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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

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New cell tower for Hood River

The nation’s largest cellular phone provider is looking to install a 100-foot-high cell tower in a field off Multnomah Road, which the company says is necessary to improve cell coverage for its customers in the Hood River Valley.

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Light but thick: snow hits the Gorge

Power company, tow owner offer safety and prevention tips for snow and ice

With a state-high snowfall in Parkdale and up to 10 inches in Hood River, January’s question “where’s our winter?” got a resounding answer Thursday.

Head Start gets good news

When the federal sequester budget cuts went into effect March 1 of last year, they impacted some of the most vulnerable families in the nation.

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County examining RC flying proposal

With the exception of the Westside Community Trail, Barrett Park has remained largely undeveloped as Hood River County Parks and Recreation has fought and continually lost battles to develop public recreation facilities on the 31.4-acre parcel located on the west side of Hood River.

Port hears comments on waterfront pedestrian trail

The Port of Hood River’s meeting room was packed Tuesday night with members of the public who came to weigh in on a proposal to develop a waterfront bike and pedestrian path planned for the west bank of the Nichols Boat Basin.

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Dee concert venue generates a buzz

People respond with positive and negative feedback on proposed amphitheater

In the Jan. 29 edition of the Hood River News, we ran a story about the DeeTour development: a concert venue proposed for the site of the old Dee lumber mill that is projected to draw upwards of 5,000 people for its larger events.

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County split on proposal to expand wilderness areas in national forest

A conservation group seeking wilderness expansion in the Mount Hood National Forest got a mixed response from Hood River County Commissioners last week after asking to a proposal that would designate well over 3,000 acres of national forest in the county as protected wilderness.

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An outdoor music venue for Dee?

Local developer planning concert amphitheater at old lumber mill site

Will Dee become the premier outdoor concert venue in the state of Oregon?

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‘Lava Restoration’ forest thin draws heat

Environmental group calls project ‘a significant assault’ on forests

A proposed U.S. Forest Service timber thin west of Parkdale has caught the eye of environmental groups and resulted in an outpouring of public comment from those concerned about the potential impact of the project — officially named “Lava Restoration.”

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HR man accused of raping underage girl

A Hood River man is facing two felony and three misdemeanor charges after allegedly raping an underage girl in Hood River County Jan. 19.

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County pursues grant to purchase Punchbowl property

102-acre area in Dee currently owned by Western Rivers Conservancy

There are plenty of options in the Gorge for a summer swim, but Punchbowl Falls on the West Fork of the Hood River near Dee is a favorite of many.

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ODOT to start work on final portions of Historic Highway

Marking the beginning of an end to nearly three decades of restoration efforts, the Oregon Department of Transportation is poised to start physical work this spring on reconnecting the final portions of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

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Young and old serve at FISH for MLK Day

With Martin Luther King’s legacy in mind, a diverse group of community members spent part of Monday afternoon in service at a place that definitely can use volunteer help: FISH food bank.

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Job creation a focus of Sen. Merkley town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley was in Hood River Tuesday morning as part of keeping his 2008 promise of holding a town hall meeting in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year.

CL Port to hold town hall meeting on toll increases

Repairs to restore the Bridge of the Gods’ 40-ton weight limit were completed last month and big trucks and buses are now back on the bridge, shuttling people and supplies up and down the Columbia River Gorge.

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As Odell grows, a boundary is drawn

Hood River may get a lot of attention, but the unincorporated community of Odell is also a happening place. Though it is not an incorporated city like Hood River, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, Odell has 2,225 residents — twice as many as Cascade Locks, which is the only other incorporated city in Hood River County. Odell is also a relatively young community as well, with approximately a third of its population 18 years of age or younger.

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Fire consumes shed on Belmont Drive

A tool shed on the west side of Hood River was reduced to little more than a pile of charred wood following a fire that quickly ripped through the structure Wednesday morning.

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Storm packs a punch, but damage minimal

Wet and windy weather brings much-needed mountain snow

Storm packs If you were one of the well-over-1,000 people who lost power Saturday morning, you can blame Mother Nature.

Progress made on Hanford cleanup, but challenges remain

It’s been almost 25 years since the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington Department of Ecology entered into an agreement to clean up the Hanford Site — widely considered to be the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation.

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Crash spills diesel into East Fork

Icy roads send semi over the edge

A steep grade and slick road conditions caused a semi-trailer to go over an embankment along Highway 35 Wednesday morning and narrowly miss taking a plunge into the icy East Fork of the Hood River.

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Escapee back in NORCOR after four-year hiatus

‘Get this stuff done’

On Aug. 19, 2009, Duane Allen Reineccius was temporarily released from the Northern Oregon Correctional Facility for a dentist appointmentwhile serving time for a probation violation on a DUII charge.

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Hospital institutes flu restrictions

Hospital institutes With H1N1 flu cases on the rise in the state of Oregon, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital announced Thursday it is instituting new visitor restriction policies in order to help prevent the virus popularly known as “swine flu” from spreading throughout the hospital.

Man arrested for allegedly stealing cables near Union Pacific rail

A 45-year-old Rainier man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly cutting and stealing a number of cables between the Wyeth weigh station and the Union Pacific rail line located approximately 10 miles west of Hood River off Interstate 84.

