotics frequently? Do you have a high stress job, relationship, or other stressful situations in your life?

The fact is, try as we might, we are all exposed to toxins in our daily lives, no matter how many of the aforementioned answers apply to you. Rachel Carson wrote the book “Silent Spring,” the classic expose on the damage DDT was doing to our health and the health of our soil in the 1960s. DDT was banned in the U.S. (but not necessarily in other countries) in 1972. Recent testing of human blood in persons of any age found DDT still present in the blood of 100 percent of those tested! That probably means you and me and our kids and our grandkids and eventually their grandkids.

The good news is that your G.I. system can renew cells in just five days. The liver makes new cells in one month, skin in six weeks, bones in one year. In five years you could be a 100 percent new person. Which is why there is hope for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What we need to make new cells is water, oxygen, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. We need the following to make stomach acid: B vitamins, Zinc, Iodine, some salt, some water, pre and post biotics, and good food grown in good soil.

Emphasizing the need for water as most metabolic processes cannot take place unless in the presence of water.

The stomach is the interface between the inner and the outer world. What goes into your G.I. tract is what gets used to make those new cells. Oddly, about 30 percent of Americans think they eat better than they actually do. When reporting the previous week’s meals we Naturopaths often hear “salads, chicken, not much alcohol or fast food.” Follow up studies, looking through their garbage, reveals what they actually consumed. Present in large degree were pizza boxes, fast food containers, wine bottles, and no vegetable wastes! Those most inaccurate in their reporting were the overweight and elders.

If your want to decrease symptoms of rashes, joint pain, weight gain, irregular bowels, and brain fog, it’s time to change your food intake. You need a detox! Start by removing obvious offending foods such as sodas, anything labelled “diet” (they don’t work longterm and make you gain weight), most store-bought canned foods, fast food, and anything made with GMO ingredients (which includes most processed foods).

Continue the detox process by increasing nuts (no, they don’t make you fat), the dark leafies (not just spinach, but Bok Choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc), foods that are specific for detoxification (asparagus, mushrooms, beets), and the good fats like avocado and the oils you kept from your March kitchen clean-out (olive, coconut, peanut, and untoasted sesame). Just generally decrease meat and increase fish to three times a week. Patients report eating fish three time a week, but when they turn in a week long food diary I notice there is no fish. Have Greek yogurt and green tea three to seven times a week.

 Rev up your metabolism with hot peppers if you tolerate them, a 15-minute walk outside without sunscreen (use only if in the sun for longer times), and more water. Increase foods such as garlic and onions (boosts immune function), celery (decreases hypertension and prevents plaque build-up in the brain that leads to Alzheimers).

 While I know this is harder to actually do than talk about or read about, you can start feeling better within days. You don’t have to be perfect, just continue to do your best. And if you need encouragement, help, brand name advice, or even recipes, just make a half hour appointment to find out more options.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

Loaves and Fishes by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2014
Fruity and fragrant and as fresh as you can get it. Go getcha some olive oil, don’t forget to rub some on your skin for a gorgeous glow!

Olive oil & fig focaccia 
1½ cups warm water 
1 T cane sugar
3 T olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1¼ sea salt
1 t fresh chopped rosemary 
Corn meal for dusting
3½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 T instant yeast
½ cup dried chopped figs
Heat oven to 375
In a large bowl or a bowl of a mixer mix warm water, yeast and sugar. Mix until dissolved. Mix in flour one cup at a time until dough is blended. Sprinkle olive oil on dough, cover and let rest in a warm, breeze free area until doubled in size ( about 2 hours). Sprinkle the board with cornmeal and  roll dough out to a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Push indents into dough with your fingers and sprinkle with chopped figs, sea salt and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 until top is golden.

Olive oil braised fish 
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon sliced
1 T whole peppercorns
2 sprigs rosemary
2 t sea salt
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 lb white fish such as cod or halibut
¼ cup flour for dusting fish
Heat olive oil with lemon, salt, peppercorns and rosemary in a cast iron skillet until aromatics are sizzling. Dredge fish in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, add to skillet and braise on med low about 20 mins or until the fish is done. Scoop out fish and serve with the aromatics from the pan.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Seattle Author Scores Again by Sandra Palmer on 05/01/2014
I don’t usually read shoot-’em-up’s but I love everything that Michael Gruber has written and “The Return” has all of the ingredients I appreciate in this Seattle author’s novels – lush settings, thoughtful issues, fascinating characters and ethical dilemmas. 

In “The Return”, Rick Marder, a well established book editor in New York City receives a death sentence diagnosis and decides to leave his life behind –  facing death and the ghosts of his past and his marriage on his own terms by returning to Mexico where he met his late wife. 

Cashing in his savings and heading out alone, from the start his plan does not go as he expected. His close friend ever since his service in Vietnam, Skelly, hitches a ride and inserts himself into Marder’s plans, worried and intrigued by Marder’s unusual behavior. Soon Marder’s daughter also tracks him down and all three become embroiled in Mexico’s drug trafficking wars in an attempt to hold off the local cartels who want to control the island and bay of the property Marder has just purchased.

Soon Marder is planning large-scale military tactics just to protect his land, his friends and family as well as those who depend on his new estate instead of simply planning his own demise. 

And when I say large-scale military tactics, I mean just that as Skelly contributes his military expertise and international gun running connections to arm the property to the hilt. Events often prompt Marder to recall events during the Vietnam War that forged his friendship with Skelly under fire as their company sought to obliterate the Ho Chi Minh Trail so many years before. Gruber skillfully uses these flash backs to reveal Marder’s inner life and spirituality.

Gruber writes a smart novel – great prose, exciting action and skillful plotting. The novel is truly a pleasure to read and keeps your interest, non-stop. 

The many plot threads and unanticipated twists and turns sometimes require a bit of suspension of disbelief but the ride is great fun. But if this book doesn’t sound like your style, pick up “The Book of Air and Shadows” or “The Good Son.” Amazing reading. You won’t be disappointed if you take the time to get to know this author and allow yourself to be transported to the many locations and fascinating circumstances within his portfolio.

(New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber is the author of five acclaimed novels including “The Book of Air and Shadows,” “The Good Son,” and “Valley of Bones.” He lives in Seattle.)

Motherly Insights Include How to Control Children with Jalapeno by Ned Hickson on 05/01/2014
This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our youngest daughter’s many pre-pubescent mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young. 

This hasn’t been easy. 

As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life.
As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is – or has the potential of becoming – a cheese-like substance.

My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really means, are two completely different things.

As I understand it, this is the first step to becoming a woman.

Being a man, I am no stranger to this concept. 

However, I was in denial when it came to my daughter. Mostly because I didn’t want to admit that she is growing up; that time is slipping away. And that, in just a couple of years, my wife and daughter will probably be sharing the same PMS cycle.

Though I kept this realization to myself, it was clear that my wife’s insightfulness is something that only comes with motherhood. It’s a bond that starts during that first nine months, when mother and child reach a special understanding that if baby doesn’t stop using mommy’s bladder for step aerobics, mommy will eat a raw jalapeno. In this way, even before birth, a child learns Mom will endure physical or emotional discomfort if it means providing a valuable life lesson. Because that’s what Moms do best. 


If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Breast Pump. 
True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough for a child to be respectful. 

If you’re in doubt, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the ON button, and keep it there until a) your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal, or b) someone calls the police.

And calling the police yourself doesn’t count.

You will quickly realize just one of the many things a mother endures for the sake of her child’s well-being, and why, if it were up to fathers to provide breast milk to the human species, we’d all be nursed by monkeys.

So this year, I plan to do something special for my wife; something to let her know how much I appreciate all that she does as a mother.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The fact is, I haven’t been able to think straight since that whole car vacuum incident. 
In hindsight, I never would have taken my shirt off if I knew my wife had that many quarters.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, “Humor at the Speed of Life,” is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com.)

Max Malone
Val and the Looming Grimaldi Bro's by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/01/2014
I threaded my Suburban along the ribbon of the Truckee River to the soaring, scatting rhythm of Ella Fitzgerald on the CD player. But as inspiring as Ella was, it couldn’t erase the dread that haunted me: another confrontation with Valerie Suppine.

I had no idea why she was ensconced in a Reno jail, and the thought that it couldn’t be all that bad due to the meager $5,000 bail required to spring her was little solace. Nothing was ever as simple as it seemed when it came to Val, the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States.

Was it the crazy time we had more than a decade ago in Sausalito when, among other things, she extricated me from a caper I was working on about a local waiter who drowned at the dock wrapped in the anchor line of his dilapidated sailboat? Or was it that several years later, after she had married Frankie Romero, the somewhat less-than-talented, but greasily handsome nightclub singer, and was tried for his murder, later acquitted, in the most celebrated crime-trial scene in Reno since the murder of a Nevada congressman by his Mustang Ranch paramour – who, oddly, was also acquitted?

Or, more simply, was it just Val, the gal who could go toe-to-toe with any man, and find a way, not only into his heart, but in the doing, also snatch his soul and play with it like a hoary housecat hell-bent on torturing a mindless mouse whose only mistake was wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time because of its inability to resist the smell of cheese – that, coincidentally, had been spread around by a cat with a feline-version of Val’s dangerous and always deliberate and well-calculated abilities?

Actually, it was all of the above.

Call me a sucker for multiple choices.

A quick stop at the bail bondsman with my $500 cashier’s check and a flash of my private eye credentials, and I was off to the Reno jail – a crumbling red brick edifice out of the Old West that could have housed the likes of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Sundance, and for all I know, Hoss and Little Joe.

It would have surprised an ordinary man how quickly the bail transaction went – but there were no ordinary men in Val’s life. That included the Reno Jail desk sergeant who was plagued by an overwhelming wart on his nose and a girth that served testimony to his obvious weakness for pasta with extra parmesan, but was extremely cooperative in getting the Val maelstrom out of his jail.

Val stormed down the hall, glared impatiently at the turnkey at the last set of bars – who could have been a stand-in for Barney Fife – and she brushed past him with the insolence of Joan Crawford after a desperate pass thrown her way by a hopeful, out-of-his-league, Broderick Crawford.

Call me an old apologist for Highway Patrol.

“It’s about damned time,” Val spat in my direction, grabbing my arm like a bouncer in a cheeky Chicago night club. “It was great gettin’ to know ya,” she tossed over her shoulder in the general direction of the wart.

I picked up my step to keep up and swung open the door to the Suburban. “Let’s go,” she snapped as she flew into the seat. As we backed out of the Reno Jail it was obvious that Val’s situation had not necessarily improved. She was still as ticked off as an 8-day clock.

“I’m hungry. I don’t take to Wonderbread and beans. I need food. Maxie.”

“The name’s Max,” I objected.

“To set the record straight, it’s Maxmillian,” she said through a smile that could have slid under a bank vault door.

Round One to Val.

I pulled into the first casino, knowing, somehow, it was a bad choice. The “cluck” that issued from Val was a clue.

“What? You’re taking me to Circus-Circus to eat?” she reprimanded. “Do I look like I want a moldy cheese pizza in a restaurant full of creepy kids with their goofy parents from Fresno?”

“Of course not,” I lied. “I was just turning around. Where would you like to go, Val?”

“The other end of town. Take me to the Peppermill.”

I enjoyed a stroll through the ample buffet spread at the classy – at least for Reno – Peppermill, watching Val scoop up more shrimp than a Gorton’s fisherman. With half of her second helping having disappeared, I ventured a toe into the murky waters of “So why were you in jail?”

“I got some drugs planted on me,” she said through a mouthful of seafood delight.

I believed her. Val was a lot of things: impossible, impolite, impudent, impertinent, but she was not a druggie.

“Do you know who did it?” 

“Of course I do.” And after another shrimp or three, “Bruno and Rocco.”


“The Grimaldi brothers.” She stared deep into my eyes, grabbing them like an acquisitive anteater. “They’re the two-bit Italian wise guys who murdered Frankie and made me take the fall.”

In my business there are obvious storm warnings. The worst is when you’re told about a caper and there’s more unsaid than said. The cumulus clouds were at full mast.

We finished eating and I asked Val where the nearest hat shop was.


“I need a new fedora.” 

After all, I am, at the moment, hatless Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Dry and Warm as El Nino Forms by Herb Miller on 05/01/2014
The first week of April got off to a cool, wet start, but the following two weeks had more seasonal temperatures, although drier than average.

Starting the last week, cool and wet weather made a comeback, bringing snow at times, especially to the higher elevations of the mountain.

Speaking of snow, Brightwood recorded a 2-inch depth on April 13, compared to a record 3-inch total set during three earlier years.

But there hasn’t been enough snowfall in Government Camp this month to continue the ski season. 
The extended weather outlook for this summer expects sunny and warmer than average conditions, so perhaps Skibowl will benefit with increased activity later on. 
During April, temperatures averaged fairly close to normal and also precipitation.

The National Weather Service reports several recent observations support a conclusion that an El Nino condition is in the making, and will likely be in place this coming summer. As most of you know, this means drier than average conditions for our area. This coming May is expected to be a bit warmer and drier than average for our area.

During May, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 5.95 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s during three years, into the 80s four years and into the 70s during the remaining three years. There’s a 94 percent chance for a freezing temperature in May, and only one year in the past 10 had a low above the 30s. The record snowfall of 2 inches was measured only four years ago on May 5, 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 5.24 inches – including 6.7 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during three years, into the 70s in four years, and into the 60s twice, and only one year couldn’t get above the 50s. Low temperatures fell to freezing without exception during the past 10 years, with eight years reaching the 20s and the other two settling for 32 degrees. Latest freezing date averages June 7, the record latest date was July 8, 1981, and the record earliest was May 5, 1969. The record high snowfall for the month of May was set in 1974 with a measurement of 32 inches.
A 'Master' Heats Up the Waffle Iron by on 05/01/2014
New in Sandy is Bethy’s Waffle Wagon, serving up both sweet and savory waffles straight out of the Wagon.

And owner/chef Bethy Rossos isn’t waffling around. Her menu already includes selections like the “Berry NW” which has “berry compote with mixed whole berries, whipped cream, and topped with a chocolate drizzle” or the “Hollywood” which has “fresh tomatoes, avocados, crispy bacon, egg and a spicy cheese sauce.”

“I have always had a desire to own a restaurant one day but never loved the idea of being married to the restaurant,” Rossos said. “I’m kind of getting the best of both worlds because I still get to continue to have fun on TV, give cooking lessons and classes, do private chef events, cater, and cook for the men’s bible study breakfast every week at my church.”

The eats are scrumptious, but it’s the Oregon-born “Bethy” herself that seems to be attracting the crowds every Wednesday and Thursday to hang a fang on her gourmet waffles.

Rossos likes to keep a full plate having been featured on national television in a number of reality shows. After winning “Wanted: Adventure Woman,” she hosted her own show “Adrenaline Hunter,” before appearing on “MasterChef.” In addition to the Wagon and television, she’s also a coach, P.E. teacher, and caterer.

“On Adrenaline Hunter I did everything from race-car driving, roller derby, professional women’s football, jumping out of planes, and lots of bow hunting,” Rossos said.

But those challenges weren’t much for Rossos compared to what came next. After Wanted: Adventure Woman and Adrenaline Hunter, Rossos made her way through the auditions to be on MasterChef.

“In all, I was down filming in LA for about two months, going home at number nine,” Rossos said. “TV was not new to me but what took a toll on me was being in the city, enclosed in a small room, for way too many hours to my liking. All in all it was a crazy fun experience.”

For Rossos, it seems, it’s a lack of adventure that takes a toll on her. And it looks like this Waffle Wagon is just her newest adventure. 

Rossos does all the cooking herself at her Waffle Wagon. The menu also features flat bread and hummus – almost certainly a nod to her Greek heritage.

Bethy’s Waffle Wagon is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Wagon is located at 39345 Pioneer Blvd, at downtown Centennial Plaza.
Brunch: Two Meals Plus Dessert by Taeler Butel on 04/02/2014
Quiche with leeks and prosciutto 
(Don’t forget you can use all sorts of fridge items like leftover sausage and onions, spinach and mushrooms – whatever you have. 
(I think quiche is French for leftover egg pie.)

1 pie crust fresh or frozen
8 large eggs
1 bag frozen chopped leaks
1 6 oz package prosciutto 
½ cup gruyere or parmesan cheese grated plus about ¼ cup to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup half and half or whole milk
Olive oil for the pan 
Unroll the pie crust & prick all over with a fork. Heat the oven to 350. In a med sized pan heat the olive oil over med high heat, add the sliced leaks and chopped prosciutto and sauté until leaks are tender and prosciutto has crisped then take off heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the half and half, ½ t each salt and pepper and the cheese. Mix in the leak mixture and pour into pie crust. 
Top with remaining cheese and cook for about 45 minutes or until center just barely wiggles. 

Blueberry lemon mimosas
Pinch sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 bottle dry sparkling wine or champagne
If using a pitcher mash the blueberries in with a little sugar roughly to get the juices going reserving a few for garnish. Add 2 cups lemonade and pour in the champagne and blueberries. Mix and serve immediately.
To prepare individually just put about ¼ cup of the blueberry mash on the bottom of each cup, pour the glass ½ full with lemonade and top with champagne or sparkling white wine.

Strawberry cream cheese bread
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs beaten
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t Kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
1½ cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, sliced.
Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add sour cream and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
Fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Inside Salem, Short Session Wrap by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/02/2014
The Legislature passed the Sine Die resolution on Friday, March 7 officially closing the 2014 February session. 

This short session was a far cry from how it was sold to voters as being necessary for budget rebalancing and sound policy ideas. Instead what occurred was a non-inclusive process crippling not only bipartisan efforts for compromises, but also more importantly, the ability for public participation.  

The comparisons between this session and the last February session, when the House had an even 30-30 split and co-governance, were striking.

A clear example of this was HB 4054. This bill attempted to rewrite the ballot title to more accurately reflect the language of SB 833 so voters in November would have a better understanding of what they cast an opinion on.
I voted against HB 4054 because I was disappointed in the process that House leadership chose to bring the issue before the Legislature. Rather than allowing for an open, inclusive, and public process that would provide an opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard, Democratic leadership opted for a “behind closed door” approach. This legislation only came out of the shadows near the end of the session and was rushed to the House floor for a vote. 

I support the referendum process and do not advocate for the usurping of the people’s will as it is expressed at the ballot box. 
My goal as a legislator is to represent my constituents and I will respect how they vote on the November ballot for the drivers card measure.

One of the bills I drafted, HB 4076, is another example of how sound policy can end up on the cutting room floor for strictly political reasons. The purpose of this bill was to support the technical and regional campuses in their development of innovative, low-cost pathways for bachelor’s degrees. This bill had the support in the academic community, passed out of the Higher Education Committee with unanimous support, but died in the Ways and Means Committee while other bills with higher costs associated with the policy passed out.
This is especially unfortunate as our regional universities support local workforce needs and help increase access and affordability in our communities.

The results from my 2014 legislative survey expressed concerns about an Oregon-only Columbia River Crossing project and additional legislation for expanding background checks of gun purchases. 

Fortunately, legislation for the continuation of the Columbia River Crossing project and an Oregon-led effort of building a new bridge failed to pass. 

This is good news for House District 52, as there would have been significant traffic and financial burdens placed on our Clackamas County communities. So far the state has spent nearly $200 million on this project with nothing tangible to show for it. It was time to pull the plug.  

In addition, no further background check legislation passed out of the Senate committee and no bill was brought to the floor of either chamber for a vote. I continue to be supportive of expanding mental health services to identify potentially violent behaviors before they occur. 

The survey data reflected a mixed view regarding the legalization of marijuana. While the issue of legalization did not advance out of committee, action was taken on the ability for cities and counties to have local control to regulate the medical marijuana dispensaries. 

I consulted with numerous county and law enforcement officials around my district on this topic and they all asked for the maximum amount of local control possible. I supported the version of SB 1531 that would have allowed cities and counties to regulate marijuana dispensaries and the marketing of products with no strings attached. 

In the end House leadership only allowed a watered version to be voted on. The end result of this discussion was for local control to be granted for only one year. This means the whole issue will have to be revisited again in the near future. 

I want to thank you all for not only responding to the survey, but also emailing and calling throughout the session to voice your opinions. It’s an honor to serve you and I’m excited to begin my campaign for a third term in the House.

Please be sure to stay in touch and follow my website: www.RepMarkJohnson.com. Here you can discuss issues that are important to you, and stay informed on the local issues I’m fighting for.
Technology, Cults and Codes by Sandra Palmer on 04/02/2014
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore covers a lot of territory – exploding modern technology, the strange attraction of cults, ancient codes and the lasting value of books. But, most of all, it has an appealing narrator who makes the trip for the reader great, rollicking fun.

Clay Jannon, our narrator and protagonist, takes a position covering the graveyard shift at a quirky 24-hour bookstore owned by the very quirky and mysterious Mr. Penumbra. The store soon seems even more mysterious to Clay as he can’t help but notice the very small amount of business actually transacted around the clock and the group of unusual customers who come in regularly simply to exchange books from a mysterious collection Clay refers to as the “Wayback List” – shelves that cover most of the store proper with many shelves up the very high ceilings with the top shelves only accessible by ladders. 

Although Clay has been instructed never to look inside those books, eventually – of course – his curiosity wins out and he discovers that all of these many volumes are written in code. Naturally, Clay can’t help but want to break the code and solve the mystery which would explain the unusual goings-on in the bookstore. This he sets out to do with the help of an interesting collection of friends and allies – his roommate Mat, a gifted special effects artist; his best friend, a successful software designer specializing in “boobs”; and his romantic interest Kat who works for Google.

Eventually, Clay manages to solve the puzzle with a combination of perseverance, creativity and luck. But not before the adventure takes him inside Google, a high-tech storage facility for lost and abandoned items and the headquarters of the “Unbroken Spine” in New York City – a secret society with an elaborate underground cache of code books in a strange underground Reading Room for Members Only.

Early in the book the reader must decide to suspend reality and just enjoy the ride. Clay’s amusing observations and comical descriptions are a delight and every problem somehow has an easy (but a bit far-out) solution. Suspending disbelief is worth it, however, as “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is great fun. With all the contemporary technical references to current day technology – Google, Wikipedia, blogs, smartphones, etc. – I’m unsure how this book will feel to future readers as our current technology ages and new high-tech gadgets and internet trends take over. But for now, why worry? Just enjoy the ride!

Robin Sloan is a self-proclaimed media inventor and writer living in San Francisco. He grew up near Detroit and went to school at Michigan State, where he studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine. Since then, he’s worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter, figuring out the future of media.
Tax Terminology Explained (sort of) by Ned Hickson on 04/02/2014
After clearing off the kitchen table and finding an outlet for the calculator, I sat down to do my taxes. As always, I made sure to have all the necessary documentation and forms — W4s, tax forms, bank statements, insurance reports, tax schedules and, most importantly, a full box of Kleenex.

As I sat staring at this year’s tax booklet, I noticed a special section of “Tax Terms,” which is an alphabetical listing of terms one may encounter during the tax preparation process. Each term is followed by a brief description meant to enlighten the truth-seeking taxpayer through “real-life” examples. 

For instance, the IRS uses “Jane” and “John” to illustrate the term “Ability to Pay.” In this scenario, Jane is filthy rich, with homes on both coasts that she visits by way of her own Lear jet.

By comparison, John earns what the IRS calls a “more modest salary,” which affords him a flashlight and a camper shell to live in.

The only thing these two have in common is the oil industry: Jane is an executive in it, and John had his SUV re-possessed. According to the booklet, due to their income disparity, “John and Jane do NOT pay the same amount of taxes, because their ability to pay differs vastly.”

