Vol. 19, No. 1


HPCC: From The Treasurer’s Desk…

A Mexican Newspaper Article

A Visitor

Life Flight Offers Vital Service, Terrific Membership Benefit

A Thank-You To High Prairie Friends

Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue Gets $12,000 Grant

Photos: A Winter To Remember

To The End Of The Earth

Firelines: Chief Tim’s Tips
Firefighter Training
2018 Fire District #14 Value Of Service

FireWise: Lessons Drawn From California Megafires

Schilling Road Fire Station Completed

Dreaming Of Spring In The Garden


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(Substitute) Editor’s Note:

This edition is in honor of Jake Jakabosky who passed away suddenly earlier this month. Jake was a widely respected but unassuming member of the community; always willing to volunteer for community activities with an earnest, quiet demenor and an infectious smile. High Prairie will certainly miss his contribution to Fire District 14 as a firefighter, first responder and the principal author of Fire Lines. As you read this edition you will notice that many people have been touched by this loss. Our hearts go out especially to Gwen (the real editor of the High Prairian) as she makes her way though a very tough time.


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From the HPCC Treasurer’s Desk…

Ken Hansen, HPCC Treasurer

Like my neighbors, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Jake Jakabosky. You will learn more about Jake from others in this issue, but among other roles, Jake served as a volunteer fireman with Fire District 14. I personally wish I had gotten to know Jake better…  

I want to acknowledge both Jake and Gwen specifically for their volunteer service to their High Prairie community. Gwen serves as the editor for the High Prairian. Theirs’s is a true example of volunteerism. 

Volunteers are what make this community one of the reasons Deb and I chose to settle here for the duration of our lives. This service is part of the web that ties our rolling geography into a neighborhood and a community. 

Neighbors volunteer to serve with the High Prairie fire department and the Community Council for various reasons. Recently Roberta Cockeram resigned as a director with the Community Council. Her participation on the board and wise counsel will be missed. Like Gwen and Jake, they too are a two-volunteer family; Ward has been a volunteer firefighter with Fire District 14. Thank you, Roberta and Ward, for your service to your neighbors. Fair winds and following seas to you on your next steps. 

Cynthia Henchell (who I tortured by pushing deadlines) stepped in to edit this edition of the High Prairian. Thanks Cynthia! A small number of our neighbors are conducting the services provided by these organizations. Each loss of a volunteer hits both the organization and our small community disproportionately hard. The High Prairie Community Council is lacking a president, and consists of just 4 people. Future losses will likely result in dissolution of the HPCC. 

Jake Jakabosky said it himself: “I volunteer because I like helping friends and neighbors on High Prairie and being part of a great team.” Think about how and where you might benefit or give back to your own life and family, and the community, by volunteering to the Community Council or Fire District 14. 

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2019 Rummage Sale

Ken Hansen

Over the June 21–23 weekend, the High Prairie Community Council sponsored the second annual Community Rummage Sale. About 26 families participated, combining with their neighbors into about 12 different homes. Several High Prairie families managed tables at the Community Center. 

On Friday morning, with my map in hand (excellent job!), I made the pilgrimage through the neighborhood. I missed a couple of neighbors, with whom I followed up on Saturday. It was special to meet a couple new neighbors (and sort through their stuff). 

I have to admit, I felt a bit ghoulish, sorting through the “sortings” of those whom we will soon be missing. (Although with this reading, my bride Deb will learn I not only bought Keiko and Jim’s Folboat-—not leaving—but Ward and Roberta’s boat as well…)

All considered, this was declared a success. The signage and flashy dependable-wind-driven pom-poms directed the traffic in, and ruffled a few tables on Saturday and Sunday. 

While not intended to be a “fund raiser”, this event will bring in some minor receipts. A special “Thank You” to Audrey and Myrin Bentz for not only covering the kitchen and selling food in support of the map-distribution and sales, but also donating the proceeds of their personal sales to HPCC. They have been stalwart supporters of High Prairie. While they are not moving far, their void in the community will be noticeable. 

