Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle

It’s hot. That means my grass is “browning” and watering flowers is my focus. My pink rose is wandering all over the place and blooming. So stunning. Anyone who wants to stop by and just check it out is welcome. You do not have to knock on the door. My garden is “Open to the Public.” All the flowers are beautiful, but the pink rose is my favorite. It’s growing like the old roses we see winding over old plants around them. They are tough and great fighters for attention. I have plenty of benches in the yard and garden so you can sit and look out on Grays River Valley for a little while.

Photo of the week: Lori Sharrow, new nurse practitioner at the Naselle Clinic. The “new” Wellness Center in Naselle is a huge step forward for our area. It gives the area a modern building right on the highway, easily seen by visitors and residents alike. It illustrates the growth in population and the need for health services.

Larry Cohen, CEO of Ocean Beach Hospital: At a meeting last Friday, Larry expressed his interest in serving the west end of Wahkiakum County. He has two major projects right now. One is the new therapy building next to the hospital and the second is the Naselle building. Both are being renovated and set up for optimum use of space. The therapy building will increase PT and OT services. In 1985, Larry lived in the area and knew many folks in the Grays River/Rosburg area. He was on a Kellogg Rural Post Graduate Fellowship in 1985 so he grew to know several of our older families. He misses cardamon bread!

Larry has a gift for accounting and management. The hospital is out of debt, being managed well and was able to maintain their service levels through last year’s shutdowns without any furloughs or layoffs. He fully expects the new Wellness Center to be open at the end of August or early September. If anything slows it down, it will be the new required septic system. Scott Johnson will be installing it, if all the materials needed arrive on time. Larry mentioned that the cost of the Naselle building may go well over the projected numbers, perhaps as much as $80,000, because of increasing costs of materials. Good news: the medical clinic across from the hospital is going to be open on Saturdays now from 8-5 so visitors and patients don’t have to go to an emergency room.

Deep River Water System: Expansion of the water line into Deep River could well happen with a grant the PUD has applied for. That does not guarantee that Oneida Road will have a water line right away. In their last meeting, however, PUD Commissioner Dennis Reid requested that Dave Tramblie, PUD manager, look for funding for the Oneida stretch of road. This is exciting news for the area as they have no potable water source.

Naselle Community Center Outdoor Market: The Naselle Community Center is having an outdoor market one Saturday morning each month from June through September. The first one will be this Saturday. Vendor applications can be found at

Naselle-Grays River Valley School District is seeking a board member for Area 1. Area 1 boundary includes Grays River and Deep River areas. Interested persons may contact the District Office at 360.484.7121 Ext. 2 for an application. Applicants must live in Area 1. Position open until filled.

Fireworks: If you don’t get a chance to see fireworks on July 4 remember you can see great fireworks in Cathlamet, starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday night during Bald Eagle Days. For a small town, their fireworks are truly top notch as they are right over the Columbia River, based from the Elochoman Slough Marina. Truly spectacular!

Of course, Bald Eagle Days draws people from everywhere and kids love all the activities. Remember to take a hat in case it’s as hot as it was yesterday. And plenty of water. Check Kay Chamberlain’s column for info on Bald Eagle Days in July or contact Chamber at 360.795.9996. The Eagle is also providing information via texts; go to to subscribe.

Senior Lunches: The CAP box lunch today is SW turkey bake, cheesy potato hash, spring blend. Contact Diane Hollenbeck at (360) 465-2991 to order a box lunch then pick it up at Rosburg Hall at noon. The Senior Lunch Club’s next scheduled gathering will be on July 7 at noon at Rosburg Hall. It will have a July 4 theme with hot dogs and hamburgers. That lunch is funded with small donations to cover costs. The second gathering will be on July 21. That one is a potluck.

Ken Johnson, new CEO at Wahkiakum West Telephone: Wahkiakum West’s history is unique. It began in the early 1900’s with Carlton’s father, CA Appelo, realizing the Deep River logging company had a phone line. He contacted farmers and asked if they wanted a connection to that line. Most agreed so a party line was set up with a switchboard in the Appelo Store in Deep River where the family also lived. Various members of the family had to work at the switchboard 24/7.

Carlton and his brother, Burton, grew up answering the switchboard at all times of the day depending on who was “on call” in the family. And the community has benefited from growing along with Wahkiakum West as it became a major independent telephone company and internet provider.

I was lucky to meet with Ken. Here are my thoughts: Ken Johnson is much like Carlton regarding Wahkiakum West. He wants the company to remain focused first on its customers and then on staying up to date with the industry. Like Carlton, Ken will look for opportunities for growth. He is also focused on developing staff and efficient, professional service delivery, all in line with his personal values. He makes it clear that he feels personal character is his best gift to offer the board as well as his management experience with regulations and service. Ken is an experienced executive, relaxed and friendly, confident and intuitive, who enjoys working and has a clear intent of staying in the area till retirement and afterward. He wants to interact with the community and participate in organizations such as the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce. We welcome him and hope he will enjoy his new community. Feel free to contact him at work at (360) 465-2211 or email at:

Word for the Week: Shade


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