This brings us to a term not included in the handbook:  “Highly-paid tax lawyer.”
In this example, Jane is able to filter her $1.6 million earnings through a maze of tax shelters and special credits before wiring an undisclosed amount into a Swiss bank account, leaving her with a taxable income of: $6.28.

John, who files his return on the 1040 EZ form, is entitled to a refund that, coincidently, adds up to exactly...$6.28!

See? “Jane” PAYS and “John” gets a tax CREDIT!

All together, there are 65 terms listed in the handbook, many of which seem self-explanatory until you read them closely. With the tax deadline just a few weeks away, I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing some of the more complex terms that you may encounter before now and tax day.

1.) Simplest tax form offered by the IRS.
2.) A wealthy, white rapper.

Gross Income: The dollar amount that appears in the box after “federal income tax withheld.”

Adjusted Really Gross Income: The amount left over after completing your taxes.

Tax Shift: According to the handbook, this is:
a) “When one person or group is able to shift a tax they are supposed to pay to someone else.” 
A Tax Shift can also be:
b) What the average taxpayer does in their seat after determining his/her adjusted gross income.

Dependent: A child, parent, spouse or household pet with a human-sounding name, such as “Fred” or “Sally,” whom the creative taxpayer can claim on his/her income taxes.

Estate Tax: The amount of tax on a deceased individual’s estate that has been passed on to surviving family members. Short explanation: Something my children will never have to worry about.

Flat Tax: (Hollywood, Calif., residents only) A controversial levy against any woman without breast enhancements.

Electronic Preparation: Filing online

Electronic Preparation H: Used only as a last resort.

While there are plenty of other terms in the new IRS tax glossary, it’s probably a good idea to stop here.

To be honest, I’m already feeling taxed.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, “Humor at the Speed of Life,” is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Max Malone
Reno, and a Gal Named Val by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/02/2014

A few months slipped away and I tagged along. Katrina swept into my Portland apartment like a whispering Jamaican wind. But feminine convection currents ensued and my apartment was awash in a hurricane of house cleaning. 

I can’t even find the remote.

The Maggie McGee murder mystery bumped along like an ox-drawn cart on a country road in Croatia. In fact, when the sheriff’s detectives Chase and Sanborne took over the case, it ground to a complete halt. Fortunately, the newsy Nigel Best kept pushing the story and the wheels of justice gained traction. Hope was arrested and indicted for murder. The attorney Paul Greinke avoided the long arm of the law, but was so implicated in the case that his political aspirations were dashed forever on the rocky shoals of public opinion.

Abandon Hope, all ye who enter.

Call me a Dante disciple.

I was spending more time at my office, reluctant to brave the winds of change at the apartment. My secretary, Francoise, secure in the knowledge she knew too much to have her job threatened, found my remoteless home life amusing. She was smiling and raising more eyebrows in my direction than a golden retriever whose dinner had been forgotten.

I escaped the office and apartment for a three-day jaunt to the coast. I was hired by a defense attorney to post-trial interview a juror who she suspected cost her a case. The attorney, Jill Jereau, didn’t lose many cases. But on the rare instance when she did, there was always a female juror in the spotlight. I’m certain no male juror ever convicted a Jereau client. When Jereau caroused around a courtroom, the evidence was overwhelming.

The interview went well, the female juror easily tripped up and recorded, and the motel room went even better – a remote and a mess in three days. I stuck around for another week when my old friend Captain Steve Bender coaxed me onto his fishing boat and tossed me around an angry ocean until I was not only ready to surrender, I was spilling naval secrets to my captor like an overboard Benedict Arnold.

Too many days at sea, with a sad sack of snapper for payment. Captain Steve and Captain Bligh have more in common than rank.

I collapsed in my motel room like a mutinous Fletcher Christian on Pitcairn’s Island – without the comforting caresses of a Tahitian native. It took me two days to get my land legs and navigate the highway waves back to Portland. 

I spent the night in my remoteless apartment in the isobars of Hurricane Katrina, before dropping off my tape recorder to Francoise at the office.

“You look a little blue in the gills, Max,” Francoise offered, once again affirming her knowledge of my every move.

“Just transcribe the interview, Mon Petit Chou-Fleur,” I objected.
The confrontation was fortunately interrupted by the office phone. Francoise held the receiver in the air, with a triumphant pose, and buzzed the call to my desk.

Anything had to be better than this, I thought. It was a foolish notion.

On the other end of the line came the haughty voice of Valerie Suppine, who was being held in a Reno jail.

“Get me out of here, Max, now!” she snarled.

“What are you being held …” I offered before being interrupted.

“It doesn’t matter,” she bit back. “The charges are crap. The bail is $5,000. You owe me.”

“I don’t think I owe you $5,000,” I said without conviction.

“It’s only $500 with a bail bondsman. What’s wrong with you? Do I have to tell you your job as well?”
It mattered little. Val was going to tell me anyway. She was the scrappiest woman I’d ever met. If you threw her into a cage with a middle linebacker in his prime and a mother lion with two cubs, she’d go off at even money – probably at 2-to-3 with a Reno bookie if he happened to know her, and most did.

Under the comical glance of Francoise and the breathless pause from Val, I weighed my options: my secretary and Hurricane Katrina or the fierce specter of Val behind bars.

Call me trapped like a treed raccoon staring down on a pack of blue tick hounds.

I suffered the high winds of Katrina while I drove her back to the once-blessed Mountain, stopped off to have lunch at Lola’s, then wheeled the Suburban east and south to Reno – The Biggest Little City in the World – to face the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States.

The fact that I had survived the tempest of the Pacific Ocean, the cyclonic cleaning of Katrina, provided little solace on the long drive to Nevada. Bouncing along on the uncertain road surfaces of central Oregon takes a toll on a man. I even listened to Lars Larson on the radio for twenty minutes before a jackrabbit knifing across the road brought me out of my hare-brained reverie.

Valerie Suppine – the woman who had once made me seriously consider jumping out of a hot-air balloon while trapped aloft with her nibs, even though I had, admittedly, contributed to her bad mood at the time – was now ensconced in a Reno jail and was unquestionably making the guards seriously consider early retirement, and awaited my arrival with enough money to spring her which was not going to come anywhere near ending the transaction.

Reno was not my idea of a good time, and neither was going a few more rounds with Val, but …

After all, I am Max Malone, Private Eye.

Fiction by Larry Berteau/MT
Warm and Dry Weather for April by Herb Miller on 04/02/2014
March got off to a wet start with Brightwood getting soaked with more than 11 inches of rain and Government Camp getting 8.65 inches the first 10 days. More spring-like weather followed e
xcept for a wet St. Patrick’s Day that also greeted Brightwood with a 1-inch snowfall.
But the last week saw unsettled weather return, with snow making an occasional return to the Mountain but far short of what was hoped for at the start of the month.

Temperatures averaged close to normal in Brightwood, but Government Camp was about 3 degrees above average. Precipitation was well above normal.

The National Weather Service has improved the outlook for our area and expects warmer and drier weather for this coming April.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55 degrees, an average low of 37 and a precipitation average of 7.69 inches, including an average of 0.9 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, high temperatures have had seven years in the 70s, two in the 80s, and only one year couldn’t get above the 60s. Low temperatures all dropped to freezing during the past 10 years, with six years in the 20s and four in the 30s. There is an average of four days that have a low drop down to freezing during April. The record high for precipitation occurred only three years ago – in 2011 – with a total of 16.10 inches.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30, and a precipitation average of 7.21 inches, including 25 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 70s during three years, into the 60s during six years, and only one year failed to make it above the 50s. Low temperatures had two years dipping down to the teens and the other eight into the 20s. On both April 1 and 2, 2008, the low temperature was 13 degrees, only 1 degree above the record set in 1969. Also, the 13-inch snowfall measured on April, 4, 2011, had approached the record of 17 inches set April 12, 1981.
So You Think You're Ready for Detox by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2014
It’s that time of year when we pray for spring, or consider lighting the wood stove for another day or two. It is the unsettled weather that tells us it is too soon to consider a detox. First we need to assess our readiness and our abilities to do so.

But it is not too soon to assess ourselves for our readiness for detoxification. And yes, we all need to do this as we are living in an increasingly toxic world. Spring is the best time for a detox because of all the fresh foods that will be available soon. Foods that not only taste good but are detoxifying in their own right (think asparagus, chives, the spring greens).

How much detoxification you need depends on your “condition.” Assess your condition by asking yourself these three questions: are you a warm person or a cold person?(coldness indicates a greater need for detox); are you a moist person (skin, digestive tract, etc.) or a dry person? (dryness indicates a greater need for balance); are you reasonably energetic or always fatigued? (fatigue indicates a toxic overload).

With the questions honestly answered you can start your detox with a “kitchen cleanse.” This used to be called spring cleaning but we’ll do it a little differently. Remove all cooking oils except olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. Fresh nut oils may be retained but they should be kept in the refrigerator. Other oils may be genetically modified (a common practice) and adulterated with omega 6 oils, which we get plenty of in our diets. While you are at it, remove as much sugar as possible. All forms except honey, real maple syrup (not imitation), and unsulphered molasses.
 Now let’s go back to the three questions you asked yourself to determine your detox needs. If you are the person who is always cold, start with mild movement. It doesn’t have to be full blown exercise, just movement. Turn off the electronic devices or at least get up during each commercial. Walk the dog. The key to long life is to keep moving.

If you are a dry person start “moistening up” inside and out. Keep track of how much water you drink with pennies or pebbles on the drainboard for those who spend most of their time at home and use a measured container if in the workplace most of the time. This information will be very important if you visit a naturapathic doctor. Use some of those kitchen oils you retained in the kitchen to moisten your skin. Do you have dry shins, arms, face, lips? After bathing, lightly cover your skin with olive, peanut, or sesame oil (not toasted) and go to bed (not using the silk sheets) and you will wake up refreshed and with better quality skin.

Are you the one who’s fatigued all the time? This is the most common reason for people to visit the doctor. Try to assess the “whys” of this one. Are you overworked? Europeans work a 36 hour workweek, often opening businesses at noon. Americans think nothing of working a 45-60 hour workweek. Are you overstressed? Read last month’s column. Americans are one of the most stressed nations in the world. Primarily because we bow to the god of green (money) while most other countries value human connections.

Maybe you are simply not getting enough rest. In the late 1800s “spa” treatments consisted primarily of rest, vegetarian food, and mild daily exercise. By 1900 electricity was beginning to rapidly blanket the landscape. Prior to electricity, most people slept 10-12 hours a night. Go to bed at sunset and get up at dawn was not only a motto, it’s what people did if they didn’t have electricity. By 1963 Americans slept an average of 8 1/2 hours a night and that became the new standard. But by 2002 most Americans were sleeping less than 6 hours a night.

I recently took a weekend class where our assignment was to attempt to sleep 10 to 12 hours that night. All but one class attendee complied and we were all so astonished at how good we felt it was all we could talk about during class and breaks. The one person who did not comply still felt stressed. What a lesson!

Symptoms of decreased sleep include fatigue, decreased cognitive function (you might call it brain fog), decreased insulin resistance (otherwise known as weight gain), and decreased immunity (the ones who “always get sick”). Of course I know that no one out there suffers from any of these conditions. What’s worse is the people getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night exhibit increased tryglycerides, an increased risk of blood clots, hypertension, and an increased risk of heart attacks. So don’t go around bragging about your need for less sleep. You may, in fact, need more.

 Before “asking your doctor if this drug is right for you” or buying something over-the-counter, consider seeing a naturapathic doctor. We have lots of levels to choose from. From simple kitchen and lifestyle makeovers to full blown programs with smoothies and supplements. Come find out what’s available and what might be right for you.
March Munches by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2014
Reasons to make Jambalaya 
One pot
Sausage & shrimp together? Win!
It has 4 syllables
It feeds everyone & more
It’s mardi gras baby!

OK, so now that you are convinced, let’s get started.
You will need a large pot with a heavy bottom - I use my dutch oven for this which is cast iron. You can tweak the recipe to whichever protein you have handy, leftover ham, turkey, tofu, you get it.

1 lb kielbasa or smoked sausage sliced
1 lb chicken breasts cubed
1 can chopped tomatoes & the juice
1 chopped bell pepper, red or green or combination
1 small yellow onion sliced thin
2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
2 ribs celery sliced
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Olive oil 
Chopped parsley 
2 cloves smashed garlic
½ lb large shrimp
1 t paprika
1 t cumin
Put about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat in pot over medium heat. Add chicken, browning on each side then season with salt and pepper and take the chicken out of the pan once browned. It does not need to be cooked through. Brown the sausage and remove, and set aside with the chicken. Add all of the veggies to the pot along with the seasoning and cook until tender crisp. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot along with the sausage and chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp on the top & cook 5 more minutes until the shrimp are firm and pink. Serve with chopped parsley over the top.

Beignets (been-yays)
A French doughnut that is fabulous fresh out of the oil. I like to thin out some Nutella with milk and drizzle along with thinned out raspberry jam - but that’s just me.
1½ cups lukewarm water 
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten 
1 t salt 
1 can evaporated milk 
7 cups bread flour 
½ cup vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep skillet or  deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioner’s sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain and shake in bag of confectioner’s sugar.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 03/01/2014
If a movie title could be applied to short sessions in Salem, “Fast and Furious” would be an accurate choice. 

Too fast for good policy to be whittled, and too furious for heads to cool and objectivity to prevail – especially since most legislators have a campaign to worry about just around the corner, which heightens emotions.

Constitutionally, we are required to meet for no longer than 35 calendar days in an even-numbered year … whereas our cap in odd-numbered years is 160 days. 

Oregon’s Legislature, as you know, is bicameral – with a house and senate, each with respective committees. There are generally five official steps for a bill to become a law from its first committee hearing to being signed by the Governor – so that’s an average of one step every seven days, which is a very high speed.

But it doesn’t stop there. What if a bill is politically charged? What if a bill looks benign but is gut-and-stuffed with something you don’t agree with? What if it has a fiscal impact you deem incorrect? What if it needs amending but a committee chair tells you it’s too late for that? What if you only have 10 minutes to figure out what your constituents as a whole want you to do?

These scenarios happen daily. It tells me that we have strayed from what voters expected in 2010 when they passed yearly sessions. We all believed the short one would only involve technical fixes and interim budget attention.

Call me old-fashioned, but the bill I sponsored and cared about most this session does fit that original mold. It is SB 1541 – extending the crop donation tax credit, which will continue to allow more locally grown food to be donated to the hungry. A large number of R’s and D’s have joined me in sponsoring the bill, and it will equate to millions of pounds of food donated by Oregon farms to the Oregon Food Bank and charities.

For those of you who want to see your state senator trade votes, play games, or think after voting, I’m sorry but I just won’t do that. It really is my hope that we can re-start the precedent of what these short sessions are supposed to be – boring and basic. 

The bills we only have 35 days to consider should reflect that, and I hope we can finally learn this lesson.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/01/2014
February 14 was not only Valentine’s Day, it was also Oregon’s 155th birthday! The capital celebrated by revealing the new Capital History Gateway. I encourage you to come and take a look at these incredible displays and their depiction of Oregon’s wonderful history. My office is available to set up tours of the capital building and I’m always available for a visit while you’re here.

There has been a great response to the 2014 survey and I really appreciate the time you have put into sharing your opinions. The deadline has passed to host work sessions in House committees and I can now provide a more substantial update regarding the survey topics. Big picture: leadership has taken advantage of the 35-day session by pushing through controversial and overhauling legislation without the benefit of bipartisan input. The February session was intended for common sense fixes to legislation and needed budgetary modifications, not to have sweeping reforms.

Columbia River Crossing
House Bill 4113 urges Oregon lawmakers to stay the course on the CRC project without bi-state cooperation with Washington. Last week, the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee voted on party lines to pass HB 4113. While I was supportive of a bi-state approach to building the bridge last session, I cannot support a go-it-alone approach. The potential financial and infrastructure related burdens would be felt throughout the I-205 corridor and HD 52. Currently, the bill is in the committee on Ways and Means awaiting further discussion.

Background Checks
Senate Bill 1551 requires a person to request a criminal background check before transferring firearms to any other person, with exception for transfer between family members, inherited firearms, and antique firearms. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee and has been referred to the committee on Rules. At this point, there seems to be no progression of this bill to the Senate floor. Should the bill move to the House, I do not foresee being supportive of it in its current form. I have supported and will continue to support additional state investment in mental health funding so that we can do a better job of identifying at-risk behaviors before they result in violence.

Legalization of Marijuana
Senate Bill 1556 refers the issue of marijuana legalization to Oregon voters. This bill has passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee and was referred to the committee on Rules. It is unclear what the Senate leadership intends to do with this bill. In its current form, the bill remains quite controversial. I will be monitoring the research and opinions put forth on this topic as session continues in order to remain prepared if the bill comes to the House floor.

Cover Oregon
Last week, Congressmen Greg Walden called upon the federal government to audit the use of federal money for the start-up of Cover Oregon. Republican members of the House Health Care Committee introduced amendments to improve oversight of the program including: allowing the Secretary of State to expedite an audit of CO; allowing Oregonians to receive federal subsidies when purchasing insurance outside of the exchange and directly from insurance providers; mandating that all findings from any independent review be made public. These amendments were voted down on a party line vote. Instead, there have been no steps forward to hold those accountable for the disruption and mismanagement of the exchange and no one has been held accountable.

Here are some great resources to help you track bills:
– Oregon Live, Your Government Bill tracker
– Oregon Legislative Information System
– Bill passed by the Oregon House to date in 2014 session
– Bills passed by the Oregon Senate to date in 2014 session
Columbia Gorge Regional Event
On President’s Day, myself and several Gorge area legislators hosted a networking and informational event for the Legislature. In attendance were representatives of the Columbia Gorge Commission, ports, cities, counties and private sector throughout the region. It was well attended by our colleagues and was intended to highlight the issues that connect the various public agencies and economies in the Gorge. It remains a real pleasure for me to represent such a wonderful section of Oregon as last night was evidence of how much our region contributes to the rest of the state.
It has been really helpful to hear your opinions throughout session. I have been able to assess what issues are important to my constituents of HD 52 and encourage you to keep in touch for the remainder of the month. 

If you have not taken my 2014 legislative survey, feel free to do so.  Contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email  rep.markjohnson@state.or.us.
Goldfinch: Vivid, Compelling by Sandra Palmer on 03/01/2014
Donna Tartt’s latest novel is a delicious reading experience that only comes to a serious reader once every year of so. While the book is certainly lengthy, it gives the avid reader an opportunity to spend a significant amount of time wallowing in the pleasure of Ms. Tartt’s elegant prose and the detailed life of her vividly drawn characters. 

Her story is compelling and the reader looks forward to returning again and again to this expertly drawn world and the compelling conflicts of her main character, Theo.

Theo is an adolescent when tragedy strikes. His beautiful and much-loved mother is killed by a fictional terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Left alone without anyone to care for him, he lands temporarily with the very affluent family of a school friend, then with his wayward father in Las Vegas and, finally, with a tender-hearted New York City antique dealer who shares his love and appreciation of beautiful things – and creating or restoring them. 

Theo’s ache for his mother’s presence is pronounced and the emptiness in his life due to her absence leads him astray at times. However, we come to love and appreciate Theo’s flawed character and the many varied locales he inhabits while trying to find his place in the world. Even when he wanders far afield from wise choices, we can’t help but root for him to succeed and find happiness.

The Goldfinch, a famous painting by Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, figures heavily in the storyline and creates much tension for Theo. In the confusion and shock following the bombing, Theo encounters an elderly New York antique dealer who presses his ring into Theo’s hands and begs that he take it to his business partner. He also insists that Theo should take the small masterpiece The Goldfinch out of the Museum as well. Theo shares the man’s fascination with the painting, taking it along in his satchel but, ultimately, is tormented over what to do when the authorities realize it is missing. He is afraid to return it and afraid not to while also emotionally desperate to keep the object since it has come to be a prized, secret possession. 

How this conflict is ultimately resolved drives much of the suspense in the book. We come to realize that for Theo to finally recover from his grief and sad connection to his mother’s death, the painting must finally be returned to an appropriate public place for its preservation and appreciation.

The Goldfinch is so much more than I can convey in this brief space but, mostly, it is a journey to be relished. Give this wonderful novel your time and you will be amply rewarded.

Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College. Her other works include The Secret History and The Little Friend. 
Episode VIII - Skinny Legs and Justice by Max Malone, Private Eye on 03/01/2014
fter storming out of Greinke’s law office, casting nary a glance at the Thai receptionist, I field a cell phone call from Francoise, my secretary. She needs me at the office to endorse a client’s check and put my signature on the taxes – which are due tomorrow.

Francoise, as she is known to do, alters my cloudy mood with her request. She can put my John Hancock on a document better than I. A smile breaks through the overcast. I comply like a dutiful golden retriever. I whip out the signatures with Francoise standing over me like a third-grade penmanship teacher – but ten times more cursive. I take the moment to reacquaint myself with an office I’ve spent precious little time in of late. It’s unsurprisingly austere, wood floors, a mahogany reception desk, oak book cases, an open area with my intentionally understated metal desk, and lots of light – when Portland weather grudgingly concedes it.

I call Frank Strong – formerly Feral Strong of porno fame, turned crack researcher in the attorney general’s office – and quiz him more about Greinke. Frank tells me he’s been keeping track of the lawyer and his reckless ambition.
“Since you told me of his fiance’s pregnancy, I’ve done some checking up,” Frank says, his voice in hushed tones due to the perils of his office. “Seems there’s another woman in the game. Don’t have her name.”

But I did.

“She’s new on the scene, but definitely arrived before the McGee murder,” Frank continues, sotto voce. “I dug out a photo of Greinke at a political fundraiser taken a month ago. This woman is just off his shoulder, gazing at him fondly, and obviously not for the first time. I’ll shoot you a copy to your email.”

The drive back to the mountain community takes a little less than an hour. When you’re in a hurry, it can seem like a camel caravan across the Gobi desert. And rest assured, I’d never sit an animal that can bite you while you ride.

Call me a dromedary delinquent.

I head straight for Lola’s joint. It’s mid-afternoon, an hour before the locals file in for happy hour, and that should give me the opportunity I need. I’m in luck. Lola is rearranging the stage area with Katrina handling the bartender chores. I sit down in the drummer’s chair behind the trap set. Lola sees I’m serious, sits half of her delightful self on a guitar stool.
“What do you know of Hope’s relationship with Maggie,” I ask flatly.
Lola unfolds a knowing smile that would make daVinci scramble for his paint brush.
“On the surface, good friends,” Lola begins, then after a pregnant pause, “But there was always an edge. Hope, you see, or maybe you see now, is opportunistic. She’s a go-getter. She has always looked beyond this mountain. Maggie (shrug), not so much. She is, uh, was, a true mountain girl. She wanted to reform Paul. Make him discover the virtues of living here, beyond his press opportunities climbing Mount Hood or fly fishing in our rivers.”
“Can Hope handle a gun?”
Lola doesn’t flinch at the question. “Put it this way. A couple boy friends ago operated a firing range and gave lessons.”
I walk off the stage. Katrina catches my attention at the bar with a beckoning wave of the hand. She rushes up to me like a gentle Jamaican wave.
“I’ve wanted to tell you something.” Her eyes hold me like a tanned hand around a pina colada. “You need to be careful. When Hope gets a target, she seldom misses.”

I thanked Katrina. Made a move to the brim of my fedora as a departing salute, found I was still hatless, which also was due to the fact that Hope suffered one of her “seldom misses.”

Straight to Hope’s house. I stomp onto her girly porch, complete with a rope swing and enough chimes to charm an over-the-hill hippy. Three loud raps on the door with my knuckles. Hope appears quickly, a shocked expression sketched across her once-delightful face. She looked like she had just received a phone call from an attorney. She doesn’t step back to offer me entry – an option that I hadn’t even considered.
“You owe me a fedora, young lady. One day, I’ll collect.”
I wheel and walk away, offering my backside. We must remember this, Bogie taught me a lot of my moves.