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Lone Pine Cemetery Cleanup

Barbara Parrish

On the 5th of May a like-minded group of concerned friends and family, assembled at the Hartland/Lone Pine Cemetery in High Prairie, Washington. They had gathered there to assess and resolve the damage caused by the, “Old Lone Pine”, having lost its head during the winter, leaving havoc amongst the tombstones. It was with some anxiety the ground was cleared enough to assertain the extent of the damage. Providentially, though stones were toppled from their places, none seemed to have sustained lasting damage. With much care and caution the work proceeded, and with the aid of two able sawyers, and many helping hands, the troublesome remains of the pine were soon reduced to manageable heaps. 

It was sadly found however, that the stalwart oak that had cushioned the fall of the mighty pine top, thus sparing several tombstones at its feet, had suffered too harshly from the fall of the pine, and could not be spared. This was a ticklelish business, and the men with keen insight, after some discussion, climbing of ladders, tying off of straps, ropes, and usage of tackle and pulley, resolved upon a simpler plan, and brought down the oak with the aid of just a chainsaw, rope, tie-strap, and truck winch. Down it came with a resounding thump, missing the tombstones, and bringing a cheer from the convivial bunch watching from the safety of the sidelines.

After several hours of labor, it was with happier hearts the tired group, rejoicing in the outcome of their united efforts, shook hands and parted ways, promising to return and continue the woody clean up on another day.

(Select image for enlarged view)

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Obituary: Joel (Jake) Jakabosky

Family and friends of Joel (Jake) Leon Jakabosky were stunned when a short struggle with an aggressive MRSA infection resulted in his death on June 5, 2019. He was 75.

Jake was born in Portland, OR, on November 19, 1943, to Ione May (Genseroski) and Leon Joseph Jakabosky. At about 5 years old his family moved to the tiny town of Molalla, OR. In Molalla, Jake and his siblings could roam freely in the woods and fields around the town. He learned to closely observe the natural world around him and began fishing, hunting, watching birds and taking pictures.

Jake went to college at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, graduating in Range Management. He worked for Weyerhauser for several years, then jumped at the chance to hire on with the Bureau of Land Management. He spent the rest of his career with the BLM in Winnemucca, NV; Roseberg, OR; and finally in Spokane, WA. He was most proud of the work he did in the Spokane office, where as Hazardous Materials Specialist he was responsible for the cleanup of several toxic mine sites in north-central and eastern Washington. He retired in 2006.

Jake’s love for the natural world was part and parcel of who he was and it defined him throughout his life. An avid hunter and fisherman, he also loved birding, wildflowers, photography, and gardening. Jake’s idea of bliss was to stand knee-deep in a lonely bend of a river, coaxing the fish to bite with just the right cast of just the right fly. 

In 1969, he married his first wife, Susan, and soon his much-loved son and daughter were born. After their divorce and his move to Spokane, he married again, but that relationship faltered, too. He finally found lasting love and companionship when he married Gwen Berry, on October 8, 2005. They moved to High Prairie at the end of 2006.

Jake was a quiet and kind man, with a strength and persistence that carried him far in life. Though many of Jake’s pursuits were solitary, he liked people and they liked him. With his quiet warmth and personal interest, he developed friendships wherever he went. He was always available to help or work with friends and to help out at community fundraisers and events. He volunteered as a firefighter/first responder with the High Prairie Fire District for almost 12 years and wrote a quarterly “Fire Lines” column for The High Prairian newsletter. In March 2019 he was named High Prairie’s  Firefighter of the Year. 

Gardening was always a big part of Jake’s life. After gardening at home for a while, he put all his attention on the local cooperative garden, the Garden of Weedin. Jake delighted in having his own little orchard at home where he could pick a peach or an apple and eat it right there under the tree; and he loved to share the bounty with friends.

An active birder, he inspired many who knew him to take an interest in birds and birding. He was seldom seen out and about without binoculars or his camera, or both. He liked traveling, and Jake and Gwen towed their trailer through explorations of California and the Southwest, all over Oregon and much of Washington. He fell in love with the red rock country of southeast Utah.