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Hood River County Sheriff officers honored as life savers

Sheriff deputies receive lifesaving award for July river rescue

On July 4, 2013, two men and a dog hung onto dear life and the keel of their sailboat as it capsized in the Hood River Marina and began to float downstream on the current of the mighty Columbia River.

Man faces assault, meth charges in alleged shooting of woman, 18

Hood River resident treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in incident

A local man is behind bars after allegedly shooting and injuring a teenage woman at his residence Friday evening.

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HR man charged with sexual abuse

A Hood River man has been charged with sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse after being accused of inappropriately touching and attempting to touch underage girls.

New charges filed in Lolley sex abuse case

73-year-old faces 14 counts of first-degree sexual abuse

Local business owner Kenneth Gordon Lolley is facing more child sexual abuse charges after an investigation determined he may have inappropriately touched the private parts of another underage girl.

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Bank robber gets 3 years

A Hood River man has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree attempted robbery following a heist at the U.S. Bank branch on the Heights in September.

ATC drops cell tower appeal

American Tower Corporation has chosen not to appeal a Hood River County Planning Commission decision that denied the company a permit to build a cellphone tower on the west side of Hood River.

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Blocks of love: Cascade Locks ladies make, donate quilts to domestic violence shelter

For those who have been displaced from their homes following a domestic violence incident, the holidays can be an especially difficult and traumatic time of year.

Garbage rate increase set for January

Hood River County Commissioners unanimously approved a garbage rate increase for county residents after a public hearing that was held during the commission’s regular meeting Monday night.

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Ruling brings Nestlé closer to CL

State agency says Nestlé opponents’ chief argument is ‘without merit’

Nestlé’s proposed water bottling plant in Cascade Locks may still be years away, but last week a state ruling helped Nestlé over one of multiple legal hurdles it must clear before the 250,000-square-foot plant can be built.

County sells east Oregon timberland

Hood River County has accepted the offers of two bidders interested in purchasing all of the county’s nearly 19,000 acres of Eastern Oregon timberland it has owned since 2002.

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Bridge of Gods limits have broad, negative impacts

The Bridge of the Gods has been closed to heavy truck traffic for nearly five months now as the Port of Cascade Locks works to repair the bridge and lift the Oregon Department of Transportation weight restrictions that have been in place on the structure since July.

Barrett Park stays open space

Parks Board will likely not appeal county denial, but holds land for future use

It appears that the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District’s quest to receive a permit for the development of Barrett Park is likely at an end.

Hood River business owner facing child sex abuse charges

A local business owner has been charged with five counts of first-degree sexual abuse after allegedly having sexual contact with at least two minors between the ages of 8 and 10.

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Solstice Cafe opens Friday on waterfront

After months of anticipation, the pizza purveyors at Solstice Wood Fire Café will officially open their doors for a grand opening this Friday at their new location at the Hood River waterfront.

Hood River Garbage looking to raise rates

Citing the rising costs of doing business, Hood River Garbage has asked the Hood River County Board of Commissioners to approve a rate increase for its county customers.

Sieverkropp development planned for the Heights

100 lots planned for 29.37 acre Heights property

A new subdivision may be coming to Hood River, pending city approval.

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Scenic, yet slick

Friday weather causes numerous accidents, some events canceled

The winter weather is forecast to continue this weekend with frigid temperatures falling into the single-digits in some areas.

Bridge of the Gods to add Saturday nighttime closures

The Port of Cascade Locks has announced that more nighttime closures will be coming to the Bridge of the Gods as contractors work to finish repairs on the structure by the end of the year.

Rosauers OKs credit card use at stores after cyber attack

URM Stores, the parent company of Rosauers, announced Tuesday that it was okay for customers to resume using credit cards and other electronic payment methods after a “cyber attack” compromised its stores’ credit card systems last month.

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Barrett Park is a no-go

Commissioners vote 4-1 to deny permit for controversial park

Hood River County Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night before an audience of 25 people to once again deny a conditional use permit for Barrett Park.

Hood River County is at its lowest unemployment rate in over five years

The Oregon Employment Department has released its October unemployment figures that show Hood River County has not only one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, but its lowest rate in over five years.

December debuts with record rainfall

The month of December is only a few days old, but Hood River already has one weather record in the books.

Rosauers asking customers to pay via cash or check

Parent company’s credit card system compromised

Rosauers Supermarkets are advising customers to use cash or check when purchasing goods at their stores after discovering that some of their customers’ credit cards were compromised in a cyber attack.

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County will decide Barrett Park’s fate Monday night

Hood River County Commissioners will deliberate and render a decision Monday night on whether or not the controversial Barrett Park planned for the west side of Hood River can be developed.

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Shred time: Sunny spring conditions hail start of season at Mt. Hood Meadows

A persistent temperature inversion made opening day conditions at Mt. Hood Meadows on Saturday more akin to the end of the ski and snowboarding season, not the beginning.

Nestlé drilling test wells in Cascade Locks

Monitoring will determine if aquifer viable for water exchange

Nestlé began drilling test wells this week in Cascade Locks to see if an aquifer believed to be beneath Port of Cascade Locks property can be used in a water exchange Nestlé wants for a proposed water bottling plant.

County okays restoration fee hike for road rallies

The Hood River County Board of Commissioners is allowing motorsport events to continue being held on county roads but at a significantly higher cost.