I stop by the local newspaper office and tell Nigel Best, the editor, all I know and hand him the photo of Greinke and Hope. It may take a while, but he’ll figure it out.

The next afternoon I’m admiring Katrina’s slender legs stretched out on a lawn chair on my porch. We’ve shared a couple Jamaican rums on the rocks – what else? – and I’ve told her the whole story.

“But what about justice?” she says, her voice barely stirring a breeze. “You can’t just leave it there.”

There are all kinds of justice, I say to myself. There’s the swift kind that comes from an act of revenge. There’s the awkward kind that clatters through courtrooms to a creaky conclusion. But there’s another kind, where justice hangs by a thread over the guilty heads like the sword of Damocles, that will one day prove that with great power also comes great peril.

“I can wait,” I say to Katrina. “There’s a phone, a photo and a fedora.”

And Nigel and sheriff’s detectives will close in one day – and I can wait.

That night at Lola’s, I watched Katrina, my ventilated fedora cocked to one side and slanted forward on her head, as she danced the night away. Skinny legs and all.

Call me a Tom Robbins rowdy.

The next morning I drop a needle on a Harry Belafonte vinyl. Katrina’s in the kitchen.
“Hope you like your eggs boiled,” she croons.

I turn slowly to the camera.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

(A couple months go by, with Max and Katrina as thick as ham and country gravy, when the revelry is broken by a phone call. Someone in a Reno jail used her only call to plead for Max’s help. Surprised?)

by Larry Berteau/MT
Extra Wet March on the Way by Herb Miller on 03/01/2014
Temperatures this February have averaged well below normal, due in part to another arctic cold snap that moved in Feb. 3 and hung around for a week.

Brightwood recorded a record 8-inch snowfall Feb. 8, replacing the 7-inch total set two years earlier. Temperatures moderated on the 10th, but a series of moist storms brought river levels up to flood stage before easing off a bit, and lowering freezing levels allowed snowfall to return to the Mountain. The last week ended on a drier note but the precipitation amounts at both Brightwood and Government Camp were well above average. 

And the folks on the Mountain can rejoice with the return of snow.

For what it’s worth, the National Weather Service expects our area will have about average temperatures but slightly above average precipitation for March. If its outlook for later this spring and summer is accurate, we can expect warm and dry weather.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52 degrees, an average low of 35 and a precipitation average of 8.11 inches – including an average 3 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 70s three times, into the 60s during five years, and into the 50s the other two years. Low temperatures had eight years in the upper 20s, and other two years in the 30s. The record total snowfall of 18 inches was measured just two years ago in 2012, which also recorded an impressive precipitation total of 19.17 inches but shy of the record 21.59 inches set in 2003.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 27, and a precipitation average of 9.07 inches – including 47 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have ranged from one year in the 70s, two years in the 40s, two years in the 50s, and the remaining five years reached into the 60s. Low temperatures were evenly divided with five years dipping down to the teens, and the other five into the 20s. This decade has recorded several of the highest 24-hour snowfall measurements for March dating back to 1951, including 22 inches in 2012, 21 inches in 2003, and 18 inches in 2011.

Bless Your Heart by Victoria Larson on 02/02/2014
Place your hands over your heart and feel it beating. Your heart keeps you going all day, all night, throughout your life. Now thank your heart for all it does and make a pact with your heart to keep it in tiptop health to the best of your ability. For yourself and for your loved ones.
It is unfortunate that the United States has a higher percentage of heart disease than most other civilized nations. We are the most worried people on earth. We live in a highly competitive business climate that leads to continuous anger, anxiety, desperation, and fear. Emotions of greed and resentment can destroy heart tissue, as well as other tissues of the body. In Chinese medicine, the liver corresponds to anger, the lungs grief, and the kidneys fear.
The famous doctor who knew so much about stress mechanisms, Hans Selye, MD, found that emotional stress causes depletion of Vitamin C in the adrenal glands. People all over America have stressed adrenal glands, making them depressed, tired, snippy, and just plain mean sometimes. Just watching the news can deplete your adrenal glands.
Add nutritional deficiencies, incomplete digestion, constipation, and auto-toxicity to poor health habits such as drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise and you’ve set the stage for poor heart health. This is why NDs don’t just treat the adrenals, but want to address each patient as a whole and unique person.
While smoking is the absolute worst habit for those seeking optimum heart health, the second worst habit is sitting. Just sitting. Think about how most Americans live. First thing in the morning you turn on the coffeepot, the computer, or the TV news. So even before going to work, you sit in front of the computer (for how long?). Then you get into your car and drive to work (and sit for how long?). Many workers spend their entire workday in front of a computer (for how long?) and then reverse the drive (how long?) to get home and turn on that TV to watch the news again and later a movie (for how long?). Simple math tells us all that we’re sitting too much!
A study in Britain showed that the mortality rate from heart disease to people who did physical work was less than half that of the group that did little or no physical work. But have we shoved physical well-being into the background while glorifying computer work, even to the point of paying relatively high wages for non-physical work. The executive is more glorified than the ditch digger. But who would live longer? And what is “success”?
If we wonder how our parents and grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s we need only look at the lifestyle of gathering wood for heat, hanging clothes outside to dry, raising your own food, cooking and processing it yourself, hunting and fishing to provide for yourself and your family. Not much sitting in that lifestyle. Simply walking 10 miles a day is a great form of exercise. And it doesn’t have to be all at once. When the Schoolhouse Natural Health clinic was still in Sandy I remember thinking that walking to the post office would be way too time consuming. Boy was I chagrined to realize that it took less than 10 minutes.
Other nations that have a lower rate of heart disease either engage in a much higher level of physical activity, or they use health systems to prevent heart attacks. Government and insurance company recommendations extend beyond ideas to radio broadcasts of times set aside to move about. In China, people are not laughed at for doing impromptu QiGong in public plazas where anyone can join in at any time. Thousands of reconditioning centers throughout Europe treat workers and executives for fatigue, malnourishment, and tension. A few weeks of health building diet, hydrotherapy, physical workouts, and relaxation training would do us all a world of good.
 While we may realize the relationship between high blood pressure and stress to heart disease, we don’t tend to think any deeper than that. In fact constipation leads to toxicity in the body which stresses and diminishes all the tissues of the body. So problems like constipation could be considered a sub-clinical stage of heart disease. Which is why you don’t want to ignore the small stuff and you do want to go to a Naturopathic Doctor in order to treat the whole person, not just a part of that person.
The keys to better heart health are in your kitchen, or they should be. Junk the junk food and move continually towards fresh, organic, non-processed food that builds your health. Consider growing some of your own food this year as this will get you up off the couch and into some more sunlight. Now put a hand over your heart again, and pledge to love yourself, and others, by doing your very best for your heart. Love to you all.
February To Do List by Taeler Butel on 02/02/2014
– Chocolate
– Make snacks for a football game
– I’m not a huge football fan, but I am a fan of Superbowl food.

Sloppy Joe Sliders
1 small white onion diced fine
2 stalks celery sliced thin
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1 T Worcester sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
½ t Italian seasoning
2 t Dijon mustard
In a large skillet add oil and heat on med high. Add in the onions and celery and cook a few minutes until tender, then add in ground meat, cooking until browned. Stir in tomato paste and cook a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Let simmer 15 minutes more then serve over biscuits or in a lettuce wrap.

For the biscuits:
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup heavy cream
¼ t garlic powder
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
For brushing on top:
2 T melted butter
¼t dried parsley flakes
½ t garlic powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour and cream in a mixing bowl, stirring just until blended. Add cheddar cheese and garlic powder and mix together by hand on a floured surface until incorporated.
Drop dough in approximately 1 tablespoon mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet. You can use an ice cream scoop for uniform consistency, but I just eyeballed mine. They don’t have to be perfect. Bake for 12-13 minutes until tops begin to turn golden brown.
While biscuits are baking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the ¼ t of parsley flakes, ½ t of garlic powder, and the pinch of salt. After biscuits are done baking, brush the butter mixture over the tops of the warm biscuits.
Sweet homemade gifts for all of your loves:

Sweet chocolate sugar scrub:
½ cup raw cane sugar or brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 T cocoa powder
¼ cup Olive Oil
½ t vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings from bakers chocolate square (optional)
Put sugar and cocoa in a bowl and whisk together. Stir in oil and vanilla extract carefully so you don’t dissolve the sugar, grate chocolate into fine shreds and stir in. Scoop into small containers with a pretty bow.  

Chocolate fudge sauce:
3 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
½ cup heavy cream
6 T brown sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T unsalted butter
1 t vanilla extract
Small pinch kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in small, heavy saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer and whisk for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving. Give away in a jar adding a label to keep refrigerated.
Identical Twins Clash by Sandra Palmer on 02/02/2014
After 25 years in prison, Paul Giannis’ identical twin brother Cass is finally released, having served his time for a crime he always claimed he did not commit – the murder of his then girlfriend, Dita Kronon.

While thrilled to have his brother back, Paul’s political campaign for Mayor is immediately threatened by issues still unsettled connected to his brother’s conviction. And rumors are circulating as well – fueled by Paul’s political opponents – that he was also somehow linked to his brother’s crime. Or, even worse, that he might have been the murderer, not his twin brother after all.

Dita’s brother Hal Kronon has never let the matter go and now that Cass is out of prison, he enlists one of his employees Evon Miller (a former FBI agent) and an experienced but aging local investigator Tim Brodie (with ties to the original murder case against Cass) to dig up the dirt on Paul. Soon the two unlikely investigators team up to re-visit the crime, submit evidence for fresh, high-tech analysis and re-interview those with connections to the principal actors. It’s not long before shocking and unexpected evidence sends them in unexpected directions, some they are intent on even keeping from their boss.

While this won’t be the first time that Scott Turow has used the intricacies of modern forensic investigation to unravel a web of lies in one of his novels, the unique opportunity presented by identical twins with almost identical DNA and finger prints opens many avenues for intrigue. And it’s clear that both families have many secrets that impact the crime which are gradually brought to light.
Much of “Identical” is courtroom drama in which Turow excels but it’s also a legal who-done-it put together by an expert author who knows how to build the pieces toward unexpected conclusions that surprise his readers.

The plot and characters are complex. You may find yourself wondering when the story will truly get moving but it certainly does.

It just takes the author some time to present all the elements and characters in context for the reader.
Having read many of Turow’s works over the years, this is probably not his very best but it’s Scott Turow and that is always very, very good.

SCOTT TUROW is the author of five worldwide bestselling novels, most notably his first, “Presumed Innocent.” His non-fiction, book, “Ultimate Punishment,” influenced the unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 Illinois death row inmates.

He lives with his family outside Chicago, where he still practices law and has twice served as President of the Author’s Guild, the nation’s largest membership organization of professional writers. 
Married Men Should Watch 'The Bachelor' by Ned Hickson on 02/02/2014
My name is Ned and I watch The Bachelor.

I can see the looks of confusion but that’s okay; I’ve gotten used to it. In fact, I used to hide my Bachelor/Bachelorette watching...

“Hey Ned, how about that Trailblazers game last night?!?”

“Yeah, man! They really dominated the paint!”

“What are you talking about? They LOST!”

“Oh, right. Uh, I got tapped out for a house fire and missed the second half.”
“Was everyone ok?”

“Yeah, but the girls who didn’t get a rose were pretty upset.”

“Wait... what?”

I actually watch very little television. The shows I do watch are because of personal interest. I watch Chicago Fire because I’m a volunteer firefighter; The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour because I‘m a journalist; Hell’s Kitchen because I was a chef for 10 years; The Bachelor because I don’t ever want to be one again. As a happily married man, I can tell you the benefits of a good marriage far outweigh the initial discomfort of watching Chris Harrison — week after week — inform everyone who didn’t pass kindergarten math that there’s only one rose left.

As someone who has been watching The Bachelor with his wife for several years now, I have gained a few insights that have made me a better husband. To illustrate my point, and more importantly show my wife I’m not just paying attention during bikini volleyball, I am going to share a few of those insights with you.

First, always keep a rose with you. Always. Having the ability to — at a moment’s notice — produce a fragrant flower symbolizing your love is a game changer that can diffuse any situation....    
Wife: “Are these your dirty BOXERS in the sink... AGAIN!”

Husband: [Pulls out rose] “This is for you.”

Wife: “Oh sweetheart! Where else can I look for your boxers? Wait, don’t tell me! I want it to be like an Easter egg hunt!”

In the rare instance a rose isn’t enough, make sure you have a mutual friend willing to be a love liaison for you. Someone who cares about you both and has your best interest as a couple in mind. I would highly suggest getting Chris Harrison. He may not be able to count higher than 1, but he is an artful mediator. Contrary to what you might think, getting his help is actually pretty easy. All you have to do is take a single rose and put it in a basket. He will appear almost instantly to announce it’s the only one left. When he does, you’ve got him.

Lastly, after watching several seasons of The Bachelor, it’s clear that trust and emotional bonds are strengthened by participating in life-threatening activities together. These opportunities are presented many times over the course of a season. For the rest of us, especially those with children, the closest we get to experiencing bond-building danger together is when someone accidentally puts a fork in the microwave. For this reason, when opportunity presents itself, you need to make the most of it by doubling up on the danger.

Going bungee jumping?


Do it over a shark tank.

Going skydiving?

Land in a bull-riding competition dressed as rodeo clowns.

Riding as passengers in a NASCAR race?


Let my daughter drive.

Haha! Just kidding! You can‘t strengthen emotional bonds if you‘re dead.
But you get the idea.

So, come next Monday, I‘ll once again take a spot on the couch next to my wife and watch as Juan Pablo attempts what is essentially televised cat juggling, complete with claws and hissing.
Possibly even some flying fur.

But as he attempts to discover the inner truths of each woman and searches for his soulmate one rose at a time, my wife and I will be eating snack foods as we share observations about each contestant — which brings me to the most valuable lesson I‘ve learned:

Given the chance to be The Bachelor, I’d still choose my wife.

Especially if there’s bikini volleyball.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available at Port Hole Publications, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)

Max Malone
Episode VII -- Den of Thieves by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/02/2014
With the early morning sun to my back, I urged my Suburban along the highway, dodging commuters in their hybrid whatevers as they jockeyed for position to not be the last worker to arrive in Portland – as if that was going to tip the economic balance of an already underwhelmed city.

Call me a Greenspan guerrilla.

My destination was the law offices of Greinke, White and Wong. Along the way I formulated my plan for the anticipated sit-down with the ambitious Paul Greinke – that is, if I could get past that wascally Elmer Fudd, who I was convinced held sway over the reception desk. “Don’t get me Wong …” I can almost hear him say.

I pick my way carefully into the Concordia District – a fulsome city-centric neighborhood of inexact proportions – with an art gallery on every corner, each leaning against a local pub that has more micro-brews than the one across the street. I pull into a public parking lot that faces the law office. It’s exactly as I imagined: wood frame, one story, white with powder blue trim, and a subtle yet somehow bold brass accented sign displaying the names of the three attorneys awaiting your arrival, each name with an Esquire bringing up the rear.

I wait while Sinatra finishes “Luck Be a Lady” on my CD player. I have a firm grip on my priorities and never let a lady out of my sight.

It’s not often my gait gets altered. The rifle shot that ventilated my fedora last night was one of those rare occurrences. But twice in two days? Still, there she was. In an uptown dress, hair tucked neatly in a big city bun, clicking along on I-already-made-it heels, she swayed out of the law office, up the street and around a corner like Goldie Hawn with a new movie contract. Hope falls eternal.

My eyes narrowed. My plan for the Greinke meeting disappeared down the drain like a schizophrenic cockroach. Sometimes I think too much, I think, as I bound out of the Suburban and stride across the street, determined to get the ball back, ignoring the blow to the midsection of my otherwise intractable ego.

The reception desk is not manned by Elmer Fudd. Far from it. A  young Thai woman in the obligatory little black dress awaits. I’m forced to push out of my mind the time I spent in Bangkok, where I had to escape from a jail by rolling up in a ball like a sow bug, inside an empty food cart, where I was ultimately deposited in an alley full of dumpsters which made me wonder if my situation had improved, before bribing an American state department bigwig whose daughter had run off with an international drug kingpin who had recently gained political asylum in Ecuador, and I was his only source for tracking this criminal down, which got me out of the country with a quickly designed passport that made me – until I arrived in San Francisco with an unexpected 24-hour layover in Beijing – a man named Saul Pasowicz.

But that’s another story.

I slid my biz card onto the receptionist’s desk.
“I’m here to see Paul Greinke.”
“Do you have an appointment, uh (hooded glance at the card) Mr. Malone?”
“Tell him I’m investigating the Maggie McGee murder.”
She connected with yet another layer of legal bureaucratic tape, telling the next-in-line of my request. She listened, then looked up at me with an alluring yet underplayed smile.
“Would you wait just a moment, please?”
You bet I would, I didn’t say, but nodded and remained planted at the desk, eschewing a seat in one of the leather chairs in the reception room. Offensive? Perhaps. But I still had Hope’s departure planted in my frontal lobes.

The next-in-line secretary arrived quickly, and didn’t disappoint. If nothing else,
Greinke had an eye for the hire. I followed her down the hall, pleased with the stroll and the view, and she squired me in to the Esquire’s lair. Greinke stood up (favoring his injured leg? – was that just for me?).

“Pardon me for staying behind my desk, Mr. Malone. I have a bad leg.” His tone was cordial, yet measured. He was Ali Baba, and I was not one of the trusted forty thieves.

Call me a nut for the “Arabian Nights.”

A quick, private-eye glance took in the wall of honors. He had more degrees than a convection oven. Pictures of Greinke were everywhere. One shaking hands with Mitt Romney. Another at a function with Dan Quayle. His circle of acquaintances was wide, if a tad wobbly. He motioned me to sit and I obliged, staring at him over the top of a set of never-used fountain pens in an Oriental pen holder.

“I’m here about Maggie McGee’s murder,” I said, getting quickly to the point.
“OK. That’s such a tragedy and still a very sad affair for me. I’m pleased the police made an arrest.”
“Yes, I’m sure,” I said with an alarming lack of conviction – even for me. “Are you aware that her cell phone turned up?”
“Did Hope tell you?” I asked, unabashed.
“Who? Oh, Hope. No. Why do you ask that?
“She just left here a few minutes ago.”
Greinke doesn’t flinch. He’s had practice plying his practice.
“Yes. Well, she was a good friend of Maggie’s.”
“And of you?”
“Look.” He almost stood up then remembered he shouldn’t, or couldn’t. “I don’t see how this is any of your business.”
“I’m making it my business.  I’m full of business. Especially when I’m being played.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Malone.” He reaches for his phone.
“Before you do that, I advise you to listen for a minute. The guy who was arrested for this murder is no more guilty than one of Ali Baba’s thieves.” (He doesn’t know about my previous vision.) “I have, on good reference, that there’s another woman involved in all of this. And I will get to the bottom of it.” I stand up. “So if there’s anything you want to tell me, now’s a real good time for that. Your alternative is to find me snooping into your personal life like a wolverine having a bad day.”
“I don’t take kindly to threats, Mr. Malone.”
“It’s not a threat, Mr. Greinke. It’s a promise.”
“We have no more business here,” he says resolutely, but his index finger twitches and rolls over his thumb – a tell in poker player’s parlance.

Call me a sucker for Amarillo Slim.

I head for the door. If he only knew how much more business we have together. And soon, so will Hope.

After all, spurned or not, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Mild Winter Could Turn 'Average' by Herb Miller on 02/02/2014
ttern, our weather during most of the last half of January was dominated by a ridge of high pressure that resulted in dry, sunny days with above normal temperatures, especially at higher elevations during periods of atmospheric inversion.

Temperatures have averaged close to 10 degrees above normal in Government Camp and snowfall has totaled only 17 inches, just a fraction of the normal 59 inches.

Brightwood has not had any snow compared to a normal 9 inches it enjoys in January.

The last few days of the month had a more typical weather pattern and perhaps February will usher in a change that will bring some snow to the slopes.

The National Weather Service continues to observe that sea-surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the tropical area of the Pacific Ocean continue to be average. This is one of the factors resulting in their forecast for our area to expect near average temperatures and precipitation during February.

Brightwood has an average February high temperature of 47 degrees, an average low of 34 and a precipitation average of 8.43 inches – including an average 6 inches of snow. During the last 10 years high temperatures have reached 60 degrees three times with the other seven settling for the 50s. Low temperatures had seven years in the 20s, two in the teens, and the other year never fell below the 30s. The record total snowfall of 32 inches was measured in 1986. Greatest monthly precipitation of 17.60 inches fell in 1979.

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 38 degrees, an average low of 26, and a precipitation average of 9.70 inches – including 42 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 40s during five years, the 50s twice, and three years made the 60s. Low temperatures had two years in the single digits, five in the teens, and three years in the 20s.

Wouldn’t it be nice if history could repeat last year’s 19-inch snowfall that fell on Feb. 23.
New Year's Resolution: Make it Better by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2014
My grandson came screaming in with nose streaming blood, lips swollen, cheek and nose abraded, and a cut under his chin. More scared than hurt, all he wanted was for me to “make it better.” Hugs and kisses and Dr. Victoria’s Salve took care of it but it got me to thinking. Aren’t we all scared and hurting and longing to “make it better”?
Would that it would be so easy to heal the hurts of our Earth, our society, ourselves. Many feel overwhelmed after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, most of it of our own insistence. Feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling of “burnout” and depression. What we need at the beginning of a new year are some concrete, do-able steps to dispel that burnout and depression.
Research shows that just five hours over a 40-hour work week leads to a 5 percent increase in burnout. Few really have jobs that require longer hours at work. To “make it better” why not forgo that fast food, manicure, unnecessary trip to the store. Eat better food at home, spend less money, use less fuel. Feel better about yourself as you’ve made one small decision for the Earth as well.
Burnout leads to feelings of cynicism, frustration, and ultimately the feeling that the only way to deal with those feelings is to shove others out of the way. Is this why some end up shooting up the mall, the movie theatre, or the school? This has to stop. We have to get a grip. The opposite of burnout is connection. Gratitude is an antidote for burnout. Say “thank you” to everyone you can – the checkout person, the gas station attendant, the school bus driver. They are all doing something for you. Appreciate.
Avoiding help is a surefire way to make things worse for yourself and ultimately others. Find people to connect with – a church, a quilting group, a lonely senior citizen. If none are near you, start a group. There are days when I’m brain dead and think that doing the crossword puzzles in a group would be a great idea! If little steps don’t work, consider seeing a doctor for an assessment of your health, or a counselor.
Practice caring for yourself when feeling particularly blue. This does NOT mean an extra glass of wine, but might be accomplished with a bubble bath, a cup of herbal tea, or a phone call or letter to a relative or friend. Maybe it’s time to heal old hurts. I have a cousin whom I did not hear from for a very long time though I continued to write personal holiday greetings every year. Fifteen years later she finally responded with belated gratitude and we’ve been sharing our memories of our childhood together since then.
Focus on nurturing yourself with comfort foods. After the mashed potatoes and gravy (or whatever your comfort food) remember that oranges were once considered to be a treat. And they still can be. The scent of citrus is uplifting and the sprightly flavor will boost your mood as well as elevate your physical well-being. Soups are comforting, particularly if home made and they take so little work. Get out the crock pot and just put a bunch of leftover vegetables in some broth and you’ve got comfort food par excellence. Freeze the leftovers or take some to a neighbor. A good way to make friends.
Eat seasonal foods that are warming. Put cinnamon, cloves, or ginger in your tea. Not only will they warm you but may just stave off the illnesses that often come with feelings of depression as well. Roast cruciferous vegetables and squash in the oven. Simmer soups or stews on the stove and it will provide you and your family the anticipation of something good to eat. Avoid simple carbs and sugars as much as possible. This means that cookies, crackers, potato chips, and pretzels become only occasional treats and not daily indulgences.
Don’t eat out more than once a week. While it’s nice to have someone to serve you, it is more expensive than eating at home, uses fuel resources, and invariably is higher in calories and fewer in nutrients than something you have made for yourself and your family or neighbors.
 In our sped up lives, spring comes very soon. Caring for ourselves makes us better able to care for others and that’s what we all need to be doing. Remembering that connecting with others is the best way to dispel burnout and depression so that lighter days will return.
To nurture yourself, try and get some fresh air every day. The stagnant air in our super-insulated homes can make you just plain tired. If weather permits take a walk or a bike ride. Forget getting into the car. We don’t need any more depressing pollution. Put up bird feeders and get a book to identify the birds that visit. Occupy the mind with something to dispel depression and keep your cognitive function going.
Create something for yourself or for someone else. Anything – a drawing, muffins, or learn a new skill. Do a craft with a child and both of you will be rewarded with connectedness, the antidote to burnout and depression. Eat well, sleep well, stay well.
Damage Control by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2014
How do I know if I need damage control from holiday eating?