Jake is remembered with great love by his wife, Gwen Berry; son Aaron Jakabosky (Annie) and daughter April Brown (Erik); brothers Dale Jakabosky (Nancy) and Bob Jakabosky (Lanie); granddaughter Valerie Jakabosky; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and his sister Janis Herbison.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 14, at 1 p.m., at the High Prairie Community Center at 701 Struck Road, outside of Lyle, WA.

Jake’s Nirvana

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Special Birding Shelter Planned As Memorial

Gwen Berry

I wish to thank everyone for the outpouring of kindness and concern over the loss of Jake Jakabosky, my husband. I couldn’t be in a better place than this supportive community.

Several people have expressed to me that Jake’s unexpected death left an unexpectedly large hole in our community. They wished there were some personal way to respond to that loss. The idea came up to build a memorial to Jake, something that would evoke Jake’s life and his place in the community.

After much thought, the perfect project came to mind. What could be more appropriate than a bird blind for a birder like Jake, especially one that anyone in the community could use for bird watching, quiet contemplation, and other activities, that would be a valuable addition to the Fire District’s Struck Road property. The response has been enthusiastic. So, in appreciation for Jake himself, the friendships he made, and the place he held in the community, a bird blind/shelter will be built overlooking the beautiful little pond on Myrin and Audrey Bentz’s property.

The project is already under way. The Fire Commissioners have put their stamp of approval on the idea. Architect Rick Carlson is working on some preliminary designs. A GoFundMe account has been opened to accept donations (https://tinyurl.com/Memorial-to-Jake). There will be plenty of hands-on help needed, too. 

It eases my loss when I envision such a memorial to Jake taking shape through the efforts of people who thought so highly of him, and I look forward to seeing his community enjoying it when it’s finished.

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HPCC Happenings

Ken Hansen

Your High Prairie Community Council (HPCC) funded the food for the recent dedication of the Shilling Road fire station. It was a very nice ceremony. As a dedication gift, HPCC also funded the new signs for both of the fire stations. Thanks to those who made this ceremony happen, and those who attended.

The Community Council is pursing needed upgrades to the Community Center kitchen. We are investigating how we can apply for a grant to fund  most of the desired improvements. The board has recognized the opportunities presented by improving the community center to better position the facility for its potentially critical role in supporting future local disasters, such as wildfires, Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes, road closures, etc. Substantial funding exists to provide for kitchen improvements and beyond. If you have experience and would like to assist in preparing future grant applications, please contact me.

With an eye toward both short- and long-term goals, HPCC approved expenditures of not to exceed $2,500 for filling of dangerous holes, grading the slopes and reseeding of the west yard area of the Community Center. (We worked with Chief Darland to consider leach fields, etc). The outcome will be a safer and friendlier space for community use. The work is in progress. Thanks to Summit Excavation of Dallesport. Kudos to Chris Sattem for overseeing this project. 

We have had disappointing turnouts for our monthly HPCC meetings and our guest speakers. Those who missed the recent speaker from Insitu (speaking about drone use in local wildfires) missed a great presentation! We are working to bring interesting and topical speakers to our meetings. If you have suggestions for speakers of community interest, please send the info my way.

The July HPCC meeting will feature Officer Cale Myers and another of our local “Game Wardens”, as well as our local game biologist, from Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife. They will be prepared to address topics such as the ebbs and flows of deer and mountain lions, the turkey issue, feeding of deer and any other topics of community concern. Please come with your questions, it should be a lively Q & A session!

The weekend of October 5–6, HPCC will be hosting Octoberfest and a beer garden. This will be our major fundraiser for HPCC and Fire District 14. Please keep this on your calendar to either attend or perhaps, join the fun and volunteer. More to follow by email.

