Vol. 15, No. 1

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CONTENTS:

Sixteenth Annual Firehouse Sale
High Prairie Community Council
HPCC Meetings: Programs and Speakers
Argentina
Vacation Rentals on High Prairie
Signs of Spring
Fire Lines: The Value of Service
Forest Health and Fire Preparedness
High Prairie Local to Speak in Natural History Series
In Memoriam: Bob Dove

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2015 Sixteenth Annual Firehouse Sale

firehouseSaleLogo

Rocky Schultz

With no winter and spring already having sprung it can only mean one thing: THE HIGH PRAIRIE FIREHOUSE SALE is gearing up again. Dates have been set for May 15, 16 and 17. The High Prairie Firehouse Sale is a time to meet your neighbors, make friends and help raise funds for our local fire department. There will be Myron’s famous bratwurst, a silent auction, baked goods and “under the big top” sale. A new item will be added to this year’s activities— a local car show (not technically). We are asking locals to bring their collectible or hobby cars up to HPCC for a “show and tell.” More details to follow. We have also asked if a few of the Mid Columbia Auto Club Members would come, possibly Saturday morning, and spend a few hours sharing their dream cars. No confirmation on this yet.

Plan to help set up tents on May 1 and 2. We will be moving the large tent to the other side of the well house. Hopefully, this will be it’s final resting place! If anyone has a portable carport no longer in use, we will be glad to take it off your hands. The framework is what is important. We can always use a tarp for the canvas.

If you are available to volunteer your time for the sale, we can use you! If you could volunteer to cook a lunch for volunteers, we can use you! If you can stir up a batch of cookies or brownies for the bake sale, we can use it! If you have items to donate, we can use them— except for electronics. We will no longer be accepting electronic devices, computers, peripherals, etc. We will have a storage trailer within the next couple weeks at the old firehouse to drop off donated items.

Please contact Rocky at 365-5099 or Roberta at 365-9564 if you have questions or would like to sign up!

Scenes from 2014 Firehouse Sale

Photo: Neil Shuster

Photo: Neil Shuster

Photo: Gwen Berry

Photo: Gwen Berry

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hpccMike Richards, HPCC President

As I sit typing my update for the March issue of the High Prairian, the sun is streaming through my south facing window, landing squarely on my shoulder and making it uncomfortably warm. It occurs to me that the official start of spring is still nearly three weeks away. I know that winter could return with a chilly vengeance almost without notice, but it is difficult to resist the temptation to dust off the motorcycle and head out for a late winter inaugural run.

With all the recent rain, coupled with warm weather, its a perfect setup for the timely appearance of a newly-planted lawn on the west side of the High Prairie Community Center, all courtesy of the planning and coordinating efforts of our very own treasurer, Fred Henchell. Hopefully, this will provide a welcoming and relaxing area for customers of the food court and those just looking for a rest during this year’s firehouse sale.

Yes, its been a very mild winter so far this year, and after taking our usual holiday hiatus in November and December, our meetings this year have thus far been eventful and well-attended.

At the January meeting county Public Works Director, Gordon Kelsey, gave a detailed presentation on the county’s six-year plan including the project to pave Schilling Road. More recently, we had an abbreviated presentation on the Firewise program from Dan Lennon of DNR as well as a presentation from Cory Eberhard of the Goldendale Public Radio Project.

For our upcoming meetings, Chris Sattem is working diligently to have Jim White of the Goldendale Observatory introduce us to the night sky and Margie Fickett of Gorge Bee give a presentation on apiculture, or the practice of keeping bees and harvesting honey and beeswax. Sharon Aleckson is also working on getting other informative and intriguing guests.

Of course, on the immediate horizon is the 2015 High Prairie Firehouse Sale, scheduled for mid-May. If you have a donation for the sale or can volunteer to help out during the event, please contact Rocky Schultz.

Another item that I want to mention is the video presentations of the community council meetings. I have received feedback that the presence of the video camera is not entirely well-received by all members of the community. As I do not wish to impair open and candid discussion during the meetings, we have discontinued this practice as of the February meeting.