You stopped  counting your chins after No. 3.

Your friends refer to you as “the one with all of the cheese.”

You have several birthdays a year just to get cake.

When wearing a red sweater kids run up to you yelling “Santa Clause!”

People are now asking you how many hours until your twins are due.
You can no longer pull your pants up past your ankles.

If you have answered yes to any of these, you may need to get a little more healthy in your lifestyle. Here’s some simple tips and delicious recipes – no diet fads allowed, keep those for the late night TV commercials.

Keep a salad bar in your fridge: Chop & shred lean meat, boil & chop potatoes, eggs, etc., cook brown rice, blanch green beans, keep baby carrots and tomatoes, olives, sliced cucumbers, canned beans, leafy salad mixes & calorie-reduced salad dressings made from greek yogurt, olive oil etc. Having everything close at hand and ready to go will help you make a good choice instead of a quick fix.
Also keep healthy snacks with you to help avoid the drive through.  I like raw nuts, dried fruit, rice crackers etc.

Choose an alternative:  Brown rice, roasted veggies and spaghetti squash can replace regular noodles & baked potatoes. Choose  a sorbet instead of an ice cream or fresh fruit at the end of your meal.
Have a Soup Night: Soup is hot and satisfying and can use lots of veggies which is what you want to fill up on. Look for a clear soup if you are out and about and make your own at home – the store shelf soup is full of fat and salt. As an added bonus you can use leftovers and it freezes really well.
Look to other health conscience cultures: I love a good greasy diner meal or a Tavern burger every now and again but look to Mediterranean and Asian cuisine with all the vegetables and clear broth & spices. This will help you to be satisfied with healthier lighter dishes.

Do a gentle cleanse every 90 days – Did you know there are bacteria that live in your body and make you crave carbs and sugar so they can feed off of it? Gross, right? Doing a cleanse will remove these little monsters. I do one called an herbal cleanse by Advocare - you should never do a cleanse that includes not eating, this will slow your metabolism.
Keep your energy high & hydrate yourself. When you are tired and thirsty your body will confuse this as hunger so sip on green tea, citrus infused water or an herbal tea. I drink a brain food drink called Spark also by Advocare. Lay off of pop – switch to sparkling water.

Protein Protein Protein: 50-60 grams a day to burn body fat. Use greek yogurt, a protein powder of your liking, and veggies like edememe. Also nuts like raw almonds, beans, and lean meats are all great.

Fall in love with your workout. Do something that is fun for you - hiking, snow shoeing or biking. I have to admit I hate the treadmill. If you are not outdoorsy, choose a workout video that’s super fun or dance like no one is watching. I try to plan several workouts during the week and invite friends.

How about a recipe:

Turkey chili with kale & quinoa
6 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 Cup Quinoa (cook per package directions)
1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
1 cup of frozen chopped kale or spinach
 ½ Yellow Onion
 2 Cloves Garlic
 6 Roma Tomatoes chopped
or 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  1 Red Bell pepper
  1 Green Bell Pepper
  1 Cup sliced Mushrooms
  1 Cup Diced Parsley
  1 Pack Taco Seasoning
   1 Can Organic Black Beans (Rinsed)
Olive oil, salt and pepper, guacamole and whole grain chips for serving.

In a large pot brown the turkey with a Tablespoon of olive oil adding in the onion and seasoning halfway through. Next add in the mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes  & garlic. Cook until liquid is reduced and add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 mins and serve with  guacamole and a few chips if desired.
Rich Characters Reside in 'Shadows' by Sandra Palmer on 01/01/2014
Once you have read John Keeble, it’s impossible not to jump on something new from this author with great anticipation and confidence. ‘The Shadow of Owls” surely does not disappoint. This wonderful novel is filled with John’s expertly crafted prose, thoughtful images and rich characters that keep the pages turning while the reader hates to see the end coming since the book itself is such a great experience.

John has a knack for describing complex technology in a way that renders it fascinating and understandable while utilizing language that is beautiful and almost spare. He is also adept at building tension without the cheap cliff-hangers and short chapters that are common in less literary books in many best sellers. His characters are real and substantial – no cookie-cutter stereotypes here. He is also passionate about the environment and the Pacific Northwest and it shows. His intimate knowledge of NW terrain, geologic history, natural environment and culture play an essential part in this terrific tale of danger and intrigue.

In “The Shadow of Owls” we follow the story of an extraordinarily talented, outspoken and determined diver, Kate DeShazer, whose research into NW aquatic ecosystems threatens powerful oil interests and whose do-gooder sensibilities put her in harm’s way in remote Idaho during a period of deep snowfall. Her husband Jack is resolute about finding her even if it means tangling with some threatening and downright scary White Supremacist neighbors who may have misunderstood his wife’s motivations. His teenage son Travis and his friend and fellow logger Gene assist him in puzzling through the possibilities and sifting the evidence for clues after their home is left in chaos following a break-in. The men also make several trips into the local White Power encampment during a regional meeting complete with a burning cross and hundreds of attendees from beyond the local area.

After rescuing a nearly hypothermic woman from wrecked vehicle in a snowdrift, Kate becomes entangled in the woman’s manipulations and attempts to flee an abusive relationship. This results in personal injury and kidnapping while her family struggles to locate her. Flashes to story perspectives on ocean vessels and characters who have professional interests at odds to her own build the suspense and the background for her personal jeopardy.

If you are looking for an easy read, this isn’t it. But if you are up for an intelligent novel that is taut with suspense and filled with literary confrontation of ecological challenges, plunge in with gusto. Novels as well written as this don’t come along very often.

John Keeble is the author of “Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound” and four novels, including “Broken Ground” and “Yellowfish.” He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and he has received a Washington State Governor’s Award. John lives in Eastern Washington with his family.
Dirty Diaper Football by Ned Hickson on 01/01/2014
Though I’m a parent who is many years beyond his children’s diaper phase (Ya Baby! WOOO-HOOO, You Know it! YOWZA!)


Anyway, I have several friends who are now embarking on this journey and who have asked my advice regarding the choice between cloth or disposable diapers. I told them, without hesitation, that I was somewhat offended by their insinuation, and that unless it was All-You-Can-Eat-Frijole-Night at the Enfermo Taco, I was still quite in control of my bodily functions, thank you very much.

Moments later, upon returning from the restroom, it hit me: I really needed to go back. It was during this second run — or really more of a quick step — I realized they had been referring to diapers for their own children.

Though I used cloth diapers for my children  — which is why my thumbs and index fingers look like pin cushions at a second-hand store — I suggested disposable for one simple reason:

Plastic disposables have a distinct advantage over cloth when it comes to playing dirty diaper football.
Whether they admit it or not, at some point all men participate in this fantasy scenario, which takes place when they are at home and alone when their baby makes a dookie. That’s when the highlight reel begins to roll and goes something like this:

It is a clutch situation in a game-winning scenario as the center (played by baby), gives the snap (in the form of a dirty diaper) to the quarterback (Dad), who then shuffles back and straight-arms a defender before launching a pass to the receiver (diaper pail) for the WINNING TOUCHDOWN!

Unless, of course, it is intercepted by the wall or unravels before reaching its intended receiver.
Based on my experience, I highly recommend plastic for several reasons. First, you can’t throw a nice spiral with cloth; too floppy, and the center of gravity...

...Well, there is no center of gravity. Your diaper football will simply wobble too much in flight to achieve any kind of accuracy in your air game.

Second, the safety pins are a hazard, and they also affect the aerodynamics of your passing game. Forget any “hail Mary” plays with cloth.

And if you overthrow?

Let’s just say it will look like you just sponge-painted your wall.

Third, you can’t (or shouldn’t) punt a cloth diaper football.

The same goes for spiking.

Take it from me, an “excessive celebration” call will be the least of your worries if you lose control of the “end zone.” In fact, the only advantage cloth diaper footballs have over disposable is that, in the event a buddy shows up once the play is in motion, he is much less likely to attempt a fumble recovery.

Other than that, disposables are clearly superior and also much easier to assemble.

Step one: Acquire a dirty diaper. If you can’t get one at home, ask around.

Step two: Remove the soiled diaper, keeping what will become your centrifuge intact. This will make or break the accuracy of your passes.

Step three: Roll your diaper football, making sure to maintain its center of gravity. Remember, it’s a lot like rolling up a stuffed cabbage: It will seem like everything won’t fit, but it will.

Step four: Warm up your throwing arm.

It’s that easy!

Oh, there is one other thing; check the integrity of your football regularly — especially before throwing “the bomb.”

You get the picture.

Average January, or So They Say by Herb Miller on 01/01/2014
Repeating the previous month, December got off to a wet start with both Government Camp and Brightwood getting soaked with more than 5 inches of rain during the first two days – courtesy of some tropical moisture.

After that an Arctic air mass moved into our area, resulting in some of the coldest temperatures in years. Starting Dec. 3, Brightwood remained below freezing until Dec. 10, bottoming out with lows of 7 degrees in Brightwood and minus-1 in Government Camp Dec. 8. Temperatures moderated during the last three weeks, but monthly averages ended well below long-term averages. Precipitation ended below average, despite the wet start, and the Mountain is desperate for snow.

The National Weather Service failed to give a clue about the Arctic air mass that moved over our area in early December – so faith in their forecasts are lowered. Their observation that sea-surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the tropical area of the Pacific Ocean continue to be average causes their outlook for our area to expect average temperatures and precipitation in January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43 degrees, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.82 inches – including an average 9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have ranged from a record-setting 60 degrees for January, set Jan. 4, 2004, and equaled again the next Dec. 18 and 19. Seven other years reached the 50s and one year couldn’t get above the 40s. Low temperatures had two years in the 30s, five years in the 20s, and the other three dropped into the teens. The record low of 9 was set in 1980 and 1996. The record snowfall was 29 inches, set Jan. 1, 1980 and most snowfall for the month fell during 1969 with a total of 45.9 inches. Greatest precipitation of 4.57 inches fell Jan. 3, 2007.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24, and a precipitation average of 13.25 inches – including 59 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 60 degrees once, into the 50s five times, and into the 40s the other four years. The record high was 63 degrees set last year on Jan. 20 and also previously on Jan. 20, 1994. Two years in the past 10 had a low temperature in the 20s, two more had lows in the teens, five more in the single digits, and in 2004 a bone-chilling minus-2 degrees was read. The record low of minus-8 was set Jan. 12, 1963. The record high snowfall for January of 35 inches was measured Jan. 9, 1980, compared to the 27 inches measured last year on Jan. 29. Greatest January snowfall was 138 inches in 1962, and highest precipitation was 5.20 inches measured Jan. 2, 2009.

Episode VI -- Suspect in Custody by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/01/2014
There’s a bullet hole in my fedora, I’m face down under my Suburban, I’m staring down the barrel of my Glock, and my neighbor Sam has Marine-crawled next to me, his cowboy hat tipped back on his head with the butt of his shotgun burrowed into his shoulder like a Tennessee tick.

We don’t speak. The Mountain darkness holds us in its arms like a mother gorilla. There’s an occasional splat of a lonely rain drop accented by a distant Greek chorus of tree frogs. And nothing.
The next cabin over is owned by Jake McCoy, the butcher at the local grocery store, and his long-suffering yet mysteriously dedicated wife, Sylvia. McCoy clunks onto his porch, bathed in the halo of his porch light. He mumbles something inaudible, apparently directed at the two reports from the hunting rifle that interrupted his otherwise ordinary evening.

Sam and I exchange similar glances.
“Do you figger McCoy’s packin’?” Sam offers.
“I hope not.”

McCoy surrenders without further complaint, goes back inside, switches off his porch light. Minutes pass. The night caves in to a new sound: a car engine starts up two roads to the west. It drives away.

“There goes your bushwhacker,” Sam says, spitting across the barrel of his shotgun. Sam could be the son of Gabby Hayes.

I retreat to my cabin, having thanked Sam with a tip of the brim of my newly ventilated fedora. I liberate a Heineken from the fridge and drop the needle on a Sinatra vinyl.

Call me a creature of tasty habit.

While Sinatra works through the lyrics of “The Lady is a Tramp” I try to weave together the frayed remnants of the McGee murder and the attempt on me – which, the more I consider it the more I begin to take offense. Someone wants me off this case – and this mortal coil. And that someone thinks I’m easy prey. And that someone just made Max’s Most Wanted List.

Sinatra swings into “Mack the Knife” simultaneously to the phone going off. It’s Stanley at Tracks. He informs me two sheriff’s detectives just arrested Izzy for murder, and marched him off in handcuffs. Izzy was certainly the unwitting new owner of Maggie’s cell phone, but just as certainly would never kill anyone – any more than Lenny would kill a mouse.

Call me crazy for Steinbeck.

I park my fedora on the coat rack next to my front door, and, sullen and hat-less, pile in my Suburban and make tracks to Tracks. The crowd never seems to change at this iconic joint with one exception: the weekly pool tournament. And this is that night. It also occurs to me that it’s one week from Maggie’s untimely departure. Throw together two pool tables and a room full of Minnesota Fats wannabees, add an artillery dump of pitchers of beer, fire up the juke box to an audio level where you’ll never hear heavy metal again without remembering this mind-numbing experience, and all you have left is a train tooting around on its tracks and Stanley and Iris wondering when I took up the devil’s game.

Call me cue-less.

“Izzy, huh?” I bellow to Stanley. He motions me around the bar through a door to his office. Even to my trained and seldom-astonished eye, Stanley’s office stops me in my, well, tracks. It takes a couple minutes to find what makes this an office, until you finally find the adding machine on the desk robustly guarded by two Lionel train engines. The rest of the office is under attack from model train parts – a coal car here, a caboose there – and a celebration of posters even a confirmed bachelor like me has never seen. Picture a raven-haired model in a black body suit, with a gash of red lipstick, draped across an engine cowcatcher, atop a grease-splattered calendar reminding us it’s 1974. Multiply that by another 20 calendars or so, change the hair color occasionally, swap train cars – my favorite was the brunette, the redhead, and the blonde in their fair-thee-well, looking seductively over the rail of a cattle car – and you have an idea about Stanley’s office.

He notices my astonishment – I don’t mask aghast that well – and he tries to rescue the moment with: “Iris never comes in here.” With that, Stanley won the day’s master of the obvious award. With the heavy metal, over-amped drum beat pounding out a constant reminder that heavy metal, over-amped drum beats do not make a song, much less give license to a percussion permit, Stanley conducted the conversation out of the station.

“After the Dicks left with Izzy (Yep, Stanley called detectives ‘Dicks’) Iris remembered something unusual about that night,” Stanley said in his clipped, matter-of-fact manner. He went on that Iris saw a guy in a hoody go into the men’s room, return, and walk out without having a drink.

“He didn’t even get into the pool tournament,” he said.
“Iris said he was petite with a distinctively feminine wiggle in his walk.” Iris, once a belly dancer of some renown, would know.

Driving back from Tracks, I pieced it together, bit by bit, like a Swainson’s thrush checking out a new bird feeder. A woman went into Tracks the night of Maggie’s murder, tossed Maggie’s cell phone in the trash in the men’s room, knowing Izzy would find it, and the investigation – the Dicks in this case – meandered onto the case like a plot in a Woody Allen movie.

Maggie was two months pregnant. That’s not a fine fiance for a governor-to-be. But maybe someone else is. Portland in the morning to the law offices of Greinke, White and Wong. Makes me wonder if Elmer Fudd is the receptionist.
After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Health Headlines for the Holidays by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2013
The lignans in flaxseed decrease tumor growth in estrogen positive receptor breast cancer. One study showed that eating just one flaxseed muffin a day (containing just four Tbsp. of flaxseed) led to a 34 percent decrease in breast cancer tumor growth.

Want to know more? Read Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillan, PhD. Now out-of-print it can still be found at Powell’s Bookstore and elsewhere. Newer editions have a CD included. Older editions list me and several of my colleagues as adjunctive cancer support practitioners.

Treatment of fevers is best if alternating hot and cold applications are used. Occasionally a tepid or cold application may be called for, especially if the fever is heading as high as 104.

This is not a cause for concern over brain damage unless the fever cannot be brought down, in which case, emergency measures should be undertaken. Brief immersion in a tepid bath will bring blood to the skin surface causing the fever to “break” and start to come down. For more “water cures” look for Home Remedies by the Drs. Agatha and Calvin Thrash (MDs).

Osteoarthritis pain can be helped by reducing caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Increased consumption of cherries, nuts (especially almonds), dark, leafy greens, and non-GMOd soy products. And last but not least, 1-2 Tbsps. of flax oil. For more information on this condition and many others, read The Natural Physician by Mark Stengler, ND.

“Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat,” by Rudy Rivera, MD may change how you look at the food you eat. Processed foods are nutritionless, high in chemicals and preservatives, and more likely than not, GMOd. Avoid processed foods and eat more foods in their natural packages. Like an apple with the skin on. Not really too difficult to do.

Physicist David Bohm, of both Princeton University and the University of California (Berkeley) was amazed to discover that electrons and positive ions do not behave randomly, but in fact act as if each individual electron “knew what the other trillion electrons were doing.” Talk about interconnectedness! Learn more in “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. Also out-of-print, this book can still be found at Powell’s Bookstore.

There are those of us who’ve read the book at least six times.

Michael Pollan has written many books but my favorite is “In Defense of Food.” His policy remains “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.”

This book contains detailed accounts of safe (and not so safe) foods with plenty of research to back up his choices. For instance, heart disease in America steadily increased in the 1950s, soon after margarine was introduced. Margarine is made by injecting hydrogen atoms into vegetable oils in order to make them solid at room temperature, and therefore more “shelf stable.” Unfortunately this led them to being a vehicle for ingestion of trans fats, which are much worse than saturated fats for heart conditions.

To guarantee weight loss, yes guarantee it, you need to be eating that plant-based diet mentioned by Michael Pollan. It is difficult for most Americans to get even five or six servings of vegetables (some can be fruits) per day, but if you slowly increase that to 8 -10 servings, you WILL lose weight. You will not be hungry and you will greatly reduce your susceptibility of many of our modern diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

For much more information than you would probably ever want to know read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

“The Art of Good Living” by Svevo Brooks is subtitled “Simple Steps to Regaining Health and the Joy of Life.”

This gentle and sweet book from a gentle and sweet man helps us to find some balance in a world seemingly gone mad.

Technology is constantly urging us to drive more, eat more, buy more, when in fact we need to do less of each of these if we want to survive and have the earth survive as well. Svevo reminds us that the single most important thing that determines our health is attitude.

If your attitude is shaped by technological input from TV, the Internet, and personal devices, you will constantly be badgered to sit more, eat more, and buy more.

Time to get up and move more, call a friend, and go to the bookstore to learn something new. Light a candle (soy), pray for peace, love one another, and have a lovely holiday.
Gifts From The Kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2013
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, don’t stress and spend. Invite and indulge with thoughtful homemade gifts that are also fabulous to receive.

For the neighbor/co-worker. If you are feeling festive please add crushed peppermint candies in the filling or rolled onto the outside of the filling. For adults please include a snarky gift tag - some suggestions “a little whoopee,” “made whoopee just for you,” etc.

Red velvet whoopee pies with cream cheese filling
. It’s  a little bit cake, a little bit cookie.
Heat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment
In a large bowl whisk dry ingredients:
2 Cups of all-purpose flour
2 T of unsweetened cocoa powder
½ t of baking soda
¼ t of salt
In another bowl or electric mixer cream together:
½ Cup of softened butter
1 Cup of packed brown sugar
Add in:
1 egg
1 t vanilla
½ Cup sour cream
Red food coloring (about 2 T)
Add the dry ingredients in halves and mix until smooth – do not overmix. Scoop the mixture about ¼ cup at a time onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake about 9 mins. Let it cool while you make the filling
For the filling:
1 8oz package of cream cheese-room temp
½ Cup unsalted softened butter-room temp
1 t vanilla extract
1½ Cups powdered sugar
2-3 peppermint candy canes-crushed (optional)
Whip all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer for approx 2 mins. Keep in fridge until ready to assemble. Spread a good ¼ cup onto the flat side of one whoopee pie sandwich with another and roll like a wheel into the crushed peppermint if desired.

For the cook-Homemade extracts:
So fun and easy to make. Get a bunch of small bottles, corks, stoppers, good vodka and different flavors. Include a “best if used after this date” on the tag and include a mix such as a bread, cookie or a brownie mix. Make it as gift basket putting ingredients in a mixing bowl or a baking dish, tuck in a wooden spoon and a whisk and a pretty cloth napkin.
Vanilla extract: Slice 6 vanilla beans lengthwise, place in jar, add in 2 cups of plain vodka, seal lid tight and place in a dark corner of your pantry for 3-6 months shaking the jar every week or so. Strain into bottles with a small piece of vanilla pod to garnish.
Coffee extract:  ½ cup cracked coffee beans and 2 cups of vodka.
Cinnamon: 5 sticks of cinnamon and 2 cups of vodka.
Almond: 1 cup of cracked raw almonds and 2 cups of vodka.
Lemon or orange: Peel of 4 lemons or oranges and 2 cups of vodka.
Flavored salts: Add dried herbs such as rosemary, bay leaf, dried lemon peel, etc to a nice sea salt and package in a jar with a label and ribbon.
Some other ideas: Home-made marinara and noodles, pesto, olive tapenade, etc.
A Chilling Story of Katrina by Sandra Palmer on 12/01/2013
“Five Days in Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravished Hospital” is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I’m very brave about what I read, in general, but this book kept me awake for multiple nights while reading it. The frightening decisions made by the medical staff at Memorial Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are no less than chilling. So – be warned. This compelling and well-written book is profoundly disturbing.

Sheri Fink carefully recounts the five days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Katrina as floodwaters rose, power failed and the temperatures climbed while stressed and exhausted doctors and nurses struggled to cope.

Amazingly, the medical staff designated certain fragile, desperately ill patients as last to be evacuated. After days of stress in the terrifying atmosphere in a city overwhelmed by the enormous storm’s impact, certain doctors and nurses made the decision to inject many patients with drugs to hasten or cause their deaths rather than to continue to try to evacuate them.

“Five Days of Memorial” was developed out of six years of diligent reporting by Fink who carefully uncovers the truth about what happened in those days in the wake of Katrina in a city out of control. She not only shares the stories of patients, families, investigators and medical staff but she also skillfully places their decisions within the context of modern disaster planning and triage decision-making. Potential health-care rationing is certainly a compelling, timely debate and the tragedies at Memorial Hospital that Fink so dramatically reports here provoke appropriate consideration as our nation – and the world – struggles to develop standards and ethical frameworks for decision-making when resources are scarce.

