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Volume 140, Issue 2
January 14, 2015
IN YOUR TOWN
Two years in the making, the Polk County Folklife
Festival is nearly ready to make its debut at the
Polk County Fairgrounds & Event Center in Rickreall
on March 7.
The one-day festival will explore and celebrate
the Willamette Valley’s diversity through music,
food, performing arts and crafts.
Folklife had been a vision of originator and pro-
gram director Kurt Dugan of Dallas for a number of
His vision is for people to see and experience a
variety of cultures in one place.
FALLS CITY NEWS
EMILY MENTZER/ Itemizer-Observer
Rep. Paul Evans sits at his desk on the floor of the House in Salem on Friday, getting ready to start work on Monday.
District 20’s Paul Evans gears up for his first legislative session
By Emily Mentzer
SALEM — State Rep. Paul
Evans walked into his office
at the Salem Capitol on Fri-
day morning and hung an
Army Air Corps recruiting
poster on his wall.
The poster means a lot to
the Monmouth resident, but
what it boils down to is one
“Sometimes you follow;
sometimes you lead,” he
said. “It’s the nature of being
a teammate. That poster’s al-
ways been something that
reminded me, whatever your
function, we all wear the
same dog tags, general to air-
man, we’re all part of a big
Evans, 44, was elected to
the House District 20 seat on
Nov. 4. He has had a long ca-
reer in politics, starting at the
age of 18 as a Monmouth city
councilor — the youngest
the city has ever had.
As part of the Legislature,
Evans is ready to get to work.
“I’m supposed to feel nerv-
ous. I’m supposed to feel but-
terflies,” he said. “Truth is, I
feel relieved. For a long time
I’ve wanted the opportunity
to serve in this capacity.”
After serving as Mon-
mouth’s youngest mayor at
28, Evans did some work
with Gov. Ted Kulongoski
and realized some work
could only be done in the
“The hard work of trying
to bring some of these ideas
and facilitate these conver-
sations from the outside,
now I have a chance to do
these things,” Evans said.
“So, win, lose or draw, I’m
going to leave everything on
Being a freshman on the
House floor means he may
not get to introduce much
legislation, and he likely
won’t get to help make big
“But I’m going to listen
and learn and facilitate con-
versations, and be true to the
things that I told people I
would work on,” he said.
“Hopefully, in that small way
… maybe I’ll make some
progress on bringing people
together to collaborate
Evans has about a dozen
bills he’d like to get written,
hoping to get maybe half of
those on the floor for consid-
His first priority is intro-
ducing a civics test as a con-
dition of receiving an Oregon
high school diploma.
“How do you maintain a
democracy if you don’t un-
derstand how the govern-
ment works?” Evans noted. “I
think we build great workers.
We don’t build as involved
citizens as I think we can.”
See ROOKIE, Page 13A
Flu bug has been hit and miss
Number of cases increasing locally; still below national average
By Jolene Guzman
DALLAS — Polk County and Oregon
as a whole have been relatively lucky so
far, largely avoiding the brunt of flu
season that has run rampant in other
regions of the country.
But local health officials warn that
we are not out of the woods just yet as
flu season is far from over.
“We really are at some of the lowest
numbers in the country,” said Kirk
Hillebrand, Polk County’s communica-
ble disease nurse. “It’s trending like
much of the rest of the country, but our
numbers are so much lower.”
Oregon Health Authority’s weekly flu
activity report, “Flu Bites,” published
Friday classifies the state’s “influenza-
like illness” level at minimal for the
week ending Jan. 3.
The geographic spread of the activity
was upgraded from “regional” to
“widespread” from the week before.
See FLU, Page 13A
Polk County’s public safety levy proposal isn’t
just about patrols.
That was the message both county officials and
city residents tried to send at a public hearing in
Falls City regarding a possible five-year, 45 cents
per $1,000 of assessed value tax levy to pay for
public safety services. That comes down to about
$90 per year on properties with an assessed value
“I think that sometimes we don’t think about
that piece when we are thinking about this levy,”
said Falls City resident Amy Houghtaling.
Norman Scott remembers the days when he
worked as a trap boy at the Independence Elks Gun
Now, he is a regular participant of the club,
which was formed in the mid-1940s. The range is
shotgun-only, and open to the public.
For people on the north side of Monmouth and
Independence, shotguns going off on Sunday
mornings is old hat, but the club was briefly in
jeopardy of silencing those sounds, said Scott, 83.
“There was a funding issue,” said Rusty Poage,
president of the gun club. “We got it all straight-
Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in
Monmouth once the moratorium placed on March
4, 2014, lapses in May.
Exactly what a dispensary will look like — where
it will be allowed to locate — remains undeter-
The Monmouth City Council discussed the mari-
juana issue at its Jan. 6 work session. Four coun-
cilors spoke in favor of letting dispensaries — and
potential recreational marijuana sellers next year
— operate based on state law, with little city code
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION/ for the Itemizer-Observer
The whole process took only a few minutes, but
the dental screenings that took place at Perrydale
School on Thursday afternoon are something some
families simply can’t afford.
In some cases, they don’t have dental insurance
or fall among the ranks of the “underinsured.” Serv-
ing children and community members who fall
into those categories was what drove Perrydale
School Board member Trina Comerford to organize
a dental screening at the school.
She said the issue emerged for her earlier this
Even though this year’s vaccine might not be as effective, public health offi-
cials still recommend getting a flu shot to prevent contracting the illness.
Central’s boys bas-
ketball team plays its
when it hosts South
7 p.m. $6.
Kitchen offers meals
for everyone in the
area every Thursday
at Dallas United
4:30-6 p.m. Free.
ning Turtle Island
Quartet performs a
concert at Western
Rice Auditorium .
7:30 p.m. $11-$28.
team, in first place in
the GNAC, hosts
Saint Martin’s for a
key league contest.
7 p.m. $4-$6.
Take a step back in
time as rhythm and
blues group The
Spinners perform at
the Spirit Mountain
Casino Events Center.
5 p.m. $15 and up.
Today is Martin
Luther King Jr. Day.
This is a state and
which means gov-
ernment offices and
schools are closed.
money? Check out a
meeting of the Polk
County Coin Club at
the Monmouth Sen-
7 p.m. Free.
Fog; Mostly Cloudy
A Few Showers