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About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 15, 2005)
The INDEPENDENT, September 15, 2005
Published on the first and third Thursdays of each month by
The Independent, LLC, 725 Bridge St., Vernonia, OR 97064.
Phone/Fax: 503-429-9410. Publisher Clark McGaugh,
email@example.com • Managing Editor Rebecca Mc-
Gaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org • Editor Noni Ander-
Vernonia students being
short-changed by strife
It has been obvious for a long time that most Ver-
nonia School District staff members are unhappy be-
cause of what they perceive as an administration that
belittles their ideas and their efforts. That would be bad
enough, but they are also afraid to speak out about op-
pressive tactics because they fear they will lose their
They have reason to be afraid.
The superintendent treats with indifference, con-
tempt, and sometimes anger, ideas or suggestions that
may differ from his point of view. If that approach isn’t
sufficient to quell any differences, he finds ways to
make employees who dare to differ with him so miser-
able that they leave the district.
If parents or other community members make sug-
gestions that differ from his approach, he won’t return
phone calls. The people who support local schools are
also treated with either indifference or contempt.
This situation did not occur suddenly; it has gone on
for at least three years and is only getting worse. It is
past time for the Vernonia school board to put the dis-
trict back on track. Their failure to act while staff morale
and community support continue to decline is an abdi-
cation of responsibility.
The job of the school district is to EDUCATE our chil-
dren. Everything else is optional.
Welcome, Cycle Oregon,
we’ve missed seeing you
It has been 14 years since Cycle Oregon came
through Vernonia. The visit was a lot of fun, providing
an opportunity to meet many new people and stretch
our image of ourselves by feeding and caring for more
than 2000 visitors.
Interestingly, the rewards of that visit are still being
used, though most people aren’t aware of it. The com-
munity received $10,000 from Cycle Oregon in 1991
and the committee that was to designate how the mon-
ey would be used eventually donated it to the rebuild-
ing of the Old Scout Cabin in Hawkins Park.
Let’s give this year’s visitors a great big welcome.
They are appreciated.
In retrospect, Vernonia was lucky in 1996
When 60 percent of the homes in Ver-
nonia were flooded in 1996, we were se-
verely shaken. Most of the people with
undamaged homes opened their doors
to take in neighbors for as long as need-
ed – from two days to a year.
Having watched Katrina’s damage,
we now know how lucky we were. Here,
the water came in and left within 24
hours. Though we had no phone lines,
ham radio operators provided necessary
We had a doctor, physician’s assistant
and emergency medical responders.
There were no deaths.
Our drinking water was not contami-
nated. We could use bathrooms that
We didn’t go hungry because food
from the school cafeteria, the senior
center and Vernonia Sentry was donat-
ed before the water was too high at
those locations. Aside from one night in
the evacuation center at Washington
Grade School, volunteers made sure hot
meals were available, breakfast through
When our mayor asked for federal
help, we got it (not until we asked,
though), and the Red Cross set up facil-
ities a few days after the flood.
FEMA sent inspectors to evaluate
conditions so we could start the cleanup.
And clean up we did…tons of ruined car-
pets, furniture, appliances, household
goods, clothes and more…were hauled
to “Mt. Trashmore.”
School was closed but the state sent
people to keep kids occupied with other
activities (This was when Hands On Art
Yes, it was hard, but we were so much
better off than most of Katrina’s sur-
Now, we take our lives for granted, but
perhaps we shouldn’t.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate that
first cup of coffee, having gas in your
tank even if it is $3 a gallon, hearing your
kids laughing in the next room, knowing
that your house will be there when you
come home at night.
Let’s take time to tell the people we
love how important they are to us. And
let’s take a moment to express our grat-
itude, in whatever way we choose.