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Tribute to Jake

Diane Cazalet and Bill Stallings

Jake Jakabosky died quite suddenly Wednesday, June 5th, of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Oh Jake! We never spent much time thinking about how important you have been to us. We knew it was nice to have you as a neighbor, nice to have someone to query about flora and fauna, nice to see you at community events, nice to have you show up all garbed when Bill unwittingly lit our field on fire.

You have been such a stalwart member of this community. For nearly twelve years you were a dedicated volunteer fireman receiving the Fire Chief’s award more than once for your professionalism and reliable work.

It seems that everything you took on to do, whether it was to inform us in Fire Lines articles for the High Prairian newsletter, or helping Gwen hang signs, or traffic control for our fundraising events, or irrigating the community garden, you did it and you did it well. You were too easy to take for granted.

You were quiet and unpretentious. We listened when you spoke as you always had something interesting or important to say. We listen now for a sound to fill a void we had no idea would exist without you, because we never thought you would not be in our community.

A rock in our foundation is missing. A decent soul upon whom we rely without thinking is gone. He was our friend and we are so sad.

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High Prairie Fire Department Station #2 

Tim Darland, High Prairie Fire Chief on behalf of the Fire Commissioners and High Prairie Community Council (HPCC), welcomed guests to celebrate the grand opening of High Prairie Fire Department Station #2 on Saturday May 18, 2019.

Special guest, Washington State Representative Gina Mosbrucker was in attendance.

< Fire Chief Darland, Rep Gina Mosbrucker and HPCC President Sharon Aleckson

Chief Darland emceed the event and provided a timeline of the 16 year journey that it took to build Station 2. This project started in 2003 when a local landowner (Ron Olin) donated the property. The location of this station will provide equality for homeowner insurance ratings throughout the fire district footprint.

Some site prep was completed in 2007 along with a site plan but funding roadblocks were the norm. The project gained traction in late 2014 with the demolition of a derelict structure on the property and the submittal of a Conditional Use Permit in early 2015. The fire district began to seek alternative funding sources though the USDA loan program. 

Chief Darland thanked the Board of County Commissioners for waiving many of the county fees in this process and also thanked the planning department for working with the fire district as the project was delayed for a multitude of reasons. 

In mid-2015, the Fire Commissioners compiled a final building specification sheet for a 5-bay steel building that went out for bid. The one returned bid was at a much higher cost than expected, so back to the drawing board to find cost saving measures.  

In 2016, the fire district was in the pre-loan phase with USDA who wanted to view the last 3 years of audits. The department was in the middle of a secretary transition and the backlog of audits was completed. Great job to secretary Glenna Scott for completing the backlog audits. Two members of the High Prairie community (Arlen and Sharon Aleckson) worked with Representative Mosbrucker and inquired about available funding through Washington State. 

The fire district submitted an application in early 2017 for a capital improvement project that was championed by Representative Mosbrucker. Rep. Mosbrucker was instrumental in moving the application through the Washington State legislative branches.  

Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2017 appropriations bill in January of 2018 which included funding for Station 2. The fire district received a total of $434,000 state appropriated dollars. The fire district commissioners revised the building specifications to include a 4 bay steel building and an underground water storage system engineered by Conservation Technology to collect the rainwater/snow melt from the roof of the structure. Kaban Homes Inc. received the bid to build the new fire station and did an exceptional job. 

Station 2 was completed in March of 2019. 

We are thankful to so many of you for supporting us along the way. To our community, the HPCC, Klickitat County (Commissioners, Public Works, and Planning Dept), Lyle Fire Department, the High Prairie firefighters, Arlen and Sharon Aleckson, and to Rep. Gina Mosbrucker said Chief Darland.

(Select image for enlarged view)

Left: Pictured from Left to Right Commissioner James Amery, HPCC President Sharon Aleckson, Rep Gina Mosbrucker, Chief Tim Darland and Commissioner Philip Haner

Center: Station #2 is officially in service

Right: The celebration begins

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Weeds Of High Prairie

Joe Walsh*

Gardeners will tell you that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. But in Klickitat County—and throughout the rural west—there are a lot of weeds that are more than that: the invasives. Following is a short, general summary of a big and complicated problem.

