Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Articles written by Karen Bertroch


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  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 22, 2024

    It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,...

  • Young entrepreneur stakes her culinary claim in the westend

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 22, 2024

    Johnson Park in Rosburg has a new business. Since acquiring the various permits and licenses needed to run a food business in the county, Kat See has opened My Infinity Foods, a new freeze-dried food business based in the Westend. For the past ten years, Kat has worked with her husband Erik on their fishing boat in Bristol Bay. She was in search of a business that could occupy her when she isn't fishing. Having long been fascinated by freeze-dried food, and the process of making it, she has now...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 15, 2024

    ISN’T LIFE MIRACULOUS? It’s February, and that means it’s not only a time for pruning roses and trees (at least in my calendar), but also time to watch for Hank Nelson’s calves to appear in his field. With sixty acres on the Grays River, he and his wife, Linda, have raised cattle there since 1972. Hank is 83 and still has cows and calves to raise this spring. He has about a dozen calves at this point so it’s a good life for him and his wife, Linda. When young lives appear, whether lambs or calves or ducklings or babies, like Brinley Lopez, th...

  • nPower Girls provides STEM experience for students

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 15, 2024

    When the first year of the Career Connect Washington grant came through for the Washington State University Wahkiakum County 4-H Extension Program, the Wahkiakum Schools programs had already begun with Jessica Vik, but it took some time before the Naselle GRV Schools position was filled by Clarissa Colson. She had applied for a different job, but when talking with Principal Justin Laine, he floated another idea. “I know of this other position,” he said. Laine recognized Colson’s skills as a good fit for the Wahkiakum 4-H position funded throu...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 8, 2024

    When I think of last week, I just see Bendog, bare of all hair and so embarrassed. I took him to be groomed last Friday. They said he had to be shaved because his fur was matted. I have been watching him getting older and thinking I can't take much more of this, but then I just can't have him put down. So, I decided he needed to be groomed since he's always been so proud when people compliment him and say he's beautiful. The groomer took a long time with him because he couldn't stand up long....

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Feb 1, 2024

    Suddenly it dawned on me, spring is here. Daffodils are up in my hydrangea barrel and the daffodils are starting to bloom at Naselle Coffee and yes, Bendog is snoring in the sun on the porch. Life is good and full and smiles are the best part of the day. Happy Spring, everyone. It might freeze, but then again, it might not, so that's why I'm smiling today. Brownsmead Flats: There are several things I want you to know about so let's start with the Brownsmead Flats folks from Oregon performing in...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Jan 25, 2024

    This time of year is usually a slow time for news out this way. We are used to cancellations from storms and flooding, but today, there seems to be a lot happening. School There has been news at the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District almost every day. Since Lisa Nelson’s resignation, things are moving right along to find a new superintendent who we hope with be on board during the coming summer. Lisa will stay through the August. In her resignation letter, she set her last day as Aug. 30. Please make sure to read the article on the s...

  • Naselle-GRV School Board Transitions into new year

    Karen Bertroch|Jan 25, 2024

    In December the Naselle-Grays River Valley School Board made changes with new members coming aboard. Members voted to elect Robert Torppa as chair and Amy Hunt as vice-chair. At that meeting, the new chair announced he wanted to put into place two changes for board meetings: public comments would be held to three minutes; and minutes would be shortened to reflect the business decisions made by the board rather than records of everything said by audience as comments. The school board began moving in new directions with their first two meetings...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Jan 18, 2024

    Bob Torppa called this morning to report on a major waterline break during the night below Paul and Nikki Footh's home on Loop Road in Grays River. The line was likely a 4" pipe that had broken in the evening, around 8:30 p.m. Paul could hear it, so he walked down the hill and found it. A PUD of four came out very quickly, brought a small excavator and dug up the line in the hard ground, and fixed the break, finishing around 11:30 p.m. The leak caused a loss of from 1/3 to 2/3 of the water in...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Jan 11, 2024

    Holiday Trauma. After the holidays, January can bring a pall onto our days. Death seems to land on holidays harder than the rest of the year. Rain, clouds and chills weigh heavily on us, bringing on a sadness that only sunshine can heal. The traumas of our lives, whether they came in our childhoods, adult or elder years, stay with us. They usually can't just be tossed off. Whether it's something that happened around loss, fear or pain, it lives in our bodies from as early as childhood, into our...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Jan 4, 2024

    I have some fun news. A couple years ago Ken Johnson asked me to do some interviews of local folks, so I have done quite a few. I hope to do more this year because it would be great to have more videos available so the families can see these folks for years to come. You can now watch them at columbiacoasttv.com. Five interviews have been loaded to the website, so please check them out so you can hear more about these folks. It's so fun to see them now available to the public. A series of...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Dec 28, 2023

    School board news At the last Naselle/Grays River school board meeting, Bob Torppa was elected Chair, and Amy Hunt, Vice-Chair. Both have had years of experience serving on the School Board. Deep River Church History "Clear memory of childhood is rare they say, but I am fortunate to remember some of the old things better than later happenings. Within my four-score years and nine, much water has passed under the many bridges I have crossed, and within this life-time of mine things have often...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Dec 21, 2023

    Last evening many of us were on the roadside in Naselle watching the Christmas Light Parade. Disneyland could hardly provide more entertainment! We had horses, the high school band on a float playing Christmas music, fire trucks, tractors, 4x4's and a float with a Hawaiian theme. The parade lasted forty minutes; it was indeed a gift to us all. Christmas Letters Many may remember when Carlton Appelo sent out his annual Christmas letters. Here are samples from some of the Christmas letters he...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Dec 14, 2023