I am still willing to provide this service in the future, however, the initiative will have to come from the community at a future meeting, so that a proper discussion can be had, both sides heard, and the issue put to a vote.

If you can, please attend one of our upcoming council meetings, board meetings, or the annual High Prairie Firehouse Sale. I look forward to seeing you!

Come to HPCC Meetings and Support the High Prairie Community

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HPCC Meetings: Programs and Speakers

Sharon Aleckson

Do you have ideas about future programs? What do you think would be an interesting program? Interesting programs are the key to good meeting attendance.

Are you interested in being a speaker at an upcoming HPCC meeting? Do you know of someone that would like to be a speaker at a meeting?

The Board of Directors meets two weeks prior to scheduled monthly HPCC meetings. Discussion topics always include community issues, concerns, events, or interests relating to residents of the H-P community (as defined by the boundaries of Fire District #14). Issues outside our area are also considered. These include issues that relate to our school districts (Centerville and Lyle), or County services and elections. Recommendations for programs and prospective speakers are presented and the selection process begins. A board member then makes contacts and arrangements for the presentation.

Programs and speakers that address the concerns or interests of High Prairians are important!!! If you would like to recommend someone to speak at the monthly HPCC meeting, please come to a Board Meeting, or contact a Board member.

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Argentina

Neil and Carol Schuster spent several weeks in Argentina this February on a mission trip and a tour of some spectacular scenery. Photos: Neil Shuster.

argentina1

Mission Trip

Carol Shuster

argentina5I worked with our hostess in Vacation Bible School at the Moreno Church of the Nazarene. It was an hour’s drive from Pilar which is a city in the state of Buenos Aires. There were two other women that also helped, along with a 12 year old boy. He taught all of us how to make bracelets for the children that came to VBS at the church.

We visited one home in Moreno and did VBS for the children around the neighborhood. One of the ladies and I did a puppet show for the children. We also sang songs and did motions to the songs. The families we visited offered us food and drink after the programs.

One of the ladies in the family let me hold her baby named Kayla. The lady and her family attend the church. We got back to our rooms around 10:00 p.m. We were very tired but it was well worth it.

On a Saturday our missionary friends took us shopping. That evening we went to a place an hour’s drive from Moreno called Tigre. The name means Tiger. This place is down a dirt road in the middle of a land fill. Imagine seeing a playground with swings, teeter totters, monkey bars and a round jungle jim in a place that stinks. Most of the children have no home at all or they are taken away from parents who abuse them. The kids are so hungry for love and affection. One little girl ran up and hugged me. I wanted to keep hugging her. We did our VBS program with song and motions to the songs. Then my friend and I told a Bible story with puppets. After the program we gave the kids crayons, candy and bracelets. We stayed around and played with the kids. Then it was back to the compound for dinner and rest.

On Sunday we went to church in Moreno and said good bye to these wonderful people. That afternoon we went to Tigre again but this time we were inside a small church. We did the VBS and the puppet show. It was a different group of children and they responded with laughter. The pastor of the church told us how he became a Christian. After the program they gave us an orange drink and cookies.

Iguazu Falls

Neil Shuster

argentina2We left the group that we arrived in Argentina with on February 16th and met with our tour guide at the American tours Hotel in down town Buenos Aries.

I need to explain that when you say that you are going to or are in Buenos Aries you are in a state of Argentina. The city is a separate entity. The city is like our Washington DC and their Pink House as our White House. The pink comes from mixing bull’s blood with the paint which apparently preserves the surface of the building.

We toured the city and then at 8 p.m. we went to dinner and a tango show. The next morning we flew to Puerto airport Iguassu,, Argentina. We stayed at the Raices Esturion Iguazu Hotel and the next day went to the Iguazu Falls National Park. We walked about ¼ mile to the train and then 15 minutes on the train to the trail head. From there we were given an hour to walk a so-called easy walk across a grated walkway about three feet wide way with two-way traffic. I estimated it was about one mile to the end. All over the river to where we looked over the top of the falls at the Devils Throat 275 feet down. We got very wet.