The invasive and noxious weeds are more than annoying; they invade and degrade our natural habitats and cause problems for agriculture. A lot of them originate on the steppe of Eurasia and find our dry side conditions ideal.

Invasive weeds are non-native and such strong competitors that they can establish on many sites, grow quickly, and spread to the point of disrupting plant communities and ecosystems. Some prominent invasives in our area are weedy grasses that threaten to crowd out our wildflowers and other native plants – cereal rye, cheatgrass and ripgut brome are just a few. Cheatgrass is also increasing fire danger on our dry side grasslands, as it dies off much earlier in the season than the natives.

State law and county ordinance designate noxious weeds. These are the most aggressive and damaging of the invasives. Listing as a noxious weed means that landowners are required to control that weed on their property, or be assessed if the County has to take control measures. Here’s a brief portrait of three of our worst offenders.

Skeleton Weed – once you recognize this strange looking plant, it’s unforgettable. It’s more and more a common sight in High Prairie. Without control measures, a few of these pests will turn into a colony.

Knapweed is another gangly invader. There are several varieties out there, but they are all very aggressive and can take over quickly. Their deep taproot allows them to survive tough conditions over many years. Some knapweeds secrete a chemical that zaps competing plants.

Houndstongue is not yet well established in High Prairie, and we should hope it stays that way. This 3 foot tall biennial crowds out everything else, and sends out hundreds of seeds in aggravating velcro balls.

Who’s On The Job? 

Control of noxious weeds has been the law in Washington for fifty years. Locally, Marty Hudson has been in charge of weed control in the County for almost thirty years. His efforts are spread across the roads and the public and private lands of the almost 2000 square miles of Klickitat County. Marty works directly with agencies and landowners and prefers to focus on education and prevention.

Marty notes that there have been big changes in High Prairie over the last decades as the acres of grazed and tilled land have declined and the number of rural homesteads has increased greatly. This presents a challenge in the increasing number of owners and the soil disturbance from new homesites, roads and driveways. 

What Can I Do?

The best plan is to not let problem weeds get established – they’re fierce competitors, and once established it’s tough to get rid of them. Prevention, early detection and removal are critical. Prevention plans include minimizing ground disturbance for building and access projects. Once the ground is disturbed, reseed as quickly as possible with a dry pasture mix (available at the Goldendale outlet of MidColumbia Growers). 

If you have invasive or, especially, noxious weeds, it’s time to pull, dig, or spray – preferably early in the season before the seeds are dispersed. Pulling and digging are satisfying but require dedication as a lot of weeds spread by rhizomes (underground stems) that can survive for long periods. And once weeds have been around for a while, there will be a “seed bank” in the soil with 4, 5 or even more years of viability. Unfortunately, it’s usually not a one-and-done effort, but requires ongoing effort.

If you decide to spray, choose the herbicide carefully – products like Roundup are non-selective, meaning they kill everything, possibly opening the area to more weeds. Selective herbicides target more narrowly, and usually don’t affect grasses, but are typically more expensive up front, and don’t come pre-mixed. If you do spray, follow directions carefully, make sure there’s no wind (a tall order up here) and don’t let spray drift to sensitive areas or adjoining properties.

The experts say that a combination of measures, – prevention, removal, spraying if  necessary, plus managing for desirable plants is required over the long run.

More Information

High Prairians can find Klickitat County’s programs, including contact information for Marty Hudson, at https://www.klickitatcounty.org/562/Weed-Control. There is a wealth of information on local weeds and their control, even apps for your phone and social media. The state of Washington has an extensive website on the subject. View the “most  wanted” offenders, and even get noxious weed postcards at https://www.nwcb.wa.gov/publications

A good summary comes from Carolyn Wright, the botanist at the Columbia Hills Natural Area (aka Stacker Butte). She says “A quick synopsis might be that weeds displace natives, often resulting in a less diverse plant community which in turn can affect the animal community, beginning with pollinators and other insects, various herbivores and in turn birds, reptiles and so on.“ 

*“The author grew up in farm country and hates thistles”

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Searching For America—It’s Not About The Roads

Ted Edwards | Apr 12, 2019 | Ride Life | 16  


I recently met some of the motorcycle group that have stayed at Morning 
Song Acres for several years now. They brought Myrin and Audrey to a dinner party that we attended. One of the group gave me this email address so I could see what he had written about High Prairie Quilt Show. He is a teacher and motorcycle group member consisting mostly of his family and friends, all from the Seattle area.