    Photo of the Week: Darlene Warra Bjornsgard. Just a few days ago, we lost a woman whose life impacted many. Darlene was hospitable, generous, and always family first. Here is a quote from Scott Johnson on Facebook that illustrates so well what this woman meant to all of us. He told a story that is an example of the love and care both Darlene and Paul have given to so many here. His message reflects how the community remembers Darlene with such respect and gratitude. "I will always remember that...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Dec 7, 2023
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    Thought for the week: "The smallest stone can make a ripple on the water." As we get closer to Christmas Day, please take time to ponder these words. Your gifts aren't as important as you yourself are in a relationship. The little touches, the kind words of endearment, the look that says, "I'm here with you." These gestures mean so much. They are the best gifts. Photo of the Week: A stunning house in Seaside built by Apple Roofing of Rosburg/Altoona Pillar Rock. Over the past days, Christopher...

  • School board swears in two new members

    Karen Bertroch|Dec 7, 2023

    The Naselle/Grays River Valley school board added Robert Torppa and Natasha Crater to the board at their most recent meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Even though Torppa won the election, he applied for appointment and could therefore start in November instead of December when new Board members are sworn in. Crater was the only volunteer from the Parpala Road area who stepped forward to serve in the position Amy Chadwick filled before she resigned at the September meeting. The board now has members from all the school district’s areas. Prior to t...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 30, 2023

    The holidays can be difficult due to sudden deaths, especially around Christmas. One unexpected death was the recent loss of Dale Dutcher from the Altoona Pillar Rock area, not too far from the end of the road. His wife, Cheryl, called to let me know. I have admired her love and loyalty for him in the years since he began to suffer from dementia, then Alzheimer's. November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. One in eight will suffer from Alzheimer's; Dale and Cheryl were but one example in our small...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 23, 2023

    A Veteran's Navy Reunion Joel and Noreen Fitts of Grays River recently returned from a trip to Sparks, Nevada where a Naval Reunion was held at the Nugget Casino. All the sailors from the USS Hancock A-19 aircraft carrier where Joel served on the flight deck with the catapult and rescue gear during the Vietnam war, were invited. He reported, "I was an Aviation Bosun, 3rd Class. My duty station from 1959 to 1964 was on a Super Aircraft Carrier. We lost a lot of boys during that time. My ship was...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 16, 2023

    While we live in what some might call a "backwater" area of southwest Washington, we are privileged to harbor artists and writers. One unique artist is Darbury Novoselic from Deep River. She is well known to folks at the Grays River Grange where often Darbury brings her bread to meals held there. Now she is showing us her love of art. Through that medium, we can see her artistry in the fiber art she creates in "the barn" on the farm where she and her husband, Krist, live. Krist clearly supports...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 9, 2023

    I've saved the following quote for many years. I don't remember where it came from, but we can use reminders like this often. I suspect it has some cowboy in it. My husband was a true horseman, the kind that worked with herds of horses at the same time, and they all loved him. In his elder years, he was hired to live in a small apartment in a large barn with extremely valuable horses so that if needed, he could be with them in the stalls at night when the mares were in labor, or the foals...

  • Robotics seniors have big dreams

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 9, 2023

    Interviewing three Naselle Grays River Valley seniors was a reminder of what can happen when students find their niche and run with it. Derek Suomela, Lewis Hoff and Alia Lebovitz are exceptional young people, all of whom are well-equipped to become scientists in robotics automation. These students not only know what field they love to work in, but they also know who they are as individuals. They are enrolled in the Running Start program while in their senior year. This puts them a year ahead...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Nov 2, 2023

    Looking at the Letters to the Editor, I see that I've created a hornet's nest. The two last articles about school board meetings have been my own opinion more than a report. The second one was not titled as an opinion piece, but those who read it know that, I'm sure. Now back to my regular Dispatch written last Saturday. Great God All'mighty what a gorgeous day. It's Saturday. "It's a lovely day today, so whatever you've got to do, you've got a lovely day to do it in, it's true, so if you've...

  • A Wahkiakum classic, refreshed

    Karen Bertroch|Oct 26, 2023

    Looking at a map of Washington, the southwest corner is easy to overlook. For history buffs, it is an intriguing study because of the Indians, the immigrants, and the land itself. Irene Martin knows our history in an intimate way. She has researched, interviewed, traveled and recorded more than most of us will ever understand. Her 1997 book, “Beach of Heaven,” deserves to be on every bookshelf in every house in Wahkiakum County. It is a textbook all our students should be required to read. It is about more than our area or even our region; it...

  • Downriver Dispatches

    Karen Bertroch|Oct 26, 2023

    Good Morning, Neighbors! I just listened to the Ship Report on KMUN. Joanne Rideout and Gordon McCraw are my coffee friends every morning, and I plan my days around their weather forecasts. They are saying a cold front is coming this week with lower night temperatures for us on the coast and snow on the higher hills. So, it's true fall is stepping back so the inevitable wind and rain can take over. I should have cut the grass yesterday. Like many of you, colds and flu become an issue in the...

  • Change is coming to the school board

    Karen Bertroch|Oct 26, 2023

    In recent years, our national political culture has moved into a state of mistrust. And over the past months, it has become clear that even in our small school district, board meetings reflect mistrust. At the last meeting of the Naselle Grays River Valley School District on October 17, during public comment, it was again time to complain, insult, and berate the Board and the Superintendent. Adam Rose: “There is a lack of transparency, a dictatorship. During covid students were told not to protest. Coercion. Then redacted documents. Only t...

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