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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View This Issue
S ERVING THE S ILVERTON A REA S INCE 1880
50 C ENTS
A U NIQUE E DITION OF THE S TATESMAN J OURNAL
V OL . 136, N O . 37
W EDNESDAY , A UGUST 30, 2017
Balloon sent aloft to study eclipse
Silverton High School was the launch
site of a high-altitude balloon Monday,
Aug. 21, and the launch went off without
a hitch around 8:45 a.m.
Events leading up to and directly fol-
lowing, however, weren’t always smooth
The high school program was one of
55 teams nationwide that built balloons
to capture data and video of the Great
American Eclipse, which passed by the
Mid-Willamette Valley and crossed the
United States. The data will be utilized
by NASA and other agencies.
“It actually went as textbook as it
could have gone,” project coordinator
Creighton Helms said of the eclipse-day
Helms said the project faced obsta-
cles in the weeks and days leading up to
the launch: wind forecasts that would
have pushed the balloon to restricted air-
space above wildfires, GPS units not
working and having to be overnighted to
NASA for repair and overnighted back,
and a camera that required repair up un-
til 1 a.m. on launch day.
The concerns turned out to be no
problem at all.
“Everything just came together and
allowed us to be able to fly,” Helms said.
“The winds were light and the conditions
were good. The balloon lifted off the
ground like a pillow.”
Hundreds gathered at the soccer field
at Silverton High to witness the event,
and an enthusiastic countdown helped
set the balloon off for launch.
The project began 10 months ago.
This put Silverton’s team months behind
other projects around the country, so
PHOTO COURTESY DEREK MCELFRESH / SILVER FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Silverton High School students and staff inflate their high-altitude balloon prior to launch on
See BALLOON, Page 3A
Teen isn’t sheepish
about state fair shot
Dresen Ferschweiler stands with her sheep Batty and Chippy as her mother Amy drives past with Dresen’s sisters Lauren and Jennifer.
Silverton girl finds shear joy in tending her flock
When it comes to raising and
showing sheep eventually bound for
the market, Dresen Ferschweiler
said it’s better to have sheared and
lost than to have never sheared at all.
“If I don’t show it, if I don’t get to
pick it and use it for a market lamb, I
don’t ever get to meet this personal-
ity,” she said. “It’s all a business. …
They are cute, but it’s gotta go to the
Ferschweiler, 13, stood with her
current projects arranged around
her, two in halters strung back to her
hand, one meandering through the
yard, trying to scratch its rear-end on
a patio chair. The trio were born up
the road at the family barn and
groomed by Ferschweiler for compe-
tition at the Oregon State Fair, which
runs Friday through Sept. 4.
But they weren’t all picked for
“You can’t do it all on their person-
ality because, again, when you go to
eat the animal, you’re not really gon-
na eat their personality,” she laughed.
This set of sheep has already been
to two competitions this year, includ-
ing the Marion County Fair where
Ferschweiler and her sheep qualified
for the Oregon State Fair.
They’re Dorset sheep, which are
less popular for competition. But
even in a less populated category like
hers, Ferschweiler expects the best
to be at the fairgrounds this month.
“It’s stiff competition. There are a
lot of people there that are really,
really good. Because if they weren’t,
they wouldn’t go to state fair,” she
Although placing at the fair won’t
be easy, it’s only a piece of the chal-
lenge that comes with preparing ani-
mals for competition. After Fersch-
weiler selects the sheep she’ll take,
they need to be sheared, cleaned and
Particularly for sheep competing
in showmanship, training is the most
time-consuming piece – Ferschweil-
In the sky, the total solar eclipse
looked pretty much the same no matter
where you saw it.
Whether you were in a Safeway
parking lot or on the top of a mountain,
you saw the moon eclipse the sun in an
awe-inspiring two minutes (or so) that
turned daylight into night.
Yet tens of thousands traveled,
hiked and climbed to Oregon’s most re-
mote corners not just to view the cos-
mic phenomenon in totality, but to do so
within the grandest landscape possible.
To find out why people would travel
from around the globe and hike into
wilderness for two minutes, I went on a
rambling and slightly frantic journey
halfway across the state.
It started, sadly, with a fire. Two ac-
My original plan was to backpack
into Jefferson Park, a meadow at the
base of Oregon’s second-tallest moun-
tain. I wasn’t alone. There were esti-
mates of 5,000 people crowding into the
alpine paradise for the eclipse.
The Whitewater Fire changed all
that, growing to 5,515 acres and closing
the entire area around Mount Jeffer-
The next plan was Mount Washing-
ton meadows, a lesser-known alpine
grassland in the shadow of the 7,795-
foot shield volcano.
Then the Milli Fire blew up, causing
evacuations in Sisters and, in combina-
tion with Whitewater, blanketing the
entire Cascade Crest in thick smoke.
On Aug. 20 — the day before the
eclipse — I was standing at the view-
point for Mount Washington, unable to
see any surrounding mountains, won-
dering to myself, “what in the world am
I going to do?”
“Let’s go east,” said Jeff Green, a
hiking buddy and Salem photographer
I’d planned to shoot the eclipse with.
And so we took to the road at 1 p.m.
Aug. 20 with no real plan, chasing
eclipse totality east, hoping to find
someplace, anyplace, where people
congregated in a beautiful setting.
We decided against places like
See TEEN, Page 2A
See VIEW, Page 3A
State schools still face P.E. hurdles
The majority of Oregon schools
failed to meet increased physical
education standards this year.
Schools were given ten years,
beginning in 2007, to reach at least
150 minutes of physical education
per week for students in kinder-
garten through fifth grade and 225
minutes per week for grades 6-8.
But at a five-year check in 2012,
the Oregon Department of Educa-
tion found schools were way be-
hind schedule. More than 90 per-
cent of school districts were still
significantly below those bench-
marks in 2015-16.
The Salem-Keizer School Dis-
trict was among the few districts
on track for compliance, coming
up one half-hour short for elemen-
tary students. Middle schoolers
are not all required to take P.E., but
those in Salem-Keizer who do are
already reaching the 225-minute
standard, according to district of-
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Statewide, however, only 43 ele-
mentary schools (4 percent) and 61
middle schools (6 percent) were
meeting requirements in 2015-16.
And 11,340 students statewide
were not receiving any physical
As a result, state lawmakers
were faced with a quandary — en-
force the requirement and possi-
bly hang schools out to dry or ad-
See P.E., Page 2A
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