When we got back we rode the train back to another point overlooking the falls and then a very long walk down broken narrow steps (probably ¼ mile) to the river. Here we were given a water proof bag and told to put all our valuables and anything we did not want to get wet. They drove us up into several sections of the falls, the underside of the Devils Throat, and teased us a little by getting us into th spray and turned around several times then drove directly into the falls so we were directly below the water. From there we navigated about one mile down river through some heavy rapids where we had a short climb and a chance to change, if we had something to change into, then a ride through the rain forest to the end of the tour.

One more thing: this whole area is a huge finger in the north central Argentina and a short walk from our hotel is a spot where you can see Paraguay and Brazil from one location.

Additional photos (click for enlarged view):

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Vacation Rentals of High Prairie

Audrey Bentz

Did you know there are two facilities now operating as vacation rentals on High Prairie? The first is the wellknown local B&B, Morning Song Acres, which has recently begun operating almost entirely as a vacation rental, with a minimum of B&B business continuing. The second is “The Castle” (Counting Eagles Castle), a separate apartment in Diane Cazalet and Bill Stallings’ unique and fascinating house on Schilling Road. Both offer stunning views of the mountains and open prairie as well as a peaceful get-away after exploring the gorge.

(Counting Eagles) Castle

(Counting Eagles) Castle

Morning Song Acres

Morning Song Acres

Morning Song Acres

When Myrin retired in 1998 as pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Portland, we purchased the bare property on Oda Knight Road with the “retirement” wish of building a retreat facility. Awakening in the morning in our sleeping bags, and enjoying the early morning music of coyotes, roosters and birds, Myrin named it “Morning Song Acres.” We eventually built a large, open house with sleeping quarters for a small crowd and a meeting room in the lower level. It sits uphill and to the west of the High Prairie Community Center, although that was built later.

We began hosting retreats, and in between retreats we sometimes rented rooms for a night or a weekend, providing breakfasts like a B&B. The bed and breakfast part of our business kept growing as people found out about our hospitable place in the country. Many guests became repeat customers, and news of our B&B spread by word of mouth as well as through our website (morningsongacres. com). Morning Song Acres became primarily a B&B, although we still host a few weekend retreat groups.

Last year we made another change in our operation. Most of our guests now are renting the whole house as a “vrbo” (vacation rental by owner) through VacasaRentals.com.

Working through Vacasa has made life a lot easier for us, in that Vacasa does all the arrangements including the cleaning! We greet our guests when they arrive and we can be available in case for special needs. It has been fun for us since we are hosting people from all over the world. In just a few months we had guests from France, The Philippines, India, Ukraine, Canada, Estonia, Australia, Switzerland and Greece!

Both the “Castle” and “Morning Song Acres” are open to hosting High Prairie neighbors’ guests, if lodging is needed. Vacasa asks that you contact them, and we will ask Vacasa to give you a 20% discount on the price they would normally charge. Call us first so we can make that arrangement for you 365-5799 (The Castle) or 365- 3600 (Morning Song Acres).

Sounds of spring: http:// youtu.be/3o0FC7aqg94

Sounds of spring: http://youtu.be/3o0FC7aqg94

Balsam and lupine on the south side of Stacker Butte. Photo: Jeff McMullin

Balsam and lupine on the south side of Stacker Butte. Photo: Jeff McMullin

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Signs of Spring

Photos by Peg Caliendo

(Click image for enlarged view)

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fireLines

The Value of Service

Tim Darland, FPD #14, Chief

volunteerFor those of you that do not know me, I have been serving our community as Fire Chief since April, 2014. Initially as temporary replacement of the outgoing Chief, in August 2014, the High Prairie Fire Commissioners appointed me as the official Fire Chief of High Prairie Fire Department (HPFD) through a fair and open competitive process. Prior to that time, I served as Captain on the Department since early 2000. During my tenure with the department I have not given much thought regarding the value of service HPFD provides to the community. Since accepting the Fire Chief’s position I have wondered how much time and effort department members actually put in to serving our community. It is a justified question as we all pay taxes for fire suppression and emergency services.

