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About Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current | View Entire Issue (March 4, 2015)
CENTRAL’S SWINEHART, DALLAS’ HOFENBREDL
WIN STATE WRESTLING TITLES
Volume 140, Issue 9
March 4, 2015
FINALISTS IN TOWN
IN YOUR TOWN
A ride with Merlin Berkey is like a ride in a pa-
People along the way wave and smile, and he
smiles and waves back.
“You meet a lot of people,” Berkey said of being
the owner of Polk County’s sole taxi service, Squir-
rel’s Taxi. “There’s a lot of cool people out there.”
In his six years driving a cab in Polk County —
mostly in the Dallas area — he has kicked only one
“It all depends on how much of a butt they’re
being,” Berkey said.
FALLS CITY NEWS
Falls City’s girls basketball team etched itself into
school history, but on Feb. 25 the Mountaineers
saw their historic run come to an end.
Falls City lost to Portland Lutheran 50-39 in the
first round of the Class 1A state playoffs. But the
undermanned squad proved its regular season suc-
cess was no fluke.
“I told the girls that you can’t fear failure if you want
to be successful,” Mountaineers coach Micke Kidd
said. “I saw girls doing things I haven’t seen them do
this season. I saw girls attacking the rim, taking good
shots and playing almost a full game of solid defense.”
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
Who will be Dallas’ new schools leader?
The pump house at the Independence Heated
Outdoor Pool has a new roof, thanks to the com-
bined efforts of local organizations.
The work was done by youth through the Build,
Learn, Construct Project.
“The youth is from our program; the trainer is
from Habitat for Humanity,” said Tammy McCam-
mon, executive director of HALO (Helping Achieve
The project was paid for through a grant from
United Way, McCammon said. Money raised during
a triathlon last summer organized by Brian Joynt
also helped pay for repairs.
Three candidates due for tours of district, community meetings
By Jolene Guzman
DALLAS — The pool of
candidates looking to be-
come Dallas School District’s
next superintendent has nar-
rowed to three.
Those three finalists —
Michelle Johnstone, Jeff Leo
and Randy Refsland — will
be in town Thursday and Fri-
day for second interviews,
visits in the schools and
with community members.
A fourth finalist, Kevin Bo-
gatin, the assistant superin-
tendent for Corvallis School
District, withdrew from con-
Dallas School Board Chair-
man Mike Blanchard said
when selecting its top three,
the board was looking for
those individuals who could
best guide the district toward
“We were looking at candi-
dates that would be very col-
laborative with the district
and who had a familiarity
with PLCs (professional
Blanchard said, referring to
teachers meeting in small
groups with those who teach
similar topics with the goal of
working together to improve
“We were also looking for
people who were interested
in coming to Dallas.”
The final three were select-
ed from a pool of 18 appli-
cants. The board and a 27-
member selection commit-
tee narrowed the list to 10
who would undergo initial
interviews, which concluded
The three finalists rose to
the top following those inter-
Johnstone has been the
superintendent of the Brush
School District in Brush,
Colo., which serves about
1,500 students, for four years.
She said she is interested
The Class 5A girls
round is set, with
Dallas hosting Eagle
Point and Central
7 p.m. $4-$6.
Kitchen is again serv-
ing meals for everyone
in the area on Thurs-
days at Dallas United
4:30-6 p.m. Free.
Fog; Mostly Sunny
“Pride and Preju-
dice,” continues at
7:30 p.m. $7-$12.
Fog; Mostly Sunny
in taking the post in Dallas
because at about 3,200 stu-
dents, the district is the per-
fect size for what she is look-
ing for and also would bring
her closer to family.
Johnstone, 51, has 14 years
of experience as a school ad-
ministrator, including work-
ing as a building principal in
two larger school districts
(18,000 and 25,000 students)
She said she will bring a
student-first philosophy and
innovative strategies when it
comes to offering students
the same opportunities they
would have in larger districts.
See FINALISTS, Page 16A
At The Gym Bar and Grill, a “bench press” is not
something to work your upper body muscles, but
rather a specialty drink.
Speaking of specialty drinks, once a month patrons
are welcome to come invent a drink. If it’s good
enough, that drink will be named after the creator and
served all month long as one of the Gym’s specials.
“It has to be an original,” said co-owner David
Kerns. “It could be a one-armed pushup — the
bench press with a twist.”
Bar manager Ashley Story said it has been a
dream of hers for a long time to work in her own bar.
POLK COUNTY NEWS
Kurt Dugan, program director for the Polk Coun-
ty Folklife Festival, wants to turn the Polk County
Fairgrounds & Event Center into a place everyone
feels welcome when the event debuts Saturday.
The Polk County Folklife Festival will explore and
celebrate the Willamette Valley’s diversity through
music, food, performing arts and crafts.
“That’s what I want, people of different ethnic
groups and cultures to feel like they are in their
own living room,” Dugan said.
And other people’s living room’s, too, offering
what he describes as “a sense of community.”
Check out the inau-
gural Polk County
slated at the Polk
10 a.m.-10 p.m. $10.
Are you ready to
Time starts at 2 a.m.
Don’t forget to set
your clocks ahead
Help save a life.
There’s an American
Red Cross blood
drive scheduled at
12:30-6 p.m. Free.
choro and samba
music during a con-
cert at WOU’s Rice
7:30 p.m. Free.