Similar challenges are encountered by medical professionals in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake and again in the U.S. after Hurricane Sandy. What are the preferred ethical schemes to ration care when many patients are so dependent upon technology no longer available when power goes out? What responsible steps should communities and medical institutions make to prepare for the unexpected?

As disturbing as ‘Five Days at Memorial” surely is, Sheri Fink raises questions that must be asked and provokes an important discussion of ethics in today’s world. An amazing book.

 Sheri Fink is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize as well as a number of other literary prizes. She is a physician and a former relief worker in disaster zones. Her first book, War Hospital, is about medical professionals under siege during a time of genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Episode V: Shots Fired by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2013
At Tracks up at the ski resort, I grab the empty chair next to Izzy, the night janitor. He cups the purloined pink cell phone in his ample paw and turns away from me. Izzy is suspicious of everyone, especially at this moment, with his new prize.

Call me unoffended.

“Nice phone, Izzy,” I offer in the most inoffensive tone I can muster – not an easy task for a private eye. He turns slightly toward me, eyes me up and down through heavy eye lids that resemble neglected manhole covers, then, in his dull way, turns away.
“Where’d you get that?” I ask, gulping down my Jameson’s as to look like a guy who drinks straight shots before lunch.
“It’s mine,” he says, ignoring my question – an easy task for Izzy.
“I can see that. Where’d you get it?” I pull my manly phone out and plunk it on the bar. “I’d kinda like to add some color to my phone conversations, maybe. Get a phone like yours.”

All this while my stomach is taking on the Irish whisky and wondering what it did to offend me. Stanley, who has been listening up to this point, walks away down the bar, throwing a grin at me. Iris follows behind Stanley, and almost winks.

Call me easy to admire.

Izzy doesn’t answer me, and it’s clear he’s not going to in this lifetime. I drop a fiver on the bar and tip my fedora on the way out.

Making tracks down the mountain, the clouds gather like notes around a Chopin nocturne. I shoot a cell call to Hope to make sure she was the one who called on Izzy’s new phone – as to guide me in. It goes to voice mail and I hang up.

I don’t do voice mail.

Spying Deputy Mike’s cruiser at Lola’s, I drop my Suburban on his dime. Inside, Mike is working his way through a cheeseburger like a timber wolf in an antelope refuge. I plop down next to him. Katrina is behind the bar and she politely drifts away like a calypso song in Jamaica.

“What’s up?” Mike offers, wiping orts from around his mouth.
“A couple things,” I say, wincing at his next attack on the burger. “Maggie’s cell phone showed up at Tracks.”
It took a frontal assault to get him off the burger.
“Izzy, the night janitor has it,” I continue.
“How do you know?”
 “I just left there. He was playing with it.”
Mike unfolds the suspicious deputy squint like a bookie with a wallet full of hundreds.
“Before you ask, apparently he accidentally hit a speed dial button and it rang on Hope’s phone.”
“Hope told you this?”
“Didn’t have to. I was in the area.”
“Mmmm,” issued over what must have been a particularly piquant pickle slice.
“And the other thing is, this caper is starting to bore me. I’m off the case.”

Call me an excellent liar. After all …

“You should be telling all this to the two detectives that have taken over the case. I’m off it as well,” Mike said, munching with delight.
“Nope,” I said flatly, standing up. “You tell ‘em.”
Mike waved me back down.
“One thing you should know, Max. The autopsy is back on the McGee woman. She was two months pregnant.”
I slumped back into my chair. Two months pregnant changed the game. There was motive in the air.
Katrina slid me a menu. She had a way about her, like a Greek siren on a rocky Aegean Sea island.

Call me a fan of Ulysses.

I quickly dismissed the burger list as Katrina handed Mike his bill. He paid up, gave a snort – was that directed at me, or just a satisfied burger after thought? As he exited, Katrina continued to stand across the bar from me.
“Do we need to talk?” I asked across the abyss.
“I don’t know. Do we?”
The calypso drum beat banged again. After a bowl of Lola’s tomato basil soup and a cold draft beer, I climbed into the Suburban. I sat there. What next? I had all but dismissed Greinke as a suspect. My early theory that he could have signed in at the mountain for a climb, backtracked to the trail where Maggie was hiking, done the dirty deed, then returned for a solo climb, a staged accident, resulting in the perfect alibi. But having seen him, he didn’t have the murder stuff. In fact, a murder of crows could be more likely. But not pregnant crows.

I had to clear my head. I fired up my rig and wheeled down the highway as splats of raindrops the size of Oldsmobile hubcaps joined in. I slipped past Hope’s house but her car was MIA. So much for clearing. I drove over to the golf course to watch unhappy duffers running for cover. I sat there for a long time.

Call me easily amused.

With dusk dropping its cloth on the mountain community like an overworked concierge, I bounced up the dirt road to my cabin. One step out the door and my fedora was ripped from my head, followed immediately by the report of a hunting rifle. Just as quickly, a second shot drilled into the metal of my Suburban just above the door opening. I hit the dirt, reached inside my jacket, and unlocked my Glock. Looking in the direction of the shots revealed nothing but indifferent cedar trees and moss covered rocks. Nature never gets unduly excited. I peered wildly, anxious to pursue, but respectful of a hunting rifle in the hands of someone who just went for the kill shot.

I heard my neighbor Sam clambering out his front door. Without looking, I knew he had his 12-gauge cradled like the leading lady in a nativity scene.

I’ve had that fedora for about fifteen hockey seasons. The chances of me being off this case were about even money with Albert Schweitzer abandoning a leper colony.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Normal December Will Descend by Herb Miller on 12/01/2013
The first three weeks of November had fairly typical weather with rain most days and moderate temperatures.

Then a dramatic change followed after a cold air mass moved down from Canada and an upper level ridge diverted precipitation to the north, resulting in an unseasonal string of sunny days that extended through the end of the month.

But the dry weather was a disappointment to lift operators who had hoped to have all operations functioning for the Thanksgiving holidays after some impressive snowfalls earlier in the month.
The National Weather Service reports there has been little change from the atmospheric and sea temperature readings taken a month ago and again expects our area to have about average precipitation and temperatures for December.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42 degrees, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 11.06 inches – including an average 6.1 inches of snow.
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s without exception.
The record high of 56 occured Dec. 18, 2004.

Low temperatures dropped into the 20s during eight years, and once each into the teens and single digits.

The record low of 2 degrees was set Dec. 21, 1990. The record snowfall for the month was 48.8 inches, set way back in 1968, but was severely tested when 43.75 inches was measured in 2008.
Greatest precipitation fell during the infamous year of the flood, 1964, when 28.09 inches was recorded.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 13.92 inches – including 52 inches of snow.
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s twice, and the other eight years settled for the 40s.

The record high was 65 degrees set Dec. 2, 1956. Only one year in the past 10 had a low temperature in the 20s. There were four with single digits, and the other five had lows in the teens.
The record low of minus-14 was set during that flood year on Dec. 17, 1964.
The record high snowfall for December of 26 inches occurred only five years ago on Dec. 18, 2008.
Record high snowdepth during December of 114 inches was measured on both the 30th and 31st of 1984.
It's All About Sugar by Victoria Larson on 11/02/2013
The news is not all good. Regular readers of my column know that I like to insert some history into my columns as it serves as perspective. In the late 1800s spa goers went to rejuvenate themselves with rest, eating mostly vegetarian meals, and drinking mineral waters. That mineral water contained carbon dioxide to make it fizzy. Mineral waters are still natural and fizzy. But today most people are drinking 12-64 ounce sodas instead. Each 12-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar!

Now we have sugar in another form known as “high fructose corn syrup” or HFCS. It is cheaper to manufacture and sweeter than cane sugar or beet sugar. It is in many processed foods from sodas to soup. The United States is the highest consumer of HFCS. To top it off, HFCS is primarily made with genetically modified corn. In 2011, America spent $32 billion on sweets. That’s a whopping 25 pounds per person, per year. If you cut back on sugar you could afford more organic food.

Experiments in 1960 showed that high consumption of sugar led to high fat and insulin in the blood. These are risk factors for heart disease and obesity. But the sugar lobby declared that heart disease and obesity were the result of saturated fats in the diet. That may have been a good guess, but it turns out to not be entirely correct. Soft drinks, candy and processed foods made with sugar break down in the liver to fructose which produces the category of fats known as triglycerides.

High triglycerides lead to a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X, which causes obesity that specifically lands at the waist level. If Metabolic Syndrome is not treated early it can lease to Type ll Diabetes. The National Institute of Health says that one-third of Americans have the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome. Look around you, it may be more. Look down, it may be you.

HFCS was introduced into the American diet around 1970 and things have been getting steadily worse since then. Sugar, in any form, causes oxidative stress to the body. You age faster. Anti-oxidants, in the right amounts and mostly from foods, decrease oxidative stress. You live healthier and longer.

Up to 21 percent of the food consumed in the United States is inflammatory food, most of it in the form of fast foods. Again, look around you. There’s a fast food restaurant on every corner and weird food ads everywhere. In Costa Rica (for instance) there are no fast food places and instead you can find a natural remedy pharmacy on every corner providing homeopathic remedies (more about this in another column).

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you will be Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups. So confidant of their success, ads have already been purchased for the Super Bowl. Should this even be a news story when each newscaster states “I can’t wait to try it!”

What are you eating? What are you feeding your kids. We all have opiate receptors in our brains.
These receptors respond to sugar as well as drugs. In other words, our drug problem may be related to our sugar consumption. We live in a world that is flooded with sugar. But our bodies have not evolved to our increased consumption.

In 1990 only 5 percent of the world population had high blood pressure. Now 1/3 of the population worldwide has high blood pressure. In 1980 153 million people had Type ll Diabetes. By 2011 that number threatened to top 347 million worldwide. Yes, attitudes change. Cereal was touted as a “health food” by the likes of Dr. John Kellogg in the late 1800s. Now we have more than 2,000 different kinds of cereal. Hardly any are free of sugars in some form. Do you think we might be consuming too much sugar?

Clarksdale, Mississippi is a big town in the “fattest county in the fattest state in the United States.” And the U.S. is the fattest industrialized nation in the world. But Clarksdale is concerned, so they are making changes. Teach the children and you change the world. The soda machines, snack machines, and deep fat fryers have been removed from Clarksdale schools. They no longer serve PopTarts and pizza at school breakfasts and lunches. The kids are proud of their new found health knowledge.

We can all learn to do better. I tend to agree with 90 percent of what Dr. Oz says on his wildly popular TV show. Sometimes I make the grandkids watch with me if I think it’s something they should know more about. A recent “game” on the Dr. Oz show was about which foods should be consumed for which conditions. My youngest grandson got all the answers right. He’s five years old. We can all be open to learning this vital information.

Keep reading my columns.
A Tale of Two Turkeys by Taeler Butel on 11/02/2013
Thanksgiving is a time of gathering.  I stretch the holiday into two days. My family and I will typically go to the home of whichever family member has the biggest television the day of, bringing our chosen side and a few days before I will cook a full thanksgiving meal and have an open house for friends and neighbors.

This gives me a good excuse to have leftovers in my fridge and try out new recipes on my friends.
Living by my no-stress all-fun rule I cook the desserts and breads and freeze a few days ahead and prep the sides the day before leaving a full day to devote to the star ~ the turkey!

I make a traditional turkey to display and carve at the table and I have my butcher cut one into pieces like a chicken.  I braise the cut one on the BBQ then serve it already sliced and on a platter. This makes a lot of leftover turkey which can be stored in big ziplock bags with enough broth to cover (make sure it’s completely cooled before doing this). Use this for sandwiches, turkey pot pie, pastas, burritos, etc.

I use fresh local birds organically raised  and I always brine
For the brine (2 turkeys) 1 whole one cut
1 med/large sized cooler
Large bowl
Bags of ice
1 gallon apple cider
2 oranges sliced
3 cups salt ( I use kosher)
2 cups brown sugar
6 cinnamon sticks broken
6 bay leaves
½ cup pepper corns
2 twigs rosemary
3 cups boiling water
In the large bowl add all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly until salt and sugar have dissolved.  Pour into a cooler and let cool, add the turkeys with enough water to cover – cover the turkeys with ice. Brine 8 hours adding more ice when needed.
Rinse the birds with cold water, pat dry with clean tea towels.  Dispose of brine.

Ingredients for cooking both birds
2 apples sliced
Cheese cloth
Olive oil
10 slices bacon (optional)
1 bottle dry white wine or apple juice
1 quart chicken stock
2 sticks butter
2 onions chopped
Salt & pepper
Fresh thyme & rosemary – 2-3 twigs for each turkey
Bay leaves
For the cut turkey brush with olive oil and salt and pepper each side of the meat using about a tablespoon of each. Sear the turkey, place in a large pan and set in a 450 oven or a BBQ on high. Cook the meat for 10 mins and flip pieces over cooking an additional 10 mins.  Add sliced bacon if using, add onion, apple, bay leaves  and herbs  around the pieces, add in enough chicken stock and wine or juice to cover ½ way up the meat. Turn the temp down to 300 and continue to cook until meat is very tender and “falling off the bone” for about 2 hours depending on size, adding more liquid when necessary. Take out turkey and the apples, onions & herbs then deglaze the pan with more liquid if necessary and reduce over two burners until thickened – you may add a slurry of 1 T each cornstarch and water and bring to a boil to help thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the whole turkey
In a med size saucepan melt the butter, add 1 cup of wine or juice and the fresh herbs. Turn off heat and lay the cheesecloth in the pan.
Stuff the cavity of the bird with apples, onions & bay leaves, brush the turkey with olive oil and salt and pepper generously, then lay the buttered cheesecloth over the bird. Bake at 450 for 30 mins and reduce heat to 300 basting with more butter once or twice. Bake an additional 2-3 hours until juices run clear. Follow above directions for the gravy
Special Session by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 11/02/2013
Governor Kitzhaber called for a special session to start September 30 to deal with what he determined to be unfinished and needed changes that were not dealt with in the 2013 long session. The main issue was PERS reform and greater school funding. The governor toured the state to garner support for the special session. Then, he called in the legislative leaders of each caucus to present his “Grand Bargain” and the leaders began to compromise on an agreement that both sides could live with.

When I first saw the governor’s “Grand Bargain” I felt there were parts that I supported, but also parts I did not support. I also realized that no side of the aisle was happy about the “Grand Bargain.” It was then I realized that if no one was really happy with everything, it was probably a good compromise!

Then, the real work began.  The governor and caucus leaders had agreed in concept, and that means that each caucus leader told the Governor that they can supply enough yes votes to pass each bill. Keep in mind that the governor said that the whole package passes or nothing goes forward. 

I arrived in Salem on Sunday evening, to find that the deal was off. It was evident that the Senate could come to agreement, but there was trouble on the House side. The governor and leadership members spent all day Monday in a room together and compromised more details. Same thing on Tuesday. It became clear that it was time to vote or go home.

We voted on Wednesday.  The bills passed on the Senate side, got a little hung up on the House side, but eventually passed on the House side. 

Was everyone happy with the “Grand Bargain”? No. Individually every legislator can find something they did not agree with.

I feel that our job is to legislate for what is best for our state, not to legislate to get re-elected.
You should be proud that your state leaders and legislators all did that this special session.

I only wish they could accomplish this in Washington DC! 

Thank you readers.
Special Session by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 11/02/2013
On Monday September 30t, the Oregon Legislature assembled in Salem at the request of Governor Kitzhaber for what was advertised as a one-day Special Session.

We would be considering a package of five bills that had earlier been approved by our bipartisan legislative leadership. The bills were designed to address the growing unfunded liability of the Public Employee Retirement System, raise targeted revenues that would be earmarked for specific public sector investments, provide tax relief for many small businesses, and provide certainty for our agricultural industry that decisions about most farming practices would remain at the state level.
It soon became obvious this would be no one-day session.

Although our leaders had agreed on the framework of the package of legislation, discussions were continuing about the details within the bills even after we arrived in Salem ready to go to work.

Because the package included some revenue raising measures, passage of the bills would require bipartisan support.

The Oregon constitution requires a 3/5’s majority to support any legislation that increases revenue.
Although Democrats enjoy majorities in the legislature, they can’t raise taxes unilaterally.

My House Republican Caucus insisted on having enough time to fully review all of the bills before they came to the floor for a vote. None of us wanted to be in the situation of having to “pass the bill before we could understand what was in it.”

In the end, it was Wednesday, October 2, before we voted on the package. All the bills passed, some with the slimmest of majorities. Even though I disagreed with some of the components of the package I supported all of the bills because I believe the sum total of the legislation will be beneficial to Oregon.

Even though there was a modest increase in tax rates for large corporations, we were able to secure one of the largest tax cuts for small business in the state in a long time.

The increases in revenue will be specifically targeted to help school districts reduce class sizes, keep college tuition from increasing, provide additional resources for seniors, and dedicate sustainable investments in mental health services.

By making modifications to the cost of living allowance for current and future PERS beneficiaries (while protecting lower income recipients), employer rates will be reduced which will allow schools, counties and cities to keep more of the resources in their budgets to invest as they choose.

And now, across Oregon, family farms have the certainty of knowing that they will have a level playing field regarding the types of crops they plant and harvest.

In the end, I think it’s more accurate to refer to the package of bills that was passed as an “exchange” rather than a “bargain.”

Each party had to give something in order to get something. It was a true exercise in bipartisanship – something I think is very important as leaders in Oregon during a time where we have a gridlock at our nation’s capital.
Rowling Pens a London Mystery by Sandra Palmer on 11/02/2013
I was pretty tough on J.K. Rowling in last month’s review of “A Casual Vacancy” so, just to be fair I’m letting you know that her next effort (under a “pen name” as Robert Galbraith) is much more worthy of your time.

There had been rumors years ago that Ms. Rowling was writing a detective novel and it turns out to be a good read. Not the best mystery I’ve ever read but a good one, just the same. And it’s good enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing the main characters in this novel return for future installments of crime solving in London.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” follows a classic detective formula with an investigator who is a unique character having returned from military action missing a leg and dealing with the emotional aftermath of combat.
Strike is an unlikely detective – a large but not unattractive fellow struggling with his prosthesis while he hits the streets of London to find the murderer of a celebrity model who fell to her death on a cold winter night in a manner that might suggest suicide.

In fact, the public and the police have already decided that it was a mysterious suicide.

But Strike is hired to find a murderer that he is soon convinced does exist.

As Strike’s investigation moves forward we learn more about who he is as we also piece together the final days of super model Lula.

There are many players in the mystery and potential suspects to examine. There’s Lula’s drug-addicted but toxically attractive boyfriend Duffield; Rochelle, Lula’s downtrodden mate from rehab; a famous designer and close friend, Guy Some who loved Lula but profited greatly from her aura; her friendly rival and fellow model Ciara; scheming relatives with intertwined financial, personal and business motives; her birth mother always ready for a pay-out and her scheming, social climbing downstairs neighbors just to name a few.

Strike is more than ably assisted in his detective work by a temporary secretary, Robin, who we can easily imagine becoming his permanent side-kick.

While Strike is at times consumed with his unraveling personal life, Robin capably assists the murder investigation while simultaneously piecing together what is really going on with her boss.

The whole tale wraps up in typical detective novel style as Strike explains how he managed to piece the clues together and find the culprit guilty of pushing poor Lula off a balcony in the middle of the night.
It’s a satisfying read that leaves us looking forward to the next investigative adventure for Strike and his inquisitive secretary.
Tracks Up The Mountain by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/02/2013
Paul Greinke, the hotsy-totsy Portland attorney, had been rescued off Mount Hood and ushered by ambulance to a Portland hospital. His fiancé, Maggie McGee, was in the morgue, slowed down considerably by a bullet in her head. I had been to that crime scene and walked away with more questions than answers.

Congress has nothing on me.

I wheeled my Suburban onto the highway, headed to Portland. I wanted to see this Greinke guy face-to-face. I contacted an old friend by cell on the drive, asking him what he knew about Greinke. My pal, Frank Strong – formerly Feral Strong of porno film fame – worked in the attorney general’s office. He was a researcher with the intensity of a mongoose at a cobra convention. His previous occupation served him well.

Frank filled me in. Greinke had Marty Feldman eyes on the governor’s office. There was a rumor around town that Maggie, his dead fiancé, had the good looks that weren’t going to hurt his chances. Frank figured Greinke for a rank opportunist, with no more business in the governor’s office than an impotent star in his own former profession.

So my budding theory that Greinke had his hand in Maggie’s murder was drooping like an October sunflower. My search for a motive resembled a teenager’s dream of a cure for acne. But I still had to see that guy.

I wasn’t disappointed. Greinke was on the front steps of the hospital, his leg in a walking boot, leaning on a pair of crutches like a second-string running back suddenly in possession of a reason not to play.

He was handsome, but a closer look revealed the good looks disappearing into an untrustworthy mouth and a hopelessly weak chin. A powerful water buffalo mired in a pool of mud came to mind. It was also apparent that life had come too easily for him. Earned or not – and probably not – he was privileged.

He droned on before the local TV cameras – was that actually a tear in his eye? – like a university president at orientation day. Disgusting as he was, he didn’t seem to have the gravitas of a murderer. Killers are either crazy, confident, or cold. My French secretary calls it sang-froid. He was none of these things. Besides, his Gortex climbing jacket was one size too small.

This caper was being orchestrated like a Beethoven concerto, and it was time to cue the cellos.

Headed back to the mountain cabin – Tom Waits wailing on a CD reminding me a couple nights with Ricki Lee Jones can mess a guy up – with a call to let Deputy Mike know I’d be snooping around the case, then a drive to pick up Hope at her place. I needed a dish of sorbet to wash away the day.

The next morning I have the coffee on and four eggs in the pot to boil.
Hope rises.
“What are you doing to those eggs?” she purrs, with a Persian edge.
“Boiling them.”
She grabs the pot.
“You don’t boil eggs, silly.”

No one’s perfect.

I swirled my toast around the sticky yellow tops of the over-easy eggs. It wasn’t like Hope’s eggs were inedible. They just weren’t mine. Hope’s cell phone ring tone erupted like a lava explosion in Pompeii. She fumbled into her purse, picked up the phone, and stared at me for help.

“It’s Maggie,” she exclaimed, cocking her head to one side like a cocker spaniel. I grabbed the phone. Caller ID proved her point. The call was coming from Maggie’s phone. I engaged the call, saying nothing. There was nothing at the other end but a rustling of clothes and the odd toot of a train. There was only one place that could be coming from – it was Stanley and Iris’ joint called Tracks, which was located up the mountain at the ski resort. Stanley was a retired railroad engineer, and he had a model train that circled the wall of the joint, issuing an incessant tooting that always reminded me of the time I was trapped in an Italian railway station.

But that’s another story.

“I have to see a man about a train,” I told Hope, handing back her phone. Despite her protests, I deposited her at her house, not bothering with a receipt.

At Tracks, the late morning crowd was hunkering in for the long day. Six men, all with elbows planted on the bar like potted palms, stared straight ahead over the tops of their shot glasses. I recognized one of them, Izzy, the hulking night janitor. The others faded into the scene like extras in a Fellini movie.Stanley smiled at me, a little puzzled at my morning arrival, and pulled his silver locks away from his forehead. His wife, Iris, was at the far end of the bar. She beamed and sidled toward me, as comfortable in her manner as a belly dancer – which she happened to have been in a life prior to Stanley.

Before I could ask if anyone had been making calls from the bar, a cell phone rang. Izzy, puzzled as usual in his slow-witted way, pulled a pink cell phone from his pants pocket. He watched it ring, seemingly pleased with the sound but uninterested in the call itself.