—Barbara Parrish

“To get even near humility, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in the desert.” –C.S. Lewis

I always thought epiphanies happened in scenic settings: a snowy mountaintop, the South Pacific Ocean, or the Australian Outback at sunset. Mine came at a quilt show. My revelation happened on our last group ride when I overheard a comment made by Terry Hammond, the unquestioned leader of the Mild Hogs.

“You know, real men would be at the rodeo,” he said. Terry was being facetious because of course, we were at a quilt show.

“This is why we ride,” he said. “This is pure Americana.”

The quilt show we were attending was a fundraiser for the High Prairie Fire Department. All of the quilts were donated by Diane Cazalet seated in the far corner of the room, surrounded by smiling family and friends. Her decades of work hung around the grange hall like a timeline of her life. Which it was.

Instantly I realized where my years of writing had gone astray. I had been writing about our bikes, our roads and ourselves, an ego-centric point of view. Years were wasted missing my real mission: uncover the personal relationships that make this country unique in world history, the American ideals of love and sacrifice for the good of others, whether family, friend or stranger.

Terry was right. Men were at the rodeo taming beasts whose aim was to toss their riders into the dirt and trample them. But men who put others first, who loved their community, who sacrificed themselves for the good of others were attending the quilt show. It was a potluck also, so that helped.

I had a new mission. My crusade was to seek the American ideal of love for our fellow countrymen everywhere I rode. The quest took me three weeks, covered eight states and over 4,000 miles. What I found brought joy, pain, and changed how I ride and write forever. All because of a quilt show in the small hamlet of High Prairie.

High Prairie lies in a steep valley in southern Washington State, homes widely spaced, hidden in the rising mountain walls and thick pine forests. It is likely the entire town attended the quilt show, and all of them could have squeezed into a school bus. Yet, they welcomed strangers like us into their family, even though we had known them for only a few hours and would be gone by morning.

The quilts sold well, a volunteer firefighter gave a tender speech and the Bluegrass Band in the corner covered Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads, earning a standing ovation from everyone under the age of 50. Both of us. Yet, I could not stop thinking about the love it took for Diane to give her life’s work as a gift to a volunteer organization. Also, I could not decide which took more love and sacrifice; giving away a lifetime’s collection of 70 quilts or being a volunteer firefighter in a town nestled into the woods in a fire-prone northwest. Both laid down their life for their neighbors. Nothing is more American.

I could have been on the motorcycle scraping my foot pegs on our secret roads or at the rodeo watching men beat their chest at their beastly conquests. However, neither act has a lasting impact. Their memory and accolades fade as soon as the next corner or contestant. What permanently changes the course of lives (and nations) is a sacrifice, not show. I wondered if this trait existed only in small towns where interdependence is a survival trait. Would I find it elsewhere? I would soon find out.

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Bentz’s Are Moving

Audrey Bentz

We (Myrin and Audrey Bentz) purchased 0.8 acre in Dallesport for out retirement home and duplex. Most of it turned out to be wet lands so the Deptartment Of Ecology required us to plan 200 native trees/plants in most of the property. A raised corner was okayed for the house. 

March was scheduled to plant but was covered with snow. April came and we found we had “lakeside” property. May flew by so we celebrated our 63rd wedding anniversary on 6/2 planting starts from Humble Roots above Mosier. We had a big group help, led by Bill Weiler of High Prairie. There will be plants for birds, for butterflies and guests to enjoy. 

In a few months or next year come by to see our new abode!  215 D Street, Dallesport WA!

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