The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, April 02, 2009, Page Page 2, Image 2

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The INDEPENDENT, April 2, 2009
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,
Editor Rebecca McGaugh,
Mentor Noni Andersen
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based dyes
Oregon is a national leader
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Oregon ranks
fourth in the nation for alcohol-induced deaths. Alcohol
is associated with increased unintentional injuries such
as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, burns and
firearm injuries. It is also known (known, not believed)
to increase violence and behaviors such as child mal-
treatment, homicide and suicide. A recent underage
party in Vernonia resulted in three arrests and eight re-
ferrals to the Columbia County Juvenile Department. Is
that unusual? Well, maybe the arrests are unusual, but
not the drinking. Oregon has higher rates of alcohol
use across all age groups than the nation as a whole.
Wow, isn’t it great to be Number One? Yes, it’s legal to
drink if you’re over 21. Heck, Vernonia recently even
had “Drunks Crossing” signs chalked in by some Good
Samaritan on the street between the two busiest drink-
ing establishments.
What about heavy or binge (binge is defined as 5 or
more drinks within a couple of hours) drinking among
11th graders? In 2006, about one of every four 11th
graders reported binge alcohol use. Even scarier, one
of every eight 8th graders reported binge drinking…
and these rates have been increasing! By comparison,
use of marijuana and meth has gone down in the same
two age groups. Interestingly, Columbia County has
higher rates of drinking in both these age groups than
Multnomah County, but lower rates than our neighbors
in Clatsop County.
Research indicates that young people who use alco-
hol before age 15 are four times more likely to become
alcohol-dependent than those who wait until age 21 to
drink. Also, one of the best predictors of alcohol use
among kids is the message they receive at home. What
are you, as a parent, saying to your kids about alcohol?
What kind of example are you setting? IT MATTERS.
There are resources available to help you or your
children if alcohol is causing problems in your family.
Columbia County Mental Health at 503-397-5211 has
information and services. Alcoholics Anonymous can
help, call them at 503-223-8569 or visit them online at If someone else’s drinking is bothering
you, try Al-anon at 503-292-1333 or www.oregonAl- Overuse of alcohol can be an addiction.
One memorable quote from Narconon of Oklahoma,
Inc., “Addiction is predictable. It will end in one of three
ways: DEATH, PRISON or SOBRIETY. You choose.”
Ike Says…
By Dale Webb, member
Nehalem Valley Chapter, Izaak Walton League
Hunters, it is time again
to start thinking about ap-
plying for tags. Don’t wait
too long and jam up
New this year is the ability
to make on-line purchases
of controlled hunt applica-
tions. According to reports
I have seen, the process
is easy. I just might have to try it myself!
Have you seen all the people at Vernonia
Lake recently? I don’t think it’s the weather that
is drawing them; nope, I bet the recent stocking
of trout is putting most of those vehicles in the
parking lot. Vernonia Lake is a real draw in our
community and the trout fishing is usually red hot
during the planting season.
The Nehalem River sure has been looking
good lately, a nice aqua-green. I managed to get
out in my kayak a few days ago and made the
float from Anderson Park to Pittsburg. The river
is clear of any dangerous trees and would make
for a great family drift while the river is at the cur-
rent height. It will be interesting to see what kind
of fishing pressure there will be in the Nehalem
Valley since fishing rules have changed regard-
ing the retention of Cutthroat Trout during the
late-spring-through-summer river fishing season.
Finally, I will get to eat a few nice creek trout
again. I can taste them now, lightly floured, sea-
soned and fried hot in butter, yum!
I have noticed a few deer on my drive to work
and back and it seems that Hair Loss Syndrome
is still with us. Of 12 deer I have seen recently,
five had HLS; two of those were Whitetail deer
over at the Wauna paper mill. Most of the afflict-
ed deer were either last year’s fawns or year-
lings. It just doesn’t appear that HLS is ever go-
ing to go away. We have had this problem for a
decade now and the Blacktailed deer population
continues to decline. In my opinion, HLS is a ma-
jor player in this decline and, of course, this
year’s winter added even more mortalities. Deer
that have HLS at this time of year may stand a
chance of survival, but it will all hinge on the
weather and how soon protein-rich forage ap-
The legislature, as I write this column, is con-
sidering several bills to change the way commer-
cial fisheries are conducted on the Columbia
River. One measure bans gill nets completely
and another will remove gill nets from the Co-
lumbia River and place them into safe areas,
where wild salmon are far less likely to be
caught. There has been a contentious fight be-
tween sports fishermen and commercial inter-
ests for decades over allocations of the fishery
between the two groups. It will be interesting to
see if this fight will be put to rest.
Another fight that is occurring in the legisla-
ture, is between sportsmen and predator sup-
porters. It has been rumored that the Ways and
Means committee may try to gut ODF&W’s abil-
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