Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


October 7, 2021

Karen Bertroch

Marshall and Denise Blanchard are working on his new shop truck after the old one was destroyed in a fire earlier this year.

Sad News: Lois Nelson, mother of Eagle Publisher, Rick Nelson, passed away just a couple days ago. Wife of former publisher, Bob Nelson, she worked in The Eagle office for many years. She and Bob were the kindest couple who greeted me as a newcomer with warmth and smiles. Bob and Lois were loving parents to Rick and he carries The Eagle forward no matter what else is going on in his life. May God be with this family. Lois died of Covid. Another one lost.

Photo of the Week: In the photo, Marshall and Denise Blanchard are getting his new work truck ready. A fire destroyed his old one earlier this year. He has been using a shop truck loaned to him by Kevin and Loren Wirkkala who called to offer it as soon as they heard about the fire. Denise tells me they had many calls offering help and support, and the Wirkkalas' was one of the first. I took a photo of Marshall and Denise at the "new" truck that's 30 years old, but it's a good one that met Marshall's needs. For all his customers, Marshall mentioned that he's not going to have the truck ready for a few more weeks as he wants to put another cab on it. Knowing Marshall, it won't take him long. He had the old truck for one of the 40 years he's been in the business. For those of us who have watched him work, we know how important Marshall is to the area; not only our community here, but all over SW Washington and NW Oregon. We will be so pleased to have Blanchard Equipment Repair fully back and running soon.

New Clinic Opened: Last week, the first patients arrived at the "new" clinic in Naselle. I had a tour with Lori Sharrow so am happy to say it's gorgeous inside. Three large exam rooms, a lab room for blood draws, a bright, big waiting room, and two rest rooms. These improvements make it clear how long we've needed this new clinic. But in the process of change, let us all be thanking Ted Swanson who provided the old clinic for so many years. We also need to thank Bank of the Pacific for the gift of their building, and Ocean Beach Hospital, of course, for renovating and upgrading the new clinic.

Art for the new Clinic: When I met with Lori, we talked about art for the new walls in the clinic. Many local artists have wonderful talent, so we are putting together a small committee of them to talk about what Lori would like to see in the waiting room, as well as the exam rooms. If you have art work you'd like to have considered for the building, please feel free to call me and I'll keep a list of all who have art you'd like to donate or loan, Call me at (360) 465-2414 or email:

Western Wahkiakum Photo Opportunity: For many years, I've submitted photos to the phone company for their directory cover. I want to make sure others are aware that the phone company is looking for more submissions this year. Here's what you need to know. Per the directory company, cover photos need to be vertical with a minimum of 300 dpi. Cell phone photos do not meet that criteria. Photos should be taken with an SLI camera. They need to be of scenery within our service area boundaries and can include wildlife but not people. They need to be submitted by mid-December but could have been taken at any time. We may also save some photos for consideration for a future cover. Send photos to The person submitting the photo chosen for the cover will be sent a check for $125 after publication.

FAFF correction: I want to make sure I get the correct news to you. I misunderstood when Barb Swanson said that FAFF was having a painting party on November 13. They are not painting the inside of the community center; they are having a painting party with an artist so we can all learn to paint art! So sorry, Barb, and all the FAFF folks. Remember the next Finnish American Folk Festival in Naselle will be held next summer. It's an event that cannot be missed. More info will be available in the coming months as we get to 2022.

Calendar: There aren't a lot of scheduled activities for this end of the county for Halloween, but we do have the Trunk or Treat event on Halloween at the Washington State Patrol office in Naselle, next to the bus barn near the school. It was a hit last year, so I hope all kids will visit there as a stop on their trick or treat schedule. This one lasts from 3-6 p.m. And check out events on the Cathlamet side. You can see them on the Chamber of Commerce website. See the events at:

Grays River Diking/Enhancement District: Their next meeting will be on October 6 at 5:15 p.m. at Johnson Park. Since fall has arrived, and the rainy season has started, there is much to talk about. New landowners in the area will benefit from attending these meetings. Grays River is a long river beginning up high in the hills above Fossil Creek, with more coming in from Hull Creek, Seal Slough and creeks coming down from all over the nearby hills. Water brings us many blessings, but it can also be destructive in storms with high winds and flooding. Come to these meetings to learn more.

The diking district needs new commissioners: Like the Grays River Grange, the Grays River Diking/Enhancement District serves the landowners in the community with information, assistance with maintaining dikes, and funding for work needed. The three current commissioners all volunteered at different times, but with the understanding others would step forward. They are now needing to step down for various reasons. New volunteers are needed to lead the assistance the district provides. If you are interested in finding out more, come to the meeting listed above or call Poul Toftemark at 465-2232.

4-H Celebration: October 30 is the date for the Wahkiakum County 4H End of Year Celebration held at the Grays River Grange. For more information, call Carol Ervest at 360-465-2275.

Senior Lunches: CAP box lunches are available every Thursday at noon at Rosburg Hall by calling Denise at (360) 762-3111. Lunches in October will be: October 7, pork chops and gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and mandarin oranges; October 14: turkey roast, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, sliced oranges; October 21: beef and tater bake, California blend and strawberry parfait; October 28: sausage tortellini bake, sweet potatoes, tropical fruit salad, garlic bread and cookies.

Word for the Week: Memories


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