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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2017
(503) 325-3211 ext. 257
IN ONE EAR • ELLEDA WILSON
SECRET SANTA SENATOR
tate Sen. Betsy Johnson took the time to spread some holi-
day cheer around in St. Helens recently, according to a story in
The St. Helens Chronicle (https://tinyurl.com/betsyevie).
The senator attended the 35th annual Toy N Joy auction, where
a red pedal-operated toy fire engine with two teddy bear passen-
gers had caught the eye of Toy N Joy board member Larry Weav-
er’s grand-niece, Evie. The child, who was helping Santa (Merle
Pence) at the auction, tried to buy the fire engine from Santa with
$20 Weaver had given her, but was very disappointed to find that
she was out of luck. The toy was part of the auction. But … it just
so happened that Sen. Johnson had overheard the conversation.
When the fire engine came up for auction, it was a hot item.
The winning bid, $150, was by Sen. Johnson, who immediately
gave the toy to Evie. The child’s reaction? “That’s absolutely
amazing.” The pair are pictured, with the coveted prize, courtesy
of Julie Thompson/The St. Helens Chronicle.
Sen. Johnson’s gift was much more than a kind gesture to a
child in the spirit of Christmas, it was a tribute to Evie’s great-un-
cle. “Larry has done so much for the citizens of this county over
the years,” she told The Chronicle, “and this was just a small way
to show my appreciation for all that he’s done.”
A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS
was at the post office in Astoria the other day, and while put-
ting my keys into the lock to unlock my car door, they fell to
the ground,” Eric Jenkins, executive chef at Buoy Beer, wrote.
“I am with a cane because of a knee problem and a bad back, so
bending over is very difficult for me right now.
“The curb is high where I was parked, so looking where my
keys were on the street, seemed to me like a daunting task to
retrieve my keys. I started by trying to use my cane to hook them
up towards me, but after several attempts, this wasn’t working.
“A man, older than myself must have seen me struggling and
came up to me offering his help. At first I declined, out of stub-
bornness, but he insisted, easily retrieving them for me. Unfortu-
nately, I didn’t catch his name, but thanked him for helping me.”
“Thinking about it later, I wish I had asked his name,” he
added. It is these simple acts of kindness, that give me hope in
a time of chaos and divisiveness in the world today, and which
make me proud to live in a community where people help each
other, no matter how small the gesture may seem.”
AN APPRECIATION OF DETAIL
un rerun from Oct. 19, 2012: When both of the Build-
ers Supply businesses closed, artist Jo Brown won-
dered what would happen to the history-inspired murals
she and her son, Josh Brown, created in the buildings.
“Randy Stemper saw me doing a mural behind Sears
in 2001, and we exchanged info,” Jo told the Ear. “When
his new store was finished, I started a seven-year collabo-
ration of researching photos and local stories while paint-
ing those results 10 to 20 feet up on scaffolding.”
In the Astoria store, “the west wall shows Astoria’s
shoreline from 1936, inspired by a photo given to me by
the Compleat Photographer folks,” Jo explained. A small
segment is pictured. “I had to work the murals around my
other work commitments during this time,” she continued.
“Randy and his employees would put the scaffolding up
when I came back into town, and sell it after I left.”
The southeast four bays in Astoria have images of a
fisherman’s house and drying seining nets, a blacksmith
shop, pipe layers and an Astoria city street.
“Randy said, ‘All good things take time,’” Jo noted.
“This quote is in one of the murals. My son, Josh, helped
me finish the last two southeast bays, and then he went on
to the Gearhart store and did those murals by himself.”
The Gearhart murals also cover historic subjects. The
entire west wall is the Gearhart Inn. The north wall has five
bays, including a locomotive, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse,
downtown Gearhart, the train station and an indoor pool.