To recap 2014 HPFD activities … all I can only say WOW, what a year this has been! I had other words but let’s just stick with WOW! Members responded to a total of 82 emergency calls this last year. Medical emergencies were the majority of our responses totaling 34. Vegetation fires were a close second at 25 responses followed by 14 motor vehicle accidents and 9 structure fires. The following graph breaks down the types of emergency calls in more detail.

2014-callTypes

2014-hoursTo calculate the value of service we first need to look at the number of hours spent on emergency responses and training/maintenance activities. Second, those hours are expanded for total personnel time on each activity. I was shocked when I compiled the volunteer numbers for HPFD activities. HPFD members volunteered a total of 2,241.23 hours! Last, by multiplying the numbers of volunteer hours by the average emergency services hourly wage at $23.21 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013); we calculated a value of service to our community totaling $52,018.95. Our collected tax revenue for HPFD in 2014 was approximately $27,000.00. Money well spent! What is not represented in this total value of service is the time spent by our Fire Commissioners. Each year they sign a waiver not to get paid for their time serving in their elected positions which keeps more dollars in the budget for gear and safety equipment. Thank you for your support to the department and the community.

HPFD has gone through many changes this last year which include personnel, radio communication upgrades and site improvements for the community center and the new fire station site on Schilling Road. Currently we have a roster of 16 members. This is a record since I have been on the department beginning in 1998. I am extremely honored to represent HPFD with such a dedicated staff of firefighters/emergency responders volunteering their time, day and night. I cannot thank the department members and their families enough for the commitment they give to HPFD and the community. We put a value of service on their volunteer hours but let’s just face the facts that they truly are invaluable!

A “Burn to Learn” exercise in 2006. (l to r) Fred Henchell, Philip Haner, Doug Hutchison, Leslie Hayrynen (horiz.), James Amery, Tim Darland.

A “Burn to Learn” exercise in 2006. (l to r) Fred Henchell,
Philip Haner, Doug Hutchison, Leslie Hayrynen (horiz.), James
Amery, Tim Darland.

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Forest Health and Fire Preparedness

Fred Henchell

On February 7th, about seventy High Prairians attended a Forest Health Workshop organized and presented by personnel from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Current forest health problems caused by insects and diseases were discussed. Lots of good hand-out material was provided to help landowners identify and deal with the resulting problems. (Let me know if you need info. I have copies of the hand-outs and I know how to find the info on-line or get it from the presenters.)

High Prairie is a high fire risk area because of our climate, the topography and our native vegetation types. The results of insect and disease outbreaks combined with damage caused by wind and ice storms make our area even more vulnerable to major fire. Property owners can do a lot you can do to reduce the risk of fire on their property. AND DNR is willing to help you do it with advice and money. Their logic is that major fires are hugely expensive. Assisting landowners in reducing fire risk is way more cost effective then putting out major fires. Your logic should be that time and energy devoted to reducing risk to your property is a worthwhile investment. In big fires, the Firefighter logic is triage – Try to save as much as you can. If access is un-safe and there is little chance of protecting the assets because of surrounding fuel conditions, they will move on to a location where their efforts will likely be more successful. So working on making your home and surrounding property is very worthwhile.

A lot of workshop time was spent learning how DNR can help you accomplish fuels reduction work on your property. Cost sharing opportunities can help make this work economically possible. Dan Lennon is the local DNF forester that can help you with advice about making your property fire safe and utilizing cost sharing opportunities. Dan works out of Goldendale DNR office and can be reached at 509 773-5588 or 509 250-0491 cell.