“Is that pink phone Izzy’s?” I asked in a muted voice.
“Izzy doesn’t have a phone, especially a pink one,” Iris intoned.
Stanley, wise in the ways of a barman, slid over to Izzy.
“Is that your new phone?” he asked.
Izzy nodded, listening proudly to its ring.

Maggie was dead, but not her cell phone. It was time for action.

I ordered a shot of Jameson’s.

Toot Toot.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Average November Awaits by Herb Miller on 11/02/2013
The remnants of typhoon Pabuk can take credit (or blame) for Brightwood getting soaked with nearly 6 inches of rain during the last three days of September, resulting in a monthly total precipitation of 11.22 inches and approaching the record of 12.61 inches set in 1959.

Government Camp was also in Pabuk’s path and ended the month with a precipitation total of 9.73 inches.

October started off reasonably close to seasonal weather, although the low of 32 degrees in Brightwood set Oct. 9 was one of the earliest freezing temperatures on record.

From Oct. 13 through the end of the month our weather was dominated by a large dome of high pressure named a “rex block” which was centered over the Pacific Northwest, resulting in sunny, dry weather.

The high temperature of 75 in Brightwood Oct. 22 kept company with a high of 74 set Oct. 25, 2003 – both of which are highly unusual for so late in the year.

Temperatures turned noticeably cooler during the last week, but remained dry.

The National Weather Service is reporting that nearly average conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean and expects the temperature and precipitation during November in our area to be near average.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48 degrees, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.79 inches, including 2.5 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, four years had highs in the 50s and six had highs in the 60s. The record high of 70 was set on both Nov. 4, 1980 and Nov. 2, 1981. During the last 10 years, four years had lows in the 20s, four had lows in the 30s, and two years in the teens, including a low of 13 set Nov. 24, 2010 – just 1 degree above the record. The record precipitation of 24.44 inches was set in 2006. The record snowfall of 25.5 inches was set in 1985.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during November is 41 degrees, the average low is 29,  with an average precipitation amount of 12.16 inches, which includes an average 32 inches of snow. Highs in the 60s occured four times and in the 50s six times during the last 10 years. The record high of 70 was Nov. 3, 1981. The low of 9 degrees in 2006 was the only single digit reading during the last 10 years. The other years were evenly divided in the teens and 20s. The record snowfall of 20 inches fell three years ago on Nov. 18, 2010, followed with another 19 inches the next day.
Greatest snowdepth of 70 inches was measured Nov. 26, 1973, but the snowy November in 2010 had 61 inches on the 28th and 29th.
Dragonfly and More by on 11/02/2013
It’s not just breakfast and lunch any more.

The Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery assumed the space previously known as the Wy’east Cafe & Bakery.

“I am going to transform the upstairs area on Fridays and Saturdays into a casual dining area,” said owner Rori Klingbeil. “Starting Nov. 8 dining options include dishes like prime rib, and vegetarian options suich as eggplant parmesan or pastas.”

A former bartender and waitress, Klingbeil knows her way around the kitchen and will be doing all the baking herself. She and her mother owned a catering business, and her passion for cooking was enhanced in 2005 when spending time with families in France and Spain, plus attending cooking schools.

For now the menu remains the same, but Klingbeil indicated she would improve on anything that needs it, and is already working on introducing gluten-free products. There will still be specialty homemade breads and she has added artisan jams.

“I’ve put in all leather furniture in the upstairs area so skiers can come in with their snow gear on,” she said. “It will be a comfy area to lounge around in, watch sports on the 60-inch flat screen TV, or play a game of pool.”

To make the area feel more like home, Klingbeil is inviting customers to bring in a picture of themselves which will be put onto the “Wall of Pictures” with comment cards available for patrons to add their suggestions.

For early risers on the Mountain Express, a nutritious breakfast is available from the $5 Grab & Go menu – such as a breakfast burrito or sandwich plus a cup of coffee. Energy drinks are also available.
The cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with special dining starting Nov. 8 on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 p.m. Pool turnaments are held on Sundays.

The Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery is located in the Mt.Hood RV Village in Welches, and can be reached at 503-622-2400.

Designers Hair
Designers Hair Center has new digs.

“The move is an opportunity to keep my business open and operating for many years to come,” said owner Autumn Rockafellor in an email to The Mountain Times. “It is the same staff as before and we look forward to serving the community.”

Rockafellor added that clients can expect the same services and customer care.

The only changes will be to the massage/spa services, as they will now be available by appointment only.

All other services are in place, including manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials and massage.
“New clients can expect friendly, professional and quality care,” Rockafellor wrote. “And we welcome all new clients.”

The new location is at 66676 Hwy. 26 in Welches, next door to the Whistle Stop.

Barb Clare

CCB Financial Services, located at the Clackamas County Bank in Sandy, announced that Barb Clare has joined their team.

Clare has extensive experience in financial services for more than 30 years and will head up the effort to expand insurance offerings.

Clare is responsible for Medicare solutions along with individual and employer sponsored health insurance plans – as well as helping clients with ObamaCare. Phone: 503-668-2575.

by Frances Berteau/MT

Do You Want to be a Screaming Zombie? by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2013
How many zombies will we see on the streets this Halloween? Even more scary is how many zombies will still be at home? If you want to be a screaming zombie, here’s how you can do it. Start by not getting enough sleep or at least get poor quality sleep so you do not wake refreshed and ready to face a new day. Lack of sleep not only makes people edgy, it has been shown to increase your risk of weight gain, diabetes, and lead to a shorter lifespan.
So instead of praying for peace in the world and gentleness, you can start your day with the “let-the-stress-begin” attitude and then follow through. I know the mornings are hectic what with getting off to work or getting kids to school. You can make it even more stressful by watching the news. Seems like we have an increase in zombies running around these days.
Since you are tired, have a few cups of coffee, or even worse, buy a 64 ounce soda on the way to work. That’ll cost you money, increase stress levels as well as cortisol levels (which will increase your weight) and leave you even more jittery and ready to scream. You can complicate matters by having a simple carb breakfast either from the fast “food” place or maybe just a white bread bagel and cream cheese at home.
You may have started your texting by now but I hope even you zombies out there aren’t doing this while you are driving. With many texts it is hard to determine the tone and therefore often the intent and this can lead to increased anger towards those who meant no harm.  Especially since you don’t have time to clarify intent while on the way to work. I guess the stress has begun then, huh?
 Becoming something of a zombie is easy if your job requires that you sit all day in front of a computer screen under fluorescent lights. You’ll turn as green as the screen, and the lights make you look. To guarantee zombie-ness, make sure you work through lunch so you end up being snippy with co-workers.
Drive a long ways through traffic, where I know there are a lot more zombies on the road This will solidify your own path toward becoming a zombie. Since you will be too tired and stressed to cook dinner once you get home, you could either stop for fast “food” for dinner or skip it and just have some alcohol to fill you up.
Worry more about the house being clean than how the kids are doing in school and even your kids will admire your ability to become more like a zombie. Now for some downtime, spend the rest of the evening in your “brain-sucking” recliner in front of the TV, perhaps with some more junk food to see you through and guarantee that you gain some more weight.
 OK, so this was all obviously completely facetious. However, there are people out there who are actually living like this. And yes, some of them are on the roads. You know how to make the changes that will keep you from becoming a screaming zombie yourself. Get enough rest, Eat a decent breakfast, Pray more so you can scream less. Unless it urgently affects you (floods, earthquakes, disasters), turn off the news after the weather report.
If your job does have you in front of a computer all day, set an alarm to get up once an hour and walk about. Outside would be great but even just moving about the office would be a step in the right direction, pun intended. Cook a week’s worth of dinners on your day off so that there is always something nutritious and ready waiting for you in case you really do have to negotiate traffic for an hour. Crock pots and oven-to-table cookware are made for this venture, even if you live alone.
 If you still have kids at home please understand that the world they live in is more stressful than the era you or I grew up in. Studies show that even young children have more psychological stress than many adults did when they first considered themselves to be adults! Spend some quiet time with the kids and it’ll calm you down too. Put away phones, TV, and other electronic devices while connecting with your kids and during dinner.
Make sure you actually sit down to eat at a table as many times a week as you can. Not doing so actually increases your chances of gaining weight. And the children too, unless they are out playing sports. So kids, have a Happy Halloween and go ahead and be a zombie if you want. But adults, put on a costume once a year if you’d like, but let’s work on the habits that make us into screaming zombies. We do know what to do.
October Oddities by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2013
I am glad to share a couple of new recipes I’ve tried with you. There are some interesting twists and one crazy cookie even my uber picky son loved. Give them a try ~ You may like them you will see. You may like them in a tree.

Meatloaf Marsala
This recipe is tasty, simple and healthy. The sauce takes the most work but is so worth it! Instead of mashed potatoes serve with creamy polenta.
20 oz pkg lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs  ( I save the “Butts” off of the ends in the freezer and zip through the food processor)
1 T chopped garlic
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t each salt & pepper
¼ cup milk
In a large bowl add the crumbs and the milk. Mix in all of the other ingredients gently with a fork or your hands. Free form onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 deg. for 45 mins until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and let cool 20 mins before slicing. Feel free to use beef, pork or vegetarian options for the turkey.
For the Sauce:
10 oz pkg baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
1 heaping T flour
2 cups marsala cooking wine
Heat oil and butter over med heat in a large skillet, add mushrooms and brown for about 8 mins. Add in flour and stir. Cook about 1 minute, add in wine and stir until flour has dissolved. Cook until thickened. Pour over meat loaf slices.

Creamy Polenta
1 cup fine-grain polenta
1½ cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
4 T butter
1 t salt
Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the polenta and stir to coat evenly. Add the stock and half-and-half. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, about 15-20 minutes until the polenta has thickened to a very creamy texture. Stir in cheese Season to taste with salt and serve hot.

Crazy Cookies
No butter, sugar or flour~
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 t vanilla extract
¼ cup almond or coconut milk unsweetened
½ cup honey
2 T almond butter (peanut butter works in a pinch)
2 eggs
¼ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl process the oats until they are a coarse flour, then place in a large bowl with the salt and baking powder. Next drain, rinse and process the beans with the milk until the consistency is like peanut butter, add in the eggs and honey and almond butter and pulse until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and stir in the chocolate chips. If the mixture is runny just give it a minute. Scoop using a small ice cream disher onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for about 14 mins.

Taeler Butel writes exclusive for The Mountain Times

Rowling Aims at Adult Audience by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2013
Many of us with some degree of book obsession are aware that J.K.Rowling had a tough life before her incredible success as the author of the Harry Potter series. Stories are told of Ms. Rowling composing much of the early books while sitting in various coffee shops to escape the chill of her modest apartment while on public assistance as a single mom.

Ms. Rowling later shared that during this time in her life she was as “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”

While reading “A Casual Vacancy”, Ms. Rowing’s first book for an adult audience and her first novel since the Harry Potter series, it is clear to me that Ms. Rowling absorbed a great deal of small town Britain’s self-centered pettiness while overhearing conversations in those coffee shops.

And, as a person who needed public assistance to survive her own life challenges and as a person of modest means in those days who was looked down upon by snobby, small-minded folks who were more fortunate, it is clear that Rowling has a lot she wants to say about her experience.

It’s also clear that the author will never join the ranks of those who worry about the image a needed methadone clinic might create in a small community or those who want to disassociate themselves from public housing developments and their less-than-idyllic scenery without sympathy for those must live there.

However, for the reader of “A Casual Vacancy”, this novel full of puffed-up and self-obsessed small town characters, the reading experience is less pleasure and more work. The characters are almost entirely depressing with little humor or redemption.

We meet Gavin who realizes after Barry’s death that Barry was truly his best friend and who finds himself attracted to Barry’s widow. Howard Mollison, is a puffed up, arrogant – and obese – local business owner who opposed  the now-deceased councilor’s social awareness initiatives and who views the “casual vacancy” created by the death as a huge political opportunity.

We meet Krystal Weeden, a rough young girl dealing with a whole host of personal issues that starkly illustrate the challenges of drugs, abuse and poverty in the projects.

Kay Bawden is a social worker who moved to Pagford to pursue a frustrating romantic entanglement with her beautiful but resentful teenage daughter. Two teen boys – Fats and Andrew – are caught up in rebelling against the petty politics of their parents while seeking to find life direction in the small village. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast of characters are just as discouraging.

If there is a positive message in the book it is in the realization that one person – in this case, the just deceased Barry Fairbrother – can have an enormous impact for good in a community.

Krystal Weedon’s ability to survive in spite of so very many family obstacles is also compelling while ultimately tragic.

But, in the big picture, Ms. Rowling’s novel is just depressing without being compelling.
Episode III: The Scene of the Crime by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2013
The Portland attorney, Paul Greinke, was missing on Mount Hood. His fiancé, Maggie McGee was off to the morgue. The bachelorette party had broken up. Deputy Mike had asked me to take a look at the scene of the crime. But still I hung around Lola’s joint with as much business as a misplaced spleen in a med school lab.

Ahh. Hope remains. Hope with all her angles. Hope brushing up against me like Cleopatra teasing a basket full of snakes.

“I’ve never had anyone die before,” Hope said, switching into seductive suffrage. “I look around and something is missing.”

No kidding. Like my resistance.

A chap knows when he’s hooked. He can try to spit the lure, but ultimately realizes he’s headed for the net. Or the frying pan. But like a trout drowning in trustworthiness, he tends not to think that far ahead.

I exchanged phone numbers with Hope, saying I’d get back to her about that hiring deal once I checked out where Maggie had been shot. I feigned just enough professional indifference to make my escape. Prison breaks have nothing on Max Malone.

Back to Tony’s for dinner. The rain had knocked off for the night, but sadly so had the new redhead behind the bar. I worked through a steak and two glasses of Pinot Noir – both a tad too chewy – paid up, and fled back to my cabin like a swallow winging away to Capistrano.

I was up early, two hard-boiled eggs that reminded me of me, a pot of coffee, and out the door.

Exits are my thing.

It was a two-mile hike from the trailhead to the scene of the crime. There was nothing in it for me. To me, a hike is taken on a sidewalk with city lights winking at me, a lanky woman clicking toward me on high heels refusing to break eye contact, a cozy pub on every corner, you get the idea. Keep your conifers, I’ll take concrete.

Call me a man with an end game.

The morning was agreeable enough, the freshly soaked soil yielded to the footprint, when I overtook a couple from Seattle – yep, they confessed that right off – and they figured to accompany me. Casting furtive glances at the wife, making certain the husband saw me, he suddenly realized he’d forgotten something back at the car. It might have been a gun, I thought, then tossed the notion aside remembering they were from Seattle.

The scene was easily found. There were still a few strands of crime tape attached to a tree, and there was a man walking around taking photos. He was slightly built, lost in a safari jacket, probably 40 but looked 18.

“What are you shooting?” I asked, making certain a layer of mirth splattered on the phrase.
“A crime scene.”
“You must be that Mountain Times chap.”
“Yes. Nigel Best.” His small hand reached out. I took it gingerly, not wanting to add to the crime scene.
“Max Malone.”
“Yeah. The private detective. I’ve heard of you.”
I nodded, not much caring for the “detective” part.

I studied Nigel and came up empty. He was as out-of-place in the woods as Hansel looking for signs of Gretel.

I stepped around Nigel and circled the perimeter of the scene which had been the final resting place of Maggie McGee. There was something odd about it – almost as odd as why fashion designers have such skinny models. Nigel tucked his camera under his arm. “So what do you make of it?”

“Something’s wrong,” I said. “If I killed you here, why in the world would I leave you on the path rather than drag you out into the woods?”
“Right. Whoever they were, they wanted the body found.” Nigel actually snapped his fingers.
“I have to get back,” I said. Like an around-the-world baggage ticket, I was on the case.

I departed with a private-eye salute of my fedora, spying the Seattle couple who, on seeing me walking their way, suddenly decided they had a hike that required abandonment. At a coffee shop in Seattle they would pay as much attention to me as a seasoned traveler would give a tambourine player in a pink robe at the airport.

But the Mountain ain’t Seattle.

As I meandered back along the hiking trail my mind was as crowded with questions as a narrow street in Pamplona in July. Why was Maggie attacked? After all, she was toting a .38 Smith & Wesson – according to her good friend and rapidly becoming mine, Hope – and had it holstered in plain view. Why was there no sign of a struggle? Why was Maggie’s body left at the edge of the path, instead of being dragged off into the woods? Why had her fiance decided to climb Mount Hood on the same day?

Questions have a way of getting to me – like the annoying knucklehead next to you at an outdoor concert who knows the words to all the songs. You have to do something about it. A swift elbow to the ribs is a good start.

Call it inspiration.

I wasn’t looking forward to what was ahead of me. I would have to call my secretary, Francoise, and clue her in that I was working undoubtedly, again, without a fee. I had intentions concerning Hope, but charging her was not one of them.

The radio in my rig informed me Paul Greinke had been plucked off the mountain – alive as an attorney ever gets. It was time to bake a tort or two.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Wet October Looms by Herb Miller on 10/01/2013
The pleasant summer weather extended into the first two weeks of September, highlighted by the hottest day of the summer. The 92-degree reading Sept. 11 marked the first day this summer to reach 90 in Brightwood – compared to an average total of seven 90-plus days.

Autumn arrived Sept. 21 and our weather followed suit with fall-like conditions that moderated slightly later in the week, but we are assured the fire season has ended.

Both Brightwood and Government Camp had low temperature averages about 5 degrees higher than normal. Everything considered, we couldn’t have asked for better summer weather.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have about average temperatures during October but precipitation is expected to be above average.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 42 and a precipitation average of 6.49 inches. During the last 10 years, seven years had highs in the 70s and three had highs in the 60s. The record high of 91 was set on both Oct. 1, 1987 and Oct. 10, 1991. During the last 10 years, eight had lows in the low 30s, and the other two had lows in the 20s, including the record low of 26 set Oct. 31, 2003. The record precipitation of 14.67 inches was set just last year. The only measurable snowfall in more than 35 years was a 7-inch total measured on Oct. 31, 1994.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during October is 53 degrees, the average low is 36, with an average precipitation amount of 6.99 inches, which includes an average 5.l4 inches of snow. Highs in the 70s occurred six times during the last 10 years, with the other four settling for the 60s. The record high of 83 was set Oct. 13, 1991. Eight of the last 10 years had a low temperature in the 20s, the other two were 19 and last year’s 30. The record low of 10 was set Oct. 29, 1971, compared to the 16 degree reading set recently on Oct. 30, 2002. Measurable snowfall occurred on 5 of the last 10 years. The record high snowfall of 15 inches was measured Oct. 28, 1961, compared to the 12-inch total recently recorded Oct. 27, 2009.

The greatest October snow depth of 36 inches occurred Oct. 31, 1984.
Simply September by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2013
Are you off to college?  Are you culinarily challenged? Do dinner plans include a telephone or a drive through? This article is for you!

Sausage and
Potato foil packets

Slice 1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes, 1 package kielbasa, 1 red pepper and one onion.  Place in a large bowl and toss with 1t salt and pepper and 1T olive oil.
Tear off 2 sheets of 12” each of aluminum foil, stack on top of each other, place ingredients on the foil. Fold the foil all around the packet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Skillet Chicken
and Bacon Casserole
1 lb chicken breast cubed
1 t olive oil
5 slices of  bacon sliced to ¼ inch pieces
1 small onion sliced thin
1 package of spiral noodles cooked
1 T chopped parsley
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese shredded
In a large skillet warm oil on med heat, then cook bacon until tender crisp. Spoon out all fat but a teaspoon or so,  add chicken and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon pepper. Brown chicken on each side, in onions and cook until the onions are transparent and chicken is cooked. Add in the other ingredients and sprinkle the cheese on last.

Anyone can  bake -
Rustic Apple Cake
¼ cup olive oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 t vanilla

3-4 apples, thinly sliced
½ cup flour
2 t baking powder
½ cup  milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes. I do this with the hand mixer. Stir in oil, and vanilla and combine. Then stir in flour and baking powder alternating with the milk. Stir in apples, coating every piece with batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until cake pulls away from pan and is brown on top. Cool for 15 mins, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream and caramel sauce will work also.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

All About 'Organic' Farming by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2013
Learning should continue through life, not just when the children are going back to school. Learning for all of us goes beyond the three Rs and we need vigilance to stay aware of the latest information. Since what we eat contributes to our brain’s capacity, we should all know more about what goes into our bodies and how it affects our ability to think and function.

Do you really know what the word “organic” means when it comes to your food. We think we do, but there may be more to this knowledge than we realize.
Farming is a $550 billion industry which does not necessarily mean that farmers are rich. Though some are, as almost $400 billion of that industry is composed of corporate farming conglomerates – large factory farms. Farms that produce huge crops with the full use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds or plants. A full 80 percent of what you eat if you are not eating strictly organic.
Factory farms make money and crowd out smaller farms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that our country had 6.8 million small farms in 1935. That number is now hovering around 2 million. Not all small and family farms were, or are even today, “certified organic according to international standards” and not all small farms are truly organic either.
The USDA definition of organic agriculture is a system that “sustains health of soils, ecosystems, and people … relies on biodiversity, and promotes good quality of life for all involved.”

By definition, certified organic farms take into account the health of the soil with practices that lead to long-term sustainability. For our kids and our grandkids and their grandkids. Chemical fertilizers are not used on organic farms as they are loaded with up to 150 different toxins. These are fertilizers that may grow BIG plants (is this what Americans want?) but they “burn” the soil and make the soil highly acidic. As soil is depleted by synthetic chemicals such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, it is more easily eroded by wind and rain and anything else that Mother Nature can bring us weather wise.
But organic farms use cover crops and aged compost to rebuild the soil constantly in a natural fashion. Weeding is done by natural methods such as work for people who are growing fatter by sitting in front of screens! Or by the use of boiling water, vinegar, or physical weed barriers such as mulches.
Conventional corporate farms use over one billion pesticides in any given year. Add to this the estimated 80,000 chemicals we are exposed to in other areas of our lives and it’s easy to see we have a serious problem. Organic farmers use predatory insect controls like ladybugs and praying mantises. Children and adults alike delight in finding these miniature superheroes disguised as bugs. Crop rotation keeps pests from getting a many-toed hold on crops. Companion planting keeps certain bugs away from more desirable crops.
The diversity of the plants growing in the US, in the world in fact, in the 1930s was significant. That diversity is rapidly dwindling. Maybe you don’t even want to try a chiogga beet, but biodiversity of seeds and plants leaves us and future generations a rich heritage. And protects us from crop failures where there are few choices. Industry run farms are dominated by companies such as Monsanto (the primary producer of synthetic chemicals and GMOd seeds), DuPont, Bayer, and Dow Chemical. These are BIG chemical companies that control most of what you’ve been eating since the 1970s.
In the US, up to 80 percent of our crops are genetically engineered or “owned” and licensed to Monsanto. The seeds are altered not for your benefit or mine, but for the benefit of the large corporation. Monsanto makes Round Up but doesn’t want the crops to fail if sprayed just before harvest, so they’ve snipped a gene in there so that the crop will resist succumbing to the Round Up so that it can be sprayed closer to harvest time. To say “eeuuww” would be polite. To be fighting mad would be more appropriate.
Seeds and plants are manipulated and owned by the large chemical companies so that they cannot reproduce. Each and every grower must buy new seed each year. From Monsanto. Not much biodiversity inherent in that plan. Organic seeds can be heirloom (saved from generation to generation) and lead to an astonishing number of varieties. Open pollinated seeds refer to the work of pollination being done by Mother Nature herself in the form of bees, butterflies, mason bees, rain and wind. These seeds can also be saved and passed on to the next generation or neighbor.
All of us can do our part to save our Earth. Buy organic food as much as possible. Grow some of your own food with those seeds from you neighbor. Buy local produce and ask to see the farms where your food is growing. Look for evidence of chemical fertilizers or herbicides. Pesticides are one thing and herbicides are another. Learn the differences. Ask a lot of questions. Round Up, which is promoted as being “innocuous,” is a hormone disrupter, leading to a myriad of hormone related diseases, including cancer. Relax your standards about weeds and be safer from those 80,000 plus chemicals that are out there every day that you eat. Which, I’m assuming, is every day.

