The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Mark Ellis, The Northwest Connection, Assistant Editor

Margo Goodman, owner, Double Mountain Horse Ranch

Hitting the trail at Double Mountain

On a gorgeous spread of farmland plateau above the Columbia River outside Hood River stands the Double Mountain Horse Ranch. It’s hard to imagine a better place for those seeking the adventure and renewal that comes from riding a beautiful trail on horseback.

“Horses captured me from an early age,” says owner Margo Goodman.

When the opportunity arose seven years ago, Goodman made the decision to cash in her retirement account of $80,000 and purchase the ranch. “It has been a wonderful journey,” she says. “The Lord has had His hand in my life, guiding me and keeping me healthy through horsemanship.” Continue reading

Nancy J. Smith, Photo Credit: Studio One Photography

Nature photographer Nancy J. Smith has received her sixth national award from the Calendar Marketing Association (CMA). The Association sponsors the industry’s premier awards program honoring the highest quality in calendar design and production. Smith’s 2017 ‘The Majestic Pacific Northwest’ calendar was submitted in a category with the widest pool of competitors: Wall Class Retail Division, Best Scenic Photography category. Criteria used by the CMA panel of judges to select its winners include: calendar originality, information quality, complete execution of the subject or theme and quality of photography.

“I think what makes my calendar unique is the ‘close-up corner’ on each page, where I provide a showcase for the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. There, I provide in-depth background and detail on a particular wildflower or species of wildlife I’ve found in the region. A big part of each photographic adventure is my anticipation of what I’m going to see – it’s always different. I challenge myself to give audiences the sense of what I’m seeing and feeling. I’m thrilled by CMA’s recognition but my biggest reward is bringing joy and inspiration to others through my work.” Continue reading

By Connie Warnock, NW Connection

It was bound to happen. It’s that time of year. Our lawns that Craig has worked so diligently on – sloping masterpieces of green sward – are, all of a sudden, pock marked with pyramids of finely dug dark brown earth.

Now, there are a couple of ways to look at this: Number one – “Wow, this is great dirt! Get the pots for the deck and fill them up!” Number two – “Connie, call the mole guy – NOW!” Well, I threw the mole guy’s card away four years ago – after the “incident.”

It was late fall. The leaves had fallen and the air was crisp. I was relaxing in the living room; dark was setting in; and so was I. Craig came in from outside. Continue reading

By Jim Kight, NW Connection

Two founders of Tiny Innovations, Jeremy Killion and Ryan Donato cousins that are putting Americans back to work.

Ryan and I were both shopping at an auto parts store and struck up a conversation that has led to this story. Ryan Donato, in partnership with his cousin Jeremy Killian—both 34 years old, own a manufacturing facility. It has been in production for one year and seen amazing growth with expected sales of $1 million. Their stated goal is $20 million in five years; and based on this dynamic duo they are probably understating this expectation. What is their product? Tiny houses. Thus the name of their business: Tiny Innovations.

How did you get started in your business?

For eight years we built custom homes in Lake Oswego and Portland area. We both have a real passion for building. The city grew and there was a huge demand for housing but very low inventory. It is also difficult to find buildable lots and in some cases existing houses are removed in order to build newer and more updated homes. For three years we had record sales. We spent much of our time waiting between projects and we thought there has got to be a better way to provide housing. Continue reading

Surf’s up: A classic “woody”

The 13th annual Gorge Days celebration is taking place in North Bonneville, Washington, Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, 2017. Just 45 minutes east of Vancouver off of Highway 14, North Bonneville provides a magnificent setting in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. All events take place at or around North Bonneville City Park; and the celebration is sponsored by the City of North Bonneville and organized by the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce.

The weekend kicks off on Friday morning with citywide garage sales that continue all day Saturday. Last year there were over 50 sales to visit. Continue reading

Bill Wehr

Bill Wehr, The NW Connection

Wow! It’s really hot out there. I know about the weather. I’m talking about the real estate market. The prices of homes in Damascus are high and inventory low.

Suppose you have a commercial building on 1 ¼ acre that has a tax assessed market value of $356,080 by the County. Someone comes to you with an appraisal in hand, that was ordered by that person, and it shows a market value of $235,000. Similar properties in your area could go for $500,000 or more. The party offers you $235,000 and you readily accept. Smart move on your part? Most definitely not. However, Clackamas County Commissioners accepted a deal similar to this, and it is to be closed in escrow this month.

The Intergovernmental Agreement ( IGA ) Regarding Real Property between Clackamas County and Fire District #1 is troubling in that is appears to be a failure in the County’s fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Damascus. Continue reading

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

Kim Strassel at the Bradley Award ceremony in 2014 (Photo from Mike Strassel via the Oregonian)

Growing up in the rural Washington County town of Buxton, Oregon, Kimberley Strassel excelled at shooting, fishing, and demolition derbies, not exactly the skills that would lead her to fame as a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board. But she was also the Valedictorian of her graduating class at Banks High School in 1990. That led her to Princeton University, where she studied public policy and international affairs. She intended to go on to law school, but was persuaded to accept a position as a reporter at the Journal. She so loved the job that she has now been there for more than two decades.

In 2014 Kim received the Bradley Prize for Excellence in journalism, and her parents traveled from Oregon to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC to view the awards ceremony. Her mother Annie commented “As sweet of a girl as Kim is, as fair minded and kind, she has a little bit of mama in her,” referring to her daughter’s demolition driving. “She was very aggressive and still is today when she gets her teeth into something.”
Fast forward to May 25 this year, and we find Strassel writing in the Journal: Continue reading

Tessie Adams: In recognition for remarkable service

Committed, talented, hard worker, dedicated teacher, and energetic are all phrases that could be used to describe Tessie Adams. It also explains why she was selected by members of the association to be the representative of Multnomah County Fire District #14 for Oregon’s Firefighter of the Year.

Since Tessie joined the department in Sept. 2003, she has been a committed volunteer. She has earned her NFPA Firefighter 1, NFPA Driver, NFPA Pump Operator, First Responder Operation, Wildland Interface Firefighter, and NFPA Fire Instructor 1.

Additionally, she is active in several of the community functions that the Fire Department sponsors. Continue reading

Lydia White, Research Associate, Cascade Policy Institute

A team of researchers from the University of Washington produced a study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, that measures the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage requirement of $13 per hour.

The study* found that the city’s mandates resulted in 3% higher hourly wages, but 9% fewer hours worked. As a result, the average low-wage employee lost around $125 per month. For low-income households especially, an annual loss of $1,500 is significant.

Jacob Vigdor, one of the study’s authors and a professor at UW, said, “Traditionally, a high proportion of workers in the low-wage market are not experienced at all: teens with their first jobs, immigrants with their first jobs here.” Continue reading

Lori Porter

Lori Porter, Parent Rights In Education

Do you remember the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in the 1980’s? It was created by the Los Angeles Police Department and presented to students in elementary public schools. There was a big push for students to “just say no” to drugs. Students were given t-shirts with the DARE logo on it, and bumper stickers adorned cars across the country.
The problem was that the program taught students all about the buffet of illicit and dangerous drugs. Instead of turning them away from drugs, children became curious. What a surprise…drug use went up as these children became teens.
Fast forward to comprehensive sexuality grooming education. In 2015 the state of Oregon received a perfect score on “The Population Institute’s 2015 report card on reproductive health and rights for its comprehensive sexuality grooming education program.” We are teaching children in the public schools every conceivable way to have sex, sex with the same sex or opposite sex partners, if it feels right…”just do it!” Continue reading

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