The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, November 18, 2010, Page Page 11, Image 11

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    The INDEPENDENT, November 18, 2010
School board told pre-construction is underway
The Vernonia School Board
met on November 4 and the
board heard that there is now a
construction trailer at the new
school site and trees are being
removed from the site in prepa-
ration for the December 2
groundbreaking ceremony.
New state graduation re-
quirements in reading profi-
ciency and mathematics will be
going in effect soon. The board
heard reports from High School
Principal Nate Underwood on
plans to meet the new reading
test requirements. Underwood
told the board that Assistant
Principal James Brookins
would address the mathemat-
ics portion at the next board
The board discussed the
possibility of hiring a School
Resource Officer (SRO). The
City of Vernonia, Vernonia Pre-
vention Coalition and the Ver-
nonia Police Department pro-
posed having the school hire
an SRO for the rest of this
school year, then applying for a
COPS grant to pay for an SRO
for the next three years. The
fourth year, the SRO cost
would be paid by the district.
The board approved the idea in
general, but consensus was
that there was no way to tell
whether the district would have
funds for the SRO salary for the
fourth year. Superintendent
Ken Cox will bring a more de-
tailed proposal to the next
meeting, since the board indi-
cated interest in pursuing the
The board authorized Cox to
work out a Phase 2 – Site Work
Addendum with P&C Construc-
tion. This is an addition to the
existing contract, not a contract
for new work.
Grade school principal
Aaron Miller reported that the
Natural Resources program
committee teamed up with the
Upper Nehalem Watershed
Council, applied for and got a
$1,500 grant from the Colum-
bia County Small Woodlands
Association. The grant will be
used to buy a greenhouse,
composters and gardening ma-
terials. These items will be
used in a number of ways, in-
cluding growing food for the
food bank and cafeteria, and a
native American plant identifi-
cation garden.
In other business, the board:
• Approved three Oregon
School Board Association
(OSBA) resolutions having to
do with standard OSBA opera-
• accepted the resignation of
Dan Titus from the Budget
Committee. Titus was hired as
an assistant coach which
meant he could no longer serve
on this committee.
The next regular board
meeting will be held December
9, starting at
“Hat Tricks” first performance tonight in St. Helens
Players will present “Hat Tricks”
in cooperation with Samuel
“Hat Tricks” is an exciting
compilation of five scenes and
three monologues designed for
performance by mature ac-
tresses. Covering a range of
women’s experiences in the
second half of life, these eight
pieces range from the purely
comedic to those that combine
humor with thoughtful and
sometimes poignant explo-
rations. This is a richly varied
collection featuring a single in-
triguing commonality: Every
scene or monologue includes
the presence and compelling
use of a hat!
Directing this comedy is
Shannon Vaerewyck, who has
been involved in ShoeString
Community Players since its in-
ception and is a charter mem-
ber. The cast of women fea-
tures seasoned actresses Joey
Baker, Leslie Barker, Betty Fis-
cher, Joan Heide, Kitty Heide,
Sonia Lujan, and Patty Ris-
Performances will be in the
St. Helens High School Loo Wit
Room, Building B. Show dates
and times are Thursday, No-
vember 18 and Friday, Nov. 19
at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Nov.
20 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Ticket
prices are Adults $8 and Se-
niors/Students $6. This show is
suggested for Mature Audi-
ences Only. Tickets are on sale
at SunShine Pizza, The St. He-
lens Book Shop, online at, and at
the door.
OCF gives 50K for new schools
The Oregon Community
Foundation (OCF) announced
that a $50,000 grant has been
awarded to help with costs of a
new K-12 campus in Vernonia.
“The Vernonia School Dis-
trict and our entire community
are so pleased to receive this
wonderful early support from
one of Oregon’s leading philan-
thropic organizations,” said Dr.
Kenneth Cox, Superintendent
of the Vernonia School District,
“It signals to the rest of the
state that we are on the way to
helping both rebuild our
schools on high ground and be
a catalyst for the future suc-
cess of Vernonia.”
As a community foundation,
OCF works with individuals,
families and businesses to cre-
ate charitable funds to support
the community causes they
care about.
OCF gave an additional
$218,000 in grants to the North
Coast as part of more than
$7,360,000 in statewide grants.
These included $20,000 to a
scholarship program of the Co-
lumbia Learning Center in St.
Helens and $7,000 to Rainier
School District.
For a complete listing of
grants, visit
Chalk Talk
Chalk Talk is a column of information about
Vernonia schools. This column was provided
by Superintendent Ken Cox.
Change is on its way! If you have
been to Spencer Park in the last week
you will have noticed that trees are already coming down as we
get ready to clear the land for construction. We are still waiting on
the final go-ahead from FEMA, the Army Corp of Engineers and
the National Park Service, but those should be here within the
P&C Construction has a construction trailer on site and we had
our first weekly (pre-)construction meeting on November 10th.
Our official groundbreaking will be held on Thursday, Decem-
ber 2, at 10 a.m. at the new site. We will have tents and umbrel-
las as well as many distinguished guests in attendance, including
Governor Kulongoski. After the groundbreaking ceremony, the
governor and others will spend a few moments with our students
at the Washington Grade School gym. Everyone is invited to at-
tend an Appreciation Reception beginning at 11:30 at the Vernon-
ia High School gym. We want to thank everyone who has helped
to turn our new schools from a possibility into reality.
Please join us in celebrating this momentous occasion!
Please note that, due to the ground breaking celebration, we
will NOT be having the Town Hall that was previously scheduled
for November 30th. And remember, if you have questions, please
check out the latest at or send me an
email. I will respond.
Grant from Ford could bring $1
million to Vernonia’s new schools
From page 1
additional donations for our
project,” he concluded.
Vernonia’s schools have
been deeply affected by the
floods. Since the second flood
in December, 2007, the ap-
proximately 600 students in the
district have been using mini-
mally repaired buildings and
modular classrooms, all of
them still located in the flood-
plain and vulnerable to another
flood. Vernonia is in the un-
precedented position of having
to rebuild an entire K-12 district
all at once.
Voters in the small rural
community overwhelmingly ap-
proved a $13 million bond in
November, 2009, to make a
down payment toward the $38
million cost to replace the three
schools with a single K-12
(503-429-PETS (7387)
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