Downriver Dispatches

News from Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


February 15, 2024


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, they bring smiles immediately. What a great family Hank and Linda have built. He has agreed for me to go visit him later this week, so I’ll have more to report on about them next week.

Other signs of spring are the trees that are beginning to show some red at the tops of their limbs. The red reflects new life coming back and from there we’ll get new leaves. Isn’t life miraculous, even without humans watching? The earth has its own life and its own stories and aren’t we blessed to watch it all happen every spring?

Photo of the Week - “the trimmer”

Speaking of pruning trees, last week I hired David Eaton from Puget Island to trim my trees. While I have a very small piece of land, I have planted a lot of trees that needed their lower branches pruned. It not only gives them more air, it helps protect them from the strong wind storms we get locally that often bring down trees. Giving more space at the bottom of the tree helps them cope with a strong wind that could bring disaster. David did a really nice job, loaded the limbs into a big trailer and took them home to burn. He also did some smaller work that I haven’t been able to do. He’s started his own business and would be happy to help you, too. He’s at 360-957-0227. He has an excavator, too, so he can do dirt work, as well as trimming.


The fundraiser for Brinley Lopez was a success. Again, I saw full support coming from the community. So many folks donated food, including the ladies of the America Legion Auxiliary and the Rosburg Community Club who all outdid themselves. The oysters were fabulous and the desserts went on and on. Many of us in the community came, donated, visited with Brinley and enjoyed fellowship with our neighbors. You can still donate by sending a check in the mail.


While there, I was reminded of Ila Mae Larson some twenty years ago, working at the Grange booth at the County Fair. She served the stew in a big pot and stood for days serving it.

On the Sunday of the Fair that year, she leaned on the shelf where the stew pot was and she didn’t move, even though you could see she was exhausted. I asked her to sit down several times and enjoy a bowl of her own stew. I offered to stay with the stew, so she relented. I could see how tired she was, but she wouldn’t admit it and she certainly didn’t want to leave her station.

She reminded me of photos of World War I soldiers in the trenches, exhausted yet awake, and at the ready. Our forefathers and foremothers worked so hard to build what we have now. Let us never take them for granted.


The election for the Grays River Flood Control District has not been finalized yet, but so far Judy Johnson is ahead of Jon Thompson. The School District’s levy vote ended Tuesday, so I hope everyone has voted. So far the returns are at 34.6% of ballots sent out. I hope, more votes will come in by mail and dropped at Johnson Park where there is an outside container voting envelopes can be left.


The after-school STEM club is alive and well under the direction of teacher, Sue Holt.

54 elementary students signed up for the monthly STEM days for this Winter/Spring. K-5 students created 3D art, constructed an archway tall enough for adults to walk under, and engineered walls out of cups. They created Lego and wooden block builds, made marble runs, learned about pulleys, cranks and gears, and even programmed a mouse robot. Watching middle school robotics in action was a special treat.


Please remember the concert on Sunday afternoon at the Naselle Community Center.

Brownsmead Flats will be performing there at 3 p.m. Tickets are by donation.


There will be a meeting on Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. at Johnson Park for Oneida property owners and the Public Utilities District (PUD). I hope that those who come will use this time to work on ideas and options for alternate water sources for their property, since the fire district will no longer be able to deliver water to them as of mid-April.

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 Feb. 20 in the 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: RCC Senior Lunch at Rosburg Hall on Feb. 21.

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

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

Feb. 16: Beekeeping class at Naselle Library taught by Julie Tennis Call Library 360-539-3327.

Feb. 18: Brownsmead Flats at Naselle Community Center at 3 p.m. Donations at the door.

Feb. 21: Water meeting for PUD and property owners on Oneida Road. 10 a.m. Johnson Park.

Feb. 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.


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