Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stevenson Grange #121 March Meeting

The next Stevenson Grange #121 meeting will take place on Monday, March 5th, at 6:30 p.m., at the Rock Creek Hegewald Center, at 710 Rock Creek Drive.  Interested community members are urged to attend this very important re-chartering meeting.  New members are needed to revive the Grange.  The Grange is a non-partisan, diverse organization open to all community members.  Call Mary Repar 509.427.7153 for more information.

Notes from our February 6th Grange meeting:  The important news from this meeting is that there may be monies available from some organizations to rehabilitate and preserve the old Grange building--if we qualify and IF we can get the county commissioners to rent the Grange to us (for a very reasonable yearly sum, that is!).  I wrote to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), now called the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the following is a summary (with some edits for clarity) of their reply:
The short answer to your question about funding for the Grange Hall is “no” there currently is not a funding program through DAHP for rehabilitation, renovation, and preservation work at the hall.

However, the longer answer is that there are other programs out there that may be worth pursuing:

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation ( has its Washington Preserves Fund for small rehabilitation projects. I see from the website that applications for 2012 are due in October, so you have time to plan your application. Grants have tend to be small ( in the $500 to $1,000 range) but may be worth checking into.

The Kinsman Foundation in Portland is interested in giving grants for historic preservation projects. Check out their website at: for more information about grant requirements and application procedures.

The Heritage Capital Grant program is probably the most likely source for substantial funding for preservation projects. The program is administered by the Washington State Historical Society. Go to the website at for information and getting on mailing lists for the application workshops coming up this spring. As a note, this program has been hit by budget cuts in recent years and therefore available funds are more difficult and competitive to obtain.

Finally, you should be aware that there is much discussion in the current State Legislature about the State selling bonds to finance some construction projects that are “shovel ready.”  Our hope is that if this comes about, it will include some funding for historic properties. Rep. Hans Dunshee is the primary sponsor behind the program. You might want to contact your state representative for more information about the status of the proposal.

In regard to the above programs, funding for projects is often targeted to properties that have a historic designation, such as listing in the National Register of Historic Places, Washington Heritage Register, or a determination of eligibility for the Registers. There is no information on the Grange Hall in the WISAARD historic property inventory database. So, you are encouraged to provide us with any photographs of the building so that  its eligibility can be assessed. If you are interested in doing so, simply email some digital photos (interior shots as well) so that DAHP can provide you with an assessment as to whether the hall might be eligible for the Registers.

So, this is where we are at.  We have an opportunity to revive the Stevenson Grange #121 for our community.  I believe, and so do others, that this Grange can serve as a community focal point for all the various groups that are now out there, gestating in their own efforts.  The Grange can serve as a place for community gatherings, educational venues, etc., and as an umbrella for all those efforts to connect with our Earth.  The Grange can offer structure and organization to all our efforts.  If you are interested in this community revival, please come to the March 5th meeting and meet your neighbors.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Repar's Candidate Statement

Candidate’s Statement
Mary J. Repar,
Commissioner, District #2

Our county faces some rough times, now and in the future.  How we got here should be a lesson learned and this lesson should provide impetus for changing the way business is conducted.  Our future should be based on accountability and transparency in our government.

We should look at these challenges as opportunities to make our county a better place to live and work, for all of us. 

As your District #2 commissioner, I want to work on the following issues:

  • Energy independence and conservation:  Make our homes and businesses energy independent by working to get grants and loans for upgrades and renovations to existing buildings and homes.  Solar energy and innovative rooftop wind turbines are just a start.  Fuel cells for homes and businesses are now a reality and should be investigated.  The Sixth Northwest Conservation and Electric Power Plan states, “…substantial amounts of conservation to be cheaper and more sustainable than most other types of generation… The plan finds enough conservation to be available and cost-effective to meet 85 percent of the region’s load growth for the next 20 years.”
  • Utilities:  Undergrounding our utility poles so that we don’t have to worry as much about storm outages, and to provide a safer working environment for our utility workers.  Our utility poles are getting taller and there are more and more lines on them.  There is a limit to their size and weight.  Also, the aesthetics of our locales are being impacted and this impacts our quality of life, and it impacts tourism, one of our main economies.  We can work with other government entities to achieve this benefit for our community.
  • Small Business Incubators:  Work on getting our small businesses to be the incubators of our work force.  It is small businesses that will make our community stronger and keep it thriving.  If we depend on one or two big employers, then we will be subject to their ups and downs—and in a small community those ups and downs can be devastating to both our citizens’ and our county’s welfare.
  • Affordable High Speed Internet:  If we want to have businesses in rural areas that don’t have the populace to support these businesses, then we will have to help our small business people with affordable high speed Internet services that will open up their economic horizons and bring their products and services to the attention of a wider audience.
  • NEON—the National Ecological Observation Network, which has been approved, but still does not have adequate funding, for the USFS portion of the Wind River Nursery, can be an incubator for high paying local jobs.  I see this program as a way to keep and bring our children home to Skamania County.  This project will provide family wage jobs for our community.  I want to make sure that it is our citizens who get these jobs.
  • Education:  Work with our school district to provide sites and opportunities for ongoing adult education, night school classes, and other opportunities for adult learning and re-training.
  • Carbon Sequestration:  Carbon sequestration can help us earn money through cap and trade.  Instead of fighting over the Gifford Pinchot, we can make it work for us and help our environment at the same time.  Why spend our time and energy re-fighting the same old battles?  We can pool our resources to fight for a better future for us and our children.
  • Federal Dollars:  Skamania County produces fresh, clean water and lots of nice, clean oxygen for our fellow humans, and I believe we should be rewarded for keeping our county in forests and waterways instead of developing it.  To that end, the government should pay us for our resources.  The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act needs to be re-tooled into the Secure Resources Act.
As your District #2 commissioner, I will make sure that my constituents are kept in the loop on decisions that affect our lives and livelihoods.  There is no worse feeling than to be blindsided by events about which one knew nothing or was not forewarned.  We have to look to the future instead of dwelling on the past.  I want to work for the people of District #2 and Skamania County and I look forward to hearing about your issues and concerns.  Together, we can achieve our common goals by pooling our resources and working toward a better future.