Thanks to Jan Heald Robinson, director of Revitaliza-
tion Partners, the murals in both stores were able to be pho-
tographed in detail, so they are preserved digitally. You can
see them here: https://tinyurl.com/JoMurals
“Randy’s appreciation of detail,” Jo added, “and my
love of this historic city, made this one of my best mural-
ing experiences ever!”
Note: The Columbia River Maritime Museum now
owns the Astoria building and uses it for storage. The
museum’s curator, Jeff Smith, noting that the murals add
“historical ambiance,” assured the Ear that they are pre-
served, and safe.
id you know that 212 years ago the Lewis and Clark Corps
of Discovery was in the throes of building Fort Clatsop?
They started construction on Dec. 9, 1805. The Oregon Encyclo-
pedia describes the fort as consisting of two cabins, parallel to
and facing each other, with a parade ground between them that
had gates on each end (https://tinyurl.com/FortC1805).
One cabin had three rooms for the enlisted men. The other
was a bit more elaborate, containing a room for the captains, one
for the Charbonneaus (Sacagawea and family), an orderly room
and a storeroom. A sketch of what the fort looked like is shown,
courtesy of the Oregon Encyclopedia.
The corps moved in on Christmas Day, and stayed for 106
miserable, soggy, flea-ridden days, 94 of which were rainy. ’Twas
not the season to be jolly.
idbits from The Daily Morning Astorian published
Thursday, Dec. 15, 1887:
• The last rail on the railroad connecting the Columbia
River with California was laid last Tuesday.
Note: Construction of the Oregon and California Rail-
road began in Portland in 1868. In 1872, after laying track
to Roseburg, there was a long delay due to lack of fund-
ing. After being taken over by Southern Pacific, the railroad
finally made it to the California border in December 1887
As an aside: The railroad was originally owned by
Ben Holladay, a transportation magnate who had quite an
impact on Seaside. His Seaside House Hotel, built in 1871
before Seaside was even incorporated, was probably one of
the city’s first elite tourist attractions (https://tinyurl.com/
• This “runaway horse” business is getting altogether
too common. Scarcely a day passes without a horse running
amok through the streets …
• For Sale: One large, strong horse, sound in wind and
limb. Price $30 (about $747 now). Apply to A. E. Allen,
• Active work on the Fort Stevens jetty has ceased. If
the barges are depended on to furnish stone for that work, it
will be 2011 AD before the work is completed.
Note: Construction began in the 1880s, and an arti-
cle about the 5-mile long South Jetty being completed
appeared in the January 1898 edition of Scientific American
(http://tinyurl.com/sjet1). The project came in at 45 percent
of the original estimate, or $2,025,650 (about $57 million
now). An illustration from the Scientific American article is
• Three runaways, two dog fights, and a knockdown yes-
terday, and still some folks complained there was no fun.
‘NEVER GIVE UP’
n 2014, there was a story in this column about Stephen Swift,
who had been zig-zagging all over the country on his bicycle
since 2012. It all started when he became depressed after a cancer
diagnosis, and his daughter suggested he take a bike ride.
His motto became “never give up.” After about 14,000 miles,
he figured he’d met thousands of people, and had 29 notebooks
full of messages from friends he’d made along the way. He was
heading home to Newport to write a book.
This November, Stephen once again appeared at The Daily
Astorian. The Ear missed his visit, but reporter Edward Strat-
ton took his photo. Stephen told Edward he was headed for Port-
land to complete his ride. Yes, he had gone back out on the road
again. More than once, it seems. One estimate puts his travels at
between 18,000 and 20,000 miles.
“I did make it home,” he told the Ear in a recent email, “and
the true reason for the long, long bike ride was because of my
wife’s death. Just did not want to be alone. Better making new
friends than being home all alone.” Whether he’ll stay home, this
time, remains to be seen.
‘A NATIONAL TREASURE’
aritime history fans take note: The longest painting in
North America, and probably the world, the 1848 “Grand
Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World,” at the New
Bedford Whaling Museum, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is
being restored, Yahoo reports (https://tinyurl.com/whalepan).
