Here you'll find work published in the Creston News Advertiser, The Western Journal and the Polk County-Itemizer Observer.

Newport News-Times

Otter facility finished

NEWPORT — After a few short months of construction, the Oregon Coast Aquarium opened its new otter holding facility on Friday, Aug. 23, and introduced Nuka, Oswald and Schuster to their new space. The facility is just the first step in the larger goal of building a marine rehabilitation center, but it already allows the aquarium to do more for stranded and sick sea otters — and it could lead to a chance for the public to meet a sea otter up close and personal. The aquarium first started raisin

Cruising through school

NEWPORT — A 13-person science team — including a high school biology teacher, four high school students, a college student and three graduate students — boarded Oregon State University’s R/V Oceanus on Thursday and headed out to sea for a four-day research cruise. “This is the third year we’ve been out doing this research cruise,” said Tracy Crews, Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program manager. “We take out high school students, community college students to work with graduate students an

Lincoln City gathering remembers 9/11

LINCOLN CITY — Community members gathered at the Lincoln City Cultural Center on Wednesday to observe Sept. 11 and remember those who were lost on 9/11 and in the war that has lasted for 18 years. In the back of the room, team members from Mo’s Restaurant were serving free chowder and shrimp. In another corner, memorabilia, photos and even pieces of the actual towers were on display for people to look at and reflect on. But the main event of the night came in three parts: a few brief speeches,

Doughnuts with a twist

Danielle Knudsen has been cooking for as long as she can remember. “My dad was a chef, I started cooking with him and baking with him when I was two,” she said. “So it’s always just been a part of my life.” When her father passed, she was only 13 years old. So she took her culinary education into her own hands from there, beginning to experiment and explore flavors. It’s that curious spirit that inspires the unique flavors of Dark Moon Doughnuts, the one-woman business that Knudsen runs. Thou

Gardening for a good cause

Twenty-eight students from Sam Case Elementary had the opportunity to get some education and sunshine while giving to a great cause on Friday, Oct. 4. That morning, Penny McDermott’s fourth grade class hiked from Sam Case to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, bundled up for rain — which luckily didn’t come — and ready to get their hands dirty, literally. Michael Christy, mentor and coordinator of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and School Garden, said that his favorite part of the event is, in short, all o

Proud of local produce

NEWPORT — Oceana Natural Food Cooperative received a special guest on Friday, Sept. 27, from the Oregon Organic Coalition, who came to bestow an award onto the store’s produce manager: Tim Holbrook. Regulars of the store may recognize Holbrook, who has been the produce manager since 2003. The manager credits Holbrook with building the reputation of his produce displays, which has made the produce department the top-selling department in the store — Oceana sold almost $400,000 of produce, alone,

Secrets of sea jellies

Did you know jellyfish aren’t fish at all? They’re more accurately referred to as “sea jellies” and are classified as plankton, meaning they are “drifters” who go where the current pushes them. “They’re really neat animals,” said Sally Compton, communications and marketing manager of the Oregon Coast Aquarium. “They don’t have bones, brains, — really anything. And they’ve actually been around longer than sharks or prehistoric animals.”

Dreaming of a green Christmas

The Seal Rock Garden Club will open its doors at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, for the public to peruse and choose from beautiful handmade wreaths, swags, table decorations and mug arrangements — all in the spirit of Christmas. And, according to club president Carol Brescher, after a week of preparing for the sale, everything will be sold by early afternoon. “It’s just like a fairyland in here, it’s so pretty,” said Brescher. “And then, we open at 9 o’clock Saturday morning and by 1, everything w

A community built through karate

True Lineage Kenpo Karate in Toledo is opening classes up to the public for anyone to try for free on Saturday, Dec. 14. The dojo’s owner and sifu, David Todd, his teaching staff and students look forward to meeting new faces and growing their dojo’s community. There are classes for all levels and ages — his students currently range in age from two to 77. Todd, a second level black belt with nearly 20 years of martial arts teaching experience, explained that, with all the screens and indoor act

Oregon’s best found in Depoe Bay

Ray Degele has had a busy couple of weeks. At the end of October, Taste of Home magazine published an article declaring the best bakery in each of the 50 states — Depoe Baykery, Degele’s business, was named Oregon’s best bakery. Rather than getting notice from the magazine first, Degele heard the news from some of the people he sees most: customers. Since then, he said it’s been a couple of busy weeks, especially for November.

Love and light found at Tahlume

Tahlume is a gift and curiosity shop in Lincoln City. But more than that, for those who love the earth, artisan-made goods and experiencing art in a mindful space, this shop is a haven. The shop kitten, Molly, and the smell of custom-made incense greets customers coming in, and the stunning space draws in the spirit. Owners Krista Melone and Rachel Baird know this all too well, as they experience the same pull when they first visited the shop in May 2018 — when it was known as Red Cock. On Kris
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The Creston News Advertiser

Creston City Councils backs CCSD on school safety grant

Creston Community School District’s superintendent, Steve McDermott, took the podium at the city council’s regular meeting Tuesday to ask the council for its blessing on a federal grant application. “We’ve recently worked on a grant application that’s federal money for some additional school safety measures. The list right now includes a shooter alert system, a panic button system in our offices, additional fob entry system, lighting upgrades — primarily, additional exterior lighting around our

City council to hold open hearing on city code reform

Creston City Council passed a resolution at Tuesday night’s regular meeting to hold a public hearing on Aug. 21 to hear public opinion on its proposed amendments to the city codes. The current proposal is to repeal one ordinance and one sub-section of another ordinance, and to modify two sections and three subsections of another ordinance. Those wishing to voice their opinion will be able to speak on the matter at the regular meeting on Aug. 21, and will be permitted to speak before the council