Meeting time and place for "Let's Talk Food: Menu for the Future"

Posted by request:

The location and time for the Stevenson Menu for the Future meeting is 6 p.m., on Wednesday evening, Feb 22nd, at Jolinda’s, located on Rock Creek Drive, near the corner of Hwy. 14 and Rock Creek Drive, on the west end of Stevenson.  Anyone interested should just show up at the door.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Let's Talk Food!: Menu for the Future

 Posted by request:
Dear Stevenson/Carson Gorge Grown Residents:

This week the Mosier Gorge Grown is launching a project throughout the Gorge (You may have seen the advertisements in our E-news and Facebook for “Let’s Talk Food!”--that’s what I’m talking about). The project creates discussion groups centered around the Menu for the Future book from Northwest Earth Institute. The book has six modules, and the group gathers for 6 weeks to discuss what they’ve read. The chapters explore the complexities of our food system, and participants gain a true understanding what it takes to make food. You can read about the modules here:

The Mosier group used this book for their own discussion group last year, and it has had profound changes for them. This is why they are helping groups throughout the Gorge use it too. 

The first meeting for the Stevenson/Carson/Cascade Locks group is THIS WEDNESDAY. The group will be meeting Wednesday evenings, and then all the groups in the Gorge will gather for a potluck in Mosier at the end. 

The book cost $17, but Gorge Grown is providing scholarships so don’t let that deter you.
 Can’t make one of the gatherings? That’s ok! You can still participate. 

We would love to see the Stevenson Menu for the Future group grow in size to gain additional momentum for all the great projects your community has going on—the Co-op, the food forum, the farmers’ market, and more! PLEASE help us spread the word and forward this to your friends in Stevenson/Carson. We’ve got a great core started, and we’re just trying to get a few more folks for this group. 
To register, call Emily Reed @ 503-360-3532 today! 

Thank you!!

Michelle McGrath
Gorge Grown Food Network

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking News: Repar will run for County Commissioner in District #2

I am running for county commissioner in District #2, as a Democrat.  (I think the county commissioner office should be non-partisan, but that's not the way the system works.)  I believe that our county is on the brink of great opportunities and I would like to be a part of setting our 21st century agenda.  If we want to change our future, we have to stop voting for the past.  We are in for some tough times but we can get through them, all together, if we look to the past and learn from it.  I hope we have a vigorous discussion about the future of our county and its citizens in the coming election season.  I will be posting a more detailed memo on the subject, in the near future.

If any one would like to help my campaign for commissioner, please contact me at 509.427.7153.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

River Rally 2012 in Portland, Oregon!

The River Rally 2012, an international gathering of the watershed conservation community, will take place from May 04 - 07, 2012,  in Portland Oregon.  The 2012 River Rally is being co-hosted by River Network: Connecting People, Saving Rivers and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  "River Network is leading a national watershed protection movement that includes more than 2,000 state, regional, and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds."  "Waterkeeper Alliance is the global environmental movement for clean water, uniting nearly 200 Waterkeeper Organizations on 6 continents and 21 countries.  We focus our citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change.  Waterkeepers patrol more than 1.5 million square miles of watersheds worldwide."  For more information about River Rally 2012, go to and on Facebook at www.facebook/pages/River-Network, and

Stevenson Grange #121 Meeting on Feb. 06, at Carson P.U.D.

The Stevenson Grange #121 meeting will take place at the Carson P.U.D., at 6:30 p.m., on Monday, February 6th.  This meeting is our ongoing effort to charter the Grange, and is open to the public.  For more information, please call Mary Repar at 509.427.7153. 

The Grange is a community organization open to all.  We encourage all rural farmers, gardeners, future farmers, 4-H members, etc., to come and learn about the Grange.