And keep learning more.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
Brown Delivers Another Thriller by Sandra Palmer on 09/01/2013
Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code is back with another page-turning thriller full of ancient history and fearful predictions of mankind’s future.

While the successful Dan Brown formula is certainly in place with Inferno, it is a vast improvement over his last book The Lost Symbol. The writing is more taut and the historical context is doled out in easy-to-manage portions this time that fit into the fast paced storyline which takes us from Florence, Italy to Istanbul, Turkey.

There are plenty of advertisements for ancient palaces, artwork and places of worship. The reader can easily imagine Inferno tours queuing up to take faithful Dan Brown readers to all the fascinating landmarks covered by Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon.

As the book opens, the intrepid Mr. Langdon finds himself in a hospital intensive care unit with a head wound that has caused amnesia – conveniently providing an immediate mystery to solve.

The odds ramp up quickly when a hired assassin attempts to finish him off, taking down a doctor instead but starting the chase that propels much of the storyline.

While Langdon flees he tries to unravel his recent past along with the reason his research has caused such a deadly reaction.

This time we have several dark antagonists in the wings. One is a top secret organization skilled at providing “services” for the rich and powerful without asking questions or taking any public credit. The other is a gifted but dangerously creative scientist who seeks to slow the globe’s soon-to-come population explosion with an unprecedented virus release.

As usual a beautiful and amazingly intelligent female doctor leaps to Robert’s aid and becomes his partner in his attempts to stay a jump ahead of those in pursuit.

However, the lovely and talented Sienna has an agenda of her own.

While Dan Brown has famously challenged institutions – most notably the Catholic Church – in past novels, in this book he raises the issue of uncontrolled population growth and the calamity that may befall humanity if it is left unchecked.

In taking on such a contemporary issue and the frightening chance that brilliant scientists may see a tempting opportunity to take action without sanction or consensus, Brown seems to take up the bully pulpit left vacant by Michael Crichton, another novelist who specialized in action-packed novels while raising difficult ethical issues.

Whether or not you have interest in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” from which the literary references are taken in this novel, Dan Brown has created a suspenseful – and thoughtful - summer read in “Inferno.”
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 09/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our big, majestic mountain. The beautiful month of September is upon us and we can still enjoy working in the yard and garden, as this is usually the best time of the year to do so. The fall rains haven’t arrived yet and the air is fresh and crisp. 

It’s also a good time to start planting our winter and fall pansies, as they really don’t do well in heat. Keep them watered well during our last warm days so they will provide some nice color for fall and early winter and again in the spring. Be sure to plant them where they will receive at least four hours of direct sun. They are not shade lovers and will become too leggy if planted full shade.

You might also find it fun to try some other gardening this fall such as lettuce and radishes. You can find a salad mix in the seed packages that makes an attractive plant that can even be put in with the pansies. It will provide a little interesting color with the various shades and textures of greens and reds. Radishes grow best in weather where they can mature quickly and often spring is just too fickle for them, whereas fall will give them the boost they need. With our mild mountain weather, some radishes have been known to be taken fresh from the garden at Christmas time – so have fun!

One reminder though, don’t forget to beef up your soil. Your poor soil has worked hard all summer to keep your garden growing and it needs some nutrients to revive. Be sure to use organic matter, such as decomposed leaf material and manure. You can purchase very desirable planting compost and mix this in with your soil too, but be sure not to go cheap. The best organic compost is black. If it is too brown, it has too much fresh bark dust and not enough old “stuff.” 

Since we are talking about soil, we can think about how valuable it really is. Soil is the foundation of all living things, including us human beings. We were created from dust and to dust we shall return, although our soul lives on. No other planet that we know of, other than Earth, provides the life-giving material such as water and soil for life to succeed. Soil is made up of clay, silt and sand and broken up by continuous erosion through the centuries. Soils origin is from the volcanic activity that pushes the lava rock from the depth of the earth. The soil is then broken into bits and pieces and mixed with decomposed plant and animal matter. If we looked at earth as a sliced apple we would see that just the thin skin of our planet, like the skin on the apple, provides the nutrients we need to sustain life. This layer is only about 10 miles deep. That should humble us and cause us to be better soil conservationists and be better stewards of what our God has given us.

Laws of Physics Don't Apply by Ned Hickson on 09/01/2013
My wife and I have been trying to come up with an explanation for the volume of dirty clothes that accumulates in our laundry basket on a daily basis. In an attempt to explain this phenomena by utilizing mathematic principles, we went through the laundry, separated the clothes, subtracted how many days since the basket was empty, and then divided it by the number of children in our home — which lead to an important discovery:

We had become trapped in the bathroom after our pile of clothes fell against the door.

While it’s true we have four children between us, according to my calculations they are changing their clothes every 18 minutes. This includes through the night, when they apparently take turns changing EACH OTHER while sleeping in shifts.

This would explain how they can have a closet full of clothes at bedtime, then wake up and have nothing to wear.

It would also explain why their bed sheets are always untucked and strewn on the floor by morning; they are using the sheets to drag each other’s sleeping bodies back and forth to the closet.

Also included in our mathematical equation was the “X” quotient, which represents clothes that don’t actually make it home from school until the end of the year, when they magically re-appear in the closet two sizes too small.

Even though they are homosapians capable of walking in an upright position, we have to assume, judging from their pants, our children spend most of the day on their hands and knees trapping moles.
As a result, we discussed the idea of getting ahead of the curve by purchasing new pants, and then immediately cutting the knees out. This would effectively eliminate 90 percent of the grass stains from our laundry while, at the same time, providing our children with knee calluses the size of Egg McMuffins.

We decided against this because we realized our children would be missing an important lesson about taking care of their clothes.

We also realized we really needed to stop and eat because the phrase “Egg McMuffin knee calluses” made us salivate.

What we eventually decided on was a responsibility checklist for each of our children. This list is designed to encourage them to take care of their clothes as well as themselves.

Naturally, there is a reward system involved for completing this checklist each day, such as reward option 1) Not having to go to school naked.

I will let you know if our plan is successful.

As soon as we get out of the bathroom.

(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or visit his blog at www.nedhickson.word press.com)

Max Malone
Episode II: The Plot Thickens by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/01/2013
The mist of Maggie Magee with a deadly hole in her head drifted through my own like a lonesome cowboy in a spaghetti western, as I was led by Lola into her joint.

Deputy Mike Allen was seated at a large table talking to a young woman – an apparently saddened member of the cancelled bachelorette party.

Call it instinct.

A handful of other young women were seated a short distance away – simultaneously in their best dresses and worst faces, like a murder of crows trapped in a dumpster. There were a few customers scattered at other tables, innocent bystanders no doubt, but they were somberly interested in the strange goings on in Lola’s joint – normally a pub of great joy.

Due to the circumstances, Lola’s rustic, convivial ski resort décor had taken on the spirit of a gloomy, gothic cathedral.

A young woman rose from the table adjoining the interview and sashayed up to me.
“You’re Max?”
“Max Malone,” I offered.
“I’m Hope.”
Her round acquisitive eyes had grown into her name. I nodded my approval.
“You’re the private eye,” she said affirmatively, but went right on. “Are you on this case?”
“Why not?”
“No client.”
Hope’s eyes dropped a set of eyelashes toward sullen, but immediately recovered.
“What does it take to be a client of yours,” she asked in a husky voice that insisted she was not accustomed to being refused anything.
“The case has to be described, then I decide, then we discuss my fee.”
“Is that all?”
“Pretty much.”

She went on to explain that her best friend had been murdered – a fact I was already privy to but I was in no mood to suppress Hope. That funny trickle down the spine of a man when confronted by a seductive woman was already working its magic.

She asked me if I knew Maggie. I nodded in a manner that suggested “not very well, but I want to keep the ball rolling.”

Katrina, the cocktail waitress, brushed by me taking drinks to the onlookers with no desire in the doing – a totally unrealistic attitude for her. She tapped me softly on the back, like a raven escaped from the gripping prose of a story long ago.

Was it a warning? There’s that instinct thing again.

Deputy Mike rose in his chair, this particular interview over. He was a heavy-set man of an uncertain age, and gave the impression he could handle himself.
“You on this case, Max?” he asked in an unofficial official manner.

Mike and I had brushed against each other a few times in the past, always keeping a certain distance – more a show of mutual respect than any level of animosity. The brush strokes resembled Picasso more than Tom Sawyer.

“Nope. No client.”
“Let me talk to you a second,” he said, looking at Hope to dismiss herself.  She had no such plans.

Mike draped his ample arm around my shoulder and led me off toward the bar.

Hope stood her ground, now with hands on hips, lips pouted in a manner that would send Brigitte Bardot back to the casting couch.

Mike related the Maggie story, as he knew it. She had been shot on the way to Alpine Lake, her body left on the side of the trail. She had been discovered by two other hikers that he had since cleared of any wrong doing. Her backpack had been ransacked. The holster of her sidearm was empty. It looked like a robbery homicide. He said attempts to notify her fiancé had failed, as his cell phone was out of service.

He wondered if I wouldn’t mind taking a look at the scene of the crime, and explained to me where it was on the trail.
This caper was closing in on me like a hurricane headed for Havana.

The look in my eyes, probably something akin to a highway possum running out of ideas, landed on Mike.

He patted me on the shoulder (was that a chuckle I heard?), walked back to the bother of babes, and thanked them for their cooperation.

“Keep me posted on what you find,” he said to me as he exited the joint, taking one-third of the available oxygen with him.

Hope sprang eternal. She hadn’t altered her stance.

“I’ll hire you,” she said flatly.

I let her know I had to look at a few things first, but took my sweet time explaining it. After all …

Then: “Do you know the unlucky husband-to-be?”
She shook her head like a thoroughbred dismissing a clueless barn fly. “Some hotsy-totsy city lawyer,” Hope hissed.

Suddenly Lola cranked up the volume on the TV behind the bar. A blonde reporter with a horsey face, decked out in a newly acquired outfit from REI, was assuring us she was “LIVE” at Mount Hood, and that a search was on for a lost climber named Paul Greinke, a Portland attorney.

So Maggie was dead, her fiancé – a hotsy totsy – was lost on the mountain. I caught a whiff of the acrid odor of coincidence, a foul smell that I trusted as much as a camel with a mouthful of cud.

The plot was thickening like a mushrooming marinara sauce in a sixty-year-old Italian skillet – and the particulars in the pot had reached al dente perfection.

At least there was still Hope.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Higher Temps on the Way by Herb Miller on 09/01/2013
A 44-day dry spell ended in Brightwood Aug. 10 with a couple claps of thunder and .14 inches of rain. Although threatened, the record for most days without meaurable rain occurred only last year during the 49-day period between July 21 and Sept. 9, from records dating back to 1978.

Government Camp’s ending of the dry spell was more impressive when a thunderstorm dumped more than an inch of rain in a relatively short time.

Average temperatures for the month were a few degrees above normal at both Brightwood and Government Camp, despite the unsettled and slightly cooler weather during the last week of the month. Although this summer has had a number of sunny days, it’s likely Brightwood will fail to have a high temperature reach 90 degrees for the first time since 1999.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have slightly higher average temperatures during September, based in part on the low soil moisture. Precipitation is again expected to be about average.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70 degrees, an average low of 47 and a precipitation average of 3.25 inches. During the last 10 years, six years had highs in the 80s, three had highs in the 90s, and one year ended in the 70s. The record high of 102 was set Sept. 2, 1988. During the last 10 years, four years had lows in the low 40s, and the other six had lows in the 30s, including the record low of 32 set Sept. 25, 2005. The record precipitation of 8.61 inches was set in 2004.

In Government Camp, the average high during September is 63 degrees, the average low is 42, with an average precipitation amount of 3.44 inches – which includes an 0.2 inches of snow. Highs in the 80s occurred seven times during the last 10 years, with the other three settling for the 70s. The record high of 94 was set Sept. 4, 1988. One year during the last 10 had a low of 29, the other nine settled for the 30s. The record low of 23 was set Sept. 27, 1972. The record high snowfall of 3 inches was measured Sept. 23, 1984 and the greatest snow depth of 4 inches was measured Sept. 24, 1972. Recently, a trace of snow fell on each of the last five days in September, 2009, including 0.2 inches on the 30th.
Sprucing Up the Yard by on 09/01/2013
Teri Grimsley can search for years to find just the right fit to complete a glass flower, but when she does find a match, she transforms parts found from garage sales, thrift stores or antique boutiques and fashions them into beautiful pieces of yard art.

From making a mobile out of shells and driftwood 30 years ago as a gift for her brother, Grimsley has progressed to bringing exquisite life in the form of glass flowers from plates, bowls and unusual pieces of glass.

Rare Finds Yard Art in Welches is the brainchild of Grimsley. After making birdbaths, birdfeeders and glass flowers as a hobby for neighbors, friends and family, they all encouraged her to sell them.

Finally, Grimsley decided to try it out, ordered business cards, established a domain name for her website, and set about finding a place to display her art.

Following a fruitful stop at All Seasons Property Management, Grimsley found the perfect place to display her work.

A “Grand Opening” of Rare Finds Yard Art was planned for this year’s Cinco de Mayo, and after a successful weekend, Rare Finds Yard Art was up and running.

“I can only work from spring to fall,” Grimsley said. “It’s too cold in the winter. Paint and silicone are finicky like that. So I do most of my shopping during this down time.”

The process is laborious and flowers can take anywhere from two to three days to make, and birdfeeders take about a week.

“I piece a flower together on my workbench until I get what I call the ‘wow’ factor,” Grimsley said. “Sometimes I’ll switch out different pieces for weeks. Rarely does it come together the first time.”

The only time that Grimsley has been able to achieve this rarity was on a visit to her family in southern California where they stopped at every thrift store and antique boutique along the way.  Unpacking the new “finds” she was able to craft her new favorite flower – a large amber carnival glass base with an antique amber middle and an orange hob nail center.

 “I found each piece in different cities.” she said. “I’m not quite ready to sell this flower though. Some are hard to part with I must admit.”

Grimsley described finding metal leaves being among the rarest finds. “I like to complete a flower with metal leaves,” she said. “When I could find metal leaves at a thrift store everyone knew it, let’s just say I’d jump for joy.”

In addition to searching for the perfect piece, her husband Chuck also shops for pieces of art. “We shop for the glass pieces together, mostly. He goes thrift shopping at lunch times too.”

You can find Rare Finds Yard Art in a craft booth at the Sandy Oktoberfest, held October 6, 7 and 8 on the grounds of St. Michael’s Church, 18090 SE Langensand, Sandy.

Rare Finds Yard Art is located at All Seasons Property Management, 23804 E Greenwood Drive, Welches (just across the road from El Burro).

Telephone 503-568-2094. www.rarefindsyardart.com. facebook/RareFindsYardArt.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Ant Farm's Chic Opening by on 08/01/2013

Rustic bread baskets, fresh flowers, and an impressive gelato display case, contribute to the
European chic atmosphere for the opening of the AntFarm Café & Bakery in Sandy.

The café is styled for comfort, reflection, reading and offers espresso, hot chocolate, tea, or artisan gelato – in delectable flavors such as blueberry-lavender, pineapple mint, pistachio and peach pie.

“I love it,” said Nunpa, the AntFarm’s director. “I’m so excited because the kids are very proud, they helped demo the building and are now seeing this beautiful thing. It’s becoming a reality when it’s always just been a dream. The kids are also learning about healthy food and nutrition.”

The sales of healthy food and drinks support the mission and long term goals of the AntFarm Cafe & Bakery, now more than two years in the making, and an extraordinary result of fundraising efforts, hard work and commitment.

The bakery teaches healthy lifestyles, customer service and job skills to youth. In September the internship after-school program begins, with a yearly goal of 28 interns getting their food handlers cards and training in social services.

“It’s a great meeting area, and it’s all about community, there are lots of kids and elders coming in to the cafe,” Nunpa said. 

Soon to come are pastries, sandwiches, homemade breads and smoothies. Everything, including the gelato, is handmade on the premises using the freshest ingredients and whenever possible, organic. Vegan and gluten options are available for most products. Many ingredients come from the garden, like fresh kale, used for the smoothies, and an assortment of the garden produce will be canned for use in soups and other products.
Future plans for the bakery include full catering of events and meetings at their spacious downtown location.

The AntFarm Cafe & Bakery is open every day, Mon-Wed from 7-3, Thurs-Sat from 7-7 and Sundays from 10-7, and located at 39140 Proctor Boulevard, Sandy. (503) 668-9955. www.antfarm-interntional.com.

Stop in and see what the AntFarm is all about during Sandy Main Street’s First Friday event on August 2, from 5-8 p.m.  Specials include free artisan gelato samples, fresh produce from the gardens and fresh cut flowers.

Organic Sandy
Jennifer and Tim McLaughlin’s dream of forming their business, Organic Sandy, was realized after the birth of their daughter, Morgan (now 10 months old) and the desire that she eat wholesome, organic food. As a result, Organic Sandy opened for business in mid-July setting up a stand on the corner of Pioneer Boulevard and Wolf  Drive in Sandy.

“You shouldn’t eat anything your grandma wouldn’t recognize,” Jennifer McLaughlin said. “I believe in purity of the food, and a basic and natural lifestyle. It’s all about how we feed our family, and the importance of a thriving local economy. And, unless local farmers are supported, there won’t be any more local farmers.”

The McLaughlins came to Sandy from Alaska because they wanted a small local town with access to a metropolitan city and recreation, and could enjoy activities such as downhill skiing, mountain biking and hiking. They also realized that most of the organic produce they bought while in Alaska came from Oregon.

During the summer growing season the produce at Organic Sandy’s stand is mostly local from nearby farmers, with some produce from California and Washington.

“All of our produce is organic,” explained McLaughlin. “Some is certified, and some is not. The farms are not necessarily certified organic as local farmers don’t always have the means for an organic certification but they do not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds.”

Sandy Organic expands its selection via the Organically Grown Company in Portland when local farmers cannot seasonally meet their needs, so during the winter locals will still be able to consume organic produce.

“It shouldn’t have to be a lot of work to eat organic food,” McLaughlin said. “We shouldn’t have to go to Portland to find something grown in Sandy.”

Future plans are to include dry goods such as tea, coffee, sugar, beans and other organically grown produce. The outdoor stand will move inside in fall to the building on the grounds where they are currently located.

Organic Sandy is 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed and they can be reached at OrganicSandy.com to order online, or at their summer produce stand on the corner of Pioneer Boulevard and Wolf Drive in Sandy (OrganicSandyProduce@gmail.com, phone 971-400-6420). Weekly specials and deliveries are from east of Gresham to the west of Government Camp. Orders must be received by Wednesday for Friday deliveries which are free with a $50-plus order.

by Frances Berteau/MT
filling in for Geoff Berteau

A Good First Step to Good Health by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2013
A mother of four, my daughter works full time and is going to school part time to finish her degree. I admire her dedication and stamina. But as I enter her home on one of her rare days off, I wonder. She’s working at the computer but the TV is on and she’s on the phone arguing with her husband. That’s three screens at once.

The children (ages 5 to 14) are in another room, also with a TV on, but each of them is face-glued to an electronic device. They do get up to greet me, but then each goes back to staring at one of the five screens in that room. This is not an occasional experience. Are they being “present”?

Half of the children in the U.S. are on anti-psychotic drugs for behaviour treatment. Yes, half. Three million children, and numerous adults, are getting meds for Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). All disorders for children are on the rise in our country. There is a 30-40 percent increase in Autism alone. In order to diagnose a case of ADHD we must document at least two symptoms from the following: decreased ability to concentrate, low dopamine levels, hyperactivity, and a lack of awareness of physical environment.

Dopamine levels lead to incentive. Incentive to get up, to do something, to get something done. Just being hyperactive does not mean a diagnosis of ADHD. But not “hearing” instructions, not following through, not responding at all could all be symptoms of ADHD. But doesn’t that mean all of us these days? And could there be other reasons for these responses?

If 3 million children are receiving meds for ADHD, we need to look more deeply at this problem. Most of these children are on Ritalin. Ritalin has side effects, as do all drugs. Those side effects could manifest as depression, poor impulse control (throwing chairs), or in adults, repeated impulse purchasing. All are symptoms of a much deeper problem in our society. All indicate dis-ease in our society.

We have good care for our premature babies but no one asks why there are so many now. Each year there are more premature births, which statistically leads to increased cases of problems like Autism and ADHD later in life. Fewer women are capable of carrying babies to full term. This is generally, though not always, an indication of less robust health. Most of these premature babies live and go on to thrive.

But are we missing something here? A premature birth is a difficult time. There is fear and concern for the infant and less immediate bonding if the baby is in an incubator than its mother’s arms. Women now experience post-partum depression at a whopping rate of 20 percent. I’m sure we mothers all remember feeling overwhelmed under the best of circumstances. A depressed mother cannot be so well attuned to her baby’s needs, to say nothing of her own needs.

Eighty-nine percent of brain development occurs in the first one to three years of life. Those little brains are building a million connections per second.

Remarkable, isn’t it?

In a safe and connected environment, those brains grow into our future leaders. What babies need is attunement to other human beings. We all need that, all through life. But we appear to be divorced from understanding what life is all about. In fact, 2,700 friends on Facebook is not the same as two good friends in the neighborhood or workplace.

Let’s work on this and save our kids and decrease medical costs. Make connections with people. Talk to the checkout person, write a polite, explanatory letter to the restaurant that failed you, help someone in need.

Nothing will make you feel better than connecting with another human being.

Put down that “i” device, look someone in the eyes, and talk  to them, and you will be present in the moment.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 08/01/2013
All kinds of lobbyists were coming at me from every direction. The waning days of session were upon us, and last-minute votes were being counted. A series of major bills, some of which were bad, were finally being pushed through the Senate and the Ways and Means Committee which I sit on. It was a time when you couldn’t be weak, and I had to use what little time I had to research and investigate everything being thrown at us. Then, it was over like the blink of an eye.

You can really divide a legislative session into three main parts: Pre-session, the first four months, and the end. Those who do their homework before session tend to be the ones who achieve all their legislative priorities. With that, I’m proud to come back home saying I passed some key bills because I went to work early and consolidated bipartisan support – despite being a member of the minority party. The big trick – a tidbit I didn’t understand when I was first elected – is that if you work early and push bills through right from the beginning, you avoid seeing them chopped up during end-of-session “bargaining.”

I chief sponsored SB 678 and worked on it early. It is the most promising private sector jobs bill for the entire session. It helps LLC companies, which are a major foundation of our small business job and economic base. The bill protects these small companies from personal liabilities stemming from workers compensation claims. In short, now LLC’s can have the limited liability they were designed to have in the first place, and be able to grow and hire at a quicker rate.

There are the broader issues that seem to get more press – like PERS reform, a “grand bargain,” and potential tax increases. Though the education budget we passed brought $1 billion more than ever before, any scrutinizer knows that won’t translate into more classroom dollars. I won’t be fully content with this session until we actually get a bargain that reforms how we fund schools. We have been following a model that won’t sustain any longer, and the pressure is at its peak to reach a deal. My hope (and belief) is that soon we will be called back for an emergency session and finally get a deal passed that both sides can be proud of.