The quarter-mile-long, 8-foot-high painted panorama orig-
inally toured the country by train and wagon. Mounted on a
system of cranks and wheels, the panorama gradually unrolled
across the stage while a narrator told the rapt audience stories
about being at sea, whaling and visiting far-flung ports around
Over the years the panorama deteriorated, and the whaling
museum has spent $400,000 to preserve and digitize it, hopefully
so it can go on display again one day. Conservator Kate Tarleton
is pictured with the panorama in an AP photo by Steven Senne.
“It’s a national treasure,” project manager D. Jordan Berson
said, “that’s been out of the spotlight for too long.”
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
he Dutch police have ended a project that used eagles to
swoop in and intercept illegal drones with their claws,
according to Engadget.com (https://tinyurl.com/nethereagle). It
turns out there really isn’t a great need for drone-hunting eagles,
after all. A photo of an eagle closing in on its target is shown,
courtesy of Politie.
Plus, the program was expensive, since the eagles had to be
raised from chicks and then trained. Worse yet, the raptors were
easily distracted by more appealing (as in edible) prey. Not to
worry, the retired eagles are getting new homes.
Incidentally, the Dutch police also dropped their rat tracking
project, which had the critters sniffing out illegal fireworks, ciga-
rettes and human bones, among other things. It seems making the
rats “operational” wasn’t exactly feasible.
Sit & Stitch — 11 a.m. to 1
p.m., Homespun Quilts & Yarn,
108 10th St. Bring knitting, crochet
or other needlework projects to
this community stitching time. All
skill levels welcome.
Model Railroading Club — 1
p.m., in Hammond. Group runs
trains on HO-scale layout. For in-
formation, call Don Carter at 503-
Spinning Circle — 1 to 3 p.m.,
Astoria Fiber Arts Academy, 1296
Duane St. Bring a spinning wheel.
For information, call 503-325-5598
or go to http://astoriafiberarts.com
Cannon Beach American Le-
gion Women’s Auxiliary Breakfast
— 9 to 11:30 a.m., American Legion,
1216 S. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach.
Military Officers Associa-
tion of America, Lower Colum-
bia River Chapter — 5 p.m.,
annual Christmas Dinner and
Meeting, Astoria Golf and Coun-
try Club, 33445 Sunset Beach
Road, Warrenton. All U.S. armed
forces officers or former officers,
retired, active, reserve and war-
rant officers are invited, as well
as U.S. Public Health Service
and National Oceanic and Atmo-
spheric Administration officers.
For information, contact Capt. R.
Stevens (U.S. Coast Guard, ret.)
Line Dancing — 5:30 to 8
p.m., Seaside American Legion,
1315 Broadway. For information,
call 503-738-5111. No cost; sug-
gested $5 tip to the instructor.
Seekers Group — 6 to
7:30 p.m., Pioneer Presbyterian
Church, 33324 Patriot Way, War-
renton. Group discusses issues
facing religious faith in the modern
secular world. All are welcome.
For information, call 503-861-
Chair Exercises for Se-
niors — 9 to 9:45 a.m., Astoria
Senior Center, 1111 Exchange
St. For information, call 503-
Scandinavian Workshop —
10 a.m., First Lutheran Church,
725 33rd St. Needlework, har-
danger, knitting, crocheting,
embroidery and quilting. All are
welcome. For information, call
503-325-1364 or 503-325-7960.
Grace and Encouragement
for Moms — 10 to 11:30 a.m.,
Crossroads Community Church,
40618 Old Highway 30, Svensen.
GEMS group is a time for moms to
relax and enjoy each others’ com-
pany. Free childcare is provided.
For information, call Rachael Bid-
dlecome at 503-458-6103.
Senior Lunch — 11:30 a.m.,
Bob Chisholm Senior Center, 1225
See NOTES, Page 4B