FirewiseCommunitiesLogoColorDan Lennon was invited to speak at our HPCC meeting on February 26th. We asked Dan about how High Prairie could become a FIREWISE Community and develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. These programs would be voluntary, and would help willing participants accomplish fuels reduction work. A motion was passed to appoint a committee to work on the process to become a FIREWISE Community and develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Fred Henchell and Phillip Haner have volunteered to be cochairs of the committee. Chris Sattem volunteered to be a member representing the Schilling Road area. We would like to find additional volunteers to represent the other areas: specially the Oda Knight Rd and South Prairie Rd areas. This is a community project; it will only happen with community involvement and support.

Lastly, in 2014, Scott Brewer who was then the Lyle Fire Chief, obtained some grant money to do a wildfire hazard analysis. He was able to look at both the Lyle and High Prairie Districts. He visited most High Prairie properties and used prescribed criteria to rate most of our properties. The hazard ratings were “Low,” “Moderate,” “High” and “Extreme”. Landowners received a rating sheet. From what I’ve seen, there were no “Low” ratings, some “Moderate” ratings, mostly “High” ratings and quite a few “Extreme” ratings. You may not agree with the rating, but it certainly gives you an idea of what you could do to reduce the hazard around your property.

THIS WILL ONLY HAPPEN WITH BOTH INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT!

Removing the smaller, weaker trees from this forest (left) produced a more natural and healthier stand (right) that will be more resilient to wildfire and insect infestations. Photos: Glenn Kohler/DNR.

Removing the smaller, weaker trees from this forest (left) produced a more natural and healthier stand (right) that will be more resilient to wildfire and insect infestations. Photos: Glenn Kohler/DNR.

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High Prairie Local to Speak in Natural History Series

High Prairie’s Jake Jakabosky will be giving a one-hour presentation in April at the White Salmon Library. Jake will draw on his professional background in environmental clean-up to briefly cover some of the core environmental laws enacted in the 70s and 80s. These laws, such as Superfund and Community Right-to-Know, have done much to protect the public, workers, and the environment, and to clean up dangerous waste sites. Included will be a few examples of those laws in action in the Gorge and some local issues of current concern.

The final piece of the talk will explore what individuals can do to protect and improve the environmental quality of the Columbia Gorge where we live. Here Jake’s message is inspired by speeches which Dae Dahlquist, a 9-year-old White Salmon boy, gave to Oregon’s governor and the Washington State Legislature. Dae encourages people—young and old—to be strong, to operate from a place of hope, and to make their concerns and desires for a safer, cleaner environment known. Expanding on that message, Jake will discuss ways people can make a difference: getting informed, taking a position, getting inspired, and getting motivated.

The presentation is part of “Wild About Nature IV,” a natural history lecture series organized by Joy Markgraf, offered at the White Salmon Library on the four Fridays in April. Jake’s talk, titled “Protecting the Gorge – What You Can Do,” will be on April 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Read Dae Dahlquist’s speech in the Columbia Riverkeepers’ Spring 2014 newsletter (page 10) http://columbiariverkeeper.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/CRnewsletterSpring2014_FINALlowres.pdf

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IN MEMORIAM: BOB DOVE

Long-time resident of Klickitat County and High Prairie, Bob Dove passed away on Febraury 9 in Hood River at the age of 84.

Bob was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Kate Louisa (Wilson) and John Lester Dove on November 21, 1930. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War from May 1953 and received an honorable discharge in March 1955. Bob married Lorna Taylor in Goldendale, Washington on January 3, 1960. He was a Teamster and drove 18-wheelers as a career.

Bob is known throughout High Prairie for his love of animals. After moving to High Prairie from Seattle si x turkeys came by and Bob began feeding cracked corn. The turkeys told their friends and families. They multiplied over the years and became a local landmark and tourist attraction. After a while the turkeys didn’t want to leave and would fly high into the towering pine trees to spend the night.

Bob was laid to rest in the Lone Pine Cemetery, High Prairie.

We offer sincere condolences to Lorna and the Dove/Taylor families.

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