Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


January 18, 2024

Kyle Shafer, new provider at the Naselle Clinic. Photo by Karen Bertroch

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 the nearby reservoir. Today, Doug is working in Skamokawa on water lines there, so no vacation day for him or his crew. Working on water in these cold and windy temperatures is going above and beyond their normal workdays. Bob asked me to shout the PUD crews who keep the power and water working no matter the problem or severity of storms. Our lives depend on those who hurry to repair problems while we sit inside and watch and wait and feel so grateful. To Doug and all the PUD crew, stay warm and safe, ok? We appreciate you all so much.

First, Ed Wirkkala reports that on the day of his mother's memorial service, last Saturday, the snow and ice kept many from attending. Family members were stuck in Astoria and many couldn't make it, so sorry to hear this. She deserved a full day of memories shared together. I hope the video made for the service will be on Facebook for a long time, it's a treasure.

Second, the Senior Lunch scheduled for the 17 th is cancelled due to weather. It will happen, on January 24, so hope to see you then. We support our lunch ladies making this decision so we older folks can stay home and be safe.

The Naselle School Board meets this week with important news. Lisa Nelson, Superintendent of the District for ten years is resigning effective August 31st .

Now the Board will begin a search process for a new Superintendent who would start September 1st. Losing Lisa means losing her knowledge of the school's history, the students, the teachers and the the Board and staff over her years. She will be a fine resource for the new superintendent as they move into her position next fall. We wish her all the best.

On January 20, the Wahkiakum Outdoors series is presenting a program by the Columbia Land Trust (CLT) at the Hope Center at 320 S. 3 rd Street in Cathlamet at 2 p.m. Austin Tomlinson, Natural Area Manager, will discuss CLT's mission, who they are, what they do and what lands they own. Call (601) 831-0360 for more information. This presentation will hopefully help us all understand the role CLT plays in the future of our area. Thanks to the Marine Resource Committee for sponsoring the Wahkiakum Outdoors Series.

On January 30, Grays River and west end residents are invited to attend the third and final workshop to discuss existing flood related issues and community priorities that can be impacted by flooding, erosion, and salinity intrusion. This is a topic we need to be open about because most of us have previously set ideas about projects in the past that seem to be working or aren't working now. Due to climate changes in weather patterns, such as the drought we had this year and is predicted for next year, we all need to recognize that it will be difficult to predict flooding events as the king tides become higher and the summers continue to be extreme in temperatures. The changing weather impacts farmers, visitors, children attending schools, and emergency vehicles being able to reach homes in isolated areas. This meeting is an important opportunity. An RSVP is encouraged but not required at:

The Appelo Archives Center has scheduled a series of talks by local authors. The authors include: Bob Pyle, John Cimminello, Irene Martin, Gary Anderson, Russ Wiitala, Nick Nikkala, Janice T and children's authors, Lulu FaFever and Tami Whitmore. The readings are being offered on Tuesday afternoons from 2-3 p.m. Check their website for updated information on the featured authors: or call (360) 484-7101.

Photo of the Week: Kyle Shafer, PA-C, new provider at the Naselle Clinic, moved from the Ilwaco Clinic. He is good at what he does (my own endorsement). Father of three, he and his wife plan on living in Naselle, and putting their children in the Naselle GRV Schools.

Calendar of Events:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Balance Class Naselle Community Center 3-4 p.m.

Second Monday: American Legion at Rosburg Hall, meal at 6 p.m. Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church: quilters in morning/ knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle/GRV School Board 6:30 p.m. Next on Jan. 16 in School Library.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at Grays River Grange at noon.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Flood Control District at Fire Hall 5:30 p.m.

First and third Wednesdays each month: Rosburg Community Club Senior Lunch at Rosburg Hall scheduled for Jan 16 has been rescheduled for Jan. 24.

Thursdays every week: CAP senior lunches at noon at Rosburg Hall. Joel Fitts recommends it.

Second Thursday: Johnson Park Board meeting at 10 a.m.

Jan. 17: County conservation meeting, Dan Cothren, chair, at 2 at Courthouse 3rd floor.

January 20: Columbia Land Trust presentation at Hope Center in Cathlamet at 2 p.m.

January 24: RCC (Rosburg Community Club) Senior Lunch rescheduled from the 17th .

February 24: Memorial Reception for Dale Dutcher at Rosburg Hall from 1-4 p.m.

April 7: Memorial service for Darlene Bjornsgard at Naselle school. Time not set yet.

Word for the week: Harmony.


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