City council meeting ‘out of hand’

The Creston City Council held a regular meeting Tuesday night, the agenda for which held an open hearing on proposed ordinance changes, numerous resolutions and five individual appointments — one of which was added to the agenda after its official release. The meeting was adjourned after Mayor Gary Lybarger commented, “I’m sorry if I offend anybody, but it kind of got out of hand, OK?” Lybarger’s comment referred to the council’s third appointment, which set with Danny Bird to discuss removal o

Water board weighs options pending SIRWA decision

The Creston City Water Works Board of Directors held a special meeting Tuesday to meet with representatives from Snyder & Associates, Inc. and discuss potential options the board could pursue if Southern Iowa Rural Water Association follows through on its proposed plan to end its service with Creston Water. At the board’s joint work session with Creston City Council on July 10, the board announced SIRWA had made it known to them that it intended to either buy Creston’s current plant or build it

Sec. of Ag candidate visits Union Co. Fair

Come November of this year, Iowa residents will be given the opportunity to vote for, among other things, their next Secretary of Agriculture. This election follows the resignation of Bill Northey, who left office to serve as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service at the USDA. I had the opportunity to sit down with with Democratic candidate Tim Gannon to talk about this issues at the top of his agenda.

City council funds UCDA project after near split vote

Creston City Council will provide $100,000 over a 10-year period to Union Couty Development Association for the UCDA Board of Trustees Building 301 Project after passing a resolution during Tuesday’s regular meeting with a split decision. Seven community members took podium during the meeting’s public forum to discuss various issues, the first of which was Melvin Scadden, who came to voice concern over the resolution to fund the UCDA’s project. Scadden expressed that this may not be the best u

Fairgrounds buildings to open Thursday

In August 2017, the Union County Fair Board announced the “Building on Tradition” campaign, the aim of which was to raise money so that improvements could be made to the fairgrounds. The majority of the funds were going to be allocated to building two new buildings: one for cattle, the other for sheep and goats. Just under a year later, those new buildings have been built and will officially open Thursday night.

The Western Journal

Review: “Big Bear, Little Bear” - The Western Journal

On Jan. 15, Rusty Clanton released his EP “Big Bear, Little Bear.” The Tennessee-native singer-songwriter has grown a substantial following in the last five years through YouTube and touring with the likes of Tessa Violet, dodie and Emma Blackery. For those unfamiliar with his work, when Clanton asked his fans on Twitter to name other acts that his work sounds similar to, followers listed acts from Vance Joy to Bonnie Tyler, from Bon Iver to Sleeping at Last and Passenger.

Harmonica player steals spotlight in jazz performance - The Western Journal

Under a wash of colored lights — which would shift throughout the night, from reds and purples to blues and greens — four men took the Rice Auditorium stage on Jan. 19 for one purpose: to play jazz. The quartet was composed of: DJ Ginyard on bass; Shedrick Mitchell on keyboard, organ and piano; Nathaniel Townsley on drums; and headliner Gregoiré Maret on harmonica. The group were old friends, Maret explained after their introduction. But the four were not the only musicians on stage that night

How do you solve a problem like misrepresentation? - Editorial

Each year the Ralph J. Bunche Center publishes a “Hollywood Diversity Report” which examines the diversity of gender and race in all aspects of Hollywood, from writing to acting, directing to talent agencies. Despite minorities making up around 40 percent of America’s population, the film industry is underwhelmingly diverse. This is, in large part, due to the lack of diverse parts. ...

The Polk County Itemizer-Observer

Keeping science, and kids, cool

INDEPENDENCE — At Talmadge Middle School and Henry Hill Education Support Center, the Summer Science Program will be wrapping up this week. The program has provided more than 100 children with activities to keep them in engaged and air conditioned, as well as providing them with free breakfast and lunch every day, said Angelica Gloria, the school district’s Summer Programs Coordinator. “(The program is important) because it’s giving students the opportunities that enrich them during the summer,

Camp teaches theater to kids

INDEPENDENCE — This week at Central High School, the Little Actors Acting Camp is taking center stage. Founded last year by CHS thespian Matisyn Robischon, the camp began as a fundraiser for the CHS Thespians, but has evolved into something more. “I thought, ‘oh, we can do this camp and it’ll be super fun, and the volunteers would learn something,’ because we were working on getting our thespian troop closer together,” Robischon explained. “I wanted to originally make it a community kind of th

Something new in ‘Much Ado’

Something new in ‘Much Ado’ Valley Shakespeare Company puts twists on classic work, opens Thursday at Western MONMOUTH — Comedy and heroism will seize the Leinwand outdoor stage on Thursday as Valley Shakespeare Company at Western Oregon University opens their third summer show. This year the company is putting on its rendition of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which will be set in the wine country of 1890s Italy. The story, which the company’s press release describes as a “romantic

Teens honored for rescue efforts

DALLAS — “Every job is a self-portrait of the one who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.” This is the inscription on the challenge coins which were given to Ethan Collins, Kyra Orwick and Noah Woods by Sgt. Todd Fenk, along with plaques of commendation from Polk County Sherriff Mark Garton. In the community conference room of the Polk County Courthouse on Friday, Ethan, Kyra and Noah were given commendations for their actions on June 30.

‘Lessons in Grace’

DALLAS — In the late ’70s, Petra Cole and her husband adopted two children: Jay and Sally. Sally was the younger sister of Jay, who, it would later be discovered, was what Cole refers to as a “drug baby” — a child affected by their mother’s drug and alcohol use while pregnant. In 2016, Cole published a book titled, “Lessons in Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness: Adopting a Drug Baby,” recounting her experiences raising a drug-affected child and the challenges she faced.