Also, I was appointed to a key budget committee, the Legislative Emergency Board, which is responsible for allocating funds during the interim. It will be interesting to see what pops up on that board between now and the next session. Contact: sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 08/01/2013
In early July, Oregon’s Legislature adjourned after being in session for 155 days. I’d like to give you a brief recap of the high points of the session and tell you what I will be up to in the days ahead as I ease back into life in beautiful House District 52.

The Education Budget

The last week of the session was a blur of hypertension as most of the major budgets and some of the most important policy bills were all scheduled for votes. Education was front and center in both budget and policy. I’m pleased to say that we were able to provide an additional $1 billion of investment to our K-12 schools more than what was provided to them in the previous biennium. This budget goes a long way toward restoring budget stability to our schools and should help to stem the tide of teacher layoffs.

Higher Education

In addition to K-12, we were also able to provide significant increases to the budgets of our universities and community colleges. This will help to hold tuition increases to a minimum.
I supported two major education policy bills that passed in the last week – Senate Bill 270 gives the University of Oregon and Portland State University the ability to create their own institutional governing boards and provides a pathway for the other universities to do the same when and if they feel it is in their best interest to do so. These boards will have the authority to hire and fire presidents and much more autonomy to manage the mission of the university. This is an exciting development and will open the door to greater private sector partnerships with higher education.
House Bill 3120 will lead to the reorganization and consolidation of our higher education system. It will put the Oregon University System and community colleges under the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This should result in a much more steamlined and efficient system of coordination within Higher Ed.

Public Safety

We were also able to pass some important public safety reforms. The idea behind the legislation was to cut costs to the system by investing in more follow-up treatment and modifying the sentences of some non-violent offenders. It will shift some resources from the state level to the counties so they can better focus efforts on repeat offenders and therefore save money. These reforms will keep public safety from consuming an ever growing portion of our general fund in years to come.
Columbia Gorge C.C.

I was also very happy to be able to help secure $7.35 million in funding for construction of the Regional Center of Innovation on the Columbia Gorge Community College Hood River campus. This campus expansion will provide a tremendous opportunity for the college to partner with our high-tech private sector in the Gorge and provide exciting opportunities for students and employers throughout the Gorge region.

PERS Reform
I was disappointed to see the attempts to achieve a “Grand Bargain” for PERS reforms come up short in the last days. The benefits of this package to schools, counties and cities throughout House District 52 would have been very significant. I’m hopeful that a special session could be used at some point in the months to come so that we can take another crack at the issue.

Economic Development
I was also disappointed to see such little attention devoted to statewide economic development this session. In July, the Oregonian reported that we lost 1,000 jobs in June statewide. This is very disturbing news as we continue to try and climb out of this recession. Many of us tried to pass pro-business legislation that could have encouraged more job creation at the local level, but we were unable to have our bills considered.

Serving You
Many of you provided feedback to my office, shared important opinions on legislation and policy, and showed support for our work in Salem, and I can’t tell you enough how important it is to me to stay connected to you and learn from you on how I can serve you to the best of my ability. Thank you for being engaged in the political process.
Now that I am back into the district full-time, I’m excited to reconnect with as many constituents as possible and participate in many of the great summer activities in the area.
A Revealing Novel of Modern Afghanistan by Sandra Palmer on 08/01/2013
Khaled Hosseini’s third novel (after “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”) returns us to the complex emotional landscapes of Afghanistan, Hosseini’s home country. In this touching series of stories, Hosseini deftly sketches the details of an Afghan family and the choices that resonate over years and generations, again providing a uniquely truthful view of the human cost of years of political turmoil and war.

Hoisseini is a skillful storyteller and the tales within this novel are revealing and full of telling details. We begin in 1952 in a small village not far from Kabul as a simple laborer, Kaboor, tells of a painful loss prompted by poverty. Kaboor agrees to give his young daughter to Noor, a well-known female poet, and her wealthy son. This decision is particularly hard on Pari, the adopted child, and Abdulah, her brother, who had lovingly cared for her and with whom she had an extraordinary spiritual bond.

Thus, the decision made by the family and facilitated by the uncle Nabi has significant repercussions within the family, especially for the two children who were never told of the previous family situation but who spend the rest of their lives trying to fill an emotional hole after the separation.

Eventually Noor takes Pari with her to Paris but during the U.S. occupation, a dying Nabi reveals the truth to Markos, a plastic surgeon who is renting the Kabul home. Markos promises to find Pari and deliver correspondence that will reveal the true story to her for the first time.

A moving sub-story tells about a physician who is moved by the strong spirit of a young woman battling lengthy hospitalization and recovery. The young doctor becomes obsessed with supporting her and visiting her while in Kabul but he eventually lets her go after returning to his position in the United States. Years later, he meets the triumphant young woman when she visits the U.S. on a book tour where he must confront his failure to keep his commitments. The reader is left to wonder how true this vignette might be and if Hosseini has had this experience – or one like it – himself.

I found the story thread of “And the Mountains Echoed” a bit hard to follow compared to Hosseini’s first two novels but I continue to be amazed at the new understandings I have every time I read a work by this author.

I expect he has much more to teach all of us about the puzzle that is modern Afghanistan.
 With more than ten million copies sold in the United States of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, Khaled Hosseini is one of most widely read novelists in the world.

A physician before beginning his literary career, Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Freak Out on a Carnival Ride by Ned Hickson on 08/01/2013
I have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to carnival rides: If the person running a ride, such as the Squirrel Cages, keeps a garden hose available for spraying out the seats, I stay away.

That’s because this person’s sole ambition is to make me — and others like me — vomit. I realize this person may be a trained professional who, on a daily basis, makes countless split-second decisions on whether to push the red or green button to stop the ride.

And, yes, I realize this individual has nothing but the safety of his passengers in mind when he secures a safety latch by removing his boot and whacking it until his arm gets tired, at which point, being a trained professional, he bolsters the confidence of his nervous riders by hacking up a cheekful of phlegm and shrugging his shoulders before walking off.

Yet somehow, in spite of these assurances, I’m still terrified of carnival rides.

I think it’s because, when I was 10, my “friends” talked me into riding The Drop Out, which wasn’t actually a ride as much as it was a barf-a-torium with an observation deck. Basically, 30 people entered a circular room and found a spot along the wall. Gradually, the walls would begin to rotate faster and faster, creating enough centrifugal force to suck the cotton candy from the mouth of anyone standing within 100 feet. Once the ride reached optimum centrifuge, occupants would be stuck to the wall as the floor dropped out, leaving them suspended 20 feet above a pit of (presumably fake) spikes.

All of this was visible through a series of windows surrounding the ride so that, while waiting in line, people such as myself could prepare for the experience by, very slowly, having a bowel movement.

I still don’t know how I got talked into this ride. All I know is that I ended up next to someone whose stomach contents went on display the instant the floor dropped out. Due to the force of gravity, I couldn’t move my head without blacking out, which meant watching the sum total of this person’s food consumption — which was considerable — reconfigure itself on the wall next to me.

This was, without question, the longest ride of my life. To this day, I can still see the apologetic look on that person’s face as the ride came to an end and the three of us — him, his vomit and I — gradually slid down the wall together.

Since that fateful encounter I’ve had no interest in being strapped down, cinched up or buckled into something specifically designed to do things I wouldn’t normally do without a flight suit and full medical coverage.

My son gets frustrated by this because he’s one of those people who is exhilarated by having his stomach in his mouth. The one time he talked me into riding with him was on the Squirrel Cages, where there was no chance of me flying out of my seat or getting vomited on. Everything was fine until that part in the ride when — and you know the part I mean — it starts to actually move.

Granted, I’m not a professional carnival ride operator, but I think I could recognize some of the subtle signs exhibited by a rider who is in distress.

For example: Someone who is pressed so hard against the cage that his lips are actually outside the door while screaming “LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF!” would be a red flag to me. Particularly if the rider in question began doing this after traveling less than two feet.

In my case, these signs were somehow missed by our ride operator.

I’m not saying it was all his fault. Who knows, he might’ve been busy looking for a garden hose?
Warmer than Usual August on Tap by Herb Miller on 08/01/2013
Abundant sunshine prevailed throughout July, although neither Brightwood nor Government Camp had a high temperature reach 90 degrees.

Brightwood had periods with highs in the 80s, followed by periodS with highs in the 70s, ending the month on the cooler side.

Government Camp started the month with three days reaching the 80s, after which most of the rest of the month settled for the 70s except for a few days that failed to get above the 60s.

And rainfall was just a memory. For the month, the average high temperature was about 3 degrees above normal, but the average low was right on target.

Observations by the National Weather Service show little change in conditions over the Pacific Ocean compared to a month ago. As might be expected, our area is again expected to be a bit warmer than average, and precipitation near normal. For the record, July and August are our driest months, and the long-term combined total precipitation is less than 3 inches for either Brightwood or Government Camp.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.48 inches. A high temperature reaching 90 or higher occurred without exception during the last 10 years. The record high of 106 was set Aug. 8, 1981, compared to the 100 reading Aug. 13, 2002. A low of 39 is the only exception to lows dropping into the 40s during the last 10 years. The record low of 36 was set Aug. 29, 1980, which was approached with the reading of 39 set Aug. 31, 2006. The record precipitation of 7.23 inches set during 2004 does not appear to be in jeopardy.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during August is 68 degrees, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.64 inches. Four of the last 10 years had high temperatures reach into the 90s, the others had highs in the 80s. The record high of 105 was set Aug. 18, 1977. Low temperatures routinely drop into the 30s, but two of the last 10 years had lows above 40 degrees. The record low of 32 set Aug. 28, 1980 was threatened just last year with a reading of 33 on Aug. 25.

Max Malone
Episode I -- The Caper by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2013
There I was snaking my way outta the Pearl District like a python after a fortnight in a pygmy palace. I cleared the surface streets and coaxed my Suburban onto the Interstate, headed to my mountain cabin bent on shakin’ the city dust off my old pair of chinos.

The miles flicked by like flies from a stallion’s tail and before I knew it I was in full escape mode on Hwy. 26 with nothing between me and the cabin but an honor guard of cedar trees, boughing as I cruised past.

My first stop was Tony’s joint, a woodsy, classy restaurant with good food and a clientele that ranged from voluntarily displaced ad execs to loggers and construction workers in their best pair of Wranglers.

“Welcome back Max,” Tony said, giving away nothing but his wary pleasure in seeing me. “Somethin’ to eat?” I told him not until dinner time, but had trouble keeping eye contact because of the new redhead behind the bar. Tony noticed – he noticed everything in his joint – but he maintained that no-comment smile, the territory of top-flight proprietors.

After a perfect martini – with an olive that would make a Greek national weep with joy – I moved on up the mountain to pick up my copy of The Mountain Times. I was headed to my cabin to catch up on the local news, but would avoid the owner’s editorial page like a grade schooler faking a stomach ache on flu-shot day. The editor was an OK guy, I guess, a little tough to pin down, but his political bent reminded me of a forsaken fishing boat listing too far to portside.

I trolled up the dirt access road past my neighbor Sam’s cabin. He was standing on his porch, a man caught in a century warp. He was tall, slim, squinty-eyed, cowboy boots and hat, with a drooping mustache that would have been the envy of every gunslinger from Tombstone to the picket line. In character, he dropped his chin a quarter-inch, which for Sam passed as a nod. I flicked a finger off the brim of my fedora – a private eye’s return salute.

I shuffled around the cabin, dropped the needle on a Frank Sinatra vinyl, liberated a Heineken from the fridge, and settled into my chair on the deck with The Mountain Times. A spring shower moved up the mountain, dancing with the current on the Sandy River just beyond my cabin. It was the type of rain that cleaned up the city streets before it got up here, then quickly turned into a life-giving force for everything outdoorsy from foxgloves to foxy girls.

The moment I wasn’t waiting for erupted with the raucous ring of my land line. True, no one knew that number except Francoise, my secretary in Portland, and a few mountain friends, but I wasn’t quite ready for either, yet. The Heineken was still half full, after all, and Sinatra hadn’t got through the first cut.

It was Lola on the other end. She owned a joint further up the mountain. She was distraught.

“Oh Max. I’m so glad you’re here. Your French secretary said you were coming up.”
“Uh, what’s wrong kid?”
“It’s Maggie. (silence, then) Maggie McGee.”
“Yeah. What about her?”
“She’s been shot.”
From Lola’s tone, which trickled through her sobs like a naïve whiskey over too many ice cubes, I knew Maggie wasn’t just shot. She was dead. Call it professional insight.

It was getting dark and the spring shower was acting serious as I wheeled the Suburban back onto the highway aimed at Lola’s. I passed the fire department as the chief was climbing into his command vehicle. Two miles later, his siren screaming like the latest winner in a Miss America contest, he roared around me on his way to a situation on the mountain or a rescue mission at the Hackett Creek Café picking up dinner for his volunteer firefighters.
I pulled into Lola’s joint as she came running out the front into the parking lot, with a rain slicker over her shoulders, a droopy hat, and tears welling behind her conservative black-rimmed glasses – the kind that keep creeps away. She threw her arms around me, knocking my fedora askew, and for a moment we hugged like two porpoises trapped in an aquarium.

“She’s dead, Max.”
That was too bad. Maggie had grown up on the mountain but was too ambitious – perhaps too clever – to stay. She had been linked with Paul Greinke, a dashing attorney with politician’s eyes and a suspicious soul slathered with one too many dollops of bon-vivant sauce for my taste. Maggie still had many friends on the mountain and stayed in touch with them all, or so I was told.

“She was having her bachelorette party here tonight. She hiked up to Alpine Lake this morning. She never came back. They found her body, Max.”

“There, there,” I said as I patted the soggy rain coat.

“All the girls are in there,” Lola pointed at the door.

That explained the sheriff’s cruiser in the parking lot. I got a visual of the bother of babes inside, and a sheriff’s deputy having the interviews of his life.

A caper had reared its ugly head, and somehow I knew that I was going to get up to my ears in it, like an inconsequential cow floundering in a Florida sink hole.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Food Security Means More Than an Electric Can Opener by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2013
We tend to think of the phrase “food security” as it applies to our undernourished children in schools.
This, of course, is a much bigger problem than most of us realize (just ask a teacher) for children’s brains, and adult’s brains too, cannot process information without nutrition.

But food security is something we should all be thinking about. We may not be as prone to the tornado disasters and floods of the midwest, nor the droughts of the southwest, but we are being reminded of the need to be prepared.

Experts remind us that it’s just a matter of time before that earthquake or volcano takes its toll.

Adding to this insecurity is the fact that we are losing our pollinators, our topsoil, and apparently our wits. Having a food system based on cheap and available petroleum products to get food stuffs to me does not exactly make me feel secure.

Unless we come up with alternatives, be it attitudes or sources, it looks like the petroleum supply will dwindle while population and prices continue to go up.

We need to shift to self-reliance, at least in some part. If we want food security to equal or lead to health, we need to look at the quality of our food, not just the price.

We need to minimize the consumption of foods that don’t build health and well-being.

We need to take care of ourselves and our families first, then our neighbors and the community at large.

I am reminded of a true story about a city-dwelling friend of mine who declared she “almost starved” during a four-day power outage because she couldn’t use her electric can opener. I laughed at her joke until I realized she wasn’t kidding. That’s not food security. But a cupboard with a few cans of food was all she had stashed away.

Other than non-electric appliances, where do you start in your pursuit of food security?
It would be good to know how much and what foods your family generally consumes in a year. Keeping track can be daunting but you could at least get an idea by keeping those weekly shopping lists or receipts to determine what you repeatedly consume.

Buying some things in bulk not only saves on gas, and on the food budget, but it gives a sense of security.

I’m sure your family prefers fresh food, but if they had to, they’d be able to feast on beans, home-canned fruit, oatmeal, and peanut butter if it came down to it.

And it could.

Fruits and vegetables are abundant at farmers’ markets and in gardens. Purchasing in a larger quantity usually means a discount. A society that generally throws out 40 percent of its fresh produce either needs to learn to can, dry, or freeze the excess – or get chickens or a Guinea pig.

If you can refer back to that annual list of food purchases you might find that your family of four uses close to 300 pounds of apples in any given year. You could probably get a better price on that sort of quantity and if you didn’t need that much, contact neighbors and relatives in order to take advantage of the price break by doing a group purchase.

Then you could store your share of the apples for a few months before making applesauce, freezing apple pie filling, and dehydrating the rest. It’s all doable, much less expensive, and builds community.
Food security may be in storing 50 pounds of potatoes for a few months. Knowing that a baked potato supplies more than 250 calories of usable energy, while that same potato made into potato chips would give you 360 empty calories that tend to rest on your hips, will help you to avoid buying the latter.

And appreciate having stored the former.

Enjoy the abundance of summer while accepting that things happen in nature that may mean your sense of petroleum-based supermarket selection may not always supply you with a sense of food security. Take some measure of self-reliance and gain a greater sense of security. Start a garden (even if it’s in pots), buy in bulk, can, dry, freeze excess so it doesn’t go to waste.

And make sure you have a non-electric can opener just in case.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 07/01/2013
During this legislative session we have received various reports and information about the economy in Oregon that requires a closer look in order to truly understand where we are as a state and where we may be headed in the future.
Readers will remember that the May revenue forecast said we would have nearly $275 million dollars in additional revenue for this biennium due to increased tax receipts from individuals and businesses. On the surface, this was welcome news. It meant that we would be able to increase funding for K-12 schools by nearly $1 billion dollars as well as have the much-needed resources to fully fund other public services and health care needs—and that this could be done without raising taxes. But below the surface, the report showed that the majority of the increase in revenue came from the sale of assets to avoid future tax increases, not from a growing and healthy state economy. This is concerning.
Recently, the employment department released their statistics about the status of the adult workforce in Oregon. The good news is that our unemployment rate is at its lowest level in four and a half years at 7.8 percent. This is welcome news to those who have been struggling to find jobs so they can provide for themselves and their families. But the concerning news is that within our labor force in Oregon, the number of eligible adults who are actually working is at an all-time low. As of May, only 61.8 percent of adults were actually employed. This is disconcerting at best and it is a trend that is expected to continue. It’s very hard for an economy to expand and grow when the number of working adults is declining. Even though Hood River County leads the state with a 83.7  percent participation rate, this is a troubling statistic that likely means we will continue to have difficulty funding education and other vital services at levels that we would like.
With this mixed bag of economic news about our slowly growing yet fragile economy, you might expect that the legislature would be focused on helping business to grow and individuals to be more profitable. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. House leadership has allowed dozens of bills to be voted out of committee and then passed to the House floor that will make life more difficult and less profitable for the private sector.
We have also done very little (at this writing) to address the cost drivers that continue to take precious resources out of the budgets of our school districts, colleges and universities. Let’s hope that as the legislature moves toward SINE DIE very soon that we will either do no further harm or we will actually take some action to help families and businesses regain economic health.

(State Representative Mark Johnson, R-Hood River, provides monthly updates exclusively to The Mountain Times.)

Le Carre Plunges Into the Covert War on Terror by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2013
John le Carre is a master of espionage suspense and his newest novel, while not a masterpiece, takes an intriguing path into the behind-the-scenes action of the covert war on terror.

Many serpentine twists and turns and cover-ups are involved in what seems at first to be a straight-forward capture of a terrorist king-pin.

Le Carre provides insight into the personal costs of the international efforts to battle shadowy foes in the present day – along with shady techniques and unprecedented public/private partnerships where lines of responsibility and legality are blurred.

The novel begins with a covert counter-terrorist operation code-named “Wildlife.” An experienced diplomat is recruited to take part in the mission to lend it credibility with the British government and other international participants. The stated purpose of the expedition is to capture a high-value target, an arms buyer who is expected to visit the British crown colony of Gibraltar. While “Paul” - the diplomat who is kept in the dark through much of the action, is left with the impression that the mission is a total win for his side and “cleanly” accomplished, the actual events on the ground turn out to be in stark contrast.

Years later, a disgraced and depressed Special Forces veteran delivers his truth about what really happened, causing great consternation to those who participated and believed the official transcript of events.

Was a tragedy indeed covered up? If so, why and how?  A rising young diplomat stumbles upon the cover-up story and decides he can’t ignore its implications or its tragic personal costs. Together with Sir Christopher Probyn, a now-retired British diplomat, and his tough-minded daughter Emily, Toby walks the careful line of danger to uncover the truth of those past events.

The reader is left feeling amazed at the convoluted narrative of this one solitary event in a global war that must certainly feature many, many missions with reports that may be “polished” before they are presented to higher levels.

How many clandestine warriors struggle with their consciences as they follow the governmental or company line instead of acknowledging the less palatable truth?

(John le Carre began writing spy novels while he was working for the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. He is the author of over 20 novels.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 07/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our majestic mountain.

Here we are right in the middle of our blessed summer season; our flowers, our veggies and our weeds.

The early morning serenade of birdsong erases any blues that may hang up the day, truly God’s peace abounds. 

Those beautiful baskets that suspend from our porches and lofts are the thing now, as they attract hummingbirds and butterflies making them even prettier to gaze upon.

These baskets will bloom beautifully from now until October if given proper care. Use a little common sense when placing them. 

Fuchsias do best in shade with plenty of food in their water, and keep those berries removed so they will keep blooming.

These are the hummers favorites!

The “swingtime” fuchsia is especially hardy and exhibits a pink skirt with white petals – the perfect display of a ballerina. 

For sunshine you can’t beat some of those flamboyant colors of the petunias or million bells; the raspberries, oranges, pinks, purples, the list goes on. 

These plants are easy to care for as well.

Think about your yard and how you can make it beautiful with a hanging basket draped from a branch or beam with little cost. 

Plus, if hung high enough, the deer can’t reach up to destroy your beauty. Just make sure you have an extended arm on your water wand for easy watering.

Ah, I wrote a poem about Bambi that I would like to share with you.  It’s from a new book I am currently writing:

“Oh dear what can the matter be”
Bambi was once a welcomed guest
Now Bambi appears unwanted as he ate some precious plants
You see, you moved out in the country to the mountain wild and sweet,
Now you expect Bambi to leave the country where he is wild and free,
You love to plant your garden; you enjoy harvesting your corn,
Now try a pot or two where Bambi can’t reach and the two of you in peace can abide!

Until next time and as always may you have the peace and joy of simply gardening. 
Science Links Obesity to Lazy Microbes by Ned Hickson on 07/01/2013
Scientists at Cornell University have created a device capable of measuring the weight of a single cell. This is big news because it moves us beyond the limits of sub-gram measurements “nano,” “pico” and “femto,” and into an exciting new realm of measurements known as “zeppo,” “harpo” and “groucho.”
This could eventually lead to the smallest and least-known unit of measure, “shempo.”

Many of you are probably wondering how useful this information really is when it seems most things – cars, houses, Americans in general – are actually getting bigger.

Personally, I see no benefit in being able to describe my weight as “a little over 70 trillion harpo-grams.” And I can tell you no husband wants to be around when his wife discovers, after eating that extra helping of potato salad this Fourth of July, that she not only gained back the 17 trillion zeppo-grams she’d lost, but also put on an extra two billion grouchos.

It doesn’t matter that all of this adds up to less than a single uncooked lima bean.

What matters is that I make the potato salad, and will therefore be held responsible.

As Cornell University scientists explained, this new system of measurement is a tremendous breakthrough because it allows them to weigh things that had previously been too small for anyone to actually care about.

To help you appreciate this advancement, I will attempt to explain the science behind the discovery.
Being that this is a family newspaper, I should warn you that I will be referring to “oscillating cantilevers” and “sextillions.” Rest assured that these are completely innocuous words, especially since I have no idea what they mean.

And once again, being that this is a family newspaper, I will refrain from guessing.

According to scientists, their discovery was made by using “tiny oscillating cantilevers” to detect a change in the mass of something as small as one “sextillion.” This is equal to one-thousandth of a femtogram, or put in more practical terms, roughly the size of one bacterium nostril.